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Title: Peveril of the Peak
Author: Scott, Walter, Sir, 1771-1832
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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PEVERIL OF THE PEAK

By Sir Walter Scott, Bart.



PEVERIL OF THE PEAK



CHAPTER I

               When civil dudgeon first grew high,
               And men fell out, they knew not why;
               When foul words, jealousies, and fears,
               Set folk together by the ears--
                                             --BUTLER.

William, the Conqueror of England, was, or supposed himself to be, the
father of a certain William Peveril, who attended him to the battle of
Hastings, and there distinguished himself. The liberal-minded monarch,
who assumed in his charters the veritable title of Gulielmus Bastardus,
was not likely to let his son's illegitimacy be any bar to the course of
his royal favour, when the laws of England were issued from the mouth
of the Norman victor, and the lands of the Saxons were at his unlimited
disposal. William Peveril obtained a liberal grant of property and
lordships in Derbyshire, and became the erecter of that Gothic fortress,
which, hanging over the mouth of the Devil's Cavern, so well known to
tourists, gives the name of Castleton to the adjacent village.

From this feudal Baron, who chose his nest upon the principles on which
an eagle selects her eyry, and built it in such a fashion as if he had
intended it, as an Irishman said of the Martello towers, for the sole
purpose of puzzling posterity, there was, or conceived themselves to be,
descended (for their pedigree was rather hypothetical) an opulent
family of knightly rank, in the same county of Derby. The great fief
of Castleton, with its adjacent wastes and forests, and all the wonders
which they contain, had been forfeited in King John's stormy days, by
one William Peveril, and had been granted anew to the Lord Ferrers of
that day. Yet this William's descendants, though no longer possessed
of what they alleged to have been their original property, were long
distinguished by the proud title of Peverils of the Peak, which served
to mark their high descent and lofty pretensions.

In Charles the Second's time, the representative of this ancient family
was Sir Geoffrey Peveril, a man who had many of the ordinary attributes
of an old-fashioned country gentleman, and very few individual traits
to distinguish him from the general portrait of that worthy class
of mankind. He was proud of small advantages, angry at small
disappointments, incapable of forming any resolution or opinion
abstracted from his own prejudices--he was proud of his birth, lavish
in his housekeeping, convivial with those kindred and acquaintances, who
would allow his superiority in rank--contentious and quarrelsome with
all that crossed his pretensions--kind to the poor, except when they
plundered his game--a Royalist in his political opinions, and one who
detested alike a Roundhead, a poacher, and a Presbyterian. In religion
Sir Geoffrey was a high-churchman, of so exalted a strain that many
thought he still nourished in private the Roman Catholic tenets, which
his family had only renounced in his father's time, and that he had a
dispensation for conforming in outward observances to the Protestant
faith. There was at least such a scandal amongst the Puritans, and
the influence which Sir Geoffrey Peveril certainly appeared to possess
amongst the Catholic gentlemen of Derbyshire and Cheshire, seemed to
give countenance to the rumour.

Such was Sir Geoffrey, who might have passed to his grave without
further distinction than a brass-plate in the chancel, had he not lived
in times which forced the most inactive spirits into exertion, as a
tempest influences the sluggish waters of the deadest mere. When the
Civil Wars broke out, Peveril of the Peak, proud from pedigree, and
brave by constitution, raised a regiment for the King, and showed upon
several occasions more capacity for command than men had heretofore
given him credit for.

Even in the midst of the civil turmoil, he fell in love with, and
married, a beautiful and amiable young lady of the noble house of
Stanley; and from that time had the more merit in his loyalty, as it
divorced him from her society, unless at very brief intervals, when his
duty permitted an occasional visit to his home. Scorning to be allured
from his military duty by domestic inducements, Peveril of the Peak
fought on for several rough years of civil war, and performed his part
with sufficient gallantry, until his regiment was surprised and cut
to pieces by Poyntz, Cromwell's enterprising and successful general of
cavalry. The defeated Cavalier escaped from the field of battle, and,
like a true descendant of William the Conqueror, disdaining submission,
threw himself into his own castellated mansion, which was attacked and
defended in a siege of that irregular kind which caused the destruction
of so many baronial residences during the course of those unhappy wars.
Martindale Castle, after having suffered severely from the cannon which
Cromwell himself brought against it, was at length surrendered when in
the last extremity. Sir Geoffrey himself became a prisoner, and while
his liberty was only restored upon a promise of remaining a peaceful
subject to the Commonwealth in future, his former delinquencies, as
they were termed by the ruling party, were severely punished by fine and
sequestration.

But neither his forced promise, nor the fear of farther unpleasant
consequences to his person or property, could prevent Peveril of the
Peak from joining the gallant Earl of Derby the night before the fatal
engagement in Wiggan Lane, where the Earl's forces were dispersed. Sir
Geoffrey having had his share in that action, escaped with the relics
of the Royalists after the defeat, to join Charles II. He witnessed also
the final defeat of Worcester, where he was a second time made prisoner;
and as, in the opinion of Cromwell and the language of the times, he
was regarded as an obstinate malignant, he was in great danger of having
shared with the Earl of Derby his execution at Bolton-le-Moor, having
partaken with him the dangers of two actions. But Sir Geoffrey's life
was preserved by the interest of a friend, who possessed influence in
the councils of Oliver.--This was a Mr. Bridgenorth, a gentleman of
middling quality, whose father had been successful in some commercial
adventure during the peaceful reign of James I.; and who had bequeathed
his son a considerable sum of money, in addition to the moderate
patrimony which he inherited from his father.

The substantial, though small-sized, brick building of Moultrassie
Hall, was but two miles distant from Martindale Castle, and the young
Bridgenorth attended the same school with the heir of the Peverils. A
sort of companionship, if not intimacy, took place betwixt them, which
continued during their youthful sports--the rather that Bridgenorth,
though he did not at heart admit Sir Geoffrey's claims of superiority to
the extent which the other's vanity would have exacted, paid deference
in a reasonable degree to the representative of a family so much more
ancient and important than his own, without conceiving that he in any
respect degraded himself by doing so.

Mr. Bridgenorth did not, however, carry his complaisance so far as to
embrace Sir Geoffrey's side during the Civil War. On the contrary, as an
active Justice of the Peace, he rendered much assistance in arraying
the militia in the cause of the Parliament, and for some time held
a military commission in that service. This was partly owing to his
religious principles, for he was a zealous Presbyterian, partly to his
political ideas, which, without being absolutely democratical, favoured
the popular side of the great national question. Besides, he was a
moneyed man, and to a certain extent had a shrewd eye to his worldly
interest. He understood how to improve the opportunities which civil war
afforded, of advancing his fortune, by a dexterous use of his capital;
and he was not at a loss to perceive that these were likely to be
obtained in joining the Parliament; while the King's cause, as it was
managed, held out nothing to the wealthy but a course of exaction
and compulsory loans. For these reasons, Bridgenorth became a decided
Roundhead, and all friendly communication betwixt his neighbour and him
was abruptly broken asunder. This was done with the less acrimony, that,
during the Civil War, Sir Geoffrey was almost constantly in the field,
following the vacillating and unhappy fortunes of his master; while
Major Bridgenorth, who soon renounced active military service, resided
chiefly in London, and only occasionally visited the Hall.

Upon these visits, it was with great pleasure he received the
intelligence, that Lady Peveril had shown much kindness to Mrs.
Bridgenorth, and had actually given her and her family shelter in
Martindale Castle, when Moultrassie Hall was threatened with pillage by
a body of Prince Rupert's ill-disciplined Cavaliers. This acquaintance
had been matured by frequent walks together, which the vicinity of
their places of residence suffered the Lady Peveril to have with Mrs.
Bridgenorth, who deemed herself much honoured in being thus admitted
into the society of so distinguished a lady. Major Bridgenorth heard of
this growing intimacy with great pleasure, and he determined to repay
the obligation, as far as he could without much hurt to himself,
by interfering with all his influence, in behalf of her unfortunate
husband. It was chiefly owing to Major Bridgenorth's mediation, that Sir
Geoffrey's life was saved after the battle of Worcester. He obtained him
permission to compound for his estate on easier terms than many who had
been less obstinate in malignancy; and, finally, when, in order to
raise the money to the composition, the Knight was obliged to sell a
considerable portion of his patrimony, Major Bridgenorth became the
purchaser, and that at a larger price than had been paid to any
Cavalier under such circumstances, by a member of the Committee for
Sequestrations. It is true, the prudent committeeman did not, by any
means, lose sight of his own interest in the transaction, for the
price was, after all, very moderate, and the property lay adjacent
to Moultrassie Hall, the value of which was at least trebled by the
acquisition. But then it was also true, that the unfortunate owner must
have submitted to much worse conditions, had the committeeman used,
as others did, the full advantages which his situation gave him; and
Bridgenorth took credit to himself, and received it from others,
for having, on this occasion, fairly sacrificed his interest to his
liberality.

Sir Geoffrey Peveril was of the same opinion, and the rather that Mr.
Bridgenorth seemed to bear his exaltation with great moderation, and
was disposed to show him personally the same deference in his present
sunshine of prosperity, which he had exhibited formerly in their early
acquaintance. It is but justice to Major Bridgenorth to observe, that
in this conduct he paid respect as much to the misfortunes as to the
pretensions of his far-descended neighbour, and that, with the frank
generosity of a blunt Englishman, he conceded points of ceremony, about
which he himself was indifferent, merely because he saw that his doing
so gave pleasure to Sir Geoffrey.

Peveril of the Peak did justice to his neighbour's delicacy, in
consideration of which he forgot many things. He forgot that Major
Bridgenorth was already in possession of a fair third of his estate, and
had various pecuniary claims affecting the remainder, to the extent of
one-third more. He endeavoured even to forget, what it was still more
difficult not to remember, the altered situation in which they and their
mansions now stood to each other.

Before the Civil War, the superb battlements and turrets of Martindale
Castle looked down on the red brick-built Hall, as it stole out from the
green plantations, just as an oak in Martindale Chase would have looked
beside one of the stunted and formal young beech-trees with which
Bridgenorth had graced his avenue; but after the siege which we have
commemorated, the enlarged and augmented Hall was as much predominant in
the landscape over the shattered and blackened ruins of the Castle, of
which only one wing was left habitable, as the youthful beech, in all
its vigour of shoot and bud, would appear to the same aged oak stripped
of its boughs, and rifted by lightning, one-half laid in shivers on the
ground, and the other remaining a blackened and ungraceful trunk, rent
and splintered, and without either life or leaves. Sir Geoffrey could
not but feel, that the situation and prospects were exchanged as
disadvantageously for himself as the appearance of their mansions; and
that though the authority of the man in office under the Parliament,
the sequestrator, and the committeeman, had been only exerted for the
protection of the Cavalier and the malignant, they would have been as
effectual if applied to procure his utter ruin; and that he was become a
client, while his neighbour was elevated into a patron.

There were two considerations, besides the necessity of the case and
the constant advice of his lady, which enabled Peveril of the Peak to
endure, with some patience, this state of degradation. The first
was, that the politics of Major Bridgenorth began, on many points, to
assimilate themselves to his own. As a Presbyterian, he was not an utter
enemy to monarchy, and had been considerably shocked at the unexpected
trial and execution of the King; as a civilian and a man of property, he
feared the domination of the military; and though he wished not to see
Charles restored by force of arms, yet he arrived at the conclusion,
that to bring back the heir of the royal family on such terms of
composition as might ensure the protection of those popular immunities
and privileges for which the Long Parliament had at first contended,
would be the surest and most desirable termination to the mutations in
state affairs which had agitated Britain. Indeed, the Major's ideas
on this point approached so nearly those of his neighbour, that he had
well-nigh suffered Sir Geoffrey, who had a finger in almost all the
conspiracies of the Royalists, to involve him in the unfortunate rising
of Penruddock and Groves, in the west, in which many of the Presbyterian
interest, as well as the Cavalier party, were engaged. And though his
habitual prudence eventually kept him out of this and other dangers,
Major Bridgenorth was considered during the last years of Cromwell's
domination, and the interregnum which succeeded, as a disaffected person
to the Commonwealth, and a favourer of Charles Stewart.

But besides this approximation to the same political opinions, another
bond of intimacy united the families of the Castle and the Hall.
Major Bridgenorth, fortunate, and eminently so, in all his worldly
transactions, was visited by severe and reiterated misfortunes in his
family, and became, in this particular, an object of compassion to his
poorer and more decayed neighbour. Betwixt the breaking out of the Civil
War and the Restoration, he lost successively a family of no less than
six children, apparently through a delicacy of constitution, which cut
off the little prattlers at the early age when they most wind themselves
round the heart of the parents.

In the beginning of the year 1658, Major Bridgenorth was childless; ere
it ended, he had a daughter, indeed, but her birth was purchased by the
death of an affectionate wife, whose constitution had been exhausted by
maternal grief, and by the anxious and harrowing reflection, that from
her the children they had lost derived that delicacy of health, which
proved unable to undergo the tear and wear of existence. The same voice
which told Bridgenorth that he was the father of a living child (it was
the friendly voice of Lady Peveril), communicated to him the melancholy
intelligence that he was no longer a husband. The feelings of Major
Bridgenorth were strong and deep, rather than hasty and vehement; and
his grief assumed the form of a sullen stupor, from which neither the
friendly remonstrances of Sir Geoffrey, who did not fail to be with his
neighbour at this distressing conjuncture, even though he knew he must
meet the Presbyterian pastor, nor the ghastly exhortations of this
latter person, were able to rouse the unfortunate widower.

At length Lady Peveril, with the ready invention of a female sharped
by the sight of distress and the feelings of sympathy, tried on the
sufferer one of those experiments by which grief is often awakened from
despondency into tears. She placed in Bridgenorth's arms the infant
whose birth had cost him so dear, and conjured him to remember that his
Alice was not yet dead, since she survived in the helpless child she had
left to his paternal care.

"Take her away--take her away!" said the unhappy man, and they were the
first words he had spoken; "let me not look on her--it is but another
blossom that has bloomed to fade, and the tree that bore it will never
flourish more!"

He almost threw the child into Lady Peveril's arms, placed his
hands before his face, and wept aloud. Lady Peveril did not say "be
comforted," but she ventured to promise that the blossom should ripen to
fruit.

"Never, never!" said Bridgenorth; "take the unhappy child away, and let
me only know when I shall wear black for her--Wear black!" he exclaimed,
interrupting himself, "what other colour shall I wear during the
remainder of my life?"

"I will take the child for a season," said Lady Peveril, "since the
sight of her is so painful to you; and the little Alice shall share the
nursery of our Julian, until it shall be pleasure and not pain for you
to look on her."

"That hour will never come," said the unhappy father; "her doom is
written--she will follow the rest--God's will be done.--Lady, I thank
you--I trust her to your care; and I thank God that my eye shall not see
her dying agonies."

Without detaining the reader's attention longer on this painful theme,
it is enough to say that the Lady Peveril did undertake the duties of
a mother to the little orphan; and perhaps it was owing, in a great
measure, to her judicious treatment of the infant, that its feeble hold
of life was preserved, since the glimmering spark might probably have
been altogether smothered, had it, like the Major's former children,
undergone the over-care and over-nursing of a mother rendered nervously
cautious and anxious by so many successive losses. The lady was the more
ready to undertake this charge, that she herself had lost two infant
children; and that she attributed the preservation of the third, now a
fine healthy child of three years old, to Julian's being subjected to
rather a different course of diet and treatment than was then generally
practised. She resolved to follow the same regiment with the little
orphan, which she had observed in the case of her own boy; and it was
equally successful. By a more sparing use of medicine, by a bolder
admission of fresh air, by a firm, yet cautious attention to encourage
rather than to supersede the exertions of nature, the puny infant, under
the care of an excellent nurse, gradually improved in strength and in
liveliness.

Sir Geoffrey, like most men of his frank and good-natured disposition,
was naturally fond of children, and so much compassionated the sorrows
of his neighbour, that he entirely forgot his being a Presbyterian,
until it became necessary that the infant should be christened by a
teacher of that persuasion.

This was a trying case--the father seemed incapable of giving direction;
and that the threshold of Martindale Castle should be violated by the
heretical step of a dissenting clergyman, was matter of horror to its
orthodox owner. He had seen the famous Hugh Peters, with a Bible in one
hand and a pistol in the other, ride in triumph through the court-door
when Martindale was surrendered; and the bitterness of that hour had
entered like iron into his soul. Yet such was Lady Peveril's influence
over the prejudices of her husband, that he was induced to connive
at the ceremony taking place in a remote garden house, which was not
properly within the precincts of the Castle-wall. The lady even dared
to be present while the ceremony was performed by the Reverend Master
Solsgrace, who had once preached a sermon of three hours' length before
the House of Commons, upon a thanksgiving occasion after the relief of
Exeter. Sir Geoffrey Peveril took care to be absent the whole day from
the Castle, and it was only from the great interest which he took in
the washing, perfuming, and as it were purification of the summer-house,
that it could have been guessed he knew anything of what had taken place
in it.

But, whatever prejudices the good Knight might entertain against his
neighbour's form of religion, they did not in any way influence his
feelings towards him as a sufferer under severe affliction. The mode in
which he showed his sympathy was rather singular, but exactly suited the
character of both, and the terms on which they stood with each other.

Morning after morning the good Baronet made Moultrassie Hall the
termination of his walk or ride, and said a single word of kindness as
he passed. Sometimes he entered the old parlour where the proprietor sat
in solitary wretchedness and despondency; but more frequently (for Sir
Geoffrey did not pretend to great talents of conversation), he paused on
the terrace, and stopping or halting his horse by the latticed window,
said aloud to the melancholy inmate, "How is it with you, Master
Bridgenorth?" (the Knight would never acknowledge his neighbour's
military rank of Major); "I just looked in to bid you keep a good heart,
man, and to tell you that Julian is well, and little Alice is well, and
all are well at Martindale Castle."

A deep sigh, sometimes coupled with "I thank you, Sir Geoffrey; my
grateful duty waits on Lady Peveril," was generally Bridgenorth's only
answer. But the news was received on the one part with the kindness
which was designed upon the other; it gradually became less painful
and more interesting; the lattice window was never closed, nor was the
leathern easy-chair which stood next to it ever empty, when the
usual hour of the Baronet's momentary visit approached. At length the
expectation of that passing minute became the pivot upon which the
thoughts of poor Bridgenorth turned during all the rest of the day. Most
men have known the influence of such brief but ruling moments at some
period of their lives. The moment when a lover passes the window of his
mistress--the moment when the epicure hears the dinner-bell,--is that
into which is crowded the whole interest of the day; the hours which
precede it are spent in anticipation; the hours which follow, in
reflection on what has passed; and fancy dwelling on each brief
circumstance, gives to seconds the duration of minutes, to minutes that
of hours. Thus seated in his lonely chair, Bridgenorth could catch at
a distance the stately step of Sir Geoffrey, or the heavy tramp of his
war-horse, Black Hastings, which had borne him in many an action; he
could hear the hum of "The King shall enjoy his own again," or the
habitual whistle of "Cuckolds and Roundheads," die unto reverential
silence, as the Knight approached the mansion of affliction; and then
came the strong hale voice of the huntsman soldier with its usual
greeting.

By degrees the communication became something more protracted, as Major
Bridgenorth's grief, like all human feelings, lost its overwhelming
violence, and permitted him to attend, in some degree, to what passed
around him, to discharge various duties which pressed upon him, and to
give a share of attention to the situation of the country, distracted as
it was by the contending factions, whose strife only terminated in the
Restoration. Still, however, though slowly recovering from the effects
of the shock which he had sustained, Major Bridgenorth felt himself
as yet unable to make up his mind to the effort necessary to see his
infant; and though separated by so short a distance from the being
in whose existence he was more interested than in anything the world
afforded, he only made himself acquainted with the windows of the
apartment where little Alice was lodged, and was often observed to
watch them from the terrace, as they brightened in the evening under the
influence of the setting sun. In truth, though a strong-minded man in
most respects, he was unable to lay aside the gloomy impression that
this remaining pledge of affection was soon to be conveyed to that grave
which had already devoured all besides that was dear to him; and he
awaited in miserable suspense the moment when he should hear that
symptoms of the fatal malady had begun to show themselves.

The voice of Peveril continued to be that of a comforter until the month
of April 1660, when it suddenly assumed a new and different tone. "The
King shall enjoy his own again," far from ceasing, as the hasty tread
of Black Hastings came up the avenue, bore burden to the clatter of
his hoofs on the paved courtyard, as Sir Geoffrey sprang from his great
war-saddle, now once more garnished with pistols of two feet in length,
and, armed with steel-cap, back and breast, and a truncheon in his hand,
he rushed into the apartment of the astonished Major, with his eyes
sparkling, and his cheek inflamed, while he called out, "Up! up,
neighbour! No time now to mope in the chimney-corner! Where is your
buff-coat and broadsword, man? Take the true side once in your life, and
mend past mistakes. The King is all lenity, man--all royal nature and
mercy. I will get your full pardon."

"What means all this?" said Bridgenorth--"Is all well with you--all well
at Martindale Castle, Sir Geoffrey?"

"Well as you could wish them, Alice, and Julian, and all. But I have
news worth twenty of that--Monk has declared at London against those
stinking scoundrels the Rump. Fairfax is up in Yorkshire--for the
King--for the King, man! Churchmen, Presbyterians, and all, are in buff
and bandoleer for King Charles. I have a letter from Fairfax to secure
Derby and Chesterfield with all the men I can make. D--n him, fine that
I should take orders from him! But never mind that--all are friends now,
and you and I, good neighbour, will charge abreast, as good neighbours
should. See there! read--read--read--and then boot and saddle in an
instant.

 'Hey for cavaliers--ho for cavaliers,
  Pray for cavaliers,
    Dub-a-dub, dub-a-dub,
    Have at old Beelzebub,
  Oliver shakes in his bier!'"

After thundering forth this elegant effusion of loyal enthusiasm, the
sturdy Cavalier's heart became too full. He threw himself on a seat, and
exclaiming, "Did ever I think to live to see this happy day!" he wept,
to his own surprise, as much as to that of Bridgenorth.

Upon considering the crisis in which the country was placed, it appeared
to Major Bridgenorth, as it had done to Fairfax, and other leaders of
the Presbyterian party, that their frank embracing of the royal interest
was the wisest and most patriotic measure which they could adopt in the
circumstances, when all ranks and classes of men were seeking refuge
from the uncertainty and varied oppression attending the repeated
contests between the factions of Westminster Hall and of Wallingford
House. Accordingly he joined with Sir Geoffrey, with less enthusiasm
indeed, but with equal sincerity, taking such measures as seemed proper
to secure their part of the country on the King's behalf, which was
done as effectually and peaceably as in other parts of England. The
neighbours were both at Chesterfield, when news arrived that the King
had landed in England; and Sir Geoffrey instantly announced his purpose
of waiting upon his Majesty, even before his return to the Castle of
Martindale.

"Who knows, neighbour," he said, "whether Sir Geoffrey Peveril will ever
return to Martindale? Titles must be going amongst them yonder, and
I have deserved something among the rest.--Lord Peveril would sound
well--or stay, Earl of Martindale--no, not of Martindale--Earl of the
Peak.--Meanwhile, trust your affairs to me--I will see you secured--I
would you had been no Presbyterian, neighbour--a knighthood,--I mean
a knight-bachelor, not a knight-baronet,--would have served your turn
well."

"I leave these things to my betters, Sir Geoffrey," said the Major, "and
desire nothing so earnestly as to find all well at Martindale when I
return."

"You will--you will find them all well," said the Baronet; "Julian,
Alice, Lady Peveril, and all of them--Bear my commendations to them, and
kiss them all, neighbour, Lady Peveril and all--you may kiss a Countess
when I come back; all will go well with you now you are turned honest
man."

"I always meant to be so, Sir Geoffrey," said Bridgenorth calmly.

"Well, well, well--no offence meant," said the Knight, "all is well
now--so you to Moultrassie Hall, and I to Whitehall. Said I well, aha!
So ho, mine host, a stoup of Canary to the King's health ere we get to
horse--I forgot, neighbour--you drink no healths."

"I wish the King's health as sincerely as if I drank a gallon to it,"
replied the Major; "and I wish you, Sir Geoffrey, all success on your
journey, and a safe return."



CHAPTER II

       Why, then, we will have bellowing of beeves,
       Broaching of barrels, brandishing of spigots;
       Blood shall flow freely, but it shall be gore
       Of herds and flocks, and venison and poultry,
       Join'd to the brave heart's-blood of John-a-Barleycorn!
                                                --OLD PLAY.

Whatever rewards Charles might have condescended to bestow in
acknowledgement of the sufferings and loyalty of Peveril of the Peak,
he had none in his disposal equal to the pleasure which Providence had
reserved for Bridgenorth on his return to Derbyshire. The exertion to
which he had been summoned, had had the usual effect of restoring to a
certain extent the activity and energy of his character, and he felt it
would be unbecoming to relapse into the state of lethargic melancholy
from which it had roused him. Time also had its usual effect in
mitigating the subjects of his regret; and when he had passed one day at
the Hall in regretting that he could not expect the indirect news of his
daughter's health, which Sir Geoffrey used to communicate in his almost
daily call, he reflected that it would be in every respect becoming that
he should pay a personal visit at Martindale Castle, carry thither the
remembrances of the Knight to his lady, assure her of his health, and
satisfy himself respecting that of his daughter. He armed himself for
the worst--he called to recollection the thin cheeks, faded eye, wasted
hand, pallid lip, which had marked the decaying health of all his former
infants.

"I shall see," he said, "these signs of mortality once more--I shall
once more see a beloved being to whom I have given birth, gliding to
the grave which ought to enclose me long before her. No matter--it is
unmanly so long to shrink from that which must be--God's will be done!"

He went accordingly, on the subsequent morning, to Martindale Castle,
and gave the lady the welcome assurances of her husband's safety, and of
his hopes of preferment.

"For the first, may Almighty God be praised!" said the Lady Peveril;
"and be the other as our gracious and restored Sovereign may will it.
We are great enough for our means, and have means sufficient for
contentment, though not for splendour. And now I see, good Master
Bridgenorth, the folly of putting faith in idle presentiments of evil.
So often had Sir Geoffrey's repeated attempts in favour of the Stewarts
led him into new misfortunes, that when, the other morning, I saw
him once more dressed in his fatal armour, and heard the sound of his
trumpet, which had been so long silent, it seemed to me as if I saw his
shroud, and heard his death-knell. I say this to you, good neighbour,
the rather because I fear your own mind has been harassed with
anticipations of impending calamity, which it may please God to avert
in your case as it has done in mine; and here comes a sight which bears
good assurance of it."

The door of the apartment opened as she spoke, and two lovely children
entered. The eldest, Julian Peveril, a fine boy betwixt four and
five years old, led in his hand, with an air of dignified support and
attention, a little girl of eighteen months, who rolled and tottered
along, keeping herself with difficulty upright by the assistance of her
elder, stronger, and masculine companion.

Bridgenorth cast a hasty and fearful glance upon the countenance of his
daughter, and, even in that glimpse, perceived, with exquisite delight,
that his fears were unfounded. He caught her in his arms, pressed her
to his heart, and the child, though at first alarmed at the vehemence
of his caresses, presently, as if prompted by Nature, smiled in reply to
them. Again he held her at some distance from him, and examined her
more attentively; he satisfied himself that the complexion of the young
cherub he had in his arms was not the hectic tinge of disease, but the
clear hue of ruddy health; and that though her little frame was slight,
it was firm and springy.

"I did not think that it could have been thus," he said, looking to
Lady Peveril, who had sat observing the scene with great pleasure; "but
praise be to God in the first instance, and next, thanks to you, madam,
who have been His instrument."

"Julian must lose his playfellow now, I suppose?" said the lady; "but
the Hall is not distant, and I will see my little charge often. Dame
Martha, the housekeeper at Moultrassie, has sense, and is careful. I
will tell her the rules I have observed with little Alice, and----"

"God forbid my girl should ever come to Moultrassie," said Major
Bridgenorth hastily; "it has been the grave of her race. The air of the
low grounds suited them not--or there is perhaps a fate connected with
the mansion. I will seek for her some other place of abode."

"That you shall not, under your favour be it spoken, Major Bridgenorth,"
answered the lady. "If you do so, we must suppose that you are
undervaluing my qualities as a nurse. If she goes not to her father's
house, she shall not quit mine. I will keep the little lady as a pledge
of her safety and my own skill; and since you are afraid of the damp of
the low grounds, I hope you will come here frequently to visit her."

This was a proposal which went to the heart of Major Bridgenorth. It was
precisely the point which he would have given worlds to arrive at, but
which he saw no chance of attaining.

It is too well known, that those whose families are long pursued by such
a fatal disease as existed in his, become, it may be said, superstitious
respecting its fatal effects, and ascribe to place, circumstance, and
individual care, much more perhaps than these can in any case contribute
to avert the fatality of constitutional distemper. Lady Peveril was
aware that this was peculiarly the impression of her neighbour; that the
depression of his spirits, the excess of his care, the feverishness of
his apprehensions, the restraint and gloom of the solitude in which he
dwelt, were really calculated to produce the evil which most of all he
dreaded. She pitied him, she felt for him, she was grateful for former
protection received at his hands--she had become interested in the child
itself. What female fails to feel such interest in the helpless creature
she has tended? And to sum the whole up, the dame had a share of human
vanity; and being a sort of Lady Bountiful in her way (for the character
was not then confined to the old and the foolish), she was proud of
the skill by which she had averted the probable attacks of hereditary
malady, so inveterate in the family of Bridgenorth. It needed not,
perhaps, in other cases, that so many reasons should be assigned for
an act of neighbourly humanity; but civil war had so lately torn the
country asunder, and broken all the usual ties of vicinage and good
neighbourhood, that it was unusual to see them preserved among persons
of different political opinions.

Major Bridgenorth himself felt this; and while the tear of joy in his
eye showed how gladly he would accept Lady Peveril's proposal, he could
not help stating the obvious inconveniences attendant upon her scheme,
though it was in the tone of one who would gladly hear them overruled.
"Madam," he said, "your kindness makes me the happiest and most thankful
of men; but can it be consistent with your own convenience? Sir Geoffrey
has his opinions on many points, which have differed, and probably do
still differ, from mine. He is high-born, and I of middling parentage
only. He uses the Church Service, and I the Catechism of the Assembly of
Divines at Westminster----"

"I hope you will find prescribed in neither of them," said the Lady
Peveril, "that I may not be a mother to your motherless child. I trust,
Master Bridgenorth, the joyful Restoration of his Majesty, a work
wrought by the direct hand of Providence, may be the means of closing
and healing all civil and religious dissensions among us, and that,
instead of showing the superior purity of our faith, by persecuting
those who think otherwise from ourselves on doctrinal points, we shall
endeavour to show its real Christian tendency, by emulating each other
in actions of good-will towards man, as the best way of showing our love
to God."

"Your ladyship speaks what your own kind heart dictates," answered
Bridgenorth, who had his own share of the narrow-mindedness of the time;
"and sure am I, that if all who call themselves loyalists and Cavaliers,
thought like you--and like my friend Sir Geoffrey"--(this he added after
a moment's pause, being perhaps rather complimentary than sincere)--"we,
who thought it our duty in time past to take arms for freedom of
conscience, and against arbitrary power, might now sit down in peace
and contentment. But I wot not how it may fall. You have sharp and hot
spirits amongst you; I will not say our power was always moderately
used, and revenge is sweet to the race of fallen Adam."

"Come, Master Bridgenorth," said the Lady Peveril gaily, "those evil
omenings do but point out conclusions, which, unless they were
so anticipated, are most unlikely to come to pass. You know what
Shakespeare says--

 'To fly the boar before the boar pursues,
  Were to incense the boar to follow us,
  And make pursuit when he did mean no chase.'

"But I crave your pardon--it is so long since we have met, that I forgot
you love no play-books."

"With reverence to your ladyship," said Bridgenorth, "I were much to
blame did I need the idle words of a Warwickshire stroller, to teach me
my grateful duty to your ladyship on this occasion, which appoints me to
be directed by you in all things which my conscience will permit."

"Since you permit me such influence, then," replied the Lady Peveril,
"I shall be moderate in exercising it, in order that I may, in my
domination at least, give you a favourable impression of the new order
of things. So, if you will be a subject of mine for one day, neighbour,
I am going, at my lord and husband's command, to issue out my warrants
to invite the whole neighbourhood to a solemn feast at the Castle,
on Thursday next; and I not only pray you to be personally present
yourself, but to prevail on your worthy pastor, and such neighbours and
friends, high and low, as may think in your own way, to meet with the
rest of the neighbourhood, to rejoice on this joyful occasion of the
King's Restoration, and thereby to show that we are to be henceforward a
united people."

The parliamentarian Major was considerably embarrassed by this proposal.
He looked upward, and downward, and around, cast his eye first to the
oak-carved ceiling, and anon fixed it upon the floor; then threw
it around the room till it lighted on his child, the sight of whom
suggested another and a better train of reflections than ceiling and
floor had been able to supply.

"Madam," he said, "I have long been a stranger to festivity, perhaps
from constitutional melancholy, perhaps from the depression which is
natural to a desolate and deprived man, in whose ear mirth is marred,
like a pleasant air when performed on a mistuned instrument. But though
neither my thoughts nor temperament are Jovial or Mercurial, it becomes
me to be grateful to Heaven for the good He has sent me by the means of
your ladyship. David, the man after God's own heart, did wash and eat
bread when his beloved child was removed--mine is restored to me, and
shall I not show gratitude under a blessing, when he showed resignation
under an affliction? Madam, I will wait on your gracious invitation with
acceptance; and such of my friends with whom I may possess influence,
and whose presence your ladyship may desire, shall accompany me to the
festivity, that our Israel may be as one people."

Having spoken these words with an aspect which belonged more to a martyr
than to a guest bidden to a festival, and having kissed, and solemnly
blessed his little girl, Major Bridgenorth took his departure for
Moultrassie Hall.



CHAPTER III

            Here's neither want of appetite nor mouths;
            Pray Heaven we be not scant of meat or mirth!
                                                --OLD PLAY.

Even upon ordinary occasions, and where means were ample, a great
entertainment in those days was not such a sinecure as in modern times,
when the lady who presides has but to intimate to her menials the day
and hour when she wills it to take place. At that simple period, the
lady was expected to enter deeply into the arrangement and provision of
the whole affair; and from a little gallery, which communicated with
her own private apartment, and looked down upon the kitchen, her shrill
voice was to be heard, from time to time, like that of the warning
spirit in a tempest, rising above the clash of pots and stewpans--the
creaking spits--the clattering of marrowbones and cleavers--the
scolding of cooks--and all the other various kinds of din which form an
accompaniment to dressing a large dinner.

But all this toil and anxiety was more than doubled in the case of the
approaching feast at Martindale Castle, where the presiding Genius
of the festivity was scarce provided with adequate means to carry her
hospitable purpose into effect. The tyrannical conduct of husbands,
in such cases, is universal; and I scarce know one householder of my
acquaintance who has not, on some ill-omened and most inconvenient
season, announced suddenly to his innocent helpmate, that he had invited

 "Some odious Major Rock,
  To drop in at six o'clock."

to the great discomposure of the lady, and the discredit, perhaps, of
her domestic arrangements.

Peveril of the Peak was still more thoughtless; for he had directed his
lady to invite the whole honest men of the neighbourhood to make good
cheer at Martindale Castle, in honour of the blessed Restoration of his
most sacred Majesty, without precisely explaining where the provisions
were to come from. The deer-park had lain waste ever since the siege;
the dovecot could do little to furnish forth such an entertainment;
the fishponds, it is true, were well provided (which the neighbouring
Presbyterians noted as a suspicious circumstance); and game was to be
had for the shooting, upon the extensive heaths and hills of
Derbyshire. But these were but the secondary parts of a banquet; and
the house-steward and bailiff, Lady Peveril's only coadjutors and
counsellors, could not agree how the butcher-meat--the most substantial
part, or, as it were, the main body of the entertainment--was to be
supplied. The house-steward threatened the sacrifice of a fine yoke of
young bullocks, which the bailiff, who pleaded the necessity of their
agricultural services, tenaciously resisted; and Lady Peveril's good
and dutiful nature did not prevent her from making some impatient
reflections on the want of consideration of her absent Knight, who had
thus thoughtlessly placed her in so embarrassing a situation.

These reflections were scarcely just, if a man is only responsible for
such resolutions as he adopts when he is fully master of himself. Sir
Geoffrey's loyalty, like that of many persons in his situation, had,
by dint of hopes and fears, victories and defeats, struggles and
sufferings, all arising out of the same moving cause, and turning, as
it were, on the same pivot, acquired the character of an intense and
enthusiastic passion; and the singular and surprising change of fortune,
by which his highest wishes were not only gratified, but far exceeded,
occasioned for some time a kind of intoxication of loyal rapture which
seemed to pervade the whole kingdom. Sir Geoffrey had seen Charles
and his brothers, and had been received by the merry monarch with that
graceful, and at the same time frank urbanity, by which he conciliated
all who approached him; the Knight's services and merits had been
fully acknowledged, and recompense had been hinted at, if not expressly
promised. Was it for Peveril of the Peak, in the jubilee of his spirits,
to consider how his wife was to find beef and mutton to feast his
neighbours?

Luckily, however, for the embarrassed lady, there existed some one who
had composure of mind sufficient to foresee this difficulty. Just as
she had made up her mind, very reluctantly, to become debtor to Major
Bridgenorth for the sum necessary to carry her husband's commands into
effect, and whilst she was bitterly regretting this departure from the
strictness of her usual economy, the steward, who, by-the-bye, had not
been absolutely sober since the news of the King's landing at Dover,
burst into the apartment, snapping his fingers, and showing more marks
of delight than was quite consistent with the dignity of my lady's large
parlour.

"What means this, Whitaker?" said the lady, somewhat peevishly; for she
was interrupted in the commencement of a letter to her neighbour on the
unpleasant business of the proposed loan,--"Is it to be always thus with
you?--Are you dreaming?"

"A vision of good omen, I trust," said the steward, with a triumphant
flourish of the hand; "far better than Pharaoh's, though, like his, it
be of fat kine."

"I prithee be plain, man," said the lady, "or fetch some one who can
speak to purpose."

"Why, odds-my-life, madam," said the steward, "mine errand can speak for
itself. Do you not hear them low? Do you not hear them bleat? A yoke of
fat oxen, and half a score prime wethers. The Castle is victualled for
this bout, let them storm when they will; and Gatherill may have his
d--d mains ploughed to the boot."

The lady, without farther questioning her elated domestic, rose and went
to the window, where she certainly beheld the oxen and sheep which had
given rise to Whitaker's exultation. "Whence come they?" said she, in
some surprise.

"Let them construe that who can," answered Whitaker; "the fellow who
drove them was a west-country man, and only said they came from a friend
to help to furnish out your ladyship's entertainment; the man would
not stay to drink--I am sorry he would not stay to drink--I crave your
ladyship's pardon for not keeping him by the ears to drink--it was not
my fault."

"That I'll be sworn it was not," said the lady.

"Nay, madam, by G--, I assure you it was not," said the zealous steward;
"for, rather than the Castle should lose credit, I drank his health
myself in double ale, though I had had my morning draught already. I
tell you the naked truth, my lady, by G--!"

"It was no great compulsion, I suppose," said the lady; "but, Whitaker,
suppose you should show your joy on such occasions, by drinking and
swearing a little less, rather than a little more, would it not be as
well, think you?"

"I crave your ladyship's pardon," said Whitaker, with much reverence; "I
hope I know my place. I am your ladyship's poor servant; and I know it
does not become me to drink and swear like your ladyship--that is, like
his honour, Sir Geoffrey, I would say. But I pray you, if I am not to
drink and swear after my degree, how are men to know Peveril of the
Peak's steward,--and I may say butler too, since I have had the keys of
the cellar ever since old Spigots was shot dead on the northwest turret,
with a black jack in his hand,--I say, how is an old Cavalier like me
to be known from those cuckoldly Roundheads that do nothing but fast and
pray, if we are not to drink and swear according to our degree?"

The lady was silent, for she well knew speech availed nothing; and,
after a moment's pause, proceeded to intimate to the steward that she
would have the persons, whose names were marked in a written paper,
which she delivered to him, invited to the approaching banquet.

Whitaker, instead of receiving the list with the mute acquiescence of
a modern Major Domo, carried it into the recess of one of the windows,
and, adjusting his spectacles, began to read it to himself. The
first names, being those of distinguished Cavalier families in the
neighbourhood, he muttered over in a tone of approbation--paused and
pshawed at that of Bridgenorth--yet acquiesced, with the observation,
"But he is a good neighbour, so it may pass for once." But when he read
the name and surname of Nehemiah Solsgrace, the Presbyterian parson,
Whitaker's patience altogether forsook him; and he declared he would as
soon throw himself into Eldon-hole,[*] as consent that the intrusive old
puritan howlet, who had usurped the pulpit of a sound orthodox divine,
should ever darken the gates of Martindale Castle by any message or
mediation of his.

[*] A chasm in the earth supposed to be unfathomable, one of the
    wonders of the Peak.

"The false crop-eared hypocrites," cried he, with a hearty oath, "have
had their turn of the good weather. The sun is on our side of the hedge
now, and we will pay off old scores, as sure as my name is Richard
Whitaker."

"You presume on your long services, Whitaker, and on your master's
absence, or you had not dared to use me thus," said the lady.

The unwonted agitation of her voice attracted the attention of the
refractory steward, notwithstanding his present state of elevation; but
he no sooner saw that her eye glistened, and her cheek reddened, than
his obstinacy was at once subdued.

"A murrain on me," he said, "but I have made my lady angry in good
earnest! and that is an unwonted sight for to see.--I crave your
pardon, my lady! It was not poor Dick Whitaker disputed your honourable
commands, but only that second draught of double ale. We have put a
double stroke of malt to it, as your ladyship well knows, ever since the
happy Restoration. To be sure I hate a fanatic as I do the cloven foot
of Satan; but then your honourable ladyship hath a right to invite Satan
himself, cloven foot and all, to Martindale Castle; and to send me
to hell's gate with a billet of invitation--and so your will shall be
done."

The invitations were sent round accordingly, in all due form; and one of
the bullocks was sent down to be roasted whole at the market-place of a
little village called Martindale-Moultrassie, which stood considerably
to the eastward both of the Castle and Hall, from which it took its
double name, at about an equal distance from both; so that, suppose a
line drawn from the one manor-house to the other, to be the base of a
triangle, the village would have occupied the salient angle. As the said
village, since the late transference of a part of Peveril's property,
belonged to Sir Geoffrey and to Bridgenorth in nearly equal portions,
the lady judged it not proper to dispute the right of the latter to add
some hogsheads of beer to the popular festivity.

In the meanwhile, she could not but suspect the Major of being the
unknown friend who had relieved her from the dilemma arising from the
want of provisions; and she esteemed herself happy when a visit from
him, on the day preceding the proposed entertainment, gave her, as she
thought, an opportunity of expressing her gratitude.



CHAPTER IV

          No, sir--I will not pledge--I'm one of those
          Who think good wine needs neither bush nor preface
          To make it welcome. If you doubt my word,
          Fill the quart-cup, and see if I will choke on't.
                                                   --OLD PLAY.

There was a serious gravity of expression in the disclamation with which
Major Bridgenorth replied to the thanks tendered to him by Lady
Peveril, for the supply of provisions which had reached her Castle so
opportunely. He seemed first not to be aware what she alluded to; and,
when she explained the circumstance, he protested so seriously that he
had no share in the benefit conferred, that Lady Peveril was compelled
to believe him, the rather that, being a man of plain downright
character, affecting no refined delicacy of sentiment, and practising
almost a quaker-like sincerity of expression, it would have been much
contrary to his general character to have made such a disavowal, unless
it were founded in truth.

"My present visit to you, madam," said he, "had indeed some reference to
the festivity of to-morrow." Lady Peveril listened, but as her visitor
seemed to find some difficulty in expressing himself, she was compelled
to ask an explanation. "Madam," said the Major, "you are not perhaps
entirely ignorant that the more tender-conscienced among us have
scruples at certain practices, so general amongst your people at times
of rejoicing, that you may be said to insist upon them as articles of
faith, or at least greatly to resent their omission."

"I trust, Master Bridgenorth," said the Lady Peveril, not fully
comprehending the drift of his discourse, "that we shall, as your
entertainers, carefully avoid all allusions or reproaches founded on
past misunderstanding."

"We would expect no less, madam, from your candour and courtesy," said
Bridgenorth; "but I perceive you do not fully understand me. To be
plain, then, I allude to the fashion of drinking healths, and pledging
each other in draughts of strong liquor, which most among us consider as
a superfluous and sinful provoking of each other to debauchery, and
the excessive use of strong drink; and which, besides, if derived, as
learned divines have supposed, from the custom of the blinded Pagans,
who made libations and invoked idols when they drank, may be justly said
to have something in it heathenish, and allied to demon-worship."

The lady had already hastily considered all the topics which were
likely to introduce discord into the proposed festivity; but this very
ridiculous, yet fatal discrepancy, betwixt the manners of the parties on
convivial occasions, had entirely escaped her. She endeavoured to soothe
the objecting party, whose brows were knit like one who had fixed an
opinion by which he was determined to abide.

"I grant," she said, "my good neighbour, that this custom is at least
idle, and may be prejudicial if it leads to excess in the use of liquor,
which is apt enough to take place without such conversation. But I
think, when it hath not this consequence, it is a thing indifferent,
affords a unanimous mode of expressing our good wishes to our friends,
and our loyal duty to our sovereign; and, without meaning to put any
force upon the inclination of those who believe otherwise, I cannot see
how I can deny my guests and friends the privilege of drinking a health
to the King, or to my husband, after the old English fashion."

"My lady," said the Major, "if the age of fashion were to command it,
Popery is one of the oldest English fashions that I have heard of; but
it is our happiness that we are not benighted like our fathers, and
therefore we must act according to the light that is in us, and not
after their darkness. I had myself the honour to attend the Lord-Keeper
Whitelocke, when, at the table of the Chamberlain of the kingdom of
Sweden, he did positively refuse to pledge the health of his Queen,
Christina, thereby giving great offence, and putting in peril the whole
purpose of that voyage; which it is not to be thought so wise a man
would have done, but that he held such compliance a thing not merely
indifferent, but rather sinful and damnable."

"With all respect to Whitelocke," said the Lady Peveril, "I continue of
my own opinion, though, Heaven knows, I am no friend to riot or wassail.
I would fain accommodate myself to your scruples, and will discourage
all other pledges; but surely those of the King and of Peveril of the
Peak may be permitted?"

"I dare not," answered Bridgenorth, "lay even the ninety-ninth part of a
grain of incense upon an altar erected to Satan."

"How, sir!" said the lady; "do you bring Satan into comparison with our
master King Charles, and with my noble lord and husband?"

"Pardon me, madam," answered Bridgenorth, "I have no such
thoughts--indeed they would ill become me. I do wish the King's health
and Sir Geoffrey's devoutly, and I will pray for both. But I see not
what good it should do their health if I should prejudice my own by
quaffing pledges out of quart flagons."

"Since we cannot agree upon this matter," said Lady Peveril, "we must
find some resource by which to offend those of neither party. Suppose
you winked at our friends drinking these pledges, and we should connive
at your sitting still?"

But neither would this composition satisfy Bridgenorth, who was of
opinion, as he expressed himself, that it would be holding a candle
to Beelzebub. In fact, his temper, naturally stubborn, was at present
rendered much more so by a previous conference with his preacher, who,
though a very good man in the main, was particularly and illiberally
tenacious of the petty distinctions which his sect adopted; and while he
thought with considerable apprehension on the accession of power which
Popery, Prelacy, and Peveril of the Peak, were like to acquire by the
late Revolution, became naturally anxious to put his flock on their
guard, and prevent their being kidnapped by the wolf. He disliked
extremely that Major Bridgenorth, indisputably the head of the
Presbyterian interest in that neighbourhood, should have given his only
daughter to be, as he termed it, nursed by a Canaanitish woman; and
he told him plainly that he liked not this going to feast in the
high places with the uncircumcised in heart, and looked on the whole
conviviality only as a making-merry in the house of Tirzah.

Upon receiving this rebuke from his pastor, Bridgenorth began to suspect
he might have been partly wrong in the readiness which, in his first
ardour of gratitude, he had shown to enter into intimate intercourse
with the Castle of Martindale; but he was too proud to avow this to the
preacher, and it was not till after a considerable debate betwixt them,
that it was mutually agreed their presence at the entertainment should
depend upon the condition, that no healths or pledges should be given
in their presence. Bridgenorth, therefore, as the delegate and
representative of his party, was bound to stand firm against all
entreaty, and the lady became greatly embarrassed. She now regretted
sincerely that her well-intended invitation had ever been given, for she
foresaw that its rejection was to awaken all former subjects of quarrel,
and perhaps to lead to new violences amongst people who had not many
years since been engaged in civil war. To yield up the disputed point to
the Presbyterians, would have been to offend the Cavalier party, and Sir
Geoffrey in particular, in the most mortal degree; for they made it
as firm a point of honour to give healths, and compel others to pledge
them, as the Puritans made it a deep article of religion to refuse
both. At length the lady changed the discourse, introduced that of Major
Bridgenorth's child, caused it to be sent for, and put into his arms.
The mother's stratagem took effect; for, though the parliamentary major
stood firm, the father, as in the case of the Governor of Tilbury, was
softened, and he agreed that his friends should accept a compromise.
This was, that the major himself, the reverend divine, and such of their
friends as held strict Puritan tenets, should form a separate party
in the Large Parlour, while the Hall should be occupied by the jovial
Cavaliers; and that each party should regulate their potations after
their own conscience, or after their own fashion.

Major Bridgenorth himself seemed greatly relieved after this important
matter had been settled. He had held it matter of conscience to be
stubborn in maintaining his own opinion, but was heartily glad when
he escaped from the apparently inevitable necessity of affronting Lady
Peveril by the refusal of her invitation. He remained longer than usual,
and spoke and smiled more than was his custom. His first care on
his return was to announce to the clergyman and his congregation the
compromise which he had made, and this not as a matter for deliberation,
but one upon which he had already resolved; and such was his authority
among them, that though the preacher longed to pronounce a separation of
the parties, and to exclaim--"To your tents, O Israel!" he did not see
the chance of being seconded by so many, as would make it worth while to
disturb the unanimous acquiescence in their delegate's proposal.

Nevertheless, each party being put upon the alert by the consequences
of Major Bridgenorth's embassy, so many points of doubt and delicate
discussion were started in succession, that the Lady Peveril, the
only person, perhaps, who was desirous of achieving an effectual
reconciliation between them, incurred, in reward for her good
intentions, the censure of both factions, and had much reason to
regret her well-meant project of bringing the Capulets and Montagues of
Derbyshire together on the same occasion of public festivity.

As it was now settled that the guests were to form two different
parties, it became not only a subject of dispute betwixt themselves,
which should be first admitted within the Castle of Martindale, but
matter of serious apprehension to Lady Peveril and Major Bridgenorth,
lest, if they were to approach by the same avenue and entrance, a
quarrel might take place betwixt them, and proceed to extremities, even
before they reached the place of entertainment. The lady believed she
had discovered an admirable expedient for preventing the possibility of
such interference, by directing that the Cavaliers should be admitted
by the principal entrance, while the Roundheads should enter the Castle
through a great breach which had been made in the course of the siege,
and across which there had been made a sort of by-path to drive the
cattle down to their pasture in the wood. By this contrivance the Lady
Peveril imagined she had altogether avoided the various risks which
might occur from two such parties encountering each other, and disputing
for precedence. Several other circumstances of less importance were
adjusted at the same time, and apparently so much to the satisfaction of
the Presbyterian teacher, that, in a long lecture on the subject of the
Marriage Garment, he was at the pains to explain to his hearers, that
outward apparel was not alone meant by that scriptural expression, but
also a suitable frame of mind for enjoyment of peaceful festivity; and
therefore he exhorted the brethren, that whatever might be the errors of
the poor blinded malignants, with whom they were in some sort to eat and
drink upon the morrow they ought not on this occasion to show any evil
will against them, lest they should therein become troublers of the
peace of Israel.

Honest Doctor Dummerar, the elected Episcopal Vicar of Martindale _cum_
Moultrassie, preached to the Cavaliers on the same subject. He had
served the cure before the breaking out of the rebellion, and was
in high favour with Sir Geoffrey, not merely on account of his sound
orthodoxy and deep learning, but his exquisite skill in playing at
bowls, and his facetious conversation over a pipe and tankard of
October. For these latter accomplishments, the Doctor had the honour to
be recorded by old Century White amongst the roll of lewd, incompetent,
profligate clergymen of the Church of England, whom he denounced to God
and man, on account chiefly of the heinous sin of playing at games of
skill and chance, and of occasionally joining in the social meetings of
their parishioners. When the King's party began to lose ground, Doctor
Dummerar left his vicarage, and, betaking himself to the camp, showed
upon several occasions, when acting as chaplain to Sir Geoffrey
Peveril's regiment, that his portly bodily presence included a stout
and masculine heart. When all was lost, and he himself, with most other
loyal divines, was deprived of his living, he made such shift as he
could; now lurking in the garrets of old friends in the University, who
shared with him, and such as him, the slender means of livelihood which
the evil times had left them; and now lying hid in the houses of the
oppressed and sequestered gentry, who respected at once his character
and sufferings. When the Restoration took place, Doctor Dummerar emerged
from some one of his hiding-places, and hied him to Martindale Castle,
to enjoy the triumph inseparable from this happy change.

His appearance at the Castle in his full clerical dress, and the warm
reception which he received from the neighbouring gentry, added not a
little to the alarm which was gradually extending itself through the
party which were so lately the uppermost. It is true, Doctor Dummerar
framed (honest worthy man) no extravagant views of elevation or
preferment; but the probability of his being replaced in the living,
from which he had been expelled under very flimsy pretences, inferred
a severe blow to the Presbyterian divine, who could not be considered
otherwise than as an intruder. The interest of the two preachers,
therefore, as well as the sentiments of their flocks, were at direct
variance; and here was another fatal objection in the way of Lady
Peveril's scheme of a general and comprehensive healing ordinance.

Nevertheless, as we have already hinted, Doctor Dummerar behaved as
handsomely upon the occasion as the Presbyterian incumbent had done.
It is true, that in a sermon which he preached in the Castle hall to
several of the most distinguished Cavalier families, besides a world
of boys from the village, who went to see the novel circumstance of
a parson in a cassock and surplice, he went at great length into the
foulness of the various crimes committed by the rebellious party during
the late evil times, and greatly magnified the merciful and peaceful
nature of the honourable Lady of the Manor, who condescended to
look upon, or receive into her house in the way of friendship and
hospitality, men holding the principles which had led to the murder
of the King--the slaying and despoiling his loyal subjects--and the
plundering and breaking down of the Church of God. But then he wiped all
this handsomely up again, with the observation, that since it was the
will of their gracious and newly-restored Sovereign, and the pleasure of
the worshipful Lady Peveril, that this contumacious and rebellious race
should be, for a time, forborne by their faithful subjects, it would
be highly proper that all the loyal liegemen should, for the present,
eschew subjects of dissension or quarrel with these sons of Shimei;
which lesson of patience he enforced by the comfortable assurance, that
they could not long abstain from their old rebellious practices; in
which case, the Royalists would stand exculpated before God and man, in
extirpating them from the face of the earth.

The close observers of the remarkable passages of the times from which
we draw the events of our history, have left it upon record, that these
two several sermons, much contrary, doubtless, to the intention of the
worthy divines by whom they were delivered, had a greater effect in
exasperating, than in composing, the disputes betwixt the two factions.
Under such evil auspices, and with corresponding forebodings on the mind
of Lady Peveril, the day of festivity at length arrived.

By different routes, and forming each a sort of procession, as if the
adherents of each party were desirous of exhibiting its strength and
numbers, the two several factions approached Martindale Castle; and so
distinct did they appear in dress, aspect, and manners, that it seemed
as if the revellers of a bridal party, and the sad attendants upon a
funeral solemnity, were moving towards the same point from different
quarters.

The puritanical party was by far the fewer in numbers, for which two
excellent reasons might be given. In the first place, they had enjoyed
power for several years, and, of course, became unpopular among the
common people, never at any time attached to those, who, being in the
immediate possession of authority, are often obliged to employ it in
controlling their humours. Besides, the country people of England had,
and still have, an animated attachment to field sports, and a natural
unrestrained joviality of disposition, which rendered them impatient
under the severe discipline of the fanatical preachers; while they
were not less naturally discontented with the military despotism of
Cromwell's Major-Generals. Secondly, the people were fickle as usual,
and the return of the King had novelty in it, and was therefore popular.
The side of the Puritans was also deserted at this period by a numerous
class of more thinking and prudential persons, who never forsook them
till they became unfortunate. These sagacious personages were called in
that age the Waiters upon Providence, and deemed it a high delinquency
towards Heaven if they afforded countenance to any cause longer than it
was favoured by fortune.

But, though thus forsaken by the fickle and the selfish, a solemn
enthusiasm, a stern and determined depth of principle, a confidence in
the sincerity of their own motives, and the manly English pride which
inclined them to cling to their former opinions, like the traveller in
the fable to his cloak, the more strongly that the tempest blew around
them, detained in the ranks of the Puritans many, who, if no longer
formidable from numbers, were still so from their character. They
consisted chiefly of the middling gentry, with others whom industry
or successful speculations in commerce or in mining had raised into
eminence--the persons who feel most umbrage from the overshadowing
aristocracy, and are usually the most vehement in defence of what they
hold to be their rights. Their dress was in general studiously simple
and unostentatious, or only remarkable by the contradictory affectation
of extreme simplicity or carelessness. The dark colour of their cloaks,
varying from absolute black to what was called sad-coloured--their
steeple-crowned hats, with their broad shadowy brims--their long swords,
suspended by a simple strap around the loins, without shoulder-belt,
sword-knot, plate, buckles, or any of the other decorations with which
the Cavaliers loved to adorn their trusty rapiers,--the shortness of
their hair, which made their ears appear of disproportioned size,--above
all, the stern and gloomy gravity of their looks, announced their
belonging to that class of enthusiasts, who, resolute and undismayed,
had cast down the former fabric of government, and who now regarded
with somewhat more than suspicion, that which had been so unexpectedly
substituted in its stead. There was gloom in their countenances; but
it was not that of dejection, far less of despair. They looked like
veterans after a defeat, which may have checked their career and wounded
their pride, but has left their courage undiminished.

The melancholy, now become habitual, which overcast Major Bridgenorth's
countenance, well qualified him to act as the chief of the group who
now advanced from the village. When they reached the point by which they
were first to turn aside into the wood which surrounded the Castle, they
felt a momentary impression of degradation, as if they were yielding the
high road to their old and oft-defeated enemies the Cavaliers. When they
began to ascend the winding path, which had been the daily passage of
the cattle, the opening of the wooded glade gave them a view of the
Castle ditch, half choked with the rubbish of the breach, and of
the breach itself, which was made at the angle of a large square
flanking-tower, one-half of which had been battered into ruins,
while the other fragment remained in a state strangely shattered and
precarious, and seemed to be tottering above the huge aperture in the
wall. A stern still smile was exchanged among the Puritans, as the
sight reminded them of the victories of former days. Holdfast Clegg, a
millwright of Derby, who had been himself active at the siege, pointed
to the breach, and said, with a grim smile to Mr. Solsgrace, "I little
thought, that when my own hand helped to level the cannon which Oliver
pointed against yon tower, we should have been obliged to climb like
foxes up the very walls which we won by our bow and by our spear.
Methought these malignants had then enough of shutting their gates and
making high their horn against us."

"Be patient, my brother," said Solsgrace; "be patient, and let not thy
soul be disquieted. We enter not this high place dishonourably, seeing
we ascend by the gate which the Lord opened to the godly."

The words of the pastor were like a spark to gunpowder. The countenances
of the mournful retinue suddenly expanded, and, accepting what had
fallen from him as an omen and a light from heaven how they were to
interpret their present situation, they uplifted, with one consent, one
of the triumphant songs in which the Israelites celebrated the victories
which had been vouchsafed to them over the heathen inhabitants of the
Promised Land:--

 "Let God arise, and then His foes
    Shall turn themselves to flight,
  His enemies for fear shall run,
    And scatter out of sight;

  And as wax melts before the fire,
    And wind blows smoke away,
  So in the presence of the Lord,
    The wicked shall decay.

  God's army twenty thousand is,
    Of angels bright and strong,
  The Lord also in Sinai
    Is present them among.

  Thou didst, O Lord, ascend on high,
    And captive led'st them all,
  Who, in times past, Thy chosen flock
    In bondage did enthral."

These sounds of devotional triumph reached the joyous band of the
Cavaliers, who, decked in whatever pomp their repeated misfortunes and
impoverishment had left them, were moving towards the same point,
though by a different road, and were filling the principal avenue to
the Castle, with tiptoe mirth and revelry. The two parties were strongly
contrasted; for, during that period of civil dissension, the manners
of the different factions distinguished them as completely as separate
uniforms might have done. If the Puritan was affectedly plain in his
dress, and ridiculously precise in his manners, the Cavalier often
carried his love of ornament into tawdry finery, and his contempt of
hypocrisy into licentious profligacy. Gay gallant fellows, young and
old, thronged together towards the ancient Castle, with general and
joyous manifestation of those spirits, which, as they had been buoyant
enough to support their owners during the worst of times, as they termed
Oliver's usurpation, were now so inflated as to transport them nearly
beyond the reach of sober reason. Feathers waved, lace glittered, spears
jingled, steeds caracoled; and here and there a petronel, or pistol, was
fired off by some one, who found his own natural talents for making a
noise inadequate to the dignity of the occasion. Boys--for, as we said
before, the rabble were with the uppermost party, as usual--halloo'd
and whooped, "Down with the Rump," and "Fie upon Oliver!" Musical
instruments, of as many different fashions as were then in use, played
all at once, and without any regard to each other's tune; and the glee
of the occasion, while it reconciled the pride of the high-born of the
party to fraternise with the general rout, derived an additional zest
from the conscious triumph, that their exultation was heard by their
neighbours, the crestfallen Roundheads.

When the loud and sonorous swell of the psalm-tune, multiplied by all
the echoes of the cliffs and ruinous halls, came full upon their ear,
as if to warn them how little they were to reckon upon the depression
of their adversaries, at first it was answered with a scornful laugh,
raised to as much height as the scoffers' lungs would permit, in order
that it might carry to the psalmodists the contempt of their auditors;
but this was a forced exertion of party spleen. There is something in
melancholy feelings more natural to an imperfect and suffering state
than in those of gaiety, and when they are brought into collision, the
former seldom fail to triumph. If a funeral-train and wedding-procession
were to meet unexpectedly, it will readily be allowed that the mirth of
the last would be speedily merged in the gloom of the others. But the
Cavaliers, moreover, had sympathies of a different kind. The psalm-tune,
which now came rolling on their ear, had been heard too often, and upon
too many occasions had preceded victory gained over the malignants, to
permit them, even in their triumph, to hear it without emotion. There
was a sort of pause, of which the party themselves seemed rather
ashamed, until the silence was broken by the stout old knight, Sir
Jasper Cranbourne, whose gallantry was so universally acknowledged, that
he could afford, if we may use such an expression, to confess emotions,
which men whose courage was in any respect liable to suspicion, would
have thought it imprudent to acknowledge.

"Adad," said the old Knight, "may I never taste claret again, if that is
not the very tune with which the prick-eared villains began their onset
at Wiggan Lane, where they trowled us down like so many ninepins! Faith,
neighbours, to say truth, and shame the devil, I did not like the sound
of it above half."

"If I thought the round-headed rogues did it in scorn of us," said
Dick Wildblood of the Dale, "I would cudgel their psalmody out of their
peasantly throats with this very truncheon;" a motion which, being
seconded by old Roger Raine, the drunken tapster of the Peveril Arms in
the village, might have brought on a general battle, but that Sir Jasper
forbade the feud.

"We'll have no ranting, Dick," said the old Knight to the young
Franklin; "adad, man, we'll have none, for three reasons: first, because
it would be ungentle to Lady Peveril; then, because it is against
the King's peace; and, lastly, Dick, because if we did set on the
psalm-singing knaves, thou mightest come by the worst, my boy, as has
chanced to thee before."

"Who, I! Sir Jasper?" answered Dick--"I come by the worst!--I'll be
d--d if it ever happened but in that accursed lane, where we had no
more flank, front, or rear, than if we had been so many herrings in a
barrel."

"That was the reason, I fancy," answered Sir Jasper, "that you, to mend
the matter, scrambled into the hedge, and stuck there, horse and man,
till I beat thee through it with my leading-staff; and then, instead of
charging to the front, you went right-about, and away as fast as your
feet would carry you."

This reminiscence produced a laugh at Dick's expense, who was known, or
at least suspected, to have more tongue in his head than mettle in
his bosom. And this sort of rallying on the part of the Knight having
fortunately abated the resentment which had begun to awaken in the
breasts of the royalist cavalcade, farther cause for offence was
removed, by the sudden ceasing of the sounds which they had been
disposed to interpret into those of premeditated insult.

This was owing to the arrival of the Puritans at the bottom of the large
and wide breach, which had been formerly made in the wall of the Castle
by their victorious cannon. The sight of its gaping heaps of rubbish,
and disjointed masses of building, up which slowly winded a narrow and
steep path, such as is made amongst ancient ruins by the rare passage of
those who occasionally visit them, was calculated, when contrasted with
the grey and solid massiveness of the towers and curtains which yet
stood uninjured, to remind them of their victory over the stronghold of
their enemies, and how they had bound nobles and princes with fetters of
iron.

But feelings more suitable to the purpose of their visit to Martindale
Castle, were awakened in the bosoms even of these stern sectaries,
when the Lady of the Castle, still in the very prime of beauty and of
womanhood, appeared at the top of the breach with her principal female
attendants, to receive her guests with the honour and courtesy becoming
her invitation. She had laid aside the black dress which had been her
sole attire for several years, and was arrayed with a splendour not
unbecoming her high descent and quality. Jewels, indeed, she had none;
but her long and dark hair was surmounted with a chaplet made of oak
leaves, interspersed with lilies; the former being the emblem of the
King's preservation in the Royal Oak, and the latter of his happy
Restoration. What rendered her presence still more interesting to those
who looked on her, was the presence of the two children whom she held in
either hand; one of whom was well known to them all to be the child
of their leader, Major Bridgenorth, who had been restored to life and
health by the almost maternal care of the Lady Peveril.

If even the inferior persons of the party felt the healing influence of
her presence, thus accompanied, poor Bridgenorth was almost overwhelmed
with it. The strictness of his cast and manners permitted him not to
sink on his knee, and kiss the hand which held his little orphan; but
the deepness of his obeisance--the faltering tremor of his voice--and
the glistening of his eye, showed a grateful respect for the lady whom
he addressed, deeper and more reverential than could have been expressed
even by Persian prostration. A few courteous and mild words, expressive
of the pleasure she found in once more seeing her neighbours as her
friends--a few kind inquiries, addressed to the principal individuals
among her guests, concerning their families and connections, completed
her triumph over angry thoughts and dangerous recollections, and
disposed men's bosoms to sympathise with the purposes of the meeting.

Even Solsgrace himself, although imagining himself bound by his office
and duty to watch over and counteract the wiles of the "Amalekitish
woman," did not escape the sympathetic infection; being so much struck
with the marks of peace and good-will exhibited by Lady Peveril, that he
immediately raised the psalm--

 "O what a happy thing it is,
    And joyful, for to see
  Brethren to dwell together in
    Friendship and unity!"

Accepting this salutation as a mark of courtesy repaid, the Lady Peveril
marshalled in person this party of her guests to the apartment, where
ample good cheer was provided for them; and had even the patience to
remain while Master Nehemiah Solsgrace pronounced a benediction of
portentous length, as an introduction to the banquet. Her presence was
in some measure a restraint on the worthy divine, whose prolusion lasted
the longer, and was the more intricate and embarrassed, that he felt
himself debarred from rounding it off by his usual alliterative petition
for deliverance from Popery, Prelacy, and Peveril of the Peak, which had
become so habitual to him, that, after various attempts to conclude with
some other form of words, he found himself at last obliged to pronounce
the first words of his usual _formula_ aloud, and mutter the rest in
such a manner as not to be intelligible even by those who stood nearest
to him.

The minister's silence was followed by all the various sounds which
announce the onset of a hungry company on a well-furnished table; and at
the same time gave the lady an opportunity to leave the apartment, and
look to the accommodation of her other company. She felt, indeed,
that it was high time to do so; and that the royalist guests might be
disposed to misapprehend, or even to resent, the prior attentions which
she had thought it prudent to offer to the Puritans.

These apprehensions were not altogether ill-founded. It was in vain that
the steward had displayed the royal standard, with its proud motto of
_Tandem Triumphans_, on one of the great towers which flanked the main
entrance of the Castle; while, from the other, floated the banner of
Peveril of the Peak, under which many of those who now approached had
fought during all the vicissitudes of civil war. It was in vain he
repeated his clamorous "Welcome, noble Cavaliers! welcome, generous
gentlemen!" There was a slight murmur amongst them, that their welcome
ought to have come from the mouth of the Colonel's lady--not from that
of a menial. Sir Jasper Cranbourne, who had sense as well as spirit and
courage, and who was aware of his fair cousin's motives, having been
indeed consulted by her upon all the arrangements which she had adopted,
saw matters were in such a state that no time ought to be lost in
conducting the guests to the banqueting apartment, where a fortunate
diversion from all these topics of rising discontent might be made, at
the expense of the good cheer of all sorts, which the lady's care had so
liberally provided.

The stratagem of the old soldier succeeded in its utmost extent. He
assumed the great oaken-chair usually occupied by the steward at his
audits; and Dr. Dummerar having pronounced a brief Latin benediction
(which was not the less esteemed by the hearers that none of them
understood it), Sir Jasper exhorted the company to wet their appetites
to the dinner by a brimming cup to his Majesty's health, filled as high
and as deep as their goblets would permit. In a moment all was bustle,
with the clank of wine-cups and of flagons. In another moment the guests
were on their feet like so many statues, all hushed as death, but with
eyes glancing with expectation, and hands outstretched, which displayed
their loyal brimmers. The voice of Sir Jasper, clear, sonorous, and
emphatic, as the sound of his war-trumpet, announced the health of the
restored Monarch, hastily echoed back by the assemblage, impatient to
render it due homage. Another brief pause was filled by the draining of
their cups, and the mustering breath to join in a shout so loud, that
not only the rafters of the old hall trembled while they echoed it
back, but the garlands of oaken boughs and flowers with which they
were decorated, waved wildly, and rustled as if agitated by a sudden
whirlwind. This rite observed, the company proceeded to assail the good
cheer with which the table groaned, animated as they were to the attack
both by mirth and melody, for they were attended by all the minstrels
of the district, who, like the Episcopal clergy, had been put to silence
during the reign of the self-entitled saints of the Commonwealth. The
social occupation of good eating and drinking, the exchange of pledges
betwixt old neighbours who had been fellow-soldiers in the moment of
resistance--fellow-sufferers in the time of depression and subjugation,
and were now partners in the same general subject of congratulation,
soon wiped from their memory the trifling cause of complaint, which in
the minds of some had darkened the festivity of the day; so that when
the Lady Peveril walked into the hall, accompanied as before with
the children and her female attendants, she was welcomed with the
acclamations due to the mistress of the banquet and of the Castle--the
dame of the noble Knight, who had led most of them to battle with an
undaunted and persevering valour, which was worthy of better success.

Her address to them was brief and matronly, yet spoken with so much
feeling as found its way to every bosom. She apologised for the lateness
of her personal welcome, by reminding them that there were then present
in Martindale Castle that day, persons whom recent happy events had
converted from enemies into friends, but on whom the latter character
was so recently imposed, that she dared not neglect with them any point
of ceremonial. But those whom she now addressed, were the best, the
dearest the most faithful friends of her husband's house, to whom and to
their valour Peveril had not only owed those successes, which had given
them and him fame during the late unhappy times, but to whose courage
she in particular had owed the preservation of their leader's life, even
when it could not avert defeat. A word or two of heartfelt authority,
completed all which she had boldness to add, and, bowing gracefully
round her, she lifted a cup to her lips as if to welcome her guests.

There still remained, and especially amongst the old Cavaliers of the
period, some glimmering of that spirit which inspired Froissart, when he
declares that a knight hath double courage at need, when animated by the
looks and words of a beautiful and virtuous woman. It was not until the
reign which was commencing at the moment we are treating of, that
the unbounded licence of the age, introducing a general course of
profligacy, degraded the female sex into mere servants of pleasure, and,
in so doing, deprived society of that noble tone of feeling towards
the sex, which, considered as a spur to "raise the clear spirit,"
is superior to every other impulse, save those of religion and of
patriotism. The beams of the ancient hall of Martindale Castle instantly
rang with a shout louder and shriller than that at which they had so
lately trembled, and the names of the Knight of the Peak and his lady
were proclaimed amid waving of caps and hats, and universal wishes for
their health and happiness.

Under these auspices the Lady Peveril glided from the hall, and left
free space for the revelry of the evening.

That of the Cavaliers may be easily conceived, since it had the usual
accompaniments of singing, jesting, quaffing of healths, and playing of
tunes, which have in almost every age and quarter of the world been the
accompaniments of festive cheer. The enjoyments of the Puritans were of
a different and less noisy character. They neither sung, jested, heard
music, nor drank healths; and yet they seemed not the less, in their own
phrase, to enjoy the creature-comforts, which the frailty of humanity
rendered grateful to their outward man. Old Whitaker even protested,
that, though much the smaller party in point of numbers, they discussed
nearly as much sack and claret as his own more jovial associates. But
those who considered the steward's prejudices, were inclined to think,
that, in order to produce such a result, he must have thrown in his
own by-drinkings--no inconsiderable item--to the sum total of the
Presbyterian potations.

Without adopting such a partial and scandalous report, we shall
only say, that on this occasion, as on most others, the rareness of
indulgence promoted the sense of enjoyment, and that those who made
abstinence, or at least moderation, a point of religious principle,
enjoyed their social meeting the better that such opportunities rarely
presented themselves. If they did not actually drink each other's
healths, they at least showed, by looking and nodding to each other as
they raised their glasses, that they all were sharing the same festive
gratification of the appetite, and felt it enhanced, because it was at
the same time enjoyed by their friends and neighbours. Religion, as it
was the principal topic of their thoughts, became also the chief subject
of their conversation, and as they sat together in small separate knots,
they discussed doctrinal and metaphysical points of belief, balanced the
merits of various preachers, compared the creeds of contending sects,
and fortified by scriptural quotations those which they favoured.
Some contests arose in the course of these debates, which might have
proceeded farther than was seemly, but for the cautious interference
of Major Bridgenorth. He suppressed also, in the very bud, a dispute
betwixt Gaffer Hodgeson of Charnelycot and the Reverend Mr. Solsgrace,
upon the tender subject of lay-preaching and lay-ministering; nor did he
think it altogether prudent or decent to indulge the wishes of some of
the warmer enthusiasts of the party, who felt disposed to make the rest
partakers of their gifts in extemporaneous prayer and exposition. These
were absurdities that belonged to the time, which, however, the Major
had sense enough to perceive were unfitted, whether the offspring of
hypocrisy or enthusiasm, for the present time and place.

The Major was also instrumental in breaking up the party at an early and
decorous hour, so that they left the Castle long before their rivals,
the Cavaliers, had reached the springtide of their merriment; an
arrangement which afforded the greatest satisfaction to the lady, who
dreaded the consequences which might not improbably have taken place,
had both parties met at the same period and point of retreat.

It was near midnight ere the greater part of the Cavaliers, meaning such
as were able to effect their departure without assistance, withdrew to
the village of Martindale Moultrassie, with the benefit of the broad
moon to prevent the chance of accidents. Their shouts, and the burden of
their roaring chorus of--

 "The King shall enjoy his own again!"

were heard with no small pleasure by the lady, heartily glad that
the riot of the day was over without the occurrence of any unpleasing
accident. The rejoicing was not, however, entirely ended; for the
elevated Cavaliers, finding some of the villagers still on foot around a
bonfire on the street, struck merrily in with them--sent to Roger Raine
of the Peveril Arms, the loyal publican whom we have already mentioned,
for two tubs of merry stingo (as it was termed), and lent their own
powerful assistance at the _dusting_ it off to the health of the King
and the loyal General Monk. Their shouts for a long time disturbed, and
even alarmed, the little village; but no enthusiasm is able to
withstand for ever the natural consequences of late hours, and potations
pottle-deep. The tumult of the exulting Royalists at last sunk into
silence, and the moon and the owl were left in undisturbed sovereignty
over the old tower of the village church, which, rising white above a
circle of knotty oaks, was tenanted by the bird, and silvered by the
planet.



CHAPTER V

             'Twas when they raised, 'mid sap and siege,
             The banners of their rightful liege,
               At their she-captain's call,
             Who, miracle of womankind!
             Lent mettle to the meanest hind
               That mann'd her castle wall.
                                           --WILLIAM S. ROSE.

On the morning succeeding the feast, the Lady Peveril, fatigued with the
exertions and the apprehensions of the former day, kept her apartment
for two or three hours later than her own active habits, and the
matutinal custom of the time, rendered usual. Meanwhile, Mistress
Ellesmere, a person of great trust in the family, and who assumed much
authority in her mistress's absence, laid her orders upon Deborah, the
governante, immediately to carry the children to their airing in the
park, and not to let any one enter the gilded chamber, which was
usually their sporting-place. Deborah, who often rebelled, and sometimes
successfully, against the deputed authority of Ellesmere, privately
resolved that it was about to rain, and that the gilded chamber was a
more suitable place for the children's exercise than the wet grass of
the park on a raw morning.

But a woman's brain is sometimes as inconstant as a popular assembly;
and presently after she had voted the morning was like to be rainy,
and that the gilded chamber was the fittest play-room for the children,
Mistress Deborah came to the somewhat inconsistent resolution, that the
park was the fittest place for her own morning walk. It is certain,
that during the unrestrained joviality of the preceding evening, she had
danced till midnight with Lance Outram the park-keeper; but how far the
seeing him just pass the window in his woodland trim, with a feather in
his hat, and a crossbow under his arm, influenced the discrepancy of the
opinions Mistress Deborah formed concerning the weather, we are far
from presuming to guess. It is enough for us, that, so soon as Mistress
Ellesmere's back was turned, Mistress Deborah carried the children into
the gilded chamber, not without a strict charge (for we must do her
justice) to Master Julian to take care of his little wife, Mistress
Alice; and then, having taken so satisfactory a precaution, she herself
glided into the park by the glass-door of the still-room, which was
nearly opposite to the great breach.

The gilded chamber in which the children were, by this arrangement,
left to amuse themselves, without better guardianship than what Julian's
manhood afforded, was a large apartment, hung with stamped Spanish
leather, curiously gilded, representing, in a manner now obsolete, but
far from unpleasing, a series of tilts and combats betwixt the Saracens
of Grenada, and the Spaniards under the command of King Ferdinand and
Queen Isabella, during that memorable siege, which was terminated by the
overthrow of the last fragments of the Moorish empire in Spain.

The little Julian was careering about the room for the amusement of his
infant friend, as well as his own, mimicking with a reed the menacing
attitude of the Abencerrages and Zegris engaged in the Eastern sport of
hurling the JERID, or javelin; and at times sitting down beside her, and
caressing her into silence and good humour, when the petulant or timid
child chose to become tired of remaining an inactive spectator of his
boisterous sport; when, on a sudden, he observed one of the panelled
compartments of the leather hangings slide apart, so as to show a fair
hand, with its fingers resting upon its edge, prepared, it would seem,
to push it still farther back. Julian was much surprised, and somewhat
frightened, at what he witnessed, for the tales of the nursery had
strongly impressed on his mind the terrors of the invisible world. Yet,
naturally bold and high-spirited, the little champion placed himself
beside his defenceless sister, continuing to brandish his weapon in her
defence, as boldly as he had himself been an Abencerrage of Grenada.

The panel, on which his eye was fixed, gradually continued to slide
back, and display more and more the form to which the hand appertained,
until, in the dark aperture which was disclosed, the children saw the
figure of a lady in a mourning dress, past the meridian of life, but
whose countenance still retained traces of great beauty, although the
predominant character both of her features and person was an air of
almost royal dignity. After pausing a moment on the threshold of the
portal which she had thus unexpectedly disclosed, and looking with
some surprise at the children, whom she had not probably observed while
engaged with the management of the panel, the stranger stepped into the
apartment, and the panel, upon a touch of a spring, closed behind her so
suddenly, that Julian almost doubted it had ever been open, and began to
apprehend that the whole apparition had been a delusion.

The stately lady, however, advanced to him, and said, "Are not you the
little Peveril?"

"Yes," said the boy, reddening, not altogether without a juvenile
feeling of that rule of chivalry which forbade any one to disown his
name, whatever danger might be annexed to the avowal of it.

"Then," said the stately stranger, "go to your mother's room, and tell
her to come instantly to speak with me."

"I wo'not," said the little Julian.

"How?" said the lady,--"so young and so disobedient?--but you do but
follow the fashion of the time. Why will you not go, my pretty boy, when
I ask it of you as a favour?"

"I would go, madam," said the boy, "but"--and he stopped short, still
drawing back as the lady advanced on him, but still holding by the
hand Alice Bridgenorth, who, too young to understand the nature of the
dialogue, clung, trembling, to her companion.

The stranger saw his embarrassment, smiled, and remained standing fast,
while she asked the child once more, "What are you afraid of, my brave
boy--and why should you not go to your mother on my errand?"

"Because," answered Julian firmly, "if I go, little Alice must stay
alone with you."

"You are a gallant fellow," said the lady, "and will not disgrace your
blood, which never left the weak without protection."

The boy understood her not, and still gazed with anxious apprehension,
first on her who addressed him, and then upon his little companion,
whose eyes, with the vacant glance of infancy, wandered from the figure
of the lady to that of her companion and protector, and at length,
infected by a portion of the fear which the latter's magnanimous efforts
could not entirely conceal, she flew into Julian's arms, and, clinging
to him, greatly augmented his alarm, and by screaming aloud, rendered it
very difficult for him to avoid the sympathetic fear which impelled him
to do the same.

There was something in the manner and bearing of this unexpected inmate
which might justify awe at least, if not fear, when joined to the
singular and mysterious mode in which she had made her appearance. Her
dress was not remarkable, being the hood and female riding attire of
the time, such as was worn by the inferior class of gentlewomen; but her
black hair was very long, and, several locks having escaped from under
her hood, hung down dishevelled on her neck and shoulders. Her eyes
were deep black, keen, and piercing, and her features had something of a
foreign expression. When she spoke, her language was marked by a slight
foreign accent, although, in construction, it was pure English. Her
slightest tone and gesture had the air of one accustomed to command and
to be obeyed; the recollection of which probably suggested to Julian
the apology he afterwards made for being frightened, that he took the
stranger for an "enchanted queen."

While the stranger lady and the children thus confronted each other, two
persons entered almost at the same instant, but from different doors,
whose haste showed that they had been alarmed by the screams of the
latter.

The first was Major Bridgenorth, whose ears had been alarmed with the
cries of his child, as he entered the hall, which corresponded with what
was called the gilded chamber. His intention had been to remain in
the more public apartment, until the Lady Peveril should make her
appearance, with the good-natured purpose of assuring her that the
preceding day of tumult had passed in every respect agreeably to his
friends, and without any of those alarming consequences which might have
been apprehended from a collision betwixt the parties. But when it is
considered how severely he had been agitated by apprehensions for his
child's safety and health, too well justified by the fate of those who
had preceded her, it will not be thought surprising that the infantine
screams of Alice induced him to break through the barriers of form, and
intrude farther into the interior of the house than a sense of strict
propriety might have warranted.

He burst into the gilded chamber, therefore, by a side-door and narrow
passage, which communicated betwixt that apartment and the hall, and,
snatching the child up in his arms, endeavoured, by a thousand caresses,
to stifle the screams which burst yet more violently from the little
girl, on beholding herself in the arms of one to whose voice and manner
she was, but for one brief interview, an entire stranger.

Of course, Alice's shrieks were redoubled, and seconded by those of
Julian Peveril, who, on the appearance of this second intruder, was
frightened into resignation of every more manly idea of rescue than that
which consisted in invoking assistance at the very top of his lungs.

Alarmed by this noise, which in half a minute became very clamorous,
Lady Peveril, with whose apartment the gilded chamber was connected by a
private door of communication opening into her wardrobe, entered on the
scene. The instant she appeared, the little Alice, extricating herself
from the grasp of her father, ran towards _her_ protectress, and when
she had once taken hold of her skirts, not only became silent, but
turned her large blue eyes, in which the tears were still glistening,
with a look of wonder rather than alarm, towards the strange lady.
Julian manfully brandished his reed, a weapon which he had never parted
with during the whole alarm, and stood prepared to assist his mother if
there should be danger in the encounter betwixt her and the stranger.

In fact, it might have puzzled an older person to account for the sudden
and confused pause which the Lady Peveril made, as she gazed on her
unexpected guest, as if dubious whether she did, or did not recognise,
in her still beautiful though wasted and emaciated features, a
countenance which she had known well under far different circumstances.

The stranger seemed to understand the cause of hesitation, for she said
in that heart-thrilling voice which was peculiarly her own--

"Time and misfortune have changed me much, Margaret--that every
mirror tells me--yet methinks, Margaret Stanley might still have known
Charlotte de la Tremouille."

The Lady Peveril was little in the custom of giving way to sudden
emotion, but in the present case she threw herself on her knees in
a rapture of mingled joy and grief, and, half embracing those of the
stranger, exclaimed, in broken language--

"My kind, my noble benefactress--the princely Countess of Derby--the
royal queen in Man--could I doubt your voice, your features, for a
moment--Oh, forgive, forgive me!"

The Countess raised the suppliant kinswoman of her husband's house, with
all the grace of one accustomed from early birth to receive homage and
to grant protection. She kissed the Lady Peveril's forehead, and passed
her hand in a caressing manner over her face as she said--

"You too are changed, my fair cousin, but it is a change becomes you,
from a pretty and timid maiden to a sage and comely matron. But my own
memory, which I once held a good one, has failed me strangely, if this
gentleman be Sir Geoffrey Peveril."

"A kind and good neighbour only, madam," said Lady Peveril; "Sir
Geoffrey is at Court."

"I understood so much," said the Countess of Derby, "when I arrived here
last night."

"How, madam!" said Lady Peveril--"Did you arrive at Martindale
Castle--at the house of Margaret Stanley, where you have such right to
command, and did not announce your presence to her?"

"Oh, I know you are a dutiful subject, Margaret," answered the Countess,
"though it be in these days a rare character--but it was our pleasure,"
she added, with a smile, "to travel incognito--and finding you engaged
in general hospitality, we desired not to disturb you with our royal
presence."

"But how and where were you lodged, madam?" said Lady Peveril; "or why
should you have kept secret a visit which would, if made, have augmented
tenfold the happiness of every true heart that rejoiced here yesterday?"

"My lodging was well cared for by Ellesmere--your Ellesmere now, as she
was formerly mine--she has acted as quartermaster ere now, you know, and
on a broader scale; you must excuse her--she had my positive order to
lodge me in the most secret part of your Castle"--(here she pointed to
the sliding panel)--"she obeyed orders in that, and I suppose also in
sending you now hither."

"Indeed I have not yet seen her," said the lady, "and therefore was
totally ignorant of a visit so joyful, so surprising."

"And I," said the Countess, "was equally surprised to find none but
these beautiful children in the apartment where I thought I heard you
moving. Our Ellesmere has become silly--your good-nature has spoiled
her--she has forgotten the discipline she learned under me."

"I saw her run through the wood," said the Lady Peveril, after a
moment's recollection, "undoubtedly to seek the person who has charge of
the children, in order to remove them."

"Your own darlings, I doubt not," said the Countess, looking at the
children. "Margaret, Providence has blessed you."

"That is my son," said the Lady Peveril, pointing to Julian, who stood
devouring their discourse with greedy ear; "the little girl--I may call
mine too." Major Bridgenorth, who had in the meantime again taken up his
infant, and was engaged in caressing it, set it down as the Countess of
Derby spoke, sighed deeply, and walked towards the oriel window. He was
well aware that the ordinary rules of courtesy would have rendered it
proper that he should withdraw entirely, or at least offer to do so;
but he was not a man of ceremonious politeness, and he had a particular
interest in the subjects on which the Countess's discourse was likely
to turn, which induced him to dispense with ceremony. The ladies seemed
indeed scarce to notice his presence. The Countess had now assumed a
chair, and motioned to the Lady Peveril to sit upon a stool which was
placed by her side. "We will have old times once more, though there are
here no roaring of rebel guns to drive you to take refuge at my side,
and almost in my pocket."

"I have a gun, madam," said little Julian, "and the park-keeper is to
teach me how to fire it next year."

"I will list you for my soldier, then," said the Countess.

"Ladies have no soldiers," said the boy, looking wistfully at her.

"He has the true masculine contempt of our frail sex, I see," said the
Countess; "it is born with the insolent varlets of mankind, and shows
itself so soon as they are out of their long clothes.--Did Ellesmere
never tell you of Latham House and Charlotte of Derby, my little
master?"

"A thousand thousand times," said the boy, colouring; "and how the Queen
of Man defended it six weeks against three thousand Roundheads, under
Rogue Harrison the butcher."

"It was your mother defended Latham House," said the Countess, "not
I, my little soldier--Hadst thou been there, thou hadst been the best
captain of the three."

"Do not say so, madam," said the boy, "for mamma would not touch a gun
for all the universe."

"Not I, indeed, Julian," said his mother; "there I was for certain, but
as useless a part of the garrison----"

"You forget," said the Countess, "you nursed our hospital, and made lint
for the soldiers' wounds."

"But did not papa come to help you?" said Julian.

"Papa came at last," said the Countess, "and so did Prince Rupert--but
not, I think, till they were both heartily wished for.--Do you remember
that morning, Margaret, when the round-headed knaves, that kept us pent
up so long, retreated without bag or baggage, at the first glance of
the Prince's standards appearing on the hill--and how you took every
high-crested captain you saw for Peveril of the Peak, that had been your
partner three months before at the Queen's mask? Nay, never blush for
the thought of it--it was an honest affection--and though it was the
music of trumpets that accompanied you both to the old chapel, which was
almost entirely ruined by the enemy's bullets; and though Prince Rupert,
when he gave you away at the altar, was clad in buff and bandoleer, with
pistols in his belt, yet I trust these warlike signs were no type of
future discord?"

"Heaven has been kind to me," said the Lady Peveril, "in blessing me
with an affectionate husband."

"And in preserving him to you," said the Countess, with a deep
sigh; "while mine, alas! sealed with his blood his devotion to his
king[*]--Oh, had he lived to see this day!"

[*] The Earl of Derby and King in Man was beheaded at Bolton-on-the-
    Moors, after having been made prisoner in a previous skirmish in
    Wiggan Lane.

"Alas! alas! that he was not permitted!" answered Lady Peveril; "how had
that brave and noble Earl rejoiced in the unhoped-for redemption of our
captivity!"

The Countess looked on Lady Peveril with an air of surprise.

"Thou hast not then heard, cousin, how it stands with our house?--How
indeed had my noble lord wondered, had he been told that the very
monarch for whom he had laid down his noble life on the scaffold at
Bolton-le-Moor, should make it his first act of restored monarchy to
complete the destruction of our property, already well-nigh ruined in
the royal cause, and to persecute me his widow!"

"You astonish me, madam!" said the Lady Peveril. "It cannot be, that
you--that you, the wife of the gallant, the faithful, the murdered
Earl--you, Countess of Derby, and Queen in Man--you, who took on you
even the character of a soldier, and seemed a man when so many men
proved women--that you should sustain evil from the event which has
fulfilled--exceeded--the hopes of every faithful subject--it cannot be!"

"Thou art as simple, I see, in this world's knowledge as ever, my fair
cousin," answered the Countess. "This restoration, which has given
others security, has placed me in danger--this change which relieved
other Royalists, scarce less zealous, I presume to think, than I--has
sent me here a fugitive, and in concealment, to beg shelter and
assistance from you, fair cousin."

"From me," answered the Lady Peveril--"from me, whose youth your
kindness sheltered--from the wife of Peveril, your gallant Lord's
companion in arms--you have a right to command everything; but, alas!
that you should need such assistance as I can render--forgive me, but it
seems like some ill-omened vision of the night--I listen to your words
as if I hoped to be relieved from their painful import by awaking."

"It is indeed a dream--a vision," said the Countess of Derby; "but
it needs no seer to read it--the explanation hath been long since
given--Put not your faith in princes. I can soon remove your
surprise.--This gentleman, your friend, is doubtless _honest?_"

The Lady Peveril well knew that the Cavaliers, like other factions,
usurped to themselves the exclusive denomination of the _honest_ party,
and she felt some difficulty in explaining that her visitor was not
honest in that sense of the word.

"Had we not better retire, madam?" she said to the Countess, rising, as
if in order to attend her. But the Countess retained her seat.

"It was but a question of habit," she said; "the gentleman's principles
are nothing to me, for what I have to tell you is widely blazed, and I
care not who hears my share of it. You remember--you must have heard,
for I think Margaret Stanley would not be indifferent to my fate--that
after my husband's murder at Bolton, I took up the standard which he
never dropped until his death, and displayed it with my own hand in our
Sovereignty of Man."

"I did indeed hear so, madam," said the Lady Peveril; "and that you had
bidden a bold defiance to the rebel government, even after all other
parts of Britain had submitted to them. My husband, Sir Geoffrey,
designed at one time to have gone to your assistance with some few
followers; but we learned that the island was rendered to the Parliament
party, and that you, dearest lady, were thrown into prison."

"But you heard not," said the Countess, "how that disaster befell
me.--Margaret, I would have held out that island against the knaves
as long as the sea continued to flow around it. Till the shoals which
surround it had become safe anchorage--till its precipices had melted
beneath the sunshine--till of all its strong abodes and castles not
one stone remained upon another,--would I have defended against these
villainous hypocritical rebels, my dear husband's hereditary dominion.
The little kingdom of Man should have been yielded only when not an
arm was left to wield a sword, not a finger to draw a trigger in its
defence. But treachery did what force could never have done. When we
had foiled various attempts upon the island by open force--treason
accomplished what Blake and Lawson, with their floating castles, had
found too hazardous an enterprise--a base rebel, whom we had nursed
in our own bosoms, betrayed us to the enemy. This wretch was named
Christian----"

Major Bridgenorth started and turned towards the speaker, but instantly
seemed to recollect himself, and again averted his face. The Countess
proceeded, without noticing the interruption, which, however, rather
surprised Lady Peveril, who was acquainted with her neighbour's general
habits of indifference and apathy, and therefore the more surprised at
his testifying such sudden symptoms of interest. She would once again
have moved the Countess to retire to another apartment, but Lady Derby
proceeded with too much vehemence to endure interruption.

"This Christian," she said, "had eaten of my lord his sovereign's bread,
and drunk of his cup, even from childhood--for his fathers had been
faithful servants to the House of Man and Derby. He himself had fought
bravely by my husband's side, and enjoyed all his confidence; and when
my princely Earl was martyred by the rebels, he recommended to me,
amongst other instructions communicated in the last message I received
from him, to continue my confidence in Christian's fidelity. I obeyed,
although I never loved the man. He was cold and phlegmatic, and utterly
devoid of that sacred fire which is the incentive to noble deeds,
suspected, too, of leaning to the cold metaphysics of Calvinistic
subtlety. But he was brave, wise, and experienced, and, as the event
proved, possessed but too much interest with the islanders. When these
rude people saw themselves without hope of relief, and pressed by a
blockade, which brought want and disease into their island, they began
to fall off from the faith which they had hitherto shown."

"What!" said the Lady Peveril, "could they forget what was due to the
widow of their benefactor--she who had shared with the generous Derby
the task of bettering their condition?"

"Do not blame them," said the Countess; "the rude herd acted but
according to their kind--in present distress they forgot former
benefits, and, nursed in their earthen hovels, with spirits suited
to their dwellings, they were incapable of feeling the glory which
is attached to constancy in suffering. But that Christian should have
headed their revolt--that he, born a gentleman, and bred under my
murdered Derby's own care in all that was chivalrous and noble--that
_he_ should have forgot a hundred benefits--why do I talk of
benefits?--that he should have forgotten that kindly intercourse which
binds man to man far more than the reciprocity of obligation--that
he should have headed the ruffians who broke suddenly into my
apartment--immured me with my infants in one of my own castles, and
assumed or usurped the tyranny of the island--that this should have been
done by William Christian, my vassal, my servant, my friend, was a deed
of ungrateful treachery, which even this age of treason will scarcely
parallel!"

"And you were then imprisoned," said the Lady Peveril, "and in your own
sovereignty?"

"For more than seven years I have endured strict captivity," said the
Countess. "I was indeed offered my liberty, and even some means of
support, if I would have consented to leave the island, and pledge my
word that I would not endeavour to repossess my son in his father's
rights. But they little knew the princely house from which I spring--and
as little the royal house of Stanley which I uphold, who hoped to humble
Charlotte of Tremouille into so base a composition. I would rather have
starved in the darkest and lowest vault of Rushin Castle, than have
consented to aught which might diminish in one hair's-breadth the right
of my son over his father's sovereignty!"

"And could not your firmness, in a case where hope seemed lost, induce
them to be generous and dismiss you without conditions?"

"They knew me better than thou dost, wench," answered the Countess;
"once at liberty, I had not been long without the means of disturbing
their usurpation, and Christian would have as soon encaged a lioness to
combat with, as have given me the slightest power of returning to the
struggle with him. But time had liberty and revenge in store--I had
still friends and partisans in the island, though they were compelled to
give way to the storm. Even among the islanders at large, most had
been disappointed in the effects which they expected from the change
of power. They were loaded with exactions by their new masters, their
privileges were abridged, and their immunities abolished, under the
pretext of reducing them to the same condition with the other subjects
of the pretended republic. When the news arrived of the changes which
were current in Britain, these sentiments were privately communicated to
me. Calcott and others acted with great zeal and fidelity; and a
rising, effected as suddenly and effectually as that which had made me
a captive, placed me at liberty and in possession of the sovereignty of
Man, as Regent for my son, the youthful Earl of Derby. Do you think
I enjoyed that sovereignty long without doing justice on that traitor
Christian?"

"How, madam," said Lady Peveril, who, though she knew the high and
ambitious spirit of the Countess, scarce anticipated the extremities to
which it was capable of hurrying her--"have you imprisoned Christian?"

"Ay, wench--in that sure prison which felon never breaks from," answered
the Countess.

Bridgenorth, who had insensibly approached them, and was listening with
an agony of interest which he was unable any longer to suppress, broke
in with the stern exclamation--

"Lady, I trust you have not dared----"

The Countess interrupted him in her turn.

"I know not who you are who question--and you know not me when you speak
to me of that which I dare, or dare not do. But you seem interested
in the fate of this Christian, and you shall hear it.--I was no sooner
placed in possession of my rightful power, than I ordered the Dempster
of the island to hold upon the traitor a High Court of Justice, with all
the formalities of the isle, as prescribed in its oldest records. The
Court was held in the open air, before the Dempster and the Keys of the
island, assembled under the vaulted cope of heaven, and seated on the
terrace of the Zonwald Hill, where of old Druid and Scald held their
courts of judgment. The criminal was heard at length in his own defence,
which amounted to little more than those specious allegations of public
consideration, which are ever used to colour the ugly front of treason.
He was fully convicted of his crime, and he received the doom of a
traitor."

"But which, I trust, is not yet executed?" said Lady Peveril, not
without an involuntary shudder.

"You are a fool, Margaret," said the Countess sharply; "think you I
delayed such an act of justice, until some wretched intrigues of the
new English Court might have prompted their interference? No, wench--he
passed from the judgment-seat to the place of execution, with no farther
delay than might be necessary for his soul's sake. He was shot to death
by a file of musketeers in the common place of execution called Hango
Hill."

Bridgenorth clasped his hands together, wrung them, and groaned
bitterly.

"As you seem interested for this criminal," added the Countess,
addressing Bridgenorth, "I do him but justice in repeating to you, that
his death was firm and manly, becoming the general tenor of his life,
which, but for that gross act of traitorous ingratitude, had been fair
and honourable. But what of that? The hypocrite is a saint, and
the false traitor a man of honour, till opportunity, that faithful
touchstone, proves their metal to be base."

"It is false, woman--it is false!" said Bridgenorth, no longer
suppressing his indignation.

"What means this bearing, Master Bridgenorth?" said Lady Peveril, much
surprised. "What is this Christian to you, that you should insult the
Countess of Derby under my roof?"

"Speak not to me of countesses and of ceremonies," said Bridgenorth;
"grief and anger leave me no leisure for idle observances to humour the
vanity of overgrown children.--O Christian--worthy, well worthy, of the
name thou didst bear! My friend--my brother--the brother of my blessed
Alice--the only friend of my desolate estate! art thou then cruelly
murdered by a female fury, who, but for thee, had deservedly paid with
her own blood that of God's saints, which she, as well as her tyrant
husband, had spilled like water!--Yes, cruel murderess!" he continued,
addressing the Countess, "he whom thou hast butchered in thy insane
vengeance, sacrificed for many a year the dictates of his own conscience
to the interest of thy family, and did not desert it till thy frantic
zeal for royalty had well-nigh brought to utter perdition the little
community in which he was born. Even in confining thee, he acted but
as the friends of the madman, who bind him with iron for his own
preservation; and for thee, as I can bear witness, he was the only
barrier between thee and the wrath of the Commons of England; and but
for his earnest remonstrances, thou hadst suffered the penalty of thy
malignancy, even like the wicked wife of Ahab."

"Master Bridgenorth," said the Lady Peveril, "I will allow for your
impatience upon hearing these unpleasing tidings; but there is neither
use nor propriety in farther urging this question. If in your grief you
forget other restraints, I pray you to remember that the Countess is my
guest and kinswoman, and is under such protection as I can afford her. I
beseech you, in simple courtesy, to withdraw, as what must needs be the
best and most becoming course in these trying circumstances."

"Nay, let him remain," said the Countess, regarding him with composure,
not unmingled with triumph; "I would not have it otherwise; I would not
that my revenge should be summed up in the stinted gratification which
Christian's death hath afforded. This man's rude and clamorous grief
only proves that the retribution I have dealt has been more widely felt
than by the wretched sufferer himself. I would I knew that it had but
made sore as many rebel hearts, as there were loyal breasts afflicted by
the death of my princely Derby!"

"So please you, madam," said Lady Peveril, "since Master Bridgenorth
hath not the manners to leave us upon my request, we will, if your
ladyship lists, leave him, and retire to my apartment.--Farewell, Master
Bridgenorth; we will meet hereafter on better terms."

"Pardon me, madam," said the Major, who had been striding hastily
through the room, but now stood fast, and drew himself up, as one who
has taken a resolution;--"to yourself I have nothing to say but what
is respectful; but to this woman I must speak as a magistrate. She
has confessed a murder in my presence--the murder too of my
brother-in-law--as a man, and as a magistrate, I cannot permit her to
pass from hence, excepting under such custody as may prevent her farther
flight. She has already confessed that she is a fugitive, and in search
of a place of concealment, until she should be able to escape into
foreign parts.--Charlotte, Countess of Derby, I attach thee of the crime
of which thou hast but now made thy boast."

"I shall not obey your arrest," said the Countess composedly; "I was
born to give, but not to receive such orders. What have your English
laws to do with my acts of justice and of government, within my son's
hereditary kingdom? Am I not Queen in Man, as well as Countess of Derby?
A feudatory Sovereign indeed; but yet independent so long as my dues of
homage are duly discharged. What right can you assert over me?"

"That given by the precepts of Scripture," answered Bridgenorth--"'Whoso
spilleth man's blood, by man shall his blood be spilled.' Think not the
barbarous privileges of ancient feudal customs will avail to screen
you from the punishment due for an Englishman murdered upon pretexts
inconsistent with the act of indemnity."

"Master Bridgenorth," said the Lady Peveril, "if by fair terms you
desist not from your present purpose, I tell you that I neither dare,
nor will, permit any violence against this honourable lady within the
walls of my husband's castle."

"You will find yourself unable to prevent me from executing my duty,
madam," said Bridgenorth, whose native obstinacy now came in aid of his
grief and desire of revenge; "I am a magistrate, and act by authority."

"I know not that," said Lady Peveril. "That you _were_ a magistrate,
Master Bridgenorth, under the late usurping powers, I know well; but
till I hear of your having a commission in the name of the King, I now
hesitate to obey you as such."

