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´╗┐Title: St. George and St. Michael
Author: MacDonald, George, 1824-1905
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 "St. George and St. Michael" ***

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ST. GEORGE AND ST. MICHAEL

BY GEORGE MACDONALD

IN THREE VOLUMES

LONDON

1876



CONTENTS OF VOL. I.


CHAPTER I. DOROTHY AND RICHARD.

CHAPTER II. RICHARD AND HIS FATHER.

CHAPTER III. THE WITCH.

CHAPTER IV. A CHAPTER OF FOOLS.

CHAPTER V. ANIMADVERSIONS.

CHAPTER VI. PREPARATIONS.

CHAPTER VII. REFLECTIONS.

CHAPTER VIII. AN ADVENTURE.

CHAPTER IX. LOVE AND WAR.

CHAPTER X. DOROTHY'S REFUGE.

CHAPTER XI. RAGLAN CASTLE.

CHAPTER XII. THE TWO MARQUISES.

CHAPTER XIII. THE MAGICIAN'S VAULT.

CHAPTER XIV. SEVERAL PEOPLE.

CHAPTER XV. HUSBAND AND WIFE.

CHAPTER XVI. DOROTHY'S INITIATION.



CONTENTS OF VOL. II.


CHAPTER XVII. THE FIRE-ENGINE.

CHAPTER XVIII. MOONLIGHT AND APPLE-BLOSSOMS.

CHAPTER XIX. THE ENCHANTED CHAIR.

CHAPTER XX. MOLLY AND THE WHITE HORSE.

CHAPTER XXI. THE DAMSEL WHICH FELL SICK.

CHAPTER XXII. THE CATARACT.

CHAPTER XXIII. AMANDA--DOROTHY--LORD HERBERT.

CHAPTER XXIV. THE GREAT MOGUL.

CHAPTER XXV. RICHARD HEYWOOD.

CHAPTER XXVI. THE WITCH'S COTTAGE.

CHAPTER XXVII. THE MOAT OF THE KEEP.

CHAPTER XXVIII. RAGLAN STABLES.

CHAPTER XXIX. THE APPARITION.

CHAPTER XXX. RICHARD AND THE MARQUIS.

CHAPTER XXXI. THE SLEEPLESS.

CHAPTER XXXII. THE TURRET CHAMBER.

CHAPTER XXXIII. JUDGE GOUT.

CHAPTER XXXIV. AN EVIL TIME.

CHAPTER XXXV. THE DELIVERER.

CHAPTER XXXVI. THE DISCOVERY.

CHAPTER XXXVII. THE HOROSCOPE.

CHAPTER XXXVIII. THE EXORCISM.



CONTENTS OF VOL. III.


CHAPTER XXXIX. NEWBURY.

CHAPTER XL. DOROTHY AND ROWLAND.

CHAPTER XLI. GLAMORGAN.

CHAPTER XLII. A NEW SOLDIER.

CHAPTER XLIII. LADY AND BISHOP.

CHAPTER XLIV. THE KING.

CHAPTER XLV. THE SECRET INTERVIEW.

CHAPTER XLVI. GIFTS OF HEALING.

CHAPTER XLVII. THE POET-PHYSICIAN.

CHAPTER XLVIII. HONOURABLE DISGRACE.

CHAPTER XLIX. SIEGE.

CHAPTER L. A SALLY.

CHAPTER LI. UNDER THE MOAT.

CHAPTER LII. THE UNTOOTHSOME PLUM.

CHAPTER LIII. FAITHFUL FOES.

CHAPTER LIV. DOMUS DISSOLVITUR.

CHAPTER LV. R. I. P.

CHAPTER LVI. RICHARD AND CASPAR.

CHAPTER LVII. THE SKELETON.

CHAPTER LVIII. LOVE AND NO LEASING.

CHAPTER LIX. AVE! VALE! SALVE!



ST. GEORGE AND ST. MICHAEL.



CHAPTER I.

DOROTHY AND RICHARD.


It was the middle of autumn, and had rained all day. Through the
lozenge-panes of the wide oriel window the world appeared in the slowly
gathering dusk not a little dismal. The drops that clung trickling to
the dim glass added rain and gloom to the landscape beyond, whither the
eye passed, as if vaguely seeking that help in the distance, which the
dripping hollyhocks and sodden sunflowers bordering the little lawn, or
the honeysuckle covering the wide porch, from which the slow rain
dropped ceaselessly upon the pebble-paving below, could not give--steepy
slopes, hedge-divided into small fields, some green and dotted with red
cattle, others crowded with shocks of bedraggled and drooping corn,
which looked suffering and patient.

The room to which the window having this prospect belonged was large and
low, with a dark floor of uncarpeted oak. It opened immediately upon the
porch, and although a good fire of logs blazed on the hearth, was chilly
to the sense of the old man, who, with his feet on the skin of a
fallow-deer, sat gazing sadly into the flames, which shone rosy through
the thin hands spread out before them. At the opposite corner of the
great low-arched chimney sat a lady past the prime of life, but still
beautiful, though the beauty was all but merged in the loveliness that
rises from the heart to the face of such as have taken the greatest step
in life--that is, as the old proverb says, the step out of doors. She
was plainly yet rather richly dressed, in garments of an old-fashioned
and well-preserved look. Her hair was cut short above her forehead, and
frizzed out in bunches of little curls on each side. On her head was a
covering of dark stuff, like a nun's veil, which fell behind and on her
shoulders. Close round her neck was a string of amber beads, that gave a
soft harmonious light to her complexion. Her dark eyes looked as if they
found repose there, so quietly did they rest on the face of the old man,
who was plainly a clergyman. It was a small, pale, thin, delicately and
symmetrically formed face, yet not the less a strong one, with endurance
on the somewhat sad brow, and force in the closed lips, while a good
conscience looked clear out of the grey eyes.

They had been talking about the fast-gathering tide of opinion which,
driven on by the wind of words, had already begun to beat so furiously
against the moles and ramparts of Church and kingdom. The execution of
lord Strafford was news that had not yet begun to 'hiss the speaker.'

'It is indeed an evil time,' said the old man. 'The world has seldom
seen its like.'

'But tell me, master Herbert,' said the lady, 'why comes it in this our
day? For our sins or for the sins of our fathers?'

'Be it far from me to presume to set forth the ways of Providence!'
returned her guest. 'I meddle not, like some that should be wiser, with
the calling of the prophet. It is enough for me to know that ever and
again the pride of man will gather to "a mighty and a fearful head,"
and, like a swollen mill-pond overfed of rains, burst the banks that
confine it, whether they be the laws of the land or the ordinances of
the church, usurping on the fruitful meadows, the hope of life for man
and beast. Alas!' he went on, with a new suggestion from the image he
had been using, 'if the beginning of strife be as the letting out of
water, what shall be the end of that strife whose beginning is the
letting out of blood?'

'Think you then, good sir, that thus it has always been? that such times
of fierce ungodly tempest must ever follow upon seasons of peace and
comfort?--even as your cousin of holy memory, in his verses concerning
the church militant, writes:

    "Thus also sin and darkness follow still
     The church and sun, with all their power and skill."'

'Truly it seems so. But I thank God the days of my pilgrimage are nearly
numbered. To judge by the tokens the wise man gives us, the mourners are
already going about my streets. The almond-tree flourisheth at least.'

He smiled as he spoke, laying his hand on his grey head.

'But think of those whom we must leave behind us, master Herbert. How
will it fare with them?' said the lady in troubled tone, and glancing in
the direction of the window.

In the window sat a girl, gazing from it with the look of a child who
had uttered all her incantations, and could imagine no abatement in the
steady rain-pour.

'We shall leave behind us strong hearts and sound heads too,' said Mr.
Herbert. 'And I bethink me there will be none stronger or sounder than
those of your young cousins, my late pupils, of whom I hear brave things
from Oxford, and in whose affection my spirit constantly rejoices.'

'You will be glad to hear such good news of your relatives, Dorothy,'
said the lady, addressing her daughter.

Even as she said the words, the setting sun broke through the mass of
grey cloud, and poured over the earth a level flood of radiance, in
which the red wheat glowed, and the drops that hung on every ear flashed
like diamonds. The girl's hair caught it as she turned her face to
answer her mother, and an aureole of brown-tinted gold gleamed for a
moment about her head.

'I am glad that you are pleased, madam, but you know I have never seen
them--or heard of them, except from master Herbert, who has, indeed,
often spoke rare things of them.'

'Mistress Dorothy will still know the reason why,' said the clergyman,
smiling, and the two resumed their conversation. But the girl rose, and,
turning again to the window, stood for a moment rapt in the
transfiguration passing upon the world. The vault of grey was utterly
shattered, but, gathering glory from ruin, was hurrying in rosy masses
away from under the loftier vault of blue. The ordered shocks upon
twenty fields sent their long purple shadows across the flush; and the
evening wind, like the sighing that follows departed tears, was shaking
the jewels from their feathery tops. The sunflowers and hollyhocks no
longer cowered under the tyranny of the rain, but bowed beneath the
weight of the gems that adorned them. A flame burned as upon an altar on
the top of every tree, and the very pools that lay on the distant road
had their message of light to give to the hopeless earth. As she gazed,
another hue than that of the sunset, yet rosy too, gradually flushed the
face of the maiden. She turned suddenly from the window, and left the
room, shaking a shower of diamonds from the honeysuckle as she passed
out through the porch upon the gravel walk.

Possibly her elders found her departure a relief, for although they took
no notice of it, their talk became more confidential, and was soon
mingled with many names both of rank and note, with a familiarity which
to a stranger might have seemed out of keeping with the humbler
character of their surroundings.

But when Dorothy Vaughan had passed a corner of the house to another
garden more ancient in aspect, and in some things quaint even to
grotesqueness, she was in front of a portion of the house which
indicated a far statelier past--closed and done with, like the rooms
within those shuttered windows. The inhabited wing she had left looked
like the dwelling of a yeoman farming his own land; nor did this
appearance greatly belie the present position of the family. For
generations it had been slowly descending in the scale of worldly
account, and the small portion of the house occupied by the widow and
daughter of sir Ringwood Vaughan was larger than their means could match
with correspondent outlay. Such, however, was the character of lady
Vaughan, that, although she mingled little with the great families in
the neighbourhood, she was so much respected, that she would have been a
welcome visitor to most of them.

The reverend Mr. Matthew Herbert was a clergyman from the Welsh border,
a man of some note and influence, who had been the personal friend both
of his late relative George Herbert and of the famous Dr. Donne.
Strongly attached to the English church, and recoiling with disgust from
the practices of the puritans--as much, perhaps, from refinement of
taste as abhorrence of schism--he had never yet fallen into such a
passion for episcopacy as to feel any cordiality towards the schemes of
the archbishop. To those who knew him his silence concerning it was a
louder protest against the policy of Laud than the fiercest
denunciations of the puritans. Once only had he been heard to utter
himself unguardedly in respect of the primate, and that was amongst
friends, and after the second glass permitted of his cousin George.
'Tut! laud me no Laud,' he said. 'A skipping bishop is worse than a
skipping king.' Once also he had been overheard murmuring to himself by
way of consolement, 'Bishops pass; the church remains.' He had been a
great friend of the late sir Ringwood; and although the distance from
his parish was too great to be travelled often, he seldom let a year go
by without paying a visit to his friend's widow and daughter.

Turning her back on the cenotaph of their former greatness, Dorothy
dived into a long pleached alley, careless of the drip from overhead,
and hurrying through it came to a circular patch of thin grass, rounded
by a lofty hedge of yew-trees, in the midst of which stood what had once
been a sun-dial. It mattered little, however, that only the stump of a
gnomon was left, seeing the hedge around it had grown to such a height
in relation to the diameter of the circle, that it was only for a very
brief hour or so in the middle of a summer's day, when, of all periods,
the passage of Time seems least to concern humanity, that it could have
served to measure his march. The spot had, indeed, a time-forsaken look,
as if it lay buried in the bosom of the past, and the present had
forgotten it.

Before emerging from the alley, she slackened her pace, half-stopped,
and, stooping a little in her tucked-up skirt, threw a bird-like glance
around the opener space; then stepping into it, she looked up to the
little disc of sky, across which the clouds, their roses already
withered, sailed dim and grey once more, while behind them the stars
were beginning to recall their half-forgotten message from regions
unknown to men. A moment, and she went up to the dial, stood there for
another moment, and was on the point of turning to leave the spot, when,
as if with one great bound, a youth stood between her and the entrance
of the alley.

'Ah ha, mistress Dorothy, you do not escape me so!' he cried, spreading
out his arms as if to turn back some runaway creature.

But mistress Dorothy was startled, and mistress Dorothy did not choose
to be startled, and therefore mistress Dorothy was dignified, if not
angry.

'I do not like such behaviour, Richard,' she said. 'It ill suits with
the time. Why did you hide behind the hedge, and then leap forth so
rudely?'

'I thought you saw me,' answered the youth. 'Pardon my heedlessness,
Dorothy. I hope I have not startled you too much.'

As he spoke he stooped over the hand he had caught, and would have
carried it to his lips, but the girl, half-pettishly, snatched it away,
and, with a strange mixture of dignity, sadness, and annoyance in her
tone, said--

'There has been something too much of this, Richard, and I begin to be
ashamed of it.'

'Ashamed!' echoed the youth. 'Of what? There is nothing but me to be
ashamed of, and what can I have done since yesterday?'

'No, Richard; I am not ashamed of you, but I am ashamed of--of--this way
of meeting--and--and----'

'Surely that is strange, when we can no more remember the day in which
we have not met than that in which we met first! No, dear Dorothy----'

'It is not our meeting, Richard; and if you would but think as honestly
as you speak, you would not require to lay upon me the burden of
explanation. It is this foolish way we have got into of late--kissing
hands--and--and--always meeting by the old sun-dial, or in some other
over-quiet spot. Why do you not come to the house? My mother would give
you the same welcome as any time these last--how many years, Richard?'

'Are you quite sure of that, Dorothy?'

'Well--I did fancy she spoke with something more of ceremony the last
time you met. But, consider, she has seen so much less of you of late.
Yet I am sure she has all but a mother's love in her heart towards you.
For your mother was dear to her as her own soul.'

'I would it were so, Dorothy! For then, perhaps, your mother would not
shrink from being my mother too. When we are married, Dorothy--'

'Married!' exclaimed the girl. 'What of marrying, indeed!' And she
turned sideways from him with an indignant motion. 'Richard,' she went
on, after a marked and yet but momentary pause, for the youth had not
had time to say a word, 'it has been very wrong in me to meet you after
this fashion. I know it now, for see what such things lead to! If you
knew it, you have done me wrong.'

'Dearest Dorothy!' exclaimed the youth, taking her hand again, of which
this time she seemed hardly aware, 'did you not know from the very
vanished first that I loved you with all my heart, and that to tell you
so would have been to tell the sun that he shines warm at noon in
midsummer? And I did think you had a little--something for me, Dorothy,
your old playmate, that you did not give to every other acquaintance.
Think of the houses we have built and the caves we have dug together--of
our rabbits, and urchins, and pigeons, and peacocks!'

'We are children no longer,' returned Dorothy. 'To behave as if we were
would be to keep our eyes shut after we are awake. I like you, Richard,
you know; but why this--where is the use of all this--new sort of thing?
Come up with me to the house, where master Herbert is now talking to my
mother in the large parlour. The good man will be glad to see you.'

'I doubt it, Dorothy. He and my father, as I am given to understand,
think so differently in respect of affairs now pending betwixt the
parliament and the king, that--'

'It were more becoming, Richard, if the door of your lips opened to the
king first, and let the parliament follow.'

'Well said!' returned the youth with a smile. 'But let it be my excuse
that I speak as I am wont to hear.'

The girl's hand had lain quiet in that of the youth, but now it started
from it like a scared bird. She stepped two paces back, and drew herself
up.

'And you, Richard?' she said, interrogatively.

'What would you ask, Dorothy?' returned the youth, taking a step nearer,
to which she responded by another backward ere she replied.

'I would know whom you choose to serve--whether God or Satan; whether
you are of those who would set at nought the laws of the land----'

'Insist on their fulfilment, they say, by king as well as people,'
interrupted Richard.

'They would tear their mother in pieces----'

'Their mother!' repeated Richard, bewildered.

'Their mother, the church,' explained Dorothy.

'Oh!' said Richard. 'Nay, they would but cast out of her the wolves in
sheep's clothing that devour the lambs.'

The girl was silent. Anger glowed on her forehead and flashed from her
grey eyes. She stood one moment, then turned to leave him, but half
turned again to say scornfully--

'I must go at once to my mother! I knew not I had left her with such a
wolf as master Herbert is like to prove!'

'Master Herbert is no bishop, Dorothy!'

'The bishops, then, are the wolves, master Heywood?' said the girl, with
growing indignation.

'Dear Dorothy, I am but repeating what I hear. For my own part, I know
little of these matters. And what are they to us if we love one
another?'

'I tell you I am a child no longer,' flamed Dorothy.

'You were seventeen last St. George's Day, and I shall be nineteen next
St. Michael's.'

'St. George for merry England!' cried Dorothy.

'St. Michael for the Truth!' cried Richard.

'So be it. Good-bye, then,' said the girl, going.

'What DO you mean, Dorothy?' said Richard; and she stood to hear, but
with her back towards him, and, as it were, hovering midway in a pace.
'Did not St. Michael also slay his dragon? Why should the knights part
company? Believe me, Dorothy, I care more for a smile from you than for
all the bishops in the church, or all the presbyters out of it.'

'You take needless pains to prove yourself a foolish boy, Richard; and
if I go not to my mother at once, I fear I shall learn to despise
you--which I would not willingly.'

'Despise me! Do you take me for a coward then, Dorothy?'

'I say not that. I doubt not, for the matter of swords and pistols, you
are much like other male creatures; but I protest I could never love a
man who preferred my company to the service of his king.'

She glided into the alley and sped along its vaulted twilight, her white
dress gleaming and clouding by fits as she went.

The youth stood for a moment petrified, then started to overtake her,
but stood stock-still at the entrance of the alley, and followed her
only with his eyes as she went.

When Dorothy reached the house, she did not run up to her room that she
might weep unseen. She was still too much annoyed with Richard to regret
having taken such leave of him. She only swallowed down a little
balloonful of sobs, and went straight into the parlour, where her mother
and Mr. Herbert still sat, and resumed her seat in the bay window. Her
heightened colour, an occasional toss of her head backwards, like that
with which a horse seeks ease from the bearing-rein, generally followed
by a renewal of the attempt to swallow something of upward tendency,
were the only signs of her discomposure, and none of them were observed
by her mother or her guest. Could she have known, however, what feelings
had already begun to rouse themselves in the mind of him whose
boyishness was an offence to her, she would have found it more difficult
to keep such composure.

Dorothy's was a face whose forms were already so decided that, should no
softening influences from the central regions gain the ascendancy,
beyond a doubt age must render it hard and unlovely. In all the
roundness and freshness of girlhood, it was handsome rather than
beautiful, beautiful rather than lovely. And yet it was strongly
attractive, for it bore clear indication of a nature to be trusted. If
her grey eyes were a little cold, they were honest eyes, with a rare
look of steadfastness; and if her lips were a little too closely
pressed, it was clearly from any cause rather than bad temper. Neither
head, hands, nor feet were small, but they were fine in form and
movement; and for the rest of her person, tall and strong as Richard
was, Dorothy looked further advanced in the journey of life than he.

She needed hardly, however, have treated his indifference to the
politics of the time with so much severity, seeing her own acquaintance
with and interest in them dated from that same afternoon, during which,
from lack of other employment, and the weariness of a long morning of
slow, dismal rain, she had been listening to Mr. Herbert as he dwelt
feelingly on the arrogance of puritan encroachment, and the grossness of
presbyterian insolence both to kingly prerogative and episcopal
authority, and drew a touching picture of the irritant thwartings and
pitiful insults to which the gentle monarch was exposed in his attempts
to support the dignity of his divine office, and to cast its protecting
skirt over the defenceless church; and if it was with less sympathy that
he spoke of the fears which haunted the captive metropolitan, Dorothy at
least could detect no hidden sarcasm in the tone in which he expressed
his hope that Laud's devotion to the beauty of holiness might not result
in the dignity of martyrdom, as might well be feared by those who were
assured that the whole guilt of Strafford lay in his return to his duty,
and his subsequent devotion to the interests of his royal master: to all
this the girl had listened, and her still sufficiently uncertain
knowledge of the affairs of the nation had, ere the talk was over,
blossomed in a vague sense of partizanship. It was chiefly her desire
after the communion of sympathy with Richard that had led her into the
mistake of such a hasty disclosure of her new feelings.

But her following words had touched him--whether to fine issues or not
remained yet poised on the knife-edge of the balancing will. His first
emotion partook of anger. As soon as she was out of sight a spell seemed
broken, and words came.

'A boy, indeed, mistress Dorothy!' he said. 'If ever it come to what
certain persons prophesy, you may wish me in truth, and that for the
sake of your precious bishops, the boy you call me now. Yes, you are
right, mistress, though I would it had been another who told me so! Boy
indeed I am--or have been--without a thought in my head but of her. The
sound of my father's voice has been but as the wind of the winnowing
fan. In me it has found but chaff. If you will have me take a side,
though, you will find me so far worthy of you that I shall take the side
that seems to me the right one, were all the fair Dorothies of the
universe on the other. In very truth I should be somewhat sorry to find
the king and the bishops in the right, lest my lady should flatter
herself and despise me that I had chosen after her showing, forsooth!
This is master Herbert's doing, for never before did I hear her speak
after such fashion.'

While he thus spoke with himself, he stood, like the genius of the spot,
a still dusky figure on the edge of the night, into which his dress of
brown velvet, rich and sombre at once in the sunlight, all but merged.
Nearly for the first time in his life he was experiencing the difficulty
of making up his mind, not, however, upon any of the important
questions, his inattention to which had exposed him to such sudden and
unexpected severity, but merely as to whether he should seek her again
in the company of her mother and Mr. Herbert, or return home. The result
of his deliberation, springing partly, no doubt, from anger, but that of
no very virulent type, was, that he turned his back on the alley, passed
through a small opening in the yew hedge, crossed a neglected corner of
woodland, by ways better known to him than to any one else, and came out
upon the main road leading to the gates of his father's park.



CHAPTER II.

RICHARD AND HIS FATHER.


Richard Heywood, as to bodily fashion, was a tall and already powerful
youth. The clear brown of his complexion spoke of plentiful sunshine and
air. A merry sparkle in the depths of his hazel eyes relieved the
shadows of rather notably heavy lids, themselves heavily
overbrowed--with a suggestion of character which had not yet asserted
itself to those who knew him best. Correspondingly, his nose, although
of a Greek type, was more notable for substance than clearness of line
or modelling; while his lips had a boyish fulness along with a
definiteness of bow-like curve, which manly resolve had not yet begun to
compress and straighten out. His chin was at least large enough not to
contradict the promise of his face; his shoulders were square, and his
chest and limbs well developed: altogether it was at present a fair
tabernacle--of whatever sort the indwelling divinity might yet turn out,
fashioning it further after his own nature.

His father and he were the only male descendants of an old Monmouthshire
family, of neither Welsh nor Norman, but as pure Saxon blood as might be
had within the clip of the ocean. Roger, the father, had once only or
twice in his lifetime been heard boast, in humorous fashion, that
although but a simple squire, he could, on this side the fog of
tradition, which nearer or further shrouds all origin, count a longer
descent than any of the titled families in the county, not excluding the
earl of Worcester himself. His character also would have gone far to
support any assertion he might have chosen to make as to the purity of
his strain. A notable immobility of nature--his friends called it
firmness, his enemies obstinacy; a seeming disregard of what others
might think of him; a certain sternness of manner--an unreadiness, as it
were, to open his door to the people about him; a searching regard with
which he was wont to peruse the face of anyone holding talk with him,
when he seemed always to give heed to the looks rather than the words of
him who spoke; these peculiarities had combined to produce a certain awe
of him in his inferiors, and a dislike, not unavowed, in his equals.
With his superiors he came seldom in contact, and to them his behaviour
was still more distant and unbending. But, although from these causes he
was far from being a favourite in the county, he was a man of such known
and acknowledged probity that, until of late, when party spirit ran high
and drew almost everybody, whether of consequence or not, to one side or
the other, there was nobody who would not have trusted Roger Heywood to
the uttermost. Even now, foes as well as friends acknowledged that he
was to be depended upon; while his own son looked up to him with a
reverence that in some measure overshadowed his affection. Such a
character as this had necessarily been slow in formation, and the
opinions which had been modified by it and had reacted upon it, had been
as unalterably as deliberately adopted. But affairs had approached a
crisis between king and parliament before one of his friends knew that
there were in his mind any opinions upon them in process of
formation--so reserved and monosyllabic had been his share in any
conversation upon topics which had for a long time been growing every
hour of more and more absorbing interest to all men either of
consequence, intelligence, property, or adventure. At last, however, it
had become clear, to the great annoyance of not a few amongst his
neighbours, that Heywood's leanings were to the parliament. But he had
never yet sought to influence his son in regard to the great questions
at issue.

His house was one of those ancient dwellings which have grown under the
hands to fit the wants of successive generations, and look as if they
had never been other than old; two-storied at most, and many-gabled,
with marvellous accretions and projections, the haunts of yet more
wonderful shadows. There, in a room he called his study, shabby and
small, containing a library more notable for quality and selection than
size, Richard the next morning sought and found him.

'Father!' he said, entering with some haste after the usual request for
admission.

'I am here, my son,' answered Roger, without lifting his eyes from the
small folio in which he was reading.

'I want to know, father, whether, when men differ, a man is bound to
take a side.'

'Nay, Richard, but a man is bound NOT to take a side save upon reasons
well considered and found good.'

'It may be, father, if you had seen fit to send me to Oxford, I should
have been better able to judge now.'

'I had my reasons, son Richard. Readier, perhaps, you might have been,
but fitter--no. Tell me what points you have in question.'

'That I can hardly say, sir. I only know there are points at issue
betwixt king and parliament which men appear to consider of mightiest
consequence. Will you tell me, father, why you have never instructed me
in these affairs of church and state? I trust it is not because you
count me unworthy of your confidence.'

'Far from it, my son. My silence hath respect to thy hearing and to the
judgment yet unawakened in thee. Who would lay in the arms of a child
that which must crush him to the earth? Years did I take to meditate ere
I resolved, and I know not yet if thou hast in thee the power of
meditation.'

'At least, father, I could try to understand, if you would unfold your
mind.'

'When you know what the matters at issue are, my son,--that is, when you
are able to ask me questions worthy of answer, I shall be ready to
answer thee, so far as my judgment will reach.'

'I thank you, father. In the meantime I am as one who knocks, and the
door is not opened unto him.'

'Rather art thou as one who loiters on the door-step, and lifts up
neither ring nor voice.'

'Surely, sir, I must first know the news.'

'Thou hast ears; keep them open. But at least you know, my son, that on
the twelfth day of May last my lord of Strafford lost his head.'

'Who took it from him, sir? King or parliament?'

'Even that might be made a question; but I answer, the High Court of
Parliament, my son.'

'Was the judgment a right one or a wrong, sir? Did he deserve the doom?'

'Ah, there you put a question indeed! Many men say RIGHT, and many men
say WRONG. One man, I doubt me much, was wrong in the share HE bore
therein.'

'Who was he, sir?'

'Nay, nay, I will not forestall thine own judgment. But, in good sooth,
I might be more ready to speak my mind, were it not that I greatly doubt
some of those who cry loudest for liberty. I fear that had they once the
power, they would be the first to trample her under foot. Liberty with
some men means MY liberty to do, and THINE to suffer. But all in good
time, my son! The dawn is nigh.'

'You will tell me at least, father, what is the bone of contention?'

'My son, where there is contention, a bone shall not fail. It is but a
leg-bone now; it will be a rib to-morrow, and by and by doubtless it
will be the skull itself.'

'If you care for none of these things, sir, will not master Flowerdew
have a hard name for you? I know not what it means, but it sounds of the
gallows,' said Richard, looking rather doubtful as to how his father
might take it.

'Possibly, my son, I care more for the contention than the bone, for
while thieves quarrel honest men go their own ways. But what ignorance I
have kept thee in, and yet left thee to bear the reproach of a puritan!'
said the father, smiling grimly. 'Thou meanest master Flowerdew would
call me a Gallio, and thou takest the Roman proconsul for a
gallows-bird! Verily thou art not destined to prolong the renown of thy
race for letters. I marvel what thy cousin Thomas would say to the
darkness of thy ignorance.'

'See what comes of not sending me to Oxford, sir: I know not who is my
cousin Thomas.'

'A man both of learning and wisdom, my son, though I fear me his diet is
too strong for the stomach of this degenerate age, while the dressing of
his dishes is, on the other hand, too cunningly devised for their
liking. But it is no marvel thou shouldest be ignorant of him, being as
yet no reader of books. Neither is he a close kinsman, being of the
Lincolnshire branch of the Heywoods.'

'Now I know whom you mean, sir; but I thought he was a writer of stage
plays, and such things as on all sides I hear called foolish, and
mummery.'

'There be among those who call themselves the godly, who will endure no
mummery but of their own inventing. Cousin Thomas hath written a
multitude of plays, but that he studied at Cambridge, and to good
purpose, this book, which I was reading when you entered, bears good
witness.'

'What is the book, father?'

'Stay, I will read thee a portion. The greater part is of learning
rather than wisdom--the gathered opinions of the wise and good
concerning things both high and strange; but I will read thee some
verses bearing his own mind, which is indeed worthy to be set down with
theirs.'

He read that wonderful poem ending the second Book of the Hierarchy, and
having finished it looked at his son.

'I do not understand it, sir,' said Richard.

'I did not expect you would,' returned his father. 'Here, take the book,
and read for thyself. If light should dawn upon the page, as thou
readest, perhaps thou wilt understand what I now say--that I care but
little for the bones concerning which king and parliament contend, but I
do care that men--thou and I, my son--should be free to walk in any path
whereon it may please God to draw us. Take the book, my son, and read
again. But read no farther save with caution, for it dealeth with many
things wherein old Thomas is too readily satisfied with hearsay for
testimony.'

Richard took the small folio and carried it to his own chamber, where he
read and partly understood the poem. But he was not ripe enough either
in philosophy or religion for such meditations. Having executed his
task, for as such he regarded it, he turned to look through the strange
mixture of wisdom and credulity composing the volume. One tale after
another, of witch, and demon, and magician, firmly believed and honestly
recorded by his worthy relative, drew him on, until he sat forgetful of
everything but the world of marvels before him--to none of which,
however, did he accord a wider credence than sprung from the interest of
the moment. He was roused by a noise of quarrel in the farmyard, towards
which his window looked, and, laying aside reading, hastened out to
learn the cause.



CHAPTER III.

THE WITCH.


It was a bright Autumn morning. A dry wind had been blowing all night
through the shocks, and already some of the farmers had begun to carry
to their barns the sheaves which had stood hopelessly dripping the day
before. Ere Richard reached the yard, he saw, over the top of the wall,
the first load of wheat-sheaves from the harvest-field, standing at the
door of the barn, and high-uplifted thereon the figure of Faithful
Stopchase, one of the men, a well-known frequenter of puritan assemblies
all the country round, who was holding forth, and that with much
freedom, in tones that sounded very like vituperation, if not
malediction, against some one invisible. He soon found that the object
of his wrath was a certain Welshwoman, named Rees, by her neighbours
considered objectionable on the ground of witchcraft, against whom this
much could with truth be urged, that she was so far from thinking it
disreputable, that she took no pains to repudiate the imputation of it.
Her dress, had it been judged by eyes of our day, would have been
against her, but it was only old-fashioned, not even antiquated: common
in Queen Elizabeth's time, it lingered still in remote country places--a
gown of dark stuff, made with a long waist and short skirt over a huge
farthingale; a ruff which stuck up and out, high and far, from her
throat; and a conical Welsh hat invading the heavens. Stopchase, having
descried her in the yard, had taken the opportunity of breaking out upon
her in language as far removed from that of conventional politeness as
his puritanical principles would permit. Doubtless he considered it a
rebuking of Satan, but forgot that, although one of the godly, he could
hardly on that ground lay claim to larger privilege in the use of bad
language than the archangel Michael. For the old woman, although too
prudent to reply, she scorned to flee, and stood regarding him fixedly.
Richard sought to interfere and check the torrent of abuse, but it had
already gathered so much head, that the man seemed even unaware of his
attempt. Presently, however, he began to quail in the midst of his
storming. The green eyes of the old woman, fixed upon him, seemed to be
slowly fascinating him. At length, in the very midst of a volley of
scriptural epithets, he fell suddenly silent, turned from her, and, with
the fork on which he had been leaning, began to pitch the sheaves into
the barn. The moment he turned his back, Goody Rees turned hers, and
walked slowly away.

She had scarcely reached the yard gate, however, before the cow-boy, a
delighted spectator and auditor of the affair, had loosed the fierce
watch-dog, which flew after her. Fortunately Richard saw what took
place, but the animal, which was generally chained up, did not heed his
recall, and the poor woman had already felt his teeth, when Richard got
him by the throat. She looked pale and frightened, but kept her
composure wonderfully, and when Richard, who was prejudiced in her
favour from having once heard Dorothy speak friendlily to her, expressed
his great annoyance that she should have been so insulted on his
father's premises, received his apologies with dignity and good faith.
He dragged the dog back, rechained him, and was in the act of
administering sound and righteous chastisement to the cow-boy, when
Stopchase staggered, tumbled off the cart, and falling upon his head,
lay motionless. Richard hurried to him, and finding his neck twisted and
his head bent to one side, concluded he was killed. The woman who had
accompanied him from the field stood for a moment uttering loud cries,
then, suddenly bethinking herself, sped after the witch. Richard was
soon satisfied he could do nothing for him.

Presently the woman came running back, followed at a more leisurely pace
by Goody Rees, whose countenance was grave, and, even to the twitch
about her mouth, inscrutable. She walked up to where the man lay, looked
at him for a moment or two as if considering his case, then sat down on
the ground beside him, and requested Richard to move him so that his
head should lie on her lap. This done, she laid hold of it, with a hand
on each ear, and pulled at his neck, at the same time turning his head
in the right direction. There came a snap, and the neck was straight.
She then began to stroke it with gentle yet firm hand. In a few moments
he began to breathe. As soon as she saw his chest move, she called for a
wisp of hay, and having shaped it a little, drew herself from under his
head, substituting the hay. Then rising without a word she walked from
the yard. Stopchase lay for a while, gradually coming to himself, then
scrambled all at once to his feet, and staggered to his pitchfork, which
lay where it had fallen. 'It is of the mercy of the Lord that I fell not
upon the prongs of the pitchfork,' he said, as he slowly stooped and
lifted it. He had no notion that he had lain more than a few seconds;
and of the return of Goody Rees and her ministrations he knew nothing;
while such an awe of herself and her influences had she left behind her,
that neither the woman nor the cow-boy ventured to allude to her, and
even Richard, influenced partly, no doubt, by late reading, was more
inclined to think than speak about her. For the man himself, little
knowing how close death had come to him, but inwardly reproached because
of his passionate outbreak, he firmly believed that he had had a narrow
escape from the net of the great fowler, whose decoy the old woman was,
commissioned not only to cause his bodily death, but to work in him
first such a frame of mind as should render his soul the lawful prey of
the enemy.



CHAPTER IV.

A CHAPTER OF FOOLS.


The same afternoon, as it happened, a little company of rustics, who had
just issued from the low hatch-door of the village inn, stood for a
moment under the sign of the Crown and Mitre, which swung huskily
creaking from the bough of an ancient thorn tree, then passed on to the
road, and took their way together.

'Hope you then,' said one of them, as continuing their previous
conversation, 'that we shall escape unhurt? It is a parlous business.
Not as one of us is afeard as I knows on. But the old earl, he do have a
most unregenerate temper, and you had better look to 't, my masters.'

'I tell thee, master Upstill, it's not the old earl as I'm afeard on,
but the young lord. For thou knows as well as ere a one it be not
without cause that men do call him a wizard, for a wizard he be, and
that of the worst sort.'

'We shall be out again afore sundown, shannot we?' said another. 'That I
trust.'

'Up to the which hour the High Court of Parliament assembled will have
power to protect its own--eh, John Croning?'

'Nay, that I cannot tell. It be a parlous job, and for mine own part,
whether for the love I bear to the truth, or the hatred I cherish toward
the scarlet Antichrist, with her seven tails--'

'Tush, tush, John! Seven heads, man, and ten horns. Those are the
numbers master Flowerdew read.'

'Nay, I know not for your horns; but for the rest I say seven tails. Did
not honest master Flowerdew set forth unto us last meeting that the
scarlet woman sat upon seven hills--eh? Have with you there, master
Sycamore!'

'Well, for the sake of sound argument, I grant you. But we ha' got to do
with no heads nor no tails, neither--save and except as you may say the
sting is in the tail; and then, or I greatly mistake, it's not seven
times seven as will serve to count the stings, come of the tails what
may.'

'Very true,' said another; 'it be the stings and not the tails we want
news of. But think you his lordship will yield them up without
gainsaying to us the messengers of the High Parliament now assembled?'

'For mine own part,' said John Croning, 'though I fear it come of the
old Adam yet left in me, I do count it a sorrowful thing that the earl
should be such a vile recusant. He never fails with a friendly word, or
it may be a jest--a foolish jest--but honest, for any one gentle or
simple he may meet. More than once has he boarded me in that fashion.
What do you think he said to me, now, one day as I was a mowin' of the
grass in the court, close by the white horse that spout up the water
high as a house from his nose-drills? Says he to me--for he come down
the grand staircase, and steps out and spies me at the work with my old
scythe, and come across to me, and says he, "Why, Thomas," says he, not
knowin' of my name, "Why, Thomas," says he, "you look like old Time
himself a mowing of us all down," says he. "For sure, my lord," says I,
"your lordship reads it aright, for all flesh is grass, and all the
glory of man is as the flower of the field." He look humble at that,
for, great man as he be, his earthly tabernacle, though more than
sizeable, is but a frail one, and that he do know. And says he, "Where
did you read that, Thomas?" "I am not a larned man, please your
lordship," says I, "and I cannot honestly say I read it nowheres, but I
heerd the words from a book your lordship have had news of: they do call
it the Holy Bible. But they tell me that they of your lordship's
persuasion like it not." "You are very much mistaken there, Thomas,"
says he. "I read my Bible most days, only not the English Bible, which
is full of errors, but the Latin, which is all as God gave it," says he.
And thereby I had not where to answer withal.'

'I fear you proved a poor champion of the truth, master Croning.'

'Confess now, Cast-down Upstill, had he not both sun and wind of
me--standing, so to say, on his own hearth-stone? Had it not been so, I
could have called hard names with the best of you, though that is by
rights the gift of the preachers of the truth. See how the good master
Flowerdew excelleth therein, sprinkling them abroad from the
watering-pot of the gospel. Verily, when my mind is too feeble to grasp
his argument, my memory lays fast hold upon the hard names, and while I
hold by them, I have it all in a nutshell.'

Fortified occasionally by a pottle of ale, and keeping their spirits
constantly stirred by much talking, they had been all day occupied in
searching the Catholic houses of the neighbourhood for arms. What
authority they had for it never came to be clearly understood. Plainly
they believed themselves possessed of all that was needful, or such men
would never have dared it. As it was, they prosecuted it with such a
bold front, that not until they were gone did it occur to some, who had
yielded what arms they possessed, to question whether they had done
wisely in acknowledging such fellows as parliamentary officials without
demanding their warrant. Their day's gleanings up to this point--of
swords and pikes, guns and pistols, they had left in charge of the host
of the inn whence they had just issued, and were now bent on crowning
their day's triumph with a supreme act of daring--the renown of which
they enlarged in their own imaginations, while undermining the courage
needful for its performance, by enhancing its terrors as they went.

At length two lofty hexagonal towers appeared, and the consciousness
that the final test of their resolution drew nigh took immediate form in
a fluttering at the heart, which, however, gave no outward sign but that
of silence; and indeed they were still too full of the importance of
unaccustomed authority to fear any contempt for it on the part of
others.

It happened that at this moment Raglan Castle was full of merry-making
upon occasion of the marriage of one of lady Herbert's
waiting-gentlewomen to an officer of the household; and in these
festivities the earl of Worcester and all his guests were taking a part.

Among the numerous members of the household was one who, from being a
turnspit, had risen, chiefly in virtue of an immovably lugubrious
expression of countenance, to be the earl's fool. From this peculiarity
his fellow-servants had given him the nickname of The Hangman; but the
man himself had chosen the role of a puritan parson, as affording the
best ground-work for the display of a humour suitable to the expression
of countenance with which his mother had endowed him. That mother was
Goody Rees, concerning whom, as already hinted, strange things were
whispered. In the earlier part of his career the fool had not
unfrequently found his mother's reputation a sufficient shelter from
persecution; and indeed there might have been reason to suppose that it
was for her son's sake she encouraged her own evil repute, a distinction
involving considerable risk, seeing the time had not yet arrived when
the disbelief in such powers was sufficiently advanced for the safety of
those reported to possess them. In her turn, however, she ran a risk
somewhat less than ordinary from the fact that her boy was a domestic in
the family of one whose eldest son, the heir to the earldom, lay under a
similar suspicion; for not a few of the household were far from
satisfied that lord Herbert's known occupations in the Yellow Tower were
not principally ostensible, and that he and his man had nothing to do
with the black art, or some other of the many regions of occult science
in which the ambition after unlawful power may hopefully exercise
itself.

Upon occasion of a family fete, merriment was in those days carried
further, on the part of both masters and servants, than in the greatly
altered relations and conditions of the present day would be desirable,
or, indeed, possible. In this instance, the fun broke out in the
arranging of a mock marriage between Thomas Rees, commonly called Tom
Fool, and a young girl who served under the cook. Half the jest lay in
the contrast between the long face of the bridegroom, both congenitally
and wilfully miserable, and that of the bride, broad as a harvest moon,
and rosy almost to purple. The bridegroom never smiled, and spoke with
his jaws rather than his lips; while the bride seldom uttered a syllable
without grinning from ear to ear, and displaying a marvellous
appointment of huge and brilliant teeth. Entering solemnly into the
joke, Tom expressed himself willing to marry the girl, but represented,
as an insurmountable difficulty, that he had no clothes for the
occasion. Thereupon the earl, drawing from his pocket his bunch of keys,
directed him to go and take what he liked from his wardrobe. Now the
earl was a man of large circumference, and the fool as lank in person as
in countenance.

Tom took the keys and was some time gone, during which many conjectures
were hazarded as to the style in which he would choose to appear. When
he re-entered the great hall, where the company was assembled, the roar
of laughter which followed his appearance made the glass of its great
cupola ring again. For not merely was he dressed in the earl's beaver
hat and satin cloak, splendid with plush and gold and silver lace, but
he had indued a corresponding suit of his clothes as well, even to his
silk stockings, garters, and roses, and with the help of many pillows
and other such farcing, so filled the garments which otherwise had hung
upon him like a shawl from a peg, and made of himself such a 'sweet
creature of bombast' that, with ludicrous unlikeness of countenance, he
bore in figure no distant resemblance to the earl himself.

Meantime lady Elizabeth had been busy with the scullery-maid, whom she
had attired in a splendid brocade of her grandmother's, with all
suitable belongings of ruff, high collar, and lace wings, such as Queen
Elizabeth is represented with in Oliver's portrait. Upon her appearance,
a few minutes after Tom's, the laughter broke out afresh, in redoubled
peals, and the merriment was at its height, when the warder of one of
the gates entered and whispered in his master's ear the arrival of the
bumpkins, and their mission announced, he informed his lordship, with
all the importance and dignity they knew how to assume. The earl burst
into a fresh laugh. But presently it quavered a little and ceased, while
over the amusement still beaming on his countenance gathered a slight
shade of anxiety, for who could tell what tempest such a mere whirling
of straws might not forerun?

A few words of the warder's had reached Tom where he stood a little
aside, his solemn countenance radiating disapproval of the tumultuous
folly around him. He took three strides towards the earl.

'Wherein lieth the new jest?' he asked, with dignity.

'A set of country louts, my lord,' answered the earl, 'are at the gate,
affirming the right of search in this your lordship's house of Raglan.'

'For what?'

'Arms, my lord.'

'And wherefore? On what ground?'

'On the ground that your lordship is a vile recusant--a papist, and
therefore a traitor, no doubt, although they use not the word,' said the
earl.

'I shall be round with them,' said Tom, embracing the assumed
proportions in front of him, and turning to the door.

Ere the earl had time to conceive his intent, he had hurried from the
hall, followed by fresh shouts of laughter. For he had forgotten to
stuff himself behind, and, when the company caught sight of his back as
he strode out, the tenuity of the foundation for such a 'huge hill of
flesh' was absurd as Falstaff's ha'p'orth of bread to the 'intolerable
deal of sack.'

But the next moment the earl had caught the intended joke, and although
a trifle concerned about the affair, was of too mirth-loving a nature to
interfere with Tom's project, the result of which would doubtless be
highly satisfactory--at least to those not primarily concerned. He
instantly called for silence, and explained to the assembly what he
believed to be Tom Fool's intent, and as there was nothing to be seen
from the hall, the windows of which were at a great height from the
floor, and Tom's scheme would be fatally imperilled by the visible
presence of spectators, from some at least of whom gravity of demeanour
could not be expected, gave hasty instructions to several of his sons
and daughters to disperse the company to upper windows having a view of
one or the other court, for no one could tell where the fool's humour
might find its principal arena. The next moment, in the plain dress of
rough brownish cloth, which he always wore except upon state occasions,
he followed the fool to the gate, where he found him talking through the
wicket-grating to the rustics, who, having passed drawbridge and
portcullises, of which neither the former had been raised nor the latter
lowered for many years, now stood on the other side of the gate
demanding admittance. In the parley, Tom Fool was imitating his master's
voice and every one of the peculiarities of his speech to perfection,
addressing them with extreme courtesy, as if he took them for gentlemen
of no ordinary consideration,--a point in his conception of his part
which he never forgot throughout the whole business. To the dismay of
his master he was even more than admitting, almost boasting, that there
was an enormous quantity of weapons in the castle--sufficient at least
to arm ten thousand horsemen!--a prodigious statement, for, at the
uttermost, there was not more than the tenth part of that amount--still
a somewhat larger provision no doubt than the intruders had expected to
find! The pseudo-earl went on to say that the armoury consisted of one
strong room only, the door of which was so cunningly concealed and
secured that no one but himself knew where it was, or if found could
open it. But such he said was his respect to the will of the most august
parliament, that he would himself conduct them to the said armoury, and
deliver over upon the spot into their safe custody the whole mass of
weapons to carry away with them. And thereupon he proceeded to open the
gate.

By this time the door of the neighbouring guard-room was crowded with
the heads of eager listeners, but the presence of the earl kept them
quiet, and at a sign from him they drew back ere the men entered. The
earl himself took a position where he would be covered by the opening
wicket.

Tom received them into bodily presence with the notification that,
having suspected their object, he had sent all his people out of the
way, in order to avoid the least danger of a broil. Bowing to them with
the utmost politeness as they entered, he requested them to step forward
into the court while he closed the wicket behind them, but took the
opportunity of whispering to one of the men just inside the door of the
guardhouse, who, the moment Tom had led the rustics away, approached the
earl, and told him what he had said.

'What can the rascal mean?' said the earl to himself; but he told the
man to carry the fool's message exactly as he had received it, and
quietly followed Tom and his companions, some of whom, conceiving fresh
importance from the overstrained politeness with which they had been
received, were now attempting a transformation of their usual loundering
gait into a martial stride, with the result of a foolish strut, very
unlike the dignified progress of the sham earl, whose weak back roused
in them no suspicion, and who had taken care they should not see his
face. Across the paved court, and through the hall to the inner court,
Tom led them, and the earl followed.

The twilight was falling. The hall was empty of life, and filled with a
sombre dusk, echoing to every step as they passed through it. They did
not see the flash of eyes and glimmer of smiles from the minstrel's
gallery, and the solitude, size, and gloom had, even on their dull
natures, a palpable influence. The whole castle seemed deserted as they
followed the false earl across the second court--with the true one
stealing after them like a knave--little imagining that bright eyes were
watching them from the curtains of every window like stars from the
clear spaces and cloudy edges of heaven. To the north-west corner of the
court he led them, and through a sculptured doorway up the straight wide
ascent of stone called the grand staircase. At the top he turned to the
right, along a dim corridor, from which he entered a suite of bedrooms
and dressing-rooms, over whose black floors he led the trampling
hob-nailed shoes without pity either for their polish or the labour of
the housemaids in restoring it.

In this way he reached the stair in the bell-tower, ascending which he
brought them into a narrow dark passage ending again in a downward
stair, at the foot of which they found themselves in the long
picture-gallery, having entered it in the recess of one of its large
windows. At the other end of the gallery he crossed into the
dining-room, then through an ante-chamber entered the drawing-room,
where the ladies, apprised of their approach, kept still behind curtains
and high chairs, until they had passed through, on their way to cross
the archway of the main entrance, and through the library gain the
region of household economy and cookery. Thither I will not drag my
reader after them. Indeed the earl, who had been dogging them like a
Fate, ever emerging on their track but never beheld, had already began
to pay his part of the penalty of the joke in fatigue, for he was not
only unwieldy in person, but far from robust, being very subject to
gout. He owed his good spirits to a noble nature, and not to animal
well-being. When they crossed from the picture-gallery to the
dining-room, he went down the stair between, and into the oak-parlour
adjoining the great hall. There he threw himself into an easy chair
which always stood for him in the great bay window, looking over the
moat to the huge keep of the castle, and commanding through its western
light the stone bridge which crossed it. There he lay back at his ease,
and, instructed by the message Tom had committed to the serjeant of the
guard, waited the result.

As for his double, he went stalking on in front of his victims, never
turning to show his face; he knew they would follow, were it but for the
fear of being left alone. Close behind him they kept, scarce daring to
whisper from growing awe of the vast place. The fumes of the beer had by
this time evaporated, and the heavy obscurity which pervaded the whole
building enhanced their growing apprehensions. On and on the fool led
them, up and down, going and returning, but ever in new tracks, for the
marvellous old place was interminably burrowed with connecting passages
and communications of every sort--some of them the merest ducts which
had to be all but crept through, and which would have certainly arrested
the progress of the earl had he followed so far: no one about the place
understood its "crenkles" so well as Tom. For the greater part of an
hour he led them thus, until, having been on their legs the whole day,
they were thoroughly wearied as well as awe-struck. At length, in a
gloomy chamber, where one could not see the face of another, the
pseudo-earl turned full upon them, and said in his most solemn tones:--

'Arrived thus far, my masters, it is borne in upon me with rebuke, that
before undertaking to guide you to the armoury, I should have acquainted
you with the strange fact that at times I am myself unable to find the
place of which we are in search; and I begin to fear it is so now, and
that we are at this moment the sport of a certain member of my family of
whom it may be your worships have heard things not more strange than
true. Against his machinations I am powerless. All that is left us is to
go to him and entreat him to unsay his spells.'

A confused murmur of objections arose.

'Then your worships will remain here while I go to the Yellow Tower, and
come to you again?' said the mock earl, making as if he would leave
them.

But they crowded round him with earnest refusals to be abandoned; for in
their very souls they felt the fact that they were upon enchanted
ground--and in the dark.

'Then follow me,' he said, and conducted them into the open air of the
inner court, almost opposite the archway in its buildings leading to the
stone bridge, whose gothic structure bestrid the moat of the keep.

For Raglan Castle had this peculiarity, that its keep was surrounded by
a moat of its own, separating it from the rest of the castle, so that,
save by bridge, no one within any more than without the walls could
reach it. On to the bridge Tom led the way, followed by his dupes--now
full in the view of the earl where he sat in his parlour window. When
they had reached the centre of it, however, and glancing up at the awful
bulk of stone towering above them, its walls strangely dented and
furrowed, so as to such as they, might well suggest frightful means to
wicked ends, they stood stock-still, refusing to go a step further;
while their chief speaker, Upstill, emboldened by anger, fear, and the
meek behaviour of the supposed earl, broke out in a torrent of
arrogance, wherein his intention was to brandish the terrors of the High
Parliament over the heads of his lordship of Worcester and all
recusants. He had not got far, however, before a shrill whistle pierced
the air, and the next instant arose a chaos of horrible, appalling, and
harrowing noises, 'such a roaring,' in the words of their own report of
the matter to the reverend master Flowerdew, 'as if the mouth of hell
had been wide open, and all the devils conjured up'--doubtless they
meant by the arts of the wizard whose dwelling was that same tower of
fearful fame before which they now stood. The skin-contracting chill of
terror uplifted their hair. The mystery that enveloped the origin of the
sounds gave them an unearthliness which froze the very fountains of
their life, and rendered them incapable even of motion. They stared at
each other with a ghastly observance, which descried no comfort, only
like images of horror. 'Man's hand is not able to taste' how long they
might have thus stood, nor 'his tongue to conceive' what the
consequences might have been, had not a more healthy terror presently
supervened. Across the tumult of sounds, like a fiercer flash through
the flames of a furnace, shot a hideous, long-drawn yell, and the same
instant came a man running at full speed through the archway from the
court, casting terror-stricken glances behind him, and shouting with a
voice half-choked to a shriek--

'Look to yourselves, my masters; the lions are got loose!'

All the world knew that ever since King James had set the fashion by
taking so much pleasure in the lions at the Tower, strange beasts had
been kept in the castle of Raglan.

The new terror broke the spell of the old, and the parliamentary
commissioners fled. But which was the way from the castle? Which the
path to the lions' den? In an agony of horrible dread, they rushed
hither and thither about the court, where now the white horse, as steady
as marble, should be when first they crossed it, was, to their excited
vision, prancing wildly about the great basin from whose charmed circle
he could not break, foaming, at the mouth, and casting huge water-jets
from his nostrils into the perturbed air; while from the surface of the
moat a great column of water shot up nearly as high as the citadel,
whose return into the moat was like a tempest, and with all the
elemental tumult was mingled the howling of wild beasts. The doors of
the hall and the gates to the bowling green being shut, the poor
wretches could not find their way out of the court, but ran from door to
door like madmen, only to find all closed against them. From every
window around the court--from the apartments of the waiting gentlewomen,
from the picture-gallery, from the officers' rooms, eager and merry eyes
looked down on the spot, themselves unseen and unsuspected, for all
voices were hushed, and for anything the bumpkins heard or saw they
might have been in a place deserted of men, and possessed only by evil
spirits, whose pranks were now tormenting them. At last Upstill, who had
fallen on the bridge at his first start, and had ever since been rushing
about with a limp and a leap alternated, managed to open the door of the
hall, and its eastern door having been left open, shot across and into
the outer court, where he made for the gate, followed at varied distance
by the rest of the routed commissioners of search, as each had
discovered the way his forerunner fled. With trembling hands Upstill
raised the latch of the wicket, and to his delight found it unlocked. He
darted through, passed the twin portcullises, and was presently
thundering over the drawbridge, which, trembling under his heavy steps,
seemed on the point of rising to heave him back into the jaws of the
lion, or, worse still, the clutches of the enchanter. Not one looked
behind him, not even when, having passed through the white stone gate,
also purposely left open for their escape, and rattled down the
multitude of steps that told how deep was the moat they had just
crossed, where the last of them nearly broke his neck by rolling almost
from top to bottom, they reached the outermost, the brick gate, and so
left the awful region of enchantment and feline fury commingled. Not
until the castle was out of sight, and their leader had sunk senseless
on the turf by the roadside, did they dare a backward look. The moment
he came to himself they started again for home, at what poor speed they
could make, and reached the Crown and Mitre in sad plight, where,
however, they found some compensation in the pleasure of setting forth
their adventures--with the heroic manner in which, although vanquished
by the irresistible force of enchantment, they had yet brought off their
forces without the loss of a single man. Their story spread over the
country, enlarged and embellished at every fresh stage in its progress.

When the tale reached mother Rees, it filled her with fresh awe of the
great magician, the renowned lord Herbert. She little thought the whole
affair was a jest of her own son's. Firmly believing in all kinds of
magic and witchcraft, but as innocent of conscious dealing with the
powers of ill as the whitest-winged angel betwixt earth's garret and
heaven's threshold, she owed her evil repute amongst her neighbours to a
rare therapeutic faculty, accompanied by a keen sympathetic instinct,
which greatly sharpened her powers of observation in the quest after
what was amiss; while her touch was so delicate, so informed with
present mind, and came therefore into such rapport with any living
organism, the secret of whose suffering it sought to discover, that
sprained muscles, dislocated joints, and broken bones seemed at its soft
approach to re-arrange their disturbed parts, and yield to the power of
her composing will as to a re-ordering harmony. Add to this, that she
understood more of the virtues of some herbs than any doctor in the
parish, which, in the condition of general practice at the time, is not
perhaps to say much, and that she firmly believed in the might of
certain charms, and occasionally used them--and I have given reason
enough why, while regarded by all with disapprobation--she should be by
many both courted and feared. For her own part she had a leaning to the
puritans, chiefly from respect to the memory of a good-hearted, weak,
but intellectually gifted, and, therefore, admired husband; but the
ridicule of her yet more gifted son had a good deal shaken this
predilection, so that she now spent what powers of discrimination and
choice she possessed solely upon persons, heedless of principles in
themselves, and regarding them only in their vital results. Hence, it
was a matter of absolute indifference to her which of the parties now
dividing the country was in the right, or which should lose, which win,
provided no personal evil befel the men or women for whom she cherished
a preference. Like many another, she was hardly aware of the
jurisdiction of conscience, save in respect of immediate personal
relations.



CHAPTER V.

ANIMADVERSIONS.


From the time when the conversation recorded had in some measure
dispelled the fog between them, Roger and Richard Heywood drew rapidly
nearer to each other. The father had been but waiting until his son
should begin to ask him questions, for watchfulness of himself and
others had taught him how useless information is to those who have not
first desired it, how poor in influence, how soon forgotten; and now
that the fitting condition had presented itself, he was ready: with less
of reserve than in the relation between them was common amongst the
puritans, he began to pour his very soul into that of his son. All his
influence went with that party which, holding that the natural flow of
the reformation of the church from popery had stagnated in episcopacy,
consisted chiefly of those who, in demanding the overthrow of that form
of church government, sought to substitute for it what they called
presbyterianism; but Mr. Heywood belonged to another division of it
which, although less influential at present, was destined to come by and
by to the front, in the strength of the conviction that to stop with
presbyterianism was merely to change the name of the swamp--a party
whose distinctive and animating spirit was the love of freedom, which
indeed, degenerating into a passion among its inferior members, broke
out, upon occasion, in the wildest vagaries of speech and doctrine, but
on the other hand justified itself in its leaders, chief amongst whom
were Milton and Cromwell, inasmuch as they accorded to the consciences
of others the freedom they demanded for their own--the love of liberty
with them not meaning merely the love of enjoying freedom, but that
respect for the thing itself which renders a man incapable of violating
it in another.

Roger Heywood was, in fact, already a pupil of Milton, whose anonymous
pamphlet of 'Reformation touching Church Discipline' had already reached
him, and opened with him the way for all his following works.

Richard, with whom my story has really to do, but for the understanding
of whom it is necessary that the character and mental position of his
father should in some measure be set forth, proved an apt pupil, and was
soon possessed with such a passion for justice and liberty, as embodied
in the political doctrines now presented for his acceptance, that it was
impossible for him to understand how any honest man could be of a
different mind. No youth, indeed, of simple and noble nature, as yet
unmarred by any dominant phase of selfishness, could have failed to
catch fire from the enthusiasm of such a father, an enthusiasm glowing
yet restrained, wherein party spirit had a less share than
principle--which, in relation to such a time, is to say much. Richard's
heart swelled within him at the vistas of grandeur opened by his
father's words, and swelled yet higher when he read to him passages from
the pamphlet to which I have referred. It seemed to him, as to most
young people under mental excitement, that he had but to tell the facts
of the case to draw all men to his side, enlisting them in the army
destined to sweep every form of tyranny, and especially spiritual
usurpation and arrogance, from the face of the earth.

Being one who took everybody at the spoken word, Richard never thought
of seeking Dorothy again at their former place of meeting. Nor, in the
new enthusiasm born in him, did his thoughts for a good many days turn
to her so often, or dwell so much upon her, as to cause any keen sense
of their separation. The flood of new thoughts and feelings had
transported him beyond the ignorant present. In truth, also, he was a
little angry with Dorothy for showing a foolish preference for the
church party, so plainly in the wrong was it! And what could SHE know
about the question by his indifference to which she had been so
scandalised, but to which he had been indifferent only until rightly
informed thereon! If he had ever given her just cause to think him
childish, certainly she should never apply the word to him again! If he
could but see her, he would soon convince her--indeed he MUST see
her--for the truth was not his to keep, but to share! It was his duty to
acquaint her with the fact that the parliament was the army of God,
fighting the great red dragon, one of whose seven heads was prelacy, the
horn upon it the king, and Laud its crown. He wanted a stroll--he would
take the path through the woods and the shrubbery to the old sun-dial.
She would not be there, of course, but he would walk up the pleached
alley and call at the house.

Reasoning thus within himself one day, he rose and went. But, as he
approached the wood, Dorothy's great mastiff, which she had reared from
a pup with her own hand, came leaping out to welcome him, and he was
prepared to find her not far off.

When he entered the yew-circle, there she stood leaning on the dial, as
if, like old Time, she too had gone to sleep there, and was dreaming
ancient dreams over again. She did not move at the first sounds of his
approach; and when at length, as he stood silent by her side, she lifted
her head, but without looking at him, he saw the traces of tears on her
cheeks. The heart of the youth smote him.

'Weeping, Dorothy?' he said.

'Yes,' she answered simply.

'I trust I am not the cause of your trouble, Dorothy?'

'You!' returned the girl quickly, and the colour rushed to her pale
cheeks. 'No, indeed. How should you trouble me? My mother is ill.'

Considering his age, Richard was not much given to vanity, and it was
something better that prevented him from feeling pleased at being thus
exonerated: she looked so sweet and sad that the love which new
interests had placed in abeyance returned in full tide. Even when a
child, he had scarcely ever seen her in tears; it was to him a new
aspect of her being.

'Dear Dorothy!' he said, 'I am very much grieved to learn this of your
beautiful mother.'

'She IS beautiful,' responded the girl, and her voice was softer than he
had ever heard it before; 'but she will die, and I shall be left alone.'

'No, Dorothy! that you shall never be,' exclaimed Richard, with a
confidence bordering on presumption.

'Master Herbert is with her now,' resumed Dorothy, heedless of his
words.

'You do not mean her life is even now in danger?' said Richard, in a
tone of sudden awe.

'I hope not, but, indeed, I cannot tell. I left master Herbert
comforting her with the assurance that she was taken away from the evil
to come. "And I trust, madam," the dear old man went on to say, "that my
departure will not long be delayed, for darkness will cover the earth,
and gross darkness the people." Those were his very words.'

'Nay, nay!' said Richard, hastily; 'the good man is deceived; the people
that sit in darkness shall see a great light.'

The girl looked at him with strange interrogation.

'Do not be angry, sweet Dorothy,' Richard went on. 'Old men may mistake
as well as youths. As for the realm of England, the sun of righteousness
will speedily arise thereon, for the dawn draws nigh; and master Herbert
may be just as far deceived concerning your mother's condition, for she
has been but sickly for a long time, and yet has survived many winters.'

Dorothy looked at him still, and was silent. At length she spoke, and
her words came slowly and with weight.

'And what prophet's mantle, if I may make so bold, has fallen upon
Richard Heywood, that the word in his mouth should outweigh that of an
aged servant of the church? Can it be that the great light of which he
speaks is Richard Heywood himself?'

'As master Herbert is a good man and a servant of God,' said Richard,
coldly, stung by her sarcasm, but not choosing to reply to it, 'his word
weighs mightily; but as a servant of the church his word is no weightier
than my father's, who is also a minister of the true tabernacle, that
wherein all who are kings over themselves are priests unto God--though
truly he pretends to no prophecy beyond the understanding of the signs
of the times.'

Dorothy saw that a wonderful change, such as had been incredible upon
any but the witness of her own eyes and ears, had passed on her old
playmate. He was in truth a boy no longer. Their relative position was
no more what she had been of late accustomed to consider it. But with
the change a gulf had begun to yawn between them.

'Alas, Richard!' she said, mistaking what he meant by the signs of the
times, 'those who arrogate the gift of the Holy Ghost, while their sole
inspiration is the presumption of their own hearts and an overweening
contempt of authority, may well mistake signs of their own causing for
signs from heaven. I but repeat the very words of good master Herbert.'

'I thought such swelling words hardly sounded like your own, Dorothy.
But tell me, why should the persuasion of man or woman hang upon the
words of a fellow-mortal? Is not the gift of the Spirit free to each who
asks it? And are we not told that each must be fully persuaded in his
own mind?'

'Nay, Richard, now I have thee! Hang you not by the word of your father,
who is one, and despise the authority of the true church, which is
many?'

'The true church were indeed an authority, but where shall we find it?
Anyhow, the true church is one thing, and prelatical episcopacy another.
But I have yet to learn what authority even the true church could have
over a man's conscience.'

'You need to be reminded, Richard, that the Lord of the church gave
power to his apostles to bind or loose.'

'I do not need to be so reminded, Dorothy, but I do not need to be shown
first that that power was over men's consciences; and second, that it
was transmitted to others by the apostles waiving the question as to the
doubtful ordination of English prelates.'

Fire flashed from Dorothy's eyes.

'Richard Heywood,' she said, 'the demon of spiritual pride has already
entered into you, and blown you up with a self-sufficiency which I never
saw in you before, or I would never, never have companied with you, as I
am now ashamed to think I have done so long, even to the danger of my
soul's health.'

'In that case I may comfort myself, mistress Dorothy Vaughan,' said
Richard, 'that you will no longer count me a boy! But do you then no
longer desire that I should take one part OR the other and show myself a
man? Am I man enough yet for the woman thou art, Dorothy?--But,
Dorothy,' he added, with sudden change of tone, for she had in anger
turned to leave him, 'I love you dearly, and I am truly sorry if I have
spoken so as to offend you. I came hither eager to share with you the
great things I have learned since you left me with just contempt a
fortnight ago.'

'Then it is I whose foolish words have cast you into the seat of the
scorner! Alas! alas! my poor Richard! Never, never more, while you thus
rebel against authority and revile sacred things, will I hold counsel
with you.'

And again she turned to go.

'Dorothy!' cried the youth, turning pale with agony to find on the brink
of what an abyss of loss his zeal had set him, 'wilt thou, then, never
speak to me more, and I love thee as the daylight?'

'Never more till thou repent and turn. I will but give thee one piece of
counsel, and then leave thee--if for ever, that rests with thee. There
has lately appeared, like the frog out of the mouth of the dragon, a
certain tractate or treatise, small in bulk, but large with the wind of
evil doctrine. Doubtless it will reach your father's house ere long, if
it be not, as is more likely, already there, for it is the vile work of
one they call a puritan, though where even the writer can vainly imagine
the purity of such work to lie, let the pamphlet itself raise the
question. Read the evil thing--or, I will not say read it, but glance
the eye over it. It is styled "Animadversions upon--." Truly, I cannot
recall the long-drawn title. It is filled, even as a toad with poison,
so full of evil and scurrilous sayings against good men, rating and
abusing them as the very off-scouring of the earth, that you cannot yet
be so far gone in evil as not to be reclaimed by seeing whither such men
and their inspiration would lead you. Farewell, Richard.'

With the words, and without a look, Dorothy, who had been standing
sideways in act to go, swept up the pleached alley, her step so stately
and her head so high that Richard, slowly as she walked away, dared not
follow her, but stood 'like one forbid.' When she had vanished, and the
light shone in full at the far end, he gave a great sigh and turned
away, and the old dial was forsaken.

The scrap of title Dorothy had given was enough to enable Richard to
recognise the pamphlet as one a copy of which his father had received
only a few days before, and over the reading of which they had again and
again laughed unrestrainedly. As he walked home he sought in vain to
recall anything in it deserving of such reprobation as Dorothy had
branded it withal. Had it been written on the other side no search would
have been necessary, for party spirit (from which how could such a youth
be free, when the greatest men of his time were deeply tainted?), while
it blinds the eyes in one direction, makes them doubly keen in another.
As it was, the abuse in the pamphlet referred to, appeared to him only
warrantable indignation; and, the arrogance of an imperfect love leading
him to utter desertion of his newly-adopted principles, he scorned as
presumptuous that exercise of her own judgment on the part of Dorothy
which had led to their separation, bitterly resenting the change in his
playmate, who, now an angry woman, had decreed his degradation from the
commonest privileges of friendship, until such time as he should abjure
his convictions, become a renegade to the truth, and abandon the hope of
resulting freedom which the strife of parties held out--an act of
tyranny the reflection upon which raised such a swelling in his throat
as he had never felt but once before, when a favourite foal got staked
in trying to clear a fence. Having neither friend nor sister to whom to
confess that he was in trouble--have confided it he could not in any
case, seeing it involved blame of the woman his love for whom now first,
when on the point of losing her for ever, threatened to overmaster
him--he wandered to the stables, which he found empty of men and nearly
so of horses, half-involuntarily sought the stall of the mare his father
had given him on his last birthday, laid his head on the neck bent round
to greet him, and sighed a sore response to her soft, low, tremulous
whinny.

As he stood thus, overcome by the bitter sense of wrong from the one he
loved best in the world, something darkened the stable-door, and a voice
he knew reached his ear. Mistaking the head she saw across an empty
stall for that of one of the farm-servants, Goody Rees was calling aloud
to know if he wanted a charm for the toothache.

Richard looked up.

'And what may your charm be, mistress Rees?' he asked.

'Aha! is it thou, young master?' returned the woman. 'Thou wilt marvel
to see me about the place so soon again, but verily desired to know how
that godly man, Faithful Stopchase, found himself after his fall.'

'Nay, mistress Rees, make no apology for coming amongst thy friends. I
warrant thee against further rudeness of man or beast. I have taken them
to task, and truly I will break his head who wags tongue against thee.
As for Stopchase, he does well enough in all except owing thee thanks
which he declines to pay. But for thy charm, good mistress Rees, what is
it--tell me?'

She took a step inside the door, sent her small eyes peering first into
every corner her sight could reach, and then said:

'Are we alone--we two, master Richard?'

'There's a cat in the next stall, mistress: if she can hear, she can't
speak.'

'Don't be too sure of that, master Richard. Be there no one else?'

'Not a body; soul there may be--who knows?'

'I know there is none. I will tell thee my charm, or what else I may
that thou would wish to know; for he is a true gentleman who will help a
woman because she is a woman, be she as old and ugly as Goody Rees
herself. Hearken, my pretty sir: it is the tooth of a corpse, drawn
after he hath lain a se'en-night in the mould: wilt buy, my master? Or
did not I see thee now asking comfort from thy horse for the--'

She paused a moment, peered narrowly at him from under lowered eyebrows,
and went on:

'--heartache, eh, master Richard? Old eyes can see through velvet
doublets.'

'All the world knows yours can see farther than other people's,'
returned Richard. 'Heaven knows whence they have their sharpness. But
suppose it were a heartache now, have you got e'er a charm to cure
that?'

'The best of all charms, my young master, is a kiss from the maiden; and
what would thou give me for the spell that should set her by thy side at
the old dial, under a warm harvest moon, all the long hours 'twixt
midnight and the crowing of the black cock--eh, my master? What wilt
thou give me?'

'Not a brass farthing, if she came not of her own good will,' murmured
Richard, turning towards his mare. 'But come, mistress Rees, you know
you couldn't do it, even if you were the black witch the neighbours
would have you--though I, for my part, will not hear a word against
you--never since you set my poor old dog upon his legs again--though to
be sure he will die one of these days, and that no one can help--dogs
have such short lives, poor fools!'

'Thou knows not what old mother Rees can do. Tell me, young master, did
she ever say and not do--eh, now?'

'You said you would cure my dog, and you did,' answered Richard.

'And I say now, if thou will, I will set thee and her together by the
old dial to-morrow night, and it shall be a warm and moonlit night on
purpose for ye, an ye will.'

'It were to no good purpose, mistress Rees, for we parted this day--and
that for ever, I much fear me,' said Richard with a deep sigh, but
getting some little comfort even out of a witch's sympathy.

'Tut, tut, tut! Lovers' quarrels! Who knows not what they mean? Crying
and kissing--crying and kissing--that's what they mean. Come now--what
did thou and she quarrel about?'

The old woman, if not a witch, at least looked very like one, with her
two hands resting on the wide round ledge of her farthingale, her head
thrown back, and from under her peaked hat that pointed away behind, her
two greenish eyes peering with a half-coaxing, yet sharp and probing
gaze into those of the youth.

But how could he make a confidante of one like her? What could she
understand of such questions as had raised the wall of partition betwixt
him and Dorothy? Unwilling to offend her, however, he hesitated to give
her offer a plain refusal, and turning away in silence, affected to have
caught sight of something suspicious about his mare's near hock.

'I see, I see!' said the old woman grimly, but not ill-naturedly, and
nodded her head, so that her hat described great arcs across the sky;
'thou art ashamed to confess that thou lovest thy father's whims more
than thy lady's favours. Well, well! Such lovers are hardly for my
trouble!'

But here came the voice of Mr. Heywood, calling his groom. She started,
glanced around her as if seeking a covert, then peered from the door,
and glided noiselessly out.



CHAPTER VI.

PREPARATIONS.


Great was the merriment in Raglan Castle over the discomfiture of the
bumpkins, and many were the compliments Tom received in parlour,
nursery, kitchen, guard-room, everywhere, on the success of his
hastily-formed scheme for the chastisement of their presumption. The
household had looked for a merry time on the occasion of the wedding,
but had not expected such a full cup of delight as had been pressed out
for them betwixt the self-importance of the overweening yokels and the
inventive faculties of Tom Fool. All the evening, one standing in any
open spot of the castle might have heard, now on the one, now on the
other side, renewed bursts of merriment ripple the air; but as the still
autumn night crept on, the intervals between grew longer and longer,
until at length all sounds ceased, and silence took up her ancient
reign, broken only by the occasional stamp of a horse or howl of a
watch-dog.

But the earl, who, from simplicity of nature and peace of conscience
combined, was perhaps better fitted for the enjoyment of the joke, in a
time when such ludifications were not yet considered unsuitable to the
dignity of the highest position, than any other member of his household,
had, through it all, showed a countenance in which, although eyes, lips,
and voice shared in the laughter, there yet lurked a thoughtful doubt
concerning the result. For he knew that, in some shape or other, and
that certainly not the true one, the affair would be spread over the
country, where now prejudice against the Catholics was strong and
dangerous in proportion to the unreason of those who cherished it. Now,
also, it was becoming pretty plain that except the king yielded every
prerogative, and became the puppet which the mingled pride and
apprehension of the Parliament would have him, their differences must
ere long be referred to the arbitration of the sword, in which case
there was no shadow of doubt in the mind of the earl as to the part
befitting a peer of the realm. The king was a protestant, but no less
the king; and not this man, but his parents, had sinned in forsaking the
church--of which sin their offspring had now to bear the penalty,
reaping the whirlwind sprung from the stormy seeds by them sown. For
what were the puritans but the lawfully-begotten children of the so
called reformation, whose spirit they inherited, and in whose footsteps
they so closely followed? In the midst of such reflections, dawned
slowly in the mind of the devout old man the enchanting hope that
perhaps he might be made the messenger of God to lead back to the true
fold the wandering feet of his king. But, fail or speed in any result,
so long as his castle held together, it should stand for the king.
Faithful catholic as he was, the brave old man was English to the
backbone.

And there was no time to lose. This visit of search, let it have
originated how it might, and be as despicable in itself as it was
ludicrous in its result, showed but too clearly how strong the current
of popular feeling was setting against all the mounds of social
distinction, and not kingly prerogative alone. What preparations might
be needful, must be prudent.

That same night, then, long after the rest of the household had retired,
three men took advantage of a fine half-moon to make a circuit of the
castle, first along the counterscarp of the moat, and next along all
accessible portions of the walls and battlements. They halted often,
and, with much observation of the defences, held earnest talk together,
sometimes eagerly contending rather than disputing, but far more often
mutually suggesting and agreeing. At length one of them, whom the others
called Caspar, retired, and the earl was left with his son Edward, lord
Herbert, the only person in the castle who had gone to neither window
nor door to delight himself with the discomfiture of the parliamentary
commissioners.

They entered the long picture gallery, faintly lighted from its large
windows to the court, but chiefly from the oriel which formed the
northern end of it, where they now sat down, the earl being, for the
second time that night, weary. Behind them was a long dim line of
portraits, broken only by the great chimney-piece supported by human
figures, all of carved stone, and before them, nearly as dim, was the
moon-massed landscape--a lovely view of the woodland, pasture, and red
tilth to the northward of the castle.

They sat silent for a while, and the younger said:

'I fear you are fatigued, my lord. It is late for you to be out of bed;
nature is mortal.'

'Thou sayest well; nature is mortal, my son. But therein lies the
comfort--it cannot last. It were hard to say whether of the two houses
stands the more in need of the hand of the maker.'

'Were it not for villanous saltpetre, my lord, the castle would hold out
well enough.'

'And were it not for villanous gout, which is a traitor within it, I see
not why this other should not hold out as long. Be sure, Herbert, I
shall not render the keep for the taking of the outworks.'

'I fear,' said his son, wishing to change the subject, 'this part where
we now are is the most liable to hurt from artillery.'

'Yes, but the ground in front is not such as they would readiest plant
it upon,' said the earl. 'Do not let us forecast evil, only prepare for
it.'

'We shall do our best, my lord--with your lordship's good counsel to
guide us.'

'You shall lack nothing, Herbert, that either counsel or purse of mine
may reach unto.'

'I thank your lordship, for much depends upon both. And so I fear will
his majesty find--if it comes to the worst.'

A brief pause followed.

'Thinkest thou not, Herbert,' said the earl, slowly and thoughtfully,
'it ill suits that a subject should have and to spare, and his liege go
begging?'

'My father is pleased to say so.'

'I am but evil pleased to say so. Bethink thee, son--what man can be
pleased to part with his money? And while my king is poor, I must be
rich for him. Thou wilt not accuse me, Herbert, after I am gone to the
rest, that I wasted thy substance, lad?'

'So long as you still keep wherewithal to give, I shall be content, my
lord.'

'Well, time will show. I but tell thee what runneth in my mind, for thou
and I, Herbert, have bosomed no secrets. I will to bed. We must go the
round again to-morrow--with the sun to hold as a candle.'

The next day the same party made a similar circuit three times--in the
morning, at noon, and in the evening--that the full light might uncover
what the shadows had hid, and that the shadows might show what a
perpendicular light could not reveal. There is all the difference as to
discovery whether a thing is lying under the shadow of another, or
casting one of its own.

After this came a review of the outer fortifications--if, indeed, they
were worthy of the name--enclosing the gardens, the old tilting yard,
now used as a bowling-green, the home-farmyard, and other such outlying
portions under the stewardship of sir Ralph Blackstone and the
governorship of Charles Somerset, the earl's youngest son. It was here
that the most was wanted; and the next few days were chiefly spent in
surveying these works, and drawing plans for their extension,
strengthening, and connection--especially about the stables, armourer's
shop, and smithy, where the building of new defences was almost
immediately set on foot.

A thorough examination of the machinery of the various portcullises and
drawbridges followed; next an overhauling of the bolts, chains, and
other defences of the gates. Then came an inspection of the ordnance,
from cannons down to drakes, through a gradation of names as uncouth to
our ears, and as unknown to the artillery descended from them, as many
of the Christian names of the puritans are to their descendants of the
present day. At length, to conclude the inspection, lord Herbert and the
master of the armoury held consultation with the head armourer, and the
mighty accumulation of weapons of all sorts was passed under the most
rigid scrutiny; many of them were sent to the forge, and others carried
to the ground-floor of the keep.

Presently, things began to look busy in a quiet way about the place. Men
were at work blasting the rocks in a quarry not far off, whence laden
carts went creeping to the castle; but this was oftener in the night.
Some of them drove into the paved court, for here and there a buttress
was wanted inside, and of the battlements not a few were weather-beaten
and out of repair. These the earl would have let alone, on the ground
that they were no longer more than ornamental, and therefore had better
be repaired AFTER the siege, if such should befall, for the big guns
would knock them about like cards; but Caspar reminded him that every
time the ball from a cannon, culvering, or saker missed the parapet, it
remained a sufficient bar to the bullet that might equally avail to
carry off the defenceless gunner. The earl, however, although he
yielded, maintained that the flying of the wall when struck was a more
than counterbalancing danger.

The stock of provisions began to increase. The dry larder, which lay
under the court, between the kitchen and buttery, was by degrees filled
with gammons and flitches of bacon, well dried and smoked. Wheat,
barley, oats, and pease were stored in the granary, and potatoes in a
pit dug in the orchard.

Strange faces in the guard-room caused wonderings and questions amongst
the women. The stables began to fill with horses, and 'more man' to go
about the farmyard and outhouses.



CHAPTER VII.

REFLECTIONS.


Left alone with Lady, his mare, Richard could not help brooding--rather
than pondering--over what the old woman had said. Not that for a moment
he contemplated as a possibility the acceptance of the witch's offer. To
come himself into any such close relations with her as that would imply,
was in repulsiveness second only to the idea of subjecting Dorothy to
her influences. For something to occupy his hands, that his mind might
be restless at will, he gave his mare a careful currying, then an extra
feed of oats, and then a gallop; after which it was time to go to bed.

I doubt if anything but the consciousness of crime will keep healthy
youth awake, and as such consciousness is generally far from it, youth
seldom counts the watches of the night. Richard soon fell fast asleep,
and dreamed that his patron saint--alas for his protestantism!--appeared
to him, handed him a lance headed with a single flashing diamond, and
told him to go and therewith kill the dragon. But just as he was asking
the way to the dragon's den, that he might perform his behest, the saint
vanished, and feeling the lance melting away in his grasp, he gradually
woke to find it gone.

After a long talk with his father in the study, he was left to his own
resources for the remainder of the day; and as it passed and the night
drew on, the offer of the witch kept growing upon his imagination, and
his longing to see Dorothy became stronger and stronger, until at last
it was almost too intense to be borne. He had never before known such a
possession, and was more than half inclined to attribute it to the arts
of mother Rees.

His father was busy in his study below, writing letters--an employment
which now occupied much of his time; and Richard sat alone in a chamber
in the upper part of one of the many gables of the house, which he had
occupied longer than he could remember. Its one small projecting
lozenge-paned window looked towards Dorothy's home. Some years ago he
had been able to see her window, from it through a gap in the trees, by
favour of which, indeed, they had indulged in a system of communications
by means of coloured flags--so satisfactory that Dorothy not only
pressed into the service all the old frocks she could find, but got into
trouble by cutting up one almost new for the enlargement of the somewhat
limited scope of their telegraphy. In this window he now sat, sending
his soul through the darkness, milky with the clouded light of half an
old moon, towards the ancient sun-dial, where Time stood so still that
sometimes Richard had known an hour there pass in a moment.

Never until now had he felt enmity in space: it had been hitherto rather
as a bridge to bear him to Dorothy than a gulf to divide him from her
presence; but now, through the interpenetrative power of feeling, their
alienation had affected all around as well as within him, and space
appeared as a solid enemy, and darkness as an unfriendly enchantress,
each doing what it could to separate betwixt him and the being to whom
his soul was drawn as--no, there was no AS for such drawing. No
opposition of mere circumstances could have created the feeling; it was
the sense of an inward separation taking form outwardly. For Richard was
now but too well convinced that he had no power of persuasion equal to
the task of making Dorothy see things as he saw them. The dividing
influence of imperfect opposing goods is potent as that of warring good
and evil, with this important difference, that the former is but for a
season, and will one day bind as strongly as it parted, while the latter
is essential, absolute, impassible, eternal.

To Dorothy, Richard seemed guilty of overweening arrogance and its
attendant, presumption; she could not see the form ethereal to which he
bowed. To Richard, Dorothy appeared the dupe of superstition; he could
not see the god that dwelt within the idol. To Dorothy, Richard seemed
to be one who gave the holy name of truth to nothing but the offspring
of his own vain fancy. To Richard, Dorothy appeared one who so little
loved the truth that she was ready to accept anything presented to her
as such, by those who themselves loved the word more than the spirit,
and the chrysalis of safety better than the wings of power. But it is
only for a time that any good can to the good appear evil, and at this
very moment, Nature, who in her blindness is stronger to bind than the
farthest-seeing intellect to loose, was urging him into her presence;
and the heart of Dorothy, notwithstanding her initiative in the
separation, was leaning as lovingly, as sadly after the youth she had
left alone with the defaced sun-dial, the symbol of Time's weariness.
Had they, however, been permitted to meet as they would, the natural
result of ever-renewed dissension would have been a thorough separation
in heart, no heavenly twilights of loneliness giving time for the love
which grows like the grass to recover from the scorching heat of
intellectual jar and friction.

The waning moon at length peered warily from behind a bank of cloud, and
her dim light melting through the darkness filled the night with a dream
of the day. Richard was no more of a poet or dreamer of dreams than is
any honest youth so long as love holds the bandage of custom away from
his eyes. The poets are they who all their life long contrive to see
over or through the bandage; but they would, I doubt, have but few
readers, had not nature decreed that all youths and maidens shall, for a
period, be it long or short, become aware that they too are of the race
of the singers--shall, in the journey of their life, at least pass
through the zone of song: some of them recognise it as the region of
truth, and continue to believe in it still when it seems to have
vanished from around them; others scoff as it disappears, and curse
themselves for dupes. Through this zone Richard was now passing. Hence
the moon wore to him a sorrowful face, and he felt a vague sympathy in
her regard, that of one who was herself in trouble, half the light of
her lord's countenance withdrawn. For science had not for him interfered
with the shows of things by a partial revelation of their realities. He
had not learned that the face of the moon is the face of a corpse-world;
that the sadness upon it is the sadness of utter loss; that her light
has in it no dissolved smile, is but the reflex from a lifeless mirror;
that of all the orbs we know best she can have least to do with lovers'
longings and losses, she alone having no love left in her--the cold
cinder of a quenched world. Not an out-burnt cinder, though! she needs
but to be cast again into the furnace of the sun.

As it was, Richard had gazed at her hardly for a minute when he found
the tears running down his face, and starting up, ashamed of the unmanly
weakness, hardly knew what he was doing before he found himself in the
open air. From the hall clock came the first stroke of twelve as he
closed the door behind him. It was the hour at which mother Rees had
offered him a meeting with Dorothy; but it was assuredly with no
expectation of seeing her that he turned his steps towards her dwelling.



CHAPTER VIII.

AN ADVENTURE.


When he reached the spot at which he usually turned off by a gap in the
hedge to NEEDLE his way through the unpathed wood, he yielded to the
impulses of memory and habit, and sought the yew-circle, where for some
moments he stood by the dumb, disfeatured stone, which seemed to slumber
in the moonlight, a monument slowly vanishing from above a vanished
grave. Indeed it might well have been the grave of buried Time, for what
fitter monument could he have than a mutilated sun-dial, what better
enclosure than such a hedge of yews, and more suitable light than that
of the dying moon? Or was it but that the heart of the youth, receiving
these things as into a concave mirror, reprojected them into space, all
shadowy with its own ghostliness and gloom? Close by the dial, like the
dark way into regions where time is not, yawned the mouth of the
pleached alley. Beyond that was her window, on which the moon must now
be shining. He entered the alley, and walked softly towards the house.
Suddenly, down the dark tunnel came rushing upon him Dorothy's mastiff,
with a noise as of twenty soft feet, and a growl as if his throat had
been full of teeth--changing to a boisterous welcome when he discovered
who the stranger was. Fearful of disturbing the household, Richard soon
quieted the dog, which was in the habit of obeying him almost as readily
as his mistress, and, fearful of disturbing sleepers or watchers,
approached the house like a thief. To gain a sight of Dorothy's window
he had to pass that of the parlour, and then the porch, which he did on
the grass, that his steps might be noiseless. But here the dog started
from his heel, and bounded into the porch, leading after him the eyes of
Richard, who thereupon saw what would have else remained
undiscovered--two figures, namely, standing in its deep shadow. Judging
it his part, as a friend of the family, to see who, at so late an hour,
and so near the house, seemed thus to avoid discovery, Richard drew
nearer, and the next moment saw that the door was open behind them, and
that they were Dorothy and a young man.

'The gates will be shut,' said Dorothy.

'It is no matter; old Eccles will open to me at any hour,' was the
answer.

'Still it were well you went without delay,' said Dorothy; and her voice
trembled a little, for she had caught sight of Richard.

Now not only are anger and stupidity near of kin, but when a man whose
mental movements are naturally deliberate, is suddenly spurred, he is in
great danger of acting like a fool, and Richard did act like a fool. He
strode up to the entrance of the porch, and said,

'Do you not hear the lady, sir? She tells you to go.'

A voice as cool and self-possessed as the other was hasty and perturbed,
replied,

'I am much in the wrong, sir, if the lady do not turn the command upon
yourself. Until you have obeyed it, she may perhaps see reason for
withdrawing it in respect of me.'

Richard stepped into the porch, but Dorothy glided between them, and
gently pushed him out.

'Richard Heywood!' she said.

'Whew!' interjected the stranger, softly.

'You can claim no right,' she went on, 'to be here at this hour. Pray
go; you will disturb my mother.'

'Who is this man, then, whose right seems acknowledged?' asked Richard,
in ill-suppressed fury.

'When you address me like a gentleman, such as I used to believe you--'

'May I presume to ask when you ceased to regard me as a gentleman,
mistress Dorothy?'

'As soon as I found that you had learned to despise law and religion,'
answered the girl. 'Such a one will hardly succeed in acting the part of
a gentleman, even had he the blood of the Somersets in his veins.'

'I thank you, mistress Dorothy,' said the stranger, 'and will profit by
the plain hint. Once more tell me to go, and I will obey.'

'He must go first,' returned Dorothy.

Richard had been standing as if stunned, but now with an effort
recovered himself.

'I will wait for you,' he said, and turned away.

'For whom, sir?' asked Dorothy, indignantly.

'You have refused me the gentleman's name,' answered Richard: 'perhaps I
may have the good fortune to persuade himself to be more obliging.'

'I shall not keep you waiting long,' said the young man significantly,
as Richard walked away.

To do Richard justice, and greatly he needs it, I must make the remark
that such had been the intimacy betwixt him and Dorothy, that he might
well imagine himself acquainted with all the friends of her house. But
the intimacy had been confined to the children; the heads of the two
houses, although good neighbours, had not been drawn towards each other,
and their mutual respect had not ripened into friendship. Hence many of
the family and social relations of each were unknown to the other; and
indeed both families led such a retired life that the children knew
little of their own relatives even, and seldom spoke of any.

Lady Scudamore, the mother of the stranger, was first cousin to lady
Vaughan. They had been very intimate as girls, but had not met for
years--hardly since the former married sir John, the son of one of King
James's carpet-knights. Hearing of her cousin's illness, she had come to
visit her at last, under the escort of her son. Taken with his new
cousin, the youth had lingered and lingered; and in fact Dorothy had
been unable to get rid of him before an hour strange for leave-taking in
such a quiet and yet hospitable neighbourhood.

Richard took his stand on the side of the public road opposite the gate;
but just ere Scudamore came, which was hardly a minute after, a cloud
crept over the moon, and, as he happened to stand in a line with the
bole of a tree, Scudamore did not catch sight of him. When he turned to
walk along the road, Richard thought he avoided him, and, making a great
stride or two after him, called aloud--

'Stop, sir, stop. You forget your appointments over easily, I think.'

'Oh, you ARE there!' said the youth, turning.

'I am glad you acknowledge my presence,' said Richard, not the better
pleased with his new acquaintance that his speech and behaviour had an
easy tone of superiority, which, if indefinably felt by the home-bred
lad, was not therefore to be willingly accorded. His easy carriage, his
light step, his still shoulders and lithe spine, indicated both birth
and training.

'Just the night for a serenade,' he went on, heedless of Richard's
remark, '--bright, but not too bright; cloudy, but not too cloudy.'

'Sir!' said Richard, amazed at his coolness.

'Oh, you want to quarrel with me!' returned the youth. 'But it takes two
to fight as well as to kiss, and I will not make one to-night. I know
who you are well enough, and have no quarrel with you, except indeed it
be true--as indeed it must, for Dorothy tells me so--that you have
turned roundhead as well as your father.'

'What right have you to speak so familiarly of mistress Dorothy?' said
Richard.

'It occurs to me,' replied Scudamore, airily, 'that I had better ask you
by what right you haunt her house at midnight. But I would not willingly
cross you in cold blood. I wish you good a night, and better luck next
time you go courting.'

The moon swam from behind a cloud, and her over ripe and fading light
seemed to the eyes of Richard to gather upon the figure before him and
there revive. The youth had on a doublet of some reddish colour, ill
brought out by the moonlight, but its silver lace and the rapier hilt
inlaid with silver shone the keener against it. A short cloak hung from
his left shoulder, trimmed also with silver lace, and a little cataract
of silver fringe fell from the edges of his short trousers into the wide
tops of his boots, which were adorned with ruffles. He wore a large
collar of lace, and cuffs of the same were folded back from his bare
hands. A broad-brimmed beaver hat, its silver band fastened with a jewel
holding a plume of willowy feathers, completed his attire, which he wore
with just the slightest of a jaunty air. It was hardly the dress for a
walk at midnight, but he had come in his mother's carriage, and had to
go home without it.

