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Title: John Inglesant (Volume I of 2) - A Romance
Author: Shorthouse, John Henry
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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                             JOHN INGLESANT

                               A Romance


                                   by

                         John Henry Shorthouse



              [Greek: Agapetoí, nûn tékna Theoû esmen, kaì
                     oúpo ephanerothe tí esómetha.]



                                VOL. I.



                                 London
                           MACMILLAN AND CO.
                                  1881



                _Printed by_ R & R. CLARK, _Edinburgh_.



                                  _TO_

                         _RAWDON LEVETT, ESQ._


_MY DEAR LEVETT,_

_I dedicate these volumes to you, that I may have an
opportunity of calling myself your friend._

_J. HENRY SHORTHOUSE._

_LANSDOWNE, EDGBASTON,_
       _May 1, 1881._



                          Memoirs of the Life

                                   OF

                           MR. JOHN INGLESANT

                  SOMETIME SERVANT TO KING CHARLES I.

                                  WITH

          AN ACCOUNT OF HIS BIRTH, EDUCATION, AND TRAINING BY
                              THE JESUITS

                                  AND

              A PARTICULAR RELATION OF THE SECRET SERVICES
                        IN WHICH HE WAS ENGAGED

                 ESPECIALLY IN CONNECTION WITH THE LATE
                            IRISH REBELLION

                                  WITH

           SEVERAL OTHER REMARKABLE PASSAGES AND OCCURRENCES.

                                  ALSO

           A HISTORY OF HIS RELIGIOUS DOUBTS AND EXPERIENCES

               AND OF THE MOLINISTS OR QUIETISTS IN ITALY
               IN WHICH COUNTRY HE RESIDED FOR MANY YEARS

                           WITH AN ACCOUNT OF

                     THE ELECTION OF THE LATE POPE

                                  AND

                     MANY OTHER EVENTS AND AFFAIRS.



                           *JOHN INGLESANT.*



                        *INTRODUCTORY CHAPTER.*


During my second year at Oxford I became acquainted with a Roman
Catholic gentleman, the eldest son of a family long resident on the
borders of Shropshire towards Wales.  My friend, whose name was Fisher,
invited me to his home, and early in my last long vacation I accepted
his invitation.  The picturesque country was seen to great advantage in
the lovely summer weather.  That part of Shropshire partakes somewhat of
the mountain characteristics of Wales, combined with the more cultivated
beauties of English rural scenery. The ranges of hills, some of which
are lofty and precipitous, which intersect the country, form wide and
fertile valleys which are watered by pleasant streams.  The wide
pastures are bordered by extensive plantations covering the more gradual
ascents, and forming long lines along the level summits.  We had some
miles to drive even from the small station on the diminutive branch line
of railway which had slowly conveyed us the last dozen miles or so of
our journey.  At last, just at the foot of one of the long straight
hills, called Edges in that country, we came upon my friend’s house,
seen over a flat champaign of pasture land, surrounded by rows of lofty
trees, and backed by fir and other wood, reaching to the summit of the
hill behind it.  It was an old and very picturesque house, jumbled
together with the additions of many centuries, from the round tower-like
staircase with an extinguisher turret, to a handsome addition of two or
three years ago.  Close by was the mutilated tower of a ruined priory,
the chancel of which is used as the parish church.  A handsome stone
wing of one story, built in the early Gothic style, and not long
completed, formed the entrance hall and dining-room, with a wide
staircase at the back.  The hall was profusely hung with old landscapes
and family portraits.  After a short introduction to my friend’s family,
we were soon assembled in the newly finished dining-room, with its stone
walls and magnificent overhanging Gothic fireplace.  The dinner party
consisted of my friend’s father and mother, his two sisters, and a Roman
Catholic clergyman, the family chaplain and priest of a neighbouring
chapel which Mr. Fisher had erected and endowed.  The room was hung
entirely with portraits, several of them being ecclesiastics in
different religious costumes, contrasting, to my eyes, strangely with
the gay cavaliers and the beautiful ladies of the Stuarts’ Court, and
the not less elaborately dressed portraits of the last century, and with
those of my host and hostess in the costume of the Regency.  I was
struck with the portrait which happened to be opposite me, of a young
man with a tonsured head, in what appeared to me to be a very simple
monk’s dress, and I asked the Priest, a beautiful and mild-looking old
man, whom it was intended to represent.

"A singular story is attached to that portrait," he said, "which, it may
surprise you to learn, is not that of a—a member of our communion.  It
is the portrait of a young Englishman named Inglesant, a servant of King
Charles the First, who was very closely connected with the Roman
Catholics of that day, especially abroad, and was employed in some
secret negotiations between the King and the Catholic gentry; but the
chief interest connected with his story consists in some very remarkable
incidents which took place abroad, connected with the murderer of his
only brother—incidents which exhibit this young man’s character in a
noble and attractive light.  He is connected with Mr. Fisher’s family
solely through the relations of his brother’s wife, but, singularly, he
is buried not far from here, across the meadows.  In the latter years of
his life he purchased an estate in this neighbourhood, though it was not
his native country, and founded an almshouse or rather hospital, for
lunatics, in the chapel in which his tomb is still standing.  That
portrait, in which he appears in the dress of a novice," he continued,
turning to the one before me, "was taken in Rome, when he was residing
at the English college, where he certainly was received, as he appears
to have been generally when abroad, into full communion with us.  As a
contrast to it, I will show you another in the drawing-room, by Vandyke,
which, though it really was intended for his brother, yet may equally
well represent himself, as, at that period, the two brothers are said to
have been so exactly alike that they could not be known apart.  On his
tomb at Monk’s Lydiard, as you may see if you incline to take the
trouble to walk so far—and it is a pleasing walk—he is represented in
his gown of bachelor of civil law, a degree which he received at Oxford
during the civil war, and he is there also represented with tonsured
head.  I have often thought," continued the Priest, musingly, "of
arranging a considerable collection of papers referring to this
gentleman’s story, which is at present in the library; or at least of
writing out a plain statement of the facts; but it would be better done,
perhaps, by a layman.  I have the authority of these young ladies," he
continued, with a smile, turning to the Miss Fishers, "that the story is
a more entertaining and even exciting one than the sensational novels of
the day, of which, I need not say, I am not a judge."

The young ladies confirmed this as far as their knowledge went; but they
had heard only fragments of the story, and were urgent with the
clergyman to set about the task.  He, however, replied to their
entreaties only by a shake of the head; and the ladies soon after left
the room.

When we went into the drawing-room, I was eager to see the Vandyke, and
was shown a magnificent picture at one end of the room, representing a
singularly handsome young man, in a gorgeous satin court dress of the
reign of Charles the First, whose long hair and profusion of lace and
ornament would probably, in the work of another artist, have produced an
unpleasing impression, but, softened by the peculiar genius of Vandyke,
the picture possessed that combination of splendour and pathos which we
are in the habit of associating only with his paintings.  His satin
shoes and silk stockings contrasted curiously with the grass on which
the cavalier stood, and the sylvan scene around him; and still more so
with his dogs and two horses, which were held at some little distance by
a page.  His face was high and noble, but on closely comparing it—as I
did several times—with that of the Monk in the dining-room, I arrived at
the conclusion that either the likeness between the brothers was
exaggerated, or the expression of the survivor must have altered greatly
in after years; for no difference in dress, great as was the contrast
between the coarse serge of the novice and the satin of the cavalier,
and between the close-cropped tonsured head and the flowing love locks,
would account for the greater strength and resolve of the portrait in
the dining-room, combined, strangely, as this expression was, with a
slightly wild and abstracted look, indicating either religious
enthusiasm, or perhaps unsettlement of the reason within; this latter
expression being totally wanting in the face of the cavalier.

The next day was Sunday, and I opened my window on a lovely prospect of
lawn and water, with the fir woods sweeping up the hill-sides beyond.
Walking out in the avenue when I was dressed, I met the family returning
from low mass at the chapel.  I attended high mass with them at eleven
o’clock. The Chapel was picturesquely built higher up in the wood than
the house.  It had a light and graceful interior, and the coverings of
the altar were delicate and white.  The exquisite plaintive music, the
pale glimmer of the tapers in the morning sunlight, the soothing perfume
of the incense, the sense of pathetic pleading and of mysterious awe, as
if of the possibility of a Divine Presence, produced its effect on me,
as it does, I imagine, on most educated Churchmen; but this effect
failed in convincing me (then, as at other times) that there was more
under that gorgeous ceremonial than may be found under the simpler
Anglican ritual of the Blessed Sacrament.  After church, my friend, who
had some engagement with the Priest, accepted my assurance that I was
fond of solitary walks; and I set off alone on my quest of the tomb of
John Inglesant.

I followed a footpath which led direct from the ruined Church near the
house, across the small park-like enclosure, into the flat meadows
beyond.  The shadows of the great trees lay on the grass, the wild roses
and honeysuckle covered the hedges, a thousand butterflies fluttered
over the fields. That Sunday stillness which is, possibly, but the echo
of our own hearts, but which we fancy marks the day, especially in the
country, soothed the sense.  The service in the morning had not supplied
the sacrament to me, but it had been far from being without the sense of
worship; and the quiet country in the lovely summer weather, in
connection with it, seemed to me then, as often, the nearest foretaste
we can gain of what the blissful life will be.  As I went on the distant
murmur of Church bells came across the meadows, and following a footpath
for a couple of miles, I came to the Hospital or Almshouse, standing
amid rows of elms, and having a small village attached to it, built
probably since its erection.  The bells which I had heard, and which
ceased a little before I reached the place, were in a curious turret or
cupola attached to the Chapel, which formed one side of the court.  The
buildings were of red brick, faced with stone, in the latest style of
the Stuart architecture.  The door of the Chapel was wide open, and I
entered and dropped into a seat just as the Psalms began.  The room was
fitted in a style exactly corresponding to the outside; a circular
recess at the upper end took the place of chancel, lighted with three
windows, which were filled with innumerable small panes of glass.  The
altar was richly draped; and on it, besides vases of flowers, were two
massive candlesticks of an antique pattern, and an old painting,
apparently of the Virgin and Child.  The lower walls of the chancel and
of the whole Chapel were panelled, and the whole had a flat ceiling of
panelled oak, painted in the centre with a sun with rays.  Partly in the
chancel, and partly in the Chapel, the surpliced choir was accommodated
in stalls or pews, and the organ and pulpit, in elaborate carved
mahogany, completed the interior.  There was a good congregation; and
from this, and from many tablets on the walls, I gathered that the
Chapel was used by the neighbourhood as probably being nearer than the
Parish Churches. The soft afternoon light filled the place, gilding the
old brass-work, and lighting up the dark carving and the sombre narrow
pews.  The music was of a very high class, deliciously sung, and I found
afterwards that there was an endowment especially for the choir, and
that the chaplains were required to be musical.  The service bore
comparison favourably with the morning’s mass, and a short sermon
followed.  When all was over, and the people were gone out into the
sunshine, I began to look for the tomb I had come to see, and the
chaplain, having come out of the vestry, and seeming to expect it, I
went up and spoke to him.  I told him I had walked from Lydiard—my
friend’s house—to see the tomb of the founder, to which I had been
directed by the Roman Catholic gentleman who resided there.  He was well
acquainted with Father Arnold, he told me, and took me at once to the
tomb, which was in a recess by the altar, screened from view by the
choir seats.  There he lay, sure enough, just as the Priest had told me,
carved from head to foot in alabaster, in his gown of bachelor of civil
law, and his tonsured head.  The sculptor had understood his work; the
face was life-like, and the likeness to the portrait was quite
perceptible.  The inscription was curious—"sub marmore isto Johannes
Inglesant, Peccator, usque ad judicium latet, expectans revelationem
filiorum Dei."

I told the chaplain what Father Arnold had told me of this man’s story,
and of the materials that existed for writing it.  He had heard of them
too, and even examined them.

"The Priest will never write it," he said.

"Why do not you?" I asked.

He laughed.  "I am a musician," he said, "not an author. You seem more
interested in it than most people; you had better do it."

As I came back across the fields I pondered over this advice; and after
dinner I asked the Priest the story.  He told me the outline, and the
next morning took me into the library, and showed me the papers.

The library at Lydiard is a very curious room below the level of the
ground, and in the oldest part of the house.  It adjoins the tower with
the extinguisher turret, by which there is communication with the bed
chambers, and with the leads and garrets at the top of the house.  The
room was large, and had several closets besides a smaller room beyond,
which had no visible communication except into the library; but the
Priest showed me a secret doorway and staircase, which, he said,
descended into the cellars.  Both these rooms and the closets were
crammed with books, the accumulation of four hundred years—most of them
first editions, and clean as when they came from the binder, but browned
and mellowed with age.  Early works of the German press, a Caxton, the
scarce literature of the sixteenth century—all the books which had once
been fashionable—Cornelius Agrippa, and Cardan, two or three editions of
the Euphues, folios of Shakespeare and the dramatists, and choice
editions of the literature of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries,
down to our own day. Besides this general literature, there was a large
collection of Roman Catholic works and pamphlets, many privately printed
at home or published abroad; biographies of Seminary Priests who had
suffered death in England, reports of trials, private instructions, and
even volumes of private letters, for Lydiard had always been a secure
hiding-place for the hunted priests, and more than one had died there,
leaving all his papers in the library.  No fitter place could exist in
which to attempt the task I had already determined to undertake, and I
obtained leave of the Priest, promising to make nothing public without
his approval.  I had the whole vacation before me; too idle and
desultory to read for honours, I had always been fond of literature and
the classics, and was safe for my degree, and I gave myself up
unreservedly to my task.  I have endeavoured, as Father Arnold said, to
tell a plain story.  I have no pretensions to dramatic talent, and I
deprecate the reader’s criticism.  If I have caught anything of the
religious and social tone of the seventeenth century, I am more than
content.

GEOFFREY MONK, M.A.



                              *CHAPTER I.*


When Cromwell, Earl of Essex, was in the zenith of his power, and was
engaged in completing the suppression of the smaller monasteries before
commencing on the greater,—he had in his service a young gentleman named
Richard Inglesant, the son of a knight, and descended from a knightly
family, originally of Flanders, who had come into England with the
Princess of Hainault.  This young man was of an attractive person, a
scholar, active and useful in many ways, and therefore a favourite with
his master.  One evening in the end of June 1537, he was sent for by
Cromwell into the great gallery of his magnificent house in Throgmorton
Street, where he found his master walking up and down in thought.

"You must be ready to depart at once, Richard," he said, "into
Wiltshire.  I have in this commission appointed you Visitor of the
Priory of Westacre, six miles south of Malmsbury, on the way into
Somerset, which they call the Priory in the Wood.  The King’s Grace is
resolved on the suppression of this house, as a priory; but note very
carefully what I tell you;—it will be for your guidance.  Great interest
has been made to his Grace’s Highness on behalf of this house, both by
many of the gentry dwelling thereabout, and also by the common people by
the mouth of the Mayor of Malmsbury.  They say the house is without any
slander or evil fame; that it stands in a waste ground, very solitary,
keeping such hospitality, that except with singular good management it
could not be maintained though it had half as much land again as it has,
such a number of the poor inhabitants nigh thereunto are daily relieved.
The Prior is a right honest man, and well beloved of all the inhabitants
therewith adjoining, having with him, in the house, eight religious
persons, being priests of right good conversation, and living
religiously.  They spend their time in writing books with a very fair
hand, in making garments for the poor people, in printing or graving.
Now the prayer of these people is that the King’s Highness shall
translate this priory into a college, and so continue as many of the
priests as the lands will maintain for the benefit of the neighbours;
and the King is much inclined to do this.  Now, on the other hand, this
house has a proper lodging, where the Prior lay, with a fair garden and
an orchard, very mete to be bestowed on some friend of mine, and some
faithful servant of the King’s Grace.  There is no small number of acres
ready sown with wheat, the tilthes ordered for barley; the house and
grounds are well furnished with plate, stuff, corn, cattle; the woods
well saved, and the hedgerows full of timber, as though the Prior had
looked for no alteration of his house.  I had set mine hand on this
house for a friend of mine, but the King’s Grace is determined upon
this:—if the Prior will surrender the house in a discreet and frank
manner, and will moreover, on Sunday next, which is the Feast of the
most Precious Blood, after mass, to which all the neighbouring people
shall have been called, in his sermon, make mention of the King’s title
of Supreme Head, and submit himself wholly, in all matters spiritual, to
the King’s Grace, under Christ, the house shall be continued as a
college, and no man therein disturbed, and not so much as an ounce of
plate taken, that they may pray God Almighty to preserve the King’s
Grace with his blessed pleasure.  Now I send you on this mission
because, if things go as I think they may, I mean this house for you;
and there is so much clamour about this business that I will have no
more hands in it than I can help.  Take two or three of the men with you
whom you can trust; but see you fail not in one jot in the course you
take with the Prior, for should it come to the King’s ears that you had
deceived the Prior—and it surely would so come to his Grace—your head
would not be your own for an hour, and I should doubt, even, of my own
favour with the King."

Richard Inglesant was on horseback before daylight the next morning; and
riding by easy stages, arrived at Malmsbury at last, and slept a night
there, making inquiries about the way to Westacre.  At Malmsbury, and at
all the villages where he stopped, he heard nothing but what agreed with
what Cromwell had told him; and what he heard seemed to make him loiter
still more, for he slept at Malmsbury a second night, and then did not
go forward to Westacre till noonday.  In the middle of the summer
afternoon he crossed the brow of the hilly common, and saw the roofs of
the Priory beneath him surrounded by its woods.  The country all about
lay peaceful in the soft, mellow sunlight; wide slopes of wood,
intermixed with shining water, and the quiet russet downs stretching
beyond.  Richard had sent on a man the day before to warn the Prior, who
had been expecting his coming all day.  The house stood with a little
walled court in front of it, and a gate-house; and consisted of three
buildings—a chapel, a large hall, and another building containing the
Prior’s parlour and other rooms on the ground floor, and a long gallery
or dormitory above, out of which opened other chambers; the kitchens and
stables were near the latter building, on the right side of the court.
The Prior received Inglesant with deference, and took him over the house
and gardens, pointing out the well-stocked fish-ponds and other
conveniences, with no apparent wish of concealing anything.  Richard was
astonished at the number of books, not only in the book-room, but also
in the Prior’s own chamber; these latter the Prior seemed anxious he
should not examine.  As far as Richard could see, they were, many of
them, chemical and magical books.  He supped with the Prior in Hall,
with the rest of the household, and retired with him to the parlour
afterwards, where cakes and spiced wine were served to them, and they
remained long together.  Inglesant delivered his commission fairly to
his host, dwelling, again and again, on every particular, while the
Prior sat silent or made but short and inconclusive replies.  At last
Inglesant betook himself to rest in the guest-chamber, a room hung with
arras, opening from the gallery where the monks slept, towards the west;
one of his servants slept also in the dormitory near his door.  The
Prior’s care had ordered a fire of wood on the great hearth that lighted
up the carved bed and the hunting scene upon the walls.  He lay long and
could not sleep.  All night long, at intervals, came the sound of
chanting along the great hall and up the stairs into the dormitory, as
the monks sung the service of matins, lauds, and prime.  His mind was
ill at ease.  A scholar, and brought up from boyhood at the Court, he
had little sympathy with the new doctrines, and held the simple and
illiterate people who mostly followed them in small esteem.  He was
strongly influenced by that mysterious awe which the Romish system
inspires in the most careless, even when it is not strong enough to
influence their lives.  The mission he had undertaken, and the probable
destruction of this religious house, and the expulsion of its inmates
for his benefit, frightened him, and threatened him with unknown
penalties and terrors hereafter which he dared not face.  He lay
listlessly on his bed listening to the summer wind, and when at last he
fell asleep, it was but a light fitful slumber, out of which he woke
ever and anon to hear the distant chanting of the monks, and see by the
flickering fire-light the great hounds coursing each other over the
walls of his room.

In the morning he heard mass in the chapel, after which the Prior sent a
message to explain his absence, informing him that he was gone to
Malmsbury to consult with his friends there how he might best serve the
King’s Grace.  All that morning Richard Inglesant sat in the hall
receiving the evidence of all who came before him (of whom there was no
lack)—of the neighbours, gentry, and country people.  He evidently
examined them with great care and acuteness, noting down every answer,
in a fair clerkly hand, exactly as he received it, neither extenuating
anything nor adding the least word.  He also in the same report kept an
exact account of how he passed his time while at Westacre.  There
appears—as Cromwell had said—not to have been the least breath of
scandal against the Prior or any of the priests in the house. The only
report at all injurious to the character of the Prior seems to have been
an opinion—oftentimes hinted at by the witnesses—that he was addicted to
the study of chemistry and magic; that, besides his occult books, he had
in his closet in his chamber a complete chemical apparatus with which he
practised alchemy, and was even said to be in possession of the Elixir
of Life.  These reports Inglesant does not appear to have paid much
attention to, probably regarding them as not necessarily coming within
the limits of his commission; and, indeed, there is evidence of his
having acted with the most exact fairness throughout the investigation,
more than once putting questions to the witness, evidently for the
purpose of correcting misapprehensions which told against the Prior.
After dinner he rode out to the downs to a gentleman who had courteously
sent him word that he was coursing with greyhounds: he, however, was not
absent from the Priory long, declining the gentleman’s invitation to
supper.  After he had supped he spent the rest of the evening in his own
chamber, reading what he calls "Ovidii Nasonis metamorphoseos libri
moralizati," an edition of which, printed at Leipsic in 1510, he had
found in the Prior’s room.

The next forenoon he spent in the same manner as the last, the people
flocking in voluntarily to give their evidence in favour of the house.
A little after noon the Prior came back, travelling on foot and alone.
As he came along he was thinking of the words of the gospel which
promise great things to him who gives up houses and land for the Lord’s
sake.

When he reached the brow of the hill from which he could see the three
red-tiled roofs of the Priory peeping out from among the trees, with the
gardens and the green meadows, and the cattle seen here and there, he
stood long to gaze. The air was soft and yet fresh, and the woods
stretching up the rising-grounds about the Priory were wavering and
shimmering all over with their myriad rustling leaves, instinct with
life and beauty both to the ear and eye; a perpetual change from light
to shadow, from the flight of the fleecy clouds, would have made the
landscape dazzling but for the green on which the eye dwelt with a sense
of rest to the wearied and excited brain.  A gentle sound and murmur, as
of happy and contented beings, made itself softly felt rather than
heard, through the noontide air.  "Omnes qui relinquunt patrem, domes,
uxorem," said the Prior; but his eyes were so dim that he stumbled as he
went on down the hill.

Richard Inglesant and he were some time alone together that evening.
Whether the Prior prepared him at all for the course he had determined
to pursue, does not appear, but certainly he did not, to any great
extent.

The next day was Sunday, being the "Feast of the most Precious Blood"—a
Sunday long remembered in that country side.  The people, for a score of
miles round, thronged to hear the Prior’s sermon.  The Mayor of
Malmsbury was there; but the clergy of the Abbey, it was noticed, were
not present. The little Chapel would not hold a tithe of the
people—indeed, few more than the gentry and their ladies, who came in
great numbers, were allowed admission.  Richard Inglesant and the
Sheriff had Fald-stools in front of the altar, where they remained
kneeling the whole of mass.  The doors and windows of the Chapel were
opened, that the people outside might assist at the celebration.  They
stood as thick as they could be packed in the little courtyard, and up
the sloping fields around the Priory, listening in silence to the music
of the mass; and at the sound of the bell the whole multitude fell on
their knees as one man, remaining so for several minutes.  Mass being
over, the Prior came in procession from the Chapel to where a small
wooden pulpit had been set up just outside the gate-house, in front of
which seats were placed for the Sheriff and Inglesant, and the chief
gentry.  The silence was greater than ever, when the Prior, who had
changed the gorgeous vestments in which he had celebrated mass, and
appeared only as a simple monk, ascended the pulpit and began to preach.
The Prior was a great preacher; a small and quiet man enough to look at,
when he entered the pulpit he was transfigured.  His form grew
dignified, his face lighted up with enthusiasm, and his voice, even in
the open air, was full and clear, and possessed that magical property of
reaching the hearts of all who heard him, now melted into tenderness,
and now raised to firm resolve.  He began with the text that had haunted
his memory the day before, and the first part of his sermon was simply
an earnest and eloquent exhortation to follow Christ in preference to
anything beside on earth. Then, warming in his subject, he answered the
question (speaking that magnificent English tongue that even now rings
in the pages of Foxe), Where was Christ? and urging the people to follow
Him as He manifested Himself in the Church, and especially in the
sacrament of the altar.  Then suddenly throwing aside all reserve, and
with a rapidity of utterance and a torrent of eloquence that carried his
hearers with him, he rushed into the question of the day, brought face
to face the opposing powers of the State and Christ, hurled defiance at
the former, and while not absolutely naming the King or his council,
denounced his policy in the plainest words.  Then, amid the swaying of
the excited crowd, and a half stifled cry and murmur, he suddenly
dropped his voice, pronounced the formal benediction, and shrank back,
to all appearance, into the quiet, timid monk.

It is needless to describe the excitement and astonishment of the crowd.
The Prior and his procession with difficulty returned to the chapel
through the press.  The Sheriff and Richard Inglesant, who with the
other leading gentry had affected perfect unconsciousness that anything
unusual was taking place, entered the hall of the Priory, and the Prior
had a message sent into the sacristy that the King’s commissioner
desired to see him immediately in the parlour.

When the Prior entered, Inglesant was standing upon the hearth; he was
pale, and his manner was excited and even fierce.

"You are a bold man, master Prior," he said almost before the other was
in the room; "do you know that you have this day banished yourself and
all your fellowship into the world without shelter and without help?
Nay, I know not but the King’s Grace may have you up to answer for this
day with your life!  Do you know this?"

The Prior looked him steadily in the face, but he was deadly pale, and
his manner was humble and cowed.

"Yes, I know it," he said.

"Well," continued the other still more excitedly, "I call you to
witness, master Prior, as I shall before the throne of God Almighty,
that I have neither hand nor part in this day’s work; that you have
brought this evil upon yourself by your own deed and choice, by no want
of warning and no suddenness on my part, but by your own madness alone."

"It is very true," said the Prior.

"I must to horse," said Inglesant, scarcely heeding him, "and ride post
to my lord.  It is as much as my head is worth should any rumour of this
day’s business reach the King’s Grace by any other tongue than mine.
You will stay here under the Sheriff’s guard; but I fear you will too
soon hear what a tragedy this day’s play has been for you!  God have you
in his keeping, Prior! for you have put yourself out of all hope of
mercy from the King’s Grace."

He might have said more, but an alarming noise made him hasten into the
hall.  The most lawless and poorest of the people—of whom numbers had
mingled in the crowd in the hope of spoil, taking for granted that the
house was dissolved—had made an attack upon the Chapel and the Prior’s
lodging, and it was some time before the Sheriff, assisted by Inglesant
and the other gentlemen and their servants, all of whom were armed,
could restore order.  When this was done, and the peaceable people and
women reassured, Inglesant’s horses were brought out, and he mounted and
rode off through the dispersing but still excited and lawless crowds,
leaving the Priory to a strong guard of the Sheriff’s men.  As he rode
up the hill—the people shrinking back to let him pass—he muttered,
bitterly:

"A fine piece of work we have set our hands to, with all the rascal
people of the country to aid.  And why should not the Poverty get some
of the droppings, when the Gentry cuts the purse?"

Travelling at a very different pace from that at which he had ridden
from London, he reached the city the next night, and went at once to the
Lord Cromwell, who, the next morning, took him to the King, to whom he
gave a full account of what had occurred.  Henry—who appears to have
been induced to form his previous intention by the influence of a
gentleman at Court who probably had his private expectations with regard
to the future possession of the Priory—seems to have really cared little
about the matter.  He was, however, highly incensed at the Prior’s
sermon, and made no difficulty of immediately granting the Priory to
Richard Inglesant.  A pursuivant was sent down to bring the Prior up to
London to be examined before the Council, but it does not appear that he
ever was examined.  Probably Inglesant exerted his influence with
Cromwell in his behalf, for Cromwell examined him himself, and appears
to have informed the King that he was harmless and mad.  At any rate, he
was set at liberty; and his troubles appear to have actually affected
his reason, for he is said to have returned to the neighbourhood of
Malmsbury, and to have wandered about the Priory at nights. The other
inmates of the Priory had been dispersed, and the house taken possession
of by Inglesant’s servants; but he himself seems to have taken but
little pleasure in his new possession, for it was more than a year
before he visited it; and when he did so, events occurred which
increased his dislike to the place.

It was late in October when his visit took place, and the weather was
wild and stormy.  He slept in the Prior’s guest-chamber, which was in
the same state as when he had occupied it before.  The wind moaned in
the trees, and swept over the roofs and among the chimneys of the old
house.  In the early part of the night he had a terrible dream, or what
was rather partly a dream and partly a feverish sense of the objects
around him.  He thought he was lying in the bed in the room where he
really was, and could not sleep; a fierce contention of the elements and
of some powers more fearful than the elements seemed going on outside.
The room became hateful to him, with its dark, hearse-like bed, and the
strange figures on the tapestry, which seemed to his bewildered fancy to
course each other over the walls with a rapidity and a fantastic motion
which made his senses reel.  He thought that, unable to remain where he
was, he rose and went out into the old dormitory, now silent and
deserted, from one end of which he could look into the courtyard, while
from the other he could see a dark mass of woodland, and a lurid distant
sky.  On this side all was quiet; but the courtyard seemed astir.  The
moon shone with the brightness of day on the mouldering, ivy-grown
walls, and on the round pebble stones between which the long grass was
growing all over the court.  The wind swept fiercely across it, and
splashes of rain, every now and then, made streaks in the moonlight like
fire; strange voices cried to him in an unknown language, and
undistinguished forms seemed passing to and fro.  The Chapel was all
alight, and low and mournful music proceeded from it, as for the dead.
Fascinated with terror, he left the gallery and descended into the
court.  An irresistible impulse led him to the Chapel, which was open,
and he went in.  As he did so, voices and strange forms seemed to rush
forward to enter with him, and an overwhelming horror took possession of
him.  Inside, the Chapel was hung with black; cowled forms filled the
stalls, and chanted, with hollow, shadowy voices, a dirge for the
departed.  A hooded and black form stood before the altar, celebrating
the mass.  The altar was alight with tapers, and torches were borne by
sable attendants on either side of the choir.  The ghostly forms that
entered with him now thronged about him in the form and habit of living
men.  Voices called from without, and were answered from within the
Chapel; rushing sounds filled the air as though the trees were being
torn up, and the Chapel and house rocked.  There was no coffin nor pall,
nor any sign of mourning; and it seemed to Inglesant that he was present
at the celebration of some obyte, or anniversary of the death of one
long departed, over whom a wild and ghostly lamentation was made by
beings no longer of the earth.  An inexpressible dread and sorrow lay
upon him—an overwhelming dread, as if the final Reckoning were near at
hand, and all hope taken away—sorrow, as though all whom he had ever
loved and known lay before him in death, with the solemn dirge and
placebo said over them by the ghostly choir.  The strain was too intense
and painful to be borne, and with a cry, he awoke.

Utterly incapable of remaining where he was, he dressed, and went out
into the gallery, and down into the courtyard. The court was lighted by
the moonlight as brightly as in his dream for one moment, and then was
totally dark from the passing clouds flitting over the moon.  All was
calm and still. A small door in the corner of the court near the Chapel
was open, and, surprised at this, Inglesant crossed over and passed
through it.  It led into the graveyard of the Priory outside the Chapel,
where the monks and some of the country people had been used to bury
their dead.  It was walled round, but the wall at the farther side was
old and ruinous, and had partly fallen down.  As Inglesant reached the
postern door, the moon shone out brightly, and he saw, between himself
and the ruined wall, a wasted and cowled figure slowly traversing the
rows of graves.  For a moment he felt a terror equal to that of his
dream, but the next the thought of the Prior flashed upon his mind, and
he crossed the graveyard and followed silently in the track of the
figure.  The ghostly form reached the opposite wall, and commenced, with
some substance that shone like fire, to draw magic figures upon the
stones of one of its most perfect parts.  Placing himself in a position
evidently indicated by these geometrical figures, he carefully observed
the precise spot where his shadow was projected on the wall before him
by the moonlight, and going to this spot, he carefully loosened and
removed a stone.  By this time Inglesant was close upon him, and saw him
take from within the wall an antique glass or vial of a singular and
occult shape. As he raised it, some slight motion the other made caused
him to turn round, and at the sight of Inglesant he dropped the magic
glass upon the stone he had removed, and shattered it to pieces.  When
he saw what had happened, the strange and weird creature threw his arms
above his head, and with a piercing cry that rang again and again
through the chill night air, fell backwards senseless, and lay in the
pale moonlight white and still among the graves.  Inglesant removed him
into the house, and he was restored to sense, but scarcely to reason.
He lived for more than five years, never leaving the Priory, where
Inglesant directed that all his wants should be attended to, wandering
about the gardens, and sometimes poring over his old books, which still
remained upon his shelves. Inglesant never saw him again; but when he
died the old man sent him his blessing, and was buried before the altar
in the Chapel, where all the Priors of the house had lain before him; he
on whom the evil days, which they perhaps had merited but had escaped,
had fallen, and had crushed.



                             *CHAPTER II.*


Richard Inglesant never, till the last few years of his life, lived at
Westacre, and visited it very seldom. He was a successful courtier; and
at Cromwell’s fall became a servant of the King.  He married, and lived
entirely at the Court.  He was all his life a Catholic at heart, but
conformed outwardly to the religion of the hour.  He had one son, named
after him, who was educated at Oxford, and intended for the bar, but his
father left him so considerable a fortune that he was independent of any
profession.  That Richard Inglesant left no more than he did, shows that
he adhered through life to the line of conduct we have seen him pursue
at Westacre—conduct which probably satisfied his conscience as being
rigidly exact and honest.  On Henry’s death he still retained one of his
places about the Court; but on King Edward’s death, being a partisan of
Queen Mary’s and a hearty conformer, he became a great favourite, and
held a lucrative post.  He visited Westacre more frequently, and built a
stately range of buildings on one side of the court, where formerly the
old stables and kitchen were, no doubt for his son’s sake, enlarging the
garden on that side to form a terrace in front of the new rooms.  At
Queen Mary’s accession service was recommenced in the Prior’s Chapel,
which was repaired and fitted up afresh, and a regular priest appointed
to serve it. Inglesant’s name does not appear in the trials of the
Protestants, a circumstance which makes it appear probable that he was
true to the temporising policy of his youth, and kept his zeal under
good control.  When Elizabeth came to the throne, the service in the
Chapel underwent some modification, King Edward’s Service Book being
used.  The service then had been found so useful to the neighbours that
the parish petitioned for its continuance, and it was legally settled as
a chapelry.  The priest conformed to the new order of things, and
Richard Inglesant—who at that time resided constantly at
Westacre—attended the service regularly.  He remained a Catholic, but
during the first seven years of Queen Elizabeth’s reign, which were all
he lived to see, the Catholics generally came to their parish churches
until forbidden by the Pope’s Bull.  It remained, therefore, for his
son, who was eighteen years of age at his father’s death, to declare
himself; and he conformed to the usage of the English Church.  He
resided entirely at Westacre, with an occasional visit to Court, keeping
open-handed hospitality, and slightly embarrassing the estate, though,
like his father, he had only one child. He was a favourer of the
Papists, and once or twice was in trouble on that account; but being
perfectly loyal, and a very popular man, he was rather a favourite with
the Queen, who always noticed him when he came to Court, and was wont to
say that "the dry crust Dick Inglesant gave a Papist should never choke
him while she lived."  He lived beyond the term of years usual in his
family, and died in 1629, at the age of eighty-two, having been for the
last twenty years of his life, since the death of the Queen, entirely
under the guidance of his son, very much to his own advantage, as during
those black years for the Papists, he would most probably have committed
imprudences which might have been his ruin. His son, whose name was
Eustace, was a shrewd lawyer and courtier.  He was—much more than his
father—a Papist at heart, but he conformed strictly to the English
Church, and possessed considerable indirect influence at Court.  He was
thought much of by the Catholics, who regarded him as one of their most
powerful friends.  He married young, in 1593, but he had no children by
his first wife, who died in 1610; and in 1620 he married again, a
Catholic lady who was his ward.  With this lady he came to reside at
Westacre; but two years after, his wife died in giving birth to two
boys; and, disgusted with the country, he left the two infants to their
grandfather’s care and returned to London, visiting Westacre, however,
regularly at intervals; where, with a small number of servants, the old
gentleman, totally forgetful of his old hospitality, and of his friends
the Papists, spent his last days with the greatest delight, in anxiously
watching over his little grandchildren.  They were beautiful boys, so
exactly alike that it was impossible to tell them apart, and from their
earliest infancy so united in love to each other that they became a
proverb in the neighbourhood.  The eldest was named Eustace, after his
father; but the youngest, at the entreaty of his young mother—uttered in
her faint and dying voice, as the children lay before her during the few
moments that were given her in mercy to look at them before her eyes
were closed on these dearly purchased treasures and all other earthly
things—was named John, after her brother, a Seminary priest of Douay,
executed in England for saying mass, and refusing the oath of supremacy.

Little need be told of the infancy of these boys: traditions remain, as
in other cases, of their likeness to each other, needing different
coloured ribbons to distinguish them; and of the old man’s anxious
doting care over them.  Many a pretty group, doubtless, they made, on
warm summer afternoons, on the shady terrace; but the old grandfather
died when they were seven years old, and slept with his father beneath
the Chapel floor.  After the funeral, Eustace Inglesant had intended
taking both the children back with him to London, but he had
discovered—or fancied he had discovered—that the youngest was sickly,
and would be better for the country air; and therefore kept him at
Westacre, when he returned to the city with his brother.  The truth
appears to be that he was a worldly, selfish man, and while fully
conscious of the advantage of an heir, he was by no means desirous of
giving himself more trouble than was necessary about either of his
children.  The old Priory, however, was, at this time, not a bad place
to bring up a child in, though it had been neglected during the last ten
or eleven years; though the woods were overgrown, and the oaks came up,
in places, close to the house; though the Prior’s fish-ponds had
transformed themselves into a large pool or lake; though the garden was
a tangled wilderness, and centaury, woodsorrel, and sour herbs covered
the ground; though the old courtyard and the Chapel itself were
mouldering and ruinous, yet the air of the rich vales in the north of
Wiltshire is more healthy than that of the higher downs, which are often
covered with fogs when the vales are clear, and the sky is bright and
serene.  It was remarked that people lived longer in the valleys than at
places that would be supposed peculiarly healthy on the hills; that they
sang better in the churches; and that books and rooms were not so damp
and mouldy in the low situations as they were in those which stood very
high, with no river or marsh near them.  The fogs at times, indeed, came
down into the valleys; and in the courtyard of the Priory dim forms had
been seen flitting through the mist, in reality the shadows of the
spectators thrown upon the mist itself, from the light of a lanthorn.
Such sights as these in such a place, so haunted by the memories of the
past, gave rise to many strange stories—to which young Inglesant
listened with wonder, as he did, also, to others of the _ignis fatuus_,
which, called by the people "Kit of the Candlestick," used, about
Michaelmas, to be very common on the downs, and to wander down to the
valleys across the low boggy grounds—stories of its leading travellers
astray, and fascinating them.  The boy grew up among such strange
stories, and lived, indeed, in the old world that was gone for ever.
His grandfather’s dimly remembered anecdotes were again and again
recalled by others, all of the same kind, which he heard every day.
Stories of the rood in the Chapel, of the mass wafer with its mysterious
awfulness and power, of the processions and midnight singing at the
Priory.  The country was full of the scattered spoil of the monasteries;
old and precious manuscripts were used everywhere by the schoolboys for
covering their books, and for the covers of music; and the glovers of
Malmsbury wrapped their goods in them. In the churchyards the yew-trees
stood thick and undecayed, scarcely grown again from the last lopping to
supply bows for the archers of the King’s army.  The story was common of
the Becket’s path, along which he had been used to pass when curé priest
at Winterbourn, and which could be seen through the deepest snow, or if
ploughed up and sown with corn.  Indeed the path itself could be seen
within a pleasant ride across the downs from Westacre.

The boy’s first instructor was the old curate of the Chapel, who taught
him his Church Catechism and his latin grammar. This man appears to have
been one of those ministers so despised by the Puritans as "mere grammar
scholars," who knew better how to read a homily than to make a sermon;
yet John Inglesant learnt of him more good lessons than he did, as he
himself owned, afterwards from many popular sermons; and in his old age
he acknowledged that he believed the only thing that had kept him back
in after years, and under great temptations, from formally joining the
communion of the Church of Rome, was some faint prejudice, some
lingering dislike, grounded on the old man’s teaching.  Other teachers,
of a different kind, the child had in plenty.  The old servants who
still remained in the house; the woodsmen and charcoal burners; the
village girls whom the housekeeper hired from year to year at Malmsbury
fair; the old housekeeper who had been his mother’s maid, and whom the
boy looked on as his mother, and who could coax him to her lap when he
was quite a tall boy, by telling him stories of his mother; one or two
falconers or huntsmen who lingered about the place, or watched the woods
for game for the gentry around.  When he was ten years old, in 1632, the
curate of the Chapel died; and Mr. Inglesant did not at once replace
him, for reasons which will appear presently.  John led a broken
scholastic life for a year, going to school when it was fine enough to
make a pleasant walk attractive to ——, where the Vicar taught some boys
their grammar and latin Terence in the Church itself; and where there
was a tradition that the great antiquary, Master Camden, Clarencieux
King of Arms, coming on his survey to examine the Church, found him, and
spoke to him and his scholars. At the end of a year, however, his father
coming into the country, arranged for him to go to school at Ashley,
where he was to stay in the house with the Vicar, a famous schoolmaster
in the west country.  This gentleman, who was a delicate and little
person, and had an easy and attractive way of teaching, was a Greek
scholar and a Platonist, a Rosicrucian and a believer in alchemy and
astrology.  He found in little Inglesant an apt pupil, an apprehensive
and inquisitive boy, mild of spirit, and very susceptible of
fascination, strongly given to superstition and romance: of an inventive
imagination though not a retentive memory; given to day dreaming,
and,—what is more often found in children than some may think, though
perhaps they could not name it,—metaphysical speculation. The Vicar
taught his boys in the hall of his Vicarage—a large room with a porch,
and armorial bearings in the stained glass in the windows.  Out of this
opened a closet or parlour where he kept his books, and in this he would
sit after school was over, writing his learned treatises, most of which
he would read to John Inglesant, some of them in latin.  This, with his
readings in Plato, assisted by his eager interest, gave John, as he grew
older, a considerable acquaintance with both languages, so that he could
read most books in either of them, and turn over the remnants of the old
world learning that still remained in the Prior’s Library, with that
lazy facility which always gives a meaning, though often an incorrect
one—not always a matter of regret to an imaginative reader, as adding a
charm, and, where his own thought is happy, a beauty. Here he imbibed
that mysterious Platonic philosophy, which—seen through the reflected
rays of Christianity—becomes, as his master taught him, in some sort a
foreshadowing of it, as the innocent and heroic life of Socrates,
commended and admired by Christians as well as heathens, together with
his august death, may be thought, in some measure, to have borne the
image of Christ; and, indeed, not without some mystery of purpose, and
preparation of men for Christianity, has been so magnified among men.
Here, too, he eagerly drank in his master’s Rosicrucian theories of
spiritual existences; of the vital congruity and three several vehicles
of the soul; the terrestrial, in which the soul should be so trained
that she may stay as short a time as possible in the second or aerial,
but proceed at once to the third, the etherial, or celestial; "that
heavenly chariot, carrying us, in triumph, to the great happiness of the
soul of man."  Of the aerial genii, and souls separate, and of their
converse with one another, and with mankind.  Of their dress, beauty,
and outward form; of their pleasures and entertainments, from the
Divinest harmony of the higher orders, who, with voices perfectly
imitating the passionate utterance of their devout minds, melt their
souls into Divine Love, and lose themselves in joy in God; while all
nature is transformed by them to a quintessence of crystalline beauty by
the chemical power of the spirit of nature, acting on pure essences.  Of
the feastings and wild dances of the lower and deeply lapsed, in whom
some sad and fantastic imitation of the higher orders is to be traced;
and of those aerial wanderers to whom poetical philosophers or
philosophical poets have given the rivers and springs—the mountains and
groves; with the Dii Tutelares of cities and countries; and the Lares
familiares, who love the warmth of families and the homely converse of
men.  These studies are but a part of the course of which occult
chemistry and the lore of the stars form a part; and that mysterious
Platonism which teaches that Pindar’s story of the Argo is only a secret
recipe for the philosopher’s stone; and which pretends that at this
distance of time the life of Priam can be read more surely in the stars
than in history.

More than three years passed in these pursuits, when Inglesant,—now a
tall, handsome, dreamy-looking boy of fourteen, was suddenly recalled to
Westacre by his father, who had unexpectedly arrived from London.  His
master, who was very fond of him, gave him many words of learned advice;
for he expected, as proved to be the case, that his school-days—at least
as far as he was concerned,—were ended.  He concluded with these words:—

"I have done my best to show you those hidden truths which the heathen
divines knew as well as we; how much more, then, ought we to follow
them, who have the light of Christ!  Do not talk of these things, but
keep them in your heart; hear what all men say, but follow no man: there
is nothing in the world of any value but the Divine Light,—follow it.
What it is no man can tell you; but I have told you many times, and you
know very well it is not here nor there, as men shall tell you, for all
men say they have it who are ignorant of its very nature.  It will
reveal itself when the time shall come.  If you go to the Court, as I
think you will, attach yourself wholly to the King and the Church party,
the foundations of whose power are in the Divine will.  I foresee dark
clouds overhanging the Church, but let not these affright you; behind,
the Divine Light shineth—the Light that shineth from the hill of God.  I
have taught you to clear your soul from the mists of carnal error, but I
have never told you to act freely in this world: you are not placed here
to reason (as the sectaries and precisians do), but to obey.  Remember
it is the very seal of a gentleman—to obey: remember the Divine words of
Plato, in the Crito, when Socrates was about to suffer; how he refused,
when urged, to break those laws under which he was falsely condemned.
Let those words ring in your ears as they did in his; so that, like the
worshippers of Cybele, who heard only the flutes, you shall hear nothing
but the voice of God, speaking to you in that rank in which He has
placed you, through those captains whom He has ordained to the command.
Whenever—and in whatever place—the Divine Light shall appear to you, be
assured it will never teach you anything contrary to this."

There was no horse sent for John, but he was obliged to ride in an
uncomfortable manner before the serving man who was sent to fetch him;
children, and especially younger sons, being treated as little better
than servants, and they were indeed often tyrannised over by the latter.
When he reached Westacre, he was told his father was in one of the rooms
in the new wing of the house, and on entering, he found him in company
with three other persons.  One of these was the newly appointed curate
of the Church, whom Johnny had never yet seen; the other was a fine,
handsomely dressed man, with a lofty, high-bred look, and in the window
was a beautiful boy of about John’s own age, in the costly dress of a
page. Inglesant knew that this must be his brother Eustace; and after
humbly receiving his father’s rather cold greeting, he hastened to
embrace him, and he returned the greeting with warmth.  But his father
immediately presented him to the gentleman who stood by him; telling him
that this gentleman would probably spend some time at Westacre, and that
it was chiefly that he should attend him, that he had sent for him home;
charging him, at the same time, to serve and obey him implicitly, as he
would his father or the King.

"He is a mere country lad," he said, "very different from his brother,
but he is young, and may be useful in after days."

The gentleman looked at Johnny kindly, with a peculiar expression which
the boy had never before seen, penetrating and alluring at the same
time.

"He is, as you say, Esquire, a country lad, and wants the fine clothes
of my friend the page, nevertheless he is a gallant and gentle boy, and
were he attired as finely, would not shame you, Mr. Inglesant, more than
he does.  And I warrant," he continued, "this one is good at his books."

And sitting down, he drew Johnny on his knee, and taking from his pocket
a small book, he said: "Here, my friend, let us see how you can read in
this."

It was the Phaedo of Plato, which Johnny knew nearly by heart, and he
immediately began, with almost breathless rapidity, to construe with,
here and there, considerable freedom, till the gentleman stopped him
with a laugh. "Gently, gently, my friend.  I saw you were a scholar, but
not that you were a complete Platonist!  I fear your master is one who
looks more to the Divine sense than to the grammar!  But never mind, you
and I shall be much together, and as you are so fond of Plato, you shall
read him with me.  You shall go to your brother, who, if he cannot read
’In Phaedone,’ can tell you many wonderful things of the Court and the
city that no doubt you will hear very gladly;" and letting Johnny go, he
turned to his father, saying, in an undertone, which, however, the boy
heard; "The lad is apt, indeed! more so than any of us could have
dreamt; no fitter soil, I could wager, we could have found in England!"

Johnny went to his brother, and they left the room together.  The two
boys,—as the two children had been,—were remarkably alike; the more so
as this likeness of form and feature, which to a casual observer
appeared exact, was consistent with a very remarkable difference of
expression and manner—the difference being, as it were, contained in the
likeness without destroying it.  Their affection for each other, which
continued through life, was something of the same nature, arising
apparently from instinct and nature, apart from inclination.  Their
tastes and habits being altogether different, they pursued their several
courses quite contentedly, without an effort to be more united, but once
united, or once recalled to each other’s presence or recollection even
in the most accidental manner, they manifested a violent and
overpowering attachment to each other.  On the present occasion they
wandered through the gardens and neighbourhood of the Priory; and as the
strange gentleman had foretold, Johnny took the greatest interest in the
conversation of his brother, whom, indeed, he both now and afterwards
most unfeignedly admired, and to whose patronage he invariably submitted
with perfect satisfaction.  Eustace, who had lately been admitted one of
the junior supernumerary pages to the King, talked incessantly of the
King’s state and presence chamber, of the yeomen of the guard, of the
pageants and masques, and of banquets, triumphs, interviews, nuptials,
tilts, and tournaments; the innumerable delights of the city; of the
stage players, tumblers, fiddlers, inn-keepers, fencers, jugglers,
dancers, mountebanks, bear-wardens; of sweet odours and perfumes,
generous wines, the most gallant young men, the fairest ladies, the
rarest beauties the world could afford, the costly and curious attire,
exquisite music, all delights and pleasures which, to please the senses,
could possibly be devised; galleries and terraces, rowing on the Thames,
with music, on a pleasant evening, with the goodly palaces, and the
birds singing on the banks.

