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Title: Darnley - or The Field of the Cloth of Gold
Author: James, G. P. R. (George Payne Rainsford)
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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The Field of the Cloth of Gold, Vol. 6





_The Introduction is written by_ LAURIE MAGNUS, M.A.: _the Title-page
is designed by_ IVOR I. J. SYMES.


George Payne Rainsford James, Historiographer Royal to King William
IV., was born in London in the first year of the nineteenth century,
and died at Venice in 1860. His comparatively short life was
exceptionally full and active. He was historian, politician and
traveller, the reputed author of upwards of a hundred novels, the
compiler and editor of nearly half as many volumes of letters,
memoirs, and biographies, a poet and a pamphleteer, and, during the
last ten years of his life, British Consul successively in
Massachusetts, Norfolk (Virginia), and Venice. He was on terms of
friendship with most of the eminent men of his day. Scott, on whose
style he founded his own, encouraged him to persevere in his career as
a novelist; Washington Irving admired him, and Walter Savage Landor
composed an epitaph to his memory. He achieved the distinction of
being twice burlesqued by Thackeray, and two columns are devoted to an
account of him in the new "Dictionary of National Biography." Each
generation follows its own gods, and G. P. R. James was, perhaps, too
prolific an author to maintain the popularity which made him "in some
ways the most successful novelist of his time." But his work bears
selection and revival. It possesses the qualities of seriousness and
interest; his best historical novels are faithful in setting and free
in movement. His narrative is clear, his history conscientious, and
his plots are well-conceived. English learning and literature are
enriched by the work of this writer, who made vivid every epoch in the
world's history by the charm of his romance.

The parodists of G. P. R. James have been quick to remark the sameness
of his openings. He has established a kind of 'James-gambit' in
historical fiction, and the present romance is no exception to the
rule. Once more the irrepressible horseman is riding along the
inevitable road, and once more the first chapter is devoted to a
careful description of the traveller's accoutrements--material and
moral. It is not inappropriately, therefore, that James selected as
his motto for this chapter Dryden's conventional lines,

                             "In this King Arthur's reign,
               A lusty knight was pricking o'er the plain."

Donne, Cowley, Ben Jonson, Dryden, Shakespeare, these are the authors
to whom James has chiefly gone for his poetical headings to the
chapters of this novel. The feature is a rare one in his works, nor
can it truthfully be said that the literary flavour thus imparted is
maintained by the text of the book. There is more familiarity, more
banality, in its style than is common in James's writings. It is odd,
for instance, to read the first paragraph of Chapter XVII.--"Oh, the
man in the moon! the man in the moon! What a prodigious sackful
of good resolutions you must have, all broken through the middle
...."--immediately after a solemn quotation from _Macbeth_; and a yet
more flagrant example occurs at the beginning of Chapter XXXIX., where
a couplet from Shakespeare is again used to usher in the following
triumph of bathos: "And where was Osborne Darnley all this while? Wait
a little, dearly-beloved, and you shall hear more." It should be added
that the first sentence is not an intentional pentameter. But, however
severely the shortcomings of style may be criticised in a writer who
'broke the record' for rapidity of production, James hardly ever fails
to tell a good story, with plenty of adventure and accuracy of
learning. "Darnley" does not fall behind the rest in these respects.
The date is fixed in the first line, as well as in the sub-title, and
the gorgeous festivities of Midsummer, 1520, as well as the character
of King Henry VIII., are admirably conceived and described. The
original picture of the scene in the Field near Calais, which is
preserved at Hampton Court, should be visited by readers of this
volume. Those curious in bibliography, by the way, will discover on
page 372 a notable instance of want of skill in the abridgment of
"Darnley" by James or his editors.



            In this King Arthur's reign,
   A lusty knight was pricking o'er the plain.--Dryden.

On the morning of the 24th day of March, 1520, a traveller was seen
riding in the small, rugged cross-road which, traversing the eastern
part of Kent, formed the immediate communication between Wye[1] and
Canterbury. Far be it from me to insinuate that this road pursued
anything like a direct course from the one place to the other: on the
contrary, it seemed, like a serpent, to get on only by twisting; and
yet truly, as its track now lies pictured on the old county map before
me, I can discover no possible reason for its various contortions,
inasmuch as they avoid neither ascents nor descents, but proceed alike
over rough and smooth, hill and dale, appearing only to wind about for
the sake of variety. I can conceive the engineer who planned it
laughing in his sleeve at the consummate meanderings which he
compelled his travellers to undergo. However, as at the time I speak
of this was the only road through that part of the country, every
traveller was obliged to content himself with it, such as it was,
notwithstanding both its circumvolutions and its ruggedness.

Indeed, the horseman and his beast, who on the afore-mentioned morning
journeyed on together towards Canterbury, were apparently well
calculated to encounter what the profane vulgar call the ups and downs
of life; for never a stouter cavalier mounted horse, and never a
stouter horse was mounted by cavalier; and there was something in the
strong, quadrate form of each, in the bold, free movement of every
limb, and in the firm, martial regularity of their pace, which spoke a
habitual consciousness of tried and unfailing power.

The rider was a man of about five or six-and-twenty, perhaps not so
old; but the hardy exposed life which had dyed his florid cheek with a
tinge of deep brown, had given also to his figure that look of set,
mature strength which is not usually concomitant with youth. But
strength with him had nothing of ungracefulness, for the very vigour
of his limbs gave them ease of motion. Yet there was something more in
his aspect and in his carriage than can rightly be attributed to the
grace induced by habits of martial exercise, or to the dignity derived
from consciousness of skill or valour: there was that sort of innate
nobility of look which we are often weakly inclined to combine in our
minds with nobility of station, and that peculiar sort of grace which
is a gift, not an acquirement.

To paint him to the mind's eye were very difficult, though to describe
him were very easy; for though I were to say that he was a tall, fair
man, with the old Saxon blood shining out in his deep blue eye, and in
his full, short upper lip, from which the light brown moustache turned
off in a sweep, exposing its fine arching line; though I were to speak
of the manly beauty of his features, rendered scarcely less by a deep
scar upon his forehead; or were I to detail, with the accuracy of a
sculptor, the elegant proportion of every limb, I might, indeed,
communicate to the mind of the reader the idea of a much more handsome
man than he really was; but I should fail to invest the image with
that spirit of gracefulness which, however combined with outward form,
seems to radiate from within, which must live to be perfect, and must
be seen to be understood.

His apparel was not such as his bearing seemed to warrant: though
good, it was not costly, and though not faded, it certainly was not
new. Nor was the fashion of it entirely English: the gray cloth
doublet slashed with black, as well as the falling ruff round his
neck, were decidedly Flemish; and his hose of dark stuff might
probably have been pronounced foreign by the connoisseurs of the day,
although the variety of modes then used amongst our change-loving
nation justified a man in choosing the fashion of his breeches from
any extreme, whether from the fathomless profundity of a Dutchman's
ninth pair, or from the close-fitting garment of the Italian sworder.
The traveller's hose approached more towards the latter fashion, and
served to show off the fair proportions of his limbs without
straitening him by too great tightness, while his wide boots of
untanned leather, pushed down to the ankle, evinced that he did not
consider his journey likely to prove long, or, at least, very

In those days, when, as old Holinshed assures us, it was not safe to
ride unarmed, even upon the most frequented road, a small bridle path,
such as that which the traveller pursued, was not likely to afford
much greater security. However, he did not appear to have furnished
himself with more than the complement of offensive arms usually worn
by every one above the rank of a simple yeoman; namely, the long,
straight, double-edged sword, which, thrust through a broad buff belt,
hung perpendicularly down his thigh, with the hilt shaped in form of a
cross, without any farther guard for the hand; while in the girdle
appeared a small dagger, which served also as a knife: added to these
was a dag or pistol, which, though small, considering the dimensions
of the arms then used, would have caused any horse-pistol of the
present day to blush at its own insignificance.

In point of defensive armour, he carried none, except a steel cap,
which hung at his saddle-bow, while its place on his head was supplied
by a Genoa bonnet of black velvet, round which his rich chesnut hair
curled in thick profusion.

Here have I bestowed more than a page and a half upon the description
of a man's dress and demeanour, which, under most circumstances, I
should consider a scandalous and illegitimate waste of time, paper,
and attention; but, in truth, I would fain, in the present instance,
that my reader should see my traveller before his mind's eye, exactly
as his picture represents him, pricking along the road on his strong
black horse, with his chest borne forward, his heel depressed, his
person erect, and his whole figure expressing corporeal ease and

Very different, however, were his mental sensations, if one might
believe the knitted look of thought that sat upon his full, broad
brow, and the lines that early care seemed to have busily traced upon
the cheek of youth. Deep meditation, at all events, was the companion
of his way; for, confident in the surefootedness of his steed, he took
no care to hold his bridle in hand, but suffered himself to be borne
forward almost unconsciously, fixing his gaze upon the line of light
that hung above the edge of the hill before him, as if there he spied
some object of deep interest, yet, at the same time, with that fixed
intensity which told that, whilst the eye thus occupied itself, the
mind was far otherwise employed.

It was a shrewd March morning, and the part of the road at which the
traveller had now arrived opened out upon a wide wild common, whereon
the keen north-west blast had full room to exercise itself
unrestrained. On the one side the country sloped rapidly down from the
road, exposing an extensive view of some fine level plains,
distributed into fields, and scattered with a multitude of hamlets and
villages; the early smoke rising from the chimneys of which, caught by
the wind, mingled with the vapour from a sluggish river in the bottom,
and, drifting over the scene, gave a thousand different aspects to the
landscape as it passed. On the other hand, the common rose against the
sky in a wide sloping upland, naked, desolate, and unbroken, except
where a clump of stunted oaks raised their bare heads out of an old
gravel-pit by the road-side, or where a group of dark pines broke the
distant line of the ground. The road which the traveller had hitherto
pursued proceeded still along the side of the hill, but, branching off
to the left, was seen another rugged, gravelly path winding over the

At the spot where these two divaricated, the horseman stopped, as if
uncertain of his farther route, and looking for some one to direct him
on his way. But he looked in vain; no trace of human habitation was to
be seen, nor any indication of man's proximity, except such as could
be gathered from the presence of a solitary duck, which seemed to be
passing its anchoritish hours in fishing for the tadpoles that
inhabited a little pond by the road-side.

The traveller paused, undetermined on which of the two roads to turn
his horse, when suddenly a loud scream met his ear, and, instantly
setting spurs to his horse, he galloped towards the quarter from
whence the sound seemed to proceed. Without waiting to pursue the
windings of the little path, in a moment he had cleared the upland,
towards the spot where he had beheld the pines, and, instead of
finding that the country beyond, as one might have imagined from the
view below, fell into another deep valley on that side, he perceived
that the common continued to extend for some way over an uninterrupted
flat, terminated by some wide plantations at a great distance.

In advance, sheltered by a high bank and the group of pines above
mentioned, appeared a solitary cottage formed of wood and mud. It may
be well supposed that its architecture was not very perfect, nor its
construction of the most refined taste; but yet there seemed some
attempt at decoration in the rude trellis that surrounded the doorway,
and in the neat cutting of the thatch which covered it from the and
weather. As the traveller rode towards it the scream was reiterated,
now, guided by his ear, he proceeded direct towards a little
garden, which had been borrowed from the common, and enclosed with a
mud wall. The door of this enclosure stood open, and at once admitted
the stranger into the interior, where he beheld--what shall be
detailed in the following chapter.


Patient _yourself_, madam, and pardon _me_.--Shakspere.

Now, doubtless, every romance-reading person into whose hands this
book may fall will conclude and determine, and feel perfectly
convinced in their own minds, that the scream mentioned in the last
chapter announces no less important a being than the heroine of the
tale, and will be very much surprised, as well as disappointed, to
hear that when the traveller rode through the open gate into the
little garden attached to the cottage, he perceived a group which
certainly did not derive any interest it might possess from the graces
of youth and beauty. It consisted simply of an old woman, of the
poorest class, striving, with weak hands, to stay a stout, rosy youth,
of mean countenance but good apparel, from repeating a buffet he had
bestowed upon the third person of the group, a venerable old man, who
seemed little calculated to resist his violence. Angry words were
evidently still passing on both parts, and before the traveller could
hear to what they referred, the youth passed the woman, and struck the
old man a second blow, which levelled him with the ground.

If one might judge from that traveller's appearance, he had seen many
a sight of danger and of horror; but there was something in the view
of the old man's white hair, mingling with the mould of the earth,
that blanched his cheek, and made his blood run cold. In a moment he
was off his horse, and by the young man's side. "How now, sir
villain!" cried he, "art thou mad, to strike thy father?"

"He's no father of mine," replied the sturdy youth, turning away his
head with a sort of dogged feeling of shame. "He's no father of mine;
I'm better come."

"Better come, misbegotten knave!" cried the traveller; "then thy
father might blush to own thee. Strike an old man like that! Get thee
gone, quick, lest I flay thee!"

"Get thee gone thyself!" answered the other, his feeling of
reprehension being quickly fled; and turning sharply round, with an
air of effrontery which nought but the insolence of office could
inspire, he added: "Who art thou, with thy get thee gones? I am here
in right of Sir Payan Wileton, to turn these old vermin out; so get
thee gone along with them!" And he ran his eye over the stranger's
simple garb with a sneer of sturdy defiance.

The traveller gazed at him for a moment, as if in astonishment at his
daring; then, with a motion as quick as light, laid one hand upon the
yeoman's collar, the other upon the thick band of his kersey slop
breeches, raised him from the ground, and giving him one swing back,
to allow his arms their full sweep, he pitched him at once over the
low wall of the garden into the heath-bushes beyond.

Without affording a look to his prostrate adversary, the stranger
proceeded to assist the old man in rising, and amidst the blessings of
the good dame, conveyed him into the cottage. He then returned to the
little garden, lest his horse should commit any ravages upon the
scanty provision of the old couple (for he was, it seems, too good a
soldier even to allow his horse to live by plunder), and while tying
him to the gate-post, his eye naturally turned to the bushes into
which he had thrown his opponent.

The young man had just risen on his feet, and in unutterable rage, was
stamping furiously on the ground; without, however, daring to re-enter
the precincts from which he had been so unceremoniously ejected. The
stranger contented himself with observing that he was not much hurt;
and after letting his eye dwell for a moment on the cognisance of a
serpent twined round a crane, which was embroidered on the yeoman's
coat, he again entered the cottage, while the other proceeded slowly
over the common, every now and then turning round to shake his
clenched fist towards the garden, in the last struggles of impotent

"Well, good father, how fares it with thee?" demanded the traveller,
approaching the old man. "I fear that young villain has hurt thee."

"Nay, sir, nay," replied the other, "not so; in faith he did not
strike hard: an old man's limbs are soon overthrown. Ah! well, I
remember the day when I would have whacked a score of them. But I'm
broken now. Kate, give his worship the settle. If our boy had seen him
lift his hand against his father, 'faith, he'd have broken his pate.
Though your worship soon convinced him: God's blessing upon your head
for it!"

The stranger silently sat himself down in the settle, which the old
woman placed for him with a thousand thanks and gratulations, and
suffered them to proceed undisturbed with all the garrulity of age,
while his own thoughts seemed, from some unapparent cause, to have
wandered far upon a different track. Whether it was that the swift
wings of memory had retraced in a moment a space that, in the dull
march of time, had occupied many a long year, or that the lightning
speed of hope had already borne him to a goal which was still far
beyond probability's short view, matters little. Most likely it was
one or the other; for the present is but a point to which but little
thought appertains, while the mind hovers backwards and forwards
between the past and the future, expending the store of its regrets
upon the one, and wasting all its wishes on the other. He awoke with a
sigh. "But tell me," said he to the old man, "what was the cause of
all this?"

"Why, heaven bless your worship!" replied the cottager, who had been
talking all the time, "I have just been telling you."

"Nay, but I mean, why you came to live here?" said the traveller, "for
this is but a poor place;" and he glanced his eye over the interior of
the cottage, which was wretched enough. Its floor formed of hardened
clay; its small lattice windows, boasting no glass in the wicker
frames of which they were composed, but showing in its place some thin
plates of horn (common enough in the meaner cottages of those times),
admitting but a dull and miserable light to the interior; its bare
walls of lath, through the crevices of which appeared the mud that had
been plastered on the outside: all gave an air of poverty and
uncomfort difficult to find in the poorest English cottage of to-day.
"I think you said that you had been in better circumstances?"
continued the traveller.

"I did not say so, your worship," replied the old man, "but it was
easy to guess; yet for twelve long years have I known little but
misery. I was once gate-porter to my good Lord Fitzbernard, at Chilham
Castle, here hard-by; your worship knows it, doubtless. Oh! 'twas a
fair place in those days, for my lord kept great state, and never a
day but what we had the tilt-yard full of gallants, who would bear
away the ring from the best in the land. My old lord could handle a
lance well, too, though he waxed aged; but 'twas my young Lord Osborne
that was the darling of all our hearts. Poor youth! he was not then
fourteen, yet so strong, he'd break a lance and bide a buffet with the
best. He's over the seas now, alas! and they say, obliged to win his
food at the sword's point."

"Nay, how so?" asked the traveller. "If he were heir of Chilham
Castle, how is it he fares so hardly, this Lord Osborne?"

"We call him still Lord Osborne," answered the old woman, "for I was
his nurse, when he was young, your worship, and his christened name
was Osborne. But his title was Lord Darnley, by those who called him
properly. God bless him for ever! Now, Richard, tell his honour how
all the misfortunes happened."

"'Twill but tire his honour," said the old man. "In his young day he
must have heard how Empson and Dudley, the two blackest traitors that
ever England had, went through all the country, picking holes in every
honest man's coat, and sequestrating their estates, as 'twas then
called. Lord bless thee, Kate! his worship knows it all."

"I have heard something of the matter, but I would fain understand it
more particularly," said the stranger. "I had learned that the
sequestrated estates had been restored, and the fines remitted, since
this young king was upon the throne."

"Ay, truly, sir, the main part of them," answered the old man; "but
there were some men who, being in the court's displeasure, were not
likely to have justice done them. Such a one was my good lord and
master, who, they say, had been heard to declare, that he held Perkyn
Warbeck's title as good as King Harry the Seventh's. So, when they
proved the penal statutes against him, as they called it, instead of
calling for a fine, which every peasant on his land would have brought
his mite to pay, they took the whole estate, and left him a beggar in
his age. But that was not the worst, for doubtless the whole would
have been given back again when the good young king did justice on
Empson and Dudley; but as this sequestration was a malice, and not an
avarice like the rest, instead of transferring the estate to the
king's own hand, they gave it to one Sir Payan Wileton, who, if ever a
gallows was made higher than Haman's, would well grace it. This man
has many a friend at the court, gained they say by foul means; and
though much stir was made some eight years agone, by the Lord Stafford
and the good Duke of Buckingham, to have the old lord's estates given
back again, Sir Payan was strong enough in abettors to outstand them
all, and then----; but I hear horses' feet. 'Tis surely Sir Payan sent
to hound me out even from this poor place."

As he spoke, the loud neighing of the stranger's horse announced the
approach of some of his four-footed fraternity, and opening the
cottage door, the old man looked forth to ascertain if his
apprehensions were just.

The cloud, however, was cleared off his brow in a moment, by the
appearance of the person who rode into the garden.

"Joy, good wife! joy!" cried the old man; "it is Sir Cesar! It is Sir
Cesar! We are safe enough now!"

"Sir Cesar!" cried the traveller; "that is a strange name!" and he
turned to the cottage door to examine the person that approached.

Cantering through the garden on a milk-white palfrey, adorned with
black leather trapping, appeared a little old man, dressed in singular
but elegant habiliments. His doublet was of black velvet, his hose of
crimson stuff, and his boots of buff. His cloak was black like his
coat, but lined with rich miniver fur, of which also was his bonnet.
He wore no arms except a small dagger, the steel hilt of which
glittered in his girdle; and to turn and guide his palfrey he made use
of neither spur nor rein, but seemed more to direct than urge him with
a peeled osier stick, with which he every now and then touched the
animal on either ear.

His person was as singular as his dress. Extremely diminutive in
stature, his limbs appeared well formed, and even graceful. He was not
a dwarf, but still considerably below the middle size; and though not
misshapen in body, his face had that degree of prominence, and his eye
that keen vivacious sparkle, generally discovered in the deformed. In
complexion he was swarthy to excess, while his long black hair,
slightly mingled with gray, escaped from under his bonnet and fell
upon his shoulders. Still, the most remarkable feature was his eye,
which, though sunk deep in his head, had a quickness and a fire that
contradicted the calm, placid expression of the rest of his
countenance, and seemed to indicate a restless, busy spirit; for,
glancing rapidly from object to object, it rested not a moment upon
any one thing, but appeared to collect the information it sought with
the quickness of lightning, and then fly off to something new.

In this manner he approached the cottage, his look at first rapidly
running over the figures of the two cottagers and their guest; but
then turning to their faces, his eye might be seen scanning every
feature, and seeming to extract their meaning in an instant: as in the
summer we see the bee darting into every flower, and drawing forth its
sweet essence, while it scarcely pauses to fold its wings. It seemed
as if the face was to him a book, where each line was written with
some tale or some information, but in a character so legible, and a
language so well known, that a moment sufficed him for the perusal of
the whole.

At the cottage-door the palfrey stopped of itself, and slipping down
out of the saddle with extraordinary activity, the old gentleman stood
before the traveller and his host with that sort of sharp, sudden
motion which startles although expected. The old man and his wife
received their new guest with reverence almost approaching to awe; but
before noticing them farther than by signing them each with the cross,
he turned directly towards the traveller, and doffing his cap of
miniver, he made him a profound bow, while his long hair, parted from
the crown, fell over his face and almost concealed it. "Sir Osborne
Maurice," said he, "well met!"

The traveller bowed in some surprise to find himself recognised by the
singular person who addressed him. "Truly, sir," he answered, "you
have rightly fallen upon the name I bear, and seem to know me well,
though in truth I can boast no such knowledge in regard to you. To my
remembrance, this is the first time we have met."

"Within the last thousand years," replied the old man, "we have met
more than a thousand times; but I remember you well before that, when
you commanded a Roman cohort in the first Punic war."

"He's mad!" thought the traveller, "profoundly insane!" and he turned
an inquiring glance to the old cottager and his wife; but far from
showing any surprise, they stood regarding their strange visiter with
looks of deep awe and respect. However, the traveller at length
replied, "Memory, with me, is a more treacherous guardian of the past;
but may I crave the name of so ancient an acquaintance?"

"In Britain," answered the old man, "they call me Sir Cesar; in Spain,
Don Cesario; and in Padua, simply Cesario il dotto."

"What!" cried Sir Osborne, "the famous----?"

"Ay, ay!" interrupted the old man; "famous if it may so be called. But
no more of that. Fame is but like a billow on a sandy shore, that when
the tide is in, it seems a mighty thing, and when 'tis out, 'tis
nothing. If I have learned nought beside, I have learned to despise

"That your learning must have taught you far more, needs no farther
proof than your knowledge of a stranger that you never saw, at least
with human eyes," said Sir Osborne; "and in truth, this your knowledge
makes me a believer in that art which, hitherto, I had held as

"Cast from you no ore till you have tried it seven times in the fire,"
replied Sir Cesar; "hold nothing as emptiness that you have not
essayed. But, hark! bend down thine ear, and thou shalt hear more

The young traveller bowed his head till his ear was on a level with
the mouth of the diminutive speaker, who seemed to whisper not more
than one word, but that was of such a nature as to make Sir Osborne
start back, and fix his eyes upon him with a look of inquiring
astonishment, that brought a smile upon the old man's lip. "There is
no magic here," said Sir Cesar: "you shall hear more hereafter. But,
hush! come into the cottage, for hunger, that vile earthly want, calls
upon me for its due: herein, alas! we are all akin unto the hog:

They accordingly entered the lowly dwelling, and sat down to a small
oaken table placed in the midst; Sir Cesar, as if accustomed to
command there, seating the traveller as his guest, and demanding of
the old couple a supply of those things he deemed necessary. "Set down
the salt in the middle, Richard Heartley; now bring the bread; take
the bacon from the pot, dame, and if there be a pompion yet not
mouldy, put it down to roast in the ashes. Whet Sir Osborne's dagger,
Richard. Is it all done? then sit with us, for herein are men all
alike. Now tell me, Richard Heartley, while we eat, what has happened
to thee this morning, for I learn thou hast been in jeopardy."

Thus speaking, he carved the bacon with his dagger, and distributed to
every one a portion, while Sir Osborne Maurice looked on, not a little
interested in the scene, one of the most curious parts of which was
the profound taciturnity that had succeeded to garrulity in the two
old cottagers, and the promptitude and attention with which they
executed all their guest's commands.

The old gentleman's question seemed to untie Richard Heartley's lips,
and he communicated, in a somewhat circumlocutory phrase, that though
he had built his house and enclosed his garden on common land, which,
as he took it, "was free to every one, yet within the last year Sir
Payan Wileton had demanded for it a rent of two pounds per annum,
which was far beyond his means to pay, as Sir Payan well knew; but he
did it only in malice," the old man said, "because he was the last of
the good old lord's servants who was left upon the ground; and he, Sir
Payan, was afraid, that even if he were to die there, his bones would
keep possession for his old master; so he wished to drive him away

"Go forth on no account!" interrupted Sir Cesar. "Without he take thee
by force and lead thee to the bound, and put thee off, go not beyond
the limits of the lordship of Chilham Castle; neither pay him any
rent, but live house free and land free, as I have commanded you."

"In truth," answered the old man, "he has not essayed to put me off;
but he sent his bailiff this morning to demand the rent, and to drive
me out of the cottage, and to pull off the thatch, though our Richard,
who has returned from the army beyond the seas, is up at the manor to
do him man service for the sum."

"Hold!" cried Sir Cesar, "let thy son do him man service, if he will,
but do thou him no man service, and own to him no lordship. Sir Payan
Wileton has but his day; that will soon be over, and all shall be
avenged; own him no lordship, I say!"

"Nay, nay, sir, I warrant you," replied the old man; "'twas even that
that provoked Peter Wilson, the young bailiff, to strike me, because I
said Sir Payan was not my lord, and I was not his tenant, and that if
he stood on right, I had as much a right to the soil as he."

"Strike thee! strike thee! Did he strike thee?" cried Sir Cesar, his
small black eyes glowing like red-hot coals, and twinkling like stars
on a frosty night. "Sure he did not dare to strike thee?"

"He felled him, Sir Cesar," cried the old woman, whose tongue could
refrain no longer; "he felled him to the ground. He, a child I have
had upon my knee, felled old Richard Heartley with a heavy blow!"

"My curse upon him!" cried the old knight, while anger and indignation
gave to his features an expression almost sublime; "my curse upon him!
May he wither heart and limb like a blasted oak! like it, may he be
dry and sapless, when all is sunshine and summer, without a green leaf
to cover the nakedness of his misery; without flower or fruit may he
pass away, and fire consume the rottenness of his core!"

"Oh! your worship, curse him not so deeply; we know how heavy your
curses fall, and he has had some payment already," said the old
cottager: "this honourable gentleman heard my housewife cry, and came
riding up. So, when he saw the clumsy coward strike a feeble old man
like me, he takes him up by the jerkin and the slops, and casts him as
clean over the wall on the heath as I've seen Hob Johnson cast a truss
out of a hay-cart."

"Sir Osborne, you did well," said the old knight; "you acted like your
race. But yet I could have wished that this had not happened; 'twould
have been better that your coming had not been known to your enemies
before your friends, which I fear me will now be the case. He with
whom you have to do is one from whose keen eye nought passes without
question. The fly may as well find its way through the spider's web,
without wakening the crafty artist of the snare, as one on whom that
man has fixed his eye may stir a step without his knowing it. But
there is one who sees more deeply than even he does."

"Yourself, of course," replied Sir Osborne; "and indeed I cannot doubt
that it is so; for I sit here in mute astonishment to find that all I
held most secret is as much known to you as to myself."

"Oh, this is all simplicity!" replied the old man; "these are no
wonders, though I may teach you some hereafter. At present I will tell
you the future, against which you must guard, for your fortune is

"But if our fate be fixed," said Sir Osborne, "so that even mortal
eyes can see it in the stars, prudence and caution, wisdom and action,
are in vain; for how can we avoid what is certainly to be?"

"Not so, young man," replied Sir Cesar: "some things are certain, some
are doubtful: some fixed by fate, some left to human will; and those
who see such things are certain, may learn to guide their course
through things that are not so. Thus, even in life, my young friend,"
he continued, speaking more placidly, for at first Sir Osborne's
observation seemed to have nettled him; "thus, even in life, each
ordinary mortal sees before him but one thing sure, which is death. It
he cannot avoid; yet, how wholesome the sight to guide us in
existence! So, in man's destiny, certain points are fixed, some of
mighty magnitude, some that seem but trivial; and the rest are
determined by his own conduct. Yet there are none so clearly marked
that they may not be influenced by man's own will, so that when the
stars are favourable he may carry his good fortune to the highest
pitch by wisely seizing opportunity; and when they threaten evil or
danger, he may fortify himself against the misfortunes that must
occur, by philosophy; and guard against the peril that menaces, by
prudence. Thus, what study is nobler, or greater, or more beneficial,
than that which lays open to the eye the book of fate?"

The impressive tone and manner of the old man, joined even with the
singularity of his appearance, and a certain indescribable, almost
unearthly fire, that burned in his eye, went greatly in the minds of
his hearers to supply any deficiency in the chain of his reasoning.
The extraordinary, if it be not ludicrous, is always easily
convertible into the awful; and where, as in the present instance, it
becomes intimately interwoven with all the doubtful, the mysterious,
and the fearful in our state of being, it reaches that point of the
sublime to which the heart of every man is most sensible. Those always
who see the least of what is true are most likely to be influenced by
what is doubtful; and in an age where little was certainly known, the
remote, the uncertain, and the wild, commanded man's reason by his

Sir Osborne Maurice mused. If it be asked whether he believed
implicitly in that art which many persons were then said to possess,
of reading in the stars the future fate of individuals or nations, it
may be answered, No. But if it be demanded whether he rejected it
absolutely, equally No. He doubted; and that was a stretch of
philosophy to which few attained in his day, when the study of
judicial astrology was often combined with the most profound learning
in other particulars; when, as a science, it was considered the
highest branch of human knowledge, and its professors were regarded as
almost proceeding a step beyond the just boundary of earthly research:
we might say even more, when they produced such evidence of their
extraordinary powers as might well convince the best-informed of an
unlettered age, and which affords curious subjects of inquiry even to
the present time.

In the mean while, Sir Cesar proceeded: "I speak thus as preface to
what I have to tell you; not that I suppose you will be dismayed when
you hear that immediate danger menaces you, because I know you are
incapable of fear; but it is because I would have you wisely guard
against what I foretell. Know, then, I have learned that you are
likely to be in peril to-morrow, towards noon; therefore, hold
yourself upon your guard. Divulge not your proceedings to any one.
Keep a watchful eye and a shrewd ear. Mark well your company, and see
that your sword be loose in the sheath."

"Certainly, good Sir Cesar, will I follow your counsel," replied Sir
Osborne. "But might I not crave that you would afford me farther
information, and by showing me what sort of danger threatens me, give
me the means of avoiding it altogether?"

"What you ask I cannot comply with," answered the old man. "Think not
that the book of the stars is like a child's horn-book, where every
word is clearly spelled. Vague and undefined are the signs that we
gain. Certain it is, that some danger threatens you; but of what
nature, who can say? Know that, at the same time as yourself, were
born sixty other persons, to whom the planets bore an equal
ascendancy; and at the same hour to-morrow, each will undergo some
particular peril. Be you on your guard against yours."

"Most assuredly I will, and I give you many thanks," replied Sir
Osborne. "But I would fain know for what reason you take an interest
in my fate more than in any of the other sixty persons you have

"How know you that I do so?" demanded Sir Cesar drily. "Perchance had
I met any one of them in this cottage, I might have done him the same
good turn. However, 'tis not so. I own I do take an interest in your
fate, more than that of any mortal being. Look not surprised, young
man, for I have cause: nay more--you shall know more. Mark me! our
fates are united for ever in this world, and I _will_ serve you;
though I see, darkling through the obscurity of time, that the moment
which crowns all your wishes and endeavours is the last that I shall
draw breath of life. Yet your enemy is my enemy, your friends are my
friends, and I will serve you, though I die!"

He rose and grasped Sir Osborne's hand, and fixed his dark eye upon
his face. "'Tis hard to part with existence--the warm ties of life,
the soft smiling realities of a world we know--and to begin it all
again in forms we cannot guess. Yet, if my will could alter the law of
fate, I would not delay your happiness an hour; though I know, I feel,
that this thrilling blood must then chill, that this quick heart must
stop, that the golden light and the glorious world must fade away; and
that my soul must be parted from its fond companion of earth for ever
and for ever. Yet it shall be so. It is said. Reply not! Speak not!
Follow me! Hush! hush!" And proceeding to the door of the cottage, he
mounted his palfrey, which stood ready, and motioned Sir Osborne to do
the same. The young knight did so in silence, and rode along with him
to the garden-gate, followed by the old cottagers. There Richard
Heartley, as if accustomed so to do, held out his hand; Sir Cesar
counted into it nine nobles of gold, and proceeded on the road in


Illusive dreams in mystic forms expressed.--Blackmore.

That which is out of the common course of nature, and for which we can
see neither cause nor object, requires of course a much greater body
of evidence to render it historically credible than is necessary to
authenticate any event within the ordinary operation of visible
agents. Were it not so, the many extraordinary tales respecting the
astrologers, and even the magicians of the middle ages, would now rest
as recorded truth, instead of idle fiction, being supported by much
more witness than we have to prove many received facts of greater

Till the last century, the existence of what is called the second
sight, amongst the Scots, was not doubted: even in the present day it
is not disproved; and we can hardly wonder at our ancestors having
given credence to the more ancient, more probable, more reasonable
superstition of the fates of men being influenced by the stars, or at
their believing that the learned and wise could see into futurity,
when many in this more enlightened age imagine that some of the rude
and illiterate possess the same faculty.

It is not, however, my object here to defend long-gone superstitions,
or to show that the predictions of the astrologers were ever really
verified, except by those extraordinary coincidences for which we
cannot account, and some of which every man must have observed in the
course of his own life. That they were so verified on several
occasions is nevertheless beyond doubt; for it is _not_ the case that,
in the most striking instances of this kind, as many writers have
asserted, the prediction, if it may be so called, was fabricated after
its fulfilment. On the contrary, any one who chooses to investigate
may convince himself that the prophecy was, in many instances,
enounced, and is still to be found recorded by contemporary writers,
before its accomplishment took place. As examples might be cited the
prognostication made by an astrologer to Henry the Second of France,
that he should be slain in single combat; a thing so unlikely that it
became the jest of his whole court, but which was afterwards
singularly verified, by his being accidentally killed at a tournament
by Montgomery, captain of the Scottish guards. Also the prediction by
which the famous, or rather infamous, Catherine de Medicis was warned
that St. Germains should be the place of her death. The queen, fully
convinced of its truth, never from that moment set foot in town or
palace which bore the fatal name; but in her last moments, her
confessor being absent, a priest was called to her assistance, by mere
accident, whose name was St. Germains, and actually held her in his
arms during the dying struggle.

These two instances took place about fifty years after the period to
which this history refers, and may serve to show how strongly rooted
in the minds of the higher classes was this sort of superstition, when
even the revival of letters, and the diffusion of mental light, for
very long did not seem at all to affect them. The habits and manners
of the astrologers, however, underwent great changes; and it is,
perhaps, at the particular epoch of which we are now writing, namely,
the reigns of Henry the Eighth of England and Francis the First of
France, that this singular race of beings was in its highest

Before that time, they had in general affected strange and retired
habits, and, whether as magicians or merely astrologers, were both
feared and avoided. Some exceptions, however, must be made to this, as
instances are on record where, even in years long before, such studies
were pursued by persons of the highest class, and won them both love
and admiration; the most brilliant example of which was in the person
of Tiphaine Raguenel, wife of the famous Constable du Guesclin, whose
counsels so much guided her husband through his splendid career.

The magicians and astrologers, however, who were scattered through
Europe towards the end of the fifteenth century, and the beginning of
that which succeeded, though few in number, from many circumstances,
bore a much higher rank in the opinion of the world than any who had
preceded them. This must be attributed to their being in general
persons of some station in society, of profound erudition, of courtly
and polished manners, and also to their making but little pretension
on the score of their supposed powers, and never any display thereof,
except they were earnestly solicited to do so.

There was likewise always to be observed in them a degree of
eccentricity, if a habitual difference from their fellow-beings might
be so called, which, being singular, but not obtrusive, gave them an
interest in the eyes of the higher, and a dignity in the estimation of
the lower classes, as a sort of beings separated by distinct knowledge
and feeling from the rest of mankind. In those ages, a thousand
branches of useful knowledge lay hid, like diamonds in an undiscovered
mine; and many minds, of extraordinary keenness and activity, wanting
legitimate objects of research, after diving deep in ancient lore, and
exhausting all the treasures of antiquity, still unsated, devoted
themselves to those dark and mysterious sciences that gratified their
imagination with all the wild and the sublime, and gained for them a
reverence amongst their fellow-creatures approaching even to awe.

As we have said before, whatever was the reality of their powers, or
however they contrived to deceive themselves, as well as others, they
certainly received not only the respect of the weak and vulgar; but if
they used their general abilities for the benefit of mankind, they
were sure to meet with the admiration and the friendship of the great,
the noble, and the wise. Thus, the famous Earl of Surrey, the poet,
the courtier, the most accomplished gentleman and bravest cavalier of
that very age, is known to have lived on terms of intimacy with
Cornelius Agrippa, the celebrated Italian sorcerer, to whose renown
the fame of Sir Cesar of England is hardly second; though early
sorrows, of the most acute kind, had given a much higher degree of
wildness and eccentricity to the character of the extraordinary old
man of whom we speak, than the accomplished Italian ever suffered to

In many circumstances there was still a great degree of similarity
between them: both were deeply versed in classical literature, and
were endowed with every elegant attainment; and both possessed that
wild and vivid imagination which taught them to combine in one strange
and heterogeneous system the pure doctrines of Christianity, the
theories of the Pagan philosophers, and the strange, mysterious
notions of the dark sciences they pursued. Amongst many fancies
derived from the Greeks, it seems certain that both Sir Cesar and
Cornelius Agrippa received, as an undoubted fact, the Pythagorean
doctrine of the transmission of the souls through the various human
bodies for a long period of existence: the spirit retaining, more or
less, in different men, the recollection of events which had occurred
to them at other periods of being.

One striking difference, however, existed between these two celebrated
men. Cornelius Agrippa was all mildness, gentleness, and suavity;
while Sir Cesar, irritated by the memory of much sorrow, was wild,
vehement, and impetuous; ever striving to do good, it is true, but
hasty and impatient under contradiction. The same sort of mental
excitement hurried him on to move from land to land and place to
place, without seeming ever to pause for any length of time; and as he
stood not upon the ceremony of introduction, but made himself known to
whomsoever the fancy of the moment might lead him, he was celebrated
in almost every part of the world.

So much as we have said seemed necessary, in order to give our readers
some insight into the character of the extraordinary man whose history
is strongly interwoven with the web of the present narrative, and to
prevent its being supposed that he was an imaginary being devised for
the nonce; but we shall now proceed with him in his proper person.

"Let us reason," said Sir Cesar, breaking form abruptly, after he had
ridden on with the young knight some way in silence; "let us reason of
nature and philosophy; of things that are, and of things that may be;
for I would fain expel from my brain a crowd of sad thoughts and dark
imaginings, that haunt the caverns of memory."

"I should prove but a slow reasoner," replied the young knight, "when
compared with one whose mind, if report speak truth, has long explored
the deepest paths of science, and discovered the full wealth of

"Nay, nay, my friend," answered the old man; "something I have
studied, it is true; but nature's full wealth who shall ever discover?
Look through the boundless universe, and you shall find that were the
life of man extended a thousand fold, and all his senses refined to
the most exquisite perfection, and had his mind infinite faculty to
comprehend, yet the portion he could truly know would be to the great
whole as one grain of sand to the vast foundation of the sea. As it
is, man not only contemplates but few of nature's works, but also only
sees a little part of each. Thus, when he speaks of life, he means but
that which inspires animals, and never dreams that everything has
life; and yet it is so. Is it not reasonable to suppose that
everything that moves feels? and we cannot but conclude that
everything that feels has life. The Indian tree that raises its
branches when any living creature approaches must feel, must have
sensation; the loadstone that flies to its fellow must know, must
perceive that that fellow is near. Motion is life; and if viewed near,
everything would be found to have motion, to have life, to have

Sir Osborne smiled. "Then do you suppose," demanded he, "that all
vegetables and plants feel?"

"Nay, more, much more!" answered the old man. "I doubt not that
everything in nature feels in its degree, from the rude stone that the
mason cuts, to man, the most sensitive of substantial beings."

"It is a bold doctrine," said the young knight, who, willing to gain
what insight he could into his companion's character, pressed him for
a still further exposition of his opinions, though at the same time he
himself felt not a little carried away by the energy of manner and
rich modulation of tone with which the old man communicated his
singular ideas. "It is a bold doctrine, and would seem to animate the
whole of nature. Could it be proved, the world would acquire a glow of
life, and activity of existence, where it now appears cold and

"The whole of nature _is_ animated," replied Sir Cesar. "Life combined
with matter is but a thousandth part of life existent. The world teems
with spirits: the very air is thick with them. They dance in the
sunshine, they ride upon the beams of the stars, they float about in
the melodies of music, they nestle in the cups of the flowers; and I
am forced to believe that never a flower fades, or a beam passes away,
without some being mourning the brief date of loveliness on earth.
Doubt not, for this is true; and though no one can prove that matter
is sensitive, yet it _can_ be _proved_ that such spirits do exist, and
that they may be compelled to clothe themselves with a visible form.
It can be proved, I say, and I have proved it."

"I have heard the same reported of you," replied Sir Osborne, "when
you, with the renowned Cornelius Agrippa, called up a spirit to
ascertain what would be the issue of the battle of Ravenna. Was it not

"Speak not of it!" cried the old man, "speak not of it! In that battle
fell the bright, the gallant, the amiable Nemours. Though warned by
counsel, by prophecy, and by portent, he would venture his life on
that fatal battle, and fell. Speak not of it! But now to you and
yours. Whither go you?"

"My first care," replied Sir Osborne, "must be to seek my father, at
whose wish I have now returned to England. To you, who know far more
of me and mine than I ever dreamed that mortal here had heard, I need
not say where my father dwells." As he spoke, Sir Osborne drew up his
horse, following the example of his companion, whose palfrey had
stopped at a point where the road, separating into two branches, gave
the traveller the option of proceeding either towards Canterbury or
Dover, as his business or pleasure might impel. At the same time the
young knight fixed his eye upon the other's face, as if to ascertain
what was passing in his mind, seeking, probably, thence to learn how
far the old man's knowledge really extended in respect to himself and
his concerns.

"It is a long journey," said Sir Cesar, thoughtfully, "and 'twill take
you near three weeks to travel thither and back. Much may be lost or
won in three weeks. You must not go. Hie on to Dover, and thence to
London: wait there till I give you farther news, and be sure that my
news shall be of some avail."

"It cannot be," answered Sir Osborne Maurice. "Before I take any step
whatever I must see my father; and though I doubt not that your advice
be good, and your knowledge more than natural, I cannot quit my road,
nor wait in any place, till I have done the journey to which duty and
affection call me."

"Your own will then be your guide, though it be a bad one," answered
Sir Cesar. "But mark, I tell you, if you pursue the road you are on
you will meet with danger, and will lose opportunity. My words are not
wont to fall idly."

"Whatever danger may occur," replied Sir Osborne, "my road lies
towards London, and it shall not be easy to impede me on my way."

"Ho, ho! so headstrong!" cried the old knight. "I' God's name, then,
on! My palfrey goes too slow for your young blood. Put spurs to your
steed, sir, and get quick into the perils from which you will need my
hand to help you out. Spur, spur, sir knight; and good speed attend

"By your leave, then," replied Sir Osborne, taking the old man at his
word, and giving his horse the spur. "Sir Cesar, I thank you for your
kindness: we shall meet again, when I hope to thank you better; till
then, farewell!"

"Farewell, farewell!" muttered the old knight; "just the same as ever!
If I remember right he was killed in the first Punic war, for not
taking the advice of Valerius the soothsayer; and though now his soul
has passed through fifty different bodies, he is just as headstrong as
ever." And with these sage reflections Sir Cesar pursued his way.

Leaving him, however, to his own meditations, we must now, for some
time, follow the track of Sir Osborne Maurice, whose horse bore him
quickly along that same little tortuous road in the midst of which we
first encountered him. To say sooth, some speed was necessary; for
whatever might be the cause that induced the young knight to linger at
the cottage of old Richard Heartley, and whatever might have been the
ideas that had occupied him during so long a reverie, he had wasted no
small portion of the day, between listening to the garrulity of the
old man, thinking over the circumstances which that garrulity called
up to memory, and conversing with the singular being from whom he had
just parted; and yet, within a mile of the spot where he had left the
astrologer, Sir Osborne drew in his bridle, and standing in the
stirrup, looked round him on both sides over the high bank of earth
which in that place flanked the road on either hand.

After gazing round for a moment, and marking every trifling object
with an attention which was far more than the scenery merited from any
apparent worth or picturesque beauty, he turned his horse into a small
bridle-path, and riding on for about a mile, came in front of a
mansion, which, even in that day, bore many a mark of venerable

A small eminence, at about five hundred yards' distance from it, gave
him a full view of the building, as it rose upon another slight
elevation, somewhat higher than that on which he stood. Through the
trees which filled up the intermediate space was seen gliding a small
river, that, meandering amongst the copses, now shone glittering in
the sun, now hid itself in the shades, with that soothing variety, gay
yet tranquil, placid but not insipid, which is the peculiar
characteristic of the course of an English stream. The wind had
fallen, the clouds had dispersed, and the evening sun was shining out,
as if seducing the early buds to come forth and yield themselves to
his treacherous smile, and all the choir of nature was hymning its
song of joy and hope in the prospect of delightful summer. Above the
branches, which were yet scarcely green with the first downy promise
of the spring, was seen rising high the dark octagon keep of Chilham
Castle. It was a building of the old irregular Norman construction;
and the architect, who probably had forgot that a staircase was
requisite till he had completed the tower, had remedied the defect by
throwing out from the east side a sort of square buttress, which
contained the means of ascending to the various stories of which it
was composed. On the west side of the keep appeared a long mass of
building of a still more ancient date, surrounded by strong stone
walls overgrown with ivy, forming a broken but picturesque line of
architecture, stretching just above the tops of the trees, and
considerably lower than the tower, while a small detached turret was
seen here and there, completing the castellated appearance of the

Sir Osborne paused and gazed at it for five or ten minutes in silence,
while a variety of very opposite expressions took possession of his
countenance. Now it seemed that the calm beauty of the scene filled
him with thoughts of tranquillity and delight; now that the view
recalled some poignant sorrow, for something very bright rose and
glistened in his eye. At last his brow knit into a frown, and anger
seemed predominant, as, grasping the pommel of his sword with his left
hand, he shook his clenched fist towards the antique battlements of
the castle, and then, as if ashamed of such vehemence of passion, he
turned his horse and galloped back on the road he came.

The moment after he had again entered upon the road to Canterbury, a
sudden change took place in the pace of his horse, and perceiving that
he had cast a shoe, the young knight was forced, although the sun was
now getting far west, to slacken his pace; for the lady who walked
over the burning ploughshares would have found it a different story,
had she tried to gallop over that road without shoes. Proceeding,
therefore, but slowly, it was nearly dark when he reached the little
village of Northbourne, where, riding up to the smithy, he called
loudly for the farrier. No farrier, however, made his appearance. All
was silent, and as black as his trade; and the only answer which
Osborne could procure was at length elicited from one of a score of
boys, who, with open eyes and gaping mouths, stood round, listening
unmoved for a quarter of an hour, while the knight adjured the
blacksmith to come forth and show himself.

"Can I have my horse shod here or not, little varlet?" cried he at
length to one of the most incorrigible starers.

"Ye moy, if ye loyke," answered the boy, with that air of impenetrable
stupidity which an English peasant boy can sometimes get up when he is
half frightened and half sullen.

"He means ye moy if ye can," answered another urchin, with somewhat of
a more intellectual face: "for Jenkin Thumpum is up at the hostel
shoeing the merchant's beast, and Dame Winny, his wife, is gone to
hold the lantern. He! he! he!"

"Ha! ha! ha!" roared his companions, to whose mind Dame Winny holding
the lantern was a very good joke. "Ha! ha! ha! wherever Jenkin Thumpum
is, there goes Dame Winny to hold the lantern. Ha! ha! ha!"

"But how far is it to the inn, my good boy?" demanded Sir Osborne.

"Oh! it's for half an hour up the road, ye see," replied the boy, who
still chuckled at his own joke, and wanted fain to repeat it.

"But are you sure the blacksmith is there?" demanded Sir Osborne.

"Oy, oy!" replied the boy; "as sure as eggs are bacon, if he's not
coming back again. So, if ye go straight up along, you'll meet Jenkin
coming, and Dame Winny holding the lantern. Ha! ha! ha!"


   The first, forgive my verse if too diffuse,
   Performed the kitchen's and the parlour's use.

It was quite dark when Sir Osborne Maurice arrived at the gate of the
hostel or inn, which consisted of a long row of low buildings, running
by the side of the road, with a straw-yard at the nearer end. Into
this the traveller guided his horse by the light of a horn lantern,
which was held by no other person than Dame Winny herself, while her
husband, Master Thumpum, pared the hoof of a stout gelding which stood
tied to the stable-door. Things were arranged differently in those
days from what they are now.

As soon as the good lady heard the sound of a horse's feet entering
the court, she raised her melodious voice to notify to the servants of
the house a traveller's arrival.

"Tim Chamberlain! Tim Chamberlain!" cried she, "here's a master on

The chamberlain, for by such sonorous title did he designate himself,
came forth at the summons, presenting not only the appearance of an
ostler, but of a bad ostler too; and after assisting the knight to
dismount, he took from the saddle the leathern bags which commonly
accompanied a traveller on a journey in those days, and running his
hand over the exterior, with the utmost nonchalance, endeavoured to
ascertain whether the contents were such as might be acceptable to any
of his good friends on the road.

Sir Osborne's first care was of his horse, which he ordered to be
shod, for the purpose of proceeding immediately; but finding its foot
somewhat tender, he at length determined upon passing the night at the
inn rather than injure an animal on which his farther journey greatly
depended; and leaving the chamberlain to examine his bags more at his
leisure, he entered the kitchen, which was then the common room of

Night had by this time rendered the air chilly; and the sight of a
large fire, which greeted his eye as he pushed open the door, promised
him at least that sort of reception for which he was most anxious, as
he did not propose to himself any great communion with those who might
be within. The apartment was not very inviting in any other particular
than the cheerful blazing of the large logs of wood with which the
earth was strewed, for the floor was of battened mud, and the various
utensils which hung round did not do great credit to the hostess's

Much was the confusion which reigned amidst pans, kettles, pots, and
plates; and sundry were the positions of spits, gridirons, and ladles:
in short, it seemed as if the implements of cooking had all got drunk
after a hard day's work, and had tumbled over one another the best way
they could in search of repose. From the large black rafters overhead,
however, hung much that might gratify the eye of the hungry traveller,
for the kitchen seemed to serve for larder as well as drawing-room.
There might be seen the inimitable ham of York, with manifold sides of
bacon, and dangling capons, and cheeses store; and there, too, was the
large black turkey, in its native plumes, with endless strings of
sausages, and puddings beyond account. Nor was dried salmon wanting,
nor a net full of lemons, nor a bag of peas: in a word, it was a very
comfortably garnished roof, and in some degree compensated for the
disarray of the room that it overhung.

In those days, the close of evening was generally the signal for every
traveller to betake himself to the nearest place of repose; and with
his circle round the fire, and his own peculiar chair placed in the
most approved corner of the vast chimney, mine host of the inn seldom
expected the arrival of any new guest after dark. It was then, if his
company were somewhat of his own degree, that he would tell his best
story, or crack his best joke; and sometimes even, after many an
overflowing flagon had gone round at the acknowledged expense of his
guests, he himself, too, would club his tankard of toast and ale, for
which, it is probable, he found sufficient means to make himself
kindly reparation in some other manner.

In such course flowed by the moments at the inn, when Sir Osborne
Maurice, pushing open the door of the kitchen, interrupted the
landlord in the midst of an excellent good ghost story, and made the
whole of the rest of the party turn their heads suddenly round, and
fix their eyes upon the tall, graceful figure of the young knight, as
if he had been the actual apparition under discussion.

The assembly at the kitchen-fire consisted only of six persons. Mine
host, as above stated, in his large arm-chair, was first in bulk and
dignity. Whether it be or not a peculiar quality in beer to turn
everything which contains a great quantity of it into the shape and
demeanour of a tun, has often struck me as a curious question in
natural philosophy; but certain it is that many innkeepers, but more
peculiarly the innkeeper in question, possess, and have possessed, and
probably will possess, so long as such a race exists, the size,
rotundity, profoundness, and abhorrence of locomotion, which are
considered as peculiar attributes of the above-named receptacle, as
well as the known quality of containing vast quantities of liquor.
Mine host was somewhat pale withal; but sundry carbuncles illuminated
his countenance, and gave an air of jollity to a face whose expression
was not otherwise very amiable.

Next to this dignitary sat a worthy representative of a race now,
alas! long, long extinct, and indeed almost unrecorded.

Oh! could old Hall or Holinshed have divined that the _Portingal
captain_ would ever become an animal as much extinct as the mammoth or
the mastodon, leaving only a few scattered traces to mark the places
through which he wandered, what long and elaborate descriptions should
we not have had, to bear at least his memory down to coming ages! But
in the days of those worthy writers, Portugal, or, as they wrote it,
Portingal, was the land from which adventure and discovery issued
forth over the earth, ay, and over the water, too; and they never
dreamt that the flourishing kingdom whose adventurous seamen explored
every corner of the known world, and brought the fruits and treasures
of the burning zone to the frigid regions of the north, would ever
dwindle away so as to be amongst the nations of Europe like a sprat in
a shoal of herrings; or certainly they would have given us a full and
particular description of a Portingal captain, from the top of his
head down to the sole of his shoe.

Luckily, however, the learned Vonderbrugius has supplied this defect
more to my purpose than any other writer could have done, not only by
describing a Portingal captain in the abstract, but the very identical
Portingal captain who there, at that moment, sat by the fireside.

I have already hinted that the learned Theban's Latin is somewhat
obscure, and I will own that the beginning of his definition rather
puzzled me:--"_Capitanus Portingalensis est homo pedibus sex_----"

It was very easy to construe the first four words, like a boy at
school: _Capitanus Portingalensis_, a Portugal captain; _est homo_, is
a man. That was all very natural; but when it came to _pedibus sex_,
with six feet, I was very much astonished, till I discovered that the
professor meant thus elegantly to express that he was six feet high.

But before I proceed with the particular account, it may be necessary
to say a word or two upon the general history and qualifications of
the Portingal captains of that day. Portugal, as has been observed,
was then the cradle of adventurous merchantmen; that is to say, of men
who gained an honest livelihood by buying and selling, fetching and
carrying, lying and pilfering, thieving wholesale and retail, swearing
a great deal, and committing a little manslaughter when it was
necessary. With these qualifications, it may well be supposed that the
Portingal captains were known and esteemed in every quarter of the
globe except America; and as they were daring, hardy, boasting
fellows, who possessed withal a certain insinuating manner of giving
little presents of oranges, lemons, nutmegs, cinnamon, &c. to the good
dames of the houses where they were well received, as well as of
rendering every sort of unscrupulous service to the male part of the
establishment, it may equally well be supposed that some few people
shut them out of their houses, and called them 'thievish vagabonds,'
while a great many took them in, and thought them 'nice, good-humoured

Freeholders of the ocean, their own country bound them by no very
strict laws; and if they broke the laws of any other, they took to
their ship, which was generally near, and, like the Greenwich
pensioner, 'went to sea again.' Speaking a jargon of all languages,
accommodating themselves to all customs, cheating and pilfering from
all nations, and caring not one straw more for one country than
another, they furnished the epitome, the _beau-ideal_ of true citizens
of the world.

The specimen of this dignified race who occupied a seat between mine
host and hostess was, as we have seen, six feet high, and what sailors
would term broad over the beam. His neck was rather of the longest,
and at the end of it was perched a mighty small head, whose front was
ornamented with a large nose, two little, dark, twinkling eyes under a
pair of heavy black brows, and a mouth of quite sufficient size to
serve a moderate-minded pair. Any one who has heard of a red Indian
may form some idea of his complexion, which would remind one of a
black sheep marked with red ochre; and from this rich soil sprang
forth and flourished a long thin pair of mustachios, something after
the Tartar mode. His dress was more tolerable than his face,
consisting of a dark-brown doublet slashed with light green, much
resembling a garden full of cabbage stalks, with trunks and hosen to
correspond; while in his belt appeared a goodly assortment of
implements for cutting and maiming, too numerous to be recited; and
between his legs, as he sat and rocked himself on his chair, he held
his long sword, with the point of which he ever and anon raked fresh
ashes round a couple of eggs that were roasting on the hearth.

Smiling on this jewel of a captain sat our landlady in the next chair,
a great deal too pretty to mind the affairs of her house, and a great
deal too fine to be very good. Now, the captain was a dashing man, and
though he did not look tender, he looked tender things; and besides,
he was an old friend of the house, and had brought mine hostess many a
little sentimental present from parts beyond the sea; so that she
found herself justified in flirting with so amiable a companion by
smiles and glances, while her rotund husband poured forth his
ale-inspired tale.

On the right hand of the hostess stood the cook, skewering up a fine
breast of house-lamb, destined for the rere-supper of a stout old
English clothier, Jekin Groby by name, who, placed in the other seat
of honour opposite mine host, leaned himself back in a delicious state
of drowsiness between sleeping and waking, just hearing the buzzing of
the landlord's story, with only sufficient apprehension left to catch
every now and then "_the ghost, the ghost_," and to combine that idea
with strange, misty phantasies in his sleep-embarrassed brain. The
sixth person was the turnspit-dog, who, freed from his Ixionian task,
sat on his rump facing his master, on whose countenance he gazed with
most sagacious eyes, seeming much more attentive to the tale than any
one else but the cook.

As I have said, Sir Osborne threw open the door somewhat suddenly,
startling all within. Every one thought it was the ghost. The landlord
became motionless; the lady screamed, the cook ran the skewer into her
hand; the turnspit-dog barked; Jekin Groby knocked his head against
the chimney; and the Portingal captain ran one of the eggs through the
body with the point of his sword.

It has been said that a good countenance is a letter of
recommendation, and to the taste of mine hostess it was the best
that could be given. Thus, after she had finished her scream, and had
time to regard the physiognomy of the ghost who threw open the
kitchen-door, she liked it so much better than that of the Portingal
captain, that she got up with her very best courtesy; drew a settle to
the fire next to herself; bade the turnspit hold his tongue; and
ordered Tim Chamberlain, who followed hard upon Sir Osborne's
footsteps, to prepare for his worship the tapestry-chamber.

"I seem to have scared you all," said Sir Osborne, somewhat astonished
at the confusion which his entrance had caused. "What is the matter?"

"Nay, marry, sir, 'twas nothing," replied the landlady, with a sweet
simper, "but a foolish ghost that my husband spoke of."

"The foolish ghost has broke my head, I know," said Jekin Groby,
rubbing his pole, which had come in contact with the chimney.

"Nay, then, the ghost was rude as well as foolish," remarked Sir
Osborne, taking his seat.

"Ha! ha! well said, young gentleman," cried the honest clothier. "Nay,
now, I warrant thou hast a merry heart."

"Thou wouldst be out," answered Sir Osborne: "my heart's a sad one;"
and he added a sigh that showed there was some truth in what he said,
though he said it lightly.

"They sayo that thin doublets cover alway gay heart," said the
Portingal captain. "Now, senhor! your doublets was not very thick,
good youth."

"Good youth!" said Sir Osborne, turning towards the speaker, whom he
had not before remarked, and glancing his eye over his person; "good
youth! what mean you by that, sir?" But as his eye fell upon the face
of the Portingal, his cheek suddenly reddened very high, and the
glance of the other sunk as if quelled by some powerful recollection.
"Oh, ho!" continued the knight, "a word with you, sir;" and rising, he
pushed away the settle, and walked towards the end of the room.

"Pray don't fight, gentlemen!" cried the hostess, catching hold of the
skirt of Sir Osborne's doublet. "Pray don't fight! I never could bear
to see blood spilled. John Alesop! Husband! you are a constable; don't
let them fight!"

"Leave me, dame; you mistake me. We are not going to fight," said Sir
Osborne, leading her back to the fire; "I merely want to speak one
word to this fellow. Come here, sir!"

The Portingal captain had by this time risen up to his full height;
but as he marched doggedly after the young knight, there was a
swinging stoop in his long neck that greatly derogated from the
dignity of his demeanour. Sir Osborne spoke to him for some time in a
low voice, to which he replied nothing but "Dios! It's nothing to I!
Vary well! Not a word!"

"Remember, then," said the knight, somewhat louder, "if I find you use
your tongue more than your prudence, I will, slit your ears!"

"Pan de Dios! you are the only man that dare to say me so," muttered
the captain, following towards the fire, at which the knight now
resumed his seat, and where mine host was expatiating to Jekin Groby,
the hostess, the cook, and the turnspit-dog, upon the propriety of
every constable letting gentlemen settle their differences their own
way. "For," said he, "what is the law made for? Why, to punish the
offender. Now, if there is no offence committed, there is no offender.
Then would the law be of no use; therefore, to make the law useful,
one ought to let the offence be committed without intermeddling, which
would be rendering the law of no avail."

"Very true," said his wife.

"Why, there's something in it," said Jekin Groby; "for when I was at
court, the king himself ordered two gentlemen to fight. Lord a' mercy!
it seemed to me cruel strange!"

"Nay, when wert thou at court, Master Jekin?" demanded the landlord.

"Why, have I ate lamb and drank ale at thy house twice every year,"
demanded the indignant clothier, "and knowest thou not, John Alesop,
that I am clothier, otherwise cloth merchant, to his most Gracious
Grace King Henry? And that twice he has admitted me into his dignified
presence? And once that I staid six weeks at the Palace at
Westminster? Oh! it is a prince of a king! Lord a' mercy! you never
saw his like!"

"Nay, nay, I heard not of it," replied the landlord. "But come, Master
Jekin, as these gentlemen don't seem inclined to fight, tell us all
about the court, and those whom you saw there, while the lamb is

The honest clothier was willing enough to tell his story, and,
including even the knight, every one seemed inclined to hear him,
except indeed the Portingal captain, who was anxious to recommence his
flirtation with Master Alesop's dame. But she, having by chance heard
a word or two about slitting of ears, turned up her nose at her
foreign innamorato, and prepared herself to look at Sir Osborne
Maurice, and to listen to Jekin Groby.

"Oh! it is a prodigious place, the court!" said the clothier, "a very
prodigious place, indeed. But, to my mind, the finest thing about it
is the king himself. Never was such a king; so fine a man, or so noble
in his apparel! I have seen him wear as many as three fresh suits a
day. Then for the broidery, and the cloth of gold, and the cloth of
silver, and the coat of goldsmiths' work: there was a world of riches!
And amongst the nobles, too, there was more wealth on their backs than
in their hearts or their heads, I'll warrant. The nobility of the land
is quite cast away, since the youngsters went to fetch back the Lady
Mary from France, after her old husband the French king died. None but
French silks worn; and good English cloth, forsooth, is too coarse for
their fine backs! And then the French fashions, too, not only touch
the doublet, but affect the vest and the nether end; so that, with
chamfreed edging, and short French breeches, they make such a comely
figure, that except it were a dog in a doublet, you shall not see any
so disguised as our young nobility."[2]

While the good clothier proceeded, the Portingal had more than once
fidgeted on his seat, as if with some willingness to evade the
apartment; and at length had risen and was quietly proceeding towards
the door, when the eye of Sir Osborne Maurice fixed upon him, with a
sort of stern authority in its glance, which he seemed well to
understand; for, without more ado, he returned to his settle, and
showed as if he had merely risen to stretch the unwieldy length of his
legs by a turn upon the floor.

In the mean time, Jekin Groby went on.

"It is a lewd age and a bad, I wot, and the next will be a worse,
seeing that all our young gallants are so full of strange phantasies;
that is, not to say all, for there is the young Earl of Derby, God
bless his noble heart! He is an honest one and a merry, and right
English to the core. One day he meets me in the ante-chamber, where I
had always leave to stand to see all the world go in and out, and he
says to me, 'Honest Jekin Groby,' says he, 'dost thou stand here in
the ante-room waiting for my Lord Cardinal's place, if he should
chance to die?' 'Nay, my good lord,' I was bold to answer, 'I know
that here I am out of place, yet my Lord Cardinal's would not suit
me.' So then he laughed. 'Why not?' says he, 'for certainly thou art
of the cloth.' But hark! they are crying in the court."

The honest clothier was right, for sundry sounds began to make
themselves heard in the court-yard, announcing the arrival of no
inconsiderable party, which, if one might judge by the vociferation of
the servants, consisted of people that made some noise in the world.

Up started mine host as well as his rotundity would let him; up
started mine hostess, and out rushed the cook; while, at the same
moment, a bustling lacquey with riding-whip in hand, pushed into the
kitchen, exclaiming, "What's this! what's this! But one tapestried
room, and that engaged? Nonsense! it must be had, and shall be had,
for my young lady and her woman!"

"A torch! a torch!" cried a voice without. "This way, lady. The rain
is coming on very hard; we shall be much better here."

All eyes turned towards the door with that anxious curiosity which
every small body of human beings feels when another person is about to
be added to the little world of the moment. But fastidious, indeed,
must have been the taste that could have found anything unpleasing in
the form that entered. It was that of a sweet, fair girl, in the
spring of womanhood: every feature was delicate and feminine, every
limb was small and graceful: yet with that rounded fulness which is
indispensable to perfect beauty. Her colour was not high, but it was
fine; and when she found herself before so many strangers, it grew
deeper and deeper, till it might have made the rose look pale. I hate
long descriptions. She was lovely, and I have said enough.

By this time the hostess had advanced, and a venerable old man in a
clerical robe had followed into the room, while mine host himself
rolled forward to see what best could be done for the accommodation of
the large party that seemed willing to honour his inn with their

"I heard something about the best chamber being engaged," said the
young lady, in a voice that sweetly corresponded with her person, at
the same time turning half towards the hostess, half towards the
clergyman. "I beg that I may disturb no one. Any chamber will do for
me and my woman, if you think we cannot reach the manor to-night."

"Ay! but if we can have the best chamber, I don't see why not, lady,"
said the lady's-maid, who by this time had followed.

Sir Osborne Maurice advanced. "If it is to me," said he, "that the
best chamber has been assigned, I shall feel myself honoured in
resigning it to a lady, but infinitely more, if my memory serves me
right, and that lady be Lady Constance de Grey."

"Good heaven, Master Osborne Maurice!" said the lady, colouring again
with evidently no very unpleasant feelings. "I thought you were in
Flanders. When did----?"

But she had no time to finish her phrase, for the old clergyman cast
himself upon Sir Osborne's neck, and wept like a child. "My dear
Osborne!" cried he, "how? when? where? But I am a fool; how like you
have grown to your dear lady mother! Pardon me, my lord--I mean,
sir--I don't know what I'm talking of. But you know you were my first
pupil, and like my child; and I never thought to see you again before
my old eyes were covered with the dust. Alack! alack! what a fine man
thou art grown! 'Tis just five years, come May, since you came to take
leave of me at the house of this my honoured lady's father; and mind
you how you taught her to shoot with the bow, and how pleased my good
lord her father was to see you?"

"I have not forgotten one circumstance of the kind hospitality I then
received," said Sir Osborne, "and never shall, so long as I have
memory of anything."

"Ay, but she has lost the archery," said the old clergyman. "She has
lost it entirely."

"But I have not lost the bow, Master Osborne," said the lady, with a
smile: "I have it still, and shall some day relearn to draw it."

There was a strange difference between the manner of the clergyman and
that of the lady, when addressing the young knight. Lady Constance
evidently saw him with pleasure; but she seemed to feel, or to
suppose, that there existed between them a difference of rank, which
made some reserve on her part necessary, while, on the contrary, the
old man gave way to unlimited joy at meeting with his former pupil,
though qualified by an air of respect and deference which mingled
strangely with the expressions of fondness that he poured forth.

By this time, the host and hostess having removed from the fire, and
the Portingal captain having quietly slipped away in the bustle, no
one remained near it but Jekin Groby; and, he not being very terrific
of aspect, Lady Constance placed herself in one of the vacant seats
till such time as her chamber should be prepared. Sir Osborne wrung
the old tutor's hand affectionately, and whispered, while he followed
to the side of Lady Constance, "I have a word to say to you, and much
upon which to consult you."

"Good, good!" replied the old man, in the same subdued tone, "when the
lady has retired."

Having seated themselves round the fire, the conversation was soon
renewed, especially between the tutor and Sir Osborne: Lady Constance
sometimes joining in with her sweet musical voice, and her gentle,
engaging manner, and sometimes falling into deep reveries, which
seemed not of the happiest nature, if one might judge by the grave,
and even sad cast that her countenance took, as she fixed her eyes
upon the embers, and appeared to study deeply the various forms they
offered to her view.

In the mean time, the clergyman gradually engaged Sir Osborne to
detail some of the adventures which he had met with during the five
years that he had served in the Imperial army then combating in
Flanders; and then he spoke of "moving accidents by flood and field,
of hair-breadth 'scapes in th' imminent deadly breach," and of much
that he had seen, mingled with some small portions of what he himself
had done; and yet, when he told any of his own deeds that had met with
great success, he took care to attribute all to his good fortune and a
happy chance. It was thus, he said, that, by a most lucky coincidence,
he happened to take two standards of the enemy before the eyes of the
late Emperor Maximilian, who, as a recompense, honoured him with
knighthood from his own sword.

"Indeed!" exclaimed Lady Constance, waking from her reverie; "then I
do congratulate you most sincerely. The road to fortune and to fame is
now open to you, Sir Osborne, and I feel sure, I know, that you will
reach the goal."

"A thousand thanks, lady, for your good augury!" replied the knight;
"nor do I lack hope, though there are so many competitors in the field
of fame that the difficulty of winning renown is increased. In the
army of Flanders there is many an aspirant with whom it is hard to

"True," replied Lady Constance; "but even that makes the contention
more honourable. Oh! we have heard of that army, and its feats of
arms, even here. We cannot be supposed to have received the names of
all those who have done high deeds; but they say that the young Lord
Darnley, the son of the unhappy Earl Fitzbernard, is realizing the
tales of the knights of old. You must have met him, Sir Osborne
Maurice. Do you know him?"

"I cannot say that I know him well," replied the knight, "though we
have served long in the same army. He has gained some renown, it is
true, but there are many men-at-arms as good as he."

"I know not well why," said Lady Constance after a pause; "but I have
always been much interested in that young gentleman's history. The
unexpected, and seemingly undeserved, train of misfortunes that fell
upon his house, and the accounts that all men give of his gallantry
and daring, his courtesy and accomplishments, have made him quite one
of my heroes of romance."

Whether it, be true that very high praises of another will frequently
excite some small degree of envy, even in the most amiable minds,
matters not; but Sir Osborne did not seem very easy in his chair while
Lady Constance recited the high qualities of his companion in arms. "I
have heard," replied he at length, "that the fame which Lord Darnley
has acquired, either justly or unjustly, has even reached the ears of
our sovereign lord the king, and has worked much in favour of those
claims which his family make to their forfeited estates. It is well
known that his grace is the flower of this world's chivalry; and as
the young lord is somewhat skilful in the tournois, and at the
barriers, the king has, I hear, expressed a wish to see him, which, if
he should come over, may turn favourably to his cause."

"God grant it may!" said Lady Constance, "although I have never seen
the young gentleman, and though the person who now holds his estates
is cousin to my deceased father----"

"Good God! is it possible?" exclaimed Sir Osborne, "that my lord your
father is dead? But I might have divined it from seeing you here

Lady Constance sighed. "I am indeed alone in all the world," said
she. "My father has been dead these three years. My Lord Cardinal
Wolsey claims me as ward of the crown; and as I am now in my
one-and-twentieth year, he calls me to a place I hate: the court.
Knowing no one there, loved of no one there, I shall feel like an
inexperienced being in a sad, strange world. But when the time comes
that I may command my own actions, if they will ever let me do so, I
will return to my father's halls, and live amongst my own tenantry.
But to change a painful subject, my good father," she continued,
turning to the clergyman, "were it not well to send a messenger to Sir
Payan Wileton, to let him know that we shall not arrive at his house
to-night, though we will take our forenoon meal with him to-morrow?"

The old clergyman seemed somewhat embarrassed. "I know not what to
do," said he. "'Twould be better not to go at all, yet what can be
done? You promised to go as you went to London, and one ought always
to keep one's promise. So what can the lady do?" And he turned
abruptly to Sir Osborne, not so much as if he asked his advice as if
he made him an apology.

"Why, the lady had certainly better keep her word," answered Sir
Osborne, with a smile; "but you know, my good old friend, that I
cannot judge of the circumstances."

"Ay, true; I forgot," answered the other. "She must go, I am afraid,
though she knows what the man is, and dislikes him as much as any

At this moment the chamberlain entered, with Lady Constance's woman,
announcing that the tapestry chamber was now warmed and lighted; and
the young lady left them, with many apologies to Sir Osborne for
depriving him of his apartment.

"I warrant you, madam," said Tim Chamberlain, "his worship will be
well lodged; for 'tis but the next room to that he had, and 'tis all
as good, bating the tapestry."

"I am a soldier, lady," said Sir Osborne, "and not much accustomed to
tapestry to my chamber, without it be the blue hangings of the sky,
spangled with the starry broidery of heaven; but in truth I wish they
had given me but a tramper's garret, that I might at least have had
some merit in giving up the room."

As the honest clothier, Jekin Groby, who was little heedful of
ceremony, still sat by the fire, though apparently dipped deeply in
the Lethean stream of an afternoon's doze, the conversation of Sir
Osborne Maurice with his old tutor could not be so private as they
could have wished, especially as the cook and the chamberlain were
bustling about laying forth a table for the rere-supper, and two or
three lacqueys who had accompanied the litter of Lady Constance were
running in and out, endeavouring to make as much noise as possible
about nothing. However, they found an opportunity to appoint a place
of meeting in London, to which both were journeying, and it was agreed
that the first arrived should there wait for the other. Many questions
concerning the state of England did Sir Osborne ask of the old man,
for whom he seemed to entertain both reverence and love, and deeply
did he ponder all the answers he received. Often also did the tutor
look anxiously in the face of the young knight, and often did Sir
Osborne return it with the same kind of hesitating glance, as if there
were some subject on which they both wished to speak, yet doubted
whether to begin.

At length Sir Osborne spoke out, more to the clergyman's thoughts than
his words. "We will talk of all that hereafter in London," said he;
"'twere too long to expose now. But, tell me one thing: know you, my
good father, a celebrated man called in Italy Cesario il dotto? Is he
to be trusted? For I met with him to-day, when he much astonished me,
and much won upon my opinion; but I knew not how far I might confide
in him, though he is certainly a most extraordinary man."

"Trust your life in his hands!" exclaimed the tutor. "He is your
father's best and dearest friend, and never has he ceased his efforts
to serve him. We used much to dispute, for I am bound by my calling to
hold his studies as evil; but certainly his knowledge was wonderful,
and his intentions were good. God forgive him if he err in his
opinions! as in truth he does, holding strange phantasies of many
sorts of spirits, more than the church allows, with various things
altogether heretical and vain. But, as I have said, trust him with
your life, if it be necessary; for he is a true friend and a good man,
although his knowledge and his art be altogether damnable and

"'Tis strange I never heard my father name him," said Sir Osborne.

"Oh! he bore another name once," replied the tutor, "which he changed
when he first gave himself to those dangerous studies that have since
rendered him so famous. It is a custom among such men to abjure their
name; but he had another reason, being joined in a famous conspiracy
some thirty years ago."

"Why," said Sir Osborne, "he does not seem a very old man now!"

"He is full eighty," replied the clergyman; "and there is the wonder,
for he seems never to change. For twenty years he was absent from
England, except when he came to be present at your birth. At length
everybody had forgotten him but your father, and he is now only known
by the name of Sir Cesar. Yet, strange as it may seem, he is received
and courted by the great; he knows the secrets and affairs of every
one, and possesses much influence even in the court. It is true I know
his former name, but under so strict a vow to conceal it that it can
never pass my lips."

"But how came he present at my birth?" demanded Sir Osborne, whose
curiosity was now highly excited.

"He came to calculate your nativity," replied the tutor, "which he did
upon a scroll of parchment----"

"Fifty-six yards long by three yards broad," said Jekin Groby, waking,
"which makes just one hundred and sixty-eight: yaw---- Bless me, I
forgot! Is supper ready? Host, host! Cook, serve quick, and these
gentles will take a bit of my lamb, I am sure."

"I thank you, good sir," said the knight, "but I must to bed, for I
ride betimes to-morrow."

"So do I, faith," said the clothier; "and by your leave, sir knight,
I'll ride with you, if you go toward Lunnun; for my bags are well
lined, and company's a blessing in these days of plunder and robbery."

"With all my heart," replied Sir Osborne; "so that you have your horse
saddled by half-past five, we will to Canterbury together."

"Well, I'll be ready, I'll be ready," said the clothier; "but sure
you'll stay and taste the lamb and ale? See how it hisses and
crackles! Oh! 'tis a rare morsel, a neck of lamb! Stay stay!"

"I thank you, 'tis not possible," replied the knight. "Good night, my
excellent old friend!" he continued, pressing the tutor's hand. "We
shall soon meet, then, at the house of your relation, Doctor Butts:
till then, farewell!"


                You have the captives,
   Who were the opposites of this day's strife!
   We do require them of you, so to use them
   As we shall find their merits and our safety
   May equally determine.--Shakspere.

The chamber of Sir Osborne Maurice was next to that of Lady Constance
de Grey, and from time to time he could hear through the partition the
sweet murmuring of her voice, as she spoke to the woman who undressed
her. Whatever were the thoughts these sounds called up, the young
soldier did not sleep, but lay pondering over his fate, his brain
troubled by a host of busy meditations that would not let him rest. It
was not that he either was in love with Lady Constance, or fancied
himself in love with her, though he neither wanted ardour of feeling
nor quickness of imagination; and yet he thought over all she said
with strange sensations of pleasure, and tried to draw the graceful
outline of her figure upon the blank darkness of the night. And then,
again, he called up the fortnight that he spent some five years before
at the mansion of her father, when he had gone thither to bid farewell
to his old tutor; and he remembered every little incident as though
'twere yesterday. Still, all the while, he never dreamed of love. He
gave way to those thoughts as to a pleasant vision, which filled up
sweetly the moments till sleep should fall upon his eyelids; and yet
he found that the more he thought in such a train, the less likely was
he to slumber. At length the idea of the Portingal captain crossed his
mind, and he strove to fix at what moment it was that that worthy had
quitted the kitchen of the inn, by recalling the last time he
positively had been there. He tried, however, in vain, and in the
midst of the endeavour he fell asleep.

The sun had fully risen by the time Sir Osborne awoke; and finding
himself later than he had intended, he dressed himself hurriedly and
ran down to the court, where he met the honest clothier already
prepared to set out. His own horse, thanks to the care of Jekin Groby,
had been accoutred also; and as nothing remained for him to do but to
pay his reckoning and depart, all was soon ready, and the travellers
were on the road.

"Ah, ha! sir knight," said the clothier, with good-humoured
familiarity, as Sir Osborne sprang into the saddle, "what would they
say in camp if it were known that Jekin Groby, the Kentish clothier,
was in the field before you? Ha, ha, ha! that's good! And you talked,
too, of being off by cock-crow! Lord 'a mercy! poor old chanticleer
has almost thrawn his own neck with crowing, and you never heeded his

"I have been very lazy," said the knight, "and know not, in truth, how
it has happened. But tell me, honest Master Groby, did you remark last
night at what hour it was that the vagabond Portingallo took his

"Why, 'twas just when my young lady, Mistress Constance, came in,"
said the clothier; "he slipped away, just as I've seen a piece of
cloth slip off a shelf, fold by fold, so quietly that no one heard it,
till, flump! it was all gone together. But, bless us!" he continued,
"how comical! our horses are both of a colour. Never did I see such a
match, only mine has got a white foot, which is a pity. Bought him in
Yorkshire when I went down after the cloth. Them damned cheats,
however, painted me his white foot, and 'twas not till I'd had him a
week that I saw his foot begin to change colour. Vast cheats in
Yorkshire! Steal a man's teeth out of his head if he sleeps with his
mouth open."

"It is a good horse, though," said Sir Osborne; "rather heavy in the
shoulder. But it is a good strong horse, and would bear a man-at-arms
well, I doubt not."

Jekin Groby was somewhat of a judge in horse-flesh, notwithstanding
his having been gulled by the Yorkshire jockeys; and, what was more,
he piqued himself upon his knowledge, so that he soon entered upon a
strain of conversation with Sir Osborne which could only be
interesting to connoisseurs. This continued some way as they trotted
along the road, which offered no appearance of anything bearing the
human form divine, till they came to a spot where the way had been cut
between two high banks, formed of chalky soil mingled with veins of
large flints. On the summit of one of these banks was perched a man,
who seemed looking out for something, as he stood motionless, gazing
down the road towards them. Upon his shoulder he carried a pole, or
staff, as it was called, some thirteen feet long, with a sharp iron
head, such as was frequently carried by the people of the country in
those days, serving both as a means of aggression or defence, and as a
sort of leaping-pole wherewith they cleared the deep ditches by which
the country was in many parts intersected. The man himself was
apparently above the ordinary height. Whoever he was, and whatever was
his occupation, no sooner did he see the travellers, than, descending
the bank by means of the veins of flint, which served him as steps, he
ran on as hard as he could, and then, turning off through a little
stile, was seen proceeding rapidly across a field beyond.

"Did you remark that fellow with his long pole?" demanded Sir Osborne.
"We have frightened him: look, he runs!"

"He is vexed to see more than one at a time, sir knight," replied
Jekin Groby. "God's fish! I am glad I had your worship with me."

"Why, he can mean us no harm," said Sir Osborne. "The moment a man
flies he changes from _your_ enemy and becomes his own. But that
fellow was evidently looking out for some one: now, if he know not
that you are travelling here with your bags well lined, as you express
it, which doubtless you are too wise a man to give notice of to every
one, he cannot be watching for _us_, for my plunder would not be worth
his having. I rather think he is some fellow hawking fowl, by the long
staff he has on his shoulder."

"It may be so," replied the cloth-merchant. "One is bound to think
charitably, and never to judge rashly; but i'faith, I am mistaken if
he is not a vast rogue. As to their not knowing that my bags are
pretty full of angels, trust them for that. No one is robbed without
the consent of the chamberlain or hostler where last he lodged. The
moment you are off your beast, they whip you up your cap-case or
budget, as it may happen; and if they can't find out by the weight,
they give it a shake, after such a sort as to make the pieces jingle.
Then again, as for his pole or staff, as you term it, those fellows
with their staves are so commonly known for robbery on the road, that
no honest man rides without his case of dags at his saddle-bow, or
something of the kind to deal with them out of reach of their pike,
which sort of snapper, truly, I see your worship has got as well as

"Oh! you need not fear them," said Sir Osborne, somewhat amused at the
alarm of the clothier, though willing to allay it. "You are a stout
man, and I am not quite a schoolboy."

"Oh! I fear them! I don't fear them," replied Jekin, affecting a
virtue which he had not; for though, in truth, not very sensible to
fear of a mere personal nature, yet his terror at the idea of losing
his angels was most pious and exemplary. "A couple of true men are
worth forty of them; and besides, the fellow has run away. So now to
what I was telling your worship about the horse. He cleared the fence
and the ditch on t'other side; but then there was again another low
fence, not higher, nor--let me see--not higher nor---- Zounds! there's
Longpole again! Lord! how he runs! He's a-poaching, sure enough." But
to continue.

During the next mile's journey, the same occurrence was repeated four
or five times, till at last the appearance of the man with the staff,
whom Jekin Groby had by this time christened Longpole, was hardly
noticed either by the knight or his companion. In the mean time the
horsemen proceeded but slowly, and at length reached a spot where the
high bank broke away, and the hedge receding left a small open space
of what appeared to be common ground. Its extent perhaps might be half
an acre, lying in the form of a decreasing wedge between two thick
hedges, full of leafless stunted oaks, terminated by a clump of larger
trees, which probably hung over a pond. Thus it made a sort of little
vista, down which the eye naturally wandered, resting upon all the
tranquil, homely forms it presented, with perhaps more pleasure than a
vaster or a brighter scene could have afforded. Sir Osborne looked
down it for a moment, then suddenly reined in his horse, and pointing
with his hand, cried to Jekin Groby, who was a little in advance, "I
see two men hiding behind those trees, and a third there in the hedge.
Gallop quick; 'tis an ambush!"

The clothier instantly spurred forward his horse; but his passage was
closed by two sturdy fellows, armed with the sort of staves which had
obtained for their companion the name of Longpole. Animated with the
same courage in defence of his angels that inspires a hen in
protection of her chickens, Jekin Groby drew forth his dags, or
horse-pistols, and, with the bridle in his teeth, aimed one at the
head of each of his antagonists. The aggressors jumped aside, and
would probably have let him pass, had he not attempted too boldly to
follow up his advantage. He pulled the triggers, the hammers fell, but
no report ensued; and it was then he felt the folly of not having well
examined his arms before he left the inn.

In the mean while Sir Osborne Maurice was not unemployed. At the same
moment that Jekin Groby had been attacked, a man forced his way
through the hedge, and opposed himself to the knight, while sundry
others hastened towards them. Sir Osborne's first resource was his
pistol, which, like those of the clothier, had been tampered with at
the inn. But the knight lost not his presence of mind, and spurred on
his horse even against the pike. The animal, long accustomed to combat
where still more deadly weapons were employed, reared up, and with a
bound brought the knight clear of the staff, and within reach of his
adversary, on whose head Sir Osborne discharged such a blow with the
butt-end of his pistol as laid him senseless on the ground.