Alas now for Richard's share in the freedom to which he had of late
imagined himself devoted! No sooner had the words last spoken entered
his ears than he was but a driven slave ready to rush into any quarrel
with the man who spoke them. Ere he had gone three paces he had stepped
in front of him.

'Whatever rights mistress Dorothy may have given you,' he said, 'she had
none to transfer in respect of my father. What do you mean by calling
him a roundhead?'

'Why, is he not one?' asked the youth, simply, keeping his ground, in
spite of the unpleasant proximity of Richard's person. 'I am sorry to
have wronged him, but I mistook him for a ringleader of the same name. I
heartily beg your pardon.'

'You did not mistake,' said Richard stupidly.

'Then I did him no wrong,' rejoined the youth, and once more would have
gone his way.

But Richard, angrier than ever at finding he had given him such an easy
advantage, moved with his movement, and kept rudely in front of him,
provoking a quarrel--in clownish fashion, it must be confessed.

'By heaven,' said Scudamore, 'if Dorothy had not begged me not to fight
with you--,' and as he spoke he slipped suddenly past his antagonist,
and walked swiftly away. Richard plunged after him, and seized him
roughly by the shoulder. Instantaneously he wheeled on the very foot
whence he was taking the next stride, and as he turned his rapier
gleamed in the moonlight. The same moment it left his hand, he scarce
knew how, and flew across the hedge. Richard, who was unarmed, had
seized the blade, and, almost by one and the same movement of his wrist,
wrenched the hilt from the grasp of his adversary, and flung the thing
from him. Then closing with the cavalier, slighter and less skilled in
such encounters, the roundhead almost instantly threw him upon the turf
that bordered the road.

'Take that for drawing on an unarmed man,' he said.

No reply came. The youth lay stunned.

Then compassion woke in the heart of the angry Richard, and he hastened
to his help. Ere he reached him, however, he made an attempt to rise,
but only to stagger and fall again.

'Curse you for a roundhead!' he cried; 'you've twisted some of my
tackle. I can't stand.'

'I'm sorry,' returned Richard, 'but why did you bare bilbo on a naked
man? A right malignant you are!'

'Did I?' returned Scudamore. 'You laid hands on me so suddenly! I ask
your pardon.'

Accepting the offered aid of Richard, he rose; but his right knee was so
much hurt that he could not walk a step without great pain. Full of
regret for the suffering he had caused, Richard lifted him in his arms,
and seated him on a low wall of earth, which was all that here inclosed
lady Vaughan's shrubbery; then, breaking through the hedge on the
opposite side of the way, presently returned with the rapier, and handed
it to him. Scudamore accepted it courteously, with difficulty replaced
it in its sheath, rose, and once more attempted to walk, but gave a
groan, and would have fallen had not Richard caught him.

'The devil is in it!' he cried, with more annoyance than anger. 'If I am
not in my place at my lord's breakfast to-morrow, there will be
questioning. That I had leave to accompany my mother makes the mischief.
If I had stole away, it would be another matter. It will be hard to bear
rebuke, and no frolic.'

'Come home with me,' said Richard. 'My father will do his best to atone
for the wrong done by his son.'

'Set foot across the threshold of a roundhead fanatic! In the way of
hospitality! Not if the choice lay betwixt that and my coffin!' cried
the cavalier.

'Then let me carry you back to lady Vaughan's,' said Richard, with a
torturing pang of jealousy, which only his sense of right, now
thoroughly roused, enabled him to defy.

'I dare not. I should terrify my mother, and perhaps kill my cousin.'

'Your mother! your cousin!' cried Richard.

'Yes,' returned Scudamore; 'my mother is there, on a visit to her cousin
lady Vaughan.'

'Alas, I am more to blame than I knew!' said Richard.

'No,' Scudamore went on, heedless of Richard's lamentation. 'I must
crawl back to Raglan as I may. If I get there before the morning, I
shall be able to show reason why I should not wait upon my lord at his
breakfast.'

'You belong to the earl's household, then?' said Richard.

'Yes; and I fear I shall be grey-headed before I belong to anything
else. He makes much of the ancient customs of the country: I would he
would follow them. In the good old times I should have been a squire at
least by now, if, indeed, I had not earned my spurs; but his lordship
will never be content without me to hand him his buttered egg at
breakfast, and fill his cup at dinner with his favourite claret. And so
I am neither more nor less than a page, which rhymes with my age better
than suits it. But the earl has a will of his own. He is a master worth
serving though. And there is my lady Elizabeth and my lady Mary--not to
mention my lord Herbert!--But,' he concluded, rubbing his injured knee
with both hands, 'why do I prate of them to a roundhead?'

'Why indeed?' returned Richard. 'Are they not, the earl and all his
people, traitors, and that of the worst? Are they not the enemies of the
truth--worshippers of idols, bowing the knee to a woman, and kissing the
very toes of an old man so in love with ignorance, that he tortures the
philosopher who tells him the truth about the world and its motions?'

'Go on, master Roundhead! I can chastise you, and that you know. This
cursed knee--'

'I will stand unarmed within your thrust, and never budge a foot,' said
Richard. 'But no,' he added, 'I dare not, lest I should further injure
one I have wronged already. Let there be a truce between us.'

'I am no papist,' returned Scudamore. 'I speak only as one of the earl's
household--true men all. For them I cast the word in your teeth, you
roundhead traitor! For myself I am of the English church.'

'It is but the wolf and the wolf's cub,' said. Richard. 'Prelatical
episcopacy is but the old harlot veiled, or rather, forsooth, her bloody
scarlet blackened in the sulphur fumes of her coming desolation.'

'Curse on, roundhead,' sighed the youth; 'I must crawl home.'

Once more he rose and made an effort to walk. But it was of no use: walk
he could not.

'I must wait till the morning,' he said, 'when some Christian waggoner
may be passing. Leave me in peace.'

'Nay, I am no such boor!' said Richard. 'Do you think you could ride?'

'I could try.'

'I will bring you the best mare in Gwent. But tell me your name, that I
may know with whom I have the honour of a feud.'

'My name is Rowland Scudamore,' answered the youth. 'Yours I know
already, and roundhead as you are, you have some smatch of honour in
you.'

With an air of condescension he held out his hand, which his adversary,
oppressed with a sense of the injury he had done him, did not refuse.

Richard hurried home, and to the stable, where he saddled his mare. But
his father, who was still in his study, heard the sound of her hoofs in
the paved yard, and met him as he led her out on the road, with an
inquiry as to his destination at such an hour. Richard told him that he
had had a quarrel with a certain young fellow of the name of Scudamore,
a page of the earl of Worcester, whom he had met at lady Vaughan's: and
recounted the result.

'Was your quarrel a just one, my son?'

'No sir. I was in the wrong.'

'Then you are so far in the right now. And you are going to help him
home?'

'Yes, sir.'

'Have you confessed yourself in the wrong?'

'Yes, sir.'

'Then go, my son, but beware of private quarrel in such a season of
strife. This youth and thyself may meet some day in mortal conflict on
the battle-field; and for my part--I know not how it may be with
another--in such a case I would rather slay my friend than my enemy.'

Enlightened by the inward experience of the moment, Richard was able to
understand and respond to the feeling. How different a sudden action
flashed off the surface of a man's nature may be from that which, had
time been given, would have unfolded itself from its depths!

Bare-headed, Roger Heywood walked beside his son as he led the mare to
the spot where Scudamore perforce awaited his return. They found him
stretched on the roadside, plucking handfuls of grass, and digging up
the turf with his fingers, thus, and thus alone, betraying that he
suffered. Mr. Heywood at first refrained from any offer of hospitality,
believing he would be more inclined to accept it after he had proved the
difficulty of riding, in which case a previous refusal might stand in
the way. But although a slight groan escaped as they lifted him to the
saddle, he gathered up the reins at once, and sat erect while they
shortened the stirrup-leathers. Lady seemed to know what was required of
her, and stood as still as a vaulting horse until Richard took the
bridle to lead her away.

'I see!' said Scudamore; 'you can't trust me with your horse!'

'Not so, sir,' answered Mr. Heywood. 'We cannot trust the horse with
you. It is quite impossible for you to ride so far alone. If you will
go, you must submit to the attendance of my son, on which I am sorry to
think you have so good a claim. But will you not yet change your mind
and be our guest--for the night at least? We will send a messenger to
the castle at earliest dawn.'

Scudamore declined the invitation, but with perfect courtesy, for there
was that about Roger Heywood which rendered it impossible for any man
who was himself a gentleman, whatever his judgment of him might be, to
show him disrespect. And the moment the mare began to move, he felt no
further inclination to object to Richard's company at her head, for he
perceived that, should she prove in the least troublesome, it would be
impossible for him to keep his seat. He did not suffer so much, however,
as to lose all his good spirits, or fail in his part of a conversation
composed chiefly of what we now call chaff, both of them for a time
avoiding all such topics as might lead to dispute, the one from a sense
of wrong already done, the other from a vague feeling that he was under
the protection of the foregone injury.

'Have you known my cousin Dorothy long?' asked Scudamore.

'Longer than I can remember,' answered Richard.

'Then you must be more like brother and sister than lovers.'

'That, I fear, is her feeling,' replied Richard, honestly.

'You need not think of me as a rival,' said Scudamore. 'I never saw the
young woman in my life before, and although anything of yours, being a
roundhead's, is fair game--'

'Your humble servant, sir Cavalier!' interjected Richard. 'Pray use your
pleasure.'

'I tell you plainly,' Scudamore went on, without heeding the
interruption, 'though I admire my cousin, as I do any young woman, if
she be but a shade beyond the passable--'

'The ape! The coxcomb!' said Richard to himself.

'I am not, therefore, dying for her love; and I give you this one honest
warning that, though I would rather see mistress Dorothy in her
winding-sheet than dame to a roundhead, I should be--yes, I MAY be a
more dangerous rival in respect of your mare, than of any lady YOU are
likely to set eyes upon.'

'What do you mean?' said Richard gruffly.

'I mean that, the king having at length resolved to be more of a monarch
and less of a saint--'

'A saint!' echoed Richard, but the echo was rather a loud one, for it
startled his mare and shook her rider.

'Don't shout like that!' cried the cavalier, with an oath. 'Saint or
sinner, I care not. He is my king, and I am his soldier. But with this
knee you have given me, I shall be fitter for garrison than
field-duty--damn it.'

'You do not mean that his majesty has declared open war against the
parliament?' exclaimed Richard.

'Faithless puritan, I do,' answered Scudamore. 'His majesty has at
length--with reluctance, I am sorry to hear--taken up arms against his
rebellious subjects. Land will be cheap by-and-by.'

'Many such rumours have reached us,' returned Richard, quietly. 'The
king spares no threats; but for blows--well!'

'Insolent fanatic!' shouted Vaughan, 'I tell you his majesty is on his
way from Scotland with an army of savages; and London has declared for
the king.'

Richard and his mare simultaneously quickened their pace.

'Then it is time you were in bed, Mr Scudamore, for my mare and I will
be wanted,' he cried. 'God be praised! I thank you for the good news. It
makes me young again to hear it.'

'What the devil do you mean by jerking this cursed knee of mine so?'
shouted Scudamore. 'Faith, you were young enough in all conscience
already, you fool! You want to keep me in bed, as well as send me there!
Well out of the way, you think! But I give you honest warning to look
after your mare, for I vow I have fallen in love with her. She's worth
three, at least, of your mistress Dorothies.'

'You talk like a Dutch boor,' said Richard.

'Saith an English lout,' retorted Scudamore. 'But, all things being
lawful in love and war, not to mention hate and rebellion, this mare, if
I am blessed with a chance, shall be--well, shall be translated.'

'You mean from Redware to Raglan.'

'Where she shall be entertained in a manner worthy of her, which is
saying no little, if all her paces and points be equal to her walk and
her crest.'

'I trust you will be more pitiful to my poor Lady,' said Richard,
quietly. 'If all they say be true, Raglan stables are no place for a
mare of her breeding.'

'What do you mean, roundhead?'

'Folk say your stables at Raglan are like other some Raglan matters--of
the infernal sort.'

Scudamore was silent for a moment.

'Whether the stables be under the pavement or over the leads,' he
returned at last, 'there are not a few in them as good as she--of which
I hope to satisfy my Lady some day,' he added, patting the mare's neck.

'Wert thou not hurt already, I would pitch thee out of the saddle,' said
Richard.

'Were I not hurt in the knee, thou couldst not,' said Scudamore.

'I need not lay hand upon thee. Wert thou as sound in limb as thou art
in wind, thou wouldst feel thyself on the road ere thou knewest thou
hadst taken leave of the saddle--did I but give the mare the sign she
knows.'

'By God's grace,' said the cavalier, 'she shall be mine, and teach me
the trick of it.'

Richard answered only with a grim laugh, and again, but more gently this
time, quickened the mare's pace. Little more had passed between them
when the six-sided towers of Raglan rose on their view.

Richard had, from childhood, been familiar with their aspect, especially
that of the huge one called the Yellow Tower, but he had never yet been
within the walls that encircled them. At any time during his life,
almost up to the present hour, he might have entered without question,
for the gates were seldom closed and never locked, the portcullises,
sheathed in the wall above, hung moveless in their rusty chains, and the
drawbridges spanned the moat from scarp to counterscarp, as if from the
first their beams had rested there in solid masonry. And still, during
the day, there was little sign of change, beyond an indefinable presence
of busier life, even in the hush of the hot autumnal noon. But at night
the drawbridges rose and the portcullises descended--each with its own
peculiar creak, and jar, and scrape, setting the young rooks cawing in
reply from every pinnacle and tree-top--never later than the last moment
when the warder could see anything larger than a cat on the brow of the
road this side the village. For who could tell when, or with what force
at their command, the parliament might claim possession? And now another
of the frequent reports had arrived, that the king had at length
resorted to arms. It was altogether necessary for such as occupied a
stronghold, unless willing to yield it to the first who demanded
entrance, to keep watch and ward.

Admitted at the great brick gate, the outermost of all, and turning
aside from the steps leading up to the white stone gate and main
entrance beyond, with its drawbridge and double portcullis, Richard, by
his companion's directions, led his mare to the left, and, rounding the
moat of the citadel, sought the western gate of the castle, which seemed
to shelter itself under the great bulk of the Yellow Tower, the cannon
upon more than one of whose bastions closely commanded it, and made up
for its inferiority in defence of its own.

Scudamore had scarcely called, ere the warder, who had been waked by the
sound of the horse's feet, began to set the machinery of the portcullis
in motion.

'What! wounded already, master Scudamore!' he cried, as they rode under
the archway.

'Yes, Eccles,' answered Scudamore, '--wounded and taken prisoner, and
brought home for ransom!'

As they spoke, Richard made use of his eyes, with a vague notion that
some knowledge of the place might one day or other be of service, but it
was little he could see. The moon was almost down, and her low light,
prolific of shadows, shone straight in through the lifted portcullis,
but in the gateway where they stood, there was nothing for her to show
but the groined vault, the massy walls, and the huge iron-studded gate
beyond.

'Curse you for a roundhead!' cried Scudamore, in the wrath engendered of
a fierce twinge, as Heywood sought to help his lamed leg over the
saddle.

'Dismount on this side then,' said Richard, regardless of the insult.

But the warder had caught the word.

'Roundhead!' he exclaimed.

Scudamore did not answer until he found himself safe on his feet, and by
that time he had recovered his good manners.

'This is young Mr. Heywood of Redware,' he said, and moved towards the
wicket, leaning on Richard's arm.

But the old warder stepped in front, and stood between them and the
gate.

'Not a damned roundhead of the pack shall set foot across this
door-sill, so long as I hold the gate,' he cried, with a fierce gesture
of the right arm. And therewith he set his back to the wicket.

'Tut, tut, Eccles!' returned Scudamore impatiently. 'Good words are
worth much, and cost little.'

'If the old dog bark, he gives counsel,' rejoined Eccles, immovable.

Heywood was amused, and stood silent, waiting the result. He had no
particular wish to enter, and yet would have liked to see what could be
seen of the court.

'Where the doorkeeper is a churl, what will folk say of the master of
the house?' said Scudamore.

'They may say as they list; it will neither hurt him nor me,' said
Eccles.

'Make haste, my good fellow, and let us through,' pleaded Scudamore. 'By
Saint George! but my leg is in great pain. I fear the knee-cap is
broken, in which case I shall not trouble thee much for a week of
months.'

As he spoke, he stood leaning on Richard's arm, and behind them stood
Lady, still as a horse of bronze.

'I will but drop the portcullis,' said the warder, 'and then I will
carry thee to thy room in my arms. But not a cursed roundhead shall
enter here, I swear.'

'Let us through at once,' said Scudamore, trying the imperative.

'Not if the earl himself gave the order,' persisted the man.

'Ho! ho! what is that you say? Let the gentlemen through,' cried a voice
from somewhere.

The warder opened the wicket immediately, stepped inside, and held it
open while they entered, nor uttered another word. But as soon as
Richard had got Scudamore clear of the threshold, to which he lent not a
helping finger, he stepped quietly out again, closed the wicket behind
him, and taking Lady by the bridle, led her back over the bridge towards
the bowling-green.

Scudamore had just time to whisper to Heywood, 'It is my master, the
earl himself,' when the voice came again.

'What! wounded, Rowland? How is this? And who have you there?'

But that moment Richard heard the sound of his mare's hoofs on the
bridge, and leaving Scudamore to answer for them both, bounded back to
the wicket, darted through, and called her by name. Instantly she stood
stock still, notwithstanding a vicious kick in the ribs from Eccles, not
unseen of Heywood. Enraged at the fellow's insolence, he dealt him a
sudden blow that stretched him at the mare's feet, vaulted into the
saddle, and had reached the outer gate before he had recovered himself.
The sleepy porter had just let him through, when the warder's signal to
let no one out reached him. Richard turned with a laugh.

'When next you catch a roundhead,' he said, 'keep him;' and giving Lady
the rein, galloped off, leaving the porter staring after him through the
bars like a half-roused wild beast.

Not doubting the rumour of open hostilities, the warder's design had
been to secure the mare, and pretend she had run away, for a good horse
was now more precious than ever.

The earl's study was over the gate, and as he suffered much from gout
and slept ill, he not unfrequently sought refuge in the night-watches
with his friends Chaucer, Gower, and Shakspere.

Richard drew rein at the last point whence the castle would have been
visible in the daytime. All he saw was a moving light. The walls whence
it shone were one day to be as the shell around the kernel of his
destiny.



CHAPTER IX.

LOVE AND WAR.


When Richard reached home and recounted the escape he had had, an
imprecation, the first he had ever heard him utter, broke from his
father's lips. With the indiscrimination of party spirit, he looked upon
the warder's insolence and attempted robbery as the spirit and behaviour
of his master, the earl being in fact as little capable of such conduct
as Mr. Heywood himself.

Immediately after their early breakfast the next morning, he led his son
to a chamber in the roof, of the very existence of which he had been
ignorant, and there discovered to him good store of such armour of both
kinds as was then in use, which for some years past he had been quietly
collecting in view of the time--which, in the light of the last rumour,
seemed to have at length arrived--when strength would have to decide the
antagonism of opposed claims. Probably also it was in view of this time,
seen from afar in silent approach, that, from the very moment when he
took his education into his own hands, he had paid thorough attention to
Richard's bodily as well as mental accomplishment, encouraging him in
all manly sports, such as wrestling, boxing, and riding to hounds, with
the more martial training of sword-exercises, with and without the
target, and shooting with the carbine and the new-fashioned flint-lock
pistols.

The rest of the morning Richard spent in choosing a headpiece, and mail
plates for breast, back, neck, shoulders, arms, and thighs. The next
thing was to set the village tailor at work upon a coat of that thick
strong leather, dressed soft and pliant, which they called buff, to wear
under his armour. After that came the proper equipment of Lady, and that
of the twenty men whom his father expected to provide from amongst his
own tenants, and for whom he had already a full provision of clothing
and armour; they had to be determined on, conferred with, and fitted,
one by one, so as to avoid drawing attention to the proceeding. Hence
both Mr. Heywood and Richard had enough to do, and the more that
Faithful Stopchase, on whom was their chief dependence, had not yet
recovered sufficiently from the effects of his fall to be equal to the
same exertion as formerly--of which he was the more impatient that he
firmly believed he had been a special object of Satanic assault, because
of the present value of his counsels, and the coming weight of his deeds
on the side of the well-affected. Thus occupied, the weeks passed into
months.

During this time Richard called again and again upon Dorothy, ostensibly
to inquire after her mother. Only once, however, did she appear, when
she gave him to understand she was so fully occupied, that, although
obliged by his attention, he must not expect to see her again.

'But I will be honest, Richard,' she added, 'and let you know plainly
that, were it otherwise in respect of my mother, I yet should not see
you, for you and I have parted company, and are already so far asunder
on different roads that I must bid you farewell at once while yet we can
hear each other speak.'

There was no anger, only a cold sadness in her tone and manner, while
her bearing was stately as towards one with whom she had never had
intimacy. Even her sadness seemed to Richard to have respect to the
hopeless condition of her mother's health, and not at all to the changed
relation between him and her.

'I trust, at least, mistress Dorothy,' he said, with some bitterness,
'you will grant me the justice that what I do, I do with a good
conscience. After all that has been betwixt us I ask for no more.'

'What more could the best of men ask for?'

'I, who am far from making any claim to rank with such--'

'I am glad to know it,' interjected Dorothy.

'--am yet capable of hoping that an eye at once keener and kinder than
yours may see conscience at the very root of the actions which you,
Dorothy, will doubtless most condemn.'

Was this the boy she had despised for indifference?

'Was it conscience drove you to sprain my cousin Rowland's knee?' she
asked.

Richard was silent for a moment. The sting was too cruel.

'Pray hesitate not to say so, if such be your conviction,' added
Dorothy.

'No,' replied Richard, recovering himself. 'I trust it is not such a
serious matter as you say; but any how it was not conscience but
jealousy and anger that drove me to that wrong.'

'Did you see the action such at the time?'

'No, surely; else I would not have been guilty of that for which I am
truly sorry now.'

'Then, perhaps, the day will come when, looking back on what you do now,
you will regard it with the like disapprobation.--God grant it may!' she
added, with a deep sigh.

'That can hardly be, mistress Dorothy. I am, in the matters to which you
refer, under the influence of no passion, no jealousy, no self-seeking,
no--'

'Perhaps a deeper search might discover in you each and all of the
bosom-sins you so stoutly abjure,' interrupted Dorothy. 'But it is
needless for you to defend yourself to me; I am not your judge.'

'So much the better for me!' returned Richard; 'I should else have an
unjust as well as severe one. I, on my part, hope the day may come when
you will find something to repent of in such harshness towards an old
friend whom you choose to think in the wrong.'

'Richard Heywood, God is my witness it is no choice of mine. I have no
choice: what else is there to think? I know well enough what you and
your father are about. But there is nothing save my own conscience and
my mother's love I would not part with to be able to believe you
honourably right in your own eyes--not in mine--God forbid! That can
never be--not until fair is foul and foul is fair.'

So saying, she held out her hand.

'God be between thee and me, Dorothy!' said Richard, with solemnity, as
he took it in his.

He spoke with a voice that seemed to him far away and not his own. Until
now he had never realized the idea of a final separation between him and
Dorothy; and even now, he could hardly believe she was in earnest, but
felt, rather, like a child whose nurse threatens to forsake him on the
dark road, and who begins to weep only from the pitiful imagination of
the thing, and not any actual fear of her carrying the threat into
execution. The idea of retaining her love by ceasing to act on his
convictions--the very possibility of it--had never crossed the horizon
of his thoughts. Had it come to him as the merest intellectual notion,
he would have perceived at once, of such a loyal stock did he come, and
so loyal had he himself been to truth all his days, that to act upon her
convictions instead of his own would have been to widen a gulf at least
measurable, to one infinite and impassable.

She withdrew the hand which had solemnly pressed his, and left the room.
For a moment he stood gazing after her. Even in that moment, the vague
fear that she would not come again grew to a plain conviction, and
forcibly repressing the misery that rose in bodily presence from his
heart to his throat, he left the house, hurried down the pleached alley
to the old sun-dial, threw himself on the grass under the yews, and wept
and longed for war.

But war was not to be just yet. Autumn withered and sank into winter.
The rain came down on the stubble, and the red cattle waded through red
mire to and from their pasture; the skies grew pale above, and the earth
grew bare beneath; the winds grew sharp and seemed unfriendly; the
brooks ran foaming to the rivers, and the rivers ran roaring to the
ocean. Then the earth dried a little, and the frost came, and swelled
and hardened it; the snow fell and lay, vanished and came again. But
even out of the depth of winter, quivered airs and hints of spring,
until at last the mighty weakling was born. And all this time rumour
beat the alarum of war, and men were growing harder and more determined
on both sides--some from self-opinion, some from party spirit, some from
prejudice, antipathy, animosity, some from sense of duty, mingled more
and less with the alloys of impulse and advantage. But he who was most
earnest on the one side was least aware that he who was most earnest on
the other was honest as himself. To confess uprightness in one of the
opposite party, seemed to most men to involve treachery to their own; or
if they were driven to the confession, it was too often followed with an
attempt at discrediting the noblest of human qualities.

The hearts of the two young people fared very much as the earth under
the altered skies of winter, and behaved much as the divided nation. A
sense of wrong endured kept both from feeling at first the full sorrow
of their separation; and by the time that the tide of memory had flowed
back and covered the rock of offence, they had got a little used to the
dulness of a day from which its brightest hour had been blotted. Dorothy
learned very soon to think of Richard as a prodigal brother beyond seas,
and when they chanced to meet, which was but seldom, he was to her as a
sad ghost in a dream. To Richard, on the other hand, she looked a lovely
but scarce worshipful celestial, with merely might enough to hold his
heart, swelling with a sense of wrong, in her hand, and squeeze it very
hard. His consolation was that he suffered for the truth's sake, for to
decline action upon such insight as he had had, was a thing as
impossible as to alter the relations between the parts of a sphere.
Dorothy longed for peace, and the return of the wandering chickens of
the church to the shelter of her wings, to be led by her about the paled
yard of obedience, picking up the barley of righteousness; Richard
longed for the trumpet-blast of Liberty to call her sons together--to a
war whose battles should never cease until men were free to worship God
after the light he had lighted within them, and the dragon of priestly
authority should breathe out his last fiery breath, no more to drive the
feebler brethren to seek refuge in the house of hypocrisy.

At home Dorothy was under few influences except those of her mother,
and, through his letters, of Mr. Matthew Herbert. Upon the former a
lovely spiritual repose had long since descended. Her anxieties were
only for her daughter, her hopes only for the world beyond the grave.
The latter was a man of peace, who, having found in the ordinances of
his church everything to aid and nothing to retard his spiritual
development, had no conception of the nature of the puritanical
opposition to its government and rites. Through neither could Dorothy
come to any true idea of the questions which agitated the politics of
both church and state. To her, the king was a kind of demigod, and every
priest a fountain of truth. Her religion was the sedate and dutiful
acceptance of obedient innocence, a thing of small account indeed where
it is rooted only in sentiment and customary preference, but of
inestimable value in such cases as hers, where action followed upon
acceptance.

Richard, again, was under the quickening masterdom of a well-stored,
active mind, a strong will, a judgment that sought to keep its balance
even, and whose descended scale never rebounded, a conscience which,
through all the mists of human judgment, eyed ever the blotted glimmer
of some light beyond; and all these elements of power were gathered in
his own father, in whom the customary sternness of the puritan parent
had at length blossomed in confidence, a phase of love which, to such a
mind as Richard's, was even more enchanting than tenderness. To be
trusted by such a father, to feel his mind and soul present with him,
acknowledging him a fit associate in great hopes and noble aims, was
surely and ought to be, whatever the sentimentalist may say, some
comfort for any sorrow a youth is capable of, such being in general only
too lightly remediable. I wonder if any mere youth ever suffered, from a
disappointment in love, half the sense of cureless pain which, with one
protracted pang, gnaws at the heart of the avaricious old man who has
dropt a sovereign into his draw-well.

But the relation of Dorothy and Richard, although ordinary in outward
appearance, was of no common kind; and while these two thus fell apart
from each other in their outer life, each judging the other insensible
to the call of highest rectitude, neither of them knew how much his or
her heart was confident of the other's integrity. In respect of them,
the lovely simile, in Christabel, of the parted cliffs, may be carried a
little farther, for, under the dreary sea flowing between them, the rock
was one still. Such a faith may sometimes, perhaps often does, lie in
the heart like a seed buried beyond the reach of the sun, thoroughly
alive though giving no sign: to grow too soon might be to die. Things
had indeed gone farther with Dorothy and Richard, but the lobes of their
loves had never been fairly exposed to the sun and wind ere the swollen
clods of winter again covered them.

Once, in the cold noon of a lovely day of frost, when the lightest step
crackled with the breaking of multitudinous crystals, when the trees
were fringed with furry white, and the old spider-webs glimmered like
filigrane of fairy silver, they met on a lonely country-road. The sun
shone red through depths of half-frozen vapour, and tinged the whiteness
of death with a faint warmth of feeling and hope. Along the rough lane
Richard walked reading what looked like a letter, but was a copy his
father had procured of a poem still only in manuscript--the Lycidas of
Milton. In the glow to which the alternating hot and cold winds of
enthusiasm and bereavement had fanned the fiery particle within him,
Richard was not only able to understand and enjoy the thought of which
the poem was built, but was borne aloft on its sad yet hopeful melodies
as upon wings of an upsoaring seraph. The flow of his feeling suddenly
broken by an almost fierce desire to share with Dorothy the tenderness
of the magic music of the stately monody, and then, ere the answering
waves of her emotion had subsided, to whisper to her that the marvellous
spell came from the heart of the same wonderful man from whose brain had
issued, like Pallas from Jove's,--what?--Animadversions upon the
Remonstrants Defence against Smectymnus, the pamphlet which had so
roused all the abhorrence her nature was capable of--he lifted his head
and saw her but a few paces from him. Dorothy caught a glimpse of a
countenance radiant with feeling, and eyes flashing through a watery
film of delight; her own eyes fell; she said, 'Good morning, Richard!'
and passed him without deflecting an inch. The bird of song folded its
wings and called in its shining; the sun lost half his red beams; the
sprinkled seed pearls vanished, and ashes covered the earth; he folded
the paper, laid it in the breast of his doublet, and walked home through
the glittering meadows with a fresh hurt in his heart.

Dorothy's time and thoughts were all but occupied with the nursing of
her mother, who, contrary to the expectation of her friends, outlived
the winter, and revived as the spring drew on. She read much to her.
Some of the best books had drifted into the house and settled there,
but, although English printing was now nearly two centuries old, they
were not many. We must not therefore imagine, however, that the two
ladies were ill supplied with spiritual pabulum. There are few houses of
the present day in which, though there be ten times as many books, there
is so much strong food; if there was any lack, it was rather of
diluents. Amongst those she read were Queen Elizabeth's Homilies,
Hooker's Politie, Donne's Sermons, and George Herbert's Temple, to the
dying lady only less dear than her New Testament.

But even with this last, it was only through sympathy with her mother
that Dorothy could come into any contact. The gems of the mind, which
alone could catch and reflect such light, lay as yet under the soil, and
much ploughing and breaking of the clods was needful ere they could come
largely to the surface. But happily for Dorothy, there were amongst the
books a few of those precious little quartos of Shakspere, the first
three books of the Faerie Queene, and the Countess of Pembroke's
Arcadia, then much read, if we may judge from the fact that, although it
was not published till after the death of Sidney, the eighth edition of
it had now been nearly ten years in lady Vaughan's possession.

Then there was in the drawing-room an old spinnet, sadly out of tune, on
which she would yet, in spite of the occasional jar and shudder of
respondent nerves, now and then play at a sitting all the little music
she had learned, and with whose help she had sometimes even tried to
find out an air for words that had taken her fancy.

Also, she had the house to look after, the live stock to see to, her dog
to play with and teach, a few sad thoughts and memories to discipline, a
call now and then from a neighbour, or a longer visit from some old
friend of her mother's to receive, and the few cottagers on all that was
left of the estate of Wyfern to care for; so that her time was tolerably
filled up, and she felt little need of anything more to occupy at least
her hours and days.

Meanwhile, through all nature's changes, through calm and tempest, rain
and snow, through dull refusing winter, and the first passing visits of
open-handed spring, the hearts of men were awaiting the outburst of the
thunder, the blue peaks of whose cloud-built cells had long been visible
on the horizon of the future. Every now and then they would start and
listen, and ask each other was it the first growl of the storm, or but
the rumbling of the wheels of the government. To the dwellers in Raglan
Castle it seemed at least a stormy sign--of which the news reached them
in the dull November weather--that the parliament had set a guard upon
Worcester House in the Strand, and searched it for persons suspected of
high treason--lord Herbert, doubtless, first of all, the direction and
strength of whose political drift, suspicious from the first because of
his religious persuasion, could hardly be any longer doubtful to the
most liberal of its members.

The news of the terrible insurrection of the catholics in Ireland
followed.

Richard kept his armour bright, his mare in good fettle, himself and his
men in thorough exercise, read and talked with his father, and waited,
sometimes with patience, sometimes without.

At length, in the early spring, the king withdrew to York, and a
body-guard of the gentlemen of the neighbourhood gathered around him.
Richard renewed the flints of his carbine and pistols.

In April, the king, refused entrance into the town of Hull, proclaimed
the governor a traitor. The parliament declared the proclamation a
breach of its privileges. Richard got new girths.

The summer passed in various disputes. Towards its close the governor of
Portsmouth declined to act upon a commission to organize the new levies
of the parliament, and administered instead thereof an oath of
allegiance to the garrison and inhabitants. Thereupon the place was
besieged by Essex; the king proclaimed him a traitor, and the parliament
retorted by declaring the royal proclamation a libel. Richard had his
mare new-shod.

On a certain day in August, the royal standard, with the motto, 'Give to
Caesar his due,' was set up at Nottingham. Richard mounted his mare, and
taking leave of his father, led Stopchase and nineteen men more, all
fairly mounted, to offer his services to the parliament, as represented
by the earl of Essex.



CHAPTER X.

DOROTHY'S REFUGE.


With the decay of summer, lady Vaughan began again to sink, and became
at length so weak that Dorothy rarely left her room. The departure of
Richard Heywood to join the rebels affected her deeply. The report of
the utter rout of the parliamentary forces at Edgehill, lighted up her
face for the last time with a glimmer of earthly gladness, which the
very different news that followed speedily extinguished; and after that
she declined more rapidly. Mrs. Rees told Dorothy that she would yield
to the first frost. But she lingered many weeks. One morning she signed
to her daughter to come nearer that she might speak to her.

'Dorothy,' she whispered, 'I wish much to see good Mr. Herbert. Prithee
send for him. I know it is an evil time for him to travel, being an old
man and feeble, but he will do his endeavour to come to me, I know, if
but for my husband's sake, whom he loved like a brother. I cannot die in
peace without first taking counsel with him how best to provide for the
safety of my little ewe-lamb until these storms are overblown. Alas!
alas! I did look to Richard Heywood--'

She could say no more.

'Do not take thought about the morrow for me any more than you would for
yourself, madam,' said Dorothy. 'You know master Herbert says the one is
as the other.'

She kissed her mother's hand as she spoke, then hastened from the room,
and despatched a messenger to Llangattock.

Before the worthy man arrived, lady Vaughan was speechless. By signs and
looks, definite enough, and more eloquent than words, she committed
Dorothy to his protection, and died.

Dorothy behaved with much calmness. She would not, in her mother's
absence, act so as would have grieved her presence. Little passed
between her and Mr. Herbert until the funeral was over. Then they talked
of the future. Her guardian wished much to leave everything in charge of
the old bailiff, and take her with him to Llangattock; but he hesitated
a little because of the bad state of the roads in winter, much because
of their danger in the troubled condition of affairs, and most of all
because of the uncertain, indeed perilous position of the Episcopalian
clergy, who might soon find themselves without a roof to shelter them.
Fearing nothing for himself, he must yet, in arranging for Dorothy,
contemplate the worst of threatening possibilities; and one thing was
pretty certain, that matters must grow far worse before they could even
begin to mend.

But they had more time for deliberation given them than they would
willingly have taken. Mr. Herbert had caught cold while reading the
funeral service, and was compelled to delay his return. The cold settled
into a sort of low fever, and for many weeks he lay helpless. During
this time the sudden affair at Brentford took place, after which the
king, having lost by it far more than he had gained, withdrew to Oxford,
anxious to re-open the treaty which the battle had closed.

The country was now in a sad state. Whichever party was uppermost in any
district, sought to ruin all of the opposite faction. Robbery and
plunder became common, and that not only on the track of armies or the
route of smaller bodies of soldiers, for bands of mere marauders, taking
up the cry of the faction that happened in any neighbourhood to have the
ascendancy, plundered houses, robbed travellers, and were guilty of all
sorts of violence. Hence it had become as perilous to stay at home in an
unfortified house as to travel; and many were the terrors which during
the winter tried the courage of the girl, and checked the recovery of
the old man. At length one morning, after a midnight alarm, Mr. Herbert
thus addressed Dorothy, as she waited upon him with his breakfast:

'It fears me much, my dear Dorothy, that the time will be long ere any
but fortified places will be safe abodes. It is a question in my mind
whether it would not be better to seek refuge for you--. But stay; let
me suggest my proposal, rather than startle you with it in sudden form
complete. You are related to the Somersets, are you not?'

'Yes--distantly.'

'Is the relationship recognized by them?'

'I cannot tell, sir. I do not even distinctly know what the relationship
is. And assuredly, sir, you mean not to propose that I should seek
safety from bodily peril with a household which is, to say the least, so
unfriendly to the doctrines you and my blessed mother have always taught
me! You cannot, or indeed, must you not have forgotten that they are
papists?'

Dorothy had been educated in such a fear of the catholics, and such a
profound disapproval of those of their doctrines rejected by the
reformers of the church of England, as was only surpassed in intensity
by her absolute abhorrence of the assumptions and negations of the
puritans. These indeed roused in her a certain sense of disgust which
she had never felt in respect of what were considered by her teachers
the most erroneous doctrines of the catholics. But Mr. Herbert, although
his prejudices were nearly as strong, and his opinions, if not more
indigenous at least far better acclimatised than hers, had yet reaped
this advantage of a longer life, that he was better able to atone his
dislike of certain opinions with personal regard for those who held
them, and therefore did not, like Dorothy, recoil from the idea of
obligation to one of a different creed--provided always that creed was
catholicism and not puritanism. For to the church of England, the
catholics, in the presence of her more rampant foes, appeared harmless
enough now.

He believed that the honourable feelings of lord Worcester and his
family would be hostile to any attempt to proselytize his ward. But as
far as she was herself concerned, he trusted more to the strength of her
prejudices than the rectitude of her convictions, honest as the girl
was, to prevent her from being over-influenced by the change of
spiritual atmosphere; for in proportion to the simplicity of her
goodness must be her capacity for recognizing the goodness of others,
catholics or not, and for being wrought upon by the virtue that went out
from them. His hope was, that England would have again become the abode
of peace, long ere any risk to her spiritual well-being should have been
incurred by this mode of securing her bodily safety and comfort.

But there was another fact, in the absence of which he would have had
far more hesitation in seeking for his ewe-lamb the protection of sheep,
the guardians of whose spiritual fold had but too often proved wolves in
sheep-dogs' clothing: within the last few days the news had reached him
that an old friend named Bayly, a true man, a priest of the English
church and a doctor of divinity, had taken up his abode in Raglan castle
as one of the household--chaplain indeed, as report would have it,
though that was hard of belief, save indeed it were for the sake of the
protestants within its walls. However that might be, there was a true
shepherd to whose care to entrust his lamb; and it was mainly on the
strength of this consideration that he had concluded to make his
proposal to Dorothy--namely, that she should seek shelter within the
walls of Raglan castle until the storm should be so far over-blown, as
to admit either of her going to Llangattock or returning to her own
home. He now discussed the matter with her in full, and, notwithstanding
her very natural repugnance to the scheme, such was Dorothy's confidence
in her friend that she was easily persuaded of its wisdom. What the more
inclined her to yield was, that Mr. Heywood had written her a letter,
hardly the less unwelcome for the kindness of its tone, in which he
offered her the shelter and hospitality of Redware 'until better days.'

'Better days!' exclaimed Dorothy with contempt. 'If such days as he
would count better should ever arrive, his house is the last place where
I would have them find me!'

She wrote a polite but cold refusal, and rejoiced in the hope that he
would soon hear of her having sought and found refuge in Raglan with the
friends of the king.

Meanwhile Mr. Herbert had opened communication with Dr. Bayly, had
satisfied himself that he was still a true son of the church, and had
solicited his friendly mediation towards the receiving of mistress
Dorothy Vaughan into the family of the marquis of Worcester, to the
dignity of which title the earl had now been raised--the parliament, to
be sure, declining to acknowledge the patent conferred by his majesty,
but that was of no consequence in the estimation of those chiefly
concerned.

On a certain spring morning, then, the snow still lying in the hollows
of the hills, Thomas Bayly came to Wyfern to see his old friend Matthew
Herbert. He was a courteous little man, with a courtesy librating on a
knife-edge of deflection towards obsequiousness on the one hand and
condescension on the other, for neither of which, however, was his
friend Herbert an object. His eye was keen, and his forehead good, but
his carriage inclined to the pompous, and his speech to the formal,
ornate, and prolix. The shape of his mouth was honest, but the closure
of the lips indicated self-importance. The greeting between them was
simple and genuine, and ere they parted, Bayly had promised to do his
best in representing the matter to the marquis, his daughter-in-law,
lady Margaret, the wife of lord Herbert, and his daughter, lady Anne,
who, although the most rigid catholic in the house, was already the
doctor's special friend.

It would have been greatly unlike the marquis or any of his family to
refuse such a prayer. Had not their house been for centuries the abode
of hospitality, the embodiment of shelter? On the mere representation of
Dr. Bayly, and the fact of the relationship, which, although distant,
was well enough known, within two days mistress Dorothy Vaughan received
an invitation to enter the family of the marquis, as one of the
gentlewomen of lady Margaret's suite. It was of course gratefully
accepted, and as soon as Mr. Herbert thought himself sufficiently
recovered to encounter the fatigues of travelling, he urged on the
somewhat laggard preparations of Dorothy, that he might himself see her
safely housed on his way to Llangattock, whither he was most anxious to
return.

It was a lovely spring morning when they set out together on horseback
for Raglan. The sun looked down like a young father upon his
earth-mothered children, peeping out of their beds to greet him after
the long winter night. The rooks were too busy to caw, dibbling deep in
the soft red earth with their great beaks. The red cattle, flaked with
white, spotted the clear fresh green of the meadows. The bare trees had
a kind of glory about them, like old men waiting for their youth, which
might come suddenly. A few slow clouds were drifting across the pale
sky. A gentle wind was blowing over the wet fields, but when a cloud
swept before the sun, it blew cold. The roads were bad, but their horses
were used to such, and picked their way with the easy carefulness of
experience. The winter might yet return for a season, but this day was
of the spring and its promises. Earth and air, field and sky were full
of peace. But the heart of England was troubled--troubled with passions
both good and evil--with righteous indignation and unholy scorn, with
the love of liberty and the joy of license, with ambition and
aspiration.

No honest heart could yield long to the comforting of the fair world,
knowing that some of her fairest fields would soon be crimsoned afresh
with the blood of her children. But Dorothy's sadness was not all for
her country in general. Had she put the question honestly to her heart,
she must have confessed that even the loss of her mother had less to do
with a certain weight upon it, which the loveliness of the spring day
seemed to render heavier, than the rarely absent feeling rather than
thought, that the playmate of her childhood, and the offered lover of
her youth, had thrown himself with all the energy of dawning manhood
into the quarrel of the lawless and self-glorifying. Nor was she
altogether free from a sense of blame in the matter. Had she been less
imperative in her mood and bearing, more ready to give than to require
sympathy,--but ah! she could not change the past, and the present was
calling upon her.

At length the towers of Raglan appeared, and a pang of apprehension shot
through her bosom. She was approaching the unknown. Like one on the
verge of a second-sight, her history seemed for a moment about to reveal
itself--where it lay, like a bird in its egg, within those massive
walls, warded by those huge ascending towers. Brought up in a retirement
that some would have counted loneliness, and although used to all gentle
and refined ways, yet familiar with homeliness and simplicity of mode
and ministration, she could not help feeling awed at the prospect of
entering such a zone of rank and stateliness and observance as the
household of the marquis, who lived like a prince in expenditure,
attendance, and ceremony. She knew little of the fashions of the day,
and, like many modest young people, was afraid she might be guilty of
some solecism which would make her appear ill-bred, or at least awkward.
Since her mother left her, she had become aware of a timidity to which
she had hitherto been a stranger. 'Ah!' she said to herself, 'if only my
mother were with me!'

At length they reached the brick gate, were admitted within the outer
wall, and following the course taken by Scudamore and Heywood, skirted
the moat which enringed the huge blind citadel or keep, and arrived at
the western gate. The portcullis rose to admit them, and they rode into
the echoes of the vaulted gateway. Turning to congratulate Dorothy on
their safe arrival, Mr. Herbert saw that she was pale and agitated.

'What ails my child?' he said in a low voice, for the warder was near.

'I feel as if entering a prison,' she replied, with a shiver.

'Is thy God the God of the grange and not of the castle?' returned the
old man.

'But, sir,' said Dorothy, 'I have been accustomed to a liberty such as
few have enjoyed, and these walls and towers--'

'Heed not the look of things,' interrupted her guardian. 'Believe in the
Will that with a thought can turn the shadow of death into the morning,
give gladness for weeping, and the garment of praise for the spirit of
heaviness.'



CHAPTER XI.

RAGLAN CASTLE.


While he yet spoke, their horses, of their own accord, passed through
the gate which Eccles had thrown wide to admit them, and carried them
into the Fountain court. Here, indeed, was a change of aspect! All that
Dorothy had hitherto contemplated was the side of the fortress which
faced the world--frowning and defiant, although here and there on the
point of breaking into a half smile, for the grim, suspicious,
altogether repellent look of the old feudal castle had been gradually
vanishing in the additions and alterations of more civilised times. But
now they were in the heart of the building, and saw the face which the
house of strength turned upon its own people. The spring sunshine filled
half the court; over the rest lay the shadow of the huge keep, towering
massive above the three-storied line of building which formed the side
next it. Here was the true face of the Janus-building, full of eyes and
mouths; for many bright windows looked down into the court, in some of
which shone the smiling faces of children and ladies peeping out to see
the visitors, whose arrival had been announced by the creaking chains of
the portcullis; and by the doors issued and entered, here a lady in rich
attire, there a gentlemen half in armour, and here again a serving man
or maid. Nearly in the centre of the quadrangle, just outside the shadow
of the keep, stood the giant horse, rearing in white marble, almost
dazzling in the sunshine, from whose nostrils spouted the jets of water
which gave its name to the court. Opposite the gate by which they
entered was the little chapel, with its triple lancet windows, over
which lay the picture-gallery with its large oriel lights. Far above
their roof, ascended from behind that of the great hall, with its fine
lantern window seated on the ridge. From the other court beyond the
hall, that upon which the main entrance opened, came the sounds of heavy
feet in intermittent but measured tread, the clanking of arms, and a
returning voice of loud command: the troops of the garrison were being
exercised on the slabs of the pitched court.

From each of the many doors opening into the court they had entered, a
path, paved with coloured tiles, led straight through the finest of turf
to the marble fountain in the centre, into whose shadowed basin the
falling water seemed to carry captive as into a prison the sunlight it
caught above. Its music as it fell made a lovely but strange and sad
contrast with the martial sounds from beyond.

It was but a moment they had to note these things; eyes and ears
gathered them all at once. Two of the warder's men already held their
horses, while two other men, responsive to the warder's whistle, came
running from the hall and helped them to dismount. Hardly had they
reached the ground ere a man-servant came, who led the way to the left
towards a porch of carved stone on the same side of the court. The door
stood open, revealing a flight of stairs, rather steep, but wide and
stately, going right up between two straight walls. At the top stood
lady Margaret's gentleman usher, Mr. Harcourt by name, who received them
with much courtesy, and conducting them to a small room on the left of
the landing, went to announce their arrival to lady Margaret, to whose
private parlour this was the antechamber. Returning in a moment, he led
them into her presence.

She received them with a frankness which almost belied the stateliness
of her demeanour. Through the haze of that reserve which a consciousness
of dignity, whether true or false, so often generates, the genial
courtesy of her Irish nature, for she was an O'Brien, daughter of the
earl of Thomond, shone clear, and justified her Celtic origin.

'Welcome, cousin!' she said, holding out her hand while yet distant half
the length of the room, across which, upborne on slow firm foot, she
advanced with even, stately motion, 'And you also, reverend sir,' she
went on, turning to Mr. Herbert. 'I am told we are indebted to you for
this welcome addition to our family--how welcome none can tell but
ladies shut up like ourselves.'

Dorothy was already almost at her ease, and the old clergyman soon found
lady Margaret so sensible and as well as courteous--prejudiced yet
further in her favour, it must be confessed, by the pleasant pretence
she made of claiming cousinship on the ground of the identity of her
husband's title with his surname--that, ere he left the castle, liberal
as he had believed himself, he was nevertheless astonished to find how
much of friendship had in that brief space been engendered in his bosom
towards a catholic lady whom he had never before seen.

Since the time of Elizabeth, when the fear and repugnance of the nation
had been so greatly and justly excited by the apparent probability of a
marriage betwixt their queen and the detested Philip of Spain, a
considerable alteration had been gradually wrought in the feelings of a
large portion of it in respect of their catholic countrymen--a fact
which gave strength to the position of the puritans in asserting the
essential identity of episcopalian with catholic politics. Almost forty
years had elapsed since the Gunpowder Plot; the queen was a catholic;
the episcopalian party was itself at length endangered by the extension
and development of the very principles on which they had themselves
broken away from the church of Rome; and the catholics were friendly to
the government of the king, under which their condition was one of
comfort if not influence, while under that of the parliament they had
every reason to anticipate a revival of persecution. Not a few of them
doubtless cherished the hope that this revelation of the true spirit of
dissent would result in driving the king and his party back into the
bosom of the church.

The king, on the other hand, while only too glad to receive what aid he
might from the loyal families of the old religion, yet saw that much
caution was necessary lest he should alienate the most earnest of his
protestant friends by giving ground for the suspicion that he was
inclined to purchase their co-operation by a return to the creed of his
Scottish grandmother, Mary Stuart, and his English
great-great-grand-mother, Margaret Tudor.

On the part of the clergy there had been for some time a considerable
tendency, chiefly from the influence of Laud, to cultivate the same
spirit which actuated the larger portion of the catholic priesthood; and
although this had never led to retrograde movement in regard to their
politics, the fact that both were accounted by a third party, and that
far the most dangerous to either of the other two, as in spirit and
object one and the same, naturally tended to produce a more indulgent
regard of each other than had hitherto prevailed. And hence, in part, it
was that it had become possible for episcopalian Dr. Bayly to be an
inmate of Raglan Castle, and for good, protestant Matthew Herbert to
seek refuge for his ward with good catholic lady Margaret.

Eager to return to the duties of his parish, through his illness so long
neglected, Mr. Herbert declined her ladyship's invitation to dinner,
which, she assured him, consulting a watch that she wore in a ring on
her little finger, must be all but ready, seeing it was now a quarter to
eleven, and took his leave, accompanied by Dorothy's servant to bring
back the horse--if indeed they should be fortunate enough to escape the
requisition of both horses by one party or the other. At present,
however, the king's affairs continued rather on the ascendant, and the
name of the marquis in that country was as yet a tower of strength.
Dorothy's horse was included in the hospitality shown his mistress, and
taken to the stables--under the mid-day shadow of the Library Tower.

As soon as the parson was gone, lady Margaret touched a small silver
bell which hung in a stand on the table beside her.

'Conduct mistress Dorothy Vaughan to her room, wait upon her there, and
then attend her hither,' she said to the maid who answered it. 'I would
request a little not unneedful haste, cousin,' she went on, 'for my lord
of Worcester is very precise in all matters of household order, and
likes ill to see any one enter the dining-room after he is seated. It is
his desire that you should dine at his table to-day. After this I must
place you with the rest of my ladies, who dine in the housekeeper's
room.'

'As you think proper, madam,' returned Dorothy, a little disappointed,
but a little relieved also.

'The bell will ring presently,' said lady Margaret, 'and a quarter of an
hour thereafter we shall all be seated.'

She was herself already dressed--in a pale-blue satin, with full skirt
and close-fitting, long-peaked boddice, fastened in front by several
double clasps set with rubies; her shoulders were bare, and her sleeves
looped up with large round star-like studs, set with diamonds, so that
her arms also were bare to the elbows. Round her neck was a short string
of large pearls.

'You take no long time to attire yourself, cousin,' said her ladyship,
kindly, when Dorothy returned.

'Little time was needed, madam,' answered Dorothy; 'for me there is but
one colour. I fear I shall show but a dull bird amidst the gay plumage
of Raglan. But I could have better adorned myself had not I heard the
bell ere I had begun, and feared to lose your ladyship's company, and in
very deed make my first appearance before my lord as a transgressor of
the laws of his household.'

'You did well, cousin Dorothy; for everything goes by law and order
here. All is reason and rhyme too in this house. My lord's father,
although one of the best and kindest of men, is, as I said, somewhat
precise, and will, as he says himself, be king in his own
kingdom--thinking doubtless of one who is not such. I should not talk
thus with you, cousin, were you like some young ladies I know; but there
is that about you which pleases me greatly, and which I take to indicate
discretion. When first I came to the house, not having been accustomed
to so severe a punctuality, I gave my lord no little annoyance; for,
oftener than once or twice, I walked into his dining-room not only after
grace had been said, but after the first course had been sent down to
the hall-tables. My lord took his revenge in calling me the wild
Irishwoman.'

Here she laughed very sweetly.

'The only one,' she resumed, 'who does here as he will, is my husband.
Even lord Charles, who is governor of the castle, must be in his place
to the moment; but for my husband--.'

The bell rang a second time. Lady Margaret rose, and taking Dorothy's
arm, led her from the room into a long dim-lighted corridor. Arrived at
the end of it, where a second passage met it at right angles, she
stopped at a door facing them.

'I think we shall find my lord of Worcester here,' she said in a
whisper, as she knocked and waited a response. 'He is not here,' she
said. 'He expects me to call on him as I pass. We must make haste.'

The second passage, in which were several curves and sharp turns, led
them to a large room, nearly square, in which were two tables covered
for about thirty. By the door and along the sides of the room were a
good many gentlemen, some of them very plainly dressed, and others in
gayer attire, amongst whom Dorothy, as they passed through, recognised
her cousin Scudamore. Whether he saw and knew her she could not tell.
Crossing a small antechamber they entered the drawing-room, where stood
and sat talking a number of ladies and gentlemen, to some of whom lady
Margaret spoke and presented her cousin, greeting others with a familiar
nod or smile, and yet others with a stately courtesy. Then she said,

'Ladies, I will lead the way to the dining-room. My lord marquis would
the less willingly have us late that something detains himself.'

Those who dined in the marquis's room followed her. Scarcely had she
reached the upper end of the table when the marquis entered, followed by
all his gentlemen, some of whom withdrew, their service over for the
time, while others proceeded to wait upon him and his family, with any
of the nobility who happened to be his guests at the first table.

'I am the laggard to-day, my lady,' he said, cheerily, as he bore his
heavy person up the room towards her. 'Ah!' he went on, as lady Margaret
stepped forward to meet him, leading Dorothy by the hand, 'who is this
sober young damsel under my wild Irishwoman's wing? Our young cousin
Vaughan, doubtless, whose praises my worthy Dr. Bayly has been sounding
in my ears?'

He held out his hand to Dorothy, and bade her welcome to Raglan.

The marquis was a man of noble countenance, of the type we are ready to
imagine peculiar to the great men of the time of queen Elizabeth. To
this his unwieldy person did not correspond, although his movements were
still far from being despoiled of that charm which naturally belonged to
all that was his. Nor did his presence owe anything to his dress, which
was of that long-haired coarse woollen stuff they called frieze, worn,
probably, by not another nobleman in the country, and regarded as fitter
for a yeoman. His eyes, though he was yet but sixty-five or so, were
already hazy, and his voice was husky and a little broken--results of
the constantly poor health and frequent suffering he had had for many
years; but he carried it all 'with'--to quote the prince of courtesy,
sir Philip Sydney--'with a right old man's grace, that will seem
livelier than his age will afford him.'

The moment he entered, the sewer in the antechamber at the other end of
the room had given a signal to one waiting at the head of the stair
leading down to the hall, and his lordship was hardly seated,
ere--although the kitchen was at the corner of the pitched court
diagonally opposite--he bore the first dish into the room, followed by
his assistants, laden each with another.

Lady Margaret made Dorothy sit down by her. A place on her other side
was vacant.

'Where is this truant husband of thine, my lady?' asked the marquis, as
soon as Dr. Bayly had said grace. 'Know you whether he eats at all, or
when, or where? It is now three days since he has filled his place at
thy side, yet is he in the castle. Thou knowest, my lady, I deal not
with him, who is so soon to sit in this chair, as with another, but I
like it not. Know you what occupies him to day?'

'I do not, my lord,' answered lady Margaret. 'I have had but one glimpse
of him since the morning, and if he looks now as he looked then, I fear
your lordship would be minded rather to drive him from your table than
welcome him to a seat beside you.'

As she spoke, lady Margaret caught a glimpse of a peculiar expression on
Scudamore's face, where he stood behind his master's chair.

'Your page, my lord,' she said, 'seems to know something of him: if it
pleased you to put him to the question--'

'Hey, Scudamore!' said the marquis without turning his head; 'what have
you seen of my lord Herbert?'

'As much as could be seen of him, my lord,' answered Scudamore. 'He was
new from the powder-mill, and his face and hands were as he had been
blown three times up the hall chimney.'

'I would thou didst pay more heed to what is fitting, thou monkey, and
knewest either place or time for thy foolish jests! It will be long ere
thou soil one of thy white fingers for king or country,' said the
marquis, neither angrily nor merrily. 'Get another flask of claret,' he
added, 'and keep thy wit for thy mates, boy.'

Dorothy cast one involuntary glance at her cousin. His face was red as
fire, but, as it seemed to her, more with suppressed amusement than
shame. She had not been much longer in the castle before she learned
that, in the opinion of the household, the marquis did his best, or
worst rather, to ruin young Scudamore by indulgence. The judgment,
however, was partly the product of jealousy, although doubtless the
marquis had in his case a little too much relaxed the bonds of
discipline. The youth was bright and ready, and had as yet been found
trustworthy; his wit was tolerable, and a certain gay naivete of speech
and manner set off to the best advantage what there was of it; but his
laughter was sometimes mischievous, and on the present occasion Dorothy
could not rid herself of the suspicion that he was laughing in his
sleeve at his master, which caused her to redden in her turn. Scudamore
saw it, and had his own fancies concerning the phenomenon.



CHAPTER XII.

THE TWO MARQUISES.


Dinner over, lady Margaret led Dorothy back to her parlour, and there
proceeded to discover what accomplishments and capabilities she might
possess. Finding she could embroider, play a little on the spinnet, sing
a song, and read aloud both intelligibly and pleasantly, she came to the
conclusion that the country-bred girl was an acquisition destined to
grow greatly in value, should the day ever arrive--which heaven
forbid!--when they would have to settle down to the monotony of a
protracted siege. Remarking, at length, that she looked weary, she sent
her away to be mistress of her time till supper, at half-past five.

Weary in truth with her journey, but still more weary from the multitude
and variety of objects, the talk, and the constant demand of the general
strangeness upon her attention and one form or other of suitable
response, Dorothy sought her chamber. But she scarcely remembered how to
reach it. She knew it lay a floor higher, and easily found the stair up
which she had followed her attendant, for it rose from the landing of
the straight ascent by which she had entered the house. She could hardly
go wrong either as to the passage at the top of it, leading back over
the room she had just left below, but she could not tell which was her
own door. Fearing to open the wrong one, she passed it and went on to
the end of the corridor, which was very dimly lighted. There she came to
an open door, through which she saw a small chamber, evidently not meant
for habitation. She entered. A little light came in through a crossed
loophole, sufficient to show her the bare walls, with the plaster
sticking out between the stones, the huge beams above, and in the middle
of the floor, opposite the loop-hole, a great arblast or cross-bow, with
its strange machinery. She had never seen one before, but she knew
enough to guess at once what it was. Through the loophole came a sweet
breath of spring air, and she saw trees bending in the wind, heard their
faint far-off rustle, and saw the green fields shining in the sun.

Partly from having been so much with Richard, her only playmate, who was
of an ingenious and practical turn, a certain degree of interest in
mechanical forms and modes had been developed in Dorothy, sufficient at
least to render her unable to encounter such an implement without
feeling a strong impulse to satisfy herself concerning its mechanism,
its motion, and its action. Approaching it cautiously and curiously, as
if it were a live thing, which might start up and fly from, or perhaps
at her, for what she knew, she gazed at it for a few moments with eyes
full of unuttered questions, then ventured to lay gentle hold upon what
looked like a handle. To her dismay, a wheezy bang followed, which
seemed to shake the tower. Whether she had discharged an arrow, or an
iron bolt, or a stone, or indeed anything at all, she could not tell,
for she had not got so far in her observations as to perceive even that
the bow was bent. Her heart gave a scared flutter, and she started back,
not merely terrified, but ashamed also that she should initiate her life
in the castle with meddling and mischief, when a low gentle laugh behind
her startled her yet more, and looking round with her heart in her
throat, she perceived in the half-light of the place a man by the wall
behind the arblast watching her. Her first impulse was to run, and the
door was open; but she thought she owed an apology ere she retreated.
What sort of person he was she could not tell, for there was not light
enough to show a feature of his face.

'I ask your pardon,' she said; 'I fear I have done mischief.'

'Not the least,' returned the man, in a gentle voice, with a tone of
amusement in it.

'I had never seen a great cross-bow,' Dorothy went on, anxious to excuse
her meddling. 'I thought this must be one, but I was so stupid as not to
perceive it was bent, and that that was the--the handle--or do you call
it the trigger?--by which you let it go.'

The man, who had at first taken her for one of the maids, had by this
time discovered from her tone and speech that she was a lady.

'It is a clumsy old-fashioned thing,' he returned, 'but I shall not
remove it until I can put something better in its place; and it would be
a troublesome affair to get even a demiculverin up here, not to mention
the bad neighbour it would be to the ladies'chambers. I was just making
a small experiment with it on the force of springs. I believe I shall
yet prove that much may be done with springs--more perhaps, and
certainly at far less expense, than with gunpowder, which costs greatly,
is very troublesome to make, occupies much space, and is always like an
unstable, half-treacherous friend within the gates--to say nothing of
the expense of cannon--ten times that of an engine of timber and
springs. See what a strong chain your shot has broken! Shall I show you
how the thing works?'

He spoke in a gentle, even rapid voice, a little hesitating now and
then, more, through the greater part of this long utterance, as if he
were thinking to himself than addressing another. Neither his tone nor
manner were those of an underling, but Dorothy's startled nerves had
communicated their tremor to her modesty, and with a gentle 'No, sir, I
thank you; I must be gone,' she hurried away.

Daring now a little more for fear of worse, the first door she tried
proved that of her own room, and it was with a considerable sense of
relief, as well as with weariness and tremor, that she nestled herself
into the high window-seat, and looked out into the quadrangle. The
shadow of the citadel had gone to pay its afternoon visit to the other
court, and that of the gateway was thrown upon the chapel, partly
shrouding the white horse, whose watery music was now silent, but
allowing one red ray, which entered by the iron grating above the solid
gates, to fall on his head, and warm its cold whiteness with a tinge of
delicate pink. The court was more still and silent than in the morning;
only now and then would a figure pass from one door to another, along
the side of the buildings, or by one of the tiled paths dividing the
turf. A large peacock was slowly crossing the shadowed grass with a
stately strut and rhythmic thrust of his green neck. The moment he came
out into the sunlight, he spread his wheeled fan aloft, and slowly
pirouetting, if the word can be allowed where two legs are needful, in
the very acme of vanity, turned on all sides the quivering splendour of
its hundred eyes, where blue and green burst in the ecstasy of their
union into a vapour of gold, that the circle of the universe might see.
And truly the bird's vanity had not misled his judgment: it was a sight
to make the hearts of the angels throb out a dainty phrase or two more
in the song of their thanksgiving. Some pigeons, white, and blue-grey,
with a lovely mingling and interplay of metallic lustres on their
feathery throats, but with none of that almost grotesque obtrusion of
over-driven individuality of kind, in which the graciousness of common
beauty is now sacrificed to the whim of the fashion the vulgar fancier
initiates, picked up the crumbs under the windows of lady Margaret's
nursery, or flew hither and thither among the roofs with wapping and
whiffling wing.

But still from the next court came many and various mingling noises. The
sounds of drill had long ceased, but those of clanking hammers were
heard the more clearly, now one, now two, now several together. The
smaller, clearer one was that of the armourer, the others those of the
great smithy, where the horse-shoes were made, the horses shod, the
smaller pieces of ordnance repaired, locks and chains mended, bolts
forged, and, in brief, every piece of metal about the castle, from the
cook's skillet to the winches and chains of the drawbridges, set right,
renewed, or replaced. The forges were far from where she sat, outside
the farthest of the two courts, across which, and the great hall
dividing them, the clink, clink, the clank, and the ringing clang,
softened by distance and interposition, came musical to her ear. The
armourer's hammer was the keener, the quicker, the less intermittent,
and yet had the most variations of time and note, as he shifted the
piece on his anvil, or changed breastplate for gorget, or greave for
pauldron--or it might be sword for pike-head or halbert. Mingled with it
came now and then the creak and squeak of the wooden wheel at the
draw-well near the hall-door in the farther court, and the muffled
splash of the bucket as it struck the water deep in the shaft. She even
thought she could hear the drops dripping back from it as it slowly
ascended, but that was fancy. Everywhere arose the auricular vapour, as
it were, of action, undefined and indefinable, the hum of the human
hive, compounded of all confluent noises--the chatter of the servants'
hall and the nursery, the stamping of horses, the ringing of harness,
the ripping of the chains of kenneled dogs, the hollow stamping of heavy
boots, the lowing of cattle, with sounds besides so strange to the ears
of Dorothy that they set her puzzling in vain to account for them; not
to mention the chaff of the guard-rooms by the gates, and the scolding
and clatter of the kitchen. This last, indeed, was audible only when the
doors were open, for the walls of the kitchen, whether it was that the
builders of it counted cookery second only to life, or that this had
been judged, from the nature of the ground outside, the corner of all
the enclosure most likely to be attacked, were far thicker than those of
any of the other towers, with the one exception of the keep itself.

As she sat listening to these multitudinous exhalations of life around
her, yet with a feeling of loneliness and a dim sense of captivity, from
the consciousness that huge surrounding walls rose between her and the
green fields, of which, from earliest memory, she had been as free as
the birds and beetles, a white rabbit, escaped from the arms of its
owner, little Mary Somerset, lady Margaret's only child, a merry but
delicate girl not yet three years old, suddenly darted like a flash of
snow across the shadowy green, followed in hot haste a moment after by a
fine-looking boy of thirteen and two younger girls, after whom toddled
tiny Mary. Dorothy sat watching the pursuit, accompanied with sweet
outcry and frolic laughter, when in a moment the sounds of their
merriment changed to shrieks of terror, and she saw a huge mastiff come
bounding she knew not whence, and rush straight at the rabbit, fierce
and fast. When the little creature saw him, struck with terror it
stopped dead, cowered on the sward, and was stock still. But Henry
Somerset, who was but a few paces from it, reached it before the dog,
and caught it up in his arms. The rush of the dog threw him down, and
they rolled over and over, Henry holding fast the poor rabbit.

By this time Dorothy was half-way down the stair: the moment she caught
sight of the dog she had flown to the rescue. When she issued from the
porch at the foot of the grand staircase, Henry was up again, and
running for the house with the rabbit yet safe in his arms, pursued by
the mastiff. Evidently the dog had not harmed him--but he might get
angry. The next moment she saw, to her joy and dismay both at once, that
it was her own dog.

'Marquis! Marquis!' she cried, calling him by his name.

He abandoned the pursuit at once, and went bounding to her. She took him
by the back of the neck, and the displeasure manifest upon the
countenance of his mistress made him cower at her feet, and wince from
the open hand that threatened him. The same instant a lattice window
over the gateway was flung open, and a voice said--

'Here I am. Who called me?'

Dorothy looked up. The children had vanished with their rescued darling.
There was not a creature in the court but herself, and there was the
marquis, leaning half out of the window, and looking about.

'Who called me?' he repeated--angrily, Dorothy thought.

All at once the meaning of it flashed upon her, and she was
confounded--ready to sink with annoyance. But she was not one to
hesitate when a thing HAD to be done. Keeping her hold of the dog's
neck, for his collar was gone, she dragged him half-way towards the
gate, then turning up to the marquis a face like a peony, replied--

'I am the culprit, my lord.'

'By St. George! you are a brave damsel, and there is no culpa that I
know of, except on the part of that intruding cur.'

'And the cur's mistress, my lord. But, indeed, he is no cur, but a true
mastiff.'

'What! is the animal thy property, fair cousin? He is more than I
bargained for.'

'He is mine, my lord, but I left him chained when I set out from Wyfern
this morning. That he got loose I confess I am not astonished, neither
that he tracked me hither, for he has the eyes of a gaze-hound, and the
nose of a bloodhound; but it amazes me to find him in the castle.'

'That must be inquired into,' said the marquis.

'I am very sorry he has carried himself so ill, my lord. He has put me
to great shame. But he hath more in him than mere brute, and understands
when I beg you to pardon him. He misbehaved himself on purpose to be
taken to me, for at home no one ever dares punish him but myself.'

The marquis laughed.

'If you are so completely his mistress then, why did you call on me for
help?'

'Pardon me, my lord; I did not so.'

'Why, I heard thee call me two or three times!'

'Alas, my lord! I called him Marquis when he was a pup. Everybody about
Redware knows Marquis.'

The animal cocked his ears and started each time his name was uttered,
and yet seemed to understand well enough that ALL the talk was about him
and his misdeeds.

'Ah! ha!' said his lordship, with a twinkle in his eye, 'that begets
complications. Two marquises in Raglan? Two kings in England! The thing
cannot be. What is to be done?'

'I must take him back, my lord! I cannot send him, for he would not go.
I dread they will not be able to hold him chained; in which evil case I
fear me I shall have to go, my lord, and take the perils of the time as
they come.'

'Not of necessity so, cousin, while you can choose between us;--although
I freely grant that a marquis with four legs is to be preferred before a
marquis with only two.--But what if you changed his name?'

'I fear it could not be done, my lord. He has been Marquis all his
life.'

'And I have been marquis only six months! Clearly he hath the better
right--. But there would be constant mistakes between us, for I cannot
bring myself to lay aside the honour his majesty hath conferred upon me,
"which would be worn now in its newest gloss, not cast aside so soon,"
as master Shakspere says. Besides, it would be a slight to his majesty,
and that must not be thought of--not for all the dogs in parliament or
out of it. No--it would breed factions in the castle too. No; one of us
two must die.'

'Then, indeed, I must go,' said Dorothy, her voice trembling as she
spoke; for although the words of the marquis were merry, she yet feared
for her friend.

'Tut! tut! let the older marquis die: he has enjoyed the title; I have
not. Give him to Tom Fool: he will drown him in the moat. He shall be
buried with honour--under his rival's favourite apple-tree in the
orchard. What more could dog desire?'

'No, my lord,' answered Dorothy. 'Will you allow me to take my leave? If
I only knew where to find my horse!'

'What! would you saddle him yourself, cousin Vaughan?'

'As well as e'er a knave in your lordship's stables. I am very sorry to
displease you, but to my dog's death I cannot and will not consent.
Pardon me, my lord.'

The last words brought with them a stifled sob, for she scarcely doubted
any more that he was in earnest.

'It is assuredly not gratifying to a marquis of the king's making to
have one of a damsel's dubbing take the precedence of him. I fear you
are a roundhead and hold by the parliament. But no--that cannot be, for
you are willing to forsake your new cousin for your old dog. Nay, alas!
it is your old cousin for your young dog. Puritan! puritan! Well, it
cannot be helped. But what! you would ride home alone! Evil men are
swarming, child. This sultry weather brings them out like flies.'

'I shall not be alone, my lord. Marquis will take good care of me.'

'Indeed, my lord marquis will pledge himself to nothing outside his own
walls.'

'I meant the dog, my lord.'

'Ah! you see how awkward it is. However, as you will not choose between
us--and to tell the truth, I am not yet quite prepared to die--we must
needs encounter what is inevitable. I will send for one of the keepers
to take him to the smithy, and get him a proper collar--one he can't
slip like that he left at home--and a chain.'

'I must go with him myself, my lord. They will never manage him else.'

'What a demon you have brought into my peaceable house! Go with him, by
all means. And mind you choose him a kennel yourself.--You do not desire
him in your chamber, do you, mistress?'

Dorothy secretly thought it would be the best place for him, but she was
only too glad to have his life spared.

'No, my lord, I thank you,' she said. '--I thank your lordship with all
my heart.'

The marquis disappeared from the window. Presently young Scudamore came
into the court from the staircase by the gate, and crossed to the
hall--in a few minutes returning with the keeper. The man would have
taken the dog by the neck to lead him away, but a certain form of canine
curse, not loud but deep, and a warning word from Dorothy, made him
withdraw his hand.

'Take care, Mr. Keeper,' she said, 'he is dangerous. I will go with him
myself, if thou wilt show me whither.'

'As it please you, mistress,' answered the keeper, and led the way
across the court.

'Have you not a word to throw at a poor cousin, mistress Dorothy?' said
Rowland, when the man was a pace or two in advance.

'No, Mr. Scudamore,' answered Dorothy; 'not until we have first spoken
in my lord Worcester's or my lady Margaret's presence.'

Scudamore fell behind, followed her a little way, and somewhere
vanished.

Dorothy followed the keeper across the hall, the size of which, its
height especially, and the splendour of its windows of stained glass,
almost awed her; then across the next court to the foot of the Library
Tower forming the south-east corner of it, near the two towers flanking
the main entrance. Here a stair led down, through the wall, to a lower
level outside, where were the carpenters' and all other workshops, the
forges, the stables, and the farmyard buildings.

As it happened, when Dorothy entered the smithy, there was her own
little horse being shod, and Marquis and he interchanged a whine and a
whinny of salutation, while the men stared at the bright apparition of a
young lady in their dingy regions. Having heard her business, the
head-smith abandoned everything else to alter an iron collar, of which
there were several lying about, to fit the mastiff, the presence of
whose mistress proved entirely necessary. Dorothy had indeed to put it
on him with her own hands, for at the sound of the chain attached to it
he began to grow furious, growling fiercely. When the chain had been
made fast with a staple driven into a strong kennel-post, and his
mistress proceeded to take her leave of him, his growling changed to the
most piteous whining; but when she actually left him there, he flew into
a rage of indignant affection. After trying the strength of his chain,
however, by three or four bounds, each so furious as to lay him
sprawling on his back, he yielded to the inevitable, and sullenly crept
into his kennel, while Dorothy walked back to the room which had already
begun to seem to her a cell.



CHAPTER XIII.

THE MAGICIAN'S VAULT.


Dorothy went straight to lady Margaret's parlour, and made her humble
apology for the trouble and alarm her dog had occasioned. Lady Margaret
assured her that the children were nothing the worse, not having been
even much terrified, for the dog had not gone a hair's-breadth beyond
rough play. Poor bunny was the only one concerned who had not yet
recovered his equanimity. He did not seem positively hurt, she said, but
as he would not eat the lovely clover under his nose where he lay in
Molly's crib, it was clear that the circulation of his animal spirits
had been too rudely checked. Thereupon Dorothy begged to be taken to the
nursery, for, being familiar with all sorts of tame animals, she knew
rabbits well. As she stood with the little creature in her arms, gently
stroking its soft whiteness, the children gathered round her, and she
bent herself to initiate a friendship with them, while doing her best to
comfort and restore their favourite. Success in the latter object she
found the readiest way to the former. Under the sweet galvanism of her
stroking hand the rabbit was presently so much better that when she
offered him a blade of the neglected clover, the equilateral triangle of
his queer mouth was immediately set in motion, the trefoil vanished, and
when he was once more placed in the crib he went on with his meal as if
nothing had happened. The children were in ecstasies, and cousin Dorothy
was from that moment popular and on the way to be something better.

When supper time came, lady Margaret took her again to the dining-room,
where there was much laughter over the story of the two marquises, lord
Worcester driving the joke in twenty different directions, but so kindly
that Dorothy, instead of being disconcerted or even discomposed thereby,
found herself emboldened to take a share in the merriment. When the
company rose, lady Margaret once more led her to her own room, where,
working at her embroidery frame, she chatted with her pleasantly for
some time. Dorothy would have been glad if she had set her work also,
for she could ill brook doing nothing. Notwithstanding her quietness of
demeanour, amounting at times to an appearance of immobility, her nature
was really an active one, and it was hard for her to sit with her hands
in her lap. Lady Margaret at length perceived her discomfort.

'I fear, my child, I am wearying you,' she said.

'It is only that I want something to do, madam,' said Dorothy.

'I have nothing at hand for you to-night,' returned lady Margaret.
'Suppose we go and find my lord;--I mean my own lord Herbert. I have not
seen him since we broke fast together, and you have not seen him at all.
I am afraid he must think of leaving home again soon, he seems so
anxious to get something or other finished.'

As she spoke, she pushed aside her frame, and telling Dorothy to go and
fetch herself a cloak, went into the next room, whence she presently
returned, wrapped in a hooded mantle. As soon as Dorothy came, she led
her along the corridor to a small lobby whence a stair descended to the
court, issuing close by the gate.

'I shall never learn my way about,' said Dorothy. 'If it were only the
staircases, they are more than my memory will hold.'

Lady Margaret gave a merry little laugh.

'Harry set himself to count them the other day,' she said. 'I do not
remember how many he made out altogether, but I know he said there were
at least thirty stone ones.'

Dorothy's answer was an exclamation.

But she was not in the mood to dwell upon the mere arithmetic of
vastness. Invaded by the vision of the mighty structure, its aspect
rendered yet more imposing by the time which now suited with it, she
forgot lady Margaret's presence, and stood still to gaze.

The twilight had deepened half-way into night. There was no moon, and in
the dusk the huge masses of building rose full of mystery and awe. Above
the rest, the great towers on all sides seemed by indwelling might to
soar into the regions of air. The pile stood there, the epitome of the
story of an ancient race, the precipitate from its vanished life--a hard
core that had gathered in the vaporous mass of history--the all of solid
that remained to witness of the past.

She came again to herself with a start. Lady Margaret had stood quietly
waiting for her mood to change. Dorothy apologised, but her mistress
only smiled and said,

'I am in no haste, child. I like to see another impressed as I was when
first I stood just where you stand now. Come, then, I will show you
something different.'

She led the way along the southern side of the court until they came to
the end of the chapel, opposite which an archway pierced the line of
building, and revealed the mighty bulk of the citadel, the only portion
of the castle, except the kitchen-tower, continuing impregnable to
enlarged means of assault: gunpowder itself, as yet far from perfect in
composition and make, and conditioned by clumsy, uncertain, and
ill-adjustable artillery, was nearly powerless against walls more than
ten feet in thickness.

I have already mentioned that one peculiarity of Raglan was a distinct
moat surrounding its keep. Immediately from the outer end of the
archway, a Gothic bridge of stone led across this thirty-foot moat to a
narrow walk which encompassed the tower. The walk was itself encompassed
and divided from the moat by a wall with six turrets at equal distances,
surmounted by battlements. At one time the sole entrance to the tower
had been by a drawbridge dropping across the walk to the end of the
stone bridge, from an arched door in the wall, whose threshold was some
ten or twelve feet from the ground; but another entrance had since been
made on the level of the walk, and by it the two ladies now entered.
Passing the foot of a great stone staircase, they came to the door of
what had, before the opening of the lower entrance, been a vaulted
cellar, probably at one time a dungeon, at a later period a place of
storage, but now put to a very different use, and wearing a stranger
aspect than it could ever have borne at any past period of its story--a
look indeed of mystery inexplicable.

When Dorothy entered she found herself in a large place, the form of
which she could ill distinguish in the dull light proceeding from the
chinks about the closed doors of a huge furnace. The air was filled with
gurglings and strange low groanings, as of some creature in dire pain.
Dorothy had as good nerves as ever woman, yet she could not help some
fright as she stood alone by the door and stared into the gloomy
twilight into which her companion had advanced. As her eyes became used
to the ruddy dusk, she could see better, but everywhere they lighted on
shapes inexplicable, whose forms to the first questioning thought
suggested instruments of torture; but cruel as some of them looked, they
were almost too strange, contorted, fantastical for such. Still, the
wood-cuts in a certain book she had been familiar with in childhood,
commonly called Fox's Book of Martyrs, kept haunting her mind's eye--and
were they not Papists into whose hands she had fallen? she said to
herself, amused at the vagaries of her own involuntary suggestions.

Among the rest, one thing specially caught her attention, both from its
size and its complicated strangeness. It was a huge wheel standing near
the wall, supported between two strong uprights--some twelve or fifteen
feet in diameter, with about fifty spokes, from every one of which hung
a large weight. Its grotesque and threatful character was greatly
increased by the mingling of its one substance with its many shadows on
the wall behind it. So intent was she upon it that she started when lady
Margaret spoke.

'Why, mistress Dorothy!' she said, 'you look as if you had wandered into
St. Anthony's cave! Here is my lord Herbert to welcome his cousin.'

Beside her stood a man rather under the middle stature, but as his back
was to the furnace this was about all Dorothy could discover of his
appearance, save that he was in the garb of a workman, with bare head
and arms, and held in his hand a long iron rod ending in a hook.

'Welcome, indeed, cousin Vaughan!' he said heartily, but without
offering his hand, which in truth, although an honest, skilful, and
well-fashioned hand, was at the present moment far from fit for a lady's
touch.

There was something in his voice not altogether strange to Dorothy, but
she could not tell of whom or what it reminded her.

'Are you come to take another lesson on the cross-bow?' he asked with a
smile.

Then she knew he was the same she had met in the looped chamber beside
the arblast. An occasional slight halt, not impediment, in his speech,
was what had remained on her memory. Did he always dwell only in the
dusky borders of the light?

Dorothy uttered a little 'Oh!' of surprise, but immediately recovering
herself, said,

'I am sorry I did not know it was you, my lord. I might by this time
have been capable of discharging bolt or arrow with good aim in defence
of the castle.'

'It is not yet too late, I hope,' returned the workman-lord. 'I confess
I was disappointed to find your curiosity went no further. I hoped I had
at last found a lady capable of some interest in pursuits like mine. For
my lady Margaret here, she cares not a straw for anything I do, and
would rather have me keep my hands clean than discover the mechanism of
the primum mobile!

'Yes, in truth, Ned,' said his wife, 'I would rather have thee with fair
hands in my sweet parlour, than toiling and moiling in this dirty
dungeon, with no companion but that horrible fire-engine of thine,
grunting and roaring all night long.'

'Why, what do you make of Caspar Kaltoff, my lady?'

'I make not much of him.'

'You misjudge his goodfellowship then.'

'Truly, I think not well of him: he always hath secrets with thee, and I
like it not.'

'That they are secrets is thine own fault, Peggy. How can I teach thee
my secrets if thou wilt not open thine ears to hear them?'

'I would your lordship would teach me!' said Dorothy. 'I might not be an
apt pupil, but I should be both an eager and a humble one.'

'By St. Patrick! mistress Dorothy, but you go straight to steal my
husband's heart from me. "Humble," forsooth! and "eager" too! Nay! nay!
If I have no part in his brain, I can the less yield his heart.'

'What would be gladly learned would be gladly taught, cousin,' said lord
Herbert.

'There! there!' exclaimed lady Margaret; 'I knew it would be so. You
discharge your poor dull apprentice the moment you find a clever one!'

'And why not? I never was able to teach thee anything.'

'Ah, Ned, there you are unkind indeed!' said lady Margaret, with
something in her voice that suggested the water-springs were swelling.

'My shamrock of four!' said her husband in the tenderest tone, 'I but
jested with thee. How shouldst thou be my pupil in anything I can teach?
I am yours in all that is noble and good. I did not mean to vex you,
sweet heart.'

''Tis gone again, Ned,' she answered, smiling. 'Give cousin Dorothy her
first lesson.'

'It shall be that, then, to which I sought in vain to make thee listen
this very morning--a certain great saying of my lord of Verulam,
mistress Dorothy. I had learnt it by heart that I might repeat it word
for word to my lady, but she would none of it.'

'May I not hear it, madam?' said Dorothy.

'We will both hear it, Herbert, if you will pardon your foolish wife and
admit her to grace.' And as she spoke she laid her hand on his sooty
arm.

He answered her only with a smile, but such a one as sufficed.

'Listen then, ladies both,' he said. 'My lord of Verulam, having quoted
the words of Solomon, "The glory of God is to conceal a thing, but the
glory of the king is to find it out," adds thus, of his own thought
concerning them,--"as if," says my lord, "according to the innocent play
of children, the divine majesty took delight to hide his works, to the
end to have them found out, and as if kings could not obtain a greater
honour than to be God's playfellows in that game, considering the great
commandment of wits and means, whereby nothing needeth to be hidden from
them."'

'That was very well for my lord of--what did'st thou call him, Ned?'

'Francis Bacon, lord Verulam,' returned Herbert, with a queer smile.

'Very well for my lord of Veryflam!' resumed lady Margaret, with a mock,
yet bewitching affectation of innocence and ignorance; 'but tell me had
he?--nay, I am sure he had not a wild Irishwoman sitting breaking her
heart in her bower all day long for his company. He could never else
have had the heart to say it.--Mistress Dorothy,' she went on, 'take the
counsel of a forsaken wife, and lay it to thy heart: never marry a man
who loves lathes and pipes and wheels and water and fire, and I know not
what. But do come in ere bed-time, Herbert, and I will sing thee the
sweetest of English ditties, and make thee such a sack-posset as never
could be made out of old Ireland any more than the song.'

But her husband that moment sprang from her side, and shouting 'Caspar!
Caspar!' bounded to the furnace, reached up with his iron rod into the
darkness over his head, caught something with the hooked end of it, and
pulled hard. A man who from somewhere in the gloomy place had responded
like a greyhound to his master's call, did the like on the other side.
Instantly followed a fierce, protracted, sustained hiss, and in a moment
the place was filled with a white cloud, whence issued still the hideous
hiss, changing at length to a roar. Lady Margaret turned in terror, ran
out of the keep, and fled across the bridge and through the archway
before she slackened her pace. Dorothy followed, but more composedly,
led by duty, not driven by terror, and indeed reluctantly forsaking a
spot where was so much she did not understand.

They had fled from the infant roar of the 'first stock-father' of
steam-engines, whose cradle was that feudal keep, eight centuries old.

That night Dorothy lay down weary enough. It seemed a month since she
had been in her own bed at Wyfern, so many new and strange things had
crowded into her house, hitherto so still. Every now and then the
darkness heaved and rippled with some noise of the night. The stamping
of horses, and the ringing of their halter chains, seemed very near her.
She thought she heard the howl of Marquis from afar, and said to
herself, 'The poor fellow cannot sleep! I must get my lord to let me
have him in my chamber.' Then she listened a while to the sweet flow of
the water from the mouth of the white horse, which in general went on
all night long. Suddenly came an awful sound--like a howl also, but such
as never left the throat of dog. Again and again at intervals it came,
with others like it but not the same, torturing the dark with a dismal
fear. Dorothy had never heard the cry of a wild beast, but the
suggestion that these might be such cries, and the recollection that she
had heard such beasts were in Raglan Castle, came together to her mind.
She was so weary, however, that worse noises than these could hardly
have kept her awake; not even her weariness could prevent them from
following her into her dreams.



CHAPTER XIV

SEVERAL PEOPLE


Lord Worcester had taken such a liking to Dorothy, partly at first
because of the good store of merriment with which she and her mastiff
had provided him, that he was disappointed when he found her place was
not to be at his table but the housekeeper's. As he said himself,
however, he did not meddle with women's matters, and indeed it would not
do for lady Margaret to show her so much favour above her other women,
of whom at least one was her superior in rank, and all were relatives as
well as herself.

Dorothy did not much relish their society, but she had not much of it
except at meals, when, however, they always treated her as an
interloper. Every day she saw more or less of lady Margaret, and found
in her such sweetness, if not quite evenness of temper, as well as
gaiety of disposition, that she learned to admire as well as love her.
Sometimes she had her to read to her, sometimes to work with her, and
almost every day she made her practise a little on the harpsichord.
Hence she not only improved rapidly in performance, but grew capable of
receiving more and more delight from music. There was a fine little
organ in the chapel, on which blind young Delaware, the son of the
marquis's master of the horse, used to play delightfully; and although
she never entered the place, she would stand outside listening to his
music for an hour at a time in the twilight, or sometimes even after
dark. For as yet she indulged without question all the habits of her
hitherto free life, as far as was possible within the castle walls, and
the outermost of these were of great circuit, enclosing lawns,
shrubberies, wildernesses, flower and kitchen gardens, orchards, great
fish-ponds, little lakes with fountains, islands, and summer-houses--not
to mention the farmyard, and indeed a little park, in which were some of
the finest trees upon the estate.

The gentlewomen with whom Dorothy was, by her position in the household,
associated, were three in number. One was a rather elderly, rather
plain, rather pious lady, who did not insist on her pretensions to
either of the epithets. The second was a short, plump, round-faced,
good-natured, smiling woman of sixty,--excelling in fasts and
mortifications, which somehow seemed to agree with her body as well as
her soul. The third was only two or three years older than Dorothy, and
was pretty, except when she began to speak, and then for a moment there
was a strange discord in her features. She took a dislike to Dorothy, as
she said herself, the instant she cast her eyes upon her. She could not
bear that prim, set face, she said. The country-bred heifer evidently
thought herself superior to every one in the castle. She was persuaded
the minx was a sly one, and would carry tales. So judged mistress Amanda
Serafina Fuller, after her kind. Nor was it wonderful that, being such
as she was, she should recoil with antipathy from one whose nature had a
tendency to ripen over soon, and stunt its slow orbicular expansion to
the premature and false completeness of a narrow and self-sufficing
conscientiousness.

Doubtless if Dorothy had shown any marked acknowledgment of the
precedency of their rights--any eagerness to conciliate the aborigines
of the circle, the ladies would have been more friendly inclined; but
while capable of endless love and veneration, there was little of the
conciliatory in her nature. Hence Mrs. Doughty looked upon her with a
rather stately, indifference, my lady Broughton with a mild wish to save
her poor, proud, protestant soul, and mistress Amanda Serafina said she
hated her; but then ever since the Fall there has been a disproportion
betwixt the feelings of young ladies and the language in which they
represent them. Mrs. Doughty neglected her, and Dorothy did not know it;
lady Broughton said solemn things to her, and she never saw the point of
them; but when mistress Amanda half closed her eyes and looked at her in
snake-Geraldine fashion, she met her with a full, wide-orbed,
questioning gaze, before which Amanda's eyes dropped, and she sank full
fathom five towards the abyss of real hatred.

During the dinner hour, the three generally talked together in an
impregnable manner--not that they were by any means bosom-friends, for
two of them had never before united in anything except despising good,
soft lady Broughton. When they were altogether in their mistress's
presence, they behaved to Dorothy and to each other with studious
politeness.

The ladies Elizabeth and Anne, had their gentlewomen also, in all only
three, however, who also ate at the housekeeper's table, but kept
somewhat apart from the rest--yet were, in a distant way, friendly to
Dorothy.

But hers, as we have seen, was a nature far more capable of attaching
itself to a few than of pleasing many; and her heart went out to lady
Margaret, whom she would have come ere long to regard as a mother, had
she not behaved to her more like an elder sister. Lady Margaret's own
genuine behaviour had indeed little of the matronly in it; when her
husband came into the room, she seemed to grow instantly younger, and
her manner changed almost to that of a playful girl. It is true, Dorothy
had been struck with the dignity of her manner amid all the frankness of
her reception, but she soon found that, although her nature was full of
all real dignities, that which belonged to her carriage never appeared
in the society of those she loved, and was assumed only, like the thin
shelter of a veil, in the presence of those whom she either knew or
trusted less. Before her ladies, she never appeared without some
restraint--manifest in a certain measuredness of movement, slowness of
speech, and choice of phrase; but before a month was over, Dorothy was
delighted to find that the reserve instantly vanished when she happened
to be left alone with her.

She took an early opportunity of informing her mistress of the
relationship between herself and Scudamore, stating that she knew little
or nothing of him, having seen him only once before she came to the
castle. The youth on his part took the first fitting opportunity of
addressing her in lady Margaret's presence, and soon they were known to
be cousins all over the castle.

With lady Margaret's help, Dorothy came to a tolerable understanding of
Scudamore. Indeed her ladyship's judgment seemed but a development of
her own feeling concerning him.