"I shall stand on small ceremony," said Bridgenorth. "Were I no
magistrate, every man has title to arrest for murder against the terms
of the indemnities held out by the King's proclamations, and I will make
my point good."

"What indemnities? What proclamations?" said the Countess of Derby
indignantly. "Charles Stuart may, if he pleases (and it doth seem to
please him), consort with those whose hands have been red with the
blood, and blackened with the plunder, of his father and of his loyal
subjects. He may forgive them if he will, and count their deeds good
service. What has that to do with this Christian's offence against me
and mine? Born a Mankesman--bred and nursed in the island--he broke the
laws under which he lived, and died for the breach of them, after the
fair trial which they allowed.--Methinks, Margaret, we have enough of
this peevish and foolish magistrate--I attend you to your apartment."

Major Bridgenorth placed himself betwixt them and the door, in a manner
which showed him determined to interrupt their passage; when the Lady
Peveril, who thought she already showed more deference to him in this
matter than her husband was likely to approve of, raised her voice, and
called loudly on her steward, Whitaker. That alert person, who had heard
high talking, and a female voice with which he was unacquainted, had
remained for several minutes stationed in the anteroom, much afflicted
with the anxiety of his own curiosity. Of course he entered in an
instant.

"Let three of the men instantly take arms," said the lady; "bring them
into the anteroom, and wait my farther orders."



CHAPTER VI

            You shall have no worse prison than my chamber,
            Nor jailer than myself.
                                               --THE CAPTAIN.

The command which Lady Peveril laid on her domestics to arm themselves,
was so unlike the usual gentle acquiescence of her manners, that Major
Bridgenorth was astonished. "How mean you, madam?" said he; "I thought
myself under a friendly roof."

"And you are so, Master Bridgenorth," said the Lady Peveril, without
departing from the natural calmness of her voice and manner; "but it is
a roof which must not be violated by the outrage of one friend against
another."

"It is well, madam," said Bridgenorth, turning to the door of the
apartment. "The worthy Master Solsgrace has already foretold, that the
time was returned when high houses and proud names should be once more
an excuse for the crimes of those who inhabit the one and bear the
other. I believed him not, but now see he is wiser than I. Yet think not
I will endure this tamely. The blood of my brother--of the friend of my
bosom--shall not long call from the altar, 'How long, O Lord, how long!'
If there is one spark of justice left in this unhappy England, that
proud woman and I shall meet where she can have no partial friend to
protect her."

So saying, he was about to leave the apartment, when Lady Peveril said,
"You depart not from this place, Master Bridgenorth, unless you give me
your word to renounce all purpose against the noble Countess's liberty
upon the present occasion."

"I would sooner," answered he, "subscribe to my own dishonour, madam,
written down in express words, than to any such composition. If any
man offers to interrupt me, his blood be on his own head!" As Major
Bridgenorth spoke, Whitaker threw open the door, and showed that, with
the alertness of an old soldier, who was not displeased to see things
tend once more towards a state of warfare, he had got with him four
stout fellows in the Knight of the Peak's livery, well armed with swords
and carabines, buff-coats, and pistols at their girdles.

"I will see," said Major Bridgenorth, "if any of these men be so
desperate as to stop me, a freeborn Englishman, and a magistrate in the
discharge of my duty."

So saying, he advanced upon Whitaker and his armed assistants, with his
hand on the hilt of his sword.

"Do not be so desperate, Master Bridgenorth," exclaimed Lady Peveril;
and added, in the same moment, "Lay hold upon, and disarm him, Whitaker;
but do him no injury."

Her commands were obeyed. Bridgenorth, though a man of moral resolution,
was not one of those who undertook to cope in person with odds of a
description so formidable. He half drew his sword, and offered such show
of resistance as made it necessary to secure him by actual force; but
then yielded up his weapon, and declared that, submitting to force
which one man was unable to resist, he made those who commanded, and
who employed it, responsible for assailing his liberty without a legal
warrant.

"Never mind a warrant on a pinch, Master Bridgenorth," said old
Whitaker; "sure enough you have often acted upon a worse yourself. My
lady's word is as good as a warrant, sure, as Old Noll's commission; and
you bore that many a day, Master Bridgenorth, and, moreover, you laid
me in the stocks for drinking the King's health, Master Bridgenorth, and
never cared a farthing about the laws of England."

"Hold your saucy tongue, Whitaker," said the Lady Peveril; "and do you,
Master Bridgenorth, not take it to heart that you are detained prisoner
for a few hours, until the Countess of Derby can have nothing to fear
from your pursuit. I could easily send an escort with her that might
bid defiance to any force you could muster; but I wish, Heaven knows, to
bury the remembrance of old civil dissensions, not to awaken new. Once
more, will you think better of it--assume your sword again, and forget
whom you have now seen at Martindale Castle?"

"Never," said Bridgenorth. "The crime of this cruel woman will be the
last of human injuries which I can forget. The last thought of earthly
kind which will leave me, will be the desire that justice shall be done
on her."

"If such be your sentiments," said Lady Peveril, "though they are
more allied to revenge than to justice, I must provide for my friend's
safety, by putting restraint upon your person. In this room you will
be supplied with every necessary of life, and every convenience; and a
message shall relieve your domestics of the anxiety which your absence
from the Hall is not unlikely to occasion. When a few hours, at most two
days, are over, I will myself relieve you from confinement, and demand
your pardon for now acting as your obstinacy compels me to do."

The Major made no answer, but that he was in her hands, and must submit
to her pleasure; and then turned sullenly to the window, as if desirous
to be rid of their presence.

The Countess and the Lady Peveril left the apartment arm in arm; and
the lady issued forth her directions to Whitaker concerning the mode in
which she was desirous that Bridgenorth should be guarded and treated
during his temporary confinement; at the same time explaining to him,
that the safety of the Countess of Derby required that he should be
closely watched.

In all proposals for the prisoner's security, such as the regular relief
of guards, and the like, Whitaker joyfully acquiesced, and undertook,
body for body, that he should be detained in captivity for the necessary
period. But the old steward was not half so docile when it came to be
considered how the captive's bedding and table should be supplied; and
he thought Lady Peveril displayed a very undue degree of attention
to her prisoner's comforts. "I warrant," he said, "that the cuckoldly
Roundhead ate enough of our fat beef yesterday to serve him for a month;
and a little fasting will do his health good. Marry, for drink, he shall
have plenty of cold water to cool his hot liver, which I will be bound
is still hissing with the strong liquors of yesterday. And as for
bedding, there are the fine dry board--more wholesome than the wet straw
I lay upon when I was in the stocks, I trow."

"Whitaker," said the lady peremptorily, "I desire you to provide Master
Bridgenorth's bedding and food in the way I have signified to you; and
to behave yourself towards him in all civility."

"Lack-a-day! yes, my lady," said Whitaker; "you shall have all your
directions punctually obeyed; but as an old servant, I cannot but speak
my mind."

The ladies retired after this conference with the steward in the
antechamber, and were soon seated in another apartment, which was
peculiarly dedicated to the use of the mistress of the mansion--having,
on the one side, access to the family bedroom; and, on the other, to the
still-room which communicated with the garden. There was also a
small door which, ascending a few steps, led to that balcony, already
mentioned, that overhung the kitchen; and the same passage, by a
separate door, admitted to the principal gallery in the chapel; so that
the spiritual and temporal affairs of the Castle were placed almost at
once within the reach of the same regulating and directing eye.[*]

[*] This peculiar collocation of apartments may be seen at Haddon
    Hall, Derbyshire, once a seat of the Vernons, where, in the lady's
    pew in the chapel, there is a sort of scuttle, which opens into
    the kitchen, so that the good lady could ever and anon, without
    much interruption of her religious duties, give an eye that the
    roast-meat was not permitted to burn, and that the turn-broche did
    his duty.

In the tapestried room, from which issued these various sally-ports, the
Countess and Lady Peveril were speedily seated; and the former, smiling
upon the latter, said, as she took her hand, "Two things have happened
to-day, which might have surprised me, if anything ought to surprise me
in such times:--the first is, that yonder roundheaded fellow should have
dared to use such insolence in the house of Peveril of the Peak. If your
husband is yet the same honest and downright Cavalier whom I once knew,
and had chanced to be at home, he would have thrown the knave out of
window. But what I wonder at still more, Margaret, is your generalship.
I hardly thought you had courage sufficient to have taken such decided
measures, after keeping on terms with the man so long. When he spoke of
justices and warrants, you looked so overawed that I thought I felt the
clutch of the parish-beadles on my shoulder, to drag me to prison as a
vagrant."

"We owe Master Bridgenorth some deference, my dearest lady," answered
the Lady Peveril; "he has served us often and kindly, in these late
times; but neither he, nor any one else, shall insult the Countess of
Derby in the house of Margaret Stanley."

"Thou art become a perfect heroine, Margaret," replied the Countess.

"Two sieges, and alarms innumerable," said Lady Peveril, "may have
taught me presence of mind. My courage is, I believe, as slender as
ever."

"Presence of mind _is_ courage," answered the Countess. "Real valour
consists not in being insensible to danger, but in being prompt to
confront and disarm it;--and we may have present occasion for all
that we possess," she added, with some slight emotion, "for I hear the
trampling of horses' steps on the pavement of the court."

In one moment, the boy Julian, breathless with joy, came flying into the
room, to say that papa was returned, with Lamington and Sam Brewer; and
that he was himself to ride Black Hastings to the stable. In the second
the tramp of the honest Knight's heavy jack-boots was heard, as, in his
haste to see his lady, he ascended the staircase by two steps at a
time. He burst into the room; his manly countenance and disordered dress
showing marks that he had been riding fast; and without looking to any
one else, caught his good lady in his arms, and kissed her a dozen of
times.--Blushing, and with some difficulty, Lady Peveril extricated
herself from Sir Geoffrey's arms; and in a voice of bashful and gentle
rebuke, bid him, for shame, observe who was in the room.

"One," said the Countess, advancing to him, "who is right glad to see
that Sir Geoffrey Peveril, though turned courtier and favourite, still
values the treasure which she had some share in bestowing upon him. You
cannot have forgot the raising of the leaguer of Latham House!"

"The noble Countess of Derby!" said Sir Geoffrey, doffing his plumed hat
with an air of deep deference, and kissing with much reverence the hand
which she held out to him; "I am as glad to see your ladyship in my poor
house, as I would be to hear that they had found a vein of lead in the
Brown Tor. I rode hard, in the hope of being your escort through the
country. I feared you might have fallen into bad hands, hearing there
was a knave sent out with a warrant from the Council."

"When heard you so? and from whom?"

"It was from Cholmondley of Vale Royal," said Sir Geoffrey; "he is come
down to make provision for your safety through Cheshire; and I promised
to bring you there in safety. Prince Rupert, Ormond, and other friends,
do not doubt the matter will be driven to a fine; but they say
the Chancellor, and Harry Bennet, and some others of the over-sea
counsellors, are furious at what they call a breach of the King's
proclamation. Hang them, say I!--They left us to bear all the beating;
and now they are incensed that we should wish to clear scores with those
who rode us like nightmares!"

"What did they talk of for my chastisement?" said the Countess.

"I wot not," said Sir Geoffrey; "some friends, as I said, from our kind
Cheshire, and others, tried to bring it to a fine; but some, again,
spoke of nothing but the Tower, and a long imprisonment."

"I have suffered imprisonment long enough for King Charles's sake," said
the Countess; "and have no mind to undergo it at his hand. Besides, if
I am removed from the personal superintendence of my son's dominions in
Man, I know not what new usurpation may be attempted there. I must be
obliged to you, cousin, to contrive that I may get in security to Vale
Royal, and from thence I know I shall be guarded safely to Liverpool."

"You may rely on my guidance and protection, noble lady," answered her
host, "though you had come here at midnight, and with the rogue's head
in your apron, like Judith in the Holy Apocrypha, which I joy to hear
once more read in churches."

"Do the gentry resort much to the Court?" said the lady.

"Ay, madam," replied Sir Geoffrey; "and according to our saying, when
miners do begin to bore in these parts, it is _for the grace of God, and
what they there may find_."

"Meet the old Cavaliers with much countenance?" continued the Countess.

"Faith, madam, to speak truth," replied the Knight, "the King hath so
gracious a manner, that it makes every man's hopes blossom, though we
have seen but few that have ripened into fruit."

"You have not, yourself, my cousin," answered the Countess, "had room
to complain of ingratitude, I trust? Few have less deserved it at the
King's hand."

Sir Geoffrey was unwilling, like most prudent persons, to own the
existence of expectations which had proved fallacious, yet had too
little art in his character to conceal his disappointment entirely.
"Who, I, madam?" he said; "Alas! what should a poor country knight
expect from the King, besides the pleasure of seeing him in Whitehall
once more, and enjoying his own again? And his Majesty was very gracious
when I was presented, and spoke to me of Worcester, and of my horse,
Black Hastings--he had forgot his name, though--faith, and mine, too, I
believe, had not Prince Rupert whispered it to him. And I saw some old
friends, such as his Grace of Ormond, Sir Marmaduke Langdale, Sir Philip
Musgrave, and so forth; and had a jolly rouse or two, to the tune of old
times."

"I should have thought so many wounds received--so many dangers
risked--such considerable losses--merited something more than a few
smooth words," said the Countess.

"Nay, my lady, there were other friends of mine who had the same
thought," answered Peveril. "Some were of opinion that the loss of
so many hundred acres of fair land was worth some reward of honour
at least; and there were who thought my descent from William the
Conqueror--craving your ladyship's pardon for boasting it in your
presence--would not have become a higher rank or title worse than the
pedigree of some who have been promoted. But what said the witty Duke
of Buckingham, forsooth? (whose grandsire was a Lei'stershire
Knight--rather poorer, and scarcely so well-born as myself)--Why, he
said, that if all of my degree who deserved well of the King in the late
times were to be made peers, the House of Lords must meet upon Salisbury
Plain!"

"And that bad jest passed for a good argument!" said the Countess; "and
well it might, where good arguments pass for bad jests. But here comes
one I must be acquainted with."

This was little Julian, who now re-entered the hall, leading his little
sister, as if he had brought her to bear witness to the boastful tale
which he told his father, of his having manfully ridden Black Hastings
to the stable-yard, alone in the saddle; and that Saunders though he
walked by the horse's head, did not once put his hand upon the rein,
and Brewer, though he stood beside him, scarce held him by the knee. The
father kissed the boy heartily; and the Countess, calling him to her
so soon as Sir Geoffrey had set him down, kissed his forehead also, and
then surveyed all his features with a keen and penetrating eye.

"He is a true Peveril," said she, "mixed as he should be with some touch
of the Stanley. Cousin, you must grant me my boon, and when I am safely
established, and have my present affair arranged, you must let me have
this little Julian of yours some time hence, to be nurtured in my house,
held as my page, and the playfellow of the little Derby. I trust in
Heaven, they will be such friends as their fathers have been, and may
God send them more fortunate times!"

"Marry, and I thank you for the proposal with all my heart, madam," said
the Knight. "There are so many noble houses decayed, and so many more
in which the exercise and discipline for the training of noble youths is
given up and neglected, that I have often feared I must have kept Gil
to be young master at home; and I have had too little nurture myself to
teach him much, and so he would have been a mere hunting hawking knight
of Derbyshire. But in your ladyship's household, and with the noble
young Earl, he will have all, and more than all, the education which I
could desire."

"There shall be no distinction betwixt them, cousin," said the Countess;
"Margaret Stanley's son shall be as much the object of care to me as
my own, since you are kindly disposed to entrust him to my charge.--You
look pale, Margaret," she continued, "and the tear stands in your eye?
Do not be so foolish, my love--what I ask is better than you can desire
for your boy; for the house of my father, the Duke de la Tremouille,
was the most famous school of chivalry in France; nor have I degenerated
from him, or suffered any relaxation in that noble discipline which
trained young gentlemen to do honour to their race. You can promise your
Julian no such advantages, if you train him up a mere home-bred youth."

"I acknowledge the importance of the favour, madam," said Lady Peveril,
"and must acquiesce in what your ladyship honours us by proposing, and
Sir Geoffrey approves of; but Julian is an only child, and----"

"An only son," said the Countess, "but surely not an only child. You pay
too high deference to our masters, the male sex, if you allow Julian to
engross all your affection, and spare none for this beautiful girl."

So saying, she set down Julian, and, taking Alice Bridgenorth on her
lap, began to caress her; and there was, notwithstanding her masculine
character, something so sweet in the tone of her voice and in the cast
of her features, that the child immediately smiled, and replied to her
marks of fondness. This mistake embarrassed Lady Peveril exceedingly.
Knowing the blunt impetuosity of her husband's character, his devotion
to the memory of the deceased Earl of Derby, and his corresponding
veneration for his widow, she was alarmed for the consequences of his
hearing the conduct of Bridgenorth that morning, and was particularly
desirous that he should not learn it save from herself in private,
and after due preparation. But the Countess's error led to a more
precipitate disclosure.

"That pretty girl, madam," answered Sir Geoffrey, "is none of ours--I
wish she were. She belongs to a neighbour hard by--a good man, and,
to say truth, a good neighbour--though he was carried off from his
allegiance in the late times by a d--d Presbyterian scoundrel, who
calls himself a parson, and whom I hope to fetch down from his perch
presently, with a wannion to him! He has been cock of the roost long
enough.--There are rods in pickle to switch the Geneva cloak with, I can
tell the sour-faced rogues that much. But this child is the daughter of
Bridgenorth--neighbour Bridgenorth, of Moultrassie Hall."

"Bridgenorth?" said the Countess; "I thought I had known all the
honourable names in Derbyshire--I remember nothing of Bridgenorth.--But
stay--was there not a sequestrator and committeeman of that name? Sure,
it cannot be he?"

Peveril took some shame to himself, as he replied, "It is the very man
whom your ladyship means, and you may conceive the reluctance with which
I submitted to receive good offices from one of his kidney; but had I
not done so, I should have scarce known how to find a roof to cover Dame
Margaret's head."

The Countess, as he spoke, raised the child gently from her lap, and
placed it upon the carpet, though little Alice showed a disinclination
to the change of place, which the lady of Derby and Man would certainly
have indulged in a child of patrician descent and loyal parentage.

"I blame you not," she said; "no one knows what temptation will bring us
down to. Yet I _did_ think Peveril of the Peak would have resided in its
deepest cavern, sooner than owed an obligation to a regicide."

"Nay, madam," answered the Knight, "my neighbour is bad enough, but
not so bad as you would make him; he is but a Presbyterian--that I must
confess--but not an Independent."

"A variety of the same monster," said the Countess, "who hallooed while
the others hunted, and bound the victim whom the Independents massacred.
Betwixt such sects I prefer the Independents. They are at least bold,
bare-faced, merciless villains, have more of the tiger in them, and less
of the crocodile. I have no doubt it was that worthy gentleman who took
it upon him this morning----"

She stopped short, for she saw Lady Peveril was vexed and embarrassed.

"I am," she said, "the most luckless of beings. I have said something,
I know not what, to distress you, Margaret--Mystery is a bad thing, and
betwixt us there should be none."

"There is none, madam," said Lady Peveril, something impatiently; "I
waited but an opportunity to tell my husband what had happened--Sir
Geoffrey, Master Bridgenorth was unfortunately here when the Lady Derby
and I met; and he thought it part of his duty to speak of----"

"To speak of what?" said the Knight, bending his brows. "You were
ever something too fond, dame, of giving way to the usurpation of such
people."

"I only mean," said Lady Peveril, "that as the person--he to whom
Lord Derby's story related--was the brother of his late lady, he
threatened--but I cannot think that he was serious."

"Threaten?--threaten the Lady of Derby and Man in my house!--the widow
of my friend--the noble Charlotte of Latham House!--by Heaven, the
prick-eared slave shall answer it! How comes it that my knaves threw him
not out of the window?"

"Alas! Sir Geoffrey, you forget how much we owe him," said the lady.

"Owe him!" said the Knight, still more indignant; for in his singleness
of apprehension he conceived that his wife alluded to pecuniary
obligations,--"if I do owe him some money, hath he not security for it?
and must he have the right, over and above, to domineer and play the
magistrate in Martindale Castle?--Where is he?--what have you made of
him? I will--I must speak with him."

"Be patient, Sir Geoffrey," said the Countess, who now discerned the
cause of her kinswoman's apprehension; "and be assured I did not need
your chivalry to defend me against this discourteous faitour, as _Morte
d'Arthur_ would have called him. I promise you my kinswoman hath fully
righted my wrong; and I am so pleased to owe my deliverance entirely to
her gallantry, that I charge and command you, as a true knight, not to
mingle in the adventure of another."

Lady Peveril, who knew her husband's blunt and impatient temper, and
perceived that he was becoming angry, now took up the story, and plainly
and simply pointed out the cause of Master Bridgenorth's interference.

"I am sorry for it," said the Knight; "I thought he had more sense;
and that this happy change might have done some good upon him. But you
should have told me this instantly--It consists not with my honour that
he should be kept prisoner in this house, as if I feared anything he
could do to annoy the noble Countess, while she is under my roof, or
within twenty miles of this Castle."

So saying, and bowing to the Countess, he went straight to the gilded
chamber, leaving Lady Peveril in great anxiety for the event of an angry
meeting between a temper hasty as that of her husband, and stubborn like
that of Bridgenorth. Her apprehensions were, however, unnecessary; for
the meeting was not fated to take place.

When Sir Geoffrey Peveril, having dismissed Whitaker and his sentinels,
entered the gilded chamber, in which he expected to find his captive,
the prisoner had escaped, and it was easy to see in what manner. The
sliding panel had, in the hurry of the moment, escaped the memory of
Lady Peveril, and of Whitaker, the only persons who knew anything of it.
It was probable that a chink had remained open, sufficient to indicate
its existence to Bridgenorth; who withdrawing it altogether, had found
his way into the secret apartment with which it communicated, and from
thence to the postern of the Castle by another secret passage, which had
been formed in the thickness of the wall, as is not uncommon in ancient
mansions; the lords of which were liable to so many mutations of
fortune, that they usually contrived to secure some lurking place and
secret mode of retreat from their fortresses. That Bridgenorth had
discovered and availed himself of this secret mode of retreat was
evident; because the private doors communicating with the postern and
the sliding panel in the gilded chamber were both left open.

Sir Geoffrey returned to the ladies with looks of perplexity. While he
deemed Bridgenorth within his reach, he was apprehensive of nothing he
could do; for he felt himself his superior in personal strength, and in
that species of courage which induces a man to rush, without hesitation,
upon personal danger. But when at a distance, he had been for many years
accustomed to consider Bridgenorth's power and influence as something
formidable; and notwithstanding the late change of affairs, his ideas
so naturally reverted to his neighbour as a powerful friend or dangerous
enemy, that he felt more apprehension on the Countess's score, than he
was willing to acknowledge even to himself. The Countess observed his
downcast and anxious brow, and requested to know if her stay there was
likely to involve him in any trouble, or in any danger.

"The trouble should be welcome," said Sir Geoffrey, "and more welcome
the danger, which should come on such an account. My plan was, that your
ladyship should have honoured Martindale with a few days' residence,
which might have been kept private until the search after you was
ended. Had I seen this fellow Bridgenorth, I have no doubt I could have
compelled him to act discreetly; but he is now at liberty, and will keep
out of my reach; and, what is worse, he has the secret of the priest's
chamber."

Here the Knight paused, and seemed much embarrassed.

"You can, then, neither conceal nor protect me?" said the Countess.

"Pardon, my honoured lady," answered the Knight, "and let me say out
my say. The plain truth is, that this man hath many friends among the
Presbyterians here, who are more numerous than I would wish them; and
if he falls in with the pursuivant fellow who carries the warrant of the
Privy Council, it is likely he will back him with force sufficient
to try to execute it. And I doubt whether any of our friends can be
summoned together in haste, sufficient to resist such a power as they
are like to bring together."

"Nor would I wish any friends to take arms, in my name, against the
King's warrant, Sir Geoffrey," said the Countess.

"Nay, for that matter," replied the Knight, "an his Majesty will grant
warrants against his best friends, he must look to have them resisted.
But the best I can think of in this emergence is--though the proposal
be something inhospitable--that your ladyship should take presently to
horse, if your fatigue will permit. I will mount also, with some brisk
fellows, who will lodge you safe at Vale Royal, though the Sheriff
stopped the way with a whole _posse comitatus_."

The Countess of Derby willingly acquiesced in this proposal. She
had enjoyed a night's sound repose in the private chamber, to which
Ellesmere had guided her on the preceding evening, and was quite ready
to resume her route, or flight--"she scarce knew," she said, "which of
the two she should term it."

Lady Peveril wept at the necessity which seemed to hurry her earliest
friend and protectress from under her roof, at the instant when
the clouds of adversity were gathering around her; but she saw no
alternative equally safe. Nay, however strong her attachment to Lady
Derby, she could not but be more readily reconciled to her hasty
departure, when she considered the inconvenience, and even danger,
in which her presence, at such a time, and in such circumstances, was
likely to involve a man so bold and hot-tempered as her husband Sir
Geoffrey.

While Lady Peveril, therefore, made every arrangement which time
permitted and circumstances required, for the Countess prosecuting her
journey, her husband, whose spirits always rose with the prospect
of action, issued his orders to Whitaker to get together a few stout
fellows, with back and breast pieces, and steel-caps. "There are the two
lackeys, and Outram and Saunders, besides the other groom fellow, and
Roger Raine, and his son; but bid Roger not come drunk again;--thyself,
young Dick of the Dale and his servant, and a file or two of the
tenants,--we shall be enough for any force they can make. All these are
fellows that will strike hard, and ask no question why--their hands
are ever readier than their tongues, and their mouths are more made for
drinking than speaking."

Whitaker, apprised of the necessity of the case, asked if he should not
warn Sir Jasper Cranbourne.

"Not a word to him, as you live," said the Knight; "this may be an
outlawry, as they call it, for what I know; and therefore I will bring
no lands or tenements into peril, saving mine own. Sir Jasper hath had
a troublesome time of it for many a year. By my will, he shall sit quiet
for the rest of's days."



CHAPTER VII

         _Fang._--A rescue! a rescue!
         _Mrs. Quickly._--Good people, bring a rescue or two.
                                            --Henry IV. _Part I._

The followers of Peveril were so well accustomed to the sound of "Boot
and Saddle," that they were soon mounted and in order; and in all the
form, and with some of the dignity of danger, proceeded to escort the
Countess of Derby through the hilly and desert tract of country which
connects the frontier of the shire with the neighbouring county of
Cheshire. The cavalcade moved with considerable precaution, which
they had been taught by the discipline of the Civil Wars. One wary and
well-mounted trooper rode about two hundred yards in advance; followed,
at about half that distance, by two more, with their carabines advanced,
as if ready for action. About one hundred yards behind the advance, came
the main body; where the Countess of Derby, mounted on Lady Peveril's
ambling palfrey (for her own had been exhausted by the journey from
London to Martindale Castle), accompanied by one groom, of approved
fidelity, and one waiting-maid, was attended and guarded by the Knight
of the Peak, and three files of good and practised horsemen. In the rear
came Whitaker, with Lance Outram, as men of especial trust, to whom the
covering the retreat was confided. They rode, as the Spanish proverb
expresses it, "with the beard on the shoulder," looking around, that
is, from time to time, and using every precaution to have the speediest
knowledge of any pursuit which might take place.

But, however wise in discipline, Peveril and his followers were somewhat
remiss in civil policy. The Knight had communicated to Whitaker, though
without any apparent necessity, the precise nature of their present
expedition; and Whitaker was equally communicative to his comrade Lance,
the keeper. "It is strange enough, Master Whitaker," said the latter,
when he had heard the case, "and I wish you, being a wise man, would
expound it;--why, when we have been wishing for the King--and praying
for the King--and fighting for the King--and dying for the King, for
these twenty years, the first thing we find to do on his return, is to
get into harness to resist his warrant?"

"Pooh! you silly fellow," said Whitaker, "that is all you know of the
true bottom of our quarrel! Why, man, we fought for the King's person
against his warrant, all along from the very beginning; for I remember
the rogues' proclamations, and so forth, always ran in the name of the
King and Parliament."

"Ay! was it even so?" replied Lance. "Nay, then, if they begin the old
game so soon again, and send out warrants in the King's name against his
loyal subjects, well fare our stout Knight, say I, who is ready to take
them down in their stocking-soles. And if Bridgenorth takes the chase
after us, I shall not be sorry to have a knock at him for one."

"Why, the man, bating he is a pestilent Roundhead and Puritan," said
Whitaker, "is no bad neighbour. What has he done to thee, man?"

"He has poached on the manor," answered the keeper.

"The devil he has!" replied Whitaker. "Thou must be jesting, Lance.
Bridgenorth is neither hunter nor hawker; he hath not so much of honesty
in him."

"Ay, but he runs after game you little think of, with his sour,
melancholy face, that would scare babes and curdle milk," answered
Lance.

"Thou canst not mean the wenches?" said Whitaker; "why, he hath been
melancholy mad with moping for the death of his wife. Thou knowest our
lady took the child, for fear he should strangle it for putting him in
mind of its mother, in some of his tantrums. Under her favour, and among
friends, there are many poor Cavaliers' children, that care would be
better bestowed upon--But to thy tale."

"Why, thus it runs," said Lance. "I think you may have noticed, Master
Whitaker, that a certain Mistress Deborah hath manifested a certain
favour for a certain person in a certain household."

"For thyself, to wit," answered Whitaker; "Lance Outram, thou art the
vainest coxcomb----"

"Coxcomb?" said Lance; "why, 'twas but last night the whole family saw
her, as one would say, fling herself at my head."

"I would she had been a brickbat then, to have broken it, for thy
impertinence and conceit," said the steward.

"Well, but do but hearken. The next morning--that is, this very blessed
morning--I thought of going to lodge a buck in the park, judging a bit
of venison might be wanted in the larder, after yesterday's wassail;
and, as I passed under the nursery window, I did but just look up to see
what madam governante was about; and so I saw her, through the
casement, whip on her hood and scarf as soon as she had a glimpse of me.
Immediately after I saw the still-room door open, and made sure she was
coming through the garden, and so over the breach and down to the park;
and so, thought I, 'Aha, Mistress Deb, if you are so ready to dance
after my pipe and tabor, I will give you a couranto before you shall
come up with me.' And so I went down Ivy-tod Dingle, where the copse is
tangled, and the ground swampy, and round by Haxley-bottom, thinking all
the while she was following, and laughing in my sleeve at the round I
was giving her."

"You deserved to be ducked for it," said Whitaker, "for a weather-headed
puppy; but what is all this Jack-a-lantern story to Bridgenorth?"

"Why, it was all along of he, man," continued Lance, "that is, of
Bridgenorth, that she did not follow me--Gad, I first walked slow, and
then stopped, and then turned back a little, and then began to wonder
what she had made of herself, and to think I had borne myself something
like a jackass in the matter."

"That I deny," said Whitaker, "never jackass but would have borne him
better--but go on."

"Why, turning my face towards the Castle, I went back as if I had my
nose bleeding, when just by the Copely thorn, which stands, you know, a
flight-short from the postern-gate, I saw Madam Deb in close conference
with the enemy."

"What enemy?" said the steward.

"What enemy! why, who but Bridgenorth? They kept out of sight, and among
the copse; but, thought I, it is hard if I cannot stalk you, that have
stalked so many bucks. If so, I had better give my shafts to be pudding
pins. So I cast round the thicket, to watch their waters; and may I
never bend crossbow again, if I did not see him give her gold, and
squeeze her by the hand!"

"And was that all you saw pass between them?" said the steward.

"Faith, and it was enough to dismount me from my hobby," said Lance.
"What! when I thought I had the prettiest girl in the Castle dancing
after my whistle, to find that she gave me the bag to hold, and was
smuggling in a corner with a rich old Puritan!"

"Credit me, Lance, it is not as thou thinkest," said Whitaker.
"Bridgenorth cares not for these amorous toys, and thou thinkest of
nothing else. But it is fitting our Knight should know that he has met
with Deborah in secret, and given her gold; for never Puritan gave gold
yet, but it was earnest for some devil's work done, or to be done."

"Nay, but," said Lance, "I would not be such a dog-bolt as to go and
betray the girl to our master. She hath a right to follow her fancy, as
the dame said who kissed her cow--only I do not much approve her choice,
that is all. He cannot be six years short of fifty; and a verjuice
countenance, under the penthouse of a slouched beaver, and bag of
meagre dried bones, swaddled up in a black cloak, is no such temptation,
methinks."

"I tell you once more," said Whitaker, "you are mistaken; and that there
neither is, nor can be, any matter of love between them, but only some
intrigue, concerning, perhaps, this same noble Countess of Derby. I tell
thee, it behoves my master to know it, and I will presently tell it to
him."

So saying, and in spite of all the remonstrances which Lance continued
to make on behalf of Mistress Deborah, the steward rode up to the
main body of their little party, and mentioned to the Knight, and the
Countess of Derby, what he had just heard from the keeper, adding at
the same time his own suspicions, that Master Bridgenorth of Moultrassie
Hall was desirous to keep up some system of espial in the Castle of
Martindale, either in order to secure his menaced vengeance on the
Countess of Derby, as authoress of his brother-in-law's death, or for
some unknown, but probably sinister purpose.

The Knight of the Peak was filled with high resentment at Whitaker's
communication. According to his prejudices, those of the opposite
faction were supposed to make up by wit and intrigue what they wanted
in open force; and he now hastily conceived that his neighbour,
whose prudence he always respected, and sometimes even dreaded, was
maintaining for his private purposes, a clandestine correspondence with
a member of his family. If this was for the betrayal of his noble guest,
it argued at once treachery and presumption; or, viewing the whole as
Lance had done, a criminal intrigue with a woman so near the person
of Lady Peveril, was in itself, he deemed, a piece of sovereign
impertinence and disrespect on the part of such a person as Bridgenorth,
against whom Sir Geoffrey's anger was kindled accordingly.

Whitaker had scarce regained his post in the rear, when he again quitted
it, and galloped to the main body with more speed than before, with the
unpleasing tidings that they were pursued by half a score of horseman,
and better.

"Ride on briskly to Hartley-nick," said the Knight, "and there, with
God to help, we will bide the knaves.--Countess of Derby--one word and
a short one--Farewell!--you must ride forward with Whitaker and another
careful fellow, and let me alone to see that no one treads on your
skirts."

"I will abide with you and stand them," said the Countess; "you know of
old, I fear not to look on man's work."

"You _must_ ride on, madam," said the Knight, "for the sake of the young
Earl, and the rest of my noble friends' family. There is no manly work
which can be worth your looking upon; it is but child's play that these
fellows bring with them."

As she yielded a reluctant consent to continue her flight, they reached
the bottom of Hartley-nick, a pass very steep and craggy, and where the
road, or rather path, which had hitherto passed over more open ground,
became pent up and confined betwixt copsewood on the one side, and, on
the other, the precipitous bank of a mountain stream.

The Countess of Derby, after an affectionate adieu to Sir Geoffrey,
and having requested him to convey her kind commendations to her little
page-elect and his mother, proceeded up the pass at a round pace, and
with her attendants and escort, was soon out of sight. Immediately after
she had disappeared, the pursuers came up with Sir Geoffrey Peveril, who
had divided and drawn up his party so as completely to occupy the road
at three different points.

The opposite party was led, as Sir Geoffrey had expected, by Major
Bridgenorth. At his side was a person in black, with a silver greyhound
on his arm; and he was followed by about eight or ten inhabitants of the
village of Martindale Moultrassie, two or three of whom were officers of
the peace, and others were personally known to Sir Geoffrey as favourers
of the subverted government.

As the party rode briskly up, Sir Geoffrey called to them to halt; and
as they continued advancing, he ordered his own people to present their
pistols and carabines; and after assuming that menacing attitude, he
repeated, with a voice of thunder, "Halt, or we fire!"

The other party halted accordingly, and Major Bridgenorth advanced, as
if to parley.

"Why, how now, neighbour," said Sir Geoffrey, as if he had at that
moment recognised him for the first time,--"what makes you ride so
sharp this morning? Are you not afraid to harm your horse, or spoil your
spurs?"

"Sir Geoffrey," said the Major, "I have not time for jesting--I'm on the
King's affairs."

"Are you sure it is not upon Old Noll's, neighbour? You used to hold his
the better errand," said the Knight, with a smile which gave occasion to
a horse-laugh among his followers.

"Show him your warrant," said Bridgenorth to the man in black formerly
mentioned, who was a pursuivant. Then taking the warrant from the
officer, he gave it to Sir Geoffrey--"To this, at least, you will pay
regard."

"The same regard which you would have paid to it a month back or so,"
said the Knight, tearing the warrant to shreds.--"What a plague do you
stare at? Do you think you have a monopoly of rebellion, and that we
have not a right to show a trick of disobedience in our turn?"

"Make way, Sir Geoffrey Peveril," said Bridgenorth, "or you will compel
me to do that I may be sorry for. I am in this matter the avenger of
the blood of one of the Lord's saints, and I will follow the chase while
Heaven grants me an arm to make my way."

"You shall make no way here but at your peril," said Sir Geoffrey; "this
is my ground--I have been harassed enough for these twenty years by
saints, as you call yourselves. I tell you, master, you shall neither
violate the security of my house, nor pursue my friends over the
grounds, nor tamper, as you have done, amongst my servants, with
impunity. I have had you in respect for certain kind doings, which I
will not either forget or deny, and you will find it difficult to make
me draw a sword or bend a pistol against you; but offer any hostile
movement, or presume to advance a foot, and I will make sure of you
presently. And for those rascals, who come hither to annoy a noble lady
on my bounds, unless you draw them off, I will presently send some of
them to the devil before their time."

"Make room at your proper peril," said Major Bridgenorth; and he put
his right hand on his holster-pistol. Sir Geoffrey closed with him
instantly, seized him by the collar, and spurred Black Hastings,
checking him at the same time, so that the horse made a courbette, and
brought the full weight of his chest against the counter of the other. A
ready soldier might, in Bridgenorth's situation, have rid himself of his
adversary with a bullet. But Bridgenorth's courage, notwithstanding his
having served some time with the Parliament army, was rather of a civil
than a military character; and he was inferior to his adversary, not
only in strength and horsemanship, but also and especially in the daring
and decisive resolution which made Sir Geoffrey thrust himself readily
into personal contest. While, therefore, they tugged and grappled
together upon terms which bore such little accordance with their long
acquaintance and close neighbourhood, it was no wonder that Bridgenorth
should be unhorsed with much violence. While Sir Geoffrey sprung from
the saddle, the party of Bridgenorth advanced to rescue their leader,
and that of the Knight to oppose them. Swords were unsheathed, and
pistols presented; but Sir Geoffrey, with the voice of a herald,
commanded both parties to stand back, and to keep the peace.

The pursuivant took the hint, and easily found a reason for not
prosecuting a dangerous duty. "The warrant," he said, "was destroyed.
They that did it must be answerable to the Council; for his part, he
could proceed no farther without his commission."

"Well said, and like a peaceable fellow!" said Sir Geoffrey.--"Let
him have refreshment at the Castle--his nag is sorely out of
condition.--Come, neighbour Bridgenorth, get up, man--I trust you have
had no hurt in this mad affray? I was loath to lay hand on you, man,
till you plucked out your petronel."

As he spoke thus, he aided the Major to rise. The pursuivant, meanwhile,
drew aside; and with him the constable and head-borough, who were not
without some tacit suspicion, that though Peveril was interrupting
the direct course of law in this matter, yet he was likely to have his
offence considered by favourable judges; and therefore it might be as
much for their interest and safety to give way as to oppose him. But the
rest of the party, friends of Bridgenorth, and of his principles, kept
their ground notwithstanding this defection, and seemed, from their
looks, sternly determined to rule their conduct by that of their leader,
whatever it might be.

But it was evident that Bridgenorth did not intend to renew the
struggle. He shook himself rather roughly free from the hands of Sir
Geoffrey Peveril; but it was not to draw his sword. On the contrary, he
mounted his horse with a sullen and dejected air; and, making a sign to
his followers, turned back the same road which he had come. Sir Geoffrey
looked after him for some minutes. "Now, there goes a man," said
he, "who would have been a right honest fellow had he not been a
Presbyterian. But there is no heartiness about them--they can never
forgive a fair fall upon the sod--they bear malice, and that I hate as I
do a black cloak, or a Geneva skull-cap, and a pair of long ears rising
on each side on't, like two chimneys at the gable ends of a thatched
cottage. They are as sly as the devil to boot; and, therefore, Lance
Outram, take two with you, and keep after them, that they may not turn
our flank, and get on the track of the Countess again after all."

"I had as soon they should course my lady's white tame doe," answered
Lance, in the spirit of his calling. He proceeded to execute his
master's orders by dogging Major Bridgenorth at a distance, and
observing his course from such heights as commanded the country. But it
was soon evident that no manoeuvre was intended, and that the Major was
taking the direct road homeward. When this was ascertained, Sir Geoffrey
dismissed most of his followers; and retaining only his own domestics,
rode hastily forward to overtake the Countess.

It is only necessary to say farther, that he completed his purpose
of escorting the Countess of Derby to Vale Royal, without meeting any
further hindrance by the way. The lord of the mansion readily undertook
to conduct the high-minded lady to Liverpool, and the task of seeing her
safely embarked for her son's hereditary dominions, where there was no
doubt of her remaining in personal safety until the accusation against
her for breach of the Royal Indemnity, by the execution of Christian,
could be brought to some compromise.

For a length of time this was no easy matter. Clarendon, then at the
head of Charles's administration, considered her rash action, though
dictated by motives which the human breast must, in some respects,
sympathise with, as calculated to shake the restored tranquillity of
England, by exciting the doubts and jealousies of those who had to
apprehend the consequences of what is called, in our own time, a
_reaction_. At the same time, the high services of this distinguished
family--the merits of the Countess herself--the memory of her gallant
husband--and the very peculiar circumstances of jurisdiction which took
the case out of all common rules, pleaded strongly in her favour; and
the death of Christian was at length only punished by the imposition of
a heavy fine, amounting, we believe, to many thousand pounds; which was
levied, with great difficulty, out of the shattered estates of the young
Earl of Derby.



CHAPTER VIII

                     My native land, good night!
                                           --BYRON.

Lady Peveril remained in no small anxiety for several hours after her
husband and the Countess had departed from Martindale Castle; more
especially when she learned that Major Bridgenorth, concerning whose
motions she made private inquiry, had taken horse with a party, and was
gone to the westward in the same direction with Sir Geoffrey.

At length her immediate uneasiness in regard to the safety of her
husband and the Countess was removed, by the arrival of Whitaker, with
her husband's commendations, and an account of the scuffle betwixt
himself and Major Bridgenorth.

Lady Peveril shuddered to see how nearly they had approached to renewal
of the scenes of civil discord; and while she was thankful to Heaven for
her husband's immediate preservation, she could not help feeling both
regret and apprehension for the consequences of his quarrel with Major
Bridgenorth. They had now lost an old friend, who had showed himself
such under those circumstances of adversity by which friendship is
most severely tried; and she could not disguise from herself that
Bridgenorth, thus irritated, might be a troublesome, if not a dangerous
enemy. His rights as a creditor, he had hitherto used with gentleness;
but if he should employ rigour, Lady Peveril, whose attention to
domestic economy had made her much better acquainted with her husband's
affairs than he was himself, foresaw considerable inconvenience from the
measures which the law put in his power. She comforted herself with the
recollection, however, that she had still a strong hold on Bridgenorth,
through his paternal affection, and from the fixed opinion which he
had hitherto manifested, that his daughter's health could only flourish
while under her charge. But any expectations of reconciliation which
Lady Peveril might probably have founded on this circumstance, were
frustrated by an incident which took place in the course of the
following morning.

The governante, Mistress Deborah, who has been already mentioned, went
forth, as usual, with the children, to take their morning exercise in
the Park, attended by Rachael, a girl who acted occasionally as her
assistant in attending upon them. But not as usual did she return. It
was near the hour of breakfast, when Ellesmere, with an unwonted degree
of primness in her mouth and manner, came to acquaint her lady that
Mistress Deborah had not thought proper to come back from the Park,
though the breakfast hour approached so near.

"She will come, then, presently," said Lady Peveril with indifference.

Ellesmere gave a short and doubtful cough, and then proceeded to say,
that Rachael had been sent home with little Master Julian, and that
Mistress Deborah had been pleased to say, she would walk on with Miss
Bridgenorth as far as Moultrassie Holt; which was a point at which
the property of the Major, as matters now stood, bounded that of Sir
Geoffrey Peveril.

"Is the wench turned silly," exclaimed the lady, something angrily,
"that she does not obey my orders, and return at regular hours?"

"She may be turning silly," said Ellesmere mysteriously; "or she may
be turning too sly; and I think it were as well your ladyship looked to
it."

"Looked to what, Ellesmere?" said the lady impatiently. "You are
strangely oracular this morning. If you know anything to the prejudice
of this young woman, I pray you speak it out."

"I prejudice!" said Ellesmere; "I scorn to prejudice man, woman, or
child, in the way of a fellow-servant; only I wish your ladyship to look
about you, and use your own eyes--that is all."

"You bid me use my own eyes, Ellesmere; but I suspect," answered the
lady, "you would be better pleased were I contented to see through your
spectacles. I charge you--and you know I will be obeyed--I charge you to
tell me what you know or suspect about this girl, Deborah Debbitch."

"I see through spectacles!" exclaimed the indignant Abigail; "your
ladyship will pardon me in that, for I never use them, unless a pair
that belonged to my poor mother, which I put on when your ladyship
wants your pinners curiously wrought. No woman above sixteen ever did
white-seam without barnacles. And then as to suspecting, I suspect
nothing; for as your ladyship hath taken Mistress Deborah Debbitch from
under my hand, to be sure it is neither bread nor butter of mine. Only"
(here she began to speak with her lips shut, so as scarce to permit a
sound to issue, and mincing her words as if she pinched off the ends
of them before she suffered them to escape),--"only, madam, if Mistress
Deborah goes so often of a morning to Moultrassie Holt, why, I should
not be surprised if she should never find the way back again."

"Once more, what do you mean, Ellesmere? You were wont to have some
sense--let me know distinctly what the matter is."

"Only, madam," pursued the Abigail, "that since Bridgenorth came back
from Chesterfield, and saw you at the Castle Hall, Mistress Deborah has
been pleased to carry the children every morning to that place; and
it has so happened that she has often met the Major, as they call him,
there in his walks; for he can walk about now like other folks; and
I warrant you she hath not been the worse of the meeting--one way at
least, for she hath bought a new hood might serve yourself, madam; but
whether she hath had anything in hand besides a piece of money, no doubt
your ladyship is best judge."

Lady Peveril, who readily adopted the more good-natured construction of
the governante's motives, could not help laughing at the idea of a man
of Bridgenorth's precise appearance, strict principles, and reserved
habits, being suspected of a design of gallantry; and readily concluded,
that Mistress Deborah had found her advantage in gratifying his parental
affection by a frequent sight of his daughter during the few days which
intervened betwixt his first seeing little Alice at the Castle, and the
events which had followed. But she was somewhat surprised, when, an
hour after the usual breakfast hour, during which neither the child nor
Mistress Deborah appeared, Major Bridgenorth's only man-servant arrived
at the Castle on horseback, dressed as for a journey; and having
delivered a letter addressed to herself, and another to Mistress
Ellesmere, rode away without waiting any answer.

There would have been nothing remarkable in this, had any other person
been concerned; but Major Bridgenorth was so very quiet and orderly in
all his proceedings--so little liable to act hastily or by impulse, that
the least appearance of bustle where he was concerned, excited surprise
and curiosity.

Lady Peveril broke her letter hastily open, and found that it contained
the following lines:--


 "_For the Hands of the Honourable and Honoured Lady Peveril--
  These:_

 "Madam--Please it your Ladyship,--I write more to excuse myself to
  your ladyship, than to accuse either you or others, in respect
  that I am sensible it becomes our frail nature better to confess
  our own imperfections, than to complain of those of others.
  Neither do I mean to speak of past times, particularly in respect
  of your worthy ladyship, being sensible that if I have served you
  in that period when our Israel might be called triumphant, you
  have more than requited me, in giving to my arms a child,
  redeemed, as it were, from the vale of the shadow of death. And
  therefore, as I heartily forgive to your ladyship the unkind and
  violent measure which you dealt to me at our last meeting (seeing
  that the woman who was the cause of strife is accounted one of
  your kindred people), I do entreat you, in like manner, to pardon
  my enticing away from your service the young woman called Deborah
  Debbitch, whose direction, is, it may be, indispensable to the
  health of my dearest child. I had purposed, madam, with your
  gracious permission, that Alice should have remained at Martindale
  Castle, under your kind charge, until she could so far discern
  betwixt good and evil, that it should be matter of conscience to
  teach her the way in which she should go. For it is not unknown to
  your ladyship, and in no way do I speak it reproachfully, but
  rather sorrowfully, that a person so excellently gifted as
  yourself--I mean touching natural qualities--has not yet received
  that true light, which is a lamp to the paths, but are contented
  to stumble in darkness, and among the graves of dead men. It has
  been my prayer in the watches of the night, that your ladyship
  should cease from the doctrine which causeth to err; but I grieve
  to say, that our candlestick being about to be removed, the land
  will most likely be involved in deeper darkness than ever; and the
  return of the King, to which I and many looked forward as a
  manifestation of divine favour, seems to prove little else than a
  permitted triumph of the Prince of the Air, who setteth about to
  restore his Vanity-fair of bishops, deans, and such like,
  extruding the peaceful ministers of the word, whose labours have
  proved faithful to many hungry souls. So, hearing from a sure
  hand, that commission has gone forth to restore these dumb dogs,
  the followers of Laud and of Williams, who were cast forth by the
  late Parliament, and that an Act of Conformity, or rather of
  deformity, of worship, was to be expected, it is my purpose to
  flee from the wrath to come, and to seek some corner where I may
  dwell in peace, and enjoy liberty of conscience. For who would
  abide in the Sanctuary, after the carved work thereof is broken
  down, and when it hath been made a place for owls, and satyrs of
  the wilderness?--And herein I blame myself, madam, that I went in
  the singleness of my heart too readily into that carousing in the
  house of feasting, wherein my love of union, and my desire to show
  respect to your ladyship, were made a snare to me. But I trust it
  will be an atonement, that I am now about to absent myself from
  the place of my birth, and the house of my fathers, as well as
  from the place which holdeth the dust of those pledges of my
  affection. I have also to remember, that in this land my honour
  (after the worldly estimation) hath been abated, and my utility
  circumscribed, by your husband, Sir Geoffrey Peveril; and that
  without any chance of my obtaining reparation at his hand, whereby
  I may say the hand of a kinsman was lifted up against my credit
  and my life. These things are bitter to the taste of the old Adam;
  wherefore to prevent farther bickerings, and, it may be,
  bloodshed, it is better that I leave this land for a time. The
  affairs which remain to be settled between Sir Geoffrey and
  myself, I shall place in the hand of the righteous Master Joachim
  Win-the-Fight, an attorney in Chester, who will arrange them with
  such attention to Sir Geoffrey's convenience, as justice, and the
  due exercise of the law, will permit; for, as I trust I shall
  have grace to resist the temptation to make the weapons of carnal
  warfare the instruments of my revenge, so I scorn to effect it
  through the means of Mammon. Wishing, madam, that the Lord may
  grant you every blessing, and, in especial, that which is over all
  others, namely, the true knowledge of His way, I remain, your
  devoted servant to command,     RALPH BRIDGENORTH.

 "_Written at Moultrassie Hall, this tenth
        day of July, 1660._"


So soon as Lady Peveril had perused this long and singular homily,
in which it seemed to her that her neighbour showed more spirit of
religious fanaticism than she could have supposed him possessed of,
she looked up and beheld Ellesmere,--with a countenance in which
mortification, and an affected air of contempt, seemed to struggle
together,--who, tired with watching the expression of her mistress's
countenance, applied for confirmation of her suspicions in plain terms.

"I suppose, madam," said the waiting-woman, "the fanatic fool intends to
marry the wench? They say he goes to shift the country. Truly it's time,
indeed; for, besides that the whole neighbourhood would laugh him to
scorn, I should not be surprised if Lance Outram, the keeper, gave him a
buck's head to bear; for that is all in the way of his office."

"There is no great occasion for your spite at present, Ellesmere,"
replied her lady. "My letter says nothing of marriage; but it would
appear that Master Bridgenorth, being to leave this country, has engaged
Deborah to take care of his child; and I am sure I am heartily glad of
it, for the infant's sake."

"And I am glad of it for my own," said Ellesmere; "and, indeed, for the
sake of the whole house.--And your ladyship thinks she is not like to be
married to him? Troth, I could never see how he should be such an idiot;
but perhaps she is going to do worse; for she speaks here of coming to
high preferment, and that scarce comes by honest servitude nowadays;
then she writes me about sending her things, as if I were mistress of
the wardrobe to her ladyship--ay, and recommends Master Julian to the
care of my age and experience, forsooth, as if she needed to recommend
the dear little jewel to me; and then, to speak of my age--But I will
bundle away her rags to the Hall, with a witness!"

"Do it with all civility," said the lady, "and let Whitaker send her the
wages for which she has served, and a broad-piece over and above; for
though a light-headed young woman, she was kind to the children."

"I know who is kind to their servants, madam, and would spoil the best
ever pinned a gown."

"I spoiled a good one, Ellesmere, when I spoiled thee," said the lady;
"but tell Mistress Deborah to kiss the little Alice for me, and to
offer my good wishes to Major Bridgenorth, for his temporal and future
happiness."

She permitted no observation or reply, but dismissed her attendant,
without entering into farther particulars.

When Ellesmere had withdrawn, Lady Peveril began to reflect, with much
feeling of compassion, on the letter of Major Bridgenorth; a person in
whom there were certainly many excellent qualities, but whom a series of
domestic misfortunes, and the increasing gloom of a sincere, yet stern
feeling of devotion, rendered lonely and unhappy; and she had more than
one anxious thought for the happiness of the little Alice, brought
up, as she was likely to be, under such a father. Still the removal of
Bridgenorth was, on the whole, a desirable event; for while he remained
at the Hall, it was but too likely that some accidental collision with
Sir Geoffrey might give rise to a rencontre betwixt them, more fatal
than the last had been.

In the meanwhile, she could not help expressing to Doctor Dummerar
her surprise and sorrow, that all which she had done and attempted, to
establish peace and unanimity betwixt the contending factions, had been
perversely fated to turn out the very reverse of what she had aimed at.

"But for my unhappy invitation," she said, "Bridgenorth would not have
been at the Castle on the morning which succeeded the feast, would not
have seen the Countess, and would not have incurred the resentment and
opposition of my husband. And but for the King's return, an event which
was so anxiously expected as the termination of all our calamities,
neither the noble lady nor ourselves had been engaged in this new path
of difficulty and danger."

"Honoured madam," said Doctor Dummerar, "were the affairs of this world
to be guided implicitly by human wisdom, or were they uniformly to fall
out according to the conjectures of human foresight, events would no
longer be under the domination of that time and chance, which happen
unto all men, since we should, in the one case, work out our own
purposes to a certainty, by our own skill, and in the other, regulate
our conduct according to the views of unerring prescience. But man is,
while in this vale of tears, like an uninstructed bowler, so to speak,
who thinks to attain the jack, by delivering his bowl straight forward
upon it, being ignorant that there is a concealed bias within the
spheroid, which will make it, in all probability, swerve away, and lose
the cast."

Having spoken this with a sententious air, the Doctor took his
shovel-shaped hat, and went down to the Castle green, to conclude a
match of bowls with Whitaker, which had probably suggested this notable
illustration of the uncertain course of human events.

Two days afterwards, Sir Geoffrey arrived. He had waited at Vale Royal
till he heard of the Countess's being safely embarked for Man, and then
had posted homeward to his Castle and Dame Margaret. On his way, he
learned from some of his attendants, the mode in which his lady had
conducted the entertainment which she had given to the neighbourhood at
his order; and notwithstanding the great deference he usually showed
in cases where Lady Peveril was concerned, he heard of her liberality
towards the Presbyterian party with great indignation.

"I could have admitted Bridgenorth," he said, "for he always bore him
in neighbourly and kindly fashion till this last career--I could have
endured him, so he would have drunk the King's health, like a true
man--but to bring that snuffling scoundrel Solsgrace, with all his
beggarly, long-eared congregation, to hold a conventicle in my father's
house--to let them domineer it as they listed--why, I would not have
permitted them such liberty, when they held their head the highest! They
never, in the worst of times, found any way into Martindale Castle but
what Noll's cannon made for them; and that they should come and cant
there, when good King Charles is returned--By my hand, Dame Margaret
shall hear of it!"

But, notwithstanding these ireful resolutions, resentment altogether
subsided in the honest Knight's breast, when he saw the fair features of
his lady lightened with affectionate joy at his return in safety. As he
took her in his arms and kissed her, he forgave her ere he mentioned her
offence.

"Thou hast played the knave with me, Meg," he said, shaking his head,
and smiling at the same time, "and thou knowest in what manner; but I
think thou art true church-woman, and didst only act from silly womanish
fancy of keeping fair with these roguish Roundheads. But let me have no
more of this. I had rather Martindale Castle were again rent by their
bullets, than receive any of the knaves in the way of friendship--I
always except Ralph Bridgenorth of the Hall, if he should come to his
senses again."

Lady Peveril was here under the necessity of explaining what she had
heard of Master Bridgenorth--the disappearance of the governante with
his daughter, and placed Bridgenorth's letter in his hand. Sir Geoffrey
shook his head at first, and then laughed extremely at the idea that
there was some little love-intrigue between Bridgenorth and Mistress
Deborah.

"It is the true end of a dissenter," he said, "to marry his own
maid-servant, or some other person's. Deborah is a good likely wench,
and on the merrier side of thirty, as I should think."

"Nay, nay," said the Lady Peveril, "you are as uncharitable as
Ellesmere--I believe it but to be affection to his child."

"Pshaw! pshaw!" answered the Knight, "women are eternally thinking of
children; but among men, dame, many one carresses the infant that he
may kiss the child's maid; and where's the wonder or the harm either, if
Bridgenorth should marry the wench? Her father is a substantial yeoman;
his family has had the same farm since Bosworthfield--as good a pedigree
as that of the great-grandson of a Chesterfield brewer, I trow. But let
us hear what he says for himself--I shall spell it out if there is any
roguery in the letter about love and liking, though it might escape your
innocence, Dame Margaret."

The Knight of the Peak began to peruse the letter accordingly, but was
much embarrassed by the peculiar language in which it was couched. "What
he means by moving of candlesticks, and breaking down of carved work
in the church, I cannot guess; unless he means to bring back the large
silver candlesticks which my grandsire gave to be placed on the altar
at Martindale Moultrassie; and which his crop-eared friends, like
sacrilegious villains as they are, stole and melted down. And in like
manner, the only breaking I know of, was when they pulled down the rails
of the communion table (for which some of their fingers are hot enough
by this time), and when the brass ornaments were torn down from Peveril
monuments; and that was breaking and removing with a vengeance. However,
dame, the upshot is, that poor Bridgenorth is going to leave the
neighbourhood. I am truly sorry for it, though I never saw him oftener
than once a day, and never spoke to him above two words. But I see how
it is--that little shake by the shoulder sticks in his stomach; and yet,
Meg, I did but lift him out of the saddle as I might have lifted thee
into it, Margaret--I was careful not to hurt him; and I did not think
him so tender in point of honour as to mind such a thing much; but I
see plainly where his sore lies; and I warrant you I will manage that
he stays at the Hall, and that you get back Julian's little companion.
Faith, I am sorry myself at the thought of losing the baby, and of
having to choose another ride when it is not hunting weather, than round
by the Hall, with a word at the window."

"I should be very glad, Sir Geoffrey," said the Lady Peveril, "that you
could come to a reconciliation with this worthy man, for such I must
hold Master Bridgenorth to be."

"But for his dissenting principles, as good a neighbour as ever lived,"
said Sir Geoffrey.

"But I scarce see," continued the lady, "any possibility of bringing
about a conclusion so desirable."

"Tush, dame," answered the Knight, "thou knowest little of such matters.
I know the foot he halts upon, and you shall see him go as sound as
ever."

Lady Peveril had, from her sincere affection and sound sense, as good
a right to claim the full confidence of her husband, as any woman in
Derbyshire; and, upon this occasion, to confess the truth, she had more
anxiety to know his purpose than her sense of their mutual and separate
duties permitted her in general to entertain. She could not imagine what
mode of reconciliation with his neighbour, Sir Geoffrey (no very acute
judge of mankind or their peculiarities) could have devised, which might
not be disclosed to her; and she felt some secret anxiety lest the means
resorted to might be so ill chosen as to render the breach rather wider.
But Sir Geoffrey would give no opening for farther inquiry. He had been
long enough colonel of a regiment abroad, to value himself on the right
of absolute command at home; and to all the hints which his lady's
ingenuity could devise and throw out, he only answered, "Patience, Dame
Margaret, patience. This is no case for thy handling. Thou shalt know
enough on't by-and-by, dame.--Go, look to Julian. Will the boy never
have done crying for lack of that little sprout of a Roundhead? But we
will have little Alice back with us in two or three days, and all will
be well again."

As the good Knight spoke these words, a post winded his horn in the
court, and a large packet was brought in, addressed to the worshipful
Sir Geoffrey Peveril, Justice of the Peace, and so forth; for he had
been placed in authority as soon as the King's Restoration was put upon
a settled basis. Upon opening the packet, which he did with no small
feeling of importance, he found that it contained the warrant which he
had solicited for replacing Doctor Dummerar in the parish, from which he
had been forcibly ejected during the usurpation.

Few incidents could have given more delight to Sir Geoffrey. He could
forgive a stout able-bodied sectary or nonconformist, who enforced his
doctrines in the field by downright blows on the casques and cuirasses
of himself and other Cavaliers. But he remembered with most vindictive
accuracy, the triumphant entrance of Hugh Peters through the breach
of his Castle; and for his sake, without nicely distinguishing betwixt
sects or their teachers, he held all who mounted a pulpit without
warrant from the Church of England--perhaps he might also in
private except that of Rome--to be disturbers of the public
tranquillity--seducers of the congregation from their lawful
preachers--instigators of the late Civil War--and men well disposed to
risk the fate of a new one.

Then, on the other hand, besides gratifying his dislike to Solsgrace,
he saw much satisfaction in the task of replacing his old friend and
associate in sport and in danger, the worthy Doctor Dummerar, in his
legitimate rights and in the ease and comforts of his vicarage. He
communicated the contents of the packet, with great triumph, to the
lady, who now perceived the sense of the mysterious paragraph in Major
Bridgenorth's letter, concerning the removal of the candlestick, and the
extinction of light and doctrine in the land. She pointed this out to
Sir Geoffrey, and endeavoured to persuade him that a door was now opened
to reconciliation with his neighbour, by executing the commission which
he had received in an easy and moderate manner, after due delay, and
with all respect to the feelings both of Solsgrace and his congregation,
which circumstances admitted of. This, the lady argued, would be doing
no injury whatever to Doctor Dummerar;--nay, might be the means of
reconciling many to his ministry, who might otherwise be disgusted with
it for ever, by the premature expulsion of a favourite preacher.

There was much wisdom, as well as moderation, in this advice; and, at
another time, Sir Geoffrey would have sense enough to have adopted it.
But who can act composedly or prudently in the hour of triumph? The
ejection of Mr. Solsgrace was so hastily executed, as to give it some
appearance of persecution; though, more justly considered, it was the
restoring of his predecessor to his legal rights. Solsgrace himself
seemed to be desirous to make his sufferings as manifest as possible.
He held out to the last; and on the Sabbath after he had received
intimation of his ejection, attempted to make his way to the pulpit, as
usual, supported by Master Bridgenorth's attorney, Win-the-Fight, and a
few zealous followers.

Just as their party came into the churchyard on the one side, Doctor
Dummerar, dressed in full pontificals, in a sort of triumphal procession
accompanied by Peveril of the Peak, Sir Jasper Cranbourne, and other
Cavaliers of distinction, entered at the other.

To prevent an actual struggle in the church, the parish officers were
sent to prevent the farther approach of the Presbyterian minister; which
was effected without farther damage than a broken head, inflicted
by Roger Raine, the drunken innkeeper of the Peveril Arms, upon the
Presbyterian attorney of Chesterfield.

Unsubdued in spirit, though compelled to retreat by superior force, the
undaunted Mr. Solsgrace retired to the vicarage; where under some legal
pretext which had been started by Mr. Win-the-Fight (in that day
unaptly named), he attempted to maintain himself--bolted gates--barred
windows--and, as report said (though falsely), made provision of
fire-arms to resist the officers. A scene of clamour and scandal
accordingly took place, which being reported to Sir Geoffrey, he came in
person, with some of his attendants carrying arms--forced the outer-gate
and inner-doors of the house; and proceeding to the study, found no
other garrison save the Presbyterian parson, with the attorney, who gave
up possession of the premises, after making protestation against the
violence that had been used.

The rabble of the village being by this time all in motion, Sir
Geoffrey, both in prudence and good-nature, saw the propriety of
escorting his prisoners, for so they might be termed, safely through the
tumult; and accordingly conveyed them in person, through much noise and
clamour, as far as the avenue of Moultrassie Hall, which they chose for
the place of their retreat.

But the absence of Sir Geoffrey gave the rein to some disorders, which,
if present, he would assuredly have restrained. Some of the minister's
books were torn and flung about as treasonable and seditious trash, by
the zealous parish-officers or their assistants. A quantity of his
ale was drunk up in healths to the King and Peveril of the Peak.
And, finally, the boys, who bore the ex-parson no good-will for his
tyrannical interference with their games at skittles, foot-ball, and so
forth, and, moreover, remembered the unmerciful length of his
sermons, dressed up an effigy with his Geneva gown and band, and his
steeple-crowned hat, which they paraded through the village, and burned
on the spot whilom occupied by a stately Maypole, which Solsgrace had
formerly hewed down with his own reverend hands.

Sir Geoffrey was vexed at all this and sent to Mr. Solsgrace, offering
satisfaction for the goods which he had lost; but the Calvinistical
divine replied, "From a thread to a shoe-latchet, I will not take
anything that is thine. Let the shame of the work of thy hands abide
with thee."

Considerable scandal, indeed, arose against Sir Geoffrey Peveril as
having proceeded with indecent severity and haste upon this occasion;
and rumour took care to make the usual additions to the reality. It was
currently reported, that the desperate Cavalier, Peveril of the
Peak, had fallen on a Presbyterian congregation, while engaged in the
peaceable exercise of religion, with a band of armed men--had slain
some, desperately wounded many more, and finally pursued the preacher to
his vicarage which he burned to the ground. Some alleged the clergyman
had perished in the flames; and the most mitigated report bore, that he
had only been able to escape by disposing his gown, cap, and band,
near a window, in such a manner as to deceive them with the idea of his
person being still surrounded by flames, while he himself fled by the
back part of the house. And although few people believed in the extent
of the atrocities thus imputed to our honest Cavalier, yet still enough
of obloquy attached to him to infer very serious consequences, as the
reader will learn at a future period of our history.



CHAPTER IX

             _Bessus_.--'Tis a challenge, sir, is it not?
             _Gentleman_.--'Tis an inviting to the field.
                                           --King and No King.

For a day or two after this forcible expulsion from the vicarage, Mr.
Solsgrace continued his residence at Moultrassie Hall, where the natural
melancholy attendant on his situation added to the gloom of the owner
of the mansion. In the morning, the ejected divine made excursions to
different families in the neighbourhood, to whom his ministry had
been acceptable in the days of his prosperity, and from whose grateful
recollections of that period he now found sympathy and consolation. He
did not require to be condoled with, because he was deprived of an easy
and competent maintenance, and thrust out upon the common of life, after
he had reason to suppose he would be no longer liable to such mutations
of fortune. The piety of Mr. Solsgrace was sincere; and if he had many
of the uncharitable prejudices against other sects, which polemical
controversy had generated, and the Civil War brought to a head, he had
also that deep sense of duty, by which enthusiasm is so often dignified,
and held his very life little, if called upon to lay it down in
attestation of the doctrines in which he believed. But he was soon
to prepare for leaving the district which Heaven, he conceived, had
assigned to him as his corner of the vineyard; he was to abandon his
flock to the wolf--was to forsake those with whom he had held sweet
counsel in religious communion--was to leave the recently converted
to relapse into false doctrines, and forsake the wavering, whom his
continued cares might have directed into the right path,--these were
of themselves deep causes of sorrow, and were aggravated, doubtless, by
those natural feelings with which all men, especially those whose duties
or habits have confined them to a limited circle, regard the separation
from wonted scenes, and their accustomed haunts of solitary musing, or
social intercourse.

There was, indeed, a plan of placing Mr. Solsgrace at the head of a
nonconforming congregation in his present parish, which his followers
would have readily consented to endow with a sufficient revenue. But
although the act for universal conformity was not yet passed, such a
measure was understood to be impending, and there existed a general
opinion among the Presbyterians, that in no hands was it likely to be
more strictly enforced, than in those of Peveril of the Peak.
Solsgrace himself considered not only his personal danger as being
considerable,--for, assuming perhaps more consequence than was actually
attached to him or his productions, he conceived the honest Knight to be
his mortal and determined enemy,--but he also conceived that he should
serve the cause of his Church by absenting himself from Derbyshire.

"Less known pastors," he said, "though perhaps more worthy of the name,
may be permitted to assemble the scattered flocks in caverns or in
secret wilds, and to them shall the gleaning of the grapes of Ephraim
be better than the vintage of Abiezer. But I, that have so often carried
the banner forth against the mighty--I, whose tongue hath testified,
morning and evening, like the watchman upon the tower, against Popery,
Prelacy, and the tyrant of the Peak--for me to abide here, were but to
bring the sword of bloody vengeance amongst you, that the shepherd might
be smitten, and the sheep scattered. The shedders of blood have
already assailed me, even within that ground which they themselves call
consecrated; and yourselves have seen the scalp of the righteous broken,
as he defended my cause. Therefore, I will put on my sandals, and gird
my loins, and depart to a far country, and there do as my duty shall
call upon me, whether it be to act or to suffer--to bear testimony at
the stake or in the pulpit."

Such were the sentiments which Mr. Solsgrace expressed to his desponding
friends, and which he expatiated upon at more length with Major
Bridgenorth; not failing, with friendly zeal, to rebuke the haste
which the latter had shown to thrust out the hand of fellowship to the
Amalekite woman, whereby he reminded him, "He had been rendered her
slave and bondsman for a season, like Samson, betrayed by Delilah, and
might have remained longer in the house of Dagon, had not Heaven pointed
to him a way out of the snare. Also, it sprung originally from the
Major's going up to feast in the high place of Baal, that he who was the
champion of the truth was stricken down, and put to shame by the enemy,
even in the presence of the host."

These objurgations seeming to give some offence to Major Bridgenorth,
who liked, no better than any other man, to hear of his own mishaps, and
at the same time to have them imputed to his own misconduct, the worthy
divine proceeded to take shame to himself for his own sinful compliance
in that matter; for to the vengeance justly due for that unhappy dinner
at Martindale Castle (which was, he said, a crying of peace when there
was no peace, and a dwelling in the tents of sin), he imputed his
ejection from his living, with the destruction of some of his most pithy
and highly prized volumes of divinity, with the loss of his cap, gown,
and band, and a double hogshead of choice Derby ale.

The mind of Major Bridgenorth was strongly tinged with devotional
feeling, which his late misfortunes had rendered more deep and solemn;
and it is therefore no wonder, that, when he heard these arguments urged
again and again, by a pastor whom he so much respected, and who was now
a confessor in the cause of their joint faith, he began to look
back with disapproval on his own conduct, and to suspect that he had
permitted himself to be seduced by gratitude towards Lady Peveril, and
by her special arguments in favour of a mutual and tolerating liberality
of sentiments, into an action which had a tendency to compromise his
religious and political principles.

One morning, as Major Bridgenorth had wearied himself with several
details respecting the arrangement of his affairs, he was reposing in
the leathern easy-chair, beside the latticed window, a posture which, by
natural association, recalled to him the memory of former times, and
the feelings with which he was wont to expect the recurring visit of
Sir Geoffrey, who brought him news of his child's welfare,--"Surely,"
he said, thinking, as it were, aloud, "there was no sin in the kindness
with which I then regarded that man."

Solsgrace, who was in the apartment, and guessed what passed through
his friend's mind, acquainted as he was with every point of his history,
replied--"When God caused Elijah to be fed by ravens, while hiding at
the brook Cherith, we hear not of his fondling the unclean birds, whom,
contrary to their ravening nature, a miracle compelled to minister to
him."

"It may be so," answered Bridgenorth, "yet the flap of their wings must
have been gracious in the ear of the famished prophet, like the tread of
his horse in mine. The ravens, doubtless, resumed their nature when
the season was passed, and even so it has fared with him.--Hark!" he
exclaimed, starting, "I hear his horse's hoof tramp even now."

It was seldom that the echoes of that silent house and courtyard were
awakened by the trampling of horses, but such was now the case.

Both Bridgenorth and Solsgrace were surprised at the sound, and even
disposed to anticipate some farther oppression on the part of the
government, when the Major's old servant introduced, with little
ceremony (for his manners were nearly as plain as his master's), a tall
gentleman on the farther side of middle life, whose vest and cloak, long
hair, slouched hat and drooping feather, announced him as a Cavalier.
He bowed formally, but courteously, to both gentlemen, and said, that he
was "Sir Jasper Cranbourne, charged with an especial message to Master
Ralph Bridgenorth of Moultrassie Hall, by his honourable friend Sir
Geoffrey Peveril of the Peak, and that he requested to know whether
Master Bridgenorth would be pleased to receive his acquittal of
commission here or elsewhere."

"Anything which Sir Geoffrey Peveril can have to say to me," said Major
Bridgenorth, "may be told instantly, and before my friend, from whom I
have no secrets."

"The presence of any other friend were, instead of being objectionable,
the thing in the world most to be desired," said Sir Jasper, after a
moment's hesitation, and looking at Mr. Solsgrace; "but this gentleman
seems to be a sort of clergyman."

"I am not conscious of any secrets," answered Bridgenorth, "nor do I
desire to have any, in which a clergyman is unfitting confidant."

"At your pleasure," replied Sir Jasper. "The confidence, for aught I
know, may be well enough chosen, for your divines (always under your
favour) have proved no enemies to such matters as I am to treat with you
upon."

"Proceed, sir," answered Mr. Bridgenorth gravely; "and I pray you to be
seated, unless it is rather your pleasure to stand."

"I must, in the first place, deliver myself of my small commission,"
answered Sir Jasper, drawing himself up; "and it will be after I have
seen the reception thereof, that I shall know whether I am, or am
not, to sit down at Moultrassie Hall.--Sir Geoffrey Peveril, Master
Bridgenorth, hath carefully considered with himself the unhappy
circumstances which at present separate you as neighbours. And he
remembers many passages in former times--I speak his very words--which
incline him to do all that can possibly consist with his honour, to wipe
out unkindness between you; and for this desirable object, he is willing
to condescend in a degree, which, as you could not have expected, it
will no doubt give you great pleasure to learn."

"Allow me to say, Sir Jasper," said Bridgenorth, "that this is
unnecessary. I have made no complaints of Sir Geoffrey--I have required
no submission from him--I am about to leave this country; and what
affairs we may have together, can be as well settled by others as by
ourselves."

"In a word," said the divine, "the worthy Major Bridgenorth hath had
enough of trafficking with the ungodly, and will no longer, on any
terms, consort with them."

"Gentleman both," said Sir Jasper, with imperturbable politeness,
bowing, "you greatly mistake the tenor of my commission, which you will
do as well to hear out, before making any reply to it.--I think, Master
Bridgenorth, you cannot but remember your letter to the Lady Peveril,
of which I have here a rough copy, in which you complain of the
hard measure which you have received at Sir Geoffrey's hand, and, in
particular, when he pulled you from your horse at or near Hartley-nick.
Now, Sir Geoffrey thinks so well of you, as to believe, that, were it
not for the wide difference betwixt his descent and rank and your
own, you would have sought to bring this matter to a gentleman-like
arbitrament, as the only mode whereby your stain may be honourably wiped
away. Wherefore, in this slight note, he gives you, in his generosity,
the offer of what you, in your modesty (for to nothing else does he
impute your acquiescence), have declined to demand of him. And withal,
I bring you the measure of his weapon; and when you have accepted the
cartel which I now offer you, I shall be ready to settle the time,
place, and other circumstances of your meeting."

"And I," said Solsgrace, with a solemn voice, "should the Author of Evil
tempt my friend to accept of so bloodthirsty a proposal, would be the
first to pronounce against him sentence of the greater excommunication."

"It is not you whom I address, reverend sir," replied the envoy; "your
interest, not unnaturally, may determine you to be more anxious about
your patron's life than about his honour. I must know, from himself, to
which _he_ is disposed to give the preference."

So saying, and with a graceful bow, he again tendered the challenge to
Major Bridgenorth. There was obviously a struggle in that gentleman's
bosom, between the suggestions of human honour and those of religious
principle; but the latter prevailed. He calmly waived receiving the
paper which Sir Jasper offered to him, and spoke to the following
purpose:--"It may not be known to you, Sir Jasper, that since the
general pouring out of Christian light upon this kingdom, many solid men
have been led to doubt whether the shedding human blood by the hand of a
fellow-creature be in _any_ respect justifiable. And although this rule
appears to me to be scarcely applicable to our state in this stage of
trial, seeing that such non-resistance, if general, would surrender our
civil and religious rights into the hands of whatsoever daring tyrants
might usurp the same; yet I am, and have been, inclined to limit the
use of carnal arms to the case of necessary self-defence, whether
such regards our own person, or the protection of our country against
invasion; or of our rights of property, and the freedom of our laws and
of our conscience, against usurping power. And as I have never shown
myself unwilling to draw my sword in any of the latter causes, so you
shall excuse my suffering it now to remain in the scabbard, when, having
sustained a grievous injury, the man who inflicted it summons me to
combat, either upon an idle punctilio, or, as is more likely, in mere
bravado."

"I have heard you with patience," said Sir Jasper; "and now, Master
Bridgenorth, take it not amiss, if I beseech you to bethink yourself
better on this matter. I vow to Heaven, sir, that your honour lies
a-bleeding; and that in condescending to afford you this fair meeting,
and thereby giving you some chance to stop its wounds, Sir Geoffrey has
been moved by a tender sense of your condition, and an earnest wish to
redeem your dishonour. And it will be but the crossing of your blade
with his honoured sword for the space of some few minutes, and you will
either live or die a noble and honoured gentleman. Besides, that the
Knight's exquisite skill of fence may enable him, as his good-nature
will incline him, to disarm you with some flesh wound, little to the
damage of your person, and greatly to the benefit of your reputation."

"The tender mercies of the wicked," said Master Solsgrace emphatically,
by way of commenting on this speech, which Sir Jasper had uttered very
pathetically, "are cruel."

"I pray to have no farther interruption from your reverence," said Sir
Jasper; "especially as I think this affair very little concerns you;
and I entreat that you permit me to discharge myself regularly of my
commission from my worthy friend."

So saying, he took his sheathed rapier from his belt, and passing the
point through the silk thread which secured the letter, he once
more, and literally at sword point, gracefully tendered it to Major
Bridgenorth who again waved it aside, though colouring deeply at the
same time, as if he was putting a marked constraint upon himself--drew
back, and made Sir Jasper Cranbourne a deep bow.

"Since it is to be thus," said Sir Jasper, "I must myself do violence to
the seal of Sir Geoffrey's letter, and read it to you, that I may
fully acquit myself of the charge entrusted to me, and make you, Master
Bridgenorth, equally aware of the generous intentions of Sir Geoffrey on
your behalf."

"If," said Major Bridgenorth, "the contents of the letter be to no
other purpose than you have intimated, methinks farther ceremony is
unnecessary on this occasion, as I have already taken my course."

"Nevertheless," said Sir Jasper, breaking open the letter, "it is
fitting that I read to you the letter of my worshipful friend." And he
read accordingly as follows:--


       "_For the worthy hands of Ralph Bridgenorth, Esquire, of
                      Moultrassie Hall--These:_

       "By the honoured conveyance of the Worshipful Sir Jasper
               Cranbourne, Knight, of Long-Mallington.

 "Master Bridgenorth,--We have been given to understand by your
  letter to our loving wife, Dame Margaret Peveril, that you hold
  hard construction of certain passages betwixt you and I, of a late
  date, as if your honour should have been, in some sort, prejudiced
  by what then took place. And although you have not thought it fit
  to have direct recourse to me, to request such satisfaction as is
  due from one gentleman of condition to another, yet I am fully
  minded that this proceeds only from modesty, arising out of the
  distinction of our degree, and from no lack of that courage which
  you have heretofore displayed, I would I could say in a good
  cause. Wherefore I am purposed to give you, by my friend, Sir
  Jasper Cranbourne, a meeting, for the sake of doing that which
  doubtless you entirely long for. Sir Jasper will deliver you the
  length of my weapon, and appoint circumstances and an hour for our
  meeting; which, whether early or late--on foot or horseback--with
  rapier or backsword--I refer to yourself, with all the other
  privileges of a challenged person; only desiring, that if you
  decline to match my weapon, you will send me forthwith the length
  and breadth of your own. And nothing doubting that the issue of
  this meeting must needs be to end, in one way or other, all
  unkindness betwixt two near neighbours,--I remain, your humble
  servant to command,
                                    "Geoffrey Peveril of the Peak."

 "Given from my poor house of Martindale Castle, this same ____ of
  ____, sixteen hundred and sixty."


"Bear back my respects to Sir Geoffrey Peveril," said Major Bridgenorth.
"According to his light, his meaning may be fair towards me; but tell
him that our quarrel had its rise in his own wilful aggression towards
me; and that though I wish to be in charity with all mankind, I am not
so wedded to his friendship as to break the laws of God, and run the
risk of suffering or committing murder, in order to regain it. And for
you, sir, methinks your advanced years and past misfortunes might teach
you the folly of coming on such idle errands."

"I shall do your message, Master Ralph Bridgenorth," said Sir Jasper;
"and shall then endeavour to forget your name, as a sound unfit to be
pronounced, or even remembered, by a man of honour. In the meanwhile,
in return for your uncivil advice, be pleased to accept of mine; namely,
that as your religion prevents your giving a gentleman satisfaction, it
ought to make you very cautious of offering him provocation."

So saying, and with a look of haughty scorn, first at the Major, and
then at the divine, the envoy of Sir Geoffrey put his hat on his head,
replaced his rapier in its belt, and left the apartment. In a few
minutes afterwards, the tread of his horse died away at a considerable
distance.

Bridgenorth had held his hand upon his brow ever since his departure,
and a tear of anger and shame was on his face as he raised it when the
sound was heard no more. "He carries this answer to Martindale
Castle," he said. "Men will hereafter think of me as a whipped, beaten,
dishonourable fellow, whom every one may baffle and insult at their
pleasure. It is well I am leaving the house of my father."

Master Solsgrace approached his friend with much sympathy, and grasped
him by the hand. "Noble brother," he said, with unwonted kindness of
manner, "though a man of peace, I can judge what this sacrifice hath
cost to thy manly spirit. But God will not have from us an imperfect
obedience. We must not, like Ananias and Sapphira, reserve behind some
darling lust, some favourite sin, while we pretend to make sacrifice of
our worldly affections. What avails it to say that we have but secreted
a little matter, if the slightest remnant of the accursed thing remain
hidden in our tent? Would it be a defence in thy prayers to say, I have
not murdered this man for the lucre of gain, like a robber--nor for
the acquisition of power, like a tyrant,--nor for the gratification
of revenge, like a darkened savage; but because the imperious voice of
worldly honour said, 'Go forth--kill or be killed--is it not I that have
sent thee?' Bethink thee, my worthy friend, how thou couldst frame such
a vindication in thy prayers; and if thou art forced to tremble at the
blasphemy of such an excuse, remember in thy prayers the thanks due to
Heaven, which enabled thee to resist the strong temptation."

"Reverend and dear friend," answered Bridgenorth, "I feel that you speak
the truth. Bitterer, indeed, and harder, to the old Adam, is the text
which ordains him to suffer shame, than that which bids him to do
valiantly for the truth. But happy am I that my path through the
wilderness of this world will, for some space at least, be along with
one, whose zeal and friendship are so active to support me when I am
fainting in the way."

While the inhabitants of Moultrassie Hall thus communicated together
upon the purport of Sir Jasper Cranbourne's visit, that worthy knight
greatly excited the surprise of Sir Geoffrey Peveril, by reporting the
manner in which his embassy had been received.

"I took him for a man of other metal," said Sir Geoffrey;--"nay, I would
have sworn it, had any one asked my testimony. But there is no making a
silken purse out of a sow's ear. I have done a folly for him that I will
never do for another: and that is, to think a Presbyterian would fight
without his preacher's permission. Give them a two hours' sermon,
and let them howl a psalm to a tune that is worse than the cries of a
flogged hound, and the villains will lay on like threshers; but for
a calm, cool, gentleman-like turn upon the sod, hand to hand, in a
neighbourly way, they have not honour enough to undertake it. But enough
of our crop-eared cur of a neighbour.--Sir Jasper, you will tarry with
us to dine, and see how Dame Margaret's kitchen smokes; and after dinner
I will show you a long-winged falcon fly. She is not mine, but the
Countess's, who brought her from London on her fist almost the whole
way, for all the haste she was in, and left her with me to keep the
perch for a season."

This match was soon arranged, and Dame Margaret overheard the good
Knight's resentment mutter itself off, with those feelings with which
we listen to the last growling of the thunderstorm; which, as the black
cloud sinks beneath the hill, at once assures us that there has been
danger, and that the peril is over. She could not, indeed, but marvel in
her own mind at the singular path of reconciliation with his neighbour
which her husband had, with so much confidence, and in the actual
sincerity of his goodwill to Mr. Bridgenorth, attempted to open; and
she blessed God internally that it had not terminated in bloodshed.
But these reflections she locked carefully within her own bosom, well
knowing that they referred to subjects in which the Knight of the Peak
would neither permit his sagacity to be called in question, nor his will
to be controlled.

The progress of the history hath hitherto been slow; but after this
period so little matter worth of mark occurred at Martindale, that we
must hurry over hastily the transactions of several years.



CHAPTER X

              _Cleopatra._--Give me to drink mandragora,
              That I may sleep away this gap of time.
                                       --Antony and Cleopatra.

There passed, as we hinted at the conclusion of the last chapter, four
or five years after the period we have dilated upon; the events of
which scarcely require to be discussed, so far as our present purpose is
concerned, in as many lines. The Knight and his Lady continued to reside
at their Castle--she, with prudence and with patience, endeavouring
to repair the damages which the Civil Wars had inflicted upon their
fortune; and murmuring a little when her plans of economy were
interrupted by the liberal hospitality, which was her husband's
principal expense, and to which he was attached, not only from his own
English heartiness of disposition, but from ideas of maintaining the
dignity of his ancestry--no less remarkable, according to the tradition
of their buttery, kitchen, and cellar, for the fat beeves which they
roasted, and the mighty ale which they brewed, than for their extensive
estates, and the number of their retainers.

The world, however, upon the whole, went happily and easily with
the worthy couple. Sir Geoffrey's debt to his neighbour Bridgenorth
continued, it is true, unabated; but he was the only creditor upon the
Martindale estate--all others being paid off. It would have been most
desirable that this encumbrance also should be cleared, and it was the
great object of Dame Margaret's economy to effect the discharge; for
although interest was regularly settled with Master Win-the-Fight, the
Chesterfield attorney, yet the principal sum, which was a large one,
might be called for at an inconvenient time. The man, too, was gloomy,
important, and mysterious, and always seemed as if he was thinking upon
his broken head in the churchyard of Martindale-cum-Moultrassie.

Dame Margaret sometimes transacted the necessary business with him in
person; and when he came to the Castle on these occasions, she thought
she saw a malicious and disobliging expression in his manner and
countenance. Yet his actual conduct was not only fair, but liberal;
for indulgence was given, in the way of delay of payment, whenever
circumstances rendered it necessary to the debtor to require it. It
seemed to Lady Peveril that the agent, in such cases, was acting under
the strict orders of his absent employer, concerning whose welfare she
could not help feeling a certain anxiety.

Shortly after the failure of the singular negotiation for attaining
peace by combat, which Peveril had attempted to open with Major
Bridgenorth, that gentleman left his seat of Moultrassie Hall in the
care of his old housekeeper, and departed, no one knew whither, having
in company with him his daughter Alice and Mrs. Deborah Debbitch, now
formally installed in all the duties of a governante; to these was added
the Reverend Master Solsgrace. For some time public rumour persisted in
asserting, that Major Bridgenorth had only retreated to a distant part
of the country for a season, to achieve his supposed purpose of marrying
Mrs. Deborah, and of letting the news be cold, and the laugh of
the neighbourhood be ended, ere he brought her down as mistress of
Moultrassie Hall. This rumour died away; and it was then affirmed, that
he had removed to foreign parts, to ensure the continuance of health in
so delicate a constitution as that of little Alice. But when the
Major's dread of Popery was remembered, together with the still deeper
antipathies of worthy Master Nehemiah Solsgrace, it was resolved
unanimously, that nothing less than what they might deem a fair
chance of converting the Pope would have induced the parties to trust
themselves within Catholic dominions. The most prevailing opinion was,
that they had gone to New England, the refuge then of many whom too
intimate concern with the affairs of the late times, or the desire of
enjoying uncontrolled freedom of conscience, had induced to emigrate
from Britain.

Lady Peveril could not help entertaining a vague idea, that Bridgenorth
was not so distant. The extreme order in which everything was maintained
at Moultrassie Hall, seemed--no disparagement to the care of Dame
Dickens the housekeeper, and the other persons engaged--to argue,
that the master's eye was not so very far off, but that its occasional
inspection might be apprehended. It is true, that neither the domestics
nor the attorney answered any questions respecting the residence of
Master Bridgenorth; but there was an air of mystery about them when
interrogated, that seemed to argue more than met the ear.

About five years after Master Bridgenorth had left the country,
a singular incident took place. Sir Geoffrey was absent at the
Chesterfield races, and Lady Peveril, who was in the habit of walking
around every part of the neighbourhood unattended, or only accompanied
by Ellesmere, or her little boy, had gone down one evening upon a
charitable errand to a solitary hut, whose inhabitant lay sick of a
fever, which was supposed to be infectious. Lady Peveril never allowed
apprehensions of this kind to stop "devoted charitable deeds;" but she
did not choose to expose either her son or her attendant to the risk
which she herself, in some confidence that she knew precautions for
escaping the danger, did not hesitate to incur.

Lady Peveril had set out at a late hour in the evening, and the way
proved longer than she expected--several circumstances also occurred to
detain her at the hut of her patient. It was a broad autumn moonlight,
when she prepared to return homeward through the broken glades and
upland which divided her from the Castle. This she considered as a
matter of very little importance, in so quiet and sequestered a country,
where the road lay chiefly through her own domains, especially as she
had a lad about fifteen years old, the son of her patient, to escort
her on the way. The distance was better than two miles, but might be
considerably abridged by passing through an avenue belonging to the
estate of Moultrassie Hall, which she had avoided as she came, not from
the ridiculous rumours which pronounced it to be haunted, but because
her husband was much displeased when any attempt was made to render the
walks of the Castle and Hall common to the inhabitants of both. The good
lady, in consideration, perhaps, of extensive latitude allowed to her
in the more important concerns of the family, made a point of never
interfering with her husband's whims or prejudices; and it is a
compromise which we would heartily recommend to all managing matrons
of our acquaintance; for it is surprising how much real power will be
cheerfully resigned to the fair sex, for the pleasure of being allowed
to ride one's hobby in peace and quiet.

Upon the present occasion, however, although the Dobby's Walk[*] was
within the inhabited domains of the Hall, the Lady Peveril determined
to avail herself of it, for the purpose of shortening her road home,
and she directed her steps accordingly. But when the peasant-boy, her
companion, who had hitherto followed her, whistling cheerily, with a
hedge-bill in his hand, and his hat on one side, perceived that she
turned to the stile which entered to the Dobby's Walk, he showed
symptoms of great fear, and at length coming to the lady's side,
petitioned her, in a whimpering tone,--"Don't ye now--don't ye now, my
lady, don't ye go yonder."

[*] Dobby, an old English name for goblin.

Lady Peveril, observing that his teeth chattered in his head, and that
his whole person exhibited great signs of terror, began to recollect
the report, that the first Squire of Moultrassie, the brewer of
Chesterfield, who had brought the estate, and then died of melancholy
for lack of something to do (and, as was said, not without suspicions of
suicide), was supposed to walk in this sequestered avenue, accompanied
by a large headless mastiff, which, when he was alive, was a particular
favourite of the ex-brewer. To have expected any protection from her
escort, in the condition to which superstitious fear had reduced him,
would have been truly a hopeless trust; and Lady Peveril, who was not
apprehensive of any danger, thought there would be great cruelty in
dragging the cowardly boy into a scene which he regarded with so much
apprehension. She gave him, therefore, a silver piece, and permitted him
to return. The latter boon seemed even more acceptable than the first;
for ere she could return the purse into her pocket, she heard the wooden
clogs of her bold convoy in full retreat, by the way from whence they
came.

Smiling within herself at the fear she esteemed so ludicrous, Lady
Peveril ascended the stile, and was soon hidden from the broad light of
the moonbeams, by the numerous and entangled boughs of the huge elms,
which, meeting from either side, totally overarched the old avenue. The
scene was calculated to excite solemn thoughts; and the distant
glimmer of a light from one of the numerous casements in the front of
Moultrassie Hall, which lay at some distance, was calculated to make
them even melancholy. She thought of the fate of that family--of the
deceased Mrs. Bridgenorth, with whom she had often walked in this very
avenue, and who, though a woman of no high parts or accomplishments, had
always testified the deepest respect, and the most earnest gratitude,
for such notice as she had shown to her. She thought of her blighted
hopes--her premature death--the despair of her self-banished
husband--the uncertain fate of their orphan child, for whom she felt,
even at this distance of time, some touch of a mother's affection.

Upon such sad subjects her thoughts were turned, when, just as she
attained the middle of the avenue, the imperfect and checkered light
which found its way through the silvan archway, showed her something
which resembled the figure of a man. Lady Peveril paused a moment, but
instantly advanced;--her bosom, perhaps, gave one startled throb, as
a debt to the superstitious belief of the times, but she instantly
repelled the thought of supernatural appearances. From those that were
merely mortal, she had nothing to fear. A marauder on the game was the
worst character whom she was likely to encounter; and he would be
sure to hide himself from her observation. She advanced, accordingly,
steadily; and, as she did so, had the satisfaction to observe that the
figure, as she expected, gave place to her, and glided away amongst the
trees on the left-hand side of the avenue. As she passed the spot on
which the form had been so lately visible, and bethought herself that
this wanderer of the night might, nay must, be in her vicinity, her
resolution could not prevent her mending her pace, and that with so
little precaution, that, stumbling over the limb of a tree, which,
twisted off by a late tempest, still lay in the avenue, she fell, and,
as she fell, screamed aloud. A strong hand in a moment afterwards added
to her fears by assisting her to rise, and a voice, to whose accents she
was not a stranger, though they had been long unheard, said, "Is it not
you, Lady Peveril?"

"It is I," said she, commanding her astonishment and fear; "and if my
ear deceive me not, I speak to Master Bridgenorth."

"I was that man," said he, "while oppression left me a name."

He spoke nothing more, but continued to walk beside her for a minute or
two in silence. She felt her situation embarrassing; and to divest it of
that feeling, as well as out of real interest in the question, she asked
him, "How her god-daughter Alice now was?"

"Of god-daughter, madam," answered Major Bridgenorth, "I know nothing;
that being one of the names which have been introduced, to the
corruption and pollution of God's ordinances. The infant who owed
to your ladyship (so called) her escape from disease and death, is a
healthy and thriving girl, as I am given to understand by those in whose
charge she is lodged, for I have not lately seen her. And it is even the
recollection of these passages, which in a manner impelled me, alarmed
also by your fall, to offer myself to you at this time and mode, which
in other respects is no way consistent with my present safety."

"With your safety, Master Bridgenorth?" said the Lady Peveril; "surely,
I could never have thought that it was in danger!"

"You have some news, then, yet to learn, madam," said Major Bridgenorth;
"but you will hear in the course of tomorrow, reasons why I dare not
appear openly in the neighbourhood of my own property, and wherefore
there is small judgment in committing the knowledge of my present
residence to any one connected with Martindale Castle."

"Master Bridgenorth," said the lady, "you were in former times prudent
and cautious--I hope you have been misled by no hasty impression--by no
rash scheme--I hope----"

"Pardon my interrupting you, madam," said Bridgenorth. "I have indeed
been changed--ay, my very heart within me hath been changed. In the
times to which your ladyship (so called) thinks proper to refer, I was a
man of this world--bestowing on it all my thoughts--all my actions, save
formal observances--little deeming what was the duty of a Christian man,
and how far his self-denial ought to extend--even unto his giving all
as if he gave nothing. Hence I thought chiefly on carnal things--on the
adding of field to field, and wealth to wealth--of balancing between
party and party--securing a friend here, without losing a friend
there--But Heaven smote me for my apostasy, the rather that I abused
the name of religion, as a self-seeker, and a most blinded and carnal
will-worshipper--But I thank Him who hath at length brought me out of
Egypt."

In our day--although we have many instances of enthusiasm among us--we
might still suspect one who avowed it thus suddenly and broadly of
hypocrisy, or of insanity; but according to the fashion of the times,
such opinions as those which Bridgenorth expressed were openly pleaded,
as the ruling motives of men's actions. The sagacious Vane--the brave
and skilful Harrison--were men who acted avowedly under the influence
of such. Lady Peveril, therefore, was more grieved than surprised at the
language she heard Major Bridgenorth use, and reasonably concluded
that the society and circumstances in which he might lately have been
engaged, had blown into a flame the spark of eccentricity which always
smouldered in his bosom. This was the more probable, considering that he
was melancholy by constitution and descent--that he had been unfortunate
in several particulars--and that no passion is more easily nursed
by indulgence, than the species of enthusiasm of which he now showed
tokens. She therefore answered him by calmly hoping, "That the
expression of his sentiments had not involved him in suspicion or in
danger."

"In suspicion, madam?" answered the Major;--"for I cannot forbear giving
to you, such is the strength of habit, one of those idle titles by which
we poor potsherds are wont, in our pride, to denominate each other--I
walk not only in suspicion, but in that degree of danger, that, were
your husband to meet me at this instant--me, a native Englishman,
treading on my own lands--I have no doubt he would do his best to offer
me to the Moloch of Roman superstition, who now rages abroad for victims
among God's people."

"You surprise me by your language, Major Bridgenorth," said the lady,
who now felt rather anxious to be relieved from his company, and with
that purpose walked on somewhat hastily. He mended his pace, however,
and kept close by her side.

"Know you not," said he, "that Satan hath come down upon earth with
great wrath, because his time is short? The next heir to the crown is
an avowed Papist; and who dare assert, save sycophants and time-servers,
that he who wears it is not equally ready to stoop to Rome, were he not
kept in awe by a few noble spirits in the Commons' House? You believe
not this--yet in my solitary and midnight walks, when I thought on your
kindness to the dead and to the living, it was my prayer that I might
have the means granted to warn you--and lo! Heaven hath heard me."

"What I was while in the gall of bitterness and in the bond of iniquity,
it signifies not to recall," answered he. "I was then like to Gallio,
who cared for none of these things. I doted on creature comforts--I
clung to worldly honour and repute--my thoughts were earthward--or those
I turned to Heaven were cold, formal, pharisaical meditations--I brought
nothing to the altar save straw and stubble. Heaven saw need to chastise
me in love--I was stript of all I clung to on earth--my worldly honour
was torn from me--I went forth an exile from the home of my fathers, a
deprived and desolate man--a baffled, and beaten, and dishonoured man.
But who shall find out the ways of Providence? Such were the means by
which I was chosen forth as a champion for the truth--holding my life as
nothing, if thereby that may be advanced. But this was not what I wished
to speak of. Thou hast saved the earthly life of my child--let me save
the eternal welfare of yours."

Lady Peveril was silent. They were now approaching the point where
the avenue terminated in a communication with a public road, or rather
pathway, running through an unenclosed common field; this the lady
had to prosecute for a little way, until a turn of the path gave her
admittance into the Park of Martindale. She now felt sincerely anxious
to be in the open moonshine, and avoided reply to Bridgenorth that
she might make the more haste. But as they reached the junction of the
avenue and the public road, he laid his hand on her arm, and commanded
rather than requested her to stop. She obeyed. He pointed to a huge oak,
of the largest size, which grew on the summit of a knoll in the open
ground which terminated the avenue, and was exactly so placed as to
serve for a termination to the vista. The moonshine without the avenue
was so strong, that, amidst the flood of light which it poured on the
venerable tree, they could easily discover, from the shattered state
of the boughs on one side, that it had suffered damage from lightning.
"Remember you," he said, "when we last looked together on that tree?
I had ridden from London, and brought with me a protection from the
committee for your husband; and as I passed the spot--here on this spot
where we now stand, you stood with my lost Alice--two--the last two of
my beloved infants gambolled before you. I leaped from my horse--to
her I was a husband--to those a father--to you a welcome and revered
protector--What am I now to any one?" He pressed his hand on his brow,
and groaned in agony of spirit.

It was not in the Lady Peveril's nature to hear sorrow without an
attempt at consolation. "Master Bridgenorth," she said, "I blame no
man's creed, while I believe and follow my own; and I rejoice that in
yours you have sought consolation for temporal afflictions. But does not
every Christian creed teach us alike, that affliction should soften our
heart?"

"Ay, woman," said Bridgenorth sternly, "as the lightning which shattered
yonder oak hath softened its trunk. No; the seared wood is the fitter
for the use of the workmen--the hardened and the dried-up heart is that
which can best bear the task imposed by these dismal times. God and man
will no longer endure the unbridled profligacy of the dissolute--the
scoffing of the profane--the contempt of the divine laws--the infraction
of human rights. The times demand righters and avengers, and there will
be no want of them."

"I deny not the existence of much evil," said Lady Peveril, compelling
herself to answer, and beginning at the same time to walk forward;
"and from hearsay, though not, I thank Heaven, from observation, I am
convinced of the wild debauchery of the times. But let us trust it may
be corrected without such violent remedies as you hint at. Surely the
ruin of a second civil war--though I trust your thoughts go not that
dreadful length--were at best a desperate alternative."

"Sharp, but sure," replied Bridgenorth. "The blood of the Paschal
lamb chased away the destroying angel--the sacrifices offered on the
threshing-floor of Araunah, stayed the pestilence. Fire and sword are
severe remedies, but they pure and purify."

"Alas! Major Bridgenorth," said the lady, "wise and moderate in your
youth, can you have adopted in your advanced life the thoughts and
language of those whom you yourself beheld drive themselves and the
nation to the brink of ruin?"

"I know not what I then was--you know not what I now am," he replied,
and suddenly broke off; for they even then came forth into the open
light, and it seemed as if, feeling himself under the lady's eye, he was
disposed to soften his tone and his language.

At the first distinct view which she had of his person, she was aware
that he was armed with a short sword, a poniard, and pistols at his
belt--precautions very unusual for a man who formerly had seldom, and
only on days of ceremony, carried a walking rapier, though such was
the habitual and constant practice of gentlemen of his station in life.
There seemed also something of more stern determination than usual in
his air, which indeed had always been rather sullen than affable; and
ere she could repress the sentiment, she could not help saying, "Master
Bridgenorth, you are indeed changed."

"You see but the outward man," he replied; "the change within is yet
deeper. But it was not of myself that I desired to talk--I have already
said, that as you have preserved my child from the darkness of the
grave, I would willingly preserve yours from that more utter darkness,
which, I fear, hath involved the path and walks of his father."

"I must not hear this of Sir Geoffrey," said the Lady Peveril; "I must
bid you farewell for the present; and when we again meet at a more
suitable time, I will at least listen to your advice concerning Julian,
although I should not perhaps incline to it."

"That more suitable time may never come," replied Bridgenorth. "Time
wanes, eternity draws nigh. Hearken! it is said to be your purpose to
send the young Julian to be bred up in yonder bloody island, under the
hand of your kinswoman, that cruel murderess, by whom was done to death
a man more worthy of vital existence than any that she can boast among
her vaunted ancestry. These are current tidings--Are they true?"