All this Johnny listened to with admiration, and made little reply to
his brother’s disparaging remarks on the miserable life he had led in
the country, or to his sage advice to endeavour, by some means, to come
to London to the Court.

Johnny remembered his master’s counsel, and was silent on his own
pleasures and pursuits.  His pleasant walks by the brook side, pleasant
shade by the sweet silver streams, good air, and sweet smell of fine,
fresh meadow flowers, his walks among orchards, gardens, green thickets,
and such-like pleasant places, in some solitary groves between wood and
water, meditating on some delightful and pleasant subject—he thought his
brother would only ridicule these things.  It is true the next day when
they went to the Avon to see an otter hunted, Johnny occupied the
foremost place for a time; he was known to the keepers, and to two or
three gentlemen who were at the sport, and was familiar with the terms
in tracing the mark of the otter, and following through all the craft of
the hunting, tracing the marks in the soft and moist places to see which
way the head of the chase was turned.  He carried his otter spear as
well as any of the company, while the hounds came trailing and chanting
along by the river-side, venting every tree root, every osier bed and
tuft of bulrushes, and sometimes taking to the water, and beating it
like spaniels. But as soon as the otter, escaping from the spears, was
killed by the dogs, or, having by its wonderful sagacity and craft
avoided the dogs, was killed by the spears, Eustace assumed his superior
place, coming forward to talk to the gentlemen, who were delighted with
him, while Johnny fell back into the quiet, dreamy boy again.

The two brothers were left together for several days, their father, with
the strange gentleman—whose name Eustace told Johnny was Hall—having
departed on horseback, on a visit to a gentleman in Gloucestershire.
Eustace observed great caution in speaking of Mr. Hall, telling Johnny
he would know all about him soon from himself.  The boys passed the time
happily enough.  Johnny’s affection for his brother increased every day,
and withstood not only Eustace’s patronage, but—what must have been much
more hard to bear—the different way in which the servants treated the
two boys.  Eustace, who, though only a few minutes older than his
brother, was the heir, was treated with great deference and respect;
which might possibly also be owing to his being a stranger and to his
Court breeding.  Johnny, on the contrary, though he was quite as tall as
his brother, they treated like a child: the housekeeper took him up to
bed when it pleased her; the old butler would have caned him without
hesitation had he thought he deserved it; and the maids alternately
petted and scolded him, the first of which was more disagreeable to him
than the last.  The hard condition of children, and especially of
younger brothers, is a common theme of the writers of the period, and
Johnny’s experience was not different from that of others.  His
disposition, however, was not injured by it, though it may have made him
still fonder of retirement and of day-dreaming than he would have been.
This hard discipline made him resolve to be silent on those wonderful
secrets and the learning that his master had taught him, and to meditate
increasingly upon them in his heart.  He delighted more and more in
wandering by the river-side, building castles in the air, and acting an
infinite variety of parts.  When his brother left him, this became still
more delightful to him, and but for other influences he might have gone
on in this fascinating habit till he realised Burton’s terrible
description, and from finding these contemplations and fantastical
conceits so delightful at first, might have become the slave of vain and
unreal fancies, which may be as terrible and dismal as pleasing and
delightful.

After about a fortnight’s absence, Mr. Inglesant and Mr. Hall returned
from their visit, or visits, for they appeared to have stayed at several
places; and the next day Eustace and his father departed for London.
His father displayed more affection than usual on leaving Johnny behind
him, assuring him of his love, and that if he heard a good account of
him from Mr. Hall, he should come up to London and see the Court.
Eustace’s grief at losing his brother again was much lessened by his joy
at returning to his congenial life in London; but Johnny watched him
from the old gatehouse in front of the Priory with a sad heart.

While he is standing looking after his father and brother, as they ride
up the hill by the same path which the Prior came down that fine summer
morning long years before, we will take a moment’s time to explain
certain events of which he was perfectly ignorant, but which were about
to close about him and involve him in a labyrinth from which he may have
been said never to have issued during his life.  We call ourselves free
agents;—was this slight, delicate boy a free agent, with a mind and
spirit so susceptible, that the least breath affected them: around whom
the throng of national contention was about to close; on whom the
intrigue of a great religious party was about to seize, involving him in
a whirlpool and rapid current of party strife and religious rancour?
Must not the utmost that can be hoped,—that can be even rationally
wished for—be, that by the blessing of the Divine guidance, he may be
able to direct his path a little towards the Light?

The laws oppressing the Roman Catholics, which had been stringently
enforced during the greater part of James’s reign, had been considerably
relaxed when he was negotiating with the Spaniards for the marriage of
his son, and again on King Charles’s marriage with Henrietta Maria of
France.  From that time greater and greater leniency was shown them, not
only by the exertion of Catholic influence at Court, but also through
Puritan jealousy; the juries refusing to punish Popish recusants,
because Puritan separatists were included in the lists. Spasmodic
exertions of severity were made from time to time by the King and the
Church party; but, on the whole, the Papists enjoyed more and more
liberty, especially between 1630 and 1640.  Advantage was taken by the
party of this freedom to the fullest extent; money was amassed abroad,
an army of missionary priests poured into England, agents were sent from
the Pope, and every effort made in every part of England to gain
converts, and confirm uncertain members. Many Papists who had conformed
to the authority of the English Church beginning to entertain hopes of
the ultimate success of the old religion, fell away and became
recusants—that is, ceased to attend their Parish Church.  Mr. Inglesant,
who—through all his life—had watched the progress of affairs with a
careful and far-reaching penetration, had, from the first, been in
communication with chiefs of the popish party; but he was far too
important a friend where he was to allow of any change in his behaviour,
and he still rigidly conformed to the Established Church.  The Roman
Catholics were divided into two parties, holding two opinions, which,
under different aspects, actuate all religious parties at the present
day.  The one viewed the English Church and its leader Archbishop Laud
with hatred, regarding him, and doubtless with great truth, as their
most formidable opponent, as occupying a place in the country and in the
allegiance of the majority of Englishmen which otherwise could only have
been filled by the older Church: the other looking more at the
resemblances between the two Churches, held the opinion that little was
needed to bring the Established Church into communion and submission to
the Papal See, and by that means, at once, and without trouble, restore
the papal authority in England.  The efforts of this party were of a
more political nature than those of the other; they endeavoured to win
over Archbishop Laud to a conference, and a Cardinal’s hat was offered
to him more than once.  To this party Mr. Inglesant belonged.  Occupying
a neutral position himself, and possessed of the confidence of members
of both Churches, he was peculiarly fitted for such negotiations, and
was in constant communication with those Churchmen, very numerous at
Court, and among the clergy and the country gentry, who were favourably
disposed to the Papists, though at the same time sincere members of
their own Church. The value of emissaries possessing in this way the
confidence of Church people and Papists alike was so obvious, that Mr.
Inglesant and his friends did all they could to add to their number,
especially as they were not very easy to procure, great jealousy
existing, among nearly all Church people, of any foreign or armed
interference in England on the part of the Romanists, who were always
suspected of such intentions.  Mr. Inglesant, therefore, whom nothing
escaped, had marked out his younger son’s temperament as one peculiarly
fitted to be trained for such a purpose, and had communicated this idea
to his intimate associate among the Papists, Father Sancta Clara, as he
was called, of an English family named St Clare, a Jesuit missionary
priest who travelled in England under the name of Mr. Hall. The latter
was a man of great influence, unbounded devotion to his order, and
unflinching courage; a profound scholar, and, according to the knowledge
of that day, a man of science, trained, indeed, in every variety of
human learning, and taking advantage of every scrap of knowledge and
information for the advancement of his purpose.  Of elegant and
fascinating manners, and accustomed to courtly life abroad, he was,
perhaps, the most influential agent among the thousand mission priests
at that time scattered through England.  His time, of course, was fully
taken up with his difficult embassy, but he was interested in the
account Inglesant gave of his son; and the idea of training him to such
usefulness in three or four years’ time, when their plans might be
expected to be ripe, commended itself exceedingly to his peculiar genius
and habit of mind. He was at this time Superior over part of the
south-west of England, and was much engaged among the gentry in those
parts—a position of peculiar difficulty, as the people of the greater
part of that district were strongly Puritan, and the gentry hostile to
Rome.  So secluded and convenient a position as Westacre Priory was
exactly adapted to aid him in his mission, and he resolved to take up
his quarters there, from whence he could, with great hopes of escaping
observation, continue his work in the adjoining country.  Mr. Inglesant,
with an eye to such a contingency, had purposely omitted to appoint a
chaplain at the Priory for some time, and now nominated a Mr. ——, a
graduate of Oxford, a man who was "ex animo" a Papist, and who only
waited a suitable time to declare himself one.  The number of such men
was very great, and they were kept in the English Church only by the
High Church doctrines and ceremonies introduced by Archbishop Laud;
affording one out of numberless parallels between that age and the
present.  It is perhaps not necessary to say more in this place to
explain the presence of Mr. Hall (otherwise Father Sancta Clara) at
Westacre, nor the future that lay before Johnny Inglesant as he stood by
the gatehouse of the old Priory looking after his father and Eustace as
they rode up the hill.



                             *CHAPTER III.*


Father Sancta Clara was obliged to remain quiet at Westacre for some
time, and devoted himself entirely to gaining an influence over Johnny.
Of course in this he was entirely successful.  There was a good library,
for that day, at the Priory; the Prior’s old books were still on the
shelves, and Richard Inglesant, who we have seen was a scholar, added
largely to them, bringing all his books into the country when he came to
live at Westacre.  The difference between Johnny’s former master and
this present one was that between a theorist and dreamer and a statesman
and man of the world and critical student of human nature.  The Father
made Johnny read with him every day, and by his wealth of learning and
acquaintance with men and foreign countries, made the reading
interesting in the highest degree.  In this way he read the classics,
making them not dead school books, but the most human utterances that
living men ever spoke; and while from these he drew illustrations of
human life when reading Plato—which he did every day—he led his pupil to
perceive, as he did more fully when he grew older, that wonderful
insight into the spiritual life and spiritual distinctions which even
Christianity has failed to surpass.  He led him, step by step, through
that noble resolve by which Socrates—at frightful odds, and with all
ordinary experience against him—maintains the advantage to be derived
from truth; he pointed out to him the three different elements to be
found in Plato: the Socratic or negative argument, simply overthrowing
received opinion; the pseudo-scientific, to which Plato was liable from
the condition of knowledge in his day; and, finally, the exalted flight
of the transcendental reason, which, leaving alike the scepticism of the
negative argument and the dreams of false science, flies aloft into the
pure ether of the heavenly life.  He read to him Aristophanes, pointing
out in him the opposing powers which were at work in the Hellenic life
as in the life of every civilised age.  He did not conceal from him the
amount of right there is on the popular side of plain common sense, nor
the soundness of that fear which hesitates to overthrow the popular
forms of truth, time-honoured and revealed, which have become in the
eyes of the majority, however imperfect they may really be, the truth
itself.  Nor did he fail to show him the unsuitability of the Socratic
argument to the masses of the people, who will stop at the negative
part, and fail of the ethereal flight beyond; and he showed him how it
might be possible, and even the best thing for mankind, that Socrates
should die, though Socrates at that moment was the noblest of mankind:
as, afterwards, though for a different reason, it was expedient that a
nobler than Socrates should die for the people,—nobler, that is, in that
he did what Socrates failed in doing, and carried the lowest of the
people with him to the ethereal gates.  And in this entering into
sympathy with the struggle of humanity, he prepared his pupil to receive
in after years (for it is a lesson that cannot be fully learned until
middle life is approached) that kindly love of humanity; that sympathy
with its smallest interests; that toleration of its errors, and of its
conflicting opinions; that interest in local and familiar affairs, in
which the highest culture is at one with the unlearned rustic mind.

The boy drank in all this with the greatest aptitude, and would have
listened all day, but his tutor insisted on his taking his full amount
of exercise, and himself commanded his admiration as much by skill in
the sports of the field as by learning. He made no effort to draw his
mind away from the English Church, farther than by giving him a crucifix
and rosary, and teaching him the use of them, and pointing out the
beauties of the Roman use; he even took pains to prevent his becoming
attached to Popery, telling him that his father would not wish him to
leave the Church of England; and though that Church was at present in
schism, it would probably soon be reunited, and that meanwhile the
difference was unimportant and slight. He knew, indeed, that from the
excitable and enthusiastic nature of his pupil, if he once became
attached strongly to Roman theology, all his use as a mediator between
the two parties would at once be lost; and he therefore contented
himself with securing his own influence over Johnny; which he
accomplished to the most unlimited extent.

After certain preparations had been made, and some needful precautions
taken, a great change took place in the life at Westacre Priory.
Strangers were constantly arriving, stayed a few hours, and departed,
mostly coming in the night, and leaving, also, after sunset.  Several,
however, remained a longer time, and took great pains to conceal
themselves.  They all had long interviews with the Father.  Services
were also performed in the Chapel, frequently in Latin.  It was death to
say mass in England, except in the Queen’s Chapels at St. James’s, at
Somerset House, and at Woodstock, nevertheless mass was said in all
parts of England, and it was said at Westacre.  One night, after Johnny
had been asleep for some hours, he was awakened by Father St. Clare, who
told him to dress himself and come with him, and, at the same time,
charged him never to tell any one what he might be about to see—an
injunction which the boy would have died rather than disobey.  The long
streaks of the summer dawn stretched across the sky before them as they
crossed the courtyard towards the Chapel, and the roofs stood out sharp
and distinct in the dim, chill air.  The Chapel was lighted, and on the
white cloth of the altar were tapers and flowers.  Half awake in the
sweet fresh morning air, Johnny knelt on the cold flag stones of the
Chapel and saw the mass.  Strangers who had come to the Priory on
purpose were present, and some gentlemen of the neighbourhood whom
Johnny knew.  It is strange that the Jesuit should have placed so much
trust in the prudence and fidelity of a boy; but he probably knew his
pupil, and certainly had no cause to repent.  This was not the only time
mass was said; for one winter night—or rather morning—an old peasant
known in the neighbourhood as Father Wade had been to Marlborough wake,
and being benighted, bethought himself of asking a lodging at the
Priory, and approached it by a pathway from the east, which, crossing
the meadows beyond the Chapel, came round to the gatehouse at the front.
He, however, never reached the gate, and being found at home the next
day, and questioned as to where he passed the night, he was at first
evasive in his replies, but on being pressed, told a mysterious story of
strange lights and shapes of men he had seen about the Priory; and
approaching—he said—fearfully along the path, there, sure enough! were
the old monks passing up in procession from the graveyard through the
wall into the Chapel, as through a door; and he heard the
long-remembered chanting of the mass, and saw the tapers shining through
the east window, as he had seen them when a little boy.

This manner of life went on for about a year, at the end of which time
Father St. Clare’s absences became more frequent, and Johnny was left
much alone.  The Father’s mission in the west of England was not
prospering, for the very simple reason that he was too good for the
work.  As far as the duties of a Superior went, everything was
satisfactory. The country was mapped out in districts, and emissaries
were appointed to each; but for the peculiar mission of Father St.
Clare—that of personal influence—there was no scope. It was the habit of
the Jesuits, by the charms of their conversation and learning, by their
philosophical theories, and in some cases by their original systems of
science, to gain the confidence and intimacy of the highest both in
station and intellect.  And for this seed to spring up, there must be
first a suitable soil for it to be sown in, and this soil was
particularly scarce in Wiltshire.  All the refinement and learning of
Father St. Clare was thrown away upon the country squires; any boon
companion would have influenced them quite as well.  Becoming conscious
of this, the Jesuit rode frequently to London, where work which required
the highest skill and talent was going on; and in his absence Johnny was
left very much to his own devices.  During one of these absences a
priest who had remained concealed several days at the Priory, and who
had taken a fancy to the boy, gave him at parting, a little book,
telling him to read it carefully, and it would be of use to him through
life.  It was entitled, "The Flaming Heart, or the Life of St. Theresa,"
of which a later edition, printed in 1642, was dedicated to Henrietta
Maria. It opened a new world of thought to Johnny, who was now sixteen
years of age, and he read it many times from beginning to end.  A great
deal of it was so strange to Inglesant, that he was repelled by it.  The
exaggeration of the duty of self-denial, the grotesque humility, the
self-denunciation for the most trifling faults,—most of the details
indeed appeared to him either absurd or untrue; but, running through all
the book, the great doctrine of Divine Illumination fascinated him.  The
sublime but mysterious way of devotion pointed out in it, while quite
different from anything he had previously heard of, was still
sufficiently in accordance with the romantic habit of his mind, and with
the mystic philosophy in which his old master had trained him, to cause
him to follow it with an eager sympathy.  The natural and inspired
writings of the great mystics, indeed, breathe a celestial purity,
entirely distinct from those of their inferior disciples, who brought
down their spiritual system to earth and earthly purposes. The rest from
individual effort, the calm after long striving, the secret joy in God,
the acquiescing in His will, in which the true elevation of devotion
lies, and which is not the effect of lively imaginations or of fruitful
inventions—of these, all men are not capable, but all may reach the
silent and humble adoration of God which arises out of a pure and quiet
mind, just as when a man enters into an entire friendship with another;
then the single thought of his friend affects him more tenderly than all
that variety of reflections which may arise in his mind where this union
is not felt.  This inward calm and quiet in which men may in silence
form acts of faith and feel those inward motions and directions which,
as this book taught, follow all those who rise up to this elevation, and
which lead them onward through the devious paths of this life,—what must
this be but the Divine Light of which his old master had so often told
him he was ignorant, but whose certain coming he had led him constantly
to expect? Enticed by such thoughts as these, he passed the days, hardly
knowing what he did; and wandered in this perplexed labyrinth without a
guide.  Without a guide! but this book of his told him of a guide—a
spiritual guide!—nay, even recommended obedience and entire submission
to this director; and dissuaded from self-confidence.  Where, then, was
this guide, to whom, in the midst of such spiritual light and life, and
after such ecstatic visions, he should turn?  The book said it was the
priest—any priest would do—but still it was the priest.  This seemed to
John Inglesant, whose perceptions the Jesuit had sharpened, but whose
unrestrained romance he had not crushed, to be very different from that
Divine Light of which his master spoke, from that transcendental voice
of the Platonic Reason speaking in the silence of the soul; nay, it
seemed to him to be a fall even from the teaching of the book itself.
Meditating on these things, Johnny thought he would visit his old
master, to see what he had to say about this new doctrine.

It was a fine summer morning when he made the visit; he had a horse of
his own now, and a servant if he chose, but he preferred to-day to go
alone.  He found Mr. —— had discontinued his school, and was entirely
buried in his books; only reading morning and evening prayers, and a
homily, or one of his old sermons in the Church on Sundays. He never
left his study on other days, except for a turn in his little garden.
His house was by the wayside, with a small paved court before the hall;
and by the side of this court, the garden, into which the window of the
study, in a gabled wing adjoining the hall, looked towards the road.  He
was pleased to see Inglesant, though he very dimly remembered him, and
questioned him of his studies.  Johnny read him some Plato with the
Jesuit’s comments, of which the old gentleman took notes eagerly, and
afterwards incorporated them in his book.  The book he was writing was
upon Talismanic figures, but he was not particular what he put into it;
anything of an occult and romantic character being welcome, and
introduced with not a little ingenuity.  He had no sense nor
understanding of anything else in the world but such subjects and his
books; and being exceedingly infirm, he could scarcely lift some of the
larger folios which lay heaped about him within reach.  He blessed God
that his eyesight was so good, and that he could still read Greek—the
contracted Greek type of that day.  After some conversation, Inglesant
opened his mind to him, told him what he had been reading, and asked his
opinion.  The old scholar pricked up his ears, and set to work with
great delight, taking notes all the time; and Johnny found, years
afterwards, when he happened to read his book in London, that all he
told him was introduced into it.

"I find nothing, my dear pupil," he said, "in the Christian Church, very
old, concerning this doctrine—for that author who goes by the name of
Dionysius the Areopagite is of far later date—but I will discover to you
some mysteries concerning it, which, so far as I know, have never been
brought to light by any man.  I find the germ of this doctrine in those
fragments of metaphysics which go under Theophrastus, his name; who was
a disciple of Aristotle, and succeeded him in his school; and was an
excellent philosopher, certainly, by the works by him which remain to
this day. Here he says that the understanding joined to the body, can do
nothing without the senses, which help it as far as they can to
distinguish sensible things from their first causes, but that all
knowledge and contemplation of the first causes must be by very touching
and feeling of the mind and soul; which knowledge, thus gained, is not
liable to error.  Synesius, a man well known amongst scholars, being
vexed that this new divinity began in his day to be in request amongst
Christians; and some illiterate monks and others taking advantage of it
to magnify ignorance, to bring themselves into repute—Synesius, I say,
wrote that exquisite treatise, which he inscribed ’Dio,’ to prove the
necessity of human learning and philosophy to all who will contemplate
high things with sobriety and good success.  ’God forbid,’ he says,
’that we should think that if God dwell in us, He should dwell in any
other part of us than that which is rational, which is His own proper
temple.’

"Now whether the writings of some ancient and later Platonists, Greeks
and Arabs, Heathens and Mahometans be a sufficient ground and warrant
for them that profess to ascribe more to the Scriptures, by which
sobriety of sense is so much commended unto us, than to the opinions of
heathen philosophers, I leave you to consider."

Then Inglesant left him, for he seemed more desirous to put ideas into
his book than to impart them, and rode home across the downs.  As he
went, he overtook a gentleman riding an easy-going palfrey, whom he
found to be one whom he knew; one, indeed, of those who had attended the
early morning mass in the Chapel.  This gentleman, who was one of those
called Church Papists, that is, Papists who saved themselves from the
charge of recusancy by sometimes attending their Parish Church, knowing
Johnny, and placing faith in him, began at once to relate his troubles.
He dwelt sadly on the fines he had to pay, and his difficulties in
avoiding the communion at Easter; but his greatest troubles were caused
by his wife, who was much more zealous than he was, and refused to go to
Church once a month to keep off the Church-wardens. Her religion,
indeed, was so costly to him, that he had rather have had a city lady
with her extravagant dress.  He was very particular in inquiring after
Father St. Clare, and whether Inglesant knew of anything he was engaged
in; but John could give him no information, not knowing anything of the
Jesuit’s plans.  They were hard times, he said, for a good quiet subject
who wished to live at peace with his King and with his clergyman; but
what with the fear of the apparitor on one hand, and of his wife and her
advisers among the Catholics on the other—he had a hard time of it.  He
was a cheerful man naturally, however, and leaving this discourse, which
he thought would tire his companion, he entertained him for some time
with the news of the country, of which he gathered great abundance in
his rides.  Among other things, he told him of a clergyman at a parish
not far off, who, he said, must be a Catholic in his heart, for his
piety was so great and his punctuality in reading common prayer, morning
and evening in the Church alone in his surplice so regular, that—so the
common report ran—he had brought down an angel from heaven, who appeared
to him in the Church one evening, in the glow of the setting sun, and
told him many wonderful and heavenly things. When the gentleman had
related this, they came to the point where their roads parted, and he
invited Johnny—for he was very courteous—to come on to his house, and
sup with him. To this Inglesant consented, visits being a rare pleasure
to him, and they rode together to the gentleman’s house, which stood on
the edge of the downs, with a courtyard and gatehouse before it, and at
the back a fair hall and parlour, having a wide prospect over the valley
and the distant view.  Johnny was courteously received by the popish
lady and her sister, who was devout and very pretty.  The supper would
have been very plain—the day being a fast—but the gentleman insisted on
waiting while a rabbit was cooked for his friend; and when it came, he
partook of it himself, in spite of his wife’s remonstrances—out of
courtesy to his guest, he said, and also to enable him to get over his
next fine, which, he said, it ought to do.  The ladies asked John
Inglesant many questions about the Father, and what took place at the
Priory; also about his brother the Page.  This made him leave early, for
though he knew nothing of any plots or treason, he was constantly afraid
of saying something he ought not to do; nothing was said, however, about
the morning mass, which was too serious a matter to be lightly spoken
of.

As he rode away through the soft evening light, he thought so much of
the story the gentleman had told him, that he made up his mind to ride
to the village and see the clergyman whose goodness was so manifest and
so rewarded.  He, surely—if no one else could—would show him the true
path of Devotion.

Two or three days afterwards he took the ride, and arrived at the small
old Church at a very opportune moment, for the clergyman in his surplice
was just going into it to read the evening prayers.  Inglesant attended
devoutly, being the only person present; for the sexton’s wife, who rang
the bell, did not consider that her duty extended farther.  Prayers
being over, the parson invited Johnny to supper—a much better one than
he had had at the Papist’s—and Inglesant stated his difficulties to him,
and asked his advice.  The Parson showed him several small books which
he had written; one on bowing and taking off the hat at the name of
Jesus; another on the cross in baptism, and kneeling at the communion; a
third on turning to the east, which last appeared to be mostly
quotations and enlargements from Dr. Donne; a fourth on the use of the
surplice.  He repudiated being popishly inclined; having disproved, he
said, that any of these practices were popish, in all his books, all of
which, as far as Johnny could see, displayed considerable ingenuity; and
while he inserted many trivial and weak passages, he seemed to have been
well read in the Fathers and other old authors, and to have been a
loyal, honest, and zealous advocate, according to his capacity, of the
Church of England.  He evidently looked on forms and ceremonies with the
greatest reverence, and was totally incapable of telling his visitor
anything of that mystical life he was so anxious to realise.  Johnny
inquired about the angel, but his host, while not appearing displeased
at the reports being spread abroad, professed to deny all knowledge of
it, but in such a way as to make Inglesant think he would like to have
acknowledged it, had he dared.  He rode away disappointed, and began to
think he must consult Father St. Clare; which, for some reason or other
he had felt a disinclination to do.

While he was in this perplexity, he bethought himself of his first
schoolmaster, the man who taught in the Church where Camden visited him.
He had forgotten all about this man, except that he was of a mild and
kind nature; but he was so anxious for direction that he went to him at
once.  This man had been very poor, and brought up a large family, all
of whom, however, he had put forward in life, some at the University and
the Church, and some among the clothiers and glove-makers at Malmsbury
and the other towns of Wiltshire.  Johnny found him living alone—for his
wife was dead—in a small cottage no better than a countryman’s, with a
few books, which with his garden were all the wealth he possessed.  He
was a great herbalist, and famous in the country for his cures and for
his sermons, though no two people could agree why they admired the
latter; all uniting in considering him a simple and rather poor
preacher.  This Inglesant learnt from a countryman who walked at his
horse’s side as he came near the village; but when he found the old
gentleman sitting on a bench before his study window, and he rose and
met his look, Inglesant saw at once—thanks to the cultivation of his
perception by the Jesuit’s teaching—what it was that gained him the
people’s love. He had large and melting eyes that looked straight into
the hearts of those who met him, as though eager to help them and do
them good.  He received Johnny with great kindness, though he had quite
forgotten him, and did not even remember when he told him who he was.
But when Inglesant, who found it very easy to speak to him of what had
brought him there, told him of his difficulties, he listened with the
greatest interest and sympathy.  When he had finished speaking, he
remained some minutes silent, looking across the garden where the hot
mid-day air was playing above the flowers.

"You have been speaking," he said at length, "of very high and wonderful
things, into which, it would seem, even the angels dare not look; for we
are, as would appear, taught in Scripture that it is in man’s history
that they see the workings of Divine Glory.  And indeed, worthy Mr.
Inglesant, when you have lived to the limit of my many years, you will
not stumble at this; nor think this life a low and poor place in which
to seek the Divine Master walking to and fro.  These high matters of
which you speak, and this heavenly life, is not to be disbelieved, only
it seems to me—more and more—that the soul or spirit of every man in
passing through life among familiar things is among supernatural things
always, and many things seem to me miraculous, which men think nothing
of, such as memory, by which we live again in place and time—and of
which, if I remember rightly, for I am a very poor scholar, you
doubtless know, St. Augustine says many pertinent things—and the love of
one another, by which we are led out of ourselves, and made to act
against our own nature by that of another, or, rather, by a higher
nature than that of any of us; and a thousand fancies and feelings which
have no adequate cause among outward things.  Here, in this book which I
was reading when you so kindly came to see me, are withered flowers,
which I have gathered in my rambles, and keep as friends and companions
of pleasant places, streams and meadows, and of some who have been with
me, and now are not.  There is one, this single yellow flower—it is a
tormentilla, which is good against the plague—what is it, that, as I
hold it, makes me think of it as I do?  Faded flowers have something, to
me, miraculous and supernatural about them; though, in fact, it is
nothing wonderful that the texture of a flower being dried survives.  It
is not in the flower, but in our immortal spirit that the miracle is.
All these delightful thoughts that come into my mind when I look at this
flower—thoughts, and fancies, and memories—what are they but the result
of the alchemy of the immortal spirit, which takes all the pleasant,
fragile things of life, and transmutes them into immortality in our own
nature!  And if the poor spirit and intellect of man can do this, how
much more may the supreme creative intellect mould and form all things,
and bring the presence of the supernatural face to face with us in our
daily walk!  Earth becomes to us, if we thus think, nothing but the
garden of the Lord, and every fellow-being we meet and see in it, a
beautiful and invited guest; and, as I think I remember, many of the
heathen poets, after their manner, have said very fine things about
this; that we should rise cheerfully from this life, as a grateful guest
rises from an abundant feast; and though doubtless they were very dark
and mistaken, yet I confess they always seemed to me to have something
of a close and entire fellowship with the wants of men, which I think
the Saviour would have approved.  If you, sir, can receive this mystery,
and go through the honourable path of life which lies before you,
looking upon yourself as an immortal spirit walking among supernatural
things—for the natural things of this life would be nothing were they
not moved and animated by the efficacy of that which is above nature—I
think you may find this doctrine a light which will guide your feet in
dark places; and it would seem, unless I am mistaken, that this habit of
mind is very likely to lead to the blessedness of the Beatific Vision of
God, on the quest of which you have happily entered so young: for surely
it should lead to that state to which this vision is promised—the state
of those who are Pure in Heart.  For if it be true, that the reason we
see not God is the grossness of this tabernacle wherein the soul is
encased, then the more and the oftener we recognise the supernatural in
our ordinary life, and not only expect and find it in those rare and
short moments of devotion and prayer, the more, surely, the rays of the
Divine Light will shine through the dark glass of this outward form of
life, and the more our own spirit will be enlightened and purified by
it, until we come to that likeness to the Divine Nature, and that purity
of heart to which a share of the Beatific Vision is promised, and which,
as some teach, can be attained by being abstract from the body and the
bodily life.  As we see every day that the supernatural in some men
gives a particular brightness of air to the countenance, and makes the
face to shine with an inimitable lustre, and if it be true that in the
life to come we shall have to see through a body and a glass however
transparent, we may well practise our eyes by making this life
spiritual, as we shall have also to strive to do in that to which we go.
My predecessor in this living, doubtless a very worthy man (for I knew
him not), has left it recorded on his tombstone—as I will show you if
you will come into the Church—that he was ’full of cares and full of
years, of neither weary, but full of hope and of heaven.’  I should
desire that it may be faithfully recorded of me that I was the same!"

John went with him into the Church, and read the old vicar’s epitaph,
and several more—for he was very much taken with the old gentleman’s
talk, and indeed stayed with him the whole day: his host adding a dish
of eggs and a glass of small beer to his daily very frugal meal.  Johnny
invited him to come to the Priory, and so left him, more pleased and
satisfied with this than with any of his other visits.  As he rode back
through the darkening valley, and through the oak wood before the Priory
gate, he little thought that not only should he not see the old Parson
again, but that his quiet contemplative life was come to an end, and his
speculations would now be chased away by a life of action; and for the
future the decision, often to be made at once, as to what he ought to
do, would appear of more consequence than that other decision, which had
seemed to him, sometimes, the only important one, as to what it was
right to think.

When he reached the Priory, he found the Jesuit had returned, and when
at supper he inquired of Johnny if his ride had been a pleasant one, as
the servant had told him he had been out since the morning, Johnny began
at once, and told him all that had been passing in his mind since the
priest had given him the book, and of all the directors he had sought
for his guidance.  Father St. Clare listened (though it may be doubted
whether the recital was altogether agreeable to him) with great
attention, and seemed pleased and amused at the boy’s descriptions,
which showed his pupil’s fine perception of character.

"You have taken a wise course," he said, "which has led you to see much
of the workings of the minds of men: this is the most useful study you
can follow, and the most harmless to yourself, if you keep your own
counsel, and gain knowledge without imparting it.  I am glad you have
told me all this, because it shows me I have not been deceived in you,
but that the time is fully ripe for you to play the part your father and
I have destined for you, and to play it—to great extent—alone.  The day
after to-morrow we shall go up to London; on the way, I will open to you
the position of parties, the crisis of affairs—a position and a crisis
such as never was before in this or any other country!  You are very
young, but you are years older in mind than most of your age, and your
youth renders you all the more fit for the work I have for you to do.  I
trust you without reserve; I shall commit to your keeping secrets which
would, if revealed, bring the highest heads in England, not to speak of
my own, to the block.  I have no fear of you."

Inglesant listened breathlessly and with open eyes to this address.  It
made his heart beat high with delight and excitement.  Death—nay, the
bitterest torture—would be nothing to him, if only he could win this
man’s approval, and be not only true but successful in his trust.  His
entire devotion to the Jesuit cannot be looked upon as anything
wonderful, for the whole mental power of the latter, directed by the
nicest art—a power and an art at that time not surpassed in Europe—had
been directed to this end upon the boy’s susceptible nature, and the
result could not be doubtful.

The Jesuit might well say that the crisis was imminent, and the position
of affairs peculiar.  Plotters were at work in all directions, and for
different ends; but the schemes of all miscarried, and the expectations
of all proved to be miscalculations: those of the Roman Catholics—with
whom St. Clare was associated—more than all.  Their expectations were at
the highest pitch.  The Court influence was with them to a large extent.
The Church of England was at its highest summit of glory and power, and
its standing-point was almost their own.  Laud was partly gained.  He
had refused a cardinal’s hat; but in such a way that the offer was
immediately renewed, and remained open.  It seemed, indeed, as though
little more remained to do, when this goodly edifice began to crumble,
slowly, indeed, but surely, and with accelerating speed.  A new power
appeared in the country; hostile, indeed, to Catholicism, but, what was
much worse, also slightly contemptuous of it, directing its full force
against the Church and the Crown.  The Church collapsed with wonderful
suddenness; and the Crown was compelled to seek its own preservation,
extending what little aid it might be able to render to the Church;
neither had the least power or time to give to the assistance of their
former allies.  All this had not happened when the Jesuit and Johnny
rode up to London, but it was foreshadowed clearly in the immediate
future.



                             *CHAPTER IV.*


Father St. Clare and Johnny set out the next day, accompanied by two
servants on horseback.  The road was quite new to Inglesant after they
left Malmsbury; and he was greatly delighted and amused with all he saw.
The fair landscapes, the prospects of goodly cities with the towers and
spires of their Churches rising into the clear smokeless air; the
stately houses and gardens, the life of the country villages, the fairs
and markets, strolling players, the morris dancing, the drinking and
smoking parties, the conjurors and mountebanks, peasants quarrelling
"together by the ears," and buying and selling; wandering beggars, and
half-witted people called "Tom o’ Bedlams" who were a recognised order
of mendicants—everything amused and delighted him, especially with his
companion’s witty and penetrating comments upon all they met with.

At Windsor they walked on the terrace, from which Johnny saw the view,
which was then considered only second to that of Greenwich, of the river
and many pleasant hills and valleys, villages and fair houses, far and
near.  As they rode along, at every suitable opportunity, and at night
after supper at the inns, the Jesuit explained to Johnny the position of
public affairs.  He told him that though the power of the King and the
Archbishop was apparently at its greatest height, as the trial and
condemnation of Laud’s traducers, Prynne, Baswick, and Burton had just
been decided, and the trial of Hampden for refusal to pay ship-money was
about to commence, yet nevertheless, the impossibility of governing
without a Parliament was becoming so evident, and the violent and
aggressive temper of the people was so marked, that he, and those like
him, who possessed the best information of what was passing throughout
all classes, and among all parties, however secret, considered that
changes of a very remarkable character were imminent.  The temper of the
people, he said, was the more remarkable, because in the one case,
libellers like Prynne would have been put to death without mercy in
either of the preceding reigns, and no notice taken by the people; and
the tax, called ship’s money, was so light and so fairly levied, as to
be scarcely felt.  The Archbishop, he said, was determined to force the
service book upon the Scots; a most unwise and perilous proceeding at
the present moment, and he was informed by the emissary priests then in
the north of England and Scotland, that the resistance to it would be
determined, and that the Scottish malcontents were supported by the
Puritan party in the English Parliament.  Under these circumstances, he
explained to Johnny, that a change had taken place in the policy of some
of the Roman Catholic party, who had formerly acted with Mr. Inglesant
and Father St. Clare, and they had arrived at the conclusion that the
Church of England was no longer worth the pains of humouring and
conciliating.  The Queen had been advised to attempt the perversion of
the Parliamentary leaders, and several of the Catholic plotters had
undertaken a similar enterprise.  Father St. Clare told Johnny candidly,
that he neither sympathised entirely with these views nor altogether
with those of the party to which he had hitherto belonged.  On the one
hand, he had arrived at the conclusion that Laud was a true servant of
the Church of England, and would never consent to submission to Rome,
except on terms which could not be granted, but on the other, he had so
long regarded the Church as the natural ally of Rome, and the
uselessness of attempting to win over the Puritans was so apparent, that
he had not entered warmly into these new schemes.  He, however, was
inclined to think that were a change to take place, and the Puritan
party to gain the supreme power in the State, the re-action among the
upper classes would be so great, that the Romish faith would gain
numberless converts.  He finally pressed upon Johnny the necessity of
great prudence, telling him that he should be immediately placed about
the person of the Queen as one of her pages; and, as soon as possible,
transferred to the King’s service in as high a post as the influence to
be exerted could command, in order that he should possess as much
influence as possible: that in the meantime his business would be simply
to become acquainted with as many of all parties as he possibly could,
and to gain their confidence, opportunities for doing which should be
given him both in the assemblies he would meet at his father’s house,
and in other company into which he should be introduced.  He warned him
against crediting anything he heard, unless assured of its truth by
himself—the most exaggerated reports upon every subject, he said,
prevailing in the Court and city.  The conversions to Romanism, he told
him, though numerous, were nothing like so many as were reported, as
might be supposed when the reputed ones included such men as Mr.
Endymion Porter, the most faithful servant of the King and a firm Church
of England man, though, like many others, entertaining very friendly
opinions of the Papists.

Conversing in this way, they entered London one afternoon at the
beginning of August 1637.  Johnny, as may be supposed, was all eyes as
they entered London, which they did by Kensington and St. James’s Park.
The beautiful buildings at Kensington, and the throng of gentry and
carriages in the park astonished him beyond measure.  As they passed
through the park many persons recognised Father St. Clare, but they
passed on without stopping, through the gateway by the side of the
beautiful banqueting-house into the narrow street that led by Charing
Cross and the Strand.  The crowds were now of a different kind to those
they had passed in the park.  They passed several groups assembled round
quack doctors and itinerant speakers, one of whom was relating how the
congregation of a Parish Church the Sunday before had been alarmed by an
insurrection of armed Papists—stories of this kind being then a common
invention to excite and stir up the people.  At one of these groups they
were startled by hearing a man who was selling books, announce the name
as "Jesus’ Worship Confuted;" as the thing was new to the Jesuit, he
stopped and ordered one of his men to dismount and bring him one, when
it was found to be a tract against ceremonies, and especially against
bowing at the name of Jesus.  They resumed their passage down the
Strand, Father St. Clare remarking on the strange ideas a stranger would
attach to the state of religion in England if he listened only to the
opposing cries.  All down the Strand the Jesuit pointed out the
beautiful houses of the nobility, and the glimpses of the river between
them.  They stopped at last at Somerset House, then a large rambling
series of buildings extending round several courts with gardens and
walks on the river banks, and a handsome water-gate leading to the
river.  They went to the lodgings of Father Cory, the Queen’s confessor,
who was at home, and received them hospitably.  Johnny was so taken up
with all the astonishing sights around him, especially with the
wonderful view up and down the river, with the innumerable boats and
barges, the palaces and gardens, and churches and steeples on the banks,
that it was a day or two before he could talk or think calmly of
anything.  The next morning the Jesuit took him to his father’s house on
the north side of the Strand, where he saw both his father and brother,
it not being the latter’s turn in waiting at the Court.  Mr. Inglesant
was not more affectionate to his son than usual; he appeared anxious and
worn, but he told him he was pleased at his arrival, that he must obey
Father St. Clare in all things, and that he would become a useful and
successful man.  Father St. Clare had sent for a Court tailor, and
ordered a proper dress and accoutrements for Johnny, who was astonished
at his own appearance when attired in lace and satin, and his long hair
combed and dressed. The Jesuit regarded him with satisfaction, and told
him they were going at once to the Queen.  Mr. Inglesant’s coach was
sent for them, and was waiting in one of the courts; and entering, they
were driven through London to Whitehall.

It was the third of August, and the Archbishop was marrying the Duke of
Lennox to the Lady Mary Villiers, the daughter of the great Duke of
Buckingham, in his Chapel at Lambeth.  The King was expected to go to
Lambeth to be present at the ceremony, but this was of no consequence to
the Jesuit, who wished to introduce his protégé to the Queen alone. When
they reached Whitehall, however, they found that both their Majesties
had gone to the wedding, and the day being very rainy, news had been
sent from Lambeth immediately after the ceremony that the Queen was
returning, and she was then on the water.  The Jesuit and Johnny left
their carriage and went down to the water-gate.  The Jesuit was
evidently well known at the Court, and way was made for him everywhere.
At that time the greatest laxity was allowed to the Catholics, and other
priests besides the Queen’s confessors were tolerated openly in London.
As they reached the water-gate, the rain had ceased for a time, and a
gleam of sunlight shone upon the river, and rested on the Queen’s barge
as it approached. Johnny’s heart beat with excitement, as it reached the
steps amid a flourish of trumpets, and the guard presented arms. The
Queen, splendidly dressed, came from under the awning and up the steps,
accompanied by her gentlemen and the ladies of her Court.  Johnny never
forgot the sight to his dying day, and it was doubtless one to be long
remembered by those who saw it for the first time.  When the Queen was
near the top of the stairs and saw St. Clare, she stopped, and extending
her hand she welcomed him to the Court.  She seemed to remember
something, and spoke to him rapidly in French, to which he replied with
the utmost deference, in the same language. Then falling back, he
indicated Johnny to the Queen, saying—"This is young John Inglesant,
your Majesty, of whom I spoke to your Grace concerning the business you
wot of."

The Queen looked kindly at the boy, who indeed was handsome enough to
incline any woman in his favour.

"They are a handsome race," she said, still speaking French; "this one,
I think, still more so than his brother."

"This is a refined spirit, your Majesty," said the Jesuit, in a low
voice, "of whom I hope great things, if your Majesty will aid."

"You wish to be one of my servants, my pretty boy," said the Queen,
extending her hand to Johnny, who kissed it on one knee; "Father Hall
will tell you what to do."

And she passed on, followed by her train, who looked at St. Clare and
the boy with curiosity, several nodding and speaking to the Jesuit as
they proceeded.

Johnny was duly entered the next day as one of the supernumerary pages
without salary, and entered upon his duties at once, which consisted
simply of waiting in anterooms and following the Queen at a distance in
her walks.  This life, however, was beyond measure interesting to
Johnny: the beautiful rooms and galleries in the palace, with their
wonderful contents were an inexhaustible source of delight to him;
especially the King’s collection of paintings which was kept in a single
apartment, and was admired over Europe.  Father Hall took him also to
many gentlemen’s virtuoso collections of paintings and curiosities,
where his intelligence and delight attracted the interest and kindness
of all his hosts.  Father St. Clare also gave him from time to time,
small editions of the classics and other books which he could keep in
his pocket, and read in the anterooms and galleries when he was in
waiting.  He would have been astonished, if the Jesuit had not told him
it would be so, at the number of persons of all ranks and opinions in
the Court who spoke to him and endeavoured to make his acquaintance,
that they might remember him at a future time, evidently at the request
of the priest.

Shortly after he came to London he was present at the Chapel Royal, at
Whitehall, when the King took the sacrament and presented the gold
pieces coined especially for this purpose.  The sight impressed Johnny
very much.  The beautiful Chapel, the high altar on which candles were
burning, the Bishops and the Dean of the Chapel in their copes, the
brilliant crowd of courtiers, the King—devout and stately—alone before
the altar, the exquisite music, and the singing of the King’s choir,
which was not surpassed in Rome itself.  As the sunlight from the
stained windows fell on this wonderful scene, it is not surprising that
young Inglesant was affected by it, nor that this young spirit looking
out for the first time on the world and its surprising scenes, and
pageants, and symbols, realised the truth of what the old Parson had
told him, and converted all these sights into spiritual visions; this
one in particular, which led back his thoughts, as it was meant, to the
three kings of old, who knelt and offered gifts before the mysterious
Child.

Johnny saw his brother frequently, as the latter had grown out of his
page-hood, and held another post about the Court, which gave him much
leisure.  The two young courtiers were at this time more alike than
ever, and were much admired at Court as a pair.  At one of the Queen’s
Masques, about this time, they acted parts somewhat similar to the
brothers in Comus, but requiring greater resemblance, as in
Shakespeare’s Comedy of Errors, and both their acting and appearance was
applauded by the King himself, who began to take notice of Johnny.  Mr.
Inglesant, the elder, had never been a favourite with the King, who was
aware of his leaning to Popery, and indeed, at this time, both he and
his friend the Jesuit were very much discouraged at the aspect of
affairs.  The position of the Papists had never been so good as at
present, but this very circumstance was the ruin of their party.  All
restraints and reproaches of former times seemed forgotten; a public
agent from Rome resided openly at the Court, and was magnificently fêted
and caressed; the priests, though to avow popish orders was by law
punishable with death, went about and preached openly without fear; and
it was related as a sign of the times, that a Jesuit at Paris who was
coming into England, coolly called on the English ambassador there, who
knew his profession, offering his services in London, as though there
were no penal law to condemn him the moment he landed!  High Mass at
Somerset House was attended at noon-day by great numbers of the Papists,
who returned together from it through the streets as openly as the
congregation of the Savoy, and the neighbouring churches.  Their priests
succeeded in converting several ladies of some of the greatest families,
thereby provoking the anger of their relations, and causing them to long
for their suppression.  They held large political conferences openly,
and ostentatiously subscribed a large sum of money to assist the King
against the Scots. Clarendon, indeed, says that they acted as though
they had been suborned by these latter to root out their own religion.

It would seem, indeed, that the English mind is not habituated to
plotting, and that the majority of any party are not equal to a
sustained and concealed effort.  The Jesuit, Mr. Inglesant, and the
other astute members of their party perceived with sorrow the course
things were taking without being able to remedy it.  The former desisted
from all active efforts, contenting himself with assisting the Queen in
her attempts to win over members of the Parliament to her interest, and
in opposing and counteracting the intrigues of a small and fanatical
section of the Papists who were attempting a wild and insane plot
against the King and the Archbishop, which was said to extend to even
the attempting their death.  As neither of these occupations was very
arduous, he had little need of Johnny’s assistance, and left him very
much to himself.  Inglesant, therefore, continued the cultivation of his
acquaintance with both parties pretty much in his own way. He had
several friends whose society he much valued among the Papists, and he
frequently attended mass when not obliged to by his attendance upon the
Queen; but he was rather more inclined to attach himself to the members
of the Laudian and High Church party, who presented many qualities which
interested and attracted him.  He read with delight the books of this
party, Dr. Donne’s and Herbert’s Poems, and the writings of Andrews and
Bishop Cosin’s Devotions, which last was much disliked by the Puritans,
and, indeed, the course he took could not have been more in accordance
with the Jesuit’s plan of preparing him for future service, should the
time ever arrive when such usefulness should be required.  In his mind
he was still devoted, though in a halting and imperfect manner, to that
pursuit of the spiritual life and purity which had attracted him when so
young, and he lost no opportunity of consulting any on these mysterious
subjects who he thought would sympathise with his ideas.  In this he had
no assistance from his brother, who was devoted to the pursuit of
pleasure—of worldly pleasure, it is true, in its most refined aspect—but
still of such pleasures as are entirely apart from those of the soul.

One of his friends had presented Inglesant with a little book, "Divine
Considerations of those things most profitable in our Christian
profession," written in Spanish by John Valdesso, a Papist, and
translated by a gentleman of whom Johnny heard a great deal, and was
exceedingly interested in what he heard.  In this book the author says
several very high and beautiful things concerning the Spiritual life,
and of the gradual illumination of the Divine Light shed upon the mind,
as the sun breaks by degrees upon the eyes of a traveller in the dark.
But though Johnny was attracted to the book itself, he was principally
interested in it by what he heard of the translator.  This was Mr.
Nicholas Ferrar, who had founded a religious house at Little Gidding, in
Huntingdonshire, or, as it was called in the world, the "Protestant
Nunnery," in which he lived with his mother and several nephews and
nieces, in the practice of good works and the worship of God.
Extraordinary attention had been attracted to this establishment by the
accounts of the strange and holy life of its inmates; and still more by
the notice which the King had condescended to take of it, not only
visiting it on his journey to Scotland, in 1633, but also requesting and
accepting presents of devotional books, which it was part of the
occupation of the family to prepare.