'Rowland is not a bad fellow,' she said, 'but I cannot fully understand
whence he comes in such grace with my lord Worcester. If it were my
husband now, I should not marvel: he is so much occupied with things and
engines, that he has as little time as natural inclination to doubt any
one who will only speak largely enough to satisfy his idea. But my lord
of Worcester knows well enough that seldom are two things more unlike
than men and their words. Yet that is not what I mean to say of your
cousin: he is no hypocrite--means not to be false, but has no rule of
right in him so far as I can find. He is pleasant company; his gaiety,
his quips, his readiness of retort, his courtesy and what not, make him
a favourite; and my lord hath in a manner reared him, which goes to
explain much. He is quick yet indolent, good-natured but selfish,
generous but counting enjoyment the first thing,--though, to speak truth
of him, I have never known him do a dishonourable action. But, in a
word, the star of duty has not yet appeared above his horizon. Pardon
me, Dorothy, if I am severe upon him. More or less I may misjudge him,
but this is how I read him; and if you wonder that I should be able so
to divide him, I have but to tell you that I should be unapt indeed if I
had not yet learned of my husband to look into the heart of both men and
things.'

'But, madam,' Dorothy ventured to say, 'have you not even now told me
that from very goodness my lord is easily betrayed?'

'Well replied, my child! It is true, but only while he has had no reason
to mistrust. Let him once perceive ground for dissatisfaction or
suspicion, and his eye is keen as light itself to penetrate and
unravel.'

Such good qualities as lady Margaret accorded her cousin were of a sort
more fitted to please a less sedate and sober-minded damsel than
Dorothy, who was fashioned rather after the model of a puritan than a
royalist maiden. Pleased with his address and his behaviour to herself
as she could hardly fail to be, she yet felt a lingering mistrust of
him, which sprang quite as much from the immediate impression as from
her mistress's judgment of him, for it always gave her a sense of not
coming near the real man in him. There is one thing a hypocrite even can
never do, and that is, hide the natural signs of his hypocrisy; and
Rowland, who was no hypocrite, only a man not half so honourable as he
chose to take himself for, could not conceal his unreality from the eyes
of his simple country cousin. Little, however, did Dorothy herself
suspect whence she had the idea,--that it was her girlhood's converse
with real, sturdy, honest, straight-forward, simple manhood, in the
person of the youth of fiery temper, and obstinate, opinionated,
sometimes even rude behaviour, whom she had chastised with terms of
contemptuous rebuke, which had rendered her so soon capable of
distinguishing between a profound and a shallow, a genuine and an unreal
nature, even when the latter comprehended a certain power of
fascination, active enough to be recognisable by most of the women in
the castle.

Concerning this matter, it will suffice to say that lord Worcester--who
ruled his household with such authoritative wisdom that honest Dr. Bayly
avers he never saw a better-ordered family--never saw a man drunk or
heard an oath amongst his servants, all the time he was chaplain in the
castle,--would have been scandalized to know the freedoms his favourite
indulged himself in, and regarded as privileged familiarities.

There was much coming and going of visitors--more now upon state
business than matters of friendship or ceremony; and occasional solemn
conferences were held in the marquis's private room, at which sometimes
lord John, who was a personal friend of the king's, and sometimes lord
Charles, the governor of the castle, with perhaps this or that officer
of dignity in the household, would be present; but whoever was or was
not present, lord Herbert when at home was always there, sometimes alone
with his father and commissioners from the king. His absences, however,
had grown frequent now that his majesty had appointed him general of
South Wales, and he had considerable forces under his command--mostly
raised by himself, and maintained at his own and his father's expense.

It was some time after Dorothy had twice in one day met him darkling,
before she saw him in the light, and was able to peruse his countenance,
which she did carefully, with the mingled instinct and insight of
curious and thoughtful girlhood. He had come home from a journey,
changed his clothes, and had some food; and now he appeared in his
wife's parlour--to sun himself a little, he said. When he entered,
Dorothy, who was seated at her mistress's embroidery frame, while she
was herself busy mending some Flanders lace, rose to leave the room. But
he prayed her to be seated, saying gayly,

'I would have you see, cousin, that I am no beast of prey that loves the
darkness. I can endure the daylight. Come, my lady, have you nothing to
amuse your soldier with? No good news to tell him? How is my little
Molly?'

During the conjugal talk that followed, his cousin had good opportunity
of making her observations. First she saw a fair, well-proportioned
forehead, with eyes whose remarkable clearness looked as if it owed
itself to the mingling of manly confidence with feminine trustfulness.
They were dark, not very large, but rather prominent, and full of light.
His nose was a little aquiline, and perfectly formed. A soft obedient
moustache, brushed thoroughly aside, revealed right generous lips, about
which hovered a certain sweetness ever ready to break into the blossom
of a smile. That and a small tuft below was all the hair he wore upon
his face. Rare conjunction, the whole of the countenance was remarkable
both for symmetry and expression--the latter mainly a bright
intelligence; and if, strangely enough, the predominant sweetness and
delicacy at first suggested genius unsupported by practical faculty,
there was a plentifulness and strength in the chin which helped to
correct the suggestion, and with the brightness and prominence of the
eyes and the radiance of the whole, to give a brave, almost bold look to
a face which could hardly fail to remind those who knew them of the
lovely verses of Matthew Raydon, describing that of sir Philip Sidney:

    A sweet attractive kinde of grace,
      A full assurance given by lookes,
    Continuall comfort in a face,
      The lineaments of Gospell-bookes;
    I trowe that countenance cannot lie
    Whose thoughts are legible in the eie.

Notwithstanding the disadvantages of the fashion, in the mechanical
pursuits to which he had hitherto devoted his life, he wore, like
Milton's Adam, his wavy hair down to his shoulders. In his youth, it had
been thick and curling; now it was thinner and straighter, yet curled
where it lay. His hands were small, with the taper fingers that indicate
the artist, while his thumb was that of the artizan, square at the tip,
with the first joint curved a good deal back. That they were hard and
something discoloured was not for Dorothy to wonder at, when she
remembered what she had both heard and seen of his occupations.

I may here mention that what aided Dorothy much in the interpretation of
lord Herbert's countenance and the understanding of his character--for
it was not on this first observation of him that she could discover all
I have now set down--and tended largely to the development of the
immense reverence she conceived for him, was what she saw of his
behaviour to his father one evening not long after, when, having been
invited to the marquis's table, she sat nearly opposite him at supper.
With a willing ear and ready smile for every one who addressed him,
notably courteous where all were courteous, he gave chief observance,
amounting to an almost tender homage, to his father. His thoughts seemed
to wait upon him with a fearless devotion. He listened intently to all
his jokes, and laughed at them heartily, evidently enjoying them even
when they were not very good; spoke to him with profound though easy
respect; made haste to hand him whatever he seemed to want, preventing
Scudamore; and indeed conducted himself like a dutiful youth, rather
than a man over forty. Their confident behaviour, wherein the authority
of the one and the submission of the other were acknowledged with
co-relative love, was beautiful to behold.

When husband and wife had conferred for a while, the former stretched on
a settee embroidered by the skilful hands of the latest-vanished
countess, his mother, and the latter seated near him on a narrow
tall-backed chair, mending her lace, there came a pause in their
low-toned conversation, and his lordship looking up seemed anew to
become aware of the presence of Dorothy.

'Well, cousin,' he said, 'how have you fared since we half-saw each
other a fortnight ago?'

'I have fared well indeed, my lord, I thank you,' said Dorothy, 'as your
lordship may judge, knowing whom I serve. In two short weeks my lady
loads me with kindness enough to requite the loyalty of a life.'

'Look you, cousin, that I should believe such laudation of any less than
an angel?' said his lordship with mock gravity.

'No, my lord,' answered Dorothy.

There was a moment's pause; then lord Herbert laughed aloud.

'Excellent well, mistress Dorothy!' he cried. 'Thank your cousin, my
lady, for a compliment worthy of an Irishwoman.'

'I thank you, Dorothy,' said her mistress; 'although, Irishwoman as I
am, my lord hath put me out of love with compliments.'

'When they are true and come unbidden, my lady,' said Dorothy.

'What! are there such compliments, cousin?' said lord Herbert.

'There are birds of Paradise, my lord, though rarely encountered.'

'Birds of Paradise indeed! they alight not in this world. Birds of
Paradise have no legs, they say.

'They need them not, my lord. Once alighted, they fly no more.'

'How is it then they alight so seldom?'

'Because men shoo them away. One flew now from my heart to seek my
lady's, but your lordship frighted it.'

'And so it flew back to Paradise--eh, mistress Dorothy?' said lord
Herbert, smiling archly.

The supper bell rang, and instead of replying, Dorothy looked up for her
dismissal.

'Go to supper, my lady,' said lord Herbert. 'I have but just dined, and
will see what Caspar is about.'

'I want no supper but my Herbert,' returned lady Margaret. 'Thou wilt
not go to that hateful workshop?'

'I have so little time at home now--'

'That you must spend it from your lady?--Go to supper, Dorothy.'



CHAPTER XV

HUSBAND AND WIFE


'What an old-fashioned damsel it is!' said lord Herbert when Dorothy had
left the room.

'She has led a lonely life,' answered lady Margaret, 'and has read a
many old-fashioned books.'

'She seems a right companion for thee, Peggy, and I am glad of it, for I
shall be much from thee--more and more, I fear, till this bitter weather
be gone by.'

'Alas, Ned! hast thou not been more than much from me already? Thou wilt
certainly be killed, though thou hast not yet a scratch on thy blessed
body. I would it were over and all well!'

'So would I--and heartily, dear heart! In very truth I love fighting as
little as thou. But it is a thing that hath to be done, though small
honour will ever be mine therefrom, I greatly fear me. It is one of
those affairs in which liking goes farther than goodwill, and as I say,
I love it not, only to do my duty. Hence doubtless it comes that no luck
attends me. God knows I fear nothing a man ought not to fear--he is my
witness--but what good service of arms have I yet rendered my king? It
is but thy face, Peggy, that draws the smile from me. My heart is heavy.
See how my rascally Welsh yielded before Gloucester, when the rogue
Waller stole a march upon them--and I must be from thence! Had I but
been there instead of at Oxford, thinkest thou they would have laid down
their arms nor struck a single blow? I like not killing, but I can kill,
and I can be killed. Thou knowest, sweet wife, thy Ned would not run.'

'Holy mother!' exclaimed lady Margaret.

'But I have no good luck at fighting,' he went on. 'And how again at
Monmouth, the hare-hearts with which I had thought to garrison the place
fled at the bare advent of that same parliament beagle, Waller! By St.
George! it were easier to make an engine that should mow down a thousand
brave men with one sweep of a scythe--and I could make it--than to put
courage into the heart of one runaway rascal. It makes me mad to think
how they have disgraced me!'

'But Monmouth is thine own again, Herbert!'

'Yes--thanks to the love they bear my father, not to my generalship! Thy
husband is a poor soldier, Peggy: he cannot make soldiers.'

'Then why not leave the field to others, and labour at thy engines,
love? If thou wilt, I tell thee what--I will doff my gown, and in
wrapper and petticoat help thee, sweet. I will to it with bare arms like
thine own.'

'Thou wouldst like Una make a sunshine in the shady place, Margaret. But
no. Poor soldier as I am, I will do my best, even where good fortune
fails me, and glory awaits not my coming. Thou knowest that at fourteen
days' warning I brought four thousand foot and eight hundred horse again
to the siege of Gloucester. It would ill befit my father's son to spare
what he can when he is pouring out his wealth like water at the feet of
his king. No, wife; the king shall not find me wanting, for in serving
my king, I serve my God; and if I should fail, it may hold that an
honest failure comes nigh enough a victory to be set down in the
chronicles of the high countries. But in truth it presses on me sorely,
and I am troubled at heart that I should be so given over to failure.'

'Never heed it, my lord. The sun comes out clear at last maugre all the
region fogs.'

'Thanks, sweet heart! Things do look up a little in the main, and if the
king had but a dozen more such friends as my lord marquis, they would
soon be well. Why, my dove of comfort, wouldst thou believe it?--I did
this day, as I rode home to seek thy fair face, I did count up what sums
he hath already spent for his liege; and indeed I could not recollect
them all, but I summed up, of pounds already spent by him on his
majesty's behalf, well towards a hundred and fifty thousand! And thou
knowest the good man, that while he giveth generously like the great
Giver, he giveth not carelessly, but hath respect to what he spendeth.'

'Thy father, Ned, is loyalty and generosity incarnate. If thou be but
half so good a husband as thy father is a subject, I am a happy woman.'

'What! know'st thou not yet thy husband, Peggy?'

'In good soberness, though, Ned, surely the saints in heaven will never
let such devotion fail of its end.'

'My father is but one, and the king's foes are many. So are his
friends--but they are lukewarm compared to my father--the rich ones of
them, I mean. Would to God I had not lost those seven great troop-horses
that the pudding-fisted clothiers of Gloucester did rob me of! I need
them sorely now. I bought them with mine own--or rather with thine,
sweet heart. I had been saving up the money for a carcanet for thy fair
neck.'

'So my neck be fair in thine eyes, my lord, it may go bare and be well
clad. I should, in sad earnest, be jealous of the pretty stones didst
thou give my neck one look the more for their presence. Here! thou
may'st sell these the next time thou goest London-wards.'

As she spoke, she put up her hand to unclasp her necklace of large
pearls, but he laid his hand upon it, saying,

'Nay, Margaret, there is no need. My father is like the father in the
parable: he hath enough and to spare. I did mean to have the money of
him again, only as the vaunted horses never came, but were swallowed up
of Gloucester, as Jonah of the whale, and have not yet been cast up
again, I could not bring my tongue to ask him for it; and so thy neck is
bare of emeralds, my dove.'

    'Back and sides go bare, go bare,'

sang lady Margaret with a merry laugh;

    'Both foot and hand go cold;'

here she paused for a moment, and looked down with a shining
thoughtfulness; then sang out clear and loud, with bold alteration of
bishop Stills' drinking song,

    'But, heart, God send thee love enough,
      Of the new that will never be old.'

'Amen, my dove!'said lord Herbert.

'Thou art in doleful dumps, Ned. If we had but a masque for thee, or a
play, or even some jugglers with their balls!'

'Puh, Peggy! thou art masque and play both in one; and for thy jugglers,
I trust I can juggle better at my own hand than any troop of them from
furthest India. Sing me a song, sweet heart.'

'I will, my love,' answered lady Margaret.

Rising, she went to the harpsichord, and sang, in sweet unaffected
style, one of the songs of her native country, a merry ditty, with a
breathing of sadness in the refrain of it, like a twilight wind in a bed
of bulrushes.

'Thanks, my love,' said lord Herbert, when she had finished. 'But I
would I could tell its hidden purport; for I am one of those who think
music none the worse for carrying with it an air of such sound as speaks
to the brain as well as the heart.'

Lady Margaret gave a playful sigh.

'Thou hast one fault, my Edward--thou art a stranger to the tongue in
which, through my old nurse's tales, I learned the language of love. I
cannot call it my mother-tongue, but it is my love-tongue. Why, when
thou art from me, I am loving thee in Irish all day long, and thou never
knowest what my heart says to thee! It is a sad lack in thy
all-completeness, dear heart. But, I bethink me, thy new cousin did sing
a fair song in thy own tongue the other day, the which if thou canst
understand one straw better than my Irish, I will learn it for thy sake,
though truly it is Greek to me. I will send for her. Shall I?'

As she spoke she rose and rang the bell on the table, and a little page,
in waiting in the antechamber, appeared, whom she sent to desire the
attendance of mistress Dorothy Vaughan.

'Come, child,' said her mistress as she entered, 'I would have thee sing
to my lord the song that wandering harper taught thee.'

'Madam, I have learned of no wandering harper: your ladyship means
mistress Amanda's Welsh song! shall I call her?' said Dorothy,
disappointed.

'I mean thee, and thy song, thou green linnet!' rejoined lady Margaret.
'What song was it of which I said to thee that the singer deserved, for
his very song's sake, that whereof he made his moan? Whence thou hadst
it, from harper or bagpiper, I care not.'

'Excuse me, madam, but why should I sing that you love not to hear?'

'It is not I would hear it, child, but I would have my lord hear it. I
would fain prove to him that there are songs in plain English, as he
calls it, that have as little import, even to an English ear, as the
plain truth-speaking Irish ditties which he will not understand. I say
"WILL not," because our bards tell us that Irish was the language of
Adam and Eve while yet in Paradise, and therefore he could by instinct
understand it an' he would, even as the chickens understand their
mother-tongue.'

'I will sing it at your desire, madam; but I fear the worse fault will
lie in the singing.'

She seated herself at the harpsichord, and sang the following song with
much feeling and simplicity. The refrain of the song, if it may be so
called, instead of closing each stanza, preluded it.

    O fair, O sweet, when I do look on thee,
    In whom all joys so well agree,
    Heart and soul do sing in me.
      This you hear is not my tongue,
      Which once said what I conceived,
      For it was of use bereaved,
      With a cruel answer stung.
        No, though tongue to roof be cleaved,
        Fearing lest he chastis'd be,
        Heart and soul do sing in me.

    O fair, O sweet, &c.
      Just accord all music makes:
      In thee just accord excelleth,
      Where each part in such peace dwelleth,
      One of other beauty takes.
        Since then truth to all minds telleth
        That in thee lives harmony,
        Heart and soul do sing in me.

    O fair, O sweet, &c.
      They that heaven have known, do say
      That whoso that grace obtaineth
      To see what fair sight there reigneth,
      Forced is to sing alway;
        So then, since that heaven remaineth
        In thy face, I plainly see,
        Heart and soul do sing in me.

    O fair, O sweet, &c.
      Sweet, think not I am at ease,
      For because my chief part singeth;
      This song from death's sorrow springeth,
      As to Swan in last disease;
        For no dumbness nor death bringeth
        Stay to true love's melody:
        Heart and soul do sing in me.

'There!' cried lady Margaret, with a merry laugh. 'What says the English
song to my English husband?'

'It says much, Margaret,' returned lord Herbert, who had been listening
intently; 'it tells me to love you for ever.--What poet is he who wrote
the song, mistress Dorothy? He is not of our day--that I can tell but
too plainly. It is a good song, and saith much.'

'I found it near the end of the book called "The Countess of Pembroke's
Arcadia,"' replied Dorothy.

'And I knew it not! Methought I had read all that man of men ever
wrote,' said lord Herbert. 'But I may have read it, and let it slip. But
now that, by the help of the music and thy singing, cousin Dorothy, I am
come to understand it, truly I shall forget it no more. Where got'st
thou the music, pray?'

'It says in the book it was fitted to a certain Spanish tune, the name
of which I knew not, and yet know not how to pronounce; but I had the
look of the words in my head, and when I came upon some Spanish songs in
an old chest at home, and, turning them over, saw those words, I knew I
had found the tune to sir Philip's verses.'

'Tell me then, my lord, why you are pleased with the song,' said lady
Margaret, very quietly.

'Come, mistress Dorothy,' said lord Herbert, 'repeat the song to my
lady, slowly, line by line, and she will want no exposition thereon.'

When Dorothy had done as he requested, lady Margaret put her arm round
her husband's neck, laid her cheek to his, and said,

'I am a goose, Ned. It is a fair and sweet song. I thank you, Dorothy.
You shall sing it to me another time when my lord is away, and I shall
love to think my lord was ill content with me when I called it a foolish
thing. But my Irish was a good song too, my lord.'

'Thy singing of it proves it, sweet heart.--But come, my fair minstrel,
thou hast earned a good guerdon: what shall I give thee in return for
thy song?'

'A boon, a boon, my lord!' cried Dorothy.

'It is thine ere thou ask it,' returned his lordship, merrily following
up the old-fashioned phrase with like formality.

'I must then tell my lord what hath been in my foolish mind ever since
my lady took me to the keep, and I saw his marvellous array of engines.
I would glady understand them, my lord. Who can fail to delight in such
inventions as bring about that which before seemed impossible?'

Here came a little sigh with the thought of her old companion Richard,
and the things they had together contrived. Already, on the mist of
gathering time, a halo had begun to glimmer about his head, puritan,
fanatic, blasphemer even, as she had called him.

Lord Herbert marked the soundless sigh.

'You shall not sigh in vain, mistress Dorothy,' he said, 'for anything I
can give you. To one who loves inventions it is easy to explain them. I
hoped you had a hankering that way when I saw you look so curiously at
the cross-bow ere you discharged it.'

'Was it then charged, my lord?'

'Indeed, as it happened, it was. A great steel-headed arrow lay in the
groove. I ought to have taken that away when I bent it. Some passing
horseman may have carried it with him in the body of his plunging
steed.'

'Oh, my lord!' cried Dorothy, aghast.

'Pray, do not be alarmed, cousin: I but jested. Had anything happened,
we should have heard of it. It was not in the least likely. You will not
be long in this house before you learn that we do not speak by the card
here. We jest not a little. But in truth I was disappointed when I found
your curiosity so easily allayed.'

'Indeed, my lord, it was not allayed, and is still unsatisfied. But I
had no thought who it was offered me the knowledge I craved. Had I
known, I should never have refused the lesson so courteously offered.
But I was a stranger in the castle, and I thought--I feared I'

'You did even as prudence required, cousin Dorothy. A young maiden
cannot be too chary of unbuckling her enchanted armour so long as the
country is unknown to her. But it would be hard if she were to suffer
for her modesty. You shall be welcome to my cave. I trust you will not
find it as the cave of Trophonius to you. If I am not there--and it is
not now as it has been, when you might have found me in it every day,
and almost every hour of the day; but if I be not there, do not fear
Caspar Kaltoff, who is a worthy man, and as my right hand to do the
things my brain deviseth. I will speak to him of thee. He is full of
trust and worthiness, and, although not of gentle blood, is sprung from
a long race of artificers, the cloak of whose gathered skill seems to
have fallen on him. He hath been in my service now for many years, but
you will be the first lady, gentle cousin, who has ever in all that time
wished us good speed in our endeavours. How few know,' he went on
thoughtfully, after a pause, 'what a joy lies in making things obey
thoughts! in calling out of the mind, as from the vasty-deep, and
setting in visible presence before the bodily eye, that which till then
had neither local habitation nor name! Some such marvels I have to
show--for marvels I must call them, although it is my voice they have
obeyed to come; and I never lose sight of the marvel even while amusing
myself with the merest toy of my own invention.'

He paused, and Dorothy ventured to speak.

'I thank you, my lord, with all my heart. When have I leave to visit
those marvels?'

'When you please. If I am not there, Caspar will be. If Caspar is not
there, you will find the door open, for to enter that chamber without
permission would be a breach of law such as not a soul in Raglan would
dare be guilty of. And were it not so, there are few indeed in the place
who would venture to set foot in it if I were absent, for it is not
outside the castle walls only that I am looked upon as a magician. The
armourer firmly believes that with a word uttered in my den there, I
could make the weakest wall of the castle impregnable, but that it would
be at too great a cost. If you come to-morrow morning you will find me
almost certainly. But in case you should find neither of us--do not
touch anything; be content with looking--for fear of mischance. Engines
are as tickle to meddle with as incantations themselves.'

'If I know myself, you may trust me, my lord,' said Dorothy, to which he
replied with a smile of confidence.



CHAPTER XVI.

DOROTHY'S INITIATION.


There was much about the castle itself to interest Dorothy. She had
already begun the attempt to gather a clear notion of its many parts and
their relations, but the knowledge of the building could not well
advance more rapidly than her acquaintance with its inmates, for little
was to be done from the outside alone, and she could not bear to be met
in strange places by strange people. So that part of her education--I
use the word advisedly, for to know all about the parts of an old
building may do more for the education of minds of a certain stamp than
the severest course of logic--must wait upon time and opportunity.

Every day, often twice, sometimes thrice, she would visit the
stable-yard, and have an interview first with the chained Marquis, and
then with her little horse. After that she would seldom miss looking in
at the armourer's shop, and spending a few minutes in watching him at
his work, so that she was soon familiar with all sorts of armour
favoured in the castle. The blacksmiths' and the carpenters' shops were
also an attraction to her, and it was not long before she knew all the
artisans about the place. There were the farm and poultry yards too,
with which kinds of place she was familiar--especially with their
animals and all their ways. The very wild beasts in their dens in the
solid basement of the kitchen tower--a panther, two leopards, an ounce,
and a toothless old lion had already begun to know her a little, for she
never went near their cages without carrying them something to eat. For
all these visits there was plenty of room, lady Margaret never requiring
much of her time in the early part of the day, and finding the reports
she brought of what was going on always amusing. And now the orchards
and gardens would soon be inviting, for the heart of the world was
already sending up its blood to dye the apple blossoms.

But all the opportunities she yet had were less than was needful for the
development of such a mind as Dorothy's, which, powerful in itself,
needed to be roused, and was slow in its movements except when excited
by a quick succession of objects, or the contact of a kindred but busier
nature. It was lacking not only in generative, but in self-moving
energy. Of self-sustaining force she had abundance.

There was a really fine library in the castle, to which she had free
access, and whence, now and then, lady Margaret would make her bring a
book from which to read aloud, while she and her other ladies were at
work; but books were not enough to rouse Dorothy, and when inclined to
read she would return too exclusively to what she already knew, making
little effort to extend her gleaning-ground.

From this fragment of analysis it will be seen that the new resource
thus opened to her might prove of more consequence than, great as were
her expectations from it, she was yet able to anticipate. But infinitely
greater good than any knowledge of his mechanical triumphs could bring
her, was on its way to Dorothy along the path of growing acquaintance
with the noble-minded inventor himself.

The next morning, then, she was up before the sun, and, sitting at her
window, awaited his arrival. The moment he shone upon the gilded cock of
the bell tower, she rose and hastened out, eager to taste of the sweets
promised her; stood a moment to gaze on the limpid stream ever flowing
from the mouth of the white horse, and wonder whence that and the
whale-spouts he so frequently sent aloft from his nostrils came; then
passing through the archway and over the bridge, found herself at the
magician's door. For a moment she hesitated: from within came such a
tumult of hammering, that plainly it was of no use to knock, and she
could not at once bring herself to enter unannounced and uninvited. But
confidence in lord Herbert soon aroused her courage, and gently she
opened the door and peeped in. There he stood, in a linen frock that
reached from his neck to his knees, already hard at work at a small
anvil on a bench, while Caspar was still harder at work at a huge anvil
on the ground in front of a forge. This, with the mighty bellows
attached to it, occupied one of the six sides of the room, and the great
roaring, hissing thing that had so frightened lady Margaret, now silent
and cold, occupied another. Neither of the men saw her. So she entered,
closed the door, and approached lord Herbert, but he continued unaware
of her presence until she spoke. Then he ceased his hammering, turned,
and greeted her with his usual smile of sincerity absolute.

'Are you always as true to your appointments, cousin?' he said, and
resumed his hammering.

'It was hardly an appointment, my lord, and yet here I am,' said
Dorothy.

'And you mean to infer that----?'

'An appointment is no slight matter, my lord, or one that admits of
breaking.'

'Right,' returned his lordship, still hammering at the thin plate of
whitish metal growing thinner and thinner under his blows. Dorothy
glanced around her for a moment.

'I would not be troublesome, my lord,' she said; 'but would you tell me
in a few words what it is you make here?'

'Had I three tongues, and thou three ears,' answered lord Herbert, 'I
could not. But look round thee, cousin, and when thou spiest the thing
that draws thine eye more than another, ask me concerning that, and I
will tell thee.'

Hardly had Dorothy, in obedience, cast her eyes about the place, ere
they lighted on the same huge wheel which had before chiefly attracted
her notice.

'What is that great wheel for, with such a number of weights hung to
it?' she asked.

'For a memorial,' replied lord Herbert, 'of the folly of the man who
placeth his hopes in man. That wonderful engine; it is now nearly three
years since I showed it to his blessed majesty in the Tower of London,
also with him to the dukes of Richmond and Hamilton, and two
extraordinary ambassadors besides, but of them all no man hath ever
sought to look upon it again. It is a form of the Proteus-like perpetuum
mobile--a most incredible thing if not seen.'

He then proceeded to show her how, as every spoke passed the highest
point, the weight attached to it immediately hung a foot farther from
the centre of the wheel, and as every spoke passed the lowest point, its
weight returned a foot nearer to the centre, thus causing the leverage
to be greater always on one and the same side of the wheel. Few of my
readers will regret so much as myself that I am unable to give them the
constructive explanation his lordship gave Dorothy as to the shifting of
the weights. Whether she understood it or not, I cannot tell either, but
that is of less consequence. Before she left the workshop that morning,
she had learned that a thousand knowledges are needed to build up the
pyramid on whose top alone will the bird of knowledge lay her new egg.

When he had finished his explanation, lord Herbert returned to his work,
leaving Dorothy again to her own observations. And now she would gladly
have questioned him about the huge mass of brick and iron, which, now
standing silent, cold, and motionless as death, had that night seemed
alive with the fierce energy of flame, and yet sorely driven, sighing,
and groaning, and furiously hissing; but as it was not now at work, she
thought it would be better to wait an opportunity when it should be in
the agony of its wrestle with whatever unseen enemy it coped withal. She
did not know that, the first of its race, it was not quite equal to the
task the magician had imposed upon it, but that its descendants would at
length become capable of doing a thousand times as much, with the
swinging joy of conscious might, with the pant of the giant, not the
groan of the overtasked stripling urging his last effort.

She was standing by a chest, examining the strangely elaborate and
mysterious-looking scutcheon of its lock, when his lordship's hammering
ceased, and presently she found that he was by her side.

'That escutcheon is the best thing of the kind I have yet made,' he
said. 'A humour I have, never to be contented to produce any invention
the second time, without appearing refined. The lock and key of this are
in themselves a marvel, for the little triangle screwed key weighs no
more than a shilling, and yet it bolts and unbolts an hundred bolts
through fifty staples round about the chest, and as many more from both
sides and ends, and at the self-same time shall fasten it to a place
beyond a man's natural strength to take it away. But the best thing is
the escutcheon; for the owner of it, though a woman, may with her own
delicate hand vary the ways of coming to open the lock ten millions of
times, beyond the knowledge of the smith that made it, or of me who
invented it. If a stranger open it, it setteth an alarm agoing, which
the stranger cannot stop from running out; and besides, though none
should be within hearing, yet it catcheth his hand, as a trap doth a
fox; and though far from maiming him, yet it leaveth such a mark behind
it, as will discover him if suspected; the escutcheon or lock plainly
showing what moneys he hath taken out of the box to a farthing, and how
many times opened since the owner hath been at it.'

He then showed her how to set it, left the chest open, and gave her the
key off his bunch that she might use it more easily. Ere she returned
it, she had made herself mistress of the escutcheon as far as the mere
working of it was concerned, as she proved to the satisfaction of the
inventor.

Her docility and quickness greatly pleased him. He opened a cabinet, and
after a search in its drawers, took from it a little thing, in form and
colour like a plum, which he gave her, telling her to eat it. She saw
from his smile that there was something at the back of the playful
request, and for a moment hesitated, but reading in his countenance that
he wished her at least to make the attempt, she put it in her mouth.

She was gagged. She could neither open nor shut her mouth a hair's
breadth, could neither laugh, cry out, nor make any noise beyond an ugly
one she would not make twice. The tears came into her eyes, for her
position was ludicrous, and she imagined that his lordship was making
game of her. A girl less serious or more merry would have been moved
only to laughter.

But lord Herbert hastened to relieve her. On the application of a tiny
key, fixed with a joint in a finger-ring, the little steel bolts it had
thrown out in every direction returned within the plum, and he drew it
from her mouth.

'You little fool!' he said, with indescribable sweetness, for he saw the
tears in her eyes; 'did you think I would hurt you?'

'No, my lord; but I did fear you were going to make game of me. I could
not have borne Caspar to see me so.'

'Alas, my poor child!' he rejoined, 'you have come to the wrong house if
you cannot put up with a little chafing. There!' he added, putting the
plum in her hand, 'it is an untoothsome thing, but the moment may come
when you will find it useful enough to repay you for the annoyance of a
smile that had in it ten times more friendship than merriment.'

'I ask your pardon, my lord,' said Dorothy, by this time blushing deep
with shame of her mistrust and over-sensitiveness, and on the point of
crying downright. But his lordship smiled so kindly that she took heart
and smiled again.

He then showed her how to raise the key hid in the ring, and how to
unlock the plum.

'Do not try it on yourself,' he said, as he put the ring on her finger;
'you might find that awkward.'

'Be sure I shall avoid it, my lord,' returned Dorothy.

'And do not let any one know you have such a thing,' he said, 'or that
there is a key in your ring.'

'I will try not, my lord.'

The breakfast bell rang.

'If you will come again after supper,' he said, as he pulled off his
linen frock, 'I will show you my fire-engine at work, and tell you all
that is needful to the understanding thereof;--only you must not publish
it to the world,' he added, 'for I mean to make much gain by my
invention.'

Dorothy promised, and they parted--lord Herbert for the marquis's
parlour, Dorothy for the housekeeper's room, and Caspar for the third
table in the great hall.

After breakfast Dorothy practised with her plum until she could manage
it with as much readiness as ease. She found that it was made of steel,
and that the bolts it threw out upon the slightest pressure were so
rounded and polished that they could not hurt, while nothing but the key
would reduce them again within their former sheath.

END OF VOLUME I.



START OF VOLUME II



CHAPTER XVII.

THE FIRE-ENGINE.


As soon as supper was over in the housekeeper's room, Dorothy sped to
the keep, where she found Caspar at work.

'My lord is not yet from supper, mistress,' he said. 'Will it please you
wait while he comes?'

Had it been till midnight, so long as there was a chance of his
appearing, Dorothy would have waited. Caspar did his best to amuse her,
and succeeded,--showing her one curious thing after another,--amongst
the rest a watch that seemed to want no winding after being once set
agoing, but was in fact wound up a little by every opening of the case
to see the dial. All the while the fire-engine was at work on its
mysterious task, with but now and then a moment's attention from Caspar,
a billet of wood or a shovelful of sea-coal on the fire, a pull at a
cord, or a hint from the hooked rod. The time went rapidly.

Twilight was over, Caspar had lighted his lamp, and the moon had risen,
before lord Herbert came.

'I am glad to find you have patience as well as punctuality in the
catalogue of your virtues, mistress Dorothy,' he said as he entered. 'I
too am punctual, and am therefore sorry to have failed now, but it is
not my fault: I had to attend my father. For his sake pardon me.'

'It were but a small matter, my lord, even had it been uncompelled, to
keep an idle girl waiting.'

'I think not so,' returned lord Herbert. 'But come now, I will explain
to you my wonderful fire-engine.'

As he spoke, he took her by the hand, and led her towards it. The
creature blazed, groaned, and puffed, but there was no motion to be seen
about it save that of the flames through the cracks in the door of the
furnace, neither was there any clanking noise of metal. A great rushing
sound somewhere in the distance, that seemed to belong to it, yet
appeared too far off to have any connection with it.

'It is a noisy thing,' he said, as they stood before it, 'but when I
make another, it shall do its work that thou wouldst not hear it outside
the door. Now listen to me for a moment, cousin. Should it come to a
siege and I not at Raglan--the wise man will always provide for the
worst--Caspar will be wanted everywhere. Now this engine is essential to
the health and comfort, if not to the absolute life of the castle, and
there is no one at present capable of managing it save us two. A very
little instruction, however, would enable any one to do so: will you
undertake it, cousin, in case of need?'

'Make me assured that I can, and I will, my lord,' answered Dorothy.

'A good and sufficing answer,' returned his lordship, with a smile of
satisfaction. 'First then,' he went on, 'I will show you wherein lies
its necessity to the good of the castle. Come with me, cousin Dorothy.'

He led the way from the room, and began to ascend the stair which rose
just outside it. Dorothy followed, winding up through the thickness of
the wall. And now she could not hear the engine. As she went up,
however, certain sounds of it came again, and grew louder till they
seemed close to her ears, then gradually died away and once more ceased.
But ever, as they ascended, the rushing sound which had seemed connected
with it, although so distant, drew nearer and nearer, until, having
surmounted three of the five lofty stories of the building, they could
scarcely hear each other speak for the roar of water, falling in
intermittent jets. At last they came out on the top of the wall, with
nothing between them and the moat below but the battlemented parapet,
and behold! the mighty tower was roofed with water: a little tarn filled
all the space within the surrounding walk. It undulated in the moonlight
like a subsiding storm, and beat the encircling banks. For into its
depths shot rather than poured a great volume of water from a huge
orifice in the wall, and the roar and the rush were tremendous. It was
like the birth of a river, bounding at once from its mountain rock, and
the sound of its fall indicated the great depth of the water into which
it plunged. Solid indeed must be the walls that sustained the outpush of
such a weight of water!

'You see now, cousin, what yon fire-souled slave below is labouring at,'
said his lordship. 'His task is to fill this cistern, and that he can in
a few hours; and yet, such a slave is he, a child who understands his
fetters and the joints of his bones can guide him at will.'

'But, my lord,' questioned Dorothy, 'is there not water here to supply
the castle for months? And there is the draw-well in the pitched court
besides.'

'Enough, I grant you,' he replied, 'for the mere necessities of life.
But what would come of its pleasures? Would not the beleaguered ladies
miss the bounty of the marble horse? Whence comes the water he gives so
freely that he needeth not to drink himself? He would thirst indeed but
for my water-commanding fiend below. Or how would the birds fare, were
the fountains on the islands dry in the hot summer? And what would the
children say if he ceased to spout? And how would my lord's tables fare,
with the armed men besetting every gate, the fish-ponds dry, and the
fish rotting in the sun? See you, mistress Dorothy? And for the
draw-well, know you not wherein lies the good of a tower stronger than
all the rest? Is it not built for final retreat, the rest of the castle
being at length in the hands of the enemy? Where then is your
draw-well?'

'But this tower, large as it is, could not receive those now within the
walls of the castle,' said Dorothy.

'They will be fewer ere its shelter is needful.'

It was his tone quite as much as the words that drove a sudden sickness
to the heart of the girl: for one moment she knew what siege and battle
meant. But she recovered herself with a strong effort, and escaped from
the thought by another question.

'And whence comes all this water, my lord?' she said, for she was one
who would ask until she knew all that concerned her.

'Have you not chanced to observe a well in my workshop below, on the
left-hand side of the door, not far from the great chest?'

'I have observed it, my lord.'

'That is a very deep well, with a powerful spring. Large pipes lead from
all but the very bottom of that to my fire-engine. The fuller the well,
the more rapid the flow into the cistern, for the shallower the water,
the more labour falls to my giant. He is finding it harder work now. But
you see the cistern is nearly full.'

'Forgive me, my lord, if I am troubling you,' said Dorothy, about to ask
another question.

'I delight in the questions of the docile,' said his lordship. 'They are
the little children of wisdom. There! that might be out of the book of
Ecclesiasticus,' he added, with a merry laugh. 'I might pass that off on
Dr. Bayly for my father's: he hath already begun to gather my father's
sayings into a book, as I have discovered. But, prithee, cousin, let not
my father know of it.'

'Fear not me, my lord,' returned Dorothy. 'Having no secrets of my own
to house, it were evil indeed to turn my friends' out of doors.'

'Why, that also would do for Dr. Bayly! Well said, Dorothy! Now for thy
next question.'

'It is this, my lord: having such a well in your foundations, whence the
need of such a cistern on your roof? I mean now as regards the provision
of the keep itself in case of ultimate resort.'

'In coming to deal with a place of such strength as this,' replied his
lordship, '--I mean the keep whereon we now stand, not the castle,
which, alas! hath many weak points--the enemy would assuredly change the
siege into a blockade; that is, he would try to starve instead of fire
us out; and, procuring information sufficiently to the point, would be
like enough to dig deep and cut the water-veins which supply that well;
and thereafter all would depend on the cistern. From the moment
therefore when the first signs of siege appear, it will be wisdom and
duty on the part of the person in charge to keep it constantly
full--full as a cup to the health of the king. I trust however that such
will be the good success of his majesty's arms that the worst will only
have to be provided against, not encountered.--But there is more in it
yet. Come hither, cousin. Look down through this battlement upon the
moat. You see the moon in it? No? That is because it is covered so thick
with weeds. When you go down, mark how low it is. There is little
defence in the moat that a boy might wade through. I have allowed it to
get shallow in order to try upon its sides a new cement I have lately
discovered; but weeks and weeks have passed, and I have never found the
leisure, and now I am sure I never shall until this rebellion is
crushed. It is time I filled it. Pray look down upon it, cousin. In
summer it will be full of the loveliest white water-lilies, though now
you can see nothing but green weeds.'

He had left her side and gone a few paces away, but kept on speaking.

'One strange thing I can tell you about them, cousin--the roots of that
whitest of flowers make a fine black dye! What apophthegm founded upon
that, thinkest thou, my father would drop for Dr Bayly?'

'You perplex me much, my lord,' said Dorothy. 'I cannot at all perceive
your lordship's drift.'

'Lay a hand on each side of the battlement where you now stand; lean
through it and look down. Hold fast and fear nothing.' Dorothy did as
she was desired, and thus supported gazed upon the moat below, where it
lay a mere ditch at the foot of the lofty wall.

'My lord, I see nothing,' she said, turning to him, as she thought; but
he had vanished.

Again she looked at the moat, and then her eyes wandered away over the
castle. The two courts and their many roofs, even those of all the
towers, except only the lofty watch-tower on the western side, lay bare
beneath her, in bright moonlight, flecked and blotted with shadows, all
wondrous in shape and black as Erebus.

Suddenly, she knew not whence, arose a frightful roaring, a hollow
bellowing, a pent-up rumbling. Seized by a vague terror, she clung to
the parapet and trembled. But even the great wall beneath her, solid as
the earth itself, seemed to tremble under her feet, as with some inward
commotion or dismay. The next moment the water in the moat appeared to
rush swiftly upwards, in wild uproar, fiercely confused, and covered
with foam and spray. To her bewildered eyes, it seemed to heap itself
up, wave upon furious wave, to reach the spot where she stood, greedy to
engulf her. For an instant she fancied the storming billows pouring over
the edge of the battlement, and started back in such momentary agony as
we suffer in dreams. Then, by a sudden rectification of her vision, she
perceived that what she saw was in reality a multitude of fountain jets
rushing high towards their parent-cistern, but far-failing ere they
reached it. The roar of their onset was mingled with the despairing
tumult of their defeat, and both with the deep tumble and wallowing
splash of the water from the fire-engine, which grew louder and louder
as the surface of the water in the reservoir sank. The uproar ceased as
suddenly as it had commenced, but the moat mirrored a thousand moons in
the agitated waters which had overwhelmed its mantle of weeds.

'You see now,' said lord Herbert, rejoining her while still she gazed,
'how necessary the cistern is to the keep? Without it, the few poor
springs in the moat would but sustain it as you saw it. From here I can
fill it to the brim.'

'I see,' answered Dorothy. 'But would not a simple overflow serve,
carried from the well through the wall?'

'It would, were there no other advantages with which this mode
harmonised. I must mention one thing more--which I was almost
forgetting, and which I cannot well show you to-night--namely, that I
can use this water not only as a means of defence in the moat, but as an
engine of offence also against any one setting unlawful or hostile foot
upon the stone bridge over it. I can, when I please, turn that bridge,
the same by which you cross to come here, into a rushing aqueduct, and
with a torrent of water sweep from it a whole company of invaders.'

'But would they not have only to wait until the cistern was empty?'

'As soon and so long as the bridge is clear, the outflow ceases. One
sweep, and my water-broom would stop, and the rubbish lie sprawling
under the arch, or half-way over the court. And more still,' he added
with emphasis: 'I COULD make it boiling!'

'But your lordship would not?' faltered Dorothy.

'That might depend,' he answered with a smile. Then changing his tone in
absolute and impressive seriousness, 'But this is all nothing but
child's play,' he said, 'compared with what is involved in the matter of
this reservoir. The real origin of it was its needfulness to the
perfecting of my fire-engine.'

'Pardon me, my lord, but it seems to me that without the cistern there
would be no need for the engine. How should you want or how could you
use the unhandsome thing? Then how should the cistern be necessary to
the engine?'

'Handsome is that handsome does,' returned his lordship. 'Truly, cousin
Dorothy, you speak well, but you must learn to hear better. I did not
say that the cistern existed for the sake of the engine, but for the
sake of the perfecting of the engine. Cousin Dorothy, I will give you
the largest possible proof of my confidence in you, by not only
explaining to you the working of my fire-engine, but acquainting
you--only you must not betray me!'

'I, in my turn,' said Dorothy, 'will give your lordship, if not the
strongest, yet a very strong proof of my confidence: I promise to keep
your secret before knowing what it is.'

'Thanks, cousin. Listen then: That engine is a mingling of discovery and
invention such as hath never had its equal since first the mechanical
powers were brought to the light. For this shall be as a soul to animate
those, all and each--lever, screw, pulley, wheel, and axle--what you
will. No engine of mightiest force ever for defence or assault invented,
let it be by Archimedes himself, but could by my fire-engine be rendered
tenfold more mighty for safety or for destruction, although as yet I
have applied it only to the blissful operation of lifting water, thus
removing the curse of it where it is a curse, and carrying it where the
parched soil cries for its help to unfold the treasures of its thirsty
bosom. My fire-engine shall yet uplift the nation of England above the
heads of all richest and most powerful nations on the face of the whole
earth. For when the troubles of this rebellion are over, which press so
heavily on his majesty and all loyal subjects, compelling even a
peaceful man like myself to forsake invention for war, and the workman's
frock which I love, for the armour which I love not, when peace shall
smile again on the country, and I shall have time to perfect the work of
my hands, I shall present it to my royal master, a magical supremacy of
power, which shall for ever raise him and his royal progeny above all
use or need of subsidies, ship-money, benevolences, or taxes of whatever
sort or name, to rule his kingdom as independent of his subjects in
reality as he is in right; for this water-commanding engine, which God
hath given me to make, shall be the source of such wealth as no
accountant can calculate. For herewith may marsh-land be thoroughly
drained, or dry land perfectly watered; great cities kept sweet and
wholesome; mines rid of the water gathering from springs therein, so as
he may enrich himself withal; houses be served plentifully on every
stage; and gardens in the dryest summer beautified and comforted with
fountains. Which engine when I found that it was in the power of my
hands to do, as well as of my heart to conceive that it might be done, I
did kneel down and give humble thanks from the bottom of my heart to the
omnipotent God whose mercies are fathomless, for his vouchsafing me an
insight into so great a secret of nature and so beneficial to all
mankind as this my engine.'

With all her devotion to the king, and all her hatred and contempt of
the parliament and the puritans, Dorothy could not help a doubt whether
such independence might be altogether good either for the king himself
or the people thus subjected to his will. But the farther doubt did not
occur to her whether a pre-eminence gained chiefly by wealth was one to
be on any grounds desired for the nation, or, setting that aside, was
one which carried a single element favourable to perpetuity.

All this time they had been standing on the top of the keep, with the
moonlight around them, and in their ears the noise of the water flowing
from the dungeon well into the sky-roofed cistern. But now it came in
diminished flow.

'It is the earth that fails in giving, not my engine in taking,' said
lord Herbert as he turned to lead the way down the winding stair. Ever
as they went, the noise of the water grew fainter and the noise of the
engine grew louder, but just as they stepped from the stair, it gave a
failing stroke or two, and ceased. A dense white cloud met them as they
entered the vault.

'Stopped for the night, Caspar?' said his lordship.

'Yes, my lord; the well is nearly out.'

'Let it sleep,' returned his master; 'like a man's heart it will fill in
the night. Thank God for the night and darkness and sleep, in which good
things draw nigh like God's thieves, and steal themselves in--water into
wells, and peace and hope and courage into the minds of men. Is it not
so, my cousin?'

Dorothy did not answer in words, but she looked up in his face with a
reverence in her eyes that showed she understood him. And this was one
of the idolatrous catholics! It was neither the first nor the last of
many lessons she had to receive, in order to learn that a man may be
right although the creed for which he is and ought to be ready to die,
may contain much that is wrong. Alas! that so few, even of such men,
ever reflect, that it is the element common to all the creeds which
gives its central value to each.

'I cannot show you the working of the engine to-night,' said lord
Herbert. 'Caspar has decreed otherwise.'

'I can soon set her agoing again, my lord,' said Caspar.

'No, no. We must to the powder-mill, Caspar. Mistress Dorothy will come
again to-morrow, and you must yourself explain to her the working and
management of it, for I shall be away. And do not fear to trust my
cousin, Caspar, although she be a soft-handed lady. Let her have the
brute's halter in her own hold.'

Filled with gratitude for the trust he reposed in her, Dorothy took her
leave, and the two workmen immediately abandoned their shop for the
night, leaving the door wide open behind them to let out the vapours of
the fire-engine, in the confidence that no unlicensed foot would dare to
cross the threshold, and betook themselves to the powder-mill, where
they continued at work the greater part of the night.

His lordship was unfavourable to the storing of powder because of the
danger, seeing they could, on his calculation, from the materials lying
ready for mixing, in one week prepare enough to keep all the ordnance on
the castle walls busy for two. But indeed he had not such a high opinion
of gunpowder but that he believed engines for projection, more powerful
as well as less expensive, could be constructed, after the fashion of
ballista or catapult, by the use of a mode he had discovered of
immeasurably increasing the strength of springs, so that stones of a
hundredweight might be thrown into a city from a quarter of a mile's
distance without any noise audible to those within. It was this device
he was brooding over when Dorothy came upon him by the arblast. Nor did
the conviction arise from any prejudice against fire-arms, for he had,
among many other wonderful things of the sort, in cannons, sakers,
harquebusses, muskets, musquetoons, and all kinds, invented a pistol to
discharge a dozen times with one loading, and without so much as new
priming being once requisite, or the possessor having to change it out
of one hand into the other, or stop his horse.

One who had happened to see lord Herbert as he went about within his
father's walls, busy yet unhasting, earnest yet cheerful, rapid in all
his movements yet perfectly composed, would hardly have imagined that a
day at a time, or perhaps two, was all he was now able to spend there,
days which were to him as breathing-holes in the ice to the wintered
fishes. For not merely did he give himself to the enlisting of large
numbers of men, but commanded both horse and foot, meeting all expenses
from his own pocket, or with the assistance of his father. A few months
before the period at which my story has arrived, he had in eight days
raised six regiments, fortified Monmouth and Chepstow, and garrisoned
half-a-dozen smaller but yet important places. About a hundred noblemen
and gentlemen whom he had enrolled as a troop of life-guards, he
furnished with the horses and arms which they were unable to provide
with sufficient haste for themselves. So prominent indeed were his
services on behalf of the king, that his father was uneasy because of
the jealousy and hate it would certainly rouse in the minds of some of
his majesty's well-wishers--a just presentiment, as his son had too good
reason to acknowledge after he had spent a million of money, besides the
labour and thought and dangerous endeavour of years, in the king's
service.



CHAPTER XVIII.

MOONLIGHT AND APPLE-BLOSSOMS.


The next morning, immediately after breakfast, lord Herbert set out for
Chepstow first and then Monmouth, both which places belonged to his
father, and were principal sources of his great wealth.

Still, amid the rush of the changeful tides of war around them, and the
rumour of battle filling the air, all was peaceful within the defences
of Raglan, and its towers looked abroad over a quiet country, where the
cattle fed and the green wheat grew. On the far outskirts of vision,
indeed, a smoke might be seen at times from the watch-tower, and across
the air would come the dull boom of a great gun from one of the
fortresses, at which lady Margaret's cheek would turn pale; but,
although every day something was done to strengthen the castle, although
masons were at work here and there about the walls like bees, and Caspar
Kaltoff was busy in all directions, now mounting fresh guns, now
repairing steel cross-bows, now getting out of the armoury the queerest
oldest-fashioned engines to place wherever available points could be
found, there was no hurry and no confusion, and indeed so little
appearance of unusual activity, that an unmilitary stranger might have
passed a week in the castle without discovering that preparations for
defence were actively going on. All around them the buds were creeping
out, uncurling, spreading abroad, straightening themselves, smoothing
out the creases of their unfolding, and breathing the air of heaven--in
some way very pleasant to creatures with roots as well as to creatures
with legs. The apple-blossoms came out, and the orchard was lovely as
with an upward-driven storm of roseate snow. Ladies were oftener seen
passing through the gates and walking in the gardens--where the
fountains had begun to play, and the swans and ducks on the lakes felt
the return of spring in every fibre of their webby feet and cold scaly
legs.

And Dorothy sat as it were at the spring-head of the waters, for,
through her dominion over the fire-engine, she had become the naiad of
Raglan. The same hour in which lord Herbert departed she went to
Kaltoff, and was by him instructed in its mysteries. On the third day
after, so entirely was the Dutchman satisfied with her understanding and
management of it, that he gave up to her the whole water-business. And
now, as I say, she sat at the source of all the streams and fountains of
the place, and governed them all. The horse of marble spouted and ceased
at her will, but in general she let the stream from his mouth flow all
day long. Every water-cock on the great tower was subject to her. From
the urn of her pleasure the cistern was daily filled, and from the
summit of defence her flood went pouring into the moat around its feet,
until it mantled to the brim, turning the weeds into a cold shadowy
pavement of green for a foil to its pellucid depth. She understood all
the secrets of the aqueous catapult, at which its contriver had little
more than hinted on that memorable night when he disclosed so much, and
believed she could arrange it for action without assistance. At the same
time her new responsibilities required but a portion of her leisure, and
lady Margaret was not the less pleased with the wise-headed girl, whose
manners and mental ways were such a contrast to her own, that her
husband considered her fit to be put in charge of his darling invention.
But Dorothy kept silence concerning the trust to all but her mistress,
who, on her part, was prudent enough to avoid any allusion which might
raise yet higher the jealousy of her associates, by whom she was already
regarded as supplanting them in the favour of their mistress.

One lovely evening in May, the moon at the full, the air warm yet fresh,
the apple-blossoms at their largest, with as yet no spot upon their fair
skin, and the nightingales singing out of their very bones, the season,
the hour, the blossoms, and the moon had invaded every chamber in the
castle, seized every heart of both man and beast, and turned all into
one congregation of which the nightingales were the priests. The cocks
were crowing as if it had been the dawn itself instead of its ghost they
saw; the dogs were howling, but whether that was from love or hate of
the moon, I cannot tell; the pigeons were cooing; the peacock had turned
his train into a paralune, understanding well that the carnival could
not be complete without him and his; and the wild beasts were restless,
uttering a short yell now and then, at least aware that something was
going on. All the inhabitants of the castle were out of doors, the
ladies and gentlemen in groups here and there about the gardens and
lawns and islands, and the domestics, and such of the garrison as were
not on duty, wandering hither and thither where they pleased, careful
only not to intrude on their superiors.

Lady Margaret was walking with her step-son Henry on a lawn under the
northern window of the picture-gallery, and there the ladies Elizabeth
and Anne joined them--the former a cheerful woman, endowed with a large
share of her father's genial temperament; joke or jest would moult no
feather in lady Elizabeth's keeping; the latter quiet, sincere, and
reverent. The marquis himself, notwithstanding a slight attack of the
gout, had hobbled on his stick to a chair set for him on the same lawn.
Beside him sat lady Mary, younger than the other two, and specially
devoted to her father.

Their gentlewomen were also out, flitting in groups that now and then
mingled and changed. Rowland Scudamore joined lady Margaret's people,
and in a moment lady Broughton was laughing merrily. But mistress
Doughty walked on with straight neck, as if there were nobody but
herself in heaven or on the earth, although mortals were merry by her
side, and nightingales singing themselves to death over her head. Behind
them came Amanda Serafina, with her eyes on her feet, and the corners of
her pretty mouth drawn down in contempt of nobody in particular. Now and
then Scudamore, when satisfied with his own pretty wit, would throw a
glance behind him, and she, somehow or other, would, without change of
muscle, let him know that she had heard him. This group sauntered into
the orchard.

After them came Dorothy with Dr Bayly, talking of their common friend
Mr. Matthew Herbert, and following them into the orchard, wandered about
among the trees, under the curdled moonlight of the apple-blossoms, amid
the challenges and responses of five or six nightingales, that sang as
if their bodies had dwindled under the sublimating influences of music,
until, with more than cherubic denudation, their sum of being was
reduced to a soul and a throat.

Moonlight, apple-blossoms, nightingales, with the souls of men and women
for mirrors and reflectors! The picture is for the musician not the
painter, either him of words or him of colours. It was like a lovely
show in the land of dreams, even to the living souls that moved in and
made part of it. The earth is older now, colder at the heart, a little
nearer to the fate of cold-hearted things, which is to be slaves and
serve without love; but she has still the same moonlight, the same
apple-blossoms, the same nightingales, and we have the same hearts, and
so can understand it. But, alas! how differently should we come in
amongst the accessories of such a picture! For we men at least are all
but given over to ugliness, and, artistically considered, even
vulgarity, in the matter of dress, wherein they, of all generations of
English men and women, were too easily supreme both as to form and
colour. Hence, while they are an admiration to us, we shall be but a
laughter to those that come behind us, and that whether their fashions
be better than ours or no, for nothing is so ridiculous as ugliness out
of date. The glimmer of gold and silver, the glitter of polished steel,
the flashing of jewels, and the flowing of plumes, went well. But, so
canopied with loveliness, so besung with winged passion, so clothed that
even with the heavenly delicacies enrounding them they blended
harmoniously, their moonlit orchard was an island beat by the waves of
war, its air would quiver and throb by fits, shaken with the roar of
cannon, and might soon gleam around them with the whirring sweep of the
troopers' broad blades; while all throughout the land, the hateful demon
of party spirit tore wide into gashes the wounds first made by
conscience in the best, and by prejudice in the good.

The elder ladies had floated away together between the mossy stems,
under the canopies of blossoms; Rowland had fallen behind and joined the
waiting Amanda, and the two were now flitting about like moths in the
moonshine; Dorothy and Dr. Bayly had halted in an open spot, like a
moonlight impluvium, the divine talking eagerly to the maiden, and the
maiden looking up at the moon, and heeding the nightingales more than
the divine.

'CAN they be English nightingales?' said Dorothy thoughtfully.

The doctor was bewildered for a moment. He had been talking about
himself, not the nightingales, but he recovered himself like a
gentleman.

'Assuredly, mistress Dorothy,' he replied; 'this is the land of their
birth. Hither they come again when the winter is over.'

'Yes; they take no part in our troubles. They will not sing to comfort
our hearts in the cold; but give them warmth enough, and they sing as
careless of battle-fields and dead men as if they were but moonlight and
apple-blossoms.'

'Is it not better so?' returned the divine after a moment's thought.
'How would it be if everything in nature but re-echoed our moan?'

Dorothy looked at the little man, and was in her turn a moment silent.

'Then,' she said, 'we must see in these birds and blossoms, and that
great blossom in the sky, so many prophets of a peaceful time and a
better country, sent to remind us that we pass away and go to them.'

'Nay, my dear mistress Dorothy!' returned the all but obsequious doctor;
'such thoughts do not well befit your age, or rather, I would say, your
youth. Life is before you, and life is good. These evil times will go
by, the king shall have his own again, the fanatics will be scourged as
they deserve, and the church will rise like the phoenix from the ashes
of her purification.'

'But how many will lie out in the fields all the year long, yet never
see blossoms or hear nightingales more!' said Dorothy.

'Such will have died martyrs,' rejoined the doctor.

'On both sides?' suggested Dorothy.

Again for a moment the good man stood checked. He had not even thought
of the dead on the other side.

'That cannot be,' he said. And Dorothy looked up again at the moon.

But she listened no more to the songs of the nightingales, and they left
the orchard together in silence.

'Come, Rowland, we must not be found here alone,' said Amanda, who saw
them go. 'But tell me one thing first: is mistress Dorothy Vaughan
indeed your cousin?'

'She is indeed. Her mother and mine were cousins german--sisters'
children.'

'I thought it could not be a near cousinship. You are not alike at all.
Hear me, Rowland, but let it die in your ear--I love not mistress
Dorothy.'

'And the reason, lovely hater? "Is not the maiden fair to see?" as the
old song says. I do not mean that she is fair as some are fair, but she
will pass; she offends not.'

'She is fair enough--not beautiful, not even pleasing; but, to be just,
the demure look she puts on may bear the fault of that. Rowland, I would
not speak evil of any one, but your cousin is a hypocrite. She is false
at heart, and she hates me. Trust me, she but bides her time to let me
know it--and you too, my Rowland.'

'I am sure you mistake her, Amanda,' said Scudamore. 'Her looks are but
modest, and her words but shy, for she came hither from a lonely house.
I believe she is honest and good.'

'Seest thou not then how that she makes friends with none but her
betters? Already hath she wound herself around my lady's heart,
forsooth! and now she pays her court to the puffing chaplain! Hast thou
never observed, my Rowland, how oft she crosses the bridge to the yellow
tower? What seeks she there? Old Kaltoff, the Dutchman, it can hardly
be. I know she thinks to curry with my lord by pretending to love locks
and screws and pistols and such like. "But why should she haunt the
place when my lord is not there?" you will ask. Her pretence will hold
the better for it, no doubt, and Caspar will report concerning her. And
if she pleases my lord well, who knows but he may give her a pair of
watches to hang at her ears, or a box that Paracelsus himself could not
open without the secret as well as the key? I have heard of both such.
They say my lord hath twenty cartloads of quite as wonderful things in
that vault he calls his workshop. Hast thou never marked the huge
cabinet of black inlaid with silver, that stands by the wall--fitter
indeed for my lady's chamber than such a foul place?'

'I have seen it,' answered Scudamore.

'I warrant me it hath store of gewgaws fit for a duchess.'

'Like enough,' assented Rowland.

'If mistress Dorothy were to find the way through my lord's favour into
that cabinet--truly it were nothing to thee or me, Rowland.'

'Assuredly not. It would be my lord's own business.'

'Once upon a time I was sent to carry my young lady Raven thither--to
see my lord earn his bread, as said my lady: and what should my lord but
give her no less than a ball of silver which, thrown into a vessel of
water at any moment would plainly tell by how much it rose above the
top, the very hour and minute of the day or night, as well and truly as
the castle-clock itself. Tell me not, Rowland, that the damsel hath no
design in it. Her looks betoken a better wisdom. Doth she not, I ask
your honesty, far more resemble a nose-pinched puritan than a loyal
maiden?'

Thus amongst the apple-blossoms talked Amanda Serafina.

'Prithee, be not too severe with my cousin, Amanda,' pleaded Scudamore.
'She is much too sober to please my fancy, but wherefore should I for
that hate her? And if she hath something the look of a long-faced
fanatic, thou must think, she hath but now, as it were, lost her
mother.'

'But now! And I never knew mine! Ah, Rowland, how lonely is the world!'

'Lovely Amanda!' said Rowland.

So they passed from the orchard and parted, fearful of being missed.

How should such a pair do, but after its kind? Life was dull without
love-making, so they made it. And the more they made, the more they
wanted to make, until casual encounters would no longer serve their
turn.



CHAPTER XIX.

THE ENCHANTED CHAIR.


In the castle things went on much the same, nor did the gathering tumult
without wake more than an echo within. Yet a cloud slowly deepened upon
the brow of the marquis, and a look of disquiet, to be explained neither
by the more frequent returns of his gout, nor by the more lengthened
absences of his favourite son. In his judgment the king was losing
ground, not only in England but in the deeper England of its men. Lady
Margaret also, for all her natural good spirits and light-heartedness,
showed a more continuous anxiety than was to be accounted for by her
lord's absences and the dangers he had to encounter: little Molly, the
treasure of her heart next to her lord, had never been other than a
delicate child, but now had begun to show signs of worse than weakness
of constitution, and the heart of the mother was perpetually brooding
over the ever-present idea of her sickly darling.

But she always did her endeavour to clear the sky of her countenance
before sitting down with her father-in-law at the dinner-table, where
still the marquis had his jest almost as regularly as his claret,
although varying more in quality and quantity both--now teasing his son
Charles about the holes in his pasteboard, as he styled the castle
walls; now his daughter Anne about a design, he and no one else
attributed to her, of turning protestant and marrying Dr. Bayly; now Dr.
Bayly about his having been discovered blowing the organ in the chapel
at high mass, as he said; for when no new joke was at hand he was fain
to content himself with falling back upon old ones. The first of these
mentioned was founded on the fact, as undeniable as deplorable, of the
weakness of many portions of the defences, to remedy which, as far as
might be, was for the present lord Charles's chief endeavour, wherein he
had the best possible adviser, engineer, superintendent, and workman,
all in the person of Caspar Kaltoff. The second jest of the marquis was
a pure invention upon the liking of lady Anne for the company and
conversation of the worthy chaplain. The last mentioned was but an
exaggeration of the following fact.

One evening the doctor came upon young Delaware, loitering about the
door of the chapel, with as disconsolate a look as his lovely sightless
face was ever seen to wear, and, inquiring what was amiss with him,
learned that he could find no one to blow the organ bellows for him. The
youth had for years, boy as he still was, found the main solace of his
blindness in the chapel-organ, upon which he would have played from
morning to night could he have got any one to blow as long. The doctor,
then, finding the poor boy panting for music like the hart for the
water-brooks, but with no Jacob to roll the stone from the well's mouth
that he might water the flocks of his thirsty thoughts, made willing
proffer of his own exertions to blow the bellows of the organ, so long
as the somewhat wheezy bellows of his body would submit to the task.

By degrees however the good doctor had become so absorbed in the sounds
that rushed, now wailing, now jubilant, now tender as a twilight wind,
now imperious as the voice of the war-tempest, from the fingers of the
raptured boy, that the reading of the first vesper-psalm had commenced
while he was yet watching the slow rising index, in the expectation that
the organist was about to resume. The voice of his Irish
brother-chaplain, Sir Toby Mathews, roused him from his reverie of
delight, and as one ashamed he stole away through the door that led from
the little organ loft into the minstrel's gallery in the great hall, and
so escaped the catholic service, but not the marquis's roasting. Whether
the music had any share in the fact that the good man died a good
catholic at last, I leave to the speculation of who list.

Lady Margaret continued unchangingly kind to Dorothy; and the tireless
efforts of the girl to amuse and please poor little Molly, whom the
growing warmth of the season seemed to have no power to revive, awoke
the deep gratitude of a mother. This, as well as her husband's absences,
may have had something to do with the interest she began to take in the
engine of which Dorothy had assumed the charge, for which she had always
hitherto expressed a special dislike, professing to regard it as her
rival in the affections of her husband, but after which she would now
inquire as Dorothy's baby, and even listen with patience to her
expositions of its wonderful construction and capabilities. Ere long
Dorothy had a tale to tell her in connection with the engine, which,
although simple and uneventful enough, she yet found considerably more
interesting, as involving a good deal of at least mental adventure on
the part of her young cousin.

One evening, after playing with little Molly for an hour, then putting
her to bed and standing by her crib until she fell asleep, Dorothy ran
to see to her other baby; for the cistern had fallen rather lower than
she thought well, and she was going to fill it. She found Caspar had
lighted the furnace as she had requested; she set the engine going, and
it soon warmed to its work.

The place was hot, and Dorothy was tired. But where in that wide and not
over-clean place should she find anything fitter than a grindstone to
sit upon? Never yet, through all her acquaintance with the workshop, had
she once seated herself in it. Looking about, however, she soon espied,
almost hidden in the corner of a recess behind the furnace, what seemed
an ordinary chair, such as stood in the great hall for the use of the
family when anything special was going on there. With some trouble she
got it out, dusted it, and set it as far from the furnace as might be,
consistently with watching the motions of the engine. But the moment she
sat down in it, she was caught and pinned so fast that she could
scarcely stir hand or foot, and could no more leave it again than if she
had been paralyzed in every limb. One scream she uttered of mingled
indignation and terror, fancying herself seized by human arms; but when
she found herself only in the power of one of her cousin's curiosities,
she speedily quieted herself and rested in peace, for Caspar always paid
a visit to the workshop the last thing before going to bed. The pressure
of the springs that had closed the trap did not hurt her in the
least--she was indeed hardly sensible of it; but when she made the least
attempt to stir, the thing showed itself immovably locked, and she had
too much confidence in the workmanship of her cousin and Caspar to dream
of attempting to open it: that she knew must be impossible. The worst
that threatened her was that the engine might require some attention
before the hour, or perhaps two, which must elapse ere Caspar came would
be over, and she did not know what the consequences might be.

As it happened, however, something either in the powder-mill or about
the defences detained Caspar far beyond his usual hour for retiring, and
the sultriness of the weather having caused him a headache, he
represented to himself that, with mistress Dorothy tending the engine,
who knew where and would be sure to find him upon the least occasion,
there could be no harm in his going to bed without paying his usual
precautionary visit to the keep.

So Dorothy sat, and waited in vain. The last drops of the day trickled
down the side of the world, the night filled the crystal globe from its
bottom of rock to its cover of blue aether, and the red glow of the
furnace was all that lighted the place. She waited and waited in her
mind; but Caspar did not come. She began to feel miserable. The furnace
fire sank, and the rush of the water grew slower and slower, and ceased.
Caspar did not come. The fire sank lower and lower, its red eye dimmed,
darkened, went out. Still Caspar did not come. Faint fears began to
gather about poor Dorothy's heart. It was clear at last that there she
must be all the night long, and who could tell how far into the morning?
It was good the night was warm, but it would be very dreary. And then to
be fixed in one position for so long! The thought of it grew in misery
faster than the thing itself. The greater torment lies always in the
foreboding. She felt almost as if she were buried alive. Having their
hands tied even, is enough to drive strong men almost crazy. Nor, firm
of heart as she was, did no evils of a more undefined and less
resistible character claim a share in her fast-rising apprehensions; she
began to discover that she too was assailable by the terror of the
night, although she had not hitherto been aware of it, no one knowing
what may lie unhatched in his mind, waiting the concurrence of vital
conditions.

But Dorothy was better able to bear up under such assaults than
thousands who believe nothing of many a hideous marvel commonly accepted
in her day; and anyhow the unavoidable must be encountered, if not with
indifference, yet with what courage may be found responsive to the call
of the will. So, with all her energy, a larger store than she knew, she
braced herself to endure. As to any attempt to make herself heard, she
knew from the first that was of doubtful result, and now must certainly
be of no avail when all but the warders were asleep. But to spend the
night thus was a far less evil than to be discovered by the staring
domestics, and exposed to the open merriment of her friends, and the
hidden mockery of her enemies. As to Caspar, she was certain of his
silence. So she sat on, like the lady in Comus, 'in stony fetters fixed
and motionless;' only, as she said to herself, there was no attendant
spirit to summon Caspar, who alone could take the part of Sabrina, and
'unlock the clasping charm.' Little did Dorothy think, as in her dreary
imprisonment she recalled that marvellous embodiment of unified strength
and tenderness, as yet unacknowledged of its author, that it was the
work of the same detestable fanatic who wrote those appalling
'Animadversions, &c.'

She grew chilly and cramped. The night passed very slowly. She dozed and
woke, and dozed again. At last, from very weariness of both soul and
body, she fell into a troubled sleep, from which she woke suddenly with
the sound in her ears of voices whispering. The confidence of lord
Herbert, both in the evil renown of his wizard cave and the character of
his father's household, seemed mistaken. Still the subdued manner of
their conversation appeared to indicate it was not without some awe that
the speakers, whoever they were, had ventured within the forbidden
precincts; their whispers, indeed, were so low that she could not say of
either voice whether it belonged to man or woman. Her first idea was to
deliver herself from the unpleasantness of her enforced espial by the
utterance of some frightful cry such as would at the same time punish
with the pains of terror their fool-hardy intrusion. But the spur of the
moment was seldom indeed so sharp with Dorothy as to drive her to act
without reflection, and a moment showed her that such persons being in
the marquis's household as would meet in the middle of the night, and on
prohibited ground, apparently for the sake of avoiding discovery, and
even then talked in whispers, he had a right to know who they were: to
act from her own feelings merely would be to fail in loyalty to the head
of the house. Who could tell what might not be involved in it? For was
it not thus that conspiracy and treason walked? And any alarm given them
now might destroy every chance of their discovery. She compelled herself
therefore to absolute stillness, immeasurably wretched, with but one
comfort--no small one, however, although negative--that their words
continued inaudible, a fact which doubtless saved much dispute betwixt
her propriety and her loyalty.

Long time their talk lasted. Every now and then they would start and
listen--so Dorothy interpreted sudden silence and broken renewals. The
genius of the place, although braved, had yet his terrors. At length she
heard something like a half-conquered yawn, and soon after the voices
ceased.

Again a weary time, and once more she fell asleep. She woke in the grey
of the morning, and after yet two long hours, but of more hopeful
waiting, she heard Caspar's welcome footsteps, and summoned all her
strength to avoid breaking down on his entrance. His first look of
amazement she tried to answer with a smile, but at the expression of
pitiful dismay which followed when another glance had revealed the cause
of her presence, she burst into tears. The honest man was full of
compunctious distress at the sight of the suffering his breach of custom
had so cruelly prolonged.

'And I haf bin slap in mine bed!' he exclaimed with horror at the
contrast.

Had she been his daughter and his mistress both in one, he could not
have treated her with greater respect or tenderness. Of course he set
about relieving her at once, but this was by no means such an easy
matter as Dorothy had expected. For the key of the chair was in the
black cabinet; the black cabinet was secured with one of lord Herbert's
marvellous locks; the key of that lock was in lord Herbert's pocket, and
lord Herbert was either in bed at Chepstow or Monmouth or Usk or
Caerlyon, or on horseback somewhere else, nobody in Raglan knew where.
But Caspar lost no time in unavailing moan. He proceeded at once to
light a fire on his forge hearth, and in the course of a few minutes had
fashioned a pick-lock, by means of which, after several trials and
alterations, at length came the welcome sound of the yielding bolts, and
Dorothy rose from the terrible chair. But so benumbed were all her limbs
that she escaped being relocked in it only by the quick interposition of
Caspar's arms. He led her about like a child, until at length she found
them sufficiently restored to adventure the journey to her chamber, and
thither she slowly crept. Few of the household were yet astir, and she
met no one. When she was covered up in bed, then first she knew how cold
she was, and felt as if she should never be warm again.

At last she fell asleep, and slept long and soundly. Her maid went to
call her, but finding it difficult to wake her, left her asleep, and did
not return until breakfast was over. Then finding her still asleep she
became a little anxious, and meeting mistress Amanda, told her she was
afraid mistress Dorothy was ill. But mistress Amanda was herself sleepy
and cross, and gave her a sharp answer, whereupon the girl went to lady
Broughton. She, however, being on her way to morning mass, for it was
Sunday, told her to let mistress Dorothy have her sleep out.

The noise of horses' hoofs upon the paving of the stone court roused
her, and then in came the sounds of the organ from the chapel. She rose
confounded, and hurrying to the window drew back the curtain. The same
moment lord Herbert walked from the hall into the fountain-court in
riding dress, followed by some forty or fifty officers, the noise of
whose armour and feet and voices dispelled at once the dim Sabbath
feeling that hung vapour-like about the place. They gathered around the
white horse, leaning or sitting on the marble basin, some talking in
eager groups, others folding their arms in silence, listening, or lost
heedless in their own thoughts, while their leader entered the staircase
door at the right-hand corner of the western gate, the nearest way to
his wife's apartment of the building.

Now Dorothy had gone to sleep in perplexity, and all through her dreams
had been trying to answer the question what course she should take with
regard to the nocturnal intrusion. If she told lady Margaret she could
but go with it to the marquis, and he was but just recovering from an
attack of the gout, and ought not to be troubled except it were
absolutely necessary. Was it, or was it not, necessary? Or was there no
one else to whom she might with propriety betake herself in her
doubt--lord Charles or Dr. Bayly? But here now was lord Herbert come
back, and doubt there was none any more. She dressed herself in
tremulous haste, and hurried to lady Margaret's room, where she hoped to
see him. No one was there, and she tried the nursery, but finding only
Molly and her attendant, returned to the parlour, and there seated
herself to wait, supposing lady Margaret and he had gone together to
morning service.

They had really gone to the oak parlour, whither the marquis generally
made his first move after an attack that had confined him to his room;
for in the large window of that parlour, occupying nearly the whole side
of it towards the moat, he generally sat when well enough to be about
and take cognizance of what was going on; and there they now found him.

'Welcome home, Herbert!' he said, kindly, holding out his hand. 'And how
does my wild Irishwoman this morning? Crying her eyes out because her
husband is come back, eh?--But, Herbert, lad, whence is all that noise
of spurs and scabbards--and in the fountain court, too? I heard them go
clanking and clattering through the hall like a torrent of steel! Here I
sit, a poor gouty old man, deserted of my children and servants--all
gone to church--to serve a better Master--not a page or a maid left me
to send out to see and bring me word what is the occasion thereof! I was
on the point of hobbling to the door myself when you came.'

'Being on my way to the forest of Dean, my lord, and coming round by
Raglan to inquire after you and my lady, I did bring with me some of my
officers to dine and drink your lordship's health on our way.'

'You shall all be welcome, though I fear I shall not make one,' said the
marquis, with a grimace, for just then he had a twinge of the gout.

'I am sorry to see you suffer, sir,' said his son.

'Man is born unto trouble as the sparks fly upward,' returned the
marquis, giving a kick with the leg which contained his inheritance; and
then came a pause, during which lady Margaret left the room.

'My lord,' said Herbert at length, with embarrassment, and forcing
himself to speak, 'I am sorry to trouble you again, after all the money,
enough to build this castle from the foundations--'

'Ah! ha!' interjected the marquis, but lord Herbert went on--

'which you have already spent on behalf of the king, my master, but--'

'YOUR master, Herbert!' said the marquis, testily. 'Well?'

'I must have some more money for his pressing necessities.' In his
self-compulsion he had stumbled upon the wrong word.

'MUST you?' cried the marquis angrily. 'Pray take it.'

And drawing the keys of his treasury from the pocket of his frieze coat,
he threw them down on the table before him. Lord Herbert reddened like a
girl, and looked as much abashed as if he had been caught in something
of which he was ashamed. One moment he stood thus, then said,

'Sir, the word was out before I was aware. I do not intend to put it
into force. I pray will you put up your key again?'

'Truly, son,' replied the marquis, still testily, but in a milder tone,
'I shall think my keys not safe in my pocket whilst you have so many
swords by your side; nor that I have the command of my house whilst you
have so many officers in it; nor that I am at my own disposal, whilst
you have so many commanders.'

'My lord,' replied Herbert, 'I do not intend that they shall stay in the
castle; I mean they shall be gone.'

'I pray, let them. And have care that MUST do not stay behind,' said the
marquis. 'But let them have their dinner first, lad.'

Lord Herbert bowed, and left the room. Thereupon, in the presence of
lady Margaret, who just then re-entered, good Dr. Bayly, who,
unperceived by lord Herbert in his pre-occupation, had been present
during the interview, stepped up to the marquis and said:

'My good lord, the honourable confidence your lordship has reposed in me
boldens me to do my duty as, in part at least, your lordship's humble
spiritual adviser.'

'Thou shouldst want no boldening to do thy duty, doctor,' said the
marquis, making a wry face.

'May I then beg of your lordship to consider whether you have not been
more severe with your noble son than the occasion demanded, seeing not
only was the word uttered by a lapse of the tongue, but yourself heard
my lord express much sorrow for the overslip?'

'What!' said lady Herbert, something merrily, but looking in the face of
her father-in-law with a little anxious questioning in her eyes, 'has my
lord been falling out with my Ned?'

'Hark ye, daughter!' answered the marquis, his face beaming with
restored good-humour, for the twinge in his toe had abated, 'and you
too, my good chaplain!--if my son be dejected, I can raise him when I
please; but it is a question, if he should once take a head, whether I
could bring him lower when I list. Ned was not wont to use such
courtship to me, and I believe he intended a better word for his father;
but MUST was for the king.'

Returning to her own room, lady Margaret found Dorothy waiting for her.

'Well, my little lig-a-bed!' she said sweetly, 'what is amiss with thee?
Thou lookest but soberly.'

'I am well, madam; and that I look soberly,' said Dorothy, 'you will not
wonder when I tell you wherefore. But first, if it please you, I would
pray for my lord's presence, that he too may know all.'

'Holy mother! what is the matter, child?' cried lady Margaret, of late
easily fluttered. 'Is it my lord Herbert you mean, or my lord of
Worcester?'

'My lord Herbert, my lady. I dread lest he should be gone ere I have
found a time to tell him.'

'He rides again after dinner,' said lady Margaret.

'Then, dear my lady, if you would keep me from great doubt and disquiet,
let me have the ear of my lord for a few moments.'

Lady Margaret rang for her page, and sent him to find his master and
request his presence in her parlour.

Within five minutes lord Herbert was with them, and within five more,
Dorothy had ended her tale of the night, uninterrupted save by lady
Margaret's exclamations of sympathy.

'And now, my lord, what am I to do?' she asked in conclusion.

Lord Herbert made no answer for a few moments, but walked up and down
the room. Dorothy thought he looked angry as well as troubled. He burst
at length into a laugh, however, and said merrily,

'I have it, ladies! I see how we may save my father much annoyance
without concealment, for nothing must be concealed from him that in any
way concerns the house. But the annoyance arising from any direct
attempt at discovering the wrongdoers would be endless, and its failure
almost certain. But now, as I would plan it, instead of trouble my
father shall have laughter, and instead of annoyance such a jest as may
make him good amends for the wrong done him by the breach of his
household laws. Caspar has explained to you all concerning the
water-works, I believe, cousin?'

'All, my lord. I may without presumption affirm that I can, so long as
there arises no mishap, with my own hand govern them all. Caspar has for
many weeks left everything to me, save indeed the lighting of the
furnace-fire.'

'That is as I would have it, cousin. So soon then as it is dark this
evening, you will together, you and Caspar, set the springs which lie
under the first stone of the paving of the bridge. Thereafter, as you
know, the first foot set upon it will drop the drawbridge to the stone
bridge, and the same instant convert the two into an aqueduct, filled
with a rushing torrent from the reservoir, which will sweep the
intruders away. Before they shall have either gathered their discomfited
wits or raised their prostrate bones, my father will be out upon them,
nor shall they find shelter for their shame ere every soul in the castle
has witnessed their disgrace.'

'I had thought of the plan, my lord; but I dreaded the punishment might
be too severe, not knowing what the water might do upon them.'

'There will be no danger to life, and little to limb,' said his
lordship. 'The torrent will cease flowing the moment they are swept from
the bridge. But they shall be both bruised and shamed; and,' added his
lordship, with an oath such as seldom crossed his lips, 'in such times
as these, they will well deserve what shall befall them. Intruding
hounds!--But you must take heed, cousin Dorothy, that you forget not
that you have yourself done. Should you have occasion to go on the
bridge after setting your vermin-trap, you must not omit to place your
feet precisely where Caspar will show you, else you will have to ride a
watery horse half-way, mayhap to the marble one--except indeed he throw
you from his back against the chapel-door.'

When her husband talked in long sentences, as he was not unfrequently
given to do, lady Margaret, even when their sequences were not very
clear, seldom interrupted him: she had learned that she gained more by
letting him talk on; for however circuitous the route he might take, he
never forgot where he was going. He might obscure his object, but there
it always was. He was now again walking up and down the room, and,
perceiving that he had not yet arranged all to his satisfaction, she
watched him with merriment in her Irish eyes, and waited.

'I have it!' he cried again. 'It shall be so, and my father shall thus
have immediate notice. The nights are weekly growing warmer, and he will
not therein be tempted to his hurt. Our trusty and well-beloved cousin
Dorothy, we herewith, in presence of our liege and lovely lady, appoint
thee our deputy during our absence. No one but thyself hath a right to
cross the bridge after dark, save Caspar and the governor, whom with my
father I shall inform and warn concerning what is to be done. But I will
myself adjust the escape, so that the torrent shall not fall too
powerful; Caspar must connect it with the drawbridge, whose fall will
then open it. And pray remind him to see first that all the hinges and
joints concerned be well greased, that it may fall instantly.'

So saying, he left the room, and sought out Caspar, with whom he
contrived the ringing of a bell in the marquis's chamber by the
drawbridge in its fall, the arrangement for which Caspar was to carry
out that same evening after dark. He next sought his father, and told
him and his brother Charles the whole story; nor did he find himself
wrong in his expectation that the prospect of so good a jest would go
far to console the marquis for the annoyance of finding that his
household was not quite such a pattern one as he had supposed. That
there was anything of conspiracy or treachery involved, he did not for a
moment believe.

After dinner, while the horses were brought out, lord Herbert went again
to his wife's room. There was little Molly waiting to bid him good-bye,
and she sat upon his knee until it was time for him to go. The child's
looks made his heart sad, and his wife could not restrain her tears when
she saw him gaze upon her so mournfully. It was with a heavy heart that,
when the moment of departure came, he rose, gave her into her mother's
arms, clasped them both in one embrace, and hurried from the room. He
ought to be a noble king for whom such men and women make such
sacrifices.

To witness such devotion on the part of personages to whom she looked up
with such respect and confidence, would have been in itself more than
sufficient to secure for its object the unquestioning partisanship of
Dorothy; partisan already, it raised her prejudice to a degree of
worship which greatly narrowed what she took for one of the widest gulfs
separating her from the creed of her friends. The favourite dogma of the
school-master-king, the offspring of his pride and weakness, had found
fitting soil in Dorothy. When, in the natural growth of the confidence
reposed in her by her protectors, she came to have some idea of the
immensity of the sums spent by them on behalf of his son, had, indeed,
ere the close of another year read the king's own handwriting and
signature in acknowledgment of a debt of a quarter of a million, she
took it only as an additional sign--for additional proof there was no
room--of their ever admirable devotion to his divine right. That the
marquis and his son were catholics served but to glorify the right to
which a hostile faith yielded such practical homage.

Immediately after nightfall she repaired to Caspar, and between them
everything was speedily arranged for the carrying out of lord Herbert's
counter-plot.

But night after night passed, and the bell in the marquis's room
remained voiceless.



CHAPTER XX.

MOLLY AND THE WHITE HORSE.


Meantime lord Herbert came and went. There was fighting here and
fighting there, castles taken, defended, re-taken, here a little success
and there a worse loss, now on this side and now on that; but still, to
say the best, the king's affairs made little progress; and for Mary
Somerset, her body and soul made progress in opposite directions.

There was a strange pleasant mixture of sweet fretfulness and trusting
appeal in her. Children suffer less because they feel that all is right
when father or mother is with them; grown people from whom this faith
has vanished ere it has led them to its original fact, may well be
miserable in their sicknesses.

She lay moaning one night in her crib, when suddenly she opened her eyes
and saw her mother's hand pressed to her forehead. She was imitative,
like most children, and had some very old-fashioned ways of speech.

'Have you got a headache, madam?' she asked.

'Yes, my Molly,' answered her mother.

'Then you will go to mother Mary. She will take you on her knee, madam.
Mothers is for headaches. Oh me! my headache, madam!'

The poor mother turned away. It was more than she could bear alone.
Dorothy entered the room, and she rose and left it, that she might go to
mother Mary as the child had said.

Dorothy's cares were divided between the duties of naiad and nursemaid,
for the child clung to her as to no one else except her mother. The
thing that pleased her best was to see the two whale-like spouts rise
suddenly from the nostrils of the great white horse, curve away from
each other aloft in the air, and fall back into the basin on each side
of him. 'See horse spout,' she would say moanfully; and that instant, if
Dorothy was not present, a messenger would be despatched to her. On a
bright day this would happen repeatedly. For the sake of renewing her
delight, the instant she turned from it, satisfied for the moment, the
fountain ceased to play, and the horse remained spoutless, awaiting the
revival of the darling's desire; for she was not content to see him
spouting: she must see him spout. Then again she would be carried forth
to the verge of the marble basin, and gazing up at the rearing animal
would say, in a tone daintily wavering betwixt entreaty and command,
'Spout, horse, spout,' and Dorothy, looking down from the far-off summit
of the tower, and distinguishing by the attitude of the child the moment
when she uttered her desire, would instantly, with one turn of her hand,
send the captive water shooting down its dark channel to reascend in
sunny freedom.

If little Mary Somerset was counted a strange child, the wisdom with
which she was wise is no more unnatural because few possess it, than the
death of such is premature because they are yet children. They are small
fruits whose ripening has outstripped their growth. Of such there are
some who, by the hot-house assiduities of their friends, heating them
with sulphurous stoves, and watering them with subacid solutions, ripen
into insufferable prigs. For them and for their families it is well that
Death the gardener should speedily remove them into the open air. But
there are others who, ripening from natural, that is divine causes and
influences, are the daintiest little men and women, gentle in the utmost
peevishness of their lassitude, generous to share the gifts they most
prize, and divinely childlike in their repentances. Their falling from
the stalk is but the passing from the arms of their mothers into those
of--God knows whom--which is more than enough.

The chief part of little Molly's religious lessons, I do not mean
training, consisted in a prayer or two in rhyme, and a few verses of the
kind then in use among catholics. Here is a prayer which her nurse
taught her, as old, I take it, as Chaucer's time at least:--

    Hail be thou, Mary, that high sittest in throne!
    I beseech thee, sweet lady, grant me my boon--
    Jesus to love and dread, and my life to amend soon,
    And bring me to that bliss that never shall be done.

And here are some verses quite as old, which her mother taught her. I
give them believing that in understanding and coming nearer to our
fathers and mothers who are dead, we understand and come nearer to our
brothers and sisters who are alive. I change nothing but the spelling,
and a few of the forms of the words.

    Jesu, Lord, that madest me,
      And with thy blessed blood hast bought,
    Forgive that I have grieved thee
      With word, with will, and eke with thought.

    Jesu, for thy wounds' smart,
      On feet and on thine hands two,
    Make me meek and low of heart,
      And thee to love as I should do.

    Jesu, grant me mine asking,
      Perfect patience in my disease,
    And never may I do that thing
      That should thee in any wise displease.

    Jesu, most comfort for to see
      Of thy saints every one,
    Comfort them that careful be,
      And help them that be woe-begone.

    Jesu, keep them that be good,
      And amend them that have grieved thee,
    And send them fruits of early food,
      As each man needeth in his degree.

    Jesu, that art, without lies,
      Almighty God in trinity,
    Cease these wars, and send us peace
      With lasting love and charity.

    Jesu, that art the ghostly stone
      Of all holy church in middle-earth,
    Bring thy folds and flocks in one,
      And rule them rightly with one herd.

    Jesu, for thy blissful blood,
      Bring, if thou wilt, those souls to bliss
    From whom I have had any good,
      And spare that they have done amiss.

This old-fashioned hymn lady Margaret had learned from her grandmother,
who was an Englishwoman of the pale. She also had learned it from her
grandmother.

One day, by some accident, Dorothy had not reached her post of naiad
before Molly arrived in presence of her idol, the white horse, her usual
application to which was thence for the moment in vain. Having waited
about three seconds in perfect patience, she turned her head slowly
round, and gazed in her nurse's countenance with large questioning eyes,
but said nothing. Then she turned again to the horse. Presently a smile
broke over her face, and she cried in the tone of one who had made a
great discovery,

'Horse has ears of stone: he cannot hear, Molly.'

Instantly thereupon she turned her face up to the sky, and said,

'Dear holy Mary, tell horse to spout.'

That moment up into the sun shot the two jets. Molly clapped her little
hands with delight and cried,

'Thanks, dear holy Mary! I knowed thou would do it for Molly. Thanks,
madam!'

The nurse told the story to her mistress, and she to Dorothy. It set
both of them feeling, and Dorothy thinking besides.

'It cannot be,' she thought, 'but that a child's prayer will reach its
goal, even should she turn her face to the west or the north instead of
up to the heavens! A prayer somewhat differs from a bolt or a bullet.'

'How you protestants CAN live without a woman to pray to!' said lady
Margaret.

'Her son Jesus never refused to hear a woman, and I see not wherefore I
should go to his mother, madam,' said Dorothy, bravely.

'Thou and I will not quarrel, Dorothy,' returned lady Margaret sweetly;
'for sure am I that would please neither the one nor the other of them.'

Dorothy kissed her hand, and the subject dropped.

After that, Molly never asked the horse to spout, or if she happened to
do so, would correct herself instantly, and turn her request to the
mother Mary. Nor did the horse ever fail to spout, notwithstanding an
evil thought which arose in the protestant part of Dorothy's mind--the
temptation, namely, to try the effect upon Molly of a second failure.
All the rest of her being on the instant turned so violently protestant
against the suggestion, that no parley with it was possible, and the
conscience of her intellect cowered before the conscience of her heart.

It was from this fancy of the child's for the spouting of the horse that
it came to be known in the castle that mistress Dorothy was ruler of
Raglan waters. In lord Herbert's absence not a person in the place but
she and Caspar understood their management, and except lady Margaret,
the marquis, and lord Charles, no one besides even knew of the existence
of such a contrivance as the water-shoot or artificial cataract.

Every night Dorothy and Caspar together set the springs of it, and every
morning Caspar detached the lever connecting the stone with the
drawbridge.



CHAPTER XXI.

THE DAMSEL WHICH FELL SICK.


From within the great fortress, like the rough husk whence the green
lobe of a living tree was about to break forth, a lovely child-soul,
that knew neither of war nor ambition, knew indeed almost nothing save
love and pain, was gently rising as from the tomb. The bonds of the
earthly life that had for ever conferred upon it the rights and
privileges of humanity were giving way, and little, white-faced,
big-eyed Molly was leaving father and mother and grandfather and
spouting horse and all, to find--what?--To find what she wanted, and
wait a little for what she loved.

One sultry evening in the second week of June, the weather had again got
inside the inhabitants of the castle, forming different combinations
according to the local atmosphere it found in each. Clouds had been
slowly steaming up all day from several sides of the horizon, and as the
sun went down, they met in the zenith. Not a wing seemed to be abroad
under heaven, so still was the region of storms. The air was hot and
heavy and hard to breathe--whether from lack of life, or too much of it,
oppressing the narrow and weak recipients thereof, as the sun oppresses
and extinguishes earthly fires, I at least cannot say. It was weather
that made SOME dogs bite their masters, made most of the maids
quarrelsome, and all the men but one or two more or less sullen, made
Dorothy sad, Molly long after she knew not what, her mother weep, her
grandfather feel himself growing old, and the hearts of all the lovers,
within and without the castle, throb for the comfort of each other's
lonely society. The fish lay still in the ponds, the pigeons sat
motionless on the roof-ridges, and the fountains did not play; for
Dorothy's heart was so heavy about Molly, that she had forgotten them.