"I do not blame you, Master Bridgenorth, for thinking harshly of my
cousin of Derby," said Lady Peveril; "nor do I altogether vindicate
the rash action of which she hath been guilty. Nevertheless, in her
habitation, it is my husband's opinion and my own, that Julian may be
trained in the studies and accomplishments becoming his rank, along with
the young Earl of Derby."

"Under the curse of God, and the blessing of the Pope of Rome,"
said Bridgenorth. "You, lady, so quick-sighted in matters of earthly
prudence, are you blind to the gigantic pace at which Rome is moving to
regain this country, once the richest gem in her usurped tiara? The
old are seduced by gold--the youth by pleasure--the weak by
flattery--cowards by fear--and the courageous by ambition. A thousand
baits for each taste, and each bait concealing the same deadly hook."

"I am well aware, Master Bridgenorth," said Lady Peveril, "that my
kinswoman is a Catholic;[*] but her son is educated in the Church of
England's principles, agreeably to the command of her deceased husband."

     [*] I have elsewhere noticed that this is a deviation from
     the truth   Charlotte, Countess of Derby, was a Huguenot.

"Is it likely," answered Bridgenorth, "that she, who fears not shedding
the blood of the righteous, whether on the field or scaffold, will
regard the sanction of her promise when her religion bids her break it?
Or, if she does, what shall your son be the better, if he remain in the
mire of his father? What are your Episcopal tenets but mere Popery? save
that ye have chosen a temporal tyrant for your Pope, and substitute a
mangled mass in English for that which your predecessors pronounced in
Latin.--But why speak I of these things to one who hath ears, indeed,
and eyes, yet cannot see, listen to, or understand what is alone worthy
to be heard, seen, and known? Pity that what hath been wrought so fair
and exquisite in form and disposition, should be yet blind, deaf, and
ignorant, like the things which perish!"

"We shall not agree on these subjects, Master Bridgenorth," said the
lady, anxious still to escape from this strange conference, though
scarce knowing what to apprehend; "once more, I must bid you farewell."

"Stay yet an instant," he said, again laying his hand on her arm;
"I would stop you if I saw you rushing on the brink of an actual
precipice--let me prevent you from a danger still greater. How shall
I work upon your unbelieving mind? Shall I tell you that the debt of
bloodshed yet remains a debt to be paid by the bloody house of Derby?
And wilt thou send thy son to be among those from whom it shall be
exacted?"

"You wish to alarm me in vain, Master Bridgenorth," answered the lady;
"what penalty can be exacted from the Countess, for an action, which I
have already called a rash one, has been long since levied."

"You deceive yourself," retorted he sternly. "Think you a paltry sum of
money, given to be wasted on the debaucheries of Charles, can atone for
the death of such a man as Christian--a man precious alike to heaven and
to earth? Not on such terms is the blood of the righteous to be poured
forth! Every hour's delay is numbered down as adding interest to the
grievous debt, which will one day be required from that blood-thirsty
woman."

At this moment the distant tread of horses was heard on the road on
which they held this singular dialogue. Bridgenorth listened a moment,
and then said, "Forget that you have seen me--name not my name to your
nearest or dearest--lock my counsel in your breast--profit by it, and it
shall be well with you."

So saying, he turned from her, and plunging through a gap in the fence,
regained the cover of his own wood, along which the path still led.

The noise of horses advancing at full trot now came nearer; and Lady
Peveril was aware of several riders, whose forms rose indistinctly on
the summit of the rising ground behind her. She became also visible
to them; and one or two of the foremost made towards her at increased
speed, challenging her as they advanced with the cry of "Stand! Who goes
there?" The foremost who came up, however, exclaimed, "Mercy on us, if
it be not my lady!" and Lady Peveril, at the same moment, recognised one
of her own servants. Her husband rode up immediately afterwards, with,
"How now, Dame Margaret? What makes you abroad so far from home and at
an hour so late?"

Lady Peveril mentioned her visit at the cottage, but did not think it
necessary to say aught of having seen Major Bridgenorth; afraid, it may
be, that her husband might be displeased with that incident.

"Charity is a fine thing and a fair," answered Sir Geoffrey; "but I
must tell you, you do ill, dame, to wander about the country like a
quacksalver, at the call of every old woman who has a colic-fit; and
at this time of night especially, and when the land is so unsettled
besides."

"I am sorry to hear that it so," said the lady. "I had heard no such
news."

"News?" repeated Sir Geoffrey, "why, here has a new plot broken out
among the Roundheads, worse than Venner's by a butt's length;[*] and
who should be so deep in it as our old neighbour Bridgenorth? There is
search for him everywhere; and I promise you if he is found, he is like
to pay old scores."

[*] The celebrated insurrection of the Anabaptists and Fifth Monarchy
    men in London, in the year 1661.

"Then I am sure, I trust he will not be found," said Lady Peveril.

"Do you so?" replied Sir Geoffrey. "Now I, on my part hope that he
will; and it shall not be my fault if he be not; for which effect I will
presently ride down to Moultrassie, and make strict search, according to
my duty; there shall neither rebel nor traitor earth so near Martindale
Castle, that I will assure them. And you, my lady, be pleased for once
to dispense with a pillion, and get up, as you have done before, behind
Saunders, who shall convey you safe home."

The Lady obeyed in silence; indeed she did not dare to trust her
voice in an attempt to reply, so much was she disconcerted with the
intelligence she had just heard.

She rode behind the groom to the Castle, where she awaited in great
anxiety the return of her husband. He came back at length; but to her
great relief, without any prisoner. He then explained more fully
than his haste had before permitted, that an express had come down to
Chesterfield, with news from Court of a proposed insurrection amongst
the old Commonwealth men, especially those who had served in the army;
and that Bridgenorth, said to be lurking in Derbyshire, was one of the
principal conspirators.

After some time, this report of a conspiracy seemed to die away like
many others of that period. The warrants were recalled, but nothing more
was seen or heard of Major Bridgenorth; although it is probable he might
safely enough have shown himself as openly as many did who lay under the
same circumstances of suspicion.

About this time also, Lady Peveril, with many tears, took a temporary
leave of her son Julian, who was sent, as had long been intended,
for the purpose of sharing the education of the young Earl of Derby.
Although the boding words of Bridgenorth sometimes occurred to Lady
Peveril's mind, she did not suffer them to weigh with her in opposition
to the advantages which the patronage of the Countess of Derby secured
to her son.

The plan seemed to be in every respect successful; and when, from time
to time, Julian visited the house of his father, Lady Peveril had the
satisfaction to see him, on every occasion, improved in person and in
manner, as well as ardent in the pursuit of more solid acquirements.
In process of time he became a gallant and accomplished youth, and
travelled for some time upon the continent with the young Earl. This was
the more especially necessary for the enlarging of their acquaintance
with the world; because the Countess had never appeared in London, or at
the Court of King Charles, since her flight to the Isle of Man in 1660;
but had resided in solitary and aristocratic state, alternately on her
estates in England and in that island.

This had given to the education of both the young men, otherwise as
excellent as the best teachers could render it, something of a narrow
and restricted character; but though the disposition of the young Earl
was lighter and more volatile than that of Julian, both the one and
the other had profited, in a considerable degree, by the opportunities
afforded them. It was Lady Derby's strict injunction to her son, now
returning from the continent, that he should not appear at the Court
of Charles. But having been for some time of age, he did not think it
absolutely necessary to obey her in this particular; and had remained
for some time in London, partaking the pleasures of the gay Court there,
with all the ardour of a young man bred up in comparative seclusion.

In order to reconcile the Countess to this transgression of her
authority (for he continued to entertain for her the profound respect
in which he had been educated), Lord Derby agreed to make a long sojourn
with her in her favourite island, which he abandoned almost entirely to
her management.

Julian Peveril had spent at Martindale Castle a good deal of the time
which his friend had bestowed in London; and at the period to which,
passing over many years, our story has arrived, as it were, _per
saltum_, they were both living as the Countess's guests, in the Castle
of Rushin, in the venerable kingdom of Man.



CHAPTER XI

             Mona--long hid from those who roam the main.
                                                   --COLLINS.

The Isle of Man, in the middle of the seventeenth century, was very
different, as a place of residence, from what it is now. Men had not
then discovered its merit as a place of occasional refuge from the
storms of life, and the society to be there met with was of a very
uniform tenor. There were no smart fellows, whom fortune had tumbled
from the seat of their barouches--no plucked pigeons or winged rooks--no
disappointed speculators--no ruined miners--in short, no one worth
talking to. The society of the island was limited to the natives
themselves, and a few merchants, who lived by contraband trade. The
amusements were rare and monotonous, and the mercurial young Earl was
soon heartily tired of his dominions. The islanders, also, become
too wise for happiness, had lost relish for the harmless and somewhat
childish sports in which their simple ancestors had indulged themselves.
May was no longer ushered in by the imaginary contest between the
Queen of returning winter and advancing spring; the listeners no longer
sympathised with the lively music of the followers of the one, or the
discordant sounds with which the other asserted a more noisy claim to
attention. Christmas, too, closed, and the steeples no longer jangled
forth a dissonant peal. The wren, to seek for which used to be the sport
dedicated to the holytide, was left unpursued and unslain. Party spirit
had come among these simple people, and destroyed their good humour,
while it left them their ignorance. Even the races, a sport generally
interesting to people of all ranks, were no longer performed, because
they were no longer interesting. The gentlemen were divided by feuds
hitherto unknown, and each seemed to hold it scorn to be pleased with
the same diversions that amused those of the opposite faction. The
hearts of both parties revolted from the recollection of former days,
when all was peace among them, when the Earl of Derby, now slaughtered,
used to bestow the prize, and Christian, since so vindictively executed,
started horses to add to the amusement.

Julian was seated in the deep recess which led to a latticed window
of the old Castle; and, with his arms crossed, and an air of profound
contemplation, was surveying the long perspective of ocean, which rolled
its successive waves up to the foot of the rock on which the ancient
pile is founded. The Earl was suffering under the infliction of
ennui--now looking into a volume of Homer--now whistling--now swinging
on his chair--now traversing the room--till, at length, his attention
became swallowed up in admiration of the tranquillity of his companion.

"King of Men!" he said, repeating the favourite epithet by which Homer
describes Agamemnon,--"I trust, for the old Greek's sake, he had a
merrier office than being King of Man--Most philosophical Julian, will
nothing rouse thee--not even a bad pun on my own royal dignity?"

"I wish you would be a little more the King in Man," said Julian,
starting from his reverie, "and then you would find more amusement in
your dominions."

"What! dethrone that royal Semiramis my mother," said the young lord,
"who has as much pleasure in playing Queen as if she were a real
Sovereign?--I wonder you can give me such counsel."

"Your mother, as you well know, my dear Derby, would be delighted, did
you take any interest in the affairs of the island."

"Ay, truly, she would permit me to be King; but she would choose to
remain Viceroy over me. Why, she would only gain a subject the more,
by my converting my spare time, which is so very valuable to me, to the
cares of royalty. No, no, Julian, she thinks it power, to direct all
the affairs of these poor Manxmen; and, thinking it power, she finds it
pleasure. I shall not interfere, unless she hold a high court of
justice again. I cannot afford to pay another fine to my brother, King
Charles--But I forget--this is a sore point with you."

"With the Countess, at least," replied Julian; "and I wonder you will
speak of it."

"Why, I bear no malice against the poor man's memory any more than
yourself, though I have not the same reasons for holding it in
veneration," replied the Earl of Derby; "and yet I have some respect
for it too. I remember their bringing him out to die--It was the first
holiday I ever had in my life, and I heartily wish it had been on some
other account."

"I would rather hear you speak of anything else, my lord," said Julian.

"Why, there it goes," answered the Earl; "whenever I talk of anything
that puts you on your mettle, and warms your blood, that runs as cold as
a merman's--to use a simile of this happy island--hey pass! you press me
to change the subject.--Well, what shall we talk of?--O Julian, if you
had not gone down to earth yourself among the castles and caverns
of Derbyshire, we should have had enough of delicious topics--the
play-houses, Julian--Both the King's house and the Duke's--Louis's
establishment is a jest to them;--and the Ring in the Park, which beats
the Corso at Naples--and the beauties, who beat the whole world!"

"I am very willing to hear you speak on the subject, my lord," answered
Julian; "the less I have seen of London world myself, the more I am
likely to be amused by your account of it."

"Ay, my friend--but where to begin?--with the wit of Buckingham, and
Sedley, and Etherege, or with the grace of Harry Jermyn--the courtesy
of the Duke of Monmouth, or with the loveliness of La Belle Hamilton--of
the Duchess of Richmond--of Lady ----, the person of Roxalana, the smart
humour of Mrs. Nelly----"

"Or what say you to the bewitching sorceries of Lady Cynthia?" demanded
his companion.

"Faith, I would have kept these to myself," said the Earl, "to follow
your prudent example. But since you ask me, I fairly own I cannot tell
what to say of them; only I think of them twenty times as often as all
the beauties I have spoken of. And yet she is neither the twentieth part
so beautiful as the plainest of these Court beauties, nor so witty as
the dullest I have named, nor so modish--that is the great matter--as
the most obscure. I cannot tell what makes me dote on her, except that
she is a capricious as her whole sex put together."

"That I should think a small recommendation," answered his companion.

"Small, do you term it," replied the Earl, "and write yourself a brother
of the angle? Why, which like you best? to pull a dead strain on a
miserable gudgeon, which you draw ashore by main force, as the fellows
here tow in their fishing-boats--or a lively salmon, that makes your
rod crack, and your line whistle--plays you ten thousand mischievous
pranks--wearies your heart out with hopes and fears--and is only laid
panting on the bank, after you have shown the most unmatchable display
of skill, patience, and dexterity?--But I see you have a mind to go
on angling after your own old fashion. Off laced coat, and on brown
jerkin;--lively colours scare fish in the sober waters of the Isle of
Man;--faith, in London you will catch few, unless the bait glistens a
little. But you _are_ going?--Well, good luck to you. I will take to
the barge;--the sea and wind are less inconstant than the tide you have
embarked on."

"You have learned to say all these smart things in London, my lord,"
answered Julian; "but we shall have you a penitent for them, if Lady
Cynthia be of my mind. Adieu, and pleasure till we meet."

The young men parted accordingly; and while the Earl betook him to his
pleasure voyage, Julian, as his friend had prophesied, assumed the dress
of one who means to amuse himself with angling. The hat and feather were
exchanged for a cap of grey cloth; the deeply-laced cloak and doublet
for a simple jacket of the same colour, with hose conforming; and
finally, with rod in hand, and pannier at his back, mounted upon a
handsome Manx pony, young Peveril rode briskly over the country which
divided him from one of those beautiful streams that descend to the sea
from the Kirk-Merlagh mountains.

Having reached the spot where he meant to commence his day's sport,
Julian let his little steed graze, which, accustomed to the situation,
followed him like a dog; and now and then, when tired of picking herbage
in the valley through which the stream winded, came near her master's
side, and, as if she had been a curious amateur of the sport, gazed on
the trouts as Julian brought them struggling to the shore. But Fairy's
master showed, on that day, little of the patience of a real angler, and
took no heed to old Isaac Walton's recommendation, to fish the streams
inch by inch. He chose, indeed, with an angler's eye, the most promising
casts, which the stream broke sparkling over a stone, affording the
wonted shelter to a trout; or where, gliding away from a rippling
current to a still eddy it streamed under the projecting bank, or dashed
from the pool of some low cascade. By this judicious selection of spots
whereon to employ his art, the sportsman's basket was soon sufficiently
heavy, to show that his occupation was not a mere pretext; and so soon
as this was the case, he walked briskly up the glen, only making a
cast from time to time, in case of his being observed from any of the
neighbouring heights.

It was a little green and rocky valley through which the brook strayed,
very lonely, although the slight track of an unformed road showed that
it was occasionally traversed, and that it was not altogether void of
inhabitants. As Peveril advanced still farther, the right bank reached
to some distance from the stream, leaving a piece of meadow ground, the
lower part of which, being close to the brook, was entirely covered with
rich herbage, being possibly occasionally irrigated by its overflow. The
higher part of the level ground afforded a stance for an old house, of
singular structure, with a terraced garden, and a cultivated field or
two beside it. In former times, a Danish or Norwegian fastness had stood
here, called the Black Fort, from the colour of a huge healthy hill,
which, rising behind the building, appeared to be the boundary of
the valley, and to afford the source of the brook. But the original
structure had been long demolished, as, indeed, it probably only
consisted of dry stones, and its materials had been applied to the
construction of the present mansion--the work of some churchman during
the sixteenth century, as was evident from the huge stone-work of its
windows, which scarce left room for light to pass through, as well as
from two or three heavy buttresses, which projected from the front of
the house, and exhibited on their surface little niches for images.
These had been carefully destroyed, and pots of flowers were placed in
the niches in their stead, besides their being ornamented by creeping
plants of various kinds, fancifully twined around them. The garden was
also in good order; and though the spot was extremely solitary, there
was about it altogether an air of comfort, accommodation, and even
elegance, by no means generally characteristic of the habitations of the
island at the time.

With much circumspection, Julian Peveril approached the low Gothic
porch, which defended the entrance of the mansion from the tempests
incident to its situation, and was, like the buttresses, overrun with
ivy and other creeping plants. An iron ring, contrived so as when drawn
up and down to rattle against the bar of notched iron through which it
was suspended, served the purpose of a knocker; and to this he applied
himself, though with the greatest precaution.

He received no answer for some time, and indeed it seemed as if the
house was totally uninhabited; when, at length, his impatience getting
the upper hand, he tried to open the door, and, as it was only upon
the latch, very easily succeeded. He passed through a little low-arched
hall, the upper end of which was occupied by a staircase, and turning
to the left, opened the door of a summer parlour, wainscoted with
black oak, and very simply furnished with chairs and tables of the same
materials; the former cushioned with the leather. The apartment was
gloomy--one of those stone-shafted windows which we have mentioned, with
its small latticed panes, and thick garland of foliage, admitting but an
imperfect light.

Over the chimneypiece (which was of the same massive materials with
the panelling of the apartment) was the only ornament of the room; a
painting, namely, representing an officer in the military dress of the
Civil Wars. It was a green jerkin, then the national and peculiar wear
of the Manxmen; his short band which hung down on the cuirass--the
orange-coloured scarf, but, above all, the shortness of his close-cut
hair, showing evidently to which of the great parties he had belonged.
His right hand rested on the hilt of his sword; and in the left he
held a small Bible, bearing the inscription, "_In hoc signo_." The
countenance was of a light complexion, with fair and almost effeminate
blue eyes, and an oval form of face--one of those physiognomies, to
which, though not otherwise unpleasing, we naturally attach the idea of
melancholy and of misfortune.[*] Apparently it was well known to Julian
Peveril; for after having looked at it for a long time, he could not
forbear muttering aloud, "What would I give that that man had never been
born, or that he still lived!"

[*] I am told that a portrait of the unfortunate William Christian is
    still preserved in the family of Waterson of Ballnabow of Kirk
    Church, Rushin. William Dhône is dressed in a green coat without
    collar or cape, after the fashion of those puritanic times, with
    the head in a close cropt wig, resembling the bishop's peruke of
    the present day. The countenance is youthful and well-looking,
    very unlike the expression of foreboding melancholy. I have so far
    taken advantage of this criticism, as to bring my ideal portrait
    in the present edition, nearer to the complexion at least of the
    fair-haired William Dhône.

"How now--how is this?" said a female, who entered the room as he
uttered this reflection. "_You_ here, Master Peveril, in spite of all
the warnings you have had! You here in the possession of folk's house
when they are abroad, and talking to yourself, as I shall warrant!"

"Yes, Mistress Deborah," said Peveril, "I am here once more, as you
see, against every prohibition, and in defiance of all danger.--Where is
Alice?"

"Where you will never see her, Master Julian--you may satisfy yourself
of that," answered Mistress Deborah, for it was that respectable
governante; and sinking down at the same time upon one of the large
leathern chairs, she began to fan herself with her handkerchief, and
complain of the heat in a most ladylike fashion.

In fact, Mistress Debbitch, while her exterior intimated a considerable
change of condition for the better, and her countenance showed the less
favourable effects of the twenty years which had passed over her head,
was in mind and manners very much what she had been when she battled
the opinions of Madam Ellesmere at Martindale Castle. In a word, she
was self-willed, obstinate, and coquettish as ever, otherwise no
ill-disposed person. Her present appearance was that of a woman of the
better rank. From the sobriety of the fashion of her dress, and the
uniformity of its colours, it was plain she belonged to some sect which
condemned superfluous gaiety in attire; but no rules, not those of a
nunnery or of a quaker's society, can prevent a little coquetry in that
particular, where a woman is desirous of being supposed to retain some
claim to personal attention. All Mistress Deborah's garments were so
arranged as might best set off a good-looking woman, whose countenance
indicated ease and good cheer--who called herself five-and-thirty, and
was well entitled, if she had a mind, to call herself twelve or fifteen
years older.

Julian was under the necessity of enduring all her tiresome and
fantastic airs, and awaiting with patience till she had "prinked
herself and pinned herself"--flung her hoods back, and drawn them
forward--snuffed at a little bottle of essences--closed her eyes like a
dying fowl--turned them up like duck in a thunderstorm; when at length,
having exhausted her round of _minauderies_, she condescended to open
the conversation.

"These walks will be the death of me," she said, "and all on your
account, Master Julian Peveril; for if Dame Christian should learn that
you have chosen to make your visits to her niece, I promise you Mistress
Alice would be soon obliged to find other quarters, and so should I."

"Come now, Mistress Deborah, be good-humoured," said Julian; "consider,
was not all this intimacy of ours of your own making? Did you not make
yourself known to me the very first time I strolled up this glen with my
fishing-rod, and tell me that you were my former keeper, and that Alice
had been my little playfellow? And what could there be more natural,
than that I should come back and see two such agreeable persons as often
as I could?"

"Yes," said Dame Deborah; "but I did not bid you fall in love with us,
though, or propose such a matter as marriage either to Alice or myself."

"To do you justice, you never did, Deborah," answered the youth; "but
what of that? Such things will come out before one is aware. I am sure
you must have heard such proposals fifty times when you least expected
them."

"Fie, fie, fie, Master Julian Peveril," said the governante; "I would
have you to know that I have always so behaved myself, that the best of
the land would have thought twice of it, and have very well considered
both what he was going to say, and how he was going to say it, before he
came out with such proposals to me."

"True, true, Mistress Deborah," continued Julian; "but all the world
hath not your discretion. Then Alice Bridgenorth is a child--a mere
child; and one always asks a baby to be one's little wife, you know.
Come, I know you will forgive me. Thou wert ever the best-natured,
kindest woman in the world; and you know you have said twenty times we
were made for each other."

"Oh no, Master Julian Peveril; no, no, no!" ejaculated Deborah. "I may
indeed have said your estates were born to be united; and to be sure it
is natural for me, that come of the old stock of the yeomanry of Peveril
of the Peak's estate, to wish that it was all within the ring
fence again; which sure enough it might be, were you to marry Alice
Bridgenorth. But then there is the knight your father, and my lady your
mother; and there is her father, that is half crazy with his religion;
and her aunt that wears eternal black grogram for that unlucky Colonel
Christian; and there is the Countess of Derby, that would serve us all
with the same sauce if we were thinking of anything that would displease
her. And besides all that, you have broke your word with Mistress Alice,
and everything is over between you; and I am of opinion it is quite
right it should be all over. And perhaps it may be, Master Julian, that
I should have thought so a long time ago, before a child like Alice put
it into my head; but I am so good-natured."

No flatterer like a lover, who wishes to carry his point.

"You are the best-natured, kindest creature in the world, Deborah.--But
you have never seen the ring I bought for you at Paris. Nay, I will
put it on your finger myself;--what! your foster-son, whom you loved so
well, and took such care of?"

He easily succeeded in putting a pretty ring of gold, with a humorous
affectation of gallantry, on the fat finger of Mistress Deborah
Debbitch. Hers was a soul of a kind often to be met with, both among
the lower and higher vulgar, who, without being, on a broad scale,
accessible to bribes or corruption, are nevertheless much attached to
perquisites, and considerably biassed in their line of duty, though
perhaps insensibly, by the love of petty observances, petty presents,
and trivial compliments. Mistress Debbitch turned the ring round, and
round, and round, and at length said, in a whisper, "Well, Master Julian
Peveril, it signifies nothing denying anything to such a young gentleman
as you, for young gentlemen are always so obstinate! and so I may as
well tell you, that Mistress Alice walked back from the Kirk-Truagh
along with me, just now, and entered the house at the same time with
myself."

"Why did you not tell me so before?" said Julian, starting up;
"where--where is she?"

"You had better ask why I tell you so _now_, Master Julian," said Dame
Deborah; "for, I promise you, it is against her express commands; and
I would not have told you, had you not looked so pitiful;--but as for
seeing you, that she will not--and she is in her own bedroom, with a
good oak door shut and bolted upon her--that is one comfort.--And so, as
for any breach of trust on my part--I promise you the little saucy minx
gives it no less name--it is quite impossible."

"Do not say so, Deborah--only go--only try--tell her to hear me--tell
her I have a hundred excuses for disobeying her commands--tell her I
have no doubt to get over all obstacles at Martindale Castle."

"Nay, I tell you it is all in vain," replied the Dame. "When I saw your
cap and rod lying in the hall, I did but say, 'There he is again,' and
she ran up the stairs like a young deer; and I heard key turned, and
bolt shot, ere I could say a single word to stop her--I marvel you heard
her not."

"It was because I am, as I ever was, an owl--a dreaming fool, who let
all those golden minutes pass, which my luckless life holds out to me
so rarely.--Well--tell her I go--go for ever--go where she will hear no
more of me--where no one shall hear more of me!"

"Oh, the Father!" said the dame, "hear how he talks!--What will become
of Sir Geoffrey, and your mother, and of me, and of the Countess, if you
were to go so far as you talk of? And what would become of poor Alice
too? for I will be sworn she likes you better than she says, and I know
she used to sit and look the way that you used to come up the stream,
and now and then ask me if the morning were good for fishing. And all
the while you were on the continent, as they call it, she scarcely
smiled once, unless it was when she got two beautiful long letters about
foreign parts."

"Friendship, Dame Deborah--only friendship--cold and calm remembrance
of one who, by your kind permission, stole in on your solitude now
and then, with news from the living world without--Once, indeed, I
thought--but it is all over--farewell."

So saying, he covered his face with one hand, and extended the other,
in the act of bidding adieu to Dame Debbitch, whose kind heart became
unable to withstand the sight of his affliction.

"Now, do not be in such haste," she said; "I will go up again, and tell
her how it stands with you, and bring her down, if it is in woman's
power to do it."

And so saying, she left the apartment, and ran upstairs.

Julian Peveril, meanwhile, paced the apartment in great agitation,
waiting the success of Deborah's intercession; and she remained long
enough absent to give us time to explain, in a short retrospect, the
circumstances which had led to his present situation.



CHAPTER XII

            Ah me! for aught that ever I could read,
            Could ever hear by tale or history,
            The course of true love never did run smooth!
                                       --Midsummer Night's Dream.

The celebrated passage which we have prefixed to this chapter has, like
most observations of the same author, its foundation in real experience.
The period at which love is formed for the first time, and felt most
strongly, is seldom that at which there is much prospect of its being
brought to a happy issue. The state of artificial society opposes many
complicated obstructions to early marriages; and the chance is very
great, that such obstacles prove insurmountable. In fine, there are few
men who do not look back in secret to some period of their youth, at
which a sincere and early affection was repulsed, or betrayed, or become
abortive from opposing circumstances. It is these little passages of
secret history, which leave a tinge of romance in every bosom, scarce
permitting us, even in the most busy or the most advanced period of
life, to listen with total indifference to a tale of true love.

Julian Peveril had so fixed his affections, as to insure the fullest
share of that opposition which early attachments are so apt to
encounter. Yet nothing so natural as that he should have done so. In
early youth, Dame Debbitch had accidentally met with the son of her
first patroness, and who had himself been her earliest charge, fishing
in the little brook already noticed, which watered the valley in
which she resided with Alice Bridgenorth. The dame's curiosity easily
discovered who he was; and besides the interest which persons in her
condition usually take in the young people who have been under their
charge, she was delighted with the opportunity to talk about former
times--about Martindale Castle, and friends there--about Sir
Geoffrey and his good lady--and, now and then, about Lance Outram the
park-keeper.

The mere pleasure of gratifying her inquiries, would scarce have had
power enough to induce Julian to repeat his visits to the lonely glen;
but Deborah had a companion--a lovely girl--bred in solitude, and in the
quiet and unpretending tastes which solitude encourages--spirited, also,
and inquisitive, and listening, with laughing cheek, and an eager eye,
to every tale which the young angler brought from the town and castle.

The visits of Julian to the Black Fort were only occasional--so far
Dame Deborah showed common-sense--which was, perhaps, inspired by the
apprehension of losing her place, in case of discovery. She had, indeed,
great confidence in the strong and rooted belief--amounting almost to
superstition--which Major Bridgenorth entertained, that his daughter's
continued health could only be insured by her continuing under the
charge of one who had acquired Lady Peveril's supposed skill in treating
those subject to such ailments. This belief Dame Deborah had improved
to the utmost of her simple cunning,--always speaking in something of an
oracular tone, upon the subject of her charge's health, and hinting
at certain mysterious rules necessary to maintain it in the present
favourable state. She had availed herself of this artifice, to procure
for herself and Alice a separate establishment at the Black Fort; for it
was originally Major Bridgenorth's resolution, that his daughter and her
governante should remain under the same roof with the sister-in-law of
his deceased wife, the widow of the unfortunate Colonel Christian. But
this lady was broken down with premature age, brought on by sorrow;
and, in a short visit which Major Bridgenorth made to the island, he
was easily prevailed on to consider her house at Kirk-Truagh, as a
very cheerless residence for his daughter. Dame Deborah, who longed
for domestic independence, was careful to increase this impression by
alarming her patron's fears on account of Alice's health. The mansion of
Kirk-Truagh stood, she said, much exposed to the Scottish winds, which
could not but be cold, as they came from a country where, as she was
assured, there was ice and snow at midsummer. In short, she prevailed,
and was put into full possession of the Black Fort, a house which, as
well as Kirk-Truagh, belonged formerly to Christian, and now to his
widow.

Still, however, it was enjoined on the governante and her charge, to
visit Kirk-Truagh from time to time, and to consider themselves as
under the management and guardianship of Mistress Christian--a state
of subjection, the sense of which Deborah endeavoured to lessen, by
assuming as much freedom of conduct as she possibly dared, under the
influence, doubtless, of the same feelings of independence, which
induced her, at Martindale Hall, to spurn the advice of Mistress
Ellesmere.

It was this generous disposition to defy control which induced her to
procure for Alice, secretly, some means of education, which the stern
genius of puritanism would have proscribed. She ventured to have her
charge taught music--nay, even dancing; and the picture of the stern
Colonel Christian trembled on the wainscot where it was suspended,
while the sylph-like form of Alice, and the substantial person of Dame
Deborah, executed French _chaussées_ and _borrées_, to the sound of
a small kit, which screamed under the bow of Monsieur De Pigal, half
smuggler, half dancing-master. This abomination reached the ears of
the Colonel's widow, and by her was communicated to Bridgenorth, whose
sudden appearance in the island showed the importance he attached to the
communication. Had she been faithless to her own cause, that had been
the latest hour of Mrs. Deborah's administration. But she retreated into
her stronghold.

"Dancing," she said, "was exercise, regulated and timed by music; and it
stood to reason, that it must be the best of all exercise for a delicate
person, especially as it could be taken within doors, and in all states
of the weather."

Bridgenorth listened, with a clouded and thoughtful brow, when,
in exemplification of her doctrine, Mistress Deborah, who was no
contemptible performer on the viol, began to jangle Sellenger's Round,
and desired Alice to dance an old English measure to the tune. As
the half-bashful, half-smiling girl, about fourteen--for such was
her age--moved gracefully to the music, the father's eye unavoidably
followed the light spring of her step, and marked with joy the rising
colour in her cheek. When the dance was over, he folded her in his arms,
smoothed her somewhat disordered locks with a father's affectionate
hand, smiled, kissed her brow, and took his leave, without one single
word farther interdicting the exercise of dancing. He did not himself
communicate the result of his visit at the Black Fort to Mrs. Christian,
but she was not long of learning it, by the triumph of Dame Deborah on
her next visit.

"It is well," said the stern old lady; "my brother Bridgenorth hath
permitted you to make a Herodias of Alice, and teach her dancing. You
have only now to find her a partner for life--I shall neither meddle nor
make more in their affairs."

In fact, the triumph of Dame Deborah, or rather of Dame Nature, on this
occasion, had more important effects than the former had ventured to
anticipate; for Mrs. Christian, though she received with all formality
the formal visits of the governante and her charge, seemed thenceforth
so pettish with the issue of her remonstrance, upon the enormity of
her niece dancing to a little fiddle, that she appeared to give up
interference in her affairs, and left Dame Debbitch and Alice to manage
both education and housekeeping--in which she had hitherto greatly
concerned herself--much after their own pleasure.

It was in this independent state that they lived, when Julian first
visited their habitation; and he was the rather encouraged to do so by
Dame Deborah, that she believed him to be one of the last persons in the
world with whom Mistress Christian would have desired her niece to be
acquainted--the happy spirit of contradiction superseding, with Dame
Deborah, on this, as on other occasions, all consideration of the
fitness of things. She did not act altogether without precaution
neither. She was aware she had to guard not only against any reviving
interest or curiosity on the part of Mistress Christian, but against the
sudden arrival of Major Bridgenorth, who never failed once in the year
to make his appearance at the Black Fort when least expected, and
to remain there for a few days. Dame Debbitch, therefore, exacted of
Julian, that his visits should be few and far between; that he should
condescend to pass for a relation of her own, in the eyes of two
ignorant Manx girls and a lad, who formed her establishment; and that
he should always appear in his angler's dress made of the simple
_Loughtan_, or buff-coloured wool of the island, which is not subjected
to dyeing. By these cautions, she thought his intimacy at the Black Fort
would be entirely unnoticed, or considered as immaterial, while, in the
meantime, it furnished much amusement to her charge and herself.

This was accordingly the case during the earlier part of their
intercourse, while Julian was a lad, and Alice a girl two or three years
younger. But as the lad shot up to youth, and the girl to womanhood,
even Dame Deborah Debbitch's judgment saw danger in their continued
intimacy. She took an opportunity to communicate to Julian who Miss
Bridgenorth actually was, and the peculiar circumstances which placed
discord between their fathers. He heard the story of their quarrel
with interest and surprise, for he had only resided occasionally at
Martindale Castle, and the subject of Bridgenorth's quarrel with his
father had never been mentioned in his presence. His imagination caught
fire at the sparks afforded by this singular story; and, far from
complying with the prudent remonstrance of Dame Deborah, and gradually
estranging himself from the Black Fort and its fair inmate, he frankly
declared, he considered his intimacy there, so casually commenced, as
intimating the will of Heaven, that Alice and he were designed for each
other, in spite of every obstacle which passion or prejudice could
raise up betwixt them. They had been companions in infancy; and a little
exertion of memory enabled him to recall his childish grief for the
unexpected and sudden disappearance of his little companion, whom he was
destined again to meet with in the early bloom of opening beauty, in a
country which was foreign to them both.

Dame Deborah was confounded at the consequences of her communication,
which had thus blown into a flame the passion which she hoped it would
have either prevented or extinguished. She had not the sort of head
which resists the masculine and energetic remonstrances of passionate
attachment, whether addressed to her on her own account, or on behalf of
another. She lamented, and wondered, and ended her feeble opposition,
by weeping, and sympathising, and consenting to allow the continuance of
Julian's visits, provided he should only address himself to Alice as a
friend; to gain the world, she would consent to nothing more. She was
not, however, so simple, but that she also had her forebodings of the
designs of Providence on this youthful couple; for certainly they could
not be more formed to be united than the good estates of Martindale and
Moultrassie.

Then came a long sequence of reflections. Martindale Castle wanted but
some repairs to be almost equal to Chatsworth. The Hall might be allowed
to go to ruin; or, what would be better, when Sir Geoffrey's time came
(for the good knight had seen service, and must be breaking now), the
Hall would be a good dowery-house, to which my lady and Ellesmere might
retreat; while (empress of the still-room, and queen of the pantry)
Mistress Deborah Debbitch should reign housekeeper at the Castle, and
extend, perhaps, the crown-matrimonial to Lance Outram, provided he was
not become too old, too fat, or too fond of ale.

Such were the soothing visions under the influence of which the dame
connived at an attachment, which lulled also to pleasing dreams, though
of a character so different, her charge and her visitant.

The visits of the young angler became more and more frequent; and the
embarrassed Deborah, though foreseeing all the dangers of discovery, and
the additional risk of an explanation betwixt Alice and Julian, which
must necessarily render their relative situation so much more delicate,
felt completely overborne by the enthusiasm of the young lover, and was
compelled to let matters take their course.

The departure of Julian for the continent interrupted the course of
his intimacy at the Black Fort, and while it relieved the elder of its
inmates from much internal apprehension, spread an air of languor and
dejection over the countenance of the younger, which, at Bridgenorth's
next visit to the Isle of Man, renewed all his terrors for his
daughter's constitutional malady.

Deborah promised faithfully she should look better the next morning, and
she kept her word. She had retained in her possession for some time a
letter which Julian had, by some private conveyance, sent to her
charge, for his youthful friend. Deborah had dreaded the consequences
of delivering it as a billet-doux, but, as in the case of the dance, she
thought there could be no harm in administering it as a remedy.

It had complete effect; and next day the cheeks of the maiden had a
tinge of the rose, which so much delighted her father, that, as he
mounted his horse, he flung his purse into Deborah's hand, with the
desire she should spare nothing that could make herself and his daughter
happy, and the assurance that she had his full confidence.

This expression of liberality and confidence from a man of Major
Bridgenorth's reserved and cautious disposition, gave full plumage to
Mistress Deborah's hopes; and emboldened her not only to deliver another
letter of Julian's to the young lady, but to encourage more boldly and
freely than formerly the intercourse of the lovers when Peveril returned
from abroad.

At length, in spite of all Julian's precaution, the young Earl became
suspicious of his frequent solitary fishing parties; and he himself, now
better acquainted with the world than formerly, became aware that his
repeated visits and solitary walks with a person so young and
beautiful as Alice, might not only betray prematurely the secret of his
attachment, but be of essential prejudice to her who was its object.

Under the influence of this conviction, he abstained, for an unusual
period, from visiting the Black Fort. But when he next indulged himself
with spending an hour in the place where he would gladly have abode
for ever, the altered manner of Alice--the tone in which she seemed
to upbraid his neglect, penetrated his heart, and deprived him of
that power of self-command, which he had hitherto exercised in their
interviews. It required but a few energetic words to explain to Alice
at once his feelings, and to make her sensible of the real nature of her
own. She wept plentifully, but her tears were not all of bitterness. She
sat passively still, and without reply, while he explained to her, with
many an interjection, the circumstances which had placed discord between
their families; for hitherto, all that she had known was, that Master
Peveril, belonging to the household of the great Countess or Lady of
Man, must observe some precautions in visiting a relative of the unhappy
Colonel Christian. But, when Julian concluded his tale with the warmest
protestations of eternal love, "My poor father!" she burst forth, "and
was this to be the end of all thy precautions?--This, that the son of
him that disgraced and banished thee, should hold such language to your
daughter?"

"You err, Alice, you err," cried Julian eagerly. "That I hold this
language--that the son of Peveril addresses thus the daughter of your
father--that he thus kneels to you for forgiveness of injuries which
passed when we were both infants, shows the will of Heaven, that in our
affection should be quenched the discord of our parents. What else could
lead those who parted infants on the hills of Derbyshire, to meet thus
in the valleys of Man?"

Alice, however new such a scene, and, above all, her own emotions, might
be, was highly endowed with that exquisite delicacy which is imprinted
in the female heart, to give warning of the slightest approach to
impropriety in a situation like hers.

"Rise, rise, Master Peveril," she said; "do not do yourself and me this
injustice--we have done both wrong--very wrong; but my fault was done in
ignorance. O God! my poor father, who needs comfort so much--is it for
me to add to his misfortunes? Rise!" she added more firmly; "if you
retain this unbecoming posture any longer, I will leave the room and you
shall never see me more."

The commanding tone of Alice overawed the impetuosity of her lover, who
took in silence a seat removed to some distance from hers, and was again
about to speak. "Julian," said she in a milder tone, "you have spoken
enough, and more than enough. Would you had left me in the pleasing
dream in which I could have listened to you for ever! but the hour of
wakening is arrived." Peveril waited the prosecution of her speech as a
criminal while he waits his doom; for he was sufficiently sensible that
an answer, delivered not certainly without emotion, but with firmness
and resolution, was not to be interrupted. "We have done wrong," she
repeated, "very wrong; and if we now separate for ever, the pain we may
feel will be but a just penalty for our error. We should never have met:
meeting, we should part as soon as possible. Our farther intercourse
can but double our pain at parting. Farewell, Julian; and forget we ever
have seen each other!"

"Forget!" said Julian; "never, never. To _you_, it is easy to speak the
word--to think the thought. To _me_, an approach to either can only be
by utter destruction. Why should you doubt that the feud of our
fathers, like so many of which we have heard, might be appeased by our
friendship? You are my only friend. I am the only one whom Heaven has
assigned to you. Why should we separate for the fault of others, which
befell when we were but children?"

"You speak in vain, Julian," said Alice; "I pity you--perhaps I pity
myself--indeed, I should pity myself, perhaps, the most of the two; for
you will go forth to new scenes and new faces, and will soon forget
me; but, I, remaining in this solitude, how shall _I_ forget?--that,
however, is not now the question--I can bear my lot, and it commands us
to part."

"Hear me yet a moment," said Peveril; "this evil is not, cannot be
remediless. I will go to my father,--I will use the intercession of my
mother, to whom he can refuse nothing--I will gain their consent--they
have no other child--and they must consent, or lose him for ever. Say,
Alice, if I come to you with my parents' consent to my suit, will you
again say, with that tone so touching and so sad, yet so incredibly
determined--Julian, we must part?" Alice was silent. "Cruel girl, will
you not even deign to answer me?" said her lover.

"I would refer you to my father," said Alice, blushing and casting her
eyes down; but instantly raising them again, she repeated, in a firmer
and a sadder tone, "Yes, Julian, I would refer you to my father; and you
would find that your pilot, Hope, had deceived you; and that you had but
escaped the quicksands to fall upon the rocks."

"I would that could be tried!" said Julian. "Methinks I could persuade
your father that in ordinary eyes our alliance is not undesirable. My
family have fortune, rank, long descent--all that fathers look for when
they bestow a daughter's hand."

"All this would avail you nothing," said Alice. "The spirit of my father
is bent upon the things of another world; and if he listened to hear you
out, it would be but to tell you that he spurned your offers."

"You know not--you know not, Alice," said Julian. "Fire can soften
iron--thy father's heart cannot be so hard, or his prejudices so strong,
but I shall find some means to melt him. Forbid me not--Oh, forbid me
not at least the experiment!"

"I can but advise," said Alice; "I can forbid you nothing; for, to
forbid, implies power to command obedience. But if you will be wise, and
listen to me--Here, and on this spot, we part for ever!"

"Not so, by Heaven!" said Julian, whose bold and sanguine temper scarce
saw difficulty in attaining aught which he desired. "We now part,
indeed, but it is that I may return armed with my parents' consent. They
desire that I should marry--in their last letters they pressed it more
openly--they shall have their desire; and such a bride as I will present
to them has not graced their house since the Conqueror gave it origin.
Farewell, Alice! Farewell, for a brief space!"

She replied, "Farewell, Julian! Farewell for ever!"

Julian, within a week of this interview, was at Martindale Castle, with
the view of communicating his purpose. But the task which seems easy at
a distance, proves as difficult, upon a nearer approach, as the fording
of a river, which from afar appeared only a brook. There lacked not
opportunities of entering upon the subject; for in the first ride which
he took with his father, the Knight resumed the subject of his son's
marriage, and liberally left the lady to his choice; but under the
strict proviso, that she was of a loyal and an honourable family;--if
she had fortune, it was good and well, or rather, it was better than
well; but if she was poor, why, "there is still some picking," said Sir
Geoffrey, "on the bones of the old estate; and Dame Margaret and I will
be content with the less, that you young folks may have your share of
it. I am turned frugal already, Julian. You see what a north-country
shambling bit of a Galloway nag I ride upon--a different beast, I wot,
from my own old Black Hastings, who had but one fault, and that was his
wish to turn down Moultrassie avenue."

"Was that so great a fault?" said Julian, affecting indifference, while
his heart was trembling, as it seemed to him, almost in his very throat.

"It used to remind me of that base, dishonourable Presbyterian fellow,
Bridgenorth," said Sir Geoffrey; "and I would as lief think of a
toad:--they say he has turned Independent, to accomplish the full degree
of rascality.--I tell you, Gill, I turned off the cow-boy, for gathering
nuts in his woods--I would hang a dog that would so much as kill a hare
there.--But what is the matter with you? You look pale."

Julian made some indifferent answer, but too well understood, from the
language and tone which his father used, that his prejudices against
Alice's father were both deep and envenomed, as those of country
gentlemen often become, who, having little to do or think of, are but
too apt to spend their time in nursing and cherishing petty causes of
wrath against their next neighbours.

In the course of the same day, he mentioned the Bridgenorth to his
mother, as if in a casual manner. But the Lady Peveril instantly
conjured him never to mention the name, especially in his father's
presence.

"Was that Major Bridgenorth, of whom I have heard the name mentioned,"
said Julian, "so very bad a neighbour?"

"I do not say so," said Lady Peveril; "nay, we were more than once
obliged to him, in the former unhappy times; but your father and he took
some passages so ill at each other's hands, that the least allusion
to him disturbs Sir Geoffrey's temper, in a manner quite unusual, and
which, now that his health is somewhat impaired, is sometimes alarming
to me. For Heaven's sake, then, my dear Julian, avoid upon all occasions
the slightest allusion to Moultrassie, or any of its inhabitants."

This warning was so seriously given, that Julian himself saw that
mentioning his secret purpose would be the sure way to render it
abortive, and therefore he returned disconsolate to the Isle.

Peveril had the boldness, however, to make the best he could of what had
happened, by requesting an interview with Alice, in order to inform her
what had passed betwixt his parents and him on her account. It was with
great difficulty that this boon was obtained; and Alice Bridgenorth
showed no slight degree of displeasure, when she discovered, after much
circumlocution, and many efforts to give an air of importance to what
he had to communicate, that all amounted but to this, that Lady
Peveril continued to retain a favourable opinion of her father, Major
Bridgenorth, which Julian would fain have represented as an omen of
their future more perfect reconciliation.

"I did not think you would thus have trifled with me, Master Peveril,"
said Alice, assuming an air of dignity; "but I will take care to avoid
such intrusion in future--I request you will not again visit the Black
Fort; and I entreat of you, good Mistress Debbitch, that you will no
longer either encourage or permit this gentleman's visits, as the result
of such persecution will be to compel me to appeal to my aunt and father
for another place of residence, and perhaps also for another and more
prudent companion."

This last hint struck Mistress Deborah with so much terror, that she
joined her ward in requiring and demanding Julian's instant absence,
and he was obliged to comply with their request. But the courage of
a youthful lover is not easily subdued; and Julian, after having gone
through the usual round of trying to forget his ungrateful mistress, and
entertaining his passion with augmented violence, ended by the visit to
the Black Fort, the beginning of which we narrated in the last chapter.

We then left him anxious for, yet almost fearful of, an interview with
Alice, which he prevailed upon Deborah to solicit; and such was the
tumult of his mind, that, while he traversed the parlour, it seemed
to him that the dark melancholy eyes of the slaughtered Christian's
portrait followed him wherever he went, with the fixed, chill, and
ominous glance, which announced to the enemy of his race mishap and
misfortune.

The door of the apartment opened at length, and these visions were
dissipated.



CHAPTER XIII

         Parents have flinty hearts! No tears can move them.
                                                       --OTWAY.

When Alice Bridgenorth at length entered the parlour where her anxious
lover had so long expected her, it was with a slow step, and a composed
manner. Her dress was arranged with an accurate attention to form, which
at once enhanced the appearance of its puritanic simplicity, and struck
Julian as a bad omen; for although the time bestowed upon the toilet
may, in many cases, intimate the wish to appear advantageously at such
an interview, yet a ceremonious arrangement of attire is very much
allied with formality, and a preconceived determination to treat a lover
with cold politeness.

The sad-coloured gown--the pinched and plaited cap, which carefully
obscured the profusion of long dark-brown hair--the small ruff, and the
long sleeves, would have appeared to great disadvantage on a shape less
graceful than Alice Bridgenorth's; but an exquisite form, though not, as
yet, sufficiently rounded in the outlines to produce the perfection
of female beauty, was able to sustain and give grace even to this
unbecoming dress. Her countenance, fair and delicate, with eyes of
hazel, and a brow of alabaster, had, notwithstanding, less regular
beauty than her form, and might have been justly subjected to criticism.
There was, however, a life and spirit in her gaiety, and a depth of
sentiment in her gravity, which made Alice, in conversation with the
very few persons with whom she associated, so fascinating in her manners
and expression, whether of language or countenance--so touching, also,
in her simplicity and purity of thought, that brighter beauties might
have been overlooked in her company. It was no wonder, therefore, that
an ardent character like Julian, influenced by these charms, as well as
by the secrecy and mystery attending his intercourse with Alice, should
prefer the recluse of the Black Fort to all others with whom he had
become acquainted in general society.

His heart beat high as she came into the apartment, and it was almost
without an attempt to speak that his profound obeisance acknowledged her
entrance.

"This is a mockery, Master Peveril," said Alice, with an effort to speak
firmly, which yet was disconcerted by a slightly tremulous inflection
of voice--"a mockery, and a cruel one. You come to this lone place,
inhabited only by two women, too simple to command your absence--too
weak to enforce it--you come, in spite of my earnest request--to
the neglect of your own time--to the prejudice, I may fear, of my
character--you abuse the influence you possess over the simple person
to whom I am entrusted--All this you do, and think to make up by low
reverences and constrained courtesy! Is this honourable, or is it
fair?--Is it," she added, after a moment's hesitation--"is it kind?"

The tremulous accent fell especially on the last word she uttered, and
it was spoken in a low tone of gentle reproach, which went to Julian's
heart.

"If," said he, "there was a mode by which, at the peril of my life,
Alice, I could show my regard--my respect--my devoted tenderness--the
danger would be dearer to me than ever was pleasure."

"You have said such things often," said Alice, "and they are such as I
ought not to hear, and do not desire to hear. I have no tasks to impose
on you--no enemies to be destroyed--no need or desire of protection--no
wish, Heaven knows, to expose you to danger--It is your visits here
alone to which danger attaches. You have but to rule your own wilful
temper--to turn your thoughts and your cares elsewhere, and I can have
nothing to ask--nothing to wish for. Use your own reason--consider the
injury you do yourself--the injustice you do us--and let me, once
more, in fair terms, entreat you to absent yourself from this
place--till--till----"

She paused, and Julian eagerly interrupted her.--"Till when,
Alice?--till when?--impose on me any length of absence which your
severity can inflict, short of a final separation--Say, Begone for
years, but return when these years are over; and, slow and wearily as
they must pass away, still the thought that they must at length have
their period, will enable me to live through them. Let me, then, conjure
thee, Alice, to name a date--to fix a term--to say till _when!_"

"Till you can bear to think of me only as a friend and sister."

"That is a sentence of eternal banishment indeed!" said Julian; "it
is seeming, no doubt, to fix a term of exile, but attaching to it an
impossible condition."

"And why impossible, Julian?" said Alice, in a tone of persuasion; "were
we not happier ere you threw the mask from your own countenance, and
tore the veil from my foolish eyes? Did we not meet with joy, spend our
time happily, and part cheerily, because we transgressed no duty, and
incurred no self-reproach? Bring back that state of happy ignorance, and
you shall have no reason to call me unkind. But while you form schemes
which I know to be visionary, and use language of such violence and
passion, you shall excuse me if I now, and once for all, declare, that
since Deborah shows herself unfit for the trust reposed in her, and
must needs expose me to persecutions of this nature, I will write to
my father, that he may fix me another place of residence; and in the
meanwhile I will take shelter with my aunt at Kirk-Truagh."

"Hear me, unpitying girl," said Peveril, "hear me, and you shall see how
devoted I am to obedience, in all that I can do to oblige you! You say
you were happy when we spoke not on such topics--well--at all expense of
my own suppressed feelings, that happy period shall return. I will meet
you--walk with you--read with you--but only as a brother would with his
sister, or a friend with his friend; the thoughts I may nourish, be they
of hope or of despair, my tongue shall not give birth to, and therefore
I cannot offend; Deborah shall be ever by your side, and her presence
shall prevent my even hinting at what might displease you--only do not
make a crime to me of those thoughts which are the dearest part of
my existence; for believe me it were better and kinder to rob me of
existence itself."

"This is the mere ecstasy of passion, Julian," answered Alice
Bridgenorth; "that which is unpleasant, our selfish and stubborn
will represents as impossible. I have no confidence in the plan you
propose--no confidence in your resolution, and less than none in the
protection of Deborah. Till you can renounce, honestly and explicitly,
the wishes you have lately expressed, we must be strangers;--and could
you renounce them even at this moment, it were better that we should
part for a long time; and, for Heaven's sake, let it be as soon as
possible--perhaps it is even now too late to prevent some unpleasant
accident--I thought I heard a noise."

"It was Deborah," answered Julian. "Be not afraid, Alice; we are secure
against surprise."

"I know not," said Alice, "what you mean by such security--I have
nothing to hide. I sought not this interview; on the contrary, averted
it as long as I could--and am now most desirous to break it off."

"And wherefore, Alice, since you say it must be our last? Why should you
shake the sand which is passing so fast? the very executioner hurries
not the prayers of the wretches upon the scaffold.--And see you not--I
will argue as coldly as you can desire--see you not that you are
breaking your own word, and recalling the hope which yourself held out
to me?"

"What hope have I suggested? What word have I given, Julian?" answered
Alice. "You yourself build wild hopes in the air, and accuse me of
destroying what had never any earthly foundation. Spare yourself,
Julian--spare me--and in mercy to us both depart, and return not again
till you can be more reasonable."

"Reasonable?" replied Julian; "it is you, Alice, who will deprive me
altogether of reason. Did you not say, that if our parents could be
brought to consent to our union, you would no longer oppose my suit?"

"No--no--no," said Alice eagerly, and blushing deeply,--"I did not say
so, Julian--it was your own wild imagination which put construction on
my silence and my confusion."

"You do _not_ say so, then?" answered Julian; "and if all other
obstacles were removed, I should find one in the cold flinty bosom of
her who repays the most devoted and sincere affection with contempt and
dislike?--Is that," he added, in a deep tone of feeling--"is that what
Alice Bridgenorth says to Julian Peveril?"

"Indeed--indeed, Julian," said the almost weeping girl, "I do not say
so--I say nothing, and I ought not to say anything concerning what
I might do, in a state of things which can never take place. Indeed,
Julian, you ought not thus to press me. Unprotected as I am--wishing you
well--very well--why should you urge me to say or do what would lessen
me in my own eyes? to own affection for one from whom fate has separated
me for ever? It is ungenerous--it is cruel--it is seeking a momentary
and selfish gratification to yourself, at the expense of every feeling
which I ought to entertain."

"You have said enough, Alice," said Julian, with sparkling eyes; "you
have said enough in deprecating my urgency, and I will press you no
farther. But you overrate the impediments which lie betwixt us--they
must and shall give way."

"So you said before," answered Alice, "and with what probability, your
own account may show. You dared not to mention the subject to your own
father--how should you venture to mention it to mine?"

"That I will soon enable you to decide upon. Major Bridgenorth, by my
mother's account, is a worthy and an estimable man. I will remind him,
that to my mother's care he owes the dearest treasure and comfort of his
life; and I will ask him if it is a just retribution to make that mother
childless. Let me but know where to find him, Alice, and you shall soon
hear if I have feared to plead my cause with him."

"Alas!" answered Alice, "you well know my uncertainty as to my dear
father's residence. How often has it been my earnest request to him that
he would let me share his solitary abode, or his obscure wanderings!
But the short and infrequent visits which he makes to this house are all
that he permits me of his society. Something I might surely do, however
little, to alleviate the melancholy by which he is oppressed."

"Something we might both do," said Peveril. "How willingly would I aid
you in so pleasing a task! All old griefs should be forgotten--all
old friendships revived. My father's prejudices are those of an
Englishman--strong, indeed, but not insurmountable by reason. Tell me,
then, where Major Bridgenorth is, and leave the rest to me; or let me
but know by what address your letters reach him, and I will forthwith
essay to discover his dwelling."

"Do not attempt it, I charge you," said Alice. "He is already a man of
sorrows; and what would he think were I capable of entertaining a suit
so likely to add to them? Besides, I could not tell you, if I would,
where he is now to be found. My letters reach him from time to time, by
means of my aunt Christian; but of his address I am entirely ignorant."

"Then, by Heaven," answered Julian, "I will watch his arrival in this
island, and in this house; and ere he has locked thee in his arms, he
shall answer to me on the subject of my suit."

"Then demand that answer now," said a voice from without the door, which
was at the same time slowly opened--"Demand that answer now, for here
stands Ralph Bridgenorth."

As he spoke, he entered the apartment with his usual slow and sedate
step--raised his flapp'd and steeple-crowned hat from his brows, and,
standing in the midst of the room, eyed alternately his daughter and
Julian Peveril with a fixed and penetrating glance.

"Father!" said Alice, utterly astonished, and terrified besides, by his
sudden appearance at such a conjuncture,--"Father, I am not to blame."

"Of that anon, Alice," said Bridgenorth; "meantime retire to your
apartment--I have that to say to this youth which will not endure your
presence."

"Indeed--indeed, father," said Alice, alarmed at what she supposed these
words indicated, "Julian is as little to be blamed as I! It was chance,
it was fortune, which caused our meeting together." Then suddenly
rushing forward, she threw her arms around her father, saying, "Oh, do
him no injury--he meant no wrong! Father, you were wont to be a man of
reason and religious peace."

"And wherefore should I not be so now, Alice?" said Bridgenorth, raising
his daughter from the ground, on which she had almost sunk in the
earnestness of her supplication. "Dost thou know aught, maiden, which
should inflame my anger against this young man, more than reason
or religion may bridle? Go--go to thy chamber. Compose thine own
passions--learn to rule these--and leave it to me to deal with this
stubborn young man."

Alice arose, and, with her eyes fixed on the ground, retired slowly from
the apartment. Julian followed her steps with his eyes till the last
wave of her garment was visible at the closing door; then turned his
looks to Major Bridgenorth, and then sunk them on the ground. The Major
continued to regard him in profound silence; his looks were melancholy
and even austere; but there was nothing which indicated either agitation
or keen resentment. He motioned to Julian to take a seat, and assumed
one himself. After which he opened the conversation in the following
manner:--

"You seemed but now, young gentleman, anxious to learn where I was to
be found. Such I at least conjectured, from the few expressions which I
chanced to overhear; for I made bold, though it may be contrary to the
code of modern courtesy, to listen a moment or two, in order to gather
upon what subject so young a man as you entertained so young a woman as
Alice, in a private interview."

"I trust, sir," said Julian, rallying spirits in what he felt to be a
case of extremity, "you have heard nothing on my part which has given
offence to a gentleman, whom, though unknown, I am bound to respect so
highly."

"On the contrary," said Bridgenorth, with the same formal gravity, "I am
pleased to find that your business is, or appears to be, with me,
rather than with my daughter. I only think you had done better to have
entrusted it to me in the first instance, as my sole concern."

The utmost sharpness of attention which Julian applied, could not
discover if Bridgenorth spoke seriously or ironically to the above
purpose. He was, however, quick-witted beyond his experience, and
was internally determined to endeavour to discover something of the
character and the temper of him with whom he spoke. For that purpose,
regulating his reply in the same tone with Bridgenorth's observation, he
said, that not having the advantage to know his place of residence, he
had applied for information to his daughter.

"Who is now known to you for the first time?" said Bridgenorth. "Am I so
to understand you?"

"By no means," answered Julian, looking down; "I have been known to your
daughter for many years; and what I wished to say, respects both her
happiness and my own."

"I must understand you," said Bridgenorth, "even as carnal men
understand each other on the matters of this world. You are attached to
my daughter by the cords of love; I have long known this."

"You, Master Bridgenorth?" exclaimed Peveril--"_You_ have long known
it?"

"Yes, young man. Think you, that as the father of an only child, I could
have suffered Alice Bridgenorth--the only living pledge of her who is
now an angel in heaven--to have remained in this seclusion without the
surest knowledge of all her material actions? I have, in person, seen
more, both of her and of you, than you could be aware of; and
when absent in the body, I had the means of maintaining the same
superintendence. Young man, they say that such love as you entertain for
my daughter teaches much subtilty; but believe not that it can overreach
the affection which a widowed father bears to an only child."

"If," said Julian, his heart beating thick and joyfully, "if you have
known this intercourse so long, may I not hope that it has not met your
disapprobation?"

The Major paused for an instant, and then answered, "In some respects,
certainly not. Had it done so--had there seemed aught on your side, or
on my daughter's, to have rendered your visits here dangerous to her,
or displeasing to me, she had not been long the inhabitant of this
solitude, or of this island. But be not so hasty as to presume, that
all which you may desire in this matter can be either easily or speedily
accomplished."

"I foresee, indeed, difficulties," answered Julian; "but with your
kind acquiescence, they are such as I trust to remove. My father is
generous--my mother is candid and liberal. They loved you once; I trust
they will love you again. I will be the mediator betwixt you--peace and
harmony shall once more inhabit our neighbourhood, and----"

Bridgenorth interrupted him with a grim smile; for such it seemed, as it
passed over a face of deep melancholy. "My daughter well said, but short
while past, that you were a dreamer of dreams--an architect of plans and
hopes fantastic as the visions of the night. It is a great thing you
ask of me;--the hand of my only child--the sum of my worldly substance,
though that is but dross in comparison. You ask the key of the only
fountain from which I may yet hope to drink one pleasant draught; you
ask to be the sole and absolute keeper of my earthly happiness--and what
have you offered, or what have you to offer in return, for the surrender
you require of me?"

"I am but too sensible," said Peveril, abashed at his own hasty
conclusions, "how difficult it may be."

"Nay, but interrupt me not," replied Bridgenorth, "till I show you the
amount of what you offer me in exchange for a boon, which, whatever may
be its intrinsic value, is earnestly desired by you, and comprehends all
that is valuable on earth which I have it in my power to bestow. You may
have heard that in the late times I was the antagonist of your father's
principles and his profane faction, but not the enemy of his person."

"I have ever heard," replied Julian, "much the contrary; and it was but
now that I reminded you that you had been his friend."

"Ay. When he was in affliction and I in prosperity, I was neither
unwilling, nor altogether unable, to show myself such. Well, the tables
are turned--the times are changed. A peaceful and unoffending man
might have expected from a neighbour, now powerful in his turn, such
protection, when walking in the paths of the law, as all men, subjects
of the same realm, have a right to expect even from perfect strangers.
What chances? I pursue, with the warrant of the King and law, a
murderess, bearing on her hand the blood of my near connection, and I
had, in such a case, a right to call on every liege subject to render
assistance to the execution. My late friendly neighbour, bound, as a man
and a magistrate, to give ready assistance to a legal action--bound,
as a grateful and obliged friend, to respect my rights and my
person--thrusts himself betwixt me--me, the avenger of blood--and my
lawful captive; beats me to the earth, at once endangering my life, and,
in mere human eyes, sullying mine honour; and under his protection, the
Midianitish woman reaches, like a sea-eagle, the nest which she hath
made in the wave-surrounded rocks, and remains there till gold, duly
administered at Court, wipes out all memory of her crime, and baffles
the vengeance due to the memory of the best and bravest of men.--But,"
he added, apostrophising the portrait of Christian, "thou art not
yet forgotten, my fair-haired William! The vengeance which dogs thy
murderess is slow,--but it is sure!"

There was a pause of some moments, which Julian Peveril, willing to hear
to what conclusion Major Bridgenorth was finally to arrive, did not
care to interrupt. Accordingly, in a few minutes, the latter
proceeded.--"These things," he said, "I recall not in bitterness, so far
as they are personal to me--I recall them not in spite of heart, though
they have been the means of banishing me from my place of residence,
where my fathers dwelt, and where my earthly comforts lie interred. But
the public cause sets further strife betwixt your father and me. Who so
active as he to execute the fatal edict of black St. Bartholomew's day,
when so many hundreds of gospel-preachers were expelled from house and
home--from hearth and altar--from church and parish, to make room for
belly-gods and thieves? Who, when a devoted few of the Lord's people
were united to lift the fallen standard, and once more advance the
good cause, was the readiest to break their purpose--to search for,
persecute, and apprehend them? Whose breath did I feel warm on my
neck--whose naked sword was thrust within a foot of my body, whilst
I lurked darkling, like a thief in concealment, in the house of my
fathers?--It was Geoffrey Peveril's--it was your father's!--What can
you answer to all this, or how can you reconcile it with your present
wishes?

"These things I point out to you, Julian, that I may show you how
impossible, in the eyes of a merely worldly man, would be the union
which you are desirous of. But Heaven hath at times opened a door, where
man beholds no means of issue. Julian, your mother, for one to whom the
truth is unknown, is, after the fashion of the world, one of the best,
and one of the wisest of women; and Providence, which gave her so fair a
form, and tenanted that form with a mind as pure as the original frailty
of our vile nature will permit, means not, I trust, that she shall
continue to the end to be a vessel of wrath and perdition. Of your
father I say nothing--he is what the times and example of others, and
the counsels of his lordly priest, have made him; and of him, once more,
I say nothing, save that I have power over him, which ere now he might
have felt, but that there is one within his chambers, who might have
suffered in his suffering. Nor do I wish to root up your ancient family.
If I prize not your boast of family honours and pedigree, I would not
willingly destroy them; more than I would pull down a moss-grown tower,
or hew to the ground an ancient oak, save for the straightening of
the common path, and advantage of the public. I have, therefore, no
resentment against the humbled House of Peveril--nay, I have regard to
it in its depression."

He here made a second pause, as if he expected Julian to say something.
But notwithstanding the ardour with which the young man had pressed his
suit, he was too much trained in ideas of the importance of his family,
and in the better habit of respect for his parents, to hear, without
displeasure, some part of Bridgenorth's discourse.

"The House of Peveril," he replied, "was never humbled."

"Had you said the sons of that House had never been _humble_," answered
Bridgenorth, "you would have come nearer the truth.--Are _you_
not humbled? Live you not here, the lackey of a haughty woman, the
play-companion of an empty youth? If you leave this Isle, and go to the
Court of England, see what regard will there be paid to the old pedigree
that deduces your descent from kings and conquerors. A scurril or
obscene jest, an impudent carriage, a laced cloak, a handful of gold,
and the readiness to wager it on a card, or a die, will better advance
you at the Court of Charles, than your father's ancient name, and
slavish devotion of blood and fortune to the cause of _his_ father."

"That is, indeed, but too probable," said Peveril; "but the Court shall
be no element of mine. I will live like my fathers, among my people,
care for their comforts, decide their differences----"

"Build Maypoles, and dance around them," said Bridgenorth, with another
of those grim smiles which passed over his features like the light of
a sexton's torch, as it glares and is reflected by the window of the
church, when he comes from locking a funeral vault. "No, Julian,
these are not times in which, by the dreaming drudgery of a country
magistrate, and the petty cares of a country proprietor, a man can serve
his unhappy country. There are mighty designs afloat, and men are called
to make their choice betwixt God and Baal. The ancient superstition--the
abomination of our fathers--is raising its head, and flinging abroad its
snares, under the protection of the princes of the earth; but she raises
not her head unmarked or unwatched; the true English hearts are as
thousands, which wait but a signal to arise as one man, and show the
kings of the earth that they have combined in vain! We will cast their
cords from us--the cup of their abominations we will not taste."

"You speak in darkness, Master Bridgenorth," said Peveril. "Knowing so
much of me, you may, perhaps, also be aware, that I at least have
seen too much of the delusions of Rome, to desire that they should be
propagated at home."

"Else, wherefore do I speak to thee friendly and so free?" said
Bridgenorth. "Do I not know, with what readiness of early wit you
baffled the wily attempts of the woman's priest, to seduce thee from the
Protestant faith? Do I not know, how thou wast beset when abroad, and
that thou didst both hold thine own faith, and secure the wavering
belief of thy friend? Said I not, this was done like the son of Margaret
Peveril? Said I not, he holdeth, as yet, but the dead letter--but the
seed which is sown shall one day sprout and quicken?--Enough, however,
of this. For to-day this is thy habitation. I will see in thee neither
the servant of the daughter of Eshbaal, nor the son of him who pursued
my life, and blemished my honours; but thou shalt be to me, for this
day, as the child of her, without whom my house had been extinct."

So saying, he stretched out his thin, bony hand, and grasped that of
Julian Peveril; but there was such a look of mourning in his welcome,
that whatever delight the youth anticipated, spending so long a time
in the neighbourhood of Alice Bridgenorth, perhaps in her society,
or however strongly he felt the prudence of conciliating her father's
good-will, he could not help feeling as if his heart was chilled in his
company.



CHAPTER XIV

           This day at least is friendship's--on the morrow
           Let strife come an she will.
                                                       --OTWAY.

Deborah Debbitch, summoned by her master, now made her appearance, with
her handkerchief at her eyes, and an appearance of great mental trouble.
"It was not my fault, Major Bridgenorth," she said; "how could I help
it? like will to like--the boy would come--the girl would see him."

"Peace, foolish woman," said Bridgenorth, "and hear what I have got to
say."

"I know what your honour has to say well enough," said Deborah.
"Service, I wot, is no inheritance nowadays--some are wiser than other
some--if I had not been wheedled away from Martindale, I might have had
a house of mine own by this time."

"Peace, idiot!" said Bridgenorth; but so intent was Deborah on her
vindication, that he could but thrust the interjection, as it were
edgewise, between her exclamations, which followed as thick as is usual
in cases, where folks endeavour to avert deserved censure by a clamorous
justification ere the charge be brought.

"No wonder she was cheated," she said, "out of sight of her own
interest, when it was to wait on pretty Miss Alice. All your honour's
gold should never have tempted me, but that I knew she was but a dead
castaway, poor innocent, if she were taken away from my lady or me.--And
so this is the end on't!--up early, and down late--and this is all my
thanks!--But your honour had better take care what you do--she has the
short cough yet sometimes--and should take physic, spring and fall."

"Peace, chattering fool!" said her master, so soon as her failing breath
gave him an opportunity to strike in, "thinkest thou I knew not of
this young gentleman's visits to the Black Fort, and that, if they had
displeased me, I would not have known how to stop them?"

"Did I know that your honour knew of his visits!" exclaimed Deborah, in
a triumphant tone,--for, like most of her condition, she never
sought farther for her defence than a lie, however inconsistent and
improbable--"_Did_ I know that your honour knew of it!--Why, how should
I have permitted his visits else? I wonder what your honour takes me
for! Had I not been sure it was the thing in this world that your honour
most desired would I have presumed to lend it a hand forward? I trust
I know my duty better. Hear if I ever asked another youngster into
the house, save himself--for I knew your honour was wise, and quarrels
cannot last for ever, and love begins where hatred ends; and, to be
sure, they love as if they were born one for the other--and then, the
estates of Moultrassie and Martindale suit each other like sheath and
knife."

"Parrot of a woman, hold your tongue!" said Bridgenorth, his patience
almost completely exhausted; "or, if you will prate, let it be to
your playfellows in the kitchen, and bid them get ready some dinner
presently, for Master Peveril is far from home."

"That I will, and with all my heart," said Deborah; "and if there are
a pair of fatter fowls in Man than shall clap their wings on the table
presently, your honour shall call me goose as well as parrot." She then
left the apartment.

"It is to such a woman as that," said Bridgenorth, looking after her
significantly, "that you conceived me to have abandoned the charge of
my only child! But enough of this subject--we will walk abroad, if you
will, while she is engaged in a province fitter for her understanding."

So saying, he left the house, accompanied by Julian Peveril, and they
were soon walking side by side, as if they had been old acquaintances.

It may have happened to many of our readers, as it has done to
ourselves, to be thrown by accident into society with some individual
whose claims to what is called a _serious_ character stand considerably
higher than our own, and with whom, therefore, we have conceived
ourselves likely to spend our time in a very stiff and constrained
manner; while, on the other hand, our destined companion may have
apprehended some disgust from the supposed levity and thoughtless gaiety
of a disposition that when we, with that urbanity and good-humour
which is our principal characteristic, have accommodated ourself to our
companion, by throwing as much seriousness into our conversation as our
habits will admit, he, on the other hand, moved by our liberal
example, hath divested his manners of part of their austerity; and our
conversation has, in consequence, been of that pleasant texture, betwixt
the useful and agreeable, which best resembles "the fairy-web of night
and day," usually called in prose the twilight. It is probable
both parties may, on such occasions, have been the better for their
encounter, even if it went no farther than to establish for the time a
community of feeling between men, who, separated more perhaps by
temper than by principle, are too apt to charge each other with profane
frivolity on the one hand, or fanaticism on the other.

It fared thus in Peveril's walk with Bridgenorth, and in the
conversation which he held with him.

Carefully avoiding the subject on which he had already spoken, Major
Bridgenorth turned his conversation chiefly on foreign travel, and on
the wonders he had seen in distant countries, and which he appeared to
have marked with a curious and observant eye. This discourse made the
time fly light away; for although the anecdotes and observations thus
communicated were all tinged with the serious and almost gloomy spirit
of the narrator, they yet contained traits of interest and of wonder,
such as are usually interesting to a youthful ear, and were particularly
so to Julian, who had, in his disposition, some cast of the romantic and
adventurous.

It appeared that Bridgenorth knew the south of France, and could tell
many stories of the French Huguenots, who already began to sustain those
vexations which a few years afterwards were summed up by the revocation
of the Edict of Nantz. He had even been in Hungary, for he spoke as from
personal knowledge of the character of several of the heads of the great
Protestant insurrection, which at this time had taken place under the
celebrated Tekeli; and laid down solid reasons why they were entitled to
make common cause with the Great Turk, rather than submit to the Pope
of Rome. He talked also of Savoy, where those of the reformed religion
still suffered a cruel persecution; and he mentioned with a swelling
spirit, the protection which Oliver had afforded to the oppressed
Protestant Churches; "therein showing himself," he added, "more fit
to wield the supreme power, than those who, claiming it by right of
inheritance, use it only for their own vain and voluptuous pursuits."

"I did not expect," said Peveril modestly, "to have heard Oliver's
panegyric from you, Master Bridgenorth."

"I do not panegyrise him," answered Bridgenorth; "I speak but truth of
that extraordinary man, now being dead, whom, when alive, I feared not
to withstand to his face. It is the fault of the present unhappy King,
if he make us look back with regret to the days when the nation was
respected abroad, and when devotion and sobriety were practised at
home.--But I mean not to vex your spirit by controversy. You have
lived amongst those who find it more easy and more pleasant to be the
pensioners of France than her controllers--to spend the money which
she doles out to themselves, than to check the tyranny with which she
oppresses our poor brethren of the religion. When the scales shall fall
from thine eyes, all this thou shalt see; and seeing, shalt learn to
detest and despise it."

By this time they had completed their walk, and were returned to the
Black Fort, by a different path from that which had led them up the
valley. The exercise and the general tone of conversation had removed,
in some degree, the shyness and embarrassment which Peveril originally
felt in Bridgenorth's presence and which the tenor of his first remarks
had rather increased than diminished. Deborah's promised banquet was
soon on the board; and in simplicity as well as neatness and good order,
answered the character she had claimed for it. In one respect alone,
there seemed some inconsistency, perhaps a little affectation. Most
of the dishes were of silver, and the plates were of the same metal;
instead of the trenchers and pewter which Peveril had usually seen
employed on similar occasions at the Black Fort.

Presently, with the feeling of one who walks in a pleasant dream from
which he fears to awake, and whose delight is mingled with wonder and
with uncertainty, Julian Peveril found himself seated between Alice
Bridgenorth and her father--the being he most loved on earth, and
the person whom he had ever considered as the great obstacle to their
intercourse. The confusion of his mind was such, that he could scarcely
reply to the importunate civilities of Dame Deborah; who, seated with
them at table in her quality of governante, now dispensed the good
things which had been prepared under her own eye.

As for Alice she seemed to have found a resolution to play the mute; for
she answered not, excepting briefly, to the questions of Dame Debbitch;
nay, even when her father, which happened once or twice, attempted to
bring her forward in the conversation, she made no further reply than
respect for him rendered absolutely necessary.

Upon Bridgenorth himself, then, devolved the task of entertaining the
company; and contrary to his ordinary habits, he did not seem to shrink
from it. His discourse was not only easy, but almost cheerful, though
ever and anon crossed by some expressions indicative of natural and
habitual melancholy, or prophetic of future misfortune and woe. Flashes
of enthusiasm, too, shot along his conversation, gleaming like the
sheet-lightening of an autumn eve, which throws a strong, though
momentary illumination, across the sober twilight, and all the
surrounding objects, which, touched by it, assume a wilder and more
striking character. In general, however, Bridgenorth's remarks were
plain and sensible; and as he aimed at no graces of language, any
ornament which they received arose out of the interest with which they
were impressed on his hearers. For example, when Deborah, in the pride
and vulgarity of her heart, called Julian's attention to the plate
from which they had been eating, Bridgenorth seemed to think an apology
necessary for such superfluous expense.

"It was a symptom," he said, "of approaching danger, when such men, as
were not usually influenced by the vanities of life employed much money
in ornaments composed of the precious metals. It was a sign that the
merchant could not obtain a profit for the capital, which, for the sake
of security, he invested in this inert form. It was a proof that the
noblemen or gentlemen feared the rapacity of power, when they put
their wealth into forms the most portable and the most capable of being
hidden; and it showed the uncertainty of credit, when a man of judgment
preferred the actual possession of a mass of a silver to the convenience
of a goldsmith's or a banker's receipt. While a shadow of liberty
remained," he said, "domestic rights were last invaded; and, therefore,
men disposed upon their cupboards and tables the wealth which in these
places would remain longest, though not perhaps finally, sacred from the
grasp of a tyrannical government. But let there be a demand for capital
to support a profitable commerce, and the mass is at once consigned
to the furnace, and, ceasing to be a vain and cumbrous ornament of the
banquet, becomes a potent and active agent for furthering the prosperity
of the country."

"In war, too," said Peveril, "plate has been found a ready resource."

"But too much so," answered Bridgenorth. "In the late times, the plate
of the nobles and gentry, with that of the colleges, and the sale of
the crown-jewels, enabled the King to make his unhappy stand, which
prevented matters returning to a state of peace and good order,
until the sword had attained an undue superiority both over King and
Parliament."

He looked at Julian as he spoke, much as he who proves a horse offers
some object suddenly to his eyes, then watches to see if he starts or
blenches from it. But Julian's thoughts were too much bent on other
topics to manifest any alarm. His answer referred to a previous part of
Bridgenorth's discourse, and was not returned till after a brief pause.
"War, then," he said, "war, the grand impoverisher, is also a creator of
wealth which it wastes and devours?"

"Yes," replied Bridgenorth, "even as the sluice brings into action the
sleeping waters of the lake, which it finally drains. Necessity invents
arts and discovers means; and what necessity is sterner than that of
civil war? Therefore, even war is not in itself unmixed evil, being the
creator of impulses and energies which could not otherwise have existed
in society."

"Men should go to war, then," said Peveril, "that they may send their
silver plate to the mint, and eat from pewter dishes and wooden plates?"

"Not so, my son," said Bridgenorth. Then checking himself as he observed
the deep crimson in Julian's cheek and brow, he added, "I crave your
pardon for such familiarity; but I meant not to limit what I said even
now to such trifling consequences, although it may be something salutary
to tear men from their pomps and luxuries, and teach those to be Romans
who would otherwise be Sybarites. But I would say, that times of public
danger, as they call into circulation the miser's hoard and the proud
man's bullion, and so add to the circulating wealth of the country,
do also call into action many a brave and noble spirit, which would
otherwise lie torpid, give no example to the living, and bequeath no
name to future ages. Society knows not, and cannot know, the mental
treasures which slumber in her bosom, till necessity and opportunity
call forth the statesman and the soldier from the shades of lowly
life to the parts they are designed by Providence to perform, and the
stations which nature had qualified them to hold. So rose Oliver--so
rose Milton--so rose many another name which cannot be forgotten--even
as the tempest summons forth and displays the address of the mariner."

"You speak," said Peveril, "as if national calamity might be, in some
sort, an advantage."

"And if it were not so," replied Bridgenorth, "it had not existed in
this state of trial, where all temporal evil is alleviated by something
good in its progress or result, and where all that is good is close
coupled with that which is in itself evil."

"It must be a noble sight," said Julian, "to behold the slumbering
energies of a great mind awakened into energy, and to see it assume the
authority which is its due over spirits more meanly endowed."

"I once witnessed," said Bridgenorth, "something to the same effect;
and as the tale is brief, I will tell it you, if you will:--Amongst
my wanderings, the Transatlantic settlements have not escaped me; more
especially the country of New England, into which our native land has
shaken from her lap, as a drunkard flings from him his treasures, so
much that is precious in the eyes of God and of His children. There
thousands of our best and most godly men--such whose righteousness might
come of cities--are content to be the inhabitants of the desert, rather
encountering the unenlightened savages, than stooping to extinguish,
under the oppression practised in Britain, the light that is within
their own minds. There I remained for a time, during the wars which the
colony maintained with Philip, a great Indian Chief, or Sachem, as they
were called, who seemed a messenger sent from Satan to buffet them.
His cruelty was great--his dissimulation profound; and the skill
and promptitude with which he maintained a destructive and desultory
warfare, inflicted many dreadful calamities on the settlement. I was,
by chance, at a small village in the woods, more than thirty miles from
Boston, and in its situation exceedingly lonely, and surrounded with
thickets. Nevertheless, there was no idea of any danger from the Indians
at that time, for men trusted to the protection of a considerable body
of troops who had taken the field for protection of the frontiers, and
who lay, or were supposed to lie, betwixt the hamlet and the enemy's
country. But they had to do with a foe, whom the devil himself had
inspired at once with cunning and cruelty. It was on a Sabbath morning,
when we had assembled to take sweet counsel together in the Lord's
house. Our temple was but constructed of wooden logs; but when shall the
chant of trained hirelings, or the sounding of tin and brass tubes amid
the aisles of a minster, arise so sweetly to Heaven, as did the psalm in
which we united at once our voices and our hearts! An excellent worthy,
who now sleeps in the Lord, Nehemia Solsgrace, long the companion of
my pilgrimage, had just begun to wrestle in prayer, when a woman,
with disordered looks and dishevelled hair, entered our chapel in
a distracted manner, screaming incessantly, 'The Indians! The
Indians!'--In that land no man dares separate himself from his means of
defence; and whether in the city or in the field, in the ploughed land
or the forest, men keep beside them their weapons, as did the Jews at
the rebuilding of the Temple. So we sallied forth with our guns and
pikes, and heard the whoop of these incarnate devils, already in
possession of a part of the town, and exercising their cruelty on
the few whom weighty causes or indisposition had withheld from public
worship; and it was remarked as a judgment, that, upon that bloody
Sabbath, Adrian Hanson, a Dutchman, a man well enough disposed towards
man, but whose mind was altogether given to worldly gain, was shot and
scalped as he was summing his weekly gains in his warehouse. In fine,
there was much damage done; and although our arrival and entrance into
combat did in some sort put them back, yet being surprised and confused,
and having no appointed leader of our band, the devilish enemy shot
hard at us and had some advantage. It was pitiful to hear the screams of
women and children amid the report of guns and the whistling of bullets,
mixed with the ferocious yells of these savages, which they term their
war-whoop. Several houses in the upper part of the village were soon on
fire; and the roaring of the flames, and crackling of the great beams as
they blazed, added to the horrible confusion; while the smoke which the
wind drove against us gave farther advantage to the enemy, who fought
as it were, invisible, and under cover, whilst we fell fast by their
unerring fire. In this state of confusion, and while we were about to
adopt the desperate project of evacuating the village, and, placing the
women and children in the centre, of attempting a retreat to the nearest
settlement, it pleased Heaven to send us unexpected assistance. A tall
man, of a reverend appearance, whom no one of us had ever seen before,
suddenly was in the midst of us, as we hastily agitated the resolution
of retreating. His garments were of the skin of the elk, and he wore
sword and carried gun; I never saw anything more august than his
features, overshadowed by locks of grey hair, which mingled with a long
beard of the same colour. 'Men and brethren,' he said, in a voice like
that which turns back the flight, 'why sink your hearts? and why are
you thus disquieted? Fear ye that the God we serve will give you up to
yonder heathen dogs? Follow me, and you shall see this day that there is
a captain in Israel!' He uttered a few brief but distinct orders, in a
tone of one who was accustomed to command; and such was the influence of
his appearance, his mien, his language, and his presence of mind,
that he was implicitly obeyed by men who had never seen him until that
moment. We were hastily divided, by his orders, into two bodies; one of
which maintained the defence of the village with more courage than ever,
convinced that the Unknown was sent by God to our rescue. At his command
they assumed the best and most sheltered positions for exchanging their
deadly fire with the Indians; while, under cover of the smoke, the
stranger sallied from the town, at the head of the other division of the
New England men, and, fetching a circuit, attacked the Red Warriors
in the rear. The surprise, as is usual amongst savages, had complete
effect; for they doubted not that they were assailed in their turn, and
placed betwixt two hostile parties by the return of a detachment from
the provincial army. The heathens fled in confusion, abandoning the
half-won village, and leaving behind them such a number of their
warriors, that the tribe hath never recovered its loss. Never shall I
forget the figure of our venerable leader, when our men, and not they
only, but the women and children of the village, rescued from the
tomahawk and scalping-knife, stood crowded around him, yet scarce
venturing to approach his person, and more minded, perhaps, to worship
him as a descended angel, than to thank him as a fellow-mortal. 'Not
unto me be the glory,' he said; 'I am but an implement, frail as
yourselves, in the hand of Him who is strong to deliver. Bring me a cup
of water, that I may allay my parched throat, ere I essay the task of
offering thanks where they are most due.' I was nearest to him as he
spoke, and I gave into his hand the water he requested. At that moment
we exchanged glances, and it seemed to me that I recognised a noble
friend whom I had long since deemed in glory; but he gave me no time to
speak, had speech been prudent. Sinking on his knees, and signing us to
obey him, he poured forth a strong and energetic thanksgiving for the
turning back of the battle, which, pronounced with a voice loud and
clear as a war-trumpet, thrilled through the joints and marrow of the
hearers. I have heard many an act of devotion in my life, had Heaven
vouchsafed me grace to profit by them; but such a prayer as this,
uttered amid the dead and the dying, with a rich tone of mingled triumph
and adoration, was beyond them all--it was like the song of the inspired
prophetess who dwelt beneath the palm-tree between Ramah and Bethel. He
was silent; and for a brief space we remained with our faces bent to the
earth--no man daring to lift his head. At length we looked up, but our
deliverer was no longer amongst us; nor was he ever again seen in the
land which he had rescued."

Here Bridgenorth, who had told this singular story with an eloquence
and vivacity of detail very contrary to the usual dryness of his
conversation, paused for an instant, and then resumed--"Thou seest,
young man, that men of valour and of discretion are called forth
to command in circumstances of national exigence, though their very
existence is unknown in the land which they are predestined to deliver."

"But what thought the people of the mysterious stranger?" said Julian,
who had listened with eagerness, for the story was of a kind interesting
to the youthful and the brave.

"Many things," answered Bridgenorth, "and, as usual, little to
the purpose. The prevailing opinion was, notwithstanding his own
disclamation, that the stranger was really a supernatural being; others
believed him an inspired champion, transported in the body from some
distant climate, to show us the way to safety; others, again, concluded
that he was a recluse, who, either from motives of piety, or other
cogent reasons, had become a dweller in the wilderness, and shunned the
face of man."

"And, if I may presume to ask," said Julian, "to which of these opinions
were you disposed to adhere?"

"The last suited best with the transient though close view with which I
had perused the stranger's features," replied Bridgenorth; "for although
I dispute not that it may please Heaven, on high occasions, even to
raise one from the dead in defence of his country, yet I doubted not
then, as I doubt not now, that I looked on the living form of one, who
had indeed powerful reasons to conceal him in the cleft of the rock."

"Are these reasons a secret?" said Julian Peveril.

"Not properly a secret," replied Bridgenorth; "for I fear not thy
betraying what I might tell thee in private discourse; and besides, wert
thou so base, the prey lies too distant for any hunters to whom thou
couldst point out its traces. But the name of this worthy will sound
harsh in thy ear, on account of one action of his life--being his
accession to a great measure, which made the extreme isles of the earth
to tremble. Have you never heard of Richard Whalley?"

"Of the regicide?" exclaimed Peveril, starting.

"Call his act what thou wilt," said Bridgenorth; "he was not less the
rescuer of that devoted village, that, with other leading spirits of the
age, he sat in the judgment-seat when Charles Stewart was arraigned at
the bar, and subscribed the sentence that went forth upon him."

"I have ever heard," said Julian, in an altered voice, and colouring
deeply, "that you, Master Bridgenorth, with other Presbyterians, were
totally averse to that detestable crime, and were ready to have made
joint-cause with the Cavaliers in preventing so horrible a parricide."

"If it were so," said Bridgenorth, "we have been richly rewarded by his
successor."

"Rewarded!" exclaimed Julian; "does the distinction of good and evil,
and our obligation to do the one and forbear the other, depend on the
reward which may attach to our actions?"

"God forbid," answered Bridgenorth; "yet those who view the havoc which
this house of Stewart have made in the Church and State--the tyranny
which they exercise over men's persons and consciences--may well doubt
whether it be lawful to use weapons in their defence. Yet you hear
me not praise, or even vindicate the death of the King, though so far
deserved, as he was false to his oath as a Prince and Magistrate. I only
tell you what you desired to know, that Richard Whalley, one of the
late King's judges, was he of whom I have just been speaking. I knew
his lofty brow, though time had made it balder and higher; his grey eye
retained all its lustre; and though the grizzled beard covered the lower
part of his face, it prevented me not from recognising him. The scent
was hot after him for his blood; but by the assistance of those friends
whom Heaven had raised up for his preservation, he was concealed
carefully, and emerged only to do the will of Providence in the matter
of that battle. Perhaps his voice may be heard in the field once more,
should England need one of her noblest hearts."

"Now, God forbid!" said Julian.

"Amen," returned Bridgenorth. "May God avert civil war, and pardon those
whose madness would bring it on us!"

There was a long pause, during which Julian, who had scarce lifted his
eyes towards Alice, stole a glance in that direction, and was struck by
the deep cast of melancholy which had stolen over features, to which a
cheerful, if not gay expression, was most natural. So soon as she caught
his eye, she remarked, and, as Julian thought, with significance, that
the shadows were lengthening, and evening coming on.

He heard; and although satisfied that she hinted at his departure, he
could not, upon the instant, find resolution to break the spell which
detained him. The language which Bridgenorth held was not only new and
alarming, but so contrary to the maxims in which he was brought up,
that, as a son of Sir Geoffrey Peveril of the Peak, he would, in another
case, have thought himself called upon to dispute its conclusions, even
at the sword's point. But Bridgenorth's opinions were delivered with
so much calmness--seemed so much the result of conviction--that they
excited in Julian rather a spirit of wonder, than of angry controversy.
There was a character of sober decision, and sedate melancholy, in
all that he said, which, even had he not been the father of Alice (and
perhaps Julian was not himself aware how much he was influenced by
that circumstance), would have rendered it difficult to take personal
offence. His language and sentiments were of that quiet, yet decided
kind, upon which it is difficult either to fix controversy, or quarrel,
although it be impossible to acquiesce in the conclusions to which they
lead.

While Julian remained, as if spell-bound to his chair, scarce more
surprised at the company in which he found himself, than at the opinions
to which he was listening, another circumstance reminded him that the
proper time of his stay at Black Fort had been expended. Little Fairy,
the Manx pony, which, well accustomed to the vicinity of Black Fort,
used to feed near the house while her master made his visits there,
began to find his present stay rather too long. She had been the gift
of the Countess to Julian, whilst a youth, and came of a high-spirited
mountain breed, remarkable alike for hardiness, for longevity, and for
a degree of sagacity approaching to that of the dog. Fairy showed the
latter quality, by the way in which she chose to express her impatience
to be moving homewards. At least such seemed the purpose of the shrill
neigh with which she startled the female inmates of the parlour, who,
the moment afterwards, could not forbear smiling to see the nose of the
pony advanced through the opened casement.

"Fairy reminds me," said Julian, looking to Alice, and rising, "that the
term of my stay here is exhausted."

"Speak with me yet one moment," said Bridgenorth, withdrawing him into
a Gothic recess of the old-fashioned apartment, and speaking so low
that he could not be overheard by Alice and her governante, who, in the
meantime, caressed, and fed with fragments of bread the intruder Fairy.

"You have not, after all," said Bridgenorth, "told me the cause of your
coming hither." He stopped, as if to enjoy his embarrassment, and then
added, "And indeed it were most unnecessary that you should do so. I
have not so far forgotten the days of my youth, or those affections
which bind poor frail humanity but too much to the things of this world.
Will you find no words to ask of me the great boon which you seek, and
which, peradventure, you would not have hesitated to have made your
own, without my knowledge, and against my consent?--Nay, never vindicate
thyself, but mark me farther. The patriarch bought his beloved by
fourteen years' hard service to her father Laban, and they seemed to
him but as a few days. But he that would wed my daughter must serve,
in comparison, but a few days; though in matters of such mighty import,
that they shall seem as the service of many years. Reply not to me now,
but go, and peace be with you."

He retired so quickly, after speaking, that Peveril had literally not an
instant to reply. He cast his eyes around the apartment, but Deborah
and her charge had also disappeared. His gaze rested for a moment on
the portrait of Christian, and his imagination suggested that his dark
features were illuminated by a smile of haughty triumph. He stared,
and looked more attentively--it was but the effect of the evening beam,
which touched the picture at the instant. The effect was gone, and there
remained but the fixed, grave, inflexible features of the republican
soldier.

Julian left the apartment as one who walks in a dream; he mounted Fairy,
and, agitated by a variety of thoughts, which he was unable to reduce to
order, he returned to Castle Rushin before the night sat down.

Here he found all in movement. The Countess, with her son, had, upon
some news received, or resolution formed, during his absence, removed,
with a principal part of their family, to the yet stronger Castle of
Holm-Peel, about eight miles' distance across the island; and which had
been suffered to fall into a much more dilapidated condition than that
of Castletown, so far as it could be considered as a place of residence.
But as a fortress, Holm-Peel was stronger than Castletown; nay, unless
assailed regularly, was almost impregnable; and was always held by
a garrison belonging to the Lords of Man. Here Peveril arrived at
nightfall. He was told in the fishing-village, that the night-bell of
the Castle had been rung earlier than usual, and the watch set with
circumstances of unusual and jealous repetition.

Resolving, therefore, not to disturb the garrison by entering at that
late hour, he obtained an indifferent lodging in the town for the night,
and determined to go to the Castle early on the succeeding morning. He
was not sorry thus to gain a few hours of solitude, to think over the
agitating events of the preceding day.



CHAPTER XV

                ----What seem'd its head,
                The likeness of a kingly crown had on.
                                           --PARADISE LOST.

Sodor, or Holm-Peel, so is named the castle to which our Julian directed
his course early on the following morning, is one of those extraordinary
monuments of antiquity with which this singular and interesting island
abounds. It occupies the whole of a high rocky peninsula, or rather
an island, for it is surrounded by the sea at high-water, and scarcely
accessible even when the tide is out, although a stone causeway, of
great solidity, erected for the express purpose, connects the island
with the mainland. The whole space is surrounded by double walls of
great strength and thickness; and the access to the interior, at the
time which we treat of, was only by two flights of steep and narrow
steps, divided from each other by a strong tower and guard-house; under
the former of which, there is an entrance-arch. The open space within
the walls extends to two acres, and contains many objects worthy
of antiquarian curiosity. There were besides the castle itself, two
cathedral churches, dedicated, the earlier to St. Patrick, the latter to
St. Germain; besides two smaller churches; all of which had become, even
in that day, more or less ruinous. Their decayed walls, exhibiting the
rude and massive architecture of the most remote period, were composed
of a ragged grey-stone, which formed a singular contrast with the bright
red freestone of which the window-cases, corner-stones, arches, and
other ornamental parts of the building, were composed.

Besides these four ruinous churches, the space of ground enclosed by the
massive exterior walls of Holm-Peel exhibited many other vestiges of the
olden time. There was a square mound of earth, facing, with its angles
to the points of the compass, one of those motes, as they were called,
on which, in ancient times, the northern tribes elected or recognised
their chiefs, and held their solemn popular assemblies, or _comitia_.
There was also one of those singular towers, so common in Ireland as
to have proved the favourite theme of her antiquaries; but of which the
real use and meaning seems yet to be hidden in the mist of ages. This
of Holm-Peel had been converted to the purpose of a watch-tower.
There were, besides, Runic monuments, of which legends could not be
deciphered; and later inscriptions to the memory of champions, of
whom the names only were preserved from oblivion. But tradition and
superstitious eld, still most busy where real history is silent, had
filled up the long blank of accurate information with tales of Sea-kings
and Pirates, Hebridean Chiefs and Norwegian Resolutes, who had formerly
warred against, and in defence of, this famous castle. Superstition,
too, had her tales of fairies, ghosts, and spectres--her legions of
saints and demons, of fairies and of familiar spirits, which in no
corner of the British empire are told and received with more absolute
credulity than in the Isle of Man.

Amidst all these ruins of an older time arose the Castle itself,--now
ruinous--but in Charles II.'s reign well garrisoned, and, in a military
point of view, kept in complete order. It was a venerable and very
ancient building, containing several apartments of sufficient size
and height to be termed noble. But in the surrender of the island by
Christian, the furniture had been, in a great measure, plundered or
destroyed by the republican soldiers; so that, as we have before
hinted, its present state was ill adapted for the residence of the noble
proprietor. Yet it had been often the abode, not only of the Lords of
Man, but of those state prisoners whom the Kings of Britain sometimes
committed to their charge.

In this Castle of Holm-Peel the great king-maker, Richard, Earl of
Warwick, was confined, during one period of his eventful life, to
ruminate at leisure on his farther schemes of ambition. And here, too,
Eleanor, the haughty wife of the good Duke of Gloucester, pined out in
seclusion the last days of her banishment. The sentinels pretended that
her discontented spectre was often visible at night, traversing the
battlements of the external walls, or standing motionless beside a
particular solitary turret of one of the watch-towers with which they
are flanked; but dissolving into air at cock-crow, or when the bell
tolled from the yet remaining tower of St. Germain's church.

Such was Holm-Peel, as records inform us, till towards the end of the
seventeenth century.

It was in one of the lofty but almost unfurnished apartments of this
ancient Castle that Julian Peveril found his friend the Earl of Derby,
who had that moment sat down to a breakfast composed of various sorts
of fish. "Welcome, most imperial Julian," he said; "welcome to our royal
fortress; in which, as yet, we are not like to be starved with hunger,
though well-nigh dead for cold."

Julian answered by inquiring the meaning of this sudden movement.

"Upon my word," replied the Earl, "you know nearly as much of it as I
do. My mother has told me nothing about it; supposing I believe, that
I shall at length be tempted to inquire; but she will find herself much
mistaken. I shall give her credit for full wisdom in her proceedings,
rather than put her to the trouble to render a reason, though no woman
can render one better."

"Come, come; this is affectation, my good friend," said Julian. "You
should inquire into these matters a little more curiously."

"To what purpose?" said the Earl. "To hear old stories about the Tinwald
laws, and the contending rights of the lords and the clergy, and all
the rest of that Celtic barbarism, which, like Burgesse's thorough-paced
doctrine enters at one ear, paces through, and goes out at the other?"

"Come, my lord," said Julian, "you are not so indifferent as you would
represent yourself--you are dying of curiosity to know what this hurry
is about; only you think it the courtly humour to appear careless about
your own affairs."

"Why, what should it be about," said the young Earl "unless some
factious dispute between our Majesty's minister, Governor Nowel, and
our vassals? or perhaps some dispute betwixt our Majesty and the
ecclesiastical jurisdictions? for all which our Majesty cares as little
as any king in Christendom."

"I rather suppose there is intelligence from England," said Julian.
"I heard last night in Peel-town, that Greenhalgh is come over with
unpleasant news."

"He brought me nothing that was pleasant, I wot well," said the Earl.
"I expected something from St. Evremond or Hamilton--some new plays by
Dryden or Lee, and some waggery or lampoons from the Rose Coffee-house;
and the fellow has brought me nothing but a parcel of tracts about
Protestants and Papists, and a folio play-book, one of the conceptions,
as she calls them, of that old mad-woman the Duchess of Newcastle."

"Hush, my lord, for Heaven's sake," said Peveril; "here comes the
Countess; and you know she takes fire at the least slight to her ancient
friend."

"Let her read her ancient friend's works herself, then," said the Earl,
"and think her as wise as she can; but I would not give one of Waller's
songs, or Denham's satires, for a whole cart-load of her Grace's
trash.--But here comes our mother with care on her brow."

The Countess of Derby entered the apartment accordingly, holding in her
hand a number of papers. Her dress was a mourning habit, with a deep
train of black velvet, which was borne by a little favourite attendant,
a deaf and dumb girl, whom, in compassion to her misfortune, the
Countess had educated about her person for some years. Upon this
unfortunate being, with the touch of romance which marked many of her
proceedings, Lady Derby had conferred the name of Fenella, after some
ancient princess of the island. The Countess herself was not much
changed since we last presented her to our readers. Age had rendered her
step more slow, but not less majestic; and while it traced some wrinkles
on her brow, had failed to quench the sedate fire of her dark eye. The
young men rose to receive her with the formal reverence which they knew
she loved, and were greeted by her with equal kindness.

"Cousin Peveril," she said (for so she always called Julian, in respect
of his mother being a kinswoman of her husband), "you were ill abroad
last night, when we much needed your counsel."

Julian answered with a blush which he could not prevent, "That he had
followed his sport among the mountains too far--had returned late--and
finding her ladyship was removed from Castletown, had instantly followed
the family hither; but as the night-bell was rung, and the watch set, he
had deemed it more respectful to lodge for the night in the town."

"It is well," said the Countess; "and, to do you justice, Julian, you
are seldom a truant neglecter of appointed hours, though, like the rest
of the youth of this age, you sometimes suffer your sports to consume
too much of time that should be spent otherwise. But for your friend
Philip, he is an avowed contemner of good order, and seems to find
pleasure in wasting time, even when he does not enjoy it."

"I have been enjoying my time just now at least," said the Earl, rising
from table, and picking his teeth carelessly. "These fresh mullets are
delicious, and so is the Lachrymæ Christi. I pray you to sit down
to breakfast, Julian, and partake the goods my royal foresight has
provided. Never was King of Man nearer being left to the mercy of the
execrable brandy of his dominions. Old Griffiths would never, in the
midst of our speedy retreat of last night, have had sense enough to
secure a few flasks, had I not given him a hint on that important
subject. But presence of mind amid danger and tumult, is a jewel I have
always possessed."

"I wish, then, Philip, you would exert it to better purpose," said the
Countess, half smiling, half displeased; for she doated upon her son
with all a mother's fondness, even when she was most angry with him for
being deficient in the peculiar and chivalrous disposition which had
distinguished his father, and which was so analogous to her own romantic
and high-minded character. "Lend me your signet," she added with a sigh;
"for it were, I fear, vain to ask you to read over these despatches
from England, and execute the warrants which I have thought necessary to
prepare in consequence."

"My signet you shall command with all my heart, madam," said Earl
Philip; "but spare me the revision of what you are much more capable to
decide upon. I am, you know, a most complete _Roi fainéant_, and never
once interfered with my _Maire de palais_ in her proceedings."

The Countess made signs to her little train-bearer, who immediately went
to seek for wax and a light, with which she presently returned.

In the meanwhile the Countess continued, addressing Peveril. "Philip
does himself less than justice. When you were absent, Julian (for if
you had been here I would have given you the credit of prompting your
friend), he had a spirited controversy with the Bishop, for an attempt
to enforce spiritual censures against a poor wretch, by confining her in
the vault under the chapel."[*]

[*] Beneath the only one of the four churches in Castle Rushin, which
    is or was kept a little in repair, is a prison or dungeon, for
    ecclesiastical offenders. "This," says Waldron, "is certainly one
    of the most dreadful places that imagination can form; the sea
    runs under it through the hollows of the rock with such a
    continual roar, that you would think it were every moment breaking
    in upon you, and over it are the vaults for burying the dead. The
    stairs descending to this place of terrors are not above thirty,
    but so steep and narrow, that they are very difficult to go down,
    a child of eight or nine years not being able to pass them but
    sideways."--WALDRON'S _Description of the Isle of Man, in his
    Works_, p. 105, folio.