The accounts of this religious house, and of the family within it, so
excited Johnny’s imagination that he became exceedingly desirous to see
it, especially as it was said that Mr. Ferrar was very infirm, and was
not expected to survive very long.

It was late in the autumn when he made this visit, about two months
before Mr. Ferrar’s death.  The rich autumn foliage was lighted by the
low sun as he rode through the woods and meadows, and across the
sluggish streams of Bedford and Huntingdon.  He slept at a village a few
miles south of Little Gidding, and reached that place early in the day.
It was a solitary, wooded place, with a large manor house, and a little
Church close by.  It had been for some time depopulated, and there were
no cottages nor houses near. The manor house and Church had been
restored to perfect order by Mr. Ferrar, and Inglesant reached it
through a grove of trees planted in walks, with latticed paths and
gardens on both sides.  A brook crossed the road at the foot of the
gentle ascent on which the house was built.  He asked to see Mr. Ferrar,
and was shown by a man-servant into a fair spacious parlour, where Mr.
Ferrar presently came to him. Inglesant was disappointed at his
appearance, which was plain and not striking in any way, but his speech
was able and attractive.  Johnny apologised for his bold visit, telling
him how much taken he had been by his book, and by what he had heard of
him and his family; and that what he had heard did not interest him
merely out of curiosity, as he feared it might have done many, but out
of sincere desire to learn something of the holy life which doubtless
that family led. To this Mr. Ferrar replied that he was thankful to see
any one who came in such a spirit, and that several, not only of his own
friends, as Mr. Crashaw the poet, but many young students from the
University at Cambridge came to see him in a like spirit, to the
benefit, he hoped, of both themselves and of him. He said with great
humility, that although on the one hand very much evil had been spoken
of him which was not true, he had no doubt that, on the other, many
things had been said about their holiness and the good that they did
which went far beyond the truth.  For his own part, he said he had
adopted that manner of life through having long seen enough of the
manners and vanities of the world; and holding them in low esteem, was
resolved to spend the best of his life in mortifications and devotion,
in charity, and in constant preparation for death.  That his mother, his
elder brother, his sisters, his nephews and nieces, being content to
lead this mortified life, they spent their time in acts of devotion and
by doing such good works as were within their power, such as keeping a
school for the children of the next parishes, for teaching of whom he
provided three masters who lived constantly in the house.  That for ten
years they had lived this harmless life, under the care of his mother,
who had trained her daughters and grand-daughters to every good work;
but two years ago they had lost her by death, and as his health was very
feeble he did not expect long to be separated from her, but looked
forward to his departure with joy, being afraid of the evil times he saw
approaching.

When he had said this, he led Inglesant into a large handsome room
upstairs, where he introduced him to his sister, Mrs. Collet, and her
daughters, who were engaged in making those curious books of Scripture
Harmonies which had so pleased King Charles.  These seven young ladies,
who formed the junior part of the Society of the house, and were called
by the names of the chief virtues, the Patient, the Cheerful, the
Affectionate, the Submiss, the Obedient, the Moderate, the Charitable,
were engaged at that moment in cutting out passages from two Testaments,
which they pasted together so neatly as to seem one book, and in such a
manner as to enable the reader to follow the narrative in all its
particulars from beginning to end without a break, and also to see which
of the sacred authors had contributed any particular part.

Inglesant told the ladies what fame reported of the nuns of Gidding, of
two watching and praying all night, of their canonical hours, of their
crosses on the outside and inside of their Chapel, of an altar there
richly decked with plate, tapestry, and tapers, of their adoration and
genuflexions at their entering. He told Mr. Ferrar that his object in
visiting him was chiefly to know his opinion of the Papists and their
religion, as, having been bred among them himself, and being very nearly
one of them, he was anxious to know the opinions of one who was said to
hold many of their doctrines without joining them or approving them.
Mr. Ferrar appeared at first shy of speaking, but being apparently
convinced of the young man’s sincerity, and that he was not an enemy in
disguise, he conversed very freely with him for some time, speaking much
of the love of God, and of the vanity of worldly things; of his dear
friend Mr. George Herbert, and of his saintly life; of the confused and
troublesome life he had formerly led, and of the great peace and
satisfaction which he had found since he had left the world and betaken
himself to that retired and religious life.  That, as regards the
Papists, his translating Valdessa’s book was a proof that he knew that
among them, as among all people, there were many true worshippers of
Jesus, being drawn by the blessed Sacrament to follow Him in the
spiritual and divine life, and that there were many things in that book
similar to the mystical religion of which Inglesant spoke, which his
dear friend Mr. George Herbert had disapproved, as exalting the inward
spiritual life above the foundation of holy Scripture: that it was not
for him, who was only a deacon in the Church, to pronounce any opinion
on so difficult a point, and that he had printed all Mr. Herbert’s notes
in his book, without comment of his own: that though he was thus
unwilling to give his own judgment, he certainly believed that this
inward spiritual life was open to all men, and recommended Inglesant to
continue his endeavours after it, seeking it chiefly in the holy
Sacrament accompanied with mortification and confession.

While they were thus talking, the hour of evening prayer arrived, and
Mr. Ferrar invited Johnny to accompany him to the Church; which he
gladly did, being very much attracted by the evident holiness which
pervaded Mr. Ferrar’s talk and manner.  The family proceeded to Church
in procession, Mr. Ferrar and Inglesant walking first.  The Church was
kept in great order, the altar being placed upon a raised platform at
the east end, and covered with tapestry stretching over the floor all
round it, and adorned with plate and tapers. Mr. Ferrar bowed with great
reverence several times on approaching the altar, and directed Inglesant
to sit in a stalled seat opposite the reading pew, from which he said
the evening prayer.  The men of the family knelt on the raised step
before the altar, the ladies and servants sitting in the body of the
Church.  The Church was very sweet, being decked with flowers and herbs;
and the soft autumn light rested over it. From the seat where Inglesant
knelt, he could see the faces of the girls as they bent over their books
at prayers.  They were all in black, except one, who wore a friar’s grey
gown; this was the one who was called the Patient, as Inglesant had been
told in the house, and the singularity of her dress attracted his eye
towards her during the prayers.  The whole scene, strange and romantic
as it appeared to him, the devout and serious manner of the
worshippers—very different from much that was common in churches at that
day—and the abstracted and devout look upon the faces of the girls,
struck his fancy, so liable to such influences, and so long trained to
welcome them; and he could not keep his eyes from this one face from
which the grey hood was partly thrown back.  It was a passive face, with
well-cut delicate features, and large and quiet eyes.

Prayers being over, the ladies saluted Inglesant from a distance, and
left the Church with the rest, in the same order as they had come,
leaving Mr. Ferrar and Johnny alone. They remained some time discoursing
on worship and Church ceremonies, and then returned to the house.  It
was now late, and Mr. Ferrar, who was evidently much pleased with his
guest, invited him to stay the night, and even extended his hospitality
by asking him to stay over the next, which was Saturday, and the Sunday,
upon which, as it was the first Sunday in the month, the holy Sacrament
would be administered, and several of Mr. Ferrar’s friends from
Cambridge would come over and partake of it, and to pass the night and
day in prayer and acts of devotion.  To this proposition Inglesant
gladly consented, the whole proceeding appearing to him full of interest
and attraction.  Soon after they returned to the house supper was
served, all the family sitting down together at a long table in the
hall.  During supper some portion of the book of the Martyrs was read
aloud. Afterwards two hours were permitted for diversion, during which
all were allowed to do as they pleased.

The young ladies having found out that Inglesant was a Queen’s page,
were very curious to hear of the Court and royal family from him, which
innocent request Mr. Ferrar encouraged, and joined in himself.  One
reason of the success with which his mother and he had ruled this
household appears to have been his skill in interesting and attracting
all its inmates by the variety and pleasant character of their
occupations.  He was also much interested himself in what Johnny told
him, for in this secluded family, themselves accustomed to prudence,
Inglesant felt he might safely speak of many things upon which he was
generally silent; and after prayers, when the family were retired to
their several rooms, Mr. Ferrar remained with him some time, while
Johnny related to him the aspect of religious parties at the moment, and
particularly all that he could tell, without violating confidence, of
the Papists and of his friend the Jesuit.

The next morning they rose at four, though two of the family had been at
prayer all night, and did not go to rest till the others rose.  They
went into the oratory in the house itself to prayers, for they kept six
times of prayer during the day. At six they said the psalms of the hour,
for every hour had its appropriate psalms, and at half-past six went to
Church for matins.  When they returned at seven o’clock they said the
psalms of the hour, sang a short hymn, and went to breakfast. After
breakfast, when the younger members of the family were at their studies,
Mr. Ferrar took Inglesant to the school, where all the children in the
neighbourhood were permitted to come. At eleven they went to dinner, and
after dinner there was no settled occupation till one, every one being
allowed to amuse himself as he chose.  The young ladies had been trained
not only to superintend the house, but to wait on any sick persons in
the neighbourhood who came to the house at certain times for assistance,
and to dress the wounds of those who were hurt, in order to give them
readiness and skill in this employment, and to habituate them to the
virtues of humility and tenderness of heart.  A large room was set apart
for this purpose, where Mr. Ferrar had instructed them in the necessary
skill, having been himself Physic Fellow at Clare Hall, in Cambridge,
and under the celebrated Professors at Padua, in Italy.  This room
Inglesant requested to see, thinking that he should in this way also see
something of and be able to speak to the young ladies whose acquaintance
he had hitherto not had much opportunity of cultivating.  Mr. Ferrar
told his nephew to show it him—young Nicholas Ferrar, a young man of
extraordinary skill in languages, who was afterwards introduced to the
King and Prince Charles, some time before his early death.  When they
entered the room Inglesant was delighted to find that the only member of
the family there was the young lady in the Grey Friar’s habit, whose
face had attracted him so much in Church.  She was listening to the long
tiresome tale of an old woman, following the example of George Herbert,
who thought on a similar occasion, that "it was some relief to a poor
body to be heard with patience."

Johnny, who in spite of his Jesuitical and Court training was naturally
modest, and whose sense of religion made him perfectly well-bred,
accosted the young lady very seriously, and expressed his gratitude at
having been permitted to stay and see so many excellent and improving
things as that family had to show.  The liking which the head of the
house had evidently taken for Inglesant disposed the younger members in
his favour, and the young lady answered him simply and unaffectedly, but
with manifest pleasure.

Inglesant inquired concerning the assumed names of the sisters and how
they sustained their respective qualities, and what exercises suited to
these qualities they had to perform. She replied that they had
exercises, or discourses, which they performed at the great festivals of
the year, Christmas and Easter; and which were composed with reference
to their several qualities.  All of these, except her own, were
enlivened by hymns and odes composed by Mr. Ferrar, and set to music by
the music master of the family, who accompanied the voices with the viol
or the lute.  But her own, she said, had never any music or poetry
connected with it; it was always of a very serious turn, and much longer
than any other, and had not any historical anecdote or fable interwoven
with it, the contrivance being to exercise that virtue to which she was
devoted.  Inglesant asked her with pity if this was not very hard
treatment, and she only replied, with a smile, that she had the
enjoyment of all the lively performances of the others. He asked her
whether they looked forward to passing all their lives in this manner,
or whether they allowed the possibility of any change, and if she had
entirely lost her own name in her assumed one, or whether he might
presume to ask it, that he might have wherewithal to remember her by, as
he surely should as long as he had life.  She said her name was Mary
Collet; and that as to his former question, two of her sisters had had,
at one time, a great desire to become veiled virgins, to take upon them
a vow of perpetual chastity, with the solemnity of a Bishop’s blessing
and ratification, but on going to Bishop Williams he had discouraged,
and at last, dissuaded them from it.

Inglesant and the young lady remained talking in this way for some time,
young Nicholas Ferrar having left them; but at last she excused herself
from staying any longer, and he was obliged to let her go.  He ventured
to say that he hoped they would remember him, that he was utterly
ignorant of the future that lay before him, but that whatever fate
awaited him, he should never forget the "Nuns of Gidding" and their
religious life.  She replied that they would certainly remember him, as
they did all their acquaintance, in their daily prayer, especially as
she had seldom seen her uncle so pleased with a stranger as he had been
with him.  With these compliments they parted, and Inglesant returned to
the drawing-room, where more visitors had arrived.

In the afternoon there came from Cambridge Mr. Crashaw the poet, of
Peterhouse, who afterwards went over to the Papists and died Canon of
Loretto, and several gentlemen, undergraduates of Cambridge, to spend
the Sunday at Gidding, being the first Sunday of the month.  Mr.
Crashaw, when Inglesant was introduced to him as one of the Queen’s
pages, finding that he was acquainted with many Roman Catholics, was
very friendly and conversed with him apart.  He said he conceived a
great admiration for the devout lives of the Catholic saints, and of the
government and discipline of the Catholic Church, and that he feared
that the English Church had not sufficient authority to resist the
spread of Presbyterianism, in which case he saw no safety except in
returning to the communion of Rome.  Walking up and down the garden
paths, after evening prayers in Church, he spoke a great deal on this
subject, and on the beauty of a retired religious life, saying that here
at Little Gidding and at Little St. Marie’s Church, near to Peterhouse,
he had passed the most blissful moments of his life, watching at
midnight in prayer and meditation.

That night Mr. Crashaw, Inglesant, and one or two others remained in the
Church from nine till twelve, during which time they said over the whole
Book of Psalms in the way of antiphony, one repeating one verse and the
rest the other. The time of their watch being ended they returned to the
house, went to Mr. Ferrar’s door and bade him good-morrow, leaving a
lighted candle for him.  They then went to bed, but Mr. Ferrar arose
according to the passage of Scripture "at midnight I will arise and give
thanks," and went into the Church, where he betook himself to religious
meditation.

Early on the Sunday morning the family were astir and said prayers in
the oratory.  After breakfast many people from the country around and
more than a hundred children came in.  These children were called the
Psalm children, and were regularly trained to repeat the Psalter, and
the best voices among them to assist in the service on Sundays.  They
came in every Sunday, and according to the proficiency of each were
presented with a small piece of money, and the whole number entertained
with a dinner after Church.  The Church was crowded at the morning
service before the Sacrament.  The service was beautifully sung, the
whole family taking the greatest delight in Church music, and many of
the gentlemen from Cambridge being amateurs.  The Sacrament was
administered with the greatest devotion and solemnity.  Impressed as he
had been with the occupation of the preceding day and night, and his
mind excited with watching and want of sleep and with the exquisite
strains of the music, the effect upon Inglesant’s imaginative nature was
excessive.  Above the altar, which was profusely bedecked with flowers,
the antique glass of the East window, which had been carefully repaired,
contained a figure of the Saviour of an early and severe type. The form
was gracious and yet commanding, having a brilliant halo round the head,
and being clothed in a long and apparently seamless coat; the two
fore-fingers of the right hand were held up to bless.  Kneeling upon the
half-pace, as he received the sacred bread and tasted the holy wine,
this gracious figure entered into Inglesant’s soul, and stillness and
peace unspeakable, and life, and light, and sweetness, filled his mind.
He was lost in a sense of rapture, and earth and all that surrounded him
faded away.  When he returned a little to himself, kneeling in his seat
in the Church, he thought that at no period of his life, however
extended, should he ever forget that morning or lose the sense and
feeling of that touching scene, of that gracious figure over the altar,
of the bowed and kneeling figures, of the misty autumn sunlight and the
sweeping autumn wind.  Heaven itself seemed to have opened to him and
one fairer than the fairest of the angelic hosts to have come down to
earth.

After the service, the family and all the visitors returned to the
mansion house in the order in which they had come, and the Psalm
children were entertained with a dinner in the great hall; all the
family and visitors came in to see them served, and Mrs. Collet, as her
mother had always done, placed the first dish on the table herself to
give an example of humility. Grace having been said, the bell rang for
the dinner of the family, who, together with the visitors, repaired to
the great dining-room, and stood in order round the table.  While the
dinner was being served they sang a hymn to the organ at the upper end
of the room.  Then grace was said by the Priest who had celebrated the
communion, and they sat down.  All the servants who had received the
Sacrament that day sat at table with the rest.  During dinner one of the
young people whose turn it was, read a chapter from the Bible, and when
that was finished conversation was allowed; Mr. Ferrar and some of the
other gentlemen endeavouring to make it of a character suitable to the
day, and to the service they had just taken part in.  After dinner they
went to Church again for evening prayer; between which service and
supper Inglesant had some talk with Mr. Ferrar concerning the Papists
and Mr. Crashaw’s opinion of them.

"I ought to be a fit person to advise you," said Mr. Ferrar with a
melancholy smile, "for I am myself, as it were, crushed between the
upper and nether millstone of contrary reports, for I suffer equal
obloquy—and no martyrdom is worse than that of continual obloquy—both
for being a Papist and a Puritan.  You will suppose there must be some
strong reason why I, who value so many things among the Papists so much,
have not joined them myself.  I should probably have escaped much
violent invective if I had done so.  You are very young, and are placed
where you can see and judge of both parties. You possess sufficient
insight to try the spirits whether they be of God.  Be not hasty to
decide, and before you decide to join the Romish communion, make a tour
abroad, and if you can, go to Rome itself.  When I was in Italy and
Spain, I made all the inquiries and researches I could.  I bought many
scarce and valuable books in the languages of those countries, in
collecting which I had a principal eye to those which treated on the
subjects of spiritual life, devotion, and religious retirement, but the
result of all was that I am now, and I shall die, as I believe and hope
shortly, in the Communion of the English Church.  This day, as I
believe, the blessed Sacrament has been in the Church before our eyes,
and what can you or I desire more?"

The next morning before Inglesant left, Mr. Ferrar showed him his
foreign collections, his great treasure of rarities and of prints of the
best masters of that time, mostly relative to historical passages of the
Old and New Testaments.  Inglesant dined with the family, of whom he
took leave with a full heart, saluting the ladies with the pleasant
familiarity which the manners of the time permitted.  Mr. Ferrar went
with him to the borders of the parish, and gave him his blessing.  They
never saw each other again, for two months afterwards Nicholas Ferrar
was in his grave.



                              *CHAPTER V.*


The next year of Inglesant’s life contained several incidents which had
very important results.  The first of these was the illness and death of
his father, which occurred shortly after Johnny’s return to London.  His
end was doubtless hastened by the perplexity and disappointment of many
of his political projects, for his life in many respects was a failure.
Though a rich man he had spent large sums in his political intrigues,
and the property he left was not large.  His lands and all his money he
left to his eldest son, but he left Johnny some houses in the city,
which Inglesant was advised to sell. He therefore disposed of them to a
Parliament man, and deposited the money with a goldsmith to be ready in
case of need.  The possession of this money made him an important
person, and he was advised to purchase a place about the Court, which,
with his interest with the Queen’s advisers, would secure his success in
life.  He endeavoured to act on this advice, but it was some time before
he was successful.

After his return to London Inglesant saw Mr. Crashaw two or three times,
when that gentleman was in London, and his conversation led him to think
more of the Roman Catholics than he had hitherto done, and inclined him
more and more to join them.  Nothing would have recommended him so much
to the Queen as such a step, and his feelings and sympathies all led him
the same way.  He was exceedingly disgusted with the conduct and
conversation of the Puritans, and the extreme lengths to which it was
evident they were endeavouring to drive the people.  Most of his
friends, even those who were themselves sound Churchmen, looked
favourably on the Papists, and it was thought the height of ill breeding
to speak against them at Court.  It is probable, therefore, that
Inglesant would have joined them openly but for two very opposite
causes.  The one was his remembrance of the Sacrament at Little Gidding,
the other was the influence of his friend the Jesuit.  The first of
these prevented that craving after the sacrifice of the Mass, which
doubtless is the strongest of all the motives which lead men to Rome;
the other was exerted several ways.

It was one of the political maxims of this man that he never, if
possible, allowed anything he had gained or any mode of influence he had
acquired to be lost or neglected, even though circumstances had rendered
it useless for the particular purpose for which he had at first intended
it.  In the present case he had no intention of permitting all the care
and pains he had been at in Inglesant’s education to be thrown away.  It
is true the exact use to which he had intended to devote the talents he
had thus trained no longer existed, but this did not prevent his
appreciating the exquisite fitness of the instrument he had prepared for
such or similar use. Circumstances had occurred which in his far-seeing
policy made the Church of England scarcely worth gaining to the Catholic
side, but in proportion as the Church might cease to be one of the great
powers in the country, the Papists would step into its place: and in the
confused political struggles which he foresaw, the Jesuit anticipated
ample occupation for the peculiar properties of his pupil.  In the event
of a struggle, the termination of which none could foresee, a qualified
agent would be required as much between the Papists and the popular
leaders as between the Catholics and the Royal and Church Party.  Acting
on these principles, therefore, the Jesuit was far from losing sight of
Inglesant, or even neglecting him.  So far indeed was he from doing so,
that he was acquainted with most that passed through his mind, and was
well aware of his increased attraction towards the Church to which he
himself belonged.  Now for Inglesant to have become actively and
enthusiastically a Papist would at once have defeated all his plans for
him, and rendered him useless for the peculiar needs for which he had
been prepared.  He would doubtless have gone abroad, and even if he had
not remained buried in some college on the Continent, he would have
returned merely as one of those mission priests (for doubtless he would
have taken orders) of whom the Jesuit had already more than he required.
It was even not desirable that he should associate exclusively with
Papists.  He was already sufficiently known and his position understood
among them for the purposes of any future mission on which he might be
engaged; and it would be more to the purpose for him to extend his
acquaintance among Church of England people, and gain their confidence.
To this end the Jesuit thought proper to remove him from the immediate
attendance on the Queen, where he saw few except Papists, and to assist
in his endeavours to purchase a place about the King’s person.  In this
he was successful, and about the end of 1639 Inglesant purchased the
place of one of the Esquires of the Body who relinquished his place on
account of ill health.  This post, which followed immediately after that
of the gentlemen of the Privy Chamber, was looked upon as a very
important and influential one, and cost Inglesant a large sum of money
before he obtained it.  He was, as we have seen, rather a favourite with
the King, who had noticed him more than once, and he began to be
regarded as a rising courtier whose friendship it would be well to keep.

When the Jesuit had seen him settled in his new post, he put in motion
another and still more powerful engine which he had prepared for
preventing his pupil from joining the Romish Church.  He had himself
inculcated as much as possible a broad and philosophical method of
thought upon his pupil, but he was necessarily confined and obstructed
in this direction by his own position and supposed orthodoxy, and he was
therefore anxious to infuse into Inglesant’s mind a larger element of
rational inquiry than in his sacred character it was possible for him to
accomplish without shocking his pupil’s moral sense.  If I have not
failed altogether in representing that pupil’s character, it will have
been noticed that it was one of those which combine activity of thought
with great faculty of reverence and of submission to those powers to
which its fancy and taste are subordinated.  These natures are
enthusiastic, though generally not supposed to be so, and though little
sign of it appears in their outward conduct; for the objects of their
enthusiasm being generally different from those which attract most men,
they are conscious that they have little sympathy to expect in their
pursuit of them, and this gives their enthusiasm a reserved and cautious
demeanour.  They are not, however, blindly enthusiastic, but are never
satisfied till they have found some theory by which they are able to
reconcile in their own minds the widest results to which their activity
of thought has led them, with the submission and service which it is
their delight and choice to pay to such outward systems and authorities
as have pleased and attracted their taste.  This theory consists
generally in some, at times half-formed, conception of the imperfect
dispensation in which men live, which makes obedience to authority, with
which the most exalted reason cannot entirely sympathise, becoming and
even necessary. This feeling more than anything else, gives to persons
of this nature a demeanour quite different from that of the ordinary
religious or political enthusiast, a demeanour seemingly cold and
indifferent, though courteous and even to some extent sympathetic, and
which causes the true fanatic to esteem them as little better than the
mere man of the world, or the minion of courtly power.  The enthusiastic
part of his character had been fully cultivated in Inglesant, the
reasoning and philosophic part had been wakened and trained to some
extent by his readings in Plato under the direction of the Jesuit; it
remained now to be still more developed, whether to the ultimate
improvement of his character it would be hard to say.

The Jesuit took him one day into the city to Devonshire House, where,
inquiring for Mr. Hobbes, they were shown into a large handsome room
full of books, where a gentleman was sitting whose appearance struck
Inglesant very much. He was tall and very erect, with a square
mallet-shaped head and ample forehead.  He wore a small red moustache,
that curled upward, and a small tuft of hair upon his chin.  His eyes
were hazel and full of life and spirit, and when he spoke they shone
with lively light; when he was witty and laughed the lids closed over
them so that they could scarcely be seen, but when he was serious and in
earnest they expanded to their full orb, and penetrated, as it seemed,
to the farthest limit of thought.  He was dressed in a coat of black
velvet lined with fur, and wore long boots of Spanish leather laced with
ribbon. When the first compliments were over, the Jesuit introduced
Inglesant to him as a young gentleman of promise, who would derive great
benefit from his acquaintance, and whose friendship he hoped might not
prove unacceptable to Mr. Hobbes.

Inglesant came often to Mr. Hobbes, whose conversation delighted him.
It frequently referred to the occurrences of the day, in which Mr.
Hobbes sided with the Government, having a great regard for the King
personally, as had Harrington afterwards, and most of the
philosophers—all their sympathies and theories being on the side of law
and strong government; but their discourse frequently went beyond this,
and embraced those questions of human existence which interest thinking
men.  He soon found out Inglesant’s tendency towards Catholicism, and
strongly dissuaded him from it.

"Your idea of the Catholic system," he said, "is a dream, and has no
real existence among the Papists.  Your ideal is an exalted Platonic
manifestation of the divine existence diffused among men: the reality is
a system of mean trivial details, wearisome and disgusting to such men
as you are. Instead of the perfect communion with the Divine Light, such
as you seek, you will have before you and above you nothing but the
narrow conceptions of some ignorant priest to whom you must submit your
intellect.  What freedom of thought or existence will remain to you when
you have fully accepted the article of transubstantiation, and truly
believe that the priest is able of a piece of bread to make absolutely
and unconditionally our Saviour’s body, and thereby at the hour of death
to save your soul?  Will it not have an effect upon you to make you
think him a god, and to stand in awe of him as of God Himself if He were
visibly present?"

"I suppose it would," said Inglesant.

"One of our divines of the English Church, writing much above their
wont—for they are much stronger in their lives than in their
writings—puts this very plainly in the matter of the judgment of the
priest in confession.  ’Yet this extorted confession on Pain of
Damnation is not the stripping a man to his naked body, but the
stripping him of his body, that they may see his naked heart, and so, by
the force of this superstition, break into those secrets which it is the
only due privilege of Almighty God to be acquainted with, who is the
only rightful Searcher of hearts.’  These men may well pretend to be
followers of Aristotle, who reason only from the names of things,
according to the scale of the Categories; but of those of the better
sort, as you and I take ourselves to be, who follow Plato, and found our
doctrine on the conceptions and ideas of things, we must ever submit to
be called heretics by them as a reproach, though we, doubtless, and not
they, are the true sacramentalists, that is, the seekers for the hidden
and the divine truth.  It is for this reason that I take the Sacrament
in the English Church, which I call in England the Holy Church, and
believe that its statutes are the true Christian Faith."

"There seems to me," he went on after a pause, "something frightfully
grotesque about the Romish Church as a reality. Showing us on the one
side a mass of fooleries and ridiculous conceits and practices, at
which, but for the use of them, all men must needs stand amazed; such
rabble of impossible relics,—the hay that was in the manger, and more
than one tail of the ass on which Christ rode into Jerusalem, besides
hundreds which for common decency no man in any other case would so much
as name.  To look on these, I say, on one side, and on the other to see
those frightful and intolerable cruelties, so detestable that they
cannot be named, by which thousands have been tormented by this holy and
pure Church, has something about it so grotesque and fantastic that it
seems to me sometimes more like some masque or dance of satyrs or devils
than the followers of our Saviour Christ."

"All this," said Inglesant, "I partly believe, yet I imagine that
something may be said upon the other side of the argument, and I should
suppose that there is not one of these doctrines and practices but what
has some shadow of truth in it, and sprang at first from the wellspring
of truth."

"Doubtless," said the philosopher, "there is nothing but has had its
origin in some conception of the truth, but are we ’for this cause,’ as
that same divine says, ’also to forsake the Truth itself, and
devotionally prostrate ourselves to every evanescent and far-cast show
of Him—shadows of shadows—in infinite myriads of degenerations from
Him?’  Surely not."

"What is truth?" said Inglesant; "who shall show us any good?"

"Truth," said the philosopher, "is that which we have been taught, that
which the civil government under which we live instructs us in and
directs us to believe.  Our Saviour Christ came as the Messiah to
establish His kingdom on earth, and after Him the Apostles and Christian
Princes and Commonwealths have handed down His truth to us.  This is our
only safe method of belief."

"But should we believe nothing of Christianity," said Inglesant, "unless
the civil government had taught it us?"

"How can you believe anything," said Hobbes, "unless you have first been
taught it? and in a Christian Commonwealth the civil government is the
vicar of Christ.  I know the Jesuits," said Hobbes, "and they me; when I
was in France, some of them came to trouble me about something I had
said. I quieted them by promising to write a book upon them if they did
not let me be: what they seek is influence over the minds of men; to
gain this they will allow every vice of which man is capable.  I could
prove it from their books.  It is not for me, whom you scarcely know, to
say anything against a friend whom you have known so long; but, as I
understand you, your friend does not advise you to become a Papist.  I
do not suppose, though possibly you may do so, that he has no other
object in view than your welfare.  He has doubtless far-reaching reasons
of which we know nothing; nevertheless, be not distrustful of him, but
in this especially follow his advice. Shakespeare, the play-writer, says
’there’s a divinity that shapes our ends,’ or, I should say, the ends
that others work out for us, to His higher purpose.  Let us have faith
in this beneficent Artist, and let Him accomplish His will on us."

"But this," said Inglesant, "is very different from what my reading and
experience in mystical religion has taught me.  Is there then no medium
between the Divine Life and ourselves than that of the civil government?
This would seem to me most repulsive and contrary to experience."

"If you pretend to a direct revelation," said Hobbes with a smile, "I
have nothing to allege against it, but, to the rest of us, Christian
sovereigns are the supreme pastors and the only persons we now hear
speak from God.  But because God giveth faith by means of teachers,
therefore I call hearing the immediate cause of faith.  In a school
where many are taught, some profit, others profit not; the cause of
learning in them that profit is the Master, yet it cannot be thence
inferred that learning is not the gift of God.  All good things proceed
from God, yet cannot all that have them say that they are inspired, for
that implies a gift supernatural and the immediate hand of God, which he
that pretends to, pretends to be a prophet."

"I am loth to believe what you say," said Inglesant; "I am no prophet,
yet I would willingly believe that God is speaking to me with an
immediate voice, nay, more, that I may enter into the very life that God
is leading, and partake of His nature. Also, what you now say seems to
me to contradict what you said before, that we should endeavour to found
our doctrine on the conceptions and ideas of things, which I take to
mean a following after divine truth: nor do I see why you take the
sacrament, as you say you do, except you expect some immediate
communication from God in it."

The philosopher smiled.  "One may see you have been taught in the
Jesuits’ college," he said, "and are a forward pupil and a close
reasoner.  But what I have said concerning faith coming by hearing need
not prevent that afterwards God may convey other gifts to men by other
means.  Yet I confess I am not a proficient in this divine knowledge or
life of which you speak; nor do I follow your master Plato very far into
the same conclusions which many profess to find in him.  One disputant
grounds his knowledge upon the infallibility of the Church, and the
other on the testimony of the private spirit. The first we need not
discuss, but how do you know that your private spirit, that this divine
life within you, is any other than a belief grounded on the authority
and arguments of your teachers?"

Inglesant made no reply, which the philosopher perceiving, began to talk
of something else, and the other soon after took his leave.  Hobbes’s
doctrine was new to him, as it was to every one in that day, indeed, the
particular form it took was peculiar to Hobbes, and perished with him;
but the underlying materialism which in some form or other has presented
itself to the thinkers of every age, and which now for the first time
came before Inglesant’s mind, was not without its effect. "How do I know
indeed," he said, "that this divine life within me is anything but an
opinion formed by what I have heard and read?  How do I know that there
is any such thing as a divine life at all?"

Such thoughts as these, if they produced no other effect, yet gradually
lessened that eagerness in his mind towards divine things which had been
so strong since his visit to Little Gidding, and quite satisfied him to
defer at any rate any thoughts of joining the Church of Rome.  But his
thoughts were turned into other channels by the events which were
occurring in the political world, and which began now to assume a very
exciting character.



                             *CHAPTER VI.*


On the 20th of August 1640 the King set out for York on his way to
Scotland, in some haste, and Inglesant accompanied or rather preceded
him, his duty being to provide apartments for the King.  The King
advanced no farther than North Allerton, Lord Strafford being at
Darlington, and a large part of the army at Newburn-upon-Tyne, from
whence they retreated before the Scots almost without fighting.  It was
at this time that Inglesant began to see more of the real state of
affairs among the leaders of the royal party, and became aware of the
real weakness of their position.  He appears to have formed the opinion
that Lord Strafford, in spite of his great qualities, had failed
altogether in establishing himself on a firm and lasting footing of
power, and was deficient in those qualities of a statesman that ensure
success, and incapable of realising the necessities of the times.  His
army, on which he relied, was disorganised, and totally without devotion
or enthusiasm.  It melted away before the Scots, or fraternised with
them, and the trained bands and gentry who came in to the King’s
standard and to the Earl, prefaced all their offers of service with
petitions for the redress of grievances and the calling together a
Parliament.  Inglesant had already formed the opinion that the
Archbishop, who was now left at the head of affairs in London with the
Privy Council, and was vainly endeavouring to prevent the citizens from
sending up monster petitions to the King, was even more at variance with
the inevitable course of events, and more powerless to withstand them
than the Earl; and he appears to have written to his friend the Jesuit,
for his guidance, careful explanations of his own views on these
subjects. Father Hall, however, was not a man hastily to change his
course.  He had belonged from the beginning to that section of the
popish party whose policy had been to support the High Church party
rather than to oppose it, and this policy was strengthened now that the
royal power itself began to be attacked.  Whatever others of the popish
party might think, those with whom the Jesuit acted, and the party at
Rome which directed their conduct, were undeviating supporters of the
King, and were convinced that all advantage which the Papists might in
future achieve was dependent upon him.  It is not apparent what action
the Jesuit was taking at this moment, probably he was contented to watch
the course of events; but this much is certain, that his efforts to
induce Churchmen to work with him were increased rather than diminished.

While the King was at York, the Marquis of Montrose, who was in the
Covenanters’ army, carried on a correspondence with him, and copies of
his letters were believed to be stolen from the King’s pockets at night
by one of the gentlemen of the bed-chamber, and sent to the leader of
the Scots’ army.  Montrose retired into Scotland, and as the King was
desirous of continuing a correspondence which promised so much, he
decided upon sending a special messenger to the Marquis.  Inglesant was
fixed upon for this mission, as being known by the Royalists as a
confidential agent of the Court, but at the same time almost entirely
unknown to the opposite party.  He found Montrose at Edinburgh, at a
time when the Marquis was endeavouring to form a party among the
nobility of Scotland, in opposition to the Covenant. Inglesant was
probably little more in this negotiation than an accredited
letter-carrier; but a circumstance occurred in connection with his stay
in Scotland which is not without interest with reference to his future
character.  Among the gentlemen with whom Montrose was in connection
were some of the Highland chiefs, and to one of these the Marquis sent
Inglesant as a safe agent, being perfectly unknown in Scotland. This
gentleman, understanding that the messenger of Montrose was coming to
meet him, travelled down from the Highlands with a great retinue of
servants, and sent on one of his gentlemen, with a few attendants, to
meet the young Englishman on the borders of Perthshire.  Inglesant had
ridden from Stirling, and the night being stormy and dark, he had
stopped at a gentleman’s house in a lonely situation at the foot of the
Badenoch Hills.  Here, late in the evening, his entertainers met him,
and they passed the night in company.  After supper, as they were
sitting in front of the fire with the master of the house and several
more, the conversation turned upon the faculty of second sight, and the
numberless instances of its certainty with which the Highland gentlemen
were acquainted. While they were thus discoursing, the attention of the
gentleman who had come to meet Inglesant was attracted by an old
Highlander who sat in the large chimney, and he inquired whether he saw
anything unusual in the Englishman, that made him regard him with such
attention.  He said no, he saw nothing: in him fatal or remarkable more
than this, that he was much mistaken if that young man was not a seer
himself, or, at any rate, would be able before many months were over to
see apparitions and spirits.  Inglesant thought little of this at the
time, but he remembered it afterwards when an event occurred on his
return to London which recalled it to his recollection.

The treaty having been settled with the Scots, and the writs issued for
a new Parliament, the King returned to London.

One day in September, Inglesant received a visit from one of the
servants of the Archbishop of Canterbury, who brought a message from
Laud expressing a wish to see Mr. Inglesant at his dinner at Lambeth
Palace on any day that would suit his convenience.  He went the next day
by water at the proper hour, and was ushered into the great hall of the
palace, where dinner was laid, and many gentlemen and clergymen standing
about in the windows and round the tables, waiting the Archbishop.
Inglesant’s entrance was remarked at once, his dress and appearance
rendering him conspicuous, and his person being well known, and
occasioned some surprise; for the Archbishop had not been latterly on
friendly terms with the Queen, whom he had opposed on some questions
relating to Papists, to whose party, even since his being in the King’s
household, Inglesant was considered to belong.  The servants had
evidently received orders concerning him, for he was placed very high at
table and waited upon with great attention.  On the Archbishop’s
entrance he noticed Inglesant particularly, and expressed his pleasure
at seeing him there. The conversation at dinner turned entirely on the
Scotch rebellion, and the failure of the Earl of Strafford to repress
it; and on the King’s return to London, which had not long taken place.
Several gentlemen present had been with the army, and spoke of the
insubordination among the officers, especially such as had been
Parliament men.  The elections for the new Parliament were expected
shortly to take place, and many of the officers were deserting from the
army, and coming up to London and other places to secure their return.
The utmost dissatisfaction and insubordination prevailed over the whole
country, for Laud and Strafford, after exciting the animosity of the
people, had proved themselves weak, and the people began to despise as
well as hate them—not perceiving that this probably proved that they
were not the finished tyrants they were supposed to be.  Strafford’s
army, raised by himself, having proved powerless against the Scots and
insubordinate against its master, the popular party was encouraged to
attack him, whom they hated as much as ever, though they began to fear
him less.  The violent excitement of the popular party against the High
Churchmen and against ceremonies was also a subject of conversation.
The wildest rumours were prevalent as to the probable conduct of the new
Parliament, but all agreed that the Lord Lieutenant and the Archbishop,
and probably the Lord Keeper, would be impeached.  After dinner the
Archbishop rose from table, and retired into one of the windows at the
upper end of the hall, overlooking the river, requesting Inglesant, to
whom he pointed out the beauties of the view, to follow him.  Having
done this, he said a few words to him in a low voice, explaining his
regret at the difference which had arisen between himself and the Queen,
whose most faithful servant he protested he had ever been, and whom he
was most desirous to please.  He then went on to say that he both could
and intended to inform Her Majesty of this through other channels than
Mr. Inglesant, though he bespoke his good offices therein; but he wished
principally to speak to him of another matter, which would require
privacy to explain fully to him; but thus far he would say, that
although he had always been a true servant of the Church of England, and
had never entertained any thoughts inconsistent with such fidelity, yet
he believed the Roman Catholics were aware that he had always behaved
with great toleration to them, and had always entertained a great
respect for their religion, refusing to allow it to be abused or
described as Antichrist in the English pulpits; that it was notorious
that he had excited the enmity of the popular party by this conduct; and
that whatever he might suffer under the new Parliament would be in
consequence of it.  He was aware that Mr. Inglesant was in the
confidence of that party, and especially the particular friend of Father
Hall, the leader of the most powerful section of it; and he entreated
his services to bring the Jesuit and himself to some understanding and
concerted action, whereby, at least, they might ward off some of the
blows that would be aimed at them. The Archbishop said that many of the
wisest politicians considered that the two parties who would divide the
stage between them would be the popular party and the Papists; and if
this were really the case (though he himself thought that the loyal
Church party would prove stronger than was thought), it was evident that
Mr. Inglesant’s friend would be well able to return any kindness that
the Archbishop had shown the Romanists.

Inglesant went to the Jesuit as soon as possible, and related his
interview with the Archbishop.  Father Hall listened to it with great
interest.

"He has been like a true ecclesiastic," he said, "blind to facts while
he was in the course of his power, astonished and confounded when the
natural results arrive.  Nevertheless, I fancy he will make a good
fight, or at least a good ending. The people know not what they want,
and might have been led easily, but it is too late.  What was the real
amount of tyranny and persecution the people suffered?  The Church
officers were blamed on the one hand for not putting the laws in force
against the Papists, and on the other, for putting them in force against
the Puritans.  However, he has a right view of the power of the Church
party, in which I join him.  We shall see the good fight they will make
for the King yet.  The gentry and chivalry of England are rather rusty
for want of use, but we shall see the metal they are made of before
long. However, the Catholics will be ready first, are ready in fact now,
and I have great hopes of the use that we shall make of these
opportunities.  I am much mistaken if such a chance as we shall have
before many months are over will not be greater than we have had for a
century.  I shall count on you.  We have been long delayed, and you must
have thought all our pains would come to nothing; but we must have long
patience if we enter on the road of politics.

"You are now," said the Jesuit, "embracing the cause full of enthusiasm
and zeal, and this is very well; how else could we run out the race,
unless we began with some little fire? But this will not last, and
unless you are warned, you may be offended and fall away.  When you have
lived longer in this world and outlived the enthusiastic and pleasing
illusions of youth, you will find your love and pity for the race
increase tenfold, your admiration and attachment to any particular party
or opinion fall away altogether.  You will not find the royal cause
perfect any more than any other, nor those embarked in it free from mean
and sordid motives, though you think now that all of them act from the
noblest.  This is the most important lesson that a man can learn—that
all men are really alike; that all creeds and opinions are nothing but
the mere result of chance and temperament; that no party is on the whole
better than another; that no creed does more than shadow imperfectly
forth some one side of truth; and it is only when you begin to see this
that you can feel that pity for mankind, that sympathy with its
disappointments and follies, and its natural human hopes, which have
such a little time of growth, and such a sure season of decay.

"I have seen nothing more pathetic than touches in the life of some of
these Puritans—men who have, as they thought in obedience to the will of
the Deity, denied themselves pleasure—human pleasure—through their
lives, and now and then some old song, some pleasant natural tale of
love flashes across their path, and the true human instinct of the sons
of Adam lights up within them.

"Nothing but the Infinite pity is sufficient for the infinite pathos of
human life.

"As you know, we have many parties in our Church, nay, in our own order:
different members may be sent on opposing missions; but it is no matter,
they are all alike.  Hereafter it will be of little importance which of
these new names, Cavalier or Roundhead, you are called by, whether you
turn Papist or Puritan, Jesuit or Jansenist, but it will matter very
much whether you acted as became a man, and did not flinch ignobly at
the moment of trial.  Choose your part from the instinct of your order,
from your birth, or from habit or what not; but having chosen it, follow
it to the end.  Stand by your party or your order, and especially in the
hour of trial or danger be sure you never falter; for, be certain of
this, that no misery can be equal to that which a man feels who is
conscious that he has proved unequal to his part, who has deserted the
post his captain set him, and who, when men said ’such and such a one is
there on guard, there is no need to take further heed,’ has left his
watch or quailed before the foeman, to the loss, perhaps the total ruin,
of the cause he had made his choice.  I pray God that such misery as
this may never be yours."

The elections being over, London became very full.  The new members
hastened up.  The nobility and country gentry came crowding in, and all
the new houses in the Strand and Charing Cross were occupied, and a
throng of young Cavaliers filled the courts and precincts of the palace.
As soon as the King arrived, Inglesant went into waiting in his new
post, in which great responsibility in the keeping of the royal
household, especially at night, devolved upon him.  His post came
immediately after that of the gentlemen of the privy chamber, with whom
the immediate attendance on the person of the King stopped, but the
charge of the King’s rooms brought him continually into the royal
presence.

As soon as the Parliament met, the impeachment of Strafford began; and
as it proceeded, the excitement grew more and more intense.  It was not
safe for the courtiers to go into the city, except in numbers together,
and a court of guard was kept by the Cavaliers before Whitehall towards
Charing Cross.

One day Inglesant received a letter from the Jesuit, whom he seldom saw,
as follows:—

"Jack, tell your friend, the Archbishop, that Lambeth House will be
attacked two nights from this, by a rabble of the populace.  The
Parliament leaders will not be seen in this, but they can be felt.  Burn
this, but let the Archbishop know the hand from which it comes."

On receiving this warning the Archbishop fortified his house, and
crossed the water to his chamber in Whitehall, where he slept that night
and two others following.  His house was attacked by a mob of five
hundred men; one of them was wounded and afterwards executed; not much
damage was done.

History can furnish few events so startling and remarkable as the trial
and death of Lord Strafford—events which, the more they are studied, the
more wonderful they appear.  It is not easy to find words to express the
miserable weakness and want of statesmanship which led to, and made
possible, such an event; and one is almost equally surprised at the
comparatively few traces of the sensation and consternation that such an
event must have produced.  I am not speaking of the justice or the
injustice of the sentence, nor of the crime or innocence of the
accused,—I speak only of a great minister and servant of the Crown, in
whose policy and support the whole of the royal power, the whole
strength of the national establishment, was involved and pledged.  That
such a man, by the simple clamour of popular opinion, should have been
arrested, tried, and executed in a few days, with no effort but the most
degrading and puny one made on his behalf by his royal master and
friend, certainly must have produced a terror and excitement, one would
think, unequalled in history.  That the King never recovered from it is
not surprising; one would have thought he would never have held up his
head again.  That the royal party was amazed and confounded is not
wonderful; one would have thought it would have been impossible ever to
have formed a royal party afterwards.  What considerations were powerful
enough in the King’s mind to induce him to consent to an act of such
wretched folly and meanness we shall never know.

It was two nights after the execution.  The guard was set at Whitehall
and the "all night" served up.  The word for the night was given, and
the whole palace was considered as under the sole command of Inglesant,
as the esquire in waiting. He had been round to the several gates, and
seen that the courts and anterooms were quiet and clear of idlers, and
then came up into the anteroom outside the privy chamber, and sat down
alone before the fire.  In the room beyond him were two gentlemen of the
privy chamber, who slept in small beds drawn across the door opening
into the royal bedchamber beyond.  The King was in his room, in bed, but
not asleep; Lord Abergavenny, the gentleman of the bedchamber in
waiting, was reading Shakespeare to him before he slept.  Inglesant took
out a little volume of the classics, of the series printed in Holland,
which it was the custom of the gentlemen of the Court, and those
attached to great nobles, to carry with them to read in antechambers
while in waiting.  The night was perfectly still, and the whole palace
wrapped in a profound quiet that was almost oppressive to one who
happened to be awake. Inglesant could not read; the event that had just
occurred, the popular tumults, the shock of feeling which the royal
party had sustained, the fear and uncertainty of the future, filled his
thoughts.  The responsibility of his post sat on him to-night like a
nightmare, and with very unusual force; a sense of approaching terror in
the midst of the intense silence fascinated him and became almost
insupportable.  His fancy filled his mind with images of some possible
oversight and of some unseen danger which might be lurking even then in
the precincts of the vast rambling palace.  Gradually, however, all
these images became confused and the sense of terror dulled, and he was
on the point of falling asleep when he was startled by the ringing sound
of arms and the challenge of the yeoman of the guard, on the landing
outside the door.  The next instant a voice, calm and haughty, which
sent a tremor through every nerve, gave back the word "Christ."
Inglesant started up and grasped the back of his chair in terror.

Gracious Heaven! who was this that knew the word?  In another moment the
hangings across the door were drawn sharply back, and with a quick step,
as one who went straight to where he was expected and had a right to be,
the intruder entered the antechamber.  It wore the form and appearance
of Strafford—it was Strafford—in dress, and mien, and step. Taking no
heed of Inglesant, crouched back in terror against the carved
chimney-piece, the apparition crossed the room with a quick step, drew
the hangings that screened the door of the privy chamber, and
disappeared.  Inglesant recovered in a moment, sprang across the room,
and followed the figure through the door.  He saw nothing; but the two
gentlemen raised themselves from their couches, startled by his sudden
appearance and white, scared look, and said, "What is it, Mr. Esquire?"

Before Inglesant, who stood with eyes and mouth open, the picture of
terror, could recover himself, the curtain of the bed-chamber was drawn
hastily back, and the Lord Abergavenny suddenly appeared, saying in a
hurried, startled voice:—

"Send for Mayern; send for Dr. Mayern, the King is taken very ill!"

Inglesant, who by this time was recovered sufficiently to act, seized
the opportunity to escape, and, hurrying through the antechamber and
down the staircase to the guard-room, he found one of the pages, and
despatched him for the Court physician.  He then returned to the guard
at the top of the staircase.

"Has any one passed?" he asked.

"No," the man said; "he had seen no one."

"Did you challenge no one a moment ago?"

The man looked scared, but finally acknowledged what he feared at first
to confess, lest it should be thought he had been sleeping at his post,
that he had become suddenly conscious of, as it seemed to him, some
presence in the room, and found himself the next moment, to his
confusion, challenging the empty space.

Failing to make anything of the man, Inglesant returned to the privy
chamber, where Lord Abergavenny was relating what had occurred.

"I was reading to the King," he repeated, "and His Majesty was very
still, and I began to think he was falling asleep, when he suddenly
started upright in bed, grasped the book on my knee with one hand, and
with the other pointed across the chamber to some object upon which his
gaze was fixed with a wild and horror-stricken look, while he faintly
tried to cry out.  In a second the terror of the sight, whatever it was,
overcame him, and he fell back on the bed with a sharp cry."

"Mr. Inglesant saw something," said both the gentlemen at once; "he came
in here as you gave the alarm."

