Home
  By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon


We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: Guy Fawkes - or The Gunpowder Treason
Author: Ainsworth, William Harrison, 1805-1882
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 "Guy Fawkes - or The Gunpowder Treason" ***

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



Transcriber's Note: Some obvious typographical errors have been
corrected, and several inconsistent spellings regularized. Please see
the Transcriber's end notes for details.



[Illustration: Execution of Guy Fawkes]



                         GUY FAWKES


                   THE GUNPOWDER TREASON

                  _AN HISTORICAL ROMANCE_

                             BY
                WILLIAM HARRISON AINSWORTH


      With Illustrations on Steel by George Cruikshank


                           LONDON
              GEORGE ROUTLEDGE AND SONS, Limited

                 BROADWAY HOUSE, LUDGATE HILL



                LONDON AND COUNTY PRINTING WORKS,
                  BAZAAR BUILDINGS, LONDON, W.C.



                              TO

                           MRS. HUGHES,

                      KINGSTON LISLE, BERKS.


MY DEAR MRS. HUGHES,

You are aware that this Romance was brought to a close during my last
brief visit at Kingston Lisle, when the time necessary to be devoted to
it deprived me of the full enjoyment of your society, and, limiting my
range--no very irksome restriction,--to your own charming garden and
grounds, prevented me from accompanying you in your walks to your
favourite and beautiful downs. This circumstance, which will suffice to
give it some interest in your eyes by associating it with your
residence, furnishes me with a plea, of which I gladly avail myself, of
inscribing it with your name, and of recording, at the same time, the
high sense I entertain of your goodness and worth, the value I set upon
your friendship,--a friendship shared in common with some of the most
illustrious writers of our time,--and the gratitude I shall never cease
to feel for attentions and kindnesses, little less than maternal, which
I have experienced at your hands.

In the hope that you may long continue to diffuse happiness round your
own circle, and contribute to the instruction and delight of the many
attached friends with whom you maintain so active and so interesting a
correspondence; and that you may live to see your grandsons fulfil their
present promise, and tread in the footsteps of their high-minded and
excellent-hearted father,--and of _his_ father! I remain

                    Your affectionate and obliged friend,

                           W. HARRISON AINSWORTH.



      KENSAL MANOR HOUSE, HARROW ROAD,
              _July 26, 1841_.



PREFACE.


The tyrannical measures adopted against the Roman Catholics in the early
part of the reign of James the First, when the severe penal enactments
against recusants were revived, and with additional rigour, and which
led to the remarkable conspiracy about to be related, have been so
forcibly and faithfully described by Doctor Lingard,[1] that the
following extract from his history will form a fitting introduction to
the present work.

"The oppressive and sanguinary code framed in the reign of Elizabeth,
was re-enacted to its full extent, and even improved with additional
severities. Every individual who had studied or resided, or should
afterwards study or reside in any college or seminary beyond the sea,
was rendered incapable of inheriting, or purchasing, or enjoying lands,
annuities, chattels, debts, or sums of money, within the realm; and as
missionaries sometimes eluded detection under the disguise of tutors, it
was provided that no man should teach even the rudiments of grammar in
public or in private, without the previous approbation of the diocesan.

"The execution of the penal laws enabled the king, by an ingenious
comment, to derive considerable profit from his past forbearance. It was
pretended that he had never forgiven the penalties of recusancy; he had
merely forbidden them to be exacted for a time, in the hope that this
indulgence would lead to conformity; but his expectations had been
deceived; the obstinacy of the Catholics had grown with the lenity of
the sovereign; and, as they were unworthy of further favour, they should
now be left to the severity of the law. To their dismay, the legal fine
of twenty pounds per lunar month was again demanded, and not only for
the time to come, but for the whole period of the suspension; a demand
which, by crowding thirteen payments into one, reduced many families of
moderate incomes to a state of absolute beggary. Nor was this all. James
was surrounded by numbers of his indigent countrymen. Their habits were
expensive, their wants many, and their importunities incessant. To
satisfy the more clamorous, a new expedient was devised. The king
transferred to them his claims on some of the more opulent recusants,
against whom they were at liberty to proceed by law, in his name, unless
the sufferers should submit to compound, by the grant of an annuity for
life, or the immediate payment of a considerable sum. This was at a time
when the jealousies between the two nations had reached a height, of
which, at the present day, we have but little conception. Had the money
been carried to the royal coffers, the recusants would have had
sufficient reason to complain; but that Englishmen should be placed by
their king at the mercy of foreigners, that they should be stripped of
their property to support the extravagance of his Scottish minions, this
added indignity to injustice, exacerbated their already wounded
feelings, and goaded the most moderate almost to desperation." From this
deplorable state of things, which is by no means over-coloured in the
above description, sprang the Gunpowder Plot.

The county of Lancaster has always abounded in Catholic families, and at
no period were the proceedings of the ecclesiastical commissioners more
rigorous against them than at that under consideration. Manchester, "the
Goshen of this Egypt," as it is termed by the fiery zealot, Warden
Heyrick, being the place where all the recusants were imprisoned, the
scene of the early part of this history has been laid in that town and
its immediate neighbourhood. For the introduction of the munificent
founder of the Blue Coat Hospital into a tale of this description I
ought, perhaps, to apologize; but if I should succeed by it in arousing
my fellow-townsmen to a more lively appreciation of the great benefits
they have derived from him, I shall not regret what I have written.

In Viviana Radcliffe I have sought to portray the loyal and devout
Catholic, such as I conceive the character to have existed at the
period. In Catesby, the unscrupulous and ambitious plotter, masking his
designs under the cloak of religion. In Garnet, the subtle, and yet
sincere Jesuit. And in Fawkes the gloomy and superstitious enthusiast.
One doctrine I have endeavoured to enforce throughout,--TOLERATION.

From those who have wilfully misinterpreted one of my former
productions, and have attributed to it a purpose and an aim utterly
foreign to my own intentions, I can scarcely expect fairer treatment for
the present work. But to that wider and more discriminating class of
readers from whom I have experienced so much favour and support, I
confidently commit this volume, certain of meeting with leniency and
impartiality.

[1] Vide _History of England_, vol. ix. New Edition.



CONTENTS.

                                                                 PAGE

 DEDICATION                                                        iii

 PREFACE                                                             v


                      Book the First.

                         THE PLOT.

 CHAPTER

   I.   AN EXECUTION IN MANCHESTER, AT THE BEGINNING OF THE
         SEVENTEENTH CENTURY                                         1

  II.   ORDSALL CAVE                                                10

 III.   ORDSALL HALL                                                12

  IV.   THE SEARCH                                                  26

   V.   CHAT MOSS                                                   31

  VI.   THE DISINTERMENT                                            49

  VII.  DOCTOR DEE                                                  50

 VIII.  THE MAGIC GLASS                                             56

   IX.  THE PRISON ON SALFORD BRIDGE                                62

    X.  THE FATE OF THE PURSUIVANT                                  66

   XI.  THE PILGRIMAGE TO SAINT WINIFRED'S WELL                     71

  XII.  THE VISION                                                  83

 XIII.  THE CONSPIRATORS                                            87

  XIV.  THE PACKET                                                  98

   XV.  THE ELIXIR                                                 105

  XVI.  THE COLLEGIATE CHURCH AT MANCHESTER                        115

 XVII.  THE RENCOUNTER                                             129

 XVIII. THE EXPLANATION                                            131

   XIX. THE DISCOVERY                                              133

    XX. THE DEPARTURE FROM THE HALL                                139


                        Book the Second.

                         THE DISCOVERY.

     I. THE LANDING OF THE POWDER                                  147

    II. THE TRAITOR                                                156

   III. THE ESCAPE PREVENTED                                       163

    IV. THE MINE                                                   169

     V. THE CAPTURE OF VIVIANA                                     179

    VI. THE CELLAR                                                 187

   VII. THE STAR-CHAMBER                                           195

  VIII. THE JAILER'S DAUGHTER                                      198

    IX. THE COUNTERPLOT                                            212

    X. WHITE WEBBS                                                 220

    XI. THE MARRIAGE IN THE FOREST                                 228

   XII. THE FIFTH OF NOVEMBER                                      237

  XIII. THE FLIGHT OF THE CONSPIRATORS                             245

   XIV. THE EXAMINATION                                            255


                        Book the Third.

                       THE CONSPIRATORS.

     I. HOW GUY FAWKES WAS PUT TO THE TORTURE                      262

    II. SHOWING THE TROUBLES OF VIVIANA                            274

   III. HUDDINGTON                                                 278

    IV. HOLBEACH                                                   292

     V. THE CLOSE OF THE REBELLION                                 294

    VI. HAGLEY                                                     304

   VII. VIVIANA'S LAST NIGHT AT ORDSALL HALL                       313

  VIII. HENDLIP                                                    319

    IX. WHITEHALL                                                  327

     X. THE PARTING OF VIVIANA AND HUMPHREY CHETHAM                331

    XI. THE SUBTERRANEAN DUNGEON                                   332

   XII. THE TRAITOR BETRAYED                                       336

  XIII. THE TRIAL                                                  341

   XIV. THE LAST MEETING OF FAWKES AND VIVIANA                     344

    XV. SAINT PAUL'S CHURCHYARD                                    347

   XVI. OLD PALACE YARD                                            352

  XVII. THE LAST EXECUTION                                         355



GUY FAWKES.



Book the First.

THE PLOT.

      Their searches are many and severe. They come either in the night
      or early in the morning, and ever seek their opportunity, when the
      Catholics are or would be best occupied, or are likely to be worse
      provided or look for nothing. They willingliest come when few are
      at home to resist them, that they may rifle coffers, and do what
      they list. They lock up the servants, and the mistress of the
      house, and the whole family, in a room by themselves, while they,
      like young princes, go rifling the house at their will.

                            _Letter to Vers'egan, ap. Stonyhurst MSS._

      What a thing is it for a Catholic gentleman to have his house
      suddenly beset on all sides with a number of men in arms, both
      horse and foot! and not only his house and gardens, and such
      enclosed places all beset, but all highways laid, for some miles
      near unto him, that none shall pass, but they shall be examined!
      Then are these searchers oft-times so rude and barbarous, that, if
      the doors be not opened in the instant they would enter, they
      break open the doors with all violence, as if they were to sack a
      town of enemies won by the sword.

                                              _Father Gerard's MS._



CHAPTER I.

AN EXECUTION IN MANCHESTER, AT THE BEGINNING OF THE SEVENTEENTH CENTURY.


More than two hundred and thirty-five years ago, or, to speak with
greater precision, in 1605, at the latter end of June, it was rumoured
one morning in Manchester that two seminary priests, condemned at the
late assizes under the severe penal enactments then in force against the
Papists, were about to suffer death on that day. Attracted by the
report, large crowds flocked towards the place of execution, which, in
order to give greater solemnity to the spectacle, had been fixed at the
southern gate of the old Collegiate Church, where a scaffold was
erected. Near it was a large blood-stained block, the use of which will
be readily divined, and adjoining the block, upon a heap of blazing
coals, smoked a caldron filled with boiling pitch, intended to receive
the quarters of the miserable sufferers.

The place was guarded by a small band of soldiers, fully accoutred in
corslets and morions, and armed with swords, half-pikes, and calivers.
Upon the steps of the scaffold stood the executioner,--a square-built,
ill-favoured personage, busied in arranging a bundle of straw upon the
boards. He was dressed in a buff jerkin, and had a long-bladed,
two-edged knife thrust into his girdle. Besides these persons, there was
a pursuivant,--an officer appointed by the Privy Council to make search
throughout the provinces for recusants, Popish priests, and other
religious offenders. He was occupied at this moment in reading over a
list of suspected persons.

Neither the executioner nor his companions appeared in the slightest
degree impressed by the butcherly business about to be enacted; for the
former whistled carelessly as he pursued his task, while the latter
laughed and chatted with the crowd, or jestingly pointed their
matchlocks at the jackdaws wheeling above them in the sunny air, or
perching upon the pinnacles and tower of the neighbouring fane. Not so
the majority of the assemblage. Most of the older and wealthier families
in Lancashire still continuing to adhere to the ancient faith of their
fathers, it will not be wondered that many of their dependents should
follow their example. And, even of those who were adverse to the creed
of Rome, there were few who did not murmur at the rigorous system of
persecution adopted towards its professors.

At nine o'clock, the hollow rolling of a muffled drum was heard at a
distance. The deep bell of the church began to toll, and presently
afterwards the mournful procession was seen advancing from the
market-place. It consisted of a troop of mounted soldiers, equipped in
all respects like those stationed at the scaffold, with their captain at
their head, and followed by two of their number with hurdles attached to
their steeds, on which were tied the unfortunate victims. Both were
young men--both apparently prepared to meet their fate with firmness and
resignation. They had been brought from Radcliffe Hall--an old moated
and fortified mansion belonging to a wealthy family of that name,
situated where the close, called Pool Fold, now stands, and then
recently converted into a place of security for recusants; the two other
prisons in Manchester--namely, the New Fleet on Hunt's Bank, and the
gaol on Salford Bridge,--not being found adequate to the accommodation
of the numerous religious offenders.

By this time, the cavalcade had reached the place of execution. The
soldiers drove back the throng with their pikes, and cleared a space in
front of the scaffold; when, just as the cords that bound the limbs of
the priests were unfastened, a woman in a tattered woollen robe, with a
hood partially drawn over her face,--the features of which, so far as
they could be discerned, were sharp and attenuated,--a rope girded round
her waist, bare feet, and having altogether the appearance of a sister
of Charity, sprang forward, and flung herself on her knees beside them.

Clasping the hem of the garment of the nearest priest, she pressed it to
her lips, and gazed earnestly at him, as if imploring a blessing.

"You have your wish, daughter," said the priest, extending his arms over
her. "Heaven and our lady bless you!"

The woman then turned towards the other victim, who was audibly reciting
the _Miserere_.

"Back, spawn of Antichrist!" interposed a soldier, rudely thrusting her
aside. "Don't you see you disturb the father's devotions? He has enough
to do to take care of his own soul, without minding yours."

"Take this, daughter," cried the priest who had been first addressed,
offering her a small volume, which he took from his vest, "and fail not
to remember in your prayers the sinful soul of Robert Woodroofe, a
brother of the order of Jesus."

The woman put out her hand to take the book; but before it could be
delivered to her, it was seized by the soldier.

"Your priests have seldom anything to leave behind them," he shouted,
with a brutal laugh, "except some worthless and superstitious relic of a
saint or martyr. What's this? Ah! a breviary--a mass-book. I've too much
regard for your spiritual welfare to allow you to receive it," he added,
about to place it in his doublet.

"Give it her," exclaimed a young man, snatching it from him, and handing
it to the woman, who disappeared as soon as she had obtained possession
of it.

The soldier eyed the new-comer as if disposed to resent the
interference, but a glance at his apparel, which, though plain, and of a
sober hue, was rather above the middle class, as well as a murmur from
the crowd, who were evidently disposed to take part with the young man,
induced him to stay his hand. He, therefore, contented himself with
crying, "A recusant! a Papist!"

"I am neither recusant nor Papist, knave!" replied the other, sternly;
"and I counsel you to mend your manners, and show more humanity, or you
shall find I have interest enough to procure your dismissal from a
service which you disgrace."

This reply elicited a shout of applause from the mob.

"Who is that bold speaker?" demanded the pursuivant from one of his
attendants.

"Humphrey Chetham of Crumpsall," answered the man: "son to one of the
wealthiest merchants of the town, and a zealous upholder of the true
faith."

"He has a strange way of showing his zeal," rejoined the pursuivant,
entering the answer in his note-book. "And who is the woman he
befriended?"

"A half-crazed being called Elizabeth Orton," replied the attendant.
"She was scourged and tortured during Queen Elizabeth's reign for
pretending to the gift of prophecy, and was compelled to utter her
recantation within yonder church. Since then she has never opened her
lips."

"Indeed," exclaimed the pursuivant: "I will engage to make her speak,
and to some purpose. Where does she live?"

"In a cave on the banks of the Irwell, near Ordsall Hall," replied the
attendant. "She subsists on the chance contributions of the charitable;
but she solicits nothing,--and, indeed, is seldom seen."

"Her cave must be searched," observed the pursuivant; "it may be the
hiding-place of a priest. Father Campion was concealed in such another
spot at Stonor Park, near Henley-on-Thames, where he composed his
'_Decem Rationes_;' and, for a long time, eluded the vigilance of the
commissioners. We shall pass it in our way to Ordsall Hall to-night,
shall we not?"

The attendant nodded in the affirmative.

"If we surprise Father Oldcorne," continued the pursuivant, "and can
prove that Sir William Radcliffe and his daughter, both of whom are
denounced in my list, are harbourers and shelterers of recusants, we
shall have done a good night's work."

At this moment, an officer advanced, and commanded the priests to ascend
the scaffold.

As Father Woodroofe, who was the last to mount, reached the uppermost
step, he turned round and cried in a loud voice, "Good people, I take
you all to witness that I die in the true Catholic religion, and that I
rejoice and thank God with all my soul, that he hath made me worthy to
testify my faith therein by shedding my blood in this manner." He then
advanced towards the executioner, who was busied in adjusting the cord
round his companion's throat, and said, "God forgive thee--do thine
office quickly;" adding in a lower tone, "_Asperge me, Domine; Domine,
miserere mei!_"

And, amid the deep silence that ensued, the executioner performed his
horrible task.

The execution over, the crowd began to separate slowly, and various
opinions were expressed respecting the revolting and sanguinary
spectacle just witnessed. Many, who condemned--and the majority did
so--the extreme severity of the laws by which the unfortunate priests
had just suffered, uttered their sentiments with extreme caution; but
there were some whose feelings had been too much excited for prudence,
and who inveighed loudly and bitterly against the spirit of religious
persecution then prevailing; while a few others of an entirely opposite
persuasion looked upon the rigorous proceedings adopted against the
Papists, and the punishment now inflicted upon their priesthood, as a
just retribution for their own severities during the reign of Mary. In
general, the common people entertained a strong prejudice against the
Catholic party,--for, as it has been shrewdly observed, "they must have
some object to hate; heretofore it was the Welsh, the Scots, or the
Spaniards, but now in these latter times only the Papists;" but in
Manchester, near which, as has been already stated, so many old and
important families, professing that religion, resided, the case was
widely different; and the mass of the inhabitants were favourably
inclined towards them. It was the knowledge of this feeling that induced
the commissioners, appointed to superintend the execution of the
enactments against recusants, to proceed with unusual rigour in this
neighbourhood.

The state of the Roman Catholic party at the period of this history was
indeed most grievous. The hopes they had indulged of greater toleration
on the accession of James the First, had been entirely destroyed. The
persecutions, suspended during the first year of the reign of the new
monarch, were now renewed with greater severity than ever; and though
their present condition was deplorable enough, it was feared that worse
remained in store for them. "They bethought themselves," writes Bishop
Goodman, "that now their case was far worse than in the time of Queen
Elizabeth; for they did live in some hope that after the old woman's
life, they might have some mitigation, and even those who did then
persecute them were a little more moderate, as being doubtful what times
might succeed, and fearing their own case. But, now that they saw the
times settled, having no hope of better days, but expecting that the
uttermost rigour of the law should be executed, they became desperate:
finding that by the laws of the kingdom their own lives were not
secured, and for the carrying over of a priest into England it was no
less than high treason. A gentlewoman was hanged only for relieving and
harbouring a priest; a citizen was hanged only for being reconciled to
the Church of Rome; besides, the penal laws were such, and so executed,
that they could not subsist. What was usually sold in shops and usually
bought, this the pursuivant would take away from them as being Popish
and superstitious. One knight did affirm that in one term he gave twenty
nobles in rewards to the door-keeper of the Attorney-General; another
did affirm, that his third part which remained unto him of his estate
did hardly serve for his expense in law to defend him from other
oppressions; besides their children to be taken from home, to be brought
up in another religion. So they did every way conclude that their estate
was desperate; they could die but once, and their religion was more
precious unto them than their lives. They did further consider their
misery; how they were debarred in any course of life to help themselves.
They could not practise law,--they could not be citizens,--they could
have no office; they could not breed up their sons--none did desire to
match with them; they had neither fit marriages for their daughters,
nor nunneries to put them into; for those few which are beyond seas are
not considerable in respect of the number of recusants, and none can be
admitted into them without great sums of money, which they, being
exhausted, could not supply. The Spiritual Court did not cease to molest
them, to excommunicate them, then to imprison them; and thereby they
were utterly disenabled to sue for their own." Such is a faithful
picture of the state of the Catholic party at the commencement of the
reign of James the First.

Pressed down by these intolerable grievances, is it to be wondered at
that the Papists should repine,--or that some among their number, when
all other means failed, should seek redress by darker measures? By a
statute of Elizabeth, all who refused to conform to the established
religion were subjected to a fine of twenty pounds a lunar month; and
this heavy penalty, remitted, or rather suspended, on the accession of
the new sovereign, was again exacted, and all arrears claimed. Added to
this, James, whose court was thronged by a host of needy Scottish
retainers, assigned to them a certain number of wealthy recusants, and
empowered them to levy the fines--a privilege of which they were not
slow to avail themselves. There were other pains and penalties provided
for by the same statute, which were rigorously inflicted. To withdraw,
or seek to withdraw another from the established religion was accounted
high treason, and punished accordingly; to hear mass involved a penalty
of one hundred marks and a year's imprisonment; and to harbour a priest,
under the denomination of a tutor, rendered the latter liable to a
year's imprisonment, and his employer to a fine of ten pounds a-month.
Impressed with the belief that, in consequence of the unremitting
persecutions which the Catholics underwent in Elizabeth's time, the
religion would be wholly extirpated, Doctor Allen, a Lancashire divine,
who afterwards received a cardinal's hat, founded a college at Douay,
for the reception and education of those intending to take orders. From
this university a number of missionary priests, or seminarists, as they
were termed, were annually sent over to England; and it was against
these persons, who submitted to every hardship and privation, to danger,
and death itself, for the welfare of their religion, and in the hope of
propagating its doctrines, that the utmost rigour of the penal
enactments was directed. Among the number of seminarists despatched from
Douay, and capitally convicted under the statute above-mentioned, were
the two priests whose execution has just been narrated.

As a portion of the crowd passed over the old bridge across the Irwell
connecting Manchester with Salford, on which stood an ancient chapel
erected by Thomas de Booth, in the reign of Edward the Third, and
recently converted into a prison for recusants, they perceived the
prophetess, Elizabeth Orton, seated upon the stone steps of the
desecrated structure, earnestly perusing the missal given her by Father
Woodroofe. A mob speedily collected round her; but, unconscious
seemingly of their presence, the poor woman turned over leaf after leaf,
and pursued her studies. Her hood was thrown back, and discovered her
bare and withered neck, over which her dishevelled hair streamed in long
sable elf-locks. Irritated by her indifference, several of the
by-standers, who had questioned her as to the nature of her studies,
began to mock and jeer her, and endeavoured, by plucking her robe, and
casting little pebbles at her, to attract her attention. Roused at
length by these annoyances, she arose; and fixing her large black eyes
menacingly upon them, was about to stalk away, when they surrounded and
detained her.

"Speak to us, Bess," cried several voices. "Prophesy--prophesy."

"I _will_ speak to you," replied the poor woman, shaking her hand at
them, "I _will_ prophesy to you. And mark me, though ye believe not, my
words shall not fall to the ground."

"A miracle! a miracle!" shouted the by-standers. "Bess Orton, who has
been silent for twenty years, has found her tongue at last."

"I have seen a vision, and dreamed a dream," continued the prophetess.
"As I lay in my cell last night, meditating upon the forlorn state of
our religion, and of its professors, methought nineteen shadowy figures
stood before me--ay, nineteen--for I counted them thrice--and when I
questioned them as to their coming,--for my tongue at first clove to the
roof of my mouth, and my lips refused their office,--one of them
answered, in a voice which yet rings in my ears, 'We are the chosen
deliverers of our fallen and persecuted church. To us is intrusted the
rebuilding of her temples,--to our hands is committed the destruction of
our enemies. The work will be done in darkness and in secret,--with toil
and travail,--but it will at length be made manifest; and when the hour
is arrived, our vengeance will be terrible and exterminating.' With
these words, they vanished from my sight. Ah!" she exclaimed, suddenly
starting, and passing her hand across her brow, as if to clear her
sight, "it was no dream--no vision. I see one of them now."

"Where? where?" cried several voices.

The prophetess answered by extending her skinny arm towards some object
immediately before her.

All eyes were instantly turned in the same direction, when they beheld a
Spanish soldier--for such his garb proclaimed him--standing at a few
paces' distance from them. He was wrapped in an ample cloak, with a
broad-leaved steeple-crowned hat, decorated with a single green feather,
pulled over his brows, and wore a polished-steel brigandine, trunk hose,
and buff boots drawn up to the knees. His arms consisted of a brace of
petronels thrust into his belt, whence a long rapier depended. His
features were dark as bronze, and well-formed, though strongly marked,
and had an expression of settled sternness. His eyes were grey and
penetrating, and shaded by thick beetle-brows; and his physiognomy was
completed by a black peaked beard. His person was tall and erect, and
his deportment soldier-like and commanding. Perceiving he had become an
object of notice, the stranger cast a compassionate look at the
prophetess, who still remained gazing fixedly at him, and throwing her a
few pieces of money, strode away.

Watching his retreating figure till it disappeared from view, the crazed
woman tossed her arms wildly in the air, and cried, in a voice of
exultation, "Did I not speak the truth?--did I not tell you I had seen
him? He is the deliverer of our church, and is come to avenge the
righteous blood which hath been this day shed."

"Peace, woman, and fly while there is yet time," cried the young man who
had been designated as Humphrey Chetham. "The pursuivant and his
myrmidons are in search of you."

"Then they need not go far to find me," replied the prophetess. "I will
tell them what I told these people, that the day of bloody retribution
is at hand,--that the avenger is arrived. I have seen him twice,--once
in my cave, and once again here,--even where you stand."

"If you do not keep silence and fly, my poor creature," rejoined
Humphrey Chetham, "you will have to endure what you suffered years
ago,--stripes, and perhaps torture. Be warned by me--ah! it is too late.
He is approaching."

"Let him come," replied Elizabeth Orton, "I am ready for him."

"Can none of you force her away?" cried Humphrey Chetham, appealing to
the crowd; "I will reward you."

"I will not stir from this spot," rejoined the prophetess, obstinately;
"I will testify to the truth."

The kind-hearted young merchant, finding any further attempt to preserve
her fruitless, drew aside.

By this time, the pursuivant and his attendants had come up. "Seize
her!" cried the former, "and let her be placed within this prison till I
have reported her to the commissioners. If you will confess to me,
woman," he added in a whisper to her, "that you have harboured a priest,
and will guide us to his hiding-place, you shall be set free."

"I know of no priests but those you have murdered," returned the
prophetess, in a loud voice, "but I will tell you something that you wot
not of. The avenger of blood is at hand. I have seen him. All here have
seen him. And you shall see him--but not now--not now."

"What is the meaning of this raving?" demanded the pursuivant.

"Pay no heed to her talk," interposed Humphrey Chetham; "she is a poor
crazed being, who knows not what she says. I will be surety for her
inoffensive conduct."

"You must give me surety for yourself, sir," replied the pursuivant. "I
have just learnt that you were last night at Ordsall Hall, the seat of
that 'dangerous temporiser,'--for so he is designated in my
warrant,--Sir William Radcliffe. And if report speaks truly, you are not
altogether insensible to the charms of his fair daughter, Viviana."

"What is this to thee, thou malapert knave?" cried Humphrey Chetham,
reddening, partly from anger, partly, it might be, from another emotion.

"Much, as you shall presently find, good Master
Wolf-in-sheep's-clothing," retorted the pursuivant; "if you prove not a
rank Papist at heart, then do I not know a true man from a false."

This angry conference was cut short by a piercing scream from the
prophetess. Breaking from the grasp of her captors, who were about to
force her into the prison, she sprang with a single bound upon the
parapet of the bridge; and utterly regardless of her dangerous position,
turned, and faced the soldiers, who were struck mute with astonishment.

"Tremble!" she cried, in a loud voice,--"tremble, ye evil-doers! Ye who
have despoiled the house of God,--have broken his altars,--scattered his
incense,--slain his priests. Tremble, I say. The avenger is arrived. The
bolt is in his hand. It shall strike king, lords, commons,--all! These
are my last words,--take them to heart."

"Drag her off!" roared the pursuivant, furiously.

"Use care--use gentleness, if ye are men!" cried Humphrey Chetham.

"Think not you can detain me!" cried the prophetess. "Avaunt, and
tremble!"

So saying she flung herself from the parapet.

The height from which she fell was about fifty feet. Dashed into the air
like jets from a fountain by the weight and force of the descending
body, the water instantly closed over her. But she rose to the surface
of the stream, about twenty yards below the bridge.

"She may yet be saved," cried Humphrey Chetham, who with the by-standers
had hurried to the side of the bridge.

"You will only preserve her for the gallows," observed the pursuivant.

"Your malice shall not prevent my making the attempt," replied the young
merchant. "Ha! assistance is at hand."

The exclamation was occasioned by the sudden appearance of the soldier
in the Spanish dress, who rushed towards the left bank of the river,
which was here, as elsewhere, formed of red sandstone rock, and
following the course of the current, awaited the next appearance of the
drowning woman. It did not occur till she had been carried a
considerable distance down the stream, when the soldier, swiftly
divesting himself of his cloak, plunged into the water, and dragged her
ashore.

"Follow me," cried the pursuivant to his attendants. "I will not lose my
prey."

But before he gained the bank of the river, the soldier and his charge
had disappeared, nor could he detect any traces of them.



CHAPTER II.

ORDSALL CAVE.


After rescuing the unfortunate prophetess from a watery grave in the
manner just related, the soldier snatched up his cloak, and, taking his
dripping burthen in his arms, hurried swiftly along the bank of the
river, until he came to a large cleft in the rock, into which he crept,
taking the prophetess with him, and thus eluded observation. In this
retreat he continued upwards of two hours, during which time the poor
creature, to whom he paid every attention that circumstances would
admit, had so far recovered as to be able to speak. But it was evident
that the shock had been too much for her, and that she was sinking fast.
She was so faint that she could scarcely move; but she expressed a
strong desire to reach her cell before she breathed her last. Having
described its situation as accurately as she could to the soldier--who
before he ventured forth peeped out to reconnoitre--he again raised her
in his arms, and by her direction struck into a narrow lane skirting the
bank of the river.

Pursuing this road for about half a mile, he arrived at the foot of a
small knoll, covered by a clump of magnificent beech-trees, and still
acting under the guidance of the dying woman, whose voice grew more
feeble each instant, he mounted it, and from its summit took a rapid
survey of the surrounding country. On the opposite bank of the river
stood an old hall, while further on, at some distance, he could perceive
through the trees the gables and chimneys of another ancient mansion.

"Raise me up," said Elizabeth Orton, as he lingered on this spot for a
moment. "In that old house, which you see yonder, Hulme Hall, I was
born. I would willingly take one look at it before I die."

[Illustration: Guy Fawkes in Ordsall Cave]

"And the other hall, which I discern through the trees, is Ordsall, is
it not?" inquired the soldier.

"It is," replied the prophetess. "And now let us make what haste we can.
We have not far to go; and I feel I shall not last long."

Descending the eminence, and again entering the lane, which here made a
turn, the soldier approached a grassy space, walled in on either side by
steep sandstone rocks. At the further extremity of the enclosure, after
a moment's search, by the direction of his companion, he found, artfully
concealed by overhanging brushwood, the mouth of a small cave. He crept
into the excavation, and found it about six feet high, and of
considerable depth. The roof was ornamented with Runic characters and
other grotesque and half-effaced inscriptions, while the sides were
embellished with Gothic tracery, amid which the letters I.H.S., carved
in ancient church text, could be easily distinguished. Tradition
assigned the cell to the priests of Odin, but it was evident that
worshippers at other and holier altars had more recently made it their
retreat. Its present occupant had furnished it with a straw pallet, and
a small wooden crucifix fixed in a recess in the wall. Gently depositing
her upon the pallet, the soldier took a seat beside her on a stone slab
at the foot of the bed. He next, at her request, as the cave was
rendered almost wholly dark by the overhanging trees, struck a light,
and set fire to a candle placed within a lantern.

After a few moments passed in prayer, the recluse begged him to give her
the crucifix that she might clasp it to her breast. This done, she
became more composed, and prepared to meet her end. Suddenly, as if
something had again disturbed her, she opened wide her glazing eyes, and
starting up with a dying effort, stretched out her hands.

"I see him before them!" she cried. "They examine him--they adjudge him!
Ah! he is now in a dungeon! See, the torturers advance! He is placed on
the rack--once--twice--thrice--they turn the levers! His joints snap in
their sockets--his sinews crack! Mercy! he confesses! He is led to
execution. I see him ascend the scaffold!"

"Whom do you behold?" inquired the soldier, listening to her in
astonishment.

"His face is hidden from me," replied the prophetess; "but his figure is
not unlike your own. Ha! I hear the executioner pronounce his name. How
are you called?"

"GUY FAWKES," replied the soldier.

"It is the name I heard," rejoined Elizabeth Orton.

And, sinking backward, she expired.

Guy Fawkes gazed at her for some time, till he felt assured that the
last spark of life had fled. He then turned away, and placing his hand
upon his chin, became lost in deep reflection.



CHAPTER III.

ORDSALL HALL


Soon after sunset, on the evening of the events previously related, the
inmates of Ordsall Hall were disturbed and alarmed (for in those times
of trouble any casual disturbance at night was sufficient to occasion
alarm to a Catholic family) by a loud clamour for admittance from some
one stationed at the farther side of the moat, then, as now, surrounding
that ancient manorial residence. The drawbridge being raised, no
apprehension was entertained of an attempt at forcible entrance on the
part of the intruder, who, so far as he could be discerned in the
deepening twilight, rendered yet more obscure by the shade of the trees
under which he stood, appeared to be a solitary horseman. Still, for
fear of a surprise, it was judged prudent by those inside the hall to
turn a deaf ear to the summons; nor was it until it had been more than
once repeated in a peremptory tone, that any attention was paid to it.
The outer gate was then cautiously opened by an old steward, and a
couple of serving-men, armed with pikes and swords, who demanded the
stranger's business, and were answered that he desired to speak with Sir
William Radcliffe. The steward rejoined that his master was not at home,
having set out the day before for Chester: but that even if he were, he
would take upon himself to affirm that no audience would be given, on
any pretence whatever, to a stranger at such an unseasonable hour. To
this the other replied, in a haughty and commanding voice, that he was
neither a stranger to Sir William Radcliffe, nor ignorant of the
necessity of caution, though in this instance it was altogether
superfluous; and as, notwithstanding the steward's assertion to the
contrary, he was fully persuaded his master _was_ at home, he insisted
upon being conducted to him without further parley, as his business
would not brook delay. In vain the steward declared he had spoken the
truth. The stranger evidently disbelieved him; but, as he could obtain
no more satisfactory answer to his interrogations, he suddenly shifted
his ground, and inquired whether Sir William's daughter, Mistress
Viviana, was likewise absent from home.

"Before I reply to the question, I must know by whom and wherefore it is
put?" returned the steward, evasively.

"Trouble not yourself further, friend, but deliver this letter to her,"
rejoined the horseman, flinging a packet across the moat. "It is
addressed to her father, but there is no reason why she should not be
acquainted with its contents."

"Take it up, Olin Birtwissel," cried the steward, eyeing the packet
which had fallen at his feet suspiciously; "take it up, I say, and hold
it to the light, that I may consider it well before I carry it to our
young mistress. I have heard of strange treacheries practised by such
means, and care not to meddle with it."

"Neither do I, good Master Heydocke," replied Birtwissel. "I would not
touch it for a twelvemonth's wages. It may burst, and spoil my good
looks, and so ruin my fortunes with the damsels. But here is Jeff
Gellibronde, who, having no beauty to lose, and being, moreover, afraid
of nothing, will pick it up for you."

"Speak for yourself, Olin," rejoined Gellibronde, in a surly tone. "I
have no more fancy for a shattered limb, or a scorched face, than my
neighbours."

"Dolts!" cried the stranger, who had listened to these observations with
angry impatience, "if you will not convey my packet, which has nothing
more dangerous about it than an ordinary letter, to your mistress, at
least acquaint her that Mr. Robert Catesby, of Ashby St. Legers, is
without, and craves an instant speech with her."

"Mr. Catesby!" exclaimed the steward, in astonishment. "If it be indeed
your worship, why did you not declare yourself at once?"

"I may have as good reason for caution as yourself, Master Heydocke,"
returned Catesby, laughing.

"True," rejoined the steward; "but, methinks it is somewhat strange to
find your worship here, when I am aware that my master expected to meet
you, and certain other honourable gentlemen that you wot of, at a place
in a clean opposite direction, Holywell, in Flintshire."

"The cause of my presence, since you desire to be certified of the
matter, is simply this," replied Catesby, urging his steed towards the
edge of the moat, while the steward advanced to meet him on the opposite
bank, so that a few yards only lay between them; "I came round by
Manchester," he continued, in a lower tone, "to see if any assistance
could be rendered to the unfortunate fathers Woodroofe and Forshawe; but
found on my arrival this morning that I was too late, as they had just
been executed."

"Heaven have mercy on their souls!" ejaculated Heydocke, shuddering, and
crossing himself. "Yours was a pious mission, Mr. Catesby. Would it had
been availing!"

"I would so, too, with all my soul!" rejoined the other, fervently; "but
fate ordained it otherwise. While I was in the town, I accidentally
learnt from one, who informed me he had just parted with him, that your
master was at home; and, fearing he might not be able to attend the
meeting at Holywell, I resolved to proceed hither at nightfall, when my
visit was not likely to be observed; having motives, which you may
readily conjecture, for preserving the strictest secrecy on the
occasion. The letter was prepared in case I should fail in meeting with
him. And now that I have satisfied your scruples, good master steward,
if Sir William be really within, I pray you lead me to him forthwith. If
not, your young mistress may serve my turn, for I have that to say which
it imports one or other of them to know."

"In regard to my master," replied the steward, "he departed yesterday
for Chester, on his way to join the pilgrimage to St. Winifred's Well,
as I have already assured your worship. And whoever informed you to the
contrary, spoke falsely. But I will convey your letter and message to my
young mistress, and on learning her pleasure as to receiving you, will
instantly return and report it. These are dangerous times, your worship;
dangerous times. A good Catholic knows not whom to trust, there are so
many spoilers abroad."

"How, sirrah!" cried Catesby, angrily, "do you apply that observation to
me?"

"Far be it from me," answered Heydocke, respectfully, "to apply any
observation that may sound offensive to your worship, whom I know to be
a most worthy gentleman, and as free from heresy, as any in the kingdom.
I was merely endeavouring to account for what may appear my over-caution
in detaining you where you are, till I learn my lady's pleasure. It is a
rule in this house not to lower the drawbridge without orders after
sunset; and I dare not, for my place, disobey it. Young Mr. Humphrey
Chetham, of Crumpsall, was detained in the like manner no later than
last night; and he is a visitor," he added, in a significant tone, "who
is not altogether unwelcome to my mistress--ahem! But duty is no
respecter of persons; and in my master's absence my duty is to protect
his household. Your worship will pardon me."

"I will pardon anything but your loquacity and tediousness," rejoined
Catesby, impatiently. "About your errand quickly."

"I am gone, your worship," returned the steward, disappearing with his
companions.

Throwing the bridle over his horse's neck, and allowing him to drink his
fill from the water of the moat, and afterwards to pluck a few mouthfuls
of the long grass that fringed its brink, Catesby abandoned himself to
reflection. In a few moments, as the steward did not return, he raised
his eyes, and fixed them upon the ancient habitation before
him,--ancient, indeed, it was not at this time, having been in a great
measure rebuilt by its possessor, Sir William Radcliffe, during the
latter part of the reign of Elizabeth, in the rich and picturesque style
of that period. Little could be distinguished of its projecting and
retiring wings, its walls decorated with black and white chequer-work,
the characteristic of the class of architecture to which it belonged,
or of its magnificent embayed windows filled with stained glass; but the
outline of its heavy roof, with its numerous gables, and groups of tall
and elaborately-ornamented chimneys, might be distinctly traced in
strong relief against the warm and still-glowing western sky.

Though much gone to decay, grievously neglected, and divided into three
separate dwelling-houses, Ordsall Hall still retains much of its
original character and beauty; and viewed at the magic hour above
described, when the changes produced by the lapse of years cannot be
detected, it presents much the same striking appearance that it offered
to the gaze of Catesby. Situated on the north bank of the Irwell, which
supplies the moat with a constant stream of fresh water, it commands on
the south-west a beautiful view of the winding course of the river, here
almost forming an island, of Trafford Park and its hall, of the woody
uplands beyond it, and of the distant hills of Cheshire. The mansion
itself is an irregular quadrangle, covering a considerable tract of
ground. The gardens, once exquisitely laid out in the formal taste of
Elizabeth's days, are also enclosed by the moat, surrounding (except in
the intervals where it is filled up) a space of some acres in extent. At
the period of this history, it was approached on the north-east by a
noble avenue of sycamores, leading to within a short distance of its
gates.

As Catesby surveyed this stately structure, and pondered upon the wealth
and power of its owner, his meditations thus found vent in words:--"If I
could but link Radcliffe to our cause, or win the hand of his fair
daughter, and so bind him to me, the great attempt could not fail. She
has refused me once. No matter. I will persevere till she yields. With
Father Oldcorne to back my suit, I am assured of success. She is
necessary to my purpose, and shall be mine."

Descended from an ancient Northamptonshire family, and numbering among
his ancestry the well-known minister of the same name who flourished in
the reign of Richard the Third, Robert Catesby,--at this time about
forty,--had in his youth led a wild and dissolute life; and though bred
in the faith of Rome, he had for some years abandoned its worship. In
1580, when the Jesuits, Campion and Persons, visited England, he was
reconciled to the church he had quitted, and thenceforth became as
zealous a supporter and promoter of its doctrines as he had heretofore
been their bitter opponent. He was now actively engaged in all the
Popish plots of the period, and was even supposed to be connected with
those designs of a darker dye which were set on foot for Elizabeth's
destruction,--with Somerville's conspiracy,--with that of Arden and
Throckmorton,--the latter of whom was his uncle on the maternal
side,--with the plots of Bury and Savage,--of Ballard,--and of
Babington. After the execution of the unfortunate Queen of Scots, he
devoted himself to what was termed the Spanish faction, and endeavoured
carry out the schemes of a party, who, distrusting the vague promises of
James, were anxious to secure the succession to a Catholic,--the Infanta
of Spain, or the Duke of Parma. On the insurrection of the Earl of
Essex, he took part with that ill-fated nobleman; and, though he escaped
condign punishment for the offence, he was imprisoned and heavily fined.

From this time his career ran in darker channels. "Hunger-starved for
innovation," as he is finely described by Camden,--imbued with the
fiercest religious fanaticism,--eloquent, wily, resolute,--able alike to
delude the powerful and intimidate the weak,--he possessed all the
ingredients of a conspirator. Associating with men like himself, of
desperate character and broken fortunes, he was ever on the look out for
some means of retrieving his own condition, and redressing the wrongs of
his church. Well informed of the actual state of James's sentiments,
when, on that monarch's accession, confident hopes were entertained by
the Romanists of greater toleration for their religion, Catesby was the
first to point out their mistake, and to foretel the season of terrible
persecution that was at hand. On this persecution he grounded his
hopes--hopes, never realized, for the sufferers, amid all the grievances
they endured, remained constant in their fidelity to the throne--of
exciting a general insurrection among the Catholics.

Disappointed in this expectation,--disappointed, also, in his hopes of
Spain, of France, and of aid from Rome, he fell back upon himself, and
resolved upon the execution of a dark and dreadful project which he had
long conceived, and which he could execute almost single-handed, without
aid from foreign powers, and without the co-operation of his own party.
The nature of this project, which, if it succeeded, would, he imagined,
accomplish all or more than his wildest dreams of ambition or fanaticism
had ever conceived, it will be the business of this history to develope.
Without going further into detail at present, it may be mentioned that
the success of the plot depended so entirely on its secrecy, and so well
aware was its contriver of the extraordinary system of espionage carried
on by the Earl of Salisbury and the Privy Council, that for some time he
scarcely dared to trust it out of his keeping. At length, after much
deliberation, he communicated it to five others, all of whom were bound
to silence by an oath of unusual solemnity; and as it was necessary to
the complete success of the conspiracy that its outbreak should be
instantaneously followed by a rise on the part of the Catholics, he
darkly hinted that a plan was on foot for their deliverance from the
yoke of their oppressors, and counselled them to hold themselves in
readiness to fly to arms at a moment's notice. But here again he failed.
Few were disposed to listen to him; and of those who did, the majority
returned for answer, "that their part was endurance, and that the only
arms which Christians could use against lawful powers in their severity
were prayers and tears."

Among the Popish party of that period, as in our own time, were ranked
many of the oldest and most illustrious families in the
kingdom,--families not less remarkable for their zeal for their religion
than, as has before been observed, for their loyalty;--a loyalty
afterwards approved in the disastrous reign of James the Second by their
firm adherence to what they considered the indefeasible right of
inheritance. Plots, indeed, were constantly hatched throughout the
reigns of Elizabeth and James, by persons professing the religion of
Rome; but in these the mass of the Catholics had no share. And even in
the seasons of the bitterest persecution, when every fresh act of
treason, perpetrated by some lawless and disaffected individual, was
visited with additional rigour on their heads,--when the scaffold reeked
with their blood, and the stake smoked with their ashes,--when their
quarters were blackening on the gates and market-crosses of every city
in the realm,--when their hearths were invaded, their religion
proscribed, and the very name of Papist had become a by-word,--even in
those terrible seasons, as in the season under consideration, they
remained constant in their fidelity to the crown.

From the troubled elements at work, some fierce and turbulent spirits
were sure to arise,--some gloomy fanatics who, having brooded over their
wrongs, real or imaginary, till they had lost all scruples of
conscience, hesitated at no means of procuring redress. But it would be
unjust to hold up such persons as representatives of the whole body of
Catholics. Among the conspirators themselves there were redeeming
shades. All were not actuated by the same atrocious motives. Mixed
feelings induced Catesby to adopt the measure. Not so Guy Fawkes, who
had already been leagued with the design. One idea alone ruled him. A
soldier of fortune, but a stern religious enthusiast, he supposed
himself chosen by Heaven for the redemption of his Church, and cared not
what happened to himself, provided he accomplished his (as he conceived)
holy design.

In considering the causes which produced the conspiracy about to be
related, and in separating the disaffected party of the Papists from the
temperate, due weight must be given to the influence of the priesthood.
Of the Romish clergy there were two classes--the secular priests, and
the Jesuits and missionaries. While the former, like the more moderate
of the laity, would have been well-contented with toleration for their
religion, the latter breathed nothing but revenge, and desired the utter
subversion of the existing government,--temporal as well as
ecclesiastical. Men, for the most part, of high intellectual powers, of
untiring energy, and unconquerable fortitude, they were enabled by
their zeal and ability to make many proselytes. By their means, secret
correspondence was carried on with the different courts of Europe; and
they were not without hope that, taking advantage of some favourable
crisis, they should yet restore their church to its former supremacy. To
these persons,--who held as a maxim, "_Qui religionem Catholicam deserit
regnandi jus omne amisit_,"--Catesby and his associates proved ready and
devoted agents. Through their instrumentality, they hoped to accomplish
the great work of their restoration. To Father Garnet, the provincial of
the English Jesuits, of whom it will be necessary to speak more fully
hereafter, the plot had been revealed by Catesby under the seal of
confession; and, though it subsequently became a question whether he was
justified in withholding a secret of such importance to the state, it is
sufficient for the present purpose to say that he did withhold it. For
the treasonable practices of the Jesuits and their faction some
palliation may perhaps be found in the unrelenting persecution to which
they were subjected; but if any excuse can be admitted for them, what
opinion must be formed of the conduct of their temperate brethren?
Surely, while the one is condemned, admiration may be mingled with the
sympathy which must be felt for the unmerited sufferings of the other!

From the foregoing statement, it will be readily inferred that Sir
William Radcliffe, a devout Catholic, and a man of large possessions,
though somewhat reduced by the heavy fines imposed upon him as a
recusant, must have appeared an object of importance to the
conspirators; nor will it be wondered at, that every means were used to
gain him to their cause. Acting, however, upon the principles that
swayed the well-disposed of his party, the knight resisted all these
overtures, and refused to take any share in proceedings from which his
conscience and loyalty alike revolted. Baffled, but not defeated,
Catesby returned to the charge on a new point of assault. Himself a
widower (or supposed to be so), he solicited the hand of the lovely
Viviana Radcliffe, Sir William's only child, and the sole heiress of his
possessions. But his suit in this quarter was, also, unsuccessful. The
knight rejected the proposal, alleging that his daughter had no
inclination to any alliance, inasmuch as she entertained serious
thoughts of avowing herself to heaven. Thus foiled, Catesby ostensibly
relinquished his design.

Shortly before the commencement of this history, a pilgrimage to Saint
Winifred's Well, in Flintshire, was undertaken by Father Garnet, the
provincial of the Jesuits before mentioned, in company with several
distinguished Catholic personages of both sexes, and to this ceremonial
Sir William and his daughter were urgently bidden. The invitation was
declined on the part of Viviana, but accepted by the knight, who, though
unwilling to leave home at a period of so much danger, or to commit his
daughter to any care but his own, even for so short a space, felt it to
be his duty to give countenance by his presence to the ceremonial.

Accordingly, he departed for Chester on the previous day, as stated by
the steward. And, though Catesby professed ignorance on the subject, and
even affirmed he had heard to the contrary, it may be doubted whether he
was not secretly informed of the circumstance, and whether his arrival,
at this particular conjuncture, was not preconcerted.

Thus much in explanation of what is to follow. The course of Catesby's
reflections was cut short by the return of the steward, who, informing
him that he had his mistress's commands to admit him, immediately
lowered the drawbridge for that purpose. Dismounting, and committing his
steed to one of the serving-men, who advanced to take it, Catesby
followed his conductor through a stone gateway, and crossing the garden,
was ushered into a spacious and lofty hall, furnished with a long massy
oak table, at the upper end of which was a raised dais. At one side of
the chamber yawned a huge arched fire-place, garnished with enormous
andirons, on which smouldered a fire composed of mixed turf and wood.
Above the chimney-piece hung a suit of chain-armour, with the
battle-axe, helmet, and gauntlets of Sir John Radcliffe, the first
possessor of Ordsall, who flourished in the reign of Edward the First:
on the right, masking the entrance, stood a magnificent screen of carved
oak.

Traversing this hall, Heydocke led the way to another large apartment;
and placing lights on a Gothic-shaped table, offered a seat to the
new-comer, and departed. The room in which Catesby was left was termed
the star-chamber--a name retained to this day--from the circumstance of
its ceiling being moulded and painted to resemble the heavenly vault
when studded with the luminaries of night. It was terminated by a
deeply-embayed window filled with stained glass of the most gorgeous
colours. The walls, in some places, were hung with arras, in others,
wainscoted with dark lustrous oak, embellished with scrolls, ciphers,
and fanciful designs. The mantel-piece was of the same solid material,
curiously carved, and of extraordinary size. It was adorned with the
armorial bearings of the family--two bends engrailed, and in chief a
label of three,--and other devices and inscriptions. The hearth was
considerably raised above the level of the floor, and there was a
peculiarity in the construction of the massive wooden pillars flanking
it, that attracted the attention of Catesby, who rose with the intention
of examining them more narrowly, when he was interrupted by the entrance
of the lady of the mansion.

Advancing at a slow and dignified pace, Viviana Radcliffe courteously
but gravely saluted her guest; and, without offering him her hand,
motioned him to a chair, while she seated herself at a little distance.
Catesby had seen her twice before; and whether the circumstances under
which they now met might have caused some change in her demeanour he
could not tell, but he thought her singularly altered. A year ago, she
had been a lively, laughing girl of seventeen, with a bright brown skin,
dark flowing tresses, and eyes as black and radiant as those of a gipsy.
She was now a grave, collected woman, infinitely more beautiful, but
wholly changed in character. Her complexion had become a clear,
transparent white, and set off to great advantage her large, luminous
eyes, and jetty brows. Her figure was tall and majestic; her features
regular, delicately formed, and of the rarest and proudest class of
beauty. She was attired in a dress of black wrought velvet, entirely
without ornament except the rosary at her girdle, with a small ebony
crucifix attached to it. She wore a close-fitting cap, likewise of black
velvet, edged with pearls, beneath which her raven tresses were gathered
in such a manner as to display most becomingly the smooth and snowy
expanse of her forehead. The gravity of her manner, not less than her
charms of person, seem to have struck Catesby mute. He gazed on her in
silent admiration for a brief space, utterly forgetful of the object of
his visit, and the part he intended to play. During this pause, she
maintained the most perfect composure, and fixing her dark eyes full
upon him, appeared to await the moment when he might choose to open the
conversation.

Notwithstanding his age, and the dissolute and distracted life he had
led, Catesby was still good-looking enough to have produced a favourable
impression upon any woman easily captivated by manly beauty. The very
expression of his marked and peculiar physiognomy,--in some degree an
index to his character,--was sufficient to rivet attention; and the
mysterious interest generally inspired by his presence was not
diminished on further acquaintance with him. Though somewhat stern in
their expression, his features were strikingly handsome, cast in an oval
mould, and clothed with the pointed beard and trimmed mustaches
invariably met with in the portraits of Vandyck. His frame was strongly
built, but well proportioned, and seemed capable of enduring the
greatest fatigue. His dress was that of an ordinary gentleman of the
period, and consisted of a doublet of quilted silk, of sober colour and
stout texture; large trunk-hose swelling out at the hips; and buff
boots, armed with spurs with immense rowels. He wore a high and
stiffly-starched ruff round his throat; and his apparel was completed by
a short cloak of brown cloth, lined with silk of a similar colour. His
arms were rapier and poniard, and his high-crowned plumed hat, of the
peculiar form then in vogue, and looped on the "leer-side" with a
diamond clasp, was thrown upon the table.

Some little time having elapsed, during which he made no effort to
address her, Viviana broke silence.

"I understood you desired to speak with me on a matter of urgency, Mr.
Catesby," she remarked.

"I did so," he replied, as if aroused from a reverie; "and I can only
excuse my absence of mind and ill manners, on the plea that the
contemplation of your charms has driven all other matter out of my
head."

"Mr. Catesby," returned Viviana, rising, "if the purpose of your visit
be merely to pay unmerited compliments, I must at once put an end to
it."

"I have only obeyed the impulse of my heart," resumed the other,
passionately, "and uttered what involuntarily rose to my lips. But," he
added, checking himself, "I will not offend you with my admiration. If
you have read my letter to your father, you will not require to be
informed of the object of my visit."

"I have not read it," replied Viviana, returning him the packet with the
seal unbroken. "I can give no opinion on any matter of difficulty. And I
have no desire to know any secret with which my father might not desire
me to be acquainted."

"Are we overheard?" inquired Catesby, glancing suspiciously at the
fire-place.

"By no one whom you would care to overhear us," returned the maiden.

"Then it is as I supposed," rejoined Catesby. "Father Oldcorne is
concealed behind that mantel-piece?"

Viviana smiled an affirmative.

"Let him come forth, I pray you," returned Catesby. "What I have to say
concerns him as much as yourself or your father; and I would gladly have
his voice in the matter."

"You shall have it, my son," replied a reverend personage, clad in a
priestly garb, stepping from out one side of the mantel-piece, which
flew suddenly open, disclosing a recess curiously contrived in the
thickness of the wall. "You shall have it," said Father Oldcorne, for he
it was, approaching and extending his arms over him. "Accept my blessing
and my welcome."

Catesby received the benediction with bowed head and bended knee.

"And now," continued the priest, "what has the bravest soldier of our
church to declare to its lowliest servant?"

Catesby then briefly explained, as he had before done to the steward,
why he had taken Manchester in his route to North Wales; and, after
lamenting his inability to render any assistance to the unfortunate
priests, he went on to state that he had accidentally learnt, from a few
words let fall by the pursuivant to his attendant, that a warrant had
been sent by the Earl of Salisbury for Sir William Radcliffe's arrest.

"My father's arrest!" exclaimed Viviana, trembling violently.
"What--what is laid to his charge?"

"Felony," rejoined Catesby, sternly--"felony, without benefit of
clergy--for so it is accounted by the present execrable laws of our
land,--in harbouring a Jesuit priest. If he is convicted of the offence,
his punishment will be death--death on the gibbet, accompanied by
indignities worse than those shown to a common felon."

"Holy Virgin!" ejaculated Father Oldcorne, lifting up his hands, and
raising his eyes to heaven.

"From what I gathered, the officers will visit this house to-night,"
continued Catesby.

"Our Lady be praised, they will not find him!" cried Viviana, who had
been thrown into an agony of distress. "What is to be done in this
frightful emergency, holy father?" she added, turning to the priest,
with a supplicating look.

"Heaven only knows, dear daughter," replied Oldcorne. "You had better
appeal for counsel to one who is more able to afford it than I am,--Mr.
Catesby. Well aware of the crafty devices of our enemies, and having
often eluded their snares himself, he may enable you to escape them. My
own course is clear. I shall quit this roof at once, deeply and bitterly
regretting that by entering it, I have placed those whom I hold so dear,
and from whom I have experienced so much kindness, in such fearful
jeopardy."

"Oh, no, father!" exclaimed Viviana, "you shall not go."

"Daughter," replied Oldcorne, solemnly, "I have long borne the cross of
Christ,--have long endured the stripes, inflicted upon me by the
adversaries of our faith, in patience; and my last actions and last
breath shall testify to the truth of our holy religion. But, though I
could endure aught on my own account, I cannot consent to bring misery
and destruction upon others. Hinder me not, dear daughter. I will go at
once."

"Hold, father!" interposed Catesby. "The step you would take may bring
about what you are most anxious to avoid. If you are discovered and
apprehended in this neighbourhood, suspicion will still attach to your
protectors, and the secret of your departure will be wrung from some of
the more timid of the household. Tarry where you are. Let the pursuivant
make his search. I will engage to baffle his vigilance."

"He speaks the truth, dear father," returned Viviana. "You must
not--shall not depart. There are plenty of hiding-places, as you know,
within the mansion. Let them be as rigorous as they may in their search,
they will not discover you."

"Whatever course you adjudge best for the security of others, I will
pursue," rejoined Oldcorne, turning to Catesby. "Put me out of the
question."

"My opinion has already been given, father," replied Catesby. "Remain
where you are."

"But, if the officers should ascertain that my father is at Chester,
and pursue him thither?" cried Viviana, suddenly struck by a new cause
of alarm.

"A messenger must be immediately despatched after him to give him
warning," returned Catesby.

"Will you be that messenger?" asked the maiden, eagerly.

"I would shed my heart's best blood to pleasure you," returned Catesby.

"Then I may count upon this service, for which, rest assured, I will not
prove ungrateful," she rejoined.

"You may," answered Catesby. "And yet I would, on Father Oldcorne's
account, that my departure might be delayed till to-morrow."

"The delay might be fatal," cried Viviana. "You must be in Chester
before that time."

"Doubt it not," returned Catesby. "Charged with your wishes, the wind
shall scarcely outstrip my speed."

So saying, he marched irresolutely towards the door, as if about to
depart, when, just as he had reached it, he turned sharply round, and
threw himself at Viviana's feet.

"Forgive me, Miss Radcliffe," he cried, "if I once again, even at a
critical moment like the present, dare to renew my suit. I fancied I had
subdued my passion for you, but your presence has awakened it with
greater violence than ever."

"Rise, sir, I pray," rejoined the maiden, in an offended tone.

"Hear me, I beseech you," continued Catesby, seizing her hand. "Before
you reject my suit, consider well that in these perilous seasons, when
no true Catholic can call his life his own, you may need a protector."

"In the event you describe, Mr. Catesby," answered Viviana, "I would at
once fulfil the intention I have formed of devoting myself to Heaven,
and retire to the convent of Benedictine nuns, founded by Lady Mary
Percy, at Brussels."

"You would much more effectually serve the cause of your religion by
acceding to my suit," observed Catesby, rising.

"How so?" she inquired.

"Listen to me, Miss Radcliffe," he rejoined, gravely, "and let my words
be deeply graven upon your heart. In your hands rests the destiny of the
Catholic Church."

"In mine!" exclaimed Viviana.

"In yours," returned Catesby. "A mighty blow is about to be struck for
her deliverance."

"Ay, marry, is it," cried Oldcorne, with sudden fervour. "Redemption
draweth nigh; the year of visitation approacheth to an end; and
jubilation is at hand. England shall again be called a happy realm, a
blessed country, a religious people. Those who knew the former glory of
religion shall lift up their hands for joy to see it returned again.
Righteousness shall prosper, and infidelity be plucked up by the root.
False error shall vanish like smoke, and they which saw it shall say
where is it become? The daughters of Babylon shall be cast down, and in
the dust lament their ruin. Proud heresy shall strike her sail, and
groan as a beast crushed under a cart-wheel. The memory of novelties
shall perish with a crack, and as a ruinous house falling to the ground.
Repent, ye seducers, with speed, and prevent the dreadful wrath of the
Powerable. He will come as flame that burneth out beyond the furnace.
His fury shall fly forth as thunder, and pitch upon their tops that
malign him. They shall perish in his fury, and melt like wax before the
fire."

"Amen!" ejaculated Catesby, as the priest concluded. "You have spoken
prophetically, father."

"I have but recited a prayer transmitted to me by Father Garnet,"
rejoined Oldcorne.

"Do you discern any hidden meaning in it?" demanded Catesby.

"Yea, verily my son," returned the priest. "In the '_false error
vanishing like_ SMOKE,'--in the '_house perishing with a_ CRACK,'--and
in the '_fury flying forth as_ THUNDER,'--I read the mode the great work
shall be brought about."

"And you applaud the design?" asked Catesby, eagerly.

"_Non vero factum probo, sed eventum amo_," rejoined the priest.

"The secret is safe in your keeping, father?" asked Catesby, uneasily.

"As if it had been disclosed to me in private confession," replied
Oldcorne.

"Hum!" muttered Catesby. "Confessions of as much consequence to the
state have ere now been revealed, father."

"A decree has been passed by his holiness, Clement VIII., forbidding all
such revelations," replied Oldcorne. "And the question has been recently
propounded by a learned brother of our order, Father Antonio Delrio,
who, in his Magical Disquisitions, putteth it thus:--'Supposing a
malefactor shall confess that he himself or some other has laid
GUNPOWDER, or the like combustible matter, under a building--'"

"Ha!" exclaimed Catesby, starting.

"--'And, unless it be taken away,'" proceeded the priest, regarding him
fixedly, "'the whole house will be burnt, the prince destroyed, and as
many as go into or out of the city will come to great mischief or
peril!'"[2]

"Well!" exclaimed Catesby.

"The point then arises," continued Oldcorne, "whether the priest may
make use of the secret thus obtained for the good of the government, and
the averting of such danger; and, after fully discussing it, Father
Delrio decides in the negative."

"Enough," returned Catesby.

"By whom is the blow to be struck?" asked Viviana, who had listened to
the foregoing discourse in silent wonder.

"By me," answered Catesby. "It is for you to nerve my arm."

"You speak in riddles," she replied. "I understand you not."

"Question Father Oldcorne, then, as to my meaning," rejoined Catesby;
"he will tell you that, allied to you, I could not fail in the
enterprise on which I am engaged."

"It is the truth, dear daughter," Oldcorne asseverated.

"I will not inquire further into this mystery," returned Viviana, "for
such it is to me. But, believing what you both assert, I answer, that
willingly as I would lay down my life for the welfare of our holy
religion, persuading myself, as I do, that I have constancy enough to
endure martyrdom for its sake,--I cannot consent to your proposal. Nay,
if I must avouch the whole truth," she continued, blushing deeply, "my
affections are already engaged, though to one with whom I can never hope
to be united."

"You have your answer, my son," observed the priest.

Catesby replied with a look of the deepest mortification and
disappointment; and, bowing coldly to Viviana, said, "I now depart to
obey your behests, Miss Radcliffe."

"Commend me in all duty to my dear father," replied Viviana, "and
believe that I shall for ever feel bound to you for your zeal."

"Neglect not all due caution, father," observed Catesby, glancing
significantly at Oldcorne. "Forewarned, forearmed."

"Doubt me not, my son," rejoined the Jesuit. "My prayers shall be for
you.

                Gentem auferte perfidam
                Credentium de finibus,
                Ut Christo laudes debitas
                Persolvamus alacriter."

After receiving a parting benediction from the priest, Catesby took his
leave. His steed was speedily brought to the door by the old steward;
and mounting it, he crossed the drawbridge, which was immediately raised
behind him, and hastened on his journey.

[2] Confitetur maleficus se vel alium posuisse pulverem vel quid aliud
sub tali limine, et nisi tollantur domum comburendam, principem
interiturum, quotquot urbem egredienturque in magnam perniciem aut
periculum venturos.--DELRIO _Disq. Mag._, lib. vi. cap. i. [_Edit._
1600.]



CHAPTER IV.

THE SEARCH.


Immediately after Catesby's departure, Heydocke was summoned to his
mistress's presence. He found her with the priest, and was informed that
in all probability the house would be visited that night by the
messengers of the Privy Council. The old steward received the
intelligence as he might have done his death-warrant, and looked so
bewildered and affrighted, that Viviana half repented having acquainted
him with it.

"Compose yourself, Master Heydocke," she said, trying to reason him out
of his fears; "the search may not take place. And if it does, there is
nothing to be alarmed at. I am not afraid, you perceive."

"Nothing to be alarmed at, my dear young lady!" gasped the steward. "You
have never witnessed a midnight search for a priest by these ruffianly
catchpoles, as I have, or you would not say so. Father Oldcorne will
comprehend my uneasiness, and excuse it. The miscreants break into the
house like robbers, and treat its inmates worse than robbers would treat
them. They have no regard for decency,--no consideration for sex,--no
respect for persons. Not a chamber is sacred from them. If a door is
bolted, they burst it open; a cabinet locked, they tarry not for the
key. They pull down the hangings, thrust their rapier-points into the
crevices of the wainscot, discharge their fire-arms against the wall,
and sometimes threaten to pull down the house itself, if the object of
their quest be not delivered to them. Their oaths, abominations, and
menaces are horrible; and their treatment of females, even of your
degree, honoured mistress, too barbarous to relate. Poor Lady Nevil died
of the fright she got by such a visit at dead of night to her residence
in Holborn. Mrs. Vavasour, of York, lost her senses; and many others
whom I could mention have been equal sufferers. Nothing to be alarmed
at! Heaven grant, my dear, dear young lady, that you may never be
fatally convinced to the contrary!"

"Suppose my apprehensions are as great as your own, Master Heydocke,"
replied Viviana, who, though somewhat infected by his terrors, still
maintained her firmness; "I do not see how the danger is to be averted
by idle lamentations and misgivings. We must meet it boldly; and trust
to Him who is our only safeguard in the hour of peril, for protection.
Do not alarm the household, but let all retire to rest as usual."

"Right, daughter," observed the priest. "Preparations for resistance
would only excite suspicion."

"Can you depend on the servants, in case they are examined?" asked
Viviana of the steward, who by this time had partially recovered his
composure.

"I think so," returned Heydocke; "but the threats of the officers are so
dreadful, and their conduct so violent and outrageous, that I can
scarcely answer for myself. I would not advise your reverence to remain
in that hiding-place," he added, pointing to the chimney-piece; "they
are sure to discover it."

"If not here, where shall I conceal myself?" rejoined Oldcorne,
uneasily.

"There are many nooks in which your reverence might hide," replied the
steward; "but the knaves are so crafty, and so well experienced in their
vocation, that I dare not recommend any of them as secure. I would
advise you to remain on the watch, and, in case of alarm, I will conduct
you to the oratory in the north gallery, adjoining Mistress Viviana's
sleeping-chamber, where there is a panel in the wall, known only to
myself and my master, opening upon a secret passage running many hundred
yards underground, and communicating with a small outbuilding on the
other side of the moat. There is a contrivance in this passage, which I
will explain to your reverence if need be, which will cut off any
possibility of pursuit in that quarter."

"Be it so," replied the priest. "I place myself in your hands, good
Master Heydocke, well assured of your fidelity. I shall remain
throughout the night in this chamber, occupied in my devotions."

"You will suffer me to pray with you, father, I trust?" said Viviana.

"If you desire it, assuredly, dear daughter," rejoined Oldcorne; "but I
am unwilling you should sacrifice your rest."

"It will be no sacrifice, father, for I should not slumber, even if I
sought my couch," she returned. "Go, good Heydocke. Keep vigilant watch:
and, if you hear the slightest noise without, fail not to give us
warning."

The steward bowed, and departed.

Some hours elapsed, during which nothing occurred to alarm Viviana and
her companion, who consumed the time in prayer and devout conversation;
when, just at the stroke of two,--as the former was kneeling before her
spiritual adviser, and receiving absolution for the slight offences of
which a being so pure-minded could be supposed capable,--a noise like
the falling of a bar of iron was heard beneath the window. The priest
turned pale, and cast a look of uneasiness at the maiden, who said
nothing, but snatching up the light, and motioning him to remain quiet,
hurried out of the room in search of the steward. He was nowhere to be
found. In vain, she examined all the lower rooms,--in vain, called to
him by name. No answer was returned.

Greatly terrified, she was preparing to retrace her steps, when she
heard the sound of muttered voices in the hall. Extinguishing her light,
she advanced to the door, which was left ajar, and, taking care not to
expose herself to observation, beheld several armed figures, some of
whom bore dark lanterns, while others surrounded and menaced with their
drawn swords the unfortunate steward. From their discourse she
ascertained that, having thrown a plank across the moat, and concealed
themselves within the garden until they had reconnoitred the premises,
they had contrived to gain admittance unperceived through the window of
a small back room, in which they had surprised Heydocke, who had fallen
asleep on his post, and captured him. One amongst their number, who
appeared to act as leader, and whom, from his garb, and the white wand
he carried, Viviana knew must be a pursuivant, now proceeded to
interrogate the prisoner. To every question proposed to him the steward
shook his head; and, in spite of the threats of the examinant, and the
blows of his followers, he persisted in maintaining silence.

"If we cannot make this contumacious rascal speak, we will find others
more tractable," observed the pursuivant. "I will not leave any corner
of the house unvisited; nor a soul within it unquestioned. Ah! here they
come!"

As he spoke, several of the serving-men, with some of the female
domestics, who had been alarmed by the noise, rushed into the hall, and
on seeing it filled with armed men, were about to retreat, when they
were instantly seized and detained. A scene of great confusion now
ensued. The women screamed and cried for mercy, while the men struggled
and fought with their captors. Commanding silence at length, the
pursuivant proclaimed in the King's name that whoever would guide him to
the hiding-place of Father Oldcorne, a Jesuit priest, whom it was known,
and could be proved, was harboured within the mansion, should receive a
free pardon and reward; while those who screened him, or connived at his
concealment, were liable to fine, imprisonment, and even more severe
punishment. Each servant was then questioned separately. But, though all
were more or less rudely dealt with, no information could be elicited.

Meanwhile, Viviana was a prey to the most intolerable anxiety. Unable to
reach Father Oldcorne without crossing the hall, which she did not dare
to attempt, she gave him up for lost; her sole hope being that, on
hearing the cries of the domestics, he would provide for his own safety.
Her anxiety was still farther increased when the pursuivant, having
exhausted his patience by fruitless interrogatories, and satisfied his
malice by frightening two of the females into fits, departed with a
portion of his band to search the house, leaving the rest as a guard
over the prisoners.

Viviana then felt that, if she would save Father Oldcorne, the attempt
must be made without a moment's delay, and at any hazard. Watching her
opportunity, when the troopers were occupied,--some in helping
themselves to such viands and liquors as they could lay hands
upon,--some in searching the persons of the prisoners for amulets and
relics,--while others, more humane, were trying to revive the swooning
women, she contrived to steal unperceived across the lower end of the
hall. Having gained the passage, she found to her horror that the
pursuivant and his band were already within the star-chamber. They were
sounding the walls with hammers and mallets, and from their
exclamations, she learnt that they had discovered the retreat behind the
fire-place, and were about to break it open.

"We have him," roared the pursuivant, in a voice of triumph. "The old
owl's roost is here!"

Viviana, who stood at the door, drew in her breath, expecting that the
next moment would inform her that the priest was made captive. Instead
of this, she was delighted to find, from the oaths of rage and
disappointment uttered by the troopers, that he had eluded them.

"He must be in the house, at all events," growled the pursuivant; "nor
is it long since he quitted his hiding-place, as this cushion proves. We
will not go away without him. And now, let us proceed to the upper
chambers."

Hearing their footsteps approach, Viviana darted off, and quickly
ascending the principal staircase, entered a long corridor. Uncertain
what to do, she was about to proceed to her own chamber, and bar the
door, when she felt her arm grasped by a man. With difficulty repressing
a shriek, she strove to disengage herself, when a whisper told her it
was the priest.

"Heaven be praised!" cried Viviana, "you are safe. How--how did you
escape?"

"I flew upstairs on hearing the voices," replied Oldcorne. "But what has
happened to the steward?"

"He is a prisoner," replied Viviana.

"All then is lost, unless you are acquainted with the secret panel he
spoke of in the oratory," rejoined Oldcorne.

"Alas! father, I am wholly ignorant of it," she answered. "But, come
with me into my chamber; they will not dare to invade it."

"I know not that," returned the priest, despairingly. "These
sacrilegious villains would not respect the sanctity of the altar
itself."

"They come!" cried Viviana, as lights were seen at the foot of the
stairs. "Take my hand--this way, father."

They had scarcely gained the room, and fastened the door, when the
pursuivant and his attendants appeared in the corridor. The officer, it
would seem, had been well instructed where to search, or was
sufficiently practised in his duty, for he proceeded at once to several
hiding-places in the different chambers which he visited. In one room he
detected a secret staircase in the wall, which he mounted, and
discovered a small chapel built in the roof. Stripping it of its altar,
its statue of the Virgin, its crucifix, pix, chalice, and other
consecrated vessels, he descended, and continued his search. Viviana's
chamber was now the only one unvisited. Trying the door, and finding it
locked, he tapped against it with his wand.

"Who knocks?" asked the maiden.

"A state-messenger," was the reply. "I demand entrance in the King's
name."

"You cannot have it," she replied. "It is my sleeping-chamber."

"My duty allows me no alternative," rejoined the pursuivant, harshly.
"If you will not admit me quietly, I must use force."

"Do you know to whom you offer this rudeness?" returned Viviana. "I am
the daughter of Sir William Radcliffe."

"I know it," replied the pursuivant; "but I am not exceeding my
authority. I hold a warrant for your father's arrest. And, if he had not
been from home, I should have carried him to prison along with the
Jesuit priest whom, I suspect, is concealed within your chamber. Open
the door, I command you; and do not hinder me in the execution of my
duty."

As no answer was returned to the application, the pursuivant commanded
his men to burst open the door; and the order was promptly obeyed.

The chamber was empty.

On searching it, however, the pursuivant found a door concealed by the
hangings of the bed. It was bolted on the other side, but speedily
yielded to his efforts. Passing through it, he entered upon a narrow
gallery, at the extremity of which his progress was stopped by another
door, likewise fastened on the further side. On bursting it open, he
entered a small oratory, wainscoted with oak, and lighted by an oriel
window filled with stained glass, through which the newly-risen moon was
pouring its full radiance, and discovered the object of his search.

"Father Oldcorne, I arrest you as a Jesuit and a traitor," shouted the
pursuivant, in a voice of exultation. "Seize him!" he added, calling to
his men.

"You shall not take him," cried Viviana, clinging despairingly to the
priest, who offered no resistance, but clasped a crucifix to his breast.

"Leave go your hold, young mistress," rejoined the pursuivant, grasping
Oldcorne by the collar of his vestment, and dragging him along; "and
rest thankful that I make you not, also, my prisoner."

"Take me; but spare him!--in mercy spare him!" shrieked Viviana.

"You solicit mercy from one who knows it not, daughter," observed the
priest. "Lead on, sir. I am ready to attend you."

"Your destination is the New Fleet, father," retorted the pursuivant, in
a tone of bitter raillery; "unless you prefer the cell in Radcliffe Hall
lately vacated by your saintly predecessor, Father Woodroofe."

"Help! help!" shrieked Viviana.

"You may spare your voice, fair lady," sneered the pursuivant. "No help
is at hand. Your servants are all prisoners."

The words were scarcely uttered, when a sliding panel in the wall flew
open, and Guy Fawkes, followed by Humphrey Chetham, and another
personage, sprang through the aperture, and presented a petronel at the
head of the pursuivant.



CHAPTER V.

CHAT MOSS.


The pursuivant was taken so completely unawares by the sudden appearance
of Guy Fawkes and his companions, that he made no attempt at resistance.
Nor were his attendants less confounded. Before they recovered from
their surprise, Humphrey Chetham seized Viviana in his arms, and darting
through the panel, called to the priest to follow him. Father Oldcorne
was about to comply, when one of the soldiers, grasping the surcingle at
his waist, dragged him forcibly backwards. The next moment, however, he
was set free by Guy Fawkes, who, felling the man to the ground, and
interposing himself between the priest and the other soldier, enabled
the former to make good his retreat. This done, he planted himself in
front of the panel, and with a petronel in each hand, menaced his
opponents.

"Fly for your lives!" he shouted in a loud voice to the others. "Not a
moment is to be lost. I have taken greater odds, and in a worse cause,
and have not been worsted. Heed me not, I say. I will defend the passage
till you are beyond reach of danger. Fly!--fly!"

"After them!" vociferated the pursuivant, stamping with rage and
vexation; "after them instantly! Hew down that bold traitor. Show him no
quarter. His life is forfeit to the king. Slay him as you would a dog!"

But the men, having no fire-arms, were so much intimidated by the fierce
looks of Guy Fawkes, and the deadly weapons he pointed at their heads,
that they hesitated to obey their leader's injunctions.

"Do you hear what I say to you, cravens?" roared the pursuivant. "Cut
him down without mercy."

"They dare not move a footstep," rejoined Guy Fawkes, in a decisive
tone.

"Recreants!" cried the pursuivant, foaming with rage, "is my prey to be
snatched from me at the very moment I have secured it, through your
cowardice? Obey me instantly, or, as Heaven shall judge me, I will
denounce you to my Lord Derby and the Commissioners as aiders and
abettors in Father Oldcorne's escape!--and you well know what your
punishment will be if I do so. What!--are you afraid of one man?"

"Our pikes are no match for his petronels," observed the foremost
soldier, sullenly.

"They are not," rejoined Guy Fawkes; "and you will do well not to compel
me to prove the truth of your assertion. As to you, Master Pursuivant,"
he continued, with a look so stern that the other quailed before it,
"unwilling as I am to shed blood, I shall hold your life, if I am
compelled to take it, but just retribution for the fate you have brought
upon the unfortunate Elizabeth Orton.

"Ha!" exclaimed the pursuivant, starting. "I thought I recognised you.
You are the soldier in the Spanish garb who saved that false prophetess
from drowning."

"I saved her only for a more lingering death," rejoined Guy Fawkes.

"I know it," retorted the pursuivant. "I found her dead body when I
visited her cell on my way hither, and gave orders to have it interred
without coffin or shroud in that part of the burial-ground of the
Collegiate Church in Manchester reserved for common felons."

"I know not what stays my hand," rejoined Guy Fawkes, fiercely. "But I
am strongly tempted to give you a grave beside her."

"I will put your daring to the proof!" cried the pursuivant, snatching a
pike from one of his followers, and brandishing it over his head. "Throw
down your arms, or you die!"

"Back!" exclaimed Guy Fawkes, presenting a petronel at him, "or I lodge
a bullet in your brain."

"Be advised by me, and rush not on certain destruction, good Master
Pursuivant," said the foremost soldier, plucking his mantle. "I see by
his bloodthirsty looks that the villain is in earnest."

"I hear footsteps," cried the other soldier; "our comrades are at hand."

"Then it is time for me to depart," cried Guy Fawkes, springing through
the secret door, and closing it after him.

"Confusion!" exclaimed the pursuivant; "but he shall not escape. Break
open the panel."

The order was promptly obeyed. The men battered the stout oak board,
which was of great thickness, with their pikes, but it resisted every
effort, nor was it until the arrival of a fresh band of soldiers with
lights, mallets, chisels, and other implements suitable to the purpose,
that it could be forced open. This accomplished, the pursuivant,
commanding his attendants to follow him, dashed through the aperture. As
they proceeded singly along the narrow passage, the roof became so low
that they were compelled to adopt a stooping posture. In this manner
they hurried on until their further progress was stopped by a massive
stone door, which appeared to descend from above by some hidden
contrivance, no trace of bolt or other fastening being discernible. The
flag fitted closely in channels in the walls, and had all the appearance
of solid masonry. After examining this obstacle for a moment, the
pursuivant was convinced that any attempt to move it would be
impracticable, and muttering a deep execration, he gave the word to
return.

"From the course it appears to take," he observed, "this passage must
communicate with the garden,--perhaps with the further side of the moat.
We may yet secure them, if we use despatch."

To return to the fugitives. On arriving at the point where the stone
door was situated, which he discovered by the channels in the wall
above-mentioned, Guy Fawkes searched for an iron ring, and, having found
it, drew it towards him, and the ponderous flag slowly dropped into its
place. He then groped his way cautiously along in the dark, until his
foot encountered the top of a ladder, down which he crept, and landed on
the floor of a damp deep vault. Having taken the precaution to remove
the ladder, he hastened onwards for about fifty yards, when he came to a
steep flight of stone steps, distinguishable by a feeble glimmer of
light from above, and mounting them, emerged through an open trap-door
into a small building situated at the western side of the moat, where,
to his surprise and disappointment, he found the other fugitives.

"How comes it you are here?" he exclaimed, in a reproachful tone. "I
kept the wolves at bay thus long, to enable you to make good your
retreat."

"Miss Radcliffe is too weak to move," replied Humphrey Chetham; "and I
could not persuade Father Oldcorne to leave her."

"I care not what becomes of me," said the priest. "The sooner my painful
race is run the better. But I cannot--will not abandon my dear charge
thus."

"Think not of me, father, I implore you," rejoined Viviana, who had sunk
overpowered with terror and exhaustion. "I shall be better soon. Master
Chetham, I am assured, will remain with me till our enemies have
departed, and I will then return to the hall."

"Command me as you please, Miss Radcliffe," replied Humphrey Chetham.
"You have but to express a wish to insure its fulfilment on my part."

"Oh! that you had suffered Mr. Catesby to tarry with us till the
morning, as he himself proposed, dear daughter," observed the priest,
turning to Viviana.

"Has Catesby been here?" inquired Guy Fawkes, with a look of
astonishment.

"He has," replied Oldcorne. "He came to warn us that the hall would be
this night searched by the officers of state; and he also brought word
that a warrant had been issued by the Privy Council for the arrest of
Sir William Radcliffe."

"Where is he now?" demanded Fawkes, hastily.

"On the way to Chester, whither he departed in all haste, at Viviana's
urgent request, to apprise her father of his danger," rejoined the
priest.

"This is strange!" muttered Guy Fawkes. "Catesby here, and I not know
it!"

"He had a secret motive for his visit, my son," whispered Oldcorne,
significantly.

"So I conclude, father," replied Fawkes, in the same tone.

"Viviana Radcliffe," murmured Humphrey Chetham, in low and tender
accents, "something tells me that this moment will decide my future
fate. Emboldened by the mysterious manner in which we have been brought
together, and you, as it were, have been thrown upon my protection, I
venture to declare the passion I have long indulged for you;--a passion
which, though deep and fervent as ever agitated human bosom, has
hitherto, from the difference of our rank, and yet more from the
difference of our religious opinions, been without hope. What has just
occurred,--added to the peril in which your worthy father stands, and
the difficulties in which you yourself will necessarily be
involved,--makes me cast aside all misgiving, and perhaps with too much
presumption, but with a confident belief that the sincerity of my love
renders me not wholly undeserving of your regard, earnestly solicit you
to give me a husband's right to watch over and defend you."

Viviana was silent. But even by the imperfect light the young merchant
could discern that her cheek was covered with blushes.

"Your answer?" he cried, taking her hand.

"You must take it from my lips, Master Chetham," interposed the priest;
"Viviana Radcliffe never can be yours."

"Be pleased to let her speak for herself, reverend sir," rejoined the
young merchant, angrily.

"I represent her father, and have acquainted you with his
determination," rejoined the priest. "Appeal to her, and she will
confirm my words."

"Viviana, is this true?" asked Chetham. "Does your father object to your
union with me?"

Viviana answered by a deep sigh, and gently withdrew her hand from the
young merchant's grasp.

"Then there is no hope for me?" cried Chetham.

"Alas! no," replied Viviana; "nor for me--of earthly affection. I am
already dead to the world."

"How so?" he asked.

"I am about to vow myself to Heaven," she answered.

"Viviana!" exclaimed the young man, throwing himself at her feet,
"reflect!--oh! reflect, before you take this fatal--this irrevocable
step."

"Rise, sir," interposed the priest, sternly; "you plead in vain. Sir
William Radcliffe will never wed his daughter to a heretic. In his name
I command you to desist from further solicitation."

"I obey," replied Chetham, rising.

"We lose time here," observed Guy Fawkes, who had been lost for a moment
in reflection. "I will undertake to provide for your safety, father.
But, what must be done with Viviana? She cannot be left here. And her
return to the hall would be attended with danger."

"I will not return till the miscreants have quitted it," said Viviana.

"Their departure is uncertain," replied Fawkes. "When they are baulked
of their prey they sometimes haunt a dwelling for weeks."

"What will become of me?" cried Viviana, distractedly.

"It were vain, I fear, to entreat you to accept an asylum with my father
at Clayton Hall, or at my own residence at Crumpsall," said Humphrey
Chetham.

"Your offer is most kind, sir," replied Oldcorne, "and is duly
appreciated. But Viviana will see the propriety--on every account--of
declining it."

"I do; I do," she acquiesced.

"Will you entrust yourself to my protection?" observed Fawkes.

"Willingly," replied the priest, answering for her. "We shall find some
place of refuge," he added, turning to Viviana, "where your father can
join us, and where we can remain concealed till this storm has blown
over."

"I know many such," rejoined Fawkes, "both in this county and in
Yorkshire, and will guide you to one."

"My horses are at your service," said Humphrey Chetham. "They are tied
beneath the trees in the avenue. My servant shall bring them to the
door," and, turning to his attendant, he gave him directions to that
effect. "I was riding hither an hour before midnight," he continued,
addressing Viviana, "to offer you assistance, having accidentally heard
the pursuivant mention his meditated visit to Ordsall Hall, to one of
his followers, when, as I approached the gates, this person," pointing
to Guy Fawkes, "crossed my path, and, seizing the bridle of my steed,
demanded whether I was a friend to Sir William Radcliffe. I answered in
the affirmative, and desired to know the motive of his inquiry. He then
told me that the house was invested by a numerous band of armed men, who
had crossed the moat by means of a plank, and were at that moment
concealed within the garden. This intelligence, besides filling me with
alarm, disconcerted all my plans, as I hoped to have been beforehand
with them--their inquisitorial searches being generally made at a late
hour, when all the inmates of a house intended to be surprised are
certain to have retired to rest. While I was bitterly reproaching myself
for my dilatoriness, and considering what course it would be best to
pursue, my servant, Martin Heydocke, son to your father's old steward,
who had ridden up at the stranger's approach, informed me that he was
acquainted with a secret passage communicating beneath the moat with the
hall. Upon this, I dismounted; and fastening my horse to a tree, ordered
him to lead me to it without an instant's delay. The stranger, who gave
his name as Guy Fawkes, and professed himself a stanch Catholic, and a
friend of Father Oldcorne, begged permission to join us, in a tone so
earnest, that I at once acceded to his request. We then proceeded to
this building, and after some search discovered the trap-door. Much time
was lost, owing to our being unprovided with lights, in the subterranean
passage; and it was more than two hours before we could find the ring
connected with the stone door, the mystery of which Martin explained to
us. This delay we feared would render our scheme abortive, when, just as
we reached the panel, we heard your shrieks. The spring was touched,
and--you know the rest."

"And shall never forget it," replied Viviana, in a tone of the deepest
gratitude.

At this juncture, the tramp of horses was heard at the door; and the
next moment it was thrown open by the younger Heydocke, who, with a
look, and in a voice of the utmost terror, exclaimed, "They are
coming!--they are coming!"

"The pursuivant?" cried Guy Fawkes.

"Not him alone, but the whole gang," rejoined Martin. "Some of them are
lowering the drawbridge, while others are crossing the plank. Several
are on horseback, and I think I discern the pursuivant amongst the
number. They have seen me, and are hurrying in this direction."

As he spoke, a loud shout corroborated his statement.

"We are lost!" exclaimed Oldcorne.

"Do not despair, father," rejoined Guy Fawkes. "Heaven will not abandon
its faithful servants. The Lord will deliver us out of the hands of
these Amalekites."

"To horse, then, if you would indeed avoid them," urged Humphrey
Chetham. "The shouts grow louder. Your enemies are fast approaching."

"Viviana," said Guy Fawkes, "are you willing to fly with us?"

"I will do anything rather than be left to those horrible men," she
answered.

Guy Fawkes then raised her in his arms, and sprang with his lovely
burthen upon the nearest charger. His example was quickly followed by
Humphrey Chetham, who, vaulting on the other horse, assisted the priest
to mount behind him. While this took place, Martin Heydocke darted into
the shed, and instantly bolted the door.

It was a beautiful moonlight night, almost as bright as day, and the
movements of each party were fully revealed to the other. Guy Fawkes
perceived at a glance that they were surrounded; and, though he had no
fears for himself, he was full of apprehension for the safety of his
companion. While he was debating with himself as to the course it would
be best to pursue, Humphrey Chetham shouted to him to turn to the left,
and started off in that direction. Grasping his fair charge, whom he had
placed before him on the saddle, firmly with his left arm, and wrapping
her in his ample cloak, Guy Fawkes drew his sword, and striking spurs
into his steed, followed in the same track.

The little fabric which had afforded them temporary shelter, it has
already been mentioned, was situated on the west of the hall, at a short
distance from the moat, and was screened from observation by a small
shrubbery. No sooner did the fugitives emerge from this cover, than loud
outcries were raised by their antagonists, and every effort was made to
intercept them. On the right, galloping towards them on a light but
swift courser, taken from Sir William Radcliffe's stables, came the
pursuivant, attended by half-a-dozen troopers, who had accommodated
themselves with horses in the same manner as their leader. Between them
and the road leading to Manchester, were stationed several armed men on
foot. At the rear, voices proclaimed that others were in full pursuit;
while in front, a fourth detachment menaced them with their pikes. Thus
beset on all sides, it seemed scarcely possible to escape. Nothing
daunted, however, by the threats and vociferations with which they were
received, the two horsemen boldly charged this party. The encounter was
instantaneous. Guy Fawkes warded off a blow, which, if it had taken
effect, must have robbed Viviana of life, and struck down the fellow who
aimed it. At the same moment, his career was checked by another
assailant, who, catching his bridle with the hook of his pike, commanded
him to surrender. Fawkes replied by cleaving the man's staff asunder,
and, having thus disembarrassed himself, was about to pursue his
course, when he perceived that Humphrey Chetham was in imminent danger
from a couple of soldiers who had stopped him, and were trying to
unhorse his companion. Riding up to them, Guy Fawkes, by a vigorous and
well-directed attack, speedily drove them off; and the fugitives, being
now unimpeded, were enabled to continue their career.

The foregoing occurrences were witnessed by the pursuivant with the
utmost rage and vexation. Pouring forth a torrent of threats and
imprecations, he swore he would never rest till he had secured them, and
urging his courser to its utmost speed, commanded his men to give chase.

Skirting a sluice, communicating between the Irwell and the moat,
Humphrey Chetham, who, as better acquainted with the country than his
companions, took the lead, proceeded along its edge for about a hundred
yards, when he suddenly struck across a narrow bridge covered with sod,
and entered the open fields. Hitherto Viviana had remained silent.
Though fully aware of the risk she had run, she gave no sign of
alarm--not even when the blow was aimed against her life; and it was
only on conceiving the danger in some degree past, that she ventured to
express her gratitude.

"You have displayed so much courage," said Guy Fawkes, in answer to her
speech, "that it would be unpardonable to deceive you. Our foes are too
near us, and too well mounted, to make it by any means certain we shall
escape them,--unless by stratagem."

"They are within a hundred yards of us," cried Humphrey Chetham,
glancing fearfully backwards. "They have possessed themselves of your
father's fleetest horses; and, if I mistake not, the rascally pursuivant
has secured your favourite barb."

"My gentle Zayda!" exclaimed Viviana. "Then indeed we are lost. She has
not her match for speed."

"If she bring her rider to us alone, she will do us good service,"
observed Guy Fawkes, significantly.

The same notion, almost at the same moment, occurred to the pursuivant.
Having witnessed the prowess displayed by Guy Fawkes in his recent
attack on the soldiers, he felt no disposition to encounter so
formidable an opponent single-handed; and finding that the high-mettled
barb on which he was mounted, by its superior speed and fiery temper,
would inevitably place him in such a dilemma, he prudently resolved to
halt, and exchange it for a more manageable steed.

This delay was of great service to the fugitives, and enabled them to
get considerably ahead. They had now gained a narrow lane, and, tracking
it, speedily reached the rocky banks of the Irwell. Galloping along a
foot-path that followed the serpentine course of the stream for a
quarter of a mile, they arrived at a spot marked by a bed of osiers,
where Humphrey Chetham informed them there was a ford.

Accordingly, they plunged into the river, and while stemming the
current, which here ran with great swiftness, and rose up above the
saddles, the neighing of a steed was heard from the bank they had
quitted. Turning at the sound, Viviana beheld her favourite courser on
the summit of a high rock. The soldier to whom Zayda was intrusted had
speedily, as the pursuivant foresaw, distanced his companions, and chose
this elevated position to take sure aim at Guy Fawkes, against whom he
was now levelling a caliver. The next moment a bullet struck against his
brigandine, but without doing him any injury. The soldier, however, did
not escape so lightly. Startled by the discharge, the fiery barb leaped
from the precipice into the river, and throwing her rider, who was borne
off by the rapid stream, swam towards the opposite bank, which she
reached just as the others were landing. At the sound of her mistress's
voice she stood still, and allowed Humphrey Chetham to lay hold of her
bridle; and Viviana declaring she was able to mount her, Guy Fawkes, who
felt that such an arrangement was most likely to conduce to her safety,
and who was, moreover, inclined to view the occurrence as a providential
interference in their behalf, immediately assisted her into the saddle.

Before this transfer could be effected, the pursuivant and his
attendants had begun to ford the stream. The former had witnessed the
accident that had befallen the soldier from a short distance; and, while
he affected to deplore it, internally congratulated himself on his
prudence and foresight. But he was by no means so well satisfied when he
saw how it served to benefit the fugitives.

"That unlucky beast!" he exclaimed. "Some fiend must have prompted me to
bring her out of the stable. Would she had drowned herself instead of
poor Dickon Duckesbury, whom she hath sent to feed the fishes! With her
aid, Miss Radcliffe will doubtless escape. No matter. If I secure Father
Oldcorne, and that black-visaged trooper in the Spanish garb, who, I'll
be sworn, is a secret intelligencer of the pope, if not of the devil, I
shall be well contented. I'll hang them both on a gibbet higher than
Haman's."

And muttering other threats to the same effect, he picked his way to the
opposite shore. Long before he reached it, the fugitives had
disappeared; but on climbing the bank, he beheld them galloping swiftly
across a well-wooded district steeped in moonlight, and spread out
before his view, and inflamed by the sight he shouted to his attendants,
and once more started in pursuit.

Cheered by the fortunate incident above related, which, in presenting
her with her own steed in a manner so surprising and unexpected, seemed
almost to give her assurance of deliverance, Viviana, inspirited by the
exercise, felt her strength and spirits rapidly revive. At her side rode
Guy Fawkes, who ever and anon cast an anxious look behind, to ascertain
the distance of their pursuers, but suffered no exclamation to escape
his lips. Indeed, throughout the whole affair, he maintained the reserve
belonging to his sombre and taciturn character, and neither questioned
Humphrey Chetham as to where he was leading them, nor proposed any
deviation from the route he had apparently chosen. To such remarks as
were addressed to him, Fawkes answered in monosyllables; and it was only
when occasion required, that he volunteered any observation or advice.
He seemed to surrender himself to chance. And perhaps, if his bosom
could have been examined, it would have been found that he considered
himself a mere puppet in the hands of destiny.

In other and calmer seasons, he might have dwelt with rapture on the
beautiful and varied country through which they were speeding, and which
from every knoll they mounted, every slope they descended, every glade
they threaded, intricacy pierced, or tangled dell tracked, presented new
and increasing attractions. This charming district, since formed into a
park by the Traffords, from whom it derives its present designation, was
at this time,--though part of the domain of that ancient family,--wholly
unenclosed. Old Trafford Hall lies (for it is still in existence,) more
than a mile nearer to Manchester, a little to the east of Ordsall Hall;
but the modern residence of the family is situated in the midst of the
lovely region through which the fugitives were riding.

But, though the charms of the scene, heightened by the gentle medium
through which they were viewed, produced little effect upon the iron
nature of Guy Fawkes, they were not without influence on his companions,
especially Viviana. Soothed by the stillness of all around her, she
almost forgot her danger; and surrendering herself to the dreamy
enjoyment generally experienced in contemplating such a scene at such an
hour, suffered her gaze to wander over the fair woody landscape before
her, till it was lost in the distant moonlit wolds.

From the train of thought naturally awakened by this spectacle, she was
roused by the shouts of the pursuers; and, glancing timorously behind
her, beheld them hurrying swiftly along the valley they had just
quitted. From the rapidity with which they were advancing, it was
evident they were gaining upon them, and she was about to urge her
courser to greater speed, when Humphrey Chetham laid his hand upon the
rein to check her.

"Reserve yourself till we gain the brow of this hill," he remarked; "and
then put Zayda to her mettle. We are not far from our destination."

"Indeed!" exclaimed Viviana. "Where is it?"

"I will show it to you presently," he answered.

Arrived at the summit of the high ground, which they had been for some
time gradually ascending, the young merchant pointed out a vast boggy
tract, about two miles off, in the vale beneath them.

"That is our destination," he said.

"Did I not hold it impossible you could trifle with me at such a time as
this, I should say you were jesting," rejoined Viviana. "The place you
indicate, unless I mistake you, is Chat Moss, the largest and most
dangerous marsh in Lancashire."

"You do not mistake me, neither am I jesting, Viviana," replied the
young merchant, gravely. "Chat Moss _is_ the mark at which I aim."

"If we are to cross it, we shall need a Will-o'-the-wisp to guide us,
and some friendly elf to make firm the ground beneath our steeds,"
rejoined Viviana, in a slightly-sarcastic tone.

"Trust to me and you shall traverse it in safety," resumed Humphrey
Chetham.

"I would sooner trust myself to the pursuivant and his band, than
venture upon its treacherous surface," she replied.

"How is this, young sir?" interposed Guy Fawkes, sternly. "Is it from
heedlessness or rashness that you are about to expose us to this new
danger?--which, if Viviana judges correctly, and my own experience of
such places inclines me to think she does so,--is greater than that
which now besets us."

"If there is any danger I shall be the first to encounter it, for I
propose to act as your guide," returned Humphrey Chetham, in an offended
tone. "But the treacherous character of the marsh constitutes our
safety. I am acquainted with a narrow path across it, from which the
deviation of a foot will bring certain death. If our pursuers attempt to
follow us their destruction is inevitable. Viviana may rest assured I
would not needlessly expose so dear a life as hers. But it is our best
chance of safety."

"Humphrey Chetham is in the right," observed the priest. "I have heard
of the path he describes; and if he can guide us along it, we shall
effectually baffle our enemies."

"I cry you mercy, sir," said Viviana. "I did not apprehend your meaning.
But I now thankfully resign myself to your care."

"Forward, then," cried the young merchant. And they dashed swiftly down
the declivity.