With a glance of lightning he saw that at least a dozen more were
hurrying up, and that the only chance left was to deal suddenly with
the two, who were now in a fair way to pull the clothier off his
horse, and having despatched them, to gallop on with all speed.
Without loss of a moment, therefore, he drew his sword and spurred
forward. One of honest Jekin's assailants instantly faced about, and,
with his pike rested on his foot, steadfastly opposed the cavalier.
However, he was not so dexterous in the use of his weapon that Sir
Osborne could not by rapidly wheeling his horse obtain a side view of
the pike, when by one sweeping blow of his long-sword he cleft it in
twain. One moment more and the unhappy pikeman's head and shoulders
would have parted company, for an arm of iron was swaying the edge of
the weapon rapidly towards his neck, when suddenly a powerful man
sprang upon the knight's horse behind, and pinioned his arms with a
force which, though it did not entirely disable him, saved the life of
his antagonist.

Using a strong effort, Sir Osborne so far disengaged his arms as to
throw back the pommel of his sword into the chest of this new
adversary, who in a moment was rolling in the dust; but as he fell,
another sprang up again behind the knight, and once more embarrassed
his arms: others seized the horse's bridle, and others pressed upon
him on every side. Still Sir Osborne resisted, but it was in vain. A
cord was passed through his arms, and gradually tightened behind, in
spite of his struggling, where, being tied, it rendered all further
efforts useless.

Hitherto not a word had been spoken by either party. It seemed as if,
by mutual understanding, the attacking and the attacked had forborne
any conversation upon a subject which they knew could not be decided
by words.

At length, however, when they had pulled Sir Osborne Maurice off his
horse, and placed him by the side of Jekin Groby, who had now long
been in the same situation, the tallest of the party, evidently no
other than the agreeable gentleman who had watched them along the road
with such peculiar care, and whom we shall continue to call Longpole,
advanced, holding his side, which was still suffering from the pommel
of Sir Osborne's sword; and after regarding them both, he addressed
himself to the knight, with much less asperity than might have been
expected from the resistance he had met with. "Thou hit'st damned
hard!" said he; "and I doubt thou hast broken one of my ribs with thy
back-heave. Howsoever, I know not which of you is which, now I've got
you. Faith, they should have described me the men, not the horses;
both the horses are alike."

"Is your wish to rob us or not?" said Sir Osborne; "because in robbing
us both you are sure to rob the right. Only leave us our horses, and
let us go; for to cut our throats will serve you but little."

"If I wished to rob thee, my gentleman," answered Longpole, "I'd cut
thy throat too, for breaking my companion's head, who lies there in
the road as if he were dead, or rather as if he were asleep, for he's
snoring like the father-hog of a large family, the Portingallo
vagabond! However, I'll have you both away; then those who sent to
seek you will know which it is they want. Hollo there! knock that
fellow down that's fingering the bags. If one of you touch a stiver
I'll make your skins smart for it."

"I see several Portingals," said Sir Osborne, "or I mistake. Is it not

"Ay, Portingals and Dutchers, and such like mixed," replied Longpole.
"But come; you must go along."

A light now broke upon the mind of Sir Osborne. "Listen," cried he to
the Englishman, as he was preparing to lead them away; "how comes it
that you Englishmen join yourselves with a beggarly race of wandering
vagabonds to revenge the quarrel of a base-born Portingallo captain
upon one of your own countrymen? Give me but a moment, and you shall
hear whether he did not deserve the punishment I inflicted."

Longpole seemed willing to hear, and one or two others came round,
while the rest employed themselves in quieting the knight's horse,
that, finding himself in hands he was unaccustomed to, began plunging
and kicking most violently.

"I will be short," said the knight. "This Portingal had agreed to
furnish a cargo of fruits to the Imperial army in Flanders; 'tis now
two years ago, for we had a malignant fever in the camp. He got the
money when they were landed, and was bringing them under a small
escort, which I commanded, when we found our junction cut off by the
right wing of the enemy's army, which had wheeled. The greatest
exertion was necessary to pass round through a hollow way; the least
noise, the least flutter of a pennon, would have betrayed us to the
French outposts, who were not more than a bow-shot from us, when our
Portingal stopped in the midst, and vowed he would not go on, unless I
promised to pay him double for the fruit, and not to tell anybody of
what he had done. If I had run my lance through him, as I was tempted,
his companions would have made a noise, and we were lost; so I was
obliged to promise. He knew he could trust the word of an English
knight, so he went on quietly enough, and got his money; but then I
took him out into a field, and after a struggle, I tied him to a tree,
and lashed him with my stirrup-leathers till his back was flayed. He
was not worth a knight's sword, or I would have swept his head off.
But tell me, is it for this a party of Englishmen maltreat their

"You served him right, young sir," answered Longpole; "and I remember
that malignant fever well, for I was then fletcher to Sir John
Pechie's band of horse archers. But, nevertheless, you must come
along; for the Portingallo and his men only lend a hand in taking you
to Sir Payan Wileton, who tells us a very different story, and does
not make you out a knight at all."

Sir Osborne replied nothing (for it seemed that the name of Sir Payan
Wileton showed him reply was in vain), but suffered himself to be led
on in silence by Longpole and five of bid stoutest companions, while
the rest were directed to follow with Jekin Groby and the two horses,
as soon as the Portuguese whom the knight had stunned should be in a
fit state to be removed.

For some way Sir Osborne was conducted along the highroad without any
attempt at concealment on the part of those who guarded him; and even
at a short distance from the spot where the affray had happened they
stopped to speak with a carter, who was slowly driving his team on to
the village. "Ah! Dick," said he, addressing Longpole, "what hast been

"Why, faith," answered the other, "I don't well know. It's a job of
his worship's. You know he has queer ways with him; and when he tells
one to do a thing, one knows well enough what the beginning is, but
what the end of it is to be no one knows but himself. He says that
this gentleman is the man who excited the miners on his Cornish lands
to riot and insurrection, and a deal more, so that he will have him
taken. He don't look it, does he? If it had been to-morrow I'd not
have gone upon the thing, for to-day my sworn service is out."

"Ay! ay!" said the other; "'tis hard to know Sir Payan. Howsomdever,
he has got all the land round about, one way or t'other, and
everything must yield to him, for no one ever withstood him but what
some mischance fell upon him. Mind you how, when young Davors went to
law with him, and gained his cause, about seven acres' field, he was
drowned in the pond when out hawking, not a year after? Do not cross
him, man! do not cross him! for either God's blessing or the devil's
is upon him, and you'll come to harm some way if you do!"

"I'll not cross him, but I'll leave him," said Longpole; "for I like
neither what I see nor what I hear of him, and less what I do for him.
So, fare thee well, boy."

Sir Osborne Maurice had fallen into a profound reverie, from which he
did not wake during the whole of the way. The astrologer's prediction
of approaching evil, and a thousand other circumstances of still more
painful presage, came thronging upon his mind, and took away from him
all wish or power either to question his conductors or to devise any
plan for escape, had escape been possible.

The way was long, and the path which Longpole and his companions
followed led through a variety of green fields and lanes, silent and
solitary, which gave the young knight full time to muse over his
situation. Had he given credit to the words of his conductor, and for
an instant supposed that the reason of his having been so suddenly
seized was the charge of instigating a body of Cornish miners to
tumult, he would have felt, no apprehension; for he knew it would be
easy to clear himself of crimes committed in a county which he had
never seen in his life. But Sir Osborne felt that if such a charge
were brought forward, it would merely be as a pretext to place him in
the power of his bitterest enemies.

The manner in which he had been made a prisoner, so different from the
open, fair course of any legal proceeding, the persons who had seized
him bearing no appearance of officers of the law, the doubt that the
chief of them had himself expressed as to the veracity of the charge,
and the presence of a set of smuggling Portuguese sailors, all showed
evidently to Sir Osborne that his detention solely originated in some
deep wile of a man famous for his daring cunning and his evil deeds.
Yet still, knowing the full extent of his danger, and blessed with a
heart unused to quail to any circumstance of fate, the knight would
have felt no apprehension, had not odd little Human Nature, who always
keeps a grain or two of superstition in the bottom of her snuff-box,
continually reminded him of the prophecy of his singular companion of
the day before, and reproached him for not having followed the advice
which would infallibly have removed him from the difficulties by which
he was now surrounded. The mysterious vagueness, too, the shadowy
uncertainty, of the predicted evil, which seemed even now in its
accomplishment, in despite of all his efforts, weighed upon his mind;
and it was not till the long, heavy brick front of an old manor-house
met his view, giving notice that he was near the place of his
destination, that he could arouse his energies to encounter what was
to follow.

The large folding-doors leading into a stone hall were pushed open by
his conductors, and Sir Osborne was brought in, and made to sit down
upon a bench by the fire. One or two servants only were in the hall;
and they, unlike the persons who brought him, were dressed in
livery, with the cognizance of Sir Payan--a snake twisted round a
crane--embroidered on the sleeve. "His worship is in the book-room,
Dick," said one of the men; "take your prisoner there."

These few words were all that passed, for an ominous sort of silence
seemed to hang over the dwelling, and affected all within it. Without
reply, Longpole led the young knight forward, followed by two of those
who had assisted in securing him; and at the end of a long corridor,
which terminated the hall, knocked at a door in a recess.

"Come in!" cried a voice within; and the moment after, Sir Osborne
found himself confronted with the man whose name we have often had
occasion to mention with but little praise in the course of the
preceding pages, Sir Payan Wileton. He was seated in an arm-chair, at
the farther end of the small book-room, which, all petty as it was,
when compared with the vast libraries of the present day, offered a
prodigy in point of literary treasure, in those times when the
invention of the press had made but little progress towards
superseding the painful and expensive method of manual transcription.
About a hundred volumes, in gay bindings of vellum and of velvet,
ornamented the shelves, and two or three others lay on a table before
him, at which also was seated a clerk, busily engaged in writing.

Sir Payan himself was a man of about fifty, of a deep ashy complexion,
and thin, strongly-marked features. His eyes were dark, shrewd, and
bright, and sunk deep below his brows, in the midst of which was to be
observed a profound wrinkle, which gave his face a continual frown.
His cheek-bones were high, his hair was short and grizzled, and his
whole appearance had, perhaps, more of sternness than of cunning.

On the entrance of Sir Osborne Maurice, for a moment no one spoke, and
the two knights regarded each other in silence, with an austere
bitterness that might have spoken them old enemies. But while he gazed
on the young knight, Sir Payan's hand, which lay on some papers before
him, gradually contracted, clenched harder and harder, till at length
the red blood in his thin knuckles vanished away, and they became
white as a woman's by the force of the compression. But it was in
vain! Sir Osborne's glance mastered his, and dashing his hand across
his brow, he broke forth:--

"So, this is he who excited my tenants and labourers to revolt against
the king in that unfortunate Cornish insurrection, and who led them on
to plunder my bailiff's dwelling, and to murder my bailiff! Clerk,
make out instantly the warrant for his removal to Cornwall, with
copies of the depositions taken here, that he may be tried and
punished for his crimes on the spot where they were committed."

"Sir Payan Wileton," said the knight, still regarding him with the
same steady, determined gaze, "we meet for the first time to-day; but
I think you know me."

"I do, sir; I do!" replied Sir Payan, without varying from the hurried
and impatient manner in which he had spoken at first. "I know you for
a rebellious instigator to all kinds of mischief, and for a homicide.
Speak, Richard Heartley; did the prisoner offer any resistance? Has he
added any fresh crimes to those he has already perpetrated?"

"Resist!" cried Longpole; "ay, your worship, he resisted enough, and
broke one of the Portingallos' heads, but not more than was natural or
reasonable. The other one resisted too; yet it was easy to see that
this one was of gentle blood, which was what your worship wanted, I
doubt not. But, however, as they were both mounted on strong black
horses, such as your honour described, we brought them both up."

"Umph!" said Sir Payan, biting his lip; "there were two, were there?"
And he muttered something to himself. "Send me here the captain
----, or Wilson the bailiff. It must be ascertained which is
which--though there can be no doubt--there can be no doubt!"

"Mark me, Sir Payan Wileton," said Sir Osborne, the moment the other
paused. "Mark me, and take good heed before you too far commit
yourself. We know each other, and, therefore, a few words will
suffice. Five people in England are aware of my arrival, and equally
aware of where I slept last night, and when I set out this morning.
Judge, therefore, whether it will not be easy to trace me hither, and
to free me from your hands."

Sir Payan Wileton had evidently been agitated by some strong feeling
on first beholding the young knight; but by this time he had
completely mastered it, and his face had resumed that rigid austerity
of expression with which he was wont to cover all that was passing in
his mind.

"Railing, sir, and insinuations will be found of no use here," he
said, calmly. "Clerk, make good speed with those warrants! Oh! here is
Wilson. Now, Wilson, look at the prisoner well, and tell me if you are
sure that he is the person who assaulted you yesterday, and who led
the miners when they burned your father's house in Cornwall. Look at
him well!"

The young man, whom it may be remembered Sir Osborne Maurice had
dispatched so unceremoniously over the wall of old Richard Heartley's
garden, now advanced, and regarded the knight with a triumphant grin.

"Oh, ho! my brave bird, what! you're limed, are you?" he muttered; and
then, turning to Sir Payan, "yes, your worship, 'tis he," he
continued. "I'm ready to swear that 'twas he led the men that burned
Pencriton House, and that threw me over the wall, because I struck old
Heartley for calling your worship a usurping traitor and----"

But at that moment Longpole laid a grasp upon his collar that almost
strangled him.

"You struck my father, did you?" exclaimed he; "then pray God to make
all your bones as soft as whit-leather, for if they're but as crisp as
buttered toast, I'll break every one in your skin!"

"Silence!" cried Sir Payan Wileton; "silence, Heartley! If your father
has been struck, I will take care he shall have satisfaction."

"With your worship's good leave, I will take care of it myself,"
replied Longpole. "I never trust any one to give or to receive a
drubbing for me. I like always to calculate my own quantity of

"Silence!" said Sir Payan; "again I say, silence! My good Richard, I
assure you, you shall be satisfied. Clerk, swear Wilson to the
depositions he made. Oh! here is the Portingallo. Captain, is that the
man you remember having seen in Cornwall when you were last there?"

"Yes, yes, el Pero! that was himself!" cried the captain; "I sawed him
at the ale-house at Penzance with my own eye, when I went to fetch the
cargo of coal."

"You mean of tin, captain," said Sir Payan.

"Yes, yes, of ten," replied the Portuguese. "It was just ten, I

Sir Osborne's patience was exhausted.

"Vagabond! thief!" cried he, "do you remember my scourging you with
the stirrup-leathers in Flanders, till there was not an inch of skin
upon your back?"

"Yes, yes, that was your turn," said the captain; "I scourge you now."

"Remark what he says," cried Sir Osborne, to those who stood round,
"and all of you bear witness in case----"

"Prisoner, you stand committed," cried Sir Payan, in a loud voice.
"Take him away! Suffer him not to speak! Richard Heartley, place him
in the strong-room at the foot of the stair-case, and having locked
the door, keep guard over him. Captain, stay you with me; all the
rest, go."

The commands of Sir Payan were instantly obeyed; and the room being
cleared, he pressed his hands before his eyes, and thought deeply for
some moments.

"He is mine!" cried he at length, "he is mine! And shall I let him out
of my own hands now that I have him, when 'twould be so easy to
furnish him with a hook and a halter wherewith to hang himself, as the
good chaplain and John Bellringer did to the heretic Hun, in the
Lollards' Tower last year? But no, that is too fresh in the minds of
men, and too many suspicions are already busy. So, my captain--I
forgot. Sit down, my good captain. I am, as we agreed, about to give
this young man into your hands to take to Cornwall. Why do you laugh?"

"He! he! Cornwall," cried the captain; "I do not go in Cornwall."

"Nay, some time in your life you will probably voyage to Cornwall as
well as to other lands," said Sir Payan. "Now, 'tis the same to me
whether you take him there now or a hundred years hence: you may carry
him all over the world if you will, and drop him at the antipodes."

"I understand, I understand," replied the Portingal; "you have much
need to get rid of him, and you give him to me. Well, I will take your
present, if you give me two hundred golden angels with him." Sir Payan
nodded assent. "But let me understand quite all well," continued the
captain: "you want me to take him to Cornwall. There is one Cornwall
at the bottom of the sea; do you mean that?"

"'Twere fully as good as the other," said Sir Payan, "if the journey
were short, and the conveyance sure."

"Two cannon-shot will make it a quick passage," replied the captain;
"but they must be made of gold, my good worship."

"Why of gold?" demanded Sir Payan. "Oh! I catch your meaning. But you
grow exorbitant."

"Not I," said the Portingal; "I only ask two hundred angels more. Why,
an indulgence will cost me half the pay. It's very dear drowning a
man. If you like me to take him and leave him in Turkey with the
Ottomites, I will do it for the two; but if I send him to Cornwall,
he! he! he! you shall give me four."

"But how shall I know that it is done?" said Sir Payan, thoughtfully.
"But that must be trusted to. You are not such a child as to be
pitiful. _Men_ know how to avenge themselves, and you heard his boast
of having scourged you. If you be a man, then do not forget it."

"Forget it!" cried the Portingal, his dark brows knitting till they
almost hid his eyes; "give me the order under your hand, and fear

"What! an order to murder him!" cried Sir Payan. "Think you my brain
is turned?"

"No, no! You have the wrong," said the Portingal; "I mean an order to
take him to Cornwall. It shall be very easy to drop him by the way. If
I was exorbitant, as you call me, I had make you pay more, because for
why, I know you would eat your hand to get rid of him; else why have
you make me bring you news of him when he was in Flanders? Why you pay
three spies two crowns the month to give you news every step he took?
Oh! I know it all. But it is this: I am an honest merchant and no
rogue, and when I pop him in the sea I do a little bit of my own
business and a big bit of yours, so I do not charge you so much as if
it was all yours. Is not that honest?"

"Honest!" said Sir Payan, with a grim smile; "yes, very honest. But
mark me, Sir Captain! I'll have some assurance of you. Thus shall it
be: I'll give you a warrant to take him to Cornwall, but you shall
sign me a promise to drop him overboard by the way, so that there be
no peaching; for when our necks are in the same halter, each will take
care not to draw the cord on his fellow, lest he be hanged himself."

"Well, well," said the Portingal, "that's all right. No fear of me,
and you will not for your own sake. But look here, Sir Payan. What
have you intended to do with the other man that was taken with him, as
they tell me, who was at the inn-house, and will tell it to all the
world? He's the fat clothier; give him to me too, and let my men have
the clearing of his bags. You owe them something for the job, and one
has had his head broke, and will die by the time he is aboard.
Besides, they were never paid for bringing you up the whole cargo of
strong wine, five years past, which was paid for by Dudley, the

"Then he should have paid for the carriage," said Sir Payan.

"But he never got it!" cried the Portingal. "You kept all when you
heard he was in prison, good Sir Payan; and when they did take his
head off, you drank the wine yourself. But say, will you, or will you
not, let my men have all that is inside that fat clothesman's bags,
and I will take him, so that you shall never see him again? If not,
your whole business shall soon be known by everybody in the world by
his tongue."

Sir Payan thought for a moment. "It must e'en be so," said he at
length. "Take him, but do not hurt him; and as to his bags, do as you

"Oh! hurt him! no!" answered the other. "In six months he shall be so
good a sailor as any of the others, and two thousand miles away. But
we must get off to-night. I will go down, get the boat close under the
cliffs, and be back by about one o'clock in the morning. Have all
ready against I come, the gold and the order--warrant, as you call it,
and all; and lock all my men up in the big granary, with a thing of
bacon, and a big cask of liquor; so shall they be all drunk before
three, and asleep by four, and sober again by the while I am back, and
nobody hear anything about their being here at all."

"That you must do yourself before you go," said Sir Payan. "In the
mean time, I must take care that the prisoners be kept out of sight,
for a lady cousin is to be here by noon, and neither she nor hers must
hear of this. I myself must be away. She came not yesterday when she
should have come; and fain would I pick a quarrel with her house, for
they have lands too near my own to be any others than my own. So,
though I have ordered her a banquet, yet shall she be served with
scanty courtesy; then, if one word of anger fall from her, there shall
more follow."

"Oh! if I be here when she shall come," said the Portingal, "I will
give her some cause either to be pleased or angry."

"What wilt thou do, fellow?" demanded Sir Payan sternly. "Beware!
remember she is of my blood."

"Oh! nothing, nothing!" replied the captain, "only tell her some
little compliment upon her beauty. But, my good worship, can you trust
all your men about these prisoners?"

"All! all!" replied Sir Payan. "There is no fear. No one of them but I
could hang one way or another, and they know it. All except Heartley,
and he is bound to me by an illegal oath, wrung from him by fear of
seeing his father driven out this hard winter. But 'tis past noon now.
Ho! without there! Send in my clerk. What! are the horses saddled?
Farewell, Sir Portingal, till one i' the morning!"


        Thrice had I loved thee
   Before I knew thy face or name:
   So in a voice, so in a shapeless flame,
   Angels affect us oft, and worshipped be.--Donne.

The place to which Sir Osborne Maurice was conveyed, when the
servants, according to their master's commands, removed him from the
book-room, was a large dark chamber, running along beneath the whole
extent of the principal stair-case, and some way into one of the
towers beyond. The old manor-house--which for many reasons Sir Payan
still inhabited, even after dispossessing Lord Fitzbernard of Chilham
Castle--although built of brick, in a more modern style than the
ancient holds of the feudal nobility, had not entirely abandoned the
castellated architecture formerly in use. Here and there, upon the
long front of the building, was fastened a large square tower, useless
as a defence, and inconvenient as a dwelling; and at every angle
appeared an imposthume-like watch-turret, of redder brick than the
rest, like carbuncles upon the face of a drunkard. The curse of small
windows also was upon the house, making it look as sombre without as
it was dark within, and the thick leafless wood that swept round it on
both sides excluded great part of that light which might otherwise
have found its way into the gloomy mansion.

Darker than all the rest was the chamber to which Sir Osborne Maurice
was conveyed; the whole of that part which was under the stair-case,
receiving no light whatever, except from the other half, that, placed
in one of the square towers, possessed the privilege of an unglazed
window near the ceiling. It would be difficult to say for what purpose
this chamber was originally contrived; but it is probable that at the
time the house was built (during the contentions of York and
Lancaster), such rooms might be necessary, even in private houses,
both as places of strength and concealment, although too weak to
resist long attack, and too easy of discovery to afford any very
secure lurking-place. The use to which Sir Payan Wileton applied it
was in general that of a prison for deer-stealers and other offenders
who came before him in his magisterial capacity, which offenders he
took care should ever be as numerous as there were persons of the
lower orders who opposed or displeased him.

The men who conducted the young knight shut the door immediately upon
him; and thus being left to ruminate over his fate, with his arms
still tightly pinioned behind him, and scarcely light sufficient to
distinguish any objects which the room contained, it may well be
conceived that his meditations were not of the most pleasant
description. But, nevertheless, indignation had roused his spirit, and
he no longer felt that depression of mind, and abandonment of hope,
which for a time had overpowered him. His first thoughts, therefore,
were now of escape and revenge, but for the moment no means presented
themselves of either; and though he searched round the apartment,
ascertaining the nature and extent of his prison, which only consisted
of that room and a large closet containing some straw, no chance
whatever of flight from thence presented itself, and he was obliged to
wait in hopes of circumstances proving his friend.

In about half an hour, the voice of Sir Payan Wileton was heard
without, giving various orders, and a moment after, the trampling of
horses sounded as if passing by the window. To Sir Osborne, accustomed
for several years to watch with warlike acuteness every motion of a
shrewd and active enemy, these sounds gave notice that his persecutor
was gone for the time, and even the circumstance of his absence
excited in the bosom of the young knight fresh expectation of some
favourable opportunity.

Hardly had Sir Payan departed, when the lock, which might well have
fastened the door of an antediluvian giant, squeaked harshly with the
key; and the tall fellow, whom we have denominated hitherto, and shall
still continue to denominate Longpole, entered, and pushed the door
behind him.

"The devil's gone out on horseback," said he, coming near Sir Osborne,
and speaking low, "and I have just got a minute to thank your

"To thank me, my friend!" said Sir Osborne, somewhat doubting the
man's meaning; "for what should you thank me?"

"For throwing the man over a hedge that struck my father," said
Longpole, "and by that I see you are a true heart and a gentleman--and
a knight into the bargain, I am sure, in spite of all Sir Payan's
tales, and his minion's false swearing; and if I were not his sworn
servant I'd let you off this minute, if I could find a way."

"But is it not much worse to aid in so black a plot as this than to
leave this vile suborner, who is not your born master, and never can
be lawfully, if you be the son of old Richard Heartley? Only hear me."

"Nay, sir knight," said Longpole; "faith I must not hear you, for I
must mind my oath, and do as I'm bid, though it be the devil bids me.
I only came to thank you, before I brought the other prisoner here,
and to tell you, that though I have forgotten and forgiven many hard
knocks, I never forget a good turn, and that you'll find, whatever you
may think now. Every dog has his day, but the dog-days don't last all
the year."

After this quaint hint he waited for no reply, but quitted the room as
fast as possible, and in a moment after returned, pushing in the
unfortunate Jekin Groby almost drowned in his own tears.

"Here, I've brought your worship a great baby," cried Longpole, before
he closed the door, "who has wasted as much salt water in five minutes
as would have pickled a side of bacon."

As soon as they were alone, Sir Osborne attempted to comfort the
unhappy clothier as far as he could, assuring him that he had nothing
to fear; for that he was not in the least the object of the attack,
which had only comprised him on account of his being present at the

"But my bags! my bags!" blubbered Jekin Groby; "they've got my bags:
four hundred and twelve golden angels, and a pair of excellent shears,
oh! oh! oh! I know it's along of you that I've got into the scrape. Oh
dear! oh dear! Why the devil didn't you tell me you had made the
Cornish men revolt? then I wouldn't have gone with you; I'd ha' seen
you hanged first. But I'll tell King Henry and Lord Darby, I will; and
I'll have back my angels, I will. Lord! Lord! to think of my being
committed for aiding and abetting Osborne Maurice, alias Osborne
Darling, alias Jenkins, alias Thompson, alias Brown, alias Smith, to
make the Cornish folks revolt; I that was never there in my life!"

"Nor I either," said the knight, calmly.

"Why, they all swear you were!" cried Jekin Groby, leaving off
weeping; "and that you and five hundred miners burnt and sacked the
towns, and I believe carried away the steeples on your backs, for a
matter of that, you did so much. They all swear it."

"And they ail swear falsely," answered Sir Osborne, "as you may very
well see, when they swear that you were there aiding and abetting me."

"Gads! that's true too," said Groby: "if they swear such big lies
about me, why mayn't they do the like about you? I thought that nice
young lady, and that goodly old priest, would not ha' been so fond of
your worship if you had been a robber and an insurrectionist. Lord a'
mercy! I beg your worship's pardon with all my heart." As Groby lost
sight of the subject of his bags, his grief abated, and looking round
the room, he added, "I say, sir knight, is there no way of getting out
of this place? What think ye o' that window?"

"If I had my hands free," said Sir Osborne, "I would try to climb up
and see."

"Gads man! let's see your hands," said Groby; "mine are tied too, but
I've managed many a tight knot with my teeth. Turn round, your
worship, more to the light, such as it is. Ah, here I have it, the
leading cord! Now pull; well done, millstones! It gives!" And what by
dint of gnawing and pulling, in about five minutes Jekin Groby
contrived to loosen the cord that fastened the knight's arms, and a
very slight effort on Sir Osborne's part finished the work, and freed
them completely. The knight then performed the same good office to his
fellow-prisoner; and poor Jekin, overjoyed even at this partial
liberation, jumped and sang with delight. "Hist! hist!" cried he, at
length; "if I remember, that long rascal of a fellow did not lock the
door: let us see. No, as I live, the bolt's not shot. Let us steal
out; but first I'll look through the keyhole. Out upon it! there he
sits, talking to two of his fellows; ay, and there's a latch too on
the outside of this cursed door, with no way to lift it on the in."

"The window is the surest way," said the knight, "if I can but reach
it. Lend me your back, good master Groby, and I will see. The sun
shines strong through it, and yet I cannot perceive that it throws the
shadow of any bar or grating."

"Welcome to my back," said the clothier: "but, oh! do not leave me in
this place; pray don't ye, sir knight!"

"On my honour I will not!" replied the knight, "though it is not you
they care to keep. Once I were away, you might have your liberty the
next hour. But still I will not leave you."

"Thank you, sir knight, thank you!" said honest Jekin. "All I ask is,
when you are up, help me up too; and if we can get out, leave me as
soon as you like, for the less we are together, I take it, the better
for Jekin Groby. And now upon my back; it is a stout one."

Jekin now bent his head against the wall, making a kind of step with
his two clasped hands, by means of which Sir Osborne easily got his
elbows on the deep opening of the window, which, from the thickness of
the wall, offered a platform three feet wide, and with an effort he
swung himself up. "Clear, all clear!" cried he, joyfully. "And now, my
good Jekin, let us see how we can get you up. Stay, let me kneel
here;" and turning round, he knelt down, holding out his hands to
Jekin Groby. But it was in vain that Sir Osborne, with all his vast
strength, strove to pull up the ponderous body of the Kentish
clothier. He succeeded, indeed, in raising him about a foot from the
ground, and holding him there, while he made a variety of kicks
against the wall, and sundry other efforts to help himself up, all
equally ineffectual; but at length Sir Osborne was obliged to let him
down, and still remained gazing upon him with a sorrowful countenance,
feeling both the impossibility, with any degree of honour, to leave
him behind, and the impracticability of getting him out.

Poor Jekin, well understanding the knight's feeling, returned his
glance with one equally melancholy; and after remaining for a moment
in profound silence, he made a vast effort of generosity that again
unloosed the flood-gates of his tears, in the midst of which he
blubbered forth: "Go, sir knight, go, and God speed you! Heaven forbid
that I should keep you here! Go!"

Sir Osborne jumped down, and shook him by the hand. "Never!" said he,
"never! But there seems still some hope for us. That tall fellow, that
we called Longpole this morning, is more friendly to us than he seems;
and I can tell him something that will perhaps make him serve us more
completely, if he will but hear me. Let me see whether he is now
alone." And by the same means that Jekin Groby had before used to
ascertain that the man was there, Sir Osborne discovered that the two
other servants had left him, and that he was alone. "Hist! Richard
Heartley!" said Sir Osborne, putting his mouth to the keyhole; "hist!"

"Who calls?" cried Longpole, starting up.

"'Tis I," said Sir Osborne; "open the door, and speak to me."

"I dare not! I must not!" cried Longpole. "Have patience!" he
whispered, "have patience! I will come to you after dark."

"Yet listen to me," said Sir Osborne; but at that moment a sound of
horses' feet was again heard through the open window, and,
unwillingly, he was obliged to desist.

The arrival of some guest now took place, as Sir Osborne judged by the
sounds which made themselves heard: the inquiries for Sir Payan, the
directions for tending the horses, and the orders to have them at the
gate in an hour, the marshalling to the banquet-hall, the cries of the
serving men, and all the fracas that was made, in that day, in honour
of a visitor.

"By heaven!" said Sir Osborne, "it is Lady Constance de Grey! I
remember she proposed coming here towards noon. If we could but let
her know that we are here, or good old Dr. Wilbraham, her people would
soon free us. But never does it fall better. Longpole has gone from
his watch, or he might tell her. However, the door is only held by
this latch; let us try to force it. Place your shoulder with mine,
good Groby. Now a strong effort!" But in vain. The giant door stood
unmoved, and Sir Osborne was obliged to resign himself to his fate.

Presently the noise of serving the repast in the chief hall died away,
and the servants, retiring to their own part of the house, left the
rest in quiet, while not a sound stirred to communicate to the bosoms
of the prisoners any sensation either of hope or expectation. After
about a quarter of an hour's pause, however, a door opened, and the
voice of Lady Constance was heard speaking to Dr. Wilbraham. "Nay, my
good father," she said, "do not go yourself to seek them. Though we
have been treated with but little courtesy, yet we may stay a quarter
of an hour longer. Perhaps the servants have not dined, and that is
the reason they do not come."

"By your leave, lady, I will go," said the chaplain, "and will see
that the horses be brought up; for to my poor mind we have staid here
too long already for the civility we have received. I will not be

"Doctor Wilbraham!" cried Sir Osborne, as the door shut; "Doctor
Wilbraham?" But the good tutor turned another way, and passed on
without hearing the voice of his former pupil, and silence resumed her
dominion over the part of the house in which they were placed. In a
minute or two after, however, a heavy foot announced to the watchful
ears of the young knight the approach of some other person; but he
turned away towards the hall where Lady Constance had been left, and
seemed to enter.

Shortly the voice of the lady made itself heard, speaking high and
angrily, in a tone to which the lips of Constance de Grey seldom gave

"I do not understand what you mean, sir," said she, coming out of the
hall. "Where are my servants? Where is Dr. Wilbraham?"

"That was not your way, my pretty lady," cried the voice of the
Portingal captain. "Let me kiss your loafly hand, and I will show you
the way."

"Stand off, sir!" exclaimed Lady Constance. "Dare you insult me in my
cousin's house?"

"This way! this way! Lady Constance de Grey," cried Sir Osborne, in a
voice that shook the hall. "This way there are friends. Throw up the

At that moment the unscrupulous Portingal seems to have offered some
still greater insult to the young lady; for, with a scream, she darted
towards the spot to which the voice of Sir Osborne directed her, and
throwing up the latch, as he called to her to do, ran in, followed
closely by the Portingal. Urged by fear, Lady Constance flew directly
to the knight, and recognising a friend, clung to him for protection.
The captain, not observing that his hands were freed, did not scruple
to pursue her, even close to the side of the prisoner, calling to her
not to be afraid; that he would show her the way. But Sir Osborne
raised his arm, and in a moment laid the Portingal grovelling on the
ground, with the blood gushing from his mouth and nostrils.

Lady Constance still clung to the knight, who totally forgetting the
possibility of escape, endeavoured to soothe her and calm her
agitation. Not so Jekin Groby: after pausing for a moment, confounded
by the whole business, he at length bethought him, that as the door
was open he might as well walk out, and with this intent made a quick
step or two towards it. His purpose, however, was defeated by the
Portingal, who recovered from the blow, and perceiving the design of
the clothier, started upon his feet, and jumping through the open
door, banged it in the face of honest Jekin, at the same time making
the whole house ring with his cries of "Help! help! The lady is
letting out the prisoners, and they shall all get loose! Help! help!"
And getting hold of the rope of the alarum, he rang such a peal as
soon brought the whole household, together with the servants of the
Lady Constance, round the door of the strong room.

Various were now the cries and exclamations: "What's the matter?" "Are
they out?" "Which way did they go?" "Where's the lady?" "Oh Lord!" "Oh
lauk!" "Oh dear!" "Dear me!" "How strange!" "Who'd have thought it!"
While the Portingal, with his face all streaming with blood, explained
to them that Lady Constance wished to let the prisoners out; and that
he, notwithstanding their efforts, had shut them up all together, by
the valour of his invincible arm, and he called his bloody muzzle to
bear testimony to the truth of his asseveration.

"You lie, you vagabond thief!" cried one of the young lady's servants.
"It was you stole my riding whip, when you ran away in such a hurry
from the inn last night."

"You must make a great mistake, my friend," said Dr. Wilbraham, who
had come up amongst the rest. "Lady Constance de Grey has too much
respect for the law to assist any prisoners to escape from the house
of a magistrate. Let me in here, and we shall soon hear the truth of
all this."

"And let me in!" "And let me in!" "And let me in too!" cried a dozen
voices; and all prepared to rush into the room the moment any one
raised the latch, on which Longpole had his hand for the purpose.

"Devil a one of you!" cried Longpole. "Curiosity, I've heard say, was
one of the great vices of the old gentlewoman of Babylon, and so
certainly I shall not gratify yours. March every one; for his worship,
when he went away, gave me charge of the prisoners, and I am to answer
for them when he comes back. The only one who goes with me shall be
his reverence, who, God bless him, taught me to read and write, and
speak French, when I was little Dick Heartley, the porter's son at the
old castle."

"And art thou little Dick Heartley?" exclaimed Doctor Wilbraham. "We
are both changed, Dick; but open me the door, good Dick, for by that
Portingalo's speech I fancy the young lady is here also with the
prisoners, though I conceive not how."

Heartley accordingly opened the door sufficiently to allow the
clergyman to pass, and then following, he shut it, taking care to put
his dagger under the latch, to prevent its obstructing his exit, in
case of the servants' leaving the spot during his stay.

At first the change from a bright light to comparative obscurity
prevented the good tutor from distinguishing clearly the objects in
the apartment to which he was admitted by Longpole; but who can
express his astonishment when he beheld Sir Osborne? Forgetting Lady
Constance and every other circumstance, he clasped his hands in a sort
of agony. "Good God!" exclaimed he, "is it possible? You here! You, my
lord, in the power of your bitterest enemy? Oh! Osborne, Osborne! what
can be done to save you? And is it you," cried he, raising his voice,
and turning to Longpole, in a tone of bitter reproach, "and is it you,
Richard Heartley, that do the work of jailer upon your own born lord
and only lawful master?"

"My born lord!" cried Heartley, springing forward; "what does your
reverence mean? Who is he? They told me his name was Maurice--Osborne

"Osborne Darnley, they should have said," replied the young knight.
"Your old lord's son, Dick Heartley."

Heartley threw himself at his lord's feet. "Why did not you tell me?
Why did not you tell me?" cried he. "I'd sooner have chopped my hand
off. I that first taught you to draw a bow and level an arrow! I that
sought you all through the camp at Terrouenne to be your servant and
servitor, as in duty bound, only that you were away guarding the fort
bridge on the Lambre! Cut my hand off! I'd rather have ripped myself
up with my dagger."

It may be supposed that the surprise of Lady Constance and of Jekin
Groby was somewhat analogous to that expressed by Longpole on finding
that the person they had known only as Osborne Maurice, or at best as
Sir Osborne Maurice, an adventurous soldier, whose necessitous courage
had obtained for him the honour of knighthood, was in fact the young
Lord Darnley, whose misfortunes and accomplishments had already
furnished much employment for the busy tongue of fame. To the young
lady, especially, this discovery gave a sensation of timid shame, for
the interest she had so unguardedly displayed in his fate; an interest
which nevertheless she might perhaps feel heightened when she found
all that she had heard of Lord Darnley identified with all that she
knew of Osborne Maurice. "I too may ask, my lord," she said, "why you
did not tell me; or rather, why you did not tell my father, who ever
expressed the deepest interest in your fate, and in his life-time
might have served you?"

"Your noble father, lady," replied Lord Darnley, "was well aware who I
was, even when I was a guest at his mansion; and he, as well as the
rest of my friends, thought it best that I should still conceal my
name while in England, in order to veil me from the machinations of a
man whose unaccountable interest at court, and unscrupulous nature,
were almost certain to carry through whatever villanous attempt he
undertook against me. Our lands and lordships he holds, not as we did,
by chivalry and tenure of possession, but only as steward of Dover
Castle, an office given and recalled at pleasure. You now see how wise
was the precaution, since here, in the midst of the most civilised
country in Europe, I have been unlawfully seized, on the king's
highway, accused of fictitious crimes, and destined to a fate that
only time will show. To think that I, a man-at-arms, long used to
camps, and, without boasting, on bad soldier either, should be, like
an infant, in the hands of this deep-plotting usurper! 'Tis enough to
drive me mad!"

"No, no, my lord," said Heartley, or, as we have called him, Longpole,
"don't you fear. They say that when Old Nick stirs the fire, he is
sure to burn his fingers, and when he salts a birch broom, he pickles
a rod for his own back. But stay, let me see that there is no one at
the door listening: no, there they are, at the farther end of the
hall, but they can't hear. So, my lord, I'll undertake to get you out
this blessed night. My oath to Sir Payan is up at twelve o'clock

"No oath can bind you to commit a crime," said the clergyman; "and
that it is a crime to aid in any way in detaining your lord here, can
easily be proved."

"Oh! your worship," said Heartley, "I can't reason the matter with
your reverence, you'd pose me in a minute; but, nevertheless, I'll
keep my oath, and I can give you a good reason for it. It would do my
lord no good if I was to break it: there are twenty people round about
who would all join to stop him if I were to let him out this moment,
and with my young lady's three servants to boot, we should still be
beaten by the numbers. We must wait till after dark; ay, and till
after the bell rings to bed at eleven; but then I will find means to
free my lord."

"But may they not have thus time to commit some evil deed?" demanded
Lady Constance, "and your tardy succour may come too late."

"No, no, my lady," replied Longpole; "I heard yon Portingallo, who is
just riding away, tell his rascally slavish crew, as he was locking
them up in the granary, that at half-past one he was to be back; and
then they were to carry down the two prisoners to the ship, for which
they were to have two hundred gold angels amongst them. Now, we shall
be far enough before half-past one."

"At all events, my lord," said Lady Constance, "it will not be long
before we are at Canterbury, from whence we can send you sufficient
succour, backed with authority competent to procure your release."

"But remember, lady," said the knight, "that I am but Sir Osborne
Maurice, and no one must know me as anything else if it can be
avoided; for it is of the utmost consequence to my interest, that at
present I should not appear before our noble but somewhat wayward
king, as I really am. And now, let me return you a thousand and a
thousand thanks for your kind interest past and present; to which but
add one favour. When I am free, give me but one little glove from this
fair hand," and he raised it to his lips, "and I will place it on my
pennon's pike, and write underneath it, _gratitude_; and if it fall in
the listed field, or the battle plain, Darnley is dead."

"Nay, nay, my lord," replied Lady Constance, with a blush and smile,
"too gallant by half! But you are a prisoner, and I believe promises
made in prison are not held valid. Wait, therefore, till you are free,
and in the mean time you shall have my prayers and best wishes, and
such aid as I can send you from Canterbury I will."

There is a witchery in the sympathy of a beautiful woman, whose
influence all men must have experienced, and all women understand; and
though our hero felt the most devout conviction that he was not the
least in love in the world with Lady Constance de Grey, there is no
knowing how far his gratitude for the interest she took in his fate
might have carried him, had she remained there much longer; and even
when she left him, and he heard the horses' feet repass the window of
his prison, he felt as if he were ten times more a prisoner than

There was something so kind and so gentle in her manner, and her smile
illuminated her countenance with such angelic light, that while she
was there, even though speaking of them, his sorrows and his dangers
seemed all forgot. She was so young, and so beautiful too, and there
was in her look and her gesture and her tone so much of that undefiled
simplicity which we love to suppose in a higher nature of beings, that
the young knight, as an admirer of everything that is excellent, might
well make the fair creature that had just left him the theme of his
thoughts long after she was gone; and in such dreams absorbed, he
paced up and down the strong-room, finding out that loss of rank and
fortune was a much greater misfortune than ever, till then, he had
deemed it.

At the same time that Lady Constance departed, our friend Longpole
also left the prisoners; promising, however, to see them from time to
time during the day, and to find means of liberating them at night. In
this arrangement Jekin Groby took care to be specially included; and
trusting implicitly to the promises of Dick Heartley on the score of
his freedom, his only farther consideration was concerning his bags.

"Don't you think, my lord," said he, after waiting a moment or two in
order to see whether Lord Darnley would finish his meditative
perambulations; "don't you think King Harry will make this Sir Payan,
or Sir Pagan as they ought to call him, refund my angels? Hey! my

"If there be justice in the land," replied Darnley; "but mark me, good
Jekin; you call me my lord. You have heard me say that it may be of
the utmost detriment to my interest if I be known as Lord Darnley.
Circumstances have put you in possession of my secret; but if you
would pleasure me, if you would not injure me, forget from this moment
that I am any other than Sir Osborne Maurice: call me by no other
title, think of me under no other name."

"No, indeed, my lord," said Jekin; "I promise your lordship never to
call you my lord again; I won't indeed, my lord! Lord! There, only
see, my lord, I have called you my lord again! Well, it does come so
natural to one, when one knows that you are my lord, to call you my
lord. What a fool I am! But your lordship will forgive me; and so I'll
go and sleep in that straw in the closet, and forget it all, for I
shan't get my natural rest to-night, that's clear."

So saying, Jekin nestled himself in the straw, which had attracted his
attention, and shutting the door to exclude all light, he was soon
buried in a profound sleep; while Sir Osborne (which, according to his
wish, we shall not cease to call him) continued his meditations,
walking up and down, as if on guard at some dangerous post.


   This is a devil, and no monster: I will leave him; I have no long
   spoon.                                               The Tempest.

One of the strangest problems of our inexplicable nature is the choice
of evil and the rejection of good, even after long experience has
proved that evil and misery are uniformly synonymous. Virtue, it is
true, does not always exempt from sorrow, but crime must ever be
wretchedness. Hope loses its balsam, and fear acquires a keener sting;
the present is anxiety, the past remorse, and the future is despair;
and yet wayward man drinks of the bitter cup when the sweet is offered
to him, and launches his boat upon an angry sea, where storms attend
his course, and shipwreck terminates his voyage, rather than glide
down the smooth current of a tranquil stream, where peace pilots him
on his way, and happiness waits him at the shore.

Sir Payan Wileton knew not what happiness is. He had drunk the
intoxicating bowl of pleasure, he had drained the boiling draught of
revenge: pride, avarice, vanity, had all been gratified in turn; but
peace he had never sought, content he had never found, and vengeful
passions, like the Promethean vulture, preyed upon him for ever.
Possessed of the vast estates of Chilham Castle, joined to those he
also held of Elham Manor and Hyndesford, his wealth had been fully
sufficient to create for him that interest amongst the powerful of the
land which he could not hope to obtain by virtues or qualities. Thus
powerful, rich, and full of desperate fearlessness, he was dreaded,
detested, courted, and obeyed. He felt, too, that he was detested; and
hating mankind the more, he became the tyrant of the country round.
Seeking to govern by fear instead of esteem, he made his misanthropy
subservient to his pride and to his avarice; and wherever he received
or pretended an offence, there he was sure both to avenge and to
enrich himself. Thus his life was a continual warfare, and in this
active misanthropy he took as much delight as his heart was capable of
feeling. It was to him what ardent spirits are to the drunkard, or the
dice-box to the gambler.

But there was one constant thorn that goaded him, even in the midst of
the success which attended his other schemes; namely, the fear that
the king might deprive him of the stewardship of Dover Castle, by
which alone he held the estates of Chilham. In vain he had used all
the influence he possessed to have the grant made absolute, or to hold
his land by sergeantry, as it had been held by Lord Fitzbernard; the
king was inexorable, and imagined that he did equal justice when he
refused to restore the estates to the forfeited family, or to grant
the feof thereof to Sir Payan. Indeed, it had been held by cunning
lawyers of the day that Lord Fitzbernard could not lawfully be
dispossessed, except under an attainder, which had never been
attempted against him; and that if it could be proved that the estates
had not reverted to the crown by any default of tenure, or by
extinction, Sir Payan's right would fall to the ground; and that the
only effect of the king's patent of the stewardry of Dover would be to
alienate that office from the family holding the estates.

Sir Payan was too wise to moot the question; and Lord Fitzbernard,
hiding his indigence in a far part of Wales, had neither the means nor
opportunity of succeeding in a suit against him. The few friends,
indeed, that the test of misfortune had left the earl out of many
acquaintances, strongly urged the king to revoke the grant which his
father had made to a bad man, and to restore the property to a good
one; but they never ventured to hint to the choleric monarch that the
grant itself was illegal.

However, Sir Payan had long foreseen that a time would come when the
young heir of Chilham Castle might wrench his heritage from the hand
that usurped it, and he resolved at all hazards to strike where the
blow would be most effectual. Several painful indignities had induced
the aged Earl of Fitzbernard to drop a title and a name to the
splendour of which his means no longer were proportioned; and burying
himself, as we have before said, in Wales, he devoted his whole time
to endowing his son both with those elegant and warlike
accomplishments which he fondly hoped would one day prove the means of
re-instating his family in the halls of their ancestors. "Fulbert de
Douvres," he said, "the founder of our family in England, won the
lands and lordships of Chilham at the point of his lance, and why
should not Osborne Darnley, the only descendant of Rose de Douvres,
his daughter, regain his patrimony by his good sword?"

Happily, his very poverty had removed the old earl from any county
where the influence of Sir Payan Wileton might be felt, or where his
machinations could be carried on successfully. Yet more than one
attempt had been made to carry off the young heir of Chilham Castle,
and little doubt could be entertained in regard to whose hand had
directed them. All, however, had been frustrated by the extraordinary
foresight with which the old earl guarded his son, seeming to have an
intuitive knowledge of the time when any such attack was likely to
take place, and to be always prepared to avoid or repel it.

At length, however, the time came when the young Osborne Maurice (as
he was now called) was to encounter alone all that his enemies could
do against him; but it seemed as if his father had now lost all fear,
and bidding him resume his real name when he joined the army, he sent
him forth unhesitatingly to win renown. How he acquitted himself we
have in some measure seen, and will now proceed with the circumstances
that followed immediately upon his return to his native country, after
five years of arduous military service.

The bosom of Sir Payan Wileton, during his absence from the house
where he had left his prisoner, was agitated by a thousand various
passions. Triumph--malice--pride--fear that he might yet, by some
unforeseen circumstance, escape from his hands--newer and vaster
projects of ambition, still, as he made one step sure, seeking to
place another still higher--the feeling of a difficult enterprise
accomplished--the heart-stealing preparation for a fresh crime, and
mingled still withal an unwonted thrilling of remorse, that, like
sounds of music amidst cries of riot and tumult, made discord more
discordant--all occupied the void place of thought, and made him
gallop quickly on, communicating to even his corporeal actions the
hurried agitation of his feelings.

Thus he proceeded for some way; but when he had ridden on for such a
time as he computed that Lady Constance would remain at his dwelling,
he turned his horse, and prepared to return home, having by his time
striven to remove from his face all trace of any emotion, and having
also, in some degree, reduced his feelings to their usual calm,
determined action. Yet, nevertheless, there was a strange sensation of
horror tugging at his heart, when he thought of the near
accomplishment of his long-entertained designs. "He is too like his
mother," muttered Sir Payan. "But yet I am not a woman to halt in my
purposes for the weak memory of an idle passion, which disappointment
and rejection should long have turned into revenge; and yet I wish he
were not so like his mother."

As he returned he checked the speed with which he had set out, and was
proceeding leisurely on the road, when he heard the cantering of a
horse coming up behind; and, turning round, perceived the somewhat
curious figure of Sir Cesar the astrologer. It was one, however, well
known to Sir Payan, who (as too often is the case) was destitute of
religion, but by no means emancipated from superstition, and who,
while he rejected the light of revelation, could not refrain from
often yielding to the wild gleams of a dark imagination.

In the still agitated state of his mind, too, when a sort of feverish
excitement stimulated him to seek from any source knowledge of what
would be the future consequences of his meditated actions, he looked
upon the coming of Sir Cesar as a benefit at the hands of Fortune, and
prepared to take advantage of it.

Doffing low, therefore, his plumed hat as the old knight rode up, and
bowing almost to his saddle-bow, "Welcome, worthy Sir Cesar," he said;
"any news from your splendid friend his Grace of Buckingham?"

Sir Cesar touched his palfrey between the ears with his small baton to
make it slacken its pace; and then, after regarding Sir Payan with his
keen dark eyes, as was usual with him on first encountering any one he
knew, he replied, "Welcome, fortunate Sir Payan Wileton! Your star is
in the ascendant!" And while he spoke there was a sort of cynical
sneer on his countenance, which seemed hardly to wish well to him that
he congratulated.

"It is," replied Sir Payan; "but condescend, good Sir Cesar, to ride
to my dwelling and pass one day with me, and I will tell you more."

"What can you tell me that I do not know already?" demanded the other.
"Do you think I know not how much you merited from fortune by your
deeds when Perkyn Warbeck fled from Taunton? Do you think I know not
that your enemy is in your power? I do, I do; and as I love the
fortunate, I will come and stay one day at your house, though you know
I tarry nowhere long."

"I know it well, and hold your sojourn the more honour," answered Sir
Payan; "but let us on, good Sir Cesar; there is much information which
I will seek at your hands, and I know that you never refuse to give it
when it is asked for no idle purpose."

"No," replied the astrologer; "every man who seeks knowledge from me
shall find it, were he worse than Satan himself; but woe be unto him
if he turn it to an evil account! The deeper damnation be upon his

Putting their horses into a quick pace, they now soon reached the
manor-house, the owner of which showed his guest with some ceremony
into the banquet-hall. "How now!" cried he, observing the repast which
had been set before Lady Constance still upon the table; "why have not
these things been removed? And where is Heartley?"

The answer involved a long account of what had happened during his
absence, in which the story of the Portingallo having frightened Lady
Constance till she fled into the strong-room was told with a greater
degree of accuracy than might have been expected, though the length of
time which she remained there was rather exaggerated, and some
comments upon the conduct of Heartley, otherwise Longpole, were added,
calculated to take from him Sir Payan's confidence. He had prevented
every one from going in, the servant said, but himself, and had
remained all the time the lady was there.

"He did right," was the laconic reply of Sir Payan; "go to the
granary, where are the Portingallos and their contraband goods, and
bid the red-haired Dutchman who speaks English to come hither
directly. The key hangs on the nail in the passage."

Sir Payan's plan was formed at once. He doubted not that the
communication which had taken place between his prisoner and Lady
Constance would lead to her seeking means to effect his liberation the
moment she arrived at Canterbury, or at least to set on foot some
investigation; for although he knew not that they had ever met before,
he felt sure that the young knight would make his situation known to
every one who might in any way procure his release. Under this
conviction, he determined to risk the event of sending down Sir
Osborne by daylight, in the custody of the Portuguese, accompanied by
two of his own servants, who might, in case of necessity, produce the
warrant for his detention, and who would not be missed from his own

The servant whom he had sent to the Portingals, however, soon
returned, with a countenance in which might be seen a strong desire to
laugh, contending with a habitual dread of Sir Payan. "What is the
matter, villain?" cried the knight: "where is the Dutchman?"

"Lying in the granary, please your worship," replied the man,
restraining his merriment, "dead drunk, tumbled across a Portingallo's
face, that makes him heave up and down by dint of snoring."

Sir Payan stamped his foot with anger and disappointment. "And the
rest?" demanded he; "all the rest?"

"All dead drunk, please your worship!" replied the servant; "I kicked
them all, to make sure, but not one of them answered me a syllable but

"Go!" said Sir Payan; "fetch me Heartley. Sir Cesar, give me your
advice. This is my embarrassment!" and he proceeded to state to his
companion the difficulty into which the news he had just heard had
cast him.

This proceeding may appear at first somewhat extraordinary, but it was
very often the case in regard to Sir Cesar, that people acted as Sir
Payan Wileton, in letting him into their most private affairs, and
even into secrets where life and death were concerned, having such
perfect confidence in his foreknowledge of events that it would have
seemed to them folly to conceal them. It is very possible that in this
manner the old knight obtained much of the extraordinary information
which he certainly did possess, concerning the circumstances and
affairs of almost every person with whom he came in contact; and many
of those predictions which were so singularly verified may be
attributed to the combinations he was thus enabled to form. But at the
same time it is perfectly indubitable that he himself attributed all
to the sciences which he studied, and placed implicit faith in his own
powers; and thus, if he deceived the world, he deceived himself also.

It was not, however, the nature of Sir Payan Wileton to confide wholly
in any one; and though he informed the old knight that he apprehended
the influence of Lady Constance de Grey might be exerted the moment
she arrived at Canterbury to procure the release of his prisoner, or
at all events that her representations might cause an immediate
investigation of the affair, which would prevent his disposing of
Darnley as he proposed; and though also perfectly convinced that Sir
Cesar, by his superhuman knowledge, was well aware of the fate he
meditated for his victim, he could not bring himself to unfold to him
that part of his plan, merely saying he intended to send the turbulent
youth, who, as he was well informed, came to seek no less than his
ruin and his death, to some far country from whence it would be
difficult to return.

Sir Cesar listened in calm, profound silence; then, fixing his eyes on
Sir Payan, uttered slowly, "The grave!" Sir Payan started from his

"You know too much! you know too much!" cried he. "Can you see
thoughts as well as actions?"

"Yes!" replied Sir Cesar: "I see and know more than you dream of, but
calm yourself, and fear not. Lady Constance will not arrive at
Canterbury before seven o' the clock: you know the haste of
magistrates and magistrates' men, and can well judge whether she be
likely to find a man so generous as to abandon his rere-supper and his
bed of down, for a cold ride and a cold reception. At all events, they
could not be here before two i' the morning, and ere that he will be
gone. Rest satisfied, I tell you, that they may come if they will, but
before they come he will be gone."

Sir Payan's fears were very much allayed by this assurance, for his
confidence in Sir Cesar's prophecies was great; but he felt still more
secure from the examination to which he subjected our friend Longpole,
who managed to evade his questions and to quiet his fears with
infinite presence of mind. The lady, he said, had been so terrified by
the insolence of the Portingal captain, that she had run into the
strong-room, not knowing where she went, and was more like one dead
than alive; and that as for the prisoner, he thought of nothing but
threshing the Portingal, against whom he seemed to have an ancient

Sir Payan was satisfied, but still his roused suspicion was never
without some effect; and to Longpole's dismay he demanded the key,
which he said he would now keep himself. There was, however, no means
of avoiding it; and Heartley was obliged to resign into the hands of
Sir Payan the means by which he had proposed to effect his young
lord's delivery.

"Sir Cesar, I humbly crave your excuse for one moment," said the
crafty knight. "Stay, Heartley, where you are, and removing those
things, arrange the board for a second banquet: for a banquet such as
I give to my best and noblest friends. Open those cupboards of plate,
and let the vessels be placed in order."

So saying, he quitted the apartment, and proceeded to the room in
which Sir Osborne was still pacing up and down, waiting impatiently
the approach of night. The key turned in the door, and with a firm
step Sir Payan entered, and stood before his captive. For a moment
they paused, and eyed each other as when they had first met; and it
was only by a strong effort that the young knight stayed himself from
seizing the persecutor of his race, and dashing him to pieces on the
floor of the prison.

At length Sir Payan, after having glanced his eye round the chamber,
spoke, and in the deep, hollow tones of his voice no agitation made
itself heard.

"You said this morning that we knew each other," said the knight;
"Osborne Lord Darnley, we do; I have long sought you, I have found
you, and you are mine own."

"Calm, cold-blooded, mean-spirited villain!" answered Darnley, "what
seek you with me now? Is it not enough to have ruined a noble house?
Is it not enough to have destroyed your benefactor? Is it not enough
to have swept away the happiness of me and mine, without seeking
farther to injure those on whose head your detestable arts must nearly
have exhausted themselves?"

"I have done enough for my revenge, young man," replied Sir Payan; "I
have done enough for my ambition; but I have not done enough for my

"For your revenge!" cried Darnley: "what mean you, ruffian? My father
was your friend, your benefactor. Compassionating your indigence, did
he not aid to raise you with his purse and with his influence, till
you could hold your head amongst your noble kindred, of whose house
you are now the opprobrium?"

"Your father insulted me with his services," answered the knight,
"after your mother had insulted me with her scorn."

"Name not my mother, traitor!" exclaimed Darnley, his eyes flashing
fire. "Profane not her name with your accursed lips, lest I tear you
limb from limb!"

Sir Payan laid his hand on his dagger with a grim smile. "We waste
time, young man," said he: "to the purpose for which I came! There is
yet in my redder blood some drops of that weak thing called pity. I
would rather see you live than die; but if you would live, I must be
Lord of Chilham Castle, indeed and indeed. No stewardship of Dover,
and holding by tenure of good pleasure, for me. Within this hour,
then, sign me over, for yourself and for your father, all right and
interest, claim and title, to the lands and lordship which you and
yours did formerly possess, and you are free as air. But if you will

"What then?" demanded Darnley.

"Why, then I will hold by a still better tenure," replied Sir Payan;
"the extinction of the race of Darnley!"

"Then hold thereby, if such be heaven's will," replied the prisoner.
"But beware yourself; for in your best-laid schemes you may chance to
fail, and even here on earth meet with that sure damnation for which
you have toiled so long. Were I willing to stain myself with crimes
like yours, this hour were your last; for yon dagger were but a poor
defence against a man who knows his life is lost."

Sir Payan took a step forward to the door. "Will you sign?" said he,
laying his hand on the lock.


"Then farewell!" and he quitted the apartment.

"Oh, the villain!" cried Jekin Groby, poking his head out of the
closet. "Oh, the downright, immense villain! What a damaged piece that
man's conscience must be! I'm all quaking with only hearing him. But
don't you think, my lord--that is to say, Sir Osborne--that if you had
just knocked his brains out, we might have got away?"

"No, no!" replied the knight. "If, as Heartley told us, we could not
have escaped when aided by Lady Constance de Grey's servants, much
less could we do so now. Better wait till night, which surely cannot
be far distant, for it seems to me we have been here an age."

Nevertheless, hour after hour went by, and the provoking sun, which
had now fully come round to that side of the house, continued to pour
his beams into the high window, as if willing to sicken the prisoners
with his unwished-for light. Nor did much conversation cheer the
passing of their time. Sir Osborne was silent and meditative; and
Jekin Groby, growing more and more tired of his situation, kept
running in and out of the closet, now sitting still for a moment upon
the straw, now walking up and down, not at all unlike a tame bear
perambulating to and fro in his den.

Occasionally, indeed, a word or two of hope, or doubt, or inquiry,
passed between the prisoners; and Jekin, who felt in himself an
internal conviction that he was a man of as much consequence in the
world as any human being, could not conceive how Sir Payan Wileton
could have forgot to inquire where he was, when he did not find him in
the same room with the knight. On this he wondered, and better
wondered, till his companion replied, "I told you before, my good
Jekin, Sir Payan's designs only affect me, and possibly he may have
forgotten you altogether. But it seems growing darker. I wonder
Longpole has not been here to speak to us, according to his promise."

"I should not wonder if he were playing us a trick, and were not
to come at all," said Jekin. "Oh, dear! What would become of us?
Lord-a-mercy! I don't like it at all!"

In about a quarter of an hour, however, their hopes were raised, and
disappointed. The key once more turned in the door, and both the
knight and his companion expected to see their friend Heartley; but in
his place appeared two of the servants of Sir Payan, one of whom
brought in some provisions, while the other stood at the door. The
sight, however, of the roast beef and jug of ale was very gratifying
to the entrails of the worthy clothier, who looked on well contented
while the man laid them down on the ground before him.

"Now, my good fellow, an we had a little salt," said Jekin, "we could
fall to."

"Fellow me no fellow!" answered the servant. "Eat what you've got, my
forward chap, and thank God for it."

"Ay, but wouldst have me tear it with my teeth?" cried the clothier.
"I'm not a wild beast, though you do keep me in a den."

"Well, I will cut you a nuncheon with my dagger," replied the
serving-man. "Look to him, Will, that he do not smite me while I
kneel." And so saying, he stooped and cut several slices from the
meat with his side knife, which being done, he rose, and left the
strong-room quickly, as if almost afraid of its denizens.

"Now, sir," cried Jekin, "come and keep your spirit up with some of
the best comfort in nature. Oh! to my mind, there is no consolation on
earth like roast beef and ale."

But Sir Osborne had no inclination to join in the good clothier's
repast. The auguries which he drew from the appearance of these two
strange serving-men, and the absence of Longpole, were not of a nature
to increase his appetite; and he looked on silently, while Jekin,
without any sacrifice to the gods, devoured great part of the beef,
and made manifold libations of the ale.

"Jekin," said Sir Osborne, when the clothier had finished, "I am
afraid Sir Payan Wileton has discovered that our friend Heartley is
not quite cordial to his interests, and that he may take means to
prevent his aiding us. Now, there is no reason that you should stay
here as well as I; therefore, as soon as it is dark, I will help you
up to the window as you did me. Drop down on the other side, and speed
as fast as you can to any town where you are well known, there get
together a body of a dozen horsemen, and scour the sea-coast from
Sandwich to Hythe. Wherever you hear of a Portingallo vessel, there
stop, and keep good watch; for I doubt not that this Sir Payan intends
to send me to some far land, and perhaps sell me for a slave. Kill me
I do not think he dare. Your pains shall be well paid. The night is
coming on; so you had better mount first, and see the ground on the
other side, that you may drop fair."

"No, no, my lord--that is, Sir Osborne," said Jekin. "Dang it, no! you
would not go away and leave me, so I'll not go away and leave you.
Lord-'a-mercy! that's not fair, any way."

"But by going you can serve me far more than by staying," said Sir
Osborne; "so try to mount on my shoulders that you may see the

It was with great difficulty, however, that the honest clothier was
persuaded to make the attempt, and when he did so it was in vain,
Somewhat corpulent and shorter than the knight, even when standing
upright on Sir Osborne's shoulders, he could hardly get as much of his
arms over the opening as the other had done; and when he attempted to
swing himself up, the heavy part of his body, which, according to
Hudibras, is the seat of honour, and which, in the worthy clothier,
was by no means deficient in rotundity, weighed him back again with a
strong counteracting force, so that when Sir Osborne freed him he
swang for a moment like a pendulum, and then dropped to the ground.

No resource now remained but to wait patiently the event, and much
need of patience had they to support them. Day waned, night fell, hour
after hour passed by, and yet no sound gave them notice that any
friendly being existed within the mansion. The curfew bell, the
distant village clock, the barking of some watchful dogs in the
hamlet, and the remote echoes of persons walking to and fro in the
different halls, were all that marked the passing of time to the
prisoners; and hope began gradually to wax dimmer and more dim, like
the flame of a lamp when its oil is spent. At length, after a weary,
silent pause, the clock was heard to strike again; but so faint were
the sounds before they reached their ears, that Sir Osborne could
hardly count them. "I counted but eleven," said he, "and yet methought
the last hour that struck was eleven too."

"Oh, 'tis twelve, 'tis twelve!" replied Groby; "I did not take heed to
count, but I am sure it is twelve."

"Hush!" cried the knight; "I hear some one on the outside. Hark!"

"'Tis but a bat," said Jekin; "I heard its wings whirr past the

"Hush!" cried the knight again, and as he spoke something darted
through the opening, and fell at his feet. Feeling over the ground
with his hands, he soon discovered the object of his search, which was
a small roll of parchment. "It is a letter," said he; "but what is the
use of throwing me what I cannot see to read? It must be for to-morrow

"Open it, open it!" cried Jekin; "methinks I see something shining
through the end. It casts a light upon your hand."

Sir Osborne rapidly unrolled the scroll, when to his joy and surprise
he found it covered with large luminous characters, in which, though
somewhat smeared by rolling the parchment, was written legibly: "Pull
up the rope gently that is cast through the window. Catch the settle
that is tied to it. Make no noise. Come out, and be speedy."

"Oons!" cried Jekin, "this is magic. The fairies are our friends!"

"Oh! brave Heartley," cried the knight; "I thought he would prove
true. But let us lose no time. Jekin, stand you under with me, and
extend your arms, that the settle may not make a noise by falling."

By searching along the wall the rope was found, and by pulling it
gently the knight soon began to feel a weight at the farther end. For
some way it ascended silently, as if a person without held it from the
wall; but then, when it had been raised about six or seven feet, it
grated desperately till it entered the opening in the wall, which by
courtesy we have termed window. The cord had been so adjusted as to
insure its entrance; and as soon as Sir Osborne was certain that it
had passed sufficiently, and hung upon the very brink, he gave it a
sudden jerk, and catching it with a strong hand as it fell, secured
possession of the tall settle or hall stool with scarcely any noise.

"Now, good Jekin," said he, "we are free. I will mount first, and then
help you up; by standing on this settle, and pulled by me above, you
will not have much difficulty."

"Oh, no! I warrant you, your worship," replied Jekin. "And when we are
once out, let every man run his own way, say I. Your worship's company
may prove somewhat dangerous, and I am a peaceable man."

"Well, be it so," answered the knight; and placing the settle directly
under the window, he soon contrived to get into the opening, and
kneeling in the deep wall, managed with some trouble to raise the
heavy body of Groby, and place him in a sitting position on the edge,
so that the moment he himself dropped down on the other side, the
honest clothier could take his place and follow his example.

Turning round, Sir Osborne could perceive by the dim light of the
night the tall form of Longpole standing below, but he took care not
to utter a sound; and bending his knees, he gradually stretched
himself out, till he hung by nothing but his hands; then dropped, and
in a moment stood silently by Heartley's side, who instantly placed in
his hands the large double-edged sword of which he had been deprived
in the morning.

It now became poor Jekin's turn, who managed the matter somewhat more
slowly, and a good deal more clumsily; and at length, when he dropped,
although the arms of the knight broke his fall, he uttered a
tremendous "Oh!" and exhausted, leant against the wall.

At that moment a light appeared in a window above, passed by a second
one, and instantly the alarum-bell rang out a peal loud enough to
awake the dead.

"Run! run! every one his own way!" cried Jekin, who seemed to trust
mightily to the activity of his own legs, and plying them with vast
rapidity, he fled up an alley before him.

"This way, my lord!" cried Heartley; "quick, we shall distance them
far." And darting off for the thick wood that almost touched the angle
of the house, he led the knight into a deep forest path, crying

The sounds of pursuit were now loud on every side. Whoop, and halloo,
and shout, floated on the wind, as the servants, dispersed in all
directions, strove to give information or encouragement to their
comrades, and one party especially seemed by the sound to come rapidly
on their track. At length an alley, bounded by a wall, closed their
course in that direction.

"We can vault?" said Heartley.

"On!" cried the knight; and in a moment both had cleared the wall and
the dry ditch beyond; but at the same moment the sounds of two parties
of pursuers were heard in the parallel alley.

"Down in the ditch!" cried the knight; "they will see us if we take to
the open field."

No sooner was it said than done, and immediately after, they heard as
they lay, the feet and voices of half a dozen men passing rapidly by.

"I was sure they did not take this way, Joe," cried one.

"And I am sure they did!" answered the other. "They're in the wood
now. Let us----"

What he said more was lost, and after pausing for a moment or two till
the sounds were but faintly heard in the wood, Longpole and his lord
betook them to the open field, and soon were out of sight of the park.


                I do believe it: the common world
   Teems out with things we know not; and our mind,
   Too gross for us to scan the mighty whole,
   Knows not how busy all creation is.

In the original history here follows a long chapter describing how Sir
Payan Wileton, sitting in deep and earnest consultation with Sir
Cesar, the magician, regarding the teeming future, was only awakened
to a full sense of the present by the very resonant "Oh!" uttered by
Jekin Groby as he fell from the window. And the same chapter goes on
at great length to detail all that Sir Payan did and said upon making
the discovery of his prisoners' evasion. His fury, his menaces, his
orders, his promises to those who should retake them, are all
described fully, and in very sublime language by Professor
Vonderbrugius. But nevertheless we shall omit them, as well as the
long account by which they are preceded of the strange and curious
ceremonies employed by Sir Cesar to ascertain the event of many dark
schemes that were then revolving in the breasts of men; and we think
that the reasons which induce us to leave out all those curious
particulars, will fully justify our so doing in the opinion of our
readers. In the first place, we wish to follow our hero as fast as
possible; in the next place, every reader whose head is any better
than a turnip, can easily figure the mad rage of a passionate though
wily man, on finding that his prey has escaped from his hand; and in
the third place, we did not translate this chapter, inasmuch as
Vonderbrugius, besides being vastly sublime, was wholly

Making, therefore, that short which was originally long, we shall only
say that all the servants, roused from their beds, beat the woods in
every direction, searching vainly for the young knight and Richard
Heartley, who, as we have seen, contrived to evade their pursuit. Not
such, however, was the fate of poor Jekin Groby, who, running straight
forward up one of the avenues, was soon seen and overtaken by a party
of servants, who taking it for granted that he would resist most
violently, beat him unmercifully out of mere expectation.

Roaring and grumbling, the unfortunate clothier was brought back to
the manor, and underwent Sir Payan's objurgation with but an ill
grace. "You are a villain! you are!" cried Jekin. "You had better let
me alone, you had! You'll burn your fingers if you meddle with me.
You've stolen my bags already. But the king and Lord Darby shall hear
of it; ay, and the cardinal to boot, and a deal more too. Did not I
hear you promise to murder him, you black-hearted vagabond?"

"Tie him hand and foot," said Sir Payan, "and bring him back again
into the strong room. Bring him along, I would fain see how they
reached the window." And followed by the servants, hauling on poor
Jekin, who ever and anon muttered something about Lord Darby, and the
king, and his bags, he proceeded to the chamber where the young knight
had been imprisoned. There the settle and the rope gave evidence of
the manner in which the escape had been effected, and were instantly
removed by order of the knight, to prevent the honest clothier, though
now bound hand and foot, from making the attempt again. "This man's
evidence would damn me," thought Sir Payan.

"Fool that I was to forget that he was here, and not look in that
straw closet, before I committed myself with the other! But he must be
taken care of, and never see England again. What is that?" continued
he aloud, pointing to the scroll which caught his eye on the ground.
"Give it me. Ha! All fair! Can old Sir Cesar have aided in this trick:
we will see." And with hasty strides he proceeded to the high chamber
where he had left the astrologer. He slackened his pace, however, with
some feelings of awe, for as he approached he heard a voice speaking
high. "In the name of God most high," it cried, "answer! Shall his
head be raised so high for good or for evil? Ha! thou fleetest away!
Let be! let be!"

At this moment Sir Payan threw open the door, and found the old man
with his hair standing almost erect, his eye protruded, and his arms
extended, as if still adjuring some invisible being. "It is gone!"
cried he, as the other entered. "It is gone!" And he sank back
exhausted in his chair.

Notwithstanding the fund of dauntless resolution which Sir Payan held,
his heart seemed to grow faint as he entered the apartment, in which
there was a strange sickly odour of incense and foreign gums, and a
thin blue smoke, that diffusing itself from a chafing-dish on the
table, rendered the various objects flickering and indistinct. Nor
could he help persuading himself that something rushed by him as he
opened the door, like a sudden gust of cold wind, that made him give
an involuntary shudder.

When he had left the room below, he had determined to tax the old
knight boldly with having aided in the prisoners' escape; but his
feelings were greatly changed when he entered, and accosting him with
a mixture of awe and respect, he asked how it was that people
discovered any characters written in a certain sort of ink he had
heard of, which was quite pure and white till the person who had the
secret submitted it to some other process.

"Hold the paper to the fire!" said Sir Cesar, feebly.

Sir Payan immediately extended the parchment over the chafing-dish,
but in vain; no trace of any kind appeared, and vexed and disappointed
he let it drop into the flame.

"Know ye that my prisoner has escaped," said he, "and I am again

"Listen to what is of mightier moment," cried Sir Cesar, with a great
effort, as if his powers were almost extinct with some vast excitement
just undergone. "Listen, and reply not; but leave me the moment you
have heard. You besought me to ascertain the fate of Edward, Duke of
Buckingham, that you might judge whether to serve him as he would have
you. I have compelled an answer from those who know, and I learn that,
within one year, Buckingham's head shall be the highest in the realm.
Mark! determine! and leave me!"

Sir Payan, aware that it was useless to remain when Sir Cesar had once
desired to be alone, quitted the chamber in silence. "Yes!" said he,
thoughtfully, "I will serve him, so long as I do not undo myself. I
will creep into his counsels; I will appear his zealous friend, but I
will be wary. He aims at the crown: as he rises I will rise; but if I
see him make one false step in that proud ascent, I will hurl him
down, and when the fair lands of Buckingham are void----who knows? We
shall see. Less than I have risen higher! Ho! Who waits? When the
Portingallo returns, give the prisoner into his hands; but first make
the captain speak with me. Buckingham's head shall be the highest in
the realm! That must be king. Never did I know his prophecies fail,
though sometimes they have a strange twisted meaning. Highest in the
realm! There can be none higher than the king! Harry has no male heir.
Well, we shall see!"


                   Welcome, he said:
     Oh, long expected, to my dear embrace!--Dryden.

"We must not think ourselves safe," said Longpole, when they had got
about two miles from the park, "till we have put five estates between
us and that double cunning fox, Sir Payan Wileton; for by break of day
his horsemen will be out in every direction, and he will not mind
breaking a little law to have us."

"Which way are we going now?" demanded the knight; "I should judge
towards Canterbury."

"A little to the left we bear now," replied Longpole; "and yet the
left is become the right, for by going left we get right off his land,
my lord."

"Call me not my lord, Heartley," said Darnley. "Did I appear before
the king as Lord Darnley his grace might be offended, and especially
the proud Wolsey; as, after many entreaties, made by the best in the
land, the prelate refused to see either my father or myself, that we
might plead our own cause; therefore, for the present, I am but Sir
Osborne Maurice. Thou hast too much wit I know to give me my lord at
every instant, like yon foolish clothier."

"Oh, no! not I," replied Longpole; "I will Sir Osborne you, sir,
mightily. But speaking of the clothier, your worship, how wonderfully
the fellow used his legs! It seemed as if every step cried out
_ell-wide_; and when he stumbled 'twas but _three quarters_. I hope he
escaped, if 'twere but to glorify his running."

"Even if they took him," said the knight, "Sir Payan would not keep
him after he found I was gone."

"If 'twere not for avarice," said Longpole; "the fellow had all his
better angels in his bags, and Sir Payan has store of avarice. I've
seen him wrangle with a beggar for the change of a halfpenny, when the
devil tempted him to commit a charity. And yet avarice, looked upon
singly, is not a bad vice for a man to have either. It's a warm, a
comfortable solid sin; and if most men will damn their own souls to
get money, he can't be much worse off who damns his to keep it. Oh, I
like avarice! Give me avarice for my sin. But I tire your worship."

"No, no, faith!" replied the knight. "Thy cheerfulness, together with
the freedom of my limbs, give me new spirit, Heartley."

"Oh! good your worship," cried Longpole, "call me something else than
Heartley. Since the fit is on us for casting our old names, I'll be
after the fashion too, and have a new one."

"Well, then, I will call thee Longpole," said the knight, "which was a
name we gave thee this morning, when thou wert watching us on the

"Speak not of it, Sir Osborne," replied he; "that was a bad trick, the
worst I ever was in. But call me Longpole, if your worship chooses.
When I was with the army they called me Dick Fletcher,[3] because I
made the arrows; and now I'll be Longpole, till such time as your
honour Is established in all your rights again; and then I'll be merry
Master Heartley, my lord's man."

"I fear me, Dick, that thou wilt have but little beside thy merriment
for thy wages," said the knight, "at least for a while; for yon same
Sir Payan has my bags too in safe custody, and also some good letters
for his Grace of Buckingham. Yet I hope to receive in London the
ransom of a knight and two squires, whom I made prisoners at Bouvines.
Till then we must content ourselves on soldiers' fare, and strive not
to grow sad because our purses are empty."

"Oh! your worship, my merriment never leaves me," said Longpole. "They
say that I laughed when first I came into the world; and, with God's
will, I will laugh when I go out of it. When good Dr. Wilbraham, your
honour's tutor, used to teach me Latin, you were but a little thing
then, some four years old; but, however, I was a great boy of twelve,
and he would kindly have taught me, and made a clerk of me; but I
laughed so at the gods and goddesses, that he never could get on. The
great old fools of antiquity, as I used to call them; and then he
would cane me, and laugh too, till he could not cane me for laughing.
I was a wicked wag in those days; but since then I have grown to laugh
at folks as much as with them. But I think you said, Sir Osborne, that
you had letters for the Duke of Buckingham: if we walk on at this
pace, we shall soon be upon his land."

"What! has he estates in this county?" asked the knight; "my letters
were addressed to him at Thornbury, in Gloucestershire."

"Oh! but he has many a broad acre too in Kent," answered Longpole;
"and a fine house, windowed throughout with glass, and four chimneys
at each end; not a room but has its fire. They say that he is there
even now. And much loved is he of the commons, being no way proud, as
some of our lords are, with their upturned noses, as if they scorned
to wind their mother earth."

"Were I but sure that his grace were there," said the knight, "I would
e'en venture without the letters; for much has he been a friend to my
father, and he is also renowned for his courtesy."

"Surely, your worship," answered Longpole, "if his grace have any
grace, he must be gracious; and yet I have heard that Sir Payan is the
duke's good friend, and it might be dangerous to trust yourself."

"I do not fear," said the knight. "The noble duke would never deliver
me into the hands of my enemy; and although, perhaps, Sir Payan may
play the sycophant, and cringe to serve his own base purposes with his
grace, I cannot believe that the duke would show him any farther
favour than such as we yield to a hound that serves us. However, we
must find some place to couch us for the night, and to-morrow morning
I will determine."

"Still, we must on a little farther to-night," said Longpole. "That
Sir Payan has the nose of a bloodhound, and I should fear to rest yet
for a couple of hours. But the country I know well, every path and
field, so that I will not lead your worship wrong."

For nearly ten miles more, lighted by neither moon nor stars, did the
two travellers proceed, through fields, over gates, and in the midst
of woods, through which Longpole conducted with such unerring
sagacity, that the young knight could not help a suspicion crossing
his mind that his guide must have made himself acquainted with the
paths by some slight practice in deer-stalking, or other gentle
employments of a similar nature. At length, however, they arrived in
the bottom of a little valley, where a clear quick stream was dashing
along, catching and reflecting all the light that remained in the air.
On the edge of the hill hung a portion of old forest ground, in the
skirts of which was a group of haystacks; and hither Longpole led his
master, seeming quite familiar with all the localities round about.
"Here, sir, leap this little ditch and mound. Wait! there is a young
hedge: now, between these two hay-stacks is a bed for a prince. Out
upon the grumblers who are always finding fault with Fortune! The old
lady, with her purblind eyes, gives, it is true, to one man a wisp of
straw, and to another a cap and plume; but if he with the wisp wears
it as gaily as the other does his bonnet, why fortune's folly is
mended by content. I killed a fat buck in that wood not a month
since," continued Longpole; "but, good your worship, tell not his
Grace of Buckingham thereof."

By such conversation Longpole strove to cheer the spirits of his young
lord, upon whose mind all the wayward circumstances of his fate
pressed with no easy weight. Laying himself down, however, between the
two haystacks, while Heartley found himself a similar bed hard by, the
young adventurer contrived soon to forget his sorrows in the arms of
sleep; and as he lay there, very inconsiderately began dreaming of
Lady Constance de Grey. Sir Payan Wileton also soon took his place on
the imaginary scene; and in all the wild romance of a sleeping vision,
they both contrived to teaze poor Sir Osborne desperately. At length,
however, as if imagination had been having her revel after judgment
had fallen asleep, and had then become drowsy herself, the forms
melted gradually away, and forgetfulness took possession of the whole.

It was bright daylight when the knight awoke, and all the world was
gay with sunshine, and resonant with the universe's matin song.
Longpole, however, was still fast asleep, and snoring as if in
obstinate mockery of the birds that sat and sang above his head. Yet
even in sleep there was a merry smile upon the honest Englishman's
face, and the knight could hardly find the heart to wake him from the
quiet blessing he was enjoying to the cares, the fears, and the
anxieties of active existence. "Wake, Richard!" said he, at length,
"wake; the sun has risen this hour."

Up started Longpole. "So he has!" cried he; "well, 'tis a shame, I
own, that that same old fellow the sun, who could run alone before I
was born, and who has neither sat down nor stood still one hour since,
should still be up before me in the morning. But your worship and I
did not go to bed last night so early as he did."

"Ay!" replied the knight; "but he will still run on, as bright, as
vigorous, and as gay as ever, long after our short race is done."

"More fool he then!" said Longpole; "he'll be lag last. But how have
you determined, sir, about visiting the noble duke?"

"I will go, certainly," replied the knight; "but, good Longpole, tell
me, is it far from the manor, for all my food yesterday was
imprisonment and foul words."

"'Ods life! your worship must not complain of hunger, then, for such
diet soon gives a man a surfeit. But, in troth, 'tis more than one
good mile. However, surely we can get a nuncheon of bread at some
cottage as we go; so shall your worship arrive just in time for his
grace's dinner, and I come in for my share of good things in the
second or third hall, as it pleases master yeoman-usher. So let us on,
sir, i' God's name."

Climbing the hill, they now cut across an angle of the forest, and
soon came to a wide open down, whereon a shepherd was feeding a fine
flock of sheep, singing lightly as he went along.


     "The silly beast, the silly beast,
       That crops the grassy plain,
     Enjoys more than the monarch's feast,
       And never tastes his pain.
         Sing oh! sing oh! for high degree,
         I'd be a sheep, and browse the lee.

     "The 'broidered robe with jewels drest,
       The silks and velvets rare,
     What are they to the woolly vest
       That shuts out cold and care?
         Sing oh! sing oh! for high degree,
         A woolly coat's the coat for me.

     "The king he feeds on dainty meat,
       Then goes to bed and weeps,
     The sheep he crops the wild thyme sweet,
       And lays him down and sleeps.
         Sing oh! sing oh! for high degree,
         A careless life's the life for me."

"This shepherd will have his hard-pressed curds and his brown bread,"
said Longpole; "and if your worship's hunger be like mine, no way
dainty, we can manage to break our fast with him, though it be not on
manchets and stewed eels."

The knight was very willing to try the shepherd's fare; and bending
their course towards him, they came up just as he was placing himself
under an old oak, leaving his sheep to the care of his dogs, and found
him well disposed to supply their necessities. His pressed curds, his
raveled bread, and his leathern bottle, full of thin beer, were
cheerfully produced; and when the knight, drawing from his pocket one
of the few pieces that had luckily not been placed in his bags,
offered to pay for their refreshment, the honest shepherd would
receive no payment; his good lord, he said, the Duke of Buckingham,
let none of his people want for anything in their degree, from his
chancellor to his shepherd.

"Content is as good as a king," said Heartley, as they proceeded on
their way. "But, there! does not your worship catch a glance of the
house where those two hills sweep across one another, with a small
road winding in between them? just as if under yon large mass of
chalky stone, that seems detached and hanging over the path, with a
bright gleam of sunshine seen upon the wood beyond? Do you not see the
chimneys, sir?"