"I saw nothing," said Inglesant; "whatever frightened me I must tell the
King."

Dr. Mayern, who lodged in the palace, soon arrived; and as the King was
sensible when he came, he merely prescribed some soothing drink, and
soon left.  The moment he was gone the King called Abergavenny into the
room alone to him, and questioned him as to what had occurred.
Abergavenny told him all he knew, adding that the esquire in waiting,
Mr. Inglesant, was believed to have seen something by the gentlemen of
the privy chamber, whom he had aroused. Inglesant was sent for, and
found the King and Abergavenny alone.  He declined to speak before the
latter, until the King positively commanded him to do so.  Deadly pale,
with his eyes on the ground, and speaking with the greatest difficulty,
he then told his story; of the deep silence, his restlessness, the
sentry’s challenge, and the apparition that appeared. Here he stopped.

"And this figure," said Abergavenny in a startled whisper, "did you know
who it was?"

"Yes, I knew him," said the young man; "would to God I had not."

"Who was it?"

Paler, if possible, than before, and with a violent effort, Inglesant
forced himself to look at the King.

A contortion of pain, short but terrible to see, passed over the King’s
face, but he rose from the chair in which he sat (for he had risen from
the bed and even dressed himself) and, with that commanding dignity
which none ever assumed better than he, he said,—

"Who was it?  Mr. Esquire."

"My Lord Stafford."

Abergavenny stepped back several paces, and covered his face with his
hands.  No one spoke.  Inglesant dared not stir, but remained opposite
to the King, trembling in every limb, and his eyes upon the ground like
a culprit.  The King continued to stand with his commanding air, but
stiff and rigid as a statue; it seemed as though he had strength to
command his outward demeanour, but no power besides.

The silence grew terrible.  At last the King was able to make a slight
motion with his hand.  Inglesant seized the opportunity, and, bowing to
the ground, retired backward to the door.  As he closed the door the
King turned towards Abergavenny, but the room was empty.  The King was
left alone.



                             *CHAPTER VII.*


In the beginning of 1642 the King left Whitehall finally, and retired
with the Queen to Hampton Court, from which he went to the south to see
Her Majesty embark, and without returning to London proceeded to the
north.  Very few attendants accompanied him, and Inglesant was left at
liberty to go where he pleased.  His brother was in France, and he was
at the moment ignorant where the Jesuit was. Several motives led him to
go to Gidding, where he felt sure of a welcome, though Mr. Ferrar was
dead, and he accordingly rode there in the end of March.  Mr. Nicholas
Ferrar jun. had been dead nearly a year, having not long survived his
uncle, and the household was governed by Mr. John Ferrar, Mr. Nicholas
Ferrar’s brother.  Their usual quiet and holy life seemed quieter and
more holy; a placid melancholy and a sort of contented sorrow seemed to
fill the place, which was not disturbed even by those expectations of
approaching trouble and danger which all felt.  They received Inglesant
with kindness and even affection, and begged him to remain as long as he
pleased.  Mary Collet, who, secretly he acknowledged to himself, was the
principal reason of his coming down, met him frankly, and seemed more
attractive and beautiful than before.  He felt awed and quieted in her
presence, yet nothing was so delightful to him as to be in the room or
garden with her, and hear her speak.  He endeavoured to assist her in
her work of attending to the poor and sick, and in tending the garden,
and became like a brother to her, without saying or desiring to say one
word of gallantry or of love. The Puritans of the neighbouring towns,
who had always disliked the Ferrars, came more frequently into their
neighbourhood, and endeavoured to set the country people against them,
and even to stir them up to acts of violence; but the Ferrars remarked
that these annoyances were lessened by the efforts of a Puritan
gentleman, who was possessed of considerable property in Peterborough,
and who had latterly taken advantage of several excuses to come to
Little Gidding.

Inglesant saw this gentleman once or twice, and became rather attracted
towards him in a strange way.  He appeared to him to be a man in whom a
perpetual struggle was going on between his real nature and the system
of religion which he had adopted, but in whom the original nature had
been subdued and nearly extinguished, until some event, apparently of
recent occurrence, had renewed this conflict, and excited the conquered
human nature once more to rebellion.  This alone would have afforded
sufficient interest and attraction to a man of Inglesant’s temperament;
but this interest was increased tenfold when he perceived, as he did
very soon, that this disturbing event and the reason which brought Mr.
Thorne to Gidding, were in fact one and the same, the same indeed which
brought himself there—attraction to Mary Collet.  The peaceful
half-religious devotion with which he regarded his friend prevented him
from being incited to any feeling of jealousy by this discovery, and
indeed would have made the idea of such a sentiment and opposition
almost ridiculous. He treated Mr. Thorne, when they met at table or
elsewhere, with the most marked courtesy—a courtesy which the other very
imperfectly returned; at first ignoring Inglesant altogether, and when
this was no longer possible, taking every opportunity to reprove and
lecture him in the way the Puritans took upon them to do, all of which
Inglesant bore good-humouredly. Things had gone on this way for several
weeks, and Mr. Thorne’s visits had grown less frequent, when one summer
afternoon he rode over, and after seeing Mr. John Ferrar, came to seek
Mary Collet.  He found her and Inglesant alone in one of the small
reading parlours looking on the garden.  Inglesant had been reading
aloud in Mr. Crashaw’s poems; but on the other’s entering the room, he
rose and stood behind Mary Collet’s chair, his hand resting on the high
back. His attitude probably annoyed Mr. Thorne, whose manner was more
severe and stern than usual.  He made the lady a formal greeting, and
took slight heed of Inglesant, who wished him Good-day.

"The days are far from good, sir," he said severely, "and the night of
the soul is dark; nevertheless, there is a path open to the saints of
God, which will lead to a brighter time."

He looked hard at Mary Collet as he spoke.

"I should hope, sir," said Inglesant, with a conciliatory smile, "that
you and I may one day stand together in a brighter dawn."

The other’s face slightly softened, for indeed the indescribable charm
of Inglesant’s manner few could resist, but he hardened himself
instantly, and replied,—

"It is a fond hope, sir.  How can two walk together unless they are
agreed?  What fellowship is there between the saints (however unworthy)
and the followers of the pleasures of this world?  And how may you, on
whom the Prince of this world has bestowed every brilliant gift and
power, stand at the resurrection amongst the poor and despised saints of
God?"

Mary Collet moved slightly, and put her hand back upon the chair elbow,
so that it partly and slightly touched Inglesant’s hand, at which
movement, a spasm, as of pain, passed over Mr. Thorne’s features, and he
drew himself up more sternly than before.

"But I am idling my time vainly and sinfully here," he said, "in
chambering and wantonness, when I should be buckling on my armour.
Mistress Collet, I came here to wish you farewell.  I am going to London
in the good cause, and I shall in all human probability never see you
more.  I intreat you to listen to the bridegroom’s voice, and from my
heart I wish you God-speed."

As she rose, he pressed her hand lightly, and raised his eyes to heaven,
as the Puritans were ridiculed for doing; then he bowed stiffly to
Inglesant, and was gone.

Inglesant followed him to the courtyard, where his horses were standing,
but he took no further notice of him, and rode off through the gate.
Johnny stood looking after him down the alley, between the latticed
walks of the garden.  At last he stopped and looked back.  When he saw
Inglesant still there, he seemed to hesitate, but finally dismounted and
led his horse back.  Inglesant hastened to meet him, with his plumed hat
in his hand.

"Mr. Inglesant," said the Puritan, speaking slowly and with evident
hesitation, "I am going to say something which will probably make you
regard with increased contempt not only myself, which you may well do,
but the religion which I profess to serve, but which I betray, in which
last you will commit a fatal sin.  But before I say it, I beg of you, if
a few moments ago I said anything that was unnecessarily severe and more
than my Master would warrant, that you will forgive it.  Woe be to us if
we falter in the truth, and speak pleasant things when we should set our
face as a flint; nevertheless, there is no need for us to go beyond the
letter of the Spirit, and I almost feel that the Lord has disowned my
speech, seeing that so soon after I fear I myself am fallen from Grace."

He stopped, and Inglesant wondered what this long preamble might mean.

He assured him that he bore no ill-feeling, but very much the contrary;
but the Puritan scarcely allowed him to finish before he began again to
speak, with still greater difficulty and hesitation.

"I came here to-day, sir, with the intention, at which I have arrived
not without long wrestling in prayer, of proposing in the Lord’s name a
treaty of marriage with Mrs. Mary Collet. In this I have sought
direction, as I say, for a long time before addressing her.  At length,
yesterday, sitting all alone, I felt a word sweetly arise in me as if I
heard a voice, which said, ’Go and prevail!’ and faith springing in my
heart with the word, I immediately arose and went, nothing doubting.
But when I came into her presence, and found her with you, upon whom I
have ofttimes apprehended that her affections were fixed; when I thought
of the disadvantage at which doubtless, in the world’s eye at least, I
should be thought to stand with regard to you; when I considered her
breeding and education in every sort of prelatical and papistical
superstition—which latter has all through been a great stumbling-block
to me, and to some others of the godly to whom I have opened this
matter;—when I thought of these things, I, wretched man that I am!  I
mistrusted the Lord’s power.  I was deaf to the voice that spoke within
me, and I left my message unsaid. What my sin is in this cannot be told.
It may be that I have frustrated the Lord’s will and purpose with regard
to her, not only as regards calling her out of that empty show and
profession in which she is, but, which doubtless will seem of more force
to you, of providing her with some refuge from the storm which assuredly
is not far from this household.  I have already, if you will believe me,
done something in warding off the first advances of that storm, and
think I do not deceive myself that I have power sufficient to continue
to do so.  I entreat you, Mr. Inglesant, to think of this, if you have
not yet done so, for her sake, and not for mine."  He spoke these last
words in a different manner, and with an altered voice, as though they
were not part of what he had originally intended to say, but had been
forced from him by the spectacle his mind presented of danger to her
whom it was evident he unselfishly loved.  "I am not so ignorant in the
world’s ways," he went on, "as not to know how absurd such an appeal to
you must seem; probably it will afford amusement to your friends in
after days.  Nevertheless, I cannot refrain myself.  I am distracted
between two opinions, and as I rode away it came into my mind, that I
might after all be flying away from a shadow, and that there might be no
such relation between you as that which I have supposed—no other than
that of a free and fair friendship; in which case I entreat you, Mr.
Inglesant, though I confess I have no right nor claim upon you even for
the commonest courtesy, to let me know it."

Inglesant had listened to this singular confession at first with
surprise, but as the man went on, he became profoundly touched.  There
was something extremely pathetic in the sight of the human nature in
this man struggling within him beneath the force of his Puritanism, the
one now urging him to conciliate, and the next moment the old habit
breaking out in insult and denunciation; the one opening to him glimpses
of human happiness which the other immediately closed. And what he said
was doubtless very true, and pointed plainly to Inglesant what men would
say was his duty.  What ground had he to oppose himself to this man—he,
with scarcely any formed purpose of his own?  If the lofty Strafford had
fallen, and the Archbishop had proved powerless to protect himself, how
was he to protect any who might trust to him?  Even if he had thought
nothing of this, it would have been impossible to have been angry with
the distracted man before him, untrained to conceal his thoughts, nay,
taught by his religion that self-restraint or concealment is a sin, and
that to keep back a word or a thought is a frustration of the will of
God—a training that would lay him open at every point before the
polished pupil of the Jesuit and the Court.

These reflections gave to his ordinary courtesy an additional charm,
which plainly commanded the confidence of his rival, and he said,—

"What do you wish me to do, Mr. Thorne?  I am willing to leave
everything to Mrs. Collet’s decision."

"I will take nothing on myself again," said the other; "I will leave
everything in the Lord’s hands.  If it is His will that we be brought
together, we shall be so brought.  I will not stay now—indeed I am in no
fit state of mind—but in a few days I will come again, and whatever the
Lord shall do in the meanwhile, His will be done."

The inconsistency of this last resolution with the denunciation of the
Ferrar family, and especially of Inglesant, which he had before
expressed, struck Inglesant as so extraordinary that he began to doubt
the sanity of his companion; but finding that Mr. Thorne was determined
to go, he parted from him with mutual courtesy, and returned at once
into the house.

As he entered the room where Mary Collet was still sitting alone, she
looked up with a smile, and was about to speak, no doubt to palliate the
rudeness of their guest; but seeing from his manner that something
extraordinary had occurred, she stopped, and Inglesant, who had resolved
to tell her all that the Puritan had said, began at once and related
simply, and, as closely as he could, word for word, what had happened.
As he went on, the sympathy which the strange conflict he had witnessed
in the other’s breast had excited in his own, and the feeling he had of
the truth of the other’s power to protect, inspired his manner so that
he spoke well and eloquently of his rival’s nature, and of the
advantages that alliance with him would bestow; but honest as his
purpose was, no course more fatal to his rival’s chance could probably
have been taken, while at the same time he seriously, if he had any
cause himself, jeopardised that also.

Mary Collet listened with ever-increasing surprise, and the light in her
eyes died away to coldness as she continued to look at Inglesant.  Her
calm look suffered no other change; but that acute perception which
Inglesant’s training had given him—perception which the purest love does
not always give—showed him what was passing in his friend’s mind: he
stopped suddenly in his pleading, and knew that he had said too much not
to say more.  He sank on the ground before the chair, and rested his
hands upon the carved elbow, with his face, to which excitement gave
increased beauty, raised to Mary Collet’s eyes.

"It is all true, Mary," he said.  It was the first time he had called
her by her name, and it sounded so sweetly that he said it again.  "It
is all true, Mary; I might have spoken to you of another, would many
times have spoken, if all this had not been true.  As he said to me,
dark days are coming on, the State is shaken to its base, the highest in
the realm are disgraced and ruined, and even harried to death; what will
happen the wisest heads cannot think; the King is a fugitive; I am all
but penniless, should be homeless but for you.  This even is not all; if
it had been I might have spoken, but there is more which must be told.
I am not my own.  I am but the agent of a mighty will, of a system which
commands unhesitating obedience—obedience which is part of my very
being. I cannot even form the thought of violating it.  This is why,
often, when I tried to speak, my tongue refused its office, my
conscience roused itself to keep me still.  But if, happily for me, I
have been wrong; if, even for me, the gates of heaven may still
open,—the gates that I have thought were inexorably closed,—I dare not
face the radiance that even now issues through the opening space.  Mary,
you know me better than I know myself; I am ignorant and sinful and
worldly; you are holy as a saint of God.  Do with me what you will, if
there is anything in me worthy of you, take me and make it more worthy;
if not, let me go: either way I am yours—my life belongs to you—neither
life nor death is anything to me except as it may advantage you."

The light shone full on Mary Collet’s face, looking down on him as he
spoke.  The odour of the garden flowers filled the room.  The stillness
of the late afternoon was unbroken, save by the murmur of insect life.
Her eyes—those wonderful eyes that had first attracted him in the
Church—grew larger and more soft as they looked down on him with a love
and tenderness which he had never seen before, and saw only once again.
For some seconds she did not—perhaps could not—speak, for the great
lustrous eyes were moist with tears.  He would have lain there for ever
with no thought but of those kindly eyes.  At last she spoke, and her
voice was tender, but low and calm; "Johnny,"—it was the first time she
had called him so, and she said it twice,—"Johnny, you were right, I
know you better than you know yourself.  Your first instinct was right;
but it was not your poverty, nor the distraction of the time, nor yet
this mysterious fate that governs you, which kept you silent; poverty
and the troubles of the times we might have suffered together; this
mysterious fate we might have borne together, or have broken through.
No," she continued with a radiant smile, "cavalier and courtier as you
are, you also, in spite of Mr. Thorne, have heard a voice behind you
saying, ’This is the way, walk in it.’  That way, Johnny, you will never
leave for me.  As this voice told you, this is not a time for us to
spend our moments like two lovers in a play; we have both of us other
work to do, work laid out for us, from which we may not shrink; a path
to walk in where there is neither marrying nor giving in marriage.  As
for me, if I can follow in any degree in the holy path my uncle walked
in, growing more into the life of Jesus as he grew into it, it is enough
for me; as for you, you will go on through the dark days that are at
hand, as your way shall lead you, and as the divine voice shall call;
and when I hear your name, as I shall hear it, Johnny, following as the
divine call shall lead, you may be sure that my heart will beat
delightedly at the name of a very noble gentleman who loves me, and
whom—I love."

The evening sun that lighted all the place went down suddenly behind the
hedges of the garden, and the room grew dark.



                            *CHAPTER VIII.*


The manner of life at Gidding went on after this without the least
alteration, and Inglesant’s position in the family remained the same.
Two or three days after, Mr. Thorne returned, and had an interview with
Mary Collet alone. She told him she had not thought of marriage with any
one, but had dedicated her life to other work.  He attempted a flowing
discourse upon the evils of celibacy, and managed to destroy by his
manner much of the kindly feeling which Mary had conceived for him.  He
met John Ferrar and Inglesant coming from the Church, and Inglesant
tried to exchange some kindly words with him; but he avoided
conversation with him, and soon left.  Inglesant passed most of his time
(for he was not quite so much with Mary Collet as before) in reading,
especially in Greek, and in assisting some of the family in preparing
that great book, which was afterwards presented to Prince Charles.  The
influence of Mr. Hobbes’s conversation wore off in the peaceful
religious talk and way of life of this family.  It was here that he had
first obtained glimpses of what the divine life might be, and it was
here alone that he felt any power of approach to it in his own heart.
His love for Mary Collet, which was increased tenfold by the
acknowledgment she had made to him, and which grew more and more every
day that he spent at Gidding, associated as it was with all the
teachings and incidents of these quiet holy days, made this life of
devotion more delightful than can be told, and, indeed, made that life
more like to heaven than any other that Inglesant ever lived.  As he
knelt in Church during the calm hours of prayer, and now and again
looked up into Mary Collet’s face from where he knelt, he often felt as
though he had found the Beatific Vision already, and need seek no more,
so closely was her beauty connected with all that was pure and holy in
his heart.  In these happy days all pride and trouble seemed to have
left him, and he felt free in heart from all self-will and sin.  It was
a dream and unreal, doubtless; but it was allowed him not altogether
without design, perhaps, in the divine counsel, and it could not be
without fruit in his spiritual life.

The long summer days that passed so quietly at Gidding were days of
disturbance all over England, the King’s friends and those of the
Parliament endeavouring to secure the counties for one or other of the
contending parties.  Nearly the whole of the eastern counties were so
strong for the Parliament that the King’s friends had little chance, and
those gentlemen who attempted to raise men or provide arms for the King
were crushed in the beginning.  But Huntingdonshire was more loyal, and
considerable preparation had been made by several gentlemen, among
others Sir Capel Beedel and Richard Stone, the High Sheriff, to repair
to the King’s quarters when the standard should be set up.  Inglesant
was waiting to hear from his brother, who had returned from France, and
was in Wiltshire with the Lord Pembroke, who had set in force the
commission of array in that county.  Inglesant would have joined him but
for the close neighbourhood of the King, who might be expected in those
parts every day.  Accordingly, one afternoon, the King, accompanied by
the Prince, afterwards Charles the Second, and the Duke of Lennox, and
by Prince Rupert, whom some called the Palsgrave after his father, came
to Huntingdon.  Inglesant rode into Huntingdon that evening, and found
the King playing at cards with the Palsgrave.  The King received him
graciously, and spoke to him privately of Father St. Clare, who had
latterly, he said, been very active among the Catholics of Shropshire
and Staffordshire, from whom he soon expected to receive large sums of
money.  He said the Jesuit had told him where Inglesant was, and that he
intended on the next day to come by Little Gidding on his way, and
should spend some hours there, as he was very desirous again to see a
place which had so pleased him, and of whose inmates he had formed so
high an opinion from what he had seen of them.  Inglesant slept that
night in Huntingdon, but very early on the fine summer morning he rode
out to Little Gidding to warn the family of the honour that was intended
them.  Accordingly, about noon, they saw from the windows of the house
the royal party approaching at the bottom of the hill.  The whole family
went out to meet them to the boundary of the lordship at a little bridge
that spans the brook.

When the King approached foremost of all, they went to meet him, and
kneeling down, prayed God to bless and preserve His Majesty, and keep
him safe from his enemy’s malice. The King rode up the hill at a foot
pace, and alighted at the Chapel, which he examined carefully, and was
then shown over the whole house, being particularly pleased with the
almshouses, for whose inmates he left five pieces of gold, saying it was
all he had.  He had won them from the Palsgrave the night before at
cards.

When he was come into the house, the great book that was being prepared
for the Prince was brought him, and he spent some time in examining it
and admiring the prints of which it was full, pointing out to the
Palsgrave, who appeared to understand such things, the different style
of each engraver. When he had sufficiently admired the book and walked
about the house, admiring the pleasant situation upon a little hill, the
sun beginning to go down, the horses were brought to the door, and the
King and the rest mounted.  The whole family, men and women, knelt down
as the King mounted, and prayed God to bless and defend him from his
enemies, and give him a long and happy reign.  "Ah!" said the King,
raising his hat, "pray for my safe and speedy return again," and so rode
away, not knowing that he should return there again once more, in the
very dead of night, a fugitive, and almost alone.

                     *      *      *      *      *

When John Inglesant had said to Mary Collet that he was almost
penniless, he had used rather a strong hyperbole, for at that time the
sum of money his father had left him was almost untouched.  Upon leaving
London, he had managed to get it transferred from the goldsmith with
whom he had deposited it to another at Oxford, by a bill of exchange on
the latter, as was the custom in transmitting sums of money in those
days.  This bill being now due, Inglesant decided on going to Oxford to
secure possession of the money.  He lodged at first at Mr. Martin
Lippiard’s, a famous apothecary; but after a few days he entered himself
at Wadham College, where he got rooms which were of great use to him
afterwards, when the Court came to Oxford.

No place could have been found which offered more to interest and
delight a man of Inglesant’s temperament than Oxford did at this time.
It was still at the height of that prosperity which it had enjoyed under
the King and Laud for so many years, but which was soon to be so sadly
overcast. The colleges were full of men versed and intelligent in all
branches of learning and science, as they were then taught. The halls
and chapels were full of pictures and of rich plate soon to be melted
down; the gardens and groves were in beautiful order, and the bowling
greens well kept.  The utmost loyalty to Church and State existed.  Many
old customs of the Papists’ times, soon to be discontinued, still
survived.  One of the scholars sang the Gospel for the day in Hall at
the latter end of dinner.  The musical services in the Chapels on
Sundays, Holy Days, and Holy Day Eves, were much admired, and the
subject of great care.  Music was studied deeply as a science, antiquity
and every foreign country being ransacked for good music, and every
gentleman pretending to some knowledge of it.  The High Church party,
which reigned supreme, were on excellent terms with the Papists, and
indeed they were so much alike that they mixed together without
restraint.  No people in England were more loyal, orthodox, and
observant of the ceremonies of the Church of England than the scholars
and generality of the inhabitants.

Every kind of curious knowledge was eagerly pursued; many of the
Fellows’ rooms were curious museums of antiquities and relics, and
scarce books and manuscripts.  Alchemy and astrology were openly
practised, and more than one Fellow had the reputation of being able to
raise Spirits.  The niceties of algebra and the depths of metaphysics
were inquired into and conversed upon with eagerness, and strange
inquiries upon religion welcomed.  Dr. Cressy, of Merton, was the first
who read Socinus’s books in England, and is said to have converted Lord
Falkland, who saw them in his rooms.  A violent controversy was going on
among the physicians, and new schools had risen up who practised in
chemical remedies instead of the old-fashioned vegetable medicines.

The members of the University had put themselves into array and a
posture of defence, for as yet there was no garrison at Oxford, and
divers parties of soldiers were passing through the country, sent by the
Parliament to secure Banbury and Warwick.  The deputy Vice-Chancellor
called before him in the public schools every one who had arms, and the
recruits were trained in the quadrangles of the colleges and other
places. Matters being in this state, late in October, in the middle of
the week, news reached Oxford that the King had left Shrewsbury with his
army, and was marching through Warwickshire on his way to London.  The
Parliamentary army was following from Worcester, and, as was thought,
the two armies would soon engage.  Numbers of volunteers immediately
started to meet the King’s army; many of the undergraduates stealing out
of Oxford secretly, and setting forth on foot.  Inglesant joined himself
to a company of gentlemen who had horses, and who, with their servants,
made quite a troop.

Some way out of Oxford he overtook a young undergraduate, the elder
brother of Anthony Wood, afterwards the famous antiquary (who had stolen
out of Oxford as above), and made one of his servants take him up behind
him.  They went by Woodstock and Chipping Norton, and slept the Friday
night at Shipston-upon-Stour, and early the next morning obtained news
of the royal army, which arrived under the Wormleighton Hills in the
evening of Saturday.  The King lodged that night at Sir William
Chauncy’s, at Ratoll Bridge, some distance from the army, where
Inglesant went late in the evening.  These quiet woodland places, some
of the most secluded in England, both then and now—so much so, that it
was said in those days that wolves even were found there—were disturbed
by unwonted bustle these dark October nights, parties marching and
counter-marching, recruits and provisions arriving.  It was not known
where Lord Essex’s army was, but after it was dark it was discovered by
the Prince of Wales’s regiment, which had been quartered in two or three
villages under Wormleighton Hills. The whole regiment was drawn out into
the fields, and remained there all night, provisions being brought to
them from the villages, and news was sent to the King and Prince Rupert.

At Sir William Chauncy’s Inglesant found the Jesuit and some other
Catholic gentlemen whom he knew; for the number of Papists in the royal
army was very great.  Father Hall was dissatisfied at seeing Inglesant,
and tried hard to persuade him to keep out of the battle, saying he had
different and more useful work for him to do; but Inglesant would not
consent, though he agreed not to expose himself unnecessarily.  The
Jesuit told him that his brother was with the Prince’s regiment, but
counselled him not to join him, but stay in the King’s bodyguard, which
his place at Court might well account for his doing.  He enlarged so
much upon the coming danger, that Inglesant, who had never seen a
battle, became quite timid, and was glad when the Jesuit was sent for to
the King. Inglesant slept in a farm house, not far from Sir William’s,
with several other gentlemen,—for those were fortunate who had half a
bed,—and on the morning rode with the King’s pensioners to the top of
Edgehill.  The Church bells were ringing for morning service as they
rode along.  The King was that day in a black velvet coat lined with
ermine, and a steel cap, covered with velvet.  He rode to every brigade
of horse and to all the tertias of foot, and spoke to them with great
courage and cheerfulness, to which the army responded with loud huzzahs.
An intense feeling of excitement prevailed as this battle—the first
fought in England for more than a century—was joined. Numbers of country
people crowded the heights, and the army was full of volunteers who had
only just joined, and had no idea of war.  The King was persuaded with
difficulty to remain on a rising-ground at some little distance, with
his guard of pensioners on horseback; but Inglesant did not remain with
him, but joined his brother in the Prince’s regiment under the
Palsgrave, and rode in the charge against the enemy’s horse, whom the
Prince completely routed and chased off the field. Inglesant, however,
did not share in the glory of this victory, for his horse was killed
under him at the first shock of the encounter, and he went down with
him, and received more than one kick from the horses’ hoofs as they
passed over him, rendering him for some time senseless.  On recovering
himself he managed to get on his feet, and crossed the field to the
royal foot, but unfortunately joined the foot guards at the moment they
were attacked and routed by the Parliamentary horse and foot.  The Earl
of Lindsay and his son were taken prisoners, and the royal Standard was
taken.  At this moment the King was in great danger, being with fewer
than a hundred horse within half a musket shot of the enemy.  The two
regiments of his reserve, however, came up, and Charles was desirous of
charging the enemy himself.  Inglesant remained with the broken regiment
of the guard who retreated up the road over the hill, along which the
enemy’s horse advanced, but, the early October evening setting in, the
enemy desisted and fell back upon their reserves.  It was a hard frost
that night, and very cold.  The King’s army marched up the hills which
they had come down so gallantly in the morning. Inglesant remained with
the broken foot guards and the rest of the foot, which were confusedly
mixed together, all night. The men made fires all along the hill top to
warm themselves, and gathered round them in strange and motley groups.
Many of the foot were very badly armed, the Welshmen, especially, having
only pitchforks and many only clubs; but Prince Rupert the next day made
a descent upon Keinton, and carried off several waggon loads of arms,
which were very useful. The officers and men were mixed up together
round the fires without distinction.  As Inglesant was standing by one
of them stiff and stunned with the blows he had received, and weak from
a sabre cut he had received on the arm, he heard some one who had come
up to the fire inquiring for him by name.  It was the Jesuit, who had
given him up for dead, as he had met his brother who had returned with
Prince Rupert when he rejoined the King, and had learnt from him that
Inglesant had fallen in the first charge.  He told him that Eustace had
gone down into the plain to endeavour to find him, which surprised and
touched Inglesant very much, as he suspected his brother of caring very
little for him.  Father St. Clare stayed with Inglesant at the fire all
night, for the latter was too stiff to move, and made himself quite at
home with the soldiers, as he could with people of every sort, telling
them stories and encouraging them with hopes of high pay and rewards
when the King had once marched to London and turned out the Parliament.
Inglesant dozed off to sleep and woke up again several times during this
strange night, with a confused consciousness of the flaring fire
lighting up the wild figures, and the Jesuit still talking and still
unwearied all through the night.

One of the first men he saw in the morning was Edward Wood, whom he had
helped on his way from Oxford.  This young man had been much more
fortunate than Inglesant, for he had come on foot without arms, and he
had succeeded in getting a good horse and accoutrements.

"You are much more lucky than I am," said Inglesant; "I have lost my
horses and servants and all my arms, and am beaten and wounded, as you
see, till I can scarcely stand, while you seem to have made your
fortune."

"I shall certainly get a commission," said the young man, who was only
eighteen, and certainly was very much pleased with himself; "but never
mind, Mr. Inglesant," he continued patronizingly, "it is your first
battle, as it is mine, and you have no doubt learnt much from it that
will be useful to you."

It had been one of the principal parts of Inglesant’s training to avoid
assumption himself, and to be amused with it in others, so he took his
patronage meekly, and wished him success on his return, to Oxford, where
he really was made an officer in the King’s service soon after.

Soon after he was gone Inglesant found his brother, and with him his own
servants, with an additional horse they had managed to secure, with
which he replaced the one he had lost; and the next morning he rode with
the Palsgrave into Keinton, where they surprised the rear of the
Parliamentary army, and took much spoil of the arms and ammunition, and
many wounded officers and other prisoners; but his wound being very
painful, and being sick and weary of the sight of fighting, and
especially of plundering, he left the Prince in Keinton and returned to
Oxford, where he was very glad to get back to his pleasant rooms in
Wadham.  After the King had wasted his time in taking Banbury and
Broughton Castle, he marched to Oxford with his army, where he was
received with demonstrations of joy, and stayed some days.

After the King had rested a short time at Oxford, he proceeded to march
to London; but Inglesant did not accompany him.  The blows he had
received about the head, together with his wound and the excitement he
had gone through, brought on a fever which kept him in his rooms for
some time. The Jesuit stayed with him as long as he could, but many
other of Inglesant’s friends at Oxford showed him great kindness. When
he recovered he found himself, to his great surprise, something of a
hero.  Though, as we have seen, few men could have done less at Edgehill
than Inglesant did, or have had less influence on the event of the day,
yet, as he had been in the charge of the Prince’s horse, and also in the
rout of the foot guards, and had been wounded in both, and above all
was, especially with the ladies, something of a favourite, of whom no
one objected to say a good word, he gained a decided reputation as a
soldier.  It was indeed reported and believed at Little Gidding that he
had performed prodigies of valour, had saved the King’s life several
times, and retrieved the fortunes of the day when they were desperate.
In some respects this reputation was decidedly inconvenient to him; he
was looked upon as a likely man to be in all foraging parties and in
expeditions of observation sent out to trace the marchings and
countermarchings of the enemy.  Now, as he was pledged to the Jesuit not
to expose himself to unnecessary danger, these expeditions were very
troublesome to him, besides taking him away from the studies to which he
was anxious to apply himself, and from the company of the leaders of
both the Churchmen and Papists, to obtain the acquaintance and
confidence of whom he still applied himself, both from inclination and
in accordance with the Jesuit’s wish.  It is true, however, that in
these expeditions about the country he formed several friendships of
this kind, which might afterwards be useful.



                             *CHAPTER IX.*


The King returned to Oxford in December, and the Court was established
at Christ Church College.  There has perhaps never existed so curious a
spectacle as Oxford presented during the residence of the King at the
time of the civil war.  A city unique in itself became the resort of a
Court under unique circumstances, and of an innumerable throng of people
of every rank, disposition, and taste, under circumstances the most
extraordinary and romantic.  The ancient colleges and halls were
thronged with ladies and courtiers; noblemen lodged in small attics over
baker’s shops in the streets; soldiers were quartered in the college
gates and in the kitchens; yet, with all this confusion, there was
maintained both something of a courtly pomp, and something of a learned
and religious society.  The King dined and supped in public, and walked
in state in Christ Church meadow and Merton Gardens and the Grove of
Trinity, which the wits called Daphne.  A Parliament sat from day to
day; service was sung daily in all the Chapels; books both of learning
and poetry were printed in the city; and the distinctions which the
colleges had to offer were conferred with pomp on the royal followers,
as almost the only rewards the King had to bestow.  Men of every opinion
flocked to Oxford, and many foreigners came to visit the King. There
existed in the country a large and highly intelligent body of moderate
men, who hovered between the two parties, and numbers of these were
constantly in Oxford,—Harrington, the philosopher, the King’s friend,
Hobbes, Lord Falkland, Lord Paget, the Lord Keeper, and many others.

Mixed up with these grave and studious persons, gay courtiers and gayer
ladies jostled old and severe divines and college heads, and crusty
tutors used the sarcasms they had been wont to hurl at their pupils to
reprove ladies whose conduct appeared to them at least far from
decorous.  Christmas interludes were enacted in Hall, and Shakespeare’s
plays performed by the King’s players, assisted by amateur performers;
and it would have been difficult to say whether the play was performed
before the curtain or behind it, or whether the actors left their parts
behind them when the performance was over, or then in fact resumed them.
The groves and walks of the colleges, and especially Christ Church
meadow and the Grove at Trinity, were the resort of this gay and
brilliant throng; the woods were vocal with song and music, and love and
gallantry sported themselves along the pleasant river banks. The poets
and wits vied with each other in classic conceits and parodies, wherein
the events of the day and every individual incident were pourtrayed and
satirized.  Wit, learning, and religion joined hand in hand as in some
grotesque and brilliant masque.  The most admired poets and players and
the most profound mathematicians became "Romancists" and monks, and
exhausted all their wit and poetry and learning in furthering their
divine mission, and finally, as the last scenes of this strange drama
came on, fell fighting on some hardly-contested grassy slope, and were
buried on the spot, or in the next village churchyard, in the dress in
which they played Philaster, or the Court garb in which they wooed their
mistress, or the doctor’s gown in which they preached before the King,
or read Greek in the schools.

This gaiety was much increased the next year, when the Queen came to
Oxford, and the last happy days of the ill-fated monarch glided by.  It
was really no inapt hyberbole of the classic wits which compared this
motley scene to the marriage of Jupiter and Juno of old, when all the
Gods were invited to the feast, and many noble personages besides, but
to which also came a motley company of mummers, maskers, fantastic
phantoms, whifflers, thieves, rufflers, gulls, wizards, and monsters,
and among the rest Crysalus, a Persian Prince, bravely attended, clad in
rich and gay attire, and of majestic presence, but otherwise an ass;
whom the Gods at first, seeing him enter in such pomp, rose and saluted,
taking him for one worthy of honour and high place; and whom Jupiter,
perceiving what he was, turned with his retinue into butterflies, who
continued in pied coats roving about among the Gods and the wiser sort
of men.  Something of this kind here happened, when wisdom and folly,
vice and piety, learning and gaiety, terribly earnest even to death and
light frivolity, jostled each other in the stately precincts of
Parnassus and Olympus.

With every variety and shade of this strange life Inglesant had some
acquaintance; the philosophers knew him, the Papists confided in him;
Cave, the writer of news-letters for the Papists, sought him for
information; the Church party, who knew his connection with the
Archbishop, and the services he had rendered him, sought his company;
the ladies made use of his handsome person and talents for acting, as
they did also that of his brother.  He had the entrée to the King at all
times, and was supposed to be a favourite with Charles, though in
reality the King’s feelings towards him were of a mixed nature.  No man
certainly was better known at Oxford, and no man certainly knew more of
what was going on in England than Inglesant did.

Among the chief beauties of the Court the Lady Isabella Thynne was the
most conspicuous and the most enterprizing: the poet Waller sang her
praise, music was played before her as she walked, and she affected the
garb and manner of an angel.  She was most beautiful, courteous, and
charitable; but she allowed her gaiety and love of intrigue to lead her
into very equivocal positions.  She was intimately acquainted with
Eustace Inglesant, who was one of her devoted servants, and assisted her
in many of her gaieties and gallant festivals and sports; but she was
shy of Johnny, and told Eustace that his brother was too much of a monk
for her taste.  She had a bevy of ladies, who were her intimate friends,
and were generally with her, some of whom she did not improve by her
friendship.

There was in Oxford a gentleman, a Mr. Richard Fentham, who was
afterwards knighted, a member of the Prince’s council, and a person of
great trust with the King.  This gentleman had been at school with
Eustace Inglesant at that famous schoolmaster’s, Mr. Farnabie, in
Cripplegate Parish in London,—a school at one time frequented by more
than three hundred young noblemen and gentlemen, for whose accommodation
he had handsome houses and large gardens.  One day Fentham took Eustace
Inglesant to call on two young ladies, the daughters of Sir John Harris,
who had lately come to Oxford to join their father, who had suffered
heavy losses in the royal cause, and had been made a baronet.  They
found these two young ladies, to the eldest of whom Fentham was engaged,
in a baker’s house in an obscure street, ill-furnished and mean-looking.
They were both, especially the eldest, extremely beautiful, and had been
brought up in a way equal to any gentlemen’s daughters in England, so
that the gentlemen could not help condoling with them on this lamentable
change of fortune, to which they were reduced by their father’s devotion
to the royal cause.  The eldest young lady, Ann, a spirited, lively
girl, confessed it was "a great change from a large well-furnished house
to a very bad bed in a garret, and from a plentiful table to one dish of
meat—and that not the best ordered,—with no money, for they were as poor
as Job, and had no clothes," she said, "but what a man or two had
brought in the cloak bags."  Eustace Inglesant pursued the acquaintance
thus begun; and both he and his brother were at Wolvercot Church some
time afterwards, when Richard Fentham and Mistress Ann were married in
the presence of Sir Edward Hyde, afterwards the Lord Chancellor, and
Geoffry Palmer, the King’s attorney.  Lady Fentham was much admired and
sought after, and became one of Lady Isabella’s intimate friends.  She
was a lively, active girl, and fond of all kinds of stirring exercise
and excitement, and was peculiarly liable to be led into scrapes in such
society.  Besides Lady Isabella, she was also exposed to other
temptations from political ladies, who endeavoured to persuade her that
a woman of her talent and energy should take some active part in public
affairs, and get her husband to trust to her the secrets of the Prince’s
Council. They succeeded so far as to cause her to press her husband on
this matter, and to cause some unpleasant feeling on her part, which,
but for his kind and forgiving conduct, might have led to a serious
breach.  This danger passed over, but those springing from the
acquaintance with Lady Isabella were much more serious.  Sir Richard was
much away at Bristol with the Prince, and during his absence Lady
Isabella promoted an intimacy between Lord H——, afterwards the Duke of
P——, and her young friend.  In this she was assisted by Eustace
Inglesant, who appeared to be actuated by some very strange personal
motive, which Johnny, who saw a great deal of what was going on, could
not penetrate.

Matters were in this state when one day Shakespeare’s play of "The
Comedy of Errors," or an adaptation of it, was given by the gentlemen of
the Court, assisted by the King’s players, in the Hall at Christ Church.
The parts of the brothers Antipholus were taken by the two Inglesants,
who were still said to be so exactly alike that mistakes were
continually being made between them.  The play was over early, and the
brilliant company streamed out into the long walk at Christ Church,
which was already occupied by a motley throng.  The players mingled with
the crowd, and solicited compliments on their several performances.  The
long avenue presented a singular and lively scene—ladies, courtiers,
soldiers in buff coats, clergymen in their gowns and bands, doctors of
law and medicine in their hoods, heads of houses, beggars, mountebanks,
jugglers and musicians, popish priests, college servants, country
gentlemen, Parliament men, and townspeople, all confusedly intermixed;
with the afternoon sun shining across the broad meadow, under the
rustling leaves, and lighting up the windows of the Colleges and the
windings of the placid river beyond.

John Inglesant, in the modern Court dress in which, according to the
fashion of the day, he had played Antipholus of Ephesus, was speaking to
Lord Falkland, who had not been at the play, but who, grave and
melancholy, with his dress neglected and in disorder, was speaking of
the death of Hampden, which had just occurred, when a page spoke to
Inglesant, telling him that Lady Isabella desired his presence
instantly. Rather surprised, Inglesant followed him to where the lady
was walking, a little apart from the crowd, in a path across the meadows
leading from the main walk.  She smiled as Inglesant came up.

"I see, Mr. Esquire Inglesant," she said, "that the play is not over.
It was your brother I sent for, whom this stupid boy seemingly has
sought in Ephesus and not in England."

"I am happy for once to have supplanted my brother, madam," said Johnny,
adapting from his part.  "I have run hither to your grace, whom only to
see now gives me ample satisfaction for these deep shames and great
indignities."

"I am afraid of you, Mr. Inglesant," said the lady; "you have so high a
reputation with grave and religious people, and yet you are a better
cavalier than your brother, when you condescend that way.  That is how
you please the Nuns of Gidding so well."

"Spare the poor Nuns of Gidding your raillery, madam," said Inglesant;
"surely Venus Aphrodite is not jealous of the gentle dove."

"I will not talk with you, Mr. Inglesant," said the lady pettishly;
"find your brother, I beseech you; his wit is duller than yours, but it
is more to my taste."

Inglesant went to seek his brother, but before he found him his
attention was arrested from behind, and turning round he found his scarf
held by Lord H——, who said at once, "Is the day fixed, and the place?
have you seen the lady?"

"My lord," said Inglesant, "the play really is over, though no one will
believe it.  ’I think you all have drunk of Circe’s Cup.’  I am afraid
as many mishaps wait me here as at Ephesus."

Lord H—— saw his mistake.  "I beg your pardon," he said; "I took you for
your brother, who has some business of mine in hand.  I wish you good
day."

"I must get to the bottom of the mischief that is brewing," said
Inglesant; "there is some mystery which I cannot fathom. The lady no
doubt is pretty Lady Fentham, but Eustace surely can never mean to
betray his friend in so foul a way as this."

That evening he sought his brother, and telling him all he had noticed,
and what he had overheard, he begged him to tell him the plain facts of
what was going on, lest he might add to the confusion in his ignorance.
Eustace hesitated a little, but at last he told him all.

"There is no real harm intended, except by Lord H——," he said; "Lady
Isabella simply wants to make mischief and confusion all around her.
She has persuaded Ann Fentham to encourage Lord H—— a little, to lead
him into a snare in which he is to be exposed to ridicule. There is a
lady in Oxford, whom you no doubt know, Lady Cardiff, whom, if you know
her, you know to be one of the most fantastic women now living, to bring
whom into connection with Lord H—— Mrs. Fentham has conceived would be
great sport; now, to tell you a secret, this lady, who entered into this
affair merely for excitement and sport, is gradually becoming attached
to me.  I intend to marry her with Lady Isabella’s help.  She has an
immense fortune and large parks and houses, and has connections on both
sides in this war, so that her property is safe whatever befalls.  This
is a profound secret between me and the Lady Isabella, who is under
obligations to me.  Mrs. Fentham knows nothing of it, and is occupied
solely with bringing Lord H—— and Lady Cardiff together.  The ladies are
going down to Newnham to-morrow.  I meet them there, and Lord H—— is to
be allowed to come.  I intend to press my suit to Lady Cardiff, and
certainly by this I shall spoil Lady Fentham’s plot; but this is all the
harm I intend.  What will happen besides I really cannot say, but
nothing beyond a little honest gallantry, doubtless."

"But is not such sport very dangerous?" said John. "Suppose this
intimacy came to Richard Fentham’s ears, what would he say to it?  You
told me there had already been some mischief made by some of the women
between them."

"If he hears of it," said Eustace, carelessly, "it can be explained to
him easily enough; he is no fool, and is not the man to misunderstand an
innocent joke."

Inglesant was not satisfied, but he had nothing more to say, and changed
the subject by inquiring about Lady Cardiff, of whom he knew little.

This lady was a peeress in her own right, having inherited the title and
estates from her father.  She had been carefully educated, and was
learned in many languages.  She had acted all her life from principles
laid down by herself, and different from those which governed the
actions of other people.  She had bad health, suffering excruciating
pain at frequent intervals from headache, which it is supposed unsettled
her reason.  At her principal seat, Oulton, in Dorsetshire, she
collected around her celebrities and uncommon persons, "Excentrics" as
they were called, principally great physicians and quacks, and religious
persons and mystic theologians.  Van Helmont, the great alchemist, spent
much time there, attempting to cure her disorder or allay her
sufferings, and Dr. Henry More of Cambridge condescended to reside some
time at Oulton.  It was a great freestone house, surrounded by gardens,
and by a park or rather chase of great extent, enclosing large pieces of
water, and surrounded by wooded and uncultivated country for many miles.
At the time at which we are arrived, however, her health was better than
it afterwards became, and she was chiefly ambitious of occupying an
important position in politics, and of seeing every species of life.
She was connected with some of the principal persons on both sides in
the civil contention, and passed much time both in London and in Oxford.
In both these places, but especially in the royal quarters, where
greater license was possible, she endeavoured to be included in anything
of an exciting and entertaining character that was going on.  Whatever
it was, it afforded her an insight into human nature and the manners of
the world.  Such a character does not seem a likely one to be willing to
submit to the restraints of the married life, and indeed Lady Cardiff
had hitherto rejected the most tempting offers, and, as she had attained
the mature age of thirty-two, most people imagined that she would not at
that time of life exchange her condition. It appeared, however, that her
fate had at last met her in the handsome person of Eustace Inglesant,
and the secret which Eustace had told his brother was already beginning
to be whispered in Oxford, and opinions were divided as to whether the
boldness of the young man or his good fortune were the most to be
admired.

When Inglesant left his brother and walked under the starry sky to his
lodgings at Wadham, his mind was ill at ease. He had taken a great
interest in Lady Fentham and her husband; indeed, his feelings towards
the former were those of an attached friend, attracted by her lively
innocence and good nature.  He was, as the reader will remember, still
very young, being only in his twenty-second year.  He was sincerely and
vitally religious, though his religion might appear to be kept in
subordination to his taste, and he had formed for himself, from various
sources, an ideal of purity, which in his mind connected earth to
heaven, and which, at this period of his life at any rate, he may have
been said faultlessly to have carried out.  The circumstances of his
youth and early training, which we have endeavoured to trace, acting
upon a constitution in which the mental power dominated, rendered
self-restraint natural to him, or rather rendered self-restraint
needless.  It was one of the glories of that age that it produced such
men as he was, and that not a few; men who combined qualities such as,
perhaps, no after age ever saw united; men like George Herbert, Nicholas
Ferrar, Falkland, the unusual combination of the courtier and the monk.
Yet these men were naturally in the minority, and even while moulding
their age, were still regarded by their age with wonder and a certain
kind of awe.  It is not meant that John Inglesant was altogether a good
specimen of this high class of men, for he was more of a courtier than
he was of a saint.  He was a sincere believer in a holy life, and
strongly desirous of pursuing it; he endeavoured conscientiously to
listen for the utterances of the Divine Voice; and provided that Voice
pointed out the path which his tastes and training had prepared him to
expect, he would follow it even at a sacrifice to himself; but he was
not capable of a sacrifice of his tastes or of his training.  On the
other hand, as a courtier and man of the world, he was profoundly
tolerant of error and even of vice (provided the latter did not entail
suffering on any innocent victim), looking upon it as a natural incident
in human affairs.  This quality had its good side, in making him equally
tolerant of religious differences, so that, as has been seen, it was not
difficult to him to recognize the Divine prompting in a Puritan and an
opponent. He was acutely sensitive to ridicule, and would as soon have
thought of going to Court in an improper dress as of speaking of
religion in a mixed company, or of offering any advice or reproof to any
one.  In the case which was now disturbing his mind, his chief fear was
of making himself ridiculous by interfering where no interference was
necessary.