Chat Moss, towards which they were hastening, though now drained, in
part cultivated, and traversed by the busiest and most-frequented
railroad in England, or the world, was, within the recollection of many
of the youngest of the present generation, a dreary and almost
impassable waste. Surveyed from the heights of Dunham, whence the
writer has often gazed upon it, envying the plover her wing to skim over
its broad expanse, it presented with its black boggy soil, striped like
a motley garment, with patches of grey, tawny, and dunnish red, a
singular and mysterious appearance. Conjecture fixes this morass as the
site of a vast forest, whose immemorial and Druid-haunted groves were
burnt by the Roman invaders; and seeks to account for its present
condition by supposing that the charred trees--still frequently found
within its depths--being left where the conflagration had placed them,
had choked up its brooks and springs, and so reduced it to a general
swamp. Drayton, however, in the following lines from the Faerie Land,
places its origin as far back as the Deluge:--

                    ----Great Chat Moss at my fall
      Lies fall of turf and marl, her unctuous mineral;
      And blocks as black as pitch, with boring augers found,
      There at the General Flood supposed to be drown'd.

But the former hypothesis appears the more probable. A curious
description of Chat Moss, as it appeared at the time of this history, is
furnished by Camden, who terms it, "a swampy tract of great extent, a
considerable part of which was carried off in the last age by swollen
rivers with great danger, whereby the rivers were infected, and great
quantities of fish died. Instead thereof is now a valley watered by a
small stream; and many trees were discovered thrown down, and lying
flat, so that one may suppose when the ground lay neglected, and the
waste water of brooks was not drained off into the open valleys, or
their courses stopped by neglect or desolation, all the lower grounds
were turned into swamps, (which we call _mosses_,) or into pools. If
this was the case, no wonder so many trees are found covered, and, as it
were, buried in such places all over England, but especially here. For
the roots being loosened by too excessive wet, they must necessarily
fall down and sink in so soft a soil. The people hereabouts search for
them with poles and spits, and after marking the place, dig them up and
use them for firing, for they are like torches, equally fit to burn and
to give light, which is probably owing to the bituminous earth that
surrounds them, whence the common people suppose them firs, though Cæsar
denies that there were such trees in Britain."

But, though vast masses of the bog had been carried off by the Irwell
and the Mersey, as related by Camden, the general appearance of the
waste,--with the exception of the valley and the small stream,--was much
the same as it continued to our own time. Its surface was more broken
and irregular, and black gaping chasms and pits filled with water and
slime as dark-coloured as the turf whence it flowed, pointed out the
spots where the swollen and heaving swamp had burst its bondage. Narrow
paths, known only to the poor turf-cutters and other labourers who dwelt
upon its borders, and gathered fuel with poles and spits in the manner
above described, intersected it at various points. But as they led in
many cases to dangerous and deep gulfs, to dismal quagmires and
fathomless pits; and, moreover, as the slightest departure from the
proper track would have whelmed the traveller in an oozy bed, from
which, as from a quicksand, he would have vainly striven to extricate
himself,--it was never crossed without a guide, except by those familiar
with its perilous courses. One painful circumstance connected with the
history of Chat Moss remains to be recorded--namely, that the attempt
made to cultivate it by the great historian Roscoe,--an attempt since
carried out, as has already been shown, with complete success,--ended in
a result ruinous to the fortunes of that highly-gifted person, who, up
to the period of this luckless undertaking, was as prosperous as he was
meritorious.

By this time the fugitives had approached the confines of the marsh. An
accident, however, had just occurred, which nearly proved fatal to
Viviana, and, owing to the delay it occasioned, brought their pursuers
into dangerous proximity with them. In fording the Irwell, which, from
its devious course, they were again compelled to cross, about a quarter
of a mile below Barton, her horse missed its footing, and precipitated
her into the rapid current. In another instant she would have been borne
away, if Guy Fawkes had not flung himself into the water, and seized her
before she sank. Her affrighted steed, having got out of its depth,
began to swim off, and it required the utmost exertion on the part of
Humphrey Chetham, embarrassed as he was by the priest, to secure it. In
a few minutes all was set to rights, and Viviana was once more placed on
the saddle, without having sustained further inconvenience than was
occasioned by her dripping apparel. But those few minutes, as has been
just stated, sufficed to bring the pursuivant and his men close upon
them; and as they scrambled up the opposite bank, the plunging and
shouting behind them told that the latter had entered the stream.

"Yonder is Baysnape," exclaimed Humphrey Chetham, calling Viviana's
attention to a ridge of high ground on the borders of the waste. "Below
it lies the path by which I propose to enter the moss. We shall speedily
be out of the reach of our enemies."

"The marsh at least will hide us," answered Viviana, with a shudder. "It
is a terrible alternative."

"Fear nothing, dear daughter," observed the priest. "The saints, who
have thus marvellously protected us, will continue to watch over us to
the end, and will make the path over yon perilous waste as safe as the
ground on which we tread."

"I like not the appearance of the sky," observed Guy Fawkes, looking
uneasily upwards. "Before we reach the spot you have pointed out, the
moon will be obscured. Will it be safe to traverse the moss in the
dark?"

"It is our only chance," replied the young merchant, speaking in a low
tone, that his answer might not reach Viviana's ears; "and after all,
the darkness may be serviceable. Our pursuers are so near, that if it
were less gloomy, they might hit upon the right track. It will be a risk
to us to proceed, but certain destruction to those who follow. And now
let us make what haste we can. Every moment is precious."

The dreary and fast darkening waste had now opened upon them in all its
horrors. Far as the gaze could reach appeared an immense expanse, flat
almost as the surface of the ocean, and unmarked, so far as could be
discerned in that doubtful light, by any trace of human footstep or
habitation. It was a stern and sombre prospect, and calculated to
inspire terror in the stoutest bosom. What effect it produced on Viviana
may be easily conjectured. But her nature was brave and enduring, and,
though she trembled so violently as scarcely to be able to keep her
seat, she gave no utterance to her fears. They were now skirting that
part of the morass since denominated, from the unfortunate speculation
previously alluded to, "Roscoe's Improvements." This tract was the worst
and most dangerous portion of the whole moss. Soft, slabby, and
unsubstantial, its treacherous beds scarcely offered secure footing to
the heron that alighted on them. The ground shook beneath the fugitives
as they hurried past the edge of the groaning and quivering marsh. The
plover, scared from its nest, uttered its peculiar and plaintive cry;
the bittern shrieked; other night-fowl poured forth their doleful notes;
and the bull-frog added its deep croak to the ominous concert. Behind
them came the thundering tramp and loud shouts of their pursuers. Guy
Fawkes had judged correctly. Before they reached Baysnape the moon had
withdrawn behind a rack of clouds, and it had become profoundly dark.
Arrived at this point, Humphrey Chetham called to them to turn off to
the right.

"Follow singly," he said, "and do not swerve a hair's breadth from the
path. The slightest deviation will be fatal. Do you, sir," he added to
the priest, "mount behind Guy Fawkes, and let Viviana come next after
me. If I should miss my way, do not stir for your life."

The transfer effected, the fugitives turned off to the right, and
proceeded at a cautious pace along a narrow and shaking path. The ground
trembled so much beneath them, and their horses' feet sank so deeply in
the plashy bog, that Viviana demanded, in a tone of some uneasiness, if
he was sure he had taken the right course?

"If I had not," replied Humphrey Chetham, "we should ere this have found
our way to the bottom of the morass."

As he spoke, a floundering plunge, accompanied by a horrible and
quickly-stifled cry, told that one of their pursuers had perished in
endeavouring to follow them.

"The poor wretch is gone to his account," observed Viviana, in a tone of
commiseration. "Have a care!--have a care, lest you share the same
fate."

"If I can save you, I care not what becomes of me," replied the young
merchant. "Since I can never hope to possess you, life has become
valueless in my eyes."

"Quicken your pace," shouted Guy Fawkes, who brought up the rear. "Our
pursuers have discovered the track, and are making towards us."

"Let them do so," replied the young merchant. "They can do us no farther
injury."

"That is false!" cried the voice of a soldier from behind. And, as the
words were uttered, a shot was fired, which, though aimed against
Chetham, took effect upon his steed. The animal staggered, and his rider
had only time to slide from his back when he reeled off the path, and
was ingulfed in the marsh.

Hearing the plunge of the steed, the man fancied he had hit his mark,
and hallooed in an exulting voice to his companions. But his triumph was
of short duration. A ball from the petronel of Guy Fawkes pierced his
brain, and dropping from his saddle, he sank, together with his horse,
which he dragged along with him into the quagmire.

"Waste no more shot," cried Humphrey Chetham; "the swamp will fight our
battles for us. Though I grieve for the loss of my horse, I may be
better able to guide you on foot."

With this, he seized Viviana's bridle, and drew her steed along at a
quick pace, but with the greatest caution. As they proceeded, a light
like that of a lantern was seen to rise from the earth, and approach
them.

"Heaven be praised!" exclaimed Viviana: "some one has heard us, and is
hastening to our assistance."

"Not so," replied Humphrey Chetham. "The light you behold is an _ignis
fatuus_. Were you to trust yourself to its delusive gleam, it would lead
you to the most dangerous parts of the moss."

And, as if to exhibit its real character, the little flame, which
hitherto had burnt as brightly and steadily as a wax-candle, suddenly
appeared to dilate, and assuming a purple tinge, emitted a shower of
sparks, and then flitted rapidly over the plain.

"Woe to him that follows it!" cried Humphrey Chetham.

"It has a strange unearthly look," observed Viviana, crossing herself.
"I have much difficulty in persuading myself it is not the work of some
malignant sprite."

"It is only an exhalation of the marsh," replied Chetham. "But, see!
others are at hand."

Their approach, indeed, seemed to have disturbed all the weird children
of the waste. Lights were seen trooping towards them in every direction;
sometimes stopping, sometimes rising in the air, now contracting, now
expanding, and when within a few yards of the travellers, retreating
with inconceivable swiftness.

"It is a marvellous and incomprehensible spectacle," remarked Viviana.

"The common folk hereabouts affirm that these Jack-o'-lanterns, as they
term them, always appear in greater numbers when some direful
catastrophe is about to take place," rejoined the young merchant.

"Heaven avert it from us," ejaculated Viviana.

"It is an idle superstition," returned Chetham. "But we must now keep
silence," he continued, lowering his voice, and stopping near the
charred stump of a tree, left, it would seem, as a mark. "The road turns
here; and, unless our pursuers know it, we shall now quit them for ever.
We must not let a sound betray the course we are about to take."

Having turned this dangerous corner in safety, and conducted his
companions as noiselessly as possible for a few yards along the cross
path, which being much narrower was consequently more perilous than the
first, Humphrey Chetham stood still, and, imposing silence upon the
others, listened to the approach of their pursuers. His prediction was
speedily and terribly verified. Hearing the movement in advance, but
unable to discover the course taken by the fugitives, the unfortunate
soldiers, fearful of losing their prey, quickened their pace, in the
expectation of instantly overtaking them. They were fatally undeceived.
Four only of their number, besides their leader, remained,--two having
perished in the manner heretofore described. The first of these,
disregarding the caution of his comrade, laughingly urged his horse into
a gallop, and, on passing the mark, sunk as if by magic, and before he
could utter a single warning cry, into the depths of the morass. His
disappearance was so instantaneous, that the next in order, though he
heard the sullen plunge, was unable to draw in the rein, and was
likewise ingulfed. A third followed; and a fourth, in his efforts to
avoid their fate, backed his steed over the slippery edge of the path.
Only one now remained. It was the pursuivant, who, with the prudence
that characterized all his proceedings, had followed in the rear. He was
so dreadfully frightened, that, adding his shrieks to those of his
attendants, he shouted to the fugitives, imploring assistance in the
most piteous terms, and promising never again to molest them, if they
would guide him to a place of safety. But his cries were wholly
unheeded; and he perhaps endured in those few minutes of agony as much
suffering as he had inflicted on the numerous victims of his barbarity.
It was indeed an appalling moment. Three of the wretched men had not yet
sunk, but were floundering about in the swamp, and shrieking for help.
The horses, as much terrified as their riders, added their piercing
cries to the half-suffocated yells. And, as if to make the scene more
ghastly, myriads of dancing lights flitted towards them, and throwing an
unearthly glimmer over this part of the morass, fully revealed their
struggling figures. Moved by compassion for the poor wretches, Viviana
implored Humphrey Chetham to assist them, and, finding him immovable,
she appealed to Guy Fawkes.

"They are beyond all human aid," the latter replied.

"Heaven have mercy on their souls!" ejaculated the priest "Pray for
them, dear daughter. Pray heartily, as I am about to do." And he recited
in an audible voice the Romish formula of supplication for those _in
extremis_.

Averting her gaze from the spectacle, Viviana joined fervently in the
prayer.

By this time two of the strugglers had disappeared. The third, having
freed himself from his horse, contrived for some moments, during which
he uttered the most frightful cries, to keep his head above the swamp.
His efforts were tremendous, but unavailing, and served only to
accelerate his fate. Making a last desperate plunge towards the bank
where the fugitives were standing, he sank above the chin. The
expression of his face, shown by the ghastly glimmer of the fen-fires,
as he was gradually swallowed up, was horrible.

"_Requiem æternam dona eis, Domine_," exclaimed the priest.

"All is over," cried Humphrey Chetham, taking the bridle of Viviana's
steed, and leading her onwards. "We are free from our pursuers."

"There is one left," she rejoined, casting a look backwards.

"It is the pursuivant," returned Guy Fawkes, sternly. "He is within
shot," he added, drawing his petronel.

"Oh, no--no!--in pity spare him!" cried Viviana. "Too many lives have
been sacrificed already."

"He is the cause of all the mischief," answered Guy Fawkes, unwillingly
replacing the petronel in his belt, "and may live to injure you and your
father."

"I will hope not," rejoined Viviana; "but, spare him!--oh, spare him!"

"Be it as you please," replied Guy Fawkes. "The marsh, I trust, will not
be so merciful."

With this, they slowly resumed their progress. On hearing their
departure, the pursuivant renewed his cries in a more piteous tone than
ever; but, in spite of the entreaties of Viviana, nothing could induce
her companions to lend him assistance.

For some time they proceeded in silence, and without accident. As they
advanced, the difficulties of the path increased, and it was fortunate
that the moon, emerging from the clouds in which, up to this moment, she
had been shrouded, enabled them to steer their course in safety. At
length, after a tedious and toilsome march for nearly half a mile, the
footing became more secure, the road widened, and they were able to
quicken their pace. Another half mile landed them upon the western bank
of the morass. Viviana's first impulse was to give thanks to Heaven for
their deliverance, nor did she omit in her prayer a supplication for the
unfortunate beings who had perished.

Arrived at the point now known as Rawson Nook, they entered a lane, and
proceeded towards Astley Green, where perceiving a cluster of thatched
cottages among the trees, they knocked at the door of the first, and
speedily obtained admittance from its inmates, a turf-cutter and his
wife. The man conveyed their steeds to a neighbouring barn, while the
good dame offered Viviana such accommodation and refreshment as her
humble dwelling afforded. Here they tarried till the following evening,
as much to recruit Miss Radcliffe's strength, as for security.

At the young merchant's request, the turf-cutter went in the course of
the day to see what had become of the pursuivant. He was nowhere to be
found. But he accidentally learned from another hind, who followed the
same occupation as himself, that a person answering to the officer's
description had been seen to emerge from the moss near Baysnape at
daybreak, and take the road towards Manchester. Of the unfortunate
soldiers nothing but a steel cap and a pike, which the man brought away
with him, could be discovered.

After much debate, it was decided that their safest plan would be to
proceed to Manchester, where Humphrey Chetham undertook to procure them
safe lodgings at the Seven Stars,--an excellent hostel, kept by a worthy
widow, who, he affirmed, would do anything to serve him. Accordingly,
they set out at nightfall,--Viviana taking her place before Guy Fawkes,
and relinquishing Zayda to the young merchant and the priest. Shaping
their course through Worsley, by Monton Green and Pendleton, they
arrived in about an hour within sight of the town, which then,--not a
tithe of its present size, and unpolluted by the smoky atmosphere in
which it is now constantly enveloped,--was not without some pretensions
to a picturesque appearance. Crossing Salford Bridge, they mounted
Smithy-Bank, as it was then termed, and proceeding along Cateaton-street
and Hanging Ditch, struck into Whithing (now Withy) Grove, at the right
of which, just where a few houses were beginning to straggle up Shude
Hill, stood, and still stands, the comfortable hostel of the Seven
Stars. Here they stopped, and were warmly welcomed by its buxom
mistress, Dame Sutcliffe. Muffled in Guy Fawkes's cloak, the priest
gained the chamber to which he was ushered unobserved. And Dame
Sutcliffe, though her Protestant notions were a little scandalized at
her dwelling being made the sanctuary of a Popish priest, promised, at
the instance of Master Chetham, whom she knew to be no favourer of
idolatry in a general way, to be answerable for his safety.



CHAPTER VI.

THE DISINTERMENT.


Having seen every attention shown to Viviana by the hostess,--who, as
soon as she discovered that she had the daughter of Sir William
Radcliffe of Ordsall, under her roof, bestirred herself in right earnest
for her accommodation,--Humphrey Chetham, notwithstanding the lateness
of the hour,--it was past midnight,--expressed his determination to walk
to his residence at Crumpsall, to put an end to any apprehension which
might be entertained by the household at his prolonged absence.

With this view, he set forth; and Guy Fawkes, who seemed to be
meditating some project which he was unwilling to disclose to the
others, quitted the hostel with him, bidding the chamberlain sit up for
him, as he should speedily return. They had not gone far when he
inquired the nearest way to the Collegiate Church, and was answered that
they were then proceeding towards it, and in a few moments should arrive
at its walls. He next asked the young merchant whether he could inform
him which part of the churchyard was allotted to criminals. Humphrey
Chetham, somewhat surprised by the question, replied, "At the
north-west, near the charnel," adding, "I shall pass within a short
distance of the spot, and will point it out to you."

Entering Fennel Street, at the end of which stood an ancient cross, they
soon came in sight of the church. The moon was shining brightly, and
silvered the massive square tower of the fane, the battlements,
pinnacles, buttresses, and noble eastern window, with its gorgeous
tracery. While Guy Fawkes paused for a moment to contemplate this
reverend and beautiful structure, two venerable personages, having long
snowy beards, and wrapped in flowing mantles edged with sable fur,
passed the end of the street. One of them carried a lantern, though it
was wholly needless, as it was bright as day; and as they glided
stealthily along, there was something so mysterious in their manner,
that it greatly excited the curiosity of Guy Fawkes, who inquired from
his companion if he knew who they were.

"The foremost is the warden of Manchester, the famous Doctor Dee,"
replied Humphrey Chetham, "divine, mathematician, astrologer,--and if
report speaks truly, conjuror."

"Is that Doctor Dee?" cried Guy Fawkes, in astonishment.

"It is," replied the young merchant: "and the other in the Polish cap is
the no-less celebrated Edward Kelley, the doctor's assistant, or, as he
is ordinarily termed, his seer."

"They have entered the churchyard," remarked Guy Fawkes. "I will follow
them."

"I would not advise you to do so," rejoined the other. "Strange tales
are told of them. You may witness that it is not safe to look upon."

The caution, however, was unheeded. Guy Fawkes had already disappeared,
and the young merchant, shrugging his shoulders, proceeded on his way
towards Hunt's Bank.

On gaining the churchyard, Guy Fawkes perceived the warden and his
companion creeping stealthily beneath the shadow of a wall in the
direction of a low fabric, which appeared to be a bone-house, or
charnel, situated at the north-western extremity of the church. Before
this building grew a black and stunted yew-tree. Arrived at it, they
paused, and looked round to see whether they were observed. They did
not, however, notice Guy Fawkes, who had concealed himself behind a
buttress. Kelley then unlocked the door of the charnel, and brought out
a pickaxe and mattock. Having divested himself of his cloak, he
proceeded to shovel out the mould from a new-made grave at a little
distance from the building. Doctor Dee stood by, and held the lantern
for his assistant.

Determined to watch their proceedings, Guy Fawkes crept towards the
yew-tree, behind which he ensconced himself. Kelley, meanwhile,
continued to ply his spade with a vigour that seemed almost
incomprehensible in one so far stricken in years, and of such infirm
appearance. At length he paused, and kneeling within the shallow grave,
endeavoured to drag something from it. Doctor Dee knelt to assist him.
After some exertion, they drew forth the corpse of a female, which had
been interred without coffin, and apparently in the habiliments worn
during life. A horrible suspicion crossed Guy Fawkes. Resolving to
satisfy his doubts at once, he rushed forward, and beheld in the ghastly
lineaments of the dead the features of the unfortunate prophetess,
Elizabeth Orton.



CHAPTER VII.

DOCTOR DEE.


"How now, ye impious violators of the tomb! ye worse than
famine-stricken wolves, that rake up the dead in churchyards!" cried
Guy Fawkes, in a voice of thunder, to Doctor Dee and his companion; who,
startled by his sudden appearance, dropped the body, and retreated to a
short distance. "What devilish rites are ye about to enact, that ye thus
profane the sanctity of the grave?"

[Illustration: _Guy Fawkes discovers Doctor Dee & Edward Kelley
disintering the body of Elizabeth Orton_]

"And who art thou that darest thus to interrupt us?" demanded Dee,
sternly.

"It matters not," rejoined Fawkes, striding towards them. "Suffice it
you are both known to _me_. You, John Dee, warden of Manchester, who
deserve to be burnt at the stake for your damnable practices, rather
than hold the sacred office you fill; and you, Edward Kelley, his
associate, who boast of familiar intercourse with demons, and, unless
fame belies you, have purchased the intimacy at the price of your soul's
salvation. I know you both. I know, also, whose body you have
disinterred--it is that of the ill-fated prophetess, Elizabeth Orton.
And if you do not instantly restore it to the grave whence you have
snatched it, I will denounce you to the authorities of the town."

"Knowing thus much, you should know still more," retorted Doctor Dee,
"namely, that I am not to be lightly provoked. You have no power to quit
the churchyard--nay, not so much as to move a limb without my
permission."

As he spoke, he drew from beneath his cloak a small phial, the contents
of which he sprinkled over the intruder. Its effect was wonderful and
instantaneous. The limbs of Guy Fawkes stiffened where he stood. His
hand remained immovably fixed upon the pommel of his sword, and he
seemed transformed into a marble statue.

"You will henceforth acknowledge and respect my power," he continued.
"Were it my pleasure, I could bury you twenty fathoms deep in the earth
beneath our feet; or, by invoking certain spirits, convey you to the
summit of yon lofty tower," pointing to the church, "and hurl you from
it headlong. But I content myself with depriving you of motion, and
leave you in possession of sight and speech, that you may endure the
torture of witnessing what you cannot prevent."

So saying, he was about to return to the corpse with Kelley, when Guy
Fawkes exclaimed, in a hollow voice,

"Set me free, and I will instantly depart."

"Will you swear never to divulge what you have seen?" demanded Dee,
pausing.

"Solemnly," he replied.

"I will trust you, then," rejoined the Doctor;--"the rather that your
presence interferes with my purpose."

Taking a handful of loose earth from an adjoining grave, and muttering a
few words, that sounded like a charm, he scattered it over Fawkes. The
spell was instantly broken. A leaden weight seemed to be removed from
his limbs. His joints regained their suppleness, and with a convulsive
start, like that by which a dreamer casts off a nightmare, he was
liberated from his preternatural thraldom.

"And now, begone!" cried Doctor Dee, authoritatively.

"Suffer me to tarry with you a few moments," said Guy Fawkes, in a
deferential tone. "Heretofore, I will freely admit, I regarded you as an
impostor; but now I am convinced you are deeply skilled in the occult
sciences, and would fain consult you on the future."

"I have already said that your presence troubles me," replied Doctor
Dee. "But if you will call upon me at the College to-morrow, it may be I
will give you further proofs of my skill."

"Why not now, reverend sir?" urged Fawkes. "The question I would ask is
better suited to this dismal spot and witching hour, than to daylight
and the walls of your study."

"Indeed!" exclaimed Dee. "Your name?"

"Guy Fawkes," replied the other.

"Guy Fawkes!" echoed the Doctor, starting. "Nay, then, I guess the
nature of the question you would ask."

"Am I then known to you, reverend sir?" inquired Fawkes, uneasily.

"As well as to yourself--nay, better," answered the Doctor. "Bring the
lantern hither, Kelley," he continued, addressing his companion. "Look!"
he added, elevating the light so as to throw it upon the countenance of
Fawkes: "it is the very face,--the bronzed and strongly-marked
features,--the fierce black eye,--the iron frame, and foreign garb of
the figure we beheld in the show-stone."

"It is," replied Kelley. "I could have singled him out amid a thousand.
He looked thus as we tracked his perilous course, with his three
companions, the priest, Chetham, and Viviana Radcliffe, across Chat
Moss."

"How have you learned this?" cried Guy Fawkes, in amazement.

"By the art that reveals all things," answered Kelley.

"In proof that your thoughts are known to me," observed Dee, "I will
tell you the inquiry you would make before it is uttered. You would
learn whether the enterprise on which you are engaged will succeed."

"I would," replied Fawkes.

"Yet more," continued Dee. "I am aware of the nature of the plot, and
could name to you all connected with it."

"Your power is, indeed, wonderful," rejoined Fawkes in an altered tone.
"But will you give me the information I require?"

"Hum!" muttered Dee.

"I am too poor to purchase it," proceeded Fawkes, "unless a relic I have
brought from Spain has any value in your eyes."

[Illustration: _Doctor Dee, in conjunction with his Seer Edward Kelley,
exhibiting his magical skill to Guy Fawkes_]

"Tush!" exclaimed Dee, angrily. "Do you suppose I am a common juggler,
and practise my art for gain?"

"By no means, reverend sir," said Fawkes. "But I would not willingly put
you to trouble without evincing my gratitude."

"Well, then," replied Dee, "I will not refuse your request. And yet I
would caution you to beware how you pry into the future. You may repent
your rashness when it is too late."

"I have no fear," rejoined Fawkes. "Let me know the worst."

"Enough," answered Dee. "And now listen to me. That carcass having been
placed in the ground without the holy rites of burial being duly
performed, I have power over it. And, as the witch of Endor called up
Samuel, as is recorded in Holy Writ,--as Erichtho raised up a corpse to
reveal to Sextus Pompeius the event of the Pharsalian war,--as Elisha
breathed life into the nostrils of the Shunamite's son,--as Alcestis was
invoked by Hercules,--and as the dead maid was brought back to life by
Apollonius Thyaneus,--so I, by certain powerful incantations, will
allure the soul of the prophetess, for a short space, to its former
tenement, and compel it to answer my questions. Dare you be present at
this ceremony?"

"I dare," replied Fawkes.

"Follow me, then," said Dee. "You will need all your courage."

Muttering a hasty prayer, and secretly crossing himself, Guy Fawkes
strode after him towards the grave. By the Doctor's directions, he, with
some reluctance, assisted Kelley to raise the corpse, and convey it to
the charnel. Dee followed, bearing the lantern, and, on entering the
building, closed and fastened the door.

The chamber in which Guy Fawkes found himself was in perfect keeping
with the horrible ceremonial about to be performed. In one corner lay a
mouldering heap of skulls, bones, and other fragments of mortality; in
the other a pile of broken coffins, emptied of their tenants, and reared
on end. But what chiefly attracted his attention, was a ghastly
collection of human limbs, blackened with pitch, girded round with iron
hoops, and hung, like meat in a shambles, against the wall. There were
two heads, and, though the features were scarcely distinguishable, owing
to the liquid in which they had been immersed, they still retained a
terrific expression of agony. Seeing his attention directed to these
revolting objects, Kelley informed him they were the quarters of the two
priests who had recently been put to death, which had been left there
previously to being placed on the church-gates. The implements, and some
part of the attire used by the executioner in his butcherly office, were
scattered about, and mixed with the tools of the sexton; while in the
centre of the room stood a large wooden frame supported by trestles. On
this frame, stained with blood and smeared with pitch, showing the
purpose to which it had been recently put, the body was placed. This
done, Doctor Dee set down the lantern beside it; and, as the light fell
upon its livid features, sullied with earth, and exhibiting traces of
decay, Guy Fawkes was so appalled by the sight that he half repented of
what he had undertaken.

Noticing his irresolution, Doctor Dee said, "You may yet retire if you
think proper."

"No," replied Fawkes, rousing himself; "I will go through with it."

"It is well," replied Dee. And he extinguished the light.

An awful silence now ensued, broken only by a low murmur from Doctor
Dee, who appeared to be reciting an incantation. As he proceeded, his
tones became louder, and his accents those of command. Suddenly, he
paused, and seemed to await a response. But, as none was made, greatly
to the disappointment of Guy Fawkes, whose curiosity, notwithstanding
his fears, was raised to the highest pitch, he cried, "Blood is wanting
to complete the charm."

"If that is all, I will speedily supply the deficiency," replied Guy
Fawkes; and, drawing his rapier, he bared his left arm, and pricked it
deeply with the point of the weapon.

"I bleed now," he cried.

"Sprinkle the corpse with the ruddy current," rejoined Doctor Dee.

"Your commands are obeyed," replied Fawkes. "I have placed my hand on
its breast, and the blood is flowing upon it."

Upon this the Doctor began to mutter an incantation in a louder and more
authoritative tone than before. Presently, Kelley added his voice, and
they both joined in a sort of chorus, but in a jargon wholly
unintelligible to Guy Fawkes.

All at once a blue flame appeared above their heads, and, slowly
descending, settled upon the brow of the corpse, lighting up the sunken
cavities of the eyes, and the discoloured and distorted features.

"The charm works," shouted Doctor Dee.

"She moves! she moves!" exclaimed Guy Fawkes. "She is alive!"

"Take off your hand," cried the Doctor, "or mischief may ensue." And he
again continued his incantation.

"Down on your knees!" he exclaimed, at length, in a terrible voice. "The
spirit is at hand."

There was a rushing sound, and a stream of dazzling lightning shot down
upon the corpse, which emitted a hollow groan. In obedience to the
Doctor's commands, Guy Fawkes had prostrated himself on the ground: but
he kept his gaze steadily fixed on the body, which, to his infinite
astonishment, slowly arose, until it stood erect upon the frame. There
it remained perfectly motionless, with the arms close to the sides, and
the habiliments torn and dishevelled. The blue light still retained its
position upon the brow, and communicated a horrible glimmer to the
features. The spectacle was so dreadful that Guy Fawkes would fain have
averted his eyes, but he was unable to do so. Doctor Dee and his
companion, meanwhile, continued their invocations, until, as it seemed
to Fawkes, the lips of the corpse moved, and an awful voice exclaimed,
"Why have you called me?"

"Daughter!" replied Doctor Dee, rising, "in life thou wert endowed with
the gift of prophecy. In the grave, that which is to come must be
revealed to thee. We would question thee."

"Speak, and I will answer," replied the corpse.

"Interrogate her, my son," said Dee, addressing Fawkes, "and be brief,
for the time is short. So long only as that flame burns have I power
over her."

"Spirit of Elizabeth Orton," cried Guy Fawkes, "if indeed thou standest
before me, and some demon hath not entered thy frame to delude me,--by
all that is holy, and by every blessed saint, I adjure thee to tell me
whether the scheme on which I am now engaged for the advantage of the
Catholic Church will prosper?"

"Thou art mistaken, Guy Fawkes," returned the corpse. "Thy scheme is not
for the advantage of the Catholic Church."

"I will not pause to inquire wherefore," continued Fawkes. "But, grant
that the means are violent and wrongful, will the end be successful?"

"The end will be death," replied the corpse.

"To the tyrant--to the oppressors?" demanded Fawkes.

"To the conspirators," was the answer.

"Ha!" ejaculated Fawkes.

"Proceed, if you have aught more to ask," cried Dr. Dee. "The flame is
expiring."

"Shall we restore the fallen religion?" demanded Fawkes.

But before the words could be pronounced the light vanished, and a heavy
sound was heard, as of the body falling on the frame.

"It is over," said Doctor Dee.

"Can you not summon her again?" asked Fawkes, in a tone of deep
disappointment. "I had other questions to ask."

"Impossible," replied the Doctor. "The spirit is fled, and will not be
recalled. We must now commit the body to the earth. And this time it
shall be more decently interred."

"My curiosity is excited,--not satisfied," said Guy Fawkes. "Would it
were to occur again!"

"It is ever thus," replied Doctor Dee. "We seek to know that which is
interdicted,--and quench our thirst at a fountain that only inflames our
curiosity the more. Be warned, my son. You are embarked on a perilous
enterprise, and if you pursue it, it will lead you to certain
destruction."

"I cannot retreat," rejoined Fawkes, "and would not, if I could. I am
bound by an oath too terrible to be broken."

"I will absolve you of your oath, my son," said Dr. Dee, eagerly.

"You cannot, reverend sir," replied Fawkes. "By no sophistry could I
clear my conscience of the ties imposed upon it. I have sworn never to
desist from the execution of this scheme, unless those engaged in it
shall give me leave. Nay, so resolved am I, that if I stood alone I
would go on."

As he spoke, a deep groan issued from the corpse.

"You are again warned, my son," said Dee.

"Come forth," said Guy Fawkes, rushing towards the door, and throwing it
open. "This place stifles me."

The night has already been described as bright and beautiful. Before him
stood the Collegiate Church bathed in moonlight. He gazed abstractedly
at this venerable structure for a few moments, and then returned to the
charnel, where he found Doctor Dee and Kelley employed in placing the
body of the prophetess in a coffin, which they had taken from a pile in
the corner. He immediately proffered his assistance, and in a short
space the task was completed. The coffin was then borne towards the
grave, at the edge of which it was laid while the burial-service was
recited by Doctor Dee. This ended, it was lowered into its shallow
resting-place, and speedily covered with earth.

When all was ready for their departure, the Doctor turned to Fawkes,
and, bidding him farewell, observed,

"If you are wise, my son, you will profit by the awful warning you have
this night received."

"Before we part, reverend sir," replied Fawkes, "I would ask if you know
of other means whereby an insight may be obtained into the future?"

"Many, my son," replied Dee. "I have a magic glass, in which, with due
preparation, you may behold exact representations of coming events. I am
now returning to the College, and if you will accompany me, I will show
it to you."

The offer was eagerly accepted, and the party quitted the churchyard.



CHAPTER VIII.

THE MAGIC GLASS.


The old College of Manchester occupied, as is well known, the site of
the existing structure, called after the benevolent individual by whom
that admirable charity was founded, and whom we have ventured to
introduce in this history,--the Chetham Hospital. Much, indeed, of the
ancient building remains; for though it was considerably repaired and
enlarged, being "very ruinous and in great decay," at the time of its
purchase in 1654, by the feoffees under Humphrey Chetham's will, from
the sequestrators of the Earl of Derby's estates, still the general
character of the fabric has been preserved, and several of its chambers
retained. Originally built on the foundation of a manor-house
denominated The Baron's Hall,--the abode of the Grelleys and the De la
Warrs, lords of Manchester,--the College continued to be used as the
residence of the warden and fellows of the Collegiate Church until the
reign of Edward the First, when that body was dissolved. On the
accession, however, of Mary, the College was re-established; but the
residence of the ecclesiastical body being removed to a house in
Deansgate, the building was allowed to become extremely dilapidated, and
was used partly as a prison for recusants and other offenders, and
partly as a magazine for powder. In this state Dr. Dee found it when he
succeeded to the wardenship in 1595, and preferring it, notwithstanding
its ruinous condition, to the house appointed for him elsewhere, took up
his abode within it.

Situated on a high rock, overhanging the river Irk--at that time a clear
stream, remarkable for the excellence of its fish,--and constructed
entirely of stone, the old College had then, and still has to a certain
extent, a venerable and monastic appearance. During Dee's occupation of
it, it became a sort of weird abode in the eyes of the vulgar, and many
a timorous look was cast at it by those who walked at eventide on the
opposite bank of the Irk. Sometimes the curiosity of the watchers was
rewarded by beholding a few sparks issue from the chimney, and now and
then, the red reflection of a fire might be discerned through the
window. But generally nothing could be perceived, and the building
seemed as dark and mysterious as its occupant.

One night, however, a loud explosion took place,--so loud, indeed, that
it shook the whole pile to its foundation, dislodged one or two of the
chimneys, and overthrew an old wall, the stones of which rolled into the
river beneath. Alarmed by the concussion, the inhabitants of Hunt's Bank
rushed forth, and saw, to their great alarm, that the wing of the
college occupied by Doctor Dee was in flames. Though many of them
attributed the circumstance to supernatural agency, and were fully
persuaded that the enemy of mankind was at that instant bearing off the
conjuror and his assistant, and refused to interfere to stop the
conflagration, others, more humane and less superstitious, hastened to
lend their aid to extinguish the flames. On reaching the College, they
could scarcely credit their senses on finding that there was no
appearance of fire; and they were met by the Doctor and his companion at
the gates, who informed them that their presence was unnecessary, as all
danger was over. From that night Doctor Dee's reputation as a wizard
was firmly established.

At the period of this history, Doctor Dee was fast verging on eighty,
having passed a long life in severe and abstruse study. He had travelled
much, had visited most of the foreign courts, where he was generally
well received, and was profoundly versed in mathematics, astronomy, the
then popular science of judicial astrology, and other occult learning.
So accurate were his calculations esteemed, that he was universally
consulted as an oracle. For some time, he resided in Germany, where he
was invited by the Emperor Charles the Fifth, and retained by his
brother and successor, Ferdinando. He next went to Louvain, where his
reputation had preceded him; and from thence to Paris, where he lectured
at the schools on geometry, and was offered a professorship of the
university, but declined it. On his return to England in 1551, he was
appointed one of the instructors of the youthful monarch, Edward the
Sixth, who presented him with an annual pension of a hundred marks. This
he was permitted to commute for the rectory of Upton-upon-Severn, which
he retained until the accession of Mary, when being charged with
devising her Majesty's destruction by enchantments,--certain waxen
images of the Queen having been found within his abode,--he was thrown
into prison, rigorously treated, and kept in durance for a long period.
At length, from want of sufficient proof against him, he was liberated.

Dee shared the common fate of all astrologers: he was alternately
honoured and disgraced. His next patron was Lord Robert Dudley
(afterwards the celebrated Earl of Leicester), who, it is well-known,
was a firm believer in the superstitious arts to which Dee was addicted,
and by whom he was employed, on the accession of Elizabeth, to erect a
scheme to ascertain the best day for her coronation. His prediction was
so fortunate that it procured him the favour of the Queen, from whom he
received many marks of regard. As it is not needful to follow him
through his various wanderings, it may be sufficient to mention, that in
1564 he proceeded to Germany on a visit to the Emperor Maximilian, to
whom he dedicated his "_Monas Hieroglyphica_;" that in 1571 he fell
grievously sick in Lorrain, whither two physicians were despatched to
his aid by Elizabeth; and that on his recovery he returned to his own
country, and retired to Mortlake, where he gathered together a vast
library, comprising the rarest and most curious works on all sciences,
together with a large collection of manuscripts.

While thus living in retirement, he was sought out by Edward Kelley, a
native of Worcestershire, who represented himself as in possession of an
old book of magic, containing forms of invocation, by which spirits
might be summoned and controlled, as well as a ball of ivory, found in
the tomb of a bishop who had made great progress in hermetic
philosophy, which was filled with the powder of projection. These
treasures Kelley offered to place in the hands of the Doctor on certain
conditions, which were immediately acquiesced in, and thenceforth Kelley
became a constant inmate in his house, and an assistant in all his
practices. Shortly afterwards, they were joined by a Polish nobleman,
Albert de Laski, Palatine of Suabia, whom they accompanied to Prague, at
the instance of the Emperor Rodolph the Second, who desired to be
initiated into their mysteries. Their reception at this court was not
such as to induce a long sojourn at it; and Dee having been warned by
his familiar spirits to sell his effects and depart, complied with the
intimation, and removed to Poland. The same fate attended him here. The
nuncio of the Pope denounced him as a sorcerer, and demanded that he
should be delivered up to the Inquisition. This was refused by the
monarch; but Dee and his companion were banished from his dominions, and
compelled to fly to Bohemia, where they took refuge in the castle of
Trebona, belonging to Count Rosenberg. Shortly afterwards, Dee and
Kelley separated, the magical instruments being delivered to the former,
who bent his course homewards; and on his arrival in London was warmly
welcomed by the Queen. During his absence, his house at Mortlake had
been broken open by the populace, under the pretence of its being the
abode of a wizard, and rifled of its valuable library and
manuscripts,--a loss severely felt by its owner. Some years were now
passed by Dee in great destitution, during which he prosecuted his
studies with the same ardour as before, until at length in 1595, when he
was turned seventy, fortune again smiled upon him, and he was appointed
to the wardenship of the College at Manchester, whither he repaired, and
was installed in great pomp.

But his residence in this place was not destined to be a tranquil one.
His reputation as a dealer in the black art had preceded him, and
rendered him obnoxious to the clergy, with whom he had constant
disputes, and a feud subsisted between him and the fellows of his
church. It has already been mentioned that he refused to occupy the
house allotted him, but preferred taking up his quarters in the old
dilapidated College. Various reasons were assigned by his enemies for
this singular choice of abode. They affirmed--and with some reason--that
he selected it because he desired to elude observation,--and that his
mode of life, sufficiently improper in a layman, was altogether
indecorous in an ecclesiastic. By the common people he was universally
regarded as a conjuror--and many at first came to consult him; but he
peremptorily dismissed all such applicants; and, when seven females,
supposed to be possessed, were brought to him that he might exercise his
power over the evil spirits, he refused to interfere. He also publicly
examined and rebuked a juggler, named Hartley, who pretended to magical
knowledge. But these things did not blind his enemies, who continued to
harass him to such a degree, that he addressed a petition to James the
First, entreating to be brought to trial, when the accusations preferred
against him might be fully investigated, and his character cleared. The
application, and another to the like effect addressed to parliament,
were disregarded. Dee had not been long established in Manchester when
he was secretly joined by Kelley, and they recommenced their search
after the grand secret,--passing the nights in making various alchymical
experiments, or in fancied conferences with invisible beings.

Among other magical articles possessed by Doctor Dee was a large globe
of crystal, which he termed the Holy Stone, because he believed it had
been brought him by "angelical ministry;" and "in which," according to
Meric Casaubon, "and out of which, by persons qualified for it, and
admitted to the sight of it, all shapes and figures mentioned in every
action were seen, and voices heard." The same writer informs us it was
"round-shaped, of a pretty bigness, and most like unto crystal." Dee
himself declared to the Emperor Rodolph, "that the spirits had brought
him a stone of that value that no earthly kingdom was of such worthiness
as to be compared to the virtue and dignity thereof." He was in the
habit of daily consulting this marvellous stone, and recording the
visions he saw therein, and the conferences he held through it with the
invisible world.

Followed by Guy Fawkes and Kelley, the Doctor took his way down Long
Mill Gate, and stopping at an arched gateway on the left, near which, on
the site of the modern structure, stood the public school, founded a
century before by Hugh Oldham, Bishop of Exeter,--he unlocked a small
wicket, and entered a spacious court, surrounded on one side by high
stone walls, and on the other by a wing of the College.

Conducting his guest to the principal entrance of the building, which
lay at the farther end of the court, Doctor Dee ushered him into a large
chamber, panelled with oak, and having a curiously-moulded ceiling,
ornamented with grotesque sculpture. This room, still in existence, and
now occupied by the master of the school, formed Doctor Dee's library.
Offering Fawkes a chair, the Doctor informed him that when all was
ready, Kelley should summon him, and, accompanied by his assistant, he
withdrew. Half an hour elapsed before Kelley returned. Motioning Guy
Fawkes to follow him, he led the way through several intricate passages
to a chamber which was evidently the magician's sacred retreat. In a
recess on one side stood a table, covered with cabalistic characters and
figures, referring to the celestial influences. On it was placed the
holy stone, diffusing such a glistening radiance as is emitted by the
pebble called cat's-eye. On the floor a wide circle was described, in
the rings of which magical characters, resembling those on the table,
were traced. In front stood a brasier, filled with flaming coals; and
before it hung a heavy black curtain, appearing to shroud some mystery
from view.

Desiring Fawkes to place himself in the centre of the circle, Doctor Dee
took several ingredients from a basket handed him by Kelley, and cast
them into the brasier. As each herb or gum was ignited, the flame
changed its colour; now becoming crimson, now green, now blue, while
fragrant or noxious odours loaded the atmosphere. These suffumigations
ended, Dee seated himself on a chair near the table, whither he was
followed by Kelley, and commanding Fawkes not to move a footstep, as he
valued his safety, he waved his wand, and began in a solemn tone to
utter an invocation. As he continued, a hollow noise was heard overhead,
which gradually increased in loudness, until it appeared as if the walls
were tumbling about their ears.

"The spirits are at hand!" cried Dee. "Do not look behind you, or they
will tear you in pieces."

As he spoke, a horrible din was heard, as of mingled howling, shrieking,
and laughter. It was succeeded by a low faint strain of music, which
gradually died away, and then all was silent.

"All is prepared," cried Dee. "Now, what would you behold?"

"The progress of the great enterprise," replied Fawkes.

Doctor Dee waved his wand. The curtains slowly unfolded, and Guy Fawkes
perceived as in a glass a group of dark figures; amongst which he
noticed one in all respects resembling himself. A priest was apparently
proposing an oath, which the others were uttering.

"Do you recognise them?" said Doctor Dee.

"Perfectly," replied Fawkes.

"Look again," said Dee.

As he spoke the figures melted away, and a new scene was presented on
the glass. It was a gloomy vault, filled with barrels, partly covered
with fagots and billets of wood.

"Have you seen enough?" demanded Dee.

"No," replied Fawkes, firmly. "I have seen what is past. I would behold
that which is to come."

"Look again, then," rejoined the Doctor, waving his wand.

For an instant the glass was darkened, and nothing could be discerned
except the lurid flame and thick smoke arising from the brasier. The
next moment, an icy chill shot through the frame of Guy Fawkes as he
beheld a throng of skeletons arranged before him. The bony fingers of
the foremost of the grisly assemblage were pointed towards an indistinct
object at its feet. As this object gradually became more defined, Guy
Fawkes perceived that it was a figure resembling himself, stretched upon
the wheel, and writhing in the agonies of torture.

He uttered an exclamation of terror, and the curtains were instantly
closed.

Half an hour afterwards, Guy Fawkes quitted the College, and returned to
the Seven Stars.



CHAPTER IX.

THE PRISON ON SALFORD BRIDGE.


On the following morning, Guy Fawkes had a long and private conference
with Father Oldcorne. The priest appeared greatly troubled by the
communication made to him, but he said nothing, and was for some time
lost in reflection, and evidently weighing within himself what course it
would be best to pursue. His uneasiness was not without effect on
Viviana Radcliffe, and she ventured at last to inquire whether he
apprehended any new danger.

"I scarcely know what I apprehend, dear daughter," he answered. "But
circumstances have occurred which render it impossible we can remain
longer in our present asylum with safety. We must quit it at nightfall."

"Is our retreat then discovered?" inquired Viviana, in alarm.

"Not as yet, I trust," replied Oldcorne; "but I have just ascertained
from a messenger that the pursuivant, who, we thought, had departed for
Chester, is still lingering within the town. He has offered a large
reward for my apprehension, and having traced us to Manchester, declares
he will leave no house unsearched till he finds us. He has got together
a fresh band of soldiers, and is now visiting every place he thinks
likely to afford us shelter."

"If this is the case," rejoined Viviana, "why remain here a single
moment? Let us fly at once."

"That would avail nothing,--or rather, it would expose us to fresh risk,
dear daughter," replied Oldcorne. "Every approach to the town is
guarded, and soldiers are posted at the corners of the streets, who stop
and examine each suspected person."

"Heaven protect us!" exclaimed Viviana.

"But this is not all," continued the priest. "By some inexplicable and
mysterious means, the designs of certain of the most assured friends of
the catholic cause have come to the knowledge of our enemies, and the
lives and safeties of many worthy men will be endangered: amongst
others, that of your father."

"You terrify me!" cried Viviana.

"The rack shall force nothing from me, father," said Fawkes, sternly.

"Nor from me, my son," rejoined Oldcorne. "I have that within me which
will enable me to sustain the bitterest agonies that the persecutors of
our Church can inflict."

"Nor shall it force aught from me," added Viviana. "For, though you have
trusted me with nothing that can implicate others, I plainly perceive
some plot is in agitation for the restoration of our religion, and I
more than suspect Mr. Catesby is its chief contriver."

"Daughter!" exclaimed Oldcorne, uneasily.

"Fear nothing, father," she rejoined. "As I have said, the rack shall
not force me to betray you. Neither should it keep me silent when I feel
that my counsel--such as it is--may avail you. The course you are
pursuing is a dangerous and fatal one; dangerous to yourselves, and
fatal to the cause you would serve. Do not deceive yourselves. You are
struggling hopelessly and unrighteously, and Heaven will never assist an
undertaking which has its aim in the terrible waste of life you
meditate."

Father Oldcorne made no reply, but walked apart with Guy Fawkes; and
Viviana abandoned herself to sorrowful reflection.

Shortly after this, the door was suddenly thrown open, and Humphrey
Chetham rushed into the room. His looks were full of apprehension, and
Viviana was at no loss to perceive that some calamity was at hand.

"What is the matter?" she cried, rising.

"The pursuivant and his men are below," he replied. "They are
interrogating the hostess, and are about to search the house. I managed
to pass them unperceived."

"We will resist them to the last," said Guy Fawkes, drawing a petronel.

"Resistance will be in vain," rejoined Humphrey Chetham. "They more than
treble our number."

"Is there no means of escape?" asked Viviana.

"None whatever," replied Chetham. "I hear them on the stairs. The
terrified hostess has not dared to deny you, and is conducting them
hither."

"Stand back!" cried Guy Fawkes, striding towards the door, "and let me
alone confront them. That accursed pursuivant has escaped me once. But
he shall not do so a second time."

"My son," said Oldcorne, advancing towards him; "preserve yourself, if
possible. Your life is of consequence to the great cause. Think not of
us--think not of revenging yourself upon this caitiff. But think of the
high destiny for which you are reserved. That window offers a means of
retreat. Avail yourself of it. Fly!--Fly!"

"Ay, fly!" repeated Viviana. "And you, Humphrey Chetham,--your presence
here can do no good. Quick!--they come!"

"Nothing should induce me to quit you at such a moment, Viviana,"
replied Chetham, "but the conviction that I may be able to liberate you,
should these miscreants convey you to prison."

"Fly!--fly, my son," cried Oldcorne. "They are at the door."

Thus urged, Guy Fawkes reluctantly yielded to Oldcorne's entreaties and
sprang through the window. He was followed by Chetham. Viviana darted to
the casement, and saw that they had alighted in safety on the ground,
and were flying swiftly up Shude Hill. Meanwhile, the pursuivant had
reached the door, which Chetham had taken the precaution to fasten, and
was trying to burst it open. The bolts offered but a feeble resistance
to his fury, and the next moment he dashed into the room, at the head of
a band of soldiers.

"Seize them!" he cried. "Ha!" he added, glancing round the room with a
look of disappointment, "where are the others? Where is the soldier in
the Spanish garb? Where is Humphrey Chetham? Confess at once, dog!" he
continued, seizing the priest by the throat, "or I will pluck the secret
from your breast."

"Do not harm him," interposed Viviana. "I will answer the question. They
are fled."

"Fled!" echoed the pursuivant in consternation. "How?"

"Through that window," replied Viviana.

"After them!" cried the pursuivant to some of his attendants. "Take the
soldier, dead or alive! And now," he continued, as his orders were
obeyed, "you, Father Oldcorne, Jesuit and traitor; and you, Viviana
Radcliffe, his shelterer and abettor, I shall convey you both to the
prison on Salford Bridge. Seize them, and bring them along."

"Touch me not," rejoined Viviana, pushing the men aside, who rudely
advanced to obey their leader's command. "You have no warrant for this
brutality. I am ready to attend you. Take my arm, father."

Abashed at this reproof, the pursuivant stalked out of the room.
Surrounded by the soldiers, Viviana and the priest followed. The sad
procession was attended by crowds to the very door of the prison, where,
by the pursuivant's commands, they were locked in separate cells.

The cell in which Viviana was confined was a small chamber at the back
of the prison, and on the upper story. It had a small grated window
overlooking the river. It has already been mentioned that this prison
was originally a chapel built in the reign of Edward the Third, and had
only recently been converted into a place of security for recusants. The
chamber allotted to Viviana was contrived in the roof, and was so low
that she could scarcely stand upright in it. It was furnished with a
chair, a small table, and a straw pallet.

The hours passed wearily with Viviana as they were marked by the
deep-toned clock of the Collegiate Church, the tall tower of which
fronted her window. Oppressed by the most melancholy reflections, she
was for some time a prey almost to despair. On whatever side she looked,
the prospect was equally cheerless, and her sole desire was that she
might find a refuge from her cares in the seclusion of a convent. For
this she prayed,--and she prayed also that Heaven would soften the
hearts of her oppressors, and enable those who suffered to endure their
yoke with patience. In the evening provisions were brought her, and
placed upon the table, together with a lamp, by a surly looking gaoler.
But Viviana had no inclination to eat, and left them untouched. Neither
could she prevail upon herself to lie down on the wretched pallet, and
she therefore determined to pass the night in the chair.

After some hours of watchfulness, her eyelids closed, and she continued
to slumber until she was aroused by a slight noise at the window.
Starting at the sound, she flew towards it, and perceived in the gloom
the face of a man. She would have uttered a loud cry, when the
circumstances of her situation rushed to her mind, and the possibility
that it might be a friend checked her. The next moment satisfied her
that she had acted rightly. A voice, which she recognised as that of
Humphrey Chetham, called to her by name in a low tone, bidding her fear
nothing, as he was come to set her free.

"How have you managed to reach this window?" asked Viviana.

"By a rope ladder," he answered. "I contrived in the darkness to clamber
upon the roof of the prison from the parapets of the bridge, and, after
securing the ladder to a projection, dropped the other end into a boat,
rowed by Guy Fawkes, and concealed beneath the arches of the bridge. If
I can remove this bar so as to allow you to pass through the window,
dare you descend the ladder?"

"No," replied Viviana, shuddering. "My brain reels at the mere idea."

"Think of the fate you will escape," urged Chetham.

"And what will become of Father Oldcorne?" asked Viviana. "Where is he?"

"In the cell immediately beneath you," replied Chetham.

"Can you not liberate him?" she continued.

"Assuredly, if he will risk the descent," answered Chetham, reluctantly.

"Free him first," rejoined Viviana, "and at all hazards I will accompany
you."

The young merchant made no reply, but disappeared from the window.
Viviana strained her gaze downwards; but it was too dark to allow her to
see anything. She, however, heard a noise like that occasioned by a
file; and shortly afterwards a few muttered words informed her that the
priest was passing through the window. The cords of the ladder shook
against the bars of her window,--and she held her breath for fear. From
this state of suspense she was relieved in a few minutes by Humphrey
Chetham, who informed her that Oldcorne had descended in safety, and was
in the boat with Guy Fawkes.

"I will fulfil my promise," replied Viviana, trembling; "but I fear my
strength will fail me."

"You had better find death below than tarry here," replied Humphrey
Chetham, who as he spoke was rapidly filing through the iron bar. "In a
few minutes this impediment will be removed."

The young merchant worked hard, and in a short time the stout bar
yielded to his efforts.

"Now, then," he cried, springing into the room, "you are free."

"I dare not make the attempt," said Viviana; "my strength utterly fails
me."

"Nay, then," he replied; "I will take the risk upon myself. You must not
remain here."

So saying, he caught her in his arms, and bore her through the window.

With some difficulty, and no little risk, he succeeded in gaining a
footing on the ladder. This accomplished, he began slowly to descend.
When half way down, he found he had overrated his strength, and he
feared he should be compelled to quit his hold; but, nerved by his
passion, he held on, and making a desperate effort, completed the
descent in safety.



CHAPTER X.

THE FATE OF THE PURSUIVANT.


Assisted by the stream, and plying his oars with great rapidity, Guy
Fawkes soon left the town far behind him; nor did he relax his exertions
until checked by Humphrey Chetham. He then ceased rowing, and directed
the boats towards the left bank of the river.

"Here we propose to land," observed the young merchant to Viviana. "We
are not more than a hundred yards from Ordsall Cave, where you can take
refuge for a short time, while I proceed to the Hall, and ascertain
whether you can return to it with safety."

"I place myself entirely in your hands," she replied; "but I fear such a
course will be to rush into the very face of danger. Oh! that I could
join my father at Holywell! With him I should feel secure."

"Means may be found to effect your wishes," returned Humphrey Chetham;
"but, after the suffering you have recently endured, it will scarcely be
prudent to undertake so long a journey without a few hours' repose.
To-morrow,--or the next day,--you may set out."

"I am fully equal to it now," rejoined Viviana, eagerly; "and any
fatigue I may undergo will not equal my present anxiety. You have
already done so much for me, that I venture to presume still further
upon your kindness. Provide some means of conveyance for me and for
Father Oldcorne to Chester, and I shall for ever be beholden to you."

"I will not only do what you desire, Viviana, if it be possible,"
answered Chetham; "but, if you will allow me, I will serve as your
escort."

"And I, also," added Guy Fawkes.

"All I fear is, that your strength may fail you," continued the young
merchant, in a tone of uneasiness.

"Fear nothing then," replied Viviana. "I am made of firmer material than
you imagine. Think only of what _you_ can do, and doubt not my ability
to do it, also."

"I ever deemed you of a courageous nature, daughter," observed Oldcorne;
"but your resolution surpasses my belief."

By this time the boat had approached the shore. Leaping upon the rocky
bank, the young merchant assisted Viviana to land, and then performed
the same service for the priest. Guy Fawkes was the last to disembark;
and, having pulled the skiff aground, he followed the others, who waited
for him at a short distance. The night was profoundly dark, and the path
they had taken, being shaded by large trees, was scarcely discernible.
Carefully guiding Viviana, who leaned on him for support, the young
merchant proceeded at a slow pace, and with the utmost caution.
Suddenly, they were surprised and alarmed by a vivid blaze of light
bursting through the trees on the left.

"Some building must be on fire!" exclaimed Viviana.

"It is Ordsall Hall,--it is your father's residence," cried Humphrey
Chetham.

"It is the work of that accursed pursuivant, I will be sworn," said Guy
Fawkes.

"If it be so, may Heaven's fire consume him!" rejoined Oldcorne.

"Alas! alas!" cried Viviana, bursting into tears, "I thought myself
equal to every calamity; but this new stroke of fate is more than I can
bear."

As she spoke, the conflagration evidently increased. The sky was
illumined by the red reflection of the flames; and as the party hurried
forward to a rising ground, whence a better view could be obtained of
the spectacle, they saw the dark walls of the ancient mansion apparently
wrapped in the devouring element.

"Let us hasten thither," cried Viviana, distractedly.

"I and Guy Fawkes will fly there," replied the young merchant, "and
render all the assistance in our power. But, first, let me convey you to
the cave."

More dead than alive, Viviana suffered herself to be borne in that
direction. Making his way over every impediment, Chetham soon reached
the excavation; and depositing his lovely burthen upon the stone couch,
and leaving her in charge of the priest, he hurried with Guy Fawkes
towards the Hall.

On arriving at the termination of the avenue, they found, to their great
relief, that it was not the main structure, but an outbuilding which was
in flames, and from its situation the young merchant conceived it to be
the stables. As soon as they made this discovery, they slackened their
pace, being apprehensive, from the shouts and other sounds that reached
them, that some hostile party might be among the assemblage. Crossing
the drawbridge--which was fortunately lowered,--they were about to shape
their course towards the stables, which lay at the further side of the
Hall, when they perceived the old steward, Heydocke, standing at the
doorway and wringing his hands in distraction. Humphrey Chetham
immediately called to him.

"I should know that voice!" cried the old man, stepping forward. "Ah!
Mr. Chetham, is it you? You are arrived at a sad time, sir--a sad
time--to see the old house, where I have dwelt, man and boy, sixty years
and more, in flames. But one calamity has trodden upon the heels of
another. Ever since Sir William departed for Holywell nothing has gone
right--nothing whatever. First, the house was searched by the pursuivant
and his gang; then, my young mistress disappeared; then it was rifled by
these plunderers; and now, to crown all, it is on fire, and will
speedily be burnt to the ground."

"Say not so," replied the young merchant. "The flames have not yet
reached the Hall; and, if exertion is used, they may be extinguished
without further mischief."

"Let those who have kindled them extinguish them," replied Heydocke,
sullenly. "I will not raise hand more."

"Who are the incendiaries?" demanded Fawkes.

"The pursuivant and his myrmidons," replied Heydocke. "They came here
to-night; and after ransacking the house under pretence of procuring
further evidence against my master, and carrying off everything valuable
they could collect--plate, jewels, ornaments, money, and even
wearing-apparel,--they ended by locking up all the servants,--except
myself, who managed to elude their vigilance,--in the cellar, and
setting fire to the stables."

"Wretches!" exclaimed Humphrey Chetham.

"Wretches, indeed!" repeated the steward. "But this is not all the
villany they contemplate. I had concealed myself in the store-room,
under a heap of lumber, and in searching for me they chanced upon a
barrel of gunpowder--"

"Well!" interrupted Guy Fawkes.

"Well, sir," pursued Heydocke, "I heard the pursuivant remark to one of
his comrades, 'This is a lucky discovery. If we can't find the steward,
we'll blow him and the old house to the devil.' Just then, some one came
to tell him I was hidden in the stables, and the whole troop adjourned
thither. But being baulked of their prey, I suppose, they wreaked their
vengeance in the way you perceive."

"No doubt," rejoined Humphrey Chetham. "But they shall bitterly rue it.
I will myself represent the affair to the Commissioners."

"It will be useless," groaned Heydocke. "There is no law to protect the
property of a Catholic."

"Where is the barrel of gunpowder you spoke of?" asked Guy Fawkes, as if
struck by a sudden idea.

"The villains took it with them when they quitted the store-room,"
replied the steward. "I suppose they have got it in the yard."

"They have lighted a fire which shall be quenched with their blood,"
rejoined Fawkes, fiercely. "Follow me. I may need you both."

So saying, he darted off, and turning the corner, came in front of the
blazing pile. Occupying one side of a large quadrangular court, the
stables were wholly disconnected with the Hall, and though the fire
burnt furiously, yet as the wind carried the flames and sparks in a
contrary direction, it was possible the latter building might escape if
due precaution were taken. So far, however, from this being the case, it
seemed the object of the bystanders to assist the progress of the
conflagration. Several horses, saddled and bridled, had been removed
from the stable, and placed within an open cowhouse. To these Guy Fawkes
called Chetham's attention, and desired him and the old steward to
secure some of them. Hastily giving directions to Heydocke, the young
merchant obeyed,--sprang on the back of the nearest courser, and seizing
the bridles of two others, rode off with them. His example was followed
by Heydocke, and one steed only was left. Such was the confusion and
clamour prevailing around, that the above proceeding passed unnoticed.

Guy Fawkes, meanwhile, ensconcing himself behind the court-gate, looked
about for the barrel of gunpowder. For some time he could discover no
trace of it. At length, beneath a shed, not far from him, he perceived a
soldier seated upon a small cask, which he had no doubt was the object
he was in search of. So intent was the man upon the spectacle before
him, that he was wholly unaware of the approach of an enemy; and
creeping noiselessly up to him, Guy Fawkes felled him to the ground with
a blow from the heavy butt-end of his petronel. The action was not
perceived by the others; and carrying the cask out of the yard, Fawkes
burst in the lid, and ascertained that the contents were what they had
been represented. He then glanced around, to see how he could best
execute his purpose.

On the top of the wall adjoining the stables he beheld the pursuivant,
with three or four soldiers, giving directions and issuing orders.
Another and lower wall, forming the opposite side of the quadrangle, and
built on the edge of the moat, approached the scene of the fire, and on
this, Guy Fawkes, with the barrel of gunpowder on his shoulder, mounted.
Concealing himself behind a tree which overshadowed it, he watched a
favourable moment for his enterprise.

He had not to wait long. Prompted by some undefinable feeling, which
caused him to rush upon his destruction, the pursuivant ventured upon
the roof of the stables, and was followed by his companions. No sooner
did this occur, than Guy Fawkes dashed forward, and hurled the barrel
with all his force into the midst of the flames, throwing himself at the
same moment into the moat. The explosion was instantaneous and
tremendous;--so loud as to be audible even under the water. Its effects
were terrible. The bodies of the pursuivant and his companions were
blown into the air, and carried to the further side of the moat. Of
those standing before the building, several were destroyed, and all more
or less injured. The walls were thrown down by the concussion, and the
roof and its fiery fragments projected into the moat. An effectual stop
was put to the conflagration; and, when Guy Fawkes rose to the boiling
and agitated surface of the water, the flames were entirely
extinguished. Hearing groans on the opposite bank of the moat, he forced
his way through the blazing beams, which were hissing near him; and
snatching up a still burning fragment, hastened in the direction of the
sound. In the blackened and mutilated object that met his gaze, he
recognised the pursuivant. The dying wretch also recognised him, and
attempted to speak; but in vain--his tongue refused its office, and with
a horrible attempt at articulation, he expired.

Alarmed by the explosion, the domestics,--who it has already been
mentioned were confined in the cellar;--were rendered so desperate by
their fears, that they contrived to break out of their prison, and now
hastened to the stables to ascertain the cause of the report. Leaving
them to assist the sufferers, whose dreadful groans awakened some
feelings of compunction in his iron breast, Guy Fawkes caught the
steed,--which had broken its bridle and rushed off, and now stood
shivering, shaking, and drenched in moisture near the drawbridge,--and,
mounting it, galloped towards the cave.

At its entrance, he was met by Humphrey Chetham and Oldcorne, who
eagerly inquired what had happened.

Guy Fawkes briefly explained.

"It is the hand of Heaven manifested by your arm, my son," observed the
priest. "Would that it had stricken the tyrant and apostate prince by
whom our church is persecuted! But his turn will speedily arrive."

"Peace, father!" cried Guy Fawkes, sternly.

"I do not lament the fate of the pursuivant," observed Humphrey Chetham.
"But this is a frightful waste of human life--and in such a cause!"

"It is the cause of Heaven, young sir," rejoined the priest, angrily.

"I do not think so," returned Chetham; "and, but for my devotion to
Viviana, I would have no further share in it."

"You are at liberty to leave us, if you think proper," retorted the
priest, coldly.

"Nay, say not so, father," interposed Viviana, who had been an
unobserved listener to the foregoing discourse. "You owe your life--your
liberty, to Mr. Chetham."

"True, daughter," replied the priest. "I have been too hasty, and
entreat his forgiveness."

"You have it, reverend sir," rejoined the young merchant. "And now,
Master Heydocke," he added, turning to the steward, "you may return to
the Hall with safety. No one will molest you more, and your presence may
be needed."

"But my young mistress--" said Heydocke.

"I am setting out for Holywell to join my father," replied Viviana. "You
will receive our instructions from that place."

"It is well," returned the old man, bowing respectfully. "Heaven shield
us from further misfortune!"

Humphrey Chetham having assisted Viviana into the saddle, and the rest
of the party having mounted, they took the road to Chester, while
Heydocke returned to the Hall.



CHAPTER XI.

THE PILGRIMAGE TO ST. WINIFRED'S WELL.


Early on the following morning, the party, who had ridden hard, and had
paused only for a short time at Knutsford to rest their steeds,
approached the ancient and picturesque city of Chester. Skirting its
high, and then partly fortified walls, above which appeared the massive
tower of the venerable cathedral, they passed through the east-gate, and
proceeding along the street deriving its name from that entrance, were
about to halt before the door of a large hostel, called the Saint
Werburgh's Abbey, when, to their great surprise, they perceived Catesby
riding towards them.

"I thought I could not be mistaken," cried the latter, as he drew near
and saluted Viviana. "I was about to set out for Manchester with a
despatch to you from your father, Miss Radcliffe, when this most
unexpected and fortunate encounter spares me the journey. But may I ask
why I see you here, and thus attended?" he added, glancing uneasily at
Humphrey Chetham.

A few words from Father Oldcorne explained all. Catesby affected to bend
his brow, and appear concerned at the relation. But he could scarcely
repress his satisfaction.

"Sir William Radcliffe _must_ join us now," he whispered to the priest.

"He must--he _shall_," replied Oldcorne, in the same tone.

"Your father wishes you to join him at Holt, Miss Radcliffe," remarked
Catesby, turning to her, "whence the pilgrimage starts to-morrow for
Saint Winifred's Well. There are already nearly thirty devout persons
assembled."

"Indeed!" replied Viviana. "May I inquire their names."

"Sir Everard and Lady Digby," replied Catesby; "the Lady Anne Vaux and
her sister, Mrs. Brooksby; Mr. Ambrose Rookwood and his wife, the two
Winters, Tresham, Wright, Fathers Garnet and Fisher, and many others, in
all probability unknown to you. The procession started ten days ago from
Gothurst, in Buckinghamshire, Sir Everard Digby's residence, and
proceeded from thence by slow stages to Norbrook and Haddington, at each
of which houses it halted for some days. Yesterday, it reached Holt, and
starts, as I have just told you, to-morrow for Holywell. If you are so
disposed, you will be able to attend it."

"I will gladly do so," replied Viviana. "And since I find it is not
necessary to hurry forward, I will rest myself for a short time here."

So saying, she dismounted, and the whole party entered the hostel.
Viviana withdrew to seek a short repose, and glance over her father's
letter, while Catesby, Guy Fawkes, and Oldcorne, were engaged in deep
consultation. Humphrey Chetham, perceiving that his attendance was no
further required, and that he was an object of suspicion and dislike to
Catesby,--for whom he also entertained a similar aversion,--prepared to
return. And when Viviana made her appearance, he advanced to bid her
farewell.

"I can be of no further service to you, Viviana," he said, in a
mournful tone; "and as my presence might be as unwelcome to your father,
as it seems to be to others of your friends, I will now take my leave."

"Farewell, Mr. Chetham," she replied. "I will not attempt to oppose your
departure; for, much as I grieve to lose you--and that I do so these
tears will testify,--I feel that it is for the best. I owe you
much--more--far more than I can ever repay. It would be unworthy in me,
and unfair to you, to say that I do not, and shall not ever feel the
deepest interest in you; that, next to my father, there is no one whom I
regard--nay, whom I love so much."

"Love! Viviana?" echoed the young merchant, trembling.

"Love, Mr. Chetham," she continued, turning very pale; "since you compel
me to repeat the word. I avow it boldly, because--" and her voice
faltered,--"I would not have you suppose me ungrateful, and because I
never can be yours."

"I will not attempt to dissuade you from the fatal determination you
have formed of burying your charms in a cloister," rejoined Humphrey
Chetham. "But, oh! if you _do_ love me, why condemn yourself--why
condemn me to hopeless misery?"

"I will tell you why," replied Viviana. "Because you are not of my
faith; and because I never will wed a heretic."

"I am answered," replied the young merchant, sadly.

"Mr. Chetham," interposed Oldcorne, who had approached them unperceived;
"it is in your power to change Viviana's determination."

"How?" asked the young merchant, starting.

"By being reconciled to the Church of Rome."

"Then it will remain unaltered," replied Chetham, firmly.

"And, if Mr. Chetham would consent to this proposal, _I_ would not,"
said Viviana. "Farewell," she added, extending her hand to him, which he
pressed to his lips. "Do not let us prolong an interview so painful to
us both. The best wish I can desire for you is, that we may never meet
again."

Without another word, and without hazarding a look at the object of his
affections, Chetham rushed out of the room, and mounting his horse, rode
off in the direction of Manchester.

"Daughter," observed Oldcorne, as soon as he was gone, "I cannot too
highly approve of your conduct, or too warmly applaud the mastery you
display over your feelings. But----" and he hesitated.

"But what, father?" cried Viviana, eagerly. "Do you think I have done
wrong in dismissing him?"

"By no means, dear daughter," replied the priest. "You have acted most
discreetly. But you will forgive me if I urge you--nay, implore you not
to take the veil; but rather to bestow your hand upon some Catholic
gentleman----"

"Such as Mr. Catesby," interrupted Viviana, glancing in the direction
of the individual she mentioned, who was watching them narrowly from the
further end of the room.

"Ay, Mr. Catesby," repeated Oldcorne, affecting not to notice the
scornful emphasis laid on the name. "None more fitting could be found,
nor more worthy of you. Our Church has not a more zealous servant and
upholder; and he will be at once a father and a husband to you. Such a
union would be highly profitable to our religion. And, though it is well
for those whose hearts are burthened with affliction, and who are unable
to render any active service to their faith, to retire from the world,
it behoves every sister of the Romish Church to support it at a juncture
like the present, at any sacrifice of personal feeling."

"Urge me no more, father," replied Viviana, firmly. "I will make every
sacrifice for my religion, consistent with principle and feeling. But I
will not make this; neither am I required to make it. And I beg you will
entreat Mr. Catesby to desist from further importunity."

Oldcorne bowed and retired. Nor was another syllable exchanged between
them prior to their departure.

Crossing the old bridge over the Dee, then defended at each extremity by
a gate and tower, the party took the road to Holt, where they arrived in
about an hour. The recent conversation had thrown a restraint over them,
which was not removed during the journey. Habitually taciturn, as has
already been remarked, Guy Fawkes seemed gloomier and more thoughtful
than ever; and though he rode by the side of Viviana, he did not
volunteer a remark, and scarcely appeared conscious of her presence.
Catesby and Oldcorne kept aloof, and it was not until they came in sight
of the little town which formed their destination that the former
galloped forward, and striking into the path on the right, begged
Viviana to follow him. A turn in the road shortly afterwards showed them
a large mansion screened by a grove of beech-trees.

"That is the house to which we are going," observed Catesby.

And as he spoke, they approached a lodge, the gates of which being
opened by an attendant, admitted them to the avenue.

Viviana's heart throbbed with delight at the anticipated meeting with
her father; but she could not repress a feeling of anxiety at the
distressing intelligence she had to impart to him. As she drew near the
house she perceived him walking beneath the shade of the trees with two
other persons; and quickening her pace, sprang from her steed, and
almost before he was aware of it was in his arms.

"Why do I see you here so unexpectedly, my dear child?" cried Sir
William Radcliffe, as soon as he had recovered from the surprise which
her sudden appearance occasioned him. "Mr. Catesby only left this
morning, charged with a letter entreating you to set out without
delay,--and now I behold you. What has happened?"

Viviana then recounted the occurrences of the last few days.

"It is as I feared," replied Sir William, in a desponding tone. "Our
oppressors will never cease till they drive us to desperation!"

"They will not!" rejoined a voice behind him. "Well may we exclaim with
the prophet--'How long, O Lord, shall I cry, and thou wilt not hear?
Shall I cry out to thee suffering violence, and thou wilt not save? Why
hast thou showed me iniquity and grievance, to see rapine and injustice
before me? Why lookest thou upon them that do unjust things, and holdest
thy peace when the wicked devoureth the man that is more just than
himself?'"

Viviana looked in the direction of the speaker and beheld a man in a
priestly garb, whose countenance struck her forcibly. He was rather
under the middle height, of a slight spare figure, and in age might be
about fifty. His features, which in his youth must have been pleasing,
if not handsome, and which were still regular, were pale and emaciated;
but his eye was dark, and of unusual brilliancy. A single glance at this
person satisfied her it was Father Garnet, the provincial of the English
Jesuits; nor was she mistaken in her supposition.

Of this remarkable person, so intimately connected with the main events
of the history about to be related, it may be proper to offer some
preliminary account. Born at Nottingham in 1554, in the reign of Queen
Mary, and of obscure parentage, Henry Garnet was originally destined to
the Protestant Church, and educated, with a view to taking orders, at
Winchester school, whence it was intended he should be removed in due
course to Oxford. But this design was never carried into effect.
Influenced by motives, into which it is now scarcely worth while
inquiring, and which have been contested by writers on both sides of the
question, Garnet proceeded from Winchester to London, where he engaged
himself as corrector of the press to a printer of law-books, named
Tottel, in which capacity he became acquainted with Sir Edward Coke and
Chief Justice Popham,--one of whom was afterwards to be the leading
counsel against him, and the other his judge. After continuing in this
employment for two years, during which he had meditated a change in his
religion, he went abroad, and travelling first to Madrid, and then to
Rome, saw enough of the Catholic priesthood to confirm his resolution,
and in 1575 he assumed the habit of a Jesuit. Pursuing his studies with
the utmost zeal and ardour at the Jesuits' College, under the celebrated
Bellarmine, and the no less celebrated Clavius, he made such progress,
that upon the indisposition of the latter, he was able to fill the
mathematical chair. Nor was he less skilled in philosophy, metaphysics,
and divinity; and his knowledge of Hebrew was so profound that he taught
it publicly in the Roman schools.

To an enthusiastic zeal in the cause of the religion he had espoused,
Garnet added great powers of persuasion and eloquence,--a combination of
qualities well fitting him for the office of a missionary priest; and
undismayed by the dangers he would have to encounter, and eager to
propagate his doctrines, he solicited to be sent on this errand to his
own country. At the instance of Father Persons, he received an
appointment to the mission in 1586, and he secretly landed in England in
the same year. Braving every danger, and shrinking from no labour, he
sought on all hands to make proselytes to the ancient faith, and to
sustain the wavering courage of its professors. Two years afterwards, on
the imprisonment of the Superior of the Jesuits, being raised to that
important post, he was enabled to extend his sphere of action; and
redoubling his exertions in consequence, he so well discharged his
duties, that it was mainly owing to him that the Catholic party was kept
together during the fierce persecutions of the latter end of Elizabeth's
reign.

Compelled to personate various characters, as he travelled from place to
place, Garnet had acquired a remarkable facility for disguise; and such
was his address and courage, that he not unfrequently imposed upon the
very officers sent in pursuit of him. Up to the period of Elizabeth's
demise, he had escaped arrest; and, though involved in the treasonable
intrigue with the king of Spain, and other conspiracies, he procured a
general pardon under the great seal. His office and profession naturally
brought him into contact with the chief Catholic families throughout the
kingdom; and he maintained an active correspondence with many of them,
by means of his various agents and emissaries. The great object of his
life being the restoration of the fallen religion, to accomplish this,
as he conceived, great and desirable end, he was prepared to adopt any
means, however violent or obnoxious. When, under the seal of confession,
Catesby revealed to him his dark designs, so far from discouraging him,
all he counselled was caution. Having tested the disposition of the
wealthier Romanists to rise against their oppressors, and finding a
general insurrection, as has before been stated, impracticable, he gave
every encouragement and assistance to the conspiracy forming among the
more desperate and discontented of the party. At his instigation, the
present pilgrimage to Saint Winifred's Well was undertaken, in the hope
that, when so large a body of the Catholics were collected together,
some additional aid to the project might be obtained.

One of the most mysterious and inexplicable portions of Garnet's history
is that relating to Anne Vaux. This lady, the daughter of Lord Vaux of
Harrowden, a rigid Catholic nobleman, and one of Garnet's earliest
patrons and friends, on the death of her father, in 1595, attached
herself to his fortunes,--accompanied him in all his missions,--shared
all his privations and dangers,--and, regardless of calumny or reproach,
devoted herself entirely to his service. What is not less singular, her
sister, who had married a Catholic gentleman named Brooksby, became his
equally zealous attendant. Their enthusiasm produced a similar effect on
Mr. Brooksby; and wherever Garnet went, all three accompanied him.

By his side, on the present occasion, stood Sir Everard Digby. Accounted
one of the handsomest, most accomplished, and best-informed men of his
time, Sir Everard, at the period of this history only twenty-four, had
married, when scarcely sixteen, Maria, heiress of the ancient and
honourable family of Mulshoe, with whom he obtained a large fortune, and
the magnificent estate of Gothurst, or Gaythurst, in Buckinghamshire.
Knighted by James the First at Belvoir Castle, on his way from Scotland
to London, Digby, who had once formed one of the most brilliant
ornaments of the court, had of late in a great degree retired from it.
"Notwithstanding," writes Father Greenway, "that he had dwelt much in
the Queen's court, and was in the way of obtaining honours and
distinction by his graceful manners and rare parts, he chose rather to
bear the cross with the persecuted Catholics, _et vivere abjectus in
domo Domini_, than to sail through the pleasures of a palace and the
prosperities of the world, to the shipwreck of his conscience and the
destruction of his soul." Having only when he completed his minority
professed the Catholic religion, he became deeply concerned at its
fallen state, and his whole thoughts were bent upon its restoration.
This change in feeling was occasioned chiefly, if not altogether, by
Garnet, by whom his conversion had been accomplished.

Sir Everard Digby was richly attired in a black velvet doublet, with
sleeves slashed with white satin, and wore a short mantle of the same
material, similarly lined. He had the enormous trunk hose, heretofore
mentioned as the distinguishing peculiarity of the costume of the
period, and wore black velvet shoes, ornamented with white roses. An
ample ruff encircled his throat. His hat was steeple-crowned, and
somewhat broader in the leaf than was ordinarily worn, and shaded with a
plume of black feathers. His hair was raven black, and he wore a pointed
beard, and moustaches. His figure was tall and stately, and his features
grave and finely formed.

By this time the group had been joined by the others, and a friendly
greeting took place. Guy Fawkes was presented by Catesby to Sir William
Radcliffe and Sir Everard Digby. To Garnet he required no introduction,
and Father Oldcorne was known to all. After a little further
conversation, the party adjourned to the house, which belonged to a
Welsh Catholic gentleman, named Griffiths, who, though absent at the
time, had surrendered it to the use of Sir Everard Digby and his
friends.

On their entrance, Viviana was introduced by her father to Lady Digby,
who presided as hostess, and welcomed her with great cordiality. She was
then conducted to her own room, where she was speedily joined by Sir
William; and they remained closeted together till summoned to the
principal meal of the day. At the table, which was most hospitably
served, Viviana found, in addition to her former companions, a large
assemblage, to most of whom she was a stranger, consisting of Anne Vaux,
Mr. Brooksby and his wife, Ambrose Rookwood, two brothers named Winter,
two Wrights, Francis Tresham,--persons of whom it will be necessary to
make particular mention hereafter,--and several others, in all amounting
to thirty.

The meal over, the company dispersed, and Viviana and her father,
passing through an open window, wandered forth upon a beautiful and
spreading lawn, and thence under the shade of the beech-trees. They had
not been long here, anxiously conferring on recent events, when they
perceived Garnet and Catesby approaching.

"Father, dear father!" cried Viviana, hastily, "I was about to warn you;
but I have not time to do so now. Some dark and dangerous plot is in
agitation to restore our religion. Mr. Catesby is anxious to league you
with it. Do not--do not yield to his solicitations!"

"Fear nothing on that score, Viviana," replied Sir William, "I have
already perplexities enow, without adding to them."

"I will leave you, then," she replied. And, as soon as the others came
up, she made some excuse for withdrawing, and returned to the house. The
window of her chamber commanded the avenue, and from it she watched the
group. They remained for a long time pacing up and down, in earnest
conversation. By and by, they were joined by Oldcorne and Fawkes. Then
came a third party, consisting of the Winters and Wrights; and, lastly,
Sir Everard Digby and Tresham swelled the list.

The assemblage was then harangued by Catesby, and the most profound
attention paid to his address. Viviana kept her eye fixed upon her
father's countenance, and from its changing expression inferred what
effect the speech produced upon him. At its conclusion, the assemblage
separated in little groups; and she perceived, with great uneasiness,
that Father Garnet passed his arm through that of her father, and led
him away. Some time elapsed, and neither of them re-appeared.

"My warning was in vain; he _has_ joined them!" she exclaimed.

"No, Viviana!" cried her father's voice behind her. "I have _not_ joined
them. Nor _shall_ I do so."

"Heaven be praised!" she exclaimed, flinging her arms around his neck.

Neither of them were aware that they were overheard by Garnet, who had
noiselessly followed Sir William into the room, and muttered to himself,
"For all this, he _shall_ join the plot, and she _shall_ wed Catesby."

He then coughed slightly, to announce his presence; and, apologizing to
Viviana for the intrusion, told her he came to confess her previously to
the celebration of mass, which would take place that evening, in a small
chapel in the house. Wholly obedient to the command of her spiritual
advisers, Viviana instantly signified her assent; and, her father having
withdrawn, she laid open the inmost secrets of her heart to the Jesuit.
Severely reprobating her love for a heretic, before he would give her
absolution, Garnet enjoined her, as a penance, to walk barefoot to the
holy well on the morrow, and to make a costly offering at the shrine of
the saint. Compliance being promised to his injunction, he pronounced
the absolution, and departed.

Soon after this, mass was celebrated by Garnet, and the sacrament
administered to the assemblage.

An hour before daybreak, the party again assembled in the chapel, where
matins were performed; after which, the female devotees, who were
clothed in snow-white woollen robes, with wide sleeves and hoods, and
having large black crosses woven in front, retired for a short time, and
re-appeared, with their feet bared, and hair unbound. Each had a large
rosary attached to the cord that bound her waist.

Catesby thought Viviana had never appeared so lovely as in this costume;
and as he gazed at her white and delicately formed feet, her small
rounded ankles, her dark and abundant tresses falling in showers almost
to the ground, he became more deeply enamoured than before. His
passionate gaze was, however, unnoticed, as the object of it kept her
eyes steadily fixed on the ground. Lady Digby, who was a most beautiful
woman, scarcely appeared to less advantage; and, as she walked side by
side with Viviana in the procession, the pair attracted universal
admiration from all who beheld them.

Everything being at last in readiness, and the order of march fully
arranged, two youthful choristers, in surplices, chanting a hymn to
Saint Winifred, set forth. They were followed by two men bearing silken
banners, on one of which was displayed the martyrdom of the saint whose
shrine they were about to visit, and on the other a lamb carrying a
cross; next came Fathers Oldcorne and Fisher, each sustaining a large
silver crucifix; next, Garnet alone, in the full habit of his order;
next, the females, in the attire before described, and walking two and
two; next, Sir Everard Digby and Sir William Radcliffe; and lastly, the
rest of the pilgrims, to the number of fourteen. These were all on foot.
But at the distance of fifty paces behind them rode Guy Fawkes and
Catesby, at the head of twenty well-armed and well-mounted attendants,
intended to serve as a guard in case of need.

In such order, this singular procession moved forward at a slow pace,
taking its course along a secluded road leading to the ridge of hills
extending from the neighbourhood of Wrexham to Mold, and from thence, in
an almost unbroken chain, to Holywell.

Along these heights, whence magnificent views were obtained of the broad
estuary of the Dee and the more distant ocean, the train proceeded
without interruption; and though the road selected was one seldom
traversed, and through a country thinly peopled, still, the rumour of
the pilgrimage having gone abroad, hundreds were stationed at different
points to behold it. Some expressions of disapprobation were
occasionally manifested by the spectators; but the presence of the large
armed force effectually prevented any interference.

Whenever such a course could be pursued, the procession took its way
over the sward. Still the sufferings of the females were severe in the
extreme; and before Viviana had proceeded a mile, her white, tender feet
were cut and bruised by the sharp flints over which she walked; every
step she took leaving a bloody print behind it. Lady Digby was in little
better condition. But such was the zeal by which they, in common with
all the other devotees following them, were animated, that not a single
murmur was uttered.

Proceeding in this way, they reached at mid-day a small stone chapel on
the summit of the hill overlooking Plas-Newydd, where they halted, and
devotions being performed, the females bathed their lacerated limbs in a
neighbouring brook, after which they were rubbed with a cooling and
odorous ointment. Thus refreshed, they again set forward, and halting a
second time at Plas-Isaf, where similar religious ceremonies were
observed, they rested for the day at a lodging prepared for their
reception in the vicinity of Mold.

The night being passed in prayer, early in the morning they commenced
their march in the same order as before. When Viviana first set her feet
to the ground, she felt as if she were treading on hot iron, and the
pain was so excruciating, that she could not repress a cry.

"Heed not your sufferings, dear daughter," observed Garnet,
compassionately; "the waters of the holy fountain will heal the wounds
both of soul and body."

Overcoming her agony by a powerful effort, she contrived to limp
forward; and the whole party was soon after in motion. Halting; for two
hours at Pentre-Terfyn, and again at Skeviog, the train, towards
evening, reached the summit of the hill overlooking Holywell, at the
foot of which could be seen the ruins of Basingwerk Abbey, and the roof
of the ancient chapel erected over the sacred spring. At this sight,
those who were foremost in the procession fell on their knees; and the
horsemen dismounting, imitated their example. An earnest supplication to
Saint Winifred was then poured forth by Father Garnet, in which all the
others joined, and a hymn in her honour chanted by the choristers.

Their devotions ended, the whole train arose, and walked slowly down the
steep descent. As they entered the little town, which owes its name and
celebrity to the miraculous spring rising within it, they were met by a
large concourse of people, who had flocked from Flint, and the other
neighbouring places to witness the ceremonial. Most of the inhabitants
of Holywell, holding their saintly patroness in the deepest veneration,
viewed this pilgrimage to her shrine as a proper tribute of respect,
while those of the opposite faith were greatly impressed by it. As the
procession advanced, the crowd divided into two lines to allow it
passage, and many fell on their knees imploring a blessing from Garnet,
which he in no instance refused. When within a hundred yards of the
sacred well, they were met by a priest, followed by another small train
of pilgrims. A Latin oration having been pronounced by this priest, and
replied to in the same language by Garnet, the train was once more put
in motion, and presently reached the ancient fabric built over the
sacred fountain.

The legend of Saint Winifred is so well known, that it is scarcely
necessary to repeat it. For the benefit of the uninformed, however, it
may be stated that she flourished about the middle of the seventh
century, and was the daughter of Thewith, one of the chief lords of
Wales. Devoutly educated by a monk named Beuno, who afterwards received
canonization, she took the veil, and retired to a small monastery (the
ruins of which still exist), built by her father near the scene of her
subsequent martyrdom. Persecuted by the addresses of Caradoc, son of
Alan, Prince of Wales, she fled from him to avoid his violence. He
followed, and inflamed by fury at her resistance, struck off her head.
For this atrocity, the earth instantly opened and swallowed him alive,
while from the spot where the head had fallen gushed forth a fountain of
unequalled force and purity, producing more than a hundred tons a
minute. The bottom of this miraculous well is strewn with pebbles
streaked with red veins, in memory of the virgin saint from whose blood
it sprung. On its margin grows an odorous moss, while its gelid and
translucent waters are esteemed a remedy for many disorders.
Winifred's career did not terminate with her decapitation.
Resuscitated by the prayers of Saint Beuno, she lived many years a life
of the utmost sanctity, bearing, as a mark of the miracle performed in
her behalf, a narrow crimson circle round her throat.

Passing the chapel adjoining the well, built in the reign of Henry the
Seventh by his mother, the pious Countess of Richmond, the pilgrims came
to the swift clear stream rushing from the well. Instead of ascending
the steps leading to the edifice built over the spring, they plunged
into the stream, and crossing it entered the structure by a doorway on
the further side. Erected by the Countess of Richmond at the same period
as the chapel, this structure, quadrangular in form, and of great
beauty, consists of light clustered pillars and mouldings, supporting
the most gorgeous tracery and groining, the whole being ornamented with
sculptured bosses, pendent capitals, fretwork, niches, and tabernacles.
In the midst is a large stone basin, to receive the water of the
fountain, around which the procession now grouped, and as soon as all
were assembled, at the command of Father Garnet they fell on their
knees.

It was a solemn and striking sight to see this large group prostrated
around that beautiful fountain, and covered by that ancient
structure,--a touching thing to hear the voice of prayer mingling with
the sound of the rushing water. After this, they all arose. A hymn was
then chanted, and votive offerings made at the shrine of the saint. The
male portion of the assemblage then followed Garnet to the chapel, where
further religious rites were performed, while the female devotees,
remaining near the fountain, resigned themselves to the care of several
attendants of their own sex, who, having bathed their feet in the water,
applied some of the fragrant moss above described to the wounds; and,
such was the faith of the patients, or the virtue of the application,
that in a short time they all felt perfectly restored, and able to join
their companions in the chapel. In this way the evening was spent, and
it was not until late that they finished their devotions, and departed
to the lodgings provided for them in the town.

Impressed with a strange superstitious feeling, which he could scarcely
acknowledge to himself, Guy Fawkes determined to pass the night near the
well. Accordingly, without communicating his intention to his
companions, he threw a small knapsack over his shoulder, containing a
change of linen, and a few articles of attire, and proceeded thither.

It was a brilliant moonlight night, and, as the radiance, streaming
through the thin clustered columns of the structure, lighted up its
fairy architecture, and fell upon the clear cold waves of the fountain,
revealing the blood-streaked pebbles beneath, the effect was
inexpressibly beautiful. So charmed was Guy Fawkes by the sight, that he
remained for some time standing near the edge of the basin, as if
fascinated by the marvellous spring that boiled up and sparkled at his
feet. Resolved to try the efficacy of the bath, he threw off his clothes
and plunged into it. The water was cold as ice; but on emerging from it
he felt wonderfully refreshed. Having dressed himself, he wrapped his
cloak around him, and, throwing himself on the stone floor, placed the
knapsack under his head, and grasping a petronel in his right hand, to
be ready in case of a surprise, disposed himself to slumber.

[Illustration: _Vision of Guy Fawkes at Saint Winifred's Well_]

Accustomed to a soldier's couch, he soon fell asleep. He had not long
closed his eyes when he dreamed that from out of the well a female
figure, slight and unsubstantial as the element from which it sprang,
arose. It was robed in what resembled a nun's garb; but so thin and
vapoury, that the very moonlight shone through it. From the garments of
the figure, as well as from the crimson circle round its throat, he knew
that it must be the patroness of the place, the sainted Winifred, that
he beheld. He felt no horror, but the deepest awe. The arm of the figure
was raised,--its benignant regards fixed upon him,--and, as soon as it
gained the level of the basin, it glided towards him.



CHAPTER XII.

THE VISION.


Before daybreak on the following morning, Garnet, who had been engaged
in earnest conference with Catesby during the whole of the night,
repaired to the sacred spring for the purpose of bathing within it, and
performing his solitary devotions at the shrine of the saint. On
ascending the steps of the structure, he perceived Guy Fawkes kneeling
beside the fountain, apparently occupied in prayer; and, being unwilling
to disturb him, he paused. Finding, however, after the lapse of a few
minutes, that he did not move, he advanced towards him, and was about to
lay his hand upon his shoulder, when he was arrested by the very
extraordinary expression of his countenance. His lips were partly open,
but perfectly motionless, and his eyes, almost starting from their
sockets, were fixed upon the boiling waters of the spring. His hands
were clasped, and his look altogether was that of one whose faculties
were benumbed by awe or terror.

Aware of the fanatical and enthusiastical character of Fawkes, Garnet
had little doubt that, by keeping long vigil at the fountain, he had
worked himself into such a state of over-excitement as to imagine he
beheld some preternatural appearance; and it was with some curiosity
that he awaited the result. Glancing in the same direction, his eye
rested upon the bottom of the well, but he could discern nothing except
the glittering and blood-streaked pebbles, and the reflection of the
early sunbeams that quivered on its steaming surface. At length, a
convulsion passed over the frame of the kneeler, and heaving a deep sigh
he arose. Turning to quit the spring, he confronted Garnet, and
demanded, in a low voice--

"Have you likewise seen the vision, father?"

Garnet made no reply, but regarded him steadfastly.

"Has the blessed Winifred appeared to you, I say?" continued Fawkes.

"No," answered Garnet; "I am but just come hither. It is for you, my
son,--the favoured of Heaven,--for whom such glorious visions are
reserved. I have seen nothing. How did the saint manifest herself to
you?"

"In her earthly form," replied Fawkes; "or rather, I should say, in the
semblance of the form she bore on earth. Listen to me, father. I came
hither last night to make my couch beside the fountain. After plunging
into it, I felt marvellously refreshed, and disposed myself to rest on
that stone. Scarcely had my eyes closed when the saintly virgin appeared
to me. Oh! father, it was a vision of seraphic beauty, such as the eye
of man hath seldom seen!"

"And such only as it is permitted the elect of Heaven to see," observed
Garnet.

"Alas! father," rejoined Guy Fawkes, "I can lay little claim to such an
epithet. Nay, I begin to fear that I have incurred the displeasure of
Heaven."

"Think not so, my son," replied Garnet, uneasily. "Relate your vision,
and I will interpret it to you."

"Thus then it was, father," returned Fawkes. "The figure of the saint
arose from out the well, and gliding towards me laid its finger upon my
brow. My eyes opened, but I was as one oppressed with a nightmare,
unable to move. I then thought I heard my name pronounced by a voice so
wondrously sweet that my senses were quite ravished. Fain would I have
prostrated myself, but my limbs refused their office. Neither could I
speak, for my tongue was also enchained."

"Proceed, my son," observed Garnet; "I am curious to know what ensued."

"Father," replied Guy Fawkes, "if the form I beheld was that of Saint
Winifred,--and that it was so, I cannot doubt,--the enterprise on which
we are engaged will fail. It is _not_ approved by Heaven. The vision
warned me to desist."

"You cannot desist, my son," rejoined Garnet, sternly. "Your oath binds
you to the project."

"True," replied Fawkes; "and I have no thought of abandoning it. But I
am well assured it will not be successful."

"Your thinking so, my son, will be the most certain means of realizing
your apprehensions," replied Garnet, gravely. "But let me hear the exact
words of the spirit. You may have misunderstood them."

"I cannot repeat them precisely, father," replied Fawkes; "but I could
not misapprehend their import, which was the deepest commiseration for
our forlorn and fallen church, but a positive interdiction against any
attempt to restore it by bloodshed. 'Suffer on,' said the spirit; 'bear
the yoke patiently, and in due season God will avenge your wrongs, and
free you from oppression. You are thus afflicted that your faith may be
purified. But if you resort to violence, you will breed confusion, and
injure, not serve, the holy cause on which you are embarked.' Such,
father, was the language of the saint. It was uttered in a tone so
tender and sympathizing, that every word found an echo in my heart, and
I repented having pledged myself to the undertaking. But, when I tell
you that she added that all concerned in the conspiracy should perish,
perhaps you may be deterred from proceeding further."

"Never!" returned Garnet. "Nor will I suffer any one engaged in it to
retreat. What matter if a few perish, if the many survive? Our blood
will not be shed in vain, if the true religion of God is restored. Nay,
as strongly as the blessed Winifred herself resisted the impious
ravisher, Caradoc, will I resist all inducements to turn aside from my
purpose. It may be that the enterprise _will_ fail. It may be that we
_shall_ perish. But if we die thus, we shall die as martyrs, and our
deaths will be highly profitable to the Catholic religion."

"I doubt it," observed Fawkes.

"My son," said Garnet, solemnly, "I have ever looked upon you as one
destined to be the chief agent in the great work of redemption. I have
thought that, like Judith, you were chosen to destroy the Holofernes who
oppresses us. Having noted in you a religious fervour, and resolution
admirably fitting you for the task, I thought, and still think you
expressly chosen by Heaven for it. But, if you have any misgiving, I
beseech you to withdraw from it. I will absolve you from your oath; and,
enjoining you only to strictest secrecy, will pray you to depart at
once, lest your irresolution should be communicated to the others."

"Fear nothing from me, father," rejoined Fawkes. "I have no
irresolution, no wavering, nor shall any engaged with us be shaken by my
apprehension. You have asked me what I saw and heard, and I have told
you truly. But I will speak of it no more."

"It will be well to observe silence, my son," answered Garnet; "for
though you, like myself, are unnerved, its effect on others might be
injurious. But you have not yet brought your relation to an end. How did
the figure disappear?"

"As it arose, father," replied Fawkes. "Uttering in a sweet but solemn
voice, which yet rings in my cars, the words, 'Be warned!' it glided
back to the fountain, whose waves as it approached grew still, and
gradually melted from my view."

"But when I came hither, you appeared to be gazing at the spring," said
Garnet. "What did you then behold?"

"My first impulse on awakening about an hour ago," replied Fawkes, "was
to prostrate myself before the fountain, and to entreat the intercession
of the saint, who had thus marvellously revealed herself to me. As I
prayed, methought its clear lucid waters became turbid, and turned to
the colour of blood."