"I do, I do," answered Sir Osborne. "But, come, let us on, it cannot
be far."

"Not above half-a-mile," answered Longpole; "but we must go round to
the other side, for on this lie the gardens, which, as I have heard,
are marvellous rich and curious. There may be seen all kinds of
foreign fruit, corn trees, capers, lemons, and oranges. And they say
that by a strange way they call grafting, making, as it were, a fool
of Dame Nature, they give her a party-coloured coat, causing one tree
to bring forth many kinds of fruit, and flowers of sundry colours."

"I have seen the same in Holland," replied the knight, "where the art
of man seems boldly, as it were, to take the pencil from nature's
hand, and paint the flowers with what hues he will."

Walking rapidly on, they soon crossed the fields that separated them
from the park, and skirting round the grounds reached the high road.
This ran along for about a mile under the thick massy wall, which,
supported by immense buttresses, and partially overgrown with ivy,
enclosed the domain on all sides. Every here and there some of the old
English oaks, the true aboriginal giants of our isle, waved their wide
bare arms over the boundary; while still between, the eye rested on
the various hues of tender green which the earlier trees just began to
put forth, mingled with the dark shades of the pine and the yew. The
thick wall continued uninterrupted till towards the middle, where,
turning abruptly round to the right, it was seen flanking on both
hands the wide road that led up to a pair of massy iron gates before
the house. On each side of these gates appeared a square tower of
brickwork, affording sufficient lodging for the porter and his men;
and round about the doors of which was a crowd of paupers already
collected, waiting for the daily dole which they received from the
table of the duke.

Through these Sir Osborne took his way, followed by Longpole; yet not
without a sort of murmur amongst the beggar train, who, thinking
everything that remained of the dinners in the various halls their own
by right, grumbled at each person who went in, as if they thereby
received an injury.

The gate being open, the knight entered, and looked round for some one
to answer his inquiries. The porter instantly stepped forth from his
house; and although the stranger's dress had lost the saucy freshness
of its first gloss, he doffed his cap with as much respect as if he
had been robed in ermines; and thus it may be invariably observed,
that where the noble and the great are affable and easy of access,
their dependants are, in their station, civil and courteous; and
where, on the contrary, the lord affects those airs of misproud
haughtiness which offer but a poor comment on his mind's construction,
his servants never fail, by their insolent rudeness, to afford a fine
caricature of their master's pride.

"Sir," said the porter, doffing his cap with a low bow, imagining that
the knight came to dine at the table in the second hall, to which all
strangers of respectable appearance were admitted; "'tis not yet
eleven o'clock, and the dinner is never served till noon."

"That will be more to my purpose," replied the knight, "as I wish to
have an audience of his grace, if he be now in Kent."

"His grace walks in the flower-garden," replied the porter, "and I
know not whether he may be spoken with; but follow me, sir, and I will
bring you to his chamberlain."

So saying, he led the way across the court, and ascending the steps of
the terrace on which the mansion was raised, he pushed open the
hall-door, and conducted the knight through a merry group of servants,
engaged in various sports, into a second hall, where were a number of
ecclesiastics and gentlemen, of that intermediate grade which raised
them above the domestics without giving them a title to associate with
the persons admitted to the duke's own table.

Here the porter looked round, as if searching for some one amongst the
various groups that tenanted the apartment; and then begging the
knight to wait a moment, he left him.

Finding that all eyes were fixed upon him with that sort of glance of
cool, impertinent inquiry, which few persons scruple to exercise upon
a stranger who comes new into a place where they themselves are at
home, Sir Osborne went up to some fine suits of armour which were
ranged in order at the end of the hall. Amongst the rest was one of
those beautiful fluted suits of Milan steel, which are now so rarely
met with. It was arranged as for use, and the arm extended, with the
gauntlet resting on the pommel of an immense double-handed sword,
which was supported by a small rail of iron, placed there as a guard.

The knight considered it all with the eyes of a connoisseur, and
taking the sword from underneath the gauntlet, drew it partly out of
the sheath.

"You are a bold gentleman!" said one of the starers, coming up to the
knight. "Do you know that these suits are my lord duke's? What are you
going to do with that sword?"

"To slit the ears of any one who asks me impertinent questions,"
answered the knight, turning suddenly round upon him.

"Cast him out! cast him out!" cried a dozen voices. "Who is the
beggarly rascal with his gray doublet? Cast him out!"

But the knight glanced round them with that sort of fierce, determined
look, which tells that an adversary would have no easy task to master
the heart that so lights up the eye; and though some still cried to
cast him out, no one thought fit to approach too near.

"Peace! peace!" cried an old ecclesiastic, who had been sitting at the
farther extreme of the hall, and who now advanced. "Peace! see ye not
by his spurs the gentleman is a knight? My son," he continued,
addressing Sir Osborne, "those arms are the noble Duke of
Buckingham's, and out of respect for our patron, those who are
admitted to this hall refrain from touching his ten suits. That which
seems to have excited your curiosity was the prize at a tournament,
given by an old friend of his grace some fifteen years ago, and it is
one of the most handsome in his possession."

"I should not have touched those arms, my good father," answered the
knight, "had I not thought that I recognised the suit; and was drawing
the blade to see if it was the same."

"By what mark would you know it, young gentleman?" demanded the

"If it be that I mean," replied Sir Osborne, "there is written on the

     I will win my right.
     Or die in the fight."

"True, true!" said the clergyman. "There is so; but you must be too
young to have been at that tourney."

"No matter," said the knight; "but, if I mistake not, here is his
grace's chamberlain."

As he spoke, a gentleman, dressed in a black velvet suit, with a gold
chain round his neck, followed the porter into the hall, and addressed
himself to the knight.

"I have communicated your desire," said he, "to my lord duke, who has
commanded me to say, that if your business with his grace be such as
may pass through a third person, he prays you to inform him thereof by
me; but if you must needs speak with him personally, he never denies
his presence to those who really require it."

Though he spoke with all courtesy, there was something in the manner
of the chamberlain that Sir Osborne did not like; and he answered full

"Inform his grace that my business is for his private ear, and that a
moment will show him whether it be such as he can hear with pleasure."

"Then I have nought left, sir, but to lead you to his grace," replied
the chamberlain; "though, I am sure, you know that it is not well to
trouble great men with small matters."

"Lead on, sir!" said the knight, observing the chamberlain's eye
glance somewhat critically over his apparel. "My doublet is not very
new, you would say; but if I judge it good enough for your lord, it is
too good for his servant's scorn."

The chamberlain led on in silence through one of the side doors of
the hall, and thence by a long passage to the other side of the
dwelling, where, issuing out upon the terrace, they descended into a
flower-garden, laid out much after the pattern of a Brussels carpet.
Formed into large compartments, divided by broad paved walks, the
early flowers of the season were distributed in all manner of
arabesques, each bed containing those of one particular colour; so
that, viewed from above, the effect was not ugly though somewhat
stiff, and gay without being elegant.

As Darnley descended, he beheld at the farther end a tall, dignified
man, of about the middle age, walking slowly up and down the longest
walk. He was dressed in one of the strait coats of the day, stiff with
gold embroidery, the upper part of the sleeve puffed out with crimson
silk, and held down with straps of cloth of gold. The rest of his
attire was of the same splendid nature; the high breeches of silken
serge, pinked with gold; the mirabaise, or small low-crowned bonnet,
of rich velvet, with a thin feather leaning across, fastened by a
large ruby; the silken girdle, with its jewelled clasp: all were
corresponding; and though the dress might not be so elegant in its
forms as that which we are accustomed to call the Vandyk, yet it was
far more splendid in its materials, and had perhaps more of majesty,
though less of grace. Two servants walked about ten paces behind, the
one carrying in his hand his lord's sword, the other bearing an
orange, which contained in the centre a sponge filled with vinegar.

The duke himself was busily engaged in reading as he walked, now
poring on the leaves of the book he held in his hand, now raising his
eyes and seeming to consider what he had just collected. As the young
knight approached, however, he paused, placed a mark between the
leaves where he had left off, and advanced a step, with that affable
smile and winning courtesy for which he was so famous.

"I give you good morrow, fair sir!" said he. "My chamberlain says that
you would speak with me. Methinks my good fortune has made me see your
face before. Say, can Buckingham serve you?" And as he spoke he
considered the young stranger attentively, as if he did really
remember him.

"Your grace is ever courteous," replied the knight; and then added,
seeing that the chamberlain still staid--"but, in the first place, let
me say that what I was unwilling to communicate to this your officer,
I am equally unwilling to speak before him."

"Leave us!" said the duke. "In truth, I know not why you stay. Now,
fair sir, may I crave your name?"

"'Tis now a poor one, my good lord," replied the knight. "Osborne

"Rich, rich, dear youth, in virtue and in merit!" cried the duke,
taking him in his arms and embracing him warmly, which accolade did
not escape the reverted eyes of the chamberlain; "rich in honour and
courage, and every good quality. The Lord of Surrey, my good
son-in-law, to whom you are a dear companion in arms, wrote me from
Ireland some two months past that I might expect you here; evolved to
me the plans which you have formed to gain the favour of the king, and
prepared me to aid you to the best of my poor power. Hold you the same
purpose of concealing your name which you proposed when you wrote from
Flanders to Lord Surrey, and which you observed when last in this our
happy country?"

"I do, my good lord," replied the knight, "on every account; but more
especially as it is the wish and desire of him I am bound most to
honour and obey: my father."

"My judgment goes with his and yours," said the duke, "more especially
as for some cause that proud man Wolsey, when, not long since, I
petitioned the king to see your noble father, stepped in and staid the
wavering consent that hung upon his grace's lips. But think not, my
dear youth, that I have halted in your cause! Far from it; I have
urged your rights with all the noblest and best of the land; while
your own merits, and the high name you have acquired in serving with
the emperor, have fixed your interest on the sure basis of esteem; so
that, wherever you find a real English heart, and but whisper the name
of Darnley, there you shall have a friend; yet, indeed, I have much to
complain of in my lord your father."

"Indeed, indeed, your grace?" cried the knight, the quick blood
mounting into his cheek. "Some misconception must make you think so.
My father, heaven knows! is full of gratitude and affection towards

"Nay, protest not," replied Buckingham, with a smile. "I have the
strongest proof of his ingratitude and bad esteem; for what can be so
great a proof of either as to refuse an offered kindness?"

"Oh! I understand your grace," said Sir Osborne. "But though the
noble, the princely offers, of pecuniary assistance which your grace
held out to him were declined, my father's gratitude was not the less.
For five long years I have not seen him, but in all his letters he
speaks of the noble Duke of Buckingham as one whose virtues have
shamed him from misanthropy."

"Well, well!" answered the duke. "At least remember you were counted
once as my page, when you were a child no higher than my knee: so now
with you I will command, whereas with your father I could but beg; and
I will say, that if you use not my house, my servants, and my purse,
you hold Buckingham at nought. But we must be more particular: come
into my closet till dinner be served, and tell me all, for young
soldiers are rarely rich, and I will not have my purpose balked."

We shall not pursue the farther conversation of the duke of Buckingham
and the young knight: suffice that the frank generosity of his noble
friend easily drew from Sir Osborne all his history, even to the very
day. His plans, his wishes, and his hopes; the conduct of Sir Payan
Wileton, and his desperate designs; his own intention to seek the
court, and strive to win the favour of the king before he disclosed
himself; were all displayed before the duke, who did not fail to
encourage him to persevere, both by words of hope and proffers of

"As to your enemy, Sir Payan Wileton," said the duke, "I know him
well: he is a desperate villain; and yet such men are useful in great
enterprises. You say you met that strange but wonderful man Sir Cesar.
Did he not tell you anything concerning me? But no! he was wise. His
grace the king might die without issue male; and then----God knows!
However, we will not think of that!" And with these dark hints of some
more remote and daring schemes, the Duke of Buckingham contented
himself for the time, and returned to the more immediate affairs of
him whose interest he now so warmly embraced. But in the midst of
their conversation, the controller of the household entered to marshal
the way to the banquet hall.

"What said you, my dear youth, was the name you had adopted?" demanded
the duke; "for I must gain you the acquaintance of my friends."

"Ever since the sequestration of our estates," replied the knight,
"and their transfer to Sir Payan Wileton, I have, when in England,
borne the name of Osborne Maurice."

"Osborne Maurice!" said the duke, with some emphasis, as if he found
something extraordinary in the name. "How came you to assume that?"

"In truth, I know not," answered the knight; "'twas fixed on by my

"Yes, I now remember," said the duke, after musing for a while. "He
was a dear friend of my good lord your father's: I mean the other Sir
Osborne Maurice, who supported Perkyn Warbeck. But 'twill do as well
as another; the name is forgotten now."


                     Born of noble state,
     Well could he tourney, and in lists debate.--Spenser.

When, as may be remembered, the porter led the knight into the second
hall, our friend Longpole remained in the first, with those of his own
degree; nor was he long in making acquaintance, and becoming intimate
with every one round about, from the old seneschal, who took his place
in the leathern chair by right of immemorial service, to the sucking
serving-man who was hardly yet weaned from his mother's cottage, and
felt as stiffly uncomfortable in his rich livery suit as a hog in
armour, a cat in pattens, or any other unfortunate animal in a garb it
has not been accustomed to. For all, and each, Longpole had his joke
and his quibble; he played with one, he jested with the other, and he
won the hearts of all. In short, every one was in a roar of laughter
when the porter returned from the second hall, followed by one of
those inferior gentlemen who had just found it inexpedient to follow
up his purpose of casting Sir Osborne out. Immediately on entering,
the porter pointed out Longpole to the other, who advanced and
addressed him with a vastly supercilious air, which, however, did not
produce any very awful effect upon the honest fletcher.[4]

"So, fellow," said he, "you are the servant of that gentleman in the
old gray doublet?"

"Yes, your worship, even so," answered Longpole. "My honoured master
always wears gray; for when he is not in gray cloth, he goes in gray
iron; and as to its being old, better an old friend than a new foe."

"And who is your master? I should like to hear," asked the gentleman.

"Lord! does not your worship know?" demanded Longpole, giving a merry
glance round the crowd, that stood already well disposed to laugh at
whatever he should say. "Bless you, sir! my master's the gentleman
that beat Gog and Magog in single fight, slew seventy crocodiles of
the Nile before breakfast, and played at pitch and toss with the cramp
bones of an elephant's hind leg. For heaven's sake, don't anger him:
he'd eat a score such as you at a mouthful!"

"Come, fellow, no insolence, if you mind not to taste the stirrup
leather," cried the other, enraged at the tittering of the menials.
"You and your master both give yourselves too great airs."

"'Ods life, your worship, we are not the only ones!" answered
Longpole. "Every Jack carries it as high as my lord, now-a-days; so
I'll not be out o' the fashion."

"You had better bid your master get a new doublet, then," said the
gentleman of the second hall, with a look of vast contempt.

"That your worship may have the old one?" asked Longpole, slily.

What this might have produced it is impossible to say, for a most
insupportable roar burst from the servants at Longpole's last thrust;
but at that moment the chamberlain entered from the second hall, and
beckoned to the gentleman, who was no other than his cousin.

"Take care what you say, William," whispered he; "that knight, with
whom I find Master Wilmotswood quarrelled about touching the armour,
is some great man, depend on it. The duke sent me away, and then he
embraced him, and hugged him, as he had been his brother; and the old
controller, who saw him go by, nods and winks, as if he knew who he
is, and says that we shall see whether he does not dine at the first
table, ay, and near his grace, too, for all his old gray doublet. Hast
thou found out his name?"

"No," replied the other. "His knave is as close as a walnut, and does
not scruple to break his jests on any one, so I'll have no more of

Their farther conversation was interrupted by a yeoman of the kitchen
presenting himself at the door of the hall, and a cry of "Sewers,
sewers!" made itself heard, giving notice that the noon repast was
nearly ready to be placed upon the table. The scene was at once
changed amongst the servants, and all was the bustle of preparation;
the sewers running to serve the dinner, the yeomen of the hall and the
butler's men making speed to take their places in the banquet room,
and the various pages and servants of different gentlemen residing in
the manor hurrying to wait on their masters at the table.

In the midst of this, our friend Longpole felt some doubt what to do.
Unacquainted with what had passed between his master and the duke, and
even whether the knight had made known his real rank or not, Longpole
did not well know where to bestow himself. "'Ods life!" said he, after
fidgeting for a moment on the thorns of uncertainty, "I'll e'en take
my chance, and go to the chief hall. I can but walk into the next, if
my young master does not show himself soon. Ho! youngster," he
continued to a page he saw running by, "which is the way to the lord's

"Follow, follow, quick!" cried the boy; "I'm going there to wait for
my Lord Abergany, and we are too late."

Longpole lost no time, and arrived in the hall at the moment the
controller was arranging the different servants round the apartment.
"Stand you here, Sir Charles Poynder's man; why go you higher than Sir
William Cecil's? Sir William is a banneret. Harry Mathers, you keep
there. You, Jim, by that cupboard. And who are you? Who is your
master, tall fellow?" he continued, addressing Longpole.

"Oh! the gentleman that is with the duke," cried several of the
servants; "the gentleman that is with the duke."

"Why, I know not where he will sit," said the controller; "but wait
about, and stand behind his chair. Now, are yon all ranged? Bid the
trumpets sound."

A loud flourish gave notice to the sewers to serve, and to the various
guests to descend to the hall, when in a few minutes appeared Lord
Abergany and Lord Montague, and one by one dropped in Sir William
Cecil, Sir Charles Poynder, and several other knights, who, after the
various salutations of the morning, fell into groups of two and three,
to gossip out the long five minutes which must pass while the
controller informed the duke that the first dish was placed upon the

In the mean while honest Longpole stood by, too anxious to know the
reception his lord had met with even to jest with those around him;
but instead, he kept examining all the splendid scene, the rich cloth
of estate placed for the duke, the various cupboards of magnificent
plate, the profusion of Venice glasses, and all the princely
furnishing of the hall and table, with feelings nearly allied to
apprehension. At length the voice of the controller was heard crying
"The duke! the duke! Make way there for the duke!" and in a moment
after the Duke of Buckingham entered, leaning with familiar kindness
on the arm of the young knight.

"My Lord Abergany," said the duke, "my son, and you, my Lord Montague,
my excellent good friend, before we fall to the cheer that heaven has
given us, let me introduce to your love this much esteemed knight, Sir
Osborne Maurice, of a most noble stock, and what is better still,
ennobled by his deeds: and now let us to table. Sir Osborne, you must
sit here on my right, so shall you enjoy the conversation of my Lord
Abergany, sitting next to you, and yet I not lose yours. Our chaplain
is not here, yet let some holy man bless the meat. Lord Montague, you
will take my left."

That profound silence now succeeded which ought always to attend so
important an avocation as that of dining, and the whole worldly
attention of every one seemed fixed upon the progress of each dish,
which being brought up in turn to the Duke of Buckingham, first
supplied those immediately around him, and then gradually travelling
down the table from person to person, according to their rank, was at
length carried out by a servant into the second hall, where it
underwent the same perambulation, and was thence transferred to the
third. Here, however, its journeys did not cease; for after having
thus completed the grand tour, and become nearly a finished gentleman,
the remnant was bestowed upon the paupers without.

So different was the order of the dinner from that which we now hold
orthodox, and so strange would it appear to the modern epicure, that
were not such long descriptions insufferably tiresome, many curious
pages might be written to show how a roasted pig, disjointed by the
carvers without, was the first dish set upon the table; and also to
evince the wisdom of beginning with the heavier food, such as beef,
mutton, veal, and pork, and gradually drawing to the conclusion with
capons, herons, pigeons, rabbits, and other more delicate dishes.

However, as our object is to proceed with our history as fast as
possible, we shall not stay to detail the various services, or to
defend antiquity against the prejudices of to-day: suffice it, that so
great was the noble Duke of Buckingham's attention to his new guest,
that Longpole, who stood behind to hand his master drink, threw
forward his chest, and raised his head two inches higher than
ordinary, as if all the stray beams of the great man's favour that
passed by the knight lighted upon himself.

The duke, indeed, strove generously to distinguish his young friend,
feeling that misfortune has much greater claims upon a noble mind than
saucy prosperity. The marks of regard which he gave were such as, in
those days, might well excite the wonder of Lord Abergany, who sat
next to him. He more than once carved for him himself, and twice
invited him to drink; made him notice those dishes which were esteemed
most excellent, and spoke to him far more than was usual during the
course of dinner.

At length the last service appeared upon the table, consisting
entirely of sweets. To use the words of Holingshed: "Gelaffes of all
colours, mired with a variety of representations of sundrie flowers,
herbes, trees, forms of beasts, fish, fowls, and fruits, and thereunto
marchepaines wrought with no small curiosity; tarts of divers heads
and sundrie denominations; conserves of old fruits, foreign and
homebred: sackets, codinals, marmalats, sugar-bread, ginger-bread,
florentines, and sundrie outlandish confections, wherein the sweet
hand of the seafaring Portingal was not wanting."

Now also came the finer sorts of wines: Muscadel, Romanie, and
Caprike; and the more serious part of the banquet being over, the
conversation became animated and interesting. The young knight, as a
stranger to all, as well as from the marked kindness of the duke, was,
of course, a general object of attention; and as the guests easily
judged him a traveller lately returned from abroad, many were the
questions asked him concerning the countries he had seen, and the wars
he had been in.

Tilts and tournaments then became the subject of discourse; and at
length the duke filled high a Venice glass with wine, and calling upon
all to do the like, "Good gentlemen," said he, "'tis seldom that
Buckingham will stint his guests, but this is our last just now, for I
would fain see a lance broken before night. I know not why, but me
thinks those sports and exercises, which are thus undertaken at a
moment's notice, are often more replete with joy than those of long
contrivance; and here is a good knight, who will balk no man of his
humour, when 'tis to strike a strong blow, or to furnish a good
course. Sir Osborne, to your good health, and may all prosperity and
success attend you! Good lords and friends, join me in drinking his

Sir Osborne expressed his willingness to do the duke any pleasure, and
to furnish his course with any knight who thought him worthy of his
lance. "But your grace knows," he continued, "that I have come here
without arms, and that my horse I lost yesterday, as I explained to

"He would fain excuse himself the trouble," said the duke, smiling,
"because we have no fair lady here to view his prowess; but, by
heavens! I will have my will. Surely in my armoury there is a harness
that may suit you, sir knight, and in my stables a steed that will
bear you stoutly. My Lord of Montague, you are unarmed too; quick to
the armoury and choose you arms. Sir Osborne shall maintain the field,
and furnish two courses against each comer. We have not time for more;
and the horse and harness which the good knight wears shall be the
prize. Ho! call here the armourer. He is a Fleming, most expert, and
shall choose your suit, Sir Osborne."

All now rose, and Lord Montague proceeded to the armoury to choose his
arms; while the duke, taking Sir Osborne and Lord Abergany into one of
the recesses, spoke to them apart for some moments, the effect of
which, as it appeared, was, that the duke's kinsman embraced the young
knight heartily. While they were still speaking, the armourer
appeared, and with a low reverence approached the duke.

"Billenbach," said the duke, "thou hast an excellent eye, and canst
see to the size of a straw that a harness be well adjusted. Look at
this good knight, and search out amongst the finest suits in the manor
one that may be convenient for him."

"'Tis a damage, your grace," replied the armourer, with the sort of
bow a sledge-hammer might be supposed to make. "'Tis a great damage
that you are not at Thornbury, for there is the armour that would have
well harnessed him. The gelt armour that is all engrailed with gelt;
made for a tall man and a strong, such as his worship: very big upon
the chest. Then there is the polished suit up stairs, which might suit
him, but I doubt that the greaves be long enough, and I have taken
away the barbet and volant from the head-piece to give more light, and
'twould take much time to fasten them on. There are none but the ten
suits in the second hall: one of the tallest of them might do; but
then they are for your grace's own wear;" and he looked inquiringly at
the duke, as if he doubted whether he might not have offended by
mentioning them.

"Nay, nay, thou art right, Billenbach!" exclaimed the duke; "the
fluted suit above all others! I am sure it will do. Call thy men, and
fetch it here; we will arm him amongst us."

The armourer obeyed; and in a few minutes returned with his men
bearing the rich suit of fluted armour which had attracted the
knight's attention in the hall. "Ha! Sir Osborne," said the duke, "do
you remember this armour? You were present when it was won; but yet
you were too young for that gay day to rest on your memory."

"Nay, my good lord, not so," replied the knight; "I remember it well,
and how gallantly the prize _was_ won. I doubt not it will fit me."

"I feel full sure of it," said the duke, "and that you will fit it,
for a better harness was never worn; and Surrey says, and I believe,
there never was a better knight. Come! let us see; first, for the
greaves. Oh, admirable! Does the knee move free? But I see it must.
Now the corslet: that will fit of course. How, fellow! you are putting
the back piece before! The breast-plate! The breast-plate!"

"This brassard is a little too close," said the knight. "If you loosen
that stud, good armourer, 'twill be better."

"'Tis padded, good sir, near the elbow," said the man; "I will take
out the padding. Will your worship try the headpiece? Can you see when
the barbet is down?"

"Well enough to charge my lance," said the knight. "These arms are
exquisite in beauty, my lord duke, yet very light."

"There are none stronger in the world," said the duke, "and therein
lies the excellence. Though so light that one moves in them more
freely than in a coat of goldsmith's work, yet they are so well
tempered, both by fire and water, and the juice of herbs, that the
sword must be of fine steel indeed that will touch them."

"One may see it by the polish that they keep," said the knight. "In
each groove one may view oneself in miniature, as in a mirror. They
are very beautiful!"

"You must win them, my young soldier," whispered the duke. "Abergany
has gone to arm, with Cecil and Montague; but I know their force. And
now for the horses. The strongest in my stable, with his chanfron,
snaffle-bit, manifaire, and fluted poitrel (which I have all, point
device corresponding with the suit), goes along as part of the prize.
Billenbach! take the casque, put a little oil to the visor, and bring
it to the lawn of the Four Oaks. See that the other gentlemen be told
that we render ourselves there, where this knight will answer all
comers on horseback, and I will judge the field. Send plenty of light
lances; and as we have not time to put up lists, bid the porter bring
seven men with staves to mark the space."

Thus saying, the duke led the way towards the stable, speaking to the
knight, as they went, of various matters which they had not discussed
in the morning, and making manifold arrangements for concentrating all
sorts of interest to produce that effect upon the mind of the king
which might lead to the fulfilment of Sir Osborne's hopes. Nor to the
Duke of Buckingham, who was well acquainted with the character of
Henry, did the plan of the young knight seem unlikely to be
successful. The sort of diffidence implied by concealing his name was
that thing of all others calculated to win the monarch's good-will;
and there was also a kind of romantic and chivalrous spirit in the
scheme altogether, that harmonised well with the tastes of the king,
who would fain have revived the days of the Round Table, not contented
with even the wild, adventure-loving character of the times: and yet,
heaven knows! those who read the history of the Chevalier Bayard, and
the memoirs of Fleurange, will find scenes and details recorded of
those days which the novelist dare not venture to portray.

Only one thing made the duke anxious in regard to his young _protége_:
the vast splendour and magnificence of the court of England. He saw
that the knight, accustomed alone to the court of Burgundy, where
merit was splendour, and valour counted for riches, was totally
unaware of the thoughtless expense required by Henry. Sir Osborne had,
indeed, informed him that in London he expected to receive from a
Flemish merchant the ransom of a knight and three esquires, amounting
in all, together with the value of their arms, to about three thousand
French crowns, which the duke well knew would little more than pay for
the bard and base[5] of his first just; and yet he very evidently
perceived it would be difficult to prevail upon him to accept of any
purely pecuniary assistance, especially as he had no time to lay a
plan for offering it with any very scrupulous delicacy: Sir Osborne
purposing to depart after the beverage, or three o'clock meal.

"Now, Osborne," said the duke familiarly, after they had seen their
horses properly accoutred, and were proceeding towards the place of
rendezvous; "now you are once more armed at all points, and fit to
encounter the best knight in the land; but we must have that tall
fellow who serves you armed too, as your custrel, and mounted; for as
you are a knight, and certainly errant, I intend to put you upon an
adventure; but here come the counterparty. No one but Cecil will run
you hard. I last year gave a harness and a purse of a thousand marks
as a prize, which Cecil had nearly won from Surrey. But you must win!"

"I will do my best, your grace," replied the knight, "both for the
honour of your grace's friendship, and for this bright suit, which in
truth I covet. To break two spears with all comers? I think your grace
said that was my task. And if I keep the field with equal success
against all----"

"Of course you win the prize," interposed the duke. "And if any other
gentleman make as good points as yourself, you furnish two more
courses with him to decide. But here we are. Well, my lords, the
horses will be here before the ground be marked. I stand by, and will
be an impartial judge."

It is not easy to imagine, in these times, how the revenues of that
age could support the nobles in the sort of unbounded expense in their
houses which has made _Old English hospitality_ a proverbial
expression; but it is nevertheless a certain fact, that from fifty to
sixty persons commonly sat to dinner each day in the various halls of
every wealthy peer. The boards of those who, like Buckingham,
maintained a more than princely splendour, were generally much better
furnished with guests; and when he looked round the spot that had been
appointed for their morning's amusement, and beheld not more than a
hundred lookers-on, all of whom had fed at his own tables, he felt
almost disappointed at the scantiness of spectators. "We have more
guests at Thornbury," said he; "and yet, porter, you do not keep the
ground clear. Gentlemen, these four oaks are the bounds; I pray you do
not come within. Here are our chargers."

The fine strong horse which Buckingham had chosen for the young knight
was now led up, harnessed as if for war; and before mounting, Sir
Osborne could not refrain from walking round to admire him, as he
stood pawing the ground, eager to show his speed. The young knight's
heart beat high, and laying his left hand on the neck, he sprang at
once from the ground into the saddle; while the very clang of his new
armour, and the feeling of being once more equipped as he was wont,
gave him new life, and hope, and courage.

Ordered by a whisper from the duke, the groom beckoned Longpole from
the ground, and the armourer, taking the shield and lance, presented
them to the young knight at the end of the course. A note or two was
now sounded by the trumpet, and Lord Abergany offered himself on
horseback opposite to Sir Osborne, who paused a moment to observe if
he charged his lance at the head-piece or the shield, that, out of
compliment to the duke's relation, he might follow his example.

"Spur, spur, Sir Osborne!" cried the duke, who stood near; "Abergany

The knight struck his spurs into the charger's sides; the horse darted
forward, and the spear, aimed low, struck the fess point of Lord
Abergany's shield, and splintered up to the vantplate in Sir Osborne's
hand; at the same moment Lord Abergany's broke upon the young knight's
breast; and suddenly wheeling their chargers, they regained the
opposite ends of the lawn.

The second lance was broken nearly in the same manner; with only this
difference, that Sir Osborne, having now evinced his respect for his
opponent, aimed at the head-piece, which counted a point more.

Lord Montague now succeeded, laughing good-humouredly as he rode
towards his place, and bidding Sir Osborne aim at his head, for it
was, he said, the hardest part about him. The knight did as he was
desired, and broke his spear twice on the very charnel of his helmet.
It being now Sir William Cecil's turn, each knight charged his spear
directly towards the other's head, and galloping on, both lances were
shivered to atoms.

"Gallantly done! gallantly done!" cried the Duke of Buckingham, though
he began to feel some little anxiety lest the knight banneret might
carry off the prize, which he had fully intended for Sir Osborne.
"Gallantly done! to it again, gentle knights."

The spears were now once more delivered, and setting out as before,
each struck the other's head-piece; but Sir William Cecil's, touching
obliquely, glanced off, while that of Sir Osborne was again

"Give me your voices, gentlemen all!" cried the duke, turning to the
spectators. "Who has the day? Sir Osborne Maurice, I say."

"Sir Osborne! Sir Osborne!" cried a dozen voices; but one person, no
other than he who had thought fit to quarrel with the knight about
touching the very armour he now wore, could not forbear vociferating
the name of Sir William Cecil, although, fearful of the duke's eye, he
took care to keep back behind the rest while he did so.

"Some one says Sir William Cecil!" cried the duke, both surprised and
angry. "What say you yourself, Sir William?"

"I say, Sir Osborne Maurice," replied the banneret surlily, "because
my lance slipped; but had it not, I think I should have unseated him."

"He is not easily unseated," said the duke, "if report speak true.
However, the prize is yours, Sir Osborne. Yet, because one voice has
differed from my judgment, if you two knights will furnish one more
course for my satisfaction, I will give a thousand marks for the best

"Your grace knows that I must soon depart," said Sir Osborne; "but,
nevertheless, I am quite willing, if this good knight be so, for I am
sure his lance slipped merely by accident."

"Oh! I am very willing!" cried Sir William Cecil, somewhat sharply. "A
thousand marks, your grace says?"

"Ay, sir," replied the duke, "I do."

"'Tis a tough prize!" cried Sir William; "so give me a tough ash

"To me the same!" cried Sir Osborne Maurice, not exactly pleased with
the tone of his opponent. "'Tis for the best stroke."

At this moment Longpole appeared, completely armed by Buckingham's
command, as a custrel, or shield-bearer; and hearing his master's
demand, he searched amongst the spears till he met with one that his
practised eye, long used in his quality of fletcher, or arrow-maker,
to select the hardest woods, instantly perceived was excellent, and
bore it himself to the knight. The trumpet sounded; both galloped
forward, and Sir William Cecil's lance, aimed as before at the
knight's casque, struck hard: but Sir Osborne was as immoveable as a
rock; and though of firm, solid wood, the spear shivered. Not so Sir
Osborne's; borne forward by a steady, unerring hand, it struck Sir
William Cecil's head-piece just under the crest, wrenched away the
crest and plume, and still catching against the ironwork, bore him
backwards upon the croupiere, and thence with his horse to the ground;
for though Sir Osborne pulled in his rein as soon as he could, it was
not before the weight of his charger had overborne that of his
opponent, and thrown him far back upon his haunches.

The servants of Sir William ran up to disentangle him; and finding him
considerably hurt by the fall, they bore him away to his apartments in
the manor.

In the mean while the duke and his friends were not scanty of the
praises which they bestowed upon the young knight; and indeed there
might be some sensation of pleasure at Cecil's overthrow, mingled with
their approbation of Sir Osborne; for though a good soldier and an
honourable man, the banneret was overbearing in society with his
equals, and insupportably proud towards those of an inferior rank, so
that all the servants winked to each other as he was borne past,
taking no pains to conceal their pleasure in his humiliation.

"I am sorry that Sir William Cecil is hurt," said the knight,
springing off his horse: "On, Longpole, after his men, and discover
what is his injury."

"'Tis no great matter," said Lord Abergany, "and it will do Cecil no
harm that his pride is lowered; for in truth, he has lately become
beyond all endurance vain. He spoke of quelling the mutiny of the
shipwrights at Rochester as if his single arm were capable of doing
more than Lord Thomas and all his company. Well, fellow!" he continued
to Longpole, who now returned, "what hurt has Sir William?"

"Why, please your lordship," replied he, "he is neither whole beaten
nor whole strangled, but a little of both; for his casque has proved a
cudgel, and given him a bloody nose; and his gorget a halter, and half
hanged him."

"A merry knave!" said the duke. "Come, Sir Osborne, half-an-hour still
rests before our beverage; that you shall bestow upon me, when you
have taken off your casque. Gentlemen, amuse yourselves till three,
when we will rejoin you in the hall."

Thus saying, the duke again led the way to his closet, and concluded
all his arrangements with the young knight with the same generosity of
feeling and delicacy of manner which had characterised all the rest of
his conduct towards him. The prize Sir Osborne had won he paid to him
as a mere matter of course, taking every means to conceal that it had
been offered merely that he might win it. But he also exacted a
promise, that whenever the young knight was in London, he would use
his beautiful manor-house of the Rose, in St. Lawrence Pountney, as if
it were his own, and furnished him with a letter which gave him
therein unlimited command over whomsoever and whatsoever it contained.

"And now," continued Buckingham, "let us speak, my young friend, of
the means of introducing you to the king, without my appearing in it,
for I am not well beloved of the butcher-begotten cardinal. My cousin,
the abbot of the Benedictines, near Canterbury, writes me this morning
that his sister, the lady abbess, a most holy and devout woman, has
with her, even now, a young lady of high station, a woman of the
queen's, one Mistress Katherine Bulmer, who has lately been there to
visit and cheer her relation the abbess, who has somewhat suffered
from a black melancholy that all her holy piety can hardly cure; and
also, as he hints, perhaps to tame down the young damsel's own light
spirits, which, it may be, soar a pitch too high. However, the time
has come that the queen calls for her lady, and the abbess must send
her back; but this mutiny of the shipwrights at Rochester puts the
good devotees in fear; and they must needs ask me, with an '_if I be
sending that way_,' to let the lady journey to the court at Greenwich
under escort of any of my retainers or friends. If you undertake the
charge, our most excellent Queen Katherine will surely give you her
best thanks, and make you know the king; and the mutiny of the
shipwrights, who are still in arms, will be a full reason and excuse
why you should ride armed. Three of my servants shall accompany you.
Say, does this proposal please you? Will you accept it?"

"With many thanks!" replied the knight. "Your grace is ever kind and
thoughtful for your poor friend's good."

"Your father once saved my life," answered the duke, "and I would
almost give that life again to see him what he was. See, here is the
letter to the lord abbot. Let us now back to our friends, or they will
think we are plotting treason. Do you favour the bad habit of
beverages? No? then we will drain one cup ere you mount, and bid you

The duke now led to the hall, called for a cup of wine, and then
pledging the young knight, together with Lord Abergany and Lord
Montague, conducted him to his horse, notwithstanding the opposition
which he made to so marked an honour.

"'S life!" cried Lord Montague, seeing him still armed: "Are you going
to ride in harness? Three of his grace's servants armed too! Why you
are surely going to deliver some captive damsel from the power of a
base ravager."

"Your lordship is not far wrong," replied the knight, springing on his
horse. "But as it is a secret adventure put upon me by the noble duke,
him you must ask if you would hear more."

"Oh, the history! the history! I pray thee, most princely Buckingham?"
cried Lord Montague. "But the knight gallops off with his fellow, whom
he calls Longpole; but I doubt me much that both Longpole and Osborne
Maurice at times bear other names. Ha! my lord duke? Well, well! Keep
your secret; nothing like a little romance. He seems a noble heart,
whoever he be."

With this speech the whole party turned into the mansion; the
generous-hearted duke congratulating himself on having thus found
means to furnish his old friend's son with money and arms, and laying
still farther plans for rendering him more extensive and permanent
service, and the two lords very well pleased with the little
excitement which had broken in upon the sameness of their usual
morning amusements.


     This is no Father Dominic: no huge overgrown
     Abbey lubber.--Spanish Friar.

Who can depict the feelings of Sir Osborne Maurice as he found himself
riding on towards that court where, with the ardour of youthful hope,
he doubted not to retrieve the fortunes of his family by those
qualities which had already acquired for him an honourable fame?
Clothed once more in arms, which for five years had been his almost
constant dress, far better mounted than when he first set out,
supported by the friendship of some of the best and noblest of the
land, and furnished with a sum which he had never dreamed of
possessing, though but starting for the race, he felt as if he already
neared the goal; and looking round upon his four attendants, who were
all, as they were termed in that day, _especial stout varlets_, he
almost wished, like a real knight-errant, that some adventure would
present itself wherein he might signalise himself for the first time
in his native country.

Dame Fortune, however, was coy, and would not favour him in that sort;
and after having ridden on for half-an-hour, enjoying almost to
intoxication the deep draughts of renewed hope, he brought to his
side, by a sign, our friend Longpole, who, now promoted to the dignity
of custrel, or shield-bearer, followed with the armed servants of the
duke, carrying Sir Osborne's target and spear.

"Tell me, Longpole," said the knight, who had remarked his faithful
retainer in busy conversation with his companions, "hast thou
discovered why the duke's servants have not his grace's cognizance or
bearing, either on the breast or arm?"

"Why, it seems, your worship, that they are three stout fellows who
attended the noble duke in the wars, and they are commanded to wait
upon your worship till the duke shall have need of them. Each has his
quiver and his bow, besides his sword and pike; so if we should chance
to meet that wolf Sir Payan, or any of his under-wolves, we may well
requite them for the day's board and lodging which your worship had at
the manor. We, being five, could well match ten of them; and besides,
the little old gentleman in black velvet told me that your worship
would be fortunate in all things for two months after you got out; but
that after that he could not say, for----"

"What little gentleman in black are you speaking of?" interrupted the
knight. "You forget I do not know whom you mean."

"Ay, true, your worship," answered Longpole. "I forgot you were locked
up all that while. But you must know that when Sir Payan returned
yesterday he brought with him a little gentleman dressed in a black
velvet doublet and crimson hose; but so small, so small he would be
obliged to stand on tip-toe to look me into a tankard. Well, Sir Payan
sent for me, and questioned me a great deal about the young lady who
had been in with you; and he thought himself vastly shrewd; for
certain he is cunning enough to cheat the devil out of a bed and a
supper any day; but I did my best to blind him, and then he asked me
for the key, and said he would keep it himself. So I was obliged to
give up the only way I had of helping your worship; for I saw by that
that Sir Payan suspected me, and would not trust me any more near you,
which indeed he did not. Well, he made a speech to the little
gentleman, and then left the room; and I suppose I looked at the
bottom of my wits, for the little fellow says to me, 'Heartley!
there's a window as well as a door.' So I started, first to find he
knew my name, and secondly because he knew what I was thinking about.
However, I thought there was no use to be angry with a man for picking
my pocket of my thoughts without my knowing it; so I took it quietly,
and answered, 'I know there is; but how shall I make him understand
what he is to do?' 'Tell me what it is,' said he, 'and I will show you
how.' So I don't know why, because he might have been a great cheat,
but I told him; and thereupon he took a bit of parchment from his
pocket, it might be half a skin, and a bit of whitish wax it looked
like, out of a bottle, and made as if he wrote upon the parchment; but
the more he wrote the less writing I could see. However, he gave me
the piece of parchment, and told me to throw it in at the window after
dark, with a heap more. I resolved to try, for I began to guess that
the little old gentleman was a conjuror; and when I got into the dark,
I found that the paper was all shining like a stinking fish; and your
lordship knows the rest."

"He is an extraordinary man," said Sir Osborne. "But did you never
hear your father speak of Sir Cesar?"

"I have heard my good dad talk about one Sir Cesar," said Longpole,
"but I did not know that this was he. If I had I would have thanked
him for many a kind turn he did for the two old folks while I was
away. But does your worship see those heavy towers standing up over
the trees to the left? That is the Benedictine Abbey, just out of

"That is where I am going," replied the knight, "if that be

"Wilsbourne or St. Cummin," answered Longpole; "they call it either.
The abbot is a good man, they say, which is something to say for an
abbot, as days go. Your abbey is a very silent discreet place; 'tis
like purgatory, where a man gets quit of his sins without the devil
knowing anything about it."

"Nay, nay, you blaspheme the cloister, Longpole," said the knight. "I
have heard a great deal spoken against the heads of monasteries; but I
cannot help thinking that as most men hate their superiors, some of
the monks would be sure to blazon the sins of those above them, if
they had so many as people say."

"Faith, they are too cunning a set for that," replied Longpole. "They
have themselves a proverb, which goes to say, 'Let the world wag, do
your own business, and always speak well of the lord abbot; so you
shall feed well, and fare well, and sleep, while tolls the matin
bell.' But your worship must turn up here, if you are really going to
the abbey."

The knight signified that such was certainly his intention; and
turning up the lane that led across to the abbey, in about a quarter
of an hour he arrived at a little open green, bordered by the high
wall that surrounded the gardens. The lodge, forming, as it were, part
of the wall itself, stood exactly opposite, looking over the green,
with its heavy wooden doors and small loophole windows. To it Longpole
rode forward, and rang the bell; and on the appearance of an old
stupid-faced porter, the knight demanded to see the lord abbot.

"You can see him at vespers in the church, if you like to go, any
day," said the profound janitor, whose matter-of-fact mind
comprehended alone the mere meaning of each word.

"But I cannot speak with him at vespers," said the knight. "I have a
letter for him from his grace of Buckingham, and must speak with him."

"That is a different case," said the porter; "you said you wanted to
see the abbot, not to speak to him. But come in."

"I cannot come in without you open the other gate," said the knight.
"How can my horse pass, old man?"

"Light down, then!" said the porter. "I shall not let in horses here,
unless it be my lord abbot's mule, be you who you will."

"Then you will take the consequences of not letting me in," replied
the knight, "for I shall not light down from my horse till I am in the

"Then you will stay out," said the old man, very quietly shutting the
door, much to Sir Osborne's indignation and astonishment. For a
moment, he balanced whether he should ride on without farther care, or
whether he should again make an attempt upon the obdurate porter. A
moment, however, determined him to choose the latter course; and
catching the bell-rope, he rang a very sufficient peal. Nobody
appeared, and angry beyond all patience, the knight again clapped his
hand to the rope, muttering, "If you won't hear, old man, others
shall;" and pulling for at least five minutes, he made the whole place
echo with the din.

He was still engaged in this very sonorous employment, when the door
was again opened by the porter, and a monk appeared, dressed simply in
the loose black gown of St. Benedict, with the cowl, scapulary, and
other vestments of a brother of the order.

"I should think, sir knight," said he, "that you might find some
better occupation than in disturbing myself and brethren here, walking
in our garden, without offending you or any one."

"My good father," answered Sir Osborne, "it is I who have cause to be
angry, rather than any one else. I came here for the purpose of
rendering a slight service to my lord abbot, and am bearer of a letter
from his grace of Buckingham; and your uncivil porter shuts your gate
in my face, because I do not choose to dismount from my horse, and
leave my attendants without, though I know not how long it may be
convenient for your superior to detain me."

"You have done wrong," said the monk, turning to the porter; "first,
in refusing to open the gate, next, in telling me what was false about
it. Open the great gates, and admit the knight and his train. I shall
remember this in the penance."

The old porter dared not murmur, but he dared very well be slow, and
he contrived to be nearly half an hour in the simple operation of
drawing the bolts and bars, and opening the gates, which the good monk
bore with much greater patience than the knight, who had fondly
calculated upon reaching the village of Sithenburn that night, and who
saw the day waning fast in useless retardation.

At length, however, the doors unclosed, and he rode into the avenue
that led through the gardens to the back of the abbey, the monk
preparing to walk beside his horse. A feeling, however, of respect for
a certain mildness and dignity in the old man's manner, induced him to
dismount; and giving his horse to one of the servants, he entered into
conversation with his conductor, while, as they went along, his
clanging step and glistening arms called several of the brethren from
their meditative sauntering, to gaze at the strange figure of an armed
knight within their peaceful walls.

"Surely, father," said Sir Osborne, as they walked on, his mind drawn
naturally to such thoughts, "the silent quietude of the scene, and the
calm tranquillity of existence which you enjoy here, would more than
compensate for all the fleeting unreal pleasures of the world, without
even the gratification of those holy thoughts that first call you to
this retirement?"

"There are many who feel it so, my son, and I among them," answered
the old man; "but yet, do not suppose that human nature can ever
purify itself entirely of earthly feelings. Hopes, wishes, and
necessities produce passions even here: pettier, it is true, because
the sphere is pettier. But, depend upon it, no society can ever be so
constructed as to eradicate the evil propensities of man's nature, or
even their influence, without entirely circumscribing his communion
with his fellows. He must be changed, or solitary: must have no
objects to excite, or no passions to be excited: he must be a hermit
or a corpse; have a desert or the grave."

"'Tis a bad account of human nature," said the knight. "I had fancied
that such feelings as you speak of were unknown here: that, at all
events, religious sentiments would correct and overcome them."

"They do correct, my son, though they cannot overcome them," said the
monk. "I spoke of monastic life merely as a human institution; and
even in that respect we are likely to meet with more tranquillity
within such walls as these than perhaps anywhere else, because the
persons who adopt such a state from choice are generally those of a
calm and placid disposition, and religion easily effects the rest. But
there are others, driven by disappointment, by satiety, by caprice, by
fear, by remorse, by even pride; and urged by bad feelings from the
first, those bad feelings accompany them still, and act as a leaven
amongst those with whom they are thus forced to consort. Even when it
is but sorrow that, weaning from worldly pleasure, brings a brother
here, often the sorrow leaves him, and the taste for the world
returns, when an irrevocable vow has torn him from it for ever; or
else, if his grief lasts, it becomes a black and brooding melancholy,
as different from true religion as even the mad gaiety of the
thoughtless crowd. There was a youth here, not long ago, who was wont
to call the matin bell _the knell of broken hearts_. Others, again,
circumscribed in the range of their feelings, become irascible from
the very restraint, and vent their irritability on all around them."

"But example in the superior does much," said the knight; "and I have
heard that your lord abbot----"

"Whether you are about to praise or blame," said the monk, "stop! I am
the abbot. If it were praise you were about to speak I could not hear
it silently; if 'twere blame, I would fain save you the pain of
uttering to my own ears what many doubtless say behind my back."

"Indeed, my lord abbot," answered the knight, "I had nothing to speak
but praise; and had it been blame, I would sooner have said it to
yourself than to one of your monks. But to the business which brings
me hither. His grace the Duke of Buckingham, by this letter, commends
him to your lordship; and knowing that I purpose journeying to the
court, he has desired me to conduct, and protect with my best power, a
young lady, whose name I forget, till I have rendered her safely to
her royal mistress, Queen Katherine."

"I thank you for the trouble you have already taken, my son. We will
in to the scriptorium," said the abbot; "and when I have perused his
grace's letter, will have the lady informed that you are here."

Although that art was rapidly advancing which soon after entirely
superseded the necessity of manual transcription for multiplying
books, yet the scriptorium, or copying-room, was still not only to be
found, but was also still employed for its original purpose, in almost
every abbey or monastery of consequence. In that of the Benedictines
of Wilsbourne, it was a large oblong chamber, vaulted with low Gothic
arches, and divided into various small compartments by skreens of
carved oak. Each of these possessed its table and writing apparatus;
and in more than one, when Sir Osborne entered, was to be seen a monk
copying some borrowed manuscript for the use of the abbey. The
approach of the abbot, whose manners seemed to possess a great deal of
primeval simplicity, did not in the least derange the copyists in
their occupation; and it is probable that, when unengaged in the
immediate ministry of his office, he did not exact that ceremonious
reverence to which the mitred abbot was by rank entitled.

In politeness, as in everything else, there are of course various
shades of difference very perceptible to observation, yet hardly
tangible by language: thus, when the abbot had read the Duke of
Buckingham's letter, the character which it gave of Sir Osborne caused
a very discernible change to take place in his manner, though in what
it consisted it would be difficult to say. He had always been polite,
but his politeness became warmer: when he spoke it was with a smile;
and, in short, it was evidently an alteration in his mind, from the
mere feeling of general benevolence which inhabits every good bosom,
to the sort of individual kindness which can only follow some degree
of acquaintance. He expressed much gratification at the idea of Lady
Katrine Bulmer having the advantage of the knight's escort, more
especially, he said, as the news from Rochester became worse and
worse. But Sir Osborne, he continued, had better speak with the lady
herself, when they could form such arrangements as might be found
convenient; for Lady Katrine had a good deal of the light caprice of
youth, and loved to follow her own fantasies. He then sent some
directions to the prior concerning matters of discipline, and gave
orders that the attendants of Sir Osborne should be brought to the
hospitaler, whose peculiar charge it was to entertain guests and
strangers; and this being done, he led the way towards that part of
the abbey which contained the sisters of the order, preceded by a monk
bearing a large key.

Separated throughout by a wall of massy masonry, no communication
existed between the two portions of the building, except by a small
iron door, the key of which always remained with the abbot, and by
some underground communications, as it was whispered, the knowledge of
which was confined also to his bosom. Of these subterranean chambers
many dark tales of cruelty and unheard-of penances were told as having
happened in former ages, when monastic sway had its full ascendant;
but even their very existence was now doubtful; and when any one
mentioned them before the abbot he only smiled, as a man will do at
the tales of wonder that amaze a child. However that may be, the way
by which he led the young knight to the female side of the monastery
was simply through the cloisters; and having arrived at the door of
communication, he took the key from the bearer, unlocked it himself,
and making the knight pass into the cloister on the other side, he
locked the door and rejoined him.

The place in which they now were was a gloomy arcade, surrounding a
small square court, in the centre of which appeared a statue of
Scholastica, the sister of Saint Benedict; and several almost childish
ornaments evinced the pious designs of the good sisters to decorate
their patroness. But, notwithstanding all their efforts, it was a
dreary spot. The pointed arches of the cloister resting upon pillars
of scarce a foot in height; the thick embellishments of stone-work
forming almost what heralds would call a _bordure fleurée_ round the
archways; together with the towering height of the buildings round
about, took away the scanty light that found its way into deep
recesses of the double aisle, and buried all the second or inner row
of arches in profound shadow.

Another small door appeared on the left of the abbot, who still held
the key in his hand; but stopping, he pointed along the cloister to
the right, and said, "My son, I must here leave you, for I go to my
sister's apartment, to have the lady called to the grate, and no
layman must pass here; but if you follow that arcade round the court
till you see a passage leading again towards the light (you cannot
miss your way), you will come to the convent court, as it is called,
and exactly opposite you will find a door which leads to the grate.
There I will rejoin you."

The knight followed the lord abbot's direction; and proceeding round
the first side of the square, was turning into the second, when he
thought he saw the flutter of a white garment in the shadowy part of
the inner aisle. "It is some nun," thought he: but a moment's
reflection brought to his mind that the habit of the Benedictines was
always black; and it may be that curiosity made him take a step or two
somewhat faster than he did before.

"Open the door, and make haste, Geraldine," said a female voice, in a
low tone, but one that, nevertheless, reverberated by the arches,
reached the knight's ears quite distinctly enough for him to hear the
lady proceed.

"He must be on horseback, I think, by the quickness of his pace and
the clanking of his hoofs. Cannot you open it? Run across the court,
then, silly wench, quick! or Gogmagog will have you;" and with a light
laugh, the lady of the white robe darted out from the archway, and
tripped gracefully across the court, with her long veil flowing back
from her head as she ran, and showing fully the beautiful brown hair
with which it was mingled, and the beautiful sunny face which it was
meant to hide, but which, fully conscious of its own loveliness, was
now turned with a somewhat playful, somewhat inquisitive, somewhat
coquettish glance, towards the knight.

Following close behind her was a pretty young woman, dressed as a
servant-maid, who ran on without looking to the right or left, and
who, probably being really frightened, almost tumbled over her
mistress, not perceiving that she slackened her pace as she reached
the other side of the court. It thus happened that she trod on the
young lady's foot, who uttered a slight cry, and leaned upon the
servant for support.

As may be imagined, Sir Osborne was by her side in a moment,
expressing his hopes that she was not hurt, and tendering his services
with knightly gallantry; but the lady suddenly drew herself up, made
him a low curtsey, and stiffly thanking him for his attention, walked
slowly to the door by which the abbot had entered.

Not very well pleased with the reception his politeness had met, the
knight proceeded on his way, and easily found the passage which the
abbot had described, leading, as he had been told into the larger
court, exactly opposite the door by which visitors were usually
admitted. This door, as usual, stood open; and mounting the steps, Sir
Osborne proceeded on into a small room beyond, separated from the
parlour by a carved oak partition, in the centre of which was placed
the trellis-work of gilded iron called the grate.

Nobody appearing on the other side, Sir Osborne cast himself upon the
bench with which one side of the room was furnished, and waited
patiently for the appearance of the lady, abandoning now, of
necessity, the idea of proceeding farther that night. After having
waited for a few minutes, a light step met his ear; and without much
surprise, for he had already guessed what was the fact, he saw the
same lady approach the grate whom he had met in the court. Rising
thereupon from his seat, he advanced to the partition, and bowed low,
as if to a person he had never seen. The lady, on her part, made him a
low curtsey, and both remained silent.

"I am here," said the knight, after a long pause, "to receive the
commands of Lady Katrine Bulmer, if I have now the honour of speaking
to her?"

"My name is Bulmer, sir knight," replied the lady, "and eke Katrine,
and some folks call me lady, and some mistress; but by what my lord
abbot and my lady abbess just tell me, it seems that I am to receive
your commands rather than you to receive mine."

"Very far from it, madam," said the knight; "you have but to express
your wishes, and they shall be obeyed."

"There now!" cried the lady, with an air of mock admiration; "sir
knight, you are the flower of courtesy! Then you do not positively
insist on my getting up at five to-morrow morning to set out, as my
lord abbot informed me? A thing I never did in my life, and which,
please God, I never will do!"

"I insisted upon nothing, madam," answered the knight, "I only
informed my lord abbot that it would be more convenient to me to
depart as speedily as possible; and I ventured to hint that if you
knew of how much importance it might be for me to arrive at the court
soon, you would gratify me by using all the despatch which you might
with convenience to yourself."

"Then it is of importance to you?" demanded the lady; "that changes
the case. Name the hour, sir knight, and you shall find me ready. But
you know not what a good horsewoman I am; I can make long journeys and
quick ones."

"Not less than two days will suffice, I fear," said the knight; "the
first day we may halt at Gravesend."

"Halt!" exclaimed the lady, laughing, and turning to her woman, who
stood at a little distance behind, "do you hear that? Halt! He talks
to me as if I were a soldier. Tell me, Geraldine, is it possible that
I look like a pikeman?"

"Not any way like a soldier," replied the knight, sufficiently amused
with her liveliness and beauty to forget her pertness; "not any way
like a soldier, unless it be one of heaven's host."

"Gracious heaven!" cried the lady, "he says pretty things. Only think
of a man in armour being witty! But really, sir knight, it frightens
me to see you all wrapped up in horrid steel. Can it possibly be that
these Rochester shipwrights are so outrageous as to require a belted
knight with lance in rest for the escort of a simple girl like me?"

"Men are wont to guard great treasures with even superfluous care,"
replied Sir Osborne. The lady made him a very profound curtsey, and he
proceeded: "This was most probably the lord abbot's reason for sending
to request some escort from the Duke of Buckingham; for though I hear
of some riot or tumult at Rochester, I cannot suppose it very serious.
However, all I know is this, that the right reverend father did send
while I was there jousting in the park; and understanding that I was
about to proceed to London, his grace resigned to me the honour of
conducting you safely thither."

"What, then! you are not one of the duke's own knights?" exclaimed
Lady Katrine.

"I am no one's knight," replied Sir Osborne with a smile, "except it
be the king's and yours, if such you will allow me to be."

"Oh, that I will!" answered the lady. "I should like a tame knight
above anything; but in troth, I have spoken to you somewhat too
lightly, sir." She proceeded more gravely: "From what my lord uncle
abbot told me, I judged the duke had sent me one of his household
knights,[6] men who, having forty pounds a year, have been forced to
receive a slap on the shoulder for the sake of the herald's fee; and
then, having nought to do that may become the sir, they pin themselves
to the skirts of some great man's robe, to do both knightly and
unknightly service."

"Such am not I, fair lady," replied Sir Osborne, a little piqued that
she could even have supposed so. "I took my knighthood in the
battle-plain, from the sword of a great monarch; and so long as I live
my service shall never be given but to my lady, my king, or my God!"

"Nay, nay, do not look so fierce, man in armour," answered Lady
Katrine, relapsing into her merriment. "Both from your manner and your
mien, I should have judged differently, if I had thought but for a
moment; but do not you see, I never think? I take a thing for granted,
and then go on acting upon it as if it were really true. But, as I
said, you shall be my knight, and before we reach the court I doubt
not I shall have a task to give you, and a guerdon for your pains, if
the good folks of Rochester do not cut our throats in the mean while.
But what hour did you say, sir knight, for setting out? for here my
poor wenches have to make quick preparations of all my habits."

"I have named no hour," replied Sir Osborne; "but if you will do me
the honour to let me know when you are ready tomorrow, my horses shall
stand saddled from six in the morning."

"But how am I to let you know?" demanded the lady, "unless I take hold
of the bell-rope, and ring matins on the convent bell; and then all
the good souls will wink their eyes, and think the sun has turned
lie-a-bed. Dear heart! sir knight, you do not suppose that the monks
and the nuns come running in and out between the two sides of the
abbey, like the busy little ants in their wonderful small cities? No,
no, no! none comes in here but my lord abbot and an old confessor or
two, so deafened with the long catalogue of worldly sins that they
would not hear my errand, much less do it. But now I think of it,
there is a good lay sister; her I will bribe with a silver piece to
risk purgatory by going round to the front gate of the abbey, and
telling the monk when I am ready. And now, good sir knight, I must go
back to my lord abbot, and fall down upon my knees and beg pardon; for
I left him so offended that he would not come down with me, because I
was pert about going early. Farewell! Judge not harshly of me till
to-morrow; perhaps then I may give you cause; who knows?"

Thus saying, she tripped lightly away with a gay saucy toss of the
head, like a spoiled child, too sure of pleasing to be heedful about
doing so. As she turned away, the maid advanced to the grate, and
informed Sir Osborne that the lord abbot would meet him at the place
where they had parted, upon which information the knight retrod his
steps to the little court of the cloisters, where he found the abbot
pacing up and down, with a grave and thoughtful countenance.

"I am afraid, Sir Osborne Maurice," said he, as the knight approached,
"that the young lady you have just left has not demeaned herself as I
could have wished, towards you; for she left me in one of those
flighty moods which I had good hope would have been cured by her stay
in the convent."

"She expected to find you still with the lady abbess," said Sir
Osborne, avoiding the immediate subject of the abbot's inquiry; "and
went with the intention of suing for pardon of your lordship, having
given you, she said, some offence."

"I am glad to hear it, with all my heart!" said the monk; "for then
she is penitent, which is all that God requires of us, and all that we
can require of others. Indeed her heart is good; and though she
commits many a fault, yet she repents the moment after, and would fain
amend it. But come, sir knight! Though our own rules are strict, we
must show our hospitality to strangers; and I hope our refectioner has
taken care to remember that you will partake the fare of my table
to-night. But first you had better seek your chamber, and disencumber
yourself of this armour, which, though very splendid, must be very
heavy. Ho! brother Francis, tell the hospitaller to come hither and
conduct the knight to his apartment."

While this short conversation was taking place, the abbot had led Sir
Osborne back into the cloisters on the male side of the building; and
proceeding slowly along towards the wing in which was the scriptorium,
and other apartments of general use, they were soon met by the
hospitaller, who led the knight to a neat small chamber, furnished
with a bed, a crucifix, and a missal. Here the worthy officer of the
convent essayed with inexpert hands to disengage the various pieces of
the harness, speaking all the while, and asking a thousand idle
questions with true monastic volubility, without giving Sir Osborne
either time to hear or to reply.

"Stay, stay!" said the knight at length, as the old man endeavoured to
unbuckle the cuissards; "you cannot do it, my good father; and
besides, it is an unworthy task for such a holy man as you."

"Not in the least, my son, not in the least!" replied the monk. "But,
as I was saying, I dare say you have heard how the lord mayor and his
men went to Hogsden Lane, especially if you have been lately in
London; or have you been down in Cornwall, allaying the Cornish
tumultuaries? A-well, a-well! it is very odd I cannot get that buckle
out; though, perhaps, my son, you can tell me whether the prior of
Gloucester has embraced the mitigated rule instead of the severe; and
indeed the mitigated is severe enough: four days' fast in the week! If
the Duke of Buckingham were to send us another fat buck, as he did
last year: but I forget, it is not the season. Alack, alack! all
things have their times and seasons, and truly I am of the season of
old age; though, God help us all! I believe I must call your
shield-bearer, for I cannot get the buckle out."

"Do so, my good father," said the knight, glad enough to get rid of
him; "and bid him bring my casque hither."

Accordingly, our friend Longpole was soon brought to Sir Osborne's
chamber, and by his aid the knight easily freed himself from that
beautiful armour, which we, who are in the secret of all men's minds,
may look upon as in a great degree a present from the Duke of
Buckingham, although Sir Osborne himself did not begin to suspect that
the just and the prizes had been entirely given to furnish him with
money and arms, till the lapse of two or three days allowed calm
consideration to show him the events in their true colours.

After once more admiring for a moment or two the beauty of the suit,
and having given directions for its being carefully cleansed of all
damp that it might have acquired on the road, he descended to the
table of the lord abbot, which he found handsomely provided for his

To the wine, however, and the costly viands with which it was spread,
the abbot himself did little justice, observing almost the rigid
abstinence of an ascetic; but to compensate for his want of good
fellowship, the prior and sub-prior, who shared the same table, found
themselves called upon to press the stranger to his food, and to lead
the way.


     To-day is ours! why do we fear?
     To-day is ours! we have it here.
     Let's banish business, banish sorrow;
     To the gods belongs to-morrow.--Cowley.

                  I have dreamed
     Of bloody turbulence.--Shakspere.

In profound silence will we pass over Sir Osborne's farther
entertainment at the abbey; as well as how Longpole contrived to make
himself merry, even in the heart of a monastery; together with sundry
other circumstances, which might be highly interesting to that class
of pains-taking readers who love everything that is particular and
orderly, and would fain make an historian not only tell the truth, but
the whole truth, even to the colour of his heroine's garters. For such
curious points, however, we refer them to the scrupulously exact
Vonderbrugius, who expends the greater part of the next chapter
upon the description of a flea-hunt, which Longpole got up in his
truckle-bed in the monastery; and who describes the various hops of
the minute vampire, together with all that Longpole said on the
occasion, as well as the running down, the taking, and the manner of
the death, with laudable industry and perseverance. But for the sake
of that foolish multitude who interest themselves in the fate and
adventures of the hero, rather than in the minor details, we will pass
over the whole of the next night much in the same manner as Sir
Osborne, who, sound asleep, let it fleet by in silence undisturbed.

His horses, however, were scarcely saddled, and his four attendants
prepared, the next morning, than he was informed that the Lady Katrine
Bulmer was ready to depart; and proceeding on foot to the great gates
of the abbey, which fronted the high road, on the other side from that
on which he had entered, he found her already mounted on a beautiful
Spanish jennet, with her two women and a man, also on horseback. By
her side stood the abbot, with whom she had now made her peace, and
who, kindly welcoming Sir Osborne, led him to the young lady.

"Sir knight," said he, "I give you a precious charge in this my dead
sister's child; and I give her wholly to your charge, with the most
perfect confidence, sure that you will guide her kindly and safely to
her journey's end. And now, God bless you and speed you, my child!" he
continued, turning to the young lady; "and believe me, Kate, there is
no one in the wide world more anxious for your happiness than your
poor uncle."

"I know it, I know it, dear uncle!" answered the lady; "and though I
be whimsical and capricious, do not think your Katrine does not love
you too." A bright drop rose in her eye, and crying "Farewell!
farewell!" she made her jennet dart forward, to conceal the emotion
she could not repress.

The knight sprang on his horse, bade farewell to the abbot, and
galloped after Lady Katrine, who drew in her rein for no one, but rode
on as fast as her steed would go. However, notwithstanding her
jennet's speed, Sir Osborne was soon by her side; but seeing a tear
upon her cheek, he made no remark, and turning round, held up his hand
for the rest to come up, and busied himself in giving orders for the
arrangement of their march, directing the two women, with Lady
Katrine's man, and Longpole, to keep immediately behind, while the
three attendants given him by the duke concluded the array. The young
lady's tears were soon dispersed, and she turned laughing to her
women, who came up out of breath with the rapidity of their course.

"Well, Geraldine," she cried, "shall I go on as quick? Should I not
make an excellent knight at a just, Sir Osborne? Oh! I could furnish
my course with the best of you. I mind me to try the very next justs
that are given."

"Where would you find the man," said Sir Osborne, "to point a lance at
so fair a breast, unless it be Cupid's shaft?"

"Ah, Sir Osborne Maurice!" answered the lady, "you men jest when you
say such things; but you know not sometimes what women feel. But trust
me that same Cupid's shaft that you scoff at, because it never wounds
you deeply, sometimes lodges in a woman's breast, and rankling there
will pale her cheek, and drain her heart of every better hope."

The lady spoke so earnestly that Sir Osborne was surprised, and
perhaps looked it; for instantly catching the expression of his eye,
Lady Katrine coloured, and then breaking out into one of her own gay
laughs, she answered his glance as if it had been expressed in speech,
"You are mistaken! quite mistaken!" said she, "I never thought of
myself. Nay, my knight, do not look incredulous; my heart is too light
a one to be so touched. It skims like a swallow o'er the surface of
all it sees, and the boy archer spends his shafts in vain; its swift
flight mocks his slow aim. But to convince you, when I spoke," she
proceeded in a lower voice, "I alluded to that poor girl, Geraldine,
who rides behind. Her lover was a soldier, who, when Tournay was
delivered to the French, was left without employment; and after having
won the simple wench's heart, and promised her a world of fine things,
he went as an adventurer to Flanders, vowing that he would get some
scribe to write to her of his welfare, and that as soon as he had made
sufficient, what with pay and booty they would be married; but
eighteen months have gone, and never a word."

"What was his name?" asked the knight; "I would wish much to hear."

"Hal Williamson, I think she calls him," said the lady: "but it
matters little; the poor girl has nigh broke her heart for the
unfaithful traitor."

"You do him wrong," said the knight; "indeed, lady, you do him wrong.
The poor fellow you speak of joined himself to my company at Lisle,
and died in the very last skirmish before the death of the late
emperor. With some money and arms, that I expect transmitted by the
first Flemish ship, there is also a packet, I fancy, for your maid,
for I forget the address. From it she will learn that he was not
faithless to her, together with the worse news of his death."

"Better! a thousand times better!" cried Lady Katrine, energetically.
"If I had a lover, I would a thousand times rather know that he was
dead, than that he was unfaithful. For the first, I could but weep all
my life, and mourn him with the mourning of the heart; but for the
last, there would be still bitterer drops in the cup of my sorrow. I
would mourn him as dead to me. I would mourn him as dead to honour;
and I should reproach myself for having believed a traitor, almost as
much as for being one."

"So!" said the knight, with a smile, "this is the heart that defies
Cupid's shaft: that is too light and volatile to be hit by his
purblind aim!"

"Now you are stupid!" said she, pettishly. "Now you are just what I
always fancied a man in armour. Why, I should have thought, that while
your custrel carries your steel cap, you might have comprehended
better, and seen that the very reason why my heart is so giddy and so
light is because it is resolved not to be so wounded by the shaft it

"Then it does fear?" said Sir Osborne.

"Pshaw!" cried Lady Katrine. "Geraldine, come up, and deliver me from
him: he is worse than the Rochester rioters."

In such light talk passed they their journey, Sir Osborne Maurice
sometimes pleased, sometimes vexed with his gay companion, but upon
the whole, amused, and in some degree dazzled. For her part, whatever
might be her more serious feelings, the lady found the knight quite
handsome and agreeable enough to be worthy a little coquetry. Perhaps
it might be nothing but those little flirting airs by which many a
fair lady thinks herself fully justified in exciting attention, with
that sort of thirst for admiration which is not content unless it be
continually fresh and active. Now, with her glove drawn off her fair
graceful hand, she would push back the thick curls from her face; now
adjust the long folds of her riding-dress; now pat the glossy neck of
her pampered jennet, which, bending down its head and shaking the bit,
would seem proud of her caresses; and then she would smile, and ask
Sir Osborne if he did not think a horse the most beautiful creature in

At length they approached the little town of Sittenbourne, famous even
then for a good inn, where, had the party not been plagued with that
unromantic thing called hunger, they must have stopped to refresh
their horses, amongst which the one that carried the baggage of Lady
Katrine, being heavily laden, required at least two hours' repose.

The inn was built by the side of the road, though sunk two or
three feet below it, with a row of eight old elms shadowing its
respectable-looking front, which, with its small windows and red brick
complexion, resembled a good deal the face of a well-doing citizen,
with his minute dark eyes half swallowed up by his rosy cheeks. From
its position, the steps by which entrance was obtained, so far from
ascending, according to modern usage, descended into a little passage,
from which a door swinging by means of a pulley, a string, and a large
stone, conducted into the inn parlour.

Here, when Lady Katrine had entered, while the knight gave orders for
preparing a noon meal in some degree suitable to the lady's rank, she
amused herself in examining all the quaint carving of the old oak
panelling; and having studied every rose in the borders, and every
head upon the corbels, she dropped into a chair, crying out--"Oh dear!
oh dear! what shall I do in the mean while? Bridget, girl, bring me my
broidery out of the horse-basket. I feel industrious; but make haste,
for fear the fit should leave me."

"Bless your ladyship!" replied the servant, "the broidery is at the
bottom of all the things in the pannier. It will take an hour or more
to get at it; that it will."

"Then give me what is at the top, whatever it is," said the lady;
"quick! quick! quick! or I shall be asleep."

Bridget ran out, according to her lady's command, and returned in a
moment with a cithern or mandolin, which was a favourite instrument
among the ladies of the day, and placing it in Lady Katrine's hand,
she cried, "Oh, dear lady, do sing that song about the knight and the

"No, I won't," answered her mistress; "it will make the man in armour
yawn. Sir knight," she continued, holding up the instrument, "do you
know what that is?"

"It seems to me no very great problem," replied Sir Osborne, turning
from some orders he was giving to Longpole; "it is a cithern, is it

"He would fain have said, 'A thing that some fools play upon, and
other fools listen to,'" cried Lady Katrine: "make no excuse, Sir
Osborne; I saw it in your face. I'm sure you meant it."

"Nay, indeed, fair lady," replied the knight, "it is an instrument
much used at the court of Burgundy, where my days have lately been
spent. We were wont to hold it as a shame not to play on some
instrument, and I know not a sweeter aid to the voice than the

"Oh, then you play and sing! I am sure you do," cried the giddy girl.
"Sir Osborne Maurice, good knight and true, come into court, pull off
your gauntlets, and sing me a song."

"I will truly," answered the knight, "after I have heard your
ladyship, though I am but a poor singer.'"

"Well, well!" cried Lady Katrine, "I'll lead the way; and if you are a
true knight, you will follow."

So saying, she ran her fingers lightly over the strings, and sang.


     Quick, quick, ye lazy hours,
       Plume your laggard wings;
     Sure the path is strew'd with flowers
       That love to true love brings.
         From morning bright,
         To fading light,
       Speed, oh, speed, your drowsy flight!

     If Venus' courier be a dove,
       As ancient poet sings,
     Oh! why not give to absent love
       At least the swallow's wings,
         To speed his way,
         The live-long day,
     Till meeting all his pain repay?

Thus sang Lady Katrine; and it may well be supposed that the music,
the words, and the execution, all met with their full share of praise,
although Bridget declared that she liked better the song about the
knight and the damsel.

"Now, your promise, your promise, sir knight!" cried the lady, putting
the instrument in Sir Osborne's hands; "keep your promise as a true
and loyal knight."

"That I will do, to my best power," said Sir Osborne, "though my voice
will be but rough after the sweet sounds we have just heard: however,
to please Mistress Bridget here, my song shall be of a knight and a
damsel, though it be somewhat a long one."


     The night was dark, and the way was lone,
       But a knight was riding there;
     And on his breast the red-cross shone,
     Though his helmet's haughty crest upon
       Was a lock of a lady's hair.

     His beaver was up, and his cheek was pale
       His beard was of auburn brown;
     And as night was his suit of darksome mail,
     And his eye was as keen as the wintry gale,
       And as cold was his wintry frown.

     Oh! sad were the tidings thy brow to shade,
       Sad to hear and sad to tell;
     That thy love was false to the vows she had made,
     That her truth was gone, and thy trust betray'd
       By her thou lovest so well.

     Now fast, good knight, on thy coal-black steed,
       That knows his lord's command,
     For the hour is coming with fearful speed
     When her soul the lady shall stain with the deed,
       And give to another her hand.

     In the chapel of yon proud towers 'tis bright,
       'Tis bright at the altar there;
     For around in the blaze of the tapers' light
     Stand many a glittering, courtly knight,
       And many a lady fair.

     But why are there tears in the bride's bright eyes?
       And why does the bridegroom frown?
     And why to the priest are there no replies?
     For the bitter drops, and the struggling sighs,
       The lady's voice have drown'd.

     That clang! that clang of an armed heel!
       And what stately form is here?
     His warlike limbs are clothed in steel,
     And back the carpet heroes reel,
       And the ladies shrink for fear.

     And he caught the bride in his mailed arms,
       And he raised his beaver high;
     "Oh! thy tears, dear girl, are full of charms,
     But hush thy bosom's vain alarms,
       For thy own true knight is nigh!"

     And he pull'd the gauntlet from his hand,
       While he frown'd on the crowd around,
     And he cast it down, and drew his brand,
     "Now any who dare my right withstand,
       Let him raise it from the ground."

     But the knights drew back in fear and dread,
       And the bride clung to his side;
     And her father, lowly bending, said,
     In the Holy Land they had deem'd him dead,
       But by none was his right denied.

     "Then now read on, sir priest," he cried,
       "For this is my wedding-day;
     Here stands my train on either side,
     And here is a willing and lovely bride,
       And none shall say me nay.

     "For I'll make her the lady of goodly lands,
       And of many a princely tower;
     And of dames a train, and of squires a band,
     Shall wait at their lady's high command,
       In the Knight of de Morton's bower."

"Alack! alack!" cried Lady Katrine, as Sir Osborne concluded, "you are
not a knight, but a nightingale. Well, never did I hear a man in
armour chirrup so before! Nay, what a court must be that court of
Burgundy! Why, an aviary would be nothing to it! But if the master
sings so well," she continued, as Longpole entered, bearing in Sir
Osborne's casque and shield, "the man must sing too. Bid him sing,
fair knight, bid him sing; he will not refuse to pleasure a lady."

"Oh, no! I am always ready to pleasure a lady," answered Longpole;
who, as he went along, though he had found it impossible to help
making a little love to Mistress Geraldine, had, notwithstanding,
noted with all his own shrewd wit the little coquettish ways of her
mistress. "But give me no instrument, my lady, but my own whistle; for
mine must not be pryck-song, but plain song."


     Young Harry went out to look for a wife,
                                 Hey, Harry Dally!
     He said he would have her in virtues rife,
     As soft as a pillow, yet keen as a knife,
                                 With a hey ho, Harry!

     The first that he met with was quiet and glum,
                                 Hey, Harry Dally!
     But she'd got a bad trick of sucking her thumb,
     And when he cried "Mary!" the never would come,
                                 With a hey ho, Harry!

     The next that he came to was flighty and gay,
                                 Hey, Harry Dally!
     But she would not be play'd with, although she would play,
     And good-humour was lost if she'd not her own way,
                                 With a hey ho, Harry!

     The next that he tried then was gentle and sweet,
                                 Hey, Harry Dally!
     But he found that all people alike she would treat,
     And loved him as well as the next she should meet,
                                 With a hey ho, Harry!

     The next that he thought of was saucy and bold,
                                 Hey, Harry Dally!
     But he found that he had not the patience sevenfold
     That could bear in one person a jade and a scold,
                                 With a hey ho, Harry!

     So, weary with searching for wedlock enow,
                                 Hey, Harry Dally!
     He thank'd his good stars he had made no rash vow,
     And, like the old woman, went kissing his cow,
                                 With a hey ho, Harry!

"The saucy knave!" cried Lady Katrine, laughing. "Out upon him!
Bridget, Geraldine, if ye have the spirit of women, I am sure ye will
not exchange a word with the fellow the rest of the journey? What!
could he not make his hero find one perfect woman? But here comes our
host with dinner, for which I thank heaven! for had it been later, my
indignation would have cost me my appetite."

As soon as the horses were refreshed, Sir Osborne, with his fair
charge, once more set out on the longer stage, which he proposed to
take ere they paused for the night. The news which he had received at
Sittenbourne leading him to imagine that the tumults at Rochester,
having been suffered, by some inexplicable negligence, to remain
unrepressed, had become much more serious than he at first supposed,
he determined to take a by-way, and, avoiding the town, pass the river
by a ferry, which Longpole assured him he would find higher up; but
still this was longer, and would make them later on the road; for
which reason he hurried their pace as much as possible, till they
arrived at the spot where the smaller road turned off, at about two
miles' distance from Rochester.

It was a shady lane, with, on each side, high banks and hedges,
wherein the tender hand of April was beginning to bring forth the
young green shrubs and flowers; and as the knight and lady went along,
Nature offered them a thousand objects of descant which they did not
fail to use. Their conversation, however, was interrupted after a
while by the noise of a distant drum, and a variety of shouts and
halloos came floating upon the gale, like the breakings-forth of an
excited multitude.

As they advanced, the sounds seemed also to approach.

"My casque and lance," said Sir Osborne, turning to Longpole. "Lady,
you had perhaps better let your jennet drop back to a line with your

"Nay, I will dare the front," said Lady Katrine; "a woman's presence
will often tame a crowd."

"You are with a band of soldiers," said Sir Osborne, hearing the
clamour approaching, "and must obey command. What! horse; back, back!"
and laying his hand on the lady's bridle, he reined it back to a line
with her women. "Longpole, advance!" cried the knight. "Left-hand
spear of the third line to the front! Archers behind, keep a wary eye
on the banks: shoot not, but bend your bows. I trust there is no
danger, lady, but 'tis well to be prepared. Now, on slowly."

And thus opposing what defence they could between Lady Katrine and the
multitude, whose cries they now heard coming nearer and nearer, Sir
Osborne and the two horsemen he had called to his side, moved forward,
keeping a wary eye on the turnings of the road and the high banks by
which it was overhung.

They had not proceeded far, however, before they descried the
termination of the lane, opening out upon what appeared to be a
village-green beyond; the farther side of which was occupied by a
motley multitude, whose form and demeanour they had now full
opportunity to observe.

In front of all the host was a sort of extempore drummer, who with a
bunch of cocks' feathers in his cap, and a broad buff belt supporting
his instrument of discord, seemed infinitely proud of his occupation,
and kept beating with unceasing assiduity, but with as little regard
to time on his part as his instrument had to tune. Behind him, mounted
on a horse of inconceivable ruggedness, appeared the general with, a
vast cutlass in his hand, which he swayed backwards and forwards in
menacing attitudes; while, unheedful of the drum, he bawled forth to
his followers many a pious exhortation to persevere in rebellion. On
the left of this doughty hero was borne a flag of blue silk, bearing,
inscribed in golden letters, _The United Shipwrights_; and on his
right was seen a red banner, on which might be read the various
demands of the unsatisfied crowd, such as, "Cheap Bread," "High
Wages," "No Taxation," &c.

The multitude itself did indeed offer a formidable appearance, the
greater part of the men who composed it being armed with bills and
axes; some also having possessed themselves of halberts, and even some
of hackbuts and hand-guns. Every here and there appeared an iron jack,
and many a 'prentice-boy filled up the crevices with his bended bow;
while half a score of loud-mouthed women screamed in the different
quarters of the crowd, and, with the shrill trumpet of a scolding
tongue, urged on the lords of the creation to deeds of wrath and

The multitude might consist of about five thousand men: and as they
marched along, a bustle, and appearance of crowding round one
particular spot in their line, led the knight to imagine that they
were conducting some prisoner to Rochester, in which direction they
seemed to be going, traversing the green at nearly a right angle with
the line in which he was himself proceeding. "Hold!" said Sir Osborne,
reining in his horse. "Let them pass by. We are not enough to deal
with such numbers as there are there. Keep under the bank; we must not
risk the lady's safety by showing ourselves. Ah! but what should that
movement mean? They have seen us, by heaven! Ride on then; we must not
seem to shun them. See! they wheel! On, on! quick! Gain the mouth of
the lane!"

Thus saying, Sir Osborne laid his lance in the rest, and spurred on to
the spot where the road opened upon the green, followed by Lady
Katrine and her women, not a little terrified and agitated by the
roaring of the multitude, who, having now made a retrograde motion on
their former position, occupied the same ground that they had done at
first, and regarded intently the motions of Sir Osborne's party, not
knowing what force might be behind.

As soon as the knight had reached the mouth of the road he halted, and
seeing that the high bank ran along the side of the green guarding his
flank, he still contrived to conceal the smallness of his numbers by
occupying the space of the road, and paused a moment to watch the
movements of the crowd, and determine its intentions.

Now, being quite near enough to hear great part of an oration which
the general whom we have described was bestowing on his forces, Sir
Osborne strained his ear to gather his designs, and soon found that
his party was mistaken for that of Lord Thomas Howard, who had been
sent to quell the mutiny of the Rochester shipwrights.

"First," said the ringleader, "hang up the priest upon that tree, then
let him preach to us about submission if he will; and he shall be
hanged, too, in his lord's sight, for saying that he, with his
hundreds, would beat us with our thousands, and let his lord deliver
him if he can. Then some of the men with bills and axes get up on the
top of the bank: who says it is not Lord Thomas? I say it is Lord
Thomas; I know him by his bright armour."

"And I say you lie, Timothy Bradford!" cried Longpole, at the very
pitch of his voice, much to the wonder and astonishment of Sir Osborne
and his party. "Please your worship," he continued, lowering his tone,
"I know that fellow; he served with me at Tournay, and was afterwards
a sailor. He's a mad rogue, but as good a heart as ever lived."

"Oh, then, for God's sake! speak to him," cried Lady Katrine from
behind, "and make him let us pass; for surely, sir knight, you are not
mad enough, with only six men, to think of encountering six thousand?"

"Not I, in truth, fair lady," answered the knight. "If they will not
molest us, I shall not meddle with them."

"Shall I on, then, and speak with him?" cried Longpole. "See! he heard
me give him the lie, and he's coming out towards us. He'd do the same
if we were a thousand."

"Meet him, meet him, then!" said the knight; "tell him all we wish is
to pass peaceably. The right-hand man advance from the rear and fill
up!" he continued, as Longpole rode on, taking care still to maintain
a good face to the enemy, more especially as their generalissimo had
now come within half a bow-shot of where they stood.

As the yeoman now rode forward, the ringleader of the rioters did not
at all recognise his old companion in his custrel's armour, and began
to brandish his weapon most fiercely; but in a moment afterwards, to
the astonishment of the multitude, he was seen to let the point of the
sword drop, and, seizing his antagonist's hand, shake it with every
demonstration of surprise and friendship. Their conversation was quick
and energetic; and a moment after, Longpole rode back to Sir Osborne,
while the ringleader raised his hand to his people, exclaiming, "Keep
your ranks! Friends! These are friends!"