He passed a restless night, and the next morning went to Trinity Chapel,
then much frequented for the high style of the music.  He was scarcely
here before Lady Isabella and young Lady Fentham, who lodged in that
college, came in, as was their habit, dressed to resemble angels in
loose and very inadequate attire.  At another time he might not have
thought much of it, but, his suspicions being aroused, he could not
help, courtier as he was, contrasting the boldness of this behaviour
with the chaste and holy life of the ladies at Little Gidding; and it
made him still more restless and uncertain what to do.  He avoided the
ladies after Chapel, and returned to his own rooms quite uncertain how
to act.  It came at last into his mind to inquire of the Secretary
Falkland whether Sir Richard Fentham was expected shortly in Oxford, as
his journeys were very irregular, and generally kept a profound secret.
He went to Lord Falkland and asked the question, telling him that he did
so from private reasons unconnected with the State.  Falkland declined
at first to answer him; but on Inglesant’s taking him a little more into
his confidence, he confided to him, as a great secret, that Sir Richard
was expected that very night, and further, that he would pass through
Newnham in the afternoon, where he would meet a messenger with
despatches.  Upon learning this startling piece of news, Inglesant
hastened to his brother’s rooms, but found he was too late, Eustace
having been gone more than two hours, and as he started considerably
after the ladies’ coach, there could be no doubt but that the party was
already at Newnham.  Inglesant went to the stables where his horses were
kept, and having found one of his servants, he ordered his own horse to
be saddled, as he was going to ride alone. While it was being prepared
he attempted to form some plan upon which to act when he arrived at
Newnham, but his ingenuity completely failed him.  Merely to walk into a
room where some ladies and gentlemen were at dinner, to which he was not
invited, and inform one of the ladies that her husband was in the
neighbourhood, appeared an action so absurd that he discarded the
intention at once.  When his horse was brought out and he mounted and
rode out of Oxford towards the south, telling his servant he should be
back at night, he probably did not know why he went.  He rode quickly,
and arrived in about an hour.  The Plough at Newnham (it has long
disappeared) stood upon the banks of the river, in a picturesque and
retired situation, and was much frequented by parties of pleasure from
Oxford.  The gardens and bowling-greens lay upon the river bank, and the
paths extended from them through the fields both up and down the river.
It was apparent to Inglesant that a distinguished party was in the
house, from the servants loitering about the doors, and coming in and
out.  More than one of these he recognized as belonging to Lord H——.
The absurdity of suspecting any mischief from so public a rendezvous
struck Inglesant as so great, that he was on the point of passing the
house.  He however alighted and inquired of one of the men whether any
of his brother’s servants were about.  The man, who knew him, replied
that Mr. Eustace Inglesant had dined there with his lordship and the
ladies, but was then, he believed, either in the garden or the fields
with Lady Cardiff; he had brought no servants with him.  Having got thus
into conversation with the man, Inglesant ventured to inquire, with as
careless a manner as he could assume, if Lady Isabella were there.

Lady Isabella, the man said, had dined there, but after dinner had gone
on a little farther in her coach, and attended by her servants, he
believed to make some call in the neighbourhood.

Then Inglesant knew that he had done right to come.

"I have a message to Lady Ann Fentham," he said to the man, "but not
being of the party, I would rather have sent it through my brother.  As
I suppose it is useless to attempt to find him, I shall be glad if you
will tell me in which room the lady is, for I suppose his lordship is
with her."

"His lordship left orders that he was not to be disturbed," said the man
insolently; "you had better try and find your brother."

"Nevertheless, I must give her my message," said Inglesant quietly;
"therefore, pray show me upstairs."

"I don’t know the room," said the man still more rudely, "and you cannot
go upstairs; his lordship has engaged the house."

During the conversation the other men had gathered round, and it seemed
to Inglesant that his lordship must have brought all his servants with
him, for the house appeared full of them. None of the ordinary servants
of the place were to be seen.

Inglesant had no arms but his riding sword, and even if he had had, the
use of them would have been absurd.

"You know who I am," he said, looking the man steadily in the face, "one
of the King’s gentlemen whom they call the Queen’s favourite page.  I
bring a message to Lady Fentham from her husband, the Secretary to the
Prince’s council; do you think your lord will wish you to stop me?"

As he spoke he made a step forward as though to enter, and the man,
evidently in doubt, stepped slightly on one side, making it possible to
enter the house.  The rest took this movement to imply surrender, and
one of the youngest, probably to gain favour, said, "The lady is in the
room opposite the stairs, sir."  Inglesant walked up the low oak
staircase to the door, the men crowding together in silence at the
bottom of the stairs.

Inglesant tried the latch of the door, though he did not intend to go in
without knocking.

The door was fastened, and he knocked.

For a moment there was silence, and then a voice said, angrily, "Who is
there?"

"A message from Sir Richard Fentham," said Inglesant.

There was another and a longer pause, and then the same voice said,—

"Is Sir Richard without?"

"No," replied Inglesant; "but he may be here any moment; he is on the
road."

The door was immediately opened by his lordship, and Inglesant walked
in.

The moment he did, Lady Fentham, who was in the further part of the
room, started up from the seat in which she was lying, and throwing
herself on Johnny’s shoulder said,—

"Help me, Mr. Inglesant, I have been cruelly deceived."

Inglesant took no notice of her, but turning to Lord H—— he said with
marked politeness,—

"I have to beg your lordship’s pardon for intruding upon your company,
but I am charged to let Lady Fentham know that Sir Richard is expected
in Oxford to-night, and may pass this house at any time, probably in a
few minutes.  I thought Lady Fentham would wish to know this so much
that I ventured to knock, though your servants told me you wished to be
private."

His words were so chosen and his manner so faultless and devoid of
suspicion, that Lord H—— could find nothing in either to quarrel with,
though he was plainly in a violent passion, and with difficulty
controlled himself.  It had also the effect of calming Lady Fentham, who
remained silent; indeed, she appeared too agitated to speak.  It was an
awkward pause, but less so to Inglesant than to the other two.

"I wished," he continued, still speaking to Lord H——, "to have sent my
message by my brother, but I find he is walking in the fields, and Lady
Isabella appears to have gone in her carriage to make a call in the
neighbourhood.  I presume she will call for you, Lady Fentham, on her
way back."

Lady Fentham made a movement of anger, and Lord H—— roused himself at
last to say,—

"I am much obliged to you, Mr. Inglesant, for the great trouble you have
taken.  I assure you I shall not forget it. Lady Fentham, as Sir Richard
will so soon be here"—he stopped suddenly as an idea struck him, and
looking full at Inglesant, said slowly and with marked emphasis,
"Supposing Mr. Inglesant to"—to have spoken the truth he would have
said, but Johnny’s perfectly courteous attitude of calm politeness, the
utter absence of any tangible ground of offence, and his own instincts
as a gentleman, checked him, and he continued,—"has not been
misinformed, you will not need my protection any further.  I will leave
you with Mr. Inglesant; probably Lady Cardiff will be back before long."

He took his leave with equal courtesy both to the lady and Inglesant,
and went down to his men.

Ann Fentham sank into her chair, and began to sob bitterly, saying,—

"What shall I say to my husband, Mr. Inglesant?  He will be here
directly, and will find me alone.  What would have happened to me if you
had not come?"

"If I may offer any advice, madam, I should say, Tell your husband
everything exactly as it happened.  Nothing has happened of which you
have need to be ashamed.  Sir Richard will doubtless see that you have
been shamefully deceived by your friends, as far as I understand the
matter.  You can trust to his sympathy and kindness."

She did not reply, and Inglesant, who found his situation far more
awkward than before, said, "Shall I seek for Lady Cardiff, madam, and
bring her to you?"

"No, don’t leave me, Mr. Inglesant," she said, springing up and coming
to him; "I shall bless your name for ever for what you have done for me
this day."

Inglesant stayed with the lady until it was plain Lord H—— had left the
house with his servants, and he then left her and went into the garden
to endeavour to find his brother and Lady Cardiff; but in this he was
not successful, and returned to the house, where he ordered some
dinner—for he had eaten nothing since the morning—and seated himself at
the window to wait for Sir Richard.  He had sat there about an hour when
the latter arrived, and drew his rein before the house before
dismounting.  Inglesant greeted him and went out to him in the porch.
Fentham returned his greeting warmly.

"Your wife is upstairs, Sir Richard," Inglesant said; "she came down
with Lady Isabella Thynne, and is waiting for her to take her back."

Fentham left his horse with the servant and ran upstairs straight to his
wife, and as Inglesant followed him into the house he met Lady Cardiff
and his brother, who came in from the garden.  Eustace Inglesant was
radiant, and introduced Lady Cardiff to his brother as his future wife.
He took them into a private room, and called for wine and cakes.  Johnny
thought it best not to tell them what had occurred, but merely said that
Sir Richard and his wife were upstairs; upon which Eustace sent a
servant up with his compliments, asking them to come and join them.
Both Lady Cardiff and Eustace appeared conscious, however, that some
blame attached to them, for they expressed great surprise at the absence
of Lady Isabella, and took pains to inform Johnny that they had left
Lady Fentham with her, and had no idea she was going away. Sir Richard
and Lady Fentham joined the party, and appeared composed and happy, and
they had not sat long before Lady Isabella’s coach appeared before the
door, and her ladyship came in.  The ladies returned to Oxford in the
coach, and the gentlemen on horseback.  Nothing was said by the latter
as to what had occurred until after they had left Eustace at his
lodgings, and Johnny was parting with Fentham at the door of Lord
Falkland, to whom he was going.  Then Sir Richard said,—

"Mr. Inglesant, my wife has told me all, and has told me that she owes
everything to you, even to this last blessing, that there is no secret
between us.  I beg you to believe two things,—first, that nothing I can
do or say can ever repay the obligation that I owe to you; secondly,
that the blame of this matter rests mostly with me, in that I have left
my wife too much."

Inglesant waited for several days in expectation of hearing from Lord
H——, but no message came.  They met several times and passed each other
with the usual courtesies. At last Eustace Inglesant heard from one of
his lordship’s friends that the latter had been very anxious to meet
Johnny, but had been dissuaded.

"You have not the slightest tangible ground of offence against young
Inglesant," they told him, "and you have every cause to keep this affair
quiet, out of which you have not emerged with any great triumph.
Inglesant has shown by the line of conduct he adopted that he desires to
keep it close. None of the rest of the party will speak of it for their
own sakes.  Were it known, it would ruin you at once with the King, and
damage you very much in the estimation of all the principal men here,
who are Sir Richard’s friends, and such as are not would resent such
conduct towards a man engaged on his master’s business.  Besides this
you are not a remarkably good fencer, whereas John Inglesant is a pupil
of the Jesuits, and master of all their arts and tricks of stabbing.
That he could kill you in five minutes if he chose, there can be no
doubt."

These and other similar arguments finally persuaded Lord H—— to restrain
his desire of revenge, which was the easier for him to do as Inglesant
always treated him when they met with marked deference and courtesy.

The marriage of Lady Cardiff and Eustace Inglesant was hurried forward,
and took place at Oxford some weeks after the foregoing events; the King
and Queen being present at the ceremony.  It was indeed very important
to attach this wealthy couple unmistakably to the royal party, and no
efforts were spared for the purpose.  Lady Cardiff and her husband,
however, did not manifest any great enthusiasm in the royal cause.

The music of the wedding festival was interrupted by the cannon of
Newbury, where Lord Falkland was killed, together with a sad roll of
gentlemen of honour and repute.  Lord Clarendon says,—"Such was always
the unequal fate that attended this melancholy war, that while some
obscure, unheard-of colonel or officer was missing on the enemy’s side,
and some citizen’s wife bewailed the loss of her husband, there were on
the other above twenty officers of the field and persons of honour and
public name slain upon the place, and more of the same quality hurt."
In this battle Inglesant was more fortunate than in his first, for he
was not hurt, though he rode in the Lord Biron’s regiment, the same in
which Lord Falkland was also a volunteer.

The King returned to Oxford, where Inglesant found every one in great
dejection of mind; the conduct of the war was severely criticized, the
army discontented, and the chief commanders engaged in reproaches and
recriminations.

One afternoon Inglesant was sent for to Merton College, where the Queen
lay, and where the King spent much of his time; where he found the
Jesuit standing with the King in one of the windows, and Mr. Jermyn, who
had just been made a baron, talking to the Queen.  The King motioned
Inglesant to approach him, and the Jesuit explained the reason he had
been sent for.

The trial of Archbishop Laud was commencing, and in order to incite the
people against him Mr. Prynne had published the particulars of a popish
plot in a pamphlet which contained the names of many gentlemen, both
Protestant and Catholic, the publication of which at such a moment
excited considerable uneasiness among their relations and friends.

"I wish you, Mr. Inglesant," said the King, "to ride to London.  Mr.
Hall has provided passes for you, and letters to several of his friends.
The new French Ambassador is landing; I wish to know how far the French
Court is true to me. Prynne’s wit has overreached himself.  His charges
have frightened so many, that a reaction is setting in in favour of the
Archbishop, and many are willing to testify in his favour in order to
exonerate themselves.  You will be of great use in finding out these
people.  Seek every one who is mentioned in Prynne’s libel; many of them
are men of influence.  Your familiar converse with Papists, in other
respects unfortunate, may be of use here."

Inglesant spent some time in London, and was in constant communication
with Mr. Bell, the Archbishop’s secretary.  He was successful in
procuring evidence from among the Papists of their antipathy to Laud,
and in various other ways in providing Bell with materials for defence.
Laud was informed of these acts of friendship, and being in a very low
and broken state, was deeply touched that a comparative stranger, and
one who had been under no obligation to him, should show so much
attachment, and exert himself so much in his service, at a time when the
greatest danger attended any one so doing, and when he seemed deserted
both by his royal master and by those on whom he had showered benefits
in the time of his prosperity.  He sent his blessing and grateful
thanks, the thanks of an old and dying man, which would be all the more
valuable as they never could be accompanied by any earthly favour.
Inglesant’s name was associated with that of the Archbishop, and the
Jesuit’s aim in sending him to London was accomplished.



                              *CHAPTER X.*


Inglesant was of so much use in gaining information, and managed to live
on such confidential terms with many in London in the confidence of
members of the Parliament, that he remained there during all the early
part of the year, and would have stayed longer; but the enemies of the
Archbishop, who pursued him with a malignant and remorseless activity,
set their eyes at last upon the young envoy, and he was advised to leave
London, at any rate till the trial was over.  He was very unwilling to
leave the Archbishop, but dared not run the risk of being imprisoned and
thwarting the Jesuit’s schemes, and therefore left London about the end
of May, and returned straight to Oxford.

He left London only a few days before the allied armies of Sir W. Waller
and the Earl of Essex, and had no sooner arrived in Oxford than the news
of the advance of the Parliamentary forces caused the greatest alarm.
The next day Abingdon was vacated by some mistake, and the rebels took
possession of the whole of the country to the east and south of Oxford;
Sir William Waller being on the south, and the Earl of Essex on the
east.  It was reported in London that the King intended to surrender to
the Earl’s army, and such a proposition was seriously made to the King
by his own friends a few days afterwards in Oxford.  The royal army was
massed about the city, most of the foot being on the north side;
Inglesant served with the foot in Colonel Lake’s regiment of musketeers
and pikes, taking a pike in the front rank.  It was a weapon which the
gentlemen of that day frequently practised, and of which he was a
master.  Several other gentlemen volunteers were in the front rank with
him.  The Earl’s army was drawn up at Islip, on the other side of the
river Cherwell, having marched by Oxford the day before, in open file,
drums beating and colours flying, so that the King had a full view of
them on the bright fine day.  The Earl himself, with a party of horse,
came within cannon shot of the city, and the King’s horse charged him
several times without any great hurt on either side.  It was a gay and
brilliant scene to any one who could look upon it with careless and
indifferent eyes.

The next morning a strong party of the Earl’s army endeavoured to pass
the Cherwell at Gosford bridge, where Sir Jacob Astley commanded, and
where the regiment in which Inglesant served was stationed.  The bridge
was barricaded with breastworks and a bastion, but the Parliamentarian
army attempted to cross the stream both above and below.  They succeeded
in crossing opposite to Colonel Lake’s regiment, under a heavy fire from
the musketeers, who advanced rank by rank between the troops of pikes
and a little in advance of them, and after giving their fire, wheeled
off to the right and left, and took their places again in the rear.  The
rebels reserved their fire, their men falling at every step; but they
still advanced, supported by troops of horse, till they reached the
Royalists, when they delivered their fire, closed their ranks, and
charged, their horse charging the pikes at the same time. The ranks of
the royal musketeers halted and closed up, and the pikes drew close
together shoulder to shoulder, till the rapiers of their officers met
across the front.  The shock was very severe, and the struggle for a
moment undecided; but the pikes standing perfectly firm, owing in a
great measure to the number of gentlemen in the front ranks, and the
musketeers fighting with great courage, the enemy began to give way, and
having been much broken before they came to the charge fell into
disorder, and were driven back across the stream, the Royalists
following them to the opposite bank, and even pursuing them up the
slope.  Inglesant had noticed an officer on the opposite side who was
fighting with great courage, and as they crossed the river he saw him
stumble and nearly fall, though he appeared to struggle forward on the
opposite slope to where an old thorn tree broke the rank of the pikes.
Johnny came close to him, and recognized him as the Mr. Thorne whom he
had known at Gidding.  As he knew the regiment would be halted
immediately, he fell out of his rank, leaving his file to the bringer-up
or lieutenant behind him, and stooped over his old rival, who evidently
was desperately hurt.  He raised his head, and gave him some _aqua vitæ_
from his flask.  The other knew him at once, and tried to speak; but his
strength was too far gone, and his utterance failed him.  He seemed to
give over the effort, and lay back in Inglesant’s arms, staining his
friend with his blood. Inglesant asked him if he had any mission he
would wish performed, but the other shook his head, and seemed to give
himself to prayer.  After a minute or two he seemed to rally, and his
face became very calm.  Opening his eyes, he looked at Johnny steadily
and with affection, and said, slowly and with difficulty, but still with
a look of rest and peace,—

"Mr. Inglesant, you spoke to me once of standing together in a brighter
dawn; I did not believe you, but it was true; the dawn is breaking—and
it is bright."

As he spoke a volley of musketry shook the hill-side, and the regiment
came down the slope at a run, and carrying Inglesant with them, crossed
the river, and, halting on the other side, wheeled about and faced the
passage in the same order in which they had stood at first.  This
dangerous manoeuvre was executed only just in time, for the enemy
advanced in great force to the river-side; but the Royalists being also
very strong, they did not attempt to pass.  After facing each other for
some time, the fighting having ceased all along the line, Inglesant
spoke to his officer, and got leave to cross the river with a flag of
truce to seek his friend.  An officer from the other side met him, most
of the enemy’s troops having fallen back some distance from the river.
He was an old soldier, evidently a Low-country officer, and not much of
a Puritan, and he greeted Inglesant politely as a fellow-soldier.

Inglesant told him his errand, and that he was anxious to find out his
friend’s body, if, as he feared, he would be found to have breathed his
last.  They went to the old thorn, where, indeed, they found Mr. Thorne
quite dead.  Several of the rebel officers gathered round.  Mr. Thorne
was evidently well known, and they spoke of him with respect and regard.
Inglesant stopped, looking down on him for a few minutes, and then
turned to go.

"Gentlemen," he said, raising his hat, "I leave him in your care.  He
was, as you have well said, a brave and a good man.  I crossed his path
twice—once in love and once in war—and at both times he acted as a
gallant gentleman and a man of God.  I wish you good day."

He turned away, and went down to the river, from which his regiment had
by this time also fallen back, the others looking after him as he went.

"Who is that?" said a stern and grim-looking Puritan officer. "He does
not speak as the graceless Cavaliers mostly do."

"His name is Inglesant," said a quiet, pale man, in dark and plain
clothes; "he is one of the King’s servants, a concealed Papist, and,
they say, a Jesuit.  I have seen him often at Whitehall."

"Thou wilt not see him much longer, brother," said the other grimly,
"either at Whitehall or elsewhere.  It were a good deed to prevent his
further deceiving the poor and ignorant folk," and he raised his piece
to fire.

"Scarcely," said the other quietly, "since he came to do us service and
courtesy."  But he made no effort to restrain the Puritan, looking on,
indeed, with a sort of quiet interest as to what would happen.

"Thou art enslaved over much to the customs of this world, brother,"
said the other, still with his grave smile; "knowest thou not that it is
the part of the saints militant to root out iniquity from the earth?"

He arranged his piece to fire, and would no doubt have done so; but the
Low-country officer, who had been looking on in silence, suddenly threw
himself upon the weapon, and wrested it out of his hand.

"By my soul, Master Fight-the-fight," he said, "that passes a joke.  The
good cause is well enough, and the saints militant and triumphant, and
all the rest of it; but to shoot a man under a flag of truce was never
yet required of any saint, whether militant or triumphant."

The other looked at him severely as he took back his weapon.

"Thou art in the bonds of iniquity thyself," he said, "and in the land
of darkness and the shadow of death.  The Lord’s cause will never
prosper while it puts trust in such as thou."  But he made no further
attempt against Inglesant, who, indeed, by this time had crossed the
river, and was out of musket shot on the opposite bank.

A few days afterwards the King left Oxford and went into the West.
Inglesant remained in garrison, and took his share in all the
expeditions of any kind that were undertaken. The Roman Catholics were
at this time very strong in Oxford; they celebrated mass every day, and
had frequent sermons, at which many of the Protestants attended; but it
was thought among the Church people to be an extreme thing to do, and
any of the commanders who did it excited suspicion thereby. The Church
of England people were by this time growing jealous of the power and
unrestrained license of the Catholics, and the Jesuit warned Inglesant
to attach himself more to the English Church party, and avoid being much
seen with extreme Papists.  Colonel Gage, a Papist, was appointed
governor by the King; but being a very prudent man and a general
favourite, as well as an excellent officer, the appointment did not give
much offence.  Inglesant was present at Cropredy Bridge, which battle or
skirmish was fought after the King returned to Oxford from his hasty
march through Worcestershire, and was wounded severely in the head by a
sword cut—a wound which he thought little of at the time, but which long
afterwards made itself felt.  Notwithstanding this wound he intended
following the King into the West, for His Majesty had latterly shown a
greater kindness to him, and a wish to keep him near his person; but
Father St. Clare, after an interview with the King, told Inglesant that
he had a mission for him to perform in London, and so kept him in
Oxford.

The trial of the Archbishop was dragging slowly on through the year, and
the Jesuit procured Inglesant another pass, and directed him to
endeavour in every way to assist the Archbishop in his trial, without
fear of his prosecutors, telling him that he could procure his
liberation even if he were put in prison, which he did not believe he
would be.  Inglesant, therefore, on his return to London, gave himself
heartily to assisting the counsel and secretary of the Archbishop, and
found himself perfectly unmolested in so doing.  He lodged at a
druggist’s over against the Goat Tavern, near Toy Bridge in the Strand,
and frequented the ordinary at Haycock’s, near the Palsgrave’s Head
Tavern, where the Parliament men much resorted.  Here he met among
others Sir Henry Blount, who had been a gentleman pensioner of the
King’s, and had waited on him in his turn to York and Edgehill fight,
but then, returning to London, walked into Westminster Hall, with his
sword by his side, so coolly as to astonish the Parliamentarians. He was
summoned before the Parliament, but pleading that he only did his duty
as a servant, was acquitted.  This man, who was a man of judgment and
experience, was of great use to Inglesant in many ways, and put him in
the way of finding much that might assist the Archbishop; but it
occurred to Inglesant more than once to doubt whether the latter would
benefit much by his advocacy, a known pupil of the Papists as he was.
This caused him to keep more quiet than he otherwise would have done;
but what was doubtless the Jesuit’s chief aim was completely answered;
for the Church people, both in London and the country, who regarded the
Archbishop as a martyr, becoming aware of the sincere and really useful
exertions that Inglesant had made with such untiring energy, attached
themselves entirely to him, and took him completely into their
confidence, so that he could at this time have depended on any of them
for assistance and support.  The different parties were at this time so
confused and intermixed—the Papists playing in many cases a double
game—that it would have been difficult for Inglesant, who was partly in
the confidence of all, to know which way to act, had he stood alone.  He
saw now, more than he had ever done, the intrigues of that party among
the Papists who favoured the Parliament, and was astonished at their
skill and duplicity.  At last the Commons, failing to find the
Archbishop guilty of anything worthy of death, passed a Bill of
Attainder, as they had done with Lord Strafford, and condemned him with
no precedence of law.  The Lords hesitated to pass the Bill, and on
Christmas Eve, 1644, demanded a conference with the Commons.  The next
day was the strangest Christmas Day Inglesant had ever spent.  The whole
city was ordered to fast in the most solemn way by a special ordinance
of Parliament, and strict inquisition was made to see that this
ordinance was carried out by the people.  Inglesant was well acquainted
with Mr. Hale, afterwards Chief Justice Hale, one of the Archbishop’s
counsel, then a young lawyer in Lincoln’s Inn, who, it was said, had
composed the defence which Mr. Hern, the senior counsel, had spoken
before the Lords.  Johnny spent part of the morning with this gentleman,
and in the afternoon walked down to the Tower from Lincoln’s Inn.  The
streets were very quiet, the shops closed, and a feeling of sadness and
dread hung over all—at any rate in Inglesant’s mind.  At the turnstile
at Holborn he went into a bookseller’s shop kept by a man named Turner,
a Papist, who sold popish books and pamphlets.  Here he found an
apothecary, who also was useful to the Catholics, making "Hosts" for
them.  These both immediately began to speak to Inglesant about the
Archbishop and the Papists, expressing their surprise that he should
exert himself so much in his favour, telling him that the Papists, to a
man, hated him and desired his death, and that a gentleman lately
returned from Italy had that very day informed the bookseller that the
news of the Archbishop’s execution was eagerly expected in Rome.  The
Lords were certain to give way, they said, and the Archbishop was as
good as dead already. They were evidently very anxious to extract from
Inglesant whether he acted on his own responsibility or from the
directions of the Jesuit; but Inglesant was much too prudent to commit
himself in any way.  When he had left them he went straight to the
Tower, where he was admitted to the Archbishop, whom he found expecting
him.  He gave him all the intelligence he could, and all the gossip of
the day which he had picked up, including the sayings of the wits at the
taverns and ordinaries respecting the trial and the Archbishop, of whom
all men’s minds were full.  Laud was inclined to trust somewhat to the
Lords’ resistance, and Inglesant had scarcely the heart to refute his
opinion.  He told him the feeling of the Papists, and his fear that even
the Catholics at Oxford were not acting sincerely with him.  After the
failure of the King’s pardon, Laud entertained little hope from any
other efforts Charles might be disposed to make; but Inglesant promised
him to ride to Oxford, and see the Jesuit again.  This he did the next
day, before the Committee of the Commons met the Lords, which they did
not do till the 2d of January.  He had a long interview with the Jesuit,
and urged as strongly as he could the cruelty and impolicy of letting
the Archbishop die without an effort to save him.

"What can be done?" said the Jesuit; "the King can do nothing.  All that
he can do in the way of pardon he has done: besides, I never see the
King; the feeling against the Catholics is now so strong, that His
Majesty dare not hold any communications with me."

Inglesant inquired what the policy of the Roman Catholic Church really
was; was it favourable to the King and the English Church, or against
it?

The Jesuit hesitated, but then, with that appearance of frankness which
always won upon his pupil, he confessed that the policy of the Papal
Court had latterly gone very much more in favour of the party who wished
to destroy the English Church than it had formerly done; and that at
present the Pope and the Catholic powers abroad were only disposed to
help the King on such terms as he could not accept, and at the same time
retain the favour of the Church and Protestant party; and he
acknowledged that he had himself under-estimated the opposition of the
bulk of English people to Popery. He then requested Inglesant to return
to London, and continue to show himself openly in support of the
Archbishop, assuring him that in this way alone could he fit himself for
performing a most important service to the King, which, he said, he
should be soon able to point out to him.  The old familiar charm, which
had lost none of its power over Johnny, would, of itself, have been
sufficient to make him perfectly pliant to the Jesuit’s will.  He
returned to London, but was refused admission to the Archbishop until
after the Committee of the Commons had met the Lords, and on the 3d of
January the Lords passed the Bill of Attainder.  When the news of this
reached the Archbishop, he broke off his history, which he had written
from day to day, and prepared himself for death.  He petitioned that he
might be beheaded instead of hanged, and the Commons at last, after much
difficulty, granted this request. On the 6th of January it was ordered
by both Houses that he should suffer on the 10th.  On the same day
Inglesant received a special message from the Jesuit in these words, in
cypher:—"Apply for admission to the scaffold; it will be granted you."

Very much surprised, Inglesant went to Alderman Pennington, and
requested admission to attend the Archbishop to the scaffold, pleading
that he was one of the King’s household, and attached to the Archbishop
from a boy.

Pennington examined him concerning his being in London, his pass, and
place of abode, but Inglesant thought more from curiosity than from any
other motive; for it was evident that he knew all about him, and his
behaviour in London.  He asked him many questions about Oxford and the
Catholics, and seemed to enjoy any embarrassment that Inglesant was put
to in replying.  Finally he gave him the warrant of admission, and
dismissed him.  But as he left the room he called him back, and said
with great emphasis,—

"I would warn you, young man, to look very well to your steps.  You are
treading a path full of pitfalls, few of which you see yourself.  All
your steps are known, and those are known who are leading you.  They
think they hold the wires in their own hands, and do not know that they
are but the puppets themselves.  If you are not altogether in the snare
of the destroyer, come out from them, and escape both destruction in
this world and the wrath that is to come."

Inglesant thanked him and took his leave.  He could not help thinking
that there was much truth in the alderman’s description of his position.

The next three days the Archbishop spent in preparing for death and
composing his speech; and on the day on which he was to die, Inglesant
found when he reached the Tower, that he was at his private prayers, at
which he continued until Pennington arrived to conduct him to the
scaffold. When he came out and found Inglesant there, he seemed pleased,
as well he might, for excepting Stern, his chaplain, the only one who
was allowed to attend him, he was alone amongst his enemies.  He
ascended the scaffold with a brave and cheerful courage, some few of the
vast crowd assembled reviling him, but the greater part preserving a
decent and respectful silence.  The chaplain and Inglesant followed him
close, and it was well they did so, for a crowd of people, whether by
permission or not is not known, pressed up upon the scaffold, as Dr.
Heylyn said, "upon the theatre to see the tragedy," so that they pressed
upon the Archbishop, and scarcely gave him room to die.  Inglesant had
never seen such a wonderful sight before—once afterwards he saw one like
it, more terrible by far.  The little island of the scaffold, surrounded
by a surging, pressing sea of heads and struggling men, covering the
whole extent of Tower Hill; the houses and windows round full of people,
the walls and towers behind covered too.  People pressed underneath the
scaffold; people climbed up the posts and hung suspended by the rails
that fenced it round; people pressed up the steps till there was
scarcely room within the rails to stand.  The soldiers on guard seemed
careless what was done, probably feeling certain that there was no fear
of any attempt to rescue the hated priest.

Inglesant recognized many Churchmen and friends of the Archbishop among
the crowd, and saw that they recognized him, and that his name was
passed about among both friends and enemies.  The Archbishop read his
speech with great calmness and distinctness, the opening moving many to
tears, and when he had finished, gave the papers to Stern to give to his
other chaplains, praying God to bestow His mercies and blessings upon
them.  He spoke to a man named Hind, who sat taking down his speech,
begging him not to do him wrong by mistaking him.  Then begging the
crowd to stand back and give him room, he knelt down to the block; but
seeing through the chinks of the boards the people underneath, he begged
that they might be removed, as he did not wish that his blood should
fall upon the heads of the people.  Surely no man was ever so crowded
upon and badgered to his death. Then he took off his doublet, and would
have addressed himself to prayer, but was not allowed to do so in peace;
one Sir John Clotworthy, an Irishman, pestering him with religious
questions.  After he had answered one or two meekly, he turned to the
executioner and forgave him, and kneeling down, after a very short
prayer, to which Hind listened with his head down and wrote word for
word, the axe with a single blow cut off his head.  He was buried in All
Hallows Barking, a great crowd of people attending him to the grave in
silence and great respect,—the Church of England service read over him
without interruption, though it had long been discontinued in all the
Churches in London.

News of his death spread rapidly over England, and was received by all
Church people with religious fervour as the news of a martyrdom; and
wherever it was told, it was added that Mr. John Inglesant, the King’s
servant, who had used every effort to aid the Archbishop on his trial,
was with him on the scaffold to the last.  Inglesant returned to Oxford,
where the Jesuit received him cordially.  He had, it would have seemed,
failed in his mission, for the Archbishop was dead; nevertheless, the
Jesuit’s aim was fully won.

On the King’s leaving Oxford, before the advance of General Fairfax,
Inglesant accompanied him, and was present at the battle of Naseby, so
fatal to the royal cause.  No mention of this battle, however, is to be
found among the papers from which these memoirs are compiled; and the
fact that Inglesant was present at it is known only by an incidental
reference to it at a later period.  Amid the confusion of the flight,
and the subsequent wanderings of the King before he returned to Oxford,
it is impossible to follow less important events closely, and it does
not seem clear whether Inglesant met with the Jesuit immediately after
the battle or not. Acting, however, there can be no doubt, with his
approval, if not by his direction, he appears very soon after to have
found his way to Gidding, where he remained during several weeks.



                             *CHAPTER XI.*


The autumn days passed quickly over, and with them the last peaceful
hours that Inglesant would know for a long time, and that youthful
freshness and bloom and peace which he would never know again.  Such a
haven as this, such purity and holiness, such rest and repose, lovely as
the autumn sunshine resting on the foliage and the grass, would never be
open to him again.  It was long before rest and peace came to him at
all, and when they did come, under different skies and an altered life,
it was a rest after a stern battle that left its scars deep in his very
life; it was apart from every one of his early friends; it was unblest
by first love and early glimpse of heaven. It was about the end of
October that he received a message from the Jesuit, which was the
summons to leave this paradise, sanctified to him by the holiest moments
of his life.  The family were at evening prayers in the Church when the
messenger arrived, and Inglesant, as usual, was kneeling where he could
see Mary Collet, and probably was thinking more of her than of the
prayers.  Nevertheless he remembered afterwards, when he thought during
the long lonely hours of every moment spent at Gidding, that the third
collect was being read, and that at the words "Lighten our darkness" he
looked up at some noise, and saw the sunshine from the west window
shining into the Church upon Mary Collet and the kneeling women, and,
beyond them, standing in the dark shadow under the window, the messenger
of the Jesuit, whom he knew.  He got up quietly and went out.  From his
marriage feast, nay, from the table of the Lord, he would have got up
all the same had that summons come to him.

His whole life from his boyhood had been so formed upon the idea of some
day proving himself worthy of the confidence reposed in him (that
perfect unexpressed confidence which won his very nature to a passionate
devotion capable of the supreme action, whatever it might be, to which
all his training had tended), that to have faltered at any moment would
have been more impossible to him than suicide, than any
self-contradictory action could have been—as impossible as for a proud
man to become suddenly naturally humble, or a merciful man cruel.  That
there might have been found in the universe a power capable of
overmastering this master passion is possible; hitherto, however, it had
not been found.

Outside the Church the messenger gave him a letter from the Jesuit,
which, as usual, was very short.

"Johnny, come to me at Oxford as soon as you can.  The time for which we
have waited is come.  The service which you and none other can perform,
and which I have always foreseen for you, is waiting to be accomplished.
I depend on you."

Inglesant ordered some refreshment to be given to the messenger, and his
own horses to be got out.  Then he went back into the Church, and waited
till the prayers were over.

The family expressed great regret at parting with him; they were in a
continual state of apprehension from their Puritan neighbours; but
Inglesant’s presence was no defence but rather the contrary, and it is
possible that some of them may have been glad that he was going.

Mary Collet looked sadly and wistfully at him as they stood before the
porch of the house in the setting sunlight, the long shadows resting on
the grass, the evening wind murmuring in the tall trees and shaking down
the falling leaves.

"Do you know what this service is?" she said at last.

"I cannot make the slightest guess," he answered.

"Whatever it is you will do it?" she asked again.

"Certainly; to do otherwise would be to contradict the tenor of my
life."

"It may be something that your conscience cannot approve," she said.

"It is too late to think of that," he said, smiling; "I should have
thought of that years ago, when I was a boy at Westacre, and this man
came to me as an angel of light—to me a weak, ignorant, country lad—to
me, who owe him everything that I am, everything that I know,
everything—even the power that enables me to act for him."

Did she remember how he had once offered himself without reserve to her,
then at least without any reservation in favour of this man?  Did she
regret that she had not encouraged this other attraction, or did she see
that the same thing would have happened whether she had accepted him or
no?  She gave no indication of either of these thoughts.

"I think you owe something to another," she said, softly; "to One who
knew you before this Jesuit; to One who was leading you onward before he
came across your path; to One who gave you high and noble qualities,
without which the Jesuit could have given you nothing; to One whom you
have professed to love; to One for whose Divine Voice you have desired
to listen.  Johnny, will you listen no longer for it?"

He never forgot her, standing before him with her hands clasped and her
eyes raised to his,—the flush of eager speaking on her face,—those great
eyes, moistened again with tears, that pierced through him to his very
soul,—her trembling lip,—the irresistible nobleness of her whole
figure,—her winning manner, through which the love she had confessed for
him spoke in every part.  He never saw her again but once—then in how
different a posture and scene; and the beauty of this sight never went
out of his life, but it produced no effect upon his purpose; indeed how
could it, when his purpose was not so much a part of him as he was a
part of it?  He looked at her in silence, and his love and admiration
spoke out so unmistakably in his look that Mary never afterwards doubted
that he had loved her.  He had not power to explain his conduct; he
could not have told himself why he acted as he did.  Amid the
distracting purposes which tore his heart in twain he could say nothing
but,—

"It may not be so bad as you think."

Mary gave him her hand, turned from him, and went into the house; and he
let her go—her of whom the sight must have been to him as that of an
angel—he let her go without an effort to stay her, even to prolong the
sight.  His horses were waiting, and one of his servants would follow
with his mails; he mounted and rode away.  The sun had set in a cloud,
and the autumn evening was dark and gloomy, yet he rode along without
any appearance of depression, steadily and quietly, like a man going
about some business he has long expected to perform.  I cannot even say
he was sad: that moment had come to him which from his boyhood he had
looked forward to.  Now at last he could prove, at any rate to himself,
that he was equal to that effort which it had been his ideal to attempt.

When Inglesant reached Oxford he sought out the Jesuit and found him
alone.  The royal affairs were at the lowest ebb.  Since the battle of
Naseby the King had done little but wander about like a fugitive.  He
was now at Oxford; but it was doubtful whether he could stay there in
safety through the winter, and certainly he would not be able to do so
after the campaign began, unless some change in his fortunes meanwhile
occurred.  All this Inglesant knew only too well.  The ruin of the royal
cause, entailing his own ruin and that of all his friends, was too
palpable to need description.  The Jesuit therefore at once proceeded to
the means which were prepared to remedy this disastrous state of things.
The Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, the Duke of Ormond, had, with the
consent of the King, concluded a truce with the Irish, who, after long
years of oppression, spoliation and misery, had, a few years before,
broken out suddenly in rebellion, and massacred hundreds of the
unprepared Protestants, men, women, and children, under circumstances,
as is admitted by Catholics, and is perhaps scarcely to be wondered at,
of frightful cruelty.  A feeling of intense hatred and dread of these
rebels had consequently filled the minds of the English Protestants,
both Royalists and Parliamentarians; a feeling in which horror at
murderous savages—for as such they not unnaturally regarded the
Irish—was united with the old hatred and fear of popish massacres and
cruelties.  The Parliament had remonstrated with the King for his
supineness in not concluding the war by the extirpation of these
monsters, and when at last a truce was concluded with them, the anger of
the Parliament knew no bounds, and even loyal Churchmen, although they
acknowledged the hard necessity which obliged the King to such a step,
yet lamented it as one of the severest misfortunes which had befallen
them.  The King hoped by this peace not only to be able to recall the
soldiers who had been engaged against the rebels to his own assistance,
but also to procure a detachment of Irish soldiers for the same purpose
from the popish leaders. But the popish demands being very excessive,
Ormond had not been able to advance far towards a settled peace, when,
in the previous spring, the Lord Herbert (afterwards Earl of Glamorgan),
the son of the Marquis of Worcester, of a devoted Catholic family and of
great influence, announced his intention of going to Ireland on private
business, and offered to assist the King with his influence among the
Catholics.  He had married a daughter of the great Irish house of
Thomond, and undoubtedly possessed more influence in that island among
the Papists than any other of the royal party.

The King eagerly accepted his assistance, and Glamorgan afterwards
produced a commission, undeniably signed by the King, in which he gives
him ample powers to treat with the Papists, and to grant them any terms
whatever which he should find necessary, consistent with the royal
supremacy and the safety of the Protestants.  In this extraordinary
commission he creates him Earl of Glamorgan, bestows on him the Garter
and George, promises him the Princess Elizabeth as a wife for his son,
gives him blank patents of nobility to fill up at his pleasure, and
promises him on the word of a King to endorse all his actions.  The only
limit which appears to have been set to the Earl was an obligation to
inform the Lord Lieutenant of all his proceedings; and the only doubt
respecting this commission appears to be whether it was filled up before
the King signed it, or written on a blank signed by the King, in
accordance with conclusions previously agreed upon between him and the
Earl.

The Earl left Oxford for Ireland, where the nuncio from the Pope had
arrived, and proceeded in his negotiations with this dignitary and the
Supreme Council of the rebel Papists and Irish—negotiations in which he
found endless difficulties and delays, owing chiefly to a mutual
distrust of all parties towards each other;—a distrust of the King not
unnatural on the part of the Irish, who knew that nothing but the utmost
distress induced the King to treat with them at all, and that to treat
with them, or at least to make any important concessions to them, was to
alienate the whole of the English Protestants—both Royalists and
Parliamentarians—to an implacable degree.  The Irish demanded perfect
freedom of religion; the possession of all Cathedrals and Churches; and
that all the strong places in Ireland, including Dublin, should be in
the hands at any rate of English Roman Catholics; that the English
Papists should be relieved from all disabilities; and that the King in
the first Parliament, or settlement of the nation, should ratify and
secure all these advantages to them.  In return for this the Pope
offered a large present of money, and the Earl was promised 10,000 men
from the rebel forces—3000 immediately for the relief of Chester, and
7000 to follow before the end of March.

In order to realize how repulsive such a proceeding as this would appear
to the whole English nation, it is necessary to recollect the repeated
professions of attachment to Protestantism on the part of the King, and
of his determination to repress Popery; the intense hatred of Popery on
the part of the Puritan party, and of most of the Church people; and the
horror caused in all classes by the barbarities of the Irish
massacre—something similar to the feeling in England during the Sepoy
rebellion.  No Irish ever came into England, and the English knew them
only by report as ferocious, half-naked savages, to which state, indeed,
centuries of oppression had reduced them.  So universal was this
feeling, that the King dared only proceed in the most secret manner; and
in a letter to Glamorgan he acknowledges that the circumstances are such
that he cannot do more than hint at his wishes, promising him again, on
the word of a King, to ratify all his actions, and to regard his
proceedings with additional gratitude if they were conducted without
insisting nicely on positive written orders, which it was impossible to
give.

Communications between the Earl and the Court continued to be kept up,
and the former represented the progress of the negotiations as
satisfactory; but the state of the King’s affairs became so pressing,
especially with regard to the relief of Chester, which was reduced to
great distress, that it was absolutely necessary that some envoy should
be sent to Ireland to hasten the treaty, and if possible assist the Earl
to convince the Supreme Council of the good faith of the King; and it
was also as important that an equally qualified agent should go to
Chester to prepare the leaders there to receive the Irish contingent,
and to encourage them to hold out longer in expectation of it.

"There is no man so suited to both these missions as yourself," said the
Jesuit.  "You are a King’s servant and a Protestant, and you will
therefore have weight with the rebel Council in Ireland.  Still more, as
you are a Churchman and a favourite with the Church people—especially
since the death of the Archbishop—you will be able to prepare the mind
of the Lord Biron and the commanders at Chester to receive the Irish
troops favourably; they will believe that you act by the King’s
direction, and will not know anything of the concessions which have been
made in Ireland.  You are ready to undertake it?"

Inglesant hesitated for a moment, but then he said simply and without
effort,—

"I am ready; I will do my best: but there are some things I should like
to ask."

"Ask what you will," said the Jesuit, quickly; "everything I know I will
tell you."

"As a Churchman," said Inglesant, "if I lend myself to this plan I shall
be considered by all Churchmen to have betrayed my religion, and to have
done my best to ruin my country as a Protestant country.  Is not this
the case?"

"Probably," said the Jesuit, after a moment’s hesitation.

"Shall I have any authority direct from the King for what I do?"

"I have advised not," said the Jesuit; "but His Majesty thinks that you
will need some other warrant, both in Ireland and at Chester, than the
mere fact of your belonging to the Household.  He therefore intends to
give you an interview, and also a written commission signed by himself."

"And in case the whole scheme miscarries and becomes public?" said
Inglesant.

"I cannot answer," said the Jesuit, "for what course His Majesty may be
advised to take; but in your case it will, of course, be your duty to
preserve the strictest silence as to what has passed between the King
and yourself."

"Then if I fall into the hands of the Parliament," Inglesant said, "my
connection with the King will be repudiated?"

"His Majesty pledges his word as a King," began the Jesuit.

Inglesant made a slight impatient motion with his head, which the other
saw, and instantly stopped.

He raised his eyes to Inglesant, and looked fully in his face for a
moment, then, with that supreme instinct which taught him at once how to
deal with men, he said:—

"If the necessities of the State demand it, all knowledge of this affair
will be denied by the King."

"That is all I have to say," said Inglesant; "I am ready to go."

The next day Inglesant saw the King.  The interview was very short.  The
King referred him to Father St. Clare for all instructions, telling him
distinctly that all the instructions he would receive from him would
have his approval, urging him to use all his efforts to assist Lord
Glamorgan, but at all events to lose no time, after seeing his Lordship,
in getting to Chester, and, when there, to use every exertion to induce
the Cavaliers to receive the Irish troops, as they, no doubt, would be
glad in their extremity to do.  He received a few lines written by the
King in his presence and signed, requiring all to whom he might show
them to give credit to what he might tell them as if it came direct from
the King.  The King gave him his hand to kiss, and dismissed him.

Inglesant lost no time in reaching Bristol, taking with him all that
remained of his money, considerable sums of which he had from time to
time lent to the King.  He found a vessel sailing for Waterford, and was
fortunate enough to reach that harbour without loss of time.  He did not
stay by the ship while she went up to the city, but landed at Dunmore,
and immediately took horses to Kilkenny.  There he found the Earl and
the Papal Nuncio engaged in negotiations with each other, and with the
Supreme Council, the principal difficulty being an intense distrust of
the King.  The Nuncio, John Baptista Renuccini, Archbishop of Fermo, was
of a noble family of Florence, and of long experience at the Court of
Rome.  He appeared pleased to see Inglesant, and came to visit him
privately at his lodgings, where he entered into a long discourse with
him, endeavouring to find out the real standing and authority of the
Earl, and whether the King could be trusted or not.  Inglesant, who
spoke both French and Italian as well as Latin, was able to enter very
fully and freely into the state of affairs with him.  He told him that
the only way to gain any advantages which the Catholics might have in
view was to assist the King promptly and effectively at once; that the
King could only be enabled to fulfil his promises by being placed in a
strong and independent position; and that if, by delays and half
measures, the help was postponed till it was too late, or the
negotiations became publicly known, the King would be powerless to
fulfil his promises, and would be compelled to repudiate them
altogether.  He submitted to the Nuncio that, even supposing the King’s
good faith was doubtful, he was much more likely to be favourable to the
Catholics, when restored to power, than the Parliament and the Puritan
faction would ever be; he reminded the Nuncio of the great favour and
leniency which had ever been shown to the Romanists during the King’s
reign, and he spoke warmly of the base ingratitude which had been shown
to the King by that party among the Catholics who had intrigued with the
Parliament against a King, very many of whose troubles had arisen from
his leniency towards their religion.

The Nuncio was evidently much impressed with Inglesant’s arguments, and
was very courteous in his expressions of regard, assuring Inglesant that
he should not forget to mention so excellent and intelligent a friend of
the Romish Church in Rome itself, and that he hoped he might some time
see him there, and receive him into closer relations to that glorious
and tender mother.

Inglesant saw the Earl immediately after this interview; he found him
perplexed and discouraged with the difficulties of his position.  He
introduced Inglesant to several of the Supreme Council, and many days
were taken up in argument and negotiations.  At last both Inglesant and
the Earl agreed that the most important thing for him to do was to get
to Chester without loss of time, as the delays and negotiations were so
great that there was imminent danger that the city would be surrendered
before the treaty could be completed. Inglesant therefore left Kilkenny
immediately, and, posting to Dublin without loss of time, embarked for
Anglesea, and arrived there on the 29th of December.  Here he procured
horses, and, crossing the island, he passed over into Flintshire and
proceeded towards Chester.  It was exceedingly unfortunate that he had
not arrived a few days before, as the Parliamentary army, having lately
received a reinforcement of Colonel Booth and the Lancashire forces who
had just reduced Lathom House, had now entirely surrounded the city,
guarding with sufficient force every gate and avenue, causing a great
scarcity of provisions, and rendering it almost impossible for any one
to gain admission to the garrison.



                             *CHAPTER XII.*


Lord Biron and some of the commissioners who were associated with him in
the defence of the city were at supper in a long, low room in the castle
on the evening of the 12th of January.  Lord Biron and more than one of
the noblemen and gentlemen then in Chester had their ladies with them,
but they lived apart, mostly at Sir Francis Gammul’s house in the Lower
Bridge Street, opposite to St. Olave’s Church, and were provided for
rather better than the rest; but the commanders partook of exactly the
same food as the rest of the besieged, and their supper that night
consisted of nothing but boiled wheat, with water to drink.  The
conversation was very flat, for the condition of the besieged was
becoming utterly hopeless; and although they had rejected several offers
of capitulation, they foresaw that it could not be long before they
should be obliged to submit.  The town had been singularly free from
discontent and mutiny, and Lord Biron’s high position and renown made
him particularly fitted for the post he filled; but he felt that the
task before him was well-nigh hopeless.  He sat buried in thought, few
of the other gentlemen present spoke, and they were on the point of
separating, Lord Biron to make the round of the walls, when a servant
came up from the court below, saying that there was a man below in the
dress of a miner, who said he was Mr. Inglesant, the King’s gentleman,
and wished to see his lordship.

"Who did you say?" exclaimed Lord Biron, and the others crowded round in
excitement, "Inglesant, the King’s Esquire?"

"John Inglesant."

"The Esquire of the Body?"

"No doubt from Oxford and the King."

"How could he have got in?"

"In the dress of a miner, he says."

"Perhaps the King is near at hand?"

"At any rate he has not forgotten us."

"He has used his Jesuit’s teaching to some purpose."

These and many other exclamations were uttered while Lord Biron told the
servant to send Inglesant up at once. He entered the room in his miner’s
dress, his hands and face stained with dust, his hair matted and hanging
over his eyes. He carried a large kind of bag, such as the miners used,
and his first action was to place it on the table, and to remove from it
five or six bottles of claret, a large ham, and a goose.