"Do not think better of me than I deserve," said the Earl to Peveril;
"my mother has omitted to tell you the culprit was pretty Peggy of
Ramsey, and her crime what in Cupid's courts would have been called a
peccadillo."

"Do not make yourself worse than you are," replied Peveril, who observed
the Countess's cheek redden,--"you know you would have done as much for
the oldest and poorest cripple in the island. Why, the vault is under
the burial-ground of the chapel, and, for aught I know, under the ocean
itself, such a roaring do the waves make in its vicinity. I think no one
could remain there long, and retain his reason."

"It is an infernal hole," answered the Earl, "and I will have it built
up one day--that is full certain.--But hold--hold--for God's sake,
madam--what are you going to do?--Look at the seal before you put it to
the warrant--you will see it is a choice antique cameo Cupid, riding
on a flying fish--I had it for twenty zechins, from Signor Furabosco at
Rome--a most curious matter for an antiquary, but which will add little
faith to a Manx warrant.

"My signet--my signet--Oh! you mean that with the three monstrous
legs, which I supposed was devised as the most preposterous device, to
represent our most absurd Majesty of Man.--The signet--I have not seen
it since I gave it to Gibbon, my monkey, to play with.--He did whine for
it most piteously--I hope he has not gemmed the green breast of ocean
with my symbol of sovereignty!"

"Now, by Heaven," said the Countess, trembling, and colouring deeply
with anger, "it was your father's signet! the last pledge which he sent,
with his love to me, and his blessing to thee, the night before they
murdered him at Bolton!"

"Mother, dearest mother," said the Earl, startled out of his apathy, and
taking her hand, which he kissed tenderly, "I did but jest--the signet
is safe--Peveril knows that it is so.--Go fetch it, Julian, for Heaven's
sake--here are my keys--it is in the left-hand drawer of my travelling
cabinet--Nay, mother, forgive me--it was but a _mauvaise plaisanterie_;
only an ill-imagined jest, ungracious, and in bad taste, I allow--but
only one of Philip's follies. Look at me, dearest mother, and forgive
me."

The Countess turned her eyes towards him, from which the tears were fast
falling.

"Philip," she said, "you try me too unkindly, and too severely. If times
are changed, as I have heard you allege--if the dignity of rank, and
the high feelings of honour and duty, are now drowned in giddy jests and
trifling pursuits, let _me_ at least, who live secluded from all others,
die without perceiving the change which has happened, and, above all,
without perceiving it in mine own son. Let me not learn the general
prevalence of this levity, which laughs at every sense of dignity or
duty, through your personal disrespect--Let me not think that when I
die----"

"Speak nothing of it, mother," said the Earl, interrupting her
affectionately. "It is true, I cannot promise to be all my father and
his fathers were; for we wear silk vests for their steel coats, and
feathered beavers for their crested helmets. But believe me, though
to be an absolute Palmerin of England is not in my nature, no son ever
loved a mother more dearly, or would do more to oblige her. And that you
may own this, I will forthwith not only seal the warrants, to the great
endangerment of my precious fingers, but also read the same from end to
end, as well as the despatches thereunto appertaining."

A mother is easily appeased, even when most offended; and it was with an
expanding heart that the Countess saw her son's very handsome
features, while reading these papers, settle into an expression of deep
seriousness, such as they seldom wore. It seemed to her as if the family
likeness to his gallant but unfortunate father increased, when the
expression of their countenances became similar in gravity. The Earl
had no sooner perused the despatches, which he did with great attention,
than he rose and said, "Julian, come with me."

The Countess looked surprised. "I was wont to share your father's
counsels, my son," she said; "but do not think that I wish to intrude
myself upon yours. I am too well pleased to see you assume the power and
the duty of thinking for yourself, which is what I have so long
urged you to do. Nevertheless, my experience, who have been so
long administrator of your authority in Man, might not, I think, be
superfluous to the matter in hand."

"Hold me excused, dearest mother," said the Earl gravely. "The
interference was none of my seeking; had you taken your own course,
without consulting me, it had been well; but since I have entered on the
affair--and it appears sufficiently important--I must transact it to the
best of my own ability."

"Go, then, my son," said the Countess, "and may Heaven enlighten thee
with its counsel, since thou wilt have none of mine.--I trust that you,
Master Peveril, will remind him of what is fit for his own honour;
and that only a coward abandons his rights, and only a fool trusts his
enemies."

The Earl answered not, but, taking Peveril by the arm, led him up a
winding stair to his own apartment, and from thence into a projecting
turret, where, amidst the roar of waves and sea-mews' clang, he held
with him the following conversation:--

"Peveril, it is well I looked into these warrants. My mother queens it
at such a rate as may cost me not only my crown, which I care little
for, but perhaps my head, which, though others may think little of, I
would feel it an inconvenience to be deprived of."

"What on earth is the matter?" said Peveril, with considerable anxiety.

"It seems," said the Earl of Derby, "that old England who takes a
frolicsome brain-fever once every two or three years, for the benefit of
her doctors, and the purification of the torpid lethargy brought on by
peace and prosperity, is now gone stark staring mad on the subject of a
real or supposed Popish plot. I read one programme on the subject, by
a fellow called Oates, and thought it the most absurd foolery I ever
perused. But that cunning fellow Shaftesbury, and some others amongst
the great ones, having taken it up, and are driving on at such a rate
as makes harness crack, and horses smoke for it. The King, who has sworn
never to kiss the pillow his father went to sleep on, temporises, and
gives way to the current; the Duke of York, suspected and hated on
account of his religion, is about to be driven to the continent; several
principal Catholic nobles are in the Tower already; and the nation,
like a bull at Tutbury-running, is persecuted with so many inflammatory
rumours and pestilent pamphlets, that she has cocked her tail, flung
up her heels, taken the bit betwixt her teeth and is as furiously
unmanageable as in the year 1642."

"All this you must have known already," said Peveril; "I wonder you told
me not of news so important."

"It would have taken long to tell," said the Earl; "moreover, I desired
to have you _solus_; thirdly, I was about to speak when my mother
entered; and, to conclude, it was no business of mine. But these
despatches of my politic mother's private correspondent put a new face
on the whole matter; for it seems some of the informers--a trade which,
having become a thriving one, is now pursued by many--have dared to
glance at the Countess herself as an agent in this same plot--ay, and
have found those that are willing enough to believe their report."

"On mine honour," said Peveril, "you both take it with great coolness.
I think the Countess the more composed of the two; for, except her
movement hither, she exhibited no mark of alarm, and, moreover, seemed
no way more anxious to communicate the matter to your lordship than
decency rendered necessary."

"My good mother," said the Earl, "loves power, though it has cost her
dear. I wish I could truly say that my neglect of business is entirely
assumed in order to leave it in her hands, but that better motive
combines with natural indolence. But she seems to have feared I should
not think exactly like her in this emergency, and she was right in
supposing so."

"How comes the emergency upon you?" said Julian; "and what form does the
danger assume?"

"Marry, thus it is," said the Earl: "I need not bid you remember
the affair of Colonel Christian. That man, besides his widow, who is
possessed of large property--Dame Christian of Kirk Truagh, whom you
have often heard of, and perhaps seen--left a brother called Edward
Christian, whom you never saw at all. Now this brother--but I dare say
you know all about it."

"Not I, on my honour," said Peveril; "you know the Countess seldom or
never alludes to the subject."

"Why," replied the Earl, "I believe in her heart she is something
ashamed of that gallant act of royalty and supreme jurisdiction, the
consequences of which maimed my estate so cruelly.--Well, cousin,
this same Edward Christian was one of the dempsters at the time, and,
naturally enough, was unwilling to concur in the sentence which adjudged
his _aîné_ to be shot like a dog. My mother, who was then in high force,
and not to be controlled by any one, would have served the dempster with
the same sauce with which she dressed his brother, had he not been wise
enough to fly from the island. Since that time, the thing has slept on
all hands; and though we knew that Dempster Christian made occasionally
secret visits to his friends in the island, along with two or three
other Puritans of the same stamp, and particularly a prick-eared rogue,
called Bridgenorth, brother-in-law to the deceased, yet my mother, thank
Heaven, has hitherto had the sense to connive at them, though, for some
reason or other, she holds this Bridgenorth in especial disfavour."

"And why," said Peveril, forcing himself to speak, in order to conceal
the very unpleasant surprise which he felt, "why does the Countess now
depart from so prudent a line of conduct?"

"You must know the case is now different. The rogues are not satisfied
with toleration--they would have supremacy. They have found friends in
the present heat of the popular mind. My mother's name, and especially
that of her confessor, Aldrick the Jesuit, have been mentioned in this
beautiful maze of a plot, which if any such at all exists, she knows as
little of as you or I. However, she is a Catholic, and that is enough;
and I have little doubt, that if the fellows could seize on our scrap of
a kingdom here, and cut all our throats, they would have the thanks of
the present House of Commons, as willingly as old Christian had those of
the Rump, for a similar service."

"From whence did you receive all this information?" said Peveril, again
speaking, though by the same effort which a man makes who talks in his
sleep.

"Aldrick has seen the Duke of York in secret, and his Royal Highness,
who wept while he confessed his want of power to protect his
friends--and it is no trifle will wring tears from him--told him to
send us information that we should look to our safety, for that Dempster
Christian and Bridgenorth were in the island, with secret and severe
orders; that they had formed a considerable party there, and were likely
to be owned and protected in anything they might undertake against us.
The people of Ramsey and Castletown are unluckily discontented about
some new regulation of the imposts; and to tell you the truth, though
I thought yesterday's sudden remove a whim of my mother's, I am almost
satisfied they would have blockaded us in Rushin Castle, where we could
not have held out for lack of provisions. Here we are better supplied,
and, as we are on our guard, it is likely the intended rising will not
take place."

"And what is to be done in this emergency?" said Peveril.

"That is the very question, my gentle coz," answered the Earl.
"My mother sees but one way of going to work, and that is by royal
authority. Here are the warrants she had prepared, to search for, take,
and apprehend the bodies of Edward Christian and Robert--no, Ralph
Bridgenorth, and bring them to instant trial. No doubt, she would soon
have had them in the Castle court, with a dozen of the old matchlocks
levelled against them--that is her way of solving all sudden
difficulties."

"But in which, I trust, you do not acquiesce, my lord," answered
Peveril, whose thoughts instantly reverted to Alice, if they could ever
be said to be absent from her.

"Truly I acquiesce in no such matter," said the Earl. "William
Christian's death cost me a fair half of my inheritance. I have no fancy
to fall under the displeasure of my royal brother, King Charles, for a
new escapade of the same kind. But how to pacify my mother, I know not.
I wish the insurrection would take place, and then, as we are better
provided than they can be, we might knock the knaves on the head; and
yet, since they began the fray, we should keep the law on our side."

"Were it not better," said Peveril, "if by any means these men could be
induced to quit the island?"

"Surely," replied the Earl; "but that will be no easy matter--they
are stubborn on principle, and empty threats will not move them. This
stormblast in London is wind in their sails, and they will run their
length, you may depend on it. I have sent orders, however, to clap up
the Manxmen upon whose assistance they depended, and if I can find the
two worthies themselves, here are sloops enough in the harbour--I will
take the freedom to send them on a pretty distant voyage, and I hope
matters will be settled before they return to give an account of it."

At this moment a soldier belonging to the garrison approached the two
young men, with many bows and tokens of respect. "How now, friend?" said
the Earl to him. "Leave off thy courtesies, and tell thy business."

The man, who was a native islander, answered in Manx, that he had a
letter for his honour, Master Julian Peveril. Julian snatched the billet
hastily, and asked whence it came.

"It was delivered to him by a young woman," the soldier replied, "who
had given him a piece of money to deliver it into Master Peveril's own
hand."

"Thou art a lucky fellow, Julian," said the Earl. "With that grave brow
of thine, and thy character for sobriety and early wisdom, you set the
girls a-wooing, without waiting till they are asked; whilst I, their
drudge and vassal, waste both language and leisure, without getting a
kind word or look, far less a billet-doux."

This the young Earl said with a smile of conscious triumph, as in fact
he valued himself not a little upon the interest which he supposed
himself to possess with the fair sex.

Meanwhile the letter impressed on Peveril a different train of thoughts
from what his companion apprehended. It was in Alice's hand, and
contained these few words:--


 "I fear what I am going to do is wrong; but I must see you. Meet me
  at noon at Goddard Crovan's Stone, with as much secrecy as you
  may."


The letter was signed only with the initials A. B.; but Julian had no
difficulty in recognising the handwriting, which he had often seen,
and which was remarkably beautiful. He stood suspended, for he saw the
difficulty and impropriety of withdrawing himself from the Countess and
his friend at this moment of impending danger; and yet, to neglect this
invitation was not to be thought of. He paused in the utmost perplexity.

"Shall I read your riddle?" said the Earl. "Go where love calls you--I
will make an excuse to my mother--only, most grave anchorite, be
hereafter more indulgent to the failings of others than you have been
hitherto, and blaspheme not the power of the little deity."

"Nay, but, Cousin Derby--" said Peveril, and stopped short, for he
really knew not what to say. Secured himself by a virtuous passion from
the contagious influence of the time, he had seen with regret his noble
kinsman mingle more in its irregularities than he approved of, and had
sometimes played the part of a monitor. Circumstances seemed at present
to give the Earl a right of retaliation. He kept his eye fixed on his
friend, as if he waited till he should complete his sentence, and at
length exclaimed, "What! cousin, quite _à-la-mort!_ Oh, most judicious
Julian! Oh, most precise Peveril! have you bestowed so much wisdom on me
that you have none left for yourself? Come, be frank--tell me name and
place--or say but the colour of the eyes of the most emphatic she--or
do but let me have the pleasure to hear thee say, 'I love!'--confess one
touch of human frailty--conjugate the verb _amo_, and I will be a gentle
schoolmaster, and you shall have, as father Richards used to say, when
we were under his ferule, '_licentia exeundi_.'"

"Enjoy your pleasant humour at my expense, my lord," said Peveril; "I
fairly will confess thus much, that I would fain, if it consisted with
my honour and your safety, have two hours at my own disposal; the more
especially as the manner in which I shall employ them may much concern
the safety of the island."

"Very likely, I dare say," answered the Earl, still laughing. "No doubt
you are summoned out by some Lady Politic Wouldbe of the isle, to talk
over some of the breast-laws: but never mind--go, and go speedily, that
you may return as quickly as possible. I expect no immediate explosion
of this grand conspiracy. When the rogues see us on our guard, they will
be cautious how they break out. Only, once more make haste."

Peveril thought this last advice was not to be neglected; and, glad to
extricate himself from the raillery of his cousin, walked down towards
the gate of the Castle, meaning to cross over to the village, and there
take horse at the Earl's stables, for the place of rendezvous.



CHAPTER XVI

         _Acasto._--Can she not speak?
         _Oswald._--If speech be only in accented sounds,
         Framed by the tongue and lips, the maiden's dumb;
         But if by quick and apprehensive look,
         By motion, sign, and glance, to give each meaning,
         Express as clothed in language, be term'd speech,
         She hath that wondrous faculty; for her eyes,
         Like the bright stars of heaven, can hold discourse,
         Though it be mute and soundless.
                                                   --OLD PLAY.

At the head of the first flight of steps which descended towards the
difficult and well-defended entrance of the Castle of Holm-Peel,
Peveril was met and stopped by the Countess's train-bearer. This little
creature--for she was of the least and slightest size of womankind--was
exquisitely well formed in all her limbs, which the dress she usually
wore (a green silk tunic, of a peculiar form) set off to the best
advantage. Her face was darker than the usual hue of Europeans; and the
profusion of long and silken hair, which, when she undid the braids in
which she commonly wore it, fell down almost to her ankles, was also
rather a foreign attribute. Her countenance resembled a most beautiful
miniature; and there was a quickness, decision, and fire, in Fenella's
look, and especially in her eyes, which was probably rendered yet more
alert and acute, because, through the imperfection of her other organs,
it was only by sight that she could obtain information of what passed
around her.

The pretty mute was mistress of many little accomplishments, which the
Countess had caused to be taught to her in compassion for her forlorn
situation, and which she learned with the most surprising quickness.
Thus, for example, she was exquisite in the use of the needle, and so
ready and ingenious a draughtswoman, that, like the ancient Mexicans,
she sometimes made a hasty sketch with her pencil the means of conveying
her ideas, either by direct or emblematical representation. Above all,
in the art of ornamental writing, much studied at that period, Fenella
was so great a proficient, as to rival the fame of Messrs. Snow,
Shelley, and other masters of the pen, whose copybooks, preserved in
the libraries of the curious, still show the artists smiling on the
frontispiece in all the honours of flowing gowns and full-bottomed wigs,
to the eternal glory of caligraphy.

The little maiden had, besides these accomplishments, much ready wit
and acuteness of intellect. With Lady Derby, and with the two young
gentlemen, she was a great favourite, and used much freedom in
conversing with them, by means of a system of signs which had been
gradually established amongst them, and which served all ordinary
purposes of communication.

But, though happy in the indulgence and favour of her mistress, from
whom indeed she was seldom separate, Fenella was by no means a favourite
with the rest of the household. In fact, it seemed that her temper,
exasperated perhaps by a sense of her misfortune, was by no means equal
to her abilities. She was very haughty in her demeanour, even towards
the upper domestics, who in that establishment were of a much higher
rank and better birth than in the families of the nobility in general.
These often complained, not only of her pride and reserve, but of her
high and irascible temper and vindictive disposition. Her passionate
propensity had been indeed idly encouraged by the young men, and
particularly by the Earl, who sometimes amused himself with teasing her,
that he might enjoy the various singular motions and murmurs by which
she expressed her resentment. Towards him, these were of course only
petulant and whimsical indications of pettish anger. But when she was
angry with others of inferior degree--before whom she did not control
herself--the expression of her passion, unable to display itself in
language, had something even frightful, so singular were the tones,
contortions, and gestures, to which she had recourse. The lower
domestics, to whom she was liberal almost beyond her apparent means,
observed her with much deference and respect, but much more from fear
than from any real attachment; for the caprices of her temper displayed
themselves even in her gifts; and those who most frequently shared her
bounty, seemed by no means assured of the benevolence of the motives
which dictated her liberality.

All these peculiarities led to a conclusion consonant with Manx
superstition. Devout believers in all the legends of fairies so dear to
the Celtic tribes, the Manx people held it for certainty that the elves
were in the habit of carrying off mortal children before baptism, and
leaving in the cradle of the new born babe one of their own brood, which
was almost always imperfect in some one or other of the organs proper to
humanity. Such a being they conceived Fenella to be; and the smallness
of her size, her dark complexion, her long locks of silken hair, the
singularity of her manners and tones, as well as the caprices of her
temper, were to their thinking all attributes of the irritable, fickle,
and dangerous race from which they supposed her to be sprung. And it
seemed, that although no jest appeared to offend her more than when Lord
Derby called her in sport the Elfin Queen, or otherwise alluded to her
supposed connection with "the pigmy folk," yet still her perpetually
affecting to wear the colour of green, proper to the fairies, as well as
some other peculiarities, seemed voluntarily assumed by her, in order to
countenance the superstition, perhaps because it gave her more authority
among the lower orders.

Many were the tales circulated respecting the Countess's _Elf_, as
Fenella was currently called in the island; and the malcontents of
the stricter persuasion were convinced, that no one but a Papist and a
malignant would have kept near her person a creature of such doubtful
origin. They conceived that Fenella's deafness and dumbness were only
towards those of this world, and that she had been heard talking, and
singing, and laughing most elvishly, with the invisibles of her own
race. They alleged, also, that she had a _Double_, a sort of apparition
resembling her, which slept in the Countess's ante-room, or bore her
train, or wrought in her cabinet, while the real Fenella joined the song
of the mermaids on the moonlight sands, or the dance of the fairies in
the haunted valley of Glenmoy, or on the heights of Snawfell and Barool.
The sentinels, too, would have sworn they had seen the little maiden
trip past them in their solitary night walks, without their having it in
their power to challenge her, any more than if they had been as mute
as herself. To all this mass of absurdities the better informed paid no
more attention than to the usual idle exaggerations of the vulgar, which
so frequently connect that which is unusual with what is supernatural.

Such, in form and habits, was the little female, who, holding in her
hand a small old-fashioned ebony rod, which might have passed for a
divining wand, confronted Julian on the top of the flight of steps which
led down the rock from the Castle court. We ought to observe, that as
Julian's manner to the unfortunate girl had been always gentle, and free
from those teasing jests in which his gay friend indulged, with less
regard to the peculiarity of her situation and feelings; so Fenella, on
her part, had usually shown much greater deference to him than to any of
the household, her mistress, the Countess, always excepted.

On the present occasion, planting herself in the very midst of the
narrow descent, so as to make it impossible for Peveril to pass by her,
she proceeded to put him to the question by a series of gestures, which
we will endeavour to describe. She commenced by extending her hand
slightly, accompanied with the sharp inquisitive look which served her
as a note of interrogation. This was meant as an inquiry whether he was
going to a distance. Julian, in reply, extended his arm more than half,
to intimate that the distance was considerable. Fenella looked grave,
shook her head, and pointed to the Countess's window, which was visible
from the spot where they stood. Peveril smiled, and nodded, to intimate
there was no danger in quitting her mistress for a short space. The
little maiden next touched an eagle's feather which she wore in her
hair, a sign which she usually employed to designate the Earl, and then
looked inquisitively at Julian once more, as if to say, "Goes he
with you?" Peveril shook his head, and, somewhat wearied by these
interrogatories, smiled, and made an effort to pass. Fenella frowned,
struck the end of her ebony rod perpendicularly on the ground, and again
shook her head, as if opposing his departure. But finding that Julian
persevered in his purpose, she suddenly assumed another and milder mood,
held him by the skirt of his cloak with one hand, and raised the other
in an imploring attitude, whilst every feature of her lively countenance
was composed into the like expression of supplication; and the fire of
the large dark eyes, which seemed in general so keen and piercing as
almost to over-animate the little sphere to which they belonged, seemed
quenched, for the moment, in the large drops which hung on her long
eyelashes, but without falling.

Julian Peveril was far from being void of sympathy towards the poor
girl, whose motives in opposing his departure appeared to be her
affectionate apprehension for her mistress's safety. He endeavoured to
reassure by smiles, and, at the same time, by such signs as he could
devise, to intimate that there was no danger, and that he would return
presently; and having succeeded in extricating his cloak from her
grasp, and in passing her on the stair, he began to descend the steps as
speedily as he could, in order to avoid farther importunity.

But with activity much greater than his, the dumb maiden hastened to
intercept him, and succeeded by throwing herself, at the imminent risk
of life and limb, a second time into the pass which he was descending,
so as to interrupt his purpose. In order to achieve this, she was
obliged to let herself drop a considerable height from the wall of a
small flanking battery, where two patereroes were placed to scour the
pass, in case any enemy could have mounted so high. Julian had scarce
time to shudder at her purpose, as he beheld her about to spring
from the parapet, ere, like a thing of gossamer, she stood light and
uninjured on the rocky platform below. He endeavoured, by the gravity
of his look and gesture, to make her understand how much he blamed her
rashness; but the reproof, though obviously quite intelligible, was
entirely thrown away. A hasty wave of her hand intimated how she
contemned the danger and the remonstrance; while, at the same time,
she instantly resumed, with more eagerness than before, the earnest
and impressive gestures by which she endeavoured to detain him in the
fortress.

Julian was somewhat staggered by her pertinacity. "Is it possible," he
thought, "that any danger can approach the Countess, of which this
poor maiden has, by the extreme acuteness of her observation, obtained
knowledge which has escaped others?"

He signed to Fenella hastily to give him the tablets and the pencil
which she usually carried with her, and wrote on them the question, "Is
there danger near to your mistress, that you thus stop me?"

"There is danger around the Countess," was the answer instantly written
down; "but there is much more in your own purpose."

"How?--what?--what know you of my purpose?" said Julian, forgetting, in
his surprise, that the party he addressed had neither ear to comprehend,
nor voice to reply to uttered language. She had regained her book in
the meantime, and sketched, with a rapid pencil, on one of the leaves, a
scene which she showed to Julian. To his infinite surprise he recognised
Goddard Crovan's Stone, a remarkable monument, of which she had given
the outline with sufficient accuracy; together with a male and female
figure, which, though only indicated by a few slight touches of the
pencil, bore yet, he thought, some resemblance to himself and Alice
Bridgenorth.

When he had gazed on the sketch for an instant with surprise, Fenella
took the book from his hand, laid her finger upon the drawing, and
slowly and sternly shook her head, with a frown which seemed to prohibit
the meeting which was there represented. Julian, however, though
disconcerted, was in no shape disposed to submit to the authority of
his monitress. By whatever means she, who so seldom stirred from the
Countess's apartment, had become acquainted with a secret which he
thought entirely his own, he esteemed it the more necessary to keep the
appointed rendezvous, that he might learn from Alice, if possible, how
the secret had transpired. He had also formed the intention of seeking
out Bridgenorth; entertaining an idea that a person so reasonable
and calm as he had shown himself in their late conference, might
be persuaded, when he understood that the Countess was aware of his
intrigues, to put an end to her danger and his own, by withdrawing from
the island. And could he succeed in this point, he should at once,
he thought, render a material benefit to the father of his beloved
Alice--remove the Earl from his state of anxiety--save the Countess from
a second time putting her feudal jurisdiction in opposition to that of
the Crown of England--and secure quiet possession of the island to her
and her family.

With this scheme of mediation on his mind, Peveril determined to
rid himself of the opposition of Fenella to his departure, with less
ceremony than he had hitherto observed towards her; and suddenly lifting
up the damsel in his arms before she was aware of his purpose, he turned
about, set her down on the steps above him, and began to descend the
pass himself as speedily as possible. It was then that the dumb maiden
gave full course to the vehemence of her disposition; and clapping
her hands repeatedly, expressed her displeasure in sound, or rather a
shriek, so extremely dissonant, that it resembled more the cry of a wild
creature, than anything which could have been uttered by female organs.
Peveril was so astounded at the scream as it rung through the living
rocks, that he could not help stopping and looking back in alarm, to
satisfy himself that she had not sustained some injury. He saw her,
however, perfectly safe, though her face seemed inflamed and distorted
with passion. She stamped at him with her foot, shook her clenched hand,
and turning her back upon him, without further adieu, ran up the rude
steps as lightly as a kid could have tripped up that rugged ascent, and
paused for a moment at the summit of the first flight.

Julian could feel nothing but wonder and compassion for the impotent
passion of a being so unfortunately circumstanced, cut off, as it were,
from the rest of mankind, and incapable of receiving in childhood that
moral discipline which teaches us mastery of our wayward passions, ere
yet they have attained their meridian strength and violence. He waved
his hand to her, in token of amicable farewell; but she only replied by
once more menacing him with her little hand clenched; and then ascending
the rocky staircase with almost preternatural speed, was soon out of
sight.

Julian, on his part, gave no farther consideration to her conduct or its
motives, but hastening to the village on the mainland, where the stables
of the Castle were situated, he again took his palfrey from the
stall, and was soon mounted and on his way to the appointed place of
rendezvous, much marvelling, as he ambled forward with speed far greater
than was promised by the diminutive size of the animal he was mounted
on, what could have happened to produce so great a change in Alice's
conduct towards him, that in place of enjoining his absence as usual, or
recommending his departure from the island, she should now voluntarily
invite him to a meeting. Under impression of the various doubts which
succeeded each other in his imagination, he sometimes pressed Fairy's
sides with his legs; sometimes laid his holly rod lightly on her neck;
sometimes incited her by his voice, for the mettled animal needed
neither whip nor spur, and achieved the distance betwixt the Castle of
Holm-Peel and the stone at Goddard Crovan, at the rate of twelve miles
within the hour.

The monumental stone, designed to commemorate some feat of an ancient
King of Man, which had been long forgotten, was erected on the side of
a narrow lonely valley, or rather glen, secluded from observation by
the steepness of its banks, upon a projection of which stood the tall,
shapeless, solitary rock, frowning, like a shrouded giant, over the
brawling of the small rivulet which watered the ravine.



CHAPTER XVII

          This a love-meeting? See the maiden mourns,
          And the sad suitor bends his looks on earth.
          There's more hath pass'd between them than belongs
          To Love's sweet sorrows.
                                                   --OLD PLAY.

As he approached the monument of Goddard Crovan, Julian cast many an
anxious glance to see whether any object visible beside the huge grey
stone should apprise him, whether he was anticipated, at the appointed
place of rendezvous, by her who had named it. Nor was it long before
the flutter of a mantle, which the breeze slightly waved, and the motion
necessary to replace it upon the wearer's shoulders, made him aware that
Alice had already reached their place of meeting. One instant set the
palfrey at liberty, with slackened girths and loosened reins, to pick
its own way through the dell at will; another placed Julian Peveril by
the side of Alice Bridgenorth.

That Alice should extend her hand to her lover, as with the ardour of a
young greyhound he bounded over the obstacles of the rugged path, was
as natural as that Julian, seizing on the hand so kindly stretched
out, should devour it with kisses, and, for a moment or two, without
reprehension; while the other hand, which should have aided in the
liberation of its fellow, served to hide the blushes of the fair owner.
But Alice, young as she was, and attached to Julian by such long habits
of kindly intimacy, still knew well how to subdue the tendency of her
own treacherous affections.

"This is not right," she said, extricating her hand from Julian's grasp,
"this is not right, Julian. If I have been too rash in admitting such a
meeting as the present, it is not you that should make me sensible of my
folly."

Julian Peveril's mind had been early illuminated with that touch of
romantic fire which deprives passion of selfishness, and confers on it
the high and refined tone of generous and disinterested devotion. He let
go the hand of Alice with as much respect as he could have paid to that
of a princess; and when she seated herself upon a rocky fragment, over
which nature had stretched a cushion of moss and lichen, interspersed
with wild flowers, backed with a bush of copsewood, he took his place
beside her, indeed, but at such distance as to intimate the duty of an
attendant, who was there only to hear and to obey. Alice Bridgenorth
became more assured as she observed the power which she possessed over
her lover; and the self-command which Peveril exhibited, which other
damsels in her situation might have judged inconsistent with intensity
of passion, she appreciated more justly, as a proof of his respectful
and disinterested sincerity. She recovered, in addressing him, the
tone of confidence which rather belonged to the scenes of their early
acquaintance, than to those which had passed betwixt them since Peveril
had disclosed his affection, and thereby had brought restraint upon
their intercourse.

"Julian," she said, "your visit of yesterday--your most ill-timed visit,
has distressed me much. It has misled my father--it has endangered you.
At all risks, I resolved that you should know this, and blame me not
if I have taken a bold and imprudent step in desiring this solitary
interview, since you are aware how little poor Deborah is to be
trusted."

"Can you fear misconstruction from me, Alice?" replied Peveril warmly;
"from me, whom you have thus highly favoured--thus deeply obliged?"

"Cease your protestations, Julian," answered the maiden; "they do but
make me the more sensible that I have acted over boldly. But I did for
the best.--I could not see you whom I have known so long--you, who say
you regard me with partiality----"

"_Say_ that I regard you with partiality!" interrupted Peveril in his
turn. "Ah, Alice, with a cold and doubtful phrase you have used to
express the most devoted, the most sincere affection!"

"Well, then," said Alice sadly, "we will not quarrel about words; but
do not again interrupt me.--I could not, I say, see you, who, I believe,
regard me with sincere though vain and fruitless attachment, rush
blindfold into a snare, deceived and seduced by those very feelings
towards me."

"I understand you not, Alice," said Peveril; "nor can I see any danger
to which I am at present exposed. The sentiments which your father
has expressed towards me, are of a nature irreconcilable with hostile
purposes. If he is not offended with the bold wishes I may have
formed,--and his whole behaviour shows the contrary,--I know not a
man on earth from whom I have less cause to apprehend any danger or
ill-will."

"My father," said Alice, "means well by his country, and well by you;
yet I sometimes fear he may rather injure than serve his good cause; and
still more do I dread, that in attempting to engage you as an auxiliary,
he may forget those ties which ought to bind you, and I am sure which
will bind you, to a different line of conduct from his own."

"You lead me into still deeper darkness, Alice," answered Peveril. "That
your father's especial line of politics differs widely from mine, I
know well; but how many instances have occurred, even during the bloody
scenes of civil warfare, of good and worthy men laying the prejudice of
party affections aside, and regarding each other with respect, and even
with friendly attachment, without being false to principle on either
side?"

"It may be so," said Alice; "but such is not the league which my father
desires to form with you, and that to which he hopes your misplaced
partiality towards his daughter may afford a motive for your forming
with him."

"And what is it," said Peveril, "which I would refuse, with such a
prospect before me?"

"Treachery and dishonour!" replied Alice; "whatever would render you
unworthy of the poor boon at which you aim--ay, were it more worthless
than I confess it to be."

"Would your father," said Peveril, as he unwillingly received the
impression which Alice designed to convey,--"would he, whose views of
duty are so strict and severe--would he wish to involve me in aught, to
which such harsh epithets as treachery and dishonour can be applied with
the lightest shadow of truth?"

"Do not mistake me, Julian," replied the maiden; "my father is incapable
of requesting aught of you that is not to his thinking just and
honourable; nay, he conceives that he only claims from you a debt, which
is due as a creature to the Creator, and as a man to your fellow-men."

"So guarded, where can be the danger of our intercourse?" replied
Julian. "If he be resolved to require, and I determined to accede to,
nothing save what flows from conviction, what have I to fear, Alice? And
how is my intercourse with your father dangerous? Believe not so; his
speech has already made impression on me in some particulars, and
he listened with candour and patience to the objections which I made
occasionally. You do Master Bridgenorth less than justice in confounding
him with the unreasonable bigots in policy and religion, who can listen
to no argument but what favours their own prepossessions."

"Julian," replied Alice; "it is you who misjudge my father's powers,
and his purpose with respect to you, and who overrate your own powers of
resistance. I am but a girl, but I have been taught by circumstances to
think for myself, and to consider the character of those around me. My
father's views in ecclesiastical and civil policy are as dear to him as
the life which he cherishes only to advance them. They have been, with
little alteration, his companions through life. They brought him at one
period into prosperity, and when they suited not the times, he suffered
for having held them. They have become not only a part, but the very
dearest part, of his existence. If he shows them not to you at first,
in the flexible strength which they have acquired over his mind, do
not believe that they are the less powerful. He who desires to make
converts, must begin by degrees. But that he should sacrifice to an
inexperienced young man, whose ruling motive he will term a childish
passion, any part of those treasured principles which he has maintained
through good repute and bad repute--Oh, do not dream of such an
impossibility! If you meet at all, you must be the wax, he the seal--you
must receive, he must bestow, an absolute impression."

"That," said Peveril, "were unreasonable. I will frankly avow to you,
Alice, that I am not a sworn bigot to the opinions entertained by my
father, much as I respect his person. I could wish that our Cavaliers,
or whatsoever they are pleased to call themselves, would have some more
charity towards those who differ from them in Church and State. But to
hope that I would surrender the principles in which I have lived, were
to suppose me capable of deserting my benefactress, and breaking the
hearts of my parents."

"Even so I judged of you," answered Alice; "and therefore I asked this
interview, to conjure that you will break off all intercourse with our
family--return to your parents--or, what will be much safer, visit the
continent once more, and abide till God send better days to England, for
these are black with many a storm."

"And can you bid me go, Alice?" said the young man, taking her
unresisting hand; "can you bid me go, and yet own an interest in my
fate?--Can you bid me, for fear of dangers, which, as a man, as a
gentleman, and a loyal one, I am bound to show my face to, meanly
abandon my parents, my friends, my country--suffer the existence of
evils which I might aid to prevent--forego the prospect of doing such
little good as might be in my power--fall from an active and honourable
station, into the condition of a fugitive and time-server--Can you bid
me do all this, Alice? Can you bid me do all this, and, in the same
breath, bid farewell for ever to you and happiness?--It is impossible--I
cannot surrender at once my love and my honour."

"There is no remedy," said Alice, but she could not suppress a sigh
while she said so--"there is no remedy--none whatever. What we might
have been to each other, placed in more favourable circumstances, it
avails not to think of now; and, circumstanced as we are, with open
war about to break out betwixt our parents and friends, we can be but
well-wishers--cold and distant well-wishers, who must part on this spot,
and at this hour, never meet again."

"No, by Heaven!" said Peveril, animated at the same time by his own
feelings, and by the sight of the emotions which his companion in
vain endeavoured to suppress,--"No, by Heaven!" he exclaimed, "we part
not--Alice, we part not. If I am to leave my native land, you shall
be my companion in my exile. What have you to lose?--Whom have you to
abandon?--Your father?--The good old cause, as it is termed, is dearer
to him than a thousand daughters; and setting him aside, what tie is
there between you and this barren isle--between my Alice and any spot of
the British dominions, where her Julian does not sit by her?"

"O Julian," answered the maiden, "why make my duty more painful by
visionary projects, which you ought not to name, or I to listen to? Your
parents--my father--it cannot be!"

"Fear not for my parents, Alice," replied Julian, and pressing close
to his companion's side, he ventured to throw his arm around her; "they
love me, and they will soon learn to love, in Alice, the only being on
earth who could have rendered their son happy. And for your own father,
when State and Church intrigues allow him to bestow a thought upon you,
will he not think that your happiness, your security, is better cared
for when you are my wife, than were you to continue under the mercenary
charge of yonder foolish woman? What could his pride desire better
for you, than the establishment which will one day be mine? Come then,
Alice, and since you condemn me to banishment--since you deny me a share
in those stirring achievements which are about to agitate England--come!
do you--for you only can--do you reconcile me to exile and inaction, and
give happiness to one, who, for your sake, is willing to resign honour."

"It cannot--it cannot be," said Alice, faltering as she uttered her
negative. "And yet," she said, "how many in my place--left alone and
unprotected, as I am--But I must not--I must not--for your sake, Julian,
I must not."

"Say not for my sake you must not, Alice," said Peveril eagerly; "this
is adding insult to cruelty. If you will do aught for my sake, you will
say yes; or you will suffer this dear head to drop on my shoulder--the
slightest sign--the moving of an eyelid, shall signify consent. All
shall be prepared within an hour; within another the priest shall
unite us; and within a third, we leave the isle behind us, and seek our
fortunes on the continent." But while he spoke, in joyful anticipation
of the consent which he implored, Alice found means to collect together
her resolution, which, staggered by the eagerness of her lover,
the impulse of her own affections, and the singularity of her
situation,--seeming, in her case, to justify what would have been most
blamable in another,--had more than half abandoned her.

The result of a moment's deliberation was fatal to Julian's proposal.
She extricated herself from the arm which had pressed her to his
side--arose, and repelling his attempts to approach or detain her, said,
with a simplicity not unmingled with dignity, "Julian, I always knew I
risked much in inviting you to this meeting; but I did not guess that I
could have been so cruel to both to you and to myself, as to suffer
you to discover what you have to-day seen too plainly--that I love you
better than you love me. But since you do know it, I will show you that
Alice's love is disinterested--She will not bring an ignoble name into
your ancient house. If hereafter, in your line, there should arise some
who may think the claims of the hierarchy too exorbitant, the powers of
the crown too extensive, men shall not say these ideas were derived from
Alice Bridgenorth, their whig granddame."

"Can you speak thus, Alice?" said her lover. "Can you use such
expressions? and are you not sensible that they show plainly it is your
own pride, not regard for me, that makes you resist the happiness of
both?"

"Not so, Julian; not so," answered Alice, with tears in her eyes; "it
is the command of duty to us both--of duty, which we cannot transgress,
without risking our happiness here and hereafter. Think what I, the
cause of all, should feel, when your father frowns, your mother weeps,
your noble friends stand aloof, and you, even you yourself, shall have
made the painful discovery, that you have incurred the contempt and
resentment of all to satisfy a boyish passion; and that the poor
beauty, once sufficient to mislead you, is gradually declining under the
influence of grief and vexation. This I will not risk. I see distinctly
it is best we should here break off and part; and I thank God, who gives
me light enough to perceive, and strength enough to withstand, your
folly as well as my own. Farewell, then, Julian; but first take the
solemn advice which I called you hither to impart to you:--Shun my
father--you cannot walk in his paths, and be true to gratitude and to
honour. What he doth from pure and honourable motives, you cannot aid
him in, except upon the suggestion of a silly and interested passion, at
variance with all the engagements you have formed at coming into life."

"Once more, Alice," answered Julian, "I understand you not. If a course
of action is good, it needs no vindication from the actor's motives--if
bad, it can derive none."

"You cannot blind me with your sophistry, Julian," replied Alice
Bridgenorth, "any more than you can overpower me with your passion. Had
the patriarch destined his son to death upon any less ground than faith
and humble obedience to a divine commandment, he had meditated a murder
and not a sacrifice. In our late bloody and lamentable wars, how many
drew swords on either side, from the purest and most honourable motives?
How many from the culpable suggestions of ambition, self-seeking, and
love of plunder? Yet while they marched in the same ranks, and spurred
their horses at the same trumpet-sound, the memory of the former is
dear to us as patriots or loyalists--that of those who acted on mean or
unworthy promptings, is either execrated or forgotten. Once more, I warn
you, avoid my father--leave this island, which will be soon agitated
by strange incidents--while you stay, be on your guard--distrust
everything--be jealous of every one, even of those to whom it may
seem almost impossible, from circumstances, to attach a shadow of
suspicion--trust not the very stones of the most secret apartment in
Holm-Peel, for that which hath wings shall carry the matter."

Here Alice broke off suddenly, and with a faint shriek; for, stepping
from behind the stunted copse which had concealed him, her father stood
unexpectedly before them.

The reader cannot have forgotten that this was the second time in
which the stolen interviews of the lovers had been interrupted by the
unexpected apparition of Major Bridgenorth. On this second occasion
his countenance exhibited anger mixed with solemnity, like that of the
spirit to a ghost-seer, whom he upbraids with having neglected a charge
imposed at their first meeting. Even his anger, however, produced no
more violent emotion than a cold sternness of manner in his speech and
action. "I thank you, Alice," he said to his daughter, "for the pains
you have taken to traverse my designs towards this young man, and
towards yourself. I thank you for the hints you have thrown out before
my appearance, the suddenness of which alone has prevented you from
carrying your confidence to a pitch which would have placed my life and
that of others at the discretion of a boy, who, when the cause of God
and his country is laid before him, has not leisure to think of them,
so much is he occupied with such a baby-face as thine." Alice, pale as
death, continued motionless, with her eyes fixed on the ground, without
attempting the slightest reply to the ironical reproaches of her father.

"And you," continued Major Bridgenorth, turning from his daughter to her
lover,--"you sir, have well repaid the liberal confidence which I
placed in you with so little reserve. You I have to thank also for some
lessons, which may teach me to rest satisfied with the churl's blood
which nature has poured into my veins, and with the rude nurture which
my father allotted to me."

"I understand you not, sir," replied Julian Peveril, who, feeling the
necessity of saying something, could not, at the moment, find anything
more fitting to say.

"Yes, sir, I thank you," said Major Bridgenorth, in the same cold
sarcastic tone, "for having shown me that breach of hospitality,
infringement of good faith, and such like peccadilloes, are not utterly
foreign to the mind and conduct of the heir of a knightly house of
twenty descents. It is a great lesson to me, sir: for hitherto I had
thought with the vulgar, that gentle manners went with gentle blood. But
perhaps courtesy is too chivalrous a quality to be wasted in intercourse
with a round-headed fanatic like myself."

"Major Bridgenorth," said Julian, "whatever has happened in this
interview which may have displeased you, has been the result of feelings
suddenly and strongly animated by the crisis of the moment--nothing was
premeditated."

"Not even your meeting, I suppose?" replied Bridgenorth, in the same
cold tone. "You, sir, wandered hither from Holm-Peel--my daughter
strolled forth from the Black Fort; and chance, doubtless, assigned you
a meeting by the stone of Goddard Crovan?--Young man, disgrace yourself
by no more apologies--they are worse than useless.--And you, maiden,
who, in your fear of losing your lover, could verge on betraying what
might have cost a father his life--begone to your home. I will talk with
you at more leisure, and teach you practically those duties which you
seem to have forgotten."

"On my honour, sir," said Julian, "your daughter is guiltless of all
that can offend you; she resisted every offer which the headstrong
violence of my passion urged me to press upon her."

"And, in brief," said Bridgenorth, "I am not to believe that you met in
this remote place of rendezvous by Alice's special appointment?"

Peveril knew not what to reply, and Bridgenorth again signed with his
hand to his daughter to withdraw.

"I obey you, father," said Alice, who had by this time recovered from
the extremity of her surprise,--"I obey you; but Heaven is my witness
that you do me more than injustice in suspecting me capable of betraying
your secrets, even had it been necessary to save my own life or that of
Julian. That you are walking in a dangerous path I well know; but you
do it with your eyes open, and are actuated by motives of which you
can estimate the worth and value. My sole wish was, that this young man
should not enter blindfold on the same perils; and I had a right to warn
him, since the feelings by which he is hoodwinked had a direct reference
to me."

"'Tis well, minion," said Bridgenorth, "you have spoken your
say. Retire, and let me complete the conference which you have so
considerately commenced."

"I go, sir," said Alice.--"Julian, to you my last words are, and I would
speak them with my last breath--Farewell, and caution!"

She turned from them, disappeared among the underwood, and was seen no
more.

"A true specimen of womankind," said her father, looking after her, "who
would give the cause of nations up, rather than endanger a hair of her
lover's head.--You, Master Peveril, doubtless, hold her opinion, that
the best love is a safe love!"

"Were danger alone in my way," said Peveril, much surprised at the
softened tone in which Bridgenorth made this observation, "there are few
things which I would not face to--to--deserve your good opinion."

"Or rather to win my daughter's hand," said Bridgenorth. "Well, young
man, one thing has pleased me in your conduct, though of much I have
my reasons to complain--one thing _has_ pleased me. You have surmounted
that bounding wall of aristocratical pride, in which your father, and,
I suppose, his fathers, remained imprisoned, as in the precincts of a
feudal fortress--you have leaped over this barrier, and shown yourself
not unwilling to ally yourself with a family whom your father spurns as
low-born and ignoble."

However favourable this speech sounded towards success in his suit, it
so broadly stated the consequences of that success so far as his parents
were concerned, that Julian felt it in the last degree difficult to
reply. At length, perceiving that Major Bridgenorth seemed resolved
quietly to await his answer, he mustered up courage to say, "The
feelings which I entertain towards your daughter, Master Bridgenorth,
are of a nature to supersede many other considerations, to which in
any other case, I should feel it my duty to give the most reverential
attention. I will not disguise from you, that my father's prejudices
against such a match would be very strong; but I devoutly believe they
would disappear when he came to know the merit of Alice Bridgenorth, and
to be sensible that she only could make his son happy."

"In the meanwhile, you are desirous to complete the union which you
propose without the knowledge of your parents, and take the chance
of their being hereafter reconciled to it? So I understand, from the
proposal which you made but lately to my daughter."

The turns of human nature, and of human passion, are so irregular and
uncertain, that although Julian had but a few minutes before urged
to Alice a private marriage, and an elopement to the continent, as
a measure upon which the whole happiness of his life depended, the
proposal seemed not to him half so delightful when stated by the calm,
cold, dictatorial accents of her father. It sounded no longer like the
dictates of ardent passion, throwing all other considerations aside, but
as a distinct surrender of the dignity of his house to one who seemed
to consider their relative situation as the triumph of Bridgenorth over
Peveril. He was mute for a moment, in the vain attempt to shape his
answer so as at once to intimate acquiescence in what Bridgenorth
stated, and a vindication of his own regard for his parents, and for the
honour of his house.

This delay gave rise to suspicion, and Bridgenorth's eye gleamed, and
his lip quivered while he gave vent to it. "Hark ye, young man--deal
openly with me in this matter, if you would not have me think you the
execrable villain who would have seduced an unhappy girl, under promises
which he never designed to fulfil. Let me but suspect this, and you
shall see, on the spot, how far your pride and your pedigree will
preserve you against the just vengeance of a father."

"You do me wrong," said Peveril--"you do me infinite wrong, Major
Bridgenorth, I am incapable of the infamy which you allude to. The
proposal I made to your daughter was as sincere as ever was offered
by man to woman. I only hesitated, because you think it necessary to
examine me so very closely; and to possess yourself of all my purposes
and sentiments, in their fullest extent, without explaining to me the
tendency of your own."

"Your proposal, then, shapes itself thus," said Bridgenorth:--"You are
willing to lead my only child into exile from her native country, to
give her a claim to kindness and protection from your family, which you
know will be disregarded, on condition I consent to bestow her hand on
you, with a fortune sufficient to have matched your ancestors, when
they had most reason to boast of their wealth. This, young man, seems
no equal bargain. And yet," he continued, after a momentary pause, "so
little do I value the goods of this world, that it might not be utterly
beyond thy power to reconcile me to the match which you have proposed to
me, however unequal it may appear."

"Show me but the means which can propitiate your favour, Major
Bridgenorth," said Peveril,--"for I will not doubt that they will be
consistent with my honour and duty--and you shall soon see how eagerly I
will obey your directions, or submit to your conditions."

"They are summed in few words," answered Bridgenorth. "Be an honest man,
and the friend of your country."

"No one has ever doubted," replied Peveril, "that I am both."

"Pardon me," replied the Major; "no one has, as yet, seen you show
yourself either. Interrupt me not--I question not your will to be
both; but you have hitherto neither had the light nor the opportunity
necessary for the display of your principles, or the service of your
country. You have lived when an apathy of mind, succeeding to the
agitations of the Civil War, had made men indifferent to state affairs,
and more willing to cultivate their own ease, than to stand in the gap
when the Lord was pleading with Israel. But we are Englishmen; and with
us such unnatural lethargy cannot continue long. Already, many of those
who most desired the return of Charles Stewart, regard him as a King
whom Heaven, importuned by our entreaties, gave to us in His anger. His
unlimited licence--and example so readily followed by the young and the
gay around him--has disgusted the minds of all sober and thinking men.
I had not now held conference with you in this intimate fashion, were
I not aware that you, Master Julian, were free from such stain of the
times. Heaven, that rendered the King's course of license fruitful,
had denied issue to his bed of wedlock; and in the gloomy and stern
character of his bigoted successor, we already see what sort of monarch
shall succeed to the crown of England. This is a critical period, at
which it necessarily becomes the duty of all men to step forward, each
in his degree, and aid in rescuing the country which gave us birth."
Peveril remembered the warning which he had received from Alice, and
bent his eyes on the ground, without returning any reply. "How is it,
young man," continued Bridgenorth, after a pause--"so young as thou
art, and bound by no ties of kindred profligacy with the enemies of your
country, you can be already hardened to the claims she may form on you
at this crisis?"

"It were easy to answer you generally, Major Bridgenorth," replied
Peveril--"It were easy to say that my country cannot make a claim on me
which I will not promptly answer at the risk of lands and life. But in
dealing thus generally, we should but deceive each other. What is the
nature of this call? By whom is it to be sounded? And what are to be the
results? for I think you have already seen enough of the evils of civil
war, to be wary of again awakening its terrors in a peaceful and happy
country."

"They that are drenched with poisonous narcotics," said the Major, "must
be awakened by their physicians, though it were with the sound of the
trumpet. Better that men should die bravely, with their arms in their
hands, like free-born Englishmen, than that they should slide into the
bloodless but dishonoured grave which slavery opens for its vassals--But
it is not of war that I was about to speak," he added, assuming a milder
tone. "The evils of which England now complains, are such as can be
remedied by the wholesome administration of her own laws, even in the
state in which they are still suffered to exist. Have these laws not a
right to the support of every individual who lives under them? Have they
not a right to yours?"

As he seemed to pause for an answer, Peveril replied, "I have to learn,
Major Bridgenorth, how the laws of England have become so far weakened
as to require such support as mine. When that is made plain to me, no
man will more willingly discharge the duty of a faithful liegeman to
the law as well as the King. But the laws of England are under the
guardianship of upright and learned judges, and of a gracious monarch."

"And of a House of Commons," interrupted Bridgenorth, "no longer doting
upon restored monarchy, but awakened, as with a peal of thunder, to the
perilous state of our religion, and of our freedom. I appeal to your
own conscience, Julian Peveril, whether this awakening hath not been in
time, since you yourself know, and none better than you, the secret but
rapid strides which Rome has made to erect her Dagon of idolatry within
our Protestant land."

Here Julian seeing, or thinking he saw, the drift of Bridgenorth's
suspicions, hastened to exculpate himself from the thought of favouring
the Roman Catholic religion. "It is true," he said, "I have been
educated in a family where that faith is professed by one honoured
individual, and that I have since travelled in Popish countries;
but even for these very reasons I have seen Popery too closely to be
friendly to its tenets. The bigotry of the laymen--the persevering arts
of the priesthood--the perpetual intrigue for the extension of the forms
without the spirit of religion--the usurpation of that Church over the
consciences of men--and her impious pretensions to infallibility, are
as inconsistent to my mind as they can seem to yours, with common-sense,
rational liberty, freedom of conscience, and pure religion."

"Spoken like the son of your excellent mother," said Bridgenorth,
grasping his hand; "for whose sake I have consented to endure so much
from your house unrequited, even when the means of requital were in my
own hand."

"It was indeed from the instructions of that excellent parent," said
Peveril, "that I was enabled, in my early youth, to resist and repel the
insidious attacks made upon my religious faith by the Catholic priests
into whose company I was necessarily thrown. Like her, I trust to live
and die in the faith of the reformed Church of England."

"The Church of England!" said Bridgenorth, dropping his young friend's
hand, but presently resuming it--"Alas! that Church, as now constituted,
usurps scarcely less than Rome herself upon men's consciences and
liberties; yet, out of the weakness of this half-reformed Church,
may God be pleased to work out deliverance to England, and praise to
Himself. I must not forget, that one whose services have been in the
cause incalculable, wears the garb of an English priest, and hath had
Episcopal ordination. It is not for us to challenge the instrument, so
that our escape is achieved from the net of the fowler. Enough, that I
find thee not as yet enlightened with the purer doctrine, but prepared
to profit by it when the spark shall reach thee. Enough, in especial,
that I find thee willing to uplift thy testimony to cry aloud and spare
not, against the errors and arts of the Church of Rome. But remember,
what thou hast now said, thou wilt soon be called upon to justify, in a
manner the most solemn--the most awful."

"What I have said," replied Julian Peveril, "being the unbiassed
sentiments of my heart, shall, upon no proper occasion, want the support
of my open avowal; and I think it strange you should doubt me so far."

"I doubt thee not, my young friend," said Bridgenorth; "and I trust to
see that name rank high amongst those by whom the prey shall be rent
from the mighty. At present, thy prejudices occupy thy mind like the
strong keeper of the house mentioned in Scripture. But there shall
come a stronger than he, and make forcible entry, displaying on
the battlements that sign of faith in which alone there is found
salvation.--Watch, hope, and pray, that the hour may come."

There was a pause in the conversation, which was first broken by
Peveril. "You have spoken to me in riddles, Major Bridgenorth; and I
have asked you for no explanation. Listen to a caution on my part, given
with the most sincere good-will. Take a hint from me, and believe it,
though it is darkly expressed. You are here--at least are believed to be
here--on an errand dangerous to the Lord of the island. That danger will
be retorted on yourself, if you make Man long your place of residence.
Be warned, and depart in time."

"And leave my daughter to the guardianship of Julian Peveril! Runs not
your counsel so, young man?" answered Bridgenorth. "Trust my safety,
Julian, to my own prudence. I have been accustomed to guide myself
through worse dangers than now environ me. But I thank you for
your caution, which I am willing to believe was at least partly
disinterested."

"We do not, then, part in anger?" said Peveril.

"Not in anger, my son," said Bridgenorth, "but in love and strong
affection. For my daughter, thou must forbear every thought of seeing
her, save through me. I accept not thy suit, neither do I reject it;
only this I intimate to you, that he who would be my son, must first
show himself the true and loving child of his oppressed and deluded
country. Farewell; do not answer me now, thou art yet in the gall of
bitterness, and it may be that strife (which I desire not) should fall
between us. Thou shalt hear of me sooner than thou thinkest for."

He shook Peveril heartily by the hand, and again bid him farewell,
leaving him under the confused and mingled impression of pleasure,
doubt, and wonder. Not a little surprised to find himself so far in the
good graces of Alice's father, that his suit was even favoured with a
sort of negative encouragement, he could not help suspecting, as well
from the language of the daughter as of the father, that Bridgenorth was
desirous, as the price of his favour, that he should adopt some line of
conduct inconsistent with the principles in which he had been educated.

"You need not fear, Alice," he said in his heart; "not even your
hand would I purchase by aught which resembled unworthy or truckling
compliance with tenets which my heart disowns; and well I know, were I
mean enough to do so, even the authority of thy father were insufficient
to compel thee to the ratification of so mean a bargain. But let me
hope better things. Bridgenorth, though strong-minded and sagacious, is
haunted by the fears of Popery, which are the bugbears of his sect. My
residence in the family of the Countess of Derby is more than enough to
inspire him with suspicions of my faith, from which, thank Heaven, I can
vindicate myself with truth and a good conscience."

So thinking, he again adjusted the girths of his palfrey, replaced
the bit which he had slipped out of its mouth, that it might feed at
liberty, and mounting, pursued his way back to the Castle of Holm-Peel,
where he could not help fearing that something extraordinary might have
happened in his absence.

But the old pile soon rose before him, serene, and sternly still, amid
the sleeping ocean. The banner, which indicated that the Lord of Man
held residence within its ruinous precincts, hung motionless by the
ensign-staff. The sentinels walked to and fro on their posts, and hummed
or whistled their Manx airs. Leaving his faithful companion, Fairy, in
the village as before, Julian entered the Castle, and found all within
in the same state of quietness and good order which external appearances
had announced.



CHAPTER XVIII

                 Now rede me, rede me, brother dear,
                   Throughout Merry England,
                 Where will I find a messenger,
                   Betwixt us two to send.
                                       --BALLAD OF KING ESTMERE.

Julian's first encounter, after re-entering the Castle, was with its
young Lord, who received him with his usual kindness and lightness of
humour.

"Thrice welcome, Sir Knight of Dames," said the Earl; "here you rove
gallantly, and at free will, through our dominions, fulfilling of
appointments, and achieving amorous adventures; while we are condemned
to sit in our royal halls, as dull and as immovable as if our Majesty
was carved on the stern of some Manx smuggling dogger, and christened
the King Arthur of Ramsey."

"Nay, in that case you would take the sea," said Julian, "and so enjoy
travel and adventure enough."

"Oh, but suppose me wind-bound, or detained in harbour by a revenue
pink, or ashore, if you like it, and lying high and dry upon the sand.
Imagine the royal image in the dullest of all predicaments, and you have
not equalled mine."

"I am happy to hear, at least, that you have had no disagreeable
employment," said Julian; "the morning's alarm has blown over, I
suppose?"

"In faith it has, Julian; and our close inquiries cannot find any cause
for the apprehended insurrection. That Bridgenorth is in the island
seems certain; but private affairs of consequence are alleged as the
cause of his visit; and I am not desirous to have him arrested unless I
could prove some malpractices against him and his companions. In fact,
it would seem we had taken the alarm too soon. My mother speaks of
consulting you on the subject, Julian; and I will not anticipate her
solemn communication. It will be partly apologetical, I suppose; for we
begin to think our retreat rather unroyal, and that, like the wicked, we
have fled when no man pursued. This idea afflicts my mother, who, as a
Queen-Dowager, a Queen-Regent, a heroine, and a woman in general, would
be extremely mortified to think that her precipitate retreat hither had
exposed her to the ridicule of the islanders; and she is disconcerted
and out of humour accordingly. In the meanwhile, my sole amusement has
been the grimaces and fantastic gestures of that ape Fenella, who is
more out of humour, and more absurd, in consequence, than you ever saw
her. Morris says, it is because you pushed her downstairs, Julian--how
is that?"

"Nay, Morris has misreported me," answered Julian; "I did but lift her
_up_ stairs to be rid of her importunity; for she chose, in her way, to
contest my going abroad in such an obstinate manner, that I had no other
mode of getting rid of her."

"She must have supposed your departure, at a moment so critical, was
dangerous to the state of our garrison," answered the Earl; "it shows
how dearly she esteems my mother's safety, how highly she rates your
prowess. But, thank Heaven, there sounds the dinner-bell. I would the
philosophers, who find a sin and waste of time in good cheer, could
devise us any pastime half so agreeable."

The meal which the young Earl had thus longed for, as a means of
consuming a portion of the time which hung heavy on his hands, was soon
over; as soon, at least, as the habitual and stately formality of
the Countess's household permitted. She herself, accompanied by her
gentlewomen and attendants, retired early after the tables were drawn;
and the young gentlemen were left to their own company. Wine had, for
the moment, no charms for either; for the Earl was out of spirits from
ennui, and impatience of his monotonous and solitary course of life; and
the events of the day had given Peveril too much matter for reflection,
to permit his starting amusing or interesting topics of conversation.
After having passed the flask in silence betwixt them once or twice,
they withdrew each to a separate embrasure of the windows of the dining
apartment, which, such was the extreme thickness of the wall, were deep
enough to afford a solitary recess, separated, as it were, from the
chamber itself. In one of these sat the Earl of Derby, busied in looking
over some of the new publications which had been forwarded from London;
and at intervals confessing how little power or interest these had for
him, by yawning fearfully as he looked out on the solitary expanse
of waters, which, save from the flight of a flock of sea-gulls, or
a solitary cormorant, offered so little of variety to engage his
attention.

Peveril, on his part, held a pamphlet also in his hand, without giving,
or affecting to give it, even his occasional attention. His whole
soul turned upon the interview which he had had that day with Alice
Bridgenorth, and with her father; while he in vain endeavoured to form
any hypothesis which could explain to him why the daughter, to whom he
had no reason to think himself indifferent, should have been so suddenly
desirous of their eternal separation, while her father, whose opposition
he so much dreaded, seemed to be at least tolerant of his addresses. He
could only suppose, in explanation, that Major Bridgenorth had some
plan in prospect, which it was in his own power to farther or to impede;
while, from the demeanour, and indeed the language, of Alice, he had
but too much reason to apprehend that her father's favour could only be
conciliated by something, on his own part, approaching to dereliction of
principle. But by no conjecture which he could form, could he make
the least guess concerning the nature of that compliance, of which
Bridgenorth seemed desirous. He could not imagine, notwithstanding Alice
had spoken of treachery, that her father would dare to propose to him
uniting in any plan by which the safety of the Countess, or the security
of her little kingdom of Man, was to be endangered. This carried such
indelible disgrace in the front, that he could not suppose the scheme
proposed to him by any who was not prepared to defend with his sword,
upon the spot, so flagrant an insult offered to his honour. And such
a proceeding was totally inconsistent with the conduct of Major
Bridgenorth in every other respect, besides his being too calm and
cold-blooded to permit of his putting a mortal affront upon the son of
his old neighbour, to whose mother he confessed so much of obligation.

While Peveril in vain endeavoured to extract something like a
probable theory out of the hints thrown out by the father and by
the daughter--not without the additional and lover-like labour of
endeavouring to reconcile his passion to his honour and conscience--he
felt something gently pull him by the cloak. He unclasped his arms,
which, in meditation, had been folded on his bosom; and withdrawing his
eyes from the vacant prospect of sea-coast and sea which they perused,
without much consciousness upon what they rested, he beheld beside
him the little dumb maiden, the elfin Fenella. She was seated on a low
cushion or stool, with which she had nestled close to Peveril's side,
and had remained there for a short space of time, expecting, no doubt,
he would become conscious of her presence; until, tired of remaining
unnoticed, she at length solicited his attention in the manner which we
have described. Startled out of his reverie by this intimation of her
presence, he looked down, and could not, without interest, behold this
singular and helpless being.

Her hair was unloosened, and streamed over her shoulders in such length,
that much of it lay upon the ground, and in such quantity, that it
formed a dark veil, or shadow, not only around her face, but over her
whole slender and minute form. From the profusion of her tresses looked
forth her small and dark, but well-formed features, together with the
large and brilliant black eyes; and her whole countenance was composed
into the imploring look of one who is doubtful of the reception she is
about to meet with from a valued friend, while she confesses a fault,
pleads an apology, or solicits a reconciliation. In short, the whole
face was so much alive with expression, that Julian, though her aspect
was so familiar to him, could hardly persuade himself but that her
countenance was entirely new. The wild, fantastic, elvish vivacity
of the features, seemed totally vanished, and had given place to a
sorrowful, tender, and pathetic cast of countenance, aided by the
expression of the large dark eyes, which, as they were turned up towards
Julian, glistened with moisture, that, nevertheless, did not overflow
the eyelids.

Conceiving that her unwonted manner arose from a recollection of the
dispute which had taken place betwixt them in the morning, Peveril was
anxious to restore the little maiden's gaiety, by making her sensible
that there dwelt on his mind no unpleasing recollection of their
quarrel. He smiled kindly, and shook her hand in one of his; while, with
the familiarity of one who had known her from childhood, he stroked
down her long dark tresses with the other. She stooped her head, as if
ashamed, and, at the same time, gratified with his caresses--and he was
thus induced to continue them, until, under the veil of her rich and
abundant locks, he suddenly felt his other hand, which she still held in
hers, slightly touched with her lips, and, at the same time, moistened
with a tear.

At once, and for the first time in his life, the danger of being
misinterpreted in his familiarity with a creature to whom the usual
modes of explanation were a blank, occurred to Julian's mind; and,
hastily withdrawing his hand, and changing his posture, he asked her,
by a sign which custom had rendered familiar, whether she brought any
message to him from the Countess. She started up, and arranged herself
in her seat with the rapidity of lightning; and, at the same moment,
with one turn of her hand, braided her length of locks into a natural
head-dress of the most beautiful kind. There was, indeed, when she
looked up, a blush still visible on her dark features; but their
melancholy and languid expression had given place to that of wild and
restless vivacity, which was most common to them. Her eyes gleamed with
more than their wonted fire, and her glances were more piercingly wild
and unsettled than usual. To Julian's inquiry, she answered, by laying
her hand on her heart--a motion by which she always indicated the
Countess--and rising, and taking the direction of her apartment, she
made a sign to Julian to follow her.

The distance was not great betwixt the dining apartment and that to
which Peveril now followed his mute guide; yet, in going thither, he
had time enough to suffer cruelly from the sudden suspicion, that this
unhappy girl had misinterpreted the uniform kindness with which he had
treated her, and hence come to regard him with feelings more tender than
those which belong to friendship. The misery which such a passion was
likely to occasion to a creature in her helpless situation, and actuated
by such lively feelings, was great enough to make him refuse credit to
the suspicion which pressed itself upon his mind; while, at the same
time, he formed the internal resolution so to conduct himself towards
Fenella, as to check such misplaced sentiments, if indeed she unhappily
entertained them towards him.

When they reached the Countess's apartment, they found her with writing
implements, and many sealed letters before her. She received Julian with
her usual kindness; and having caused him to be seated, beckoned to
the mute to resume her needle. In an instant Fenella was seated at
an embroidering-frame; where, but for the movement of her dexterous
fingers, she might have seemed a statue, so little did she move from her
work either head or eye. As her infirmity rendered her presence no bar
to the most confidential conversation, the Countess proceeded to address
Peveril as if they had been literally alone together.

"Julian," she said, "I am not now about to complain to you of the
sentiments and conduct of Derby. He is your friend--he is my son. He has
kindness of heart and vivacity of talent; and yet----"

"Dearest lady," said Peveril, "why will you distress yourself with
fixing your eye on deficiencies which arise rather from a change of
times and manners, than any degeneracy of my noble friend? Let him be
once engaged in his duty, whether in peace or war, and let me pay the
penalty if he acquits not himself becoming his high station."

"Ay," replied the Countess; "but when will the call of duty prove
superior to that of the most idle or trivial indulgence which can serve
to drive over the lazy hour? His father was of another mould; and how
often was it my lot to entreat that he would spare, from the rigid
discharge of those duties which his high station imposed, the relaxation
absolutely necessary to recruit his health and his spirits!"

"Still, my dearest lady," said Peveril, "you must allow, that the duties
to which the times summoned your late honoured lord, were of a more
stirring, as well as a more peremptory cast, than those which await your
son."

"I know not that," said the Countess. "The wheel appears to be again
revolving; and the present period is not unlikely to bring back such
scenes as my young years witnessed.--Well, be it so; they will not find
Charlotte de la Tremouille broken in spirit, though depressed by years.
It was even on this subject I would speak with you, my young friend.
Since our first early acquaintance--when I saw your gallant behaviour as
I issued forth to your childish eye, like an apparition, from my place
of concealment in your father's castle--it has pleased me to think you a
true son of Stanley and Peveril. I trust your nurture in this family has
been ever suited to the esteem in which I hold you.--Nay, I desire no
thanks.--I have to require of you, in return, a piece of service,
not perhaps entirely safe to yourself, but which, as times are
circumstanced, no person is so well able to render to my house."

"You have been ever my good and noble lady," answered Peveril, "as well
as my kind, and I may say maternal, protectress. You have a right to
command the blood of Stanley in the veins of every one--You have a
thousand rights to command it in mine."[*]

[*] The reader cannot have forgotten that the Earl of Derby was head
    of the great house of Stanley.

"My advices from England," said the Countess, "resemble more the dreams
of a sick man, than the regular information which I might have expected
from such correspondents as mine;--their expressions are like those of
men who walk in their sleep, and speak by snatches of what passes in
their dreams. It is said, a plot, real or fictitious, has been detected
among the Catholics, which has spread far wider and more uncontrollable
terror than that of the fifth of November. Its outlines seem utterly
incredible, and are only supported by the evidence of wretches, the
meanest and most worthless in the creation; yet it is received by the
credulous people of England with the most undoubting belief."

"This is a singular delusion, to rise without some real ground,"
answered Julian.

"I am no bigot, cousin, though a Catholic," replied the Countess. "I
have long feared that the well-meant zeal of our priests for increasing
converts, would draw on them the suspicion of the English nation. These
efforts have been renewed with double energy since the Duke of York
conformed to the Catholic faith; and the same event has doubled the hate
and jealousy of the Protestants. So far, I fear, there may be just cause
of suspicion, that the Duke is a better Catholic than an Englishman,
and that bigotry has involved him, as avarice, or the needy greed of
a prodigal, has engaged his brother, in relations with France, whereof
England may have too much reason to complain. But the gross, thick,
and palpable fabrications of conspiracy and murder, blood and fire--the
imaginary armies--the intended massacres--form a collection of
falsehoods, that one would have thought indigestible, even by the coarse
appetite of the vulgar for the marvellous and horrible; but which
are, nevertheless, received as truth by both Houses of Parliament, and
questioned by no one who is desirous to escape the odious appellation of
friend to the bloody Papists, and favourer of their infernal schemes of
cruelty."

"But what say those who are most likely to be affected by these wild
reports?" said Julian. "What say the English Catholics themselves?--a
numerous and wealthy body, comprising so many noble names?"

"Their hearts are dead within them," said the Countess. "They are like
sheep penned up in the shambles, that the butcher may take his choice
among them. In the obscure and brief communications which I have had by
a secure hand, they do but anticipate their own utter ruin, and ours--so
general is the depression, so universal the despair."

"But the King," said Peveril,--"the King and the Protestant
Royalists--what say they to this growing tempest?"

"Charles," replied the Countess, "with his usual selfish prudence,
truckles to the storm; and will let cord and axe do their work on the
most innocent men in his dominions, rather than lose an hour of pleasure
in attempting their rescue. And, for the Royalists, either they have
caught the general delirium which has seized on Protestants in general,
or they stand aloof and neutral, afraid to show any interest in the
unhappy Catholics, lest they be judged altogether such as themselves,
and abettors of the fearful conspiracy in which they are alleged to be
engaged. In fact, I cannot blame them. It is hard to expect that mere
compassion for a persecuted sect--or, what is yet more rare, an abstract
love of justice--should be powerful enough to engage men to expose
themselves to the awakened fury of a whole people; for, in the present
state of general agitation, whoever disbelieves the least tittle of the
enormous improbabilities which have been accumulated by these wretched
reformers, is instantly hunted down, as one who would smother the
discovery of the Plot. It is indeed an awful tempest; and, remote as we
lie from its sphere, we must expect soon to feel its effects."

"Lord Derby already told me something of this," said Julian; "and
that there were agents in this island whose object was to excite
insurrection."

"Yes," answered the Countess, and her eye flashed fire as she spoke;
"and had my advice been listened to, they had been apprehended in the
very fact; and so dealt with, as to be a warning to all others how they
sought this independent principality on such an errand. But my son, who
is generally so culpably negligent of his own affairs, was pleased to
assume the management of them upon this crisis."

"I am happy to learn, madam," answered Peveril, "that the measures of
precaution which my kinsman has adopted, have had the complete effect of
disconcerting the conspiracy."

"For the present, Julian; but they should have been such as would have
made the boldest tremble to think of such infringement of our rights in
future. But Derby's present plan is fraught with greater danger; and yet
there is something in it of gallantry, which has my sympathy."

"What is it, madam?" inquired Julian anxiously; "and in what can I aid
it, or avert its dangers?"

"He purposes," said the Countess, "instantly to set forth for London. He
is, he says, not merely the feudal chief of a small island, but one of
the noble Peers of England, who must not remain in the security of an
obscure and distant castle, when his name, or that of his mother, is
slandered before his Prince and people. He will take his place, he says,
in the House of Lords, and publicly demand justice for the insult thrown
on his house, by perjured and interested witnesses."

"It is a generous resolution, and worthy of my friend," said Julian
Peveril. "I will go with him and share his fate, be it what it may."

"Alas, foolish boy!" answered the Countess, "as well may you ask a
hungry lion to feel compassion, as a prejudiced and furious people to do
justice. They are like the madman at the height of frenzy, who murders
without compunction his best and dearest friend; and only wonders and
wails over his own cruelty, when he is recovered from his delirium."

"Pardon me, dearest lady," said Julian, "this cannot be. The noble and
generous people of England cannot be thus strangely misled. Whatever
prepossessions may be current among the more vulgar, the House of
Legislature cannot be deeply infected by them--they will remember their
own dignity."

"Alas! cousin," answered the Countess, "when did Englishmen, even of the
highest degree, remember anything, when hurried away by the violence
of party feeling? Even those who have too much sense to believe in
the incredible fictions which gull the multitude, will beware how they
expose them, if their own political party can gain a momentary advantage
by their being accredited. It is amongst such, too, that your kinsman
has found friends and associates. Neglecting the old friends of his
house, as too grave and formal companions for the humour of the times,
his intercourse has been with the versatile Shaftesbury--the mercurial
Buckingham--men who would not hesitate to sacrifice to the popular
Moloch of the day, whatsoever or whomsoever, whose ruin could propitiate
the deity.--Forgive a mother's tears, kinsman; but I see the scaffold
at Bolton again erected. If Derby goes to London while these bloodhounds
are in full cry, obnoxious as he is, and I have made him by my religious
faith, and my conduct in this island, he dies his father's death. And
yet upon what other course to resolve!----"

"Let me go to London, madam," said Peveril, much moved by the distress
of his patroness; "your ladyship was wont to rely something on my
judgment. I will act for the best--will communicate with those whom
you point out to me, and only with them; and I trust soon to send you
information that this delusion, however strong it may now be, is in the
course of passing away; at the worst, I can apprise you of the danger,
should it menace the Earl or yourself; and may be able also to point out
the means by which it may be eluded."

The Countess listened with a countenance in which the anxiety of
maternal affection, which prompted her to embrace Peveril's generous
offer, struggled with her native disinterested and generous disposition.
"Think what you ask of me, Julian," she replied with a sigh. "Would you
have me expose the life of my friend's son to those perils to which I
refuse my own?--No, never!"

"Nay, but madam," replied Julian, "I do not run the same risk--my person
is not known in London--my situation, though not obscure in my own
country, is too little known to be noticed in that huge assemblage of
all that is noble and wealthy. No whisper, I presume, however indirect,
has connected my name with the alleged conspiracy. I am a Protestant,
above all; and can be accused of no intercourse, direct or indirect,
with the Church of Rome. My connections also lie amongst those, who, if
they do not, or cannot, befriend me, cannot, at least, be dangerous to
me. In a word, I run no danger where the Earl might incur great peril."

"Alas!" said the Countess of Derby, "all this generous reasoning may be
true; but it could only be listened to by a widowed mother. Selfish as
I am, I cannot but reflect that my kinswoman has, in all events, the
support of an affectionate husband--such is the interested reasoning to
which we are not ashamed to subject our better feelings."

"Do not call it so, madam," answered Peveril; "think of me as the
younger brother of my kinsman. You have ever done by me the duties of
a mother; and have a right to my filial service, were it at a risk ten
times greater than a journey to London, to inquire into the temper of
the times. I will instantly go and announce my departure to the Earl."

"Stay, Julian," said the Countess; "if you must make this journey in our
behalf,--and, alas! I have not generosity enough to refuse your noble
proffer,--you must go alone, and without communication with Derby. I
know him well; his lightness of mind is free from selfish baseness; and
for the world, would he not suffer you to leave Man without his company.
And if he went with you, your noble and disinterested kindness would be
of no avail--you would but share his ruin, as the swimmer who attempts
to save a drowning man is involved in his fate, if he permit the
sufferer to grapple with him."

"It shall be as you please, madam," said Peveril. "I am ready to depart
upon half-an-hour's notice."

"This night, then," said the Countess, after a moment's pause--"this
night I will arrange the most secret means of carrying your generous
project into effect; for I would not excite that prejudice against you,
which will instantly arise, were it known you had so lately left this
island, and its Popish lady. You will do well, perhaps, to use a feigned
name in London."

"Pardon me, madam," said Julian; "I will do nothing that can draw on
me unnecessary attention; but to bear a feigned name, or affect any
disguise beyond living with extreme privacy, would, I think, be
unwise as well as unworthy; and what, if challenged, I might find some
difficulty in assigning a reason for, consistent with perfect fairness
of intentions."

"I believe you are right," answered the Countess, after a moment's
consideration; and then added, "You propose, doubtless, to pass through
Derbyshire, and visit Martindale Castle?"

"I should wish it, madam, certainly," replied Peveril, "did time permit,
and circumstances render it advisable."

"Of that," said the Countess, "you must yourself judge. Despatch
is, doubtless, desirable; on the other hand, arriving from your own
family-seat, you will be less an object of doubt and suspicion, than if
you posted up from hence, without even visiting your parents. You
must be guided in this,--in all,--by your own prudence. Go, my dearest
son--for to me you should be dear as a son--go, and prepare for your
journey. I will get ready some despatches, and a supply of money--Nay,
do not object. Am I not your mother; and are you not discharging a son's
duty? Dispute not my right of defraying your expenses. Nor is this all;
for, as I must trust your zeal and prudence to act in our behalf when
occasion shall demand, I will furnish you with effectual recommendations
to our friends and kindred, entreating and enjoining them to render
whatever aid you may require, either for your own protection, or the
advancement of what you may propose in our favour."

Peveril made no farther opposition to an arrangement, which in truth the
moderate state of his own finances rendered almost indispensable, unless
with his father's assistance; and the Countess put into his hand bills
of exchange to the amount of two hundred pounds, upon a merchant in the
city. She then dismissed Julian for the space of an hour; after which,
she said, she must again require his presence.

The preparations for his journey were not of a nature to divert the
thoughts which speedily pressed on him. He found that half-an-hour's
conversation had once more completely changed his immediate prospects
and plans for the future. He had offered to the Countess of Derby a
service, which her uniform kindness had well deserved at his hand; but,
by her accepting it, he was upon the point of being separated from Alice
Bridgenorth, at a time when she was become dearer to him than ever, by
her avowal of mutual passion. Her image rose before him, such as he had
that day pressed her to his bosom--her voice was in his ear, and seemed
to ask whether he could desert her in the crisis which everything seemed
to announce as impending. But Julian Peveril, his youth considered, was
strict in judging his duty, and severely resolved in executing it. He
trusted not his imagination to pursue the vision which presented itself;
but resolutely seizing his pen, wrote to Alice the following letter,
explaining his situation, as far as justice to the Countess permitted
him to do so:--


 "I leave you, dearest Alice," thus ran the letter.--"I leave you;
  and though, in doing so, I but obey the command you have laid on
  me, yet I can claim little merit for my compliance, since, without
  additional and most forcible reasons in aid of your orders, I fear
  I should have been unable to comply with them. But family affairs
  of importance compel me to absent myself from this island, for, I
  fear, more than one week. My thoughts, hopes, and wishes will be
  on the moment that shall restore me to the Black Fort, and its
  lovely valley. Let me hope that yours will sometimes rest on the
  lonely exile, whom nothing could render such, but the command of
  honour and duty. Do not fear that I mean to involve you in a
  private correspondence, and let not your father fear it. I could
  not love you so much, but for the openness and candour of your
  nature; and I would not that you concealed from Major Bridgenorth
  one syllable of what I now avow. Respecting other matters, he
  himself cannot desire the welfare of our common country with more
  zeal than I do. Differences may occur concerning the mode in which
  that is to be obtained; but, in the principle, I am convinced
  there can be only one mind between us; nor can I refuse to listen
  to his experience and wisdom, even where they may ultimately fail
  to convince me. Farewell--Alice, farewell! Much might be added to
  that melancholy word, but nothing that could express the
  bitterness with which it is written. Yet I could transcribe it
  again and again, rather than conclude the last communication which
  I can have with you for some time. My sole comfort is, that my
  stay will scarce be so long as to permit you to forget one who
  never can forget you."


He held the paper in his hand for a minute after he had folded, but
before he had sealed it, while he hurriedly debated in his own mind
whether he had not expressed himself towards Major Bridgenorth in so
conciliating a manner as might excite hopes of proselytism, which his
conscience told him he could not realise with honour. Yet, on the other
hand, he had no right, from what Bridgenorth had said, to conclude that
their principles were diametrically irreconcilable; for though the son
of a high Cavalier, and educated in the family of the Countess of Derby,
he was himself, upon principle, an enemy of prerogative, and a friend
to the liberty of the subject. And with such considerations, he silenced
all internal objections on the point of honour; although his conscience
secretly whispered that these conciliatory expressions towards the
father were chiefly dictated by the fear, that during his absence Major
Bridgenorth might be tempted to change the residence of his daughter,
and perhaps to convey her altogether out of his reach.

Having sealed his letter, Julian called his servant, and directed him
to carry it under cover of one addressed to Mrs. Debbitch, to a house in
the town of Rushin, where packets and messages intended for the family
at Black Fort were usually deposited; and for that purpose to take horse
immediately. He thus got rid of an attendant, who might have been in
some degree a spy on his motions. He then exchanged the dress he usually
wore for one more suited to travelling; and, having put a change or two
of linen into a small cloak-bag, selected as arms a strong double-edged
sword and an excellent pair of pistols, which last he carefully loaded
with double bullets. Thus appointed, and with twenty pieces in his
purse, and the bills we have mentioned secured in a private pocket-book,
he was in readiness to depart as soon as he should receive the
Countess's commands.

The buoyant spirit of youth and hope, which had, for a moment, been
chilled by the painful and dubious circumstances in which he was placed,
as well as the deprivation which he was about to undergo, now revived in
full vigour. Fancy, turning from more painful anticipations, suggested
to him that he was now entering upon life, at a crisis when resolution
and talents were almost certain to make the fortune of their possessor.
How could he make a more honourable entry on the bustling scene, than
sent by, and acting in behalf of, one of the noblest houses in England;
and should he perform what his charge might render incumbent with
the resolution and the prudence necessary to secure success, how many
occurrences might take place to render his mediation necessary to
Bridgenorth; and thus enable him, on the most equal and honourable
terms, to establish a claim to his gratitude and to his daughter's hand.

Whilst he was dwelling on such pleasing, though imaginary prospects, he
could not help exclaiming aloud--"Yes, Alice, I will win thee nobly!"
The words had scarce escaped his lips, when he heard at the door of his
apartment, which the servant had left ajar, a sound like a deep sigh,
which was instantly succeeded by a gentle tap--"Come in," replied
Julian, somewhat ashamed of his exclamation, and not a little afraid
that it had been caught up by some eavesdropper--"Come in," he again
repeated; but his command was not obeyed; on the contrary, the knock was
repeated somewhat louder. He opened the door, and Fenella stood before
him.

With eyes that seemed red with recent tears, and with a look of the
deepest dejection, the little mute, first touching her bosom, and
beckoning with her finger, made to him the usual sign that the Countess
desired to see him--then turned, as if to usher him to her apartment. As
he followed her through the long gloomy vaulted passages which afforded
communication betwixt the various apartments of the castle, he could
not but observe that her usual light trip was exchanged for a tardy
and mournful step, which she accompanied with low inarticulate moaning
(which she was probably the less able to suppress, because she could not
judge how far it was audible), and also with wringing of the hands, and
other marks of extreme affliction.

At this moment a thought came across Peveril's mind, which, in spite of
his better reason, made him shudder involuntarily. As a Peaksman, and
a long resident in the Isle of Man, he was well acquainted with many a
superstitious legend, and particularly with a belief, which attached
to the powerful family of the Stanleys, for their peculiar demon, a
Banshie, or female spirit, who was wont to shriek "foreboding evil
times;" and who was generally seen weeping and bemoaning herself before
the death of any person of distinction belonging to the family. For an
instant, Julian could scarcely divest himself of the belief that the
wailing, jibbering form, which glided before him, with a lamp in her
hand, was a genius of his mother's race, come to announce to him as an
analogous reflection, that if the suspicion which had crossed his mind
concerning Fenella was a just one, her ill-fated attachment to him,
like that of the prophetic spirit to his family, could bode nothing but
disaster, and lamentation, and woe.



CHAPTER XIX

           Now, hoist the anchor, mates--and let the sails
           Give their broad bosom to the buxom wind,
           Like lass that woos a lover.
                                               --ANONYMOUS.

The presence of the Countess dispelled the superstitious feeling, which,
for an instant, had encroached on Julian's imagination, and compelled
him to give attention to the matters of ordinary life. "Here are your
credentials," she said, giving him a small packet, carefully packed
up in a sealskin cover; "you had better not open them till you come
to London. You must not be surprised to find that there are one or two
addressed to men of my own persuasion. These, for all our sakes, you
will observe caution in delivering."

"I go your messenger, madam," said Peveril; "and whatever you desire
me to charge myself with, of that I undertake the care. Yet allow me to
doubt whether an intercourse with Catholics will at this moment forward
the purposes of my mission."

"You have caught the general suspicion of this wicked sect already,"
said the Countess, smiling, "and are the fitter to go amongst Englishmen
in their present mood. But, my cautious friend, these letters are so
addressed, and the persons to whom they are addressed so disguised,
that you will run no danger in conversing with them. Without their aid,
indeed, you will not be able to obtain the accurate information you go
in search of. None can tell so exactly how the wind sets, as the pilot
whose vessel is exposed to the storm. Besides, though you Protestants
deny our priesthood the harmlessness of the dove, you are ready enough
to allow us a full share of the wisdom of the serpent; in plain terms,
their means of information are extensive, and they are not deficient in
the power of applying it. I therefore wish you to have the benefit of
their intelligence and advice, if possible."

"Whatever you impose upon me as a part of my duty, madam, rely on its
being discharged punctually," answered Peveril. "And, now, as there is
little use in deferring the execution of a purpose when once fixed, let
me know your ladyship's wishes concerning my departure."

"It must be sudden and secret," said the Countess; "the island is full
of spies; and I would not wish that any of them should have notice that
an envoy of mine was about to leave Man for London. Can you be ready to
go on board to-morrow?"

"To-night--this instant if you will," said Julian,--"my little
preparations are complete."

"Be ready, then, in your chamber, at two hours after midnight. I will
send one to summon you, for our secret must be communicated, for the
present, to as few as possible. A foreign sloop is engaged to carry you
over; then make the best of your way to London, by Martindale Castle, or
otherwise, as you find most advisable. When it is necessary to
announce your absence, I will say you are gone to see your parents. But
stay--your journey will be on horseback, of course, from Whitehaven.
You have bills of exchange, it is true; but are you provided with ready
money to furnish yourself with a good horse?"

"I am sufficiently rich, madam," answered Julian; "and good nags are
plenty in Cumberland. There are those among them who know how to come by
them good and cheap."

"Trust not to that," said the Countess. "Here is what will purchase for
you the best horse on the Borders.--Can you be simple enough to refuse
it?" she added, as she pressed on him a heavy purse, which he saw
himself obliged to accept.

"A good horse, Julian," continued the Countess, "and a good sword, next
to a good heart and head, are the accomplishments of a cavalier."

"I kiss your hands, then, madam," said Peveril, "and humbly beg you to
believe, that whatever may fail in my present undertaking, my purpose
to serve you, my noble kinswoman and benefactress, can at least never
swerve or falter."

"I know it, my son, I know it; and may God forgive me if my anxiety
for your friend has sent you on dangers which should have been his!
Go--go--May saints and angels bless you! Fenella shall acquaint him that
you sup in your own apartment. So indeed will I; for to-night I should
be unable to face my son's looks. Little will he thank me for sending
you on his errand; and there will be many to ask, whether it was like
the Lady of Latham to trust her friend's son on the danger which should
have been braved by her own. But oh! Julian, I am now a forlorn widow,
whom sorrow has made selfish!"

"Tush, madam," answered Peveril; "it is more unlike the Lady of Latham
to anticipate dangers which may not exist at all, and to which, if
they do indeed occur, I am less obnoxious than my noble kinsman.
Farewell!--All blessings attend you, madam. Commend me to Derby,
and make him my excuses. I shall expect a summons at two hours after
midnight."

They took an affectionate leave of each other; the more affectionate,
indeed, on the part of the Countess, that she could not entirely
reconcile her generous mind to exposing Peveril to danger on her son's
behalf; and Julian betook himself to his solitary apartment.

His servant soon afterwards brought him wine and refreshments; to
which, notwithstanding the various matters he had to occupy his mind, he
contrived to do reasonable justice. But when this needful occupation
was finished, his thoughts began to stream in upon him like a troubled
tide--at once recalling the past, and anticipating the future. It was in
vain that he wrapped himself in his riding cloak, and, lying down on
his bed, endeavoured to compose himself to sleep. The uncertainty of
the prospect before him--the doubt how Bridgenorth might dispose of his
daughter during his absence--the fear that the Major himself might fall
into the power of the vindictive Countess, besides a numerous train of
vague and half-formed apprehensions, agitated his blood, and rendered
slumber impossible. Alternately to recline in the old oaken easy-chair,
and listen to the dashing of the waves under the windows, mingled,
as the sound was, with the scream of the sea-birds; or traverse the
apartment with long and slow steps, pausing occasionally to look out
on the sea, slumbering under the influence of a full moon, which tipped
each wave with silver--such were the only pastimes he could invent,
until midnight had passed for one hour; the next was wasted in anxious
expectation of the summons of departure.

At length it arrived--a tap at his door was followed by a low murmur,
which made him suspect that the Countess had again employed her mute
attendant as the most secure minister of her pleasure on this occasion.
He felt something like impropriety in this selection; and it was with
a feeling of impatience alien to the natural generosity of his temper,
that, when he opened the door, he beheld the dumb maiden standing before
him. The lamp which he held in his hand showed his features distinctly,
and probably made Fenella aware of the expression which animated them.
She cast her large dark eyes mournfully on the ground; and, without
again looking him in the face, made him a signal to follow her. He
delayed no longer than was necessary to secure his pistols in his belt,
wrap his cloak closer around him, and take his small portmanteau under
his arm. Thus accoutred, he followed her out of the Keep, or inhabited
part of the Castle, by a series of obscure passages leading to a postern
gate, which she unlocked with a key, selected from a bundle which she
carried at her girdle.

They now stood in the castle-yard, in the open moonlight, which
glimmered white and ghastly on the variety of strange and ruinous
objects to which we have formerly alluded, and which gave the scene
rather the appearance of some ancient cemetery, than of the interior of
a fortification. The round and elevated tower--the ancient mount, with
its quadrangular sides facing the ruinous edifices which once boasted
the name of Cathedral--seemed of yet more antique and anomalous form,
when seen by the pale light which now displayed them. To one of these
churches Fenella took the direct course, and was followed by Julian;
although he at once divined, and was superstitious enough to dislike,
the path which she was about to adopt. It was by a secret passage
through this church that in former times the guard-room of the garrison,
situated at the lower and external defences, communicated with the Keep
of the Castle; and through this passage were the keys of the Castle
every night carried to the Governor's apartment, so soon as the gates
were locked, and the watch set. The custom was given up in James the
First's time, and the passage abandoned, on account of the well-known
legend of the _Mauthe Dog_--a fiend, or demon, in the shape of a large,
shaggy, black mastiff, by which the church was said to be haunted.
It was devoutly believed, that in former times this spectre became so
familiar with mankind, as to appear nightly in the guard-room, issuing
from the passage which we have mentioned at night, and retiring to it at
daybreak. The soldiers became partly familiarised to its presence; yet
not so much so as to use any licence of language while the apparition
was visible; until one fellow, rendered daring by intoxication, swore
he would know whether it was dog or devil, and, with his drawn sword,
followed the spectre when it retreated by the usual passage. The man
returned in a few minutes, sobered by terror, his mouth gaping, and his
hair standing on end, under which horror he died; but, unhappily for
the lovers of the marvellous, altogether unable to disclose the horrors
which he had seen. Under the evil repute arising from this tale of
wonder, the guard-room was abandoned, and a new one constructed. In like
manner, the guards after that period held another and more circuitous
communication with the Governor or Seneschal of the Castle; and that
which lay through the ruinous church was entirely abandoned.

In defiance of the legendary terrors which tradition had attached to
the original communication, Fenella, followed by Peveril, now boldly
traversed the ruinous vaults through which it lay--sometimes only guided
over heaps of ruins by the precarious light of the lamp borne by the
dumb maiden--sometimes having the advantage of a gleam of moonlight,
darting into the dreary abyss through the shafted windows, or through
breaches made by time. As the path was by no means a straight one,
Peveril could not but admire the intimate acquaintance with the mazes
which his singular companion displayed, as well as the boldness with
which she traversed them. He himself was not so utterly void of
the prejudices of the times, but that he contemplated, with some
apprehension, the possibility of their intruding on the lair of the
phantom hound, of which he had heard so often; and in every remote sight
of the breeze among the ruins, he thought he heard him baying at the
mortal footsteps which disturbed his gloomy realm. No such terrors,
however, interrupted their journey; and in the course of a few minutes,
they attained the deserted and now ruinous guard-house. The broken walls
of the little edifice served to conceal them from the sentinels, one of
whom was keeping a drowsy watch at the lower gate of the Castle; whilst
another, seated on the stone steps which communicated with the parapet
of the bounding and exterior wall, was slumbering, in full security,
with his musket peacefully grounded by his side. Fenella made a sign to
Peveril to move with silence and caution, and then showed him, to his
surprise, from the window of the deserted guard-room, a boat, for it was
now high water, with four rowers, lurking under the cliff on which the
castle was built; and made him farther sensible that he was to have
access to it by a ladder of considerable height placed at the window of
the ruin.

Julian was both displeased and alarmed by the security and carelessness
of the sentinels, who had suffered such preparations to be made without
observation or alarm given; and he hesitated whether he should not call
the officer of the guard, upbraid him with negligence, and show him
how easily Holm-Peel, in spite of its natural strength, and although
reported impregnable, might be surprised by a few resolute men. Fenella
seemed to guess his thoughts with that extreme acuteness of observation
which her deprivations had occasioned her acquiring. She laid one hand
on his arm, and a finger of the other on her own lips, as if to enjoin
forbearance; and Julian, knowing that she acted by the direct authority
of the Countess, obeyed her accordingly; but with the internal
resolution to lose no time in communicating his sentiments to the Earl,
concerning the danger to which the Castle was exposed on this point.

In the meantime, he descended the ladder with some precaution, for the
steps were unequal, broken, wet, and slippery; and having placed himself
in the stern of the boat, made a signal to the men to push off, and
turned to take farewell of his guide. To his utter astonishment, Fenella
rather slid down, than descended regularly, the perilous ladder, and,
the boat being already pushed off, made a spring from the last step of
it with incredible agility, and seated herself beside Peveril, ere he
could express either remonstrance or surprise. He commanded the men once
more to pull in to the precarious landing-place; and throwing into his
countenance a part of the displeasure which he really felt, endeavoured
to make her comprehend the necessity of returning to her mistress.
Fenella folded her arms, and looked at him with a haughty smile, which
completely expressed the determination of her purpose. Peveril was
extremely embarrassed; he was afraid of offending the Countess, and
interfering with her plan, by giving alarm, which otherwise he was much
tempted to have done. On Fenella, it was evident, no species of argument
which he could employ was likely to make the least impression; and the
question remained, how, if she went on with him, he was to rid himself
of so singular and inconvenient a companion, and provide, at the same
time, sufficiently for her personal security.

The boatmen brought the matter to a decision; for, after lying on their
oars for a minute, and whispering among themselves in Low Dutch or
German, they began to pull stoutly, and were soon at some distance from
the Castle. The possibility of the sentinels sending a musket-ball, or
even a cannon-shot, after them, was one of the contingencies which gave
Peveril momentary anxiety; but they left the fortress, as they must have
approached it, unnoticed, or at least unchallenged--a carelessness on
the part of the garrison, which, notwithstanding that the oars were
muffled, and that the men spoke little, and in whispers, argued, in
Peveril's opinion, great negligence on the part of the sentinels. When
they were a little way from the Castle, the men began to row briskly
towards a small vessel which lay at some distance. Peveril had, in
the meantime, leisure to remark, that the boatmen spoke to each other
doubtfully, and bent anxious looks on Fenella, as if uncertain whether
they had acted properly in bringing her off.

After about a quarter of an hour's rowing, they reached the little
sloop, where Peveril was received by the skipper, or captain, on the
quarter-deck, with an offer of spirits or refreshments. A word or two
among the seamen withdrew the captain from his hospitable cares, and he
flew to the ship's side, apparently to prevent Fenella from entering
the vessel. The men and he talked eagerly in Dutch, looking anxiously at
Fenella as they spoke together; and Peveril hoped the result would
be, that the poor woman should be sent ashore again. But she
baffled whatever opposition could be offered to her; and when the
accommodation-ladder, as it is called, was withdrawn, she snatched the
end of a rope, and climbed on board with the dexterity of a sailor,
leaving them no means of preventing her entrance, save by actual
violence, to which apparently they did not choose to have recourse. Once
on deck, she took the captain by the sleeve, and led him to the head
of the vessel, where they seemed to hold intercourse in a manner
intelligible to both.

Peveril soon forgot the presence of the mute, as he began to muse upon
his own situation, and the probability that he was separated for some
considerable time from the object of his affections. "Constancy," he
repeated to himself,--"Constancy." And, as if in coincidence with the
theme of his reflections, he fixed his eyes on the polar star, which
that night twinkled with more than ordinary brilliancy. Emblem of pure
passion and steady purpose--the thoughts which arose as he viewed its
clear and unchanging light, were disinterested and noble. To seek
his country's welfare, and secure the blessings of domestic peace--to
discharge a bold and perilous duty to his friend and patron--to regard
his passion for Alice Bridgenorth, as the loadstar which was to guide
him to noble deeds--were the resolutions which thronged upon his mind,
and which exalted his spirits to that state of romantic melancholy,
which perhaps is ill exchanged even for feelings of joyful rapture.

He was recalled from those contemplations by something which nestled
itself softly and closely to his side--a woman's sigh sounded so near
him, as to disturb his reverie; and as he turned his head, he saw
Fenella seated beside him, with her eyes fixed on the same star which
had just occupied his own. His first emotion was that of displeasure;
but it was impossible to persevere in it towards a being so helpless
in many respects, so interesting in others; whose large dark eyes were
filled with dew, which glistened in the moonlight; and the source of
whose emotions seemed to be in a partiality which might well claim
indulgence, at least from him who was the object of it. At the same
time, Julian resolved to seize the present opportunity, for such
expostulations with Fenella on the strangeness of her conduct, as the
poor maiden might be able to comprehend. He took her hand with great
kindness, but at the same time with much gravity, pointed to the boat,
and to the Castle, whose towers and extended walls were now scarce
visible in the distance; and thus intimated to her the necessity of
her return to Holm-Peel. She looked down, and shook her head, as if
negativing his proposal with obstinate decision. Julian renewed his
expostulation by look and gesture--pointed to his own heart, to intimate
the Countess--and bent his brows, to show the displeasure which she must
entertain. To all which the maiden only answered by her tears.

At length, as if driven to explanation by his continued remonstrances,
she suddenly seized him by the arm, to arrest his attention--cast
her eye hastily around, as if to see whether she was watched by
any one--then drew the other hand, edge-wise, across her slender
throat--pointed to the boat, and to the Castle, and nodded.

On this series of signs, Peveril could put no interpretation, excepting
that he was menaced with some personal danger, from which Fenella
seemed to conceive that her presence was a protection. Whatever was her
meaning, her purpose seemed unalterably adopted; at least it was plain
he had no power to shake it. He must therefore wait till the end of
their short voyage, to disembarrass himself of his companion; and, in
the meanwhile, acting on the idea of her having harboured a misplaced
attachment to him, he thought he should best consult her interest,
and his own character, in keeping at as great a distance from her as
circumstances admitted. With this purpose, he made the sign she used
for going to sleep, by leaning his head on his palm; and having thus
recommended to her to go to rest, he himself desired to be conducted to
his berth.

The captain readily showed him a hammock, in the after-cabin, into which
he threw himself, to seek that repose which the exercise and agitation
of the preceding day, as well as the lateness of the hour, made him
now feel desirable. Sleep, deep and heavy, sunk down on him in a few
minutes, but it did not endure long. In his sleep he was disturbed by
female cries; and at length, as he thought, distinctly heard the voice
of Alice Bridgenorth call on his name.

He awoke, and starting up to quit his bed, became sensible, from the
motion of the vessel, and the swinging of the hammock, that his dream
had deceived him. He was still startled by its extreme vivacity and
liveliness. "Julian Peveril, help! Julian Peveril!" The sounds still
rung in his ears--the accents were those of Alice--and he could scarce
persuade himself that his imagination had deceived him. Could she be in
the same vessel? The thought was not altogether inconsistent with her
father's character, and the intrigues in which he was engaged; but
then, if so, to what peril was she exposed, that she invoked his name so
loudly?

Determined to make instant inquiry, he jumped out of his hammock,
half-dressed as he was, and stumbling about the little cabin, which was
as dark as pitch, at length, with considerable difficulty, reached
the door. The door, however, he was altogether unable to open; and was
obliged to call loudly to the watch upon deck. The skipper, or captain,
as he was called, being the only person aboard who could speak English,
answered to the summons, and replied to Peveril's demand, what noise
that was?--that a boat was going off with the young woman--that she
whimpered a little as she left the vessel--and "dat vaas all."

His dream was thus fully explained. Fancy had caught up the inarticulate
and vehement cries with which Fenella was wont to express resistance or
displeasure--had coined them into language, and given them the accents
of Alice Bridgenorth. Our imagination plays wilder tricks with us almost
every night.

The captain now undid the door, and appeared with a lantern; without the
aid of which Peveril could scarce have regained his couch, where he
now slumbered secure and sound, until day was far advanced, and the
invitation of the captain called him up to breakfast.



CHAPTER XX

           Now, what is this that haunts me like my shadow,
           Frisking and mumming like an elf in moonlight!
                                               --BEN JONSON.

Peveril found the master of the vessel rather less rude than those in
his station of life usually are, and received from him full satisfaction
concerning the fate of Fenella, upon whom the captain bestowed a hearty
curse, for obliging him to lay-to until he had sent his boat ashore, and
had her back again.

"I hope," said Peveril, "no violence was necessary to reconcile her to
go ashore? I trust she offered no foolish resistance?"

"Resist! mein Gott," said the captain, "she did resist like a troop of
horse--she did cry, you might hear her at Whitehaven--she did go up
the rigging like a cat up a chimney; but dat vas ein trick of her old
trade."

"What trade do you mean?" said Peveril.

"Oh," said the seaman, "I vas know more about her than you, Meinheer.
I vas know that she vas a little, very little girl, and prentice to one
seiltanzer, when my lady yonder had the good luck to buy her."