"Our passage is safe," said Longpole, riding back; "but he would fain
speak with your worship. They have taken a priest, it seems, and are
going to hang him for preaching submission to them. So I told him if
they did they would be hanged themselves; but he would not listen to
me, saying he would talk to you about it."

"Fill up my place," said the knight; "I will go and see what can be
done. We must not let them injure the good man."

So saying he raised his lance, and rode forward to the spot where the
ringleader waited him; plainly discerning, as he approached nearer to
the body of the rioters, the poor priest, with a rope round his neck,
holding forth his hands towards him, as if praying for assistance.

"My shield-bearer," said he, "tells me that we are to pass each other
without enmity; for though we are well prepared to resist attack, we
have no commission to meddle with you or yours. Nevertheless, as I
understand that ye have a priest in your hands, towards whom ye
meditate some harm, let me warn you of the consequences of injuring an
old man who cannot have injured you."

"But he has done worse than injured me, sir knight," said the
ringleader; "he has preached against our cause, and against redressing
our grievances."

"Most probably not against redressing your grievances," said Sir
Osborne, "but against the method ye took to redress them yourselves.
But listen to me. It is probable that the king, hearing of your wants
and wishes, he being known both for just and merciful, may grant you
such relief as only a king can grant; but if ye go to stain yourselves
with the blood of this priest, which were cowardly, as he is an old
man; which were base, as he is a prisoner; and which were
sacrilegious, as he is a man of God, ye cut yourselves off from mercy
for ever, and range all good men amongst your enemies. Think well of

"By the nose of the tinker of Ashford!" said the man, "your worship is
right. But how the devil to get him out of their hands? that's the
job; however, I'll make 'em a 'ration. But what I was wanting to ask
your worship is, do you know his grace the king?"

"Not in the least," was the laconic reply of the knight.

"Then it won't do," said the man; "only, as merry Dick Heartley said
you were thick with the good Duke of Buckingham, I thought you might
know the king too, and would give him our petition and remonstrance.
However, I'll go and make them fellows a 'ration: they're wonderful
soon led by a 'ration." And turning his horse, he rode up to the front
of the body of rioters, and made them a speech, wherein nonsense and
sense, bombast and vulgarity, were all most intimately mingled. Sir
Osborne did not catch the whole, but the sounds which reached his ears
were somewhat to the following effect:

"Most noble shipwrights and devout cannon-founders, joined together in
the great cause of crying down taxation and raising your wages! To you
I speak, as well as to the tinkers, tailors, and 'prentices who have
united themselves to you. The noble knight that you see standing
there, or rather riding, because he is on horseback: he in the
glittering armour, with a long spear in his hand, is the dearly
beloved friend of the great and good Duke of Buckingham, who is the
friend of the commons and an enemy to taxation."

Here loud cries of "Long live the Duke of Buckingham!" "God bless the
duke!" interrupted the speaker; but after a moment he proceeded. "He,
the noble knight, is not Lord Thomas Howard; and so far from wishing
to attack you, he would wish to do you good. Therefore he setteth
forth and showeth--praise be to God for all things, especially that we
did not hang the priest!--that if we were to hang the priest, it would
be blasphemous, because he is an old man; and rascally, because he is
a man of God; and moreover, that whereas, if we do not, the king will
grant us our petition. He will infallibly come down, if we do, with an
army of fifty thousand men, and hang us all with his own hands, and
the Duke of Buckingham will be against us. Now understand! I am
not speaking for myself, for I know well enough that, having been
elected your captain, and ridden on horseback while ye marched on
foot, I am sure to be hanged anyhow; but that is no reason that ye
should all be hanged too; and, therefore, I give my vote that Simon
the cannon-founder, Tom the shipwright, and long-chinned Billy the
tinker, do take the priest by the rope that is round his neck, and
deliver him into the hands of the knight and his men, to do with as
they shall think fit. And that after this glorious achievement we
march straightway back to Rochester. Do you all agree?"

Loud shouts proclaimed the assent of the multitude; and with various
formalities the three deputies led forth the unhappy priest, more dead
than alive, and delivered him into the hands of Longpole: after which
the generalissimo of the rioters drew up his men with some military
skill upon the right of the green, leaving the road free to Sir
Osborne. The knight then marshalled his little party as best he might,
to guard against any sudden change in the minds of the fickle
multitude; and having mounted the poor exhausted priest behind one of
the horsemen, he drew out from the lane, and passed unmolested across
the green into the opposite road, returning nothing but silence to the
cheers with which the rioters thought fit to honour them.

Their farther journey to Gravesend passed without any interruption,
and indeed without any occurrence worthy of notice. Lady Katrine and
Sir Osborne, Geraldine and Longpole, mutually congratulated each other
on the favourable termination of an adventure which had commenced
under such threatening auspices; and every one of the party poured
forth upon his neighbour the usual quantity of wonder and amazement
which always follows any event of the kind. The poor priest, who had
so nearly fallen a victim to the excited passions of the crowd, was
the last that sufficiently recovered from the strong impressions of
the moment to babble thereupon.

When, however, his loquacious faculties were once brought into play,
he contrived to compensate for his temporary taciturnity, shouting
forth his thanks to Sir Osborne Maurice from the rear to the front,
declaring that the preservation of his life was entirely owing to his
valour and conduct; that it was wonderful the influence which his sole
word possessed with the multitude, and that he should never cease to
be grateful till the end of his worldly existence.

Sir Osborne assured him that he was very welcome; and remarked, with a
smile, to Lady Katrine, who was laughing at the priest's superfluity
of gratitude, that in all probability it was this sort of exuberance
of zeal that had brought him into the perilous circumstances in which
they had at first found him.

"But can zeal ever be exuberant?" demanded Lady Katrine, suddenly
changing her tone; and then fixing the full light of her beautiful
dark eyes upon the knight, she added, "I mean in a friend."

"It can," said Sir Osborne, "when not guided by prudence. But I do not
think a fool can be a friend."

"Come, sir knight, come!" said the lady; "let us hear your idea of a

"A friend," replied the knight, smiling at her earnestness, "must be
both a wise man and a good man. He must love his friend with
sufficient zeal to see his faults and endeavour to counteract them,
and with sufficient prudence to perceive his true interests and to
strive for them. But he must put aside vanity; for there is many a man
who pretends a great friendship for another merely for the vain
purpose of advising and guiding him, when, in truth, he is not capable
of advising and guiding himself. The man who aspires to such a name
must be to his friend what every man would be to himself, if he could
see his own faults undazzled by self-love and his own interests
unblinded by passion. He must be zealous and kind, steady and
persevering, without being curious or interfering, troublesome or

"Would I had such a friend!" said Lady Katrine, with a sigh, and for
the rest of the way she was grave and pensive.


                                  Let us
     Act freely, carelessly, and capriciously, as if our veins
     Ran with quicksilver.--Ben Jonson.

                 Renown'd metropolis,
     With glistening spires and pinnacles adorn'd.--Milton.

It is strange, in the life of man, always fluctuating as he is between
hope and fear, gratification and disappointment, with nothing fixed in
his state of existence, and uncertainty surrounding him on every side,
that suspense should be to him the most painful of all situations. One
would suppose that habit would have rendered it easy for him to bear;
and yet, beyond all questions, every condition of doubt, from
uncertainty respecting our fate, to mere indecision of judgment, are
all, more or less, painful in their degree. Who is it that has not
often felt irritated, vexed, and unhappy, when hesitating between two
different courses of action, even when the subject of deliberation
involved but a trifle?

Lady Katrine Bulmer, as has been already said, was grave and pensive
when she reached Gravesend; and then, without honouring the knight
with her company even for a few minutes, as he deemed that in simple
courtesy she might have done, she retired to her chamber, and,
shutting herself up with her two women, the only communication which
took place between her and Sir Osborne was respecting the hour of
their departure the next morning.

The knight felt hurt and vexed; for though he needed no ghost to tell
him that the lovely girl he was conducting to the court was as
capricious as she was beautiful, yet her gay whims and graceful little
coquetry, had both served to pique and amuse him, and he could almost
have been angry at this new caprice, which deprived him of her society
for the evening.

The next morning, however, the wind of Lady Katrine's humour seemed
again to have changed; and at the hour appointed for her departure she
tripped down to her horse all liveliness and gaiety. Sir Osborne
proffered to assist her in mounting, but in a moment she sprang into
the saddle without aid, and turned round laughing, to see the slow and
difficult man[oe]uvres by which her women were fixed in their seats.
The whole preparations, however, being completed, the cavalcade set
out in the same order in which it had departed from the abbey the day
before, and with the same number of persons; the poor priest whom they
had delivered from the hands of the rioters being left behind, too ill
to proceed with them to London.

"Well, sir knight," said the gay girl as they rode forward, "I must
really think of some guerdon to reward all your daring in my behalf. I
hope you watched through the livelong night, armed at all points, lest
some enemy should attack our castle?"

"Faith, not I!" answered Sir Osborne; "you seemed so perfectly
satisfied with the security of our lodging, lady, that I e'en followed
your good example and went to bed."

"Now he's affronted!" cried Lady Katrine. "Was there ever such a
creature? But tell me, man in armour, was it fitting for me to come
and sit with you and your horsemen in the tap-room of an inn, eating,
drinking, and singing, like a beggar or a ballad-singer?"

The knight bit his lip, and made no reply.

"Why don't you answer, Sir Osborne?" continued the lady, laughing.

"Merely because I have nothing to say," replied the knight, gravely;
"except that at Sittenbourne, where you did me the honour of eating
with me, though not with my horsemen, I did not perceive that
Lady Katrine Bulmer was, in any respect, either like a beggar or

"Oh! very well, sir knight; very well!" she said. "If you choose to be
offended I cannot help it."

"You mistake me, lady," said Sir Osborne, "I am not offended."

"Well then, sir, I am," replied Lady Katrine, making him a cold stiff
inclination of the head. "So we had better say no more upon the

At this moment Longpole, who with the rest of the attendants followed
at about fifty paces behind, rode forward, and put a small folded
paper into Sir Osborne's hands. "A letter, sir, which you dropped,"
said he aloud; "I picked it up this moment."

The knight looked at the address, and the small silken braid which
united the two seals; and finding that it was directed to Lord Darby
at York House, Westminster, was about to return it to Longpole, saying
it was none of his, when his eye fell upon Lady Katrine, whose head,
indeed, was turned away, but whose neck and ear were burning with so
deep a red, that Sir Osborne doubted not she had some deep and
blushing interest in the paper he held in his hand. "Thank you,
Longpole! thank you," he said, "I would not have lost it for a hundred
marks;" and he fastened it securely in the foldings of his scarf.

Though he could willingly have punished his fair companion for her
little capricious petulance, the knight could not bear to keep her in
the state of agitation under which, by the painful redness of her
cheek and the quivering of her hand on the bridle, he very evidently
saw she was suffering. "I think your ladyship was remarking," said he,
calmly, "that it was the height of dishonour and baseness to take
advantage of anything that happens to fall in our power, or any secret
with which we become acquainted accidentally. I not only agree with
you so far, but I think even that a jest upon such a subject is hardly
honourable. We should strive, if possible, to be as if we did not know

Lady Katrine turned her full sunny face towards him, glowing like a
fair evening cloud when the last rays of daylight rest upon it: "You
are a good, an excellent creature," she said, "and worthy to be a
knight. Sir Osborne Maurice," she continued, after a moment's pause,
"your good opinion is too estimable to be lightly lost, and to
preserve it I must speak to you in a manner that women dare seldom
speak. And yet, though on my word, I would trust you as I would a
brother, I know not how----I cannot, indeed I cannot. And yet I must,
and will, for fear of misconstruction. You saw that letter. You can
guess that he to whom it is addressed is not indifferent to the
writer. They are affianced to each other by all vows, but those vows
are secret ones; for the all-powerful Wolsey will not have it so, and
we must needs seem, at least, to obey. Darby has been some time absent
from the court, and I was sent to the abbey. What would you have more?
I promised to give instant information of my return; and last night I
spent in writing that letter, though now I know not in truth how to
send it, for my groom is but a pensioned spy upon me."

"Will you trust it to me?" said the knight. The lady paused. "Do you
doubt me?" he asked.

"Not in the least," she said; "not in the least. My only doubt is
whether I shall send it at all."

"Is there a hesitation?" demanded the knight in some surprise.

"Alas! there is," answered she. "You must know all: I see it. Since I
have been at the abbey they have tried to persuade me that Darby
yields himself to the wishes of the cardinal; and is about to wed
another. I believe it false! I am sure it is false! And yet, and
yet----" and she burst into tears. "Oh, Sir Osborne!" she continued,
drying her eyes, "I much need such a friend as you described

"Let me be that friend, then, so far as I may be," said Sir Osborne.
"Allow me to carry the letter to London, whither I go after I have
left you at the court at Greenwich. I will ascertain how Lord Darby is
situated. If I find him faithful (which doubt not that he is, till you
hear more), I will give him the letter; otherwise I will return it
truly to you."

"But you must be quick," said Lady Katrine, "in case he should hear
that I have returned, and have not written. How will you ascertain?"

"There are many ways," answered the knight; "but principally by a
person whom I hope to find in London, and who sees more deeply into
the hidden truth than mortal eyes can usually do."

"Can you mean Sir Cesar?" demanded Lady Katrine.

"I do," answered the knight. "Do you know that very extraordinary

"I know him as every one knows him," answered Lady Katrine; "that is,
without knowing him. But if he be in London, and will give you the
information, all doubt will be at an end; for what he says is sure:
though, indeed, I often used to tease the queer little old man, by
pretending not to believe his prophecies, till our royal mistress,
whom God protect! has rated me for plaguing him. He was much a
favourite of hers, and I somewhat a favourite of his; for those odd
magical hop-o'-my-thumbs, I believe, love those best who cross them a
little. He gave me this large sapphire ring when he went away last
year, bidding me send it back to him if I were in trouble: quite
fairy-tale like. So now, Sir Osborne, you shall carry it to him, and
he will counsel you rightly. Put it in your cap, where he may see it.
There now! it looks quite like some lady's favour; but don't go and
tilt at every one who denies that Katrine Bulmer is the loveliest
creature under the sun."

"Nay, I must leave that to my Lord Darby," answered Sir Osborne.

"Now, that was meant maliciously!" cried Lady Katrine. "But I don't
care! Wait a little; and if there be a weak point in all your heart,
sir knight, I'll plague you for your sly look."

Lady Katrine Bulmer's spirits were of that elastic quality not easily
repressed; and before ten minutes were over, all her gaiety returned
in full force, nor did it cease its flow till their arrival in

For his part, Sir Osborne strove to keep pace with her liveliness, and
perhaps even forced his wit a little in the race, that he might not be
behindhand. Heaven knows what was passing in his mind! whether it
really was an accession of gaiety at approaching the court, or whether
it was that he wished to show his fair companion that the discovery he
had made of her engagements to Lord Darby did not at all mortify him,
notwithstanding the little coquetry that she might have exercised upon

They now, however, approached the place of their destination, under
the favourable auspice of a fair afternoon. The most pardonable sort
of superstition is perhaps that which derives its auguries from the
face of nature, leading us to fancy that the bright golden sunshine,
the clear blue heaven, the soft summer breeze, and the cheerful song
of heaven's choristers, indicate approaching happiness to ourselves;
or that the cloud, the storm, and the tempest, come prophetic of evil
and desolation. At least both hope and fear, the two great movers in
all man's feelings, lend themselves strangely to this sort of
divination, combining with the beauty of the prospect, or the
brightness of the sky, to exalt our expectations of the future; or
lending darker terrors to the frown of nature, and teaching us to
dread or to despair.

When Sir Osborne and his party arrived at the brow of Shooter's Hill,
the evening was as fair and lovely as if it had been summer: one of
those sweet sunsets that sometimes burst in between two wintry days in
the end of March or the beginning of April: a sort of heralds to
announce the golden season that comes on. The whole country round, as
far as they could see, whether looking towards Eltham and Chiselhurst,
or northwards towards the river, was one wide sea of waving boughs,
just tinged with the first green of the spring; while the oblique rays
of the declining sun, falling upon the huge bolls of the old oaks and
beeches, caught upon the western side of each, and invested its giant
limbs as with a golden armour. Every here and there, too, the beams,
forcing their way through the various openings in the forest, cast
across the road bright glimpses of that rich yellow light peculiar to
wood scenery, and, alternated with the long shadows of the trees,
marked the far perspective of the highway descending to the wide heath
below. The eye rested not on the heath, though it, too, was glowing
with the full effulgence of the sky; but passing on, caught a small
part of the palace of Greenwich, rising above the wild oaks which
filled the park; and then still farther turning towards the west,
paused upon the vast metropolis, with its red and dizzy atmosphere,
high above which rose the heavy tower and wooden spire of Old Paul's
Church; while to the left, beyond the influence of the smoke, was seen
standing almost alone, in solemn majesty, the beautiful pile of the
West Minster.

Sir Osborne Maurice impulsively reined in his horse, and seemed as if
he could scarcely breathe when the whole magnificent scene rushed at
once upon his view. "So this is London!" cried he; "the vast, the
wealthy, and the great; the throne of our island monarchs, from whence
they sway a wide and powerful land. On! on!" and striking his horse
with his spurs, he darted down the road, as if he were afraid that the
great city would, before he reached it, fade away like the splendid
phantasms seen by the Sicilian shepherds, showing for a moment a host
of castles, and towers, and palaces, and then fleeting by, and leaving
nought but empty air!


     Paracelsus and his chymistical followers are so many Promethei,
will fetch fire from heaven.--Burton's Anatomy of Melancholy.

Now might I expend five pages of post octavo, with great satisfaction
to my readers and myself, in describing minutely the old rambling
palace inhabited by Henry VIII. at Greenwich, particularising its
several angles and abutments, its small lattice windows, its bays and
octagons, together with the various cartouches and mascarons which
filled up the spaces and covered the corbels between; but unhappily I
am in an egregious hurry, having already expended one whole tome
without getting through a fifth part of the portentous bulk of
Professor Vonderbrugius. I might, indeed, comfortably extend my tale
to four volumes instead of three. But no, gentle reader! out of
consideration for thine exemplary patience, I spare thee the
infliction, and shall curtail my descriptions, compress my dialogues,
circumscribe my digressions, and concentrate my explanations, so as to
restrain my history within the bounds I had originally proposed for
its extent.

Suffice it, then, to say that Lady Katrine, having recalled to the
knight's remembrance that his course lay towards Greenwich, and not to
London, as he seemed inclined to direct it, they turned their horses
to the right at the bottom of the hill, and soon reached the
river-side, where, spreading along a little to the eastward of the
spot on which the hospital at present stands, lay a large mass of
heavy architecture, which, if judged by modern notions, would be
regarded as not very fit for the dwelling of a king.

The dull appearance of the building, however, was relieved by the
gaiety of the objects round about; for though the sun was now half
below the horizon, yet loitering round the various gates of the
palace, or running to and fro on their separate errands, was seen a
host of servants and attendants in rich and splendid suits, while
multitudes of guards and henchmen, decked out to pamper the costly
whims of their luxurious lord, showed forth their finery to the
evening air. More than one group of lords, and ladies too, enjoying
the fine sunset before the palace, made the parade a sort of living
pageant; while the river beyond, as if emulous of the gay scene,
fluttered and shone with the streamers and gilding of the various
barges with which it was covered.

To every one they met Lady Katrine seemed known, and all, according to
their rank, greeted her as she passed, some with light welcome, some
with respectful salutations, all stopping the moment after to turn and
fix their eyes upon Sir Osborne, with that sort of cold, inquiring
glance which owns no affinity with its object but mere curiosity. "Who
is he?" demanded one. "What splendid armour!" cried another. "He must
be from Rochester," said a third. But no word of gratulation met his
ear, no kind, familiar voice bade him welcome; and he rode on with
that chill, solitary sensation of friendlessness which we never so
strongly feel as in the presence of a crowd, who, possessing some
communion of thought and feeling amongst themselves, have no
established link of sympathy with us.

At one of the smaller doors in the western wing of the palace, Lady
Katrine reined in her horse, and Sir Osborne, springing to the ground,
assisted her to dismount, while one of the royal servants, who came
from within, held the bridle with all respect. In answer to her
question the attendant replied, that "her highness Queen Katherine was
at that moment dressing for the banquet which she was about to give to
the king and the foreign ambassadors, and that she had commanded not
to be interrupted."

"That is unfortunate, Sir Osborne Maurice," said the young lady,
resuming somewhat of that courtly coldness which had given way to the
original wildness of her nature while she had been absent: "I am sure
that her highness, who is bounty itself, would have much wished to
thank you for the protection and assistance which you have given to me
her poor servant. But----" and remembering the charge which the knight
had taken of her letter to Lord Darby, she hesitated for a moment, not
knowing how to establish some means of communication between them.
"Oh! they will break all those things!" she cried, suddenly stopping
and turning to the servant. "Good Master Alderson, do look to them for
a moment; that groom is so awkward: give him the horse. Now, knight!
quick! quick!" she continued, lowering her voice as the servant left
them, "Where do you lodge in London? I must have some way of hearing
of your proceeding: where do you lodge? Bless us, man in armour! where
are your wits?"

"Oh! I had forgot," replied the knight; "it is called the Rose, in the
Laurence Poultney."

"At the Duke of Buckingham's! Good, good!" she replied; and then
making him a low curtsy as the servant again approached, she added
with a mock gravity that nearly made the knight laugh, in spite of his
more sombre feelings, "And now, good sir knight, I take my leave of
your worship, thanking you a thousand times for your kindness and
protection; and depend upon it, that when her highness the queen shall
have a moment to receive you, I will take care to let you know."

Thus saying, with another low curtsy, she retired into the palace; and
Sir Osborne, mounting his horse, bade adieu to the precincts of the
court, bearing away with him none of those feelings of hope with which
he had first approached it. There seemed a sort of coldness in its
atmosphere which chilled his expectations; and disappointed, too, of
his introduction to the queen, he felt dissatisfied and repelled, and
had the fit held, might well have taken ship once more, and returned
into Flanders.

After having thus ridden on for some way, giving full rein to
melancholy fancies, he found himself in the midst of a small town,
with narrow streets, running along by the river, shutting out almost
all the daylight that was left; and not knowing if he was going in the
right direction, he called Longpole to his side, asking whether he had
ever been in London.

"Oh! yes, sir," replied the custrel, "and have staid in it many a
month. 'Tis a wonderful place for the three sorts of men: the knaves,
the fools, and the wise men; and as far as I can see, the one sort
gets on as high as the other. The fool gets promoted at court, the
knave gets promoted at the gallows, and the wise man gets promoted to
be lord mayor, and has the best of the bargain."

"But tell me, Longpole," said Sir Osborne, "where are we now? for
night is falling, and in sooth I know not my way."

"This is the good town of Deptford," said Longpole; "but if your
lordship ride on, we shall soon enter into Southwark, where there is
an excellent good hostel, called the Tabard, the landlady of which may
be well esteemed a princess for her fat, and a woman for her tongue.
God's blessing is upon her bones, and has well covered them. If your
worship lodge there you shall be treated like a prince."

"It may be better," said Sir Osborne, "for to-night; but you must lead
the way, good Longpole, for this is my first sight of the great city."

Longpole readily undertook the pilotage of the knight and his company,
and in about half-an-hour lodged them safely in the smart parlour of
the Tabard: perhaps the very same where, more than a century before,
Chaucer, the father of our craft, sat himself at his ease; for the
Tabard was an old house that had maintained its good fame for more
than one generation, and the landlady piqued herself much on the
antiquity of her dwelling, telling how her great-grandfather had kept
that very house, ay, and had worn a gold chain to boot; and how both
the inn and the innkeepers had held the same name, till she, being a
woman, alack! had brought it as her dower to her poor dear deceased
husband, who died twenty years ago come Martinmas.

All this was detailed at length to Sir Osborne while his supper was in
preparation, together with various other long orations, till the good
dame found that the knight was not willing to furnish her with even
the _ahs! ohs!_ and _yes-es_, which offer a sort of baiting-places for
a voluble tongue; but that, on the contrary, he leaned his back
against the chimney, not attending to one word she said after the
first ten sentences. Upon this discovery, she e'en betook herself to
Longpole, declaring that his master was a proper man, a fine man, and
a pensive.

Longpole was, we all know, much better inclined to gossiping than his
master; and accordingly, as he found that his jolly hostess would fain
hear the whole of his lord's history, as a profound secret which she
was to divulge to all her neighbours the next morning, he speedily
furnished her with a most excellent allegory upon the subject, which
found its way (with various additions and improvements, to suit the
taste of the reciters) through at least five hundred different
channels before the ensuing night.

In the mean while the knight supped well, and found himself happier;
slept well, and rose with renewed hope. So he was but of flesh and
blood, after all.

As soon as he was up, and before he was dressed, the door of his
chamber flew open, and in rushed a thing called a barber, insisting
upon his being shaved. Volumes have been written upon barbers, and
volumes still remain to be written, but it shall not be I who will
write them.

Suffice it, that for the sake of those who know not what I mean, I
define a barber. It is a thing that talks and shaves, and shaves and
talks, and talks and shaves again; the true immutable that never
varies, but comes down from age to age like a magpie, the same busy
chattering thing that its fathers were before it.

Sir Osborne acquiesced in the operation, of which, indeed, he stood in
some want; and the barber pounced upon his visage in a moment. "The
simple moustache, I see: the simple moustache!" he cried; "well, 'tis
indeed the most seemly manner, though the _pique-devant_ is gaining
ground a leetle, a leetle: not that I mean to say, fair sir, that the
beard is not worn any way, so it be well trimmed, and the moustache is
of a sweet comely nature: the simple moustache! You have doubtless
heard, fair sir, of the royal pageant, which cheered the heart of the
queen and her ladies last night. We use, indeed, to cut beards all
ways, to suit the nature of the physiognomy; supplying, as it were,
remedies for the evil tricks of nature. Now, my good Lord Darby gives
in to the _pique-devant_, for it is a turn that ladies love; and
doubtless you have heard his marriage spoken of--to a lady--oh! such a
beautiful lady! though I cannot remember her name; but a most
excellent lady. Your worship would not wish me to leave the
_pique-devant_; I will undertake to raise and nourish it, by a certain
ointment, communicated to me by an alchymist, in ten days. Make but
the essay, fair sir; try how it comports with the figure of your

"No, no!" cried Sir Osborne, much in the same manner as the young man
of Bagdad. "Cease your babbling, and make haste and shave me."

The operation, however, was sooner brought to a termination than in
the Arabian Nights; and being free from his chattering companion, the
knight took one or two turns in his apartment in deep thought. "So,"
said he, "this light-of-love, Lord Darby does play the poor girl
false; and, as she said, the arrow will rankle in her heart, and rob
her of every better hope. But still it is not sure. I will not believe
it. If _I_ had the love of such a creature as that, could I betray
it?" and the thought of Lady Constance de Grey darted across his mind.
"I will not believe it; there must be better assurance than a babbling
fool like this. Oh, Longpole!" he continued, as the man entered the
room, "I have waited for you. Quick! As you know London, speed to the
house of an honest Flemish merchant, William Hans; ask him if he have
received the packages from Anvers for me. Give him my true name, but
bid him be secret. Bring with you the leathern case containing
clothes, and see if he have any letters from Wales. Greet the old man
well for me, and tell him I will see him soon. Stay; I forgot to tell
you where he lives; it's near the Conduit in Gracious Street, any one
near will tell you where. William Hans is his name."

Longpole was soon gone; but, to the mind of Sir Osborne, long before
he returned. When, however, he did once more make his appearance, he
not only brought the news that all the packages which Sir Osborne
expected had arrived, but he also brought the large leathern case
containing the apparel in which the knight was wont to appear at the
court of the Duchess Regent of Burgundy, and a letter which Sir
Osborne soon perceived was from his father, Lord Fitzbernard.

Being privileged to peep over men's shoulders, we shall make no
apology for knowing somewhat of the contents of the old earl's
epistle. It conveyed in many shapes the gratifying knowledge to the
son that the father was proud of the child, together with many
exhortations, founded in parental anxiety, still carefully to conceal
his name and rank. But the most important part of the letter was a
short paragraph, wherein the earl laid his injunctions upon his son
not to think of coming to see him till he had made every effort at the
court, and their fate was fully decided. "And then, my son," continued
Lord Fitzbernard, "come hither unto me, whether the news thou bringest
be of good or bad comfort; for, of a certain, thy presence shall be of
the best comfort; and if still our enemies prevail, I will pass with
thee over sea into another land, and make my nobility in thy honour,
and find my fortune in thy high deeds."

Sir Osborne's wishes would have led him into Wales, for after five
long years of absence, he felt as it were a thirst to embrace once
more the author of his birth; but still he saw that the course which
his father pointed out was the one that prudence and wisdom dictated,
and therefore at once acquiesced. For a while he paused, meditating
over all the feelings that this letter had called up; but well knowing
that every moment of a man's life may be well employed, if he will but
seek to employ them, he cast his reveries behind him, and dressing
himself in a costume more proper to appear at the house of the Duke of
Buckingham, he commanded his armour to be carefully looked to, and
paying his score at the Tabard, departed to fulfil his noble friend's
hospitable desire, by taking up his lodging at the manor-house of the
Rose, in Saint Laurence Poultney.

Passing through Southwark, he soon arrived at London Bridge, which, as
every one knows, was then but one long street across the water, with
rich shops and houses on each side, and little intervals between,
through which the passenger's eye might catch the flowing of the
Thames, and thence only could he learn that he was passing over a
large and navigable river. The shops, it is true, were unglazed and
open, and perhaps to a modern eye might look like booths; but in that
day the whole of Europe could hardly furnish more wealth than was then
displayed on London Bridge. The long and circumstantial history given
by Stowe will save the trouble of transcribing the eleven pages which
Vonderbrugius bestows upon this subject; for though I cannot be sure
that every one has read the old chronicler's "Survey of London," yet
certainly every one may read it if they like. Passing, then, over
London Bridge, the knight and his followers took their way up Gracious
Street (now corruptly Gracechurch Street), and riding through the
heart of the city, soon arrived at the gates of the Duke of
Buckingham's magnificent mansion of the Rose. As they approached the
garden entrance, they observed a man covered with dust, as from a long
journey, dismount from his horse at the door, bearing embroidered on
his sleeve the cognizance of a swan; from which, with the rest of his
appearance, Sir Osborne concluded that he was a courier from the
duke. This supposition proved to be correct: the considerate and
liberal-minded nobleman having sent him forward to prepare the
household to receive his young _protegé_, and also for the purpose of
conveying various other orders and letters, which might tend to the
advancement of his views. But it so unfortunately had happened, the
man informed the knight, that he had been attacked on the road by four
armed men, who had taken from him his bag with the letters, and that
therefore the only thing which remained for him to do was to deliver
the verbal orders which he had received to his grace's steward, and
then to return to his lord and inform him of the circumstances as they
had occurred.

The profound respect with which he was treated very soon evinced to
Sir Osborne what those verbal orders were.

He found the retinue of a prince ready to obey his commands, and a
dwelling that in decoration, if not in size, certainly surpassed that
of the king. It was not, however, the object of the young knight to
draw upon himself those inquiries which would certainly follow any
unnecessary ostentation; nor would he have been willing, even had it
coincided with his views, to have made his appearance at the court
with so much borrowed splendour. He signified, therefore, to the
chamberlain his intention of requiring merely the attendance of the
three yeomen, who, with his own custrel, had accompanied him from
Kent; and added that, though he might occupy the apartments which had
been allotted to him when he was in London, and dine at the separate
table which, by the duke's command, was to be prepared for himself, he
should most probably spend the greater part of his time at Greenwich.

Having made these arrangements, he determined to lose no time in
proceeding to seek for Dr. Butts, the king's physician, at whose house
he had good hopes of hearing of his old tutor, Dr. Wilbraham, and of
discovering what credit was to be given to the reported marriage of
the young Earl of Darby.

Sir Osborne knew that the physician was one of those men who had made
and maintained a high reputation at the court by an honest frankness,
which, without deviating into rudeness, spared not to speak the truth
to king or peasant. He was a great well-wisher to human nature; and
feeling that if all men would be as sincere as himself, the crop of
human misery would be much less to reap, he often lost patience with
the worldlings, and flouted them with their insincerity. His character
contained many of those strange oppositions to which humanity is
subject; he was ever tender-hearted, yet often rough, and combined
in manner much bluntness with some courtesy. He was learned,
strong-minded, and keen-sighted, yet often simple as a child, and much
led away by the mad visions of the alchymists of the time.

However, as we have said, he was greatly loved and respected at the
court; and, from his character and office, was more intimately
acquainted with all the little private secrets and lies of the day
than any other person perhaps, except Sir Cesar, the astrologer, with
whom he was well acquainted, and upon whom he himself looked with no
small reverence and respect, shrewdly suspecting that in his magical
studies he had discovered the grand secret.

Towards his house, then, Sir Osborne directed his steps, taking with
him no one but a footboy of the duke's to show him the way; for as the
good physician lived so far off as Westminster, it became necessary to
have some guide to point out the shortest and most agreeable roads.
Instead of taking the highway, which, following the course of the
river, ran in nearly a straight line from London to Westminster,[7]
the boy led Sir Osborne through the beautiful fields which extended
over the ground in the neighbourhood of Lincoln's Inn, and which,
instead of being filled with smoky houses and dirty multitudes, were
then breathing nothing but sweets from the primroses and other wild
spring flowers that were rising fresh out of a rich and grateful soil.
Thence, cutting across through many a gate, and over many a stile, his
young conductor brought him out into the road just at the little milk
and curd-house in the midst of the village of Charing, from whence,
looking down the road to the left, they could see the palace, and
gardens of the bishops of Durham and York, with the magnificent abbey,
rising over some clumps of trees beyond.

Passing by York Place, where bustling menials and crowding courtiers
announced the ostentatious power of the proud prelate who there
reigned, they left the royal mansions also behind them, and entering
into some of the narrower and more intricate streets in Westminster,
soon reached a house with a small court before it, which, as the boy
informed Sir Osborne, was the dwelling of the physician.

Seeing a door open opposite, the knight entered and found himself in a
sort of scullery, where a stout servant-girl was busily engaged in
scrubbing some pots and crucibles with such assiduity, that she could
scarcely leave off even to answer his inquiry of whether her master
was at home.

"Yes, sir; yes, he is at home," replied she at length; "but he cannot
be spoken with, unless you are very bad, for he is busy in the

The knight signified that he had a great desire to speak with him; and
the girl, looking at him somewhat more attentively, said that, "if he
were from abroad, the doctor would see him she was sure, for he had a
great many foreign folks with him always."

The knight replied that, though he was not a foreigner, he certainly
had come from abroad very lately; upon which assurance the damsel
relinquished her crucible-scrubbing, and went to announce his
presence. Returning in a few minutes, she ushered him through a long
dark passage into a large low-roofed room, at the farther end of which
appeared a furnace, with the chimney carried through the ceiling, and
near it various tables covered with all sorts of strange vessels and
utensils. Round about, still nearer the door, were strewed old
mouldering books and manuscripts, huge masses of several kinds of ore,
heaps of coal and charcoal, and piles of many other matters, the
nature of which Sir Osborne could not discover by the scanty light
that found its way through two small lattice windows near the roof.

The principal curiosity in the room yet remained. Standing before the
furnace, holding in one hand a candle sweltering in the heat of the
fire, and in the other a pair of chemical tongs embracing a crucible,
was seen a stout portly man, of a rosy complexion, with a fur cap on
his head, and his body invested in a long coarse black gown, the
sleeves of which, tucked up above his elbows, exhibited a full puffed
shirt of very fine linen, much too white and clean for the occupation
in which he was busied.

"Sir, my wench tells me you are from abroad," said he, advancing a
little, and speaking quick. "From Flanders, I see, by your dress.
Pray, sir, do you come from the learned Erasmus, or from Meyerden?
However, I am glad to see you. You are an adept, I am sure; I see it
in your countenance. Behold this crucible," and he poked it so near
Sir Osborne's nose as to make him start back and sneeze violently with
the fumes. "Sir, that is a new effect," continued the doctor: "I am
sure that I have found it. It makes people sneeze. That is the hundred
and thirteenth effect I have discovered in it. Every hour, every
moment, as it concentrates, I discover new effects; so that doubtless
by the time it is perfectly concreted, it will have all powers, even
to the great effect, and change all things into gold. But let us put
that down;" and taking a paper he wrote, "_One hundred and thirteenth
effect, makes people sneeze_; violently, I think you said?
_Violently_. And now, my dear sir, what news from the great Erasmus?"

"None that I know, my good sir," answered Sir Osborne, "as I never had
the advantage of his acquaintance."

An explanation now ensued, which at last enlightened the ideas of the
worthy physician, although he had so fully possessed himself with the
fancy that the knight was an adept from Flanders, a country at that
time famous for alchymical researches, that it was some time before he
could entirely disembarrass his brain from the notion.

"Bless my soul!" cried he; "so you are the young gentleman that my
excellent good uncle Wilbraham was concerned about; and well he might
be, truly, seeing what a lover you are of the profound and noble
science. He came here yesterday to inquire for you, and finding that I
had heard nothing of you, I thought he would have gone distracted. But
tell me, fair sir, have you met with any of the famous green water of
Palliardo? Ha! I see you were not to be deceived. I procured some, and
truly, on dipping the blade of a knife therein, it appeared gilt. But
what was it? A mere solution of copper."

"You mistake, I see, still," replied the knight. "In truth, I know
nothing of the science to which you allude. I doubt not that it is one
of the most excellent and admirable inquiries in the world; but I am a
soldier, my dear sir, and have as yet made but small progress in
turning anything into gold."

"'S life! I know not how I came to think so." cried the doctor; "sure,
the servant told me so. Ho, Kitty!" and throwing open the door, he
called loudly to the woman, "Ho, Kitty! how came you to tell me the
gentleman was an adept? Zounds! I've made him sneeze. But who is that
I see in the lavery? Oh, uncle Wilbraham! Come in! come in!"

No words can express the joy of the good tutor when he beheld the
knight. He embraced him a thousand times; he shook him by the hand; he
shed tears of joy, and he made him repeat a thousand times every
particular of his escape. "The villain! the wretch!" cried he,
whenever the name of Sir Payan was mentioned; "the dissembling
hypocrite! We have had news since we left Canterbury that the _posse_,
which I obtained with great difficulty from the magistrates, when they
arrived at the manor-house, found every one in bed, but were speedily
let in, when Sir Payan sent word down, that though he was much
surprised to be so visited, being a magistrate himself, yet the
officers might search where they pleased, for that he had had no
prisoners during the day but two deer-stealers, whom he had liberated
that evening on their penitence. They searched, and found no one, and
so sent me a bitter letter this morning for putting them on the

"I am glad to hear they found no one," said the knight; "for then my
poor companion, Jekin Groby, has escaped. But, let me ask, how is Lady

"Alas! not well, my lord, not well!" answered the clergyman. "First,
the anxiety about you: in truth, she has never looked well since, not
knowing whether you were dead or alive, and having known you in her
youth. Then this sudden news, that my lord cardinal will have her
marry her noble cousin, Lord Darby, has agitated her."

The knight turned as pale as death, for feelings that had lain unknown
in the deepest recesses of his heart swelled suddenly up, and nearly
overpowered him. His love for Lady Constance de Grey had run on like a
brook in the summer time, which flows sweet, tranquil, and scarcely
perceptible, till the first rains that gather in the mountains swell
it to a torrent that sweeps away all before it. Of his own feeling he
had hitherto known nothing: he had known, he had but felt, that it was
sweet to see her, that it was sweet to think of her; but now at once,
with the certainty that she was lost to him for ever, came the
certainty that he loved her deeply, ardently, irrevocably.

"Umph!" said Dr. Butts, at once comprehending all that the changes of
the knight's complexion implied; "umph! it's a bad business."

"Nay, my good nephew, I see not that," answered the clergyman; who, a
great deal less clear-sighted than the physician, had neither seen Sir
Osborne's paleness, nor for a moment suspected his feelings: "I see
not that. 'Tis the very best marriage in the realm for both parties,
and the lady is only a little agitated from the anxiety and hurry of
the business."

"If that be all," said the doctor, "I'll soon cure her. But tell me,
why did you call him 'my lord,' just now?"

Dr. Wilbraham looked at the knight with a glance that seemed to
supplicate pardon for his inadvertence; but Sir Osborne soon relieved
him. "I am going, Dr. Butts," said he, "to ask your advice and
assistance, and therefore my secret must be told you. I ask your
advice because you know the court thoroughly, and because having, I am
afraid, lost one good means of introducing myself to his grace the
king, I would fain discover some other; and I tell you my secret,
because I am sure that it is as safe with you as with myself."

"It is," said the physician. "But if you would have me serve you well,
and to some purpose, you must tell me all. Give me no half-confidence.
Let me know everything and then if I can do you good I will; if not,
your counsel shall not be betrayed, my lord, I suppose I must say."

"You had better tell him all your history, my dear Osborne," said Dr.
Wilbraham. "He can, and I am sure will, for my sake, serve you well."

"My dear Osborne!" echoed the physician. "Then I have it! You are my
Lord Darnley, my good uncle's first pupil. Your history, my lord, you
need not tell me: that I know. But tell me your plans, and I will
serve you heart and hand, to the best of my power."

The plans of the young knight need not be again detailed here. Suffice
it that he laid them all open to the worthy physician, who, however,
shook his head. "It's a mad scheme!" said he, in his abrupt manner.
"His grace, though right royal, bountiful, and just, is often as
capricious as a young madam in the honeymoon. However, if Buckingham,
Abergany, Surrey, and such wise and noble men judge well of it, I
cannot say against it. A straw, 'tis true, will balance it one way or
t'other. However, give me to-day to think, and I will find some way of
bringing you to the king, so as to gain his good-will at first. And
now I will go to see Lady Constance de Grey."

"We will go along, good doctor!" exclaimed the tutor; "for I must be
back to speak with her, and Osborne must render her a visit to thank
her for her good wishes and endeavours in his behalf. She will be so
charmed to see him free and unhurt that 'twill make her well again."

"Will it?" said the doctor, drily. "Well, you shall give her that
medicine after I have ordered her mine. But let me have my turn first.
I ask but a quarter of an hour, then come both of you; and in the mean
time, my good learned uncle, study that beautiful amphora, and tell
me, if you can, why the ancient Greeks placed always on their tombs an
empty urn. Was it an emblem of the body, from within which the spirit
was departed, like the wine from the void amphora, leaving but the
vessel of clay to return to its native earth? Think of it till we

Thus saying, the learned physician left them, to proceed on his visit
to Lady Constance de Grey.


     Though heaven's inauspicious eye
     Lay black on love's nativity,
     Her eye a strong appeal shall give;
     Beauty smiles, and love shall live.--Crashaw.

When Dr. Butts had left them, the knight would fain have excused
himself from accompanying his old tutor on the proposed visit. He had
encountered many a danger in the "imminent deadly breach," and the
battle-field, with as light a heart as that which beats in beauty's
bosom when she thinks of sunning herself in admiring looks at the next
ball; but now his courage failed him at the thought of meeting the
person he loved best, and so much did his spirit quail, that "you
might have brained him with a lady's fan."

Dr. Wilbraham, however, pressed, and insisted so intently upon the
pleasure it would give Lady Constance to see him after his escape, and
the rudeness which might be attributed to him if he did not wait upon
her soon, that he at length consented to go; and shortly after the
physician had left them they themselves took their way towards the
dwelling of the lady. In this happy age, when choice is as free as
thought, we can hardly imagine the generous nobility of England
submitting to yield the selection of a companion for life to the
caprice of a king or of his favourite; yet such was frequently the
case in the times whereof we write; and dangerous would it have been
to have opposed the will of the despotic Henry, or his tyrant
minister, when the whim of the one, or the interest of the other, led
them to seek the union of any two families. It is true that the sad
example of Lady Arabella Stuart was not yet before their eyes; but
still, the arbitrary power of the king was well enough established to
judge of what he might do, and few would have been found bold enough
to assert their liberty of choice in opposition to his command. Nor at
that time was Wolsey's will less potent than the king's; so that, to
the mind of the young knight, the marriage of Lady Constance with Lord
Darby seemed fixed beyond recall.

There was, however, something in all that the old tutor said of her
anxiety respecting his fate, joined with a certain tenderness that he
had felt in her manner towards himself, and the words she had
inadvertently let drop respecting the fame he had acquired in
Flanders, that gave a vague but delightful feeling of hope to his
bosom; and while walking on with Dr. Wilbraham, there was still
amongst the wild confusion of his thoughts a strange sort of dreamy
plan for winning her yet: the buoyancy of youthful expectation that
would not be depressed, like a child's boat of cork, still rising
above the waves that had overwhelmed many a goodlier vessel.

"If I dared but think she loved me," thought Sir Osborne, "I should
fear nothing;" and he felt as if his single arm could conquer a world.
But then came the remembrance, that as an equivalent for her rich
lands and lordships, he had nothing, absolutely nothing! and with a
sigh he entered the house, which Wolsey had taken care to provide for
his fair ward as near his own palace as possible.

Most doors in that day standing open, Dr. Wilbraham, whose sacred
character gave him much freedom of access, took no pains to call
servant or attendant to announce them; but leading the way up the
narrow winding stairs, opened the door at the end of the flight, and
brought Sir Osborne into a large room, wherein were sitting several of
the young lady's women, occupied in various tasks of needle-work and
embroidery. One of these rose, and in silence gave them entrance to a
chamber beyond, into which the clergyman conducted his former pupil,
without even the ceremony of announcing him.

Lady Constance, at the moment, was seated somewhat listlessly on a
pile of oriental cushions, holding her arms extended, while Dr. Butts
kept his hand upon her pulse. She was dressed in white, after the mode
of the French of that day: the upper part of her robe, except the
sleeves, which were large and floating, fitting close to her figure
round the waist and shoulders, but falling back, just above the bosom,
into a beautiful standing ruff, or fraise, as the French termed it, of
fine Italian lace. The skirt of the robe was wide and loose, and,
dividing at the girdle, showed part of a satin dress beneath, as well
as the beautiful small foot and delicate ankle, which, hanging over
the edge of the cushions, indicated, fully as much as the heaviness of
her eyes, the languor of sickness and want of rest. A few yards behind
her stood her waiting-woman, who remained in the room, fully as much
in the capacity of duenna, as for the purpose of serving her mistress.

As Lady Constance did not raise her head when the door opened,
thinking that it was some of the domestics who entered, the eyes of
the waiting-maid were those that first encountered Sir Osborne; and as
she bore him no small goodwill for having given up with such alacrity
the tapestry chamber at the inn to herself and lady, immediately on
perceiving him she burst forth with a pleasurable "Oh dear!"

Lady Constance looked up, and seeing who entered, turned as red as
fire, then pale, then red again; and starting up from the cushions,
drew her hand suddenly away from Dr. Butts, advanced a step,
hesitated, and then stood still.

"Umph!" muttered the physician, "it's a bad business."

"Oh, Sir Osborne Maurice!" said the lady, her eyes sparkling with
pleasure, although she struggled hard to compose herself, to seem
disembarrassed, and to hide the busy feelings at her heart; "I am most
delighted to see you safe; for indeed I--that is, Dr. Wilbraham--began
to be very seriously alarmed; and though he told me there was no
danger, yet I saw that he was very much frightened, and--and I hope
you got away easily. Will you not take that seat?"

The young knight took the chair to which she pointed, and thanked her
for the interest and kindness she had shown towards him, with some
degree of propriety, though at first he felt his lip quiver as he
spoke; and then he fancied that his manner was too cold and
ceremonious; so, to avoid that he made it somewhat too warm and
ardent, and in the end, finding that he was going from one extreme to
the other, without ever resting at the mean, he turned to Dr. Butts,
and said with a sort of anxiety, which went thrilling to the heart of
Lady Constance, that he hoped he had not found his patient really ill.

"Indeed I did though!" answered the physician; "a great deal worse
than I had expected, and therefore I shall go directly and tell my
good lord, the reverend father cardinal, that the lady must be kept as
tranquil as possible, and as quiet."

"Nay, nay!" said Lady Constance; "I am not so ill, indeed, my good
physician; I feel better now. However, you may go to my lord cardinal
if you will; but I really am better."

"Umph!" said Dr. Butts; "now _I_ think you are worse. But tell me,
lady, why do you quit the habits of your country, to dress yourself
like a Frenchwoman?"

Lady Constance smiled. "Do you not know," said she, "that I am a
French vassal? Do you not know that all the estates that belonged to
my mother, of the Val de Marne and Boissy, are held from the French

"Go and see them, lady," said Dr. Butts; "the French air would suit
you better than the English, I've a notion; for a year or two, at

"Nay, Dr. Butts," said Sir Osborne; "why deprive England of Lady
Constance's presence? There are so few like her," he added, in an
under-voice, "that indeed we cannot spare her."

Lady Constance raised her eyes for an instant to his face: they met
his, and though it was but for a moment, that look was sufficient to
determine his future fate. A thousand such looks from Lady Katrine
Bulmer would have meant nothing, from Lady Constance de Grey that one
meant everything, and Sir Osborne's bosom beat with renewed hope.
True, the same obstacles existed as heretofore; but it mattered not
Nothing, he thought, nothing now could impede his progress; and he
would dare all, defy all, win her, or die.

Nor in truth was the heart of Lady Constancy de Grey less lightened,
although she still felt that trembling fear which a woman, perhaps,
does not wholly lose for long, long after the lips of the man she
loves have made profession of his attachment; yet still she was almost
sure that she was loved. There had been something in Darnley's manner,
in his agitation, in his anxiety about her, in his very glance, far,
far more eloquent than words; and Lady Constance's certainty that he
loved her was more, perhaps, a sensation of the heart than a
conviction of the mind: she felt that she was loved.

While these thoughts, or feelings, or what you will, were busy in the
bosom of each, a servant entered, and with much more ceremony than the
good chaplain had used to usher in the young knight, announced that
Lord Darby waited in the ante-chamber to inquire after her ladyship's

"Bid him come in," said the young lady, and in a moment after, Sir
Osborne had his rival before his eyes.

He was a slight, elegant young man, dressed with great splendour of
apparel, and possessed of that sort of calm, easy self-possession, and
gay, nonchalant bearing, that made the knight instantly conceive a
violent inclination to cut his throat.

"Good morrow, my fair cousin!" cried he, advancing: "good morrow,
gentles all; God gi'ye good morrow, Mrs. Margaret," to the waiting
woman; "what, have you been standing there ever since I left you
yesterday?" (The woman tossed her head pettishly, much to the young
lord's amusement.) "Gad! you must do like the hens, then: stand upon
one leg while you rest the other. But say, my fair cousin, how dost
thou do?"

"I am not well, my lord," replied the lady, "at least, so Dr. Butts
would fain have me believe, and he says I must have quiet; so, by your
leave, I will not have you quarrel with my woman, Margaret, as you did

"'Faith, not I," answered he; "I love her dearly, bless the mark! But
cousin, his reverend grace the cardinal commends him, by your humble
slave, to your most sublime beauty, and adviseth (that is, you know,
commandeth) that you should betake yourself, for change of air (which
means for his pleasure and purposes), to the court at Greenwich, to
which you are invited by our royal mistress and queen. And if it
seemeth fit to you (which would say, whether you like it or not) he
will have his barge prepared for you to-morrow at noon."

"Present my thanks unto the very reverend father," replied Lady
Constance, "and say that I will willingly be ready at the hour he

"Nay, if you are so sweetly obedient to all his commands," said Lord
Darby, more seriously, "'faith, Constance, our plan of yesterday will
fall to the ground; for I cannot be rude enough to take it all on
myself." Then darting off into a thousand other subjects, the young
peer laughed, and spoke with light facility of various indifferent
matters, while Dr. Butts looked on, keenly observing all that passed;
and Sir Osborne bent his eyes sternly upon the ground, biting his lip
and playing with the hilt of his sword, more irritated, perhaps, with
the confident gaiety of his rival than he would have been with a more
serious and enthusiastic passion, and certainly not appearing to
advantage where he wished most to please.

"That sword, I think, must be of Spanish mounting," said Lord Darby,
at length turning calmly towards the knight.

"Sir!" replied Sir Osborne, raising his eyes to his face.

"I asked whether that sword was not mounted in Spain, sir knight?"
said Lord Darby, quietly. "Will you let me look at it?" and he held
out his hand.

"I am not in the habit, my lord," replied Sir Osborne, "of giving my
weapon out of my own hands; but in answer to your question, it was
mounted in Spain."

"I never steal folk's swords!" said the peer, with the same
imperturbably nonchalant air; and then turning to Dr. Wilbraham, he
went on: "Dear Dr. Wilbraham, do let me see that book you talked of
yesterday; for as you go to Greenwich to-morrow, I shall never behold
any of you again, I am sure."

The good chaplain, who had remained silent ever since he had been in
the room, not at all understanding what was the matter between Lady
Constance and the young knight, although he evidently saw that they
had from the first been both agitated and embarrassed, now rose, and
went to search for the book which Lord Darby required, very willing to
get away from a scene he did not in the least comprehend. To make way
for him, however, Sir Osborne raised his cap and plume, which had
hitherto lain beside him; and as he did so, the sapphire ring that had
been given him by Lady Katrina Bulmer met the eye of Lord Darby, and
instantly produced a change in his whole demeanour. His cheek burned,
his eye flashed, and, starting upon his feet, he seemed as if he would
have crossed over towards Sir Osborne; but then recovering himself, he
relapsed into his former somewhat drawling manner, took leave of Lady
Constance, and, without waiting for Dr. Wilbraham's return, left the
apartment. A moment after, the physician also rose, in his usual,
quick, precipitate manner, saying that he must depart.

"But, doctor! doctor!" cried Mrs. Margaret, the waiting-woman, seeing
him proceeding towards the door, "you have not told me how I am to
manage my mistress."

"I can't stop! I can't stop!" said the physician, still walking on out
of the room. "What is it! What is it?"

"Nay, but, doctor, you must tell me!" cried she, running after him.
"Indeed, I shall not know what to do with my lady." Still the doctor
walked on, giving her, however, some necessary directions as he went,
and Mrs. Margaret following for a moment, left the two lovers alone.

Darnley felt that it was one of those precious instants which, once
lost, rarely if ever return; but an irresistible feeling of anxiety
tied his tongue, and he could but gaze at Lady Constance with a look
that seemed to plead for pardon, even for what he felt. The fair girl
trembled in every limb; and as if she knew all that was passing in his
mind, dared not look up but for a single glance, as she heard the last
words hang on the physician's lip, as he began to descend the stairs.

Darnley raised the glove that lay beside her. "May I--may I have it?"
said he.

"Oh, Darnley!" she replied; and happy almost to delirium, he placed
the glove in his bosom, and pressed an ardent kiss upon her hand.

"Go!" cried she; "for heaven's sake, go if you love me! We shall meet
again soon."

The knight obeyed, almost as agitated as herself; and passing out of
the room just as Mrs. Margaret entered, he followed Dr. Butts, whose
steps he heard descending the stairs before him.


   Tybalt.--Gentlemen, good den; a word with one of you.

   Mercutio.--And but one word with one of us? Couple it with
      something; make it a word and a blow.

   Tybalt.--You shall find me apt enough to that, sir, if you give
      me occasion.
                                        _Romeo and Juliet_.

Scarcely knowing what he did, Sir Osborne sprang after Dr. Butts, and
walked on with him for a minute or two in silence, while his brain
turned, and all his thoughts and feelings whirled in inextricable

"Ah!" muttered the physician to himself, seeing the absent agitated
air of his young companion; "ah! you've been making a fool of
yourself, I see, though you've not had much time either."

The murmuring of the good doctor, however, did not disturb in the
least the young knight's reverie, which might have lasted an
indefinite space of time, had he not been roused therefrom by a smart
tap on the shoulder. Laying his hand upon his sword, he turned
suddenly round, and beheld Lord Darby, who, seeing him grasp the hilt
of his weapon, pointed to it coolly, saying, "Not here, sir, not here;
but anywhere else you please."

"What would you with me, sir?" demanded the knight, not exactly
understanding his object, though quite ready to quarrel upon any
provocation that might occur.

"But a trifle," replied the earl. "You looked at me some five minutes
past as if I had offended you in something. Now, that being the case,
I am ready to make reparation at the sword's point when and where it
may suit your convenience."

"But, my good lord," said Dr. Butts, who had turned back, "this is a
mistake. How can you have offended this good knight, who never saw you
till to-day?"

"Oh, the problem! the problem, my good doctor," replied Lord Darby.
"Why does a farmer's cur bark at a beggar, and let a ruffling gallant
swagger by? Perchance the knight may not like my countenance; my
complexion, my nose, may not please him; my mouth, the cut of my

"Faith! neither one nor the other pleases me particularly," answered
Sir Osborne. "At all events, my lord, if your wish be to quarrel with
me, I will not balk your humour. So say your will, and have it."

"Oh! if that be the case," said Lord Darby, "and you'd rather be
quarrelled with than quarrel, the offence shall come on my part. Fair
sir, I dislike that scar upon your brow so much that I shall not be
content till I make its fellow on your heart; therefore, when your
good humour serves to give me an opportunity of tilting at your nose,
you will find me your very humble servant."

"Nay, now, my lord!" cried Dr. Butts, "I must witness that you have
given the provocation; for under any other circumstances, this
gentleman is so situated that 'twould be mere madness to meet you as
you wish."

"If it be provocation he desires," cried the earl, "he shall have a
dish of it, so cooked as to serve an emperor. He is a gentleman, I
suppose, and worth a gentleman's sword?"

"Your equal in every respect, and your better in many," replied the
knight. "And in regard to provocation, I have had as much, my lord, as
your body may well bear in repayment. How do you choose to fight?"

"Quietly! quietly!" answered the earl. "A few inches of tough steel
are as good as a waggon load. A double-edged sword, sir, such as we
both wear, may serve our turn, I should suppose; and as it may be
unpleasant to both of us to make the monster multitude busy with our
little affair, we will be single, hand to hand. I do detest the habit
of making the satisfaction of private wrongs the public amusement.
We'll have no crowd, sir, to look on and criticise our passados, as if
we were gladiators on a stage. Where shall it be?"

"Why, faith, my lord!" answered the knight, "as I am a mere stranger
here, I know but of one place. The gardens of my Lord of Buckingham,
at the Rose, are large; and I remarked this morning a grove, where
there must be good space and quiet. If, therefore, you will inquire
for me at his grace's dwelling this evening, at four of the clock, you
will find me prepared to receive you."

Lord Darby waved his hand for his page to come up, who stood
chattering with the foot-boy that had accompanied the knight, and
taking from him a case of tablets, he wrote down the name of Sir
Osborne, and the place and hour he had appointed. "And now, fair sir,"
said he, "I will leave you. I shall not miss my hour. Good doctor,
your profession has doubtless taught you secrecy, and so farewell!"

So saying, Lord Darby walked away, leaving Sir Osborne with Dr. Butts.
"Ah!" cried the physician, "a bad business! a bad business! Yet it
cannot be helped; if two people will fall in love with the same woman,
what can be done? But it's a bad business for you. If he kills you,
why that is not pleasant; and if you kill him, you must fly your
country. A bad business! a bad business! But fare ye well! Don't kill
him if you can help it; for he's not bad, as times go; wound him
badly, then it may be mended. Fare ye well! fare ye well!" and turning
away he left Sir Osborne, not appearing to take much heed of the
approaching duel, though in reality deeply occupied with the means of
preventing it, without betraying the trust that had been reposed in

Sir Osborne was not displeased to be left to his own meditations; and
plunged in thought, he followed his young guide down a narrow lane,
running between the gardens of York and Durham Houses. "I thought,
sir, you might like to take boat," said the boy, who was himself
completely wearied out with waiting for the knight, "and so brought
your worship down here, where there is always a boatman. 'Twill save
three miles, your worship."

Sir Osborne signified his assent, and the boat being procured, he was
soon after landed within a short distance of St. Lawrence Poulteney,
where he was received with great respect by the duke's household, and
formally marshalled to his apartment. Two hours still remained to the
time of rendezvous, which he spent in writing to his father; never
thinking, however, of alluding to his approaching rencontre; for in
truth, though not vain either of his skill or strength, he had enjoyed
so many opportunities of proving both, that he well knew it must be a
strong and dexterous man indeed, who would not lie greatly at his
mercy in such an encounter as that which was to ensue.

In the mean while, Lord Darby, carried away by passion, thought of
nothing but his approaching meeting; and though he looked upon Sir
Osborne as some knight attached to the Duke of Buckingham, he was very
willing to pass over any little difference of rank for the sake of
gratifying the angry feelings by which he was possessed. He was,
however, very greatly surprised, when on presenting himself, towards
four o'clock, at the manor-house of the Rose, he found that the same
attendance and respect waited Sir Osborne Maurice, a man he never even
heard of, as he had seen paid to the Duke of Buckingham himself. Two
servants marshalled the way to the knight's apartments, one ran on
before to announce him; and with a deference and attention which
evidently did not proceed from his own rank, for he had not given his
name, but rather, apparently, from the station of the person whom he
went to visit, he was ushered into the splendid apartments which had
been assigned to the knight.

Sir Osborne rose from the table where he had been writing, and with
graceful but frigid courtesy, invited him to be seated, which was
complied with by the earl, till such time as the servants were gone.

"Now my lord," said Sir Osborne, as soon as the door was shut, "I am
at your service; I will finish my writing at my return. Will you
examine my sword, 'tis apparently somewhat longer than yours, but here
is one that is shorter. Now, sir."

"That is shorter than mine," said Lord Darby. "Have you not another?"

"Not here," replied the knight; "but this will do, if you are
satisfied that it is not longer than your own. By this passage we
shall find our way to the garden privately, as I am informed. Pardon
me, if I lead the way."

Lord Darby followed in silence, perhaps not quite so contented with
the business in which he had engaged as when he undertook it. There
was a sort of calm determination in Sir Osborne's manner, that had
something in it very unpleasantly impressive, and the young peer began
to think it would have been better to have sought some explanation ere
he had hurried himself into circumstances of what might be unnecessary
danger. However, he felt that it was now too late to make any advance
towards such a measure; and there, too, in the knight's cap, still
stood the identical large sapphire ring, which, if he might believe
his eyes, he had seen a thousand times on the hand of his promised
wife. The sight, thereof, served marvellously well to stir up his
anger; and striding on, he kept equal pace with Sir Osborne down the
long alley which led from the house into a deep grove near the side of
the river. The knight paused at a spot where the trees concealed them
from the view of the house, and opening out into a small amphitheatre,
gave full space for the deadly exercise in which they were about to be

"Now, Lord Darby," said he, drawing his sword, and throwing down the
scabbard before him, "you see me as I stand; and as a knight and a
gentleman, I have no other arms, offensive or defensive, but this
sword, so help me God!"

"And so say I," replied Lord Darby, "upon my honour;" and following
the knight's example, he drew his sword, cast the sheath away from
him, and brought his blade across that of his adversary.

"Madmen! what are ye about to do?" cried a stern voice from the wood.
"Put up, put up!" and the moment after, the diminutive form of Sir
Cesar the astrologer stood directly between them. "What devil," he
continued, parting their drawn swords with his bare hands; "what devil
has tempted ye--ye, of all other men, destined to bring about each
others' happiness--what devil, I say, has tempted ye to point these
idle weapons at each other's life?"

"Sir Cesar," said Lord Darby, "I am well aware that you possess the
means of seeing into the future by some method, for which scurrilous
people hint that you are likely to be damned pretty heartily in the
next world; so you are just the person to settle our dispute. But tell
us, which it is of us two that is destined to slay the other, and then
the one who is doomed to taste cold iron this day will have nothing to
do but offer his throat, for depend upon it, only one will leave this
spot alive."

"Talk not so lightly of death, young lord," replied the old man, "for
'tis a bitter and unsavoury cup to drink, as thou shalt find when thy
brain swims, and thy heart grows sick, and thine eye loses its light,
and thy parting spirit reels upon the brink of a dim and shadowy
world. But I tell thee that both shall leave this spot alive; though
if any one remained upon this sward, full surely it were thyself; for
thou art as much fitted to cope with him as the sapling with the
thunderbolt of heaven. But listen, each of you, I adjure you: state
what you demand of the other; and if, after all, ye be still bent upon
blood, blood ye shall have. But full sure am I that now neither fool
knows what the other seeks."

Both the antagonists stood silent, gazing first on each other, and
then on Sir Cesar, as if they knew not what to reply, and both feeling
that there might be some truth in what the old man advanced. At
length, however, Lord Darby broke forth, "God's life, what he says is
true! Sir Osborne Maurice, what do you seek of me?"

"Speak! speak!" cried Sir Cesar, turning to the knight, who seemed to
hesitate; "speak, if the generous blood of a thousand noble ancestors
be still warm in your veins! Be candid, and charge him like a man."

Sir Osborne's cheek burned. "The quarrel is of his own seeking," said
he, "and what I have to say, I know not how to speak, without
violating the confidence of a lady, which cannot be."

"Then I will speak for you," said Sir Cesar. "Lord Darby he demands
that you shall yield all claim and all pursuit of Lady Constance de
Grey. This is his demand; now for yours. Oh! if I am deceived in you,
woe to you and yours for ever!"

"I can scarcely suppose," replied the earl, with bitter emphasis,
"that such be this knight's demand, when I see the ring of another
lady borne openly in his bonnet; a lady that shall never be his, so
long as one drop of blood flows in my veins."

"This ring, my lord," replied Sir Osborne, taking it from the plume of
his hat, "was only trusted with me as a deposit to transmit to the
person to whom it originally belonged, claiming his advice for a lady,
whose affianced lover was, as report said, about to wed another; Sir
Cesar, I give it unto you for whom it was intended."

"Faith, I have been in the wrong!" cried Lord Darby, extending his
hand frankly to Sir Osborne. "In the first place, pardon me, sir
knight, for having insulted you; and next, let me say, that in regard
to Lady Constance de Grey, I have no claim but that of kindred upon
her affection, and none upon her hand. Farther, if you can show that
your rank entitles you to such alliance, none will be happier than
myself to aid you in your suit. Though, let me observe, without
meaning offence, that the name of Sir Osborne Maurice is unknown to
me, except as connected with the history of the last reign. And now,
sir, having said thus much, doubtless you will explain to me how that
ring came into your possession, and by what motives Lady Katrine
Bulmer could be induced to confide her most private affairs to a
gentleman who can be but an acquaintance of a month."

"Most willingly," replied the knight; and after detailing to Lord
Darby the circumstances which we already know, he added: "The letter
of which I speak is still in my possession, and if you will return
with me to the house, I will deliver it to you, as I cannot doubt,
from what you say, that the report of a marriage being in agitation
between yourself and Lady Constance de Grey originated in some

"Faith, not a whit!" cried the earl; "the report is unhappily too
true. The lord cardinal, whom we all know to be one degree greater
than the greatest man in England, has laid his commands upon me to
marry my cousin Constance, although both my heart and my honour are
plighted to another, and has equally ordered my cousin to wed me,
although her heart be, very like, fully as much given away as mine.
However, never supposing we could think of disobeying, he has already
sent to Rome for all those permissions and indulgences which are
necessary for first cousins in such cases; and on my merely hinting in
a sweet and dutiful manner, that it might be better to see first
whether it pleased the lady, he replied, meekly, that it pleased him,
and that it pleased the king, which was quite enough both for her and

This information did not convey the most pleasing sensations to Sir
Osborne's heart, and in a moment there flashed through his mind a
thousand vague but evil auguries. Danger to Constance herself, the
ruin of his father's hopes, the final destruction of his house and
family, and all the train of sorrows and of evils that might follow,
if Wolsey were to discover his rash love, hurried before his eyes like
the thronging phantoms of a painful dream, and clouded his brow with a
deep shade of thoughtful melancholy.

"Fear not, Osborne Darnley," said Sir Cesar, seeing the gloomy look of
the young knight. "This cardinal is great, but there is one greater
than he, who beholds his pride, and shall break him like a reed. Nor
in this thing shall his will be obeyed. Believe what I say to you, for
it is true; I warned you once of coming dangers, and you doubted me;
but the evils I foresaw fell upon your head. Doubt me not then now;
but still I see fear sits upon your eyelids. Come, then, both of you
with me, for in this both your destinies are linked for a time
together. Spend with me one hour this night, and I will show you that
which shall ease your hearts," and he turned towards the house,
beckoning them to follow.

"I suppose, then, your lordship is satisfied," said Sir Osborne,
taking up the scabbard of his sword, and replacing it with the weapon
in his belt, as the astrologer moved away.

"I should be more satisfied," said Lord Darby, laying his hand on the
knight's arm with a frank smile, "if you would confide in me. Indeed,
I have no title to pry into your secrets," he added, "nor in those of
Constance either, though I think she might have told me of this
yesterday, when I made her a partaker of all mine. However, I cannot
believe that the profound reverence in which all the duke's servants
seem to hold you, can be excited by the unknown Sir Osborne Maurice.
Besides, Sir Cesar called you but now Osborne Darnley. Can it be that
I am speaking to the Lord Darnley, who from his feats at the court of
the princess dowager, goes amongst us by the surname of the Knight of

"I shall not deny my name, Lord Darby," replied the knight. "I am, as
you say, Lord Darnley; but as this has fallen into your knowledge by
mere accident, I shall hold you bound in honour to forget it."

"Nay!" replied the earl. "I shall remember it--to render you, if
possible, all service. But come, Darnley, as by a mistake we began
bitter enemies, now let us end dear friends. I can aid you much, you
can aid me much, and between us both surely we shall be able to break
the trammels with which the cardinal enthrals us. We will put four
young heads against one old one, and the world to nothing we shall

There was a frankness in Lord Darby's manner that it was impossible to
resist, and taking the hand he tendered him, the young adventurer met
his offered friendship with equal candour. With the openness natural
to youth, the plans of each were soon told, the sooner, indeed, that
their future prospects and endeavours so greatly depended for success
upon their sincere co-operation, and thus they sauntered back to the
house, with very different feelings from those with which they had
left it. Before they had arrived at the steps of the door, they had
run through a thousand details, and were as much prepared to act
together as if their acquaintance had been of many years' duration. No
sooner did the young earl hear that his new friend had not yet been
introduced to the king, than he at once proposed to be the person to
do it, offering to call for him in his barge the next day but one, and
convey him to the court at Greenwich, where he undertook to procure
him a good reception.

"It may be difficult," he said, "to find private audience of those two
persons whom we both feel most anxious to meet. Dame Fortune, however,
may befriend us; but we must be cautious even to an excess, for Wolsey
has eyes that see where he is not present, and ears that hear over
half the realm, and the first step to make our plans successful,
depend upon it, is to conceal them. But, lo! where Sir Cesar stands at
the window of the hall. Now, in the name of fortune, where will he
lead us to-night? 'Tis strange that there should be men so gifted with
rare qualities as to see into the deepest secrets of nature, to view
things that to others are concealed, and yet seemingly to profit
little by their knowledge; for never did I meet or hear of one of
these astrologers that were either happier or more fortunate than
other men. And yet, what were the good to Sir Cesar to boast a
knowledge that he did not possess? For he seeks no reward, will accept
of no recompense, and hourly exposes what he says to contradiction if
it be not true. But doubtless it _is_ true, for every day gives proofs
thereof. That man is a riddle, which would have gained the Sphynx a
good dinner off [OE]dipus. You seem to know him well, but I dare say
know no more of him than any one else does; for no one that I ever met
knows who he is, nor where he comes from, nor where he goes to; and
yet he is well received everywhere, courted, ay, and even loved, for
he is beneficent, charitable, and humane; is rich, though it is
unknown whence his wealth arises, and possesses wonderful knowledge,
though, I fear me, wickedly acquired. I have heard that those poor
wretches who have mastered forbidden secrets often strive to repair,
by every good deed, the evil that their presumptuous curiosity has
done to their own souls: God knows how it is. But come, let us join
him. The information we gain from him, at all events, is sure."

Entering the manor-house, they passed on into the hall, where they
found Sir Cesar buried in deep thought; and while the young knight
proceeded to his own apartments, to procure the letter which Lady
Katrine Bulmer had entrusted to him, the Earl of Darby approached the
old knight with that sort of constitutional gaiety which, like a
spoiled servant, would very often play the master with its lord.
"Well, Sir Cesar," cried he, "where are your thoughts roaming? In the
world above, or the world below?"

"Farther in heaven than you will ever be," replied the old man.

"Nay, then," continued the earl, "as you can tell everything, past,
present, and to come, could you divine what we were talking of but now
in the gardens?"

"At first you were talking of what did concern yourselves, and
afterwards of what did _not_ concern you," answered the knight.

"Magic, by my faith!" cried the earl; "and in truth, your coming just
in the nick of time, as folks have it, to save us from slicing each
other's throats, must have had a spice of magic in it too."

"If one used magic for so weak a purpose as that of saving an empty
head like thine," replied the knight, "it would be worthy the jest
with which you treat it. Fools and children attribute everything to
magic that they do not comprehend; but, however, my coming here had
none. Was it not easy for one friend to tell another that he had heard
two mad young men name a place to slaughter each other, they knew not
for what? But here comes thy companion. Read thy letter, and then come
with me; for the light is waning, and the hour comes on when I can
show ye both some part at least of your destiny."

Lord Darby eagerly cut the silk which fastened Lady Katrine's letter,
and read it with that air of intense earnestness which can never be
put on, and which would have removed from the mind of Sir Osborne any
doubt of the young earl's feelings, even if he had still continued to
entertain such. This being done, they prepared to accompany Sir Cesar,
who insisted that not even a page should follow them; and accordingly
Lord Darby's attendant was ordered to remain behind and wait his
lord's return.

Passing, then, out into the street, they soon found themselves in the
most crowded part of the city of London, which was at that time of the
evening filled with the various classes of mechanics, clerks, and
artists, returning to their homes from their diurnal toil. Gliding
through the midst of them, Sir Cesar passed on, not in the least
heeding the remarks which his diminutive size and singular apparel
called forth, though Lord Darby did not seem particularly to relish a
promenade through the city with such a companion, and very possibly
might have left Sir Osborne to proceed alone if he liked it, had not
that strong curiosity which we all experience to read into the future
carried him on to the end.

Darkness now began to fall upon their path, and still the old man led
them forward through a thousand dark and intricate turnings, till at
length, in what appeared to be a narrow lane, the houses of which
approached so closely together, that it would have been an easy leap
from the windows on one side of the way into those of the other, the
old knight stopped and struck three strokes with the hilt of his
dagger upon a door on the left hand.

It was opened almost immediately by a tall meagre man, holding in his
hand a small silver lamp, which he applied close to the face of Sir
Cesar before he would permit any one to pass. "Il maestro," cried he,
as soon as he saw the dark small features of the astrologer, making
him at the same time a profound inclination, "entra, dottissimo!
Benvenuto, benvenuto sia!"

Sir Cesar replied in an under tone, and taking the lamp from the
Italian, motioned Sir Osborne and the earl to follow. The staircase up
which he conducted them was excessively small, narrow, and winding,
bespeaking one of the meanest houses in the city; and what still more
excited their surprise, they mounted near forty steps without
perceiving any door or outlet whatever, except where a blast of cold
air through a sort of loophole in the wall announced their proximity
to the street.

At length the astrologer stopped opposite a door only large enough to
admit the passage of one person at a time, through which he led the
way, when to the astonishment of both Sir Osborne and the earl, they
found themselves in a magnificent oblong apartment, nearly forty feet
in length, and rather more than twenty in breadth. On each side were
ranged tables and stands, covered with various specimens of ancient
art, which, rare in any age, were then a thousand times more scarce
than they are now.

Although the taking of Constantinople, about seventy years before, by
driving many of the Greeks amongst whom elegance and science long
lingered, into other countries, had revived already, in some degree,
the taste for the arts of painting and sculpture, still few, very few,
even of the princes of Europe, could boast such beautiful specimens as
those which that chamber contained.

Here stood a statue, there an urn; on one table was an alabaster
capital of exquisite workmanship, on another a bas-relief whose
figures seemed struggling from the stone; medals, and gems, and
specimens of curious ores, were mingled with the rest; and many a
book, written in strange and unknown characters, lay open before their
eyes. There, too, were various instruments of curious shape and
device, whose purpose they could not even guess; while here frowned a
man in armour, there grinned a skeleton; and there, swathed in its
historic bands, stood an Egyptian mummy, resting its mouldering and
shapeless head against the feet of a figure, in which some long-dead
artist had laboured skilfully to display all the exquisite lines of
female loveliness.

To observe all this the two young men had full opportunity, while Sir
Cesar proceeded forward, stopping between each table, and bringing the
flame of the lamp he carried in contact with six others, which stood
upon a row of ancient bronze tripods ranged along the side of the
hall. At the end of the room hung a large black curtain, on each side
of which was a clock of very curious manufacture; the one showing,
apparently, the year, the day, the hour, and the minute; and the other
exposing a figure of the zodiac, round which moved a multitude of
strange hieroglyphic signs, some so rapidly that the eye could
scarcely distinguish their course, some so slow that their motion was
hardly to be discerned.

As Sir Osborne and Lord Darby approached, Sir Cesar drew back the
curtain, and exposed to their sight an immense mirror, in which they
could clearly distinguish their own figures, and that of the
astrologer, reflected at full length.[9] "Mark!" said Sir Cesar, "and
from what you shall see, draw your own inference. But question me not:
for I vowed when I received that precious gift, which is now before
you, never to make one comment upon what it displayed. Mark! and when
you have seen, leave me."

"But I see nothing," said Sir Osborne, "except my own reflection in
the glass."

"Patience, patience. Impetuous spirit," cried the old man. "Will a
hundred lives never teach thee calmness? Look to the mirror!"

Sir Osborne turned his eyes to the glass, but still nothing new met
his view; and after gazing for a minute or two, he suffered his glance
to wander to the clock by his side, which now struck eight with a
clear, sweet, musical sound.

At that moment Lord Darby laid his hand on his arm. "God's my life!"
cried he, "we are vanishing away. Look, look!"

Sir Osborne turned to the glass, and beheld the three figures he had
before seen plain and distinctly, now growing dimmer and more dim. He
could scarcely believe his sight, and passing his hand before his
eyes, he strove, as it were, to cure them of the delusion. When he
looked again, all was gone, and the mirror offered nothing but a dark
shining blank. Presently, however, a confusion of thin and misty
figures seemed to pass over the glass, and a light appeared to spring
up within itself: gradually the objects took a more substantial form;
the interior of the mirror assumed the appearance of a smaller chamber
than that which they were in, lighted by a lattice window, and in the
centre was seen a female figure leaning in a pensive attitude on a
table. Sir Osborne thought it was like Lady Katrine Bulmer, but the
light coming from behind cast her features into shadow. The moment
after, however, a door of the chamber seemed to open, and he could
plainly distinguish a figure, resembling that of Lord Darby, enter,
and clasp her in his arms, with a semblance of joy so naturally
portrayed, that it was hardly possible to suppose it unreal.

While he yet gazed, the outlines of the figures began to grow confused
and indistinct, and various ill-defined forms floated over the glass.
Gradually, however, they again assumed shape and feature; the mirror
represented a princely hall hung with cloth of gold, and a thousand
gay and splendid figures ranged themselves round the scene. Princes,
and prelates, and warriors, moved before their eyes, as if 'twas all
in life. There might be seen the slight significant look, the animated
gesture, the whisper apart, the stoop of age; the high erect carriage
of knight and noble, and the graceful motion of youth and beauty.

"By heavens!" cried Lord Darby, "there is the Earl of Devonshire, and
the Duke of Suffolk, and the Princess Mary. It is the court of
England! But no! Who are all these?"

Gradually the crowd opened, and two persons appeared, whose apparel,
demeanour, and glance, bespoke them royal.

"Henry himself, as I live!" cried Lord Darby.

"Which? which?" demanded Sir Osborne.

"The one to the right," answered the earl; "the other I know not."

It was the other, however, who advanced, leading forward by the hand a
knight, in whom Sir Osborne might easily distinguish the simulacre of
himself. The prince, whoever he was, seemed to speak, and a lady came
forth from the rest. By the graceful motion, by the timid look, by the
rich light brown hair, as well as by all a lover's feelings, Sir
Osborne could not doubt that it was Constance de Grey. The monarch
took her hand; placed it in that of the knight; the figures grew dim
and the glass misty; but gradually clearing away, it resumed its
original effect, and reflected the hall in which they were, their own
forms standing before the mirror, and the old man, Sir Cesar, sitting
on the ground, with his hands pressed over his eyes. The moment they
turned round, he started up.

"It is done!" cried he; "so now, begone! We shall meet again soon;"
and putting his finger to his lip, as if requiring silence, he led
them out of the hall, and down the stairs, signed them with the cross,
and left them.


                      There grows
     In my most ill-composed affection
     A quenchless avarice, that were I king
     I should cut off the nobles for their lands.--Macbeth.

Oh, the man in the moon! the man in the moon! What a prodigious
sackful of good resolutions you must have, all broken through the
middle. First, there are all sorts of resolutions of amendment, of
every kind and description, except the resolution of a carter to amend
his draught, or that of a gourmand whose appetite fails to drink
Chateau Margaux instead of Lafitte. All, except these, my dear sir,
you clutch by handfuls; and then you get all the resolutions of women
of five-and-thirty never to marry whenever the opportunity happens;
the resolutions of many young heirs not to be taken in, and of young
coquettes not to go too far; of old gentlemen to look young, and of
vulgar men to hold their tongues. Though I see, my dear sir, that your
bag be almost bursting, yet I must trouble you with one more.

I had determined, as I hinted in a former chapter, never to quit my
hero and go vagabondising about in my history from one part to the
other, like a gipsy or a pedlar; but, on the contrary, to proceed in a
quiet, respectable, straightforward manner, telling his story, and
nobody else's story but his; but it is this individual resolution that
I am now under the necessity of foregoing, for it is absolutely
necessary, that I should return to what took place at the mansion of
the Duke of Buckingham, in Kent, even if I should risk the breaking of
my neck, as well as my resolution, in scampering back again

Early in the morning of the day after that on which Sir Osborne had
left the manor-house to proceed to the Benedictine Abbey, near
Canterbury, Sir Payan Wileton, with a large suite, rode up to the
gates, and demanded an audience of the duke, which was immediately
granted. As the chamberlain marshalled him the way to the duke's
closet, the knight caught a glance of the old man, Sir Cesar, passing
out, from which he argued favourably for his purposes; doubting not
that the discourse of the astrologer had raised the ambition and
vanity of the duke, and fitted him to second the schemes with which he
proposed to tempt him.

When the knight entered, the princely Buckingham was seated, and with
that cold dignity which he knew well how to assume, he motioned his
visiter to a chair, without, however, deigning to rise.

"He thinks himself already king," thought Sir Payan. "Well, his pride
must be humoured. My lord duke," he said, after a few preliminary
words on both parts, "I come to tender your grace my best service, and
to beg you to believe, that should ever the occasion offer, you shall
find me ready at your disposal, with heart and hand, fortune and

"And what is it that Sir Payan Wileton would claim as his reward for
such zealous doings?" demanded the duke, eyeing him coolly. "Sir
Payan's wisdom is too well known to suppose that he would venture so
much without proportionate reward."

"But your grace's favour," replied the knight, somewhat astonished at
the manner in which his offers were received.

"Nay, nay, Sir Payan!" replied the duke; "speak plainly. What is it
you would have? Upon what rich lordship have you cast your eyes? Whose
fair estate has excited your appetite? Is there any new Chilham Castle
to be had?"

"In truth, I know not well what your grace means," answered the
knight, "though I can see that some villain behind my back has been
blackening my character in your fair opinion. I came here frankly to
tender you, of my own free will, services that you once hinted might
be acceptable. Men who would climb high, my lord duke, must make their
first steps firm."

"True, true, sir knight," replied the duke, moderating the acerbity of
his manner; "but how can I rise higher than I am? Perhaps, indeed, my
pride may soar too high a pitch, when I fancy that in this realm, next
to his grace the king, my head stands highest."

"True," said Sir Payan; "but I have heard a prophecy, that your
grace's head should be of all the highest without any weakening
qualification next to any man's. His grace King Henry may die, and I
have myself known the Duke of Buckingham declare, that there were
shrewd doubts whether the king's marriage with his brother's wife were
so far valid as to give an heir to the English crown. Kings may die,
too, of the sharp sword and the keen dagger. Such being the case, and
the king dying without heirs male, who will stand so near the throne
as the Duke of Buckingham? Who has so much the people's love? Who may
command so many of the most expert and powerful men in England?"

The duke paused and thought. He was "not without ambition, though he
was without the illness that should accompany it." No one did he more
thoroughly abhor than Sir Payan Wileton; and, yet rich, powerful,
unscrupulous, full of politic wile and daring stratagem, Sir Payan was
a man who might serve him essentially as a friend, might injure him
deeply as an enemy; and he was, moreover, one that must be treated as
one or the other, must be either courted or defied. While a thousand
thoughts of this kind passed through the mind of the duke, and
connecting themselves with others, wandered far on the wild and
uncertain tract that his ambition presented to his view, while the
passion by which angels fell was combating in his bosom with duty,
loyalty, and friendship, the eye of Sir Payan Wileton glanced from
time to time towards his face, watching and calculating the emotions
of his mind, with that degree of certainty which long observation of
the passions and weakness of human nature had bestowed. At length he
saw the countenance of the duke lighted up with a triumphant smile,
while, fixing his eyes upon the figure of an old king in the tapestry,
he seemed busily engaged in anticipations of the future. "He has them
now," thought Sir Payan, "the crown, the sceptre, and the ball. Well,
let him enjoy his golden dream;" and dropping his eyes on the table,
he gathered the addresses of the various letters which Buckingham had
apparently been writing: "_The Earl of Devonshire_"--"_The Lord
Dacre_"--"_Sir John Morton_"--"_The Earl of Fitzbernard, to be
rendered to the hands of Sir Osborne Maurice_"--"_The Prior of

"Ha!" thought the knight, "Lord Fitzbernard! Sir Osborne Maurice! So,
so! I have the train. Take heed, Buckingham! take heed, or you fall;"
and he raised his eyes once more to the countenance of the duke, whose
look was now fixed full upon him.

"Sir Payan Wileton," said Buckingham, "we have both been meditating,
and perhaps our meditations have arrived at the same conclusion."

"I hope, my lord duke," answered Sir Payan, returning to the former
subject of conversation, "that your grace finds that I _may_ be of
service to you."