The marquis, fond of all his grandchildren, had never taken special
notice of Molly beyond what she naturally claimed as youngest. But when
it appeared that she was one of the spring-flowers of the human family,
so soon withdrawing thither whence they come, he found that she began to
pull at his heart, not merely with the attraction betwixt childhood and
age, in which there is more than the poets have yet sung, but with the
dearness which the growing shadow of death gives to all upon whom it
gathers. The eyes of the child seemed to nestle into his bosom. Every
morning he paid her a visit, and every morning it was clear that little
Molly's big heart had been waiting for him. The young as well as the old
recognize that they belong to each other, despite the unwelcome
intervention of wrinkles and baldness and toothlessness. Molly's eyes
brightened when she heard his steps at the door, and ere he had come
within her sight, where she lay half-dressed on her mother's bed, tented
in its tall carved posts and curtains of embroidered silk, the figures
on which gave her so much trouble all the half-delirious night long, her
arms would be stretched out to him, and the words would be trembling on
her lips, 'Prithee, tell me a tale, sir.'

'Which tale wouldst thou have, my Molly?' the grandsire would say: it
was the regular form of each day's fresh salutation; and the little one
would answer, 'Of the good Jesu,' generally adding, 'and of the damsel
which fell sick and died.'

Torn as the country was, all the good grandparents, catholic and
protestant, royalist and puritan, told their children the same tales
about the same man; and I suspect there was more then than there is now
of that kind of oral teaching, for which any amount of books written for
children is a sadly poor substitute.

Although Molly asked oftenest for the tale of the damsel who came alive
again at the word of the man who knew all about death, she did not limit
her desires to the repetition of what she knew already; and in order to
keep his treasure supplied with things new as well as old, the marquis
went the oftener to his Latin bible to refresh his memory for Molly's
use, and was in both ways, in receiving and in giving, a gainer. When
the old man came thus to pour out his wealth to the child, lady Margaret
then first became aware what a depth both of religious knowledge and
feeling there was in her father-in-law. Neither sir Toby Mathews, nor
Dr. Bayly, who also visited her at times, ever, with the torch of their
talk, lighted the lamps behind those great eyes, whose glass was growing
dull with the vapours from the grave; but her grandfather's voice, the
moment he began to speak to her of the good Jesu, brought her soul to
its windows.

This sultry evening Molly was restless. 'Madam! madam!' she kept calling
to her mother--for, like so many of such children, her manners and modes
of speech resembled those of grown people, 'What wouldst thou, chicken?'
her mother would ask. 'Madam, I know not,' the child would answer.
Twenty times in an hour, as the evening went on, almost the same words
would pass between them. At length, once more, 'Madam! madam!' cried the
child. 'What would my heart's treasure?' said the mother; and Molly
answered, 'Madam, I would see the white horse spout.'

With a glance and sign to her mistress. Dorothy rose and crept from the
room, crossed the court and the moat, and dragged her heavy heart up the
long stair to the top of the keep. Arrived there, she looked down
through a battlement, and fixed her eyes on a certain window, whence
presently she caught the wave of a signal-handkerchief.

At the open window stood lady Margaret with Molly in her arms. The night
was so warm that the child could take no hurt; and indeed what could
hurt her, with the nameless fever-moth within, fretting a passage for
the new winged body which, in the pains of a second birth, struggled to
break from its dying chrysalis.

'Now, Molly, tell the horse to spout,' said lady Margaret, with such
well-simulated cheerfulness as only mothers can put on with hearts ready
to break.

'Mother Mary, tell the horse to spout,' said Molly; and up went the
watery parabolas.

The old flame of delight flushed the child's cheek, like the flush in
the heart of a white rose. But it died almost instantly, and murmuring,
'Thanks, good madam!' whether to mother Mary or mother Margaret little
mattered, Molly turned towards the bed, and her mother knew at her heart
that the child sought her last sleep--as we call it, God forgive us our
little faith! 'Madam!' panted the child, as she laid her down.
'Darling?' said the mother. 'Madam, I would see my lord marquis.' 'I
will send and ask him to come.' 'Let Robert say that Molly is
going--going--where is Molly going, madam?' 'Going to mother Mary,
child,' answered lady Margaret, choking back the sobs that would have
kept the tears company. 'And the good Jesu?' 'Yes.'--'And the good God
over all?' 'Yes, yes.' 'I want to tell my lord marquis. Pray, madam, let
him come, and quickly.'

His lordship entered, pale and panting. He knew the end was approaching.
Molly stretched out to him one hand instead of two, as if her hold upon
earth were half yielded. He sat down by the bedside, and wiped his
forehead with a sigh.

'Thee tired too, marquis?' asked the odd little love-bird.

'Yes, I am tired, my Molly. Thou seest I am so fat.'

'Shall I ask the good mother, when I go to her, to make thee spare like
Molly?'

'No, Molly, thou need'st not trouble her about that. Ask her to make me
good.'

'Would it then be easier to make thee good than to make thee spare,
marquis?'

'No, child--much harder, alas!'

'Then why--?' began Molly; but the marquis perceiving her thought, made
haste to prevent it, for her breath was coming quick and weak.

'But it is so much better worth doing, you see. If she makes me good,
she will have another in heaven to be good to.'

'Then I know she will. But I will ask her. Mother Mary has so many to
mind, she might be forgetting.'

After this she lay very quiet with her hand in his. All the windows of
the room were open, and from the chapel came the mellow sounds of the
organ. Delaware had captured Tom Fool and got him to blow the bellows,
and through the heavy air the music surged in. Molly was dozing a
little, and she spoke as one that speaks in a dream.

'The white horse is spouting music,' she said. 'Look! See how it goes up
to mother Mary. She twists it round her distaff and spins it with her
spindle. See, marquis, see! Spout, horse, spout.'

She lay silent again for a long time. The old man sat holding her hand;
her mother sat on the farther side of the bed, leaning against one of
the foot-posts, and watching the white face of her darling with eyes in
which love ruled distraction. Dorothy sat in one of the window-seats,
and listened to the music, which still came surging in, for still the
fool blew the bellows, and the blind youth struck the keys. And still
the clouds gathered overhead and sunk towards the earth; and still the
horse, which Dorothy had left spouting, threw up his twin-fountain,
whose musical plash in the basin as it fell mingled with the sounds of
the organ.

'What is it?' said Molly, waking up. 'My head doth not ache, and my
heart doth not beat, and I am not affrighted. What is it? I am not
tired. Marquis, are you no longer tired? Ah, now I know! He cometh! He
is here!--Marquis, the good Jesu wants Molly's hand. Let him have it,
marquis. He is lifting me up. I am quite well--quite--'

The sentence remained broken. The hand which the marquis had yielded,
with the awe of one in bodily presence of the Holy, and which he saw
raised as if in the grasp of one invisible, fell back on the bed, and
little Molly was quite well.

But she left sick hearts behind. The mother threw herself on the bed,
and wailed aloud. The marquis burst into tears, left the room, and
sought his study. Mechanically he took his Confessio Amantis, and sat
down, but never opened it; rose again and took his Shakespere, opened
it, but could not read; rose once more, took his Vulgate, and read:

'Quid turbamini, et ploratis? puella non est mortua, sed dormit.'

He laid that book also down, fell on his knees, and prayed for her who
was not dead but sleeping.

Dorothy, filled with awe, rather from the presence of the mother of the
dead than death itself, and feeling that the mother would rather be
alone with her dead, also left the room, and sought her chamber, where
she threw herself upon the bed. All was still save the plashing of the
fountain, for the music from the chapel had ceased.

The storm burst in a glare and a peal. The rain fell in straight lines
and huge drops, which came faster and faster, drowning the noise of the
fountain, till the sound of it on the many roofs of the place was like
the trampling of an army of horsemen, and every spout was gurgling
musically with full throat. The one court was filled with a clashing
upon its pavement, and the other with a soft singing upon its grass,
with which mingled a sound as of little castanets from the broad leaves
of the water-lilies in the moat. Ever and anon came the lightning, and
the great bass of the thunder to fill up the psalm.

At the first thunderclap lady Margaret fell on her knees and prayed in
an agony for the little soul that had gone forth into the midst of the
storm. Like many women she had a horror of lightning and thunder, and it
never came into her mind that she who had so loved to see the horse
spout was far more likely to be revelling in the elemental tumult, with
all the added ecstasy of new-born freedom and health, than to be
trembling like her mortal mother below.

Dorothy was not afraid, but she was heavy and weary; the thunder seemed
to stun her and the lightning to take the power of motion from the shut
eyelids through which it shone. She lay without moving, and at length
fell fast asleep.

To the marquis alone of the mourners the storm came as a relief to his
overcharged spirit. He had again opened his New Testament, and tried to
read; but if the truths which alone can comfort are not at such a time
present to the spirit, the words that embody them will seldom be of much
avail. When the thunder burst he closed the book and went to the window,
flung it wide, and looked out into the court. Like a tide from the
plains of innocent heaven through the sultry passionate air of the
world, came the coolness to his brow and heart. Oxygen, ozone, nitrogen,
water, carbonic acid, is it? Doubtless--and other things, perhaps, which
chemistry cannot detect. Nevertheless, give its parts what names you
will, its whole is yet the wind of the living God to the bodies of men,
his spirit to their spirits, his breath to their hearts. When I learn
that there is no primal intent--only chance--in the unspeakable joy that
it gives, I shall cease to believe in poetry, in music, in woman, in
God. Nay, I must have already ceased to believe in God ere I could
believe that the wind that bloweth where it listeth is free because God
hath forgotten it, and that it bears from him no message to me.



CHAPTER XXII.

THE CATARACT.


In the midst of a great psalm, on the geyser column of which his spirit
was borne heavenward, young Delaware all of a sudden found the keys dumb
beneath his helpless fingers: the bellows was empty, the singing thing
dead. He called aloud, and his voice echoed through the empty chapel,
but no living response came back. Tom Fool had grown weary and forsaken
him. Disappointed and baffled, he rose and left the chapel, not
immediately from the organ loft, by a door and a few upward steps
through the wall to the minstrels' gallery, as he had entered, but by
the south door into the court, his readiest way to reach the rooms he
occupied with his father, near the marquis's study. Hardly another door
in either court was ever made fast except this one, which, merely in
self-administered flattery of his own consequence, the conceited
sacristan who assumed charge of the key, always locked at night. But
there was no reason why Delaware should pay any respect to this, or
hesitate to remove the bar securing one-half of the door, without which
the lock retained no hold.

Although Tom had indeed deserted his post, the organist was mistaken as
to the cause and mode of his desertion: oppressed like every one else
with the sultriness of the night, he had fallen fast asleep, leaning
against the organ. The thunder only waked him sufficiently to render him
capable of slipping from the stool on which he had lazily seated himself
as he worked the lever of the bellows, and stretching himself at full
length upon the floor; while the coolness that by degrees filled the air
as the rain kept pouring, made his sleep sweeter and deeper. He lay and
snored till midnight.

A bell rang in the marquis's chamber.

It was one of his lordship's smaller economic maxims that in every
house, and the larger the house the more necessary its observance, the
master thereof should have his private rooms as far apart from each
other as might, with due respect to general fitness, be arranged for, in
order that, to use his own figure, he might spread his skirts the wider
over the place, and chiefly the part occupied by his own family and
immediate attendants--thereby to give himself, without paying more
attention to such matters than he could afford, a better chance of
coming upon the trace of anything that happened to be going amiss.
'For,' he said, 'let a man have ever so many responsible persons about
him, the final responsibility of his affairs yet returns upon himself.'
Hence, while his bedroom was close to the main entrance, that is the
gate to the stone court, the room he chose for retirement and study was
over the western gate, that of the fountain-court, nearly a whole side
of the double quadrangle away from his bedroom, and still farther from
the library, which was on the other side of the main entrance--whence,
notwithstanding, he would himself, gout permitting, always fetch any
book he wanted. It was, therefore, no wonder that, being now in his
study, the marquis, although it rang loud, never heard the bell which
Caspar had hung in his bedchamber. He was, however, at the moment,
looking from a window which commanded the very spot--namely, the mouth
of the archway--towards which the bell would have drawn his attention.

The night was still, the rain was over, and although the moon was
clouded, there was light enough to recognise a known figure in any part
of the court, except the shadowed recess where the door of the chapel
and the archway faced each other, and the door of the hall stood at
right angles to both.

Came a great clang that echoed loud through the court, followed by the
roar of water. It sounded as if a captive river had broken loose, and
grown suddenly frantic with freedom. The marquis could not help starting
violently, for his nerves were a good deal shaken. The same instant, ere
there was time for a single conjecture, a torrent, visible by the light
of its foam, shot from the archway, hurled itself against the chapel
door, and vanished. Sad and startled as he was, lord Worcester,
requiring no explanation of the phenomenon now that it was completed,
laughed aloud and hurried from the room.

When he had screwed his unwieldy form to the bottom of the stair, and
came out into the court, there was Tom Fool flying across the turf in
mortal terror, his face white as another moon, and his hair standing on
end--visibly in the dull moonshine.

His terror had either deafened him, or paralysed the nerves of his
obedience, for the first call of his master was insufficient to stop
him. At the second, however, he halted, turned mechanically, went to him
trembling, and stood before him speechless. But when the marquis, to
satisfy himself that he was really as dry as he seemed, laid his hand on
his arm, the touch brought him to himself, and, assisted by his master's
questions, he was able to tell how he had fallen asleep in the chapel,
had waked but a minute ago, had left it by the minstrels' gallery, had
reached the floor of the hall, and was approaching the western door,
which was open, in order to cross the court to his lodging near the
watch-tower, when a hellish explosion, followed by the most frightful
roaring, mingled with shrieks and demoniacal laughter, arrested him; and
the same instant, through the open door, he saw, as plainly as he now
saw his noble master, a torrent rush from the archway, full of dim
figures, wallowing and shouting. The same moment they all vanished, and
the flood poured into the hall, wetting him to the knees, and almost
carrying him off his legs.

Here the marquis professed profound astonishment, remarking that the
water must indeed have been thickened with devils to be able to lay hold
of Tom's legs.

'Then,' pursued Tom, reviving a little, 'I summoned up all my courage--'

'No great feat,' said the marquis.

But Tom went on unabashed.

'I summoned up the whole of my courage,' he repeated, 'stepped out of
the hall, carefully examined the ground, looked through the archway, saw
nothing, and was walking slowly across the court to my lodging,
pondering with myself whether to call my lord governor or sir Toby
Mathews, when I heard your lordship call me.'

'Tom! Tom! thou liest,' said the marquis. 'Thou wast running as if all
the devils in hell had been at thy heels.'

Tom turned deadly pale, a fresh access of terror overcoming his new-born
hardihood.

'Who were they, thinkest thou, whom thou sawest in the water, Tom?'
resumed his master. 'For what didst thou take them?'

Tom shook his head with an awful significance, looked behind him, and
said nothing.

Perceiving there was no more to be got out of him, the marquis sent him
to bed. He went off shivering and shaking. Three times ere he reached
the watch-tower his face gleamed white over his shoulder as he went. The
next day he did not appear. He thought himself he was doomed, but his
illness was only the prostration following upon terror.

In the version of the story which he gave his fellow-servants, he
doubtless mingled the after visions of his bed with what he had when
half-awake seen and heard through the mists of his startled imagination.
His tale was this--that he saw the moat swell and rise, boil over in a
mass, and tumble into the court as full of devils as it could hold,
swimming in it, floating on it, riding it aloft as if it had been a
horse; that in a moment they had all vanished again, and that he had not
a doubt the castle was now swarming with them--in fact, he had heard
them all the night long.

The marquis walked up to the archway, saw nothing save the grim wall of
the keep, impassive as granite crag, and the ground wet a long way
towards the white horse; and never doubting he had lost his chance by
taking Tom for the culprit, contented himself with the reflection that,
whoever the night-walkers were, they had received both a fright and a
ducking, and betook himself to bed, where, falling asleep at length, he
saw little Molly in the arms of mother Mary, who, presently changing to
his own lady Anne that left him about a year before little Molly came,
held out a hand to him to help him up beside them, whereupon the bubble
sleep, unable to hold the swelling of his gladness, burst, and he woke
just as the first rays of the sun smote the gilded cock on the
bell-tower.

The noise of the falling drawbridge and the out-rushing water had roused
Dorothy also, with most of the lighter sleepers in the castle; but when
she and all the rest whose windows were to the fountain court, ran to
them and looked out, they saw nothing but the flight of Tom Fool across
the turf, its arrest by his master, and their following conference. The
moon had broken through the clouds, and there was no mistaking either of
their persons.

Meantime, inside the chapel door stood Amanda and Rowland, both
dripping, and one of them crying as well. Thither, as into a safe
harbour, the sudden flood had cast them; and it indicated no small
amount of ready faculty in Scudamore that, half-stunned as he was, he
yet had the sense, almost ere he knew where he was, to put up the long
bar that secured the door.

All the time that the marquis was drawing his story from Tom, they stood
trembling, in great bewilderment yet very sensible misery, bruised,
drenched, and horribly frightened, more even at what might be than by
what had been. There was only one question, but that was hard to answer:
what were they to do next? Amanda could contribute nothing towards its
solution, for tears and reproaches resolve no enigmas. There were many
ways of issue, whereof Rowland knew several; but their watery trail, if
soon enough followed, would be their ruin as certainly as
Hop-o'-my-Thumb's pebbles were safety to himself and his brothers. He
stood therefore the very bond slave of perplexity, 'and, like a neutral
to his will and matter, did nothing.'

Presently they heard the approaching step of the marquis, which every
one in the castle knew. It stopped within a few feet of them, and
through the thick door they could hear his short asthmatic breathing.

They kept as still as their trembling, and the mad beating of their
hearts, would permit. Amanda was nearly out of her senses, and thought
her heart was beating against the door, and not against her own ribs.
But the marquis never thought of the chapel, having at once concluded
that they had fled through the open hall. Had he not, however, been so
weary and sad and listless, he would probably have found them, for he
would at least have crossed the hall to look into the next court, and,
the moon now shining brightly, the absence of all track on the floor
where the traces of the brief inundation ceased, would have surely
indicated the direction in which they had sought refuge.

The acme of terror happily endured but a moment. The sound of his
departing footsteps took the ghoul from their hearts; they began to
breathe, and to hope that the danger was gone. But they waited long ere
at last they ventured, like wild animals overtaken by the daylight, to
creep out of their shelter and steal back like shadows--but separately,
Amanda first, and Scudamore some slow minutes after--to their different
quarters. The tracks they could not help leaving in-doors were dried up
before the morning.

Rowland had greater reason to fear discovery than any one else in the
castle, save one, would in like circumstances have had, and that one was
his bedfellow in the ante-chamber to his master's bedroom. Through this
room his lordship had to pass to reach his own; but so far was he from
suspecting Rowland, or indeed any gentleman of his retinue, that he
never glanced in the direction of his bed, and so could not discover
that he was absent from it. Had Rowland but caught a glimpse of his own
figure as he sneaked into that room five minutes after the marquis had
passed through it, believing his master was still in his study, where he
had left his candles burning, he could hardly for some time have had his
usual success in regarding himself as a fine gentleman.

Amanda Serafina did not show herself for several days. A bad cold in her
head luckily afforded sufficient pretext for the concealment of a bad
bruise upon her cheek. Other bruises she had also, but they, although
more severe, were of less consequence.

For a whole fortnight the lovers never dared exchange a word.

In the morning the marquis was in no mood to set any inquiry on foot.
His little lamb had vanished from his fold, and he was sad and lonely.
Had it been otherwise, possibly the shabby doublet in which Scudamore
stood behind his chair the next morning, might have set him thinking;
but as it was, it fell in so well with the gloom in which his own spirit
shrouded everything, that he never even marked the change, and ere long
Rowland began to feel himself safe.



CHAPTER XXIII.

AMANDA--DOROTHY--LORD HERBERT.


So also did Amanda; but not the less did she cherish feelings of revenge
against her whom she more than suspected of having been the contriver of
her harmful discomfiture. She felt certain that Dorothy had laid the
snare into which they had fallen, with the hope if not the certainty of
catching just themselves two in it, and she read in her, therefore,
jealousy and cruelty as well as coldness and treachery. Rowland on the
other hand was inclined to attribute the mishap to the displeasure of
lord Herbert, whose supernatural acquirements, he thought, had enabled
him both to discover and punish their intrusion. Amanda, nevertheless,
kept her own opinion, and made herself henceforth all eyes and ears for
Dorothy, hoping ever to find a chance of retaliating, if not in kind yet
in plentiful measure of vengeance. Dorothy's odd ways, lawless
movements, and what the rest of the ladies counted her vulgar tastes,
had for some time been the subject of remark to the gossiping portion of
the castle community; and it seemed to Amanda that in watching and
discovering what she was about when she supposed herself safe from the
eyes of her equals and superiors, lay her best chance of finding a mode
of requital. Nor was she satisfied with observation, but kept her mind
busy on the trail, now of one, now of another vague-bodied revenge.

The charge of low tastes was founded upon the fact that there was not an
artisan about the castle, from Caspar downwards, whom Dorothy did not
know and address by his name; but her detractors, in drawing their
conclusions from it, never thought of finding any related significance
in another fact, namely, that there was not a single animal either, of
consequence enough to have a name, which did not know by it. There were
very few of the animals indeed which did not know her in return, if not
by her name, yet by her voice or her presence--some of them even by her
foot or her hand. She would wander about the farmyard and stables for an
hour at a time, visiting all that were there, and specially her little
horse, which she had long, oh, so long ago! named Dick, nor had taken
his name from him any more than from Marquis.

The charge of lawlessness in her movements was founded on another fact
as well, namely, that she was often seen in the court after dusk, and
that not merely in running across to the keep, as she would be doing at
all hours, but loitering about, in full view of the windows. It was not
denied that this took place only when the organ was playing--but then
who played the organ? Was not the poor afflicted boy, barring the blank
of his eyes, beautiful as an angel? And was not mistress Dorothy too
deep to be fathomed? And so the tattling streams flowed on, and the ears
of mistress Amanda willingly listened to their music, nor did she
disdain herself to contribute to the reservoir in which those of the
castle whose souls thirsted after the minutiae of live biography,
accumulated their stores of fact and fiction, conjecture and falsehood.

Lord Herbert came home to bury his little one, and all that was left
behind of her was borne to the church of St. Cadocus, the parish church
of Raglan, and there laid beside the marquis's father and mother. He
remained with them a fortnight, and his presence was much needed to
lighten the heavy gloom that had settled over both his wife and his
father.

As if it were not enough to bury the bodies of the departed, there are
many, and the marquis and his daughter-in-law were of the number, who in
a sense seek to bury their souls as well, making a graveyard of their
own spirits, and laying the stone of silence over the memory of the
dead. Such never speak of them but when compelled, and then almost as if
to utter their names were an act of impiety. Not In Memoriam but In
Oblivionem should be the inscription upon the tombs they raise. The
memory that forsakes the sunlight, like the fishes in the underground
river, loses its eyes; the cloud of its grief carries no rainbow; behind
the veil of its twin-future burns no lamp fringing its edges with the
light of hope. I can better, however, understand the hopelessness of the
hopeless than their calmness along with it. Surely they must be upheld
by the presence within them of that very immortality, against whose
aurora they shut to their doors, then mourn as if there were no such
thing.

Radiant as she was by nature, lady Margaret, when sorrow came, could do
little towards her own support. The marquis said to himself, 'I am
growing old, and cannot smile at grief so well as once on a day. Sorrow
is a hawk more fell than I had thought.' The name of little Molly was
never mentioned between them. But sudden floods of tears were the signs
of the mother's remembrance; and the outbreak of ambushed sighs, which
he would make haste to attribute to the gout, the signs of the
grandfather's.

Dorothy, too, belonged in tendency to the class of the unspeaking. Her
nature was not a bright one. Her spirit's day was evenly, softly lucent,
like one of those clouded calm grey mornings of summer, which seem more
likely to end in rain than sunshine.

Lord Herbert was of a very different temperament. He had hope enough in
his one single nature to serve the whole castle, if only it could have
been shared. The veil between him and the future glowed as if on fire
with mere radiance, and about to vanish in flame. It was not that he
more than one of the rest imagined he could see through it. For him it
was enough that beyond it lay the luminous. His eyes, to those that
looked on him, were lighted with its reflex.

Such as he, are, by those who love them not, misjudged as shallow. Depth
to some is indicated by gloom, and affection by a persistent
brooding--as if there were no homage to the past of love save sighs and
tears. When they meet a man whose eyes shine, whose step is light, on
whose lips hovers a smile, they shake their heads and say, 'There goes
one who has never loved, and who therefore knows not sorrow.' And the
man is one of those over whom death has no power; whom time nor space
can part from those he loves; who lives in the future more than in the
past! Has not his being ever been for the sake of that which was yet to
come? Is not his being now for the sake of that which it shall be? Has
he not infinitely more to do with the great future than the little past?
The Past has descended into hell, is even now ascending glorified, and
will, in returning cycle, ever and again greet our faith as the more and
yet more radiant Future.

But even lord Herbert had his moments of sad longing after his dainty
Molly. Such moments, however, came to him, not when he was at home with
his wife, but when he rode alone by his troops on a night march, or
when, upon the eve of an expected battle, he sought sleep that he might
fight the better on the morrow.



CHAPTER XXIV.

THE GREAT MOGUL.


One evening, Tom Fool, and a groom, his particular friend, were taking
their pastime after a somewhat selfish fashion, by no means newly
discovered in the castle--that of teasing the wild beasts. There was one
in particular, a panther, which, in a special dislike to grimaces, had
discovered a special capacity for being teased. Betwixt two of the bars
of his cage, therefore, Tom was busy presenting him with one hideous
puritanical face after another, in full expectation of a satisfactory
outburst of feline rancour. But to their disappointment, the panther on
this occasion seemed to have resolved upon a dignified resistance to
temptation, and had withdrawn in sultry displeasure to the back of his
cage, where he lay sideways, deigning to turn neither his back nor his
face towards the inferior animal, at whom to cast but one glance, he
knew, would be to ruin his grand Oriental sulks, and fly at the hideous
ape-visage insulting him in his prison. It was tiresome of the brute.
Tom Fool grew more daring and threw little stones at him, but the
panther seemed only to grow the more imperturbable, and to heed his
missiles as little as his grimaces.

At length, proceeding from bad to worse, as is always the way with
fools, born or made, Tom betook himself to stronger measures.

The cages of the wild beasts were in the basement of the kitchen tower,
with a little semicircular yard of their own before them. They were
solid stone vaults, with open fronts grated with huge iron bars--our
ancestors, whatever were their faults, did not err in the direction of
flimsiness. Between two of these bars, then, Tom, having procured a long
pole, proceeded to poke at the beast; but he soon found that the pole
thickened too rapidly towards the end he held, to pass through the bars
far enough to reach him. Thereupon, in utter fool-hardiness, backed by
the groom, he undid the door a little way, and, his companion
undertaking to prevent it from opening too far, pushed in the pole till
it went right in the creature's face. One hideous yell--and neither of
them knew what was occurring till they saw the tail of the panther
disappearing over the six-foot wall that separated the cages from the
stableyard. Tom fled at once for the stair leading up to the
stone-court, while the groom, whose training had given him a better
courage, now supplemented by the horror of possible consequences, ran to
warn the stablemen and get help to recapture the animal.

The uproariest tumult of maddest barking which immediately arose from
the chained dogs, entered the ears of all in the castle, at least every
one possessed of dog-sympathies, and penetrated even those of the rather
deaf host of the White Horse in Raglan village. Dorothy, sitting in her
room, of course, heard it, and hearing it, equally of course, hurried to
see what was the matter. The marquis heard it where he sat in his study,
but was in no such young haste as Dorothy: it was only after a little,
when he found the noise increase, and certain other sounds mingle with
it, that he rose in some anxiety and went to discover the cause.

Halfway across the stone court, Dorothy met Tom running, and the moment
she saw his face, knew that something serious had happened.

'Get indoors, mistress,' he said, almost rudely, 'the devil is to pay
down in the yard.' and ran on. 'Shut your door, master cook,' she heard
him cry as he ran. 'The Great Mogul is out.'

And as she ran too, she heard the door of the kitchen close with a great
bang.

But Dorothy was not running after the fool, or making for any door but
that at the bottom of the library tower; for the first terror that
crossed her mind was the possible fate of Dick, and the first comfort
that followed, the thought of Marquis; so she was running straight for
the stable-yard, where the dogs, to judge by the way they tore their
throats with barking, seemed frantic with rage.

No doubt the panther, when he cleared the wall, hoped exultant to find
himself in the savage forest, instead of which he came down on the top
of a pump, fell on the stones, and the same instant was caught in a
hurricane of canine hate. A little hurt and a good deal frightened, for
he had not endured such long captivity without debasement, he glared
around him with sneaking enquiry. But the walls were lofty and he saw no
gate, and feeling unequal at the moment to the necessary spring, he
crept almost like a snake under what covert seemed readiest, and
disappeared--just as the groom entering by a door in one of the walls
began to look about for him in a style wherein caution predominated.
Seeing no trace of him, and concluding that, as he had expected, the
clamour of the dogs had driven him further, he went on, crossing the
yard to find the men, whose voices he heard on the green at the back of
the rick-yard, when suddenly he found that his arm was both broken and
torn. The sight of the blood completed the mischief, and he fell down in
a swoon.

Meantime Dorothy had reached the same door in the wall of the
stableyard, and peeping in saw nothing but the dogs raging and RUGGING
at their chains as if they would drag the earth itself after them to
reach the enemy. She was one of those on whose wits, usually sedate in
their motions, all sorts of excitement, danger amongst the rest, operate
favourably. When she specially noticed the fury of Marquis, the same
moment she perceived the danger in which he, that was, all the dogs,
would be, if the panther should attack them one by one on the chain; not
one of them had a chance. With the thought, she sped across the space
between her and Marquis, who--I really cannot say WHICH concerning such
a dog--was fortunately not very far from the door. Feeling him a little
safer now that she stood by his side, she resumed her ocular search for
the panther, or any further sign of his proximity, but with one hand on
the dog's collar, ready in an instant to seize it with both, and unclasp
it.

Nor had she to look long, for all the dogs were straining their chains
in one direction, and all their lines converged upon a little dark shed,
where stood a cart: under the cart, between its lower shafts, she caught
a doubtful luminousness, as if the dark while yet dark had begun to
throb with coming light. This presently seemed to resolve itself, and
she saw, vaguely but with conviction, two huge lamping cat-eyes. I will
not say she felt no fear, but she was not terrified, for she had great
confidence in Marquis. One moment she stood bethinking herself, and one
glance she threw at the spot where her mastiff's chain was attached to
his collar: she would fain have had him keep the latter to defend his
neck and throat: but alas! it was as she knew well enough before--the
one was riveted to the other, and the two must go together.

And now first, as she raised her head from the momentary inspection, she
saw the groom lying on the ground within a few yards of the shed. Her
first thought was that the panther had killed him, but ere a second had
time to rise in her mind, she saw the terrible animal creeping out from
under the cart, with his chin on the ground, like the great cat he was,
and making for the man.

The brute had got the better of his fall, and finding he was not
pursued, the barking of the dogs, to which in moderation he was
sufficiently accustomed, had ceased to confuse him, he had recovered his
awful self, and was now scenting prey. Had the man made a single
movement he would have been upon him like lightning; but the few moments
he took in creeping towards him, gave Dorothy all the time she needed.
With resolute, though trembling hands, she undid Marquis's collar.

The instant he was free, the fine animal went at the panther straight
and fast like a bolt from a cross-bow. But Dorothy loved him too well to
lose a moment in sending even a glance after him. Leaving him to his
work, she flew to hers, which lay at the next kennel, that of an Irish
wolf-hound, whose curling lip showed his long teeth to the very root,
and whose fury had redoubled at the sight of his rival shooting past him
free for the fight. So wildly did he strain upon his collar, that she
found it took all her strength to unclasp it. In a much shorter time,
however, than she fancied, O'Brien too was on the panther, and the
sounds of cano-feline battle seemed to fill every cranny of her brain.

But now she heard the welcome cries of men and clatter of weapons. Some,
alarmed by Tom Fool, came rushing from the guard-rooms down the stair,
and others, chiefly farm-servants and grooms, who had heard the
frightful news from two that were in the yard when the panther bounded
over the wall, were approaching from the opposite side, armed with
scythes and pitchforks, the former more dangerous to their bearers than
to the beast.

Dorothy, into whom, girl as she was, either Bellona or Diana, or both,
had entered, was now thoroughly excited by the conflict she ruled,
although she had not wasted a moment in watching it. Having just undone
the collar of the fourth dog, she was hounding him on with a cry, little
needed, as she flew to let go the fifth, a small bull-terrier, mad with
rage and jealousy, when the crowd swept between her and her game. The
beast was captured, and the dogs taken off him, ere the terrier had had
a taste or Dorothy a glimpse of the battle.

As the men with cart-ropes dragged the panther away, terribly torn by
the teeth of the dogs, and Tom Fool was following them, with his hands
in his pockets, looking sheepish because of the share he had had in
letting him loose, and the share he had not had in securing him again,
Dorothy was looking about for her friend Marquis. All at once he came
bounding up to her, and, exultant in the sense of accomplished duty,
leaped up against her, at once turning her into a sanguineous object
frightful to behold; for his wounds were bad, although none of them were
serious except one in his throat. This upon examination she found so
severe that to replace his collar was out of the question. Telling him
therefore to follow her, in the confidence that she might now ask for
him what she would, she left the yard, went up the stair, and was
crossing the stone court with the trusty fellow behind her, making a red
track all the way, when out of the hall came the marquis, looking a
little frightened. He started when he saw her, and turned pale, but
perceiving instantly from her look that, notwithstanding the condition
of her garments, she was unhurt, he cast a glance at her now rather
disreputable-looking attendant, and said,

'I told you so, mistress Dorothy! Now I understand! It is that precious
mastiff of yours, and no panther of mine, that has been making this
uproar in my quiet house! Nay, but he looks evil enough for any devil's
work! Prithee keep him off me.'

He drew back, for the dog, not liking the tone in which he addressed his
mistress, had taken a step nearer to him.

'My lord,' said Dorothy, as she laid hold of the animal, for the first
and only time in her life a little inclined to be angry with her
benefactor, 'you do my poor Marquis wrong. At the risk of his own life
he has just saved your lordship's groom, Shafto, from being torn in
pieces by the Great Mogul.'

While she spoke, some of those of the garrison who had been engaged in
securing the animal came up into the court, and attracted the marquis's
attraction by their approach, which, in the relaxation of discipline
consequent on excitement, was rather tumultuous. At their head was lord
Charles, who had led them to the capture, and without whose ruling
presence the enemy would not have been re-caged in twice the time. As
they drew near, and saw Dorothy stand in battle-plight, with her dog
beside her, even in their lord's presence they could not resist the
impulse to cheer her. Annoyed at their breach of manners, the marquis
had not however committed himself to displeasure ere he spied a joke:

'I told you so, mistress Dorothy!' he said again. 'That rival of mine
has, as I feared, already made a party against me. You see how my own
knaves, before my very face, cheer my enemy! I presume, my lord,' he
went on, turning to the mastiff, and removing his hat, 'it will be my
wisdom to resign castle and title at once, and so forestall deposition.'

Marquis replied with a growl, and amidst subdued yet merry laughter,
lord Charles hastened to enlighten his father.

'My lord,' he said, 'the dog has done nobly as ever dog, and deserves
reward, not mockery, which it is plain he understands, and likes not.
But it was not the mastiff, it was his fair mistress I and my men
presumed on saluting in your lordship's presence. No dog ever yet shook
off collar of Cranford's forging; nor is Marquis the only dog that
merits your lordship's acknowledgment: O'Brien and Tom Fool--the
lurcher, I mean--seconded him bravely, and perhaps Strafford did best of
all.'

'Prithee, now, take me with thee,' said the marquis. 'Was, or was not
the Great Mogul forth of his cage?'

'Indeed he was, my lord, and might be now in the fields but for cousin
Vaughan there by your side.'

The marquis turned and looked at her, but in his astonishment said
nothing, and lord Charles went on.

'When we got into the yard, there was the Great Mogul with three dogs
upon him, and mistress Dorothy uncollaring Tom Fool and hounding him at
the devilish brute; while poor Shafto, just waking up, lay on the
stones, about three yards off the combat. It was the finest thing I ever
saw, my lord.'

The marquis turned again to Dorothy, and stared without speech or
motion.

'Mean you--?' he said at length, addressing lord Charles, but still
staring at Dorothy; 'Mean you--?' he said again, half stammering, and
still staring.

'I mean, my lord,' answered his son, 'that mistress Dorothy, with
self-shown courage, and equal judgment as to time and order of attack,
when Tom Fool had fled, and poor Shafto, already evil torn, had swooned
from loss of blood, came to the rescue, stood her ground, and loosed dog
after dog, her own first, upon the animal. And, by heaven! it is all
owing to her that he is already secured and carried back to his cage,
nor any great harm done save to the groom and the dogs, of which poor
Strafford hath a hind leg crushed by the jaws of the beast, and must be
killed.'

'He shall live,' cried the marquis, 'as long as he hath legs enough to
eat and sleep with. Mistress Dorothy,' he went on, turning to her once
more, 'what is thy request? It shall be performed even to the half
of--of my marquisate.'

'My lord,' returned Dorothy, 'it is a small deed I have strewn to gather
such weighty thanks.'

'Be honest as well as brave, mistress. Mock me no modesty.' said the
marquis a little roughly.

'Indeed, my lord, I but spoke as I deemed. The thing HAD to be done, and
I did but do it. Had there been room to doubt, and I had yet done well,
then truly I might have earned your lordship's thanks. But good my lord,
do not therefore recall the word spoken,' she added hurriedly, 'but
grant me my boon. Your lordship sees my poor dog can endure no collar:
let him therefore be my chamber-fellow until his throat be healed, when
I shall again submit him to your lordship's mandate.'

'What you will, cousin. He is a noble fellow, and hath a right noble
mistress.'

'Will you then, my lord Charles, order a bucket of water to be drawn for
me, that I may wash his wounds ere I take him to my chamber?'

Ten men at the word flew to the draw-well, but lord Charles ordered them
all back to the guard-room, except two whom he sent to fetch a tub. With
his own hands he then drew three bucketfuls of water, which he poured
into the tub, and by the side of the well, in the open paved court,
Dorothy washed her four-legged hero, and then retired with him, to do a
like office for herself.

The marquis stood for some time in the gathering dusk, looking on, and
smiling to see how the sullen animal allowed his mistress to handle even
his wounds without a whine, not to say a growl, at the pain she must
have caused him.

'I see, I see!' he said at length, 'I have no chance with a rival like
that!' and turning away he walked slowly into the oak parlour, threw
himself down in his great chair, and sat there, gazing at the eyeless
face of the keep, but thinking all the time of the courage and patience
of his rival, the mastiff.

'God made us both,' he said at length, 'and he can grant me patience as
well as him;' and so saying he went to bed.

His washing over, the dog showed himself much exhausted, and it was with
hanging head he followed his mistress up the grand staircase and the
second spiral one that led yet higher to her chamber. Thither presently
came lady Elizabeth, carrying a cushion and a deerskin for him to lie
upon, and it was with much apparent satisfaction that the wounded and
wearied animal, having followed his tail but one turn, dropped like a
log on his well-earned couch.

The night was hot, and Dorothy fell asleep with her door wide open.

In the morning Marquis was nowhere to be found. Dorothy searched for him
everywhere, but in vain.

'It is because you mocked him, my lord,' said the governor to his father
at breakfast. 'I doubt not he said to himself, "If I AM a dog, my lord
need not have mocked me, for I could not help it, and I did my duty."'

'I would make him an apology,' returned the marquis, 'an' I had but the
opportunity. Truly it were evil minded knowingly to offer insult to any
being capable of so regarding it. But, Charles, I bethink me: didst ever
learn how our friend got into the castle? It was assuredly thy part to
discover that secret.'

'No, my lord. It hath never been found out in so far as I know.'

'That is an unworthy answer, lord Charles. As governor of the castle,
you ought to have had the matter thoroughly searched into.'

'I will see to it now, my lord,' said the governor, rising.

'Do, my lad,' returned his father.

And lord Charles did inquire; but not a ray of light did he succeed in
letting in upon the mystery. The inquiry might, however, have lasted
longer and been more successful, had not lord Herbert just then come
home, with the welcome news of the death of Hampden, from a wound
received in attacking prince Rupert at Chalgrove. He brought news also
of prince Maurice's brave fight at Bath, and lord Wilmot's victory over
sir William Waller at Devizes--which latter, lord Herbert confessed,
yielded him some personal satisfaction, seeing he owed Waller more
grudges than as a Christian he had well known how to manage: now he was
able to bear him a less bitter animosity. The queen, too, had reached
Oxford, bringing large reinforcement to her husband, and prince Rupert
had taken Bristol, castle and all. Things were looking mighty hopeful,
lord Herbert was radiant, and lady Margaret, for the first time since
Molly's death, was merry. The castle was illuminated, and Marquis
forgotten by all but Dorothy.



CHAPTER XXV.

RICHARD HEYWOOD.


So things looked ill for the puritans in general, and Richard Heywood
had his full portion in the distribution of the evils allotted them.
Following lord Fairfax, he had shared his defeat by the marquis of
Newcastle on Atherton moor, where of his score of men he lost five, and
was, along with his mare, pretty severely wounded. Hence it had become
absolutely necessary for both of them, if they were to render good
service at any near future, that they should have rest and tending.
Towards the middle of July, therefore, Richard, followed by Stopchase,
and several others of his men who had also been wounded and were in need
of nursing, rode up to his father's door. Lady was taken off to her own
stall, and Richard was led into the house by his father--without a word
of tenderness, but with eyes and hands that waited and tended like those
of a mother.

Roger Heywood was troubled in heart at the aspect of affairs. There was
now a strong peace-party in the parliament, and to him peace and ruin
seemed the same thing. If the parliament should now listen to overtures
of accommodation, all for which he and those with whom he chiefly
sympathised had striven, was in the greatest peril, and might be, if not
irrecoverably lost, at least lost sight of, perhaps for a century. The
thing that mainly comforted him in his anxiety was that his son had
showed himself worthy, not merely in the matter of personal courage,
which he took as a thing of course in a Heywood, but in his
understanding of and spiritual relation to the questions really at
issue,--not those only which filled the mouths of men. For the best men
and the weightiest questions are never seen in the forefront of the
battle of their time, save by "larger other eyes than ours."

But now, from his wounds, as he thought, and the depression belonging to
the haunting sense of defeat, a doubt had come to life in Richard's
mind, which, because it was born IN weakness, he very pardonably looked
upon as born OF weakness, and therefore regarded as itself weak and
cowardly, whereas his mood had been but the condition that favoured its
development. It came and came again, maugre all his self-recrimination
because of it: what was all this fighting for? It was well indeed that
nor king nor bishop should interfere with a man's rights, either in
matters of taxation or worship, but the war could set nothing right
either betwixt him and his neighbour, or betwixt him and his God.

There was in the mind of Richard, innate, but more rapidly developed
since his breach with Dorothy, a strong tendency towards the
supernatural--I mean by the word that which neither any one of the
senses nor all of them together, can reveal. He was one of those young
men, few, yet to be found in all ages of the world's history, who, in
health and good earthly hope, and without any marked poetic or
metaphysical tendency, yet know in their nature the need of conscious
communion with the source of that nature--truly the veriest absurdity if
there be no God, but as certainly the most absolute necessity of
conscious existence if there be a first life from whom our life is born.

'Am I not free now?' he said to himself, as he lay on his bed in his own
gable of the many-nooked house; 'Am I not free to worship God as I
please? Who will interfere with me? Who can prevent me? As to form and
ceremony, what are they, or what is the absence of them, to the worship
in which my soul seeks to go forth? What the better shall I be when all
this is over, even if the best of our party carry the day? Will Cromwell
rend for me the heavy curtain, which, ever as I lift up my heart, seems
to come rolling down between me and him whom I call my God? If I could
pass within that curtain, what would Charles, or Laud, or Newcastle, or
the mighty Cromwell himself and all his Ironsides be to me? Am I not on
the wrong road for the high peak?'

But then he thought of others--of the oppressed and the superstitious,
of injustice done and not endured--not wrapt in the pearly antidote of
patience, but rankling in the soul; of priests who, knowing not God,
substituted ceremonies for prayer, and led the seeking heart afar from
its goal--and said that his arm could at least fight for the truth in
others, if only his heart could fight for the truth in himself. No; he
would go on as he had begun; for, might it not be the part of him who
could take the form of an angel of light when he would deceive, to make
use of inward truths, which might well be the strength of his own soul,
to withdraw him from the duties he owed to others, and cause the heart
of devotion to paralyze the arm of battle? Besides, was he not now in a
low physical condition, and therefore the less likely to judge truly
with regard to affairs of active outer life? His business plainly was to
gain strength of body, that the fumes of weakness might no longer cloud
his brain, and that, if he had to die for the truth, whether in others
or in himself, he might die in power, like the blast of an exploding
mine, and not like the flame of an expiring lamp. And certainly, as his
body grew stronger, and the impulses to action, so powerful in all
healthy youth, returned, his doubts grew weaker, and he became more and
more satisfied that he had been in the right path.

Lady outstripped her master in the race for health, and after a few days
had oats and barley in a profusion which, although far from careless,
might well have seemed to her unlimited. Twice every day, sometimes
oftener, Richard went to see her, and envied the rapidity of her
recovery from the weakness which scanty rations, loss of blood, and the
inflammation of her wounds had caused. Had there been any immediate call
for his services, however, that would have brought his strength with it.
Had the struggle been still going on upon the fields of battle instead
of in the houses of words, he would have been well in half the time. But
Waller and Essex were almost without an army between them, and were at
bitter strife with each other, while the peace-party seemed likely to
carry everything before them, women themselves presenting a petition for
peace, and some of them using threats to support it.

At length, chiefly through the exertions of the presbyterian preachers
and the common council of the city of London, the peace-party was
defeated, and a vigorous levying and pressing of troops began anew. So
the hour had come for Richard to mount. His men were all in health and
spirits, and their vacancies had been filled up. Lady was frolicsome,
and Richard was perfectly well.

The day before they were to start he took the mare out for a gallop
across the fields. Never had he known her so full of life. She rushed at
hedge and ditch as if they had been squares of royalist infantry. Her
madness woke the fervour of battle in Richard's own veins, and as they
swept along together, it grew until he felt like one of the Arabs of
old, flashing to the harvest field of God, where the corn to be reaped
was the lives of infidels, and the ears to be gleaned were the heads of
the fallen. That night he scarcely slept for eagerness to be gone.

Waking early from what little sleep he had had, he dressed and armed
himself hurriedly, and ran to the stables, where already his men were
bustling about getting their horses ready for departure.

Lady had a loose box for herself, and thither straight her master went,
wondering as he opened the door of it that he did not hear usual morning
welcome. The place was empty. He called Stopchase.

'Where is my mare?' he said. 'Surely no one has been fool enough to take
her to the water just as we are going to start.'

Stopchase stood and stared without reply, then turned and left the
stable, but came back almost immediately, looking horribly scared. Lady
was nowhere to be seen or heard. Richard rushed hither and thither,
storming. Not a man about the place could give him a word of
enlightenment. All knew she was in that box the night before; none knew
when she left it or where she was now.

He ran to his father, but all his father could see or say was no more
than was plain to every one: the mare had been carried off in the night,
and that with a skill worthy of a professional horse-thief.

What now was the poor fellow to do? If I were to tell the truth--namely,
that he wept--so courageous are the very cowards of this century that
they would sneer at him; but I do tell it notwithstanding, for I have
little regard to the opinion of any man who sneers. Whatever he may or
may not have been as a man, Richard felt but half a soldier without his
mare, and, his country calling him, oppressed humanity crying aloud for
his sword and arm, his men waiting for him, and Lady gone, what was he
to do?

'Never heed, Dick, my boy,' said his father.--It was the first time
since he had put on man's attire that he had called him Dick,--'Thou
shalt have my Oliver. He is a horse of good courage, as thou knowest,
and twice the weight of thy little mare.'

'Ah, father! you do not know Lady so well as I. Not Cromwell's best
horse could comfort me for her. I MUST find her. Give me leave, sir; I
must go and think. I cannot mount and ride, and leave her I know not
where. Go I will, if it be on a broomstick, but this morning I ride not.
Let the men put up their horses, Stopchase, and break their fast.'

'It is a wile of the enemy,' said Stopchase. 'Truly, it were no marvel
to me were the good mare at this moment eating her oats in the very
stall where we have even but now in vain sought her. I will go and
search for her with my hands.'

'Verily,' said Mr. Heywood with a smile, 'to fear the devil is not to
run from him!--How much of her hay hath she eaten, Stopchase?' he added,
as the man returned with disconsolate look.

'About a bottle, sir,' answered Stopchase, rather indefinitely; but the
conclusion drawn was, that she had been taken very soon after the house
was quiet.

The fact was, that since the return of their soldiers, poor watch had
been kept by the people of Redware. Increase of confidence had led to
carelessness. Mr. Heywood afterwards made inquiry, and had small reason
to be satisfied with what he discovered.

'The thief must have been one who knew the place,' said Faithful.

'Why dost thou think so?' asked his master.

'How swooped he else so quietly upon the best animal, sir?' returned the
man.

'She was in the place of honour,' answered Mr. Heywood.

'Scudamore!' said Richard to himself. It might be no light--only a flash
in his brain. But that even was precious in the utter darkness.

'Sir,' he said, turning to his father, 'I would I had a plan of Raglan
stables.'

'What wouldst thou an' thou hadst, my son?' asked Mr. Heywood.

'Nay, sir, that wants thinking. But I believe my poor mare is at this
moment in one of those vaults they tell us of.'

'It may be, my son. It is reported that the earl hath of late been
generous in giving of horses. Poor soldiers the king will find them that
fight for horses, or titles either. Such will never stand before them
that fight for the truth--in the love thereof! Eh, Richard?'

'Truly, sir, I know not,' answered his son, disconsolately. 'I hope I
love the truth, and I think so doth Stopchase, after his kind; and yet
were we of those that fled from Atherton moor.'

'Thou didst not flee until thou couldst no more, my son. It asketh
greater courage of some men to flee when the hour of flight hath come,
for they would rather fight on to the death than allow, if but to their
own souls, that they are foiled. But a man may flee in faith as well as
fight in faith, my son, and each is good in its season. There is a time
for all things under the sun. In the end, when the end cometh, we shall
see how it hath all gone. When, then, wilt thou ride?'

'To-morrow, an' it please you, sir. I should fight but evil with the
knowledge that I had left my best battle-friend in the hands of the
Philistines, nor sent even a cry after her.'

'What boots it, Richard? If she be within Raglan walls, they yield her
not again. Bide thy time; and when thou meetest thy foe on thy friend's
back, woe betide him!'

'Amen, sir!' said Richard. 'But with your leave I will not go to-day. I
give you my promise I will go to-morrow.'

'Be it so, then. Stopchase, let the men be ready at this hour on the
morrow. The rest of the day is their own.'

So saying, Roger Heywood turned away, in no small distress, although he
concealed it, both at the loss of the mare and his son's grief over it.
Betaking himself to his study, he plunged himself straightway deep in
the comfort of the last born and longest named of Milton's tracts.

The moment he was gone, Richard, who had now made up his mind as to his
first procedure, sent Stopchase away, saddled Oliver, rode slowly out of
the yard, and struck across the fields. After a half-hour's ride he
stopped at a lonely cottage at the foot of a rock on the banks of the
Usk. There he dismounted, and having fastened his horse to the little
gate in front, entered a small garden full of sweet-smelling herbs
mingled with a few flowers, and going up to the door, knocked, and then
lifted the latch.



CHAPTER XXVI.

THE WITCH'S COTTAGE.


Richard was met on the threshold by mistress Rees, in the same
old-fashioned dress, all but the hat, which I have already described. On
her head she wore a widow's cap, with large crown, thick frill, and
black ribbon encircling it between them. She welcomed him with the
kindness almost of an old nurse, and led the way to the one chair in the
room--beside the hearth, where a fire of peat was smouldering rather
than burning beneath the griddle, on which she was cooking oat-cake. The
cottage was clean and tidy. From the smoky rafters hung many bunches of
dried herbs, which she used partly for medicines, partly for charms.

To herself, the line dividing these uses was not very clearly
discernible.

'I am in trouble, mistress Rees,' said Richard, as he seated himself.

'Most men do be in trouble most times, master Heywood,' returned the old
woman. 'Dost find thou hast taken the wrong part, eh?--There be no need
to tell what aileth thee. 'Tis a bit easier to cast off a maiden than to
forget her--eh?'

'No, mistress Rees. I came not to trouble thee concerning what is past
and gone,' said Richard with a sigh. 'It is a taste of thy knowledge I
want rather than of thy skill.'

'What skill I have is honest,' said the old woman.

'Far be it from thee to say otherwise, mother Rees. But I need it not
now. Tell me, hast thou not been once and again within the great gates
of Raglan castle?'

'Yes, my son--oftener than I can tell thee,' answered the old woman. 'It
is but a se'night agone that I sat a talking with my son Thomas Rees in
the chimney corner of Raglan kitchen, after the supper was served and
the cook at rest. It was there my lad was turnspit once upon a time, for
as great a man as he is now with my lord and all the household. Those
were hard times after my good man left me, master Heywood. But the cream
will to the top, and there is my son now--who but he in kitchen and
hall? Well, of all places in the mortal world, that Raglan passes!'

'They tell strange things of the stables there, mistress Rees: know you
aught of them?'

'Strange things, master? They tell nought but good of the stables that
tell the truth. As to the armoury, now--well it is not for such as
mother Rees to tell tales out of school.'

'What I heard, and wanted to ask thee about, mother, was that they are
under ground. Thinkest thou horses can fare well under ground? Thou
knowest a horse as well as a dog, mother.'

Ere she replied, the old woman took her cake from the griddle, and laid
it on a wooden platter, then caught up a three-legged stool, set it down
by Richard, seated herself at his knee, and assumed the look of mystery
wherewith she was in the habit of garnishing every bit of knowledge,
real or fancied, which it pleased her to communicate.

'Hear me, and hold thy peace, master Richard Heywood,' she said. 'As
good horses as ever stamped in Redware stables go down into Raglan
vaults; but yet they eat their oats and their barley, and when they lift
their heads they look out to the ends of the world. Whether it be by the
skill of the mason or of such as the hidden art of my lord Herbert knows
best how to compel, let them say that list to make foes where it were
safer to have friends. But this I am free to tell thee--that in the
pitched court, betwixt the antechamber to my lord's parlour that hath
its windows to the moat, and the great bay window of the hall that looks
into that court, there goeth a descent, as it seemeth of stairs only;
but to him that knoweth how to pull a certain tricker, as of an
harquebus or musquetoon, the whole thing turneth around, and straightway
from a stair passeth into an easy matter of a sloping way by the which
horses go up and down. And Thomas he telleth me also that at the further
end of the vaults to which it leads, the which vaults pass under the
marquis's oak parlour, and under all the breadth of the fountain court,
as they do call the other court of the castle, thou wilt come to a great
iron door in the foundations of one of the towers, in which my lord hath
contrived stabling for a hundred and more horses, and that, mark my
words, my son, not in any vault or underground dungeon, but in the
uppermost chamber of all.'

'And how do they get up there, mother?' asked Richard, who listened with
all his ears.

'Why, they go round and round, and ever the rounder the higher, as a fly
might crawl up a corkscrew. And there is a stair also in the same screw,
as it were, my Thomas do tell me, by which the people of the house do go
up and down, and know nothing of the way for the horses within, neither
of the stalls at the top of the tower, where they stand and see the
country. Yet do they often marvel at the sounds of their hoofs, and
their harness, and their cries, and their chumping of their corn. And
that is how Raglan can send forth so many horseman for the use of the
king. But alack, master Heywood! is it for a wise woman like myself to
forget that thou art of the other part, and that these are secrets of
state which scarce another in the castle but my son Thomas knoweth aught
concerning! What will become of me that I have told them to a Heywood,
being, as is well known, myself no more of a royalist than another?'

And she regarded him a little anxiously.

'What should it signify, mother,'' said Richard, 'so long as neither you
nor I believe a word of it? Horses go up a tower to bed forsooth! Yet
for the matter of that, I will engage to ride my mare up any corkscrew
wide enough to turn her forelock and tail in--ay, and down again too,
which is another business with most horses. But come now, mother Rees,
confess this all a fable of thine own contriving to make a mock of a
farm-bred lad like me.'

'In good sooth, master Heywood,' answered the old woman, 'I tell the
tale as 'twas told to me. I avouch it not for certain, knowing that my
son Thomas hath a seething brain and loveth a joke passing well, nor
heedeth greatly upon whom he putteth it, whether his master or his
mother; but for the stair by the great hall window, that stair have I
seen with mine own eyes, though for the horses to come and go thereby,
that truly have I not seen. And for the rest I only say it may well be,
for there is nothing of it all which the wise man, my lord Herbert,
could not with a word--and that a light one for him to speak, though
truly another might be torn to pieces in saying it.'

'I would I might see the place!' murmured Richard.

'An' it were not thou art such a--! But it boots not talking, master
Heywood. Thou art too well known for a puritan--roundhead they call
thee; and thou hast given them and theirs too many hard knocks, my son,
to look they should be willing to let thee gaze on the wonders of their
great house. Else, being that I am a friend to thee and thine, I would
gladly--. But, as I say, it boots nothing--although I have a son, who
being more of the king's part than I am--.'

'Hast thou not then art enough, mother, to set me within Raglan walls
for an hour or two after midnight? I ask no more,' said Richard, who,
although he was but leading the way to quite another proposal, nor
desired aid of art black or white, yet could not help a little tremor at
making the bare suggestion of the unhallowed idea.

'An' I had, I dared not use it,' answered the old woman; 'for is not my
lord Herbert there? Were it not for him--well--. But I dare not, as I
say, for his art is stronger than mine, and from his knowledge I could
hide nothing. And I dare not for thy sake either, my young master. Once
inside those walls of stone, those gates of oak, and those portcullises
of iron, and thou comes not out alive again, I warrant thee.'

'I should like to try once, though,' said Richard. 'Couldst thou not
disguise me, mother Rees, and send me with a message to thy son?'

'I tell thee, young master, I dare not,' answered the old woman, with
utmost solemnity. 'And if I did, thy speech would presently bewray
thee.'

'I would then I knew that part of the wall a man might scramble over in
the dark,' said Richard.

'Thinks thou my lord marquis hath been fortifying his castle for two
years that a young Heywood, even if he be one of the godly, and have
long legs to boot, should make a vaulting horse of it? I know but one
knows the way over Raglan walls, and thou wilt hardly persuade him to
tell thee,' said mother Rees, with a grim chuckle.

As she spoke she rose, and went towards her sleeping chamber. Then first
Richard became aware that for some time he had been hearing a scratching
and whining. She opened the door, and out ran a wretched-looking dog,
huge and gaunt, with the red marks of recent wounds all over his body,
and his neck swathed in a discoloured bandage. He went straight to
Richard, and began fawning upon him and licking his hands. Miserable and
most disreputable as he looked, he recognised in him Dorothy's mastiff.

'My poor Marquis!' he said, 'what evil hath then befallen thee? What
would thy mistress say to see thee thus?'

Marquis whined and wagged his tail as if he understood every word he
said, and Richard was stung to the heart at the sight of his apparently
forlorn condition.

'Hath thy mistress then forsaken thee too, Marquis?' he said, and from
fellow-feeling could have taken the dog in his arms.

'I think not so,' said mistress Rees. 'He hath been with her in the
castle ever since she went there.'

'Poor fellow, how thou art torn!' said Richard. 'What animal of thine
own size could have brought thee into such a plight? Or can it be that
thou hast found a bigger? But that thou hast beaten him I am well
assured.'

Marquis wagged an affirmative.

'Fangs of biggest dog in Gwent never tore him like that, master Heywood.
Heark'ee now. He cannot tell his tale, so I must tell thee all I know of
the matter. I was over to Raglan village three nights agone, to get me a
bottle of strong waters from mine host of the White Horse, for the
distilling of certain of my herbs good for inward disorders, when he
told me that about an hour before there had come from the way of the
castle all of a sudden the most terrible noise that ever human ears were
pierced withal, as if every devil in hell of dog or cat kind had broken
loose, and fierce battle was waging between them in the Yellow Tower. I
said little, but had my own fears for my lord Herbert, and came home sad
and slow and went to bed. Now what should wake me the next morning, just
as daylight broke the neck of the darkness, but a pitiful whining and
obstinate scratching at my door! And who should it be but that same
lovely little lapdog of my young mistress now standing by thy knee! But
had thou seen him then, master Richard! It was the devil's hackles he
had been through! Such a torn dishclout of a dog thou never did see! I
understood it all in a moment. He had made one in the fight, and whether
he had had the better or the worse of it, like a wise dog as he always
was, he knew where to find what would serve his turn, and so when the
house was quiet, off he came to old mother Rees to be plaistered and
physicked. But what perplexes my old brain is, how, at that hour of the
night, for to reach my door when he did, and him hardly able to stand
when I let him in, it must have been dead night when he left--it do
perplex me, I say, to think how at that time of the night he got out of
that prison, watched as it is both night and day by them that sleep
not.'

'He couldn't have come over the wall?' suggested Richard.

'Had thou seen him--thou would not make that the question.'

'Then he must have come through or under it; there are but three ways,'
said Richard to himself. 'He's a big dog,' he added aloud, regarding him
thoughtfully as he patted his sullen affectionate head. 'He's a big
dog,' he repeated.

'I think a'most he be the biggest dog _I_ ever saw,' assented mistress
Rees.

'I would I were less about the shoulders,' said Richard.

'Who ever heard a man worth his mess of pottage wish him such a wish as
that, master Heywood! What would mistress Dorothy say to hear thee? I
warrant me she findeth no fault with the breadth of thy shoulders.'

'I am less in the compass than I was before the last fight,' he went on,
without heeding his hostess, and as if he talked to the dog, who stood
with his chin on his knee, looking up in his face. 'Where thou, Marquis,
canst walk, I doubt not to creep; but if thou must creep, what then is
left for me? Yet how couldst thou creep with such wounds in thy throat
and belly, my poor Marquis?'

The dog whined, and moved all his feet, one after the other, but without
taking his chin off Richard's knee.

'Hast seen thy mistress, little Dick, Marquis?' asked Richard.

Again the dog whined, moved his feet, and turned his head towards the
door. But whether it was that he understood the question, or only that
he recognised the name of his friend, who could tell?

'Will thou take me to Dick, Marquis?'

The dog turned and walked to the door, then stood and looked back, as if
waiting for Richard to open it and follow him.

'No, Marquis, we must not go before night,' said Richard.

The dog returned slowly to his knee, and again laid his chin upon it.

'What will the dog do next, thinkest thou, mother--when he finds himself
well again, I mean? Will he run from thee?' said Richard.

'He would be like neither dog nor man I ever knew, did he not,' returned
the old woman. 'He will for sure go back where he got his hurts--to
revenge them if he may, for that is the custom also with both dogs and
men.'

'Couldst thou make sure of him that he run not away till I come again at
night, mother?'

'Certain I can, my son. I will shut him up whence he will not break so
long as he hears me nigh him.'

'Do so then an' thou lovest me, mother Rees, and I will be here with the
first of the darkness.'

'An' I love thee, master Richard? Nay, but I do love thy good face and
thy true words, be thou puritan or roundhead, or fanatic, or what evil
name soever the wicked fashion of the times granteth to men to call
thee.'

'Hark in thine ear then, mother: I will call no names; but they of
Raglan have, as I truly believe, stolen from me my Lady.'

'Nay, nay, master Richard,' interrupted mistress Rees; 'did I not tell
thee with my own mouth that she went of her own free will, and in the
company of the reverend sir Matthew Herbert?'

'Alas! thou goest not with me, mother Rees. I meant not mistress
Dorothy. She is lost to me indeed; but so also is my poor mare, which
was stolen last night from Redware stables as the watchers slept.'

'Alack-a-day!' cried goody Rees, holding up her hands in sore trouble
for her friend. 'But what then dreams thou of doing? Not surely, before
all the saints in heaven, will thou adventure thy body within Raglan
walls? But I speak like a fool. Thou canst not.'

'This good dog,' said Richard, stroking Marquis, 'must, as thou thyself
plainly seest, have found some way of leaving Raglan without the
knowledge or will of its warders. Where he gat him forth, will he not
get him in again? And where dog can go, man may at least endeavour to
follow.--Mayhap he hath for himself scratched a way, as many dogs will.'

'But, for the love of God, master Heywood, what would thou do inside
that stone cage? Thy mare, be she, as thou hast often vaunted her to me,
the first for courage and wisdom and strength and fleetness of all mares
created--be her fore feet like a man's hands and her heart like a
woman's heart, as thou sayest, yet cannot she overleap Raglan walls; and
thinks thou they will raise portcullis and open gate and drop drawbridge
to let thee and her ride forth in peace? It were a fool's errand, my
young master, and nowise befitting thy young wisdom.'

'What I shall do, when I am length within the walls, I cannot tell thee,
mother. Nor have I ever yet known much good in forecasting. To have to
think, when the hour is come, of what thou didst before resolve, instead
of setting thyself to understand what is around thee, and perchance the
whole matter different from what thou had imagined, is to stand like
Lazarus bound hand and foot in thine own graveclothes. It will be given
me to meet what comes; or if not, who will bar me from meeting what
follows?'

'Master Heywood,' cried goody Rees, drawing herself with rebuke, 'for a
man that is born of a woman to talk so wisely and so foolishly both in a
breath!--But,' she added, with a change of tone, 'I know better than bar
the path to a Heywood. An' he will, he will. And thou hast been vilely
used, my young master. I will do what I can to help thee to thine
own--and no more--no more than thine own. Hark in thine ear now. But
first swear to me by the holy cross, puritan as thou art, that thou wilt
make no other use of what I tell thee but to free thy stolen mare. I
know thou may be trusted even with the secret that would slay thine
enemy. But I must have thy oath notwithstanding thereto.'

'I will not swear by the cross, which was never holy, for thereby was
the Holy slain. I will not swear at all, mother Rees. I will pledge thee
the word of a man who fears God, that I will in no way dishonourable
make use of that which thou tellest me. An' that suffice not, I will go
without thy help, trusting in God, who never made that mare to carry the
enemy of the truth into the battle.'

'But what an' thou should take the staff of strife to measure thy doings
withal? That may then seem honourable, done to an enemy, which thou
would scorn to do to one of thine own part, even if he wronged thee.'

'Nay, mother; but I will do nothing THOU wouldst think
dishonourable--that I promise thee. I will use what thou tellest me for
no manner of hurt to my lord of Worcester or aught that is his. But Lady
is not his, and her will I carry, if I may, from Raglan stables back to
Redware.'

'I am content. Hearken then, my son. Raglan watchword for the rest of
the month is--ST. GEORGE AND ST. PATRICK! May it stand thee in good
stead.'

'I thank thee, mother, with all my heart,' said Richard, rising
jubilant. 'Now shut up the dog, and let me go. One day it may lie in my
power to requite thee.'

'Thou hast requited me beforehand, master Heywood. Old mother Rees never
forgets. I would have done well by thee with the maiden, an' thou would
but have hearkened to my words. But the day may yet come. Go now, and
return with the last of the twilight. Come hither, Marquis.'

The dog obeyed, and she shut him again in her chamber.



CHAPTER XXVII.

THE MOAT OF THE KEEP.


Richard left the cottage, and mounted Oliver. To pass the time and
indulge a mournful memory, he rode round by Wyfern. When he reached
home, he found that his father had gone to pay a visit some miles off.
He went to his own room, cast himself on his bed, and tried to think.
But his birds would not come at his call, or coming would but perch for
a moment, and again fly. As he lay thus, his eyes fell on his cousin,
old Thomas Heywood's little folio, lying on the window seat where he had
left it two years ago, and straightway his fluttering birds alighting
there, he thought how the book had been lying unopened all the months,
while he had been passing through so many changes and commotions. How
still had the room been around it, how silent the sunshine and the snow,
while he had inhabited tumult--tumult in his heart, tumult in his ears,
tumult of sorrows, of vain longings, of tongues and of swords! Where was
the gain to him? Was he nearer to that centre of peace, which the book,
as it lay there so still, seemed to his eyes to typify? The maiden loved
from childhood had left him for a foolish king and a phantom-church: had
he been himself pursuing anything better? He had been fighting for the
truth: had he then gained her? where was she? what was she if not a
living thing in the heart? Would the wielding of the sword in its name
ever embody an abstraction, call it from the vasty deep of metaphysics
up into self-conscious existence in the essence of a man's own vitality?
Was not the question still, how, of all loves, to grasp the thing his
soul thirsted after?

To many a sermon, cleric and lay, had he listened since he left that
volume there--in church, in barn, in the open field--but the religion
which seemed to fill all the horizon of these preachers' vision, was to
him little better than another tumult of words; while, far beyond all
the tumults, hung still, in the vast of thought unarrived, unembodied,
that something without a shape, yet bearing a name around which hovered
a vague light as of something dimly understood, after which, in every
moment of inbreaking silence, his soul straightway began to thirst. And
if the Truth was not to be found in his own heart, could he think that
the blows by which he had not gained her had yet given her?--that
through means of the tumult he had helped to arouse in her name and for
her sake, but in which he had never caught a sight of her beauteous
form, she now sat radiantly smiling in any one human soul where she sat
not before?

Or should he say it was Freedom for which he had fought? Was he then one
whit more free in the reality of his being than he had been before? Or
had ever a battle wherein he had perilled his own life, striking for
liberty, conveyed that liberty into a single human heart? Was there one
soul the freer within, from the nearer presence of that freedom which
would have a man endure the heaviest wrong, rather than inflict the
lightest? He could not tell, but he greatly doubted.

His thought went wandering away, and vision after vision, now of war and
now of love, now of earthly victory and now of what seemed unattainable
felicity, arose and passed before him, filling its place. At length it
came back: he would glance again into his cousin Thomas's book. He had
but to stretch out his hand to take it, for his bed was close by the
window. Opening it at random, he came upon this passage:

      And as the Mill, that circumgyreth fast,
    Refuseth nothing that therein is cast,
    But whatsoever is to it assign'd
    Gladly receives and willing is to grynd,
    But if the violence be with nothing fed,
    It wasts itselfe: e'en so the heart mis-led,
    Still turning round, unstable as the Ocean,
    Never at rest, but in continuall Motion,
    Sleepe or awake, is still in agitation
    Of some presentment in th' imagination.

      If to the Mill-stone you shall cast in Sand,
    It troubles them, and makes them at a stand;
    If Pitch, it chokes them; or if Chaffe let fall,
    They are employ'd, but to no use at all.
    So, bitter thoughts molest, uncleane thoughts staine
    And spot the Heart; while those idle and vaine
    Weare it, and to no purpose. For when 'tis
    Drowsie and carelesse of the future blisse,
    And to implore Heav'n's aid, it doth imply
    How far is it remote from the most High.
    For whilst our Hearts on Terrhen things we place,
    There cannot be least hope of Divine grace.

'Just such a mill is my mind,' he said to himself. 'But can I suppose
that to sit down and read all day like a monk, would bring me nearer to
the thing I want?'

He turned over the volume half thinking, half brooding.

'I will look again,' he thought, 'at the verses which that day my father
gave me to read. Truly I did not well understand them.'

Once more he read the poem through. It closed with these lines:

    So far this LIGHT the Raies extends,
    As that no place IT comprehends.
    So deepe this SOUND, that though it speake,
    It cannot by a Sence so weake
    Be entertain'd. A REDOLENT GRACE
    The Aire blowes not from place to place.
    A pleasant TASTE, of that delight
    It doth confound all appetite.
    A strict EMBRACE, not felt, yet leaves
    That vertue, where it takes it cleaves.
    This LIGHT, this SOUND, this SAVOURING GRACE,
    This TASTEFULL SWEET, this STRICT EMBRACE,
    No PLACE containes, no EYE can see,
    My GOD is; and there's none but Hee.

'I HAVE gained something,' he crie aloud. 'I understand it now--at least
I think I do. What if, in fighting for the truth as men say, the doors
of a man's own heart should at length fly open for her entrance! What if
the understanding of that which is uttered concerning her, be a sign
that she herself draweth nigh! Then I will go on.--And that I may go on,
I must recover my mare.'

Honestly, however, he could not quite justify the scheme. All the
efforts of his imagination, as he rode home, to bring his judgment to
the same side with itself, had failed, and he had been driven to confess
the project a foolhardy one. But, on the other hand, had he not had a
leading thitherward? Whence else the sudden conviction that Scudamore
had taken her, and the burning desire to seek her in Raglan stables? And
had he not heard mighty arguments from the lips of the most favoured
preachers in the army for an unquestioning compliance with leadings?
Nay, had he not had more than a leading? Was it not a sign to encourage
him, even a pledge of happy result, that, within an hour of it, and in
consequence of his first step in partial compliance with it, he had come
upon the only creature capable of conducting him into the robber's hold?
And had he not at the same time learned the Raglan password?--He WOULD
go.

He rose, and descending the little creaking stair of black oak that led
from his room to the next storey, sought his father's study, where he
wrote a letter informing him of his intended attempt, and the means to
its accomplishment that had been already vouchsafed him. The rest of his
time, after eating his dinner, he spent in making overshoes for his mare
out of an old buff jerkin. As soon as the twilight began to fall, he set
out on foot for the witch's cottage.

When he arrived, he found her expecting him, but prepared with no hearty
welcome.

'I had liefer by much thee had not come so pat upon thy promise, master
Heywood. Then I might have looked to move thee from thy purpose, for
truly I like it not. But thou will never bring an old woman into
trouble, master Richard?'

'Or a young one either, if I can help it Mother Rees,' answered Richard.
'But come now, thou must trust me, and tell me all I want to know.'

He drew from his pocket paper and pencil, and began to put to her
question after question as to the courts and the various buildings
forming them, with their chief doors and windows, and ever as she gave
him an answer, he added its purport to the rough plan he was drawing of
the place.

'Listen to me, Master Heywood,' said the old woman at length after a
long, silence, during which he had been pondering over his paper. 'An'
thou get once into the fountain court thou will know where thee is by
the marble horse that stands in the middle of it. Turn then thy back to
the horse, with the yellow tower above thee upon thy right hand, and
thee will be facing the great hall. On the other side of the hall is the
pitched court with its great gate and double portcullis and drawbridge.
Nearly at thy back, but to thy right hand, will lie the gate to the
bowling-green. At which of these gates does thee think to lead out thy
mare?'

'An' I pass at all, mother, it will be on her back, not at her head.'

'Thou wilt not pass, my son. Be counselled. To thy mare, thou wilt but
lose thyself.'

Richard heard her as though he heard her not.

'At what hour doth the moon rise, mistress Rees?' he asked.

'What would thou with the moon?" she returned. "Is not she the enemy of
him who roves for plunder? Shines she not that the thief may be shaken
out of the earth?'

'I am not thief enough to steal in the dark, mother. How shall I tell
without her help where I am or whither I go?'

'She will be half way to the top of her hill by midnight.'

'An' thou speak by the card, then is it time that Marquis and I were
going.'

'Here, take thee some fern-seed in thy pouch, that thou may walk
invisible,' said the old woman. 'If thee chance to be an hungred, then
eat thereof,' she added, as she transferred something from her pocket to
his.

She called the dog and opened the chamber door. Out came Marquis, walked
to Richard, and stood looking up in his face as if he knew perfectly
that his business was to accompany him. Richard bade the old woman good
night, and stepped from the cottage.

No sooner was he in the darkness with the dog, than, fearing he might
lose sight of him, he tied his handkerchief round the dog's neck, and
fastened to it the thong of his riding whip--the sole weapon he had
brought with him--and so they walked together, Marquis pulling Richard
on. Ere long the moon rose, and the country dawned into the dim creation
of the light.

On and on they trudged, Marquis pulling at his leash as if he had been a
blind man's dog, and on and on beside them crept their shadows,
flattened out into strange distortion upon the road. But when they had
come within about two miles of Raglan, whether it was that the sense of
proximity to his mistress grew strong in him, or that he scented the
Great Mogul, as the horse the battle from afar, Marquis began to grow
restless, and to sniff about on one side of the way. When at length they
had by a narrow bridge crossed a brook, the dog insisted on leaving the
road and going down into the meadow to the left. Richard made small
resistance, and that only for experiment upon the animal's
determination. Across field after field his guide led him, until, but
for the great keep towering dimly up into the moonlit sky, he could
hardly have even conjectured where he was. But he was well satisfied,
for, ever as they came out of copse or hollow, there was the huge thing
in the sky, nearer than before.

At last he was able to descry a short stretch of the castle rampart,
past which, away to the westward, the dog was pulling, along a rough
cart-track through a field. This he presently found to be a quarry road,
and straight into the quarry the dog went, pulling eagerly; but Richard
was compelled to follow with caution, for the ground was rough and
broken, and the moon cast black misleading shadows. Towards the blackest
of these the dog led, and entered a hollow way. Richard went straight
after him, guarding his head with his arm, lest he might meet a sudden
descent of the roof, and lengthening his leash to the utmost, that he
might have timely warning of any descent of the floor.

It was a very rough tunnel, the intent of which will afterwards appear,
forming part of one of lord Herbert's later contrivances for the safety
of the castle; but so well had Mr. Salisbury, the surveyor, managed,
that not one of the men employed upon it had an idea that they were
doing more than working the quarry for the repair of the fortifications.

From the darkness, and the cautious rate at which he had to proceed,
holding back the dog who tugged hard at the whip, Richard could not even
hazard a conjecture as to the distance they had advanced, when he heard
the noise of a small runnel of water, which seemed from the sound to
make abrupt descent from some little height. He had gone but a few paces
further when the handle of the whip received a great upward pull and was
left loose in his grasp: the dog was away, leaving his handkerchief at
the end of the thong. So now he had to guide himself, and began to feel
about him. He seemed at first to have come to the end of the passage,
for he could touch both sides of it by stretching out his arms, and in
front a tiny stream of water came down the face of the rough rock; but
what then had become of Marquis? The answer seemed plain: the water must
come from somewhere, and doubtless its channel had spare room enough for
the dog to pass thither. He felt up the rock, and found that, at about
the height of his head, the water came over an obtuse angle. Climbing a
foot or two, he discovered that the opening whence it issued was large
enough for him to enter.

Only one who has at some time passed where lengthened creeping was
necessary, will know how Richard felt, with water under him,
pitch-darkness about him, and the rock within an inch or two of his body
all round. By and by the slope became steeper and the ascent more
difficult. The air grew very close, and he began to fear he should be
stifled. Then came a hot breath, and a pair of eyes gleamed a foot or
two from his face. Had he then followed into the den of the animal by
which poor Marquis had been so frightfully torn? But no: it was Marquis
himself waiting for him!

'Go on, Marquis,' he said, with a sigh of relief.

The dog obeyed, and in another moment a waft of cool air came in.
Presently a glimmer of light appeared. The opening through which it
entered was a little higher than his horizontally posed head, and looked
alarmingly narrow.

But as he crept nearer it grew wider, and when he came under it he found
it large enough to let him through. When cautiously he poked up his
head, there was the huge mass of the keep towering blank above him! On a
level with his eyes, the broad, lilied waters of the moat lay betwixt
him and the citadel.

Marquis had brought him to the one neglected, therefore forgotten, and
thence undefended spot of the whole building. Before the well was sunk
in the keep, the supply of water to the moat had been far more
bountiful, and provision for a free overflow was necessary. For some
reason, probably for the mere sake of facility in the construction, the
passage for the superfluous water had been made larger than needful at
the end next the moat. About midway to its outlet, however--a mere
drain-mouth in a swampy hollow in the middle of a field--it had narrowed
to a third of the compass. But the quarriers had cut across it above the
point of contraction; and no danger of access occurring to lord Herbert
or Mr. Salisbury, while they found a certain service in the tiny
waterfall, they had left it as it was.



CHAPTER XXVIII.

RAGLAN STABLES.


The passage for the overflow of the water of the moat was under the sunk
walk which, reaching from the gate of the stone court round to the gate
of the fountain court, enclosed the keep and its moat, looping them on
as it were to the side of the double quadrangle of the castle. The only
way out of this passage, at whose entrance Richard now found himself,
was into the moat. As quietly therefore as he could, he got through the
opening and into the water, amongst the lilies, where, much impeded by
their tangling roots, which caused him many a submergence, but with a
moon in her second quarter over his head to light him, he swam gently
along. As he looked up from the water, however, to the huge crag-like
tower over his head, the soft moonlight smoothing the rigour but
bringing out all the wasteness of the grim blank, it seemed a hopeless
attempt he had undertaken. Not the less did he keep his eye on the
tower-side of the moat, and had not swum far before he caught sight of
the little stair, which, enclosed in one of the six small round bastions
encircling it, led up from the moat to the walk immediately around the
citadel. The foot of this stair was, strangely enough, one of the only
two points in the defence of the moat not absolutely commanded from
either one or the other of the two gates of the castle. The top of the
stair, however, was visible from one extreme point over the western
gate, and the moment Richard, finding the small thick iron-studded door
open, put his head out of the bastion, he caught sight of a warder far
away, against the moonlit sky. All of the castle except the spot where
that man stood, was hidden by the near bulk of the keep. He drew back,
and sat down on the top of the stair--to think and let the water run
from his clothes. When he issued, it was again on all-fours. He had,
however, only to creep an inch or two to the right to be covered by one
of the angles of the tower.

But this shelter was merely momentary, for he must go round the tower in
search of some way to reach the courts beyond; and no sooner had he
passed the next angle than he found himself within sight of one of the
towers of the main entrance. Dropping once more on his hands and knees
he crept slowly along, as close as he could squeeze to the root of the
wall, and when he rounded the next angle, was in the shadow of the keep,
while he had but to cross the walk to be covered by the parapet on the
edge of the moat. This he did, and having crept round the curve of the
next bastion, was just beginning to fear lest he should find only a
lifted drawbridge, and have to take to the water again, when he came to
the stone bridge.

It was well for him that Dorothy and Caspar had now omitted the setting
of their water-trap, otherwise he would have entered the fountain court
in a manner unfavourable to his project. As it was, he got over in
safety, never ceasing his slow crawl until he found himself in the
archway. Here he stood up, straightened his limbs, went through a few
gymnastics, as silent as energetic, to send the blood through his
chilled veins, and the next moment was again on the move.

Peering from the mouth of the archway, he saw to his left the fountain
court, with the gleaming head of the great horse rising out of the sea
of shadow into the moonlight, and knew where he was. Next he discovered
close to him on his right an open door into a dim space, and knew that
he was looking into the great hall. Opposite the door glimmered the
large bay window of which Mrs. Rees had spoken.

There was now a point to be ascertained ere he could determine at which
of the two gates he should attempt his exit--a question which, up to the
said point, he had thoroughly considered on his way.

The stables opened upon the pitched court, and in that court was the
main entrance: naturally that was the one to be used. But in front of it
was a great flight of steps, the whole depth of the ditch, with the
marble gate at the foot of them; and not knowing the carriageway, he
feared both suspicion and loss of time, where a single moment might be
all that divided failure from success. Also at this gate were a double
portcullis and drawbridge, the working of whose machinery took time, and
of all things a quick execution was essential, seeing that at any moment
sleeping suspicion might awake, and find enough to keep her so. At the
other gate there was but one portcullis and no drawbridge, while from it
he perfectly knew the way to the brick gate. Clearly this was the
preferable for his attempt. There was but one point to cast in the other
scale--namely, that, if old Eccles were still the warder of it, there
would be danger of his recognition in respect both of himself and his
mare. But, on the other hand, he thought he could turn to account his
knowledge of the fact that the marquis's room was over it. So here the
scale had settled to rebound no more--except indeed he should now
discover any difficulty in passing from the stone court in which lay the
MOUTH of the stables, to the fountain court in which stood the
preferable gate. This question he must now settle, for once on horseback
there must be no deliberation.

One way at least there must be--through the hall: the hall must be
accessible from both courts. He pulled off his shoes, and stepped softly
in. Through the high window immediately over the huge fireplace, a
little moonlight fell on the northern gable-wall, turning the minstrels'
gallery into an aerial bridge to some strange region of loveliness, and
in the shadow under it he found at once the door he sought, standing
open but dark under a deep porch.

Issuing and gliding along by the side of the hall and round the great
bay window, he came to the stair indicated by Mrs. Rees, and descending
a little way, stood and listened: plainly enough to his practised ear,
what the old woman had represented as the underground passage to the
airiest of stables, was itself full of horses. To go down amongst these
in the dark, and in ignorance of the construction of the stable, was
somewhat perilous; but he had not come there to avoid risk. Step by step
he stole softly down, and, arrived at the bottom, seated himself on the
last--to wait until his eyes should get so far accustomed to the
darkness as to distinguish the poor difference between the faint dusk
sinking down the stair and the absolute murk. A little further on, he
could descry two or three grated openings into the fountain court, but
by them nothing could enter beyond the faintest reflection of moonlight
from the windows between the grand staircase and the bell tower.

As soon as his eyes had grown capable of using what light there was,
which however was scarcely sufficient to render him the smallest
service, Richard began to whistle, very softly, a certain tune well
known to Lady, one he always whistled when he fed or curried her
himself. He had not got more than half through it, when a low drowsy
whinny made reply from the depths of the darkness before him, and the
heart of Richard leaped in his bosom for joy. He ceased a moment, then
whistled again. Again came the response, but this time, although still
soft and low, free from all the woolliness of sleep. Once more he
whistled, and once more came the answer. Certain at length of the
direction, he dropped on his hands and knees, and crawled carefully
along for a few yards, then stopped, whistled again, and listened. After
a few more calls and responses, he found himself at Lady's heels, which
had begun to move restlessly. He crept into the stall beside her, spoke
to her in a whisper, got upon his feet, caressed her, told her to be
quiet, and, pulling her buff shoes from his pockets, drew them over her
hoofs, and tied them securely about her pasterns. Then with one stroke
of his knife he cut her halter, hitched the end round her neck, and
telling her to follow him, walked softly through the stable and up the
stair. She followed like a cat, though not without some noise, to whose
echoes Richard's bosom seemed the beaten drum. The moment her back was
level, he flung himself upon it, and rode straight through the porch and
into the hall.

But here at length he was overtaken by the consequences of having an
ally unequal to the emergency. Marquis, who had doubtless been occupied
with his friends in the stable yard, came bounding up into the court
just as Richard threw himself on the back of his mare. At the sight of
Lady, whom he knew so well, with her master on her back, a vision of
older and happier times, the poor animal forgot himself utterly, rushed
through the hall like a whirlwind, and burst into a tempest of barking
in the middle of the fountain court--whether to rouse his mistress, or
but to relieve his own heart, matters little to my tale. There was not a
moment to lose, and Richard rode out of the hall and made for the gate.



CHAPTER XXIX.

THE APPARITION.


The voice of her lost Marquis, which even in her dreams she could
attribute to none but him, roused Dorothy at once. She sprang from her
bed, flew to the window, and flung it wide. That same moment, from the
shadows about the hall-door, came forth a man on horseback, and rode
along the tiled path to the fountain, where never had hoof of horse
before trod. Stranger still, the tramp sounded far away, and woke no
echo in the echo-haunted place. A phantom surely--horse and man! As they
drew nearer where she stared with wide eyes, the head of the rider rose
out of the shadow into the moonlight, and she recognised the face of
Richard--very white and still, though not, as she supposed, with the
whiteness and stillness of a spectre, but with the concentration of
eagerness and watchful resolution. The same moment she recognised Lady.
She trembled from head to foot. What could it mean but that beyond a
doubt they were both dead, slain in battle, and that Richard had come to
pay her a last visit ere he left the world. On they came. Her heart
swelled up into her throat, and the effort to queen it over herself, and
neither shriek nor drop on the floor, was like struggling to support a
falling wall. When the spectre reached the marble fountain, he gave a
little start, drew bridle, and seemed to become aware that he had taken
a wrong path, looked keenly around him, and instead of continuing his
advance towards her window, turned in the direction of the gate. One
thing was clear, that whether ghostly or mortal, whether already dead or
only on the way to death, the apparition was regardless of her presence.
A pang of disappointment shot through her bosom, and for the moment
quenched her sense of relief from terror. With it sank the typhoon of
her emotion, and she became able to note how draggled and soiled his
garments were, how his hair clung about his temples, and that for all
accoutrement his mare had but a halter. Yet Richard sat erect and proud,
and Lady stepped like a mare full of life and vigour. And there was
Marquis, not cowering or howling as dogs do in spectral presence, but
madly bounding and barking as if in uncontrollable jubilation!

The acme of her bewilderment was reached when the phantom came under the
marquis's study-window, and she heard it call aloud, in a voice which
undoubtedly came from corporeal throat, and that throat Richard's,
ringing of the morning and the sunrise and the wind that shakes the
wheat--anything rather than of the tomb:

'Ho, master Eccles!' it cried; 'when? when? Must my lord's business cool
while thou rubbest thy sleepy eyes awake? What, I say! When?--Yes, my
lord, I will punctually attend to your lordship's orders. Expect me back
within the hour.'

The last words were uttered in a much lower tone, with the respect due
to him he seemed addressing, but quite loud enough to be distinctly
heard by Eccles or any one else in the court.

Dorothy leaned from her window, and looked sideways to the gate,
expecting to see the marquis bending over his window-sill, and talking
to Richard. But his window was close shut, nor was there any light
behind it.

A minute or two passed, during which she heard the combined discords of
the rising portcullis. Then out came Eccles, slow and sleepy.

'By St. George and St. Patrick!' cried Richard, 'why keep'st thou six
legs here standing idle? Is thy master's business nothing to thee?'

Eccles looked up at him. He was coming to his senses.

'Thou rides in strange graith on my lord's business,' he said, as he put
the key in the lock.

'What is that to thee? Open the gate. And make haste. If it please my
lord that I ride thus to escape eyes that else might see further than
thine, keen as they are, master Eccles, it is nothing to thee.'

The lock clanged, the gate swung open, and Richard rode through.

By this time a process of doubt and reasoning, rapid as only thought can
be, had produced in the mind of Dorothy the conviction that there was
something wrong. By what authority was Richard riding from Raglan with
muffled hoofs between midnight and morning? His speech to the marquis
was plainly a pretence, and doubtless that to Eccles was equally false.
To allow him to pass unchallenged would be treason against both her host
and her king.

'Eccles! Eccles!' she cried, her voice ringing clear through the court,
'let not that man pass.'

'He gave the word, mistress,' said Eccles, in dull response.

'Stop him, I say,' cried Dorothy again, with energy almost frantic, as
she heard the gate swing to heavily. 'Thou shalt be held to account.'

'He gave the word.'

'He's a true man, mistress,' returned Eccles, in tone of
self-justification. 'Heard you not my lord marquis give him his last
orders from his window?'

'There was no marquis at the window. Stop him, I say.'

'He's gone,' said Eccles quietly, but with waking uneasiness.

'Run after him,' Dorothy almost screamed.

'Stop him at the gate. It is young Heywood of Redware, one of the
busiest of the roundheads.'

Eccles was already running and shouting and whistling. She heard his
feet resounding from the bridge. With trembling hands she flung a cloak
about her, and sped bare-footed down the grand staircase and along the
north side of the court to the bell-tower, where she seized the rope of
the alarm-bell, and pulled with all her strength. A horrid clangour tore
the stillness of the night, re-echoed with yelping response from the
multitudinous buildings around. Window after window flew open, head
after head was popped out--amongst the first that of the marquis,
shouting to know what was amiss. But the question found no answer. The
courts began to fill. Some said the castle was on fire; others, that the
wild beasts were all out; others, that Waller and Cromwell had scaled
the rampart, and were now storming the gates; others, that Eccles had
turned traitor and admitted the enemy. In a few moments all was outcry
and confusion. Both courts and the great hall were swarming with men and
women and children, in every possible stage of attire. The main entrance
was crowded with a tumult of soldiery, and scouts were rushing to
different stations of outlook, when the cry reached them that the
western gate was open, the portcullis up, and the guard gone.

The moment Richard was clear of the portcullis, he set off at a sharp
trot for the brick gate, and had almost reached it when he became aware
that he was pursued. He had heard the voice of Dorothy as he rode out,
and knew to whom he owed it. But yet there was a chance. Rousing the
porter with such a noisy reveillee as drowned in his sleepy ears the
cries of the warder and those that followed him, he gave the watchword,
and the huge key was just turning in the wards when the clang of the
alarm-bell suddenly racked the air. The porter stayed his hand, and
stood listening.

'Open the gate,' said Richard in authoritative tone.

'I will know first, master,--' began the man.

'Dost not hear the bell?' cried Richard. 'How long wilt thou endanger
the castle by thy dulness?'