"It is a type of the blood of slaughtered brethren of our faith, which
has been shed by our oppressors," rejoined Garnet.

"Rather of our own, which shall be poured forth in this cause," retorted
Fawkes. "No matter. I am prepared to lose the last drop of mine."

"And I," said Garnet; "and, I doubt not, like those holy men who have
suffered for their faith, that we shall both win a crown of martyrdom."

"Amen!" exclaimed Fawkes. "And you think the sacrifice we are about to
offer will prove acceptable to God?"

"I am convinced of it, my son," answered Garnet. "And I take the sainted
virgin, from whose blood this marvellous spring was produced, to witness
that I devote myself unhesitatingly to the project, and that I firmly
believe it will profit our church."

As he spoke, a singular circumstance occurred, which did not fail to
produce an impression on both parties,--especially Guy Fawkes. A violent
gust of wind, apparently suddenly aroused, whistled through the slender
columns of the structure, and catching the surface of the water dashed
it in tiny waves against their feet.

"The saint is offended," observed Fawkes.

"It would almost seem so," replied Garnet, after a pause. "Let us
proceed to the chapel, and pray at her shrine. We will confer on this
matter hereafter. Meantime, swear to me that you will observe profound
secrecy respecting this vision."

"I swear," replied Guy Fawkes.

At this moment, another and more violent gust agitated the fountain.

"We will tarry here no longer," said Garnet, "I am not proof against
these portents of ill."

So saying, he led the way to the chapel. Here they were presently joined
by several of the female devotees, including Viviana, Anne Vaux, and
Lady Digby. Matins were then said, after which various offerings were
made at the shrine of the saint. Lady Digby presented a small tablet set
in gold, representing on one side the martyrdom of Saint Winifred, and
on the other the Salutation of our Lady. Anne Vaux gave a small
enamelled cross of gold; Viviana a girdle of the same metal, with a
pendant sustaining a small Saint John's head surrounded with pearls.

"Mine will be a poor soldier's offering," said Guy Fawkes, approaching
the shrine, which was hung around with the crutches, staves, and
bandages of those cured by the healing waters of the miraculous spring.
"This small silver scallop-shell, given me by a pilgrim, who died in my
arms near the chapel of Saint James of Compostella, in Spain, is the
sole valuable I possess."

"It will be as acceptable as a more costly gift, my son," replied
Garnet, placing it on the shrine.

Of all the offerings then made, that silver scallop-shell is the only
one preserved.



CHAPTER XIII.

THE CONSPIRATORS.


On Viviana's return from her devotions, she found her father in the
greatest perturbation and alarm. The old steward, Heydocke, who had
ridden express from Ordsall Hall, had just arrived, bringing word that
the miserable fate of the pursuivant and his crew had aroused the whole
country; that officers, attended by a strong force, and breathing
vengeance, were in pursuit of Sir William Radcliffe and his daughter;
that large sums were offered for the capture of Guy Fawkes and Father
Oldcorne; that most of the servants were imprisoned; that he himself had
escaped with great difficulty; and that, to sum up this long catalogue
of calamities, Master Humphrey Chetham was arrested, and placed in the
New Fleet. "In short, my dear young mistress," concluded the old man,
"as I have just observed to Sir William, all is over with us, and there
is nothing left but the grave."

"What course have you resolved upon, dear father," inquired Viviana,
turning anxiously to him.

"I shall surrender myself," he answered. "I am guilty of no crime, and
can easily clear myself from all imputation."

"You are mistaken," she replied. "Do not hope for justice from those who
know it not. But, while the means of escape are allowed you, avail
yourself of them."

"No, Viviana," replied Sir William Radcliffe, firmly; "my part is taken.
I shall abide the arrival of the officers. For you, I shall intrust you
to the care of Mr. Catesby."

"You cannot mean this, dear father," she cried, with a look of distress.
"And, if you do, I will never consent to such an arrangement."

"Mr. Catesby is strongly attached to you, child," replied Sir William,
"and will watch over your safety as carefully as I could do myself."

"He may be attached to me," rejoined Viviana, "though I doubt the
disinterestedness of his love. But nothing can remove my repugnance to
him. Forgive me, therefore, if, in this one instance, I decline to obey
your commands. I dare not trust myself with Mr. Catesby."

"How am I to understand you?" inquired Sir William.

"Do not ask me to explain, dear father," she answered, "but imagine I
must have good reason for what I say. Since you are resolved upon
surrendering yourself, I will go into captivity with you. The
alternative is less dreadful than that you have proposed."

"You distract me, child," cried the knight, rising and pacing the
chamber in great agitation. "I cannot bear the thought of your
imprisonment. Yet if I fly, I appear to confess myself guilty."

"If your worship will intrust Mistress Viviana with me," interposed the
old steward, "I will convey her whithersoever you direct,--will watch
over her day and night,--and, if need be, die in her defence."

"Thou wert ever a faithful servant, good Heydocke," rejoined Sir
William, extending his hand kindly to him, "and art as true in adversity
as in prosperity."

"Shame to me if I were not," replied Heydocke, pressing the knight's
fingers to his lips and bathing them in his tears. "Shame to me if I
hesitated to lay down my life for a master to whom I owe so much."

"If it is your pleasure, dear father," observed Viviana, "I will
accompany Master Heydocke; but I would far rather be permitted to remain
with you."

"It would avail nothing," replied Sir William, "we should be separated
by the officers. Retire to your chamber, and prepare for instant
departure; and, in the mean while, I will consider what is best to be
done."

"Your worship's decision must be speedy," observed Heydocke; "I had only
a few hours' start of the officers. They will be here ere long."

"Take this purse," replied Sir William, "and hire three of the fleetest
horses you can procure, and station yourself at the outskirts of the
town, on the road to Saint Asaph. You understand."

"Perfectly," replied Heydocke. And he departed to execute his master's
commands, while Viviana withdrew to her own chamber.

Left alone, the knight was perplexing himself as to where he should
shape his course, when he was interrupted by the sudden entrance of
Catesby and Garnet.

"We have just met your servant, Sir William," said the former, "and have
learnt the alarming intelligence he has brought."

"What is your counsel in this emergency, father?" said Radcliffe,
appealing to Garnet.

"Flight,--instant flight, my son," was the answer.

"My counsel is resistance," said Catesby. "We are here assembled in
large numbers, and are well armed. Let us await the arrival of the
officers, and see whether they will venture to arrest you."

"They will arrest us all, if they have force sufficient to do so,"
replied Garnet; "and there are many reasons, as you well know, why it is
desirable to avoid any disturbance at present."

"True," replied Catesby. "What say you then," he continued, addressing
Radcliffe, "to our immediate return to Holt, where means may be found to
screen you till this storm is blown over?"

Sir William having assented to the proposal, Catesby instantly departed
to acquaint the others, and, as soon as preparations could be made, and
horses procured, the whole party composing the pilgrimage quitted
Holywell, and, ascending the hill at the back of the town, took the
direction of Mold, where they arrived, having ridden at a swift pace, in
about half an hour. From thence they proceeded, without accident or
interruption, to the mansion they had recently occupied near Holt. On
reaching it, all the domestics were armed, and certain of their number
stationed at the different approaches to the house to give the alarm in
case of the enemy's appearance. But as nothing occurred during the
night, the fears of Sir William and his friends began in some degree to
subside.

About noon, on the following day, as Guy Fawkes, who ever since the
vision at Saint Winifred's Well had shunned all companionship, walked
forth beneath the avenue alone, he heard a light step behind him, and,
turning, beheld Viviana. Gravely bowing, he was about to pursue his
course, when quickening her pace she was instantly by his side.

"I have a favour to solicit," she said.

"There is none I would refuse you," answered Fawkes, halting; "but,
though I have the will, I may not have the power to grant your request."

"Hear me, then," she replied, hurriedly. "Of all my father's friends--of
all who are here assembled, you are the only one I dare trust,--the only
one from whom I can hope for assistance."

"I am at once flattered and perplexed by your words, Viviana," he
rejoined; "nor can I guess whither they tend. But speak freely. If I
cannot render you aid, I can at least give you counsel."

"I must premise, then," said Viviana, "that I am aware from certain
obscure hints let fall by Father Oldcorne, that you, Mr. Catesby, and
others are engaged in a dark and dangerous conspiracy."

"Viviana Radcliffe," returned Guy Fawkes, sternly, "you have once before
avowed your knowledge of this plot. I will not attempt disguise with
you. A project is in agitation for the deliverance of our fallen church;
and, since you have become acquainted with its existence--no matter
how--you must be bound by an oath of secrecy, or," and his look grew
darker, and his voice sterner, "I will not answer for your life."

"I will willingly take the oath, on certain conditions," said Viviana.

"You must take it unconditionally," rejoined Fawkes.

"Hear me out," said Viviana. "Knowing that Mr. Catesby and Father Garnet
are anxious to induce my father to join this conspiracy, I came hither
to implore you to prevent him from doing so."

"Were I even willing to do this,--which I am not," replied Fawkes, "I
have not the power. Sir William Radcliffe would be justly indignant at
any interference on my part."

"Heed not that," replied Viviana. "You, I fear, are linked to this
fearful project beyond the possibility of being set free. But he is not.
Save him! save him!"

"I will take no part in urging him to join it," replied Fawkes. "But I
can promise nothing further."

"Then mark me," she returned; "if further attempts are made by any of
your confederates to league him with their plot, I myself will disclose
all I know of it."

"Viviana," rejoined Fawkes, in a threatening tone, "I again warn you
that you endanger your life."

"I care not," she rejoined; "I would risk twenty lives, if I possessed
them, to preserve my father."

"You are a noble-hearted lady," replied Fawkes, unable to repress the
admiration inspired by her conduct; "and if I can accomplish what you
desire, I will. But I see not how it can be done."

"Everything is possible to one of your resolution," replied Viviana.

"Well, well," replied Fawkes, a slight smile crossing his rugged
features; "the effort at least shall be made."

"Thanks! thanks!" ejaculated Viviana; and, overcome by her emotion, she
sank half-fainting into his arms.

While he held her thus, debating within himself whether he should convey
her to the house, Garnet and Catesby appeared at the other end of the
avenue. Their surprise at the sight was extreme; nor was it less when
Viviana, opening her eyes as they drew near, uttered a slight cry, and
disappeared.

"This requires an explanation," said Catesby, glancing fiercely at
Fawkes.

"You must seek it, then, of the lady," rejoined the latter, moodily.

"It will be easily explained, I have no doubt," interposed Garnet. "Miss
Radcliffe was seized with a momentary weakness, and her companion
offered her support."

"That will scarcely suffice for me," cried Catesby.

"Let the subject be dropped for the present," rejoined Garnet,
authoritatively. "More important matter claims our attention. We came to
seek you, my son," he continued, addressing Fawkes. "All those engaged
in the great enterprise are about to meet in a summer-house in the
garden."

"I am ready to attend you," replied Fawkes. "Will Sir William Radcliffe
be there?"

"No," replied Garnet; "he has not yet joined us. None will be present at
this meeting but the sworn conspirators."

With this, the trio took their way towards the garden, and proceeding
along a walk edged with clipped yew-trees, came to the summer-house,--a
small circular building overrun with ivy and creepers, and ornamented in
front by two stone statues on pedestals. Here they found Sir Everard
Digby, Ambrose Rookwood, Francis Tresham, Thomas and Robert Winter, John
and Christopher Wright, awaiting their arrival.

The door being closed and bolted, Garnet, placing himself in the midst
of the assemblage, said, "Before we proceed further, I will again
administer the oath to all present." Drawing from his vest a primer, and
addressing Sir Everard Digby, he desired him to kneel, and continued
thus in a solemn tone, "You shall swear by the Blessed Trinity, and by
the sacrament you propose to receive, never to disclose directly nor
indirectly, by word or circumstance, the matter that shall be proposed
to you to keep secret, nor desist from the execution thereof, until the
rest shall give you leave."

"I swear," replied Digby, kissing the primer.

The oath was then taken in like manner by the others. This done, Catesby
was about to address the meeting, when Tresham, glancing uneasily at the
door, remarked, "Are you assured we have no eavesdroppers?"

"I will keep watch without," rejoined Fawkes, "if you have any fears."

"It were better," replied Robert Winter. "We cannot be too cautious. But
if you go forth, you will not be able to take part in the discussion."

"My part is to act, not talk," rejoined Fawkes, marching towards the
door. And shutting it after him, he took up his position outside.

Upon this Catesby commenced a long and inflammatory harangue, in which
he expatiated with great eloquence and fervour on the wrongs of the
Catholic party, and the deplorable condition of their church. "It were
easy to slay the tyrant by whom we are oppressed," he said, in
conclusion; "but his destruction would be small gain to us. We must
strike deeper, to hew down the baneful stock of heresy. All our
adversaries must perish with him, and in such a manner as shall best
attest the vengeance of Heaven. Placed beneath the Parliament-house, a
mine of powder shall hurl its heretical occupants into the air,--nor
shall any one survive the terrible explosion. Are we all agreed to this
plan?"

All the conspirators expressed their assent, except Sir Everard Digby.

"Before I give my concurrence to the measure," observed the latter, "I
would fain be resolved by Father Garnet whether it is lawful to destroy
some few of our own faith with so many heretics."

"Unquestionably, my son," replied Garnet. "As in besieging a city we
have a right to kill all within it, whether friends or enemies, so in
this case we are justified in destroying the innocent with the guilty,
because their destruction will be advantageous to the Catholic cause."

"I am satisfied," replied Digby.

"As to the tyrant and apostate James," continued Garnet, "he is
excommunicated, and his subjects released from their allegiance. I have
two breves sent over by his holiness Pope Clement VIII. three years ago,
one directed to the clergy, and the other to the nobility of this realm,
wherein, alluding to Queen Elizabeth, it is expressly declared that, 'so
soon as that miserable woman should depart out of this life, none shall
be permitted to ascend the throne, how near soever in proximity of
blood, unless they are such as will not only tolerate the Catholic
faith, but in every way support it.' By this brief, James is expressly
excluded. He has betrayed, not supported the church of Rome. Having
broken his word with us, and oppressed our brethren more rigorously even
than his predecessor, the remorseless Elizabeth, he is unworthy longer
to reign, and must be removed."

"He must," reiterated the conspirators.

"The Parliament-house being the place where all the mischief done us has
been contrived by our adversaries, it is fitting that it should be the
place of their chastisement," remarked Catesby.

"Doubtless," rejoined Ambrose Rookwood.

"Yet if the blow we meditate should miscarry," observed Thomas Winter,
"the injury to the Catholic religion will be so great, that not only our
enemies, but our very friends will condemn us."

"There is no chance of miscarriage, if we are true to each other,"
returned Catesby, confidently. "And if I suspected any one of treachery,
I would plunge my sword into his bosom, were he my brother."

"You would do wrong to act thus on mere suspicion," remarked Tresham,
who stood near him.

"In a case like this, he who gives the slightest ground for doubt would
merit death," replied Catesby, sternly; "and I would slay him."

"Hum!" exclaimed Tresham, uneasily.

"Mr. Catesby will now perhaps inform us what has been done to carry the
project into effect?" inquired Sir Everard Digby.

"A small habitation has been taken by one of our confederates, Mr.
Thomas Percy, immediately adjoining the Parliament-house," replied
Catesby, "from the cellar of which it is proposed to dig a mine through
the wall of the devoted building, and to deposit within it a sufficient
quantity of gunpowder and other combustibles to accomplish our purpose.
This mine must be digged by ourselves, as we can employ no assistants,
and will be a laborious and dangerous task. But I for one will
cheerfully undertake it."

"And I," said the elder Wright.

"And I," cried several others.

"Supposing the mine digged, and the powder deposited," observed Ambrose
Rookwood, "whose hand will fire the train?"

"Mine!" cried Guy Fawkes, throwing open the door. As soon as he had
spoken, he retired and closed it after him.

"He will keep his word," remarked Garnet. "He is of a nature so resolute
that he would destroy himself with the victims rather than fail.
Catiline was not a bolder conspirator than Guy Fawkes."

"Well, gentlemen," observed Catesby, "we are now at the latter end of
July. All must be ready against the meeting of Parliament in November."

"There is some likelihood, I hear, that the meeting of the house will be
prorogued till February," remarked Tresham.

"So much the better," rejoined Catesby, "it will give us more time for
preparation."

"So much the worse, I think," cried Ambrose Rookwood. "Delays are ever
dangerous, and doubly dangerous in a case like ours."

"I am far from desiring to throw any impediment in the way of our
design," observed Sir Everard Digby, "but I would recommend, before we
proceed to this terrible extremity, that one last effort should be made
to move the King in our behalf."

"It is useless," replied Catesby. "So far from toleration, he meditates
severer measures against us; and, I am well assured, if Parliament is
allowed to meet, such laws will be passed as will bring all of us within
premunire. No, no. We have no hope from James, nor his ministers."

"Nor yet from France or Spain," observed Thomas Winter. "In my
conference with the Constable Velasco at Bergen, I received assurances
of the good-will of Philip towards us, but no distinct promise of
interference in our behalf. The Archduke Albert is well disposed, but he
can render no assistance. We must depend upon ourselves."

"Ay, marry, must we," replied Catesby, "and fortunate is it that we have
devised a plan by which we can accomplish our purpose unaided. We only
require funds to follow up with effect the blow we shall strike."

"My whole fortune shall be placed at your disposal," replied Sir Everard
Digby.

"Part of mine has already been given," said Tresham, "and the rest shall
follow."

"Would I had aught to peril in the matter except my life," said Catesby.
"I would throw everything upon the stake."

"You do enough in venturing thus much, my son," rejoined Garnet. "To you
the whole conduct of the enterprise is committed."

"I live for nothing else," replied Catesby, "and if I see it successful,
I shall have lived long enough."

"Cannot Sir William Radcliffe be induced to join us?" asked Rookwood.
"He would be an important acquisition, and his wealth would prove highly
serviceable."

"I have sounded him," answered Catesby. "But he appears reluctant."

"Be not satisfied with one attempt," urged Christopher Wright. "The
jeopardy in which he now stands may make him change his mind."

"I am loth to interrupt the discussion," returned Garnet, "but I think
we have tarried here long enough. We will meet again at midnight, when I
hope to introduce Sir William Radcliffe to you as a confederate."

The party then separated, and Garnet went in search of the knight.

Ascertaining that he was in his own chamber, he proceeded thither, and
found him alone. Entering at once upon the subject in hand, Garnet
pleaded his cause with so much zeal that he at last wrung a reluctant
consent from the listener. Scarcely able to conceal his exultation, he
then proposed to Sir William to adjourn with him to the private chapel
in the house, where, having taken the oath, and received the sacrament
upon it, he should forthwith be introduced to the conspirators, and the
whole particulars of the plot revealed to him. To this the knight, with
some hesitation, agreed. As they traversed a gallery leading to the
chapel, they met Viviana. For the first time in his life Radcliffe's
gaze sank before his daughter, and he would have passed her without
speaking had she not stopped him.

"Father! dear father!" she cried, "I know whither you are going--and for
what purpose. Do not--do not join them."

[Illustration: _Guy Fawkes preventing Sir William Radcliffe from joining
the Conspiracy._]

Sir William Radcliffe made no reply, but endeavoured gently to push her
aside.

She would not, however, be repulsed, but prostrating herself before him,
clasped his knees, and besought him not to proceed.

Making a significant gesture to Sir William, Garnet walked forward.

"Viviana," cried the knight, sternly, "my resolution is taken. I command
you to retire to your chamber."

So saying, he broke from her, and followed Garnet. Clasping her hands to
her brow, Viviana gazed for a moment with a frenzied look after him, and
then rushed from the gallery.

On reaching the chapel, Sir William, who had been much shaken by this
meeting, was some minutes in recovering his composure. Garnet employed
the time in renewing his arguments, and with so much address that he
succeeded in quieting the scruples of conscience which had been awakened
in the knight's breast by his daughter's warning.

"And now, my son," he said, "since you have determined to enrol your
name in the list of those sworn to deliver their church from oppression,
take this primer in your hand, and kneel down before the altar, while I
administer the oath which is to unite you to us."

Garnet then advanced towards the altar, and Sir William was about to
prostrate himself upon a cushion beside it, when the door was suddenly
thrown open, and Guy Fawkes strode into the chapel.

"Hold!" he exclaimed, grasping Radcliffe's right arm, and fixing his
dark glance upon him; "you shall not take that oath."

"What mean you?" cried Garnet, who, as well as the knight, was paralyzed
with astonishment at this intrusion. "Sir William Radcliffe is about to
join us."

"I know it," replied Fawkes; "but it may not be. He has no heart in the
business, and will lend it no efficient assistance. We are better
without him, than with him."

As he spoke, he took the primer from the knight's hand, and laid it upon
the altar.

"This conduct is inexplicable," cried Garnet, angrily. "You will answer
for it to others, as well as to me."

"I will answer for it to all," replied Guy Fawkes. "Let Sir William
Radcliffe declare before me, and before Heaven, that he approves the
measure, and I am content he should take the oath."

"I cannot belie my conscience by saying so," replied the knight, who
appeared agitated by conflicting emotions.

"Yet you have promised to join us," cried Garnet, reproachfully.

"Better break that promise than a solemn oath," rejoined Guy Fawkes,
sternly. "Sir William Radcliffe, there are reasons why you should not
join this conspiracy. Examine your inmost heart, and it will tell you
what they are."

"I understand you," replied the knight.

"Get hence," cried Garnet, unable to control his indignation, "or I will
pronounce our Church's most terrible malediction against you."

"I shall not shrink from it, father," rejoined Fawkes, humbly, but
firmly, "seeing I am acting rightly."

"Undeceive yourself, then, at once," returned Garnet, "and learn that
you are thwarting our great and holy purpose."

"On the contrary," replied Fawkes, "I am promoting it, by preventing one
from joining it who will endanger its success."

"You are a traitor!" cried Garnet, furiously.

"A traitor!" exclaimed Guy Fawkes, his eye blazing with fierce lustre,
though his voice and demeanour were unaltered,--"I, who have been warned
thrice,--twice by the dead,--and lastly by a vision from heaven, yet
still remain firm to my purpose,--I, who have voluntarily embraced the
most dangerous and difficult part of the enterprise,--I, who would
suffer the utmost extremity of torture, rather than utter a word that
should reveal it,--a traitor! No, father, I am none. If you think so,
take this sword and at once put an end to your doubts."

There was something so irresistible in the manner of Guy Fawkes, that
Garnet remained silent.

"Do with me what you please," continued Fawkes; "but do not compel Sir
William Radcliffe to join the conspiracy. He will be fatal to it."

"No one shall compel me to join it," replied the knight.

"Perhaps it is better thus," returned Garnet, after a pause, during
which he was buried in reflection. "I will urge you no further, my son.
But before you depart you must swear not to divulge what you have just
learnt."

"Willingly," replied the knight.

"There is another person who must also take that oath," said Guy Fawkes,
"having accidentally become acquainted with as much as yourself."

And stepping out of the chapel, he immediately afterwards returned with
Viviana.

"You will now understand why I would not allow Sir William to join the
conspiracy," he observed to Garnet.

"I do," replied the latter, gloomily.

The oath administered, the knight and his daughter quitted the chapel,
accompanied by Guy Fawkes. Viviana was profuse in her expressions of
gratitude, nor was her father less earnest in his acknowledgments.

A few hours after this, Sir William Radcliffe informed Sir Everard Digby
that it was his intention to depart immediately, and, though the latter
attempted to dissuade him by representing the danger to which he would
be exposed, he continued inflexible. The announcement surprised both
Catesby and Garnet, who were present when it was made, and added their
entreaties to those of Digby--but without effect. Catesby's proposal to
serve as an escort was likewise refused by Sir William, who said he had
no fears, and when questioned as to his destination, he returned an
evasive answer. This sudden resolution of the knight coupled with his
refusal to join the plot, alarmed the conspirators, and more than one
expressed fears of treachery. Sir Everard Digby, however, was not of the
number, but asserted that Radcliffe was a man of the highest honour, and
he would answer for his secrecy with his life.

"Will you answer for that of his daughter?" demanded Tresham.

"_I_ will," replied Fawkes.

"To put the matter beyond a doubt," observed Catesby, "I will set out
shortly after him, and follow him unobserved till he halts for the
night, and ascertain whether he stops at any suspicious quarter."

"Do so, my son," replied Garnet.

"It is needless," observed Sir Everard Digby; "but do as you please."

By this time, Radcliffe's horses being brought round by Heydocke, he and
his daughter took a hasty leave of their friends. When they had been
gone a few minutes, Catesby called for his steed; and, after exchanging
a word or two with Garnet, rode after them. He had proceeded about a
couple of miles along a cross-road leading to Nantwich, which he learnt
from some cottagers was the route taken by the party before him, when he
heard the tramp of a horse in the rear, and, turning at the sound,
beheld Guy Fawkes. Drawing in the bridle, he halted till the latter came
up, and angrily demanded on what errand he was bent.

"My errand is the same as your own," replied Fawkes. "I intend to follow
Sir William Radcliffe, and, if need be, defend him."

Whatever Catesby's objections might be to this companionship, he did not
think fit to declare them, and, though evidently much displeased,
suffered Guy Fawkes to ride by his side without opposition.

Having gained the summit of the mountainous range extending from Malpas
to Tottenhall, whence they beheld the party whose course they were
tracking enter a narrow lane at the foot of the hill, Catesby, fearful
of losing sight of them, set spurs to his steed. Guy Fawkes kept close
beside him, and they did not slacken their pace until they reached the
lane.

Having proceeded along it for a quarter of a mile, they were alarmed by
the sudden report of fire-arms, followed by a loud shriek, which
neither of them doubted was uttered by Viviana. Again dashing forward,
on turning a corner of the road, they beheld the party surrounded by
half-a-dozen troopers. Sir William Radcliffe had shot one of his
assailants, and, assisted by Heydocke, was defending himself bravely
against the others. With loud shouts, Catesby and Guy Fawkes galloped
towards the scene of strife. But they were too late. A bullet pierced
the knight's brain; and he no sooner fell, than, regardless of himself,
the old steward flung away his sword, and threw himself, with the most
piteous lamentations, on the body.

Viviana, meanwhile, had been compelled to dismount, and was in the hands
of the troopers. On seeing her father's fate, her shrieks were so
heart-piercing, that even her captors were moved to compassion. Fighting
his way towards her, Catesby cut down one of the troopers, and snatching
her from the grasp of the other, who was terrified by the furious
assault, placed her on the saddle beside him, and striking spurs into
his charger at the same moment, leapt the hedge, and made good his
retreat.

This daring action, however, could not have been accomplished without
the assistance of Guy Fawkes, who warded off with his rapier all the
blows aimed at him and his lovely charge. While thus engaged, he
received a severe cut on the head, which stretched him senseless and
bleeding beneath his horse's feet.



CHAPTER XIV.

THE PACKET.


On recovering from the effects of the wound he had received from the
trooper, Guy Fawkes found himself stretched upon a small bed in a
cottage, with Viviana and Catesby watching beside him. A thick fold of
linen was bandaged round his head, and he was so faint from the great
effusion of blood he had sustained, that, after gazing vacantly around
him for a few minutes, and but imperfectly comprehending what he beheld,
his eyes closed, and he relapsed into insensibility. Restoratives being
applied, he revived in a short time, and, in answer to his inquiries how
he came thither, was informed by Catesby that he had been left for dead
by his assailants, who, contenting themselves with making the old
steward prisoner, had ridden off in the direction of Chester.

"What has become of Sir William Radcliffe?" asked the wounded man in a
feeble voice.

Catesby raised his finger to his lips, and Fawkes learnt the distressing
nature of the question he had asked by the agonizing cry that burst from
Viviana. Unable to control her grief, she withdrew, and Catesby then
told him that the body of Sir William Radcliffe was lying in an
adjoining cottage, whither it had been transported from the scene of the
conflict; adding that it was Viviana's earnest desire that it should be
conveyed to Manchester to the family vault in the Collegiate Church; but
that he feared her wish could not be safely complied with. A messenger,
however, had been despatched to Holt; and Sir Everard Digby, and Fathers
Garnet and Oldcorne, were momentarily expected, when some course would
be decided upon for the disposal of the unfortunate knight's remains.

"Poor Viviana!" groaned Fawkes. "She has now no protector."

"Rest easy on that score," rejoined Catesby. "She shall never want one
while I live."

The wounded man fixed his eyes, now blazing with red and unnatural
light, inquiringly upon him, but he said nothing.

"I know what you mean," continued Catesby; "you think I shall wed her,
and you are in the right. I shall. The marriage is essential to our
enterprise; and the only obstacle to it is removed."

Fawkes attempted to reply, but his parched tongue refused its office.
Catesby arose, and carefully raising his head, held a cup of water to
his lips. The sufferer eagerly drained it, and would have asked for
more; but seeing that the request would be refused, he left it
unuttered.

"Have you examined my wound?" he said, after a pause.

Catesby answered in the affirmative.

"And do you judge it mortal?" continued Fawkes. "Not that I have any
fear of Death. I have looked him in the face too often for that. But I
have somewhat on my mind which I would fain discharge before my earthly
pilgrimage is ended."

"Do not delay it, then," rejoined the other. "Knowing I speak to a
soldier, and a brave one, I do not hesitate to tell you your hours are
numbered."

"Heaven's will be done!" exclaimed Fawkes, in a tone of resignation. "I
thought myself destined to be one of the chief instruments of the
restoration of our holy religion. But I find I was mistaken. When Father
Garnet arrives, I beseech you let me see him instantly. Or, if he should
not come speedily, entreat Miss Radcliffe to grant me a few moments in
private."

"Why not unburthen yourself to me?" returned Catesby, distrustfully. "In
your circumstances I should desire no better confessor than a brother
soldier,--no other crucifix than a sword-hilt."

"Nor I," rejoined Fawkes. "But this is no confession I am about to make.
What I have to say relates to others, not to myself."

"Indeed!" exclaimed Catesby. "Then there is the more reason why it
should not be deferred. I hold it my duty to tell you that the fever of
your wound will, in all probability, produce delirium. Make your
communication while your senses remain to you. And whatever you enjoin
shall be rigorously fulfilled."

"Will you swear this?" cried Fawkes, eagerly. But before an answer could
be returned, he added, in an altered tone, "No,--no,--it cannot be."

"This is no time for anger," rejoined Catesby, sternly, "or I should ask
whether you doubt the assurance I have given you?"

"I doubt nothing but your compliance with my request," returned Fawkes.
"And oh! if you hope to be succoured at your hour of need, tell Miss
Radcliffe I desire to speak with her."

"The message will not need to be conveyed," said Viviana, who had
noiselessly entered the room; "she is here."

Guy Fawkes turned his gaze in the direction of the voice; and,
notwithstanding his own deplorable condition, he was filled with concern
at the change wrought in her appearance by the terrible shock she had
undergone. Her countenance was as pale as death,--her eyes, from which
no tears would flow, as is ever the case with the deepest distress, were
glassy and lustreless,--her luxuriant hair hung in dishevelled masses
over her shoulders,--and her attire was soiled and disordered.

"You desire to speak with me," she continued, advancing towards the
couch of the wounded man.

"It must be alone," he replied.

Viviana glanced at Catesby, who reluctantly arose, and closed the door
after him. "We _are_ alone now," she said.

"Water! water!" gasped the sufferer, "or I perish." His request being
complied with, he continued in a low solemn voice, "Viviana, you have
lost the dearest friend you had on earth, and you will soon lose one
who, if he had been spared, would have endeavoured, as far as he could,
to repair the loss. I say not this to aggravate your distress, but to
prove the sincerity of my regard. Let me conjure you, with my dying
breath, not to wed Mr. Catesby."

"Fear it not," replied Viviana. "I would rather endure death than
consent to do so."

"Be upon your guard against him, then," continued Fawkes. "When an
object is to be gained, he suffers few scruples to stand in his way."

"I am well aware of it," replied Viviana; "and on the arrival of Sir
Everard Digby, I shall place myself under his protection."

"Should you be driven to extremity," said Fawkes, taking a small packet
from the folds of his doublet, "break open this; it will inform you what
to do. Only promise me you will not have recourse to it till all other
means have failed."

Viviana took the packet, and gave the required promise.

"Conceal it about your person, and guard it carefully," continued
Fawkes; "for you know not when you may require it. And now, having
cleared my conscience, I can die easily. Let me have your prayers."

Viviana knelt down by the bedside, and poured forth the most earnest
supplications in his behalf.

"Perhaps," she said, as she arose, "and it is some consolation to think
so,--you may be saved by death from the commission of a great crime,
which would for ever have excluded you from the joys of heaven."

"Say rather," cried Guy Fawkes, whose brain began to wander, "which
would have secured them to me. Others will achieve it; but I shall have
no share in their glory, or their reward."

"Their reward will be perdition in this world and in the next," rejoined
Viviana. "I repeat, that though I deeply deplore your condition, I
rejoice in your delivery from this sin. It is better--far better--to die
thus, than by the hands of the common executioner."

"What do I see?" cried Guy Fawkes, trying to raise himself, and sinking
back again instantly upon the pillow. "Elizabeth Orton rises before me.
She beckons me after her--I come!--I come!"

"Heaven pity him!" cried Viviana. "His senses have left him!"

"She leads me into a gloomy cavern," continued Fawkes, more wildly; "but
my eyes are like the wolf's, and can penetrate the darkness. It is
filled with barrels of gunpowder. I see them ranged in tiers, one above
another. Ah! I know where I am now. It is the vault beneath the
Parliament-house. The King and his nobles are assembled in the hall
above. Lend me a torch, that I may fire the train, and blow them into
the air. Quick! quick! I have sworn their destruction, and will keep my
oath. What matter if I perish with them? Give me the torch, I say, or it
will be too late. Is the powder damp that it will not kindle? And see!
the torch is expiring--it is gone out! Distraction!--to be baffled thus!
Why do you stand and glare at me with your stony eyes? Who are those
with you? Fiends!--no! they are armed men. They seize me--they drag me
before a grave assemblage. What is that hideous engine? The rack!--Bind
me on it--break every limb--ye shall not force me to confess--ha! ha! I
laugh at your threats--ha! ha!"

"Mother of mercy! release him from this torture!" cried Viviana.

"So! ye have condemned me," continued Fawkes, "and will drag me to
execution. Well, well, I am prepared. But what a host is assembled to
see me! Ten thousand faces are turned towards me, and all with one
abhorrent bloodthirsty expression. And what a scaffold! Get it done
quickly, thou butcherly villain. The rope is twisted round my throat
in serpent folds. It strangles me--ah!"

"Horror!" exclaimed Viviana. "I can listen to this no longer. Help, Mr.
Catesby, help!"

"The knife is at my breast--it pierces my flesh--my heart is torn
forth--I die! I die!" And he uttered a dreadful groan.

"What has happened?" cried Catesby, rushing into the room. "Is he dead?"

"I fear so," replied Viviana; "and his end has been a fearful one."

"No--no," said Catesby; "his pulse still beats--but fiercely and
feverishly. You had better not remain here longer, Miss Radcliffe. I
will watch over him. All will soon be over."

Aware that she could be of no further use, Viviana cast a look of the
deepest commiseration at the sufferer, and retired. The occupant of the
cottage, an elderly female, had surrendered all the apartments of her
tenement, except one small room, to her guests, and she was therefore
undisturbed. The terrible event which had recently occurred, and the
harrowing scene she had just witnessed, were too much for Viviana, and
her anguish was so intense, that she began to fear her reason was
deserting her. She stood still,--gazed fearfully round, as if some
secret danger environed her,--clasped her hands to her temples, and
found them burning like hot iron,--and, then, alarmed at her own state,
knelt down, prayed, and wept. Yes! she wept, for the first time, since
her father's destruction, and the relief afforded by those scalding
tears was inexpressible.

From this piteous state she was aroused by the tramp of horses at the
door of the cottage, and the next moment Father Garnet presented
himself.

"How uncertain are human affairs!" he said, after a sorrowful greeting
had passed between them. "I little thought, when we parted yesterday, we
should meet again so soon, and under such afflicting circumstances."

"It is the will of Heaven, father," replied Viviana, "and we must not
murmur at its decrees, but bear our chastening as we best may."

"I am happy to find you in such a comfortable frame of mind, dear
daughter. I feared the effect of the shock upon your feelings. But I am
glad to find you bear up against it so well."

"I am surprised at my own firmness, father," replied Viviana. "But I
have been schooled in affliction. I have no tie left to bind me to the
world, and shall retire from it, not only without regret, but with
eagerness."

"Say not so, dear daughter," replied Garnet. "You have, I trust, much
happiness in store for you; and when the sharpness of your affliction is
worn off, you will view your condition in a more cheering light."

"Impossible!" she cried, mournfully. "Hope is wholly extinct in my
breast. But I will not contest the point. Is not Sir Everard Digby with
you?"

"He is not, daughter," replied Garnet, "and I will explain to you
wherefore. Soon after your departure yesterday, the mansion we occupied
at Holt was attacked by a band of soldiers, headed by Miles Topcliffe,
one of the most unrelenting of our persecutors; and though they were
driven off with some loss, yet, as there was every reason to apprehend,
they would return with fresh force, Sir Everard judged it prudent to
retreat; and accordingly he and his friends, with all their attendants,
except those he has sent with me, have departed for Buckinghamshire."

"Where, then, is Father Oldcorne?" inquired Viviana.

"Alas! daughter," rejoined Garnet, "I grieve to say he is a prisoner.
Imprudently exposing himself during the attack, he was seized and
carried off by Topcliffe and his myrmidons."

"How true is the saying that misfortunes never come single!" sighed
Viviana. "I seem bereft of all I hold dear."

"Sir Everard has sent four of his trustiest servants with me," remarked
Garnet. "They are well armed, and will attend you wherever you choose to
lead them. He has also furnished me with a sum of money for your use."

"He is most kind and considerate," replied Viviana. "And now, father,"
she faltered, "there is one subject which it is necessary to speak upon;
and, though I shrink from it, it must not be postponed."

"I guess what you mean, daughter," said Garnet, sympathizingly; "you
allude to the interment of Sir William Radcliffe. Is the body here?"

"It is in an adjoining cottage," replied Viviana in a broken voice. "I
have already expressed my wish to Mr. Catesby to have it conveyed to
Manchester, to our family vault."

"I see not how that can be accomplished, dear daughter," replied Garnet;
"but I will confer with Mr. Catesby on the subject. Where is he?"

"In the next room, by the couch of Guy Fawkes, who is dying," said
Viviana.

"Dying!" echoed Garnet, starting. "I heard he was dangerously hurt, but
did not suppose the wound would prove fatal. Here is another grievous
blow to the good cause."

At this moment the door was opened by Catesby.

"How is the sufferer?" asked Garnet.

"A slight change for the better appears to have taken place," answered
Catesby. "His fever has in some decree abated, and he has sunk into a
gentle slumber."

"Can he be removed with safety?" inquired Garnet; "for, I fear, if he
remains here, he will fall into the hands of Topcliffe and his crew,
who are scouring the country in every direction." And he recapitulated
all he had just stated to Viviana.

Catesby was for some time lost in reflection.

"I am fairly perplexed as to what course it will be best to pursue," he
said. "Dangers and difficulties beset us on every side. I am inclined to
yield to Viviana's request, and proceed to Manchester."

"That will be rushing into the very face of danger," observed Garnet.

"And, therefore, may be the safest plan," replied Catesby. "Our
adversaries will scarcely suspect us of so desperate a step."

"Perhaps you are in the right, my son," returned Garnet, after a
moment's reflection. "At all events, I bow to your judgment."

"The plan is too much in accordance with my own wishes to meet with any
opposition on my part," observed Viviana.

"Will you accompany us, father?" asked Catesby; "or do you proceed to
Gothurst?"

"I will go with you, my son. Viviana will need a protector. And, till I
have seen her in some place of safety, I will not leave her."

"Since we have come to this determination," rejoined Catesby, "as soon
as the needful preparations can be made, and Guy Fawkes has had some
hours' repose, we will set out. Under cover of night we can travel with
security; and, by using some exertion, may reach Ordsall Hall, whither,
I presume, Viviana would choose to proceed, in the first instance,
before daybreak."

"I am well mounted, and so are my attendants," replied Garnet; "and, by
the provident care of Sir Everard Digby, each of them has a led horse
with him."

"That is well," said Catesby. "And now, Viviana, may I entreat you to
take my place for a short time by the couch of the sufferer. In a few
hours everything shall be in readiness."

He then retired with Garnet, while Viviana proceeded to the adjoining
chamber, where she found Guy Fawkes still slumbering tranquilly.

As the evening advanced, he awoke, and appeared much refreshed. While he
was speaking, Garnet and Catesby approached his bedside, and he seemed
overjoyed at the sight of the former. The subject of the journey being
mentioned to him, he at once expressed his ready compliance with the
arrangement, and only desired that the last rites of his church might be
performed for him before he set out.

Garnet informed him that he had come for that very purpose; and as soon
as they were left alone, he proceeded to the discharge of his priestly
duties, confessed and absolved him, giving him the viaticum and the
extreme unction. And, lastly, he judged it expedient to administer a
powerful opiate, to lull the pain of his wound on the journey.

This done, he summoned Catesby, who, with two of the attendants, raised
the couch on which the wounded man was stretched, and conveyed him to
the litter. So well was this managed, that Fawkes sustained no injury,
and little inconvenience, from the movement. Two strong country vehicles
had been procured; the one containing the wounded man's litter, the
other the shell, which had been hastily put together, to hold the
remains of the unfortunate Sir William Radcliffe. Viviana being placed
in the saddle, and Catesby having liberally rewarded the cottagers who
had afforded them shelter, the little cavalcade was put in motion. In
this way they journeyed through the night; and shaping their course
through Tarporley, Northwich, and Altringham, arrived at daybreak in the
neighbourhood of Ordsall Hall.



CHAPTER XV.

THE ELIXIR.


On beholding the well-remembered roof and gables of the old mansion
peeping from out the grove of trees in which it was embosomed, Viviana's
heart died away within her. The thought that her father, who had so
recently quitted it in the full enjoyment of health, and of every
worldly blessing, should be so soon brought back a corpse, was almost
too agonizing for endurance. Reflecting, however, that this was no
season for the indulgence of grief, but that she was called upon to act
with firmness, she bore up resolutely against her emotion.

Arrived within a short distance of the Hall, Catesby caused the little
train to halt under the shelter of the trees, while he rode forward to
ascertain that they could safely approach it. As he drew near,
everything proclaimed that the hand of the spoiler had been there.
Crossing the drawbridge, he entered the court, which bore abundant marks
of the devastation recently committed. Various articles of furniture,
broken, burnt, or otherwise destroyed, were lying scattered about. The
glass in the windows was shivered; the doors forced from their hinges;
the stone-copings of the walls pushed off; the flower-beds trampled
upon; the moat itself was in some places choked up with rubbish, while
in others its surface was covered with floating pieces of timber.

Led by curiosity Catesby proceeded to the spot where the stables had
stood. Nothing but a heap of blackened ruins met his gaze. Scarcely
one stone was standing on another. The appearance of the place was so
desolate and disheartening, that he turned away instantly. Leaving his
horse in a shed, he entered the house. Here, again, he encountered fresh
ravages. The oak-panels and skirting-boards were torn from the walls;
the ceilings pulled down; and the floor lay inch-deep in broken plaster
and dust. On ascending to the upper rooms, he found the same disorder.
The banisters of the stairs were broken; the bedsteads destroyed; the
roof partially untiled. Every room was thickly strewn with leaves torn
from valuable books, with fragments of apparel, and other articles,
which the searchers not being able to carry off had wantonly destroyed.

Having contemplated this scene of havoc for some time, with feelings of
the bitterest indignation, Catesby descended to the lowest story; and,
after searching ineffectually for the domestics, was about to depart,
when, turning suddenly, he perceived a man watching him from an
adjoining room. Catesby instantly called to him; but, seeing that the
fellow disregarded his assurances, and was about to take to his heels,
he drew his sword, and threatened him with severe punishment if he
attempted to fly. Thus exhorted, the man--who was no other than the
younger Heydocke--advanced towards him; and throwing himself at his
feet, begged him in the most piteous terms to do him no injury.

"I have already told you I am a friend," replied Catesby, sheathing his
sword.

"Ah! Mr. Catesby, is it you I behold?" cried Martin Heydocke, whose
fears had hitherto prevented him from noticing the features of the
intruder. "What brings your worship to this ill-fated house?"

"First let me know if there is any enemy about?" replied Catesby.

"None that I am aware of," rejoined Martin. "Having ransacked the
premises, and done all the mischief they could, as you perceive, the
miscreants departed the day before yesterday, and I have seen nothing of
them since, though I have been constantly on the watch. The only alarm I
have had was that occasioned by your worship just now."

"Are you alone here?" demanded Catesby.

"No, your worship," answered Martin. "There are several of the servants
concealed in a secret passage under the house. But they are so terrified
by what has lately happened, that they never dare show themselves,
except during the night-time."

"I do not wonder at it," replied Catesby.

"And now may I inquire whether your worship brings any tidings of Sir
William Radcliffe and Mistress Viviana?" rejoined Martin. "I hope no ill
has befallen them. My father, old Jerome Heydocke, set out to Holywell
a few days ago, to apprise them of their danger, and I have not heard of
them since."

"Sir William Radcliffe is dead," replied Catesby. "The villains have
murdered him. Your father is a prisoner."

"Alas! alas!" cried the young man, bursting into tears; "these are
fearful times to live in. What will become of us all?"

"We must rise against the oppressor," replied Catesby, sternly. "Bite
the heel that tramples upon us."

"We must," rejoined Martin. "And if my poor arm could avail, it should
not be slow to strike."

"Manfully resolved!" cried Catesby, who never lost an opportunity of
gaining a proselyte. "I will point out to you a way by which you may
accomplish what you desire. But we will talk of this hereafter. Hoard up
your vengeance till the fitting moment for action arrives."

He then proceeded to explain to the young man, who was greatly surprised
by the intelligence, that Viviana was at hand, and that the body of Sir
William had been brought thither for interment in the family vault at
the Collegiate Church. Having ascertained that there was a chamber,
which, having suffered less than the others, might serve for Viviana's
accommodation, Catesby returned to the party.

A more melancholy cavalcade has been seldom seen than now approached the
gates of Ordsall Hall. First rode Viviana, in an agony of tears, for her
grief had by this time become absolutely uncontrollable, with Catesby on
foot, leading her horse. Next came Garnet, greatly exhausted and
depressed; his eyes cast dejectedly on the ground. Then came the litter,
containing Guy Fawkes; and, lastly, the vehicle with the body of Sir
William Radcliffe. On arriving at the gate, Viviana was met by two
female servants, whom Martin Heydocke had summoned from their
hiding-places; and, as soon as she had dismounted, she was supported,
for she was scarcely able to walk unaided, to the chamber destined for
her reception. This done, Catesby proceeded, with some anxiety, to
superintend the removal of Fawkes, who was perfectly insensible. His
wound had bled considerably during the journey; but the effusion had
stopped when the faintness supervened. He was placed in one of the lower
rooms till a sleeping-chamber could be prepared for him. The last task
was to attend to the remains of the late unfortunate possessor of the
mansion. By Catesby's directions a large oak table, once occupying the
great hall, was removed to the Star Chamber, already described as the
principal room of the house; and, being securely propped up,--for, like
the rest of the furniture, it had been much damaged by the spoilers,
though, being of substantial material, it offered greater resistance to
their efforts,--the shell containing the body was placed upon it.

"Better he should lie thus," exclaimed Catesby, when the melancholy
office was completed, "than live to witness the wreck around him. Fatal
as are these occurrences," he added, pursuing the train of thought
suggested by the scene, "they are yet favourable to my purpose. The only
person who could have prevented my union with Viviana Radcliffe--her
father--lies there. Who would have thought when she rejected my proposal
a few days ago, in this very room, how fortune would conspire--and by
what dark and inscrutable means--to bring it about! Fallen as it is,
this house is not yet fallen so low, but I can reinstate it. Its young
mistress mine, her estates mine,--for she is now inheritress of all her
father's possessions,--the utmost reach of my ambition were gained, and
all but one object of my life--for which I have dared so much, and
struggled so long--achieved!"

"What are you thinking of, my son?" asked Garnet, who had watched the
changing expression of his sombre countenance,--"what are you thinking
of?" he said, tapping him on the shoulder.

"Of that which is never absent from my thoughts, father--the great
design," replied Catesby; "and of the means of its accomplishment, which
this sad scene suggests."

"I do not understand you, my son," rejoined the other.

"Does not Radcliffe's blood cry aloud for vengeance?" continued Catesby;
"and think you his child will be deaf to the cry? No, father, she will
no longer tamely submit to wrongs that would steel the gentlest bosom,
and make firm the feeblest arm, but will go hand and heart with us in
our project. Viviana must be mine," he added, altering his tone, "ours,
I should say,--for, if she is mine, all the vast possessions that have
accrued to her by her father's death shall be devoted to the furtherance
of the mighty enterprise."

"I cannot think she will refuse you now, my son," replied Garnet.

"She _shall not_ refuse me, father," rejoined Catesby. "The time is gone
by for idle wooing."

"I will be no party to forcible measures, my son," returned Garnet,
gravely. "As far as persuasion goes, I will lend you every assistance in
my power, but nothing further."

"Persuasion is all that will be required, I am assured, father,"
answered Catesby, hastily, perceiving he had committed himself too far.
"But let us now see what can be done for Guy Fawkes."

"Would there was any hope of his life!" exclaimed Garnet, sighing
deeply. "In losing him, we lose the bravest of our band."

"We do," returned Catesby. "And yet he has been subject to strange
fancies of late."

"He has been appalled, but never shaken," rejoined Garnet. "Of all our
number, you and he were the only two upon whom I could rely. When he is
gone, you will stand alone."

Catesby made no reply, but led the way to the chamber where the wounded
man lay. He had regained his consciousness, but was too feeble to speak.
After such restoratives as were at hand had been administered, Catesby
was about to order a room to be fitted up for him, when Viviana, whose
anxiety for the sufferer had overcome her affliction, made her
appearance. On learning Catesby's intentions, she insisted upon Fawkes
being removed to the room allotted to her, which had not been dismantled
like the rest. Seeing it was in vain to oppose her, Catesby assented,
and the sufferer was accordingly carried thither, and placed within the
bed--a large antique piece of furniture, hung with faded damask
curtains. The room was one of the oldest in the house, and at the
further end stood a small closet, approached by an arched doorway, and
fitted up with a hassock and crucifix, which, strange to say, had
escaped the ravages of the searchers.

Placed within the couch, Guy Fawkes began to ramble as before about the
conspiracy; and fearing his ravings might awaken the suspicion of the
servants, Catesby would not suffer any of them to come near him, but
arranged with Garnet to keep watch over him by turns. By degrees, he
became more composed; and, after dozing a little, opened his eyes, and,
looking round, inquired anxiously for his sword. At first, Catesby, who
was alone with him at the time, hesitated in his answer, but seeing he
appeared greatly disturbed, he showed him that his hat, gauntlets, and
rapier were lying by the bedside.

"I am content," replied the wounded man, smiling faintly; "that sword
has never left my side, waking or sleeping, for twenty years. Let me
grasp it once more--perhaps for the last time."

Catesby handed him the weapon. He looked at it for a few moments, and
pressed the blade to his lips.

"Farewell, old friend!" he said, a tear gathering in his eye, "farewell!
Catesby," he added, as he resigned the weapon to him, "I have one
request to make. Let my sword be buried with me."

"It shall," replied Catesby, in a voice suffocated by emotion, for the
request touched him where his stern nature was most accessible: "I will
place it by you myself."

"Thanks!" exclaimed Fawkes. And soon after this, he again fell into a
slumber.

His sleep endured for some hours; but his breathing grew fainter and
fainter, so that at the last it was scarcely perceptible. A striking
change had likewise taken place in his countenance, and these signs
convinced Catesby he had not long to live. While he was watching him
with great anxiety, Viviana appeared at the door of the chamber, and
beckoned him out. Noiselessly obeying the summons, and following her
along the gallery, he entered a room where he found Garnet.

"I have called you to say that a remedy has been suggested to me by
Martin Heydocke," observed Viviana, "by which I trust Guy Fawkes may yet
be saved."

"How?" asked Catesby, eagerly.

"Doctor Dee, the warden of Manchester, of whom you must have heard," she
continued, "is said to possess an elixir of such virtue, that a few
drops of it will snatch him who drinks them from the very jaws of
death."

"I should not have suspected you of so much credulity, Viviana," replied
Catesby; "but grant that Doctor Dee possesses this marvellous
elixir--which for my own part I doubt--how are we to obtain it?"

"If you will repair to the college, and see him, I doubt not he will
give it you," rejoined Viviana.

Catesby smiled incredulously.

"I have a claim upon Doctor Dee," she persisted, "which I have never
enforced. I will now use it. Show him this token," she continued,
detaching a small ornament from her neck; "tell him you bring it from
me, and I am sure he will comply with your request."

"Your commands shall be obeyed, Viviana," replied Catesby; "but I
frankly confess I have no faith in the remedy."

"It is at least worth the trial, my son," observed Garnet. "Doctor Dee
is a wonderful person, and has made many discoveries in medicine, as in
other sciences, and this marvellous specific may, for aught we know,
turn out no imposture."

"If such is your opinion," replied Catesby, "I will set out at once. If
it is to be tried at all, it must be without delay. The poor sufferer is
sinking fast."

"Go then," cried Viviana, "and heaven speed your mission! If you could
prevail upon Doctor Dee to visit the wounded man in person, I should
prefer it. Besides, I have another request to make of him--but that will
do hereafter. Lose not a moment now."

"I will fly on the wings of the wind," replied Catesby. "Heaven grant
that when I return the object of our solicitude may not be past all
human aid!"

With this, he hurried to an out-building in which the horses were
placed, and choosing the strongest and fleetest from out their number,
mounted, and started at full gallop in the direction of Manchester; nor
did he relax his speed until he reached the gates of the ancient
College. Hanging the bridle of his smoking steed to a hook in the wall,
he crossed the large quadrangular court; and finding the principal
entrance open, passed the lofty room now used as the refectory, ascended
the flight of stone stairs that conducts the modern visitor to the
library, and was traversing the long galleries communicating with it,
and now crowded with the learning of ages, bequeathed by the benevolence
of his rival, Humphrey Chetham, when he encountered a grave but
crafty-looking personage, in a loose brown robe and Polish cap, who
angrily demanded his business.

Apologizing for the intrusion, Catesby was about to explain, when a
small oak door near them was partly opened, and an authoritative voice,
from within, exclaimed, "Do not hinder him, Kelley. I know his business,
and will see him."

The seer made no further remark, but pointing to the door, Catesby at
once comprehended that it was Dee's voice he had heard; and, though
somewhat startled by the intimation that he was expected, entered the
room. He found the Doctor surrounded by his magical apparatus, and
slowly returning to the chair he had just quitted.

Without looking behind him to see whom he addressed, Dee continued, "I
have just consulted my show-stone, and know why you are come hither. You
bring a token from Viviana Radcliffe."

"I do," replied Catesby, in increased astonishment. "It is here."

"It is needless to produce it," replied Dee, still keeping his back
towards him. "I have seen it already. Kelley," he continued, "I am about
to set out for Ordsall Hall immediately. You must accompany me."

"Amazement!" cried Catesby. "Is the purpose of my visit then really
known to your reverence?"

"You shall hear," rejoined Dee, facing him. "You have a friend who is at
the point of death, and having heard that I possess an elixir of
wonderful efficacy, are come in quest of it."

"True," replied Catesby, utterly confounded.

"The name of that friend," pursued Dee, regarding him fixedly, "is Guy
Fawkes,--your own, Robert Catesby."

"I need no more to convince me, reverend sir," rejoined Catesby,
trembling, in spite of himself, "that all I have heard of your wonderful
powers falls far short of the truth."

"You are but just in time," replied Dee, bowing gravely, in
acknowledgment of the compliment. "Another hour, and it would have been
too late."

"Then you think he will live!" cried Catesby, eagerly.

"I am sure of it," replied Dee, "provided----"

"Provided what?" interrupted Catesby. "Is there aught I can do to ensure
his recovery?"

"No," replied Dee, sternly. "I am debating within myself whether it is
worth while reviving him for a more dreadful fate."

"What mean you, reverend sir?" asked Catesby, a shade passing over his
countenance.

"You understand my meaning, and therefore need no explanation," replied
Dee. "Return to Ordsall Hall, and tell Miss Radcliffe I will be there in
an hour. Bid her have no further fear. If the wounded man breathes when
I arrive, I will undertake to cure him. Add further, that I know the
other request she desires to make of me, and that it is granted before
it is asked. Farewell, sir, for a short time."

On reaching the court, Catesby expanded his chest, shook his limbs, and
exclaimed, "At length, I breathe freely. The atmosphere of that infernal
chamber smelt so horribly of sulphur that it almost stifled me. Well, if
Doctor Dee has not dealings with the devil, man never had! However, if
he cures Guy Fawkes, I care not whence the medicine comes from."

As he descended Smithy Bank, and was about to cross the old bridge over
the Irwell, he perceived a man riding before him, who seemed anxious to
avoid him. Struck by this person's manner, he urged his horse into a
quicker pace, and being better mounted of the two, soon overtook him,
when to his surprise he found it was Martin Heydocke.

"What are you doing here, sirrah?" he demanded.

"I have been sent by Mistress Viviana with a message to Mr. Humphrey
Chetham," replied the young man, in great confusion.

"Indeed!" exclaimed Catesby, angrily. "And how dared you convey a
message to him, without consulting me on the subject?"

"I was not aware you were my master," replied Martin, sulkily. "If I owe
obedience to any one, it is to Mr. Chetham, whose servant I am. But if
Mistress Viviana gives me a message to deliver, I will execute her
commands, whoever may be pleased or displeased."

"I did but jest, thou saucy knave," returned Catesby, who did not desire
to offend him. "Here is a piece of money for thee. Now, if it be no
secret, what was Miss Radcliffe's message to thy master?"

"I know not what her letter contained," replied Martin; "but his answer
was, that he would come to the hall at midnight."

"It is well I ascertained this," thought Catesby, and he added aloud, "I
understood your master had been arrested and imprisoned."

"So he was," replied Martin; "but he had interest enough with the
Commissioners to procure his liberation."

"Enough," replied Catesby; and striking spurs into his charger, he
dashed off.

A quarter of an hour's hard riding brought him to the hall, and, on
arriving there, he proceeded at once to the wounded man's chamber, where
he found Viviana and Garnet.

"Have you succeeded in your errand?" cried the former, eagerly. "Will
Doctor Dee come, or has he sent the elixir?"

"He will bring it himself," replied Catesby.

Viviana uttered an exclamation of joy, and the sound appeared to reach
the ears of the sufferer, for he stirred, and groaned faintly.

"Doctor Dee desired me to tell you," continued Catesby, drawing Viviana
aside, and speaking in a low tone, "that your other request was
granted."

Viviana looked surprised, and as if she did not clearly understand him.

"Might he not refer to Humphrey Chetham?" remarked Catesby, somewhat
maliciously.

"Ah! you have learnt from Martin Heydocke that I have written to him,"
returned Viviana, blushing deeply. "What I was about to ask of Doctor
Dee had no reference to Humphrey Chetham. It was to request permission
to privately inter my father's remains in our family vault in the
Collegiate Church. But how did he know I had any request to make?"

"That passes my comprehension," replied Catesby, "unless he obtained his
information from his familiar spirits."

Shortly after this, Dr. Dee and Kelley arrived at the hall. Catesby met
them at the gate, and conducted them to the wounded man's chamber.
Coldly saluting Garnet, whom he eyed with suspicion, and bowing
respectfully to Viviana, the Doctor slowly advanced to the bedside. He
gazed for a short time at the wounded man, and folded his arms
thoughtfully upon his breast. The eyes of the sufferer were closed, and
his lips slightly apart, but no breath seemed to issue from them. His
bronzed complexion had assumed the ghastly hue of death, and his
strongly-marked features had become fixed and rigid. His black hair,
stiffened and caked with blood, escaped from the bandages around his
head, and hung in elf locks on the pillow. It was a piteous spectacle;
and Doctor Dee appeared much moved by it.

"The worst is over," he muttered: "why recall the spirit to its wretched
tenement?"

"If you can save him, reverend sir, do not hesitate," implored Viviana.

"I am come hither for that purpose," replied Dee; "but I must have no
other witness to the experiment except yourself, and my attendant
Kelley."

"I do not desire to be present, reverend sir," replied Viviana; "but I
will retire into that closet, and pray that your remedy may prevail."

"My prayers for the same end shall be offered in the adjoining room,"
observed Garnet; and taking Catesby's arm, who seemed spell-bound by
curiosity, he dragged him away.

The door closed, and Viviana withdrew into the closet, where she knelt
down before the crucifix. Doctor Dee seated himself on the bedside; and
taking a gourd-shaped bottle, filled with a clear sparkling liquid, from
beneath his robe, he raised it to his eyes with his left hand, while he
placed his right on the wrist of the wounded man. In this attitude he
continued for a few seconds, while Kelley, with his arms folded,
likewise kept his gaze fixed on the phial. At the expiration of that
time, Dee, who had apparently counted the pulsations of the sufferer,
took out the glass stopper from the bottle, the contents of which
diffused a pungent odour around; and wetting a small piece of linen with
it, applied it to his temples. He then desired Kelley to raise his head,
and poured a few drops down his throat. This done, he waited a few
minutes, and repeated the application.

"Look!" he cried to Kelley. "The elixir already begins to operate. His
chest heaves. His limbs shiver. That flush upon the cheek, and that
dampness upon the brow, denote that the animal heat is restored. A third
draught will accomplish the cure."

"I can already feel his heart palpitate," observed Kelley, placing his
hand on the patient's breast.

"Heaven be praised!" ejaculated Viviana, who had suspended her devotions
to listen.

"Hold him tightly," cried Dee to his assistant, "while I administer the
last draught. He may injure himself by his struggles."

Kelley obeyed, and twined his arms tightly round the wounded man. And
fortunate it was that the precaution was taken, for the elixir was no
sooner poured down his throat than his chest began to labour violently,
his eyes opened, and, raising himself bolt-upright, he struggled
violently to break from the hold imposed upon him. This he would have
effected, if Dee had not likewise lent his aid to prevent him.

"This is, indeed, a wonderful sight!" cried Viviana, who had quitted the
closet, and now gazed on, in awe and astonishment. "I can never be
sufficiently thankful to you, reverend sir."

"Give thanks to Him to whom alone they are due," replied Dee. "Summon
your friends. They may now resume their posts. My task is accomplished."

Catesby and Garnet being called into the room, could scarcely credit
their senses when they beheld Guy Fawkes, who by this time had ceased
struggling, reclining on Kelley's shoulder, and, except a certain
wildness in the eye and cadaverousness of hue, looking as he was wont to
do.

[Illustration: _Doctor Dee resuscitating Guy Fawkes_]



CHAPTER XVI.

THE COLLEGIATE CHURCH AT MANCHESTER.


Bidding Kelley remain with Guy Fawkes, Doctor Dee signified to Viviana
that he had a few words to say to her in private before his departure,
and leading the way to an adjoining room, informed her that he was aware
of her desire to have her father's remains interred in the Collegiate
Church, and that, so far from opposing her inclinations, he would
willingly accede to them, only recommending as a measure of prudence
that the ceremonial should be performed at night, and with as much
secrecy as possible. Viviana thanked him in a voice of much emotion for
his kindness, and entirely acquiesced in his suggestion of caution. At
the same time, she could not help expressing her surprise that her
thoughts should be known to him. "Though, indeed," she added, "after the
wonderful exhibition I have just witnessed of your power, I can scarcely
suppose that any limits are to be placed to it."

"Few things are hidden from me," replied Dee, with a gratified smile;
"even the lighter matters of the heart, in which I might be supposed to
take little interest, do not altogether elude my observation. In
reference to this, you will not, I am sure be offended with me, Viviana,
if I tell you I have noticed with some concern the attachment that has
arisen between you and Humphrey Chetham."

Viviana uttered an exclamation of surprise, and a deep blush suffused
her pallid cheeks.

"I am assuming the privilege of an old man with you, Viviana," continued
Dee, in a graver tone, "and I may add, of an old friend,--for your
lamented mother was one of my dearest and best friends, as you perchance
called to mind, when you sent me to-day, by Mr. Catesby, the token I
gave her years ago. You have done unwisely in inviting Humphrey Chetham
to come hither to-night."

"How so?" she faltered.

"Because, if he keeps his appointment, fatal consequences may ensue,"
answered Dee. "Your message has reached the ears of one from whom,--most
of all,--you should have concealed it."

"Mr. Catesby has heard of it, I know," replied Viviana. "But you do not
apprehend any danger from him?"

"He is Chetham's mortal foe," rejoined Dee, "and will slay him, if he
finds an opportunity."

"You alarm me," she cried. "I will speak to Mr. Catesby on the subject,
and entreat him, as he values my regard, to offer no molestation to his
fancied rival."

"_Fancied_ rival!" echoed Dee, raising his brows contemptuously. "Do you
seek to persuade me that you do not love Humphrey Chetham?"

"Assuredly not," replied Viviana. "I freely acknowledge my attachment to
him. It is as strong as my aversion to Mr. Catesby. But the latter is
aware that the suit of his rival is as hopeless as his own."

"Explain yourself, I pray you?" said Dee.

"My destiny is the cloister,--and this he well knows," she rejoined. "As
soon as my worldly affairs can be arranged, I shall retire to the
English nunnery at Brussels, where I shall vow myself to Heaven."

"Such is your present intention," replied Dee. "But you will never quit
your own country."

"What shall hinder me?" asked Viviana, uneasily.

"Many things," returned Dee. "Amongst others, this meeting with your
lover."

"Call him not by that name, I beseech you, reverend sir," she rejoined.
"Humphrey Chetham will never be other to me than a friend."

"It may be," answered Dee. "But your destiny is _not_ the cloister."

"For what am I reserved, then?" demanded Viviana, trembling.

"All I dare tell you," he returned, "all it is needful for you to know,
is, that your future career is mixed up with that of Guy Fawkes. But do
not concern yourself about what is to come. The present is sufficient to
claim your attention."

"True," replied Viviana; "and my first object shall be to despatch a
messenger to Humphrey Chetham to prevent him from coming hither."

"Trouble yourself no further on that score," returned Dee. "I will
convey the message to him. As regards the funeral, it must take place
without delay. I will be at the south porch of the church with the keys
at midnight, and Robert Burnell, the sexton, and another assistant on
whom I can depend, shall be in attendance. Though it is contrary to my
religious opinions and feelings to allow a Romish priest to perform the
service, I will not interfere with Father Garnet. I owe your mother a
deep debt of gratitude, and will pay it to her husband and her child."

"Thanks!--in _her_ name, thanks!" cried Viviana, in a voice suffocated
by emotion.

"And now," continued Dee, "I would ask you one further question. My art
has made me acquainted that a plot is hatching against the King and his
Government by certain of the Catholic party. Are you favourable to the
design?"

"I am not," replied Viviana, firmly. "Nor can you regard it with more
horror than myself."

"I was sure of it," returned Dee. "Nevertheless, I am glad to have my
supposition confirmed from your own mouth."

With this, he moved towards the door, but Viviana arrested his
departure.

"Stay, reverend sir," she cried, with a look of great uneasiness; "if
you are in possession of this dread secret, the lives of my companions
are in your power. You will not betray them. Or, if you deem it your
duty to reveal the plot to those endangered by it, you will give its
contrivers timely warning."

"Fear nothing," rejoined Dee. "I cannot, were I so disposed, interfere
with the fixed purposes of fate. The things revealed by my familiar
spirits never pass my lips. They are more sacred than the disclosures
made to a priest of your faith at the confessional. The bloody
enterprise on which these zealots are bent will fail. I have warned
Fawkes; but my warning, though conveyed by the lips of the dead, and by
other means equally terrible, was unavailing. I would warn Catesby and
Garnet, but they would heed me not. Viviana Radcliffe," he continued, in
a solemn voice, "you questioned me just now about the future. Have you
courage to make the same demand from your dead father? If so, I will
compel his corpse to answer you."

"Oh! no--no," cried Viviana, horror-stricken; "not for worlds would I
commit so impious an act. Gladly as I would know what fate has in store
for me, nothing should induce me to purchase the knowledge at so
dreadful a price."

"Farewell, then," rejoined Dee. "At midnight, at the south porch of the
Collegiate Church, I shall expect you."

So saying, he took his departure; and, on entering the gallery, he
perceived Catesby hastily retreating.

"Aha!" he muttered. "We have had a listener here. Well, no matter. What
he has heard may prove serviceable to him."

He then returned to the chamber occupied by Guy Fawkes, and finding he
had dropped into a deep and tranquil sleep, motioned Kelley, who was
standing by the bedside watching his slumbers with folded arms, to
follow him, and bowing gravely to Garnet quitted the hall.

As he crossed the court, on his way to the drawbridge, Catesby suddenly
threw himself in his path, and laying his hand upon his sword, cried in
a menacing voice,--"Doctor Dee, neither you nor your companion shall
quit the hall till you have solemnly sworn not to divulge aught
pertaining to the plot, of which you have so mysteriously obtained
information."

"Is this my recompence for rescuing your comrade from the jaws of death,
sir?" replied Dee, sternly.

"The necessity of the case must plead its excuse," rejoined Catesby. "My
own safety, and the safety of those leagued with me, require that I
should be peremptory in my demand. Did I not owe you a large debt of
gratitude for your resuscitation of Guy Fawkes, I would have insured
your secrecy with your life. As it is, I will be content with your
oath."

"Fool!" exclaimed Dee, "stand aside, or I will compel you to do so."

"Think not to terrify me by idle threats," returned Catesby. "I
willingly acknowledge your superior skill,--as, indeed, I have good
reason to do,--in the science of medicine; but I have no faith in your
magical tricks. A little reflection has shown me how the knowledge I at
first thought so wonderful was acquired. You obtained it by means of
Martin Heydocke, who, mounted on a swift steed, reached the College
before me. He told you of the object of my visit,--of Viviana's wish to
have her father interred in the Collegiate Church,--of her message to
Humphrey Chetham. You were, therefore, fully prepared for my arrival,
and at first, I must confess, completely imposed upon me. Nay, had I not
overheard your conversation just now with Viviana, I might have remained
your dupe still. But your allusion to Chetham's visit awakened my
suspicions, and, on re-considering the matter, the whole trick flashed
upon me."

"What more?" demanded Dee, his brow lowering, and his eyes sparkling
with rage.

"Thus much," returned Catesby. "I have your secret, and you have mine.
And though the latter is the more important, inasmuch as several lives
hang upon it, whereas a conjuror's worthless reputation is alone
dependent on the other, yet both must be kept. Swear, then, not to
reveal the plot, and in my turn I will take any oath you choose to
dictate not to disclose the jugglery I have detected."

"I will make no terms with you," returned Dee; "and if I do not reveal
your damnable plot, it is not from consideration of you or your
associates, but because the hour for its disclosure is not yet arrived.
When full proof of your guilt can be obtained, then rest assured it will
be made known,--though not by me. Not one of your number shall
escape--not one."

Catesby again laid his hand upon his sword, and seemed from his looks to
be meditating the destruction of the Doctor and his assistant. But they
appeared wholly unconcerned at his glances.

"What you have said concerning Martin Heydocke is false--as false as
your own foul and bloody scheme," pursued Dee. "I have neither seen, nor
spoken with him."

"But your assistant, Edward Kelley, has," retorted Catesby, "and that
amounts to the same thing."

"For the third and last time I command you to stand aside," cried Dee,
in a tone of concentrated anger.

Catesby laughed aloud.

"What if I refuse?" he said, in a jeering voice.

Doctor Dee made no answer; but, suddenly drawing a small phial from
beneath his robe, cast its contents in his opponent's face. Blinded by
the spirit, Catesby raised his hand to his eyes, and while in this
condition a thick cloth was thrown over his head from behind, and,
despite his resistance, he was borne off, and bound with a strong cord
to an adjoining tree.

Half an hour elapsed, during which he exhausted his fury in vain
outcries for assistance, and execrations and menaces against Dee and his
companion. At the expiration of that time, hearing steps approaching, he
called loudly to be released, and was answered by the voice of Martin
Heydocke.

"What! is it your worship I behold?" cried Martin, in a tone of affected
commiseration. "Mercy on us! what has happened? Have the rascally
searchers been here again?"

"Hold your peace, knave, and unbind me," rejoined Catesby, angrily. "I
shrewdly suspect," he added, as his commands were obeyed, and the cord
twined around his arms unfastened, and the cloth removed,--"I shrewdly
suspect," he said, fixing a stern glance upon Martin, which effectually
banished the smile from his demure countenance, "that you have had some
share in this business."

"What I, your worship?" exclaimed Martin. "Not the slightest, I assure
you. It was by mere chance I came this way, and, perceiving some one
tied to a tree, was about to take to my heels, when, fancying I
recognised your worship's well-formed legs, I ventured forward."

"You shall become more intimately acquainted with my worship's boots,
rascal, if I find my suspicions correct," rejoined Catesby. "Have you
the effrontery to tell me you have never seen this rope and this cloth
before?"

"Certes, I have, your worship," replied Martin. "May the first hang me,
and the last serve as my winding-sheet, if I speak not the truth! Ah,
now I look again," he added, pretending to examine them, "it must be a
horse-cloth and halter from the stable. Peradventure, I _have_ seen
them."

"That I will be sworn you have, and used them too," rejoined Catesby. "I
am half inclined to tie you to the tree in my place. But where is your
employer?--where is Doctor Dee?"

"Doctor Dee is _not_ my employer," answered Martin, "neither do I serve
him. Mr. Humphrey Chetham, as I have already told your worship, is my
master. As to the Doctor, he left the hall some time since. Father
Garnet thought you had accompanied him on the road. I have seen nothing
of him. Of a truth I have not."

Catesby reflected a moment, and then strode towards the hall, while
Martin, with a secret smile, picked up the halter and cloth, and
withdrew to the stable.

Repairing to the chamber of the wounded man, Catesby found Garnet
seated by his couch, and related what had occurred. The Jesuit listened
with profound attention to the recital, and on its conclusion
observed,--

"I am sorry you have offended Doctor Dee, my son. He might have proved a
good friend. As it is, you have made him a dangerous enemy."

"He was not to be trusted, father," returned Catesby. "But if you have
any fears of him, or Kelley, I will speedily set them at rest."

"No violence, my son," rejoined Garnet. "You will only increase the
mischief you have already occasioned. I do not think Dee will betray us.
But additional circumspection will be requisite. Tarry here while I
confer with Viviana on this subject. She has apparently some secret
influence with the Doctor, and may be prevailed upon to exert it in our
behalf."

It was long before Garnet returned. When he reappeared, his looks
convinced Catesby that the interview had not proved satisfactory.

"Your imprudence has placed us in a perilous position, my son," he
observed. "Viviana refuses to speak to Doctor Dee on the subject, and
strongly reprobates your conduct."

Catesby's brow lowered.

"There is but one course to pursue," he muttered, rising; "our lives or
his must be sacrificed. I will act at once."

"Hold!" exclaimed Garnet authoritatively. "Wait till to-morrow and, if
aught occurs in the interim to confirm your suspicions, do as you think
proper. I will not oppose you."

"If I forbear so long," returned Catesby, "it will not be safe to remain
here."

"I will risk it," said Garnet, "and I counsel you to do the same. You
will not leave Viviana at this strait."

"I have no such thoughts," replied Catesby. "If I go, she goes too."

"Then it will be in vain, I am sure, to endeavour to induce her to
accompany you till her father is interred," observed Garnet.

"True," replied Catesby; "I had forgotten that. We shall meet the hoary
juggler at the church, and an opportunity may occur for executing my
purpose there. Unless he will swear at the altar not to betray us, he
shall die by my hand."

"An oath in such a case would be no security, my son," returned Garnet;
"and his slaughter and that of his companion would be equally
inefficacious, and greatly prejudicial to our cause. If he means to
betray us, he has done so already. But I have little apprehension. I do
not think him well affected towards the government, and I cannot but
think, if you had not thus grossly insulted him, he would have favoured
rather than opposed our design. If he was aware of the plot, and
adverse to it, what need was there to exert his skill in behalf of our
dying friend, who, but for him, would have been, ere this, a lump of
lifeless clay? No, no, my son. You are far too hasty in your judgment.
Nor am I less surprised at your injustice. Overlooking the great benefit
conferred upon us, because some trifling scheme has been thwarted, you
would requite our benefactor by cutting his throat."

"Your rebuke is just, father," returned Catesby. "I have acted
heedlessly. But I will endeavour to repair my error."

"Enough, my son," replied Garnet. "It will be advisable to go well armed
to the church to-night, for fear of a surprise. But I shall not absent
myself on that account."

"Nor I," rejoined Catesby.

The conversation was then carried on, on other topics, when they were
interrupted by the entrance of Viviana, who came to consult them about
the funeral. It was arranged--since better could not be found--that the
vehicle used to bring thither the body of the unfortunate knight should
transport it to its last home. No persuasions of Garnet could induce
Viviana to relinquish the idea of attending the ceremony; and Catesby,
though he affected the contrary, secretly rejoiced at her determination.

Night came, and all was in readiness. Viviana to the last indulged a
hope that Humphrey Chetham would arrive in time to attend the funeral
with her; but, as he did not appear, she concluded he had received
Doctor Dee's warning. Martin Heydocke was left in charge of Guy Fawkes,
who still continued to slumber deeply, and, when within half an hour of
the appointed time, the train set out.

They were all well mounted, and proceeded at a slow pace along the lane
skirting the west bank of the Irwell. The night was profoundly dark;
and, as it was not deemed prudent to carry torches, some care was
requisite to keep in the right road. Catesby rode first, and was
followed by Garnet and Viviana, after whom came the little vehicle
containing the body. The rear was brought up by three of the servants
sent by Sir Everard Digby; a fourth acting as driver of the sorry
substitute for a hearse. Not a word was uttered by any of the party. In
this stealthy manner was the once-powerful and wealthy Sir William
Radcliffe, the owner of the whole district through which they were
passing, conveyed to the burial-place of his ancestors!

In shorter time than they had allowed themselves for the journey, the
melancholy cavalcade reached Salford Bridge, and crossing it at a quick
pace, as had been previously arranged by Catesby, arrived without
molestation or notice (for no one was abroad in the town at that hour)
at the southern gate of the Collegiate Church, where, it may be
remembered, Guy Fawkes had witnessed the execution of the two seminary
priests, and on the spikes of which their heads and dismembered bodies
were now fixed. An old man here presented himself, and, unlocking the
gate, informed them he was Robert Burnell, the sexton. The shell was
then taken out, and borne on the shoulders of the servants towards the
church, Burnell leading the way. Garnet followed; and as soon as Catesby
had committed the horses to the care of the driver of the carriage, he
tendered his arm to Viviana, who could scarcely have reached the sacred
structure unsupported.

Doctor Dee met them at the church porch, as he had appointed, and, as
soon as they had passed through it, the door was locked. Addressing a
few words in an under tone to Viviana, but not deigning to notice either
of her companions, Dee directed the bearers of the body to follow him,
and proceeded towards the choir.

The interior of the reverend and beautiful fane was buried in profound
gloom, and the feeble light diffused by the sexton's lantern only made
the darkness more palpable. On entering the broad and noble nave nothing
could be seen of its clustered pillars, or of the exquisite pointed
arches, enriched with cinquefoil and quatrefoil, inclosing blank
shields, which they supported. Neither could its sculptured cornice; its
clerestory windows; its upper range of columns, supporting demi-angels
playing on musical instruments; its moulded roof crossed by transverse
beams, enriched in the interstices with sculptured ornaments, be
distinguished. Most of these architectural glories were invisible; but
the very gloom in which they were shrouded was imposing. As the dim
light fell upon pillar after pillar as they passed, revealing their
mouldings, piercing a few feet into the side aisles, and falling upon
the grotesque heads, the embattled ornaments and grotesque tracery of
the arches, the effect was inexpressibly striking.

Nor were the personages inappropriate to the sombre scene. The reverend
figure of Dee, with his loose flowing robe and long white beard; the
priestly garb and grave aspect of Garnet; the soldier-like bearing of
Catesby, his armed heel and rapier-point clanking upon the pavement; the
drooping figure of Viviana, whose features were buried in her kerchief,
and whose sobs were distinctly audible; the strangely-fashioned coffin,
and the attendants by whom it was borne;--all constituted a singular,
and, at the same time, deeply-interesting picture.

Approaching the magnificent screen terminating the nave, they passed
through an arched gateway within it, and entered the choir. The west-end
of this part of the church was assigned as the burial-place of the
ancient and honourable family, the head of which was about to be
deposited within it, and was designated from the circumstance, the
"Radcliffe chancel." A long slab of grey marble, in which a brass plate,
displaying the armorial bearings of the Radcliffes, was inserted, had
been removed, and the earth thrown out of the cavity beneath it.
Kelley, who had assisted in making the excavation, was standing beside
it, leaning on a spade, with a lantern at his feet. He drew aside as the
funeral train approached, and the shell was deposited at the edge of the
grave.

Picturesque and striking as was the scene in the nave, it fell far short
of that now exhibited. The choir of the Collegiate Church at Manchester
may challenge comparison with any similar structure. Its thirty
elaborately-carved stalls, covered with canopies of the richest
tabernacle work, surmounted by niches, mouldings, pinnacles, and
perforated tracery, and crowned with a richly-sculptured cornice; its
side aisles, with their pillars and arches; its moulded ceiling rich in
the most delicate and fairy tracery; its gorgeous altar-screen of carved
oak; and its magnificent eastern window, then filled with stained glass,
form a _coup-d'oeil_ of almost unequalled splendour and beauty. Few of
these marvels could now be seen. But such points of the pinnacles and
hanging canopies of the stalls, of the façades of the side-aisles, and
of the fretted roof, as received any portion of the light, came in with
admirable effect.

"All is prepared, you perceive," observed Dee to Viviana. "I will retire
while the ceremony is performed." And gravely inclining his head, he
passed through an arched door in the south aisle, and entered the
chapter-house.

Garnet was about to proceed with the service appointed by the Romish
Church for the burial of the dead, when Viviana, uttering a loud cry,
would have fallen, if Catesby had not flown to her assistance, and borne
her to one of the stalls. Recovering her self-possession the next
moment, she entreated him to leave her; and while the service proceeded,
she knelt down and prayed fervently for the soul of the departed.

Placing himself at the foot of the body, Garnet sprinkled it with holy
water, which he had brought with him in a small silver consecrated
vessel. He then recited the _De Profundis_, the _Miserere_, and other
antiphons and prayers; placed incense in a burner, which he had likewise
brought with him, and having lighted it, bowed reverently towards the
altar, sprinkled the body thrice with holy water, at the sides, at the
head, and the feet; and then walking round it with the incense-burner,
dispersed its fragrant odour over it. This done, he recited another
prayer, pronounced a solemn benediction over the place of sepulture, and
the body was lowered into it.

The noise of the earth falling upon the shell aroused Viviana from her
devotions. She looked towards the grave, but could see nothing but the
gloomy group around it, prominent among which appeared the tall figure
of Catesby. The sight was too much for her, and, unable to control her
grief, she fainted. Meanwhile, the grave was rapidly filled, all lending
their aid to the task; and nothing was wanting but to restore the slab
to its original position. By the united efforts of Catesby, Kelley, and
the sexton, this was soon accomplished, and the former, unaware of what
had happened, was about to proceed to Viviana, to tell her all was over,
when he was arrested by a loud knocking at the church door, accompanied
by a clamorous demand for admittance.

"We are betrayed!" exclaimed Catesby. "It is as I suspected. Take care
of Viviana, father. I will after the hoary impostor, and cleave his
skull! Extinguish the lights--quick! quick!"

Garnet hastily complied with these injunctions, and the choir was
plunged in total darkness. He then rushed to the stalls, but could
nowhere find Viviana. He called her by name, but received no answer, and
was continuing his fruitless search, when he heard footsteps
approaching, and the voice of Catesby exclaimed,

"Follow me with your charge, father."

"Alas! my son, she is not here," replied Garnet. "I have searched each
stall as carefully as I could in the dark. I fear she has been spirited
away."

"Impossible!" cried Catesby. And he ran his hand along the row of
sculptured seats, but without success. "She is indeed gone!" he
exclaimed distractedly. "It was here I left her--nay, here I beheld her
at the very moment the lights were extinguished. Viviana!--Viviana!"

But all was silent.

"It is that cursed magician's handiwork!" he continued, striking his
forehead in despair.

"Did you find him?" demanded Garnet.

"No," replied Catesby. "The door of the chapter-house was locked inside.
The treacherous villain did well to guard against my fury."

"You provoked his resentment, my son," rejoined Garnet. "But this is not
a season for reproaches. Something must be done. Where is Kelley?"

At the suggestion, Catesby instantly darted to the spot where the seer
had stood. He was not there. He then questioned the servants, whose
teeth were chattering with fright, but they had neither heard him
depart, nor could tell anything about him; and perceiving plainly from
their trepidation that these men would lend no aid, even if they did not
join the assailants, he returned to communicate his apprehensions to
Garnet.

During all this time the knocking and vociferations at the door had
continued with increased violence, and reverberated in hollow peals
along the roof and aisles of the church.

The emergency was a fearful one. Catesby, however, had been too often
placed in situations of peril, and was too constitutionally brave, to
experience much uneasiness for himself; but his apprehensions lest
Garnet should be captured, and the sudden and mysterious disappearance
of Viviana almost distracted him. Persuading himself she might have
fallen to the ground, or that he had overlooked the precise spot where
he had left her, he renewed his search, but with no better success than
before; and he was almost beginning to believe that some magic might
have been practised to cause her disappearance, when it occurred to him
that she had been carried off by Kelley.

"Fool that I was, not to think of that before!" he exclaimed. "I have
unintentionally aided their project by extinguishing the lights. But now
that I am satisfied she is gone, I can devote my whole energies to the
preservation of Garnet. They shall not capture us so easily as they
anticipate."

With this, he approached the priest, and grasping his hand drew him
noislessly along. They had scarcely passed through the arched doorway in
the screen, and set foot within the nave, when the clamour without
ceased. The next moment a thundering crash was heard; the door burst
open, and a number of armed figures bearing torches, with drawn swords
in their hands, rushed with loud vociferations into the church.

"We must surrender, my son," cried Garnet. "It will be useless to
contend against that force."

"But we may yet escape them," rejoined Catesby. And glancing hastily
round he perceived a small open door in the wall at the right, and
pointing it out to the priest, hurried towards it.

On reaching it, they found it communicated with a flight of stone steps,
evidently leading to the roof.

"Saved! saved!" cried Catesby, triumphantly. "Mount first, father. I
will defend the passage."

The pursuers, who saw the course taken by the fugitives, set up a loud
shout, and ran as swiftly as they could in the same direction, and by
the time the latter had gained the door they were within a few yards of
it. Garnet darted up the steps; but Catesby lingered to make fast the
door, and thus oppose some obstacle to the hostile party. His efforts,
however, were unexpectedly checked, and, on examination, he found it was
hooked to the wall at the back. Undoing the fastening, the door swung
to, and he instantly bolted it. Overjoyed at his success, and leaving
his pursuers, who at this moment arrived, to vent their disappointment
in loud menaces, he hastened after Garnet. Calling loudly to him, he was
answered from a small dark chamber on the right, into which the priest
had retreated.

"We have but prolonged our torture," groaned Garnet. "I can find no
outlet. Our foes will speedily force an entrance, and we must then fall
into their hands."

"There must be some door opening upon the roof, father," rejoined
Catesby. "Mount as high as you can, and search carefully. I will defend
the stairs, and will undertake to maintain my post against the whole
rout."

Thus urged, Garnet ascended the steps. After the lapse of a few minutes,
during which the thundering at the door below increased, and the heavy
blows of some weighty implement directed against it, were distinctly
heard, he cried,

"I have found a door, but the bolts are rusty--I cannot move them."

"Use all your strength, father," shouted Catesby, who having planted
himself with his drawn sword at an advantageous point, was listening
with intense anxiety to the exertions of the assailing party. "Do not
relax your efforts for a moment."

"It is in vain, my son," rejoined Garnet, in accents of despair. "My
hands are bruised and bleeding, but the bolts stir not."

"Distraction!" cried Catesby, gnashing his teeth with rage. "Let me
try."

And he was about to hasten to the priest's assistance, when the door
below was burst open with a loud crash, and the assailants rushed up the
steps. The passage was so narrow that they were compelled to mount
singly, and Catesby's was scarcely a vain boast when he said he could
maintain his ground against the whole host. Shouting to Garnet to renew
his efforts, he prepared for the assault. Reserving his petronels to the
last, he trusted solely to his rapier, and leaning against the newel, or
circular column round which the stairs twined, he was in a great measure
defended from the weapons of his adversaries, while they were completely
exposed to his attack. The darkness, moreover, in which he was enveloped
offered an additional protection, whereas the torches they carried made
his mark certain. As soon as the foremost of the band came within reach,
Catesby plunged his sword into his breast, and pushed him back with all
his force upon his comrades. The man fell heavily backwards, dislodging
the next in advance, who in his turn upset his successor, and so on,
till the whole band was thrown into confusion. A discharge of fire-arms
followed; but, sheltered by the newel, Catesby sustained no injury. At
this moment, he was cheered by a cry from Garnet that he had succeeded
in forcing back the bolts, terror having supplied him with a strength
not his own; and, making another sally upon his assailants, amid the
disorder that ensued, Catesby retreated, and rapidly tracking the steps,
reached the door, through which the priest had already passed. When
within a short distance of the outlet, Catesby felt, from the current of
fresh air that saluted him, that it opened upon the roof of the church.
Nor was he deceived. A few steps placed him upon the leads, where he
found Garnet.

"It is you, my son," cried the latter, on beholding him; "I thought
from the shouts you had fallen into the hands of the enemy."

"No, Heaven be praised! I am as yet safe, and trust to deliver you out
of their hands. Come with me to the battlements."

"The battlements!" exclaimed Garnet. "A leap from such a height as that
were certain destruction."

"It were so," replied Catesby, dragging him along. "But trust to me, and
you shall yet reach the ground uninjured."

Arrived at the battlements, Catesby leaned over them, and endeavoured to
ascertain what was beneath. It was still so dark that he could scarcely
discern any objects but those close to him, but as far as he could trust
his vision, he thought he perceived a projecting building some twelve or
fourteen feet below; and calling to mind the form of the church, which
he had frequently seen and admired, he remembered its chantries, and had
no doubt but it was the roof of one of them that he beheld. If he could
reach it, the descent from thence would be easy, and he immediately
communicated the idea to Garnet, who shrank aghast from it. Little time,
however, was allowed for consideration. Their pursuers had already
scaled the stairs, and were springing one after another upon the leads,
uttering the most terrible threats against the destroyer of their
comrade. Hastily divesting himself of his cloak, Catesby clambered over
the battlements, and, impelled by fear, Garnet threw off his robe, and
followed his example. Clinging to the grotesque stone waterspouts which
projected below the battlements, and placing the points of his feet upon
the arches of the clerestory windows, and thence upon the mullions and
transom bars, Catesby descended in safety, and then turned to assist his
companion, who was quickly by his side.

The most difficult and dangerous part of the descent had yet to be
accomplished. They were now nearly thirty feet from the ground, and the
same irregularities in the walls which had favoured them in the upper
structure did not exist in the lower. But their present position,
exposed as it was to their pursuers, who, having reached the point
immediately overhead, were preparing to fire upon them, was too
dangerous to allow of its occupation for a moment, and Garnet required
no urging to make him clamber over the low embattled parapet. Descending
a flying buttress that defended an angle of the building, Catesby, who
was possessed of great strength and activity, was almost instantly upon
the ground. Garnet was not so fortunate. Missing his footing, he fell
from a considerable height, and his groans proclaimed that he had
received some serious injury. Catesby instantly flew to him, and
demanded, in a tone of the greatest anxiety, whether he was much hurt.

"My right arm is broken," gasped the sufferer, raising himself with
difficulty. "What other injuries I have sustained I know not; but every
joint seems dislocated, and my face is covered with blood. Heaven have
pity on me!"

As he spoke, a shout of exultation arose from the hostile party, who,
having heard Garnet's fall, and the groans that succeeded it, at once
divined the cause, and made sure of a capture. A deep silence followed,
proving that they had quitted the roof, and were hastening to secure
their prey.

Aware that it would take them some little time to descend the winding
staircase, and traverse the long aisle of the church, Catesby felt
certain of distancing them. But he could not abandon Garnet, who had
become insensible from the agony of his fractured limb, and, lifting him
carefully in his arms, he placed him upon his shoulder, and started at a
swift pace towards the further extremity of the churchyard.

At the period of this history, the western boundary of the Collegiate
Church was formed by a precipitous sandstone rock of great height, the
base of which was washed by the waters of the Irwell, while its summit
was guarded by a low stone wall. In after years, a range of small
habitations was built upon this spot, but they have been recently
removed, and the rock having been lowered, a road now occupies their
site. Nerved by desperation, Catesby, who was sufficiently well
acquainted with the locality to know whither he was shaping his course,
determined to hazard a descent, which, under calmer circumstances, he
would have deemed wholly impracticable. His pursuers, who issued from
the church porch a few seconds after he had passed it, saw him hurry
towards the low wall edging the precipice, and, encumbered as he was
with the priest, vault over it. Not deeming it possible he would dare to
spring from such a height, they darted after him. But they were
deceived, and could scarcely credit their senses when they found him
gone. By the light of their torches they perceived him shooting down the
almost perpendicular side of the rock, and the next moment a hollow
plunge told that he had reached the water. They stared at each other in
mute astonishment.

"Will you follow him, Dick Haughton?" observed one, as soon as he had
recovered his speech.

"Not I," replied the fellow addressed. "I have no fancy for a broken
neck. Follow him thyself if thou hast a mind to try the soundness of thy
pate. I warrant that rock will put it to the proof."

"Yet the feat has just been done, and by one burthened with a wounded
comrade into the bargain," remarked the first speaker.

"He must be the devil, that's certain," rejoined Haughton; "and Doctor
Dee himself is no match for him."

"He has the Devil's luck, that's certain," cried a third soldier. "But,
hark! he is swimming across the river. We may yet catch him on the
opposite bank. Come along, comrades."

With this, they rushed out of the churchyard; made the best of their way
to the bridge; and crossing it, flew to the bank of the river, where
they dispersed in every direction, in search for the fugitive. But they
could not discover a trace of him or his wounded companion.



CHAPTER XVII.

THE RENCOUNTER.


Catesby himself could scarcely tell how he accomplished his hair-breadth
escape. Reckless almost of the result, he slided down the rock, catching
at occasional irregularities as he descended. The river was of great
depth at this point, and broke the force of his fall. On rising, he
struck out a few yards, and suffered himself to be carried down the
stream. He had never for one moment relinquished his hold of Garnet, and
being an admirable swimmer, found little difficulty in sustaining him
with one arm, while with the other he guided his course in the water. In
this way he reached the shore in safety, about a hundred yards below the
bridge, by which means he avoided his pursuers, who, as has just been
stated, searched for him above it.

After debating with himself for a short time as to what course he should
pursue, he decided upon conveying Garnet to the Hall, where he could
procure restoratives and assistance; and though he was fully sensible of
the danger of this plan, not doubting the mansion would be visited and
searched by his pursuers before morning, yet the necessity of warning
Guy Fawkes outweighed every other consideration. Accordingly, again
shouldering the priest, who, though he had regained his sensibility, was
utterly unable to move, he commenced his toilsome march; and being
frequently obliged to pause and rest himself, more than an hour elapsed
before he reached his destination.

It was just growing light as he crossed the drawbridge, and seeing a
horse tied to a tree, and the gate open, he began to fear the enemy had
preceded him. Full of misgiving, he laid Garnet upon a heap of straw in
an outbuilding, and entered the house. He found no one below, though he
glanced into each room. He then noiselessly ascended the stairs, with
the intention of proceeding to Guy Fawkes's chamber.

As he traversed the gallery, he heard voices in one of the chambers, the
door of which was ajar, and pausing to listen, distinguished the tones
of Viviana. Filled with astonishment, he was about to enter the room to
inquire by what means she had reached the Hall, when he was arrested by
the voice of her companion. It was that of Humphrey Chetham. Maddened by
jealousy, Catesby's first impulse was to rush into the room, and stab
his rival in the presence of his mistress. But he restrained his passion
by a powerful effort.

After listening for a few minutes intently to their conversation, he
found that Chetham was taking leave, and creeping softly down-stairs,
stationed himself in the hall, through which he knew his rival must
necessarily pass. Chetham presently appeared. His manner was dejected;
his looks downcast; and he would have passed Catesby without observing
him, if the latter had not laid his hand upon his shoulder.

"Mr. Catesby!" exclaimed the young merchant, starting as he beheld the
stern glance fixed upon him "I thought----"

"You thought I was a prisoner, no doubt," interrupted Catesby, bitterly.
"But you are mistaken. I am here to confound you and your juggling and
treacherous associate."

"I do not understand you," replied Chetham.

"I will soon make myself intelligible," retorted Catesby. "Follow me to
the garden."

"I perceive your purpose, Mr. Catesby," replied Chetham, calmly; "but it
is no part of my principles to expose my life to ruffianly violence. If
you choose to lay aside this insolent demeanour, which is more befitting
an Alsatian bully than a gentleman, I will readily give you such
explanation of my conduct as will fully content you, and satisfy you
that any suspicions you may entertain of me are unfounded."

"Coward!" exclaimed Catesby, striking him. "I want no explanation.
Defend yourself, or I will treat you with still greater indignity."

"Lead on, then," cried Chetham: "I would have avoided the quarrel if I
could. But this outrage shall not pass unpunished."

As they quitted the hall, Viviana entered it; and, though she was
greatly surprised by the appearance of Catesby, his furious gestures
left her in no doubt as to his purpose. She called to him to stop. But
no attention was paid by either party to her cries.

[Illustration: _Guy Fawkes protecting Humphrey Chetham from Catesby._]

On gaining a retired spot beneath the trees, Catesby, without giving his
antagonist time to divest himself of the heavy horseman's cloak with
which he was encumbered, and scarcely to draw his sword, assaulted him.
The combat was furious on both sides, but it was evident that the young
merchant was no match for his adversary. He maintained his ground,
however, for some time with great resolution; but, being hotly pressed,
in retreating to avoid a thrust, his foot caught in the long grass, and
he fell. Catesby would have passed his sword through his body, if it
had not been turned aside by another weapon. It was that of Guy
Fawkes, who, followed by Martin Heydocke, had staggered towards the
scene of strife, reaching it just in time to save the life of Humphrey
Chetham.

"Heaven be praised! I am not too late!" he exclaimed. "Put up your
blade, Catesby; or, turn it against me."



CHAPTER XVIII.

THE EXPLANATION.


Uttering an exclamation of rage, Catesby turned fiercely upon Fawkes,
and for a moment appeared disposed to accept his invitation to continue
the combat with him. But as he regarded the other's haggard features,
and perceived in them the traces of his recent struggle with death--as
he saw he was scarcely able to wield the blade he opposed against
him--his wrath changed to compassion, and he sheathed his sword. By this
time, Humphrey Chetham had sprung to his feet, and picking up his fallen
weapon, stood on his defence. But finding that Catesby meditated no
further hostilities, he returned it to the scabbard.

"I owe my life to you," he said to Guy Fawkes, in a tone of deep
gratitude.

"You owe it to Viviana Radcliffe, not to me," returned Fawkes feebly,
and leaning upon his sword for support. "Had it not been for her cries,
I should have known nothing of this quarrel. And I would now gladly
learn what has occasioned it."

"So would I," added Chetham; "for I am as ignorant as yourself how I
have offended Mr. Catesby."

"I will tell you, then," returned Catesby, sternly. "You were a party to
the snare set for us by Dr. Dee, from which I narrowly escaped with
life, and Father Garnet at the expense of a broken limb."

"Is Garnet hurt?" demanded Fawkes, anxiously.

"Grievously," replied Catesby; "but he is out of the reach of his
enemies, of whom," he added, pointing to Chetham, "one of the most
malignant and treacherous now stands before you."