"Not in the least," replied the duke, sternly; for it had so happened
that his eyes had fallen upon Sir Payan just at the moment that the
knight was furtively perusing the address of the letter to Lord
Fitzbernard, and the combinations thus produced in the mind of the
noble Buckingham had not been very much in favour of Sir Payan: "not
in the least, Sir Payan Wileton. Let me tell you, sir, that you must
render back Chilham Castle to its lord; you must reverse all the evil
that you have done and attempted towards his son; you must abandon
such foul schemes, and cancel all the acts of twenty years of your
life, before you be such a man as may act with Buckingham."

"My lord duke! my lord duke!" cried Sir Payan, "this is too much to
bear. Your pride, haughty peer, has made you mad, but your pride shall
have a fall. Beware of yourself, Duke of Buckingham, for no one shall
ever say that he offended Sir Payan Wileton unscathed. Know you that
you are in my power?"

"In thine, insect!" cried the duke. "But begone! you move me too far.
Ho! without there! Begone, I say, or Buckingham may forget himself!"

"He shall not forget me," said Sir Payan. "Mark me, lord duke: you
wisely deem, that because you have not shown me your daring schemes in
your hand-writing, you are safe, but you have yet to know Sir Payan
Wileton. We shall see, lord duke! we shall see! So, farewell!" and
turning on his heel, he left the duke's closet, called for his horse,
and in a few minutes was far on the road homeward.

"Guilford," cried he, turning towards his attendants, "Guilford, ride

At this order, a downcast, sneering-looking man drew out from the rest
of the servants and rode up to the side of his master, who fixed his
eyes upon him for a moment, shutting his teeth hard, as was his custom
when considering how to proceed. "Guilford," said he at last,
"Guilford, you remember the infant that was found dead in Ashford
ditch last year, that folks supposed to be the child of Mary
Bly----? ha!" The man turned deadly pale. "I have found an owner for
the kerchief in which it was tied with the two large stones,"
proceeded Sir Payan. "A man came to me yesterday morning, who says he
can swear to the kerchief, and who it belonged to. Fie! do not shake
so! Do you think I ever hurt my own? Guilford, you must do me a
service. Take three stout fellows with you, on whom you can depend;
cast off your liveries, and ride on with all speed to the hill on this
side of Rochester. Wait there till you see a courier come up with a
swan embroidered on his sleeve; find means to quarrel with him; and
when you return to Elham Manor, if you bear his bag with you, you
shall each have five George nobles for your reward. But leave not the
place. Stir not till you have met with him. And now be quick; take the
three men with you; there will be enough left to return with me. Mark
me! let him not escape with his bag, for if you do, you buy yourself a

"Which of them shall I take?" said the man. "There are Wandlesham and
Black John, who together stole the Prior of Merton's horse, and sold
it at Sandwich. They would have been burned i' the hand if your
worship had not refused the evidence. Then there is Simpkin, the

"That will do," said Sir Payan, "that will do; 'tis said he set
Raper's barn on fire. But be quick; we waste time."

It was late the next day before the party of worthies whom Sir Payan
entrusted with the honourable little commission above stated returned
to his house at Elham Manor; but, to his no small satisfaction, they
brought the Duke of Buckingham's letter-bag along with them, which
Master Guilford deposited on the table before Sir Payan in his usual
sullen manner, and only waited till he had received his reward, which
was instantly paid; for the honest knight, well knowing by internal
conviction that rascality is but a flimsy bond of attachment, took
care to bind his serviceable agents to himself by the sure ties both
of hope and fear. If they were useful and silent, their hopes were
never disappointed; if they were negligent or indiscreet, their fears
were more than realised.

The moment he was alone, the knight put his dagger into the bag, and
ripped it open from side to side. This done, his eye ran eagerly over
the various letters it contained, and paused on that to Lord
Fitzbernard. In an instant the silk was cut, and the contents before
his eyes.

"Ha!" said Sir Payan, reading; "so here it is, the whole business; so,
so, my young knight, 'the real name to be told to nobody till the
king's good-will is gained.' But I will foil you, and blast your false
name before your real one is known. Good Duke of Buckingham, I thank
you! 'A villain!' If I am, you shall taste my villany. Oh! so he had
charge to 'conduct the Lady Katrine Bulmer to the court: his feats of
arms and manly daring shall much approve him with the king.' Ay, but
they shall damn him with the cardinal, or I'll halt for it! Now for
the rest!"

With as little ceremony as that which he had displayed toward the
letter addressed to Lord Fitzbernard, Sir Payan tore open all the
rest, but seemed somewhat disappointed at their contents, gnawing his
lip and knitting his brow till he came to the last, addressed to Sir
John Morton. "Ha!" exclaimed he, as he read, "Duke of Buckingham, you
are mine! Now, proud Edward Bohun, stoop! stoop! for out of so little
a thing as this will I work thy ruin. But what means he by this? Sir
Osborne Maurice! It cannot be him he speaks of. It matters not; it
shall tell well, too, and in one ruin involve them both. Sir Osborne
Maurice! I have it! I have it! Sure the disclosure of such a plot as
this may well merit Wolsey's thanks; ay, and even, by good favour,
some few acres off the broad estates of Constance de Grey. We shall
see. But first let us track this young gallant; we must know his every
step from Canterbury to Greenwich."

Proud in supreme villany, Sir Payan trod with a longer stride,
confidently calculating that he held all his enemies in his power;
but, subtle as well as bold, he did not allow his confidence to
diminish in the least his care; and calling to his aid one of his
retainers, upon whose cunning he could count with certainty, he laid
him upon the path of our hero like a hound upon the track of a deer,
with commands to investigate, with the most minute care, every step he
had taken from Canterbury to Greenwich.

"And now," said Sir Payan, "to-morrow for Greenwich; I must not fail
the party of Sir Thomas Neville. When enemies grow strong, 'tis time
to husband friends;" and springing on his horse, he proceeded to put
in train for execution some of those minor schemes of evil which he
did not choose to leave unregulated till his return.


     Traffic is thy god.--Timon.

"By my faith!" cried the Earl of Darby, as soon as they found
themselves in the street, or rather lane, before the dwelling of Sir
Cesar, "I know not in the least where we are; and if I had known it
before, my brain is so unsettled with all this strange sight, that I
should have forgotten it now. Which way did we turn?"

"The other way! the other way!" cried Sir Osborne, "and then to the

"Pray, sir, can you tell me where the devil I am?" demanded the earl,
when they had reached the bottom of the lane, addressing a man who was
walking slowly past.

"I'll tell you what, my young gallant," answered the man, "if you
don't march home with your foolery, I'll lock you up. I am the
constable of the watch."

"It is my _way_ home that I want to know, friend constable," replied
the earl. "For, 'fore God! I know not where I am any more than a
new-born child, who, though he comes into the world without asking the
way, finds himself very strange when he is in it."

"Why, marry, thou art at the back of Baynard's Castle, sir fool,"
replied the constable.

"Ay; then I shall find my road," said the earl. "Thank thee, honest
constable; thou art a pleasant fellow, and a civil, and hast risked
having thy pate broken to-night more than thou knowest. So, fare thee
well!" and turning away, he led his companion through various winding
lanes into a broader street, which at length conducted them to the
mansion of the Duke of Buckingham.

"Now, by my faith, Darnley, or Maurice, or whatever you please to be
called," said the earl, "if you have any hospitality in your nature,
you will give me board and lodging for a night. May you make so free
with the good duke's house?"

"Most willingly will I do it," said Sir Osborne, "and find myself now
doubly happy in his grace's request, to use his mansion as if it were
my own."

"Were I you," said Lord Darby, "and had so much of Buckingham's
regard, I would hear more of that strange man, if he be a man, Sir
Cesar; for 'tis said that the duke and Sir John Morton are the only
persons that know who and what he really is. God help us! we have seen
as strange a sight to-night as mortal eyes ever beheld."

"I have heard one of my companions in arms relate that a circumstance
precisely similar happened to himself in Italy," replied the knight.
"The famous magician, Cornelius Agrippa, showed him out of friendship
a glass, wherein he beheld the lady of his love reading one of his own
letters,[10] which thing she was doing, as he ascertained afterwards,
at the very minute and day that the glass was shown to him. I never
thought, however, to have seen anything like it myself."

It may be easily supposed that various were the remarks and
conjectures of the two young noblemen during the rest of the evening,
but with these it will be unnecessary to trouble the reader. Suffice
it that we have translated as literally as possible the account which
Vonderbrugius gives of the circumstances; nor shall we make any
comment on the facts, leaving it to the reader's own mind to form what
conclusion he may think right. Whether the whole was an artifice on
the part of Sir Cesar, aided by strongly-excited imagination on
theirs, each person must judge for himself; but certain it is that
they both firmly believed that they saw the same thing; and, as in the
well-known case of Lord Surrey, the argument is of avail, that the
magician had no object or interest in deceiving those to whom he
displayed his powers. The effect, however, upon the mind of Sir
Osborne was to give him new hope and courage; for so completely had
the former prediction of Sir Cesar been fulfilled, that though he
might still doubt, yet his very hesitation leant to the side of hope.

Lord Darby laughed, and vowed 'twas strange, 'twas passing strange,
and wrote it down in his tablets, lest he should not believe a word of
it the next morning. When the morning came, however, he found that his
belief had not fled; and before leaving Sir Osborne, he talked over
the business with more gravity than he could usually command. Many
arrangements also were necessary to be made in regard to the knight's
introduction to the court; but at length it was agreed that the earl
should account for his acquaintance with Sir Osborne by saying that
their parents had been friends, and that, having been educated in the
court of Burgundy, the knight was then in England for the first time
since his youth.

"All this is true," said Lord Darby, "for my father was well known to
yours, though, perhaps, they could hardly be called friends; but,
however, there are not above two grains of lie to an ounce of truth,
so it will poison no one."

When all their plans were finally settled, Lord Darby took leave of
the knight, and left him to make his preparations for the next
morning. As soon as he had departed, Sir Osborne called for his horse,
and, accompanied by Longpole, of whom he had seen little since his
arrival in London, set out for the house of the honest Flemish
merchant, William Hans, from whom, as we have said, he expected sundry
sums of money.

As they proceeded, the worthy custrel, who, for the purpose of showing
him the way, rode by his side (permitting him, nevertheless, to keep
about a yard in advance), did not fail to take advantage of their
proximity to regale the knight's ears with many a quaint remark upon
the great bee-hive, as he called it, in which they were.

"Lord! Lord!" said he, "to think of the swarm of honey-getting, or
rather money-getting insects, that here toil from morn to night, but
to pile up within their narrow cells that sweet trash which, after
all, is none of theirs; for ever and anon comes my good lord king, the
master of the hive, and smokes them for a subsidy. Look at yon fat
fellow, your worship! For God's sake, look at him! How proud he seems,
waddling forward under the majesty of his belly! Well, if a paunch
like that be the damnation attached to an alderman's gown, heaven
absolve me from city feasts, I say! And his lean follower; see! with
the quill behind his ear, and inkhorn at his button, so meagre, as if
he wished to mock his master's fatness. Oh! 'tis the way, 'tis the
way; the fat merchant seems to absorb all the lean clerk's portion.
Everything begets its like; fat gets fat, riches get riches, and even
leanness grows more lean, as it were, by living upon itself. Now to
the left, your worship, up that paved court."

The house of the merchant now stood before them, and Sir Osborne,
dismounting from his horse, advanced to the door of what seemed to be
a small dark counting-house, in which he found an old man, with many a
book and many a slate before him, busily employed in adding to the
multitude of little black marks with which the page under his eyes was

In answer to the knight's inquiry for Master William Hans, he replied
that he was in the warehouse, where he might find him if he wished to
see him. "Stay, stay! I will show you the way," cried he, with ready
politeness. "Lord, sir! our warehouse is a wilderness, wherein a man
might lose himself with blessed facility. Thanks be to God therefor;
for on May-day, three years last past, called 'Evil May-day,' we
should have lost our good master, when the prentices, and watermen,
and pick-purses, and vagabonds, broke into all the aliens' houses, and
injured many; but, happily, he hid himself under a pile of stockfish,
which was in the far end of the little warehouse, to the left of the
barrel-room, so that they found him not."

While he pronounced this oration, the old clerk locked carefully the
door of the counting-house, and led the knight into an immense vaulted
chamber, wherein were piled on every side all kinds of things, of
every sort and description that human ingenuity can apply to the
supply of its necessities or the gratification of its appetites. On
one side were displayed a thousand articles of foreign produce or
manufacture brought thither for the English market, and on the other
appeared the various productions of England, destined soon to be
spread over half the world. The objects that met the eye were not more
various than the smells that assailed the nose. Here was the delicious
odour of salted fish, there the delicate scent of whale oil; here dry
skins spread their perfume around, and there a cask of fresh tallow
wasted its sweetness on the warehouse air; while through the whole was
perceived, as a general medium for all the rest, the agglomerated
stink of a hundred unventilated years.

Making his way through all, Sir Osborne proceeded directly towards the
spot where a small window in the roof poured its light upon a large
barrel, the contents of which were undergoing inspection by the worthy
Fleming whom he sought. In Flanders the knight had known the good
burgess well, and had been sure to receive a visit from him whenever
business had called his steps from his adopted to his native country.
There might be both an eye to gratitude and an eye to interest in this
proceeding of Master William Hans; for the knight had twice procured
him a large commission for the army, and, what was still more in those
days, had procured him payment.

On perceiving his visitor in the present instance, the merchant caught
up his black furred gown, which he had thrown off while busied in less
dignified occupations, and having hastily insinuated his arms into the
sleeves, advanced to meet the knight with a bow of profound respect.
"Welcome back to England, my lord!" cried he, in very good English,
which could only be distinguished as proceeding from the mouth of a
foreigner by a slight accent and a peculiar intonation. "Coot now, my
lord, I hope you have not given up your company in Flanders. I have
such a cargo of beans in the mouth of the Scheldt, it would have
suited the army very well indeet."

"But, my good Master Hans," answered the knight, "the army itself is
given up since the peace. When I left Lisle, there were scarce three
companies left."

After a good deal more of such preliminary conversation, in the course
of which the knight explained to the merchant the necessity of keeping
his name and title secret for the present, they proceeded to the
arrangement of those affairs which yet remained unconcluded between
them. Conducting the knight back to the counting-house, William Hans
turned over several of his great books, looking for the accounts.

"Here it is, I think," he cried, at length. "No! that is the Lady de

"Lady Constance de Grey?" demanded Sir Osborne, in some surprise.

"Yes, yes!" answered the merchant. "I receive all the money for her
mother's estates, who was a French lady. Did for her father, too, till
the coot old lord died. Oh! it was hard work in the time of the war;
but I got a Paris Jew to transmit the money to a Flemish Jew, who sent
it over to me. They cot ten per cent. the thieves! for commission, but
that very thing saved the estates; for they would have been forfeited
by the old king Louis, if the Jew, who had given him money in his
need, had not made such a noise about it, for fear of losing his ten
per cent, that the king let it pass. Ah! here is the account. First,
we have not settled since I furnished the wine for the companie, when
they had the fever. Five hundred chioppines of wine, at a croat the
chioppine, make just twenty-five marks: received thirty marks; five
carried to your name. Then for the ransom of the Sire de Beaujeu: you
put him at a ransom of two thousand crowns, not knowing who he was,
but he has sent you six thousand; because, he says, he would not be
ransomed like an écuyer. Creat fool! Why the devil, when he could get
off for a little, pay a much?"[11]

"No true knight but would do the same," replied Sir Osborne. "It was
only by my permission that he got away at all: therefore he was bound
in honour to pay the full ransom of a person of his condition."

"Well, then," said the Fleming, "here comes the ransom of two
esquires, gentlemen they call themselves, five hundred crowns each,
making in the whole seven thousand crowns, or two thousand six hundred
and twenty-five marks. Then there is against you, freight and carriage
of armour and goods, four marks; exchange and commission, three marks;
porterage, a croat; warehouse-room, two croats: balance for you, two
thousand six hundred and seventeen marks, five shillings, and two
croats, which I am ready to pay you, as well as to deliver the two
suits of harness and the packages."

"The money, at present, I do not want," replied Sir Osborne; "but I
will be glad if you would send the arms, and the rest of the packages,
to the manor of the Rose, in St. Lawrence Poultney."

"To the coot Duke of Buckingham's? Ah! that I will, that I will! But I
hope you will stay and take your noon-meal with me; though I know you
men of war do not like the company of us merchants. But I will say, I
have never found you any way proud."

"I would most willingly, Master Hans," answered the knight; "but I go
to the court to-morrow for the first time, and I have no small
preparation to make with tailors and broiderers."

"Oh! stay with me, stay with me, and I will fit you to your desire,"
answered the Fleming. "There is a tailor lives hard by who will suit
you well. I am not going to give you a man who can make nothing but a
burgomaster's gown or a merchant's doublet. I know your coot
companions would laugh, and say you had had a merchant's tailor; but
this is a man who, if you like it, shall stuff out your breeches till
you can't sit down, make all the seams by a plumb-line, tighten your
girdle till you have no more waist than a wasp; and, moreover, he is
tailor to the Duke of Suffolk."

The knight found this recommendation quite sufficient; and agreeing to
dine with the honest Fleming, the tailor was sent for, who, with a
great display of sartorial learning, devised several suits, in which
Sir Osborne might appear at court, without being either so gaudy as
the butterflies of the day, or so plain as to call particular
attention. The only difficulty was to know whether the tailor could
furnish a complete suit for the knight, and one for each of his four
attendants, by the next morning; but after much calculation, and
summing up of all the friendly tailors within his knowledge, he
undertook to do it; and, what is wonderful for a tailor, kept his


     What strange adventure do ye now pursue?
     Perhaps my succour or advisement meet
     Mote stead ye much.--Spenser.

A barber surgeon one day, bleeding a farrier, bound up his arm with a
piece of red tape, and pinned it. The farrier went the next day to
shoe one of the king of the country's horses; as he was driving the
nail, the pin pricked him, the nail went too near the quick, the
horse's foot grew tender, the king went out to hunt, the horse threw
him, the king was taken up dead, and was succeeded by his son, whom he
intended to have disinherited the next day for his cruel disposition.
The new king cut off his subjects' heads, made continual war upon all
the states around, conquered a great many countries, gained a great
many battles, robbed, murdered, and burned, and at last was
assassinated himself, when human nature could bear him no longer; and
at the end of his reign it was computed that a hundred millions of
treasure, and twenty millions of human lives, had been wasted, by a
barber pinning a piece of red tape, instead of tying it, like his

"The luckiest accident for you in the world has just happened!" cried
Lord Darby, entering Sir Osborne Maurice's apartment two full hours
before the time he had appointed. "Order your men to choose your best
suit of harness, to pack it on a strong horse, to lead your own
courser by the bridle, and to make all speed to the foot of the hill
at Greenwich, there to wait till they be sent for; and you come with
me: my barge waits at the duke's stairs."

"But what is the matter, my lord?" demanded Sir Osborne; "at least,
tell me if my horse must be barded."

"No, no; I think not," replied the earl; "at all events, we shall find
bards,[12] if we want them. But be quick, we have not a moment to
lose, though the tide be running down as quick as a tankard of bastard
over the throat of a thirsty serving-man; I will tell you the whole as
we go."

"Longpole," cried the knight to his follower, who, at the moment the
Earl entered, was in the room, putting the last adjustment to his
master's garments; "Longpole, quick! you hear what Lord Darby says.
Take the fluted suit----"

"Oh! the fluted, the fluted, by all means," interrupted the earl, "it
shows noble and knightly. So shall we go along as in a Roman triumph,
with flutes before, and flutes behind. The fluted by all means, good
Longpole, and lose no time on the road: for every flagon you do not
drink, you shall have two at Greenwich. Now, Maurice, are you ready?
By heaven! you make a gallant figure of it; your tailor deserves
immortality. 'Tis well! 'tis mighty well! But, to my taste, the cuts
in your blue velvet had been better lined with a soft yellow than a
white; the hue of a young primrose. The feather might have been the
same, but 'tis all a taste: white does marvellous well; the silver
girdle and scabbard too! But come; we waste our moments: let two of
your men come with us."

Lord Darby conducted his new friend to the barge, and as they
proceeded towards Greenwich with a quick tide, he informed him that
some knights, Sir Henry Poynings, Sir Thomas Neville, and several
others--having agreed to meet, for the purpose of trying some
newly-invented arms, the king had been seized with a desire of going
unknown to break a lance with them on Blackheath, and had privately
commanded the Earl of Devonshire to accompany him as his aid: but that
very morning, at his house in Westminster, the earl had slipped, and
had so much injured his leg, that his surgeon forbade his riding for a
month. "As soon as I heard it," continued Lord Darby, "I flew to his
lodging, and prayed him to let me be his messenger to the king, to
which petition he easily assented, provided I set off with all speed,
for his grace expects him early. Now, the moment that the king hears
that the earl cannot ride, he chooses him another aid, and I so hope
to manage, that the choice may fall upon you. If you break a lance to
his mind, you shall be well beloved for the next week at least; and
during that time you must manage to fix his favour. But first, let me
give you some small portraiture of his mind, so that by knowing his
humour, you may find means to find it."

The character which Lord Darby gave of Henry the Eighth shall here be
put in fewer words. He was then a very, very different being from the
bloated despot which he afterwards appeared. All his life had hitherto
been prosperity and gladness; no care, no sorrow, had called into
action any of the latent evil of his character, and he showed himself
to those around him as an affable and magnificent prince; proud
without haughtiness, and luxurious without vice. Endowed with great
personal strength, blessed with robust health, and flourishing in the
prime of his years, he loved with a degree of ostentation all those
manly and chivalrous exercises which were then at their height in
Europe; and placed, as it were, between the age of chivalry and the
age of learning, he in his own person combined many of the attributes
of each. In temper and in manner he was hasty but frank, and had much
of the generosity of youth unchilled by adversity. Yet he was ever
wilful and irritable, and in his history even at that time may be
traced the yet unsated luxurist, and the incipient tyrant, beginning a
career in splendour and pride that was sure to end in despotism and

It may well be supposed that the knight's heart beat quickly as the
boat came in sight of the palace at Greenwich. It had nothing,
however, to do with that agitation which men often weakly feel on
approaching earthly greatness. Accustomed to a court, though a small
one, if Sir Osborne had ever experienced those sensations, they had
long left him; but he felt that on what was to follow from the present
interview, perhaps on that interview itself, depended his father's
fortune and his own; more: his own happiness for ever.

Lord Darby's rowers had plied their oars to some purpose, and before
ten o'clock the barge was alongside the king's stairs at Greenwich.
"Come, Sir Osborne," cried the earl; "bearing a message which his
grace will think one of great consequence, I shall abridge all
ceremony, and find my way as quickly to his presence as I can."

The two young men sprang to the shore, followed by their attendants,
and passed the parade, which was quite empty, the king having taken
care to disperse the principal part of his court in various
directions, that his private expedition might pass unnoticed, feeling
a sort of romantic interest in the concealment and mystery of his
proceedings. The earl led the way across the vacant space to one of
the doors of the palace, which opened into a sort of waiting hall,
called the "Hall of Lost Steps," where the two friends left their
servants; and proceeding up a staircase that seemed well known to Lord
Darby, they came into a magnificent saloon, wherein an idle page was
gazing listlessly from one of the windows.

"Ha, Master Snell!" cried the earl; "may his grace be spoken with?"

"On no account whatever, my noble lord," replied the page, "I am
placed here expressly to prevent any one from approaching him: his
grace is at his prayers."

"Go then, good Master Snell," said the earl, "and bid our royal master
add one little prayer for the Earl of Devonshire, who has fallen in
his house at Westminster, and is badly hurt; and tell his grace that I
bear an humble message from the earl, who dared not confide it to a
common courier."

"I go directly, my noble lord," said the page. "The king will find
this bad news;" and making all haste, he left the room by a door on
the other side of the apartment.

"This is indeed a kingly chamber," said Sir Osborne, gazing around
upon the rich arras mingled with cloth of gold which covered the
walls. "How poor must the court of Burgundy have seemed to the king,
when he visited the Princess Regent at Lisle. And yet, perhaps, he
scarcely saw the difference."

Even while he spoke, the door by which the page had gone out was again
thrown open, and a tall, handsome man entered the apartment, with
haste and peevishness in his countenance. He was apparently about
thirty years of age, broad-chested and powerfully made, muscular, but
not fat, and withal there was an air of dignity and command in his
figure that might well become a king. He seemed to have been disturbed
half-dressed; for under the loose gown of black velvet which he wore
was to be seen one leg clothed in steel, while the other remained free
of any such cumbersome apparel. The rest of his person, as far as
might be discovered by the opening of the gown, was habited in simple
russet garments, guarded with gold, while on his head he wore a
small-brimmed black bonnet and a jewelled plume. Lord Darby and Sir
Osborne immediately doffed their hats as the king entered, the young
knight not very well pleased to see the irritable spot that glowed on
his brow.

"How now, lord? how now?" cried Henry, as they advanced. "What is this
the page tells me? Devonshire is hurt--is ill? What is it? what is it,
man? speak!"

"I am sorry to be the bearer of evil news to your grace," replied Lord
Darby, with a profound inclination; "but this morning, as my Lord of
Devonshire was preparing to set out to render his duty to your
highness, his foot slipped, heaven knows how! and his surgeons fear he
has dislocated one of the bones of the leg. He, therefore, being
unwilling to trust an ordinary messenger, begged me humbly, in his
name, to set forth his case before you, and to crave your gracious
pardon for thus unintentionally failing in his service."

"Tut! he could not help it," cried Henry. "The man broke not his bones
and wrenched not his leg to do me a displeasure; and yet in this is
Fortune cross-grained; for where now shall I find an aid who may
supply his place? But, how now! What is this? Who have you with you?
You are bold, young lord, to bring a stranger to my privy chamber! Ha!
how now! Mother of God, you are too bold!"

Hope sickened in Sir Osborne's bosom, and bending his head, he fixed
his eyes upon the ground, while Lord Darby replied, nothing abashed by
the king's reproof--

"Pardon me, my liege; but trusting to the known quality of your royal
clemency, which finds excuses for our faults, even when we ourselves
can discover none, I made bold to bring to your grace's presence this
famous knight, Sir Osborne Maurice, who, being himself renowned in
many courts in feats of arms, has conceived a great desire to witness
the deeds of our most mighty sovereign, whose prowess and skill,
whether at the tourney or in the just, at the barriers or with the
battle-axe, is so noised over Europe, that none who are themselves
skilful can refrain from coveting a sight of his royal daring. Allow
me to present him to your grace."

Sir Osborne advanced, and kneeling gracefully before the king, bent
his head over the hand that Henry extended towards him; while, pleased
with his appearance and demeanour, the monarch addressed him with a
smile: "Think not we are churlish, sir knight, or that we do not
welcome you freely to our court; but, by St. Mary! such young gallants
as these must be held in check, or they outrun their proper bounds.
But judge not of our poor doings by Darby's commendation: he has of a
sudden grown eloquent."

"On such a theme who might not be an orator?" said Sir Osborne,
rising. "Were I to doubt Lord Darby, I must think that Fame herself is
your grace's courtier, acting as your herald in every court, and
challenging a world to equal you."

"Fie, fie! I must not hear you," cried the king. "Darby, come hither:
I would speak with you. Come hither, I say!"

Sir Osborne drew a step back, and the king, taking the young earl into
the recess of a window, spoke to him for a moment in a low tone, but
still sufficiently loud for a great part of what he said to be audible
to the knight, especially towards the conclusion.

"A powerful man," said the king; "and, if he be but as dexterous and
valiant as he is strong, will prove a knight indeed. Think you he

"Most assuredly, my liege," replied the earl. "He is your grace's born
subject; only, his father having fallen into some unhappy error in the
reign of our last royal king, Sir Osborne has had his training at the
court of Burgundy, and received his knighthood from the sword of
Maximilian, the late emperor."

"Good, good!" said Henry: "I remember hearing of his father; 'twas
either Simnel, or Perkyn Warbeck, or some such treasonous cause he
espoused. But all that is past. Sir knight," he continued, turning to
Sir Osborne, "what if in my armoury we could find a harness that
would fit you? are you minded to break a lance as consort with the
king?--ha! This very morning--ay, this very hour? What say you?--ha!"

"That I should hold an honour never to be forgot, my liege," replied
the knight. "And for the arms, my own are here in Greenwich. They
might be brought in a moment."

"Quick, quick, then!" cried the king. "But we must be secret. Stop,
stop! You go, Lord Darby. Send for the arms quick. Is your horse here,
sir knight? By St. Mary, 'tis happy you came! Darby, bid them take the
knight's horse into the small court, and shut the gates. Quick with
his armour! Bid them put no bards on the horses, and be secret. I'll
go arm. You arm here, sir knight. Snell! stand firm at that door; let
no one pass but Lord Darby and the knight's armourer. Be quick, sir
knight! I charge you be quick: and, above all, let us be secret.
Remember, we will never raise our visors. These knights think of no
such encounter, but fancy they have it all amongst themselves. They
have kept their just mighty secret; but we will break their lances for

The king now left Sir Osborne, who, delighted with the unexpected turn
which his humour had taken, waited impatiently for Lord Darby's
return, expecting every minute to see the other door open and Henry
re-appear before he had even received his armour. At length, however,
Lord Darby came, and with him our friend Longpole, who, as the page
would only allow one person to enter with the earl, received that part
of the armour which he did not carry himself from the attendant
without, and then flew to assist his lord. Sir Osborne lost no time,
and, expert by constant habit, he put on piece by piece with a
rapidity that astonished the young earl, who, accustomed alone to the
tilt-yard, was unacquainted with the facility acquired by the
unceasing exercises of the camp.

At length, while Longpole was buckling the last strap, the king
re-entered alone, completely armed, and with his beaver down.

"What! ready, sir knight?" cried he; "nay, 'faith, you have been

"Lord bless you, sir!" cried Longpole, never dreaming that he spoke to
the king, "my master puts on his arms as King Hal took Terouenne."

"How now!" cried Sir Osborne, afraid of what might coms next; but the
king held up his hand to him to let the man speak. "How is that, good
fellow?" demanded he.

"Why, he just puts his hand on it, and it is done," replied Longpole.

"Thou art a merry knave," said Henry, better pleased perhaps with the
unquestionable compliment of the yeoman than he would have been with
the more refined and studied praise of many an eloquent oration. "Thou
art a merry knave. Say, canst thou blow a trumpet?"

"Ay, that I can, to your worship's contentment," replied Longpole, who
began to see by the looks of Lord Darby and his master that something
was wrong. "I hope I have not offended."

"No, no," answered Henry, "not in the least. Snell, fetch him a
trumpet with a blanche banner. Now, fellow, take the trumpet that the
page will bring you, and, getting on your horse, follow us. When you
shall come to a place where you see lists up, blow me a defiance. Hast
thou never a vizard to put thy muzzle in? Darby, in that chamber you
will find him a masking vizard, so that we may not be recognised by
his face hereafter."

Longpole was soon furnished with one of the half masks of the day, the
long beard of which, intended to conceal the mouth and chin, as it had
been worn by the king himself, was composed of threads of pure gold,
so that the yeoman bore an ample recompense upon his face for the duty
the king put him on. He would fain have had his remark upon the
vizard; but beginning to entertain a suspicion of how the matter
really stood, he wisely forebore, and followed his master and Lord
Darby, who, preceded by the king, passed down a narrow back-staircase
into the smaller court, wherein stood the horses prepared for their

All now passed in almost profound silence. The king and his aid
mounted, and, followed by Longpole with his trumpet, issued forth
through two gates into the park, where, taking the wildest and most
unfrequented paths, they made a large circuit, in order that their
approach might seem from any other quarter than the palace. After
gaining the forest on Shooter's Hill, the king led the way through one
of the roads in the wood, to what we may call the back of Blackheath,
on the very verge of which they might behold a group of gentlemen on
horseback, with a crowd of lookers-on afoot, disposed in such sort as
to show that their exercises were begun. The spot which they had
chosen was a very convenient one for their purpose: shaded on the
south by a grove of high elms, whose very situation has not been
traceable for more than two centuries, but which then afforded a width
of shade sufficient for several coursers to wheel and charge therein,
without the eyes of the riders being dazzled by the morning sunshine.
At the foot of these trees extended an ample green, soft, smooth, and
even, round which the tilters had pitched the staves and drawn the
ropes, marking the limits of the field; and at the northern end was
erected a little tent for them to arm in before, and rest after, the
course. The four knights themselves, who had met to try their arms,
together with several grooms, an armourer, a mule to bear the spears,
and two horses for the armour, with their several drivers, formed the
group within the lists, which, in the wide-extended plain whereon they
stood, looked but a spot, and would have seemed still less had it not
been for the crowd of idlers that hung about the ground, and the four
knightly pennons, which, disposed in a line, with a few yards'
distance between them, caught the eye as it wandered over the heath,
and attracted it to the spot by their flutter and their gaudy hues.

The king paused for a moment to observe them, and then beckoning
Longpole to come up, "Now, ride on, trumpet!" cried he; "blow a
challenge, and then say that two strange knights claim to break two
lances each, and pass away unquestioned."[13]

At this command Longpole rode forward, and while Henry and his master
followed more slowly, blew a defiance on his trumpet at the entrance
of the lists, and then in a loud voice pronounced the message with
which the king had charged him.

As he finished, Henry and Sir Osborne presented themselves; and Sir
Thomas Neville, the chief of the other party, after some consultation
with his companions, rode up and replied: "Though we are here as a
private meeting, for our own amusement only, yet we will not refuse to
do the pleasure of the stranger knights; and as there are four of us,
we will each break a spear with one of the counter-party, which will
make the two lances a-piece that they require. Suffer the knights to
enter," he continued to the keeper of the barrier; and Henry, with the
young knight, taking the end of the ground in silence, waited till
their lances should be delivered to them.

Whether the tilters suspected or not who was the principal intruder on
their sport matters not, though it is indeed more than probable that
they did; for it was well known to everybody, that if Henry heard of
any rendezvous of the kind, he was almost certain to be present,
either privately or avowedly; and indeed on one occasion, recorded by
Hall, the chronicler of that day, this romantic spirit had almost cost
him dear, the sport being carried on so unceremoniously as nearly to
slay the gentleman by whom he was accompanied, and to bring his own
life into danger.

On the present occasion no words passed between the two parties, and
after a few minutes' conversation amongst the original holders of the
ground as to who should first furnish the course to the strangers, Sir
Thomas Neville presented himself opposite to the king, and Sir Henry
Poynings, one of the best knights of the day, prepared to run against
Sir Osborne. "Now do your best, my knight," said the king to his aid;
"you have got a noble opponent."

The spears were delivered, the knights couched their lances, and
galloping on against each other like lightning, the tough ash staves
were shivered in a moment against their adversaries' casques.

"Valiantly done!" said Henry to Sir Osborne, as they returned to their
place; "valiantly done! You struck right in the groove of the basnet,
and wavered not an inch. Who are these two, I wonder? They have their
beavers down."

While he spoke the spears were again delivered; and upon what impulse,
or from what peculiar feeling, would be difficult to say, but Sir
Osborne felt a strong inclination to unhorse his opponent; and
couching his lance with dexterous care, as far as possible to prevent
its splintering, he struck him in full course upon the gorget, just
above its junction with the corslet, and bore him violently backwards
to the ground, where he lay apparently deprived of sense.

By this time the king had shivered his lance, and some of the
attendants ran up to unlace the fallen man's helmet, when, to his
surprise, Sir Osborne beheld the countenance of Sir Payan Wileton. He
appeared to be much hurt by his fall; but that was a thing of such
common occurrence in those days, that no further notice was ever taken
of an accident of the kind than by giving the injured person all the
assistance that could be administered at the time.

However, it may well be supposed that Sir Osborne Maurice felt no
ordinary interest in the sight before him. By an extraordinary
coincidence, overthrown by his hand, though without intention, and
apparently nearly killed, lay the persevering enemy who had swallowed
up the fortunes of his house, and had sought so unceasingly to sweep
it for ever from the face of the earth; and while he lay there,
prostrate at his feet, with the ashy hue of his cheek paler than ever,
and his dark eye closed as if in death, Sir Osborne still thought he
could see the same determined malignity of aspect with which he had
declared that he would found his title to the lordship of Chilham
Castle on the death of its heir.

Still holding the lance in his hand, the knight bent over the bow of
his saddle, and through the bars of his volant-piece contemplated the
face of his fallen adversary, till he began to unclose his eyes and
look around him; when Sir Thomas Neville, thinking that the stranger
was animated merely by feelings of humanity, turned to him, saying
that Sir Payan had only been a little stunned, and would do very well

"Gentlemen," continued he, addressing the king and Sir Osborne, "we
must, according to promise, let you pass away unquestioned; but I will
say, that two more valiant and skilful knights never graced a field,
nor is it possible to say which outdoes the other; but ye are worthy
companions and true knights both, and so fare ye well."

The king did not reply, lest he should be recognised by his voice; but
bending low, in token of his thanks, rode out of the lists,
accompanied by Sir Osborne and followed by Longpole.

"Now, by my fay, sir knight!" cried Henry, when they had once more
reached the cover of the wood, "you have far exceeded my expectations;
and I thank you heartily--good faith, I do!--for your aid. But I must
have you stay with me. Our poor court will be much graced by the
addition of such a knight. What say you? ha!"

"To serve your grace," replied Sir Osborne, "is my first wish; to
merit your praise my highest ambition. It is but little to say that
you may command me when you command all; but if my zeal to obey those
commands may be counted for merit, I will deserve some applause."

"Wisely spoken," answered the king; "we retain you for ours from this
moment; and that you may be ever near our person, we shall bid our
chamberlain find your apartments in the palace. How say you, sir
knight? are you therewith contented?"

"Your grace's bounty outstrips even the swift wings of Hope," replied
Sir Osborne; "but I will try to fly Gratitude against it; and though,
perhaps, she may not be able to overtop, she shall, at least, soar an
equal pitch."

The knight's allusion to the royal sport of falconry was well adapted
to the ears that heard it. Every one must have remarked, that whatever
impressions are intended to be produced on the mind of man are always
best received when addressed to his heart through its most common
associations. Whether we wish to explain, to convince, to touch, or to
engage, we must refer to something that is habitual and pleasing; and,
therefore, the use of figures in eloquence is not so much to enrich
and to deck, as to find admission to the soul of the hearer, by all
the paths which its own habits have rendered most easy of access.

Thus, Sir Osborne, without knowing it, drew his metaphor from a sport
in which the king delighted; and, more convinced of his zeal by these
few words than if the young knight had spoken for an hour, the king
replied, "I doubt ye not; 'faith, I doubt ye not. But this night we
give a mummery unto our lady queen, when I will bring you to her
knowledge: 'tis a lady full of graciousness, and though 'tis I who say
it, one that will love well all that I love. But now let us haste, for
the day wears; and as you shall be my masking peer, we must think of
some quaint disguise: Darby shall be another; and being all light of
foot, we will tread a measure with the fair ladies. You are a proper
man, and may, perchance, steal some hearts, wherein you shall have our
favour, if 'tis for your good advancement. But turn we down this other
path; in that I see some strangers. Quick! Mary Mother! I would not be
discovered for another kingdom!"


     Not rain she finds the charmful task,
     In pageant quaint, in motley mask.--Collins.

During this expedition of Henry and Sir Osborne, Lord Darby had acted
with more prudence than might have been expected from one so light and
volatile as himself. But, with all the levity of youth, he had a great
fund of shrewdness and good sense, which enabled him keenly to
perceive all the weaknesses of the king's character, and adapt his own
behaviour exactly to the circumstance, whenever he was brought
particularly in contact with the monarch.

In the present instance, seeing that the spirit of mystery had seized
upon Henry, he consented to forego all more active amusement; so that,
when the king and his young companion returned, they found the earl
seated in the saloon wherein Sir Osborne had been armed, never having
quitted it during their absence.

Henry was in high spirits. All had gone well with him: his expedition
had been both successful and secret, and he was not a little pleased
to find that the earl had not joined any of the gay parties of the
court while he had been away.

"Ha, my lord!" cried he, as he entered; "still here! You have done
well; you have done well. 'Tis a treasure you have brought me, this
good knight. Snell, unlace my casque; I must thank you for him as a
gift, for he is now mine own. He outdoes all expectation; nay, say not
against it, Sir Osborne; I should be able to judge of these matters: I
have broken spears enow, and I pronounce you equal to any knight at
this court. Call some one to undo these trappings. But, Darby, you
must not quit the court to-night. Dine here; 'tis time, i'faith; near
one o' the clock! and take Sir Osborne Maurice with you. Make him
known to the best of the court: say the king holds him highly. But
stay," he added, "I had forgot;" and sending for the sub-controller of
the household, he gave commands that the young knight should be
furnished with apartments in the palace from that moment, and receive
the appointment of a gentleman of the privy chamber. "The number is
complete," he continued, turning to Sir Osborne; "but, nevertheless,
you shall be rated as such, and yourself and men provided in the
palace. See it be done, Sir John Harvey. Darby, return hither
privately with your friend, at nine to-night. We have a masque and
revel afoot; but take no heed to send to London for disguise; we will
be your furnishers."

"I hope, sir," said the sub-controller, as the knight and his friend
followed him from the presence, "you are aware that only three
servants are allowed to a gentleman of the privy chamber."

"Three will be as much as I shall have occasion for," answered the
knight; "the other shall remain in London."

"If you will follow me, then," said the officer, "I will show you to
the apartment. Ho! send me a yeoman usher there," he continued,
speaking to a servant who passed. "This way, sir, we shall find the

"What!" cried Lord Darby, after they had ascended a good many steps in
one of the wings of the building; "are you going to put my friend in a
third story? Think, Sir John Harvey, may not the king find it strange
when he hears that a knight he honours with his regard has been so

"I can assure you, my lord," answered the controller, "they are
absolutely the only ones in the palace vacant which are at all equal
to the knight's quality; and in truth, were it not for the height, are
among the best in the place. They are large and spacious; exactly the
same size as those which were appointed yesterday, by the queen's
command, for Lady Constance de Grey, and which are immediately

"I was going to offer Sir Osborne the use of mine," said Lord Darby,
with a laughing glance towards the knight, "till you could find him
better; but if they are so very good as you say, maybe he will prefer
having his own at once. Ha! Sir Osborne?"

The controller looked solemn, seeing there was some joke, and not
understanding it; but, however, he was joined in a moment after by a
yeoman usher, bearing a bunch of keys, from which he selected one,
and opened the door at which they had been standing while the earl
spoke. A little ante-chamber conducted into three others beyond, all
very well furnished according to the fashion of the day, with a
beautiful view of the wild park from the windows of some of the
rooms, and of the river from the others; on which advantage the
worthy sub-controller descanted with much the tone and manner of a
lodging-house keeper at a watering-place; little knowing that one word
regarding the proximity of Constance de Grey would have been a higher
recommendation to the young knight than all the prospects in the
world, though he loved the beautiful and varied face of earth as much
as any one.

"Go to the wardrobe of beds, usher," said the officer, when he had
promenaded the knight and Lord Darby through the apartment; "go to the
wardrobe of beds, and tell the undermaster to come hither and garnish
this apartment with all speed. As I do not know the honourable
knight's face," continued he, "it is probable that he is new to this
court, and is not aware of the regulations, which, therefore, I will
make bold to tell him. Dinner and supper are served at the board of
estate, every day, at noon and at nightfall. No rere-suppers are
given, nunchions, beverages, or breakfast; but to each gentleman of
the privy-chamber his grace commands a livery every night."

"A livery!" said Sir Osborne; "pray, Sir John, what is that?"

"Its value, sir," said the controller, "depends upon the station of
the person to whom it is given. I have known it cost as much as ten
pounds; such was sent every night to the gentlemen who came to seek
the Princess Mary for the French king; but the livery given by his
grace the king to the gentlemen of the privy-chamber, and others
bearing the same rank, is a cast of fine manchet bread, two pots of
white or red wine at choice, one pound weight of sugar, four white
lights, and four yellow lights of wax, and one large staff torch,
which is delivered every evening at seven of the clock."

Without proceeding further with such discourse, we shall merely say
that the arrangement of Sir Osborne's apartment was soon completed,
himself unarmed, his servants furnished with what modern lacqueys
would call dog-holes, and with truckle-beds; and having, by
intercession with a gentleman wearing black velvet and a gold chain,
and calling himself the chief cook, obtained some dinner, for the
board of estate had long been cleared, Lord Darby and Sir Osborne
sauntered forth on the parade, where the young gallants of the court
were beginning to show themselves; some taking, as it were, a furtive
walk across, afraid to be seen there before the moment of fashion
sanctioned their appearance, and some, who, from either ignorance or
boldness, heeded no mode but their own convenience. Fashions are nine
times out of ten affectations; affectations in those who lead and in
those who follow; and as it is now, so was it in the days of Henry the

The presence of Lord Darby, however, who gradually gathered round him
a little multitude as he walked, soon rendered the parade more
populous. Sir Osborne was introduced to all who were worthy of his
acquaintance; and the same persons who three days before might hardly
have given him a courteous answer, if he had asked them a question,
were now mortified at not being numbered with his acquaintance. The
knight himself, however, was absent and inattentive, his eye
continually seeking Lady Constance de Grey through the crowd, and his
mind sometimes occupied with pleasing dreams of love, and hope, and
happiness to come, and sometimes pondering over his unexpected
encounter with Sir Payan Wileton, and its probable results.

So strange is the world, that this very abstractness of manner and
carelessness in regard to those about him had its grace in the eyes of
the court. They seemed to think that he who cared so little about
anybody, must be somebody of consequence himself; and when, after a
prolonged saunter, the two friends re-entered the palace, Sir
Osborne's name had acquired a degree of _éclât_ which the most
attentive politeness would scarcely have obtained. Still no Constance
de Grey had he seen, and he sat down in the apartments of Lord Darby,
not peculiarly satisfied with their walk.

The young earl himself had also suffered a similar disappointment, for
in the midst of all the _nonchalant_ gaiety which he had displayed to
the crowd, his eye had not failed to scan every group of ladies that
they met for the form of Lady Katrine Bulmer, and he felt a good deal
mortified at not having seen her. But very different was the manner in
which his feelings acted, from the deeper and more ardent love of
Darnley. He laughed, he sung, he jested his companion upon his
gravity, and in the end consoled him, by assuring him that they should
meet with both their lady-loves that night at the queen's, so that if
he were not in a very expiring state, he might hope to live to see her
once more.

The hours quickly flew, and a little before nine the knight and his
companion presented themselves at the door of the king's private
apartments, where they were admitted by a page. When they entered
Henry was reading, and pursued the object of his study without taking
any notice of their approach by word or sign. Nothing remained to be
done but to stand profoundly still before him, waiting his good
pleasure, which remained full a quarter of an hour unmanifested.

"Well, gentlemen both," cried the king at last, starting up and laying
down the book; "I have kept ye long--ha? But now, to make amends, I
will lead ye to the fair ladies. Oh, the disguises! the disguises!
Bring the disguises, Minton; the three I chose but now. You, Darby,
shall be a Muscovian; you, Maurice, a Polacco; and I an Almaine. Say,
Darby, did you see my good lord cardinal this morning ere you came?
Holds he his mind of going to York, as he stated yesterday?"

"I did not see the very reverend lord this morning," replied Lord
Darby, who was Wolsey's ward, as well as the chief lord of his
household. "But his master of the horse informed me that he still
proposed going at ten this morning. Your grace knows that he never
delays when business calls him; and in the present case he thinks that
his presence may quell the murmurers of Yorkshire, as well as Lord
Howard has put down the Rochester fools."

"Ah, 'twas a shrewd business that of Rochester," said the king. "Now
would I give a thousand marks to know who 'twas that set that stone
a-rolling. Be you sure, Darby, that the brute shipwrights would ne'er
have dreamed such a thing themselves. They were set on! They were set
on, man! Ha, the disguises! Quick! come into this closet, and we will
robe us. 'Tis late, and our lady has promised to give, as well as to
receive, a mask."

So saying, Henry led the way to a cabinet at the side of the saloon in
which they were; and here the two young lords offered to assist in
dressing him, but of this he would not permit, bidding them haste with
their own robes, or he would be ready first. The disguise assigned to
Sir Osborne was a splendid suit of gold brocade trimmed with fur,
intended to represent the dress of a Pole; having a sort of pelisse
with sleeves of rich gold damask and sables thrown over the back, and
held by a baldrick, crossing from the right shoulder under the left
arm. His head was covered with a square bonnet of cloth of gold, like
his dress, with an edge of fur; and his face concealed by a satin mask
with a beard of golden threads.

The dress of Lord Darby was not very dissimilar, with only this
difference, that in place of the pelisse, he was furnished with a robe
with short sleeves, and wore on his head a sort of turban, or toque,
with a high feather. In a very different style was the king's
disguise, being simply a splendid German dress of cloth of gold,
trimmed with crimson velvet, but certainly not so unlike his usual
garments as to afford any great degree of concealment. All being
masked and prepared, Henry sent the page to see if the torchbearers
were ready, and issuing out of the palace the three maskers, preceded
by half-a-dozen attendants, crossed the greater quadrangle, passed out
at the gate, and making a circuit round the building, came immediately
under the windows of the queen's great hall, from each of which a
broad blaze of light flashed forth upon the night, and cast a line of
twinkling splendour across the river, that otherwise flowed on, dark
and indistinct, under a clouded and moonless sky.

"Sir Osborne," said Henry, in a low voice, as they entered the open
doors, and turned into a suite of apartments anterior to the room
where the queen held her assembly--"Sir Osborne, your voice being
unknown, you shall be our orator, and in your fine wit seek a fair
compliment for our introduction."

Had his face been uncovered, perhaps the young knight might have
sought to excuse himself; but there is wonderful assurance in a mask;
and feeling a boldness in his disguise, which perhaps the eye of
Constance de Grey might have robbed him of, had he not been concealed
from its glance, he at once undertook the task, saying that he would
do his best.

As he spoke, a couple of hautboys, by which Henry was preceded, paused
at the entrance of the great hall, and placing themselves on each
side, began a light duet, to announce that some masks were coming. The
doors were thrown open, and a splendid scene burst on the view of Sir
Osborne, full of bright and glittering figures, fleeting about in the
blaze of innumerable lights, like the gay phastasms of a brilliant
dream. The knight instinctively paused, but Henry urged him on.

"Quick! quick!" whispered he; "to the lady, to the lady; you forget
your task."

Sir Osborne instantly recollected himself, and seeing a lady, who,
standing unmasked at the farther end of the hall, bore about her that
air of royalty, and that majestic beauty, scarcely touched by time,
for which the noble Catherine was famous, he advanced directly towards
her, and bent one knee to the ground. Nature had given him somewhat of
a poet's inspiration, which came now happily to his aid, and if his
verses were not very good, they were at least ready.

    "Lady of beauty, queen of grace,
       Strangers three have come to thee,
     To gaze on thine unclouded face,
       Where so many maskers be.
     Oh! never shade that brow so high
       With the mummers' painted wile.
     Sure you keep that lip and eye,
       Welcome on your slaves to smile."

"I thank you, fair sir; I thank you," replied the queen, with a
pleased and gracious smile: "be most welcome, you and your company. I
should know you, and yet I do not. But will you not dance? Choose your
fair ladies; and, chamberlain, bid the music sound."

Sir Osborne passed on, and the king and Lord Darby followed.

"Excellent well, my knight! excellent well!" whispered Henry. "Now
show your wit in choice of a fair dame. I'faith, one must be keen in
these same masks to tell the foul from the fair. However, let us
disperse and find the jewels, though they be hid in such strange

At the word the three maskers took different paths amongst the various
figures with which the hall was now nearly filled; Lord Darby and the
knight, each in search of the object of his love; while Henry, as yet
unrecognised, glided through the apartment, it might be in quest of
some fair one also.

For some time Sir Osborne sought in vain, bewildered amongst the crowd
of quaint disguises with which he was surrounded. Now he thought he
beheld the form of Lady Constance here, and after following it for a
moment was called away by the sight of one that resembled her more.
That again he gave up, convinced by some turn or some gesture that it
was some other. Another presented itself, which perhaps he might have
mistaken, but the gay flutter of her manner at once showed that it was
not the person he sought. He saw that already Lord Darby had found his
partner; the tuning of the musical instruments was over, and mentally
cursing his own stupidity, or his own ill-fortune, he was proceeding
once more towards the part of the room where stood the queen, with his
heart beating between eagerness and vexation, when he beheld a lady,
dressed in silver brocade, with a plain satin mask, glide into the
hall, and passing by several who spoke to her, approach that spot, as
if to take a seat which stood near. Sir Osborne darted forward. He
felt that it was her; and, eager to prevent any one intercepting him,
almost startled her with the suddenness of his address.

"Fair mask," said the knight, in a voice that trembled with delight
and hope, "will you tread a measure with a stranger, for courtesy's

"I should know your voice," said the lady, in a low tone; "but I can
scarce believe I see you here. But one word, to tell me who you are?"

"My motto," replied the knight, "is _Constanc-y_; my crest, a lady's

The lady instantly put her hand into his. "Darnley!" said she, in a
voice so low as to be inaudible to any one but himself, who, bending
his head over her, trembled to catch every accent.

"Ah! Constance," he replied, in the same subdued tone, "what is it I
have dared to say to you? what is it I have dared to hope? Friendless
and fortuneless as I am, can you ever pardon my boldness?"

"Hush!" she said, "for pity's sake speak not in that way. Now I know
you love me, that is enough. Friendless you are not, and fortuneless
you cannot he, when all that is Constance's is yours. But see! they
are going to dance; afterwards we will speak more. Do not think me
bold, Darnley, or too easily won; but were I to affect that reserve
which still perhaps might be right, we are so circumstanced that we
might be ruined before we understood each other."

The knight poured forth a thousand thanks, and strove to explain to
Lady Constance how deeply grateful he felt for that generous candour
which is ever the companion of the truest modesty; and, the music now
beginning, he led her through the dance with calm and graceful ease.
As soon as the measure was ended, the queen's chamberlain pronounced,
with a loud voice, that in the other halls the knights and ladies who
had danced would find cool air and shady bowers; and, gladly taking
advantage of this information, Sir Osborne led his partner into the
chamber beyond, which by the queen's device had been divided into a
thousand little arbours, where artificial trees and shrubs, mingled
with real ones, and often ornamented with gilt fruit or flowers,
formed a sort of enchanted garden, for the dancers to repose
themselves; not very exquisite in its taste, indeed, but very much to
the taste of the day.

Singling out the farthest of all the arbours, and the one which
permitted its occupants most easily to observe the approach of any
other party, Darnley led Lady Constance to one of the seats which it
contained, and placing himself by her side, paused for a moment in
silence, to enjoy the new delights that came thrilling upon his heart.
"Oh, Constance!" said he at length, looking up to the sweet hazel eyes
that gazed upon him through the meaningless mask; "never, never did I
think to know such happiness on earth! Could I have dreamed of this
when I left you for Flanders?"

"I do not know," replied Constance; "I have done nothing but think
ever since--ever since you took my glove; and I have fancied that my
dear father foresaw this, and wished it, as you tell me he was aware
who you were; for never, even at that age, was I permitted to know,
and converse with, and see intimately, any young cavalier but
yourself. And then, do not you remember, when you used to teach me to
shoot with the bow, how he would stand by and praise your shooting?
Oh! I can call to mind a thousand things to make me think so."

"Could I but believe it," said Darnley, "I should be even happier than
I am. But still, dear Constance, I hope, I trust, that in the end I
may be enabled to seek your hand, not as an outcast wanderer. Your
good cousin, Lord Darby, has brought me to the knowledge of the king,
whose favour I have been happy enough to gain. He has retained me as
one of the gentlemen of his privy chamber, appointed me apartments in
the palace, which are just above your own; and I hope so far to win
his regard by this opportunity, that he may be induced to hear my
cause against the villain who has seized our inheritance, and do
justice to us at last. And then, Constance, with rank, and fortune,
and favour, all restored, Darnley may hope."

"And what if not restored, Darnley?" said Lady Constance. "Do you
think that rank, or fortune, or favour, will make any difference in
the regard of Constance de Grey? No, Darnley: if--but I won't say
_if_---you love me, the cardinal may do what he will, but I will never
wed another. He may find means, as they hint, to forfeit my English
lands, yet he cannot take my French ones; and even if he did, I would
rather be beggar and free than married to a man I do not love. Not
that I do not love Darby as my cousin; he is kind, and generous, and
frank; but oh!! it is very, very different. But you say that he
introduced you to the king; I did not know you were even acquainted."

"It is a long story, dear Constance," replied the knight; "I will give
it you some other time; but now tell me, while we are yet
uninterrupted, how may I see you? To watch for you, even to catch a
word during the day, certainly were delight; but still 'tis hard,
situated as we are, not to be able to communicate together more
freely. May not I come to see you?"

"Certainly," replied Lady Constance; "but you know that I can hardly
have any private conversation with you even when you do; for good Dr.
Wilbraham is with me the greater part of the morning, and one of my
women always." She paused for a moment in thought, and, raising her
eyes to his, "Darnley," she said, "I never could love a man in whose
honour I could not entirely confide; therefore I do not think it shows
me either weak or wrong when I say that I will be entirely guided by
you. We are not situated as people in general, and therefore we cannot
act as people in general do. Tell me, then, what you think right, and
I will do it. But here are two of the maskers coming directly towards
us. Say what must I do?"

"It is necessary, Constance," said the knight quickly, "absolutely
necessary, that I should sometimes be allowed half-an-hour's
conversation alone, especially at the present moment. I will come
to-morrow early, very early, if it can be then. May I?"

"Yes," said Lady Constance, "I will see. But who are these? They are
coming to us."

"It is Lord Darby," said the knight, "and, if I mistake not, Lady
Katrine Bulmer."

"Dear Polacco!" cried Lord Darby, approaching with a lady, who, to use
an old writer's description, was wondrous gay in her apparel, with a
marvellous strange and rich tire on her head: "dear Polacco, I am but
now aware of how much I have to thank you for. What! you were near
tilting at the Rochester host, and broaching me half-a-dozen
plank-shavers on your spear in defence of a fair lady, and also took
my part even before you knew me? Now, will I guess who is this silver
fair one by your side? she's blushing through her mask as if I were
going to pronounce her name with the voice of a trumpet. Well, sweet
cousin! will you own that you have a wild and rattle-pated relation in
the good town of Westminster? and if so, though you cannot love him,
will you love a very loveable creature for his sake?"

"Hush, mad-cap! let me speak!" said the voice of Lady Katrine Bulmer.
"Lady," she continued, placing herself by the side of Lady Constance,
"will you hate one that would fain love you very much, and have your
love again?"

"Heaven forbid!" replied Lady Constance. "'Tis so sweet to be loved
ourselves, that feeling it, we can scarce refuse it again to those
that love us: with a reservation, though," she added.

"Granted the reservation, that there is still a one must be loved
best," said Lady Katrine; "we all four know it," and she glanced her
merry eyes round the circle. "Oh, what a happy thing is a mask! Here
one may confess one's love, or laugh at one's friends, or abuse one's
relations, without a blush; and surely, if they were worn always, they
would save a world of false smiles and a world of false tears. Oh,
strange economy! What an ocean of grimaces might be spared if man were
but to wear a pasteboard face!"

"I am afraid that he does so more than you think, lady," replied Sir
Osborne. "You will own that his countenance is hollow, and that its
smiles are painted: in short, that it is all a picture, though a
moving one."

"Listen to him!" cried Lady Katrine, raising her look to Lord Darby;
"think of his having the impudence to moralise in the presence of two
women! Would you have believed it?"

"Nay, fair lady! it was you who led the way," replied Sir Osborne.
"But what means that trumpet in these peaceful halls?"

"'Tis either a sound to supper," replied Lord Darby, "or the entrance
of one of those pageants of which our gracious king is so fond. At all
events, let us go and see."

Thus speaking, he led away Lady Katrine gaily to the door, towards
which all the other parties from the enchanted garden were now
proceeding. Sir Osborne and Lady Constance followed more slowly.
"Darnley," said the fair girl, as she leaned on his arm, "I know not
what sort of presentiment led me hither to-night, for I have been so
vexed and so distressed with much that has happened since my arrival
in London, that I can hardly call myself well. I am now much fatigued,
and if I can escape, I will hie me to my bed. When you come to-morrow,
you shall answer me a thousand questions that I have to ask. Oh! I see
I can pass round by that other door. Farewell for this night!"

"Oh, that I dared hope it had been a happy one to you, as it has been
to me!" said the knight, still holding her hand with a fond and
lingering pressure.

"It has, Darnley; it has!" replied Lady Constance; "it has been one
that I shall never forget. Farewell!" and turning away, she passed out
of the door at the side, which led to the apartments in that wing of
the building: not, however, without one look more into the room where
her lover stood gazing still, to catch the last glance of that
graceful figure ere it left his sight.

When she was gone, the young knight, with a high-beating heart, turned
to the door of the great hall, and entered with some of the last
lingerers, who were now changing their slowness into speed, in order
to get a place before the pageant entered. The thoughts of Sir
Osborne, however, were employed on so much more engrossing subjects,
that he took no pains to hasten his steps till he was fairly within
the chamber, when, seeing the whole of the guests arranged on the
farther side of the hall, with the queen in the centre, under her
canopy or cloth of estate, he felt the impropriety of standing there
alone, and hastened to seek a place.

At that moment he observed Henry, who, still disguised, was seated
amongst the rest, and who made him a sign to take a place beside him.
Notwithstanding his mask, however, it was very evident that the king
was known; for, on his sign to Sir Osborne, all around made way for
the young knight to approach the monarch. Scarcely had he taken his
seat when, through the great doors of the hall, a huge machine was
rolled in, before which extended a double cloth of arras, so arranged
as to hide every part of the gewgaw within, only leaving a twinkling
light here and there, seen through the crevices, like the lamps that,
through the cracks of the last scene in a pantomime, announce the
brilliant change that is soon to take place to the temple of Love or
Venus, or some other such sweet power, that deals in pasteboard and

But such a thing can never be so well described as in the words of
those who saw it, and whose old stiff style harmonises admirably well
with the quaint and graceless show that they detail. We shall
therefore only so far modify the account which Hall, the chronicler,
gives of this very pageant, as to render him generally intelligible.

"Then," says he, "there was a device or pageant brought in, out of
which pageant issued a gentleman richly apparelled, that showed how,
in a garden of pleasure, there was an arbour of gold, wherein were
lords and ladies, much desirous to show pleasure and pastime to the
queen and ladies, if they might be licensed so to do; who was answered
by the queen, how sire and all other there were very desirous to see
them and their pastime, when a great cloth of arras, that did hang
before the same pageant, was taken away, and the pageant brought more
near. It was curiously made and pleasant to behold; it was solemn and
rich, for every post or pillar thereof was covered with frieze gold.
Therein were trees of hawthorn, eglantines, roses, vines, and other
pleasant flowers of divers colours, with gillofers and other herbs,
all made of satin, damask, silk, silver and gold, accordingly as the
natural trees, herbs, or flowers ought to be. In which arbour were six
ladies, all apparelled in white satin and green, set and embroidered
full of H. and K. of gold, knit together with laces of gold of damask,
and all their garments were replenished with glittering spangles gilt
over; and on their heads were bonnets all opened at the four quarters,
overfriezed with flat gold of damask. In this garden also were six
lords, apparelled in garments of purple satin, all of cuts with H. and
K. Every edge garnished with friezed gold, and every garment full of
posies, made in letters of fine gold in bullion, as thick as might be;
and every person had his name in like letters of massy gold. The
first, _C[oe]ur Loyal_; the second, _Bonne Volure_; the third, _Bon
Espoir_; the fourth, _Valiant Désire_; the fifth, _Bonne Foi_; the
sixth, _Amour Loyal_. Their hose, caps, and coats, were full of posies
and H. K.'s of fine gold in bullion, so the ground could scarce
appear, and yet in every void place were spangles of gold. When time
was come, the said pageant was brought forward into presence, and then
descended a lord and lady by couples, and then the minstrels, which
were disguised, also danced, and the lords and ladies danced, that it
was a pleasure to behold."

Such is old Hall's description of the pageant which now entered: and
it may easily be imagined that Sir Osborne, accustomed to a less
luxurious court, was somewhat astonished at the splendour of the
scene, if he was not much gratified by the good taste of the device.

When the eye of Henry, pampered with such gaudy food from day to day,
had taken in enough of the pageant, he rose from his seat, and waving
his hand for the musicians to cease, "Thanks, gentle lords and ladies;
thanks!" he cried; and taking off his own mask, added, "Let us ease
our faces of their vizards."

As he spoke, every one rose and unmasked; and Henry, taking Sir
Osborne by the hand, led him forward to the queen, while all eyes
naturally fixed upon him.

"Fair lady mine," said the king, "I bring you a good knight, Sir
Osborne Maurice, who, as you see, has wit at will, and who, I can
vouch, is as keen a champion in the saddle as he is a graceful dancer
in the hall. In short, he is a very gentle perfect knight, whom you
must cherish and receive for my love."

While Sir Osborne knelt and kissed the hand that she extended to him,
Katherine replied, "Indeed, my lord, you have brought me one that I
have longed to see. This is the good knight who, on his journey
towards London, took charge of my giddy girl and namesake, Katrine
Bulmer, and defended her from the Rochester rioters. Come hither,
Kate, and in our presence thank the knight for all the trouble I am
sure he had with thee upon the road."

"Nay, your grace," said Lady Katrine, advancing, "I have thanked him
once already, and men are all too saucy and conceited to thank them

"'Tis thou art saucy, my fair mistress," said the king, laughing; and
then bending down his head to the queen, who was still seated, he
whispered something to her which made her smile and raise her eyes to
the knight and Lady Katrine. "A handsome pair, indeed!" said she, in
reply to what the king had whispered. "But the banquet is ready."

"Lords and ladies," said Henry, raising his voice, "our royal mistress
will not let us part without our supper. All, then, come in pairs, for
in the White Hall is prepared a banquet. Sir Osborne, lead in Lady
Katrine there; you shall be coupled for an hour at least."

Sir Osborne glanced his eye to Lord Darby; but the earl was perfectly
master of his countenance, and looking as indifferent as if nothing
had happened, led in some other lady, while the knight endeavoured to
entertain Lady Katrine as well as he might, labouring under the
comfortable assurance that she would very much have preferred another
by her side.


     Would I a house for happiness erect,
     Nature alone should be the architect.--Cowley.

     Light hath no tongue, but is all eye;
     If it could speak as well as spy,
     This were the worst that it could say,
     That being well I fain would stay.--Donne.

We must now pass over a brief space of time with but little

It was a bright and beautiful morning in the beginning of the month of
May, when the sky was of that soft, tender blue which it possesses in
the early year, ere the ardent rays of summer have dyed it with a
deeper tint; and yet there was nothing of that misty faintness of hue
which foretels that the blue eye of heaven may be filled with tears
before nightfall. It was clear, though it was soft; and the light
white clouds that, winged by the breeze, sped quickly over the wide
expanse, gave to the earth no trace of their passing, except the
fleeting shadows that followed them, which, hurrying rapidly over the
distant fields and woods, made each spot as they left it look brighter
than before. Every object that met the eye spoke of spring. The bright
green of the trees, and the fields, and the woods, clearly told that
they had not known the burning touch of summer, which, like manhood
and the world's experience, coming o'er the fresh dreams of youth,
withers while it ripens, and with its very first approach steals
somewhat of the refreshing hue of early nature. The wild singing of
the birds, rejoicing in the return of brightness to the earth, and
making the whole air vocal with the bursting happiness of their
renewed enjoyment; the busy hum of animated being rising up from hill,
and dale, and wood, and joining with their song upon the breeze; all
spoke of refreshed existence. Flowers painted the fields, and blossoms
hung upon the trees, and perfume shook its light wings in the morning
air and sprinkled it with balm.

It was one of those mornings when the heart opens, and when every vein
thrills with glad existence; when we feel, as it were, the Deity on
the morning's breath; when we hear Him in the voice of creation; when
we worship Him in his works, and adore Him in the temple He himself
has raised. The scene, too, was lovely. It was in a wide open park,
where the rich thick grass spread like velvet over every slope and
lawn; so rich, so thick, its elasticity almost raised the foot that
trod it. On its luxuriant bosom the wide old trees, scattered in
clumps, or gathered together in broad sweeping woods, cast a deep
shadow, defined and clear, making the glossy softness and the vivid
green shine out more strongly for the contrast. It was the elm and the
oak that principally tenanted that park, though occasionally a
hawthorn or a beech would interpose; and wherever they congregated in
a wood there was to be found every sort of shrub and brushwood
clinging round their roots. Many a glade, however, appeared, and many
a lawn between; and where the trees broke away, there a wide extended
view presented itself, showing a rich and fertile country beyond, full
of green hedgerows and fields, broken and diversified by the lines of
hamlets and villages, mingling an air of wealth, prosperity, and
living gladness, with the bright sweetness of the morning and the calm
tranquillity of the park itself.

At the foot, then, of one of the old oaks in Richmond Park sat Lady
Constance de Grey, while her woman Margaret stood at a little distance
with a page, and Sir Osborne Maurice leaned by her side. They had met
by chance--really by chance--at that early hour in that remote part of
the park; though it is more than probable that the same thoughts,
acting on hearts so nearly allied, had led them both forth to meditate
on their fate. And even after they had met, the stillness of the scene
seemed to have found its way to their souls, for they remained almost
in silence watching the clouds and gazing at the view, content to feel
that they enjoyed together the same sweet morning and the same lovely

It may be as well, however, before proceeding further, to give some
slight sketch of what had occurred since the close of the last
chapter; though were we to account for every day, it would be but
detail of just after just, tourney after tourney, revel upon revel,
wearisome from their repetition, and sickening from their vain
splendour. Suffice it that Sir Osborne still maintained his place in
the king's favour. His lance was always held by the judges of the
field as next to the king's: his grace in the hall, or at the court,
his dexterity in martial exercises, his clerkly learning, and his
lighter accomplishments, won him much admiration; while a sort of
unassumingness, which seemed to hold his own high qualities as light,
silenced much envy. In short, it became the fashion to praise him; and
it is so easy for courtiers to applaud or to decry, as the veering
breath of favour changes, that to believe the outward semblance, Sir
Osborne Maurice, next to the king himself, and Charles Brandon Duke of
Suffolk, was the god of the court's idolatry.

There was, however, many a curious whisper of--Who was he? Whence did
he come? What was his family? And some of the knights who had served
abroad, and had been with the king at Terouenne and Tournay, conferred
together, and shook the wise head; but still it was remarked that they
were amongst those who most praised and sought the young knight. Sir
Osborne marked with a keen and observing eye all that passed about
him; and seeing that he was recognised by more than one, he felt that
he must hasten to prevent his secret being communicated to the king by
any lips but his own; and now high in favour, he only waited a fitting
opportunity to hazard all by the avowal of his name and rank.

Wolsey had been absent for nearly a month in his diocese at York, and,
removed from the influence of his presence, Lord Darby and Lady
Katrine Bulmer, Sir Osborne and Constance de Grey, seemed to have
forgot his stern authority, and given course to the feelings of their
hearts. The knight had seen Lady Constance almost every day; and good
Mistress Margaret, her woman, with whom Sir Osborne was no small
favourite, took care not to exercise towards him that strict etiquette
which she practised upon all other visitors, leaving them full
opportunity to say all that the heart sought to communicate, as she
very well perceived what feelings were busy in their breasts.

Thus everything between them was explained, everything was known:
there was no coldness, there was no reserve, there was none of that
idle and base coquetry which delights in teasing a heart that loves.
Constance de Grey loved sincerely, openly, and she had too high an
esteem for the man she had chosen, to suppose that the acknowledgment
of that love could make it less worthy in his eyes. Happy indeed it
was for them both that the most perfect confidence did exist between
them, for Henry had conceived the project of marrying the young knight
to Lady Katrine; and though the queen, with the instinctive perception
of a woman in those matters, soon saw that such a plan would very ill
accord with the feelings of either party, and quickly discouraged it,
yet Henry, giving way to all his own impetuosity, hurried it on with
precipitation, took every occasion to force them together, and
declared that he would have them married as soon as the court returned
from the meeting with the French king at Guisnes.

The situation of Sir Osborne was not a little embarrassing, the more
especially as Lady Katrine, in her merry malice, often seemed to give
in entirely to the king's schemes, having a threefold object in so
doing, if object can be attributed to such heedless gaiety; namely, to
coquet a little with Sir Osborne, which she did not dislike with
anybody, to enjoy his embarrassment, and, at the same time, to tease
Lord Darby.

With these three laudable motives she might have contrived to make Sir
Osborne and Lady Constance unhappy, had not that mutual confidence
existed between them which set all doubts at defiance. Nor, indeed,
was it Lady Katrine's wish to do harm: whimsical, gay, and
thoughtless, she gave way to the impulse of the moment. If she was in
good humour, she was all liveliness and spirit, running as close to
the borders of direct flirtation as possible with whomsoever happened
to be near; but, on the contrary, if anything went wrong with her, she
would be petulant and irritable, showing forth a thousand little airs
of affected dignity and reserve which were not natural to her. No
one's good regard did she seek more than that of Lady Constance de
Grey; and yet she seemed to take every way to lose it. But Constance,
though so different herself, understood her character, appreciated the
good, made allowance for the faults, and secure in Darnley's
affection, forgave her little coquetry with her lover.

In regard to Lord Darby, he knew Lady Katrine too; and if ever he gave
himself a moment's uneasiness about her waywardness, he did not let it
appear. If she flirted, he flirted too; if she was gay, he took care
not to be a whit behind; if she was affectionate, he was gentle; and
if she was cross, he laughed at her. She never could put him out of
humour, though, to do her all manner of justice, she tried hard; and
thus finding her attempts to tease ineffectual, she gradually relaxed
in the endeavour.

In the mean time, the days of Sir Osborne and Lady Constance flew by
in a sweet calm, that had something ominous in its tranquillity. He
had almost forgotten Sir Payan Wileton; and in the mild flow of her
happiness, Constance scarcely remembered the schemes with which the
avaricious and haughty Wolsey threatened to trouble the stream of her
existence. But, nevertheless, it was to be expected that if the
dispensation had not yet arrived from Rome, it could not be delayed
more than a few days; and that, at the return of the minister from
York, the command would be renewed for her to bestow her hand upon
Lord Darby. Such thoughts would sometimes come across Constance's mind
with a painful sensation of dread; and then, with a spirit which so
fair and tender an exterior hardly seemed to announce, she would
revolve in her mind a plan for baffling the imperious prelate at all
risks, and yet not implicate her lover at the very moment that his
"fortunes were a-making."

Then, again, she would often hope that the extraordinary preparations
that were going forward for the speedy meeting of the two courts of
France and England, all the ceremonies that were to be arranged, and
the many important questions that were to be discussed, would divert
the mind of the cardinal from herself, at least till after that
meeting had taken place; during which interval chance might produce
many circumstances more favourable to her hopes. At all events, her
resolution was taken: she felt, too, that no power on earth was
adequate to combat that determination; and thus, with fixed purpose,
she turned her mind from the contemplation of future dangers to the
enjoyment of her present happiness.

The scene in Richmond Park, to which the court had now removed from
Greenwich, as well as the bright gentleness of the May morning in
which she met Sir Osborne there, was well calculated to nurse the most
pleasing children of hope; and yet there was something melancholy even
in the magnificent aspect of the day. I know not how, but often in
those grand shining mornings the soul seems to swell too powerfully
for the body; the spirit to feel galled, as it were, by the chain that
binds it to mortality. Whatever be the cause, there is still, in such
a scene, a pensiveness that steals upon the heart; a solemnity that
makes itself felt in those innermost recesses of the mind where
thought and sensation blend so intimately as to be hardly separable
from each other. Constance and Darnley both felt it; but still it was
not sorrow that it produced; for, mingling with their fervent love and
their youthful hope, it gave their feelings something of divine.

"This is very, very lovely, Darnley," said Lady Constance, after they
had long gazed in silence. "Oh, why are not all days like this! Why
must we have the storm, and the tempest, and the cloud!"

"Perhaps," replied the knight, "if all days were so fair, we might not
esteem them so much: we should be like those, Constance, who in the
world have gone on in a long course of uninterrupted prosperity, and
who have enjoyed so much that they can no longer enjoy."

"Oh, no, no!" cried she; "there are some pleasures that never cloy,
and amongst them are those that we derive from contemplating the
loveliness of nature. I cannot think that I should ever weary of
scenes like these. No! let me have a fairy sky, where the sunshine
scarcely knows a cloud, and where the air is always soft and sweet
like this."

At this moment Mistress Margaret approached, with some consternation
in her aspect. "Good now, lady!" cried she; "look! who is that coming?
Such a strange-looking little man, no bigger than an atomy! Oh! I am
glad the knight is with us; for it is something singular, I am sure."

"You are very right, Mistress Margaret," said Sir Osborne; "this is,
indeed, a most singular being that approaches. Constance, you have
heard the queen and her ladies speak of Sir Cesar, the famous
alchymist and astrologer. He is well known to good Dr. Wilbraham, and
seems, for some reason, to take a strange interest in all my
proceedings. Depend on it, he comes to warn us of something that is
about to happen, and his warning must not be slighted; for, from
wheresoever his knowledge comes, it is very strange."

Lady Constance and the knight watched the old man as he came slowly
over the green towards them, showing little of that vivacity of
demeanour by which he was generally characterised. On approaching
near, he bowed to Lady Constance with courtly ease, saluted the knight
in a manner which might be called affectionate; and, without apology
for his intrusion, seated himself at the lady's feet, and began a gay
and easy conversation upon the justs of the day before.

"There is no court in the world," said he, after a little--"and there
are few courts I have not seen--where such sports are carried to the
height of luxury that they are here. I never saw the tournaments, the
justs, the pageants of Henry the Eighth, King of England, excelled but

"And when was that, may I ask?" demanded Lady Constance, whose
feelings towards the old man were strangely mingled of awe and
curiosity, so much had she heard of him and his strange powers during
her residence at the court.

"It was in Germany," replied Sir Cesar, "at the city of Ratisbon; and
it was conducted as all such displays should ever be conducted. Each
knight wore over his armour a motley suit, and on his casque a cap and
bells; the hilt of his sword was ornamented with a bauble, and as they
made procession to the lists, the court fools of all the electors in
the empire followed behind the knights, and whipped them on with blown

"Nay, nay, you are a satirist," said Lady Constance; "such a thing,
surely, could never happen in reality."

"In truth it did, lady," answered Sir Cesar; "it was called the
_Tournament of Fools_, though I wot not to distinguish it from other
tournaments, which are all foolish enough. Osborne," he continued,
turning abruptly to the young knight, "you will ride no more at this

"How mean you?" demanded Sir Osborne: "why should I not?"

"I mean," replied the old man, "that I come to forewarn you of
approaching evil. Perhaps you may turn it aside, but there is much
that threatens you. Are you not losing time? The king's regard is
gained; wherefore, then, do you delay? While Wolsey is absent--mark
me! while Wolsey is absent--or you are lost for the moment."

"Oh! say not so," cried Lady Constance, clasping her hands; "oh! say
not so, for I hear that he returns to-morrow."

"Fear not, lady," said Sir Cesar, who had now risen; "the danger will
last but for a time, and then pass away. So that, whatever happens to
either of you, let not your hearts sink; but be firm, steadfast, and
true. All the advice I can give you is but the advice of an ordinary
mortal like yourselves. Men judge rashly when they think that even
those who see clearest can yet see clear. All that I know, all that I
behold, is but a dim shadowing forth of what will be, like the
indistinct memory of long gone years; a circumstance without a form. I
see in both your fates an evil and a sorrowful hour approaching, and
yet I cannot tell you how to avoid it; but I can descry that 'twill be
but for a while, and that must console you."

"Good Sir Cesar," said the young knight, "I will ask you no questions,
for I have now learned that you were a dear friend of my father, and I
feel sure that you will give all knowledge that may be useful to me;
and if you will tell me what is good to do in this conjuncture, I will
follow it."

"Good, now!" said Sir Cesar, with a gratified look: "good! I see you
are overcoming your old fault, though you have been a long while about
it. Three thousand years! three thousand years to my remembrance."

Constance turned an inquiring look to her lover, who, however, was not
capable of giving her any explanation. "Think you," demanded he,
addressing Sir Cesar, "that it would be best to inform his grace of
everything at once?"

"I think it would," said the old man; "I think it would, but I
scarcely dare advise you. Osborne, there is a conviction pressing on
my mind, which I have perhaps learned too late. Can it be that those
who are permitted to read certain facts in the book of fate are
blinded to the right interpretation of that which they discover?
Perhaps it may be--I have reason to believe it. Nought that I have
ever calculated has proved false; but often, often it has been
verified in a sense so opposite to my expectations, yet so evident
when it did appear, that it seems as if heaven held the search
presumptuous, and baffled the searcher even with the knowledge he
acquired. Never more will I presume to expound aught that I may learn.
The fact I tell you: an evil and a bitter hour is coming for you both,
but it shall not last, and then you shall be happy--when I am no
more." And turning away without other farewell, he left them, and took
the way to the palace.

Lady Constance gazed on the face of her lover with a look of
apprehensive tenderness that banished all thought of himself. "Oh, my
Constance!" said he, "to think of your having to undergo so much for
me is too, too painful! But fear not, dear Constance; we are still in
a land where laws are above all power, and they cannot, they dare not
ill-treat you!"

"For myself, Darnley," replied Constance, "I have no fear. They may
threaten, they may wrong me, they may do what they will, but they can
never make me marry another. It is for you I fear. However, he said
that we should be happy at last, though he hinted that you would be
driven from the court. Oh, Darnley! if that be the case--if you find
there be the least danger--fly without loss of time----"

"And leave behind me," said Darnley, "all I love in the world! Oh,
Constance! would not the block and axe itself be preferable? It would,
it would, a thousand times preferable to leaving you for ever!"

"It might," said Constance; "I myself feel it might, if you feel as I
feel. But, Darnley, I tell you at once I boldly promise to follow."

"But still, Constance, dear, excellent girl!" said the knight, "would
it be right, would it be honourable, in me to accept such a

"Darnley," said Lady Constance, firmly, "my happiness is in your
hands, and what is right and honourable is not to throw that happiness
away. Now that my love is yours, now that my hand is promised to you,
you have no right to think of rank, or fortune, or aught else. If I
were obliged to fly, would you not follow me? and wheresoever you go,
there will I find means to join you. All I ask, all I pray in return
is, that if there be the least danger, you will instantly fly. Will
you promise me? If you love me you will."

"I will," said Sir Osborne. "What would I not do to prove that love!
But I trust, dear Constance, there may be no need of hasty flight. All
they can do will be to banish me the court, for I have committed no
crime but coming here under a feigned name."

"I know not; I know not," said the lady; "'tis easy, where no crime
is, to forge an accusation; and, if report speak truth, such has been
Wolsey's frequent policy, when any one became loved of our gracious
king; so that even the favour you have gained may prove your ruin.
But you have promised to fly upon the first threatening of danger,
and I hold as a part of that promise that you will stay for no

"Well, well, Constance," replied the knight, "time will show us more.
But, at all events, I will try to anticipate Wolsey's return, and, by
telling Henry all, secure my fate."

"Do so, do so!" said Lady Constance; "and, oh! lose no time. Fly to
him, Darnley; he must be risen by this time. Farewell! farewell!"

Sir Osborne would fain have lingered still, but Constance would not be
satisfied till he went. At last then he left her, and proceeded with
quick steps to the palace; while she, with a slower pace, pursued
another path through the park, having been rejoined by Mistress
Margaret, who, not liking the appearance of old Sir Cesar, had removed
to a secure distance on his approach, and who now poured forth no
inconsiderable vituperation on his face, his figure, and his apparel.


     _Gloucester_.--Talking of hawking--nothing else, my

On arriving at the palace, Sir Osborne found that he had been sent for
by the king; and hurrying his steps towards the privy chamber, he was
met by Henry himself, bearing a hawk upon his hand, and armed with a
stout leaping-pole, as if prepared for the field. "Come, sir knight,"
cried the king, "if you would see sport, follow quick. Bennet has just
marked a heron go down by the side of the river, and I am resolved to
fly young Jacob here, that his wings may not rust. Follow quick!"

Thus speaking, the king made all speed out of the palace; and cutting
partly across the park, and round the base of the hill, soon reached
the edge of the river, where slower progress became necessary, and he
could converse with the young knight without interrupting his sport.
Their conversation, however, was solely about hawking and its
accessories; and winding along by the side of the sedges with which
the bank was lined, they tried to raise the game by cries, and by
beating the rushes with the leaping-pole.

For a long way no heron made its appearance; and Henry was beginning
to get impatient, just in the same proportion as he had been eager in
setting out. Unwilling, however, to yield his sport, after persisting
some time in endeavouring, with the aid of Sir Osborne, to make the
prey take flight, he sent back the only attendant that had followed
him for a dog, and went on slowly with the knight, pursuing the course
of the river. When they had proceeded about two hundred yards, and had
arrived at a spot where the bank rose into a little mound, the knight
paused, while Henry, rather crossed with not having instantly met with
the amusement he expected, sauntered on, bending his eyes upon the

"Hist, your grace! hist!" cried Sir Osborne: "I have him!"

"Where, man? where?" cried Henry, looking round without seeing
anything. "'Odslife, where?"

"Here, your grace! here!" replied the knight. "Do you not see him,
with one leg raised and the claw contracted, gazing on the water as
intently as a lady in a looking-glass, by that branch of a tree that
is floating down?"

"Ha! yes, yes!" cried Henry. "The long neck and the blue back! 'Tis
he. Whoop! sir heron! whoop! Cry him up, Maurice! cry him up!"