'I shall know first,' repeated the man deliberately, 'what that bell--'

Ere he could finish the sentence, the butt of Richard's whip had laid
him along the threshold of the gate. Richard flung himself from his
horse, and turned the key. But his enemies were now close at
hand--Eccles and the men of his guard. If the porter had but fallen the
other way! Ere he could drag aside his senseless body and open the gate,
they were upon him with blows and curses. But the puritan's blood was
up, and with the heavy handle of his whip he had felled one and wounded
another ere he was himself stretched on the ground with a sword-cut in
the head.



CHAPTER XXX.

RICHARD AND THE MARQUIS.


A very few strokes of the brazen-tongued clamourer had been enough to
wake the whole castle. Dorothy flew back to her chamber, and hurrying on
her clothes, descended again to the court. It was already in full
commotion. The western gate stood open, with the portcullis beyond it
high in the wall, and there she took her stand, waiting the return of
Eccles and his men.

Presently lord Charles came through the hall from the stone court, and
seeing the gate open, called aloud in anger to know what it meant.
Receiving no reply, he ran with an oath to drop the portcullis.

'Is there a mutiny amongst the rascals?' he cried.

'There is no cause for dread, my lord,' said Dorothy from the shadow of
the gateway.

'How know you that, fair mistress?' returned lord Charles, who knew her
voice. 'You must not inspire us with too much of your spare courage.
That would be to make us fool-hardy.'

'Indeed, there is nothing to fear, my lord,' persisted Dorothy. 'The
warder and his men have but this moment rushed out after one on
horseback, whom they had let pass with too little question. They are ten
to one,' added Dorothy with a shudder, as the sounds of the fray came up
from below.

'If there is then no cause of fear, cousin, why look you so pale?' asked
lord Charles, for the gleam of a torch had fallen on Dorothy's face.

'I think I hear them returning, doubtless with a prisoner,' said
Dorothy, and stood with her face turned aside, looking anxiously through
the gateway and along the bridge. She had obeyed her conscience, and had
now to fight her heart, which unreasonable member of the community would
insist on hoping that her efforts had been foiled. But in a minute more
came the gathering noise of returning footsteps, and presently Lady's
head appeared over the crown of the bridge; then rose Eccles, leading
her in grim silence; and next came Richard, pale and bleeding, betwixt
two men, each holding him by an arm; the rest of the guard crowded
behind. As they entered the court, Richard caught sight of Dorothy, and
his face shone into a wan smile, to which her rebellious heart responded
with a terrible pang.

The voice of lord Charles reached them from the other side of the court.

'Bring the prisoner to the hall,' it cried.

Eccles led the mare away, and the rest took Richard to the hall, which
now began to be lighted up, and was soon in a blaze of candles all about
the dais. When Dorothy entered, it was crowded with household and
garrison, but the marquis, who was tardy at dressing, had not yet
appeared. Presently, however, he walked slowly in from the door at the
back of the dais, breathing hard, and seated himself heavily in the
great chair. Dorothy placed herself near the door, where she could see
the prisoner.

Lady Mary entered and seated herself beside her father.

'What meaneth all this tumult?' the marquis began. 'Who rang the
alarum-bell?'

'I did, my lord,' answered Dorothy in a trembling voice.

'Thou, mistress Dorothy!' exclaimed the marquis. 'Then I doubt not thou
hadst good reason for so doing. Prithee what was the reason? Verily it
seems thou wast sent hither to be the guardian of my house!'

'It was not I, my lord, gave the first alarm, but--' She hesitated, then
added, 'my poor Marquis.'

'Not so poor for a marquis, cousin Dorothy, as to be called the poor
Marquis. Why dost thou call me poor?'

'My lord, I mean my dog.'

'The truth will still lie--between me and thy dog,' said the marquis.
'But come now, instruct me. Who is this prisoner, and how comes he
here?'

'He be young Mr. Heywood of Redware, my lord, and a pestilent
roundhead,' answered one of his captors.

'Who knows him?'

A moment's silence followed. Then came Dorothy's voice again.

'I do, my lord.'

'Tell me, then, all thou knowest from the beginning, cousin,' said the
marquis.

'I was roused by the barking of my dog,' Dorothy began.

'How came HE hither again?'

'My lord, I know not.'

''Tis passing strange. See to it, lord Charles. Go on, mistress
Dorothy.'

'I heard my dog bark in the court, my lord, and looking from my window
saw Mr. Heywood riding through on horseback. Ere I could recover from my
astonishment, he had passed the gate, and then I rang the alarm-bell,'
said Dorothy briefly.

'Who opened the gate for him?'

'I did, my lord,' said Eccles. 'He made me believe he was talking to
your lordship at the study window.'

'Ha! a cunning fox!' said the marquis. 'And then?'

'And then mistress Dorothy fell out upon me--'

'Let thy tongue wag civilly, Eccles.'

'He speaks true, my lord,' said Dorothy. 'I did fall out upon him, for
he was but half awake, and I knew not what mischief might be at hand.'

'Eccles is obliged to you, cousin. And so the lady brought you to your
senses in time to catch him?'

'Yes, my lord.'

'How comes he wounded? He was but one to a score.'

'My lord, he would else have killed us all.'

'He was armed then?'

Eccles was silent.

'Was he armed?' repeated the marquis.

'He had a heavy whip, my lord.'

'H'm!' said the marquis, and turned to the prisoner.

'Is thy name Heywood, sirrah?' he asked.

'My lord, if you treat me as a clown, you shall have but clown's manners
of me; I will not answer.'

''Fore heaven!' exclaimed the marquis, 'our squires would rule the
roast.'

'He that doth right, marquis or squire, will one day rule, my lord,'
said Richard.

''Tis well said,' returned the marquis. 'I ask your pardon, Mr. Heywood.
In times like these a man must be excused for occasionally dropping his
manners.'

'Assuredly, my lord, when he stoops to recover them so gracefully as
doth the marquis of Worcester.'

'What, then, would'st thou in my house at midnight, Mr. Heywood?' asked
the marquis courteously.

'Nothing save mine own, my lord. I came but to look for a stolen mare.'

'What! thou takest Raglan for a den of thieves?'

'I found the mare in your lordship's stable.'

'How then came the mare in my stable?'

'That is not a question for me to answer, my lord.'

'Doubtless thou didst lose her in battle against thy sovereign.'

'She was in Redware stable last night, my lord.'

'Which of you, knaves, stole the gentleman's mare?' cried the
marquis.--'But, Mr. Heywood, there can be no theft upon a rebel. He is
by nature an outlaw, and his life and goods forfeit to the king.'

'He will hardly yield the point, my lord. So long as Might, the sword,
is in the hand of Right, the--'

'Of Right, the roundhead, I suppose you mean,' interrupted the marquis.
'Who carried off Mr. Heywood's mare?' he repeated, rising, and looking
abroad on the crowd.

'Tom Fool,' answered a voice from the obscure distance.

A buzz of suppressed laughter followed, which as instantly ceased, for
the marquis looked angrily around.

'Stand forth, Tom Fool,' he said.

Through the crowd came Tom, and stood before the dais, looking
frightened and sheepish.

'Sure I am, Tom, thou didst never go to steal a mare of thine own
notion: who went with thee?' said the marquis.

'Mr. Scudamore, my lord,' answered Tom.

'Ha, Rowland! Art thou there?' cried his lordship.

'I gave him fair warning two years ago, my lord, and the king wants
horses,' said Scudamore cunningly.

'Rowland, I like not such warfare. Yet can the roundheads say nought
against it, who would filch kingdom from king and church from bishops,'
said the marquis, turning again to Heywood.

'As they from the pope, my lord,' rejoined Richard.

'True,' answered the marquis; 'but the bishops are the fairer thieves,
and may one day be brought to reason and restitution.'

'As I trust your lordship will in respect of my mare.'

'Nay, that can hardly be. She shall to Gloucester to the king. I would
not have sent to Redware to fetch her, but finding thee and her in my
house at midnight, it would be plain treason to set such enemies at
liberty. What! hast thou fought against his majesty? Thou art scored
like an old buckler!'

Richard had started on his adventure very thinly clad, for he had
expected to find all possible freedom of muscle necessary, and indeed
could not in his buff coat have entered the castle. In the scuffle at
the gate, his garment had been torn open, and the eye of the marquis had
fallen on the scar of a great wound on his chest, barely healed.

'What age art thou?' he went on, finding Richard made no answer.

'One and twenty, my lord--almost.'

'And what wilt thou be by the time thou art one and thirty, an' I'll let
thee go,' said the marquis thoughtfully.

'Dust and ashes, my lord, most likely. Faith, I care not.'

As he spoke he glanced at Dorothy, but she was looking on the ground.

'Nay, nay!' said the marquis feelingly. 'These are, but wild and hurling
words for a fine young fellow like thee. Long ere thou be a man, the
king will have his own again, and all will be well. Come, promise me
thou wilt never more bear arms against his majesty, and I will set thee
and thy mare at liberty the moment thou shalt have eaten thy breakfast.'

'Not to save ten lives, my lord, would I give such a promise.'

'Roundhead hypocrite!' cried the marquis, frowning to hide the gleam of
satisfaction he felt breaking from his eyes. 'What will thy father say
when he hears thou liest deep in Raglan dungeon?'

'He will thank heaven that I lie there a free man instead of walking
abroad a slave,' answered Richard.

''Fore heaven!' said the marquis, and was silent for a moment. 'Owest
thou then thy king NOTHING, boy?' he resumed.

'I owe the truth everything,' answered Richard.

'The truth!' echoed the marquis.

'Now speaks my lord Worcester like my lord Pilate,' said Richard.

'Hold thy peace, boy,' returned the marquis sternly. 'Thy godly parents
have ill taught thee thy manners. How knowest thou what was in my
thought when I did but repeat after thee the sacred word thou didst
misuse?'

'My lord, I was wrong, and I beg your lordship's pardon. But an' your
lordship were standing here with your head half beaten in, and your
clothes--'

Here Richard bethought himself, and was silent.

'Tell me then how gat'st thou in, lunatic,' said the marquis, not
unkindly, 'and thou shalt straight to bed.'

'My lord,' returned Richard, 'you have taken my mare, and taken my
liberty, but the devil is in it if you take my secret.'

'I would thy mare had been poisoned ere she drew thee hither on such a
fool's errand! I want neither thee nor thy mare, and yet I may not let
you go!'

'A moment more, and it had been an exploit, and no fool's errand, my
lord.'

'Then the fool's cap would have been thine, Eccles. How camest thou to
let him out? Thou a warder, and ope gate and up portcullis 'twixt waking
and sleeping!'

'Had he wanted in, my lord, it would have been different,' said Eccles.
'But he only wanted out, and gave the watchword.'

'Where got'st thou the watchword, Mr. Heywood?'

'I will tell thee what I gave for it, my lord. More I will not.'

'What gavest thou then?'

'My word that I would work neither thee nor thine any hurt withal, my
lord.'

'Then there are traitors within my gates!' cried the marquis.

'Truly, that I know not, my lord,' answered Richard.

'Prithee tell me how them gat thee into my house, Mr. Heywood? It were
but neighbourly.'

'It were but neighbourly, my lord, to hang young Scudamore and Tom Fool
for thieves.'

'Tell me how thou gat hold of the watchword, good boy, and I will set
thee free, and give thee thy mare again.'

'I will not, my lord.'

'Then the devil take thee!' said the marquis, rising.

The same moment Richard reeled, and but for the men about him, would
have fallen heavily.

Dorothy darted forward, but could not come near him for the crowd.

'My lord Charles,' cried the marquis, 'see the poor fellow taken care
of. Let him sleep, and perchance on the morrow he will listen to reason.
Mistress Watson will see to his hurts. I would to God he were on our
side! I like him well.'

The men took him up and followed lord Charles to the housekeeper's
apartment, where they laid him on a bed in a little turret, and left
him, still insensible, to her care, with injunctions to turn the key in
the lock if she went from the chamber but for a moment. 'For who can
tell,' thought lord Charles, greatly perplexed, 'but as he came he may
go?'

Some of the household had followed them, and several of the women would
gladly have stayed, but Mrs. Watson sent all away. Gradually the crowd
dispersed. The tumult ceased; the household retired. The castle grew
still, and most of its inhabitants fell asleep again.

'A damned hot-livered roundhead coxcomb!' said lord Worcester to
himself, pacing his room. 'These pelting cockerel squires and yeomen
nowadays go strutting and crowing as if all the yard were theirs! We
shall see how far this heat will carry the rogue! I doubt not the boy
would tell everything than see his mare whipped. He's a fine fellow, and
it were a thousand pities he turned coward and gave in. But the affair
is not mine; it is the king's majesty's. Would to God the rascal were of
our side! He's the right old English breed. A few such were very
welcome, if only to show some of our dainty young lordlings of yesterday
what breed can do. But an ass-foal it is! To run his neck into a halter,
and set honest people in mortal doubt whether to pull the end or no!

How on earth did he ever dream of carrying off a horse out of the very
courts of Raglan castle! And yet, by saint George! he would have done it
too, but for that brave wench of a Vaughan! What a couple the two would
make! They'd give us a race of Arthurs and Orlandos between them. God be
praised there are such left in England! And yet the rogue is but a
pestilent roundhead--the more's the pity! Those coward rascals need
never have mauled him like that. Yet had the blow gone a little deeper
it had been a mighty gain to our side. Out he shall not go till the war
be over! It would be downright treason.'

So ran the thoughts of the marquis as he paced his chamber. But at
length he lay down once more, and sought refuge in sleep.



CHAPTER XXXI.

THE SLEEPLESS.


There were more than the marquis left awake and thinking; amongst the
rest one who ought to have been asleep, for the thoughts that kept her
awake were evil thoughts.

Amanda Serafina Fuller was a twig or leaf upon one of many decaying
branches, which yet drew what life they had from an ancient genealogical
tree. Property gone, but the sense of high birth swollen to a vice, the
one thought in her mother's mind, ever since she grew capable of looking
upon the social world in its relation to herself, had been how, with
stinted resources, to make the false impression of plentiful ease. For
one of the most disappointing things in high descent is, that the
descent is occasionally into depths of meanness. Some who are proudest
of their lineage, instead of finding therein a spur to nobility of
thought and action, find in it only a necessity for prostrating
themselves with the more abject humiliation at the footstool of Mammon,
to be admitted into the penetralia of which foul god's favours, they
will hasten to mingle the blood of their pure descent with that of the
very kennels, yellow with the gold to which a noble man, if poor as
Jesus himself, would loathe to be indebted for a meal. In 'the high
countries' there will be a finding of levels more appalling than
strange.

Hence Amanda had been born and brought up in falsehood, had been all her
life witness to a straining after the untrue so energetic, as to assume
the appearance of conscience; while such was the tenor and spirit of the
remarks she was constantly hearing, that she grew up with the ingrained
undisputed idea that she and her mother, whom she had only known as a
widow, had been wronged, spoiled indeed of their lawful rights, by a
combination of their rich relatives; whereas in truth they had been the
objects of very considerable generosity, which they resented the more
that it had been chiefly exercised by such of the family as could least
easily afford it, yet accepted in their hearts, if not in their words,
as their natural right. The intercession through which Amanda had been
received into lady Margaret's household, was the contribution towards
their maintenance of one of their richer connections: the marquis
himself, although distantly related, not having previously been aware of
their existence.

But Amanda felt degraded by her position, and was unaware that to
herself alone she owed the degradation: she had not yet learned that the
only service which can degrade is that which is unwillingly rendered. To
be paid for such, is degradation in its very essence. Every one who
grumbles at his position as degrading, yet accepts the wages thereof,
brands himself a slave.

The evil tendencies which she had inherited, had then been nourished in
her from her very birth--chief of these envy, and a strong tendency to
dislike. Mean herself, she was full of suspicions with regard to others,
and found much pleasure in penetrating what she took to be disguise, and
laying bare the despicable motives which her own character enabled her
either to discover or imagine, and which, in other people, she hated.
Moderately good people have no idea of the vileness of which their own
nature is capable, or which has been developed in not a few who pass as
respectable persons, and have not yet been accused either of theft or
poisoning. Such as St. Paul alone can fully understand the abyss of
moral misery from which the in-dwelling spirit of God has raised them.

The one redeeming element in Amanda was her love to her mother, but
inasmuch as it was isolated and self-reflected, their mutual attachment
partook of the nature of a cultivated selfishness, and had lost much of
its primal grace. The remaining chance for such a woman, so to speak,
seems--that she should either fall in love with a worthy man, if that be
still possible to her, or, by her own conduct, be brought into dismal
and incontrovertible disgrace.

She had stood in the hall within a few yards of Dorothy, and had
intently watched her face all the time Richard was before the marquis.
But not because she watched the field of their play was Amanda able to
read the heart whence ascended those strangely alternating lights and
shadows. She had, by her own confession, conceived a strong dislike to
Dorothy the moment she saw her, and without love there can be no
understanding. Hate will sharpen observation to the point of microscopic
vision, affording opportunity for many a shrewd guess, and revealing
facts for the construction of the cleverest and falsest theories, but
will leave the observer as blind as any bat to the scope of the whole,
or the meaning of the parts which can be understood only from the whole;
for love alone can interpret.

As she gazed on the signs of conflicting emotion in Dorothy's changes of
colour and expression, Amanda came quickly enough to the conclusion that
nothing would account for them but the assumption that the sly
puritanical minx was in love with the handsome young roundhead. How else
could the deathly pallor of her countenance while she fixed her eyes
wide and unmoving upon his face, and the flush that ever and anon swept
its red shadow over the pallor as she cast them on the ground at some
brave word from the lips of the canting psalm-singer, be in the least
intelligible? Then came the difficulty: how in that case was her share
in his capture to be explained? But here Amanda felt herself in her own
province, and before the marquis rose, had constructed a very clever
theory, in which exercise of ingenuity, however, unluckily for its
truth, she had taken for granted that Dorothy's nature corresponded to
her own, and reasoned freely from the character of the one to the
conduct of the other. This was her theory: Dorothy had expected Richard,
and contrived his admission. His presence betrayed by the mastiff, and
his departure challenged by the warder, she had flown instantly to the
alarm-bell, to screen herself in any case, and to secure the chance, if
he should be taken, of liberating him without suspicion under cover of
the credit of his capture. The theory was a bold one, but then it
accounted for all the points--amongst the rest, how he had got the
password and why he would not tell--and was indeed in the fineness of
its invention equally worthy of both the heart and the intellect of the
theorist.

Nor were mistress Fuller's resolves behind her conclusions in merit: of
all times since first she had learned to mistrust her, this night must
Dorothy be watched; and it was with a gush of exultation over her own
acuteness that she saw her follow the men who bore Richard from the
hall.

If Dorothy knew more of her own feelings than she who watched her, she
was far less confident that she understood them. Indeed she found them
strangely complicated, and as difficult to control as to understand,
while she stood gazing on the youth who through her found himself
helpless and wounded in the hands of his enemies. He was all in the
wrong, no doubt--a rebel against his king, and an apostate from the
church of his country; but he was the same Richard with whom she had
played all her childhood, whom her mother had loved, and between whom
and herself had never fallen shadow before that cast by the sudden
outblaze of the star of childish preference into the sun of youthful
love. And was it not when the very mother of shadows, the blackness of
darkness itself, swept between them and separated them for ever, that
first she knew how much she had loved him? What if not with the love
that could listen entranced to its own echo!--love of child or love of
maiden, Dorothy never asked herself which it had been, or which it was
now. She was not given to self-dissection. The cruel fingers of analysis
had never pulled her flower to pieces, had never rubbed the bloom from
the sun-dyed glow of her feelings. But now she could not help the
vaporous rise of a question: all was over, for Richard had taken the
path of presumption, rebellion, and violence--how then came it that her
heart beat with such a strange delight at every answer he made to the
expostulations or enticements of the marquis? How was it that his
approval of the intruder, not the less evident that it was unspoken,
made her heart swell with pride and satisfaction, causing her to forget
the rude rebellion housed within the form whose youth alone prevented it
from looking grand in her eyes?

For the moment her heart had the better of--her conscience, shall I say?
Yes, of that part of her conscience, I will allow, which had grown weak
by the wandering of its roots into the poor soil of opinion. In the
delight which the manliness of the young fanatic awoke in her, she even
forgot the dull pain which had been gnawing at her heart ever since
first she saw the blood streaming down his face as he passed her in the
gateway. But when at length he fell fainting in the arms of his captors,
and the fear that she had slain him writhed sickening through her heart,
it was with a grim struggle indeed that she kept silent and conscious.
The voice of the marquis, committing him to the care of mistress Watson
instead of the rough ministrations of the guard, came with the power of
a welcome restorative, and she hastened after his bearers to satisfy
herself that the housekeeper was made understand that he was carried to
her at the marquis's behest. She then retired to her own chamber,
passing in the corridor Amanda, whose room was in the same quarter, with
a salute careless from weariness and pre-occupation.

The moment her head was on her pillow the great fight began--on that
only battle-field of which all others are but outer types and pictures,
upon which the thoughts of the same spirit are the combatants, accusing
and excusing one another.

She had done her duty, but what a remorseless thing that duty was! She
did not, she could not, repent that she had done it, but her heart WOULD
complain that she had had it to do. To her, as to Hamlet, it was a
cursed spite. She had not yet learned the mystery of her relation to the
Eternal, whose nature in his children it is that first shows itself in
the feeling of duty. Her religion had not as yet been shaken, to test
whether it was of the things that remain or of those that pass. It is
easy for a simple nature to hold by what it has been taught, so long as
out of that faith springs no demand of bitter obedience; but when the
very hiding place of life begins to be laid bare under the scalpel of
the law, when the heart must forego its love, when conscience seems at
war with kindness, and duty at strife with reason, then most good
people, let their devotion to what they call their religion be what it
may, prove themselves, although generally without recognising the fact,
very much of pagans after all. And good reason why! For are they not
devoted to their church or their religion tenfold more than to the
living Love, the father of their spirits? and what else is that, be the
church or religion what it will, but paganism? Gentle and strong at once
as Dorothy was, she was not yet capable of knowing that, however like it
may look to a hardship, no duty can be other than a privilege. Nor was
it any wonder if she did not perceive that she was already rewarded for
the doing of the painful task, at the memory of which her heart ached
and rebelled, by the fresh outburst in that same troubled heart of the
half-choked spring of her love to the playmate of her childhood. Had it
fallen, as she would have judged so much fairer, to some one else of the
many in the populous place to defeat Richard's intent and secure his
person, she would have both suffered and loved less. The love, I repeat,
was the reward of the duty done.

For a long time she tossed sleepless, for what she had just passed
through had so thorougly possessed her imagination that, ever as her
wearied brain was sinking under the waves of sleep, up rose the face of
Richard from its depths, deathlike, with matted curls and bloodstained
brow, and drove her again ashore on the rocks of wakefulness. By and by
the form of her suffering changed, and then instead of the face of
Richard it was his voice, ever as she reached the point of oblivion,
calling aloud for help in a tone of mingled entreaty and reproach, until
at last she could no longer resist the impression that she was warned to
go and save him from some impending evil. This once admitted, not for a
moment would she delay response. She rose, threw on a dressing-gown, and
set out in the dim light of the breaking day to find again the room into
which she had seen him carried.

There was yet another in the house who could not sleep, and that was Tom
Fool. He had a strong suspicion that Richard had learned the watchword
from his mother, who, like most people desirous of a reputation for
superior knowledge, was always looking out for scraps and orts of
peculiar information. In such persons an imagination after its kind has
considerable play, and when mother Rees had succeeded, without much
difficulty on her own, or sense of risk on her son's part, in drawing
from him the watchword of the week, she was aware in herself of a huge
accession of importance; she felt as if she had been intrusted with the
keys of the main entrance, and trod her clay floor as if the fate of
Raglan was hid in her bosom, and the great pile rested in safety under
the shadow of her wings. But her imagined gain was likely to prove her
son's loss; for, as he reasoned with himself, would Mr. Heywood, now
that he knew him for the thief of his mare, persist, upon reflection, in
refusing to betray his mother? If not, then the fault would at once be
traced to him, with the result at the very least, of disgraceful
expulsion from the marquis's service. Almost any other risk would be
preferable.

But he had yet another ground for uneasiness. He knew well his mother's
attachment to young Mr. Heywood, and had taken care she should have no
suspicion of the way he was going after leaving her the night he told
her the watchword; for such was his belief in her possession of
supernatural powers, that he feared the punishment she would certainly
inflict for the wrong done to Richard, should it come to her knowledge,
even more than the wrath of the marquis. For both of these weighty
reasons therefore he must try what could be done to strengthen Richard
in his silence, and was prepared with an offer, or promise at least, of
assistance in making his escape.

As soon as the house was once more quiet, he got up, and, thoroughly
acquainted with the "crenkles" of it, took his way through dusk and
dark, through narrow passage and wide chamber, without encountering the
slightest risk of being heard or seen, until at last he stood,
breathless with anxiety and terror, at the door of the turret-chamber,
and laid his ear against it.



CHAPTER XXXII.

THE TURRET CHAMBER.


When mistress Watson had, as gently as if she had been his mother, bound
up Richard's wounded head, she gave him a composing draught, and sat
down by his bedside. But as soon as she saw it begin to take effect, she
withdrew, in the certainty that he would not move for some hours at
least. Although he did fall asleep, however, Richard's mind was too
restless and anxious to yield itself to the natural influence of the
potion. He had given his word to his father that he would ride on the
morrow; the morrow had come, and here he was! Hence the condition which
the drug superinduced was rather that of dreaming than sleep, the more
valuable element, repose, having little place in the result.

The key was in the lock, and Tom Fool as he listened softly turned it,
then lifted the latch, peeped in, and entered. Richard started to his
elbow, and stared wildly about him. Tom made him an anxious sign, and,
fevered as he was and but half awake, Richard, whether he understood it
or not, anyhow kept silence, while Tom Fool approached the bed, and
began to talk rapidly in a low voice, trembling with apprehension. It
was some time, however, before Richard began to comprehend even a
fragment here and there of what he was saying. When at length he had
gathered this much, that his visitor was running no small risk in coming
to him, and was in mortal dread of discovery, he needed but the
disclosure of who he was, which presently followed, to spring upon him
and seize him by the throat with a gripe that rendered it impossible for
him to cry out, had he been so minded.

'Master, master!' he gurgled, 'let me go. I will swear any oath you
please--'

'And break it any moment YOU please,' returned Richard through his set
teeth, and caught with his other hand the coverlid, dragged it from the
bed, and, twisting it first round his face, flung the remainder about
his body; then, threatening to knock his brains out if he made the least
noise, proceeded to tie him up in it with his garters and its own
corners. No sound escaped poor Tom beyond a continuous mumbled entreaty
through its folds. Richard laid him on the floor, pulled all the bedding
upon the top of him, and gliding out, closed the door, but, to Tom's
unspeakable relief, as his ears, agonizedly listening, assured him, did
not lock it behind him.

Tom's sole anxiety was now to get back to his garret unseen, and nothing
was farther from his thoughts than giving the alarm. The moment Richard
was out of hearing--out of sight he had been for some stifling
minutes--he devoted his energies to getting clear of his entanglement,
which he did not find very difficult; then stepping softly from the
chamber, he crept with a heavy heart back as he had come through a
labyrinth of by-ways.

About half an hour after, Dorothy came gliding through the house, making
a long circuit of corridors. Gladly would she have avoided passing
Amanda's door, and involuntarily held her breath as she approached it,
stepping as lightly as a thief. But alas! nothing save incorporeity
could have availed her. The moment she had passed, out peeped Amanda and
crept after her barefooted, saw her to her joy enter the chamber and
close the door behind her, then 'like a tiger of the wood,' made one
noiseless bound, turned the key, and sped back to her own chamber--with
the feeling of Mark Antony when he said, 'Now let it work!'

Dorothy was startled by a slight click, but concluded at once that it
was nothing but a further fall of the latch, and was glad it was no
louder. The same moment she saw, by the dim rushlight, the signs of
struggle which the room presented, and discovered that Richard was gone.
Her first emotion was an undefined agony: they had murdered him, or
carried him off to a dungeon! There were the bedclothes in a tumbled
heap upon the floor! And--yes--it was blood with which they were marked!
Sickening at the thought, and forgetting all about her own situation,
she sank on the chair by the bedside.

Knowing the castle as she did, a very little reflection convinced her
that if he had met with violence it must have been in attempting to
escape; and if he had made the attempt, might he not have succeeded?
There had certainly been no fresh alarm given. But upon this consoling
supposition followed instantly the pang of the question: what was now
required of her? The same hard thing as before? Ought she not again to
give the alarm, that the poor wounded boy might be recaptured? Alas! had
not evil enough already befallen him at her hand? And if she
did--horrible thought!--what account could she give this time of her
discovery? What indeed but the truth? And to what vile comments would
not the confession of her secret visit in the first grey of the dawn to
the chamber of the prisoner expose her? Would it not naturally rouse
such suspicion as any modest woman must shudder to face, if but for the
one moment between utterance and refutation. And what refutation could
there be for her, so long as the fact remained? If he had escaped, the
alarm would serve no good end, and her shame could be spared; but he
might be hiding somewhere about the castle, and she must choose between
treachery to the marquis--was it?--on the one hand, and renewed hurt,
wrong, perhaps, to Richard, coupled with the bitterest disgrace to
herself, on the other. To weigh such a question impartially was
impossible; for in the one alternative no hurt would befall the marquis,
while from the other her very soul recoiled sickening. Thus tortured,
she sat motionless in the very den of the dragon, the one moment vainly
endeavouring to rouse up her courage and look her duty in the face that
she might know with certainty what it was; the next, feeling her whole
nature rise rebellious against the fate that demanded such a sacrifice.
Ought she to be thus punished for an intent of the purest humanity?

There came a lull, and with the lull a sense of her position: she sat in
the very, jaws of slander! Any moment mistress Watson or another might
enter and find her there, and what then more natural or irrefutable than
the accusation of having liberated him? She sprang to her feet, and
darted to the door. It was locked!

Her first thought was relief: she had no longer to decide; her second,
that she was a prisoner--till, horror of horrors! the soldiers of the
guard came to seek Richard and found her, or stern mistress Watson
appeared, grim as one of the Fates; or, perhaps, if Richard had been
carried away, until she was compelled by hunger and misery to call aloud
for release. But no! she would rather die. Now in this case, now in
that, her thoughts pursued the horrible possibilities, one or other of
which was inevitable, through all the windings of the torture of
anticipation, until for a time she must have lost consciousness, for she
had no recollection of falling where she found herself--on the heap in
the middle of the floor. The gray heartless dawn had begun to peer in
through the dull green glass that closed the one loophole. It grew and
grew, and its growth was the approach of the grinning demon of shame.
The nearer a man can arrive to the knowledge of such feelings as hers is
the conviction that he never can comprehend them. The cruel light seemed
gathering its strength to publish her shame to the universe. Blameless
as she was, she would have gladly accepted death in escape from the
misery that every moment grew nearer. Now and then a faint glimmer of
comfort reached her in the thought that at least the escape of Richard,
if he had escaped, was thus ensured, and that without any blame to her.
And perhaps mistress Watson would be merciful--only she too had her
obligations, and as housekeeper was severely responsible. And even if
she should prove pitiful, there was the locking of the door! It followed
so quickly, that some one must have seen her enter, and wittingly snared
her, believing most likely that she was not alone in the chamber.

The terrible bolt at length slid back in the lock, gently, yet with
tearing sound; mistress Watson entered, stood, stared. Before her sat
Dorothy by the side of the bedstead, in her dressing-gown, her hair
about her neck, her face like the moon at sunrise, and her eyelids red
and swollen with weeping. She stood speechless, staring first at the
disconsolate maiden, and then at the disorder of the room. The prisoner
was nowhere. What her thoughts were, I must only imagine. That she
should stare and be bewildered, finding Dorothy where she had left
Richard, was at least natural.

The moment Dorothy found herself face to face with her doom, her
presence of mind returned. The blood rushed from her heart to her brain.
She rose, and ere the astonished matron, who stood before her erect,
high-nosed, and open-mouthed like Michael Angelo's Clotho, could find
utterance, said,

'Mistress Watson, I swear to you by the soul of my mother, that although
all seeming is against me, W--'

'Where is the young rebel?' interrupted mistress Watson sternly.

'I know not,' answered Dorothy. 'When first I entered the chamber, he
had already gone.'

'And what then hadst thou to do entering it?' asked the housekeeper, in
a tone that did Dorothy good by angering her.

Mistress Watson was a kind soul in reality, but few natures can resist
the debasing influence of a sudden sense of superiority. Besides, was
not the young gentlewoman in great wrong, and therefore before her must
she not personify an awful Purity?

'That I will tell to none but my lord marquis,' answered Dorothy, with
sudden resolve.

'Oh, by all means, mistress! but an' thou think to lead him by the nose
while I be in Raglan,--'

'Shall I inform his lordship in what high opinion his housekeeper holds
him?' said Dorothy. 'It seems to me he will hardly savour it.'

'It would be an ill turn to do me, but my lord marquis did never heed a
tale-bearer.'

'Then will he not heed the tale thou wouldst yield him concerning me.'

'What tale should I yield him but that I find--thee here and the
prisoner gone?'

'The tale I read in thy face and thy voice. Thou lookest and talkest as
if I were a false woman.'

'Verily to my eyes the thing looketh ill.'

'It would look ill to any eyes, and therefore I need kind eyes to read,
and just ears to hear my tale. I tell thee this is a matter for my lord,
and if thou spread any report in the castle ere his lordship hear it,
whatever evil springs therefrom it will lie at thy door.'

'My life! what dost take me for, mistress Dorothy? My age and holding
deserves some consideration at thy hands! Am I one to go tattling about
the courts forsooth?'

'Pardon me, madam, but a maiden's good name may be as precious to
Dorothy Vaughan as a matron's respectability to mistress Watson. An' you
had left me with that look on your face, and had but spoken my name to
it, some one would have guessed ten times more than you know--or I
either for that gear.'

'I must tell the truth,' said mistress Watson, relenting a little.

'Thou must, or I will tell it for thee--but to the marquis. Thou shalt
be there to hear, and if, after that, thou tell it to another, then hast
thou no mother's heart in thee.'

Dorothy gave way at last and burst into tears. Mistress Watson was
touched.

'Nay, child, I would do thee no wrong,' she rejoined. 'Get thee to bed.
I must rouse the guard to go look for the prisoner, but I will say
nothing of thee to any but my lord marquis. When he is dressed and in
his study, I will come for thee myself.'

Dorothy thanked her warmly, and betook herself to her chamber,
considerably relieved.



CHAPTER XXXIII.

JUDGE GOUT.


Dorothy had hardly reached her room when the castle was once more astir.
The rush of the guard across the stone court, the clang of opening
lattices, and the voices that called from out-shot heads, again filled
her ears, but she never once peeped from her window. A moment, and the
news was all over the castle that the prisoner had escaped.

Lord Charles went at once to his father's room. The old man woke
instantly. He had but just laid his hand on his mane, not mounted the
shadowy steed, and was ill pleased to be already, and the second time,
startled back to conscious weariness. When he heard the bad tidings he
was silent for a few moments.

'I would Herbert were at home, Charles, to stop this rat-hole for me,'
he said at length. 'Let the roundhead go--I care not. I had but half a
right to hold him, and he deserves his freedom. But what a governor art
thou, my lord? Prithee, dost know the rents in thine own hose, who
knowest not when thy gingerbread bulwarks gape? Find me out this
rat-hole, I say, or I will depose thee and send for thy brother John,
whom the king can ill spare.'

'Have patience with me, father,' said lord Charles gently. 'I am more
ashamed than thou art angry.'

'Thou know'st I did but jest, my son. But in truth an' thou find it not
I will send for lord Herbert. If he find what thou canst not, that will
be no disgrace to thee. But find it we must.'

'Think you not, my lord, it were best set mistress Dorothy on the
search? She hath a wondrous gift of discovery.'

'A good thought, Charles! I will even do as thou sayest. But search the
castle first, from vane to dungeon, that we may be assured the roundhead
hath indeed vanished.'

As he spoke the marquis turned him round, to search the wide gray fields
again for the shadowy horse that roamed them tetherless. But the steed
would not come to his call; he grew chilly and asthmatic, tossed to and
fro, and began to dread an attack of the gout.

The sun rose higher; the hive of men and women was astir once more; the
clatter of the day's work and the buzz of the day's talk began, and
nothing was in anybody's mouth but the escape of the prisoner. His
capture and trial were already of the past, forgotten for the time in
the nearer astonishment. Lord Charles went searching, questioning,
peering about everywhere, but could find neither prisoner nor the
traitorous hole.

Meantime mistress Watson was not a little anxious until she should have
revealed what she knew to the marquis, for the prisoner was in her
charge when he disappeared. In the course of the morning lord Charles
came to her apartment to question her, but she begged to be excused,
because of a certain disclosure she was not at liberty to make to any
but his father. Lord Charles, whom she had known from his boyhood,
readily yielded, and mistress Watson, five minutes after he had left his
room, followed the marquis to his study, whither it was his custom
always to repair before breakfast. He was looking pale from the trouble
of the night, which had resulted in unmistakeable symptoms of the gout,
listened to all she had to tell him without comment, looked grave, and
told her to fetch mistress Dorothy. As soon as she was gone, he called
Scudamore from the antechamber, and sent him to request lord Charles's
presence. He came at once, and was there when Dorothy entered.

She was very white and worn, and her eyes were heavily downcast. Her
face wore that expression so much resembling guilt, which indicates the
misery the most innocent feel the most under the consciousness of
suspicion. At the sight of lord Charles, she crimsoned: it was one thing
to confess to the marquis, and quite another to do so in the presence of
his son.

The marquis sat with one leg on a stool, already in the gradually
contracting gripe of his ghoulish enemy. Before Dorothy could recover
from the annoyance of finding lord Charles present, or open her mouth to
beg for a more private interview, he addressed her abruptly.

'Our young rebel friend hath escaped, it seems, mistress Dorothy!' he
said, gently but coldly, looking her full in the eyes, with searching
gaze and hard expression.

'I am glad to hear it, my lord,' returned Dorothy, with a sudden influx
of courage, coming, as the wind blows, she knew not whence.

'Ha!' said the marquis, quickly; 'then is it news to thee, mistress
Dorothy?'

His lip, as it seemed to Dorothy, curled into a mocking smile; but the
gout might have been in it.

'Indeed it is news, my lord. I hoped it might be so, I confess, but I
knew not that so it was.'

'What, mistress Dorothy! knewest thou not that the young thief was
gone?'

'I knew that Richard Heywood was gone from his chamber--whether from the
castle I knew not. He was no thief, my lord. Your lordship's page and
fool were the thieves.'

'Cousin, I hardly know myself in the change I find in thee! Truly, a
marvellous change! In the dark night thou takest a roundhead prisoner;
in the gray of the morning thou settest him free again! Hath one visit
to his chamber so wrought upon thee? To an old man it seemeth less than
maidenly.'

Again a burning blush overspread poor Dorothy's countenance. But she
governed herself, and spoke bravely, although she could not keep her
voice from trembling.

'My lord,' she said, 'Richard Heywood was my playmate. We were as
brother and sister, for our fathers' lands bordered each other.'

'Thou didst say nothing of these things last night?'

'My lord! Before the whole hall? Besides, what mattered it? All was over
long ago, and I had done my part against him.'

'Fell you out together then?'

'What need is there for your lordship to ask? Thou seest him of the one
part, and me of the other.'

'And from loving thou didst fall to hating?'

'God forbid, my lord! I but do my part against him.'

'For the which thou hadst a noble opportunity unsought, raising the hue
and cry upon him within his enemy's walls!'

'I would to God, my lord, it had not fallen to me.'

'Thinking better of it, therefore, and repenting of thy harshness, thou
didst seek his chamber in the night to tell him so? I would fain know
how a maiden reasoneth with herself when she doth such things.'

'Not so, my lord. I will tell you all. I could not sleep for thinking of
my wounded playmate. And as to what he had done, after it became clear
that he sought but his own, and meant no hair's-breadth of harm to your
lordship, I confess the matter looked not the same.'

'Therefore you would make him amends and undo what you had done? You had
caught the bird, and had therefore a right to free the bird when you
would? All well, mistress Dorothy, had he been indeed a bird! But being
a man, and in thy friend's house, I doubt thy logic. The thing had
passed from thy hands into mine, young mistress,' said the marquis, into
the ball of whose foot the gout that moment ran its unicorn-horn.

'I did not set him free, my lord. When I entered the prison-chamber, he
was already gone.'

'Thou hadst the will and didst it not! Is there yet another in my house
who had the will and did it?' cried the marquis, who, although more than
annoyed that she should have so committed herself, yet was willing to
give such scope to a lover, that if she had but confessed she had
liberated him, he would have pardoned her heartily. He did not yet know
how incapable Dorothy was of a lie.

'But, my lord, I had not the will to set him free,' she said.

'Wherefore then didst go to him?'

'My lord, he was sorely wounded, and I had seen him fall fainting,' said
Dorothy, repressing her tears with much ado.

'And thou didst go to comfort him?'

Dorothy was silent.

'How camest thou locked into his room? Tell me that, mistress.'

'Your lordship knows as much of that as I do. Indeed, I have been sorely
punished for a little fault.'

'Thou dost confess the fault then?'

'If it WAS a fault to visit him who was sick and in prison, my lord.'

The marquis was silent for a whole minute.

'And thou canst not tell how he gat him forth of the walls? Must I
believe him to be forth of them, my lord?' he said, turning to his son.

'I cannot imagine him within them, my lord, after such search as we have
made.'

'Still,' returned the marquis, the acuteness of whose wits had not been
swallowed up by that of the gout, 'so long as thou canst not tell how he
gat forth, I may doubt whether he be forth. If the manner of his exit be
acknowledged hidden, wherefore not the place of his refuge? Mistress
Dorothy,' he continued, altogether averse to the supposition of
treachery amongst his people, 'thou art bound by all obligations of
loyalty and shelter and truth, to tell what thou knowest. An' thou do
not, thou art a traitor to the house, yea to thy king, for when the
worst comes, and this his castle is besieged, much harm may be wrought
by that secret passage, yea, it may be taken thereby.'

'You say true, my lord: I should indeed be so bound, an' I knew what my
lord would have me disclose.'

'One may be bound and remain bound,' said the marquis, spying
prevarication. 'Now the thing is over, and the youth safe, all I ask of
thee, and surely it is not much, is but to bar the door against his
return--except indeed thou didst from the first contrive so to meet thy
roundhead lover in my loyal house. Then indeed it were too much to
require of thee! Ah ha! mistress Dorothy, the little blind god is a
rascally deceiver. He is but blind nor' nor' west. He playeth hoodman,
and peepeth over his bandage.'

'My lord, you wrong me much,' said Dorothy, and burst into tears, while
once more the red lava of the human centre rushed over her neck and
brow. 'I did think that I had done enough both for my lord of Worcester
and against Richard Heywood, and I did hope that he had escaped: there
lies the worst I can lay to my charge even in thought, my lord, and I
trust it is no more than may be found pardonable.'

'It sets an ill example to my quiet house if the ladies therein go
anights to the gentlemen's chambers.'

'My lord, you are cruel,' said Dorothy.

'Not a soul in the house knows it but myself, my lord,' said mistress
Watson.

'Hold there, my good woman! Whose hand was it turned the key upon her?
More than thou must know thereof. Hear me, mistress Dorothy: I would be
heart-loath to quarrel with thee, and in all honesty I am glad thy
lover--'

'He is no lover of mine, my lord! At least--'

'Be he what he may, he is a fine fellow, and I am glad he hath escaped.
Do thou but find out for my lord Charles here the cursed rat-hole by
which he goes and comes, and I will gladly forgive thee all the trouble
thou hast brought into my sober house. For truly never hath been in my
day such confusion and uproar therein as since thou camest hither, and
thy dog and thy lover and thy lover's mare followed thee.'

'Alas, my lord! if I were fortunate enough to find it, what would you
but say I found it where I knew well to look for it?'

'Find it, and I promise thee I will never say word on the matter again.
Thou art a good girl, and thou do venture a hair too far for a lover.
The still ones are always the worst, mistress Watson.'

'My lord! my lord!' cried Dorothy, but ended not, for his lordship gave
a louder cry. His face was contorted with anguish, and he writhed under
the tiger fangs of the gout.

'Go away,' he shouted, 'or I shall disgrace my manhood before women, God
help me!'

'I trust thee will bear me no malice,' said the housekeeper, as they
walked in the direction of Dorothy's chamber.

'You did but your duty,' said Dorothy quietly.

'I will do all I can for thee,' continued mistress Watson, mounted
again, if not on her high horse then on her palfrey, by her master's
behaviour to the poor girl--'if thou but confess to me how thou didst
contrive the young gentleman's escape, and wherefore he locked the door
upon thee.'

At the moment they were close to Dorothy's room; her answer to the
impertinence was to walk in and shut the door; and mistress Watson was
thenceforward entirely satisfied of her guilt.



CHAPTER XXXIV.

AN EVIL TIME.


And now was an evil time for Dorothy. She retired to her chamber more
than disheartened by lord Worcester's behaviour to her, vexed with
herself for doing what she would have been more vexed with herself for
having left undone, feeling wronged, lonely, and disgraced, conscious of
honesty, yet ashamed to show herself--and all for the sake of a
presumptuous boy, whose opinions were a disgust to her and his actions a
horror! Yet not only did she not repent of what she had done, but, fact
as strange as natural, began, with mingled pleasure and annoyance, to
feel her heart drawn towards the fanatic as the only one left her in the
world capable of doing her justice, that was, of understanding her. She
thus unknowingly made a step towards the discovery that it is infinitely
better to think wrong and to act right upon that wrong thinking, than it
is to think right and not to do as that thinking requires of us. In the
former case the man's house, if not built upon the rock, at least has
the rock beneath it; in the latter, it is founded on nothing but sand.
The former man may be a Saul of Tarsus, the latter a Judas Iscariot. He
who acts right will soon think right; he who acts wrong will soon think
wrong. Any two persons acting faithfully upon opposite convictions, are
divided but by a bowing wall; any two, in belief most harmonious, who do
not act upon it, are divided by infinite gulfs of the blackness of
darkness, across which neither ever beholds the real self of the other.

Dorothy ought to have gone at once to lady Margaret and told her all;
but she naturally and rightly shrank from what might seem an appeal to
the daughter against the judgment of her father; neither could she dare
hope that, if she did, her judgment would not be against her also. Her
feelings were now in danger of being turned back upon herself, and
growing bitter; for a lasting sense of injury is, of the human moods,
one of the least favourable to sweetness and growth. There was no one to
whom she could turn. Had good Dr. Bayly been at home--but he was away on
some important mission from his lordship to the king: and indeed she
could scarcely have looked for refuge from such misery as hers in the
judgment of the rather priggish old-bachelor ecclesiastic. Gladly would
she have forsaken the castle, and returned to all the dangers and fears
of her lonely home; but that would be to yield to a lie, to flee from
the devil instead of facing him, and with her own hand to fix the
imputed smirch upon her forehead, exposing herself besides to the
suspicion of having fled to join her lover, and cast in her lot with his
amongst the traitors. Besides, she had been left by lord Herbert in
charge of his fire-engine and the water of the castle, which trust she
could not abandon. Whatever might be yet to come of it, she must stay
and encounter it, and would in the meantime set herself to discover, if
she might, the secret pathway by which dog and man came and went at
their pleasure. This she owed her friends, even at the risk, in case of
success, of confirming the marquis's worst suspicions.

She was not altogether wrong in her unconscious judgment of lady
Margaret. Her nature was such as, its nobility tinctured with romance,
rendered her perfectly capable of understanding either of the two halves
of Dorothy's behaviour, but was not sufficient to the reception and
understanding of the two parts together. That is, she could have
understood the heroic capture of her former lover, or she could have
understood her going to visit him in his trouble, and even, what Dorothy
was incapable of, his release; but she was not yet equal to
understanding how she should set herself so against a man, even to his
wounding and capture, whom she loved so much as, immediately thereupon,
to dare the loss of her good name by going to his chamber, so placing
herself in the power of a man she had injured, as well as running a
great risk of discovery on the part of her friends. Hence she was quite
prepared to accept the solution of her strange conduct, which by and by,
it was hard to say how, came to be offered and received all over the
castle--that Dorothy first admitted, then captured, and finally released
the handsome young roundhead.

Her first impressions of the affair, lady Margaret received from lord
Charles, who was certainly prejudiced against Dorothy, and no doubt
jealous of the relation of the fine young rebel to a loyal maiden of
Raglan; while the suspicion, almost belief, that she knew and would not
reveal the flaw in his castle, the idea of which had begun to haunt him
like some spot in his own body of which pain made him unnaturally
conscious, annoyed him more and more. To do him justice, I must not omit
to mention that he never made a communication on the matter to any but
his sister-in-law, who would however have certainly had a more kindly as
well as exculpatory feeling towards Dorothy, had she first heard the
truth from her own lips.

For some little time, not perceiving the difficulties in her way, and
perhaps from unlikeness not understanding the disinclination of such a
girl to self-defence, lady Margaret continued to expect a visit from
her, with excuse at least, if not confession and apology upon her lips,
and was hurt by her silence as much as offended by her behaviour. She
was yet more annoyed, when they first met, that, notwithstanding her
evident suffering, she wore such an air of reticence, and thence she
both regarded and addressed her coldly; so that Dorothy was confirmed in
her disinclination to confide in her. Besides, as she said to herself,
she had nothing to tell but what she had already told; everything
depended on the interpretation accorded to the facts, and the right
interpretation was just the one thing she had found herself unable to
convey. If her friends did not, she could not justify herself.

She tried hard to behave as she ought, for, conscious how much
appearances were against her, she felt it would be unjust to allow her
affection towards her mistress to be in the least shaken by her
treatment of her, and was if possible more submissive and eager in her
service than before. But in this she was every now and then rudely
checked by the fear that lady Margaret would take it as the endeavour of
guilt to win favour; and, do what she would, instead of getting closer
to her, she felt every time they met, that the hedge of separation which
had sprung up between them had in the interval grown thicker. By degrees
the mistress had assumed towards the poor girl that impervious manner of
self-contained dignity, which, according to her who wears it, is the
carriage either of a wing-bound angel, the gait of a stork, or the
hobble of a crab.

Of a different kind was the change which now began to take place towards
her on the part of another member of the household.

While she had been intent upon Richard as he stood before the marquis,
not Amanda only but another as well had been intent upon her. Poor
creature as Scudamore yet was, he possessed, besides no small generosity
of nature, a good deal of surface sympathy, and a ready interest in the
shows of humanity. Hence as he stood regarding now the face of the
prisoner and now that of Dorothy, whom he knew for old friends, he could
not help noticing that every phase of the prisoner, so to speak, might
be read on Dorothy. He was too shallow to attribute this to anything
more than the interest she must feel in the results of the exploit she
had performed. The mere suggestion of what had afforded such wide ground
for speculation on the part of Amanda, was to Scudamore rendered
impossible by the meeting of two things--the fact that the only time he
had seen them together, Richard was very plainly out of favour, and now
the all-important share Dorothy had had in his capture. But the longer
he looked, the more he found himself attracted by the rich changefulness
of expression on a countenance usually very still. He surmised little of
the conflict of emotions that sent it to the surface, had to construct
no theory to calm the restlessness of intellectual curiosity, discovered
no secret feeding of the flame from behind. Yet the flame itself drew
him as the candle draws the moth. Emotion in the face of a woman was
enough to attract Scudamore; the prettier the face, the stronger the
attraction, but the source or character of the emotion mattered nothing
to him: he asked no questions any more than the moth, but circled the
flame. In a word, Dorothy had now all at once become to him interesting.

As soon as she found a safe opportunity, Amanda told him of Dorothy's
being found in the turret chamber, a fact she pretended to have heard in
confidence from mistress Watson, concealing her own part in it. But as
Amanda spoke, Dorothy became to Rowland twice as interesting as ever
Amanda had been. There was a real romance about the girl, he thought.
And then she LOOKED so quiet! He never thought of defending her or
playing the true part of a cousin. Amanda might think of her as she
pleased: Rowland was content. Had he cared ever so much more for her
judgment than he did, it would have been all the same. How far Dorothy
had been right or wrong in visiting Heywood, he did not even conjecture,
not to say consider. It was enough that she who had been to him like the
blank in the centre of the African map, was now a region of marvels and
possibilities, vague but not the less interesting, or the less worthy of
beholding the interest she had awaked. As to her loving the roundhead
fellow, that would not stand long in the way.

In this period then of gloom and wretchedness, Dorothy became aware of a
certain increase of attention on the part of her cousin. This she
attributed to kindness generated of pity. But to accept it, and so
confess that she needed it, would have been to place herself too much on
a level with one whom she did not respect, while at the same time it
would confirm him in whatever probably mistaken grounds he had for
offering it. She therefore met his advances kindly but coldly, a
treatment under which his feelings towards her began to ripen into
something a little deeper and more genuine.

During the next ten days or so, Dorothy could not help feeling that she
was regarded by almost every one in the castle as in disgrace, and that
deservedly. The most unpleasant proof she had of this was the behaviour
of the female servants, some of them assuming airs of injured innocence,
others of offensive familiarity in her presence, while only one, a
kitchen-maid she seldom saw, Tom Fool's bride in the marriage-jest,
showed her the same respect as formerly. This girl came to her one night
in her room, and with tears in her eyes besought permission to carry her
meals thither, that she might be spared eating with the rude ladies, as
in her indignation she called them. But Dorothy saw that to forsake
mistress Watson's table would be to fly the field, and therefore,
hateful as it was to meet the looks of those around it, she did so with
unvailed lids and an enforced dignity which made itself felt. But the
effort was as exhausting as painful, and the reflex of shame, felt as
shame in spite of innocence, was eating into her heart. In vain she said
to herself that she was guiltless; in vain she folded herself round in
the cloak of her former composure; the consciousness that, to say the
least of it, she was regarded as a young woman of questionable
refinement, weighed down her very eyelids as she crossed the court.

But she was not left utterly forsaken; she had still one refuge--the
workshop, where Caspar Kaltoff wrought like an 'artificial god;' for the
worthy German altered his manner to her not a whit, but continued to
behave with the mingled kindness of a father and devotion of a servant.
His respect and trustful sympathy showed, without word said, that he, if
no other, believed nothing to her disadvantage, but was as much her
humble friend as ever; and to the hitherto self-reliant damsel, the
blessedness of human sympathy, embodied in the looks and tones of the
hard-handed mechanic, brought such healing and such schooling together,
that for a long time she never said her prayers by her bedside without
thanking God for Caspar Kaltoff.

Ere long her worn look, thin cheek, and weary eye began to work on the
heart of lady Margaret, and she relented in spirit towards the favourite
of her husband, whose anticipated disappointment in her had sharpened
the arrows of her resentment. But to the watery dawn of favour which
followed, the poor girl could not throw wide her windows, knowing it
arose from no change in lady Margaret's judgment concerning her: she
could not as a culprit accept what had been as a culprit withdrawn from
her. The conviction burned in her heart like cold fire, that, but for
compassion upon the desolate state of an orphan, she would have been at
once dismissed from the castle. Sometimes she ventured to think that if
lord Herbert had been at home, all this would not have happened; but now
what could she expect other than that on his return he would regard her
and treat her in the same way as his wife and father and brother?



CHAPTER XXXV.

THE DELIVERER.


But she found some relief in applying her mind to the task which lord
Worcester had set her; and many a night as she tossed sleepless on her
bed, would she turn from the thoughts that tortured her, to brood upon
the castle, and invent if she might some new possible way, however
difficult, of getting out of it unseen: and many a morning after the
night thus spent, would she hasten, ere the household was astir, to
examine some spot which had occurred to her as perhaps containing the
secret she sought. One time it was a chimney that might have door and
stair concealed within it; another, the stables, where she examined
every stall in the hope of finding a trap to an underground way. Had any
one else been in question but Richard, the traitor, the roundhead, she
might have imagined an associate within the walls, in which case farther
solution would not have been for her; but somehow, she did not make it
clear to herself how, she could not entertain the idea in connection
with Richard. Besides, in brooding over everything, it had grown plain
to her that both Richard and Marquis had that night been through the
moat.

Some who caught sight of her in the early dawn, wandering about and
peering here and there, thought that she was losing her senses; others
more ingenious in the thinking of evil, imagined she sought to impress
the household with a notion of her innocence by pretending a search for
the concealed flaw in the defences.

Ever since she had been put in charge of the water-works, she had been
in the habit of lingering a little on the roof of the keep as often as
occasion took her thither, for she delighted in the far outlook on the
open country which it afforded; and perhaps it was a proof of the
general healthiness of her nature that now in her misery, instead of
shutting herself up in her own chamber, she oftener sought the walk
around the reservoir, looking abroad in shadowy hope of some lurking
deliverance, like captive lady in the stronghold of evil knight. On one
of these occasions, in the first of the twilight, she was leaning over
one of the battlements looking down upon the moat and its white and
yellow blossoms and great green leaves, and feeling very desolate. Her
young life seemed to have crumbled down upon her and crushed her heart,
and all for one gentle imprudence.

'Oh my mother!' she murmured,--'an' thou couldst hear me, thou wouldst
help me an' thou couldst. Thy poor Dorothy is sorely sad and forsaken,
and she knows no way of escape. Oh my mother, hear me!'

As she spoke, she looked away from the moat to the sky, and spread out
her arms in the pain of her petition.

There was a step behind her.

'What! what! My little protestant praying to the naughty saints! That
will never do.'

Dorothy had turned with a great start, and stood speechless and
trembling before lord Herbert.

'My poor child!' he said, holding out both his hands, and taking those
which Dorothy did not offer--'did I startle thee then so much? I am
truly sorry. I heard but thy last words; be not afraid of thy secret.
But what hath come to thee? Thou art white and thin, there are tears on
thy face, and it seems as thou wert not so glad to see me as I thought
thou wouldst have been. What is amiss? I hope thou art not sick--but
plainly thou art ill at ease! Go not yet after my Molly, cousin, for
truly we need thee here yet a while.'

'Would I might go to Molly, my lord!' said Dorothy. 'Molly would believe
me.'

'Thou need'st not go to Molly for that, cousin. I will believe thee.
Only tell me what thou wouldst have me believe, and I will believe it.
What! think'st thou I am not magician enough to know whom to believe and
whom not? Fye, fye, mistress! Thou, on thy part, wilt not put faith in
thy cousin Herbert!'

His kind words were to her as the voice of him that calleth for the
waters of the sea that he may pour them out on the face of the earth.
The poor girl burst into a passion of weeping, fell on her knees before
him, and holding up her clasped hands, cried out in a voice of
sob-choked agony--for she was not used to tears, and it was to her a
rending of the heart to weep--

'Save me, save me, my lord! I have no friend in the world who can help
me but thee.'

'No friend! What meanest thou, Dorothy?' said lord Herbert, taking her
two clasped hands between his. 'There is my Margaret and my father!'

'Alas, my lord! they mean well by me, but they do not believe me; and if
your lordship believe me no more than they, I must go from Raglan. Yet
believing me, I know not how you could any more help me.'

'Dorothy, my child, I can do nothing till thou take me with thee. I
cannot even comfort thee.'

'Your lordship is weary,' said Dorothy, rising and wiping her eyes. 'You
cannot yet have eaten since you came. Go, my lord, and hear my tale
first from them that believe me not. They will assure you of nothing
that is not true, only they understand it not, and wrong me in their
conjectures. Let my lady Margaret tell it you, my lord, and then if you
have yet faith enough in me to send for me, I will come and answer all
you ask. If you send not for me, I will ride from Raglan to-morrow.'

'It shall be as thou sayest, Dorothy. An' it be not fit for the judge to
hear both sides of the tale, or an' it boots the innocent which side he
first heareth, then were he no better judge than good king James, of
blessed memory, when he was so sore astonished to find both sides in the
right.'

'A king, my lord, and judge foolishly!'

'A king, my damsel, and judged merrily. But fear me not; I trust in God
to judge fairly even betwixt friend and foe, and I doubt not it will be
now to the lightening of thy trouble, my poor storm-beaten dove.'

It startled Dorothy with a gladness that stung like pain, to hear the
word he never used but to his wife thus flit from his lips in the
tenderness of his pity, and alight like the dove itself upon her head.
She thanked him with her whole soul, and was silent.

'I will send hither to thee, my child, when I require thy presence; and
when I send come straight to my lady's parlour.'

Dorothy bowed her head, but could not speak, and lord Herbert walked
quickly from her. She heard him run down the stair almost with the
headlong speed of his boy Henry.

Half an hour passed slowly--then lady Margaret's page came lightly up
the steps, bearing the request that she would favour his mistress with
her presence. She rose from the battlement where she had seated herself
to watch the moon, already far up in the heavens, as she brightened
through the gathering dusk, and followed him with beating heart.

When she entered the parlour, where as yet no candles had been lighted,
she saw and knew nothing till she found herself clasped to a bosom
heaving with emotion.

'Forgive me, Dorothy,' sobbed lady Margaret. 'I have done thee wrong.
But thou wilt love me yet again--wilt thou not, Dorothy?'

'Madam! madam!' was all Dorothy could answer, kissing her hands.

Lady Margaret led her to her husband, who kissed her on the forehead,
and seated her betwixt himself and his wife; and for a space there was
silence. Then at last said Dorothy:

'Tell me, madam, how is it that I find myself once more in the garden of
your favour? How know you that I am not all unworthy thereof?'

'My lord tells me so,' returned lady Margaret simply.

'And whence doth my lord know it?' asked Dorothy, turning to lord
Herbert.

''An' thou be not satisfied of thine own innocence, Dorothy, I will ask
thee a few questions. Listen to thine answers, and judge. How came the
young puritan into the castle that night? But stay: we must have
candles, for how can I, the judge, or my lady, the jury, see into the
heart of the prisoner save through the window of her face?'

Dorothy laughed--her first laugh since the evil fog had ascended and
swathed her. Lady Margaret rang the bell on her table. Candles were
brought from where they stood ready in the ante-chamber, and as soon as
they began to burn clear, lord Herbert repeated his question.

'My lord,' answered Dorothy, 'I look to you to tell me so much, for
before God I know not.'

'Nay, child! thou need'st not buttress thy words with an oath,' said his
lordship. 'Thy fair eyes are worth a thousand oaths. But to the
question: tell me wherefore didst thou not let the young man go when
first thou spied him? Wherefore didst ring the alarm-bell? Thou sawest
he was upon his own mare, for thou knewest her--didst thou not?'

'I did, my lord; but he had no business there, and I was of my lord
Worcester's household. Here I am not Dorothy Vaughan, but my lady's
gentlewoman.'

'Then why didst thou go to his room thereafter? Didst thou not know it
for the most perilous adventure maiden could undergo?'

'Perilous it hath indeed proved, my lord.'

'And might have proved worse than perilous.'

'No, my lord. Other danger was none where Richard was,' returned Dorothy
with vehemence.

'It beareth a look as if mayhap thou dost or mightst one day love the
young man!' said lord Herbert in slow pondering tone.

'My spirit hath of late been driven to hold him company, my lord. It
seemed that, save Caspar, I had no friend left but him. God help me! it
were a fearful thing to love a fanatic! But I will resist the devil.'

'Truly we are in lack of a few such devils on what we count the honest
side, Dorothy!' said lord Herbert, laughing. 'Not every man that thinks
the other way is a rogue or a fool. But thou hast not told me why thou
didst run the heavy risk of seeking him in the night.'

'I could not rest for thinking of him, my lord, with that terrible wound
in the head I had as good as given him, and from whose effects I had
last seen him lie as one dead. He was my playmate, and my mother loved
him.'

Here poor Dorothy broke down and wept, but recovered herself with an
effort, and proceeded.

'I kept starting awake, seeing him thus at one time, and at another
hearing him utter my name as if entreating me to go to him, until at
last I believed that I was called.'

'Called by whom, Dorothy?'

'I thought--I thought, my lord, it might be the same that called Samuel,
who had opened my ears to hear Richard's voice.'

'And it was indeed therefore thou didst go?'

'I think so, my lord. I am sure, at least, but for that I would not have
gone. Yet surely I mistook, for see what hath come of it,' she added,
turning to lady Margaret.

'We must not judge from one consequence where there are a thousand yet
to follow,' said his lordship. '--And thou sayest, when thou didst enter
the room thou didst find no one there?'

'I say so, my lord, and it is true.'

'That I know as well as thou. What then didst thou think of the matter?'

'I was filled with fear, my lord, when I saw the bedclothes all in a
heap on the floor, but upon reflection I hoped that he had had the
better in the struggle, and had escaped; for now at least he could do no
harm in Raglan, I thought. But when I found the door was locked,--I dare
hardly think of that, my lord; it makes me tremble yet.'

'Now, who thinkest thou in thy heart did lock the door upon thee?'

'Might it not have been Satan himself, my lord?'

'Nay, I cannot tell what might or might not be where such a one is so
plainly concerned. But I believe he was only acting in his usual
fashion, which, as a matter of course, must be his worst--I mean through
the heart and hands of some one in the house who would bring thee into
trouble.'

'I would it were the other way, my lord.'

'So would I heartily. In his own person I fear him not a whit. But hast
thou no suspicion of any one owing thee a grudge, who might be glad on
such opportunity to pay it thee with interest?'

'I must confess I have, my lord; but I beg of your lordship not to
question me on the matter further, for it reaches only to suspicion. I
know nothing, and might, if I uttered a word, be guilty of grievous
wrong. Pardon me, my lord.'

Lord Herbert looked hard at his wife. Lady Margaret dropped her head.

'Thou art right, indeed, my good cousin!' he said, turning again to
Dorothy; 'for that would be to do by another as thou sufferest so sorely
from others doing by thee. I must send my brains about and make a
discovery or two for myself. It is well I have a few days to spend at
home. And now to the first part of the business in hand. Hast thou any
special way of calling thy dog? It is a moonlit night, I believe.'

He rose and went to the window, over which hung a heavy curtain of
Flemish tapestry.

'It is a three-quarter old moon, my lord,' said Dorothy, 'and very
bright. I did use to call my dog with a whistle my mother gave me when I
was a child.'

'Canst thou lay thy hand upon it? Hast thou it with thee in Raglan?'

'I have it in my hand now, my lord.'

'What then with the moon and thy whistle, I think we shall not fail.'

'Hast lost thy wits, Ned?' said his wife. 'Or what fiend wouldst thou
raise to-night?'

'I would lay one rather,' returned lord Herbert. 'But first I would
discover this same perilous fault in the armour of my house. Is thy
genet still in thy control, Dorothy?'

'I have no reason to think otherwise, my lord. The frolicker he, the
merrier ever was I.'

'Darest thou ride him alone in the moonlight--outside the walls.'

'I dare anything on Dick's back--that Dick can do, my lord.'

'Doth thy dog know Caspar--in friendly fashion, I mean?'

'Caspar is the only one in the castle he is quite friendly with, my
lord.'

'Then is all as I would have it. And now I will tell thee what I would
not have: I would not have a soul in the place but my lady here know
that I am searching with thee after this dog-and-man hole. Therefore I
will saddle thy little horse for thee myself, and--'

'No, no, my lord!' interrupted Dorothy. 'That _I_ can do.'

'So much the better for thee. But I am no boor, fair damsel. Then shalt
thou mount and ride him forth, and Marquis thy mastiff shall see thee go
from the yard. Then will I mount the keep, and from that point of
vantage look down upon the two courts, while Caspar goes to stand by thy
dog. Thou shalt ride slowly along for a minute or two, until these
preparations shall have been made; then shalt thou blow thy whistle, and
set off at a gallop to round the castle, still ever and anon blowing thy
whistle; by which means, if I should fail to see thy Marquis leave the
castle, thou mayest perchance discover at least from which side of the
castle he comes to thee.'

Dorothy sprang to her feet.

'I am ready, my lord,' she said.

'And so am I, my maiden,' returned lord Herbert, rising. 'Wilt go to the
top of the keep, wife, and grant me the light of eyes in aid of the
moonshine? I will come thither presently.'

'Thou shalt find me there, Ned, I promise thee. Mother Mary speed thy
quest?'



CHAPTER XXXVI.

THE DISCOVERY.


All was done as had been arranged. Lord Herbert saddled Dick, not
unaided of Dorothy, lifted her to his back, and led her to the gate, in
full vision of Marquis, who went wild at the sight, and threatened to
pull down kennel and all in his endeavours to follow them. Lord Herbert
himself opened the yard gate, for the horses had already been suppered,
and the men were in bed. He then walked by her side down to the brick
gate. A moment there, and she was free and alone, with the wide green
fields and the yellow moonlight all about her.

She had some difficulty in making Dick go slowly--quietly she could
not--for the first minute or two, as lord Herbert had directed. He had
had but little exercise of late, and moved as if his four legs felt like
wings. Dorothy had ridden him very little since she came to the castle,
but being very handy, lord Charles had used him, and one of the grooms
had always taken him to ride messages. He had notwithstanding had but
little of the pleasure of speed for a long time, and when Dorothy at
length gave him the rein, he flew as if every member of his body from
tail to ears and eyelids had been an engine of propulsion. But Dorothy
had more wings than Dick. Her whole being was full of wings. It was a
small thing that she had not had a right gallop since she left Wyfern;
the strength she had been putting forth to bear the Atlas burden that
night lifted from her soul, was now left free to upbear her, and she
seemed in spirit to soar aloft into the regions of aether. With her
horse under her, the moon over her, "the wind of their own speed" around
them, and her heart beating with a joy such as she had never known, she
could hardly help doubting sometimes for a moment whether she was not
out in one of those delightful dreams of liberty and motion which had so
frequently visited her sleep since she came to Raglan. Three shrill
whistles she had blown, about a hundred yards from the gate, had heard
the eager crowded bark of her dog in answer, and then Dick went flying
over the fields like a water-bird over the lake, that scratches its
smooth surface with its feet as it flies. Around the rampart they went.
The still night was jubilant around them as they flew. The stars shone
as if they knew all about her joy, that the shadow of guilt had been
lifted from her, and that to her the world again was fair. She felt as
the freed Psyche must feel when she drops the clay, and lo! the whole
chrysalid world, which had hitherto hung as a clog at her foot, fast by
the inexorable chain our blindness calls gravitation, has dropped from
her with the clay, and the universe is her own.

At intervals she blew her whistle, and ever kept her keen eyes and ears
awake, looking and listening before and behind, in the hope of hearing
her dog, or seeing him come bounding through the moonlight.

Meantime lord Herbert and his wife had taken their stand on the top of
the great tower, and were looking down--the lady into the stone court,
and her husband into the grass one. Dorothy's shrill whistle came once,
twice--and just as it began to sound a third time,

'Here he comes!' cried lady Margaret.

A black shadow went from the foot of the library tower, tearing across
the moonlight to the hall door, where it vanished. But in vain lord
Herbert kept his eyes on the fountain court, in the hope of its
reappearance there. Presently they heard a heavy plunge in the water on
the other side of the keep, and running round, saw plainly, the moat
there lying broad in the moonlight, a little black object making its way
across it. Through the obstructing floats of water-lily-leaves, it held
steadily over to the other side. There for a moment they saw the whole
body of the animal, as he scrambled out of the water up against the
steep side of the moat--when suddenly, and most unaccountably to lady
Margaret, he disappeared.

'I have it!' cried lord Herbert. 'What an ass I was not to think of it
before! Come down with me, my dove, and I will show thee. Dorothy's
Marquis hath got into the drain of the moat! He is a large dog, and
beyond a doubt that is where the young roundhead entered. Who could have
dreamed of such a thing! I had no thought it was such a size.'

Dorothy, having made the circuit, and arrived again at the brick gate,
found lord Herbert waiting there, and pulled up.

'I have seen nothing of him, my lord,' she said, as he came to her side.
'Shall I ride round once more?'

'Do, prithee, for I see thou dost enjoy it. But we have already learned
all we want to know, so far as goeth to the security of the castle.
There is but one marquis in Raglan, and he is, I believe, in the oak
parlour.'

'You saw my Marquis make his exit then, my lord?'

'My lady and I both saw him.'

'What then can have become of him?--We went very fast, and I suppose he
gave up the chase in despair.'

'Thou wilt find him the second round. But stay--I will get a horse and
go with thee.'

Dorothy went within the gate, and lord Herbert ran back to the stables.
In a few minutes he was by her side again, and together they rode around
the huge nest. The moon was glorious, with a few large white clouds
around her, like great mirrors hung up to catch and reflect her light.
The stars were few, and doubtful near the moon, but shone like diamonds
in the dark spaces between the clouds. The rugged fortress lay swathed
in the softness of the creamy light. No noise broke the stillness, save
the dull drum-beat of their horses' hoofs on the turf, or their
cymbal-clatter where they crossed a road, and the occasional shrill call
from Dorothy's whistle.

On all sides the green fields, cow-cropped, divided by hedge-rows, and
spotted with trees, single and in clumps, came close to the castle
walls, except in one or two places where the corner of a red ploughed
field came wedging in. All was so quiet and so soft that the gaunt old
walls looked as if, having at first with harsh intrusion forced their
way up into the sweet realm of air from the stony regions of the earth
beneath, by slow degrees, yet long since, they had suffered an air
change, and been charmed and gentled into harmony with soft winds and
odours and moonlight. To Dorothy it seemed as if peace itself had taken
form in the feathery weight that filled the flaky air; and as her horse
galloped along, flying like a bird over ditch and mound, her own heart
so light that her body seemed to float above the saddle rather than rest
upon it, she felt like a soul which, having been dragged to hell by a
lurking fiend, a good and strong angel was bearing aloft into bliss. Few
delights can equal the mere presence of one whom we trust utterly.

No mastiff came to Dorothy's whistle, and having finished their round,
they rode back to the stables, put up their horses, and rejoined lady
Margaret, where she was still pacing the sunk walk around the moat.
There lord Herbert showed Dorothy where her dog vanished, comforting her
with the assurance that nothing should be altered before the faithful
animal returned, as doubtless he would the moment he despaired of
finding her in the open country.

Lord Herbert said nothing to his father that night lest he should spoil
his rest, for he was yet far from well, but finding him a good deal
better the next morning, he laid open the whole matter to him according
to his convictions concerning Dorothy and her behaviour, ending with the
words: 'That maiden, my lord, hath truth enough in her heart to serve
the whole castle, an' if it might be but shared. To doubt her is to
wrong the very light. I fear there are not many maidens in England who
would have the courage and honesty, necessary both, to act as she hath
done.'

The marquis listened attentively, and when lord Herbert had ended, sat a
few moments in silence; then, for all answer, said,

'Go and fetch her, my lad.'

When Dorothy entered,--

'Come hither, maiden,' he said from his chair. 'Wilt thou kiss an old
man who hath wronged thee--for so my son hath taught me?'

Dorothy stooped, and he kissed her on both cheeks, with the tears in his
eyes.

'Thou shalt dine at my table,' he said, 'an' thy mistress will permit
thee, as I doubt not she will when I ask her, until--thou art weary of
our dull company. Hear me, cousin Dorothy: an' thou wilt go with us to
mass next Sunday, thou shalt sit on one side of me and thy mistress on
the other, and all the castle shall see thee there, and shall know that
thou art our dear cousin, mistress Dorothy Vaughan, and shall do thee
honour.'

'I thank you, my lord, with all my heart,' said Dorothy, with troubled
look, 'but--may I then speak without offence to your lordship, where my
heart knoweth nought but honour, love, and obedience?'

'Speak what thou wilt, so it be what thou would'st,' answered the
marquis.

'Then pardon me, my lord, that which would have made my mother sad, and
would make my good master Herbert sorry that he brought me hither. He
would fear I had forsaken the church of my fathers.'

'And returned to the church of thy grandfathers--eh, mistress Dorothy?
And wherefore, then, should that weigh so much with thee, so long as
thou wert no traitor to our blessed Lord?'

'But should I be no traitor, sir, an' I served him not with my best?'

'Thou hast nothing better than thy heart to give him, and nothing worse
will serve his turn; and that we two have offered where I would have
thee offer thine--and I trust, Herbert, the offering hath not lain
unaccepted.'

'I trust not, my lord,' responded Herbert.

'But, my lord,' said Dorothy, with hot cheek and trembling voice, 'if I
brought it him upon a dish which I believed to be of brass, when I had
one of silver in the house, would it avail with him that your lordship
knew the dish to be no brass, but the finest of gold? I should be
unworthy of your lordship's favour, if, to be replaced in the honour of
men, I did that which needed the pardon of God.'

'I told thee so, sir!' cried lord Herbert, who had been listening with
radiant countenance.

'Thou art a good girl, Dorothy,' said the marquis. 'Verily I spoke but
to try thee, and I thank God thou hast stood the trial, and answered
aright. Now am I sure of thee; and I will no more doubt thee--not if I
wake in the night and find thee standing over me with a drawn dagger
like Judith. An' my worthy Bayly had been at home, perchance this had
not happened; but forgive me, Dorothy, for the gout is the sting of the
devil's own tail, and driveth men mad. Verily, it seemeth now as if I
could never have behaved to thee as I have done. Why, one might say the
foolish fat old man was jealous of the handsome young puritan! The wheel
will come round, Dorothy. One day thou wilt marry him.'

'Never, my lord,' exclaimed Dorothy with vehemence.

'And when thou dost,' the marquis went on, 'all I beg of thee is, that
on thy wedding day thou whisper thy bridegroom: "My lord of Worcester
told me so;" and therewith thou shalt have my blessing, whether I be
down here in Raglan, or up the great stair with little Molly.'

Dorothy was silent. The marquis held out his hand. She kissed it, left
the room, and flew to the top of the keep.



CHAPTER XXXVII.

THE HOROSCOPE.


Ere the next day was over, it was understood throughout the castle that
lord Herbert was constructing a horoscope--not that there were many in
the place who understood what a horoscope really was, or had any
knowledge of the modes of that astrology in whose results they firmly
believed; yet Kaltoff having been seen carrying several
mysterious-looking instruments to the top of the library tower, the word
was presently in everybody's mouth. Nor were the lovers of marvel likely
to be disappointed, for no sooner was the sun down than there was lord
Herbert, his head in an outlandish Persian hat, visible over the parapet
from the stone-court, while from some of the higher windows in the
grass-court might be seen through a battlement his long flowing gown of
a golden tint, wrought with hieroglyphics in blue. Now he would stand
for a while gazing up into the heavens, now would be shifting and
adjusting this or that instrument, then peering along or through it, and
then re-arranging it, or kneeling and drawing lines, now circular, now
straight, upon a sheet of paper spread flat on the roof of the tower.
There he still was when the household retired to rest, and there, in the
grey dawn, his wife, waking up and peeping from her window, saw him
still, against the cold sky, pacing the roof with bent head and
thoughtful demeanour. In the morning he was gone, and no one but lady
Margaret saw him during the whole of the following day. Nor indeed could
any but herself or Caspar have found him, for the tale Tom Fool told the
rustics of a magically concealed armoury had been suggested by a rumour
current in the house, believed by all without any proof, and yet not the
less a fact, that lord Herbert had a chamber of which none of the
domestics knew door or window, or even the locality. That recourse
should have been had to spells and incantations for its concealment,
however, as was also commonly accepted, would have seemed trouble
unnecessary to any one who knew the mechanical means his lordship had
employed for the purpose. The touch of a pin on a certain spot in one of
the bookcases in the library, admitted him to a wooden stair which, with
the aid of Caspar, he had constructed in an ancient disused chimney, and
which led down to a small chamber in the roof of a sort of porch built
over the stair from the stone-court to the stables. There was no other
access to it, and the place had never been used, nor had any window but
one which they had constructed in the roof so cunningly as to attract no
notice. All the household supposed the hidden chamber, whose existence
was unquestioned, to be in the great tower, somewhere near the workshop.

In this place he kept his books of alchemy and magic, and some of his
stranger instruments. It would have been hard for himself even to say
what he did or did not believe of such things. In certain moods,
especially when under the influence of some fact he had just discovered
without being able to account for it, he was ready to believe
everything; in others, especially when he had just succeeded, right or
wrong, in explaining anything to his own satisfaction, he doubted them
all considerably. His imagination leaned lovingly towards them; his
intellect required proofs which he had not yet found.

Hither then he had retired--to work out the sequences of the horoscopes
he had that night constructed. He was far less doubtful of astrology
than of magic. It would have been difficult, I suspect, to find at that
time a man who did not more or less believe in the former, and the
influence of his mechanical pursuits upon lord Herbert's mind had not in
any way interfered with his capacity for such belief. In the present
case, however, he trusted for success rather to his knowledge of human
nature than to his questioning of the stars.

Before this, the second day, was over, it was everywhere whispered that
he was occupied in discovering the hidden way by which entrance and exit
had been found through the defences of the castle; and the next day it
was known by everybody that he had been successful--as who could doubt
he must, with such powers at his command?

For a time curiosity got the better of fear, and there was not a soul in
the place, except one bedridden old woman, who did not that day accept
lord Herbert's general invitation, and pass over the Gothic bridge to
see the opening from the opposite side of the moat. To seal the
conviction that the discovery had indeed been made, permission was given
to any one who chose to apply to it the test of his own person, but of
this only Shafto the groom availed himself. It was enough, however: he
disappeared, and while the group which saw him enter the opening was yet
anxiously waiting his return by the way he had gone, having re-entered
by the western gate he came upon them from behind, to the no small
consternation of those of weaker nerves, and so settled the matter for
ever.

As soon as curiosity was satisfied, lord Herbert gave orders which, in
the course of a few days, rendered the drain as impassable to manor dog
as the walls of the keep itself.

In the middle of the previous night, Marquis had returned, and announced
himself by scratching and whining for admittance at the door of
Dorothy's room. She let him in, but not until the morning discovered
that he had a handkerchief tied round his neck, and in it a letter
addressed to herself. Curious, perhaps something more than curious, to
open it, she yet carried it straight to lord Herbert.

'Canst not break the seal, Dorothy, that thou bringest it to me? I will
not read it first, lest thou repent,' said his lordship.

'Will you open it then, madam?' she said, turning to lady Margaret.

'What my lord will not, why should I?' rejoined her mistress.

Dorothy opened the letter without more ado, crimsoned, read it to the
end, and handed it again to lord Herbert.

'Pray read, my lord,' she said.

He took it, and read. It ran thus--

     'Mistress Dorothy, I think, and yet I know not, but I think thou
     wilt be pleased to learn that my Wound hath not proved mortal,
     though it hath brought me low, yea, very nigh to Death's Door.
     Think not I feared to enter. But it grieveth me to the Heart to
     ride another than my own Mare to the Wars, and it will pleasure
     thee to know that without my Lady I shall be but Half the Man I
     was. But do thou the Like again when thou mayest, for thou but
     didst thy Duty according to thy Lights; and according to what else
     should any one do? Mistaken as thou art, I love thee as mine own
     Soul. As to the Ring I left for thee, with a safe Messenger,
     concerning whom I say Nothing, for thou wilt con her no Thanks for
     the doing of aught to pleasure me, I restored it not because it was
     thine, for thy mother gave it me, but because, if for Lack of my
     Mare I should fall in some Battle of those that are to follow, then
     would the Ring pass to a Hand whose Heart knew nought of her who
     gave it me. I am what thou knowest not, yet thine old Play-fellow
     Richard.--When thou hearest of me in the Wars, as perchance thou
     mayest, then curse me not, but sigh an thou wilt, and say, he also
     would in his Blindness do the Thing that lay at his Door. God be
     with thee, mistress Dorothy. Beat not thy Dog for bringing thee
     this.

     'RICHARD HEYWOOD.'

Lord Herbert gave the letter to his wife, and paced up and down the room
while she read. Dorothy stood silent, with glowing face and downcast
eyes. When lady Margaret had finished it she handed it to her, and
turned to her husband with the words,--

'What sayest thou, Ned? Is it not a brave epistle?'

'There is matter for thought therein,' he answered. 'Wilt show me the
ring whereof he writes, cousin?'

'I never had it, my lord.'

'Whom thinkest thou then he calleth his safe messenger? Not thy
dog--plainly, for the ring had been sent thee before.'

'My lord, I cannot even conjecture,' answered Dorothy.

'There is matter herein that asketh attention. My lady, and cousin
Dorothy, not a word of all this until I shall have considered what it
may import!--Beat not thy dog, Dorothy: that were other than he
deserveth at thy hand. But he is a dangerous go-between, so prithee let
him be at once chained up.'

'I will not beat him, my lord, and I will chain him up,' answered
Dorothy, laughing.

Having then announced the discovery of the hidden passage, and given
orders concerning it, lord Herbert retired yet again to his secret
chamber, and that night was once more seen of many consulting the stars
from the top of the library tower.

The following morning another rumour was abroad--to the effect that his
lordship was now occupied in questioning the stars as to who in the
castle had aided the young roundhead in making his escape.

In the evening, soon after supper, there came a gentle tap to the door
of lady Margaret's parlour. At that time she was understood to be
disengaged, and willing to see any of the household. Harry happened to
be with her, and she sent him to the door to see who it was.

'It is Tom Fool,' he said, returning. 'He begs speech of you,
madam--with a face as long as the baker's shovel, and a mouth as wide as
an oven-door.'

With their Irish stepmother the children took far greater freedoms than
would have been permitted them by the jealous care of their own mother
over their manners.

Lady Margaret smiled: this was probably the first fruit of her husband's
astrological investigations.

'Tell him he may enter, and do thou leave him alone with me, Harry,' she
said.

Allowing for exaggeration, Harry had truly reported Tom's appearance. He
was trembling from head to foot, and very white.

'What aileth thee, Tom, that thou lookest as thou had seen a hobgoblin?'
said lady Margaret.

'Please you, my lady,' answered Tom, 'I am in mortal terror of my lord
Herbert.'

'Then hast thou been doing amiss, Tom? for no well-doer ever yet was
afeard of my lord. Comest thou because thou wouldst confess the truth?'

'Ah, my lady,' faltered Tom.

'Come, then; I will lead thee to my lord.'

'No, no, an't please you, my lady!' cried Tom, trembling yet more. 'I
will confess to you, my lady, and then do you confess to my lord, so
that he may forgive me.'

'Well, I will venture so far for thee, Tom,' returned her ladyship;
'that is, if thou be honest, and tell me all.'

Thus encouraged, Tom cleansed his stuffed bosom, telling all the part he
had borne in Richard's escape, even to the disclosure of the watchword
to his mother.

Is there not this peculiarity about the fear of the supernatural, even
let it be of the lowest and most slavish kind, that under it men speak
the truth, believing that alone can shelter them?

Lady Margaret dismissed him with hopes of forgiveness, and going
straight to her husband in his secret chamber, amused him largely with
her vivid representation, amounting indeed to no sparing mimicry of
Tom's looks and words as he made his confession.

Here was much gained, but Tom had cast no ray of light upon the matter
of Dorothy's imprisonment. The next day lord Herbert sent for him to his
workshop, where he was then alone. He appeared in a state of abject
terror.

'Now, Tom,' said his lordship, 'hast thou made a clean breast of it?'

'Yes, my lord,' answered Tom; 'there is but one thing more.'

'What is that? Out with it.'

'As I went back to my chamber, at the top of the stair leading down from
my lord's dining parlour to the hall, commonly called my lord's stair,'
said Tom, who delighted in the pseudo-circumstantial, 'I stopped to
recover my breath, of the which I was sorely bereft, and kneeling on the
seat of the little window that commands the archway to the keep, I saw
the prisoner--'

'How knewest thou the prisoner ere it was yet daybreak, and that in the
darkest corner of all the court?'

'I knew him by the way my bones shook at the white sleeves of his shirt,
my lord,' said Tom, who was too far gone in fear to make the joke of
pretending courage.

'Hardly evidence, Tom. But go on.'

'And with him I saw mistress Dorothy--'

'Hold there, Tom!' cried lord Herbert. 'Wherefore didst not impart this
last night to my lady?'

'Because my lady loveth mistress Dorothy, and I dreaded she would
therefore refuse to believe me.'

'What a heap of cunning goes to the making of a downright fool!' said
lord Herbert to himself, but so as Tom could not fail to hear him. 'And
what saw'st thou pass between them?' he asked.

'Only a whispering with their heads together,' answered Tom.

'And what heard'st thou?'

'Nothing, my lord.'

'And what followed?'

'The roundhead left her, and went through the archway. She stood a
moment and then followed him. But I, fearful of her coming up the stair
and finding me, gat me quickly to my own place.'

'Oh, Tom, Tom! I am ashamed of thee. What! Afraid of a woman? Verily,
thy heart is of wax.'

'That can hardly be, my lord, for I find it still on the wane.'

'An' thy wit were no better than thy courage, thou hadst never had
enough to play the fool with.'

'No, my lord; I should have had to turn philosopher.'

'A fair hit, Tom! But tell me, why wast thou afeard of mistress
Dorothy?'

'It might have come to a quarrel in some sort, my lord; and there is one
thing I have remarked in my wanderings through this valley of Baca,'
said Tom, speaking through his nose, and lengthening his face beyond
even its own nature, 'namely, that he who quarrels with a woman goes
ever to the wall.'

'One thing perplexes me, Tom: if thou sawest mistress Dorothy in the
court with the roundhead, how came she thereafter, thinkest thou, locked
up in his chamber?'

'It behoves that she went into it again, my lord.'

'How knowest thou she had been there before?'

'Nay, I know not, my lord. I know nothing of the matter.'

'Why say'st it then? Take heed to thy words, Tom. Who then, thinkest
thou, did lock the door upon her?'

'I know not, my lord, and dare hardly say what I think. But let your
lordship's wisdom determine whether it might not be one of those demons
whereof the house hath been full ever since that night when I saw them
rise from the water of the moat--that even now surrounds us, my
lord!--and rush into the fountain court.'

'Meddle thou not, even in thy thoughts, with things that are beyond
thee,' said lord Herbert. 'By what signs knewest thou mistress Dorothy
in the dark as she stood talking to the roundhead?'

'There was light enough to know woman from man, my lord.'

'And were there then that night no women in the castle but mistress
Dorothy?'

'Why, who else could it have been, my lord?'

'Why not thine own mother, Tom--rode thither on her broomstick to
deliver her darling?'

Tom gaped with fresh terror at the awful suggestion.

'Now, hear me, Thomas Rees,' his lordship went on.

'Yes, my lord,' answered Tom.

'An' ever it come to my knowledge that thou say thou then saw mistress
Dorothy, when all thou sawest was, as thou knowest, a woman who might
have been thine own mother talking to the roundhead, as thou callest a
man who might indeed have been Caspar Kaltoff in his shirt sleeves, I
will set every devil at my command upon thy back and thy belly, thy
sides and thy soles. Be warned, and not only speak the truth, as thou
hast for a whole half-hour been trying hard to do, but learn to
distinguish between thy fancies and God's facts; for verily thou art a
greater fool than I took thee for, and that was no small one. Get thee
gone, and send me hither mistress Watson.'

Tom crawled away, and presently mistress Watson appeared, looking
offended, possibly at being called to the workshop, and a little
frightened.

'I cannot but think thee somewhat remiss in thy ministrations to a sick
man, mistress Watson,' he said, 'to leave him so long to himself. Had he
been a king's officer now, wouldst thou not have shown him more favour?'

'That indeed may be, my lord,' returned mistress Watson with dignity.
'But an' the young fellow had been very sick, he had not made his
escape.'

'And left the blame thereof with thee. Besides, that he did for his
escape he may have done in the strength of the fever that followeth on
such a wound.'

'My lord, I gave him a potion, wherefrom he should have slept until I
sought him again.'

'Was he or thou to blame that he did not feel the obligation? When a man
instead of sleeping runneth away, the potion was ill mingled, I doubt,
mistress Watson--drove him crazy perchance.'

'She who waked him when he ought to have slept hath to bear the blame,
not I, my lord.'

'Thou shouldst, I say, have kept better watch. But tell me whom meanest
thou by that same SHE?'

'She who was found in his chamber, my lord,' said mistress Watson,
compressing her lips, as if, come what might, she would stand on the
foundation of the truth.

'Ah?--By the way, I would gladly understand how it came to be known
throughout the castle that thou didst find her there? I have the
assurance of my lady, my lord marquis, and my lord Charles, that never
did one of them utter word so to slander an orphan as thou hast now done
in my hearing. Who then can it be but her who is at the head of the
meinie of this house, who hath misdemeaned herself thus to the spreading
amongst those under her of evil reports and surmises affecting her
lord's cousin, mistress Dorothy Vaughan?'

'You wrong me grievously, my lord,' cried mistress Watson, red with the
wrath of injury and undeserved reproof.

'Thou hast thyself to thank for it then, for thou hast this night said
in mine own ears that mistress Dorothy waked thy prisoner, importing
that she thereafter set him free, when thou knowest that she denies the
same, and is therein believed by my lord marquis and all his house.'

'Therein I believe her not, my lord; but I swear by all the saints and
angels, that to none but your lordship have I ever said the word;
neither have I ever opened my lips against her, lest I should take from
her the chance of betterment.'

'I will be more just to thee than thou hast been to my cousin, mistress
Watson, for I will believe thee that thou didst only harbour evil in thy
heart, not send it from the doors of thy lips to enter into other
bosoms. Was it thou then that did lock the door upon her?'

'God forbid, my lord!'

'Thinkest thou it was the roundhead?'

'No, surely, my lord, for where would be the need?'

'Lest she should issue and give the alarm.'

Mistress Watson smiled an acid smile.

'Then the doer of that evil deed,' pursued lord Herbert, 'must be now in
the castle, and from this moment every power I possess in earth, air, or
sea, shall be taxed to the uttermost for the discovery of that evil
person. Let this vow of mine be known, mistress Watson, as a thing thou
hast heard me say, not commission thee to report. Prithee take heed to
what I desire of thee, for I am not altogether powerless to enforce that
I would.'