"A seiltanzer!" said Peveril; "what do you mean by that?"

"I mean a rope-danzer, a mountebank, a Hans pickel-harring. I vas know
Adrian Brackel vell--he sell de powders dat empty men's stomach, and
fill him's own purse. Not know Adrian Brackel, mein Gott! I have smoked
many a pound of tabak with him."

Peveril now remembered that Fenella had been brought into the family
when he and the young Earl were in England, and while the Countess was
absent on an expedition to the continent. Where the Countess found her,
she never communicated to the young men; but only intimated, that she
had received her out of compassion, in order to relieve her from a
situation of extreme distress.

He hinted so much to the communicative seaman, who replied, "that for
distress he knew nocht's on't; only, that Adrian Brackel beat her
when she would not dance on the rope, and starved her when she did,
to prevent her growth." The bargain between the countess and the
mountebank, he said, he had made himself; because the Countess had hired
his brig upon her expedition to the continent. None else knew where
she came from. The Countess had seen her on a public stage at
Ostend--compassionated her helpless situation, and the severe treatment
she received--and had employed him to purchase the poor creature from
her master, and charged him with silence towards all her retinue.--"And
so I do keep silence," continued the faithful confidant, "van I am in
the havens of Man; but when I am on the broad seas, den my tongue is
mine own, you know. Die foolish beoples in the island, they say she is
a wechsel-balg--what you call a fairy-elf changeling. My faith, they do
not never have seen ein wechsel-balg; for I saw one myself at Cologne,
and it was twice as big as yonder girl, and did break the poor people,
with eating them up, like de great big cuckoo in the sparrow's nest; but
this Venella eat no more than other girls--it was no wechsel-balg in the
world."

By a different train of reasoning, Julian had arrived at the same
conclusion; in which, therefore, he heartily acquiesced. During the
seaman's prosing, he was reflecting within himself, how much of the
singular flexibility of her limbs and movements the unfortunate girl
must have derived from the discipline and instructions of Adrian
Brackel; and also how far the germs of her wilful and capricious
passions might have been sown during her wandering and adventurous
childhood. Aristocratic, also, as his education had been, these
anecdotes respecting Fenella's original situation and education, rather
increased his pleasure of having shaken off her company; and yet he
still felt desirous to know any farther particulars which the seaman
could communicate on the same subject. But he had already told all he
knew. Of her parents he knew nothing, except that "her father must have
been a damned hundsfoot, and a schelm, for selling his own flesh and
blood to Adrian Brackel;" for by such a transaction had the mountebank
become possessed of his pupil.

This conversation tended to remove any passing doubts which might have
crept on Peveril's mind concerning the fidelity of the master of the
vessel, who appeared from thence to have been a former acquaintance
of the Countess, and to have enjoyed some share of her confidence. The
threatening motion used by Fenella, he no longer considered as worthy of
any notice, excepting as a new mark of the irritability of her temper.

He amused himself with walking the deck, and musing on his past and
future prospects, until his attention was forcibly arrested by the
wind, which began to rise in gusts from the north-west, in a manner so
unfavourable to the course they intended to hold, that the master, after
many efforts to beat against it, declared his bark, which was by no
means an excellent sea-boat, was unequal to making Whitehaven; and that
he was compelled to make a fair wind of it, and run for Liverpool. To
this course Peveril did not object. It saved him some land journey, in
case he visited his father's castle; and the Countess's commission would
be discharged as effectually the one way as the other.

The vessel was put, accordingly, before the wind, and ran with great
steadiness and velocity. The captain, notwithstanding, pleading some
nautical hazards, chose to lie off, and did not attempt the mouth of
the Mersey until morning, when Peveril had at length the satisfaction of
being landed upon the quay of Liverpool, which even then showed symptoms
of the commercial prosperity that has since been carried to such a
height.

The master, who was well acquainted with the port, pointed out to Julian
a decent place of entertainment, chiefly frequented by seafaring people;
for, although he had been in the town formerly, he did not think it
proper to go anywhere at present where he might have been unnecessarily
recognised. Here he took leave of the seaman, after pressing upon him
with difficulty a small present for his crew. As for his passage, the
captain declined any recompense whatever; and they parted upon the most
civil terms.

The inn to which he was recommended was full of strangers, seamen, and
mercantile people, all intent upon their own affairs, and discussing
them with noise and eagerness, peculiar to the business of a thriving
seaport. But although the general clamour of the public room, in
which the guests mixed with each other, related chiefly to their own
commercial dealings, there was a general theme mingling with them, which
was alike common and interesting to all; so that, amidst disputes about
freight, tonnage, demurrage, and such like, were heard the
emphatic sounds of "Deep, damnable, accursed plot,"--"Bloody Papist
villains,"--"The King in danger--the gallows too good for them," and so
forth.

The fermentation excited in London had plainly reached even this remote
seaport, and was received by the inhabitants with the peculiar stormy
energy which invests men in their situation with the character of the
winds and waves with which they are chiefly conversant. The
commercial and nautical interests of England were indeed particularly
anti-Catholic; although it is not, perhaps, easy to give any distinct
reason why they should be so, since theological disputes in general
could scarce be considered as interesting to them. But zeal, amongst the
lower orders at least, is often in an inverse ratio to knowledge; and
sailors were not probably the less earnest and devoted Protestants, that
they did not understand the controversy between the Churches. As for
the merchants, they were almost necessarily inimical to the gentry of
Lancashire and Cheshire; many of whom still retained the faith of Rome,
which was rendered ten times more odious to the men of commerce, as the
badge of their haughty aristocratic neighbours.

From the little which Peveril heard of the sentiments of the people of
Liverpool, he imagined he should act most prudently in leaving the place
as soon as possible, and before any suspicion should arise of his
having any connection with the party which appeared to have become so
obnoxious.

In order to accomplish his journey, it was first necessary that he
should purchase a horse; and for this purpose he resolved to have
recourse to the stables of a dealer well known at the time, and who
dwelt in the outskirts of the place; and having obtained directions to
his dwelling, he went thither to provide himself.

Joe Bridlesley's stables exhibited a large choice of good horses; for
that trade was in former days more active than at present. It was an
ordinary thing for a stranger to buy a horse for the purpose of a single
journey, and to sell him, as well as he could, when he had reached the
point of his destination; and hence there was a constant demand, and a
corresponding supply; upon both of which, Bridlesley, and those of his
trade, contrived, doubtless, to make handsome profits.

Julian, who was no despicable horse-jockey, selected for his purpose a
strong well-made horse, about sixteen hands high, and had him led into
the yard, to see whether the paces corresponded with his appearance. As
these also gave perfect satisfaction to the customer, it remained only
to settle the price with Bridlesley; who of course swore his customer
had pitched upon the best horse ever darkened the stable-door, since
he had dealt that way; that no such horses were to be had nowadays,
for that the mares were dead that foaled them; and having named a
corresponding price, the usual haggling commenced betwixt the seller
and purchaser, for adjustment of what the French dealers call _le prix
juste_.

The reader, if he be at all acquainted with this sort of traffic, well
knows it is generally a keen encounter of wits, and attracts the notice
of all the idlers within hearing, who are usually very ready to offer
their opinions, or their evidence. Amongst these, upon the present
occasion, was a thin man, rather less than the ordinary size, and meanly
dressed; but whose interference was in a confident tone, and such as
showed himself master of the subject on which he spoke. The price of the
horse being settled to about fifteen pounds, which was very high for the
period, that of the saddle and bridle had next to be adjusted, and the
thin mean-looking person before-mentioned, found nearly as much to say
on this subject as on the other. As his remarks had a conciliating and
obliging tendency towards the stranger, Peveril concluded he was one of
those idle persons, who, unable or unwilling to supply themselves with
the means of indulgence at their own cost, do not scruple to deserve
them at the hands of others, by a little officious complaisance; and
considering that he might acquire some useful information from such a
person, was just about to offer him the courtesy of a morning draught,
when he observed he had suddenly left the yard. He had scarce remarked
this circumstance, before a party of customers entered the place,
whose haughty assumption of importance claimed the instant attention of
Bridlesley, and all his militia of grooms and stable-boys.

"Three good horses," said the leader of the party, a tall bulky man,
whose breath was drawn full and high, under a consciousness of fat, and
of importance--"three good and able-bodied horses, for the service of
the Commons of England."

Bridlesley said he had some horses which might serve the Speaker himself
at need; but that, to speak Christian truth, he had just sold the best
in his stable to that gentleman present, who, doubtless, would give up
the bargain if the horse was needed for the service of the State.

"You speak well, friend," said the important personage; and advancing to
Julian, demanded, in a very haughty tone, the surrender of the purchase
which he had just made.

Peveril, with some difficulty, subdued the strong desire which he felt
to return a round refusal to so unreasonable a request, but fortunately,
recollecting that the situation in which he at present stood, required,
on his part, much circumspection, he replied simply, that upon showing
him any warrant to seize upon horses for the public service, he must of
course submit to resign his purchase.

The man, with an air of extreme dignity, pulled from his pocket, and
thrust into Peveril's hand, a warrant, subscribed by the Speaker of the
House of Commons, empowering Charles Topham, their officer of the Black
Rod, to pursue and seize upon the persons of certain individuals named
in the warrant; and of all other persons who are, or should be, accused
by competent witnesses, of being accessory to, or favourers of, the
hellish and damnable Popish Plot, at present carried on within the
bowels of the kingdom; and charging all men, as they loved their
allegiance, to render the said Charles Topham their readiest and most
effective assistance, in execution of the duty entrusted to his care.

On perusing a document of such weighty import, Julian had no hesitation
to give up his horse to this formidable functionary; whom somebody
compared to a lion, which, as the House of Commons was pleased to
maintain such an animal, they were under the necessity of providing for
by frequent commitments; until "_Take him, Topham_," became a proverb,
and a formidable one, in the mouth of the public.

The acquiescence of Peveril procured him some grace in the sight of
the emissary; who, before selecting two horses for his attendants, gave
permission to the stranger to purchase a grey horse, much inferior,
indeed, to that which he had resigned, both in form and in action, but
very little lower in price, as Mr. Bridlesley, immediately on learning
the demand for horses upon the part of the Commons of England, had
passed a private resolution in his own mind, augmenting the price of his
whole stud, by an imposition of at least twenty per cent., _ad valorem_.

Peveril adjusted and paid the price with much less argument than on the
former occasion; for, to be plain with the reader, he had noticed in the
warrant of Mr. Topham, the name of his father, Sir Geoffrey Peveril of
Martindale Castle, engrossed at full length, as one of those subjected
to arrest by that officer.

When aware of this material fact, it became Julian's business to leave
Liverpool directly, and carry the alarm to Derbyshire, if, indeed, Mr.
Topham had not already executed his charge in that county, which he
thought unlikely, as it was probable they would commence by securing
those who lived nearest to the seaports. A word or two which he
overheard strengthened his hopes.

"And hark ye, friend," said Mr. Topham; "you will have the horses at
the door of Mr. Shortell, the mercer, in two hours, as we shall refresh
ourselves there with a cool tankard, and learn what folks live in the
neighbourhood that may be concerned in my way. And you will please
to have that saddle padded, for I am told the Derbyshire roads are
rough.--And you, Captain Dangerfield, and Master Everett, you must put
on your Protestant spectacles, and show me where there is the shadow of
a priest, or of a priest's favourer; for I am come down with a broom in
my cap to sweep this north country of such like cattle."

One of the persons he thus addressed, who wore the garb of a broken-down
citizen, only answered, "Ay, truly, Master Topham, it is time to purge
the garner."

The other, who had a formidable pair of whiskers, a red nose, and a
tarnished laced coat, together with a hat of Pistol's dimensions,
was more loquacious. "I take it on my damnation," said this zealous
Protestant witness, "that I will discover the marks of the beast on
every one of them betwixt sixteen and seventy, as plainly as if they had
crossed themselves with ink, instead of holy water. Since we have a King
willing to do justice, and a House of Commons to uphold prosecutions,
why, damn me, the cause must not stand still for lack of evidence."

"Stick to that, noble captain," answered the officer; "but, prithee,
reserve thy oaths for the court of justice; it is but sheer waste to
throw them away, as you do in your ordinary conversation."

"Fear you nothing, Master Topham," answered Dangerfield; "it is right to
keep a man's gifts in use; and were I altogether to renounce oaths in
my private discourse, how should I know how to use one when I needed it?
But you hear me use none of your Papist abjurations. I swear not by the
mass, or before George, or by anything that belongs to idolatry; but
such downright oaths as may serve a poor Protestant gentleman, who would
fain serve Heaven and the King."

"Bravely spoken, most noble Festus," said his yoke-fellow. "But do not
suppose, that although I am not in the habit of garnishing my words with
oaths out of season, I shall be wanting, when called upon, to declare
the height and the depth, the width and the length, of this hellish plot
against the King and the Protestant faith."

Dizzy, and almost sick, with listening to the undisguised brutality of
these fellows, Peveril, having with difficulty prevailed on Bridlesley
to settle his purchase, at length led forth his grey steed; but
was scarce out of the yard, when he heard the following alarming
conversation pass, of which he seemed himself the object.

"Who is that youth?" said the slow soft voice of the more precise of the
two witnesses. "Methinks I have seen him somewhere before. Is he from
these parts?"

"Not that I know of," said Bridlesley; who, like all the other
inhabitants of England at the time, answered the interrogatories of
these fellows with the deference which is paid in Spain to the questions
of an inquisitor. "A stranger--entirely a stranger--never saw him
before--a wild young colt, I warrant him; and knows a horse's mouth as
well as I do."

"I begin to bethink me I saw such a face as his at the Jesuits' consult,
in the White Horse Tavern," answered Everett.

"And I think I recollect," said Captain Dangerfield----

"Come, come, master and captain," said the authoritative voice of
Topham, "we will have none of your recollections at present. We all know
what these are likely to end in. But I will have you know, you are not
to run till the leash is slipped. The young man is a well-looking
lad, and gave up his horse handsomely for the service of the House of
Commons. He knows how to behave himself to his betters, I warrant you;
and I scarce think he has enough in his purse to pay the fees."

This speech concluded the dialogue, which Peveril, finding himself so
much concerned in the issue, thought it best to hear to an end. Now,
when it ceased, to get out of the town unobserved, and take the nearest
way to his father's castle, seemed his wisest plan. He had settled his
reckoning at the inn, and brought with him to Bridlesley's the small
portmanteau which contained his few necessaries, so that he had no
occasion to return thither. He resolved, therefore, to ride some miles
before he stopped, even for the purpose of feeding his horse; and being
pretty well acquainted with the country, he hoped to be able to push
forward to Martindale Castle sooner than the worshipful Master Topham;
whose saddle was, in the first place, to be padded, and who, when
mounted, would, in all probability, ride with the precaution of those
who require such security against the effects of a hard trot.

Under the influence of these feelings, Julian pushed for Warrington,
a place with which he was well acquainted; but, without halting in the
town, he crossed the Mersey, by the bridge built by an ancestor of his
friend the Earl of Derby, and continued his route towards Dishley, on
the borders of Derbyshire. He might have reached this latter village
easily, had his horse been fitter for a forced march; but in the course
of the journey, he had occasion, more than once, to curse the official
dignity of the person who had robbed him of his better steed, while
taking the best direction he could through a country with which he was
only generally acquainted.

At length, near Altringham, a halt became unavoidable; and Peveril had
only to look for some quiet and sequestered place of refreshment. This
presented itself, in the form of a small cluster of cottages; the best
of which united the characters of an alehouse and a mill, where the sign
of the Cat (the landlord's faithful ally in defence of his meal-sacks),
booted as high as Grimalkin in the fairy tale, and playing on the fiddle
for the more grace, announced that John Whitecraft united the two honest
occupations of landlord and miller; and, doubtless, took toll from the
public in both capacities.

Such a place promised a traveller, who journeyed incognito, safer,
if not better accommodation, than he was like to meet with in more
frequented inns; and at the door of the Cat and Fiddle, Julian halted
accordingly.



CHAPTER XXI

           In these distracted times, when each man dreads
           The bloody stratagems of busy hands.
                                                       --OTWAY.

At the door of the Cat and Fiddle, Julian received the usual attention
paid to the customers of an inferior house of entertainment. His horse
was carried by a ragged lad, who acted as hostler, into a paltry stable;
where, however, the nag was tolerably supplied with food and litter.

Having seen the animal on which his comfort, perhaps his safety,
depended, properly provided for, Peveril entered the kitchen, which
indeed was also the parlour and hall of the little hostelry, to try what
refreshment he could obtain for himself. Much to his satisfaction, he
found there was only one guest in the house besides himself; but he was
less pleased when he found that he must either go without dinner, or
share with that single guest the only provisions which chanced to be
in the house, namely, a dish of trouts and eels, which their host, the
miller, had brought in from his mill-stream.

At the particular request of Julian, the landlady undertook to add a
substantial dish of eggs and bacon, which perhaps she would not have
undertaken for, had not the sharp eye of Peveril discovered the flitch
hanging in its smoky retreat, when, as its presence could not be denied,
the hostess was compelled to bring it forward as a part of her supplies.

She was a buxom dame about thirty, whose comely and cheerful countenance
did honour to the choice of the jolly miller, her loving mate; and
was now stationed under the shade of an old-fashioned huge projecting
chimney, within which it was her province to "work i' the fire," and
provide for the wearied wayfaring man, the good things which were to
send him rejoicing on his course. Although, at first, the honest woman
seemed little disposed to give herself much additional trouble on
Julian's account, yet the good looks, handsome figure, and easy civility
of her new guest, soon bespoke the principal part of her attention; and
while busy in his service, she regarded him, from time to time, with
looks, where something like pity mingled with complacency. The rich
smoke of the rasher, and the eggs with which it was flanked, already
spread itself through the apartment; and the hissing of these savoury
viands bore chorus to the simmering of the pan, in which the fish
were undergoing a slower decoction. The table was covered with a clean
huck-aback napkin, and all was in preparation for the meal, which Julian
began to expect with a good deal of impatience, when the companion, who
was destined to share it with him, entered the apartment.

At the first glance Julian recognised, to his surprise, the same
indifferently dressed, thin-looking person, who, during the first
bargain which he had made with Bridlesley, had officiously interfered
with his advice and opinion. Displeased at having the company of any
stranger forced upon him, Peveril was still less satisfied to find one
who might make some claim of acquaintance with him, however slender,
since the circumstances in which he stood compelled him to be as
reserved as possible. He therefore turned his back upon his destined
messmate, and pretended to amuse himself by looking out of the window,
determined to avoid all intercourse until it should be inevitably forced
upon him.

In the meanwhile, the other stranger went straight up to the landlady,
where she toiled on household cares intent, and demanded of her, what
she meant by preparing bacon and eggs, when he had positively charged
her to get nothing ready but the fish.

The good woman, important as every cook in the discharge of her duty,
deigned not for some time so much as to acknowledge that she heard the
reproof of her guest; and when she did so, it was only to repel it in a
magisterial and authoritative tone.--"If he did not like bacon--(bacon
from their own hutch, well fed on pease and bran)--if he did not like
bacon and eggs--(new-laid eggs, which she had brought in from the
hen-roost with her own hands)--why so put case--it was the worse for his
honour, and the better for those who did."

"The better for those who like them?" answered the guest; "that is as
much as to say I am to have a companion, good woman."

"Do not good woman me, sir," replied the miller's wife, "till I call you
good man; and, I promise you, many would scruple to do that to one who
does not love eggs and bacon of a Friday."

"Nay, my good lady," said her guest, "do not fix any misconstruction
upon me--I dare say the eggs and the bacon are excellent; only they are
rather a dish too heavy for my stomach."

"Ay, or your conscience perhaps, sir," answered the hostess. "And now, I
bethink me, you must needs have your fish fried with oil, instead of
the good drippings I was going to put to them. I would I could spell
the meaning of all this now; but I warrant John Bigstaff, the constable,
could conjure something out of it."

There was a pause here; but Julian, somewhat alarmed at the tone which
the conversation assumed, became interested in watching the dumb show
which succeeded. By bringing his head a little towards the left, but
without turning round, or quitting the projecting latticed window where
he had taken his station, he could observe that the stranger, secured,
as he seemed to think himself, from observation, had sidled close up to
the landlady, and, as he conceived, had put a piece of money into her
hand. The altered tone of the miller's moiety corresponded very much
with this supposition.

"Nay, indeed, and forsooth," she said, "her house was Liberty Hall; and
so should every publican's be. What was it to her what gentlefolks ate
or drank, providing they paid for it honestly? There were many honest
gentlemen, whose stomachs could not abide bacon, grease, or dripping,
especially on a Friday; and what was that to her, or any one in her
line, so gentlefolks paid honestly for the trouble? Only, she would say,
that her bacon and eggs could not be mended betwixt this and Liverpool,
and that she would live and die upon."

"I shall hardly dispute it," said the stranger; and turning towards
Julian, he added, "I wish this gentleman, who I suppose is my
trencher-companion, much joy of the dainties which I cannot assist him
in consuming."

"I assure you, sir," answered Peveril, who now felt himself compelled
to turn about, and reply with civility, "that it was with difficulty I
could prevail on my landlady to add my cover to yours, though she seems
now such a zealot for the consumption of eggs and bacon."

"I am zealous for nothing," said the landlady, "save that men would eat
their victuals, and pay their score; and if there be enough in one dish
to serve two guests, I see little purpose in dressing them two; however,
they are ready now, and done to a nicety.--Here, Alice! Alice!"

The sound of that well-known name made Julian start; but the Alice
who replied to the call ill resembled the vision which his imagination
connected with the accents, being a dowdy slipshod wench, the drudge
of the low inn which afforded him shelter. She assisted her mistress
in putting on the table the dishes which the latter had prepared; and a
foaming jug of home-brewed ale being placed betwixt them, was warranted
by Dame Whitecraft as excellent; "for," said she, "we know by practice
that too much water drowns the miller, and we spare it on our malt as we
would in our mill-dam."

"I drink to your health in it, dame," said the elder stranger; "and
a cup of thanks for these excellent fish; and to the drowning of all
unkindness between us."

"I thank you, sir," said the dame, "and wish you the like; but I dare
not pledge you, for our Gaffer says that ale is brewed too strong for
women; so I only drink a glass of canary at a time with a gossip, or any
gentleman guest that is so minded."

"You shall drink one with me, then, dame," said Peveril, "so you will
let me have a flagon."

"That you shall, sir, and as good as ever was broached; but I must to
the mill, to get the key from the goodman."

So saying, and tucking her clean gown through the pocket-holes, that
her steps might be the more alert, and her dress escape dust, off she
tripped to the mill, which lay close adjoining.

"A dainty dame, and dangerous, is the miller's wife," said the stranger,
looking at Peveril. "Is not that old Chaucer's phrase?"

"I--I believe so," said Peveril, not much read in Chaucer, who was then
even more neglected than at present; and much surprised at a literary
quotation from one of the mean appearance exhibited by the person before
him.

"Yes," answered the stranger, "I see that you, like other young
gentlemen of the time, are better acquainted with Cowley and Waller,
than with the 'well of English undefiled.' I cannot help differing.
There are touches of nature about the old bard of Woodstock, that, to
me, are worth all the turns of laborious wit in Cowley, and all
the ornate and artificial simplicity of his courtly competitor. The
description, for instance, of his country coquette--

 'Wincing she was, as is a wanton colt,
  Sweet as a flower, and upright as a bolt.'

Then, again, for pathos, where will you mend the dying scene of Arcite?

 'Alas, my heart's queen! alas, my wife!
  Giver at once, and ender of my life.
  What is this world?--What axen men to have?
  Now with his love--now in his cold grave
  Alone, withouten other company.'

But I tire you, sir; and do injustice to the poet, whom I remember but
by halves."

"On the contrary, sir," replied Peveril, "you make him more intelligible
to me in your recitation, than I have found him when I have tried to
peruse him myself."

"You were only frightened by the antiquated spelling, and 'the letters
black,'" said his companion. "It is many a scholar's case, who mistakes
a nut, which he could crack with a little exertion, for a bullet, which
he must needs break his teeth on; but yours are better employed.--Shall
I offer you some of this fish?"

"Not so, sir," replied Julian, willing to show himself a man of reading
in his turn; "I hold with old Caius, and profess to fear judgment, to
fight where I cannot choose, and to eat no fish."

The stranger cast a startled look around him at this observation, which
Julian had thrown out, on purpose to ascertain, if possible, the quality
of his companion, whose present language was so different from the
character he had assumed at Bridlesley's. His countenance, too, although
the features were of an ordinary, not to say mean cast, had that
character of intelligence which education gives to the most homely face;
and his manners were so easy and disembarrassed, as plainly showed a
complete acquaintance with society, as well as the habit of mingling
with it in the higher stages. The alarm which he had evidently shown at
Peveril's answer, was but momentary; for he almost instantly replied,
with a smile, "I promise you, sir, that you are in no dangerous company;
for notwithstanding my fish dinner, I am much disposed to trifle with
some of your savoury mess, if you will indulge me so far."

Peveril accordingly reinforced the stranger's trencher with what
remained of the bacon and eggs, and saw him swallow a mouthful or two
with apparent relish; but presently after began to dally with his knife
and fork, like one whose appetite was satiated; and then took a long
draught of the black jack, and handed his platter to the large mastiff
dog, who, attracted by the smell of the dinner, had sat down before
him for some time, licking his chops, and following with his eye every
morsel which the guest raised to his head.

"Here, my poor fellow," said he, "thou hast had no fish, and needest
this supernumerary trencher-load more than I do. I cannot withstand thy
mute supplication any longer."

The dog answered these courtesies by a civil shake of the tail, while he
gobbled up what was assigned him by the stranger's benevolence, in the
greater haste, that he heard his mistress's voice at the door.

"Here is the canary, gentlemen," said the landlady; "and the goodman
has set off the mill, to come to wait on you himself. He always does so,
when company drink wine."

"That he may come in for the host's, that is, for the lion's share,"
said the stranger, looking at Peveril.

"The shot is mine," said Julian; "and if mine host will share it, I will
willingly bestow another quart on him, and on you, sir. I never break
old customs."

These sounds caught the ear of Gaffer Whitecraft, who had entered the
room, a strapping specimen of his robust trade, prepared to play
the civil, or the surly host, as his company should be acceptable or
otherwise. At Julian's invitation, he doffed his dusty bonnet--brushed
from his sleeve the looser particles of his professional dust--and
sitting down on the end of a bench, about a yard from the table, filled
a glass of canary, and drank to his guests, and "especially to this
noble gentleman," indicating Peveril, who had ordered the canary.

Julian returned the courtesy by drinking his health, and asking what
news were about in the country?

"Nought, sir, I hears on nought, except this Plot, as they call it, that
they are pursuing the Papishers about; but it brings water to my mill,
as the saying is. Between expresses hurrying hither and thither,
and guards and prisoners riding to and again, and the custom of the
neighbours, that come to speak over the news of an evening, nightly, I
may say, instead of once a week, why, the spigot is in use, gentlemen,
and your land thrives; and then I, serving as constable, and being a
known Protestant, I have tapped, I may venture to say, it may be ten
stands of ale extraordinary, besides a reasonable sale of wine for a
country corner. Heaven make us thankful, and keep all good Protestants
from Plot and Popery."

"I can easily conceive, my friend," said Julian, "that curiosity is
a passion which runs naturally to the alehouse; and that anger,
and jealousy, and fear, are all of them thirsty passions, and great
consumers of home-brewed. But I am a perfect stranger in these parts;
and I would willingly learn, from a sensible man like you, a little
of this same Plot, of which men speak so much, and appear to know so
little."

"Learn a little of it?--Why, it is the most horrible--the most damnable,
bloodthirsty beast of a Plot--But hold, hold, my good master; I hope,
in the first place, you believe there is a Plot; for, otherwise,
the Justice must have a word with you, as sure as my name is John
Whitecraft."

"It shall not need," said Peveril; "for I assure you, mine host, I
believe in the Plot as freely and fully as a man can believe in anything
he cannot understand."

"God forbid that anybody should pretend to understand it," said the
implicit constable; "for his worship the Justice says it is a mile
beyond him; and he be as deep as most of them. But men may believe,
though they do not understand; and that is what the Romanists say
themselves. But this I am sure of, it makes a rare stirring time for
justices, and witnesses, and constables.--So here's to your health
again, gentlemen, in a cup of neat canary."

"Come, come, John Whitecraft," said the wife, "do not you demean
yourself by naming witnesses along with justices and constables. All the
world knows how they come by their money."

"Ay, but all the world knows that they _do_ come by it, dame; and that
is a great comfort. They rustle in their canonical silks, and swagger
in their buff and scarlet, who but they?--Ay, ay, the cursed fox
thrives--and not so cursed neither. Is there not Doctor Titus Oates, the
saviour of the nation--does he not live at Whitehall, and eat off plate,
and have a pension of thousands a year, for what I know? and is he not
to be Bishop of Litchfield, so soon as Dr. Doddrum dies?"

"Then I hope Dr. Doddrum's reverence will live these twenty years; and I
dare say I am the first that ever wished such a wish," said the hostess.
"I do not understand these doings, not I; and if a hundred Jesuits came
to hold a consult at my house, as they did at the White Horse Tavern,
I should think it quite out of the line of business to bear witness
against them, provided they drank well, and paid their score."

"Very true, dame," said her elder guest; "that is what I call keeping a
good publican conscience; and so I will pay my score presently, and be
jogging on my way."

Peveril, on his part, also demanded a reckoning, and discharged it
so liberally, that the miller flourished his hat as he bowed, and the
hostess courtesied down to the ground.

The horses of both guests were brought forth; and they mounted, in order
to depart in company. The host and hostess stood in the doorway, to see
them depart. The landlord proffered a stirrup-cup to the elder guest,
while the landlady offered Peveril a glass from her own peculiar bottle.
For this purpose, she mounted on the horse-block, with flask and glass
in hand; so that it was easy for the departing guest, although on
horse-back, to return the courtesy in the most approved manner, namely,
by throwing his arm over his landlady's shoulder, and saluting her at
parting.

Dame Whitecraft did not decline this familiarity; for there is no room
for traversing upon a horse-block, and the hands which might have served
her for resistance, were occupied with glass and bottle--matters too
precious to be thrown away in such a struggle. Apparently, however, she
had something else in her head; for as, after a brief affectation of
reluctance, she permitted Peveril's face to approach hers, she whispered
in his ear, "Beware of trepans!"--an awful intimation, which, in
those days of distrust, suspicion, and treachery, was as effectual
in interdicting free and social intercourse, as the advertisement of
"man-traps and spring-guns," to protect an orchard. Pressing her hand,
in intimation that he comprehended her hint, she shook his warmly in
return, and bade God speed him. There was a cloud on John Whitecraft's
brow; nor did his final farewell sound half so cordial as that which
had been spoken within doors. But then Peveril reflected, that the same
guest is not always equally acceptable to landlord and landlady; and
unconscious of having done anything to excite the miller's displeasure,
he pursued his journey without thinking farther of the matter.

Julian was a little surprised, and not altogether pleased, to find that
his new acquaintance held the same road with him. He had many reasons
for wishing to travel alone; and the hostess's caution still rung in his
ears. If this man, possessed of so much shrewdness as his countenance
and conversation intimated, versatile, as he had occasion to remark, and
disguised beneath his condition, should prove, as was likely, to be a
concealed Jesuit or seminary-priest, travelling upon their great task
of the conversion of England, and rooting out of the Northern heresy,--a
more dangerous companion, for a person in his own circumstances,
could hardly be imagined; since keeping society with him might seem to
authorise whatever reports had been spread concerning the attachment
of his family to the Catholic cause. At the same time, it was very
difficult, without actual rudeness, to shake off the company of one who
seemed so determined, whether spoken to or not, to remain alongside of
him.

Peveril tried the experiment of riding slow; but his companion,
determined not to drop him, slackened his pace, so as to keep close
by him. Julian then spurred his horse to a full trot; and was soon
satisfied, that the stranger, notwithstanding the meanness of his
appearance, was so much better mounted than himself, as to render
vain any thought of outriding him. He pulled up his horse to a more
reasonable pace, therefore, in a sort of despair. Upon his doing so, his
companion, who had been hitherto silent, observed, that Peveril was not
so well qualified to try speed upon the road, as he would have been had
he abode by his first bargain of horse-flesh that morning.

Peveril assented dryly, but observed, that the animal would serve his
immediate purpose, though he feared it would render him indifferent
company for a person better mounted.

"By no means," answered his civil companion; "I am one of those who have
travelled so much, as to be accustomed to make my journey at any rate of
motion which may be most agreeable to my company."

Peveril made no reply to this polite intimation, being too sincere to
tender the thanks which, in courtesy, were the proper answer.--A second
pause ensued, which was broken by Julian asking the stranger whether
their roads were likely to lie long together in the same direction.

"I cannot tell," said the stranger, smiling, "unless I knew which way
you were travelling."

"I am uncertain how far I shall go to-night," said Julian, willingly
misunderstanding the purport of the reply.

"And so am I," replied the stranger; "but though my horse goes better
than yours, I think it will be wise to spare him; and in case our road
continues to lie the same way, we are likely to sup, as we have dined
together."

Julian made no answer whatever to this round intimation, but continued
to ride on, turning, in his own mind, whether it would not be wisest to
come to a distinct understanding with his pertinacious attendant, and
to explain, in so many words, that it was his pleasure to travel alone.
But, besides that the sort of acquaintance which they had formed during
dinner, rendered him unwilling to be directly uncivil towards a person
of gentleman-like manners, he had also to consider that he might very
possibly be mistaken in this man's character and purpose; in which case,
the cynically refusing the society of a sound Protestant, would afford
as pregnant matter of suspicion, as travelling in company with a
disguised Jesuit.

After brief reflection, therefore, he resolved to endure the encumbrance
of the stranger's society, until a fair opportunity should occur to rid
himself of it; and, in the meantime, to act with as much caution as he
possibly could, in any communication that might take place between them;
for Dame Whitecraft's parting caution still rang anxiously in his ears,
and the consequences of his own arrest upon suspicion, must deprive him
of every opportunity of serving his father, or the countess, or Major
Bridgenorth, upon whose interest, also, he had promised himself to keep
an eye.

While he revolved these things in his mind, they had journeyed several
miles without speaking; and now entered upon a more waste country, and
worse roads, than they had hitherto found, being, in fact, approaching
the more hilly district of Derbyshire. In travelling on a very stony and
uneven lane, Julian's horse repeatedly stumbled; and, had he not been
supported by the rider's judicious use of the bridle, must at length
certainly have fallen under him.

"These are times which crave wary riding, sir," said his companion;
"and by your seat in the saddle, and your hand on the rein, you seem to
understand it to be so."

"I have been long a horseman, sir," answered Peveril.

"And long a traveller, too, sir, I should suppose; since by the great
caution you observe, you seem to think the human tongue requires a curb,
as well as the horse's jaws."

"Wiser men than I have been of opinion," answered Peveril, "that it
were a part of prudence to be silent, when men have little or nothing to
say."

"I cannot approve of their opinion," answered the stranger. "All
knowledge is gained by communication, either with the dead, through
books, or, more pleasingly, through the conversation of the living. The
_deaf and dumb_, alone, are excluded from improvement; and surely their
situation is not so enviable that we should imitate them."

At this illustration, which awakened a startling echo in Peveril's
bosom, the young man looked hard at his companion; but in the composed
countenance, and calm blue eye, he read no consciousness of a farther
meaning than the words immediately and directly implied. He paused a
moment, and then answered, "You seem to be a person, sir, of shrewd
apprehension; and I should have thought it might have occurred to you,
that in the present suspicious times, men may, without censure, avoid
communication with strangers. You know not me; and to me you are totally
unknown. There is not room for much discourse between us, without
trespassing on the general topics of the day, which carry in them seeds
of quarrel between friends, much more betwixt strangers. At any other
time, the society of an intelligent companion would have been most
acceptable upon my solitary ride; but at present----"

"At present!" said the other, interrupting him. "You are like the old
Romans, who held that _hostis_ meant both a stranger and an enemy.
I will therefore be no longer a stranger. My name is Ganlesse--by
profession I am a Roman Catholic priest--I am travelling here in dread
of my life--and I am very glad to have you for a companion."

"I thank you for the information with all my heart," said Peveril; "and
to avail myself of it to the uttermost, I must beg you to ride forward,
or lag behind, or take a side-path, at your own pleasure; for as I am
no Catholic, and travel upon business of high concernment, I am exposed
both to risk and delay, and even to danger, by keeping such suspicious
company. And so, Master Ganlesse, keep your own pace, and I will keep
the contrary; for I beg leave to forbear your company."

As Peveril spoke thus, he pulled up his horse, and made a full stop.

The stranger burst out a-laughing. "What!" he said, "you forbear my
company for a trifle of danger? Saint Anthony! How the warm blood of
the Cavaliers is chilled in the young men of the present day! This
young gallant, now, has a father, I warrant, who has endured as many
adventures for hunting priests, as a knight-errant for distressed
damsels."

"This raillery avails nothing, sir," said Peveril. "I must request you
will keep your own way."

"My way is yours," said the pertinacious Master Ganlesse, as he called
himself; "and we will both travel the safer, that we journey in company.
I have the receipt of fern-seed, man, and walk invisible. Besides, you
would not have me quit you in this lane, where there is no turn to right
or left?"

Peveril moved on, desirous to avoid open violence--for which the
indifferent tone of the traveller, indeed, afforded no apt pretext--yet
highly disliking his company, and determined to take the first
opportunity to rid himself of it.

The stranger proceeded at the same pace with him, keeping cautiously on
his bridle hand, as if to secure that advantage in case of a struggle.
But his language did not intimate the least apprehension. "You do me
wrong," he said to Peveril, "and you equally wrong yourself. You are
uncertain where to lodge to-night--trust to my guidance. Here is an
ancient hall, within four miles, with an old knightly Pantaloon for its
lord--an all-be-ruffed Dame Barbara for the lady gay--a Jesuit, in a
butler's habit, to say grace--an old tale of Edgehill and Worster fights
to relish a cold venison pasty, and a flask of claret mantled with
cobwebs--a bed for you in the priest's hiding-hole--and, for aught I
know, pretty Mistress Betty, the dairy-maid, to make it ready."

"This has no charms for me, sir," said Peveril, who, in spite of
himself, could not but be amused with the ready sketch which the
stranger gave of many an old mansion in Cheshire and Derbyshire, where
the owners retained the ancient faith of Rome.

"Well, I see I cannot charm you in this way," continued his companion;
"I must strike another key. I am no longer Ganlesse, the seminary
priest, but (changing his tone, and snuffling in the nose) Simon Canter,
a poor preacher of the Word, who travels this way to call sinners to
repentance; and to strengthen, and to edify, and to fructify among the
scattered remnant who hold fast the truth.--What say you to this, sir?"

"I admire your versatility, sir, and could be entertained with it at
another time. At present sincerity is more in request."

"Sincerity!" said the stranger;--"a child's whistle, with but two notes
in it--yea, yea, and nay, nay. Why, man, the very Quakers have renounced
it, and have got in its stead a gallant recorder, called Hypocrisy, that
is somewhat like Sincerity in form, but of much greater compass, and
combines the whole gamut. Come, be ruled--be a disciple of Simon Canter
for the evening, and we will leave the old tumble-down castle of the
knight aforesaid, on the left hand, for a new brick-built mansion,
erected by an eminent salt-boiler from Namptwich, who expects the said
Simon to make a strong spiritual pickle for the preservation of a soul
somewhat corrupted by the evil communications of this wicked world.
What say you? He has two daughters--brighter eyes never beamed under a
pinched hood; and for myself, I think there is more fire in those who
live only to love and to devotion, than in your court beauties, whose
hearts are running on twenty follies besides. You know not the pleasure
of being conscience-keeper to a pretty precisian, who in one breath
repeats her foibles, and in the next confesses her passion. Perhaps,
though, you may have known such in your day? Come, sir, it grows too
dark to see your blushes; but I am sure they are burning on your cheek."

"You take great freedom, sir," said Peveril, as they now approached the
end of the lane, where it opened on a broad common; "and you seem rather
to count more on my forbearance, than you have room to do with safety.
We are now nearly free of the lane which has made us companions for this
late half hour. To avoid your farther company, I will take the turn to
the left, upon that common; and if you follow me, it shall be at your
peril. Observe, I am well armed; and you will fight at odds."

"Not at odds," returned the provoking stranger, "while I have my brown
jennet, with which I can ride round and round you at pleasure; and this
text, of a handful in length (showing a pistol which he drew from his
bosom), which discharges very convincing doctrine on the pressure of a
forefinger, and is apt to equalise all odds, as you call them, of youth
and strength. Let there be no strife between us, however--the moor lies
before us--choose your path on it--I take the other."

"I wish you good night, sir," said Peveril to the stranger. "I ask your
forgiveness, if I have misconstrued you in anything; but the times
are perilous, and a man's life may depend on the society in which he
travels."

"True," said the stranger; "but in your case, the danger is already
undergone, and you should seek to counteract it. You have travelled in
my company long enough to devise a handsome branch of the Popish Plot.
How will you look, when you see come forth, in comely folio form, The
Narrative of Simon Canter, otherwise called Richard Ganlesse, concerning
the horrid Popish Conspiracy for the Murder of the King, and Massacre
of all Protestants, as given on oath to the Honourable House of Commons;
setting forth, how far Julian Peveril, younger of Martindale Castle, is
concerned in carrying on the same----"

"How, sir? What mean you?" said Peveril, much startled.

"Nay, sir," replied his companion, "do not interrupt my title-page.
Now that Oates and Bedloe have drawn the great prizes, the subordinate
discoverers get little but by the sale of their Narrative; and Janeway,
Newman, Simmons, and every bookseller of them, will tell you that the
title is half the narrative. Mine shall therefore set forth the various
schemes you have communicated to me, of landing ten thousand soldiers
from the Isle of Man upon the coast of Lancashire; and marching into
Wales, to join the ten thousand pilgrims who are to be shipped from
Spain; and so completing the destruction of the Protestant religion,
and of the devoted city of London. Truly, I think such a Narrative, well
spiced with a few horrors, and published _cum privilegio parliamenti_,
might, though the market be somewhat overstocked, be still worth some
twenty or thirty pieces."

"You seem to know me, sir," said Peveril; "and if so, I think I may
fairly ask you your purpose in thus bearing me company, and the meaning
of all this rhapsody. If it be mere banter, I can endure it within
proper limit; although it is uncivil on the part of a stranger. If you
have any farther purpose, speak it out; I am not to be trifled with."

"Good, now," said the stranger, laughing, "into what an unprofitable
chafe you have put yourself! An Italian _fuoruscito_, when he desires
a parley with you, takes aim from behind a wall, with his long gun, and
prefaces his conference with _Posso tirare_. So does your man-of-war
fire a gun across the bows of a Hansmogan Indiaman, just to bring her
to; and so do I show Master Julian Peveril, that, if I were one of the
honourable society of witnesses and informers, with whom his imagination
has associated me for these two hours past, he is as much within my
danger now, as what he is ever likely to be." Then, suddenly changing
his tone to serious, which was in general ironical, he added, "Young
man, when the pestilence is diffused through the air of a city, it is in
vain men would avoid the disease, by seeking solitude, and shunning the
company of their fellow-sufferers."

"In what, then, consists their safety?" said Peveril, willing to
ascertain, if possible, the drift of his companion's purpose.

"In following the counsels of wise physicians;" such was the stranger's
answer.

"And as such," said Peveril, "you offer me your advice?"

"Pardon me, young man," said the stranger haughtily, "I see no reason
I should do so.--I am not," he added, in his former tone, "your fee'd
physician--I offer no advice--I only say it would be wise that you
sought it."

"And from whom, or where, can I obtain it?" said Peveril. "I wander in
this country like one in a dream; so much a few months have changed it.
Men who formerly occupied themselves with their own affairs, are now
swallowed up in matters of state policy; and those tremble under the
apprehension of some strange and sudden convulsion of empire, who were
formerly only occupied by the fear of going to bed supperless. And to
sum up the matter, I meet a stranger apparently well acquainted with my
name and concerns, who first attaches himself to me, whether I will or
no; and then refuses me an explanation of his business, while he menaces
me with the strangest accusations."

"Had I meant such infamy," said the stranger, "believe me, I had not
given you the thread of my intrigue. But be wise, and come one with
me. There is, hard by, a small inn, where, if you can take a stranger's
warrant for it, we shall sleep in perfect security."

"Yet, you yourself," said Peveril, "but now were anxious to avoid
observation; and in that case, how can you protect me?"

"Pshaw! I did but silence that tattling landlady, in the way in which
such people are most readily hushed; and for Topham, and his brace
of night owls, they must hawk at other and lesser game than I should
prove."

Peveril could not help admiring the easy and confident indifference
with which the stranger seemed to assume a superiority to all the
circumstances of danger around him; and after hastily considering the
matter with himself, came to the resolution to keep company with him for
this night at least; and to learn, if possible, who he really was, and
to what party in the estate he was attached. The boldness and freedom
of his talk seemed almost inconsistent with his following the perilous,
though at that time the gainful trade of an informer. No doubt, such
persons assumed every appearance which could insinuate them into the
confidence of their destined victims; but Julian thought he discovered
in this man's manner, a wild and reckless frankness, which he could not
but connect with the idea of sincerity in the present case. He therefore
answered, after a moment's recollection, "I embrace your proposal, sir;
although, by doing so, I am reposing a sudden, and perhaps an unwary,
confidence."

"And what am I, then, reposing in you?" said the stranger. "Is not our
confidence mutual?"

"No; much the contrary. I know nothing of you whatever--you have named
me; and, knowing me to be Julian Peveril, know you may travel with me in
perfect security."

"The devil I do!" answered his companion. "I travel in the same security
as with a lighted petard, which I may expect to explode every moment.
Are you not the son of Peveril of the Peak, with whose name Prelacy
and Popery are so closely allied, that no old woman of either sex in
Derbyshire concludes her prayer without a petition to be freed from all
three? And do you not come from the Popish Countess of Derby, bringing,
for aught I know, a whole army of Manxmen in your pocket, with
full complement of arms, ammunition, baggage, and a train of field
artillery?"

"It is not very likely I should be so poorly mounted," said Julian,
laughing, "if I had such a weight to carry. But lead on, sir. I see I
must wait for your confidence, till you think proper to confer it; for
you are already so well acquainted with my affairs, that I have nothing
to offer you in exchange for it."

"_Allons_, then," said his companion; "give your horse the spur, and
raise the curb rein, lest he measure the ground with his nose instead of
his paces. We are not now more than a furlong or two from the place of
entertainment."

They mended their pace accordingly, and soon arrived at the small
solitary inn which the traveller had mentioned. When its light began to
twinkle before them, the stranger, as if recollecting something he had
forgotten, "By the way, you must have a name to pass by; for it may be
ill travelling under your own, as the fellow who keeps this house is
an old Cromwellian. What will you call yourself?--My name is--for the
present--Ganlesse."

"There is no occasion to assume a name at all," answered Julian. "I do
not incline to use a borrowed one, especially as I may meet with some
one who knows my own."

"I will call you Julian, then," said Master Ganlesse; "for Peveril will
smell, in the nostrils of mine host, of idolatry, conspiracy, Smithfield
faggots, fish on Fridays, the murder of Sir Edmondsbury Godfrey, and the
fire of purgatory."

As he spoke thus, they alighted under the great broad-branched oak tree,
that served to canopy the ale-bench, which, at an earlier hour, had
groaned under the weight of a frequent conclave of rustic politicians.
Ganlesse, as he dismounted, whistled in a particularly shrill note, and
was answered from within the house.



CHAPTER XXII

           He was a fellow in a peasant's garb;
           Yet one could censure you a woodcock's carving.
           Like any courtier at the ordinary.
                                                --THE ORDINARY.

The person who appeared at the door of the little inn to receive
Ganlesse, as we mentioned in our last chapter, sung, as he came forward,
this scrap of an old ballad,--

 "Good even to you, Diccon;
    And how have you sped;
  Bring you the bonny bride
    To banquet and bed?"

To which Ganlesse answered, in the same tone and tune,--

 "Content thee, kind Robin;
    He need little care,
  Who brings home a fat buck
    Instead of a hare."

"You have missed your blow, then?" said the other, in reply.

"I tell you I have not," answered Ganlesse; "but you will think of
nought but your own thriving occupation--May the plague that belongs to
it stick to it! though it hath been the making of thee."

"A man must live, Diccon Ganlesse," said the other.

"Well, well," said Ganlesse, "bid my friend welcome, for my sake. Hast
thou got any supper?"

"Reeking like a sacrifice--Chaubert has done his best. That fellow is a
treasure! give him a farthing candle, and he will cook a good supper
out of it.--Come in, sir. My friend's friend is welcome, as we say in my
country."

"We must have our horses looked to first," said Peveril, who began to
be considerably uncertain about the character of his companions--"that
done, I am for you."

Ganlesse gave a second whistle; a groom appeared, who took charge of
both their horses, and they themselves entered the inn.

The ordinary room of a poor inn seemed to have undergone some
alterations, to render it fit for company of a higher description. There
were a beaufet, a couch, and one or two other pieces of furniture, of
a style inconsistent with the appearance of the place. The tablecloth,
which was already laid, was of the finest damask; and the spoons,
forks, &c., were of silver. Peveril looked at this apparatus with some
surprise; and again turning his eyes attentively upon his travelling
companion, Ganlesse, he could not help discovering (by the aid of
imagination, perhaps), that though insignificant in person, plain in
features, and dressed like one in indigence, there lurked still about
his person and manners, that indefinable ease of manner which belongs
only to men of birth and quality, or to those who are in the constant
habit of frequenting the best company. His companion, whom he called
Will Smith, although tall and rather good-looking, besides being
much better dressed, had not, nevertheless, exactly the same ease of
demeanour; and was obliged to make up for the want, by an additional
proportion of assurance. Who these two persons could be, Peveril could
not attempt even to form a guess. There was nothing for it but to watch
their manner and conversation.

After speaking a moment in whispers, Smith said to his companion, "We
must go look after our nags for ten minutes, and allow Chaubert to do
his office."

"Will not he appear, and minister before us, then?" said Ganlesse.

"What! he?--he shift a trencher--he hand a cup?--No, you forget whom
you speak of. Such an order were enough to make him fall on his own
sword--he is already on the borders of despair, because no craw-fish are
to be had."

"Alack-a day!" replied Ganlesse. "Heaven forbid I should add to such
a calamity! To stable, then, and see we how our steeds eat their
provender, while ours is getting ready."

They adjourned to the stable accordingly, which, though a poor one, had
been hastily supplied with whatever was necessary for the accommodation
of four excellent horses; one of which, that from which Ganlesse was
just dismounted, the groom we have mentioned was cleaning and dressing
by the light of a huge wax-candle.

"I am still so far Catholic," said Ganlesse, laughing, as he saw that
Peveril noticed this piece of extravagance. "My horse is my saint, and I
dedicate a candle to him."

"Without asking so great a favour for mine, which I see standing behind
yonder old hen-coop," replied Peveril, "I will at least relieve him of
his saddle and bridle."

"Leave him to the lad of the inn," said Smith; "he is not worthy of any
other person's handling; and I promise you, if you slip a single buckle,
you will so flavour of that stable duty, that you might as well eat
roast-beef as ragouts, for any relish you will have of them."

"I love roast-beef as well as ragouts, at any time," said Peveril,
adjusting himself to a task which every young man should know how to
perform when need is; "and my horse, though it be but a sorry jade, will
champ better on hay and corn, than on an iron bit."

While he was unsaddling his horse, and shaking down some litter for the
poor wearied animal, he heard Smith observe to Ganlesse,--"By my faith,
Dick, thou hast fallen into poor Slender's blunder; missed Anne Page,
and brought us a great lubberly post-master's boy."

"Hush, he will hear thee," answered Ganlesse; "there are reasons for all
things--it is well as it is. But, prithee, tell thy fellow to help the
youngster."

"What!" replied Smith, "d'ye think I am mad?--Ask Tom Beacon--Tom of
Newmarket--Tom of ten thousand, to touch such a four-legged brute as
that?--Why, he would turn me away on the spot--discard me, i'faith. It
was all he would do to take in hand your own, my good friend; and if you
consider him not the better, you are like to stand groom to him yourself
to-morrow."

"Well, Will," answered Ganlesse, "I will say that for thee, thou hast a
set of the most useless, scoundrelly, insolent vermin about thee, that
ever ate up a poor gentleman's revenues."

"Useless? I deny it," replied Smith. "Every one of my fellows does
something or other so exquisitely, that it were sin to make him do
anything else--it is your jacks-of-all-trades who are masters of
none.--But hark to Chaubert's signal. The coxcomb is twangling it on the
lute, to the tune of _Eveillez-vous, belle endormie_.--Come, Master What
d'ye call (addressing Peveril),--get ye some water, and wash this filthy
witness from your hand, as Betterton says in the play; for Chaubert's
cookery is like Friar Bacon's Head--time is--time was--time will soon be
no more."

So saying, and scarce allowing Julian time to dip his hands in a bucket,
and dry them on a horse-cloth, he hurried him from the stable back to
the supper-chamber.

Here all was prepared for their meal, with an epicurean delicacy, which
rather belonged to the saloon of a palace, than the cabin in which it
was displayed. Four dishes of silver, with covers of the same metal,
smoked on the table; and three seats were placed for the company.
Beside the lower end of the board, was a small side-table, to answer
the purpose of what is now called a dumb waiter; on which several flasks
reared their tall, stately, and swan-like crests, above glasses and
rummers. Clean covers were also placed within reach; and a small
travelling-case of morocco, hooped with silver, displayed a number of
bottles, containing the most approved sauces that culinary ingenuity had
then invented.

Smith, who occupied the lower seat, and seemed to act as president of
the feast, motioned the two travellers to take their places and begin.
"I would not stay a grace-time," he said, "to save a whole nation from
perdition. We could bring no chauffettes with any convenience; and even
Chaubert is nothing, unless his dishes are tasted in the very moment
of projection. Come, uncover, and let us see what he has done for
us.--Hum!--ha!--ay--squab-pigeons--wildfowl--young chickens--venison
cutlets--and a space in the centre, wet, alas! by a gentle tear from
Chaubert's eye, where should have been the _soupe aux écrevisses_.
The zeal of that poor fellow is ill repaid by his paltry ten louis per
month."

"A mere trifle," said Ganlesse; "but, like yourself, Will, he serves a
generous master."

The repast now commenced; and Julian, though he had seen his young
friend the Earl of Derby, and other gallants, affect a considerable
degree of interest and skill in the science of the kitchen, and was not
himself either an enemy or a stranger to the pleasures of a good table,
found that, on the present occasion, he was a mere novice. Both his
companions, but Smith in especial, seemed to consider that they were now
engaged in the only true business of life; and weighed all its minutiæ
with a proportional degree of accuracy. To carve the morsel in the most
delicate manner--and to apportion the proper seasoning with the accuracy
of the chemist,--to be aware, exactly, of the order in which one dish
should succeed another, and to do plentiful justice to all--was a
minuteness of science to which Julian had hitherto been a stranger.
Smith accordingly treated him as a mere novice in epicurism, cautioning
him to eat his soup before the bouilli, and to forget the Manx custom
of bolting the boiled meat before the broth, as if Cutlar MacCulloch and
all his whingers were at the door. Peveril took the hint in good part,
and the entertainment proceeded with animation.

At length Ganlesse paused, and declared the supper exquisite. "But, my
friend Smith," he added, "are your wines curious? When you brought all
that trash of plates and trumpery into Derbyshire, I hope you did not
leave us at the mercy of the strong ale of the shire, as thick and muddy
as the squires who drink it?"

"Did I not know that _you_ were to meet me, Dick Ganlesse?" answered
their host. "And can you suspect me of such an omission? It is true,
you must make champagne and claret serve, for my burgundy would not bear
travelling. But if you have a fancy for sherry, or Vin de Cahors, I
have a notion Chaubert and Tom Beacon have brought some for their own
drinking."

"Perhaps the gentlemen would not care to impart," said Ganlesse.

"Oh, fie!--anything in the way of civility," replied Smith. "They are,
in truth, the best-natured lads alive, when treated respectfully; so
that if you would prefer----"

"By no means," said Ganlesse--"a glass of champagne will serve in a
scarcity of better."

 "The cork shall start obsequious to my thumb."

said Smith; and as he spoke, he untwisted the wire, and the cork struck
the roof of the cabin. Each guest took a large rummer glass of the
sparkling beverage, which Peveril had judgment and experience enough to
pronounce exquisite.

"Give me your hand, sir," said Smith; "it is the first word of sense you
have spoken this evening."

"Wisdom, sir," replied Peveril, "is like the best ware in the pedlar's
pack, which he never produces till he knows his customer."

"Sharp as mustard," returned the _bon vivant_; "but be wise, most noble
pedlar, and take another rummer of this same flask, which you see I
have held in an oblique position for your service--not permitting it
to retrograde to the perpendicular. Nay, take it off before the bubble
bursts on the rim, and the zest is gone."

"You do me honour, sir," said Peveril, taking the second glass. "I wish
you a better office than that of my cup-bearer."

"You cannot wish Will Smith one more congenial to his nature," said
Ganlesse. "Others have a selfish delight in the objects of sense, Will
thrives, and is happy by imparting them to his friends."

"Better help men to pleasures than to pains, Master Ganlesse," answered
Smith, somewhat angrily.

"Nay, wrath thee not, Will," said Ganlesse; "and speak no words in
haste, lest you may have cause to repent at leisure. Do I blame thy
social concern for the pleasures of others? Why, man, thou dost therein
most philosophically multiply thine own. A man has but one throat, and
can but eat, with his best efforts, some five or six times a day; but
thou dinest with every friend that cuts a capon, and art quaffing wine
in other men's gullets, from morning to night--_et sic de cæteris_."

"Friend Ganlesse," returned Smith, "I prithee beware--thou knowest I can
cut gullets as well as tickle them."

"Ay, Will," answered Ganlesse carelessly; "I think I have seen thee wave
thy whinyard at the throat of a Hogan-Mogan--a Netherlandish
weasand, which expanded only on thy natural and mortal objects of
aversion,--Dutch cheese, rye-bread, pickled herring, onion, and Geneva."

"For pity's sake, forbear the description!" said Smith; "thy words
overpower the perfumes, and flavour the apartment like a dish of
salmagundi!"

"But for an epiglottis like mine," continued Ganlesse, "down which the
most delicate morsels are washed by such claret as thou art now pouring
out, thou couldst not, in thy bitterest mood, wish a worse fate than to
be necklaced somewhat tight by a pair of white arms."

"By a tenpenny cord," answered Smith; "but not till you were dead; that
thereafter you be presently embowelled, you being yet alive; that
your head be then severed from your body, and your body divided into
quarters, to be disposed of at his Majesty's pleasure.--How like you
that, Master Richard Ganlesse?"

"E'en as you like the thoughts of dining on bran-bread and
milk-porridge--an extremity which you trust never to be reduced to.
But all this shall not prevent me from pledging you in a cup of sound
claret."

As the claret circulated, the glee of the company increased; and Smith
placing the dishes which had been made use of upon the side-table,
stamped with his foot on the floor, and the table sinking down a trap,
again rose, loaded with olives, sliced neat's tongue, caviare, and other
provocatives for the circulation of the bottle.

"Why, Will," said Ganlesse, "thou art a more complete mechanist than I
suspected; thou hast brought thy scene-shifting inventions to Derbyshire
in marvellously short time."

"A rope and pullies can be easily come by," answered Will; "and with a
saw and a plane, I can manage that business in half a day. I love the
knack of clean and secret conveyance--thou knowest it was the foundation
of my fortunes."

"It may be the wreck of them too, Will," replied his friend.

"True, Diccon," answered Will; "but, _dum vivimus, vivamus_,--that is my
motto; and therewith I present you a brimmer to the health of the fair
lady you wot of."

"Let it come, Will," replied his friend; and the flask circulated
briskly from hand to hand.

Julian did not think it prudent to seem a check on their festivity, as
he hoped in its progress something might occur to enable him to judge
of the character and purposes of his companions. But he watched them
in vain. Their conversation was animated and lively, and often bore
reference to the literature of the period, in which the elder seemed
particularly well skilled. They also talked freely of the Court, and of
that numerous class of gallants who were then described as "men of
wit and pleasure about town;" and to which it seemed probable they
themselves appertained.

At length the universal topic of the Popish Plot was started; upon
which Ganlesse and Smith seemed to entertain the most opposite opinions.
Ganlesse, if he did not maintain the authority of Oates in its utmost
extent, contended, that at least it was confirmed in a great measure
by the murder of Sir Edmondsbury Godfrey, and the letters written by
Coleman to the confessor of the French King.

With much more noise, and less power of reasoning, Will Smith hesitated
not to ridicule and run down the whole discovery, as one of the wildest
and most causeless alarms which had ever been sounded in the ears of a
credulous public. "I shall never forget," he said, "Sir Godfrey's
most original funeral. Two bouncing parsons, well armed with sword and
pistol, mounted the pulpit, to secure the third fellow who preached from
being murdered in the face of the congregation. Three parsons in one
pulpit--three suns in one hemisphere--no wonder men stood aghast at such
a prodigy."

"What then, Will," answered his companion, "you are one of those who
think the good knight murdered himself, in order to give credit to the
Plot?"

"By my faith, not I," said the other; "but some true blue Protestant
might do the job for him, in order to give the thing a better colour.--I
will be judged by our silent friend, whether that be not the most
feasible solution of the whole."

"I pray you, pardon me, gentlemen," said Julian; "I am but just landed
in England, and am a stranger to the particular circumstances which have
thrown the nation into such a ferment. It would be the highest degree
of assurance in me to give my opinion betwixt gentlemen who argue the
matter so ably; besides, to say truth, I confess weariness--your wine is
more potent than I expected, or I have drunk more of it than I meant to
do."

"Nay, if an hour's nap will refresh you," said the elder of the
strangers, "make no ceremony with us. Your bed--all we can offer as
such--is that old-fashioned Dutch-built sofa, as the last new phrase
calls it. We shall be early stirrers tomorrow morning."

"And that we may be so," said Smith, "I propose that we do sit up all
this night--I hate lying rough, and detest a pallet-bed. So have at
another flask, and the newest lampoon to help it out--

 'Now a plague of their votes
  Upon Papists and Plots,
  And be d--d Doctor Oates.
                  Tol de rol.'"

"Nay, but our Puritanic host," said Ganlesse.

"I have him in my pocket, man--his eyes, ears, nose, and tongue,"
answered his boon companion, "are all in my possession."

"In that case, when you give him back his eyes and nose, I pray you keep
his ears and tongue," answered Ganlesse. "Seeing and smelling are organs
sufficient for such a knave--to hear and tell are things he should have
no manner of pretensions to."

"I grant you it were well done," answered Smith; "but it were a robbing
of the hangman and the pillory; and I am an honest fellow, who would
give Dun[*] and the devil his due. So,

 'All joy to great Cæsar,
  Long life, love, and pleasure;
  May the King live for ever,
                  'Tis no matter for us, boys.'"

[*] Dun was the hangman of the day at Tyburn. He was successor of
    Gregory Brunden, who was by many believed to be the same who
    dropped the axe upon Charles I., though others were suspected of
    being the actual regicide.

While this Bacchanalian scene proceeded, Julian had wrapt himself
closely in his cloak, and stretched himself on the couch which they had
shown him. He looked towards the table he had left--the tapers seemed to
become hazy and dim as he gazed--he heard the sound of voices, but
they ceased to convey any impression to his understanding; and in a few
minutes, he was faster asleep than he had ever been in the whole course
of his life.



CHAPTER XXIII

                 The Gordon then his bugle blew,
                   And said, awa, awa;
                 The House of Rhodes is all on flame,
                   I hauld it time to ga'.
                                           --OLD BALLAD.

When Julian awaked the next morning, all was still and vacant in the
apartment. The rising sun, which shone through the half-closed shutters,
showed some relics of the last night's banquet, which his confused and
throbbing head assured him had been carried into a debauch.

Without being much of a boon companion, Julian, like other young men of
the time, was not in the habit of shunning wine, which was then used in
considerable quantities; and he could not help being surprised, that the
few cups he had drunk over night had produced on his frame the effects
of excess. He rose up, adjusted his dress, and sought in the apartment
for water to perform his morning ablutions, but without success. Wine
there was on the table; and beside it one stool stood, and another lay,
as if thrown down in the heedless riot of the evening. "Surely," he
thought to himself, "the wine must have been very powerful, which
rendered me insensible to the noise my companions must have made ere
they finished their carouse."

With momentary suspicion he examined his weapons, and the packet which
he had received from the Countess, and kept in a secret pocket of his
upper coat, bound close about his person. All was safe; and the very
operation reminded him of the duties which lay before him. He left the
apartment where they had supped, and went into another, wretched enough,
where, in a truckle-bed, were stretched two bodies, covered with a rug,
the heads belonging to which were amicably deposited upon the same truss
of hay. The one was the black shock-head of the groom; the other,
graced with a long thrum nightcap, showed a grizzled pate, and a grave
caricatured countenance, which the hook-nose and lantern-jaws proclaimed
to belong to the Gallic minister of good cheer, whose praises he had
heard sung forth on the preceding evening. These worthies seemed to have
slumbered in the arms of Bacchus as well as of Morpheus, for there were
broken flasks on the floor; and their deep snoring alone showed that
they were alive.

Bent upon resuming his journey, as duty and expedience alike dictated,
Julian next descended the trap-stair, and essayed a door at the bottom
of the steps. It was fastened within. He called--no answer was returned.
It must be, he thought, the apartment of the revellers, now probably
sleeping as soundly as their dependants still slumbered, and as he
himself had done a few minutes before. Should he awake them?--To what
purpose? They were men with whom accident had involved him against
his own will; and situated as he was, he thought it wise to take the
earliest opportunity of breaking off from society which was suspicious,
and might be perilous. Ruminating thus, he essayed another door, which
admitted him to a bedroom, where lay another harmonious slumberer. The
mean utensils, pewter measures, empty cans and casks, with which this
room was lumbered, proclaimed it that of the host, who slept surrounded
by his professional implements of hospitality and stock-in-trade.

This discovery relieved Peveril from some delicate embarrassment which
he had formerly entertained. He put upon the table a piece of money,
sufficient, as he judged, to pay his share of the preceding night's
reckoning; not caring to be indebted for his entertainment to the
strangers, whom he was leaving without the formality of an adieu.

His conscience cleared of this gentleman-like scruple, Peveril proceeded
with a light heart, though somewhat a dizzy head, to the stable, which
he easily recognised among a few other paltry outhouses. His horse,
refreshed with rest, and perhaps not unmindful of his services the
evening before, neighed as his master entered the stable; and Peveril
accepted the sound as an omen of a prosperous journey. He paid the
augury with a sieveful of corn; and, while his palfrey profited by
his attention, walked into the fresh air to cool his heated blood, and
consider what course he should pursue in order to reach the Castle of
Martindale before sunset. His acquaintance with the country in general
gave him confidence that he could not have greatly deviated from the
nearest road; and with his horse in good condition, he conceived he
might easily reach Martindale before nightfall.

Having adjusted his route in his mind, he returned into the stable to
prepare his steed for the journey, and soon led him into the ruinous
courtyard of the inn, bridled, saddled, and ready to be mounted. But as
Peveril's hand was upon the mane, and his left foot in the stirrup, a
hand touched his cloak, and the voice of Ganlesse said, "What, Master
Peveril, is this your foreign breeding? or have you learned in France to
take French leave of your friends?"

Julian started like a guilty thing, although a moment's reflection
assured him that he was neither wrong nor in danger. "I cared not to
disturb you," he said, "although I did come as far as the door of your
chamber. I supposed your friend and you might require, after our last
night's revel, rather sleep than ceremony. I left my own bed, though a
rough one, with more reluctance than usual; and as my occasions oblige
me to be an early traveller, I thought it best to depart without
leave-taking. I have left a token for mine host on the table of his
apartment."

"It was unnecessary," said Ganlesse; "the rascal is already
overpaid.--But are you not rather premature in your purpose of
departing? My mind tells me that Master Julian Peveril had better
proceed with me to London, than turn aside for any purpose whatever. You
may see already that I am no ordinary person, but a master-spirit of the
time. For the cuckoo I travel with, and whom I indulge in his prodigal
follies, he also has his uses. But you are a different cast; and I not
only would serve you, but even wish you, to be my own."

Julian gazed on this singular person when he spoke. We have already
said his figure was mean and slight, with very ordinary and unmarked
features, unless we were to distinguish the lightnings of a keen grey
eye, which corresponded in its careless and prideful glance, with the
haughty superiority which the stranger assumed in his conversation.
It was not till after a momentary pause that Julian replied, "Can you
wonder, sir, that in my circumstances--if they are indeed known to you
so well as they seem--I should decline unnecessary confidence on the
affairs of moment which have called me hither, or refuse the company of
a stranger, who assigns no reason for desiring mine?"

"Be it as you list, young man," answered Ganlesse; "only remember
hereafter, you had a fair offer--it is not every one to whom I would
have made it. If we should meet hereafter, on other, and on worse terms,
impute it to yourself and not to me."

"I understand not your threat," answered Peveril, "If a threat be indeed
implied. I have done no evil--I feel no apprehension--and I cannot, in
common sense, conceive why I should suffer for refusing my confidence
to a stranger, who seems to require that I should submit me blindfold to
his guidance."

"Farewell, then, Sir Julian of the Peak,--that may soon be," said the
stranger, removing the hand which he had as yet left carelessly on the
horse's bridle.

"How mean you by that phrase?" said Julian; "and why apply such a title
to me?"

The stranger smiled, and only answered, "Here our conference ends. The
way is before you. You will find it longer and rougher than that by
which I would have guided you."

So saying, Ganlesse turned his back and walked toward the house. On the
threshold he turned about once more, and seeing that Peveril had not yet
moved from the spot, he again smiled and beckoned to him; but Julian,
recalled by that sign to recollection, spurred his horse and set forward
on his journey.

It was not long ere his local acquaintance with the country enabled
him to regain the road to Martindale, from which he had diverged on
the preceding evening for about two miles. But the roads, or rather the
paths, of this wild country, so much satirised by their native poet,
Cotton, were so complicated in some places, so difficult to be traced in
others, and so unfit for hasty travelling in almost all, that in spite
of Julian's utmost exertions, and though he made no longer delay upon
the journey than was necessary to bait his horse at a small hamlet
through which he passed at noon, it was nightfall ere he reached an
eminence, from which, an hour sooner, the battlements of Martindale
Castle would have been visible; and where, when they were hid in night,
their situation was indicated by a light constantly maintained in a
lofty tower, called the Warder's Turret; and which domestic beacon had
acquired, through all the neighbourhood, the name of Peveril's Polestar.

This was regularly kindled at curfew toll, and supplied with as much
wood and charcoal as maintained the light till sunrise; and at no period
was the ceremonial omitted, saving during the space intervening between
the death of a Lord of the Castle and his interment. When this last
event had taken place, the nightly beacon was rekindled with some
ceremony, and continued till fate called the successor to sleep with
his fathers. It is not known from which circumstance the practice
of maintaining this light originally sprung. Tradition spoke of it
doubtfully. Some thought it was the signal of general hospitality,
which, in ancient times, guided the wandering knight, or the weary
pilgrim, to rest and refreshment. Others spoke of it as a "love-lighted
watchfire," by which the provident anxiety of a former lady of
Martindale guided her husband homeward through the terrors of a midnight
storm. The less favourable construction of unfriendly neighbours of
the dissenting persuasion, ascribed the origin and continuance of this
practice to the assuming pride of the family of Peveril, who thereby
chose to intimate their ancient _suzerainté_ over the whole country, in
the manner of the admiral who carries the lantern in the poop, for the
guidance of the fleet. And in the former times, our old friend, Master
Solsgrace, dealt from the pulpit many a hard hit against Sir Geoffrey,
as he that had raised his horn, and set up his candlestick on high.
Certain it is, that all the Peverils, from father to son, had been
especially attentive to the maintenance of this custom, as something
intimately connected with the dignity of their family; and in the hands
of Sir Geoffrey, the observance was not likely to be omitted.

Accordingly, the polar-star of Peveril had continued to beam more
or less brightly during all the vicissitudes of the Civil War; and
glimmered, however faintly, during the subsequent period of Sir
Geoffrey's depression. But he was often heard to say, and sometimes to
swear, that while there was a perch of woodland left to the estate, the
old beacon-grate should not lack replenishing. All this his son Julian
well knew; and therefore it was with no ordinary feelings of surprise
and anxiety, that, looking in the direction of the Castle, he perceived
that the light was not visible. He halted--rubbed his eyes--shifted
his position--and endeavoured, in vain, to persuade himself that he had
mistaken the point from which the polar-star of his house was visible,
or that some newly intervening obstacle, the growth of a plantation,
perhaps, or the erection of some building, intercepted the light of the
beacon. But a moment's reflection assured him, that from the high
and free situation which Martindale Castle bore in reference to the
surrounding country, this could not have taken place; and the inference
necessarily forced itself upon his mind, that Sir Geoffrey, his father,
was either deceased, or that the family must have been disturbed by some
strange calamity, under the pressure of which, their wonted custom and
solemn usage had been neglected.

Under the influence of undefinable apprehension, young Peveril now
struck the spurs into his jaded steed, and forcing him down the broken
and steep path, at a pace which set safety at defiance, he arrived at
the village of Martindale-Moultrassie, eagerly desirous to ascertain the
cause of this ominous eclipse. The street, through which his tired horse
paced slow and reluctantly, was now deserted and empty; and scarcely a
candle twinkled from a casement, except from the latticed window of the
little inn, called the Peveril Arms, from which a broad light shone, and
several voices were heard in rude festivity.

Before the door of this inn, the jaded palfrey, guided by the instinct
or experience which makes a hackney well acquainted with the outside of
a house of entertainment, made so sudden and determined a pause, that,
notwithstanding his haste, the rider thought it best to dismount,
expecting to be readily supplied with a fresh horse by Roger Raine, the
landlord, the ancient dependant of his family. He also wished to relive
his anxiety, by inquiring concerning the state of things at the Castle,
when he was surprised to hear, bursting from the taproom of the loyal
old host, a well-known song of the Commonwealth time, which some
puritanical wag had written in reprehension of the Cavaliers, and their
dissolute courses, and in which his father came in for a lash of the
satirist.

 "Ye thought in the world there was no power to tame ye,
  So you tippled and drabb'd till the saints overcame ye;
  'Forsooth,' and 'Ne'er stir,' sir, have vanquish'd 'G-- d--n me,'
                                      Which nobody can deny.

  There was bluff old Sir Geoffrey loved brandy and mum well,
  And to see a beer-glass turned over the thumb well;
  But he fled like the wind, before Fairfax and Cromwell,
                                      Which nobody can deny."

Some strange revolution, Julian was aware, must have taken place, both
in the village and in the Castle, ere these sounds of unseemly insult
could have been poured forth in the very inn which was decorated with
the armorial bearings of his family; and not knowing how far it might be
advisable to intrude on these unfriendly revellers, without the power
of repelling or chastising their insolence, he led his horse to a
back-door, which as he recollected, communicated with the landlord's
apartment, having determined to make private inquiry of him concerning
the state of matters at the Castle. He knocked repeatedly, and as often
called on Roger Raine with an earnest but stifled voice. At length a
female voice replied by the usual inquiry, "Who is there?"

"It is I, Dame Raine--I, Julian Peveril--tell your husband to come to me
presently."

"Alack, and a well-a-day, Master Julian, if it be really you--you are
to know my poor goodman has gone where he can come to no one; but,
doubtless, we shall all go to him, as Matthew Chamberlain says."

"He is dead, then?" said Julian. "I am extremely sorry----"

"Dead six months and more, Master Julian; and let me tell you, it is a
long time for a lone woman, as Matt Chamberlain says."

"Well, do you or your chamberlain undo the door. I want a fresh horse;
and I want to know how things are at the Castle."

"The Castle--lack-a-day!--Chamberlain--Matthew Chamberlain--I say,
Matt!"

Matt Chamberlain apparently was at no great distance, for he presently
answered her call; and Peveril, as he stood close to the door, could
hear them whispering to each other, and distinguish in a great measure
what they said. And here it may be noticed, that Dame Raine, accustomed
to submit to the authority of old Roger, who vindicated as well the
husband's domestic prerogative, as that of the monarch in the state,
had, when left a buxom widow, been so far incommoded by the exercise
of her newly acquired independence, that she had recourse, upon all
occasions, to the advice of Matt Chamberlain; and as Matt began no
longer to go slipshod, and in a red nightcap, but wore Spanish shoes,
and a high-crowned beaver (at least of a Sunday), and moreover was
called Master Matthew by his fellow-servants, the neighbours in the
village argued a speedy change of the name of the sign-post; nay,
perhaps, of the very sign itself, for Matthew was a bit of a Puritan,
and no friend to Peveril of the Peak.

"Now counsel me, an you be a man, Matt Chamberlain," said Widow Raine;
"for never stir, if here be not Master Julian's own self, and he wants a
horse, and what not, and all as if things were as they wont to be."

"Why, dame, an ye will walk by my counsel," said the Chamberlain, "e'en
shake him off--let him be jogging while his boots are green. This is no
world for folks to scald their fingers in other folks' broth."

"And that is well spoken, truly," answered Dame Raine; "but then look
you, Matt, we have eaten their bread, and, as my poor goodman used to
say----"

"Nay, nay, dame, they that walk by the counsel of the dead, shall have
none of the living; and so you may do as you list; but if you will
walk by mine, drop latch, and draw bolt, and bid him seek quarters
farther--that is my counsel."

"I desire nothing of you, sirrah," said Peveril, "save but to know how
Sir Geoffrey and his lady do?"

"Lack-a-day!--lack-a-day!" in a tone of sympathy, was the only answer
he received from the landlady; and the conversation betwixt her and her
chamberlain was resumed, but in a tone too low to be overheard.

At length Matt Chamberlain spoke aloud, and with a tone of authority:
"We undo no doors at this time of night, for it is against the Justices'
orders, and might cost us our licence; and for the Castle, the road up
to it lies before you, and I think you know it as well as we do."

"And I know you," said Peveril, remounting his wearied horse, "for
an ungrateful churl, whom, on the first opportunity, I will assuredly
cudgel to a mummy."

To this menace Matthew made no reply, and Peveril presently heard him
leave the apartment, after a few earnest words betwixt him and his
mistress.

Impatient at this delay, and at the evil omen implied in these people's
conversation and deportment, Peveril, after some vain spurring of his
horse, which positively refused to move a step farther, dismounted once
more, and was about to pursue his journey on foot, notwithstanding the
extreme disadvantage under which the high riding-boots of the period
laid those who attempted to walk with such encumbrances, when he was
stopped by a gentle call from the window.

Her counsellor was no sooner gone, than the good-nature and habitual
veneration of the dame for the house of Peveril, and perhaps some fear
for her counsellor's bones, induced her to open the casement, and cry,
but in a low and timid tone, "Hist! hist! Master Julian--be you gone?"

"Not yet, dame," said Julian; "though it seems my stay is unwelcome."

"Nay, but good young master, it is because men counsel so differently;
for here was my poor old Roger Raine would have thought the chimney
corner too cold for you; and here is Matt Chamberlain thinks the cold
courtyard is warm enough."

"Never mind that, dame," said Julian; "do but only tell me what has
happened at Martindale Castle? I see the beacon is extinguished."

"Is it in troth?--ay, like enough--then good Sir Geoffrey has gone to
heaven with my old Roger Raine!"

"Sacred Heaven!" exclaimed Peveril; "when was my father taken ill?"

"Never as I knows of," said the dame; "but, about three hours since,
arrived a party at the Castle, with buff-coats and bandoleers, and one
of the Parliament's folks, like in Oliver's time. My old Roger Raine
would have shut the gates of the inn against them, but he is in the
churchyard, and Matt says it is against law; and so they came in and
refreshed men and horses, and sent for Master Bridgenorth, that is at
Moultrassie Hall even now; and so they went up to the Castle, and there
was a fray, it is like, as the old Knight was no man to take napping, as
poor Roger Raine used to say. Always the officers had the best on't; and
reason there is, since they had the law of their side, as our Matthew
says. But since the pole-star of the Castle is out, as your honour says,
why, doubtless, the old gentleman is dead."

"Gracious Heaven!--Dear dame, for love or gold, let me have a horse to
make for the Castle!"

"The Castle?" said the dame; "the Roundheads, as my poor Roger called
them, will kill you as they have killed your father! Better creep into
the woodhouse, and I will send Bett with a blanket and some supper--Or
stay--my old Dobbin stands in the little stable beside the hencoop--e'en
take him, and make the best of your way out of the country, for there is
no safety here for you. Hear what songs some of them are singing at
the tap!--so take Dobbin, and do not forget to leave your own horse
instead."

Peveril waited to hear no farther, only, that just as he turned to go
off to the stable, the compassionate female was heard to exclaim--"O
Lord! what will Matthew Chamberlain say!" but instantly added, "Let him
say what he will, I may dispose of what's my own."

With the haste of a double-fee'd hostler did Julian exchange the
equipments of his jaded brute with poor Dobbin, who stood quietly
tugging at his rackful of hay, without dreaming of the business which
was that night destined for him. Notwithstanding the darkness of the
place, Julian succeeded marvellous quickly in preparing for his journey;
and leaving his own horse to find its way to Dobbin's rack by instinct,
he leaped upon his new acquisition, and spurred him sharply against the
hill, which rises steeply from the village to the Castle. Dobbin, little
accustomed to such exertions, snorted, panted, and trotted as briskly as
he could, until at length he brought his rider before the entrance-gate
of his father's ancient seat.

The moon was now rising, but the portal was hidden from its beams, being
situated, as we have mentioned elsewhere, in a deep recess betwixt two
large flanking towers. Peveril dismounted, turned his horse loose, and
advanced to the gate, which, contrary to his expectation, he found open.
He entered the large courtyard; and could then perceive that lights yet
twinkled in the lower part of the building, although he had not before
observed them, owing to the height of the outward walls. The main door,
or great hall-gate, as it was called, was, since the partially decayed
state of the family, seldom opened, save on occasions of particular
ceremony. A smaller postern door served the purpose of ordinary
entrance; and to that Julian now repaired. This also was open--a
circumstance which would of itself have alarmed him, had he not already
had so many causes for apprehension. His heart sunk within him as he
turned to the left, through a small outward hall, towards the great
parlour, which the family usually occupied as a sitting apartment; and
his alarm became still greater, when, on a nearer approach, he heard
proceeding from thence the murmur of several voices. He threw the door
of the apartment wide; and the sight which was thus displayed, warranted
all the evil bodings which he had entertained.

In front of him stood the old Knight, whose arms were strongly secured,
over the elbows, by a leathern belt drawn tight round them, and made
fast behind; two ruffianly-looking men, apparently his guards, had hold
of his doublet. The scabbard-less sword which lay on the floor, and the
empty sheath which hung by Sir Geoffrey's side, showed the stout old
Cavalier had not been reduced to this state of bondage without an
attempt at resistance. Two or three persons, having their backs turned
towards Julian, sat round a table, and appeared engaged in writing--the
voices which he had heard were theirs, as they murmured to each other.
Lady Peveril--the emblem of death, so pallid was her countenance--stood
at the distance of a yard or two from her husband, upon whom her eyes
were fixed with an intenseness of gaze, like that of one who looks
her last on the object which she loves the best. She was the first to
perceive Julian; and she exclaimed, "Merciful Heaven!--my son!--the
misery of our house is complete!"

"My son!" echoed Sir Geoffrey, starting from the sullen state of
dejection, and swearing a deep oath--"thou art come in the right time,
Julian. Strike me one good blow--cleave me that traitorous thief from
the crown to the brisket! and that done, I care not what comes next."

The sight of his father's situation made the son forget the inequality
of the contest which he was about to provoke.

"Villains," he said, "unhand him!" and rushing on the guards with his
drawn sword, compelled them to let go Sir Geoffrey, and stand on their
own defence.

Sir Geoffrey, thus far liberated, shouted to his lady. "Undo the belt,
dame, and we will have three good blows for it yet--they must fight well
that beat both father and son."

But one of those men who had started up from the writing-table when the
fray commenced, prevented Lady Peveril from rendering her husband this
assistance; while another easily mastered the hampered Knight, though
not without receiving several severe kicks from his heavy boots--his
condition permitting him no other mode of defence. A third, who saw that
Julian, young, active, and animated with the fury of a son who fights
for his parents, was compelling the two guards to give ground, seized
on his collar, and attempted to master his sword. Suddenly dropping that
weapon, and snatching one of his pistols, Julian fired it at the head
of the person by whom he was thus assailed. He did not drop, but,
staggering back as if he had received a severe blow, showed Peveril, as
he sunk into a chair, the features of old Bridgenorth, blackened with
the explosion, which had even set fire to a part of his grey hair. A cry
of astonishment escaped from Julian; and in the alarm and horror of the
moment, he was easily secured and disarmed by those with whom he had
been at first engaged.

"Heed it not, Julian," said Sir Geoffrey; "heed it not, my brave
boy--that shot has balanced all accounts!--but how--what the devil--he
lives!--Was your pistol loaded with chaff? or has the foul fiend given
him proof against lead?"

There was some reason for Sir Geoffrey's surprise, since, as he spoke,
Major Bridgenorth collected himself--sat up in the chair as one
who recovers from a stunning blow--then rose, and wiping with his
handkerchief the marks of the explosion from his face, he approached
Julian, and said, in the same cold unaltered tone in which he usually
expressed himself, "Young man, you have reason to bless God, who has
this day saved you from the commission of a great crime."

"Bless the devil, ye crop-eared knave!" exclaimed Sir Geoffrey; "for
nothing less than the father of all fanatics saved your brains from
being blown about like the rinsings of Beelzebub's porridge pot!"

"Sir Geoffrey," said Major Bridgenorth, "I have already told you, that
with you I will hold no argument; for to you I am not accountable for
any of my actions."

"Master Bridgenorth," said the lady, making a strong effort to speak,
and to speak with calmness, "whatever revenge your Christian state of
conscience may permit you to take on my husband--I--I, who have some
right to experience compassion at your hand, for most sincerely did I
compassionate you when the hand of Heaven was heavy on you--I implore
you not to involve my son in our common ruin!--Let the destruction of
the father and mother, with the ruin of our ancient house, satisfy your
resentment for any wrong which you have ever received at my husband's
hand."

"Hold your peace, housewife," said the Knight, "you speak like a fool,
and meddle with what concerns you not.--Wrong at _my_ hand? The cowardly
knave has ever had but even too much right. Had I cudgelled the cur
soundly when he first bayed at me, the cowardly mongrel had been now
crouching at my feet, instead of flying at my throat. But if I get
through this action, as I have got through worse weather, I will pay off
old scores, as far as tough crab-tree and cold iron will bear me out."

"Sir Geoffrey," replied Bridgenorth, "if the birth you boast of has
made you blind to better principles, it might have at least taught you
civility. What do you complain of? I am a magistrate; and I execute a
warrant, addressed to me by the first authority in that state. I am a
creditor also of yours; and law arms me with powers to recover my own
property from the hands of an improvident debtor."

"You a magistrate!" said the Knight; "much such a magistrate as Noll
was a monarch. Your heart is up, I warrant, because you have the King's
pardon; and are replaced on the bench, forsooth, to persecute the poor
Papist. There was never turmoil in the state, but knaves had their
vantage by it--never pot boiled, but the scum was cast uppermost."

"For God's sake, my dearest husband," said Lady Peveril, "cease this
wild talk! It can but incense Master Bridgenorth, who might otherwise
consider, that in common charity----"

"Incense him!" said Sir Geoffrey, impatiently interrupting her;
"God's-death, madam, you will drive me mad! Have you lived so long in
this world, and yet expect consideration and charity from an old starved
wolf like that? And if he had it, do you think that I, or you, madam,
as my wife, are subjects for his charity?--Julian, my poor fellow, I
am sorry thou hast come so unluckily, since thy petronel was not better
loaded--but thy credit is lost for ever as a marksman."

This angry colloquy passed so rapidly on all sides, that Julian,
scarce recovered from the extremity of astonishment with which he was
overwhelmed at finding himself suddenly plunged into a situation of such
extremity, had no time to consider in what way he could most effectually
act for the succour of his parents. To speak to Bridgenorth fair seemed
the more prudent course; but to this his pride could hardly stoop; yet
he forced himself to say, with as much calmness as he could assume,

"Master Bridgenorth, since you act as a magistrate, I desire to be
treated according to the laws of England; and demand to know of what we
are accused, and by whose authority we are arrested?"

"Here is another howlet for ye!" exclaimed the impetuous old Knight;
"his mother speaks to a Puritan of charity; and thou must talk of law to
a round-headed rebel, with a wannion to you! What warrant hath he, think
ye, beyond the Parliament's or the devil's?"

"Who speaks of the Parliament?" said a person entering, whom Peveril
recognised as the official person whom he had before seen at the
horse-dealer's, and who now bustled in with all the conscious dignity
of plenary authority,--"Who talks of the Parliament?" he exclaimed.
"I promise you, enough has been found in this house to convict twenty
plotters--Here be arms, and that good store. Bring them in, Captain."

"The very same," exclaimed the Captain, approaching, "which I mention in
my printed Narrative of Information, lodged before the Honourable House
of Commons; they were commissioned from old Vander Huys of Rotterdam, by
orders of Don John of Austria, for the service of the Jesuits."

"Now, by this light," said Sir Geoffrey, "they are the pikes,
musketoons, and pistols, that have been hidden in the garret ever since
Naseby fight!"

"And here," said the Captain's yoke-fellow, Everett, "are proper
priest's trappings--antiphoners, and missals, and copes, I warrant
you--ay, and proper pictures, too, for Papists to mutter and bow over."

"Now plague on thy snuffling whine," said Sir Geoffrey; "here is a
rascal will swear my grandmother's old farthingale to be priest's
vestments, and the story book of Owlenspiegel a Popish missal!"

"But how's this, Master Bridgenorth?" said Topham, addressing the
magistrate; "your honour has been as busy as we have; and you have
caught another knave while we recovered these toys."

"I think, sir," said Julian, "if you look into your warrant, which, if I
mistake not, names the persons whom you are directed to arrest, you will
find you have not title to apprehend me."

"Sir," said the officer, puffing with importance, "I do not know who you
are; but I would you were the best man in England, that I might teach
you the respect due to the warrant of the House. Sir, there steps not
the man within the British seas, but I will arrest him on authority of
this bit of parchment; and I do arrest you accordingly.--What do you
accuse him of, gentlemen?"

Dangerfield swaggered forward, and peeping under Julian's hat, "Stop my
vital breath," he exclaimed, "but I have seen you before, my friend, an
I could but think where; but my memory is not worth a bean, since I have
been obliged to use it so much of late, in the behalf of the poor state.
But I do know the fellow; and I have seen him amongst the Papists--,
I'll take that on my assured damnation."

"Why, Captain Dangerfield," said the Captain's smoother, but more
dangerous associate,--"verily, it is the same youth whom we saw at the
horse-merchant's yesterday; and we had matter against him then, only
Master Topham did not desire us to bring it out."

"Ye may bring out what ye will against him now," said Topham, "for he
hath blasphemed the warrant of the House. I think ye said ye saw him
somewhere."

"Ay, verily," said Everett, "I have seen him amongst the seminary pupils
at Saint Omer's--he was who but he with the regents there."

"Nay, Master Everett, collect yourself," said Topham; "for as I think,
you said you saw him at a consult of the Jesuits in London."

"It was I said so, Master Topham," said the undaunted Dangerfield; "and
mine is the tongue that will swear it."

"Good Master Topham," said Bridgenorth, "you may suspend farther inquiry
at present, as it doth but fatigue and perplex the memory of the King's
witnesses."

"You are wrong, Master Bridgenorth--clearly wrong. It doth but keep them
in wind--only breathes them like greyhounds before a coursing match."

"Be it so," said Bridgenorth, with his usual indifference of manner;
"but at present this youth must stand committed upon a warrant, which
I will presently sign, of having assaulted me while in discharge of my
duty as a magistrate, for the rescue of a person legally attached. Did
you not hear the report of a pistol?"

"I will swear to it," said Everett.

"And I," said Dangerfield. "While we were making search in the cellar,
I heard something very like a pistol-shot; but I conceived it to be the
drawing of a long-corked bottle of sack, to see whether there were any
Popish relics in the inside on't."

"A pistol-shot!" exclaimed Topham; "here might have been a second
Sir Edmondsbury Godfrey's matter.--Oh, thou real spawn of the red old
dragon! for he too would have resisted the House's warrant, had we
not taken him something at unawares.--Master Bridgenorth, you are a
judicious magistrate, and a worthy servant of the state--I would we had
many such sound Protestant justices. Shall I have this young fellow
away with his parents--what think you?--or will you keep him for
re-examination?"

"Master Bridgenorth," said Lady Peveril, in spite of her husband's
efforts to interrupt her, "for God's sake, if ever you knew what it was
to love one of the many children you have lost, or her who is now left
to you, do not pursue your vengeance to the blood of my poor boy! I will
forgive you all the rest--all the distress you have wrought--all the yet
greater misery with which you threaten us; but do not be extreme with
one who never can have offended you! Believe, that if your ears are
shut against the cry of a despairing mother, those which are open to the
complaint of all who sorrow, will hear my petition and your answer!"

The agony of mind and of voice with which Lady Peveril uttered these
words, seemed to thrill through all present, though most of them were
but too much inured to such scenes. Every one was silent, when, ceasing
to speak, she fixed on Bridgenorth her eyes, glistening with tears, with
the eager anxiety of one whose life or death seemed to depend upon the
answer to be returned. Even Bridgenorth's inflexibility seemed to be
shaken; and his voice was tremulous, as he answered, "Madam, I would to
God I had the present means of relieving your great distress, otherwise
than by recommending to you a reliance upon Providence; and that you
take heed to your spirit, that it murmur not under this crook in your
lot. For me, I am but as a rod in the hand of the strong man, which
smites not of itself, but because it is wielded by the arm of him who
holds the same."

"Even as I and my black rod are guided by the Commons of England," said
Master Topham, who seemed marvellously pleased with the illustration.

Julian now thought it time to say something in his own behalf; and he
endeavoured to temper it with as much composure as it was possible for
him to assume. "Master Bridgenorth," he said, "I neither dispute your
authority, nor this gentleman's warrant----"

"You do not?" said Topham. "Oh, ho, master youngster, I thought we
should bring you to your senses presently!"

"Then, if you so will it, Master Topham," said Bridgenorth, "thus it
shall be. You shall set out with early day, taking you, towards London,
the persons of Sir Geoffrey and Lady Peveril; and that they may
travel according to their quality, you will allow them their coach,
sufficiently guarded."

"I will travel with them myself," said Topham; "for these rough
Derbyshire roads are no easy riding; and my very eyes are weary with
looking on these bleak hills. In the coach I can sleep as sound as if I
were in the House, and Master Bodderbrains on his legs."

"It will become you so to take your ease, Master Topham," answered
Bridgenorth. "For this youth, I will take him under my charge, and bring
him up myself."

"I may not be answerable for that, worthy Master Bridgenorth," said
Topham, "since he comes within the warrant of the House."

"Nay, but," said Bridgenorth, "he is only under custody for an assault,
with the purpose of a rescue; and I counsel you against meddling with
him, unless you have stronger guard. Sir Geoffrey is now old and broken,
but this young fellow is in the flower of his youth, and hath at his
beck all the debauched young Cavaliers of the neighbourhood--You will
scarce cross the country without a rescue."

Topham eyed Julian wistfully, as a spider may be supposed to look upon
a stray wasp which has got into his web, and which he longs to secure,
though he fears the consequences of attempting him.

Julian himself replied, "I know not if this separation be well or ill
meant on your part, Master Bridgenorth; but on mine, I am only desirous
to share the fate of my parents; and therefore I will give my word of
honour to attempt neither rescue nor escape, on condition you do not
separate me from them."

"Do not say so, Julian," said his mother; "abide with Master
Bridgenorth--my mind tells me he cannot mean so ill by us as his rough
conduct would now lead us to infer."

"And I," said Sir Geoffrey, "know, that between the doors of my father's
house and the gates of hell, there steps not such a villain on the
ground! And if I wish my hands ever to be unbound again, it is because
I hope for one downright blow at a grey head, that has hatched more
treason than the whole Long Parliament."

"Away with thee," said the zealous officer; "is Parliament a word for
so foul a mouth as thine?--Gentlemen," he added, turning to Everett and
Dangerfield, "you will bear witness to this."

"To his having reviled the House of Commons--by G--d, that I will!" said
Dangerfield; "I will take it on my damnation."

"And verily," said Everett, "as he spoke of Parliament generally, he
hath contemned the House of Lords also."

"Why, ye poor insignificant wretches," said Sir Geoffrey, "whose very
life is a lie--and whose bread is perjury--would you pervert my innocent
words almost as soon as they have quitted my lips? I tell you the
country is well weary of you; and should Englishmen come to their
senses, the jail, the pillory, the whipping-post, and the gibbet, will
be too good preferment for such base blood-suckers.--And now, Master
Bridgenorth, you and they may do your worst; for I will not open my
mouth to utter a single word while I am in the company of such knaves."

"Perhaps, Sir Geoffrey," answered Bridgenorth, "you would better
have consulted your own safety in adopting that resolution a little
sooner--the tongue is a little member, but it causes much strife.--You,
Master Julian, will please to follow me, and without remonstrance or
resistance; for you must be aware that I have the means of compelling."

Julian was, indeed, but too sensible, that he had no other course but
that of submission to superior force; but ere he left the apartment,
he kneeled down to receive his father's blessing, which the old man
bestowed not without a tear in his eye, and in the emphatic words, "God
bless thee, my boy; and keep thee good and true to Church and King,
whatever wind shall bring foul weather!"

His mother was only able to pass her hand over his head, and to implore
him, in a low tone of voice, not to be rash or violent in any attempt
to render them assistance. "We are innocent," she said, "my son--we are
innocent--and we are in God's hands. Be the thought our best comfort and
protection."

Bridgenorth now signed to Julian to follow him, which he did,
accompanied, or rather conducted, by the two guards who had first
disarmed him. When they had passed from the apartment, and were at the
door of the outward hall, Bridgenorth asked Julian whether he should
consider him as under parole; in which case, he said, he would dispense
with all other security but his own promise.

Peveril, who could not help hoping somewhat from the favourable and
unresentful manner in which he was treated by one whose life he had so
recently attempted, replied, without hesitation, that he would give his
parole for twenty-four hours, neither to attempt to escape by force nor
by flight.

"It is wisely said," replied Bridgenorth; "for though you might cause
bloodshed, be assured that your utmost efforts could do no service to
your parents.--Horses there--horses to the courtyard!"

The trampling of horses was soon heard; and in obedience to
Bridgenorth's signal, and in compliance with his promise, Julian mounted
one which was presented to him, and prepared to leave the house of his
fathers, in which his parents were now prisoners, and to go, he knew not
whither, under the custody of one known to be the ancient enemy of his
family. He was rather surprised at observing, that Bridgenorth and he
were about to travel without any other attendants.

When they were mounted, and as they rode slowly towards the outer gate
of the courtyard, Bridgenorth said to him, "it is not every one who
would thus unreservedly commit his safety by travelling at night, and
unaided, with the hot-brained youth who so lately attempted his life."

"Master Bridgenorth," said Julian, "I might tell you truly, that I knew
you not at the time when I directed my weapon against you; but I must
also add, that the cause in which I used it, might have rendered me,
even had I known you, a slight respecter of your person. At present,
I do know you; and have neither malice against your person, nor the
liberty of a parent to fight for. Besides, you have my word; and when
was a Peveril known to break it?"

"Ay," replied his companion, "a Peveril--a Peveril of the Peak!--a name
which has long sounded like a war-trumpet in the land; but which has
now perhaps sounded its last loud note. Look back, young man, on the
darksome turrets of your father's house, which uplift themselves above
the sons of their people. Think upon your father, a captive--yourself
in some sort a fugitive--your light quenched--your glory abased--your
estate wrecked and impoverished. Think that Providence has subjected
the destinies of the race of Peveril to one, whom, in their aristocratic
pride, they held as a plebeian upstart. Think of this; and when you
again boast of your ancestry, remember, that he who raiseth the lowly
can also abase the high in heart."

Julian did indeed gaze for an instant, with a swelling heart, upon
the dimly seen turrets of his paternal mansion, on which poured the
moonlight, mixed with long shadows of the towers and trees. But while
he sadly acknowledged the truth of Bridgenorth's observation, he felt
indignant at his ill-timed triumph. "If fortune had followed worth," he
said, "the Castle of Martindale, and the name of Peveril, had afforded
no room for their enemy's vainglorious boast. But those who have
stood high on Fortune's wheel, must abide by the consequence of its
revolutions. This much I will at least say for my father's house,
that it has not stood unhonoured; nor will it fall--if it is to
fall--unlamented. Forbear, then, if you are indeed the Christian you
call yourself, to exult in the misfortunes of others, or to confide in
your own prosperity. If the light of our house be now quenched, God can
rekindle it in His own good time."

Peveril broke off in extreme surprise; for as he spake the last words,
the bright red beams of the family beacon began again to glimmer from
its wonted watch-tower, checkering the pale moonbeam with a ruddier
glow. Bridgenorth also gazed on this unexpected illumination with
surprise, and not, as it seemed, without disquietude. "Young man,"
he resumed, "it can scarcely be but that Heaven intends to work great
things by your hand, so singularly has that augury followed on your
words."

So saying, he put his horse once more in motion; and looking back, from
time to time, as if to assure himself that the beacon of the Castle
was actually rekindled, he led the way through the well-known paths
and alleys, to his own house of Moultrassie, followed by Peveril, who
although sensible that the light might be altogether accidental, could
not but receive as a good omen an event so intimately connected with the
traditions and usages of his family.

They alighted at the hall-door, which was hastily opened by a female;
and while the deep tone of Bridgenorth called on the groom to take their
horses, the well-known voice of his daughter Alice was heard to exclaim
in thanksgiving to God, who had restored her father in safety.



CHAPTER XXIV

        We meet, as men see phantoms in a dream,
        Which glide, and sigh, and sign, and move their lips,
        But make no sound; or, if they utter voice,
        'Tis but a low and undistinguish'd moaning,
        Which has nor word nor sense of utter'd sound.
                                               --THE CHIEFTAIN.

We said, at the conclusion of the last chapter, that a female form
appeared at the door of Moultrassie Hall; and that the well-known
accents of Alice Bridgenorth were heard to hail the return of her
father, from what she naturally dreaded as a perilous visit to the
Castle of Martindale.

Julian, who followed his conductor with a throbbing heart into the
lighted hall, was therefore prepared to see her whom he best loved,
with her arms thrown around her father. The instant she had quitted his
paternal embrace, she was aware of the unexpected guest who had returned
in his company. A deep blush, rapidly succeeded by a deadly paleness,
and again by a slighter suffusion, showed plainly to her lover that
his sudden appearance was anything but indifferent to her. He bowed
profoundly--a courtesy which she returned with equal formality, but did
not venture to approach more nearly, feeling at once the delicacy of his
own situation and of hers.

Major Bridgenorth turned his cold, fixed, grey, melancholy glance,
first on the one of them and then on the other. "Some," he said gravely,
"would, in my case, have avoided this meeting; but I have confidence in
you both, although you are young, and beset with the snares incidental
to your age. There are those within who should not know that ye have
been acquainted. Wherefore, be wise, and be as strangers to each other."

Julian and Alice exchanged glances as her father turned from them, and
lifting a lamp which stood in the entrance-hall, led the way to the
interior apartment. There was little of consolation in this exchange of
looks; for the sadness of Alice's glance was mingled with fear, and that
of Julian clouded by an anxious sense of doubt. The look also was but
momentary; for Alice, springing to her father, took the light out of his
hand, and stepping before him, acted as the usher of both into the large
oaken parlour, which has been already mentioned as the apartment in
which Bridgenorth had spent the hours of dejection which followed
the death of his consort and family. It was now lighted up as for the
reception of company; and five or six persons sat in it, in the plain,
black, stiff dress, which was affected by the formal Puritans of the
time, in evidence of their contempt of the manners of the luxurious
Court of Charles the Second; amongst whom, excess of extravagance in
apparel, like excess of every other kind, was highly fashionable.