"I am quite in the dark as to what has happened," observed Fawkes,
"having only a few minutes ago been roused from my slumbers by the
shrieks of Viviana, who entreated me to come and separate you. But I
cannot believe Humphrey Chetham so treacherous as you represent him."

"So far from having any enmity towards Father Garnet," observed Chetham,
"my anxious desire was to preserve him; and with that view, I was
repairing to Dr. Dee, when I encountered Mr. Catesby in the hall, and
before I could offer any explanation, I was forced by his violence and
insults into this combat."

"Is this the truth, Catesby?" asked Fawkes,

"Something near it," rejoined the latter; "but perhaps Mr. Chetham will
likewise inform you by whose agency Viviana was transported hither from
the Collegiate Church?"

"That inquiry ought rather to be made of the lady herself, sir,"
rejoined Chetham, coldly. "But, as I am assured she would have no
objection to my answering it, I shall not hesitate to do so. She was
conveyed hither by Kelley and an assistant, who departed as soon as
their task was completed."

"Indeed!" exclaimed Catesby between his ground teeth. "But how chanced
it, sir, that you arrived here so opportunely?"

"I might well refuse to answer a question thus insolently put," rejoined
Chetham. "But to prevent further misunderstanding, I will tell you, that
I came by Viviana's invitation at midnight; and, ascertaining from my
servant, Martin Heydocke, whom I found watching by the couch of Guy
Fawkes, the melancholy business on which she was engaged, I determined
to await her return, which occurred about an hour afterwards, in the
manner I have just related."

"I was in the court-yard when Mistress Viviana was brought back,"
interposed Martin Heydocke, who was standing at a respectful distance
from the group; "and, after Kelley had delivered her to my charge, I
heard him observe in an under tone to his companion, 'Let us ride back
as fast as we can, and see what they have done with the prisoners.'"

"They made sure of their prey before it was captured," observed Catesby,
bitterly. "But we have disappointed them. Dee and his associate may yet
have reason to repent their perfidy."

"You will do well not to put yourself again in their power," observed
Humphrey Chetham. "If you will be counselled by me, you and Guy Fawkes
will seek safety in instant flight."

"And leave you with Viviana?" rejoined Catesby, sarcastically.

"She is in no present danger," replied Chetham. "But, if it is thought
fitting or desirable, I will remain with her."

"I do not doubt it," returned Catesby, with a sneer; "but it is neither
fitting nor desirable. And, hark ye, young sir, if you have indulged any
expectations with regard to Viviana Radcliffe, it is time you were
undeceived. She will never wed one of your degree, nor of your faith."

"I have her own assurance she will never wed at all," replied Chetham,
in an offended tone. "But had she not crushed my hopes by declaring she
was vowed to a convent, no menaces of yours, who have neither right nor
title thus to interfere, should induce me to desist from my suit."

"Either resign all pretensions to her hand, or prepare to renew the
combat," cried Catesby, fiercely.

"No more of this," interposed Guy Fawkes. "Let us return to the house,
and adjust our differences there."

"I have no further business here," observed Humphrey Chetham. "Having
taken leave of Viviana," he added, with much emotion, "I do not desire
to meet her again."

"It is well, sir," rejoined Catesby: "yet, stay!--you mean us no
treachery?"

"If you suspect me, I will remain," replied Humphrey Chetham.

"On no account," interposed Guy Fawkes. "I will answer for him with my
life."

"Perhaps, when I tell you I have procured the liberation of Father
Oldcorne," returned Chetham, "and have placed him in security in Ordsall
cave, you will admit that you have done me wrong."

"I have been greatly mistaken in you, sir, I must own," observed
Catesby, advancing towards him, and extending his hand. But Humphrey
Chetham folded his arms upon his breast, and bowing coldly, withdrew. He
was followed by Martin Heydocke, and presently afterwards the tramp of
his horse's feet was heard crossing the drawbridge.



CHAPTER XIX.

THE DISCOVERY.


Tendering his arm to Fawkes, who was almost too feeble to walk
unsupported, Catesby led him slowly to the Hall. On reaching it, they
met Viviana, in a state bordering upon distraction, but her distress was
speedily relieved by their assurances that the young merchant had
departed unhurt,--a statement immediately afterwards confirmed by the
entrance of Martin Heydocke, charged with a message from his master to
her. Without communicating his design to the others, and, indeed, almost
shunning Viviana, Catesby proceeded to the outbuilding where he had
deposited Garnet. He found him in great pain, and praying fervently to
be released from his suffering.

"Do not despair, father," said Catesby, in as cheerful a tone as he
could assume, "the worst is over. Viviana is in safety. Father Oldcorne
has escaped, and is within a short distance of us, and Guy Fawkes is
fully able to undertake a journey of any distance. You are our sole
concern. But I am assured, if you will allow me to exercise the slight
surgical skill I possess in your behalf, that you will be able to
accompany us."

"Do with me what you please, my son," groaned Garnet. "But, if my case
is as desperate as I believe it, I entreat you not to bestow any further
care upon me, and, above all, not to expose yourself to risk on my
account. Our enemies are sure to pursue us,--and what matter if I am
captured? They will wreak their vengeance on a worthless carcass,--for
such I shall soon be. But it would double the anguish I now endure, if
you and Fawkes were to fall into their hands. Go, then, and leave me
here to perish. My dying moments will be cheered by the conviction that
the great enterprise--for which alone I desire to live--will not be
unaccomplished."

"There is no need to leave you, father," replied Catesby, "nor shall any
consideration induce me to do so, till I have rendered you every aid
that circumstances will permit."

"My son," replied Garnet, faintly, "the most efficacious balm you can
apply will be the certainty that you are in safety. You say Viviana is
here. Fly with Fawkes, and leave me to her care."

"She must go with us," observed Catesby, uneasily.

"Not so, my son," returned Garnet; "her presence will only endanger you.
She must _not_ go. And you must abandon all hopes of an union with her."

"I would as soon abandon the great design itself," returned Catesby,
moodily.

"If you persist in this, you will ruin it," rejoined Garnet. "Think of
her no more. Bend your thoughts exclusively on the one grand object, and
be what you are chosen to be, the defender and deliverer of our holy
Church."

"I would gladly act as you advise me, father," replied Catesby; "but I
am spell-bound by this maiden."

"This is idle from you, my son," replied Garnet, reproachfully.
"Separate yourself from her, and you will soon regain your former
mastery over yourself."

"Well, well, father," rejoined Catesby, "the effort, at least, shall be
made. But her large possessions, which would be so useful to our cause,
and which, if I wedded her, would be wholly devoted to it,--think of
what we lose, father."

"I _have_ thought of it, my son," replied Garnet; "but the consideration
does not alter my opinion: and if I possess any authority over you, I
strictly enjoin you not to proceed farther in the matter. Viviana never
can be yours."

"She _shall_ be, nevertheless," muttered Catesby, "and before many hours
have elapsed,--if not by her own free will, by force. I have ever shown
myself obedient to your commands, father," he added aloud, "and I shall
not transgress them now."

"Heaven keep you in this disposition, my dear son!" exclaimed Garnet,
with a look of distrust: "and let me recommend you to remove yourself
as soon as possible out of the way of temptation."

Catesby muttered an affirmative, and taking Garnet in his arms, conveyed
him carefully to his own chamber, and placing him on a couch, examined
his wounds, which were not so serious as either he or the sufferer
imagined, and with no despicable skill--for the experiences of a
soldier's life had given him some practice--bandaged his broken arm, and
fomented his bruises.

This done, Garnet felt so much easier, that he entreated Catesby to send
Viviana to him, and to make preparations for his own immediate
departure. Feigning acquiescence, Catesby quitted the room, but with no
intention of complying with the request. Not a moment he felt must be
lost if he would execute his dark design, and, after revolving many wild
expedients, an idea occurred to him. It was to lure Viviana to the cave
where Father Oldcorne was concealed; and he knew enough of the pliant
disposition of the latter to be certain he would assent to his scheme.
No sooner did this plan occur to him than he hurried to the cell, and
found the priest, as Chetham had stated. As he had foreseen, it required
little persuasion to induce Oldcorne to lend his assistance to the
forced marriage, and he only feared the decided opposition they should
encounter from Viviana.

"Fear nothing, then, father," said Catesby; "in this solitary spot no
one will hear her cries. Whatever resistance she may make, perform the
ceremony, and leave the consequences to me."

"The plan is desperate, my son," returned Oldcorne, "but so are our
fortunes. And, as Viviana will not hear reason, we have no alternative.
You swear that if you are once wedded to her, all her possessions shall
be devoted to the furtherance of the great cause."

"All, father--I swear it," rejoined Catesby, fervently.

"Enough," replied Oldcorne. "The sooner it is done, the better."

It was then agreed between them that the plan least likely to excite
suspicion would be for Oldcorne to proceed to the Hall, and under some
plea prevail upon Viviana to return with him to the cave. Acting upon
this arrangement, they left the cell together, shaping their course
under the trees to avoid observation; and while Oldcorne repaired to the
Hall, Catesby proceeded to the stable, and saddling the only steed left,
rode back to the cave, and concealing the animal behind the brushwood,
entered the excavation. Some time elapsed before the others arrived, and
as in his present feverish state of mind moments appeared ages, the
suspense was almost intolerable. At length, he heard footsteps
approaching, and, with a beating heart, distinguished the voice of
Viviana. The place was buried in profound darkness; but Oldcorne struck
a light, and set fire to a candle in a lantern. The feeble glimmer
diffused by it was not sufficient to penetrate the recesses of the
cavern; and Catesby, who stood at the farther extremity, was completely
sheltered from observation.

"And now, father," observed Viviana, seating herself with her back
towards Catesby, upon the stone bench once used by the unfortunate
prophetess, "I would learn the communication you desire to make to me.
It must be something of importance since you would not disclose it at
the Hall."

"It is, daughter," replied Oldcorne, who could scarcely conceal his
embarrassment. "I have brought you hither, where I am sure we shall be
uninterrupted, to confer with you on a subject nearest my heart. Your
lamented father being taken from us, I, as his spiritual adviser, aware
of his secret wishes and intentions, conceive myself entitled to assume
his place."

"I consider you in the light of a father, dear sir," replied Viviana,
"and will follow your advice as implicitly as I would that of him I have
lost."

"Since I find you so tractable, child," returned Oldcorne, reassured by
her manner, "I will no longer hesitate to declare the motive I had in
bringing you hither. You will recollect that I have of late strongly
opposed your intention of retiring to a convent."

"I know it, father," interrupted Viviana; "but----"

"Hear me out," continued Oldcorne; "recent events have strengthened my
disapproval of the step. You are now called upon to active duties, and
must take your share in the business of life,--must struggle and suffer
like others,--and not shrink from the burthen imposed upon you by
Heaven."

"I do not shrink from it, father," replied Viviana: "and if I were equal
to the active life you propose, I would not hesitate to embrace it, but
I feel I should sink under it."

"Not if you had one near you who could afford you that support which
feeble woman ever requires," returned Oldcorne.

"What mean you, father?" inquired Viviana, fixing her dark eyes full
upon him.

"That you must marry, daughter," returned Oldcorne, "unite yourself to
some worthy man, who will be to you what I have described."

"And was it to tell me this that you brought me here?" asked Viviana, in
a slightly offended tone.

"It was, daughter," replied Oldcorne; "but I have not yet done. It is
not only needful you should marry, but your choice must be such as I,
who represent your father, and have your welfare thoroughly at heart,
can approve."

"You can find me a husband, I doubt not?" remarked Viviana, coldly.

"I have already found one," returned Oldcorne: "a gentleman suitable to
you in rank, religion, years,--for _your_ husband should be older than
yourself, Viviana."

"I will not affect to misunderstand you, father," she replied; "you mean
Mr. Catesby."

"You have guessed aright, dear daughter," rejoined Oldcorne.

"I thought I had made myself sufficiently intelligible on this point
before, father," she returned.

"True," replied Oldcorne; "but you are no longer, as I have just
laboured to convince you, in the same position you were when the subject
was formerly discussed."

"To prevent further misunderstanding, father," rejoined Viviana, "I now
tell you, that in whatever position I may be placed, I will never, under
any circumstances, wed Mr. Catesby."

"What are your objections to him, daughter?" asked Oldcorne.

"They are numberless," replied Viviana; "but it is useless to
particularize them. I must pray you to change the conversation, or you
will compel me to quit you."

"Nay, daughter, if you thus obstinately shut your ears to reason, I must
use very different language towards you. Armed with parental authority,
I shall exact obedience to my commands."

"I cannot obey you, father," replied Viviana, bursting into
tears,--"indeed, indeed I cannot. My heart, I have already told you, is
another's."

"He who has robbed you of it is a heretic," rejoined Oldcorne, sternly,
"and therefore your union with him is out of the question. Promise me
you will wed Mr. Catesby, or, in the name of your dead father, I will
invoke a curse upon your head. Promise me, I say."

"Never," replied Viviana, rising. "My father would never have enforced
my compliance, and I dread no curse thus impiously pronounced. You are
overstepping the bounds of your priestly office, sir. Farewell."

As she moved to depart, a strong grasp was laid on her arm, and turning,
she beheld Catesby.

"You here, sir?" she cried, in great alarm.

"Ay," replied Catesby. "At last you are in my power, Viviana."

"I would fain misunderstand you, sir," she rejoined, trembling; "but
your looks terrify me. You mean no violence?"

"I mean that Father Oldcorne shall wed us,--and that too without a
moment's delay," replied Catesby, sternly.

"Monster!" shrieked Viviana, "you will not,--dare not commit this foul
offence. And if you dare, Father Oldcorne will not assist you. Ah! what
means that sign? I cannot be mistaken in you, father? You cannot be
acting in concert with this wicked man? Save me from him!--save me."

But the priest kept aloof, and taking a missal from his vest, hastily
turned over the leaves. Viviana saw that her appeal to him was vain.

"Let me go!" she shrieked, struggling with Catesby. "You cannot force me
to wed you whether I will or not; and I will die rather than consent.
Let me go, I say? Help!--help!" And she made the cavern ring with her
screams.

"Heed her not, father," shouted Catesby, who still held her fast, "but
proceed with the ceremony."

Oldcorne, however, appeared irresolute, and Viviana perceiving it,
redoubled her cries.

"This will be no marriage, father," she said, "even if you proceed with
it. I will protest against it to all the world, and you will be deprived
of your priestly office for your share in so infamous a transaction."

"You will think otherwise anon, daughter," replied Oldcorne, advancing
towards them with the missal in his hand.

"If it be no marriage," observed Catesby, significantly, "the time will
come when you may desire to have the ceremony repeated."

"Mr. Catesby," cried Viviana, altering her manner, as if she had taken a
sudden resolution, "one word before you proceed with your atrocious
purpose, which must end in misery to us all. There are reasons why you
can never wed me."

"Ha!" exclaimed Catesby, starting.

"Is it so, my son?" asked Oldcorne, uneasily.

"Pshaw!" exclaimed Catesby. "She knows not what she says. Proceed,
father."

"I have proofs that will confound you," cried Viviana, breaking from
him. And darting towards the light, she took from her bosom the packet
given her by Guy Fawkes, and tore it open. A letter was within it, and a
miniature.

Opening the letter, she cast her eye rapidly over its contents, and then
looking up, exclaimed in accents of delirious joy, "Saved! saved! Father
Oldcorne, this man is married already."

Catesby, who had watched her proceedings in silent astonishment, and was
now advancing towards her, recoiled as if a thunderbolt had fallen at
his feet.

"Can this be true?" cried the priest, in astonishment.

"Let your own eyes convince you," rejoined Viviana, handing him the
letter.

"I am satisfied," returned Oldcorne, after he had glanced at it. "We
have both been spared the commission of a great crime. Mr. Catesby, it
appears from this letter that you have a wife living in Spain."

"It is useless to deny it," replied Catesby. "But, as you were ignorant
of the matter, the offence (if any) would have lain wholly at my door;
nor should I have repented of it, if it had enabled me to achieve the
object I have in view."

"Thank Heaven it has gone no further!" exclaimed Oldcorne. "Daughter, I
humbly entreat your forgiveness."

"How came that packet in your possession?" demanded Catesby fiercely of
Viviana.

"It was given me by Guy Fawkes," she replied.

"Guy Fawkes!" exclaimed Catesby. "Has he betrayed his friend?"

"He has proved himself your best friend, by preventing you from
committing a crime, which would have entailed wretchedness on yourself
and me," returned Viviana.

"I have done with him, and with all of you," cried Catesby, with a
fierce glance at Oldcorne. "Henceforth, pursue your projects alone. You
shall have no further assistance from me. I will serve the Spaniard.
Englishmen are not to be trusted."

So saying, he rushed out of the cavern, and seeking his horse, mounted
him, and rode off at full speed.

"How shall I obtain your forgiveness for my conduct in this culpable
affair, dear daughter?" said Oldcorne, with an imploring look at
Viviana.

"By joining me in thanksgivings to the Virgin for my deliverance,"
replied Viviana, prostrating herself before the stone cross.

Oldcorne knelt beside her, and they continued for some time in earnest
prayer. They then arose, and quitting the cave, proceeded to the Hall.



CHAPTER XX.

THE DEPARTURE FROM THE HALL.


Guy Fawkes was as much surprised to hear of the sudden departure of
Catesby as he was concerned at the cause; but he still thought it
probable he would return. In this expectation, however, he was
disappointed. The day wore on, and no one came. The uncertainty in which
Fawkes was kept, added to his unwillingness to leave Garnet, still
detained him, in spite of the risk he ran, at the Hall; and it was only
when urged by Viviana that he began seriously to reflect whither he
should bend his steps. Towards evening, Garnet was so much better, that
he was able to sit up, and he passed some hours in conference with
Oldcorne.

"If I do not suffer a relapse," he observed to the latter, "I will set
out with Guy Fawkes to-morrow, and we will proceed by easy stages to
London."

"I cannot but approve your resolution," returned Oldcorne; "for though
so long a journey may be inconvenient, and retard your recovery, yet
every hour you remain here is fraught with additional peril. I will
accompany you. We shall both be safer in the capital; and perhaps
Viviana, now she will be no longer exposed to the persecutions of
Catesby, will form one of the party."

"I should not wonder," replied Garnet. "I shall be deeply concerned if
Catesby has really abandoned the enterprise. But I cannot think it. I
did all I could to dissuade him from prosecuting this union, knowing how
hopeless it was, and little thinking he would be rash enough to seek to
accomplish it by force, or that he would find an assistant in you."

"Say no more about it, father, I entreat you," rejoined Oldcorne. "The
scheme failed, as it deserved to do; and I sincerely repent the share I
was induced by Catesby's artful representations to take in it. If we
have lost our leader we have still Guy Fawkes, who is a host in himself,
and as true as the steel that hangs by his side."

"We cannot spare Catesby," replied Garnet. "With many faults, he has one
redeeming quality, courage. I am not sorry he has been thwarted in his
present scheme, as if he returns to us, as I doubt not he will, it will
fix his mind steadily on the one object, which should be ever before it.
Give me your arm, father. I am glad to find I can walk, though feebly.
That is well," he added, as they emerged upon the gallery; "I shall be
able to reach Viviana's chamber without further assistance. Do you
descend, and see that Martin Heydocke is on the watch."

In obedience to the injunctions of his superior, Oldcorne went in search
of Martin Heydocke, who had been stationed in the court-yard to give
timely notice of any hostile approach; but not finding him there, he
proceeded towards the drawbridge. Garnet, meanwhile, had reached the
door of Viviana's chamber, which was slightly ajar, and he was about to
pass through it, when he perceived that she was on her knees before Guy
Fawkes, whom she was addressing in the most passionate terms. The latter
was seated at a table, with his head upon his hand, in a thoughtful
posture. Surprised at the sight, and curious to hear what Viviana could
be saying, Garnet drew back to listen.

"When you quit this house," were the first words that caught the
listener's ear, "we shall never meet again; and oh! let me have the
consolation of thinking that, in return for the devoted attachment you
have shown me, and the dangers from which you have preserved me, I have
preserved you from one equally imminent. Catesby, from whatever motive,
has abandoned the conspiracy. Do you act likewise, and the whole
dreadful scheme will fall to the ground."

"Catesby cannot abandon it," replied Fawkes. "He is bound by ties that
no human power can sunder. And, however he may estrange himself from us
now, when the time for action arrives, rest assured he will not be
absent."

[Illustration: _Viviana Radcliffe imploring Guy Fawkes to abandon the
Conspiracy_]

"It may be so," replied Viviana; "but I deny that the oath either he or
you have taken is binding. The deed you have sworn to do is evil, and no
vow, however solemnly pronounced, can compel you to commit crime. Avoid
this sin--avoid further connexion with those who would work your
undoing, and do not stain your soul with guilt from which it will never
be cleansed."

"You seek in vain to move me," replied Guy Fawkes, firmly. "My purpose
is unalterable. The tempest that clears away the pestilence destroys
many innocent lives, but it is not the less wholesome on that account.
Our unhappy land is choked with the pestilence of heresy, and must be
freed from it, cost what it will, and suffer who may. The wrongs of the
English Catholics imperatively demand redress; and, since it is denied
us, we must take it. Oppression can go no farther; nor endurance hold
out longer. If this blow be not struck we shall have no longer a
religion. And how comes it, Viviana, that you, a zealous Catholic, whose
father perished by these very oppressors, and who are yourself in danger
from them, can seek to turn me from my purpose?"

"Because I know it is wrongful," she replied. "I have no desire to
avenge the death of my slaughtered father, still less to see our
religion furthered by the dreadful means you propose. In his own due
season, the Lord will redress our wrongs."

"The Lord has appointed me one of the ministers of his vengeance," cried
Fawkes, in a tone of enthusiasm.

"Do not deceive yourself," returned Viviana, "it is not by Heaven, but
by the powers of darkness, that you are incited to this deed. Do not
persevere in this fatal course," she continued, clasping her hands
together, and gazing imploringly in his face, "do not--do not!"

Guy Fawkes continued in the same attitude as before, with his gaze
turned upwards, and apparently lost in thought.

"Have I no power to move you?" cried Viviana, her eyes streaming with
tears.

"None whatever," replied Guy Fawkes, firmly.

"Then you are lost," she rejoined.

"If it is Heaven's will, I am," answered Fawkes; "but at least I believe
I am acting rightly."

"And rest assured you are so, my son," cried Garnet, throwing open the
door, and stepping into the room. "I have overheard your conversation,
and I applaud your resolution."

"You need have no fears of me, father," replied Fawkes. "I do not
lightly undertake a project; but once embarked in it nothing can turn me
aside."

"In this case your determination is wisely formed, my son," returned
Garnet; "and if Viviana will ever give me an opportunity of fully
discussing the matter, I am sure I can satisfy her you are in the
right."

"I will discuss it with you whenever you think proper," she replied.
"But no arguments will ever convince me that your project is approved by
Heaven."

"Let it pass now, daughter," rejoined Garnet; "enough has been said on
the subject. I came hither to tell Guy Fawkes, that if our enemies
permit us to pass the night without molestation (as Heaven grant they
may!) I think I shall be strong enough to set out with him to-morrow,
when I propose we should journey together to London."

"Agreed," replied Fawkes.

"Father Oldcorne will accompany us," pursued Garnet.

"And I, too, will go with you, if you will permit me," said Viviana. "I
cannot remain here; and I have no further fears of Mr. Catesby. Doctor
Dee told me my future fate was strangely mixed up with that of Guy
Fawkes. I know not how it may be, but I will not abandon him while there
is a hope to cling to."

"Viviana Radcliffe," rejoined Guy Fawkes, coldly, "deeply as I feel the
interest you take in me, I think it right to tell you that no efforts
you can use will shake me from my purpose. If I live, I will execute my
design."

"While I live, I will urge you to it," remarked Garnet.

"And while _I_ live, I will dissuade you from it," added Viviana. "We
shall see who will obtain the victory."

"We shall," replied Garnet, smiling confidently.

"Hear me further," continued Viviana; "I do not doubt that your zeal is
disinterested; yet still, your mode of life, and the difficulties in
which you are placed, may not unnaturally influence your conduct. That
this may no longer be the case, I here place part of my fortune at your
disposal. I require little or nothing myself. But I would, if possible,
save one to whom I owe so much, and whom I value so much, from
destruction."

"I fully appreciate your generosity--to give it its lightest
term--Viviana," returned Guy Fawkes, in a voice of deep emotion. "Under
any circumstances I should reject it,--under the present, I do so the
more positively, because the offer, kind as it is, seems to imply that
my poverty leads me to act contrary to my principles. Gold has no power
over me: I regard it as dross; and when I could easily have won it, I
neglected the opportunity. As no reward would ever induce me to commit
an action my conscience disapproved, so none will deter me from a
purpose which I regard as my duty."

"Enough," replied Viviana, sadly. "I will no longer question your
motives, or oppose your plan, but will pray Heaven to open your eyes to
the truth."

"Your conduct is in all respects worthy of you, daughter," observed
Garnet, kindly.

"You have rejected one offer," continued Viviana, looking at Fawkes;
"but I trust you will not decline that I am about to propose to you."

"What is it?" asked Fawkes, in some surprise.

"It is that I may be permitted to regard you as a father," replied
Viviana, with some hesitation. "Having lost my own father, I feel I need
some protector, and I would gladly make choice of you, if you will
accept the office."

"I willingly accede to your request, and am much flattered by it,
Viviana," replied Fawkes. "I am a homeless man, and a friendless, and
the affection of such a being as yourself will fill up the only void in
my heart. But I am wedded to the great cause. I can never be more to you
than a father."

"Nay, I ask nothing more," she replied, blushing deeply.

"Having thus arranged the terms upon which we shall travel," observed
Garnet, with a smile, "nothing is needed but to prepare for our journey.
We start early to-morrow morning."

"I shall be ready at daybreak," replied Viviana.

"And I am ready now," added Guy Fawkes. "In my opinion, we run great
risk in remaining here another night. But be it as you will."

At this moment they were interrupted by the entrance of Father Oldcorne,
who with a countenance of great alarm informed them he could nowhere
find Martin Heydocke.

"Do you suspect any treachery on his part?" asked Garnet of Viviana.

"I have always found him trustworthy," she answered; "and his father was
_my_ father's oldest servant. I cannot think he would betray us. At the
same time, I must admit his disappearance at this juncture looks
suspicious."

"If my strength were equal to it," returned Guy Fawkes, "I would keep
watch throughout the night; but that might prevent me from accompanying
you to-morrow. My advice, I repeat, is--to set out at once."

This opinion, however, was overruled by Garnet and Viviana, who did not
think the danger so urgent, and attributed the absence of Martin
Heydocke to some unimportant cause. Guy Fawkes made no further
remonstrance, and it was agreed they should start, as originally
proposed, at daybreak.

The party then separated, and Viviana wandered alone over the old house,
taking a farewell, which she felt would be her last, of every familiar
object. Few things were as she had known them, but even in their present
forlorn state they were dear to her; and the rooms she trod, though
dismantled, were the same she had occupied in childhood.

There is no pang more acute to a sensitive nature than that occasioned
by quitting an abode or spot endeared by early recollections and
associations, to which we feel a strong presentiment we shall never
return. Viviana experienced this feeling in its full force, and she
lingered in each room as if she had not the power to leave it. Her
emotions at length became so overpowering, that to relieve them she
strolled forth into the garden. Here, new objects awakened her
attention, and recalled happier times with painful distinctness.
Twilight was fast deepening, and, viewed through this dim and softened
medium, everything looked as of old, and produced a tightening and
stifling sensation in her breast, that nothing but a flood of tears
could remove.

The flowers yielded forth their richest scents, and the whole scene was
such as she had often beheld it in times long ago, when sorrow was
wholly unknown to her. Perfumes, it is well known, exercise a singular
influence over the memory. A particular odour will frequently call up an
event and a long train of circumstances connected with the time when it
was first inhaled. Without being aware whence it arose, Viviana felt a
tide of recollections pressing upon her, which she would have willingly
repressed, but which it was out of her power to control. Her tears
flowed abundantly, and at length, with a heart somewhat lightened of its
load, she arose from the bench on which she had thrown herself, and
proceeded along a walk to gather a few flowers as memorials of the
place.

In this way, she reached the further end of the garden, and was stooping
to pluck a spray of some fragrant shrub, when she perceived the figure
of a man behind a tree at a little distance from her. From his garb,
which was that of a soldier, she instantly knew he was an enemy, and,
though greatly alarmed, she had the courage not to scream, but breaking
off the branch, she uttered a careless exclamation, and slowly retraced
her steps. She half expected to hear that the soldier was following her,
and prepared to start off at full speed to the house; but, deceived by
her manner, he did not stir. On reaching the end of the walk, she could
not resist the inclination to look back, and glancing over her shoulder,
perceived the man watching her. But as she moved, he instantly withdrew
his head.

Her first step on reaching the house was to close and fasten the door;
her next to hasten to Guy Fawkes's chamber, where she found him,
together with Garnet and Oldcorne. All three were astounded at the
intelligence, agreeing that an attack was intended, and that a large
force was, in all probability, concealed in the garden awaiting only the
arrival of night to surprise and seize them. The disappearance of the
younger Heydocke was no longer a mystery. He had been secured and
carried off by the hostile party, to prevent him from giving the alarm.
The emergency was a fearful one, and it excited consternation amongst
all except Guy Fawkes, who preserved his calmness.

"I foresaw we should be attacked to-night," he said, "and I am therefore
not wholly unprepared. Our only chance is to steal out unobserved; for
resistance would be in vain, as their force is probably numerous, and I
am as helpless as an infant, while Father Garnet's broken arm precludes
any assistance from him. The subterranean passage leading from the
oratory to the further side of the moat having been stopped up by the
pursuivant and his band, it will be necessary to cross the drawbridge,
and as soon as it grows sufficiently dark, we must make the attempt. We
have no horses, and must trust to our own exertions for safety. Catesby
would now be invaluable. It is not his custom to desert his friends at
the season of their greatest need."

"Great as is my danger," observed Viviana, "I would rather, so far as I
am concerned, that he were absent, than owe my preservation to him. I
have no fears for myself."

"And my only fears are for you," rejoined Fawkes.

Half an hour of intense anxiety was now passed by the party. Garnet was
restless and uneasy. Oldcorne betrayed his agitation by unavailing
lamentations, by listening to every sound, and by constantly rushing to
the windows to reconnoitre, until he was checked by Fawkes, who
represented to him the folly of his conduct. Viviana, though ill at
ease, did not allow her terror to appear, but endeavoured to imitate the
immoveable demeanour of Guy Fawkes, who always became more collected in
proportion to the danger by which he was threatened.

At the expiration of the time above mentioned, it had become quite dark,
and desiring his companions to follow him, Guy Fawkes drew his sword,
and, grasping Viviana's hand, led the way down stairs. Before opening
the door, he listened intently, and, hearing no sound, issued cautiously
forth. The party had scarcely gained the centre of the court, when a
caliver was discharged at them, which, though it did no damage, served
as a signal to the rest of their foes. Guy Fawkes, who had never
relinquished his hold of Viviana, now pressed forward as rapidly as his
strength would permit, and the two priests followed. But loud shouts
were raised on the drawbridge, and it was evident it was occupied by the
enemy.

Uncertain what to do, Guy Fawkes halted, and was about to return to the
house, when a shout from behind told him their retreat was intercepted.
In this dilemma there was nothing for it but to attempt to force a
passage across the drawbridge, or to surrender at discretion; and though
Guy Fawkes would not at other seasons have hesitated to embrace the
former alternative, he knew that his strength was not equal to it now.

While he was internally resolving not to yield himself with life, and
supporting Viviana, who clung closely to him, the clatter of hoofs was
heard rapidly approaching along the avenue, and presently afterwards two
horsemen galloped at full speed toward the drawbridge. The noise had
likewise attracted the attention of the enemy; who, apprehensive of a
rescue, prepared to stop them. But the tremendous pace of the riders
rendered this impossible. A few blows were exchanged, a few shots fired,
and they had crossed the drawbridge.

"Who goes there?" shouted Guy Fawkes, as the horsemen approached him.

"It is the voice of Guy Fawkes," cried the foremost, whose tones
proclaimed it was Catesby. "They are here," he cried, reining in his
steed.

"Where is Viviana?" vociferated his companion, who was no other than
Humphrey Chetham.

"Here--here," replied Guy Fawkes.

With the quickness of thought, the young merchant was by her side, and
in another moment she was placed on the saddle before him, and borne at
a headlong pace across the drawbridge.

"Follow me," cried Catesby. "I will clear a passage for you. Once across
the drawbridge, you are safe. A hundred yards down the avenue, on the
right, you will find a couple of horses tied to a tree. Quick! quick!"

As he spoke, a shot whizzed past his head, and a tumultuous din in the
rear told that their pursuers were close upon them. Striking spurs into
his steed, Catesby dashed forward, and dealing blows right and left,
cleared the drawbridge of its occupants, many of whom leaped into the
moat to escape his fury. His companions were close at his heels, and got
over the bridge in safety.

"Fly!--fly!" cried Catesby,--"to the horses--the horses! I will check
all pursuit."

So saying, and while the others flew towards the avenue, he faced his
opponents, and making a desperate charge upon them, drove them
backwards. In this conflict, though several shots were fired, and blows
aimed at him on all sides, he sustained no injury, but succeeded in
defending the bridge sufficiently long to enable his friends to mount.

He then rode off at full speed, and found the party waiting for him at
the end of the avenue. Father Oldcorne was seated on the same steed as
his superior. After riding with them upwards of a mile, Humphrey Chetham
dismounted, and resigning his horse to Viviana, bade her farewell, and
disappeared.

"And now to London!" cried Catesby, striking into a road on the right,
and urging his steed to a rapid pace.

"Ay, to London!--to the Parliament House!" echoed Fawkes, following him
with the others.


END OF THE FIRST BOOK.

[Illustration: _Guy Fawkes and Catesby landing the Powder._]



Book the Second.

THE DISCOVERY.

      The next point to be considered is the means to compass and work
      these designs. These means were most cruel and damnable;--by
      mining, and by thirty-six barrels of powder, having crows of iron,
      stones, and wood, laid upon the barrels, to have made the breach
      the greater. Lord! what a wind, what a fire, what a motion and
      commotion of earth and air would there have been!--_Sir Edward
      Coke's Speech on the Trial of the Conspirators in the Gunpowder
      Plot._



CHAPTER I.

THE LANDING OF THE POWDER.


Towards the close of the sixth day after their departure from Ordsall
Hall, the party approached the capital. The sun was setting as they
descended Highgate Hill, and the view of the ancient, and then most
picturesque city, was so enchanting, that Viviana, who beheld it for the
first time, entreated her companions to pause for a few minutes to allow
her to contemplate it. From the spot where they halted, the country was
completely open to Clerkenwell, and only a few scattered habitations lay
between them and the old grey ramparts of the city, with their gates and
fortifications, which were easily discernible even at that distance.
Above them rose the massive body and central tower of Saint Paul's
cathedral,--a structure far surpassing that which has succeeded
it,--while amid the innumerable gables, pointed roofs, and twisted
chimneys of the houses sprang a multitude of lesser towers and spires,
lending additional beauty to the scene. Viviana was enraptured, and,
while gazing on the prospect, almost forgot her sorrows. Guy Fawkes and
Catesby, who were a little in advance of the others, turned their gaze
westward, and the former observed to his companion,

"The sun is setting over the Parliament House. The sky seems stained
with blood. It looks portentous of what is to follow."

"I would gladly behold the explosion from this hill, or from yon
heights," replied Catesby, pointing towards Hampstead. "It will be a
sight such as man has seldom seen."

"I shall never live to witness it!" exclaimed Guy Fawkes, in a
melancholy tone.

"What! still desponding?" returned Catesby, reproachfully. "I thought,
since you had fully recovered from your wound, you had shaken off your
fears."

"You misunderstand me," replied Fawkes. "I mean that I shall perish with
our foes."

"Why so?" cried Catesby. "There will be plenty of time to escape after
you have fired the train."

"I shall not attempt it," rejoined Fawkes, in a sombre voice. "I will
abide the result in the vault. If I perish, it will be a glorious
death."

"Better live to see the regeneration of our faith, and our restoration
to our rights," rejoined Catesby. "But we will speak of this hereafter.
Here comes Garnet."

"Where do you propose we should lodge to-night?" asked the latter,
riding up.

"At the house at Lambeth, where the powder is deposited," returned
Catesby.

"Will it be safe?" asked Garnet, uneasily.

"We shall be safer there than elsewhere, father," replied Catesby. "If
it is dark enough to-night, Fawkes and I will remove a portion of the
powder. But we are losing time. We must pass through the city before the
gates are closed."

In this suggestion Garnet acquiesced, and calling to Viviana to follow
them,--for, since his late atrocious attempt, Catesby had not exchanged
a word or look with her, but during the whole of the journey kept
sedulously aloof,--the whole party set forward, and proceeding at a
brisk pace, soon reached the walls of the city. Passing through
Cripplegate, they shaped their course towards London Bridge. Viviana was
filled with astonishment at all she saw: the multitude and magnificence
of the shops, compared with such as she had previously seen; the crowds
in the streets,--for even at that hour they were thronged; the varied
dresses of the passengers--the sober garb of the merchant, contrasting
with the showy cloak, the preposterous ruff, swelling hose, plumed cap,
and swaggering gait of the gallant or the ruffler; the brawls that were
constantly occurring; the number of signs projecting from the dwellings;
all she witnessed or heard surprised and amused her, and she would
willingly have proceeded at a slower pace to indulge her curiosity, had
not her companions urged her onward.

As they were crossing Eastcheap, in the direction of Crooked-lane, a man
suddenly quitted the footpath, and, rushing towards Garnet, seized his
bridle, and cried,

"I arrest you. You are a Romish priest."

"It is false, knave," returned Garnet. "I am as good a Protestant as
thyself, and am just arrived with my companions from a long journey."

"Your companions are all rank Papists," rejoined the stranger. "You
yourself are Father Garnet, superior of the Jesuits, and, if I am not
deceived, the person next you is Father Oldcorne, also of that order. If
I am wrong you can easily refute the charge. Come with me to the
council. If you refuse, I will call assistance from the passengers."

Garnet saw he was lost if he did not make an immediate effort at
self-preservation, and resolving to be beforehand with his assailant, he
shouted at the top of his voice,

"Help! help! my masters. This villain would rob me of my purse."

"He is a Romish priest," vociferated the stranger. "I call upon you to
assist me to arrest him."

While the passengers, scarcely knowing what to make of these
contradictory statements, flocked round them, Guy Fawkes, who was a
little in advance of Catesby, rode back, and seeing how matters stood,
instantly drew a petronel, and with the butt-end felled the stranger to
the ground. Thus liberated, Garnet struck spurs into his steed, and the
whole party dashed off at a rapid pace. Shouts were raised by the
bystanders, a few of whom started in pursuit, but the speed at which the
fugitives rode soon bore them out of danger.

By this time they had reached London Bridge, and Viviana, in some degree
recovered from the fright caused by the recent occurrence, ventured to
look around her. She could scarcely believe she was crossing a bridge,
so completely did the tall houses give it the appearance of a street;
and, if it had not been for occasional glimpses of the river caught
between the openings of these lofty habitations, she would have thought
her companions had mistaken the road. As they approached the ancient
gateway (afterwards denominated Traitor's Tower), at the Southwark side
of the bridge, she remarked with a shudder the dismal array of heads
garnishing its spikes, and pointing them out to Fawkes, cried,

"Heaven grant yours may never be amongst the number!"

Fawkes made no answer, but dashed beneath the low and gloomy arch of the
gate.

Striking into a street on the right, the party skirted the walls of
Saint Saviour's Church, and presently drew near the Globe theatre, above
which floated its banner. Adjoining it was the old Bear-garden--the
savage inmates of which made themselves sufficiently audible. Garnet
hastily pointed out the first-mentioned place of amusement to Viviana as
they passed it, and her reading having made her well acquainted with the
noble dramas produced at that unpretending establishment--little better
than a barn in comparison with a modern playhouse,--she regarded it with
deep interest. Another theatre--the Swan--speedily claimed her
attention; and, leaving it behind, they came upon the open country.

It was now growing rapidly dark, and Catesby, turning off into a narrow
lane on the right, shouted to his companions to keep near him. The tract
of land they were traversing was flat and marshy. The air was damp and
unwholesome--for the swamp had not been drained as in later times,--and
the misty exhalations arising from it added to the obscurity. Catesby,
however, did not relax his pace, and his companions imitated his
example. Another turn on the right seemed to bring them still nearer the
river, and involved them in a thicker fog.

All at once Catesby stopped, and cried,

"We should be near the house. And yet this fog perplexes me. Stay here
while I search for it."

"If you leave us, we shall not readily meet again," rejoined Fawkes.

But the caution was unheeded, Catesby having already disappeared. A few
moments afterwards, Fawkes heard the sound of a horse's hoofs
approaching him; and, thinking it was Catesby, he hailed the rider.

The horseman made no answer, but continued to advance towards them.

Just then the voice of Catesby was heard at a little distance, shouting,
"I was right. It is here."

The party then hastened in the direction of the cry, and perceived
through the gloom a low building, before the door of which Catesby, who
had dismounted, was standing.

"A stranger is amongst us," observed Fawkes, in an under tone, as he
rode up.

"Where is he?" demanded Catesby, hastily.

"Here," replied a voice. "But, fear nothing. I am a friend."

"I must have stronger assurance than that," replied Catesby. "Who are
you?"

"Robert Keyes," replied the other, "Do you not know my voice?"

"In good truth I did not," rejoined Catesby; "and you have spoken just
in time. Your arrival is most opportune. But what brings you here
to-night?"

"The same errand as yourself, I conclude, Catesby," replied Keyes. "I
came here to see that all was in safety. But, who have you with you?"

"Let us enter the house, and you shall learn," replied Catesby.

With this, he tapped thrice at the door in a peculiar manner, and
presently a light was seen through the windows, and a voice from within
demanded who knocked.

"Your master," replied Catesby.

Upon this, the door was instantly unbarred. After a hasty greeting
between Catesby and his servant, whom he addressed as Thomas Bates, the
former inquired whether aught had occurred during his absence, and was
answered that, except an occasional visit from Mr. Percy, one of the
conspirators, no one had been near the house; everything being in
precisely the same state he had left it.

"That is well," replied Catesby. "Now, then, to dispose of the horses."

All the party having dismounted, their steeds were led to a stable at
the back of the premises by Catesby and Bates, while the others entered
the house. It was a small, mean-looking habitation, standing at a short
distance from the river-side, on the skirts of Lambeth Marsh, and its
secluded situation and miserable appearance seldom induced any one to
visit it. On one side was a deep muddy sluice communicating with the
river. Within, it possessed but slight accommodation, and only numbered
four apartments. One of the best of these was assigned to Viviana, and
she retired to it as soon as it could be prepared for her reception.
Garnet, who still carried his arm in a sling, but who was in other
respects almost recovered from his accident, tendered every assistance
in his power, and would have remained with her, but she entreated to be
left alone. On descending to the lower room, he found Catesby, who,
having left Bates in care of the horses, produced such refreshments as
they had brought with them. These were scanty enough; but a few flasks
of excellent wine which they found within the house made some amends for
the meagre repast. Viviana was solicited by Guy Fawkes to join them; but
she declined, alleging that she was greatly fatigued, and about to
retire to rest.

Their meal ended, Catesby proposed that they should ascertain the
condition of the powder, as he feared it might have suffered from being
so long in the vault. Before making this examination, the door was
carefully barred; the shutters of the windows closed; and Guy Fawkes
placed himself as sentinel at the door. A flag beneath the grate, in
which a fire was never kindled, was then raised, and disclosed a flight
of steps leading to a vault beneath. Catesby having placed a light in a
lantern, descended with Keyes; but both Garnet and Oldcorne refused to
accompany them.

The vault was arched and lofty, and, strange to say, for its situation,
dry--a circumstance owing, in all probability, to the great thickness of
the walls. On either side were ranged twenty barrels filled with powder;
and at the further end stood a pile of arms, consisting of pikes,
rapiers, demi-lances, petronels, calivers, corslets, and morions.
Removing one of the barrels from its station, Catesby forced open the
lid, and examined its contents, which he found perfectly dry and
uninjured.

"It is fit for use," he observed, with a significant smile, as he
exhibited a handful of the powder to Keyes, who stood at a little
distance with the lantern; "if it will keep as well in the cellar
beneath the Parliament House, our foes will soon be nearer heaven, than
they would ever be if left to themselves."

"When do you propose to transport it across the river?" asked Keyes.

"To-night," replied Catesby. "It is dark and foggy, and fitting for the
purpose. Bates!" he shouted; and at the call his servant instantly
descended. "Is the wherry at her moorings?"

"She is, your worship," replied Bates.

"You must cross the river instantly, then," rejoined Catesby, "and
proceed to the dwelling adjoining the Parliament House, which we hired
from Ferris. Here is the key. Examine the premises,--and bring word
whether all is secure."

Bates was about to depart, when Keyes volunteering to accompany him,
they left the house together. Having fastened down the lid of the cask,
Catesby summoned Fawkes to his assistance, and by his help as many
barrels as could be safely stowed in the boat were brought out of the
vault. More than two hours elapsed before Bates returned. He was alone,
and informed them that all was secure, but that Keyes had decided on
remaining where he was,--it being so dark and foggy, that it was
scarcely possible to cross the river.

"I had some difficulty in landing," he added, "and got considerably out
of my course. I never was out on so dark a night before."

"It is the better for us," rejoined Catesby. "We shall be sure to escape
observation."

In this opinion Guy Fawkes concurred, and they proceeded to transport
the powder to the boat, which was brought up the sluice within a few
yards of the door. This done, and the barrels covered with a piece of
tarpaulin, they embarked, and Fawkes, seizing an oar, propelled the
skiff along the narrow creek.

As Bates had stated, the fog was so dense that it was wholly impossible
to steer correctly, and Fawkes was therefore obliged to trust to chance
as to the course he took. However, having fully regained his strength,
he rowed with great swiftness, and, as far as he could judge, had gained
the mid-stream, when, before he could avoid it, he came in violent
contact with another boat, oversetting it, and plunging its occupants in
the stream.

Disregarding the hints and even menaces of Catesby, who urged him to
proceed, Fawkes immediately lay upon his oars, and, as the water was
perfectly smooth, succeeded, without much difficulty, in extricating the
two men from their perilous situation. Their boat having drifted down
the stream, could not be recovered. The chief of these personages was
profuse in his thanks to his deliverers, whom he supposed were watermen,
and they took care not to undeceive him.

"You may rely upon my gratitude," he said; "and when I tell you I am the
Earl of Salisbury, you will be satisfied I have the means of evincing
it."

"The Earl of Salisbury!" exclaimed Catesby, who was seated by Fawkes,
having taken one of the oars. "Is it possible?"

"I have been on secret state business," replied the Earl, "and did not
choose to employ my own barge. I was returning to Whitehall, when your
boat struck against mine."

"It is our bitterest enemy," observed Catesby, in an under tone, to
Fawkes. "Fate has delivered him into our hands."

"What are you about to do?" demanded Fawkes, observing that his
companion no longer pulled at the oar.

"Shoot him," replied Catesby. "Keep still, while I disengage my
petronel."

"It shall not be," returned Fawkes, laying a firm grasp upon his arm.
"Let him perish with the others."

"If we suffer him to escape now, we may never have such a chance again,"
rejoined Catesby. "I will shoot him."

"I say you shall not," rejoined Fawkes. "His hour is not yet come."

"What are you talking about, my masters?" demanded the Earl, who was
shivering in his wet garments.

"Nothing," replied Catesby, hastily. "I will throw him overboard," he
whispered to Fawkes.

"Again I say, you shall not," replied the latter.

"I see what you are afraid of," cried the Earl. "You are smugglers. You
have got some casks of distilled waters on board, and are afraid I may
report you. Fear nothing. Land me near the palace, and count upon my
gratitude."

"Our course lies in a different direction," replied Catesby, sternly.
"If your lordship lands at all, it must be where we choose."

"But I have to see the King to-night. I have some important papers to
deliver to him respecting the Papists," replied Salisbury.

"Indeed!" exclaimed Catesby. "We must, at least, have those papers," he
observed, in a whisper, to Fawkes.

"That is a different affair," replied Fawkes. "They may prove
serviceable to us."

"My lord," observed Catesby, "by a strange chance you have fallen into
the hands of Catholics. You will be pleased to deliver these papers to
us."

"Ah! villains, would you rob me?" cried the Earl. "You shall take my
life sooner."

"We will take both, if you resist," replied Catesby, in a menacing tone.

"Nay, then," returned Salisbury, attempting to draw his sword, "we will
see who will obtain the mastery. We are equally matched. Come on; I fear
you not."

But the waterman who had rowed the Earl was not of equal courage with
his employer, and refused to take part in the conflict.

"It will be useless to contend with us," cried Catesby, relinquishing
the oar to Fawkes, and springing forward. "I must have those papers,"
he added, seizing the Earl by the throat, "or I will throw you
overboard."

"I am mistaken in you," returned Salisbury; "you are no common mariner."

"It matters not who or what I am," rejoined Catesby, fiercely. "Your
papers, or you die."

Finding it in vain to contend with his opponent, the Earl was fain to
yield, and reluctantly produced a packet from his doublet, and delivered
it to him.

"You will repent this outrage, villain," he said.

"Your lordship will do well to recollect you are still in my power,"
rejoined Catesby. "One thrust of my sword will wipe off some of the
injuries you have inflicted on our suffering party."

"I have heard your voice before," cried Salisbury; "you shall not escape
me."

"Your imprudence has destroyed you," retorted Catesby, clutching the
Earl's throat more tightly, and shortening his sword, with the intent to
plunge it into his breast.

"Hold!" exclaimed Fawkes, grasping his arm, and preventing the blow. "I
have already said you shall not slay him. You are in possession of his
papers. What more would you have?"

"His life," replied Catesby, struggling to liberate his arm.

"Let him swear not to betray us," rejoined Fawkes. "If he refuses, I
will not stay your hand."

"You hear what my companion says, my lord," cried Catesby. "Will you
swear to keep silence as to what has just occurred?"

After a moment's hesitation, Salisbury assented, and Catesby
relinquished his grasp.

During this time, the boat had drifted considerably down the stream,
and, in spite of the darkness, Catesby noticed with some uneasiness that
they were approaching more than one vessel. The Earl of Salisbury also
perceived this, and raised a cry for help, but was instantly checked by
Catesby, who took a seat beside him, and placing the point of his rapier
at his breast, swore he would stab him if he made any further clamour.

The threat, and the dangerous propinquity of his enemy, effectually
silenced the Earl, and Catesby directed Fawkes to make for the shore as
quickly as he could. His injunctions were obeyed, and Fawkes plied the
oars with so much good-will, that in a few minutes the wherry struck
against the steps, which projected far into the water, a little to the
right of the Star Chamber, precisely on the spot where Westminster
Bridge now stands.

Here the Earl and his companion were allowed to disembark, and they had
no sooner set foot on land than Guy Fawkes pushed off the boat, and
rowed as swiftly as he could towards the centre of the stream. He then
demanded of Catesby whether he should make for the Parliament House, or
return.

"I scarcely know what to advise," replied Catesby. "I do not think the
Earl will attempt pursuit. And yet I know not. The papers we have
obtained may be important. Cease rowing for a moment, and let us
listen."

Guy Fawkes complied, and they listened intently, but could only hear the
rippling of the current against the sides of the skiff.

"We have nothing to fear," observed Catesby. "He will not pursue us, or
he cannot find a boat."

As he spoke, the glimmer of torches was visible on the shore, and the
plunge of oars into the water convinced him his opinion was erroneous.

"What course shall we take?" inquired Fawkes.

"I care not," replied Catesby, sullenly. "If I had had my own way, this
would not have happened."

"Have no fears," replied Fawkes, rowing swiftly down the stream. "We
shall easily escape."

"We will not be taken alive," returned Catesby, seating himself on one
of the barrels, and hammering against the lid with the butt-end of his
petronel. "I will sooner blow us all to perdition than he shall capture
us."

"You are right," replied Fawkes. "By my patron, Saint James, he is
taking the same course as ourselves."

"Well, let him board us," replied Catesby. "I am ready for him."

"Do as you think proper if the worst occurs," returned Fawkes. "But, if
we make no noise, I am assured we shall not be perceived."

With this he ceased rowing, and suffered the boat to drop down the
stream. As ill-luck would have it, it seemed as if the hostile bark had
struck completely into their track, and, aided by the current, and four
sturdy rowers, was swiftly approaching.

"The Earl will be upon us in a few minutes," replied Catesby. "If you
have any prayers to offer, recite them quickly, for I swear I will be as
good as my word."

"I am ever prepared for death," replied Fawkes. "Ha! we are saved!"

This last exclamation was occasioned by his remarking a large barge,
towards which they were rapidly drifting.

"What are you about to do?" cried Catesby.--"Leap on board, and abandon
the skiff, together with its contents?"

"No," replied Fawkes; "sit still, and leave the rest to me."

By this time, they had approached the barge, which was lying at anchor,
and Guy Fawkes, grasping at a boat-hook, fixed it in the vessel as they
passed, and drew their own boat close to its side--so close, in fact,
that it could not be distinguished from it.

The next moment, the chase came up, and they distinctly perceived the
Earl of Salisbury seated in the stern of the boat, holding a torch. As
he approached the barge, he held the light towards it; but the skiff
being on the off-side, entirely escaped notice. When the chase had got
to a sufficient distance to be out of hearing, the fugitives rowed
swiftly in the contrary direction.

Not judging it prudent to land, they continued to ply the oars, until
fatigue compelled them to desist, and they had placed some miles between
them and their pursuers.

"Long before this, the Earl must have given up the chase," observed
Catesby. "We must return before daybreak, and either land our powder
near the Parliament House, or take it back to the vault at Lambeth."

"We shall run equal risk either way," replied Fawkes, "and, having
ventured thus far, we may as well go through with it. I am for landing
at Westminster."

"And I," rejoined Catesby. "I do not like giving up a project when I
have once undertaken it."

"You speak my sentiments exactly," returned Fawkes. "Westminster be it."

After remaining stationary for about an hour, they rowed back again,
and, aided by the stream, in a short time reached their destination. The
fog had in a great degree cleared off, and day began to break as they
approached the stairs leading to the Parliament House. Though this was
not what they desired, inasmuch as the light added to the risk they
would have run in landing the powder, it enabled them to ascertain that
no one was on the watch.

Running swiftly in towards a sort of wharf, protected by a roofed
building, Catesby leapt ashore, and tied the skiff to a ring in the
steps. He then desired Fawkes to hand out the powder as quickly as he
could. The order was promptly obeyed, and in a few minutes several
barrels were on the strand.

"Had you not better fetch Keyes to help us, while I get out the rest?"
observed Fawkes.

Catesby assented, and hurrying to the house, found Keyes, who was in
great alarm about them. He instantly accompanied the other to the wharf,
and by their united efforts the powder was expeditiously and safely
removed.



CHAPTER II.

THE TRAITOR.


The habitation, to which the powder was conveyed, adjoined, as has
already been stated, the Parliament House, and stood at the south-west
corner of that structure. It was a small building, two stories high,
with a little garden attached to it, surrounded by lofty walls, and
belonged to Whinneard, the keeper of the royal wardrobe, by whom it was
let to a person named Ferris. From the latter it was hired by Thomas
Percy, one of the conspirators, and a relative of the Earl of
Northumberland,--of whom it will be necessary to speak more fully
hereafter,--for the purpose to which it was now put.

Having bestowed the barrels of powder carefully in the cellar, and
fastened the door of the house and the garden-gate after them, the trio
returned to the boat, and rowed back to Lambeth, where they arrived
without being noticed. They then threw themselves upon the floor, and
sought some repose after their fatigue.

It was late in the day before they awoke. Garnet and Oldcorne had been
long astir; but Viviana had not quitted her chamber. Catesby's first
object was to examine the packet he had obtained from the Earl of
Salisbury, and withdrawing to a corner, he read over the papers one by
one carefully.

Guy Fawkes watched his countenance as he perused them, but he asked no
questions. Many of the documents appeared to have little interest, for
Catesby tossed them aside with an exclamation of disappointment. At
length, however, a small note dropped from the bundle. Catesby picked it
up, opened it, and his whole expression changed. His brow grew
contracted; and, springing to his feet, he uttered an ejaculation of
rage, crying, "It is as I suspected. We have traitors among us."

"Whom do you suspect?" cried Fawkes.

"Tresham!" cried Catesby, in a voice of thunder,--"the fawning, wily,
lying Tresham. Fool that I was to league him with us."

"He is your own kinsman," observed Garnet.

"He is," replied Catesby; "but were he my own brother he should die.
Here is a letter from him to Lord Mounteagle, which has found its way to
the Earl of Salisbury, hinting that a plot is hatching against the
state, and offering to give him full information of it."

"Traitor! false, perjured traitor!" cried Fawkes. "He must die."

"He shall fall by my hand," rejoined Catesby. "Stay! a plan occurs to
me. He cannot be aware that this letter is in my possession. I will send
Bates to bid him come hither. We will then charge him with his
criminality, and put him to death."

"He deserves severe punishment, no doubt," replied Garnet; "but I am
unwilling you should proceed to the last extremities with him."

"There is no alternative, father," replied Catesby. "Our safety demands
his destruction."

Garnet returned no answer, but bowed his head sorrowfully upon his
breast. Bates was then despatched to Tresham; and preparations were made
by the three lay conspirators for executing their fell design.

It was agreed, that on his arrival, Tresham should be seized and
disarmed, and after being interrogated by Catesby touching the extent of
his treachery, should be stabbed by Guy Fawkes. This being resolved
upon, it became a question how they should act in the interim. It was
possible that, after the loss of his papers, some communication might
take place between the Earl of Salisbury and Lord Mounteagle, and
through the latter with Tresham. Thus prepared, on the arrival of Bates,
Tresham, seeing through their design, instead of accompanying him, might
give information of their retreat to the officers. The contingency was
by no means improbable; and it was urged so strongly by Garnet, that
Catesby began to regret his precipitancy in sending the message. Still,
his choler was so greatly roused against Tresham, that he resolved to
gratify his vengeance at any risk.

"If he betrays us, and brings the officers here, we shall know how to
act," he remarked to Fawkes. "There is that below which will avenge us
on them all."

"True," replied Fawkes. "But I trust we shall not be obliged to resort
to it."

Soon after this, Bates returned with a message from Tresham, stating
that he would be at the rendezvous at nightfall, and that he had
important disclosures to make to them. He desired them, moreover, to
observe the utmost caution, and not to stir abroad.

"He may, perhaps, be able to offer an explanation of his conduct,"
observed Keyes.

"Impossible," returned Catesby. "But he shall not die without a
hearing."

"That is all I desire," returned Keyes.

While the others were debating upon the interrogations they should put
to Tresham, and further examining the Earl of Salisbury's papers, Garnet
repaired to Viviana's chamber, and informed her what was about to take
place. She was filled with consternation, and entreated to be allowed to
see Guy Fawkes for a few moments alone. Moved by her supplications,
Garnet complied, and presently afterwards Fawkes entered the room.

"You have sent for me, Viviana," he said. "What would you?"

"I have just heard you are about to put one of your companions to
death," she replied. "It must not be."

"Viviana Radcliffe," returned Fawkes, "by your own desire you have mixed
yourself up with my fortunes. I will not now discuss the prudence of the
step you have taken. But I deem it necessary to tell you, once for all,
that any attempts to turn me from the line of conduct I have marked out
to myself will fail. Tresham has betrayed us, and he must pay the
penalty of his treason."

"But not with his life," replied Viviana. "Do you not now perceive into
what enormities this fatal enterprise will lead you? It is not one crime
alone that you are about to commit, but many. You constitute yourselves
judges of your companion, and without allowing him to defend himself,
take his life. Disguise it as you may, it is assassination--cold-blooded
assassination."

"His life is justly forfeited," replied Guy Fawkes, sternly. "When he
took the oath of secrecy and fidelity to our league, he well knew what
the consequences would be if he violated it. He has done so. He has
compromised our safety. Nay, he has sold us to our enemies, and nothing
shall save him."

"If this is so," replied Viviana, "how much better would it be to employ
the time now left in providing for your safety, than in contriving means
of vengeance upon one, who will be sufficiently punished for his
baseness by his own conscience. Even if you destroy him, you will not
add to your own security, while you will commit a foul and needless
crime, equal, if not exceeding in atrocity that you seek to punish."

"Viviana," replied Fawkes, in an angry tone, "in an evil hour, I
consented to your accompanying me. I now repent my acquiescence. But,
having passed my word, I cannot retract. You waste time, and exhaust my
patience and your own by these unavailing supplications. When I embarked
in this enterprise, I embraced all its dangers, all its crimes if you
will, and I shall not shrink from them. The extent of Tresham's
treachery is not yet known to us. There may be--and God grant
it!--extenuating circumstances in his conduct that may save his life.
But, as the case stands at present, his offence appears of that dye that
nothing can wash it out but his blood."

And he turned to depart.

"When do you expect this wretched man?" asked Viviana, arresting him.

"At nightfall," replied Fawkes.

"Oh! that there were any means of warning him of his danger!" she cried.

"There are none," rejoined Fawkes, fiercely,--"none that you can adopt.
And I must lay my injunctions upon you not to quit your chamber."

So saying, he retired.

Left alone, Viviana became a prey to the most agonizing reflections.
Despite the strong, and almost unaccountable interest she felt in Guy
Fawkes, she began to repent the step she had taken in joining him, as
calculated to make her a party to his criminal conduct. But this
feeling was transient, and was succeeded by a firmer determination to
pursue the good work she had undertaken.

"Though slight success has hitherto attended my efforts," she thought,
"that is no reason why I should relax them. The time is arrived when I
may exert a beneficial influence over him; and it may be, that what
occurs to-night will prove the first step towards complete triumph. In
any case, nothing shall be wanting to prevent the commission of the
meditated atrocity."

With this, she knelt down and prayed long and fervently, and arose
confirmed and strengthened in her resolution.

Meanwhile, no alteration had taken place in the purposes of the
conspirators. Night came, but with it came not Tresham. Catesby, who, up
to this time had managed to restrain his impatience, now arose, and
signified his intention of going in search of him, and was with
difficulty prevented from carrying his threat into execution by Guy
Fawkes, who represented the folly and risk of such a course.

"If he comes not before midnight, we shall know what to think, and how
to act," he observed; "but till then let us remain tranquil."

Keyes and the others adding their persuasions to those of Fawkes,
Catesby sat sullenly down, and a profound silence ensued. In this way,
some hours were passed, when just at the stroke of midnight, Viviana
descended from her room, and appeared amongst them. Her countenance was
deathly pale, and she looked anxiously around the assemblage. All,
however, with the exception of Fawkes, avoided her gaze.

"Is he come?" she exclaimed at length. "I have listened intently, but
have heard nothing. You cannot have murdered him. And yet your looks
alarm me. Father Garnet, answer me,--is the deed done?"

"No, my daughter," replied Garnet, sternly.

"Then he has escaped!" she cried, joyfully. "You expected him at
nightfall."

"It is not yet too late," replied Fawkes, in a sombre tone; "his death
is only deferred."

"Oh! do not say so," she cried, in a voice of agony. "I hoped you had
relented."

At this moment a peculiar knock was heard at the door. It was thrice
repeated, and the strokes vibrated, though with different effect,
through every bosom.

"He is here," cried Catesby, rising.

"Viviana, go to your chamber," commanded Guy Fawkes, grasping her hand,
and leading her towards the stairs.

But she resisted his efforts, and fell on her knees.

"I will not go," she cried, in a supplicating tone, "unless you will
spare this man's life."

"I have already told you my fixed determination," rejoined Fawkes,
fiercely. "If you will not retire of your own free will, I must force
you."

"If you attempt it, I will scream, and alarm your victim," she replied.
"Mr. Catesby," she added, "have my prayers, my entreaties, no weight
with you? Will you not grant me his life?"

"No!" replied Catesby, fiercely. "She must be silenced," he added, with
a significant look at Fawkes.

"She shall," replied the latter, drawing his poniard. "Viviana!" he
continued, in a voice, and with a look that left no doubt as to his
intentions, "do not compel me to be your destroyer."

As he spoke, the knocking was repeated, and Viviana uttered a prolonged
and piercing cry. Guy Fawkes raised his weapon, and was about to strike,
but his resolution failed him, and his arm dropped nerveless to his
side.

"Your better angel has conquered!" she cried, clasping his knees.

While this was passing, the door was thrown open by Catesby, and Tresham
entered the room.

"What means this outcry?" he asked, looking round in alarm. "Ah! what do
I see? Viviana Radcliffe here! Did she utter the scream?"

"She did," replied Viviana, rising, "and she hoped to warn you by it.
But you were led on by your fate."

"Warn me from what?" ejaculated Tresham, starting. "I am among friends."

"You are among those who have resolved upon your death," replied
Viviana.

"Ah!" exclaimed Tresham, making an effort to gain the door, and draw his
sword.

In both attempts, however, he was foiled, for Catesby intercepted him,
while Fawkes and Keyes flung themselves upon him, and binding his arms
together with a sword-belt, forced him into a chair.

"Of what am I accused?" he demanded, in a voice tremulous with rage and
terror.

"You shall learn presently," replied Catesby. And he motioned to Fawkes
to remove Viviana.

"Let me remain," she cried, fiercely. "My nature is changed, and is
become as savage as your own. If blood must be spilt, I will tarry to
look upon it."

"This is no place for you, dear daughter," interposed Garnet.

"Nor for you either, father," retorted Viviana, bitterly; "unless you
will act as a minister of Christ, and prevent this violence."

"Let her remain, if she will," observed Catesby. "Her presence need not
hinder our proceedings."

So saying, he seated himself opposite Tresham, while the two priests
placed themselves on either side. Guy Fawkes took up a position on the
left of the prisoner, with his drawn dagger in his hand, and Keyes
stationed himself near the door. The unfortunate captive regarded them
with terrified glances, and trembled in every limb.

"Thomas Tresham," commenced Catesby, in a stern voice, "you are a sworn
brother in our plot. Before I proceed further, I will ask you what
should be his punishment who violates his oath, and betrays his
confederates? We await your answer?"

But Tresham remained obstinately silent.

"I will tell you, since you refuse to speak," continued Catesby. "It is
death--death by the hands of his associates."

"It may be," replied Tresham; "but I have neither broken my oath, nor
betrayed you."

"Your letter to Lord Mounteagle is in my possession," replied Catesby.
"Behold it!"

"Perdition!" exclaimed Tresham. "But you will not slay me? I have
betrayed nothing. I have revealed nothing. On my soul's salvation, I
have not! Spare me! spare me! and I will be a faithful friend in future.
I have been indiscreet--I own it--but nothing more. I have mentioned no
names. And Lord Mounteagle, as you well know, is as zealous a Catholic
as any now present."

"Your letter has been sent to the Earl of Salisbury," pursued Catesby,
coldly. "It was from him I obtained it."

"Then Lord Mounteagle has betrayed me," returned Tresham, becoming pale
as death.

"Have you nothing further to allege?" demanded Catesby. As Tresham made
no answer, he turned to the others, and said, "Is it your judgment he
should die?"

All, except Viviana, answered in the affirmative.

"Tresham," continued Catesby, solemnly, "prepare to meet your fate like
a man. And do you, father," he added to Garnet, "proceed to shrive him."

"Hold!" cried Viviana, stepping into the midst of them,--"hold!" she
exclaimed, in a voice so authoritative, and with a look so commanding,
that the whole assemblage were awe-stricken. "If you think to commit
this crime with impunity, you are mistaken. I swear by everything
sacred, if you take this man's life, I will go forth instantly, and
denounce you all to the Council. You may stare, sirs, and threaten me,
but you shall find I will keep my word."

"We must put her to death too," observed Catesby, in an under tone to
Fawkes, "or we shall have a worse enemy left than Tresham."

"I cannot consent to it," replied Fawkes.

"If you mistrust this person, why not place him in restraint?" pursued
Viviana. "You will not mend matters by killing him."

"She says well," observed Garnet; "let us put him in some place of
security."

"I am agreed," replied Fawkes.

"And I," added Keyes.

"My judgment, then, is overruled," rejoined Catesby. "But I will not
oppose you. We will imprison him in the vault beneath this chamber."

"He must be without light," said Garnet.

"And without arms," added Keyes.

"And without food," muttered Catesby. "He has only exchanged one death
for another."

The flag was then raised, and Tresham thrust into the vault, after which
it was restored to its former position.

"I have saved you from the lesser crime," cried Viviana to Guy Fawkes;
"and, with Heaven's grace, I trust to preserve you from the greater!"



CHAPTER III.

THE ESCAPE PREVENTED.


Viviana having retired to her chamber, apparently to rest, a long and
anxious consultation was held by the conspirators as to the next steps
to be pursued. Garnet was of opinion that, as the Earl of Salisbury was
aware of a conspiracy against the state being on foot among the
Catholics, their project ought to be deferred, if not altogether
abandoned.

"We are sure to be discovered," he said. "Arrests without end will take
place. And such rigorous measures will be adopted by the Earl, such
inquiries instituted, that all will infallibly be brought to light.
Besides, we know not what Tresham may have revealed. He denies having
betrayed our secret, but no credit can be attached to his assertions."

"Shall we examine him again, father," cried Catesby, "and wring the
truth from him by threats or torture?"

"No, my son," replied Garnet; "let him remain where he is till morning.
A night of solitary confinement, added to the stings of his own guilty
conscience, is likely to produce a stronger effect upon him than any
torments we could inflict. He shall be interrogated strictly to-morrow,
and, I will answer for it, will make a full confession. But even if he
has revealed nothing material, there exists another and equally serious
ground of alarm. I allude to your meeting with the Earl on the river. I
should be the last to counsel bloodshed. But if ever it could be
justified, it might have been so in this case."

"I would have slain him if I had had my own way," returned Catesby, with
a fierce and reproachful look at Fawkes.

"If I have done wrong, I will speedily repair my error," observed the
latter. "Do you desire his death, father? and will you absolve me from
the deed?" he added, turning to Garnet.

"It is better as it is," replied Garnet, making a gesture in the
negative. "I would not have our high and holy purpose stained by common
slaughter. The power that delivered him into your hands, and stayed
them, no doubt preserved him for the general sacrifice. My first fear
was lest, having noticed the barrels of powder within the boat, he might
have suspected your design. But I am satisfied his eyes were blinded,
and his reason benighted, so that he could discern nothing."

"Such was my own opinion, father," replied Fawkes. "Let us observe the
utmost caution, but proceed at all hazards with the enterprise. If we
delay, we fail."

"Right," returned Catesby; "and for that counsel I forgive you for
standing between me and our enemy."

Upon this, it was agreed that if nothing occurred in the interim, more
powder should be transported to the habitation in Westminster on the
following night,--that Fawkes and Catesby, who might be recognised by
Salisbury's description, should keep close house during the day,--and
that the rest of the conspirators should be summoned to assist in
digging the mine. Prayers were then offered up by the two priests for
their preservation from peril, and for success in their enterprise;
after which, they threw themselves on benches or seats, and courted
slumber. All slept soundly except Fawkes, who, not being able to close
his eyes, from an undefinable apprehension of danger, arose, and
cautiously opening the door, kept watch outside.

Shortly afterwards, Viviana, who had waited till all was quiet, softly
descended the stairs, and, shading her light, gazed timorously round.
Satisfied she was not observed, she glided swiftly and noiselessly to
the fire-place, and endeavoured to raise the flag. But it resisted all
her efforts, and she was about to abandon the attempt in despair, when
she perceived a bolt on one side, that had escaped her notice. Hastily
withdrawing it, she experienced no further difficulty. The stone
revolved on hinges like a trap-door, and lifting it, she hurried down
the steps.

Alarmed by her approach, Tresham had retreated to the further end of the
vault, and snatching up a halbert from the pile of weapons, cried, in a
voice of desperation--

"Stand off! I am armed, and have severed my bonds. Off, I say! You shall
not take me with life."

"Hush!" cried Viviana, putting her finger to her lips, "I am come to set
you free."

"Do I behold an inhabitant of this world?" cried Tresham, crossing
himself, and dropping the halbert, "or some blessed saint? Ah!" he
exclaimed, as she advanced towards him, "it is Viviana Radcliffe--my
preserver. Pardon, sweet lady. My eyes were dazzled by the light, and
your sudden appearance and speech,--and I might almost say looks,--made
me think you were some supernatural being come to deliver me from these
bloody-minded men. Where are they?"

"In the room above," she replied, in a whisper,--"asleep,--and if you
speak so loud you will arouse them."

"Let us fly without a moment's delay," returned Tresham, in the same
tone, and hastily picking up a rapier and a dagger.

"Stay!" cried Viviana, arresting him. "Before you go, you must tell me
what you are about to do."

"We will talk of that when we are out of this accursed place," he
replied.

"You shall not stir a footstep," she rejoined, placing herself
resolutely between him and the outlet, "till you have sworn neither to
betray your confederates, nor to do them injury."

"May Heaven requite me, if I forgive them!" cried Tresham between his
ground teeth.

"Remember!--you are yet in their power," she rejoined. "One word from
me, and they are at your side. Swear!--and swear solemnly, or you do not
quit this spot."

Tresham gazed at her fiercely, and griped his dagger, as if determined
to free himself at any cost.

"Ah!" she ejaculated, noticing the movement, "you are indeed a traitor.
You have neither sense of honour nor gratitude, and I leave you to your
fate. Attempt to follow me, and I give the alarm."

"Forgive me, Viviana," he cried, abjectly prostrating himself at her
feet, and clinging to the hem of her dress. "I meant only to terrify
you; I would not injure you for worlds. Do not leave me with these
ruthless cut-throats. They will assuredly murder me. Do not remain with
them yourself, or you will come to some dreadful end. Fly with me, and I
will place you beyond their reach--will watch over your safety. Or, if
you are resolved to brave their fury, let me go, and I will take any
oath you propose. As I hope for salvation I will not betray them."

"Peace!" cried Viviana, contemptuously. "If I set you free, it is not to
save you, but them."

"What mean you?" asked Tresham, hesitating.

"Question me not, but follow," she rejoined, "and tread softly, as you
value your life."

Tresham needed no caution on this head, and as they emerged from the
trap-door in breathless silence, and he beheld the figures of his
sleeping foes, he could scarcely muster sufficient courage to pass
through them. Motioning him to proceed quickly, Viviana moved towards
the door, and to her surprise found it unfastened. Without pausing to
consider whence this neglect could arise, she opened it, and Tresham,
who trembled in every limb, and walked upon the points of his feet,
stepped forth. As he crossed the threshold, however, a powerful grasp
was laid upon his shoulder, and a drawn sword presented to his breast,
while the voice of Fawkes thundered in his ear, "Who goes there? Speak,
or I strike."

While the fugitive, not daring to answer, lest his accents should betray
him, endeavoured vainly to break away, Viviana, hearing the struggle,
threw open the door, and exclaimed, "It is Tresham. I set him free."

"You!" cried Fawkes, in astonishment. "Wherefore?"

"In the hope that his escape would induce you to abandon your design,
and seek safety in flight," she rejoined. "But you have thwarted my
purpose."

Fawkes made no reply, but thrust Tresham forcibly into the house, and
called to Catesby, who by this time had been roused with the others, to
close and bar the door. The command was instantly obeyed, and as Catesby
turned, a strange and fearful group met his view. In the midst stood
Tresham, his haggard features and palsied frame bespeaking the extremity
of his terror. His sword having been beaten from his grasp by Fawkes,
and his dagger wrested from him by Keyes, he was utterly defenceless.
Viviana had placed herself between him and his assailants, and screening
him from their attack, cried--

"Despatch me. The fault is mine--mine only--and I am ready to pay the
penalty. Had I not released him, he would not have attempted to escape.
I am the rightful victim."

"She speaks the truth," gasped Tresham. "If she had not offered to
liberate me, I should never have thought of flying. Would to Heaven I
had never yielded to her solicitations!"

"Peace, craven hound!" exclaimed Fawkes, furiously; "you deserve to die
for your meanness and ingratitude, if not for your treachery. And it is
for this miserable wretch, Viviana," he added, turning to her, "that you
would have placed your friends in such fearful jeopardy,--it is for him,
who would sacrifice you without scruple to save himself, that you now
offer your own life?"

"I deserve your reproaches," she rejoined, in confusion.

"Had I not fortunately intercepted him," pursued Fawkes, "an hour would
not have elapsed ere he would have returned with the officers; and we
should have changed this dwelling for a dungeon in the Tower,--these
benches for the rack."

"In pity stab me!" cried Viviana, falling at his feet. "But oh! do not
wound me with your words. I have committed a grievous wrong; but I was
ignorant of the consequences; and, as I hope for mercy hereafter, my
sole motive, beyond compassion for this wretched man, was to terrify you
into relinquishing your dreadful project."

"You have acted wrongfully,--very wrongfully, Viviana," interposed
Garnet: "but since you are fully convinced of your error, no more need
be said. There are seasons when the heart must be closed against
compassion, and when mercy becomes injustice. Go to your chamber, and
leave us to deal with this unhappy man."

"To-morrow you must quit us," observed Fawkes, as she passed him.

"Quit you!" she exclaimed. "I will never offend again."

"I will not trust you," replied Fawkes, "unless--but it is useless to
impose restrictions upon you, which you will not--perhaps, cannot
observe."

"Impose any restrictions you please," replied Viviana. "But do not bid
me leave you."

"The time is come when we _must_ separate," rejoined Fawkes. "See you
not that the course we are taking is slippery with blood, and beset with
perils which the firmest of your sex could not encounter?"

"I will encounter them nevertheless," replied Viviana. "Be merciful,"
she added, pointing to Tresham, "and mercy shall be shown you in your
hour of need." And she slowly withdrew.

While this was passing, Catesby addressed a few words aside to Keyes and
Oldcorne, and now stepping forward, and fixing his eye steadily upon the
prisoner, to note the effect of his speech upon him, said--

"I have devised a plan by which the full extent of Tresham's treachery
can be ascertained."

"You do not mean to torture him, I trust?" exclaimed Garnet, uneasily.

"No, father," replied Catesby. "If torture is inflicted at all, it will
be upon the mind, not the body."

"Then it will be no torture," observed Garnet. "State your plan, my
son."

"It is this," returned Catesby. "He shall write a letter to Lord
Mounteagle, stating that he has important revelations to make to him,
and entreating him to come hither unattended."

"Here!" exclaimed Fawkes.

"Here," repeated Catesby; "and alone. We will conceal ourselves in such
manner that we may overhear what passes between them, and if any attempt
is made by the villain to betray our presence, he shall be immediately
shot. By this means we cannot fail to elicit the truth."

"I approve your plan, my son," replied Garnet; "but who will convey the
letter to Lord Mounteagle?"

"I will," replied Fawkes. "Let it be prepared at once, and the case will
be thought the more urgent. I will watch him, and see that he comes
unattended, or give you timely warning."

"Enough," rejoined Garnet. "Let writing materials be procured, and I
will dictate the letter."

Tresham, meanwhile, exhibited no misgiving; but, on the contrary, his
countenance brightened up as the plan was approved.

"My life will be spared if you find I have not deceived you, will it
not?" he asked, in a supplicating voice.

"Assuredly," replied Garnet.

"Give me pen and ink, then," he cried, "and I will write whatever you
desire."

"Our secret is safe," whispered Catesby to Garnet. "It is useless to
test him further."

"I think so," replied Garnet. "Would we had made this experiment
sooner!"

"Do not delay, I entreat you," implored Tresham. "I am eager to prove my
innocence."

"We are satisfied with the proof we have already obtained," returned
Garnet.

Tresham dropped on his knees in speechless gratitude.

"We are spared the necessity of being your executioners, my son,"
pursued Garnet, "and I rejoice at it. But I cannot acquit you of the
design to betray us; and till you have unburthened your whole soul to
me, and proved by severe and self-inflicted penance that you are really
penitent, you must remain a captive within these walls."

"I will disguise nothing from you, father," replied Tresham, "and will
strive to expiate my offence by the severest penance you choose to
inflict."

"Do this, my son," rejoined Garnet; "leave no doubt of your sincerity,
and you may be yet restored to the place you have forfeited, and become
a sharer in our great enterprise."

"I will never trust him more," observed Fawkes.

"Nor I," added Keyes.

"_I_ will," rejoined Catesby: "not that I have more faith in him than
either of you; but I will so watch him that he shall not dare to betray
us. Nay, more," he added, in an under tone, to Garnet, "I will turn his
treachery to account. He will be a useful spy upon our enemies."

"If he can be relied on," observed Garnet.

"After this, you need have no fears," rejoined Catesby, with a
significant smile.

"The first part of your penance, my son," said Garnet, addressing
Tresham, "shall be to pass the night in solitary vigil and prayer within
the vault. Number your transgressions, and reflect upon their enormity.
Consider not only the injury your conduct might have done us, but the
holy church of which you are so sinful a member. Weigh over all this,
and to-morrow I will hear your confession; when, if I find you in a
state of grace, absolution shall not be refused."

Tresham humbly bowed his head in token of acquiescence. He was then led
to the vault, and the flag closed over him, as before. This done, after
a brief conversation, the others again stretched themselves on the
floor, and sought repose.



CHAPTER IV.

THE MINE.


Some days elapsed before the conspirators ventured forth from their
present abode. They had intended to remove the rest of the powder
without loss of time, but were induced to defer their purpose on the
representations of Tresham, who stated to Garnet, that in his opinion
they would run a great and needless risk. Before the expiration of a
week, Tresham's apparent remorse for his perfidy, added to his seeming
zeal, had so far reinstated him in the confidence of his associates,
that he was fully absolved of his offence by Garnet; and, after taking
fresh oaths of even greater solemnity than the former, was again
admitted to the league. Catesby, however, who placed little faith in his
protestations, never lost sight of him for an instant, and, even if he
meditated an escape, he had no opportunity of effecting it.

A coldness, stronger on his side than hers, seemed to have arisen
between Viviana and Guy Fawkes. Whenever she descended to the lower
room, he withdrew on some excuse; and though he never urged her
departure by words, his looks plainly bespoke that he desired it. Upon
one occasion, she found him alone,--the others being at the time within
the vault. He was whetting the point of his dagger, and did not hear her
approach, until she stood beside him. He was slightly confused, and a
deep ruddy stain flushed his swarthy cheeks and brow; but he averted his
gaze, and continued his occupation in silence.

"Why do you shun me?" asked Viviana, laying her hand gently upon his
shoulder. And, as he did not answer, she repeated the question in a
broken voice. Guy Fawkes then looked up, and perceived that her eyes
were filled with tears.

"I shun you, Viviana, for two reasons," he replied gravely, but kindly;
"first, because I would have no ties of sympathy to make me cling to the
world, or care for it; and I feel that if I suffer myself to be
interested about you, this will not long be the case: secondly, and
chiefly, because you are constantly striving to turn me from my fixed
purpose; and, though your efforts have been, and will be unavailing, yet
I would not be exposed to them further."

"You fear me, because you think I shall shake your resolution," she
rejoined, with a forced smile. "But I will trouble you no more. Nay, if
you wish it, I will go."

"It were better," replied Fawkes, in accents of deep emotion, and taking
her hand. "Painful as will be the parting with you, I shall feel more
easy when it is over. It grieves me to the soul to see you--the daughter
of the proud, the wealthy Sir William Radcliffe--an inmate of this
wretched abode, surrounded by desperate men, whose actions you
disapprove, and whose danger you are compelled to share. Think how it
would add to my suffering if our plot--which Heaven avert--should be
discovered, and you be involved in it."

"Do not think of it," replied Viviana.

"I cannot banish it from my thoughts," continued Fawkes. "I cannot
reconcile it to my feelings that one so young, so beautiful, should be
thus treated. Dwelling on this idea unmans me--unfits me for sterner
duties. The great crisis is at hand, and I must live only for it."

"Live for it, then," rejoined Viviana; "but, oh! let me remain with you
till the blow is struck. Something tells me I may yet be useful to
you--may save you."

"No more of this, if you would indeed remain," rejoined Guy Fawkes,
sternly. "Regard me as a sword in the hand of fate, which cannot be
turned aside,--as a bolt launched from the cloud, and shattering all in
its course, which may not be stopped,--as something terrible,
exterminating, immovable. Regard me as this, and say whether I am not to
be shunned."

"No," replied Viviana; "I am as steadfast as yourself. I will remain."

Guy Fawkes gazed at her in surprise mixed with admiration, and pressing
her hand affectionately, said,

"I applaud your resolution. If I had a daughter, I should wish her to be
like you."

"You promised to be a father to me," she rejoined. "How can you be so if
I leave you?"

"How _can_ I be so if you stay?" returned Fawkes, mournfully. "No, you
must indulge no filial tenderness for one so utterly unable to requite
it as myself. Fix your thoughts wholly on Heaven. Pray for the
restoration of our holy religion--for the success of the great
enterprise--and haply your prayers may prevail."

"I cannot pray for that," she replied; "for I do not wish it success.
But I will pray--and fervently--that all danger may be averted from your
head."

At this moment, Catesby and Keyes emerged from the vault, and Viviana
hurried to her chamber.

As soon as it grew dark, the remaining barrels of powder were brought
out of the cellar, and carefully placed in the boat. Straw was then
heaped upon them, and the whole covered with a piece of tarpaulin, as
upon the former occasion. It being necessary to cross the river more
than once, the conduct of the first and most hazardous passage was
intrusted to Fawkes, and accompanied by Keyes and Bates, both of whom
were well armed, he set out a little before midnight. It was a clear
starlight night; but as the moon had not yet risen, they were under no
apprehension of discovery. The few craft they encountered, bent
probably on some suspicious errand like themselves, paid no attention to
them; and plying their oars swiftly, they shot under the low parapet
edging the gardens of the Parliament House, just as the deep bell of the
Abbey tolled forth the hour of twelve. Keeping in the shade, they
silently approached the stairs. No one was there, not even a waterman to
attend to the numerous wherries moored to the steps; and, without losing
a moment, they sprang ashore, and concealing the barrels beneath their
cloaks, glided like phantoms summoned by the witching hour along the
passage formed by two high walls, leading to Old Palace Yard, and
speedily reached the gate of the habitation. In this way, and with the
utmost rapidity, the whole of the fearful cargo was safely deposited in
the garden; and leaving the others to carry it into the house, Guy
Fawkes returned to the boat. As he was about to push off, two persons
rushed to the stair-head, and the foremost, evidently mistaking him for
a waterman, called to him to take them across the river.

"I am no waterman, friend," replied Fawkes; "and am engaged on business
of my own. Seek a wherry elsewhere."

"By heaven!" exclaimed the new-comer, in accents of surprise, "it is Guy
Fawkes. Do you not know me?"

"Can it be Humphrey Chetham?" cried Fawkes, equally astonished.

"It is," replied the other. "This meeting is most fortunate. I was in
search of you, having somewhat of importance to communicate to Viviana."

"State it quickly, then," returned Fawkes; "I cannot tarry here much
longer."

"I will go with you," rejoined Chetham, springing into the boat, and
followed by his companion. "You must take me to her."

"Impossible," cried Fawkes, rising angrily; "neither can I permit you to
accompany me. I am busied about my own concerns, and will not be
interrupted."

"At least, tell me where I can find Viviana," persisted Chetham.

"Not now--not now," rejoined Fawkes, impatiently. "Meet me to-morrow
night, at this hour, in the Great Sanctuary, at the farther side of the
Abbey, and you shall learn all you desire to know."

"Why not now?" rejoined Chetham, earnestly. "You need not fear me. I am
no spy, and will reveal nothing."

"But your companion?" hesitated Fawkes.

"It is only Martin Heydocke," answered Chetham. "He can keep a close
tongue as well as his master."

"Well, sit down, then," returned Fawkes, sullenly. "There will be less
risk in taking them to Lambeth," he muttered, "than in loitering here."
And rowing with great swiftness, he soon gained the centre of the
stream.

"And so," he observed, resting for a moment on his oars, "you still
cherish your attachment to Viviana, I see. Nay, never start, man. I am
no enemy to your suit, though others may be. And if she would place
herself at my disposal, I would give her to you,--certain that it would
be to one upon whom her affections are fixed."

"Do you think any change likely to take place in her sentiments towards
me?" faltered Chetham. "May I indulge a hope?"

"I would not have you despair," replied Fawkes. "Because, as far as I
have noticed, women are not apt to adhere to their resolutions in
matters of the heart; and because, as I have just said, she loves you,
and I see no reasonable bar to your union."

"You give me new life," cried Chetham, transported with joy. "Oh! that
you, who have so much influence with her, would speak in my behalf."

"Nay, you must plead your own cause," replied Fawkes. "I cannot hold out
much hope at present; for recent events have cast a deep gloom over her
spirit, and she appears to be a prey to melancholy. Let this wear
off,--and with one so young and so firm-minded it is sure to do so,--and
then your suit may be renewed. Urge it when you may, you have my best
wishes for success, and shall have my warmest efforts to second you."

Humphrey Chetham murmured his thanks in accents almost unintelligible
from emotion, and Guy Fawkes continued,

"It would be dangerous for you to disembark with me; but when I put you
ashore, I will point out the dwelling at present occupied by Viviana.
You can visit it as early as you please to-morrow. You will find no one
with her but Father Oldcorne, and I need scarcely add, it will gladden
me to the heart to find on my return that she has yielded to your
entreaties."

"I cannot thank you," cried Chetham, warmly grasping his hand; "but I
hope to find some means of evincing my gratitude."

"Prove it by maintaining the strictest secresy as to all you may see or
hear,--or even suspect,--within the dwelling you are about to visit,"
returned Guy Fawkes. "Knowing that I am dealing with a man of honour, I
require no stronger obligation than your word."

"You have it," replied Chetham, solemnly.

"Your worship shall have my oath, if you desire it," remarked Martin
Heydocke.

"No," rejoined Fawkes; "your master will answer for your fidelity."

Shortly after this, Guy Fawkes pulled ashore, and his companions landed.
After pointing out the solitary habitation, which possessed greater
interest in Humphrey Chetham's eyes than the proud structures he had
just quitted, and extracting a promise that the young merchant would not
approach it till the morrow, he rowed off, and while the others
proceeded to Lambeth in search of lodging for the night, made the best
of his way to the little creek, and entered the house.

He found the other conspirators anxiously awaiting his arrival, and the
certainty afforded by his presence that the powder had been landed in
safety gave general satisfaction. Preparations were immediately made for
another voyage. A large supply of provisions, consisting of baked meat
of various kinds, hard-boiled eggs, pasties, bread, and other viands,
calculated to serve for a week's consumption, without the necessity of
having recourse to any culinary process, and which had been previously
procured with that view, together with a few flasks of wine, occupied
the place in the boat lately assigned to the powder. At the risk of
overloading the vessel, they likewise increased its burthen by a
quantity of mining implements--spades, pickaxes, augers, and wrenching
irons. To these were added as many swords, calivers, pikes, and
petronels, as the space left would accommodate. Garnet and Catesby then
embarked,--the former having taken an affectionate farewell of Viviana,
whom he committed, with the strictest injunction to watch over her, to
the care of Father Oldcorne. Guy Fawkes lingered for a moment, doubting
whether he should mention his rencounter with Humphrey Chetham. He was
the more undecided from the deep affliction in which she was plunged. At
last, he determined upon slightly hinting at the subject, and to be
guided as to what he said further by the manner in which the allusion
was received.

"And you decide upon remaining here till we return, Viviana?" he said.

She made a sign in the affirmative.

"And you will see no one?"

"No one," she answered.

"But, should any old friend find his way hither--Humphrey Chetham, for
instance--will you not receive him?"

"Why do you single out _him_?" demanded Viviana, inquiringly. "Is he in
London? Have you seen him?"

"I have," replied Guy Fawkes; "I accidentally met him to-night, and have
shown him this dwelling. He will come hither to-morrow."

"I wanted only this to make me thoroughly wretched," cried Viviana,
clasping her hands with anguish. "Oh! what unhappy chance threw him
across your path? Why did you tell him I was here? Why give him a hope
that I would see him? But I will _not_ see him. I will quit this house
rather than be exposed to the meeting."

"What means this sudden excitement, Viviana?" cried Guy Fawkes, greatly
surprised by her agitation. "Why should a visit from Humphrey Chetham
occasion you uneasiness?"

"I know not," she answered, blushing deeply; "but I will not hazard
it."

"I thought you superior to your sex," rejoined Fawkes, "and should never
have suspected you of waywardness or caprice."

"You charge me with failings that do not belong to me," she answered. "I
am neither wayward nor capricious; but I would be willingly spared the
pain of an interview with one whom I thought I loved."

"Thought you loved!" echoed Fawkes, in increased astonishment.

"Ay, _thought_," repeated Viviana, "for I have since examined my heart,
and find he has no place in it."

"You might be happy with him, Viviana," rejoined Fawkes, reproachfully.

"I _might_ have been," she replied, "had circumstances favoured our
union. But I should not be so now. Recent events have wrought an entire
change in my feelings. Were I to abandon my resolution of retiring to a
cloister,--were I to return to the world,--and were such an event
possible as that Humphrey Chetham should conform to the faith of
Rome,--still, I would not--could not wed him."

"I grieve to hear it," replied Fawkes.

"Would _you_ have me wed him?" she cried, in a slightly mortified tone.

"In good sooth would I," replied Fawkes; "and I repeat my firm
conviction you would be happier with him than with one more highly born,
and of less real worth."

Viviana made no reply, and her head declined upon her bosom.

"You will see him," pursued Fawkes, taking her hand, "if only to tell
him what you have just told me."

"Since you desire it, I will," she replied, fixing a look of melancholy
tenderness upon him; "but it will cost me a bitter pang."

"I would not tax you with it, if I did not think it needful," returned
Fawkes. "And now, farewell."

"Farewell,--it may be, for ever," replied Viviana, sadly.

"The boat is ready, and the tide ebbing," cried Catesby, impatiently, at
the door. "We shall be aground if you tarry longer."

"I come," replied Fawkes. And, waving an adieu to Viviana, he departed.

"Strange!" he muttered to himself, as he took his way to the creek. "I
could have sworn she was in love with Humphrey Chetham. Who can have
superseded him in her regard? Not Catesby, of a surety. 'Tis a
perplexing sex. The best are fickle. Heaven be praised! I have long been
proof against their wiles."

Thus musing, he sprang into the skiff, and assisting Catesby to push it
into deep water, seized an oar, and exerted himself stoutly to make up
for lost time. The second voyage was as prosperous as the first. A thick
veil of cloud had curtained the stars; the steps were deserted as
before; and the provisions, arms, and implements were securely conveyed
to their destination.

Thus far fortune seemed to favour their undertaking, and Garnet, falling
on his knees, offered up the most fervent thanksgivings. Prayers over,
they descended to the cellar, and their first care was to seek out a
place as free from damp as possible, where the powder could be deposited
till the excavation, which it was foreseen would be a work of time and
great labour, was completed. A dry corner being found, the barrels were
placed in it, and carefully concealed with billets of wood and coals, so
as to avert suspicion in case of search. This, with other arrangements,
occupied the greater part of the night, and the commencement of the
important undertaking was deferred till the morrow, when an increase of
their party was anticipated.

Throughout the whole of the day no one stirred forth. The windows were
kept closed; the doors locked; and, as no fires were lighted, the house
had the appearance of being uninhabited. In the course of the morning
they underwent considerable alarm. Some mischievous urchins having
scaled the garden wall, one of them fell within it, and his cries so
terrified his playmates that they dropped on the other side, and left
him. The conspirators reconnoitred the unhappy urchin, who continued his
vociferations in a loud key, through the holes in the shutters,
uncertain what to do, and fearing that this trifling mischance might
lead to serious consequences, when the subject of their uneasiness
relieved them by scrambling up the wall near the door, and so effecting
a retreat. With this exception, nothing material occurred till evening,
when their expected associates arrived.

The utmost caution was observed in admitting them. The new-comers were
provided with a key of the garden-gate, but a signal was given and
repeated before the house-door was opened by Bates, to whom the office
of porter was intrusted. As soon as the latter had satisfied himself
that all was right, by unmasking a dark lantern, and throwing its
radiance upon the faces of the elder Wright, Rookwood, and Percy, he
stamped his foot thrice, and the conspirators emerged from their
hiding-places. A warm greeting passed between the confederates, and they
adjourned to a lower chamber, adjoining the vault, where the sound of
their voices could not be overheard, and where, while partaking of a
frugal meal--for they desired to eke out their store of provisions as
long as possible--they discoursed upon their plans, and all that had
occurred since their last meeting. Nothing was said of the treachery of
Tresham--his recent conduct, as already observed, having been such as to
restore him in a great degree to the confidence of his companions.
Percy, whose office as a gentleman-pensioner gave him the best
opportunities of hearing court-whispers and secrets, informed them it
was rumoured that the Earl of Salisbury had obtained a clue to some
Catholic plot, whether their own he could not say; but it would seem
from all that could be gathered, that his endeavours to trace it out had
been frustrated.

"Where is Lord Mounteagle?" demanded Catesby.

"At his mansion near Hoxton," replied Percy.

"Have you observed him much about the court of late, or with the Earl of
Salisbury?" pursued Catesby.

"No," replied Percy. "Yet now, I bethink me, I did observe them
together, and in earnest conversation about a week ago. But Lord
Mounteagle knows nothing of _our_ plot."

"Hum!" exclaimed Catesby, shrugging his shoulders, while significant
looks were exchanged by the others, and Tresham hung his head. "Lord
Mounteagle may not know that you or I, or Fawkes, or Rookwood, are
conspiring against the State; but he knows that a plot is hatching
amongst our party. It is from him that the Earl of Salisbury derived his
information."

"Amazement!" exclaimed Percy.

"A good Catholic, and betray his fellows!" cried Rookwood; "this passes
my comprehension. Are you sure of it?"

"Unhappily we are so, my son," replied Garnet, gravely.

"We will speak of this hereafter," interposed Catesby. "I have a plan to
get his lordship into our power, and make him serve our purposes in
spite of himself. We will outwit the crafty Salisbury. Can any one tell
if Tresham's sudden disappearance has been noticed."

"His household report that he is on a visit to Sir Everard Digby, at
Gothurst," replied Rookwood. "I called at his residence yesterday, and
was informed that a letter had just been received from him dated from
that place. His departure, they said, was sudden, but his letter fully
accounted for it."

"The messenger who bore that letter had only to travel from Lambeth,"
observed Catesby, smiling.

"So I conclude," returned Rookwood.

"And, now that our meal is ended, let us to work," cried Fawkes, who had
taken no part in the foregoing conversation. "I will strike the first
blow," he added, rising and seizing a mattock.

"Hold, my son!" exclaimed Garnet, arresting him. "The work upon which
the redemption of our holy church hangs must be commenced with due
solemnity."

"You are right, father," replied Fawkes, humbly.

Headed by Garnet, bearing a crucifix, they then repaired to the vault. A
silver chalice, filled with holy water, was carried by Fawkes, and two
lighted tapers by Catesby. Kneeling down before that part of the wall
against which operations were about to be directed, and holding the
crucifix towards it, Garnet commenced praying in a low but earnest tone,
gradually raising his voice, and increasing in fervour as he proceeded.
The others knelt around him, and the whole formed a strange and
deeply-interesting group. The vault itself harmonized with its
occupants. It was of great antiquity; and its solid stone masonry had
acquired a time-worn hoary tint. In width it was about nine feet, and of
corresponding height, supported by a semi-circular arch, and its length
was more than twenty feet.

The countenances of the conspirators showed that they were powerfully
moved by what was passing; but next to Garnet, Guy Fawkes exhibited the
greatest enthusiasm. His ecstatic looks and gestures evinced the strong
effect produced upon his superstitious character by the scene. Garnet
concluded his prayer as follows:--

"Thus far, O Lord, we have toiled in darkness and in difficulty; but we
have now arrived at a point where all thy support is needed. Do not
desert us, we beseech thee, but let thy light guide us through these
gloomy paths. Nerve our arms,--sharpen our weapons,--and crumble these
hard and flinty stones, so that they may yield to our efforts. Aid our
enterprise, if thou approvest it, and it be really, as in our ignorance
we believe it to be, for the welfare of thy holy Church, and the
confusion of its enemies. Bear witness, O Lord, that we devote ourselves
wholly and entirely to this one end,--and that we implore success only
for thy glory and honour."