Sir Osborne joined his voice to the king's; and their united efforts
reaching the ears of the long-legged fowl they were in search of, he
speedily spread his wings, stretched out his neck, and rose heavily
from the water. With a whoop and a cry the king slipped the jesses of
his falcon, and flew him after the heron, who, for a moment, not
perceiving the adversary that pursued him, took his flight over the
fields, instead of rising high. On went the heron, on went the falcon,
and on went Henry after them; till, coming to a little muddy creek,
which thereabouts found its way into the river, the king planted his
pole with his accustomed activity, and threw himself forward for the
leap. Unfortunately, however, at the very moment that his whole weight
was cast upon the pole, in the midst of the spring, the wood snapped,
and in an instant Sir Osborne saw the king fall flat on his face, and
nearly disappear in the ooze and water with which the creek was
filled. Henry struggled to free himself, but in vain; for the tenacity
of the mud prevented his raising his head, so that in another minute
he must inevitably have been drowned, had not Sir Osborne plunged in
to his aid, and lifted his face above the water, thus giving him room
to breathe. Short as had been the time, however, that respiration had
been impeded, the king's powers were nearly exhausted, and even with
the knight's assistance he could not raise himself from the position
in which he had fallen.

Though an unsafe experiment for both, considering the mud and slime
with which they were entangled, nothing remained for Sir Osborne but
to take the king in his arms, and endeavour to carry him to the bank;
and this at length he accomplished, sometimes slipping, and sometimes
staggering, from the uncertain nature of the footing and the heavy
burden that he carried; but, still supported by his vast strength, he
contrived to keep himself from falling, proceeding slowly and
carefully forward, and assuring himself of the firmness of each step
before he took another.[14]

With a feeling of inexpressible gladness, he seated Henry on the bank,
and kneeling beside him expressed his hopes that he had received no
injury. "No," said the king, faintly; "no. But, Maurice, you have
saved my life. Thank God, and thank you!"

A pause now ensued, and the young knight endeavoured, as well as
circumstances would permit, to cleanse the countenance and hands of
the monarch from the effects of the fall. While he was thus employed,
the king gradually recovered his breath and strength, and from time to
time uttered a word or two of thanks or directions, till at last
Bennet, the attendant, was seen approaching with the dog.

"Stay, stay, Sir Osborne," said the monarch; "here comes Bennet. We
will send him for fresh clothes. Where is the falcon? By my faith, I
owe you much; ay, as much as life! Whistle for the falcon; I have not

Sir Osborne uttered a long falconer's whistle, and in a moment the
bird hovered above them, and perched upon the hand the monarch
extended to it, showing by its bloody beak and claws that it had
struck the prey. Nearly at the same time came up Bennet, who, as may
be supposed, expressed no small terror and surprise at beholding the
king in such a situation, and was preparing to fill the air with
ejaculations and lamentations, when Henry stopped him in the midst.

"No, Bennet, no!" cried he; "keep all that for when I _am_ dead quite!
Ha, man! 'twill be time enough then. Thanks to Sir Osborne, I am not
dead at present. Here, take this bird. I have lost both hood and
jesses in that foul creek. Hie to the manor, Bennet, and fetch me a
large cloak with a hood, and another for Sir Osborne. We will not
return all draggled with the ooze; ha, Maurice! Quick, Bennet! But
mind, man; not a word of this misadventure, on your life!"

"Ah! your grace knows that I am discreet," replied the footman.

"Ay, as discreet as the babbling echo, or a jay, or a magpie," cried
Henry; "but get thee gone, quick! and return by the path we came, for
we follow slowly. Lend me your arm, Sir Osborne. We will round by yon
little bridge. A curse upon the leaping-pole, say I! By my fay, I will
have all the creeks in England stopped. I owe my life to you, but
hereafter we will speak of that: I will find means to repay it."

"I am more than repaid, your grace," said Sir Osborne, "by the
knowledge that, but for my poor aid, England might have lost her king,
and within a few hours the whole realm might have been drowned in

"Ay, poor souls! I do believe they would regret me," said the monarch;
"for, heaven knows, it is my wish to see them happy. A king's best
elegy is to be found in the tears of his subjects, Sir Osborne; and
every king should strive to merit their love when living and their
regret when dead."

Strange as it may seem, to those accustomed to picture themselves
Henry the Eighth as the sanguinary and remorseless tyrant which he
appeared in later years, such were the sentiments with which he set
out in his regal career, while youth, prosperity, and power were all
in their first freshness: 'twas the tale of the spoiled child, which
was always good-humoured when it was pleased. Now the first twelve
years of Henry's reign offered nought but pleasure, and during their
lapse he appeared a gay, light-hearted, gallant monarch, fit to rule
and win the hearts of a brave people; for nothing yet had arisen to
call into action the mighty vices that lay latent in his nature.
Gradually, however, luxury produced disease, and disease pain, and
pain called up cruelty; while long prosperity and uncontradicted sway
made him imperious, irascible, and almost frantic under opposition.
But such was not the case now, and it was only the close observer of
human nature that could at all perceive in the young and splendid
monarch the traits that promised what he would afterwards become.

Discoursing on the unlucky termination of their sport, Henry proceeded
with Sir Osborne into the park, and there awaited the coming of the
servant with their cloaks; feeling a sort of foppish unwillingness to
enter the palace in the state in which his fall had left him, his
whole dress being stiff with mud, and both face and hands in anything
but a comely condition. Many men might have taken advantage of Sir
Osborne's situation to urge their suit; but notwithstanding the very
great claim that the accident of the morning had given him upon Henry,
the knight was hardly satisfied that it had occurred. He deemed that,
in common decency, he should be obliged to delay the communication
which he had proposed to make that very evening, and thereby allow
Wolsey to arrive before the event was decided, which for every reason
he had hoped to avoid. Were he to press his suit now, it would seem,
he thought, surprising from the king's gratitude what his justice
might have denied, and indelicately to solicit a high reward for an
accidental service. His great hope, however, was that in the course of
the evening the king might himself renew the subject, and, by offering
some token of his thanks, afford him an opportunity of pleading for
justice for his father and himself.

The discomfited falconers waited not long in the park before they were
rejoined by the servant bearing the cloaks which the king had
commanded; but although they soon reached the palace, the clammy
wetness of his whole dress caused several slight shiverings to pass
over the limbs of Henry, and after some persuasion by Sir Osborne he
was induced to ask the counsel of his surgeon, who recommended him
instantly to bathe, and then endeavour to sleep.

This was, of course, a signal for the young knight to withdraw; and
taking leave of the king, he retired to his apartments to change his
own dress, which was not in a much more comfortable state than that of
the monarch. Our old friend Longpole soon answered to his call; and
while aiding him in his arrangements, without any comment upon the
state of his clothes, which he seemed to regard as nothing
extraordinary, the honest custrel often paused to give a glance at his
master's face, as one who has something to communicate, the nature of
which may not be very palatable to the hearer.

"Well, Longpole," said the knight, after observing several of these
looks, "when you have trussed these three points, you shall tell me
what is the matter, for I see you have something on your mind."

"I only wished to ask your worship," said the custrel, "if you had
seen him; for he's lurking about here, like a blackbird under a

"Seen whom?" demanded the knight.

"Why, the devil, your worship," replied Longpole. "I've seen him

"Indeed!" said Sir Osborne; "and pray what did his infernal highness
say to you when you did see him? Or rather, what do you mean?"

"Why, I mean, sir," replied the other, "that I have seen Sir Payan
Wileton twice here in the park during yesterday, if it was not his
ghost; for he looked deadly pale, and I fancied I could smell a sort
of brimstony smell. Now, I wot, a cunning priest would have told by
the flavour whether 'twas purgatory half and half, or unadulterated
hell: though, if he's not there, hell's empty."

"Hush!" said Sir Osborne; "speak not so lightly. When was this?"

"The first time I saw him, sir," answered the yeoman, "was yesterday
in the forenoon, soon after the justs, when I took a stroll out into
the park with Mistress Geraldine, the Lady Katrine's maid, for a
little fresh air after the peck of dust I had broken my fast upon in
the field. We had got, I don't know how, your worship, into that
lonely part under the hill, when beneath one of the trees hard by I
saw Sir Payan standing stock-still, with his hand in the bosom of his
doublet. His colour was always little better than that of a turnip,
but now it looked like a turnip boiled."

"Did he speak to you?" demanded Sir Osborne, "or give any sign that he
recognised you?"

"He did not speak," replied Longpole; "but when he saw me, he quietly
slipped his hand out of the bosom of his doublet, and getting it down
to the hilt of his poniard, kept fingering it with a sort of
affectionate squeeze, as much as to say, 'Dearly beloved, how I should
like to pluck you out of your leathern case, and furnish you with one
of flesh and blood!' He was ever fond of playing with his poniard; and
when he spoke to you, if it were but of sousing a toast, he would draw
it in and out of the scabbard all the time, as though he were afraid
of losing the acquaintance if he did not keep up the intimacy."

"You neither spoke nor took any notice, I hope," said Sir Osborne.

"Oh, no, your worship!" answered the custrel; "I did not even give him
_bon jour_, though he was fond of talking French to me when he wished
to say something privately. I only twitched Mistress Geraldine over to
the other side, and passed him by close; thinking to myself, 'If I see
your dagger in the air, I'll go nigh to sweep your head off with my
broadsword, if I have to run to France for it;' but seeing that I
looked him in the face, he turned him round upon his heel, with a draw
down of the corner of his mouth, which meant a great deal if it were
rightly read.

"Why, first, it meant--I hate you sufficiently to pretend to despise
you. Then--I'll murder you whenever I can do so safely; and again it
went to say--Give my best love to your master, and tell him he'll hear
more of me soon."

"By my faith! a good reading, and, I doubt not, a true one," replied
the knight; "but we must try and render his malice of no avail. And
now, tell me, when did you see him the second time?"

"The second time was after dinner, sir," said Longpole, "when his
grace the king, yourself, and the Duke of Suffolk kept the barriers
against all comers."

"He did not try the field, did he?" demanded Sir Osborne.

"Oh, no!" replied Longpole; "he stood looking on at a good distance,
wrapped up in a cloak, so that it needed sharp eyes to recognise him;
but I saw him all the time fix his eyes upon you, so like a cat before
a mouse-hole, that I thought every minute to see him overspring the
barrier and take you by the throat. Depend upon it that good and
honest knight, like his german-cousin, Satan, never travels for any
good, and we shall hear more of him."

"I doubt it not," answered Sir Osborne; "and we must guard against
him. But now, Longpole, a word or two to you. Did you give the packet,
as I directed you, to Mistress Geraldine, Lady Katrine's woman?"

"I did, your worship," answered Longpole, somewhat surprised at the
serious air that came over his lord's countenance: "I gave it
immediately I received it from your hands."

"That was right," replied Sir Osborne. "And now, let me say to you, my
good Heartley, that I have remarked you often with this same girl
Geraldine, and it seems to me that you are seeking her love."

"Oh! good now! your worship," cried Longpole; "if you prohibit me from
making love, it's all over with me. Indeed, your worship, I could not
do without it. It is meat, drink, and sleep to me; better than a
stirrup-cup when I rise in the morning, or a sleeping cup when I go to
bed at night. 'Faith I could not sleep without being in love. There,
when I was with Sir Payan, where there was nothing to fall in love
with but the portrait of his grandmother against the wall, I could not
sleep o' nights at all, and was forced to take to deer-stealing, just
for amusement. 'Odslife! your worship is hard on me. There, you have
a bellyful of love, all day long, from the highest ladies of the
court, and you would deny me as much as will lie in the palm of a

"Nay, nay, Longpole!" said Sir Osborne, laughing; "you have taken me
up too hastily. All I meant to say was, merely, that seeing you are
evidently seeking this poor girl's love, you must not play her false.
I do not wish to imply that you would wrong her virtue: of that I am
sure you are incapable; but I mean you must not win her love, and then
leave her for another."

"Dear heart, no!" cried Longpole; "I would not for the world. Poor
little soul! she has suffered enough; so I'm now consoling her, your
worship. It's wonderful how soon a broken heart is patched up with a
little of the same stuff that broke it. It is the very reverse of
piecing a doublet; for in love you mend old love with new, and it's
almost as good as ever. However, some day soon we intend to ask your
worship's leave and the priest's blessing, and say all those odd
little words that tie two folks together."

"My leave and good wishes you shall have, Longpole," replied the
knight, "and all I can do to assist your purse. Hark! is not that the
trumpet to dinner? Give me my bonnet; I will down and dine at the
board of estate to-day, as I was not there yesterday."

On descending to the hall, Sir Osborne was instantly assailed by a
thousand questions respecting the accident which had befallen the
king; for, what between the diligent exertions of the attendants and
those of the surgeon, the news had already spread through the whole
court. In reply, the knight gave as brief and exact an account of the
whole occurrence as possible, endeavouring to stop the lying tongue of
Rumour by furnishing her with the truth at least. After dinner he
returned to his own apartments, and only left them once for a
momentary visit to Constance de Grey, remaining in hopes all the
evening that the king might send for him when he arose. Such hopes,
however, were in vain: day waned and night fell, and the knight's suit
was no farther advanced than when Sir Cesar warned him to hasten it in
the morning.


     A spirit fit to start into an empire,
     And look the world to law.
     He, full of fraudful arts,
     This well-invented tale for truth imparts--Dryden.

We must now for a while change our place of action, and endeavour to
carry the mind of the reader from the sweeter and more tranquil scenes
of Richmond Park, one of the most favoured residences of Henry the
Eighth, to York Place, the magnificent dwelling of that pampered child
of fortune, Cardinal Wolsey.

His progress, his power, and his fall; his arrogance, his splendour,
and his vices; all the many changes that may be traced to his
government of the realm, or to his artifices with the king, and of
which to this day we feel the influence--changes which, though
beneficial in their effects, like many of our most excellent
institutions, originated in petty passions or egregious errors; in
short, all his vast faults and his vast powers have so often called
the eyes of the world to the proud prelate, that he seems hardly one
of those remote beings which the cloud of past centuries has shadowed
with misty indistinctness. His image, as well as his history, is
familiar to the mind's eye. He lives, he moves before us, starting out
from the picture of the times of old to claim acquaintance with our
memory, as something more tangibly real than the vague, undefined
forms that float upon the sea of history. Such skilful pens also have
depicted him in every scene and situation, that it becomes almost
unnecessary, and, perhaps, somewhat presumptuous, to say more
concerning him than that which strictly interweaves itself with the
web of this tale.

York Place, which, as every one knows, was afterwards called
Whitehall, though it offered an appearance very different from the
building at present known by that name, stood nearly on the same spot
which it now occupies. Surrounded by splendid gardens, and ornamented
with all that the arts of the day could produce of luxurious or
elegant, so far from yielding in any degree to the various residences
of the king, it surpassed them all in almost every respect. The
combination, also, of ecclesiastical pomp with the magnificence of a
lay prince, created in the courts and round the gates of the palace a
continual scene of glitter and brilliancy. Whether it were deputations
from abbeys and monasteries, the visits of other bishops, the
attendance of noblemen and gentlemen come to pay their court, the halt
of military leaders with their armed bands, prepared for service and
waiting for command, still bustle, activity, and splendour were always
to be met with in the open space before the building on every morning
when the fineness of the weather permitted such display. There were to
be seen passing to and fro the rich embroidered robes of the clergy,
in all the hues of green and purple and of gold; the splendid liveries
of the cardinal's own attendants, and of the followers of his
visitors; the white dresses of the soldiery, traversed with the broad
red cross of England; the arms of the leaders, and the many-coloured
housings of the horses; while above the crowd was often displayed the
high-wrought silver cross or the glittering crook of bishop or mitred
abbot, borne amongst banners, and pennons, and fluttering plumes.

It was on a morning when the scene before the palace was full of more
than usual life, owing to the arrival of the cardinal the night before
from York (which was, be it remarked, one day earlier than he had been
expected), that Sir Payan Wileton rode through the crowd to the grand
entrance. He was followed by ten armed attendants, the foremost of
whom were Cornishmen, of that egregious stature which acquired for
their countrymen in the olden time the reputation of sprouting out
into giants. These two Sir Payan had sent for expressly from his
estates in Cornwall, not without a purpose; and now, having dressed
them in splendid liveries, he gave orders for his train to halt at
such a distance as to be plainly visible from the windows of the

Dismounting from his horse at the door, he gave him to his page, and
entering the hall passed through the crowd of attendants with which it
was tenanted, and mounted the grand staircase with that sort of slow,
determined step which is almost always to be found in persons whose
reliance on their own powers of mind is founded in long experience and

The number of people whom he met running up and down the wide
staircase, with various papers in their hands, announced at once the
multitude of affairs which the cardinal was obliged to despatch after
his long absence at York, and foreshowed some difficulty in obtaining
an audience. Here was a sandalled monk, slowly descending from what
seemed some disappointed suit; there, a light courtier hurrying
forward in fear of being too late; now, the glad look of a satisfied
applicant; now, the vexed mien of one whose expectations were delayed;
while, ever between, the familiar servants of the place glided to and
fro on their various errands, passing coldly amongst that crowd of
throbbing bosoms as beings apart, whose feelings had no community with
the hopes, the fears, the wishes, and all the thronged emotions which
were then excited or destroyed.

Following one of these into the waiting-hall at the top of the
staircase, Sir Payan found it crowded almost to suffocation with
persons staying for an audience, either from Wolsey himself or from
one of his secretaries. Above their heads appeared a misty atmosphere
of condensed human breath, and all around was heard the busy buzz of
many voices murmuring in eager but whispered consultation.

The hall was a large chamber, cutting directly through the centre of
the house, with a high Gothic window at each end, to the right and
left of which, at both extremities, appeared a door. The one opposite
to that by which Sir Payan entered stood open, though a small wooden
bar prevented the entrance of the crowd into the room beyond, which
was occupied by six or seven ordinary clerks, busily employed in
filling up various papers, and speaking from time to time to the
persons who presented themselves on business. At each of the doors, at
the other end of the room, stood an usher with his rod and a marshal
with his staff, opposing the ingress of any but such as the highest
rank or personal interest entitled to enter beyond the porch of the
temple; for there the right-hand path led to the privy chambers of
Wolsey himself, and the left to the offices of his principal
secretaries. It was round this left-hand door that the crowd took its
densest aspect; for many, who were hopeless of obtaining a hearing
from the cardinal himself, fondly flattered themselves that their
plaint or petition might reach his ear through his secretary, if,
either by bribe or flattery, they could secure the interest of the
secondary great man.

Winding in and out through the meandering path left by the various
groups in the hall, Sir Payan approached the door which led to the
cardinal's apartments, and demanded admission. There was something in
his tone which implied right, and the usher said, if he would give his
name he would inquire, though an applicant who had remained long
unlistened to audibly murmured his indignation, and claimed to be
admitted first.

Sir Payan turned to look at him while the usher was gone, and at once
encountered the eyes of a near neighbour of his own, who, under his
fostering care, had dwindled from a rich landholder to a poor farmer,
and thence had sunk to beggary, while his possessions, one by one, had
merged into the property of Sir Payan, which, like the Norwegian
whirlpool, seemed to absorb everything that came within its vortex. No
sooner did the old man's eyes fall upon his countenance, and behold
who it was that kept him from the light, than, giving way to his rage,
he clasped his hands, and, stamping upon the ground, cursed him before
all the multitude, with the energy of despair.

Sir Payan cast upon him a cold look, mingled of pity and contempt, and
passed through the door, which the usher now held open for his
entrance. The room at which he arrived was a large ante-room, occupied
by various groups of lords and gentlemen attached to the household of
the cardinal, who, prouder than royalty ever needs to be, would at
least be equal with the king himself in the rank of his various
officers. These were scattered about in various parts of the room
talking with the select visitors whom the ushers had permitted to
enter, or staring vacantly at the figures on the rich tapestry by
which they were surrounded, wherein, though scrutinised a thousand
times, they still found sufficient to occupy their idle eyes, while
waiting till the minister should go forth. With almost every one he
saw Sir Payan was in some degree acquainted; but in their bow or
gratulation, as he passed, there was none of the frank, cordial
welcome of regard or esteem: it was simply the acknowledgment of a
rich, powerful man, whose only title to reverence was in his influence
and his wealth.

About the centre stood Lord Darby, and to him Sir Payan approached
with a "Good morrow, my good lord!"

"Sir!" said the earl, looking him steadfastly in the face for a
moment; then, turning on his heel, he walked to the other end of the
room. Nothing abashed, Sir Payan kept his ground, tracing the young
lord with his eyes, in which no very amicable expression was visible;
and then, after a moment, he approached a small table, near the door
of the minister's cabinet, whereat was seated a clerk, whom, as it so
happened, Sir Payan himself had recommended to the cardinal.

"Can his grace be spoken with, Master Taylor?" demanded the knight, as
the clerk bowed low at his approach.

"He is busied, honoured sir," replied the man, with a second profound
reverence, "in conversation with the prior of his abbey of St. Albans
on matters of deep importance----" A loud laugh from the chamber
within reached Sir Payan's ear, through the door by which he stood;
but he took no notice of this comment on the important business which
Wolsey was transacting, and the clerk went on. "I am sorry to say,
sir, also, that there are five or six persons of distinction who have
waited on his grace's leisure for near an hour."

"But the cardinal sent for me," said Sir Payan; "and besides----" And
he whispered something to his former servant which seemed convincing.
In a minute or two after, the door opened, and the prior of St. Albans
issued forth. Rustling up to the table in his rich silk robes, he said
to the clerk, in a low and important voice, "His grace commands you to
send in the person of the highest rank that came next."

"Well, holy father," said the clerk rising; and then, appearing to
search the room with his eyes, he waited till the prior was gone,
when, turning to Sir Payan, he added in a loud voice, "Sir Payan
Wileton, the lord cardinal is waiting for you."

The knight instantly proceeded to the door, which was opened by one of
the ushers who stood near; and passing on, he found himself directly
in the presence of the cardinal, who, seated in a chair of state,
waited the next comer, with a countenance prepared to yield a good or
bad reception, according to his rank and purpose.

He was, at that time, not apparently much above fifty-five; tall,
erect, and dignified; with a face replete with thought and mind, and a
carriage at once haughty and graceful. His dark eye was piercing and
full of fire; and lurking about the corners of his mouth might be seen
the lines of unbounded pride, striven against and repressed, but still
existing with undiminished force. The robes of bright scarlet satin,
which he wore without any other relief than a tippet of rich sables,
made his cheek look almost ashy pale; and the shade of the broad hat
which covered his brow gave an air of pensive solemnity to his
features, which, joined with the fire of his eye, the pride of his
lip, and the knowledge of his power, invested his presence with an
impressiveness not devoid of awe.

As Sir Payan entered, Wolsey's brow gradually contracted into a frown;
and fixing his glance full upon him, he let him stand for several
moments before he motioned him to a seat. At length, however, he

"Sir Payan Wileton," said he, "I have sent for you to speak on many
subjects that may not be very agreeable for you to discuss. However,
as they concern the welfare of society and the fame of the king's
justice, they must be inquired into; nor must any man's rank or wealth
shelter him from the even eye of equity."

"Your grace hardly does me justice," replied Sir Payan, resolving to
keep to vague professions till he had ascertained, as far as possible,
what was passing in Wolsey's mind. "Had I been unwilling to discuss
any part of my conduct with your grace, should I have importuned your
gates every day for the last week in hopes of your return? and if, on
the most minute investigation, I found any of my acts which would not
meet the eye of equity itself, should I voluntarily present myself
before the Cardinal of York?"

"You were sent for, Sir Payan," replied Wolsey. "Last night the
messenger set out."

"By your grace's pardon," said the knight, "if you but calculate, you
will find that I could not have come from a far part of Kent in so
short a space of time. It is true that I have received the packet, but
that was only by sending last night to know if you had then returned.
My servant met your messenger at the very door, and received the
letter intended to be sent to Chilham. But every day, as I have told
your grace, since I have risen from a bed of sickness, where a cross
accident had thrown me, I have not ceased to seek your presence on
business of some import."

Wolsey, long accustomed to encounter every species of wily art, was
not to be led away by the exhibition of a new subject; and pursuing
his first object, he proceeded:--

"We will speak of that anon. At present, it is my task to inform you,
sir, that various are the complaints, petitions, and accusations
against you, that daily reach my hand. And many prayers have been
addressed to his royal grace the king, by the very best and noblest of
the land, to induce him to re-establish the house of Fitzbernard in
the lordship and estates of Chilham Castle. All these things have
led me to inquire--as indeed is but my duty as chancellor of this
kingdom--into the justice of your title to these estates, when I find
that the case stands thus: the Earl of Fitzbernard, in the last year
of his late majesty's reign, was accused by those two infamous
commissioners, Empson and Dudley, and was, upon the premises,
condemned to the enormous fine of one hundred thousand pounds, under
the penal statutes; and, as a still further punishment for some words
lightly spoken, the king, then upon his death-bed, recalled the
stewardship of Dover Castle, which involved, as was supposed, the
forfeiture of Chilham Castle and its lands. Was it not so?"

"It was so far, your grace," replied Sir Payan; "but allow me to

"Hush!" said the cardinal, waving his hand; "hear me, and then your
observations, if you please. Such being the case, as I have said, and
the wide barony of Chilham supposed to be vacant, the stewardship of
Dover Castle, with those estates annexed, is bestowed upon you: how,
or why, is not very apparent, though the cause alleged is service
rendered in the time of Perkyn Warbeck. Now it appears, from some
documents placed in the hands of Lord Dacre, of the north, by the Duke
of Buckingham, that Chilham Castle was granted to Fulbert de Douvre,
at a period much subsequent to the grant of the stewardship of Dover;
that it was totally distinct, and held by tenure of chivalry, in fee
and unalienable, except under attainder or by breach of tenure. What
say you now, Sir Payan?"

"Why, simply this, your grace," replied Sir Payan, boldly: "that the
good Duke of Buckingham--the noble Duke of Buckingham, as the commons
call him--seems to be nearly as much my good friend as he is to the
king, his royal master, or to your grace;" and, knitting his brow and
clenching his teeth, he fixed his eyes upon the rose in his shoe,
remaining sternly silent, to let what he had said, and what he had
implied, work fully on the mind of the cardinal.

Wolsey's hatred to the princely Buckingham was well known, and Sir
Payan easily understood that hatred to be the most maddening kind,
called jealousy; so that not a word he had said but was meted to the
taste and appetite of the cardinal with a skilful hand. The minister's
cheek flushed while the knight spoke; and when, after implying by
tone, and look, and manner, that he could say more, Sir Payan suddenly
stopped, and bent his eyes upon the ground, Wolsey had nearly burst
forth in that impatient strain of question which would have betrayed
the deep anxiety he felt to snatch at any accusation against his noble
rival. Checking himself, however, the politic churchman paused, and
seemed to wait for some further reply, till, finding that Sir Payan
still maintained his silent attitude of thought, he said--

"Have you any reason, sir, to suppose that the duke is ill-disposed
towards his grace the king? Of myself I speak not. His envy touches me
not personally; but where danger shows itself towards our royal
master, it becomes a duty to inquire. Your insinuations, Sir Payan,
were strong: you should be strongly able to support them."

"I know not, your grace," replied the knight, with the unhesitating
daring that characterised all his actions, "how far a man's loyalty
should properly extend; but this I know, that I am not the tame and
quiet dog that fawns upon the hand that snatches its mess from before
its muzzle. What I know, I know; what I suspect remains to be proved;
but neither knowledge, nor suspicion, nor the clue to guide judgment
through the labyrinth of wicked plotting, will I furnish to any one,
with the prospect before my eyes of being deprived, for no earthly
fault, of my rightful property, granted to me by the free will of our
noble king Henry the Seventh."

An ominous frown gathered upon Wolsey's brow, and fain would he have
possessed the thunder to strike dead the bold man who dared thus to
withhold the information that he sought, and oppose him with
conditions in the plenitude of his power.

"You are gifted with a strange hardihood, sir," cried he, in a voice,
the slight trembling of whose tone told the boiling of the soul
within. "Did you ever hear of misprision of treason--say?"

"I have, your grace," replied Sir Payan, whose bold and determined
spirit was not made to quail even before that of Wolsey. Acting,
however, coolly and shrewdly, he was moved by no heat as was the
cardinal; and though calculating exactly the strength of his position,
he knew that it was far from his interest to create an enemy in the
powerful minister, who, sooner or later, would find means to avenge
himself. At the same time, he saw that he must make his undisturbed
possession of Chilham Castle the price of any information he could
give, or that he might both yield his secret and lose his land. "I
have heard, your grace," he said, "of misprision of treason, but I
know not how such a thing can affect me. First, treason must be
proved; then it must be shown that it was concealed with full
knowledge thereof. Doubts and suspicions, your grace knows, are not
within the meaning of the law."

Sir Payan paused, and Wolsey remained in silence, as if almost
disdaining to reply. The knight clearly saw what was passing in his
mind, and continued, after an affectation of thought, to give the
appearance of a sudden return of affectionate submission to what he
was about to say.

"But why, your grace, why," cried he, "cast away from you one of your
most faithful servants? Why must it be, when I have waited at your
door day after day, to give you some information, much for the state's
and for your grace's benefit to know, that the very first time I am
admitted to your presence, I find my zeal checked and my affection
cooled by an express intention to deprive me of my estates?"

"Nay, Sir Payan," said Wolsey, glad of an opportunity of yielding,
without compromising either pride or dignity, "no such intention was
expressed. You have mistaken entirely: I only urged these reasons,
that you might know what had been urged to me; and I was about to put
it to you what I could do if the young Lord Darnley came over to this
country and claimed these estates; for, probably, the old earl will
not have energy enough to make the endeavour. What could I do, I say?"

"Let him proceed by due course of law, my lord," replied Sir Payan,
the calculation in whose mind was somewhat to the following effect,
though passing more rapidly than it could when embodied in
words:--"Before his claim is made in law (thought he) he shall taste
of the axe of the Tower, or I am mistaken. However, I will not let
Wolsey know who he is, for then my interest in the business would be
apparent, and I could claim no high recompense for ridding myself of
my own enemy. No; I will crush him as Osborne Maurice, a perfect
stranger to me: then will my zeal seem great. Pride will prevent him
from owning his name till the death; and if he does own it, his coming
here concealed, joined to the crimes that I will find means to prove
against him, shall but make him appear the blacker." Such was the
train of thought that passed instantly through his mind; while, with
an affectation of candour, he replied, "Let him proceed by due course
of law, my lord; then, if he succeed, let him have it, in God's name.
All I ask is, that your grace will not moot the question; for one word
of the great Wolsey throws more weight into one or other of the scales
of justice than all the favour of a dozen kings."

Wolsey was flattered, but not deceived. However, it was his part not
to see, at least for the time; and though he very well understood that
Sir Payan would take special means to prevent the young lord from
seeking justice by law, he replied, "All that I could ever
contemplate, Sir Payan, was to do equal right to any one that should
bring his cause before me. It is not for me to seek out occasions for
men to plunge themselves in law; and be you very sure, that unless the
matter be brought before me in the most regular manner, I shall never
agitate the question, which is one that, even should it be discussed,
would involve many, many difficulties. From what I say now you may
see, sir, that your haste has hurried you into unnecessary disrespect,
which, heaven knows, I feel not as regards my person, but as it
touches my office I am bound to reprove you."

"Most deeply do I deplore it," replied Sir Payan, "if I have been
guilty of any disrespect to one whom I reverence more than any other
on the earth; but I think that the information which I have to
communicate will at least be some atonement. I have then, my lord," he
proceeded, lowering his voice--"I have then discovered, by a most
singular and happy chance, as dangerous a conspiracy as ever stained
the annals of any European kingdom; and I hold in my hand the most
irrefragable proofs thereof, together with the names of the principal
persons, the testimony of several witnesses which bears upon the
subject, and various letters which are in themselves conviction. I
will now, with your grace's leave----"

At that moment one of the ushers opened the door of the cabinet, and
with a profound reverence informed Wolsey that the Earl of Knolles
desired to know when he could have an audience, as he had been waiting
long without.

"Ha! What!" exclaimed the cardinal, his eye flashing, and his lip
quivering with anger at the interruption; "am I to be disturbed each
moment? Tell him I cannot see him; I am busy; I am engaged; occupied
on more important things. Were he a prince I would not see him. And
you, beware how you intrude again! Now, Sir Payan, speak on. This is
matter of moment indeed. What was the object of this conspiracy?"

"Nothing less, I can conceive, my lord, than to make the commons
dissatisfied with the government under which they live; to incite them
to various insurrections, and, if possible, into general rebellion,
under favour of which my Lord Duke of Buckingham might find his way to
the throne: at least, there are fixed his eyes."

"Ha, ha! my proud Lord of Buckingham!" cried Wolsey, with a triumphant
smile. "What! hast thou wired thine own feet? But you say you have
proofs, Sir Payan. We must have full proof; but you are not a man to
tread on unsteady ground: your proofs are sure?" he reiterated, with a
feverish sort of anxiety to ascertain that his rival was fully in his

"In the first place, read that, my lord," said Sir Payan, putting in
his hand one out of a bundle of papers that he had brought with him.
"That is the first step."

"Why, what is this?" cried Wolsey. "This is but 'the deposition of
Henry Wilson, of Pencriton, in the duchy of Cornwall, who maketh oath
and saith, that the prisoner Osborne Maurice, _alias_ Sir Osborne
Maurice, is the man whom he saw at the head of the Cornish miners in
insurrection, on the 3rd of January last, and who incited them, by
cries and words, to burn and destroy all that came in their way, till
they should have satisfaction in everything that they required; but
for the further acts of the said Osborne Maurice, he, the deponent,
begs leave to refer to his former depositions, taken before Sir John
Balham, knight, of the city of Penzance, in Cornwall; only upon oath
he declareth, that the said Osborne Maurice, now present, is the
ringleader or conductor of the mob mentioned in his former deposition,
in witness whereof----' Ha!" said Wolsey, thoughtfully; "there is one,
I find, of this same name, Sir Osborne Maurice, who, during my
absence, has crept into the king's favour. Surely it may be the same!"

"On my life, my lord, the very same!" replied Sir Payan. "'Twas but
the morning before last, that, at the justs at Richmond, I saw him
with our noble king, his chosen companion, with the Duke of Suffolk,
to keep the barriers against all comers; and there he ruffled it
amongst the best, swimming, as 'twere, on the top of the wave."

"Then will we lay this on his head," said Wolsey, placing his
forefinger emphatically on the paper, "and that shall sink him. But
how does this touch the Duke of Buckingham?"

"Your grace shall hear," replied Sir Payan. "This Wilson, who made
the deposition you there hold, came to me one day in the last of
March--you must know he is my bailiff--and told me a sad story of his
woeful plight; how in a cottage hard by he had met the man whom he had
seen burn down his father's house in Cornwall, and who was there
employed in the same devilish attempt to instigate the peasants to
revolt. Wilson, it seems, accused him; whereon, being a most powerful
and atrocious traitor, he struck the bailiff to the ground, and left
him for dead. This being sworn on oath before me, as a magistrate, I
sent forth and had the villain arrested, after a most desperate
struggle. With the intention of sending him to Cornwall, I had him
committed to the strong room of the manor; but somehow, during the
night, he contrived to escape through a window, and made his way to
the court----"

"But still, Sir Payan," interrupted the cardinal, "this does not
implicate the Duke of Buckingham, who, as I have good reason to
believe, is but a scant lover of our royal king, and towards myself
bears most inveterate malice. I have heard many a rumour of his plots
and schemes. But it is proof, Sir Payan; it is proof that we must

"And proof your grace shall have," replied the knight, counting the
hatred that Wolsey bore towards the duke as his own gain, and enjoying
the inveteracy of his malice not only with the abstract satisfaction
of fellow-feeling, but as a fisherman delights to see the voracious
spring of the trout at the fly he casts before his snout. "Let your
grace listen to me; for my story, though somewhat long, is
nevertheless conclusive. This Osborne Maurice, in his escape, left
behind him the leathern horsebags with which he rode when he was
taken, and, in my capacity as magistrate, I made free to open

"You did right, you did right!" cried Wolsey, almost forgetting his
dignity in eagerness. "What did you find? Say, Sir Payan! What did you

"I found several letters from his grace the Duke of Buckingham,"
answered Sir Payan, "being principally written to bring this Sir
Osborne Maurice to the knowledge of persons about the court,
recommending him as one that _may be trusted_. Your grace will mark
those words, '_may be trusted_.' But amongst the rest was one which
shows for _what_ he may be trusted. Behold it here, my lord! You know
the duke's hand and style;" and he presented the letter to Wolsey.

The cardinal snatched it eagerly; but remembering himself, he turned
more composedly to the address, and read, "'Sir John Morton.' Ah!"
cried he. "So! an old Perkyn Warbeckist! the last I believe
alive. But for the contents: '_Trusty and well-beloved friend!_
'--um--um--um--'_everlasting friendship!_--of course, one traitor
loves another. But let us see. How! the daring villain! '_to
inform you, that before another year arrive, my head shall be the
highest in the realm, at least so promises Sir Osborne Maurice, whose
promises, as you know, are not such as fail!_' Ha, Sir Payan! ha! Did
you read it? This is treason, is it not? By my life, the duke's own
hand! But what says he farther? Ha! '_The butcher's cur Wolsey has
long wanted the lash, and he shall have it soon_.' See you how rank is
his malice! We will read no farther. This condemns him; and as for Sir
Osborne Maurice, to-night he shall have his lodging in the Tower."

"Though other proof might be deemed superfluous," said Sir Payan,
"yet, my lord, when I came to the part where he calls your grace a
butcher's cur" (and the knight dwelt somewhat maliciously on the
words), "my zeal and affection for your grace's service made me
instantly resolve to track this Osborne Maurice on his journey, after
escaping from prison. In person I could not do it, for a fall from my
horse laid me in my bed for three weeks. But I took care that it
should be done, and found that he returned straight to my Lord of
Buckingham's; from thence he went to the Benedictine Abbey at
Canterbury, where he seems to have been sent to escort a Lady Katrine
Bulmer to the court. Then, passing by Rochester, he had an interview
with the chief of the rioters at Hilham Green. Your grace will be at
no loss to know how, and by whom, that memorable tumult was
instigated. There he pretended to save a good simple priest from the
mob; but, by the clergyman's own account, they gave him up at a single
word from this Maurice, which shows what was his influence with them;
for they were, the moment before, about to hang the man they yielded
so quietly after. The priest is at my lodging here. This was the
traitor's last adventure before arriving at the court, where, either
by some sorcery or other damned invention, he has bewitched the better
judgment of the king, so that none is so well loved as he. Perhaps he
waits but an opportunity to put his dagger in our royal master."

"Heaven forbid!" cried Wolsey. "We will instantly set off for
Richmond. Without there! Let the barge be prepared directly: Sir
Payan, you have saved the realm, and may claim a high reward."

"The reward I most affect," replied the knight, in a well-acted tone
of moderation, "is simply to remain in quiet possession of that which
I have. Life is now wearing with me, your grace, and I covet not
greater charges than those which I enjoy. Let me but be sure of them."

"Rest tranquil on that point," replied Wolsey. "I will look thereto."

"There are, indeed," continued Sir Payan, "some hereditary estates,
which, though they should be mine, are held by another; and on that
score I may claim your grace's assistance before I endeavour to
recover them; for I put my whole actions in your grace's hands, that,
like a mere machine, I may move but as you please."

"What estates are these, Sir Payan?" demanded Wolsey, with something
very nearly approaching to a smile, at the peculiar line of the
knight's cupidity. "If they be truly yours, doubt not but you shall
have them."

"They are those estates in Cornwall," replied the knight, "lately held
by my cousin, the Earl de Grey, which have since passed to Constance,
his daughter; though, by all custom of succession, according to their
tenure, I hold them to pass directly in the male line."

"Nay, nay, Sir Payan," cried Wolsey, with a curl of his lip; "this is
too much! Constance de Grey is my ward, and shall not lose her estates
lightly. She is, indeed," added he, thoughtfully, and speaking to
himself more than to the knight, though not a word was lost to his
attentive ears; "she is, indeed, somewhat wilful. That letter, in
which she refuses to wed her cousin, though calm and humble, was full
of rank obstinacy. The fear of losing her estates, however----. But we
shall see. Sir Payan, I must hold my opinion suspended till such time
as you lay before me some proofs of the matter. And now tell me: think
you, in this plot of Buckingham's, is there any other person of high
rank implicated? Indeed there must be, for he would never undertake
such daring schemes without some sure abettors. Sir Payan, these lords
are all too proud. We must find means to humble them. It may be as
well to let this arch-traitor Buckingham proceed for some short time,
till we find who are his accomplices. But, for this Sir Osborne
Maurice, he shall to the Tower to-night, for therein is the king's
life affected."

"Might it not be better, in your grace's good judgment," said Sir
Payan, "to take the duke's person at once? For assuredly, as soon as
he hears that his minion is committed, he will become alarmed, and
find security in some foreign land."

"He shall be so well watched," said Wolsey, closing his hand tightly,
as if he grasped his enemy, "that were he no larger than a meagre
ermine, he should not escape me. No; we must let him condemn himself
full surely. But, Sir Payan, are you prepared to accompany me to

"If by any chance this Maurice were to see me with your grace,"
replied Sir Payan, "he would lose no time, but fly instantly, before
you had speech of his grace the king. If you think it necessary, my
lord, that I should attend you, it may be well to arrest the traitor
immediately on your arrival."

"Nay, nay, nay!" said Wolsey, shaking his head. "You know not Henry,
Sir Payan; he is hard and difficult to rule, and, were I to arrest Sir
Osborne, would take for insult what was meant as a service. But you
shall not go: there is, indeed, no need. These papers are quite
enough, with the testimony of the priest. Let him be sent down
post-haste to Richmond after me."

"He shall, my lord," replied Sir Payan. "But one word more, your
grace. If the Duke of Buckingham be condemned, his estates, of course,
are forfeited to the crown. Near me lies his beautiful manor of the
Hill, in Kent, and I know your grace will not forget your faithful
servants." Wolsey paused, and Sir Payan went on. "To show how
constantly present your grace is to all my thoughts, you told me some
time ago that you desired to have two of the tallest men in the realm
for porters of the gate. Cast your eyes through that window, my lord,
and I think you will see two that no prince in Europe can match in his

No service that Sir Payan could have rendered, either to the state or
to himself, would have given half so much pleasure to Wolsey as the
possession of the two gigantic Cornishmen we have before mentioned;
for, amongst all his weaknesses, his passion for having tall men about
him was one of the most conspicuous. As soon as for a moment or two he
had considered them attentively through the window, and compared them
with all the pigmy-looking race around, he thanked Sir Payan with
infinite graciousness for his care; and hinted, though he did not
promise, that Buckingham's manor in Kent might be the reward. While he
yet spoke, a gentleman-usher entered, to announce that the barge was
ready; and, giving some more directions to Sir Payan, in regard to
sending the priest, Wolsey rose to proceed on his journey. The
procession, without which he never moved, was already arranged in the
ante-chamber, consisting of marshals and gentlemen-ushers, with two
stout priests bearing the immense silver crosses of his archbishopric
and his legacy; and the moment he moved towards the door, the ushers
pressed forward, crying, "On before, my lords and masters! on before!
Make way for the lord cardinal! Make way for my lord's grace! On
before! on before!"

Wolsey immediately followed, and proceeded to his barge; while Sir
Payan returned to his own house in Westminster, and despatched the
priest to Richmond, after which he sat himself down to write. What he
did write consisted of but a few lines, but they were of some import;
and as soon as they were finished, he entrusted them to one of his
shrewdest and most assured servants, with many a long direction, and
many an injunction to speed.


     This hour's the very crisis of your fate:
     Your good or ill, your infamy or fame,
     And all the colour of your life depends
     On this important _now_.--The Spanish Friar.

If any one will look at the almanac for the year 1520, he will find
marked, opposite the 4th day of May, the following curious piece of
information: "High-water at London Bridge at half-past three;" and, if
he calculate rightly, he will discover that as Wolsey set out from
what was then called the Cardinal's Bridge[15] at high noon, he had
the most favourable tide in the world for carrying him to Richmond.
His rowers, too, plied their oars with unceasing activity; and his
splendid barge, with its carved and gilded sides, cut rapidly through
the water, but still not rapidly enough for his impatience.

Siting under an awning, with a table before him, at which was placed a
clerk, he sometimes read parts of the various papers that had been
presented during the morning, and sometimes dictated to the secretary;
but more frequently gave himself up to thought, suffering his mind to
range in the wild chaos of political intrigue, which was to him like
the labyrinth a man makes in his own garden, in which a stranger might
lose his way, but where he himself walks for his ease and pleasure.
Not that Wolsey's mind was one that soared above the pains of
political life; for his were all the throbbing anxieties of precarious
power, his was all the irritation of susceptible pride and insatiable
vanity; while jealous envy, avarice, and ambition, at once made the
world a desert, and tormented him with unquenchable thirst.

No surer road to Wolsey's hatred existed than the king's favour; and
since his return to London, though but one evening had passed, yet
often had his heart rankled at hearing from those who watched for him
in his absence, that a young stranger, named Sir Osborne Maurice, had
won the king's regard and become the sharer of all his pleasures. The
information given him by Sir Payan Wileton had placed in his hand arms
against this incipient rival, as he deemed him, which were sure to
crush him; and, with a sort of pride in the conquest he anticipated,
he muttered to himself, as he saw the narrowing banks of the river,
approaching towards Richmond, "Now, Sir Osborne Maurice! now!"

The boat touched the shore; and while the chief yeoman of the barge,
as his privilege, supported the arm of the cardinal, the two stout
priests bearing the crosses hurried to land with the other attendants,
and ranged themselves in order to proceed before him. Two of his
running footmen sped on to announce his approach, and the rest, with
the form and slowness of a procession, traversed the small space that
separated them from the court, reached the gate, and entering the
palace, Wolsey, more like an equal prince than a subject, passed
towards the king's privy-chamber, amidst the profound bows and
reverences of all the royal attendants, collected to do honour to his

Many had been the rumours in the palace during the morning respecting
the king's health, and it was generally reported that the accident of
the day before had thrown him into a fever. This, however, was
evidently not the case; for a little before noon Sir Osborne Maurice
had received a message by one of the royal pages, to the effect that
at three o'clock the king would expect him in his privy-chamber. That
hour had nearly approached, and the young knight was preparing to obey
Henry's commands, when a note was put into his hands by Mistress
Margaret, the waiting-woman of Lady Constance de Grey. It was a step
which Sir Osborne well knew she would not have taken had it not been
called for by some particular circumstance, and with some alarm he
opened the paper and read--

The lord cardinal is here: remember your promise. Tarry not rashly, if
you love                                     Constance.

As Wolsey had ever been a declared enemy to his father, and a steady
supporter of Sir Payan Wileton, Sir Osborne felt that the prospect was
certainly in some degree clouded by his arrival; and while at the
court, he had heard enough of the jealousy that the favourite
entertained towards all who often approached the king, to make him
uneasy with regard to the future. But yet he could not imagine that
the regard of Henry would be easily taken from him, nor the service he
he had rendered immediately forgotten; and strong in the integrity of
his own heart, he would not believe that any serious evil could befall
him; yet the warning of Sir Cesar still rung in his ears, and made an
impression which he could not overcome.

It would be very easy to represent our hero as free from every failing
and weakness, even from those of the age he lived in; easy to make him
as perfect as ever man was drawn, and more perfect than ever man was
known: but then we should be writing a romance, and not a true
history. Sir Osborne was not perfect; and living in an age whose
weakness it was to believe implicitly in judicial astrology, he shared
in that weakness, though but in a degree; and might, indeed, have
shared still less, had not the very man who seemed to take such an
interest in his fate acquired in the court where he lived a general
reputation for almost unerring perception of approaching events. No
one that the young knight met, no one that he heard of, doubted for a
moment that Sir Cesar possessed knowledge superhuman: to have doubted
of the possibility of acquiring such knowledge, would have been in
those times a piece of scepticism fully equal in criminality to
doubting the sacred truths of religion; and therefore we cannot be
surprised that he felt a hesitation, an uneasiness, a sort of
presentiment of evil, as he approached the privy chamber of the king.

At the door of the ante-chamber, however, he found stationed a page,
who respectfully informed him that the king was busy on affairs of
state with the cardinal lord chancellor, and that his grace had bade
him say, that as soon as he was at leisure he would send for him to
his presence.

Sir Osborne returned to his own apartment, and after calling for
Longpole, walked up and down the room for a moment or two, while some
curious, vague feelings of doubt and apprehension passed through his

"'Tis very foolish!" said he, at length; "and yet 'tis no harm to be
prepared. Longpole, saddle the horses, and have my armour ready. 'Tis
no harm to be prepared;" and quitting his own chambers, he turned his
steps towards those of Lady Constance, which here, not like the former
ones in the palace at Greenwich, were situated at the other extremity
of the building. His path led him again past the royal lodgings; and
as he went by, Sir Osborne perceived that the page gave entrance to a
priest, whose figure was in some degree familiar to his eye. Where he
had seen him he did not know; but, however, he staid not to inquire,
and proceeded onward to the door of Lady Constance's apartments.
One of her women gave him entrance, and he soon reached her
sitting-chamber, where he found her calmly engaged in embroidery. But
there, also, was good Dr. Wilbraham, who of late had shrewdly begun to
suspect a thing that was already more than suspected by half the
court; namely, that Sir Osborne Maurice was deeply in love with
Constance de Grey, and that the lady was in no degree insensible to
his affection. Now, though the good doctor had thought in the first
instance that Lady Constance's marriage with Lord Darby would be the
very best scheme on earth, he now began to think that the present
arrangement would be a great deal better: his reasoning proceeding in
the very inverse of Wolsey's, and leading him to conclude that as Lord
Darby had quite enough of his own, it would be much better for Lady
Constance to repair, with her immense wealth, the broken fortunes of
the ancient house of Fitzbernard, and at the same time secure her own
happiness by marrying the best and the bravest of men. Notwithstanding
all this, he could not at all comprehend, and never for a moment
imagined, that either Constance or her lover might in the least wish
his absence; and therefore, with great satisfaction at beholding their
mutual love, he remained all the time that Sir Osborne dared to stay,
and conducted him to the door with that affectionate respect which he
always showed towards his former pupil. While the old clergyman stood
bidding Sir Osborne farewell, a man habited like a yeoman approached,
inquiring for the lodging of Lady Constance de Grey; and on being told
that it was before him, he put a folded note into the hands of Dr.
Wilbraham, begging him to deliver it to the lady, which the chaplain
promised to do.

And now, leaving the good clergyman to perform this promise, and Sir
Osborne to return to his apartment, somewhat mortified at not having
had an opportunity of conversing privately with Constance, even for a
moment, we will steal quietly into the privy-chamber of the king, and
seating ourselves on a little stool in the corner, observe all that
passes between him and his minister.

"God save your royal grace!" said Wolsey, as he entered, "and make
your people happy in your long and prosperous reign!"

"Welcome back again, my good lord cardinal," replied the king; "you
have been but a truant of late. We have in many things wanted your
good counsel. But your careful letters have been received, and we have
to thank you for the renewed quiet of the West Riding."

"Happily, your grace, all is now tranquil," replied the cardinal, "and
the kingdom within itself blessed with profound peace; but yet, my
lord, even when this was accomplished, it was necessary to discover
the cause and authors of the evil, that the fire of discord and
sedition might be totally extinguished, and not, being only smothered,
burst out anew where we least expected it. This has been done, my
liege. The authors of all these revolts, the instigators of their
fellow-subjects' treason, have been discovered; and if your grace have
leisure for such sad business, I will even now crave leave to lay
before you the particulars of a most daring plot, which, through the
activity of good Sir Payan Wileton, I have been enabled to detect."

"Without there!" cried the king, somewhat impatiently. "See that we
are not interrupted. Tell Sir Osborne Maurice that we will send for
him when we are free. Sit, sit, my Wolsey!" he continued. "Now, by the
holy faith, it grieves me to hear such things! I had hoped that,
tranquillity being restored, I should have sped over to France to meet
my royal brother Francis, with nothing but joy upon my brow. However,
you are thanked, my good lord, for your zeal and for your diligence.
We must not let the poisonous root of treason spread, lest it grow too
great a tree to be hewn down. Who are these traitors? Ha! Have you
good proof against them?"

"Such proof, my liege, that, however willing I be to doubt,
uncertainty, the refuge of hope, is denied me, and I must needs
believe. When we have nourished anything with our grace, fostered it
with kindly care, taught it to spread and become great, heaped it with
favours, loaded it with bounty, we naturally hope that, having sowed
all these good things, our crop will be rich in gratitude and love;
but sorry I am to say, that your grace's royal generosity has fallen
upon a poisoned soil, and that Edward Duke of Buckingham, who might
well believe himself the most favoured man in the realm, now proves
himself an arrant traitor."

"By heaven!" cried the king, "I have lately much doubted of his
loyalty. He has, as you once before made me observe, much absented
himself from the court, keeping, as I hear, an almost royal state in
the counties; and lately, on the pretence that he is sick, that his
physicians command him quiet, he refuses to accompany us to Guisnes. I
fear me, I fear me, 'tis his loyalty is sick. But let me hear your
reasons, my good lord cardinal. Fain would I still behold him with an
eye of favour; for he is in many things a noble and a princely peer,
and by nature richly endowed with all the shining qualities both of
the body and the mind. 'Tis sad, indeed 'tis sad, that such a man
should fall away and lose his high renown! But your reasons, Wolsey!
Give me the history."

It were needless in this place to recapitulate all that we have seen,
in the last chapter, advanced by Sir Payan Wileton to criminate the
Duke of Buckingham. Suffice it that Wolsey related to the king the
very probable tale that had been told him by the knight: namely, that
Buckingham, aspiring to the throne, affected an undue degree of
popularity with the commons, and by his secret agents rendered them
dissatisfied with the existing government, exciting them to various
tumults and revolts, of which he cited many an instance; and that,
still further, he had contrived to introduce one of the most active
agents of his treason into the court, and near to the king's own

"Whom do you aim at?" cried the king. "Quick! give me his name. I know
of no such person. All about me are men of trust."

"Alas! no, my liege," answered Wolsey: "the man I mean calls himself
Sir Osborne Maurice."

"Ha!" cried Henry, starting; and then, after thinking for a moment, he
burst into a fit of laughter. "Nay, nay, my good Wolsey," he said,
shaking his head: "nay, nay, nay; Sir Osborne saved my life no longer
ago than yesterday, which looks not like treason;" and he related to
the cardinal the accident that had befallen him while hawking.

Wolsey was somewhat embarrassed; but he replied, "We often see that,
taken by some sudden accident, men act not as they proposed to do; and
there is such a nobility in your grace's nature, that he must be a
hardened traitor indeed who could see you in danger, and not by mere
impulse hasten to save you. Perhaps such may have been the case with
this Sir Osborne, or perhaps his master's schemes may not yet be ripe
for execution: at all events, my liege, doubt not that he is a most
assured traitor."

"I cannot believe it!" cried Henry, striking the table with his hand.
"I will not believe it! By heaven! the very soul of honour sparkles in
his eye! But your proofs, lord cardinal! your proofs! I will not have
such things advanced against my faithful subjects, without full and
sufficient evidence."

The more eagerness that Henry showed in defending his young friend,
the more obnoxious did Sir Osborne become to Wolsey, and he laid
before the king, one by one, the deposition of Wilson, Sir Payan's
bailiff; several letters which Buckingham had written in favour of the
young knight; and lastly, the duke's letter to Sir Thomas Morton,
where, either by a forgery of Sir Payan Wileton's, or by some strange
chance, it appeared that Sir Osborne Maurice had promised that within
a year the duke's head should be the highest in the realm.

While he read, Henry's brow knit into a heavy frown, and, biting his
lip, he went back to the beginning, and again read over the papers.
"Cardinal," said he, at length, "bid the page seek Pace, my secretary,
and ask him for the last letter from the Duke of Buckingham."

Wolsey obeyed; and, while waiting for the return of the page, Henry
remained with his eyes averted, as if in deep thought, beating the
papers with his fingers, and gnawing his lip in no very placable mood;
while the cardinal wisely abstained from saying a word, leaving the
irritation of the king's mind to expend itself, without calling it
upon himself. As soon as the letter was brought, Henry laid it side by
side with those that Wolsey had placed before him, and seemed to
compare every word, every syllable, to ascertain the identity of the
handwriting. "True, by my life!" cried he, casting down the papers.
"The writing is the same; and now, my lord cardinal, what have you
farther to say? Are there any farther proofs, ha?"

"Were there none other, your grace," replied Wolsey, "than the duke's
handwriting, and the deposition of a disinterested and respectable
witness, who can have no enmity whatever against this Sir Osborne
Maurice, and who probably never saw him but on the two occasions he
mentions, I think it would be quite sufficient to warrant your grace
in taking every measure of precaution. But there is another witness,
whom, indeed, I have not seen, but who can give evidence, I
understand, respecting the conduct of the person accused towards the
Rochester rioters. Knowing how much your grace's wisdom passeth that
of the best in the realm, I have dared to have this witness (a most
honourable priest) brought hither, hoping that the exigency of the
case might lead you to examine him yourself, when, perhaps, your royal
judgment may elicit more from him than others could do."

"You have done wisely, my good lord cardinal," replied Henry, whose
first irritation had now subsided. "Let him be called, and bid your
secretary take down his deposition, for 'tis not fitting that mine be
so employed."

At the command of Wolsey, one of the pages went instantly to seek the
priest, who, by the care and despatch of Sir Payan, had been sent down
with all speed, and was now waiting with the cardinal's attendants in
no small surprise and agitation, not being able to conceive why he was
thus hurried from one place to another, and breathing also with some
degree of alarm in the unwonted atmosphere of a court. On being
ushered into the royal presence, the worthy man fell down upon both
his knees before Henry, and, clasping his hands, prayed for a blessing
on his head with such fervour and simplicity that the monarch was both
pleased and amused.

"Rise, rise, good man!" said the king, holding out his hand for him to
kiss: "we would speak with you on a business of import. Nay, do not be
alarmed. We know your worth, and purpose to reward you. Place yourself
here, master secretary, and take down his replies. Sit, my good lord
cardinal; we beg you to be seated."

As soon as Wolsey had taken a low seat near the king, and the
secretary, kneeling on one before the table, was prepared to write,
Henry again proceeded, addressing the priest, who stood before him the
picture of a disquieted spirit.

"Say, do you know one Sir Osborne Maurice?" demanded the king.

"Yes, surely, please your royal grace," replied the priest. "At least
that was the name which his attendants gave to the noble and
courageous knight that saved me from the hands of the Rochester

"First," said Wolsey, "give us your name, and say how you came to fall
into the hands of these rebellious shipwrights."

"Alas! your grace," answered the priest, "I am a poor priest of
Dartford, my name John Timeworthy; and hearing that these poor
misguided men at Rochester were in open rebellion against the
government, from lack of knowledge and spiritual teaching, I resolved
to go down amongst them and preach to them peace and submission. I
will not stay to say how and where I found them; but getting up upon a
bench that stood hard by, under an apple-tree, I gathered them round
me like a flock of sheep, and began my discourse, saying, 'Woe! woe!
woe! Woe unto ye, shipwrights of Rochester, that you should arm
yourselves against the king's grace! You are like children, that must
fain eat hot pudding, and burn their mouths withal; for ye will cry,
and ye will cry, till the sword fall upon you; and then, when Lord
Thomas comes down with his men-at-arms, ye will turn about and fly;
and the spears will stick in your hinder parts, and ye shall be put to
shame: for though he have but hundreds, and ye have thousands, his are
all men of the bow and of the spear, and ye know no more of either
than a jackass does of the harp and psaltery.' And thereupon, your
grace, they that I took for strayed sheep showed themselves to be a
pack of ravening wolves, for they haled me down from the bench, and
beat me unmercifully, and putting a halter round my neck, led me along
to hang me up, as they vowed, in sight of Rochester Castle; when, just
as they were dragging me along, more dead than alive, across a little
green, the knight, Sir Osborne Maurice, came up, and, as I said,
rescued me; and for a surety he is a brave and generous knight, and
well deserving your grace's favour."

"By my faith, I have always thought so," said Henry. "What say you
now, cardinal? Question him yourself, man."

Wolsey eagerly snatched at the permission, for he plainly saw that the
matter was not proceeding to his wish. "Pray, my good Master
Timeworthy," said he, "how was it that this Sir Osborne rescued you?
Did he put his lance in rest, and charge the whole multitude, and
deliver you from their hands?"

"Not so! not so!" cried the priest. "He did far more wisely, for there
would have been much blood spilt; but he sent forward one, who seemed
to be his shield-bearer, who shook hands with the chief of the
rioters, and spoke him fair; and then the knight came forward himself,
and spoke to him; and the chief of the rioters cried with a loud voice
to his people, that this was not Lord Thomas, as they had thought, but
a friend and well-beloved of the good Duke of Buckingham; and it was
wonderful how soon the eloquence of that young man worked upon the
multitude, and made them let me go. He was, indeed, a youth of a
goodly presence, and fair to look upon, and had something noble and
commanding in his aspect; and his words moved the rioters in the
twinkling of an eye, and made them wholly change their purpose."

Henry's brow, which had cleared during the former part of the priest's
narration, now grew doubly dark and cloudy; and he muttered to
himself, "Too clear! too clear!" while Wolsey proceeded to question
the priest more closely.

"Indeed, your grace," replied he, in answer to the cardinal's more
minute questions, "I can tell you no more than I have told; for, as I
said, I was more dead than alive all the time, till they gave me up to
the knight, and did not hear half that passed."

"And what did you remark after you were with the knight?" demanded
Wolsey. "Was there no particular observation made on the whole

"Not that I can call to mind," answered the priest. "All I remember
is, that they seemed a very merry party, and laughed and joked about
it; which I, being frightened, thought almost wicked, God forgive me!
for it was all innocency and high blood of youth."

"Well, sir," said Wolsey, "you may go. Go with him, secretary; and see
that he be well tended, but allowed to have speech of no one."

The priest and the secretary withdrew in silence; and no sooner were
they gone, than, abandoning his kingly dignity, Henry started from his
seat, and strode up and down the room in one of those fits of passion
which, even then, would sometimes take possession of him. At length,
stopping opposite Wolsey, who stood up the moment the king rose, he
struck the table with his clenched hand. "He shall die!" cried he; "by
heaven, he shall die! Let him be attached, my Wolsey."

"My sergeant-at-arms is with me, your grace," replied the cardinal,
"and shall instantly execute your royal will. Better arrest him
directly, lest he fear and take flight."

"Whom mean you?" cried the king. "Ha! I say attach Edward Bohun, Duke
of Buckingham."

"In regard to the Duke of Buckingham, my liege," replied Wolsey, less
readily than he had before spoken, "will you take into your royal
consideration whether it may not be better to suffer him to proceed a
while with his treasonous schemes? for I question if the evidence we
have at present against him would condemn him with the peers."

"But he is a traitor," cried Henry; "an evident traitor; and, by my
faith! shall suffer a traitor's death."

"Most assuredly he is a black and heinous traitor," answered Wolsey.
"And yet your grace will think what a triumph it would be for him if
his peers should pronounce him innocent. He has store of friends among
them. Far better let him proceed yet a while, and, with our eyes upon
him, watch every turn of his dark plot, and seize him in the midst,
when we shall have such proof that even his kindred must, for very
shame, pronounce his guilt. In the mean time, I will ensure that he be
so strictly guarded that he shall have power to do no evil."

"You are right, my Wolsey; you are right!" cried the king, seating
himself, and laying his hand upon the papers; "let it be conducted as
you say. But see that he escape not, for his ingratitude adds another
shade to what is black itself. As to this Sir Osborne Maurice, 'tis a
noble spirit perverted by that villain Buckingham. I have seen and
watched the seeds of many virtues in him."

"It must be painful, then, for your grace to command his arrest," said
Wolsey; "and yet he is so near your royal person, and his treason is
so manifest, that the very love of your subjects requires that he
should suffer death."

"And yet," replied Henry, fixing his eye upon the cardinal, and
speaking emphatically; "and yet, even now I feel the warm blood of the
English kings flowing lightly in my veins, which but for him would
have been cold and motionless: and shall I take his life that has
saved mine? No, Wolsey, no! It must not be! He has been misled, but is
not wicked."

"Still, your grace's justice requires," said Wolsey (pardon me my
boldness), "that he should undergo his trial. Then, if condemned,
comes in your royal mercy to save him; saying to him, You are judged
for having been a traitor, you are pardoned for having saved your

"But be assured, my Wolsey," replied Henry, "that if his trial were to
take place now, the great traitor Buckingham will take alarm, and
either endeavour to do away all evidence of his treason, or take to
flight and shelter himself from justice."

"No need that his trial be immediate," answered the cardinal; "if your
grace permits, he shall be committed privately to the Tower, and there
await your return from France; by which time, depend on it, the Duke
of Buckingham will have given further tokens of his mad ambition, and
both may be tried together. Then let the greater traitor suffer and
the lesser find grace, so that your royal justice and your clemency be
equally conspicuous."

"Be it so, then," said the king; "though in truth, good cardinal, it
grieves me to lose this youth. He is, without exception, the best
lance in Christendom, and would have done our realm much credit in our
journey to France: I say it grieves me! Ay, heartily it grieves me!"

"Nay, your grace," said Wolsey, "you will doubtless find a thousand as
good as he."

"Not so! not so, lord cardinal!" cried Henry; "these are things not so
easily acquired as you churchmen think. I never saw a better knight.
When his lance breaks in full course, you shall behold his hand as
steady as if it held a straw: nor knee, nor thigh, nor heel shall
shake; and when the toughest ash splinters upon his casque, he shall
not bend even so much as a strong oak before a summer breeze. But his
guilt is clear, so the rest is all nought."

"Then I have your grace's commands," said Wolsey, "to commit him to
the Tower. He shall be attached directly by the sergeant-at-arms, and
sent down by the turn of the tide."

"Hold, hold!" cried the king; "not to-night, good Wolsey. Before we
fly our hawk we cry the heron up, and he shall have the same grace.
To-morrow, if he be still found, arrest him where you will; but for
to-night he is safe, nor must his path be dogged. He shall have free
and fair start, mark me, till tomorrow at noon; then slip your
greyhounds on him, if you please."

"But, your grace," cried Wolsey, "if you let him----"

"It is my will," said the king, his brow darkening. "Who shall
contradict it? Ha! See that it be obeyed exactly, my lord!"

"It shall, your grace," said Wolsey, bending his head with a profound
inclination. "Your will is law to all your faithful servants; but only
let your noble goodness attribute to my deep love for your royal
person the fear I have that this traitorous agent of a still greater
traitor may be tempted in despair, if he find that he is discovered,
to attempt some heinous crime against your grace."

"Fear not, man! fear not!" replied the king. "He, that when he might
have let me die, risked his own life to save mine, will never arm his
hand against me: I fear not, cardinal. So be you at ease. But return
to London; see that Buckingham be closely watched; and be sure that no
preparation be wanting for the meeting with Francis of France. Be
liberal, be liberal, lord cardinal! I would not that the nobles of
France should say they had more gold than we. Let everything be
abundant, be rich, and in its flush of newness; and as to Sir Osborne
Maurice, arrest him to-morrow, if he be still here. Let him be fairly
tried, and if he come out pure, well. Yet still, if he be condemned,
his own life shall be given him as a reward for mine. However, till
tomorrow let it rest. It is my will!"

Though Wolsey would have been better pleased to have had the knight
safely in the Tower, yet, even in case of his making his escape before
the next morning, his great object was gained, that of banishing from
the court for ever one whose rapid progress in the king's regard bade
fair, with time, to leave every one behind in favour. He therefore
ceased to press the king upon the subject, especially as he saw, by
many indubitable signs, that Henry was in one of those imperious moods
which would bear no opposition. A few subjects of less import still
remained to be discussed, but the monarch bore these so impatiently,
that Wolsey soon ceased to importune him upon them; and resolving to
reserve all further business for some more auspicious day, he rose,
and taking leave with one of those refined, yet high-coloured,
compliments which no man was so capable of justly tempering as
himself, he left the royal presence, and proceeded to another part of
the palace on business whose object is intimately allied to the
present history, as we shall see hereafter.


     And knowing this, should I yet stay,
     Like such as blow away their lives,
     Enamoured of their golden gyves?--Ben Jonson.

     Away! though parting be a fretful corrosive,
     It is applied to a deathful wound.--Shakspere.

Who would be a king if he could help it? When Wolsey had left him,
Henry once more raised the papers which lay upon the table, and read
them through; then leant his head upon his hand, and passed some
moments in deep and frowning meditation. "No!" said he, "no! I will
not show them to him, lest he warn the traitor Buckingham. Ho,
without! Tell Pace to come to me;" and again falling into thought, he
remained musing over the papers with bent brows and an absent air,
till the secretary had time to obey his summons. On his approach, the
good but timid Pace almost trembled at the angry glow he saw upon the
king's face; but he was relieved by Henry placing in his hands the
papers which Wolsey had left, bidding him have good care thereof.

Pace took the papers in respectful silence, and waited an instant to
see whether the king had further commands; but Henry waved his hand,
crying, "Begone! leave me, and send the page."

The page lost not a moment in appearing; for the king's hasty mood was
easily discernible in his aspect, and no one dared, even by an
instant's delay, to add fuel to the fire which was clearly burning in
his bosom; but still Henry allowed him to wait for several minutes.
"Who waits in the ante-chamber?" demanded he, at length.

"Sir Charles Hammond, so please your grace," replied the page.

"And where is Denny?" asked the king. "Where is Sir Anthony Denny,

"He has been gone about an hour, your grace," replied the page.

"They hold me at nought!" cried Henry. "Strike his name from the list!
By my life, I will teach him to wait! Go call Sir Osborne Maurice to
my presence," and rising from his seat, he began again to pace the

The page, as he conducted the young knight to the hall in which Henry
awaited him, took care to hint that he was in a terrific mood, with
that sort of eagerness which all vulgar people have to spread evil
tidings. The knight, however, asked no question and made no comment,
and passing through the door which he had seen give admission to the
priest about an hour before, he entered the ante-chamber, in which was
seated Sir Charles Hammond, who saluted him with a silent bow.
Proceeding onward, the page threw open the door of the privy-chamber,
and Sir Osborne approached the king, in the knitting of whose brow,
and in the curling of whose lip, might be plainly seen the inward
irritation of his impetuous spirit. As he came near, Henry turned
round, and fixed his eye upon him; and the knight, not knowing what
might be the cause or what the consequence of his anger, bent his knee
to the ground, and bowing his head, said, "God save your grace!"

"Marry, thou sayest well!" cried Henry. "We trust he will, and guard
us ever against traitors! What say you?"

"If ever there be a man so much a traitor to himself," replied Sir
Osborne, "as to nourish one thought against so good a king, oh, may
his treason fall back upon his own head, and crush him with the

"Well prayed again," said Henry, more calmly. "Rise, rise, Sir
Osborne; we must speak together. Give me your arm. We cannot sit and
speak when the heart is so busy. We will walk. This hall has space
enough," and with a hurried pace he took one or two turns in the
chamber, fixing his eyes upon the ground, and biting his lip in
silence. "Now, by our Lady!" cried he at length, "there are many men
in this kingdom, Sir Osborne Maurice, who, seeing us here, holding
your arm and walking by your side, would judge our life in peril."

Sir Osborne started, and gazed in Henry's face with a look of no small

"Did I but know of any one," said he, at length, "who could poison
your royal ear with such a tale, were it other than a churchman or a
woman, he should either confess his falsehood or die upon my sword.
But your grace is noble, and believes them not. However," he
continued, unbuckling his sword and laying it on the table as far away
as possible, "on all accounts I will put that by. There lays the sword
that was given me by an emperor, and here is the hand that saved a
king's life; and here," he continued, kneeling at the king's feet, "is
a heart as loyal as any in this realm, ready to shed its best blood if
its king command it. But tell me, only tell me, how I have offended."

"Rise, sir knight," said the king. "On my life, I believe you so far,
that if you have done wrong, you have been misled; and that your heart
is loyal I am sure: yet listen. You came to this court a stranger; in
you I found much of valour and of knightly worth. I loved you, and I
favoured you; yet now I find that you have in much deceived me. Speak
not, for I will not see in you any but the man who has saved my life;
I will know you for none other. Say, then, Sir Osborne, is not life a
good return for life? It is? ha?"

"It is, my liege," replied Sir Osborne, believing his real name
discovered. "Whatever I have done amiss has been but error of
judgment, not of heart, and surely cannot be held as very deep offence
in eyes so gracious as my noble king's."

"We find excuses for you, sir, which rigorous judges might not find,"
replied the monarch; "yet there are many who strive to make your
faults far blacker than they are, and doubtless may urge much against
you; but hitherto we stand between you and the law, giving you life
for life. But see you use the time that is allowed you well, for
to-morrow, at high noon, issues the warrant for your apprehension, and
if you make not speed to leave this court and country, your fate upon
your head, for you have warning."

Sir Osborne was struck dumb, and for a moment he gazed upon the king
in silent astonishment. "I know not what to think," he cried, after a
while; "I cannot believe that a king famous for his clemency, can see
in my very worst crime aught but an error. Your grace has said that
many strive to blacken me; still humbly at your feet let me beseech
you to tell me of what they do accuse me."

"Of many rank offences, sir!" replied the king, somewhat impatiently;
"offences of which you might find it hard to wash yourself so clear as
not to leave enough to weigh you down. However, 'tis our will that you
depart the court, without further sojourn; and if you are wise, you'll
speed to leave a country where you may chance to find worse
entertainment and a harder lodging if you stay. Go to the keeper of
our private purse, who will give a thousand marks to clear your
journey of all cost; and God befriend you for the time to come!"

"Nay, your grace," replied Sir Osborne, "poor as I came I'll go; but
thus far richer, that for one short month I won a great king's love,
and lost it without deserving; and if to this your grace will add the
favour to let me once more kiss your royal hand, you'll send me
grateful forth."

Henry held out his hand towards him. "By my faith," cried he, "I do
believe him honest! But the proofs! the proofs! Go, go, Sir Osborne; I
judge not harshly of you. You have been misled; but fly speedily, I
command you; for your own sake, fly!"

Sir Osborne raised himself, took his sword from the table, and, with a
low obeisance to the king, quitted the room, his heart far too full to
speak with any measure what he felt.

His hopes all broken, his dream of happiness dispelled like a wreath
of morning mist in the sunshine, the young knight sought his chamber,
and casting himself in a seat, leant his head upon his hands, in an
attitude of total despondency. He did not think; for the racking
images of despair that hurried through his brain were very different
from the defined shapes of the most busy thought. His bosom was a
chaos of dark and gloomy feelings, and it was long before reason lent
him any aid to arrange and disentangle his ideas. As it did so,
however, the thought of whither he should fly presented itself, and
his first resolution was to go to his father in Wales; but then, to be
the bearer of such news! it was more than he could undertake. Besides,
as he reflected, he saw that, use what speed he might, his course
would be easily tracked in that direction, and that the facilities
which the messengers of the government possessed of gaining fresh
horses would soon enable them to overtake and arrest him if the
warrant were issued the next day at noon, as the king had said, and
followed up with any degree of alacrity. That it would be so he had no
reason to doubt, attributing, as he did, the whole of his misfortune
to the hatred and jealousy of Wolsey; whose haste to ruin him had been
sufficiently evinced by his having begun and completed it within one
day after his arrival from York. These thoughts brought on others; and
not knowing the stinging impulse of a favourite's jealousy, he
pondered over the malice of the cardinal, wondering whether in former
days his father might have offered the then rising minister either
offence or injury, and thus entailed his evil offices on himself and
family. But still the question, whither he should fly, returned; and
after much consideration he resolved that it should be to Flanders,
once more to try the fortune of his sword; for though peace nominally
subsisted between the French king and the new emperor, it was a peace
which could be but of short duration, and it was even then interrupted
by continual incursions upon each other's territories, and incessant
violation of the frontier by the various garrisons of France and
Burgundy. Once arrived, he would write, he thought, to his father, who
would surely join him there, and they would raise their house and name
in a foreign land. But Constance de Grey--could she ever be his? He
knew not; but at her very name Hope relighted her torch, and he began
to dream again.

As he thought thus, he raised his eyes, and perceived his faithful
attendant Longpole watching him with a look of anxious expectation,
waiting till his agitated reverie should end. "How! Longpole!" said
he. "You here? I did not hear you come in."

"I have been here all the time, your worship," replied the yeoman.
"And I've made some noise in the world, too, while you have been here,
for I let all the armour fall in that closet."

"I did not hear you," said the knight. "My thoughts were very busy.
But, my good Heartley, I am afraid the time is come that we must

"By my faith, it must be a queer time, then, your worship!" answered
Longpole; "for it is not every-day weather that will make me quit you,
especially when I see you in such a way as you were just now."

"But, my good Longpole," answered the knight, "I am ruined. The king
has discovered who I really am; Wolsey has whetted his anger against
me, and he has banished me his court, bidding me fly instantly, lest I
be to-morrow arrested, and perhaps committed to the Tower. I must
therefore quit this country without loss of time, and take my way to
Flanders, for my hopes here are all at an end. Wolsey is too powerful
to be opposed."

"Well, then, my lord," said Longpole, "I will call you by your real
name now; and so I'll go and saddle our horses, pack up as much as I
can, and we'll be off in a minute."

"But, my good Longpole," said his master, "you do not think what you
are doing. Indeed, you must not leave your country and your friends,
and that poor girl Geraldine, to follow a man ruined in fortune and
expectations, going to travel through strange lands, where he knows
not whether he may find friends or enemies."

"More reason he should have a companion on the road," replied
Longpole. "But, my lord, my determination is made. Where you go, there
will I go too; and as to little Mistress Geraldine, why, when we've
made a fortune, which I am sure we shall do, I'll make her trot over
after me. But, as I suppose there is but little time to spare, I will
go get everything into order as fast as possible. _Carpe diem_, as
good Dr. Wilbraham used to say to me when I was lazy. There is your
lordship's harness. If you can manage to pop on the breast and back
pieces, I will be back directly."

"Nay," said the knight, "there is yet one person I must see. However,
be not long, good fellow, for I shall not stay. Give me that wrapping
cloak with the hood."

Longpole obeyed; and enveloping himself in a large mantle, which he
had upon a former occasion used to cover his armour, in one of those
fanciful justs where every one appeared disguised, the knight left his
own apartments, and proceeded to those of Lady Constance de Grey. Many
were the sounds of mirth and merriment which met his ears as he passed
by the various ranges of apartments, jarring harshly with all his own
sorrowful feelings, and in the despondency of his mind he marvelled
that any but idiots or madmen could indulge in laughter in a world so
full of care. Hurrying on to avoid such inharmonious tones, he
approached the suite of rooms appropriated to Lady Constance, and was
surprised at finding the door open. Entering, nothing but confusion
seemed to reign in the ante-chamber, where her maids were usually
found employed in various works. Here stood a frame for caul-work,
there one for embroidery; here a cushion for Italian lace thrown upon
the ground; there a chair overturned; while two of the maids stood
looking out of the window (to make use of the homely term), crying
their eyes out.

"Where is your mistress?" demanded Sir Osborne, as he entered; the
agitation of his own feelings, and the alarm he conceived from the
strange disarray of the apartment, making him stint his form of speech
to the fewest words possible.

"We do not know, sir," replied one of the desolate damsels. "All that
we know is, that she is gone."

"Gone!" cried Sir Osborne. "Gone! In the name of heaven, whither is
she gone? Who is gone with her?"

"Jesu Maria, sir! don't look so wild," cried the woman, who thought
herself quite pretty enough, even in her tears, to be a little
familiar. "Dr. Wilbraham is with the Lady Constance, and so is
Mistress Margaret, and therefore she is safe enough, surely."

"But cannot you say whither she is gone?" cried the knight. "When did
she go? How?"

"She went but now, sir," replied the woman. "She was sent for about an
hour or more ago to the little tapestry-hall, to speak with my lord
cardinal; and after that she came back very grave and serious, and
made Mistress Margaret pack up a great parcel of things, while she
herself spoke with Dr. Wilbraham; and when that was done, they all
three went away together; but before she went she gave each of us
fifty marks a-piece, and said that she would give us news of her."

"Did she not drop any word in regard to her destination?" demanded Sir
Osborne. "Anything that might lead you to imagine whither she was

"Mistress Margaret said they were going to London," said the other
girl, turning round from the window, and speaking through her tears.
"She said that they were going because such was my lord cardinal's
will. But I don't believe it, for she said it like a lie; and I'm sure
I shall never see my young lady again. I'm sure I shan't! So now, sir
knight, go away and leave us, for we can tell you nothing more."

The knight turned away. "Oh, Constance! Constance!" thought he, as he
paced back to his apartments; "will you ever be able to resist all the
influence they may bring against you? When you hear, too, of your
lover's disgrace! Well, God is good, and sometimes joy shines forth
out of sorrow, like the sun that dispels the storm." As he thought
thus, the prediction of Sir Cesar, that their misfortune should be but
of short duration, came across his mind. "The evil part of his
prophecy," thought he, "is already on my head. Why should I doubt the
good? Come, I will be superstitious, and believe it fully; for hope is
surely as much better than fear as joy is better than sorrow. Will
Constance ever give her hand to another? Oh, no, no! And surely,
surely, I shall win her yet."

Of all the bright gifts with which heaven has blessed our youth, there
is none more excellent than that elasticity of spirit which rebounds
strongly from the depressing load of a world's care, and after the
heaviest weight of sorrow, or the severest stroke of disappointment,
raises us lightly up, and gives us back to hope and to enjoyment. It
is peculiar to youth, and it is peculiar to good conduct; for the
reiterated burdens that years cast upon us as they fly gradually rob
the spring of expectation of its flexibility, and vice feels within
itself that it has not the same right to hope as virtue. Sir Osborne's
spirit was all rebound; and though surrounded with doubts, with
difficulties, and with dangers, it was not long before he was ready to
try again the wide adventurous world, with unabated vigour of
endeavour, though rebuffed in his first endeavours and disappointed in
his brightest expectations.

On returning to his apartment he found his faithful attendant ready
prepared; and there was a sort of easy, careless confidence in the
honest yeoman's manner, that well seconded the efforts of reviving
hope in his master's breast. It seemed as if he never thought for a
moment that want of success was possible; and, besides, he was one of
those over whom Fortune has little power. He himself had no extraneous
wants or wishes. Happy by temperament, and independent by bodily
vigour, he derived from nature all that neither Stoic nor Epicurean
could obtain by art. He was a philosopher by frame; and more than a
philosopher, as the word is generally used, for he had a warm heart
and a generous spirit, and joined affection for others to carelessness
about himself.

Such was the companion, of all others, fitted to cheer Sir Osborne on
his way; far more so than if he had been one of equal rank or equal
refinement, for he was always ready to assist, to serve, to amuse, or
advise, without sufficient appreciation of finer feelings to
encourage, even by understanding them, those thoughts upon which the
knight might have dwelt painfully in conversation with any one else.

At the same time, Longpole was far above his class in every respect.
He had some smattering of classical knowledge, which was all that
rested with him of the laborious teaching which good Dr. Wilbraham had
bestowed upon his youth; he not only could read and write, but had
read all the books he could get at, while a prisoner in France, and
had, on more than one occasion, contrived to turn a stanza, though
neither the stuff nor the workmanship was very good; and he had,
moreover, a strange turn for jesting, which he took care to keep in
perpetual exercise. To these he joined all the thousand little
serviceable qualifications of an old soldier, and an extraordinary
fluency in speaking French, which had proved very useful to him in
many instances. Thus equipped inwardly, he now stood before Sir
Osborne, with his outward man armed in the plain harness of a custrel,
or shield-bearer, with casque and corslet, cuissards, brassards, and
gauntlets; and considering that he was nearly six feet three inches in
height, he was the sort of man that a knight might not be sorry to see
at his back in the _mêlée_ or the skirmish.

"Longpole," said the knight, "give me my armour; I will put it on
while you place what clothes you can in the large horsebags. But, my
good custrel, we must put something over our harness: give me that
surcoat. You have not barded my horse, I trust?"

"Indeed I have, my lord," replied he; "and depend on it you may have
need thereof. Remember how dear the barding of a horse is: I speak of
the steel, which is, in fact, the true bard, or bardo, as the Italians
call it, for the cloth that covers it is not the bard; and if you
carry the steel with you, you may as well have the silk too."

"But 'twill weary the horse," said Sir Osborne; "however, as 'tis on,
let it stay: only it may attract attention, and give too good a track
to any that follow; though, God knows, I can hardly determine which
way to turn my rein."

"To London! to London, to be sure, your worship," cried Longpole;
"that is the high road to every part on the earth, and off the earth,
and under the earth. If a man want to go to heaven, he will there find
guides; if he seek hell, he will find plenty going the same road; and
if he love this world better, there shall he meet conveyance to every
part of it. What would you think of just paying a visit to good Master
William Hans, the merchant, to see if he cannot give us a cast over to
Flanders? A thousand to one he has some vessel going, or knows some
one that has."

"Well bethought," answered Sir Osborne, slowly buckling on his armour.
"It will soon grow dusk, and then our arms will call no attention. My
hands refuse to help me on with my harness: I am very slow. Nay, good
Longpole, if you have already finished, take a hundred marks out of
that bag, which will nearly empty it, and seek the three men the Duke
of Buckingham gave me. Divide it between them for their service; and,
good Longpole, when you have done that, make inquiries about the
palace as to what road was taken by Lady Constance de Grey and Dr.
Wilbraham. Do not mention the lady; name only Dr. Wilbraham, as if I
sought to speak with him."

Longpole obeyed, and after about half-an-hour's absence returned,
tolerably successful in his inquiries; but, much to his surprise and
disappointment, he found his young lord very nearly in the same
situation in which he had left him, sitting in his chair, half armed,
with his casque upon his knee, his fine head bare, and his eye fixed
upon the fading gleams of the evening sky, where some faint clouds
just above the distant trees seemed as if lingering in the beams of
the sun's bright eye, like man still tenacious of the last ray of

"Well, Longpole," cried he, waking from his reverie, "what news? Have
you heard anything of Lady Constance?" and, as if ashamed of his
delay, he busied himself to finish the arrangement of his armour.

"Let me aid you, my lord," said Longpole, kneeling down, and soon
completing, piece by piece, what his master had left unfinished,
replying at the same time to his question. "I have spoken with the man
who carried the baggage down to the boat, my lord; and he says that
Dr. Wilbraham, Lady Constance, and one of her women, took water about
half-an-hour after the lord cardinal, and seemed to follow his barge."