Julian at first glanced his eyes but slightly along the range of grave
and severe faces which composed this society--men sincere, perhaps, in
their pretensions to a superior purity of conduct and morals, but in
whom that high praise was somewhat chastened by an affected austerity
in dress and manners, allied to those Pharisees of old, who made broad
their phylacteries, and would be seen of man to fast, and to discharge
with rigid punctuality the observances of the law. Their dress was
almost uniformly a black cloak and doublet, cut straight and close, and
undecorated with lace or embroidery of any kind, black Flemish breeches
and hose, square-toed shoes, with large roses made of serge ribbon. Two
or three had large loose boots of calf-leather, and almost every one was
begirt with a long rapier, which was suspended by leathern thongs, to a
plain belt of buff, or of black leather. One or two of the elder guests,
whose hair had been thinned by time, had their heads covered with a
skull-cap of black silk or velvet, which, being drawn down betwixt the
ears and the skull, and permitting no hair to escape, occasioned the
former to project in the ungraceful manner which may be remarked in old
pictures, and which procured for the Puritans the term of "prickeared
Roundheads," so unceremoniously applied to them by their contemporaries.

These worthies were ranged against the wall, each in his ancient
high-backed, long-legged chair; neither looking towards, nor apparently
discoursing with each other; but plunged in their own reflections, or
awaiting, like an assembly of Quakers, the quickening power of divine
inspiration.

Major Bridgenorth glided along this formal society with noiseless step,
and a composed severity of manner, resembling their own. He paused
before each in succession, and apparently communicated, as he passed,
the transactions of the evening, and the circumstances under which the
heir of Martindale Castle was now a guest at Moultrassie Hall. Each
seemed to stir at his brief detail, like a range of statues in an
enchanted hall, starting into something like life, as a talisman is
applied to them successively. Most of them, as they heard the narrative
of their host, cast upon Julian a look of curiosity, blended with
haughty scorn and the consciousness of spiritual superiority; though,
in one or two instances, the milder influences of compassion were
sufficiently visible.--Peveril would have undergone this gantlet of
eyes with more impatience, had not his own been for the time engaged in
following the motions of Alice, who glided through the apartment;
and only speaking very briefly, and in whispers, to one or two of the
company who addressed her, took her place beside a treble-hooded old
lady, the only female of the party, and addressed herself to her in such
earnest conversation, as might dispense with her raising her head, or
looking at any others in the company.

Her father put a question, to which she was obliged to return an
answer--"Where was Mistress Debbitch?"

"She has gone out," Alice replied, "early after sunset, to visit some
old acquaintances in the neighbourhood, and she was not yet returned."

Major Bridgenorth made a gesture indicative of displeasure; and, not
content with that, expressed his determined resolution that Dame Deborah
should no longer remain a member of his family. "I will have those," he
said aloud, and without regarding the presence of his guests, "and those
only, around me, who know to keep within the sober and modest bounds of
a Christian family. Who pretends to more freedom, must go out from among
us, as not being of us."

A deep and emphatic humming noise, which was at that time the mode in
which the Puritans signified their applause, as well of the doctrines
expressed by a favourite divine in the pulpit, as of those delivered in
private society, ratified the approbation of the assessors, and seemed
to secure the dismission of the unfortunate governante, who stood thus
detected of having strayed out of bounds. Even Peveril, although he had
reaped considerable advantages, in his early acquaintance with Alice,
from the mercenary and gossiping disposition of her governess, could
not hear of her dismissal without approbation, so much was he desirous,
that, in the hour of difficulty which might soon approach, Alice might
have the benefit of countenance and advice from one of her own sex of
better manners, and less suspicious probity, than Mistress Debbitch.

Almost immediately after this communication had taken place, a servant
in mourning showed his thin, pinched, and wrinkled visage in the
apartment, announcing, with a voice more like a passing bell than the
herald of a banquet, that refreshments were provided in an adjoining
apartment. Gravely leading the way, with his daughter on one side,
and the puritanical female whom we have distinguished on the other,
Bridgenorth himself ushered his company, who followed, with little
attention to order or ceremony, into the eating-room, where a
substantial supper was provided.

In this manner, Peveril, although entitled according to ordinary
ceremonial, to some degree of precedence--a matter at that time
considered of much importance, although now little regarded--was left
among the last of those who quitted the parlour; and might indeed have
brought up the rear of all, had not one of the company, who was himself
late in the retreat, bowed and resigned to Julian the rank in the
company which had been usurped by others.

This act of politeness naturally induced Julian to examine the features
of the person who had offered him this civility; and he started to
observe, under the pinched velvet cap, and above the short band-strings,
the countenance of Ganlesse, as he called himself--his companion on the
preceding evening. He looked again and again, especially when all were
placed at the supper board, and when, consequently, he had frequent
opportunities of observing this person fixedly without any breach of
good manners. At first he wavered in his belief, and was much inclined
to doubt the reality of his recollection; for the difference of dress
was such as to effect a considerable change of appearance; and the
countenance itself, far from exhibiting anything marked or memorable,
was one of those ordinary visages which we see almost without remarking
them, and which leave our memory so soon as the object is withdrawn
from our eyes. But the impression upon his mind returned, and became
stronger, until it induced him to watch with peculiar attention the
manners of the individual who had thus attracted his notice.

During the time of a very prolonged grace before meat, which was
delivered by one of the company--who, from his Geneva band and
serge doublet, presided, as Julian supposed, over some dissenting
congregation--he noticed that this man kept the same demure and severe
cast of countenance usually affected by the Puritans, and which rather
caricatured the reverence unquestionably due upon such occasions. His
eyes were turned upward, and his huge penthouse hat, with a high crown
and broad brim, held in both hands before him, rose and fell with the
cadences of the speaker's voice; thus marking time, as it were, to the
periods of the benediction. Yet when the slight bustle took place which
attends the adjusting of chairs, &c., as men sit down to table, Julian's
eye encountered that of the stranger; and as their looks met, there
glanced from those of the latter an expression of satirical humour and
scorn, which seemed to intimate internal ridicule of the gravity of his
present demeanour.

Julian again sought to fix his eye, in order to ascertain that he had
not mistaken the tendency of this transient expression, but the stranger
did not allow him another opportunity. He might have been discovered by
the tone of his voice; but the individual in question spoke little, and
in whispers, which was indeed the fashion of the whole company, whose
demeanour at table resembled that of mourners at a funeral feast.

The entertainment itself was coarse, though plentiful; and must,
according to Julian's opinion, be distasteful to one so exquisitely
skilled in good cheer, and so capable of enjoying, critically and
scientifically, the genial preparations of his companion Smith, as
Ganlesse had shown himself on the preceding evening. Accordingly, upon
close observation, he remarked that the food which he took upon his
plate remained there unconsumed; and that his actual supper consisted
only of a crust of bread, with a glass of wine.

The repast was hurried over with the haste of those who think it shame,
if not sin, to make mere animal enjoyments the means of consuming
time, or of receiving pleasure; and when men wiped their mouths and
moustaches, Julian remarked that the object of his curiosity used a
handkerchief of the finest cambric--an article rather inconsistent with
the exterior plainness, not to say coarseness, of his appearance. He
used also several of the more minute refinements, then only observed at
tables of the higher rank; and Julian thought he could discern, at every
turn, something of courtly manners and gestures, under the precise and
rustic simplicity of the character which he had assumed.[*]

[*] A Scottish gentleman _in hiding_, as it was emphatically termed,
    for some concern in a Jacobite insurrection or plot, was
    discovered among a number of ordinary persons, by the use of his
    toothpick.

But if this were indeed that same Ganlesse with whom Julian had met on
the preceding evening, and who had boasted the facility with which he
could assume any character which he pleased to represent for the time,
what could be the purpose of this present disguise? He was, if his own
words could be credited, a person of some importance, who dared to defy
the danger of those officers and informers, before whom all ranks at
that time trembled; nor was he likely, as Julian conceived, without some
strong purpose, to subject himself to such a masquerade as the present,
which could not be otherwise than irksome to one whose conversation
proclaimed him of light life and free opinions. Was his appearance here
for good or for evil? Did it respect his father's house, or his own
person, or the family of Bridgenorth? Was the real character of Ganlesse
known to the master of the house, inflexible as he was in all which
concerned morals as well as religion? If not, might not the machinations
of a brain so subtile affect the peace and happiness of Alice
Bridgenorth?

These were questions which no reflection could enable Peveril to
answer. His eyes glanced from Alice to the stranger; and new fears, and
undefined suspicions, in which the safety of that beloved and lovely
girl was implicated, mingled with the deep anxiety which already
occupied his mind, on account of his father and his father's house.

He was in this tumult of mind, when after a thanksgiving as long as the
grace, the company arose from table, and were instantly summoned to
the exercise of family worship. A train of domestics, grave, sad,
and melancholy as their superiors, glided in to assist at this act of
devotion, and ranged themselves at the lower end of the apartment.
Most of these men were armed with long tucks, as the straight stabbing
swords, much used by Cromwell's soldiery, were then called. Several had
large pistols also; and the corselets or cuirasses of some were heard to
clank, as they seated themselves to partake in this act of devotion. The
ministry of him whom Julian had supposed a preacher was not used on
this occasion. Major Bridgenorth himself read and expounded a chapter of
Scripture, with much strength and manliness of expression, although so
as not to escape the charge of fanaticism. The nineteenth chapter of
Jeremiah was the portion of Scripture which he selected; in which,
under the type of breaking a potter's vessel, the prophet presages the
desolation of the Jews. The lecturer was not naturally eloquent; but
a strong, deep, and sincere conviction of the truth of what he said
supplied him with language of energy and fire, as he drew parallel
between the abominations of the worship of Baal, and the corruptions
of the Church of Rome--so favourite a topic with the Puritans of that
period; and denounced against the Catholics, and those who favoured
them, that hissing and desolation which the prophet directed against the
city of Jerusalem. His hearers made a yet closer application than the
lecturer himself suggested; and many a dark proud eye intimated, by a
glance on Julian, that on his father's house were already, in some part,
realised those dreadful maledictions.

The lecture finished, Bridgenorth summoned them to unite with him in
prayer; and on a slight change of arrangements amongst the company,
which took place as they were about to kneel down, Julian found his
place next to the single-minded and beautiful object of his affection,
as she knelt, in her loveliness, to adore her Creator. A short time
was permitted for mental devotion; during which Peveril could hear her
half-breathed petition for the promised blessings of peace on earth, and
good-will towards the children of men.

The prayer which ensued was in a different tone. It was poured forth by
the same person who had officiated as chaplain at the table; and was in
the tone of a Boanerges, or Son of Thunder--a denouncer of crimes--an
invoker of judgments--almost a prophet of evil and of destruction. The
testimonies and the sins of the day were not forgotten--the mysterious
murder of Sir Edmondsbury Godfrey was insisted upon--and thanks and
praise were offered, that the very night on which they were assembled,
had not seen another offering of a Protestant magistrate, to the
bloodthirsty fury of revengeful Catholics.

Never had Julian found it more difficult, during an act of devotion, to
maintain his mind in a frame befitting the posture and the occasion; and
when he heard the speaker return thanks for the downfall and devastation
of his family, he was strongly tempted to have started upon his feet,
and charged him with offering a tribute, stained with falsehood and
calumny, at the throne of truth itself. He resisted, however, an impulse
which it would have been insanity to have yielded to, and his patience
was not without its reward; for when his fair neighbour arose from her
knees, the lengthened and prolonged prayer being at last concluded, he
observed that her eyes were streaming with tears; and one glance with
which she looked at him in that moment, showed more of affectionate
interest for him in his fallen fortunes and precarious condition, than
he had been able to obtain from her when his worldly estate seemed so
much the more exalted of the two.

Cheered and fortified with the conviction that one bosom in the
company, and that in which he most eagerly longed to secure an interest,
sympathised with his distress, he felt strong to endure whatever was
to follow, and shrunk not from the stern still smile with which, one by
one, the meeting regarded him, as, gliding to their several places of
repose, they indulged themselves at parting with a look of triumph on
one whom they considered as their captive enemy.

Alice also passed by her lover, her eyes fixed on the ground, and
answered his low obeisance without raising them. The room was now empty,
but for Bridgenorth and his guest, or prisoner; for it is difficult to
say in which capacity Peveril ought to regard himself. He took an old
brazen lamp from the table, and, leading the way, said at the same time,
"I must be the uncourtly chamberlain, who am to usher you to a place of
repose, more rude, perhaps, than you have been accustomed to occupy."

Julian followed him, in silence, up an old-fashioned winding staircase,
within a turret. At the landing-place on the top was a small apartment,
where an ordinary pallet bed, two chairs, and a small stone table, were
the only furniture. "Your bed," continued Bridgenorth, as if desirous to
prolong their interview, "is not of the softest; but innocence sleeps as
sound upon straw as on down."

"Sorrow, Major Bridgenorth, finds little rest on either," replied
Julian. "Tell me, for you seem to await some question from me, what is
to be the fate of my parents, and why you separate me from them?"

Bridgenorth, for answer, indicated with his finger the mark which his
countenance still showed from the explosion of Julian's pistol.

"That," replied Julian, "is not the real cause of your proceedings
against me. It cannot be, that you, who have been a soldier, and are a
man, can be surprised or displeased by my interference in the defence
of my father. Above all, you cannot, and I must needs say you do not,
believe that I would have raised my hand against you personally, had
there been a moment's time for recognition."

"I may grant all this," said Bridgenorth; "but what the better are you
for my good opinion, or for the ease with which I can forgive you the
injury which you aimed at me? You are in my custody as a magistrate,
accused of abetting the foul, bloody, and heathenish plot, for the
establishment of Popery, the murder of the King, and the general
massacre of all true Protestants."

"And on what grounds, either of fact or suspicion, dare any one accuse
me of such a crime?" said Julian. "I have hardly heard of the plot, save
by the mouth of common rumour, which, while it speaks of nothing else,
takes care to say nothing distinctly even on that subject."

"It may be enough for me to tell you," replied Bridgenorth, "and perhaps
it is a word too much--that you are a discovered intriguer--a spied
spy--who carries tokens and messages betwixt the Popish Countess of
Derby and the Catholic party in London. You have not conducted your
matters with such discretion, but that this is well known, and can be
sufficiently proved. To this charge, which you are well aware you cannot
deny, these men, Everett and Dangerfield, are not unwilling to add, from
the recollection of your face, other passages, which will certainly cost
you your life when you come before a Protestant jury."

"They lie like villains," said Peveril, "who hold me accessory to any
plot either against the King, the nation, or the state of religion; and
for the Countess, her loyalty has been too long, and too highly proved,
to permit her being implicated in such injurious suspicions."

"What she has already done," said Bridgenorth, his face darkening as
he spoke, "against the faithful champions of pure religion, hath
sufficiently shown of what she is capable. She hath betaken herself to
her rock, and sits, as she thinks, in security, like the eagle reposing
after his bloody banquet. But the arrow of the fowler may yet reach
her--the shaft is whetted--the bow is bended--and it will be soon
seen whether Amalek or Israel shall prevail. But for thee, Julian
Peveril--why should I conceal it from thee?--my heart yearns for thee as
a woman's for her first-born. To thee I will give, at the expense of my
own reputation--perhaps at the risk of personal suspicion--for who, in
these days of doubt, shall be exempted from it--to thee, I say, I will
give means of escape, which else were impossible to thee. The
staircase of this turret descends to the gardens--the postern-gate is
unlatched--on the right hand lie the stables, where you will find your
own horse--take it, and make for Liverpool--I will give you credit
with a friend under the name of Simon Simonson, one persecuted by the
prelates; and he will expedite your passage from the kingdom."

"Major Bridgenorth," said Julian, "I will not deceive you. Were I to
accept your offer of freedom, it would be to attend to a higher call
than that of mere self-preservation. My father is in danger--my mother
in sorrow--the voices of religion and nature call me to their side. I
am their only child--their only hope--I will aid them, or perish with
them!"

"Thou art mad," said Bridgenorth--"aid them thou canst not--perish with
them thou mayst, and even accelerate their ruin; for, in addition to the
charges with which thy unhappy father is loaded, it would be no slight
aggravation, that while he meditated arming and calling together the
Catholics and High Churchmen of Cheshire and Derbyshire, his son should
prove to be the confidential agent of the Countess of Derby, who aided
her in making good her stronghold against the Protestant commissioners,
and was despatched by her to open secret communication with the Popish
interest in London."

"You have twice stated me as such an agent," said Peveril, resolved that
his silence should not be construed into an admission of the charge,
though he felt it was in some degree well founded--"What reason have you
for such an allegation?"

"Will it suffice for a proof of my intimate acquaintance with your
mystery," replied Bridgenorth, "if I should repeat to you the last
words which the Countess used to you when you left the Castle of that
Amalekitish woman? Thus she spoke: 'I am now a forlorn widow,' she said,
'whom sorrow has made selfish.'"

Peveril started, for these were the very words the Countess had used;
but he instantly recovered himself, and replied, "Be your information of
what nature it will, I deny, and I defy it, so far as it attaches aught
like guilt to me. There lives not a man more innocent of a disloyal
thought, or of a traitorous purpose. What I say for myself, I will,
to the best of my knowledge, say and maintain on account of the noble
Countess, to whom I am indebted for nurture."

"Perish, then, in thy obstinacy!" said Bridgenorth; and turning hastily
from him, he left the room, and Julian heard him hasten down the narrow
staircase, as if distrusting his own resolution.

With a heavy heart, yet with that confidence in an overruling Providence
which never forsakes a good and brave man, Peveril betook himself to his
lowly place of repose.



CHAPTER XXV

        The course of human life is changeful still,
        As is the fickle wind and wandering rill;
        Or, like the light dance which the wild-breeze weaves
        Amidst the fated race of fallen leaves;
        Which now its breath bears down, now tosses high,
        Beats to the earth, or wafts to middle sky.
        Such, and so varied, the precarious play
        Of fate with man, frail tenant of a day!
                                                   --ANONYMOUS.

Whilst, overcome with fatigue, and worn out by anxiety, Julian Peveril
slumbered as a prisoner in the house of his hereditary enemy, Fortune
was preparing his release by one of those sudden frolics with which she
loves to confound the calculations and expectancies of humanity; and
as she fixes on strange agents for such purposes, she condescended
to employ on the present occasion, no less a personage than Mistress
Deborah Debbitch.

Instigated, doubtless, by the pristine reminiscences of former times, no
sooner had that most prudent and considerate dame found herself in the
vicinity of the scenes of her earlier days, than she bethought herself
of a visit to the ancient house-keeper of Martindale Castle, Dame
Ellesmere by name, who, long retired from active service, resided at
the keeper's lodge, in the west thicket, with her nephew, Lance Outram,
subsisting upon the savings of her better days, and on a small pension
allowed by Sir Geoffrey to her age and faithful services.

Now Dame Ellesmere and Mistress Deborah had not by any means been
formerly on so friendly a footing, as this haste to visit her might
be supposed to intimate. But years had taught Deborah to forget and
forgive; or perhaps she had no special objection, under cover of a visit
to Dame Ellesmere, to take the chance of seeing what changes time had
made on her old admirer the keeper. Both inhabitants were in the cottage
when, after having seen her master set forth on his expedition to the
Castle, Mistress Debbitch, dressed in her very best gown, footed it
through gutter, and over stile, and by pathway green, to knock at their
door, and to lift the hatch at the hospitable invitation which bade her
come in.

Dame Ellesmere's eyes were so often dim, that, even with the aid of
spectacles, she failed to recognise, in the portly and mature personage
who entered their cottage, the tight well-made lass, who, presuming
on her good looks and flippant tongue, had so often provoked her by
insubordination; and her former lover, the redoubted Lance, not being
conscious that ale had given rotundity to his own figure, which was
formerly so slight and active, and that brandy had transferred to
his nose the colour which had once occupied his cheeks, was unable to
discover that Deborah's French cap, composed of sarsenet and Brussels
lace, shaded the features which had so often procured him a rebuke from
Dr. Dummerar, for suffering his eyes, during the time of prayers, to
wander to the maid-servants' bench.

In brief, the blushing visitor was compelled to make herself known;
and when known, was received by aunt and nephew with the most sincere
cordiality.

The home-brewed was produced; and, in lieu of more vulgar food, a few
slices of venison presently hissed in the frying pan, giving strong room
for inference that Lance Outram, in his capacity of keeper, neglected
not his own cottage when he supplied the larder at the Castle. A modest
sip of the excellent Derbyshire ale, and a taste of the highly-seasoned
hash, soon placed Deborah entirely at home with her old acquaintance.

Having put all necessary questions, and received all suitable answers,
respecting the state of the neighbourhood, and such of her own friends
as continued to reside there, the conversation began rather to flag,
until Deborah found the art of again re-newing its interest, by
communicating to her friends the dismal intelligence that they must soon
look for deadly bad news from the Castle; for that her present master,
Major Bridgenorth, had been summoned, by some great people from London,
to assist in taking her old master, Sir Geoffrey; and that all Master
Bridgenorth's servants, and several other persons whom she named,
friends and adherents of the same interest, had assembled a force to
surprise the Castle; and that as Sir Geoffrey was now so old, and gouty
withal, it could not be expected he should make the defence he was wont;
and then he was known to be so stout-hearted, that it was not to be
supposed that he would yield up without stroke of sword; and then if he
was killed, as he was like to be, amongst them that liked never a bone
of his body, and now had him at their mercy, why, in that case, she,
Dame Deborah, would look upon Lady Peveril as little better than a dead
woman; and undoubtedly there would be a general mourning through all
that country, where they had such great kin; and silks were likely to
rise on it, as Master Lutestring, the mercer of Chesterfield, was like
to feel in his purse bottom. But for her part, let matters wag how they
would, an if Master Julian Peveril was to come to his own, she could
give as near a guess as e'er another who was likely to be Lady at
Martindale.

The text of this lecture, or, in other words, the fact that Bridgenorth
was gone with a party to attack Sir Geoffrey Peveril in his own Castle
of Martindale, sounded so stunningly strange in the ears of those old
retainers of his family, that they had no power either to attend to
Mistress Deborah's inferences, or to interrupt the velocity of speech
with which she poured them forth. And when at length she made a
breathless pause, all that poor Dame Ellesmere could reply, was the
emphatic question, "Bridgenorth brave Peveril of the Peak!--Is the woman
mad?"

"Come, come, dame," said Deborah, "woman me no more than I woman you.
I have not been called Mistress at the head of the table for so many
years, to be woman'd here by you. And for the news, it is as true as
that you are sitting there in a white hood, who will wear a black one
ere long."

"Lance Outram," said the old woman, "make out, if thou be'st a man, and
listen about if aught stirs up at the Castle."

"If there should," said Outram, "I am even too long here;" and he caught
up his crossbow, and one or two arrows, and rushed out of the cottage.

"Well-a-day!" said Mistress Deborah, "see if my news have not frightened
away Lance Outram too, whom they used to say nothing could start. But do
not take on so, dame; for I dare say if the Castle and the lands pass
to my new master, Major Bridgenorth, as it is like they will--for I have
heard that he has powerful debts over the estate--you shall have my good
word with him, and I promise you he is no bad man; something precise
about preaching and praying, and about the dress which one should wear,
which, I must own, beseems not a gentleman, as, to be sure, every woman
knows best what becomes her. But for you, dame, that wear a prayer-book
at your girdle, with your housewife-case, and never change the fashion
of your white hood, I dare say he will not grudge you the little matter
you need, and are not able to win."

"Out, sordid jade!" exclaimed Dame Ellesmere, her very flesh quivering
betwixt apprehension and anger, "and hold your peace this instant, or I
will find those that shall flay the very hide from thee with dog-whips.
Hast thou ate thy noble master's bread, not only to betray his trust,
and fly from his service, but wouldst thou come here, like an ill-omened
bird as thou art, to triumph over his downfall?"

"Nay, dame," said Deborah, over whom the violence of the old woman had
obtained a certain predominance; "it is not I that say it--only the
warrant of the Parliament folks."

"I thought we had done with their warrants ever since the blessed
twenty-ninth of May," said the old housekeeper of Martindale Castle;
"but this I tell thee, sweetheart, that I have seen such warrants
crammed, at the sword's point, down the throats of them that brought
them; and so shall this be, if there is one true man left to drink of
the Dove."

As she spoke, Lance Outram re-entered the cottage. "Naunt," he said in
dismay, "I doubt it is true what she says. The beacon tower is as black
as my belt. No Pole-star of Peveril. What does that betoken?"

"Death, ruin, and captivity," exclaimed old Ellesmere. "Make for the
Castle, thou knave. Thrust in thy great body. Strike for the house that
bred thee and fed thee; and if thou art buried under the ruins, thou
diest a man's death."

"Nay, naunt, I shall not be slack," answered Outram. "But here come
folks that I warrant can tell us more on't."

One or two of the female servants, who had fled from the Castle during
the alarm, now rushed in with various reports of the case; but all
agreeing that a body of armed men were in possession of the Castle,
and that Major Bridgenorth had taken young Master Julian prisoner, and
conveyed him down to Moultrassie Hall, with his feet tied under the
belly of the nag--a shameful sight to be seen--and he so well born and
so handsome.

Lance scratched his head; and though feeling the duty incumbent upon him
as a faithful servant, which was indeed specially dinned into him by the
cries and exclamations of his aunt, he seemed not a little dubious how
to conduct himself. "I would to God, naunt," he said at last, "that old
Whitaker were alive now, with his long stories about Marston Moor and
Edge Hill, that made us all yawn our jaws off their hinges, in spite of
broiled rashers and double beer! When a man is missed, he is moaned, as
they say; and I would rather than a broad piece he had been here to have
sorted this matter, for it is clean out of my way as a woodsman, that
have no skill of war. But dang it, if old Sir Geoffrey go to the wall
without a knock for it!--Here you, Nell"--(speaking to one of the
fugitive maidens from the Castle)--"but, no--you have not the heart of a
cat, and are afraid of your own shadow by moonlight--But, Cis, you are
a stout-hearted wench, and know a buck from a bullfinch. Hark thee, Cis,
as you would wish to be married, get up to the Castle again, and get
thee in--thou best knowest where--for thou hast oft gotten out of
postern to a dance or junketing, to my knowledge--Get thee back to the
Castle, as ye hope to be married--See my lady--they cannot hinder thee
of that--my lady has a head worth twenty of ours--If I am to gather
force, light up the beacon for a signal; and spare not a tar barrel
on't. Thou mayst do it safe enough. I warrant the Roundheads busy with
drink and plunder.--And, hark thee, say to my lady I am gone down to
the miners' houses at Bonadventure. The rogues were mutinying for their
wages but yesterday; they will be all ready for good or bad. Let her
send orders down to me; or do you come yourself, your legs are long
enough."

"Whether they are or not, Master Lance (and you know nothing of the
matter), they shall do your errand to-night, for love of the old knight
and his lady."

So Cisly Sellok, a kind of Derbyshire Camilla, who had won the smock
at the foot-race at Ashbourne, sprung forward towards the Castle with a
speed which few could have equalled.

"There goes a mettled wench," said Lance; "and now, naunt, give me the
old broadsword--it is above the bed-head--and my wood-knife; and I shall
do well enough."

"And what is to become of me?" bleated the unfortunate Mistress Deborah
Debbitch.

"You must remain here with my aunt, Mistress Deb; and, for old
acquaintance' sake, she will take care no harm befalls you; but take
heed how you attempt to break bounds."

So saying, and pondering in his own mind the task which he had
undertaken, the hardy forester strode down the moonlight glade, scarcely
hearing the blessings and cautions which Dame Ellesmere kept showering
after him. His thoughts were not altogether warlike. "What a tight ankle
the jade hath!--she trips it like a doe in summer over dew. Well, but
here are the huts--Let us to this gear.--Are ye all asleep, you dammers,
sinkers, and drift-drivers? turn out, ye subterranean badgers. Here is
your master, Sir Geoffrey, dead, for aught ye know or care. Do not you
see the beacon is unlit, and you sit there like so many asses?"

"Why," answered one of the miners, who now began to come out of their
huts--

 "An he be dead,
  He will eat no more bread."

"And you are like to eat none neither," said Lance; "for the works will
be presently stopped, and all of you turned off."

"Well, and what of it, Master Lance? As good play for nought as work
for nought. Here is four weeks we have scarce seen the colour of Sir
Geoffrey's coin; and you ask us to care whether he be dead or in life?
For you, that goes about, trotting upon your horse, and doing for work
what all men do for pleasure, it may be well enough; but it is another
matter to be leaving God's light, and burrowing all day and night in
darkness, like a toad in a hole--that's not to be done for nought, I
trow; and if Sir Geoffrey is dead, his soul will suffer for't; and if
he's alive, we'll have him in the Barmoot Court."

"Hark ye, gaffer," said Lance, "and take notice, my mates, all of you,"
for a considerable number of these rude and subterranean people had now
assembled to hear the discussion--"Has Sir Geoffrey, think you, ever put
a penny in his pouch out of this same Bonadventure mine?"

"I cannot say as I think he has," answered old Ditchley, the party who
maintained the controversy.

"Answer on your conscience, though it be but a leaden one. Do not you
know that he hath lost a good penny?"

"Why, I believe he may," said Gaffer Ditchley. "What then!--lose to-day,
win to-morrow--the miner must eat in the meantime."

"True; but what will you eat when Master Bridgenorth gets the land, that
will not hear of a mine being wrought on his own ground? Will he work on
at dead loss, think ye?" demanded trusty Lance.

"Bridgenorth?--he of Moultrassie Hall, that stopped the great Felicity
Work, on which his father laid out, some say, ten thousand pounds,
and never got in a penny? Why, what has he to do with Sir Geoffrey's
property down here at Bonadventure? It was never his, I trow."

"Nay, what do I know?" answered Lance, who saw the impression he had
made. "Law and debt will give him half Derbyshire, I think, unless you
stand by old Sir Geoffrey."

"But if Sir Geoffrey be dead," said Ditchley cautiously, "what good will
our standing by do to him?"

"I did not say he was dead, but only as bad as dead; in the hands of the
Roundheads--a prisoner up yonder, at his own Castle," said Lance;
"and will have his head cut off, like the good Earl of Derby's at
Bolton-le-Moors."

"Nay, then, comrades," said Gaffer Ditchley, "an it be as Master Lance
says, I think we should bear a hand for stout old Sir Geoffrey, against
a low-born mean-spirited fellow like Bridgenorth, who shut up a shaft
had cost thousands, without getting a penny profit on't. So hurra for
Sir Geoffrey, and down with the Rump! But hold ye a blink--hold"--(and
the waving of his hand stopped the commencing cheer)--"Hark ye, Master
Lance, it must be all over, for the beacon is as black as night; and you
know yourself that marks the Lord's death."

"It will kindle again in an instant," said Lance; internally adding, "I
pray to God it may!--It will kindle in an instant--lack of fuel, and the
confusion of the family."

"Ay, like enow, like enow," said Ditchley; "but I winna budge till I see
it blazing."

"Why then, there a-goes!" said Lance. "Thank thee, Cis--thank thee, my
good wench.--Believe your own eyes, my lads, if you will not believe
me; and now hurra for Peveril of the Peak--the King and his friends--and
down with Rumps and Roundheads!"

The sudden rekindling of the beacon had all the effect which Lance could
have desired upon the minds of his rude and ignorant hearers, who, in
their superstitious humour, had strongly associated the Polar-star of
Peveril with the fortunes of the family. Once moved, according to the
national character of their countrymen, they soon became enthusiastic;
and Lance found himself at the head of thirty stout fellows and upwards,
armed with their pick-axes, and ready to execute whatever task he should
impose on them.

Trusting to enter the Castle by the postern, which had served to
accommodate himself and other domestics upon an emergency, his only
anxiety was to keep his march silent; and he earnestly recommended to
his followers to reserve their shouts for the moment of the attack. They
had not advanced far on their road to the Castle, when Cisly Sellok met
them so breathless with haste, that the poor girl was obliged to throw
herself into Master Lance's arms.

"Stand up, my mettled wench," said he, giving her a sly kiss at the same
time, "and let us know what is going on up at the Castle."

"My lady bids you, as you would serve God and your master, not to
come up to the Castle, which can but make bloodshed; for she says Sir
Geoffrey is lawfully in hand, and that he must bide the issue; and that
he is innocent of what he is charged with, and is going up to speak for
himself before King and Council, and she goes up with him. And besides,
they have found out the postern, the Roundhead rogues; for two of them
saw me when I went out of door, and chased me; but I showed them a fair
pair of heels."

"As ever dashed dew from the cowslip," said Lance. "But what the foul
fiend is to be done? for if they have secured the postern, I know not
how the dickens we can get in."

"All is fastened with bolt and staple, and guarded with gun and pistol,
at the Castle," quoth Cisly; "and so sharp are they, that they nigh
caught me coming with my lady's message, as I told you. But my lady
says, if you could deliver her son, Master Julian, from Bridgenorth,
that she would hold it good service."

"What!" said Lance, "is young master at the Castle? I taught him to
shoot his first shaft. But how to get in!"

"He was at the Castle in the midst of the ruffle, but old Bridgenorth
has carried him down prisoner to the hall," answered Cisly. "There was
never faith nor courtesy in an old Puritan who never had pipe and tabor
in his house since it was built."

"Or who stopped a promising mine," said Ditchley, "to save a few
thousand pounds, when he might have made himself as rich as Lord of
Chatsworth, and fed a hundred good fellows all the whilst."

"Why, then," said Lance, "since you are all of a mind, we will go draw
the cover for the old badger; and I promise you that the Hall is not
like one of your real houses of quality where the walls are as thick as
whinstone-dikes, but foolish brick-work, that your pick-axes will work
through as if it were cheese. Huzza once more for Peveril of the Peak!
down with Bridgenorth, and all upstart cuckoldly Roundheads!"

Having indulged the throats of his followers with one buxom huzza, Lance
commanded them to cease their clamours, and proceeded to conduct them,
by such paths as seemed the least likely to be watched, to the courtyard
of Moultrassie Hall. On the road they were joined by several stout
yeoman farmers, either followers of the Peveril family, or friends to
the High Church and Cavalier party; most of whom, alarmed by the news
which began to fly fast through the neighbourhood, were armed with sword
and pistol.

Lance Outram halted his party, at the distance, as he himself described
it, of a flight-shot from the house, and advanced, alone, and in
silence, to reconnoitre; and having previously commanded Ditchley and
his subterranean allies to come to his assistance whenever he should
whistle, he crept cautiously forward, and soon found that those whom he
came to surprise, true to the discipline which had gained their party
such decided superiority during the Civil War, had posted a sentinel,
who paced through the courtyard, piously chanting a psalm-tune, while
his arms, crossed on his bosom, supported a gun of formidable length.

"Now, a true solder," said Lance Outram to himself, "would put a stop to
thy snivelling ditty, by making a broad arrow quiver in your heart, and
no great alarm given. But, dang it, I have not the right spirit for a
soldier--I cannot fight a man till my blood's up; and for shooting him
from behind a wall it is cruelly like to stalking a deer. I'll e'en face
him, and try what to make of him."

With this doughty resolution, and taking no farther care to conceal
himself, he entered the courtyard boldly, and was making forward to the
front door of the hall, as a matter of course. But the old Cromwellian,
who was on guard, had not so learned his duty. "Who goes there?--Stand,
friend--stand; or, verily, I will shoot thee to death!" were challenges
which followed each other quick, the last being enforced by the
levelling and presenting the said long-barrelled gun with which he was
armed.

"Why, what a murrain!" answered Lance. "Is it your fashion to
go a-shooting at this time o' night? Why, this is but a time for
bat-fowling."

"Nay, but hark thee, friend," said the experienced sentinel, "I am none
of those who do this work negligently. Thou canst not snare me with thy
crafty speech, though thou wouldst make it to sound simple in mine ear.
Of a verity I will shoot, unless thou tell thy name and business."

"Name!" said Lance; "why, what a dickens should it be but Robin
Round--honest Robin of Redham; and for business, an you must needs know,
I come on a message from some Parliament man, up yonder at the Castle,
with letters for worshipful Master Bridgenorth of Moultrassie Hall; and
this be the place, as I think; though why ye be marching up and down at
his door, like the sign of a Red Man, with your old firelock there, I
cannot so well guess."

"Give me the letters, my friend," said the sentinel, to whom this
explanation seemed very natural and probable, "and I will cause them
forthwith to be delivered into his worship's own hand."

Rummaging in his pockets, as if to pull out the letters which never
existed, Master Lance approached within the sentinel's piece, and,
before he was aware, suddenly seized him by the collar, whistled sharp
and shrill, and exerting his skill as a wrestler, for which he had been
distinguished in his youth, he stretched his antagonist on his back--the
musket for which they struggled going off in the fall.

The miners rushed into the courtyard at Lance's signal; and hopeless any
longer of prosecuting his design in silence, Lance commanded two of them
to secure the prisoner, and the rest to cheer loudly, and attack the
door of the house. Instantly the courtyard of the mansion rang with
the cry of "Peveril of the Peak for ever!" with all the abuse which the
Royalists had invented to cast upon the Roundheads, during so many years
of contention; and at the same time, while some assailed the door with
their mining implements, others directed their attack against the angle,
where a kind of porch joined to the main front of the building; and
there, in some degree protected by the projection of the wall, and of a
balcony which overhung the porch, wrought in more security, as well as
with more effect, than the others; for the doors being of oak, thickly
studded with nails, offered a more effectual resistance to violence than
the brick-work.

The noise of this hubbub on the outside, soon excited wild alarm and
tumult within. Lights flew from window to window, and voices were heard
demanding the cause of the attack; to which the party cries of those
who were in the courtyard afforded a sufficient, or at least the only
answer, which was vouchsafed. At length the window of a projecting
staircase opened, and the voice of Bridgenorth himself demanded
authoritatively what the tumult meant, and commanded the rioters to
desist, upon their own proper and immediate peril.

"We want our young master, you canting old thief," was the reply; "and
if we have him not instantly, the topmost stone of your house shall lie
as low as the foundation."

"We shall try that presently," said Bridgenorth; "for if there is
another blow struck against the walls of my peaceful house, I will fire
my carabine among you, and your blood be upon your own head. I have a
score of friends, well armed with musket and pistol, to defend my house;
and we have both the means and heart, with Heaven's assistance, to repay
any violence you can offer."

"Master Bridgenorth," replied Lance, who, though no soldier, was
sportsman enough to comprehend the advantage which those under cover,
and using firearms, must necessarily have over his party, exposed to
their aim, in a great measure, and without means of answering their
fire,--"Master Bridgenorth, let us crave parley with you, and fair
conditions. We desire to do you no evil, but will have back our young
master; it is enough that you have got our old one and his lady. It is
foul chasing to kill hart, hind, and fawn; and we will give you some
light on the subject in an instant."

This speech was followed by a great crash amongst the lower windows of
the house, according to a new species of attack which had been suggested
by some of the assailants.

"I would take the honest fellow's word, and let young Peveril go," said
one of the garrison, who, carelessly yawning, approached on the inside
of the post at which Bridgenorth had stationed himself.

"Are you mad?" said Bridgenorth; "or do you think me poor enough in
spirit to give up the advantages I now possess over the family of
Peveril, for the awe of a parcel of boors, whom the first discharge will
scatter like chaff before the whirlwind?"

"Nay," answered the speaker, who was the same individual that had struck
Julian by his resemblance to the man who called himself Ganlesse, "I
love a dire revenge, but we shall buy it somewhat too dear if these
rascals set the house on fire, as they are like to do, while you are
parleying from the window. They have thrown torches or firebrands
into the hall; and it is all our friends can do to keep the flame from
catching the wainscoting, which is old and dry."

"Now, may Heaven judge thee for thy lightness of spirit," answered
Bridgenorth; "one would think mischief was so properly thy element, that
to thee it was indifferent whether friend or foe was the sufferer."

So saying, he ran hastily downstairs towards the hall, into which,
through broken casements, and betwixt the iron bars, which prevented
human entrance, the assailants had thrust lighted straw, sufficient to
excite much smoke and some fire, and to throw the defenders of the house
into great confusion; insomuch, that of several shots fired hastily from
the windows, little or no damage followed to the besiegers, who, getting
warm on the onset, answered the hostile charges with loud shouts of
"Peveril for ever!" and had already made a practicable breach through
the brick-wall of the tenement, through which Lance, Ditchley, and
several of the most adventurous among their followers, made their way
into the hall.

The complete capture of the house remained, however, as far off as ever.
The defenders mixed with much coolness and skill that solemn and deep
spirit of enthusiasm which sets life at less than nothing, in comparison
to real or supposed duty. From the half-open doors which led into the
hall, they maintained a fire which began to grow fatal. One miner was
shot dead; three or four were wounded; and Lance scarce knew whether
he should draw his forces from the house, and leave it a prey to the
flames, or, making a desperate attack on the posts occupied by the
defenders, try to obtain unmolested possession of the place. At
this moment, his course of conduct was determined by an unexpected
occurrence, of which it is necessary to trace the cause.

Julian Peveril had been, like other inhabitants of Moultrassie Hall on
that momentous night, awakened by the report of the sentinel's musket,
followed by the shouts of his father's vassals and followers; of which
he collected enough to guess that Bridgenorth's house was attacked with
a view to his liberation. Very doubtful of the issue of such an attempt,
dizzy with the slumber from which he had been so suddenly awakened,
and confounded with the rapid succession of events to which he had been
lately a witness, he speedily put on a part of his clothes, and hastened
to the window of his apartment. From this he could see nothing to
relieve his anxiety, for it looked towards a quarter different from that
on which the attack was made. He attempted his door; it was locked
on the outside; and his perplexity and anxiety became extreme, when
suddenly the lock was turned, and in an underdress, hastily assumed
in the moment of alarm, her hair streaming on her shoulders, her eyes
gleaming betwixt fear and resolution, Alice Bridgenorth rushed into his
apartment, and seized his hand with the fervent exclamation, "Julian,
save my father!"

The light which she bore in her hand served to show those features which
could rarely have been viewed by any one without emotion, but which bore
an expression irresistible to a lover.

"Alice," he said, "what means this? What is the danger? Where is your
father?"

"Do not stay to question," she answered; "but if you would save him,
follow me!"

At the same time she led the way, with great speed, half-way down the
turret stair case which led to his room, thence turning through a side
door, along a long gallery, to a larger and wider stair, at the bottom
of which stood her father, surrounded by four or five of his friends,
scarce discernible through the smoke of the fire which began to
take hold in the hall, as well as that which arose from the repeated
discharge of their own firearms.

Julian saw there was not a moment to be lost, if he meant to be a
successful mediator. He rushed through Bridgenorth's party ere they were
aware of his approach, and throwing himself amongst the assailants
who occupied the hall in considerable numbers, he assured them of his
personal safety, and conjured them to depart.

"Not without a few more slices at the Rump, master," answered Lance. "I
am principally glad to see you safe and well; but here is Joe Rimegap
shot as dead as a buck in season, and more of us are hurt; and we'll
have revenge, and roast the Puritans like apples for lambswool!"

"Then you shall roast me along with them," said Julian; "for I vow to
God, I will not leave the hall, being bound by parole of honour to abide
with Major Bridgenorth till lawfully dismissed."

"Now out on you, an you were ten times a Peveril!" said Ditchley; "to
give so many honest fellows loss and labour on your behalf, and to
show them no kinder countenance.--I say, beat up the fire, and burn all
together!"

"Nay, nay; but peace, my masters, and hearken to reason," said Julian;
"we are all here in evil condition, and you will only make it worse by
contention. Do you help to put out this same fire, which will else cost
us all dear. Keep yourselves under arms. Let Master Bridgenorth and me
settle some grounds of accommodation, and I trust all will be favourably
made up on both sides; and if not, you shall have my consent and
countenance to fight it out; and come on it what will, I will never
forget this night's good service."

He then drew Ditchley and Lance Outram aside, while the rest stood
suspended at his appearance and words, and expressing the utmost
thanks and gratitude for what they had already done, urged them, as the
greatest favour which they could do towards him and his father's house,
to permit him to negotiate the terms of his emancipation from thraldom;
at the same time forcing on Ditchley five or six gold pieces, that the
brave lads of Bonadventure might drink his health; whilst to Lance he
expressed the warmest sense of his active kindness, but protested he
could only consider it as good service to his house, if he was allowed
to manage the matter after his own fashion.

"Why," answered Lance, "I am well out on it, Master Julian; for it is
matter beyond my mastery. All that I stand to is, that I will see you
safe out of this same Moultrassie Hall; for our old Naunt Ellesmere
will else give me but cold comfort when I come home. Truth is, I began
unwillingly; but when I saw the poor fellow Joe shot beside me, why, I
thought we should have some amends. But I put it all in your Honour's
hands."

During this colloquy both parties had been amicably employed in
extinguishing the fire, which might otherwise have been fatal to all.
It required a general effort to get it under; and both parties agreed
on the necessary labour, with as much unanimity, as if the water they
brought in leathern buckets from the well to throw upon the fire, had
some effect in slaking their mutual hostility.



CHAPTER XXVI

              Necessity--thou best of peacemakers,
              As well as surest prompter of invention--
              Help us to composition!
                                               --ANONYMOUS.

While the fire continued, the two parties laboured in active union, like
the jarring factions of the Jews during the siege of Jerusalem, when
compelled to unite in resisting an assault of the besiegers. But when
the last bucket of water had hissed on the few embers that continued
to glimmer--when the sense of mutual hostility, hitherto suspended by
a feeling of common danger, was in its turn rekindled--the parties,
mingled as they had hitherto been in one common exertion, drew off from
each other, and began to arrange themselves at opposite sides of the
hall, and handle their weapons, as if for a renewal of the fight.

Bridgenorth interrupted any farther progress of this menaced hostility.
"Julian Peveril," he said, "thou art free to walk thine own path, since
thou wilt not walk with me that road which is more safe, as well as more
honourable. But if you do by my counsel, you will get soon beyond the
British seas."

"Ralph Bridgenorth," said one of his friends, "this is but evil and
feeble conduct on thine own part. Wilt thou withhold thy hand from the
battle, to defend, from these sons of Belial, the captive of thy bow and
of thy spear? Surely we are enow to deal with them in the security
of the old serpent, until we essay whether the Lord will not give us
victory therein."

A hum of stern assent followed; and had not Ganlesse now interfered, the
combat would probably have been renewed. He took the advocate for war
apart into one of the window recesses, and apparently satisfied his
objections; for as he returned to his companions, he said to them, "Our
friend hath so well argued this matter, that, verily, since he is of the
same mind with the worthy Major Bridgenorth, I think the youth may be
set at liberty."

As no farther objection was offered, it only remained with Julian to
thank and reward those who had been active in his assistance. Having
first obtained from Bridgenorth a promise of indemnity to them for the
riot they had committed, a few kind words conveyed his sense of their
services; and some broad pieces, thrust into the hand of Lance Outram,
furnished the means for affording them a holiday. They would have
remained to protect him, but, fearful of farther disorder, and relying
entirely on the good faith of Major Bridgenorth, he dismissed them all
except Lance, whom he detained to attend upon him for a few minutes,
till he should depart from Moultrassie. But ere leaving the Hall, he
could not repress his desire to speak with Bridgenorth in secret; and
advancing towards him, he expressed such a desire.

Tacitly granting what was asked of him, Bridgenorth led the way to a
small summer saloon adjoining to the Hall, where, with his usual gravity
and indifference of manner, he seemed to await in silence what Peveril
had to communicate.

Julian found it difficult, where so little opening was afforded him, to
find a tone in which to open the subjects he had at heart, that should
be at once dignified and conciliating. "Major Bridgenorth," he said at
length, "you have been a son, and an affectionate one--You may conceive
my present anxiety--My father!--What has been designed for him?"

"What the law will," answered Bridgenorth. "Had he walked by the
counsels which I procured to be given to him, he might have dwelt safely
in the house of his ancestors. His fate is now beyond my control--far
beyond yours. It must be with him as his country decide."

"And my mother?" said Peveril.

"Will consult, as she has ever done, her own duty; and create her
own happiness by doing so," replied Bridgenorth. "Believe, my designs
towards your family are better than they may seem through the mist which
adversity has spread around your house. I may triumph as a man; but as
a man I must also remember, in my hour, that mine enemies have had
theirs.--Have you aught else to say?" he added, after a momentary pause.
"You have rejected once, yea, and again, the hand I stretched out to
you. Methinks little more remains between us."

These words, which seemed to cut short farther discussion, were calmly
spoken; so that though they appeared to discourage farther question,
they could not interrupt that which still trembled on Julian's tongue.
He made a step or two towards the door; then suddenly returned. "Your
daughter?" he said--"Major Bridgenorth--I should ask--I _do_ ask
forgiveness for mentioning her name--but may I not inquire after
her?--May I not express my wishes for her future happiness?"

"Your interest in her is but too flattering," said Bridgenorth; "but you
have already chosen your part; and you must be, in future, strangers
to each other. I may have wished it otherwise, but the hour of grace is
passed, during which your compliance with my advice might--I will speak
it plainly--have led to your union. For her happiness--if such a word
belongs to mortal pilgrimage--I shall care for it sufficiently. She
leaves this place to-day, under the guardianship of a sure friend."

"Not of----?" exclaimed Peveril, and stopped short; for he felt he had
no right to pronounce the name which came to his lips.

"Why do you pause?" said Bridgenorth; "a sudden thought is often a
wise, almost always an honest one. With whom did you suppose I meant to
entrust my child, that the idea called forth so anxious an expression?"

"Again I should ask your forgiveness," said Julian, "for meddling where
I have little right to interfere. But I saw a face here that is known to
me--the person calls himself Ganlesse--Is it with him that you mean to
entrust your daughter?"

"Even to the person who call himself Ganlesse," said Bridgenorth,
without expressing either anger or surprise.

"And do you know to whom you commit a charge so precious to all who know
her, and so dear to yourself?" said Julian.

"Do _you_ know, who ask me the question?" answered Bridgenorth.

"I own I do not," answered Julian; "but I have seen him in a character
so different from that he now wears, that I feel it my duty to warn you,
how you entrust the charge of your child to one who can alternately
play the profligate or the hypocrite, as it suits his own interest or
humour."

Bridgenorth smiled contemptuously. "I might be angry," he said, "with
the officious zeal which supposes that its green conceptions can
instruct my grey hairs; but, good Julian, I do but only ask from you the
liberal construction, that I, who have had much converse with mankind,
know with whom I trust what is dearest to me. He of whom thou speakest
hath one visage to his friends, though he may have others to the world,
living amongst those before whom honest features should be concealed
under a grotesque vizard; even as in the sinful sports of the day,
called maskings and mummeries, where the wise, if he show himself at
all, must be contented to play the apish and fantastic fool."

"I would only pray your wisdom to beware," said Julian, "of one, who,
as he has a vizard for others, may also have one which can disguise his
real features from you yourself."

"This is being over careful, young man," replied Bridgenorth, more
shortly than he had hitherto spoken; "if you would walk by my counsel,
you will attend to your own affairs, which, credit me, deserve all your
care, and leave others to the management of theirs."

This was too plain to be misunderstood; and Peveril was compelled to
take his leave of Bridgenorth, and of Moultrassie Hall, without farther
parley or explanation. The reader may imagine how oft he looked back,
and tried to guess, amongst the lights which continued to twinkle in
various parts of the building, which sparkle it was that gleamed from
the bower of Alice. When the road turned into another direction, he sunk
into deep reverie, from which he was at length roused by the voice of
Lance, who demanded where he intended to quarter for the night. He
was unprepared to answer the question, but the honest keeper himself
prompted a solution of the problem, by requesting that he would occupy
a spare bed in the Lodge; to which Julian willingly agreed. The rest
of the inhabitants had retired to rest when they entered; but Dame
Ellesmere, apprised by a messenger of her nephew's hospitable intent,
had everything in the best readiness she could, for the son of her
ancient patron. Peveril betook himself to rest; and, notwithstanding
so many subjects of anxiety, slept soundly till the morning was far
advanced.

His slumbers were first broken by Lance, who had been long up, and
already active in his service. He informed him, that his horse, arms,
and small cloak-bag had been sent from the Castle by one of Major
Bridgenorth's servants, who brought a letter, discharging from the
Major's service the unfortunate Deborah Debbitch, and prohibiting her
return to the Hall. The officer of the House of Commons, escorted by a
strong guard, had left Martindale Castle that morning early, travelling
in Sir Geoffrey's carriage--his lady being also permitted to attend on
him. To this he had to add, that the property at the Castle was taken
possession of by Master Win-the-fight, the attorney, from Chesterfield,
with other officers of law, in name of Major Bridgenorth, a large
creditor of the unfortunate knight.

Having told these Job's tidings, Lance paused; and, after a moment's
hesitation, declared he was resolved to quit the country, and go up to
London along with his young master. Julian argued the point with him;
and insisted he had better stay to take charge of his aunt, in case she
should be disturbed by these strangers. Lance replied, "She would
have one with her, who would protect her well enough; for there was
wherewithal to buy protection amongst them. But for himself, he was
resolved to follow Master Julian to the death."

Julian heartily thanked him for his love.

"Nay, it is not altogether out of love neither," said Lance, "though I
am as loving as another; but it is, as it were, partly out of fear,
lest I be called over the coals for last night's matter; for as for the
miners, they will never trouble them, as the creatures only act after
their kind."

"I will write in your behalf to Major Bridgenorth, who is bound to
afford you protection, if you have such fear," said Julian.

"Nay, for that matter, it is not altogether fear, more than altogether
love," answered the enigmatical keeper, "although it hath a tasting of
both in it. And, to speak plain truth, thus it is--Dame Debbitch and
Naunt Ellesmere have resolved to set up their horses together, and have
made up all their quarrels. And of all ghosts in the world, the worst
is, when an old true-love comes back to haunt a poor fellow like me.
Mistress Deborah, though distressed enow for the loss of her place, has
been already speaking of a broken sixpence, or some such token, as if
a man could remember such things for so many years, even if she had not
gone over seas, like woodcock, in the meanwhile."

Julian could scarce forbear laughing. "I thought you too much of a man,
Lance, to fear a woman marrying you whether you would or no."

"It has been many an honest man's luck, for all that," said Lance; "and
a woman in the very house has so many deuced opportunities. And then
there would be two upon one; for Naunt, though high enough when any of
_your_ folks are concerned, hath some look to the main chance; and it
seems Mistress Deb is as rich as a Jew."

"And you, Lance," said Julian, "have no mind to marry for cake and
pudding."

"No, truly, master," answered Lance, "unless I knew of what dough they
were baked. How the devil do I know how the jade came by so much? And
then if she speaks of tokens and love-passages, let her be the same
tight lass I broke the sixpence with, and I will be the same true lad to
her. But I never heard of true love lasting ten years; and hers, if it
lives at all, must be nearer twenty."

"Well, then, Lance," said Julian, "since you are resolved on the thing,
we will go to London together; where, if I cannot retain you in my
service, and if my father recovers not these misfortunes, I will
endeavour to promote you elsewhere."

"Nay, nay," said Lance, "I trust to be back to bonny Martindale before
it is long, and to keep the greenwood, as I have been wont to do; for,
as to Dame Debbitch, when they have not me for their common butt,
Naunt and she will soon bend bows on each other. So here comes old Dame
Ellesmere with your breakfast. I will but give some directions about
the deer to Rough Ralph, my helper, and saddle my forest pony, and your
honour's horse, which is no prime one, and we will be ready to trot."

Julian was not sorry for this addition to his establishment; for Lance
had shown himself, on the preceding evening, a shrewd and bold fellow,
and attached to his master. He therefore set himself to reconcile his
aunt to parting with her nephew for some time. Her unlimited devotion
for "the family," readily induced the old lady to acquiesce in his
proposal, though not without a gentle sigh over the ruins of a castle in
the air, which was founded on the well-saved purse of Mistress Deborah
Debbitch. "At any rate," she thought, "it was as well that Lance should
be out of the way of that bold, long-legged, beggarly trollop, Cis
Sellok." But to poor Deb herself, the expatriation of Lance, whom she
had looked to as a sailor to a port under his lee, for which he can run,
if weather becomes foul, was a second severe blow, following close on
her dismissal from the profitable service of Major Bridgenorth.

Julian visited the disconsolate damsel, in hopes of gaining some light
upon Bridgenorth's projects regarding his daughter--the character of
this Ganlesse--and other matters, with which her residence in the
family might have made her acquainted; but he found her by far too
much troubled in mind to afford him the least information. The name
of Ganlesse she did not seem to recollect--that of Alice rendered her
hysterical--that of Bridgenorth, furious. She numbered up the various
services she had rendered in the family--and denounced the plague
of swartness to the linen--of leanness to the poultry--of dearth and
dishonour to the housekeeping--and of lingering sickness and early death
to Alice;--all which evils, she averred, had only been kept off by her
continued, watchful, and incessant cares.--Then again turning to the
subject of the fugitive Lance, she expressed such a total contempt of
that mean-spirited fellow, in a tone between laughing and crying, as
satisfied Julian it was not a topic likely to act as a sedative; and
that, therefore, unless he made a longer stay than the urgent state of
his affairs permitted, he was not likely to find Mistress Deborah in
such a state of composure as might enable him to obtain from her any
rational or useful information.

Lance, who good-naturedly took upon himself the whole burden of Dame
Debbitch's mental alienation, or "taking on," as such fits of _passio
hysterica_ are usually termed in the country, had too much feeling to
present himself before the victim of her own sensibility, and of his
obduracy. He therefore intimated to Julian, by his assistant Ralph, that
the horses stood saddled behind the Lodge, and that all was ready for
their departure.

Julian took the hint, and they were soon mounted, and clearing the road,
at a rapid trot, in the direction of London; but not by the most usual
route. Julian calculated that the carriage in which his father was
transported would travel slowly; and it was his purpose, if possible,
to get to London before it should arrive there, in order to have time to
consult, with the friends of his family, what measures should be taken
in his father's behalf.

In this manner they advanced a day's journey towards London; at the
conclusion of which, Julian found his resting-place in a small inn upon
the road. No one came, at the first call, to attend upon the guests and
their horses, although the house was well lighted up; and there was a
prodigious chattering in the kitchen, such as can only be produced by
a French cook when his mystery is in the very moment of projection. It
instantly occurred to Julian--so rare was the ministry of these Gallic
artists at that time--that the clamour he heard must necessarily be
produced by the Sieur Chaubert, on whose _plats_ he had lately feasted,
along with Smith and Ganlesse.

One, or both of these, were therefore probably in the little inn; and
if so, he might have some opportunity to discover their real purpose
and character. How to avail himself of such a meeting he knew not; but
chance favoured him more than he could have expected.

"I can scarce receive you, gentlefolks," said the landlord, who at
length appeared at the door; "here be a sort of quality in my house
to-night, whom less than all will not satisfy; nor all neither, for that
matter."

"We are but plain fellows, landlord," said Julian; "we are bound for
Moseley-market, and can get no farther to-night. Any hole will serve us,
no matter what."

"Why," said the honest host, "if that be the case, I must e'en put one
of you behind the bar, though the gentlemen have desired to be private;
the other must take heart of grace and help me at the tap."

"The tap for me," said Lance, without waiting his master's decision. "It
is an element which I could live and die in."

"The bar, then, for me," said Peveril; and stepping back, whispered to
Lance to exchange cloaks with him, desirous, if possible, to avoid being
recognised.

The exchange was made in an instant; and presently afterwards the
landlord brought a light; and as he guided Julian into his hostelry,
cautioned him to sit quiet in the place where he should stow him; and if
he was discovered, to say that he was one of the house, and leave him
to make it good. "You will hear what the gallants say," he added; "but I
think thou wilt carry away but little on it; for when it is not French,
it is Court gibberish; and that is as hard to construe."

The bar, into which our hero was inducted on these conditions, seemed
formed, with respect to the public room, upon the principle of a
citadel, intended to observe and bridle a rebellious capital. Here sat
the host on the Saturday evenings, screened from the observation of
his guests, yet with the power of observing both their wants and their
behaviour, and also that of overhearing their conversation--a practice
which he was much addicted to, being one of that numerous class of
philanthropists, to whom their neighbours' business is of as much
consequence, or rather more, than their own.

Here he planted his new guest, with a repeated caution not to disturb
the gentlemen by speech or motion; and a promise that he should be
speedily accommodated with a cold buttock of beef, and a tankard of
home-brewed. And here he left him with no other light than that which
glimmered from the well-illuminated apartment within, through a sort of
shuttle which accommodated the landlord with a view into it.

This situation, inconvenient enough in itself, was, on the present
occasion, precisely what Julian would have selected. He wrapped himself
in the weather-beaten cloak of Lance Outram, which had been stained, by
age and weather, into a thousand variations from its original Lincoln
green; and with as little noise as he could, set himself to observe the
two inmates, who had engrossed to themselves the whole of the apartment,
which was usually open to the public. They sat by a table well covered
with such costly rarities, as could only have been procured by much
forecast, and prepared by the exquisite Mons. Chaubert; to which both
seemed to do much justice.

Julian had little difficulty in ascertaining, that one of the travellers
was, as he had anticipated, the master of the said Chaubert, or, as he
was called by Ganlesse, Smith; the other, who faced him, he had never
seen before. This last was dressed like a gallant of the first order.
His periwig, indeed, as he travelled on horseback, did not much exceed
in size the bar-wig of a modern lawyer; but then the essence which he
shook from it with every motion, impregnated a whole apartment, which
was usually only perfumed by that vulgar herb, tobacco. His riding-coat
was laced in the newest and most courtly style; and Grammont himself
might have envied the embroidery of his waistcoat, and the peculiar cut
of his breeches, which buttoned above the knee, permitting the shape
of a very handsome leg to be completely seen. This, by the proprietor
thereof, had been stretched out upon a stool, and he contemplated its
proportions, from time to time, with infinite satisfaction.

The conversation between these worthies was so interesting, that we
propose to assign to it another chapter.



CHAPTER XXVII

         ----This is some creature of the elements,
         Most like your sea-gull. He can wheel and whistle
         His screaming song, e'en when the storm is loudest--
         Take for his sheeted couch the restless foam
         Of the wild wave-crest--slumber in the calm,
         And daily with the storm. Yet 'tis a gull,
         An arrant gull, with all this.
                                               --THE CHAMPION.

"And here is to thee," said the fashionable gallant whom we have
described, "honest Tom; and a cup of welcome to thee out of Looby-land.
Why, thou hast been so long in the country, that thou hast got a
bumpkinly clod-compelling sort of look thyself. That greasy doublet fits
thee as if it were thy reserved Sunday's apparel; and the points seem as
if they were stay-laces bought for thy true-love Marjory. I marvel thou
canst still relish a ragout. Methinks now, to a stomach bound in such a
jacket, eggs and bacon were a diet more conforming."

"Rally away, my good lord, while wit lasts," answered his companion;
"yours is not the sort of ammunition which will bear much expenditure.
Or rather, tell me news from Court, since we have met so opportunely."

"You would have asked me these an hour ago," said the lord, "had not
your very soul been under Chaubert's covered dishes. You remembered
King's affairs will keep cool, and _entre-mets_ must be eaten hot."

"Not so, my lord; I only kept common talk whilst that eavesdropping
rascal of a landlord was in the room; so that, now the coast is clear
once more, I pray you for news from Court."

"The Plot is nonsuited," answered the courtier--"Sir George Wakeman
acquitted--the witnesses discredited by the jury--Scroggs, who ranted on
one side, is now ranting on t'other."

"Rat the Plot, Wakeman, witnesses, Papists, and Protestants, all
together! Do you think I care for such trash as that?--Till the Plot
comes up the Palace backstair, and gets possession of old Rowley's own
imagination, I care not a farthing who believes or disbelieves. I hang
by him will bear me out."

"Well, then," said the lord, "the next news is Rochester's disgrace."

"Disgraced!--How, and for what? The morning I came off he stood as fair
as any one."

"That's over--the epitaph[*] has broken his neck--and now he may write
one for his own Court favour, for it is dead and buried."

[*] The epitaph alluded to is the celebrated epigram made by Rochester
    on Charles II. It was composed at the King's request, who
    nevertheless resented its poignancy.

    The lines are well known:--

     "Here lies our sovereign lord the King,
        Whose word no man relies on,
      Who never said a foolish thing,
        And never did a wise one."

"The epitaph!" exclaimed Tom; "why, I was by when it was made; and it
passed for an excellent good jest with him whom it was made upon."

"Ay, so it did amongst ourselves," answered his companion; "but it got
abroad, and had a run like a mill-race. It was in every coffee-house,
and in half the diurnals. Grammont translated it into French too; and
there is no laughing at so sharp a jest, when it is dinned into your
ears on all sides. So disgraced is the author; and but for his Grace of
Buckingham, the Court would be as dull as my Lord Chancellor's wig."

"Or as the head it covers.--Well, my lord, the fewer at Court, there
is the more room for those that can bustle there. But there are two
mainstrings of Shaftesbury's fiddle broken--the Popish Plot fallen into
discredit--and Rochester disgraced. Changeful times--but here is to the
little man who shall mend them."

"I apprehend you," replied his lordship; "and meet your health with my
love. Trust me, my lord loves you, and longs for you.--Nay, I have done
you reason.--By your leave, the cup is with me. Here is to his buxom
Grace of Bucks."

"As blithe a peer," said Smith, "as ever turned night to day. Nay, it
shall be an overflowing bumper, an you will; and I will drink it _super
naculum_.--And how stands the great Madam?"[*]

[*] The Duchess of Portsmouth, Charles II.'s favourite mistress; very
    unpopular at the time of the Popish Plot, as well from her
    religion as her country, being a Frenchwoman and a Catholic.

"Stoutly against all change," answered the lord--"Little Anthony[*] can
make nought of her."

[*] Anthony Ashley Cooper, Earl of Shaftesbury, the politician and
    intriguer of the period.

"Then he shall bring her influence to nought. Hark in thine ear. Thou
knowest----" (Here he whispered so low that Julian could not catch the
sound.)

"Know him?" answered the other--"Know Ned of the Island?--To be sure I
do."

"He is the man that shall knot the great fiddle-strings that have
snapped. Say I told you so; and thereupon I give thee his health."

"And thereupon I pledge thee," said the young nobleman, "which on any
other argument I were loath to do--thinking of Ned as somewhat the cut
of a villain."

"Granted, man--granted," said the other,--"a very thorough-paced
rascal; but able, my lord, able and necessary; and, in this plan,
indispensable.--Pshaw!--This champagne turns stronger as it gets older,
I think."

"Hark, mine honest fellow," said the courtier; "I would thou wouldst
give me some item of all this mystery. Thou hast it, I know; for whom do
men entrust but trusty Chiffinch?"

"It is your pleasure to say so, my lord," answered Smith (whom we shall
hereafter call by his real name of Chiffinch) with such drunken gravity,
for his speech had become a little altered by his copious libations in
the course of the evening,--"few men know more, or say less, than I do;
and it well becomes my station. _Conticuere omnes_, as the grammar hath
it--all men should learn to hold their tongue."

"Except with a friend, Tom--except with a friend. Thou wilt never be
such a dogbolt as to refuse a hint to a friend? Come, you get too wise
and statesman-like for your office.--The ligatures of thy most peasantly
jacket there are like to burst with thy secret. Come, undo a button,
man; it is for the health of thy constitution--Let out a reef; and let
thy chosen friend know what is meditating. Thou knowest I am as true as
thyself to little Anthony, if he can but get uppermost."

"_If_, thou lordly infidel!" said Chiffinch--"talk'st thou to me of
_ifs?_--There is neither _if_ nor _and_ in the matter. The great Madam
shall be pulled a peg down--the great Plot screwed a peg or two up. Thou
knowest Ned?--Honest Ned had a brother's death to revenge."

"I have heard so," said the nobleman; "and that his persevering
resentment of that injury was one of the few points which seemed to be a
sort of heathenish virtue in him."

"Well," continued Chiffinch, "in manoeuvring to bring about this
revenge, which he hath laboured at many a day, he hath discovered a
treasure."

"What!--In the Isle of Man?" said his companion.

"Assure yourself of it.--She is a creature so lovely, that she needs
but be seen to put down every one of the favourites, from Portsmouth and
Cleveland down to that threepenny baggage, Mistress Nelly."

"By my word, Chiffinch," said my lord, "that is a reinforcement after
the fashion of thine own best tactics. But bethink thee, man! To make
such a conquest, there wants more than a cherry-cheek and a bright
eye--there must be wit--wit, man, and manners, and a little sense
besides, to keep influence when it is gotten."

"Pshaw! will you tell me what goes to this vocation?" said Chiffinch.
"Here, pledge me her health in a brimmer.--Nay, you shall do it on
knees, too.--Never such a triumphant beauty was seen--I went to church
on purpose, for the first time these ten years--Yet I lie, it was not to
church neither--it was to chapel."

"To chapel!--What the devil, is she a Puritan?" exclaimed the other
courtier.

"To be sure she is. Do you think I would be accessory to bringing a
Papist into favour in these times, when, as my good Lord said in
the House, there should not be a Popish manservant, nor a Popish
maid-servant, not so much as dog or cat, left to bark or mew about the
King!"[*]

[*] Such was the extravagance of Shaftesbury's eloquence.

"But consider, Chiffie, the dislikelihood of her pleasing," said the
noble courtier.--"What! old Rowley, with his wit, and love of wit--his
wildness, and love of wildness--he form a league with a silly,
scrupulous, unidea'd Puritan!--Not if she were Venus."

"Thou knowest nought of the matter," answered Chiffinch. "I tell thee,
the fine contrast between the seeming saint and falling sinner will
give zest to the old gentleman's inclination. If I do not know him, who
does?--Her health, my lord, on your bare knee, as you would live to be
of the bedchamber."

"I pledge you most devoutly," answered his friend. "But you have not
told me how the acquaintance is to be made; for you cannot, I think,
carry her to Whitehall."

"Aha, my dear lord, you would have the whole secret! but that I cannot
afford--I can spare a friend a peep at my ends, but no one must look on
the means by which they are achieved."--So saying, he shook his drunken
head most wisely.

The villainous design which this discourse implied, and which his heart
told him was designed against Alice Bridgenorth, stirred Julian so
extremely, that he involuntarily shifted his posture, and laid his hand
on his sword hilt.

Chiffinch heard a rustling, and broke off, exclaiming, "Hark!--Zounds,
something moved--I trust I have told the tale to no ears but thine."

"I will cut off any which have drunk in but a syllable of thy words,"
said the nobleman; and raising a candle, he took a hasty survey of the
apartment. Seeing nothing that could incur his menaced resentment, he
replaced the light and continued:--"Well, suppose the Belle Louise de
Querouaille[*] shoots from her high station in the firmament, how will
you rear up the downfallen Plot again--for without that same Plot, think
of it as thou wilt, we have no change of hands--and matters remain
as they were, with a Protestant courtezan instead of a Papist--Little
Anthony can but little speed without that Plot of his--I believe, in my
conscience, he begot it himself."[+]

[*] Charles's principal mistress _en titre_. She was created Duchess
    of Portsmouth.

[+] Shaftesbury himself is supposed to have said that he knew not who
    was the inventor of the Plot, but that he himself had all the
    advantage of the discovery.

"Whoever begot it," said Chiffinch, "he hath adopted it; and a thriving
babe it has been to him. Well, then, though it lies out of my way, I
will play Saint Peter again--up with t'other key, and unlock t'other
mystery."

"Now thou speakest like a good fellow; and I will, with my own hands,
unwire this fresh flask, to begin a brimmer to the success of thy
achievement."

"Well, then," continued the communicative Chiffinch, "thou knowest that
they have long had a nibbling at the old Countess of Derby.--So Ned
was sent down--he owes her an old accompt, thou knowest--with private
instructions to possess himself of the island, if he could, by help of
some of his old friends. He hath ever kept up spies upon her; and happy
man was he, to think his hour of vengeance was come so nigh. But he
missed his blow; and the old girl being placed on her guard, was soon
in a condition to make Ned smoke for it. Out of the island he came with
little advantage for having entered it; when, by some means--for
the devil, I think, stands ever his friend--he obtained information
concerning a messenger, whom her old Majesty of Man had sent to London
to make party in her behalf. Ned stuck himself to this fellow--a raw,
half-bred lad, son of an old blundering Cavalier of the old stamp, down
in Derbyshire--and so managed the swain, that he brought him to the
place where I was waiting, in anxious expectation of the pretty one I
told you of. By Saint Anthony, for I will swear by no meaner oath, I
stared when I saw this great lout--not that the fellow is so ill-looked
neither--I stared like--like--good now, help me to a simile."

"Like Saint Anthony's pig, an it were sleek," said the young lord; "your
eyes, Chiffie, have the very blink of one. But what hath all this to do
with the Plot? Hold, I have had wine enough."

"You shall not balk me," said Chiffinch; and a jingling was heard, as
if he were filling his comrade's glass with a very unsteady hand.
"Hey--What the devil is the matter?--I used to carry my glass
steady--very steady."

"Well, but this stranger?"

"Why, he swept at game and ragout as he would at spring beef or summer
mutton. Never saw so unnurtured a cub--Knew no more what he ate than an
infidel--I cursed him by my gods when I saw Chaubert's _chef-d' oeuvres_
glutted down so indifferent a throat. We took the freedom to spice his
goblet a little, and ease him of his packet of letters; and the fool
went on his way the next morning with a budget artificially filled with
grey paper. Ned would have kept him, in hopes to have made a witness of
him, but the boy was not of that mettle."

"How will you prove your letters?" said the courtier.

"La you there, my lord," said Chiffinch; "one may see with half an
eye, for all your laced doublet, that you have been of the family of
Furnival's, before your brother's death sent you to Court. How prove the
letters?--Why, we have but let the sparrow fly with a string round his
foot.--We have him again so soon as we list."

"Why, thou art turned a very Machiavel, Chiffinch," said his friend.
"But how if the youth proved restive?--I have heard these Peak men have
hot heads and hard hands."

"Trouble not yourself--that was cared for, my lord," said
Chiffinch--"his pistols might bark, but they could not bite."

"Most exquisite Chiffinch, thou art turned micher as well as
padder--Canst both rob a man and kidnap him!"

"Micher and padder--what terms be these?" said Chiffinch. "Methinks
these are sounds to lug out upon. You will have me angry to the degree
of falling foul--robber and kidnapper!"

"You mistake verb for noun-substantive," replied his lordship; "I said
_rob_ and _kidnap_--a man may do either once and away without being
professional."

"But not without spilling a little foolish noble blood, or some such
red-coloured gear," said Chiffinch, starting up.

"Oh yes," said his lordship; "all this may be without these dire
consequences, and as you will find to-morrow, when you return to
England; for at present you are in the land of Champagne, Chiffie; and
that you may continue so, I drink thee this parting cup to line thy
nightcap."

"I do not refuse your pledge," said Chiffinch; "but I drink to thee
in dudgeon and in hostility--It is cup of wrath, and a gage of battle.
To-morrow, by dawn, I will have thee at point of fox, wert thou the last
of the Savilles.--What the devil! think you I fear you because you are a
lord?"

"Not so, Chiffinch," answered his companion. "I know thou fearest
nothing but beans and bacon, washed down with bumpkin-like beer.--Adieu,
sweet Chiffinch--to bed--Chiffinch--to bed."

So saying, he lifted a candle, and left the apartment. And Chiffinch,
whom the last draught had nearly overpowered, had just strength enough
left to do the same, muttering, as he staggered out, "Yes, he shall
answer it.--Dawn of day? D--n me--It is come already--Yonder's the
dawn--No, d--n me, 'tis the fire glancing on the cursed red lattice--It
is the smell of the brandy in this cursed room--It could not be the
wine--Well, old Rowley shall send me no more errands to the country
again--Steady, steady."

So saying, he reeled out of the apartment, leaving Peveril to think over
the extraordinary conversation he had just heard.

The name of Chiffinch, the well-known minister of Charles's pleasures,
was nearly allied to the part which he seemed about to play in the
present intrigue; but that Christian, whom he had always supposed
a Puritan as strict as his brother-in-law, Bridgenorth, should be
associated with him in a plot so infamous, seemed alike unnatural and
monstrous. The near relationship might blind Bridgenorth, and warrant
him in confiding his daughter to such a man's charge; but what a wretch
he must be, that could coolly meditate such an ignominious abuse of
his trust! In doubt whether he could credit for a moment the tale which
Chiffinch had revealed, he hastily examined his packet, and found that
the sealskin case in which it had been wrapt up, now only contained an
equal quantity of waste paper. If he had wanted farther confirmation,
the failure of the shot which he fired at Bridgenorth, and of which the
wadding only struck him, showed that his arms had been tampered with.
He examined the pistol which still remained charged, and found that the
ball had been drawn. "May I perish," said he to himself, "amid these
villainous intrigues, but thou shalt be more surely loaded, and
to better purpose! The contents of these papers may undo my
benefactress--their having been found on me, may ruin my father--that
I have been the bearer of them, may cost, in these fiery times, my
own life--that I care least for--they form a branch of the scheme laid
against the honour and happiness of a creature so innocent, that it is
almost sin to think of her within the neighbourhood of such infamous
knaves. I will recover the letters at all risks--But how?--that is to
be thought on.--Lance is stout and trusty; and when a bold deed is once
resolved upon, there never yet lacked the means of executing it."

His host now entered, with an apology for his long absence; and after
providing Peveril with some refreshments, invited him to accept, for his
night-quarters, the accommodation of a remote hayloft, which he was to
share with his comrade; professing, at the same time, he could hardly
have afforded them this courtesy, but out of deference to the exquisite
talents of Lance Outram, as assistant at the tap; where, indeed, it
seems probable that he, as well as the admiring landlord, did that
evening contrive to drink nearly as much liquor as they drew.

But Lance was a seasoned vessel, on whom liquor made no lasting
impression; so that when Peveril awaked that trusty follower at dawn, he
found him cool enough to comprehend and enter into the design which he
expressed, of recovering the letters which had been abstracted from his
person.

Having considered the whole matter with much attention, Lance shrugged,
grinned, and scratched his head; and at length manfully expressed his
resolution. "Well, my naunt speaks truth in her old saw----

 'He that serves Peveril maunna be slack,
  Neither for weather, nor yet for wrack.'

And then again, my good dame was wont to say, that whenever Peveril was
in a broil, Outram was in a stew; so I will never bear a base mind, but
even hold a part with you as my fathers have done with yours, for four
generations, whatever more."

"Spoken like a most gallant Outram," said Julian; "and were we but rid
of that puppy lord and his retinue, we two could easily deal with the
other three."

"Two Londoners and a Frenchman?" said Lance,--"I would take them in mine
own hand. And as for my Lord Saville, as they call him, I heard word
last night that he and all his men of gilded gingerbread--that looked at
an honest fellow like me, as if they were the ore and I the dross--are
all to be off this morning to some races, or such-like junketings, about
Tutbury. It was that brought him down here, where he met this other
civet-cat by accident."

In truth, even as Lance spoke, a trampling was heard of horses in the
yard; and from the hatch of their hayloft they beheld Lord Saville's
attendants mustered, and ready to set out as soon as he could make his
appearance.

"So ho, Master Jeremy," said one of the fellows, to a sort of principal
attendant, who just came out of the house, "methinks the wine has proved
a sleeping cup to my lord this morning."

"No," answered Jeremy, "he hath been up before light writing letters for
London; and to punish thy irreverence, thou, Jonathan, shalt be the man
to ride back with them."

"And so to miss the race?" said Jonathan sulkily; "I thank you for this
good turn, good Master Jeremy; and hang me if I forget it."

Farther discussion was cut short by the appearance of the young
nobleman, who, as he came out of the inn, said to Jeremy, "These be the
letters. Let one of the knaves ride to London for life and death, and
deliver them as directed; and the rest of them get to horse and follow
me."

Jeremy gave Jonathan the packet with a malicious smile; and the
disappointed groom turned his horse's head sullenly towards London,
while Lord Saville, and the rest of his retinue, rode briskly off in
an opposite direction, pursued by the benedictions of the host and his
family, who stood bowing and courtesying at the door, in gratitude,
doubtless, for the receipt of an unconscionable reckoning.

It was full three hours after their departure, that Chiffinch lounged
into the room in which they had supped, in a brocade nightgown, and
green velvet cap, turned up with the most costly Brussels lace. He
seemed but half awake; and it was with drowsy voice that he called for
a cup of cold small beer. His manner and appearance were those of a man
who had wrestled hard with Bacchus on the preceding evening, and had
scarce recovered the effects of his contest with the jolly god.
Lance, instructed by his master to watch the motions of the courtier,
officiously attended with the cooling beverage he called for, pleading,
as an excuse to the landlord, his wish to see a Londoner in his
morning-gown and cap.

No sooner had Chiffinch taken his morning draught, than he inquired
after Lord Saville.

"His lordship was mounted and away by peep of dawn," was Lance's reply.

"What the devil!" exclaimed Chiffinch; "why, this is scarce
civil.--What! off for the races with his whole retinue?"

"All but one," replied Lance, "whom his lordship sent back to London
with letters."

"To London with letters!" said Chiffinch. "Why, I am for London, and
could have saved his express a labour.--But stop--hold--I begin to
recollect--d----n, can I have blabbed?--I have--I have--I remember it
all now--I have blabbed; and to the very weasel of the Court, who sucks
the yelk out of every man's secret. Furies and fire--that my afternoons
should ruin my mornings thus!--I must turn boon companion and good
fellow in my cups--and have my confidences and my quarrels--my friends
and my enemies, with a plague to me, as if any one could do a man much
good or harm but his own self. His messenger must be stopped, though--I
will put a spoke in his wheel.--Hark ye, drawer-fellow--call my groom
hither--call Tom Beacon."

Lance obeyed; but failed not, when he had introduced the domestic, to
remain in the apartment, in order to hear what should pass betwixt him
and his master.

"Hark ye, Tom," said Chiffinch, "here are five pieces for you."

"What's to be done now, I trow?" said Tom, without even the ceremony of
returning thanks, which he was probably well aware would not be received
even in part payment of the debt he was incurring.

"Mount your fleet nag, Tom--ride like the devil--overtake the groom whom
Lord Saville despatched to London this morning--lame his horse--break
his bones--fill him as drunk as the Baltic sea; or do whatever may best
and most effectively stop his journey.--Why does the lout stand there
without answering me? Dost understand me?"

"Why, ay, Master Chiffinch," said Tom; "and so I am thinking doth this
honest man here, who need not have heard quite so much of your counsel,
an it had been your will."

"I am bewitched this morning," said Chiffinch to himself, "or else the
champagne runs in my head still. My brain has become the very lowlands
of Holland--a gill-cup would inundate it--Hark thee, fellow," he added,
addressing Lance, "keep my counsel--there is a wager betwixt Lord
Saville and me, which of us shall first have a letter in London. Here
is to drink my health, and bring luck on my side. Say nothing of it; but
help Tom to his nag.--Tom, ere thou startest come for thy credentials--I
will give thee a letter to the Duke of Bucks, that may be evidence thou
wert first in town."

Tom Beacon ducked and exited; and Lance, after having made some show
of helping him to horse, ran back to tell his master the joyful
intelligence, that a lucky accident had abated Chiffinch's party to
their own number.

Peveril immediately ordered his horses to be got ready; and, so soon
as Tom Beacon was despatched towards London, on a rapid trot, had the
satisfaction to observe Chiffinch, with his favourite Chaubert, mount
to pursue the same journey, though at a more moderate rate. He permitted
them to attain such a distance, that they might be dogged without
suspicion; then paid his reckoning, mounted his horse, and followed,
keeping his men carefully in view, until he should come to a place
proper for the enterprise which he meditated.

It had been Peveril's intention, that when they came to some solitary
part of the road, they should gradually mend their pace, until they
overtook Chaubert--that Lance Outram should then drop behind, in order
to assail the man of spits and stoves, while he himself, spurring
onwards, should grapple with Chiffinch. But this scheme presupposed that
the master and servant should travel in the usual manner--the latter
riding a few yards behind the former. Whereas, such and so interesting
were the subjects of discussion betwixt Chiffinch and the French cook,
that, without heeding the rules of etiquette, they rode on together,
amicably abreast, carrying on a conversation on the mysteries of the
table, which the ancient Comus, or a modern gastronome, might have
listened to with pleasure. It was therefore necessary to venture on them
both at once.

For this purpose, when they saw a long tract of road before them,
unvaried by the least appearance of man, beast, or human habitation,
they began to mend their pace, that they might come up to Chiffinch,
without giving him any alarm, by a sudden and suspicious increase of
haste. In this manner they lessened the distance which separated them
till they were within about twenty yards, when Peveril, afraid that
Chiffinch might recognise him at a nearer approach, and so trust to his
horse's heels, made Lance the signal to charge.

At the sudden increase of their speed, and the noise with which it was
necessarily attended, Chiffinch looked around, but had time to do no
more, for Lance, who had pricked his pony (which was much more speedy
than Julian's horse) into full gallop, pushed, without ceremony, betwixt
the courtier and his attendant; and ere Chaubert had time for more
than one exclamation, he upset both horse and Frenchman,--_morbleu!_
thrilling from his tongue as he rolled on the ground amongst the various
articles of his occupation, which, escaping from the budget in which
he bore them, lay tumbled upon the highway in strange disorder; while
Lance, springing from his palfrey, commanded his foeman to be still,
under no less a penalty than that of death, if he attempted to rise.

Before Chiffinch could avenge his trusty follower's downfall, his own
bridle was seized by Julian, who presented a pistol with the other hand,
and commanded him to stand or die.

Chiffinch, though effeminate, was no coward. He stood still as
commanded, and said, with firmness, "Rogue, you have taken me at
surprise. If you are highwaymen, there is my purse. Do us no bodily
harm, and spare the budget of spices and sauces."

"Look you, Master Chiffinch," said Peveril, "this is no time for
dallying. I am no highwayman, but a man of honour. Give me back that
packet which you stole from me the other night; or, by all that is good,
I will send a brace of balls through you, and search for it at leisure."

"What night?--What packet?" answered Chiffinch, confused; yet willing
to protract the time for the chance of assistance, or to put Peveril off
his guard. "I know nothing of what you mean. If you are a man of honour,
let me draw my sword, and I will do you right, as a gentleman should do
to another."

"Dishonourable rascal!" said Peveril, "you escape not in this manner.
You plundered me when you had me at odds; and I am not the fool to let
my advantage escape, now that my turn is come. Yield up the packet;
and then, if you will, I will fight you on equal terms. But first," he
reiterated, "yield up the packet, or I will instantly send you where the
tenor of your life will be hard to answer for."

The tone of Peveril's voice, the fierceness of his eye, and the
manner in which he held the loaded weapon, within a hand's-breadth
of Chiffinch's head, convinced the last there was neither room for
compromise, nor time for trifling. He thrust his hand into a side pocket
of his cloak, and with visible reluctance, produced those papers and
despatches with which Julian had been entrusted by the Countess of
Derby.

"They are five in number," said Julian; "and you have given me only
four. Your life depends on full restitution."

"It escaped from my hand," said Chiffinch, producing the missing
document--"There it is. Now, sir, your pleasure is fulfilled, unless,"
he added sulkily, "you design either murder or farther robbery."

"Base wretch!" said Peveril, withdrawing his pistol, yet keeping a
watchful eye on Chiffinch's motions, "thou art unworthy any honest man's
sword; and yet, if you dare draw your own, as you proposed but now, I am
willing to give you a chance upon fair equality of terms."

"Equality!" said Chiffinch sneeringly; "yes, a proper equality--sword
and pistol against single rapier, and two men upon one, for Chaubert is
no fighter. No sir; I shall seek amends upon some more fitting occasion,
and with more equal weapons."

"By backbiting, or by poison, base pander!" said Julian; "these are thy
means of vengeance. But mark me--I know your vile purpose respecting
a lady who is too worthy that her name should be uttered in such a
worthless ear. Thou hast done me one injury, and thou see'st I have
repaid it. But prosecute this farther villainy, and be assured I will
put thee to death like a foul reptile, whose very slaver is fatal to
humanity. Rely upon this, as if Machiavel had sworn it; for so surely
as you keep your purpose, so surely will I prosecute my revenge.--Follow
me, Lance, and leave him to think on what I have told him."

Lance had, after the first shock, sustained a very easy part in this
recontre; for all he had to do, was to point the butt of his whip, in
the manner of a gun, at the intimidated Frenchman, who, lying on his
back, and gazing at random on the skies, had as little the power or
purpose of resistance, as any pig which had ever come under his own
slaughter-knife.

Summoned by his master from the easy duty of guarding such an
unresisting prisoner, Lance remounted his horse, and they both rode off,
leaving their discomfited antagonists to console themselves for their
misadventure as they best could. But consolation was hard to come by in
the circumstances. The French artist had to lament the dispersion of
his spices, and the destruction of his magazine of sauces--an enchanter
despoiled of his magic wand and talisman, could scarce have been in
more desperate extremity. Chiffinch had to mourn the downfall of his
intrigue, and its premature discovery. "To this fellow, at least,"
he thought, "I can have bragged none--here my evil genius alone has
betrayed me. With this infernal discovery, which may cost me so dear
on all hands, champagne had nought to do. If there be a flask left
unbroken, I will drink it after dinner, and try if it may not even yet
suggest some scheme of redemption and of revenge."

With this manly resolution, he prosecuted his journey to London.



CHAPTER XXVIII

          A man so various, that he seem'd to be
          Not one, but all mankind's epitome;
          Stiff in opinions--always in the wrong--
          Was everything by starts, but nothing long;
          Who, in the course of one revolving moon,
          Was chemist, fiddler, statesman, and buffoon;
          Then, all for women, painting, fiddling, drinking;
          Besides a thousand freaks that died in thinking.
                                                       --DRYDEN.

We must now transport the reader to the magnificent hotel in ----Street,
inhabited at this time by the celebrated George Villiers, Duke of
Buckingham, whom Dryden has doomed to a painful immortality by the
few lines which we have prefixed to this chapter. Amid the gay and
licentious of the laughing Court of Charles, the Duke was the most
licentious and most gay; yet, while expending a princely fortune, a
strong constitution, and excellent talents, in pursuit of frivolous
pleasures, he nevertheless nourished deeper and more extensive designs;
in which he only failed from want of that fixed purpose and regulated
perseverance essential to all important enterprises, but particularly in
politics.

It was long past noon; and the usual hour of the Duke's levee--if
anything could be termed usual where all was irregular--had been long
past. His hall was filled with lackeys and footmen, in the most splendid
liveries; the interior apartments, with the gentlemen and pages of
his household, arrayed as persons of the first quality, and, in that
respect, rather exceeding than falling short of the Duke in personal
splendour. But his antechamber, in particular, might be compared to a
gathering of eagles to the slaughter, were not the simile too dignified
to express that vile race, who, by a hundred devices all tending to one
common end, live upon the wants of needy greatness, or administer to
the pleasures of summer-teeming luxury, or stimulate the wild wishes
of lavish and wasteful extravagance, by devising new modes and fresh
motives of profusion. There stood the projector, with his mysterious
brow, promising unbounded wealth to whomsoever might choose to furnish
the small preliminary sum necessary to change egg-shells into the
great _arcanum_. There was Captain Seagull, undertaker for a foreign
settlement, with the map under his arm of Indian or American kingdoms,
beautiful as the primitive Eden, waiting the bold occupants, for whom
a generous patron should equip two brigantines and a fly-boat. Thither
came, fast and frequent, the gamesters, in their different forms and
calling. This, light, young, gay in appearance, the thoughtless youth of
wit and pleasure--the pigeon rather than the rook--but at heart the
same sly, shrewd, cold-blooded calculator, as yonder old hard-featured
professor of the same science, whose eyes are grown dim with watching
of the dice at midnight; and whose fingers are even now assisting his
mental computation of chances and of odds. The fine arts, too--I would
it were otherwise--have their professors amongst this sordid train.
The poor poet, half ashamed, in spite of habit, of the part which he
is about to perform, and abashed by consciousness at once of his
base motive and his shabby black coat, lurks in yonder corner for the
favourable moment to offer his dedication. Much better attired, the
architect presents his splendid vision of front and wings, and designs
a palace, the expense of which may transfer his employer to a jail. But
uppermost of all, the favourite musician, or singer, who waits on my
lord to receive, in solid gold, the value of the dulcet sounds which
solaced the banquet of the preceding evening.

Such, and many such like, were the morning attendants of the Duke of
Buckingham--all genuine descendants of the daughter of the horse-leech,
whose cry is "Give, give."

But the levee of his Grace contained other and very different
characters; and was indeed as various as his own opinions and pursuits.
Besides many of the young nobility and wealthy gentry of England, who
made his Grace the glass at which they dressed themselves for the day,
and who learned from him how to travel, with the newest and best
grace, the general Road to Ruin; there were others of a graver
character--discarded statesmen, political spies, opposition orators,
servile tools of administration, men who met not elsewhere, but who
regarded the Duke's mansion as a sort of neutral ground; sure, that if
he was not of their opinion to-day, this very circumstance rendered it
most likely he should think with them to-morrow. The Puritans themselves
did not shun intercourse with a man whose talents must have rendered
him formidable, even if they had not been united with high rank and
an immense fortune. Several grave personages, with black suits, short
cloaks, and band-strings of a formal cut, were mingled, as we see their
portraits in a gallery of paintings, among the gallants who ruffled
in silk and embroidery. It is true, they escaped the scandal of being
thought intimates of the Duke, by their business being supposed to refer
to money matters. Whether these grave and professing citizens mixed
politics with money lending, was not known; but it had been long
observed, that the Jews, who in general confine themselves to the latter
department, had become for some time faithful attendants at the Duke's
levee.

It was high-tide in the antechamber, and had been so for more than an
hour, ere the Duke's gentleman-in-ordinary ventured into his bedchamber,
carefully darkened, so as to make midnight at noonday, to know his
Grace's pleasure. His soft and serene whisper, in which he asked whether
it were his Grace's pleasure to rise, was briefly and sharply answered
by the counter questions, "Who waits?--What's o'clock?"

"It is Jerningham, your Grace," said the attendant. "It is one,
afternoon; and your Grace appointed some of the people without at
eleven."

"Who are they?--What do they want?"

"A message from Whitehall, your Grace."

"Pshaw! it will keep cold. Those who make all others wait, will be the
better of waiting in their turn. Were I to be guilty of ill-breeding, it
should rather be to a king than a beggar."

"The gentlemen from the city."

"I am tired of them--tired of their all cant, and no religion--all
Protestantism, and no charity. Tell them to go to Shaftesbury--to
Aldersgate Street with them--that's the best market for their wares."

"Jockey, my lord, from Newmarket."

"Let him ride to the devil--he has horse of mine, and spurs of his own.
Any more?"

"The whole antechamber is full, my lord--knights and squires, doctors
and dicers."

"The dicers, with their doctors[*] in their pockets, I presume."

     [*] Doctor, a cant name for false dice.

"Counts, captains, and clergymen."

"You are alliterative, Jerningham," said the Duke; "and that is a proof
you are poetical. Hand me my writing things."

Getting half out of bed--thrusting one arm into a brocade nightgown,
deeply furred with sables, and one foot into a velvet slipper, while the
other pressed in primitive nudity the rich carpet--his Grace, without
thinking farther on the assembly without, began to pen a few lines of
a satirical poem; then suddenly stopped--threw the pen into the
chimney--exclaimed that the humour was past--and asked his attendant if
there were any letters. Jerningham produced a huge packet.

"What the devil!" said his Grace, "do you think I will read all these? I
am like Clarence, who asked a cup of wine, and was soused into a butt of
sack. I mean, is there anything which presses?"

"This letter, your Grace," said Jerningham, "concerning the Yorkshire
mortgage."

"Did I not bid thee carry it to old Gatheral, my steward?"

"I did, my lord," answered the other; "but Gatheral says there are
difficulties."

"Let the usurers foreclose, then--there is no difficulty in that; and
out of a hundred manors I shall scarce miss one," answered the Duke.
"And hark ye, bring me my chocolate."

"Nay, my lord, Gatheral does not say it is impossible--only difficult."

"And what is the use of him, if he cannot make it easy? But you are all
born to make difficulties," replied the Duke.

"Nay, if your Grace approves the terms in this schedule, and pleases to
sign it, Gatheral will undertake for the matter," answered Jerningham.

"And could you not have said so at first, you blockhead?" said the Duke,
signing the paper without looking at the contents--"What other letters?
And remember, I must be plagued with no more business."

"Billets-doux, my lord--five or six of them. This left at the porter's
lodge by a vizard mask."

"Pshaw!" answered the Duke, tossing them over, while his attendant
assisted in dressing him--"an acquaintance of a quarter's standing."

"This given to one of the pages by my Lady ----'s waiting-woman."

"Plague on it--a Jeremiade on the subject of perjury and treachery, and
not a single new line to the old tune," said the Duke, glancing over the
billet. "Here is the old cant--_cruel man--broken vows--Heaven's just
revenge_. Why, the woman is thinking of murder--not of love. No one
should pretend to write upon so threadbare a topic without having at
least some novelty of expression. _The despairing Araminta_--Lie there,
fair desperate. And this--how comes it?"

"Flung into the window of the hall, by a fellow who ran off at full
speed," answered Jerningham.

"This is a better text," said the Duke; "and yet it is an old one
too--three weeks old at least--The little Countess with the jealous
lord--I should not care a farthing for her, save for that same jealous
lord--Plague on't, and he's gone down to the country--_this evening--in
silence and safety--written with a quill pulled from the wing of
Cupid_--Your ladyship has left him pen-feathers enough to fly away
with--better clipped his wings when you had caught him, my lady--And
_so confident of her Buckingham's faith_,--I hate confidence in a young
person. She must be taught better--I will not go."

"You Grace will not be so cruel!" said Jerningham.

"Thou art a compassionate fellow, Jerningham; but conceit must be
punished."

"But if your lordship should resume your fancy for her?"

"Why, then, you must swear the billet-doux miscarried," answered the
Duke. "And stay, a thought strikes me--it shall miscarry in great style.
Hark ye--Is--what is the fellow's name--the poet--is he yonder?"

"There are six gentlemen, sir, who, from the reams of paper in their
pocket, and the threadbare seams at their elbows, appear to wear the
livery of the Muses."

"Poetical once more, Jerningham. He, I mean, who wrote the last
lampoon," said the Duke.

"To whom your Grace said you owed five pieces and a beating!" replied
Jerningham.

"The money for his satire, and the cudgel for his praise--Good--find
him--give him the five pieces, and thrust the Countess's
billet-doux--Hold--take Araminta's and the rest of them--thrust them all
into his portfolio--All will come out at the Wit's Coffee-house; and if
the promulgator be not cudgelled into all the colours of the rainbow,
there is no spite in woman, no faith in crabtree, or pith in heart
of oak--Araminta's wrath alone would overburden one pair of mortal
shoulders."

"But, my Lord Duke," said his attendant, "this Settle[*] is so dull a
rascal, that nothing he can write will take."

[*] Elkana Settle, the unworthy scribbler whom the envy of Rochester
    and others tried to raise to public estimation, as a rival to
    Dryden; a circumstance which has been the means of elevating him
    to a very painful species of immortality.

"Then as we have given him steel to head the arrow," said the Duke, "we
will give him wings to waft it with--wood, he has enough of his own to
make a shaft or bolt of. Hand me my own unfinished lampoon--give it to
him with the letters--let him make what he can of them all."

"My Lord Duke--I crave pardon--but your Grace's style will be
discovered; and though the ladies' names are not at the letters, yet
they will be traced."

"I would have it so, you blockhead. Have you lived with me so long, and
cannot discover that the éclat of an intrigue is, with me, worth all the
rest of it?"

"But the danger, my Lord Duke?" replied Jerningham. "There are husbands,
brothers, friends, whose revenge may be awakened."

"And beaten to sleep again," said Buckingham haughtily. "I have Black
Will and his cudgel for plebeian grumblers; and those of quality I can
deal with myself. I lack breathing and exercise of late."

"But yet your Grace----"

"Hold your peace, fool! I tell you that your poor dwarfish spirit cannot
measure the scope of mine. I tell thee I would have the course of my
life a torrent--I am weary of easy achievements, and wish for obstacles,
that I can sweep before my irresistible course."

Another gentleman now entered the apartment. "I humbly crave your
Grace's pardon," he said; "but Master Christian is so importunate for
admission instantly, that I am obliged to take your Grace's pleasure."

"Tell him to call three hours hence. Damn his politic pate, that would
make all men dance after his pipe!"

"I thank thee for the compliment, my Lord Duke," said Christian,
entering the apartment in somewhat a more courtly garb, but with the
same unpretending and undistinguished mien, and in the same placid
and indifferent manner with which he had accosted Julian Peveril upon
different occasions during his journey to London. "It is precisely my
present object to pipe to you; and you may dance to your own profit, if
you will."

"On my word, Master Christian," said the Duke haughtily, "the affair
should be weighty, that removes ceremony so entirely from betwixt us. If
it relates to the subject of our last conversation, I must request our
interview be postponed to some farther opportunity. I am engaged in an
affair of some weight." Then turning his back on Christian, he went on
with his conversation with Jerningham. "Find the person you wot of,
and give him the papers; and hark ye, give him this gold to pay for the
shaft of his arrow--the steel-head and peacock's wing we have already
provided."

"This is all well, my lord," said Christian calmly, and taking his seat
at the same time in an easy-chair at some distance; "but your Grace's
levity is no match for my equanimity. It is necessary I should speak
with you; and I will await your Grace's leisure in the apartment."

"_Very well_, sir," said the Duke peevishly; "if an evil is to be
undergone, the sooner it is over the better--I can take measures to
prevent its being renewed. So let me hear your errand without farther
delay."

"I will wait till your Grace's toilette is completed," said Christian,
with the indifferent tone which was natural to him. "What I have to say
must be between ourselves."

"Begone, Jerningham; and remain without till I call. Leave my doublet on
the couch.--How now, I have worn this cloth of silver a hundred times."

"Only twice, if it please your Grace," replied Jerningham.

"As well twenty times--keep it for yourself, or give it to my valet, if
you are too proud of your gentility."

"Your Grace has made better men than me wear your cast clothes," said
Jerningham submissively.

"Thou art sharp, Jerningham," said the Duke--"in one sense I have, and
I may again. So now, that pearl-coloured will do with the ribbon and
George. Get away with thee.--And now that he is gone, Master Christian,
may I once more crave your pleasure?"

"My Lord Duke," said Christian, "you are a worshipper of difficulties in
state affairs, as in love matters."

"I trust you have been no eavesdropper, Master Christian," replied the
Duke; "it scarce argues the respect due to me, or to my roof."

"I know not what you mean, my lord," replied Christian.

"Nay, I care not if the whole world heard what I said but now to
Jerningham. But to the matter," replied the Duke of Buckingham.

"Your Grace is so much occupied with conquests over the fair and over
the witty, that you have perhaps forgotten what a stake you have in the
little Island of Man."

"Not a whit, Master Christian. I remember well enough that my
roundheaded father-in-law, Fairfax, had the island from the Long
Parliament; and was ass enough to quit hold of it at the Restoration,
when, if he had closed his clutches, and held fast, like a true bird of
prey, as he should have done, he might have kept it for him and his.
It had been a rare thing to have had a little kingdom--made laws of
my own--had my Chamberlain with his white staff--I would have taught
Jerningham, in half a day, to look as wise, walk as stiffly, and speak
as silly, as Harry Bennet."

"You might have done this, and more, if it had pleased your Grace."

"Ay, and if it had pleased my Grace, thou, Ned Christian, shouldst have
been the Jack Ketch of my dominions."

"_I_ your Jack Ketch, my lord?" said Christian, more in a tone of
surprise than of displeasure.

"Why, ay; thou hast been perpetually intriguing against the life of
yonder poor old woman. It were a kingdom to thee to gratify thy spleen
with thy own hands."

"I only seek justice against the Countess," said Christian.

"And the end of justice is always a gibbet," said the Duke.

"Be it so," answered Christian. "Well, the Countess is in the Plot."

"The devil confound the Plot, as I believe he first invented it!" said
the Duke of Buckingham; "I have heard of nothing else for months. If one
must go to hell, I would it were by some new road, and in gentlemen's
company. I should not like to travel with Oates, Bedloe, and the rest of
that famous cloud of witnesses."

"Your Grace is then resolved to forego all the advantages which may
arise? If the House of Derby fall under forfeiture, the grant to
Fairfax, now worthily represented by your Duchess, revives, and you
become the Lord and Sovereign of Man."

"In right of a woman," said the Duke; "but, in troth, my godly dame owes
me some advantage for having lived the first year of our marriage with
her and old Black Tom, her grim, fighting, puritanic father. A man might
as well have married the Devil's daughter, and set up housekeeping with
his father-in-law."[*]

[*] Mary, daughter of Thomas, Lord Fairfax, was wedded to the Duke of
    Buckingham, whose versatility made him capable of rendering
    himself for a time as agreeable to his father-in-law, though a
    rigid Presbyterian, as to the gay Charles II.

"I understand you are willing, then, to join your interest for a heave
at the House of Derby, my Lord Duke?"

"As they are unlawfully possessed of my wife's kingdom, they certainly
can expect no favour at my hand. But thou knowest there is an interest
at Whitehall predominant over mine."