With this he arose, and the following strains were chanted by the whole
assemblage:--

              HYMN OF THE CONSPIRATORS.

          The heretic and heathen, Lord,
          Consume with fire, cut down with sword;
          The spoilers from thy temples thrust,
          Their altars trample in the dust.

          False princes and false priests lay low,
          Their habitations fill with woe.
          Scatter them, Lord, with sword and flame,
          And bring them utterly to shame.

          Thy vengeful arm no longer stay,
          Arise! exterminate, and slay.
          So shall thy fallen worship be
          Restored to its prosperity.

This hymn raised the enthusiasm of the conspirators to the highest
pitch, and such was the effect produced by it, as it rolled in sullen
echoes along the arched roof of the vault, that several of them drew
their swords, and crossed the blades, with looks of the most determined
devotion to their cause. When it was ended, Garnet recited other
prayers, and sprinkled holy water upon the wall, and upon every
implement about to be used, bestowing a separate benediction on each.
As he delivered the pick-axe to Guy Fawkes, he cried in a solemn voice--

"Strike, my son, in the name of the Most High, and in behalf of our holy
religion,--strike!"

Guy Fawkes raised the weapon, and stimulated by excitement, threw the
whole strength of his arm into the blow. A large piece of the granite
was chipped off, but the mattock snapped in twain. Guy Fawkes looked
deeply disconcerted, and Garnet, though he concealed his emotion, was
filled with dismay.

"Let me take your place," cried Keyes, advancing, as Guy Fawkes retired.

Keyes was a powerful man, and exerting his energies, he buried the point
of the pick-axe so deeply in the mortar, that he could not remove it
unassisted. These untoward circumstances cast a slight damp upon their
ardour; but Catesby, who perceived it, went more cautiously to work, and
in a short time succeeded with great labour in getting out the large
stone upon which the others had expended so much useless exertion. The
sight restored their confidence, and as many as could work in the narrow
space joined him. But they found that their task was much more arduous
than they had anticipated. More than an hour elapsed before they could
loosen another stone, and though they laboured with the utmost
perseverance, relieving each other by turns, they had made but a small
breach when morning arrived. The stones were as hard and unyielding as
iron, and the mortar in some places harder than the stones.

After a few hours' rest, they resumed their task. Still, they made but
small progress; and it was not until the third day that they had
excavated a hole sufficiently wide and deep to admit one man within it.
They were now arrived at a compost of gravel and flint stones; and if
they had found their previous task difficult, what they had now to
encounter was infinitely more so. Their implements made little or no
impression on this unyielding substance, and though they toiled
incessantly, the work proceeded with disheartening slowness. The stones
and rubbish were conveyed at dead of night in hampers into the garden,
and buried.

One night, when they were labouring as usual, Guy Fawkes, who was
foremost in the excavation, thought he heard the tolling of a bell
within the wall. He instantly suspended his task, and being convinced
that he was not deceived, crept out of the hole, and made a sign to the
others to listen. Each had heard the awful sound before; but as it was
partially drowned by the noise of the pick-axe, it had not produced much
impression upon them, as they attributed it to some vibration in the
wall, caused by the echo of the blows. But it was now distinctly
audible--deep, clear, slow,--like a passing bell,--but so solemn, so
unearthly, that its tones froze the blood in their veins.

[Illustration: _Guy Fawkes and the other Conspirators alarmed while
digging the mine_]

They listened for a while in speechless astonishment, scarcely daring to
look at each other, and expecting each moment that the building would
fall upon them, and bury them alive. The light of a single lantern
placed upon an upturned basket fell upon figures rigid as statues, and
countenances charged with awe.

"My arm is paralysed," said Guy Fawkes, breaking silence; "I can work no
more."

"Try holy water, father," cried Catesby. "If it proceeds from aught of
evil, that will quell it."

The chalice containing the sacred lymph was brought, and pronouncing a
solemn exorcism, Garnet sprinkled the wall.

The sound immediately ceased.

"It is as I thought, father," observed Catesby; "it is the delusion of
an evil spirit."

As he spoke, the tolling of the mysterious bell was again heard, and
more solemnly,--more slowly than before.

"Sprinkle the wall again, in Heaven's name, father," cried Fawkes,
crossing himself devoutly. "Avoid thee, Sathanas!"

Garnet complied, and throwing holy water upon the stones, the same
result followed.



CHAPTER V.

THE CAPTURE OF VIVIANA.


On the morning after his encounter with Guy Fawkes, Humphrey Chetham,
accompanied by Martin Heydocke, took his way to Lambeth Marsh. With a
throbbing heart he approached the miserable dwelling he knew to be
inhabited by Viviana, and could scarcely summon courage to knock at the
door. His first summons not being answered, he repeated it more loudly,
and he then perceived the face of Father Oldcorne at the window, who,
having satisfied himself that it was a friend, admitted him and his
attendant.

"You were expected, my son," said the priest, after a friendly greeting.
"Guy Fawkes has prepared Viviana for your coming."

"Will she not see me?" demanded the young merchant, uneasily.

"I believe so," replied Oldcorne. "But I will apprise her of your
arrival. Be seated, my son."

He then carefully fastened the door, and repaired to Viviana's chamber,
leaving Chetham in that state of tremor and anxiety which a lover,
hoping to behold his mistress, only knows.

It was some time before Viviana appeared, and the young merchant, whose
heart beat violently at the sound of her footstep, was startled by the
alteration in her looks, and the extreme coldness of her manner.
Oldcorne was with her, and motioning Martin Heydocke to follow him, the
youthful pair were left alone.

"You desire to see me, I am given to understand, sir," observed Viviana,
in a freezing tone.

"I have journeyed to London for that express purpose," replied Humphrey
Chetham, tremulously.

"I am much beholden to you, sir," returned Viviana, in the same
repelling tone as before; "but I regret you should have taken so much
trouble on my account."

"To serve you is happiness, not trouble, Viviana," replied Humphrey
Chetham, ardently; "and I am overjoyed at finding an opportunity of
proving my devotion."

"I have yet to learn what service I must thank you for," she returned.

"I can scarcely say that I am warranted in thus intruding upon you,"
replied Chetham, greatly abashed; "but, having learnt from my servant,
Martin Heydocke, that Doctor Dee had set out for London, with the view
of seeking you out, and withdrawing you from your present associates, I
was determined to be beforehand with him, and to acquaint you, if
possible, with his intentions."

"What you say surprises me," replied Viviana. "Doctor Dee has no right
to interfere with my actions. Nor should I obey him were he to counsel
me, as is scarcely probable, to quit my companions."

"I know not what connexion there may be between you to justify the
interposition of his authority," replied Chetham; "neither did I tarry
to inquire. But presuming from what I heard, that he _would_ attempt to
exercise some control over you, I set out at once, and, without guide to
your retreat, or the slightest knowledge of it, was fortunate enough, on
the very night of my arrival in London, to chance upon Guy Fawkes, who
directed me to you."

"I am aware of it," was the chilling answer.

"I will not avouch," pursued Chetham, passionately, "that I have not
been actuated as much by an irrepressible desire to see you again, as by
anxiety to apprise you of Doctor Dee's coming. I wanted only a slight
excuse to myself to induce me to yield to my inclinations. Your
departure made me wretched. I thought I had more control over myself.
But I find I cannot live without you."

"Alas! alas!" cried Viviana, in a troubled tone, and losing all her
self-command. "I expected this. Why--why did you come?"

"I have told you my motive," replied Chetham; "but, oh! do not reproach
me!"

"I do not desire to do so," returned Viviana, with a look of agony. "I
bitterly reproach myself that I cannot meet you as of old. But I would
rather--far rather have encountered Doctor Dee, had he come hither
resolved to exert all his magical power to force me away, than have met
you."

"Have I unwittingly offended you, Viviana?" asked Chetham, in
astonishment.

"Oh! no--no--no!" she replied, "you have not offended me; but----"

"But what?" he cried, anxiously.

"I would rather have died than see you," she answered.

"I will not inquire wherefore," rejoined Chetham, "because I too well
divine the cause. I am no longer what I was to you."

"Press this matter no further, I pray of you," returned Viviana, in much
confusion, and blushing deeply. "I shall ever esteem you,--ever feel the
warmest gratitude to you. And what matters it whether my heart is
estranged from you or not, since I can never wed you?"

"What matters it?" repeated the young merchant, in accents of
despair,--"it matters much. Drowning love will cling to straws. The
thought that I was beloved by you, though I could never hope to possess
your hand, reconciled me in some degree to my fate. But now," he added,
covering his face with his hands,--"now, my heart is crushed."

"Nay, say not so," cried Viviana, in a voice of the deepest emotion. "I
_do_ love you,--as a sister."

"That is small comfort," rejoined Chetham, bitterly. "I echo your own
wish. Would we had never met again! I might, at least, have deluded
myself into the belief that you loved me."

"It would have been better so," she returned. "I would inflict pain on
no one--far less on you, whom I regard so much, and to whom I owe so
much."

"You owe me nothing, Viviana," rejoined Chetham. "All I desired was to
serve you. In the midst of the dangers we have shared together, I felt
no alarm except for your sake. I have done nothing--nothing. Would I had
died for you!"

"Calm yourself, sir, I entreat you," she returned.

"You did love me _once_?" demanded Chetham, suddenly.

"I thought so," she answered.

The young merchant uttered an exclamation of anguish, and a mournful
pause ensued, broken only by his groans.

"Answer me, Viviana," he said, turning abruptly upon her,--"answer me,
and, in mercy, answer truly,--do you love another?"

"It is a question I cannot answer," she replied, becoming ashy pale.

"Your looks speak for you!" he vociferated, in a terrible tone,--"you
do! His name?--his name?--that I may wreak my vengeance upon him."

"Your violence terrifies me," returned Viviana, withdrawing the hand he
had seized. "I must put an end to this interview."

"Pardon me, Viviana!" cried Chetham, falling on his knees before
her--"in pity pardon me! I am not myself. I shall be calmer presently.
But if you knew the anguish of the wound you have inflicted, you would
not add to it."

"Heaven knows I would not!" she returned, motioning him to rise. "And,
if it will lighten your suffering, know that the love I feel for
another--if love, indeed, it be,--is as hopeless as your own. But it is
not a love of which even _you_ could be jealous. It is a higher and a
holier passion. It is affection mixed with admiration, and purified from
all its grossness. It is more, perhaps, than the love of a daughter for
her father--but it is nothing more. I shall never wed him I love--could
not if I would. Nay, I would shun him, if I did not feel that the hour
will soon come when the extent of my affection must be proved."

"This is strange sophistry," returned Chetham; "and you may deceive
yourself by it, but you cannot deceive me. You love as all ardent
natures do love. But in what way do you mean to prove your affection?"

"Perhaps, by the sacrifice of my life," she answered.

"I can tell you who is the object of your affections!" said Chetham. "It
is Guy Fawkes."

"I will not deny it," replied Viviana; "he is."

"Hear me, then," exclaimed Chetham, who appeared inexpressibly relieved
by the discovery he had made; "in my passage across the river with him
last night, our conversation turned on the one subject ever nearest my
heart, yourself,--and Guy Fawkes not only bade me not despair, but
promised to aid my suit."

"And he kept his word," replied Viviana, "for, while announcing your
proposed visit, he urged me strongly in your behalf."

"Then he knows not of your love for him?" demanded Chetham.

"He not only knows it not, but never shall know it from me,--nor must he
know it from you, sir," rejoined Viviana, energetically.

"Fear it not," said Chetham, sighing. "It is a secret I shall carefully
preserve."

"And now that you are in possession of it," she answered, "I no longer
feel your presence as a restraint. Let me still regard you as a friend."

"Be it so," replied Humphrey Chetham, mournfully; "and _as_ a friend let
me entreat you to quit this place, and abandon your present associates.
I will not seek to turn your heart from Fawkes--nor will I try to regain
the love I have lost. But let me implore you to pause ere you
irretrievably mix yourself up with the fortunes of one so desperate. I
am too well aware that he is engaged in a fearful plot against the
State,--though I know not its precise nature."

"You will not betray him?" she cried.

"I will not, though he is my rival," returned Chetham. "But others
may--nay, perhaps have done so already."

"Whom do you suspect?" demanded Viviana, in the greatest alarm.

"I fear Doctor Dee," replied the young merchant; "but I know nothing
certainly. My servant, Martin Heydocke, who is in the Doctor's
confidence, intimated as much to me, and I have reason to think that his
journey to town, under the pretext of searching for you, is undertaken
for the purpose of tracing out the conspirators, and delivering them to
the Government."

"Is he arrived in London?" inquired Viviana, eagerly.

"I should think not," returned Chetham. "I passed him, four days ago, on
this side Leicester, in company with Kelley and Topcliffe."

"If the wretch Topcliffe was with him, your conjectures are too well
founded," she replied. "I must warn Guy Fawkes instantly of his danger."

"Command my services in any way," said Chetham.

"I know not what to do," cried Viviana, after a pause, during which she
betrayed the greatest agitation. "I dare not seek him out;--and yet, if
I do not, he may fall into the hands of the enemy. I must see him at all
hazards."

"Suffer me to go with you," implored Chetham. "You may rely upon my
secrecy. And now I have a double motive for desiring to preserve
Fawkes."

"You are, indeed, truly noble-hearted and generous," replied Viviana;
"and I would fully confide in you. But, if you were to be seen by the
others, you would be certainly put to death. Not even Fawkes could save
you."

"I will risk it, if you desire it, and it will save _him_," replied the
young merchant, devotedly. "Nay, I will go alone."

"That were to insure your destruction," she answered. "No--no--it must
not be. I will consult with Father Oldcorne."

With this, she hurried out of the room, and returned in a short time
with the priest.

"Father Oldcorne is of opinion that our friends must be apprised of
their danger," she said. "And he thinks it needful we should both go to
their retreat, that no hindrance may be offered to our flight, in case
such a measure should be resolved upon."

"You cannot accompany us, my son," added Oldcorne; "for though I am as
fully assured of your fidelity as Viviana, and would confide my life to
you, there are those who will not so trust you, and who might rejoice in
the opportunity of removing you."

"Viviana!" exclaimed Chetham, looking entreatingly at her.

"For my sake,--if not for your own,--do not urge this further," she
returned. "There are already dangers and difficulties enow without
adding to them. You would be safer amid a horde of robbers than amidst
these men."

"And it is to such persons you commit yourself?" cried Chetham,
reproachfully. "Oh! be warned by me, ere it is too late! Abandon them!"

"It is too late, already," replied Viviana. "The die is cast."

"Then I can only lament it," returned Chetham, sadly. "Suffer me, at
least, to accompany you to some place near their retreat, that you may
summon me in case of need."

"There can be no objection to that, Viviana," observed Oldcorne;
"provided Humphrey Chetham will promise not to follow us."

"Readily," replied the young merchant.

"I am unwilling to expose him to further risk on my account," said
Viviana. "But be it as you will."

It was then agreed, that they should not set out till nightfall, but
proceed, as soon as it grew dark, to Lambeth, where Humphrey Chetham
undertook to procure a boat for their conveyance across the river.

The hour of departure at length arrived. Viviana, who had withdrawn to
her own room, appeared in her travelling habit, and was about to set
forth with her companions, when they were all startled by a sudden and
loud knocking at the door.

"We are discovered," she cried. "Doctor Dee has found out our retreat."

"Fear nothing," rejoined Chetham, drawing his sword, while his example
was imitated by Martin Heydocke; "they shall not capture you while I
live."

As he spoke, the knocking was repeated, and the door shaken so violently
as to threaten to burst its fastenings.

"Extinguish the light," whispered Chetham, "and let Father Oldcorne
conceal himself. We have nothing to fear."

"Where shall I fly?" cried Oldcorne despairingly. "It will be impossible
to raise the flag, and seek refuge in the vault."

"Fly to my room," cried Viviana. And finding he stood irresolute, as if
paralysed with terror, she took his arm, and dragged him away. The next
moment the door was burst open with a loud crash, and several armed men,
with their swords drawn, followed by Topcliffe, and another middle-aged
man, of slight stature, and rather under-sized, but richly dressed, and
bearing all the marks of exalted rank, rushed into the room.

"You are my prisoner!" cried Topcliffe, rushing up to Chetham, who had
planted himself, with Martin Heydocke, at the foot of the stairs. "I
arrest you in the King's name!"

"You are mistaken in your man, sir," cried Chetham, fiercely. "I have
committed no offence. Lay a hand upon me, at your peril!"

"How is this?" cried Topcliffe. "Humphrey Chetham here!"

"Ay," returned the young merchant; "you have fallen upon the wrong
house."

"Not so, sir," replied Topcliffe. "I am satisfied from your presence
that I am right. Where _you_ are, Viviana Radcliffe is not far off.
Throw down your arms. You can offer no resistance to my force, and your
zeal will not benefit your friends, while it will place your own safety
in jeopardy."

But Chetham fiercely refused compliance, and after a few minutes'
further parley, the soldiers were about to attack him, when Viviana
opened a door above, and slowly descended the stairs. At her appearance
the young merchant, seeing that further resistance would be useless,
sheathed his sword, and she passed between him and Heydocke, and
advanced towards the leaders of the band.

"What means this intrusion?" she asked.

"We are come in search of two Jesuit priests, whom we have obtained
information are hidden here," replied Topcliffe;--"as well as of certain
other Papists, disaffected against the State, for whose apprehension I
hold a warrant."

"You are welcome to search the house," replied Viviana. "But there is no
one within it except those you see."

As she said this, Chetham, who gazed earnestly at her, caught her eye,
and from a scarcely-perceptible glance, felt certain that the priest,
through her agency, had effected his escape. But the soldiers had not
waited for her permission to make the search. Rushing up-stairs they
examined the different chambers,--there were two small rooms besides
that occupied by Viviana,--and found several of the priests'
habiliments; but though they examined every corner with the minutest
attention, sounded the walls, peered up the chimneys, underneath the
bed, and into every place, likely and unlikely, they could find no other
traces of those they sought, and were compelled to return to their
leader with tidings of their ill success. Topcliffe, with another party,
continued his scrutiny below, and discovering the moveable flag in the
hearth, descended into the vault, where he made certain of discovering
his prey. But no one was there; and, the powder and arms having been
removed, he gained nothing by his investigations.

Meanwhile, his companion,--and evidently from his garb, and the
deference paid him, though he was addressed by no title which could lead
to the absolute knowledge of his rank, his superior,--seated himself,
and put many questions in a courteous but authoritative tone to Viviana
respecting her residence in this solitary abode,--the names of her
companions,--where they were,--and upon what scheme they were engaged.
To none of these questions would she return an answer, and her
interrogator, at last, losing patience, said,

"I hold it my duty, to inform you that you will be carried before the
Council, and if you continue thus obstinate, means will be taken--and
those none of the gentlest--to extort the truth from you."

"You may apply the torture to me," replied Viviana, firmly; "but it will
wrest nothing from me."

"That remains to be seen," replied the other; "I only trust you will not
compel me to put my threat into execution."

At this moment Topcliffe emerged from the vault, and the soldiers
returned from their unsuccessful search above.

"They have escaped us now," remarked Topcliffe to his superior. "But I
will conceal a party of men on the premises, who will be certain to
capture them on their return."

Viviana uttered an exclamation of irrepressible uneasiness, which did
not escape her auditors.

"I am right, you see," observed Topcliffe, significantly, to his
companion.

"You are so," replied the other.

As this was said, Viviana hazarded a look at Humphrey Chetham, the
meaning of which he was not slow to comprehend. He saw that she wished
him to make an effort to escape, that he might warn her companions, and
regardless of the consequence, be prepared to obey her. While those
around were engaged in a last fruitless search, he whispered his
intentions to Martin Heydocke, and only awaited a favourable opportunity
to put them in execution. It occurred sooner than he expected. Before
quitting the premises, Topcliffe determined to visit the upper rooms
himself, and he took several of the men with him.

Chetham would have made an attempt to liberate Viviana, but, feeling
certain it would be unsuccessful, he preferred obeying her wishes to his
own inclinations. Topcliffe gone, he suddenly drew his sword,--for
neither he nor Heydocke had been disarmed,--and rushing towards the
door, struck down the man next it, and followed by his servant, passed
through it before he could be intercepted. They both then flew at a
swift pace towards the marshy fields, and, owing to the darkness and
unstable nature of the ground, speedily distanced their pursuers.

Hearing the disturbance below, and guessing its cause, Topcliffe
immediately descended. But he was too late; and though he joined in the
pursuit, he was baffled like his attendants. Half an hour afterwards, he
returned to the house with an angry and disappointed look.

"He has given us the slip," he observed to his superior, who appeared
exceedingly provoked by the young merchant's flight; "But we will soon
have him again."

After giving directions to his men how to conceal themselves, Topcliffe
informed his companions that he was ready to attend him. Viviana, who
had remained motionless and silent during the foregoing scene, was taken
out of the house, and conducted towards the creek, in which lay a large
wherry manned by four rowers. She was placed within it, and as soon as
his superior was seated, Topcliffe inquired--

"Where will your lordship go first?"

"To the Star-Chamber," was the answer.

At this reply, in spite of herself, Viviana could not repress a shudder.

"All is lost!" she mentally ejaculated.



CHAPTER VI.

THE CELLAR.


It was long before the conspirators gained sufficient courage to
recommence digging the mine. Whenever holy water was thrown upon the
stones, the mysterious bell ceased tolling, but it presently began anew,
and such was the appalling effect of the sound that it completely
paralysed the listeners. Prayers were said by Garnet; hymns sung by the
others; but all was of no avail. It continued to toll on with increased
solemnity, unless checked by the same potent application as before.

The effect became speedily manifest in the altered looks and demeanour
of the conspirators, and it was evident that if something was not done
to arouse them, the enterprise would be abandoned. Catesby, equally
superstitious with his confederates, but having nerves more firmly
strung, was the first to conquer his terror. Crossing himself, he
muttered a secret prayer, and, snatching up a pick-axe, entered the
cavity, and resumed his labour.

The noise of the heavy blows dealt by him against the wall drowned the
tolling of the bell. The charm was broken. And stimulated by his
conduct, the others followed his example, and though the awful tolling
continued at intervals during the whole of their operations, it offered
no further interruption to them.

Another and more serious cause of anxiety, however, arose. As the work
advanced, without being aware of it, they approached the bank of the
river, and the water began to ooze through the sides of the
excavation,--at first, slightly, but by degrees to such an extent as to
convince them that their labour would be entirely thrown away. Large
portions of the clay, loosened by the damp, fell in upon them, nearly
burying those nearest the tumbling mass; and the floor was now in some
places more than a foot deep in water, clearly proving it would be
utterly impossible to keep the powder fit for use in such a spot.

Catesby bore these untoward circumstances with ill-concealed
mortification. For a time, he struggled against them; and though he felt
that it was hopeless, worked on like a desperate military leader
conducting a forlorn hope to certain destruction. At length, however,
the water began to make such incursions that he could no longer disguise
from himself or his companions that they were contending against
insurmountable difficulties, and that to proceed further would be
madness. He, therefore, with a heavy heart, desisted, and throwing down
his pick-axe, said it was clear that Heaven did not approve their
design, and that it must be relinquished.

"We ought to have been warned by that doleful bell," he observed in
conclusion. "I now perceive its meaning. And as I was the first to act
in direct opposition to the declared will of the Supreme Being, so now I
am the first to admit my error."

"I cannot account for that dread and mysterious sound, my son," replied
Garnet, "and can only attribute it, as you do, to Divine interference.
But whether it was intended as a warning or a guidance, I confess I am
unable to say."

"Can you longer doubt, father," returned Catesby, bitterly, "when you
look at yon excavation? It took us more than a week's incessant labour
to get through the first wall; and our toil was no sooner lightened than
these fatal consequences ensued. If we proceed, we shall drown
ourselves, instead of blowing up our foes. And even if we should escape,
were the powder stowed for one day in that damp place, it would never
explode. We have failed, and must take measures accordingly."

"I entirely concur with you, my son," replied Garnet; "we must abandon
our present plan. But do not let us be disheartened. Perhaps at this
very moment Heaven is preparing for us a victory by some unlooked-for
means."

"It may be so," replied Catesby, with a look of incredulity.

As he spoke, an extraordinary noise, like a shower of falling stones,
was heard overhead. And coupling the sound with their fears of the
encroachment of the damp, the conspirators glanced at each other in
dismay, thinking the building was falling in upon them.

"All blessed saints protect us!" cried Garnet, as the sound ceased.
"What was that?"

But no one was able to account for it, and each regarded his neighbour
with apprehension. After a short interval of silence, the sound was
heard again. There was then another pause--and again the same rushing
and inexplicable noise.

"What can it be?" cried Catesby. "I am so enfeebled by this underground
life, that trifles alarm me. Are our enemies pulling down the structure
over our heads?--or are they earthing us up like vermin?" he added to
Fawkes. "What is it?"

"I will go and see," replied the other.

"Do not expose yourself, my son," cried Garnet. "Let us abide the result
here."

"No, father," replied Fawkes. "Having failed in our scheme, what befals
me is of little consequence. I will go. If I return not, you will
understand what has happened."

Pausing for a moment to receive Garnet's benediction, he then strode
away.

Half an hour elapsed before Fawkes returned, and the interval appeared
thrice its duration in the eyes of the conspirators. When he
re-appeared, a smile sat upon his countenance, and his looks instantly
dispelled the alarm that had been previously felt.

"You bring us good news, my son?" cried Garnet.

"Excellent, father," replied Fawkes: "and you were right in saying that
at the very moment we were indulging in misgiving, Heaven was preparing
for us a victory by unforeseen and mysterious means."

Garnet raised his hands gratefully and reverentially upwards. And the
other conspirators crowded round Fawkes to listen to his relation.

"The noise we heard," he said, "arose from a very simple
circumstance,--and when you hear it, you will smile at your fears. But
you will not smile at the result to which it has led. Exactly overhead,
it appears, a cellar is situated, belonging to a person named Bright,
and the sound was occasioned by the removal of his coals, which he had
been selling off."

"Is that all?" cried Catesby. "We are indeed grown childish, to be
alarmed by such a cause."

"It appears slight now it is explained," observed Keyes, gravely; "but
how were we to know whence it arose?"

"True," returned Fawkes; "and I will now show you how the hand of Heaven
has been manifested in the matter. The noise which led me to this
investigation, and which I regard as a signal from on high, brought me
to a cellar I had never seen before, and knew not existed. _That cellar
lies immediately beneath the House of Lords._"

"Ah! I see!" exclaimed Catesby. "You think it would form a good
depository for the powder."

"If it had been built for the express purpose, it could not be better,"
returned Fawkes. "It is commodious and dry, and in an out-of-the-way
place, as you may judge, when we ourselves have never hitherto noticed
it."

"But what is all this to us, if we cannot use it?" returned Catesby.

"We _can_ use it," replied Fawkes. "It is ours."

There was a general exclamation of surprise.

"Finding, on inquiry, that Bright was about to quit the neighbourhood,"
continued Fawkes, "and did not require the place longer, I instantly
proposed to take it from him, and to create no suspicion, engaged it in
Percy's name, stating that he wanted it for his own fuel."

"You have done admirably," cried Catesby, in a tone of exultation. "The
success of the enterprise will now be entirely owing to you."

"Not to me, but to the Providence that directed me," replied Fawkes,
solemnly.

"Right, my son," returned Garnet. "And let this teach us never to
despair again."

The next day, Percy having taken possession of the cellar, it was
carefully examined, and proved, as Fawkes had stated, admirably adapted
to their purpose. Their fears were now at an end, and they looked on the
success of their project as certain. The mysterious bell no longer
tolled, and their sole remaining task was to fill up the excavation so
far as to prevent any damage from the wet.

This was soon done, and their next step was to transport the powder
during the night to the cellar. Concealing the barrels as before with
faggots and coals, they gave the place the appearance of a mere
receptacle for lumber, by filling it with old hampers, boxes without
lids, broken bottles, stone jars, and other rubbish.

They now began to think of separating, and Fawkes expressed his
intention of returning that night to the house at Lambeth. No
intelligence had reached them of Viviana's captivity, and they supposed
her still an inmate of the miserable dwelling with Father Oldcorne.

Fawkes had often thought of her, and with uneasiness, during his
toilsome labours; but they had so much engrossed him that her image was
banished almost as soon as it arose. Now that grand obstacle was
surmounted, and nothing was wanting, however, except a favourable moment
to strike the blow, he began to feel the greatest anxiety respecting
her.

Still, he thought it prudent to postpone his return to a late hour, and
it was not until near midnight that he and Catesby ventured to their
boat. As he was about to descend the steps, he heard his name pronounced
by some one at a little distance; and the next moment, a man, whom he
immediately recognised as Humphrey Chetham, rushed up to him.

"You here again!" cried Fawkes, angrily, and not unsuspiciously. "Do you
play the spy upon me?"

"I have watched for you for the last ten nights," replied Chetham
hastily. "I knew not where you were. But I found your boat here, and I
hoped you would not cross the water in any other."

"Why all this care?" demanded Fawkes. "Has aught happened?--Is Viviana
safe?--Speak, man! do not keep me longer in suspense!"

"Alas!" rejoined Chetham, "she is a prisoner."

[Illustration: _Guy Fawkes laying the train_]

"A prisoner!" ejaculated Fawkes, in a hollow voice. "Then my forebodings
were not without cause."

"How has this happened?" cried Catesby, who had listened to what was
said in silent wonder.

Chetham then hastily related all that had taken place.

"I know not what has become of her," he said, in conclusion; "but I have
heard that she was taken to the Star-Chamber by the Earl of
Salisbury,--for he, it appears, was the companion of Topcliffe,--and,
refusing to answer the interrogations of the Council, was conveyed to
the Tower, and, I fear, subjected to the torture."

"Tortured!" exclaimed Fawkes, horror-stricken; "Viviana tortured! And I
have brought her to this! Oh, God! Oh, God!"

"It is indeed an agonizing reflection," replied Humphrey Chetham, in a
sombre tone, "and enough to drive you to despair. Her last wishes,
expressed only in looks, for she did not dare to give utterance to them,
were that I should warn you not to approach the house at Lambeth, your
enemies being concealed within it. I have now fulfilled them. Farewell!"

And he turned to depart.

"Stay!" cried Catesby, arresting him. "Where is Father Oldcorne?"

"I know not," replied Humphrey Chetham. "As I have told you, Viviana by
some means contrived his escape. I have seen nothing of him."

And, hurrying away, he was lost beneath the shadow of the wall.

"Is this a troubled dream, or dread reality?" cried Fawkes to Catesby.

"I fear it is too true," returned the other, in a voice of much emotion.
"Poor Viviana!"

"Something must be done to set her free," cried Fawkes. "I will purchase
her liberty by delivering up myself."

"Your oath--remember your oath!" rejoined Catesby. "You may destroy
yourself, but not your associates."

"True--true," replied Fawkes, distractedly,--"I _do_ remember it. I am
sold to perdition."

"Anger not Heaven by these idle lamentations,--and at a time, too, when
all is so prosperous," rejoined Catesby.

"What!" cried Fawkes, fiercely, "would you have me calm, when she who
called me father, and was dear to me as a child, is taken from me by
these remorseless butchers,--subjected to their terrible
examinations,--plunged in a dismal dungeon,--and stretched upon the
rack,--and all for me--for me! I shall go mad if I think upon it!"

"You must _not_ think upon it," returned Catesby,--"at least, not here.
We shall be observed. Let us return to the house; and perhaps--though I
scarcely dare indulge the hope--some plan may be devised for her
liberation."

With this, he dragged Fawkes, who was almost frenzied with anguish,
forcibly along, and they returned to the house.

Nothing more was said that night. Catesby judged it prudent to let the
first violence of his friend's emotion expend itself before he attempted
to soothe him; and when he communicated the sad event to Garnet, the
latter strongly approved the plan. Garnet was greatly distressed at the
intelligence, and his affliction was shared by the other conspirators.
No fears were entertained by any of them that Viviana would reveal aught
of the plot, but this circumstance only added to their regrets.

"I will stake my life for her constancy," said Catesby.

"And so will I," returned Garnet. "She will die a martyr for us."

He then proposed that they should pray for her deliverance. And all
instantly assenting, they knelt down, while Garnet poured forth the most
earnest supplications to the Virgin in her behalf.

The next morning, Guy Fawkes set forth, and ascertained that Humphrey
Chetham's statement was correct, and that Viviana was indeed a prisoner
in the Tower. He repaired thither, and tried to ascertain in what part
of the fortress she was confined, in the hope of gaining admittance to
her. But as he could obtain no information and his inquiries excited
suspicion, he was compelled to return without accomplishing his object.

Crossing Tower Hill on his way back, he turned to glance at the stern
pile he had just quitted, and which was fraught with the most fearful
interest to him, when he perceived Chetham issue from the Bulwark Gate.
He would have made up to him; but the young merchant, who had evidently
seen him, though he looked sedulously another way, set off in the
direction of the river, and was quickly lost to view. Filled with the
gloomiest thoughts, Guy Fawkes proceeded to Westminster, where he
arrived without further adventure of any kind.

In the latter part of the same day, as the conspirators were conferring
together, they were alarmed by a knocking at the outer gate; and sending
Bates to reconnoitre, he instantly returned with the intelligence that
it was Lord Mounteagle. At the mention of this name, Tresham, who was
one of the party, turned pale as death, and trembled so violently that
he could scarcely support himself. Having been allowed to go forth on
that day, the visit of Lord Mounteagle at this juncture, coupled with
the agitation it occasioned him, seemed to proclaim him guilty of
treachery for the second time.

"You have betrayed us, villain!" cried Catesby, drawing his dagger; "but
you shall not escape. I will poniard you on the spot."

"As you hope for mercy, do not strike!" cried Tresham. "On my soul, I
have not seen Lord Mounteagle, and know not, any more than yourselves,
what brings him hither. Put it to the proof. Let him come in. Conceal
yourselves, and you will hear what passes between us."

"Let it be so," interposed Fawkes. "I will step within this closet, the
door of which shall remain ajar. From it I can watch him without being
observed, and if aught occurs to confirm our suspicions, he dies."

"Bates shall station himself in the passage, and stab him if he attempts
to fly," added Catesby. "Your sword, sir."

"It is here," replied Tresham, delivering it to Catesby, who handed it
to Bates. "Are you satisfied?"

"Is Lord Mounteagle alone?" inquired Catesby, without noticing the
question.

"He appears to be so," replied Bates.

"Admit him, then," rejoined Catesby.

Entering the closet with Keyes, he was followed by Fawkes, who drew his
dagger, and kept the door slightly ajar, while Garnet and the rest
retired to other hiding-places. A few moments afterwards, Bates returned
with Lord Mounteagle, and, having ushered him into the room, took his
station in the passage, as directed by Catesby. The room was very dark,
the shutters being closed, and light only finding its way through the
chinks in them; and it appeared totally so to Lord Mounteagle, who,
groping his way, stumbled forward, and exclaimed in accents of some
alarm,

"Where am I? Where is Mr. Tresham?"

"I am here," replied Tresham, advancing towards him. "How did your
lordship find me out?" he added, after the customary salutations were
exchanged.

"My servant saw you enter this house," replied Mounteagle, "and, knowing
I was anxious to see you, waited for some hours without, in the
expectation of your coming forth. But as this did not occur, he
mentioned the circumstance to me on his return, and I immediately came
in quest of you. When I knocked at the gate, I scarcely knew what to
think of the place, and began to fear you must have fallen into the
hands of cut-throats; and, now that I have gained admittance, my
wonder--and I may add my uneasiness--is not diminished. Why do you hide
yourself in this wretched place?"

"Be seated," replied Tresham, placing a chair for Lord Mounteagle, with
his back to the closet, while he took one opposite him, and near a
table, on which some papers were laid. "Your lordship may remember," he
continued, scarcely knowing what answer to make to the question, "that I
wrote to you some time ago, to say that a conspiracy was hatching among
certain of our party against the State."

"I have reason to remember it," replied Mounteagle. "The letter was laid
before the Earl of Salisbury, and inquiries instituted in consequence.
But, owing to your disappearance, nothing could be elicited. What plot
had you discovered?"

At this moment, Tresham, who kept his eye fixed on the closet, perceived
the door noiselessly open, and behind it the figure of Guy Fawkes, with
the dagger in his hand.

"I was misinformed as to the nature of the plot," he stammered.

"Was it against the King's life?" demanded Mounteagle.

"No," rejoined Tresham; "as far as I could learn, it was an
insurrection."

"Indeed!" exclaimed Mounteagle, sceptically. "My information, then,
differed from yours. Who were the parties you suspected?"

"As I _wrongfully_ suspected them," replied Tresham, evasively, "your
lordship must excuse my naming them."

"Was Catesby--or Winter--or Wright--or Rookwood--or Sir Everard Digby
concerned in it?" demanded Mounteagle.

"Not one of them," asseverated Tresham.

"They are the persons _I_ suspect," replied Mounteagle; "and they are
suspected by the Earl of Salisbury. But you have not told me what you
are doing in this strange habitation. Are you ferreting out a plot, or
contriving one?"

"Both," replied Tresham.

"How?" cried Mounteagle.

"I am plotting for myself, and counterplotting the designs of others,"
replied Tresham, mysteriously.

"Is this place, then, the rendezvous of a band of conspirators?" asked
Mounteagle, uneasily.

Tresham nodded in the affirmative.

"Who are they?" continued Mounteagle. "There is no need of concealment
with me."

As this was said, Tresham raised his eyes, and saw that Guy Fawkes had
stepped silently forward, and placed himself behind Mounteagle's chair.
His hand grasped his dagger, and his gaze never moved from the object of
his suspicion.

"Who are they?" repeated Mounteagle. "Is Guy Fawkes one of them?"

"Assuredly not," replied Tresham. "Why should you name him? I never
mentioned him to your lordship."

"I think you did," replied Mounteagle. "But I am certain you spoke of
Catesby."

And Tresham's regards involuntarily wandered to the closet, when he
beheld the stern glance of the person alluded to fixed upon him.

"You have heard of Viviana Radcliffe's imprisonment, I suppose?" pursued
Mounteagle, unconscious of what was passing.

[Illustration: _Guy Fawkes keeping watch upon Tresham and Lord
Mounteagle._]

[Illustration: _Viviana examined by the Earl of Salisbury, and the Privy
Council in the Star Chamber_]

"I have," replied Tresham.

"The Earl of Salisbury expected he would be able to wring all from her,
but he has failed," observed Mounteagle.

"I am glad of it," observed Tresham.

"I thought you were disposed to serve him?" remarked Mounteagle.

"So I am," replied Tresham. "But, if secrets are to be revealed, I had
rather be the bearer of them than any one else. I am sorry for Viviana."

"I could procure her liberation, if I chose," observed Mounteagle.

"Say you so?" cried Fawkes, clapping him on the shoulder; "then you stir
not hence till you have procured it!"



CHAPTER VII.

THE STAR-CHAMBER.


Viviana, as has already been intimated, after her capture at the house
at Lambeth, was conveyed to the Star-Chamber. Here she was detained
until a late hour on the following day, when she underwent a long and
rigorous examination by certain members of the Privy Council, who were
summoned for that purpose by the Earl of Salisbury. Throughout this
arduous trial she maintained the utmost composure, and never for a
single moment lost her firmness. On all occasions, her matchless beauty
and dignity produced the strongest impression on the beholders; but on
no occasion had they ever produced so strong an effect as the present.
Her features were totally destitute of bloom, but their very paleness,
contrasted as it was with her large dark eyes, which blazed with
unwonted brilliancy, as well as with her jet-black hair, so far from
detracting from her loveliness, appeared to add to it.

As she was brought before the Council, who were seated round a table,
and remained standing at a short distance from them, guarded by
Topcliffe and two halberdiers, a murmur of admiration pervaded the
group,--nor was this feeling lessened as the examination proceeded.
Once, when the Earl of Salisbury adverted to the unworthy position in
which she, the daughter of the proud and loyal Sir William Radcliffe,
had placed herself, a shade passed over her brow, and a slight
convulsion agitated her frame. But the next moment she recovered
herself, and said,

"However circumstances may appear against me, and whatever opinion your
lordships may entertain of my conduct, the King has not a more loyal
subject than myself, nor have any of you made greater efforts to avert
the danger by which he is threatened."

"Then you admit that his Majesty is in danger?" cried the Earl of
Salisbury, eagerly.

"I admit nothing," replied Viviana. "But I affirm that I am his true and
loyal subject."

"You cannot expect us to believe your assertion," replied the Earl;
"unless you approve it by declaring all you know touching this
conspiracy."

"I have already told you, my lord," she returned, "that my lips are
sealed on that subject."

"You disclaim, then, all knowledge of a plot against the King's life,
and against his government?" pursued Salisbury.

Viviana shook her head.

"You refuse to give up the names of your companions, or to reveal their
intentions?" continued the Earl.

"I do," she answered, firmly.

"Your obstinacy will not save them," rejoined the Earl, in a severe
tone, and after a brief pause. "Their names and their atrocious designs
are known to us."

"If such be the case," replied Viviana, "why interrogate me on the
subject?"

"Because--but it is needless to give a reason for the course which
justice requires me to pursue," returned the Earl. "You are implicated
in this plot, and nothing can save you from condign punishment but a
frank and full confession.

"Nothing _can_ save me then, my lord," replied Viviana; "but Heaven
knows I shall perish unjustly."

A consultation was then held by the lords of the council, who whispered
together for a few minutes. Viviana regarded them anxiously, but
suffered no expression of uneasiness to escape her. As they again turned
towards her, she saw from their looks, some of which exhibited great
commiseration for her, that they had come to a decision (she could not
doubt what) respecting her fate. Her heart stopped beating, and she
could scarcely support herself. Such, however, was the control she
exercised over herself that, though filled with terror, her demeanour
remained unaltered. She was not long kept in suspense. Fixing his
searching gaze upon her, the Earl of Salisbury observed in a severe
tone,

"Viviana Radcliffe, I ask you for the last time whether you will avow
the truth?"

No answer was returned.

"I will not disguise from you," continued the Earl, "that your youth,
your beauty, your constancy, and, above all, your apparent innocence,
have deeply interested me, as well as the other noble persons here
assembled to interrogate you, and who would willingly save you from the
sufferings you will necessarily undergo, from a mistaken fidelity to
the heinous traitors with whom you are so unhappily leagued. I would
give you time to reflect did I think the delay would answer any good
purpose. I would remind you that no oath of secresy, however solemn, can
be binding in an unrighteous cause. I would tell you that your first
duty is to your prince and governor, and that it is as great a crime, as
unpardonable in the eyes of God as of man, to withhold the revelation of
a conspiracy against the State, should it come to your knowledge, as to
conspire against it yourself. I would lay all this before you. I would
show you the magnitude of your offence, the danger in which you stand,
and the utter impossibility of screening your companions, who, ere long,
will be confronted with you,--did I think it would avail. But, as you
continue obstinate, justice must take its course."

"I am prepared for the worst, my lord," replied Viviana, humbly. "I
thank your lordship for your consideration: but I take you all to
witness that I profess the utmost loyalty and devotion for my sovereign,
and that, whatever may be my fate, those feelings will remain unchanged
to the last."

"Your manner and your words are so sincere, that, were not your conduct
at variance with them, they might convince us," returned the Earl. "As
it is, even if we could credit your innocence, we are bound to act as if
you were guilty. You will be committed to the Tower till his Majesty's
pleasure is known. And I grieve to add, if you still continue obstinate,
the severest measures will be resorted to, to extract the truth from
you."

As he concluded, he attached his signature to a warrant which was lying
on the table before him, and traced a few lines to Sir William Waad,
lieutenant of the Tower.

This done, he handed the papers to Topcliffe, and waving his hand,
Viviana was removed to the chamber in which she had been previously
confined, and where she was detained under a strict guard, until
Topcliffe, who had left her, returned to say that all was in readiness,
and bidding her follow him, led the way to the river-side, where a
wherry, manned by six rowers, was waiting for them.

The night was profoundly dark, and, as none of the guard carried
torches, their course was steered in perfect obscurity. But the rowers
were too familiar with the river to require the guidance of light.
Shooting the bridge in safety, and pausing only for a moment to give the
signal of their approach to the sentinels on the ramparts, they passed
swiftly under the low-browed arch of Traitor's Gate.



CHAPTER VIII.

THE JAILER'S DAUGHTER.


As Viviana set foot on those fatal stairs, which so many have trod, and
none without feeling that they took their first step towards the
scaffold, she involuntarily shrank backward. But it was now too late to
retreat; and she surrendered her hand to Topcliffe, who assisted her up
the steps. Half-a-dozen men-at-arms, with a like number of warders
bearing torches, were present; and as it was necessary that Topcliffe
should deliver his warrant into Sir William Waad's own hands, he
committed his prisoner to the warders, with instructions to them to take
her to the guard-room near the By-ward Tower, while he proceeded to the
lieutenant's lodgings.

It was the first time Viviana had beheld the terrible pile in which she
was immured, though she was well acquainted with its history, and with
the persecutions which many of the professors of her faith had endured
within it during the recent reign of Elizabeth; and as the light of the
torches flashed upon the grey walls of the Bloody Tower, and upon the
adjoining ramparts, all the dreadful tales she had heard rushed to her
recollection. But having recovered the first shock, the succeeding
impressions were powerless in comparison, and she accompanied the
warders to the guard-room without expressing any outward emotion. Here a
seat was offered her, and as the men considerately withdrew, she was
able to pursue her reflections unmolested. They were sad enough, and it
required all her firmness to support her.

When considering what was likely to befal her in consequence of her
adherence to the fortunes of Fawkes and his companions, she had often
pictured some dreadful situation like the present, but the reality far
exceeded her worst anticipations. She had deemed herself equal to any
emergency, but as she thought upon the dark menaces of the Earl of
Salisbury, she felt it would require greater fortitude than she had
hitherto displayed to bear her through her trial. Nor were her
meditations entirely confined to herself. While trembling for the
perilous situation of Guy Fawkes, she reproached herself that she could
not requite even in thought the passionate devotion of Humphrey Chetham.

"What matters it now," she thought, "that I cannot love him? I shall
soon be nothing to him, or to any one. And yet I feel I have done him
wrong, and that I should be happier if I _could_ requite his attachment.
But the die is cast. It is too late to repent, or to retreat. My heart
acquits me of having been influenced by any unworthy motive, and I will
strive to endure the keenest pang without a murmur."

Shortly after this, Topcliffe returned with Sir William Waad. On their
entrance, Viviana arose, and the lieutenant eyed her with some
curiosity. He was a middle-aged man, tall, stoutly-built, and having
harsh features, stamped with an expression of mingled cunning and
ferocity. His eyes had a fierce and bloodthirsty look, and were
overshadowed by thick and scowling brows. Saluting the captive with
affected courtesy, he observed,

"So you refuse to answer the interrogations of the Privy Council, madam,
I understand. I am not sorry for it, because I would have the merit of
wringing the truth from you. Those who have been most stubborn outside
these walls, have been the most yielding within them."

"That will not be my case," replied Viviana, coldly.

"We shall see," returned the lieutenant, with a significant glance at
Topcliffe.

Ordering her to follow him, he then proceeded along the ward in the
direction of the Bloody Tower, and passing beneath its arched gateway,
ascended the steps on the left, and led her to his lodgings. Entering
the habitation, he mounted to the upper story, and tracking a long
gallery, brought her to a small circular chamber in the Bell Tower. Its
sole furniture were a chair, a table, and a couch.

"Here you will remain for the present," observed the lieutenant, smiling
grimly, and placing a lamp on the table. "It will depend upon yourself
whether your accommodations are better hereafter."

With this, he quitted the cell with his attendants, and barred the door
outside.

Left alone, Viviana, who had hitherto restrained her anguish, suffered
it to find vent in tears. Never had she felt so utterly forlorn and
desolate. All before her was threatening and terrible, full of dangers,
real and imaginary; nor could she look back upon her past career without
something like remorse.

"Oh, that Heaven would take me to itself!" she murmured, clasping her
hands in an agony of distress, "for I feel unequal to my trials. Oh,
that I had perished with my dear father! For what dreadful fate am I
reserved?--Torture,--I will bear it, if I _can_. But death by the hands
of the public executioner,--it is too horrible to think of! Is there no
way to escape _that_?"

As this hideous thought occurred to her, she uttered a loud and
prolonged scream, and fell senseless on the floor. When she recovered it
was daylight; and, weak and exhausted, she crept to the couch, and
throwing herself upon it, endeavoured to forget her misery in sleep.
But, as is usually the case with the afflicted, it fled her eyelids, and
she passed several hours in the severest mental torture, unrelieved by a
single cheering thought.

About the middle of the day, the door of the cell was opened by an old
woman with a morose and forbidding countenance, attended by a younger
female, who resembled her in all but the expression of her features (her
look was gentle and compassionate), and who appeared to be her daughter.

Without paying any attention to Viviana, the old woman took a small loaf
of bread and other provisions from a basket she had brought with her,
and placed them on the table. This done, she was about to depart, when
her daughter, who had glanced uneasily at the couch, observed in a
kindly tone,

"Shall we not inquire whether we can be of service to the poor young
lady, mother?"

"Why should we concern ourselves about her, Ruth?" returned the old
woman, sharply. "If she wants anything, she has a tongue, and can speak.
If she desires further comforts," she added, in a significant tone,
"they must be _paid_ for."

"I desire nothing but death," groaned Viviana.

"The poor soul is dying, I believe," cried Ruth, rushing to the couch.
"Have you no cordial-water about you, mother?"

"Truly have I," returned the old woman; "and I have other things
besides. But I must be paid for them."

As she spoke she drew from her pocket a small, square, Dutch-shaped
bottle.

"Give it me," cried Ruth, snatching it from her. "I am sure the young
lady will pay for it."

"You are very kind," said Viviana, faintly. "But I have no means of
doing so."

"I knew it," cried the old woman, fiercely. "I knew it. Give me back the
flask, Ruth. She shall not taste a drop. Do you not hear, she has no
money, wench? Give it me, I say."

"Nay, mother, for pity's sake," implored Ruth.

"Pity, forsooth!" exclaimed the old woman, derisively. "If I, and thy
father, Jasper Ipgreve, had any such feeling, it would be high time for
him to give up his post of jailer in the Tower of London. Pity for a
_poor_ prisoner! Thou a jailer's daughter, and talk so. I am ashamed of
thee, wench. But I thought this was a rich Catholic heiress, and had
powerful and wealthy friends."

"So she is," replied Ruth; "and though she may have no money with her
now, she can command any amount she pleases. I heard Master Topcliffe
tell young Nicholas Hardesty, the warder, so. She is the daughter of the
late Sir William Radcliffe, of Ordsall Hall, in Lancashire, and sole
heiress of his vast estates."

"Is this so, sweet lady?" inquired the old woman, stepping towards the
couch. "Are you truly Sir William Radcliffe's daughter?"

"I am," replied Viviana. "But I have said I require nothing from you.
Leave me."

"No--no, dear young lady," rejoined Dame Ipgreve, in a whining tone,
which was infinitely more disagreeable to Viviana than her previous
harshness, "I cannot leave you in this state. Raise her head, Ruth,
while I pour a few drops of the cordial down her throat."

"I will not taste it," replied Viviana, putting the flask aside.

"You would find it a sovereign restorative," replied Dame Ipgreve, with
a mortified look; "but as you please. I will not urge you against your
inclination. The provisions I have been obliged to bring you are too
coarse for a daintily-nurtured maiden like you,--but you shall have
others presently."

"It is needless," rejoined Viviana. "Pray leave me."

"Well, well, I am going," rejoined Dame Ipgreve, hesitating. "Do you
want to write to any one? I can find means of conveying a letter
secretly out of the Tower."

"Ah!" exclaimed Viviana, raising herself. "And yet no--no--I dare not
trust you."

"You may," replied the avaricious old woman,--"provided you pay me
well."

"I will think of it," returned Viviana. "But I have not strength to
write now."

"You must not give way thus,--indeed, you must not, dear lady," said
Ruth, in a voice of great kindness. "It will not be safe to leave you.
Suffer me to remain with you."

"Willingly," replied Viviana; "most willingly."

"Stay with her, then, child," said Dame Ipgreve. "I will go and prepare
a nourishing broth for her. Take heed and make a shrewd bargain with her
for thy attendance," she added in a hasty whisper, as she retired.

Greatly relieved by the old woman's departure, Viviana turned to Ruth,
and thanked her in the warmest terms for her kindness. A few minutes
sufficed to convert the sympathy which these two young persons evidently
felt towards each other into affectionate regard, and the jailer's
daughter assured Viviana, that so long as she should be detained, she
would devote herself to her.

By this time the old woman had returned with a mess of hot broth, which
she carried with an air of great mystery beneath her cloak. Viviana was
prevailed upon by the solicitations of Ruth to taste it, and found
herself much revived in consequence. Her slight meal ended, Dame Ipgreve
departed, with a promise to return in the evening with such viands as
she could manage to introduce unobserved, and with a flask of wine.

"You will need it, sweet lady, I fear," she said; "for my husband tells
me you are in peril of the torture. Oh! it is a sad thing, that such as
you should be so cruelly dealt with! But we will take all the care of
you we can. You will not forget to requite us. You must give me an order
on your steward, or on some rich Catholic friend. I am half a Papist
myself,--that is, I like one religion as well as the other,--and I like
those best, whatever their creed may be, who pay best. That is my maxim:
and it is the same with my husband. We do all we can to scrape together
a penny for our child."

"No more of this, good mother," interrupted Ruth. "It distresses the
lady! I will take care she wants nothing."

"Right, child, right," returned Dame Ipgreve;--"do not forget what I
told you," she added in a whisper.

And she quitted the cell.

Ruth remained with Viviana during the rest of the day, and it was a
great consolation to the latter to find that her companion was of the
same faith as herself,--having been converted by Father Poole, a Romish
priest who was confined in the Tower during the latter part of
Elizabeth's reign, and whose sufferings and constancy for his religion
had made a powerful impression on the jailer's daughter. As soon as
Viviana ascertained this, she made Ruth, so far as she thought prudent,
a confidante in her misfortunes, and after beguiling some hours in
conversation, they both knelt down and offered up fervent prayers to the
Virgin. Ruth then departed, promising to return in the evening with her
mother.

Soon after it became dark, Dame Ipgreve and her daughter reappeared, the
former carrying a lamp, and the latter a basket of provisions. Ruth's
countenance was so troubled, that Viviana was certain that some fresh
calamity was at hand.

"What is the matter?" she hastily demanded.

"Make your meal first, dear young lady," replied Dame Ipgreve. "Our news
might take away your appetite, and you will have to pay for your supper,
whether you eat it or not."

"You alarm me greatly," cried Viviana, anxiously. "What ill news do you
bring?"

"I will not keep you longer in suspense, madam," said Ruth. "You are to
be examined to-night by the lieutenant and certain members of the Privy
Council, and if you refuse to answer their questions, I lament to say
you will be put to the torture."

"Heaven give me strength to endure it!" ejaculated Viviana, in a
despairing tone.

"Eat, madam, eat," cried Dame Ipgreve, pressing the viands upon her.
"You will never be able to go through with the examination, if you
starve yourself in this way."

"Are you sure," inquired Viviana, appealing to Ruth, "that it will take
place so soon?"

"Quite sure," replied Ruth. "My father has orders to attend the
lieutenant at midnight."

"Let me advise you to conceal nothing," insinuated the old woman. "They
are determined to wring the truth from you,--and they _will_ do so."

"You are mistaken, good woman," replied Viviana, firmly. "I will die
before I utter a word."

"You think so now," returned Dame Ipgreve, maliciously. "But the sight
of the rack and the thumbscrews will alter your tone. At all events,
support nature."

"No," replied Viviana; "as I do not desire to live, I will use no effort
to sustain myself. They may kill me if they please."

"Misfortune has turned her brain," muttered the old woman. "I must take
care and secure my dues. Well, madam, if you will not eat the supper I
have provided, it cannot be helped. I must find some one who will. You
must pay for it all the same. My husband, Jasper Ipgreve, will be
present at your interrogation, and I am sure, for my sake, he will use
you as lightly as he can. Come, Ruth, you must not remain here longer."

"Oh, let her stay with me," implored Viviana. "I will make it well worth
your while to grant me the indulgence."

"What will you give?" cried the old woman, eagerly. "But no--no--I dare
not leave her. The lieutenant may visit you, and find her, and then I
should lose my place. Come along, Ruth. She shall attend you after the
interrogation, madam. I shall be there myself."

"Farewell, madam," sobbed Ruth, who was almost drowned in tears. "Heaven
grant you constancy to endure your trial!"

"Be ruled by me," said the old woman. "Speak out, and secure your own
safety."

She would have continued in the same strain, but Ruth dragged her away.
And casting a commiserating glance at Viviana, she closed the door.

The dreadful interval between their departure and midnight was passed by
Viviana in fervent prayer. As she heard through the barred embrasure of
her dungeon the deep strokes of the clock toll out the hour of twelve,
the door opened, and a tall, gaunt personage, habited in a suit of rusty
black, and with a large bunch of keys at his girdle, entered the cell.

"You are Jasper Ipgreve?" said Viviana, rising.

"Right," replied the jailer. "I am come to take you before the
lieutenant and the council. Are you ready?"

Viviana replied in the affirmative, and Ipgreve quitting the cell,
outside which two other officials in sable habiliments were stationed,
led the way down a short spiral staircase, which brought them to a
narrow vaulted passage. Pursuing it for some time, the jailer halted
before a strong door, cased with iron, and opening it, admitted the
captive into a square chamber, the roof of which was supported by a
heavy stone pillar, while its walls were garnished with implements of
torture. At a table on the left sat the lieutenant and three other
grave-looking personages. Across the lower end of the chamber a thick
black curtain was stretched, hiding a deep recess; and behind it, as was
evident from the glimmer that escaped from its folds, there was a
light. Certain indistinct, but ominous sounds, issuing from the recess,
proved that there were persons within it, and Viviana's quaking heart
told her what was the nature of their proceedings.

She had ample time to survey this dismal apartment and its occupants,
for several minutes elapsed before a word was addressed to her by her
interrogators, who continued to confer together in an under tone, as if
unconscious of her presence. During this pause, broken only by the
ominous sounds before mentioned, Viviana scanned the countenances of the
group at the table, in the hope of discerning in them some glimpses of
compassion; but they were inscrutable and inexorable, and scarcely less
dreadful to look upon than the hideous implements on the walls.

Viviana wished the earth would open and swallow her, that she might
escape from them. Anything was better than to be left at the mercy of
such men. At certain times, and not unfrequently at the most awful
moments, a double current of thought will flow through the brain, and at
this frightful juncture it was so with Viviana. While shuddering at all
she saw around her, nay, dwelling upon it, another and distinct train of
thought led her back to former scenes of happiness, when she was
undisturbed by any but remote apprehensions of danger. She thought of
her tranquil residence at Ordsall,--of the flowers she had tended in the
garden,--of her father, and of his affection for her,--of Humphrey
Chetham, and of her early and scarce-acknowledged attachment to
him,--and of his generosity and devotion, and how she had requited it.
And then, like a sullen cloud darkening the fair prospect, arose the
figure of Guy Fawkes--the sombre enthusiast--who had unwittingly
exercised such a baneful influence upon her fortunes.

"Had he not crossed my path," she mentally ejaculated, "I might have
been happy--might have loved Humphrey Chetham--might, perhaps, have
wedded him!"

These reflections were suddenly dispersed by the lieutenant, who, in a
stern tone, commenced his interrogations.

As upon her previous examination, Viviana observed the utmost caution,
and either refused to speak, or answered such questions only as affected
herself. At first, in spite of all her efforts, she trembled violently,
and her tongue clove to the roof of her mouth. But after a while, she
recovered her courage, and regarded the lieutenant with a look as
determined as his own.

"It is useless to urge me farther," she concluded. "I have said all I
will say."

"Is it your pleasure, my lords," observed Sir William Waad to the
others, "to prolong the examination?"

His companions replied in the negative, and the one nearest him
remarked, "Is she aware what will follow?"

"I am," replied Viviana, resolutely, "and I am not to be intimidated."

Sir William Waad then made a sign to Ipgreve, who immediately stepped
forward and seized her arm. "You will be taken to that recess," said the
lieutenant, "where the question will be put to you. But, as we shall
remain here, you have only to utter a cry if you are willing to avow the
truth, and the torture shall be stayed. And it is our merciful hope that
this may be the case."

Summoning up all her resolution, and walking with a firm footstep,
Viviana passed with Ipgreve behind the curtain. She there beheld two men
and a woman--the latter was the jailer's wife, who instantly advanced to
her, and besought her to confess.

"There is no help for it, if you refuse," she urged; "not all your
wealth can save you."

"Mind your own business, dame," interposed Ipgreve, angrily, "and assist
her to unrobe."

Saying this, he stepped aside with the two men, one of whom was the
chirurgeon, and the other the tormentor, while Dame Ipgreve helped to
take off Viviana's gown. She then tied a scarf over her shoulders, and
informed her husband she was ready.

The recess was about twelve feet high, and ten wide. It was crossed near
the roof, which was arched and vaulted, by a heavy beam, with pulleys
and ropes at either extremity. But what chiefly attracted the
unfortunate captive's attention was a couple of iron gauntlets attached
to it, about a yard apart. Upon the ground under the beam, and
immediately beneath that part of it where the gauntlets were fixed, were
laid three pieces of wood, of a few inches in thickness, and piled one
upon another.

"What must I do?" inquired Viviana, in a hollow voice, but with
unaltered resolution, of the old woman.

"Step upon those pieces of wood," replied Dame Ipgreve, leading her
towards them.

Viviana obeyed, and as soon as she had set foot upon the pile, the
tormentor placed a joint-stool beside her, and mounting it, desired her
to place her right hand in one of the gauntlets. She did so, and the
tormentor then turned a screw, which compressed the iron glove so
tightly as to give her excruciating pain. He then got down, and Ipgreve
demanded if he should proceed.

A short pause ensued; but, notwithstanding her agony, Viviana made no
answer. The tormentor then placed the stool on the left side, and
fastened the hand which was still at liberty within the other gauntlet.
The torture was dreadful--and the fingers appeared crushed by the
pressure. Still Viviana uttered no cry. After another short pause,
Ipgreve said,

"You had better let us stop here. This is mere child's play compared
with what is to come."

No answer being returned, the tormentor took a mallet and struck one of
the pieces of wood from under Viviana's feet. The shock was dreadful,
and seemed to dislocate her wrists, while the pressure on the hands was
increased in a tenfold degree. The poor sufferer, who was resting on the
points of her feet, felt that the removal of the next piece of wood
would occasion almost intolerable torture. Her constancy, however, did
not desert her, and, after the question had been repeated by Ipgreve,
the second block was struck away. She was now suspended by her hands,
and the pain was so exquisite, that nature gave way, and uttering a
piercing scream, she fainted.

On recovering, she found herself stretched upon a miserable pallet, with
Ruth watching beside her. A glance round the chamber, which was of solid
stone masonry, with a deep embrasure on one side, convinced her that she
had been removed to some other prison.

"Where am I?" she asked, in a faint voice.

"In the Well Tower, madam," replied Ruth: "one of the fortifications
near the moat, and now used as a prison-lodging. My father dwells within
it, and you are under his custody."

"Your father," cried Viviana, shuddering as she recalled the sufferings
she had recently undergone. "Will he torture me again?"

"Not if I can prevent it, dear lady," replied Ruth. "But hush! here
comes my mother. Not a word before her."

As Ruth spoke, Dame Ipgreve, who had been lingering at the door, entered
the room. She affected the greatest solicitude for Viviana--felt her
pulse--looked at the bandages fastened round her swollen and crippled
fingers, and concluded by counselling her not to persist in refusing to
speak.

"I dare not tell you what tortures are in store for you," she said, "if
you continue thus obstinate. But they will be a thousand times worse
than what you endured last night."

"When will my next interrogation take place?" inquired Viviana.

"A week hence, it may be,--or it may be sooner," returned the old woman.
"It depends upon the state you are in--and somewhat upon the fees you
give my husband, for he has a voice with the lieutenant."

"I would give him all I possess, if he could save me from further
torture," cried Viviana.

"Alas! alas!" replied Dame Ipgreve, "you ask more than can be done. He
would save you if he could. But you will not let him. However, we will
do all we can to mitigate your sufferings--all we can--provided you pay
us. Stay with her, child," she added, with a significant gesture to her
daughter, as she quitted the room, "stay with her."

"My heart bleeds for you, madam," said Ruth, in accents of the deepest
commiseration, as soon as they were alone. "You may depend upon my
fidelity. If I can contrive your escape, I will,--at any risk to
myself."

"On no account," replied Viviana. "Do not concern yourself about me
more. My earthly sufferings, I feel, will have terminated before further
cruelty can be practised upon me."

"Oh! say not so, madam," returned Ruth. "I hope--nay, I am sure you will
live long and happily."

Viviana shook her head, and Ruth, finding her very feeble, thought it
better not to continue the conversation. She accordingly applied such
restoratives as were at hand, and observing that the eyes of the
sufferer closed as if in slumber, glided noiselessly out of the chamber,
and left her.

In this way a week passed. At the expiration of that time, the
chirurgeon pronounced her in so precarious a state, that if the torture
were repeated he would not answer for her life. The interrogation,
therefore, was postponed for a few days, during which the chirurgeon
constantly visited her, and by his care, and the restoratives she was
compelled to take, she rapidly regained her strength.

One day, after the chirurgeon had departed, Ruth cautiously closed the
door, and observed to her,

"You are now so far recovered, madam, as to be able to make an attempt
to escape. I have devised a plan, which I will communicate to you
to-morrow. It must not be delayed, or you will have to encounter a
second and more dreadful examination."

"I will not attempt it if you are exposed to risk," replied Viviana.

"Heed me not," returned Ruth. "One of your friends has found out your
place of confinement, and has spoken to me about you."

"What friend?" exclaimed Viviana, starting. "Guy Fawkes?--I mean----"
And she hesitated, while her pale cheeks were suffused with blushes.

"He is named Humphrey Chetham," returned Ruth. "Like myself, he would
risk his life to preserve you."

"Tell him he must not do so," cried Viviana, eagerly. "He has done
enough--too much for me already. I will not expose him to further
hazard. Tell him so, and entreat him to abandon the attempt."

"But I shall not see him, dear lady," replied Ruth. "Besides, if I read
him rightly, he is not likely to be turned aside by any selfish
consideration."

"You are right, he is not," groaned Viviana. "But this only adds to my
affliction. Oh! if you _should_ see him, dear Ruth, try to dissuade him
from his purpose."

"I will obey you, madam," replied the jailer's daughter. "But I am well
assured it will be of no avail."

After some further conversation, Ruth retired, and Viviana was left
alone for the night. Except the slumber procured by soporific potions,
she had known no repose since she had been confined within the Tower;
and this night she felt more than usually restless. After ineffectually
endeavouring to compose herself, she arose, and hastily robing
herself--a task she performed with no little difficulty, her fingers
being almost useless--continued to pace her narrow chamber.

It has been mentioned that on one side of the cell there was a deep
embrasure. It was terminated by a narrow and strongly-grated loophole,
looking upon the moat. Pausing before it, Viviana gazed forth. The night
was pitchy dark, and not even a solitary star could be discerned; but as
she had no light in her chamber, the gloom outside was less profound
than that within.

While standing thus, buried in thought, and longing for daybreak,
Viviana fancied she heard a slight sound as of some one swimming across
the moat. Thinking she might be deceived, she listened more intently,
and as the sound continued, she felt sure she was right in her
conjecture. All at once the thought of Humphrey Chetham flashed upon
her, and she had no doubt it must be him. Nor was she wrong. The next
moment, a noise was heard as of some one clambering up the wall; a hand
grasped the bars of the loophole, which was only two or three feet above
the level of the water; and a low voice, which she instantly recognised,
pronounced her name.

"Is it Humphrey Chetham?" she asked, advancing as near as she could to
the loophole.

"It is," was the reply. "Do not despair. I will accomplish your
liberation. I have passed three days within the Tower, and only
ascertained your place of confinement a few hours ago. I have contrived
a plan for your escape, with the jailer's daughter, which she will make
known to you to-morrow."

"I cannot thank you sufficiently for your devotion," replied Viviana, in
accents of the deepest gratitude. "But I implore you to leave me to my
fate. I am wretched enough now, Heaven knows, but if aught should happen
to you, I shall be infinitely more so. If I possess any power over
you,--and that I do so, I well know,--I entreat, nay, I command, you to
desist from this attempt."

"I have never yet disobeyed you, Viviana," replied the young merchant,
passionately--"nor will I do so now. But if you bid me abandon you, I
will plunge into this moat, never to rise again."

His manner, notwithstanding the low tone in which he spoke, was so
determined, that Viviana felt certain he would carry his threat into
execution; she therefore rejoined in a mournful tone,

"Well, be it as you will. It is in vain to resist our fate, I am
destined to bring misfortune to you."

"Not so," replied Chetham. "If I _can_ save you, I would rather die than
live. The jailer's daughter will explain her plan to you to-morrow.
Promise me to accede to it."

Viviana reluctantly assented.

"I shall quit the Tower at daybreak," pursued Chetham; "and when you are
once out of it, hasten to the stairs beyond the wharf at Petty Wales. I
will be there with a boat. Farewell!"

As he spoke, he let himself drop into the water, but his foot slipping,
the plunge was louder than he intended, and attracted the attention of a
sentinel on the ramparts, who immediately called out to know what was
the matter, and not receiving any answer, discharged his caliver in the
direction of the sound.

Viviana, who heard the challenge and the shot, uttered a loud scream,
and the next moment Ipgreve and his wife appeared. The jailer glanced
suspiciously round the room; but after satisfying himself that all was
right, and putting some questions to the captive, which she refused to
answer, he departed with his wife, and carefully barred the door.

It is impossible to imagine greater misery than Viviana endured the
whole of the night. The uncertainty in which she was kept as to
Chetham's fate was almost insupportable, and the bodily pain she had
recently endured appeared light when compared with her present mental
torture. Day at length dawned; but it brought with it no Ruth. Instead
of this faithful friend, Dame Ipgreve entered the chamber with the
morning meal, and her looks were so morose and distrustful, that Viviana
feared she must have discovered her daughter's design. She did not,
however, venture to make a remark, but suffered the old woman to depart
in silence.

Giving up all for lost, and concluding that Humphrey Chetham had either
perished, or was, like herself, a prisoner, Viviana bitterly bewailed
his fate, and reproached herself with being unintentionally the cause of
it. Later in the day, Ruth entered the cell. To Viviana's eager
inquiries she replied, that Humphrey Chetham had escaped. Owing to the
darkness, the sentinel had missed his aim, and although the most
rigorous search was instituted throughout the fortress, he had contrived
to elude observation.

"Our attempt," pursued Ruth, "must be made this evening. The lieutenant
has informed my father that you are to be interrogated at midnight, the
chirurgeon having declared that you are sufficiently recovered to
undergo the torture (if needful) a second time. Now listen to me. The
occurrence of last night has made my mother suspicious, and she watches
my proceedings with a jealous eye. She is at this moment with a female
prisoner in the Beauchamp Tower, or I should not be able to visit you.
She has consented, however, to let me bring in your supper. You must
then change dresses with me. Being about my height, you may easily pass
for me, and I will take care there is no light below, so that your
features will not be distinguished."

Viviana would have checked her, but the other would not be interrupted.

"As soon as you are ready," she continued, "you must lock the door upon
me. You must then descend the short flight of steps before you, and pass
as quickly as you can through the room where you will see my father and
mother. As soon as you are out of the door, turn to the left, and go
straight forward to the By-ward Tower. Show this pass to the warders. It
is made out in my name, and they will suffer you to go forth. Do the
same with the warders at the next gate,--the Middle Tower,--and again at
the Bulwark Gate. That passed, you are free."

"And what will become of you?" asked Viviana, with a bewildered look.

"Never mind me," rejoined Ruth: "I shall be sufficiently rewarded if I
save you. And now, farewell. Be ready at the time appointed."

"I cannot consent," returned Viviana.

"You have no choice," replied Ruth, breaking from her, and hurrying out
of the room.

Time, as it ever does, when expectation is on the rack, appeared to pass
with unusual slowness. But as the hour at length drew near, Viviana
wished it farther off. It was with the utmost trepidation that she heard
the key turn in the lock, and beheld Ruth enter the cell with the
evening meal.

Closing the door, and setting down the provisions, the jailer's daughter
hastily divested herself of her dress, which was of brown serge, as well
as of her coif and kerchief, while Viviana imitated her example. Without
pausing to attire herself in the other's garments, Ruth then assisted
Viviana to put on the dress she had just laid aside, and arranged her
hair and the head-gear so skilfully, that the disguise was complete.

Hastily whispering some further instructions to her, and explaining
certain peculiarities in her gait and deportment, she then pressed her
to her bosom, and led her to the door. Viviana would have remonstrated,
but Ruth pushed her through it, and closed it.

There was now no help, so Viviana, though with great pain to herself,
contrived to turn the key in the lock. Descending the steps, she found
herself in a small circular chamber, in which Ipgreve and his wife were
seated at a table, discussing their evening meal. The sole light was
afforded by a few dying embers on the hearth.

"What! has she done, already?" demanded the old woman, as Viviana
appeared. "Why hast thou not brought the jelly with thee, if she has not
eaten it all, and those cates, which Master Pilchard, the chirurgeon,
ordered her? Go and fetch them directly. They will finish our repast
daintily; and there are other matters too, which I dare say she has not
touched. She will pay for them, and that will make them the sweeter. Go
back, I say. What dost thou stand there for, as if thou wert
thunderstruck? Dost hear me, or not?"

"Let the wench alone, dame," growled Ipgreve. "You frighten her."

"So I mean to do," replied the old woman; "she deserves to be
frightened. Hark thee, girl, we must get an order from her on some
wealthy Catholic family without delay--for I don't think she will stand
the trial to-night."

"Nor I," added Ipgreve, "especially as she is to be placed on the rack."

"She has a chain of gold round her throat, I have observed," said the
old woman; "we must get that."

"I have it," said Viviana, in a low tone, and imitating as well as she
could the accents of Ruth. "Here it is."

"Did she give it thee?" cried the old woman, getting up, and grasping
Viviana's lacerated fingers with such force, that she had difficulty in
repressing a scream. "Did she give it thee, I say?"

"She gave it me for you," gasped Viviana. "Take it."

While the old woman held the chain to the fire, and called to her
husband to light a lamp, that she might feast her greedy eyes upon it,
Viviana flew to the door.

Just as she reached it, the shrill voice of Dame Ipgreve arrested her.

"Come back!" cried the dame. "Whither art thou going at this time of
night? I will not have thee stir forth. Come back, I say."

"Pshaw! let her go," interposed Ipgreve. "I dare say she hath an
appointment on the Green with young Nicholas Hardesty, the warder. Go,
wench. Be careful of thyself, and return within the hour."

"If she does not, she will rue it," added the dame. "Go, then, and I
will see the prisoner."

Viviana required no further permission. Starting off as she had been
directed on the left, she ran as fast as her feet could carry her; and,
passing between two arched gateways, soon reached the By-ward Tower.
Showing the pass to the warder, he chucked her under the chin, and,
drawing an immense bolt, opened the wicket, and gallantly helped her to
pass through it. The like good success attended her at the Middle Tower,
and at the Bulwark Gate. Scarcely able to credit her senses, and
doubting whether she was indeed free, she hurried on till she came to
the opening leading to the stairs at Petty Wales. As she hesitated,
uncertain what to do, a man advanced towards and addressed her by name.
It was Humphrey Chetham. Overcome by emotion, Viviana sank into his
arms, and in another moment she was placed in a wherry, which was
ordered to be rowed towards Westminster.



CHAPTER IX.

THE COUNTERPLOT.


Startled, but not dismayed--for he was a man of great courage--by the
sudden address and appearance of Guy Fawkes, Lord Mounteagle instantly
sprang to his feet, and drawing his sword, put himself into a posture of
defence.

"You have betrayed me," he cried, seizing Tresham with his left hand;
"but if I fall, you shall fall with me."

"You have betrayed yourself, my lord," rejoined Guy Fawkes; "or rather,
Heaven has placed you in our hands as an instrument for the liberation
of Viviana Radcliffe. You must take an oath of secrecy--a binding
oath,--such as, being a good Catholic, you cannot break,--not to divulge
what has come to your knowledge. Nay, you must join me and my
confederates, or you quit not this spot with life."

"I refuse your terms," replied Mounteagle, resolutely; "I will never
conspire against the monarch to whom I have sworn allegiance. I will not
join you. I will not aid you in procuring Viviana Radcliffe's release.
Nor will I take the oath you propose. On the contrary, I arrest you as a
traitor, and I command you, Tresham, in the King's name, to assist me in
his capture."

But suddenly extricating himself from the grasp imposed upon him, and
placing Guy Fawkes between him and the Earl, Tresham rejoined,--

"It is time to throw off the mask, my good lord and brother. I can
render you no assistance. I am sworn to this league, and must support
it. Unless you assent to the conditions proposed,--and which for your
own sake I would counsel you to do,--I must, despite our near
relationship, take part against you,--even," he added, significantly,
"if your destruction should be resolved upon."

"I will sell my life dearly, as you shall find," replied Mounteagle.
"And, but for the sake of my dear lady, your sister, I would stab you
where you stand."

"Your lordship will find resistance in vain," replied Guy Fawkes,
keeping his eye steadily fixed upon him. "We seek not your life, but
your co-operation. You are a prisoner."

"A prisoner!" echoed Mounteagle, derisively. "You have not secured me
yet."

And as he spoke, he rushed towards the door, but his departure was
checked by Bates, who presented himself at the entrance of the passage
with a drawn sword in his hand. At the same moment, Catesby and Keyes
issued from the closet, while Garnet and the other conspirators likewise
emerged from their hiding-places. Hearing the noise behind him, Lord
Mounteagle turned, and beholding the group, uttered an exclamation of
surprise and rage.

"I am fairly entrapped," he said, sheathing his sword, and advancing
towards them. "Fool that I was, to venture hither!"

"These regrets are too late, my lord," replied Catesby. "You came hither
of your own accord. But being here, nothing, except compliance with our
demands, can ensure your departure."

"Yes, one thing else," thought Mounteagle,--"cunning. It shall go hard
if I cannot outwit you. Tresham will act with me. I know his treacherous
nature too well to doubt which way he will incline. Interest, as well as
relationship, binds him to me. He will acquaint me with their plans. I
need not, therefore, compromise myself by joining them. If I take the
oath of secrecy, it will suffice--and I will find means of eluding the
obligation. I may thus make my own bargain with Salisbury. But I must
proceed cautiously. Too sudden a compliance might awaken their
suspicions."

"My lord," said Catesby, who had watched his countenance narrowly, and
distrusted its expression, "we must have no double-dealing. Any attempt
to play us false will prove fatal to you."

"I have not yet consented to your terms, Mr. Catesby," replied
Mounteagle, "and I demand a few moments' reflection before I do so."

"What say you, gentlemen?" said Catesby. "Do you agree to his lordship's
request?"

There was a general answer in the affirmative.

"I would also confer for a moment alone with my brother Tresham," said
Mounteagle.

"That cannot be, my lord," rejoined Garnet, peremptorily. "And take heed
you meditate no treachery towards us, or you will destroy yourself here
and hereafter."

"I have no desire to speak with him, father," observed Tresham. "Let him
declare what he has to say before you all."

Mounteagle looked hard at him, but he made no remark.

"In my opinion, we ought not to trust him," observed Keyes. "It is plain
he is decidedly opposed to us. And if the oath is proposed to him, he
may take it with some mental reservation."

"_I_ will guard against that," replied Garnet.

"If I take the oath, I will keep it, father," rejoined Mounteagle. "But
I have not yet decided."

"You must do so, then, quickly, my lord," returned Catesby. "You shall
have five minutes for reflection. But first, you must deliver up your
sword."

The Earl started.

"We mean _you_ no treachery, my lord," observed Keyes, "and expect to be
dealt with with equal fairness."

Surrendering his sword to Catesby, Mounteagle then walked to the farther
end of the room, and leaning against the wall, with his back to the
conspirators, appeared buried in thought.

"Take Tresham aside," whispered Catesby to Wright. "I do not wish him to
overhear our conference. Watch him narrowly, and see that no signal
passes between him and Lord Mounteagle."

Wright obeyed; and the others gathering closely together, began to
converse in a low tone.

"It will not do to put him to death," observed Garnet. "From what he
stated to Tresham, it appears that his servant was aware of his coming
hither. If he disappears, therefore, search will be immediately made,
and all will be discovered. We must either instantly secure ourselves by
flight, and give up the enterprise, or trust him."

"You are right, father," replied Rookwood. "The danger is imminent."

"We are safe at present," observed Percy, "and may escape to France or
Flanders before information can be given against us. Nay, we may carry
off Mounteagle with us, for that matter. But I am loth to trust him."

"So am I," rejoined Catesby. "I do not like his looks."

"There is no help," said Fawkes. "We _must_ trust him, or give up the
enterprise. He may materially aid us, and has himself asserted that he
can procure Viviana's liberation from the Tower."

"Pshaw!" exclaimed Catesby, impatiently. "What has that to do with the
all-important question we are now considering?"

"Much," returned Fawkes. "And I will not move further in the matter
unless that point is insisted on."

"You have become strangely interested in Viviana of late," observed
Catesby, sarcastically. "Could I suspect you of so light a passion, I
should say you loved her."

A deep flush dyed Fawkes's swarthy cheeks, but he answered in a voice of
constrained calmness,

"I _do_ love her,--as a daughter."

"Humph!" exclaimed the other, drily.

"Catesby," rejoined Fawkes, sternly, "you know me well--too well, to
suppose I would resort to any paltry subterfuge. I am willing to let
what you have said pass. But I counsel you not to jest thus in future."

"Jest!" exclaimed Catesby. "I was never more serious in my life."

"Then you do me wrong," retorted Fawkes, fiercely; "and you will repeat
the insinuation at your peril."

"My sons--my sons," interposed Garnet, "what means this sudden--this
needless quarrel, at a moment when we require the utmost calmness to
meet the danger that assails us? Guy Fawkes is right. Viviana _must_ be
saved. If we desert her, our cause will never prosper. But let us
proceed step by step, and first decide upon what is to be done with Lord
Mounteagle."

"I am filled with perplexity," replied Catesby.

"Then I will decide for you," replied Percy. "Our project must be
abandoned."

"Never," replied Fawkes, energetically. "Fly, and secure your own
safety. I will stay and accomplish it alone."

"A brave resolution!" exclaimed Catesby, tendering him his hand, which
the other cordially grasped. "I will stand by you to the last. No--we
have advanced too far to retreat."

"Additional caution will be needful," observed Keyes. "Can we not make
it a condition with Lord Mounteagle to retire, till the blow is struck,
to his mansion at Hoxton?"

"That would be of no avail," replied Garnet. "We must trust him wholly,
or not at all."

"There I agree with you, father," said Percy. "Let us propose the oath
of secrecy to him, and detain him here until we have found some secure
retreat, utterly unknown to him, or to Tresham, whence we can correspond
with our friends. A few days will show whether he has betrayed us or
not. We need not visit this place again till the moment for action
arrives."

"You need not visit it again at all," rejoined Fawkes. "Everything is
prepared, and I will undertake to fire the train. Prepare for what is to
follow the explosion, and leave the management of that to me."

"I cannot consent to such a course, my son," said Garnet. "The whole
risk will thus be yours."

"The whole glory will be mine, also, father," rejoined Fawkes,
enthusiastically. "I pray you, let me have my own way."

"Well, be it as you will, my son," returned Garnet, with affected
reluctance. "I will not oppose the hand of Heaven, which clearly points
you out as the chief agent in this mighty enterprise. In reference to
what Percy has said about a retreat till Lord Mounteagle's
trust-worthiness can be ascertained," he added to Catesby, "I have just
bethought me of a large retired house on the borders of Enfield Chase,
called White Webbs. It has been recently taken by Mrs. Brooksby, and her
sister, Anne Vaux, and will afford us a safe asylum."

"An excellent plan, father," cried Catesby. "Since Guy Fawkes is willing
to undertake the risk, we will leave Lord Mounteagle in his charge, and
go there at once."

"What must be done with Tresham?" asked Percy. "We cannot take him with
us, nor must he know of our retreat."

"Leave him with me," said Fawkes.

"You will be at a disadvantage," observed Catesby, "should he take part,
as there is reason to fear he may do, with Lord Mounteagle."

"They are both unarmed," returned Fawkes; "but were it otherwise, I
would answer with my head for their detention."

"All good saints guard you, my son!" exclaimed Garnet. "Henceforth, we
resign the custody of the powder to you."

"It will be in safe keeping," replied Fawkes.

The party then advanced towards Lord Mounteagle, who, hearing their
approach, instantly faced them.

"Your decision, my lord?" demanded Catesby.

"You shall have it in a word, sir," replied Mounteagle, firmly.

"I will _not_ join you, but I will take the required oath of secrecy."

"Is this your final resolve, my lord?" rejoined Catesby.

"It is," replied the Earl.

"It must content us," observed Garnet; "though we hoped you would have
lent your active services to further a cause, having for its sole object
the restoration of the church to which you belong."

"I know not the means whereby you propose to restore it, father,"
replied Mounteagle, "and I do not desire to know them. But I guess that
they are dark and bloody, and as such I can take no part in them."

"And you refuse to give us any counsel or assistance?" pursued Garnet.

"I will not betray you," replied Mounteagle. "I can say nothing
further."

"I would rather he promised too little, than too much," whispered
Catesby to Garnet. "I begin to think him sincere."

"I am of the same opinion, my son," returned Garnet.

"One thing you _shall_ do, before _I_ consent to set you free, on any
terms, my lord," observed Guy Fawkes. "You shall engage to procure the
liberation of Viviana Radcliffe from the Tower. You told Tresham you
could easily accomplish it."

"I scarcely knew what I said," replied Mounteagle, with a look of
embarrassment.

"You spoke confidently, my lord," rejoined Fawkes.

"Because I had no idea I should be compelled to make good my words,"
returned the Earl. "But as a Catholic, and related by marriage to
Tresham, who is a suspected person, any active exertions in her behalf
on my part might place me in jeopardy."

"This excuse shall not avail you, my lord," replied Fawkes. "You must
weigh your own safety against hers. You stir not hence till you have
sworn to free her."

"I must perforce assent, since you will have no refusal," replied
Mounteagle. "But I almost despair of success. If I can effect her
deliverance, I swear to do so."

"Enough," replied Fawkes.

"And now, gentlemen," said Catesby, appealing to the others, "are you
willing to let Lord Mounteagle depart upon the proposed terms?"

"We are," they replied.

"I will administer the oath at once," said Garnet; "and you will bear in
mind, my son," he added, in a stern tone to the Earl, "that it will be
one which cannot be violated without perdition to your soul."

"I am willing to take it," replied Mounteagle.

Producing a primer, and motioning the Earl to kneel before him, Garnet
then proposed an oath of the most solemn and binding description. The
other repeated it after him, and at its conclusion placed the book to
his lips.

"Are you satisfied?" he asked, rising.

"I am," replied Garnet.

"And so am I," thought Tresham, who stood in the rear, "--that he will
perjure himself."

"Am I now at liberty to depart?" inquired the Earl.

"Not yet, my lord," replied Catesby. "You must remain here till
midnight."

Lord Mounteagle looked uneasy, but seeing remonstrance would be useless,
he preserved a sullen silence.

"You need have no fear, my lord," said Catesby. "But we must take such
precautions as will ensure our safety, in case you intend us any
treachery."

"You cannot doubt me, sir, after the oath I have taken," replied
Mounteagle, haughtily. "But since you constitute yourself my jailer, I
must abide your pleasure."

"If I _am_ your jailer, my lord," rejoined Catesby, "I will prove to you
that I am not neglectful of my office. Will it please you to follow me?"

The Earl bowed in acquiescence; and Catesby, marching before him to a
small room, the windows of which were carefully barred, pointed to a
chair, and instantly retiring, locked the door upon him. He then
returned to the others, and taking Guy Fawkes aside, observed in a low
tone,

"We shall set out instantly for White Webbs. You will remain on guard
with Tresham, whom you will, of course, keep in ignorance of our
proceedings. After you have set the Earl at liberty, you can follow us
if you choose. But take heed you are not observed."

"Fear nothing," replied Fawkes.

Soon after this, Catesby, and the rest of the conspirators, with the
exception of Guy Fawkes and Tresham, quitted the room, and the former
concluded they were about to leave the house. He made no remark,
however, to his companion; but getting between him and the door, folded
his arms upon his breast, and continued to pace backwards and forwards
before it.

"Am I a prisoner, as well as Lord Mounteagle?" asked Tresham, after a
pause.

"You must remain with me here till midnight," replied Fawkes. "We shall
not be disturbed."

"What! are the others gone?" cried Tresham.

"They are," was the reply.

Tresham's countenance fell, and he appeared to be meditating some
project, which he could not muster courage to execute.

"Be warned by the past, Tresham," said Fawkes, who had regarded him
fixedly for some minutes. "If I find reason to doubt you, I will put it
out of your power to betray us a second time."

"You have no reason to doubt me," replied Tresham, with apparent
candour. "I only wondered that our friends should leave me without any
intimation of their purpose. It is for me, not you, to apprehend some
ill design. Am I not to act with you further?"

"That depends upon yourself, and on the proofs you give of your
sincerity," replied Fawkes. "Answer me frankly. Do you think Lord
Mounteagle will keep his oath?"

"I will stake my life upon it," replied Tresham.

The conversation then dropped, and no attempt was made on either side to
renew it. In this way several hours passed, when at length the silence
was broken by Tresham, who requested permission to go in search of some
refreshment; and Guy Fawkes assenting, they descended to the lower room,
and partook of a slight repast.

Nothing further worthy of note occurred. On the arrival of the appointed
hour, Guy Fawkes signified to his companion that he might liberate Lord
Mounteagle; and immediately availing himself of the permission, Tresham
repaired to the chamber, and threw open the door. The Earl immediately
came forth, and they returned together to the room in which Guy Fawkes
remained on guard.

"You are now at liberty to depart, my lord," said the latter; "and
Tresham can accompany you, if he thinks proper. Remember that you have
sworn to procure Viviana's liberation."

"I do," replied the Earl.

And he then quitted the house with Tresham.

"You have had a narrow escape, my lord," remarked the latter as they
approached Whitehall, and paused for a moment under the postern of the
great western gate.

"True," replied the Earl; "but I do not regret the risk I have run. They
are now wholly in my power."

"You forget your oath, my lord," said Tresham.

"If I do," replied the Earl, "I but follow your example. You have broken
one equally solemn, equally binding, and would break a thousand more
were they imposed upon you. But I will overthrow this conspiracy, and
yet not violate mine."

"I see not how that can be, my lord," replied Tresham.

"You shall learn in due season," replied the Earl. "I have had plenty of
leisure for reflection in that dark hole, and have hit upon a plan
which, I think, cannot fail."

"I hope I am no party to it, my lord," rejoined Tresham. "I dare not
hazard myself among them further."

"I cannot do without you," replied Mounteagle; "but I will ensure you
against all danger. It will be necessary for you, however, to act with
the utmost discretion, and keep a constant guard upon every look and
movement, as well as upon your words. You must fully regain the
confidence of these men, and lull them into security."

"I see your lordship's drift," replied Tresham. "You wish them to
proceed to the last point, to enhance the value of the discovery."

"Right," replied the Earl. "The plot must not be discovered till just
before its outbreak, when its magnitude and danger will be the more
apparent. The reward will then be proportionate. Now, you understand me,
Tresham."

"Fully," replied the other.

"Return to your own house," rejoined Mounteagle. "We need hold no
further communication together till the time for action arrives."

"And that will not be before the meeting of Parliament," replied
Tresham; "for they intend to whelm the King and all his nobles in one
common destruction."

"By Heaven! a brave design!" cried Mounteagle. "It is a pity to mar it.
I knew it was a desperate and daring project, but should never have
conceived aught like this. Its discovery will indeed occasion universal
consternation."

"It may benefit you and me to divulge it, my lord," said Tresham; "but
the disclosure will deeply and lastingly injure the Church of Rome."

"It would injure it more deeply if the plot succeeded," replied
Mounteagle, "because all loyal Catholics must disapprove so horrible and
sanguinary a design. But we will not discuss the question further,
though what you have said confirms my purpose, and removes any misgiving
I might have felt as to the betrayal. Farewell, Tresham. Keep a watchful
eye upon the conspirators, and communicate with me should any change
take place in their plans. We may not meet for some time. Parliament,
though summoned for the third of October, will, in all probability, be
prorogued till November."

"In that case," replied Tresham, "you will postpone your disclosure
likewise till November?"

"Assuredly," replied Mounteagle. "The King must be convinced of his
danger. If it were found out now, he would think lightly of it. But if
he has actually set foot upon the mine which a single spark might kindle
to his destruction, he will duly appreciate the service rendered him.
Farewell! and do not neglect my counsel."



CHAPTER X.

WHITE WEBBS.


Tarrying for a short time within the house after the departure of the
others, Guy Fawkes lighted a lantern, and concealing it beneath his
cloak, proceeded to the cellar, to ascertain that the magazine of powder
was safe. Satisfied of this, he made all secure, and was about to return
to the house, when he perceived a figure approaching him. Standing
aside, but keeping on his guard for fear of a surprise, he would have
allowed the person to pass, but the other halted, and after a moment's
scrutiny addressed him by name in the tones of Humphrey Chetham.

"You seem to haunt this spot, young sir," said Fawkes, in answer to the
address. "This is the third time we have met hereabouts."

"On the last occasion," replied Chetham, "I told you Viviana was a
prisoner in the Tower. I have now better news for you. She is free."

"Free!" exclaimed Fawkes, joyfully. "By Lord Mounteagle's
instrumentality?--But I forget. He has only just left me."

"She has been freed by _my_ instrumentality," replied the young
merchant. "She escaped from the Tower a few hours ago."

"Where is she?" demanded Guy Fawkes, eagerly.

"In a boat at the stairs near the Parliament House," replied Chetham.

"Heaven and Our Lady be praised!" exclaimed Fawkes. "This is more than I
hoped for. Your news is so good, young sir, that I can scarce credit
it."

"Come with me to the boat, and you shall soon be satisfied of the truth
of my statement," rejoined Chetham.

And followed by Guy Fawkes, he hurried to the river side, where a wherry
was moored. Within it sat Viviana, covered by the tilt.

Assisting her to land, and finding she was too much exhausted to walk,
Guy Fawkes took her in his arms, and carried her to the house he had
just quitted.

Humphrey Chetham followed as soon as he had dismissed the waterman.
Placing his lovely burthen in a seat, Guy Fawkes instantly went in
search of such restoratives as the place afforded. Viviana was extremely
faint, but after she had swallowed a glass of wine, she revived, and,
looking around her, inquired where she was.

"Do not ask," replied Fawkes; "let it suffice you are in safety. And
now," he added, "perhaps, Humphrey Chetham will inform me in what manner
he contrived your escape. I am impatient to know."

The young merchant then gave the required information, and Viviana added
such particulars as were necessary to the full understanding of the
story. Guy Fawkes could scarcely control himself when she related the
tortures she had endured, nor was Chetham less indignant.

"You rescued me just in time," said Viviana. "I should have sunk under
the next application."

"Thank Heaven! you have escaped it," exclaimed Fawkes. "You owe much to
Humphrey Chetham, Viviana."

"I do, indeed," she replied.

"And can you not requite it?" he returned. "Can you not make him
happy?--Can you not make _me_ happy?"

Viviana's pale cheek was instantly suffused with blushes, but she made
no answer.

"Oh, Viviana!" cried Humphrey Chetham, "you hear what is said. If you
could doubt my love before, you must be convinced of it now. A hope will
make me happy. Have I that?"

"Alas! no," she answered. "It would be the height of cruelty, after your
kindness, to deceive you. You have not."

The young merchant turned aside to hide his emotion.

"Not even a hope!" exclaimed Guy Fawkes, "after what he has done.
Viviana, I cannot understand you. Does gratitude form no part of your
nature?"

"I hope so," she replied, "nay, I am sure so,--for I feel the deepest
gratitude towards Humphrey Chetham. But gratitude is not love, and must
not be mistaken for it."

"I understand the distinction too well," returned the young merchant,
sadly.

"It is more than I do," rejoined Guy Fawkes; "and I will frankly confess
that I think the important services Humphrey Chetham has rendered you
entitle him to your hand. It is seldom--whatever poets may feign,--that
love is so strongly proved as his has been; and it ought to be
adequately requited."

"Say no more about it, I entreat," interposed Chetham.

"But I will deliver my opinion," rejoined Guy Fawkes, "because I am sure
what I advise is for Viviana's happiness. No one can love her better
than you. No one is more worthy of her. Nor is there any one to whom I
so much desire to see her united."

"Oh, Heaven!" exclaimed Viviana. "This is worse than the torture."

"What mean you?" exclaimed Fawkes, in astonishment.

"She means," interposed Chetham, "that this is not the fitting season to
urge the subject--that she will never marry."

"True--true," replied Viviana. "If I ever did marry--I _ought_ to select
you."

"You ought," replied Fawkes. "And I know nothing of the female heart, if
it can be insensible to youth, devotion, and manly appearance like that
of Humphrey Chetham."

"You _do_ know nothing of it," rejoined Chetham, bitterly. "Women's
fancies are unaccountable."

"Such is the received opinion," replied Fawkes; "but as I am ignorant of
the sex, I can only judge from report. You are the person I should
imagine she would love--nay, to be frank, whom I thought she _did_
love."

"No more," said Humphrey Chetham. "It is painful both to Viviana and to
me."

"This is not a time for delicacy," rejoined Guy Fawkes. "Viviana has
given me the privilege of a father with her. And where her happiness is
so much concerned as in the present case, I should imperfectly discharge
my duty if I did not speak out. It would sincerely rejoice me, and I am
sure contribute materially to her own happiness, if she would unite
herself to you."

"I cannot--I cannot," she rejoined. "I will never marry."

"You hear what she says," remarked Chetham. "Do not urge the matter
further."

"I admire maiden delicacy and reserve," replied Fawkes; "but when a man
has acted as you have done, he deserves to be treated with frankness. I
am sure Viviana loves you. Let her tell you so."

"You are mistaken," replied Chetham; "and it is time you should be
undeceived. She loves another."

"Is this so?" cried Fawkes, in astonishment.

She made no answer.

"Whom do you love?" he asked.

Still, no answer.

"I will tell you whom she loves--and let her contradict me if I am
wrong," said Chetham.

"Oh, no!--no!--in pity spare me!" cried Viviana.

"Speak!"--thundered Fawkes. "Who is it?"

"Yourself," replied Chetham.

"What!" exclaimed Fawkes, recoiling,--"love _me_! I will not believe it.
She loves me as a father--but nothing more--nothing more. But you were
right. Let us change the subject. A more fitting season may arrive for
its discussion."

After some further conversation, it was agreed that Viviana should be
taken to White Webbs; and leaving her in charge of Humphrey Chetham, Guy
Fawkes went in search of a conveyance to Enfield.

Traversing the Strand,--every hostel in which was closed,--he turned up
Wych-street, immediately on the right of which there was a large inn
(still in existence), and entering the yard, discovered a knot of
carriers moving about with lanterns in their hands. To his inquiries
respecting a conveyance to Enfield, one of them answered, that he was
about to return thither with his waggon at four o'clock,--it was then
two,--and should be glad to take him and his friends. Overjoyed at the
intelligence, and at once agreeing to the man's terms, Guy Fawkes
hurried back to his companions, and, with the assistance of Humphrey
Chetham, contrived to carry Viviana (for she was utterly unable to
support herself) to the inn-yard, where she was immediately placed in
the waggon, on a heap of fresh straw.

About an hour after this, but long before daybreak, the carrier attached
his horses to the waggon, and set out. Guy Fawkes and Humphrey Chetham
were seated near Viviana, but little was said during the journey, which
occupied about three hours. By this time it was broad daylight; and as
the carrier stopped at the door of a small inn, Guy Fawkes alighted, and
inquired the distance to White Webbs.