Sir Osborne fell into another reverie, from which, at last, he roused
himself with a sigh. "Well, I can do nothing," said he; "like an angry
child I might rage and struggle, but I could do no more. Were I to
stay, 'twould but be committing me to the Tower, and then I must be
still perforce----"

Longpole heard all this with an air of great edification; but when he
thought that his master had indulged himself enough, he ventured to
interrupt him by saying, "The sun, sir, has gone to bed; had not we
better take advantage of his absence, and make our way to London?
Remember, sir, he is an early riser at this time of year, and will be
up looking after us tomorrow before we are well aware."

"Ay, Longpole, ay!" replied the knight; "I will linger no longer, for
it is unavailing. The trumpet must have sounded to supper by this
time; has it not? So we shall have no idlers to gaze at our

"The trumpet sounded as I went down but now," said Longpole, "and I
met the sewer carrying in a brawn's head so like his own, that I could
not help thinking he had killed and cooked his brother: they must be
hard at his grace's liege capons even now."

"Well, I am ready," said the knight; "give me the surcoat of tawny
velvet. Now; no more feathers!" he continued, plucking from his casque
the long plume that, issuing from the crest in graceful sweeps, fell
back almost to his girdle, taking care, however, at the same time, to
leave behind a small white glove wrought with gold, that had
surrounded the insertion of the feather, and which he secured in its
place with particular attention. "Some one will have rare pillage of
this apartment," he added, looking round. "That suit of black armour
is worth five hundred marks; but it matters not to think of it: we
cannot carry them with us. The long sword and baldrick, Longpole, and
the gold spurs: I will go as a knight, at least. Now, take the bags. I
follow. Farewell, King Henry! you have lost a faithful subject!"

Thus saying, he proceeded down the stairs after Longpole, and
following a corridor, passed by one of the small doors of the great
hall, through the partial opening of which were to be heard the rattle
and the clatter of plates, of dishes, and of knives, and the buzz of
many busy jaws. A feeling of disgust came over Sir Osborne as he heard
it, he scarce knew why, and stayed not to inquire, but striding on,
came speedily to the stable-yard, and was crossing towards the
building in which his horses stood, when he observed a man loitering
near the door of the stable, whom he soon discovered to be one of the
yeomen given him by the Duke of Buckingham.

"On, Longpole!" cried the knight; "on, and send him upon some errand,
for I am in no fit mood to speak with him now." While Sir Osborne drew
back into the doorway, Longpole advanced, and in a moment after the
man was seen traversing the court in another direction. The knight
then proceeded, the horses were brought forth, and springing into the
saddle, Sir Osborne, with a sigh given to the recollection of lost
hopes, touched his charger with the spur, and rode out of the gates.
Longpole followed, and in a few minutes they were on the high road to


         He is a worthy gentleman,
     Exceedingly well read, and profited
     In strange concealments.--Henry IV.

It was hardly night when Sir Osborne departed; a faint and diminishing
blush still tinged the eastern sky; the blackbird was still singing
his full round notes from every thicket; and not a star had yet
ventured forth upon the pathway of the sun, except one, that, bright
and sweet even then, seemed like a fond and favoured child to the
monarch of the sky, following fearlessly on his brilliant steps, while
others held aloof. The calm of the evening sank down gently on the
young adventurer's heart: it was so mild, so placid; and though,
perhaps, pensive and tinged with melancholy, yet there was a sort of
promise in that last smile of parting day, which led Hope forward, and
told of brighter moments yet to come. For some time the knight
indulged in vague dreams, made up, as indeed is the whole dream of
human life, of hopes and fears, expectation and despondency; then
giving up thought for action, he spurred forward his horse, and
proceeded as fast as he could towards London. Longpole followed in
silence; for, in spite of all his philosophy, he felt a sort of qualm
at the idea of the long period which must intervene ere he could hope
to see his pretty Geraldine, that took away several ounces of his

London, at length, spread wide before them, and after some needless
circumambulation, owing to the knight's total ignorance of the
labyrinthian intricacies of the city, and the dangerous littleness of
Longpole's knowledge thereof, they at length reached Gracious Street,
and discovered the small, square paved court, long since built over,
and I believe now occupied by a tea-dealer, but which then afforded a
sort of area before the dwelling of the Flemish merchant, William
Hans. On the left hand, nearest the river, was situated the
counting-house; and to the front, as well as to the right, stretched a
range of buildings which, from their Polyphemus-like appearance,
having but one window or aperture in the front (except the door), the
knight concluded to be those warehouses whose indiscriminate maw
swallowed up the produce of all parts of the earth. Over the
counting-house, however, appeared several smaller windows, principally
glazed, and through one of these shone forth upon the night the light
of a taper, giving notice that some one still waked within. While
Longpole dismounted, and knocked with the hilt of his dagger against a
little door by the side of that which led to the counting-house, the
knight watched the light in the window; but he watched and Longpole
knocked in vain; for neither did the light move nor the door open,
till Sir Osborne bethought him of a stratagem to call the merchant's

"Make a low knocking against the windows of the counting-house,
Longpole," said he, "as if you were trying to force them. I have known
these money-getters as deaf as adders to any sound but that which
menaced the mammon."

Longpole obeyed, and the moment after the light moved. "Hold! hold!"
cried the knight, "he hears;" and the next moment the casement window
was pushed open, through which the head of the good merchant protruded
itself, vociferating, "Who's tere? What do you want? I'll call te
watch. Watch! Watch!"

"_Taisez-vous!_" cried the knight, addressing him in French, not being
able to speak the Brabant dialect of the merchant, and yet not wishing
to proclaim his errand aloud in English. "_Nous sommes amis_;
_descendez, Guillaume Hans: c'est le Sire de Darnley_."

"Oh! I'll come down, I'll come down," cried the merchant "Run,
Skippenhausen, and open te door. I'll come down, my coot lord, in a

The two travellers had not now long to wait; for in a moment or two
the little door at which Longpole had at first in vain applied for
admission was thrown open by a personage, the profundity of whose
nether garments, together with his long waistcoat, square-cut blue
coat, with the seams, and there were many, all bound with white lace,
induced Sir Osborne immediately to write him down for a Dutch
navigator. Descending the stairs, immediately behind this first
apparition, came the merchant himself, with his black gown, which had
probably been laid aside for the night, now hurried on, not with the
most correct adjustment in the world, for it looked very much as if
turned inside out, which might well happen to a robe, the sleeves of
which were not above six inches long. Sir Osborne, however, did not
stay to investigate the subject very minutely; but explaining to the
good merchant that he had something particular to say to him, he was
conducted into the counting-house, where he informed him as succinctly
as possible of what had occurred and what he desired. Good Master Hans
was prodigal of his astonishment, which vented itself in various
exclamations in Flemish, English, and French; after which, coming to
business, as he said, he told the knight that he could put up his
horses in the same stable where he kept his drays, and that after that
they would talk of the rest. "But on my wort, my coot lord," said he,
"I must go with your man myself, for there is not one soul in the
place to let him in or out of the stable, which is behind the house."

The most troublesome part of the affair for the moment was to take off
the bard or horse armour that covered the knight's charger, as it
could not be left in the stable till the next morning, when the
merchant's carters would arrive; and poor William Hans was desperately
afraid that the round of the watch would pass while the operation was
in execution, and suppose that he was receiving some contraband goods,
which might cause a search the next day.

The business, however, was happily accomplished by the aid of the
Dutch captain, who, seeing that there was something mysterious going
forward, and having a taste that way, gave more active assistance than
either his face or figure might have taught one to expect.

He also it was who, while the good merchant, with the candle in his
hand, led our friend Longpole with the horses to the stable, conducted
the knight up-stairs into the room where they had first discovered the
light, and invited him, in extremely good English, to be seated. By
the appearance of the chamber it seemed that Master Hans had been
preparing to make great cheer for his captain; for various were the
flagons and bottles that stood upon the table, together with trenchers
and plates unused, and a pile of manchet and spice bread, with other
signs and prognostications of a rere-supper; not to mention an immense
bowl which stood in the midst, and whose void rotundity seemed
yearning for some savoury mass not yet concocted.

It was not long before the merchant re-appeared, accompanied by
Longpole, who, according to the custom of those days, when many a
various rank might be seen at the same board, seated himself at the
farther end of the table, after having taken his master's casque, and
soon engaged the Dutch captain in conversation, while the knight
consulted with William Hans regarding the means of quitting England as
speedily as possible.

"It is very unlucky you did not let me know before," said the
merchant, "for we might easily have cot the ship of my coot friend
Skippenhausen there ready to-day, and you could have sailed to-morrow
morning by the first tide. You might trust him; you might trust him
with your life. Bless you, my coot lord! 'tis he that brings me over
the Bibles from Holland."

"But cannot we sail the day after to-morrow," said the knight, "if one
day will be sufficient to complete his freight?"

"Oh, that he can!" answered the merchant; "but what will you do till
then?" he added, with a melancholy shake of the head; "you will never
like to lie in warehouse like a parcel of dry goods."

"Why, it must be so, I suppose," said the knight, "if you have any
place capable of concealing me."

"Oh, dear life, yes!" cried William Hans; "a place that would conceal
a dozen. I had it made on purpose after that evil May-day, when the
wild rabblement of London rose, and nearly murdered all the strangers
they could find. I thought what had happened once might happen again;
and so I had in some of my own country people, and caused it to be
made very securely."

The matter was now soon arranged. It was agreed that the knight and
Longpole should lie concealed at the merchant's till the ship was
ready to sail, and that then Master Skippenhausen was to provide them
a safe passage to some town in Flanders; which being finally settled
between all parties, it only remained to fix the price of their
conveyance with the Dutchman. "I am an honest man," said he, on the
subject being mentioned, "and will not rob you. If you were in no
hurry to go, and could go quietly, I would charge you ten marks a ton;
but as you are in distress, I will only charge you fifteen."

"Faith!" burst forth Longpole, "you are very liberal! Why, do you
charge us _more_, not _less_, because we are in distress?"

"Certainly," answered the Dutchman, with imperturbable tranquillity;
"nine men out of ten would charge you five times as much when they
found you wanted to go very bad, now I only charge you one-half more."

"I believe you are right," said Sir Osborne. "However, I do not object
to your price; but tell me, what do you mean by fifteen marks a ton?
Do you intend to weigh us?"

"To be sure," answered the Dutchman; "why not? All my freight is
weighed, and why not you, too? No, no. I'll have nothing on board that
is not weighed: it's all put in the book."

"Well," said the knight, with a smile, "it does not much matter. Can
you take my horses too by weight?"

"Certainly," replied the other, "I can take anything; but I am
responsible for nothing. If your horses kick themselves to death in
the hold, that is not my fault."

"I will take care of that," said the knight. "Here, Longpole, help me
to put off my harness: I cannot sit in it all night."

While the custrel was thus employed in aiding his lord to disarm,
the door opened, and in bustled a servant-maid of about two or
three-and-thirty, whose rosy cheeks had acquired a deeper tinge by the
soft wooing of a kitchen fire, and whose sharp eyes shot forth those
brilliant rays generally supposed to be more animated by the wrathful
spirit of cookery and of ardent coals than by any softer power or
flame. Immediately that she beheld two strangers, forth burst upon the
head of William Hans the impending storm. She abused him for telling
her that there would only be himself and the captain; she vowed that
she had not cooked half salmon enough for four; she declared that she
had only put down plates and bread for two; and she ended by
protesting that she never in her life had seen anybody so stupid as he
himself, William Hans.

To the mind of Sir Osborne, the lady somewhat forgot the respect due
to her master; but, however, whether it was from one of those strange,
mysterious ascendancies which cooks and housekeepers occasionally
acquire over middle-aged single gentlemen, or whether it was from a
natural meekness of disposition in the worthy Fleming, he bore it with
most exemplary patience; and when want of breath for a moment pulled
the check-string of the lady's tongue, he informed her that the two
strangers had come unexpectedly. Thereupon, muttering to herself
something very like "Why the devil did they come at all!" she set down
on the table a dish of hot boiled salmon; and, after flouncing out of
the room, returned with the air of the most injured person in the
world, bringing in a platter-full of dried peas, likewise boiled.

These various ingredients (the salmon was salted) William Hans
immediately seized upon, and emptied them into the great bowl we have
already mentioned. Then casting off his gown, and tucking up the
sleeves of his coat, he mashed them all together; adding various
slices of some well-preserved pippins, a wooden spoon's capacity of
fine oil, and three of vinegar. Fancy such a mess to eat at eleven
o'clock at night, and then go to bed and dream! Boiled salmon and
peas! apples and oil! and vinegar to crown it!

However, Sir Osborne resisted the tempting viands, and contented
himself with some of the plain bread, although both the merchant and
the captain pressed him several times to partake; assuring him, while
the oil and vinegar ran out at the corners of their mouths, that it
was "very coot; very coot indeed; excellent!" And so much did they
seem to enjoy it, that the unhappy Longpole was tempted for his sins
to taste the egregious compound, and begged a small quantity at the
hands of good Master Hans. The bountiful merchant shovelled a
waggon-load of it upon his plate, and the yeoman, fancying himself
bound in common politeness to eat it, contrived to swallow three whole
mouthfuls with a meekness and patience that in the succeeding reign
would have classed him with the martyrs; but at the fourth his
humanity rebelled, and thrusting the plate from him with a vehemence
that nearly overturned all the rest, "No!" cried he. "No, by----!
there is no standing that!"

The merchant and his countryman chuckled amazingly at poor Longpole's
want of taste, and even the knight, albeit in no very laughter-loving
mood, could not help smiling at his custrel's discomfiture. But as all
things must come to an end, the salt salmon and peas were at length
concluded, and some marmalades and confections substituted in their
place, which proved much more suitable to the taste of such of the
company as were uninitiated in the mysteries of Flemish cookery.

With the sweatmeats came the wines, which were all of peculiar rarity
and excellence; for in this particular, at least, William Hans was a
man of no small taste, which he kept indeed in continual practice. Not
that we would imply that he drank too much or too often, but still the
god of the gilded horns had been gently fingering his nose, and with a
light and skilful pencil had decorated all the adjacent parts with a
minute and delicate tracery of interwoven rosy lines.

As the wine diffused itself over his stomach, it seemed to buoy up his
heart to his lips. Prudence, too, slackened her reins, and on went his
tongue, galloping as a beggar's horse is reported to do, on a way that
shall be nameless. Many were the things he said which he should not
have said, and many were the things he told which would have been
better left untold. Amongst others, he acknowledged himself a
Lutheran, which in that age, if it tended to find out bliss in the
other world, was very likely to bring down damnation in this. He
averred that he looked upon the Bishop of Rome, as he called the pope,
in the light of that Babylonish old lady whose more particular
qualification is not fit for ears polite; and he confessed that when
Dr. Fitz-James, the Bishop of London, had bought up all the
translations of the Bible he could find, and burnt them all at Paul's
Cross, he had furnished the furious Romanist with a whole cargo of
incomplete copies. "So that," continued he, "the bishop damned his own
soul the more completely by burning God's Word, and paid the freight
and binding of a new and complete set into the bargain." And he
chuckled and grinned with mercantile glee at his successful
speculation, and with puritanic triumph over the persecutors of his

Sir Osborne soon began to be weary of the scene, and begged to know
where he should find his chamber, upon which Master Hans rose to
conduct him, with perfect steadiness of limb, the wine having affected
nothing but his tongue. Lighting a lamp, he preceded the knight with
great reverence; and while Longpole followed with the armour, he led
the way up a little narrow stair to a small room, the walls of which,
though not covered with arras, were hung with painted canvass, after a
common fashion of the day, representing the whole history of Jonah and
the whale; wherein the fish was decidedly cod, and the sea undoubtedly
butter and parsley, notwithstanding anything that the scientific may
say to such an assemblage. The ship was evidently one that would have
sunk in any sea except that she was in: she could not have sailed
across Chancery Lane in a wet day without foundering; and, as if to
render her heavier, the artist had stowed her to the head with
Dutchmen, rendering her, like the _dinde à la Sainte Alliance_ (viz. a
turkey stuffed with woodcocks), one heavy thing crammed full of

The whole of the room, however, was cleanliness itself: the little bed
that stood in the corner with its fine linen sheets, the small deal
table, even the very sand upon the floor, all were as white as snow.
"I am afraid, my coot lord," said the merchant, who never lost his
respect for his guest, "that your lordship will be poorly lodged; but
these three chambers along in front are what I keep always ready, in
case of any of my captains arriving unexpectedly, and it is all clean
and proper, I can assure you. I will now go and bring you a cushion
for your head, and what the French call the _coupe de bonne nuit_, and
will myself call your lordship to-morrow, before any one is up, that
you may take your hiding-place without being seen."

The knight was somewhat surprised to find his host's recollection so
clear, notwithstanding his potations; but he knew not what much habit
in that kind will do, and still doubted whether his memory would be
active enough to remind him that he was to call him when the next
morning should really come.

However, he did Master Hans injustice; for without fail, at the hour
of five, he presented himself at the knight's door; and soon after
rousing Longpole, he conducted them both down to the warehouses,
through whose deep obscurity they groped their way, amidst tuns, and
bags, and piles, and bales, with no other light than such straggling
rays as found their way through the chinks and crevices of the boards
which covered the windows for the night.

At length an enormous butt presented itself, which appeared to be
empty; for without any great effort the old merchant contrived to move
it from its place. Behind this appeared a pile of untanned hides,
which he set himself to put on one side as fast as possible, though
for what purpose Sir Osborne did not well understand, as he beheld
nothing behind them but the rough planks which formed the wall of the
warehouse. As the pile diminished, a circumstance occurred which made
all the parties hurry their movements, and despatch the hides as fast
as possible. This was nothing else than a loud and reiterated knocking
at the outer door, which at first induced Master Hans to raise his
head and listen; but then, without saying a word, he set himself to
work again harder than ever, and with the assistance of the knight and
Longpole, soon cleared away all obstruction, and left the fair face of
the boarded wall before them.

Kneeling down, the merchant now thrust his fingers under the planks,
where the apparently rude workmanship of the builder had left a chink
between them and the ground, then applied all his strength to a
vigorous heave, and in a moment three of the planks at once slid up,
being made to play in a groove, like the door of a lion's den, and
discovered a small chamber beyond, lighted by a glazed aperture
towards the sky.

"In, in, my coot lord!" cried the merchant; "don't you hear how they
are knocking at the door? They will soon rouse my maid Julian, though
she sleeps like a marmot. What they want I don't know."

Sir Osborne and Longpole were not tardy in taking possession of their
hiding-place; and having themselves pulled down the sliding door by
means of the cross-bars, which in the inside united the three planks
together, they fastened it with a little bolt, whereby any one within
could render his retreat as firm, and, to all appearance, as
immoveable as the rest of the wall. They then heard the careful
William Hans replace the hides, roll back the butt, and pace away;
after which nothing met their ear but the unceasing knocking at the
outer door, which seemed every minute to assume a fiercer character,
and which was perfectly audible in their place of refuge.

The merchant appeared to treat the matter very carelessly, and not to
make any reply till it suited his convenience; for during some minutes
he let the knockers knock on. At length, however, that particular
sound ceased, and from a sort of rush and clatter of several tongues,
the knight concluded that the door had been at length opened. At the
same time the voice of the Fleming made itself heard, in well-assumed
tones of passion, abusing the intruders for waking him so early in the
morning, bringing scandal upon his house, and taking away his

"Seize the old villain!" cried another voice; "we have certain
information that they are here. Search every hole and corner; they
must have arrived last night."

Such, and various other broken sentences, pronounced by the loud
tongue of some man in office, reached the ears of Sir Osborne,
convincing him, notwithstanding Henry's assurance that till noon of
that day he should remain unpursued, that Wolsey, taking advantage of
the king's absence at Richmond, had lost no time in issuing the
warrant for his arrest.

Sitting down on a pile of books, which was the only thing that the
little chamber contained, he listened with some degree of anxiety to
the various noises of the search. Now it was a direction from the
chief of the party to look here or to look there; now the various
cries of the searchers when they either thought they had discovered
something suspicious or were disappointed in some expectation; now the
rolling of the butts, the overturning of the bales, the casting down
of the skins and leathers; now the party was far off, and now so near
that the knight could hear every movement of the man who examined the
hides before the door of his hiding-place. At one time, in the
eagerness of his search, the fellow even struck his elbow against the
boarding, and might probably have discovered that it was hollow
underneath, had not the tingling pain of his arm engaged all his
attention, passing off in a fit of dancing and stamping, mingled with
various ungodly execrations.

At length, however, the pursuers seemed entirely foiled; and
after having passed more than two hours, some in examining the
dwelling-house and some the warehouse, after having tumbled over every
article of poor William Hans's goods, their loud cries and insolent
swaggering dwindled away to low murmurs of disappointment; and growing
fainter and fainter as they proceeded to the door, the sounds at
length ceased entirely, and left the place in complete silence. Not
long after, the workmen arrived and began their ordinary occupations
for the day; and Sir Osborne and Longpole thanked their happy stars,
both for having escaped the present danger, and for their enemy's
search being now probably turned in some other direction.


       _Norfolk_.--What, are you chafed?
     Ask God for temperance; that's the appliance only
     Which your disease requires.--Shakspere.

As the day passed on, Sir Osborne grew more and more impatient under
his confinement. He felt a sort of degradation in being thus pent up,
like a wild beast in a cage; and though with invincible patience he
had lain a thousand times more still in many an ambuscade, he felt an
almost irresistible desire to unbolt the door, and assure himself that
he was really at large, by going forth and exercising his limbs in the
free air. But then came the remembrance that such a proceeding would
almost infallibly transfer him to a still stricter prison, where,
instead of being voluntary and but for one day, his imprisonment would
be forced and long-continued. The thought, too, of Constance de Grey,
and the hope of winning her yet, gave great powers of endurance; and
he contented himself with every now and then marching up and down the
little chamber, which, taken transversely, just afforded him space for
three steps and a-half, and at other times with speaking in a whisper
to Longpole, who, having brought the armour down with him, sat in one
corner, polishing off any little dim spots that the damp of the night
air might have left upon it.

"This is very tiresome," said the knight.

"Very tiresome, indeed, my lord!" replied Longpole. "I've been
fancying myself a blackbird in a wicker cage for the last hour. May I

"No, no," cried the knight. "Give me the casque; I will polish that by
way of doing something. Don't you think, Longpole, if underneath the
volant-piece a stout sort of avantaille were carried down, about an
inch broad and two inches long, of hard steel, it would prevent the
visor from being borne in, as I have often seen, by the blow of a
solid lance?"

"Yes," answered Longpole; "but it would prevent your lordship from
blowing your nose. Oh! I do hate improvement, my lord. Depend upon it,
'tis the worst thing in the world. Men improve, and improve, and
improve, till they leave nothing that's original on the earth. I would
wager your lordship a hundred marks, that, by two or three hundred
years hence, people will have so improved their armour that there will
be none at all."

"Zounds, Bill!" cried a voice in the warehouse, "don't you hear some
folks talking?"

"It's some one in the street," answered another voice. "Yet it sounded
vastly near, too."

This, however, was quite sufficient warning for the knight to be
silent; and taking up one of the books upon which he had been sitting,
he found that it was an English version of the Bible, with copies of
which it appears that Master William Hans was in the habit of
supplying the English protestants. Our mother Eve's bad old habit of
prying into forbidden sources of knowledge affects us all more or
less; and as the Bible was at that time prohibited in England, except
to the clergy, Sir Osborne very naturally opened it and began reading.
What effect its perusal had upon his mind matters little: suffice it
that he read on, and found sufficient matter of interest therein to
occupy him fully. Hour after hour fled, and day waned slowly; but
having once laid his hand upon that book, the knight no longer felt
the tardy current of the time, and night fell before the day which he
anticipated as so tedious seemed to have half passed away.

A long while elapsed, after the darkness had interrupted Sir Osborne
in his study, before the warehouse was closed for the night; which,
however, was no sooner accomplished than good Master Hans, accompanied
by his friend Skippenhausen, came to deliver them from their

"He! he! he!" cried the merchant, as they came forth. "Did you hear
what a noise they made, my coot lord, when they came searching this
morning? They did not find them, though, for they were all in beside

"What do you mean?" demanded the knight. "Who were in beside us?
Nobody came here."

"I mean the Bibles; I mean the Word of God," cried the merchant; "the
bread of life, that those villains came seeking this morning, which,
if they had got, they would have burnt most sacrilegiously, as an
offering to the harlot of their idolatry."

"Then I was wrong in supposing that they searched for me?" said the
knight, with a smile at his own mistake.

"Oh, no; not for you at all!" replied the merchant. "It was the Bibles
that Skippenhausen brought over from Holland, for the poor English
protestants, who are here denied to eat of the bread or drink of the
water of salvation. But now, my lord, if you will condescend to be
weighed, you will be ready to sail at four in the morning; for your
horses and horse-armour are all weighed and aboard, and the cargo will
be complete when your lordship and your gentleman are shipped."

Finding that Master Skippenhausen was bent upon ascertaining his
weight, Sir Osborne consented to get into the merchant's large scales;
and being as it were lotted with Longpole, his horse-bags, and his
armour, he made a very respectable entry in the captain's books. After
this, Master Hans led him into his counting-house, and displayed his
books before him; but as the items of his account might be somewhat
tedious, it may be as well merely to say, that the young knight found
he had expended, in the short time he had remained in Henry's
luxurious court, more than two thousand five hundred marks; so that of
the two thousand seven hundred which he had possessed in the hands of
the Fleming, and the thousand which he had won at the Duke of
Buckingham's, but one thousand two hundred and a trifle remained.

Sir Osborne was surprised; but the accurate merchant left no point in
doubt, and the young knight began to think that it was lucky he had
been driven from the court before all his funds were completely
expended. He found, however, to his satisfaction, that a great variety
of arms and warlike implements, which he had gathered together while
in Flanders, and had left in the warehouses of the merchant since he
had been in England, had been shipped on board Skippenhausen's vessel,
whose acknowledgment of having received them William Hans now put into
his hand; and having paid him the sum due, and received an
acquittance, he led him once more upstairs into the scene of the last
night's revel.

We shall pass over this second evening at the merchant's house without
entering into any details thereof, only remarking that it passed more
pleasantly than the former one, there being at the supper-table some
dishes which an Englishman could eat, and which his stomach might
probably digest. At an early hour Sir Osborne cast himself upon his
bed, and slept, though every now and then the thoughts of his
approaching voyage made him start up and wonder what was the hour; and
then, as Skippenhausen did not appear, he would lie down and sleep
again, each half-hour of this disturbed slumber seeming like a whole
long night.

At length, however, when he just began to enjoy a more tranquil rest,
he was awakened by the seaman; and dressing himself as quickly as
possible, he followed to William Hans's parlour, where the worthy
merchant waited to drink a parting cup with his guests and wish them a
prosperous voyage.

As the easiest means of carrying their harness, Sir Osborne and
Longpole had both armed themselves; and as soon as they had received
the Fleming's benediction in a cup of sack, they donned their casques
and followed the captain towards the vessel.

It was a dull and drizzly morning, and many was the dark foul street,
and many the narrow tortuous lane, through which they had to pass.
Wapping, all dismal and wretched as it appears even now-a-days to the
unfortunate voyager, who, called from his warm bed in a wet London
morning, is rolled along through its long, hopeless windings, and
amidst its tall, spiritless houses, towards the ship destined to bear
him to some other land; and which, with a perversion of intellect only
to be met with in ships, stage-coaches, and other woodenheaded things,
is always sure to set out at an hour when all rational creatures are
sleeping in their beds; Wapping, I say, as it stands at present, in
its darkness and its filth, is gay and lightsome to the paths by which
worshipful Master Skippenhausen conducted Sir Osborne and his follower
towards his vessel. Sloppy, silent, and deserted, the streets boasted
no living creature besides themselves, unless, indeed, it was some
poor mechanic, who, with his shoulders up to his ear's, and his hands
clasped together to keep them warm, picked his way through the dirt
towards his early toil. The heavens frowned upon them, and the air
that surrounded them was one of those chill, wet, thick, dispiriting
atmospheres which no other city than London can boast in the month of

There is a feeling of melancholy attached to quitting anything to
which we have, even for a time, habituated our hopes and wishes, or
even our thoughts: however dull, however uninteresting, a place may be
in itself, if therein we have familiar associations and customary
feelings, we must ever feel a degree of pain in leaving it. I am
convinced there is a sort of glutinous quality in the mind of man,
which sticks it to everything it rests upon; or is it attraction of
cohesion? However, the knight had a thousand sufficient reasons for
feeling melancholy and depressed, as he quitted the capital of his
native land. He left behind him hopes, and expectations, and
affection, and love; almost all those feelings which, like the various
colours mingled in a sunbeam, unite to form the light of human
existence, and without which it is dull, dark, and heavy, like heaven
without the sun. And yet, perhaps, he would have felt the parting less
had the morning looked more brightly on him; had there been one gleam
of light to give a fair augury for willing hope to seize. But, no; it
was all black and gloomy, and the very sky seemed to reflect the
feelings of his own bosom. Thus, as he walked along after the captain,
there was a stern, heavy determination in his footfall, unlike either
the light step of expectation or the calm march of contentment. What
he felt was not precisely despair: it was the bitterness of much
disappointment; and he strode quickly onward, as if at once to conquer
and to fly from his own sensations.

At length a narrow lane brought them to the side of the river, where
waited a boat to convey them to the Dutchman's ship, which lay out
some way from the bank. Beside the stairs stood a man apparently on
the watch, but he seemed quite familiar with Master Skippenhausen, who
gave him a nod as he passed, and pointing to his companions said,
"This is the gentleman and his servant."

"Very well," said the man; "go on!" and the whole party, taking their
places in the boat without further question, were speedily pulled
round to the vessel by the two stout Dutchmen who awaited them. As
soon as they were on board, the captain led the knight down into the
cabin, which he found in a state of glorious confusion, but which
Skippenhausen assured him would be the safest place for him, till they
had got some way down the river; for that they might have visiters on
board, whom he could not prevent from seeing all that were upon the
deck, though he would take care that they should not come below.

"Ay, Master Skippenhausen," cried Longpole; "for God's sake fetter all
spies and informers with a silver ring, and let us up on deck again as
soon as possible, for I am tired of being hid about in holes and
corners, like a crooked silver groat in the box of a careful maid; and
as for my lord, he looks more weary of it than even I am."

The master promised faithfully, that as soon as the vessel had passed
Blackwall he would give them notice, and then proceeded to the deck,
where, almost immediately after, all the roaring and screaming made
itself heard which seems absolutely necessary to get a ship under way.
In truth, it was a concert as delectable as any that ever greeted a
poor voyager on his outset: the yelling of the seamen, the roaring of
the master and his subordinates, the creaking and whistling of the
masts and cordage, together with volleys of clumsy Dutch oaths, all
reached the ears of the knight, as he sat below in the close, foul
cabin, and, joined to his own painful feelings, made him almost fancy
himself in the Dutch part of Hades. Still the swinging of the vessel
told that, though not as an effect, yet at least as an accompaniment
to all this din, the ship was already on her voyage; and after a few
minutes, a more regular and easy motion began to take place, as she
glided down what is now called the Pool.

However, much raving, and swearing, and cursing, to no purpose, still
went on, whenever the vessel passed in the proximity of another; and,
as there were several dropping down at the same time, manifold were
the opportunities which presented themselves for the captain and the
pilot to exercise their execrative faculties. But at length the
disturbance began to cease, and the ship held her even course down the
river, while the sun, now fully risen, dispelled the clouds that had
hung over the early morning, and the day looked more favourably upon
their passage.

Sir Osborne gazed out of the little window in the stern, noticing the
various villages that they passed on their way down, till the palace
at Greenwich, and the park sweeping up behind, met his eye, together
with many a little object associated with hopes, and feelings, and
happiness gone by, recalling most painfully all that expectation had
promised and disappointment had done away. It was too much to look
upon steadily; and turning from the sight, he folded his arms on the
table, and burying his eyes on them, remained in that position till
the master descending told him that they were now free from all

On this information, the knight gladly mounted the ladder, and paced
up and down the deck, enjoying the free air, while Longpole jested
with Master Skippenhausen, teasing him the more, perhaps, because he
saw that the seaman had put on that sort of surly, domineering air
which the master of a vessel often assumes the moment his foot touches
the deck, however gay and mild he may be on shore. Nevertheless, as we
are now rapidly approaching that part of this book wherein the events
become more thronged and pressing, we must take the liberty of leaving
out all the long conversation which Vonderbrugius reports as having
taken place between Skippenhausen and Longpole, as well as a very
minute and particular account of a sail down the river Thames,
wherewith the learned professor embellishes his history, and which,
though doubtless very interesting to the Dutch burgomasters and their
wives, of a century and a half ago, would not greatly edify the
British public of the present day, when every cook-maid steps once
a-year into the steam-packet, and is paddled down to Margate, with
less trouble than it took an Englishman of the reign of Harry the
Eighth to go from Charing cross to Lombard Street.

The wind was in their favour, and the tide running strongly down, so
that passing, one by one, Woolwich, Purfleet, Erith, Gravesend, and
sundry other places, in a few hours they approached near the ocean
limits of the English land; while the river, growing mightier and
mightier as it rolled on, seemed to rush towards the sea with a sort
of daring equality, rather a rival than a tributary, till, meeting its
giant sovereign, it gave vent to its pride in a few frothy waves; and
then, yielding to his sway, poured all its treasures in his bosom.

Before they had reached the mouth of the river, they beheld a vessel
which had preceded them suddenly take in sail and lie-to under the lee
of the Essex shore; the reason of which was made very evident the
moment after, by the vane at the mast-head wheeling round, and the
wind coming in heavy squalls right upon their beam. The Dutchman's
ship was not one at all calculated to sail near the wind; and paying
little consideration to the necessity of Sir Osborne's case, he
followed the example of the vessel before him, and gave orders for
taking in sail and lying-to, declaring that the gale would not last.
The knight remonstrated, but he might as well have talked to the wind
itself. Skippenhausen was quite inflexible, not even taking the pains
to answer a word, and, contenting himself with muttering a few
sentences in high Dutch, interspersed with various objurgatory
addresses to the sailors.

Whether the worthy Hollander's conduct on this occasion was right,
proper, and seaman-like, we must leave to some better qualified
tribunal than our own weak noddle to determine, professing to be most
profoundly ignorant on nautical affairs; but so the matter stood, that
the knight was obliged to swing one whole night in an uncomfortable
hammock in an uncomfortable ship, in the mouth of the river Thames,
with a bitter fancy resting on his mind, that this waste of time was
quite unnecessary, and that with a little courage and a little skill
on the part of the master, he might before the next morning have been
landed at Dunkirk, to which city he was to be safely carried,
according to his agreement with the Dutchman.

By daybreak the next morning the wind was rather more favourable, and
at all events by no means violent, so that the vessel was soon once
more under way. Still, however, they made but little progress; and
even the ship that was before them, though a faster sailer and one
that could keep nearer the wind, made little more way than themselves.
While in this situation, trying by a long tack to mend their course,
with about the distance of half-a-mile between them and the other
vessel, they perceived a ship-of-war apparently run out from the Essex
coast some way to windward, and bear down upon them with all sail set.

"Who have we here, I wonder?" said the knight, addressing
Skippenhausen, who had been watching the approaching vessel
attentively for some minutes.

"'Tis an English man-of-war," replied the master, "Coot now, don't you
see the red cross on her flag? By my life, she is making a signal to
us! It must be you she is wanting, my lord; for on my life I have
nothing contraband but you aboard. I will not understand her signal,
though; and as the breeze is coming up, I will run for it. Go you down
in the cabin and hide yourself."

"I will go down," replied the knight. "But hide myself I will not; I
have had too much of it already."

Skippenhausen, who, as we before hinted, had by the long habit of
smuggling in a small way acquired a taste for the concealed and
mysterious, tried in vain to persuade the knight to hide himself under
a pile of bedding. On this subject Sir Osborne was as deaf as the
other had been the night before, in regard to proceeding on their
voyage; and all the concession that the master could obtain was that
the two Englishmen would go below and wait the event, while he tried,
by altering his course and running before the wind, to weary the
pursuers, if they were not very hearty in the cause.

"Well, Longpole," said Sir Osborne, "I suppose that we must look upon
ourselves as caught at last."

"Would your worship like us to stand to our arms?" demanded the
yeoman. "We could make this cabin good a long while in case of

"By no means," replied the knight. "I will on no account resist the
king's will. Besides, it would be spilling good blood to little
purpose; for we must yield at last."

"As your lordship pleases," answered the custrel; "but knowing how
fond you are of a good downright blow of estoc at a fair gentleman's
head, I thought you might like to take advantage of the present
occasion, which may be your last for some time."

"Perhaps it may be a mistake still," answered the knight, "and pass
away like the search for the Bibles when we were concealed in the
warehouse. However, we shall soon see: at all events, till it comes I
shall take no heed about it;" and casting himself into a seat, with a
bitter smile, as if wearied out with Fortune's caprices, and resolved
to struggle no longer for her favour, he gazed forth from the little
stern window upon the wide expanse of water that rolled away towards
the horizon. The aperture of this window, not being more than six
inches either in height or width, and cut through the thick timbers of
the Dutch vessel for considerably more than a foot in depth, was in
fact not much better than a telescope without a glass, so that the
knight's view was not a little circumscribed in respect to all the
nearer objects, and he was only able to see, as the ship pitched, the
glassy green waves, mingled with white foam, rushing tumultuously from
under her stern as she now scudded before the wind, leaving a long,
glistening, frothy track behind, to mark where she had made her path
through the midst of the broad sea. As he looked farther out, however,
the prospect widened; and at the extreme verge, where the sea and the
sky, almost one in unity of hue, showed still a faint line of light to
mark their boundary, he could perceive, rising up as it were from the
bosom of the deep, the light tracery of masts and rigging belonging to
far distant vessels, whose hulls were still concealed by the convexity
of the waters. Nearer, but yet within the range that the narrowness of
the window allowed his sight, appeared the vessel that had dropped
down the river just before them, and the English ship-of-war, which,
crowding all sail before the wind, seemed in full chase, not of their
companion, but of themselves; for the other, in obedience to the
signal, had hauled her wind and lay-to.

Sir Osborne now watched to ascertain whether the man-of-war gained
upon them, but an instant's observation put an end to all doubt. She
evidently came nearer and nearer, and soon approached so close as
scarcely to be within range of his view, being lost and seen
alternately at every motion of the ship. At length, as the vessel
pitched, she disappeared for a moment, then came in sight again; a
quick flash glanced along her bow, and the moment after, when she was
no longer visible to his eye, the sullen report of a cannon came upon
the wind.

By a sudden change in the motion of the vessel, together with various
cries upon the deck, the knight now concluded that the Dutchman had at
length obeyed this peremptory signal and lay-to, which was in fact the
case; for passing over to the window on the other side, he again got a
view of the English ship, which sailed majestically up, and then, when
within a few hundred yards, put out and manned a boat, which rowed off
towards them. Sir Osborne had not long an opportunity of observing the
boat in her approach, as she soon passed out of the small space which
he could see; but in a few minutes after, the voice of some one,
raised to its very highest pitch, made itself heard from a distance,
hardly near enough for the knight to distinguish the words, though he
every now and then caught enough to perceive that the whole consisted
of a volley of curses discharged at Master Skippenhausen for not
having obeyed the signal.

The Dutchman replied, in a tone of angry surliness, that he had not
seen their signal; and in a minute or two more, a harsh grating rush
against the vessel told that the boat was alongside.

"I will teach you, you Dutch son of a dog-fish, not to lie-to when one
of the king's ships makes the signal," cried a loud voice by the side.
"Have you any passengers on board?"

"Yes, five or six," answered the Dutchman.

"Stop! I will come on board," cried the voice, and then proceeded, as
if while climbing the ship's side, "have yon one Sir Osborne Maurice
with you?"

"No!" answered Skippenhausen, stoutly.

"Well, we will soon see that," cried the other; "for I have orders to
attach him for high treason. Come, bustle! disperse, my boys! You,
Wilfred, go forward; I will down here and see who is in the cabin; and
if I find him, Master Dutchman, I will slit your ears."


     My conscience will serve me to run from this Jew.
                                            _Merchant of Venice_.

We will now return to Lady Constance de Grey, whose fate must no
longer be left in uncertainty; and taking up the thread of our
narrative at the moment Sir Osborne quitted her, on the eventful
evening which destroyed all his fond expectations, we will, in our
homely way, record the events that followed.

It may be remembered, that at the very instant the knight parted from
good Dr. Wilbraham at the door of the young lady's apartment in the
palace at Richmond, a letter was put into the clergyman's hands, to be
delivered to the heiress of De Grey, for such was the style of the
address. No time was lost by Dr. Wilbraham in giving the letter into
his lady's hands; and on being opened, it proved to be one of those
anonymous epistles which are seldom even worth the trouble of
deciphering, being prompted always by some motive which dares not avow

However, as Lady Constance was very little in the habit of receiving
letters from any one, and certainly none to which the writer dare not
put his name, mere curiosity, if nothing else, would have prompted her
to read it through; the more especially as it was written in a fine
and clerkly hand, and in a style and manner to be acquired alone by
high and courtly education. Although the letter is still extant, we
shall not copy it, having already given one specimen of the
compositions of that day, and not at all wishing to depreciate the
times of our hero and heroine in the estimation of our more cultivated
readers. Let it be considered as sufficient, then, that we merely say,
the letter professed to be a warning from a friend, and informed the
young lady that the most rigorous measures were about to be adopted
towards her, in case of her still refusing to comply with Wolsey's
command in respect to her marriage with Lord Darby. The writer then
hinted that perpetual seclusion in a convent, together with the
forfeiture of all her estates, would be the consequence, if she could
not contrive to fly immediately; but that, if she could, her person at
least would be at liberty, and that a friend would watch over her
property; and, as a conclusion, he advised her to leave Richmond by
water, as the means which would leave the least trace of her course.

So singularly did this letter anticipate not only her own fears, but
also her own plans, that it instantly acquired, in the eyes of Lady
Constance, an authenticity which it did not otherwise possess; and
placing it in the hands of Dr. Wilbraham, she asked his opinion upon
its contents.

"Pshaw!" cried the clergyman when he had read it; "pshaw! lady, it is
all nonsense! The very reverend lord cardinal will never try to make
you marry against your will. Do not frighten yourself about it, my
dear lady; depend on it, 'tis all nonsense. Let me see it again." But
after he had read it over once more, Dr. Wilbraham's opinion seemed in
some degree to change. He considered the letter, and reconsidered it,
with very thoughtful eyes, and then declared it was strange that any
one should write it unless it were true; and yet he would not believe
that either. "Pray, lady, have you any idea who wrote it?" demanded

"I can imagine but one person," said Lady Constance, "who could
possess the knowledge and would take the pains. Margaret, leave us,"
she continued, turning to the waiting-woman. "I have heard, my dear
Dr. Wilbraham," she proceeded, as soon as they were alone, "that you
were in former times acquainted with an old knight called Sir Cesar. I
met him yesterday when I was out in the park." Lady Constance paused,
and a slight blush came into her cheek, as she remembered that the
good clergyman knew nothing of the affection which subsisted between
herself and Darnley; and feeling a strong repugnance to say that he
was with her at the moment, she hesitated, not knowing how to proceed.

Dr. Wilbraham relieved her, however, by exclaiming, the instant she
stopped, "Oh, yes, lady; in truth I know him well. He was the dearest
and the best friend of my Lord Fitzbernard; and though unhappily given
to strange and damnable pursuits--God forgive him!--I must say he was
a friend to all the human race, and a man to be trusted and esteemed.
But think you this letter came from him?"

"He is the only one," replied Constance, "on whom my mind could for a
moment fix as having written it."

"It is very likely," answered the clergyman: "it is very likely; and
if it comes from him, you may believe every word that it contains. His
knowledge, lady, is strange, is very strange, and is more than good,
but it is sure. He is one of those restless spirits that must ever be
busy; and, human knowledge not being sufficient for his eager mind, he
has sought more than he should seek, and found more than is for the
peace of his soul."

"But if he make a good use of his knowledge," said Constance, "surely
it cannot be very wicked, my dear sir."

"It is presumptuous, lady," replied the clergyman; "it is most
presumptuous to seek what God has concealed from our poor nature."

"But if this letter be from him," said the lady, "and the bad tidings
that it brings be true, what ought I to do? You, whom my dear father
left with me, asking you never to quit me---you must be my adviser,
and tell me what to do in this emergency; for sure I am that you will
never advise me to marry a man whom I do not love, and who does not
even love me."

"No, no, heaven forbid! especially when you would rather marry
Osborne," said the good clergyman with the utmost simplicity, looking
upon it quite as a matter of course, which required no particular
delicacy of handling: "and a much better thing too, lady, in every
respect," he continued, seeing that he had called up a blush in
Constance's cheek, and fancying that it arose from a fear of his
disapproving her choice. "If you will tell the lord cardinal all the
circumstances, depend upon it he will not press you to do anything you
dislike. Let him have the whole history, my dear lady; tell him that
you do not love Lord Darby, and that he loves another; and then show
him how dearly Darnley loves you, and how you love him in return; and

"Oh, hush, hush! my dear Dr. Wilbraham!" cried the lady, with the
blood glowing through her fair clear skin, over neck, and face, and
forehead. "Impossible, indeed; quite impossible! You forget."

"Oh! yes, yes, I did forget," replied the chaplain. "Osborne does not
wish his name to be known; I did forget. Very true! That is
unfortunate. But cannot you just insinuate that you do love some one
else, but do not like to mention his name?"

Lady Constance now endeavoured to make the simple clergyman
understand, that under any circumstances she would be obliged to limit
her reply to the cardinal to a plain refusal to wed Lord Darby; and
though he could not enter into any feelings of reluctance on her part
to avow her regard for Darnley, yet he fully comprehended that she was
bound to hold undivulged the confidence of others. However, he did not
cease to lament that this was the case, fully convinced in his own
mind, that if she had been able to inform Wolsey of everything, the
prelate, whom he judged after his own heart, would have unhesitatingly
accorded his sanction to all her wishes, whereas, at present, her
refusal might be attributed to obstinacy, being unsupported by any
reasons; and thus, indeed, he observed, Sir Cesar's prediction might
be fulfilled, and she obliged to fly to screen herself from the
consequences. Dr. Wilbraham having admitted that there might be a
necessity for flight, the mind of Constance was infinitely quieted,
that being a point on which she had long, long wished to ascertain his
opinion, yet had timidly held back, believing him to be unacquainted
with the most powerful motive that actuated her. Nothing now remained
but to learn whether he would so far sanction her proceedings as to
accompany her; and she was considering the best means of proposing it
to him, when she received a message to inform her that the cardinal
waited her in the little tapestried hall.

The moment which was to decide her fate she plainly perceived to be
now arrived; but, with all the gentle sweetness of her character, a
fund of dauntless resolution had descended to her from a long line of
warlike ancestors, which failed not to come to her aid in moments of
danger and extremity; and though she had long dreaded the interview to
which she was now called, she prepared to undergo it with courage and
firmness. In obedience to the cardinal's command, then, she descended
to the hall, accompanied by two of her women, who, though neither
likely to suffer anything themselves, nor informed of their mistress's
situation, yet felt much more alarm at the thoughts of approaching the
imperious Wolsey than even she herself did, burthened as her mind was
with the certainty of offending a man the limit of whose power it was
not easy to define.

At the door of the hall stood two of the cardinal's ushers, by whom
she was introduced into the chamber to which Wolsey had retired after
leaving the king, and where, seated in a chair of state, he waited her
approach with many an ensign of his pomp and power about. As she
entered, he fixed his eye upon her, scarcely rising from his seat, but
still slightly bending his head in token of salutation. The high blood
of De Grey, however, though flowing in a woman's veins, and one of the
gentlest of her sex, was not made to humble itself before the upstart
prelate; and moving forward unbidden, Lady Constance calmly seated
herself in a chair opposite to that of the cardinal, while her women
placed themselves behind her; and thus, in silence, she waited for him
to speak.

"Lady," said Wolsey, when she was seated, "at the time I saw you last,
I proposed to you a marriage, which in point of rank, of fortune, and
of every other accessory circumstance, is one which may well be
counted amongst the best of the land, and for which I expected to have
your thanks. Instead thereof, however, I received, at the moment of my
departure for York, a letter wherein, with a mild obstinacy and an
humble pride, you did reject what was worthy of your best gratitude. A
month has now waned since then, and I trust that calm reflection has
restored you to your sense of what is right; which being the case, all
that is past shall be pardoned and forgot."

"Your proposal, my lord cardinal," replied Lady Constance, "was
doubtless intended for my happiness, and therein you have my most
sincere gratitude; but yet I see not how I can have merited either
reproof or pardon, in a matter which, alone concerning myself, no one
can judge of but myself."

"You speak amiss, lady," said Wolsey, haughtily; "ay, and very boldly
do you speak. Am not I your guardian by the English law? and are you
not my ward? Say, lady, say!"

"I am your ward, my lord," replied Lady Constance, her spirit rising
under his oppression, "but not your slave; you are my guardian, but
not my master."

"You are nice in your refinements, lady," said the cardinal; "but if I
am your guardian, I am to judge what is good for you, till such time
as the law permits you to judge for yourself."

"That time is within one month, my lord," answered Constance; "and
even were it longer, I never yet did hear that a guardian could force
a ward to wed against her will, though I at once acknowledge his right
to forbid her marriage where he may judge against it."

"Nay!" exclaimed Wolsey, "this is somewhat too much. This bold spirit,
lady, becomes you not, and must be abated. Learn, that though I in
gentleness rule you but as a ward, and for your own good control your
stubborn will, the king, your sovereign, may act with a stronger hand,
and, heedless of your idle fancies, compel you to obey."

"Then to the king, my sovereign, I appeal," said Constance, "sure that
his justice and his clemency will yield me that protection which, God
help me! I much need."

"Your appeal is in vain, proud girl!" cried the cardinal, rising
angrily, while the fiery spirit flashed forth from his dark eye. "I
stand here armed in this case with the king's power, and commissioned
to speak his will; and 'tis in his name that I command you, on
Thursday next, at God's altar, to give your hand to your noble cousin,
Lord Darby; ay, and gratefully to give it, without which you may fall
to beggary and want; for know, that all those broad lands which now so
swell your pride are claimed by Sir Payan Wileton, in right of male
descent, and may pass away like a shadow from your feeble hand,
leaving you nought but your vanity for dowry."

"Then let them pass," said Constance, firmly; "for I would sooner a
thousand times be landless, friendless, hopeless, than wed a man I do
not love."

"And end your days in a nunnery, you should have added to the
catalogue of woes you call upon your head," said the cardinal,
sternly; "for, as I live, such shall be your fate. Choose either to
give your vows to your cousin or to heaven, lady; for no other choice
shall be left you. Till Thursday next I give you to decide; and while
you ponder, York Place shall be your abode. Lady, no more!" he added,
seeing her about to speak; "I have not time to argue against your fine
wit. To-night, if I reach Westminster in time, I will send down your
litter; if not, to-morrow, by eight of the clock; and be you prepared.
I have done."

Constance would not trust her voice with any reply; for the very
efforts she had made to conceal her agitation had but served to render
it more overpowering, and it was now ready to burst forth in tears.
Repressing them, however, she rose, and bending her head to the
cardinal, returned to her own apartments. Here Dr. Wilbraham awaited
her in no small anxiety, to know the event of her conference with
Wolsey, which, as it had been so short, he judged must be favourable.
Lady Constance soon undeceived him, however; and shocked and indignant
at the cardinal's haughty and tyrannical conduct, he at once agreed
with the lady that she had no resource but flight.

"It is very strange! very strange, indeed!" cried the good man. "I
have often heard that the lord cardinal is haughty and cruel, and
indeed men lay to his charge that he never does anything but for his
own interests; but I would never believe it before. I thought that God
would never have placed so much power in the hands of so bad a man;
but His ways are inscrutable, and His name be praised! Now, my dear
lady, what is to be done? Where are we to go? Had not I better go and
tell Osborne, in order that he may know all about it?"

"On no account," replied Constance; "however painful it may be, my
good friend--and painful indeed it is, I acknowledge"--and while she
spoke, the long-repressed tears burst forth, and rolled rapidly over
her face; "I must go without even bidding him adieu. I would not for
the world involve him at this time in a business which might bring
about his ruin. He shall be innocent even of the knowledge of my
flight, so that Wolsey shall have no plea against him. When his fate
is fixed and the storm is blown away, I will let him know where I am;
for I owe him that at least. Even for you, my good Dr. Wilbraham, I
fear," she continued. "If you fly with me, may it not bring down upon
your head some ecclesiastical censure? If so, for heaven's sake, let
me go with Margaret alone."

"Why, it may, indeed," answered the chaplain thoughtfully. "I had
forgot that. It may indeed. What can be done?"

"Then you shall stay," replied Lady Constance, with some degree of
mournfulness of accent at the thought of the friendless loneliness
with which she was going to cast herself upon the wide, inhospitable
world. "Then you shall stay indeed."

"What! and leave you to wander about alone, I know not whither?" cried
the young clergyman. "No, my child, no! Did all the dangers in the
world hang over my head, where you go, there will I go too. If I
cannot protect you much--which, God help me! is not in my power--at
least I can console you under your sorrows, and support you during
your pilgrimage, by pointing continually to that Being who is the
protector of the widow and the orphan, the friend of the friendless
and the desolate. Lady, I will go with you. All the dangers in the
world shall not scare me from your side."

A new energy seemed to have sprung up in the bosom of the clergyman;
and by his advice and assistance Lady Constance's plans and
arrangements for her flight were very soon completed.

It was agreed that herself, Dr. Wilbraham, and Mistress Margaret, the
waiting-woman, should immediately take boat, and proceed by water to
the little village of Tothill, from whence a walk of five minutes
would bring them to the house of the physician Dr. Butts, who, as the
old chaplain observed, was, though his nephew, a man of an active and
piercing mind, and would probably find some means to facilitate their
escape to France. By landing some little way from his house, they
hoped to prevent their route from being traced afterwards, and thus to
evade pursuit, as to be overtaken and brought back would involve far
more danger than even to remain where they were and dare the worst.

All this being determined between Lady Constance and the clergyman,
Mistress Margaret was called in, and informed of as much of the plan
as was necessary to enable her to make up her mind whether she would
accompany her young lady or not. Without a moment's hesitation, she
decided upon going, and having received her orders, proceeded to
arrange for their journey such articles of apparel as were absolutely
necessary, together with all her lady's money and jewels. She also was
deputed to inform the other servants that Lady Constance thought it
best to follow the lord cardinal to York Place immediately, instead of
waiting for the litter which he had promised to send, and that she
only permitted herself and Dr. Wilbraham to accompany her.

Everything being ready, a man was sought to carry the two large bags
to which their luggage was restricted; and Constance prepared to put
in execution the very important step on which she had determined. Her
heart sank, it is true, and her spirit almost failed, as Dr. Wilbraham
took her by the hand to lead her to the boat; but remembering to what
she would expose herself if she staid, she recalled her courage and
proceeded on her way.

In the ante-chamber, however, she had a painful scene to go through;
for her women, not deceived by Mistress Margaret's tale, clung round
their lady for what they deemed might be a last farewell. All of them,
born upon her father's lands, had grown up as it were with her; and
for some good quality, called from amongst the other peasantry to the
honour of serving the heiress of De Grey, had become attached to her
by early habit, as well as by the affection which her gentle manners
and sweet disposition were certain to produce in all those by whom she
was surrounded. Many a bitter tear was shed by the poor girls as they
saw their lady about to leave them: and Constance herself, unable to
refrain from weeping, thereby not only encouraged their grief, but
confirmed their fears. Angry with herself for giving way to her
feelings when she felt the absolute necessity of governing them
strictly, Constance gently disengaged herself from her maids, and
promising to let them hear of her soon, proceeded to the water-side,
where they easily procured a boat to convey them down the river.

The irrevocable step was now taken, and Constance and the chaplain
both sat in silence, contemplating the vague future, and striving,
amidst all the dim, uncertain shapes that it presented, to ascertain,
even as far as probability went, what might be their fate. But the
dark, impenetrable curtain, drawn ever between to-day and to-morrow,
still barred their view, leaving only room for hope and fear to range
within the wide circle of unceasing doubt.

Long before arriving at Tothill, the sun had gone down; and the cold
wind, blowing from the river, chilled Lady Constance as she sat in the
open boat without any other covering than a long veil added to her
ordinary apparel. Notwithstanding this, she judged it best to bid
their two rowers continue their course as far as Westminster, fearing
that the little knowledge of the localities possessed either by Dr.
Wilbraham or herself might cause them to lose their way if they
pursued their original intention of landing at Tothill, and hoping
that the darkness, which was now coming thick upon them, would at
least conceal their path from the boat to the house of Dr. Butts. To
ensure this, as soon as they had landed. Mistress Margaret took one of
the bags, and the good clergyman the other, and having satisfied the
boatmen for their labour, the whole party began to thread the narrow,
tortuous lanes and streets constituting the good town of Westminster.
After various turnings and windings, however, they discovered that
they were not on the right track, and were obliged to ask their way of
an old locksmith, who was just shutting up his shop. The direction
they received from the worthy artificer was somewhat confused, and
contained so many _rights_ and _lefts_, that by the time they had
taken two more turnings, each person of the three had got a different
reading of the matter, and could in no way agree as to their farther

"He said we were to go on, in this street, till we came to a lantern,
I am sure," said Dr. Wilbraham.

"No, no, sir," cried Mistress Margaret; "it was the next street after
we had turned to the left. Did he not say, Take the first street to
the right, and then the first again to the right, and then the second
to the left, and then go on till we came to a lantern?"

Dr. Wilbraham denied the position, and the matter was only terminated
by Constance proposing that they should proceed to the second turning
at least. "Then, if we see a light in the street to the left," she
continued, "we may reasonably suppose that that is the turning he
meant, unless before that we find a lantern here too, and then we can
but ask again. But make haste, my dear Dr. Wilbraham, for there is a
man behind who seems as if he were watching us!"

This last observation quickened all their motions, and proceeding as
fast as possible, they found that Mistress Margaret was in the right;
for immediately in the centre of the second turning to the left
appeared a lantern, shedding its dim, small light down the long
perspective of the street; which, be it remarked, was highly favoured
in having such an appendage, few and scanty being the lights that, in
that age, illuminated the streets of London after dark, and those, as
in the present instance, being the boon of private individuals.
Pursuing their way, then, towards this brilliant luminary, with many a
look behind to ascertain whether they were followed, which did not
appear to be the case, they found another street, diverging to the
right, which shared in the beneficent rays of the lantern, and which
also conducted into a known latitude, namely, a sort of little square,
that was instantly recognised by the chaplain as being in the
immediate proximity of his nephew's dwelling.

The house of Dr. Butts now soon presented itself; and entering the
little court before it, the clergyman was just about to knock against
a door which fronted them, when some one, entering the court from the
street, laid hold of his arm, saying, "Stop, stop, if you please! you
must come with me to my lord cardinal."


     Come with words as medicinal as true,
     Honest as either.--Shakspere.

Now, there are many people who would here leave their reader in
suspense, and, darting off to some other part of the tale, would not
give the most remote hint of Lady Constance's fate, till they had
drawled through two or three long chapters about a frog and a roasted
apple, or any other thing, if possible still more irrelevant. But far
be such disingenuous dealing from me, whose sole aim, intent, and
object, is to give my reader pleasure; and by now and then detailing
some little accident or adventure, to keep him just enough awake to
prevent the volume falling out of his hand into the fire; to win
sometimes a smile, and sometimes a sigh, without aspiring either to
laughter or tears; tickling his soul, as it were, with the point of a
feather, so as neither to rouse nor to lull; and to leave him in such
a state, that when he lays down the book he knows not whether he has
been reading or dreaming.

Such are the luxurious aspirations of Vonderbrugius, who is recorded
to have himself written more than one volume in his sleep, and to have
even carried them to the printer in a state of somnambulency. After
this, without more ado, he proceeds to relate, that the worthy Dr.
Wilbraham, finding somebody take him by the arm, turned round in a
state of vexation and worry, if I may use the word, which overcame the
natural gentleness of his disposition, and made him demand, rather
sharply, what the stranger wanted with him.

"Why, doctor," replied the man, "you must come instantly to my lord
cardinal, who has been struck with the pestilent air in returning from
Richmond, and desires to consult with you on the means of preventing
its bad effects."

"Pshaw!" cried the good chaplain, pettishly; "I'm not Dr. Butts! How
could you frighten me so? We come to see the doctor ourselves."

"Stand out of the way, then, if you are not him," cried the man,
changing his tone, and rudely pushing between the clergyman and Lady
Constance. "The cardinal must be served first, before such as you, at
least;" and knocking loudly against the door, he soon brought forth a
page, who informed him that the physician was at the house of old Sir
Guy Willoughby, farther down in the same street.

On this news, the messenger immediately set off again, leaving Dr.
Wilbraham to discuss what matters he liked with the page, now that his
own insolent haste was satisfied. The servants instantly recognised
their master's uncle, and permitted him, with his fair companions, to
enter and take possession of his book-room, while awaiting his return;
and the rosy maid, whom Sir Osborne had found scrubbing crucibles, now
bustled about with good-humoured activity to make the lady

Long seemed the minutes, however, to the mind of poor Constance till
the physician's return. Her path was now entirely amidst
uncertainties, and at each step she knew not whether it would lead her
to safety or destruction. Such a proceeding as that in which she was
engaged does not strike one, when calmly related, as full of half the
anxiety and alarm that really accompanied it. Let it be remembered,
that not only her fortune, but her liberty for life, and the whole
happiness of her existence, were involved; and it may be then
conceived with what trembling fear she awaited each incident that
might tend to forward her escape or to betray her flight.

Though it seemed to her an age, Dr. Butts was not really long in
returning; but no language can depict the astonishment of his
countenance when he beheld Lady Constance with his uncle. "'Odslife!"
cried he, "what is this? Lady, are you ill, or well, or wise? Uncle,
are you mad, or drunk, or foolish?"

The good clergyman informed him that he was in none of the
predicaments to which he alluded, and then proceeded to relate the
circumstances and motives which had induced them to resolve upon
leaving the court of England and flying to France, to claim the
protection of the French king, who was, in fact, the lady's sovereign
as far as regarded her maternal estates.

"It's a bad business!" cried Dr. Butts, who still stood in the middle
of the floor, rubbing his chin, and not yet recovered from his
surprise; "it's a bad business! I always thought it would be a bad
business. Nay, nay, lady, do not weep," continued the kind-hearted
mediciner, seeing the tears that began to roll silently over
Constance's cheek; "it is not so bad as that. Wolsey will doubtless
claim you at the hands of the French king; but Francis is not a man to
give you up. However, take my advice: retire quietly to one of your
châteaux, and live like a nun till such time as this great friendship
between the two courts is past. It will not last long," he added, with
a sententious shake of the head: "it will not last long. But,
nevertheless, you keep yourself in France, as secretly as may be,
while it does last."

"But how to get to France is the question," said Dr. Wilbraham: "we
shall do well enough when we are there, I doubt not. It is how to get
to France that we must think of."

"Oh! we will manage that," replied Dr. Butts; "we will manage that:
though, indeed, these are not things that I like to meddle with; but,
nevertheless, I suppose I must in this case. Nay, nay, my dear lady,
do not grieve. 'Slife! you a soldier's daughter, and afraid! Nay,
cheer up, cheer up! It shall all go right, I warrant."

The doctor seated himself, and observing that Constance looked pale
and cold, he insisted on her swallowing a Venice glass of mulled sack
and going to bed. As to the sack, he said, he would ensure it for the
best in Europe; and in regard to the beds in his house, he could only
say, that he had once entertained the four most famous alchymists of
the world, and they were not men to sleep on hard beds. "Taste the
sack, lady; taste the sack;" he continued. "Believe me, it is the best
medicine in the pharmacy, and certainly the only one I ever take
myself. Then while you go and court your pillow, I will, devise some
scheme with this good uncle of mine to help you over to the
Frenchman's shore."

The physician's rosy maid was now called, and conducted Lady Constance
and Mistress Margaret to a handsome bedchamber, where we shall leave
them for the present; and without prying, into Dr. Butts's household
furniture, return to the consultation that was going on below.

"Well, uncle," said the physician, as soon as Lady Constance had left
them, "you have shown your wisdom truly, in running away with an
heiress for another man. On my life, you have beaten the man who was
hanged for his friend, saying that he would do as much for him another
time! Why, do you know, you can never show your face in England

"My good nephew," replied Dr. Wilbraham quietly, "for all your fine
words, if you had been in my situation you would have done just as I
have done. I know you, Charles."

"Not I, i'faith," cried Dr. Butts; "I would not have budged a foot."

"What! when you saw her cast upon the world, friendless and helpless,"
cried the old man, "with nobody to advise her, with nobody to aid her,
with nobody to console her? So sweet a girl, too! such an angel in
heart, in mind, in disposition; all desolate and alone in this wide
rough world! Fie, Charles, fie! you would have gone with her."

"Perhaps I might; perhaps I might," replied the physician: "however,
let us now think of the best means of serving her. What can be done?"

As usual in such cases, fifty plans were propounded, which, on
examination, were found to be unfeasible. "I have it!" cried Dr.
Butts, at last, after discarding an infinite variety. "There was a
nun's litter came up yesterday to the inn hard by; it will hold three,
and you shall set off to-morrow by daybreak as nuns."

"But how?" cried Dr. Wilbraham, with horror and astonishment depicted
in his face. "You don't mean me to go as a nun?"

"Faith, but I do!" replied the physician; "it would be fully as bad
for you to be discovered as for Lady Constance. Now, there is no dress
in the world that I know of but a nun's that will cover your face and
hide your beard. Oh! you shall be a nun, by all means. I will get the
three dresses this very night from a frippery in Pool Street; I will
knock them up, and you shall be well shaved to-morrow morning, and
will make as fine an old Sister Monica as the best of them."

Dr. Wilbraham still held out stoutly, declaring that he would not so
disguise himself and disgrace his cloth on any account or
consideration; nor was it till the physician showed him plainly, that
by this means alone Lady Constance's safety could be ensured, that he
would at all hear of the travesty thus proposed.

"Where, then, do you intend us to go?" asked Dr. Wilbraham, almost
crying with vexation at the bare idea of being so metamorphosed. "I
cannot, and I will not, remain long in such a dress."

"Why, you must go down to Sandwich," answered the physician. "There is
a religious house there, under a sub-prioress, about a mile out of the
town, looking out over the sea. I know the dame, and a little money
will do much with her. Nay, look not shocked, good uncle. I mean not
to say that she is wicked, and would endanger her soul's repose for
mammon; but she is one of those that look leniently on small faults,
and would not choke at such an innocent sin as helping you out of the
cardinal's power. The time is lucky, too, for the cold wind last night
has given his haughty lord cardinalship a flow of humours to the head,
and he is as frightened about himself as a hen before a dray horse; so
that, perhaps, he may not think of sending to Richmond so soon as he

"But, Charles," said Dr. Wilbraham, whose abhorrence of the nun's
dress was not to be vanquished, and who would have been right glad to
escape the infliction on any excuse, "will not your servants, who have
seen us come in one dress, think it very strange when they see us go
away in another? and may they not betray us?"

"Pshaw!" cried Dr. Butts; "they see a thousand odder things every day
in a physician's house. Do you think I let my servants babble? No, no!
They know well that they must have neither eyes, ears, nor
understanding for anything that passes within these doors. If I were
to find that they even did so much as to recollect a person they had
once seen with me, they should troop. But stay; go you to bed and
rest; I will away for these dresses, and bespeak the litter for
to-morrow at five. At Sandwich you are sure to find a bark for

The next morning Dr. Wilbraham was awakened before it was light by the
physician entering his room with a candle in his hand, and followed by
a barber, who, taking the good priest by the nose, shaved him most
expeditiously before he was out of bed, having been informed by Dr.
Butts that the person under his hands was a poor insane patient, who
would not submit to any very tedious tonsorial operation.

When this was done, much to the surprise of the chaplain, who was in
truth scarcely awake, the barber was sent away, and the physician
produced the long black dress of a Benedictine nun, into which, after
much entreaty, he persuaded Dr. Wilbraham to get; not, however,
without the rest of his clothes, for no argument would induce him to
put on the woman's dress without the man's under it. First, then, he
was clothed with his ordinary black vest and silk hose, above which
came a full and seemly cassock; and then, as a superstructure, was
placed at the top of all the long black robes of the nun, which
swelled his bulk out to no inconsiderable size. This, however, was not
a disadvantage; for being tall and thin, he had great need of some
supposititious contour to make his height seem less enormous when
conjoined with his female habiliments. Upon the whole, with the rope
tied round his middle, and the coif and veil, he made a very
respectable nun; though there was in the whole figure a certain
long-backed rigidity of carriage, and straggling wideness of step,
that smacked infinitely of the masculine gender.

When all was completed, the physician led his transformed uncle down
to a little hall, to which Lady Constance and Mistress Margaret had
already found their way, habited in similar garments to those which
Dr. Butts had furnished for the chaplain.

In point of beauty Constance had never, perhaps, looked better than
now, when her small, exquisite features, and clear, delicate
complexion, slightly shaded by the nun's cap, had acquired an
additional degree of softness, which harmonised well with the pensive,
melancholy expression that circumstances had communicated to her
countenance. However, she was, perhaps, even more sad and agitated
than the night before, when haste had in some degree superseded
thought. She had now passed a nearly sleepless night, during the long
hours of which a thousand fears and anxieties had visited her pillow;
and on rising, the necessity of quitting her customary dress and
assuming a disguise impressed more strongly than ever upon her mind
the dangers of her situation.

The only person that seemed fully in her element was Mistress
Margaret, who, though, with the exception of a little selfishness, a
most excellent being, could not be expected to have fulfilled for
several years the high functions of lady's-maid without having
acquired some of the spirit of the office. God knows! in Lady
Constance's service she had possessed small opportunity of exercising
in any way her talents for even the little _intrigue d'ante-chambre_;
and though, in the case of Sir Osborne, she had done her best to show
her tact by retiring _à propos_, the present was the first occasion on
which she could enjoy a real, bustling, energetic adventure; and, to
do her justice, she enacted the nun to the life. With a vastly
consequential air she hurried about, till the rustling of her black
serge and the rattling of her wooden cross and rosary were quite
edifying; and finding herself, by dress at least, on an equality with
her mistress, she took the bridle off her tongue and let it run its
own course, which it did not fail to do with great vigour and

On the entrance of Dr. Wilbraham, with his face clad in rueful
solemnity, and his long strides at every step spreading out the
petticoats with which his legs were environed, like the parachute of a
balloon when it begins to descend, Mistress Margaret laughed outright;
and even Lady Constance, while reproving her for her ill-placed
gaiety, could hardly forbear a smile.

"My dear Dr. Wilbraham," said Constance, seeing the chagrin that sat
upon his countenance, "for how much, how very much have I to thank
you! And believe me, I feel deeply all the regard you must have for
me, to induce you to assume a disguise that must be so disagreeable to

"Well," said Dr. Butts, "you are a sweet creature, and to my mind it
would not be difficult to make a man do anything to serve you.
However, sit you down, lady: here is something to break your fast; and
as it must serve for dinner and supper too, I will have you eat,
whether you are hungry or not; for there must be as little stopping on
the road as possible, and no chattering, Mistress Margaret; mind you

Mistress Margaret vowed that she was silence itself; and the meal
which the good doctor's foresight had taken care to provide for them
being ended, he led them forth by a different door from that which had
given them entrance, not choosing to trust even the servants, of whose
discretion he had boasted the night before. Day had now dawned, and in
the court-yard of the inn they found a large litter, or sort of long
box swung between two horses, one before and the other behind, and
accompanied by a driver on horseback, who, smacking his whip, seemed
tired of waiting for them.

"Come, get in, get in!" cried he, "I have been waiting half-an-hour.
There's room enough for you, sure!" he proceeded, seeing some little
difficulty occur in placing the travellers; "why, I brought four just
like you up from Gloucester in it, three days ago. Here, come over to
this side, Mother Longshanks." This address to Dr. Wilbraham had again
very near overset Mistress Margaret's gravity; but at length, all
being placed, in spite of the chaplain's long legs, which were rather
difficult to pack, the travellers took leave of the physician, and
commenced their journey to the sea-coast.

All passed on tranquilly enough during the forenoon; and at a little
watering-house, where they stopped on the road, they were enabled
quietly to rehearse their parts, as Sister Wilbraham, Sister Margaret,
and Sister Grey. The good clergyman declared that his part should be
to keep down his veil and hold his tongue, and Mistress Margaret
willingly undertook to be the talker for the whole party, while
Constance, not yet at all assured of safety, listened for every sound
with a beating heart, and trembled at every suspicious look that she
beheld, or fancied that she beheld, in the people around her.

As soon as the horses were sufficiently refreshed, they again began
their journey, and had proceeded some way when the galloping of a
horse made itself heard behind them, and through the opening of the
curtains they could perceive a sergeant-at-arms, with full cognizance,
and accompanied by two followers, pass by the side of their vehicle.
In a moment after he stopped on overtaking their driver, who was a
little in advance, and seemed to question him in a hasty tone. "Three
nuns!" cried he, at length. "I must see that."

Constance, almost fainting, drew back in the corner of the litter. Dr.
Wilbraham shrunk himself up to the smallest space possible; and, in
fact, Mistress Margaret was the only one who preserved her presence of
mind. "If it were the lord cardinal himself," whispered she to her
lady, "he would never know you, my lady, in that dress."

In the mean time, the sergeant-at-arms rode up, and drew back the
curtain of the litter. "Your pardon, ladies," said he, giving a look
round, which seemed quite satisfactory; "I ask your pardon; but as I
am sent in pursuit of some runaways, I was obliged to look in."

Here the matter would have terminated, had not Mistress Margaret,
desirous of showing off a total want of fear, replied, "Quite welcome,
fair sir, quite welcome. We are travelling the same road." The officer
replied; and this brought on a long allegory on the part of Mistress
Margaret, who told him that they were nuns of Richborough, who had
been to London for medical advice for poor sister Mary, there, in the
corner (pointing to Dr. Wilbraham), who was troubled with the falling
sickness. The sergeant-at-arms recommended woodlice drowned in vinegar
as a sovereign cure, which the pretended nun informed him they had
tried; and though it must be owned that the abigail played her part
admirably well, yet, nevertheless, she contrived to keep her lady and
the chaplain in mortal fear for half-an-hour longer than was

At length, however, the officer, taking his leave, rode away, and then
descended upon the head of Mistress Margaret the whole weight of good
Dr. Wilbraham's indignation. Not for many years had he preached such
an eloquent sermon upon the duty of adhering strictly to the truth
as on the present occasion; and he pointed out clearly to the
waiting-woman that she had told at least two-and-thirty lies more than
the circumstances required. Mistress Margaret, however, was obstinate
in her error, and would not see the distinction, declaring angrily
that she would either tell no lies at all, and let it be known who
they were, or she would tell as many as she thought proper.

"Margaret," said Lady Constance, in a calm, reproachful tone, that had
more effect than a more violent reproof, "you forget yourself." The
abigail was silent; but nevertheless she determined, in her own mind,
to give the good doctor more truth than he might like, on the very
first occasion; and such an opportunity was not long in occurring.

With the usual hankering which drivers and postilions always have for
bad inns, the master of the litter did not fail to stop for the night
at one of the smallest, meanest, and most uncomfortable little
alehouses on the road; and on getting out of the vehicle, the three
nuns were all shown into one room, containing two beds, one large and
one small one. It may easily be supposed such an arrangement did not
very well suit the circumstances of the case; and Constance looked at
Dr. Wilbraham, and Dr. Wilbraham at Constance, in some embarrassment.
On inquiring whether they could not have another room, they were
informed that there was indeed such a thing in the house, but that it
was always reserved for guests of quality. The hostess was surprised
at nuns giving themselves such airs: the room they had would do very
well for three people; and, in short, that they should have no other.

During all this time Mistress Margaret remained obstinately silent;
but at length, seeing the distress of her mistress, she brought up her
forces to the charge, and turned the tide of battle. Attacking the
hostess full tilt, she declared that there should be another room
found directly, informing her that the young lady was not a simple
nun, but noble and rich, and just named prioress of the Lord knows
where; that Sister Mary, _i.e_. Dr. Wilbraham, was badly troubled with
a night-cough, which would keep the prioress awake all night; and in
short, that Sister Mary must and should have a room to herself, for
which, however, they would willingly pay.

This latter hint overcame the hostess's objections, and the matter
being thus settled, they were allowed to repose in peace for the
night. Fatigue, anxiety, and want of sleep, had now completely
exhausted Constance; and weariness, acting the part of peace, closed
her eyes in happy forgetfulness till the next morning, when they again
set out for Sandwich.

Without any new adventure they arrived at that town; and after passing
through it, quickly perceived the convent rising on a slight elevation
to the left. As soon as this was in sight, so that he could not miss
his way, Dr. Wilbraham got out of the litter, for the purpose of
pulling off his nun's dress under some hedge, in order that, by
following a little later than themselves, he might appear at the gate
of the nunnery in his true character, without the change being
remarked by the driver of the litter, to whom he said on descending
that he would follow on foot.

After this, Constance and Mistress Margaret proceeded alone, and in a
few minutes reached the convent, where, presenting Dr. Butts's letter
to the prioress, they were received with all kindness and attention,
and found themselves comparatively free from danger. Dr. Wilbraham was
not long in arriving, restored to his proper costume; and being
admitted to the parlour, entered into immediate consultation with the
superior and Constance, as to the best means of concluding their
flight as happily as it had commenced.


     So catchers
     And snatchers
     Do toil both night and day,
     Not needie,
     But greedie,
     Still prolling for their prey.

However a poor novelist may like to pursue the even tenor of his way
in peace and quietness, it is quite impossible for him to do so if he
take a true story for the basis of his tale. Circumstance is always
jumping about; and if he would follow nature, he must join in the game
of leap-frog too. Here is the palace of Fortune, with its glitter, and
its splendour, and its show; and there the cottage of Want, with its
care, and its foulness, and its misery. In one house, new-born Life is
coming into the world, all joyous; in the next, stern Death leads man
away to eternity; weeping Sorrow and laughing Joy sit mocking each
other at every step; and smiles and tears are still running after each
other on the high road, though little formed to bear company together.
Then, since the world is full of oppositions and of jumps, he that
copies it must sit upon his hind legs and play the kangaroo also.

I found it necessary to put forth this excuse before proceeding with
Vonderbrugius, who, without offering any reason for so doing, suddenly
flies back to scenes that we have not long quitted, and brings the
reader once more to London, where he shall be detained as short a time
as possible, on the word of a scribe.

All those who have read the history of that little, powerful nook of
island-earth called Great Britain, must very well know that the
imperious minister of Henry the Eighth was not one to receive
contradiction with patient resignation: what then was his rage on
hearing that Lady Constance de Grey was not to be found at Richmond!
True to what he threatened, Wolsey had not failed, immediately on
arriving in London, to send a horse-litter down to Richmond for his
fair ward, notwithstanding the lateness of the hour and the cold he
had himself experienced on the water; and towards eleven the same
night his messengers returned, informing him that the lady was not to
be found in the palace; adding, also, that a man belonging to the gate
had been employed to carry some luggage for her down to a two-oared
boat, which had received her at the stairs, and rowed off towards

This was the sum of all the news they had obtained, but it was
sufficient to guide Wolsey on the search which he instantly prepared
to institute for the fugitive. Before going to rest, he took every
precaution for preventing her leaving the kingdom; ordered messengers
to set out early the next morning for every port where she was likely
to embark; and commanded an officer to post to Richmond that very
night, and, stationing himself at the palace-stairs, to await the
arrival of the men who rowed the boat which had conveyed her away,
giving him at the same time an order for their arrest.

In regard to the couriers to the various ports, we shall leave them to
their fate, not embarrassing ourselves with a search half over the
realm, but shall pursue the movements of the other messenger, from
whose operations very important results were obtained.

Though heartily wishing the cardinal and Lady Constance well scourged,
the one as the proximate, the other as the remote cause of his
night-ride, the officer got into his saddle, and accompanied by two
followers, set out for Richmond, where they arrived towards two
o'clock in the morning.

Men of a curious and philosophic mind have remarked, that there is
always a pot-house near a waterman's stairs; and the same fact was
observable in the present instance. Nearly opposite to the landing on
the left-hand side stood the hospitable mansion of a beer-retailer,
who dealt out the British nectar to all those who had the means of
paying for it; and in his window, even at the hour of two o'clock, was
shining a lamp, whereat the officer marvelled, as the neighbourhood of
the palace enjoined order and sobriety amongst the multitude. Riding
up, however, he dismounted; and pushing open the door, perceived that
the tap-room was occupied by a single individual of the waterman
species, whose sleepy head, nodding backwards and forwards, often
approached so near the lamp upon the table as to threaten his red nose
with a conflagration. Without any regard for the rites of Morpheus,
the officer shook the sleeper heartily by the shoulder, whereupon he
started up, crying--

"Well, I'm ready; how long you've been! I've been a-waiting this

"Waiting for whom?" demanded the officer; "not for me, I'm sure, or
with my will you'd waited long enough."

"Lord bless us, sir! I beg your worship's pardon!" said the man,
rubbing his eyes; "I thought you were the two yeomen that hired my
boat to take the young lady to Lunnun. Curious folks they were not to
let me row my own boat! They promised to be back by one, and so Master
Tapster lets me sit up here for 'em. I thought you were them two

"No. I'm a single man, and never was two in my life," answered the
officer. "But about these two yeomen? At one o'clock you say they were
to come? Pray, how came you to let them your boat?"

"Lord! because they asked me, sure," replied the waterman; "that's

"But how do you know they will ever bring it back again?" demanded the

"Because they left me ten marks as a pledge," answered the other. "No,
no; I wasn't to be outwitted. I saw they wanted the boat very bad, so
I let them have it for a mark by the day; but I made them leave me ten
others; so, if the boat be lost or hurt, I've got double its worth in
my own pocket."

"And what did they say they were going to do with it?" demanded the

"Oh! I didn't ask," said the waterman; "but walking about I saw them
lie there at the stairs for near an hour, till presently comes down a
young lady, and an old priest, and a waiting-woman, as I judged, and
in they get, and away rows the boat toward Lunnun. They were lusty
rowers, I warrant you, and good at the trade. But your worship seems
mighty curious about them."

"Ay, and so curious," answered the officer, "that they shall both come
with me to London if they come hither to-night; and you, too, Master
Waterman; so hold yourself ready. Ho, Thomas! come in and stay with
this worthy. See that he does not budge. You, Will, put up the horses,
and then come down to me at the stairs."

The excellent tipstaff now, after cutting short the remonstrance of
the boatman, proceeded to the water-side, and crossing his arms,
waited, with his eyes fixed upon the bright river, as it flowed on,
rippling like waves of silver in the moonshine. In a few minutes he
was joined by his follower, and before long a black spot appeared
moving up the midst of the stream, while the plashing of distant oars
began to make itself heard. As the boat came nearer, two men were
plainly to be seen rowing it towards the landing-place, one of whom,
raising his head when they were within a few yards' distance,

"Is that you, Master Perkins?"

"Ay, ay!" answered the officer, imitating, as well as he could, the
gruff halloo of a waterman, and walking about with his hands in his
breeches pockets, as if to keep himself warm.

Without more ado, the boat pulled to the shore, and one of the men
jumped out, whereupon the officer instantly caught him by the collar,

"In the king's name I charge you go with me!"

"Pull off! pull off!" cried the man to his companion; "by the Lord, he
has grabbed me! Pull off, boy!"

The other rower without scruple pushed from the shore before the
tipstaff's man could secure the bow of the boat, and seeing his
companion caught beyond the power of extrication, he snatched up the
other oar, and pulled away down the river as hard as he could.

"And now, what the devil do you want with me'" cried the man,
sturdily, turning to the officer. "Come, off with your hands! Don't be
fingering my collar so hard, or I'll crack your nutshell for you." And
at the same time he struggled to shake off the other's grasp; but the
officer, who seemed accustomed to deal with persons that did not
particularly relish his ministry, very soon settled the question with
his prisoner, by striking him a blow over the head with a staff he
carried, in such sort as to level him with the ground. It is wonderful
how soothing to the prisoner's feelings this mild treatment seemed to
be; for without any further effort he suffered himself to be led away
to the alehouse, from whence he was safely removed the next morning to
Westminster, the original owner of the boat being carried along with
him as a witness. And here let me beg all constables, Bow Street
officers, scarlet runners, street-keepers, constables of the night,
and watchmen, who may read this excellent and instructive history, to
take example by the prudence of this officer, who, having acquired all
the information he could from other sources, wisely abstained from
asking his prisoner any questions whatsoever, leaving his examination
to be taken by competent persons.

Carrying his game directly to York House, the worthy and exemplary
tipstaff, whose name I should not fail to record, had not
Vonderbrugius unfeelingly omitted it; this prince of tipstaves, I say,
placed his charge in a place of security, and, on the cardinal's
return from Westminster Hall, informed him of all that he had done to
fulfil the mission with which he had honoured him. The cardinal
praised the tipstaff's zeal, and beginning to suspect that there was
some mystery in the business, more than the mere course which
Constance had taken, he ordered the prisoner and the evidence to be
brought instantly before him; and proceeded himself to investigate the
matter, and to see whether his fingers would be neat enough to pick
the needle out of the bottle of hay: a delicate operation, for which
there is but one method, which may be called the Alexandrine: namely,
burn the hay, and you are sure to get the needle.

Something similar was the proceeding which the cardinal proposed to
adopt; for no sooner was the prisoner brought before him, rather pale
with fright, and somewhat nervous with his night's entertainment, than
he pronounced a most eloquent oration upon the necessity of meeting
death with firmness, warning the unhappy man, at the same time, that
he had nothing to hope in this world, and bidding him to prepare for
the next. Through the whole, however, he suffered to appear, implied,
though not expressed, the possibility that a free confession of all
the culprit knew concerning Lady Constance de Grey and her evasion
might take the sting out of his offence, and disencumber his windpipe
of the pressing familiarity with which it was threatened by a hempen

In those times rights were but little defined, and the extent of the
great civil and political powers hardly ascertained even to the minds
of the cultivated and reflecting, much less to people in the rank of
the person who now stood before the prelate, surrounded by all those
impressive insignia which then, indeed, implied vast though borrowed
power. Without going into the metaphysics of the business, it will be
sufficient for my purpose to say, that the poor fellow was desperately
frightened, especially as he had upon his conscience more than one
hearty crime, which he well knew might at any time prove a sufficient
excuse for sending him part of the way to heaven, whether he ever made
the whole journey out or not. Therefore, having no great interest in
concealing anything he knew, and every interest in the world in
telling it, he fell down upon his knees, declaring that he would
reveal all, if the cardinal would make a solemn promise that he should
have the king's free pardon and the church's for every sin, crime, and
misdemeanour he had committed up to that day.