"That is only by your Grace's sufferance," said Christian.

"No, no; I tell thee a hundred times, no," said the Duke, rousing
himself to anger at the recollection. "I tell thee that base courtezan,
the Duchess of Portsmouth, hath impudently set herself to thwart and
contradict me; and Charles has given me both cloudy looks and hard words
before the Court. I would he could but guess what is the offence between
her and me! I would he knew but that! But I will have her plumes picked,
or my name is not Villiers. A worthless French fille-de-joie to brave me
thus!--Christian, thou art right; there is no passion so spirit-stirring
as revenge. I will patronise the Plot, if it be but to spite her, and
make it impossible for the King to uphold her."

As the Duke spoke, he gradually wrought himself into a passion, and
traversed the apartment with as much vehemence as if the only object he
had on earth was to deprive the Duchess of her power and favour with the
King. Christian smiled internally to see him approach the state of mind
in which he was most easily worked upon, and judiciously kept silence,
until the Duke called out to him, in a pet, "Well, Sir Oracle, you that
have laid so many schemes to supplant this she-wolf of Gaul, where are
all your contrivances now?--Where is the exquisite beauty who was to
catch the Sovereign's eye at the first glance?--Chiffinch, hath he
seen her?--and what does he say, that exquisite critic in beauty and
blank-mange, women and wine?"

"He has _seen_ and approves, but has not yet heard her; and her speech
answers to all the rest. We came here yesterday; and to-day I intend to
introduce Chiffinch to her, the instant he arrives from the country; and
I expect him every hour. I am but afraid of the damsel's peevish virtue,
for she hath been brought up after the fashion of our grandmothers--our
mothers had better sense."

"What! so fair, so young, so quick-witted, and so difficult?" said the
Duke. "By your leave, you shall introduce me as well as Chiffinch."

"That your Grace may cure her of her intractable modesty?" said
Christian.

"Why," replied the Duke, "it will but teach her to stand in her own
light. Kings do not love to court and sue; they should have their game
run down for them."

"Under your Grace's favour," said Christian, "this cannot be--_Non
omnibus dormio_--Your Grace knows the classic allusion. If this maiden
become a Prince's favourite, rank gilds the shame and the sin. But to
any under Majesty, she must not vail topsail."

"Why, thou suspicious fool, I was but in jest," said the Duke. "Do you
think I would interfere to spoil a plan so much to my own advantage as
that which you have laid before me?"

Christian smiled and shook his head. "My lord," he said, "I know your
Grace as well, or better, perhaps, than you know yourself. To spoil a
well-concerted intrigue by some cross stroke of your own, would give you
more pleasure, than to bring it to a successful termination according to
the plans of others. But Shaftesbury, and all concerned, have determined
that our scheme shall at least have fair play. We reckon, therefore, on
your help; and--forgive me when I say so--we will not permit ourselves
to be impeded by your levity and fickleness of purpose."

"Who?--I light and fickle of purpose?" said the Duke. "You see me here
as resolved as any of you, to dispossess the mistress, and to carry on
the plot; these are the only two things I live for in this world. No one
can play the man of business like me, when I please, to the very filing
and labelling of my letters. I am regular as a scrivener."

"You have Chiffinch's letter from the country; he told me he had written
to you about some passages betwixt him and the young Lord Saville."

"He did so--he did so," said the Duke, looking among his letters; "but
I see not his letter just now--I scarcely noted the contents--I was busy
when it came--but I have it safely."

"You should have acted on it," answered Christian. "The fool suffered
himself to be choused out of his secret, and prayed you to see that my
lord's messenger got not to the Duchess with some despatches which he
sent up from Derbyshire, betraying our mystery."

The Duke was now alarmed, and rang the bell hastily. Jerningham
appeared. "Where is the letter I had from Master Chiffinch some hours
since?"

"If it be not amongst those your Grace has before you, I know nothing of
it," said Jerningham. "I saw none such arrive."

"You lie, you rascal," said Buckingham; "have you a right to remember
better than I do?"

"If your Grace will forgive me reminding you, you have scarce opened a
letter this week," said his gentleman.

"Did you ever hear such a provoking rascal?" said the Duke. "He might
be a witness in the Plot. He has knocked my character for regularity
entirely on the head with his damned counter-evidence."

"Your Grace's talent and capacity will at least remain unimpeached,"
said Christian; "and it is those that must serve yourself and your
friends. If I might advise, you will hasten to Court, and lay some
foundation for the impression we wish to make. If your Grace can take
the first word, and throw out a hint to crossbite Saville, it will be
well. But above all, keep the King's ear employed, which no one can do
so well as you. Leave Chiffinch to fill his heart with a proper object.
Another thing is, there is a blockhead of an old Cavalier, who must
needs be a bustler in the Countess of Derby's behalf--he is fast in
hold, with the whole tribe of witnesses at his haunches."

"Nay, then, take him, Topham."

"Topham has taken him already, my lord," said Christian; "and there is,
besides, a young gallant, a son of the said Knight, who was bred in the
household of the Countess of Derby, and who has brought letters from her
to the Provincial of the Jesuits, and others in London."

"What are their names?" said the Duke dryly.

"Sir Geoffrey Peveril of Martindale Castle, in Derbyshire, and his son
Julian."

"What! Peveril of the Peak?" said the Duke,--"a stout old Cavalier as
ever swore an oath.--A Worcester-man, too--and, in truth, a man of all
work, when blows were going. I will not consent to his ruin, Christian.
These fellows must be flogged of such false scents--flogged in every
sense, they must, and will be, when the nation comes to its eyesight
again."

"It is of more than the last importance, in the meantime, to the
furtherance of our plan," said Christian, "that your Grace should stand
for a space between them and the King's favour. The youth hath influence
with the maiden, which we should find scarce favourable to our views;
besides, her father holds him as high as he can any one who is no such
puritanic fool as himself."

"Well, most Christian Christian," said the Duke, "I have heard your
commands at length. I will endeavour to stop the earths under the
throne, that neither the lord, knight, nor squire in question, shall
find it possible to burrow there. For the fair one, I must leave
Chiffinch and you to manage her introduction to her high destinies,
since I am not to be trusted. Adieu, most Christian Christian."

He fixed his eyes on him, and then exclaimed, as he shut the door of the
apartment,--"Most profligate and damnable villain! And what provokes
me most of all, is the knave's composed insolence. Your Grace will
do this--and your Grace will condescend to do that--A pretty puppet
I should be, to play the second part, or rather the third, in such a
scheme! No, they shall all walk according to my purpose, or I will cross
them. I will find this girl out in spite of them, and judge if their
scheme is likely to be successful. If so, she shall be mine--mine
entirely, before she becomes the King's; and I will command her who is
to guide Charles.--Jerningham" (his gentleman entered), "cause Christian
to be dogged where-ever he goes, for the next four-and-twenty hours, and
find out where he visits a female newly come to town.--You smile, you
knave?"

"I did but suspect a fresh rival to Araminta and the little Countess,"
said Jerningham.

"Away to your business, knave," said the Duke, "and let me think of
mine.--To subdue a Puritan in Esse--a King's favourite in Posse--the
very muster of western beauties--that is point first. The impudence of
this Manx mongrel to be corrected--the pride of Madame la Duchesse to be
pulled down--and important state intrigue to be farthered, or baffled,
as circumstances render most to my own honour and glory--I wished for
business but now, and I have got enough of it. But Buckingham will keep
his own steerage-way through shoal and through weather."



CHAPTER XXIX

            ----Mark you this, Bassanio--
            The devil can quote Scripture for his purpose.
                                       --MERCHANT OF VENICE.

After leaving the proud mansion of the Duke of Buckingham, Christian,
full of the deep and treacherous schemes which he meditated, hastened
to the city, where, in a decent inn, kept by a person of his own
persuasion, he had been unexpectedly summoned to meet with Ralph
Bridgenorth of Moultrassie. He was not disappointed--the Major had
arrived that morning, and anxiously expected him. The usual gloom of his
countenance was darkened into a yet deeper shade of anxiety, which
was scarcely relieved, even while, in answer to his inquiry after his
daughter, Christian gave the most favourable account of her health and
spirits, naturally and unaffectedly intermingled with such praises of
her beauty and her disposition, as were likely to be most grateful to a
father's ear.

But Christian had too much cunning to expatiate on this theme,
however soothing. He stopped short exactly at the point where, as an
affectionate relative, he might be supposed to have said enough. "The
lady," he said, "with whom he had placed Alice, was delighted with her
aspect and manners, and undertook to be responsible for her health and
happiness. He had not, he said, deserved so little confidence at the
hand of his brother, Bridgenorth, as that the Major should, contrary
to his purpose, and to the plan which they had adjusted together, have
hurried up from the country, as if his own presence were necessary for
Alice's protection."

"Brother Christian," said Bridgenorth in reply, "I must see my child--I
must see this person with whom she is entrusted."

"To what purpose?" answered Christian. "Have you not often confessed
that the over excess of the carnal affection which you have entertained
for your daughter, hath been a snare to you?--Have you not, more than
once, been on the point of resigning those great designs which should
place righteousness as a counsellor beside the throne, because you
desired to gratify your daughter's girlish passion for this descendant
of your old persecutor--this Julian Peveril?"

"I own it," said Bridgenorth; "and worlds would I have given, and would
yet give, to clasp that youth to my bosom, and call him my son. The
spirit of his mother looks from his eye, and his stately step is as that
of his father, when he daily spoke comfort to me in my distress, and
said, 'The child liveth.'"

"But the youth walks," said Christian, "after his own lights, and
mistakes the meteor of the marsh for the Polar star. Ralph Bridgenorth,
I will speak to thee in friendly sincerity. Thou must not think to
serve both the good cause and Baal. Obey, if thou wilt, thine own carnal
affections, summon this Julian Peveril to thy house, and let him wed thy
daughter--But mark the reception she will meet with from the proud old
knight, whose spirit is now, even now, as little broken with his chains,
as after the sword of the Saints had prevailed at Worcester. Thou wilt
see thy daughter spurned from his feet like an outcast."

"Christian," said Bridgenorth, interrupting him, "thou dost urge me
hard; but thou dost it in love, my brother, and I forgive thee--Alice
shall never be spurned.--But this friend of thine--this lady--thou
art my child's uncle; and after me, thou art next to her in love and
affection--Still, thou art not her father--hast not her father's
fears. Art thou sure of the character of this woman to whom my child is
entrusted?"

"Am I sure of my own?--Am I sure that my name is Christian--yours
Bridgenorth?--Is it a thing I am likely to be insecure in?--Have I not
dwelt for many years in this city?--Do I not know this Court?--And am I
likely to be imposed upon? For I will not think you can fear my imposing
upon you."

"Thou art my brother," said Bridgenorth--"the blood and bone of my
departed Saint--and I am determined that I will trust thee in this
matter."

"Thou dost well," said Christian; "and who knows what reward may be in
store for thee?--I cannot look upon Alice, but it is strongly borne in
on my mind, that there will be work for a creature so excellent beyond
ordinary women. Courageous Judith freed Bethulia by her valour, and
the comely features of Esther made her a safeguard and a defence to her
people in the land of captivity, when she found favour in the sight of
King Ahasuerus."

"Be it with her as Heaven wills," said Bridgenorth; "and now tell me
what progress there is in the great work."

"The people are weary of the iniquity of this Court," said Christian;
"and if this man will continue to reign, it must be by calling to
his councils men of another stamp. The alarm excited by the damnable
practices of the Papists has called up men's souls, and awakened their
eyes to the dangers of their state.--He himself--for he will give up
brother and wife to save himself--is not averse to a change of measures;
and though we cannot at first see the Court purged as with a winnowing
fan, yet there will be enough of the good to control the bad--enough of
the sober party to compel the grant of that universal toleration, for
which we have sighed so long, as a maiden for her beloved. Time and
opportunity will lead the way to more thorough reformation; and that
will be done without stroke of sword, which our friends failed to
establish on a sure foundation, even when their victorious blades were
in their hands."

"May God grant it!" said Bridgenorth; "for I fear me I should scruple
to do aught which should once more unsheath the civil sword; but welcome
all that comes in a peaceful and parliamentary way."

"Ay," said Christian, "and which will bring with it the bitter amends,
which our enemies have so long merited at our hands. How long hath our
brother's blood cried for vengeance from the altar!--Now shall that
cruel Frenchwoman find that neither lapse of years, nor her powerful
friends, nor the name of Stanley, nor the Sovereignty of Man, shall stop
the stern course of the pursuer of blood. Her name shall be struck from
the noble, and her heritage shall another take."

"Nay, but, brother Christian," said Bridgenorth, "art thou not over
eager in pursuing this thing?--It is thy duty as a Christian to forgive
thine enemies."

"Ay, but not the enemies of Heaven--not those who shed the blood of
the saints," said Christian, his eyes kindling that vehement and fiery
expression which at times gave to his uninteresting countenance the
only character of passion which it ever exhibited. "No, Bridgenorth,"
he continued, "I esteem this purpose of revenge holy--I account it a
propitiatory sacrifice for what may have been evil in my life. I have
submitted to be spurned by the haughty--I have humbled myself to be as
a servant; but in my breast was the proud thought, I who do this--do it
that I may avenge my brother's blood."

"Still, my brother," said Bridgenorth, "although I participate thy
purpose, and have aided thee against this Moabitish woman, I cannot but
think thy revenge is more after the law of Moses than after the law of
love."

"This comes well from thee, Ralph Bridgenorth," answered Christian;
"from thee, who has just smiled over the downfall of thine own enemy."

"If you mean Sir Geoffrey Peveril," said Bridgenorth, "I smile not on
his ruin. It is well he is abased; but if it lies with me, I may humble
his pride, but will never ruin his house."

"You know your purpose best," said Christian; "and I do justice, brother
Bridgenorth, to the purity of your principles; but men who see with
but worldly eyes, would discern little purpose of mercy in the strict
magistrate and severe creditor--and such have you been to Peveril."

"And, brother Christian," said Bridgenorth, his colour rising as he
spoke, "neither do I doubt your purpose, nor deny the surprising address
with which you have procured such perfect information concerning the
purposes of yonder woman of Ammon. But it is free to me to think, that
in your intercourse with the Court, and with courtiers, you may, in your
carnal and worldly policy, sink the value of those spiritual gifts, for
which you were once so much celebrated among the brethren."

"Do not apprehend it," said Christian, recovering his temper, which
had been a little ruffled by the previous discussion. "Let us but work
together as heretofore; and I trust each of us shall be found doing
the work of a faithful servant to that good old cause for which we have
heretofore drawn the sword."

So saying, he took his hat, and bidding Bridgenorth farewell, declared
his intention of returning in the evening.

"Fare thee well!" said Bridgenorth; "to that cause wilt thou find me
ever a true and devoted adherent. I will act by that counsel of
thine, and will not even ask thee--though it may grieve my heart as a
parent--with whom, or where, thou hast entrusted my child. I will try to
cut off, and cast from me, even my right hand, and my right eye; but for
thee, Christian, if thou dost deal otherwise than prudently and honestly
in this matter, it is what God and man will require at thy hand."

"Fear not me," said Christian hastily, and left the place, agitated by
reflections of no pleasant kind.

"I ought to have persuaded him to return," he said, as he stepped out
into the street. "Even his hovering in this neighbourhood may spoil the
plan on which depends the rise of my fortunes--ay, and of his child's.
Will men say I have ruined her, when I shall have raised her to the
dazzling height of the Duchess of Portsmouth, and perhaps made her
a mother to a long line of princes? Chiffinch hath vouched for
opportunity; and the voluptuary's fortune depends upon his gratifying
the taste of his master for variety. If she makes an impression, it must
be a deep one; and once seated in his affections, I fear not her being
supplanted.--What will her father say? Will he, like a prudent man, put
his shame in his pocket, because it is well gilded? or will he think it
fitting to make a display of moral wrath and parental frenzy? I fear the
latter--He has ever kept too strict a course to admit his conniving at
such licence. But what will his anger avail?--I need not be seen in the
matter--those who are will care little for the resentment of a country
Puritan. And after all, what I am labouring to bring about is best for
himself, the wench, and above all, for me, Edward Christian."

With such base opiates did this unhappy wretch stifle his own
conscience, while anticipating the disgrace of his friend's family, and
the ruin of a near relative, committed in confidence to his charge. The
character of this man was of no common description; nor was it by an
ordinary road that he had arrived at the present climax of unfeeling and
infamous selfishness.

Edward Christian, as the reader is aware, was the brother of that
William Christian, who was the principal instrument in delivering up the
Isle of Man to the Republic, and who became the victim of the Countess
of Derby's revenge on that account. Both had been educated as Puritans,
but William was a soldier, which somewhat modified the strictness of
his religious opinions; Edward, a civilian, seemed to entertain these
principles in the utmost rigour. But it was only seeming. The exactness
of deportment, which procured him great honour and influence among
the _sober party_, as they were wont to term themselves, covered a
voluptuous disposition, the gratification of which was sweet to him as
stolen waters, and pleasant as bread eaten in secret. While, therefore,
his seeming godliness brought him worldly gain, his secret pleasures
compensated for his outward austerity; until the Restoration, and the
Countess's violent proceedings against his brother interrupted the
course of both. He then fled from his native island, burning with the
desire of revenging his brother's death--the only passion foreign to
his own gratification which he was ever known to cherish, and which was
also, at least, partly selfish, since it concerned the restoration of
his own fortunes.

He found easy access to Villiers, Duke of Buckingham, who, in right of
his Duchess, claimed such of the Derby estate as had been bestowed
by the Parliament on his celebrated father-in-law, Lord Fairfax. His
influence at the Court of Charles, where a jest was a better plea than
a long claim of faithful service, was so successfully exerted, as to
contribute greatly to the depression of that loyal and ill-rewarded
family. But Buckingham was incapable, even for his own interest, of
pursuing the steady course which Christian suggested to him; and his
vacillation probably saved the remnant of the large estates of the Earl
of Derby.

Meantime, Christian was too useful a follower to be dismissed. From
Buckingham, and others of that stamp, he did not affect to conceal the
laxity of his morals; but towards the numerous and powerful party to
which he belonged, he was able to disguise them by a seeming gravity of
exterior, which he never laid aside. Indeed, so wide and absolute was
then the distinction betwixt the Court and the city, that a man might
have for some time played two several parts, as in two different
spheres, without its being discovered in the one that he exhibited
himself in a different light in the other. Besides, when a man of talent
shows himself an able and useful partisan, his party will continue to
protect and accredit him, in spite of conduct the most contradictory to
their own principles. Some facts are, in such cases, denied--some are
glossed over--and party zeal is permitted to cover at least as many
defects as ever doth charity.

Edward Christian had often need of the partial indulgence of his
friends; but he experienced it, for he was eminently useful. Buckingham,
and other courtiers of the same class, however dissolute in their
lives, were desirous of keeping some connection with the Dissenting
or Puritanic party, as it was termed; thereby to strengthen themselves
against their opponents at Court. In such intrigues, Christian was a
notable agent; and at one time had nearly procured an absolute union
between a class which professed the most rigid principles of religion
and morality, and the latitudinarian courtiers, who set all principle at
defiance.

Amidst the vicissitudes of a life of intrigue, during which Buckingham's
ambitious schemes, and his own, repeatedly sent him across the Atlantic,
it was Edward Christian's boast that he never lost sight of his
principal object,--revenge on the Countess of Derby. He maintained a
close and intimate correspondence with his native island, so as to be
perfectly informed of whatever took place there; and he stimulated,
on every favourable opportunity, the cupidity of Buckingham to possess
himself of this petty kingdom, by procuring the forfeiture of its
present Lord. It was not difficult to keep his patron's wild wishes
alive on this topic, for his own mercurial imagination attached
particular charms to the idea of becoming a sort of sovereign even
in this little island; and he was, like Catiline, as covetous of the
property of others, as he was profuse of his own.

But it was not until the pretended discovery of the Papist Plot that the
schemes of Christian could be brought to ripen; and then, so odious were
the Catholics in the eyes of the credulous people of England, that, upon
the accusation of the most infamous of mankind, common informers,
the scourings of jails, and the refuse of the whipping-post, the most
atrocious charges against persons of the highest rank and fairest
character were readily received and credited.

This was a period which Christian did not fail to improve. He drew close
his intimacy with Bridgenorth, which had indeed never been interrupted,
and readily engaged him in his schemes, which, in the eyes of his
brother-in-law, were alike honourable and patriotic. But, while he
flattered Bridgenorth with the achieving a complete reformation in the
state--checking the profligacy of the Court--relieving the consciences
of the Dissenters from the pressures of the penal laws--amending, in
fine, the crying grievances of the time--while he showed him also,
in prospect, revenge upon the Countess of Derby, and a humbling
dispensation on the house of Peveril, from whom Bridgenorth had suffered
such indignity, Christian did not neglect, in the meanwhile, to consider
how he could best benefit himself by the confidence reposed in him by
his unsuspicious relation.

The extreme beauty of Alice Bridgenorth--the great wealth which time
and economy had accumulated on her father--pointed her out as a most
desirable match to repair the wasted fortunes of some of the followers
of the Court; and he flattered himself that he could conduct such a
negotiation so as to be in a high degree conducive to his own advantage.
He found there would be little difficulty in prevailing on Major
Bridgenorth to entrust him with the guardianship of his daughter. That
unfortunate gentleman had accustomed himself, from the very period of
her birth, to regard the presence of his child as a worldly indulgence
too great to be allowed to him; and Christian had little trouble in
convincing him that the strong inclination which he felt to bestow
her on Julian Peveril, provided he could be brought over to his own
political opinions, was a blameable compromise with his more severe
principles. Late circumstances had taught him the incapacity and
unfitness of Dame Debbitch for the sole charge of so dear a pledge; and
he readily and thankfully embraced the kind offer of her maternal uncle,
Christian, to place Alice under the protection of a lady of rank in
London, whilst he himself was to be engaged in the scenes of bustle
and blood, which, in common with all good Protestants, he expected
was speedily to take place on a general rising of the Papists, unless
prevented by the active and energetic measures of the good people
of England. He even confessed his fears, that his partial regard for
Alice's happiness might enervate his efforts in behalf of his country;
and Christian had little trouble in eliciting from him a promise, that
he would forbear to inquire after her for some time.

Thus certain of being the temporary guardian of his niece for a space
long enough, he flattered himself, for the execution of his purpose,
Christian endeavoured to pave the way by consulting Chiffinch, whose
known skill in Court policy qualified him best as an adviser on this
occasion. But this worthy person, being, in fact, a purveyor for his
Majesty's pleasures, and on that account high in his good graces,
thought it fell within the line of his duty to suggest another scheme
than that on which Christian consulted him. A woman of such exquisite
beauty as Alice was described, he deemed more worthy to be a partaker of
the affections of the merry Monarch, whose taste in female beauty was
so exquisite, than to be made the wife of some worn-out prodigal of
quality. And then, doing perfect justice to his own character, he felt
it would not be one whit impaired, while his fortune would be, in every
respect, greatly amended, if, after sharing the short reign of the
Gwyns, the Davises, the Robertses, and so forth, Alice Bridgenorth
should retire from the state of a royal favourite, into the humble
condition of Mrs. Chiffinch.

After cautiously sounding Christian, and finding that the near prospect
of interest to himself effectually prevented his starting at this
iniquitous scheme, Chiffinch detailed it to him fully, carefully keeping
the final termination out of sight, and talking of the favour to be
acquired by the fair Alice as no passing caprice, but the commencement
of a reign as long and absolute as that of the Duchess of Portsmouth,
of whose avarice and domineering temper Charles was now understood to
be much tired, though the force of habit rendered him unequal to free
himself of her yoke.

Thus chalked out, the scene prepared was no longer the intrigue of a
Court pander, and a villainous resolution for the ruin of an innocent
girl, but became a state intrigue, for the removal of an obnoxious
favourite, and the subsequent change of the King's sentiments upon
various material points, in which he was at present influenced by the
Duchess of Portsmouth. In this light it was exhibited to the Duke of
Buckingham, who, either to sustain his character for daring gallantry,
or in order to gratify some capricious fancy, had at one time made love
to the reigning favourite, and experienced a repulse which he had never
forgiven.

But one scheme was too little to occupy the active and enterprising
spirit of the Duke. An appendix of the Popish Plot was easily so
contrived as to involve the Countess of Derby, who, from character and
religion, was precisely the person whom the credulous part of the public
were inclined to suppose the likely accomplice of such a conspiracy.
Christian and Bridgenorth undertook the perilous commission of attacking
her even in her own little kingdom of Man, and had commissions for this
purpose, which were only to be produced in case of their scheme taking
effect.

It miscarried, as the reader is aware, from the Countess's alert
preparations for defence; and neither Christian nor Bridgenorth held
it sound policy to practise openly, even under parliamentary authority,
against a lady so little liable to hesitate upon the measures most
likely to secure her feudal sovereignty; wisely considering that
even the omnipotence, as it has been somewhat too largely styled, of
Parliament, might fail to relieve them from the personal consequences of
a failure.

On the continent of Britain, however, no opposition was to be feared;
and so well was Christian acquainted with all the motions in the
interior of the Countess's little court, or household, that Peveril
would have been arrested the instant he set foot on shore, but for the
gale of wind which obliged the vessel, in which he was a passenger,
to run for Liverpool. Here Christian, under the name of Ganlesse,
unexpectedly met with him, and preserved him from the fangs of the
well-breathed witnesses of the Plot, with the purpose of securing his
despatches, or, if necessary, his person also, in such a manner as to
place him at his own discretion--a narrow and perilous game, which
he thought it better, however, to undertake, than to permit these
subordinate agents, who were always ready to mutiny against all in
league with them, to obtain the credit which they must have done by
the seizure of the Countess of Derby's despatches. It was, besides,
essential to Buckingham's schemes that these should not pass into the
hands of a public officer like Topham, who, however pompous and stupid,
was upright and well-intentioned, until they had undergone the revisal
of a private committee, where something might have probably been
suppressed, even supposing that nothing had been added. In short,
Christian, in carrying on his own separate and peculiar intrigue, by the
agency of the Great Popish Plot, as it was called, acted just like an
engineer, who derives the principle of motion which turns his machinery,
by means of a steam-engine, or large water-wheel, constructed to drive
a separate and larger engine. Accordingly, he was determined that, while
he took all the advantage he could from their supposed discoveries,
no one should be admitted to tamper or interfere with his own plans of
profit and revenge.

Chiffinch, who, desirous of satisfying himself with his own eyes of that
excellent beauty which had been so highly extolled, had gone down to
Derbyshire on purpose, was infinitely delighted, when, during the course
of a two hours' sermon at the dissenting chapel in Liverpool, which
afforded him ample leisure for a deliberate survey, he arrived at the
conclusion that he had never seen a form or face more captivating. His
eyes having confirmed what was told him, he hurried back to the little
inn which formed their place of rendezvous, and there awaited Christian
and his niece, with a degree of confidence in the success of their
project which he had not before entertained; and with an apparatus of
luxury, calculated, as he thought, to make a favourable impression on
the mind of a rustic girl. He was somewhat surprised, when, instead
of Alice Bridgenorth, to whom he expected that night to have been
introduced, he found that Christian was accompanied by Julian Peveril.
It was indeed a severe disappointment, for he had prevailed on his own
indolence to venture this far from the Court, in order that he might
judge, with his own paramount taste, whether Alice was really the
prodigy which her uncle's praises had bespoken her, and, as such, a
victim worthy of the fate to which she was destined.

A few words betwixt the worthy confederates determined them on the plan
of stripping Peveril of the Countess's despatches; Chiffinch absolutely
refusing to take any share in arresting him, as a matter of which his
Master's approbation might be very uncertain.

Christian had also his own reasons for abstaining from so decisive a
step. It was by no means likely to be agreeable to Bridgenorth, whom
it was necessary to keep in good humour;--it was not necessary, for the
Countess's despatches were of far more importance than the person of
Julian. Lastly, it was superfluous in this respect also, that Julian
was on the road to his father's castle, where it was likely he would be
seized, as a matter of course, along with the other suspicious persons
who fell under Topham's warrant, and the denunciations of his infamous
companions. He, therefore, far from using any violence to Peveril,
assumed towards him such a friendly tone, as might seem to warn him
against receiving damage from others, and vindicate himself from having
any share in depriving him of his charge. This last manoeuvre was
achieved by an infusion of a strong narcotic into Julian's wine; under
the influence of which he slumbered so soundly, that the confederates
were easily able to accomplish their inhospitable purpose.

The events of the succeeding days are already known to the reader.
Chiffinch set forward to return to London, with the packet, which it
was desirable should be in Buckingham's hands as soon as possible; while
Christian went to Moultrassie, to receive Alice from her father, and
convey her safely to London--his accomplice agreeing to defer his
curiosity to see more of her until they should have arrived in that
city.

Before parting with Bridgenorth, Christian had exerted his utmost
address to prevail on him to remain at Moultrassie; he had even
overstepped the bounds of prudence, and, by his urgency, awakened some
suspicions of an indefinite nature, which he found it difficult to
allay. Bridgenorth, therefore, followed his brother-in-law to London;
and the reader has already been made acquainted with the arts which
Christian used to prevent his farther interference with the destinies
of his daughter, or the unhallowed schemes of her ill-chosen guardian.
Still Christian, as he strode along the street in profound reflection,
saw that his undertaking was attended with a thousand perils; and the
drops stood like beads on his brow when he thought of the presumptuous
levity and fickle temper of Buckingham--the frivolity and intemperance
of Chiffinch--the suspicions of the melancholy and bigoted, yet
sagacious and honest Bridgenorth. "Had I," he thought, "but tools
fitted, each to their portion of the work, how easily could I heave
asunder and disjoint the strength that opposes me! But with these frail
and insufficient implements, I am in daily, hourly, momentary danger,
that one lever or other gives way, and that the whole ruin recoils on
my own head. And yet, were it not for those failings I complain of, how
were it possible for me to have acquired that power over them all which
constitutes them my passive tools, even when they seem most to exert
their own free will? Yes, the bigots have some right when they affirm
that all is for the best."

It may seem strange, that, amidst the various subjects of Christian's
apprehension, he was never visited by any long or permanent doubt that
the virtue of his niece might prove the shoal on which his voyage should
be wrecked. But he was an arrant rogue, as well as a hardened libertine;
and, in both characters, a professed disbeliever in the virtue of the
fair sex.



CHAPTER XXX

            As for John Dryden's Charles, I own that King
            Was never any very mighty thing;
            And yet he was a devilish honest fellow--
            Enjoy'd his friend and bottle, and got mellow.
                                               --DR. WOLOOT.

London, the grand central point of intrigues of every description, had
now attracted within its dark and shadowy region the greater number of
the personages whom we have had occasion to mention.

Julian Peveril, amongst others of the _dramatis personæ_, had arrived,
and taken up his abode in a remote inn in the suburbs. His business, he
conceived, was to remain incognito until he should have communicated in
private with the friends who were most likely to lend assistance to
his parents, as well as to his patroness, in their present situation
of doubt and danger. Amongst these, the most powerful was the Duke of
Ormond, whose faithful services, high rank, and acknowledged worth and
virtue, still preserved an ascendancy in that very Court, where, in
general, he was regarded as out of favour. Indeed, so much consciousness
did Charles display in his demeanour towards that celebrated noble, and
servant of his father, that Buckingham once took the freedom to ask the
King whether the Duke of Ormond had lost his Majesty's favour, or his
Majesty the Duke's? since, whenever they chanced to meet, the King
appeared the more embarrassed of the two. But it was not Peveril's
good fortune to obtain the advice or countenance of this distinguished
person. His Grace of Ormond was not at that time in London.

The letter, about the delivery of which the Countess had seemed most
anxious after that to the Duke of Ormond, was addressed to Captain
Barstow (a Jesuit, whose real name was Fenwicke), to be found, or at
least to be heard of, in the house of one Martin Christal in the Savoy.
To this place hastened Peveril, upon learning the absence of the Duke of
Ormond. He was not ignorant of the danger which he personally incurred,
by thus becoming a medium of communication betwixt a Popish priest and a
suspected Catholic. But when he undertook the perilous commission of his
patroness, he had done so frankly, and with the unreserved resolution
of serving her in the manner in which she most desired her affairs to
be conducted. Yet he could not forbear some secret apprehension, when he
felt himself engaged in the labyrinth of passages and galleries, which
led to different obscure sets of apartments in the ancient building
termed the Savoy.

This antiquated and almost ruinous pile occupied a part of the site of
the public offices in the Strand, commonly called Somerset House. The
Savoy had been formerly a palace, and took its name from an Earl of
Savoy, by whom it was founded. It had been the habitation of John of
Gaunt, and various persons of distinction--had become a convent, an
hospital, and finally, in Charles II.'s time, a waste of dilapidated
buildings and ruinous apartments, inhabited chiefly by those who had
some connection with, or dependence upon, the neighbouring palace of
Somerset House, which, more fortunate than the Savoy, had still
retained its royal title, and was the abode of a part of the Court, and
occasionally of the King himself, who had apartments there.

It was not without several inquiries, and more than one mistake, that,
at the end of a long and dusky passage, composed of boards so wasted by
time that they threatened to give way under his feet, Julian at
length found the name of Martin Christal, broker and appraiser, upon a
shattered door. He was about to knock, when some one pulled his cloak;
and looking round, to his great astonishment, which indeed almost
amounted to fear, he saw the little mute damsel, who had accompanied him
for a part of the way on his voyage from the Isle of Man.

"Fenella!" he exclaimed, forgetting that she could neither hear nor
reply,--"Fenella! Can this be you?"

Fenella, assuming the air of warning and authority, which she had
heretofore endeavoured to adopt towards him, interposed betwixt Julian
and the door at which he was about to knock--pointed with her finger
towards it in a prohibiting manner, and at the same time bent her brows,
and shook her head sternly.

After a moment's consideration, Julian could place but one
interpretation upon Fenella's appearance and conduct, and that was, by
supposing her lady had come up to London, and had despatched this mute
attendant, as a confidential person, to apprise him of some change of
her intended operations, which might render the delivery of her letters
to Barstow, _alias_ Fenwicke, superfluous, or perhaps dangerous. He made
signs to Fenella, demanding to know whether she had any commission from
the Countess. She nodded. "Had she any letter?" he continued, by the
same mode of inquiry. She shook her head impatiently, and, walking
hastily along the passage, made a signal to him to follow. He did
so, having little doubt that he was about to be conducted into the
Countess's presence; but his surprise, at first excited by Fenella's
appearance, was increased by the rapidity and ease with which she seemed
to track the dusky and decayed mazes of the dilapidated Savoy, equal to
that with which he had seen her formerly lead the way through the gloomy
vaults of Castle Rushin, in the Isle of Man.

When he recollected, however, that Fenella had accompanied the Countess
on a long visit to London, it appeared not improbable that she might
then have acquired this local knowledge which seemed so accurate. Many
foreigners, dependent on Queen or Queen Dowager, had apartments in the
Savoy. Many Catholic priests also found refuge in its recesses, under
various disguises, and in defiance of the severity of the laws against
Popery. What was more likely than that the Countess of Derby, a Catholic
and a Frenchwoman, should have had secret commissions amongst such
people; and that the execution of such should be entrusted, at least
occasionally, to Fenella?

Thus reflecting, Julian continued to follow her light and active
footsteps as she glided from the Strand to Spring-Garden, and thence
into the Park.

It was still early in the morning, and the Mall was untenanted, save by
a few walkers, who frequented these shades for the wholesome purposes of
air and exercise. Splendour, gaiety, and display, did not come forth, at
that period, until noon was approaching. All readers have heard that the
whole space where the Horse Guards are now built, made, in the time of
Charles II., a part of St. James's Park; and that the old building,
now called the Treasury, was a part of the ancient Palace of Whitehall,
which was thus immediately connected with the Park. The canal had been
constructed, by the celebrated Le Notre, for the purpose of draining
the Park; and it communicated with the Thames by a decoy, stocked with a
quantity of the rarer waterfowl. It was towards this decoy that Fenella
bent her way with unabated speed; and they were approaching a group of
two or three gentlemen, who sauntered by its banks, when, on looking
closely at him who appeared to be the chief of the party, Julian felt
his heart beat uncommonly thick, as if conscious of approaching some one
of the highest consequence.

The person whom he looked upon was past the middle age of life, of
a dark complexion, corresponding with the long, black, full-bottomed
periwig, which he wore instead of his own hair. His dress was plain
black velvet, with a diamond star, however, on his cloak, which hung
carelessly over one shoulder. His features, strongly lined, even to
harshness, had yet an expression of dignified good-humour; he was well
and strongly built, walked upright and yet easily, and had upon the
whole the air of a person of the highest consideration. He kept rather
in advance of his companions, but turned and spoke to them, from time to
time, with much affability, and probably with some liveliness, judging
by the smiles, and sometimes the scarce restrained laughter, by which
some of his sallies were received by his attendants. They also wore only
morning dresses; but their looks and manner were those of men of rank,
in presence of one in station still more elevated. They shared the
attention of their principal in common with seven or eight little black
curly-haired spaniels, or rather, as they are now called, cockers, which
attended their master as closely, and perhaps with as deep sentiments of
attachment, as the bipeds of the group; and whose gambols, which seemed
to afford him much amusement, he sometimes checked, and sometimes
encouraged. In addition to this pastime, a lackey, or groom, was also
in attendance, with one or two little baskets and bags, from which the
gentleman we have described took, from time to time, a handful of seeds,
and amused himself with throwing them to the waterfowl.

This the King's favourite occupation, together with his remarkable
countenance, and the deportment of the rest of the company towards him,
satisfied Julian Peveril that he was approaching, perhaps indecorously,
near the person of Charles Stewart, the second of that unhappy name.

While he hesitated to follow his dumb guide any nearer, and felt the
embarrassment of being unable to communicate to her his repugnance to
further intrusion, a person in the royal retinue touched a light and
lively air on the flageolet, at a signal from the King, who desired
to have some tune repeated which had struck him in the theatre on the
preceding evening. While the good-natured monarch marked time with his
foot, and with the motion of his hand, Fenella continued to approach
him, and threw into her manner the appearance of one who was attracted,
as it were in spite of herself, by the sounds of the instrument.

Anxious to know how this was to end, and astonished to see the dumb girl
imitate so accurately the manner of one who actually heard the musical
notes, Peveril also drew near, though at somewhat greater distance.

The King looked good-humouredly at both, as if he admitted their musical
enthusiasm as an excuse for their intrusion; but his eyes became riveted
on Fenella, whose face and appearance, although rather singular than
beautiful, had something in them wild, fantastic, and, as being so, even
captivating, to an eye which had been gratified perhaps to satiety with
the ordinary forms of female beauty. She did not appear to notice
how closely she was observed; but, as if acting under an irresistible
impulse, derived from the sounds to which she seemed to listen, she
undid the bodkin round which her long tresses were winded, and flinging
them suddenly over her slender person, as if using them as a natural
veil, she began to dance, with infinite grace and agility, to the tune
which the flageolet played.

Peveril lost almost his sense of the King's presence, when he observed
with what wonderful grace and agility Fenella kept time to notes, which
could only be known to her by the motions of the musician's fingers.
He had heard, indeed, among other prodigies, of a person in Fenella's
unhappy situation acquiring, by some unaccountable and mysterious
tact, the power of acting as an instrumental musician, nay, becoming so
accurate a performer as to be capable of leading a musical band; and he
also heard of deaf and dumb persons dancing with sufficient accuracy, by
observing the motions of their partner. But Fenella's performance seemed
more wonderful than either, since the musician was guided by his written
notes, and the dancer by the motions of the others; whereas Fenella had
no intimation, save what she seemed to gather, with infinite accuracy,
by observing the motion of the artist's fingers on his small instrument.

As for the King, who was ignorant of the particular circumstances which
rendered Fenella's performance almost marvellous, he was contented, at
her first commencement, to authorise what seemed to him the frolic
of this singular-looking damsel, by a good-natured smile, but when he
perceived the exquisite truth and justice, as well as the wonderful
combination of grace and agility, with which she executed to this
favourite air a dance which was perfectly new to him, Charles turned
his mere acquiescence into something like enthusiastic applause. He bore
time to her motions with the movement of his foot--applauded with head
and with hand--and seemed, like herself, carried away by the enthusiasm
of the gestic art.

After a rapid yet graceful succession of _entrechats_, Fenella
introduced a slow movement, which terminated the dance; then dropping
a profound courtesy, she continued to stand motionless before the King,
her arms folded on her bosom, her head stooped, and her eyes cast down,
after the manner of an Oriental slave; while through the misty veil of
her shadowy locks, it might be observed, that the colour which exercise
had called to her cheeks was dying fast away, and resigning them to
their native dusky hue.

"By my honour," exclaimed the King, "she is like a fairy who trips it
in moonlight. There must be more of air and fire than of earth in her
composition. It is well poor Nelly Gwyn saw her not, or she would have
died of grief and envy. Come, gentlemen, which of you contrived this
pretty piece of morning pastime?"

The courtiers looked at each other, but none of them felt authorised to
claim the merit of a service so agreeable.

"We must ask the quick-eyed nymph herself then," said the King; and,
looking at Fenella, he added, "Tell us, my pretty one, to whom we owe
the pleasure of seeing you?--I suspect the Duke of Buckingham; for this
is exactly a _tour de son métier_."

Fenella, on observing that the King addressed her, bowed low, and shook
her head, in signal that she did not understand what he said. "Oddsfish,
that is true," said the King; "she must perforce be a foreigner--her
complexion and agility speak it. France or Italy has had the moulding of
those elastic limbs, dark cheek, and eye of fire." He then put to her in
French, and again in Italian, the question, "By whom she had been sent
hither?"

At the second repetition, Fenella threw back her veiling tresses, so as
to show the melancholy which sat on her brow; while she sadly shook her
head, and intimated by imperfect muttering, but of the softest and most
plaintive kind, her organic deficiency.

"Is it possible Nature can have made such a fault?" said Charles. "Can
she have left so curious a piece as thou art without the melody of
voice, whilst she has made thee so exquisitely sensible to the beauty of
sound?--Stay: what means this? and what young fellow are you bringing
up there? Oh, the master of the show, I suppose.--Friend," he added,
addressing himself to Peveril, who, on the signal of Fenella, stepped
forward almost instinctively, and kneeled down, "we thank thee for the
pleasure of this morning.--My Lord Marquis, you rooked me at piquet last
night; for which disloyal deed thou shalt now atone, by giving a couple
of pieces to this honest youth, and five to the girl."

As the nobleman drew out his purse and came forward to perform the
King's generous commission, Julian felt some embarrassment ere he was
able to explain, that he had not title to be benefited by the young
person's performance, and that his Majesty had mistaken his character.

"And who art thou, then, my friend?" said Charles; "but, above all, and
particularly, who is this dancing nymph, whom thou standest waiting on
like an attendant fawn?"

"The young person is a retainer of the Countess-Dowager of Derby, so
please your Majesty," said Peveril, in a low tone of voice; "and I
am----"

"Hold, hold," said the King; "this is a dance to another tune, and not
fit for a place so public. Hark thee, friend; do thou and the young
woman follow Empson where he will conduct thee.--Empson, carry
them--hark in thy ear."

"May it please your Majesty, I ought to say," said Peveril, "that I am
guiltless of any purpose of intrusion----"

"Now a plague on him who can take no hint," said the King, cutting
short his apology. "Oddsfish, man, there are times when civility is the
greatest impertinence in the world. Do thou follow Empson, and amuse
thyself for a half-hour's space with the fairy's company, till we shall
send for you."

Charles spoke this not without casting an anxious eye around, and in a
tone which intimated apprehension of being overheard. Julian could only
bow obedience, and follow Empson, who was the same person that played so
rarely on the flageolet.

When they were out of sight of the King and his party, the musician
wished to enter into conversation with his companions, and addressed
himself first to Fenella with a broad compliment of, "By the mass, ye
dance rarely--ne'er a slut on the boards shows such a shank! I would be
content to play to you till my throat were as dry as my whistle. Come,
be a little free--old Rowley will not quit the Park till nine. I will
carry you to Spring-Garden, and bestow sweet-cakes and a quart of
Rhenish on both of you; and we'll be cameradoes,--What the devil? no
answer?--How's this, brother?--Is this neat wench of yours deaf or
dumb or both? I should laugh at that, and she trip it so well to the
flageolet."

To rid himself of this fellow's discourse, Peveril answered him in
French, that he was a foreigner, and spoke no English; glad to escape,
though at the expense of a fiction, from the additional embarrassment of
a fool, who was likely to ask more questions than his own wisdom might
have enabled him to answer.

"_Étranger_--that means stranger," muttered their guide; "more French
dogs and jades come to lick the good English butter of our bread, or
perhaps an Italian puppet-show. Well if it were not that they have a
mortal enmity to the whole _gamut_, this were enough to make any honest
fellow turn Puritan. But if I am to play to her at the Duchess's, I'll
be d--d but I put her out in the tune, just to teach her to have the
impudence to come to England, and to speak no English."

Having muttered to himself this truly British resolution, the musician
walked briskly on towards a large house near the bottom of St. James's
Street, and entered the court, by a grated door from the Park, of which
the mansion commanded an extensive prospect.

Peveril finding himself in front of a handsome portico, under which
opened a stately pair of folding-doors, was about to ascend the steps
that led to the main entrance, when his guide seized him by the arm,
exclaiming. "Hold, Mounseer! What! you'll lose nothing, I see, for want
of courage; but you must keep the back way, for all your fine doublet.
Here it is not, knock, and it shall be opened; but may be instead, knock
and you shall be knocked."

Suffering himself to be guided by Empson, Julian deviated from the
principal door, to one which opened, with less ostentation, in an angle
of the courtyard. On a modest tap from the flute-player, admittance was
afforded him and his companions by a footman, who conducted them through
a variety of stone passages, to a very handsome summer parlour, where a
lady, or something resembling one, dressed in a style of extra elegance,
was trifling with a play-book while she finished her chocolate. It would
not be easy to describe her, but by weighing her natural good qualities
against the affectations which counterbalanced them. She would have been
handsome, but for rouge and _minauderie_--would have been civil, but
for overstrained airs of patronage and condescension--would have had an
agreeable voice, had she spoken in her natural tone--and fine eyes, had
she not made such desperate hard use of them. She could only spoil a
pretty ankle by too liberal display; but her shape, though she could
not yet be thirty years old, had the embon-point which might have suited
better with ten years more advanced. She pointed Empson to a seat with
the air of a Duchess, and asked him, languidly, how he did this age,
that she had not seen him? and what folks these were he had brought with
him?

"Foreigners, madam; d--d foreigners," answered Empson; "starving
beggars, that our old friend has picked up in the Park this morning--the
wench dances, and the fellow plays on the Jew's trump, I believe. On my
life, madam, I begin to be ashamed of old Rowley; I must discard him,
unless he keeps better company in future."

"Fie, Empson," said the lady; "consider it is our duty to countenance
him, and keep him afloat; and indeed I always make a principle of it.
Hark ye, he comes not hither this morning?"

"He will be here," answered Empson, "in the walking of a minuet."

"My God!" exclaimed the lady, with unaffected alarm; and starting up
with utter neglect of her usual and graceful languor, she tripped as
swiftly as a milk-maid into an adjoining apartment, where they heard
presently a few words of eager and animated discussion.

"Something to be put out of the way, I suppose," said Empson. "Well for
madam I gave her the hint. There he goes, the happy swain."

Julian was so situated, that he could, from the same casement through
which Empson was peeping, observe a man in a laced roquelaure, and
carrying his rapier under his arm, glide from the door by which he had
himself entered, and out of the court, keeping as much as possible under
the shade of the buildings.

The lady re-entered at this moment, and observing how Empson's eyes were
directed, said with a slight appearance of hurry, "A gentleman of the
Duchess of Portsmouth's with a billet; and so tiresomely pressing for
an answer, that I was obliged to write without my diamond pen. I have
daubed my fingers, I dare say," she added, looking at a very pretty
hand, and presently after dipping her fingers in a little silver vase of
rose-water. "But that little exotic monster of yours, Empson, I hope she
really understands no English?--On my life she coloured.--Is she such
a rare dancer?--I must see her dance, and hear him play on the Jew's
harp."

"Dance!" replied Empson; "she danced well enough when _I_ played to her.
I can make anything dance. Old Counsellor Clubfoot danced when he had
a fit of the gout; you have seen no such _pas seul_ in the theatre. I
would engage to make the Archbishop of Canterbury dance the hays like a
Frenchman. There is nothing in dancing; it all lies in the music. Rowley
does not know that now. He saw this poor wench dance; and thought so
much on't, when it was all along of me. I would have defied her to sit
still. And Rowley gives her the credit of it, and five pieces to boot;
and I have only two for my morning's work!"

"True, Master Empson," said the lady; "but you are of the family, though
in a lower station; and you ought to consider----"

"By G--, madam," answered Empson, "all I consider is, that I play the
best flageolet in England; and that they can no more supply my place, if
they were to discard me, than they could fill Thames from Fleet-Ditch."

"Well, Master Empson, I do not dispute but you are a man of talents,"
replied the lady; "still, I say, mind the main chance--you please the
ear to-day--another has the advantage of you to-morrow."

"Never, mistress, while ears have the heavenly power of distinguishing
one note from another."

"Heavenly power, say you, Master Empson?" said the lady.

"Ay, madam, heavenly; for some very neat verses which we had at our
festival say,

 'What know we of the blest above,
  But that they sing and that they love?'

It is Master Waller wrote them, as I think; who, upon my word, ought to
be encouraged."

"And so should you, my dear Empson," said the dame, yawning, "were it
only for the honour you do to your own profession. But in the meantime,
will you ask these people to have some refreshment?--and will you take
some yourself?--the chocolate is that which the Ambassador Portuguese
fellow brought over to the Queen."

"If it be genuine," said the musician.

"How, sir?" said the fair one, half rising from her pile of
cushions--"Not genuine, and in this house!--Let me understand you,
Master Empson--I think, when I first saw you, you scarce knew chocolate
from coffee."

"By G--, madam," answered the flageolet-player, "you are perfectly
right. And how can I show better how much I have profited by your
ladyship's excellent cheer, except by being critical?"

"You stand excused, Master Empson," said the _petite maitresse_, sinking
gently back on the downy couch, from which a momentary irritation had
startled her--"I think the chocolate will please you, though scarce
equal to what we had from the Spanish resident Mendoza.--But we must
offer these strange people something. Will you ask them if they would
have coffee and chocolate, or cold wild-fowl, fruit, and wine? They must
be treated, so as to show them where they are, since here they are."

"Unquestionably, madam," said Empson; "but I have just at this
instant forgot the French for chocolate, hot bread, coffee, game, and
drinkables."

"It is odd," said the lady; "and I have forgot my French and Italian at
the same moment. But it signifies little--I will order the things to be
brought, and they will remember the names of them themselves."

Empson laughed loudly at this jest, and pawned his soul that the
cold sirloin which entered immediately after, was the best emblem of
roast-beef all the world over. Plentiful refreshments were offered to
all the party, of which both Fenella and Peveril partook.

In the meanwhile, the flageolet-player drew closer to the side of the
lady of the mansion--their intimacy was cemented, and their spirits set
afloat, by a glass of liqueur, which gave them additional confidence
in discussing the characters, as well of the superior attendants of
the Court, as of the inferior rank, to which they themselves might be
supposed to belong.

The lady, indeed, during this conversation, frequently exerted her
complete and absolute superiority over Master Empson; in which that
musical gentleman humbly acquiesced whenever the circumstance was
recalled to his attention, whether in the way of blunt contradiction,
sarcastic insinuation, downright assumption of higher importance, or
in any of the other various modes by which such superiority is usually
asserted and maintained. But the lady's obvious love of scandal was
the lure which very soon brought her again down from the dignified part
which for a moment she assumed, and placed her once more on a gossiping
level with her companion.

Their conversation was too trivial, and too much allied to petty Court
intrigues, with which he was totally unacquainted, to be in the least
interesting to Julian. As it continued for more than an hour, he
soon ceased to pay the least attention to a discourse consisting of
nicknames, patchwork, and innuendo; and employed himself in reflecting
on his own complicated affairs, and the probable issue of his
approaching audience with the King, which had been brought about by so
singular an agent, and by means so unexpected. He often looked to his
guide, Fenella; and observed that she was, for the greater part of
the time, drowned in deep and abstracted meditation. But three or four
times--and it was when the assumed airs and affected importance of
the musician and their hostess rose to the most extravagant excess--he
observed that Fenella dealt askance on them some of those bitter and
almost blighting elfin looks, which in the Isle of Man were held to
imply contemptuous execration. There was something in all her manner so
extraordinary, joined to her sudden appearance, and her demeanour in
the King's presence, so oddly, yet so well contrived to procure him
a private audience--which he might, by graver means, have sought
in vain--that it almost justified the idea, though he smiled at it
internally, that the little mute agent was aided in her machinations by
the kindred imps, to whom, according to Manx superstition, her genealogy
was to be traced.

Another idea sometimes occurred to Julian, though he rejected the
question, as being equally wild with those doubts which referred Fenella
to a race different from that of mortals--"Was she really afflicted with
those organical imperfections which had always seemed to sever her from
humanity?--If not, what could be the motives of so young a creature
practising so dreadful a penance for such an unremitted term of years?
And how formidable must be the strength of mind which could condemn
itself to so terrific a sacrifice--How deep and strong the purpose for
which it was undertaken!"

But a brief recollection of past events enabled him to dismiss this
conjecture as altogether wild and visionary. He had but to call to
memory the various stratagems practised by his light-hearted companion,
the young Earl of Derby, upon this forlorn girl--the conversations held
in her presence, in which the character of a creature so irritable and
sensitive upon all occasions, was freely, and sometimes satirically
discussed, without her expressing the least acquaintance with what was
going forward, to convince him that so deep a deception could never
have been practised for so many years, by a being of a turn of mind so
peculiarly jealous and irascible.

He renounced, therefore, the idea, and turned his thoughts to his own
affairs, and his approaching interview with his Sovereign; in which
meditation we propose to leave him, until we briefly review the changes
which had taken place in the situation of Alice Bridgenorth.



CHAPTER XXXI

            I fear the devil worst when gown and cassock,
            Or, in the lack of them, old Calvin's cloak,
            Conceals his cloven hoof.
                                               --ANONYMOUS.

Julian Peveril had scarce set sail for Whitehaven, when Alice
Bridgenorth and her governante, at the hasty command of her father,
were embarked with equal speed and secrecy on board of a bark bound for
Liverpool. Christian accompanied them on their voyage, as the friend
to whose guardianship Alice was to be consigned during any future
separation from her father, and whose amusing conversation, joined to
his pleasing though cold manners, as well as his near relationship,
induced Alice, in her forlorn situation, to consider her fate as
fortunate in having such a guardian.

At Liverpool, as the reader already knows, Christian took the first
overt step in the villainy which he had contrived against the innocent
girl, by exposing her at a meeting-house to the unhallowed gaze of
Chiffinch, in order to convince him she was possessed of such uncommon
beauty as might well deserve the infamous promotion to which they
meditated to raise her.

Highly satisfied with her personal appearance, Chiffinch was no less
so with the sense and delicacy of her conversation, when he met her in
company with her uncle afterwards in London. The simplicity, and at
the same time the spirit of her remarks, made him regard her as his
scientific attendant the cook might have done a newly invented sauce,
sufficiently _piquante_ in its qualities to awaken the jaded appetite
of a cloyed and gorged epicure. She was, he said and swore, the very
corner-stone on which, with proper management, and with his instruction,
a few honest fellows might build a Court fortune.

That the necessary introduction might take place, the confederates
judged fit she should be put under the charge of an experienced
lady, whom some called Mistress Chiffinch, and others Chiffinch's
mistress--one of those obliging creatures who are willing to discharge
all the duties of a wife, without the inconvenient and indissoluble
ceremony.

It was one, and not perhaps the least prejudicial consequence of the
license of that ill-governed time, that the bounds betwixt virtue and
vice were so far smoothed down and levelled, that the frail wife, or the
tender friend who was no wife, did not necessarily lose their place in
society; but, on the contrary, if they moved in the higher circles, were
permitted and encouraged to mingle with women whose rank was certain,
and whose reputation was untainted.

A regular _liaison_, like that of Chiffinch and his fair one, inferred
little scandal; and such was his influence, as prime minister of his
master's pleasures, that, as Charles himself expressed it, the lady whom
we introduced to our readers in the last chapter, had obtained a
brevet commission to rank as a married woman. And to do the gentle dame
justice, no wife could have been more attentive to forward his plans, or
more liberal in disposing of his income.

She inhabited a set of apartments called Chiffinch's--the scene of many
an intrigue, both of love and politics; and where Charles often held
his private parties for the evening, when, as frequently happened, the
ill-humour of the Duchess of Portsmouth, his reigning Sultana, prevented
his supping with her. The hold which such an arrangement gave a man
like Chiffinch, used as he well knew how to use it, made him of too
much consequence to be slighted even by the first persons in the state,
unless they stood aloof from all manner of politics and Court intrigue.

In the charge of Mistress Chiffinch, and of him whose name she bore,
Edward Christian placed the daughter of his sister, and of his confiding
friend, calmly contemplating her ruin as an event certain to follow; and
hoping to ground upon it his own chance of a more assured fortune, than
a life spent in intrigue had hitherto been able to procure for him.

The innocent Alice, without being able to discover what was wrong either
in the scenes of unusual luxury with which she was surrounded, or in the
manners of her hostess, which, both from nature and policy, were kind
and caressing--felt nevertheless an instinctive apprehension that all
was not right--a feeling in the human mind, allied, perhaps, to that
sense of danger which animals exhibit when placed in the vicinity of the
natural enemies of their race, and which makes birds cower when the
hawk is in the air, and beasts tremble when the tiger is abroad in the
desert. There was a heaviness at her heart which she could not dispel;
and the few hours which she had already spent at Chiffinch's were like
those passed in prison by one unconscious of the cause or event of his
captivity. It was the third morning after her arrival in London, that
the scene took place which we now recur to.

The impertinence and vulgarity of Empson, which was permitted to him as
an unrivalled performer upon his instrument, were exhausting themselves
at the expense of all other musical professors, and Mrs. Chiffinch was
listening with careless indifference, when some one was heard speaking
loudly, and with animation, in the inner apartment.

"Oh, gemini and gilliflower water!" exclaimed the damsel, startled out
of her fine airs into her natural vulgarity of exclamation, and running
to the door of communication--"if he has not come back again after
all!--and if old Rowley----"

A tap at the farther and opposite door here arrested her attention--she
quitted the handle of that which she was about to open as speedily as
if it had burnt her fingers, and, moving back towards her couch, asked,
"Who is there?"

"Old Rowley himself, madam," said the King, entering the apartment with
his usual air of easy composure.

"O crimini!--your Majesty!--I thought----"

"That I was out of hearing, doubtless," said the King; "and spoke of me
as folk speak of absent friends. Make no apology. I think I have heard
ladies say of their lace, that a rent is better than a darn.--Nay, be
seated.--Where is Chiffinch?"

"He is down at York House, your Majesty," said the dame, recovering,
though with no small difficulty, the calm affectation of her usual
demeanour. "Shall I send your Majesty's commands?"

"I will wait his return," said the King.--"Permit me to taste your
chocolate."

"There is some fresh frothed in the office," said the lady; and using a
little silver call, or whistle, a black boy, superbly dressed, like an
Oriental page, with gold bracelets on his naked arms, and a gold collar
around his equally bare neck, attended with the favourite beverage of
the morning, in an apparatus of the richest china.

While he sipped his cup of chocolate, the King looked round the
apartment, and observing Fenella, Peveril, and the musician, who
remained standing beside a large Indian screen, he continued, addressing
Mistress Chiffinch, though with polite indifference, "I sent you the
fiddles this morning--or rather the flute--Empson, and a fairy elf whom
I met in the Park, who dances divinely. She has brought us the very
newest saraband from the Court of Queen Mab, and I sent her here, that
you may see it at leisure."

"Your Majesty does me by far too much honour," said Chiffinch, her eyes
properly cast down, and her accents minced into becoming humility.

"Nay, little Chiffinch," answered the King, in a tone of as contemptuous
familiarity as was consistent with his good-breeding, "it was not
altogether for thine own private ear, though quite deserving of all
sweet sounds; but I thought Nelly had been with thee this morning."

"I can send Bajazet for her, your Majesty," answered the lady.

"Nay, I will not trouble your little heathen sultan to go so far. Still
it strikes me that Chiffinch said you had company--some country cousin,
or such a matter--Is there not such a person?"

"There is a young person from the country," said Mistress Chiffinch,
striving to conceal a considerable portion of embarrassment; "but she
is unprepared for such an honour as to be admitted into your Majesty's
presence, and----"

"And therefore the fitter to receive it, Chiffinch. There is nothing in
nature so beautiful as the first blush of a little rustic between joy
and fear, and wonder and curiosity. It is the down on the peach--pity
it decays so soon!--the fruit remains, but the first high colouring
and exquisite flavour are gone.--Never put up thy lip for the matter,
Chiffinch, for it is as I tell you; so pray let us have _la belle
cousine_."

Mistress Chiffinch, more embarrassed than ever, again advanced towards
the door of communication, which she had been in the act of opening when
his Majesty entered. But just as she coughed pretty loudly, perhaps as
a signal to some one within, voices were again heard in a raised tone
of altercation----the door was flung open, and Alice rushed out of the
inner apartment, followed to the door of it by the enterprising Duke of
Buckingham, who stood fixed with astonishment on finding his pursuit of
the flying fair one had hurried him into the presence of the King.

Alice Bridgenorth appeared too much transported with anger to permit her
to pay attention to the rank or character of the company into which she
had thus suddenly entered. "I remain no longer here, madam," she said
to Mrs. Chiffinch, in a tone of uncontrollable resolution; "I leave
instantly a house where I am exposed to company which I detest, and to
solicitations which I despise."

The dismayed Mrs. Chiffinch could only implore her, in broken whispers,
to be silent; adding, while she pointed to Charles, who stood with his
eyes fixed rather on his audacious courtier than on the game which he
pursued, "The King--the King!"

"If I am in the King's presence," said Alice aloud, and in the same
torrent of passionate feeling, while her eye sparkled through tears of
resentment and insulted modesty, "it is the better--it is his Majesty's
duty to protect me; and on his protection I throw myself."

These words, which were spoken aloud, and boldly, at once recalled
Julian to himself, who had hitherto stood, as it were, bewildered. He
approached Alice, and, whispering in her ear that she had beside her
one who would defend her with his life, implored her to trust to his
guardianship in this emergency.

Clinging to his arm in all the ecstasy of gratitude and joy, the spirit
which had so lately invigorated Alice in her own defence, gave way in a
flood of tears, when she saw herself supported by him whom perhaps she
most wished to recognise as her protector. She permitted Peveril gently
to draw her back towards the screen before which he had been standing;
where, holding by his arm, but at the same time endeavouring to conceal
herself behind him, they waited the conclusion of a scene so singular.

The King seemed at first so much surprised at the unexpected apparition
of the Duke of Buckingham, as to pay little or no attention to Alice,
who had been the means of thus unceremoniously introducing his Grace
into the presence at a most unsuitable moment. In that intriguing Court,
it had not been the first time that the Duke had ventured to enter the
lists of gallantry in rivalry of his Sovereign, which made the present
insult the more intolerable. His purpose of lying concealed in those
private apartments was explained by the exclamations of Alice; and
Charles, notwithstanding the placidity of his disposition, and his
habitual guard over his passions, resented the attempt to seduce his
destined mistress, as an Eastern Sultan would have done the insolence
of a vizier, who anticipated his intended purchases of captive beauty
in the slave-market. The swarthy features of Charles reddened, and the
strong lines on his dark visage seemed to become inflated, as he said,
in a voice which faltered with passion, "Buckingham, you dared not have
thus insulted your equal! To your master you may securely offer any
affront, since his rank glues his sword to the scabbard."

The haughty Duke did not brook this taunt unanswered. "My sword," he
said, with emphasis, "was never in the scabbard, when your Majesty's
service required it should be unsheathed."

"Your Grace means, when its service was required for its master's
interest," said the King; "for you could only gain the coronet of a Duke
by fighting for the royal crown. But it is over--I have treated you as a
friend--a companion--almost an equal--you have repaid me with insolence
and ingratitude."

"Sire," answered the Duke firmly, but respectfully, "I am unhappy in
your displeasure; yet thus far fortunate, that while your words can
confer honour, they cannot impair or take it away.--It is hard," he
added, lowering his voice, so as only to be heard by the King,--"It is
hard that the squall of a peevish wench should cancel the services of so
many years!"

"It is harder," said the King, in the same subdued tone, which both
preserved through the rest of the conversation, "that a wench's bright
eyes can make a nobleman forget the decencies due to his Sovereign's
privacy."

"May I presume to ask your Majesty what decencies are those?" said the
Duke.

Charles bit his lip to keep himself from smiling. "Buckingham," he said,
"this is a foolish business; and we must not forget (as we have nearly
done), that we have an audience to witness this scene, and should walk
the stage with dignity. I will show you your fault in private."

"It is enough that your Majesty has been displeased, and that I have
unhappily been the occasion," said the Duke, kneeling; "although quite
ignorant of any purpose beyond a few words of gallantry; and I sue thus
low for your Majesty's pardon."

So saying, he kneeled gracefully down. "Thou hast it, George," said the
placable Prince. "I believe thou wilt be sooner tired of offending than
I of forgiving."

"Long may your Majesty live to give the offence, with which it is your
royal pleasure at present to charge my innocence," said the Duke.

"What mean you by that, my lord?" said Charles, the angry shade
returning to his brow for a moment.

"My Liege," replied the Duke, "you are too honourable to deny your
custom of shooting with Cupid's bird-bolts in other men's warrens. You
have ta'en the royal right of free-forestry over every man's park. It
is hard that you should be so much displeased at hearing a chance arrow
whizz near your own pales."

"No more on't," said the King; "but let us see where the dove has
harboured."

"The Helen has found a Paris while we were quarrelling," replied the
Duke.

"Rather an Orpheus," said the King; "and what is worse, one that is
already provided with a Eurydice--She is clinging to the fiddler."

"It is mere fright," said Buckingham, "like Rochester's, when he crept
into the bass-viol to hide himself from Sir Dermot O'Cleaver."

"We must make the people show their talents," said the King, "and stop
their mouths with money and civility, or we shall have this foolish
encounter over half the town."

The King then approached Julian, and desired him to take his instrument,
and cause his female companion to perform a saraband.

"I had already the honour to inform your Majesty," said Julian, "that I
cannot contribute to your pleasure in the way you command me; and that
this young person is----"

"A retainer of the Lady Powis," said the King, upon whose mind things
not connected with his pleasures made a very slight impression. "Poor
lady, she is in trouble about the lords in the Tower."

"Pardon me, sir," said Julian, "she is a dependant of the Countess of
Derby."

"True, true," answered Charles; "it is indeed of Lady Derby, who hath
also her own distresses in these times. Do you know who taught the
young person to dance? Some of her steps mightily resemble Le Jeune's of
Paris."

"I presume she was taught abroad, sir," said Julian; "for myself, I
am charged with some weighty business by the Countess, which I would
willingly communicate to your Majesty."

"We will send you to our Secretary of State," said the King. "But this
dancing envoy will oblige us once more, will she not?--Empson, now that
I remember, it was to your pipe that she danced--Strike up, man, and put
mettle into her feet."

Empson began to play a well-known measure; and, as he had threatened,
made more than one false note, until the King, whose ear was very
accurate, rebuked him with, "Sirrah, art thou drunk at this early hour,
or must thou too be playing thy slippery tricks with me? Thou thinkest
thou art born to beat time, but I will have time beat into thee."

The hint was sufficient, and Empson took good care so to perform his air
as to merit his high and deserved reputation. But on Fenella it made not
the slightest impression. She rather leant than stood against the wall
of the apartment; her countenance as pale as death, her arms and hands
hanging down as if stiffened, and her existence only testified by the
sobs which agitated her bosom, and the tears which flowed from her
half-closed eyes.

"A plague on it," said the King, "some evil spirit is abroad this
morning; and the wenches are all bewitched, I think. Cheer up, my girl.
What, in the devil's name, has changed thee at once from a Nymph to a
Niobe? If thou standest there longer thou wilt grow to the very marble
wall--Or--oddsfish, George, have you been bird-bolting in this quarter
also?"

Ere Buckingham could answer to this charge, Julian again kneeled down
to the King, and prayed to be heard, were it only for five minutes. "The
young woman," he said, "had been long in attendance of the Countess of
Derby. She was bereaved of the faculties of speech and hearing."

"Oddsfish, man, and dances so well?" said the King. "Nay, all Gresham
College shall never make me believe that."

"I would have thought it equally impossible, but for what I to-day
witnessed," said Julian; "but only permit me, sir, to deliver the
petition of my lady the Countess."

"And who art thou thyself, man?" said the Sovereign; "for though
everything which wears bodice and breast-knot has a right to speak to
a King, and be answered, I know not that they have a title to audience
through an envoy extraordinary."

"I am Julian Peveril of Derbyshire," answered the supplicant, "the son
of Sir Geoffrey Peveril of Martindale Castle, who----"

"Body of me--the old Worcester man?" said the King. "Oddsfish, I
remember him well--some harm has happened to him, I think--Is he not
dead, or very sick at least?"

"Ill at ease, and it please your Majesty, but not ill in health. He has
been imprisoned on account of an alleged accession to this Plot."

"Look you there," said the King; "I knew he was in trouble; and yet how
to help the stout old Knight, I can hardly tell. I can scarce escape
suspicion of the Plot myself, though the principal object of it is
to take away my own life. Were I to stir to save a plotter, I should
certainly be brought in as an accessory.--Buckingham, thou hast some
interest with those who built this fine state engine, or at least who
have driven it on--be good-natured for once, though it is scarcely thy
wont, and interfere to shelter our old Worcester friend, Sir Godfrey.
You have not forgot him?"

"No, sir," answered the Duke; "for I never heard the name."

"It is Sir Geoffrey his Majesty would say," said Julian.

"And if his Majesty _did_ say Sir Geoffrey, Master Peveril, I cannot see
of what use I can be to your father," replied the Duke coldly. "He is
accused of a heavy crime; and a British subject so accused, can have
no shelter either from prince or peer, but must stand to the award and
deliverance of God and his country."

"Now, Heaven forgive thee thy hypocrisy, George," said the King
hastily. "I would rather hear the devil preach religion than thee teach
patriotism. Thou knowest as well as I, that the nation is in a scarlet
fever for fear of the poor Catholics, who are not two men to five
hundred; and that the public mind is so harassed with new narrations of
conspiracy, and fresh horrors every day, that people have as little real
sense of what is just or unjust as men who talk in their sleep of what
is sense or nonsense. I have borne, and borne with it--I have seen blood
flow on the scaffold, fearing to thwart the nation in its fury--and I
pray to God that I or mine be not called on to answer for it. I will no
longer swim with the torrent, which honour and conscience call upon me
to stem--I will act the part of a Sovereign, and save my people from
doing injustice, even in their own despite."

Charles walked hastily up and down the room as he expressed these
unwonted sentiments, with energy equally unwonted. After a momentary
pause, the Duke answered him gravely, "Spoken like a Royal King, sir,
but--pardon me--not like a King of England."

Charles paused, as the Duke spoke, beside a window which looked full on
Whitehall, and his eye was involuntarily attracted by the fatal window
of the Banqueting House out of which his unhappy father was conducted to
execution. Charles was naturally, or, more purposely, constitutionally
brave; but a life of pleasure, together with the habit of governing his
course rather by what was expedient than by what was right, rendered him
unapt to dare the same scene of danger or of martyrdom, which had closed
his father's life and reign; and the thought came over his half-formed
resolution, like the rain upon a kindling beacon. In another man, his
perplexity would have seemed almost ludicrous; but Charles would not
lose, even under these circumstances, the dignity and grace, which were
as natural to him as his indifference and good humour. "Our Council must
decide in this matter," he said, looking to the Duke; "and be assured,
young man," he added, addressing Julian, "your father shall not want an
intercessor in his King, so far as the laws will permit my interference
in his behalf."

Julian was about to retire, when Fenella, with a marked look, put
into his hand a slip of paper, on which she had hastily written, "The
packet--give him the packet."

After a moment's hesitation, during which he reflected that Fenella was
the organ of the Countess's pleasure, Julian resolved to obey. "Permit
me, then, Sire," he said, "to place in your royal hands this packet,
entrusted to me by the Countess of Derby. The letters have already been
once taken from me; and I have little hope that I can now deliver them
as they are addressed. I place them, therefore, in your royal hands,
certain that they will evince the innocence of the writer."

The King shook his head as he took the packet reluctantly. "It is no
safe office you have undertaken, young man. A messenger has sometimes
his throat cut for the sake of his despatches--But give them to me; and,
Chiffinch, give me wax and a taper." He employed himself in folding the
Countess's packet in another envelope. "Buckingham," he said, "you are
evidence that I do not read them till the Council shall see them."

Buckingham approached, and offered his services in folding the parcel,
but Charles rejected his assistance; and having finished his task, he
sealed the packet with his own signet-ring. The Duke bit his lip and
retired.

"And now, young man," said the King, "your errand is sped, so far as it
can at present be forwarded."

Julian bowed deeply, as to take leave at these words, which he rightly
interpreted as a signal for his departure. Alice Bridgenorth still
clung to his arm, and motioned to withdraw along with him. The King and
Buckingham looked at each other in conscious astonishment, and yet not
without a desire to smile, so strange did it seem to them that a prize,
for which, an instant before, they had been mutually contending, should
thus glide out of their grasp, or rather be borne off by a third and
very inferior competitor.

"Mistress Chiffinch," said the King, with a hesitation which he could
not disguise, "I hope your fair charge is not about to leave you?"

"Certainly not, your Majesty," answered Chiffinch. "Alice, my love--you
mistake--that opposite door leads to your apartments."

"Pardon me, madam," answered Alice; "I have indeed mistaken my road, but
it was when I came hither."

"The errant damosel," said Buckingham, looking at Charles with as much
intelligence as etiquette permitted him to throw into his eye, and
then turning it towards Alice, as she still held by Julian's arm,
"is resolved not to mistake her road a second time. She has chosen a
sufficient guide."

"And yet stories tell that such guides have led maidens astray," said
the King.

Alice blushed deeply, but instantly recovered her composure so soon
as she saw that her liberty was likely to depend upon the immediate
exercise of resolution. She quitted, from a sense of insulted delicacy,
the arm of Julian, to which she had hitherto clung; but as she spoke,
she continued to retain a slight grasp of his cloak. "I have indeed
mistaken my way," she repeated still addressing Mrs. Chiffinch, "but
it was when I crossed this threshold. The usage to which I have been
exposed in your house has determined me to quit it instantly."

"I will not permit that, my young mistress," answered Mrs. Chiffinch,
"until your uncle, who placed you under my care, shall relieve me of the
charge of you."

"I will answer for my conduct, both to my uncle, and, what is of more
importance, to my father," said Alice. "You must permit me to depart,
madam; I am free-born, and you have no right to detain me."

"Pardon me, my young madam," said Mistress Chiffinch, "I have a right,
and I will maintain it too."

"I will know that before quitting this presence," said Alice firmly;
and, advancing a step or two, she dropped on her knee before the King.
"Your Majesty," said she, "if indeed I kneel before King Charles, is the
father of your subjects."

"Of a good many of them," said the Duke of Buckingham apart.

"I demand protection of you, in the name of God, and of the oath your
Majesty swore when you placed on your head the crown of this kingdom!"

"You have my protection," said the King, a little confused by an appeal
so unexpected and so solemn. "Do but remain quiet with this lady, with
whom your parents have placed you; neither Buckingham nor any one else
shall intrude on you."

"His Majesty," added Buckingham, in the same tone, and speaking from
the restless and mischief-making spirit of contradiction, which he never
could restrain, even when indulging it was most contrary, not only to
propriety, but to his own interest,--"His Majesty will protect you, fair
lady, from all intrusion save what must not be termed such."

Alice darted a keen look on the Duke, as if to read his meaning; another
on Charles, to know whether she had guessed it rightly. There was
a guilty confession on the King's brow, which confirmed Alice's
determination to depart. "Your Majesty will forgive me," she said; "it
is not here that I can enjoy the advantage of your royal protection.
I am resolved to leave this house. If I am detained, it must be by
violence, which I trust no one dare offer to me in your Majesty's
presence. This gentleman, whom I have long known, will conduct me to my
friends."

"We make but an indifferent figure in this scene, methinks," said the
King, addressing the Duke of Buckingham, and speaking in a whisper; "but
she must go--I neither will, nor dare, stop her from returning to her
father."

"And if she does," swore the Duke internally, "I would, as Sir Andrew
Smith saith, I might never touch fair lady's hand." And stepping back,
he spoke a few words with Empson the musician, who left the apartment,
for a few minutes, and presently returned.

The King seemed irresolute concerning the part he should act under
circumstances so peculiar. To be foiled in a gallant intrigue, was to
subject himself to the ridicule of his gay court; to persist in it by
any means which approached to constraint, would have been tyrannical;
and, what perhaps he might judge as severe an imputation, it would have
been unbecoming a gentleman. "Upon my honour, young lady," he said,
with an emphasis, "you have nothing to fear in this house. But it is
improper, for your own sake, that you should leave it in this abrupt
manner. If you will have the goodness to wait but a quarter of an hour,
Mistress Chiffinch's coach will be placed at your command, to transport
you where you will. Spare yourself the ridicule, and me the pain
of seeing you leave the house of one of my servants, as if you were
escaping from a prison."

The King spoke in good-natured sincerity, and Alice was inclined for an
instant to listen to his advice; but recollecting that she had to search
for her father and uncle, or, failing them, for some suitable place of
secure residence, it rushed on her mind that the attendants of Mistress
Chiffinch were not likely to prove trusty guides or assistants in such
a purpose. Firmly and respectfully she announced her purpose of
instant departure. She needed no other escort, she said, than what this
gentleman, Master Julian Peveril, who was well known to her father,
would willingly afford her; nor did she need that farther than until she
had reached her father's residence.

"Farewell, then, lady, a God's name!" said the King; "I am sorry so much
beauty should be wedded to so many shrewish suspicions.--For you,
Master Peveril, I should have thought you had enough to do with your own
affairs without interfering with the humours of the fair sex. The duty
of conducting all strayed damsels into the right path is, as matters go
in this good city, rather too weighty an undertaking for your youth and
inexperience."

Julian, eager to conduct Alice from a place of which he began fully
to appreciate the perils, answered nothing to this taunt, but bowing
reverently, led her from the apartment. Her sudden appearance, and the
animated scene which followed, had entirely absorbed, for the moment,
the recollection of his father and of the Countess of Derby; and while
the dumb attendant of the latter remained in the room, a silent, and, as
it were, stunned spectator of all that had happened, Peveril had become,
in the predominating interest of Alice's critical situation, totally
forgetful of her presence. But no sooner had he left the room, without
noticing or attending to her, than Fenella, starting, as from a trance,
drew herself up, and looked wildly around, like one waking from a dream,
as if to assure herself that her companion was gone, and gone without
paying the slightest attention to her. She folded her hands together,
and cast her eyes upwards, with an expression of such agony as explained
to Charles (as he thought) what painful ideas were passing in her mind.
"This Peveril is a perfect pattern of successful perfidy, carrying off
this Queen of the Amazons, but he has left us, I think, a disconsolate
Ariadne in her place.--But weep not, my princess of pretty movements,"
he said, addressing himself to Fenella; "if we cannot call in Bacchus to
console you, we will commit you to the care of Empson, who shall drink
with _Liber Pater_ for a thousand pounds, and I will say done first."

As the King spoke these words, Fenella rushed past him with her wonted
rapidity of step, and, with much less courtesy than was due to the royal
presence, hurried downstairs, and out of the house, without attempting
to open any communication with the Monarch. He saw her abrupt departure
with more surprise than displeasure; and presently afterwards, bursting
into a fit of laughter, he said to the Duke, "Oddsfish, George, this
young spark might teach the best of us how to manage the wenches. I have
had my own experience, but I could never yet contrive either to win or
lose them with so little ceremony."

"Experience, sir," replied the duke, "cannot be acquired without years."

"True, George; and you would, I suppose, insinuate," said Charles, "that
the gallant who acquires it, loses as much in youth as he gains in art?
I defy your insinuation, George. You cannot overreach your master, old
as you think him, either in love or politics. You have not the secret
_plumer la poule sans la faire crier_, witness this morning's work. I
will give you odds at all games--ay, and at the Mall too, if thou darest
accept my challenge.--Chiffinch, what for dost thou convulse thy pretty
throat and face with sobbing and hatching tears, which seem rather
unwilling to make their appearance!"

"It is for fear," whined Chiffinch, "that your Majesty should
think--that you should expect----"

"That I should expect gratitude from a courtier, or faith from a woman?"
answered the King, patting her at the same time under the chin, to make
her raise her face--"Tush! chicken, I am not so superfluous."

"There it is now," said Chiffinch, continuing to sob the more bitterly,
as she felt herself unable to produce any tears; "I see your Majesty is
determined to lay all the blame on me, when I am innocent as an unborn
babe--I will be judged by his Grace."

"No doubt, no doubt, Chiffie," said the King. "His Grace and you will
be excellent judges in each other's cause, and as good witnesses in
each other's favour. But to investigate the matter impartially, we must
examine our evidence apart.--My Lord Duke, we meet at the Mall at noon,
if your Grace dare accept my challenge."

His Grace of Buckingham bowed, and retired.



CHAPTER XXXII

        But when the bully with assuming pace,
        Cocks his broad hat, edged round with tarnish'd lace,
        Yield not the way--defy his strutting pride,
        And thrust him to the muddy kennel's side,
        Yet rather bear the shower and toils of mud,
        Than in the doubtful quarrel risk thy blood.
                                           --GAY'S TRIVIA.

Julian Peveril, half-leading, half-supporting, Alice Bridgenorth, had
reached the middle of Saint Jame's Street ere the doubt occurred to him
which way they should bend their course. He then asked Alice whither
he should conduct her, and learned, to his surprise and embarrassment,
that, far from knowing where her father was to be found, she had no
certain knowledge that he was in London, and only hoped that he
had arrived, from the expressions which he had used at parting. She
mentioned her uncle Christian's address, but it was with doubt and
hesitation, arising from the hands in which he had already placed
her; and her reluctance to go again under his protection was strongly
confirmed by her youthful guide, when a few words had established to his
conviction the identity of Ganlesse and Christian.--What then was to be
done?

"Alice," said Julian, after a moment's reflection, "you must seek your
earliest and best friend--I mean my mother. She has now no castle in
which to receive you--she has but a miserable lodging, so near the jail
in which my father is confined, that it seems almost a cell of the same
prison. I have not seen her since my coming hither; but thus much have
I learned by inquiry. We will now go to her apartment; such as it is,
I know she will share it with one so innocent and so unprotected as you
are."

"Gracious Heaven!" said the poor girl, "am I then so totally deserted,
that I must throw myself on the mercy of her who, of all the world,
has most reason to spurn me from her?--Julian, can you advise me to
this?--Is there none else who will afford me a few hours' refuge, till I
can hear from my father?--No other protectress but her whose ruin has,
I fear, been accelerated by----Julian, I dare not appear before your
mother! she must hate me for my family, and despise me for my meanness.
To be a second time cast on her protection, when the first has been so
evil repaid--Julian, I dare not go with you."

"She has never ceased to love you, Alice," said her conductor, whose
steps she continued to attend, even while declaring her resolution not
to go with him, "she never felt anything but kindness towards you, nay,
towards your father; for though his dealings with us have been harsh,
she can allow much for the provocation which he has received. Believe
me, with her you will be safe as with a mother--perhaps it may be the
means of reconciling the divisions by which we have suffered so much."

"Might God grant it!" said Alice. "Yet how shall I face your mother? And
will she be able to protect me against these powerful men--against my
uncle Christian? Alas, that I must call him my worst enemy!"

"She has the ascendancy which honour hath over infamy, and virtue over
vice," said Julian; "and to no human power but your father's will she
resign you, if you consent to choose her for your protectress. Come,
then, with me, Alice; and----"

Julian was interrupted by some one, who, laying an unceremonious hold of
his cloak, pulled it with so much force as compelled him to stop and lay
his hand on his sword. He turned at the same time, and, when he turned,
beheld Fenella. The cheek of the mute glowed like fire; her eyes
sparkled, and her lips were forcibly drawn together, as if she had
difficulty to repress those wild screams which usually attended
her agonies of passion, and which, uttered in the open street, must
instantly have collected a crowd. As it was, her appearance was so
singular, and her emotion so evident, that men gazed as they came on,
and looked back after they had passed, at the singular vivacity of her
gestures; while, holding Peveril's cloak with one hand, she made with
the other the most eager and imperious signs that he should leave Alice
Bridgenorth and follow her. She touched the plume in her bonnet
to remind him of the Earl--pointed to her heart, to imitate the
Countess--raised her closed hand, as if to command him in their
name--and next moment folded both, as if to supplicate him in her own;
while pointing to Alice with an expression at once of angry and scornful
derision, she waved her hand repeatedly and disdainfully, to intimate
that Peveril ought to cast her off, as something undeserving his
protection.

Frightened, she knew not why, at these wild gestures, Alice clung closer
to Julian's arm than she had at first dared to do; and this mark of
confidence in his protection seemed to increase the passion of Fenella.

Julian was dreadfully embarrassed; his situation was sufficiently
precarious, even before Fenella's ungovernable passions threatened to
ruin the only plan which he had been able to suggest. What she wanted
with him--how far the fate of the Earl and Countess might depend on
his following her, he could not even conjecture; but be the call how
peremptory soever, he resolved not to comply with it until he had seen
Alice placed in safety. In the meantime, he determined not to lose sight
of Fenella; and disregarding her repeated, disdainful, and impetuous
rejection of the hand which he offered her, he at length seemed so far
to have soothed her, that she seized upon his right arm, and, as if
despairing of his following _her_ path, appeared reconciled to attend
him on that which he himself should choose.

Thus, with a youthful female clinging to each arm, and both remarkably
calculated to attract the public eye, though from very different
reasons, Julian resolved to make the shortest road to the water-side,
and there to take boat for Blackfriars, as the nearest point of landing
to Newgate, where he concluded that Lance had already announced his
arrival in London to Sir Geoffrey, then inhabiting that dismal region,
and to his lady, who, so far as the jailer's rigour permitted, shared
and softened his imprisonment.

Julian's embarrassment in passing Charing Cross and Northumberland House
was so great as to excite the attention of the passengers; for he had
to compose his steps so as to moderate the unequal and rapid pace of
Fenella to the timid and faint progress of his left-hand companion; and
while it would have been needless to address himself to the former, who
could not comprehend him, he dared not speak himself to Alice, for fear
of awakening into frenzy the jealousy, or at least the impatience of
Fenella.

Many passengers looked at them with wonder, and some with smiles; but
Julian remarked that there were two who never lost sight of them, and
to whom his situation, and the demeanour of his companions, seemed to
afford matter of undisguised merriment. These were young men, such as
may be seen in the same precincts in the present day, allowing for the
difference in the fashion of their apparel. They abounded in periwig,
and fluttered with many hundred yards of ribbon, disposed in bow-knots
upon their sleeves, their breeches, and their waistcoats, in the very
extremity of the existing mode. A quantity of lace and embroidery made
their habits rather fine than tasteful. In a word, they were dressed in
that caricature of the fashion, which sometimes denotes a harebrained
man of quality who has a mind to be distinguished as a fop of the first
order, but is much more frequently in the disguise of those who desire
to be esteemed men of rank on account of their dress, having no other
pretension to the distinction.

These two gallants passed Peveril more than once, linked arm in arm,
then sauntered, so as to oblige him to pass them in turn, laughing and
whispering during these manoeuvres--staring broadly at Peveril and his
female companions--and affording them, as they came into contact, none
of those facilities of giving place which are required on such occasions
by the ordinary rules of the pavé.

Peveril did not immediately observe their impertinence; but when it
was too gross to escape his notice, his gall began to arise; and, in
addition to all the other embarrassments of his situation, he had to
combat the longing desire which he felt to cudgel handsomely the two
coxcombs who seemed thus determined on insulting him. Patience and
sufferance were indeed strongly imposed on him by circumstances; but at
length it became scarcely possible to observe their dictates any longer.

When, for the third time, Julian found himself obliged, with his
companions, to pass this troublesome brace of fops, they kept walking
close behind him, speaking so loud as to be heard, and in a tone of
perfect indifference whether he listened to them or not.

"This is bumpkin's best luck," said the taller of the two (who was
indeed a man of remarkable size, alluding to the plainness of Peveril's
dress, which was scarce fit for the streets of London)--"Two such fine
wenches, and under guard of a grey frock and an oaken riding-rod!"

"Nay, Puritan's luck rather, and more than enough of it," said his
companion. "You may read Puritan in his pace and in his patience."

"Right as a pint bumper, Tom," said his friend--"Isschar is an ass that
stoopeth between two burdens."

"I have a mind to ease long-eared Laurence of one of his encumbrances,"
said the shorter fellow. "That black-eyed sparkler looks as if she had a
mind to run away from him."

"Ay," answered the taller, "and the blue-eyed trembler looks as if she
would fall behind into my loving arms."

At these words, Alice, holding still closer by Peveril's arm than
formerly, mended her pace almost to running, in order to escape from men
whose language was so alarming; and Fenella walked hastily forward in
the same manner, having perhaps caught, from the men's gestures and
demeanour, that apprehension which Alice had taken from their language.

Fearful of the consequences of a fray in the streets, which must
necessarily separate him from these unprotected females, Peveril
endeavoured to compound betwixt the prudence necessary for their
protection and his own rising resentment; and as this troublesome pair
of attendants endeavoured again to pass them close to Hungerford
Stairs, he said to them with constrained calmness, "Gentlemen, I owe
you something for the attention you have bestowed on the affairs of a
stranger. If you have any pretension to the name I have given you, you
will tell me where you are to be found."

"And with what purpose," said the taller of the two sneeringly, "does
your most rustic gravity, or your most grave rusticity, require of us
such information?"

So saying, they both faced about, in such a manner as to make it
impossible for Julian to advance any farther.

"Make for the stairs, Alice," he said; "I will be with you in an
instant." Then freeing himself with difficulty from the grasp of his
companions, he cast his cloak hastily round his left arm, and said,
sternly, to his opponents, "Will you give me your names, sirs; or will
you be pleased to make way?"

"Not till we know for whom we are to give place," said one of them.

"For one who will else teach you what you want--good manners," said
Peveril, and advanced as if to push between them.

They separated, but one of them stretched forth his foot before Peveril,
as if he meant to trip him. The blood of his ancestors was already
boiling within him; he struck the man on the face with the oaken rod
which he had just sneered at, and throwing it from him, instantly
unsheathed his sword. Both the others drew, and pushed at once; but he
caught the point of the one rapier in his cloak, and parried the other
thrust with his own weapon. He must have been less lucky in the second
close, but a cry arose among the watermen, of "Shame, shame! two upon
one!"

"They are men of the Duke of Buckingham's," said one fellow--"there's no
safe meddling with them."

"They may be the devil's men, if they will," said an ancient Triton,
flourishing his stretcher; "but I say fair play, and old England for
ever; and, I say, knock the gold-laced puppies down, unless they
will fight turn about with grey jerkin, like honest fellows. One
down--t'other come on."

The lower orders of London have in all times been remarkable for the
delight which they have taken in club-law, or fist-law; and for the
equity and impartiality with which they see it administered. The noble
science of defence was then so generally known, that a bout at single
rapier excited at that time as much interest and as little wonder as
a boxing-match in our own days. The bystanders experienced in such
affrays, presently formed a ring, within which Peveril and the taller
and more forward of his antagonists were soon engaged in close combat
with their swords, whilst the other, overawed by the spectators, was
prevented from interfering.

"Well done the tall fellow!"--"Well thrust, long-legs!'--"Huzza for two
ells and a quarter!" were the sounds with which the fray was at first
cheered; for Peveril's opponent not only showed great activity and skill
in fence, but had also a decided advantage, from the anxiety with which
Julian looked out for Alice Bridgenorth; the care for whose safety
diverted him in the beginning of the onset from that which he ought
to have exclusively bestowed on the defence of his own life. A slight
flesh-wound in the side at once punished, and warned him of, his
inadvertence; when, turning his whole thoughts on the business in
which he was engaged, and animated with anger against his impertinent
intruder, the rencontre speedily began to assume another face,
amidst cries of "Well done, grey jerkin!"--"Try the metal of his gold
doublet!"--"Finely thrust!"--"Curiously parried!"--"There went another
eyelet-hole to his broidered jerkin!"--"Fairly pinked, by G--d!" In
applause, accompanying a successful and conclusive lunge, by which
Peveril ran his gigantic antagonist through the body. He looked at his
prostrate foe for a moment; then, recovering himself, called loudly to
know what had become of the lady.

"Never mind the lady, if you be wise," said one of the watermen; "the
constable will be here in an instant. I'll give your honour a cast
across the water in a moment. It may be as much as your neck's worth.
Shall only charge a Jacobus."

"You be d--d!" said one of his rivals in profession, "as your father was
before you; for a Jacobus, I'll set the gentleman into Alsatia, where
neither bailiff nor constable dare trespass."

"The lady, you scoundrels, the lady!" exclaimed Peveril---"Where is the
lady?"

"I'll carry your honour where you shall have enough of ladies, if that
be your want," said the old Triton; and as he spoke, the clamour amongst
the watermen was renewed, each hoping to cut his own profit out of the
emergency of Julian's situation.

"A sculler will be least suspected, your honour," said one fellow.

"A pair of oars will carry you through the water like a wild-duck," said
another.

"But you have got never a tilt, brother," said a third. "Now I can put
the gentleman as snug as if he were under hatches."

In the midst of the oaths and clamour attending this aquatic controversy
for his custom, Peveril at length made them understand that he
would bestow a Jacobus, not on him whose boat was first oars, but on
whomsoever should inform him of the fate of the lady.

"Of which lady?" said a sharp fellow: "for, to my thought, there was a
pair of them."

"Of both, of both," answered Peveril; "but first, of the fair-haired
lady?"

"Ay, ay, that was she that shrieked so when gold-jacket's companion
handed her into No. 20."

"Who--what--who dared to hand her?" exclaimed Peveril.

"Nay, master, you have heard enough of my tale without a fee," said the
waterman.

"Sordid rascal!" said Peveril, giving him a gold piece, "speak out, or
I'll run my sword through you!"

"For the matter of that, master," answered the fellow, "not while I can
handle this trunnion--but a bargain's a bargain; and so I'll tell you,
for your gold piece, that the comrade of the fellow forced one of your
wenches, her with the fair hair, will she, nill she, into Tickling Tom's
wherry; and they are far enough up Thames by this time, with wind and
tide."

"Sacred Heaven, and I stand here!" exclaimed Julian.

"Why, that is because your honour will not take a boat."

"You are right, my friend--a boat--a boat instantly!"

"Follow me, then, squire.--Here, Tom, bear a hand--the gentleman is our
fare."

A volley of water language was exchanged betwixt the successful
candidate for Peveril's custom and his disappointed brethren, which
concluded by the ancient Triton's bellowing out, in a tone above them
all, "that the gentleman was in a fair way to make a voyage to the isle
of gulls, for that sly Jack was only bantering him--No. 20 had rowed for
York Buildings."

"To the isle of gallows," cried another; "for here comes one who will
mar his trip up Thames, and carry him down to Execution Dock."

In fact, as he spoke the word, a constable, with three or four of his
assistants, armed with the old-fashioned brown bills, which were still
used for arming those guardians of the peace, cut off our hero's farther
progress to the water's edge, by arresting him in the King's name. To
attempt resistance would have been madness, as he was surrounded on all
sides; so Peveril was disarmed, and carried before the nearest Justice
of the Peace, for examination and committal.

The legal sage before whom Julian was taken was a man very honest in
his intentions, very bounded in his talents, and rather timid in his
disposition. Before the general alarm given to England, and to the city
of London in particular, by the notable discovery of the Popish Plot,
Master Maulstatute had taken serene and undisturbed pride and pleasure
in the discharge of his duties as a Justice of the Peace, with the
exercise of all its honorary privileges and awful authority. But the
murder of Sir Edmondsbury Godfrey had made a strong, nay, an indelible
impression on his mind; and he walked the Courts of Themis with fear and
trembling after that memorable and melancholy event.

Having a high idea of his official importance, and rather an exalted
notion of his personal consequence, his honour saw nothing from that
time but cords and daggers before his eyes, and never stepped out of
his own house, which he fortified, and in some measure garrisoned,
with half-a-dozen tall watchmen and constables, without seeing himself
watched by a Papist in disguise, with a drawn sword under his cloak. It
was even whispered, that, in the agonies of his fears, the worshipful
Master Maulstatute mistook the kitchen-wench with a tinderbox, for a
Jesuit with a pistol; but if any one dared to laugh at such an error, he
would have done well to conceal his mirth, lest he fell under the heavy
inculpation of being a banterer and stifler of the Plot--a crime almost
as deep as that of being himself a plotter. In fact, the fears of the
honest Justice, however ridiculously exorbitant, were kept so much in
countenance by the outcry of the day, and the general nervous fever,
which afflicted every good Protestant, that Master Maulstatute was
accounted the bolder man and the better magistrate, while, under the
terror of the air-drawn dagger which fancy placed continually before his
eyes, he continued to dole forth Justice in the recesses of his private
chamber, nay, occasionally to attend Quarter-Sessions, when the hall
was guarded by a sufficient body of the militia. Such was the wight, at
whose door, well chained and doubly bolted, the constable who had Julian
in custody now gave his important and well-known knock.

Notwithstanding this official signal, the party was not admitted until
the clerk, who acted the part of high-warder, had reconnoitred them
through a grated wicket; for who could say whether the Papists might
not have made themselves master of Master Constable's sign, and have
prepared a pseudo watch to burst in and murder the Justice, under
pretence of bringing in a criminal before him?--Less hopeful projects
had figured in the Narrative of the Popish Plot.

All being found right, the key was turned, the bolts were drawn, and the
chain unhooked, so as to permit entrance to the constable, the prisoner,
and the assistants; and the door was then a suddenly shut against the
witnesses, who, as less trustworthy persons, were requested (through
the wicket) to remain in the yard, until they should be called in their
respective turns.

Had Julian been inclined for mirth, as was far from being the case,
he must have smiled at the incongruity of the clerk's apparel, who
had belted over his black buckram suit a buff baldric, sustaining a
broadsword, and a pair of huge horse-pistols; and, instead of the low
flat hat, which, coming in place of the city cap, completed the dress
of a scrivener, had placed on his greasy locks a rusted steel-cap, which
had seen Marston-Moor; across which projected his well-used quill, in
the guise of a plume--the shape of the morion not admitting of its being
stuck, as usual, behind his ear.

This whimsical figure conducted the constable, his assistants, and the
prisoner, into the low hall, where his principal dealt forth justice;
who presented an appearance still more singular than that of his
dependant.

Sundry good Protestants, who thought so highly of themselves as to
suppose they were worthy to be distinguished as objects of Catholic
cruelty, had taken to defensive arms on the occasion. But it was quickly
found that a breast-plate and back-plate of proof, fastened together
with iron clasps, was no convenient enclosure for a man who meant to eat
venison and custard; and that a buff-coat or shirt of mail was scarcely
more accommodating to the exertions necessary on such active occasions.
Besides, there were other objections, as the alarming and menacing
aspects which such warlike habiliments gave to the Exchange, and other
places, where merchants most do congregate; and excoriations were
bitterly complained of by many, who, not belonging to the artillery
company, or trained bands, had no experience in bearing defensive
armour.

To obviate these objections, and, at the same time, to secure the
persons of all true Protestant citizens against open force or privy
assassinations on the part of the Papists, some ingenious artist,
belonging, we may presume, to the worshipful Mercers' Company, had
contrived a species of armour, of which neither the horse-armory in
the Tower, nor Gwynnap's Gothic Hall, no, nor Dr. Meyrick's invaluable
collection of ancient arms, has preserved any specimen. It was called
silk-armour, being composed of a doublet and breeches of quilted silk,
so closely stitched, and of such thickness, as to be proof against
either bullet or steel; while a thick bonnet of the same materials, with
ear-flaps attached to it, and on the whole, much resembling a nightcap,
completed the equipment and ascertained the security of the wearer from
the head to the knee.

Master Maulstatute, among other worthy citizens, had adopted this
singular panoply, which had the advantage of being soft, and warm, and
flexible, as well as safe. And he now sat in his judicial elbow-chair--a
short, rotund figure, hung round, as it were, with cushions, for such
was the appearance of the quilted garments; and with a nose protruded
from under the silken casque, the size of which, together with the
unwieldiness of the whole figure, gave his worship no indifferent
resemblance to the sign of the Hog in Armour, which was considerably
improved by the defensive garment being of dusty orange colour, not
altogether unlike the hue of those half-wild swine which are to be found
in the forest of Hampshire.

Secure in these invulnerable envelopments, his worship had rested
content, although severed from his own death-doing weapons, of rapier,
poniard, and pistols, which were placed nevertheless, at no great
distance from his chair. One offensive implement, indeed, he thought it
prudent to keep on the table beside his huge Coke upon Lyttleton. This
was a sort of pocket flail, consisting of a piece of strong ash,
about eighteen inches long, to which was attached a swinging club of
_lignum-vitæ_, nearly twice as long as the handle, but jointed so as
to be easily folded up. This instrument, which bore at that time the
singular name of the Protestant flail, might be concealed under the
coat, until circumstances demanded its public appearance. A better
precaution against surprise than his arms, whether offensive or
defensive, was a strong iron grating, which, crossing the room in front
of the justice's table, and communicating by a grated door, which was
usually kept locked, effectually separated the accused party from his
judge.

Justice Maulstatute, such as we have described him, chose to hear the
accusation of the witnesses before calling on Peveril for his defence.
The detail of the affray was briefly given by the bystanders, and seemed
deeply to touch the spirit of the examinator. He shook his silken casque
emphatically, when he understood that, after some language betwixt the
parties, which the witnesses did not quite understand, the young man
in custody struck the first blow, and drew his sword before the wounded
party had unsheathed his weapon. Again he shook his crested head yet
more solemnly, when the result of the conflict was known; and yet again,
when one of the witnesses declared, that, to the best of his knowledge,
the sufferer in the fray was a gentleman belonging to the household of
his Grace the Duke of Buckingham.

"A worthy peer," quoth the armed magistrate--"a true Protestant, and a
friend to his country. Mercy on us, to what a height of audacity hath
this age arisen! We see well, and could, were we as blind as a mole, out
of what quiver this shaft hath been drawn."

He then put on his spectacles, and having desired Julian to be brought
forward, he glared upon him awfully with those glazen eyes, from under
the shade of his quilted turban.

"So young," he said, "and so hardened--lack-a-day!--and a Papist, I'll
warrant."

Peveril had time enough to recollect the necessity of his being at
large, if he could possibly obtain his freedom, and interposed here a
civil contradiction of his worship's gracious supposition. "He was no
Catholic," he said, "but an unworthy member of the Church of England."

"Perhaps but a lukewarm Protestant, notwithstanding," said the sage
Justice; "there are those amongst us who ride tantivy to Rome, and have
already made out half the journey--ahem!"

Peveril disowned his being any such.

"And who art thou, then?" said the Justice; "for, friend, to tell you
plainly, I like not your visage--ahem!"

These short and emphatic coughs were accompanied each by a succinct nod,
intimating the perfect conviction of the speaker that he had made the
best, the wisest, and the most acute observation, of which the premises
admitted.

Julian, irritated by the whole circumstances of his detention, answered
the Justice's interrogation in rather a lofty tone. "My name is Julian
Peveril!"

"Now, Heaven be around us!" said the terrified Justice--"the son of that
black-hearted Papist and traitor, Sir Geoffrey Peveril, now in hands,
and on the verge of trial!"

"How, sir!" exclaimed Julian, forgetting his situation, and, stepping
forward to the grating, with a violence which made the bars clatter, he
so startled the appalled Justice, that, snatching his Protestant flail,
Master Maulstatute aimed a blow at his prisoner, to repel what he
apprehended was a premeditated attack. But whether it was owing to the
Justice's hurry of mind, or inexperience in managing the weapon, he not
only missed his aim, but brought the swinging part of the machine round
his own skull, with such a severe counter-buff, as completely to try
the efficacy of his cushioned helmet, and, in spite of its defence,
to convey a stunning sensation, which he rather hastily imputed to the
consequence of a blow received from Peveril.