"I knew you were somewhat short here," he said, "and I ran the risk of
bringing these things, though I do not know, if I had been caught, that
it would have told much against me, for we miners live well, I can tell
your lordship."

"But how on earth did you get in?" said Lord Biron, "and where have you
come from?"

"I thought I never should have got in," he replied.  "The leaguer is
well kept, and there is scarcely a weak point.  But I fear," he added
sadly, "from the state I find you in, it really mattered little whether
I got in or not."

"Oh, never say that," said Lord Biron cheerily; "the sight of you is a
corps of relief in itself.  Come in here and let me hear what you have
to say.  I will not keep the news a moment from you, gentlemen," he
added courteously to the rest.

"If you will pardon me, my lord," said Inglesant, "and allow me a moment
to wash this dirt off, and if some one would lend me a suit of clothes,
it would be a courtesy.  I had to leave my own in Flintshire, and these
are none of the pleasantest.  My news will keep a few minutes, and your
lordship will be all the better for a glass or two of this claret, which
is not the worst you ever drank."

Lord Biron took him into another room, and left him to change his dress,
lending him one of his own suits of clothes. Inglesant really wished to
gain time, and also to say what he had to say with every advantage of
appearance and manner, for he felt that his mission was a difficult
one—how difficult he felt he did not know.

When he came back he found the gentlemen had opened one of the bottles,
and were drinking the wine very frugally, but with infinite relish.
They were warm in their thanks to Inglesant, and in congratulations on
his improved appearance. Lord Biron took him on one side at once.

Inglesant had a letter for him from the Duke of Ormond, which the Duke
had given him unsealed, telling him to read it.  John Inglesant had done
so several times during his journey, and did not altogether like its
contents.  The Duke alluded by name to Lord Glamorgan, and mentioned the
number (10,000) of the troops intended to be sent to England. Neither
fact would Inglesant have wished to communicate himself, at any rate at
once, and he had resolved not to deliver the letter until he saw how
Lord Biron took the rather vague information he intended to give him.
But there is always this difficulty with negotiations of this kind, that
while the first requisite is entire frankness, the least caution, even
at the beginning, may convey a sense of suspicion which nothing
afterwards can remove.  Inglesant felt, therefore, that he should have
to watch Lord Biron most closely, and decide instantly, and on the spur
of the moment, when to trust him and to what extent.

He began, after Lord Biron had expressed his cordial admiration at his
exploit and his sense of obligation, by telling him he came direct from
Lord Ormond, in Dublin, and that his object in getting into Chester was
to let them know that they might expect relief from Ireland, at most
within a few days, and to urge them to hold out to the last moment and
the last bag of wheat.

Without appearing to do so, he watched Lord Biron narrowly as he spoke,
and saw that he expected to hear a great deal more than this vague
account.

He went on telling him of his interview with Ormond, of the King’s great
anxiety for the relief of Chester, and the difficulties the Lord
Lieutenant met with in treating with the Irish; but he saw that Lord
Biron was manifestly getting impatient. At last the latter said,—

"But you have not told me, Mr. Inglesant, where this relief is to come
from.  Ormond has no troops to spare—he has told us so often; indeed,
all the troops that could be spared passed through Chester years ago
when the truce was first proclaimed.  He must keep all his to keep those
murderous villains, the Irish Papists, in check.  They will respect no
truce. We hear something of Lord Glamorgan; have you seen him in
Ireland?  Have you no letter from Ormond to me?"

Inglesant saw that he must trust him at once to a very great extent.

"I have a letter from the Duke to you," he said; "but I wish first to
show you this warrant the King gave me at Oxford, that you may see I do
not speak without his authority. When he gave me that, he told me all
the negotiations which the Duke was engaged in, at his desire, with the
Irish Papists; and all that I tell you has been done with his sanction.
As to Lord Glamorgan, I saw him at Kilkenny; he is striving all he can
to second the Lord Lieutenant’s efforts with the Irish and the Papal
Nuncio, and he has the fullest warrant from the King."

Lord Biron read the warrant from the King carefully more than once; then
returned it, and took Lord Ormond’s letter, which he also read once or
twice.

Inglesant walked to the window and looked out.

"The letter is not sealed, Mr. Inglesant," Lord Biron said.

"No," said Inglesant, "the Duke insisted on my bringing it open, and on
my reading it.  I requested him to seal it, but he refused."

"And you have read it?"

"Certainly."

"I see he speaks of a very large contingent—10,000 men, and that
Glamorgan is to get them entirely from the Irish Papists.  Ten thousand
Irish Papists and murderers in England, Mr. Inglesant, is not what I
should like to see, and I do not like the negotiation being entrusted so
much to Glamorgan, a determined Papist.  We know not what concessions he
may make unknown to the King.  I beg your pardon for my plain
speaking;—they say you are half a Papist yourself."

"You will only have 3000 men sent here," said Inglesant, "and from what
I saw in Ireland I fear it may be some time before the rest follow.
Besides, surely, my lord, nothing can be worse than your present state
here."

"It is sad enough, certainly, but there may be things much worse.  I
tell you, sir, I would rather die of hunger on these walls than see my
country given over to murderous Irish rebels and savage Kerns.  And bad
as the King’s affairs are at present, I am convinced that His Majesty
would endure all gladly, rather than make any concessions to such as
these,—much less expose England to their ravages."

"The troops who will be sent will be under the strictest orders, and
commanded by gentlemen of honour and rank," said Inglesant; "and I
assure your lordship, upon my sacred word of honour as a Christian, that
nothing will be attempted but what has His Majesty’s cordial consent."

Lord Biron was unsatisfied, but Inglesant considered he had achieved a
success; his lordship had plainly not the least suspicious feeling
towards him, all his dissatisfaction arising from his dislike to the
means proposed for his relief. He would, moreover, hold out as long as
possible, and this all the more as he saw help approaching, from
whatever source it came.

They went back to the other officers, and communicated the news to them,
rather to their disappointment; for Inglesant having spoken some words
of encouragement to the soldiers of the guard below, the report had run
through Chester that the King was at hand with 3000 horse.  The effect,
however, which Inglesant’s news produced in Chester was altogether
exhilarating.  Officers, soldiers, and inhabitants set to work with
redoubled vigour, and Inglesant became a hero wherever he went, and was
introduced to Lady Biron and the ladies, who received him with
gratitude, as though he had already raised the siege.  He was himself,
however, very far from being at ease, as day after day passed and no
signs of help appeared.  Lord Biron, though showing the greatest signs
of confidence openly, had evidently become more and more hopeless, and
continually sought opportunities of speaking to Inglesant privately; and
Inglesant found it impossible to avoid letting him see more and more
into the real facts of the case; so that the Duke and his share in the
negotiations fell, day by day, deeper into the shade, and Lord Glamorgan
and his share appeared every day in greater prominence.  Lord Biron
expressed himself increasingly dissatisfied, and suspicious that such
negotiations did not originate with the King; but as no help or troops
of any kind appeared, these imaginary dangers were not of much import.
Sir William Brereton, the Parliamentary commander, was continually
sending letters summoning them to surrender.  Nine of these they
refused, but when there appeared no longer any hopes of succour, Lord
Biron answered the tenth.  To this Sir William answered, upbraiding Lord
Biron with having delayed so long, "every day producing loss of blood
and expense of treasure," but offering to appoint commissioners to treat
on the terms of surrender.  This letter was received on the 26th of
January, and the same day Lord Biron replied.  Sir William’s answer came
the next day, and the same morning, that is on the 27th of January, an
event occurred which decided Lord Biron to surrender, and at the same
time sealed Inglesant’s fate.

Early in the forenoon a rumour spread through Chester, the source of
which could not be discovered, but which no doubt arose from some
soldiers’ gossip between the outposts. It was said that some great Earl
(Lord Glamorgan’s name was immediately introduced into the report, but
whether it was in the original rumour is doubtful) had been arrested in
Ireland, for having concluded in the King’s name, but without his
sanction, a treaty with the Irish rebels and Papists, by which the
latter were relieved from all disabilities and restored to the command
of the island, in return for which they agreed to march a large army
into England, to destroy the Parliament and the Protestant party, and
restore the King and Popery. This report, garnished with great variety
of additional horrors, spread rapidly through the city, and about ten
o’clock reached Lord Biron’s ears.  Chiming in as it did with his worst
suspicions, it excited and alarmed him not a little.  His first thought
was of Inglesant, and he sent at once to his lodgings to know if he was
within.  Inglesant had spent the whole of the night at one of the
advanced bastions, where, having some reason to believe that the enemy
were working a mine, the garrison made a sortie, and, wearied out, had
come home to his room in the Bridge Street to rest.  His wounds, and
especially the one in his head, which had been supposed to be cured,
began to affect him again, probably through exhaustion, excitement, and
want of food, and for several days he had felt a giddiness and confusion
of brain which at times was so great that he scarcely knew what he did.
He had scarcely fallen asleep on the great bed in the small room,
crowded with the valuables of the good people of the house in which he
lodged, when the messenger from the governor entered the room and
aroused him.  Sending the man back before him he waited a few minutes to
collect his faculties and arrange his dress, and then followed him to
the Castle.  He found Lord Biron in the state dining-room, a noble room,
handsomely furnished, with large windows at the end over-looking the Dee
estuary, and a great carved fireplace, before which Lord Biron was
standing, impatiently awaiting him.

"Mr. Inglesant," he said, as he entered the room, "you showed me once a
commission from His Majesty; will you let me see it again?"

Inglesant, who had heard nothing of the rumour that had caused such
dismay, and who suspected nothing, immediately produced the paper and
handed it to Lord Biron, who took out another from his pocket, and
compared the two carefully together, going to the window to do so.

Then, coming back to Inglesant, and holding the two papers fast in his
hand, he said:—

"Mr. Inglesant, I have heard this morning, what I have reason to believe
is true, that the Lord Glamorgan has been arrested in Dublin by the
King’s Council for granting the Papists terms in the King’s name, and
conspiring to bring over a Papist army into England.  Have you any
knowledge of such matters as these?"

Inglesant’s astonishment and dismay were so unfeigned that Lord Biron
saw at once that such news was most unexpected by him.  He had indeed,
among all the dangers he was on his guard against, never calculated upon
such as this. Distasteful as he supposed the negotiations with the
Papists would be to numbers of the Church party, the idea never entered
his mind that any loyal authorities would take upon them, without
communicating with the King, the responsibility of arresting the
negotiations or making them public, and this with a high hand,
presupposing that they were without the King’s sanction.  But, supposing
this extraordinary news to be true, he saw at once an end to his
efforts,—he saw himself at once helpless and deserted, nothing before
him but long imprisonment and perhaps death.

He stood for some moments looking at Lord Biron, the picture of
astonishment and dismay.  At last he said,—

"I cannot think, my lord, that such news can be true. What possible
motive could the Council have to take such a step?  I give you my word
of honour as a Christian, that Lord Glamorgan has done nothing but what
he had authority for from the King."

"You are much in his confidence evidently, sir," said Lord Biron
severely; "but I am inclined to believe my information nevertheless."

"But he had commission and warrants signed by the King himself; and
private letters from him, which would have removed all suspicion," said
Inglesant.

"Yes, sir, no doubt he had commissions, professedly from the King, as
you have," said Lord Biron still more severely. "Your commission names
Lord Glamorgan, and you are evidently of one council with him.  Will you
pledge me your honour that this paper was written by the King?"

And he held out Inglesant’s commission,

Johnny hesitated: the circumstances of the case were beginning to
arrange themselves before him, racked and weary as his brain was.  If
this news were true, if the Lord Lieutenant and the Council had really
disclaimed, in the King’s name, the negotiations, and boldly before the
world proclaimed them unauthorized, and the warrants a forgery, the game
was evidently played out, and his course clear before him, dark and
gloomy enough.  Yet he thought he would make one effort to recover the
paper, a matter, whatever might turn out, of the first importance to the
King.

"If I swear to you, Lord Biron, that the King wrote it, will you give it
me back?"

"I am sorry, sir, that I cannot," said Lord Biron, "I am grieved at my
heart to do anything which would seem to doubt in the least the word of
a gentleman such as I have always believed you to be; but in the post I
hold, and in the crisis of an affair so terribly important as this, I
must act as my poor judgment leads me.  I cannot give this paper up to
any one until I learn more of this distressing business."

"If I swear to you," said Inglesant, beaten at every point, but fighting
to the last, "that it is the King’s writing, will you give me your word
of honour that you will burn it immediately?"

"No, sir," said the other loftily; "what the King has been pleased to
write, it can be the duty of no man to conceal."

"Then it is not the King’s," said Inglesant.

Lord Biron stared at him for a moment, then folded up the papers
carefully, and replaced them in his pocket-case.  Then he went to the
door of the dining-room at the top of the stairs and called down.

"Without! send up a guard."

Inglesant unhooked his sword from the scarf, and handed it to Lord Biron
without a word.  Then he said,—

"It can be of no advantage to me now, may probably tell against me, when
I entreat your lordship to believe me when I tell you, as I hope for
salvation before the throne of God, that if you burn that paper now you
will be glad of it every day you live."

"I certainly shall not burn it, sir," said the other, speaking now with
a cold disdain.  And he turned his back upon Inglesant, and stood
looking at the fire.

Johnny went to the window and looked out.  The bright winter’s sun was
shining on the walls and roofs of the town, on the dancing waves of the
estuary, and on the green oak banks of Flintshire beyond.  He remembered
the view long afterwards, as we remember that on which the eye rests
almost unconsciously in any supreme moment of our lives.

Presently the guard came up.

"This gentleman is under arrest," said Lord Biron to the sergeant; "you
will secure him in one of the strong rooms of the tower, and see that he
has fire and his full share of provisions until the garrison is
relieved; but no one must be admitted to see him, and you are
responsible for his person to me.  You can send word to your servant to
bring you anything you may want from your lodgings, Mr. Inglesant," he
said, "but he must not come to you, and all the things must pass through
my hands."

Inglesant bowed, "I have to thank you for the courtesy, Lord Biron," he
said; "I have nothing to complain of in your treatment of me."

The other turned away, half impatiently, and Inglesant followed the
sergeant to his room, the guard following one by one, through the
passages and up the narrow staircase of the tower.

It was a pleasant room enough, fitted with glass windows strongly
barred.  The sergeant caused a fire to be lighted, and left Inglesant to
himself.

It was the first time he had ever been imprisoned, and as the door
locked upon him that terrible feeling crept over him which the first
sense of incarceration always brings,—a nameless dread and a frantic
desire of escape, of again mixing with fellow-men.  But to Inglesant
this sad feeling was increased immensely by the circumstances that
surrounded him, and the peculiar nature of his position.  The very
nature of his position debarred him from all hope, cut him off from all
help alike from friend and foe.  Those who in any other case would be
most forward to help him were now his jailers, nay, he was turned by
this strange reverse into his own jailer and enemy; debarred from
attempting anything to help himself, he must actually employ all his
energies in riveting the chains more tightly on his limbs, in preparing
the gallows himself. Exposed to the contempt and hatred of all his
friends, of those dearer to him than friends, he could make no effort to
clear himself, nay, every word he spoke must be nicely calculated to
increase their aversion and contempt.  He was worn and ill and
half-starved, and his brain was full of confusion and strange noises,
yet the idea of faltering in his course never so much as presented
itself to him.  The Jesuit’s work was fully done.

The next day the Commissioners for the surrender of the city met, and
the day after Sir William Brereton’s commissioners made a formal
announcement of the news that had been received from Ireland.  Lord
Glamorgan, they said, had arrived in Dublin from Kilkenny.  The 26th of
December was fixed for him to appear before the Council, but in the
meantime letters were received by several persons in Dublin giving an
account of some papers found on the person of the titulary Archbishop of
Tuam, who was slain in an encounter at Sligo in October.  The papers
contained the details of the treaty come to between Lord Glamorgan and
the Papists, which details threw the Council into such dismay that they
concluded that if such things were once published, and they could be
believed to be done by his Majesty’s authority, they could have no less
fatal an effect than to make all men conclude all the former scandals
cast upon His Majesty of the inciting the Irish Rebellion true; that the
King was a Papist, and designed to introduce Popery even by ways the
most unkingly and perfidious; and consequently, that there would be a
general revolt of all good Protestants from him.  Now, the Council,
considering all this, and also hearing that the affair was already
public through Dublin, and beginning to work such dangerous effects that
they did not consider themselves safe, they concluded that the only
course open to them was to arrest Lord Glamorgan in the Council, which
was accordingly done on the 26th of December.

The Commissioners also informed Lord Biron that they were told that
there were many Irish in Chester, born of Irish parents, who had
formerly served in the rebel armies in Ireland, and that also there was
even then in Chester an emissary from Lord Glamorgan.  They therefore
demanded that these Irish should be exempted from the general terms of
surrender, and made over to them as prisoners of war, and that the
emissary from Lord Glamorgan should also be given up to them as a
traitor, seeing that he was condemned by the royal party as well as by
themselves.

To this it was answered by Lord Biron’s Commissioners that the
Irish—such at least as were born of Irish parents and had served with
the rebels—should be delivered as they requested, and that as to Mr.
Inglesant, the emissary alluded to, he was already under arrest on the
charge of treason, and should remain so until more of this affair could
be known, when, if the truth appeared to be as was supposed, he should
be given up also.

With this the Parliamentary Commissioners professed themselves
satisfied, and the treaty was proceeded with, and on the 3d of February
Chester was formally surrendered. On the same day Sir William Brereton
informed Lord Biron that the King, in a message to the Parliament, dated
from Oxford, January 29th, utterly repudiated all knowledge of the Earl
of Glamorgan’s proceedings, and denied that he had given him any
authority whatever to treat with the Irish Papists.  Sir William added,
he supposed Lord Biron would no longer have any scruple to surrender the
person of Lord Glamorgan’s emissary, as by so doing could he alone
convince men of the sincerity of his belief in the King’s freedom from
complicity in his designs.  Lord Biron answered that he had nothing to
object to in this, and would give Mr. Inglesant up, and indeed it was
not in his power to do anything else.  On the 3d day of February the
Parliamentary forces were marched into the town, and Lord Biron with his
lady, and the rest of the noblemen and gentlemen and their ladies,
prepared to leave.  According to the articles of the treaty, carriages
were provided for them and their goods, and a party of horse appointed
to convey them to Conway.  The ladies and gentlemen were assembled at
Sir Francis Gammul’s in the lower Bridge Street.  The street was blocked
with carriages and horses, and carts full of goods; companies of foot
were forcing their way through; the overhanging rows and houses were
full of people, the Church bells were ringing, the Parliamentary
officers passing to and fro.  There was a certain amount of relief and
gaiety in all hearts; the Royalists were relieved from the hardships of
the siege, and were expecting to go to their homes; the
Parliamentarians, of course, were jubilant.  The principal inhabitants
of Chester were the worst off, but even they looked forward to a time of
quiet, and to the possibility of at last retrieving their losses and
their position in the town. Amid all this confusion and bustle, a
sergeant’s guard entered the room where Inglesant was confined, and
desired him to accompany them to the commander, that the transfer of his
person might be arranged.  He followed them out of the castle, by St.
Mary’s Church, and up the short street into the Bridge Street, at the
corner of which Sir Francis Gammul’s house stood.  Forcing his way
through the crowd that gaped and pressed upon them, the sergeant
conducted Inglesant into the house, and up into one of the principal
rooms, where the commanders and the ladies and many others were
assembled. A crowd of curious spectators pressed after them to the door
as soon as it was known whom the sergeant had brought; a dead silence
fell upon the whole company, and the two commanders, who were seated at
a table, on which were the articles of surrender, rose and gazed at
Inglesant.  A confused murmur, the nature of which it would have been
difficult to describe, ran through the room, and the ladies pressed
together, with mingled timidity and curiosity, to look on.  Inglesant
was thin and pale, his clothes shabby and uncared for, his hair and
moustache undressed, his whole demeanour cowed and dispirited—very
different in appearance from the fine gentleman who had played Philaster
before the Court.  Doubtless, many among the Royalists pitied him; but
at present no doubts were felt, or at any rate had time to circulate, of
the King’s sincerity, and the dislike to the Jesuits, even by the High
Church Loyalists, closed their hearts against him.  The Lord Biron asked
him whether he had anything to say before he was delivered over to Sir
William, to which he replied,—

"No."

He made no effort to speak to any one, or to salute Lady Biron or any of
his acquaintances, but stood patiently, his eyes fixed on the ground.

Sir William asked whether he adhered to his statement that the
commission he had exhibited was a forgery?

At which he looked up steadily, and said,—

"Yes; it was not written by the King."

As he made the avowal a murmur of indignation passed through the room,
and Sir William ordered him to be removed, telling him he should be
examined to-morrow, the account of his answers sent up to London, and
the will of the Parliament communicated to him as soon as possible.
Inglesant bowed in reply and turned to leave the room, making no effort
to salute or take leave of any one; but Lord Biron stopped him with a
gesture, and said, probably actuated by some feeling which he could not
have explained,—

"I wish you good-day, Mr. Inglesant.  I may never see you again."

Inglesant looked up, a slight flush passing over his features, and their
eyes met.

"I wish you good-day, my lord," he said; "you have acted as a faithful
servant of the King."

Lord Biron made no further effort to detain him, and he left the room.

The next day he was brought up before Sir William Brereton, and examined
at great length.  He stated that the plot had originated with the Roman
Catholics, especially the Jesuits, whose envoy Lord Glamorgan was; that
all the warrants and papers were forged by them, and that he had
received his instructions and the King’s commission from Father St.
Clare himself.  He stated that if the design failed, the King was to
know nothing of it, and if it succeeded it was supposed that he would
pardon the offenders on consideration of the benefits he would receive.
A vast mass of evidence was taken by Sir William from Irish soldiers,
inhabitants of Chester, and people of every description, relative to
what had taken place in the city, and all was sent to London to the
Parliament.  In the course of a few days orders came down to bring
Inglesant up to town, together with some of the most important
witnesses, to be examined before a Committee of the House of Commons;
and this was accordingly done at once, Sir William Brereton accompanying
his prisoner and conveying him by easy stages to London, where he was
confined in St. James’s palace till the will of the Parliament should be
known.



                            *CHAPTER XIII.*


When the news of the arrest of the Earl of Glamorgan reached Oxford, it
caused the greatest consternation, and the King wrote letters, in his
own name and in that of the Chancellor, to the Parliament and to all the
principal politicians denying all participation in or knowledge of his
negotiations.

The most violent excitement prevailed on the subject all over England.
All parties, except the Papists, joined in expressing the most lively
horror and indignation at proposals which not only repudiated the policy
of the last hundred years, and let loose the Papists to pursue their
course unimpeded, but also placed England at the mercy of the most
repulsive and lawless of the followers of the Roman Catholic faith.  The
barbarities of the Irish rebels, which were sufficiently horrible, were
magnified by rumour on every side; and the horror which the English
conceived at the thought of their homes being laid open to those
monsters, was only equalled by their indignation against those who had
conceived so treasonable and unnatural a plot.  Besides this, the King
having denied all knowledge of such negotiations, the indignation of all
loyal Churchmen was excited against those who had so treasonably and
miserably done all they could to compromise the King’s name, and make
him odious to all right-thinking Englishmen.  The known actors in this
affair being very few, consisting, indeed, only of the Earl and
Inglesant, and of the Jesuits (which last was a vague and intangible
designation, standing in the ordinary English mind merely as a synonym
for all that was wicked, base, and dangerous), and the Earl being,
moreover, out of reach, the public indignation concentrated on
Inglesant, and his life would have been worth little had he fallen into
the hands of the mob. When the news of the fall of Chester and of
Inglesant’s arrest and subsequent transference to the Parliamentary
commander, reached Oxford, the King sent for the Jesuit privately, and
received him in his cabinet at Christ Church.

The King appeared anxious and ill, and as though he did not know where
to turn or what to do.

"You have heard the news, Father, I suppose," he said. "Lord Biron, as
well as Digby, has taken upon himself to keep the King’s conscience, and
know the King’s mind better than he does himself.  How many Kings there
are in England now, I do not know, but I have ever found my most
faithful servants my most strict masters.  You know Jack Inglesant has
been given over to the rebels?  What are we to do for him?"

"Your Majesty can do nothing," said the Jesuit.  "All that could be done
has been done, and as far as may be has been done well.  All that your
Majesty has to do now is to be silent."

"Then Inglesant must be given up," said the King.

"He must be given up.  Your Majesty has no choice."

"Another!" said the King, bitterly.  "Strafford, whose blood tinges
every sight I see!  Laud, Glamorgan, now another!  What right have I to
suppose my servants will be faithful to me, when I give them up, one by
one, without a word?"

"Your Majesty does not discriminate," said the Jesuit; "your good heart
overpowers your clearer reason.  It is as much your duty, for the good
of the State, to be deaf to the voice of private feeling and friendship,
as it is for your servants to be deaf to all but the call of duty to
your Majesty; and this your servants know, and do not dream that they
have any cause to complain.  Strafford and the Archbishop both
acknowledged this, and now it will be the same again.  There is no fear
of John Inglesant, your Majesty."

"No," said the King, rising and pacing the closet with unequal steps,
"there is no fear of John Inglesant, I believe you.  There is no fear
that any man will betray his friends, and be false to his Order and his
plighted word, except the King!—except the King!"

Apparently the Jesuit did not think it worth while to answer this
outbreak, for he said, after a pause,—

"Your Majesty has written to Glamorgan?"

"Yes, I have told him to keep quiet," said the King, sitting down again;
"he is in no danger—I am clear of him. But do you mean to say, Father,
that Inglesant must be left to the gallows without a word?"

"No, I do not say that, your Majesty," said the other; "the rebels will
do nothing in a hurry, you may depend.  They will do all they can to get
something from him which may be useful against your Majesty, and it will
be months before they have done with him.  I have good friends among
them, and shall know all that happens.  When they are tired of him, and
the thing is blown over a little, I shall do what I can."

"And you are sure of him," said the King; "any evidence signed by him
would be fatal indeed."

"Your Majesty may be quite easy," said the other, "I am sure of him."

"They will threaten him with the gallows," said the King, "life is sweet
to most men."

"I suppose it is," said the Jesuit, as if it were an assertion he had
heard several times lately, and began to think he must believe; "I have
no experience in such matters.  But, however sweet it may be, its
sweetness will not induce John Inglesant to utter a syllable against the
cause in which he is engaged."

"You are very confident of your pupil," said the King.  "I hope you will
not be deceived."

The Jesuit smiled, but did not seem to think it necessary to make any
further protestations, and soon after left the closet.

                     *      *      *      *      *

Inglesant remained some time in confinement at St. James’s before he was
summoned before the Parliamentary Committee; but at the beginning of
March another of those extraordinary events occurred which seemed
arranged by some providential hand to fight against the King.  A packet
boat put into Padstow, in Cornwall, supposing it to be a royal garrison;
on discovering their mistake, and some slight resistance having been
overpowered, the captain threw a packet of letters and some loose papers
overboard.  The papers were lost, but the packet was fished out of the
sea, and proved to contain the most important of the correspondence from
Lord Digby, describing the discovery of the plot, the articles of
agreement with the Papists, the copy of the warrant from the King to the
Earl of Glamorgan, and several letters from the Earl himself, all
asserting his innocence of any actions but those directed and approved
by the King.  These letters were published _in extenso_ by the
Parliament in a pamphlet which appeared on the 17th of March.  The
information contained in these papers was of the greatest use to the
Parliament, for, though there was nothing in them absolutely to
inculpate the King (indeed the letters of Lord Digby, as far as they
went, were strong proofs to the contrary), yet it placed it in their
power to make assertions and inquiries based upon fact, and it brought
forward Lord Glamorgan as an evidence on their side.  If they could now
have produced a confession signed by Inglesant to the same effect, the
case would have been almost complete—at any rate few would have
hesitated to call the moral proof certain.  A Committee of the Commons
was appointed to examine Inglesant, and he was summoned to appear before
them.

On the day appointed he was brought from St. James’s across the park in
a sedan, guarded by soldiers, and not being recognised escaped without
any notice from the passers-by.

The Committee sat in one of the rooms of the Parliament House, and began
by asking Inglesant his name.

"I understand," said one of the members savagely, "that your name is
Inglesant, of a family of courtiers and sycophants, who for generations
have earned their wretched food by doing any kind of dirty work the
Court set them; and that they never failed to do it so as to earn a
reputation even among the mean reptiles of the Court precincts.  This is
true, is it not?  And you have held some of those posts which an honest
man would scorn."

Inglesant had recovered his health during his imprisonment, thanks to
rest and sufficient food, and his manner was quiet and confident.  To
the attack of the Parliamentarian he answered simply,—

"My name is Inglesant; I have been Esquire of the Body to the King."

The Chairman checked the warmth of the Puritan, and began to question
Inglesant concerning the plot, endeavouring to throw him off his guard
by mentioning facts which had come to their knowledge through the recent
discoveries.  But Inglesant was prepared with his story.  Though he was
surprised at the amount of knowledge the Committee possessed, yet he
stood to his assertion that he knew nothing of any instructions except
those which he had himself received, and that the whole plot originated
with the Jesuits, as far as he knew, and had every reason to believe.
When he was asked how he, a Protestant and a Churchman, could lend
himself to such a plot, he replied that he was very much inclined to the
Romish Church, and that he thought the King’s affairs so desperate that
the plan of obtaining help from the Irish rebels appeared to him and to
Father St. Clare as almost the only resource left to them.  The
Committee, finding gentle means fail, adopted a sterner tone, telling
him he was guilty of high treason, without benefit, and that he might
certainly, on his own confession, be condemned to the gallows without
further trial.  They then offered him a statement to sign, which, they
said, they had sure information contained nothing but the truth.
Inglesant looked at it, and saw that in truth it did contain a very fair
statement of what had really taken place.

He replied that it was impossible for him to sign anything so opposite
to what he had himself confessed; and that even if he did, no one would
believe so monstrous a statement, and one so contrary to the known
opinions and professions of the King. The Committee then asked him why,
if the King’s commission was forged, it was kept back, and where it was?

Inglesant said that "the Lord Biron had it, having forcibly taken it
from him, and refused to return it, telling him plainly that he should
keep it as evidence against him."

He observed that this impressed the Committee, and he was soon after
dismissed.  He returned to St. James’s the same way that he came, but
found a strong guard summoned to attend him; for, the news of his
examination having got wind, the crowd assembled at the Parliament
House, and accompanied him, with hootings and insults of every kind,
across the Park.

As one result of his examination, Inglesant was removed from St.
James’s, and sent by water to the Tower, where a close confinement in a
small cell, and insufficient diet, again affected his health.  He formed
the idea that the Parliament intended to weaken him with long
imprisonment, and so cause him to confess what they wished; he feared
that the state of his health, and especially the extent to which his
brain was affected, would assist this purpose; and this fear preyed upon
him, and made him nervous and miserable—dreading above everything that,
his mind being clouded, he might say something inadvertently which might
discover the truth.  His health rapidly declined, and he became again
thin and worn.  The Parliament Committee now spread a report that the
royal party, who pretended to indicate the offenders in this plot, did
not really do so; and that in particular they kept back the originals of
the King’s warrants and commissions, which they asserted to be
forgeries, and refused to bring them forward and submit them to proof,
which would be the surest way of making the fact of the King’s ignorance
of them certain.  They did this because they knew Lord Biron’s character
as a man of unstained and unsuspicious honour, and they calculated that
such a taunt as this would be certain to bring him forward with the
commission, which he had in his keeping, and which they trusted to be
able to prove was a genuine document.  Their policy had the desired
effect.  Lord Biron, who was at Newstead, without consulting any one,
sent up a special messenger to the Speaker to say that, a safe-conduct
being granted him, he would come up to London, and appear before the
Committee of Parliament, bringing the commission, which he asserted was
a palpable forgery, with him.  The safe-conduct was immediately sent
him, and he came up.  The Committee were rejoiced at the success of
their policy, and fixed a day for him to appear before them, and at the
same time ordered Inglesant to be fetched up from the Tower to be
confronted with his lordship.  The affair caused the greatest interest,
and the Committee Room was thronged with all who could command
sufficient influence to obtain entrance, and crowds filled the corridors
and the precincts of the House.  Lord Biron was introduced, and gave his
evidence with great clearness, describing the arrest of Inglesant, his
suspicious conduct, and his attempt to induce Lord Biron to destroy the
warrant; and finally produced the paper, and handed it to the clerk of
the Committee.  The Chairman then ordered Inglesant to be brought in
through a side door; and he came up to the bar.

His appearance was so altered, and his manner so cowed and embarrassed,
that a murmur ran through the room, and Lord Biron could not restrain an
exclamation of pity. Inglesant started when he saw him, for he had been
kept in complete ignorance of what had occurred, and his mind
immediately recurred to the commission.  He was evidently making the
greatest efforts to collect himself, and keep himself calm.  Nothing
could have told more against himself, or in favour of the part he was
playing, than his whole demeanour.

He was examined minutely on the circumstances of his arrest, and related
everything exactly as it occurred, which, indeed, he had done
before—both his relations tallying exactly with Lord Biron’s.

When asked what his business was in Chester, he said—to prepare the
Cavaliers to receive the Irish help; and added that he had been obliged
to communicate a great deal more to Lord Biron than he had wished or
intended, and that Lord Biron had always manifested the greatest
suspicion of him and of his mission.

He gave his evidence steadily, but without looking at Lord Biron, or
indeed at any one.

When asked why he wished to recover possession of the commission, or at
least to induce Lord Biron to burn it, he replied,—

"Lest it should serve as evidence against myself."

This seemed to most present a very natural answer; yet it caused Lord
Biron to start, and to fix a searching glance on Inglesant.

As a gentleman of high breeding and instinctive honour, it jarred upon
his instinct, and conveyed a sudden suspicion that Inglesant was acting.
That the latter might be so utterly perverted by his Jesuit teaching as
to be lost to all sense of right and truth, he was prepared to believe;
that he might have been led into treason knowingly or inadvertently, he
was willing to think; but the low and pitiful motive that he gave was so
opposed to his previous character, notorious for a fantastic elevation
and refinement of sentiment, that it supposed him a monster, or that
some miracle had been wrought upon him.  A terrible doubt—a doubt which
Biron had once or twice already seen faintly in the distance—approached
nearer and looked him in the face.

The Committee had examined the commission one by one, comparing it with
some of the King’s writing which they had before them; finally it passed
into the hands of a Mr. Greenway, a lawyer, and skilled in questions of
evidence and of writing, who examined it attentively.

It was curious to see the behaviour of the two men under examination
while this was going on; Lord Biron, as a noble gentleman, from whose
mind the doubt of a few minutes ago had passed, standing erect and
confident, looking haughtily and freely at the expert, secure in his own
honour and in that of his King; Inglesant, cowed and anxious, leaning
forward over the bar, his eyes fixed also on the lawyer—pale, his lips
twitching,—the very picture of the guilty prisoner in the dock.

The expert looked at both the men curiously, then threw down the paper
contemptuously.

"It is a palpable forgery," he said; "and not even a clever imitation of
the King’s hand."

And indeed, from some accident or other, the letters were, some of them,
formed in a manner unusual to the King.

Inglesant, weakened with illness and anxiety, could not restrain a
movement of intense relief.  He drew a long breath and stood erect, as
if relieved from an oppressive weight.  He raised his eyes, and they
caught those of Lord Biron, which had been attracted towards him, and
were fixed full on his face.

Biron started again; there was not the least doubt that Inglesant
rejoiced in the proof of the forgery of the warrant. That terrible doubt
stood close now before his lordship and grasped him by the throat.

Suppose, after all, this man whom he had imprisoned and despised, whose
mission he had thwarted—this man whom all the royal party were calling
by every contemptuous name, who stood there pale, cowed, beaten
down;—suppose, after all, that this man, alone against these terrible
odds, was all the time fighting a desperate battle for the King’s
honour, forsaken by God and men!  But the consequences which would
follow, if this view of the matter were the true one, were, in Lord
Biron’s estimation, too terrible to be thought of.

"I wish to say," said Inglesant, looking straight before him, "that the
Lord Biron obtained possession of that paper when he was in possession
of information of which I was ignorant.  His lordship would probably
have behaved differently, but he thought he was speaking to a thief."

There was something in this covert reproach, so worded, which so exactly
accorded with what was passing in Lord Biron’s mind that it cut him to
the quick.

"I assure you, Mr. Inglesant," he said eagerly, "you are mistaken.
Whatever I may think of the cause in which you are engaged, I have
always wished to behave to you as to a gentleman.  If you consider that
you have cause of complaint against me, I shall be ready, when these
unhappy complications are well over, as I trust they may be, to give you
satisfaction and to beg your pardon afterwards."

He said these last words so pointedly that Inglesant started, and saw at
once that his fear had been well founded, and that, thrown off his guard
by the success of the examination of the warrant, he had made a mistake.
He looked up quickly at Biron—a strange terror in his face—and their
eyes met.

That they understood each other is probable; at any rate Inglesant’s
look was so full of warning that Biron understood that if nothing more,
and restrained himself at once.  All this had passed almost unnoticed by
the Committee, who were consulting together.

Lord Biron left the room, and Inglesant was taken back to the Tower as
he had come.  Mr. Secretary Milton, who had been present as a spectator,
left the Parliament House and proceeded at once to Clerkenwell Green to
the house of General Cromwell, and related to him and to General Ireton,
who was with him, what had occurred.

"They have gained nothing by getting this warrant," he said; "nay, you
have lost rather.  You have brought up Lord Biron, who comes forward in
the light of day and with the utmost confidence, and challenges this
paper to be a forgery, and your own lawyers bear him out in it.  I have
not the least doubt it is the King’s; but some of the letters, either
purposely or more probably by accident, are not in his usual hand, and
the best judges cannot agree on these matters.  Out of Inglesant you
will get nothing.  He is a consummate actor, as I have known of old.  He
is prepared at every point, and carefully trained by his masters the
Jesuits.  I know these men, and have seen them both here and abroad.
Acting on select natures the training is perfect.  They will go to death
more indifferently than to a Court ball.  You may rack them to the
extremity of anguish, and in the delirium of pain they will say what
they have been trained to say, and not the truth. You may wear him out
with fasting and anxiety until he makes some mistake; he made two
to-day, besides one which was a necessity of the case,—for I do not see
what else he could have said,—that was so slight that no one saw it but
Biron. Weakened by anxiety, doubtless, he could not restrain a movement
of relief when the expert declared the warrant a forgery; Biron saw that
too, for I watched him.  Last, which was the greatest mistake of all,
and would show that his training is not entirely perfect, were we not to
make allowance for his broken health, he forgot his part, and suffered
his passion to get the better of him, and to taunt Lord Biron in such a
way that Biron, who I think till then honestly believed the King’s word,
very nearly let out the truth in his astonishment.  But what do you gain
by all this?  It rather adds to the apparent truth of the man’s story,
and gives life to his evidence.  Nothing but his written testimony will
be of any use, and this you will never get."

"He shall be tried for his life at any rate," said Cromwell.

"You have threatened him with that already."

"Threatening is one thing," replied the General; "to stand beneath the
gallows condemned to death another."

                     *      *      *      *      *

News of the taking of Chester and of the arrest of John Inglesant on
such a terrible charge—a charge at once of treason against the King, his
country, and his religion—as it travelled at once over England, reached
Gidding in due course. It caused the greatest dismay and distress in
that quiet household.  About the middle of April a gentleman of
Huntingdon, a Parliament man, who had lately come from London, dined
with the family.  He told them during dinner that he had been present in
the Committee room when Mr. Inglesant had been examined.  When dinner
was over Mr. John Ferrar, who was now at the head of the family,
remained at table with this gentleman, being anxious to hear more, and
Mary Collet also stayed to hear what she could of her friend, watching
every word with eager eyes.  In that family, where there was nothing but
love and kindliness and entire sympathy, it was thought only natural
that she should do so, and no ill-natured thought occurred to any member
of it.  The Parliament man described more at full the examination before
the Committee, and Inglesant’s worn and guilty appearance,—sad news,
indeed, to both his hearers.  He described Lord Biron’s examination and
the production of the forged warrant.

"And did John Inglesant admit that it was forged?" said Mr. Ferrar.

"Yes, he said from his own knowledge that it was prepared by Father St.
Clare the Jesuit."

"It is a strange world," said Mr. Ferrar dreamily, "and the Divine call
seems to lead some of us into slippery places—scarcely the heavenly
places in Christ of which the Apostle dreamt."

The gentleman did not understand him, nor did Mary Collet altogether
until afterwards.

Presently Mr. Ferrar said,—

"And what do you think of it all?  Was the warrant forged or not?"

"I am somewhat at a loss what to think," said the other, "I am not, as
you know, Mr. Ferrar, and without wishing to offend you, an admirer of
the King, but I do not believe him to be a fool and mad.  There is no
doubt that he has tampered with the Papists throughout, yet I cannot
think, unless he is in greater extremities than we suppose, that he
would have practised so wild and mad a scheme as this one of the Irish
rebels and murderers.  On the other hand, I can conceive nothing too bad
for the Jesuits to attempt; and it seems to me that I can discern
something of their hand in this—an introduction of an armed Papist force
into the country, to be joined, doubtless, by all the English Papists;
only I should have thought they could have procured this without
bringing in the King’s name, but doubtless they had some reason for this
also. The general opinion among the Parliament men is that the warrant
is the King’s, and that he has planned the whole thing. On the other
hand, it is plain the Cavaliers do not believe it, or Lord Biron would
never have come boldly up of his own accord, and brought up the warrant
so confidently."

"But does not the warrant itself prove something one way or the other?"
said Mr. Ferrar.

"These things are very difficult to judge upon," said the gentleman.
"The expert to whom the Committee gave it pronounced it a forgery upon
the spot, but he has been greatly blamed for precipitancy; and others to
whom it has been shown pronounce it genuine.  Some of the letters
certainly are not like the King’s, but the style of the hand is the
King’s, they say, even in these unusual letters.  By the way, if you had
seen Inglesant’s guilty look when the expert took the paper in his hand,
you would say with me it was a forgery.  You could not, to my mind, have
a stronger proof."

"But if the King had ordered this, would not he help Mr. Inglesant?"
Mary Collet ventured to say.

"Help? madam," said the gentleman warmly, "when did the King help any of
his friends?"

"Whichever way it is," said Mr. Ferrar mildly, "he cannot help.  To help
would be to condemn himself in public opinion, which in these unhappy
distractions he dare not do.  Did Lord Biron speak to Mr. Inglesant,
sir?"

"Very little.  They taunted each other once, and seemed about to come to
blows.  All the evidence went to show that Lord Biron suspected him from
the first."

The gentleman soon after left.  Mr. Ferrar returned to the dining-room
after seeing him to his horse, and found Mary Collet sitting where they
had left her, lost in sad and humiliating thought.

He sat down near her and said kindly,—

"My dear Mrs. Mary, I hardly know which of the two alternatives is the
best for your friend—for my friend; but it is better at least for you to
know the truth, and I think I can now pretty much tell which is the true
one.  If this plot were altogether the Jesuits’, John Inglesant would
not say it.  If the King had no hand in it, proof would be given a
thousand ways without having recourse to this.  There are other facts
which to my mind are conclusive that this way of thinking is the right
one, but I need not tell them all to you.  What I have said I should say
to none but you.  You will see that it is of the utmost importance that
you say nothing of it to any. I believe you may comfort yourself in
thinking that, according to the light which is given him, John Inglesant
is following what he believes to be his duty, and none can say at any
rate that it is a smooth and easy path he has chosen to walk in."

Mary Collet thanked him, her beautiful eyes full of tears, and left the
room.

A few days afterwards the news ran like wildfire over England that the
King had left Oxford secretly, and that no one knew where he was; and a
night or two afterwards Mr. John Ferrar was called up by a gentleman who
said he was Dr. Hudson, the King’s Chaplain, and that the King was
alone, a few paces from the door, and that he would immediately fetch
him in.

Mr. Ferrar received His Majesty with all possible respect. But fearing
that Gidding, from the known loyalty of the family, might be a suspected
place, for better concealment he conducted the King to a private house
at Coppingford, an obscure village at a small distance from Gidding, and
not far from Stilton.  It was a very dark night, and but for the lantern
Mr. Ferrar carried, they could not have known the way.  As it was, they
lost their way once, and wandered for some time in a ploughed field.
Mr. Ferrar always spoke with the utmost passionate distress of this
night, as of a night the incidents of which must have awakened the
compassion of every feeling heart, however biassed against the King.  As
a proof of the most affecting distress, the King, he said, was serene
and even cheerful, and said he was protected by the King of kings. His
Majesty slept at Coppingford, but early in the May morning he was up,
and parted from Mr. Ferrar, going towards Stamford.  Mr. Ferrar returned
to his house, and two days after it was known that the King had given
himself up to the Scottish army.



                             *CHAPTER XIV.*


Inglesant remained in prison, and would have thought that he had been
forgotten, but that every few weeks he was sent for by the Committee and
examined.  The Committee got no new facts from him, and indeed probably
did not expect to get any; but it was very useful to the Parliament
party to keep him before the public gaze as a Royalist and a Jesuit.  It
was a common imputation upon the Cavaliers that they were Papists, and
anything that strengthened this belief made the King’s party odious to
the nation.  Here was a servant of the King’s, an avowed Jesuit, and one
self-condemned in the most terrible crimes.  It is true he was disowned
by the royal party, apparently sincerely; but the general impression
conveyed by his case was favourable to the Parliament, and they
therefore took care to keep it before the world. These examinations were
looked forward to by Inglesant with great pleasure, the row up the river
and the sight of fresh faces being such a delight to him.  He was not
confined to his room, being allowed to walk at certain hours in the
court of the Tower, and he found a box containing a few books, a
Lucretius, and a few other Latin books, probably left by some former
occupant of the cell.  These were not taken from him, and he read and
re-read them, especially the Lucretius, many times.  They saved him from
utter prostration and despair,—they, and a secret help which he
acknowledged afterwards,—a help, which to men of his nature certainly
does come upon prayer to God, to whatever source it may be ascribed;—a
help which in terrible sleepless hours, in hours of dread weariness of
life, in hours of nervous pain more terrible than all, calms the heart
and soothes the brain, and leaves peace and cheerfulness and content in
the place of restlessness and despair. Inglesant said that repeating the
name of Jesus simply in the lonely nights kept his brain quiet when it
was on the point of distraction, being of the same mind as Sir Charles
Lucas, when, "many times calling upon the sacred name of Jesus," he was
shot dead at Colchester.

More than a year passed over him.  From the scraps of news he could
gather from his jailer, and from the soldiers in the court during his
walks, he learnt that the King had been given up by the Scots, had
escaped from Hampton Court, had been retaken and sent to Carisbrooke,
and was soon to come to London, the man said, for his trial.

It was soon after he had learnt this last news that his jailer suddenly
informed him that he was to be tried for his life.

Accordingly, soon after, a warrant arrived from Bradshaw, the President
of the Council of State, to bring him before that body.

The Council sat in Essex House, and some gentlemen, who had surrendered
Pembroke upon terms that they should depart the country in three days,
but—accounting it base to desert their prince, and hoping that there
might be further occasion of service to His Majesty,—had remained in
London, were upon their trial.  When Inglesant arrived with his guard
these gentlemen were under examination, and one of them, who had a wife
and children, was fighting hard for his life, arguing the case step by
step with the lawyers and the Council. Inglesant was left waiting in the
anteroom several hours; from the conversation he overheard, the room
being constantly full of all sorts of men coming and going—soldiers,
lawyers, divines—he learnt that the King’s trial was coming on very
soon, and he fancied that his name was mentioned as though the nearness
of the King’s trial had something to do with his own being hurried on.
It was a cold day, and there was a large fire in the anteroom.
Inglesant had had nothing to eat since morning, and felt weak and faint.
He wished the other examinations over that his own might come on; his,
he thought, would not take long.  At last the gentlemen were referred to
the Council of War, to be dealt with as spies, and came out of the
Council chamber with their guards.  The one was a plain country
gentleman, and neither of them knew Inglesant, but, stopping a moment in
the anteroom, while the guard prepared themselves, one of them asked his
name, saying he was afraid they had kept him waiting a long time.  This
was Colonel Eustace Powell, and Inglesant met him again when he thought
he had only a few minutes to live.

The Council debated whether they should hear Inglesant that day, as it
was now late in the afternoon, and the candles were lighted, but finally
he was sent for into the Council.

As soon as he came to the bar, Bradshaw asked him suddenly when he saw
the King last, to which he replied that he had not seen the King since
Naseby field.

"You were at Naseby, then?" said Bradshaw.

"Yes," said Inglesant.

"And you ran away, I suppose?"

"Yes," said Johnny, "I ran away."

"Then you are a coward as well as a traitor," said Bradshaw.

"I am not braver than other men," said Inglesant.

Inglesant was then examined more in form, but very shortly; everything
he said having been said so often before.

The President then told him that, by his own confession, he was guilty
of death, and should be hanged at once if he persisted in it, but that
the Council did not believe his confession—indeed, had evidence and
confessions from others to prove the reverse; and therefore, if he
persisted in his course, he was his own murderer, and could hope for no
mercy from God.  That if he would sign the declaration which they
offered him, which they knew to be true, and which stated that he had
only acted under the King’s orders, he should not only have his life
spared, but should very shortly be set at liberty.

To this he replied that if they had evidence to prove what they said,
they did not want his; that he could not put his name to evidence so
contrary to what he had always confessed, and was prepared to stand by
to death; that, as to his fate before God, he left his soul in His
hands, who was more merciful than man.

To this Bradshaw replied that they were most merciful to him, and
desired to save him from himself; that, if he died, he died with a lie
upon his lips, from his own obstinacy and suicide.