"It is about a mile and a half off," replied the man. "If you pursue
that lane, it will bring you to a small village about half a mile from
this, where you are sure to find some one who will gladly guide you to
the house, which is a little out of the road, on the borders of the
forest."

He then assisted Viviana to alight, and Humphrey Chetham descending at
the same time, the party took the road indicated--a winding country lane
with high hedges, broken by beautiful timber--and proceeding at a slow
pace, they arrived in about half an hour at a little cluster of
cottages, which Guy Fawkes guessed to be the village alluded to by the
carrier. As they approached it, a rustic leaped a hedge, and was about
to cross to another field, when Guy Fawkes calling to him, inquired the
way to White Webbs.

"I am going in that direction," replied the man. "If you desire it, I
will show you the road."

"I shall feel much indebted to you, friend," returned Fawkes, "and will
reward you for your trouble."

"I want no reward," returned the countryman, trudging forward.

Following their guide, after a few minutes' brisk walking they reached
the borders of the forest, and took their way along a patch of
greensward that skirted it. In some places their track was impeded by
gigantic thorns and brushwood, while at others avenues opened upon them,
affording them peeps into the heart of the wood. It was a beautiful
sylvan scene. And as at length they arrived at the head of a long glade,
at the farther end of which a herd of deer were seen, with their
branching antlers mingling with the overhanging boughs, Viviana could
not help pausing to admire it.

"King James often hunts within the forest," observed the countryman.
"Indeed, I heard one of the rangers say it was not unlikely he might be
here to-day. He is at Theobald's Palace now."

"Indeed!" exclaimed Fawkes. "Let us proceed. We lose time. Are we far
from the house?"

"Not above a quarter of a mile," was the answer. "You will see it at the
next turn of the road."

As the countryman had intimated, they speedily perceived the roof and
tall chimneys of an ancient house above the trees, and as it was now
impossible to mistake the road, Guy Fawkes thanked their guide for his
trouble, and would have rewarded him, but he refused the gratuity, and
leaping a hedge, disappeared.

Pursuing the road, they shortly afterwards arrived at a gate leading to
the house--a large building, erected probably at the beginning of
Elizabeth's reign--and entering it, they passed under an avenue of
trees. On approaching the mansion, they observed that many of the
windows were closed, and the whole appearance of the place was
melancholy and deserted. The garden was overgrown with weeds, and the
door looked as if it was rarely opened.

Not discouraged by these appearances, but rather satisfied by them of
the security of the asylum, Guy Fawkes proceeded to the back of the
house, and entering a court, the flags and stones of which were covered
with moss, while the interstices were filled with long grass, Guy Fawkes
knocked against a small door, and, after repeating the summons, it was
answered by an old woman-servant, who popped her head out of an upper
window, and demanded his business.

Guy Fawkes was about to inquire for Mrs. Brooksby, when another head,
which proved to be that of Catesby, appeared at the window. On seeing
Fawkes and his companions, Catesby instantly descended, and unfastened
the door. The house proved far more comfortable within than its exterior
promised; and the old female domestic having taken word to Anne Vaux
that Viviana was below, the former lady, who had not yet risen, sent for
her to her chamber, and provided everything for her comfort.

Guy Fawkes and Humphrey Chetham, neither of whom had rested during the
night, were glad to obtain a few hours' repose on the floor of the first
room into which they were shown, and they were not disturbed until the
day had considerably advanced, when Catesby thought fit to rouse them
from their slumbers.

Explanations were then given on both sides. Chetham detailed the manner
of Viviana's escape from the Tower, and Catesby in his turn acquainted
them that Father Oldcorne was in the house, having found his way thither
after his escape from the dwelling at Lambeth. Guy Fawkes was greatly
rejoiced at the intelligence, and shortly afterwards had the
satisfaction of meeting with the priest. At noon, the whole party
assembled, with the exception of Viviana, who, by the advice of Anne
Vaux, kept her chamber, to recruit herself after the sufferings she had
undergone.

Humphrey Chetham, of whom no suspicions were now entertained, and of
whom Catesby no longer felt any jealousy, was invited to stay in the
house; and he was easily induced to pass his time near Viviana, although
he might not be able to see her. Long and frequent consultations were
held by the conspirators, and letters were despatched by Catesby to the
elder Winter at his seat, Huddington, in Worcestershire, entreating him
to make every preparation for the crisis, as well as to Sir Everard
Digby, to desire him to assemble as many friends as he could muster
against the meeting of Parliament, at Dunchurch, in Warwickshire, under
the plea of a grand hunting-party.

Arrangements were next made as to the steps to be taken by the different
parties after the explosion. Catesby undertook, with a sufficient force,
to seize the Princess Elizabeth, the eldest daughter of James the First,
who was then at the residence of the Earl of Harrington, near Coventry,
and to proclaim her queen, in case the others should fail in securing
the princes. It was supposed that Henry, Prince of Wales, (who, it need
scarcely be mentioned, died in his youth,) would be present with the
King, his father, in the Parliament House, and would perish with him;
and in this case, as Charles, Duke of York, (afterwards Charles the
First,) would become successor to the throne, it was resolved that he
should be seized by Percy, and instantly proclaimed. Other resolutions
were decided upon, and the whole time of the conspirators was spent in
maturing their projects.

And thus weeks, and even months, stole on. Viviana had completely
regained her strength, and passed a life of perfect seclusion, seldom,
if ever, mixing with the others. She, however, took a kindly farewell of
Humphrey Chetham, before his departure for Manchester (for which place
he set out about a fortnight after his arrival at White Webbs, having
first sought out his servant, Martin Heydocke); but though strongly
urged by Guy Fawkes, she would hold out no hopes of a change in her
sentiments towards the young merchant. Meetings were occasionally held
by the conspirators elsewhere, and Catesby and Fawkes had more than one
interview with Tresham--but never, except in places where they were
secure from a surprise.

The latter end of September had now arrived, and the meeting of
Parliament was still fixed for the third of October. On the last day of
the month, Guy Fawkes prepared to start for town; but before doing so he
desired to see Viviana. They had not met for some weeks; nor, indeed,
since Fawkes had discovered the secret of her heart, (and perhaps of his
own,) had they ever met with the same freedom as heretofore. As she
entered the room, in which he awaited her coming, a tremor agitated his
frame, but he had nerved himself for the interview, and speedily subdued
the feeling.

"I am starting for London, Viviana," he said, in a voice of forced
calmness. "You may guess for what purpose. But as I may never behold you
again, I would not part with you without a confession of my weakness. I
will not deny that what Humphrey Chetham stated, and which you have
never contradicted--namely, that you loved me, for I must speak out--has
produced a strong effect upon me. I have endeavoured to conquer it, but
it will return. Till I knew you I never loved, Viviana."

"Indeed!" she exclaimed.

"Never," he replied. "The fairest had not power to move me. But I grieve
to say--notwithstanding my struggles--I do not continue equally
insensible."

"Ah!" she ejaculated, becoming as pale as death.

"Why should I hesitate to declare my feelings? Why should I not tell you
that--though blinded to it so long--I have discovered that I do love
you? Why should I hesitate to tell you that I regret this, and lament
that we ever met?"

"What mean you?" cried Viviana, with a terrified look.

"I will tell you," replied Fawkes. "Till I saw you, my thoughts were
removed from earth, and fixed on one object. Till I saw you, I asked not
to live, but to die the death of a martyr."

"Die so still," rejoined Viviana. "Forget me--oh! forget me."

"I cannot," replied Fawkes. "I have striven against it. But your image
is perpetually before me. Nay, at this very moment, when I am about to
set out on the enterprise, you alone detain me."

"I am glad of it," exclaimed Viviana, fervently. "Oh that I could
prevent you--could save you!"

"Save me!" echoed Fawkes, bitterly. "You destroy me."

"How?" she asked.

"Because I am sworn to this project," he rejoined; "and if I were turned
from it, I would perish by my own hand."

"Oh! say not so," replied Viviana, "but listen to me. Abandon it, and I
will devote myself to you."

Guy Fawkes gazed at her for a moment passionately, and then, covering
his face with his hands, appeared torn by conflicting emotions.

Viviana approached him, and pressing his arm, asked in an entreating
voice, "Are you still determined to pursue your dreadful project?"

"I am," replied Fawkes, uncovering his face, and gazing at her; "but, if
I remain here a moment longer, I shall not be able to do so."

"I will detain you, then," she rejoined, "and exercise the power I
possess over you for your benefit."

"No!" he replied, vehemently. "It must not be. Farewell, for ever!"

And breaking from her, he rushed out of the room.

As he gained the passage, he encountered Catesby, who looked abashed at
seeing him.

"I have overheard what has passed," said the latter, "and applaud your
resolution. Few men, similarly circumstanced, would have acted as you
have done."

"_You_ would not," said Fawkes, coldly.

"Perhaps not," rejoined Catesby. "But that does not lessen my admiration
of your conduct."

"I am devoted to one object," replied Fawkes, "and nothing shall turn me
from it."

"Remove yourself instantly from temptation, then," replied Catesby. "I
will meet you at the cellar beneath the Parliament House to-morrow
night."

With this, he accompanied Guy Fawkes to the door; and the latter,
without hazarding a look behind him, set out for London, where he
arrived at nightfall.

On the following night, Fawkes examined the cellar, and found it in all
respects as he had left it; and, apprehensive lest some difficulty might
arise, he resolved to make every preparation. He, accordingly, pierced
the sides of several of the barrels piled against the walls with a
gimlet, and inserted in the holes small pieces of slow-burning match.
Not content with this, he staved in the tops of the uppermost tier, and
scattered powder among them to secure their instantaneous ignition.

This done, he took a powder-horn, with which he was provided, and
kneeling down, and holding his lantern so as to throw a light upon the
floor, laid a train to one of the lower barrels, and brought it within a
few inches of the door, intending to fire it from that point. His
arrangements completed, he arose, and muttered,

"A vessel is provided for my escape in the river, and my companions
advise me to use a slow match, which will allow me to get out of harm's
way. But I will see the deed done, and if the train fails, will hold a
torch to the barrels myself."

At this juncture, a slight tap was heard without.

Guy Fawkes instantly masked his lantern, and cautiously opening the
door, beheld Catesby.

"I am come to tell you that Parliament is prorogued," said the latter.
"The House does not meet till the fifth of November. We have another
month to wait."

"I am sorry for it," rejoined Fawkes. "I have just laid the train. The
lucky moment will pass."

And, locking the door, he proceeded with Catesby to the adjoining house.

They had scarcely been gone more than a second, when two figures muffled
in cloaks emerged from behind a wall.

"The train is laid," observed the foremost, "and they are gone to the
house. You might seize them now without danger."

"That will not answer my purpose," replied the other. "I will give them
another month."

"Another month!" replied the first speaker. "Who knows what may happen
in that time? They may abandon their project."

"There is no fear of that," replied the other. "But you had better go
and join them."



CHAPTER XI.

THE MARRIAGE IN THE FOREST.


Tresham, for it will have been conjectured that he was one of the
speakers mentioned in the preceding chapter, on separating from Lord
Mounteagle, took the same direction as the conspirators. He hesitated
for some time before venturing to knock at the garden-gate; and when he
had done so, felt half-disposed to take to his heels. But shame
restrained him; and hearing footsteps approach, he gave the customary
signal, and was instantly admitted by Guy Fawkes.

"What brings you here?" demanded the latter, as they entered the house,
and made fast the door behind them.

"I have just heard that Parliament is prorogued to the fifth of
November," replied Tresham, "and came to tell you so."

"I already know it," returned Fawkes, gloomily; "and for the first time
feel some misgiving as to the issue of our enterprise."

"Why so?" inquired Tresham.

"November is unlucky to me," rejoined Fawkes, "and I cannot recollect a
year in my life in which some ill has not befallen me during that month,
especially on the fifth day. On the last fifth of November, I nearly
died of a fever at Madrid. It is a strange and unfortunate coincidence
that the meeting of the Parliament should be appointed for that
particular day."

"Shall I tell you what I think it portends?" hesitated Tresham.

"Do so," replied Fawkes, "and speak boldly. I am no child to be
frightened at shadows."

"You have more than once declared your intention of perishing with our
foes," rejoined Tresham. "The design, though prosperous in itself, may
be fatal to you."

"You are right," replied Fawkes. "I have little doubt I shall perish on
that day. You are both aware of my superstitious nature, and are not
ignorant that many mysterious occurrences have combined to strengthen
the feeling,--such as the dying words of the prophetess, Elizabeth
Orton,--her warning speech when she was raised from the dead by Doctor
Dee,--and lastly, the vision at St. Winifred's Well. What if I tell you
the saint has again appeared to me?"

"In a dream?" inquired Catesby, in a slightly sceptical tone.

"Ay, in a dream," returned Fawkes. "But I saw her as plainly as if I had
been awake. It was the same vapoury figure--the same transparent robes,
the same benign countenance, only far more pitying than before--that I
beheld at Holywell. I heard no sound issue from her lips, but I _felt_
that she warned me to desist."

"Do you accept the warning?" asked Tresham, eagerly.

"It is needless to answer," replied Fawkes. "I have laid the train
to-night."

"You have infected me with your misgivings," observed Tresham. "Would
the enterprise had never been undertaken!"

"But being undertaken, it must be gone through with," rejoined Catesby,
sternly. "Hark'e, Tresham. You promised us two thousand pounds in aid of
the project, but have constantly deferred payment of the sum on some
plea or other."

"Because I have not been able to raise it," replied Tresham, sullenly.
"I have tried in vain to sell part of my estates at Rushton, in
Northamptonshire. I cannot effect impossibilities."

"Tush!" cried Catesby, fiercely. "You well know I ask no impossibility.
I will no longer be trifled with. The money must be forthcoming by the
tenth of October, or you shall pay the penalty with your life."

"This is the language of a cut-throat, Mr. Catesby," replied Tresham.

"It is the only language I will hold towards you," rejoined Catesby,
contemptuously. "Look you disappoint me not, or take the consequences."

"I must leave for Northamptonshire at once, then," said Tresham.

"Do as you please," returned Catesby. "Play the cut-throat yourself, and
ease some rich miser of his store, if you think fit. Bring us the money,
and we will not ask how you came by it."

"Before we separate," said Tresham, disregarding these sneers, "I wish
to be resolved on one point. Who are to be saved from destruction?"

"Why do you ask?" inquired Fawkes.

"Because I must stipulate for the lives of my brothers-in-law, the Lords
Mounteagle and Stourton."

"If anything detains them from the meeting, well and good," replied
Catesby. "But no warning must be given them. That would infallibly lead
to a discovery of the plot."

"Some means might surely be adopted to put them on their guard without
danger to ourselves?" urged Tresham.

"I know of none," replied Catesby.

"Nor I," added Fawkes. "If I did, I would warn Lord Montague, and some
others whom I shall grieve to destroy."

"We are all similarly circumstanced," replied Catesby. "Keyes is anxious
for the preservation of his patron and friend, Lord Mordaunt,--Percy,
for the Earl of Northumberland. I, myself, would gladly save the young
Earl of Arundel. But we must sacrifice our private feeling for the
general good."

"We must," acquiesced Fawkes.

"We shall not meet again till the night of the tenth of October," said
Catesby, "when take care you are in readiness with the money."

Upon this, the conversation dropped, and soon afterwards Tresham
departed.

When he found himself alone, he suffered his rage to find vent in words.
"Perdition seize them!" he cried, "I shall now lose two thousand pounds,
in addition to what I have already advanced; and, as Mounteagle will not
have the disclosure made till the beginning of November, there is no way
of avoiding payment. They would not fall into the snare I laid to throw
the blame of the discovery, when it takes place, upon their own
indiscretion. But I must devise some other plan. The warning shall
proceed from an unknown quarter. A letter, written in a feigned hand,
and giving some obscure intimation of danger, shall be delivered with an
air of mystery to Mounteagle. This will serve as a plea for its
divulgement to the Earl of Salisbury. Well, well, they shall have the
money; but they shall pay me back in other coin."

Early on the following day, Catesby and Fawkes proceeded to White Webbs.
Garnet was greatly surprised to see them, and could not conceal his
disappointment at the cause of their return.

"This delay bodes no good," he observed. "Parliament has been so often
prorogued, that I begin to think some suspicion is entertained of our
design."

"Make your mind easy, then," replied Catesby. "I have made due
inquiries, and find the meeting is postponed to suit the King's
convenience, who wishes to prolong his stay at Royston. He may probably
have some secret motive for the delay, but I am sure it in no way
concerns us."

Everything being now fully arranged, the conspirators had only to wait
patiently for the arrival of the expected fifth of November. Most of
them decided upon passing the interval in the country. Ambrose Rookwood
departed for Clopton, near Stratford-upon-Avon,--a seat belonging to
Lord Carew, where his family were staying. Keyes went to visit Lord
Mordaunt at Turvey, in Bedfordshire; and Percy and the two Wrights set
out for Gothurst, in Buckinghamshire, to desire Sir Everard Digby to
postpone the grand hunting-party which he was to hold at Dunsmore Heath,
as an excuse for mustering a strong party of Catholics, to the beginning
of November. The two Winters repaired to their family mansion,
Huddington, in Worcestershire; while Fawkes and Catesby, together with
the two priests, remained at White Webbs. The three latter held daily
conferences together, but were seldom joined by Fawkes, who passed his
time in the adjoining forest, selecting its densest and most intricate
parts for his rambles.

It was now the beginning of October, and, as is generally the case in
the early part of this month, the weather was fine, and the air pure and
bracing. The forest could scarcely have been seen to greater advantage.
The leaves had assumed their gorgeous autumnal tints, and the masses of
timber, variegated in colour, presented an inexpressibly beautiful
appearance. Guy Fawkes spent hours in the depths of the wood. His sole
companions were the lordly stag and the timid hare, that occasionally
started across his path. Since his return, he had sedulously avoided
Viviana, and they had met only twice, and then no speech had passed
between them. One day, when he had plunged even deeper than usual into
the forest, and had seated himself on the stump of a decayed tree, with
his eyes fixed on a small clear rivulet welling at his feet, he saw the
reflection of a female figure in the water; and, filled with the idea of
the vision of Saint Winifred, at first imagined he was about to receive
another warning. But a voice that thrilled to his heart's core, soon
undeceived him, and, turning, he beheld Viviana. She was habited in a
riding-dress, and appeared prepared to set out upon a journey.

"So you have tracked me to my solitude," he observed, in a tone of
forced coldness. "I thought I was secure from interruption here."

"You will forgive me, I am sure, when you know my errand," she replied.
"It is to take an eternal farewell of you."

"Indeed!" he exclaimed. "Are you about to quit White Webbs?"

"I am," she mournfully rejoined. "I am about to set out with Father
Oldcorne for Gothurst, where I shall remain till all is over."

"I entirely approve your determination," returned Fawkes, after a short
pause.

"I knew you would do so, or I should have consulted you upon it," she
rejoined. "And as you appear to avoid me, I would fain have departed
without taking leave of you, but found it impossible to do so."

"You well know my motive for avoiding you, Viviana," rejoined Fawkes.
"We are no longer what we were to each other. A fearful struggle has
taken place within me, though I have preserved an unmoved exterior,
between passion and the sense of my high calling. I have told you I
never loved before, and fancied my heart immoveable as adamant. But I
now find out my error. It is a prey to a raging and constant flame. I
have shunned you," he continued, with increased excitement, "because the
sight of you shakes my firmness,--because I feel it sinful to think of
you in preference to holier objects,--and because, after I have quitted
you, your image alone engrosses my thoughts. Here, in the depths of this
wood, by the side of this brook, I can commune with my soul,--can
abstract myself from the world and the thoughts of the world--from
you--yes, you, who are all the world to me now,--and prepare to meet my
end."

"Then you are resolved to die?" she cried.

"I shall abide the explosion, and nothing but a miracle can save me,"
returned Fawkes.

"And think not it will be exerted in your behalf," she replied. "Heaven
does not approve your design, and you will assuredly incur its vengeance
by your criminal conduct."

"Viviana," replied Guy Fawkes, rising, "man cannot read my heart, but
Heaven can; and the sincerity of my purpose will be recognised above.
What I am about to do is for the regeneration of our holy religion; and
if the welfare of that religion is dear to the Supreme Being, our cause
must prosper. If the contrary, it deserves to fail, and will fail. I
have ever told you that I care not what becomes of myself. I am now
more than ever indifferent to life,--or rather," he added, in a sombre
tone, "I am anxious to die."

"Your dreadful wish, I fear, will be accomplished," replied Viviana,
sadly. "I have been constantly haunted by frightful apprehensions
respecting you, and my dead father has appeared to me in my dreams. His
spirit, if such it were, seemed to gaze upon me with a mournful look,
and, as I thought, pronounced your name in piteous accents."

"These forebodings chime with my own," muttered Fawkes, repressing a
shudder; "but nothing shall shake me. It will inflict a bitter pang upon
me to part with you, Viviana,--the bitterest I can ever feel,--and I
shall be glad when it is over."

"I echo your own wish," she returned, "and deeply lament that we ever
met. But the fate that brought us together must for ever unite us."

"What mean you?" he inquired, gazing fixedly at her.

"There is one sad consolation which you can afford me, and which you owe
me for the deep and lasting misery I shall endure on your account,"
replied Viviana;--"a consolation that will enable me to bear your loss
with fortitude, and to devote myself wholly to Heaven."

"Whatever I can do that will not interfere with my purpose, you may
command," he rejoined.

"What I have to propose will not interfere with it," she answered. "Now,
hear me, and put the sole construction I deserve on my conduct. Father
Garnet is at a short distance from us, behind those trees, waiting my
summons. I have informed him of my design, and he approves of it. It is
to unite us in marriage--solemnly unite us--that though I may never live
with you as a wife, I may mourn you as a widow. Do you consent?"

Guy Fawkes returned an affirmative, in a voice broken by emotion.

"The moment the ceremony is over," pursued Viviana, "I shall start with
Father Oldcorne for Gothurst. We shall never meet again in this world."

"Unless I succeed," said Fawkes.

"You will _not_ succeed," replied Viviana. "If I thought so, I should
not take this step. I look upon it as an espousal with the dead."

So saying, she hurried away, and disappearing beneath the covert,
returned in a few seconds with Garnet.

"I have a strange duty to perform for you, my son," said Garnet to
Fawkes, who remained motionless and stupified; "but I am right willing
to perform it, because I think it will lead to your future happiness
with the fair creature who has bestowed her affections on you."

"Do not speculate on the future, father," cried Viviana. "You know _why_
I asked you to perform this ceremony. You know, also, that I have made
preparations for instant departure; and that I indulge no hope of seeing
Guy Fawkes again."

"All this I know, dear daughter," returned Garnet; "but, in spite of
your anticipations of ill, I still hope that your union may prove
auspicious."

"I take you to witness, father," said Viviana, "that in bestowing my
hand upon Guy Fawkes, I bestow at the same time all my possessions upon
him. He is free to use them as he thinks proper,--even in the
furtherance of his design against the state, which, though I cannot
approve it, seems good to him."

"This must not be," cried Fawkes.

"It _shall be_," rejoined Viviana. "Proceed with the ceremony, father."

"Let her have her own way, my son," observed Garnet, in a low tone.
"Under any circumstances, her estates must now be necessarily yours."

He then took a breviary from his vest, and placing them near each other,
began to read aloud the marriage-service appointed by the Romish Church.
And there, in that secluded spot, and under such extraordinary
circumstances, with no other witnesses than the ancient trees around
them, and the brook rippling at their feet, were Guy Fawkes and Viviana
united. The ceremony over, Guy Fawkes pressed his bride to his breast,
and imprinted a kiss upon her lips.

"I have broken my faith to Heaven, to which I was first espoused," he
cried.

"No," she returned; "you will now return to your first and holiest
choice. Think of me only as I shall think of you,--as of the dead."

With this, the party slowly and silently returned to the house, where
they found a couple of steeds, with luggage strapped to the saddles, at
the door.

Father Oldcorne was already mounted, and in a few minutes Viviana was by
his side. Before her departure, she bade Guy Fawkes a tender farewell;
and at this trying juncture her firmness nearly deserted her. But
rousing herself, she sprang upon her horse, and urging the animal into a
quick pace, and followed by Oldcorne, she speedily disappeared from
view. Guy Fawkes watched her out of sight, and shunning the regards of
Catesby, who formed one of the group, struck into the forest, and was
not seen again till the following day.

The tenth of October having arrived, Guy Fawkes and Catesby repaired to
the place of rendezvous. But the night passed, and Tresham did not
appear. Catesby was angry and disappointed, and could not conceal his
apprehensions of treachery. Fawkes took a different view of the matter,
and thought it not improbable that their confederate's absence might be
occasioned by the difficulty he found in complying with their demands;
and this opinion was confirmed the next morning by the arrival of a
letter from Tresham, stating that he had been utterly unable to effect
the sales he contemplated, and could not, therefore, procure the money
till the end of the month.

"I will immediately go down to Rushton," said Catesby, "and if I find
him disposed to palter with us, I will call him to instant account. But
Garnet informs me that Viviana has bestowed all her wealth upon you. Are
you willing to devote it to the good cause?"

"No!" replied Fawkes, in a tone so decisive that his companion felt it
would be useless to urge the matter further. "I give my life to the
cause,--that must suffice."

The subject was never renewed. At night, Catesby, having procured a
powerful steed, set out upon his journey to Northamptonshire, while
Fawkes returned to White Webbs.

About a fortnight passed unmarked by any event of importance. Despatches
were received from Catesby, stating that he had received the money from
Tresham, and had expended it in procuring horses and arms. He also added
that he had raised numerous recruits on various pretences. This letter
was dated from Ashby St. Leger's, the seat of his mother, Lady Catesby,
but he expressed his intention of proceeding to Coughton Hall, near
Alcester, in Warwickshire, the residence of Mr. Thomas Throckmorton (a
wealthy Catholic gentleman), whither Sir Everard Digby had removed with
his family, to be in readiness for the grand hunting-party to be held on
the fifth of November on Dunsmore Heath. Here he expected to be joined
by the two Wrights, the Winters, Rookwood, Keyes, and the rest of the
conspirators, and undertook to bring them all up to White Webbs on
Saturday the twenty-sixth of October.

By this time, Guy Fawkes had in a great degree recovered his equanimity,
and left alone with Garnet, held long and frequent religious conferences
with him; it being evidently his desire to prepare himself for his
expected fate. He spent the greater part of the nights in solitary
vigils--fasted even more rigorously than he was enjoined to do--and
prayed with such fervour and frequency, that, fearing an ill effect upon
his health, and almost upon his mind, which had become exalted to the
highest pitch of enthusiasm, Garnet thought it necessary to check him.
The priest did not fail to note that Viviana's name never passed his
lips, and that in all their walks in the forest he carefully shunned the
scene of his espousals.

And thus time flew by. On the evening of the twenty-sixth of October, in
accordance with Catesby's intimation, the conspirators arrived. They
were all assembled at supper, and were relating the different
arrangements which had been made in anticipation of the important
event, when Garnet observed with a look of sudden uneasiness to Catesby,
"You said in one of your letters that you would bring Tresham with you,
my son. Why do I not see him?"

"He sent a message to Coughton to state, that having been attacked by a
sudden illness, he was unable to join us," replied Catesby, "but as soon
as he could leave his bed, he would hasten to London. This may be a
subterfuge, but I shall speedily ascertain the truth, for I have sent my
servant Bates to Rushton, to investigate the matter. I ought to tell
you," he added, "that he has given substantial proof of his devotion to
the cause by sending another thousand pounds, to be expended in the
purchase of arms and horses."

"I hope it is not dust thrown into our eyes," returned Garnet. "I have
always feared Tresham would deceive us at the last."

"This sudden illness looks suspicious, I must own," said Catesby. "Has
aught been heard of Lord Mounteagle?"

"Guy Fawkes heard that he was at his residence at Southwark yesterday,"
returned Garnet.

"So far, good," replied Catesby. "Did you visit the cellar where the
powder is deposited?" he added, turning to Fawkes.

"I did," replied the other, "and found all secure. The powder is in
excellent preservation. Before quitting the spot, I placed certain
private marks against the door, by which I can tell whether it is opened
during our absence."

"A wise precaution," returned Catesby. "And now, gentlemen," he added,
filling a goblet with wine, "success to our enterprise! Everything is
prepared," he continued, as the pledge was enthusiastically drunk; "I
have got together a company of above two hundred men, all well armed and
appointed, who will follow me wherever I choose to lead them. They will
be stationed near Dunsmore Heath on the fifth of next month, and as soon
as the event of the explosion is known, I shall ride thither as fast as
I can, and, hurrying with my troops to Coventry, seize the Princess
Elizabeth. Percy and Keyes will secure the person of the Duke of York,
and proclaim him King; while upon the rest will devolve the arduous duty
of rousing our Catholic brethren in London to rise to arms."

"Trust to us to rouse them," shouted several voices.

"Let each man swear not to swerve from the fulfilment of his task,"
cried Catesby; "swear it upon this cup of wine, in which we will all mix
our blood."

And as he spoke, he pricked his arm with the point of his sword, and
suffered a few drops of blood to fall into the goblet, while the others,
roused to a state of frenzied enthusiasm, imitated his example, and
afterwards raised the horrible mixture to their lips, pronouncing at the
same time the oath.

Guy Fawkes was the last to take the pledge, and crying in a loud voice,
"I swear not to quit my post till the explosion is over," he drained the
cup.

After this, they adjourned to a room in another wing of the house,
fitted up as a chapel, where mass was performed by Garnet, and the
sacrament administered to the whole assemblage. They were about to
retire for the night, when a sudden knocking was heard at the door.
Reconnoitring the intruder through an upper window, overlooking the
court, Catesby perceived it was Bates, who was holding a smoking and
mud-bespattered steed by the bridle.

"Well, what news do you bring?" cried Catesby, as he admitted him. "Have
you seen Tresham?"

"No," replied Bates. "His illness was a mere pretence. He has left
Rushton secretly for London."

"I knew it," cried Garnet. "He has again betrayed us."

"He shall die," said Catesby.

And the determination was echoed by all the other conspirators.

Instead of retiring to rest, they passed the night in anxious
deliberation, and it was at last proposed that Guy Fawkes should proceed
without loss of time to Southwark, to keep watch near the house of Lord
Mounteagle, and if possible ascertain whether Tresham had visited it.

To this he readily agreed. But before setting out, he took Catesby aside
for a moment, and asked, "Did you see Viviana at Coughton?"

"Only for a moment, and that just before I left the place," was the
answer. "She desired to be remembered to you, and said you were never
absent from her thoughts or prayers."

Guy Fawkes turned away to hide his emotion, and mounting one of the
horses brought by the conspirators, rode off towards London.



CHAPTER XII.

THE FIFTH OF NOVEMBER.


On the same day as the occurrences last related, Lord Mounteagle, who
was then staying at Southwark, suddenly intimated his intention of
passing the night at his country mansion at Hoxton; a change of place
which, trivial as it seemed at the moment, afterwards assumed an
importance, from the circumstances that arose out of it. At the latter
part of the day, he accordingly proceeded to Hoxton, accompanied by his
customary attendants, and all appeared to pass on as usual, until, just
as supper was over, one of his pages arrived from town, and desired to
see his lordship immediately.

Affecting to treat the matter with indifference, Lord Mounteagle
carelessly ordered the youth to be ushered into his presence; and when
he appeared, he demanded his business. The page replied, that he brought
a letter for his lordship, which had been delivered under circumstances
of great mystery.

"I had left the house just as it grew dusk," he said, "on an errand of
little importance, when a man, muffled in a cloak, suddenly issued from
behind a corner, and demanded whether I was one of your lordship's
servants? On my replying in the affirmative, he produced this letter,
and enjoined me, as I valued my life and your lordship's safety, to
deliver it into your own hands without delay."

So saying, he delivered the letter to his lord, who, gazing at its
address, which was, "To the Right Honourable the Lord Mounteagle,"
observed, "There is nothing very formidable in its appearance. What can
it mean?"

Without even breaking the seal, which was secured with a silken thread,
he gave it to one of his gentlemen, named Ward, who was standing near
him.

"Read it aloud, sir," said the Earl, with a slight smile. "I have no
doubt it is some vapouring effusion, which will afford us occasion for
laughter. Before I hear what the writer has to say, I can promise him he
shall not intimidate me."

Thus exhorted, Ward broken open the letter, and read as follows:--

"My lord, out of the love I bear to some of your friends, I have a care
of your preservation. Therefore I would advise you, as you tender your
life, to devise some excuse to shift from your attendance at this
Parliament, for God and man have concurred to punish the wickedness of
this time. Think not slightingly of this advice, but retire into the
country, where you may expect the event in safety; for, though there be
no appearance of any stir, yet I say they shall receive a terrible blow
this Parliament, and yet they shall not know who hurts them. This
counsel is not to be contemned. It may do you good, and can do you no
harm, for the danger is passed as soon as you have burned the letter.
God, I hope, will give you grace to make good use of it, to whose holy
protection I commend you."

"A singular letter!" exclaimed Mounteagle, as soon as Ward had finished.
"What is your opinion of it?"

"I think it hints at some dangerous plot, my lord," replied Ward, who
had received his instructions, "some treason against the state. With
submission, I would advise your lordship instantly to take it to the
Earl of Salisbury."

"I see nothing in it," replied the Earl. "What is your opinion, Mervyn?"
he added, turning to another of his gentlemen, to whom he had likewise
given his lesson.

"I am of the same mind as Ward," replied the attendant.

"Your lordship will hardly hold yourself excused, if you neglect to give
due warning, should aught occur hereafter."

"Say you so, sirs?" cried Lord Mounteagle. "Let me hear it once more."

The letter was accordingly read again by Ward, and the Earl feigned to
weigh over each passage.

"I am advised not to attend the Parliament," he said, "'for God and man
have concurred to punish the wickedness of this time.' That is too vague
to be regarded. Then I am urged to retire into the country. The
recommendation must proceed from some discontented Catholic, who does
not wish me to be present at the opening of the house. This is not the
first time I have been so adjured. 'They shall receive a terrible blow
this Parliament, and yet shall not know who hurts them.' That is
mysterious enough, but it may mean nothing,--any more than what follows,
namely, 'the danger is passed as soon as you have burnt the letter.'"

"I do not think so, my lord," replied Ward; "and though I cannot explain
the riddle, I am sure it means mischief."

"Well," said Lord Mounteagle, "since you are of this mind, I must lose
no time in communicating the letter to the Secretary of State. It is
better to err on the safe side."

Accordingly, after some further consultation, he set out at that late
hour for Whitehall, where he roused the Earl of Salisbury, and showed
him the letter. It is almost needless to state that the whole was a
preconcerted scheme between these two crafty statesmen; but as the
interview took place in the presence of their attendants, the utmost
caution was observed.

Salisbury pretended to be greatly alarmed at the communication, and
coupling it, he said, with previous intelligence which he had received,
he could not help fearing, to adopt the words of the writer of the
mysterious letter, that the Parliament was indeed threatened with some
"terrible blow." Acting, apparently, upon this supposition, he caused
such of the lords of the Privy Council as lodged at Whitehall to be
summoned, and submitting the letter to them, they all concurred in the
opinion that it referred to some dangerous plot, though none could give
a guess at its precise nature.

"It is clearly some Popish project," said Salisbury, "or Lord Mounteagle
would not have been the party warned. We must keep a look-out upon the
disaffected of his faith."

"As I have been the means of revealing the plot to your lordship--if
plot it be--I must pray you to deal gently with them," rejoined
Mounteagle.

"I will be as lenient as I can," returned Salisbury; "but in a matter of
this kind little favour can be shown. If your lordship will enable me to
discover the principal actors in this affair, I will take care that no
innocent party suffers."

"You ask an impossibility," replied Mounteagle. "I know nothing beyond
what can be gathered from that letter. But I pray your lordship not to
make it a means of exercising unnecessary severity towards the members
of my religion."

"On that you may rely," returned the Earl. "His Majesty will not return
from the hunting expedition on which he is engaged at Royston till
Thursday next, the 30th. I think it scarcely worth while (considering
his naturally timid nature, with which your lordships are well
acquainted) to inform him of the threatened danger, until his arrival at
the palace. It will then be time enough to take any needful steps, as
Parliament will not meet for four or five days afterwards."

In the policy of this course the Privy Councillors agreed, and it was
arranged that the matter should be kept perfectly secret until the
King's opinion had been taken upon the letter. The assemblage then broke
up, it being previously arranged that, for fear of some attempt upon his
life, Lord Mounteagle should remain within the palace till full
inquiries had been instituted into the affair.

When the two confederate nobles were left alone, Salisbury observed,
with a slight laugh, to his companion,

"Thus far we have proceeded well, and without suspicion, and, rely upon
it, none shall fall on you. As soon as all is over, the most important
post the King has to bestow shall be yours."

"But what of Tresham?" asked Mounteagle. "He was the deliverer of this
letter, and I have little faith in him."

"Hum!" said Salisbury, after a moment's reflection, "if you think it
desirable, we can remove him to the Tower, where he can be easily
silenced."

"It will be better so," replied Mounteagle. "He may else babble
hereafter. I gave him a thousand pounds to send in his own name to the
conspirators the other day to lure them into our nets."

"It shall be repaid you a hundred-fold," replied Salisbury. "But we are
observed, and must therefore separate."

So saying, he withdrew to his own chamber, while Lord Mounteagle was
ushered to the apartments allotted to him.

To return to Guy Fawkes. Arriving at Southwark, he stationed himself
near Lord Mounteagle's residence. But he observed nothing to awaken his
suspicions, until early in the morning he perceived a page approaching
the mansion, whom, from his livery, he knew to be one of Lord
Mounteagle's household, (it was, in fact, the very youth who had
delivered the mysterious letter,) and from him he ascertained all that
had occurred. Filled with alarm, and scarcely knowing what to do, he
crossed the river, and proceeding to the cellar, examined the marks at
the door, and finding all precisely as he had left it, felt certain,
that whatever discovery had been made, the magazine had not been
visited.

He next repaired to the house, of which he possessed the key, and was
satisfied that no one had been there. Somewhat relieved by this, he yet
determined to keep watch during the day, and concealing himself near the
cellar, remained on the look-out till night. But no one came; nor did
anything occur to excite his suspicions. He would not, however, quit his
post till about six o'clock on the following evening, when, thinking
further delay might be attended with danger, he set out to White Webbs,
to give his companions intelligence of the letter.

His news was received by all with the greatest alarm, and not one,
except Catesby, who strove to put a bold face upon the matter, though he
was full of inward misgiving, but confessed that he thought all chance
of success was at an end. While deliberating upon what should be done in
this fearful emergency, they were greatly alarmed by a sudden knocking
without. All the conspirators concealed themselves, except Guy Fawkes,
who opening the door, found, to his infinite surprise, that the summons
proceeded from Tresham. He said nothing till the other had entered the
house, and then suddenly drawing his dagger, held it to his throat.

"Make your shrift quickly, traitor," he cried in a furious tone, "for
your last hour is arrived. What ho!" he shouted to the others, who
instantly issued from their hiding-places, "the fox has ventured into
the lion's den."

"You distrust me wrongfully," rejoined Tresham, with more confidence
than he usually exhibited in time of danger; "I am come to warn you, not
betray you. Is this the return you make me for the service?"

"Villain!" cried Catesby, rushing up to him, and holding his drawn sword
to his breast. "You have conveyed the letter to Lord Mounteagle."

"It is false," replied Tresham; "I have only just heard of it; and, in
spite of the risk I knew I should run from your suspicions, I came to
tell you what had happened."

"Why did you feign illness, and depart secretly for town, instead of
joining us at Coughton?" demanded Catesby.

"I will instantly explain my motive, which, though it may not be
satisfactory to you on one point, will be so on another," replied
Tresham unhesitatingly, and with apparent frankness. "I was fearful you
would make a further tool of me, and resolved not to join you again till
a few days before the outbreak of the plot. To this determination I
should have adhered, had I not learnt to-night that a letter had been
transmitted by some one to Lord Mounteagle, which he had conveyed to the
Earl of Salisbury. It may not convey any notion of the plot, but it is
certain to occasion alarm, and I thought it my duty, in spite of every
personal consideration, to give you warning. If you design to escape,
there is yet time. A vessel lies in the river, in which we can all
embark for Flanders."

"Can he be innocent?" said Catesby in a whisper to Garnet.

"If I had betrayed you," continued Tresham, "I should not have come
hither. And I have no motive for such baseness, for I am in equal danger
with yourselves. But though the alarm has been given, I do not think any
discovery will be made. They are evidently on the wrong scent."

"I hope so," replied Catesby; "but I fear the contrary."

"Shall I put him to death?" demanded Fawkes of Garnet.

"Do not sully your hands with his blood, my son," returned Garnet. "If
he has betrayed us, he will reap the traitor's reward here and
hereafter. If he has not, it would be to take away a life unjustly. Let
him depart. We shall feel more secure without him."

"Will it be safe to set him free, father?" cried Fawkes.

"I think so," replied Garnet. "We will not admit him to our further
conferences; but let us act mercifully."

The major part of the conspirators concurring in this opinion, though
Fawkes and Catesby were opposed to it, Tresham was suffered to depart.
As soon as he was gone, Garnet avowed that the further prosecution of
the design appeared so hazardous, that it ought to be abandoned, and
that, in his opinion, each of the conspirators had better consult his
own safety by flight. He added, that at some future period the design
might be resumed, or another planned, which might be more securely
carried out.

After much discussion, all seemed disposed to acquiesce in the proposal,
except Fawkes, who adhered doggedly to his purpose, and treated the
danger so slightingly, that he gradually brought the others round to his
views. At length, it was resolved that Garnet should set out immediately
for Coughton Hall, and place himself under the protection of Sir Everard
Digby, and there await the result of the attempt, while the other
conspirators decided upon remaining in town, in some secure places of
concealment, until the event was known. Unmoved as ever, Guy Fawkes
declared his intention of watching over the magazine of powder.

"If anything happens to me," he said, "you will take care of yourselves.
You well know nothing will be wrung from me."

Catesby and the others, aware of his resolute nature, affected to
remonstrate with him, but they willingly suffered him to take his own
course. Attended by Bates, Garnet then set out for Warwickshire, and the
rest of the conspirators proceeded to London, where they dispersed,
after appointing Lincoln's Inn Walks as their place of midnight
rendezvous. Each then made preparations for sudden flight, in case it
should be necessary, and Rookwood provided relays of horses all the way
to Dunchurch.

Guy Fawkes alone remained at his post. He took up his abode in the
cellar, resolved to blow up himself together with his foes, in case of a
surprise.

On Thursday, the 31st of October, the King returned to Whitehall, and
the mysterious letter was laid before him in the presence of the Privy
Council by the Earl of Salisbury. James perused it carefully, but could
scarcely hide his perplexity.

"Your Majesty will not fail to remark the expressions, 'a terrible blow'
to the Parliament, and 'that the danger will be past as soon as you have
burnt the letter,' evidently referring to combustion," observed the
Earl.

"You are right, Salisbury," said James, snatching at the suggestion. "I
should not wonder if these mischievous Papists mean to blow us all up
with gunpowder."

"Your Majesty has received a divine illumination," returned the Earl.
"Such an idea never occurred to me; but it must be as you intimate."

"Undoubtedly--undoubtedly," replied the monarch, pleased with the
compliment to his sagacity, though alarmed by the danger; "but what
desperate traitors they must be to imagine such a deed! Blow us up!
God's mercy, that were a dreadful death! And yet that must evidently be
the meaning of the passage. How else can it be construed, except by
reference to the suddenness of the act, which might be as quickly
performed as that paper would take to be consumed in the fire?"

"Your Majesty's penetration has discovered the truth," replied
Salisbury, "and by the help of your wisdom, I will fully develop this
dark design. Where, think you, the powder may lie hidden?"

"Are there any vaults beneath the Parliament House?" demanded James,
trembling. "Heaven save us! We have often walked there--perhaps, over a
secret mine."

"There are," replied Salisbury; "and I am again indebted to your Majesty
for a most important suggestion. Not a corner in the vaults shall be
left unsearched. But, perhaps you will think with me, that, in order to
catch these traitors in their own trap, it will be well to defer the
search till the very night before the meeting of Parliament."

"I was about to recommend such a course myself, Salisbury," replied
James.

"I was sure you would think so," returned the Earl; "and now I must
entreat you to dismiss the subject from your thoughts, and to sleep
securely; for you may rely upon it (after your Majesty's discovery) that
the plot shall be fully unravelled."

The significant tone in which the Earl uttered the latter part of this
speech, convinced the King that he knew more of the matter than he cared
to confess; and he contented himself with saying, "Well, let it be so.
I trust all to you. But I at once divined their purpose,--I at once
divined it."

The Council then broke up, and James laughed and chuckled to himself at
the discernment he had displayed. Nor was he less pleased with his
minister for the credit given him in the affair. But he took care not to
enter the Parliament House.

On the afternoon of Monday, the 4th of November, the Lord Chamberlain,
accompanied by the Lords Salisbury and Mounteagle, visited the cellars
and vaults beneath the Parliament House. For some time, they discovered
nothing to excite suspicion. At length, probably at the suggestion of
Lord Mounteagle, who, as will be recollected, was acquainted with the
situation of the magazine, they proceeded to the cellar, where they
found the store of powder; but not meeting with any of the conspirators,
as they expected, they disturbed nothing, and went away, reporting the
result of their search to the King.

By the recommendation of the Earl of Salisbury, James advised that a
guard should be placed near the cellar during the whole of the night,
consisting of Topcliffe and a certain number of attendants, and headed
by Sir Thomas Knevet, a magistrate of Westminster, upon whose courage
and discretion full reliance could be placed. Lord Mounteagle also
requested permission to keep guard with them to witness the result of
the affair. To this the King assented, and as soon as it grew dark, the
party secretly took up their position at a point commanding the entrance
of the magazine.

Fawkes, who chanced to be absent at the time the search was made,
returned a few minutes afterwards, and remained within the cellar,
seated upon a barrel of gunpowder, the head of which he had staved in,
with a lantern in one hand, and petronel in the other, till past
midnight.

The fifth of November was now at hand, and the clock of the adjoining
abbey had scarcely ceased tolling the hour that proclaimed its arrival,
when Fawkes, somewhat wearied with his solitary watching, determined to
repair, for a short space, to the adjoining house. He accordingly
quitted the cellar, leaving his lantern lighted within it in one corner.

Opening the door, he gazed cautiously around, but perceiving nothing,
after waiting a few seconds, he proceeded to lock the door. While thus
employed, he thought he heard a noise behind him, and turning suddenly,
he beheld through the gloom several persons rushing towards him,
evidently with hostile intent. His first impulse was to draw a petronel,
and grasp his sword: but before he could effect his purpose, his arms
were pinioned by a powerful grasp from behind, while the light of a
lantern thrown full in his face revealed the barrel of a petronel
levelled at his head, and an authoritative voice commanded him in the
King's name to surrender.

[Illustration: _Guy Fawkes arrested by Sir Thomas Knevet and
Topcliffe_]



CHAPTER XIII.

THE FLIGHT OF THE CONSPIRATORS.


On the same night, and at the same hour that Guy Fawkes was captured,
the other conspirators held their rendezvous in Lincoln's Inn Walks. A
presentiment of the fate awaiting them filled the breasts of all, and
even Catesby shared in the general depression. Plan after plan was
proposed, and, as soon as proposed, rejected; and they seemed influenced
only by alarm and irresolution. Feeling at length that nothing could be
done, and that they were only increasing their risk by remaining
together longer, they agreed to separate, appointing to meet at the same
place on the following night, if their project should not, in the
interim, be discovered.

"Before daybreak," said Catesby, "I will proceed to the cellar under the
Parliament House, and ascertain whether anything has happened to Guy
Fawkes. My heart misgives me about him, and I reproach myself that I
have allowed him to incur this peril alone."

"Guy Fawkes is arrested," said a voice near them, "and is at this moment
under examination before the King."

"It is Tresham who speaks," cried Catesby; "secure him!"

The injunction was instantly obeyed. Tresham was seized, and several
weapons pointed against his breast. He did not, however, appear to be
dismayed, but, so far as could be discerned in the obscurity, seemed to
maintain great boldness of demeanour.

"I have again ventured among you, at the hazard of my life," he said, in
a firm tone, "to give you this most important intelligence; and am
requited, as I have ever been of late, with menaces and violence. Stab
me, and see whether my death will avail you in this extremity. I am in
equal danger with yourselves; and whether I perish by your hands, or by
those of the executioner, is of little moment."

"Let me question him before we avenge ourselves upon him," said Catesby
to Rookwood. "How do you know that Guy Fawkes is a prisoner?"

"I saw him taken," replied Tresham, "and esteem myself singularly
fortunate that I escaped the same fate. Though excluded from further
share in the project, I could not divest myself of a strong desire to
know how matters were going on, and I resolved to visit the cellar
secretly at midnight. As I stealthily approached it, I remarked several
armed figures beneath a gateway, and conjecturing their purpose,
instantly concealed myself behind a projection of the wall. I had not
been in this situation many minutes, when the cellar door opened, and
Guy Fawkes issued from it."

"Well!" cried Catesby, breathlessly.

"The party I had noticed immediately rushed forward, and secured him
before he could offer any resistance," continued Tresham. "After a brief
struggle, certain of their number dragged him into the cellar, while
others kept watch without. I should now have flown, but my limbs refused
their office, and I was therefore compelled, however reluctantly, to see
the end of it. In a short time Guy Fawkes was brought forth again, and I
heard some one in authority give directions that he should be instantly
taken to Whitehall, to be interrogated before the King and the Privy
Council. He was then led away, and a guard placed at the door of the
cellar. Feeling certain I should be discovered, I continued for some
time in an agony of apprehension, not daring to stir. But, at length,
summoning up sufficient resolution, I crept cautiously along the side of
the wall, and got off unperceived. My first object was to warn you."

"How did you become acquainted with our place of rendezvous?" demanded
the elder Wright.

"I overheard you, at our last interview at White Webbs, appoint a
midnight meeting in this place," replied Tresham, "and I hurried hither
in the hope of finding you, and have not been disappointed."

"When I give the word, plunge your swords into his breast," said
Catesby, in a low tone.

"Hold!" cried Percy, taking him aside. "If we put him to death in this
spot, his body will be found, and his slaughter may awaken suspicions
against us. Guy Fawkes will reveal nothing."

"Of that I am well assured," said Catesby. "Shall we take the traitor
with us to some secure retreat, where we can detain him till we learn
what takes place at the palace, and if we find he has betrayed us,
despatch him?"

"That would answer no good purpose," returned Percy "The sooner we are
rid of him the better. We can then deliberate as to what is best to be
done."

"You are right," rejoined Catesby. "If he _has_ betrayed us, life will
be a burthen to him, and the greatest kindness we could render him would
be to rid him of it. Let him go. Tresham," he added, in a loud voice,
"you are free. But we meet no more."

"We have not parted yet," cried the traitor, springing backwards, and
uttering a loud cry. "I arrest you all in the King's name."

The signal was answered by a band of soldiers, who emerged from behind
the trees where they had hitherto been concealed, and instantly
surrounded the conspirators.

"It is now my turn to threaten," laughed Tresham.

Catesby replied by drawing a petronel, and firing it in the supposed
direction of the speaker. But he missed his mark. The ball lodged in the
brain of a soldier who was standing beside him, and the ill-fated wretch
fell to the ground.

A desperate conflict now ensued. Topcliffe, who commanded the assailing
party, ordered his followers to take the conspirators alive, and it was
mainly owing to this injunction that the latter were indebted for their
safety. Whispering his directions to his companions, Catesby gave the
word, and making a simultaneous rush forward, they broke through the
opposing ranks, and instantly dispersing, and favoured by the gloom,
they baffled pursuit.

"We have failed in this part of our scheme," said Tresham to Topcliffe,
as they met half an hour afterwards. "What is to be done?"

"We must take the Earl of Salisbury's advice upon it," returned
Topcliffe. "I shall now hasten to Whitehall to see how Guy Fawkes's
interrogation proceeds, and will communicate with his lordship."

Upon this, they separated.

None of the conspirators met again that night. Each fled in a different
direction, and, ignorant of what had happened to the rest, sought some
secure retreat. Catesby ran towards Chancery-lane, and passing through a
narrow alley, entered the large gardens which then lay between this
thoroughfare and Fetter-lane. Listening to hear whether he was pursued,
and finding nothing to alarm him, he threw himself on the sod beneath a
tree, and was lost in painful reflection.

"All my fair schemes are marred by that traitor, Tresham," he muttered.
"I could forgive myself for being duped by him, if I had slain him when
he was in my power. But that he should escape to exult in our ruin, and
reap the reward of his perfidy, afflicts me even more than failure."

Tortured by thoughts like these, and in vain endeavouring to snatch such
brief repose as would fit him for the fatigue he might have to endure on
the morrow, he did not quit his position till late in the morning of a
dull November day--it was, as will be recollected, the memorable
Fifth--had arrived.

He then arose, and slouching his hat, and wrapping his cloak around him,
shaped his course towards Fleet-street. From the knots of persons
gathered together at different corners,--from their muttered discourse
and mysterious looks, as well as from the general excitement that
prevailed,--he felt sure that some rumour of the plot had gone abroad.
Shunning observation as much as he could, he entered a small tavern near
Fleet Bridge, and called for a flask of wine and some food. While
discussing these, he was attracted by the discourse of the landlord, who
was conversing with his guests about the conspiracy.

"I hear that all the Papists are to be hanged, drawn, and quartered,"
cried the host; "and if it be true, as I have heard, that this plot is
their contrivance, they deserve it. I hope I have no believer in that
faith--no recusant in my house."

"Don't insult us by any such suspicion," cried one of the guests. "We
are all loyal men--all good Protestants."

"Do you know whether the conspirators have been discovered, sir?" asked
the host of Catesby.

"I do not even know of the plot," replied the other. "What was its
object?"

"What was its object!" cried the host. "You will scarcely credit me when
I tell you. I tremble to speak of it. Its object was to blow up the
Parliament House, and the King and all the nobles and prelates of the
land along with it."

"Horrible!" exclaimed the guests.

"But how do you know it is a scheme of the Papists?" asked Catesby.

"Because I have been told so," rejoined the host. "But who else could
devise such a monstrous plan? It would never enter into the head or
heart of a Protestant to conceive so detestable an action. We love our
King too well for that, and would shed the last drop of our blood rather
than a hair of his head should be injured. But these priest-ridden
Papists think otherwise. They regard him as a usurper; and having
received a dispensation from the Pope to that effect, fancy it would be
a pious act to remove him. There will be no tranquillity in the kingdom
while one of them is left alive; and I hope his Majesty will take
advantage of the present ferment to order a general massacre of them,
like that of the poor Protestants on Saint Bartholomew's day in Paris."

"Ay,--massacre them," cried the guests; "that's the way. Burn their
houses and cut their throats. Will it be lawful to do so without further
authority, mine host? If so, we will set about it immediately."

"I cannot resolve you on that point," replied the landlord. "You had
better wait a short time. I dare say their slaughter will be publicly
commanded."

"Heaven grant it may be so!" cried one of the guests. "I will bear my
part in the business."

Catesby arose, paid his reckoning, and strode out of the tavern.

"Do you know, mine host," said the guest who had last spoken, "I half
suspect that tall fellow, who has just left us, is a Papist."

"Perhaps a conspirator," said another.

"Let us watch him," cried a third.

"Stay," cried the host, "he has paid me double my reckoning. I believe
him to be an honest man and a good Protestant."

"What you say confirms my suspicions," rejoined the first speaker. "We
will follow him."

On reaching Temple Bar, Catesby found the gates closed, and a guard
stationed at them,--no one being allowed to pass through without
examination. Not willing to expose himself to this scrutiny, Catesby
turned away, and in doing so, perceived three of the persons he had just
left in the tavern. The expression of their countenances satisfied him
they were dogging him; but affecting not to perceive it, he retraced his
steps, gradually quickening his pace until he reached a narrow street
leading into Whitefriars, down which he darted. The moment his pursuers
saw this, they hurried after him, shouting, "A Papist--a Papist!--a
conspirator!"

But Catesby was now safe. Claiming the protection of certain Alsatians
who were lounging at the door of a tavern, and offering to reward them,
they instantly drew their swords, and drove the others away, while
Catesby, tossing a few pieces of money to his preservers, passed through
a small doorway into the Temple, and making the best of his way to the
stairs, leaped into a boat, and ordered the waterman to row to
Westminster. The man obeyed, and plying his oars, soon gained the middle
of the stream. Little way, however, had been made, when Catesby descried
a large wherry, manned by several rowers, swiftly approaching them, and
instinctively comprehending whom it contained, ordered the man to rest
on his oars till it had passed.

In a few moments the wherry approached them. It was filled with
serjeants of the guard and halberdiers, in the midst of whom sat Guy
Fawkes. Catesby could not resist the impulse that prompted him to rise,
and the movement attracted the attention of the prisoner. The momentary
glance they exchanged convinced Catesby that Fawkes perceived him,
though his motionless features gave no token of recognition, and he
immediately afterwards fixed his eyes towards heaven, as if to
intimate,--at least Catesby so construed the gesture,--that his earthly
career was well-nigh ended. Heaving a deep sigh, Catesby watched the
wherry sweep on towards the Tower,--its fatal destination,--until it was
lost to view.

"All is over, I fear, with the bravest of our band," he thought, as he
tracked its course; "but some effort must be made to save him. At all
events, we will die sword in hand, and like soldiers, and not as common
malefactors."

Abandoning his intention of proceeding to Westminster, he desired the
man to pull ashore, and landing at Arundel Stairs, hastened to the
Strand. Here he found large crowds collected, the shops closed, and
business completely at a stand. Nothing was talked of but the
conspiracy, and the most exaggerated and extraordinary accounts of it
were circulated and believed. Some would have it that the Parliament
House was already blown up, and that the city of London itself had been
set fire to in several places by the Papists. It was also stated that
numerous arrests had taken place, and it was certain that the houses of
several Catholic nobles and wealthy gentlemen had been searched. To such
a height was the popular indignation raised, that it required the utmost
efforts of the soldiery to prevent the mob from breaking into these
houses, and using violence towards their inmates.

Every gate and avenue to the palace was strictly guarded, and troops of
horse were continually scouring the streets. Sentinels were placed
before suspected houses, and no one was suffered to enter them, or to go
forth without special permission. Detachments of soldiery were also
stationed at the end of all the main thoroughfares. Bars were thrown
across the smaller streets and outlets, and proclamation was made that
no one was to quit the city, however urgent his business, for three
days.

On hearing this announcement, Catesby saw at once that if he did not
effect his escape immediately, it would be impracticable. Accordingly,
he hurried towards Charing-cross, and turning up St. Martin's-lane, at
the back of the King's Mews, contrived to elude the vigilance of the
guard, and speeded along the lane,--for it was then literally so, and
surrounded on either side by high hedges,--until he came to St.
Giles's,--at this time nothing more than a few scattered houses,
intermixed with trees. Here he encountered a man mounted on a powerful
steed, and seeing this person look hard at him, would have drawn out of
the way, if the other had not addressed him by name. He then regarded
the equestrian more narrowly, and found it was Martin Heydocke.

"I have heard what has happened, Mr. Catesby," said Martin, "and can
imagine the desperate strait in which you must be placed. Take my
horse,--it may aid your flight. I was sent to London by my master, Mr.
Humphrey Chetham, to bring him intelligence of the result of your
attempt, and I am sure I am acting in accordance with his wishes in
rendering you such a service. At all events, I will risk it. Mount,
sir,--mount, and make the best of your way hence."

Catesby needed no further exhortation, but, springing into the saddle,
hastily murmured his thanks, and striking into a lane on the right, rode
off at a swift pace towards Highgate.

On reaching the brow of this beautiful hill, he drew in the bridle for a
moment, and gazed towards the city he had just quitted. Dark and bitter
were his thoughts as he fixed his eye upon Westminster Abbey, and
fancied he could discern the neighbouring pile, whose destruction he had
meditated. Remembering that from this very spot, when he had last
approached the capital, in company with Guy Fawkes and Viviana
Radcliffe, he had looked in the same direction, he could not help
contrasting his present sensations with those he had then experienced.
At that time he was full of ardour, and confident of success. Now, all
was lost to him, and he was anxious for little more than
self-preservation. Involuntarily, his eye wandered along the great city,
until passing over the mighty fabric of Saint Paul's, it settled upon
the Tower,--upon the place of Guy Fawkes's captivity.

"And can nothing be done for his deliverance?" sighed Catesby, as he
turned away, his eyes filling with moisture "must that brave soldier die
the death of a felon--must he be subjected to the torture--horror! If he
had died defending himself, I should scarcely have pitied him. And if he
had destroyed himself, together with his foes, as he resolved to do, I
should have envied him. But the idea of what he will have to suffer in
that dreadful place--nay, what he is now, perhaps, suffering--makes the
life-blood curdle in my veins. I will never fall alive into their
hands."

With this resolve, he struck spurs into his steed, and, urging him to a
swift pace, dashed rapidly forward. He had ridden more than a mile, when
hearing shouts behind him, he perceived two troopers galloping after him
as fast as their horses could carry them. They shouted to him to stay,
and as they were better mounted than he was, it was evident they would
soon come up with him. Determined, however, to adhere to the resolution
he had just formed, and not to yield himself with life, he prepared for
a conflict, and suddenly halting, he concealed a petronel beneath his
cloak, and waited till his foes drew near.

"I command you, in the King's name, to surrender," said the foremost
trooper, riding up. "You are a rebel and a traitor."

"Be this my answer," replied Catesby, aiming at the man, and firing with
such certainty, that he fell from his horse mortally wounded.
Unsheathing his sword, he then prepared to attack the other trooper.
But, terrified at the fate of his comrade, the man turned his horse's
head, and rode off.

Without bestowing a thought on the dying man who lay groaning in the
mire, Catesby caught hold of the bridle of his horse, and satisfied that
the animal was better than his own, mounted him, and proceeded at the
same headlong pace as before.

In a short time he reached Finchley, where several persons rushed from
their dwellings to inquire whether he brought any intelligence of the
plot, rumours of which had already reached them. Without stopping,
Catesby replied that most important discoveries had been made, and that
he was carrying despatches from the King to Northampton. No opposition
was therefore offered him, and he soon left all traces of habitation
behind him. Urging his horse to its utmost, he arrived, in less than a
quarter of an hour, at Chipping Barnet. Here the same inquiries were
made as at Finchley, and returning the same answer--for he never relaxed
his speed for a moment--he pursued his course.

In less than three quarters of an hour after this, he arrived at Saint
Albans, and proceeding direct to the post-house, asked for a horse. But
instead of complying with the request, the landlord of the Rose and
Crown--such was the name of the hostel--instantly withdrew, and returned
the next moment with an officer, who desired to speak with Catesby
before he proceeded further. The latter, however, took no notice of the
demand, but rode off.

The clatter of horses' hoofs behind him soon convinced him he was again
pursued, and he was just beginning to consider in what way he should
make a second defence, when he observed two horsemen cross a lane on the
left, and make for the main road. His situation now appeared highly
perilous, especially as his pursuers, who had noticed the other horsemen
at the same time as himself, shouted to them. But he was speedily
relieved. These persons, instead of stopping, accelerated their pace,
and appeared as anxious as he was to avoid those behind him.

They were now within a short distance of Dunstable, and were ascending
the lovely downs which lie on the London side of this ancient town, when
one of the horsemen in front chancing to turn round, Catesby perceived
it was Rookwood. Overjoyed at the discovery, he shouted to him at the
top of his voice, and the other, who it presently appeared was
accompanied by Keyes, instantly stopped. In a few seconds Catesby was by
their side, and a rapid explanation taking place, they all three drew up
in order of battle.

By this time their pursuers had arrived within a hundred yards of them,
and seeing how matters stood, and not willing to hazard an engagement,
after a brief consultation, retired. The three friends then pursued
their route, passed through Dunstable, and without pausing a moment on
the road, soon neared Fenny Stratford. Just before they arrived at this
place, Catesby's horse fell from exhaustion. Instantly extricating
himself from the fallen animal, he ran by the side of his companions
till they got to the town, where Rookwood, who had placed relays on the
road, changed his horse, and the others were fortunate enough to procure
fresh steeds.

Proceeding with unabated impetuosity, they soon cleared a few more
miles, and had just left Stony Stratford behind them, when they overtook
a solitary horseman, who proved to be John Wright, and a little further
on they came up with Percy, and Christopher Wright.

Though their numbers were thus increased, they did not consider
themselves secure, but flinging their cloaks away to enable them to
proceed with greater expedition, hurried on to Towcester. Here Keyes
quitted his companions, and shaped his course into Warwickshire, where
he was afterwards taken, while the others, having procured fresh horses,
made the best of their way to Ashby Saint Leger's.

About six o'clock, Catesby and his companions arrived at his old family
seat, which he had expected to approach in triumph, but which he now
approached with feelings of the deepest mortification and
disappointment. They found the house filled with guests--among whom was
Robert Winter--who were just sitting down to supper. Catesby rushed into
the room in which these persons were assembled, covered with mud and
dirt, his haggard looks and dejected appearance proclaiming that his
project had failed. His friends followed, and their appearance confirmed
the impression that he had produced. Lady Catesby hastened to her son,
and strove to comfort him; but he rudely repulsed her.

"What is the matter?" she anxiously inquired.

"What is the matter!" cried Catesby, in a furious tone, and stamping his
foot to the ground. "All is lost! our scheme is discovered; Guy Fawkes
is a prisoner, and ere long we shall all be led to the block. Yes, all!"
he repeated, gazing sternly around.

"I will never be led thither with life," said Robert Winter.

"Nor I," added a young Catholic gentleman, named Acton of Ribbesford,
who had lately joined the conspiracy. "Though the great design has
failed, we are yet free, and have swords to draw, and arms to wield
them."

"Ay," exclaimed Robert Winter, "all our friends are assembled at
Dunchurch. Let us join them instantly, and we may yet stir up a
rebellion which may accomplish all we can desire. I, myself, accompanied
Humphrey Littleton to Dunchurch this morning, and know we shall find
everything in readiness."

"Do not despair," cried Lady Catesby; "all will yet be well. Every
member of our faith will join you, and you will soon muster a formidable
army."

"We must not yield without a blow," cried Percy, pouring out a bumper of
wine, and swallowing it at a draught.

"You are right," said Rookwood, imitating his example. "We will sell our
lives dearly."

"If you will adhere to this resolution, gentlemen," rejoined Catesby,
"we may yet retrieve our loss. With five hundred stanch followers, who
will stand by me to the last, I will engage to raise such a rebellion in
England as shall not be checked, except by the acknowledgment of our
rights, or the dethronement of the king."

"We will all stand by you," cried the others.

"Swear it," cried Catesby, raising the glass to his lips.

"We do," was the reply.

"Wearied as we are," cried Catesby, "we must at once proceed to
Dunchurch, and urge our friends to rise in arms with us."

"Agreed," cried the others.

Summoning all his household, and arming them, Catesby then set out with
the rest for Dunchurch, which lay about five miles from Ashby Saint
Leger's. They arrived there in about three quarters of an hour, and
found the mansion crowded with Catholic gentlemen and their servants.
Entering the banquet hall, they found Sir Everard Digby at the head of
the board, with Garnet on his right hand. Upwards of sixty persons were
seated at the table. Their arrival was greeted with loud shouts, and
several of the guests drew their swords and flourished them over their
heads.

"What news?" cried Sir Everard Digby. "Is the blow struck?"

"No," replied Catesby; "we have been betrayed."

A deep silence prevailed. A change came over the countenances of the
guests. Significant glances were exchanged, and it was evident that
general uneasiness prevailed.

"What is to be done?" cried Sir Everard Digby, after a pause.

"Our course is clear," returned Catesby. "We must stand by each other.
In that case, we have nothing to fear, and shall accomplish our purpose,
though not in the way originally intended."

"I will have nothing further to do with the matter," said Sir Robert
Digby of Coleshill, Sir Everard's uncle. And rising, he quitted the room
with several of his followers, while his example was imitated by
Humphrey Littleton and others.

"All chance for the restoration of our faith in England is over,"
observed Garnet, in a tone of despondency.

"Not so, father," replied Catesby, "if we are true to each other. My
friends," he cried, stopping those who were about to depart, "in the
name of our holy religion I beseech you to pause. Much is against us
now. But let us hold together, and all will speedily be righted. Every
Catholic in this county, in Cheshire, in Lancashire, and Wales, must
flock to our standard when it is once displayed--do not desert us--do
not desert yourselves--for our cause is your cause. I have a large force
at my command; so has Sir Everard Digby, and together we can muster
nearly five hundred adherents. With these, we can offer such a stand as
will enable as to make conditions with our opponents, or even to engage
with them with a reasonable prospect of success. I am well assured,
moreover, if we lose no time, but proceed to the houses of our friends,
we shall have a large army with us. Do not fall off, then. On you
depends our success."

This address was followed by loud acclamations; and all who heard it
agreed to stand by the cause in which they had embarked to the last.

As Catesby left the banqueting-hall with Sir Everard, to make
preparations for their departure, they met Viviana and a female
attendant.

"I hear the enterprise has failed," she cried, in a voice suffocated by
emotion. "What has happened to my husband? Is he safe? Is he with you?"

"Alas! no," replied Catesby; "he is a prisoner."

Viviana uttered a cry of anguish, and fell senseless into the arms of
the attendant.



CHAPTER XIV.

THE EXAMINATION.


Disarmed by Sir Thomas Knevet and his followers, who found upon his
person a packet of slow matches and touchwood, and bound hand and foot,
Guy Fawkes was dragged into the cellar by his captors, who instantly
commenced their search. In a corner behind the door they discovered a
dark lantern, with a light burning within it; and moving with the utmost
caution--for they were afraid of bringing sudden destruction upon
themselves--they soon perceived the barrels of gunpowder ranged against
the wall. Carefully removing the planks, billets, and iron bars with
which they were covered, they remarked that two of the casks were staved
in, while the hoops from a third were taken off, and the powder
scattered around it. They also noticed that several trains were laid
along the floor,--everything, in short, betokening that the preparations
for the desperate deed were fully completed.

While they were making this investigation, Guy Fawkes, who, seeing that
further resistance was useless, had remained perfectly motionless up to
this moment, suddenly made a struggle to free himself; and so desperate
was the effort, that he burst the leathern thong that bound his hands,
and seizing the soldier nearest to him, bore him to the ground. He then
grasped the lower limbs of another, who held a lantern, and strove to
overthrow him, and wrest the lantern from his grasp, evidently intending
to apply the light to the powder. And he would unquestionably have
executed his terrible design, if three of the most powerful of the
soldiers had not thrown themselves upon him, and overpowered him. All
this was the work of a moment; but it was so startling, that Sir Thomas
Knevet and Topcliffe, though both courageous men, and used to scenes of
danger--especially the latter--rushed towards the door, expecting some
dreadful catastrophe would take place.

"Do him no harm," cried Knevet, as he returned to the soldiers, who
were still struggling with Fawkes,--"do him no harm. It is not here he
must die."

"A moment more, and I had blown you all to perdition," cried Fawkes.
"But Heaven ordained it otherwise."

"Heaven will never assist such damnable designs as yours," rejoined
Knevet. "Thrust him into that corner," he added to his men, who
instantly obeyed his injunctions, and held down the prisoner so firmly
that he could not move a limb. "Keep him there. I will question him
presently."

"You _may_ question me," replied Fawkes, sternly; "but you will obtain
no answer."

"We shall see," returned Knevet.

Pursuing the search with Topcliffe, he counted thirty-six hogsheads and
casks of various sizes, all of which were afterwards found to be filled
with powder. Though prepared for this discovery, Knevet could not
repress his horror at it, and gave vent to execrations against the
prisoner, to which the other replied by a disdainful laugh. They then
looked about, in the hope of finding some document or fragment of a
letter, which might serve as a clue to the other parties connected with
the fell design, but without success. Nothing was found except a pile of
arms; but though they examined them, no name or cipher could be traced
on any of the weapons.

"We will now examine the prisoner more narrowly," said Knevet.

This was accordingly done. On removing Guy Fawkes's doublet, a
horse-hair shirt appeared, and underneath it, next his heart, suspended
by a silken cord from his neck, was a small silver cross. When this was
taken from him, Guy Fawkes could not repress a deep sigh.

"There is some secret attached to that cross," whispered Topcliffe,
plucking Knevet's sleeve.

Upon this, the other held it to the light, while Topcliffe kept his eye
fixed upon the prisoner, and observed that, in spite of all his efforts
to preserve an unmoved demeanour, he was slightly agitated.

"Do you perceive anything?" he asked.

"Yes," replied Knevet, "there is a name. But the character is so small I
cannot decipher it."

"Let me look at it," said Topcliffe. "This is most important," he added,
after gazing at it for a moment; "the words inscribed on it are,
'_Viviana Radcliffe, Ordsall Hall_' You may remember that this young
lady was examined a short time ago, on suspicion of being connected with
some Popish plot against the state, and committed to the Tower, whence
she escaped in a very extraordinary manner. This cross, found upon the
prisoner, proves her connexion with the present plot. Every effort must
be used to discover her retreat."

Another deep sigh involuntarily broke from the breast of Guy Fawkes.

"You hear how deeply interested he is in the matter," observed
Topcliffe, in a low tone. "This trinket will be of infinite service to
us in future examinations, and may do more for us with this stubborn
subject even than the rack itself."

"You are right," returned Knevet. "I will now convey him to Whitehall,
and acquaint the Earl of Salisbury with his capture."

"Do so," replied Topcliffe. "I have a further duty to perform. Before
morning I hope to net the whole of this wolfish pack."

"Indeed!" exclaimed Knevet. "Have you any knowledge of the others?"

Topcliffe smiled significantly.

"Time will show," he said. "But if you do not require me further, I will
leave you."

With this, he quitted the cellar, and joined the Earl of Mounteagle and
Tresham, who were waiting for him outside at a little distance from the
cellar. After a brief conference, it was arranged, in compliance with
the Earl of Salisbury's wishes, that if they failed in entrapping the
conspirators, nothing should be said about the matter. He then departed
with Tresham. Their subsequent proceedings have already been related.

By Sir Thomas Knevet's directions, Guy Fawkes was now raised by two of
the soldiers, and led out of the cellar. As he passed through the door,
he uttered a deep groan.

"You groan for what you have done, villain," said one of the soldiers.

"On the contrary," rejoined Fawkes, sternly, "I groan for what I have
not done."

He was then hurried along by his conductors, and conveyed through the
great western gate, into the palace of Whitehall, where he was placed in
a small room, the windows of which were strongly grated.

Before quitting him, Sir Thomas Knevet put several questions to him, but
he maintained a stern and obstinate silence. Committing him to the
custody of an officer of the guard, whom he enjoined to keep strict
guard over him, as he valued his life, Knevet then went in search of the
Earl of Salisbury.

The Secretary, who had not retired to rest, and was anxiously awaiting
his arrival, was delighted with the success of the scheme. They were
presently joined by Lord Mounteagle; and after a brief conference it was
resolved to summon the Privy Council immediately, to rouse the King, and
acquaint him with what had occurred, and to interrogate the prisoner in
his presence.

"Nothing will be obtained from him, I fear," said Knevet. "He is one of
the most resolute and determined fellows I ever encountered."

And he then related the desperate attempt made by Fawkes in the vault to
blow them all up.

"Whether he will speak or not, the King must see him," said Salisbury.
As soon as Knevet was gone, the Earl observed to Mounteagle, "You had
now better leave the palace. You must not appear further in this matter,
except as we have arranged. Before morning, I trust we shall have the
whole of the conspirators in our power, with damning proofs of their
guilt."

"By this time, my lord, they are in Tresham's hands," replied
Mounteagle.

"If he fails, not a word must be said," observed Salisbury. "It must not
be supposed we have moved in the matter. All great statesmen have
contrived treasons, that they might afterwards discover them; and though
I have not contrived this plot, I have known of its existence from the
first, and could at any time have crushed it had I been so minded. But
that would not have answered my purpose. And I shall now use it as a
pretext to crush the whole Catholic party, except those on whom, like
yourself, I can confidently rely."

"Your lordship must admit that I have well seconded your efforts,"
observed Mounteagle.

"I do so," replied Salisbury, "and you will not find me ungrateful.
Farewell! I hope soon to hear of our further success."

Mounteagle then took his departure, and Salisbury immediately caused all
such members of the Privy Council as lodged in the palace to be aroused,
desiring they might be informed that a terrible plot had been
discovered, and a conspirator arrested. In a short time, the Duke of
Lennox, the Earl of Marr, Lord Hume, the Earl of Southampton, Lord Henry
Howard, Lord Mountjoy, Sir George Hume, and others, were assembled; and
all eagerly inquired into the occasion of the sudden alarm.

Meanwhile, the Earl of Salisbury had himself repaired to the King's
bedchamber, and acquainted him with what had happened. James immediately
roused himself, and desired the chamberlain, who accompanied the Earl,
to quit the presence.

"Will it be safe to interrogate the prisoner here?" he asked.

"I will take care your Majesty shall receive no injury," replied
Salisbury; "and it is absolutely necessary you should examine him before
he is committed to the Tower."

"Let him be brought before me, then, directly," said the King. "I am
impatient to behold a wretch who has conceived so atrocious--so infernal
a design against me, and against my children. Hark 'e, Salisbury, one
caution I wish to observe. Let a captain of the guard, with his drawn
sword in hand, place himself between me and the prisoner, and let two
halberdiers stand beside him, and if the villain moves a step, bid them
strike him dead. You understand?"

[Illustration: _Guy Fawkes interrogated by King James the First_]

"Perfectly," replied Salisbury, bowing.

"In that case, you may take off his bonds--that is, if you think it
prudent to do so--not otherwise," continued James. "I would not have the
knave suppose he can awe me."

"Your Majesty's commands shall be fulfilled to the letter," returned the
Earl.

"Lose no time, Salisbury," cried James, springing out of bed, and
beginning to dress himself without the assistance of his chamberlain.

The Earl hastily retired, and ordered the attendants to repair to their
royal master. He next proceeded to the chamber where Guy Fawkes was
detained, and ordered him to be unbound, and brought before the King.
When the prisoner heard this mandate, a slight smile crossed his
countenance, but he instantly resumed his former stern composure. The
smile, however, did not escape the notice of Salisbury, and he commanded
the halberdiers to keep near to the prisoner, and if he made the
slightest movement in the King's presence, instantly to despatch him.

Giving some further directions, the Earl then led the way across a
court, and entering another wing of the palace, ascended a flight of
steps, and traversed a magnificent corridor. Guy Fawkes followed,
attended by the guard. They had now reached the antechamber leading to
the royal sleeping apartment, and "Salisbury ascertained from the
officers in attendance that all was in readiness. Motioning the guard to
remain where they were, he entered the inner room alone, and found James
seated on a chair of state near the bed, surrounded by his council;--the
Earl of Marr standing on his right hand, and the Duke of Lennox on his
left, all anxiously awaiting his arrival. Behind the King were stationed
half a dozen halberdiers.

"The prisoner is without," said Salisbury. "Is it your Majesty's
pleasure that he be admitted?"

"Ay, let him come in forthwith," replied James. "Stand by me, my lords.
And do you, varlets, keep a wary eye upon him. There is no saying what
he may attempt."

Salisbury then waved his hand. The door was thrown open, and an officer
entered the room, followed by Guy Fawkes, who marched between two
halberdiers. When within a couple of yards of the King, the officer
halted, and withdrew a little on the right, so as to allow full view of
the prisoner, while he extended his sword between him and the King.
Nothing could be more undaunted than the looks and demeanour of Fawkes.
He strode firmly into the room, and without making any reverence, folded
his arms upon his breast, and looked sternly at James.

"A bold villain!" cried the King, as he regarded him with curiosity not
unmixed with alarm. "Who, and what are you, traitor?"

"A conspirator," replied Fawkes.

"That I know," rejoined James, sharply. "But how are you called?"

"John Johnson," answered Fawkes. "I am servant to Mr. Thomas Percy."

"That is false," cried Salisbury. "Take heed that you speak the truth,
traitor, or the rack shall force it from you."

"The rack will force nothing from me," replied Fawkes, sternly; "neither
will I answer any question asked by your lordship."

"Leave him to me, Salisbury,--leave him to me," interposed James. "And
it was your hellish design to blow us all up with gunpowder?" he
demanded.

"It was," replied Fawkes.

"And how could you resolve to destroy so many persons, none of whom have
injured you?" pursued James.

"Dangerous diseases require desperate remedies," replied Fawkes. "Milder
means have been tried, but without effect. It was God's pleasure that
this scheme, which was for the benefit of his holy religion, should not
prosper, and therefore I do not repine at the result."

"And are you so blinded as to suppose that Heaven can approve the
actions of him who raises his hand against the King--against the Lord's
anointed?" cried James.

"He is no king who is excommunicated by the apostolic see," replied
Fawkes.

"This to our face!" cried James, angrily. "Have you no remorse--no
compunction for what you have done?"

"My sole regret is that I have failed," replied Fawkes.

"You will not speak thus confidently on the rack," said James.

"Try me," replied Fawkes.

"What purpose did you hope to accomplish by this atrocious design?"'
demanded the Earl of Marr.

"My main purpose was to blow back the beggarly Scots to their native
mountains," returned Fawkes.

"This audacity surpasses belief," said James. "Mutius Scævola, when in
the presence of Porsenna, was not more resolute. Hark 'e, villain, if I
give you your life, will you disclose the names of your associates?"

"No," replied Fawkes.

"They shall be wrung from you," cried Salisbury.

Fawkes smiled contemptuously. "You know me not," he said.

"It is idle to interrogate him further," said James. "Let him be removed
to the Tower."

"Be it so," returned Salisbury; "and when next your Majesty questions
him, I trust it will be in the presence of his confederates."

"Despite the villain's horrible intent, I cannot help admiring his
courage," observed James, in a low tone; "and were he as loyal as he is
brave, he should always be near our person."

With this, he waved his hand, and Guy Fawkes was led forth. He was
detained by the Earl of Salisbury's orders till the morning,--it being
anticipated that before that time the other conspirators would be
arrested. But as this was not the case, he was placed in a wherry, and
conveyed, as before related, to the Tower.


END OF THE SECOND BOOK



Book the Third.

THE CONSPIRATORS.

      The conclusion shall be from the admirable clemency and moderation
      of the king; in that, howsoever these traitors have exceeded all
      others in mischief, yet neither will the king exceed the usual
      punishment of law, nor invent any new torture or torment for them,
      but is graciously pleased to afford them as well an ordinary
      course of trial as an ordinary punishment much inferior to their
      offence. And surely worthy of observation is the punishment by law
      provided and appointed for high treason: for, first, after a
      traitor hath had his just trial, and is convicted and attainted,
      he shall have his judgment to be drawn to the place of execution
      from his prison, as being not worthy any more to tread upon the
      face of the earth whereof he was made; also, for that he hath been
      retrograde to nature, therefore is he drawn backward at a
      horsetail. After, to have his head cut off which had imagined the
      mischief. And, lastly, his body to be quartered, and the quarters
      set up in some high and eminent place, to the view and detestation
      of men, and to become a prey for the fowls of the air. And this is
      a reward due to traitors, whose hearts be hardened; for that it is
      a physic of state and government to let out corrupt blood from the
      heart.--_Sir Edward Coke's Speech on the Gunpowder Treason._



CHAPTER I.

HOW GUY FAWKES WAS PUT TO THE TORTURE.


Intimation of the arrest of Guy Fawkes having been sent to the Tower,
his arrival was anxiously expected by the warders and soldiers composing
the garrison, a crowd of whom posted themselves at the entrance of
Traitor's Gate, to obtain a sight of him. As the bark that conveyed the
prisoner shot through London Bridge, and neared the fortress, notice of
its approach was given to the lieutenant, who, scarcely less impatient,
had stationed himself in a small circular chamber in one of the turrets
of Saint Thomas's or Traitor's Tower, overlooking the river. He hastily
descended, and had scarcely reached the place of disembarkation, when
the boat passed beneath the gloomy archway, the immense wooden wicket
closed behind it; and the officer in command springing ashore, was
followed more deliberately by Fawkes, who mounted the slippery stairs
with a firm footstep. As he gained the summit, the spectators pressed
forward; but Sir William Waad, ordering them in an authoritative tone to
stand back, fixed a stern and scrutinizing glance on the prisoner.

"Many vile traitors have ascended those steps," he said, "but none so
false-hearted, none so bloodthirsty as you."

"None ever ascended them with less misgiving, or with less
self-reproach," replied Fawkes.

"Miserable wretch! Do you glory in your villany?" cried the lieutenant.
"If anything could heighten my detestation of the pernicious creed you
profess, it would be to witness its effects on such minds as yours. What
a religion must that be, which can induce its followers to commit such
monstrous actions, and delude them into the belief that they are pious
and praiseworthy!"

"It is a religion, at least, that supports them at seasons when they
most require it," rejoined Fawkes.

"Peace!" cried the lieutenant, fiercely, "or I will have your viperous
tongue torn out by the roots."

Turning to the officer, he demanded his warrant, and glancing at it,
gave some directions to one of the warders, and then resumed his
scrutiny of Fawkes, who appeared wholly unmoved, and steadily returned
his gaze.

Meanwhile, several of the spectators, eager to prove their loyalty to
the king, and abhorrence of the plot, loaded the prisoner with
execrations, and finding these produced no effect, proceeded to personal
outrage. Some spat upon his face and garments; some threw mud, gathered
from the slimy steps, upon him; some pricked him with the points of
their halberds; while others, if they had not been checked, would have
resorted to greater violence. Only one bystander expressed the slightest
commiseration for him. It was Ruth Ipgreve, who, with her parents,
formed part of the assemblage.

A few kindly words pronounced by this girl moved the prisoner more than
all the insults he had just experienced. He said nothing, but a slight
and almost imperceptible quivering of the lip told what was passing
within. The jailer was extremely indignant at his daughter's conduct,
fearing it might prejudice him in the eyes of the lieutenant.

"Get hence, girl," he cried, "and stir not from thy room for the rest of
the day. I am sorry I allowed thee to come forth."

"You must look to her, Jasper Ipgreve," said Sir William Waad, sternly.
"No man shall hold an office in the Tower who is a favourer of papacy.
If you were a good Protestant, and a faithful servant of King James,
your daughter could never have acted thus unbecomingly. Look to her, I
say,--and to yourself."

"I will, honourable sir," replied Jasper, in great confusion. "Take her
home directly," he added, in an under tone to his wife. "Lock her up
till I return, and scourge her if thou wilt. She will ruin us by her
indiscretion."

In obedience to this injunction, Dame Ipgreve seized her daughter's
hand, and dragged her away. Ruth turned for a moment to take a last look
at the prisoner, and saw that his gaze followed her, and was fraught
with an expression of the deepest gratitude. By way of showing his
disapproval of his daughter's conduct, the jailer now joined the
bitterest of Guy Fawkes's assailants; and ere long the assemblage became
infuriated to such an ungovernable pitch, that the lieutenant, who had
allowed matters to proceed thus far in the hope of shaking the
prisoner's constancy, finding his design fruitless, ordered him to be
taken away. Escorted by a dozen soldiers with calivers on their
shoulders, Guy Fawkes was led through the archway of the Bloody Tower,
and across the Green to the Beauchamp Tower. He was placed in the
spacious chamber on the first floor of that fortification, now used as a
mess-room by the Guards. Sir William Waad followed him, and seating
himself at a table, referred to the warrant.

"You are here called John Johnson. Is that your name?" he demanded.

"If you find it thus written, you need make no further inquiry from me,"
replied Fawkes. "I am the person so described. That is sufficient for
you."

"Not so," replied the lieutenant; "and if you persist in this stubborn
demeanour, the severest measures will be adopted towards you. Your sole
chance of avoiding the torture is in making a full confession."

"I do not desire to avoid the torture," replied Fawkes. "It will wrest
nothing from me."

"So all think till they have experienced it," replied the lieutenant;
"but greater fortitude than yours has given way before our engines."

Fawkes smiled disdainfully, but made no answer.

The lieutenant then gave directions that he should be placed within a
small cell adjoining the larger chamber, and that two of the guard
should remain constantly beside him, to prevent him from doing himself
any violence.

"You need have no fear," observed Fawkes. "I shall not destroy my chance
of martyrdom."

At this juncture a messenger arrived, bearing a despatch from the Earl
of Salisbury. The lieutenant broke the seal, and after hurriedly
perusing it, drew his sword, and desiring the guard to station
themselves outside the door, approached Fawkes.

"Notwithstanding the enormity of your offence," he observed, "I find his
Majesty will graciously spare your life, provided you will reveal the
names of all your associates, and disclose every particular connected
with the plot."

Guy Fawkes appeared lost in reflection, and the lieutenant, conceiving
he had made an impression upon him, repeated the offer.

"How am I to be assured of this?" asked the prisoner.

"My promise must suffice," rejoined Waad.

"It will not suffice to me," returned Fawkes. "I must have a pardon
signed by the King."

"You shall have it on one condition," replied Waad. "You are evidently
troubled with few scruples. It is the Earl of Salisbury's conviction
that the heads of many important Catholic families are connected with
this plot. If they should prove to be so,--or, to be plain, if you will
accuse certain persons whom I will specify, you shall have the pardon
you require."

"Is this the purport of the Earl of Salisbury's despatch?" asked Guy
Fawkes.

The lieutenant nodded.

"Let me look at it," continued Fawkes. "You may be practising upon me."

"Your own perfidious nature makes you suspicious of treachery in
others," cried the lieutenant. "Will this satisfy you?"

And he held the letter towards Guy Fawkes, who instantly snatched it
from his grasp.

"What ho!" he shouted in a loud voice; "what ho!" and the guards
instantly rushed into the room. "You shall learn why you were sent away.
Sir William Waad has offered me my life, on the part of the Earl of
Salisbury, provided I will accuse certain innocent parties--innocent,
except that they are Catholics--of being leagued with me in my design.
Read this letter, and see whether I speak not the truth."

And he threw it among them. But no one stirred, except a warder, who,
picking it up, delivered it to the lieutenant.

"You will now understand whom you have to deal with," pursued Fawkes.

"I do," replied Waad. "But were you as unyielding as the walls of this
prison, I would shake your obduracy."

"I pray you not to delay the experiment," said Fawkes.

"Have a little patience," retorted Waad. "I will not balk your humour,
depend upon it."

With this, he departed, and repairing to his lodgings, wrote a hasty
despatch to the Earl, detailing all that had passed, and requesting a
warrant for the torture, as he was apprehensive, if the prisoner expired
under the severe application that would be necessary to force the truth
from him, he might be called to account. Two hours afterwards the
messenger returned with the warrant. It was in the handwriting of the
King, and contained a list of interrogations to be put to the prisoner,
concluding by directing him "to use the gentler torture first, _et sic
per gradus ad ima tenditur_. And so God speed you in your good work!"

Thus armed, and fearless of the consequences, the lieutenant summoned
Jasper Ipgreve.

"We have a very refractory prisoner to deal with," he said, as the
jailer appeared. "But I have just received the royal authority to put
him through all the degrees of torture if he continues obstinate. How
shall we begin?"

"With the Scavenger's Daughter and the Little Ease, if it please you,
honourable sir," replied Ipgreve. "If these fail, we can try the
gauntlets and the rack; and lastly, the dungeon among the rats, and the
hot stone."

"A good progression," said the lieutenant, smiling. "I will now repair
to the torture-chamber. Let the prisoner be brought there without delay.
He is in the Beauchamp Tower."

Ipgreve bowed and departed, while the lieutenant, calling to an
attendant to bring a torch, proceeded along a narrow passage
communicating with the Bell Tower. Opening a secret door within it, he
descended a flight of stone steps, and traversing a number of intricate
passages, at length stopped before a strong door, which he pushed aside,
and entered the chamber he had mentioned to Ipgreve. This dismal
apartment has already been described. It was that in which Viviana's
constancy was so fearfully approved. Two officials in the peculiar garb
of the place--a sable livery--were occupied in polishing the various
steel implements. Besides these, there was the chirurgeon, who was
seated at a side table, reading by the light of a brazen lamp. He
instantly arose on seeing the lieutenant, and began, with the other
officials, to make preparations for the prisoner's arrival. The two
latter concealed their features by drawing a large black capoch, or
hood, attached to their gowns over them, and this disguise added
materially to their lugubrious appearance. One of them then took down a
broad iron hoop, opening in the centre with a hinge, and held it in
readiness. Their preparations were scarcely completed when heavy
footsteps announced the approach of Fawkes and his attendants. Jasper
Ipgreve ushered them into the chamber, and fastened the door behind
them. All the subsequent proceedings were conducted with the utmost
deliberation, and were therefore doubly impressive. No undue haste
occurred, and the officials, who might have been mistaken for phantoms
or evil spirits, spoke only in whispers. Guy Fawkes watched their
movements with unaltered composure. At length, Jasper Ipgreve signified
to the lieutenant that all was ready.

"The opportunity you desired of having your courage put to the test is
now arrived," said the latter to the prisoner.

"What am I to do?" was the reply.

"Remove your doublet, and prostrate yourself," subjoined Ipgreve.

Guy Fawkes obeyed, and when in this posture began audibly to recite a
prayer to the Virgin.

"Be silent," cried the lieutenant, "or a gag shall be thrust into your
mouth."

Kneeling upon the prisoner's shoulders, and passing the hoop under his
legs, Ipgreve then succeeded, with the help of his assistants, who added
their weight to his own, in fastening the hoop with an iron button.
This done, they left the prisoner with his limbs and body so tightly
compressed together that he was scarcely able to breathe. In this state
he was allowed to remain for an hour and a half. The chirurgeon then
found on examination that the blood had burst profusely from his mouth
and nostrils, and in a slighter degree from the extremities of his hands
and feet.

"He must be released," he observed in an under tone to the lieutenant.
"Further continuance might be fatal."

Accordingly, the hoop was removed, and it was at this moment that the
prisoner underwent the severest trial. Despite his efforts to control
himself, a sharp convulsion passed across his frame, and the restoration
of impeded circulation and respiration occasioned him the most acute
agony.

The chirurgeon bathed his temples with vinegar, and his limbs being
chafed by the officials, he was placed on a bench.

"My warrant directs me to begin with the 'gentler tortures,' and to
proceed by degrees to extremities," observed the lieutenant,
significantly. "You have now had a taste of the milder sort, and may
form some conjecture what the worst are like. Do you still continue
contumacious?"

"I am in the same mind as before," replied Fawkes, in a hoarse but firm
voice.

"Take him to the Little Ease, and let him pass the night there," said
the lieutenant. "To-morrow I will continue the investigation."

Fawkes was then led out by Ipgreve and the officials, and conveyed along
a narrow passage, until arriving at a low door, in which there was an
iron grating, it was opened, and disclosed a narrow cell about four feet
high, one and a few inches wide, and two deep. Into this narrow
receptacle, which seemed wholly inadequate to contain a tall and
strongly-built man like himself, the prisoner was with some difficulty
thrust, and the door locked upon him.

In this miserable plight, with his head bent upon his breast,--the cell
being so contrived that its wretched inmate could neither sit, nor
recline at full length within it,--Guy Fawkes prayed long and fervently;
and no longer troubled by the uneasy feelings which had for some time
haunted him, he felt happier in his present forlorn condition than he
had been when anticipating the full success of his project.

"At least," he thought, "I shall now win myself a crown of martyrdom,
and whatever my present sufferings may be, they will be speedily effaced
by the happiness I shall enjoy hereafter."

Overcome, at length, by weariness and exhaustion, he fell into a sort of
doze--it could scarcely be called sleep--and while in this state,
fancied he was visited by Saint Winifred, who, approaching the door of
the cell, touched it, and it instantly opened. She then placed her hand
upon his limbs, and the pain he had hitherto felt in them subsided.

"Your troubles will soon be over," murmured the saint, "and you will be
at rest. Do not hesitate to confess. Your silence will neither serve
your companions nor yourself." With these words the vision disappeared,
and Guy Fawkes awoke. Whether it was the effect of imagination, or that
his robust constitution had in reality shaken off the effects of the
torture, it is impossible to say, but it is certain that he felt his
strength restored to him, and attributing his recovery entirely to the
marvellous interposition of the saint, he addressed a prayer of
gratitude to her. While thus occupied, he heard--for it was so dark he
could distinguish nothing--a sweet low voice at the grating of the cell,
and imagining it was the same benign presence as before, paused and
listened.

"Do you hear me?" asked the voice.

"I do," replied Fawkes. "Is it the blessed Winifred, who again
vouchsafes to address me?"

"Alas, no!" replied the voice; "it is one of mortal mould. I am Ruth
Ipgreve, the jailer's daughter. You may remember that I expressed some
sympathy in your behalf at your landing at Traitor's Gate to-day, for
which I incurred my father's displeasure. But you will be quite sure I
am a friend, when I tell you I assisted Viviana Radcliffe to escape."

"Ha!" exclaimed Guy Fawkes, in a tone of great emotion.

"I was in some degree in her confidence," pursued Ruth; "and, if I am
not mistaken, you are the object of her warmest regard."

The prisoner could not repress a groan.

"You are Guy Fawkes," pursued Ruth. "Nay, you need have no fear of me. I
have risked my life for Viviana, and would risk it for you."

"I will disguise nothing from you," replied Fawkes. "I am he you have
named. As the husband of Viviana--for such I am--I feel the deepest
gratitude to you for the service you rendered her. She bitterly
reproached herself with having placed you in so much danger. How did you
escape?"

"I was screened by my parents," replied Ruth. "It was given out by them
that Viviana escaped through the window of her prison, and I was thus
preserved from punishment. Where is she now?"

"In safety, I trust," replied Fawkes. "Alas! I shall never behold her
again."

"Do not despair," returned Ruth. "I will try to effect your liberation;
and though I have but slender hope of accomplishing it, still there is a
chance."

"I do not desire it," returned Fawkes. "I am content to perish. All I
lived for is at an end."

"This shall not deter me from trying to save you," replied Ruth; "and I
still trust there is happiness in store for you with Viviana. Amid all
your sufferings, rest certain there is one who will ever watch over you.
I dare not remain here longer, for fear of a surprise. Farewell!"

She then departed, and it afforded Guy Fawkes some solace to ponder on
the interview during the rest of the night.

On the following morning Jasper Ipgreve appeared, and placed before him
a loaf of the coarsest bread, and a jug of dirty water. His scanty meal
ended, he left him, but returned in two hours afterwards with a party of
halberdiers, and desiring him to follow him, led the way to the
torture-chamber. Sir William Waad was there when he arrived, and
demanding in a stern tone whether he still continued obstinate, and
receiving no answer, ordered him to be placed in the gauntlets. Upon
this, he was suspended from a beam by his hands, and endured five hours
of the most excruciating agony--his fingers being so crushed and
lacerated that he could not move them.

He was then taken down, and still refusing to confess, was conveyed to a
horrible pit, adjoining the river, called, from the loathsome animals
infesting it, "the dungeon among the rats." It was about twenty feet
wide and twelve deep, and at high tide was generally more than two feet
deep in water.

Into this dreadful chasm was Guy Fawkes lowered by his attendants, who,
warning him of the probable fate that awaited him, left him in total
darkness. At this time the pit was free from water; but he had not been
there more than an hour, when a bubbling and hissing sound proclaimed
that the tide was rising, while frequent plashes convinced him that the
rats were at hand. Stooping down, he felt that the water was alive with
them--that they were all around him--and would not, probably, delay
their attack. Prepared as he was for the worst, he could not repress a
shudder at the prospect of the horrible death with which he was menaced.

At this juncture, he was surprised by the appearance of a light, and
perceived at the edge of the pit a female figure bearing a lantern. Not
doubting it was his visitant of the former night, he called out to her,
and was answered in the voice of Ruth Ipgreve.

"I dare not remain here many minutes," she said, "because my father
suspects me. But I could not let you perish thus. I will let down this
lantern to you, and the light will keep away the rats. When the tide
retires you can extinguish it."

So saying, she tore her kerchief into shreds, and tying the slips
together, lowered the lantern to the prisoner, and without waiting to
receive his thanks, hurried away.

Thus aided, Guy Fawkes defended himself as well as he could against his
loathsome assailants. The light showed that the water was swarming with
them--that they were creeping by hundreds up the sides of the pit, and
preparing to make a general attack upon him.