His assistants did not directly confirm the opinion which the Justice
had so unwarrantably adopted; but all with one voice agreed that,
but for their own active and instantaneous interference, there was no
knowing what mischief might have been done by a person so dangerous as
the prisoner. The general opinion that he meant to proceed in the matter
of his own rescue, _par voie du fait_, was indeed so deeply impressed on
all present, that Julian saw it would be in vain to offer any defence,
especially being but too conscious that the alarming and probably
the fatal consequences of his rencontre with the bully, rendered his
commitment inevitable. He contented himself with asking into what prison
he was to be thrown; and when the formidable word Newgate was returned
as full answer, he had at least the satisfaction to reflect, that, stern
and dangerous as was the shelter of that roof, he should at least enjoy
it in company with his father; and that, by some means or other, they
might perhaps obtain the satisfaction of a melancholy meeting, under
the circumstances of mutual calamity, which seemed impending over their
house.

Assuming the virtue of more patience than he actually possessed, Julian
gave the magistrate (to whom all the mildness of his demeanour could
not, however, reconcile him), the direction to the house where he
lodged, together with a request that his servant, Lance Outram, might
be permitted to send him his money and wearing apparel; adding, that
all which might be in his possession, either of arms or writings,--the
former amounting to a pair of travelling pistols, and the last to a few
memoranda of little consequence, he willingly consented to place at the
disposal of the magistrate. It was in that moment that he entertained,
with sincere satisfaction, the comforting reflection, that the important
papers of Lady Derby were already in the possession of the sovereign.

The Justice promised attention to his requests; but reminded him, with
great dignity, that his present complacent and submissive behaviour
ought, for his own sake, to have been adopted from the beginning,
instead of disturbing the presence of magistracy with such atrocious
marks of the malignant, rebellious, and murderous spirit of Popery, as
he had at first exhibited. "Yet," he said, "as he was a goodly young
man, and of honourable quality, he would not suffer him to be dragged
through the streets as a felon, but had ordered a coach for his
accommodation."

His honour, Master Maulstatute, uttered the word "coach" with the
importance of one who, as Dr. Johnson saith of later date, is conscious
of the dignity of putting horses to his chariot. The worshipful Master
Maulstatute did not, however on this occasion, do Julian the honour of
yoking to his huge family caroche the two "frampal jades" (to use the
term of the period), which were wont to drag that ark to the meeting
house of pure and precious Master Howlaglass, on a Thursday's evening
for lecture, and on a Sunday for a four-hours' sermon. He had recourse
to a leathern convenience, then more rare, but just introduced, with
every prospect of the great facility which has since been afforded by
hackney coaches, to all manner of communication, honest and dishonest,
legal and illegal. Our friend Julian, hitherto much more accustomed to
the saddle than to any other conveyance, soon found himself in a hackney
carriage, with the constable and two assistants for his companions,
armed up to the teeth--the port of destination being, as they had
already intimated, the ancient fortress of Newgate.



CHAPTER XXXIII

        'Tis the black ban-dog of our jail--Pray look on him,
        But at a wary distance--rouse him not--
        He bays not till he worries.
                                       --THE BLACK DOG OF NEWGATE.

The coach stopped before those tremendous gates, which resemble those
of Tartarus, save only that they rather more frequently permit safe and
honourable egress; although at the price of the same anxiety and
labour with which Hercules, and one or two of the demi-gods, extricated
themselves from the Hell of the ancient mythology, and sometimes, it is
said, by the assistance of the golden boughs.

Julian stepped out of the vehicle, carefully supported on either side by
his companions, and also by one or two turnkeys, whom the first summons
of the deep bell at the gate had called to their assistance. That
attention, it may be guessed, was not bestowed lest he should make a
false step, so much as for fear of his attempting an escape, of which
he had no intentions. A few prentices and straggling boys of the
neighbouring market, which derived considerable advantage from increase
of custom, in consequence of the numerous committals on account of the
Popish Plot, and who therefore were zealous of Protestants, saluted him
on his descent with jubilee shouts of "Whoop, Papist! whoop, Papist!
D----n to the Pope, and all his adherents!"

Under such auspices, Peveril was ushered in beneath that gloomy gateway,
where so many bid adieu on their entrance at once to honour and to life.
The dark and dismal arch under which he soon found himself opened upon
a large courtyard, where a number of debtors were employed in playing
at handball, pitch-and-toss, hustle-cap, and other games, for which
relaxations the rigour of their creditors afforded them full leisure,
while it debarred them the means of pursuing the honest labour by which
they might have redeemed their affairs, and maintained their starving
and beggared families.

But with this careless and desperate group Julian was not to be
numbered, being led, or rather forced, by his conductors, into a low
arched door, which, carefully secured by bolts and bars, opened for
his reception on one side of the archway, and closed, with all its
fastenings, the moment after his hasty entrance. He was then conducted
along two or three gloomy passages, which, where they intersected each
other, were guarded by as many strong wickets, one of iron gates, and
the others of stout oak, clinched with plates, and studded with nails
of the same metal. He was not allowed to pause until he found himself
hurried into a little round vaulted room, which several of these
passages opened into, and which seemed, with respect to the labyrinth
through part of which he had passed, to resemble the central point of a
spider's web, in which the main lines of that reptile's curious maze are
always found to terminate.

The resemblance did not end here; for in this small vaulted apartment,
the walls of which were hung round with musketoons, pistols, cutlasses,
and other weapons, as well as with many sets of fetters and irons of
different construction, all disposed in great order, and ready for
employment, a person sat, who might not unaptly be compared to a huge
bloated and bottled spider, placed there to secure the prey which had
fallen into his toils.

This official had originally been a very strong and square-built man,
of large size, but was now so overgrown, from overfeeding, perhaps, and
want of exercise, as to bear the same resemblance to his former self
which a stall-fed ox still retains to a wild bull. The look of no man is
so inauspicious as a fat man, upon whose features ill-nature has marked
an habitual stamp. He seems to have reversed the old proverb of "laugh
and be fat," and to have thriven under the influence of the worst
affections of the mind. Passionate we can allow a jolly mortal to be;
but it seems unnatural to his goodly case to be sulky and brutal. Now
this man's features, surly and tallow-coloured; his limbs, swelled and
disproportioned; his huge paunch and unwieldy carcass, suggested the
idea, that, having once found his way into this central recess, he
had there fattened, like the weasel in the fable, and fed largely and
foully, until he had become incapable of retreating through any of the
narrow paths that terminated at his cell; and was thus compelled to
remain, like a toad under the cold stone, fattening amid the squalid
airs of the dungeons by which he was surrounded, which would have
proved pestiferous to any other than such a congenial inhabitant. Huge
iron-clasped books lay before this ominous specimen of pinguitude--the
records of the realm of misery, in which office he officiated as prime
minister; and had Peveril come thither as an unconcerned visitor,
his heart would have sunk within him at considering the mass of human
wretchedness which must needs be registered in these fatal volumes.
But his own distresses sat too heavy on his mind to permit any general
reflections of this nature.

The constable and this bulky official whispered together, after the
former had delivered to the latter the warrant of Julian's commitment.
The word _whispered_ is not quite accurate, for their communication was
carried on less by words than by looks and expressive signs; by which,
in all such situations, men learn to supply the use of language, and to
add mystery to what is in itself sufficiently terrible to the captive.
The only words which could be heard were those of the Warden, or, as
he was called then, the Captain of the Jail, "Another bird to the
cage----?"

"Who will whistle 'Pretty Pope of Rome,' with any starling in your
Knight's ward," answered the constable, with a facetious air, checked,
however, by the due respect to the supreme presence in which he stood.

The Grim Feature relaxed into something like a smile as he heard the
officer's observation; but instantly composing himself into the stern
solemnity which for an instant had been disturbed, he looked fiercely at
his new guest, and pronounced with an awful and emphatic, yet rather an
under-voice, the single and impressive word, "_Garnish!_"

Julian Peveril replied with assumed composure; for he had heard of the
customs of such places, and was resolved to comply with them, so as if
possible to obtain the favour of seeing his father, which he shrewdly
guessed must depend on his gratifying the avarice of the keeper. "I am
quite ready," he said, "to accede to the customs of the place in which
I unhappily find myself. You have but to name your demands, and I will
satisfy them."

So saying, he drew out his purse, thinking himself at the same time
fortunate that he had retained about him a considerable sum of gold. The
Captain remarked its width, depth, its extension, and depression, with
an involuntary smile, which had scarce contorted his hanging under-lip,
and the wiry and greasy moustache which thatched the upper, when it was
checked by the recollection that there were regulations which set bounds
to his rapacity, and prevented him from pouncing on his prey like a
kite, and swooping it all off at once.

This chilling reflection produced the following sullen reply to
Peveril:--"There were sundry rates. Gentlemen must choose for
themselves. He asked nothing but his fees. But civility," he muttered,
"must be paid for."

"And shall, if I can have it for payment," said Peveril; "but the price,
my good sir, the price?"

He spoke with some degree of scorn, which he was the less anxious to
repress, that he saw, even in this jail, his purse gave him an indirect
but powerful influence over his jailer.

The Captain seemed to feel the same; for, as he spoke, he plucked from
his head, almost involuntarily, a sort of scalded fur-cap, which served
it for covering. But his fingers revolting from so unusual an act of
complaisance, began to indemnify themselves by scratching his grizzly
shock-head, as he muttered, in a tone resembling the softened growling
of a mastiff when he has ceased to bay the intruder who shows no fear of
him,--"There are different rates. There is the Little Ease, for common
fees of the crown--rather dark, and the common sewer runs below it;
and some gentlemen object to the company, who are chiefly padders and
michers. Then the Master's side--the garnish came to one piece--and none
lay stowed there but who were in for murder at the least."

"Name your highest price, sir, and take it," was Julian's concise reply.

"Three pieces for the Knight's ward," answered the governor of this
terrestrial Tartarus.

"Take five, and place me with Sir Geoffrey," was again Julian's answer,
throwing down the money upon the desk before him.

"Sir Geoffrey?--Hum!--ay, Sir Geoffrey," said the jailer, as if
meditating what he ought to do. "Well, many a man has paid money to see
Sir Geoffrey--Scarce so much as you have, though. But then you are like
to see the last of him.--Ha, ha ha!"

These broken muttered exclamations, which terminated somewhat like the
joyous growl of a tiger over his meal, Julian could not comprehend; and
only replied to by repeating his request to be placed in the same cell
with Sir Geoffrey.

"Ay, master," said the jailer, "never fear; I'll keep word with you, as
you seem to know something of what belongs to your station and mine. And
hark ye, Jem Clink will fetch you the darbies."

"Derby!" interrupted Julian,--"Has the Earl or Countess----"

"Earl or Countess!--Ha, ha, ha!" again laughed, or rather growled, the
warden. "What is your head running on? You are a high fellow belike!
but all is one here. The darbies are the fetlocks--the fast-keepers,
my boy--the bail for good behaviour, my darling; and if you are not
the more conforming, I can add you a steel nightcap, and a curious
bosom-friend, to keep you warm of a winter night. But don't be
disheartened; you have behaved genteel; and you shall not be put upon.
And as for this here matter, ten to one it will turn out chance-medley,
or manslaughter, at the worst on it; and then it is but a singed thumb
instead of a twisted neck--always if there be no Papistry about it, for
then I warrant nothing.--Take the gentleman's worship away, Clink."

A turnkey, who was one of the party that had ushered Peveril into the
presence of this Cerberus, now conveyed him out in silence; and, under
his guidance, the prisoner was carried through a second labyrinth of
passages with cells opening on each side, to that which was destined for
his reception.

On the road through this sad region, the turnkey more than once
ejaculated, "Why, the gentleman must be stark-mad! Could have had the
best crown cell to himself for less than half the garnish, and must pay
double to pig in with Sir Geoffrey! Ha, ha!--Is Sir Geoffrey akin to
you, if any one may make free to ask?"

"I am his son," answered Peveril sternly, in hopes to impose some curb
on the fellow's impertinence; but the man only laughed louder than
before.

"His son!--Why, that's best of all--Why, you are a strapping youth--five
feet ten, if you be an inch--and Sir Geoffrey's son!--Ha, ha, ha!"

"Truce with your impertinence," said Julian. "My situation gives you no
title to insult me!"

"No more I do," said the turnkey, smothering his mirth at the
recollection, perhaps, that the prisoner's purse was not exhausted.
"I only laughed because you said you were Sir Geoffrey's son. But no
matter--'tis a wise child that knows his own father. And here is Sir
Geoffrey's cell; so you and he may settle the fatherhood between you."

So saying, he ushered his prisoner into a cell, or rather a strong room
of the better order, in which there were four chairs, a truckle-bed, and
one or two other articles of furniture.

Julian looked eagerly around for his father; but to his surprise the
room appeared totally empty. He turned with anger on the turnkey, and
charged him with misleading him; but the fellow answered, "No, no,
master; I have kept faith with you. Your father, if you call him so, is
only tappiced in some corner. A small hole will hide him; but I'll rouse
him out presently for you.--Here, hoicks!--Turn out, Sir Geoffrey!--Here
is--Ha, ha, ha!--your son--or your wife's son--for I think you have but
little share in him--come to wait on you."

Peveril knew not how to resent the man's insolence; and indeed his
anxiety, and apprehension of some strange mistake, mingled with, and in
some degree neutralised his anger. He looked again and again, around and
around the room; until at length he became aware of something rolled up
in a dark corner, which rather resembled a small bundle of crimson cloth
than any living creature. At the vociferation of the turnkey, however,
the object seemed to acquire life and motion, uncoiled itself in some
degree, and, after an effort or two, gained an erect posture; still
covered from top to toe with the crimson drapery in which it was at
first wrapped. Julian, at the first glance, imagined from the size that
he saw a child of five years old; but a shrill and peculiar tone of
voice soon assured him of his mistake.

"Warder," said this unearthly sound, "what is the meaning of this
disturbance? Have you more insults to heap on the head of one who hath
ever been the butt of fortune's malice? But I have a soul that can
wrestle with all my misfortunes; it is as large as any of your bodies."

"Nay, Sir Geoffrey, if this be the way you welcome your own son!" said
the turnkey; "but you quality folks know your own ways best."

"My son!" exclaimed the little figure. "Audacious----"

"Here is some strange mistake," said Peveril, in the same breath. "I
sought Sir Geoffrey----"

"And you have him before you, young man," said the pigmy tenant of the
cell, with an air of dignity; at the same time casting on the floor his
crimson cloak, and standing before them in his full dignity of three
feet six inches of height. "I who was the favoured servant of three
successive Sovereigns of the Crown of England, am now the tenant of this
dungeon, and the sport of its brutal keepers. I am Sir Geoffrey Hudson."

Julian, though he had never before seen this important personage, had
no difficulty in recognising, from description, the celebrated dwarf of
Henrietta Maria, who had survived the dangers of civil war and private
quarrel--the murder of his royal master, Charles I., and the exile of
his widow--to fall upon evil tongues and evil days, amidst the unsparing
accusations connected with the Popish Plot. He bowed to the unhappy old
man, and hastened to explain to him, and to the turnkey, that it was
Sir Geoffrey Peveril, of Martindale Castle in Derbyshire whose prison he
desired to share.

"You should have said that before you parted with the gold-dust, my
master," answered the turnkey; "for t'other Sir Geoffrey, that is the
big, tall, grey-haired man, was sent to the Tower last night; and the
Captain will think he has kept his word well enow with you, by lodging
you with this here Sir Geoffrey Hudson, who is the better show of the
two."

"I pray you go to your master," said Peveril; "explain the mistake; and
say to him I beg to be sent to the Tower."

"The Tower!--Ha, ha, ha!" exclaimed the fellow. "The Tower is for lords
and knights, and not for squires of low degree--for high treason, and
not for ruffing on the streets with rapier and dagger; and there must go
a secretary's warrant to send you there."

"At least, let me not be a burden on this gentleman," said Julian.
"There can be no use in quartering us together, since we are not even
acquainted. Go tell your master of the mistake."

"Why, so I should," said Clink, still grinning, "if I were not sure that
he knew it already. You paid to be sent to Sir Geoffrey, and he sent you
to Sir Geoffrey. You are so put down in the register, and he will blot
it for no man. Come, come, be comfortable, and you shall have light and
easy irons--that's all I can do for you."

Resistance and expostulation being out of the question, Peveril
submitted to have a light pair of fetters secured on his ankles, which
allowed him, nevertheless, the power of traversing the apartment.

During this operation, he reflected that the jailer, who had taken the
advantage of the equivoque betwixt the two Sir Geoffreys, must have
acted as his assistant had hinted, and cheated him from malice prepense,
since the warrant of committal described him as the son of Sir Geoffrey
Peveril. It was therefore in vain, as well as degrading, to make farther
application to such a man on the subject. Julian determined to submit to
his fate, as what could not be averted by any effort of his own.

Even the turnkey was moved in some degree by his youth, good mien,
and the patience with which, after the first effervescence of
disappointment, the new prisoner resigned himself to his situation. "You
seem a brave young gentleman," he said; "and shall at least have a good
dinner, and as good a pallet to sleep on, as is within the walls of
Newgate.----And, Master Sir Geoffrey, you ought to make much of him,
since you do not like tall fellows; for I can tell you that Master
Peveril is in for pinking long Jack Jenkins, that was the Master of
Defence--as tall a man as in London, always excepting the King's Porter,
Master Evans, that carried you about in his pocket, Sir Geoffrey, as all
the world heard tell."

"Begone, fellow!" answered the dwarf. "Fellow, I scorn you!"

The turnkey sneered, withdrew, and locked the door behind him.



CHAPTER XXXIV

              Degenerate youth, and not of Tydeus' kind,
              Whose little body lodged a mighty mind.
                                                    --ILIAD.

Left quiet at least, if not alone, for the first time after the events
of this troubled and varied day, Julian threw himself on an old oaken
seat, beside the embers of a sea-coal fire, and began to muse on the
miserable situation of anxiety and danger in which he was placed;
where, whether he contemplated the interests of his love, his family
affections, or his friendships, all seemed such a prospect as that of a
sailor who looks upon breakers on every hand, from the deck of a vessel
which no longer obeys the helm.

As Peveril sat sunk in despondency, his companion in misfortune drew a
chair to the opposite side of the chimney-corner, and began to gaze at
him with a sort of solemn earnestness, which at length compelled him,
though almost in spite of himself, to pay some attention to the singular
figure who seemed so much engrossed with contemplating him.

Geoffrey Hudson (we drop occasionally the title of knighthood, which
the King had bestowed on him in a frolic, but which might introduce
some confusion into our history), although a dwarf of the least possible
size, had nothing positively ugly in his countenance, or actually
distorted in his limbs. His head, hands, and feet were indeed large,
and disproportioned to the height of his body, and his body itself much
thicker than was consistent with symmetry, but in a degree which was
rather ludicrous than disagreeable to look upon. His countenance, in
particular, had he been a little taller, would have been accounted, in
youth, handsome, and now, in age, striking and expressive; it was but
the uncommon disproportion betwixt the head and the trunk which made the
features seem whimsical and bizarre--an effect which was considerably
increased by the dwarf's moustaches, which it was his pleasure to wear
so large, that they almost twisted back amongst, and mingled with, his
grizzled hair.

The dress of this singular wight announced that he was not entirely free
from the unhappy taste which frequently induces those whom nature has
marked by personal deformity, to distinguish, and at the same time to
render themselves ridiculous, by the use of showy colours, and garments
fantastically and extraordinarily fashioned. But poor Geoffrey Hudson's
laces, embroideries, and the rest of his finery, were sorely worn and
tarnished by the time which he had spent in jail, under the vague and
malicious accusation that he was somehow or other an accomplice in
this all-involving, all-devouring whirlpool of a Popish conspiracy--an
impeachment which, if pronounced by a mouth the foulest and most
malicious, was at that time sufficiently predominant to sully the
fairest reputation. It will presently appear, that in the poor man's
manner of thinking, and tone of conversation, there was something
analogous to his absurd fashion of apparel; for, as in the latter, good
stuff and valuable decorations were rendered ludicrous by the fantastic
fashion in which they were made up; so, such glimmerings of good sense
and honourable feeling as the little man often evinced, were made
ridiculous by a restless desire to assume certain airs of importance,
and a great jealousy of being despised, on account of the peculiarity of
his outward form.

After the fellow-prisoners had looked at each other for some time in
silence, the dwarf, conscious of his dignity as first owner of their
joint apartment, thought it necessary to do the honours of it to the
new-comer. "Sir," he said, modifying the alternate harsh and squeaking
tones of his voice into accents as harmonious as they could attain,
"I understand you to be the son of my worthy namesake, and ancient
acquaintance, the stout Sir Geoffrey Peveril of the Peak. I promise you,
I have seen your father where blows have been going more plenty than
gold pieces; and for a tall heavy man, who lacked, as we martialists
thought, some of the lightness and activity of our more slightly made
Cavaliers, he performed his duty as a man might desire. I am happy to
see you, his son; and, though by a mistake, I am glad we are to share
this comfortless cabin together."

Julian bowed, and thanked his courtesy; and Geoffrey Hudson, having
broken the ice, preceded to question him without further ceremony. "You
are no courtier, I presume, young gentleman?"

Julian replied in the negative.

"I thought so," continued the dwarf; "for although I have now no
official duty at Court, the region in which my early years were spent,
and where I once held a considerable office, yet I still, when I had my
liberty, visited the Presence from time to time, as in duty bound for
former service; and am wont, from old habit, to take some note of the
courtly gallants, those choice spirits of the age, among whom I was
once enrolled. You are, not to compliment you, a marked figure, Master
Peveril--though something of the tallest, as was your father's case; I
think, I could scarce have seen you anywhere without remembering you."

Peveril thought he might, with great justice, have returned the
compliment, but contented himself with saying, "he had scarce seen the
British Court."

"Tis pity," said Hudson; "a gallant can hardly be formed without
frequenting it. But you have been perhaps in a rougher school; you have
served, doubtless?"

"My Maker, I hope," said Julian.

"Fie on it, you mistake. I meant," said Hudson, "_á la François_,--you
have served in the army?"

"No. I have not yet had that honour," said Julian.

"What! neither courtier nor soldier, Master Peveril?" said the important
little man: "your father is to blame. By cock and pie he is, Master
Peveril! How shall a man be known, or distinguished, unless by his
bearing in peace and war? I tell you, sir, that at Newberry, where I
charged with my troop abreast with Prince Rupert, and when, as you may
have heard, we were both beaten off by those cuckoldly hinds the Trained
Bands of London,--we did what men could; and I think it was a matter of
three or four minutes after most of our gentlemen had been driven off,
that his Highness and I continued to cut at their long pikes with
our swords; and I think might have broken in, but that I had a tall,
long-legged brute of a horse, and my sword was somewhat short,--in fine,
at last we were obliged to make volte-face, and then, as I was going to
say, the fellows were so glad to get rid of us, that they set up a great
jubilee cry of 'There goes Prince Robin and Cock Robin!'--Ay, ay, every
scoundrel among them knew me well. But those days are over.--And where
were you educated, young gentleman?"

Peveril named the household of the Countess of Derby.

"A most honourable lady, upon my word as a gentleman," said Hudson.--"I
knew the noble Countess well when I was about the person of my royal
mistress, Henrietta Maria. She was then the very muster of all that was
noble, loyal, and lovely. She was, indeed, one of the fifteen fair ones
of the Court, whom I permitted to call me Piccoluomini--a foolish jest
on my somewhat diminutive figure, which always distinguished me from
ordinary beings, even when I was young--I have now lost much stature by
stooping; but, always the ladies had their jest at me.--Perhaps, young
man, I had my own amends of some of them somewhere, and somehow
or other--I _say_ nothing if I had or no; far less do I insinuate
disrespect to the noble Countess. She was daughter of the Duc de la
Tremouille, or, more correctly, des Thouars. But certainly to serve the
ladies, and condescend to their humours, even when somewhat too free, or
too fantastic, is the true decorum of gentle blood."

Depressed as his spirits were, Peveril could scarce forbear smiling when
he looked at the pigmy creature, who told these stories with infinite
complacency, and appeared disposed to proclaim, as his own herald, that
he had been a very model of valour and gallantry, though love and
arms seemed to be pursuits totally irreconcilable to his shrivelled,
weather-beaten countenance, and wasted limbs. Julian was, however,
so careful to avoid giving his companion pain, that he endeavoured
to humour him, by saying, that, "unquestionably, one bred up like
Sir Geoffrey Hudson, in court and camps, knew exactly when to suffer
personal freedoms, and when to control them."

The little Knight, with great vivacity, though with some difficulty,
began to drag his seat from the side of the fire opposite to that where
Julian was seated, and at length succeeded in bringing it near him, in
token of increasing cordiality.

"You say well, Master Peveril," said the dwarf; "and I have given proofs
both of bearing and forbearing. Yes, sir, there was not that thing which
my most royal mistress, Henrietta Maria, could have required of me, that
I would not have complied with, sir; I was her sworn servant, both
in war and in festival, in battle and pageant, sir. At her Majesty's
particular request, I once condescended to become--ladies, you know,
have strange fancies--to become the tenant, for a time, of the interior
of a pie."

"Of a pie?" said Julian, somewhat amazed.

"Yes, sir, of a pie. I hope you find nothing risible in my
complaisance?" replied his companion, something jealously.

"Not I, sir," said Peveril; "I have other matters than laughter in my
head at present."

"So had I," said the dwarfish champion, "when I found myself imprisoned
in a huge platter, of no ordinary dimensions you may be assured, since I
could lie at length in it, and when I was entombed, as it were, in walls
of standing crust, and a huge cover of pastry, the whole constituting
a sort of sarcophagus, of size enough to have recorded the epitaph of
a general officer or an archbishop on the lid. Sir, notwithstanding
the conveniences which were made to give me air, it was more like being
buried alive than aught else which I could think of."

"I conceive it, sir," said Julian.

"Moreover, sir," continued the dwarf, "there were few in the secret,
which was contrived for the Queen's divertisement; for advancing of
which I would have crept into a filbert nut, had it been possible;
and few, as I said, being private in the scheme, there was a risk of
accidents. I doubted, while in my darksome abode, whether some awkward
attendant might not have let me fall, as I have seen happen to a venison
pasty; or whether some hungry guest might not anticipate the moment of
my resurrection, by sticking his knife into my upper crust. And though I
had my weapons about me, young man, as has been my custom in every case
of peril, yet, if such a rash person had plunged deep into the bowels of
the supposed pasty, my sword and dagger could barely have served me to
avenge, assuredly not to prevent, either of these catastrophes."

"Certainly I do so understand it," said Julian, who began, however, to
feel that the company of little Hudson, talkative as he showed himself,
was likely rather to aggravate than to alleviate the inconveniences of a
prison.

"Nay," continued the little man, enlarging on his former topic, "I had
other subjects of apprehension; for it pleased my Lord of Buckingham,
his Grace's father who now bears the title, in his plenitude of Court
favour, to command the pasty to be carried down to the office, and
committed anew to the oven, alleging preposterously that it was better
to be eaten warm than cold."

"And did this, sir, not disturb your equanimity?" said Julian.

"My young friend," said Geoffrey Hudson, "I cannot deny it.--Nature
will claim her rights from the best and boldest of us.--I thought
of Nebuchadnezzar and his fiery furnace; and I waxed warm with
apprehension.--But, I thank Heaven, I also thought of my sworn duty to
my royal mistress; and was thereby obliged and enabled to resist all
temptations to make myself prematurely known. Nevertheless, the Duke--if
of malice, may Heaven forgive him--followed down into the office
himself, and urged the master-cook very hard that the pasty should be
heated, were it but for five minutes. But the master-cook, being privy
to the very different intentions of my royal mistress, did most manfully
resist the order; and I was again reconveyed in safety to the royal
table."

"And in due time liberated from your confinement, I doubt not?" said
Peveril.

"Yes, sir; that happy, and I may say, glorious moment, at length
arrived," continued the dwarf. "The upper crust was removed--I started
up to the sound of trumpet and clarion, like the soul of a warrior
when the last summons shall sound--or rather (if that simile be over
audacious), like a spell-bound champion relieved from his enchanted
state. It was then that, with my buckler on my arm, and my trusty Bilboa
in my hand, I executed a sort of warlike dance, in which my skill and
agility then rendered me pre-eminent, displaying, at the same time
my postures, both of defence and offence, in a manner so totally
inimitable, that I was almost deafened with the applause of all around
me, and half-drowned by the scented waters with which the ladies of the
Court deluged me from their casting bottles. I had amends of his Grace
of Buckingham also; for as I tripped a hasty morris hither and thither
upon the dining-table, now offering my blade, now recovering it, I
made a blow at his nose--a sort of estramaçon--the dexterity of which
consists in coming mighty near to the object you seem to aim at, yet not
attaining it. You may have seen a barber make such a flourish with his
razor. I promise you his Grace sprung back a half-yard at least. He was
pleased to threaten to brain me with a chicken-bone, as he disdainfully
expressed it; but the King said, 'George, you have but a Rowland for
an Oliver.' And so I tripped on, showing a bold heedlessness of
his displeasure, which few dared to have done at that time, albeit
countenanced to the utmost like me by the smiles of the brave and
the fair. But, well-a-day! sir, youth, its fashions, its follies, its
frolics, and all its pomp and pride, are as idle and transitory as the
crackling of thorns under a pot."

"The flower that is cast into the oven were a better simile," thought
Peveril. "Good God, that a man should live to regret not being young
enough to be still treated as baked meat, and served up in a pie!"

His companion, whose tongue had for many days been as closely imprisoned
as his person, seemed resolved to indemnify his loquacity, by continuing
to indulge it on the present occasion at his companion's expense. He
proceeded, therefore, in a solemn tone, to moralise on the adventure
which he had narrated.

"Young men will no doubt think one to be envied," he said, "who was
thus enabled to be the darling and admiration of the Court"--(Julian
internally stood self-exculpated from the suspicion)--"and yet it is
better to possess fewer means of distinction, and remain free from the
backbiting, the slander, and the odium, which are always the share
of Court favour. Men who had no other cause, cast reflections upon me
because my size varied somewhat from the common proportion; and jests
were sometimes unthinkingly passed upon me by those I was bound to, who
did not in that case, peradventure, sufficiently consider that the wren
is made by the same hand which formed the bustard, and that the diamond,
though small in size, out-values ten thousand-fold the rude granite.
Nevertheless, they proceeded in the vein of humour; and as I could not
in duty or gratitude retort upon nobles and princes, I was compelled
to cast about in my mind how to vindicate my honour towards those,
who, being in the same rank with myself, as servants and courtiers,
nevertheless bore themselves towards me as if they were of a superior
class in the rank of honour, as well as in the accidental circumstance
of stature. And as a lesson to my own pride, and that of others, it
so happened, that the pageant which I have but just narrated--which I
justly reckon the most honourable moment of my life, excepting perhaps
my distinguished share in the battle of Round-way-down--became the cause
of a most tragic event, in which I acknowledge the greatest misfortune
of my existence."

The dwarf here paused, fetched a sigh, big at once with regret, and with
the importance becoming the subject of a tragic history; then proceeded
as follows:--

"You would have thought in your simplicity, young gentleman, that
the pretty pageant I have mentioned could only have been quoted to my
advantage, as a rare masking frolic, prettily devised, and not less
deftly executed; and yet the malice of the courtiers, who maligned and
envied me, made them strain their wit, and exhaust their ingenuity, in
putting false and ridiculous constructions upon it. In short, my ears
were so much offended with allusions to pies, puff-paste, ovens, and
the like, that I was compelled to prohibit such subject of mirth, under
penalty of my instant and severe displeasure. But it happ'd there was
then a gallant about the Court, a man of good quality, son to a knight
baronet, and in high esteem with the best in that sphere, also a
familiar friend of mine own, from whom, therefore, I had no reason to
expect any of that species of gibing which I had intimated my purpose
to treat as offensive. Howbeit, it pleased the Honourable Mr. Crofts,
so was this youth called and designed, one night, at the Groom Porter's
being full of wine and waggery, to introduce this threadbare subject,
and to say something concerning a goose-pie, which I could not but
consider as levelled at me. Nevertheless, I did but calmly and solidly
pray him to choose a different subject; failing which, I let him know I
should be sudden in my resentment. Notwithstanding, he continued in the
same tone, and even aggravated the offence, by speaking of a tomtit, and
other unnecessary and obnoxious comparisons; whereupon I was compelled
to send him a cartel, and we met accordingly. Now, as I really loved the
youth, it was my intention only to correct him by a flesh wound or
two; and I would willingly that he had named the sword for his weapon.
Nevertheless, he made pistols his election; and being on horseback, he
produced by way of his own weapon, a foolish engine, which children are
wont, in their roguery, to use for spouting water; a--a--in short, I
forget the name."

"A squirt, doubtless," said Peveril, who began to recollect having heard
something of this adventure.

"You are right," said the dwarf; "you have indeed the name of the
little engine, of which I have had experience in passing the yards at
Westminster.--Well, sir, this token of slight regard compelled me to
give the gentleman such language, as soon rendered it necessary for him
to make more serious arms. We fought on horseback--breaking ground, and
advancing by signal; and, as I never miss aim, I had the misadventure to
kill the Honourable Master Crofts at the first shot. I would not wish my
worst foe the pain which I felt, when I saw him reel on his saddle, and
so fall down to the earth!--and, when I perceived that the life-blood
was pouring fast, I could not but wish to Heaven that it had been my own
instead of his. Thus fell youth, hopes, and bravery, a sacrifice to a
silly and thoughtless jest; yet, alas! wherein had I choice, seeing that
honour is, as it were, the very breath in our nostrils; and that in no
sense can we be said to live, if we permit ourselves to be deprived of
it?"

The tone of feeling in which the dwarfish hero concluded his story, gave
Julian a better opinion of his heart, and even of his understanding,
than he had been able to form of one who gloried in having, upon a
grand occasion, formed the contents of a pasty. He was indeed enabled to
conjecture that the little champion was seduced into such exhibitions,
by the necessity attached to his condition, by his own vanity, and by
the flattery bestowed on him by those who sought pleasure in practical
jokes. The fate of the unlucky Master Crofts, however, as well as
various exploits of this diminutive person during the Civil Wars, in
which he actually, and with great gallantry, commanded a troop of horse,
rendered most men cautious of openly rallying him; which was indeed the
less necessary, as, when left alone, he seldom failed voluntarily to
show himself on the ludicrous side.

At one hour after noon, the turnkey, true to his word, supplied the
prisoners with a very tolerable dinner and a flask of well-flavoured
though light claret; which the old man, who was something of a
bon-vivant, regretted to observe, was nearly as diminutive as himself.
The evening also passed away, but not without continued symptoms of
garrulity on the part of Geoffrey Hudson.

It is true these were of a graver character than he had hitherto
exhibited, for when the flask was empty, he repeated a long Latin
prayer. But the religious act in which he had been engaged, only gave
his discourse a more serious turn than belonged to his former themes, of
war, lady's love, and courtly splendour.

The little Knight harangued, at first on polemical points of divinity,
and diverged from this thorny path, into the neighbouring and twilight
walk of mysticism. He talked of secret warnings--of the predictions
of sad-eyed prophets--of the visits of monitory spirits, and the
Rosicrucian secrets of the Cabala; all which topics he treated of
with such apparent conviction, nay, with so many appeals to personal
experience, that one would have supposed him a member of the fraternity
of gnomes, or fairies, whom he resembled so much in point of size.

In short, he persevered for a stricken hour in such a torrent of
unnecessary tattle, as determined Peveril, at all events, to endeavour
to procure a separate lodging. Having repeated his evening prayers in
Latin, as formerly (for the old gentleman was a Catholic, which was the
sole cause of his falling under suspicion), he set off on a new score,
as they were undressing, and continued to prattle until he had fairly
talked both himself and his companion to sleep.



CHAPTER XXXV

              Of airy tongues that syllable men's names.
                                                   --COMUS.

Julian had fallen asleep, with his brain rather filled with his own sad
reflections, than with the mystical lore of the little Knight; and yet
it seemed as if in his visions the latter had been more present to his
mind than the former.

He dreamed of gliding spirits, gibbering phantoms, bloody hands, which,
dimly seen by twilight, seemed to beckon him forward like errant-knight
on sad adventure bound. More than once he started from his sleep, so
lively was the influence of these visions on his imagination; and he
always awaked under the impression that some one stood by his bedside.
The chillness of his ankles, the weight and clatter of the fetters, as
he turned himself on his pallet, reminded him on these occasions where
he was, and under what circumstances. The extremity to which he saw all
that was dear to him at present reduced, struck a deeper cold on his
heart than the iron upon his limbs; nor could he compose himself again
to rest without a mental prayer to Heaven for protection. But when he
had been for a third time awakened from repose by these thick-stirring
fancies, his distress of mind vented itself in speech, and he was unable
to suppress the almost despairing ejaculation, "God have mercy upon us!"

"Amen!" answered a voice as sweet and "soft as honey dew," which sounded
as if the words were spoken close by his bedside.

The natural inference was, that Geoffrey Hudson, his companion in
calamity, had echoed the prayer which was so proper to the situation
of both. But the tone of voice was so different from the harsh and
dissonant sounds of the dwarf's enunciation, that Peveril was impressed
with the certainty it could not proceed from Hudson. He was struck with
involuntary terror, for which he could give no sufficient reason; and it
was not without an effort that he was able to utter the question, "Sir
Geoffrey, did you speak?"

No answer was returned. He repeated the question louder; and the same
silver-toned voice, which had formerly said "_Amen_" to his prayers,
answered to his interrogatory, "Your companion will not awake while I am
here."

"And who are you?--What seek you?--How came you into this place?" said
Peveril, huddling, eagerly, question upon question.

"I am a wretched being, but one who loves you well.--I come for your
good.--Concern yourself no farther."

It now rushed on Julian's mind that he had heard of persons possessed
of the wonderful talent of counterfeiting sounds to such accuracy, that
they could impose on their hearers the belief, that they proceeded
from a point of the apartment entirely opposite to that which the real
speaker occupied. Persuaded that he had now gained the depth of the
mystery, he replied, "This trifling, Sir Geoffrey, is unseasonable.
Say what you have to say in your own voice and manner. These apish
pleasantries do not become midnight in a Newgate dungeon."

"But the being who speaks with you," answered the voice, "is fitted for
the darkest hour, and the most melancholy haunts."

Impatient of suspense, and determined to satisfy his curiosity, Julian
jumped at once from his pallet, hoping to secure the speaker, whose
voice indicated he was so near. But he altogether failed in his attempt,
and grasped nothing save thin air.

For a turn or two, Peveril shuffled at random about the room, with his
arms extended; and then at last recollected, that with the impediment of
his shackles, and the noise which necessarily accompanied his motions,
and announced where he was, it would be impossible for him to lay hands
on any one who might be disposed to keep out of his reach. He therefore
endeavoured to return to his bed; but, in groping for his way, lighted
first on that of his fellow-prisoner. The little captive slept deep and
heavy, as was evinced from his breathing; and upon listening a moment,
Julian became again certain, either that his companion was the most
artful of ventriloquists and of dissemblers, or that there was actually
within the precincts of that guarded chamber, some third being, whose
very presence there seemed to intimate that it belonged not to the
ordinary line of humanity.

Julian was no ready believer in the supernatural; but that age was very
far from being so incredulous concerning ghostly occurrences as our
own; and it was no way derogatory to his good sense, that he shared the
prejudices of his time. His hair began to bristle, and the moisture to
stand on his brow, as he called on his companion to awake, for Heaven's
sake.

The dwarf answered--but he spoke without awaking.--"The day may dawn
and be d--d. Tell the master of the horse I will not go to the hunting,
unless I have the little black jennet."

"I tell you," said Julian, "there is some one in the apartment. Have you
not a tinder-box to strike a light?"

"I care not how slight my horse be," replied the slumberer, pursuing
his own train of ideas, which, doubtless, carried him back to the green
woods of Windsor, and the royal deer-hunts which he had witnessed there.
"I am not overweight--I will not ride that great Holstein brute, that
I must climb up to by a ladder, and then sit on his back like a
pin-cushion on an elephant."

Julian at length put his hand to the sleeper's shoulder, and shook him,
so as to awake him from his dream; when, after two or three snorts and
groans, the dwarf asked peevishly, what the devil ailed him?

"The devil himself, for what I know," said Peveril, "is at this very
moment in the room here beside us."

The dwarf on this information started up, crossed himself, and began
to hammer a flint and steel with all despatch, until he had lighted a
little piece of candle, which he said was consecrated to Saint Bridget,
and as powerful as the herb called _fuga dæmonum_, or the liver of the
fish burnt by Tobit in the house of Raguel, for chasing all goblins, and
evil or dubious spirits, from the place of its radiance; "if, indeed,"
as the dwarf carefully guarded his proposition, "they existed anywhere,
save in the imagination of his fellow-prisoner."

Accordingly, the apartment was no sooner enlightened by this holy
candle's end, than Julian began to doubt the evidence of his own ears;
for not only was there no one in the room save Sir Geoffrey Hudson and
himself, but all the fastenings of the door were so secure, that it
seemed impossible that they could have been opened and again fixed,
without a great deal of noise, which, on the last occasion at least,
could not possibly have escaped his ears, seeing that he must have been
on his feet, and employed in searching the chamber, when the unknown, if
an earthly being, was in the act of retreating from it.

Julian gazed for a moment with great earnestness, and no little
perplexity, first on the bolted door, then on the grated window; and
began to accuse his own imagination of having played him an unpleasant
trick. He answered little to the questions of Hudson, and returning
to his bed, heard, in silence, a long studied oration on the merits of
Saint Bridget, which comprehended the greater part of her long-winded
legend, and concluded with the assurance, that, from all accounts
preserved of her, that holy saint was the least of all possible women,
except those of the pigmy kind.

By the time the dwarf had ceased to speak, Julian's desire of sleep had
returned; and after a few glances around the apartment, which was still
illuminated by the expiring beams of the holy taper, his eyes were again
closed in forgetfulness, and his repose was not again disturbed in the
course of that night.

Morning dawns on Newgate, as well as on the freest mountain-turf which
Welshman or wild-goat ever trode; but in so different a fashion, that
the very beams of heaven's precious sun, when they penetrate into the
recesses of the prison-house, have the air of being committed to jail.
Still, with the light of day around him, Peveril easily persuaded
himself of the vanity of his preceding night's visions; and smiled when
he reflected that fancies, similar to those to which his ear was often
exposed in the Isle of Man, had been able to arrange themselves in a
manner so impressive, when he heard them from the mouth of so singular a
character as Hudson, and in the solitude of a prison.

Before Julian had awaked, the dwarf had already quitted his bed, and
was seated in the chimney-corner of the apartment, where, with his
own hands, he had arranged a morsel of fire, partly attending to the
simmering of a small pot, which he had placed on the flame, partly
occupied with a huge folio volume which lay on the table before him, and
seemed well-nigh as tall and bulky as himself. He was wrapped up in
the dusky crimson cloak already mentioned, which served him for
a morning-gown, as well as a mantle against the cold, and which
corresponded with a large montero-cap, that enveloped his head. The
singularity of his features, and of the eyes, armed with spectacles,
which were now cast on the subject of his studies, now directed towards
his little cauldron, would have tempted Rembrandt to exhibit him on
canvas, either in the character of an alchymist, or of a necromancer,
engaged in some strange experiment, under the direction of one of the
huge manuals which treat of the theory of these mystic arts.

The attention of the dwarf was bent, however, upon a more domestic
object. He was only preparing soup, of no unsavoury quality, for
breakfast, which he invited Peveril to partake with him. "I am an old
soldier," he said, "and, I must add, an old prisoner; and understand how
to shift for myself better than you can do, young man.--Confusion to
the scoundrel Clink, he has put the spice-box out of my reach!--Will you
hand it me from the mantelpiece?--I will teach you, as the French have
it, _faire la cuisine;_ and then, if you please, we will divide, like
brethren, the labours of our prison house."

Julian readily assented to the little man's friendly proposal, without
interposing any doubt as to his continuing an inmate of the same cell.
Truth is, that although, upon the whole, he was inclined to regard the
whispering voice of the preceding evening as the impression of his own
excited fancy, he felt, nevertheless, curiosity to see how a second
night was to pass over in the same cell; and the tone of the invisible
intruder, which at midnight had been heard by him with terror, now
excited, on recollection, a gentle and not unpleasing species of
agitation--the combined effect of awe, and of awakened curiosity.

Days of captivity have little to mark them as they glide away.
That which followed the night which we have described afforded no
circumstance of note. The dwarf imparted to his youthful companion a
volume similar to that which formed his own studies, and which proved to
be a tome of one of Scuderi's now forgotten romances, of which Geoffrey
Hudson was a great admirer, and which were then very fashionable both at
the French and English Courts; although they contrive to unite in
their immense folios all the improbabilities and absurdities of the old
romances of chivalry, without that tone of imagination which pervades
them, and all the metaphysical absurdities which Cowley and the poets of
the age had heaped upon the passion of love, like so many load of small
coal upon a slender fire, which it smothers instead of aiding.

But Julian had no alternative, saving only to muse over the sorrows
of Artamenes and Mandane, or on the complicated distresses of his own
situation; and in these disagreeable divertisements, the morning crept
through as it could.

Noon first, and thereafter nightfall, were successively marked by a
brief visit from their stern turnkey, who, with noiseless step and
sullen demeanour, did in silence the necessary offices about the meals
of the prisoners, exchanging with them as few words as an official in
the Spanish Inquisition might have permitted himself upon a similar
occasion. With the same taciturn gravity, very different from the
laughing humour into which he had been surprised on a former occasion,
he struck their fetters with a small hammer, to ascertain, by the sound
thus produced, whether they had been tampered with by file or otherwise.
He next mounted on a table, to make the same experiment on the
window-grating.

Julian's heart throbbed; for might not one of those grates have been so
tampered with as to give entrance to the nocturnal visitant? But they
returned to the experienced ear of Master Clink, when he struck them in
turn with the hammer, a clear and ringing sound, which assured him of
their security.

"It would be difficult for any one to get in through these defences,"
said Julian, giving vent in words to his own feelings.

"Few wish that," answered the surly groom, misconstruing what was
passing in Peveril's mind; "and let me tell you, master, folks will find
it quite as difficult to get out." He retired, and night came on.

The dwarf, who took upon himself for the day the whole duties of the
apartment, trundled about the room, making a most important clatter as
he extinguished their fire, and put aside various matters which had been
in use in the course of the day, talking to himself all the while in a
tone of no little consequence, occasionally grounded on the dexterity
with which an old soldier could turn his hand to anything. Then came the
repetition of his accustomed prayers; but his disposition to converse
did not, as on the former occasion, revive after his devotions. On the
contrary, long before Julian had closed an eye, the heavy breathing from
Sir Geoffrey Hudson's pallet declared that the dwarf was already in the
arms of Morpheus.

Amid the total darkness of the apartment, and with a longing desire,
and at the same time no small fear, for the recurrence of the mysterious
address of the preceding evening, Julian lay long awake without his
thoughts receiving any interruption save when the clock told the passing
hour from the neighbouring steeple of St. Sepulchre. At length he sunk
into slumber; but had not slept to his judgment above an hour, when he
was roused by the sound which his waking ear had so long expected in
vain.

"Can you sleep?--Will you sleep?--Dare you sleep?" were the questions
impressed on his ear, in the same clear, soft, and melodious voice,
which had addressed him on the preceding night.

"Who is it asks me the question?" answered Julian. "But be the
questioner good or evil, I reply that I am a guiltless prisoner; and
that innocence may wish and dare to sleep soundly."

"Ask no questions of me," said the voice; "neither attempt to discover
who speaks to you; and be assured that folly alone can sleep, with fraud
around and danger before him."

"Can you, who tell me of dangers, counsel me how to combat or how to
avoid them?" said Julian.

"My power is limited," said the voice; "yet something I can do, as the
glow-worm can show a precipice. But you must confide in me."

"Confidence must beget confidence," answered Julian. "I cannot repose
trust in I know not what or whom."

"Speak not so loud," replied the voice, sinking almost into a whisper.

"Last night you said my companion would not awake," said Julian.

"To-night I warrant not that he shall sleep," said the voice. And as it
spoke, the hoarse, snatching, discordant tones of the dwarf were heard,
demanding of Julian why he talked in his sleep--wherefore he did not
rest himself, and let other people rest--and, finally, whether his
visions of last night were returned upon him again?

"Say yes," said the voice in a whisper, so low, yet so distinct,
that Julian almost doubted whether it was not an echo of his own
thought.--"Say but yes--and I part to return no more!"

In desperate circumstances men look to strange and unusual remedies;
and although unable to calculate the chances of advantage which this
singular communication opened to him, Julian did not feel inclined to
let them at once escape from him. He answered the dwarf, that he had
been troubled by an alarming dream.

"I could have sworn it, from the sound of your voice," said Hudson.
"It is strange, now, that you overgrown men never possess the extreme
firmness of nerves proper to us who are cast in a more compact mould.
My own voice retains its masculine sounds on all occasions. Dr. Cockerel
was of opinion, that there was the same allowance of nerve and sinew
to men of every size, and that nature spun the stock out thinner or
stronger, according to the extent of surface which they were to cover.
Hence, the least creatures are oftentimes the strongest. Place a beetle
under a tall candlestick, and the insect will move it by its efforts
to get out; which is, in point of comparative strength, as if one of us
should shake his Majesty's prison of Newgate by similar struggles. Cats
also, and weasels, are creatures of greater exertion or endurance than
dogs or sheep. And in general, you may remark, that little men dance
better, and are more unwearied under exertion of every kind, than those
to whom their own weight must necessarily be burdensome. I respect you,
Master Peveril, because I am told you have killed one of those gigantic
fellows, who go about swaggering as if their souls were taller than
ours, because their noses are nearer to the clouds by a cubit or two.
But do not value yourself on this as anything very unusual. I would have
you to know it hath been always thus; and that, in the history of all
ages, the clean, tight, dapper little fellow, hath proved an overmatch
for his bulky antagonist. I need only instance out of Holy Writ, the
celebrated downfall of Goliah, and of another lubbard, who had more
fingers to his hand, and more inches to his stature, than ought to
belong to an honest man, and who was slain by a nephew of good King
David; and of many others whom I do not remember; nevertheless they were
all Philistines of gigantic stature. In the classics, also, you have
Tydeus, and other tight, compact heroes, whose diminutive bodies were
the abode of large minds. And indeed you may observe, in sacred as well
as profane history, that your giants are ever heretics and blasphemers,
robbers and oppressors, outragers of the female sex, and scoffers
at regular authority. Such were Gog and Magog, whom our authentic
chronicles vouch to have been slain near to Plymouth, by the good little
Knight Corineus, who gave name to Cornwall. Ascaparte also was subdued
by Bevis, and Colbrand by Guy, as Southampton and Warwick can testify.
Like unto these was the giant Hoel, slain in Bretagne by King Arthur.
And if Ryence, King of North Wales, who was done to death by the same
worthy champion of Christendom, be not actually termed a giant, it is
plain he was little better, since he required twenty-four kings' beards,
which were then worn full and long, to fur his gown; whereby computing
each beard at eighteen inches (and you cannot allow less for a
beard-royal), and supposing only the front of the gown trimmed
therewith, as we use ermine; and that the back was mounted and lined,
instead of cat-skins and squirrels' fur, with the beards of earls and
dukes, and other inferior dignitaries--may amount to--But I will work
the question to-morrow."

Nothing is more soporific to any (save a philosopher or moneyed
man) than the operation of figures; and when in bed, the effect is
irresistible. Sir Geoffrey fell asleep in the act of calculating King
Ryence's height, from the supposed length of his mantle. Indeed, had
he not stumbled on this abstruse subject of calculation, there is no
guessing how long he might have held forth upon the superiority of
men of little stature, which was so great a favourite with him, that,
numerous as such narratives are, the dwarf had collected almost all
the instances of their victories over giants, which history or romance
afforded.

No sooner had unequivocal signs of the dwarf's sound slumbers reached
Julian's ears, than he began to listen eagerly for the renewal of that
mysterious communication which was at once interesting and awful. Even
whilst Hudson was speaking, he had, instead of bestowing his attention
upon his eulogy on persons of low statue, kept his ears on watchful
guard to mark if possible, the lightest sounds of any sort which might
occur in the apartment; so that he thought it scarce possible that
even a fly should have left it withouts its motion being overheard. If,
therefore, his invisible monitor was indeed a creature of this
world--an opinion which Julian's sound sense rendered him unwilling to
renounce--that being could not have left the apartment; and he waited
impatiently for a renewal of their communication. He was disappointed;
not the slightest sound reached his ear; and the nocturnal visitor, if
still in the room, appeared determined on silence.

It was in vain that Peveril coughed, hemmed, and gave other symptoms of
being awake; at length, such became his impatience, that he resolved, at
any risk, to speak first, in hopes of renewing the communication betwixt
them. "Whoever thou art," he said, in a voice loud enough to be heard
by a waking person, but not so high as to disturb his sleeping
companion--"Whoever, or whatever thou art, thou hast shown some interest
in the fate of such a castaway as Julian Peveril, speak once more, I
conjure thee; and be your communication for good or evil, believe me, I
am equally prepared to abide the issue."

No answer of any kind was returned to this invocation; nor did the least
sound intimate the presence of the being to whom it was so solemnly
addressed.

"I speak in vain," said Julian; "and perhaps I am but invoking that
which is insensible of human feeling, or which takes a malign pleasure
in human suffering."

There was a gentle and half-broken sigh from a corner of the apartment,
which, answering to this exclamation, seemed to contradict the
imputation which it conveyed.

Julian, naturally courageous, and familiarised by this time to his
situation, raised himself in bed, and stretched out his arm, to repeat
his adjuration, when the voice, as if alarmed at his action and energy,
whispered, in a tone more hurried than that which it had hitherto used,
"Be still--move not--or I am mute for ever!"

"It is then a mortal being who is present with me," was the natural
inference of Julian, "and one who is probably afraid of being detected;
I have then some power over my visitor, though I must be cautious how I
use it.--If your intents are friendly," he proceeded, "there was never
a time in which I lacked friends more, or would be more grateful for
kindness. The fate of all who are dear to me is weighed in the balance,
and with worlds would I buy the tidings of their safety."

"I have said my power is limited," replied the voice. "_You_ I may be
able to preserve--the fate of your friends is beyond my control."

"Let me at least know it," said Julian; "and, be it as it may, I will
not shun to share it."

"For whom would you inquire?" said the soft, sweet voice, not without
a tremulousness of accent, as if the question was put with diffident
reluctance.

"My parents," said Julian, after a moment's hesitation; "how fare
they?--What will be their fate?"

"They fare as the fort under which the enemy has dug a deadly mine. The
work may have cost the labour of years, such were the impediments to the
engineers; but Time brings opportunity upon its wings."

"And what will be the event?" said Peveril.

"Can I read the future," answered the voice, "save by comparison with
past?--Who has been hunted on these stern and unmitigable accusations,
but has been at last brought to bay? Did high and noble birth, honoured
age, and approved benevolence, save the unfortunate Lord Stafford? Did
learning, capacity of intrigue, or high Court favour, redeem Coleman,
although the confidential servant of the heir presumptive of the Crown
of England?--Did subtilty and genius, and exertions of a numerous sect,
save Fenwicke, or Whitbread, or any other of the accused priests?--Were
Groves, Pickering, or the other humble wretches who have suffered, safe
in their obscurity? There is no condition in life, no degree of talent,
no form of principle, which affords protection against an accusation,
which levels conditions, confounds characters, renders men's virtues
their sins, and rates them as dangerous in proportion as they have
influence, though attained in the noblest manner, and used for the
best purposes. Call such a one but an accessory to the Plot--let him
be mouthed in the evidence of Oates or Dugdale--and the blindest shall
foresee the issue of their trial."

"Prophet of Evil!" said Julian, "my father has a shield invulnerable to
protect him. He is innocent."

"Let him plead his innocence at the bar of Heaven," said the voice; "it
will serve him little where Scroggs presides."

"Still I fear not," said Julian, counterfeiting more confidence than
he really possessed; "my father's cause will be pleaded before twelve
Englishmen."

"Better before twelve wild beasts," answered the Invisible, "than before
Englishmen, influenced with party prejudice, passion, and epidemic
terror of an imaginary danger. They are bold in guilt in proportion to
the number amongst whom the crime is divided."

"Ill-omened speaker," said Julian, "thine is indeed a voice fitted
only to sound with the midnight bell, and the screeching owl. Yet
speak again. Tell me, if thou canst"--(He would have said of Alice
Bridgenorth, but the word would not leave his tongue)--"Tell me," he
said, "if the noble house of Derby----"

"Let them keep their rock like the sea-fowl in the tempest; and it may
so fall out," answered the voice, "that their rock may be a safe refuge.
But there is blood on their ermine; and revenge has dogged them for many
a year, like a bloodhound that hath been distanced in the morning
chase, but may yet grapple the quarry ere the sun shall set. At present,
however, they are safe.--Am I now to speak farther on your own affairs,
which involve little short of your life and honour?"

"There is," said Julian, "one, from whom I was violently parted
yesterday; if I knew but of her safety, I were little anxious for my
own."

"One!" returned the voice, "only _one_ from whom you were parted
yesterday?"

"But in parting from whom," said Julian, "I felt separated from all
happiness which the world can give me."

"You mean Alice Bridgenorth," said the Invisible, with some bitterness
of accent; "but her you will never see more. Your own life and hers
depend on your forgetting each other."

"I cannot purchase my own life at that price," replied Julian.

"Then DIE in your obstinacy," returned the Invisible; nor to all the
entreaties which he used was he able obtain another word in the course
of that remarkable night.



CHAPTER XXXVI

               A short hough'd man, but full of pride.
                                           --ALLAN RAMSAY.

The blood of Julian Peveril was so much fevered by the state in which
his invisible visitor left him, that he was unable, for a length of
time, to find repose. He swore to himself, that he would discover and
expose the nocturnal demon which stole on his hours of rest, only to add
gall to bitterness, and to pour poison into those wounds which already
smarted so severely. There was nothing which his power extended to,
that, in his rage, he did not threaten. He proposed a closer and a more
rigorous survey of his cell, so that he might discover the mode by which
his tormentor entered, were it as unnoticeable as an auger-hole. If his
diligence should prove unavailing, he determined to inform the jailers,
to whom it could not be indifferent to know, that their prison was open
to such intrusions. He proposed to himself, to discover from their looks
whether they were already privy to these visits; and if so, to denounce
them to the magistrates, to the judges, to the House of Commons, was the
least that his resentment proposed. Sleep surprised his worn-out
frame in the midst of his projects of discovery and vengeance, and, as
frequently happens, the light of the ensuing day proved favourable to
calmer resolutions.

He now reflected that he had no ground to consider the motives of his
visitor as positively malevolent, although he had afforded him little
encouragement to hope for assistance on the points he had most at heart.
Towards himself, there had been expressed a decided feeling, both of
sympathy and interest; if through means of these he could acquire his
liberty, he might, when possessed of freedom, turn it to the benefit of
those for whom he was more interested than for his own welfare. "I have
behaved like a fool," he said; "I ought to have temporised with this
singular being, learned the motives of its interference, and availed
myself of its succour, provided I could do so without any dishonourable
conditions. It would have been always time enough to reject such when
they should have been proposed to me."

So saying, he was forming projects for regulating his intercourse with
the stranger more prudently, in case their communication should be
renewed, when his meditations were interrupted by the peremptory summons
of Sir Geoffrey Hudson, that he would, in his turn, be pleased to
perform those domestic duties of their common habitation, which the
dwarf had yesterday taken upon himself.

There was no resisting a request so reasonable, and Peveril accordingly
rose and betook himself to the arrangement of their prison, while Sir
Hudson, perched upon a stool from which his legs did not by half-way
reach the ground, sat in a posture of elegant languor, twangling upon
an old broken-winded guitar, and singing songs in Spanish, Moorish,
and Lingua Franca, most detestably out of tune. He failed not, at the
conclusion of each ditty, to favour Julian with some account of what he
had sung, either in the way of translation, or historical anecdote, or
as the lay was connected with some peculiar part of his own eventful
history, in the course of which the poor little man had chanced to have
been taken by a Sallee rover, and carried captive into Morocco.

This part of his life Hudson used to make the era of many strange
adventures; and, if he could himself be believed, he had made wild work
among the affections of the Emperor's seraglio. But, although few were
in a situation to cross-examine him on gallantries and intrigues of
which the scene was so remote, the officers of the garrison of Tangier
had a report current amongst them, that the only use to which the
tyrannical Moors could convert a slave of such slender corporeal
strength, was to employ him to lie a-bed all day and hatch turkey's
eggs. The least allusion to this rumour used to drive him well-nigh
frantic, and the fatal termination of his duel with young Crofts, which
began in wanton mirth, and ended in bloodshed, made men more coy than
they had formerly been, of making the fiery little hero the subject of
their raillery.

While Peveril did the drudgery of the apartment, the dwarf remained
much at his ease, carolling in the manner we have described; but when
he beheld Julian attempting the task of the cook, Sir Geoffrey Hudson
sprang from the stool on which he sat _en Signor_, at the risk of
breaking both his guitar and his neck, exclaiming, "That he would rather
prepare breakfast every morning betwixt this and the day of judgment,
than commit a task of such consequence to an inexperienced bungler like
his companion."

The young man gladly resigned his task to the splenetic little Knight,
and only smiled at his resentment when he added, that, to be but a
mortal of middle stature, Julian was as stupid as a giant. Leaving
the dwarf to prepare the meal after his own pleasure, Peveril employed
himself in measuring the room with his eyes on every side, and in
endeavouring to discover some private entrance, such as might admit his
midnight visitant, and perhaps could be employed in case of need for
effecting his own escape. The floor next engaged a scrutiny equally
minute, but more successful.

Close by his own pallet, and dropped in such a manner that he must have
seen it sooner but for the hurry with which he obeyed the summons of
the impatient dwarf, lay a slip of paper, sealed, and directed with the
initial letters, J.P., which seemed to ascertain that it was addressed
to himself. He took the opportunity of opening it while the soup was in
the very moment of projection, and the full attention of his companion
was occupied by what he, in common with wiser and taller men, considered
as one of the principal occupations of life; so that, without incurring
his observation or awaking his curiosity, Julian had the opportunity to
read as follows:--


 "Rash and infatuated as you are, there is one who would forfeit
  much to stand betwixt you and your fate. You are to-morrow to be
  removed to the Tower, where your life cannot be assured for a
  single day; for, during the few hours you have been in London, you
  have provoked a resentment which is not easily slaked. There is
  but one chance for you,--renounce A.B.--think no more of her. If
  that be impossible, think of her but as one whom you can never see
  again. If your heart can resolve to give up an attachment which it
  should never have entertained, and which it would be madness to
  cherish longer, make your acquiescence in this condition known by
  putting on your hat a white band, or white feather, or knot of
  ribbon of the same colour, whichever you may most easily come by.
  A boat will, in that case, run, as if by accident, on board of
  that which is to convey you to the Tower. Do you in the confusion
  jump overboard, and swim to the Southwark side of the Thames.
  Friends will attend there to secure your escape, and you will find
  yourself with one who will rather lose character and life, than
  that a hair of your head should fall to the ground; but who, if
  you reject the warning, can only think of you as of the fool who
  perishes in his folly. May Heaven guide you to a sound judgment of
  your condition! So prays one who would be your friend, if you
  pleased,
                                                   "UNKNOWN."


The Tower!--it was a word of terror, even more so than a civil prison;
for how many passages to death did that dark structure present! The
severe executions which it had witnessed in preceding reigns, were not
perhaps more numerous than the secret murders which had taken place
within its walls; yet Peveril did not a moment hesitate on the part
which he had to perform. "I will share my father's fate," he said; "I
thought but of him when they brought me hither; I will think of
nothing else when they convey me to yonder still more dreadful place
of confinement; it is his, and it is but meet that it should be his
son's.--And thou, Alice Bridgenorth, the day that I renounce thee, may I
be held alike a traitor and a dastard!--Go, false adviser, and share the
fate of seducers and heretical teachers!"

He could not help uttering this last expression aloud, as he threw the
billet into the fire, with a vehemence which made the dwarf start with
surprise. "What say you of burning heretics, young man?" he exclaimed;
"by my faith, your zeal must be warmer than mine, if you talk on such a
subject when the heretics are the prevailing number. May I measure six
feet without my shoes, but the heretics would have the best of it if we
came to that work. Beware of such words."

"Too late to beware of words spoken and heard," said the turnkey, who,
opening the door with unusual precautions to avoid noise, had stolen
unperceived into the room; "However, Master Peveril has behaved like a
gentlemen, and I am no tale-bearer, on condition he will consider I have
had trouble in his matters."

Julian had no alternative but to take the fellow's hint and administer a
bribe, with which Master Clink was so well satisfied, that he exclaimed,
"It went to his heart to take leave of such a kind-natured gentleman,
and that he could have turned the key on him for twenty years with
pleasure. But the best friends must part."

"I am to be removed, then?" said Julian.

"Ay, truly, master, the warrant is come from the Council."

"To convey me to the Tower."

"Whew!" exclaimed the officer of the law--"who the devil told you that?
But since you do know it, there is no harm to say ay. So make yourself
ready to move immediately; and first, hold out your dew-beaters till I
take off the darbies."

"Is that usual?" said Peveril, stretching out his feet as the fellow
directed, while his fetters were unlocked.

"Why, ay, master, these fetters belong to the keeper; they are not
a-going to send them to the Lieutenant, I trow. No, no, the warders
must bring their own gear with them; they get none here, I promise them.
Nevertheless, if your honour hath a fancy to go in fetters, as thinking
it may move compassion of your case----"

"I have no intention to make my case seem worse than it is," said
Julian; whilst at the same time it crossed his mind that his anonymous
correspondent must be well acquainted both with his own personal habits,
since the letter proposed a plan of escape which could only be executed
by a bold swimmer, and with the fashions of prison, since it was
foreseen that he would not be ironed on his passage to the Tower. The
turnkey's next speech made him carry conjecture still farther.

"There is nothing in life I would not do for so brave a guest," said
Clink; "I would nab one of my wife's ribbons for you, if your honour had
the fancy to mount the white flag in your beaver."

"To what good purpose?" said Julian, shortly connecting, as was natural,
the man's proposed civility with the advice given and the signal
prescribed in the letter.

"Nay, to no good purpose I know of," said the turnkey; "only it is the
fashion to seem white and harmless--a sort of token of not-guiltiness,
as I may say, which folks desire to show the world, whether they be
truly guilty or not; but I cannot say that guiltiness or not-guiltiness
argufies much, saving they be words in the verdict."

"Strange," thought Peveril, although the man seemed to speak quite
naturally, and without any double meaning, "strange that all should
apparently combine to realise the plan of escape, could I but give my
consent to it! And had I not better consent? Whoever does so much for
me must wish me well, and a well-wisher would never enforce the unjust
conditions on which I am required to consent to my liberation."

But this misgiving of his resolution was but for a moment. He speedily
recollected, that whoever aided him in escaping, must be necessarily
exposed to great risk, and had a right to name the stipulation on
which he was willing to incur it. He also recollected that falsehood is
equally base, whether expressed in words or in dumb show; and that he
should lie as flatly by using the signal agreed upon in evidence of his
renouncing Alice Bridgenorth, as he would in direct terms if he made
such renunciation without the purpose of abiding by it.

"If you would oblige me," he said to the turnkey, "let me have a piece
of black silk or crape for the purpose you mention."

"Of crape!" said the fellow; "what should that signify? Why, the bien
morts, who bing out to tour at you,[*] will think you a chimney-sweeper
on Mayday."

     [*] The smart girls, who turn out to look at you.

"It will show my settled sorrow," said Julian, "as well as my determined
resolution."

"As you will, sir," answered the fellow; "I'll provide you with a black
rag of some kind or other. So, now; let us be moving."

Julian intimated his readiness to attend him, and proceeded to bid
farewell to his late companion, the stout Geoffrey Hudson. The parting
was not without emotion on both sides, more particularly on that of the
poor little man, who had taken a particular liking to the companion of
whom he was now about to be deprived. "Fare ye well," he said, "my young
friend," taking Julian's hand in both his own uplifted palms, in which
action he somewhat resembled the attitude of a sailor pulling a rope
overhead,--"Many in my situation would think himself wronged, as a
soldier and servant of the king's chamber, in seeing you removed to a
more honourable prison than that which I am limited unto. But, I thank
God, I grudge you not the Tower, nor the rocks of Scilly, nor even
Carisbrooke Castle, though the latter was graced with the captivity of
my blessed and martyred master. Go where you will, I wish you all
the distinction of an honourable prison-house, and a safe and speedy
deliverance in God's own time. For myself, my race is near a close, and
that because I fall martyr to the over-tenderness of my own heart. There
is a circumstance, good Master Julian Peveril, which should have been
yours, had Providence permitted our farther intimacy, but it fits not
the present hour. Go, then, my friend, and bear witness in life and
death, that Geoffrey Hudson scorns the insults and persecutions of
fortune, as he would despise, and has often despised, the mischievous
pranks of an overgrown schoolboy."

So saying, he turned away, and hid his face with his little
handkerchief, while Julian felt towards him that tragi-comic sensation
which makes us pity the object which excites it, not the less that we
are somewhat inclined to laugh amid our sympathy. The jailer made him
a signal, which Peveril obeyed, leaving the dwarf to disconsolate
solitude.

As Julian followed the keeper through the various windings of his penal
labyrinth, the man observed, that "he was a rum fellow, that little Sir
Geoffrey, and, for gallantry, a perfect Cock of Bantam, for as old as he
was. There was a certain gay wench," he said, "that had hooked him; but
what she could make of him, save she carried him to Smithfield, and took
money for him, as for a motion of puppets, it was," he said, "hard to
gather."

Encouraged by this opening, Julian asked if his attendant knew why
his prison was changed. "To teach you to become a King's post without
commission," answered the fellow.

He stopped in his tattle as they approached that formidable central
point, in which lay couched on his leathern elbow-chair the fat
commander of the fortress, stationed apparently for ever in the midst
of his citadel, as the huge Boa is sometimes said to lie stretched as a
guard upon the subterranean treasures of Eastern Rajas. This overgrown
man of authority eyed Julian wistfully and sullenly, as the miser the
guinea which he must part with, or the hungry mastiff the food which is
carried to another kennel. He growled to himself as he turned the leaves
of his ominous register, in order to make the necessary entry respecting
the removal of his prisoner. "To the Tower--to the Tower--ay, ay, all
must to the Tower--that's the fashion of it--free Britons to a military
prison, as if we had neither bolts nor chains here!--I hope Parliament
will have it up, this Towering work, that's all.--Well, the youngster
will take no good by the change, and that is one comfort."

Having finished at once his official act of registration, and his
soliloquy, he made a signal to his assistants to remove Julian, who
was led along the same stern passages which he had traversed upon his
entrance, to the gate of the prison, whence a coach, escorted by two
officers of justice, conveyed him to the water-side.

A boat here waited him, with four warders of the Tower, to whose custody
he was formally resigned by his late attendants. Clink, however, the
turnkey, with whom he was more especially acquainted, did not take leave
of him without furnishing him with the piece of black crape which he
requested. Peveril fixed it on his hat amid the whispers of his new
guardians. "The gentleman is in a hurry to go into mourning," said one;
"mayhap he had better wait till he has cause."

"Perhaps others may wear mourning for him, ere he can mourn for any
one," answered another of these functionaries.

Yet notwithstanding the tenor of these whispers, their behaviour to
their prisoner was more respectful than he had experienced from his
former keepers, and might be termed a sullen civility. The ordinary
officers of the law were in general rude, as having to do with felons
of every description; whereas these men were only employed with persons
accused of state crimes--men who were from birth and circumstances
usually entitled to expect, and able to reward, decent usage.

The change of keepers passed unnoticed by Julian, as did the gay and
busy scene presented by the broad and beautiful river on which he was
now launched. A hundred boats shot past them, bearing parties intent on
business, or on pleasure. Julian only viewed them with the stern hope,
that whoever had endeavoured to bribe him from his fidelity by the
hope of freedom, might see, from the colour of the badge which he had
assumed, how determined he was to resist the temptation presented to
him.

It was about high-water, and a stout wherry came up the river, with sail
and oar, so directly upon that in which Julian was embarked, that it
seemed as if likely to run her aboard. "Get your carabines ready,"
cried the principal warder to his assistants. "What the devil can these
scoundrels mean?"

But the crew in the other boat seemed to have perceived their error,
for they suddenly altered their course, and struck off into the middle
stream, while a torrent of mutual abuse was exchanged betwixt them and
the boat whose course they had threatened to impede.

"The Unknown has kept his faith," said Julian to himself; "I too have
kept mine."

It even seemed to him, as the boats neared each other, that he heard,
from the other wherry, something like a stifled scream or groan; and
when the momentary bustle was over, he asked the warder who sat next
him, what boat that was.

"Men-of-war's-men, on a frolic, I suppose," answered the warder. "I know
no one else would be so impudent as run foul of the King's boat; for I
am sure the fellow put the helm up on purpose. But mayhap you, sir, know
more of the matter than I do."

This insinuation effectually prevented Julian from putting farther
questions, and he remained silent until the boat came under the dusky
bastions of the Tower. The tide carried them up under a dark and
lowering arch, closed at the upper end by the well-known Traitor's
gate,[*] formed like a wicket of huge intersecting bars of wood, through
which might be seen a dim and imperfect view of soldiers and warders
upon duty, and of the steep ascending causeway which leads up from the
river into the interior of the fortress. By this gate,--and it is the
well-known circumstance which assigned its name,--those accused of state
crimes were usually committed to the Tower. The Thames afforded a secret
and silent mode of conveyance for transporting thither such whose fallen
fortunes might move the commiseration, or whose popular qualities might
excite the sympathy, of the public; and even where no cause for especial
secrecy existed, the peace of the city was undisturbed by the tumult
attending the passage of the prisoner and his guards through the most
frequented streets.

     [*] See note, "Fortunes of Nigel."

Yet this custom, however recommended by state policy, must have often
struck chill upon the heart of the criminal, who thus, stolen, as it
were, out of society, reached the place of his confinement, without
encountering even one glance of compassion on the road; and as, from
under the dusky arch, he landed on those flinty steps, worn by many a
footstep anxious as his own, against which the tide lapped fitfully with
small successive waves, and hence looked forward to the steep ascent
into a Gothic state prison, and backward to such part of the river as
the low-brow'd vault suffered to become visible, he must often have felt
that he was leaving daylight, hope, and life itself, behind him.

While the warder's challenge was made and answered, Peveril endeavoured
to obtain information from his conductors where he was likely to be
confined; but the answer was brief and general--"Where the Lieutenant
should direct."

"Could he not be permitted to share the imprisonment of his father, Sir
Geoffrey Peveril?" He forgot not, on this occasion, to add the surname
of his house.

The warder, an old man of respectable appearance, stared, as if at the
extravagance of the demand, and said bluntly, "It is impossible."

"At least," said Peveril, "show me where my father is confined, that I
may look upon the walls which separate us."

"Young gentleman," said the senior warder, shaking his grey head, "I
am sorry for you; but asking questions will do you no service. In this
place we know nothing of fathers and sons."

Yet chance seemed, in a few minutes afterwards, to offer Peveril that
satisfaction which the rigour of his keepers was disposed to deny to
him. As he was conveyed up the steep passage which leads under what is
called the Wakefield Tower, a female voice, in a tone wherein grief and
joy were indescribably mixed, exclaimed, "My son!--My dear son!"

Even those who guarded Julian seemed softened by a tone of such acute
feeling. They slackened their pace. They almost paused to permit him
to look up towards the casement from which the sounds of maternal agony
proceeded; but the aperture was so narrow, and so closely grated, that
nothing was visible save a white female hand, which grasped one of those
rusty barricadoes, as if for supporting the person within, while another
streamed a white handkerchief, and then let it fall. The casement was
instantly deserted.

"Give it me," said Julian to the officer who lifted the handkerchief;
"it is perhaps a mother's last gift."

The old warder lifted the napkin, and looked at it with the jealous
minuteness of one who is accustomed to detect secret correspondence in
the most trifling acts of intercourse.

"There may be writing on it with invisible ink," said one of his
comrades.

"It is wetted, but I think it is only with tears," answered the senior.
"I cannot keep it from the poor young gentleman."

"Ah, Master Coleby," said his comrade, in a gentle tone of reproach,
"you would have been wearing a better coat than a yeoman's to-day, had
it not been for your tender heart."

"It signifies little," said old Coleby, "while my heart is true to my
King, what I feel in discharging my duty, or what coat keeps my old
bosom from the cold weather."

Peveril, meanwhile, folded in his breast the token of his mother's
affection which chance had favoured him with; and when placed in the
small and solitary chamber which he was told to consider as his own
during his residence in the Tower, he was soothed even to weeping by
this trifling circumstance, which he could not help considering as
an omen, that his unfortunate house was not entirely deserted by
Providence.

But the thoughts and occurrences of a prison are too uniform for a
narrative, and we must now convey our readers into a more bustling
scene.



CHAPTER XXXVII

           Henceforth 'tis done--Fortune and I are friends;
           And I must live, for Buckingham commends.
                                                       --POPE.

The spacious mansion of the Duke of Buckingham, with the demesne
belonging to it, originally bore the name of York House and occupied a
large portion of the ground adjacent to the Savoy.

This had been laid out by the munificence of his father, the favourite
of Charles the First, in a most splendid manner, so as almost to rival
Whitehall itself. But during the increasing rage for building new
streets, and the creating of almost an additional town, in order to
connect London and Westminster, this ground had become of very great
value; and the second Duke of Buckingham, who was at once fond of
scheming, and needy of money, had agreed to a plan laid before him by
some adventurous architect, for converting the extensive grounds around
his palace into those streets, lanes, and courts, which still perpetuate
his name and titles; though those who live in Buckingham Street, Duke
Street, Villiers Street, or in Of-alley (for even that connecting
particle is locally commemorated), probably think seldom of the memory
of the witty, eccentric, and licentious George Villiers, Duke of
Buckingham, whose titles are preserved in the names of their residence
and its neighbourhood.

This building-plan the Duke had entered upon with all the eagerness
which he usually attached to novelty. His gardens were destroyed--his
pavilions levelled--his splendid stables demolished--the whole pomp of
his suburban demesne laid waste, cumbered with ruins, and intersected
with the foundations of new buildings and cellars, and the process of
levelling different lines for the intended streets. But the undertaking,
although it proved afterwards both lucrative and successful, met with
a check at the outset, partly from want of the necessary funds, partly
from the impatient and mercurial temper of the Duke, which soon carried
him off in pursuit of some more new object. So that, though much was
demolished, very little, in comparison, was reared up in the stead, and
nothing was completed. The principal part of the ducal mansion still
remained uninjured; but the demesne in which it stood bore a strange
analogy to the irregular mind of its noble owner. Here stood a beautiful
group of exotic trees and shrubs, the remnant of the garden, amid
yawning common-sewers, and heaps of rubbish. In one place an old tower
threatened to fall upon the spectator; and in another he ran the risk
of being swallowed up by a modern vault. Grandeur of conception could
be discovered in the undertaking, but was almost everywhere marred by
poverty or negligence of execution. In short, the whole place was the
true emblem of an understanding and talents run to waste, and become
more dangerous than advantageous to society, by the want of steady
principle, and the improvidence of the possessor.

There were men who took a different view of the Duke's purpose in
permitting his mansion to be thus surrounded, and his demesne occupied
by modern buildings which were incomplete, and ancient which were
but half demolished. They alleged, that, engaged as he was in so many
mysteries of love and of politics, and having the character of the
most daring and dangerous intriguer of his time, his Grace found it
convenient to surround himself with this ruinous arena, into which
officers of justice could not penetrate without some difficulty and
hazard; and which might afford, upon occasion, a safe and secret shelter
for such tools as were fit for desperate enterprises, and a private and
unobserved mode of access to those whom he might have any special reason
for receiving in secret.

Leaving Peveril in the Tower, we must once more convey our readers to
the Levee of the Duke, who, on the morning of Julian's transference
to that fortress, thus addressed his minister-in-chief, and principal
attendant: "I have been so pleased with your conduct in this matter,
Jerningham, that if Old Nick were to arise in our presence, and offer
me his best imp as a familiar in thy room, I would hold it but a poor
compliment."

"A legion of imps," said Jerningham, bowing, "could not have been more
busy than I in your Grace's service; but if your Grace will permit me to
say so, your whole plan was well-nigh marred by your not returning home
till last night, or rather this morning."

"And why, I pray you, sage Master Jerningham," said his Grace, "should
I have returned home an instant sooner than my pleasure and convenience
served?"

"Nay, my Lord Duke," replied the attendant, "I know not; only, when you
sent us word by Empson, in Chiffinch's apartment, to command us to make
sure of the girl at any rate, and at all risks, you said you would be
here so soon as you could get freed of the King."

"Freed of the King, you rascal! What sort of phrase is that?" demanded
the Duke.

"It was Empson who used it, my lord, as coming from your Grace."

"There is much very fit for my Grace to say, that misbecomes such
mouths as Empson's or yours to repeat," answered the Duke haughtily,
but instantly resumed his tone of familiarity, for his humour was as
capricious as his pursuits. "But I know what thou wouldst have; first,
your wisdom would know what became of me since thou hadst my commands at
Chiffinch's; and next, your valour would fain sound another flourish of
trumpets on thine own most artificial retreat, leaving thy comrade in
the hands of the Philistines."

"May it please your Grace," said Jerningham, "I did but retreat for the
preservation of the baggage."

"What! do you play at crambo with me?" said the Duke. "I would have you
to know that the common parish fool should be whipt, were he to attempt
to pass pun or quodlibet as a genuine jest, even amongst ticket-porters
and hackney chairmen."

"And yet I have heard your Grace indulge in the _jeu de mots_," answered
the attendant.

"Sirrah Jerningham," answered the patron, "discard they memory, or keep
it under correction, else it will hamper thy rise in the world. Thou
mayst perchance have seen me also have a fancy to play at trap-ball, or
to kiss a serving wench, or to guzzle ale and eat toasted cheese in a
porterly whimsy; but is it fitting thou shouldst remember such follies?
No more on't.--Hark you; how came the long lubberly fool, Jenkins, being
a master of the noble science of defence, to suffer himself to be run
through the body so simply by a rustic swain like this same Peveril?"

"Please your Grace, this same Corydon is no such novice. I saw the
onset; and, except in one hand, I never saw a sword managed with such
life, grace, and facility."

"Ay, indeed?" said the Duke, taking his own sheathed rapier in his hand,
"I could not have thought that. I am somewhat rusted, and have need of
breathing. Peveril is a name of note. As well go to the Barns-elms, or
behind Montagu House, with him as with another. His father a rumoured
plotter, too. The public would have noted it in me as becoming a zealous
Protestant. Needful I do something to maintain my good name in the city,
to atone for non-attendance on prayer and preaching. But your Laertes
is fast in the Fleet; and I suppose his blundering blockhead of an
antagonist is dead or dying."

"Recovering, my lord, on the contrary," replied Jerningham; "the blade
fortunately avoided his vitals."

"D--n his vitals!" answered the Duke. "Tell him to postpone his
recovery, or I will put him to death in earnest."

"I will caution his surgeon," said Jerningham, "which will answer
equally well."

"Do so; and tell him he had better be on his own deathbed as cure his
patient till I send him notice.--That young fellow must be let loose
again at no rate."

"There is little danger," said the attendant. "I hear some of the
witnesses have got their net flung over him on account of some matters
down in the north; and that he is to be translated to the Tower for
that, and for some letters of the Countess of Derby, as rumour goes."

"To the Tower let him go, and get out as he can," replied the Duke; "and
when you hear he is fast there, let the fencing fellow recover as fast
as the surgeon and he can mutually settle it."

The Duke, having said this, took two or three turns in the apartment,
and appeared to be in deep thought. His attendant waited the issue of
his meditations with patience, being well aware that such moods, during
which his mind was strongly directed in one point, were never of so
long duration with his patron as to prove a severe burden to his own
patience.

Accordingly, after the silence of seven or eight minutes, the Duke broke
through it, taking from the toilette a large silk purse, which seemed
full of gold. "Jerningham," he said, "thou art a faithful fellow, and
it would be sin not to cherish thee. I beat the King at Mall on his bold
defiance. The honour is enough for me; and thou, my boy, shalt have the
winnings."

Jerningham pocketed the purse with due acknowledgements.

"Jerningham," his Grace continued, "I know you blame me for changing
my plans too often; and on my soul I have heard you so learned on the
subject, that I have become of your opinion, and have been vexed at
myself for two or three hours together, for not sticking as constantly
to one object, as doubtless I shall, when age (touching his forehead)
shall make this same weathercock too rusty to turn with the changing
breeze. But as yet, while I have spirit and action, let it whirl like
the vane at the mast-head, which teaches the pilot how to steer his
course; and when I shift mine, think I am bound to follow Fortune, and
not to control her."

"I can understand nothing from all this, please your Grace," replied
Jerningham, "save that you have been pleased to change some purposed
measures, and think that you have profited by doing so."

"You shall judge yourself," replied the Duke. "I have seen the Duchess
of Portsmouth.--You start. It is true, by Heaven! I have seen her, and
from sworn enemies we have become sworn friends. The treaty between
such high and mighty powers had some weighty articles; besides, I had
a French negotiator to deal with; so that you will allow a few
hours' absence was but a necessary interval to make up our matters of
diplomacy."

"Your Grace astonishes me," said Jerningham. "Christian's plan of
supplanting the great lady is then entirely abandoned? I thought you
had but desired to have the fair successor here, in order to carry it on
under your own management."

"I forgot what I meant at the time," said the Duke; "unless that I
was resolved she should not jilt me as she did the good-natured man of
royalty; and so I am still determined, since you put me in mind of the
fair Dowsabelle. But I had a contrite note from the Duchess while we
were at the Mall. I went to see her, and found her a perfect Niobe.--On
my soul, in spite of red eyes and swelled features, and dishevelled
hair, there are, after all, Jerningham, some women who do, as the
poets say, look lovely in affliction. Out came the cause; and with such
humility, such penitence, such throwing herself on my mercy (she the
proudest devil, too, in the whole Court), that I must have had heart of
steel to resist it all. In short, Chiffinch in a drunken fit had played
the babbler, and let young Saville into our intrigue. Saville plays the
rogue, and informs the Duchess by a messenger, who luckily came a
little late into the market. She learned, too, being a very devil for
intelligence, that there had been some jarring between the master and
me about this new Phillis; and that I was most likely to catch the
bird,--as any one may see who looks on us both. It must have been Empson
who fluted all this into her Grace's ear; and thinking she saw how
her ladyship and I could hunt in couples, she entreats me to break
Christian's scheme, and keep the wench out of the King's sight,
especially if she were such a rare piece of perfection as fame has
reported her."

"And your Grace has promised her your hand to uphold the influence which
you have so often threatened to ruin?" said Jerningham.

"Ay, Jerningham; my turn was as much served when she seemed to own
herself in my power, and cry me mercy.--And observe, it is all one to me
by which ladder I climb into the King's cabinet. That of Portsmouth is
ready fixed--better ascend by it than fling it down to put up another--I
hate all unnecessary trouble."

"And Christian?" said Jerningham.

"May go to the devil for a self-conceited ass. One pleasure of this
twist of intrigue is, to revenge me of that villain, who thought himself
so essential, that, by Heaven! he forced himself on my privacy, and
lectured me like a schoolboy. Hang the cold-blooded hypocritical vermin!
If he mutters, I will have his nose slit as wide as Coventry's.[*]--Hark
ye, is the Colonel come?"

"I expect him every moment, your Grace."

[*] The ill-usage of Sir John Coventry by some of the Life Guardsmen,
    in revenge of something said in Parliament concerning the King's
    theatrical amours, gave rise to what was called Coventry's Act,
    against cutting and maiming the person.

"Send him up when he arrives," said the Duke.----"Why do you stand
looking at me? What would you have?"

"Your Grace's direction respecting the young lady," said Jerningham.

"Odd zooks," said the Duke, "I had totally forgotten her.--Is she very
tearful?--Exceedingly afflicted?"

"She does not take on so violently as I have seen some do," said
Jerningham; "but for a strong, firm, concentrated indignation, I have
seen none to match her."

"Well, we will permit her to cool. I will not face the affliction of a
second fair one immediately. I am tired of snivelling, and swelled
eyes, and blubbered cheeks for some time; and, moreover, must husband my
powers of consolation. Begone, and send the Colonel."

"Will your Grace permit me one other question?" demanded his confidant.

"Ask what thou wilt, Jerningham, and then begone."

"Your Grace has determined to give up Christian," said the attendant.
"May I ask what becomes of the kingdom of Man?"

"Forgotten, as I have a Christian soul!" said the Duke; "as
much forgotten as if I had never nourished that scheme of royal
ambition.--D--n it, we must knit up the ravelled skein of that
intrigue.--Yet it is but a miserable rock, not worth the trouble I have
been bestowing on it; and for a kingdom--it has a sound indeed; but, in
reality, I might as well stick a cock-chicken's feather into my hat,
and call it a plume. Besides, now I think upon it, it would scarce be
honourable to sweep that petty royalty out of Derby's possession. I won
a thousand pieces of the young Earl when he was last here, and suffered
him to hang about me at Court. I question if the whole revenue of his
kingdom is worth twice as much. Easily I could win it of him, were
he here, with less trouble than it would cost me to carry on these
troublesome intrigues of Christian's."

"If I may be permitted to say so, please your Grace," answered
Jerningham, "although your Grace is perhaps somewhat liable to change
your mind, no man in England can afford better reasons for doing so."

"I think so myself, Jerningham," said the Duke; "and it may be it is one
reason for my changing. One likes to vindicate his own conduct, and to
find out fine reasons for doing what one has a mind to.--And now, once
again, begone. Or, hark ye--hark ye--I shall need some loose gold. You
may leave the purse I gave you; and I will give you an order for as
much, and two years' interest, on old Jacob Doublefee."

"As your Grace pleases," said Jerningham, his whole stock of
complaisance scarcely able to conceal his mortification at exchanging
for a distant order, of a kind which of late had not been very regularly
honoured, the sunny contents of the purse which had actually been in
his pocket. Secretly, but solemnly did he make a vow, that two years'
interest alone should not be the compensation for this involuntary
exchange in the form of his remuneration.

As the discontented dependant left the apartment, he met, at the head of
the grand staircase, Christian himself, who, exercising the freedom of
an ancient friend of the house, was making his way, unannounced, to the
Duke's dressing apartment. Jerningham, conjecturing that his visit at
this crisis would be anything but well timed, or well taken, endeavoured
to avert his purpose by asserting that the Duke was indisposed, and in
his bedchamber; and this he said so loud that his master might hear him,
and, if he pleased, realise the apology which he offered in his name, by
retreating into the bedroom as his last sanctuary, and drawing the bolt
against intrusion.

But, far from adopting a stratagem to which he had had recourse on
former occasions, in order to avoid those who came upon him, though at
an appointed hour, and upon business of importance, Buckingham called,
in a loud voice, from his dressing apartment, commanding his chamberlain
instantly to introduce his good friend Master Christian, and censuring
him for hesitating for an instant to do so.

"Now," thought Jerningham within himself, "if Christian knew the Duke as
well as I do, he would sooner stand the leap of a lion, like the London
'prentice bold, than venture on my master at this moment, who is even
now in a humour nearly as dangerous as the animal."

He then ushered Christian into his master's presence, taking care to
post himself within earshot of the door.



CHAPTER XXXVIII

        "Speak not of niceness, when there's chance of wreck,"
        The captain said, as ladies writhed their neck
        To see the dying dolphin flap the deck:
        "If we go down, on us these gentry sup;
        We dine upon them, if we haul them up.
        Wise men applaud us when we eat the eaters,
        As the devil laughs when keen folks cheat the cheaters."
                                                   --THE SEA VOYAGE.

There was nothing in Duke's manner towards Christian which could have
conveyed to that latter personage, experienced as he was in the worst
possible ways of the world, that Buckingham would, at that particular
moment, rather have seen the devil than himself; unless it was that
Buckingham's reception of him, being rather extraordinarily courteous
towards so old an acquaintance, might have excited some degree of
suspicion.

Having escaped with some difficulty from the vague region of general
compliments, which bears the same relation to that of business that
Milton informs us the _Limbo Patrum_ has to the sensible and material
earth, Christian asked his Grace of Buckingham, with the same blunt
plainness with which he usually veiled a very deep and artificial
character, whether he had lately seen Chiffinch or his helpmate?

"Neither of them lately," answered Buckingham. "Have not you waited on
them yourself?--I thought you would have been more anxious about the
great scheme."

"I have called once and again," said Christian, "but I can gain no
access to the sight of that important couple. I begin to be afraid they
are paltering with me."

"Which, by the welkin and its stars, you would not be slow in avenging,
Master Christian. I know your puritanical principles on that point
well," said the Duke. "Revenge may be well said to be sweet, when so
many grave and wise men are ready to exchange for it all the sugar-plums
which pleasures offer to the poor sinful people of the world, besides
the reversion of those which they talk of expecting in the way of _post
obit_."

"You may jest, my lord," said Christian, "but still----"

"But still you will be revenged on Chiffinch, and his little commodious
companion. And yet the task may be difficult--Chiffinch has so many ways
of obliging his master--his little woman is such a convenient pretty
sort of a screen, and has such winning little ways of her own, that, in
faith, in your case, I would not meddle with them. What is this refusing
their door, man? We all do it to our best friends now and then, as well
as to duns and dull company."

"If your Grace is in a humour of rambling thus wildly in your talk,"
said Christian, "you know my old faculty of patience--I can wait till it
be your pleasure to talk more seriously."

"Seriously!" said his Grace--"Wherefore not?--I only wait to know what
your serious business may be."

"In a word, my lord, from Chiffinch's refusal to see me, and some vain
calls which I have made at your Grace's mansion, I am afraid either that
our plan has miscarried, or that there is some intention to exclude
me from the farther conduct of the matter." Christian pronounced these
words with considerable emphasis.

"That were folly as well as treachery," returned the Duke, "to exclude
from the spoil the very engineer who conducted the attack. But hark ye,
Christian--I am sorry to tell bad news without preparation; but as you
insist on knowing the worst, and are not ashamed to suspect your best
friends, out it must come--Your niece left Chiffinch's house the morning
before yesterday."

Christian staggered, as if he had received a severe blow; and the blood
ran to his face in such a current of passion, that the Duke concluded
he was struck with an apoplexy. But, exerting the extraordinary command
which he could maintain under the most trying circumstances, he said,
with a voice, the composure of which had an unnatural contrast with the
alteration of his countenance, "Am I to conclude, that in leaving the
protection of the roof in which I placed her, the girl has found shelter
under that of your Grace?"

"Sir," replied Buckingham gravely, "the supposition does my gallantry
more credit than it deserves."

"Oh, my Lord Duke," answered Christian, "I am not one whom you can
impose on by this species of courtly jargon. I know of what your Grace
is capable; and that to gratify the caprice of a moment you would not
hesitate to disappoint even the schemes at which you yourself have
laboured most busily.--Suppose this jest played off. Take your laugh
at those simple precautions by which I intended to protect your Grace's
interest, as well as that of others. Let us know the extent of your
frolic, and consider how far its consequences can be repaired."

"On my word, Christian," said the Duke, laughing, "you are the most
obliging of uncles and of guardians. Let your niece pass through as many
adventures as Boccaccio's bride of the King of Garba, you care not. Pure
or soiled, she will still make the footstool of your fortune."

An Indian proverb says, that the dart of contempt will even pierce
through the shell of the tortoise; but this is more peculiarly the
case when conscience tells the subject of the sarcasm that it is justly
merited. Christian, stung with Buckingham's reproach, at once assumed
a haughty and threatening mien, totally inconsistent with that in which
sufferance seemed to be as much his badge as that of Shylock. "You are
a foul-mouthed and most unworthy lord," he said; "and as such I will
proclaim you, unless you make reparation for the injury you have done
me."

"And what," said the Duke of Buckingham, "shall I proclaim _you_, that
can give you the least title to notice from such as I am? What name
shall I bestow on the little transaction which has given rise to such
unexpected misunderstanding?"

Christian was silent, either from rage or from mental conviction.

"Come, come, Christian," said the Duke, smiling, "we know too much of
each other to make a quarrel safe. Hate each other we may--circumvent
each other--it is the way of Courts--but proclaim!--a fico for the
phrase."

"I used it not," said Christian, "till your Grace drove me to extremity.
You know, my lord, I have fought both at home and abroad; and you should
not rashly think that I will endure any indignity which blood can wipe
away."

"On the contrary," said the Duke, with the same civil and sneering
manner, "I can confidently assert, that the life of half a score of
your friends would seem very light to you, Christian, if their existence
interfered, I do not say with your character, as being a thing of much
less consequence, but with any advantage which their existence might
intercept. Fie upon it, man, we have known each other long. I never
thought you a coward; and am only glad to see I could strike a few
sparkles of heat out of your cold and constant disposition. I will now,
if you please, tell you at once the fate of the young lady, in which I
pray you to believe that I am truly interested."

"I hear you, my Lord Duke," said Christian. "The curl of your upper
lip, and your eyebrow, does not escape me. Your Grace knows the French
proverb, 'He laughs best who laughs last.' But I hear you."

"Thank Heaven you do," said Buckingham; "for your case requires haste,
I promise you, and involves no laughing matter. Well then, hear a simple
truth, on which (if it became me to offer any pledge for what I assert
to be such) I could pledge life, fortune, and honour. It was the morning
before last, when meeting with the King at Chiffinch's unexpectedly--in
fact I had looked in to fool an hour away, and to learn how your
scheme advanced--I saw a singular scene. Your niece terrified little
Chiffinch--(the hen Chiffinch, I mean)--bid the King defiance to
his teeth, and walked out of the presence triumphantly, under the
guardianship of a young fellow of little mark or likelihood, excepting
a tolerable personal presence, and the advantage of a most unconquerable
impudence. Egad, I can hardly help laughing to think how the King and I
were both baffled; for I will not deny, that I had tried to trifle for
a moment with the fair Indamora. But, egad, the young fellow swooped
her off from under our noses, like my own Drawcansir clearing off the
banquet from the two Kings of Brentford. There was a dignity in the
gallant's swaggering retreat which I must try to teach Mohun;[*] it will
suit his part admirably."

     [*] Then a noted actor.

"This is incomprehensible, my Lord Duke," said Christian, who by this
time had recovered all his usual coolness; "you cannot expect me to
believe this. Who dared be so bold as to carry of my niece in such a
manner, and from so august a presence? And with whom, a stranger as
he must have been, would she, wise and cautious as I know her, have
consented to depart in such a manner?--My lord, I cannot believe this."

"One of your priests, my most devoted Christian," replied the Duke,
"would only answer, Die, infidel, in thine unbelief; but I am only a
poor worldling sinner, and I will add what mite of information I can.
The young fellow's name, as I am given to understand, is Julian, son of
Sir Geoffrey, whom men call Peveril of the Peak."

"Peveril of the Devil, who hath his cavern there!" said Christian
warmly; "for I know that gallant, and believe him capable of anything
bold and desperate. But how could he intrude himself into the royal
presence? Either Hell aids him, or Heaven looks nearer into mortal
dealings than I have yet believed. If so, may God forgive us, who deemed
he thought not on us at all!"

"Amen, most Christian Christian," replied the Duke. "I am glad to see
thou hast yet some touch of grace that leads thee to augur so. But
Empson, the hen Chiffinch, and half-a-dozen more, saw the swain's
entrance and departure. Please examine these witnesses with your own
wisdom, if you think your time may not be better employed in tracing
the fugitives. I believe he gained entrance as one of some dancing or
masking party. Rowley, you know, is accessible to all who will come
forth to make him sport. So in stole this termagant tearing gallant,
like Samson among the Philistines, to pull down our fine scheme about
our ears."

"I believe you, my lord," said Christian; "I cannot but believe you; and
I forgive you, since it is your nature, for making sport of what is ruin
and destruction. But which way did they take?"

"To Derbyshire, I should presume, to seek her father," said the Duke.
"She spoke of going into paternal protection, instead of yours, Master
Christian. Something had chanced at Chiffinch's, to give her cause to
suspect that you had not altogether provided for his daughter in the
manner which her father was likely to approve of."

"Now, Heaven be praised," said Christian, "she knows not her father is
come to London! and they must be gone down either to Martindale Castle,
or to Moultrassie Hall; in either case they are in my power--I must
follow them close. I will return instantly to Derbyshire--I am undone
if she meet her father until these errors are amended. Adieu, my lord.
I forgive the part which I fear your Grace must have had in baulking our
enterprise--it is no time for mutual reproaches."

"You speak truth, Master Christian," said the Duke, "and I wish you all
success. Can I help you with men, or horses, or money?"

"I thank your Grace," said Christian, and hastily left the apartment.

The Duke watched his descending footsteps on the staircase, until they
could be heard no longer, and then exclaimed to Jerningham, who entered,
"_Victoria! victoria! magna est veritas et prævalebit!_--Had I told
the villain a word of a lie, he is so familiar with all the regions of
falsehood--his whole life has been such an absolute imposture, that I
had stood detected in an instant; but I told him truth, and that was the
only means of deceiving him. Victoria! my dear Jerningham, I am prouder
of cheating Christian, than I should have been of circumventing a
minister of state."

"Your Grace holds his wisdom very high," said the attendant.

"His cunning, at least, I do, which, in Court affairs, often takes the
weather-gage of wisdom,--as in Yarmouth Roads a herring-buss will baffle
a frigate. He shall not return to London if I can help it, until all
these intrigues are over."

As his Grace spoke, the Colonel, after whom he had repeatedly made
inquiry, was announced by a gentleman of his household. "He met not
Christian, did he?" said the Duke hastily.

"No, my lord," returned the domestic, "the Colonel came by the old
garden staircase."

"I judged as much," replied the Duke; "'tis an owl that will not take
wing in daylight, when there is a thicket left to skulk under. Here he
comes from threading lane, vault, and ruinous alley, very near ominous a
creature as the fowl of ill augury which he resembles."

The Colonel, to whom no other appellation seemed to be given, than that
which belonged to his military station, now entered the apartment. He
was tall, strongly built, and past the middle period of life, and his
countenance, but for the heavy cloud which dwelt upon it, might have
been pronounced a handsome one. While the Duke spoke to him, either from
humility or some other cause, his large serious eye was cast down upon
the ground; but he raised it when he answered, with a keen look of
earnest observation. His dress was very plain, and more allied to that
of the Puritans than of the Cavaliers of the time; a shadowy black hat,
like the Spanish sombrero; a large black mantle or cloak, and a long
rapier, gave him something the air of a Castilione, to which his gravity
and stiffness of demeanour added considerable strength.

"Well, Colonel," said the Duke, "we have been long strangers--how have
matters gone with you?"

"As with other men of action in quiet times," answered the colonel, "or
as a good war-caper[*] that lies high and dry in a muddy creek, till
seams and planks are rent and riven."

     [*] A privateer.

"Well, Colonel," said the Duke, "I have used your valour before now, and
I may again; so that I shall speedily see that the vessel is careened,
and undergoes a thorough repair."

"I conjecture, then," said the Colonel, "that your Grace has some voyage
in hand?"

"No, but there is one which I want to interrupt," replied the Duke.

"Tis but another stave of the same tune.--Well, my lord, I listen,"
answered the stranger.

"Nay," said the Duke, "it is but a trifling matter after all.--You know
Ned Christian?"

"Ay, surely, my lord," replied the Colonel, "we have been long known to
each other."

"He is about to go down to Derbyshire to seek a certain niece of his,
whom he will scarcely find there. Now, I trust to your tried friendship
to interrupt his return to London. Go with him, or meet him, cajole him,
or assail him, or do what thou wilt with him--only keep him from London
for a fortnight at least, and then I care little how soon he comes."

"For by that time, I suppose," replied the Colonel, "any one may find
the wench that thinks her worth the looking for."

"Thou mayst think her worth the looking for thyself, Colonel," rejoined
the Duke; "I promise you she hath many a thousand stitched to her
petticoat; such a wife would save thee from skeldering on the public."

"My lord, I sell my blood and my sword, but not my honour," answered
the man sullenly; "if I marry, my bed may be a poor, but it shall be an
honest one."

"Then thy wife will be the only honest matter in thy possession,
Colonel--at least since I have known you," replied the Duke.

"Why, truly, your Grace may speak your pleasure on that point. It is
chiefly your business which I have done of late; and if it were less
strictly honest than I could have wished, the employer was to blame as
well as the agent. But for marrying a cast-off mistress, the man (saving
your Grace, to whom I am bound) lives not who dares propose it to me."

The D