Making no answer to this, he was ordered back to the Tower, and warned
to prepare himself for death.  He saw clearly that their object was to
bring out evidence signed by him on the eve of the King’s trial, which
no doubt would have been a great help to their cause.  As he went back
in his barge to the Tower, he wondered why they did not publish
something with his name attached, without troubling themselves about his
consent.  As they went down the river, the darkness became denser, and
the boat passed close to many other wherries, nearly running them down;
the lights on the boats and the barges glimmered indistinctly, and made
the course more difficult and uncertain.  They shot the bridge under the
mass of dark houses and irregular lights, and proceeded across the pool
towards the Tower stairs.  The pool was somewhat clear of ships, and the
lanterns upon the wharves and such vessels as were at anchor made a
clearer light than that above the bridge.  As they crossed the pool, a
wherry, rowed by a single man, came towards them obliquely from the
Surrey side, so as to approach near enough to discern their persons, and
then, crossing their bows, suffered itself to be run down before the
barge could be stopped.  The waterman climbed in at the bows, as his own
wherry filled and went down.  He seemed a stupid, surly man, and might
be supposed to be either deaf or drunk.  To the abuse of the soldiers
and watermen he made no answer but that he was an up-river waterman, and
was confused by the lights and the current of the bridge.  The officer
called him forward into the stern, and as he came towards them Inglesant
knew him in spite of his perfect disguise.  It was the Jesuit.  He
answered as many of the officer’s questions as he appeared to
understand, and took no manner of notice of Inglesant, who of course
appeared entirely indifferent and uninterested.  When they landed at the
stairs, the waterman, with a perfectly professional manner, swung
himself over the side into the water, and steadied the boat for the
gentlemen to land, which act the officer took as an awkward expression
of respect and gratitude.  As Inglesant passed him he put his hand up
for his to rest on, and Johnny felt a folded note passed into it.
Without the least pause, he followed the officer across the Tower wharf,
and was conducted to his room.  As soon as he was alone he examined the
paper, which contained these words only:—

"You are not forgotten.  Keep on a little longer.  The end is very
near."

It made little impression upon him, nor did it influence his after
conduct, which had already been sufficiently determined upon.  He
expected very little help from any one, though he believed that Father
St. Clare would do what he could.  The Jesuit would have died himself at
any moment had his purpose required it, and he could not think that he
would regard as of much importance the fall of another soldier in the
same rank. He was mistaken, but he did not know it; the Jesuit, beneath
his placid exterior, retained for his favourite and cleverest pupil an
almost passionate regard, and would have done for him far more than he
would have thought worth the doing for himself. Meanwhile, Inglesant
translated his words into a different language, and thought more than
once that doubtless they were very true, and that, though in a sense not
intended, the end was very near.

This took place at the beginning of December, and about a week
afterwards the jailer advised Inglesant to prepare for death, for the
warrant to behead him was signed, and would be put into execution that
day week at Charing Cross.  He immediately sent a petition to the
Council of State, that a Priest, either of the Roman Catholic or the
English Church, he was indifferent which, might be sent him.  To this an
answer was sent immediately that he was dying with a lie upon his lips,
and that the presence of no priest or minister could be of any use to
him, and would not be granted.  The same day a Presbyterian minister was
admitted to him, who used the same arguments for some time without
effect, representing the fearful condition that Inglesant was in as an
unrepentant sinner. Inglesant began to regret that he had made any
application, and this regret was increased two days afterwards when a
man, who offered him certain proofs that he was a Roman Catholic Priest,
was admitted, and gave him the same advice, refusing him Absolution and
the Sacrament unless he complied.  Upon this Inglesant became desperate,
and refused to speak again. The Priest waited some time and then left,
telling him he was eternally lost.

This was the severest trial he had yet met with; but his knowledge of
the different parties in the Romish Church, and the extent to which they
subordinated their religion to their political intrigues, was too great
to allow him to feel it so much as he otherwise would.  He resigned
himself to die unassisted. He applied for an English Prayer Book, but
this also was refused.  He remembered the old monastic missals he had
possessed at Westacre, and thought over all those days with the
tenderest regret.

The fatal morning arrived at last.  Inglesant had passed a sleepless
night; he had not the slightest fear of death, but excitement made sleep
impossible.  He thought often of his brother, but he had learned that he
was in Paris alone; and even had he been in England, he felt no especial
desire to see him under circumstances which could only have been
intensely painful.  Mary Collet he thought of night and day, but he knew
it was impossible to obtain permission to see her, and he was tired of
fruitless requests.  He was tired and wearied of life, and only wished
the excitement and strain over, that he might be at rest.  It struck him
that the greatest harshness was used towards him; his food was very poor
and of the smallest quantity, and no one was admitted to him; but he did
not wonder at this, knowing that his case differed from any other
Loyalist prisoner.

At about eight o’clock on the appointed morning, the same officer who
had conducted him before entered his room with the lieutenant of the
Tower, bringing the warrant for his death. The lieutenant parted from
him in a careless and indifferent way.  They went by water and landed by
York Stairs, and proceeded by back ways to a house nearly adjoining
Northumberland House, facing the wide street about Charing Cross. From
one of the first floor windows a staircase had been contrived, leading
up to a high scaffold or platform on which the block was fixed.
Inglesant had not known till that morning whether he was to be hanged or
beheaded; like every other thought, save one, it was indifferent to
him—that one, how he should keep his secret to the last.  In the room of
this house opening on the scaffold, he found Colonel Eustace Powell,
whom he had met at Essex House, who was to precede him to death.  He
greeted Inglesant with great kindness, but, as Johnny thought, with some
reserve.  He was a very pious man, strongly attached to the Protestant
party in the Church of England, and he had passed the last three days
entirely in the company of Dr. S——, who was then in the room with him,
engaged in religious exercises, and his piety and resignation had
attached the Doctor to him very much.  The Doctor now proceeded to ask
the Colonel, before Inglesant and the others, a series of questions, in
order that he should give some account of his religion, and of his
faith, charity, and repentance, to all of which he answered fully; that
he acknowledged his death to be a just punishment of God for his former
sins; that he acknowledged that his just due was eternal punishment,
from which he only expected to escape through the satisfaction made by
Christ, by which Mediator, and none other, he hoped to be saved.  The
Doctor then asking him if, by a miracle (not to put him in vain hope),
God should save him that day, what life he would resolve to lead
hereafter?  he replied, "It is a question of great length, and requires
a great time to answer.  Men in such straits would promise great things,
but a vow I would make, and by God’s help endeavour to keep it, though I
would first call some friend to limit how far I should make a vow, that
I might not make a rash one, and offer the sacrifice of fools."

In answer to other questions, he said,—"He wished well to all lawful
governments; that he did not justify himself in having ventured against
the existing one; he left God to judge it whether it be righteous, and
if it be, it must stand.  He desired to make reparation to any he had
injured, and he forgave his enemies."

The Doctor then addressed him at length, saying,—

"Sir, I shall trouble you very little farther.  I thank you for all
those heavenly colloquies I have enjoyed by being in your company these
three days, and truly I am sorry I must part with so heavenly an
associate.  We have known one another heretofore, but never so
Christianlike before.  I have rather been a scholar to learn from you
than an instructor.  I wish this stage, wherein you are made a spectacle
to God, angels, and the world, may be a school to all about you; for
though I will not diminish your sins, yet I think there are few here
have a lighter load upon them than you have, and I only wish them your
repentance, and that measure of faith that God hath given you, and that
measure of courage you have attained from God."

The Colonel, having wished all who were present in the room farewell,
went up on the scaffold accompanied by the Divine.  The scaffold was so
near that Inglesant and the officers and the guards, who stood at the
window screened from the sight of the people, could hear every word that
passed. They understood that the whole open place was densely crowded,
but they could scarcely believe it, the silence was so profound.

Colonel Powell made a speech of some length, clearing himself of Popery
in earnest language, not blaming his judges, but throwing the guilt on
false witnesses, whom, however, he forgave.  He bore no malice to the
present Government, nor pretended to decide controversies, and spoke
touchingly of the sadness and gloom of violent death, and how mercifully
he was dealt with in being able to face it with a quiet mind.  He
finally thanked the authorities for their courtesy in granting him the
death of the axe—a death somewhat worthy of his blood, answerable to his
birth and qualification—which courtesy had much helped towards the
pacification of his mind.

Inglesant supposed the end was now come, but to his surprise the Doctor
again stepped forward, and before all the people repeated the whole
former questions, to each of which the Colonel replied in nearly the
same words.

Then, stepping forward again to the front of the scaffold, the Colonel
said, speaking to the people in a calm and tender voice,—

"There is not one face that looks upon me, though many faces, and
perhaps different from me in opinion and practice but methinks hath
something of pity in it; and may that mercy which is in your hearts now,
be meted to you when you have need of it!  I beseech you join with me in
prayer."

The completest silence prevailed, broken only by a faint sobbing and
whispering sound from the excited and pitying crowd.  Colonel Powell
prayed for a quarter of an hour with an audible voice; then taking leave
again of his friends and directing the executioner when to strike, he
knelt down to the block, and repeating the words, "Lord Jesus, receive
me," his head was smitten off with a blow.

A long deep groan, followed by an intense silence, ran through the
crowd.  The officer who accompanied Inglesant looked at him with a
peculiar expression; and, bowing in return, Inglesant passed through the
window, and as he mounted the steps and his eyes came to the level of,
and then rose higher than the interposing scaffold, he saw the dense
crowd of heads stretching far away on every hand, the house windows and
roofs crowded on every side.  He scarcely saw it before he almost lost
the sight again.  A wild motion that shook the crowd, a roar that filled
the air and stunned the sense, a yell of indignation, contempt, hatred,
hands shook and clutched at him, wild faces leaping up and staring at
him, cries of "Throw him over!" "Give over the Jesuit to us!" "Throw
over the Irish murderer!" made his senses reel for a moment, and his
heart stop.  It was inconceivable that a crowd, the instant before
placid, pitiful, silent, should in a moment become like that, deafening,
mad, thirsting for blood. The amazing surprise and reaction produced the
greatest shock.  Hardening himself in a moment, he faced the people, his
hat in his hand, his pale face hard set, his teeth closed. Once or twice
he tried to speak; it would have been as easy to drown the Atlantic’s
roar.  As he stood, apparently calm, this terrible ordeal had the worst
possible effect upon his mind.  Other men came to the scaffold calm in
mind, prepared by holy thoughts, and the sacred, tender services of the
Church of their Lord, feeling His hand indeed in theirs. They spoke,
amid silence and solemn prayers, to a pitying people, the name of Jesus
on their lips, the old familiar words whispered in their ears, good
wishes, deference, respect all around, their path seemed smooth and
upward to the heavenly gates.  But with him—how different!  Denied the
aid of prayer and sacrament, alone, overwhelmed with contempt and
hatred, deafened with the fiendish noise which racked his excited and
overwrought brain.  He was indifferent before; he became hardened,
fierce, contemptuous now.  Hated, he hated again.  All the worst spirit
of his party and of his age became uppermost.  He felt as though engaged
in a mad duel with a despised yet too powerful foe.  He turned at last
to the officer, and said, his voice scarcely heard amid the unceasing
roar,—

"You see, sir, I cannot speak; do not let us delay any longer."

The officer hesitated, and glanced at another gentleman, evidently a
Parliament man, who advanced to Inglesant, and offered him a paper, the
purport of which he knew by this time too well.

He told him in his ear that even now he should be set at liberty if he
would sign the true evidence, and not rush upon his fate and lose his
soul.  He repeated that the Parliament knew he was not guilty, and had
no wish to put him to death.

Inglesant saw the natural rejoinder, but did not think it worth his
while to make it.  Only get this thing over, and escape from this
maddening cry, tearing his brain with its terrible roar, to something
quieter at any rate.

He rejected the paper, and turning to the officer he said, with a motion
towards the people of inexpressible disdain,—

"These good people are impatient for the final act, sir; do not let us
keep them any longer."

The officer still hesitated, and looked at the Parliament man, who shook
his head, and immediately left the scaffold. The officer then leaned on
the rail, and spoke to his lieutenant in the open space round the
scaffold within the barriers. The latter gave a word of command, and the
soldiers fell out of their rank so as to mingle with the crowd.  As soon
as the officer saw this manoeuvre completed, he took Inglesant’s arm,
and said hurriedly,—"Come with me to the house, and be quick."  Not
knowing what he did, Inglesant followed him hastily into the room.  They
had need to be quick.  A yell, to which the noise preceding it was as
nothing—terrible as it had been,—a shower of stones, smashing every pane
of glass, and falling in heaps at their feet,—showed the fury of a
maddened, injured people, robbed of their expected prey.

The officer looked at Inglesant, and laughed.

"I thought there would be a tumult," he said; "we are not safe here; the
troops will not oppose them, and they will break down the doors.  Come
with me."

He led Inglesant, still almost unconscious, through the back entries and
yards, the roar of the people still in their ears, till they reached a
stair leading to the river, where was a wherry and two or three guards.
The officer stepped in after Inglesant, crying, "Pull away!  The Tower!"
then, leaning back, and looking at Inglesant, he said,—

"You stood that very well.  I would rather mount the deadliest breach
than face such a sight as that."

Inglesant asked him if he knew what this extraordinary change of
intention meant.

To which he replied,—

"No; I acted to orders.  Probably you are of more use to the Parliament
alive than dead; besides, I fancy you have friends.  I should think you
are safe now."

That afternoon, a report spread through London that Inglesant, the
King’s servant, had confessed all that was required of him upon the
scaffold, and had his life given him in return.  This report was
believed mostly by the lower orders, especially those who had been
before the scaffold; but few of the upper classes credited it, and even
these only did so for a day or two.  The Parliament made no further
effort; and Inglesant was left quietly in prison.

This happened on the 19th of December, and on the 20th of January the
King’s trial began.  That could scarcely be called a trial which
consisted entirely in a struggle between the King and the Court on a
point of law.  In the charge of high treason, read in Westminster Hall
against the King, special mention was made of the commission which he
"doth still continue to the Earl of Ormond, and to the Irish rebels and
revolters associated with him, from whom further invasions upon the land
are threatened."  There appear to have been no witnesses examined on
this point, all that were examined during three days, in the painted
chamber, simply witnessing to having seen the King in arms.  Indeed, all
witnesses were unnecessary, the sentence having been already determined
upon, and the King utterly refusing to plead or to acknowledge the
Court.  The King, indeed, never appeared to such advantage as on his
trial; he was perfectly unmoved by any personal thought; no fear,
hesitation, or wavering appeared in his behaviour.  He took his stand
simply on the indisputable point of law that neither that Court, nor
indeed any Court, had any authority to try him.  To Bradshaw’s assertion
that he derived his authority from the people, he in vain requested a
single precedent that the Monarchy of England was elective, or had been
elective, for a thousand years.  In his abandonment of self, and his
unshaken constancy to a point of principle, he contrasted most
favourably with his judges, whose sole motive was self.  That none of
the Parliamentary leaders were safe while the King lived is probable;
but sound statesmanship does not acknowledge self-preservation as an
excuse for mistaken policy, and the murder of the King was not more a
crime than it was a blunder.  Having been condemned by this unique
Court, he was, with the most indecent haste, hurried to his end.  A
revolting coarseness marks every detail of the tragic story; the flower
of England on either side was beneath the turf or beyond the sea, and
the management of affairs was left in the hands of butchers and brewers.
Ranting sermons, three in succession, before a brewer in Whitehall, is
the medium to which the religious utterance of England is reduced, and
Ireton and Harrison in bed together, with Cromwell and others in the
room, signed the warrant for the fatal act.  The horror and indignation
which it impressed on the heart of the people may be understood a little
by the fact, that in no country so much as in England the peculiar
sacredness of Monarchy has since been carried so far.  The impression
caused by his death was so profound, that, forty years afterwards, when
his son was arrested in his flight, the only thing that during the whole
course of that revolution caused the least reaction in his favour was
(according to the Whig Burnet) the fear that the people conceived that
the same thing was going to be acted over again, and men remembered that
saying of King Charles—"The prisons of princes are not far from their
graves."  He walked across the park from the garden at St. James’s that
January morning with so firm and quick a pace that the guards could
scarcely keep the step, and stepping from his own banqueting house upon
the scaffold, where the men who ruled England had so little understood
him as to provide ropes and pulleys to drag him down in case of need, he
died with that calm and kingly bearing which none could assume so well
as he, and by his death he cast a halo of religious sentiment round a
cause which, without the final act, would have wanted much of its
pathetic charm, and struck that keynote of religious devotion to his
person and the Monarchy which has not yet ceased to reverberate in the
hearts of men.

    "That thence the royal actor borne
    The tragic scaffold might adorn,
      While round the armed bands
      Did clap their bloody hands:
    He nothing common did, nor mean,
    Upon that memorable scene;
      But with his keener eye
      The axe’s edge did try;
    Nor called the gods with vulgar spite
    To vindicate his helpless right,
      But bowed his comely head
      Down, as upon a bed."
        _The Republican, Andrew Marvell._



                             *CHAPTER XV.*


Inglesant remained in the Tower for several months after the King’s
death.  The Lords Hamilton, Holland, and Capel were the first who
followed their royal master to the block, and many other names of equal
honour and little inferior rank followed in the same list.  In excuse
for the murders of these men there is no other plea than, as in the case
of their master—self-preservation.  But the purpose was not less
abortive than the means were criminal.  The effect produced on the
country was one of awe and hatred to the ruling powers.  Thousands of
copies of the King’s Book, edged with black, were sold in London within
the few days following his death, and Milton was obliged to remonstrate
pitifully with the people for their unaccountable attachment to their
King.  The country, it is true, was for the moment cowed, and, although
individual gentlemen took every opportunity to rise against the
usurpers, and suffered death willingly in such a cause, the mass of the
people remained quiet.  The country gentlemen indeed were, as a body,
ruined; the head of nearly every family was slain, and the widows and
minors had enough to do to arrange, as best they might, with the
Government agents who assessed the fines and compositions upon
malignants’ estates.  It required a few years to elapse before England
would recover itself, and declare its real mind unmistakably, which it
very soon did; but during those years it never sank into silent
acquiescence to the great wrong that had been perpetrated.  It is the
custom to regard the Commonwealth as a period of great national
prosperity and peace. Nothing can be a greater mistake.  There never was
a moment’s peace during the whole of Cromwell’s reign of power. He began
by destroying that Parliament utterly, for seeking the arrest of five
members of which the King lost his crown and was put to death.  The best
of the Republican party were kept in prison or exiled, just as the King
had been seized and executed by Cromwell, independently of the
Parliament.  But the oppressed sections of the Puritan party never
ceased to hate the usurper as much as the Royalists did, and the want of
their support insured the fall of the Republic the moment the master
hand was withdrawn.

After a few months Inglesant’s imprisonment was much lighter; he was
allowed abundance of food, and liberty to walk in the courtyards of the
Tower, and was allowed to purchase any books he chose.  He had received
a sum of money from an unknown hand, which he afterwards found to have
been that of Lady Cardiff, his brother’s wife, and this enabled him to
purchase several books and other conveniences.  He remained in prison
under these altered circumstances until the end of January 1650, when,
one morning, his door opened, and without any announcement his brother
was admitted to see him.  Eustace was much altered; he was richly
dressed, entirely in the French mode, his manner and appearance were
altogether those of a favourite of the French Court, and he spoke
English with a foreign accent.  He greeted his brother with great
warmth, and it need not be said that Johnny was delighted to see him.

Eustace told his brother at once that he was free, and showed him the
warrant for his liberation.

"I was in Paris," he said, "on the eve of starting for England on
affairs which I will explain to you in a moment, when ’votre ami’ the
Jesuit came to see me.  He told me he understood I was going to England
on my private affairs, but he thought possibly I might not object to do
a little service for my brother;—you know his manner.  He said if I
would apply in certain quarters, which he named to me, I should find the
way prepared, and no difficulties in obtaining your release.  The words
were true, and yesterday I received this warrant.  As soon as it is
convenient to you I shall be glad for you to leave this sombre place, as
I want you to come with me to Oulton, to my wife,—my wife, who is indeed
so perfectly English in all her manners, as I shall proceed to explain
to you.  Since you were at Oulton my wife has been growing worse and
worse in health, and more and more eccentric and crotchety; every new
remedy and every fresh religious notion she adopts at once.  She has
filled the house with quacks, of whom Van Helmont is chief, mountebanks,
astrologers, and physicians,—a fine collection of beaux-esprits.  The
last time I was there I could not see her once, though I stayed a
fortnight; she was in great misery, extremely ill, and said she was near
her last.  Since I have been in Paris I have been obliged to give up
many of my suppers with the French King and Lords, from her letters
saying she is at the point of death. She is ill at present, and no one
has seen her these ten days; but I suppose it is much after the same
sort; and she sends me word that Van Helmont has promised that she shall
not be buried, but preserved by his art till I can come and see her. To
crown all, she has lately become a Quaker, and in my family all the
women about my wife, and most of the rest, are Quakers, and Mons. Van
Helmont is governor of that flock,—an unpleasing sort of people, silent,
sullen, and of reserved conversation, though I hear one of the maids is
the prettiest girl in all the county.  These and all that society have
free access to my wife, but I believe Dr. More, the Platonist, who is a
scholar and gentleman, if an enthusiast, though he was in the house all
last summer, did not see her above once or twice. She has been urging me
for months to search all over Europe for an eagle’s stone, which she
says is of great use in such diseases as hers; and when I, at great
labour and expense, found her one, she sends back word that it is not
one, but that some of her quacks were able to decipher it at once, and
that it is a German stone, such as are commonly sold in London at five
shillings apiece.  I have grown learned in these stones, by which the
fairies in our grandfather’s time used to preserve the fruits from hail
and storms.  There is a salamander stone. This eagle stone is one made
after a cabalistic art and under certain stars, and engraved with the
sign of an eagle.  I could prove their virtue to you," he continued
laughing, "throughout all arts and sciences, as Divinity, Philosophy,
Physic, Astrology, Physiognomy, Divination of Dreams, Painting,
Sculpture, Music, and what not.  This affair of the stone, and these
reports of sickness and death, however, and doleful stories of coffins
prepared by art, and of open graves, would not have brought me over, but
for another circumstance of much greater moment.  When I was in Italy
and stayed some time at Venice, and was desirous of engaging in some of
the intrigues and amusements of the city, I was recommended to an
Italian, a young man, who made himself useful to several of the
nobility, as a man who could introduce me to, and show me more of that
kind of pleasure, than any one else.  I found him all that had been
represented to me, and a great deal more, for, not to tell you too long
a story, he was an adept at every sort of intrigue, and was acquainted
at any rate with every species of villany and vice that the Italians
have conceived.  The extent to which they carry these tastes of theirs
cannot be described, and from them the wildest of the gallants of the
rest of Europe start back amazed.  To cut this short, I was very deeply
engaged to him, and in return I held some secrets of his, which he would
not even now have known. At last, upon some villanous proposal made by
him, I drew upon him.  We had been dining at one of the Casinos in St.
Mark’s Place, and I would have run him through the body, but the crowd
of mountebanks, charlatans, and such stuff, interposed and saved him.  I
have often wished since I had. He threatened me highly, but as I was a
foreigner and acquainted with most of the principal nobles, he could do
me no harm.  He endeavoured to have me assassinated more than once, and
one Englishman was set upon and desperately wounded in mistake for me;
but by advice I hired bravoes myself who baffled his plots, for I had
the longest purse.  I knew nothing of him afterwards until I heard that
he had left Italy, a ruined and desperate man, whose life was sought by
many; and the next thing I heard, not many weeks ago, was that he was at
Oulton, having gained admission to my wife as a foreign physician who
had some especial knowledge of her disease.  She fancies herself much
the better for his nostrums, and gives herself entirely to his
directions, and I believe he professes Quakerism, or some sort of
foreign mysticism allied to it, which has established him with the rest
of her confidants. I no sooner heard this pleasing information than I
resolved to come over to England at once, and at least drive away this
villain from my family, even if I had no other way to do it than by
running him through the body, as I might have done in Italy.  I,
however, sent a messenger to my wife to inform her that I was coming,
and on my reaching London a few days ago, I found him waiting for me
with a packet from Oulton.  In a letter my wife desires me earnestly not
to come to Oulton to see her, as she is assured by good hands that some
imminent danger awaits me if I do, and she encloses this horoscope,
which no doubt one of her astrologers has prepared for her.  Now I have
no doubt the Italian is at the bottom of all this, and that, at his
instigation, the horoscope has been drawn out; yet I confess that it
appears to me to have something about it that looks like the truth,
something beyond what would be written at the instigation of an enemy.
You can read it and judge for yourself.  I have dabbled a little in
astrology as in other arts."

John Inglesant took the paper from his brother and examined it
carefully.  At the top was an astrological scheme, or drawing of the
heavens, taken at some moment when the intention of Eustace to come to
Oulton had first become known to his wife.  Beneath was the judgment of
the adept, in the following words:—

"Saturn, the significator of the quesited, being in conjunction with
Venus, I judge him to have gained by ladies to a considerable extent, to
be much attached to them, greatly addicted to pleasure, and very
fortunate where females are concerned, and to be a man of property.  The
significator being affected both by Mercury, lord of the eighth in the
figure, and also by Mars, the lord of the quesited’s eighth house, and
the aspect of separation of the moon being bad,—namely, conjunction of
Jupiter and square of Mercury, who is ill aspected to Jupiter, and is
going to a square of the sun on the cusp of the mid-heaven,—I judge that
the quesited is in imminent danger of death; and the lord of the third
house being in the eighth, and the significator being combust, in
conjunction with the lord of the eighth, and the hyleg afflicted by the
evil planets, makes it more certain.  His significator being in the
eleventh house denotes that at the present time he is well situated and
with some near friend (I should judge, as he is well aspected with the
moon, the lady of the third house, a brother), and happy.  Mars being in
the ascendant, and the cusp of the first house wanting only three
degrees of the place of the evil planet in a common sign, I judge the
time of death to occur in three weeks’ time, and that it will be caused
by a sword or dagger wound, by which Mars kills. The danger lies to the
south-west—south, because the quarter of the heaven where the lord of
the ascendant is, is south-west, because the sign where he is, is west."

John Inglesant read this paper two or three times, and returned it to
his brother with a smile.  "I should not be greatly alarmed at it," said
he; "that is not a true horoscope, or rather it is a true horoscope
tampered with.  The man who erected the scheme, I should say, was an
honest man, though not a very clever astrologer.  It has, however, as
most schemes have, a glimmering of a truth not otherwise known (you and
I being together, which no one at Oulton could have thought of, though
you see he was wrong as to the time); but some other hand has been at
work upon the judgment, and a very unskilful one.  It contradicts
itself.  What is most important, however, is that the artist has no
ground to take Saturn for your significator, which should be either the
lord of the third house, the cusp of the third, or the planets therein,
neither of which Saturn is.  Besides, he takes the place of Fortune to
be hyleg, for which he has no ground. He has taken Saturn as
significator, as suiting what he knows of your character, and I think
there is no doubt the Italian’s hand is in this.  Now I should rather
say that Venus, the lady of the third, being significator and applying
to a friendly trine of Jupiter, lord of the ascendant, and Saturn being
retrograde, and Venus also casting a sextile to the cusp of the
ascendant, is a very good argument that the querent should see the
quesited speedily, and that in perfect health.  I would have you think
no more of this rubbish, with which a wicked man has tried to make the
heavens themselves speak falsely."

"I did not know you were so good an astrologer, Johnny," said his
brother.

"Father St. Clare taught it me among other things," said Inglesant; "and
I have seen many strange answers that he has known himself; but it is
shameful that the science should be made a tool of by designing men."

Eustace returned the papers to his pockets, and requested his brother
again to prepare to leave the Tower at once. After taking leave of the
Lieutenant, and feeing the warders, the two brothers departed in a coach
in which Eustace had come to the Tower, and went to the lodgings of the
latter in Holborn.  Eustace furnished his brother with clothes until he
could procure some for himself, and gave him money liberally, of which
he seemed to have no stint.  He wished his brother to come with him to
all the places of resort in the city, but Johnny prudently declined.
Indeed, the city was so quiet and dull, that few places of amusement
remained.  The theatres were entirely closed.  Whitehall was sombre and
nearly empty, and the public walks were filled only with the townspeople
in staid and sober attire.  The two brothers were therefore reduced to
each other’s society, and it seemed as though absence or a sense of
danger united them with a warmth of affection which they had seldom
before known.

To John Inglesant, who had always been devotedly attached to his
brother, this display of affection was delightful, cut off as he had
been so long from all sympathy and friendliness.  Dressed in his
brother’s clothes, the likeness which had once been so striking returned
again, and as they walked the streets people turned to look at them with
surprise.  The brothers felt in their hearts old feelings and thoughts
returning, which had long been forgotten and had passed away; and to
John Inglesant especially, always given to half melancholy musings and
brooding over the past, all his happiest recollections seemed to
concentrate themselves on his brother, the last human relation that
seemed left to him, since he had, as he thought, lost the favour of all
his friends, relations, and acquaintances in the world.  Possibly a
sense of a great misfortune made this sentiment more tender and acute,
for, as we shall see, there were some things in his brother’s position,
and in the horoscope he had shown him, which Inglesant did not like.  At
present, however, his whole nature, so long crushed down and lacerated,
seemed to expand and heal itself in the light of his brother’s love and
person, and to concentrate all its powers into one intense feeling, and
to lose its own identity in this passion of brotherly regard.

This feeling might also be increased by his own state of health, which
made him cling closer to any support,  His long imprisonment, and the
sudden change from his quiet cell to all the bustle of the city life,
affected his mind and brain painfully.  He was confused and excited
among a crowd of persons and objects to which he had been so long
unaccustomed; his brain and system had received a shock from which he
never entirely recovered, and for some time, at any rate, he walked as
one who is in a dream, rather than as a man engaged in the active
pursuits of life.

After two or three days Eustace told his brother one morning that he was
ready to go into the west, but before starting he said he wished Johnny
to accompany him to a famous astrologer in Lambeth Marsh, to whom
already he had shown the horoscope, and who had appointed a meeting that
night to give his answer, and who had also promised to consult a
crystal, as an additional means of obtaining information of the future.

Accordingly, late in the afternoon, they took a wherry at the Temple
Stairs, and were ferried over to Lambeth Marsh, a wide extent of level
ground between Southwark and the Bishop’s Palace, on which only a few
straggling houses had been built.  The evening was dark and foggy, and a
cold wind swept across the marsh, making them wrap their short cloaks
closely about them.  It was almost impossible to see more than a yard or
two before them, and they would probably have found great difficulty in
finding the wizard’s house had not a boy with a lantern met them a few
paces from the river, who inquired if they were seeking the astrologer.
This was the wizard’s own boy, whom, with considerable worldly prudence
at any rate, he had despatched to find his clients and bring them to his
house.  The boy brought them into a long low room, with very little
furniture in it, a small table at the upper end, with a large chair
behind it, and three or four high-backed chairs placed along the wall.
On the floor, in the middle of the room, was a large double circle, but
there were no figures or signs of any kind about it.  On the table was a
long thin rod.  A lamp which hung from the roof over the table cast a
faint light about the room, and a brazier of lighted coals stood in the
chimney.

The astrologer soon entered the room with the horoscope Eustace had left
with him in his hand.  He was a fine-looking man, with a serious and
lofty expression of face, dressed in a black gown, with the square cap
of a divine, and a fur hood or tippet.  He bowed courteously to the
gentlemen, who saluted him with great respect.  His manner was coldest
to John Inglesant, whom he probably regarded with suspicion as an
amateur.  He, however, acknowledged that Inglesant’s criticisms on the
horoscope were correct, but pointed out to him that in his own reading
of it many of the aspects were very adverse.  John Inglesant knew this,
though he had chosen to conceal it from his brother.  The astrologer
then informed them that he had drawn out a scheme of the heavens himself
at the moment when first consulted by Eustace, and that, in quite
different ways, and by very different aspects, much the same result had
been arrived at.  "As, however," he went on to say, "the whole question
is to some extent vitiated by the suspicion of foul play, and it will be
impossible for any of us to free our minds entirely from these
suspicions, I do not advise any farther inquiry; but I propose that you
should consult a consecrated beryl or crystal—a mode of inquiry far more
high and certain than astrology, so much so, indeed, that I will
seriously confess to you that I use the latter but as the countenance
and blind; but this search in the crystal is by the help of the blessed
spirits, and is open only to the pure from sin, and to men of piety,
humility, and charity."

As he said these words he produced from the folds of his gown a large
crystal or polished stone, set in a circle of gold, supported by a
silver stand.  Round the circle were engraved the names of angels.  He
placed this upon the table, and continued,—

"We must pray to God that He will vouchsafe us some insight into this
precious stone; for it is a solemn and serious matter upon which we are,
second only to that of communication with the angelical creatures
themselves, which, indeed, is vouchsafed to some, but only to those of
the greatest piety, to which we may not aspire.  Therefore let us kneel
down and humbly pray to God."

They all knelt, and the adept, commencing with the Prayer-book collect
for the festival of St. Michael, recited several other prayers, all for
extreme and spotless purity of life.

He then rose, the two others continuing on their knees, and struck a
small bell, upon which the boy whom they had before seen entered the
room by a concealed door in the wainscot.  He was a pretty boy, with a
fair and clean skin, and was dressed in a surplice similar to those worn
by choristers.  He took up a position by the crystal, and waited his
master’s orders.

"I have said," continued the adept, "that these visions can be seen only
by the pure, and by those who, by long and intense looking into the
spiritual world, have at last penetrated somewhat into its gloom.  I
have found these mostly to be plain and simple people, of an earnest
faith,—country people, grave-diggers, and those employed to shroud the
dead, and who are accustomed to think much upon objects connected with
death.  This boy is the child of the sexton of Lambeth Church, who is
himself a godly man.  Let us pray to God."

Upon this he knelt down again and remained for some time engaged in
silent prayer.  He then rose and directed the boy to look into the
crystal, saying, "One of these gentlemen desires news of his wife."

The boy looked intently into the crystal for some moments, and then
said, speaking in a measured and low voice,—

"I see a great room, in which there is a bed with rich hangings; pendant
from the ceiling is a silver lamp.  A tall dark man, with long hair, and
a dagger in his belt, is bending over the bed with a cup in his hand."

"It is my wife’s room," said Eustace in a whisper, "and it is no doubt
the Italian; he is tall and dark."

The boy continued to look for some time into the crystal, but said
nothing; then he turned to his master and said, "I can see nothing; some
one more near to this gentleman must look; this other gentleman," he
said suddenly, and turning to John Inglesant, "if he looks will be able
to see."

The astrologer started.  "Ah!" he said, "why do you say that, boy?"

"I can tell who will see aught in the crystal, and who will not,"
replied the boy; "this gentleman will see."

The astrologer seemed surprised and sceptical, but he made a sign to
Inglesant to rise from his knees, and to take his place by the crystal.

He did so, and looked steadily into it for some seconds, then he shook
his head.

"I can see nothing," he said.

"Nothing!" said the boy; "can you see nothing?"

"No.  I see clouds and mist."

"You have been engaged," said the boy, "in something that was not
good—something that was not true; and it has dimmed the crystal sight.
Look steadily, and if it is as I think, that your motive was not false,
you will see more."

Inglesant looked again; and in a moment or two gave a start,
saying,—"The mist is breaking!  I see;—I see a large room, with a
chimney of carved stone, and a high window at the end; in the window and
on the carved stone is the same coat many times repeated—three running
greyhounds proper, on a field vert."

"I know the room," said Eustace; "it is the inn parlour at Mintern, not
six miles from Oulton.  It was the manor of the Vinings before the wars,
but is now an inn; that was their coat."

"Do you see aught else?" said the adept.

Inglesant gave a long look; then he stepped back, and gazed at the
astrologer, and from him to his brother, with a faltering and ashy look.

"I see a man’s figure lie before the hearth, and the hearthstone is
stained, as if with blood.  Eustace, it is either you or I!"

"Look again," said the adept eagerly, "look again!"

"I will look no more!" said Inglesant, fiercely; "this is the work of a
fiend, to lure men to madness or despair!"

As he spoke, a blast of wind—sudden and strong—swept through the room;
the lamp burnt dim; and the fire in the brazier went out.  A deathly
coldness filled the apartment, and the floor and the walls seemed to
heave and shake.  A loud whisper, or muffled cry, seemed to fill the
air; and a terrible awe struck at the hearts of the young men.  Seizing
the rod from the table, the adept assumed a commanding attitude, and
waved it to and fro in the air; gradually the wind ceased, the dread
coldness abated, and the fire burned again of its own accord.  The adept
gazed at Inglesant with a stern and set look.

"You are of a strange spirit, young sir," he said; "pure in heart enough
to see things which many holy men have desired in vain to see; and yet
so wild and rebellious as to anger the blessed spirits with your
self-will and perverse thoughts.  You will suffer fatal loss, both here
and hereafter, if you learn not to give up your own will, and your own
fancies, before the heavenly will and call."

Inglesant stared at the man in silence.  His words seemed to him to mean
far more than perhaps he himself knew. They seemed to come into his
mind, softened with anxiety for his brother, and shaken by these
terrible events, with the light of a revelation.  Surely this was the
true secret of his wasted life, however strange might be the place and
action which revealed it to him.  Whatever he might think afterwards of
this night, it might easily stand to him as an allegory of his own
spirit, set down before him in a figure.  Doubtless he was perverse and
headstrong under the pressure of the Divine Hand; doubtless he had
followed his own notions rather than the voice of the inward monitor he
professed to hear: henceforth, surely, he would give himself up more
entirely to the heavenly voice.

Eustace appeared to have seen enough of the future, and to be anxious to
go.  He left a purse of gold upon the wizard’s table; and hurried his
brother to take his leave.

Outside the air was perfectly still; a thick motionless fog hung over
the marsh and the river; not a breath of wind stirred.

"That was a strange wind that swept by as you refused to look," said
Eustace to his brother; "do you really think the spirits were near, and
were incensed?"

Inglesant did not reply; he was thinking of another spirit than that the
wizard had evoked.

They made their way through the fog to Lambeth, and took boat again to
the Temple stairs.



                             *CHAPTER XVI.*


The next morning, when the brothers awoke and spoke to each other of the
events of the night, Eustace did not seem to have been much impressed by
them; he ridiculed the astrologer, and made light of the visions in the
crystal; he, however, acknowledged to his brother that it might be
better to avoid the inn parlour at Mintern, and said they might reach
Oulton by another route.

"There is a road," he said, "after you leave Cern Abbas, which turns off
five or six miles before you come to Mintern; it is not much farther,
but it is not so good a road, and not much frequented.  It will be quite
good enough for us, however, and will not delay us above an hour.  But I
own I feel ashamed of taking it."

John Inglesant, however, encouraged him to do so; and towards middle day
they left London on the Windsor Road. Inglesant noticed, as they
started, that his brother’s favourite servant was absent, and asked his
brother where he was.  He replied that he had sent him forward early in
the morning to inform his wife of their coming.

"I would not have let them know of your intention," said Johnny.

Eustace shrugged his shoulders with a peculiar gesture, saying in
French,—

"It is not convenient for me to come into my family unannounced.  I do
not know what I might find going forward."

Johnny thought that his brother had bought his fortune rather dear; but
he said nothing more upon the subject.

They slept that night at Windsor, and hoped to have reached Andover the
next day; but their servants’ horses, and those with the mails, were not
equal to so long a distance, and they slept at Basingstoke, not being
able to get farther. The weather was pleasant for the season and, to
Inglesant especially—so long confined within stone walls—the journey was
very agreeable.  It reminded him of his ride up to London with the
Jesuit long ago when a boy, when everything was new and delightful to
him, and the future open and promising.  The way had then been enlivened
and every interest doubled by the conversation of his friend, who had
known how to extract interest and amusement from the most trivial
incidents; but it was not less made pleasant now by the society of his
brother.  A great change seemed to be coming over Eustace.  He was
affectionate and serious.  He spoke much of past years, of their
grandfather, and of the old life at Westacre; of his early Court life,
before Johnny came to London, and of the day when he came down to
Westacre with his father and the Jesuit, and saw his brother again.  He
asked Johnny much about his own life, and listened attentively to all
Inglesant thought proper to tell him of his religious inquiries.  He
asked about the Ferrars, and told Inglesant some of the things that had
been said at Court about him and them.  A sense of danger—even though it
made little impression upon him—seemed to have called forth kindly
feelings which had been latent before; or perhaps some foreboding sense
hung over him, and—by a gracious Providence—fitted and tuned his mind
for an approaching fate. Inglesant felt his heart drawn towards him with
an intensity which he had never felt before.  The whole world seemed for
the time to be centred in this brother; and he looked forward to life
associated with him.

They slept at Andover; and the next day made a shorter journey to
Salisbury, where they slept again.  The stately cathedral was closed and
melancholy-looking, and knowing no one in the town, they passed the long
evening alone in the inn. The next morning early they set out.  They
halted at Cern Abbas about one o’clock, and dined.  Eustace made some
inquiries about the road he had mentioned to his brother, but seemed
more and more unwilling to take it, and it required all Inglesant’s
persuasion to keep him to his promise.  The people at the inn seemed
surprised that anyone should think of taking it, and made out that the
delay would be very great, and the chance of missing the way altogether
not a little.  At this, however, Eustace laughed, saying that he knew
the country very well.  Indeed, his desire to show the truth of this
assertion rather assisted his brother’s purpose, and they left Cern
Abbas with the full intention of taking the unusual route.  The country
was thickly wooded, many parts of the ancient forest remaining, and here
and there rather hilly.  In descending one of these hills John
Inglesant’s horse cast a shoe, just as they reached the point where the
two roads diverged, the right hand one of which they were to take.  As
it was impossible for them to proceed with the horse as it was, Johnny
proposed sending it back with one of the servants to Cern Abbas, and
taking the man’s horse instead, who could easily follow them. As they
were about to put in practice this scheme, however, one of the men said
there was a forge about a mile beyond, on the road before them, where it
would be easy to get the shoe put on.  Eustace immediately approved of
this plan, and Johnny was obliged at last reluctantly to yield.  It
seemed to him as though the impending fate came nearer and nearer at
every step.  The man proved himself to be an uncertain guide as to
distance, and it was fully two miles before they reached the forge.
When they reached it they found that a gentleman’s coach, large and
unwieldy, had broken some portion of its complicated machinery, and was
taxing all the efforts of the smith and his assistants to repair it.
The gentlemen dismounted and accosted the two ladies who had alighted
from the coach, and whom Eustace remembered to have met before at
Dorchester.  The coach was soon mended, and the ladies drove off; but by
this time Eustace had grown impatient, and, saying carelessly to his
brother, "You will follow immediately," he mounted, and turned his
horse’s head still along the main road, his men mounting also.

"You are not going on that way," said Johnny; "you said we should turn
back to the other road."

"Oh, we cannot turn back now," said his brother; "we have come farther
than I expected.  We will not stop at Mintern," he added significantly.

And so saying, he rode away after the carriage, followed by his men.

Inglesant looked after him anxiously, a heavy foreboding filling his
mind.  He saw his brother mount the little hill before the forge,
between the bare branches of the trees on either side of the road; then
a slight turn of the way concealed him, but, for a moment or two more,
he could see glimpses of the figures as the leafless boughs permitted,
then, when he could see even these no longer, he went back into the
forge. It was some ten minutes before the horse was ready, and then
Inglesant himself mounted, and rode off quickly after his brother.  He
had felt all the day, and during the one preceding it, a weariness and
dulness of sense, the result, no doubt, of fatigue acting upon his only
partially recovered health, and on a frame shattered by what he had gone
through.  As he rode on, his brain became more and more confused, so
that for some moments together he was almost unconscious, and only by an
effort regained his sense of passing events.  The woods seemed to pass
by him as in a dream, the thick winter air to hang about him like the
heavy drapery of a pall; whether he was sleeping or waking he could
scarcely tell.  What added to his distress was an abiding sense of
crisis and danger to his brother, which required him at that moment,
above all others, to exert a strength and a prescience of which he felt
himself becoming more and more incapable.  He was continually making
violent efforts to retain his recollection of what was passing, and of
what it behoved him to do,—efforts which each time became more and more
painful, and of the futility of which he became more and more
despairingly conscious. Words cannot describe the torture of such a
condition as this.

At last he overtook some of his brother’s servants with the led horses,
whom he scarcely recognized, so far were his senses obscured.  Their
master had ridden on before with two servants, they told him; he would
have to ride hard to overtake them.  He seemed eager, they said, to be
at home.  Inglesant could scarcely sit his horse, much less expect to
overtake his brother—who was well mounted and an impetuous
rider—nevertheless he gave his horse the spur, and the animal, also a
good roadster, soon left the servants far behind.  The confusion of mind
which he suffered increased more and more as he rode along, and the
events of his past life came up before his eyes as clearly and palpably
as the objects through which he was riding, so that he could not
distinguish the real from the imaginary, the present from the past,
which added extremely to his distress.  He stood again amid the
confusion and carnage of Naseby field; once more he saw the throng of
heads, and heard that terrible cry that had welcomed him to the
scaffold; again he looked into the fatal crystal, and strange visions
and ghostly shapes of death and corruption came out from it, and walked
to and fro along the hedgerows and across the road before him, making
terrible the familiar English fields; a tolling of the passing bell rang
continually in his ear, and his horse’s footfalls sounded strange and
funereal to his diseased sense.  He knew nothing of the road, nor of
what happened as he rode along, nor what people he passed; but he missed
the direct turning, and reached Mintern at last by another lane which
led him some distance round.  The servants with the led horses were
there before him, standing before the inn door, and other strange
servants in his brother’s liveries, and several horses stood about.

The old manor that was now an inn stood close to the Church, at the
opening of the village, with a little green before it and a wall, in the
centre of which was a pair of gates flanked with pillars.  The iron
gates were closed, but the wall had been thrown down for some yards on
either side, thus giving ample access to the house within.  It was a
handsome house with a large high window over the porch, in the upper
panes of which Inglesant could see coats of arms.  Amid the tracery of
the iron gates running greyhounds were interlaced.

John Inglesant saw all this as in a dream, and he saw besides creatures
that were not real walking among the living men; haggard figures in long
robes, and others beneath the grave shrouds, ghostly phantoms of his
disordered brain.  He made a desperate effort for the hundredth time to
clear his sense of these terrible distracting sights, of this death of
the brain that disabled all his faculties, and for the hundredth time in
vain.  It appeared to him—whether it was a vision or a reality, he did
not know—that one of his brother’s servants came to his horse’s side,
and told him something of a gentleman of his lady’s, a foreign
physician, having met his master purposely, and that they were within
together.  Inglesant dismounted mechanically and entered the hotel,
telling the servant to come with him.  He had some dim feeling of
dragging his brother away from a great danger, and a desire of gathering
about him, if he could but distinguish them, such as would assist him
and were of human flesh and blood.  Inside the porch, and in the narrow
hall beyond, the place swarmed with these distracting visions walking to
and fro; the staircase at the farther end was crowded with them going up
and down. He saw, as he thought, his brother, attended by a dark,
handsome man, in the gown of a physician, come down the stairs to meet
him, but when they came nearer they dissolved themselves and vanished
into air.

The host came to meet him, saying that his brother and the foreign
gentleman were upstairs in the parlour; he had thought they were having
some words a while ago, but they were quiet now.  The whole house,
Inglesant thought, was deadly quiet, though seemingly to him so full of
life.  To what terrible deed were all these strange witnesses and
assistants summoned?  He told the host to follow him, as he had told the
man before; and he did so, supposing he meant to order something.  They
went up the two flights of the oak stairs, and entered the room over the
hall and porch.  It was a large and narrow room, and was seemingly
empty.  Opposite them, in the high window, and on the great carved
chimney to the right, running greyhounds coursed each other, as it
seemed to Inglesant, round the room.  A long table hid the hearth as
they came in.  With a fatal certainty, as if mechanically, Inglesant
walked round it towards the fire, the others with him; there they
stopped—sudden and still.  On the white hearthstone—his hair and clothes
steeped in blood—lay Eustace Inglesant, the Italian’s stiletto in his
heart.



                            *CHAPTER XVII.*


The sight of his brother’s corpse seemed to steady Inglesant’s nerves,
and clear his brain.  He turned to the host, and said, "What way can the
murderer have escaped?"

The host shook his head; he was incapable of speech, or even thought.
The three men stood looking at each other without a word.  Then
Inglesant knelt down by the body, and raised the head; there was no
doubt that life was extinct—indeed, the body must have been nearly
drained of blood; the fine line of steel had done its work fully, and
with no loss of time.  Inglesant rose from the ground; his sight, his
recollection, his senses were speedily failing him; nothing kept him
conscious but the terrible shock acting with galvanic effect upon his
frame.  The back of the premises was searched, and mounted messengers
were sent to the neighbouring towns and to the cross roads, and notice
sent to the nearest Justice of the Peace.  The country rose in great
numbers, and came pouring in to Mintern before the early evening set in.
The body was deposited on the long table in the parlour where the deed
was committed; and more than one Justice examined the room that
afternoon.  Inglesant saw that the guard was set, and proper care taken;
and then he mounted to ride to Oulton.  He was not fit to ride; but to
stay in the house all night was impossible—to lie down equally so.  In
the night air he rode to Oulton, through the long wild chase, by the
pools of water—from which the flocks of birds rose startled as he
passed, and by the herds of deer.  The ride settled his nerves, and when
he reached the house he was still master of himself.  The news had
preceded him; Lady Cardiff was said to be in a paroxysm of grief; but,
as no one had seen her for days except her immediate servants, Inglesant
did not attempt to obtain an interview with her. He was received by Dr.
More and the superior servants, and sat down to supper.  Not a word was
spoken during that sombre meal except by the doctor, who pressed
Inglesant to eat and drink, and offered to introduce him to Van Helmont,
who was not present.  The doctor said grace after supper; but when he
had done, one of the female servants, a Quakeress, stood up, and spoke
some words recommending patience and a feeling after God, if perchance
He might be found to be present, and a help in such a terrible need.
The singularity of this proceeding roused Inglesant from the lethargy in
which he was, and the words seemed to strike upon his heart with a
familiar and not uncongenial sense.  The mystical doctrine which he had
studied was not unlike much that he would hear from Quaker lips.  He
went to his room after supper, intending to rise early next morning; but
before daybreak he was delirious and in a high fever, and Van Helmont
was sent for to his room, and bled him freely, and administered cordials
and narcotic draughts.  The skilful treatment caused him to sleep
quietly for many hours; and when he awoke, though prostrate with
weakness, he was free from fever, and his brain was calm and clear.