At one time, Fawkes determined not to oppose them, but to let them work
their will upon him; but the contact of the noxious animals made him
change his resolution, and he instinctively drove them off. They were
not, however, to be easily repulsed, and returned to the charge with
greater fury than before. The desire of self preservation now got the
better of every other feeling, and the dread of being devoured alive
giving new vigour to his crippled limbs, he rushed to the other side of
the pit. His persecutors, however, followed him in myriads, springing
upon him, and making their sharp teeth meet in his flesh in a thousand
places.

In this way the contest continued for some time, Guy Fawkes speeding
round the pit, and his assailants never for one moment relaxing in the
pursuit, until he fell from exhaustion, and his lantern being
extinguished, the whole host darted upon him.

Thinking all over, he could not repress a loud cry, and it was scarcely
uttered, when lights appeared, and several gloomy figures bearing
torches were seen at the edge of the pit. Among these he distinguished
Sir William Waad, who offered instantly to release him if he would
confess.

"I will rather perish," replied Fawkes, "and I will make no further
effort to defend myself. I shall soon be out of the reach of your
malice."

"This must not be," observed the lieutenant to Jasper Ipgreve, who stood
by. "The Earl of Salisbury will never forgive me if he perishes."

"Then not a moment must be lost, or those ravenous brutes will assuredly
devour him," replied Ipgreve. "They are so fierce, that I scarcely like
to venture among them."

A ladder was then let down into the pit, and the jailer and the two
officials descended. They were just in time. Fawkes had ceased to
struggle, and the rats were attacking him with such fury that his words
would have been speedily verified, but for Ipgreve's timely
interposition.

On being taken out of the pit, he fainted from exhaustion and loss of
blood; and when he came to himself, found he was stretched upon a couch
in the torture-chamber, with the chirurgeon and Jasper Ipgreve in
attendance. Strong broths and other restoratives were then administered;
and his strength being sufficiently restored to enable him to converse,
the lieutenant again visited him, and questioning him as before,
received a similar answer.

In the course of that day and the next, he underwent at intervals
various kinds of torture, each more excruciating than the preceding, all
of which he bore with unabated fortitude. Among other applications, the
rack was employed with such rigour, that his joints started from their
sockets, and his frame seemed torn asunder.

On the fourth day he was removed to another and yet gloomier chamber,
devoted to the same dreadful objects as the first. It had an arched
stone ceiling, and at the further extremity yawned a deep recess. Within
this there was a small furnace, in which fuel was placed, ready to be
kindled; and over the furnace lay a large black flag, at either end of
which were stout leathern straps. After being subjected to the customary
interrogations of the lieutenant, Fawkes was stripped of his attire, and
bound to the flag. The fire was then lighted, and the stone gradually
heated. The writhing frame of the miserable man ere long showed the
extremity of his suffering; but as he did not even utter a groan, his
tormentors were compelled to release him.

On this occasion, there were two personages present who had never
attended any previous interrogation. They were wrapped in large cloaks,
and stood aloof during the proceedings. Both were treated with the most
ceremonious respect by Sir William Waad, who consulted them as to the
extent to which he should continue the torture. When the prisoner was
taken off the heated stone, one of those persons advanced towards him,
and gazed curiously at him.

Fawkes, upon whose brow thick drops were standing, and who was sinking
into the oblivion brought on by overwrought endurance, exclaimed, "It is
the King;" and fainted.

"The traitor knew your Majesty," said the lieutenant. "But you see it is
in vain to attempt to extort anything from him."

"So it seems," replied James; "and I am greatly disappointed, for I was
led to believe that I should hear a full confession of the conspiracy
from his own lips. How say you, good Master chirurgeon, will he endure
further torture?"

"Not without danger of life, your Majesty, unless he has some days'
repose," replied the chirurgeon, "even if he can endure it then."

"It will not be necessary to apply it further," replied Salisbury. "I am
now in full possession of the names of all the principal conspirators;
and when the prisoner finds further concealment useless, he will change
his tone. To-morrow, the commissioners appointed by your Majesty for the
examination of all those concerned in this dreadful project, will
interrogate him in the lieutenant's lodgings, and I will answer with my
life that the result will be satisfactory."

"Enough," said James. "It has been a painful spectacle which we have
just witnessed, and yet we would not have missed it. The wretch
possesses undaunted resolution, and we can never be sufficiently
grateful to the beneficent Providence that prevented him from working
his ruthless purpose upon us. The day on which we were preserved from
this Gunpowder Treason shall ever hereafter be kept sacred in our
church, and thanks shall be returned to Heaven for our wonderful
deliverance."

"Your Majesty will act wisely," replied Salisbury. "The Ordinance will
impress the nation with a salutary horror of all Papists and
traitors,--for they are one and the same thing,--and keep alive a proper
feeling of enmity against them. Such a fearful example shall be made of
these miscreants as shall, it is to be hoped, deter all others from
following their cause. Not only shall they perish infamously, but their
names shall for ever be held in execration."

"Be it so," rejoined James. "It is a good legal maxim--_Crescente
malitiâ, crescere debuit et poena_."

Upon this, he left the chamber, and, traversing a number of subterranean
passages with his attendants, crossed the drawbridge near the Byward
Tower to the wharf, where his barge was waiting for him, and returned in
it to Whitehall.

At an early hour on the following day, the commissioners appointed to
the examination of the prisoner, met together in a large room on the
second floor of the lieutenant's lodgings, afterwards denominated, from
its use on this occasion, the Council Chamber. Affixed to the walls of
this room may be seen at the present day a piece of marble sculpture,
with an inscription commemorative of the event. The commissioners were
nine in number, and included the Earls of Salisbury, Northampton,
Nottingham, Suffolk, Worcester, Devon, Marr, and Dunbar, and Sir John
Popham, Lord Chief Justice. With these were associated Sir Edward Coke,
attorney-general, and Sir William Waad.

The apartment in which the examination took place is still a spacious
one, but at the period in question it was much larger and loftier. The
walls were panelled with dark lustrous oak, covered in some places with
tapestry, and adorned in others with paintings. Over the chimney-piece
hung a portrait of the late sovereign, Elizabeth. The commissioners were
grouped round a large heavily carved oak table, and, after some
deliberation together, it was agreed that the prisoner should be
introduced.

Sir William Waad then motioned to Topcliffe, who was in attendance with
half a dozen halberdiers, and a few moments afterwards a panel was
pushed aside, and Guy Fawkes was brought through it. He was supported by
Topcliffe and Ipgreve, and it was with the greatest difficulty he could
drag himself along. So severe had been the sufferings to which he had
been subjected, that they had done the work of time, and placed more
than twenty years on his head. His features were thin and sharp, and of
a ghastly whiteness, and his eyes hollow and bloodshot. A large cloak
was thrown over him, which partially concealed his shattered frame and
crippled limbs; but his bent shoulders, and the difficulty with which
he moved, told how much he had undergone.

On seeing the presence in which he stood, a flush for a moment rose to
his pallid cheek, his eye glowed with its wonted fire, and he tried to
stand erect--but his limbs refused their office--and the effort was so
painful, that he fell back into the arms of his attendants. He was thus
borne forward by them, and supported during his examination. The Earl of
Salisbury then addressed him, and enlarging on the magnitude and
horrible nature of his treason, concluded by saying that the only
reparation he could offer was to disclose not only all his own criminal
intentions, but the names of his associates.

"I will hide nothing concerning myself," replied Fawkes; "but I shall be
for ever silent respecting others."

The Earl then glanced at Sir Edward Coke, who proceeded to take down
minutes of the examination.

"You have hitherto falsely represented yourself," said the Earl. "What
is your real name?"

"Guy Fawkes," replied the prisoner.

"And do you confess your guilt?" pursued the Earl.

"I admit that it was my intention to blow up the King and the whole of
the lords spiritual and temporal assembled in the Parliament House with
gunpowder," replied Fawkes.

"And you placed the combustibles in the vault where they were
discovered?" demanded Salisbury.

The prisoner answered in the affirmative.

"You are a Papist?" continued the Earl.

"I am a member of the Church of Rome," returned Fawkes.

"And you regard this monstrous design as righteous and laudable--as
consistent with the religion you profess, and as likely to uphold it?"
said the Earl.

"I did so," replied Fawkes. "But I am now convinced that Heaven did not
approve it, and I lament that it was ever undertaken."

"Still, you refuse to make the only reparation in your power--you refuse
to disclose your associates?" said Salisbury.

"I cannot betray them," replied Fawkes.

"Traitor! it is needless," cried the Earl; "they are known to us--nay,
they have betrayed themselves. They have risen in open and armed
rebellion against the King; but a sufficient power has been sent against
them; and if they are not ere this defeated and captured, many days will
not elapse before they will be lodged in the Tower."

"If this is the case, you require no information from me," rejoined
Fawkes. "But I pray you name them to me."

"I will do so," replied Salisbury; "and if I have omitted you can supply
the deficiency. I will begin with Robert Catesby, the chief contriver of
this hell-engendered plot,--I will next proceed to the superior of the
Jesuits, Father Garnet,--next, to another Jesuit priest, Father
Oldcorne,--next, to Sir Everard Digby,--then, to Thomas Winter and
Robert Winter,--then, to John Wright and Christopher Wright,--then, to
Ambrose Rookwood, Thomas Percy, and John Grant, and lastly, to Robert
Keyes."

"Are these all?" demanded Fawkes.

"All we are acquainted with," said Salisbury.

"Then add to them the names of Francis Tresham, and of his
brother-in-law, Lord Mounteagle," rejoined Fawkes. "I charge both with
being privy to the plot."

"I have forgotten another name," said Salisbury, in some confusion,
"that of Viviana Radcliffe, of Ordsall Hall. I have received certain
information that she was wedded to you while you were resident at White
Webbs, near Epping Forest, and was cognisant of the plot. If captured,
she will share your fate."

Fawkes could not repress a groan.

Salisbury pursued his interrogations, but it was evident, from the
increasing feebleness of the prisoner, that he would sink under it if
the examination was further protracted. He was therefore ordered to
attach his signature to the minutes taken by Sir Edward Coke, and was
placed in a chair for that purpose. A pen was then given him, but for
some time his shattered fingers refused to grasp it. By a great effort,
and with acute pain, he succeeded in tracing his Christian name thus:--

[Illustration: "Guido"]

While endeavouring to write his surname, the pen fell from his hand, and
he became insensible.



CHAPTER II.

SHOWING THE TROUBLES OF VIVIANA.


On coming to herself, Viviana inquired for Garnet; and being told that
he was in his chamber alone, she repaired thither, and found him pacing
to and fro in the greatest perturbation.

"If you come to me for consolation, daughter," he said, "you come to one
who cannot offer it. I am completely prostrated in spirit by the
disastrous issue of our enterprise; and though I tried to prepare myself
for what has taken place, I now find myself utterly unable to cope with
it."

[Illustration: _Guy Fawkes subscribing his Examination after the
torture_]

"If such is your condition, father," replied Viviana, "what must be
that of my husband, upon whose devoted head all the weight of this
dreadful calamity now falls? You are still at liberty--still able to
save yourself--still able, at least, to resist unto the death, if you
are so minded. But he is a captive in the Tower, exposed to every
torment that human ingenuity can invent, and with nothing but the
prospect of a lingering death before his eyes. What is your condition,
compared with his?"

"Happy--most happy, daughter," replied Garnet, "and I have been selfish
and unreasonable. I have, given way to the weakness of humanity, and I
thank you from the bottom of my heart for enabling me to shake it off."

"You have indulged false hopes, father," said Viviana, "whereas I have
indulged none, or rather, all has come to pass as I desired. The
dreadful crime with which I feared my husband's soul would have been
loaded is now uncommitted, and I have firm hope of his salvation. If I
might counsel you, I would advise you to surrender yourself to justice,
and by pouring out your blood on the scaffold, wash out your offence.
Such will be my own course. I have been involuntarily led into connexion
with this plot; and though I have ever disapproved of it, since I have
not revealed it I am as guilty as if I had been its contriver. I shall
not shun my punishment. Fate has dealt hardly with me, and my path on
earth has been strewn with thorns, and cast in grief and trouble. But I
humbly trust that my portion hereafter will be with the blessed."

"I cannot doubt it, daughter," replied Garnet; "and though I do not view
our design in the light that you do, but regard it as justifiable, if
not necessary, yet, with your feelings, I cannot sufficiently admire
your conduct. Your devotion and self-sacrifice is wholly without
parallel. At the same time, I would try to dissuade you from
surrendering yourself to our relentless enemies. Believe me, it will add
the severest pang to your husband's torture to know that you are in
their power. His nature is stern and unyielding, and, persuaded as he is
of the justice of his cause, he will die happy in that conviction,
certain that his name, though despised by our heretical persecutors,
will be held in reverence by all true professors of our faith. No,
daughter, fly and conceal yourself till pursuit is relinquished, and
pass the rest of your life in prayer for the repose of your husband's
soul."

"I will pass it in endeavouring to bring him to repentance," replied
Viviana. "The sole boon I shall seek from my judges will be permission
to attempt this."

"It will be refused, daughter," replied Garnet, "and you will only
destroy yourself, not aid him. Rest satisfied that the Great Power who
judges the hearts of men, and implants certain impulses within them, for
his own wise but inscrutable purposes, well knows that Guy Fawkes,
however culpable his conduct may appear in your eyes, acted according to
the dictates of his conscience, and in the full confidence that the
design would restore the true worship of God in this kingdom. The
failure of the enterprise proves that he was mistaken--that we were all
mistaken,--and that Heaven was unfavourable to the means adopted,--but
it does not prove his insincerity."

"These arguments have no weight with me, father," replied Viviana; "I
will leave nothing undone to save his soul, and whatever may be the
result, I will surrender myself to justice."

"I shall not seek to move you from your purpose, daughter," replied
Garnet, "and can only lament it. Before, however, you finally decide,
let us pray together for directions from on high."

Thus exhorted, Viviana knelt down with the priest before a small silver
image of the Virgin, which stood in a niche in the wall, and they both
prayed long and earnestly. Garnet was the first to conclude his
devotions; and as he gazed at the upturned countenance and streaming
eyes of his companion, his heart was filled with admiration and pity.

At this juncture the door opened, and Catesby and Sir Everard Digby
entered. On hearing them, Viviana immediately arose.

"The urgency of our business must plead an excuse for the interruption,
if any is needed," said Catesby; "but do not retire, madam. We have no
secrets from you now. Sir Everard and I have fully completed our
preparations," he added, to Garnet. "Our men are all armed and mounted
in the court, and are in high spirits for the enterprise. As the
service, however, will be one of the greatest danger and difficulty, you
had better seek a safe asylum, father, till the first decisive blow is
struck."

"I would go with you, my son," rejoined Garnet, "if I did not think my
presence might be an hinderance. I can only aid you with my prayers, and
those can be more efficaciously uttered in some secure retreat, than
during a rapid march or dangerous encounter."

"You had better retire to Coughton with Lady Digby and Viviana," said
Sir Everard. "I have provided a sufficient escort to guard you
thither,--and, as you are aware, there are many hiding-places in the
house, where you can remain undiscovered in case of search."

"I place myself at your disposal," replied Garnet. "But Viviana is
resolved to surrender herself."

"This must not be," returned Catesby. "Such an act at this juncture
would be madness, and would materially injure our cause. Whatever your
inclinations may prompt, you must consent to remain in safety, madam."

"I have acquiesced in your proceedings thus far," replied Viviana,
"because I could not oppose them without injury to those dear to me. But
I will take no further share in them. My mind is made up as to the
course I shall pursue."

"Since you are bent upon your own destruction,--for it is nothing
less,--it is the duty of your friends to save you," rejoined Catesby.
"You shall not do what you propose, and when you are yourself again, and
have recovered from the shock your feelings have sustained, you will
thank me for my interference."

"You are right, Catesby," observed Sir Everard; "it would be worse than
insanity to allow her to destroy herself thus."

"I am glad you are of this opinion," said Garnet. "I tried to reason her
out of her design, but without avail."

"Catesby," cried Viviana, throwing herself at his feet, "by the love you
once professed for me,--by the friendship you entertained for him who
unhesitatingly offered himself for you, and your cause, I implore you
not to oppose me now!"

"I shall best serve you, and most act in accordance with the wishes of
my friend, by doing so," replied Catesby. "Therefore, you plead in
vain."

"Alas!" cried Viviana. "My purposes are ever thwarted. You will have to
answer for my life."

"I should, indeed, have it to answer for, if I permitted you to act as
you desire," rejoined Catesby. "I repeat you will thank me ere many days
are passed."

"Sir Everard," exclaimed Viviana, appealing to the knight, "I entreat
you to have pity upon me."

"I do sincerely sympathise with your distress," replied Digby, in a tone
of the deepest commiseration; "but I am sure what Catesby advises is for
the best. I could not reconcile it to my conscience to allow you to
sacrifice yourself thus. Be governed by prudence."

"Oh no----no!" cried Viviana, distractedly. "I will not be stayed. I
command you not to detain me."

"Viviana," said Catesby, taking her arm, "this is no season for the
display of silly weakness either on our part or yours. If you cannot
control yourself, you must be controlled. Father Garnet, I intrust her
to your care. Two of my troop shall attend you, together with your own
servant, Nicholas Owen. You shall have stout horses, able to accomplish
the journey with the greatest expedition, and I should wish you to
convey her to her own mansion, Ordsall Hall, and to remain there with
her till you hear tidings of us."

"It shall be as you direct, my son," said Garnet. "I am prepared to set
out at once."

"That is well," replied Catesby.

"You will not do me this violence, sir," cried Viviana. "I appeal
against it, to you, Sir Everard."

"I cannot help you, madam," replied the knight, "indeed, I cannot."

"Then Heaven, I trust, will help me," cried Viviana, "for I am wholly
abandoned of man."

"I beseech you, madam, put some constraint upon yourself," said Catesby.
"If, after your arrival at Ordsall, you are still bent upon your rash
and fatal design, Father Garnet shall not oppose its execution. But give
yourself time for reflection."

"Since it may not be otherwise, I assent," replied Viviana. "If I must
go, I will start at once."

"Wisely resolved," replied Sir Everard.

Viviana then retired, and soon afterwards appeared equipped for her
journey. The two attendants and Nicholas Owen were in the court-yard,
and Catesby assisted her into the saddle.

"Do not lose sight of her," he said to Garnet, as the latter mounted.

"Rest assured I will not," replied the other.

And taking the direction of Coventry, the party rode off at a brisk
pace.

Catesby then joined the other conspirators, while Sir Everard sent off
Lady Digby and his household, attended by a strong escort, to Coughton.
This done, the whole party repaired to the court-yard, where they called
over the muster-roll of their men, to ascertain that none were
missing,--examined their arms and ammunition,--and finding all in order,
sprang to their steeds, and putting themselves at the head of the band,
rode towards Southam and Warwick.



CHAPTER III.

HUDDINGTON.


About six o'clock in the morning the conspirators reached Leamington
Priors, at that time an inconsiderable village; and having ridden nearly
twenty miles over heavy and miry roads,--for a good deal of rain had
fallen in the night,--they stood in need of some refreshment.
Accordingly, they entered the first farm-yard they came to, and
proceeding to the cow-houses and sheepfolds, turned out the animals
within them, and fastening up their own steeds in their places, set
before them whatever provender they could find. Those, and they were by
far the greater number, who could not find better accommodation, fed
their horses in the yard, which was strewn with trusses of hay and great
heaps of corn. The whole scene formed a curious picture. Here was one
party driving away the sheep and cattle, which were bleating and
lowing,--there, another rifling a hen-roost, and slaughtering its
cackling inmates. On this hand, by the direction of Catesby, two stout
horses were being harnessed with ropes to a cart, which he intended to
use as a baggage-waggon; on that, Sir Everard Digby was interposing his
authority to prevent the destruction of a fine porker.

Their horses fed, the next care of the conspirators was to obtain
something for themselves: and ordering the master of the house, who was
terrified almost out of his senses, to open his doors, they entered the
dwelling, and causing a fire to be lighted in the chief room, began to
boil a large kettle of broth upon it, and to cook other provisions.
Finding a good store of eatables in the larder, rations were served out
to the band. Two casks of strong ale were likewise broached, and their
contents distributed; and a small keg of strong waters being also
discovered, it was disposed of in the same way.

This, however, was the extent of the mischief done. All the
conspirators, but chiefly Catesby and Sir Everard Digby, dispersed
themselves amongst the band, and checked any disposition to plunder. The
only articles taken away from the house were a couple of old rusty
swords and a caliver. Catesby proposed to the farmer to join their
expedition. But having now regained his courage, the sturdy churl
obstinately refused to stir a foot with them, and even ventured to utter
a wish that the enterprise might fail.

"I am a good Protestant, and a faithful subject of King James, and will
never abet Popery and treason," he said.

This bold sally would have been answered by a bullet from one of the
troopers, if Catesby had not interfered.

"You shall do as you please, friend," he said, in a conciliatory tone.
"We will not compel any man to act against his conscience, and we claim
the same right ourselves. Will you join us, good fellows?" he added, to
two farming men, who were standing near their master.

"Must I confess to a priest?" asked one of them.

"Certainly not," replied Catesby. "You shall have no constraint whatever
put upon you. All I require is obedience to my commands in the field."

"Then I am with you," replied the fellow.

"Thou'rt a traitor and rebel, Sam Morrell," cried the other hind, "and
wilt come to a traitor's end. I will never fight against King James. And
if I must take up arms, it shall be against his enemies, and in defence
of our religion. No priests,--no papistry for me."

"Well said, Hugh," cried his master; "we'll die in that cause, if need
be."

Catesby turned angrily away, and giving the word to his men to prepare
to set forth, in a few minutes all were in the saddle; but on inquiring
for the new recruit, Sam Morrell, it was found he had disappeared. The
cart was laden with arms, ammunition and a few sacks of corn; and the
line being formed, they commenced their march.

The morning was dark and misty, and all looked dull and dispiriting. The
conspirators, however, were full of confidence, and their men,
exhilarated and refreshed by their meal, appeared anxious for an
opportunity of distinguishing themselves. Arrived within half a mile of
Warwick, whence the lofty spire of the church of Saint Nicholas, the
tower of Saint Mary's, and the ancient gates of this beautiful old town
could just be discerned through the mist, a short consultation was held
by the rebel leaders as to the expediency of attacking the castle, and
carrying off the horses with which they had learnt its stables were
filled.

Deciding upon making the attempt, their resolution was communicated to
their followers, and received with loud acclamations. Catesby then put
himself at the head of the band, and they all rode forward at a brisk
pace. Crossing the bridge over the Avon, whence the castle burst upon
them in all its grandeur and beauty, Catesby dashed forward to an
embattled gate commanding the approach to the structure, and knocking
furiously against it, a wicket was opened by an old porter, who started
back on beholding the intruders. He would have closed the wicket, but
Catesby was too quick for him, and springing from his steed, dashed
aside the feeble opposition of the old man, and unbarred the gate.
Instantly mounting again, he galloped along a broad and winding path cut
so deeply in the rock, that the mighty pile they were approaching was
completely hidden from view. A few seconds, however, brought them to a
point, from which its three towers reared themselves full before them.
Another moment brought them to the edge of the moat, at this time
crossed by a stone bridge, but then filled with water, and defended by a
drawbridge.

As no attack like the present was apprehended, and as the owner of the
castle, the celebrated Fulke Greville, afterwards Lord Brooke, to whom
it had been recently granted by the reigning monarch, was then in the
capital, the drawbridge was down, and though several retainers rushed
forth on hearing the approach of so many horsemen, they were too late to
raise it. Threatening these persons with destruction if any resistance
was offered, Catesby passed through the great entrance, and rode into
the court, where he drew up his band.

By this time, the whole of the inmates of the castle had collected on
the ramparts, armed with calivers and partisans, and whatever weapons
they could find, and though their force was utterly disproportioned to
that of their opponents, they seemed disposed to give them battle.
Paying no attention to them, Catesby proceeded to the stables, where he
found upwards of twenty horses, which he exchanged for the worst and
most jaded of his own, and was about to enter the castle in search of
arms, when he was startled by hearing the alarm-bell rung. This was
succeeded by the discharge of a culverin on the summit of the tower,
named after the redoubted Guy, Earl of Warwick; and though the bell was
instantly silenced, Rookwood, who had dislodged the party from the
ramparts, brought word that the inhabitants of Warwick were assembling,
that drums were beating at the gates, and that an attack might be
speedily expected. Not desiring to hazard an engagement at this
juncture, Catesby gave up the idea of ransacking the castle, and ordered
his men to their horses.

Some delay, however, occurred before they could all be got together,
and, meanwhile, the ringing of bells and other alarming sounds
continued. At one time, it occurred to Catesby to attempt to maintain
possession of the castle; but this design was overruled by the other
conspirators, who represented to him the impracticability of the design.
At length, the whole troop being assembled, they crossed the drawbridge,
and speeded along the rocky path. Before the outer gate they found a
large body of men, some on horseback, and some on foot, drawn up. These
persons, however, struck with terror at their appearance, retreated, and
allowed them a free passage.

On turning to cross the bridge, they found it occupied by a strong and
well-armed body of men, headed by the Sheriff of Warwickshire, who
showed no disposition to give way. While the rebel party were preparing
to force a passage, a trumpet was sounded, and the Sheriff, riding
towards them, commanded them in the King's name to yield themselves
prisoners.

"We do not acknowledge the supremacy of James Stuart, whom you call
king," rejoined Catesby, sternly. "We fight for our liberties, and for
the restoration of the holy Catholic religion which we profess. Do not
oppose us, or you will have cause to rue your temerity."

"Hear me," cried the Sheriff, turning from him to his men: "I promise
you all a free pardon in the King's name, if you will throw down your
arms, and deliver up your leaders. But, if after this warning, you
continue in open rebellion against your sovereign, you will all suffer
the vilest death."

"Rejoin your men, sir," said Catesby, in a significant tone, and drawing
a petronel.

"A free pardon and a hundred pounds to him who will bring me the head of
Robert Catesby," said the Sheriff, disregarding the menace.

"Your own is not worth half the sum," rejoined Catesby; and levelling
the petronel, he shot him dead.

The Sheriff's fall was the signal for a general engagement. Exasperated
by the death of their leader, the royalist party assailed the rebels
with the greatest fury, and as the latter were attacked at the same time
in the rear, their situation began to appear perilous. But nothing could
withstand the vigour and determination of Catesby. Cheering on his men,
he soon cut a way across the bridge, and would have made good his
retreat, if he had not perceived, to his infinite dismay, that Percy and
Rookwood had been captured.

Regardless of any risk he might run, he shouted to those near to follow
him, and made such a desperate charge upon the royalists that in a few
minutes he was by the side of his friends, and had liberated them. In
trying, however, to follow up his advantage he got separated from his
companions, and was so hotly pressed on all sides, that his destruction
seemed inevitable. His petronels had both brought down their mark; and
in striking a blow against a stalwart trooper his sword had shivered
close to the handle. In this defenceless state his enemies made sure of
him, but they miscalculated his resources.

He was then close to the side of the bridge, and, before his purpose
could be divined, struck spurs deeply into his horse, and cleared the
parapet with a single bound. A shout of astonishment and admiration
arose alike from friend and foe, and there was a general rush towards
the side of the bridge. The noble animal that had borne him out of
danger was seen swimming towards the bank, and, though several shots
were fired at him, he reached it in safety. This gallant action so
raised Catesby in the estimation of his followers, that they welcomed
him with the utmost enthusiasm, and rallying round him, fought with such
vigour, that they drove their opponents over the bridge and compelled
them to flee towards the town.

Catesby now mustered his men, and finding his loss slighter than he
expected, though several were so severely wounded, that he was compelled
to leave them behind, rode off at a quick pace. After proceeding for
about four miles along the Stratford road, they turned off on the right
into a narrow lane leading to Snitterfield, with the intention of
visiting Norbrook, the family residence of John Grant. On arriving
there, they put the house into a state of defence, and then assembled in
the hall, while their followers recruited themselves in the court-yard.

"So far, well," observed Catesby, flinging himself into a chair; "the
first battle has been won."

"True," replied Grant; "but it will not do to tarry here long. This
house cannot hold out against a prolonged attack."

"We will not remain here more than a couple of hours," replied Catesby:
"but where shall we go next? I am for making some desperate attempt,
which shall strike terror into our foes."

"Are we strong enough to march to the Earl of Harrington's mansion near
Coventry, and carry off the Princess Elizabeth?" asked Percy.

"She were indeed a glorious prize," replied Catesby; "but I have no
doubt, on the first alarm of our rising, she has been conveyed to a
place of safety. And even if she were there, we should have the whole
armed force of Coventry to contend with. No--no, it will not do to
attempt that."

"Nothing venture, nothing have!" cried Sir Everard Digby. "We ought, in
my opinion, to run any risk to secure her."

"You know me too well, Digby," rejoined Catesby, "to doubt my readiness
to undertake any project, however hazardous, which would offer the
remotest chance of success. But in this I see none, unless, indeed, it
could be accomplished by stratagem. Let us first ascertain what support
we can obtain, and then decide upon the measures to be adopted."

"I am content," returned Digby.

"Old Mr. Talbot of Grafton is a friend of yours, is he not?" continued
Catesby, addressing Thomas Winter. "Can you induce him to join us?"

"I will try," replied Thomas Winter; "but I have some misgivings."

"Be not faint-hearted," rejoined Catesby. "You and Stephen Littleton
shall go to him at once, and join us at your own mansion of Huddington,
whither we will proceed as soon as our men are thoroughly recruited. Use
every argument you can devise with Talbot,--tell him that the welfare of
the Catholic cause depends on our success,--and that neither his years
nor infirmities can excuse his absence at this juncture. If he will not,
or cannot come himself, cause him to write letters to all his Catholic
neighbours, urging them to join us, and bid him send all his retainers
and servants to us."

"I will not neglect a single plea," replied Thomas Winter, "and I will
further urge compliance by his long friendship towards myself. But, as I
have just said, I despair of success."

Soon after this, he and Stephen Littleton, with two of the troopers
well-mounted and well-armed, rode across the country through lanes and
by-roads, with which they were well acquainted, to Grafton. At the same
time, Catesby repaired to the court-yard, and assembling his men, found
there were twenty-five missing. More than half of these it was known had
been killed or wounded at Warwick; but the rest, it was suspected, had
deserted.

Whatever effect this scrutiny might secretly have upon Catesby, he
maintained a cheerful and confident demeanour, and mounting a flight of
steps, harangued the band in energetic and exciting terms. Displaying a
small image of the virgin to them, he assured them they were under the
special protection of heaven, whose cause they were fighting--and
concluded by reciting a prayer, in which the whole assemblage heartily
joined. This done, they filled the baggage-cart with provisions and
further ammunition, and forming themselves into good order, took the
road to Alcester.

They had not gone far, when torrents of rain fell, and the roads being
in a shocking condition, and ploughed up with ruts, they turned into the
fields wherever it was practicable, and continued their march very
slowly, and under excessively disheartening circumstances. On arriving
at the ford across the Avon, near Bishopston, they found the stream so
swollen that it was impossible to get across it. Sir Everard Digby, who
made the attempt, was nearly carried off by the current. They were
therefore compelled to proceed to Stratford, and cross the bridge.

"My friends," said Catesby, commanding a halt at a short distance of the
town, "I know not what reception we may meet with here. Probably much
the same as at Warwick. But I command you not to strike a blow, except
in self-defence."

Those injunctions given, attended by the other conspirators, except
Percy and Rookwood, who brought up the rear, he rode slowly into
Stratford, and proceeding to the market-place, ordered a trumpet to be
sounded. On the first appearance of the troop, most of the inhabitants
fled to their houses, and fastened the doors, but some few courageous
persons followed them at a wary distance. These were harangued at some
length by Catesby, who called upon them to join the expedition, and held
out promises, which only excited the derision of the hearers.

Indeed, the dejected looks of most of the band, and the drenched and
muddy state of their apparel, made them objects of pity and contempt,
rather than of serious apprehension: and nothing but their numbers
prevented an attack being made upon them. Catesby's address concluded
amid groans of dissatisfaction; and finding he was wasting time, and
injuring his own cause, he gave the word to march, and moved slowly
through the main street, but not a single recruit joined him.

Another unpropitious circumstance occurred just as they were leaving
Stratford. Two or three of his followers tried to slink away, when
Catesby, riding after them, called to them to return, and no attention
being paid to his orders, he shot the man nearest him, and compelled the
others, by threats of the same punishment, to return to their ranks.
This occurrence, while it occasioned much discontent and ill-will among
the band, gave great uneasiness to their leaders. Catesby and Percy now
brought up the rear, and kept a sharp look-out to check any further
attempt at desertion.

Digby and Winter, being well acquainted with all the Catholic gentry in
the neighbourhood, they proceeded to their different residences, and
were uniformly coldly received, and in some cases dismissed with
reproaches and menaces. In spite of all their efforts, too, repeated
desertions took place; and long before they reached Alcester, their
force was diminished by a dozen men. Not thinking it prudent to pass
through the town, they struck into a lane on the right, and fording the
Arrow near Ragley, skirted that extensive park, and crossing the hills
near Weethly and Stoney Moreton, arrived in about an hour and a half, in
a very jaded condition, at Huddington, the seat of Robert Winter.
Affairs seemed to wear so unpromising an aspect, that Catesby, on
entering the house, immediately called a council of his friends, and
asked them what they proposed to do.

"For my own part," he said, "I am resolved to fight it out. I will
continue my march as long as I can get a man to follow me, and when they
are all gone, will proceed alone. But I will never yield."

"We will all die together, if need be," said Sir Everard Digby. "Let us
rest here to-night, and in the morning proceed to Lord Windsor's
mansion, Hewel Grange, which I know to be well stocked with arms, and,
after carrying off all we can, we will fortify Stephen Littleton's house
at Holbeach, and maintain it for a few days against our enemies."

This proposal agreed to, they repaired to the court-yard, and busied
themselves in seeing the wants of their followers attended to; and such
a change was effected by good fare and a few hours' repose, that the
spirits of the whole party revived, and confidence was once more
restored. A slight damp, however, was again thrown upon the satisfaction
of the leaders, by the return of Thomas Winter and Stephen Littleton
from Grafton. Their mission had proved wholly unsuccessful. Mr. Talbot
had not merely refused to join them, but had threatened to detain them.

"He says we deserve the worst of deaths," observed Thomas Winter, in
conclusion, "and that we have irretrievably injured the Catholic cause."

"And I begin to fear he speaks the truth," rejoined Christopher Wright.
"However, for us there is no retreat."

"None whatever," rejoined Catesby, in a sombre tone. "We must choose
between death upon the battle-field or on the scaffold."

"The former be my fate," cried Percy.

"And mine," added Catesby.

An anxious and perturbed night was passed by the conspirators, and many
a plan was proposed and abandoned. It had been arranged among them that
they should each in succession make the rounds of the place, to see that
the sentinels were at their posts--strict orders having been given to
the latter to fire upon whomsoever might attempt to fly--but, as
Catesby, despite his great previous fatigue, was unable to rest, he took
this duty chiefly upon himself.

Returning at midnight from an examination of the court-yard, he was
about to enter the house, when he perceived before him a tall figure,
with a cloak muffled about its face, standing in his path. It was
perfectly motionless, and Catesby, who carried a lantern in his hand,
threw the light upon it, but it neither moved forward, nor altered its
position. Catesby would have challenged it, but an undefinable terror
seized him, and his tongue clove to the roof of his mouth. An idea rose
to his mind that it was the spirit of Guy Fawkes, and, by a powerful
effort, he compelled himself to address it.

"Are you come to warn me?" he demanded.

The figure moved in acquiescence, and withdrawing the cloak, revealed
features of ghastly paleness, but resembling those of Fawkes.

"Have I long to live?" demanded Catesby.

The figure shook its head.

"Shall I fall to-morrow?" pursued Catesby.

The figure again made a gesture in the negative.

"The next day?"

Solemnly inclining its head, the figure once more muffled its ghastly
visage in its cloak, and melted from his view.

For some time Catesby remained in a state almost of stupefaction. He
then summoned up all the resolution of his nature, and instead of
returning to the house, continued to pace to and fro in the court, and
at last walked forth into the garden. It was profoundly dark; and he had
not advanced many steps when he suddenly encountered a man. Repressing
the exclamation that rose to his lips, he drew a petronel from his belt,
and waited till the person addressed him.

"Is it you, Sir John Foliot?" asked a voice, which he instantly
recognised as that of Topcliffe.

"Ay," replied Catesby, in a low tone.

"Did you manage to get into the house?" pursued Topcliffe.

"I did," returned Catesby; "but speak lower. There is a sentinel within
a few paces of us. Come this way."

And grasping the other's arm he drew him further down the walk.

"Do you think we may venture to surprise them?" demanded Topcliffe.

"Hum!" exclaimed Catesby, hesitating, in the hope of inducing the other
to betray his design.

"Or shall we wait the arrival of Sir Richard Walsh, the Sheriff of
Worcestershire, and the _posse comitatûs_?" pursued Topcliffe.

"How soon do you think the Sheriff will arrive?" asked Catesby, scarcely
able to disguise his anxiety.

"He cannot be here before daybreak--if so soon," returned Topcliffe,
"and then we shall have to besiege the house; and though I have no fear
of the result, yet some of the conspirators may fall in the skirmish;
and my orders from the Earl of Salisbury, as I have already apprised
you, are, to take them alive."

"True," replied Catesby.

"I would not, for twice the reward I shall receive for the capture of
the whole party, that that desperate traitor, Catesby, should be slain,"
continued Topcliffe. "The plot was contrived by him, and the extent of
its ramifications can alone be ascertained through him."

"I think I can contrive their capture," observed Catesby; "but the
utmost caution must be used. I will return to the house, and find out
where the chief conspirators are lodged. I will then throw open the
door, and will return to this place, where you can have our men
assembled. If we can seize and secure the leaders, the rest will be
easy."

"You will run great risk, Sir John," said Topcliffe, with affected
concern.

"Heed not that," replied Catesby. "You may expect me in a few minutes.
Get together your men as noiselessly as you can."

With this he hastily withdrew.

On returning to the house, he instantly roused his companions, and
acquainted them with what had occurred.

"My object," he said, "is to make Topcliffe a prisoner. We may obtain
much useful information from him. As to the others, if they offer
resistance, we will put them to death."

"What force have they?" asked Sir Everard Digby, with some uneasiness.

"It is impossible to say precisely," replied Catesby; "but not more than
a handful of men, I should imagine, as they are waiting for Sir Richard
Walsh."

"I know not what may be the issue of this matter," observed Robert
Winter, whose looks were unusually haggard; "but I have had a strange
and ominous dream, which fills me with apprehension."

"Indeed!" exclaimed Catesby, upon whose mind the recollection of the
apparition he had beheld rushed.

"Catesby," pursued Robert Winter, taking him aside, "if you have any sin
unrepented of, I counsel you to make your peace with Heaven, for I fear
you are not long for this world."

"It may be so," rejoined Catesby, firmly; "and I have many dark and
damning sins upon my soul, but I will die as I have lived, firm and
unshaken to the last. And now, let us prepare for our foes."

So saying, he proceeded to call up the trustiest of his men, and
enjoining profound silence upon them, disposed them in various places,
that they might instantly appear at his signal. After giving them other
directions, he returned to the garden, and coughed slightly. He was
answered by a quickly-approaching footstep, and a voice demanded,

"Are you there, Sir John?"

Catesby answered in a low tone in the affirmative.

"Come forward, then," rejoined Topcliffe.

As he spoke there was a rush of persons towards the spot, and seizing
Catesby, he cried, in a triumphant tone, while he unmasked a lantern,
and threw its light full upon his face,

"You are caught in your own trap, Mr. Catesby. You are my prisoner."

"Not so, villain," cried Catesby, disengaging himself by a powerful
effort.

Springing backwards, he drew his sword, and making the blade describe a
circle round his body, effected his retreat in safety, though a dozen
shots were fired at him. Leaping the garden wall, he was instantly
surrounded by the other conspirators, and the greater part of the band,
who, hearing the reports of the fire-arms, had hurried to the spot.
Instantly putting himself at their head, Catesby returned to the garden;
but Topcliffe and his party had taken the alarm and fled. Torches were
brought, and, by Catesby's directions, a large heap of dry stubble was
set on fire. But, though the flames revealed every object for a
considerable distance around them, no traces of the hostile party could
be discerned.

After continuing their ineffectual search for some time, the
conspirators returned to the house, and abandoning all idea of retiring
to rest, kept strict watch during the remainder of the night. Little
conversation took place. All were deeply depressed; and Catesby paced
backwards and forwards within a passage leading from the hall to the
dining-chamber. His thoughts were gloomy enough, and he retraced the
whole of his wild and turbulent career, pondering upon its close, which
he could not disguise from himself was at hand.

"It matters not," he mentally ejaculated; "I shall not die
ignominiously, and I would rather perish in the vigour of manhood than
linger out a miserable old age. I have striven hard to achieve a great
enterprise, and having failed, have little else to live for. This band
cannot hold together two days longer. Our men will desert us, or turn
upon us to obtain the price set upon our heads. And, were they true, I
have little reliance upon my companions. They have no longer the
confidence that can alone insure success, and I expect each moment some
one will propose a surrender. Surrender! I will never do so with life.
Something must be done--something worthy of me--and then let me perish.
I have ever prayed to die a soldier's death."

As he uttered these words unconsciously aloud, he became aware of the
presence of Robert Winter, who stood at the end of the passage, watching
him.

"Your prayer will not be granted, Catesby," said the latter. "Some
dreadful doom, I fear, is reserved for you and all of us."

"What mean you?" demanded the other, uneasily.

"Listen to me," replied Robert Winter. "I told you I had a strange and
appalling dream to-night, and I will now relate it. I thought I was in a
boat upon the river Thames, when all at once the day, which had been
bright and smiling, became dark and overcast,--not dark like the shades
of night, but gloomy and ominous, as when the sun is shrouded by an
eclipse. I looked around, and every object was altered. The tower of
Saint Paul's stood awry, and seemed ready to topple down,--so did the
spires and towers of all the surrounding fanes. The houses on London
Bridge leaned frightfully over the river, and the habitations lining its
banks on either side, seemed shaken to their foundations. I fancied some
terrible earthquake must have occurred, or that the end of the world was
at hand."

"Go on," said Catesby, who had listened with profound attention to the
relation.

"The stream, too, changed its colour," continued Robert Winter, "and
became red as blood, and the man who rowed my boat was gone, and his
place occupied by a figure masked and habited like an executioner. I
commanded him to row me ashore, and in an instant the bark shot to land,
and I sprang out, glad to be liberated from my mysterious conductor. My
steps involuntarily led me toward the cathedral, and on entering it, I
found its pillars, shrines, monuments, and roof hung with black. The
throng that ever haunt Paul's Walk had disappeared, and a few dismal
figures alone traversed the aisles. On approaching them, I recognised in
their swollen, death-like, and blackened lineaments, some resemblance to
you and our friends. I was about to interrogate them, when I was
awakened by yourself."

"A strange dream, truly," observed Catesby, musingly, "and coupled with
what I myself have seen to-night, would seem to bode evil."

And he then proceeded to describe the supernatural appearance he had
beheld to his companion.

"All is over with us," rejoined Robert Winter. "We must prepare to meet
our fate."

"We must meet it like men,--like brave men, Robert," replied Catesby.
"We must not disgrace ourselves and our cause."

"You are right," rejoined Robert Winter; "but these visions are more
terrible than the contemplation of death itself."

"If you require further rest, take it," returned Catesby. "In an hour I
shall call up our men, and march to Hewel Grange."

"I am wearied enough," replied Robert Winter, "but I dare not close my
eyes again."

"Then recommend your soul to Heaven," said Catesby. "I would be alone.
Melancholy thoughts press upon me, and I desire to unburden my heart to
God."

Robert Winter then left him, and he withdrew into a closet where there
was an image of the Virgin, and kneeling before it, prayed long and
fervently. Arising in a calmer frame of mind, he returned to the hall,
and summoning his companions and followers, their horses were brought
forth, and they commenced their march.

It was about four o'clock when they started, and so dark, that they had
some difficulty in finding the road. They proceeded at a slow pace, and
with the utmost caution; but notwithstanding this, and though the two
Winters and Grant, who were well acquainted with the country, led the
way, many trifling delays and disasters occurred. Their baggage-cart
frequently stuck fast in the deep ruts, while the men missing their way,
got into the trenches skirting the lane, and were not unfrequently
thrown from their horses. More than once, too, the alarm was given that
they were pursued, and a sudden halt ordered; but these apprehensions
proved groundless, and, after a most fatiguing ride, they found
themselves at Stoke Prior, and within two miles of Hewel Grange.

Originally built in the early part of the reign of Henry the Eighth, and
granted by that monarch to an ancestor of its present possessor, Lord
Windsor, this ancient mansion was quadrangular in form, and surrounded
by a broad deep fosse. Situated in the heart of an extensive park, at
the foot of a gentle hill, it was now approached from the brow of the
latter beautiful eminence by the rebel party. But at this season, and at
this hour, both park and mansion had a forlorn look. The weather still
continued foggy, with drizzling showers, and though the trees were not
yet entirely stripped of their foliage, their glories had altogether
departed. The turf was damp and plashy, and in some places partook so
much of the character of a swamp, that the horsemen were obliged to
alter their course.

But all obstacles were eventually overcome, and in ten minutes after
their entrance into the park, they were within gunshot of the mansion.
There were no symptoms of defence apparent, but the drawbridge being
raised, it was Catesby's opinion, notwithstanding appearances, that
their arrival was expected. He was further confirmed in this idea when,
sounding a trumpet, and calling to the porter to let down the
drawbridge, no answer was returned.

The entrance to the mansion was through a lofty and machiolated gateway,
strengthened at each side by an embattled turret. Perceiving a man at
one of the loopholes, Catesby discharged his petronel at him, and it was
evident from the cry that followed that the person was wounded. An
instant afterwards calivers were thrust through the other loopholes, and
several shots fired upon the rebels, while some dozen armed men appeared
upon the summit of the tower, and likewise commenced firing.

Perceiving Topcliffe among the latter, and enraged at the sight, Catesby
discharged another petronel at him, but without effect. He then called
to some of his men to break down the door of an adjoining barn, and to
place it in the moat. The order was instantly obeyed, and the door
afloat in the fosse, and springing upon it, he impelled himself with a
pike towards the opposite bank. Several shots were fired at him, and
though more than one struck the door, he crossed the moat uninjured. So
suddenly was this daring passage effected, that before any of the
defenders of the mansion could prevent him, Catesby had severed the
links of the chain fastening the drawbridge, and it fell clattering
down.

With a loud shout, his companions then crossed it. But they had still a
difficulty to encounter. The gates, which were of great strength, and
covered with plates of iron, were barred. But a ladder having been found
in the barn, it was brought forward, and Catesby mounting it sword in
hand, drove back all who opposed him, and got upon the wall. He was
followed by Sir Everard Digby, Percy, and several others, and driving
the royalists before them, they made their way down a flight of stone
steps, and proceeding to the gateway, threw it open, and admitted the
others. All this was the work of a few minutes.

Committing the ransacking of the mansion to Digby and Percy, and
commanding a dozen men to follow him, Catesby entered a small arched
doorway, and ascended a winding stone staircase in search of Topcliffe.
His progress was opposed by the soldiers, but beating aside all
opposition, he gained the roof. Topcliffe, however, was gone.
Anticipating the result of the attack, he had let himself drop from the
summit of the tower to the walls, and descending by the ladder, had made
good his retreat.

Disarming the soldiers, Catesby then descended to the court-yard, where
in a short time a large store of arms, consisting of corslets,
demi-lances, pikes, calivers, and two falconets, were brought forth.
These, together with a cask of powder, were placed in the
baggage-waggon. Meanwhile, the larder and cellar had been explored, and
provisions of all kinds, together with a barrel of mead, and another of
strong ale, being found, they were distributed among the men.

While this took place, Catesby searched the mansion, and, partly by
threats, partly by persuasion, induced about twenty persons to join
them. This unlooked-for success so encouraged the conspirators, that
their drooping spirits began to revive. Catesby appeared as much elated
as the others, but at heart he was full of misgiving.

Soon afterwards, the rebel party quitted Hewel Grange, taking with them
every weapon they could find. The forced recruits were placed in the
midst of the band, so that escape was impracticable.



CHAPTER IV.

HOLBEACH.


Avoiding the high road, and traversing an unfrequented part of the
country, the conspirators shaped their course towards Stourbridge. As
they reached Forfield Green, they perceived a large party descending the
hilly ground near Bromsgrove, and evidently in pursuit of them. An
immediate halt was ordered, and taking possession of a farm-house, they
prepared for defence.

Seeing these preparations, their pursuers, who proved to be Sir Richard
Walsh the Sheriff of Worcestershire, Sir John Foliot, three gentlemen
named Ketelbye, Salwaye, and Conyers, attended by a large posse of men,
all tolerably well armed, drew up at some distance from the farm, and
appeared to be consulting as to the prudence of making an attack.
Topcliffe was with them; and Catesby, who reconnoitered their
proceedings from a window of the dwelling, inferred from his gestures
that he was against the assault. And so it proved. The royalist party
remained where they were, and as one or two of their number occasionally
disappeared, Catesby judged, and correctly, that they were despatched
for a reinforcement.

Not willing to wait for this, he determined to continue his march, and,
accordingly, forming his men into a close line, and bringing up the rear
himself, they again set forward. Sir Richard Walsh and his party
followed them, and whenever they were in a difficult part of the road,
harassed them with a sudden attack. In this way, several stragglers were
cut off, and a few prisoners made. So exasperated did Catesby become by
these annoyances, that, though desirous to push forward as fast as
possible, he halted at the entrance of a common, and prepared for an
engagement. But his purpose was defeated, for the royalist party took
another course, nor did he see anything more of them for some time.

In about an hour the rebels arrived at the banks of the river Stour, not
far from the little village of Churchill, and here, just as they were
preparing to ford the stream, the sheriff and his followers again made
their appearance. By this time, also, the forces of their opponents were
considerably augmented, and as more than a third of their own party were
engaged in crossing the stream, which was greatly swollen by the recent
rains, and extremely dangerous, their position was one of no slight
peril.

Nothing daunted, Catesby instantly drew up his men on the bank, and,
after a short skirmish, drove away the enemy, and afterwards contrived
to cross the river without much loss. He found, however, that the
baggage-cart had got immersed in the stream, and it was feared that the
powder would be damaged. They remained on the opposite bank for some
time; but as their enemies did not attempt to follow them, they took the
way to Holbeach, a large and strongly built mansion belonging, as has
been already stated, to Stephen Littleton. Here they arrived without
further molestation, and their first business was to put it into a
complete state of defence.

[Illustration: _The Explosion at Holbeach_]

After a long and anxious consultation, Sir Everard Digby quitted them,
undertaking to return on the following day with succours. Stephen
Littleton also disappeared on the same evening. His flight produced a
strong impression on Catesby, and he besought the others not to abandon
the good cause, but to stand by it, as he himself meant to do, to the
last. They all earnestly assured him that they would do so, except
Robert Winter, who sat apart, and took no share in their discourse.

Catesby then examined the powder that had been plunged in the water in
crossing the Stour, and found it so much wetted as to be nearly useless.
A sufficient stock of powder being of the utmost consequence to them, he
caused all the contents of the barrel, not dissolved by the immersion,
to be poured into a large platter, and proceeded to dry it before a fire
which had been kindled in the hall. A bag of powder, which had likewise
been slightly wetted, was also placed at what was considered a safe
distance from the fire.

"Heaven grant this may prove more destructive to our enemies than the
combustibles we placed in the mine beneath the Parliament House!"
observed Percy.

"Heaven grant so, indeed!" rejoined Catesby, with a moody smile. "They
would call it retribution, where we to perish by the same means which we
designed for others."

"Jest not on so serious a matter, Catesby," observed Robert Winter. "For
my own part, I dread the sight of powder, and shall walk forth till you
have dried this, and put it away."

"You are not going to leave us, like Stephen Littleton?" rejoined
Catesby, suspiciously.

"I will go with him," said Christopher Wright; "so you need be under no
apprehension."

Accordingly, he quitted the hall with Robert Winter, and they proceeded
to the court-yard and were conversing together on the dismal prospects
of the party, when a tremendous explosion took place. The roof of the
building seemed rent in twain, and amidst a shower of tiles, plaster,
bricks, and broken wood falling around, the bag of powder dropped
untouched at their feet.

"Mother of mercy!" exclaimed Christopher Wright, picking it up. "Here is
a providential occurrence. Had this exploded, we must all have been
destroyed."

"Let us see what has happened," cried Robert Winter.

And, followed by Christopher Wright, he rushed towards the hall, and
bursting open the door, beheld Catesby enveloped in a cloud of smoke,
and pressing his hand to his face, which was scorched and blackened by
the explosion. Rookwood was stretched on the floor in a state of
insensibility, and it at first appeared that life was extinct. Percy was
extinguishing the flames, which had caught his dress, and John Grant was
similarly occupied.

"Those are the very faces I beheld in my dream," cried Robert Winter,
gazing at them with affright. "It was a true warning."

Rushing up to Catesby, Christopher Wright clasped him in his arms, and
extinguishing his flaming apparel, cried, "Wretch that I am! that I
should live to see this day!"

"Be not alarmed!" gasped Catesby. "It is nothing--it was a mere
accident."

"It is no accident, Catesby," replied Robert Winter. "Heaven is against
us and our design."

And he quitted the room, and left the house. Nor did he return to it.

"I will pray for forgiveness!" cried John Grant, whose vision was so
much injured by the explosion that he could as yet see nothing. And
dragging himself before an image of the Virgin, he prayed aloud,
acknowledging that the act he had designed was so bloody that it called
for the vengeance of Heaven, and expressing his sincere repentance.

"No more of this," cried Catesby, staggering up to him, and snatching
the image from him. "It was a mere accident, I tell you. We are all
alive, and shall yet succeed."

On inquiry, Christopher Wright learnt that a blazing coal had shot out
of the fire, and falling into the platter containing the powder, had
occasioned the disastrous accident above described.



CHAPTER V.

THE CLOSE OF THE REBELLION.


Unable longer to endure the agony occasioned by his scorched visage,
Catesby called for a bucket of water, and plunged his head into it.
Somewhat relieved by the immersion, he turned to inquire after his
fellow-sufferers. Rookwood having been carried into the open air, had by
this time regained his consciousness; Percy was shockingly injured, his
hair and eyebrows burnt, his skin blackened and swollen with unseemly
blisters, and the sight of one eye entirely destroyed; while John Grant,
though a degree less hurt than his companions, presented a grim and
ghastly appearance. In fact, the four sufferers looked as if they had
just escaped from some unearthly place of torment, and were doomed
henceforth to bear the brand of Divine wrath on their countenances.
Seeing the effect produced on the others, Catesby rallied all his force,
and treating the accident as a matter of no moment, and which ought not
to disturb the equanimity of brave men, called for wine, and quaffed a
full goblet. Injured as he was, and smarting with pain, Percy followed
his example, but both John Grant and Rookwood refused the cup.

"Hark 'e, gentlemen," cried Catesby, fiercely, "you may drink or not, as
you see fit. But I will not have you assume a deportment calculated to
depress our followers. Stephen Littleton and Robert Winter have basely
deserted us. If you have any intention of following them, go at once. We
are better without you than with you."

"I have no thought of deserting you, Catesby," rejoined Rookwood,
mournfully; "and when the time arrives for action, you will find I shall
not be idle. But I am now assured that we have sold ourselves to
perdition."

"Pshaw!" cried Catesby, with a laugh that communicated an almost
fiendish expression to his grim features; "because a little powder has
accidentally exploded and blackened our faces, are we to see in the
occurrence the retributive justice of Heaven? Are we to be cast down by
such a trifle? Be a man, and rouse yourself. Recollect that the eyes of
all England are upon us; and if we must fall, let us perish in a manner
that becomes us. No real mischief has been done. My hand is as able to
wield a blade, and my sight to direct a shot, as heretofore. If Heaven
had meant to destroy us, the bag of powder which has been taken up in
the yard, and which was sufficient not only to annihilate us, but to lay
this house in ruins, would have been suffered to explode."

"Would it _had_ exploded!" exclaimed John Wright. "All would then have
been over."

"Are you, too, fainthearted, John?" cried Catesby. "Well, well, leave me
one and all of you. I will fight it out alone."

"You wrong me by the suspicion, Catesby," returned John Wright. "I am as
true to the cause as yourself. But I perceive that our last hour is at
hand, and I would it were past."

"The indulgence of such a wish at such a moment is a weakness," rejoined
Catesby. "I care not when death comes, provided it comes gloriously; and
such should be your feeling. On the manner in which we meet our fate
will depend the effect which our insurrection will produce throughout
the country. We must set a brave example to our brethren. Heaven be
praised; we shall not perish on the scaffold!"

"Be not too sure of that," said Grant, gloomily. "It may yet be our
fate."

"It shall never be mine," cried Catesby.

"Nor mine," added Percy. "I am so far from regarding the recent disaster
as a punishment, though I am the severest sufferer by it, that I think
we ought to return thanks to Heaven for our preservation."

"In whatever light the accident is viewed," observed John Wright, "we
cannot too soon address ourselves to Heaven. We know not how long it may
be in our power to do so."

"Again desponding," cried Catesby. "But no matter. You will recover your
spirits anon."

John Wright shook his head, and Catesby, pulling his hat over his brows
to hide his features, walked forth into the court-yard. He found, as he
expected, that general consternation prevailed amongst the band. The men
were gathered together in little knots, and, though they became silent
as he approached, he perceived they were discussing the necessity of a
surrender. Nothing daunted by these unfavourable, appearances, Catesby
harangued them in such bold terms that he soon inspired them with some
of his own confidence, and completely resteadied their wavering
feelings.

Elated with his success, he caused a cup of strong ale to be given to
each man, and proposed as a pledge, the restoration of the Romish
Church. He then returned to the house; and summoning the other
conspirators to attend him in a chamber on the ground-floor, they all
prayed long and fervently, and concluded by administering the sacrament
to each other.

It was now thought necessary to have the damage done by the explosion
repaired, and a few hours were employed in the operation. Evening was
fast approaching, and Catesby, who was anxiously expecting the return of
Sir Everard Digby, stationed himself on the turreted walls of the
mansion to look out for him. But he came not; and, fearing some
mischance must have befallen him, Catesby descended. Desirous of
concealing his misgivings from his companions, he put on a cheerful
manner as he joined them.

"I am surprised ere this that we have not been attacked," remarked
Percy. "Our enemies may be waiting for the darkness, to take us by
surprise. But they will be disappointed."

"I can only account for the delay by supposing they have encountered Sir
Everard Digby, and the force he is bringing to us," remarked Christopher
Wright.

"It may be so," returned Catesby, "and if so, we shall soon learn the
result."

In spite of all Catesby's efforts he failed to engage his companions in
conversation, and feeling it would best suit his present frame of mind,
and contribute most to their safety, to keep in constant motion, he
proceeded to the court-yard, saw that all the defences were secure, that
the drawbridge was raised, the sentinels at their posts, and everything
prepared for the anticipated attack. Every half hour he thus made his
rounds, and when towards midnight he was going forth, Percy said to him,

"Do you not mean to take any rest, Catesby?"

"Not till I am in my grave," was the moody reply.

Catesby's untiring energy was in fact a marvel to all his followers. His
iron frame seemed wholly unsusceptible of fatigue; and even when he
returned to the house, he continued to pace to and fro in the passage in
preference to lying down.

"Rest tranquilly," he said to Christopher Wright, who offered to take
his place. "I will rouse you on the slightest approach of danger."

But though he preserved this stoical exterior, Catesby's breast was torn
by the keenest pangs. He could not hide from himself that, to serve his
own ambitious purposes, he had involved many loyal and worthy (till he
had deluded them) persons in a treasonable project, which must now
terminate in their destruction; and their blood, he feared, would rest
upon his head. But what weighed heaviest of all upon his soul was the
probable fate of Viviana.

"If I were assured she would escape," he thought, "I should care little
for all the rest, even for Fawkes. They say it is never too late to
repent. But my repentance shall lie between my Maker and myself. Man
shall never know it."

The night was dark, and the gloom was rendered more profound by a dense
fog. Fearing an attack might now be attempted, Catesby renewed his
vigilance. Marching round the edge of the moat, he listened to every
sound that might betray the approach of a foe. For some time, nothing
occurred to excite his suspicions, until about an hour after midnight,
as he was standing at the back of the house, he fancied he detected a
stealthy tread on the other side of the fosse, and soon became convinced
that a party of men were there. Determined to ascertain their movements
before giving the alarm, he held his breath, and drawing a petronel,
remained perfectly motionless. Presently, though he could discern no
object, he distinctly heard a plank pushed across the moat, and could
distinguish in the whispered accents of one of the party the voice of
Topcliffe. A thrill of savage joy agitated his bosom, and he internally
congratulated himself that revenge was in his power.

A footstep, though so noiseless as to be inaudible to any ear less acute
than his own, was now heard crossing the plank, and feeling certain it
was Topcliffe, Catesby allowed him to land, and then suddenly advancing,
kicked the plank, on which were two other persons, into the water, and
unmasking a dark lantern, threw its light upon the face of a man near
him, who proved, as he suspected, to be Topcliffe.

Aware of the advantage of making a prisoner of importance, Catesby
controlled the impulse that prompted him to sacrifice Topcliffe to his
vengeance, and firing his petronel in the air as a signal, he drew his
sword, and sprang upon him. Topcliffe attempted to defend himself, but
he was no match for the skill and impetuosity of Catesby, and was
instantly overpowered and thrown to the ground. By this time, Percy and
several of the band had come up, and delivering Topcliffe to the charge
of two of the stoutest of them, Catesby turned his attention to the
other assailants. One of them got across the moat; but the other,
encumbered by his arms, was floundering about, when Catesby pointing a
petronel at his head, he was fain to surrender, and was dragged out.

A volley of musketry was now fired by the rebels in the supposed
direction of their opponents, but it could not be ascertained what
execution was done. After waiting for some time, in expectation of a
further attack, Catesby placed a guard upon the spot, and proceeded to
examine Topcliffe. He had been thrown into a cellar beneath the kitchen,
and the two men were on guard over him. He refused to answer any of
Catesby's questions, though enforced by threats of instant death. On
searching him some letters were found upon him, and thrusting them into
his doublet, Catesby left him, with the strictest injunctions to the men
as to his safe custody.

He then proceeded to examine the other captive, and found him somewhat
more tractable. This man informed him that Topcliffe had intended to
steal into the house with the design of capturing the conspirators, or,
failing in that, of setting fire to the premises. He also ascertained
that Topcliffe's force consisted only of a dozen men, so that no further
attack need be apprehended.

Notwithstanding this information, Catesby determined to be on the safe
side, and doubling the sentinels, he stationed one of the conspirators,
all of whom had sprung to arms at his signal, at each of the exposed
points. He then withdrew to the mansion, and examined Topcliffe's
papers. The first despatch he opened was from the Earl of Salisbury,
bearing date about the early part of Fawkes's confinement in the Tower,
in which the Earl expressed his determination of wringing a full
confession from the prisoner. A bitter smile curled Catesby's lip as he
read this, but his brow darkened as he proceeded, and found that a
magnificent reward was offered for his own arrest.

"I must have Catesby captured," ran the missive,--"so see you spare no
pains to take him. I would rather all escaped than he did. His
confession is of the last importance in the matter, and I rely upon your
bringing him to me alive."

"I will at least balk him of that satisfaction," muttered Catesby. "But
what is this of Viviana?"

Reading further, he found that the Earl had issued the same orders
respecting Viviana, and that she would be rigorously dealt with if
captured.

"Alas!" groaned Catesby; "I hope she will escape these inhuman
butchers."

The next despatch he opened was from Tresham, and with a savage
satisfaction he found that the traitor was apprehensive of
double-dealing on the part of Salisbury and Mounteagle. He stated that
he had been put under arrest, and was detained a prisoner in his own
house; and fearing he should be sent to the Tower, besought Topcliffe to
use his influence with the Earl of Salisbury not to deal unfairly with
him.

"He is rightly served!" cried Catesby, with a bitter smile. "Heaven
grant they may deal with him as he dealt with us!"

The consideration of these letters furnished Catesby with food for much
bitter reflection. Pacing the room to and fro with uncertain footsteps,
he remained more than an hour by himself, and at last yielding to the
promptings of vengeance, repaired to the cellar in which he had placed
Topcliffe, with the intention of putting him to death. What was his rage
and mortification to find both the guard and the prisoner gone! A door
was open, and it was evident that the fugitives had stolen to the moat,
and, swimming noiselessly across it in the darkness, had securely
effected their retreat.

Fearful of exciting the alarm of his followers, Catesby controlled his
indignation, and said nothing of the escape of the prisoner to any but
his confederates, who entirely approved of the policy of silence. They
continued on the alert during the remainder of the night, and no one
thought of seeking repose till it was fully light, and all danger of a
surprise at an end.

Day dawned late and dismally. The fog that had hung round the mansion
changed just before daybreak into drizzling rain, and this increased ere
long to heavy and drenching showers. Everything looked gloomy and
depressing, and the conspirators were so disheartened, that they avoided
each other's regards.

Catesby mounted the walls of the mansion to reconnoitre. The prospect
was forlorn and melancholy to the last degree. The neighbouring woods
were obscured by mist; the court-yard and garden flooded with rain; and
the waters of the moat spotted by the heavy shower. Not an object was in
view, except a hind driving cattle to a neighbouring farm. Catesby
shouted to him, and the fellow with evident reluctance approaching the
brink of the moat, was asked whether he had seen any troops in the
neighbourhood. The man answered in the negative, but said he had heard
that an engagement had taken place in the night, about five miles from
thence, near Hales Owen, between Sir Everard Digby and Sir Richard
Walsh, and that Sir Everard's party had been utterly routed, and himself
taken prisoner.

This intelligence was a severe blow to Catesby, as it destroyed the last
faint hope he had clung to. For some time he continued wrapt in thought,
and then descended to the lower part of the house. A large fire had been
kept up during the night in the hall, and the greater part of the band
were now gathered round it, drying their wet clothes, and conversing
together. A plentiful breakfast had been served out to them, so that
they were in tolerably good spirits, and many of them talked loudly of
the feats they meant to perform in case of an attack.

Catesby heard these boasts, but they fell upon an idle ear. He felt that
all was over; that his last chance was gone; and that the struggle could
not be much longer protracted. Entering the inner room, he sat down at
table with his companions, but he ate nothing, and continued silent and
abstracted.

"It is now my turn to reproach you," observed Grant. "You look deeply
depressed."

"Sir Everard Digby is a prisoner," replied Catesby, sternly. "His
capture grieves me sorely. He should have died with us."

All echoed the wish.

Catesby arose and closed the door.

"The attack will not be many hours delayed," he said; "and unless there
should be some miraculous interposition in our behalf, it must end in
our defeat. Do not let us survive it," he continued earnestly. "Let us
swear to stand by each other as long as we can, and to die together."

"Agreed!" cried the others.

"And now," continued Catesby, "I must compel myself to take some
nourishment, for I have much to do."

Having swallowed a few mouthfuls of bread, and drained a goblet of wine,
he again visited every part of the habitation, examined the arms of the
men, encouraged them by his looks and words, and became satisfied,
unless some unlooked-for circumstance occurred to damp their ardour,
they would offer a determined and vigorous resistance.

"If I could only come off victorious in this last conflict, I should die
content," thought Catesby. "And I do not despair of it."

The rain continued till eleven o'clock, when it ceased, and the mist
that had attended it partially cleared off. About noon, Catesby, who was
on the look-out from the walls of the mansion, descried a large troop of
horsemen issuing from the wood. He immediately gave the alarm. The bell
was rung, and all sprang to arms.

By this time the troop had advanced within a hundred yards of the
house, and Catesby, who had rushed into the court-yard, mounted a turret
near the gate to watch their movements, and issue his commands. The
royalists were headed by Sir Richard Walsh, who was attended on the
right by Sir John Foliot, and on the left by Topcliffe. Immediately
behind them were Ketelbye, Salwaye, Conyers, and others who had
accompanied the _posse comitatûs_ the day before. A trumpet was then
sounded, and a proclamation made in a loud voice by a trooper,
commanding the rebels in the King's name to surrender, and to deliver up
their leaders. The man had scarcely concluded his speech when he was for
ever silenced by a shot from Catesby.

A loud and vindictive shout was raised by the royalists, and the assault
instantly commenced. Sir Richard Walsh directed the attack against the
point opposite the drawbridge, while Sir John Foliot, Topcliffe, and the
others dispersed themselves, and completely surrounded the mansion.
Several planks were thrust across the moat, and in spite of the efforts
of the rebels many of the assailants effected a passage.

Catesby drove back the party under Sir Richard Walsh, and with his own
hand hewed asunder their plank. In doing this, he so much exposed
himself that, but for the injunctions of the Sheriff, who commanded his
followers not to fire upon him, he must have been slain.

The other rebel-leaders displayed equal courage, and equal indifference
to danger, and though, as has just been stated, a considerable number of
the royalists had got across the moat, and entered the garden, they had
obtained no material advantage. Sir John Foliot and Topcliffe commanded
this party, and encouraged them to press on. But such a continued and
well-directed firing was kept up upon them from the walls and windows of
the mansion, that they soon began to show symptoms of wavering.

At this juncture, and while Topcliffe was trying to keep his men
together, a concealed door in the wall was opened, and Catesby issued
from it at the head of a dozen men. He instantly attacked Topcliffe and
his band, put several to the sword, and drove those who resisted into
the moat. Foliot and Topcliffe with difficulty escaped across the plank,
which was seized and pulled over to his own side by Catesby.

But the hope which this success inspired was instantly crushed. Loud
shouts were raised from the opposite wing of the mansion, and Catesby to
his great dismay perceived from the volumes of smoke ascending from it
that it was on fire. Uttering an exclamation of rage and despair, he
commanded those with him not to quit their present position, and set off
in the direction of the fire.

He found that an outbuilding had been set in flames by a lighted brand
thrown across the moat by a trooper. The author of the action was named
John Streete, and was afterwards rendered notorious by another feat to
be presently related. Efforts were made to extinguish the conflagration,
but such was the confusion prevailing that it was found wholly
impossible to do so, and it was feared that the destruction of the whole
mansion would ensue.

Disaster after disaster followed. Another party had crossed the moat,
and burst into the court-yard. In the desperate conflict that ensued,
Rookwood was shot through the arm, and severely wounded by a pike, and
was borne into the house by one of his followers, whom he entreated to
kill him outright, but his request was refused.

Meantime, the drawbridge was lowered, and with loud and exulting shouts
the great body of the royalists crossed it. Catesby now perceived that
the day was irretrievably lost. Calling to Christopher Wright, who was
standing near him, to follow him, and rushing towards the court-yard, he
reached it just as the royalists gained an entrance.

In numbers both parties were pretty, well matched, but the rebels were
now thoroughly disheartened, and seeing how matters must end, many of
them threw down their arms, and begged for mercy. A destructive fire,
however, was still kept up on the royalists by a few of the rebels
stationed on the walls of the mansion, under the command of John Wright.

Putting himself at the head of a few faithful followers, Catesby fought
with all the fury of despair. Christopher Wright was shot by his side.
Grant instantly sprang forward, but was cut down by a trooper. Catesby
was too busily occupied to attend to the fate of his companions, but
seeing Thomas Winter near him, called to him to come on.

"I can fight no longer," said Thomas Winter. "My right arm is disabled
by a bolt from a cross-bow."

"Then die," cried Catesby.

"He _shall_ die--on the scaffold," rejoined Topcliffe, who had heard the
exclamation. And rushing up to Thomas Winter, he seized him, and
conveyed him to the rear of his party.

Catesby continued to fight with such determined bravery that Sir Richard
Walsh, seeing it would be vain to take him alive, withdrew his
restrictions from his men, and ordered them to slay him.

By this time most of the rebels had thrown down their arms. Those on the
walls had been dislodged, and John Wright, refusing to yield, was
slaughtered. Catesby, however, having been joined by Percy and half a
dozen men, made a last desperate charge upon his opponents.

In doing this, his sword shivered, and he would have fallen back, but
found himself surrounded. Percy was close behind him, and keeping
together, they fought back to back. Even in this disabled state, they
made a long and desperate resistance.

"Remember your oath, Percy," cried Catesby. "You have sworn not to be
taken to the scaffold."

[Illustration: _The Death of Catesby_]

"Fear nothing," replied Percy. "I will never quit this spot alive."

The words were scarcely out of his mouth when he fell to the ground
mortally wounded, and the same shot that had pierced his breast had
likewise stricken Catesby. It was fired by the trooper, John Streete,
who has just been mentioned.

Collecting all his force, Catesby struck a few terrible blows at his
opponents, and, dashing through them, made for the house. Just as he
reached the door, which was standing open, his strength failed, and he
fell to the ground. In this condition, he dragged himself into the
vestibule, where there was a large wooden statue of the Virgin, and
clasping his arms around it pressed his lips to the feet of the image.
He was followed by Streete, with his drawn sword in one hand and a
petronel in the other, prepared to finish his work. But ere he could
reach him, Catesby had expired.

"So," exclaimed Topcliffe, who came up the next moment, with Sir Richard
Walsh, "we have been robbed of our prey. The Earl of Salisbury will
never forgive me for this disappointment."

"I am glad I have done it, though," observed Streete. "To kill two such
traitors with one shot is something to talk of."

"You will be well rewarded for it, no doubt," remarked Topcliffe,
sarcastically.

"I care not whether I am or not," rejoined Streete. "I have done my
duty, and besides I have avenged my comrade, Richard Trueman, who was
shot by this traitor when he read the proclamation."

"I will take care that your brave action is duly represented to his
Majesty," observed Sir Richard Walsh.

And he failed not to keep his promise. Streete received a pension of two
shillings a day for the rest of his life--no inconsiderable sum in those
days.

The conflict was now at an end, for though some few of the more
desperate of the rebels continued to struggle after their leaders had
fallen, they were soon disarmed. Sir Richard Walsh and Topcliffe went in
search of the other conspirators, and finding Rookwood and Grant, who
though severely wounded were not dead, lying in the hall, immediately
secured them. Rookwood on their approach made an effort to plunge his
dagger into his breast, but his hand was stayed by Sir Richard Walsh.

"We shall not go away quite empty-handed," cried Topcliffe. "But these
are sorry substitutes for Catesby.

"Has Catesby escaped?" demanded Grant, faintly.

"Ay, to the other world," replied Topcliffe.

"He has kept his word," groaned Grant.

"He may have escaped some part of his punishment," said Topcliffe,
bitterly; "but the worst remains. His quarters will be exposed on every
gate in London, and his head on the bridge. As to you, traitors, you
know your doom."

"And are prepared for it," rejoined Grant.

A guard being left over the prisoners, Sir Richard Walsh and Topcliffe
then went to see that the other captives were properly secured. Some few
having made their escape into the adjoining fields, they were pursued
and recaptured.

The whole of the prisoners were then conveyed to Stourbridge, where they
were lodged in the gaol, after which Sir Richard Walsh despatched a
messenger to the Earl of Salisbury and the Lords of the Council
acquainting them with what he had done.



CHAPTER VI.

HAGLEY.


Robert Winter, it may be remembered, immediately after the explosion,
quitted Holbeach, and did not return to it. He proceeded to the
neighbouring thicket, and while wandering about in a state bordering on
distraction encountered Stephen Littleton, who had likewise deserted his
companions on the same day. Acquainting him with the disastrous
occurrence that had taken place, and stating his impression that both
God and man were against them, and that it would be vain as well as
impious to struggle longer, he proposed to him to surrender. But Stephen
Littleton so strongly combated this opinion, that he at last consented
to make an effort to escape. This, however, was no easy matter, nor
could they devise a plan that appeared feasible. Both were well provided
with money; but under present circumstances it would be of little use to
them. A large price being set on their heads, and the whole country
alarmed, they scarcely knew where to seek shelter. After a long debate,
they quitted the covert, and keeping clear of all habitations, took the
direction of Stourbridge.

On approaching the Stour, at a point opposite Churchill, where they knew
the river was fordable, they perceived Sir Richard Walsh's force
approaching, and threw themselves into a ditch to avoid observation. It
was quite dark when they again ventured forth, and at the peril of their
lives they forded the Stour, which was swollen more than it had been in
the morning by the long-continued rain. Their design was to proceed to
Hagley, the residence of Stephen Littleton's sister, Mrs. Littleton, and
to claim her protection. This magnificent mansion lay about two miles on
the other side of the river, in the heart of an extensive park, but they
were obliged to take a circuitous route of nearly double the distance to
reach it, and when at length they arrived there, and were about to
steal into the court-yard; they found it occupied by a portion of Sir
Richard Walsh's troop.

Overcome by anxiety and fatigue, and scarcely knowing whither to
proceed, they recrossed the park, and sought out the cottage of a poor
woman, whose two sons had joined their ill-fated expedition, and were at
that moment under arms at Holbeach. She was a good Catholic, and they
thought they might confide in her. Arriving at her cottage, they glanced
in at the window, and perceiving her, as they concluded, alone, and
cooking a small piece of meat at the fire, they raised the latch, and
entered the house. The woman turned at their approach, and uttering a
cry of surprise and alarm, pointed towards a back room. They then saw
that they had betrayed themselves; but the caution came too late, and a
stalwart trooper, alarmed by the cry, issued from the back room. From
the wretched appearance of the new-comers, he at once guessed that they
were rebels, and felt satisfied, from the richness of their apparel,
dirtied and stained as it was, that they were persons of consequence.
Accordingly, he drew a brace of petronels, and holding them at their
heads, commanded them to surrender.

They were too much taken by surprise, and too enfeebled to offer
resistance, and the trooper calling to the old woman to bring a cord to
bind them, at the same time unloosed his own girdle, with which he
fastened Robert Winter's arms behind his back. In doing this, he was
compelled to lay down his petronels, and he had scarcely done so, when
the woman snatched them up, and gave them to Stephen Littleton, who
presented them at his head.

It was now the turn of the conspirators to triumph. In another instant,
Robert Winter was released by the old woman, and the pair throwing
themselves upon the trooper, forced him to the ground. They then dragged
him to the back room, and stripped him of his habiliments, which Stephen
Littleton put on instead of his own attire, and binding him hand and
foot, returned to the old woman. At the request of Robert Winter, she
furnished him with a suit of clothes belonging to one of her sons, and
then set before them the best eatables she possessed. They were
ravenously hungry, and soon disposed of the viands. Meanwhile, their
hostess told them that the whole country was in arms against them; that
Mrs. Littleton being suspected, though she had always been adverse to
the design, her house had undergone a rigorous search; but that Mr.
Humphrey Littleton, not having taken any part in the insurrection, had
not as yet been arrested, though it was feared he would be proved to be
connected with the plot. She concluded by strongly counselling them to
use the utmost caution, and to expose themselves as little as possible.
They assured her she need have no apprehension on that score, and
expressed great anxiety as to what would befal her when they were pone.

"I do not desire to shed blood, if it can be helped," said Stephen
Littleton; "but in a case of necessity, like the present, where life
must be weighed against life, I hold it lawful to shed it. Shall we put
the trooper to death?"

"Not unless your own safety requires it, good sirs," she said. "I shall
quit this cottage soon after you have left it, and obtain a safe asylum
with one of my neighbours. It matters not what becomes of me. Having
lost my two sons,--for I consider them as already dead,--I have nothing
left to bind me to life."

Unable to make any reply, the conspirators remained for some time
silent, when, by the poor woman's advice, they withdrew to an upper
chamber, and stretching themselves on a bed, sought a few hours' repose.
The old woman kept watch below, and they gave her one of the petronels,
with strict injunctions to blow out the trooper's brains if he attempted
to move. Nothing, however, occurred to alarm her, and at three o'clock
she awakened them.

Offering the woman a handsome reward, which, however, she declined, they
then set out; and shortly afterwards their hostess quitted her
habitation, and withdrew to the cottage of a neighbour, where she
remained concealed for some weeks, and then died of grief on learning
that her sons had been slain during the assault of Holbeach by the
royalists.

Recruited by the rest they had enjoyed, the conspirators pursued their
course over the fields. The weather was the same as that which
disheartened their confederates at Holbeach, and the rain fell so
heavily that they had soon not a dry thread upon them. But being now
disguised, they were not under so much apprehension of detection.
Shaping their course towards Rowley Regis, in Staffordshire, which lay
about five miles from Hagley, where a farmer named Pelborrow, a tenant
of Humphrey Littleton, resided, and whom they thought would befriend
them, they proceeded swiftly on their way; but, though well acquainted
with the country, they were so bewildered and deceived by the fog, that
they strayed materially out of their course, and when it grew light
found themselves near Weoley Castle, and about four miles from
Birmingham.

Confiding in their disguises, and in their power of sustaining the
characters they assumed, they got into the high road, and approaching a
farm-house, Stephen Littleton, who had tied his companion's arms behind
him with his belt, represented himself as a trooper conveying a prisoner
from Stourbridge to Birmingham, and in consequence of this obtained a
breakfast from the farmer. After their meal was over, the host, who had
eyed them suspiciously, observed to the supposed trooper,--

"You will overtake some of your comrades before you reach Egbaston, and
had better lose no time in joining them. You are known to me, my
masters," he added, in a tone that could not be heard by the household;
"but I will not betray you. Get you gone."

The conspirators did not fail to act upon the suggestion, and as soon as
they got out of sight, struck across the county in the direction of
Rowley Regis, and arrived at the farm-house which was their destination
in about an hour.

Pelborrow chanced to be in a barn adjoining his house, and alone, and on
seeing them readily offered to hide them. No one had noticed their
approach, and carefully concealing them amid the hay in the loft, he
proceeded about his business as if nothing had happened. He could not
just then procure them provisions without exciting suspicion; but when
night arrived brought them a sufficient supply for the next day.

In this way they passed nearly a week, never venturing to stir forth,
for they had been traced to the neighbourhood, and constant search was
going on after them. Pelborrow had great difficulty in keeping his men
out of the barn, and the disappearance of the provisions excited the
suspicions of his female domestics, who began to think all was not
right. He therefore intimated to the conspirators that they must change
their quarters, and in the dead of the night, they removed to the house
of another farmer named Perkes, residing on the borders of Hagley Park,
to whom Pelborrow had confided the secret of their being in the
neighbourhood, and who, on promise of a large reward, readily undertook
to secrete them.

Perkes met them at a little distance from his house, and conducted them
to a barley-mow, where he had contrived a hiding-place amid the straw
for them. A woman-servant and a man were both let into the secret by
Perkes, and a sum of money, given him for that purpose by the
conspirators, bribed them to silence. Here they remained close
prisoners, unable to stir forth, or even to change their habiliments for
nearly six weeks, during which time they received constant intelligence
from their protector of what was going forward, and learnt that the
search for them had not relaxed. They were not without hope, however,
that the worst was over, when an incident occurred that gave them
serious uneasiness.

One night, Perkes, who was a stout, hale yeoman, and had formerly been
warrener to Mrs. Littleton, went to catch conies, with a companion named
Poynter, and returned laden with spoil. After drinking a cup or two of
ale together, the pair separated, and Poynter feeling fatigued with his
exertions, as well as drowsy with the liquor he had swallowed,
determined to pass the night in his friend's barn, and entering it,
clambered up to the loft, and laid himself in the straw. In doing this,
he slipped into the hole made for the conspirators, who, aroused by his
fall, instantly seized him. Terrified to death, and fancying he had
fallen into the hands of gipsies or other plunderers, Poynter roared
for mercy, which they were not at first disposed to show him; but the
poor wretch, finding into whose hands he had fallen, besought them in
such piteous terms to spare his life, affirming with the strongest oaths
that he would never betray them, that they consented to spare him, on
condition of his remaining with them as long as they should occupy their
place of concealment.

When Perkes appeared in the morning, he was not a little surprised at
finding his comrade caught in such a trap, but entirely approved of the
course taken by the conspirators. Poynter, as may be supposed, was no
willing captive; and being constantly pondering on the means of escape,
and of obtaining the reward for the apprehension of the conspirators, at
last hit upon the following expedient. While engaged in the poaching
expedition with Perkes, he had received a slight wound in the leg, and
the close confinement to which he was now subjected inflamed it to such
a degree as to render it highly dangerous. This he represented to the
conspirators, who, however, would not suffer him to depart; but desired
Perkes to bring him some ointment to dress his wound. The request was
complied with, and feigning that it was necessary to approach the light
to apply the salve, Poynter scrambled up the straw, apparently for that
sole purpose. He did not attempt to fly for several days; but at last,
when they were grown less suspicious, he slided down the other side of
the loft, and made good his retreat.

The conspirators saw the error they had committed when too late. Not
daring to pursue him, they remained in fearful anticipation of an arrest
throughout the day. But they were not disturbed until night, when Perkes
made his appearance. They told him what had happened; but he did not
appear to be much alarmed.

"I do not think you need be afraid of him," he said. "Let me have some
money, and I will go in quest of him at once, and bribe him to silence."

"Here are fifty marks," replied Stephen Littleton. "If that is not
enough, take more."

"It will amply suffice," replied Perkes. "I will answer for his
silence."

This assurance greatly relieved the conspirators, and they were made
completely easy by the return of Perkes in less than an hour afterwards,
who told them he had seen Poynter, and had given him the money, binding
him by the most solemn oaths not to betray them.

"I have still better news for you, my masters," he added. "Mrs.
Littleton has set out for London to-day; and I have received orders from
Mr. Humphrey Littleton to bring you to the hall at midnight."

This last intelligence completed their satisfaction, and they awaited
Perkes's return with impatience. Shortly before midnight, he came to
summon them, and they set forth together. Perkes's house lay about a
mile from the hall, and they soon entered the park. The night was clear
and frosty,--it was now the middle of December,--and as the conspirators
trod the crisp sod, and gazed at the noble but leafless trees around
them, they silently returned thanks to Heaven for their restoration to
freedom. Humphrey Littleton was waiting for them at the end of an avenue
near the mansion, and tenderly embraced them.

Tears of joy were shed on both sides, and it seemed to Humphrey
Littleton as if his brother had been restored from the grave. Dismissing
Perkes with warm thanks, and promises of a further recompence, they then
entered the house by a window, which had been left purposely open.
Humphrey Littleton conducted them to his own chamber, where fresh
apparel was provided for them; and to poor wretches who had not been
able to put off their attire for so long a period, the luxury of the
change was indescribably great.

The arrival of the fugitives was kept secret from all the household
except the man-cook, John Ocklie, upon whose fidelity Humphrey Littleton
thought he could rely. A good supper was prepared by this man, and
brought up into his master's chamber, where the conspirators were now
seated before a hearth heaped with blazing logs. The conspirators needed
no solicitation to fall to, and they did ample justice to the good
things before them. His spirits being raised by the good cheer, Robert
Winter observed to the cook, who was in attendance upon them,

"Ah! Jack, thy mistress little thinks what guests are now in her house,
who have neither seen fire nor tasted a hot morsel for well-nigh two
months."

"Ay, it is a sad matter," returned the cook, shaking his head, "and I
wish I could offer your worships a flask of wine, or a cup of stout ale
at the least. But the butler is in bed, and if I were to rouse him at
this hour it might excite his suspicion. If you are willing, sir," he
added, to Humphrey Littleton, "I will hie to my mother's cottage in the
park, and bring a jug of ale from her."

This was agreed to, and the cook left the house. His sole object,
however, was to instruct his mother to give the alarm, so that the
conspirators might be arrested before morning.

On reaching her cottage, he was surprised to see a light within it, and
two men there, one of whom was Poynter, and the other Mrs. Littleton's
steward, Robert Hazlewood. Poynter had acquainted Hazlewood with all he
knew respecting the conspirators, supposing them still in the
barley-mow, and they were discussing the best means of arresting them,
when the cook entered the house.

"The birds are flown," he said, "as you will find, if you search the
nest. But come to the hall with a sufficient force betimes to-morrow
morning, and I will show you where to find them. I shall claim, however,
my share of the reward, though I must not appear in the matter."

Having fully arranged their plan, he procured the ale from his mother,
and returned to the hall. The conspirators soon disposed of the jug,
threw themselves on a couch in the room, and instantly dropping asleep,
enjoyed such repose as only falls to the lot of those who have similarly
suffered. And it was well they did sleep soundly, for it was the last
tranquil night they ever enjoyed!

Humphrey Littleton, who, as has been stated, reposed implicit confidence
in the cook, had committed the key of the chamber to him, strictly
enjoining him to call them in the morning; and the fellow, feeling
secure of his prey, retired to rest.

About seven o'clock, he burst suddenly into the room, and with a
countenance of well-feigned alarm, which struck tenor into the breasts
of the conspirators, cried--

"Master Hazlewood and the officers are below, and say they must search
the house. Poynter is with them."

"The villain has betrayed us!" cried Stephen Littleton. "Fools that we
were to spare his life!"

"There is no use in lamenting your indiscretion now, sir," replied the
cook; "leave it to me, and I will yet effect your escape."

"We place ourselves entirely in your hands," said Stephen Littleton.

"Go down stairs, sir," said the cook to Humphrey Littleton, "and hold
Master Hazlewood in conversation for a few minutes, and I will engage to
get the gentlemen safely out of the house."

Humphrey Littleton obeyed, and descending to the steward, told him he
was willing to conduct him to every room in the house.

"I am certain they are here, and shall not quit it till I find them,"
rejoined Hazlewood. "Ah!" he exclaimed, as if struck by a sudden
thought, "you say they are not in the house. Perhaps, they are in the
garden--in the summer-house? We will go and see."

So saying, he took half-a-dozen of his men with him, leaving Poynter and
the rest with Humphrey Littleton, who was perplexed and alarmed at his
conduct.

Meanwhile, the cook led the two conspirators along the gallery, and from
thence down a back staircase, which brought them to a small door
communicating with the garden. A few seconds were lost in opening it,
and when they issued forth they encountered Hazlewood and his men, who
instantly arrested them. The unfortunate conspirators were conveyed
under a strong guard to London, where they were committed to the Tower,
to take their trial with their confederates.



CHAPTER VII.

VIVIANA'S LAST NIGHT AT ORDSALL HALL.


On the evening of the third day after quitting Dunchurch, Viviana
Radcliffe and her companions arrived at Ordsall Hall. They had
encountered many dangers and difficulties on the journey, and were
well-nigh overcome with fatigue and anxiety. Fearful of being detained,
Garnet had avoided all the larger towns in the way, and had consequently
been driven greatly out of the direct course. He had assumed the
disguise which he usually wore when travelling, that of a lawyer, and as
he possessed great mimetic talent, he sustained the character admirably.
Viviana passed for his daughter, and his servant, Nicholas Owen, who was
almost as clever an actor as his master, represented his clerk, while
the two attendants performed the parts of clients. At Abbots'-Bromley,
where they halted for refreshment on the second day, having spent the
night at a small village near Lichfield, they were detained by the
landlord, who entertained some suspicions of them; but Garnet succeeded
in frightening the man into allowing them to depart. They underwent
another alarm of the same kind at Leek, and were for two hours locked
up. But on the arrival of a magistrate, who had been sent for by the
host, Garnet gave so plausible an account of himself that the party were
instantly set at liberty, and arrived without further molestation at
their journey's end.

Viviana's last visit to the hall had been sad enough, but it was not so
sad as the present. It was a dull November evening, and the wind moaned
dismally through the trees, scattering the yellow leaves on the ground.
The house looked forlorn and desolate. No smoke issued from the
chimneys, nor was there any external indication that it was inhabited.
The drawbridge was down, and as they passed over it, the hollow
trampling of their steeds upon the planks vibrated painfully upon
Viviana's heart. Before dismounting, she cast a wistful look around, and
surveyed the grass-grown and neglected court, where, in years gone by,
she had sported; the moat on whose brink she had lingered; and the
surrounding woods, which she had never looked upon, even on a dreary day
like the present, and when they were robbed in some measure of their
beauty, without delight. Scanning the deserted mansion from roof to
foundation, she traced all its gables, angles, windows, doors, and
walls, and claimed every piece of carved work, every stone as a familiar
object, and as associated with other and happier hours.

"It is but the wreck of what it was," she thought. "The spirit that
animated it is fled. Grass grows in its courts--no cheerful voices echo
in its chambers--no hospitality is maintained in its hall--but neglect,
gloom, and despair claim it as their own. The habitation and its
mistress are well matched."

Guessing from the melancholy expression of her countenance what was
passing within, and thinking it advisable to turn the current of her
thoughts, Garnet assisted her to alight, and committing the care of
their steeds to Owen and the others, proceeded with her to the principal
entrance. Everything appeared in nearly the same state as when they had
last seen it, and the only change that had taken place was for the
worse. The ceilings were mapped and mildewed with damps; the
once-gorgeously stained glass was shivered in the windows; the costly
arras hung in tattered fragments from the walls; while the floors, which
were still strewn with plaster and broken furniture, were flooded with
the moisture that had found its way through the holes in the roof.

"Bear up, dear daughter," said Garnet, observing that Viviana was
greatly distressed by the sight, "and let the contemplation of this
scene of havoc, instead of casting you down, inspire you with just
indignation against enemies from whom it is vain to expect justice or
mercy. How many Catholic mansions have been thus laid waste! How many
high-born and honourable men, whose sole fault was their adherence to
the religion of their fathers, and their refusal to subscribe to
doctrines against which their consciences revolted, have been put to
death like your father; nay, have endured a worse fate, for they have
languished out their lives in prison, while their families and retainers
have undergone every species of outrage! How many a descendant of a
proud line, distinguished for worth, for loyalty, and for devotion, has
stood, as you now stand, upon his desolate hearth--has seen misery and
ruin usurp the place of comfort and happiness--and has heard the very
stones beneath his feet cry out for vengeance. Accursed be our
oppressors!" he added, lifting up his hands, and elevating his voice.
"May their churches be thrown down--their faith crushed--their rights
invaded--their children delivered to bondage--their hearths laid waste,
as ours have been. May this, and worse come to pass, till the whole
stock of heresy is uprooted!"

"Hold, father!" exclaimed Viviana, "even here, beholding this miserable
sight, and with feelings keenly excited, I cannot join in your terrible
denunciation. What I hope for--what I pray for, is toleration, not
vengeance. The sufferings of our brethren will not have been in vain, if
they enable our successors to worship God in their own way, and
according to the dictates of their consciences. The ruthless conduct of
our persecutors must be held in as much abhorrence by all good
Protestants as our persecution of that sect, when we were in the
ascendant, is regarded by all worthy members of our own Church. I cannot
believe that by persecution we can work out the charitable precepts
inculcated by our Saviour, and I am sure such a course is as adverse to
the spirit of religion as it is to that of humanity. Let us bear our
sorrows with patience,--let us utter no repinings, but turn the other
cheek to the smiter, and we shall find, in due time, that the hearts of
our oppressors will relent, and that all the believers in the True God
will be enabled to worship him in peace, though at different altars."

"Such a season will never arrive, daughter," replied Garnet, severely,
"till heresy is extirpated, and the false doctrines now prevailing
utterly abolished. Then, indeed, when the Church of Rome is
re-established, and the old and true religion restored, universal peace
will prevail. And let me correct the grievous and sinful error into
which you have fallen. Our church is always at war with heresy; and if
it cannot uproot it by gentle means, authorizes, nay enjoins the
employment of force."

"I will not attempt to dispute with you upon points of faith, father,"
returned Viviana; "I am content to think and act according to my own
feelings and convictions. But I will not give up the hope that in some
milder and wiser age, persecution on either side will cease, and the
sufferings of its victims be remembered only to soften the hearts of
fanatics, of whatever creed, towards each other. Were a lesson wanting
to ourselves, surely it might be found in the result that has attended
your dark and criminal enterprise, and in which the disapproval of
Heaven has been signally manifested."

"Not so, daughter," replied Garnet. "An action is not to be judged or
justified by the event attending it, but by its own intrinsic merits. To
aver the contrary were to throw a doubt upon the Holy Scriptures
themselves, where we read in the Book of Judges that the eleven tribes
of Israel were commanded to make war upon the tribe of Benjamin, and yet
were twice defeated. We have failed. But this proves nothing against our
project, which I maintain to be righteous and praiseworthy, undertaken
to overthrow an heretical and excommunicated monarch, and to
re-establish the true faith of the Most High throughout this land."

"I lament to find that you still persist in error, father," replied
Viviana; "but you cannot by any sophistry induce me to coincide with you
in opinion. I hold the attempt an offence alike against God and man, and
while I rejoice at the issue that has attended it, I deplore the
irreparable harm it will do to the whole body of Catholics, all of whom
will be connected, by the bigoted and unthinking of the hostile party,
with the atrocious design. Not only have you done our cause an injury,
but you have in a measure justified our opponents' severity, and given
them a plea for further persecution."

"No more of this, daughter," rejoined Garnet, impatiently, "or I shall
deem it necessary to reprove you. Let us search the house, and try to
find some habitable chamber in which you can pass the night."

After a long search, they discovered a room in comparatively good order,
and leaving Viviana within it, Garnet descended to the lower part of the
house, where he found Nicholas Owen, and the two other attendants.

"We have chanced upon a scanty supply of provender for our steeds,"
remarked Owen, with a doleful look; "but we are not likely to obtain a
meal ourselves, unless we can feed upon rats and mice, which appear to
be the sole tenants of this miserable dwelling."

"You must go to Manchester instantly, and procure provisions," returned
Garnet. "But take heed you observe the utmost caution."

"Fear nothing," replied Owen, "If I am taken, your reverence will lose
your supper--that is all."

He then set out upon his errand, and Garnet proceeded to the kitchen,
where, to his great surprise, he found the hearthstone still warm, and a
few lighted embers upon it, while crumbs of bread, and little fragments
of meat scattered about, proved that some one had taken a meal there.
Startled by this discovery, he continued his search, but as fruitlessly
as before; and though he called to any one who might be hidden to come
forth, the summons was unanswered. One of the attendants had placed a
few sticks upon the smouldering ashes, and on returning to the kitchen,
it was found that they had kindled. A fire being thus obtained, some of
the broken furniture was used to replenish it, and by Garnet's commands
another fire was speedily lighted in Viviana's chamber. Night had now
come on, and Owen not returning, Garnet became extremely uneasy, and had
almost given him up, when the absentee made his appearance, with a large
basket of provisions under his arm.

"I have had some difficulty in obtaining them," he said; "and fancying I
observed two persons following me, was obliged to take a circuitous
route to get back. The whole town is in commotion about the plot, and it
is said that the most rigorous measures are to be adopted towards all
the Catholic families in the neighbourhood."

Sighing at the latter piece of intelligence, Garnet selected such
provisions as he thought would be acceptable to Viviana, and took them
upstairs to her. She ate a little bread, and drank a cup of water, but
refused to taste anything else, and finding it in vain to press her,
Garnet returned to the kitchen, where, being much exhausted, he
recruited himself with a hearty meal and a cup of wine.

Left alone, Viviana knelt down, and clasping a small crucifix to her
breast, prayed long and fervently. While she was thus engaged, she heard
the door open gently behind her, and turning her head, beheld an old
man clothed in a tattered garb, with long white hair flowing over his
shoulders, and a beard of the same snowy hue descending upon his breast.
As he advanced slowly towards her, she started to her feet, and a
brighter flame arising at the moment from the fire, it illumined the
intruder's wobegone features.

"Is it possible!" she exclaimed,--"can it be my father's old steward,
Jerome Heydocke?"

"It is, indeed, my dear young mistress," replied the old man, falling on
his knee before her. "Heaven be praised!" he continued, seizing her
hand, and bedewing it with tears; "I have seen you once again, and shall
die content."

"I never expected to behold you more, good Heydocke," returned Viviana,
raising him. "I heard you had died in prison."

"It was so given out by the jailers, to account for my escape," replied
the old steward; "and I took care never to contradict the report by
making my appearance. I will not distress you by the recital of all I
have endured, but will simply state that I was confined in the prison
upon Hunt's Bank, whence I escaped in the night by dropping upon the
rocks, and from them into the river, where it was supposed I was
drowned. Making my way into the country, I concealed myself for a time
in barns and out-buildings, until, at length, I ventured back to the old
house, and have dwelt in it unmolested ever since. I should have
perished of want long ago, but for the kindness of Mr. Humphrey Chetham.
He used to send my son regularly to me with provisions; and, now that
Martin is gone to London, on business, as I understood, relating to you,
he brings them to me himself. He will be here to-morrow."