Mistress Watson left the workshop in humbled mood. To her spiritual
benefit lord Herbert had succeeded in punishing her for her cruelty to
Dorothy; and she was not the less willing to mind his injunction as to
the mode of mentioning his intent, that it would serve to the quenching
of any suspicion that she had come under his disapproval.

And now lord Herbert, depending more upon his wits than his learning,
found himself a good deal in the dark. Confident that neither Richard,
Tom Fool, nor mistress Watson had locked the door of the turret chamber
after Dorothy's entrance, he gave one moment to the examination of the
lock, and was satisfied that an enemy had done it. He then started his
thoughts on another track, tending towards the same point: how was it
that the roundhead, who had been carried insensible to the
turret-chamber, had been able, ere yet more than a film of grey thinned
the darkness, without alarming a single sleeper, to find his way from a
part of the house where there were no stairs near, and many rooms, all
occupied? Clearly by the help of her, whoever she was, whom Tom Fool had
seen with him by the hall door. She had guided him down my lord's stair,
and thus avoided the risk of crossing the paved court to the hall door
within sight of the warders of the main entrance. To her indubitably the
young roundhead had committed the ring for Dorothy. Here then was one
secret agent in the affair: was it likely there had been two? If not,
this woman was one and the same with the person who turned the key upon
Dorothy. She probably had been approaching the snare while the traitress
talked with the prisoner. What did her presence so soon again in the
vicinity of the turret-chamber indicate? Possibly that her own chamber
was near it. The next step then was to learn from the housekeeper who
slept in the neighbourhood of the turret-chamber, and then to narrow the
ground of search by inquiring which, if any of them, slept alone.

He found there were two who occupied each a chamber by herself; one of
them was Amanda, the other mistress Watson.

Now therefore he knew distinctly in what direction first he must point
his tentatives. Before he went farther, however, he drew from Dorothy an
accurate description of the ring to which Richard's letter alluded, and
immediately set about making one after it, from stage to stage of its
progress bringing it to her for examination and criticism, until, before
the day was over, he had completed a model sufficiently like to pass for
the same.

The greater portion of the next day he spent in getting into perfect
condition a certain mechanical toy which he had constructed many years
before, and familiarising himself with its working. This done, he found
himself ready for his final venture, to give greater solemnity to which
he ordered the alarum-bell to be rung, and the herald of the castle to
call aloud, first from the bell-tower in the grass-court, next from the
roof of the hall-porch in the stone-court, communicating with the
minstrels' gallery, that on the following day, after dinner, so soon as
they should hear the sound of the alarum-bell, every soul in the castle,
to the infant in arms, all of whatever condition, save old mother
Prescot, who was bed-ridden, should appear in the great hall, that lord
Herbert might perceive which amongst them had insulted the lord and the
rule of the house by the locking of one of its doors to the imprisonment
and wrong of his lordship's cousin, mistress Dorothy Vaughan. Three
strokes of the great bell opened and closed the announcement, and a
great hush of expectancy, not unmingled with fear, fell upon the place.

There was one in the household, however, who at first objected to the
whole proceeding. That was sir Toby Mathews, the catholic chaplain. He
went to the marquis and represented that, if there was to be any
exercise whatever of unlawful power, the obligations of the sacred
office with which he was invested would not permit him to be present or
connive thereat. The marquis merrily insisted that it was a case of
exorcism; that the devil was in the castle, and out he must go; that if
Satan assisted in the detection of the guilty and the purging of the
innocent, then was he divided against himself, and what could be better
for the church or the world? But for his own part he had no hand in it,
and if sir Toby had anything to say against it, he must go to his son.
This he did at once; but lord Herbert speedily satisfied him, pledging
himself that there should be nothing done by aid from beneath, and
making solemn assertion that if ever he had employed any of the evil
powers to work out his designs, it had been as their master and not
their accomplice.



CHAPTER XXXVIII.

THE EXORCISM.


It was the custom in Raglan to close the gates at eleven o'clock every
morning, and then begin to lay the tables for dinner; nor were they
opened again until the meal was over, and all had dispersed to their
various duties. Upon this occasion directions were given that the gates
should remain closed until the issue of further orders.

There was little talk in the hall during dinner that day, and not much
in the marquis's dining-room.

In the midst of the meal at the housekeeper's table, mistress Amanda was
taken suddenly ill, and nearly fell from her chair. A spoonful of one of
mistress Watson's strong waters revived her, but she was compelled to
leave the room.

When the remains of the dinner had been cleared away, the tables lifted
from the trestles, and all removed, solemn preparations began to be made
in the hall. The dais was covered with crimson cloth, and chairs were
arranged on each side against the wall for the lords and ladies of the
family, while in the wide space between was set the marquis's chair of
state. Immediately below the dais, chairs were placed by the walls for
the ladies and officers of the household. The minstrels' gallery was
hung with crimson; long ladders were brought, and the windows, the great
bay window and all save the painted one, were hung with thick cloth of
the same colour, so that a dull red light filled the huge place. The
floor was then strewn with fresh rushes, and candles were placed and
lighted in sconces on the walls, and in two large candlesticks, one on
each side of the marquis's chair. So numerous were the hands employed in
these preparations, that about one o'clock the alarum-bell gave three
great tolls, and then silence fell.

Almost noiselessly, and with faces more than grave, the people of the
castle in their Sunday clothes began at once to come trooping
in,--amongst the rest Tom Fool, the very picture of dismay. Mrs. Prescot
had refused to be left behind, partly from terror, partly from
curiosity, and supine on a hand-barrow was borne in, and laid upon two
of the table-trestles. Order and what arrangement was needful were
enforced amongst them by Mr. Cook, one of the ushers. In came the
garrison also, with clank and clang, and took their places with
countenances expressive neither of hardihood nor merriment, but a grave
expectancy.

Mostly by the other door came the ladies and officers, amongst them
Dorothy, and seated themselves below the dais. When it seemed at length
that all were present, the two doors were closed, and silence reigned.

A few minutes more and the ladies and gentlemen of the family, in full
dress, entered by the door at the back of the dais, and were shown to
their places by Mr. Moyle, the first usher. Next came the marquis,
leaning on lord Charles, and walking worse than usual. He too was,
wonderful to tell, in full dress, and, notwithstanding his corpulency
and lameness, looked every inch a marquis and the head of the house. He
placed himself in the great chair, and sat upright, looking serenely
around on the multitude of pale expectant faces, while lord Charles took
his station erect at his left hand. A moment yet, and by the same door,
last of all, entered lord Herbert, alone, in his garb of astrologer. He
came before his father, bowed to him profoundly, and taking his place by
his right hand, a little in front of the chair, cast a keen eye around
the assembly. His look was grave, even troubled, and indeed somewhat
anxious.

'Are all present?' he asked, and was answered only by silence. He then
waved his right hand three times towards heaven, each time throwing open
his palm outwards and upwards. At the close of the third wafture, a roar
as of thunder broke and rolled about the place, making the huge hall
tremble, and the windows rattle and shake fearfully. Some thought it was
thunder, others thought it more like the consecutive discharge of great
guns. It grew darker, and through the dim stained window many saw a
dense black smoke rising from the stone-court, at sight of which they
trembled yet more, for what could it be but the chariot upon which Modo,
or Mahu, or whatever the demon might be called, rode up from the
infernal lake? Again lord Herbert waved his arm three times, and again
the thunder broke and rolled vibrating about the place. A third time he
gave the sign, and once more, but now close over their heads, the
thunder broke, and in the midst of its echoes, high in the oak roof
appeared a little cloud of smoke. It seemed to catch the eye of lord
Herbert. He made one step forward, and held out his hand towards it,
with the gesture of a falconer presenting his wrist to a bird.

'Ha! art thou here?' he said.

And to the eyes of all, a creature like a bat was plainly visible,
perched upon his forefinger, and waving up and down its filmy wings. He
looked at it for a moment, bent his head to it, seemed to whisper, and
then addressed it aloud.

'Go,' he said, 'alight upon the head of him or of her who hath wrought
the evil thou knowest in this house. For it was of thine own kind, and
would have smirched a fair brow.'

As he spoke he cast the creature aloft. A smothered cry came from some
of the women, and Tom Fool gave a great sob and held his breath tight.
Once round the wide space the bat flew, midway between floor and roof,
and returning perched again upon lord Herbert's hand.

'Ha!' said his lordship, stooping his head over it, 'what meanest thou?
Is not the evil-doer in presence? What?--Nay, but it cannot be? Not
within the walls?--Ha! "Not in the HALL" thou sayest!'

He lifted his head, turned to his father, and said,

'Your lordship's commands have been disregarded. One of your people is
absent.'

The marquis turned to lord Charles.

'Call me the ushers of the hall, my lord,' he said.

In a moment the two officers were before him.

'Search and see, and bring me word who is absent,' said the marquis.

The two gentlemen went down into the crowd, one from each side of the
dais.

A minute or two passed, and then Mr. Cook came back and said,--

'My lord, I cannot find Caspar Kaltoff.'

'Caspar! Art not there, Caspar?' cried lord Herbert.

'Here I am, my lord,' answered the voice of Caspar from somewhere in the
hall.

'I beg your lordship's pardon,' said Mr. Cook. 'I failed to find him.'

'It matters not, master usher. Look again,' said lord Herbert.

At the moment, Caspar, the sole attendant spirit, that day at least,
upon his lord's commands, stood in one of the deep windows behind the
crimson cloth, more than twenty feet above the heads of the assembly.
The windows were connected by a narrow gallery in the thickness of the
wall, communicating also with the minstrels' gallery, by means of which,
and a ladder against the porch, Caspar could come and go unseen.

As lord Herbert spoke, Mr. Moyle came up on the dais, and brought his
report that mistress Amanda Fuller was not with the rest of the ladies.

Lord Herbert turned to his wife.

'My lady,' he said, 'mistress Amanda is of your people: knowest thou
wherefore she cometh not?'

'I know not, my lord, but I will send and see,' replied lady
Margaret.--'My lady Broughton, wilt thou go and inquire wherefore the
damsel disregardeth my lord of Worcester's commands?'

She had chosen the gentlest-hearted of her women to go on the message.

Lady Broughton came back pale and trembling--indeed there was much
pallor and trembling that day in Raglan--with the report that she could
not find her. A shudder ran through the whole body of the hall. Plainly
the impression was that she had been FETCHED. The thunder and the smoke
had not been for nothing: the devil had claimed and carried off his own!
On the dais the impression was somewhat different; but all were one in
this, that every eye was fixed on lord Herbert, every thought hanging on
his pleasure.

For a whole minute he stood, apparently lost in meditation. The bat
still rested on his hand, but his wings were still.

He had intended causing it to settle on Amanda's head, but now he must
alter his plan. Nor was he sorry to do so, for it had involved no small
risk of failure, the toy requiring most delicate adjustment, and its
management a circumspection and nicety that occasioned him no little
anxiety. It had indeed been arranged that Amanda should sit right under
the window next the dais, so that he might have the assistance of Caspar
from above; but if by any chance the mechanical bat should alight upon
the head of another, mistress Doughty or lady Broughton instead of
Amanda--what then? He was not sorry to find himself rescued from this
jeopardy, and scarcely more than a minute had elapsed ere he had devised
a plan by which to turn the check to the advantage of all--even that of
Amanda herself, towards whom, while he felt bound to bring her to shame
should she prove guilty, he was yet willing to remember mercy; while,
should she be innocent, no harm would now result from his mistaken
suspicion. He turned and whispered to his father.

'I will back thee, lad. Do as thou wilt,' returned the marquis, gravely
nodding his head.

'Ushers of the hall,' cried lord Herbert, 'close and lock both its
doors. Lock also the door to the minstrels' gallery, and, with my lord's
leave, that to my lord's stair. My lord Charles, go thou prithee, and
with chalk draw me a pentacle upon the threshold of each of the four;
and do thou, sir Toby Mathews, make the holy sign thereabove upon the
lintel and the doorposts. For the door to the pitched court, however,
leave that until I am gone forth and it is closed behind me, and then do
thereunto the same as to the others, after which let all sit in silence.
Move not, neither speak, for any sound of fear or smell of horror. For
the gift that is in him from his mother, Thomas Rees shall accompany me.
Go to the door, and wait until I come.'

Having thus spoken he raised the bat towards his face, and, approaching
his lips, seemed once more to be talking to it in whispers. The menials
and the garrison had no doubt but he talked to his familiar spirit. Of
their superiors, mistress Watson at least was of the same conviction.
Then he bent his ear towards it as if he were listening, and it began to
flutter its wings, at which sir Toby's faith in him began to waver. A
moment more and he cast the creature from him. It flew aloft, traversed
the whole length of the roof, and vanished.

It had in fact, as its master willed, alighted in the farthest corner of
the roof, a little dark recess. Then, bowing low to his father, the
magician stepped down from the dais, and walked through a lane of
awe-struck domestics and soldiery to the door, where Tom stood waiting
his approach. The fool was in a strange flutter of feelings, a conflict
of pride and terror, the latter of which would, but for the former, have
unnerved him quite; for not only was he doubtful of the magician's
intent with regard to himself, but the hall seemed now the only place of
security, and all outside it given over to goblins or worse.

The moment they crossed the threshold, the door was closed behind them,
the holy sign was signed over the one, and the pentacle drawn upon the
other.

All eyes were turned upon the marquis. He sat motionless. Motionless,
too, as if they had been carved in stone like the leopard and wyvern
over their heads, sat all the lords and ladies, embodying in themselves
the words of the motto there graven, Mulaxe Vel Timere Sperno.
Motionless sat the ladies beneath the dais, but their faces were
troubled and pale, for Amanda was one of them, and their imaginations
were busy with what might now be befalling her. Dorothy sat in much
distress, for although she could lay no evil intent to her own charge,
she was yet the cause of the whole fearful business. As for Scudamore,
though he too was white of blee, he said to himself, and honestly, that
the devil might fly away with her and welcome for what he cared. One
woman in the crowd fainted and fell, but uttered never a moan. The very
children were hushed by the dread that pervaded the air, and the smell
of sulphur, which from a suspicion grew to a plain presence, increased
not a little the high-wrought awe.

After about half an hour, during which expectation of something
frightful had been growing with every moment, three great knocks came to
the porch door. Mr. Moyle opened it, and in walked lord Herbert as he
had issued, with Tom Fool, in whom the importance had now at length
banished almost every sign of dread, at his heels. He reascended the
dais, bowed once more to his father, spoke a few words to him in a tone
too low to be overheard, and then turning to the assembly, said with
solemn voice and stern countenance:

'The air is clear. The sin of Raglan is purged. Every one to his place.'

Had not Tom Fool, who had remained by the door, led the way from the
hall, it might have been doubtful when any one would venture to stir;
but, with many a deep-drawn breath and sigh of relief, they trooped
slowly out after him, until the body of the hall was empty. In their
hearts keen curiosity and vague terror contended like fire and water.

From that hour, while Raglan stood, the face of Amanda Serafina was no
more seen within its walls. At midnight shrieks and loud wailings were
heard, but if they came from Amanda, they were her last signs.

I shall not, however, hide the proceedings of lord Herbert without the
hall any more than he did himself when he reached the oak parlour with
the members of his own family, in which Dorothy seemed now included. He
had taken Tom Fool both because he knew the castle so well, and might
therefore be useful in searching for Amanda, and because he believed he
might depend, if not on his discretion, yet on his dread, for secrecy.
They had scarcely left the hall before they were joined by Caspar, who,
while his master and the fool went in one direction, set off in another,
and after a long search in vain, at length found her in an empty stall
in the subterranean stable, as if, in the agony of her terror at the
awful noises and the impending discovery, she had sought refuge in the
companionship of the innocent animals. She was crouching, the very image
of fear, under the manger, gave no cry when he entered, but seemed to
gather a little courage when she found that the approaching steps were
those of a human being.

'Mistress Amanda Fuller,' said his lordship with awful severity, 'thou
hast in thy possession a jewel which is not thine own.'

'A jewel, my lord?' faltered Amanda, betaking herself by the force of
inborn propensity and habit, even when hopeless of success in
concealment, to the falsehood she carried with her like an atmosphere;
'I know not what your lordship means. Of what sort is the jewel?'

'One very like this,' returned lord Herbert, producing the false ring.

'Why, there you have it, my lord!'

'Traitress to thy king and thy lord, out of thine own mouth have I
convicted thee. This is not the ring. See!'

As he spoke he squeezed it betwixt his finger and thumb to a shapeless
mass, and threw it from him--then continued:

'Thou art she who did show the rebel his way from the prison into which
her lord had cast him.'

'He took me by the throat, my lord,' gasped Amanda, 'and put me in
mortal terror.'

'Thou slanderest him,' returned lord Herbert. 'The roundhead is a
gentleman, and would not, to save his life, have harmed thee, even had
he known what a worthless thing thou art. I will grant that he put thee
in fear. But wherefore gavest thou no alarm when he was gone?'

'He made me swear that I would not betray him.'

'Let it be so. Why didst thou not reveal the way he took?'

'I knew it not.'

'Yet thou wentest after him when he left thee. And wherefore didst thou
not deliver the ring he gave thee for mistress Dorothy?'

'I feared she would betray me, that I had held talk with the prisoner.'

'Let that too pass as less wicked than cowardly. But wherefore didst
thou lock the door upon her when thou sawest her go into the roundhead's
prison? Thou knewest that therefrom she must bear the blame of having
set him free, with other blame, and worse for a maiden to endure?'

'It was a sudden temptation, my lord, which I knew not how to resist,
and was carried away thereby. Have pity upon me, dear my lord,' moaned
Amanda.

'I will believe thee there also, for I fear me thou hast had so little
practice in the art of resisting temptation, that thou mightst well
yield to one that urged thee towards such mere essential evil. But how
was it that, after thou hadst had leisure to reflect, thou didst spread
abroad the report that she was found there, and that to the hurt not
only of her loyal fame, but of her maidenly honour, understanding well
that no one was there but herself, and that he alone who could bear
testimony to her innocence and thy guilt was parted from her by
everything that could divide them except hatred? Was the temptation to
that also too sudden for thy resistance?'

At length Amanda was speechless. She hung her head, for the first time
in her life ashamed of herself.

'Go before to thy chamber. I follow thee.'

She rose to obey, but she could scarcely walk, and he ordered the men to
assist her. Arrived in her room she delivered up the ring, and at lord
Herbert's command proceeded to gather together her few possessions. That
done, they led her away to the rude chamber in the watch tower, where
stood the arblast, and there, seated on her chest, they left her with
the assurance that if she cried out or gave any alarm, it would be to
the publishing of her own shame.

At the dead of night Caspar and Tom, with four picked men from the
guard, came to lead her away. Worn out by that time, and with nothing to
sustain her from within, she fancied they were going to kill her, and
giving way utterly, cried and shrieked aloud. Obdurate however, as
gentle, they gave no ear to her petitions, but bore her through the
western gate, and so to the brick gate in the rampart, placed her in a
carriage behind six horses, and set out with her for Caerleon, where her
mother lived in obscurity. At her door they set her down, and leaving
the carriage at Usk, returned to Raglan one by one in the night, mounted
on the horses. By the warders who admitted them they were supposed to be
returned from distinct missions on the king's business.

Many were the speculations in the castle as to the fate of mistress
Amanda Serafina Fuller, but the common belief continued to be that she
had been carried off by Satan, body and soul.

END OF VOLUME II.



START OF VOLUME III



CHAPTER XXXIX.

NEWBURY.


Early the next morning, after Richard had left the cottage for Raglan
castle, mistress Rees was awaked by the sound of a heavy blow against
her door. When with difficulty she had opened it, Richard or his dead
body, she knew not which, fell across her threshold. Like poor Marquis,
he had come to her for help and healing.

When he got out of the quarry, he made for the highroad, but missing the
way the dog had brought him, had some hard work in reaching it; and long
before he arrived--at the cottage, what with his wound, his loss of
blood, his double wetting, his sleeplessness after mistress Watson's
potion, want of food, disappointment and fatigue, he was in a high
fever. The last mile or two he had walked in delirium, but happily with
the one dominant idea of getting help from mother Rees. The poor woman
was greatly shocked to find that the teeth of the trap had closed upon
her favourite and mangled him so terribly. A drop or two of one of her
restoratives, however, soon brought him round so far that he was able to
crawl to the chair on which he had sat the night before, now ages agone
as it seemed, where he now sat shivering and glowing alternately, until
with trembling hands the good woman had prepared her own bed for him.

'Thou hast left thy doublet behind thee,' she said, 'and I warrant me
the cake I gave thee in the pouch thereof! Hadst thou eaten of that,
thou hadst not come to this pass.'

But Richard scarcely heard her voice. His one mental consciousness was
the longing desire to lay his aching head on the pillow, and end all
effort.

Finding his wound appeared very tolerably dressed, Mrs. Rees would not
disturb the bandages. She gave him a cooling draught, and watched by him
till he fell asleep. Then she tidied her house, dressed herself, and got
everything in order for nursing him. She would have sent at once to
Redware to let his father know where and in what condition he was, but
not a single person came near the cottage the whole day, and she dared
not leave him before the fever had subsided. He raved a good deal,
generally in the delusion that he was talking to Dorothy--who sought to
kill him, and to whom he kept giving directions, at one time how to
guide the knife to reach his heart, at another how to mingle her poison
so that it should act with speed and certainty.

At length one fine evening in early autumn, when the red sun shone level
through the window of the little room where he lay, and made a red glory
on the wall, he came to himself a little.

'Is it blood?' he murmured. 'Did Dorothy do it?--How foolish I am! It is
but a blot the sun has left behind him!--Ah! I see! I am dead and lying
on the top of my tomb. I am only marble. This is Redware church. Oh,
mother Rees, is it you! I am very glad! Cover me over a little. The pall
there.'

His eyes closed, and for a few hours he lay in a deep sleep, from which
he awoke very weak, but clear-headed. He remembered nothing, however,
since leaving the quarry, except what appeared a confused dream of
wandering through an interminable night of darkness, weariness, and
pain. His first words were,--

'I must get up, mother Rees: my father will be anxious about me.
Besides, I promised to set out for Gloucester to-day.'

She sought to quiet him, but in vain, and was at last compelled to
inform him that his father, finding he did not return, had armed
himself, mounted Oliver, and himself led his little company to join the
earl of Essex--who was now on his way, at the head of an army consisting
chiefly of the trained bands of London, to raise the siege of
Gloucester.

Richard started up, and would have leaped from the bed, but fell back
helpless and unconscious. When at length his nurse had succeeded in
restoring him, she had much ado to convince him that the best thing in
all respects was to lie still and submit to be nursed--so to get well as
soon as possible, and join his father.

'Alas, mother, I have no horse,' said Richard, and hid his face on the
pillow.

'The Lord will provide what thee wants, my son,' said the old woman with
emotion, neither asking nor caring whether the Lord was on the side of
the king or of the parliament, but as little doubting that he must be on
the side of Richard.

He soon began to eat hopefully, and after a day or two she found pretty
nearly employment enough in cooking for him.

At last, weak as he still was, he would be restrained no longer. To
Gloucester he must go, and relieve his father. Expostulation was
unavailing: go he must, he said, or his soul would tear itself out of
his body, and go without it.

'Besides, mother, I shall be getting better all the way,' he continued.
'--I must go home at once and see whether there is anything left to go
upon.'

He rose the same instant, and, regardless of the good woman's
entreaties, crawled out to go to Redware. She followed him at a little
distance, and, before he had walked a quarter of a mile, he was ready to
accept her offered arm to help him back. But his recovery was now very
rapid, and after a few days he felt able for the journey.

At home he found a note from his father, telling him where to find
money, and informing him that he was ready to yield him Oliver the
moment he should appear to claim him. Richard put on his armour, and
went to the stable. The weather had been fine, and the harvest was
wearing gradually to a close; but the few horses that were left were
overworked, for the necessities of the war had been severe, and that
part of the country had responded liberally on both sides. Besides, Mr.
Heywood had scarce left an animal judged at all fit to carry a man and
keep up with the troop.

When Richard reached the stable, there were in it but three, two of
which, having brought loads to the barn, were now having their mid-day
meal and rest. The first one was ancient in bones, with pits profound
above his eyes, and grey hairs all about a face which had once been
black.

'Thou art but fit for old Father Time to lay his scythe across when he
is aweary,' said Richard, and turned to the next.

She was a huge-bodied, short-legged punch, as fat as butter, with lop
ears and sleepy eyes. Having finished her corn, she was churning away at
a mangerful of grass.

'Thou wouldst burst thy belly at the first charge,' said Richard, and
was approaching the third, one he did not recognise, when a vicious,
straight-out kick informed him that here was temper at least, probably
then spirit. But when he came near enough to see into the stall, there
stood the ugliest brute he thought that ever ate barley. He was very
long-bodied and rather short-legged, with great tufts at his fetlocks,
and the general look of a huge rat, in part doubtless from having no
hair on his long undocked tail. He was biting vigorously at his manger,
and Richard could see the white of one eye glaring at him askance in the
gloom.

'Dunnot go nigh him, sir,' cried Jacob Fortune, who had come up behind.
'Thou knows not his tricks. His name be his nature, and we call him
Beelzebub when master Stopchase be not by. I be right glad to see your
honour up again.'

Jacob was too old to go to the wars, and too indifferent to regret it;
but he was faithful, and had authority over the few men left.

'I thank you, Jacob,' said Richard. 'What brute is this? I know him
not.'

'We all knows him too well, master Richard, though verily Stopchase
bought him but the day before he rode, thinking belike he might carry an
ear or two of wheat. If he be not very good he was not parlous dear; he
paid for him but an old song. He was warranted to have work in him if a
man but knew how to get it out.'

'He is ugly.'

'He is the ugliest horse, cart-horse, nag, or courser, on this
creation-side,' said the old man, '--ugly enough to fright to death
where he doth fail in his endeavour to kill. The men are all mortal
feared on him, for he do kick and he do bite like the living Satan. He
wonnot go in no cart, but there he do stand eating on his head off as
fast as he can. An' the brute were mine, I would slay him; I would, in
good sooth.'

'An' I had but time to cure him of his evil kicking! I fear I must ever
ride the last in the troop,' said Richard.

'Why for sure, master, thee never will ride such a devil-pig as he to
the wars! Will Farrier say he do believe he take his strain from the
swine the devils go into in the miracle. All the children would make a
mock of thee as thou did ride through the villages. Look at his legs:
they do be like stile-posts; and do but look at his tail!'

'Lead him out, Jacob, and let me see his head.'

'I dare not go nigh him, sir. I be not nimble enough to get out of the
way of his hoof. 'I be too old, master.'

Richard pulled on his thick buff glove and went straight into his stall.
The brute made a grab at him with his teeth, met by a smart blow from
Richard's fist, which he did not like, and, rearing, would have struck
at him with his near fore-foot; but Richard caught it by the pastern,
and with his left hand again struck him on the side of the mouth. The
brute then submitted to be led out by the halter. And verily he was ugly
to behold. His neck stuck straight out, and so did his tail, but the
latter went off in a point, and the former in a hideous knob.

'Here is Jack!' cried the old man. 'He lets Jack ride him to the water.
Here, Jack! Get thee upon the hog-back of Beelzebub, and mind the
bristles do not flay thee, and let master Richard see what paces he
hath.'

The animal tried to take the lad down with his hind foot as he mounted,
but scarcely was he seated when he set off at a swinging trot, in which
he plied his posts in manner astonishing. Spirit indeed he must have
had, and plenty, to wield such clubs in such a fashion. His joints were
so loose that the bones seemed to fly about, yet they always came down
right.

'He is guilty of "hypocrisy against the devil,"' said Richard: 'he is
better than he looks. Anyhow, if he but carry me thither, he will as
well "fill a pit" as a handsomer horse. I'll take him. Have you got a
saddle for him?'

'An' he had not brought a saddle with him, thou would not find one in
Gwent to fit him,' said the old man.

Yet another day Richard found himself compelled to tarry--which he spent
in caparisoning Beelzebub to the best of his ability, with the result of
making him, if possible, appear still uglier than before.

The eve of the day of his departure, Marquis paid mistress Rees a second
visit. He wanted no healing or help this time, seeming to have come only
to offer his respects. But the knowledge that here was a messenger, dumb
and discreet, ready to go between and make no sign, set Richard longing
to use him: what message he did send by him I have already recorded.
Although, however, the dog left them that night, he did not reach Raglan
till the second morning after, and must have been roaming the country or
paying other visits all that night and the next day as well, with the
letter about him, which he had allowed no one to touch.

At last Richard was on his way to Gloucester, mounted on Beelzebub, and
much stared at by the inhabitants of every village he passed through.
Apparently, however, there was something about the centaur-compound
which prevented their rudeness from going farther. Beelzebub bore him
well, and, though not a comfortable horse to ride, threw the road behind
him at a wonderful rate, as often and as long as Richard was able to
bear it. But he found himself stronger after every rest, and by the time
he began to draw nigh to Gloucester, he was nearly as well as ever, and
in excellent spirits; one painful thought only haunting him--the fear
that he might, mounted on Beelzebub, have to encounter some one on his
beloved mare. He was consoled, however, to think that the brute was less
dangerous to one before than one behind him, heels being worse than
teeth.

He soon became aware that something decisive had taken place: either
Gloucester had fallen, or Essex had raised the siege, for army there was
none, though the signs of a lately upbroken encampment were visible on
all sides. Presently, inquiring at the gate, he learned that, on the
near approach of Essex, the besieging army had retired, and that, after
a few days' rest, the general had turned again in the direction of
London. Richard, therefore, having fed Beelzebub and eaten his own
dinner, which in his present condition was more necessary than usual to
his being of service, mounted his hideous charger once more, and pushed
on to get up with the army.

Essex had not taken the direct road to London, but kept to the
southward. That same day he followed him as far as Swindon, and found he
was coming up with him rapidly. Having rested a short night, he reached
Hungerford the next morning, which he found in great commotion because
of the intelligence that at Newbury, some seven miles distant only,
Essex had found his way stopped by the king, and that a battle had been
raging ever since the early morning.

Having given his horse a good feed of oats and a draught of ale, Richard
mounted again and rode hard for Newbury. Nor had he rode long before he
heard the straggling reports of carbines, looked to the priming of his
pistols, and loosened his sword in its sheath. When he got under the
wall of Craven park, the sounds of conflict grew suddenly plainer. He
could distinguish the noise of horses' hoofs, and now and then the
confused cries and shouts of hand-to-hand conflict. At Spain he was all
but in it, for there he met wounded men, retiring slowly or carried by
their comrades. These were of his own part, but he did not stop to ask
any questions. Beelzebub snuffed at the fumes of the gunpowder, and
seemed therefrom to derive fresh vigour.

The lanes and hedges between Spein and Newbury had been the scenes of
many a sanguinary tussle that morning, for nowhere had either army found
room to deploy. Some of them had been fought over more than once or
twice. But just before Richard came up, the tide had ebbed from that
part of the way, for Essex's men had had some advantage, and had driven
the king's men through the town and over the bridge, so that he found
the road clear, save of wounded men and a few horses. As he reached
Spinhamland, and turned sharp to the right into the main street of
Newbury, a bullet from the pistol of a royalist officer who lay wounded
struck Beelzebub on the crest--what of a crest he had--and without
injuring made him so furious that his rider had much ado to keep him
from mischief. For, at the very moment, they were met by a rush of
parliament pikemen, retreating, as he could see, over their heads, from
a few of the kings cavalry, who came at a sharp trot down the main
street. The pikemen had got into disorder pursuing some of the enemy who
had divided and gone to the right and left up the two diverging streets,
and when the cavalry appeared at the top of the main street, both parts,
seeing themselves in danger of being surrounded, had retreated. They
were now putting the Kennet with its narrow bridge between them and the
long-feathered cavaliers, in the hope of gaining time and fit ground for
forming and presenting a bristled front. In the midst of this confused
mass of friends Richard found himself, the maddened Beelzebub every
moment lashing out behind him when not rearing or biting.

Before him the bridge rose steep to its crown, contracting as it rose.
At its foot, where it widened to the street, stood a single horseman,
shouting impatiently to the last of the pikemen, and spurring his horse
while holding him. As the last man cleared the bridge, he gave him rein,
and with a bound and a scramble reached the apex, and stood--within half
a neck of the foremost of the cavalier troop. A fierce combat instantly
began between them. The bridge was wide enough for two to have fought
side by side, but the roundhead contrived so to work his antagonist, who
was a younger but less capable and less powerful man, that no comrade
could get up beside him for the to-and-fro shifting of his horse.

Meantime Richard had been making his slow way through the swarm of
hurrying pikemen, doing what he could to keep them off Beelzebub. The
moment he was clear, he made a great bolt for the bridge, and the same
moment perceived who the brave man was.

'Hold on, sir,' he shouted. 'Hold your own, father! Here I am! Here is
Richard!'

And as he shouted he sent Beelzebub, like low-flying bolt from
cross-bow, up the steep crown of the bridge, and wedged him in between
Oliver and the parapet, just as a second cavalier made a dart for the
place. At his horse Beelzebub sprang like a fury, rearing, biting, and
striking out with his fore-feet in such manner as quite to make up to
his rider for the disadvantage of his low stature. The cavalier's horse
recoiled in terror, rearing also, but snorting and backing and wavering,
so that, in his endeavours to avoid the fury of Beelzebub, which was
frightful to see, for with ears laid back and gleaming teeth he looked
more like a beast of prey, he would but for the crowd behind him have
fallen backward down the slope. A bullet from one of Richard's pistols
sent his rider over his tail, the horse fell sideways against that of
Mr. Heywood's antagonist, and the path was for a moment barricaded.

'Well done, good Beelzebub!' cried Richard, as he reined him back on to
the crest of the bridge.

'Boy!' said his father sternly, at the same instant dealing his
encumbered opponent a blow on the head-piece which tumbled him also from
his horse, 'is the sacred hour of victory a time to sully with profane
and foolish jests? I little thought to hear such words at my side--not
to say from the mouth of my own son!'

'Pardon me, father; I praised my horse,' said Richard. 'I think not he
ever had praise before, but it cannot corrupt him, for he is such an
ill-conditioned brute that they that named him did name him Beelzebub:
Now that he hath once done well, who knoweth but it may cease to fit
him!'

'I am glad thy foolish words were so harmless,' returned Mr. Heywood,
smiling. 'In my ears they sounded so evil that I could ill accept their
testimony.--Verily the animal is marvellous ill-favoured, but, as thou
sayest, he hath done well, and the first return we make him shall be to
give him another name. The less man or horse hath to do with Satan the
better, for what is he but the arch-foe of the truth?'

While they spoke, they kept a keen watch on the enemy--who could not get
near to attack them, save with a few pistol-bullets, mostly
wide-shot--for both horses were down, and their riders helpless if not
slain.

'What shall we call him then, father?' asked Richard.

'He is amazing like a huge rat!' said his father. 'Let us henceforth
call him Bishop.'

'Wherefore Bishop and not Beelzebub, sir?' inquired Richard.

Mr. Heywood laughed, but ere he could reply, a large troop of horsemen
appeared at the top of the street. Glancing then behind in some anxiety,
they saw to their relief that the pikemen had now formed themselves into
a hollow square at the foot of the bridge, prepared to receive cavalry.
They turned therefore, and, passing through them, rode to find their
regiment.

From that day Bishop, notwithstanding his faults many and grievous, was
regarded with respect by both father and son, Richard vowing never to
mount another, let laugh who would, so long as the brute lived and he
had not recovered Lady.

But they had to give him room for two on the march, and the place behind
him was always left vacant, which they said gave no more space than he
wanted, seeing he kicked out his leg to twice its walking length. Before
long, however, they had got so used to his ways that they almost ceased
to regard them as faults, and he began to grow a favourite in the
regiment.



CHAPTER XL.

DOROTHY AND ROWLAND.


Such was the force of law and custom in Raglan that as soon as any
commotion ceased things settled at once. It was so now. The minds of the
marquis and lord Charles being at rest both as regarded the gap in the
defences of the castle and the character of its inmates, the very next
day all was order again. The fate of Amanda was allowed gradually to
ooze out, but the greater portion both of domestics and garrison
continued firm in the belief that she had been carried off by Satan.
Young Delaware, indeed, who had been revelling late--I mean in the
chapel with the organ--and who was always the more inclined to believe a
thing the stranger it was, asserted that he SAW devil fly away with
her--a testimony which gained as much in one way as it lost in another
by the fact that he could not see at all.

To Scudamore her absence, however caused, was only a relief. She had
ceased to interest him, while Dorothy had become to him like an
enchanted castle, the spell of which he flattered himself he was the
knight born to break. All his endeavours, however, to attract from her a
single look such as indicated intelligence, not to say response, were
disappointed. She seemed absolutely unsuspicious of what he sought,
neither, having so long pretermitted what claim he might once have
established to cousinly relations with her, could he now initiate any
intimacy on that ground. Had she become an inmate of Raglan immediately
after he first made her acquaintance, that might have ripened to
something more hopeful; but when she came she was in sorrow, nor felt
that there was any comfort in him, while he was beginning to yield to
the tightening bonds mistress Amanda had flung around him. Nor since had
he afforded her any ground for altering her first impressions, or
favourably modifying a feature of the portrait lady Margaret had
presented of him.

Strange to say, however, poorly grounded as was the original interest he
had taken in her, and little as he was capable of understanding her, he
soon began, even while yet confident in his proved advantages of person
and mind and power persuasive, to be vaguely wrought upon by the
superiority of her nature. With this the establishment of her innocence
in the eyes of the household had little to do; indeed, that threatened
at first to destroy something of her attraction; a passionate, yielding,
even erring nature, had of necessity for such as he far more enchantment
than a nature that ruled its own emotions, and would judge such as might
be unveiled to it. Neither was it that her cold courtesy and kind
indifference roused him to call to the front any of the more valuable
endowments of his being; something far better had commenced:
unconsciously to himself, the dim element of truth that flitted vaporous
about in him had begun to respond to the great pervading and enrounding
orb of her verity. He began to respect her, began to feel drawn as if by
another spiritual sense than that of which Amanda had laid hold. He
found in her an element of authority. The conscious influences to whose
triumph he had been so perniciously accustomed, had proved powerless
upon her, while those that in her resided unconscious were subduing him.
Her star was dominant over his.

At length he began to be aware that this was no light preference, no
passing fancy, but something more serious than he had hitherto
known--that in fact he was really, though uncomfortably and
unsatisfactorily, in love with her. He felt she was not like any other
girl he had made his shabby love to, and would have tried to make better
to her, but she kept him at a distance, and that he began to find
tormenting. One day, for example, meeting her in the court as she was
crossing towards the keep,--

'I would thou didst take apprentices, cousin,' he said, 'so I might be
one, and learn of thee the mysteries of thy trade.'

'Wherefore, cousin?'

'That I might spare thee something of thy labour.'

'That were no kindness. I am not like thee; I find labour a thing to be
courted rather than spared; I am not overwrought.'

Scudamore gazed into her grey eyes, but found there nothing to
contradict, nothing to supplement the indifference of her words. There
was no lurking sparkle of humour, no acknowledgment of kindness. There
was a something, but he could not understand it, for his poor shapeless
soul might not read the cosmic mystery embodied in their depths. He
stammered--who had never known himself stammer before, broke the joints
of an ill-fitted answer, swept the tiles with the long feather in his
hat, and found himself parted from her, with the feeling that he had not
of himself left her, but had been borne away by some subtle force
emanating from her.

Lord Herbert had again left the castle. More soldiers and more must
still be raised for the king. Now he would be paying his majesty a visit
at Oxford, and inspecting the life-guards he had provided him, now back
in South Wales, enlisting men, and straining every power in him to keep
the district of which his father was governor in good affection and
loyal behaviour.

Winter drew nigh, and stayed somewhat the rush of events, clogged the
wheels of life as they ran towards death, brought a little sleep to the
world and coolness to men's hearts--led in another Christmas, and looked
on for a while.

Nor did the many troubles heaped on England, the drained purses, the
swollen hearts, the anxious minds, the bereaved houses, the ruptures,
the sorrows, and the hatreds, yet reach to dull in any large measure the
merriment of the season at Raglan. Customs are like carpets, for ever
wearing out whether we mark it or no, but Lord Worcester's patriarchal
prejudices, cleaving to the old and looking askance on the new, caused
them to last longer in Raglan than almost anywhere else: the old were
the things of his fathers which he had loved from his childhood; the new
were the things of his children which he had not proven.

What a fire that was that blazed on the hall-hearth under the great
chimney, which, dividing in two, embraced a fine window, then again
becoming one, sent the hot blast rushing out far into the waste of
wintry air! No one could go within yards of it for the fierce heat of
the blazing logs, now and then augmented by huge lumps of coal. And
when, on the evenings of special merry-making, the candles were lit, the
musicians were playing, and a country dance was filling the length of
the great floor, in which the whole household, from the marquis himself,
if his gout permitted, to the grooms and kitchen-maids, would take part,
a finer outburst of homely splendour, in which was more colour than
gilding, more richness than shine, was not to be seen in all the island.

On such an occasion Rowland had more than once attempted nearer approach
to Dorothy, but had gained nothing. She neither repelled nor encouraged
him, but smiled at his better jokes, looked grave at his silly ones, and
altogether treated him like a boy, young--or old--enough to be
troublesome if encouraged. He grew desperate, and so one night summoned
up courage as they stood together waiting for the next dance.

'Why will you never talk to me, cousin Dorothy?' he said.

'Is it so, Mr. Scudamore? I was not aware. If thou spoke and I answered
not, I am sorry.'

'No, I mean not that,' returned Scudamore. 'But when I venture to speak,
you always make me feel as if I ought not to have spoken. When I call
you COUSIN DOROTHY, you reply with MR. SCUDAMORE.'

'The relation is hardly near enough to justify a less measure of
observance.'

'Our mothers loved each other.'

'They found each other worthy.'

'And you do not find me such?' sighed Scudamore, with a smile meant to
be both humble and bewitching.

'N-n-o. Thou hast not made me desire to hold with thee much converse.'

'Tell me why, cousin, that I may reform that which offends thee.'

'If a man see not his faults with his own eyes, how shall he see them
with the eyes of another?'

'Wilt thou never love me, Dorothy?--not even a little?'

'Wherefore should I love thee, Rowland?'

'We are commanded to love even our enemies.'

'Art thou then mine enemy, cousin?'

'No, forsooth! I am the most loving friend thou hast.'

'Then am I sorely to be pitied.'

'For having my love?'

'Nay; for having none better than thine. But thank God, it is not so.'

'Must I then be thine enemy indeed before thou wilt love me?'

'No, cousin: cease to be thine own enemy and I will call thee my
friend.'

'Marry! wherein then am I mine own enemy? I lead a sober life enough--as
thou seest, ever under the eye of my lord.'

'But what wouldst thou an' thou wert from under the eye of thy lord? I
know thee better than thou thinkest, cousin. I have read thy title-page,
if not thy whole book.'

'Tell me then how runneth my title-page, cousin.'

'The art of being wilfully blind, or The way to see no farther than one
would.'

'Fair preacher,--' began Rowland, but Dorothy interrupted him.

'Nay then, an' thou betake thee to thy jibes, I have done,' she said.

'Be not angry with me; it is but my nature, which for thy sake I will
control. If thou canst not love me, wilt thou not then pity me a
little?'

'That I may pity thee, answer me what good thing is there in thee
wherefore I should love thee.'

'Wouldst thou have a man trumpet his own praises?'

'I fear not that of thee who hast but the trumpet--I will tell thee this
much: I have never seen in thee that thou didst love save for the
pastime thereof. I doubt if thou lovest thy master for more than thy
place.'

'Oh cousin!'

'Be honest with thyself, Rowland. If thou would have me for thy cousin,
it must be on the ground of truth.'

Rowland possessed at least good nature: few young men would have borne
to be so severely handled. But then, while one's good opinion of himself
remains untroubled, confesses no touch, gives out no hollow sound,
shrinks not self-hurt with the doubt of its own reality, hostile
criticism will not go very deep, will not reach to the quick. The thing
that hurts is that which sets trembling the ground of self-worship, lays
bare the shrunk cracks and wormholes under the golden plates of the
idol, shows the ants running about in it, and renders the foolish smile
of the thing hateful. But he who will then turn away from his imagined
self, and refer his life to the hidden ideal self, the angel that ever
beholds the face of the Father, shall therein be made whole and sound,
alive and free.

The dance called them, and their talk ceased. When it was over, Dorothy
left the hall and sought her chamber. But in the fountain court her
cousin overtook her, and had the temerity to resume the conversation.
The moth would still at any risk circle the candle. It was a still
night, and therefore not very cold, although icicles hung from the mouth
of the horse, and here and there from the eaves. They stood by the
marble basin, and the dim lights and scarce dimmer shadows from many an
upper window passed athwart them as they stood. The chapel was faintly
lighted, but the lantern-window on the top of the hall shone like a
yellow diamond in the air.

'Thou dost me scant justice, cousin,' said Rowland, 'maintaining that I
love but myself or for mine own ends. I know that love thee better than
so.'

'For thine own sake, I would, might I but believe it, be glad of the
assurance. But--'

Amanda's behaviour to her having at last roused counter observation and
speculation on Dorothy's part, she had become suddenly aware that there
was an understanding between her and Rowland. It was gradually, however,
that the question rose in her mind: could these two have been the
nightly intruders on the forbidden ground of the workshop, and
afterwards the victims of the water-shoot? But the suspicion grew to all
but a conviction. Latterly she had observed that their behaviour to each
other was changed, also that Amanda's aversion to herself seemed to have
gathered force. And one thing she had found remarkable--that Rowland
revealed no concern for Amanda's misfortunes, or anxiety about her fate.
With all these things potentially present in her mind, she came all at
once to the resolution of attempting a bold stroke.

'--But,' Dorothy went on, 'when I think how thou didst bear thee with
mistress Amanda--'

'My precious Dorothy!' exclaimed Scudamore, filled with a sudden gush of
hope, 'thou wilt never be so unjust to thyself as to be jealous of her!
She is to me as nothing--as if she had never been; nor care I forsooth
if the devil hath indeed flown away with her bodily, as they will have
it in the hall and the guard-room.'

'Thou didst seem to hold friendly enough converse with her while she was
yet one of us.'

'Ye-e-s. But she had no heart like thee, Dorothy, as I soon discovered.
She had indeed a pretty wit of her own, but that was all. And then she
was spiteful. She hated thee, Dorothy.'

He spoke of her as one dead.

'How knewest thou that? Wast thou then so far in her confidence, and art
now able to talk of her thus? Where is thine own heart, Mr. Scudamore?'

'In thy bosom, lovely Dorothy.'

'Thou mistakest. But mayhap thou dost imagine I picked it up that night
thou didst lay it at mistress Amanda's feet in my lord's workshop in the
keep?'

Dorothy's hatred of humbug--which was not the less in existence then
that they had not the ugly word to express the uglier thing--enabled her
to fix her eyes on him as she spoke, and keep them fixed when she had
ended. He turned pale--visibly pale through the shadowy night, nor
attempted to conceal his confusion. It is strange how self-conviction
will wait upon foreign judgment, as if often only the general conscience
were powerful enough to wake the individual one.

'Or perhaps,' she continued, 'it was torn from thee by the waters that
swept thee from the bridge, as thou didst venture with her yet again
upon the forbidden ground.'

He hung his head, and stood before her like a chidden child.

'Think'st thou,' she went on, 'that my lord would easily pardon such
things?'

'Thou knewest it, and didst not betray me! Oh Dorothy!' murmured
Scudamore. 'Thou art a very angel of light, Dorothy.'

He seized her hand, and but for the possible eyes upon them, he would
have flung himself at her feet.

Dorothy, however, would not yet lay aside the part she had assumed as
moral physician--surgeon rather.

'But notwithstanding all this, cousin Rowland, when trouble came upon
the young lady, what comfort was there for her in thee? Never hadst thou
loved her, although I doubt not thou didst vow and swear thereto an
hundred times.'

Rowland was silent. He began to fear her.

'Or what love thou hadst was of such sort that thou didst encourage in
her that which was evil, and then let her go like a haggard hawk. Thou
marvellest, forsooth, that I should be so careless of thy merits! Tell
me, cousin, what is there in thee that I should love? Can there be love
for that which is nowise lovely? Thou wilt doubtless say in thy heart,
"She is but a girl, and how then should she judge concerning men and
their ways?" But I appeal to thine own conscience, Rowland, when I ask
thee--is this well? And if a maiden truly loved thee, it were all one.
Thou wouldst but carry thyself the same to her--if not to-day, then
to-morrow, or a year hence.'

'Not if she were good, Dorothy, like thee,' he murmured.

'Not if thou wert good, Rowland, like Him that made thee.'

'Wilt thou not teach me then to be good like thee, Dorothy?'

'Thou must teach thyself to be good like the Rowland thou knowest in thy
better heart, when it is soft and lowly.'

'Wouldst thou then love me a little, Dorothy, if I vowed to be thy
scholar, and study to be good? Give me some hope to help me in the hard
task.'

'He that is good is good for goodness' sake, Rowland. Yet who can fail
to love that which is good in king or knave?'

'Ah! but do not mock me, Dorothy: such is not the love I would have of
thee.'

'It is all thou ever canst have of me, and methinks it is not like thou
wilt ever have it, for verily thou art of nature so light that any wind
may blow thee into the Dead Sea.'

From a saint it was enough to anger any sinner.

'I see!' cried Scudamore. 'For all thy fine reproof, thou too canst
spurn a heart at thy feet. I will lay my life thou lovest the roundhead,
and art but a traitress for all thy goodness.'

'I am indeed traitress enough to love any roundhead gentleman better
than a royalist knave,' said Dorothy; and turning from him she sought
the grand staircase.



CHAPTER XLI.

GLAMORGAN.


The winter passed, with much running to and fro, in foul weather and
fair; and still the sounds of war came no nearer to Raglan, which lay
like a great lion in a desert that the hunter dared not arouse. The
whole of Wales, except a castle or two, remained subject to the king;
and this he owed in great measure to the influence and devotion of the
Somersets, his obligation to whom he seemed more and more bent on
acknowledging.

One day in early summer lady Margaret was sitting in her parlour, busy
with her embroidery, and Dorothy was by her side assisting her, when
lord Herbert, who had been absent for many days, walked in.

'How does my lady Glamorgan?' he said gaily.

'What mean you, my Herbert?' returned his wife, looking in his eyes
somewhat eagerly.

'Thy Herbert am I no more; neither plume I myself any more in the spare
feathers of my father. Thou art, my dove, as thou deservest to be,
countess of Glamorgan, in the right of thine own husband, first earl of
the same; for such being the will of his majesty, I doubt not thou wilt
give thy consent thereto, and play the countess graciously. Come,
Dorothy, art not proud to be cousin to an earl?'

'I am proud that you should call me cousin, my lord,' answered Dorothy;
'but truly to me it is all one whether you be called Herbert or
Glamorgan. So thou remain thou, cousin, and my friend, the king may call
thee what he will, and if thou art pleased, so am I.'

It was the first time she had ever thou'd him, and she turned pale at
her own daring.

'St. George! but thou hast well spoken, cousin!' cried the earl. 'Hath
she not, wife?'

'So well that if she often saith as well, I shall have much ado not to
hate her,' replied lady Glamorgan. 'When didst thou ever cry "well
spoken" to thy mad Irishwoman, Ned?'

'All thou dost is well, my lady. Thou hast all the titles to my praises
already in thy pocket. Besides, cousin Dorothy is young and meek, and
requireth a little encouragement.'

'Whereas thy wife is old and bold, and cares no more for thy good word,
my new lord of Glamorgan?'

Dorothy looked so grave that they both fell a-laughing.

'I would thou couldst teach her a merry jest or two, Margaret,' said the
earl. 'We are decent people enough in Raglan, but she is much too sober
for us. Cheer up, Dorothy! Good times are at hand: that thou mayest not
doubt it, listen--but this is only for thy ear, not for thy tongue: the
king hath made thy cousin, that is me, Edward Somerset, the husband of
this fair lady, generalissimo of his three armies, and admiral of a
fleet, and truly I know not what all, for I have yet but run my eye over
the patent. And, wife, I verily do believe the king but bides his time
to make my father duke of Somerset, and then one day thou wilt be a
duchess, Margaret. Think on that!'

Lady Glamorgan burst into tears.

'I would I might have a kiss of my Molly!' she cried.

She had never before in Dorothy's hearing uttered the name of her child
since her death. New dignity, strange as it may seem to some, awoke
suddenly the thought of the darling to whom titles were but words, and
the ice was broken. A pause followed.

'Yes, Margaret, thou art right,' said Glamorgan at length; 'it is all
but folly; yet as the marks of a king's favour, such honours are
precious.'

As to what a king's favour itself might be worth, that my lord of
Glamorgan lived to learn.

'It is I who pay for them,' said his wife.

'How so, my dove?'

'Do they not cost me thee, Herbert--and cost me very dear? Art not ever
from my sight? Wish I not often as I lay awake in the dark, that we were
all in heaven and well over with the foolery of it? The angels keep
Molly in mind of us!'

'Yes, my Peggy, it is hard on thee, and hard on me too,' said the earl
tenderly, 'yet not so hard as upon our liege lord, the king, who selleth
his plate and jewels.'

'Pooh! what of that then, Herbert? An' he would leave me thee, he might
have all mine, and welcome; for thou knowest, Ned, I but hold them for
thee to sell when thou wilt.'

'I know; and the time may come, though, thank God, it is not yet. What
wouldst thou say, countess, if with all thy honours thou did yet come to
poverty? Canst be poor and merry, think'st thou?'

'So thou wert with me, Herbert--Glamorgan, I would say, but my lips
frame not themselves to the word. I like not the title greatly, but when
it means thee to me, then shall I love it.'

    'Art thou poor, yet hast thou golden slumbers?
             O sweet content!'

--sang the earl in a mellow tenor voice.

'My lord, an' I have leave to speak,' said Dorothy, 'did you not say the
diamond in that ring Richard Heywood sent me was of some worth?'

'I did, cousin. It is a stone of the finest water, and of good weight,
though truly I weighed it not.'

'Then would I cast it in the king's treasury, an' if your lordship would
condescend to be the bearer of such a small offering.'

'No, child; the king robs not orphans.'

'Did the King of Kings rob the poor widow that cast in her two mites,
then?'

'No; but perhaps the priests did. Still, as I say, the hour may come
when all our mites may be wanted, and thine be accepted with the rest,
but my father and I have yet much to give, and shall have given it
before that hour come. Besides, as to thee, Dorothy, what would that
handsome roundhead of thine say, if instead of keeping well the ring he
gave thee, thou had turned it to the use he liked the least?'

'He will never ask me concerning it,' said Dorothy, with a faint smile.

'Be not over-sure of it, child. My lady asks me many things I never
thought to tell her before the priest made us one. Dorothy, I have no
right and no wish to spy into thy future, and fright thee with what, if
it come at all, will come peacefully as June weather. I have not
constructed thy horoscope to cast thy nativity, and therefore I speak as
one of the ignorant; but let me tell thee, for I do say it confidently,
that if these wars were once over, and the king had his own again, there
will be few men in his three kingdoms so worthy of the hand and heart of
Dorothy Vaughan as that same roundhead fellow, Richard Heywood. I would
to God he were as good a catholic as he is a mistaken puritan! And now,
my lady, may I not send thy maiden from us, for I would talk with thee
alone of certain matters--not from distrust of Dorothy, but that they
are not my own to impart, therefore I pray her absence.'

The parliament having secured the assistance of the Scots, and their
forces having, early in the year, entered England, the king on his side
was now meditating an attempt to secure the assistance of the Irish
catholics, to which the devotion of certain of the old catholic houses
at home encouraged him. But it was a game of terrible danger, for if he
lost it, he lost everything; and that it should transpire before
maturity would be to lose it absolutely; for the Irish catholics had,
truly or falsely, been charged with such enormities during the
rebellion, that they had become absolutely hateful in the eyes of all
English protestants, and any alliance with them must cost him far more
in protestants than he could gain by it in catholics. It was necessary
therefore that he should go about it with the utmost caution; and indeed
in his whole management of it, the wariness far exceeded the dignity,
and was practised at the expense of his best friends. But the poor king
was such a believer in his father's pet doctrine of the divine right of
his inheritance, that not only would he himself sacrifice everything to
the dim shadow of royalty which usurped the throne of his conscience,
but would, without great difficulty or compunction, though not always
without remorse, accept any sacrifice which a subject might have
devotion enough to bring to the altar before which Charles Stuart acted
as flamen.

In this my story of hearts rather than fortunes, it is not necessary to
follow the river of public events through many of its windings, although
every now and then my track will bring me to a ferry, where the boat
bearing my personages will be seized by the force of the current, and
carried down the stream while crossing to the other bank.

It must have been, I think, in view of his slowly-maturing intention to
employ lord Herbert in a secret mission to Ireland with the object above
mentioned, that the king had sought to bind him yet more closely to
himself by conferring on him the title of Glamorgan. It was not,
however, until the following year, when his affairs seemed on the point
of becoming desperate, that he proceeded, possibly with some protestant
compunctions, certainly with considerable protestant apprehension, to
carry out his design. Towards this had pointed the relaxation of his
measures against the catholic rebels for some time previous, and may to
some have indicated hopes entertained of them. It must be remembered
that while these catholics united to defend the religion of their
country, they, like the Scots who had joined the parliament, professed a
sincere attachment to their monarch, and in the persons of their own
enemies had certainly taken up arms against many of his.

Meantime the Scots had invaded England, and the parliament had largely
increased their forces in the hope of a decisive engagement; but the
king refused battle and gained time. In the north prince Rupert made
some progress, and brought on the battle of Marston Moor, where the
victory was gained by Cromwell, after all had been regarded as lost by
the other parliamentary generals. On the other hand, the king gained an
important advantage in the west country over Essex and his army.

The trial and execution of Laud, who died in the beginning of the
following year, obeying the king rather than his rebellious lords, was a
terrible sign to the house of Raglan of what the presbyterian party was
capable of. But to Dorothy it would have given a yet keener pain, had
she not begun to learn that neither must the excesses of individuals be
attributed to their party, nor those of his party taken as embodying the
mind of every one who belongs to it. At the same time the old
insuperable difficulty returned; how could Richard belong to such a
party?



CHAPTER XLII.

A NEW SOLDIER.


Moments had scarcely passed after Dorothy left him at the fountain, ere
Scudamore grievously repented of having spoken to her in such a manner,
and would gladly have offered apology and what amends he might.

But Dorothy, neither easily moved to wrath, nor yet given to the
nourishing of active resentment, was not therefore at all the readier to
forget the results of moral difference, or to permit any nearer approach
on the part of one such as her cousin had shown himself. As long as he
continued so self-serene and unashamed, what satisfaction to her or what
good to him could there be in it, even were he to content himself with
the cousinly friendship which, as soon as he was capable of it, she was
willing to afford him? As it was now, she granted him only distant
recognition in company, neither seeking nor avoiding him; and as to all
opportunity of private speech, entirely shunning him. For some time, in
the vanity of his experience, he never doubted that these were only
feminine arts, or that when she judged him sufficiently punished, she
would relax the severity of her behaviour and begin to make him amends.
But this demeanour of hers endured so long, and continued so uniform,
that at length he began to doubt the universality of his experience, and
to dread lest the maiden should actually prove what he had never found
maiden before, inexorable. He did not reflect that he had given her no
ground whatever for altering her judgment or feeling with regard to him.
But in truth her thoughts rarely turned to him at all, and while his
were haunting her as one who was taking pleasure in the idea that she
was making him feel her resentment, she was simply forgetting him, busy
perhaps with some self-offered question that demanded an answer, or
perhaps brooding a little over the past, in which the form of Richard
now came and went at its will.

So long as Rowland imagined the existence of a quarrel, he imagined
therein a bond between them; when he became convinced that no quarrel,
only indifference, or perhaps despisal, separated them, he began again
to despair, and felt himself urged once more to speak. Seizing therefore
an opportunity in such manner that she could not escape him without
attracting very undesirable attention, he began a talk upon the old
basis.

'Wilt thou then forgive me nevermore, Dorothy?', he said humbly.

'For what, Mr. Scudamore?'

'I mean for offending thee with rude words.'

'Truly I have forgotten them.'

'Then shall we be friends?'

'Nay, that follows not.'

'What quarrel then hast thou with me?'

'I have no quarrel with thee; yet is there one thing I cannot forgive
thee.'

'And what is that, cousin? Believe me I know not. I need but to know,
and I will humble myself.'

'That would serve nothing, for how should I forgive thee for being
unworthy? For such thing there is no forgiveness. Cease thou to be
unworthy, and then is there nothing to forgive. I were an unfriendly
friend, Rowland, did I befriend the man who befriendeth not himself.'

'I understand thee not, cousin.'

'And I understand not thy not understanding. Therefore can there be no
communion between us.'

So saying Dorothy left him to what consolation he could find in such
china-pastoral abuse as the gallants of the day would, with the aid of
poetic penny-trumpet, cast upon offending damsels--Daphnes and Chloes,
and, in the mood, heathen shepherdesses in general. But, fortunately for
himself, how great soever had been the freedom with which he had lost
and changed many a foolish liking, he found, let his hopelessness or his
offence be what it might, he had not the power to shake himself free
from the first worthy passion ever roused in him. It had struck root
below the sandy upper stratum of his mind into a clay soil beneath,
where at least it was able to hold, and whence it could draw a little
slow reluctant nourishment.

During his poetic anger, he wrote no small amount of fair verse, tried
by the standard of Cowley, Carew, and Suckling, so like theirs indeed
that the best of it might have passed for some of their worst, although
there was not in it all a single phrase to remind one of their best. But
when the poetic spring began to run dry, he fell once more into a sort
of wilful despair, and disrelished everything, except indeed his food
and drink, so much so that his master perceiving his altered cheer, one
day addressed him to know the cause.

'What aileth thee, Rowland?' he said kindly. 'For this se'en-night past,
thou lookest like one that oweth the hangman his best suit.'

'I rust, my lord,' said Rowland, with a tragic air of discontent.

The notion had arisen in his foolish head that the way to soften the
heart of Dorothy would be to ride to the wars, and get himself slain,
or, rather severely but not mortally wounded. Then he would be brought
back to Raglan, and, thinking he was going to die, Dorothy would nurse
him, and then she would be sure to fall in love with him. Yes--he would
ride forth on the fellow Heywood's mare, seek him in the field of
battle, and slay him, but be himself thus grievously wounded.

'I rust, my lord,' he said briefly.

'Ha! Thou wouldst to the wars! I like thee for that, boy. Truly the king
wanteth soldiers, and that more than ever. Thou art a good cupbearer,
but I will do my best to savour my claret without thee. Thou shalt to
the king, and what poor thing my word may do for thee shall not be
wanting.'

Scudamore had expected opposition, and was a little nonplussed. He had
judged himself essential to his master's comfort, and had even hoped he
might set Dorothy to use her influence towards reconciling him to remain
at home. But although self-indulgent and lazy, Scudamore was
constitutionally no coward, and had never had any experience to give him
pause: he did not know what an ugly thing a battle is after it is over,
and the mind has leisure to attend to the smarting of the wounds.

'I thank your lordship with all my heart,' he said, putting on an air of
greater satisfaction than he felt, 'and with your lordship's leave would
prefer a further request.'

'Say on, Rowland. I owe thee something for long and faithful service.
An' I can, I will.'

'Give me the roundhead's mare that I may the better find her master.'

For Lady was still within the walls. The marquis could not restore her,
but neither could he bring himself to use her, cherishing the hope of
being one day free to give her back to a reconciled subject. But alas!
there were very few horses now in Raglan stalls.

'No, Rowland,' he said, 'thou art the last who ought to get any good of
her. It were neither law nor justice to hand the stolen goods to the
thief.'

He sat silent, and Rowland, not very eager, stood before him in silence
also, meaning it to be read as indicating that to the wars except on
that mare's back he would not ride. But the thought of the marquis had
now taken another turn.

'Thou shalt have her, my boy. Thou shalt not rust at home for the sake
of a gouty old man and his claret. But ere thou go, I will write out
certain maxims for thy following both in the field and in quarters. Ere
thou ride, look well to thy girths, and as thou ridest say thy prayers,
for it pleaseth not God that every man on the right side should live,
and thou mayst find the presence in which thou standest change suddenly
from that of mortal man to that of living God. I say nothing of
orthodoxy, for truly I am not one to think that because a man hath been
born a heretic, which lay not in his choice, and hath not been of his
parents taught in the truth, that therefore he must howl for ever. Not
while blessed Mary is queen of heaven, will all the priests in
Christendom persuade me thereof. Only be thou fully persuaded in thine
own mind, Rowland; for if thou cared not, that were an evil thing
indeed. And of all things, my lad, remember this, that a weak blow were
ever better unstruck. Go now to the armourer, and to him deliver my will
that he fit thee out as a cuirassier for his majesty's service. I can
give thee no rank, for I have no regiment in the making at present, but
it may please his majesty to take care of thee, and give thee a place in
my lord Glamorgan's regiment of body-guards.'

The prospect thus suddenly opened to Scudamore of a wider life and
greater liberty, might have dazzled many a nobler nature than his. Lord
Worcester saw the light in his eyes, and as he left the room gazed after
him with pitiful countenance.

'Poor lad! poor lad!' he said to himself; 'I hope I see not the last of
thee! God forbid! But here thou didst but rust, and it were a vile thing
in an old man to infect a youth with the disease of age.'

Rowland soon found the master of the armoury, and with him crossed to
the keep, where it lay, above the workshop. At the foot of the stair he
talked loud, in the hope that Dorothy might be with the fire-engine,
which he thought he heard at work, and would hear him. Having chosen
such pieces as pleased his fancy, and needed but a little of the
armourer's art to render them suitable, he filled his arms with them,
and following the master down, contrived to fall a little behind, so
that he should leave the tower before him, when he dropped them all with
a huge clatter at the foot of the stair. The noise was sufficient, for
it brought out Dorothy. She gazed for a moment as, pretending not to
have seen her, he was picking them up with his back towards her.

'Do I see thee arming at length, cousin?' she said. 'I congratulate
thee.'

She held out her hand to him. He took it and stared. The reception of
his noisy news was different from what he had been vain enough to hope.
So little had Dorothy's behaviour in the capture of Rowland enlightened
him as to her character!

'Thou wouldst have me slain then to be rid of me, Dorothy?' he gasped.

'I would have any man slain where men fight,' returned Dorothy, 'rather
than idling within stone walls!'

'Thou art hard-hearted, Dorothy, and knowest not what love is, else
wouldst thou pity me a little.'

'What! art afraid, cousin?'

'Afraid! I fear nothing under heaven but thy cruelty, Dorothy.'

'Then what wouldst thou have me pity thee for?'

'I would, an' I had dared, have said--Because I must leave thee. But
thou wouldst mock at that, and therefore I say instead--Because I shall
never return; for I see well that thou never hast loved me even a
little.'

Dorothy smiled.

'An' I had loved thee, cousin,' she rejoined, 'I had never let thee
rest, or left soliciting thee, until thou hadst donned thy buff coat and
buckled on thy spurs, and departed to be a man among men, and no more a
boy among women.'

So saying she returned to her engine, which all the time had been
pumping and forcing with fiery inspiration.

Scudamore mounted and rode, followed by one of the grooms. He found the
king at Wallingford, presented the marquis's letter, proffered his
services, and was at once placed in attendance on his majesty's person.

In the eyes of most of his comrades the mare he rode seemed too light
for cavalry work, but she made up in spirit and quality of muscle for
lack of size, and there was not another about the king to match in
beauty the little black Lady. Sweet-tempered and gentle although nervous
and quick, and endowed with a rare docility and a faith which supplied
courage, it was clear, while nothing was known of her pedigree, both
from her form and her nature, that she was of Arab descent. No feeling
of unreality in his possession of her intruding to disturb his
satisfaction in her, Scudamore became very fond of her. Having joined
the army, however, only after the second battle of Newbury, he had no
chance till the following summer of learning how she bore herself in the
field.



CHAPTER XLIII.

LADY AND BISHOP.


In the meantime a succession of events had contributed to enhance the
influence of Cromwell in the parliament, and his position and power in
the army. He was now, therefore, more able to put in places of trust
such men as came nearest his own way of thinking, and amongst the rest
Roger Heywood, whom, once brought into the active service for which
modesty had made him doubt his own fitness, he would not allow to leave
it again, but made colonel of one of his favourite regiments of horse,
with his son as major.

Richard continued to ride Bishop, which became at length famous for
courage, as he had become at once for ugliness. Fortunately they found
that he had developed friendly feelings towards one of the mares of the
troop, never lashing out when she happened to be behind him; so they
gave her that place, and were freed from much anxiety. Still the rider
on each side of him had to keep his eyes open, for every now and then a
sudden fury of biting would seize him, and bring chaos in the regiment
for a moment or two. When his master was made an officer, the brute's
temptations probably remained the same, but his opportunities of
yielding to them became considerably fewer.

It was strange company in which Richard rode. Nearly all were of the
independent party in religious polity, all holding, or imagining they
held, the same or nearly the same tenets. The opinions of most of them,
however, were merely the opinions of the man to whose influences they
had been first and principally subjected: to say what their belief was,
would be to say what they were, which is deeper judgment than a man can
reach. In Roger Heywood and his son dwelt a pure love of liberty; the
ardent attachment to liberty which most of the troopers professed, would
have prevented few of them indeed from putting a quaker in the stocks,
or perhaps whipping him, had such an obnoxious heretic as a quaker been
at that time in existence. In some was the devoutest sense of personal
obligation, and the strongest religious feeling; in others was nothing
but talk, less injurious than some sorts of pseudo-religious talk, in
that it was a jargon admitting of much freedom of utterance and
reception, mysterious symbols being used in commonest interchange. That
they all believed earnestly enough to fight for their convictions, will
not go very far in proof of their sincerity even, for to most of them
fighting came by nature, and was no doubt a great relief to the much
oppressed old Adam not yet by any means dead in them.

At length the king led out his men for another campaign, and was
followed by Fairfax and Cromwell into the shires of Leicester and
Northampton. Then came the battle at the village of Naseby.

Prince Rupert, whose folly so often lost what his courage had gained,
having defeated Ireton and his horse, followed them from the field,
while Cromwell with his superior numbers turned Sir Marmaduke Langdale's
flank, and thereby turned the scale of victory.

But Sir Marmaduke and his men fought desperately, and while the contest
was yet undecided, the king saw that Rupert, returned from the pursuit,
was attacking the enemy's artillery, and dispatched Rowland in hot haste
to bring him to the aid of Sir Marmaduke.

The straightest line to reach him lay across a large field to the rear
of Sir Marmaduke's men. As he went from behind them, Richard caught
sight of him and his object together, struck spurs into Bishop's flanks,
bored him through a bull-fence, was in the same field with Rowland, and
tore at full speed to head him off from the prince.

Rowland rode for some distance without perceiving that he was followed;
if Richard could but get within pistol-shot of him, for alas, he seemed
to be mounted on the fleeter animal! Heavens!--could it be? Yes it was!
it was his own lost Lady the cavalier rode! For a moment his heart beat
so fast that he felt as if he should fall from his horse.

Rowland became aware that he was pursued, but at the first glimpse of
the long, low, rat-like animal on which the roundhead came floundering
after him, burst into a laugh of derision, and jumping a young hedge
found himself in a clayish fallow, which his mare found heavy. Soon
Richard jumped the hedge also, and immediately Bishop had the advantage.
But now, beyond the tall hedge they were approaching, they heard the
sounds of the conflict near: there was no time to lose. Richard breathed
deep, and uttered a long, wild, peculiar cry. Lady started,
half-stopped, raised her head high, and turned round her ears. Richard
cried again. She wheeled, and despite spur, and rein, though the
powerful bit with which Rowland rode her seemed to threaten breaking her
jaw, bore him, at short deer-like bounds, back towards his pursuer.

Not until the mare refused obedience did Rowland begin to suspect who
had followed him. Then a vague recollection of something Richard had
said the night he carried him home to Raglan, crossed his mind, and he
grew furious. But in vain he struggled with the mare, and all the time
Richard kept ploughing on towards him. At length he saw Rowland take a
pistol from his holster. Instinctively Richard did the same, and when he
saw him raise the butt-end to strike her on the head, firmed--and
missed, but saved Lady the blow, and ere Rowland recovered from the
start it gave him to hear the bullet whistle past his ear, uttered
another equally peculiar but different cry. Lady reared, plunged, threw
her heels in the air, emptied her saddle, and came flying to Richard.

But now arose a fresh anxiety:-what if Bishop should, as was most
likely, attack the mare? At her master's word, however, she stood, a few
yards off, and with arched neck and forward-pricked ears, waited, while
Bishop, moved possibly with admiration of the manner in which she had
unseated her rider, scanned her with no malign aspect.

By this time Rowland had got upon his feet, and mindful of his duty,
hopeful also that Richard would be content with his prize, set off as
hard as he could run for a gap he spied in the hedge. But in a moment
Bishop, followed by Lady, had headed him.

'Thou wert better cry quarter,' said Richard.

The reply was a bullet, that struck Bishop below the ear. He stood
straight up, gave one yell, and tumbled over. Scudamore ran towards the
mare, hoping to catch her and be off ere the roundhead could recover
himself. But, although Bishop had fallen on his leg, Richard was unhurt.
He lay still and watched. Lady seemed bewildered, and Rowland coming
softly up, seized her bridle, and sprung into the saddle. The same
moment Richard gave his cry a second time, and again up went Rowland in
the air, and Lady came trotting daintily to her master, scared, but
obedient. Rowland fell on his back, and before he came to himself,
Richard had drawn his leg from under his slain charger, and his sword
from its sheath. And now first he perceived who his antagonist was, and
a pang went to his heart at the remembrance of his father's words.

'Mr. Scudamore,' he cried, 'I would thou hadst not stolen my mare, so
that I might fight with thee in a Christian fashion.'

'Roundhead scoundrel!' gasped Scudamore, wild with wrath. 'Thy
unmannerly varlet tricks shall cost thee dear. Thou a soldier? A juggler
with a mountebank jade--a vile hackney which thou hast taught to caper!
A soldier indeed!'

'A soldier and seatless!' returned Richard. 'A soldier and rail! A
soldier and steal my mare, then shoot my horse! Bah! an' the rest were
like thee, we might take the field with dog-whips.'

Scudamore drew a pistol from his belt, and glanced towards the mare.

'An' thou lift thine arm, I will kill thee,' cried Richard. 'What! shall
a man not teach his horse lest the thief should find him not broke to
his taste? Besides, did I not give thee warning while yet I judged thee
an honest man, and a thief but in jest? Go thy ways. I shall do my
country better service by following braver men than by taking thee. Get
thee back to thy master. An' I killed thee, I should do him less hurt
than I would. See yonder how thy master's horse do knot and scatter!'

He approached Lady to mount and ride away.

But Rowland, who had now with the help of his anger recovered from the
effects of his fall, rushed at Richard with drawn sword. The contest was
brief. With one heavy blow that beat down his guard and wounded him
severely in the shoulder, dividing his collarbone, for he was but
lightly armed, Richard stretched his antagonist on the ground; then
seeing prince Rupert's men returning, and sir Marmaduke's in flight and
some of them coming his way, he feared being surrounded, and leaping
into the saddle, flew as if the wind were under him back to his
regiment, reaching it just as in the first heat of pursuit. Cromwell
called them back, and turned them upon the rear of the royalist
infantry.

This decided the battle. Ere Rupert returned, the affair was so hopeless
that not even the entreaties of the king could induce his cavalry to
form again and charge.

His majesty retreated to Leicester and Hereford.



CHAPTER XLIV.

THE KING.


Some months before the battle of Naseby, which was fought in June early,
that is, in the year 1645, the plans of the king having now ripened, he
gave a secret commission for Ireland to the earl of Glamorgan, with
immense powers, among the rest that of coining money, in order that he
might be in a position to make proposals towards certain arrangements
with the Irish catholics, which, in view of the prejudices of the king's
protestant council, it was of vital importance to keep secret. Glamorgan
therefore took a long leave of his wife and family, and in the month of
March set out for Dublin. At Caernarvon, they got on board a small
barque, laden with corn, but, in rough weather that followed, were cast
ashore on the coast of Lancashire. A second attempt failed also, for,
pursued by a parliament vessel, they were again compelled to land on the
same coast. It was the middle of summer before they reached Dublin.

During this period there was of course great anxiety in Raglan, the
chief part of which was lady Glamorgan's. At times she felt that but for
the sympathy of Dorothy, often silent but always ministrant, she would
have broken down quite under the burden of ignorance and its attendant
anxiety.

In the prolonged absence of her husband, and the irregularity of
tidings, for they came at uncertain as well as wide intervals, her
yearnings after her vanished Molly, which had become more patient,
returned with all their early vehemence, and she began to brood on the
meeting beyond the grave of which her religion waked her hope. Nor was
this all: her religion itself grew more real; for although there is
nothing essentially religious in thinking of the future, although there
is more of the heart of religion in the taking of strength from the love
of God to do the commonest duty, than in all the longing for a blessed
hereafter of which the soul is capable, yet the love of a little child
is very close to the love of the great Father; and the loss that sets
any affection aching and longing, heaves, as on a wave from the very
heart of the human ocean, the labouring spirit up towards the source of
life and restoration. In like manner, from their common love to the
child, and their common sense of loss in her death, the hearts of the
two women drew closer to each other, and protestant mistress Dorothy was
able to speak words of comfort to catholic lady Glamorgan, which the
hearer found would lie on the shelf of her creed none the less quietly
that the giver had lifted them from the shelf of hers.

One evening, while yet lady Glamorgan had had no news of her husband's
arrival in Ireland, and the bright June weather continued clouded with
uncertainty and fear, lady Broughton came panting into her parlour with
the tidings that a courier had just arrived at the main entrance,
himself pale with fatigue, and his horse white with foam.

'Alas! alas!' cried lady Glamorgan, and fell back in her chair, faint
with apprehension, for what might not be the message he bore? Ere
Dorothy had succeeded in calming her, the marquis himself came hobbling
in, with the news that the king was coming.

'Is that all?' said the countess, heaving a deep sigh, while the tears
ran down her cheeks.

'Is that all?' repeated her father-in-law. 'How, my lady! Is there then
nobody in all the world but Glamorgan? Verily I believe thou wouldst
turn thy back on the angel Gabriel, if he dared appear before thee
without thy Ned under his arm. Bless the Irish heart! I never gave thee
MY Ned that thou shouldst fall down and worship the fellow.'

'Bear with me, sir,' she answered faintly. 'It is but the pain here.
Thou knowest I cannot tell but he lieth at the bottom of the Irish Sea.'

'If he do lie there, then lieth he in Abraham's bosom, daughter, where I
trust there is room for thee and me also. Thou rememberest how thy Molly
said once to thee, 'Madam, thy bosom is not so big as my lord Abraham's.
What a big bosom my lord Abraham must have!'

Lady Glamorgan laughed.

'Come then--"to our work alive!" which is now to receive his majesty,'
said the marquis. 'My wild Irishwoman--'

'Alas, my lord! tame enough now,' sighed the countess.

'Not too tame to understand that she must represent her husband before
the king's majesty,' said lord Worcester.

Lady Glamorgan rose, kissed her father-in-law, wiped her eyes, and
said--

'Where, my lord, do you purpose lodging his majesty?'

'In the great north room, over the buttery, and next the
picture-gallery, which will serve his majesty to walk in, and the
windows there have the finest prospect of all. I did think of the great
tower, but--Well--the chamber there is indeed statelier, but it is
gloomy as a dull twilight, while the one I intend him to lie in is
bright as a summer morning. The tower chamber makes me think of all the
lords and ladies that have died therein; the north room, of all the
babies that have been born there.'

'Spoken like a man!' murmured lady Glamorgan. 'Have you given
directions, my lord?'

'I have sent for sir Ralph. Come with me, Margaret: you and Mary must
keep your old father from blundering. Run, Dorothy, and tell Mr.
Delaware and Mr. Andrews that I desire their presence in my closet. I
miss the rogue Scudamore. They tell me he hath done well, and is sorely
wounded. He must feel the better for the one already, and I hope he will
soon be nothing the worse for the other.'

As he thus talked, they left the room and took their way to the study,
where they found the steward waiting them.

The whole castle was presently alive with preparations for the king's
visit. That he had been so sorely foiled of late, only roused in all the
greater desire to receive him with every possible honour. Hope revived
in lady Glamorgan's bosom: she would take the coming of the king as a
good omen for the return of her husband.

Dorothy ran to do the marquis's pleasure. As she ran, it seemed as if
some new spring of life had burst forth in her heart. The king! the king
actually coming! The God-chosen monarch of England! The head of the
church! The type of omnipotence! The wronged, the saintly, the wise! He
who fought with bleeding heart for the rights, that he might fulfil the
duties to which he was born! She would see him! she would breathe the
same air with him! gaze on his gracious countenance unseen until she had
imprinted every feature of his divine face upon her heart and memory!
The thought was too entrancing. She wept as she ran to find the master
of the horse and the master of the fish-ponds.

At length, on the evening of the third of July, a pursuivant,
accompanied by an advanced guard of horsemen, announced the king, and
presently on the north road appeared the dust of his approach. Nearer
they came, all on horseback, a court of officers. Travel-stained and
weary, with foam-flecked horses, but flowing plumes, flashing armour,
and ringing chains, they arrived at the brick gate, where lord Charles
himself threw the two leaves open to admit them, and bent the knee
before his king. As they entered the marble gate, they saw the marquis
descending the great white stair to meet them, leaning for his lameness
on the arm of his brother sir Thomas of Troy, and followed by all the
ladies and gentlemen and officers in the castle, who stood on the stair
while he approached the king's horse, bent his knee, kissed the royal
hand, and, rising with difficulty, for the gout had aged him beyond his
years, said:

'Domine, non sum dignus.'

I would I had not to give this brief dialogue; but it stands on record,
and may suggest something worth thinking to him who can read it aright.

The king replied:

'My lord, I may very well answer you again: I have not found so great
faith in Israel; for no man would trust me with so much money as you
have done.'

'I hope your majesty will prove a defender of the faith,' returned the
marquis.

The king then dismounted, ascended the marble steps with his host,
nearly as stiff as he from his long ride, crossed the moat on the
undulating drawbridge, passed the echoing gateway, and entered the stone
court.

The marquis turned to the king, and presented the keys of the castle.
The king took them and returned them.

'I pray your majesty keep them in so good a hand. I fear that ere it be
long I shall be forced to deliver them into the hands of who will spoil
the compliment', said the marquis.

'Nay,' rejoined his majesty, 'but keep them till the King of kings
demand the account of your stewardship, my lord.'

'I trust your majesty's name will then be seen where it stands therein,'
said the marquis, 'for so it will fare the better with the steward.'

In the court, the garrison, horse and foot, a goodly show, was drawn up
to receive him, with an open lane through, leading to the north-western
angle, where was the stair to the king's apartment. At the draw-well,
which lay right in the way, and around which the men stood off in a
circle, the king stopped, laid his hand on the wheel, and said gaily:

'My lord, is this your lordship's purse?'

'For your majesty's sake, I would it were,' returned the marquis.

At the foot of the stair, on plea of his gout, he delivered his majesty
to the care of lord Charles, sir Ralph Blackstone, and Mr. Delaware, who
conducted him to his chamber.

The king supped alone, but after supper, lady Glamorgan and the other
ladies of the family, having requested permission to wait upon him, were
ushered into his presence. Each of them took with her one of her ladies
in attendance, and Dorothy, being the one chosen by her mistress for
that honour, not without the rousing of a strong feeling of injustice in
the bosoms of the elder ladies, entered trembling behind her mistress,
as if the room were a temple wherein no simulacrum but the divinity
himself dwelt in visible presence.

His majesty received them courteously, said kind things to several of
them, but spoke and behaved at first with a certain long-faced reserve
rather than dignity, which, while it jarred a little with Dorothy's
ideal of the graciousness that should be mingled with majesty in the
perfect monarch, yet operated only to throw her spirit back into that
stage of devotion wherein, to use a figure of the king's own, the awe
overlays the love.

A little later the marquis entered, walking slowly, leaning on the arm
of lord Charles, but carrying in his own hands a present of apricots
from his brother to the king.

Meantime Dorothy's love had begun to rise again from beneath her awe;
but when the marquis came in, old and stately, reverend and slow, with a
silver dish in each hand and a basket on his arm, and she saw him bow
three times ere he presented his offering, himself serving whom all
served, himself humble whom all revered, then again did awe nearly
overcome her. When the king, however, having graciously received the
present, chose for each of the ladies one of the apricots, and coming to
Dorothy last, picked out and offered the one he said was likest the
bloom of her own fair cheek, gratitude again restored the sway of love,
and in the greatness of the honour she almost let slip the compliment.
She could not reply, but she looked her thanks, and the king doubtless
missed nothing.

The next day his majesty rested, but on following days rode to Monmouth,
Chepstow, Usk, and other towns in the neighbourhood, whose loyalty,
thanks to the marquis, had as yet stood out. After dinner he generally
paid the marquis a visit in the oak parlour, then perhaps had a walk in
the grounds, or a game on the bowling-green.

But although the marquis was devoted to the king's cause, he was not
therefore either blinded or indifferent to the king's faults, and as an
old man who had long been trying to grow better, he made up his mind to
risk a respectful word in the matter of kingly obligation.

One day, therefore, when his majesty entered the oak parlour, he found
his host sitting by the table with his Gower lying open before him, as
if he had been reading, which doubtless was the case.

'What book have you there, my lord?' asked the king--while some of his
courtiers stood near the door, and others gazed from the window on the
moat and the swelling, towering mass of the keep. 'I like to know what
books my friends read.'

'Sir, it is old master John Gower's book of verses, entitled Confessio
Amantis,' answered his lordship.

'It is a book I have never seen before,' said the king, glancing at its
pages.

'Oh!' returned the marquis, 'it is a book of books, which if your
majesty had been well versed in, it would have made you a king of
kings.'

'Why so, my lord?' asked the king.

'Why,' said the marquis, 'here is set down how Aristotle brought up and
instructed Alexander the Great in all his rudiments, and the principles
belonging to a prince. Allow me, sir, to read you such a passage as will
show your majesty the truth of what I say.'

He opened the book and read:

    'Among the vertues one is chefe,
     And that is trouthe, which is lefe (dear)
     To God and eke to man also.
     And for it hath ben ever so,
     Taught Aristotle, as he well couth, (knew)
     To Alisaundre, how in his youth
     He shulde of trouthe thilke grace (that same)
     With all his hole herte embrace,
     So that his word be trewe and pleine
     Toward the world, and so certeine,
     That in him be no double speche.
     For if men shulde trouthe seche,
     And found it nought within a king,
     It were an unfittende thing
     The worde is token of that within;
     There shall a worthy king begin
     To kepe his tunge and to be trewe,
     So shall his price ben ever newe.'

'And here, sir, is what he saith as to the significance of the kingly
crown, if your majesty will allow me to read it.'

'Read on, my lord; all is good and true,' said the king.

    'The gold betokneth excellence,
     That men shuld done him reverence,
     As to her lege soveraine. (their liege)
     The stones, as the bokes saine,
     Commended ben in treble wise.
     First, they ben hard, and thilke assise (that attribute)
     Betokeneth in a king constaunce,
     So that there shall be no variaunce
     Be found in his condicion.
     And also by description
     The vertue, whiche is in the stones,
     A verray signe is for the nones
     Of that a king shall ben honest,
     And holde trewely his behest (promise)
     Of thing, which longeth to kinghede.' (belongeth)

'And so on--for I were loath to weary your majesty--of the colour of the
stones, and the circular form of the crown.'

'Read on, my lord,' said the king.

Several passages, therefore, did the marquis pick out and read--amongst
which probably were certain concerning flatterers--taking care still to
speak of Alexander and Aristotle, and by no means of king and marquis,
until at length he had 'read the king such a lesson,' as Dr. Bayly
informs us, 'that the bystanders were amazed at his boldness.'

'My lord, have you got your lesson by heart, or speak you out of the
book?' asked the king, taking the volume.

'Sir,' the marquis replied, 'if you could read my heart, it may be you
might find it there; or if your majesty please to get it by heart, I
will lend you my book.'

'I would willingly borrow it,' said the king.

'Nay,' said the marquis, 'I will lend it to you upon these conditions:
first, that you read it; and, second, that you make use of it.'

Here, glancing round, well knowing the nature of the soil upon which his
words fell, he saw 'some of the new-made lords displeased, fretting and
biting their thumbs,' and thus therefore resumed:--

'But, sir, I assure you that no man was so much for the absolute power
of the king as Aristotle. If your majesty will allow me the book again,
I will show you one remarkable passage to that purpose.'

Having searched the volume for a moment, and found it, he read as
follows:--

    'Harpaghes first his tale tolde,
     And said, how that the strength of kinges
     Is mightiest of alle thinges.
     For king hath power over man,
     And man is he, which reson can,
     As he, which is of his nature
     The most noble creature
     Of alle tho that God hath wrought.
     And by that skill it seemeth nought, (for that reason)
     He saith that any erthly thing
     May be so mighty as a king.
     A king may spille, a king may save,
     A king may make of lorde a knave,
     And of a knave a lord also;
     The power of a king stant so
     That he the lawes overpasseth.
     What he will make lasse, he lasseth;
     What he will make more, he moreth;
     And as a gentil faucon soreth,
     He fleeth, that no man him reclaimeth.
     But he alone all other tameth,
     And slant him self of lawe fre.'

'There, my liege! So much for Aristotle and the kinghood! But think not
he taketh me with him all the way. By our Lady, I go not so far.'

Lifting his head again, he saw, to his wish, that 'divers new-made
lords' had 'slunk out of the room.'

'My lord,' said the king, 'at this rate you will drive away all my
nobility.'

'I protest unto your majesty,' the marquis replied, 'I am as new a made
lord as any of them all, but I was never called knave or rogue so much
in all my life as I have been since I received this last honour: and why
should they not bear their shares?'

In high good-humour with his success, he told the story the same evening
to lady Glamorgan in Dorothy's presence. It gave her ground for thought:
she wondered that the marquis should think the king required such
lessoning. She had never dreamed that a man and his office are not only
metaphysically distinct, but may be morally separate things; she had
hitherto taken the office as the pledge for the man, the show as the
pledge for the reality; and now therefore her notion of the king
received a rude shock from his best friend.

The arrival of his majesty had added to her labours, for now again horse
must spout every day,--with no Molly to see it and rejoice. Every
fountain rushed heavenwards, 'and all the air' was 'filled with pleasant
noise of waters.' This required the fire-engine to be kept pretty
constantly at work, and Dorothy had to run up and down the stair of the
great tower several times a-day. But she lingered on the top as often
and as long as she might.

One glorious July afternoon, gazing from the top of the keep, she saw
his majesty, the marquis, some of the courtiers, and a Mr. Prichard of
the neighbourhood, on the bowling-green, having a game together. It was
like looking at a toy-representation of one, for, so far below,
everything was wondrously dwarfed and fore-shortened. But certainly it
was a pretty sight-the gay garments, the moving figures, the bowls
rolling like marbles over the green carpet, while the sun, and the blue
sky, and just an air of wind--enough to turn every leaf into a languidly
waved fan, enclosed it in loveliness and filled it with life. It was
like a picture from a CAMERA OBSCURA dropped right at the foot of the
keep, for the surrounding walk, moat, and sunk walk beyond, were, seen
from that height, but enough to keep the bowling-green, which came to
the edge of the sunk walk, twelve feet below it, from appearing to cling
to the foundations of the tower. The circle of arches filled with
shell-work and statues of Roman emperors, which formed the face of the
escarpment of the sunk walk, looked like a curiously-cut fringe to the
carpet.

While Dorothy aloft was thus looking down and watching the game,--

'What a lovely prospect it is!' said his majesty below, addressing Mr.
Prichard, while the marquis bowled.

Making answer, Mr. Prichard pointed out where his own house lay, half
hidden by a grove, and said--'May it please your majesty, I have advised
my lord to cut down those trees, so that when he wants a good player at
bowls, he may have but to beckon.'

'Nay,' returned the king, 'he should plant more trees, that so he might
not see thy house at all.'

The marquis, who had bowled, and was coming towards them, heard what the
king said, and fancying he aimed at the fault of the greedy buying-up of
land--

'If your majesty hath had enough of the game,' he said, 'and will climb
with me to the top of the tower, I will show you what may do your mind
some ease.'

'I should be sorry to set your Lordship such an arduous task,' replied
the king. 'But I am very desirous of seeing your great tower, and if you
will permit me, I will climb the stair without your attendance.'

'Sir, it will pleasure me to think that the last time ever I ascended
those stairs, I conducted your majesty. For indeed it shall be the last
time. I grow old.'

As the marquis spoke, he led towards the twin-arched bridge over the
castle-moat, then through the western gate, and along the side of the
court to the Gothic bridge, on their way despatching one of his
gentlemen to fetch the keys of the tower.

'My lord,' said the king when the messenger had gone, 'there are some
men so unreasonable as to make me believe that your lordship hath good
store of gold yet left within the tower; but I, knowing how I have
exhausted you, could never have believed it, until now I see you will
not trust the keys with any but yourself.'

'Sir,' answered the marquis, 'I was so far from giving your majesty any
such occasion of thought by this tender of my duty, that I protest unto
you that I was once resolved that your majesty should have lain there,
but that I was loath to commit your majesty to the Tower.'

'You are more considerate, my lord, than some of my subjects would be if
they had me as much in their keeping,' answered the king sadly. 'But
what are those pipes let into the wall up there?' he asked, stopping in
the middle of the bridge and looking up at the keep.