From inquiries which he made, it appeared that the Italian had been
making preparations for leaving for several days, probably doubting the
success of his attempt to win over Eustace to tolerate his continued
stay at Oulton.  Inglesant was told that it was supposed that he had not
intended to murder his brother; but that Eustace had probably threatened
him, and that in the heat of contention the blow was struck.  The
Italian had destroyed all his papers, and everything that could give any
clue to his conduct or history; but he had left a very bad reputation
behind him, independently of his last murderous act; and his influence
with Lady Cardiff was attributed to witchcraft.

The funeral of Eustace Inglesant took place a few days after, at the
Church on the borders of the chase.  Snow had fallen in the meanwhile;
and the train of black mourners passed over the waste of white that
covered the park.  A multitude of people filled the churchyard, and
crowded round the outside of the hall.  Lady Cardiff, by lavish
almsgiving and other vagaries, had always attracted a number of vagrant
and masterless people to Oulton; and there were always some encampments
of such people in the chase.  She particularly favoured mountebanks and
quacks of all kinds, and numbers of them were present at the funeral.
Some few of the country gentry attended; but Eustace being almost
unknown in the county, and his wife by no means popular, many who
otherwise would have been present were not so.  The Puritan authorities
of the neighbourhood suspected Lady Cardiff’s establishment as a haunt
of recusants.  Dr. More was a known Royalist; Eustace had been only
restrained from active exertion on the same side by his love of pleasure
and his wife’s prudence; and the Puritans regarded the Quakers with no
favour.  The herd of idle and vicious people, as the authorities
considered them, who frequented Oulton, was an abomination in their
eyes; and understanding that a number of them would be at the funeral,
two or three Puritan magistrates, with armed servants and constables,
assembled to keep order, as they said; but, as it proved, to provoke a
riot.  To make matters worse, Dr. More began to read the Prayer Book
service, which was forbidden by law.  The Justices interposed; the mob
of mountebanks, and players, and idle people sided with the Church
party, which had always given them a friendly toleration, and commenced
an assault upon the constables and Justices’ servants, driving them from
the grave side with a storm of snowballs.  The funeral was completed
with great haste, and the mourning party returned to the house, whither
the mob also resorted, and were regaled with provisions of all kinds
during the afternoon, being with difficulty induced to disperse at
night.

Inglesant took no part in this riot, being indeed still too weak and ill
to exert himself at all.  He expected to be arrested and sent back to
London; but the authorities did not take much notice of the riot,
contenting themselves with dispersing the people, and seeing that most
of them left the neighbourhood, which they were induced to do by being
set in the village stocks, and otherwise imprisoned and intimidated.

Lady Cardiff had sent messages to Inglesant every day, expressing her
interest in him, and she now sent Van Helmont to him with the
information that a large sum of money, which she had assigned to his
brother, would now be his.  This sum, which amounted to several thousand
pounds, she was ready to pay over to Inglesant whenever he might desire
it.  She hoped he would remain at Oulton till his health was more
established, but she hinted that she thought it was for his own interest
that neither his stay there, nor indeed in England, should be
unnecessarily prolonged.  Meanwhile, she recommended him to Dr. More and
to the Quakers; the teaching which he would derive from both sources,
she assured him, would be much to his benefit.  Inglesant returned a
courteous message expressive of his obligation for her extraordinary
generosity, and assuring her that he should endeavour to benefit by
whatever her inmates might communicate to him.  He informed her that he
intended, as soon as his strength was sufficiently established, to go to
Paris, where the only friend he had left was, and that any sum of money
she was so generous as to afford him might be transmitted to the
merchants there.  He had some thoughts, he said, of going to Gidding,
but had learnt that soon after the execution of the King, the house had
been attacked by a mob of soldiers and others, and that the family, who
had timely warning of their intention, had left the neighbourhood and
were dispersed.  He concluded by hoping that before he left he might be
allowed to thank his benefactress in person.

Some weeks passed over at Oulton with great tranquillity, and Inglesant
regained his strength and calmness of mind. There was a large and
valuable library in the house, and the society of Dr. More was pleasant
to Inglesant, though in many ways they were far from congenial; indeed,
there was more in Van Helmont’s character and tastes that suited his
tone of mind.  During these weeks, however, Inglesant began to adapt
himself to a course of religious life from which he never altogether
departed, and which, after some doubts and many attempts on the part of
others to divert him from it, he followed to the end of his life.  He
was no doubt strengthened at the beginning of this course by the
conversation of Dr. More and also of the Quakers.  These latter, whom
Inglesant had been led to regard with aversion, he found harmless and
sober people, whose blameless lives, and the elevated mysticism of their
conversation, commended them to him.

The transient calm of this existence was, however, broken by one
absorbing idea—the desire of being revenged upon his brother’s murderer,
of tracking the Italian’s path, and bringing him to some terrible
justice.  It was this that induced him to seek the Jesuit, whom at one
time he had been inclined to shun. No one, he considered, would have it
in his power, from the innumerable agents in every country with whom he
had connection, to assist him in his search so much as the Jesuit; and
he believed that he had deserved as much at his master’s hand. But it
was not natural that, at any rate at once, he should suppose that such a
motive as this would be any hindrance to him in a religious life, and
for a long time he was unconscious of any such idea.

It will be as well here to endeavour to understand something of the
peculiar form which Christianity had assumed in Inglesant’s mind—a form
which was not peculiar to himself, but which he possessed in common with
most in that day whose training had been more or less similar to his
own.  It was similar in many respects to that which prevails in the
present day in most Roman Catholic countries, and may be described as
Christianity without the Bible.  It is doubtful whether, except perhaps
once or twice in College Chapel, he had ever read a chapter of the Bible
himself in his life. Certainly he never possessed a Bible himself; of
its contents, excepting those portions which are read in Church and
those contained in the Prayer Book, he was profoundly ignorant. It was
not included in the course of studies set him by the Jesuit.  Of the
Protestant doctrines of justification by faith and by the blood of
Christ, and of the Calvinistic ones of predestination and assurance, he
was only acquainted in a vague and general way, as he might have heard
mention of them in idle talk, mostly in contempt and dislike.  It is
true the Laudian School in the Church, in which he had been brought up,
held doctrines which, in outward terms, might seem to bear some affinity
with some, if not all of these; but they were in reality very different.
The Laudian School held, indeed, that the sacrifice of Christ’s blood
had removed the guilt of sin, and that by that, and that only, was
salvation secured of men; but they held that this had been accomplished
on the Cross, once for all, independently of anything that man could do
or leave undone.  The very slightest recognition, on the part of man, of
this Divine sacrifice, the very least submission to the Church
ordinances, combined with freedom from outward sin, was sufficient to
secure salvation to the baptized; and indeed the Church regarded with
leniency and hope even the wild and reprobate.  It is true that the
Laudian press teemed with holy works, setting the highest of pure
standards before its readers, and exhorting to the following of a holy
life; but this life was looked upon rather as a spiritual luxury and
privilege, to which high and refined natures might well endeavour to
attain, rather than as absolutely necessary to salvation.  With this
view the Church regarded human error with tolerance, and amusements and
enjoyments with approbation, and as deserving the highest sanctions of
religion.  Inglesant’s Christianity, therefore, was ignorant of doctrine
and dogma of almost every kind, and concentrated itself altogether on
what may be called the Idea of Christ, that is, a lively conception of
and attraction to the person of the Saviour.  This idea,—which comes to
men in different ways, and which came to Inglesant for the first time in
the sacrament at Gidding, being, I should suppose, a purely intellectual
one,—would no doubt be inefficient and transitory, were it not for the
unique and mysterious power of attraction which it undoubtedly
possesses.  In the pursuit of this idea he received little assistance
either from Dr. More.  The school to which the doctor belonged,—the
Christian Platonists,—had no tendency to that exclusive worship of the
person of Jesus, which, in some religious schools, has almost superseded
the worship of God.  This he had received from the Jesuits and the
mystical books of Catholic devotion which had had so great an influence
over him.  The Jesuits, with all their faults, held fast by the motive
of their founder, and the worship of Jesus was by them carried to its
fullest extent.  Dr. More’s theology was more that of a philosophical
Deism, into which the person and attributes of Christ entered as a part
of an universal scheme, in which the universe, mankind, the
all-pervading Spirit of God, and the objects of thought and sense,
played distinct and conspicuous parts.

One fine and warm day in the early spring, Inglesant and the doctor were
walking in the garden at the side of the house bordering on the chase
and park.  The wide expanse of grassy upland stretched before them;
overhead, the arch of heaven, chequered by the white clouds, was full of
life and light and motion; across the water of the lakes the Church
bells, rung for amusement by the village lads, came to the ear softened
and yet enriched in tone; the spring air, fanned by a fresh breeze,
refreshed the spirits and the sense.  The doctor began, as upon a
favourite theme, to speak of his great sense of the power and benefit of
the fresh air.

"I would always," he said, "be ’_sub dio_’, if it were possible.  Is
there anything more delicious to the touch than the soft, cool air
playing on our heated temples, recruiting and refrigerating the spirits
and the blood?  I can read, discourse, or think nowhere as well as in
some arbour, where the cool air rustles through the moving leaves; and
what a rapture of mind does such a scene as this always inspire within
me!  To a free and divine spirit how lovely, how magnificent is this
state for the soul of man to be in, when, the life of God inactuating
her, she travels through heaven and earth, and unites with, and after a
sort feels herself the life and soul of this whole world, even as God?
This indeed is to become Deiform—not by imagination, but by union of
life.  God doth not ride me whither I know not, but discourseth with me
as a friend, and speaks to me in such a dialect as I can understand
fully,—namely, the outward world of His creatures; so that I am in fact
’_Incola coeli in terrâ_,’ an inhabitant of paradise and heaven upon
earth; and I may soberly confess that sometimes, walking abroad after my
studies, I have been almost mad with pleasure,—the effect of nature upon
my soul having been inexpressibly ravishing, and beyond what I can
convey to you."

Inglesant said that such a state of mind was most blessed, and much to
be desired; but that few could hope to attain to it, and to many it
would seem a fantastic enthusiasm.

"No," said the doctor, "I am not out of my wits, as some may fondly
interpret me, in this divine freedom; but the love of God compelleth me;
and though you yourself know the extent of fancy, when phantoms seem
real external objects, yet here the principle of my opponents, the
Quakers (who, it may be, are nearer to the purity of Christianity—for
the life and power of it—than many others), is the most safe and
reasonable,—to keep close to the Light within a man."

"You agree with the Quakers, then, in some points?" said Inglesant.

"They have indeed many excellent points, and very nobly Christian, which
I wish they would disencumber from such things as make them seem so
uncouth and ridiculous; but the reason our lady has taken so to them as
to change some of her servants for Quakers, and to design to change
more, is that they prove lovers of quiet and retirement, and they fit
the circumstances that she is in, that cannot endure any noise, better
than others; for the weight of her affliction lies so heavy upon her,
that it is incredible how very seldom she can endure any one in her
chamber, and she finds them so still, quiet, and serious, that their
company is very acceptable to her; and she is refreshed by the accounts
of their trials and consolations, and their patience and support under
great distress.  Baron Van Helmont frequents their meetings."

"What do you think of the Baron?"

"I think he knows as little of himself, truly and really, as one who had
never seen him in his life."

Inglesant did not try to penetrate into this oracular response; but
said,—

"Have you seen Mr. Fox, the famous Quaker?"

"Yes; I saw him once," replied the doctor; "and in conversation with him
I felt myself as it were turned into brass, so much did his spirit and
perversity oppress mine."

"There are some men," the doctor went on, after a pause—but Inglesant
did not know of whom he was thinking—"that by a divine sort of fate are
virtuous and good, and this to a very great and heroical degree; and
come into the world rather for the good of others, and by a divine
force, than through their own proper fault, or any immediate or
necessary congruity of their natures.  All which is agreeable to that
opinion of Plato, that some descend hither to declare the being and
nature of the gods, and for the greater health, purity, and perfection
of this lower world.  I would fain believe, Mr. Inglesant," he
continued, to the other’s great surprise, "that you are one of those.
Ever since I first saw you I have had some thought of this; and the more
I see of you the more I hope and believe that some such work as this is
reserved for you.  You have, what is very happy for you, what I call an
ethereal sort of body—to use the Pythagoric phrase—even in this life, a
mighty purity and plenty of the animal spirits, which you may keep lucid
by that conduct and piety by which you may govern yourself.  And this
makes it all the more incumbent on you to have a great care to keep in
order this luciform vehicle of the soul, as the Platonists call it; for
there is a sanctity of body which the sensually minded do not so much as
dream of.  And this divine body should be cultivated as well as the
divine life; for by how much any person partakes more of righteousness
and virtue, he hath also a greater measure of this divine body or
celestial matter within himself; he throws off the baser affections of
the earthly body, and replenishes his inner man with so much larger
draughts of ethereal or celestial matter; and to incite you still more
to this effort, you have only to consider that the oracle of God is not
to be heard but in His holy temple, that is to say, in a good and holy
man, thoroughly sanctified in spirit, soul, and body."



                            *CHAPTER XVIII.*


Shortly after the conversation recorded in the previous chapter,
Inglesant, who appeared completely restored to health,—thanks to the
Baron Van Helmont and to rest of body,—left Oulton, and, without going
to London, went to Rye, and sailed thence to France, where he arrived
about the middle of May 1651.  He had taken a passage in a vessel
sailing to Dieppe, and from thence he posted to Paris, this route being
thought much safer than the one through Calais, which was much infested
by robbers.

He found Paris full of the fugitive Royalists in a state of distress and
destitution, which was so great, that on the Queen of England’s going to
St. Germain’s on one occasion, her creditors threatened to arrest her
coach.  The young King Charles was in Scotland, previous to his march
into England, which terminated in the battle of Worcester.  Inglesant
was well received by the Royalists to whom he made himself known on his
arrival.  The Glamorgan negotiations were by this time pretty well
understood among the Royalists, and Inglesant’s conduct fairly well
appreciated.  He had the reputation of being a useful and trustworthy
agent, and as such was well received by the heads of the party.  He
presented himself at the Louvre, where the Queen was, who received him
graciously, and expressed a wish that he would remain in Paris, as she
had been speaking not many days ago with Father St. Clare concerning
him.  Inglesant inquired where the Jesuit was, and was told, at St.
Germain’s with the French Court, and that he would be in Paris again
shortly.  After leaving the Queen, Inglesant applied to the merchants
with whom his money was to have been lodged; but found that by some
misunderstanding a much smaller sum had arrived than he had expected.
Such as it was, however, he was able from it to make advances to the
Royalist gentlemen, many of whom of the highest rank were in absolute
distress; and he even advanced a considerable sum indirectly to the
Queen, and, through the Duke of Ormond, to the young Duke of Gloucester.

It is not necessary to enter into any details with regard to the state
of France or the French Court at that time.  The Court had been obliged
to leave Paris some time before, owing to the violence of the populace,
and was at present much embarrassed from the same cause.  It was
therefore quite unable to afford any help to the distressed fugitives
from England, had it wished to do so, and even the Queen Henrietta,—a
daughter of France,—could scarcely obtain assistance, and was reduced to
the greatest pecuniary distress.  The Duke of Ormond parted with his
last jewel to procure money for the use of the Duke of Gloucester, whose
guardian he was, and the inferior Royalists were reduced to still
greater necessities. No sooner, therefore, was it known that Inglesant
had means at his disposal, than he became once more a person of the
greatest consequence, and every one sought him out, or, if not before
acquainted with him, desired an introduction.  He frequented the Chapel
of Sir Richard Browne, who had been ambassador from Charles the First,
and still retained his privileges, his chapel, and his household, being
accredited from the young fugitive King to the French Court.  This was
the only Anglican place of worship in Paris, or indeed at that time,
perhaps, in the world.  Ordinations were performed there, and it was
frequented by the King and the two young Princes, the Duke of York and
the Duke of Gloucester, and by all the Royalist fugitives then in Paris.

Inglesant was the more welcome, as many of the Royalist gentlemen who
had any money at all, refused to stay in Paris, where there were so many
claims upon them, but went on to other countries, especially Italy.  He
found many of these gentlemen in a very excited state, owing to the
efforts of the Queen Mother to discourage the English Church, and to win
over perverts to Romanism.  The King and the Duke, it is true, received
the sacrament in the Ambassador’s Chapel, partaking of it together
before the other communicants, Lord Biron, Inglesant’s old friend, and
Lord Wilmot, holding a white cloth before the two Princes; but the Queen
Mother was making every effort to pervert the young Duke of Gloucester,
and throwing all the weight of her influence and patronage on the side
of the Papists.  Several of the maids of honour had been discharged
shortly before Inglesant’s arrival in Paris, for refusing to conform to
the Romish Mass. Dr. Cosin, the Dean of Peterborough, a profound
Ritualist, but at the same time devoted to the Anglican Church, had
preached a sermon in the Chapel comforting and supporting these ladies.
Inglesant being with the Queen at the Palais Royal, one morning, as she
was going to her private mass, was commanded to accompany her; and upon
his readily complying, the Queen afterwards spoke to him on the subject
of religion, inquiring why he, who had so long been so closely connected
with the Catholic Church, did not become one of its members. Inglesant
pleaded that the Jesuit, Father St. Clare, had discouraged him from
joining the Papists, as not convenient in the position in which he had
been placed.  The Queen said that the reasons which actuated the Father
did not any longer exist, but that she would wait till she could take
his advice; in the meantime requesting Inglesant to attend the Romish
services as much as possible, which he promised to do.  As a matter of
choice, he preferred the English communion to the mass, but he regarded
both as means of sacramental grace, and endeavoured at low mass to bring
his mind into the same devout stillness and condition of adoration as at
a communion. It would appear that about this time he must have been
formally received into the Romish Church, for he confessed and received
the sacrament at low mass; but no mention of the ceremony occurs, and it
is possible that the priests received instructions respecting him, while
there is clear proof that he attended the services at the Ambassador’s
Chapel, and once at any rate partook of the sacrament there.

Here he met with Mr. Hobbes, who expressed himself pleased to see him,
and entered into long discourses with him respecting the Glamorgan
negotiations and the late King’s policy generally,—discourses which were
very instructive to Inglesant, though he felt a greater repugnance to
the man than when he formerly met him in London.  The religious thoughts
which had filled Inglesant’s mind at Oulton were far from forgotten, and
when he arrived in Paris, his first feeling had been one of
dissatisfaction at finding himself at once involved again in political
intrigue; but his affection for the Jesuit, apart from his desire to
discover the Italian by his means, made him desire to meet him; and he
continued in Paris, waiting with this intention, when an event occurred
which altogether diverted his thoughts.

He spent his time in many ways,—partly in acts of religion, partly in
studies, frequenting several lectures, both in letters and in science,
such as Mons. Febus’s course of chemistry. He also frequented the tennis
court in the Rue Verdelet, where the King of England, and the princes
and nobles, both of that country and of France, amused themselves.  He
had been at this latter place one morning, and something having happened
to prevent the gentleman who had arranged to play the match from
appearing, Inglesant, who was a good tennis player, had been requested
to take his place against Mons. Saumeurs, the great French player.
There was a large and brilliant attendance to watch the play, and
Inglesant exerted himself to the utmost, so much so, that he earned the
applause and thanks of the company for the brilliant match played before
them.  Having at last been beaten, which occurred probably when the
great player considered he had afforded sufficient amusement to the
spectators, Inglesant turned to leave the court, having resumed his
dress and sword, when he was accosted by an English nobleman whom he
very slightly knew; who, no doubt, influenced by the applause and
attention which Inglesant had excited, asked him to dine with him at a
neighbouring place of entertainment.  After dinner the gentleman told
Inglesant that he was in the habit, together with many other English who
wished to perfect their knowledge of French, of resorting to one or
other of the convents of Paris, to talk with the ancient sisters, whose
business it was to receive strangers, and had several such acquaintances
with whom he might "chat at the grates, for the nuns speak a quaint
dialect, and have besides most commonly all the news that passes, which
they are ready to discourse upon as long as you choose to listen,
whereby you gain a greater knowledge of the most correct and refined
manner of speaking of all manner of common and trifling events than you
could otherwise gain."  He said that he had received a parcel of English
gloves and knives from England the day before, some of which he intended
that afternoon taking to one of his "Devota" (as they call a friend in a
convent, he said, in Spain), and would take Inglesant with him if the
latter wished to come.  Inglesant willingly consented, and they went to
a convent of the —— in the Rue des Terres Fortes.  They found the
ancient nun—a little courtly old lady—as amusing and pleasant as they
expected; and she was on her part apparently equally pleased with Lord
Cheney’s presents, and with Inglesant’s courteous discourse and good
French.  She invited Inglesant to visit her again, but the next day he
received a message which was brought by a servant of the convent, who
had found his lodgings with some difficulty through Lord Cheney,
requesting him to come to the convent at once.  It lay in a retired and
rather remote part of the city, and but for his friend’s introduction he
would never have visited it.  Thinking the message somewhat strange, he
complied with the request, and in the afternoon found himself again in
the convent parlour.  The nun came immediately to the grate.

"Ah, monsieur," she said, "I am glad that you are come. You think it
strange, doubtless, that I should send for you so soon; but I spoke of
you last night to an inmate of this house, who is a compatriot of yours,
and who, I am sorry to say, is very ill,—nay, I fear at the point of
death,—and she told me she had known you very well—ah, very well
indeed—in times past; and she entreated me to send to you if I could
find out your residence.  I only knew of you through Milord Chene, but I
sent to him."

"What is this lady’s name, madame?" said Inglesant, who, even then, did
not guess who it was.

"Ah, her name," said the nun; "her name is Collette—Mademoiselle Marie
Collette."

She had the door in the grate opened for Inglesant, and took him through
the house, and past a court planted with trees, to a small and quiet
room overlooking the distant woodlands.  There, upon a little bed—her
face white, her hands and form wasted to a shadow, only her wonderful
eyes the same as ever—lay Mary Collet, her face lighting up and her weak
hands trembling as he came in.  On his knees by the bedside, his face
buried in his hands, her white fingers playing over his hair, Inglesant
could not speak, dare not even look up.  The old nun looked on kindly
for some few minutes, and then left them.

Mary was the first to speak, and as she spoke, Inglesant raised his head
and fixed his eyes on hers, keeping down the torrent of grief that all
but mastered him as he might.

She spoke to him of her joy at seeing him—she so lonely and lost in a
foreign land, separated from all her friends and family,—not knowing
indeed where they were; of the suffering and hardships she had passed
through since they had left Gidding—hardships which had caused the fever
of which she lay dying as she spoke.  She had come to Paris after
parting from her uncle in Brittany, where they had suffered much
deprivation with the Lady Blount, and had been received into this
convent, where she had meant to take the veil; but the fever grew upon
her, and the physicians at last gave her no hope of recovery.  There she
had lain day after day, tended by the kind nuns with every care, yet
growing weaker and more weary—longing for some voice or face of her own
country or of former days.  While she had been well enough to listen,
the nuns had told her all the little scraps of news relating to her own
countrymen and to the Queen which had reached them; but Inglesant’s
arrival was not likely to be among these, and Mary had heard nothing of
his being in Paris till the night before, when the kindly old nun,
finding her a little better than usual, had thought to amuse her by
speaking of the pleasant young Englishman who spoke French so well, and
whose half foreign name she could easily remember, and who, Lord Cheney
had told her, had been one of the most faithful servants of the poor
murdered King.

The start of the dying girl before her, her flushed face as she raised
herself in bed and threw herself into her friend’s arms, entreating her
that this old friend, the dearest friend she had ever known—ah! dearer
now than ever—might be sent for at once while she had life and strength
to speak to him, showed the nun that this was yet again a reacting of
that old story that never tires a woman’s heart.  The nuns were not
strict—far from it—and, even had Mary already taken the veil, the
sisters would have thought little blame of her even for remembering that
once she dreamt of another bridegroom than the heavenly Spouse.  The nun
had promised to send early in the morning to Lord Cheney, who, no doubt,
knew the abode of his friend; and Mary, as she finished telling all this
in her low and weak speech, lay still and quiet, looking upon her friend
almost with as calm and peaceful a glance of her absorbing eyes as when
she had looked at him in the garden parlour at Gidding years ago.  He
himself said little; it was not his words she wanted, could he have
spoken them.  That he was there by her, looking up in her face, holding
her hand, was quite enough.  At last she said,—

"And that mission to the Papist murderers, Johnny, you did not wish to
bring them into England of your own accord or only as a plot of the
Jesuits?  Surely you were but the servant of one whom you could not
discover."

"I had the King’s own commission for all I did, for every word I said,"
said Inglesant eagerly—"a commission written by himself, and signed in
my presence, which he gave me himself.  That was the paper the Lord
Biron would not burn."

"I knew it must be so, Johnny; my uncle told me it must be so.  It seems
to me you have served a hard master, though you do not complain.  We
heard about the scaffold at Charing Cross.  Will you serve your heavenly
Master as well as you have served your King?"

"I desire to serve Him, am seeking to serve Him even now, but I do not
find the way.  Tell me how I can serve Him, Mary, and I swear to you I
will do whatever you shall say."

"He must teach you, Johnny, not I.  I doubt not that you follow Him now,
will serve Him hereafter much better than I could ever show you—could
ever do myself.  Whatever men may think of the path you have already
chosen, no one can say you have not walked in it steadily to the end.
Only walk in this way as steadily, Johnny,—only follow your heart as
unflinchingly, when it points you to Him.  I will do nothing night and
day while I live, Johnny, but pray to Jesus that He may lead you to
Himself."

The old familiar glamour that shed such a holy radiance on the woods and
fields of Gidding, now, to Inglesant’s senses, filled the little convent
room.  The light of heaven that entered the open window with the perfume
of the hawthorn, was lost in the diviner radiance that shone from this
girl’s face into the depths of his being, and bathed the place where she
was in light.  His heart ceased to beat, and he lay, as in a trance, to
behold the glory of God.



                             *CHAPTER XIX.*


Inglesant was present at the funeral in the cemetery of the convent, and
caused a white marble cross to be set over the grave.  He remained in
his lodgings several days, melancholy and alone.  His whole nature was
shaken to the foundation, and life was made more holy and solemn to him
than ever before.  The burden of worldly matters became intolerable, and
the coil that had been about his life so long grew more oppressive till
it seemed to stifle his soul.  He desired to listen to the Divine Voice,
but the voice seemed silent, or to speak only the language of worldly
plans and schemes.  He desired to live a life of holiness, but the only
life that seemed possible to him was one of business and intrigue.  What
was this life of holiness that men ought to lead?  Could it be followed
in the world?  Or must he retire to some monastic solitude to cultivate
it; and was it certain that it would flourish even there?  It seemed
more and more impossible for him to find it; he was repulsed and turned
back upon his worldly life at every attempt he made.  He almost resolved
to give up the Jesuit, and to seek some more spiritual guide.  He
remembered Cressy, who had become a Romanist, and a Benedictine monk of
the Monastery at Douay, and was at that moment in Paris.

When Inglesant had been last in Oxford, the secession of Hugh Paulin
Cressy, as he had been named at the font in Wakefield Church,—Serenus de
Cressy, as he called himself in religion,—had created a painful and
disturbed impression.  A Fellow of Merton, the chaplain and friend of
Lord Strafford, and afterwards of Lord Falkland, a quick and accurate
disputant, a fine and persuasive preacher, a man of sweet and attractive
nature, and of natural and acquired refinement,—he was one of the
leaders of the highest thought and culture of the University.  When it
was known, therefore, that this man, so admired and beloved, had seceded
to Popery, the interest and excitement were very great, and one of
Archbishop Usher’s friends writes to him in pathetic words of the loss
of this bright ornament of the Church, and of the danger to others which
his example might cause.

He was at present in Paris, where the conjuncture of religious affairs
was very exciting.  There was much in the discussions which were going
on, singularly fitted to Inglesant’s state of mind, and in some degree
conducive to it.  The Jesuits, both in Rome and Paris, were occupied, as
they had been for several years, in that great controversy with the
followers of Jansenius, which, a few years afterwards, culminated in
those discussions and that condemnation in the Sorbonne so graphically
described by Pascal.  We have only to do with it as it affected
Inglesant, and it is therefore not necessary to inquire what were the
real reasons which caused the Jesuits to oppose the Jansenists.  The
point at which the controversy had arrived, when Inglesant was in Paris,
was one which touched closely upon the topics most interesting to his
heart. This was the doctrine of sufficient grace.  The Jesuits, on this
as in all other matters, had taken that side which is undoubtedly most
pleasing to the frailty of the human heart,—an invariable policy, to
which they owed their supremacy over the popular mind.

When the faithful came to the theologians to inquire what was the true
state of human nature since its corruption, they received St.
Augustine’s answer, confirmed by St. Bernard and St. Thomas Aquinas, and
finally adopted by the Jansenists,—"That human nature has no more
sufficient grace than God is pleased to bestow upon it, and that fresh
efficacious grace must constantly be given by God, which grace God does
not give to all, and without which no man can be saved."  In opposition
to this, the Jesuits, about the time of the Reformation, came forward
with what was called a new doctrine,—that sufficient grace is given to
all men, as men, but so far compliant with free-will that this latter
makes the former efficacious or inefficacious at its choice, without any
new supply from God. The Jansenists retorted that this doctrine rendered
unnecessary the efficacious grace of Jesus Christ; but that this does
not follow is plain, for this efficacious grace of God that is given to
all men once for all, may be owing to the sacrifice of Christ. To many
natures this universal gracious beneficent doctrine of all-pervading
grace, which includes all mankind, was much more pleasing than the
doctrine of the necessity of special grace, involving spiritual
assumption in those who possess it or say they do, and bitter
uncertainty and depression in humble, self-doubting, and thoughtful
minds.  It resembled also the doctrines of the Laudian School, in which
Inglesant had been brought up.  So attractive indeed was it, that the
Benedictines were compelled to profess it, and to pretend to side with
the Jesuits, while in reality hating their doctrine.

When Inglesant remembered Cressy, and remembered also that he belonged
to the Benedictines, the polished and learned cultivators of the useful
arts, and was told that Cressy had chosen this order that he might have
leisure and books to prosecute his studies and his writings, he
conceived great hope that from him he should learn the happy mean he was
in search of, between the worldliness of the Jesuits on the one hand,
and the narrow repulsiveness of the Mendicant orders and the Calvinists
on the other.  In this frame of mind he sought an interview with Cressy.
The directions of the Jesuits and of the Laudian School seemed to
Inglesant to have failed; to have associated himself with the Jansenists
or Calvinists would have been distasteful to him, and almost impossible.
He sought in the Benedictine monk that compromise which the heart of man
is perpetually seeking between the things of this world and the things
of God.  But though for the time the influence of the training of his
life was somewhat shaken, it was far from removed, and an event occurred
which, even before he saw Cressy, reforged the chains upon him to some
extent.  One Sunday evening, the day before he was to meet Cressy,
walking along the Rue St Martin from the Boulevard where he had
lodgings, he turned into the Jesuits’ Church just as the sermon had
begun.  The dim light found its way into the vast Church from the
stained windows; a lamp burning before some shrine shone partially on
the preacher, as he stood in the stone pulpit by a great pillar, in his
white surplice and rich embroidered stole. He was a young man, thin and
sad-looking, and spoke slowly, and with long pauses and intervals, but
with an intense eagerness and pathos that went to every heart.  The
first words that Inglesant heard, as he reached the nearest unoccupied
place, were these:—

"Ah! if you adored a God crowned with roses and with pearls, it were a
matter nothing strange; but to prostrate yourselves daily before a
crucifix, charged with nails and thorns,—you living in such excess and
superfluity in the flesh, dissolved in softness,—how can that be but
cruel?  Ah, think of that crucifix as you lie warm in silken curtains,
perfumed with eau de naffe, as you sit at dainty feasts, as you ride
forth in the sunshine in gallantry.  He is cold and naked; He is alone;
behind Him the sky is dreary and streaked with darkening clouds, for the
night cometh—the night of God.  His locks are wet with the driving rain;
His hair is frozen with the sleet; His beauty is departed from Him; all
men have left him—all men, and God also, and the holy angels hide their
faces.  He is crowned with thorns, but you with garlands; He wears
nothing in His hands but piercing nails; you have rubies and diamonds on
yours.  Ah! will you tell me you can still be faithful though in brave
array?  I give that answer which Tertullian gave,—’I fear this neck
snared with wreaths and ropes of pearls and emeralds.  I fear the sword
of persecution can find no entrance there.’  No! hear you not the voice
of the crucifix?  Follow me.  We are engaged to suffer by His sufferings
as we look on Him.  Suffering is our vow and profession. Love which
cannot suffer is unworthy of the name of love."

                     *      *      *      *      *

The next day, at the appointed hour, he went to the Benedictine
Monastery, in the Rue de Varrennes, and sent in his name to Father de
Cressy.  He was shown, not into the visitors’ room, but into a private
parlour, where Cressy came to him immediately.  Dressed in the habit of
his order, with a lofty and refined expression, he was a striking and
attractive man; differing from the Jesuit in that, though both were
equally persuasive, the latter united more power of controlling others
than the appearance of Cressy implied.  He had known Inglesant slightly
at Oxford, and greeted him with great cordiality.

"I am not surprised that you are come to me, Mr. Inglesant," he said,
with a most winning gesture and smile; "De Guevera, who was himself both
a courtier and a recluse, says that the penance of religious men was
sweeter than the pleasures of courtiers.  Has your experience brought
you to the same conclusion?"

Inglesant thanked him for granting him an interview; and sitting down,
he told him shortly the story of his life, and his early partiality for
the mystical theology; of his wishes and attempts; of his desire to
follow the Divine Master; and of his failures and discouragements, his
studies, his Pagan sympathies; and how life and reality of every kind,
and inquiry, and the truth of history, and philosophy, even while it
sided with or supported religion, still seemed to hinder and oppose the
heavenly walk.

"I do not know, Mr. Inglesant," said De Cressy, "whether your case is
easier or more difficult than that of those who usually come to me; I
have many come to me; and they usually, one and all, come with the exact
words of the blessed gospel on their lips, ’Sir, we would see Jesus.’
And I look them in the face often, and wonder, and often find no words
to speak.  See Jesus, I often think, I do not doubt it! who would not
wish to see Him who is the fulness of all perfection that the heart and
intellect ever conceived, in whom all creation has its centre, all the
troubles and sorrows of life have their cure, all the longings of carnal
men their fruition?  But why come to me?  Is He not walking to and fro
on the earth continually, in every act of charity and self-sacrifice
that is done among men?  Is He not offered daily on every altar,
preached continually from every pulpit?  Why come to me? Old men of
sixty and seventy come to me with these very words, ’Sir, we would see
Jesus.’  If the course of sixty years, if the troubles and confusions of
a long life, if He Himself has not revealed this Beatific Vision to
them,—how can I?  But with you it is very different.  By your own story
I know that you have seen Jesus; that you know Him as you know your
dearest friend.  This makes our discourse at first much the easier, for
I need waste no words upon a matter to enlarge upon which to you would
be an insult to your heart.  But it makes it more difficult afterwards,
when we come to ask how it is that, with this transcendental knowledge,
you are still dissatisfied, and find life so difficult a path to tread.
I make no apology for speaking plainly; such would be as much an insult
to you as the other.  You remind me of the rich oratories I have seen of
some of our Court ladies, where everything is beautiful and costly, but
where a classic statue of Apollo stands by the side of a crucifix, a
Venus with Our Lady, a Cupid near St. Michael, and a pair of beads on
Mercury’s Caduceus.

"You are like the young man who came to Jesus, and whom Jesus loved, for
you have great possessions.  You have been taught all that men desire to
know, and are accomplished in all that makes life delightful.  You have
the knowledge of the past, and know the reality of men’s power, and
wisdom, and beauty, which they possess of themselves, and did possess in
the old classic times.  You have culled of the tree of knowledge, and
know good and evil; yea, the good that belongs to this world, and is
part of it, and the strength and wisdom and beauty of the children of
this world; yea, and the evil and ignorance and folly of the children of
light.  Let us grant—I am willing to grant—that Plato has a purer
spiritual instinct than St. Paul.  I will grant that Lucretius has the
wisdom of this world with him; ay, and its alluring tongue. Paul did not
desire spiritual insight; he wanted Jesus.  You stand as a god free to
choose.  On the one hand, you have the delights of reason and of
intellect, the beauty of that wonderful creation which God made, yet did
not keep; the charms of Divine philosophy, and the enticements of the
poet’s art: on the other side, Jesus.  You know Him, and have seen Him.
I need say no more of His perfections.

"I do not speak to you, as I might speak to others, of penalties and
sufferings hereafter, in which, probably, you do not believe.  Nor do I
speak to you, as I might to others, of evidences that our faith is true,
of proofs that hereafter we shall walk with Christ and the saints in
glory.  I am willing to grant you that it may be that we are mistaken;
that in the life to come we may find we have been deceived; nay, that
Jesus Himself is in a different station and position to what we preach.
This is nothing to your purpose.  To those who know Him as you know Him,
and have seen Him as you have, better Jesus, beaten and defeated, than
all the universe besides, triumphing and crowned.  I offer to you
nothing but the alternative which every man sooner or later must place
before himself.  Shall he turn a deaf ear to the voice of reason, and
lay himself open only to the light of faith? or shall he let human
wisdom and human philosophy break up this light, as through a glass, and
please himself with the varied colours upon the path of life?  Every man
must choose; and having chosen, it is futile to lament and regret; he
must abide by his choice, and by the different fruit it brings.  You
wish this life’s wisdom, and to walk with Christ as well; and you are
your own witness that it cannot be.  The two cannot walk together, as
you have found.  To you, especially, this is the great test and trial
that Christ expects of you to the very full.  We of this religious order
have given ourselves to learning, as you know; nay, in former years, to
that Pagan learning which is so attractive to you, though of late years
we devote ourselves to producing editions of the Fathers of the Church.
But even this you must keep yourself from.  To most men this study is no
temptation; to you it is fatal.  I put before you your life, with no
false colouring, no tampering with the truth.  Come with me to Douay;
you shall enter our house according to the strictest rule; you shall
engage in no study that is any delight or effort to the intellect: but
you shall teach the smallest children in the schools, and visit the
poorest people, and perform the duties of the household—and all for
Christ.  I promise you on the faith of a gentleman and a priest—I
promise you, for I have no shade of doubt—that in this path you shall
find the satisfaction of the heavenly walk; you shall walk with Jesus
day by day, growing ever more and more like to Him; and your path,
without the least fall or deviation, shall lead more and more into the
light, until you come unto the perfect day; and on your death-bed—the
deathbed of a saint—the vision of the smile of God shall sustain you,
and Jesus Himself shall meet you at the gates of eternal life."

Every word that Cressy spoke went straight to Inglesant’s conviction,
and no single word jarred upon his taste.  He implicitly believed that
what the Benedictine offered him he should find.  There was no
doubt—could be no doubt—that it was by such choice as this that such men
as Cressy gained for themselves a power in the heavenly warfare, and not
only attained to the heavenly walk themselves, but moved the earth to
its foundations, and drew thousands into the ranks of Christ. He saw the
choice before him fairly, as Cressy had said, and indeed it was not for
the first time.  Then his mind went back to his old master, and to that
school where no such thing as this was required of him, and yet the
heavenly light offered to him as freely as by this man.  The sermon of
the night before came into his mind again; surely, where such doctrine
as that was preached, might he not find rest?  It was true that his
coming there, and his confession, closed his lips before Cressy; but
might he not have been too hasty?  Life was not yet over with him;
perchance he might yet find what he sought in some other way.  He saw
the path of perfect self-denial open before him,—renunciation, not of
pleasure, nor even of the world, but of himself, of his intellect, of
his very life,—and distinctly of his free choice he refused it.  This
only may be said for him: he was convinced that every word the
Benedictine had said to him was true,—that in the life he offered him he
should follow and find the Lord; but he was not equally convinced that
it was the will of Christ that he should accept this life, and should
follow and find Him in this way, and in no other. Had he been as clear
of this as of the truth of Cressy’s words, then indeed would his turning
away have been a clear denial of Jesus Christ; but it was the voice of
Cressy that spoke to him, and not the voice of Christ; it came to him
with a conviction and a power all but irresistible, but it failed to
carry with it the absolute conviction of the heavenly call.  How could
it?  The heavenly call itself must speak very loud before it silences
and convinces the unwilling heart.

He rose from his seat before the monk, and looking sadly down upon him,
he said,—

"I believe all that you say and all that you promise, and that the
heavenly walk lies before me in the road that you have pointed out; but
I cannot follow it—it is too strait.  I return your kindness and your
plainness with words equally plain; and while you think of me as lost
and unworthy, it may be some well-earned satisfaction to you to remember
that none ever spoke truer, or nobler, or kinder words to any man than
you have spoken to me."

"I do not look on you as lost, Mr. Inglesant,—far from it," said Cressy,
rising as he spoke; "I expect you will yet witness a good confession for
Christ in the world and in the Court; but I believe you have had to-day
a more excellent way shown you, which, but for the trammels of your
birth and training, you might have had grace to walk in, for your own
exceeding blessedness and the greater glory of the Lord Christ.  I wish
you every benediction of this life and of the next; and I shall remember
you at the altar as a young man who came to Jesus, and whom Jesus
loves."

Inglesant took his leave of him, and left the monastery. He came away
very sorrowful from Serenus de Cressy. Whether he also, at the same
time, was turning away from Jesus Christ, who can tell?

The next day the Jesuit arrived in Paris.



                             *CHAPTER XX.*


Inglesant was much struck with the change in the Jesuit’s appearance.
He was worn and thin, and looked discouraged and depressed.  He was
evidently extremely pleased to see his pupil again, and his manner was
affectionate and even respectful.  He appeared shaken and nervous, and
Inglesant fancied that he was rather shy of meeting him; but if so, it
soon passed off under the influence of the cordial greeting with which
he was received.

To Inglesant’s inquiry as to where he had been, the Jesuit answered that
it did not matter; he had succeeded very imperfectly in his mission,
whatever it had been.  He asked Inglesant whether he had met with Sir
Kenelm Digby, or heard anything of him.  In reply to which Inglesant
told him the reports which he had heard concerning him.

"He is mad," said the Jesuit, "and he is not the less dangerous.  He was
sent to Rome by the Queen, where he made great mischief, and offended
the Pope by his insolence. He has sided with the Parliament in England,
and is engaged on a scheme to persuade Cromwell to recall the King, and
seat him on the throne as an elective monarch.  The Queen does not wish
to break with him altogether, both because he has great influence with
some powerful Catholics, and because, if nothing better can be done, she
would perforce accept the elective monarchy for her son.  But the scheme
is chimerical, and will come to nothing.  Cromwell intends the crown for
himself.  You see, Johnny," continued St. Clare with a smile, "all our
plans have failed.  The English Church is destroyed, and those Catholics
who always opposed it are thought much of at Rome now, and carry all
before them.  I have not altered my opinion, however, and I shall die in
the same.  But we must wait.  I do not wish to influence you any more,
nor to involve you any longer in any schemes of mine, but the Queen
wants you to go as an agent to Rome on her behalf; and it would be of
great service to me, and to any plans which I may in future have, if I
had such a friend and correspondent as yourself in that city.  If you
have no other plans, I do not see that you could do much better than go.
You shall have such introductions to my friends there—cardinals and
great men—that you may live during your stay in the best company and
luxury, and without expense.  One of my friends is the Cardinal
Renuccinni, brother of the Legate the Bishop of Fermo, whom you met in
Ireland, and who, by the by, was much impressed with you.  You cannot
fail to make friends with many who will have it in their power to be of
great use to you; and you may establish yourself in some lucrative post,
either as a layman, or, if you choose to take orders, as a priest.  You
will believe me, also, when I say,—what I say to very few,—that I am
under obligations to you which I can never repay, and nothing will give
me greater pleasure than to see you rich and prosperous, and admired and
powerful in the Roman Court.  You have the qualities and the experience
to command success.  You will be backed by the whole power of my
friends, with whom to make your fortune will be the work of an
after-dinner’s talk. You will see Italy, and delight yourself in the
sight of all those places and antiquities of which we have so often
talked; and with your cultivated and religious tastes you will enter,
with the most perfect advantage, into that magic world of sight and
sound which the churches and sacred services in Rome present to the
devout.  I cannot see that you can do better than go."

Inglesant sat looking at the Jesuit with a singular expression in his
eyes, which the latter did not understand.  Yes, surely it was a very
different offer from that of Serenus de Cressy, yet Inglesant did not
delay to answer from any indecision; from the moment the Jesuit began to
speak he knew that he should go.  But he took a kind of melancholy
pleasure in contrasting the two paths, the two men, the different choice
they offered him, and in reading a half sad, half sarcastic commentary
on himself.

After a minute or two, he said,—

"I thank you much for your good-will and quite undeserved patronage.  It
is by far too good an offer to be refused, and I gladly accept it.  You
know, doubtless, what has happened to me, especially within these last
few days, and that I have no friend left on earth save yourself; such a
journey as that which you propose to me will, at the least, distract my
thoughts from such a melancholy fate as mine."

"I knew of your brother’s murder," said the Jesuit; "I have heard of the
man before—one of those utterly lost and villanous natures which no
country but Italy ever produced. Do you wish to seek him?"

Inglesant told him that one of his principal objects in staying in Paris
was to seek his assistance for that purpose; and that he felt it a
sacred duty, which he owed to his brother, that his murderer should not
escape unpunished.

"I have no doubt I can learn where he is," said the other; "but I do not
well see what you can do when you have found him, unless it happens to
be in a place where you have powerful friends.  It is true that he is so
generally known and hated in Italy, that you might easily get help in
punishing him should you meet him there; but he is hardly likely to
return to his native country, except for some powerful reason."

"If I can do nothing else," said Inglesant bitterly, "I can tell him who
I am and shoot him dead, or run him through the body.  He murdered my
brother, just as he had come back to me—to me in prison and alone, and
was a loving friend and brother to me, and would have been through life.
Do you suppose that I should spare him, or that any moment will be so
delightful to me as the one in which I see him bleed to death at my
feet, as I saw my poor brother, struck by his hand, as he shall be by
mine?"

The Jesuit looked at Inglesant with surprise.  The terrible earnestness
of his manner, and the unrelenting and grim pleasure he seemed to take
at the prospect of revenge, seemed so inconsistent with the refined and
religious tone of his ordinary character, approaching almost to
weakness; but the next moment he thought, "Why should I wonder at it?
The man who has gone through what he did without flinching must have a
strength of purpose about him far other than some might think."

He said aloud,—

"Well, I doubt not I can find him; he is well known in France, in Spain,
and in Italy, and if he goes to Germany he can be traced.  But what was
the other sad misfortune you spoke of?—something within the last few
days, you said."

Inglesant had been looking fixedly before him since he had last spoken,
with a steady blank expression, which, since his imprisonment, his face
sometimes wore,—part of a certain wildness in his look which bespoke a
mind ill at ease and a confused brain.  He was following up his prey to
the death.

He started at the Jesuit’s question, and seemed to recollect with an
effort; then he said,—

"Mary Collet died at the convent of the Nuns of the —— last week.  I
only found her out the night before;" and as he spoke, the contrast
arose in his mind of the deathbed of the saint-like girl, and the
Italian’s bleeding body struck down by his revenge.  The footsteps of
the Saviour he had promised his friend to follow, surely could not lead
him to such a scene as that.  If this were the first-fruits of his
refusal to follow Serenus de Cressy, surely he must also have turned his
back on Christ Himself.

He covered his face with his hands, and the Jesuit saw that he wept.  He
supposed it was simply from grief at the death of his friend, and he was
surprised at the strength of his attachment.  Like others, he had
thought Inglesant’s love a rather cool and Platonic passion.

"I always thought him one of those nice and coy lovers," he said to
himself, "who always observe some defect in the thing they love, which
weakens their passion, and shows them that the reality is so much
inferior to their idea, that they easily desist from their enterprize,
and vanish as if they had not so much intention to love as to vanish,
and had more shame to have begun their courtship than purpose to
continue it.  He must be much shaken by his suffering and by his
brother’s death."

He waited a few moments, and then spoke to Inglesant about his health,
of his brother’s death, and of his imprisonment. He spoke to him of the
late King, and of his distress at the necessity under which he lay of
denying Inglesant’s commission; and he said many other things calculated
to cheer his friend and please his self-regard.

Inglesant listened to him not without pleasure, but he said little.  An
idea had taken possession of his mind, which he carried with him into
Italy and for long afterwards.  He was more than half convinced that, in
rejecting Cressy’s advice, he had turned his back on Christ; and he was
the more confirmed in this belief because never had the image of the
Italian, nor the desire of revenge, taken so strong a hold upon his
imagination as now.  It occurred to his excited imagination that Christ
had deserted him, and the Fiend taken possession, and that the course
and intention of the latter would be to lure him on, by such images, to
some terrible and lonely place, where the Italian and he together should
be involved in one common ghastly deed of crime, one common and eternal
ruin. The sense of having had a great act of self-denial placed before
him and having refused it, no doubt weighed down and blunted his
conscience; and once placed, as he half thought, upon the downward path,
nothing seemed before him but the gradual descent, adorned at first by
some poor show of gaudy flowers, but ending speedily—for there was no
self-delusion to such a nature as his, which had tasted of the heavenly
food—in miserable and filthy mire, where, loathing himself and despised
by others, nothing awaited him but eternal death. He answered the Jesuit
almost mechanically, and on parting from him at night promised
indifferently to accompany him on the morrow to an audience with the
Queen.



                             END OF VOL. I.



                _Printed by_ R. & R. CLARK, _Edinburgh_.





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