"Indeed!" exclaimed Viviana. "I must see him."

"As you please," returned the old man. "I suppose those are your
companions below. I was in my hiding-place, and hearing voices and
footsteps, did not dare to venture forth till all was still. On
approaching this room, which I have been in the habit of occupying
lately, and peeping through the door, which was standing ajar, I
perceived a female figure, and thinking it must be you, though I
scarcely dared to trust the evidence of my senses, I ventured in. Oh! my
dear, dear young mistress, what a joy it is to see you again! I fear you
must have suffered much, for you are greatly altered."

At this moment, Garnet entered the room. He started on seeing the old
steward. But an explanation was instantly given him.

"You, then, are the person by whom the fire was recently lighted in the
kitchen?" he asked.

Heydocke replied in the affirmative.

"I came to bid you farewell for the night, dear daughter," said Garnet,
"and to assure you that you may rest without fear, for we have contrived
to make fast the doors. Come with me, my son," he added to the steward,
"and you shall have a comfortable meal below."

Making a profound reverence to Viviana, the old man followed him down
stairs.

Viviana continued to pace to and fro within her chamber for some time,
and then, overcome with fatigue, flung herself upon the bedstead, on
which a cloak had been thrown. Sleep soon closed her eyes, but it was
disturbed by frightful and distressing dreams, from which she was
suddenly aroused by a touch upon the arm. Starting up, she perceived the
old steward by the side of her couch, with a light in his hand.

"What brings you here, Heydocke?" she demanded, with surprise and alarm.

"You have slept soundly, my dear young mistress, or you would not
require to be informed," replied the steward. "There! do you not hear
it?" he added, as a loud knocking resounded from below.

Viviana listened for a moment, and then as if struck by a sudden idea,
hurried down stairs. She found Garnet and the others assembled in the
hall, but wholly unnerved by fright. "Hide yourselves," she said, "and
no ill shall befal you. Quick!--not a moment is to be lost!"

Having allowed them sufficient time for concealment, she demanded in a
loud voice who was without?

"Friends," was the reply.

"It is the voice of Doctor Dee," replied Heydocke.

"Indeed!" exclaimed Viviana. "Admit him instantly."

Heydocke obeyed, and throwing open the door, gave entrance to the
Doctor, who was wrapped in his long furred gown, and carried a lantern.
He was accompanied by Kelley and Humphrey Chetham.

"Your visit is singularly timed, Mr. Chetham," said Viviana, after she
had saluted the party; "but you are not the less welcome on that
account. I much desired to see you, and indeed should have sent for you
to-morrow. But how did you know I was here?"

"The only explanation I can offer you is this," replied Chetham. "I was
hastily summoned from my residence at Crumpsall by Kelley, who told me
you were at Ordsall Hall, and that Doctor Dee was about to visit you,
and desired my company. Thus summoned, I came at once."

"A strange explanation indeed!" replied Viviana.

"Close and fasten the door," said Dee, in an authoritative tone to
Kelley, and as soon as his commands were obeyed, he took Viviana's hand,
and led her to the farther end of the hall.

"My art informed me of your arrival, Viviana," he said. "I am come to
save you. You are in imminent danger."

"I well know it," she replied; "but I have no wish to fly from justice.
I am weary of my life, and would gladly resign it."

"I would call to your recollection, Viviana," pursued Dee, "that I
foretold the disastrous result of this plot, in which you have become
unhappily involved, to Guy Fawkes, and warned him not to proceed in it.
But he would not be advised, and is now a prisoner in the Tower."

"All I wish is to go thither, and die with him," rejoined Viviana.

"If you go thither, you will die before him," said Dee.

"I would do so," she replied.

"Viviana Radcliffe," returned Dee, in a compassionate tone, "I truly
grieve for you. Your attachment to this heinous traitor completely
blinds you. The friendship I entertained for your mother makes me
anxious to serve you--to see you happy. It is now in your power to be
so. But if you take another false step, your fate is decided, and you
will die an early death. I will answer for your safety--nay, what is
more, I will undertake that ere long you shall again be mistress of this
mansion, and have your estates restored to you."

"You promise fairly, sir," she replied, with a mournful smile.

"I have not yet done," pursued Dee. "All I require for the service is,
that when freed by the death of Guy Fawkes from the chain that now binds
you,--for I am aware of your ill-starred union with him,--you shall
bestow your hand upon Humphrey Chetham."

"It may not be," replied Viviana, firmly. "And if you could in truth
read the secrets of the heart, you would know that mine would instantly
reject the proposal."

"Think not it originates with me, Viviana," said Humphrey Chetham, who
had approached them unobserved. "My previous experience of your
character would alone have prevented me from becoming a party to any
such proposal, had I known it would be made. Do not, I beseech you,
sir," he added to Dee, "clog your offer with conditions which will
effectually prevent its accomplishment."

"You are true to yourself, Mr. Chetham," rejoined Viviana, "and will
not, therefore, wonder that I continue so. Were I to assent to Doctor
Dee's proposal, I should be further from happiness than I am now, even
if he could make good his words, and restore me to the station I have
forfeited. I have received a shock from which I shall never recover, and
the only haven of repose to which I look forward is the grave."

"Alas!" exclaimed Chetham, in a pitying tone.

"You will think I trespass too much upon your kindness," she pursued;
"but you can render me a great service, and it will be the last I shall
ever require from you."

"Name it!" cried Chetham, eagerly.

"I would beg you to escort me to London," she rejoined: "and to deliver
me to the lords of the council. I would willingly escape the indignities
to which T shall be exposed if I am conveyed thither as a prisoner. Will
you do this?"

"I will," replied Chetham.

"Lest you should think I have offered more than I can perform, Viviana,"
said Dee, who had listened attentively to the foregoing conversation, "I
will now tell you on what grounds I build my expectation of procuring
your pardon. The conspiracy was first revealed by me to the Earl of
Salisbury, though for his own purposes he kept it secret to the last. He
owes me a heavy debt, and shall pay it in the way I propose, if you
desire it."

"I will abide by what I have done," replied Viviana.

"You know, then, what fate awaits you?" said Dee.

"I shall not shrink from it," she rejoined.

"It is well," he replied. "Before I leave, I will give you another
caution. Father Garnet is here. Nay, attempt not to deny it. You cannot
deceive me. Besides, I desire to serve, not harm him. If he remains here
till to-morrow, he will be captured. A proclamation has been issued for
his arrest, as well as for that of Father Oldcorne. Deliver him this
warning. And now, farewell!"

With this, he took up his lantern, and followed by Kelley, quitted the
hall.

Humphrey Chetham only tarried a few moments to inform Viviana that he
would return soon after daybreak with a couple of steeds for the
journey. As soon as he was gone, Viviana communicated Dee's warning to
Garnet, who was so alarmed by it, that he resolved not to delay his own
departure a moment. Taking an affectionate leave of Viviana, and
confiding her to the care of the old steward, he set out with his three
attendants.

Faithful to his promise, Humphrey Chetham appeared at the appointed
time. Viviana bade an eternal farewell to the old steward, who was
overwhelmed with grief, and looked as if his sorrows would soon be
ended, and mounting one of the steeds brought by the young merchant,
they took the direction of London.



CHAPTER VIII.

HENDLIP.


Garnet proceeded at a rapid pace for some miles before he acquainted his
companions whither he was going. He then informed Nicholas Owen, who
rode by his side, that he should make the best of his way to Hendlip
House, the seat of Mr. Thomas Abingdon, near Droitwich, in
Worcestershire, where he knew that Father Oldcorne and Anne Vaux had
retired, and where he was certain to meet with a friendly reception and
protection. Owen, who was completely in his master's confidence, agreed
that no safer asylum could be found, and they pursued their journey with
so much ardour, that early on the following night they arrived within a
short distance of the mansion. Owen was sent forward to reconnoitre, and
returned in about half an hour with Mr. Abingdon, who embraced Garnet,
and told him he was truly happy in being able to offer him a retreat.

"And I think it will prove a secure one," he added. "There are so many
hiding-places in the old house, that if it is beset for a year you will
scarcely be discovered. Have you heard of the fate of your
confederates?"

"Alas! no, my son," replied Garnet; "and I tremble to ask it."

"It had better be told at once," rejoined Abingdon. "Catesby, Percy, and
the two Wrights, have been slain in the defence of Holbeach; while
Rookwood, Grant, and Thomas Winter, all of whom were severely wounded in
the siege, have been made prisoners, and are now on their way to the
Tower."

"A fearful catalogue of ills!" exclaimed Garnet.

"It is not yet complete," pursued Abingdon. "Sir Everard Digby has been
defeated, and made prisoner in an attempt to bring additional force to
his friends, and Keyes has been arrested in Warwickshire."

"These are woful tidings truly, my son," returned Garnet. "But Heaven's
will be done!"

He then dismissed his two attendants, to whom he gave a sum of money,
together with the steeds, and attended by Nicholas Owen, repaired to the
house with Mr. Abingdon, who admitted them through a secret door.

Hendlip House, which, unfortunately for the lovers of picturesque and
storied habitations, was pulled down a few years ago, having been
latterly used as a ladies' boarding-school, was a large and irregular
structure, with walls of immense thickness, tall stacks of chimneys,
turrets, oriel windows, and numberless projections, contrived to mask
the labyrinths and secret chambers within. Erected by John Abingdon,
father of the proprietor at the period of this history, and cofferer to
Queen Elizabeth in the early part of the reign of that princess, it was
filled with secret staircases, masked entrances, trap-doors, vaults,
subterranean passages, secret recesses, and every other description of
hiding-place. An immense gallery surrounded three sides of the
entrance-hall, containing on each side a large chimney-piece, surmounted
by a shield displaying the arms of the family--_argent_, a bend,
_gules_, three eaglets displayed, _or_. Behind each of these
chimney-pieces was a small cell, or "priest's-hole," as it was termed,
contrived in the thickness of the wall. Throughout the mansion, the
chambers were so sombre, and the passages so numerous and intricate,
that, in the words of one who described it from personal observation,
the whole place presented "a picture of gloom, insecurity, and
suspicion." Standing on an elevated situation, it commanded the country
on all sides, and could not be approached during the day-time without
alarm being given to its inmates.

Thomas Abingdon, the owner of the mansion at the period in question, and
the eldest son of its founder, was born at Thorpe, near Chertsey, in
Surrey, in 1560. He was educated at Oxford, and finished his studies at
the Universities of Paris and Rheims. A man of considerable taste and
learning, but of a plotting disposition, he became a willing tool of the
Jesuits, and immediately on his return to England, connected himself
with the different conspiracies set on foot for the liberation of the
imprisoned Queen of Scots. For these offences he was imprisoned in the
Tower for the term of six years, and only escaped death from the fact of
his being the Queen's godson, coupled with the estimation in which she
had held his father. On his liberation, he remained perfectly tranquil
till the accession of James, when he became a secret plotter against
that monarch. His concealment of the two priests, about to be related,
occasioned his being again sent to the Tower, and if it had not been for
the intercession of Lord Mounteagle, whose sister he had espoused, he
would have been executed. He was pardoned on condition of never stirring
beyond the precincts of Worcestershire, and he employed his retirement
in compiling an account of the antiquities of that county, which he left
behind him in manuscript, and of which Doctor Nash, its more recent
historian, has largely availed himself.

With a habitation so contrived, Mr. Abingdon might fairly promise his
guests a safe asylum. Conducting them along a secret passage to a
chamber of which he alone possessed the key, he left Garnet within it,
and taking Owen with him to another place of concealment, returned
shortly afterwards with Anne Vaux and Father Oldcorne. The two priests
tenderly embraced each other, and Oldcorne poured forth his tears on his
superior's shoulder. Garnet next turned to Anne Vaux, between whom and
himself, as has been before mentioned, an affectionate intimacy
subsisted, and found her quite overcome by her feelings. Supper was now
served to Garnet by a confidential servant, and after a few hours spent
in conversation with his friends, during which they discussed the
disastrous issue of the affair, and the probable fate of the
conspirators, they quitted him, and he retired to rest--but not before
he had returned thanks to Heaven for enabling him once more to lay down
his head in safety.

On the following morning, he was visited by Mrs. Abingdon, a lady of
considerable personal attractions, and Anne Vaux; and when he had
recovered from the fatigue of his journey, and the anxieties he had
recently undergone, he experienced great delight in their society. The
chamber he occupied was lighted by a small loop-hole, which enabled him
to breathe the fresh air, and gaze upon the surrounding country.

In this way, nearly two months passed on, during which, though rigorous
inquiries were made throughout the country, no clue was found by the
searchers to lead them to Hendlip; and the concealed parties began to
indulge hopes that they should escape detection altogether. Being in
constant correspondence with her brother, Lord Mounteagle, though she
did not trust him with the important secret of the concealment of the
priests, Mrs. Abingdon ascertained all that was done in reference to the
conspirators, whose trials were now approaching, and communicated the
intelligence to Garnet.

On the morning of the 20th of January, and when long quietude had bred
complete fancied security in Garnet, Anne Vaux and Mrs. Abingdon
suddenly entered his chamber, and with countenances of the utmost alarm,
informed him that Mr. Abingdon's confidential servant had just returned
from Worcester, where his master then was, and had brought word that
Topcliffe, armed with a search-warrant from the Earl of Salisbury, had
just passed through that city on his way to Holt Castle, the residence
of Sir Henry Bromley.

"It appears," said Mrs. Abingdon, "that Humphrey Littleton, who has been
apprehended and condemned to death at Worcester for harbouring his
brother and Robert Winter, has sought to procure a remission of his
sentence by betraying your retreat. In consequence of this, Topcliffe
has been sent down from London, with a warrant addressed to Sir Henry
Bromley, to aid him in searching Hendlip. My husband has given
particular orders that you are to be removed to the most secure
hiding-place without delay; and he deeply regrets that he himself cannot
return till evening, for fear of exciting suspicion."

"Take me where you please, daughter," replied Garnet, who was thrown
into great perturbation by the intelligence. "I thought myself prepared
for any emergency. But I was wofully deceived."

"Be not alarmed, father," said Anne Vaux, in an encouraging tone. "Let
them search as long as they will, they will never discover your
retreat."

"I have a strong presentiment to the contrary," replied Garnet.

At this moment, Oldcorne made his appearance, and on learning the
alarming news, was as much dismayed as his superior.

After a short consultation, and while the priests were putting aside
every article necessary to be removed, Mrs. Abingdon proceeded to the
gallery, and contrived on some plausible pretext to send away the whole
of the domestics from this part of the house. This done, she hastily
returned, and conducted the two priests to one of the large fire-places.

A raised stone about two feet high occupied the inside of the chimney,
and upon it stood an immense pair of iron dogs. Obeying Mrs. Abingdon's
directions, Garnet got upon the stone, and setting his foot on the large
iron knob on the left, found a few projections in the masonry on the
side, up which he mounted, and opening a small door, made of planks of
wood, covered with bricks, and coloured black, so as not to be
distinguishable from the walls of the chimney, crept into a recess
contrived in the thickness of the wall. This cell was about two feet
wide, and four high, and was connected with another chimney at the back,
by means of three or four small holes. Around its sides ran a narrow
stone shelf, just wide enough to afford an uncomfortable seat. Garnet
was followed by Oldcorne, who brought with him a quantity of books,
vestments, and sacred vessels used in the performance of the rites of
the Church of Rome. These articles, which afterwards occasioned them
much inconvenience, they did not dare to leave behind.

Having seen them safely bestowed, Mrs. Abingdon and her companion went
in search of provisions, and brought them a piece of cold meat and a
pasty, together with some bread, dried fruit, conserves, and a flask of
wine. They did not dare to bring more, for fear of exciting the
suspicion of the household. Their next care was to conduct Owen, and
Oldcorne's servant, Chambers, to a similar retreat in one of the other
chimneys, and to provide them with a scanty supply of provisions and a
flask of wine. All this was accomplished without being noticed by any of
the domestics.

As may be imagined, a most anxious day was passed by all parties.
Towards evening, Sir Henry Bromley, the sheriff of the county,
accompanied by Topcliffe, and attended by a troop of soldiers, appeared
at the gates of the mansion, and demanded admittance. Just at this
moment, Mr. Abingdon rode up, and affecting to know nothing of the
matter, saluted Sir Henry Bromley, with whom he was on terms of
intimacy, and inquired his business.

"You are charged with harbouring two Jesuit priests, Fathers Garnet and
Oldcorne, supposed to be connected with the late atrocious conspiracy
against the King, Mr. Abingdon," interposed Topcliffe; "and I brought a
warrant from the Earl of Salisbury, which I have delivered to Sir Henry
Bromley, commanding him to search your house for them."

"I was loth to accept the office, Mr. Abingdon," said Sir Henry Bromley,
who was a handsome, middle-aged man; "but my duty to my sovereign allows
me no alternative. I trust, though a Catholic, that you share my own
detestation of this diabolical plot, and would not shelter any of its
contrivers, or abettors."

"You judge me rightly, Sir Henry," replied Abingdon, who, meanwhile, had
received a private signal from his confidential servant that all was
safe, "I would not. I am just returned from Worcester, where I have been
for the last two days. Enter my house, I pray you, and search every
corner of it; and if you find a Jesuit priest concealed within it, you
shall hang me at my own gate."

"You must be misinformed, sir," observed Sir Henry, who was completely
imposed upon by Abingdon's unconcerned demeanour; "they cannot be here."

"Trust me, they are," returned the other, "and I should like to take him
at his word."

Giving directions to the band to environ the house, and guard all its
approaches, so as to prevent any one from escaping from it, Topcliffe
took half-a-dozen men with him, and instructed them how to act. They
first repaired to the great dining-chamber, where, in accordance with
the instructions received from the Earl of Salisbury, Topcliffe
proceeded to the further end of the room, and directed his men to break
down the wainscot. With some difficulty, the order was obeyed, and the
entrance to a vault discovered, into which Topcliffe descended but he
found nothing to repay his trouble.

Returning to the dining-chamber, he questioned Mr. Abingdon, who
secretly enjoyed his disappointment, as to the use of the vault, but the
latter professed entire ignorance of its existence. The searchers next
proceeded to the cellar, and bored the floors with a broach to a
considerable depth, to try whether there were any vaults beneath them,
but they made no discovery. Meanwhile Topcliffe hurried upstairs, and
examined the size of the rooms, to see whether they corresponded with
those below; and wherever any difference was observable, he caused the
panels to be pulled down, and holes broken in the walls. In this way,
several secret passages were discovered, one of which led to the chamber
lately occupied by Garnet.

Encouraged by this discovery, the searchers continued their operations
to a late hour, when they desisted for the night. On the following day
they resumed their task, and Sir Henry Bromley took a general survey of
the house, both externally and internally, noting the appearances
outside, and seeing that they corresponded with the rooms within. The
three extraordinary chimney-pieces in the gallery attracted Topcliffe's
attention; but the contrivances within were so well managed, that they
escaped his notice. He even got into the chimneys, and examined the
walls on either side, but could detect nothing. And, lastly, he ordered
large fires to be lighted within them, but the experiment proving
fruitless, he turned his attention elsewhere.

Mr. Abingdon had attended him during this part of the search, and,
though he preserved an unmoved exterior, he was full of apprehension,
and was greatly relieved when it was abandoned. In the course of the
same day, two other hiding-places were found in the thickness of the
walls, but nothing was discovered within them. In order to prevent any
communication with the concealed persons, Topcliffe stationed a sentinel
at the door of Mr. Abingdon's chamber, and another at that of Anne Vaux.

On the third day the search was continued more rigorously than ever.
Wainscots were taken down; walls broken open; the boards of the floor
removed; and other secret passages, vaults, and hiding-places
discovered. Some priests' vestments and articles used in the Romish
service were found in one of these places, and shown to Mr. Abingdon. He
at first denied all knowledge of them; but when Topcliffe brought
forward the title-deeds of his property, which had been found in the
same place, he was obliged to confess he had put them there himself.
Still, though these discoveries had been made, the searchers were as far
from their aim as ever; and Sir Henry Bromley, who began to despair of
success, would have departed on the fifth day, if Topcliffe had not
prevented him.

"I am certain they are here," said the latter, "and have hit upon a plan
which cannot fail to bring them forth."

The prisoners meanwhile suffered grievously from their confinement, and
hearing the searchers knocking against the walls, and even within the
chimney, felt certain they should be discovered. Not being able to stand
upright, or to stretch themselves within the cell, the sitting posture
they were compelled to adopt became, after a time, intolerably irksome.
Broths, milk, wine, and other nutritious fluids, were conveyed to them
by means of a reed from the adjoining chimney; but after the fifth day
this supply was stopped, as Mrs. Abingdon and Anne Vaux were compelled
by Topcliffe to remove to a different part of the house.

They now began to experience all the horrors of starvation, and debated
whether they should die where they were, or yield themselves up to their
enemies. Wretched as their condition was, however, it was not so bad as
that of their domestics, Owen and Chambers, whose wants had not been so
carefully attended to, and who were now reduced to the most deplorable
state. Nor were their friends less uneasy. Aware that the captives, whom
there was no means of relieving, for the searchers were constantly on
the watch, could not hold out much longer, Mrs. Abingdon consulted with
her husband whether it would not be better to reveal their
hiding-places; but this he would not permit.

By this time, every secret chamber, vault, and passage in the place,
except the actual retreats of the conspirators, had been discovered by
Topcliffe, and though nothing material was found, he felt assured, from
the uneasiness displayed by Mr. Abingdon and his wife, and above all by
Anne Vaux, that it could not be long before his perseverance was
rewarded. Though he narrowly watched the two ladies, from the first, he
could never detect them in the act of conveying food to the captives;
but feeling convinced that they did so, he determined to remove them to
a different part of the house, and their unwillingness to obey the order
confirmed his suspicions.

"We are sure of our prey now," he observed to Sir Henry Bromley. "They
must be half-starved by this time, and will speedily surrender
themselves."

"Pray Heaven they do so!" returned the other. "I am wearied to death
with my long stay here."

"Have a few hours' patience," rejoined Topcliffe, "and you will find
that your time has not been thrown away."

And he was right. Soon after midnight, a trooper, who was watching in
the gallery, beheld two spectral-looking figures approach him, and
appalled by their ghastly appearance, uttered a loud cry. This brought
Topcliffe, who was in the hall below, to his aid, and instantly
perceiving what was the matter, he ran towards the supposed phantoms,
and seized them. The poor wretches, who were no other than Owen and
Chambers, and were well-nigh famished, offered no resistance, but would
neither confess where they had been hidden, nor who they were. As the
trooper had not seen them come forth, though he affirmed with a
tremendous oath that they had issued from the floor, the walls were
again sounded, but with no result.

Food being placed before the captives, they devoured it voraciously; but
Topcliffe forbore to question them further that night, feeling confident
that he could extract the truth from them on the morrow, either by
promises or threats. He was however, mistaken. They continued as
obstinate as before, and when confronted with Mr. Abingdon, denied all
knowledge of him: neither would they explain how they got into the
house.

Sir Henry Bromley, however, now considered himself justified in placing
Mr. Abingdon and his lady under arrest, and Topcliffe redoubled his
exertions to discover the hiding-place of the two priests. He examined
every part of the gallery most carefully,--took down one of the
chimney-pieces, (singularly enough, it was the wrong one,) but was still
unable to discover their retreat.

Meanwhile, the poor wretches inside found it impossible to endure their
condition longer. Anything seemed preferable to the lingering and
agonizing death they were now enduring, and they resolved to delay their
surrender no longer. Had they been able to hold out a few hours more,
they would have escaped; for Sir Henry Bromley was so fatigued with the
search, and so satisfied that nothing further would come of it, that he
resolved, notwithstanding Topcliffe's efforts to dissuade him, to depart
on the morrow. Of this they were ignorant, and having come to the
determination to surrender, Garnet opened the entrance to the chimney,
and hearing voices below, and being too feeble to get out unassisted, he
called to the speakers for aid. His voice was so hollow, and had such a
sepulchral sound, that those who heard it stared at each other in
astonishment and affright.

"Who calls?" cried one of the troopers, after a pause.

"One of those you seek," replied Garnet. "Come and help us forth."

Upon hearing this, and ascertaining whence the voice came from, one of
the men ran to fetch Sir Henry Bromley and Topcliffe, both of whom
joyfully obeyed the summons.

"Is it possible they can be in the chimney?" cried Topcliffe. "Why, I
myself have examined it twice."

"We are here, nevertheless," replied Garnet, who heard the remark; "and
if you would take us alive, lose no time."

The hint was not lost upon Topcliffe. Casting a triumphant look at
Bromley, he seized a torch from one of his attendants, and getting into
the chimney, soon perceived the entrance to the recess.

On beholding his prey, he uttered an exclamation of joy, and the two
miserable captives, seeing the savage and exulting grin that lighted up
his features, half repented the step they had taken. It was now,
however, too late, and Garnet begged him to help them out.

"That I will readily do, father," replied Topcliffe. "You have given us
a world of trouble. But you have made ample amends for it now."

"Had we been so minded, you would never have found us," rejoined Garnet.
"This cell would have been our sepulchre."

"No doubt," retorted Topcliffe, with a bitter laugh. "But a death on the
scaffold is preferable to the horrors of starvation."

Finding it impossible to remove Garnet, whose limbs were so cramped that
they refused their office, he called to the troopers below to bring a
ladder, which was placed in the chimney, and then, with some
exertion, he succeeded in getting him down. This done, he supported him
towards Sir Henry Bromley, who was standing near a small table in the
gallery.

[Illustration: _The Discovery of Garnet and Oldcorne at Hendlip_]

"I told you your time would not be thrown away, Sir Henry," he observed;
"here is Father Garnet. It is well you yielded yourself to-night,
father," he added, to Garnet, with his customary cynical chuckle; "for
Sir Henry had resolved to depart to-morrow."

"Indeed!" groaned Garnet. "Help me to a chair."

While this was passing, Oldcorne was brought down by two of the
troopers, and the unfortunate priests were conveyed to an adjoining
chamber, where they were placed in a bed, their stiffened limbs chafed,
and cordials administered to them. They were reduced, however, to such
extremity of weakness, that it was not judged prudent to remove them
till the third day, when they, together with their two servants, Owen
and Chambers, who were as much enfeebled as themselves, were conveyed to
Worcester.



CHAPTER IX.

WHITEHALL.


Such was the expedition used by Humphrey Chetham and Viviana, that they
accomplished the journey to London in an extraordinarily short space of
time. Proceeding direct to Whitehall, Viviana placed a letter in the
hands of a halberdier, and desired that it might be given without delay
to the Earl of Salisbury. After some demur, the man handed it to an
usher, who promised to lay it before the Earl. Some time elapsed before
the result of its reception was known, when an officer, accompanied by
two sergeants of the guard, made his appearance, and commanded Viviana
and her companion to follow him.

Crossing a wide hall, which was filled with the various retainers of the
palace, who regarded them with a sort of listless curiosity, and
ascending a flight of marble steps, they traversed a long corridor, and
were at length ushered into the presence of the Earl of Salisbury. He
was seated at a table, covered with a multitude of papers, and was
busily employed in writing a despatch, but immediately stopped on their
entrance. He was not alone. His companion was a middle-aged man, attired
in a suit of black velvet, with a cloak of the same material; but as he
sat with his back towards the door, it was impossible to discern his
features.

"You may leave us," said Salisbury to the officer, "but remain
without."

"And be ready to enter at a moment's notice," added his companion,
without altering his position.

The officer bowed, and retired with his followers.

"Your surrender of yourself at this time, Viviana Radcliffe," said the
Earl, "weighs much in your favour; and if you are disposed freely to
declare all you know of the conspiracy, it is not impossible that the
King may extend his mercy towards you."

"I do not desire it, my lord," she replied. "In surrendering myself, I
have no other aim than to satisfy the laws I have outraged. I do not
seek to defend myself, but I desire to offer an explanation to your
lordship. Circumstances, which it is needless to detail, drew me into
connexion with the conspirators, and I became unwillingly the depositary
of their dark design."

"You were guilty of misprision of treason in not revealing it," remarked
the Earl.

"I am aware of it," she rejoined; "but this, I take heaven to witness,
is the extent of my criminality. I held the project in the utmost
abhorrence, and used every argument I was mistress of to induce its
contrivers to abandon it."

"If such were the case," demanded the Earl, "what withheld you from
disclosing it?"

"I will now confess what torture could not wring from me before," she
replied. "I was restrained from the disclosure by a fatal passion."

"I suspected as much," observed the Earl, with a sneer. "For whom?"

"For Guy Fawkes," returned Viviana.

"God's mercy! Guy Fawkes!" ejaculated the Earl's companion, starting to
his feet. And turning as he spoke, and facing her, he disclosed heavy
but not unintellectual features, now charged with an expression of the
utmost astonishment. "Did you say Guy Fawkes, mistress?"

"It is the King," whispered Humphrey Chetham.

"Since I know in whose presence I stand, sire," replied Viviana, "I will
answer the interrogation. Guy Fawkes was the cause of my concealing my
acquaintance with the plot. And more, I will confess to your Majesty,
that much as I abhor the design, if he had not been a conspirator, I
should never have loved him. His sombre and enthusiastic character first
gave him an interest in my eyes, which, heightened by several important
services which he rendered me, soon ripened into love. Linked to his
fortunes, shrouded by the same gloomy cloud that enveloped him, and
bound by a chain from which I could not extricate myself, I gave him my
hand. But the moment of our union was the moment of our separation. We
have not met since, and shall meet no more, unless to part for ever."

"A strange history!" exclaimed James, in a tone that showed he was not
unmoved by the relation.

"I beseech your Majesty to grant me one boon," cried Viviana, falling at
his feet. "It is to be allowed a single interview with my husband--not
for the sad gratification of beholding him again--not for the indulgence
of my private sorrows--but that I may endeavour to awaken a feeling of
repentance in his breast, and be the means of saving his soul alive."

"My inclinations prompt me to grant the request, Salisbury," said the
King, irresolutely. "There can be no risk in doing it--eh?"

"Not under certain restrictions, my liege," replied the Earl.

"You shall have your wish, then, mistress," said James, "and I trust
your efforts may be crowned with success. Your husband is a hardy
traitor--a second Jacques Clement--and we never think of him without the
floor shaking beneath our feet, and a horrible smell of gunpowder
assailing our nostrils. Blessed be God for our preservation! But whom
have we here?" he added, turning to Humphrey Chetham. "Another
conspirator come to surrender himself?"

"No, my liege," replied Chetham; "I am a loyal subject of your Majesty,
and a stanch Protestant."

"If we may take your word for it, doubtless," replied the King, with an
incredulous look. "But how come you in this lady's company?"

"I will hide nothing from your Majesty," replied Chetham. "Long before
Viviana's unhappy acquaintance with Fawkes--for such I must ever
consider it--my affections had been fixed upon her, and I fondly trusted
she would not prove indifferent to my suit. Even now, sire, when all
hope is dead within me, I have not been able to overcome my passion, but
love her as devotedly as ever. When, therefore, she desired my escort to
London to surrender herself, I could not refuse the request."

"It is the truth, my liege," added Viviana. "I owe Humphrey Chetham (for
so this gentleman is named) an endless debt of gratitude; and not the
least of my present distresses is the thought of the affliction I have
occasioned him."

"Dismiss it from your mind, then, Viviana," rejoined Chetham. "It will
not mitigate my sorrows to feel that I have added to yours."

"Your manner and looks seem to give a warranty for loyalty, young sir,"
said the King. "But I must have some assurance of the truth of your
statement before you are set at large."

"I am your willing prisoner, my liege," returned Chetham. "But I have a
letter for the Earl of Salisbury, which may vouch perhaps for me."

And as he spoke, he placed a letter in the Earl's hands, who broke open
the seal, and hastily glanced at its contents.

"It is from Doctor Dee," he said, "from whom, as your Majesty is aware,
we have received much important information relative to this atrocious
design. He answers for this young man's loyalty."

"I am glad to hear it," rejoined the King. "It would have been
mortifying to be deceived by so honest a physiognomy."

"Your Majesty will be pleased to attach your signature to this warrant
for Viviana Radcliffe's committal to the Tower," said Salisbury, placing
a paper before him.

James complied, and the Earl summoned the guard.

"Have I your Majesty's permission to attend this unfortunate lady to the
fortress?" cried Chetham, prostrating himself before the King.

James hesitated, but glancing at the Earl, and reading no objection in
his looks, he assented.

Whispering some private instructions to the officer respecting Chetham,
Salisbury delivered the warrant to him. Viviana and her companion were
then removed to a small chamber adjoining the guard-room, where they
remained for nearly an hour, at the expiration of which time the officer
again appeared, and conducted them to the palace-stairs, where a large
wherry awaited them, in which they embarked.

James did not remain long with his councillor, and as soon as he had
retired, Salisbury summoned a confidential attendant, and told him to
acquaint Lord Mounteagle, who was in an adjoining apartment, that he was
now able to receive him. The attendant departed, and presently returned
with the nobleman in question. As soon as they were alone, and Salisbury
had satisfied himself they could not be overheard, he observed to the
other,

"Since Tresham's committal to the Tower yesterday, I have received a
letter from the lieutenant, stating that he breathes nothing but revenge
against yourself and me, and threatens to betray us, if he is not
released. It will not do to let him be examined by the Council; for
though we can throw utter discredit on his statement, it may be
prejudicial to my future designs."

"True, my lord," replied Mounteagle. "But how do you propose to silence
him?"

"By poison," returned Salisbury. "There is a trusty fellow in the Tower,
a jailer named Ipgreve, who will administer it to him. Here is the
powder," he added, unlocking a coffer, and taking out a small packet;
"it was given me by its compounder, Doctor Dee. It is the same, I am
assured, as the celebrated Italian poison prepared by Pope Alexander the
Sixth; is without scent or taste; and destroys its victim without
leaving a trace of its effects."

"I must take heed how I offend your lordship," observed Mounteagle.

"Nay," rejoined Salisbury, with a ghastly smile, "it is for traitors
like Tresham, not true men like you, to fear me."

"I understand the distinction, my lord," replied the other.

"I must intrust the entire management of this affair to you," pursued
Salisbury.

"To me!" exclaimed Mounteagle. "Tresham is my brother-in-law. I can take
no part in his murder."

"If he lives, you are ruined," rejoined Salisbury, coldly. "You must
sacrifice him or yourself. But I see you are reasonable. Take this
powder, and proceed to the Tower. See Ipgreve alone, and instruct him to
drug Tresham's wine with it. A hundred marks shall be his reward when
the deed is done."

"My soul revolts from the deed," said Mounteagle, as he took the packet.
"Is there no other way of silencing him?"

"None whatever," replied Salisbury, sternly. "His blood be upon his own
head."

With this, Mounteagle took his departure.



CHAPTER X.

THE PARTING OF VIVIANA AND HUMPHREY CHETHAM.


Humphrey Chetham was so oppressed by the idea of parting with Viviana,
that he did not utter a single word during their transit to the Tower.
Passing beneath the gloomy archway of Traitors' Gate, they mounted the
fatal steps, and were conducted to the guard-room near the By-ward
Tower. The officer then despatched one of the warders to inform the
lieutenant of Viviana's arrival, and telling Humphrey Chetham he would
allow him a few minutes to take leave of her, considerately withdrew,
and left them alone together.

"Oh! Viviana!" exclaimed Chetham, unable to repress his grief, "my heart
bleeds to see you here. If you repent the step you have taken, and
desire freedom, say so, and I will use every effort to liberate you. I
have been successful once, and may be so again."

"I thank you for your devotion," she replied, in a tone of profound
gratitude; "but you have rendered me the last service I shall ever
require of you. I deeply deplore the misery I have occasioned you, and
regret my inability to requite your attachment as it deserves to be
requited. My last prayers shall be for your happiness; and I trust you
will meet with some being worthy of you, and who will make amends for my
insensibility."

"Be not deceived, Viviana," replied Chetham, in a broken voice; "I shall
never love again. Your image is too deeply imprinted upon my heart ever
to be effaced."

"Time may work a change," she rejoined; "though I ought not to say so,
for I feel it would work none in me. Suffer me to give you one piece of
counsel. Devote yourself resolutely to the business of life, and you
will speedily regain your peace of mind."

"I will follow your instructions implicitly," replied Chetham; "but have
little hope of the result you promise me."

"Let the effort be made," she rejoined;--"and now promise me to quit
London to-morrow. Return to your native town, employ yourself in your
former occupations; and strive not to think of the past, except as a
troubled dream from which you have fortunately awakened. Do not let us
prolong our parting, or your resolution may waver. Farewell!"

So saying, she extended her hand towards him, and he pressed it
passionately to his lips.

"Farewell, Viviana!" he cried, with a look of unutterable anguish. "May
Heaven support you in your trials!"

"One of them I am now enduring," she replied, in a broken voice.
"Farewell for ever, and may all good angels bless you!"

At this moment, the officer appeared, and announcing the approach of the
lieutenant, told Chetham that his time had expired. Without hazarding
another look at Viviana, the young merchant tore himself away, and
followed the officer out of the Tower.

Obedient to Viviana's last request, he quitted London on the following
day, and acting upon her advice, devoted himself on his return to
Manchester sedulously to his mercantile pursuits. His perseverance and
integrity were crowned with entire success, and he became in due season
the wealthiest merchant of the town. But the blighting of his early
affections tinged his whole life, and gave a melancholy to his thoughts
and an austerity to his manner originally foreign to them. True to his
promise, he died unmarried. His long and worthy career was marked by
actions of the greatest benevolence. In proportion as his means
increased, his charities were extended, and he truly became "a father to
the fatherless and the destitute." To him the town of Manchester is
indebted for the noble library and hospital bearing his name; and for
these admirable institutions by which they so largely benefit, his
memory must ever be held in veneration by its inhabitants.



CHAPTER XI.

THE SUBTERRANEAN DUNGEON.


Regarding Viviana with a smile of savage satisfaction, Sir William Waad
commanded Jasper Ipgreve, who accompanied him, to convey her to one of
the subterranean dungeons below the Devereux Tower.

"She cannot escape thence without your connivance," he said; "and you
shall answer to me for her safe custody with your life."

"If she escapes again, your worship shall hang me in her stead,"
rejoined Ipgreve.

"My instructions from the Earl of Salisbury state that it is the King's
pleasure that she be allowed a short interview with Guy Fawkes," said
the lieutenant, in a low tone. "Let her be taken to his cell to-morrow."

The jailer bowed, and motioning the guard to follow him with Viviana, he
led the way along the inner ward till he arrived at a small strong door
in the wall a little to the north of the Beauchamp Tower, which he
unlocked, and descended into a low cavernous-looking vault. Striking a
light, and setting fire to a torch, he then led the way along a narrow
gloomy passage, which brought them to a circular chamber, from which
other passages diverged, and selecting one of them, threaded it till he
came to the door of a cell.

"Here is your dungeon," he said to Viviana, as he drew back the heavy
bolts, and disclosed a small chamber, about four feet wide and six long,
in which there was a pallet. "My dame will attend you soon."

With this, he lighted a lamp, and departing with the guard, barred the
door outside. Viviana shuddered as she surveyed the narrow dungeon in
which she was placed. Roof, walls, and floor were of stone; and the
aspect of the place was so dismal and tomb-like, that she felt as if she
were buried alive. Some hours elapsed before Dame Ipgreve made her
appearance. She was accompanied by Ruth, who burst into tears on
beholding Viviana. The jailer's wife had brought a few blankets and
other necessaries with her, together with a loaf of bread and a jug of
water. While disposing the blankets on the couch, she never ceased
upbraiding Viviana for her former flight. Poor Ruth, who was compelled
to assist her mother, endeavoured by her gestures and looks to convey to
the unfortunate captive that she was as much devoted to her as ever.
Their task completed, the old woman withdrew, and her daughter, casting
a deeply-commiserating look at Viviana, followed her, and the door was
barred without.

Determined not to yield to despondency, Viviana knelt down, and
addressed herself to Heaven; and, comforted by her prayers, threw
herself on the bed, and sank into a peaceful slumber. She was awakened
by hearing the bolts of her cell withdrawn, and the next moment Ruth
stood before her.

"I fear you have exposed yourself to great risk in thus visiting me,"
said Viviana, tenderly embracing her.

"I would expose myself to any risk for you, sweet lady," replied Ruth.
"But, oh! why do I see you here again? The chief support of Guy Fawkes
during his sufferings has been the thought that you were at liberty."

"I surrendered myself in the hope of beholding him again," rejoined
Viviana.

"You have given a fond, but fatal proof of your affection," returned
Ruth. "The knowledge that you are a captive will afflict him more than
all the torments he has endured."

"What torments _has_ he endured, Ruth?" inquired Viviana with a look of
anguish.

"Do not ask me to repeat them," replied the jailer's daughter. "They are
too dreadful to relate. When you behold his shattered frame and altered
looks, you will comprehend what he has undergone."

"Alas!" exclaimed Viviana, bursting into tears, "I almost fear to behold
him."

"You must prepare for a fearful shock," returned Ruth. "And now, madam,
I must take my leave. I will endeavour to see you again to-morrow, but
dare not promise to do so. I should not have been able to visit you now,
but that my father is engaged with Lord Mounteagle."

"With Lord Mounteagle!" cried Viviana. "Upon what business?

"Upon a foul business," rejoined Ruth. "No less than the destruction of
Mr. Tresham, who is now a prisoner in the Tower. Lord Mounteagle came to
the Well Tower this evening, and I accidentally overheard him propose to
my father to administer poison to the person I have named."

"I do not pity their victim," returned Viviana. "He is a double-dyed
traitor, and will meet with the fate he deserves."

"Farewell, madam," said Ruth. "If I do not see you again, you will know
that you have one friend in this fortress who deeply sympathizes with
your afflictions."

So saying, she withdrew, and Viviana heard the bolts slipped gently into
their sockets.

Vainly, after Ruth's visit, did she try to compose herself. Sleep fled
her eyes, and she was haunted all night by the image of Fawkes, haggard
and shattered by torture, as he had been described by the jailer's
daughter. Day and night were the same to her, and she could only compute
progress of the time by her own feelings, judging by which, she supposed
it to be late in the day when she was again visited. The bolts of her
cell being withdrawn, two men clad in long black gowns, and having hoods
drawn over their faces, entered it. They were followed by Ipgreve; and
Viviana, concluding she was about to be led to the torture, endeavoured
to string herself to its endurance. Though he guessed what was passing
in her breast, Jasper Ipgreve did not care to undeceive her, but
motioning the hooded officials to follow him with her, quitted the cell.
Seizing each a hand, the attendants led her after him along a number of
intricate passages, until he stopped before the door of a cell, which he
opened.

"Be brief in what you have to say," he cried, thrusting her forward. "I
shall not allow you much time."

Viviana no sooner set foot in the cell than she felt in whose presence
she stood. On a stool at the further end of the narrow chamber, with his
head upon his breast, and a cloak wrapped around his limbs, sat Fawkes.
A small iron lamp, suspended by a rusty chain from the ceiling, served
to illumine his ghastly features. He lifted his eyes from the ground on
her entrance, and recognising her, uttered a cry of anguish. Raising
himself by a great effort, he opened his arms, and she rushed into them.
For some moments, both continued silent. Grief took away their
utterance; but at length, Guy Fawkes spoke.

"My cup of bitterness was not sufficiently full," he said. "This alone
was wanting to make it overflow."

"I fear you will blame me," she replied, "when you learn that I have
voluntarily surrendered myself."

Guy Fawkes uttered a deep groan.

"I am the cause of your doing so," he said.

"You are so," she replied. "But you will forgive me when you know my
motive. I came here to urge you to repentance. Oh! if you hope that we
shall meet again hereafter--if you hope that we shall inherit joys which
will requite us for all our troubles, you will employ the brief time
left you on earth in imploring forgiveness for your evil intentions."

"Having had no evil intentions," replied Fawkes, coldly, "I have no
pardon to ask."

"The Tempter who led you into the commission of sin under the semblance
of righteousness, puts these thoughts into your heart," replied Viviana.
"You have escaped the commission of an offence which must have deprived
you of the joys of heaven, and I am thankful for it. But if you remain
impenitent, I shall tremble for your salvation."

"My account will soon be settled with my Maker," rejoined Fawkes; "and
he will punish or reward me according to my deserts. I have acted
according to my conscience, and can never repent that which I believe to
be a righteous design."

"But do you not now see that you were mistaken," returned Viviana,--"do
you not perceive that the sword which you raised against others has been
turned against yourself,--and that the Great Power whom you serve and
worship has declared himself against you?"

"You seek in vain to move me," replied Fawkes. "I am as insensible to
your arguments as to the tortures of my enemies."

"Then Heaven have mercy upon your soul!" she rejoined.

"Look at me, Viviana," cried Fawkes, "and behold the wreck I am. What
has supported me amid my tortures--in this dungeon--in the presence of
my relentless foes?--what, but the consciousness of having acted
rightly? And what will support me on the scaffold except the same
conviction? If you love me, do not seek to shake my faith! But it is
idle to talk thus. You cannot do so. Rest satisfied we shall meet again.
Everything assures me of it. Wretched as I appear in this solitary cell,
I am not wholly miserable, because I am buoyed up by the certainty that
my actions are approved by Heaven."

"I will not attempt to destroy the delusion, since it is productive of
happiness to you," replied Viviana. "But if my earnest, heartfelt
prayers can conduce to your salvation, they shall not be wanting."

As she spoke, the door of the cell was opened by Jasper Ipgreve, who
stepped towards her, and seized her roughly by the hand.

"Your time has expired, mistress," he said; "you must come with me."

"A minute longer," implored Fawkes.

"Not a second," replied Ipgreve.

"Shall we not meet again?" cried Viviana, distractedly.

"Ay, the day before your execution," rejoined Ipgreve. "I have good news
for you," he added, pausing for a moment, and addressing Fawkes. "Mr.
Tresham, who I told you has been brought to the Tower, has been taken
suddenly and dangerously ill."

"If the traitor perishes before me, I shall die content," observed
Fawkes.

"Then rest assured of it," said Viviana. "The task of vengeance is
already fulfilled."

She was then forced away by Ipgreve, and delivered by him to the hooded
officials outside, who hurried her back to her dungeon.



CHAPTER XII.

THE TRAITOR BETRAYED.


Lord Mounteagle arrived at the Tower shortly after Viviana, and
repairing at once to the lieutenant's lodgings, had a brief conference
with him, and informed him that he had a secret order to deliver to
Jasper Ipgreve, from the Earl of Salisbury, touching the conspirators.
Sir William Waad would have summoned the jailer; but Mounteagle
preferred visiting him at the Well Tower, and accordingly proceeded
thither.

He found Ipgreve with his wife and daughter, and telling him he desired
a moment's private speech with him, the jailer dismissed them.
Suspecting that the new-comer's errand related in some way to Viviana,
Ruth contrived to place herself in such a situation that she could
overhear what passed. A moment's scrutiny of Jasper's villanous
countenance satisfied Mounteagle that the Earl of Salisbury was not
mistaken in his man; and, as soon as he supposed they were alone, he
unhesitatingly opened his plan to him. As he expected, Jasper exhibited
no reluctance to undertake it; and, after some further discussion, it
was agreed to put it in execution without delay.

"The sooner Mr. Tresham is silenced the better," said Jasper; "for he
threatens to make disclosures to the Council that will bring some noble
persons," with a significant look at Mounteagle, "into trouble."

"Where is he confined?" demanded the other.

"In the Beauchamp Tower," replied Ipgreve.

"I will visit him at once," said Mounteagle; "and when I have conferred
with him, will call for wine. Bring two goblets, and in that which you
give to Tresham place this powder."

Ipgreve nodded assent, and with a grim smile took the packet. Shortly
after this, they quitted the Well Tower together, and passing under the
archway of the Bloody Tower, crossed the green, and entered the
fortification in which the traitor was confined. Tresham was treated
with far greater consideration than the other conspirators, being
allowed the use of the large room on the upper floor of the Beauchamp
Tower, which was seldom allotted to any persons except those of the
highest distinction. When they entered, he was pacing to and fro within
his chamber in great agitation; but he immediately stopped on seeing
Mounteagle, and rushed towards him.

"You bring me my liberation?" he said.

"It is impossible to effect it at present," returned the other. "But
make yourself perfectly easy. Your confinement will not be of long
duration."

"I will not be trifled with," cried Tresham, furiously. "If I am
examined by the Council, look to yourselves. As I hope for salvation,
the truth shall out."

"Leave us," said Mounteagle, with a significant look at the jailer, who
quitted the chamber.

"Hark'e, Mounteagle," said Tresham, as soon as they were alone, "I have
been your tool thus far. But if you propose to lead me blindfold to the
scaffold, you are greatly mistaken. You think that you have me safe
within these walls; that my voice cannot be heard; and that I cannot
betray you. But you are deceived--fearfully deceived, as you will find.
I have your letters--the Earl of Salisbury's letters, proving that you
were both aware of the plot--and that you employed me to watch its
progress, and report it to you. I have also letters from Doctor Dee, the
warden of Manchester, detailing his acquaintance with the conspiracy,
and containing descriptions of the persons of Fawkes and Catesby, which
I showed to the Earl of Salisbury.--These letters are now in my
possession, and I will deliver them to the Council, if I am not
released."

"Deliver them to me, and I swear to you, you shall be set free," said
Mounteagle.

"I will not trust you," rejoined Tresham. "Liberate me, and they are
yours. But I will not rob myself of vengeance. I will confound you and
the false Earl of Salisbury."

"You wrong us both by your unjust suspicions," said Mounteagle.

"Wrong you!" echoed Tresham, contemptuously. "Where is my promised
reward? Why am I in this dungeon? Why am I treated like a traitor? If
you meant me fairly, I should not be here, but like yourself at liberty,
and in the enjoyment of the King's favour. But you have duped me,
villain, and shall rue it. If I am led to the scaffold, it shall be in
your company."

"Compose yourself," rejoined Mounteagle, calmly. "Appearances, I own,
are against us. But circumstances render it imperatively necessary that
the Earl of Salisbury should appear to act against you. You have been
charged by Guy Fawkes, when under the torture, of being a confederate in
the design, and your arrest could not be avoided. I am come hither to
give you a solemn assurance that no harm shall befal you, but that you
shall be delivered from your thraldom in a few days--perhaps in a few
hours."

"You have no further design against me," said Tresham, suspiciously.

"What motive could I have in coming hither, except to set your mind at
rest?" rejoined Mounteagle.

"And I shall receive my reward?" demanded Tresham.

"You will receive your reward," returned Mounteagle, with significant
emphasis. "I swear it. So make yourself easy."

"If I thought I might trust you, I should not heed my imprisonment,
irksome though it be," rejoined Tresham.

"It cannot be avoided, for the reasons I have just stated," replied
Mounteagle. "But come, no more despondency. All will be well with you
speedily. Let us drown care in a bumper. What ho! jailer," he added,
opening the door, "a cup of wine!"

In a few minutes, Ipgreve made his appearance, bearing two goblets
filled with wine on a salver, one of which he presented to Mounteagle,
and the other to Tresham.

"Here is to your speedy deliverance from captivity!" said Mounteagle,
draining the goblet. "You will not refuse that pledge, Tresham?"

"Of a surety not," replied the other. "To my speedy deliverance!"

And he emptied the cup, while Mounteagle and the jailer exchanged
significant glances.

"And now, having fully discharged my errand, I must bid you farewell,"
said Mounteagle.

"You will not forget your promise?" observed Tresham.

"Assuredly not," replied the other. "A week hence, and you will make no
complaint against me.--Are you sure you did not give me the wrong
goblet?" he added to Ipgreve, as they descended the spiral staircase.

"Quite sure, my lord," returned the jailer, with a grim smile.

Mounteagle immediately quitted the Tower, and hastening to Whitehall,
sought out the Earl of Salisbury, to whom he related what he had done.
The Earl complimented him on his skilful management of the matter; and
congratulating each other upon having got rid of a dangerous and now
useless instrument, they separated.

On the following day, Tresham was seized with a sudden illness, and
making known his symptoms to Ipgreve, the chirurgeon who attended the
prison was sent for, and on seeing him, pronounced him dangerously ill,
though he was at a loss to explain the nature of his disorder. Every
hour the sick man grew worse, and he was torn with racking pains.
Connecting his sudden seizure with the visit of Lord Mounteagle, an idea
of the truth flashed upon him, and he mentioned his suspicions to the
chirurgeon, charging Jasper Ipgreve with being accessory to the deed.
The jailer stoutly denied the accusation, and charged the prisoner in
his turn with making a malicious statement to bring him into discredit.

"I will soon test the truth of his assertion," observed the chirurgeon,
taking a small flat piece of the purest gold from his doublet. "Place
this in your mouth."

Tresham obeyed, and Ipgreve watched the experiment with gloomy
curiosity.

"You are a dead man," said the chirurgeon to Tresham, as he drew forth
the piece of gold, and perceived that it was slightly tarnished. "Poison
_has_ been administered to you."

"Is there no remedy--no counter-poison?" demanded Tresham, eagerly.

The chirurgeon shook his head.

"Then let the lieutenant be summoned," said Tresham; "I have an
important confession to make to him. I charge this man," pointing to the
jailer, "with giving poisoned wine to me. Do you hear what I say to
you?"

"I do," replied the chirurgeon.

"But he will never reveal it," said Ipgreve, with great unconcern. "I
have a warrant from the Earl of Salisbury for what I have done."

"What!" cried Tresham, "can murder be committed here with impunity?"

"You have to thank your own indiscretion for what has happened,"
rejoined Ipgreve. "Had you kept a close tongue in your head, you would
have been safe."

"Can nothing be done to save me?" cried the miserable man, with an
imploring look at the chirurgeon.

"Nothing whatever," replied the person appealed to. "I would advise you
to recommend your soul to God."

"Will you not inform the lieutenant that I desire to speak with him?"
demanded Tresham.

The chirurgeon glanced at Ipgreve, and receiving a sign from him, gave a
promise to that effect.

They then quitted the cell together, leaving Tresham in a state of
indescribable agony both of mind and body. Half an hour afterwards, the
chirurgeon returned, and informed him that the lieutenant refused to
visit him, or to hear his confession, and wholly discredited the fact of
his being poisoned.

"I will take charge of your papers, if you choose to commit them to me,"
he said, "and will lay them before the Council."

"No," replied Tresham; "while life remains to me I will never part with
them."

"I have brought you a mixture which, though it cannot heal you, will, at
least, allay your sufferings," said the chirurgeon.

"I will not take it," groaned Tresham. "I distrust you as much as the
others."

"I will leave it with you, at all events," rejoined the chirurgeon,
setting down the phial.

The noise of the bolts shot into their sockets sounded to Tresham as if
his tomb were closed upon him, and he uttered a cry of anguish. He would
have laid violent hands upon himself, and accelerated his own end, but
he wanted courage to do so, and continued to pace backwards and forwards
across his chamber as long as his strength lasted. He was about to throw
himself on the couch, from which he never expected to rise again, when
his eyes fell upon the phial. "What if it should be poison!" he said,
"it will end my sufferings the sooner."

And placing it to his lips, he swallowed its contents. As the chirurgeon
had foretold, it alleviated his sufferings, and throwing himself on the
bed he sank into a troubled slumber, during which he dreamed that
Catesby appeared to him with a vengeful countenance, and tried to drag
him into a fathomless abyss that yawned beneath their feet. Shrieking
with agony, he awoke, and found two persons standing by his couch. One
of them was the jailer, and the other appeared, from his garb, to be a
priest; but a hood was drawn over his head so as to conceal his
features.

"Are you come to witness my dying pangs, or to finish me?" demanded
Tresham of the jailer.

"I am come for neither purpose," replied Ipgreve; "I pity your
condition, and have brought you a priest of your own faith, who, like
yourself, is a prisoner in the Tower. I will leave him with you, but he
cannot remain long, so make the most of your time." And with these
words, he retired.

When he was gone, the supposed priest, who spoke in feeble and
faltering accents, desired to hear Tresham's confession, and having
listened to it, gave him absolution. The wretched man then drew from his
bosom a small packet, and offered it to the confessor, who eagerly
received it.

"This contains the letters of the Earl of Salisbury and Lord Mounteagle,
which I have just mentioned," he said. "I pray you lay them before the
Privy Council."

"I will not fail to do so," replied the confessor.

And reciting the prayer for one _in extremis_ over the dying man, he
departed.

"I have obtained the letters from him," said Mounteagle, throwing back
his hood as he quitted the chamber, and addressing the jailer. "And now
you need give yourself no further concern about him, he will be dead
before morning."

Jasper Ipgreve locked the door upon the prisoner, and proceeded to the
Well Tower. When he returned, he found Mounteagle's words had come to
pass. Tresham was lying on the floor quite dead--his collapsed frame and
distorted countenance showing the agonies in which he must have expired.



CHAPTER XIII.

THE TRIAL.


The trial of the conspirators, which had been delayed in order that full
evidence might be procured against them, was, at length, appointed to
take place in Westminster Hall, on Monday, the 27th of January, 1606.
Early on the morning of this day, the eight surviving confederates
(Garnet and Oldcorne being at this time secreted at Hendlip) were
conveyed in two large covered wherries from the fortress to the place of
trial. In spite of the severity of the weather,--it was snowing heavily,
and the river was covered with sheets of ice,--they were attended by a
vast number of boats filled with persons anxious to obtain a sight of
them. Such was the abhorrence in which the actors in the conspiracy were
held by the populace, that, not content with menaces and execrations,
many of these persons hurled missiles against the wherries, and would
have proceeded to further violence if they had not been restrained by
the pikemen. When the prisoners landed, a tremendous and fearful shout
was raised by the mob stationed at the head of the stairs, and it
required the utmost efforts of the guard to protect them from injury.
Two lines of soldiers, with calivers on their shoulders, were drawn out
from the banks of the river to the entrance of the Hall, and between
them the conspirators marched.

The melancholy procession was headed by Sir William Waad, who was
followed by an officer of the guard and six halberdiers. Then came the
executioner, carrying the gleaming implement of death with its edge
turned from the prisoners. He was followed by Sir Everard Digby, whose
noble figure and handsome countenance excited much sympathy among the
beholders, and Ambrose Rookwood. Next came the two Winters, both of whom
appeared greatly dejected. Next, John Grant and Robert Bates,--Catesby's
servant, who had been captured at Holbeach. And lastly, Keyes and
Fawkes.

Bitterly and justly incensed as were the multitude against the
conspirators, their feelings underwent some change as they beheld the
haggard countenance and shattered frame of Guy Fawkes. It was soon
understood that he was the individual who had been found in the vault
near the Parliament House, with the touchwood and matches in his belt
ready to fire the train; and the greatest curiosity was exhibited to see
him.

Just as the foremost of the conspirators reached the entrance of the
Hall, a terrific yell, resembling nothing human, except the roar of a
thousand tigers thirsting for blood, was uttered by the mob, and a
tremendous but ineffectual attempt was made to break through the lines
of the guard. Never before had so large an assemblage been collected on
the spot. The whole of the space extending on one hand from Westminster
Hall to the gates of Whitehall, and on the other to the Abbey, was
filled with spectators; and every roof, window, and buttress was
occupied. Nor was the interior of the Hall less crowded. Not an inch of
room was unoccupied; and it was afterwards complained in Parliament,
that the members of the house had been so pressed and incommoded, that
they could not hear what was said at the arraignment.

The conspirators were first conveyed to the court of the Star-Chamber,
where they remained till the Lords Commissioners had arrived, and taken
their seats. The commissioners were the Earl of Nottingham, Lord High
Admiral of England; the Earl of Suffolk, Steward of the Household; the
Earl of Worcester, Master of the Horse; the Earl of Devonshire, Master
of the Ordnance; the Earl of Northampton, Warden of the Cinque-Ports;
the Earl of Salisbury, Principal Secretary of State; Sir John Popham,
Lord Chief Justice; Sir Thomas Fleming, Lord Chief Baron of the
Exchequer; and Sir Thomas Walmisley and Sir Peter Warburton, Knights,
and both Justices of the Common Pleas.

Summoned by an usher, the conspirators were conducted to a platform
covered with black cloth, which had been erected at the lower end of the
Hall. A murmur of indignation, vainly sought to be repressed by the
grave looks of the Commissioners, burst from the immense assemblage, as
they one by one ascended the steps of the platform. Guy Fawkes was the
last to mount, and his appearance was followed by a deep groan.
Supporting himself against the rail of the scaffold, he surveyed the
assemblage with a stern and undaunted look. As he gazed around, he could
not help marvelling at the vast multitude before him. The whole of the
peers and all the members of the House of Commons were present, while in
a box on the left, though screened by a lattice, sat the Queen and
Prince Henry; and in another on the right, and protected in the same
way, the King and his courtiers.

Silence being peremptorily commanded, the indictment was read, wherein
the prisoners were charged with conspiring to blow up the King and the
peers with gunpowder, and with attempting to incite the Papists, and
other persons, to open rebellion; to which all the conspirators, to the
no small surprise of those who heard them, and were aware that they had
subscribed their confessions, pleaded not guilty.

"How, sir!" cried the Lord Chief Justice, in a stern tone to Fawkes.
"With what face can you pretend to deny the indictment, when you were
actually taken in the cellar with the powder, and have already confessed
your treasonable intentions?"

"I do not mean to deny what I have confessed, my lord," replied Fawkes.
"But this indictment contains many matters which I neither can nor will
countenance by assent or silence. And I therefore deny it."

"It is well," replied the Lord Chief Justice. "Let the trial proceed."

The indictment being opened by Sir Edward Philips, sergeant-at-law, he
was followed by Sir Edward Coke, the attorney-general, who in an
eloquent and elaborate speech, which produced an extraordinary effect
upon the assemblage, expatiated upon the monstrous nature of the plot,
which he characterised as "the greatest treason that ever was plotted in
England, and against the greatest king that ever reigned in England;"
and after narrating the origin and progress of the conspiracy, concluded
by desiring that the confessions of the prisoners should be openly read.
This done, the jury were ordered by the Lord Chief Justice to retire,
and the injunction being obeyed, they almost instantly returned with a
verdict of guilty.

A deep, dread silence then prevailed throughout the Hall, and every eye
was bent upon the conspirators, all of whom maintained a composed
demeanour. They were then questioned by the Lord Chief Justice whether
they had anything to say why judgment of death should not be pronounced
against them.

"All I have to crave of your lordships," said Thomas Winter, "is, that
being the chief offender of the two, I may die for my brother and
myself."

"And I ask only that my brother's request may not be granted," said
Robert Winter. "If he is condemned, I do not desire to live."

"I have nothing to solicit--not even pardon," said Keyes, carelessly.
"My fortunes were always desperate, and are better now than they have
ever been."

"I desire mercy," said Rookwood, "not from any fear of death, but
because so shameful an ending will leave a perpetual stain upon my name
and blood. I humbly submit myself to the King, and pray him to imitate
our Supreme Judge, who sometimes punishes corporally, but not mortally."

"I have been guilty of a conspiracy, intended but never effected," said
John Grant, "and solicit forgiveness on that plea."

"My crime has been fidelity to my master," said Bates. "If the King will
let me live, I will serve him as faithfully as I did Mr. Catesby."

"I would not utter a word," said Fawkes, looking sternly round; "if I
did not fear my silence might be misinterpreted. I would not accept a
pardon if it were offered me. I regard the project as a glorious one,
and only lament its failure."

"Silence the vile traitor," said the Earl of Salisbury, rising.

And as he spoke two halberdiers sprang up the steps of the scaffold, and
placing themselves on either side of Fawkes, prepared to gag him.

"I have done," he said, contemptuously regarding them.

"I have nothing to say save this," said Sir Everard Digby, bowing to the
judges. "If any of your lordships will tell me you forgive me, I shall
go more cheerfully to the scaffold."

"Heaven forgive you, Sir Everard," said the Earl of Nottingham,
returning his reverence, "as we do."

"I humbly thank your lordship," replied Digby.

Sentence was then passed upon the prisoners by Lord Chief Justice
Popham, and they were removed from the platform.

As they issued from the Hall, and it became known to the assemblage
without that they were condemned, a shout of fierce exultation rent the
air, and they were so violently assailed on all sides, that they had
great difficulty in reaching the wherries. The guard, however,
succeeded, at length, in accomplishing their embarkation, and they were
conveyed back in safety to the Tower.



CHAPTER XIV.

THE LAST MEETING OF FAWKES AND VIVIANA.


Up to this time, Viviana had not been allowed another interview with Guy
Fawkes. She was twice interrogated by the Privy-Council, but having
confessed all she knew of the conspiracy, excepting what might implicate
Garnet and Oldcorne, neither of whom she was aware had been
apprehended, she was not again subjected to the torture. Her health,
however, rapidly sank under her confinement, and she was soon reduced to
such an extreme state of debility that she could not leave her bed. The
chirurgeon having been called in by Dame Ipgreve to attend her, reported
her condition to Sir William Waad, who directed that every means should
be adopted for her restoration, and that Ruth Ipgreve should remain in
constant attendance upon her.

Ascertaining all particulars relative to Guy Fawkes from the jailer's
daughter, it was a sad satisfaction to Viviana to learn that he spent
his whole time in devotion, and appeared completely resigned to his
fate. It had been the Earl of Salisbury's purpose to bring Viviana to
trial at the same time as the rest of the conspirators, but the
chirurgeon reporting that her removal at this juncture would be attended
with fatal consequences, he was compelled to defer it.

When the result of the trial was made known to Viviana by Ruth, though
she had anticipated the condemnation of Guy Fawkes, she swooned away,
and on her recovery, observed to Ruth, who was greatly alarmed at her
looks, "I feel I am going fast. I should wish to see my husband once
more before I die."

"I fear it is impossible, madam," replied Ruth; "but I will try to
accomplish it."

"Do so," rejoined Viviana; "and my blessing shall rest ever on your
head."

"Have you any valuable?" inquired Ruth. "My heart bleeds to make the
demand at such a moment. But it is the only way to produce an effect on
the avaricious nature of my father."

"I have nothing but this golden crucifix," said Viviana; "and I meant to
give it to you."

"It will be better employed in this way," rejoined Ruth, taking it from
her.

Quitting the cell, she hurried to the Well Tower, and found her father,
who had just returned from locking up the conspirators in their
different dungeons, sitting down to his evening meal.

"What is the matter with the wench?" he cried, staring at her. "You look
quite distracted. Is Viviana Radcliffe dead?"

"No; but she is dying," replied Ruth.

"If that is the case I must go to her directly," observed Dame Ipgreve.
"She may have some valuable about her which I must secure."

"You will be disappointed, mother," rejoined Ruth, with a look of
irrepressible disgust. "She has nothing valuable left but this golden
crucifix, which she has sent to my father, on condition of his allowing
Guy Fawkes to see her before she dies."

"Give it me, wench," cried Jasper Ipgreve; "and let her die in peace."

"She will _not_ die in peace unless she sees him," replied Ruth. "Nor
shall you have it, if you do not comply with her request."

"How!" exclaimed her father, "do you dare----"

"Think not to terrify me, father," interrupted Ruth; "I am resolute in
this. Hear me," she cried, seizing his arm, and fixing a look upon him
that seemed to pierce his soul,--"hear me," she said, in a tone so low
as to be inaudible to her mother; "she _shall_ see him, or I will
denounce you as the murderer of Tresham. Now will you comply?"

"Give me the cross," said Ipgreve.

"Not till you have earned it," replied his daughter.

"Well, well," he rejoined; "if it must be, it must. But I may get into
trouble in the matter. I must consult Master Forsett, the gentleman
jailer, who has the charge of Guy Fawkes, before I dare take him to her
cell."

"Consult whom you please," rejoined Ruth, impatiently; "but lose no
time, or you will be too late."

Muttering imprecations on his daughter, Ipgreve left the Well Tower, and
Ruth hurried back to Viviana, whom she found anxiously expecting her,
and related to her what she had done.

"Oh, that I may hold out till he comes!" cried Viviana; "but my strength
is failing fast."

Ruth endeavoured to comfort her; but she was unequal to the effort, and
bursting into tears, knelt down, and wept upon the pillow beside her.
Half an hour had now elapsed. It seemed an age to the poor sufferers,
and still the jailer came not, and even Ruth had given up all hope, when
a heavy tread was heard in the passage; the door was opened; and Guy
Fawkes appeared, attended by Ipgreve and Forsett.

"We will not interrupt your parting," said Forsett, who seemed to have a
touch of humanity in his composition. And beckoning to Ruth to follow
him, he quitted the cell with Ipgreve.

Guy Fawkes, meanwhile, had approached the couch, and gazed with an
expression of intense anguish at Viviana. She returned his glance with a
look of the utmost affection, and clasped his hand between her thin
fingers.

"I am now standing on the brink of eternity," she said in a solemn tone,
"and I entreat you earnestly, as you hope to insure our meeting
hereafter, to employ the few days left you in sincere and hearty
repentance. You have sinned--sinned deeply, but not beyond the power of
redemption. Let me feel that I have saved you, and my last moments will
be happy. Oh! by the love I have borne you--by the pangs I have endured
for you--by the death I am now dying for you--let me implore you not to
lose one moment, but to supplicate a merciful Providence to pardon your
offence."

[Illustration: _Death of Viviana_]

"I will--I will," rejoined Fawkes, in broken accents. "You have opened
my eyes to my error, and I sincerely repent it."

"Saved! saved!" cried Viviana, raising herself in the bed. Opening her
arms, she strained him to her bosom; and for a few moments they mingled
their tears together.

"And now," she said, sinking backwards, "kneel by me--pray for
forgiveness--pray audibly, and I will join in your prayer."

Guy Fawkes knelt by the bedside, and addressed the most earnest
supplications to Heaven for forgiveness. For a while he heard Viviana's
gentle accents accompany him. They grew fainter and fainter, until at
last they totally ceased. Filled with a dreadful apprehension, he sprang
to his feet. An angelic smile illumined her countenance; her gaze was
fixed on him for one moment--it then grew dim and dimmer, until it was
extinguished.

Guy Fawkes uttered a cry of the wildest despair, and fell to the ground.
Alarmed by the sound, Forsett and Ipgreve, who were standing outside,
rushed into the cell, and instantly raised him. But he was now in a
state of distraction, and for the moment seemed endowed with all his
former strength. Striving to break from them, he cried, in a tone of the
most piercing anguish, "You shall not tear me from her! I will die with
her! Let me go, I say, or I will dash out my brains against these flinty
walls, and balk you of your prey."

But his struggles were in vain. They held him fast, and calling for
further assistance, conveyed him to his cell, where, fearing he might do
some violence to himself, they placed him in irons.

Ruth entered the cell as soon as Fawkes and the others had quitted it,
and performed the last sad offices for the departed. Alternately praying
and weeping, she watched by the body during the whole of the night. On
the following day, the remains of the unfortunate Viviana were interred
in the chapel of Saint Peter on the Green, and the sole mourner was the
jailer's daughter.

"Peace be with her!" cried Ruth, as she turned away from the grave. "Her
sorrows at last are over."



CHAPTER XV.

SAINT PAUL'S CHURCHYARD.


Guy Fawkes was for some time wholly inconsolable. His stoical nature
seemed completely subdued, and he wept like an infant. By degrees,
however, the violence of his grief abated, and calling to mind the last
injunctions of her whose loss he mourned, he addressed himself to
prayer, and acknowledging his guilt, besought her intercession with
Heaven for his forgiveness.

It will not seem strange, when his superstitious character is taken into
consideration, that he should fancy he received an immediate proof that
his prayers were heard. To his excited imagination it appeared that a
soft unearthly strain of music floated in the air over his head; that an
odour like that of Paradise filled his cell; while an invisible finger
touched his brow. While in this entranced state, he was utterly
insensible to his present miserable situation, and he seemed to have a
foretaste of celestial happiness. He did not, however, desist from
prayer, but continued his supplications throughout the day.

On that night, he was visited by the lieutenant, who announced to him
that the execution of four of the conspirators was fixed for Thursday
(it was then Tuesday), while his own and that of the three others would
not take place till the following day.

"As you are the greatest traitor of all, your execution will be reserved
to the last," pursued Waad. "No part of the sentence will be omitted.
You will be dragged to Old Palace Yard, over against the scene of your
intended bloody and damnable action, at a horse's tail, and will be
there turned off the gallows, and hanged, _but not till you are dead_.
You will then be embowelled; your vile heart, which conceived this
atrocious design, will be torn beating from your breast; and your
quarters will be placed on the palace gates as an abhorrent spectacle in
the eyes of men, and a terrible proof of the King's just vengeance."

Guy Fawkes heard the recapitulation of his dreadful sentence unmoved.

"The sole mercy I would have craved of his Majesty would have been
permission to die first!" he said. "But Heaven's will be done! I deserve
my doom."

"What! is your stubborn nature at length subdued?" cried the lieutenant
in surprise. "Do you repent of your offence?"

"Deeply and heartily," returned Fawkes.

"Make the sole amends in your power for it, then, and disclose the names
of all who have been connected with the atrocious design," rejoined
Waad.

"I confess myself guilty," replied Fawkes, humbly. "But I accuse no
others."

"Then you die impenitent," rejoined the lieutenant, "and cannot hope for
mercy hereafter."

Guy Fawkes made no answer, but bowed his head upon his breast, and the
lieutenant, darting a malignant look at him, quitted the cell.

On the following day, the whole of the conspirators were taken to St.
John's chapel, in the White Tower, where a discourse was pronounced to
them by Doctor Overall, Dean of St. Paul's, who enlarged upon the
enormity of their offence, and exhorted them to repentance. The
discourse over, they were about to be removed, when two ladies, clad in
mourning habits, entered the chapel. These were Lady Digby and Mrs.
Rookwood, and they immediately flew to their husbands. The rest of the
conspirators walked away, and averted their gaze from the painful scene.
After an ineffectual attempt to speak, Lady Digby swooned away, and was
committed by her husband, while in a state of insensibility, to the care
of an attendant. Mrs. Rookwood, however, who was a woman of high spirit,
and great personal attractions, though the latter were now wasted by
affliction, maintained her composure, and encouraging her husband to
bear up manfully against his situation, tenderly embraced him, and
withdrew. The conspirators were then taken back to their cells.

At an early hour on the following morning the four miserable persons
intended for death, namely, Sir Everard Digby, the elder Winter, John
Grant, and Bates, were conducted to the Beauchamp Tower. Bates would
have stood aloof from his superiors; but Sir Everard Digby took him
kindly by the hand, and drew him towards them.

"No distinctions must be observed now," he said. "We ought to beg pardon
of thee, my poor fellow, for bringing thee into this strait."

"Think not of me, worshipful sir," replied Bates. "I loved Mr. Catesby
so well, that I would have laid down my life for him at any time; and I
now die cheerfully in his cause."

"Mr. Lieutenant," said Robert Winter to Sir William Waad, who stood near
them with Forsett and Ipgreve, "I pray you commend me to my brother.
Tell him I die in entire love of him, and if it is possible for the
departed to watch over the living, I will be with him at his last hour."

At this moment, a trampling of horses was heard on the green, and the
lieutenant proceeding to the grated window, saw four mounted troopers,
each having a sledge and hurdle attached by ropes to his steed, drawn up
before the door. While he was gazing at them, an officer entered the
room, and informed him that all was in readiness. Sir William Waad then
motioned the prisoners to follow him, and they descended the spiral
staircase.

The green was thronged with horse and foot soldiers, and as the
conspirators issued from the arched door of the fortification, the bell
of Saint Peter's chapel began to toll. Sir Everard Digby was first bound
to a hurdle, with his face towards the horse, and the others were
quickly secured in the same manner. The melancholy cavalcade was then
put in motion. A troop of horse-soldiers in their full accoutrements,
and with calivers upon their shoulders, rode first; then came a band of
halberdiers on foot; then the masked executioner mounted on a led horse,
then the four prisoners on the hurdles, one after the other; then the
lieutenant on horseback; while another band of horse-soldiers, equipped
like the first, brought up the rear. They were met by the Recorder of
London, Sir Henry Montague, and the sheriffs, at the gate of the Middle
Tower, to the latter of whom the lieutenant, according to custom,
delivered up the bodies of the prisoners. After a short delay, the train
again set forward, and emerging from the Bulwark Gate, proceeded through
an enormous concourse of spectators towards Tower-street.

Aware that a vast crowd would be assembled in the city, and apprehensive
of some popular tumult, the Lord Mayor had issued precepts to the
aldermen of every ward, commanding them "to cause one able and
sufficient person, with a halbert in his hand, to stand at the door of
every dwelling-house in the open street in the way that the traitors
were to be drawn towards the place of execution, there to remain from
seven in the morning until the return of the sheriffs." But these were
not the whole of the arrangements made to preserve order. The cavalcade,
it was fixed, was to proceed along Tower-street, Gracechurch street,
Lombard-street, Cheapside, and so on to the west end of Saint Paul's
cathedral, where the scaffold was erected. Along the whole road, on
either side, a line of halberdiers was drawn up, while barriers were
erected against the cross streets. Nor were these precautions needless.
Such a vast concourse was collected, that nothing but the presence of a
strong armed force could have prevented confusion and disorder. The
roofs of all the houses, the towers of the churches, the steps of the
crosses were covered with spectators, who groaned and hooted as the
conspirators passed by.

The scaffold, as has just been stated, was erected in front of the great
western entrance of the cathedral. The mighty valves of the sacred
structure were thrown open, and disclosed its columned aisles crowded
with spectators, as was its roof and central tower. The great bell,
which had begun to toll when the melancholy procession came in sight,
continued to pour forth its lugubrious sounds during the whole of the
ceremonial. The rolling of muffled drums was likewise heard above the
tumultuous murmurs of the impatient multitude. The whole area from the
cathedral to Ludgate-hill was filled with spectators, but an open space
was kept clear in front of the scaffold, in which the prisoners were one
by one unbound from the hurdles.

During this awful pause, they had sufficient time to note the whole of
the dreadful preparations. At a little distance from them was a large
fire, on which boiled a caldron of pitch, destined to receive their
dismembered limbs. A tall gallows, approached by a double ladder, sprung
from the scaffold, on which the hangman was already mounted with the
rope in his hand. At the foot of the ladder was the quartering-block,
near which stood the masked executioner with a chopper in his hand, and
two large sharp knives in his girdle. His arms were bared to the
shoulder; and a leathern apron, soiled by gory stains, and tied round
his waist, completed his butcherly appearance. Straw was scattered upon
the scaffold near the block.

Sir Everard Digby was the first to receive the fatal summons. He mounted
with a firm footstep, and his youth, his noble aspect, and undaunted
demeanour, awakened, as before, the sympathy of the beholders. Looking
round, he thus addressed the assemblage:--

"Good people, I am here about to die, ye well know for what cause.
Throughout the matter, I have acted according to the dictates of my
conscience. They have led me to undertake this enterprise, which, in
respect of my religion, I hold to be no offence, but in respect of the
law a heinous offence, and I therefore ask forgiveness of God, of the
King, and of the whole realm."

Crossing himself devoutly, he then knelt down, and recited his prayers
in Latin, after which he arose, and again looking round, said in an
earnest voice,

"I desire the prayers of all good Catholics, and of none other."

"Then none will pray for you," replied several voices from the crowd.

Heedless of the retort, Sir Everard surrendered himself to the
executioner's assistant, who divested him of his cloak and doublet, and
unfastened his collar. In this state, he mounted the ladder, and the
hangman fulfilled his office.

Robert Winter was next summoned, and ascended the scaffold with great
firmness. Everything proclaimed the terrible tragedy that had just been
enacted. The straw was sprinkled with blood, so was the block, so were
the long knives of the executioner, whose hands and arms were dyed with
the same crimson stain; while in one corner of the scaffold stood a
basket, containing the dismembered limbs of the late unfortunate
sufferer. But these dreadful sights produced no effect on Robert Winter.
Declining to address the assemblage, he at once surrendered himself to
the assistant, and shared the fate of his friend.

Grant was the next to follow. Undismayed as his predecessor, he looked
round with a cheerful countenance, and said,--

"I am about to suffer the death of a traitor, and am content to die so.
But I am satisfied that our project was so far from being sinful, that I
rely entirely on my merits in bearing a part in it, as an abundant
satisfaction and expiation for all the sins I have at other times of my
life committed."

This speech was received by a terrific yell from the multitude. Wholly
unmoved, however, Grant uttered a few prayers, and then crossing
himself, mounted the ladder and was quickly despatched. The bloody
business was completed by the slaughter of Bates, who died as resolutely
as the others.

These executions, being conducted with the utmost deliberation, occupied
nearly an hour. The crowd then separated to talk over the sight they had
witnessed, and to keep holiday during the remainder of the day;
rejoicing that an equally-exciting spectacle was in store for them on
the morrow.



CHAPTER XVI.

OLD PALACE YARD.


Guy Fawkes's tranquillity of mind did not desert him to the last. On the
contrary, as his term of life drew near its close, he became more
cheerful and resigned; his sole anxiety being that all should be
speedily terminated. When Ipgreve took leave of him for the night, he
threw himself on his couch and soon fell into a gentle slumber. His
dreams were soothing, and he fancied that Viviana appeared to him clad
in robes of snowy whiteness, and regarding him with a smiling
countenance, promised that the gates of eternal happiness would be
opened to him on the morrow.

Awaking about four o'clock, he passed the interval between that time and
his summons by the jailer in earnest prayer. At six o'clock, Ipgreve
made his appearance. He was accompanied by his daughter, who had
prevailed on him to allow her to take leave of the prisoner. She
acquainted Fawkes with all particulars of the interment of Viviana, to
which he listened with tearful interest.

"Would my remains might be laid beside her!" he said. "But fate forbids
it!"

"Truly, does it," observed Ipgreve, gruffly; "unless you would have her
body removed to the spikes of Whitehall gates."

Disregarding this brutal speech, which called a blush of shame to the
cheeks of Ruth, Fawkes affectionately pressed her hand, and said,

"Do not forget me in your prayers, and sometimes visit the grave of
Viviana."

"Doubt it not," she replied, in accents half suffocated by grief.

Fawkes then bade her farewell, and followed the jailer through various
intricate passages, which brought them to a door opening upon one of the
lower chambers of the Beauchamp Tower. Unlocking it, Ipgreve led the
way up the circular staircase, and ushered his companion into the large
chamber where Rookwood, Keyes, and Thomas Winter were already assembled.

The morning was clear, but frosty, and bitterly cold; and when the
lieutenant appeared, Rookwood besought him to allow them a fire as their
last earthly indulgence. The request was peremptorily refused. A cup of
hot spiced wine was, however, offered them, and accepted by all except
Fawkes.

At the same hour as on the previous day, the hurdles were brought to the
entrance of the fortification, and the prisoners bound to them. The
recorder and sheriffs met them at the Middle Tower, as they had done the
other conspirators, and the cavalcade set forth. The crowd was even
greater than on the former occasion; and it required the utmost exertion
on the part of the guard to maintain order. Some little delay occurred
at Ludgate; and during this brief halt, Rookwood heard a cry, and
looking up, perceived his wife at the upper window of one of the
habitations, waving her handkerchief to him, and cheering him by her
gestures. He endeavoured to answer her by signs; but his hands were fast
bound, and the next moment, the cavalcade moved on.

At Temple Bar another halt occurred; and as the train moved slowly
forward, an immense crowd, like a swollen stream, swept after it. The
two gates at Whitehall, then barring the road to Westminster, were
opened as the train approached, and a certain portion of the concourse
allowed to pass through. The scaffold, which had been removed from Saint
Paul's, was erected in the middle of Old Palace Yard, in front of the
House of Lords. Around it were circled a band of halberdiers, outside
whom stood a dense throng. The buttresses and pinnacles of the Abbey
were covered with spectators; so was the roof of the Parliament House,
and the gallery over the entrance.

The bell of the Abbey began to toll as the train passed through the
gates of Whitehall, and its deep booming filled the air. Just as the
conspirators were released from the hurdles, Topcliffe, who had
evidently from his disordered attire arrived from a long journey, rode
up, and dismounted.

"I am just in time," he cried, with an exulting glance at the
conspirators; "this is not the last execution I shall witness. Fathers
Garnet and Oldcorne are prisoners, and on their way to London. I was a
long time in unearthing the priestly foxes, but I succeeded at last."

At this moment an officer approached, and summoned Thomas Winter to
mount the scaffold. He obeyed, and exhibited no symptom of quailing,
except that his complexion suddenly turned to a livid colour. Being told
of this by the lieutenant, he tried to account for it by saying that he
thought he saw his brother precede him up the steps. He made a brief
address, protesting he died a true Catholic, and in that faith,
notwithstanding his offences, hoped to be saved.

Rookwood followed him, and indulged in a somewhat longer oration. "I
confess my offence to God," he said, "in seeking to shed blood, and
implore his mercy. I likewise confess my offence to the King, of whose
majesty I humbly ask forgiveness; and I further confess my offence to
the whole state, of whom in general I entreat pardon. May the Almighty
bless the King, the Queen, and all their royal progeny, and grant them a
long and happy reign! May He turn their hearts to the Catholic faith, so
that heresy may be wholly extirpated from the kingdom!"

The first part of this speech was well received by the assemblage, but
the latter was drowned in groans and hootings, amid which Rookwood was
launched into eternity.

Keyes came next, and eyeing the assemblage disdainfully, went up the
ladder, and threw himself off with such force that he broke the rope,
and was instantly despatched by the executioner and his assistants.

Guy Fawkes now alone remained, and he slowly mounted the scaffold. His
foot slipped on the blood-stained boards, and he would have fallen, if
Topcliffe, who stood near him, had not caught his hand. A deep silence
prevailed as he looked around, and uttered the following words in a
clear and distinct voice:--

"I ask forgiveness of the King and the state for my criminal intention,
and trust that my death will wash out my offence."

He then crossed himself and knelt down to pray, after which his cloak
and doublet were removed by the executioner's assistant and placed with
those of the other conspirators. He made an effort to mount the ladder,
but his stiffened limbs refused their office.

"Your courage fails you," sneered Topcliffe, laying his hand upon his
shoulder.

"My strength does," replied Fawkes, sternly regarding him. "Help me up
the ladder, and you shall see whether I am afraid to die."

Seeing how matters stood, the executioner who stood by, leaning upon his
chopper, tendered him his blood-stained hand. But Fawkes rejected it
with disgust, and exerting all his strength, forced himself up the
ladder.

As the hangman adjusted the rope, he observed a singular smile illumine
the features of his victim.

"You seem happy," he said.

"I _am_ so," replied Fawkes, earnestly,--"I see the form of her I loved
beckoning me to unfading happiness."

With this, he stretched out his arms and sprang from the ladder. Before
his frame was exposed to the executioner's knife, life was totally
extinct.



CHAPTER XVII.

THE LAST EXECUTION.


Little more remains to be told, and that little is of an equally painful
nature with the tragical events just related.

Fathers Garnet and Oldcorne, together with Mr. Abingdon and their
servants, arrived in London on the 12th of February, about a fortnight
after the execution of the other conspirators. They were first taken to
the Gate-house at Westminster, and were examined on the following day by
the Earl of Salisbury and the Privy-Council at the Star-Chamber. Nothing
could be elicited from them, and Garnet answered the Earl's
interrogatories with infinite subtlety and address. The examination
over, they were ordered to be removed to the Tower.

Topcliffe accompanied them to the stairs. As they proceeded thither, he
called Garnet's attention to a ghastly object stuck on a spike over the
palace gates.

"Do you recognise those features?" he asked.

"No," replied Garnet, shudderingly averting his gaze.

"I am surprised to hear it," rejoined Topcliffe, "for they were once
well known to you. It is the head of Guy Fawkes. Of all the
conspirators," he added, with a bitter laugh, "he was the only one who
died truly penitent. It is reported that this happy change was wrought
in him by Viviana Radcliffe."

"Heaven have mercy upon his soul!" muttered Garnet.

"I will tell you a strange tale about Catesby," pursued Topcliffe. "He
was buried in the garden at Holbeach with Percy, but an order was sent
down by the Earl of Salisbury to have their bodies disinterred and
quartered. When Catesby's head was severed from the trunk, to be set on
the gates of Warwick, fresh blood spouted forth, as if life were in the
veins."

"You do not expect me to believe this idle story?" said Garnet,
incredulously.

"Believe it or not, as you please," returned Topcliffe, angrily.

On arriving at the fortress, Garnet was lodged in the large chamber of
the Beauchamp Tower, and allowed the attendance of his servant, Nicholas
Owen, while Oldcorne was equally well accommodated in the Constable
Tower. This leniency was the result of the policy of the Earl of
Salisbury, who hoped to obtain disclosures from the two Jesuit priests
which would enable him to strike the decisive blow he meditated against
the Papists. But he was unsuccessful. They refused to make any
confessions which would criminate themselves, or implicate others; and
as none of the conspirators, not even Tresham, had admitted their
connexion with the plot, it was difficult to find proof against them.
Garnet underwent daily examinations from the Earl of Salisbury and the
commissioners, but he baffled all their inquiries.

"If we cannot wring the truth from you by fair means, Mr. Garnet," said
Salisbury, "we must have recourse to torture."

"_Minare ista pueris_," replied Garnet, contemptuously.

"Leave these two priests to me, my lord," observed Sir William Waad, who
was present at the examination, which took place at the council-chamber
in his lodgings,--"leave them to me," he said in a low voice to the
Earl, "and I will engage to procure a full confession from their own
lips, without resorting to torture."

"You will render the state an important service by doing so," replied
Salisbury, in the same tone. "I place the matter entirely in your
hands."

The lieutenant set to work without loss of time. By his directions,
Garnet and Oldcorne were removed from their present places of
confinement to two subterranean cells immediately adjoining each other,
but between which a secret recess, contrived in the thickness of the
wall, and built for the purpose it was subsequently put to, existed. Two
days after they had been so immured, Ipgreve, who had received his
instructions, loitered for a moment in Oldcorne's cell, and with
affected hesitation informed him that for a trifling reward he would
enable him to hold unreserved communication with his fellow-prisoner.

Oldcorne eagerly caught at the bait, but required to be satisfied that
the jailer could make good his words. Ipgreve immediately proceeded to
the side of the cell, and holding a lamp to the wall, showed him a small
iron knob.

"Touch this spring," he said, "and a stone will fall from its place, and
enable you to converse with Father Garnet, who is in the next cell. But
you must take care to replace the stone when any one approaches."

Promising to observe the utmost caution, and totally unsuspicious of the
deceit practised upon him, Oldcorne gave Ipgreve the reward, and as soon
as he was gone, touched the spring, and found it act precisely as the
jailer had stated.

Garnet was greatly surprised to hear the other's voice, and on learning
how the communication was managed was at first suspicious of some
stratagem, but by degrees his fears wore off, and he became unreserved
in his discourse with his companion, discussing the fate of the
conspirators, their own share in the plot, the probability of their
acquittal, and the best means of baffling their examiners. All these
interlocutions were overheard and taken down by the lieutenant and two
other witnesses, Forsett and Lockerson, private secretary to the Earl of
Salisbury, who were concealed in the recess. Having obtained all the
information he desired, Sir William Waad laid his notes before the
Council, and their own confessions being read to the priests, they were
both greatly confused, though neither would admit their authenticity.

Meanwhile, their two servants, Owen and Chambers, had been repeatedly
examined, and refusing to confess, were at last suspended from a beam by
the thumbs. But this producing no result, they were told that on the
following day they would be placed on the rack. Chambers then offered to
make a full confession, but Owen, continuing obstinate, was conveyed
back to his cell. Ipgreve brought him his food as usual in the evening,
and on this occasion, it consisted of broth, and a small allowance of
meat. It was the custom of the jailer to bring with him a small
blunt-pointed knife, with which he allowed the prisoner to cut his
victuals. Having got possession of the knife, Owen tasted the broth, and
complaining that it was quite cold, he implored the jailer to get it
warmed for him, as he felt extremely unwell. Somewhat moved by his
entreaties, and more by his appearance, Ipgreve complied. On his return,
he found the unfortunate man lying in one corner of the cell, partially
covered by a heap of straw which ordinarily formed his bed.

"Here is your broth," he said. "Take it while it is hot. I shall give
myself no further trouble about you."

"It will not be needed," gasped Owen.

Alarmed by the sound of his voice, Ipgreve held the light towards him,
and perceived that his face was pale as death. At the same time, he
remarked that the floor was covered with blood. Instantly divining the
truth, the jailer rushed towards the wretched man, and dragging away the
blood-stained straw, found he had inflicted a frightful wound upon
himself with the knife which he still held in his grasp.

"Fool that I was, to trust you with the weapon!" cried Ipgreve. "But who
would have thought it could inflict a mortal wound?"

"Any weapon will serve him who is resolved to die," rejoined Owen. "You
cannot put me on the rack now." And with a ghastly expression of
triumph, he expired.

Soon after this, Oldcorne and Abingdon were sent down to Worcester,
where the former was tried and executed. Stephen Littleton suffered
death at the same time.

On Friday, the 23rd of March, full proofs being obtained against him,
Garnet was arraigned of high treason at Guildhall. The trial, which
excited extraordinary interest, was attended by the King, by the most
distinguished personages, male and female, of his court, and by all the
foreign ambassadors. Garnet conducted himself throughout his
arraignment, which lasted for thirteen hours, with the same courage and
address which he had displayed on his examinations before the
commissioners. But his subtlety availed him little. He was found guilty
and condemned.

The execution of the sentence was for some time deferred, it being hoped
that a complete admission of his guilt would be obtained from him,
together with disclosures relative to the designs of the Jesuit party.
With this view, the examinations were still continued, but the rigour
with which he had been latterly treated was relaxed. A few days before
his execution, he was visited by several eminent Protestant
Divines,--Doctor Montague, Dean of the Chapel Royal; Doctor Neile, Dean
of Westminster; and Doctor Overall, Dean of Saint Paul's; with whom he
had a long disputation on points of faith and other spiritual matters.

At the close of this discussion, Doctor Overall remarked, "I suppose you
expect, Mr. Garnet, that after your death, the Church of Rome will
declare you a martyr?"

"I a martyr!" exclaimed Garnet, sorrowfully. "O what a martyr I should
be! If, indeed, I were really about to suffer death for the Catholic
religion, and had never known of this project, except by means of
sacramental confession, I might perhaps be accounted worthy the honour
of martyrdom, and might deservedly be glorified in the opinion of our
church. As it is, I acknowledge myself to have sinned in this respect,
and deny not the justice of the sentence passed upon me."

Satisfied, at length, that no further disclosures could be obtained from
him, the King signed the warrant for his execution on the 2nd of May.

The scaffold was erected at the west end of Saint Paul's Cathedral, on
the spot where Digby and the other conspirators had suffered. A vast
assemblage was collected as on the former occasion, and similar
precautions were taken to prevent tumult and disturbance. The
unfortunate man's torture was cruelly and unnecessarily prolonged by a
series of questions proposed to him on the scaffold by Doctor Overall
and the Dean of Westminster, all of which he answered very collectedly
and clearly. He maintained his fortitude to the last. When fully
prepared, he mounted the ladder, and thus addressed the assemblage:--

"I commend myself to all good Catholics. I grieve that I have offended
the King by not revealing the design entertained against him, and that I
did not use more diligence in preventing the execution of the plot. I
commend myself most humbly to the lords of his Majesty's council, and
entreat them not to judge too hardly by me. I beseech all men that
Catholics may not fare the worse for my sake, and I exhort all Catholics
to take care not to mix themselves with seditious or traitorous designs
against the King's Majesty, whom God preserve!"

Making the sign of the cross upon his forehead and breast, he continued:

"_In nomine Patris, Filii, et Spiritûs Sancti! Jesus Maria! Maria, mater
gratiæ! mater misericordiæ! Tu me ab hoste protege, et horâ mortis
suscipe! In manus tuas, Domine, commendo spiritum meum, quia tu
redimisti me, Domine, Deus veritatis._" Again crossing himself, he
added,--"_Per crucis hoc signum fugiat procul omne malignum! Infige
crucem tuam, Domine, in corde meo!_"

And with this last pathetic ejaculation he threw himself from the
ladder.

Garnet obtained, after death, the distinction he had disclaimed while
living. He was enrolled, together with Oldcorne, among the list of
Catholic martyrs. Several miracles are affirmed by the Jesuits to have
been performed in his behalf. Father More relates that on the lawn at
Hendlip, where he and Oldcorne last set foot, "a new and hitherto
unknown species of grass sprang up into the exact shape of an imperial
crown, and remained for a long time without being trodden down by the
feet of passengers, or eaten up by the cattle." It was further asserted
that a spring of oil burst forth at the west end of Saint Paul's
Cathedral on the precise spot where he suffered. But the most singular
prodigy is that recounted by Endæmon Joannes, who affirms that in a
straw which had been sprinkled with Garnet's blood, a human countenance,
strangely resembling that of the martyr, was discovered. This legend of
the Miraculous Straw, having received many embellishments and
improvements as it travelled abroad, obtained universal credence, and
was conceived to fully establish Garnet's innocence.

Anne Vaux, the Jesuit's devoted friend, retired with her sister, Mrs.
Brooksby, to a nunnery in Flanders, where she ended her days.

So terminated the memorable and never-to-be-forgotten Gunpowder Treason,
for deliverance from which our church still offers thanksgivings, and in
remembrance of which, on the anniversary of its discovery, fagots are
collected and bonfires lighted to consume the effigy of the
arch-conspirator, GUY FAWKES.

THE END.



Transcriber's Note:

Passages in italics are indicated by _underscore_.  Any text appearing
in smallcaps font were shifted to uppercase.

The following corrections were made to text which did not seem
to reflect the spelling of the period, but were rather printer's
errors, or characters that either did not 'ink' properly, or did
not survive, mostly on either margin.

p. 37  typo: "command" -> "command[ed] him to surrender"
p. 65  typo: "theref[e]re" -> "theref[o]re"
p. 72  typo  "Saint Winfred's Well" -> "Saint Winifred's Well"
p. 86  typo: "singlar" -> "sing[u]lar circumstance occurred"
p. 138 typo: "delirous" -> "delir[i]ous"
p. 198 Sir William['s] Waad's  (spurious 's removed)
p. 244 petrone  -> petrone[l].   (supplied missing 'l')
p. 277 typo: "yo[n]" -> "yo[u] are yourself again"
p. 321 "Ann Vaux" -> "Ann[e] Vaux"  (final e missing)
p. 354 typo: "exetioner" -> "exe[cu]tioner"  (hyphenation error corrected)
p. 359 "... commendo [s]piritum meum" (missing 's' provided)

The following is a list of punctuation errors, especially unclosed
quotations, which have been corrected.  The corrections are noted
with []'s.

p. 13   ["]Yours was a...
P. 49   ... if he knew who they were[.]
p. 63   ... than treble our number.["]
p. 106  ... passage under the house[.]
p. 118  ... secrecy with your life[.]
p. 147  ... pointing towards Hampstead[.]
p. 186  replied Viviana, firmly[;]
p. 189  ... reverentially upwards[.]
p. 191  ["]I _do_ remember...
p. 196  "I admit nothing,["]
p. 203  muttered the old woman[.]
p. 208  replied the jailer's daughter[.]
p. 213  eluding the obligation[.]
p. 218  procure Viviana's liberation.["]
p. 222  ... rejoined Guy Fawkes[,]
p. 234  ... shunning the regards of Catesby[,]
p. 318  ...ever require from you[.]"
p. 321  ...the residence of Sir Henry Bromley[.]
p. 322  But I was wofully deceived[.]"
p. 327  ["]for Sir Henry had...
p. 345  said Viviana[;] "and I...
p. 346  replied Ruth[.] "Nor shall you...
        ...comply with her request.["]
p. 347  ... raising herself in the bed[.]

The following words are spelled both with and without hyphens, and have
been left as printed:

pick-axe(s)/pickaxe(s)
out-building/outbuilding
By-ward/Byward
by-standers/bystanders
loop-hole/loophole
re-appeared/reappeared
up-stairs/upstairs
fainted-hearted/fainthearted
foot-path/footpath





*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Guy Fawkes - or The Gunpowder Treason" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
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.



Home