'Nay, sire, my son Edward must tell you that. He taketh strange
liberties with the mighty old hulk. But I will not injure his good grace
with your majesty by talking of that I understand not. I trust that one
day, when you shall no more require his absence, you will yet again
condescend to be my guest, when my son, by your majesty's favour now my
lord Glamorgan, will have things to show you that will delight your eyes
to behold.'

'I have ere now seen something of his performance,' answered the king;
'but these naughty times give room for nothing in that kind but guns and
swords.'

Leaving the workshop unvisited, his lordship took the king up the stair,
and unlocking the entrance to the first floor, ushered him into a lofty
vaulted chamber, old in the midst of antiquity, dark, vast, and stately.

'This is where I did think to lodge your majesty,' he said,
'but--but--your majesty sees it is gloomy, for the windows are narrow,
and the walls are ten feet through.'

'It maketh me very cold,' said the king, shuddering. 'Good sooth, but I
were loath to be a prisoner!'

He turned and left the room hastily. The marquis rejoined him on the
stair, and led him, two stories higher, to the armoury, now empty
compared to its former condition, but still capable of affording some
supply. The next space above was filled with stores, and the highest was
now kept clear for defence, for the reservoir so fully occupied the top
that there was no room for engines of any sort; and indeed it took up so
much of the storey below with its depth that it left only such room as
between the decks of a man of war, rendering it hardly fit for any other
use.

Reaching the summit at length, the king gazed with silent wonder at the
little tarn which lay there as on the crest of a mountain. But the
marquis conducted him to the western side, and, pointing with his
finger, said--

'Sir, you see that line of trees, stretching across a neck of arable
field, where to the right the brook catches the sun?'

'I see it, my lord,' answered the king.

'And behind it a house and garden, small but dainty?'

'Yes, my lord.'

'Then I trust your majesty will release me from suspicion of being of
those to whom the prophet Isaias saith, "Vae qui conjungitis domum ad
domum, et agrum agro copulatis usque ad terminum loci: numquid
habitabitis vos soli in medio terrae?" May it please your majesty, I
planted those trees to hoodwink mine eyes from such temptations, hiding
from them the vineyard of Naboth, lest they should act the Jezebel and
tempt me to play the Ahab thereto. If I did thus when those trees and I
were young, shall I do worse now that I stand with one foot in the
grave, and purgatory itself in the other?'

The king seemed to listen politely, but only listened half and did not
perceive his drift. He was looking at Dorothy where she stood at the
opposite side of the reservoir, unable, because of the temporary
obstruction occasioned by certain alterations and repairs about the
cocks now going on, to reach the stair without passing the king and the
marquis. The king asked who she was; and the marquis, telling him a
little about her, called her. She came, courtesied low to his majesty,
and stood with beating heart.

'I desire,' said the marquis, 'thou shouldst explain to his majesty that
trick of thy cousin Glamorgan, the water-shoot, and let him see it
work.'

'My lord,' answered Dorothy, trembling betwixt devotion and doubtful
duty, 'it was the great desire of my lord Glamorgan that none in the
castle should know the trick, as it pleases your lordship to call it.'

'What, cousin! cannot his majesty keep a secret? And doth not all that
Glamorgan hath belong to the king?'

'God forbid I should doubt either, my lord,' answered Dorothy, turning
very pale, and ready to sink, 'but it cannot well be done in the broad
day without some one seeing. At night, indeed--'

'Tut, tut! it is but a whim of Glamorgan's. Thou wilt not do a jot of
ill to show the game before his majesty in the sunlight.'

'My lord, I promised.'

'Here standeth who will absolve thee, child! His majesty is paramount to
Glamorgan.'

'My lord! my lord!' said Dorothy almost weeping, 'I am bewildered, and
cannot well understand. But I am sure that if it be wrong, no one can
give me leave to do it, or absolve me beforehand. God himself can but
pardon after the thing is done, not give permission to do it. Forgive
me, sir, but so master Matthew Herbert hath taught me.'

'And very good doctrine, too,' said the marquis emphatically, 'let who
will propound it. Think you not so, sir?'

But the king stood with dull imperturbable gaze fixed on the distant
horizon, and made no reply. An awkward silence followed. The king
requested his host to conduct him to his apartment.

'I marvel, my lord,' said his majesty as they went down the stair,
seeing how lame his host was, 'that, as they tell me, your lordship
drinks claret. All physicians say it is naught for the gout.'

'Sir,' returned the marquis, 'it shall never be said that I forsook my
friend to pleasure my enemy.'

The king's face grew dark, for ever since the lecture for which he had
made Gower the textbook, he had been ready to see a double meaning of
rebuke in all the marquis said. He made no answer, avoided his
attendants who waited for him in the fountain court, expecting him to go
by the bell-tower, and, passing through the hall and the stone court,
ascended to his room alone, and went into the picture-gallery, where he
paced up and down till supper-time.

The marquis rejoined the little company of his own friends who had left
the bowling-green after him, and were now in the oak parlour. A little
troubled at the king's carriage towards him, he entered with a merrier
bearing than usual.

'Well, gentlemen, how goes the bias?' he said gayly.

'We were but now presuming to say, my lord,' answered Mr. Prichard,
'that there are who would largely warrant that if you would you might be
duke of Somerset.'

'When I was earl of Worcester,' returned the marquis, 'I was well to do;
since I was marquis, I am worse by a hundred thousand pounds; and if I
should be a duke, I should be an arrant beggar. Wherefore I had rather
go back to my earldom, than at this rate keep on my pace to the dukedom
of Somerset.'



CHAPTER XLV.

THE SECRET INTERVIEW.


Between the third of July, when he first came, and the fifteenth of
September, when he last departed, the king went and came several times.
During his last visit a remarkable interview took place between him and
his host, the particulars of which are circumstantially given by Dr.
Bayly in the little book he calls Certamen Religiosum: to me it falls to
recount after him some of the said particulars, because, although
Dorothy was brought but one little step within the sphere of the
interview, certain results were which bore a large influence upon her
history.

'Though money came from him,' that is, the marquis, 'like drops of
blood,' says Dr. Bayly, 'yet was he contented that every drop within his
body should be let out,' if only he might be the instrument of bringing
his majesty back to the bosom of the catholic church--a bosom which no
doubt the marquis found as soft as it was capacious, but which the king
regarded as a good deal resembling that of a careless nurse rather than
mother--frized with pins, and here and there a cruel needle. Therefore,
expecting every hour that the king would apply to him for more money,
the marquis had resolved that, at such time as he should do so, he would
make an attempt to lead the stray sheep within the fold--for the marquis
was not one of those who regarded a protestant as necessarily a goat.

But the king shrank from making the request in person, and having
learned that the marquis had been at one point in his history under the
deepest obligation to Dr. Bayly, who having then preserved both his
lordship's life and a large sum of money he carried with him, by
'concealing both for the space that the moon useth to be twice in riding
of her circuit,' had thereafter become a member of his family and a
sharer in his deepest confidence, greatly desired that the doctor should
take the office of mediator between him and the marquis.

The king's will having been already conveyed to the doctor, in the
king's presence colonel Lingen came up to him and said,

'Dr. Bayly, the king, much wishing your aid in this matter, saith he
delights not to be a beggar, and yet is constrained thereunto.'

'I am at his majesty's disposal,' returned the doctor, 'although I
confess myself somewhat loath to be the beetle-head that must drive this
wedge.'

'Nay,' said the colonel, 'they tell me that no man can make a divorce
between the Babylonish garment and the wedge of gold sooner than
thyself, good doctor.'

The end was that he undertook the business, though with
reluctance--unwilling to be 'made an instrument to let the same horse
bleed whom the king himself had found so free'--and sought the marquis
in his study.

'My lord,' he said, 'the thing that I feared is now fallen upon me. I am
made the unwelcome messenger of bad news: the king wants money.'

'Hold, sir! that's no news,' interrupted the marquis. 'Go on with your
business.'

'My lord,' said the doctor, 'there is one comfort yet, that, as the king
is brought low, so are his demands, and, like his army, are come down
from thousands to hundreds, and from paying the soldiers of his army to
buying bread for himself and his followers. My lord, it is the king's
own expression, and his desire is but three hundred pound.'

Lord Worcester remained a long time silent, and Dr. Bayly waited,
'knowing by experience that in such cases it was best leaving him to
himself, and to let that nature that was so good work itself into an act
of the highest charity, like the diamond which is only polished with its
own dust.'

'Come hither--come nearer, my good doctor,' said his lordship at length:
'hath the king himself spoken unto thee concerning any such business?'

'The king himself hath not, my lord, but others did, in the king's
hearing.'

'Might I but speak unto him--,' said the marquis. 'But I was never
thought worthy to be consulted with, though in matters merely concerning
the affairs of my own country!--I would supply his wants, were they
never so great, or whatsoever they were.'

'If the king knew as much, my lord, you might quickly speak with him,'
remarked the doctor.

'The way to have him know so much is to have somebody to tell him of
it,' said the marquis testily.

'Will your lordship give me leave to be the informer?' asked the doctor.

'Truly I spake it to the purpose,' answered the marquis.

Away ran the little doctor, ambling through the picture-gallery, 'half
going and half running,' like some short-winged bird--his heart
trembling lest the marquis should change his mind and call him back, and
so his pride in his successful mediation be mortified--to the king's
chamber, where he told his majesty with diplomatic reserve, and
something of diplomatic cunning, enhancing the difficulties, that he had
perceived his lordship desired some conference with him, and that he
believed, if the king granted such conference, he would find a more
generous response to his necessities than perhaps he expected. The king
readily consenting, the doctor went on to say that his lordship much
wished the interview that very night. The king asked how it could be
managed, and the doctor told him the marquis had contrived it before his
majesty came to the castle, having for that reason appointed the place
where they were for his bed-chamber, and not that in the great tower,
which the marquis himself liked the best in the castle.

'I know my lord's drift well enough,' said the king, smiling: 'either he
means to chide me, or else to convert me to his religion.'

'I doubt not, sire,' returned the doctor, 'but your majesty is
temptation-proof as well as correction-free, and will return the same
man you go, having made a profitable exchange of gold and silver for
words and sleep.'

Upon Dr. Bayly's report of his success, the marquis sent him back to
tell the king that at eleven o'clock he would be waiting his majesty in
a certain room to which the doctor would conduct him.

This was the room the marquis's father had occupied and in which he
died, called therefore 'my lord Privy-seal's chamber.' Since then the
marquis had never allowed any one to sleep in it, hardly any one to go
into it; whence it came that although all the rest of the castle was
crowded, this one room remained empty and fit for their purpose.

To understand the precautions taken to keep their interview a secret, we
must remember that, although he had not a better friend in all England,
such reason had the king to fear losing his protestant friends from
their jealousy of catholic influence, that he had never invited the
marquis of Worcester to sit with him in council; and that the marquis on
his part was afraid both of injuring the cause of the king, and of being
himself impeached for treason. Should any of the king's attendant lords
discover that they were closeted together, he dreaded the suspicion and
accusation of another Gowry conspiracy even. His lordship therefore
instructed Dr. Bayly to go, as the time drew nigh, to the drawing-room,
which was next the marquis's chamber, and the dining parlour, through
both of which he must pass to reach the appointed place, and clear them
of the company which might be in them. The chaplain desiring to know how
he was to manage it, so that it should not look strange and arouse
suspicion, and what he should do if any were unwilling to go,--

'I will tell you what you shall do,' said the marquis hastily, 'so that
you shall not need to fear any such thing. Go unto the yeoman of the
wine-cellar, and bid him leave the keys of the wine-cellar with you, and
all that you find in your way, invite them down into the cellar, and
show them the keys, and I warrant you, you shall sweep the room of them,
if there were a hundred. And when you have done, leave them there.'

But having thus arranged, the marquis grew anxious again. He remembered
that it was not unusual to pass to the hall from the northern side of
the fountain court, where were most of the rooms of the ladies'
gentlewomen, through the picture-gallery, entering it by a passage and
stair which connected the bell-tower with one of its deep window
recesses, and leaving it by a door in the middle of the opposite side,
admitting to a stair in the thickness of the wall--which led downwards,
opening to the minstrels' gallery on the left hand, and a little further
below, to the organ loft in the chapel on the right hand. It was not the
least likely that any of the ladies or their attendants would be passing
that way so late at night, but there was a possibility, and that was
enough, the marquis being anxious and nervous, to render him more so.

There was, however, another and more threatening possibility of
encounter. He remembered that Mr. Delaware, the master of his horse, had
lately removed to that part of the house: and the fear came upon him
lest his blind son, who frequently turned night into day in his love for
the organ, and was uncertain in his movements between chapel and
chamber, the direct way being that just described, should by evil chance
appear at the very moment of the king's passing, and alarm him--for
through the gallery Dr. Bayly must lead his majesty to reach my lord
Privy-seal's chamber. The marquis, therefore, although reluctant to
introduce another even to the externals of the plot, felt that the
assistance of a second confidant was more than desirable, and turning
the matter over, could think of no one whom he could trust so well, and
who at the same time would, if seen, be so little liable to the sort of
suspicion he dreaded, as Dorothy. He therefore sent for her, told her as
much as he thought proper, gave her the key of his private passage to
the gallery, leading across the top of the hall-door, the only direct
communication from the southern side of the castle, and generally kept
closed, and directed her to be in the gallery ten minutes before eleven,
to lock the door at the top of the stair leading down into the hall, and
take her stand in the window at the foot of the stair from the
bell-tower, where the door was without a lock, and see that no one
entered by order of the marquis for the king's repose, enjoining upon
her that, whatever she saw or heard from any other quarter, she must
keep perfectly still, nor let any one discover that she was there. With
these instructions, his lordship, considerably relieved, dismissed her,
and went to lie down upon his bed, and have a nap if he could. He had
already given the chaplain the key of his chamber, the door of which he
always locked, that he might enter and wake him when the appointed hour
was at hand.

As soon as he began to feel that eleven o'clock was drawing near, Dr.
Bayly proceeded to reconnoitre. The marquis's plan, although he could
think of none better, was not altogether satisfactory, and it was to his
relief that he found nobody in the dining-room. When he entered the
drawing-room, however, there, to his equal annoyance, he saw in the
light of one expiring candle the dim figure of a lady; he could not
offer HER the keys of the wine-cellar! What was he to do? What could she
be there for? He drew nearer, and, with a positive pang of relief,
discovered that it was Dorothy. A word was enough between them. But the
good doctor was just a little annoyed that a second should share in the
secret of the great ones.

The next room was the antechamber to the marquis's bedroom: timorously
on tiptoe he stepped through it, fearful of waking the two young
gentlemen--for Scudamore's place had been easily supplied--who waited
upon his lordship. Opening the inner door as softly as he could, he
crept in, and found the marquis fast asleep. So slowly, so gently did he
wake him, that his lordship insisted he had not slept at all; but when
he told him that the time was come--

'What time?' he asked.

'For meeting the king,' replied the doctor.

'What king?' rejoined the marquis, in a kind of bewildered horror.

The more he came to himself, the more distressed he seemed, and the more
unwilling to keep the appointment he had been so eager to make, so that
at length even Dr. Bayly was tempted to doubt something evil in the
'design that carried with it such a conflict within the bosom of the
actor.' It soon became evident, however, that it was but the dread of
such possible consequences as I have already indicated that thus moved
him.

'Fie, fie!' he said; 'I would to God I had let it alone.'

'My lord,' said the doctor, 'you know your own heart best. If there be
nothing in your intentions but what is good and justifiable, you need
not fear; if otherwise, it is never too late to repent.'

'Ah, doctor!' returned the marquis with troubled look, 'I thought I had
been sure of one friend, and that you would never have harboured the
least suspicion of me. God knows my heart: I have no other intention
towards his majesty than to make him a glorious man here, and a
glorified saint hereafter.'

'Then, my lord,' said Dr. Bayly, 'shake off these fears together with
the drowsiness that begat them. Honi soit qui mal y pense.'

'Oh, but I am not of that order!' said the marquis; 'but I thank God I
wear that motto about my heart, to as much purpose as they who wear it
about their arms.'

'He then,' reports the doctor, 'began to be a little pleasant, and took
a pipe of tobacco, and a little glass full of aqua mirabilis, and said,
"Come now, let us go in the name of God," crossing himself.'

My love for the marquis has led me to recount this curious story with
greater minuteness than is necessary to the understanding of Dorothy's
part in what follows, but the worthy doctor's account is so graphic that
even for its own sake, had it been fitting, I would gladly have copied
it word for word from the Certamen Religiosum.

It is indeed a strange story--king and marquis, attended by a doctor of
divinity, of the faith of the one, but the trusted friend of the other,
meeting--at midnight, although in the house of the marquis--to discuss
points of theology--both king and marquis in mortal terror of discovery.

Meantime Dorothy had done as she had been ordered, had felt her way
through the darkness to the picture-gallery, had locked the door at the
top of the one stair, and taken her stand in the recess at the foot of
the other--in pitch darkness, close to the king's bedchamber, for the
gallery was but thirteen feet in width, keeping watch over him! The
darkness felt like awe around her.

The door of the chamber opened: it gave no sound, but the glimmer of the
night-light shone out. By that she saw a figure enter the gallery. The
door closed softly and slowly, and all was darkness again. No sound of
movement across the floor followed: but she heard a deep sigh, as from a
sorely burdened heart. Then, in an agonised whisper, as if wrung by
torture from the depths of the spirit, came the words: 'Oh Stafford,
thou art avenged! I left thee to thy fate, and God hath left me to mine.
Thou didst go for me to the scaffold, but thou wilt not out of my
chamber. O God, deliver me from blood-guiltiness.'

Dorothy stood in dismay, a mere vessel containing a tumult of emotions.
The king re-entered his chamber, and closed the door. The same instant a
light appeared at the further end of the gallery--a long way off, and
Dr. Bayly came, like a Will o' the wisp, gliding from afar; till, softly
walking up, he stopped within a yard or two of the king's door, and
there stood, with his candle in his hand. His round face was pale that
should have been red, and his small keen eyes shone in the candle light
with mingled importance and anxiety. He saw Dorothy, but the only notice
he took of her presence was to turn from her with his face towards the
king's door, so that his shadow might shroud the recess where she stood.

A minute or so passed, and the king's door re-opened. He came out, said
a few words in a whisper to his guide, and walked with him down the
gallery, whispering as he went.

Dorothy hastened to her chamber, threw herself on the bed, and wept. The
king was cast from the throne of her conscience, but taken into the
hospital of her heart.

What followed between the king and the marquis belongs not to my tale.
When, after a long talk, the chaplain had conducted the king to his
chamber and returned to lord Worcester, he found him in the dark upon
his knees.



CHAPTER XLVI.

GIFTS OF HEALING.


Soon after the king's departure, the marquis received from him a letter
containing another addressed 'To our Attorney or Solicitor-General for
the time being,' in which he commanded the preparation of a bill for his
majesty's signature, creating the marquis of Worcester duke of Somerset.
The enclosing letter required, however, that it should--'be kept
private, until I shall esteem the time convenient.' In the next year we
have causes enough for the fact that the king's pleasure never reached
any attorney or solicitor-general for the time being.

About a month after the battle of Naseby, and while yet the king was
going and coming as regards Raglan, the wounded Rowland, long before he
was fit to be moved from the farm-house where his servant had found him
shelter, was brought home to the castle. Shafto, faithful as
hare-brained, had come upon him almost accidentally, after long search,
and just in time to save his life. Mistress Watson received him with
tears, and had him carried to the same turret-chamber whence Richard had
escaped, in order that she might be nigh him. The poor fellow was but a
shadow of his former self, and looked more likely to vanish than to die
in the ordinary way. Hence he required constant attention--which was so
far from lacking that the danger, both physical and spiritual, seemed
rather to lie in over-service. Hitherto, of the family, it had been the
marquis chiefly that spoiled him; but now that he was so sorely wounded
for the king, and lay at death's door, all the ladies of the castle were
admiring, pitiful, tender, ministrant, paying him such attentions as
nobody could be trusted to bear uninjured except a doll or a baby. One
might have been tempted to say that they sought his physical welfare at
the risk of his moral ruin. But there is that in sickness which leads
men back to a kind of babyhood, and while it lasts there is
comparatively little danger. It is with returning health that the peril
comes. Then self and self-fancied worth awake, and find themselves
again, and the risk is then great indeed that all the ministrations of
love be taken for homage at the altar of importance. How often has not a
mistress found that after nursing a servant through an illness, perhaps
an old servant even, she has had to part with her for unendurable
arrogance and insubordination? But present sickness is a wonderful
antidote to vanity, and nourisher of the gentle primeval simplicities of
human nature. So long as a man feels himself a poor creature, not only
physically unable, but without the spirit to desire to act, kindness
will move gratitude, and not vanity. In Rowland's case happily it lasted
until something better was able to get up its head a little. But no one
can predict what the first result of suffering will be, not knowing what
seeds lie nearest the surface. Rowland's self-satisfaction had been a
hard pan beneath which lay thousands of germinal possibilities
invaluable; and now the result of its tearing up remained to be seen. If
in such case Truth's never-ceasing pull at the heart begins to be felt,
allowed, considered; if conscience begin, like a thing weary with very
sleep, to rouse itself in motions of pain from the stiffness of its
repose, then is there hope of the best.

He had lost much blood, having lain a long time, as I say, in the
fallow-field before Shafto found him. Oft-recurring fever, extreme
depression, and intermittent and doubtful progress life-wards followed.
Through all the commotion of the king's visits, the coming and going,
the clang of hoofs and clanking of armour, the heaving of hearts and
clamour of tongues, he lay lapped in ignorance and ministration, hidden
from the world and deaf to the gnarring of its wheels, prisoned in a
twilight dungeon, to which Richard's sword had been the key. The world
went grinding on and on, much the same, without him whom it had
forgotten; but the over-world remembered him, and now and then looked in
at a window: all dungeons have one window which no gaoler and no tyrant
can build up.

The marquis went often to see him, full of pity for the gay youth thus
brought low; but he would lie pale and listless, now and then turning
his eyes, worn large with the wasting of his face, upon him, but looking
as if he only half heard him. His master grew sad about him. The next
time his majesty came, he asked him if he remembered the youth, telling
him how he had lain wounded ever since the battle at Naseby. The king
remembered him well enough, but had never missed him. The marquis then
told him how anxious he was about him, for that nothing woke him from
the weary heartlessness into which he had fallen.

'I will pay him a visit,' said the king.

'Sir, it is what I would have requested, had I not feared to pain your
majesty,' returned the marquis.

'I will go at once,' said the king.

When Rowland saw him his face flushed, the tears rose in his eyes, he
kissed the hand the king held out to him, and said feebly:--

'Pardon, sire: if I had rode better, the battle might have been yours. I
reached not the prince.'

'It is the will of God,' said the king, remembering for the first time
that he had sent him to Rupert. 'Thou didst thy best, and man can do no
more.'

'Nay, sire, but an' I had ridden honestly,' returned Rowland; '--I mean
had my mare been honestly come by, then had I done your majesty's
message.'

'How is that?' asked the king.

'Ha!' said the marquis; 'then it was Heywood met thee, and would have
his own again? Told I not thee so? Ah, that mare, Rowland! that mare!'

But Rowland had to summon all his strength to keep from fainting, for
the blood had fled again to his heart, and could not reply.

'Thou didst thy duty like a brave knight and true, I doubt not,' said
the king, kindly wishful to comfort him; 'and that my word may be a true
one,' he added, drawing his sword and laying it across the youth's
chest, 'although I cannot tell thee to rise and walk, I tell thee, when
thou dost arise, to rise up sir Rowland Scudamore.'

The blood rushed to sir Rowland's face, but fled again as fast.

'I deserve no such honour, sire,' he murmured.

But the marquis struck his hands together with pleasure, and cried,

'There, my boy! There is a king to serve! Sir Rowland Scudamore! There
is for thee! And thy wife will be MY LADY! Think on that!'

Rowland did think on it, but bitterly. He summoned strength to thank his
majesty, but failed to find anything courtier-like to add to the bare
thanks. When his visitors left him, he sighed sorely and said to
himself,

'Honour without desert! But for the roundhead's taunts, I might have run
to Rupert and saved the day.'

The next morning the marquis went again to see him.

'How fares sir Rowland?' he said.

'My lord,' returned Scudamore, in beseeching tone, 'break not my heart
with honour unmerited.'

'How! Darest thou, boy, set thy judgment against the king's?' cried the
marquis. 'Sir Rowland thou art, and SIR ROWLAND will the archangel cry
when he calls thee from thy last sleep.'

'To my endless disgrace,' added Scudamore.

'What! hast not done thy duty?'

'I tried, but I failed, my lord.'

'The best as often fail as the worst,' rejoined his lordship.

'I mean not merely that I failed of the end. That, alas! I did. But I
mean that it was by my own fault that I failed,' said Rowland.

Then he told the marquis all the story of his encounter with Richard,
ending with the words,

'And now, my lord, I care no more for life.'

'Stuff and nonsense!' exclaimed the marquis. 'Thinkest though the
roundhead would have let thee run to Rupert? It was not to that end he
spared thy life. Thy only chance was to fight him.'

'Does your lordship think so indeed?' asked Rowland, with a glimmer of
eagerness.

'On my soul I do. Thou art weak-headed from thy sickness and weariness.'

'You comfort me, my lord--a little. But the stolen mare, my lord?--'

'Ah! there indeed I can say nothing. That was not well done, and evil
came thereof. But comfort thyself that the evil is come and gone; and
think not that such chances are left to determine great events. Naseby
fight had been lost, spite of a hundred messages to Rupert. Not care for
life, boy! Leave that to old men like me. Thou must care for it, for
thou hast many years before thee.'

'But nothing to fill them with, my lord.'

'What meanest thou there, Rowland? The king's cause will yet prosper,
and--'

'Pardon me, my lord; I spoke not of the king's majesty or his affairs.
Hardly do I care even for them. It is a nameless weight, or rather
emptiness, that oppresseth me. Wherefore is there such a world? I ask,
and why are men born thereinto? Why should I live on and labour on
therein? Is it not all vanity and vexation of spirit? I would the
roundhead had but struck a little deeper, and reached my heart.'

'I admire at thee, Rowland. Truly my gout causeth me so great grief that
I have much ado to keep my unruly member within bounds, but I never yet
was aweary of my life, and scarce know what I should say to thee.'

A pause followed. The marquis did not think what a huge difference there
is between having too much blood in the feet and too little in the
brain.

'I pray, sir, can you tell me if mistress Dorothy knoweth it was before
Heywood I fell?' said Rowland at length.

'I know not; but methinks had she known, I should sooner have heard the
thing myself. Who indeed should tell her, for Shafto knew it not? And
why should she conceal it?'

'I cannot tell, my lord: she is not like other ladies.'

'She is like all good ladies in this, that she speaketh the truth: why
then not ask her?'

'I have had no opportunity, my lord. I have not seen her since I left to
join the army.'

'Tut, tut!' said his lordship, and frowned a little. 'I thought not the
damsel had been over nice. She might well have favoured a wounded knight
with a visit.'

'She is not to blame. It is my own fault,' sighed Rowland.

The marquis looked at him for a moment pitifully, but made no answer,
and presently took his leave.

He went straight to Dorothy, and expostulated with her. She answered him
no farther or otherwise than was simply duteous, but went at once to see
Scudamore.

Mistress Watson was in the room when she entered, but left it
immediately: she had never been in spirit reconciled to Dorothy: their
relation had in it too much of latent rebuke for her. So Dorothy found
herself alone with her cousin.

He was but the ghost of the gay, self-satisfied, good-natured, jolly
Rowland. Pale and thin, with drawn face and great eyes, he held out a
wasted hand to Dorothy, and looked at her, not pitifully, but
despairingly. He was one of those from whom take health and animal
spirits, and they feel to themselves as if they had nothing. Nor have
they in themselves anything. With those he could have borne what are
called hardships fairly well; those gone, his soul sat aghast in an
empty house.

'My poor cousin!' said Dorothy, touched with profound compassion at
sight of his lost look. But he only gazed at her, and said nothing. She
took the hand he did not offer, and held it kindly in hers. He burst
into tears, and she gently laid it again on the coverlid.

'I know you despise me, Dorothy,' he sobbed, 'and you are right: I
despise myself.'

'You have been a good soldier to the king, Rowland,' said Dorothy, 'and
he has acknowledged it fitly.'

'I care nothing for king or kingdom, Dorothy. Nothing is worth caring
for. Do not mistake me. I am not going to talk presumptuously. I love
not thee now, Dorothy. I never did love thee, and thou dost right to
despise me, for I am unworthy. I would I were dead. Even the king's
majesty hath been no whit the better for me, but rather the worse; for
another man,--one, I mean, who was not mounted on a stolen mare--would
have performed his hest unhindered of foregone fault.'

'Thou didst not think thou wast doing wrong when thou stolest the mare,'
said Dorothy, seeking to comfort him.

'How know'st thou that, Dorothy? There was a spot in my heart that felt
ashamed all the time.'

'He that is sorry is already pardoned, I think, cousin. Then what thou
hast done evil is gone and forgotten.'

'Nay, Dorothy. But if it were forgotten, yet would it BE. If I forgot it
myself, yet would I not cease to be the man who had done it. And thou
knowest, Dorothy, in how many things I have been false, so false that I
counted myself honourable all the time. Tell me wherefore should I not
kill myself, and rid the world of me; what withholdeth?'

'That thou art of consequence to him that made thee.'

'How can that be, when I know myself worthless? Will he be mistaken in
me?'

'No, truly. But he may have regard to that thou shalt yet be. For surely
he sent thee here to do some fitting work for him.'

More talk followed, but Dorothy did not seem to herself to find the
right thing to say, and retired to the top of the Tower with a sense of
failure, and oppressed with helpless compassion for the poor youth.

The doctors of divinity and of medicine differed concerning the cause of
his sad condition. The doctor of medicine said it arose entirely from a
check in the circulation of the animal spirits; the doctor of divinity
thought, but did not say, only hinted, that it came of a troubled
conscience, and that he would have been well long ago but for certain
sins, known only to himself, that bore heavy upon his life. This gave
the marquis a good ground of argument for confession, the weight of
which argument was by the divine felt and acknowledged. But both doctors
were right, and both were wrong. Could his health have been at once
restored, a great reaction would have ensued, his interest in life would
have reawaked, and most probably he would have become indifferent to
that which now oppressed him; but on the slightest weariness or
disappointment, the same overpowering sense of desolation would have
returned, and indeed at times amidst the warmest glow of health and
keenest consciousness of pleasure. On the other hand, if by any argument
addressed to his moral or religious nature his mind could have been a
little eased, his physical nature would most likely have at once
responded in improvement; but he had no individual actions of such heavy
guilt as the divine presumed to repent of, nor could any amount or
degree of sorrow for the past have sufficed to restore him to peace and
health. It was a poet of the time who wrote,

    'The soul's dark cottage, battered and decayed,
     Lets in new light, through chinks that time has made:'

sickness had done the same thing as time with Rowland, and he saw the
misery of his hovel. The cure was a deeper and harder matter than Dr.
Bayly yet understood, or than probably Rowland himself would for years
attain to, while yet the least glimmer of its approach would be enough
to initiate physical recovery.



CHAPTER XLVII.

THE POET-PHYSICIAN.


Time passed, but with little change in the condition of the patient.
Winter began to draw on, and both doctors feared a more rapid decline.

Early in the month of November, Dorothy received a letter from Mr.
Herbert, informing her that her cousin, Henry Vaughan, one of his late
twin pupils, would, on his way from Oxford, be passing near Raglan, and
that he had desired him to call upon her. Willing enough to see her
relative, she thought little more of the matter, until at length the day
was at hand, when she found herself looking for his arrival with some
curiosity as to what sort of person he might prove of whom she had heard
so often from his master.

When at length he was ushered into lady Glamorgan's parlour, where her
mistress had desired her to receive him, both her ladyship and Dorothy
were at once prejudiced in his favour. They saw a rather tall young man
of five or six and twenty, with a small head, a clear grey eye, and a
sober yet changeful countenance. His carriage was dignified yet
graceful--self-restraint and no other was evident therein; a certain
sadness brooded like a thin mist above his eyes, but his smile now and
then broke out like the sun through a grey cloud. Dorothy did not know
that he was just getting over the end of a love-story, or that he had a
book of verses just printed, and had already begun to repent it.

After the usual greetings, and when Dorothy had heard the last news of
Mr. Herbert,--for Mr. Vaughan had made several journeys of late between
Brecknock and Oxford, taking Llangattock Rectory in his way, and could
tell her much she did not know concerning her friend,--lady Glamorgan,
who was not sorry to see her interested in a young man whose royalist
predilections were plain and strong, proposed that Dorothy should take
him over the castle.

She led him first to the top of the tower to show him the reservoir and
the prospect; but there they fell into such a talk as revealed to
Dorothy that here was a man who was her master in everything towards
which, especially since her mother's death and her following troubles,
she had most aspired, and a great hope arose in her heart for her cousin
Scudamore. For in this talk it had come out that Mr. Vaughan had studied
medicine, and was now on his way to settle for practice at Brecknock. As
soon as Dorothy learned this, she entreated her cousin Vaughan to go and
visit her cousin Scudamore. He consented, and Dorothy, scarcely allowing
him to pause even under the admirable roof of the great hall as they
passed through, led him straight to the turret-chamber, where the sick
man was.

They found him sitting by the fire, folded in blankets, listless and
sad.

When Dorothy had told him whom she had brought to see him, she would
have left them, but Rowland turned on her such beseeching eyes, that she
remained, by no means unwillingly, and seated herself to hear what this
wonderful young physician would say.

'It is very irksome to be thus prisoned in your chamber, sir Rowland,'
he said.

'No,' answered Scudamore, 'or yes: I care not.'

'Have you no books about you?' asked Mr. Vaughan, glancing round the
room.

'Books!' repeated Scudamore, with a wan contemptuous smile.

'You do not then love books?'

'Wherefore should I love books? What can books do for me? I love
nothing. I long only to die.'

'And go----?' suggested, rather than asked, Mr. Vaughan.

'I care not whither--anywhere away from here--if indeed I go anywhere.
But I care not.'

'That is hardly what you mean, sir Rowland, I think. Will you allow me
to interpret you? Have you not the notion that if you were hence you
would leave behind you a certain troublesome attendant who is scarce
worth his wages?'

Scudamore looked at him but did not reply; and Mr. Vaughan went on.

'I know well what aileth you, for I am myself but now recovering from a
similar sickness, brought upon me by the haunting of the same evil one
who torments you.'

'You think, then, that I am possessed?' said Rowland, with a faint smile
and a glance at Dorothy.

'That verily thou art, and grievously tormented. Shall I tell thee who
hath possessed thee?--for the demon hath a name that is known amongst
men, though it frighteneth few, and draweth many, alas! His name is
Self, and he is the shadow of thy own self. First he made thee love him,
which was evil, and now he hath made thee hate him, which is evil also.
But if he be cast out and never more enter into thy heart, but remain as
a servant in thy hall, then wilt thou recover from this sickness, and be
whole and sound, and shall find the varlet serviceable.'

'Art thou not an exorciser, then, Mr. Vaughan, as well as a discerner of
spirits? I would thou couldst drive the said demon out of me, for truly
I love him not.'

'Through all thy hate thou lovest him more than thou knowest. Thou seest
him vile, but instead of casting him out, thou mournest over him with
foolish tears. And yet thou dreamest that by dying thou wouldst be rid
of him. No, it is back to thy childhood thou must go to be free.'

'That were a strange way to go, sir. I know it not. There seems to be a
purpose in what you say, Mr. Vaughan, but you take me not with you. How
can I rid me of myself, so long as I am Rowland Scudamore?'

'There is a way, sir Rowland--and but one way. Human words at least,
however it may be with some high heavenly language, can never say the
best things but by a kind of stumbling, wherein one contradiction
keepeth another from falling. No man, as thou sayest, truly, can rid him
of himself and live, for that involveth an impossibility. But he can rid
himself of that haunting shadow of his own self, which he hath pampered
and fed upon shadowy lies, until it is bloated and black with pride and
folly. When that demon king of shades is once cast out, and the man's
house is possessed of God instead, then first he findeth his true
substantial self, which is the servant, nay, the child of God. To rid
thee of thyself thou must offer it again to him that made it. Be thou
empty that he may fill thee. I never understood this until these latter
days. Let me impart to thee certain verses I found but yesterday, for
they will tell thee better what I mean. Thou knowest the sacred volume
of the blessed George Herbert?'

'I never heard of him or it,' said Scudamore.

'It is no matter as now: these verses are not of his. Prithee, hearken:

    'I carry with, me, Lord, a foolish fool,
       That still his cap upon my head would place.
     I dare not slay him, he will not to school,
       And still he shakes his bauble in my face.

    'I seize him, Lord, and bring him to thy door;
       Bound on thine altar-threshold him I lay.
     He weepeth; did I heed, he would implore;
       And still he cries ALACK and WELL-A-DAY!

    'If thou wouldst take him in and make him wise,
       I think he might be taught to serve thee well;
     If not, slay him, nor heed his foolish cries,
       He's but a fool that mocks and rings a bell.'

Something in the lines appeared to strike Scudamore.

'I thank you, sir,' he said. 'Might I put you to the trouble, I would
request that you would write out the verses for me, that I may study
their meaning at my leisure.'

Mr. Vaughan promised, and, after a little more conversation, took his
leave.

Now, whether it was from anything he had said in particular, or that
Scudamore had felt the general influence of the man, Dorothy could not
tell, but from that visit she believed Rowland began to think more and
to brood less. By and by he began to start questions of right and wrong,
suppose cases, and ask Dorothy what she would do in such and such
circumstances. With many cloudy relapses there was a suspicion of dawn,
although a rainy one most likely, on his far horizon.

'Dost thou really believe, Dorothy,' he asked one day, 'that a man ever
did love his enemy? Didst thou ever know one who did?'

'I cannot say I ever did,' returned Dorothy. 'I have however seen few
that were enemies. But I am sure that had it not been possible, we
should never have been commanded thereto.'

'The last time Dr. Bayly came to see me he read those words, and I
thought within myself all the time of the only enemy I had, and tried to
forgive him, but could not.'

'Had he then wronged thee so deeply?'

'I know not, indeed, what women call wronged--least of all what thou,
who art not like other women, wouldst judge; but this thing seems to me
strange--that when I look on thee, Dorothy, one moment it seems as if
for thy sake I could forgive him anything--except that he slew me not
outright, and the next that never can I forgive him even that wherein he
never did me any wrong.'

'What! hatest thou then him that struck thee down in fair fight? Sure
thou art of meaner soul than I judged thee. What man in battle-field
hates his enemy, or thinks it less than enough to do his endeavour to
slay him?'

'Know'st thou whom thou wouldst have me forgive? He who struck me down
was thy friend, Richard Heywood.'

'Then he hath his mare again?' cried Dorothy, eagerly.

Rowland's face fell, and she knew that she had spoken heartlessly--knew
also that, for all his protestations, Rowland yet cherished the love she
had so plainly refused. But the same moment she knew something more.

For, by the side of Rowland, in her mind's eye, stood Henry Vaughan, as
wise as Rowland was foolish, as accomplished and learned as Rowland was
narrow and ignorant; but between them stood Richard, and she knew a
something in her which was neither tenderness nor reverence, and yet
included both. She rose in some confusion, and left the chamber.

This good came of it, that from that moment Scudamore was satisfied she
loved Heywood, and, with much mortification, tried to accept his
position. Slowly his health began to return, and slowly the deeper life
that was at length to become his began to inform him.

Heartless and poverty-stricken as he had hitherto shown himself, the
good in him was not so deeply buried under refuse as in many a
better-seeming man. Sickness had awakened in him a sense of
requirement--of need also, and loneliness, and dissatisfaction. He grew
ashamed of himself and conscious of defilement. Something new began to
rise above and condemn the old. There are who would say that the change
was merely the mental condition resulting from and corresponding to
physical weakness; that repentance, and the vision of the better which
maketh shame, is but a mood, sickly as are the brain and nerves which
generate it; but he who undergoes the experience believes he knows
better, and denies neither the wild beasts nor the stars, because they
roar and shine through the dark.

Mr. Vaughan came to see him again and again, and with the concurrence of
Dr. Spott, prescribed for him. As the spring approached he grew able to
leave his room. The ladies of the family had him to their parlours to
pet and feed, but he was not now so easily to be injured by kindness as
when he believed in his own merits.



CHAPTER XLVIII.

HONOURABLE DISGRACE.


January of 1646, according to the division of the year, arrived, and
with it the heaviest cloud that had yet overshadowed Raglan.

One day, about the middle of the month, Dorothy, entering lady
Glamorgan's parlour, found it deserted. A moan came to her ears from the
adjoining chamber, and there she found her mistress on her face on the
bed.

'Madam,' said Dorothy in terror, 'what is it? Let me be with you. May I
not know it?'

'My lord is in prison,' gasped lady Glamorgan, and bursting into fresh
tears, she sobbed and moaned.

'Has my lord been taken in the field, madam, or by cunning of his
enemies?'

'Would to God it were either,' sighed lady Glamorgan. 'Then were it a
small thing to bear.'

'What can it be, madam? You terrify me,' said Dorothy.

No words of reply, only a fresh outburst of agonised--could it also be
angry?--weeping followed.

'Since you will tell me nothing, madam, I must take comfort that of
myself I know one thing.'

'Prithee, what knowest thou?' asked the countess, but as if careless of
being answered, so listless was her tone, so nearly inarticulate her
words.

'That is but what bringeth him fresh honour, my lady,' answered Dorothy.

The countess started up, threw her arms about her, drew her down on the
bed, kissed her, and held her fast, sobbing worse than ever.

'Madam! madam!' murmured Dorothy from her bosom.

'I thank thee, Dorothy,' she sighed out at length: 'for thy words and
thy thoughts have ever been of a piece.'

'Sure, my lady, no one did ever yet dare think otherwise of my lord,'
returned Dorothy, amazed.

'But many will now, Dorothy. My God! they will have it that he is a
traitor. Wouldst thou believe it, child--he is a prisoner in the castle
of Dublin!'

'But is not Dublin in the hands of the king, my lady?'

'Ay! there lies the sting of it! What treacherous friends are these
heretics! But how should they be anything else? Having denied their
Saviour they may well malign their better brother! My lord marquis of
Ormond says frightful things of him.'

'One thing more I know, my lady,' said Dorothy, '--that as long as his
wife believes him the true man he is, he will laugh to scorn all that
false lips may utter against him.'

'Thou art a good girl, Dorothy, but thou knowest little of an evil
world. It is one thing to know thyself innocent, and another to carry
thy head high.'

'But, madam, even the guilty do that; wherefore not the innocent then?'

'Because, my child, they ARE innocent, and innocence so hateth the very
shadow of guilt that it cannot brook the wearing it. My lord is
grievously abused, Dorothy--I say not by whom.'

'By whom should it be but his enemies, madam?'

'Not certainly by those who are to him friends, but yet, alas! by those
to whom he is the truest of friends.'

'Is my lord of Ormond then false? Is he jealous of my lord Glamorgan?
Hath he falsely accused him? I would I understood all, madam.'

'I would I understood all myself, child. Certain papers have been found
bearing upon my lord's business in Ireland, all ears are filled with
rumours of forgery and treason, coupled with the name of my lord, and he
is a prisoner in Dublin castle.'

She forced the sentence from her, as if repeating a hated lesson, then
gave a cry, almost a scream of agony.

'Weep not, madam,' said Dorothy, in the very foolishness of sympathetic
expostulation.

'What better cause could I have out of hell!' returned the countess,
angrily.

'That it were no lie, madam.'

'It is true, I tell thee.'

'That my lord is a traitor, madam?'

Lady Glamorgan dashed her from her, and glared at her like a tigress. An
evil word was on her lips, but her better angel spoke, and ere Dorothy
could recover herself, she had listened and understood.

'God forbid!' she said, struggling to be calm. 'But it is true that he
is in prison.'

'Then give God thanks, madam, who hath forbidden the one and allowed the
other, said Dorothy; and finding her own composure on the point of
yielding, she courtesied and left the room. It was a breach of etiquette
without leave asked and given, but the face of the countess was again on
her pillow, and she did not heed.

For some time things went on as in an evil dream. The marquis was in
angry mood, with no gout to lay it upon. The gloom spread over the
castle, and awoke all manner of conjecture and report. Soon, after a
fashion, the facts were known to everybody, and the gloom deepened. No
further enlightenment reached Dorothy. At length one evening, her
mistress having sent for her, she found her much excited, with a letter
in her hand.

'Come here, Dorothy: see what I have!' she cried, holding out the letter
with a gesture of triumph, and weeping and laughing alternately.

'Madam, it must be something precious indeed,' said Dorothy, 'for I have
not heard your ladyship laugh for a weary while. May I not rejoice with
you, madam?'

'You shall, my good girl: hearken: I will read:--'My dear Heart,'--Who
is it from, think'st thou, Dorothy? Canst guess?--'My dear Heart, I hope
these will prevent any news shall come unto you of me since my
commitment to the Castle of Dublin, to which I assure thee I went as
cheerfully and as willingly as they could wish, whosoever they were by
whose means it was procured; and should as unwillingly go forth, were
the gates both of the Castle and Town open unto me, until I were
cleared: as they are willing to make me unserviceable to the king, and
lay me aside, who have procured for me this restraint; when I consider
thee a Woman, as I think I know you are, I fear lest you should be
apprehensive. But when I reflect that you are of the House of Thomond,
and that you were once pleased to say these words unto me, That I should
never, in tenderness of you, desist from doing what in honour I was
obliged to do, I grow confident, that in this you will now show your
magnanimity, and by it the greatest testimony of affection that you can
possibly afford me; and am also confident, that you know me so well,
that I need not tell you how clear I am, and void of fear, the only
effect of a good conscience; and that I am guilty of nothing that may
testify one thought of disloyalty to his Majesty, or of what may stain
the honour of the family I come of, or set a brand upon my future
posterity.'

The countess paused, and looked a general illumination at Dorothy.

'I told you so, madam,' returned Dorothy, rather stupidly perhaps.

'Little fool!' rejoined the countess, half-angered: 'dost suppose the
wife of a man like my Ned needs to be told such things by a green goose
like thee? Thou wouldst have had me content that the man was honest--me,
who had forgotten the word in his tenfold more than honesty! Bah, child!
thou knowest not the love of a woman. I could weep salt tears over a
hair pulled from his noble head. And thou to talk of TELLING ME SO,
hussy! Marry, forsooth!'

And taking Dorothy to her bosom, she wept like a relenting storm.

One sentence more she read ere she hurried with the letter to her
father-in-law. The sentence was this:

'So I pray let not any of my friends that's there, believe anything,
until ye have the perfect relation of it from myself.'

The pleasure of receiving news from his son did but little, however, to
disperse the cloud that hung about the marquis. I do not know whether,
or how far, he had been advised of the provision made for the king's
clearness by the anticipated self-sacrifice of Glamorgan, but I doubt if
a full knowledge thereof gives any ground for disagreement with the
judgment of the marquis, which seems, pretty plainly, to have been, that
the king's behaviour in the matter was neither that of a Christian nor a
gentleman. As in the case of Strafford, he had accepted the offered
sacrifice, and, in view of possible chances, had in Glamorgan's
commission pretermitted the usual authoritative formalities, thus
keeping it in his power, with Glamorgan's connivance, it must be
confessed, but at Glamorgan's expense, to repudiate his agency. This he
had now done in a message to the parliament, and this the marquis knew.

His majesty had also written to lord Ormond as follows: 'And albeit I
have too just cause, for the clearing of my honour, to prosecute
Glamorgan in a legal way, yet I will have you suspend the execution,'
&c. At the same time his secretary wrote thus to Ormond and the council:
'And since the warrant is not' 'sealed with the signet,' &c., &c., 'your
lordships cannot but judge it to be at least surreptitiously gotten, if
not worse; for his majesty saith he remembers it not;' and thus again
privately to Ormond: 'The king hath commanded me to advertise your
lordship that the patent for making the said lord Herbert of Raglan earl
of Glamorgan is not passed the great seal here, so as he is no peer of
this kingdom; notwithstanding he styles himself, and hath treated with
the rebels in Ireland, by the name of earl of Glamorgan, which is as
vainly taken upon him as his pretended warrant (if any such be) was
surreptitiously gotten.' The title had, meanwhile, been used by the king
himself in many communications with the earl.

These letters never came, I presume, to the marquis's knowledge, but
they go far to show that his feeling, even were it a little embittered
by the memory of their midnight conference and his hopes therefrom, went
no farther than the conduct of his majesty justified. It was no wonder
that the straight-forward old man, walking erect to ruin for his king,
should fret and fume, yea, yield to downright wrath and enforced
contempt.

Of the king's behaviour in the matter, Dorothy, however, knew nothing
yet.

One day towards the end of February, a messenger from the king arrived
at Raglan, on his way to Ireland to lord Ormond. He had found the roads
so beset--for things were by this time, whether from the successes of
the parliament only, or from the negligence of disappointment on the
part of lord Worcester as well, much altered in Wales and on its
borders--that he had been compelled to leave his despatches in hiding,
and had reached the castle only with great difficulty and after many
adventures. His chief object in making his way thither was to beg of
lord Charles a convoy to secure his despatches and protect him on his
farther journey. But lord Charles received him by no means cordially,
for the whole heart of Raglan was sore. He brought him, however, to his
father, who, although indisposed and confined to his chamber, consented
to see him. When Mr. Boteler was admitted, lady Glamorgan was in the
chamber, and there remained.

Probably the respect to the king's messenger which had influenced the
marquis to receive him, would have gone further and modified the
expression of his feelings a little when he saw him, but that, like many
more men, his lordship, although fairly master of his temper-horses when
in health, was apt to let them run away with him upon occasion of even
slighter illness than would serve for an excuse.

'Hast thou in thy despatches any letters from his majesty to my son
Glamorgan, master Boteler?' he inquired, frowning unconsciously.

'Not that I know of, my lord,' answered Mr. Boteler, 'but there may be
such with the lord marquis of Ormond's.'

He then proceeded to give a friendly message from the king concerning
the earl. But at this the 'smouldering fire out-brake' from the bosom of
the injured father and subject.

'It is the grief of my heart,' cried his lordship, wrath predominating
over the regret which was yet plainly enough to be seen in his face and
heard in his tone--'It is the grief of my heart that I am enforced to
say that the king is wavering and fickle. To be the more his friend, it
too plainly appeareth, is but to be the more handled as his enemy.'

'Say not so, my lord,' returned Mr. Boteler. 'His gracious majesty
looketh not for such unfriendly judgment from your lips. Have I not
brought your lordship a most gracious and comfortable message from him
concerning my lord Glamorgan, with his royal thanks for your former
loyal expressions?'

'Mr. Boteler, thou knowest nought of the matter. That thou has brought
me a budget of fine words, I go not to deny. But words may be but
schismatics; deeds alone are certainly of the true faith. Verily the
king's majesty setteth his words in the forefront of the battle, but his
deeds lag in the rear, and let his words be taken prisoners. When his
majesty was last here, I lent him a book to read in his chamber, the
beginning of which I know he read, but if he had ended, it would have
showed him what it was to be a fickle prince.'

'My lord! my lord! surely your lordship knoweth better of his majesty.'

'To know better may be to know worse, master Boteler. Was it not enough
to suffer my lord Glamorgan to be unjustly imprisoned by my lord marquis
of Ormond for what he had His majesty's authority for, but that he must
in print protest against his proceedings and his own allowance, and not
yet recall it? But I will pray for him, and that he may be more constant
to his friends, and as soon as my other employments will give leave, you
shall have a convoy to fetch securely your despatches.'

Herewith Mr. Boteler was dismissed, lord Charles accompanying him from
the room.

'False as ice!' muttered the marquis to himself, left as he supposed
alone. 'My boy, thou hast built on a quicksand, and thy house goeth down
to the deep. I am wroth with myself that ever I dreamed of moving such a
bag of chaff to return to the bosom of his honourable mother.'

'My lord,' said lady Glamorgan from behind the bed-curtains, 'have you
forgotten that I and my long ears are here?'

'Ha! art thou indeed there, my mad Irishwoman! I had verily forgotten
thee. But is not this king of ours as the Minotaur, dwelling in the
labyrinths of deceit, and devouring the noblest in the land? There was
his own Strafford, next his foolish Laud, and now comes my son, worth a
host of such!'

'In his letter, my lord of Glamorgan complaineth not of his majesty's
usage,' said the countess.

'My lord of Glamorgan is patient as Grisel. He would pass through the
pains of purgatory with never a grumble. But purgatory is for none such
as he. In good sooth I am made of different stuff. My soul doth loath
deceit, and worse in a king than a clown. What king is he that will lie
for a kingdom!'

Day after day passed, and nothing was done to speed the messenger, who
grew more and more anxious to procure his despatches and be gone; but
lord Worcester, through the king's behaviour to his honourable and
self-forgetting son, with whom he had never had a difference except on
the point of his blind devotion to his majesty's affairs, had so lost
faith in the king himself that he had no heart for his business. It
seems also that for his son's sake he wished to delay Mr. Boteler, in
order that a messenger of his own might reach Glamorgan before Ormond
should receive the king's despatches. For a whole fortnight therefore no
further steps were taken, and Boteler, wearied out, bethought him of
applying to the countess to see whether she would not use her influence
in his behalf. I am thus particular about Boteler's affair, because
through it Dorothy came to know what the king's behaviour had been, and
what the marquis thought of it; she was in the room when Mr. Boteler
waited on her mistress.

'May it please your ladyship,' he said, 'I have sought speech of you
that I might beg your aid for the king's business, remembering you of
the hearty affection my master the king beareth towards your lord and
all his house.'

'Indeed you do well to remember me of that, master Boteler, for it goeth
so hard with my memory in these troubled times that I had nigh forgotten
it,' said the countess dryly.

'I most certainly know, my lady, that his majesty hath gracious
intentions towards your lord.'

'Intention is but an addled egg,' said the countess. 'Give me deeds, if
I may choose.'

'Alas! the king hath but little in his power, and the less that his
business is thus kept waiting.'

'Your haste is more than your matter, master Boteler. Believe me,
whatsoever you consider of it, your going so hurriedly is of no great
account, for to my knowledge there are others gone already with
duplicates of the business.'

'Madam, you astonish me.'

'I speak not without book. My own cousin, William Winter, is one, and he
is my husband's friend, and hath no relation to my lord marquis of
Ormond,' said lady Glamorgan significantly.

'My lord, madam, is your lord's very good friend, and I am very much his
servant; but if his majesty's business be done, I care not by whose hand
it is. But I thank your honour, for now I know wherefore I am stayed
here.'

With these words Boteler withdrew--and withdraws from my story, for his
further proceedings are in respect of it of no consequence.

When he was gone, lady Glamorgan, turning a flushed face, and
encountering Dorothy's pale one, gave a hard laugh, and said:

'Why, child! thou lookest like a ghost! Was afeard of the man in my
presence?'

'No, madam; but it seemed to me marvellous that his majesty's messenger
should receive such words from my mistress, and in my lord of
Worcester's house.'

'I' faith, marvellous it is, Dorothy, that there should be such good
cause so to use him!' returned lady Glamorgan, tears of vexation rising
as she spoke. 'But an' thou think I used the man roughly, thou shouldst
have heard my father speak to him his mind of the king his master.'

'Hath the king then shown himself unkingly, madam?' said Dorothy aghast.

Whereupon lady Glamorgan told her all she knew, and all she could
remember of what she had heard the marquis say to Boteler.

'Trust me, child,' she added, 'my lord Worcester, no less than I am, is
cut to the heart by this behaviour of the king's. That my husband, silly
angel, should say nothing, is but like him. He would bear and bear till
all was borne.'

'But,' said Dorothy, 'the king is still the king.'

'Let him be the king then,' returned her mistress. 'Let him look to his
kingdom. Why should I give him my husband to do it for him and be
disowned therein? I thank heaven I can do without a king, but I can't do
without my Ned, and there he lies in prison for him who cons him no
thanks! Not that I would overmuch heed the prison if the king would but
share the blame with him; but for the king to deny him--to say that he
did all of his own motion and without authority!--why, child, I saw the
commission with my own eyes, nor count myself under any farther
obligation to hold my peace concerning it! I know my husband will bear
all things, even disgrace itself, undeserved, for the king's sake: he is
the loveliest of martyrs; but that is no reason why I should bear it.
The king hath no heart and no conscience. No, I will not say that; but I
will say that he hath little heart and less conscience. My good
husband's fair name is gone--blasted by the king, who raiseth the mist
of Glamorgan's dishonour that he may hide himself safe behind it. I tell
thee, Dorothy Vaughan, I should not have grudged his majesty my lord's
life, an' he had been but a right kingly king. I should have wept enough
and complained too much, in womanish fashion, doubtless; but I tell thee
earl Thomond's daughter would not have grudged it. But my lord's truth
and honour are dear to him, and the good report of them is dear to me. I
swear I can ill brook carrying the title he hath given me. It is my
husband's and not mine, else would I fling it in his face who thus
wrongs my Herbert.'

This explosion from the heart of the wild Irishwoman sounded dreadful in
the ears of the king-worshipper. But he whom she thus accused the king
of wronging, had been scarcely less revered of her, even while the idol
with the feet of clay yet stood, and had certainly been loved greatly
more, than the king himself. Hence, notwithstanding her struggle to keep
her heart to its allegiance, such a rapid change took place in her
feelings, that ere long she began to confess to herself that if the
puritans could have known what the king was, their conduct would not
have been so unintelligible--not that she thought they had an atom of
right on their side, or in the least feared she might ever be brought to
think in the matter as they did; she confessed only that she could then
have understood them.

The whole aspect and atmosphere of Raglan continued changed. The marquis
was still very gloomy; lord Charles often frowned and bit his lip; and
the flush that so frequently overspread the face of lady Glamorgan as
she sat silent at her embroidery, showed that she was thinking in anger
of the wrong done to her husband. In this feeling all in the castle
shared, for the matter had now come to be a little understood, and as
they loved the earl more than the king, they took the earl's part.

Meantime he for whose sake the fortress was troubled, having been
released on large bail, was away, with free heart, to Kilkenny, busy as
ever on behalf of the king, full of projects, and eager in action. Not a
trace of resentment did he manifest--only regret that his majesty's
treatment of him, in destroying his credit with the catholics as the
king's commissioner, had put it out of his power to be so useful as he
might otherwise have been. His brain was ever contriving how to remedy
things, but parties were complicated, and none quite trusted him now
that he was disowned of his master.



CHAPTER XLIX.

SIEGE.


Things began to look threatening. Raglan's brooding disappointment and
apprehension was like the electric overcharge of the earth, awaiting and
drawing to it the hovering cloud: the lightning and thunder of the war
began at length to stoop upon the Yellow Tower of Gwent. When the month
of May arrived once more with its moonlight and apple-blossoms, the
cloud came with it. The doings of the earl of Glamorgan in Ireland had
probably hastened the vengeance of the parliament.

There was no longer any royal army. Most of the king's friends had
accepted the terms offered them; and only a few of his garrisons,
amongst the rest that of Raglan, held out--no longer, however, in such
trim for defence as at first. The walls, it is true, were rather
stronger than before, the quantity of provisions was large, and the
garrison was sufficient; but their horses were now comparatively few,
and, which was worse, the fodder in store was, in prospect of a long
siege, scanty. But the worst of all, indeed the only weak and therefore
miserable fact, was, that the spirit, I do not mean the courage, of the
castle was gone; its enthusiasm had grown sere; its inhabitants no
longer loved the king as they had loved him, and even stern-faced
general Duty cannot bring up his men to a hand-to-hand conflict with the
same elans as queen love.

The rumour of approaching troops kept gathering, and at every fresh
report Scudamore's eyes shone.

'Sir Rowland,' said the governor one day, 'hast not had enough of
fighting yet for all thy lame shoulder?'

''Tis but my left shoulder, my lord,' answered Scudamore.

'Thou lookest for the siege as an' it were but a tussle and over--a
flash and a roar. An' thou had to answer for the place like me--well!'

'Nay, my lord, I would fain show the roundheads what an honest house can
do to hold out rogues.'

'Ay, but there's the rub!' returned lord Charles: 'will the house hold
out the rogues? Bethink thee, Rowland, there is never a spot in it fit
for defence except the keep and the kitchen.'

'We can make sallies, my lord.'

'To be driven in again by ten times our number, and kept in while they
knock our walls about our ears! However, we will hold out while we can.
Who knows what turn affairs may take?'

It was towards the end of April when the news reached Raglan that the
king, desperate at length, had made his escape from beleaguered Oxford,
and in the disguise of a serving man, betaken himself to the
headquarters of the Scots army, to find himself no king, no guest even,
but a prisoner. He sought shelter and found captivity. The marquis
dropped his chin on his chest and murmured, 'All is over.'

But the pang that shot to his heart awoke wounded loyalty: he had been
angry with his monarch, and justly, but he would fight for him still.

'See to the gates, Charles,' he cried, almost springing, spite of his
unwieldiness, from his chair. 'Tell Caspar to keep the powder-mill going
night and day. Would to God my boy Ned were here! His majesty hath
wronged me, but throned or prisoned he is my king still--the church must
come down, Charles. The dead are for the living, and will not cry out.'
For in St. Cadocus' church lay the tombs of his ancestors.

On deliberation it was resolved, however, that only the tower, which
commanded some portions of the castle, should fall. To Dorothy it was
like taking down the standard of the Lord. She went with some of the
ladies to look a last look at the ancient structure, and saw mass after
mass fall silent from the top to clash hideous at the foot amidst the
broken tomb-stones. It was sad enough! but the destruction of the
cottages around it, that the enemy might not have shelter there, was
sadder still. The women wept and wailed; the men growled, and said what
was Raglan to them that their houses should be pulled from over their
heads. The marquis offered compensation and shelter. All took the money,
but few accepted the shelter, for the prospect of a siege was not
attractive to any but such as were fond of fighting, of whom some would
rather attack than defend.

The next day they heard that sir Trevor Williams was at Usk with a
strong body of men. They knew colonel Birch was besieging Gutbridge
castle. Two days passed, and then colonel Kirk appeared to the north,
and approached within two miles. The ladies began to look pale as often
as they saw two persons talking together: there might be fresh news. His
father and his wife were not the only persons in the castle who kept
sighing for Glamorgan. Every soul in it felt as if, not to say fancied
that, his presence would have made it impregnable.

But a strange excitement seized upon Dorothy, which arose from a sense
of trust and delegation, outwardly unauthorised. She had not the
presumption to give it form in words, even to Caspar, but she felt as if
they two were the special servants of the absent power. Ceaselessly
therefore she kept open eyes, and saw and spoke and reminded and
remedied where she could, so noiselessly, so unobtrusively, that none
were offended, and all took heed of the things she brought before them.
Indeed what she said came at length to be listened to almost as if it
had been a message from Glamorgan. But her chief business was still the
fire-engine, whose machinery she anxiously watched--for if anything
should happen to Caspar and then to the engine, what would become of
them when driven into the tower?

Discipline, which of late had got very drowsy, was stirred up to fresh
life. Watch grew strict. The garrison was drilled more regularly and
carefully, and the guard and sentinels relieved to the minute. The
armoury was entirely overhauled, and every smith set to work to get the
poor remainder of its contents into good condition.

One evening lord Charles came to his father with the news that some
score of fresh horses had arrived.

'Have they brought provender with them, my lord?' asked the marquis.

'Alas, no, my lord, only teeth,' answered the governor.

'How stands the hay?'

'At low ebb, my lord. There is plenty of oats, however.'

'We hear to-day nothing of the roundheads: what say you to turning them
out and letting them have a last bellyful of sweet grass under the
walls?'

'I say 'tis so good a plan, my lord, that I think we had better extend
it, and let a few of the rest have a parting nibble.'

The marquis approved.

There was a postern in the outermost wall of the castle on the western
side, seldom used, commanded by the guns of the tower, and opening upon
a large field of grass, with nothing between but a ditch. It was just
wide enough to let one horse through at a time, and by this the governor
resolved to turn them out, and as soon as it was nearly dark, ordered a
few thick oak planks to be laid across the ditch, one above another, for
a bridge. The field was sufficiently fenced to keep them from straying,
and with the first signs of dawn they would take them in again.

Dorothy, leaving the tower for the night, had reached the archway, when
to her surprise she saw the figure of a huge horse move across the mouth
of it, followed by another and another. Except Richard's mare on that
eventful night she had never seen horse-kind there before. One after
another, till she had counted some five-and-twenty, she saw pass, then
heard them cross the fountain court with heavy foot upon the tiles. At
length, dark as it was, she recognised her own little Dick moving
athwart the opening. She sprang forward, seized him by the halter, and
drew him in beside her. On and on they came, till she had counted
eighty, and then the procession ceased.

Presently she heard the voice of lord Charles, as he crossed the hall
and came out into the court, saying,

'How many didst thou count, Shafto?'

'Seventy-nine, my lord,' answered the groom, coming from the direction
of the gate.

'I counted eighty at the hall-door as they went in.'

'I am certain no more than seventy-nine went through the gate, my lord.'

'What can have become of the eightieth? He must have gone into the
chapel, or up the archway, or he may be still in the hall. Art sure he
is not grazing on the turf?'

'Certain sure, my lord,' answered Shafto.

'I am the thief, my lord,' said Dorothy, coming from the archway behind
him, leading her little horse. '--Good, my lord, let me keep Dick. He is
as useful as another--more useful than some.'

'How, cousin!' cried lord Charles, 'didst imagine I was sending off thy
genet to save the hay? No, no! An' thou hadst looked well at the other
horses, thou wouldst have seen they are such as we want for work--such
as may indeed save the hay, but after another fashion. I but mean to do
thy Dick a kindness, and give him a bite of grass with the rest.'

'Then you are turning them out into the fields, my lord?'

'Yes--at the little postern.'

'Is it safe, my lord, with the enemy so near?'

'It is my father's idea. I do not think there is any danger. There will
be no moon to-night.'

'May not the scouts ride the closer for that,' my lord?'

'Yes, but they will not see the better.'

'I hope, my lord, you will not think me presumptuous, but--please let me
keep my Dick inside the walls.'

'Do what thou wilt with thine own, cousin. I think thou art
over-fearful; but do as thou wilt, I say.'

Dorothy led Dick back to his stable, a little distressed that lord
Charles seemed to dislike her caution.

But she had a strong feeling of the risk of the thing, and after she
went to bed was so haunted by it that she could not sleep. After a
while, however, her thoughts took another direction:--Might not Richard
come to the siege? What if they should meet?--That his party had
triumphed, no whit altered the rights of the matter, and she was sure it
had not altered her feelings; yet her feelings were altered: she was no
longer so fiercely indignant against the puritans as heretofore! Was she
turning traitor? or losing the government of herself? or was the right
triumphing in her against her will? Was it St. Michael for the truth
conquering St. George for the old way of England? Had the king been a
tyrant indeed? and had the powers of heaven declared against him, and
were they now putting on their instruments to cut down the harvest of
wrong? Had not Richard been very sure of being in the right? But what
was that shaking--not of the walls, but the foundations? What was that
noise as of distant thunder? She sprang from her bed, caught up her
night-light, for now she never slept in the dark as heretofore, and
hurried to the watch-tower. From its top she saw, by the faint light of
the stars, vague forms careering over the fields. There was no cry
except an occasional neigh, and the thunder was from the feet of many
horses on the turf. The enemy was lifting the castle horses!

She flew to the chamber beneath, where, since the earl's departure, in
the stead of the cross-bow, a small minion gun had been placed by lord
Charles, with its muzzle in the round where the lines of the loop-hole
crossed. A piece of match lay beside it. She caught it up, lighted it at
her candle, and fired the gun. The tower shook with its roar and recoil.
She had fired the first gun of the siege: might it be a good omen!

In an instant the castle was alive. Warders came running from the
western gate. Dorothy had gone, and they could not tell who had fired
the gun, but there were no occasion to ask why it had been fired--for
where were the horses? They could hear, but no longer see them. There
was mounting in hot haste, and a hurried sally. Lord Charles flung
himself on little Dick's bare back, and flew to reconnoitre. Fifty of
the garrison were ready armed and mounted by the time he came back,
having discovered the route they were taking, and off they went at full
speed in pursuit. But, encumbered as they were at first with the driven
horses, the twenty men who had carried them off had such a start of
their pursuers that they reached the high road where they could not
stray, and drove them right before them to sir Trevor Williams at Usk.

'The fodder will last the longer,' said the marquis, with a sigh sent
after his eighty horses.

'Mistress Dorothy,' said lord Charles the next day, 'methinks thou art
as Cassandra in Troy. I shall tremble after this to do aught against thy
judgment.'

'My lord,' returned Dorothy, 'I have to ask your pardon for my
presumption, but it was borne in upon me, as Tom Fool says, that there
was danger in the thing. It was scarcely judgment on my part--rather a
womanish dread.'

'Go thou on to speak thy mind like Cassandra, cousin Dorothy, and let us
men despise it at our peril. I am humbled before thee,' said lord
Charles, with the generosity of his family.

'Truly, child,' said lady Glamorgan, 'the mantle of my husband hath
fallen upon thee!'

The next day sir Trevor Williams and his men sat down before the castle
with a small battery, and the siege was fairly begun. Dorothy, on the
top of the keep, watching them, but not understanding what they were
about in particulars, heard the sudden bellow of one of their cannon.
Two of the battlements beside her flew into one, and the stones of the
parapet between them stormed into the cistern. Had her presence been the
attraction to that thunderbolt? Often after this, while she watched the
engine below in the workshop, she would hear the dull thud of an iron
ball against the body of the tower; but although it knocked the parapet
into showers of stones, their artillery could not make the slightest
impression upon that.

The same night a sally was prepared. Rowland ran to lord Charles,
begging leave to go. But his lordship would not hear of it, telling him
to get well, and he should have enough of sallying before the siege was
over. The enemy were surprised, and lost a few men, but soon recovered
themselves and drove the royalists home, following them to the very
gates, whence the guns of the castle sent them back in their turn.

Many such sallies and skirmishes followed. Once and again there was but
time for the guard to open the gate, admit their own, and close it, ere
the enemy came thundering up--to be received with a volley and gallop
off. At first there was great excitement within the walls when a party
was out. Eager and anxious eyes followed them from every point of
vision. But at length they got used to it, as to all the ordinary
occurrences of siege.

By and by colonel Morgan appeared with additional forces, and made his
head-quarters to the south, at Llandenny. In two days more the castle
was surrounded, and they began to erect a larger battery on the east of
it, also to dig trenches and prepare for mining. The chief point of
attack was that side of the stone court which lay between the towers of
the kitchen and the library. Here then came the hottest of the siege,
and very soon that range of building gave show of affording an easy
passage by the time the outer works should be taken.

After the first ball, whose execution Dorothy had witnessed, there came
no more for some time. Sir Trevor waited until the second battery should
be begun and captain Hooper arrive, who was to be at the head of the
mining operations. Hence most of the inmates of the castle began to
imagine that a siege was not such an unpleasant thing after all. They
lacked nothing; the apple trees bloomed; the moon shone; the white horse
fed the fountain; the pigeons flew about the courts, and the peacock
strutted on the grass. But when they began digging their approaches and
mounting their guns on the east side, sir Trevor opened his battery on
the west, and the guns of the tower replied. The guns also from the
kitchen tower, and another between it and the library tower, played upon
the trenches, and the noise was tremendous. At first the inhabitants
were nearly deafened, and frequently failed to hear what was said; but
at length they grew hardened--so much so that they were often unaware of
the firing altogether, and began again to think a siege no great matter.
But when the guns of the eastern battery opened fire, and at the first
discharge a round shot, bringing with it a barrowful of stones, came
down the kitchen chimney, knocking the lid through the bottom of the
cook's stewpan, and scattering all the fire about the place; when the
roof of one of the turrets went clashing over the stones of the paved
court; when a spent shot struck the bars of the Great Mogul's cage, and
sent him furious, making them think what might happen, and wishing they
were sure of the politics of the wild beasts; when the stones and slates
flew about like sudden showers of hail; when every now and then a great
rumble told of a falling wall, and that side of the court was rapidly
turning to a heap of ruins; then were cries and screams, many more
however of terror than of injury, to be heard in the castle, and they
began to understand that it was not starvation, but something more
peremptory still, to which they were doomed to succumb. At times there
would fall a lull, perhaps for a few hours, perhaps but for a few
moments, to end in a sudden fury of firing on both sides, mingled with
shouts, the rattling of bullets, and the falling of stones, when the
women would rush to and fro screaming, and all would imagine the storm
was in the breach.

But the gloom of the marquis seemed to have vanished with the breaking
of the storm, as the outburst of the lightning takes the weight off head
and heart that has for days been gathering. True, when his house began
to fall, he would look for a moment grave at each successive rumble, but
the next he would smile and nod his head, as if all was just as he had
expected and would have it. One day when sir Toby Mathews and Dr. Bayly
happened both to be with him in his study, an ancient stack of chimneys
tumbled with tremendous uproar into the stone court. The two clergymen
started visibly, and then looked at each other with pallid faces. But
the marquis smiled, kept the silence for an instant, and then, in slow
solemn voice, said:

'Scimus enim quoniam si terrestris domus nomus nostra hujus habitationis
dissolvatur, quod aedificationem ex Deo habemus, domum non manufactam,
aeternam in coelis.'

The clergymen grasped each other by the hand, then turning bowed
together to the marquis, but the conversation was not resumed.

One evening in the drawing-room, after supper, the marquis, in good
spirits, and for him in good health, was talking more merrily than
usual. Lady Glamorgan stood near him in the window. The captain of the
garrison was giving a spirited description of a sally they had made the
night before upon colonel Morgan in his quarters at Llandenny, and sir
Rowland was vowing that come of it what might, leave or no leave, he
would ride the next time, when crash went something in the room, the
marquis put his hand to his head, and the countess fled in terror,
crying, 'O Lord! O Lord!' A bullet had come through the window, knocked
a little marble pillar belonging to it in fragments on the floor, and
glancing from it, struck the marquis on the side of the head. The
countess, finding herself unhurt, ran no farther than the door.

'I ask your pardon, my lord, for my rudeness,' she said, with trembling
voice, as she came slowly back. 'But indeed, ladies,' she added, 'I
thought the house was coming down.--You gentlemen, who know not what
fear is, I pray you to forgive me, for I was mortally frightened.'

'Daughter, you had reason to run away, when your father was knocked on
the head,' said the marquis.

He put his finger on the flattened bullet where it had fallen on the
table, and turning it round and round, was silent for a moment evidently
framing aright something he wanted to say. Then with the pretence that
the bullet had been flattened upon his head,

'Gentlemen,' he remarked, 'those who had a mind to flatter me were wont
to tell me that I had a good head in my younger days, but if I don't
flatter myself, I think I have a good head-piece in my old age, or else
it would not have been musket-proof.'

But although he took the thing thus quietly and indeed merrily, it
revealed to him that their usual apartments were no longer fit for the
ladies, and he gave orders therefore that the great rooms in the tower
should be prepared for them and the children.

Dorothy's capacity for work was not easily satisfied, but now for a time
she had plenty to do. In the midst of the roar from the batteries, and
the answering roar from towers and walls, the ladies betook themselves
to their stronger quarters: a thousand necessaries had to be carried
with them, and she, as a matter of course, it seemed, had to superintend
the removal. With many hands to make light work she soon finished,
however, and the family was lodged where no hostile shot could reach
them, although the frequent fall of portions of its battlemented summit
rendered even a peep beyond its impenetrable shell hazardous. Dorothy
would lie awake at night, where she slept in her mistress's room, and
listen--now to the baffled bullet as it fell from the scarce indented
wall, now to the roar of the artillery, sounding dull and far away
through the ten-foot thickness; and ever and again the words of the
ancient psalm would return upon her memory: 'Thou hast been a shelter
for me, and a strong tower from the enemy.'

She tended the fire-engine if possible yet more carefully than ever,
kept the cistern full, and the water lipping the edge of the moat, but
let no fountain flow except that from the mouth of the white horse. Her
great fear was lest a shot should fall into the reservoir and injure its
bottom, but its contriver had taken care that, even without the
protection of its watery armour, it should be indestructible.

The marquis would not leave his own rooms and the supervision they gave
him. The domestics were mostly lodged within the kitchen tower, which,
although in full exposure to the enemy's fire, had as yet proved able to
resist it. But all between that and the library tower was rapidly
becoming a chaos of stones and timber. Lord Glamorgan's secret chamber
was shot through and through; but Caspar, as soon as the direction and
force of the battery were known, had carried off his books and
instruments.



CHAPTER L.

A SALLY.


Meantime Mr. Heywood had returned home to look after his affairs, and
brought Richard with him. In the hope that peace was come they had laid
down their commissions. Hardly had they reached Redware when they heard
the news of the active operations at Raglan, and Richard rode off to see
how things were going--not a little anxious concerning Dorothy, and full
of eagerness to protect her, but entirely without hope of favour either
at her hand or her heart. He had no inclination to take part in the
siege, and had had enough of fighting for any satisfaction it had
brought him. It might be the right thing to do, and so far the only path
towards the sunrise, but had he ground for hope that the day of freedom
had in himself advanced beyond the dawn? His confidence in Milton and
Cromwell, with his father's, continued unshaken, but what could man do
to satisfy the hunger for freedom which grew and gnawed within him?
Neither political nor religious liberty could content him. He might
himself be a slave in a universe of freedom. Still ready, even for the
sake of mere outward freedom of action and liberty of worship, to draw
the sword, he yet had begun to think he had fought enough.

As he approached Raglan he missed something from the landscape, but only
upon reflection discovered that it was the church tower. Entering the
village, he found it all but deserted, for the inhabitants had mostly
gone, and it was too near the gates and too much exposed to the sudden
sallies of the besieged for the occupation of the enemy. That day,
however, a large reinforcement, sent from Oxford by Fairfax to
strengthen colonel Morgan, having arrived at Llandenny, some of its
officers, riding over to inspect captain Hooper's operations, had halted
at the White Horse, where they were having a glass of ale when Richard
rode up. He found them old acquaintances, and sat down with them. Almost
evening when he arrived, it was quite dusk when they rose and called for
their horses.

They had placed a man to keep watch towards Raglan, while the rest of
their attendants, who were but few, leaving their horses in the yard,
were drinking their ale in the kitchen; but seeing no signs of peril,
and growing weary of his own position and envious of that of his
neighbours, the fellow had ventured, discipline being neither active nor
severe, to rejoin his companions.

The host, being a tenant of the marquis, had decided royalist
predilections, but whether what followed was of his contriving I cannot
tell; news reached the castle somehow that a few parliamentary officers
with their men were drinking at the White Horse.

Rowland was in the chapel, listening to the organ, having in his illness
grown fond of hearing Delaware play. The brisker the cannonade, the
blind youth always praised the louder, and had the main stops now in
full blast; but through it all, Scudamore heard the sound of horses'
feet on the stones, and running along the minstrels' gallery and out on
the top of the porch, saw over fifty horsemen in the court, all but
ready to start. He flew to his chamber, caught up his sword and pistols,
and without waiting to put on any armour, hurried to the stables, laid
hold of the first horse he came to, which was fortunately saddled and
bridled, and was in time to follow the last man out of the court before
the gate was closed behind the issuing troop.

The parliamentary officers were just mounting, when their sentinel, who
had run again into the road to listen, for it was now too dark to see
further than a few yards, came running back with the alarm that he heard
the feet of a considerable body of horse in the direction of the castle.
Richard, whose mare stood unfastened at the door, was on her back in a
moment. Being unarmed, save a brace of pistols in his holsters, he
thought he could best serve them by galloping to captain Hooper and
bringing help, for the castle party would doubtless outnumber them.
Scarcely was he gone, however, and half the troopers were not yet in
their saddles, when the place was surrounded by three times their
number. Those who were already mounted, escaped and rode after Heywood,
a few got into a field, where they hid themselves in the tall corn, and
the rest barricaded the inn door and manned the windows. There they held
out for some time, frequent pistol-shots being interchanged without much
injury to either side. At length, however, the marquis's men had all but
succeeded in forcing the door, when they were attacked in the rear by
Richard with some thirty horse from the trenches, and the runaways of
colonel Morgan's men, who had met them and turned with them. A smart
combat ensued, lasting half an hour, in which the parliament men had the
advantage. Those who had lost their horses recovered them, and a
royalist was taken prisoner. From him Richard took his sword, and rode
after the retreating cavaliers.

One of their number, a little in the rear, supposing Richard to be one
of themselves, allowed him to get ahead of him, and, facing about, cut
him off from his companions. It was the second time he had headed
Scudamore, and again he did not know him, this time because it was dark.
Rowland, however, recognised his voice as he called him to surrender,
and rushed fiercely at him. But scarcely had they met, when the
cavalier, whose little strength had ere this all but given way to the
unwonted fatigue, was suddenly overcome with faintness, and dropped from
his horse. Richard got down, lifted him, laid him across Lady's
shoulders, mounted, raised him into a better position, and, leading the
other horse, brought him back to the inn. There first he discovered that
he was his prisoner whom he feared he had killed at Naseby.

When Rowland came to himself,

'Are you able to ride a few miles, Mr Scudamore?' asked Richard.

At first Rowland was too much chagrined, finding in whose power he was,
to answer.

'I am your prisoner,' he said at length. 'You are my evil genius, I
think. I have no choice. Thy star is in the ascendant, and mine has been
going down ever since first I met thee, Richard Heywood.'

Richard attempted no reply, but got Rowland's horse, and assisted him to
mount.

'I want to do you a good turn, Mr Scudamore,' he said, after they had
ridden a mile in silence.

'I look for nothing good at thy hand,' said Scudamore.

'When thou findest what it is, I trust thou wilt change thy thought of
me, Mr Scudamore.'

'SIR ROWLAND, an' it please you,' said the prisoner, his boyish vanity
roused by misfortune, and passing itself upon him for dignity.

'Mere ignorance must be pardoned, sir Rowland,' returned Richard: 'I was
unaware of your dignity. But think you, sir Rowland, you do well to ride
on such rough errands, while yet not recovered, as is but too plain to
see, from former wounds?'

'It seems not, Mr. Heywood, for I had not else been your prize, I trust.
The wound I caught at Naseby has cost the king a soldier, I fear.'

'I hope it will cost no more than is already paid. Men must fight, it
seems, but I for one would gladly repair, an' I might, what injuries I
had been compelled to cause.'

'I cannot say the like on my part,' returned sir Rowland. 'I would I had
slain thee!'

'So would not I concerning thee--in proof whereof do I now lead thee to
the best leech I know--one who brought me back from death's door, when
through thee, if not by thy hand, I was sore wounded. With her, as my
prisoner, I shall leave thee. Seek not to make thy escape, lest, being a
witch, as they saw of her, she chain thee up in alabaster. When thou art
restored, go thy way whither thou pleasest. It is no longer as it was
with the cause of liberty: a soldier of hers may now afford to release
an enemy for whom he has a friendship.'

'A friendship!' exclaimed sir Rowland. 'And wherefore, prithee, Mr
Heywood? On what ground?'

But they had reached the cottage, and Richard made no reply. Having
helped his prisoner to dismount, led him through the garden, and knocked
at the door,

'Here, mother!' he said as mistress Rees opened it, 'I have brought thee
a king's-man to cure this time.'

'Praise God!' returned mistress Rees--not that a king's-man was wounded,
but that she had him to cure: she was an enthusiast in her art. Just as
she had devoted herself to the puritan, she now gave all her care and
ministration to the royalist. She got her bed ready for him, asked him a
few questions, looked at his shoulder, not even yet quite healed, said
it had not been well managed, and prepared a poultice, which smelt so
vilely that Rowland turned from it with disgust. But the old woman had a
singular power of persuasion, and at length he yielded, and in a few
moments was fast asleep.

Calling the next morning, Richard found him very weak--partly from the
unwonted fatigue of the previous day, and partly from the old woman's
remedies, which were causing the wound to threaten suppuration. But
somehow he had become well satisfied that she knew what she was about,
and showed no inclination to rebel.

For a week or so he did not seem to improve. Richard came often, sat by
his bedside, and talked with him; but the moment he grew angry, called
him names, or abused his party, would rise without a word, mount his
mare, and ride home--to return the next morning as if nothing unpleasant
had occurred.

After about a week, the patient began to feel the benefit of the wise
woman's treatment. The suppuration carried so much of an old
ever-haunting pain with it, that he was now easier than he had ever been
since his return to Raglan. But his behaviour to Richard grew very
strange, and the roundhead failed to understand it. At one time it was
so friendly as to be almost affectionate; at another he seemed bent on
doing and saying everything he could to provoke a duel. For another
whole week, aware of the benefit he was deriving from the witch, as he
never scrupled to call her, nor in the least offended her thereby,
apparently also at times fascinated in some sort by the visits of his
enemy, as he persisted in calling Richard, he showed no anxiety to be
gone.

'Heywood,' he said one morning suddenly, with quite a new familiarity,
'dost thou consider I owe thee an apology for carrying off thy mare?
Tell me what look the thing beareth to thee.'

'Put thy case, Scudamore,' returned Richard.

And sir Rowland did put his case, starting from the rebel state of the
owner, advancing to the natural outlawry that resulted, going on to the
necessity of the king, &c., and ending thus:

'Now I know thou regardest neither king nor right, therefore I ask thee
only to tell me how it seemeth to thee I ought on these grounds to judge
myself, since for thy judgment in thy own person and on thy own grounds,
or rather no grounds, I care not at all.'

'Come, then, let it be but a question of casuistry. Yet I fear me it
will be difficult to argue without breaking bounds. Would my lord
marquis now walk forth of his castle at the king's command as certainly
as he will at the voice of the nation, that is, the cannons of the
parliament?'

'The cannons of the cursed parliament are not the voice of the nation?
Our side is the nation, not yours.'

'How provest thou that?'

'We are the better born, to begin with.'

'Ye have the more titles, I grant ye, but we have the older families.
Let it be, however, that I was or am a rebel--then I can only say that
in stealing--no, I will not say STEALING, for thou didst it with a
different mind--all I will say is this, sir Rowland, that I should have
scorned so to carry off thine or any man's horse.'

'Ah, but thou wouldst have no right, being but a rebel!'

'Bethink thee, thou must judge on my grounds when thou judgest me.'

'True; then am I driven to say thou wast made of the better earth--curse
thee! I am ashamed of having taken thy mare--only because it was in a
half-friendly passage with thee I learned her worth. But, hang thee! it
was not through thee I learned to know my cousin, Dorothy Vaughan.'

The recoiling blood stung Richard's heart like the blow of a whip, but
he manned himself to answer with coolness.

'What then of her?' he said. 'Hast thou been wooing her favour, sir
Rowland? Thou owest me nothing there, I admit, even had she not sent me
from her. Besides, I am scarce one to be content with a mistress whose
favour depended on the not coming between of some certain other, known
or unknown. This I say not in pride, but because in such case I were not
the right man for her, neither she the woman for me.'

'Then thou bearest me no grudge in that I have sought the prize of my
cousin's heart?'

'None,' answered Richard, but could not bring himself to ask how he had
sped.

'Then will I own to thee that I have gained as little. I will madden
myself telling thee whom I hate, and to thy comfort, that she despises
me like any Virginia slave.'

'Nay, that I am sure she doth not. She can despise nothing that is
honourable.'

'Dost thou then count me honourable, Heywood?' said Scudamore, in a
voice of surprise, putting forth a thin white hand, and placing it on
Richard's where it lay huge and brown on the coverlid: 'Then honourable
I will be.'

'And, in that resolve, art, sir Rowland.'

'I will be honourable,' repeated Scudamore, angrily, with flushing
cheek, and hard yet flashing eye, 'because thou thinkest me such,
although my hate would, an' it might, damn thee to lowest hell.'

'Nay, but thou wilt be honourable for honour's sake,' said Richard.
'Bethink thee, when first we met, we were but boys: now are we men, and
must put away boyish things.'

'Dost call it a boyish thing to be madly in love with the fairest and
noblest and bravest mistress that ever trod the earth--though she be
half a puritan, alack?'

'She half a puritan!' exclaimed Heywood. 'She hates the very wind of the
word.'

'She may hate the word, but she is the thing. She hath read me such
lessons as none but a puritan could.'

'Were they not then good lessons, that thou joinest with them a name
hateful to thee?'

'Ay, truly--much too good for mortal like me--or thee either, Heywood.
They are but hypocrites that pretend otherwise.'

'Callest thou thy cousin a hypocrite?'

'No, by heaven! she is not. She is a woman, and it is easy for women to
say prayers.'

'I never rode into a fight but I said my prayer,' returned Richard.

'None the less art thou a hypocrite. I should scorn to be for ever
begging favours as thou. Dost think God heareth such prayers as thine?'

'Not if He be such as thou, sir Rowland, and not if he who prays be such
as thou thinkest him. Prithee, what sort of prayer thinkest thou I pray
ere I ride into the battle?'

'How should I know? My lord marquis would have had me say my prayers at
such a time, but, good sooth! I always forgot. And if I had done it,
where would have been the benefit thereof, so long as thou, who wast
better used to the work, wast praying against me? I say it is a cowardly
thing to go praying into the battle, and not take thy fair chance as
other men do.'

'Then will I tell thee to what purpose I pray. But, first of all, I must
confess to thee that I have had my doubts, not whether my side were more
in the right than thine, but whether it were worth while to raise the
sword even in such cause. Now, still when that doubt cometh, ever it
taketh from my arm the strength, and going down into the very legs of my
mare causeth that she goeth dull, although willing, into the battle.
Moreover, I am no saint, and therefore cannot pray like a saint, but
only like Richard Heywood, who hath got to do his duty, and is something
puzzled. Therefore pray I thus, or to this effect:

'"O God of battles! who, thyself dwelling in peace, beholdest the
strife, and workest thy will thereby, what that good and perfect will of
thine is I know not clearly, but thou hast sent us to be doing, and thou
hatest cowardice. Thou knowest I have sought to choose the best, so far
as goeth my poor ken, and to this battle I am pledged. Give me grace to
fight like a soldier of thine, without wrath and without fear. Give me
to do my duty, but give the victory where thou pleasest. Let me live if
so thou wilt; let me die if so thou wilt--only let me die in honour with
thee. Let the truth be victorious, if not now, yet when it shall please
thee; and oh! I pray, let no deed of mine delay its coming. Let my work
fail, if it be unto evil, but save my soul in truth."

'And in truth, sir Rowland, it seemeth to me then as if the God of truth
heard me. Then say I to my mare, "Come, Lady, all is well now. Let us
go. And good will come of it to thee also, for how should the Father
think of his sparrows and forget his mares? Doubtless there are of thy
kind in heaven, else how should the apostle have seen them there? And if
any, surely thou, my Lady!" So ride we to the battle, merry and strong,
and calm, as if we were but riding to the rampart of the celestial
city.'

Rowland lay gazing at Richard for a few moments, then said:

'By heaven, but it were a pity you should not come together! Surely the
same spirit dwelleth in you both! For me, I should show but as the
shadow cast from her brightness. But I tell thee, roundhead, I love her
better than ever roundhead could.'

'I know not, Scudamore. Nor do I mean to judge thee when I say that no
man who loves not the truth can love a woman in the grand way a woman
ought to be loved.'

'Tell me not I do not love her, or I will rise and kill thee. I love her
even to doing what my soul hateth for her sake. Damned roundhead, she
loves THEE.'

The last words came from him almost in a shriek, and he fell back
panting.

Richard sat silent for a few moments, his heart surging and sinking.
Then he said quietly:--

'It may be so, sir Rowland. We were boy and girl together--fed rabbits,
flew kites, planted weeds to make flowers of them, played at marbles;
she may love me a little, roundhead as I am.'

'By heaven, I will try her once more! Who knows the heart of a woman?'
said Rowland through his teeth.

'If thou should gain her, Scudamore, and afterward she should find thee
unworthy?'

'She would love me still.'

'And break her heart for thee, and leave thee young to marry
another--while I--'

He laughed a low, strangely musical laugh, and ceased--then resumed:--

'But what if, instead of dying, she should learn to despise thee,
finding thou hadst not only deceived her, but deceived thy better self,
and should turn from thee with loathing, while thou didst love her
still--as well as thy nature could?--what then, sir Rowland?'

'Then I should kill her.'

'And thou lovest her better than any roundhead could! I will find thee
man after man from amongst Ireton's or Cromwell's horse--I know not the
foot so well:--fanatic enough they are, God knows! and many of them
fools enough to boot!--but I will find thee man after man who is fanatic
or fool enough, which thou wilt, to love better than thou, thou poor
atom of solitary selfishness!'

Rowland half flung himself from the bed, seized Richard by the throat,
and with all the strength he could summon did his best to strangle him.
For a time Richard allowed him to spend his rage, then removed his grasp
as gently as he could, and holding both his wrists in his left hand,
rose and stood over him.

'Sir Rowland,' he said, 'I am not angry with thee that thou art weak and
passionate. But bethink thee--thou liest in God's hands a thousandfold
more helpless than now thou liest in mine, and like Saul of Tarsus thou
wilt find it hard to kick against the pricks. For the maiden, do as thou
wilt, for thou canst not do other than the will of God. But I thank thee
for what thou hast told me, though I doubt it meaneth little better for
me than for thee. Thou hast a kind heart. I almost love thee, and will
when I can.'

He let go his hands, and walked from the room.

'Canting hypocrite!' cried sir Rowland in the wrath of impotence, but
knew while he said the words that they were false.

And with the words the bitterness of life seized his heart, and his
despair shrouded the world in the blackness of darkness. There was
nothing more to live for, and he turned his face to the wall.



CHAPTER LI.

UNDER THE MOAT.


It was some time ere they discovered that Scudamore was missing from the
castle, but there was the hope that he had been taken prisoner; and
things were growing so bad within the walls, that there was little
leisure for lamentation over individual misfortunes. Unless some change
as entire as unexpected--for there seemed no chance of any except the
king should win over the Scots to take his part--should occur, it was
evident that the enemy must speedily make the assault, nor could there
be a doubt of their carrying the place--an anticipation which, as the
inevitable drew nearer, became nothing less than terrible to both
household and garrison. True, their conquerors would be of their own
people, but battle and bloodshed and victory, and, worst of all,
party-spirit, the marquis knew, destroy not nationality merely, but
humanity as well, rousing into full possession the feline beast which
has his lair in every man--in many, it is true, dwindled to the
household cat, but in many others a full-sized, only sleepy tiger. To
what was he about to expose his men, not to speak of his ladies and
their children!

On the other hand, ever since the balls had been flying about his house,
and the stones of it leaving their places to keep them company, the
loyalty of the marquis had been rising, and he had thought of his
prisoner-king ever with growing tenderness, of his faults with more
indulgence, and of the wrongs he had done his family with more
magnanimity and forgiveness, so that, for his own part, he would have
held out to the very last.

'And truly were it not better to be well buried under the ruins,' he
would say to himself, looking down with a sigh at his great bulk, which
added so much to the dismalness of the prospect of being, in his
seventieth year, a prisoner or a wanderer--the latter a worse fate even
than the former. To be no longer the master of his own great house, of
many willing servants, of all ready appliances for liberty and comfort,
while the weight of his clumsy person must still hang about him, and his
unfitness to carry the same go on increasing with the bulk to be
carried--such a prospect required something more than loyalty to meet it
with equanimity. To the young and strong, adventure ought always to be
more attractive than ease, but none save those who are themselves within
sight of old age can truly imagine what an utter horror the breach of
old habits and loss of old comforts is to the aged.

But to the good marquis it was consolation enough to repeat to himself
the text from his precious Vulgate: SCIMUS ENIM; FOR WE KNOW THAT IF OUR
EARTHLY HOUSE OF THIS TABERNACLE WERE DISSOLVED, WE HAVE A BUILDING OF
GOD, AN HOUSE NOT MADE WITH HANDS, ETERNAL IN THE HEAVENS.

For the ladies, so long as their father-chief was with them, they were
at least not too anxious. Whatever was done must be the right thing, and
in the midst of tumult and threat they were content. If only their
Edward had been with them too!

But surrender, even when the iron shot was driving his stately house
into showers of dirt, the marquis found it hard indeed to contemplate.
The eastern side of the stone court was now little better than a heap of
rubbish, and the hour of assault could not be far off, although as yet
there had been no second summons; but he could not forget that, though
the castle was his, it was not for himself but for his king he held it
garrisoned, and how could he yield it without the approval of his
sovereign? The governor shared in the same chivalry with his father, and
was equally anxious for a word from the king. But that king was a
prisoner in the hands of a hostile nation, and how was he to receive
message or return answer? Nay, how were they to send message or receive
answer, not even knowing with certainty where his majesty was, and but
presuming that he was still at Newcastle? And not to mention
difficulties at every step of the way, their house itself was so beset
that no one could issue from its gates without risk of being stopped,
searched, detained until it should have fallen. For the besiegers knew
well enough that lord Glamorgan was still in Ireland, straining his
utmost on behalf of the king; and what more likely than that he should,
with the men he was still raising in Ireland, make some desperate
attempt to turn the scales of war, striking first, it might well be, for
the relief of his father's castle?

These things were all pretty freely spoken of in the family, and Dorothy
understood the position of affairs as well as any one. And now at length
it seemed to her that the hour had arrived for attempting some return
for Raglan's hospitality. No service she had hitherto stumbled upon had
any magnitude in her eyes, but now--to be the bearer of dispatches to
the king! It would suffice at least, even if it turned out a failure, to
prove her not ungrateful. But she too had her confidant, and in the
absence of lord Glamorgan would consult with Caspar.

Meantime the marquis had made matters worse by sending a request to
Colonel Morgan that he would grant safe passage for a messenger to the
king, without whose command he was not at liberty to surrender the
place. The answer was to the effect that they acknowledged no
jurisdiction of the king in the business, and that the marquis might
keep his mind easy as far as his supposed duty to his majesty was
concerned, for they would so compel a surrender that there could be no
reflection upon him for making it.

Caspar, fearful of the dangers she would have to encounter, sought to
dissuade Dorothy from her meditated proposal--but feebly, for every one
who had anything noble in his nature, and Caspar had more than his
share, was influenced by the magnanimity that ruled the place. Indeed he
told her one thing which served to clench her resolution--that there was
a secret way out of the castle, provided by his master Glamorgan for
communication during siege: more he was not at liberty to disclose.
Dorothy went straight to the marquis and laid her plan before him, which
was that she should make her escape to Wyfern, and thence, attended by
an old servant, set out to seek the king.

'There is no longer time, alas!' returned the marquis. 'I look for the
final summons every hour.'

'Could you not raise the report, my lord, that you have undermined the
castle, and laid a huge quantity of gunpowder, with the determination of
blowing it up the moment they enter? That would make them fall back upon
blockade, and leave us a little time. Our provisions are not nearly
exhausted, and when fodder fails, we can eat the horses first.'

'Thou art a brave lady, cousin Dorothy,' said the marquis. 'But if they
caught and searched thee, and found papers upon thee, it would go worse
with us than before.'

'Please your lordship, my lord Glamorgan once showed me such a comb as a
lady might carry in her pocket, but so contrived that the head thereof
was hollow and could contain despatches. Methinks Caspar could lay his
hand on the comb. If I were but at Wyfern! and thither my little horse
would carry me in less than hour, giving all needful time for caution
too, my lord.'

'By George, thou speakest well, cousin!' said the marquis. 'But who
should attend thee?'

'Let me have Tom Fool, my lord, for now have I thought of a betterment
of my plan: he will guide me to his mother's house by by-ways, and
thence can I cross the fields to my own--as easily as the great hall, my
lord.'

'Tom Fool is a mighty coward,' objected the marquis.

'So much the better, my lord. He will not get me into trouble through
displaying his manhood before me. He hath besides a face long enough for
three roundheads, and a tongue that can utter glibly enough what
soundeth very like their jargon. Tom is the right fool to attend me, my
lord.'

'He can't ride; he never backed a horse in his life, I believe. No, no,
Dorothy. Shafto is the man.'

'Shafto is much too ready, my lord. He would ride over my hounds. I want
Tom no farther than his mother's, and there will be no need for him to
ride.'

'Well, it is a brave offer, my child, and I will think thereupon,' said
his lordship.

All the rest of the day the marquis and lord Charles, with two or three
of the principal officers of house and garrison, were in conference, and
letters were written both to his majesty and lord Glamorgan. Before they
were finally written out in cipher, Kaltoff was sent for, the comb
found, its contents gauged, and the paper cut to suit.

About an hour after midnight, Dorothy, lord Charles, and Caspar stood
together in the workshop, waiting for Tom Fool, who had gone to fetch
Dick from the stables. Dorothy had the comb in her pocket. She looked
pale, but her grey eyes shone with courage and determination. She
carried nothing but a whip. A keen little lamp borne by Caspar was all
their light.

Presently they heard the sound of Dick's hoofs on the bridge. A moment
more and Tom led him in, both man and horse looking somewhat scared at
the strangeness of the midnight proceeding. But Tom was,
notwithstanding, glad of the office, and ready to risk a good deal in
order to get out of the castle, where he expected nothing milder at last
than a general massacre.

Lord Charles himself lifted foot after foot of the little horse to be
satisfied that his shoes were sound, then made a sign to Caspar, and
gave his hand to Dorothy. Caspar took Dick by the bridle, and led him up
to the wall near the door. Lord Charles and Dorothy followed. But Tom,
observing that they placed themselves within a chalk-drawn circle, hung
back in terror; he fancied Caspar was going to raise the devil. Yet he
knew that within the circle was the only safety; a word from Dorothy
turned the scale, and he stood trembling by her side. Nor was he greatly
consoled to find that, as he now thought, instead of the devil coming to
them, they were going to him, as, with the circle upon which they stood,
they began to sink, through a stone-faced shaft, slowly into the
foundations of the keep. Dick also was frightened, but happily his faith
was stronger than his imagination, and a word now and then from his
mistress, and an occasional pat from her well-known hand, sufficed to
keep him quiet.

At the depth of about thirty feet they stopped, and found themselves
facing a ponderous door, studded and barred with iron. Caspar took from
his pocket a key about the size of a goose quill, felt about for a
moment, and then with a slight movement of finger and thumb threw back a
dozen ponderous bolts with a great echoing clang; the door slowly
opened, and they entered a narrow vaulted passage of stone. Lord Charles
took the lamp from Caspar, and led the way with Dorothy; Tom Fool came
next, and Caspar followed with Dick. The lamp showed but a few feet of
the walls and roof, and revealed nothing in front until they had gone
about a furlong, when it shone upon what seemed the live rock ending
their way. But again Caspar applied the little key somewhere, and
immediately a great mass of rock slowly turned on a pivot, and permitted
them to pass.

When they were all on the other side of it, lord Charles turned and held
up the light. Dorothy turned also and looked: there was nothing to
indicate whence they had come. Before her was the rough rock, seemingly
solid, certainly slimy and green, and over its face was flowing a tiny
rivulet.

'See there,' said lord Charles, pointing up; 'that little stream comes
the way thy dog Marquis and the roundhead Heywood came and went. But I
challenge anything larger than a rat to go now.'

Dorothy made no answer, and they went on again for some distance in a
passage like the former, but soon arrived at the open quarry, whence Tom
knew the way across the fields to the high road as well, he said, as the
line of life on his own palm. Lord Charles lifted Dorothy to the saddle,
said good-luck and good-bye, and stood with Caspar watching as she rode
up the steep ascent, until for an instant her form stood out dark
against the sky, then vanished, when they turned and re-entered the
castle.



CHAPTER LII.

THE UNTOOTHSOME PLUM.


It was a starry night, with a threatening of moonrise, and Dorothy was
anxious to reach the cottage before it grew lighter. But they must not
get into the high road at any nearer point than the last practicable,
for then they would be more likely to meet soldiers, and Dick's feet to
betray their approach. Over field after field, therefore, they kept on,
as fast as Tom, now and then stopping to peer anxiously over the next
fence or into a boundary ditch, could lead the way. At last they reached
the place by the side of a bridge, where Marquis led Richard off the
road, and there they scrambled up.

'O Lord!' cried Tom, and waked a sentry dozing on the low parapet.

'Who goes there?' he cried, starting up, and catching at his carbine,
which leaned against the wall.

'Oh, master!' began Tom, in a voice of terrified appeal; but Dorothy
interrupted him.

'I am an honest woman of the neighbourhood,' she said. 'An' thou wilt
come home with me, I will afford thee a better bed than thou hast there,
and also a better breakfast, I warrant thee, than thou had a supper.'

'That is, an' thou be one of the godly,' supplemented Tom.

'I thank thee, mistress,' returned the sentinel, 'but not for the
indulgence of carnal appetite will I forsake my post. Who is he goeth
with thee?'

'A fellow whose wit is greater than his courage, and yet he goeth with
many for a born fool. A parlous coward he is, else might he now be
fighting the Amalekites with the sword of the Lord and of Gideon. Yet in
good sooth he serveth me well for the nonce.'

The sentry glanced at Tom, but could see little of him except a long
white oval, and Tom was now collected enough to put in exercise his best
wisdom, which consisted in holding his tongue.

'Answer me then, mistress, how, being a godly woman, as I doubt not from
thy speech thou art, thee rides thus late with none but a fool to keep
thee company? Knowest thou not that the country is full of soldiers,
whereof some, though that they be all true-hearted and right-minded men,
would not mayhap carry themselves so civil to a woman as corporal
Bearbanner? And now, I bethink me, thou comest from the direction of
Raglan!'

Here he drew himself up, summoned a voice from his chest a storey or two
deeper, and asked in magisterial tone:

'Whence comest thou, woman? and on what business gaddest thou so late?'

'I am come from visiting at a friend's house, and am now almost on my
own farm,' answered Dorothy.

The man turned to Tom, and Dorothy began to regret she had brought him:
he was trembling visibly, and his mouth was wide open with terror.

'See,' she said, 'how thy gruff voice terrifieth the innocent! If now he
should fall in a fit thou wert to blame.'

As she spoke she put her hand in her pocket, and taking from it her
untoothsome plum, popped it into Tom's mouth. Instantly he began to make
such strange uncouth noises that the sentinel thought he had indeed
terrified him into a fit.

'I must get him straightway home. Good-night, friend,' said Dorothy, and
giving Dick the rein, she was off like the wind, heedless of the shouts
of the sentinel or the feeble cries of pursuing Tom, who, if he could
not fight, could run. Following his mistress at great speed, he was
instantly lost in the darkness, and the sentinel, who had picketed his
horse in a neighbouring field, sat down again on the parapet of the
bridge, and began to examine all that Dorothy had said with a wondrous
inclination to discover the strong points in it.

Having galloped a little way, Dorothy drew bridle and halted for Tom. As
soon as he came up, she released him, and telling him to lay hold of
Dick's mane and run alongside, kept him at a fast trot all the way to
his mother's house.

The moon had risen before they reached it, and Dorothy was therefore
glad, when she dismounted at the gate, to think she need ride no
further. But while Tom went in to rouse his mother, she let Dick have a
few bites of the grass before taking him into the kitchen--lest the
roundheads should find him. The next moment, however, out came Tom in
terror, saying there was a man in his mother's closet, and he feared the
roundheads were in possession.

'Then take care of thyself, Tom,' said Dorothy; and mounting instantly,
she made Dick scramble up into the fields that lay between the cottage
and her own house, and set off at full speed across the grass in the
moonlight--an ethereal pleasure which not even an anxious secret could
blast.

Through a gap in the hedge she had just popped into the second field,
when she heard the click of a flint-lock, and a voice she thought she
knew ordering her to stand: within a few yards of her was again a
roundhead soldier. If she rode away, he would fire at her; that mode of
escape therefore she would keep for a last chance. The moon by this time
was throwing an unclouded light from more than half a disc upon the
field.

Keeping a sharp eye upon the man's movements, she allowed him to come
within a pace or two, but the moment he would have taken Dick by the
bridle she was three or four yards away.

'Fright not my horse, friend,' she said.--'But how!' she added, suddenly
remembering him, 'is it possible? Master Upstill! Gently, gently, little
Dick! Master Upstill is an old friend. What! hast thou too turned
soldier? Left thy last and lapstone and turned soldier, master Upstill?'

'I have left all and followed him, mistress,' answered Cast-down.

'Art sure he called thee, master Upstill?'

'I heard him with my own ears.'

'Called thee to be a shedder of blood, master Upstill?'

'Called me to be a fisher of men, and thee I catch, mistress--thus,'
returned the man, stepping quickly forward and making another grasp at
Dick's bridle.

It was all Dorothy could do to keep herself from giving him a smart blow
across the face with her whip, and riding off. But she gave Dick the cut
instead, and sent him yards away.

'Poor Dick! poor Dick!' she said, patting his neck; 'be quiet; master
Upstill will do thee no wrong. Be quiet, little man.'

As she thus talked to her genet, Upstill again drew near, now more surly
than at first.

'Say what manner of woman art thou?' he demanded with pompous anger.
'Whence comes thou, and whither does thee go?'

'Home,' answered Dorothy.

'What place calls thee home?'

'Why! dost not know me, master Upstill? When I was a little one, thou
didst make my shoes for me.'

'I trust it will be forgiven me, mistress. Truly I had ne'er made shoe
for thee an' I had foreseen what thee would come to! For I make no
farther doubt thou art a consorter with malignants, harlots, and
papists.'

Again he clutched at her bridle, and this time, whether it was Dorothy
or Dick's fault, with success. Dorothy dropped the bridle, put her hand
in her pocket, struck Dick smartly with her whip, and as he reared in
consequence, drew it across Upstill's eyes, and so found the chance of
administering her bolus.

It was thoroughly effective. The fellow left his hold of the bridle, and
began a series of efforts to remove it, which rapidly grew wilder and
wilder, until at last his gestures were those of a maniac.

'There!' she cried, as she bounded from him, 'take thy first lesson in
good manners. No one can rid thee of that mouthful, which is as thy evil
words returned to choke thee!--Thou hadst better keep me in sight,' she
added, as she gave Dick his head, 'for no one else can free thee.'

Upstill ceased his futile efforts, caught up his carbine, and fired--not
without risk to Dorothy, for he was far too wrathful to take the aim
that would have ensured her safety. But she rode on unhurt, meditating
how to secure Upstill when she got him to Wyfern, whither she doubted
not he would follow her. Her difficulties were not yet past, however,
for just as she reached her own ground, she was once again met by the
order to stand.

This time it came in a voice which, notwithstanding the anxiety it
brought with it, was almost as welcome as well known, and yet made her
tremble for the first time that night: it was the voice of Richard
Heywood. Dick also seemed to know it, for he stood without a hint from
his mistress, while, through the last hedge that parted her from the
little yet remaining of the property of her fathers, came the man she
loved--an enemy between her and her own.

The marquis's request to be allowed to communicate with the king had
been an unfortunate one. It increased suspicion of all kinds, rendered
the various reports of the landing of the Irish army under lord
Glamorgan more credible, roused the resolution to render all
communication impossible, and led to the drawing of a cordon around the
place that not a soul should pass unquestioned. The measure would indeed
have been unavailing had the garrison been as able as formerly to make
sallies; but ever since colonel Morgan received his reinforcement, the
issuing troopers had been invariably met at but a few yards from home,
and immediately driven in again by largely superior numbers. Still the
cordon required a good many more men than the besieging party could well
spare without too much weakening their positions, and they had therefore
sought the aid of all the gentlemen of puritian politics in the
vicinity, and of course that of Mr. Heywood. With the men his father
sent, Richard himself offered his services, in the hope that, at the
coming fall of the stronghold, he might have a chance of being useful to
Dorothy. They had given the cordon a wide extension, in order that an
issuing messenger might not perceive his danger until he was too far
from the castle to regain it, and then by capturing him might acquire
information. Hence it came that posts could be assigned to Richard and
his men within such a distance of Redware as admitted of their being
with their own people when off duty.



CHAPTER LIII.

FAITHFUL FOES.


Hearing Upstill's shot, and then Dick's hoofs on the sward, Richard
fortunately judged well and took the right direction. What was his
astonishment and delight when, passing hurriedly through the hedge in
the expectation of encountering a cavalier, he saw Dorothy mounted on
Dick! What form but hers had been filling soul and brain when he was
startled by the shot! And there she was before him! He felt like one who
knows the moon is weaving a dream in his brain.

'Dorothy,' he murmured tremblingly, and his voice sounded to him like
that of some one speaking far away. He drew nearer, as one might
approach a beloved ghost, anxious not to scare her. He laid his hand on
Dick's neck, half fearful of finding him but a shadow.

'Richard!' said Dorothy, looking down on him benignant as Diana upon
Endymion.

Then suddenly, at her voice and the assurance of her bodily presence, a
great wave from the ocean of duty broke thunderous on the shore of his
consciousness.

'Dorothy, I am bound to question thee,' he said: 'whence comest thou?
and whither art thou bound?'

'If I should refuse to answer thee, Richard?' returned Dorothy with a
smile.

'Then must I take thee to headquarters. And bethink thee, Dorothy, how
that would cut me to the heart.'

The moon shone full upon his face, and Dorothy saw the end of a great
scar that came from under his hat down on to his forehead.

'Then will I answer thee, Richard,' she said, with a strange trembling
in her voice. '--I come from Raglan.'

'And whither art going, Dorothy?'

'To Wyfern.'

'On what business?'

'Were it then so wonderful, Richard, if I should desire to be at home,
seeing Wyfern is now safer than Raglan? It was for safety I went
thither, thou knowest.'

'It might not be wonderful in another, Dorothy, but in thee it were
truly wonderful; for now are they of Raglan thy friends, and thou art a
brave woman, and lovest thy friends. I would not believe it of thee even
from the mouth of thy mother. Confess--thou bearest about thee that thou
wouldst not willingly show me.'

Dorothy, as if in embarrassment, drew from her pocket her handkerchief,
and with it a comb, which fell on the ground.

'Prithee, Richard, pick me up my comb,' she said; then, answering his
question, continued, '--No, I have nothing about me I would not show
thee, Richard: wilt thou take my word for it?'

When she had spoken, she held out her hand, and receiving from him the
comb, replaced it in her pocket. But a keen pang of remorse went through
her heart.

'I am a man under authority,' said Richard, 'and my orders will not
allow me. Besides thou knowest, Dorothy, although it involves such
questions in casuistry as I cannot meet, men say thou art not bound to
tell the truth to thine enemy.'

'An' thou be mine enemy, Richard, then must thou satisfy thyself,' said
Dorothy, trying to speak in a tone of offence. But while she sat there
looking at him, it seemed as if her heart were floating on the top of a
great wave out somewhere in the moonlight. Yet the conscience-dog was
awake in his kennel.

Richard stood for a moment in silent perplexity.

'Wilt thou swear to me, Dorothy,' he said at length, 'that thou hast no
papers about thee, neither art the bearer of news or request or sign to
any of the king's party?'

'Richard,' returned Dorothy, 'thou hast thyself taken from my words the
credit: I say to thee again, satisfy thyself.'

'Dorothy, what AM I to do?' he cried.

'Thy duty, Richard,' she answered.

'My duty is to search thee,' he said.

Dorothy was silent. Her heart was beating terribly, but she would see
the end of the path she had taken ere she would think of turning. And
she WOULD trust Richard. Would she then have him fail of his duty? Would
she have the straight-going Richard swerve? Even in the face of her
maidenly fears, she would encounter anything rather than Richard should
for her sake be false. But Richard would not turn aside. Neither would
he shame her. He would find some way.

'Do then thy duty, Richard,' she said, and sliding from her saddle, she
stood before him, one hand grasping Dick's mane.

There was no defiance in her tone. She was but submitting, assured of
deliverance.

What was Richard to do? Never man was more perplexed. He dared not let
her pass. He dared no more touch her than if she had been Luna herself
standing there. He would not had he dared, and yet he must. She was
silent, seemed to herself cruel, and began bitterly to accuse herself.
She saw his hazel eyes slowly darken, then began to glitter--was it with
gathering tears? The glitter grew and overflowed. The man was weeping!
The tenderness of their common childhood rushed back upon her in a great
wave out of the past, ran into the rising billow of present passion, and
swelled it up till it towered and broke; she threw her arm round his
neck and kissed him. He stood in a dumb ecstasy. Then terror lest he
should think she was tempting him to brave his conscience overpowered
her.

'Richard, do thy duty. Regard not me,' she cried in anguish.

Richard gave a strange laugh as he answered,

'There was a time when I had doubted the sun in heaven as soon as thy
word, Dorothy. This is surely an evil time. Tell me, yea or nay, hast
thou missives to the king or any of his people? Palter not with me.'

But such an appeal was what Dorothy would least willingly encounter. The
necessity yet difficulty of escaping it stimulated the wits that had
been overclouded by feeling. A light appeared. She broke into a real
merry laugh.

'What a pair of fools we are, Richard!' she said. 'Is there never an
honest woman of thy persuasion near--one who would show me no favour?
Let such an one search me, and tell thee the truth.'

'Doubtless,' answered Richard, laughing very differently now at his
stupidity, yet immediately committing a blunder: 'there is mother Rees!'

'What a baby thou art, Richard!' rejoined Dorothy. 'She is as good a
friend of mine as of thine, and would doubtless favour the wiles of a
woman.'

'True, true! Thou wast always the keener of wit, Dorothy--as becometh a
woman. What say'st thou then to dame Upstill? She is even now at the
farm there, whence she watches over her husband while he watches over
Raglan. Will she answer thy turn?'

'She will,' replied Dorothy. 'And that she may show me no favour, here
comes her husband, who shall bear a witness against me shall rouse in
her all the malice of vengeance for her injured spouse, whom for his
evil language, as thou shalt see, I have so silenced as neither thou nor
any man can restore him to speech.'

While she spoke, Upstill, who had followed his enemy as the sole hope of
deliverance, drew near, in such plight as the dignity of narrative
refuses to describe.

'Upstill,' said Richard, 'what meaneth this? Wherefore hast thou left
thy post? And above all, wherefore hast thou permitted this lady to pass
unquestioned?'

Sounds of gurgle and strangulation, with other cognate noises, was all
Upstill's response.

'Indeed, Mr. Heywood,' said Dorothy, 'he was so far from neglecting his
duty and allowing me to pass unquestioned, that he insulted me
grievously, averring that I consorted with malignant rogues and papists,
and worse--the which drove me to punish him as thou seest.'

'Cast-down Upstill, thou hast shamed thy regiment, carrying thyself thus
to a gentlewoman,' said Richard.

'Then he fired his carbine after me,' said Dorothy.

'That may have been but his duty,' returned Richard.

'And worst of all,' continued Dorothy, 'he said that had he known what I
should grow to, he would never have made shoes for me when I was an
infant. Think on that, master Heywood!'

'Ask the lady to pardon thee, Upstill. I can do nothing for thee,' said
Richard.

Upstill would have knelt, in lack of other mode of petition strong
enough to express the fervour of his desires for release, but Dorothy
was content to see him punished, and would not see him degraded.

'Nay, master Upstill,' she said, 'I desire not that thou shouldst take
the measure of my foot to-night. Prithee, master Heywood, wilt thou
venture thy fingers in the godly man's mouth for me? Here is the key of
the toy, a sucket which will pass neither teeth nor throat. I warrant
thee it were no evil thing for many a married woman to possess. I will
give it thee when thou marriest, master Heywood, though, good sooth, it
were hardly fair to my kind!'

So saying she took a ring from her finger, raised from it a key, and
directed Richard how to find its hole in the plum.

'There! Follow us now to the farm, and find thy wife, for we need her
aid,' said Richard as he drew by the key the little steel instrument
from Upstill's mouth, and restored him to the general body of the
articulate.

Thereupon he took Dick by the bridle, and Dorothy and he walked side by
side, as if they had been still boy and girl as of old--for of old it
already seemed.

As they went, Richard washed both plum and ring in the dewy grass, and
restored them, putting the ring upon her finger.

'With better light I will one day show thee how the thing worketh,' she
said, thanking him. 'Holding it thus by the ends, thou seest, it will
bear to be pressed; but remove thy finger and thumb, and straight upon a
touch it shooteth its stings in all directions. And yet another day,
when these troubles are over, and honest folk need no longer fight each
other, I will give it thee, Richard.'

'Would that day were here, Dorothy! But what can honest people do, while
St. George and St. Michael are themselves at odds?'

'Mayhap it but seemeth so, and they but dispute across the Yule-log,'
said Dorothy; 'and men down here, like the dogs about the fire, take it
up, and fall a-worrying each other. But the end will crown all.'

'Discrown some, I fear,' said Richard to himself.

As they reached the farm-house, it was growing light. Upstill fetched
his dame from her bed in the hayloft, and Richard told her, in formal
and authoritative manner, what he required of her.

'I will search her!' answered the dame from between her closed teeth.

'Mistress Vaughan,' said Richard, 'if she offer thee evil words, give
her the same lesson thou gavest her husband. If all tales be true, she
is not beyond the need of it.--Search her well, mistress Upstill, but
show her no rudeness, for she hath the power to avenge it in a parlous
manner, having gone to school to my lord Herbert of Raglan. Not the less
must thou search her well, else will I look upon thee as no better than
one of the malignants.'

The woman cast a glance of something very like hate, but mingled with
fear, upon Dorothy.

'I like not the business, captain Heywood,' she said.

'Yet the business must be done, mistress Upstill. And hark'ee, for every
paper thou findest upon her, I will give thee its weight in gold. I care
not what it is. Bring it hither, and the dame's butter-scales withal.'

'I warrant thee, captain!' she returned. '--Come with me, mistress, and
show what thou hast about thee. But, good sooth, I would the sun were
up!'

She led the way to the rick-yard, and round towards the sunrise. It was
the month of August, and several new ricks already stood facing the
east, yellow, and beginning to glow like a second dawn. Between the two,
mistress Upstill began her search, which she made more thorough than
agreeable. Dorothy submitted without complaint.

At last, as she was giving up the quest in despair, her eyes or her
fingers discovered a little opening inside the prisoner's bodice, and
there sure enough was a pocket, and in the pocket a slip of paper! She
drew it out in triumph.

'That is nothing,' said Dorothy: 'give it me.' And with flushed face she
made a snatch at it.

'Holy Mary!' cried dame Upstill, whose protestantism was of doubtful
date, and thrust the paper into her own bosom.

'That paper hath nothing to do with state affairs, I protest,'
expostulated Dorothy. 'I will give thee ten times its weight in gold for
it.'

But mistress Upstill had other passions besides avarice, and was not
greatly tempted by the offer. She took Dorothy by the arm, and said,

'An' thou come not quickly, I will cry that all the parish shall hear
me.'

'I tell thee, mistress Upstill, on the oath of a Christian woman, it is
but a private letter of mine own, and beareth nothing upon affairs.
Prithee read a word or two, and satisfy thyself.'

'Nay, mistress, truly I will pry into no secrets that belong not to me,'
said the searcher, who could read no word of writing or print either.
'This paper is no longer thine, and mine it never was. It belongeth to
the high court of parliament, and goeth straight to captain
Heywood--whom I will inform concerning the bribe wherewith thou didst
seek to corrupt the conscience of a godly woman.'

Dorothy saw there was no help, and yielded to the grasp of the dame, who
led her like a culprit, with burning cheek, back to her judge.

When Richard saw them his heart sank within him.

'What hast thou found?' he asked gruffly.

'I have found that which young mistress here would have had me cover
with a bribe of ten times that your honour promised me for it,' answered
the woman. 'She had it in her bosom, hid in a pocket little bigger than
a crown-piece, inside her bodice.'

'Ha, mistress Dorothy! is this true?' asked Richard, turning on her a
face of distress.

'It is true,' answered Dorothy, with downcast eyes--far more ashamed
however, of that which had not been discovered, and which might have
justified Richard's look, than of that which he now held in his hand.
'Prithee,' she added, 'do not read it till I am gone.'

'That may hardly be,' returned Richard, almost sullenly. 'Upon this
paper it may depend whether thou go at all.'

'Believe me, Richard, it hath no importance,' she said, and her blushes
deepened. 'I would thou wouldst believe me.'

But as she said it, her conscience smote her.

Richard returned no answer, neither did he open the paper, but stood
with his eyes fixed on the ground.

Dorothy meantime strove to quiet her conscience, saying to herself: 'It
matters not; I must marry him one day--an' he will now have me. Hath not
the woman told him where the silly paper was hid? And when I am married
to him, then will I tell him all, and doubtless he will forgive me--Nay,
nay, I must tell him first, for he might not then wish to have me. Lord!
Lord! what a time of lying it is! Sure for myself I am no better than
one of the wicked!'

But now Richard, slowly, reluctantly, with eyes averted, opened the
paper, stood for an instant motionless, then suddenly raised it, and
looked at it. His face changed at once from midnight to morning, and the
sunrise was red. He put the paper to his lips, and thrust it inside his
doublet. It was his own letter to her by Marquis! She had not thought to
remove it from the place where she had carried it ever since receiving
it.

'And now, master Heywood, I may go where I will?' said Dorothy,
venturing a half-roguish, but wholly shamefaced glance at him.

But Dame Upstill was looking on, and Richard therefore brought as much
of the midnight as would obey orders, back over his countenance as he
answered:

'Nay, mistress. An' we had found aught upon thee of greater consequence
it might have made a question. But this hardly accounts for thy mission.
Doubtless thou bearest thy message in thy mind.'

'What! thou wilt not let me go to Wyfern, to my own house, master
Heywood?' said Dorothy in a tone of disappointment, for her heart now at
length began to fail her.

'Not until Raglan is ours,' answered Richard. 'Then shalt thou go where
thou wilt. And go where thou wilt, there will I follow thee, Dorothy.'

From the last clause of this speech he diverted mistress Upstill's
attention by throwing her a gold noble, an indignity which the woman
rightly resented--but stooped for the money!

'Go tell thy husband that I wait him here,' he said.

'Thou shalt follow me nowhither,' said Dorothy, angrily. 'Wherefore
should not I go to Wyfern and there abide? Thou canst there watch her
whom thou trustest not.'

'Who can tell what manner of person might not creep to Wyfern, to whom
there might messages be given, or whom thou mightest send, credenced by
secret word or sign?'

'Whither, then, am I to go?' asked Dorothy, with dignity.

'Alas, Dorothy!' answered Richard, 'there is no help: I must take thee
to Raglan. But comfort thyself--soon shalt thou go where thou wilt.'

Dorothy marvelled at her own resignation the while she rode with Richard
back to the castle. Her scheme was a failure, but through no fault, and
she could bear anything with composure except blame.

A word from Richard to colonel Morgan was sufficient. A messenger with a
flag of truce was sent instantly to the castle, and the firing on both
sides ceased. The messenger returned, the gate was opened, and Dorothy
re-entered, defeated, but bringing her secrets back with her.

'Tit for tat,' said the marquis when she had recounted her adventures.
'Thou and the roundhead are well matched. There is no avoiding of it,
cousin! It is your fate, as clear as if your two horoscopes had run into
one. Mind thee, hearts are older than crowns, and love outlives all but
leasing.'

'All but leasing!' repeated Dorothy to herself, and the BUT was bitter.



CHAPTER LIV.

DOMUS DISSOLVITUR.


Scudamore was now much better, partly from the influence of reviving
hopes with regard to Dorothy, for his disposition was such that he
deceived himself in the direction of what he counted advantage; not like
Heywood, who was ever ready to believe what in matters personal told
against him. Tom Fool had just been boasting of his exploit in escaping
from Raglan, and expressing his conviction that Dorothy, whom he had
valiantly protected, was safe at Wyfern, and Rowland was in consequence
dressing as fast as he could to pay her a visit, when Tom caught sight
of Richard riding towards the cottage, and jumping up, ran into the
chimney corner beyond his mother, who was busy with Scudamore's
breakfast. She looked from the window, and spied the cause of his
terror.

'Silly Tom!' she said, for she still treated him like a child,
notwithstanding her boastful belief in his high position and merits, 'he
will not harm thee. There never was hurt in a Heywood.'

'Treason, flat treason, witch!' cried the voice of Scudamore from the
closet.

'Thee of all men, sir Rowland, has no cause to say so,' returned
mistress Rees. 'But come and break thy fast while he talks to thee, and
save the precious time which runneth so fast away.'

'I might as well be in my grave for any value it hath to me!' said
Rowland, who was for the moment in a bad mood. His hope and his faith
were ever ready to fall out, and a twinge in his shoulder was enough to
set them jarring.

'Here comes master Heywood, anyhow,' said the old woman, as Richard,
leaving Lady at the gate, came striding up the walk in his great brown
boots; 'and I pray you, sir Rowland, to let by-gones be by-gones, for my
sake if not for your own, lest thou bring the vengeance of general
Fairfax upon my poor house.'

'Fairfax!' cried Scudamore; 'is that villain come hither?'

'Sir Thomas Fairfax arrived two days agone, answered mistress Rees.
'Alas, it is but too sure a sign that for Raglan the end is near!'

'Good morrow, mother Rees,' said Richard, looking in at the door,
radiant as an Apollo. The same moment out came Scudamore from the
closet, pale as a dying moon.

'I want my horse, Heywood!' he cried, deigning no preliminaries.

'Thy horse is at Redware, Scudamore; I carry him not in my pocket. I saw
him yesterday; his flesh hath swallowed a good many of his bones since I
looked on him last. What wouldst thou with him?'

'What is that to thee? Let me have him.'

'Softly, sir Rowland! It is true I promised thee thy liberty, but
liberty doth not necessarily include a horse.'

'Thou wast never better than a shifting fanatic!' cried sir Rowland.

'An' I served thee as befitted, thou shouldst never see thy horse
again,' returned Richard. 'Yet I promise thee that so soon as Raglan
hath fallen, he shall again be thine. Nay, I care not. Tell me whither
thou goest, and--Ha! art thou there?' he cried, interrupting himself as
he caught sight of Tom in the chimney corner; and pausing, he stood
silent for a moment. '--Wouldst like to hear, thou rascal,' he resumed
presently, 'that mistress Dorothy Vaughan got safe to Wyfern this
morning?'

'God be praised!' said Tom Fool.

'But thou shalt not hear it. I will tell thee better if less welcome
news--that I come from conducting her back to Raglan in safety, and have
seen its gates close upon her. Thou shalt have thy horse, sir Rowland,
an' thou can wait for him an hour; but for thy ride to Wyfern, that,
thou seest, would not avail thee. Thy cousin rode by here this morning,
it is true, but, as I say, she is now within Raglan walls, whence she
will not issue again until the soldiers of the parliament enter. It is
no treason to tell thee that general Fairfax is about to send his final
summons ere he storm the rampart.'

'Then mayst thou keep the horse, for I will back to Raglan on foot,'
said Scudamore.

'Nay, that wilt thou not, for nought greatly larger than a mouse can any
more pass through the lines. Dost think because I sent back thy cousin
Dorothy, lest she should work mischief outside the walls, I will
therefore send thee back to work mischief within them?'

'And thou art the man who professeth to love mistress Dorothy!' cried
Scudamore with contempt.

'Hark thee, sir Rowland, and for thy good I will tell thee more. It is
but just that as I told thee my doubts, whence thou didst draw hope, I
should now tell thee my hopes, whence thou mayst do well to draw a
little doubt.'

'Thou art a mean and treacherous villain!' cried Scudamore.

'Thou art to blame in speaking that thou dost not believe, sir Rowland.
But wilt thou have thy horse or no?'

'No; I will remain where I am until I hear the worst.'

'Or come home with me, where thou wilt hear it yet sooner. Thou shalt
taste a roundhead's hospitality.'

'I scorn thee and thy false friendship,' cried Rowland, and turning
again into the closet, he bolted the door.

That same morning a great iron ball struck the marble horse on his proud
head, and flung it in fragments over the court. From his neck the water
bubbled up bright and clear, like the life-blood of the wounded
whiteness.

'Poor Molly!' said the marquis, when he looked from his
study-window--then smiled at his pity.

Lord Charles entered: a messenger had come from general Fairfax,
demanding a surrender in the name of the parliament.

'If they had but gone on a little longer, Charles, they might have saved
us the trouble,' said his lordship, 'for there would have been nothing
left to surrender.--But I will consider the proposal,' he added. 'Pray
tell sir Thomas that whatever I do, I look first to have it approved of
the king.'

But there was no longer the shadow of a question as to submission. All
that was left was but the arrangement of conditions. The marquis was
aware that captain Hooper's trenches were rapidly approaching the
rampart; that six great mortars for throwing shells had been got into
position; and that resistance would be the merest folly.

Various meetings, therefore, of commissioners appointed on both sides
for the settling of the terms of submission took place; and at last, on
the fifteenth of August, they were finally arranged, and the surrender
fixed for the seventeenth.

The interval was a sad time. All day long tears were flowing, the ladies
doing their best to conceal, the servants to display them. Every one was
busy gathering together what personal effects might be carried away. It
was especially a sad time for lord Glamorgan's children, for they were
old enough not merely to love the place, but to know that they loved it;
and the thought that the sacred things of their home were about to pass
into other hands, roused in them wrath and indignation as well as grief;
for the sense of property is, in the minds of children who have been
born and brought up in the midst of family possessions, perhaps stronger
than in the minds of their elders.

As the sun was going down on the evening of the sixteenth, Dorothy, who
had been helping now one and now another of the ladies all day long,
having, indeed, little of her own to demand her attention, Dick and
Marquis being almost her sole valuables, came from the keep, and was
crossing the fountain court to her old room on its western side. Every
one was busy indoors, and the place appeared deserted. There was a
stillness in the air that SOUNDED awful. For so many weeks it had been
shattered with roar upon roar, and now the guns had ceased to bellow,
leaving a sense of vacancy and doubt, an oppression of silence. The hum
that came from the lines outside seemed but to enhance the stillness
within. But the sunlight lived on sweet and calm, as if all was well. It
seemed to promise that wrath and ruin would pass, and leave no lasting
desolation behind them. Yet she could not help heaving a great sigh, and
the tears came streaming down her cheeks.

'Tut, tut, cousin! Wipe thine eyes. The dreary old house is not worth
such bright tears.'

Dorothy turned, and saw the marquis seated on the edge of the marble
basin, under the headless horse, whose blood seemed still to well from
his truncated form. She saw also that, although his words were cheerful,
his lip quivered. It was some little time before she could compose
herself sufficiently to speak.

'I marvel your lordship is so calm,' she said.

'Come hither, Dorothy,' he returned kindly, 'and sit thee down by my
side. Thou wast right good to my little Molly. Thou hast been a
ministering angel to Raglan and its people. I did thee wrong, and thou
forgavest me with a whole heart. Thou hast returned me good for evil
tenfold, and for all this I love thee; and therefore will I now tell
thee what maketh me quiet at heart, for I am as thou seest me, and my
heart is as my countenance. I have lived my life, and have now but to
die my death. I am thankful to have lived, and I hope to live hereafter.
Goodness and mercy went before my birth, and goodness and mercy will
follow my death. For the ills of this life, if there was no silence
there would be no music. Ignorance is a spur to knowledge. Darkness is a
pavilion for the Almighty, a foil to the painter to make his shadows. So
are afflictions good for our instruction, and adversities for our
amendment. As for the article of death, shall I shun to meet what she
who lay in my bosom hath passed through? And look you, fair damsel, thou
whose body is sweet, and comely to behold--wherefore should I not
rejoice to depart? When I see my house lying in ruins about me, I look
down upon this ugly overgrown body of mine, the very foundations whereof
crumble from beneath me, and I thank God it is but a tent, and no
enduring house even like this house of Raglan, which yet will ere long
be a dwelling of owls and foxes. Very soon will Death pull out the
tent-pins and let me fly, and therefore am I glad; for, fair damsel
Dorothy, although it may be hard for thee, beholding me as I am, to
comprehend it, I like to be old and ugly as little as wouldst thou, and
my heart, I verily think, is little, older than thine own. One day,
please God, I shall yet be clothed upon with a house that is from
heaven, nor shall I hobble with gouty feet over the golden pavement--if
so be that my sins overpass not mercy. Pray for me, Dorothy, my
daughter, for my end is nigh, that I find at length the bosom of father
Abraham.'

As he ended, a slow flower of music bloomed out upon the silence from
under the fingers of the blind youth hid in the stony shell of the
chapel; and, doubtful at first, its fragrance filled at length the whole
sunset air. It was the music of a Nunc dimittis of Palestrina. Dorothy
knelt and kissed the old man's hand, then rose and went weeping to her
chamber, leaving him still seated by the broken yet flowing fountain.

Of all who prepared to depart, Caspar Kaltoff was the busiest. What best
things of his master's he could carry with him, he took, but a multitude
he left to a more convenient opportunity, in the hope of which, alone
and unaided, he sunk his precious cabinet, and a chest besides, filled
with curious inventions and favourite tools, in the secret shaft. But
the most valued of all, the fire-engine, he could not take and would not
leave. He stopped the fountain of the white horse, once more set the
water-commanding slave to work, and filled the cistern until he heard it
roar in the waste-pipe. Then he extinguished the fire and let the
furnace cool, and when Dorothy entered the workshop for the last time to
take her mournful leave of the place, there lay the bones of the mighty
creature scattered over the floor--here a pipe, there a valve, here a
piston and there a cock. Nothing stood but the furnace and the great
pipes that ran up the grooves in the wall outside, between which there
was scarce a hint of connection to be perceived.

'Mistress Dorothy,' he said, 'my master is the greatest man in
Christendom, but the world is stupid, and will forget him because it
never knew him.'

Amongst her treasures, chief of them all, even before the gifts of her
husband, lady Glamorgan carried with her the last garments, from
sleeve-ribbons to dainty little shoes and rosettes, worn by her Molly.

Dr. Bayly carried a bag of papers and sermons, with his doctor's gown
and hood, and his best suit of clothes.

The marquis with his own hand put up his Vulgate, and left his Gower
behind. Ever since the painful proofs of its failure with the king, he
had felt if not a dislike yet a painful repugnance to the volume, and
had never opened it.

It was a troubled night, the last they spent in the castle. Not many
slept. But the lord of it had long understood that what could cease to
be his never had been his, and slept like a child. Dr. Bayly, who in his
loving anxiety had managed to get hold of his key, crept in at midnight,
and found him fast asleep; and again in the morning, and found him not
yet waked.

When breakfast was over, proclamation was made that at nine o'clock
there would be prayers in the chapel for the last time, and that the
marquis desired all to be present. When the hour arrived, he entered
leaning on the arm of Dr. Bayly. Dorothy followed with the ladies of the
family. Young Delaware was in his place, and 'with organ voice and voice
of psalms,' praise and prayer arose for the last time from the house of
Raglan. All were in tears save the marquis. A smile played about his
lips, and he looked like a child giving away his toy. Sir Toby Mathews
tried hard to speak to his flock, but broke down, and had to yield the
attempt. When the services were over, the marquis rose and said,

'Master Delaware, once more play thy Nunc dimittis, and so meet me every
one in the hall.'

Thither the marquis himself walked first, and on the dais seated himself
in his chair of state, with his family and friends around him, and the
officers of his household waiting. On one side of him stood sir Ralph
Blackstone, with a bag of gold, and on the other Mr. George Wharton, the
clerk of the accounts, with a larger bag of silver. Then each of the
servants, in turn according to position, was called before him by name,
and with his own hand the marquis, dipping now into one bag, now into
the other, gave to each a small present in view of coming necessities:
they had the day before received their wages. To each he wished a kind
farewell, to some adding a word of advice or comfort. He then handed the
bags to the governor, and told him to distribute their contents
according to his judgment amongst the garrison. Last, he ordered every
one to be ready to follow him from the gates the moment the clock struck
the hour of noon, and went to his study.

When lord Charles came to tell him that all were marshalled, and
everything ready for departure, he found him kneeling, but he rose with
more of agility than he had for a long time been able to show, and
followed his son.

With slow pace he crossed, the courts and the hall, which were silent as
the grave, bending his steps to the main entrance. The portcullises were
up, the gates wide open, the drawbridge down--all silent and deserted.
The white stair was also vacant, and in solemn silence the marquis
descended, leaning on lord Charles. But beneath was a gallant show, yet,
for all its colour and shine, mournful enough. At the foot of the stair
stood four carriages, each with six horses in glittering harness, and
behind them all the officers of the household and all the guests on
horseback. Next came the garrison-music of drums and trumpets, then the
men-servants on foot, and the women, some on foot and some in waggons
with the children. After them came the waggons loaded with such things
as they were permitted to carry with them. These were followed by the
principal officers of the garrison, colonels and captains, accompanied
by their troops, consisting mostly of squires and gentlemen, to the
number of about two hundred, on horseback. Last came the foot-soldiers
of the garrison and those who had lost their horses, in all some five
hundred, stretching far away, round towards the citadel, beyond the
sight. Colours were flying and weapons glittering, and though all was
silence except for the pawing of a horse here and there, and the ringing
of chain-bridles, everything looked like an ordered march of triumph
rather than a surrender and evacuation. Still there was a something in
the silence that seemed to tell the true tale.

In the front carriage were lady Glamorgan and the ladies Elizabeth,
Anne, and Mary. In the carriages behind came their gentlewomen and their
lady visitors, with their immediate attendants. Dorothy, mounted on
Dick, with Marquis's chain fastened to the pommel of her saddle,
followed the last carriage. Beside her rode young Delaware, and his
father, the master of the horse.

'Open the white gate,' said the marquis from the stair as he descended.

The great clock of the castle struck, and with the last stroke of the
twelve came the blast of a trumpet from below.

'Answer, trumpets,' cried the marquis.

The governor repeated the order, and a tremendous blare followed, in
which the drums unbidden joined.

This was the signal to the warders at the brick gate, and they flung its
two leaves wide apart.

Another blast from below, and in marched on horseback general Fairfax
with his staff, followed by three hundred foot. The latter drew up on
each side of the brick gate, while the general and his staff went on to
the marble gate.

As soon as they appeared within it, the marquis, who had halted in the
midst of his descent, came down to meet them. He bowed to the general,
and said:--

'I would it were as a guest I received you, sir Thomas, for then might I
honestly bid you welcome. But that I cannot do when you so shake my poor
nest that you shake the birds out of it. But though I cannot bid you
welcome, I will notwithstanding heartily bid you farewell, sir Thomas,
and I thank you for your courtesy to me and mine. This nut of Raglan
was, I believe, the last you had to crack. Amen. God's will be done.'

The general returned civil answer, and the marquis, again bowing
graciously, advanced to the foremost carriage, the door of which was
held for him by sir Ralph, the steward, while lord Charles stood by to
assist his father. The moment he had entered, the two gentlemen mounted
the horses held for them one on each side of the carriage, lord Charles
gave the word, the trumpets once more uttered a loud cry, the marquis's
moved, the rest followed, and in slow procession lord Worcester and his
people, passing through the gates, left for ever the house of Raglan,
and in his heart Henry Somerset bade the world good-bye.

General Fairfax and his company ascended the great white stair, crossed
the moat on the drawbridge, passed under the double portcullis and
through the gates, and so entered the deserted court. All was
frightfully still; the windows stared like dead eyes--the very houses
seemed dead; nothing alive was visible except one scared cat: the
cannonade had driven away all the pigeons, and a tile had killed the
patriarch of the peacocks. They entered the great hall and admired its
goodly proportions, while not a few expressions of regret at the
destruction of such a magnificent house escaped them; then as soldiers
they proceeded to examine the ruins, and distinguish the results wrought
by the different batteries.

'Gentlemen,' said sir Thomas, 'had the walls been as strong as the
towers, we should have been still sitting in yonder field.'

In the meantime the army commissioner, Thomas Herbert by name, was busy
securing with the help of his men the papers and valuables, and making
an inventory of such goods as he considered worth removing for sale in
London.

Having satisfied his curiosity with a survey of the place, and left a
guard to receive orders from Mr. Herbert, the general mounted again and
rode to Chepstow, where there was a grand entertainment that evening to
celebrate the fall of Raglan, the last of the strongholds of the king.



CHAPTER LV.

R. I. P.


As the sad, shining company of the marquis went from the gates, running
at full speed to overtake the rear ere it should have passed through,
came Caspar, and mounting a horse led for him, rode near Dorothy.

As they left the brick gate, a horseman joined the procession from
outside. Pale and worn, with bent head and sad face, sir Rowland
Scudamore fell into the ranks amongst his friends of the garrison, and
with them rode in silence.

Many a look did Dorothy cast around her as she rode, but only once, on
the crest of a grassy hill that rose abrupt from the highway a few miles
from Raglan, did she catch sight of Richard mounted on Lady. All her
life after, as often as trouble came, that figure rose against the sky
of her inner world, and was to her a type of the sleepless watch of the
universe.

Soon, from flank and rear, in this direction and that, each to some
haven or home, servants and soldiers began to drop away. Before they
reached the forest of Dean, the cortege had greatly dwindled, for many
belonged to villages, small towns, and farms on the way, and their
orders had been to go home and wait better times. When he reached
London, except the chief officers of his household, one of his own
pages, and some of his daughters' gentlewomen and menials, the marquis
had few attendants left beyond Caspar and Shafto.

It was a long and weary journey for him, occupying a whole week. One
evening he was so tired and unwell that they were forced to put up with
what quarters they could find in a very poor little town. Early in the
morning, however, they were up and away. When they had gone some ten
miles--lord Charles was riding beside the coach and chatting with his
sisters--a remark was made not complimentary to their accommodation of
the previous night.

'True,' said lord Charles; 'it was a very scurvy inn, but we must not
forget that the reckoning was cheap.'

While he spoke, one of the household had approached the marquis, who sat
on the other side of the carriage, and said something in a low voice.

'Say'st thou so!' returned his lordship. '--Hear'st thou, my lord
Charles? Thou talkest of a cheap reckoning! I never paid so dear for a
lodging in my life. Here is master Wharton hath just told me that they
have left a thousand pound under a bench in the chamber we broke our
fast in. Truly they are overpaid for what we had!'

'We have sent back after it, my lord,' said Mr. Wharton.

'You will never see the money again,' said lord Charles.

'Oh, peace!' said the marquis. 'If they will not be known of the money,
you shall see it in a brave inn in a short time.'

Nothing more was said on the matter, and the marquis seemed to have
forgotten it. Late at night, at their next halting-place, the messenger
rejoined them, having met a drawer, mounted on a sorry horse, riding
after them with the bag, but little prospect of overtaking them before
they reached London.

'I thought our hostess seemed an honest woman!' said lady Anne.

'It is a poor town, indeed, lord Charles, but you see it is an honest
one nevertheless!' said Dr. Bayly.

'It may be the town never saw so much money before,' said the marquis,
'and knew not what to make of it.'

'Your lordship is severe,' said the doctor.

'Only with my tongue, good doctor, only with my tongue,' said the
marquis, laughing.

When they reached London, lord Worcester found himself, to his surprise,
in custody of the Black Rod, who, as now for some three years Worcester
House in the Strand had been used for a state-paper office, conducted
him to a house in Covent Garden, where he lodged him in tolerable
comfort and mild imprisonment. Parliament was still jealous of Glamorgan
and his Irish doings--as indeed well they might be.

But his confinement was by no means so great a trial to him as his
indignant friends supposed; for, long willing to depart, he had at
length grown a little tired of life, feeling more and more the
oppression of growing years, of gout varied with asthma, and, worst of
all to the once active man, of his still increasing corpulence, which
last indeed, by his own confession, he found it hard to endure with
patience. The journey had been too much for him, and he began to lead
the life of an invalid.

There being no sufficient accommodation in the house for his family,
they were forced to content themselves with lodging as near him as they
could, and in these circumstances Dorothy, notwithstanding lady
Glamorgan's entreaties, would have returned home. But the marquis was
very unwilling she should leave him, and for his sake she concluded to
remain.

'I am not long for this world, Dorothy,' he said. 'Stay with me and see
the last of the old man. The wind of death has got inside my tent, and
will soon blow it out of sight.'

Lady Glamorgan's intention from the first had been to go to Ireland to
her husband as soon as she could get leave. This however she did not
obtain until the first of October--five weeks after her arrival in
London. She would gladly have carried Dorothy with her, but she would
not leave the marquis, who was now failing visibly. As her ladyship's
pass included thirty of her servants, Dorothy felt at ease about her
personal comforts, and her husband would soon supply all else.

The ladies Elizabeth and Mary were in the same house with their father;
lady Anne and lord Charles were in the house of a relative at no great
distance, and visited him every day. Sir Toby Mathews also, and Dr.
Bayly, had found shelter in the neighbourhood, so that his lordship
never lacked company. But he was going to have other company soon.

Gently he sank towards the grave, and as he sank his soul seemed to
retire farther within, vanishing on the way to the deeper life. They
thought he lost interest in life: it was but that the brightness drew
him from the glimmer. Every now and then, however, he would come forth
from his inner chamber, and standing in his open door look out upon his
friends, and tell them what he had seen.

The winter drew on. But first November came, with its 'saint Martin's
summer, halcyon days' and the old man revived a little. He stood one
morning and looked from his window on the garden behind the house, all
glittering with molten hoar-frost. A few leaves, golden with death, hung
here and there on a naked bough. A kind of sigh was in the air. The very
light had in it as much of resignation as hope. He had forgotten that
Dorothy was in the room.

There was Celtic blood in the marquis, and at times his thoughts took
shapes that hardly belonged to the Teuton.

'Cometh my youth hither again?' he murmured. 'As a stranger he cometh
whom yet I know so well! Or is it but the face of my old age lighted
with a parting smile? Either way, change cometh, and change will be
good. Domine, in manus tuas.'

He turned and saw Dorothy.

'Child!' he exclaimed, 'good sooth, I had forgotten thee. Yet I spake no
treason. Dorothy, I hold not with them who say that from dust we came
and to dust we return. Neither my blessed countess, whom thou knewest
not, nor my darling Molly, whom thou knewest so well, were born of the
dust. From some better where they came--for, say, can dust beget love?
Whither they have gone I follow, in the hope that their prayers have
smoothed for me the way. Lord, lay not my sins to my charge. Mary,
mother, hear my wife who prayeth for me. Hear my little Molly: she was
ever dainty and good.'

Again he had forgotten Dorothy, and was with his dead.

But St. Martin's summer is only the lightening of the year that comes
before its death; and November, although it brought not then such evil
fogs as it now afflicts London withal, yet brought with it November
weather--one of God's hounds, with which he hunts us out of the hollows
of our own moods, and teaches us to sit on the arch of the cellar. But
though the marquis fought hard and kept it out of his mind, it got into
his troubled body. The gout left his feet; he coughed distressingly,
breathed with difficulty, and at length betook himself to bed.

For some time his interest in politics, save in so much as affected the
king's person, had been gradually ceasing.

'I trust I have done my part,' he said once to the two clergymen, as
they sat by his bedside. 'Yet I know not. I fear me I clove too fast to
my money. Yet would I have parted with all, even to my shirt, to make my
lord the king a good catholic. But it may be, sir Toby, we make more of
such matters down here than they do in the high countries; and in that
case, good doctor, ye are to blame who broke away from your mother, even
were she not perfect.'

He crossed himself and murmured a prayer, in fear lest he had been
guilty of laxity of judgment. But neither clergyman said a word.

'But tell me, gentlemen, ye who understand sacred things,' he resumed,
'can a man be far out of the way so long as, with full heart and no
withholding, he saith, Fiat voluntas tua--and that after no private
interpretation, but Sicut in caelo?'

'That, my lord, I also strive to say with all my heart,' said Dr. Bayly.

'Mayhap, doctor,' returned the marquis, 'when thou art as old as I, and
hast learned to see how good it is, how all-good, thou wilt be able to
say it without any striving. There was a time in my life when I too had
to strive, for the thought that he was a hard master would come, and
come again. But now that I have learned a little more of what he meaneth
with me, what he would have of me and do for me, how he would make me
pure of sin, clean from the very bottom of my heart to the crest of my
soul, from spur to plume a stainless knight, verily I am no more content
to SUBMIT to his will: I cry in the night time, "Thy will be done: Lord,
let it be done, I entreat thee;" and in the daytime I cry, "Thy kingdom
come: Lord, let it come, I pray thee."'

He lay silent. The clergymen left the room, and lord Charles came in,
and sat down by his bedside. The marquis looked at him, and said kindly,

'Ah, son Charles! art thou there?'

'I came to tell you, my lord, the rumour goeth that the king hath
consented to establish the presbyterian heresy in the land,' said lord
Charles.

'Believe it not, my lord. A man ought not to believe ill of another so
long as there is space enough for a doubt to perch. Yet, alas! what
shall be hoped of him who will yield nothing to prayers, and everything
to compulsion? Had his majesty been a true prince, he had ere now set
his foot on the neck of his enemies, or else ascended to heaven a
blessed martyr. "Protestant," say'st thou? In good sooth, I force not.
What is he now but a football for the sectaries to kick to and fro! But
I shall pray for him whither I go, if indeed the prayers of such as I
may be heard in that country. God be with his majesty. I can do no more.
There are other realms than England, and I go to another king. Yet will
I pray for England, for she is dear to my heart. God grant the evil time
may pass, and Englishmen yet again grow humble and obedient!'

He closed his eyes, and his face grew so still that, notwithstanding the
labour of his breathing, he would have seemed asleep, but that his lips
moved a little now and then, giving a flutter of shape to the eternal
prayer within him.

Again he opened his eyes, and saw sir Toby, who had re-entered silent as
a ghost, and said, feebly holding out his hand, 'I am dying, sir Toby:
where will this swollen hulk of mine be hid?'

'That, my lord,' returned sir Toby, 'hath been already spoken of in
parliament, and it hath been wrung from them, heretics and fanatics as
they are, that your lordship's mortal remains shall lie in Windsor
castle, by the side of earl William, the first of the earls of
Worcester.'

'God bless us all!' cried the marquis, almost merrily, for he was
pleased, and with the pleasure the old humour came back for a moment:
'they will give me a better castle when I am dead than they took from me
when I was alive!'

'Yet is it a small matter to him who inherits such a house as awaiteth
my lord--domum non manufactam, in caelis aeternam,' said sir Toby.

'I thank thee, sir Toby, for recalling me. Truly for a moment I was
uplifted somewhat. That I should still play the fool, and the old fool,
in the very face of Death! But, thank God, at thy word the world hath
again dwindled, and my heavenly house drawn the nearer. Domine, nunc
dimittis. Let me, so soon as you judge fit, sir Toby, have the
consolations of the dying.'

When the last rites, wherein the church yields all hold save that of
prayer, had been administered, and his daughters with Dorothy and lord
Charles stood around his bed.

'Now have I taken my staff to be gone,' he said cheerfully, 'like a
peasant who hath visited his friends, and will now return, and they will
see him as far upon the road as they may. I tremble a little, but I
bethink me of him that made me and died for me, and now calleth me, and
my heart revives within me.'

Then he seemed to fall half asleep, and his soul went wandering in
dreams that were not all of sleep--just as it had been with little Molly
when her end drew near.

'How sweet is the grass for me to lie in, and for thee to eat! Eat, eat,
old Ploughman.'

It was a favourite horse of which he dreamed--one which in old days he
had named after Piers Ploughman, the Vision concerning whom,
notwithstanding its severity on catholic abuses, he had at one time read
much.

After a pause he went on--

'Alack, they have shot off his head! What shall I do without my
Ploughman--my body groweth so large and heavy!--Hark, I hear Molly!
"Spout, horse," she crieth. See, it is his life-blood he spouteth! O
Lord, what shall I do, for I am heavy, and my body keepeth down my soul.
Hark! Who calleth me? It is Molly! No, no! it is the Master. Lord, I
cannot rise and come to thee. Here have I lain for ages, and my spirit
groaneth. Reach forth thy hand, Lord, and raise me. Thanks, Lord,
thanks!'

And with the word he was neither old man nor marquis any more.

The parliament, with wondrous liberality, voted five hundred pounds for
his funeral, and Dr. Bayly tells us that he laid him in his grave with
his own hands. But let us trust rather that Anne and Molly received him
into their arms, and soon made him forget all about castles and chapels
and dukedoms and ungrateful princes, in the everlasting youth of the
heavenly kingdom, whose life is the presence of the Father, whose air to
breathe is love, and whose corn and wine are truth and graciousness.

There surely, and nowhere else as surely, can the prayer be for a man
fulfilled: Requiescat in Pace.



CHAPTER LVI.

RICHARD AND CASPAR.


I have now to recount a small adventure, to which it would scarcely be
worth while to afford a place, were it not for the important fact that
it opened to Richard a great window not only in Dorothy's history while
she lived at the castle, but, which was of far more importance, into the
character moulding that history--for character has far more to do with
determining history than history has to do with determining character.
Without the interview whose circumstances I am about to narrate, Richard
could not so soon at least have done justice to a character which had
been, if not keeping parallel pace with his own, yet advancing rapidly
in the same direction.

The decree of the parliament had gone forth that Raglan should be
destroyed. The same hour in which the sad news reached Caspar, he set
out to secure, if possible, the treasures he had concealed. He had
little fear of their being discovered, but great fear of their being
rendered inaccessible from the workshop.

Having reached the neighbourhood, he hired a horse and cart from a small
farmer whom he knew, and, taking the precaution to put on the dress of a
countryman, got on it and drove to the castle. The huge oaken leaves of
the brick gate, bound and riveted with iron, lay torn from their hinges,
and he entered unquestioned. But instead of the solitude of desertion,
for which he had hoped, he found the whole place swarming with country
people, men and women, most of them with baskets and sacks, while the
space between the outer defences and the moat of the castle itself was
filled with country vehicles of every description, from a wheelbarrow to
a great waggon.

When the most valuable of the effects found in the place had been
carried to London, a sale for the large remainder had been held on the
spot, at which not a few of the neighbouring families had been
purchasers. After all, however, a great many things were left unhid for,
which were not, from a money point of view--the sole one taken--worth
removing; and now the peasantry were, like jackals, admitted to pick the
bones of the huge carcase, ere the skeleton itself should be torn
asunder. Nor could the invading populace have been disappointed of their
expectations: they found numberless things of immense value in their
eyes, and great use in their meagre economy. For years, I might say
centuries after, pieces of furniture and panels of carved oak, bits of
tapestry, antique sconces and candlesticks of brass, ancient
horse-furniture, and a thousand things besides of endless interest, were
to be found scattered in farm-houses and cottages all over Monmouth and
neighbouring shires. I should not wonder if, even now in the third
century, and after the rage for the collection of such things has so
long prevailed, there were some of them still to be discovered in places
where no one has thought of looking.

When Caspar saw what was going on, he judged it prudent to turn and
drive his cart into the quarry, and having there secured it, went back
and entered the castle. There was a great divided torrent of humanity
rushing and lingering through the various lines of rooms, here meeting
in whirlpools, there parted into mere rivulets--man and woman searching
for whatever might look valuable in his or her eyes. Things that
nowadays would fetch their weight in silver, some of them even in gold,
were passed by as worthless, or popped into a bag to be carried home for
the amusement of cottage children. The noises of hobnailed shoes on the
oak floors, and of unrestrained clownish and churlish voices everywhere,
were tremendous. Here a fat cottager might be seen standing on a lovely
quilt of patchwork brocade, pulling down, rough in her cupidity,
curtains on which the new-born and dying eyes of generations of nobles
had rested, henceforth to adorn a miserable cottage, while her husband
was taking down the bed, larger perhaps, than the room itself in which
they would in vain try to set it up, or cruelly forcing a lid, which,
having a spring lock, had closed again after the carved chest had been
already rifled by the commissioner or his men. The kitchen was full of
squabbling women, and the whole place in the agonies of dissolution. But
there was a small group of persons, fortuitously met, but linked
together by an old painful memory of the place itself, strongly revived
by their present meeting, to whom a fanatical hatred of everything
catholic, coupled with a profound sense of personal injury, had
prevailed over avarice, causing them to leave the part of acquisition to
their wives, and aspire to that of pure destruction. It was the same
company, almost to a man, whose misadventures in their search of Raglan
for arms, under the misguidance of Tom Fool, I have related in an early
chapter. In their hearts they nursed a half-persuasion that Raglan had
fallen because of their wrongs within its walls, and the shame that
there had been heaped upon the godly.

These men, happening to meet, as I say, in the midst of the surrounding
tumult, had fallen into a conversation chiefly occupied with
reminiscences of that awful experience, whose terrors now looked like an
evil dream, and, in a place thus crowded with men and women, buzzing
with voices, and resounding with feet, as little likely to return as a
vanished thundercloud. In the course of their conversation, therefore,
they grew valiant; grew conscious next of a high calling, and resolved
therewith to take to themselves the honour of giving the first sweep of
the besom of destruction to Raglan Castle. Satisfying themselves first
therefore that their wives were doing their duty for their
household,--mistress Upstill was as good as two men at least at
appropriation,--they set out, Cast-down taking the lead, master
Sycamore, John Croning, and the rest following, armed with crowbars, for
the top of the great tower, ambitious to commence the overthrow by
attacking the very summit, the high places of wickedness, the crown of
pride; and after some devious wandering, at length found the way to the
stair.

When Caspar Kaltoff entered the castle, he made straight for the keep,
and to his delight found no one in the lower part. To make certain
however that he was alone in the place, ere he secured himself from
intrusion, he ran up the stair, gave a glance at the doors as he ran,
and reached the top just as Upstill in fierce discrowning pride was
heaving the first capstone from between two battlements. Caspar was
close by the cocks; instantly he turned one, and as the dislodged stone
struck the water of the moat, a sudden hollow roaring invaded their
ears, and while they stood aghast at the well-remembered sound, and ere
yet the marrow had time to freeze in their stupid bones, the very moat
itself into which they had cast the insulted stone, storming and
spouting, seemed to come rushing up to avenge it upon them were they
stood. The moment he turned the cock, Caspar shot half-way down the
stair, but as quietly as he could, and into a little chamber in the
wall, where stood two great vessels through which the pipes of the
fire-engine inside had communicated with the pipes in the wall outside.
There he waited until the steps which, long before he reached his
refuge, he heard come thundering down the stairs after him, had passed
in headlong haste, when he sprang up again to save the water for another
end, and to attach the drawbridge to the sluice, so that it would raise
it to its full height. Then he hurried down to the water trap under the
bridge and set it, after which he could hardly help wasting a little of
his precious time, lurking in a convenient corner to watch the result.

He had not to wait long. The shrieks of the yokels as they ran, and
their looks of horror when they appeared, quickly gathered around them a
gaping crowd to hear their tale, the more foolhardy in which, partly
doubting their word, for the fountains no longer played, and partly
ambitious of showing their superior courage, rushed to the Gothic
bridge. Down came the drawbridge with a clang, and with it in sheer
descent a torrent of water fit to sweep a regiment away, which shot
along the stone bridge and dashed them from it bruised and bleeding, and
half drowned with the water which in their terror and surprise found
easy way into their bodies. Caspar withdrew satisfied, for he now felt
sure of all the time he required to get some other things he had thought
of saving down into the shaft with the cabinet and chest.

Having effected this, and with much labour and difficulty, aided by
rollers, got all into the quarry and then into the cart, he did not
resist the temptation to go again amongst the crowd, and enjoy listening
to the various remarks and conjectures and terrors to which doubtless
his trick had given rise. He therefore got a great armful of trampled
corn from the field above, and laid it before his patient horse, then
ran round and re-entered the castle by the main gate.

He had not been in the crowd many minutes, however, when he saw
indications of suspicion ripening to conviction. What had given ground
for it he could not tell, but at some point he must have been seen on
the other side of the tower-moat. All this time Upstill and his party
had been recounting with various embellishment their adventures both
former and latter, and when Kaltoff was recognised, or at least
suspected in the crowd, the rumour presently arose and spread that he
was either the devil himself, or an accredited agent of that potentate.

'Be it then the old Satan himself?' Caspar heard a man say anxiously to
his neighbour, as he tried to get a look at his feet, which was not easy
in such a press. Caspar, highly amused, and thinking such evil
reputation would rather protect than injure him, showed some anxiety
about his feet, and made as if he would fain keep them out of the field
of observation. But thereupon he saw the faces and gestures of the
younger men begin to grow threatening; evidently anger was succeeding to
fear, and some of them, fired with the ambition possibly of thrashing
the devil, ventured to give him a rough shove or two from behind.
Neither outbreak of sulphurous flashes nor even kick of cloven hoof
following, they proceeded with the game, and rapidly advanced to such
extremities, expostulation in Caspar's broken English, for such in
excitement it always became, seeming only to act as fresh incitement and
justification, that at length he was compelled in self-defence to draw a
dagger. This checked them a little, and ere audacity had had time to
recover itself, a young man came shoving through the crowd, pushing them
all right and left until he reached Caspar, and stood by his side. Now
there was that about Richard Heywood to give him influence with a crowd:
he was a strong man and a gentleman, and they drew back.

'De fools dink I was de tuyfel!' said Caspar.

Richard turned upon them with indignation.

'You Englishmen!' he cried, 'and treat a foreigner thus!'

But there was nothing about him to show that he was a roundhead, and
from behind rose the cry: 'A malignant! A royalist!' and the fellows
near began again to advance threateningly.

'Mr. Heywood,' said Caspar hurriedly, for he recognised his helper from
the time he had seen him a prisoner, 'let us make for the hall. I know
the place and can bring us both off safe.'

It was one of Richard's greatest virtues that he could place much
confidence. He gave one glance at his companion, and said, 'I will do as
thou sayest.'

'Follow me then, sir,' said Caspar, and turning with brandished dagger,
he forced his way to the hall-door, Richard following with fists, his
sole weapons, defending their rear.

There were but few in the hall, and although their enemies came raging
after them, they were impeded by the crowd, so that there was time as
they crossed it for Caspar to say:

'Follow me over the bridge, but, for God's sake, put your feet exactly
where I put mine as we cross. You will see why in a moment after.'

'I will,' said Richard, and, delayed a little by needful care, gained
the other side just as the foremost of their pursuers rushed on the
bridge, and with a clang and a roar were swept from it by the descending
torrent.

They lost no time in explanations. Caspar hurried Richard to the
workshop, down the shaft, through the passage, and into the quarry,
whence, taking no notice of his cart, he went with him to the White
Horse, where Lady was waiting him.

And Richard was well rewarded for the kindness he had shown, for ere
they said good bye, the German, whose heart was full of Dorothy, and
understood, as indeed every one in the castle did, something of her
relation to Richard, had told him all he knew about her life in the
castle, and how she had been both before and during the siege a guardian
angel, as the marquis himself had said, to Raglan. Nor was the story of
her attempted visit to her old playfellow in the turret chamber, or the
sufferings she had to endure in consequence, forgotten; and when Caspar
and he parted, Richard rode home with fresh strength and light and love
in his heart, and Lady shared in them all somehow, for she constantly
reflected, or imaged rather, the moods of her master. As much as ever he
believed Dorothy mistaken, and yet could have kneeled in reverence
before her. He had himself tried to do the truth, and no one but he who
tries to do the truth can perceive the grandeur of another who does the
same. Alive to his own shortcomings, such a one the better understands
the success of his brother or sister: there the truth takes to him
shape, and he worships at her shrine. He saw more clearly than before
what he had been learning ever since she had renounced him, that it is
not correctness of opinion--could he be SURE that his own opinions were
correct?--that constitutes rightness, but that condition of soul which,
as a matter of course, causes it to move along the lines of truth and
duty--the LIFE going forth in motion according to the law of light: this
alone places a nature in harmony with the central Truth. It was in the
doing of the will of his Father that Jesus was the son of God--yea the
eternal son of the eternal Father.

Nor was this to make little of the truth intellectually considered--of
the FACT of things. The greatest fact of all is that we are bound to
obey the truth, and that to the full extent of our knowledge thereof,
however LITTLE that may be. This obligation acknowledged and OBEYED, the
road is open to all truth--and the ONLY road. The way to know is to do
the known.

Then why, thought Richard with himself, should he and Dorothy be parted?
Why should Dorothy imagine they should? All depended on their common
magnanimity, not the magnanimity that pardons faults, but the
magnanimity that recognises virtues. He who gladly kneels with one who
thinks largely wide from himself, in so doing draws nearer to the Father
of both than he who pours forth his soul in sympathetic torrent only in
the company of those who think like himself. If a man be of the truth,
then and only then is he of those who gather with the Lord.

In forms natural to the age and his individual thought, if not
altogether in such as I have here put down, Richard thus fashioned his
insights as he sauntered home upon Lady, his head above the clouds, and
his heart higher than his head--as it ought to be once or twice a day at
least. Poor indeed is any worldly success compared to a moment's
breathing in divine air, above the region where the miserable word
SUCCESS yet carries a meaning.



CHAPTER LVII.

THE SKELETON.


The death of the marquis took place in December, long before which time
the second marquis of Worcester, ever busy in the king's affairs, and
unable to show himself with safety in England, or there be useful, had
gone from Ireland to Paris.

As the country was now a good deal quieter, and there was nothing to
detain her in London, and much to draw her to Wyfern, Dorothy resolved
to go home, and there, if possible, remain. Indeed, there was now
nothing else she could well do, except visit Mr. Herbert at Llangattock.
But much as she revered and loved the old man, and would have enjoyed
his company, she felt now such a longing for activity, that she must go
and look after her affairs. What with the words of the good marquis and
her own late experiences and conflicts, Dorothy had gained much
enlightenment. She had learned that well-being is a condition of inward
calm, resting upon yet deeper harmonies of being, and resulting in
serene activity, the prevention of which natural result reacts in
perturbation and confusion of thought and feeling. But for many sakes
the thought of home was in itself precious and enticing to her. It was
full of clear memories of her mother, and vague memories of her father,
not to mention memories of the childhood Richard and she had spent
together, from which the late mists had begun to rise, and reveal them
sparkling with dew and sunshine. As soon, therefore, as marquis Henry
had gone to countess Anne, Dorothy took her leave, with many kind words
between, of the ladies Elizabeth, Anne, and Mary, and set out, attended
by her old bailiff and some of the men of her small tenantry, who having
fought the king's battle in vain, had gone home again to fight their
own.

At Wyfern she found everything in rigid order, almost cataleptic repose.
How was it ever to be home again? What new thing could restore the
homefulness where the revered over-life had vanished? And how shall the
world be warmed and brightened to him who knows no greater or better man
than himself therein--no more skilful workman, no diviner thinker, no
more godlike doer than himself? And what can the universe have in it of
home, of country, nay even of world, to him who cannot believe in a soul
of souls, a heart of hearts? I should fall out with the very beating of
the heart within my bosom, did I not believe it the pulse of the
infinite heart, for how else should it be heart of MINE? I made it not,
and any moment it may SEEM to fail me, yet never, if it be what I think
it, can it betray me. It is no wonder then, that, with only memories of
what had been to render it lovely in her eyes, Dorothy should have soon
begun to feel the place lonely.

The very next morning after her rather late arrival, she sent to saddle
Dick once more, called Marquis, and with no other attendant, set out to
see what they had done to dear old Raglan. Marquis had been chained up
almost all the time they were in London, and freedom is blessed even to
a dog: Dick was ever joyful under his mistress, and now was merry with
the keen invigorating air of a frosty December morning, and frolicsome
amidst the early snow, which lay unusually thick on the ground,
notwithstanding his hundred and twenty miles' ride, for they had taken
nearly a week to do it; so that between them they soon raised Dorothy's
spirits also, and she turned to her hopes, and grew cheerful.

This mood made her the less prepared to encounter the change that
awaited her. What a change it was! While she approached, what with the
trees left, and the towers, the rampart, and the outer shell of the
courts--little injured to the distant eye, she had not an idea of the
devastation within. But when she rode through one entrance after another
with the gates torn from their hinges, crossed the moat by a mound of
earth instead of the drawbridge, and rode through the open gateway,
where the portcullises were wedged up in their grooves and their chains
gone, into the paved court, she beheld a desolation, at sight of which
her heart seemed to stand still in her bosom. The rugged horror of the
heaps of ruins was indeed softly covered with snow, but what this took
from the desolation in harshness, it added in coldness and desertion and
hopelessness. She felt like one who looks for the corpse of his friend,
and finds but his skeleton.

The broken bones of the house projected gaunt and ragged. Its eyes
returned no shine--they did not even stare, for not a pane of glass was
left in a window: they were but eye-holes, black and blank with shadow
and no-ness. The roofs were gone--all but that of the great hall, which
they had not dared to touch. She climbed the grand staircase, open to
the wind and slippery with ice, and reached her own room. Snow lay on
the floor, which had swollen and burst upwards with November rains.
Through room after room she wandered with a sense of loneliness and
desolation and desertion such as never before had she known, even in her
worst dreams. Yet was there to her, in the midst of her sorrow and loss,
a strange fascination in the scene. Such a hive of burning human life
now cold and silent! Even Marquis appeared aware of the change, for with
tucked-in tail he went about sadly sniffing, and gazing up and down.
Once indeed, and only once, he turned his face to the heavens, and gave
a strange protesting howl, which made Dorothy weep, and a little
relieved her oppressed heart.

She would go and see the workshop. On the way, she would first visit the
turret chamber. But so strangely had destruction altered the look of
what it had spared, that it was with difficulty she recognised the doors
and ways of the house she had once known so well. Here was a great hole
to the shining snow where once had been a dark corner; there a heap of
stones where once had been a carpeted corridor. All the human look of
indwelling had past away. Where she had been used to go about as if by
instinct, she had now to fall back upon memory, and call up again, with
an effort sometimes painful in its difficulty, that which had vanished
altogether except from the minds of its scattered household.

She found the door of the turret chamber, but that was all she found:
the chamber was gone. Nothing was there but the blank gap in the wall,
and beyond it, far down, the nearly empty moat of the tower. She turned,
frightened and sick at heart, and made her way to the bridge. That still
stood, but the drawbridge above was gone.

She crossed the moat and entered the workshop. A single glance took in
all that was left of the keep. Not a floor was between her and the sky!
The reservoir, great as a little mountain-tarn, had vanished utterly!
All was cleared out; and the white wintry clouds were sailing over her
head. Nearly a third part of the walls had been brought within a few
feet of the ground. The furnace was gone--all but its mason-work. It was
like the change of centuries rather than months. The castle had
half-melted away. Its idea was blotted out, save from the human spirit.
She turned from the workshop, in positive pain of body at the sight, and
wandered she hardly knew whither, till she found herself in lady
Glamorgan's parlour. There was left a single broken chair: she sat down
on it, closed her eyes, and laid back her head.

She opened them with a slight start: there stood Richard a yard or two
away.

He had heard of her return, and gone at once to Wyfern. There learning
whither she had betaken herself, he had followed, and tracking what of
her footsteps he could discover, had at length found her.



CHAPTER LVIII.

LOVE AND NO LEASING.


Their eyes met in the flashes of a double sunrise. Their hands met, but
the hand of each grasped the heart of the other. Two honester purer
souls never looked out of their windows with meeting gaze. Had there
been no bodies to divide them, they would have mingled in a rapture of
faith and high content.

The desolation was gone; the desert bloomed and blossomed as the rose.
To Dorothy it was for a moment as if Raglan were rebuilt; the ruin and
the winter had vanished before the creative, therefore prophetic, throb
of the heart of love; then her eyes fell, not defeated by those of the
youth, for Dorothy's faith gave her a boldness that was lovely even
against the foil of maidenly reserve, but beaten down by conscience: the
words of the marquis shot like an arrow into her memory: 'Love outlives
all but leasing,' and her eyes fell before Richard's.

But Richard imagined that something in his look had displeased her, and
was ashamed, for he had ever been, and ever would be, sensitive as a
child to rebuke. Even when it was mistaken or unjust he would always
find within him some ground whereon it MIGHT have alighted.

'Forgive me, Dorothy,' he said, supposing she had found his look
presumptuous.

'Nay, Richard,' returned Dorothy, with her eyes fast on the ground,
whence it seemed rosy mists came rising through her, 'I know no cause
wherefore thou shouldst ask me to forgive thee, but I do know, although
thou knowest not, good cause wherefore I should ask thee to forgive me.
Richard, I will tell thee the truth, and thou wilt tell me again how I
might have shunned doing amiss, and how far my lie was an evil thing.'

'Lie, Dorothy! Thou hast never lied!'

'Hear me, Richard, first, and then judge. Thou rememberest I did tell
thee that night as we talked in the field, that I had about me no
missives: the word was true, but its purport was false. When I said
that, thou didst hold in thy hand my comb, wherein were concealed
certain papers in cipher.'

'Oh thou cunning one!' cried Richard, half reproachfully, half
humorously, but the amusement overtopped the seriousness.

'My heart did reproach me; but Richard, what WAS I to do?'

'Wherefore did thy heart reproach thee, Dorothy?'

'That I told a falsehood--that I told THEE a falsehood, Richard.'

'Then had it been Upstill, thou wouldst not have minded?'

'Upstill! I would never have told Upstill a falsehood. I would have
beaten him first.'

'Then thou didst think it better to tell a falsehood to me than to
Upstill?'

'I would rather sin against thee, an' it were a sin, Richard. Were it
wrong to think I would rather be in thy hands, sin or none, or sin and
all, than in those of a mean-spirited knave whom I despised? Besides I
might one day, somehow or other, make it up to thee--but I could not to
him. But was it sin, Richard?--tell me that. I have thought and thought
over the matter until my mind is maze. Thou seest it was my lord
marquis's business, not mine, and thou hadst no right in the matter.'

'Prithee, Dorothy, ask not me to judge.'

'Art thou then so angry with me that thou will not help me to judge
myself aright?'

'Not so, Dorothy, but there is one command in the New Testament for the
which I am often more thankful than for any other.'

'What is that, Richard.'

'JUDGE NOT. Prythee, between whom lieth the quarrel, Dorothy? Bethink
thee.'

'Between thee and me, Richard.'

'No, verily, Dorothy. I accuse thee not.'

Dorothy was silent for a moment, thinking.

'I see, Richard,' she said. 'It lieth between me and my own conscience.'

'Then who am I, Dorothy, that I should dare step betwixt thee and thy
conscience? God forbid. That were a presumption deserving indeed the
pains of hell.'

'But if my conscience and I seek a daysman betwixt us?'

'Mortal man can never be that daysman, Dorothy. Nay, an' thou need an
umpire, thou must seek to him who brought thee and thy conscience
together and told thee to agree. Let God, over all and in all, tell thee
whether or no thou wert wrong. For me, I dare not. Believe me, Dorothy,
it is sheer presumption for one man to intermeddle with the things that
belong to the spirit of another man.'

'But these are only the things of a woman,' said Dorothy, in pure
childish humility born of love.

'Sure, Dorothy, thou wouldst not jest in such sober matters.'

'God forbid, Richard! I but spoke that which was in me. I see now it was
foolishness.'

'All a man can do in this matter of judgment,' said Richard, 'is to lead
his fellow man, if so be he can, up to the judgment of God. He must
never dare judge him for himself. An' thou cannot tell whether thou did
well or ill in what thou didst, thou shouldst not vex thy soul. God is
thy refuge--even from the wrongs of thine own judgment. Pray to him to
let thee know the truth, that if needful thou mayst repent. Be patient
and not sorrowful until he show thee. Nor fear that he will judge thee
harshly because he must judge thee truly. That were to wrong God. Trust
in him even when thou fearest wrong in thyself, for he will deliver thee
therefrom.'

'Ah! how good and kind art thou, Richard.'

'How should I be other to thee, beloved Dorothy?'

'Thou art not then angry with me that I did deceive thee?'

'If thou didst right, wherefore should I be angry? If thou didst wrong,
I am well content to know that thou wilt be sorry therefor as soon as
thou seest it, and before that thou canst not, thou must not, be sorry.
I am sure that what thou knowest to be right that thou will do, and it
seemeth as if God himself were content with that for the time. What the
very right thing is, concerning which we may now differ, we must come to
see together one day--the same, and not another, to both, and this doing
of what we see, is to each of us the path thither. Let God judge us,
Dorothy, for his judgment is light in the inward parts, showing the
truth and enabling us to judge ourselves. For me to judge thee and thee
me, Dorothy, would with it bear no light. Why, Dorothy, knowest thou
not--yet how shouldst thou know? that this is the very matter for the
which we, my father and his party, contend--that each man, namely, in
matters of conscience, shall be left to his God, and remain unjudged of
his brother? And if I fight for this on mine own part, unto whom should
I accord it if not to thee, Dorothy, who art the highest in soul and
purest in mind and bravest in heart of all women I have known? Therefore
I love thee with all the power of a heart that loves that which is true
before that which is beautiful, and that which is honest before that
which is of good report.'

What followed I leave to the imagination of such of my readers as are
capable of understanding that the truer the nature the deeper must be
the passion, and of hoping that the human soul will yet burst into
grander blossoms of love than ever poet has dreamed, not to say sung. I
leave it also to the hearts of those who understand that love is greater
than knowledge. For those who have neither heart nor imagination--only
brains--to them I presume to leave nothing, knowing what self-satisfying
resources they possess of their own.

The pair wandered all over the ruins together, and Dorothy had a hundred
places to take Richard to, and tell him what they had been and how they
had looked in their wholeness and use--amongst the rest her own chamber,
whither Marquis had brought her the letter which mistress Upstill had
found so badly concealed.

Then Richard's turn came, and he gave Dorothy a sadly vivid account of
what he had seen of the destruction of the place; how, as if with whole
republics of ants, it had swarmed all over with men paid to destroy it;
how in every direction the walls were falling at once; how they dug and
drained at fish-ponds and moat in the wild hope of finding hidden
treasure, and had found in the former nothing but mud and a bunch of
huge old keys, the last of some lost story of ancient days,--and in the
latter nothing but a pair of silver-gilt spurs, which he had himself
bought of the fellow who found them. He told her what a terrible shell
the Tower of towers had been to break--how after throwing its
battlemented crown into the moat, they had in vain attacked the walls,
might almost as well have sought with pickaxes and crowbars to tear
asunder the living rock, and at last--but this was hearsay, he had not
seen it--had undermined the wall, propped it up with timber, set the
timber on fire, and so succeeded in bringing down a portion of the hard,
tough massy defence.

'What became of the wild beasts in the base of the kitchen-tower, dost
know, Richard?'

'I saw their cages,' answered Richard, 'but they were empty. I asked
what they were, and what had become of the animals, of which all the
country had heard, but no one could tell me. I asked them questions
until they began to puzzle themselves to answer them, and now I believe
all Gwent is divided between two opinions as to their fate--one, that
they are roaming the country, the other that lord Herbert, as they still
call him, has by his magic conveyed them away to Ireland to assist him
in a general massacre of the Protestants.'

Mighty in mutual faith, neither politics, nor morals, nor even theology
was any more able to part those whose plain truth had begotten absolute
confidence. Strive they might, sin they could not, against each other.
They talked, wandering about, a long time, forgetting, I am sorry to
say, even their poor shivering horses, which, after trying to console
themselves with the renewal of a friendship which a broad white line
across Lady's face had for a moment, on Dick's part, somewhat impeded,
had become very restless. At length an expostulatory whinny from Lady
called Richard to his duty, and with compunctions of heart the pair
hurried to mount. They rode home together in a bliss that would have
been too deep almost for conscious delight but that their animals were
eager after motion, and as now the surface of the fields had grown soft,
they turned into them, and a tremendous gallop soon brought their
gladness to the surface in great fountain throbs of joy.



CHAPTER LIX.

AVE! VALE! SALVE!


And now must I bury my dead out of my sight--bid farewell to the old
resplendent, stately, scarred, defiant Raglan, itself the grave of many
an old story, and the cradle of the new, and alas! in contrast with the
old, not merely the mechanical, but the unpoetic and commonplace, yes
vulgar era of our island's history. Little did lord Herbert dream of the
age he was initiating--of the irreverence and pride and destruction that
were about to follow in his footsteps, wasting, defiling, scarring,
obliterating, turning beauty into ashes, and worse! That divine
mechanics should thus, through selfishness and avarice, be leagued with
filth and squalor and ugliness! When one looks upon Raglan, indignation
rises--not at the storm of iron which battered its walls to powder,
hardly even at the decree to level them with the dust, but at the later
destroyer who could desecrate the beauty yet left by wrath and fear, who
with the stones of my lady's chamber would build a kennel, or with the
carved stones of chapel or hall a barn or cowhouse! What would the
inventor of the water-commanding engine have said to the pollution of
our waters, the destruction of the very landmarks of our history, the
desecration of ruins that ought to be venerated for their loveliness as
well as their story! Would he not have broken it to pieces, that the
ruin it must occasion might not be laid to his charge? May all such men
as for the sake of money constitute themselves the creators of ugliness,
not to speak of far worse evils in the land, live--or die, I care not
which--to know in their own selves what a lovely human Psyche lies hid
even in the chrysalis of a railway-director, and to loathe their past
selves as an abomination--incredible but that it had been. He who calls
such a wish a curse, must undergo it ere his being can be other than a
blot.

But this era too will pass, and truth come forth in forms new and more
lovely still.

The living Raglan has gone from me, and before me rise the broken,
mouldering walls which are the monument of their own past. My heart
swells as I think of them, lonely in the deepening twilight, when the
ivy which has flung itself like a garment about the bareness of their
looped and windowed raggedness is but as darker streaks of the all
prevailing dusk, and the moon is gathering in the east. Fain would the
soul forsake the fettersome body for a season, to go flitting hither and
thither, alighting and flitting, like a bat or a bird--now drawing
itself slow along a moulding to taste its curve and flow, now creeping
into a cranny, and brooding and thinking back till the fancy feels the
tremble of an ancient kiss yet softly rippling the air, or descries the
dim stain which no tempest can wash away. Ah, here is a stair! True
there are but three steps, a broken one and a fragment. What said I? See
how the phantom-steps continue it, winding up and up to the door of my
lady's chamber! See its polished floor, black as night, its walls rich
with tapestry, lovelily old, and harmoniously withered, for the ancient
time had its ancient times, and its things that had come down from
solemn antiquity--see the silver sconces, the tall mirrors, the
part-open window, long, low, carved latticed, and filled with lozenge
panes of the softest yellow green, in a multitude of shades! There
stands my lady herself, leaning from it, looking down into the court!
Ah, lovely lady! is not thy heart as the heart of my mother, my wife, my
daughters? Thou hast had thy troubles. I trust they are over now, and
that thou art satisfied with God for making thee!

The vision fades, and the old walls rise like a broken cenotaph. But the
same sky, with its clouds never the same, hangs over them; the same moon
will fold them all night in a doubtful radiance, befitting the things
that dwell alone, and are all of other times, for she too is but a
ghost, a thing of the past, and her light is but the light of memory;
into the empty crannies blow the same winds that once refreshed the
souls of maiden and man-at-arms, only the yellow flower that grew in its
gardens now grows upon its walls. And however the mind, or even the
spirit of man may change, the heart remains the same, and an effort to
read the hearts of our forefathers will help us to know the heart of our
neighbour.

Whoever cares to distinguish the bones of fact from the drapery of
invention in the foregone tale, will find them all in the late Mr.
Dirck's 'Life of the Marquis of Worcester,' and the 'Certamen
Religiosum' and 'Golden Apophthegms' of Dr. Bayly.

THE END.





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