It cost him nothing but a bit of parchment and a little yellow wax,
and so the cardinal promised; whereupon the culprit, still upon his
knees, began as follows:--

"My master, Sir Payan Wileton----"

"Sir Payan Wileton is your master, then?" cried Wolsey "So, so! Go

"My master, Sir Payan Wileton, my gracious lord," continued the man,
"after he had been with your grace yesterday morning, returned home
full speed to his house by the water's edge, near Tothill, and
suddenly dispatched one of our yeomen down to Richmond with a poor
foolish priest, saving your grace's presence, who had been with him
some days. After that, he wrote a note, and giving it to me, bade me
take with me Black John, and gallop down to the court like mad.
Whenever we got there, I was to speak with Hatchel Sivard, whom he had
set to spy all that passed at the palace, and who would help me to
hire a boat for the day. After that was done, I was to seek the Lady
de Grey, and give her the note; and then, leaving our horses at the
baiting-house, I and my fellow were to wait in the boat till the lady
came, and to row her whithersoever she directed; but, above all, to
seem like common watermen, and to take whatever payment she gave us.
And if by chance she didn't come, we were to give up the boat and

As may be supposed, Wolsey was not a little surprised at the intrigue
which this opened to his view. "So!" said he. "So! Hatchel Sivard, the
page of the queen's ante-chamber, is a pensioned spy of Sir Payan
Wileton. Good! very good! Of course you carried the lady to her
relation's house, ha?"

"Not so, may it please your lordship's grace," replied the man. "At
first, she made as if she would have stopped at Tothill, but then she
bade us row on to Westminster, where she landed."

"But you saw whither she went?" cried Wolsey, his brow darkening.
"Mind, your life depends upon your speaking truth! Let me but see a
shade of falsehood, and you are lost!"

"As I hope for mercy, my lord, I tell you the whole truth," replied
the servant. "When she was landed, I got out and followed; but, after
turning through several streets, I saw that they marked me watching,
so I was obliged to run down a narrow lane, hoping to catch them by
going round; but they had taken some other way, and I found them not

Wolsey let his hand drop heavily upon the table, disappointed in his
expectations. "You say _them_, fellow! Whom do you mean?" he demanded.
"Who was with her?"

"Her waiting-woman, your grace," answered the man, "and an old priest,
who Sivard says is her chaplain."

"Ah!" said Wolsey thoughtfully; "Dr. Wilbraham! This is very strange!
A staid good man, obedient to my will, coinciding in the expediency of
the marriage I proposed. There must be some deeper plot here of this
Sir Payan Wileton. The poor girl must be deceived, and perhaps not so
much obstinate as misled. I see it; I see it all. The wily traitor
seeks her estates, and would fain both stop her marriage and bring her
within my displeasure. A politic scheme, upon my honour! but it shall
not succeed. Secretary, bid an usher speed to Sir Payan Wileton, and,
greeting him sweetly, request his presence for a moment here."

It was the latter part of the above speech only that met the ears of
those around, the rest being muttered to himself in a low and almost
inaudible tone. "Pray, pray your lordship's grace!" cried the man,
clasping his hands in terror as soon as he heard Wolsey's command; "do
not let Sir Payan have me. I shall not be alive this time two days, if
you do. Indeed I shan't. Your grace does not know him. There is
nothing stops him in his will; and I shall be found dead in my bed, or
drowned in a pond, or tumbled out of window, or something like; and
then Sir Payan will pretend to make an investigation, and have the
crowner, and it will be found all accident. If it is the same to your
lordship's grace, I would rather be hanged at once, and know what I'm
about, than be given up to Sir Payan, to die no one can tell how."

"Fear not, fool!" said Wolsey; "but tell the whole truth, and you
shall be safe; ay, and rewarded. Conceal anything, and you shall be
hanged. Take him away, secretary, and examine him carefully. Make him
give an exact account of everything he has seen in the house of Sir
Payan Wileton, and after putting it in writing, swear him to it; and
then, hark you"--and he whispered something to the secretary--adding,
"let him be there well used."

The man was now removed from the cardinal's presence; and waiting till
the messenger returned from Sir Payan's, Wolsey remained in deep
thought, revolving in his keen and scrutinising mind all the parts of
the shrewd plot he had just heard developed, and thinking over the
best means of punishing Sir Payan Wileton in such a manner as to make
his fall most bitter. While thus engaged, one of his secretaries
entered, and bowing low stood silent, as if waiting for permission to

"What is it?" said Wolsey; "is it matter of consequence?" The
secretary bowed low again, and replied, "It is the herald's opinion,
my lord, upon the succession of the old Lord Orham of Barneton, the
miser, who left the two chests of gold, as well----"

"I know, I know!" said Wolsey. "How do they give it? I trust not to
that base churl, William Orham, who struck my officer one day."

"Oh, no! your grace," replied the secretary; "there are two nearer
than he is. But they say the succession is quite clear. Charles Lord
Orham, the great-grandfather of the last, had three sons, from one of
whom descends William Orham; but the eldest son, succeeding, had two
sons and a daughter, all of whom married, and had issue; the eldest
son, Thomas Lord Orham, him succeeded, who had only issue the last
lord. The daughter had five sons, and the second son, Hugh Orham, had
one only daughter, who married Arthur Bulmer, Earl of Wilmington, who
died, leaving issue one only daughter, Mistress Katrine Bulmer, by
courtesy the Lady Katrine Bulmer, whom your grace may remember the
queen took very young, when it was found that Lord Wilmington's
estates went in male descent. She is the undoubted heiress."

"Ha!" said Wolsey, "that changes much. Well, well! go see that it be
clearly made out. Now, what says Sir Payan Wileton?" he continued,
turning to the messenger, who had just returned.

"The house is empty, so please your grace," replied the usher, "all
but one old porter, who says that Sir Payan and his train set out for
Chilham yesterday morning, after visiting your reverend lordship. He
affirms, moreover, that the knight never got off his horse, but only
gave orders that the priest should be sent down to Richmond with all
speed, and then rode away himself for Kent."

"So!" said the cardinal, his lip curling into a scornful sneer, "he
finds his miscreant is caught, and thinks to deceive me with a tale
that would not cloud the eyesight of an old woman. But let him stay;
he shall lull himself into a fool's paradise, and then find himself
fallen to nothing. That will do." The usher fell back, and for a
moment Wolsey, as was often his wont, continued muttering to himself,
"The Lady Katrine: she was Darby's fool passion. If it lasts he shall
have her: 'tis better than the other. Besides, the other girl is away,
and he must have gold to bear out his charges at this meeting at
Ardres; so shall it be. Well, well! Send in whoever waits without," he
added, speaking in a louder voice, and then applied himself to other


     Three sides are sure inbarred with craggs and hills,
     The rest is easy, scarce to rise espy'd;
     But mighty bulwarks fence the plainer part:
     So art helps nature, nature strengtheneth art.--Fairfax.

            Sir knight, if knight thou be,
     Abandon this forestalled place as erst,
     For fear of farther harm.--Fairy Queen.

It may well be supposed, that under the circumstances in which we last
left Sir Osborne, his feelings could not be of the most tranquil or
gratifying nature, when, after having heard all that passed upon deck,
he distinguished the steps of the officer sent to arrest him coming
down the ladder. Longpole, for his part, looked very much as if he
would have liked to display cold iron upon the occasion; but the
knight made him a sign to forbear, and in a moment after, a gentleman
splendidly dressed, as one high in military command, entered the
cabin, followed by two or three armed attendants.

"Well, sir," said the knight, not very well distinguishing the
stranger's features by the light in which he stood, "I suppose----"
But he had not time to finish his sentence, for the officer grasped
him heartily by the hand, exclaiming, "Now heaven bless us! Lord
Darnley, my dear fellow in arms! how goes it with you these two

"Excellent well, good Sir Henry Talbot," replied the knight, frankly
shaking the hand of his old companion. "But say, does your business
lie with me?"

"No, no, good faith!" replied Sir Henry; "I came upon a very different
errand. Since I was with Sir Thomas Peechy and yourself in Flanders,
by my good Lord Surrey's favour I have obtained the command of one of
the king's great ships, and as I lay last night off the mouth of the
river, a pursuivant came down from London, with orders to stop every
vessel that I saw, and search for a traitor who is endeavouring to
make his escape to the Continent."

The knight's cheek burned, and for a moment he hesitated whether to
avow himself at once, and repel the opprobrious epithet thus attached
to the name he had assumed, and under which, he felt full sure, he had
never merited aught but honour. A moment's thought, however, showed
him the madness of such a proceeding, and he replied, "I believe you
will find no greater traitor here, Sir Henry, than myself."

The officer smiled. "If that be the case," replied he, "I may as well
row back to the ship. Perhaps he may be in the other vessel that
lies-to there, about a mile to windward. But come, Darnley, leave this
filthy Dutch tub, come with me aboard, and after we have searched the
other, I will land you in any port to which you are going, if it be
between Middlebourg and Boulogne."

Although the knight did not feel himself bound, even by the most
chivalrous principles of honour, to betray his own secret to Sir Henry
Talbot, yet he did not consider himself at liberty to take advantage
of his offer, and thus make one of the king's own ships the means of
conveying him away from pursuit. He therefore replied, that as he was
going to Dunkirk in some haste, and the Dutchman was steering straight
thither, he thought it would be best to proceed without changing his
ship, though he felt extremely obliged by the offer.

The officer received his excuses in good part, and bidding him
farewell with many hearty wishes for his future prosperity, he mounted
again to the deck, called his men together, abused the Dutchman
vigorously for a few minutes, and getting into the boat, rowed away
for his own vessel.

It is hardly necessary here to inform the reader, that the distinction
which at present exists between the naval and military services has
not been known above a hundred and fifty years; and that,
consequently, the fact of Sir Henry Talbot's having distinguished
himself on land, so far from being a disqualification, was one of the
highest recommendations to him in the sea service! Vonderbrugius takes
no notice of the circumstance, as probably the same practice existed
in his time, although the latest instance that I can call to mind is
that of General Monk, who, after having lived on land all his life,
grew amphibious at the age of fifty.

However that may be, deceiving himself as we have seen, Sir Henry
Talbot left the young knight to meditate over the conduct of Wolsey,
who would indeed have committed an egregious piece of folly in sending
to arrest him by the name of Sir Osborne Maurice alone, if he had
known him to be Lord Darnley, as Sir Osborne thought. Attributing it,
however, to one of those accidental omissions which often disconcert
the best-arranged proceedings, the knight was congratulating himself
on his good fortune, when Master Skippenhausen descended to offer his
felicitations also, exclaiming, "My Cot! where did you hide yourself?
Under that pile of hammocks, I'll warrant."

"No, you man of salt herrings! No, you cousin-german to a tub of
butter!" exclaimed Longpole, whose indignation at the captain for
having by his delay of the night before put them in such jeopardy now
broke forth irresistibly. "No, you dyke-begotten son of a swamp and a
canal! If it had not been for you we should never have run any risk,
and don't flatter yourself that either you or your dirty hammocks
either had any hand in saving us."

"How did I make you run any risk, pray?" exclaimed the master. "You
would have made me and my ship run a risk if you had been found in it;
but I made you run none."

"Stockfish, you lie!" cried the custrel. "Did you not lie in the mouth
of the river all last night, when, if the blood in your veins had been
anything but muddy Dutch puddle, of the heaviest quality, you would
have had us over to Dunkirk by this time? Deny it if you dare,
Dutchman, and I will prove it upon your body, till I leave you no more
shape than one of your own cheeses."

The Dutchman bore the insolence of Longpole with all that calm
magnanimity for which his nation is famed (says Vonderbrugius).
However, Sir Osborne desired his attendant to be silent, and merely
begging Master Skippenhausen to carry them to their destination as
soon as possible, the matter ended.

It was night before they arrived at Dunkirk; and, without troubling
the reader with all the details of their disembarkation, we shall
merely beg him to look into the little hall of the Flemish inn, and
see the knight and Longpole seated at the same table, according to the
custom of the day, which we have before alluded to, while the host,
standing behind the chair of Sir Osborne, answers the various
questions which from time to time are addressed to him; and that
black-eyed, smooth-faced, dingy serving-boy, who one might swear was a
true sun of Hans Holbein, filches away the half-finished tankard of
raspis from Longpole's elbow, and supplies its place with an empty

"And is Sir Albert of Koënigstein gone to Ratisbon too?" demanded Sir
Osborne, pursuing the inquiries which he was engaged in making
concerning his old comrades, amongst whom a sad dispersion had taken
place during his absence.

"Indeed I cannot tell, sir knight," replied the landlord; "but very
likely he is with the Count of Shoenvelt, at Cassel."

"What does Shoenvelt at Cassel?" asked the knight thoughtfully.

"He is collecting adventurers, they say, sir, under a commission from
the emperor," replied the host. "Some think, to go against the Moors;
but most people judge, to protect the frontier against Robert de la

"But Koënigstein would not serve under him," said Sir Osborne,
meditating over what he heard. "He is a better captain a thousand
times, and a nobler spirit."

"Well, sir," answered the landlord, "I tell you only what I heard.
Somebody told me so, I am sure. Perhaps they command together. Boy,
give his worship another tankard; don't you see that is out?"

"Odds fish!" cried Longpole; "what! all gone? Your measures, mine
host, are not like that certain knight's purse that was no sooner
empty than full again. It seems to me they are no sooner full than

"At Cassel did you say he is?" demanded Sir Osborne.

"Not exactly at Cassel, sir knight," replied the host, glad to pass
away from the subject of the tankard; "but you know Mount St. Hubert,
about a league from Cassel. Your worship will find him there."

Sir Osborne made no reply; and, after a while, the host and his legion
cleared the table of its encumbrances, and left the knight and his
follower to pursue their own thoughts undisturbed. We can hardly
wonder that, though now free from all danger of pursuit, the heart of
the young knight was sad, and that his brow was clouded with many
melancholy imaginings. It may be said, indeed, that he was not now
worse in situation than when he was formerly in Flanders, at which
time he had been happy and cheerful; but he was far worse, inasmuch as
he had since entertained hopes and expectations which were now broken
and passed away; inasmuch as he had known scenes, and tasted joys,
that he had now lost, and which might never be his again. Every
enjoyment of the human heart is like a tree planted deeply in the
soil, which, when rooted out, leaves not the earth as it was before,
but tears it up and scatters it abroad, and makes a yearning void,
difficult to be filled again.

However, there was one thing which he had gained: an object in life.
Formerly his natural disposition, the chivalrous spirit of the age,
the ardour of high health, and the strong impulsive bias given by
early associations, had impelled him onward on the only path of renown
then open to a daring spirit. But now he had a still more inspiring
motive, a more individual incitement, to press forward to the goal of
fame. Constance de Grey was ever present to his thoughts, furnished
the spring of all his actions, and directed his every endeavour.
Renown in arms was his already; but fortune, station, he felt he must
gain at the sword's point, and he only sought a good cause wherein to
draw it.

The report that Albert of Koënigstein, his old friend and companion in
arms, had joined the adventurers which the Count of Shoenvelt was
collecting at Cassel, led him to imagine that the cause in which they
would be engaged was one that he could himself embrace with honour,
although Shoenvelt's name had not been hitherto very famous for the
better qualities of chivalry. He doubted not, also, from the high
station which he himself had filled in the armies of Burgundy, he
should easily obtain that rank and command which he was entitled to
expect amongst the troops thus assembled.

The history of the various bands of adventurers of that day offers us
some of the most curious and interesting particulars of a curious and
interesting age. These companies, totally distinct from the regular
armies of the time (if regular armies they might be called), were
generally levied by some enterprising feudal lord; and commencing,
most frequently, amongst his own vassals, afterwards swelled out into
very formidable bodies by a junction with other bands, and by the
continual accession of brave and veteran soldiers, cast upon the world
by the sovereigns they had served, when peace rendered their swords no
longer necessary. Of course, the numbers in these companies varied
very much according to circumstances, as well as their regulations and
deportment. Sometimes they consisted of thousands, sometimes of simple
tens. Sometimes, with the strictest discipline and the most
unshrinking valour, they entered into the service of kings, and
decided the fate of empires; sometimes they were little better than
roving bands of robbers, that lived by rapine and hardly acknowledged
law. Most frequently, however, in the age of which we treat, they
volunteered their support to the armies of their own sovereign or his
own allies, and often proved more active than the body they came to

However, if Theseus had played at pitch-and-toss with Ariadne's clue,
he would never have slain the Minotaur; and, therefore, we must go on
with the thread of our own story, notwithstanding a strong inclination
to pause and sport with the subject of the adventurers. Nevertheless,
thus much we will say: if our readers wish a treat, let them read the
delightful old Mémoires of Fleuranges--"_L'Aventurier_," as he calls
himself--which for simplicity, and, if I may use the term, bonhommie
of style, for curious incident and romantic adventure, is far superior
to any romance that ever was written. Many curious particulars, also,
concerning the appearance and conduct of the adventurers, may be found
in the letters of Clement Marot to Marguerite de Valois.

But to proceed. The next morning, by day-break, Sir Osborne and his
companion were once more on horseback, and on their way to Mount
Cassel, the knight having determined to learn, in the first place, the
views of Shoenvelt, and to examine the real state of his troops,
before he offered himself as a companion in the adventure. In case he
found their object such as he could not himself seek, his mind was
hardly made up whether to offer his services to the emperor, or to
Francis King of France. His old habits, indeed, tended to make him
prefer the imperial army; but, from all he had heard of the new chief
of the German confederacy, there was a sort of cold-blooded,
calculating policy in his every action, that little accorded with the
warm and chivalrous feelings of the young knight; while, at the same
time, there was in the whole conduct of Francis a noble, candid
generosity of heart: a wild, enthusiastic spirit of daring and
adventure, that wonderfully attracted Sir Osborne towards him.

Journeying on with a quick pace, Mount Cassel soon rose to the
traveller's sight, starting out of the vast plains in which it stands,
like some high spirit towering above the flat multitude.

Sweeping round its base, the knight turned his horse towards a lesser
hill, at about two miles' distance, the top of which was in that day
crowned by the castle of Shoenvelt. From the plain below, as the eye
wandered up the side of the mountain, amidst the wood and broom that
covered the rock in large masses, might be seen peeping forth wall,
and bastion, and outwork, while higher up, in zigzag lines upon the
clear background of the sky, appeared the towers and battlements of
the castle, with the tall donjon rising above them all, and the banner
of Shoenvelt, bearing sable a saltier gules, floating in the sunshine.

A broad, fair road offered itself for the travellers' horses, winding
along a narrow rocky ridge, which was the only part that, slowly
descending, joined the hill gradually to the plain. All the rest was
steep and precipitous, and too well guarded by nature to be liable to
attack; while overhanging this sole approach might be seen on every
side many a frowning defence, well prepared against any hostile
footstep. Gradually, as the road wound upwards, it grew narrower and
more narrow, confined between two high banks, commanded by the towers
of the castle, while the road itself was completely raked by the guns
of the barbican.

Sir Osborne remarked it all with a soldier's eye, looking on it as a
mechanist does on some fine piece of art, and observing the purpose of
every different part. Pressing on, however, he soon arrived at the
gate, and demanded if Sir Albert of Koënigstein was in the castle.

Though it was a time of peace, no gate was opened, and the sole
response of the soldier to whom he spoke was, "Who are you?" uttered
through the grille of the barbican. The knight gave his name, and the
man retired without making any further answer.

"This looks like precaution, Longpole," said the knight. "Methinks
they would run no great danger in letting two men pass the gate,
though they may be armed at all points."

"I suppose the custom of this castle is like the custom of a
rat-hole," replied Longpole, "to let but one in at a time. But I hope
you won't stay here, my lord. I have an invincible hatred at being
built up. As much of the camp and fair field as you like, but Lord
deliver me from stone and mortar! Besides, this place smacks
marvellously of a den of free companions. Look at that fellow with the
pike on his shoulder; neither his morion nor his corslet has known
sand and the rubbing-stick since his great ancestor was drowned with
Pharaoh; and 'twas then his harness got so rusty, depend on it."

"In a Red Sea, I am afraid," said Sir Osborne. "But here comes the

As he spoke, the guardian of the gate approached with a bunch of keys,
and soon gave the knight the means of entrance. Sir Osborne, however,
still held his bridle in, and demanded once more if Sir Albert of
Koënigstein was in the castle.

"I cannot tell you, sir," replied the soldier. "I know not the titles
of all the knights here. All I can say is, that I gave your name and
errand to my lord, who sits at table in the great hall, and that he
greets you heartily and invites you in."

At this moment a group of gentlemen appeared, coming through the gate
of the inner ballium, and Sir Osborne, not doubting that they had been
sent by the count to conduct him to the hall, saw that he could not
now avoid entering, whether the officer he sought was there or not.
Riding through the gate, then, he dismounted, and giving his horse to
Longpole, met the party he had seen advancing, the principal of whom,
with much reverence and courtesy, prayed the Sire de Darnley, on the
part of Count Shoenvelt, to enter and quaff a cup of wine with him.
Sir Osborne expressed his willingness to do so in the same strain, and
then repeated his inquiry for his friend.

"We are unhappy in not having his company," replied the gentleman;
"but I believe the count expects him here in a few days."

He was a young man who spoke, and there was a sort of flush came over
his cheek, as he announced the probable coming of Koënigstein, which
induced Sir Osborne to imagine that his report was not very correct;
and fixing his eye upon him, he merely said, "Does he?" with a slight
degree of emphasis.

"Yes, sir, he does," said the youth, colouring still more highly. "Do
you mean to say he does not?"

"Not in the least," said Sir Osborne, "as you may see by my seeking
him here; and I am sure that so gallant a squire as yourself would
never swerve from truth."

The young man bent down his eyes, and began playing with his
sword-knot, while Sir Osborne, now perfectly convinced that the whole
tale was a falsehood, followed on in silence, prepared to act
according to this opinion. In a few minutes they passed through the
portal of the keep, and entered at once into the great hall, up the
midst of which was placed a long table, surrounded by the chief of
Shoenvelt's adventurers, with various pages and varlets, serving the
meats and pouring out the wine. Round upon the walls hung the arms of
the various guests, cumbering every hook or peg that could be found;
and where these had been scanty, they were cast upon the ground behind
the owners' seats, together with saddles and bards, and other horse
caparisons; while in the corner leaned several scores of lances,
mingled amongst which were one or two knightly pennons, and many a
sheaf of arrows, jostled by the upstart weapons destined in the end to
banish them from the stage, such as hackbuts, hand-guns, and other
newly-invented fire-arms.

At the farther end of the table, digging deeply with his dagger in a
chine of wild-boar pork, which had been just placed before him, sat
the Count of Shoenvelt himself, tall, strong-limbed, and grisly, with
a long, drooping, hooked nose, depressed at the point, as if some one
had set his thumb on it, at the same time squeezing it down, and
rather twisting it on one side. This feature was flanked, if one may
use the term, by a pair of small, keen, hawk's eyes, which expressed
more active cunning than vigorous thought; while a couple of immense
ears, sticking out on each side of his head, and worn into various
irregular callosities by the pressure of his helmet, gave a singular
and brute-like appearance to his whole visage, not easy to be
described. He was dressed in a hacqueton, or close jacket of buff
leather, laced with gold, on which might be seen, especially towards
the arms, sundry daubs and stains, to the number of which he had just
added another, by dashing all the gravy over his sleeve, in his
furious hacking of the large and stubborn piece of meat before him.
This accident had called into his face not the most angelic
expression, and as he sat he would have made a good picture of an
inferior sort of devil; the whole effect being heightened by a strong
ray of light passing through a purple pane of the stained glass
window, and falling with a ghastly lustre upon his dark, ferocious

The moment, however, that he perceived Sir Osborne, his brow was
smoothed, and rising from his seat, he advanced towards him with great
expression of joy. "My dear Lord of Darnley!" cried he, taking him in
his arms and pressing him to his bosom with a hug that the knight
would willingly have dispensed with; "welcome! a thousand times
welcome to St. Hubert's Castle! Whether you come to stay with us as a
companion, or whether you are but a passing guest, your visit is an
honour and a delight to all within these walls. Knights and
gentlemen," continued he, "pledge me all a cup to the health of the
Sire de Darnley."

To the party by whom he was surrounded, such a proposal was what
nobody felt at all inclined to reject, and consequently there was
instantly a loud rattling of cups and tankards, and no one complained
that his bowl was too full. All pledged Lord Darnley, and he could not
refuse to do them justice in a cup of wine. After which, taking the
seat that Shoenvelt assigned him by his side, the knight gazed over
the various grim and war-worn faces which were gathered round the
table, some of which he knew merely by sight, and some who, having
exchanged a word or two with him in the various reciprocations of
military service, now looked as if they claimed some mark of
recognition. Sir Osborne was not the man to reject such appeal, and he
gave the expected bow to each, though amongst them all he saw no one
who had greatly distinguished himself for those high feelings and
generous virtues that ever marked the true knight.

Many were the questions that were asked him; many the conjectures that
were propounded to him for confirmation, respecting the designs of
France and England, and of Germany; and it was some time before he
could cut them short, by informing his interrogators that he had been
for the last three months in his own country, so deeply occupied by
his private affairs that he had given no attention to the passing
politics of the day. The whole party seemed greatly disappointed,
entertaining apparently a much more violent thirst for news than even
that which is commonly to be met with in all small communities, cut
off from general information, and unoccupied by greater or better
subjects of contemplation.

As soon as the meal, which was drawing towards its end when Sir
Osborne entered, was completely concluded, Shoenvelt rose, and begged
to entertain him for a few minutes in private; which being agreed to,
he led him forth into a small space enclosed with walls, wherein the
provident chatelain had contrived to lay up, against the hour of need,
a very sufficient store of cabbages, turnips, carrots, and other
_canaille_ of the vegetable kingdom, which might be very serviceable
in case of siege. Here, walking up and down a long path that bordered
the beds, with Sir Osborne on his right, and a knight named Wilsten
(whom he had invited to the conference) on his left, Shoenvelt
addressed Lord Darnley somewhat to the following effect; generally,
while he did so, fixing his eyes upon vacancy, as a man does who
recites awkwardly a set speech, but still from time to time giving a
quick sharp glance towards the knight's countenance, to see the
impression he produced:--

"Valiant and worthy knight--ahem! ahem!" said Shoenvelt. "Every one,
whether in Germany or France, England or Spain, or even here in our
poor duchy of Burgundy--ahem! ahem! Every one, I say, has heard of
your valorous feats and courageous deeds of arms; wherefore it cannot
be matter of astonishment to you, that wherever there is a captain
who, having gathered together a few hardy troops--ahem! ahem! is
desirous of signalizing himself in the service of his
country--ahem!--wherever there is such a one, I say, you cannot be
surprised that he wishes to gain you to his aid." Here Shoenvelt gave
a glance at Wilsten, to see if he approved his proem; after which he
again proceeded:--"Now you must know, worthy knight, that I have
here in my poor castle, which is a strong one, as you may
perceive--ahem!--no less than five hundred as good spearmen as ever
crossed a horse, which I have gathered together for no mean purpose. A
purpose," he continued, mysteriously, "which, if effected, will not
only enrich all persons who contribute their aid thereto, but will
gain them the eternal thanks of our good and noble emperor--ahem!
ahem! I could say more--ahem!"

"Tonder, man! tell him all," cried Wilsten, who had served with Sir
Osborne, and had the reputation of being a brave and gallant knight,
though somewhat addicted to plunder; "or let me tell him, for your
bedevilled 'hems' take more time than it would to storm a fort. This
is the case, sir knight. A great meeting is to take place between the
King of France and the King of England at the border, and all the
nobility of France are in motion through Picardy and the frontier
provinces, covered with more gold than they ever had in their lives
before. Even Francis himself, like a mad fool, is running from
castle to castle, along the frontier, sometimes with not more than
half-a-dozen followers. Now, then, fancy what a rich picking may be
had amidst these gay French gallants; and if Francis himself were to
fall into our hands, we might command half a kingdom for his ransom."

"But I thought that the two countries were at peace," said the knight,
with a coldness of manner sufficiently marked, as he thought, to
prevent any further communication of the kind.

Wilsten, however, was not to be stopped, and replied, "Ay, a sort of
peace; a peace that is no peace on the frontiers. Don't let that
frighten you: we can prove that they were the first aggressors. Why,
did not they, less than ten days ago, attack the garrison of St.
Omers, and kill three men in trying to force the gate? Have they not
ravaged half Hainault? But, however, as I said, be not startled at
that. Shoenvelt saw the emperor about two months ago, who gave him to
understand that we could not do him a better service than either to
take Francis alive or give him a stroke with a lance. And fear not
that our plans are well laid: we have already two hundred men
scattered over the frontier; every forest, every village, has its ten
or twelve, ready to join at a moment's notice, when we sound to the
standard: two hundred more follow to-night, and Shoenvelt and I
to-morrow, in small parties, so as not to be suspected. Already we
have taken a rich burgher of Beauvais, with velvets and cloths of gold
worth a hundred thousand florins. But that is nothing: the king is our
great object, and him we shall have, unless some cursed accident
prevents it; for we do not hunt him by report only: we have our
gaze-hound upon him, who never loses sight. What think you of that,
sir knight? Count William of Firstenberg, Shoenvelt's cousin, who is
constantly with Francis, ay, and well-beloved of him, is our sworn
companion, and gives us notice of all his doings. What think you of
that, sir knight--ha?"

"I think him a most infernal villain!" cried Sir Osborne, his
indignation breaking forth in spite of his better judgment. "By
heaven! before I would colleague with such a traitor, I'd have my hand
struck off."

"Ha!" cried Shoenvelt, who had marked the knight's coldness all along,
and now burst into fury. "A traitor! Sir knight, you lie! Ho! shut the
gates there! By heaven! he will betray us, Wilsten! Call Marquard's
guard; down with him to a dungeon!" and laying his hand upon his
sword, he prepared to stop the knight, who now strode rapidly towards
the gate. "Nay, nay," cried Wilsten, holding his companion's arm.
"Remember, Shoenvelt, 'tis your own hold. He must not be hurt here;
nay, by my faith he shall not. We will find a more fitting place:
hold, I say!"

While Shoenvelt, still furious, strove to free himself from Wilsten,
Sir Osborne passed the gate of the garden, and entered the space of
the outer ballium, where Longpole had pertinaciously remained with the
two horses, as close to the barbican, the gate of which had been left
open when they entered, as possible, seeming to have had a sort of
presentiment that it might be necessary to secure possession of the

The moment the knight appeared without any conductors, the shrewd
custrel conceived at once that something had gone wrong, sprang upon
his own horse, gave a glance round the court to see that his retreat
could not be cut off, and perceiving that almost all the soldiers were
near the inner wall, he led forward his lord's charger to meet him.

Sir Osborne had his foot in the stirrup when Shoenvelt, now broken
away from Wilsten, rushed forth from the garden, vociferating to his
men to shut the gate and to raise the drawbridge; but in a moment the
knight was in the saddle; and spurring on, with one buffet of his hand
in passing, he felled a soldier who had started forward to drop the
portcullis, and darted over the bridge.

"On to the other gate, Longpole!" cried he. "Quick! Make sure of it;"
and turning his own horse, he faced Shoenvelt, who now seeing him gone
beyond his power, stood foaming under the arch. "Count of Shoenvelt!"
cried he, drawing off his glove, "thou art a liar, a traitor, and a
villain, which, when you will, I will prove upon your body. There lies
my gage!" and casting down his gauntlet, he galloped after Longpole,
who stood with his sword drawn in a small outer gate, which had been
thrown forward even beyond the barbican.

"Up! archers, up!" cried Shoenvelt, storming with passion; "up, lazy
villains! A hundred crowns to him who sends me an arrow through his
heart. Draw! draw, slaves! Draw, I say!"

In a moment an arrow stuck in Sir Osborne's surcoat, and another
lighted on his casquet; but, luckily, as we have seen, the more easily
to carry his harness or armour, he rode completely armed, and the
missiles from the castle fell in vain.

However, lest his horse should suffer, which, not being sufficiently
covered by its bard to insure it from a chance arrow, might have been
disabled at the very moment he needed it most, the knight spurred on
as fast as possible, and having joined Longpole, descended the narrow
way by which they had mounted.

Still for some way the arrows continued to fall about them, though
with less assured aim and exhausted force; so that the only danger
that remained might be apprehended either from the guns of the castle
being fired upon them, or from Shoenvelt sending out a body of
spearmen in their pursuit. Neither of these, however, took place, the
inhabitants of the country round, and the commander of Cassel, being
too jealous and suspicious of Shoenvelt already for him to do anything
which might more particularly attract their attention; and to this
cause, and this cause only, was Sir Osborne indebted for his unpursued


     How blest am I by such a man led,
     Under whose wise and careful guardship
     I now despise fatigue and hardship!

As soon as they were out of reach of immediate annoyance, the knight
reined in his horse, and turned to see if Shoenvelt showed any
symptoms of an inclination to follow. But all was now quiet: the gates
were shut, the drawbridge was raised, and not even an archer to be
seen upon the walls. Sir Osborne's eye, however, ran over tower, and
bartizan, and wall, and battlement, with so keen and searching a
glance, that if any watched him in his progress, it must have been
from the darkest loophole in the castle, to escape the notice of his

Satisfied at length with his scrutiny, he again pursued his journey
down the steep descent into the vast plain of Flanders, and turned his
horse towards Mount Cassel, giving Longpole an account, as he went, of
the honourable plans and purposes of the good Count of Shoenvelt.

"'Odslife! my lord," said Longpole, "let us go into that part of the
world too. If we could but get a good stout fellow or two to our back,
we might disconcert them."

"I fear they are too many for us," replied the knight, "though it
seems that Shoenvelt, avaricious of all he can get, and afraid that
aught should slip through his hands, has divided his men into tens and
twelves, so that a few spears well led might do a great deal of harm
amongst them. At all events, Longpole, we will buy a couple of lances
at Cassel; for we may yet chance to meet with some of Shoenvelt's
followers on our road."

Conversing of their future proceedings, they now mounted the steep
ascent of Mount Cassel, and approached the gate of the town, the iron
grate of which, to their surprise, was slowly pushed back in their
faces as they rode up. "Ho! soldier, why do you shut the gate?" cried
Sir Osborne; "don't you see we are coming in?"

"No, you are not," replied the other, who was a stiff old Hainaulter,
looking as rigid and intractable as the iron jack that covered his
shoulders; "none of Shoenvelt's plunderers come in here."

"But we are neither friends nor plunderers of Shoenvelt's," said the
knight: "we are his enemies, and have just made our escape from St.

"Ah! a fine tale! a fine tale!" replied the soldier, through the
barred gate, which he continued slowly and imperturbably to fasten
against them. "We saw you come down the hill, but you don't step in
here to-night; so you had better ride away, before the captain sends
down to make you. We all know that you can lie as well as rob."

"By my life! if I were in, I'd split your morion for you," said the
knight, enraged at the cool _nonchalance_ of the Hainaulter.

"Doubtless," replied he, in the same sort of indifferent snuffling
tone; "doubtless: you look like it, and that's one reason why I shall
keep you out."

Sir Osborne wasted no more words on the immoveable old pikeman, but,
angrily turning his horse, began to descend the hill. A little way
down the steep, there was even then, as now, a small hamlet serving as
a sort of suburb to the town above; and towards this the knight took
his way, pausing to gaze, every now and then, on the vast,
interminable plain that lay stretched at his feet, spread over which
he could see a thousand cities and villages, all filled with their own
little interests and feelings, wherein he had no part nor sympathy,
and a thousand roads leading away to them, in every direction, without
any one to guide his choice, or to tell him on which he might expect
prosperity or disaster.

"To Aire," said he, after he had thought for some time. "We will go to
Aire. I hear that the Count de Ligny, whom I fought at Isson, is
there, and the Chevalier Bayard, and many other gallant knights and
gentlemen, who, perhaps, may welcome me amongst them. Is not that the
smoke of a forge, Longpole? Perhaps we may find an armourer. Let us

As the knight had imagined, so it proved, and on their demanding two
strong lances, the armourer soon brought them forward a bundle of
stiff ash staves, bidding them choose. After some examination to
ascertain the soundness of the wood, their choice was made; and the
Fleming proceeded to adjust to the smaller end of each two
handsbreadths of pointed iron, which being fastened and clenched, the
knight and his follower paid the charge, and taking possession of
their new weapons rode away, directing their course towards
Hazebrouck, in their way to Aire.

Their progress now became necessarily slow; for though both horses
were powerful in limb and joint, and trained to carry great burdens
and endure much fatigue, yet the weight of a heavy iron bard, together
with that of a tall strong man armed at all points, was such that in a
long journey it of course made itself felt. Evidently perceiving by
the languor of his motions that the charger which bore him was
becoming greatly wearied, Sir Osborne ceased to urge him, and proposed
to stop for the evening at the very first village that could boast of
an inn. Nevertheless, it was some time before they met with such a
one, most of the hamlets on the road being too poor and insignificant
to require or possess anything of the kind. At length, however, a
small, neat house, with a verdant holly-bush over the door, invited
their steps, and entering, Sir Osborne was saluted heartily by the
civil host, who, with brandished knife and snowy bib, was busily
engaged in cooking various savoury messes for any guest that
Providence might send him. Some specimens of his handiwork were placed
before the knight and Longpole, as soon as their horses had been taken
care of; and an excellent bottle of old wine, together with some
fatigue, induced them to linger a little at the table.

The lattice, which was open, looked out across the road to the little
village green, where was to be seen many a schoolboy playing in the
fine May evening, and mocking, in his childish sports, the sadder
doings of the grown-up children of the day. Here, horsed upon their
fellows' backs, were two that acted the part of knights, tilting at
each other with broomsticks; and there, marshalled in fair order by a
youthful captain, marched a body of young lansquenets, advancing and
retreating, wheeling and charging, with no small precision. Sir
Osborne watched them for a while, in somewhat of a moralizing mood,
till his musing was disturbed by the trotting of a horse past the
window, and in a moment after he heard the good-humoured voice of the
host addressing the person who arrived.

"Ah! Master Frederick," he said, "what! back again so soon! I told you
you would soon be tired of soldiering."

"Nay, nay, Regnault," answered a voice that Sir Osborne thought he had
heard before, "I am not tired of soldiering, and never shall be; but I
am tired of consorting with a horde of plunderers, for such are
Shoenvelt and all his followers. But while I lead my horse to the
stable, get me something to eat, good Regnault; for I do not want to
go back to the hall till I have dented my sword at least."

"What! are you going to it again?" cried the host; "stay at home,
Master Frederick! stay at home! Take care of the house your father has
left you. If you are not so rich as the baron, you have enough, and
that is better than riches, if one knew it."

"My father was a soldier," answered the young man, "and distinguished
himself; and so will I, before I sit down in peace."

Here the conversation ceased; and the host, entering the room in which
sat the knight and his follower, began to lay out one of the small
tables with which it was furnished. "That is as good a youth," said
he, addressing Sir Osborne, while he proceeded with his preparations;
"that is as good a youth as ever breathed, if he had not taken this
fit of soldiering. His father was a younger brother of old Count
Altaman, and after many years' service came to our village, and bought
a piece of ground, where he built a house: your worship may see it
from here, over the side of the hill, with the wood behind it. He has
been dead now a year, and his wife near three; and so Master Frederick
there must needs go soldiering. They say it is all love for the
baron's daughter. But here he comes."

As he spoke, the young man entered the room, presenting to Sir
Osborne, as he had expected, the face of the youth who had been sent
by Shoenvelt to welcome him on his arrival at the castle. An ingenuous
blush overspread the young Hainaulter's countenance when he saw Sir
Osborne, and taking his seat at the table prepared for him, he turned
away his head and began his meal in silence.

"Had you not better take off your corslet, Master Frederick?" demanded
the host.

"No, no, Regnault," replied the youth; "I do not know that I shall
stay here all night. Never mind! give me some wine, and leave me."

Thus repulsed, the innkeeper withdrew, and Sir Osborne continued to
watch the young soldier, who, whether it was a feeling of shame at
meeting the knight, and degradation at having been made, even in a
degree, a party to Shoenvelt's attempt to deceive him, or whether it
was bitterness of spirit at returning to his native place
unsuccessful, seemed to have his heart quite full; and it appeared to
be with pain that he ate the food which was placed before him.

Sir Osborne could feel for disappointed hopes, and after regarding him
for a moment or two in silence, he crossed the room and laid his hand
upon his shoulder.

The young man turned round with a flushed cheek, hardly knowing
whether from anger at the familiarity to vent the feelings of his
heart, or to take it in good part, and strive to win the esteem of a
man whom he had been taught to admire.

But there was a frankness in the knight's manner, and a noble kindness
of intent in his look, that soon removed all doubt. "So, young
gentleman," said he, "you have left Count Shoenvelt's company. I
thought you were not made to stay long amongst them; but say, was it
with his will?"

"I staid not to ask, my lord," replied the young man. "I was bound to
Shoenvelt in no way, and the moment the gates were opened after you
were gone, I rode out and came away."

Sir Osborne shook his head. "When a soldier engages with a commander,"
said he, "his own will and pleasure must not be the terms of his
service. But of all things, he ought not to quit his leader's banner
without giving notice that he intends to do so."

"But, thank God," cried the young Hainaulter, "I had not yet taken
service with Shoenvelt. He wanted to swear me to it, as he does the
rest; but I would not do so till I saw more of him and of his plans;
and so I told him."

"That makes the matter very different," replied the knight with a
smile. "I am heartily glad to hear it, for I dare pronounce him a
traitorous ruffian, and no true knight. But one more question, young
sir, if I urge not your patience. How came you to seek Shoenvelt at
first, who never bore a high renown but as a marauder?"

The youth hesitated. "It matters not, sir knight," replied he, after a
moment's pause, "to you or to any one, what reasons I might have to
seek renown as speedily as possible, and why the long, tedious road to
knighthood and to fame, first as page, and then as squire, and then as
man-at-arms, was such as I could not bear; but so it was: and as
Shoenvelt gave out that he had high commissions from the emperor, and
was to do great deeds, I hoped that with him I might find speedy means
of signalizing myself. After being two days in the castle, I
discovered that his whole design was plunder, which was not the way to
fame; and this morning he made me deliver you a message, which I knew
to be a falsehood, which was not the road to honour: so I determined
to leave him; and as the spearmen are always dropping out of the
castle by five or six at a time, to go down to the frontier, I soon
found the means of getting away."

"Yours is an error, my good youth," said Sir Osborne, "which I am
afraid we are all wont to entertain in the first heat of our early
days; but we soon find that the road to fame is hard and difficult of
access, and that it requires time, and perseverance, and labour, and
strength, even to make a small progress therein. Those who, with a gay
imagination, fancy they have made themselves wings to fly up to the
top, soon, like the Cretan of old, sear their pinions in the sun, and
drop into the sea of oblivion. However, are you willing to follow a
poor knight, who, though he cannot promise either fame or riches, will
lead you, at least, in the path of honour?"

The enthusiastic youth caught the knight's hand, and kissed it with
inexpressible delight. "What! follow you?" cried he; "follow the Lord
Darnley, the Knight of Burgundy, whose single arm maintained the
bridge at Bovines against the bravest of the Duke of Alençon's horse!
Ay, that I will, follow him through the world. Do you hear that,
Regnault?" he cried to the innkeeper, who now entered; "do you hear
that? Instead of the base Shoenvelt, I am going to follow the noble
Lord of Darnley, who was armed a knight by the emperor himself."

The honest innkeeper congratulated Master Frederick heartily upon the
exchange; for the knight was now in that part of the country where his
name, if not his person, was well known; and in that age, the fame of
gallant actions and of noble bearing spread rapidly through all ranks,
and gained the meed of applause from men whom we might suppose little
capable of appreciating it.

All preliminaries were speedily arranged, and the next morning Sir
Osborne set out by dawn for the small town of Hazebrouck, which lay at
about two leagues' distance, where he took care to furnish his new
follower with a lance, and several pieces of defensive armour that
were wanting to his equipment; and then, to ascertain what reliance
might be placed on his support in case of emergency, he excited him to
practise various military exercises with himself, as they rode along
towards Aire. To his no small surprise and pleasure, he found that the
young Hainaulter, though somewhat rash and hasty, was far more skilful
in the use of his weapons and the management of his horse than he
could have conceived; and with such an addition to his party, he no
longer scrupled to cast himself in the way of some of Shoenvelt's
bodies of marauders, to keep his hand in, as Longpole quaintly
expressed it, when he heard his lord's determination.

"Come, Frederick," said the knight, "I will not go on to Aire, as I
had determined; but, in order to gratify your wish for renown, we will
lie about on the frontier, like true errant knights of old, at any
village or other place where we may find shelter; and if we meet with
Shoenvelt, or any of his, mind you do honour to your arms. We shall
always have the odds of eight or nine against us."

"No, no, sir knight!" cried the young soldier; "do not believe that.
It is one of his falsehoods; there are not above ten in any of the
bands, and most of them are five or six. I know where most of them

"Hush, hush!" cried Sir Osborne, raising his finger; "you must tell me
nothing; so that, if you should chance to break a lance with him, your
hand may not tremble at thinking you have betrayed his counsel. Nay,
do not blush, Frederick. A man who aspires to chivalry must guide
himself by stricter rules than other men. It was for this I spoke.
Here is the fair river Lys, if I remember right."

"It is so, sir knight," replied the other; "there is a bridge about a
mile lower down."

"What! for a brook like this?" cried Sir Osborne, spurring his horse
in. "Oh, no; we will swim it. Follow!"

The young Hainaulter's horse did not like the plunge, and shied away
from the brink. "Spur him in, spur him in!" cried Longpole. "If our
lord reaches the other bank first, he will never forgive us. He swims
like an otter himself, and fancies that his squires ought to be
water-rats by birthright."

"Down with the left rein!" cried the knight, turning as his horse
swam, and seeing the situation of his young follower. "Give him the
spur, bring him to a demivolte, and he must in."

As the knight said, at the second movement of the demivolte, the
horse's feet were brought to the very brink of the river, and a slight
touch of the mullet made him plunge over; so that, though somewhat
embarrassed with his lance in the water, Frederick soon reached the
other bank in safety.

One of the beautiful Flemish meadows, which still in many parts skirt
the banks of the Lys, presented itself on the other side; and beyond
that, a forest that has long since known the rude touch of the heavy
axe, which, like some fell enchanter's wand, has made so many of the
loveliest woods in Europe disappear, without leaving a trace behind.
The one we speak of was then in its full glory, sweeping along with a
rich undulating outline by the side of the soft green plain that
bordered the river, sometimes advancing close to the very brink, as if
the giant trees of which it was composed sought to contemplate their
grandeur in the watery mirror, sometimes falling far away, and leaving
a wide open space between itself and the stream, covered with thick
short grass, and strewed with the thousand flowers wherewith Nature's
liberal hand has fondly decorated her favourite spring. Every here and
there, too, the wood itself would break away, discovering a long glade
penetrating into the deepest recesses of its bosom, filled with the
rich, mellow forest light, that, streaming between every aperture,
chequered the green, mossy path below, and showed a long perspective
of vivid light and shade as far as the eye could reach.

It was up one of these that Sir Osborne took his way, willing to try
the mettle of his new follower, and to initiate him into the trade of
war, by a few of its first hardships and dangers, doubting not that
Shoenvelt had taken advantage of that forest, situated as it was
between Lillers and Aire, to post at least one party of his men
therein. From what the youth had let drop, as well as from what he had
himself observed, the knight was led to believe that the adventurer
had greatly magnified the number of his forces; and he also concluded
that, to avoid suspicion, he had divided his men into very small
troops, except on such points as he expected the King of France
himself to pass; and even there, Sir Osborne did not doubt that thirty
men would be the extent of any one body, Francis's habit of riding
almost unattended, with the fearless confidence natural to his
character, being but too well known on the frontier.

To meet with Shoenvelt himself, and if possible to disappoint his
schemes of plunder, was now the knight's castle in the air; and though
the numbers of his own party were so scanty, he felt the sort of
confident assurance in his own courage, his own strength, and his own
skill, which is ever worth a host in moments of danger. Longpole, he
was also sure, would be no inefficient aid; and though the young
Hainaulter might not be their equal in experience or skill, Sir
Osborne did not fear that, in time of need, his enthusiastic courage
and desire to distinguish himself would make him more than a match for
one of Shoenvelt's company.

Under these circumstances, the knight would never have hesitated to
attack a body of double, or perhaps treble, his own number; and yet he
resolved to proceed cautiously, endeavouring in the first place to
inform himself of the situation of Shoenvelt's various bands, and to
ascertain which that marauder was likely to join himself.

Wilsten having let drop that he and the count, as the two leaders of
their whole force, were to set out the next morning, Sir Osborne saw
that no time was to be lost in reconnoitring the ground, in order to
ascertain the real strength of the adventurers. He resolved,
therefore, to take every means to learn their numbers; and if he found
the amount more formidable than he imagined, to risk nothing with so
few, but to provide for the king's safety, by giving notice to the
garrison of Aire that the monarch was menaced by danger; and then to
aid with his own hand in ridding the frontier of such dangerous
visitors, though he felt a great degree of reluctance to share with
any one an enterprise full of honourable danger. It was likewise
necessary to ascertain where Francis I. was; for Shoenvelt might have
been deceived, or the king might have already quitted the frontier, or
he might be accompanied by a sufficient escort to place his person in
security; or, in short, a thousand circumstances might have happened,
which would render the enterprise of the adventurers abortive, and his
own interference unnecessary, if not impertinent.

Revolving all these considerations in his mind, sometimes proceeding
in silence, sometimes calling upon his companions for their opinion,
Sir Osborne took his way up one of the deep glades of the forest,
still keeping a watchful ear to every sound that stirred in the wood,
so that not a note of the thrush or the blackbird, nor the screaming
of a jay, nor the rustle of a rabbit, escaped him; and yet nothing met
his ear which might denote that there were other beings hid beneath
those green boughs besides themselves and the savage tenants of the
place: the stag, the wild boar, and the wolf.

The deep ruts, formed by heavy wood-carts in the soft, mossy carpet of
the glade, told that the route they were pursuing was one which most
probably communicated with some village, or some other road of greater
thoroughfare; and after following it for about a mile, they perceived
that, now joined to another exactly similar to itself, it wound away
to the left, leaving nothing but a small bridle-way before them, which
Sir Osborne judged must lead to some spot where the wood had been

As their horses were now rather fatigued, and the full sun shining
upon the forest rendered its airless paths very oppressive, the knight
chose the little path before him, hoping it would lead to a more open
space where they might repose for a while, and at the same time keep a
watch upon the roads they had just quitted. His expectations were not
deceitful; for after having proceeded about two hundred yards, they
came to a little grassy mound in the wood, which in former times might
have monumented the field of some Gallic or Roman victory, piled up
above the bones of the mighty dead. Even now, though the forest had
grown round and girt it in on every side, the trees themselves seemed
to hold it in reverence, leaving it, and even some space round it,
free from their grasping roots; except, indeed, where a group of idle
hawthorns had gathered impudently on its very summit, flaunting their
light blossoms to the sun, and spreading their perfume on the wind.

It was the very spot suited to Sir Osborne's purpose; and,
dismounting, the three travellers leaned their lances against the
trees, and letting their horses pick a meal from the forest grass,
prepared to repose themselves under the shadow of the thorns. Previous
to casting himself down upon the bank, however, the knight took care
to examine the wood around them; and seeing a sort of yellow light
shining between the trees beyond, he pursued his way along what seemed
a continuation of the little path which had brought them thither.
Proceeding in a slanting direction, apparently to avoid the bolls of
some enormous beeches, it did not lead on for above ten or twelve
yards, and then opened out upon a high road cut through the very
wildest part of the forest, at a spot where an old stone cross and
fountain of clear water commemorated the philanthropy of some one long
dead, and offered the best of Nature's gifts to the lip of the weary
traveller. Sir Osborne profited by the occasion, and communicated his
discovery to his companions, who took advantage of it to satisfy their
thirst also. They then lay down in the shade of the hawthorns on the
mound; and, after some brief conversation, the heat of the day so
overpowered the young Hainaulter that he fell asleep. Such an example
was never lost upon Longpole, who soon resigned himself to the drowsy
god; and Sir Osborne was left the only watcher of the party.

Whether from his greater bodily powers, on which fatigue made but
slight impression, or from deeper feelings and thoughts that would not
rest, sleep came not near his eyelids; and, lying at his ease in the
fragrant air, a thousand busy memories came thronging through his
brain, recalling love, and hope, and joy, and teaching to believe that
all might yet be his.

While thus indulging waking visions, he thought he heard a distant
horn, and listening, the same sound was again borne upon the wind from
some part of the forest. It was, however, no warlike note, but
evidently proceeded from the horn of some huntsman, who, as Sir
Osborne concluded from the time of the year, was chasing the wolf, to
whom no season gives repose.

Falling back into the position from which he had risen to listen, Sir
Osborne had again given himself up to thought, when he was once more
roused by the sound of voices and the trampling of horses' feet on the
road hard by. Rising silently, without disturbing his companions, he
glided part of the way down the path leading to the fountain, and
paused amidst some oaks and shrubs, through the leaves of which he
could observe what passed on the highway, without being seen himself.

Nearly opposite to the cross already mentioned appeared two horsemen,
one of whom allowed his beast to drink where the water, gurgling over
the basin of the fountain, formed a little streamlet across the road,
while the other held in his rein about a pace behind, as if waiting
with some degree of respect for his companion. As soon as the horse
raised its head, the first cavalier turned round, and presented to Sir
Osborne's view a fine and princely countenance, whose every feature,
whose every glance, bespoke a generous and noble spirit.

In complexion the stranger was of a deep tanned brown, with his eyes,
his hair, and his mustachio nearly black; his brow was broad and
clear; his eyes were large and full, though shaded by the dark
eyelashes that overhung them; his nose was straight, and perhaps
somewhat too long; while his mouth was small, and would have been
almost too delicate, had it not been for a certain marked curl of the
upper lip, which gave it an expression, not of haughtiness nor of
sternness, but of grave, condescending dignity. His dress was a rich
hunting suit, which might well become a nobleman of the day,
consisting of a green pourpoint laced with gold and slashed on the
breast, long white hose half covered by his boots, and a short green
cloak not descending to his horse's back. His hat was of velvet, with
the broad brim slightly turned up round it, and cut in various places
so as somewhat to resemble a moral crown, while from the front, thrown
over to the back, fell a splendid plume of ostrich feathers which
almost reached his shoulder. His only arms appeared to be a dagger in
his girdle, and a long heavy sword, which hung from his shoulder in a
baldrick of cloth of gold. The other stranger was habited nearly like
the first, very little difference existing either in the fashion or
the richness of their apparel. Both also were tall and vigorous men,
and both were in the prime of their days; but the countenance of the
second was very different from that of his companion. In complexion he
was fair, with small blue eyes and rather sandy hair; nor would he
have been otherwise than handsome, had it not been for a certain
narrowness of brow and wideness of mouth, which gave a gaunt and eager
expression to his face, totally opposed to the grand and open
countenance of the other.

As we have said, when his horse had done drinking, the first traveller
turned towards the spot where Sir Osborne stood, and seemed to listen
for a moment. At length he said, "Hear you the hunt now, Count

"No, your highness," replied the other; "it has swept away towards

"Then, sir," rejoined the first, "we are alone!" and drawing his sword
from the scabbard, he laid it level before his companion's eyes,
continuing abruptly, "what think you of that blade? is it not a good
one?" At the same time he fixed his eye upon him with a firm,
remarking glance, as if he would have read into his very soul. The
other turned as pale as death, and faltered something about its being
a most excellent weapon.

"Then," continued the first, "I will ask you, sir count, should it not
be a bold man, who, knowing the goodness of this sword, and the
strength of this arm, and the stoutness of this heart, would yet
attempt anything against my life? However, Count William of
Firstenberg, let me tell you, that should there be such a man in this
kingdom, and should he find himself alone with me in a wild forest
like this, and fail to make the attempt he meditated, I should look
upon him as coward as well as traitor, and fool as well as villain."
And his dark eye flashed as if it would have struck him to the ground.

Count William[16] faltered, trembled, and attempted to reply, but his
speech failed him; and, striking his hand against his forehead, he
shook his bridle-rein, dug his spurs into his horse's sides, and
darted down the road like lightning.

"Slave!" cried the other, as he marked him go; "cowardly slave!" and,
turning his horse, without further comment he rode slowly on the other


     The battle fares like to the morning's war,
     When dying clouds contend with growing light.--Shakspere.

     Thine is th' adventure, thine the victory;
     Well has thy fortune turned the die for thee.--Dryden.

Sir Osborne immediately turned into the forest, and, rousing his
companions, called them to horse; but, however, though confessedly the
hero of our story, we must leave him for a little time and follow the
traveller we have just left upon the road.

For a considerable way he rode on musing, and if one might judge from
his countenance, his meditations were somewhat bitter; such as might
become the bosom of a king on finding the treachery of the world, the
hollowness of friendship, the impossibility of securing affection, or
any other of the cold lessons which the world will sometimes teach the
children of prosperity. At length he paused, and, looking to the
declining sun, saw the necessity of hastening his progress; whereupon,
setting spurs to his horse, he galloped along the road without much
heeding in what direction it led him, till, coming to one of those
openings called _carrefours_ by the French, where a great many roads
met, he stopped to consider his farther route. In the midst, it is
true, stood a tall post, which doubtless in days of yore pointed out
to the inquisitive eye the exact destination to which each of the
several paths tended; but old Time, who will be fingering everything
that is nice and good, from the loveliest feature of living beauty to
the grandest monument of ancient art, had not spared even so
contemptible a thing as the finger-post, but, like a great mischievous
baby, had scratched out the letters with his pocketknife, leaving no
trace of their purport visible.

The traveller rode round it in vain, then paused and listened, as if
to catch the sound of the distant hunt; but all was now silent. As a
last resource, he raised his hunting-horn to his lips, and blew a long
and repeated call; but all was hushed and still: even babbling Echo,
in pure despite, answered not a word. He blew again, and had the same
success. There was an ominous sort of quietness in the air, which,
joined with the sultriness of the evening, the expecting taciturnity
of the birds, and some dark heavy clouds that were beginning to roll
in lurid masses over the trees, gave notice of an approaching storm.

Some road he must choose, and, calculating as nearly as he could by
the position of the sun, he made his election, and spurred along it
with all speed. A dropping sound amongst the green leaves, however,
soon showed that the storm was begun, and once having commenced, it
was not slow in following up its first attack: the rain came down in
torrents, so as to render the whole scene misty, and the lightning,
followed by its instant peal of thunder, flickered on every side with
flash after flash, dazzling the traveller's sight, and scaring his
horse by gleaming across his path, while the inky clouds overhead
almost deprived them of other light. In vain he every now and then
sought some place of shelter, where the trees seemed thickest; the
verdant canopy of the leaves, though impervious to the summer sun, and
a good defence against a passing shower, were incapable of resisting a
storm like that, and wherever he turned the rain poured through in
torrents, and wet him to the skin. Galloping on, then, in despair of
finding any sufficient covering, he proceeded for nearly half-an-hour
along the forest road, before it opened into the country; and where it
did so, instead of finding any nice village to give him rest, and
shelter, and food, and fire, the horseman could distinguish nothing
but a wide, bare expanse of country, looking dismal and desolate in
the midst of the gray deluge that was falling from the sky. About
seven or eight miles farther on, he could, indeed, see faintly through
the rain the spire of some little church, giving the only sign of
human habitation; except where, to the left, in the midst of the heath
that there bordered the forest, he perceived the miserable little hut
of a charcoal-burner, with a multitude of black hillocks before the
door, and a large shed for piling up what was already prepared.

To this, then, as the nearest place of shelter, the stranger took his
way, very different in appearance from what he had been in the
morning; his rich dress soaked and soiled, his velvet hat out of all
shape or form, his high plume draggled and thin, with all the feather
adhering closely to the pen; and, in short, though still bearing the
inalienable look of gentleman, yet in as complete disarray of apparel
as the very worst wetting can produce. Without ceremony he rode up to
the door, sprang off his horse, and entered the cabin, wherein
appeared a good woman of about forty, busily piling up with fresh fuel
a fire of dry boughs, over which hung a large pot of soup for the
evening meal. The traveller's tale was soon told, and the dame readily
promised him shelter and food, in the name of her husband, who was
absent, carrying charcoal to the distant village; and seeing that the
storm was likely to last all night, he tied his horse under the shed,
placed himself by the side of the fire, aided the good woman to raise
it into a blaze, and frankly prepared to make himself as comfortable
as circumstances would permit. Well pleased with his easy good-humour,
the good dame soon grew familiar, gave him a spoon to skim the pot,
while she fetched more wood, and bade him make himself at home. In a
short time the husband himself returned, as dripping as the traveller
had been, and willingly confirmed all that his wife had promised. Only
casting himself, without ceremony, into the chair where the stranger
had been sitting--and which, by-the-way, was the only chair in the
place, all the rest of the seats being joint-stools--he addressed him
familiarly, saying, "I take this place by the fire, my good gentleman,
because it is the place where I always sit, and this chair, because it
is mine; and you know the old proverb--

     "By right and by reason, whatever betide,
     A man should be master by his own fireside."[17]

"Faith, you are in the right," cried the traveller, laughing; "so I
will content myself with this settle. But let us have something for
supper; for, on the word of a--knight, my ride has taught me hunger."

"Give us the soup, dame," cried the charcoal-burner. "Well I wot, sir
traveller, that you might be treated like a prince, here on the edge
of the wood, did not those vile forest laws prevent a poor man from
spearing a boar as well as a rich one. In truth, the king is to blame
to let such laws last."

"Faith, and that is true," cried the traveller; "and heartily to
blame, too, if his laws stand between me and a good supper. Now would
I give a link of this gold chain for a good steak of wild boar pork
upon those clear ashes."

The cottager looked at his wife, and the cottager's wife looked at her
husband, very like two people undecided what to do. "Fie, now!" cried
the stranger; "fie, good dame! I will wager a gold piece against a cup
of cold water, that if I look in that coffer, I shall find wherewithal
to mend our supper."

"Hal ha! ha!" roared the charcoal-burner; "thou hast hit it. Faith,
thou hast hit it! There it is, my buck, sure enough! Bring it forth,
dame, and give us some steaks. But, mind," he continued, laying his
finger on his lip, with a significant wink; "mind, mum's the word!
never fare well and cry roast beef."

"Oh! I'm as close as a mouse," replied the stranger in the same
strain; "never fear me: many a stout stag have I overthrown in the
king's forests, without asking with your leave or by your leave of any

"Ha! ha! ha!" cried the cottager; "thou'rt a brave one! Come, let us
be merry while the thunder rolls without. It will strike the king's
palace sooner than my cottage, though we are eating wild boar

In such sort of wit passed the evening till nightfall; and the storm
still continuing in its full glory, the traveller was fain to content
himself with such lodging as the cottage afforded for the night.
Though his dress bespoke a rank far higher than their own, neither the
cottager nor his wife seemed at all awe-struck or abashed, but quietly
examined the gold lacing of his clothes, declared it was very fine,
and seemed to look upon him more as a child does upon a gilded toy
than in any other light. When night was come, the good dame strewed
out one corner of the hut with a little straw, piled it high with dry
leaves, and the stranger, rolling up his cloak for a pillow, laid it
under his head, stretched himself on the rude bed thus prepared, and
soon fell into a profound sleep.

Taking advantage of his nap, we will now return to Sir Osborne, who
with all speed roused his companions from their slumbers, and bade
them mount and follow. With military alacrity, Longpole was on his
horse in a moment, and ready to set out; but for his part, the young
Hainaulter yawned and stretched, and, somewhat bewildered, looked as
if he would fain have asked whither the knight was going to lead him.
A word, however, from Longpole hurried his motions, and both were soon
upon the track of Sir Osborne, who was already some way on the little
bridle-path by which they had arrived at the grassy mound where they
had been sleeping. When he reached the road they had formerly left, he
paused, and waited their coming up.

"Now, Longpole," cried he, "give me your judgment: does this road lead
to any crossing or not? Quick! for we must not waste a moment."

"Most certainly it does, my lord," replied the shield-bearer: "most
probably to the spot where they all meet in the heart of the wood."

"Perhaps he may tell us with more certainty," said the knight; and
changing his language to French, for the ear of the young Hainaulter,
he asked the same question.

"Oh, yes, certainly," replied Frederick: "it leads to the great
carrefour; I have hunted here a hundred times."

"Then, are we on French ground or Flemish?" demanded the knight.

"The French claim it," replied the youth; "but we used to hunt here in
their despite."

"Quick, then! let us on!" cried Sir Osborne; "and keep all your eyes
on the road before, to see if any one crosses it."

"He has something in his head, I'll warrant," said Longpole to their
new companion, as they galloped after Sir Osborne. "Oh! our lord knows
the trade of war, and will snuff you out an enemy, without ever seeing
him, better than a beagle dog with bandy legs and a yellow spot over
his eyes."

"Halt!" cried the knight, suddenly reining in his horse as they came
within sight of the carrefour we have already mentioned. "Longpole,
keep close under that tree! Frederick, here by my side; back him into
the wood, my good youth; that will do. Let every one keep his eyes
upon the crossing, and when you see a horseman pass, mark which road
he takes. How dark the sky is growing! Hark! is not that a horse's

They had not remained many minutes when the cavalier we have spoken of
appeared at the carrefour, examined in vain the finger-post, sounded
his horn once or twice, as we have described, and then again took his
way to the left.

"Whither does that road lead?" demanded the knight, addressing the
young Hainaulter.

"It opens out on the great heath between the forest and Lillers, my
lord," answered Frederick.

"Is there any village, or castle, or house near?" asked Sir Osborne

"None, none!" replied Frederick; "it is as bare as my hand: perhaps a
charbonier's cottage or so," he added, correcting himself.

"Let us on, then," replied the knight. "We are going to have a storm,
but we must not mind that;" and putting his horse into a quick pace,
he led his followers upon the track of the traveller, taking care
never to lose sight of him entirely, and yet contriving to conceal
himself, whenever any turn of the road might have exposed him to the
view of the person he pursued. The rain poured upon his head, the
lightning flashed upon his path; but still the knight followed on
without a moment's pause, till he had seen the traveller take refuge
in the cottage of the charcoal-burner. Then, and not until then, he
paused, spurred his horse through some thick bushes on the edge of the
wood, and obtained as much shelter as the high beeches of the forest
could afford; nor did he pause at the first or the thickest trees he
came to, but took particular pains to select a spot where, though
concealed by a high screen of underwood, they could yet distinguish
clearly the door of the hut through the various breaks in the
branches. Here, having dismounted with his followers, he stationed
Frederick at a small opening, to watch the cottage, while he and
Longpole carefully provided for the security and refreshment of their
horses, as far as circumstances would admit, although the long
forest-grass was the only food that could be procured for them, and
the storm still continued pouring through the very thickest parts of
the wood. To obviate this, the knight and his shield-bearer plied the
underwood behind them with their swords, and soon obtained a
sufficient supply of leafy branches to interweave with the lower
boughs of the trees overhead, and thus to secure themselves against
the rain.

While thus employed, Frederick gave notice, as he had been commanded,
that some one approached the cottage, which proved to be the
charbonier himself, returning with his mule; and after his arrival,
their watch remained undisturbed by the coming of any visitor till

As soon as it was dark, Sir Osborne allotted to his followers and to
himself the portion of the night that each was to watch, taking for
his own period the first four hours; after which Longpole's turn
succeeded; and lastly, towards morning, came the young Hainaulter's.

With his eye fixed upon the light in the cottage, and his ear eager
for every sound, Sir Osborne passed the time till the flame gradually
died away, and, flashing more and more faintly, at last sank entirely.
However, the dark outline of the hut was still to be seen, and the ear
had now more power; for the storm had gradually passed away, and the
only sounds that it had left were the thunder rolling faintly round
the far limits of the horizon, and the dropping of the water from the
leaves and branches of the forest. Towards midnight, Sir Osborne
roused Longpole, and recommending him to watch carefully, he threw
himself down by the young Hainaulter and was soon asleep.

Somewhat tired with the fatigues of the day, the knight slept soundly,
and did not wake till Frederick, who had replaced Longpole on the
watch, shook him by the arm; and starting up, he found that it was

"Hist, hist! my lord," cried the youth; "here are Shoenvelt and his

Sir Osborne looked through the branches in the direction the young man
pointed, and clearly distinguished a party of seven spearmen, slowly
moving along the side of the forest, at about five hundred yards'
distance from the spot where they lay. "It is Shoenvelt's height and
form," said the knight, measuring the leader with his eye, "and that
looks like Wilsten by his side; but how are you sure?"

"Because I know the arms of both," replied Frederick, "See! they are
going to hide in the wood, close by the high road from Lillers to

As he spoke, the body of horsemen stopped, and one after another
disappeared in the wood, convincing Sir Osborne that the young
Hainaulter was right.

"Then, nerve your arm and grasp your lance, Frederick," said the
knight with a smile; "for if you do well, even this very day you may
win your golden spurs. Wake Longpole there; we must be all prepared."

The youth's eyes gleamed with delight, and snatching up his casque, he
shook Longpole roughly, and ran to tighten his horse's girths, while
Sir Osborne explained to the yeoman that they were upon the eve of an

'"Odslife!" cried Longpole, "I'm glad to hear it, my lord. I find it
vastly cold sleeping in a steel jacket, and shall be glad of a few
back-strokes to warm me. You say there are seven of them. It's an
awkward number to divide; but you will take three, my lord; I will do
my best for two and a-half, and then there will be one and a-half for
Master Frederick here. We could not leave the poor youth less, in
honesty; for I dare say he is as ready for such a breakfast as we

The bustle of preparation now succeeded for a moment or two; and when
all was ready, and the whole party once more on horseback, the knight
led the way to a gap, from whence he could issue out upon the plain
without running the risk of entangling his horse in the underwood.
Here stationing himself behind the bushes to the left, he gave orders
to Longpole and Frederick not to stir an inch, whatever they saw, till
he set the example; and then grasping his lance, he sat like marble,
with his eyes fixed upon the cottage.

In about a quarter of an hour the door of the hut opened, and the
cottager, running to the shed, brought up the traveller's horse. By
this time, he seemed to have discovered that his guest was of higher
rank than he imagined; for when the stranger came forth, he cast
himself upon his knees, holding the bridle, and remained in that
situation till the other had sprung into the saddle.

Dropping some pieces of gold into his host's hand, the traveller now
shook his rein; and, putting his horse into an easy pace, took his way
over the plain, at about three hundred yards' distance from the
forest, proceeding quietly along, totally unconscious of danger. A
moment, however, put an end to his security; for he had not passed
above a hundred yards beyond the spot where the knight was concealed,
when a galloping of horse was heard, and Shoenvelt's party, with
levelled lances and horses in charge, rushed forth from the wood upon

In an instant Sir Osborne's vizor was down, his spear was in the rest,
and his horse in full gallop. "Darnley! Darnley!" shouted he, with a
voice that made the welkin ring. "Darnley to the rescue! Traitor of
Shoenvelt, turn to your death!"

"Darnley! Darnley!" shouted Longpole, following his lord. "St. George
for Darnley! down with the traitors!"

The shout was not lost upon either Shoenvelt or the traveller. The one
instantly turned, with several of his men, to attack the knight; the
other, seeing unexpected aid at hand, fell back towards Darnley, and
with admirable skill and courage defended himself, with nothing but
his sword, against the lances of the marauders, who--their object
being more to take him living than to kill him--lost the advantage
which they would have otherwise had by his want of armour.

Like a wild beast, raging with hate and fury, Shoenvelt charged
towards the knight, his lance quivering in his hand with the angry
force of his grasp. On, on bore Sir Osborne at full speed towards him,
his bridle in his left hand, his shield upon his breast, his lance
firmly fixed in the rest, and levelled in such a manner as to avoid
its breaking. In a moment they met. Shoenvelt's spear struck Sir
Osborne's shield, and, aimed firmly and well, partially traversed the
iron; but the knight, throwing back his left arm with vast force,
snapped the head of the lance in twain. In the mean while, his own
spear, charged at the marauder's throat with unerring exactness,
passed clean through the gorget-piece and the upper rim of the
corslet, and came bloody out at the back. You might have heard the
iron plates and bones cranch as the lance rent its way through. Down
went Shoenvelt, horse and man, borne over by the force of the knight's

"Darnley! Darnley!" shouted Sir Osborne, casting from him the spear,
which he could not disengage from the marauder's neck, and drawing his
sword. "Darnley! Darnley to the rescue! Now, Wilsten! now!" and
turning, galloped up to where the traveller, with Longpole and
Frederick by his side, firmly maintained his ground against the

Wilsten's lance had been shivered by Longpole; and now, with his sword
drawn, on the other side of the _mêlée_, he was aiming a desperate
blow at the unarmed head of the traveller, who defended himself from a
spearman in front; but at that moment the knight charged the
adventurer through the midst, overturning all that came in his way,
and shouting loud his battle-cry, to call his adversary's attention,
and divert him from the fatal blow which he was about to strike. The
plan succeeded. Wilsten heard the sound; and seeing Shoenvelt dead
upon the plain, turned furiously on Darnley. Urging their horses
between all the others, they met in the midst, and thus seemed to
separate the rest of the combatants, who, for a moment or two, looked
on inactive; while the swords of the two champions played about each
other's heads, and sought out the weaker parts of their harness. Both
were strong, and active, and skilful; and though Sir Osborne was
decidedly superior, it was long before the combat appeared to turn in
his favour. At length, by a quick movement of his horse, the knight
brought himself close to the adventurer's side, and gaining a fair
blow, plunged the point of his sword through his corslet into his

At that moment, the combat having been renewed by the rest, one of the
marauders struck the knight from behind so violently on the head, that
it shook him in the saddle, and breaking the fastenings of his helmet,
the casque came off and rolled upon the plain. But the blow was too
late to save Wilsten, who now lay dead under his horse's feet; and Sir
Osborne well repaid it by a single back-stroke at this new opponent's

By this time only two of the marauders remained on horseback, so well
had Longpole, the traveller, and Frederick, done their devoir; and
these two were not long in putting spurs to their steeds and flying
with all speed, leaving the knight and his companions masters of the
field. Looking round, however, Sir Osborne missed the gallant young
Hainaulter, while he saw his horse flying masterless over the plain.

"Where is Frederick?" cried the knight, springing to the ground. "By
my knighthood! if he be dead, we have bought our victory dear!"

"Not dead, monseigneur, but hurt," said a faint voice near; and
turning, he beheld the poor youth fallen to the earth, and leaning on
one arm, while with the other he was striving to take off his casque,
from the bars of which the blood dripped out fast upon the greensward.
Darnley hastened to his aid; and having disencumbered him of his
helmet, discovered a bad wound in his throat, which, however, did not
appear to him to be mortal; and Longpole, with the stranger, having
dismounted and come to his aid, they contrived to stanch the bleeding,
which was draining away his life.

When this was done, the noble traveller turned towards Darnley.

"Sir knight," said he, with the calm, dignified tone of one seldom
used to address an equal, "how you came here, or why, I cannot tell;
but it seems as if heaven had sent you on purpose to save my life.
However that may be, I will say of you, that never did a more famous
knight wield sword; and, therefore, as the best soldiers in Europe may
be proud of such a companion, let me beg you to take this collar, till
I can thank you better;" and he cast over the knight's neck the golden
chain of the order of St. Michael, with which he was decorated.

"As for you, good squire," he continued, addressing Longpole, "you are
worthy of your lord; therefore kneel down."

"Faith, your worship," answered the yeoman, "I never knelt to any man
in my life, and never will to any but a king, while I'm in this

"Fie, fie! Heartley!" cried Sir Osborne; "bend your knee. It is the
king, man! Do you not understand? It is King Francis!"

"Oh! that changes the case," cried Longpole; "I crave your highness's
pardon. I did not know your grace;" and he bent his knee to the king.

Francis drew his sword, and laid it on the yeoman's shoulder; then
striking him three light blows, he said, "In the name of God, our
Lady, and St. Denis, I dub thee knight. _Avance, bon chevalier!_ Noble
or not noble, from this moment I make you such."

Longpole rose, and the king turned to the young Hainaulter, who,
sitting near, and supporting himself by his sword, had looked on with
longing eyes. "No one of my gallant defenders must be forgotten," said
Francis. "Knighthood, my good youth, will hardly pay your wound."

"Oh, yes, yes!" cried Frederick, eagerly; "indeed it will, your
highness, more than repay it."

"Then be it so," replied the king, knighting him. "However, remember,
fair knights, that Francis of France stints not here his gratitude, or
you may think him niggard of his thanks. We will have you all go with
us, and we will find better means to repay your timely aid. I know
not, sir," he continued, turning to Sir Osborne, and resuming the more
familiar first person singular, "whether I heard your battle-cry
aright, and whether I now see the famous Lord Darnley, the knight of
Burgundy, who, in wars now happily ended, often turned the tide of
battle in favour of the emperor." Sir Osborne bowed his head. "Then,
sir," continued Francis, "I will say, that never did monarch receive
so much injury or so much benefit from the hand of one noble


     We talk, in ladies' chambers, love and news.--Cowley.

All was bustle and preparation at the court of England; for the two
most magnificent monarchs of the world were about to contend with each
other, not with the strife of arms, nor by a competition of great
deeds, but in pomp, in pageant, and in show; in empty glitter and
unfruitful display. However that may be, the palace and all its
precincts became the elysium of tailors, embroiderers, and
sempstresses. There might be seen many a shadowy form gliding about
from apartment to apartment, with smiling looks and extended shears,
or armed with ell-wands more potent than Mercury's road, driving many
a poor soul to perdition, and transforming his goodly acres into
velvet suits with tags of cloth of gold.

The courts of the king's palace of Bridewell rang from morning till
night with the neighing of steeds, the clanking of harness, and the
sound of the trumpet; and the shops and warehouses of London were
nearly emptied of gold, jewels, and brocade. Men and women were all
wild to outdo their French equals in splendour and display; and, in
short, the mad dog of extravagance seemed to have bitten all the

In a small room in the palace, not far from the immediate apartments
of the queen, sat a very lovely girl, whom the reader has not spoken
to for a long time: no other than Lady Katrine Bulmer, who, with a
more pensive air than was usual with her, sat deep in the mysteries of
bibs and tuckers, chaperons and fraisies, mantuas and hanging sleeves,
which last had, for the moment, regained their ascendancy in the
public taste, and were now ornamented with more extraordinary
trimmings than ever.

By her side sat her two women, Geraldine and Bridget, whose fingers
were going with the rapidity of lightning, quickened into excessive
haste by the approaching removal of the court to Calais, which was to
take place in the short space of one week, while their mistress's
dresses were not half-finished, and their own not begun.

What it was that occupied Lady Katrine's thoughts, and made her gay
face look grave, is nothing to any one. Perhaps it might be, that she
had not as many dresses as Lady Winifred Stanton; perhaps she had seen
a jewel that she could not afford to buy; perhaps Higglemeasure, the
merchant, had brought her a brocade that the queen would not let her
wear; perhaps she was vexed at not having seen Lord Darby for eight
days, the last time having been on the same morning that Sir Osborne
Maurice had been driven from the court. Perhaps she was angry with
herself for having parted from him with an affectation of indifference
which she did not feel.

Well aware that, now Wolsey had returned, the pleasure of seeing her
lover almost daily must cease; and that stiff and formal interviews,
in presence of the whole court, or a few brief sentences at a mask or
pageant, were all they could hope to attain; Lady Katrine did indeed
repent that she had suffered her own caprices to mingle any bitter in
the few happy hours that Fate had sent her.

Though she had some vanity, too, she had not enough to prevent her
seeing and regretting that she had been in fault; and she made those
resolutions of amendment which a light spirit often forms every hour,
and breaks before the next: and thus sewing and thinking, and thinking
and sewing, and stitching in excellent determinations with every seam
as she went along, she revolved in her own mind all the various events
that had lately happened at the court.

It may well be supposed, that the sudden disappearance of Sir Osborne
Maurice, at the same time as that of Lady Constance de Grey, had given
rise to many strange rumours, none of which, of course, did Lady
Katrine believe; and, to do her justice, although perhaps she was not
at all sorry that Constance had judged it right to put an end to any
further proceedings regarding her marriage with Lord Darby, by
removing herself from the court, yet Lady Katrine suffered no one to
hint a doubt in her presence regarding her friend's conduct. But that
which was much more in Constance's favour was the good word of the
queen herself, who at once silenced scandal by saying, that she would
take upon herself to assert, that Lady Constance de Grey had never
dreamed of flying from the court with Sir Osborne Maurice. It was very
natural, she observed, that a young heiress of rank, and wealth, and
proud family, should take refuge anywhere, rather than contract a
marriage to which she had always expressed her repugnance; and without
meaning offence to the lord cardinal, she could not think but that
Constance was right.

Notwithstanding this, many were the tales that were circulated by the
liemongers of the court; and it hurt the really generous heart of Lady
Katrine to hear them. Meditating, then, over all these circumstances,
nearly in the same desultory way in which they are here written down,
she took little notice when one of the servants of the palace called
her maid Geraldine out of the room. After a short while, Geraldine
came back and called out Bridget, and still Lady Katrine continued to
work on. After a moment or two she ceased, and leaning her head on her
hand, gave herself up to still deeper thought, when suddenly the door
opened and Lord Darby presented himself.

Too much taken by surprise to give herself any airs, Lady Katrine
looked up with a smile of unaffected delight, and Darby, reading his
welcome in her eyes, advanced, and casting his arm round her,
imprinted a warm kiss on the full arching lips that smiled too
temptingly for human philosophy to resist. Luckily did it happen that
he did so within the first minute; for, had he waited later, Lady
Katrine might not so easily have pardoned his boldness. However, her
only remark was, "Well, Darby, you seem to think it so much a matter
of course, that I suppose I too must let it pass as such. But don't
look so happy, man, lest I should take it into my head to make you
look otherwise before you go."

"Nay, nay, Katrine," said Lord Darby; "not so, when I come solely for
the purpose of asking you to make me happy."

The earl spoke seriously, tenderly, and there was so much hope, and
affection, and feeling in his glance, that Lady Katrine felt there
must be some meaning in his words. "If you love me, Darby," cried she,
"tell me what you mean; and make haste, for my maids will be back, and
you know you must not stay here."

"Yes, I may, Katrine," replied he; "no one but you can now send me
away. In a word, dear girl, to put an end to suspense, I have the
king's and the cardinal's consent to ask your hand, and the queen's to
seek you here. Will you refuse me?"

Lady Katrine looked at him for a moment, to be sure, quite sure, that
what she heard was true; then dropping her head upon his shoulder, she
burst into a violent flood of tears. So sudden, so delightful was the
change in all her feelings, that she was surprised out of all her
reserve, all her coquetry, and could only murmur, "Refuse you? no!"
But starting up, at length she cried, "I have a great mind that I
will, too. Don't think that I love you. No, I hate you most bitterly
for making me cry: you did it on purpose, beyond doubt, and I won't
forgive you easily. So, to begin your punishment, go away and leave me

"Nay, Katrine, I must disobey," replied the earl, "for I have other
news to tell you: your relation, Lord Orham, is dead."

"My relation?" cried Lady Katrine, whose tears were ever dried as soon
as shed. "Oh, yes! I remember: he was my great-grandfather's
seventieth cousin by the mother's side. One was descended from Shem,
and the other from Japheth, in the time of the flood, or before, for
aught I know. Well, what of my antediluvian relative? Oh! he is dead,
you say? May he rest with Noah!"

"But you must take mourning for him," said Lord Darby, laughing;
"indeed you must."

"Certainly," replied Lady Katrine: "a coif and a widow's hood. But I
won't be teased, Darby: I will tease everybody, and nobody shall tease
me. As to going into mourning for the old miser just now, when all my
finery is ready made, to show myself at Guisnes and captivate all
hearts, and make you fight fifty single combats--I won't do it. There,
go and ask my singing-bird to moult in the month of May, or anything
else of the same kind; but don't ask me to leave one single row of
lace off my sleeve for the miser. I disown him."

"Hush! hush! hush!" cried the earl; "take care he does not come back
and disown you, for otherwise you are his heiress."

"I!" exclaimed Lady Katrine; "am I his heiress? Now, Mistress Fortune,
I am your very humble servant! Bless us! how much more important a
person Katrine Bulmer will be, with all the heavy coffers of her late
dear cousin, than when she was poor Katrine Bulmer, the queen's woman!
Darby, I give you notice: I shall not marry you. I could wed a duke
now, doubtless: who shall it be? All the dukes have wives, I do
believe. However, there is many a peer richer than you are, and though
you do not count cousinship with kings, gold is my passion now; so I
will sell myself to him who has the most."

Though she spoke in jest, still Lord Darby was mortified; for what he
could have borne and laughed at in the poor and fortuneless girl who
had captivated his heart, his spirit was too proud to endure where a
mercenary motive could be for a moment attributed to him. "Nay,
Katrine," said he, "if the fortune that is now yours give you any wish
for change, your promises are to me null: I render them back to you
from this moment."

"Why, they _were made_ under very different circumstances, you must
allow, Lord Darby," replied she, assuming a most malicious air of
gravity, and delighted at having found, for the first time in her
life, the means of putting her lover out of humour.

"They were, Lady Katrine," answered the earl, much more deeply hurt
than she imagined, "and therefore they are at an end. I have nothing
further to do then but to take my leave."

"Good-bye, my lord; good-bye!" cried she. "Heaven bless and prosper
you!" and with the utmost tranquillity she watched him approach the
door. "Now, shall I let him go or not?" said she. "Oh woman! woman!
you are a great fool! Darby! Darby!" she added in a soft voice, "come
back to your Katrine."

Lord Darby turned back and caught her in his arms. "Dear teasing
girl!" cried he; "why, why will you strive to wring a heart that loves

"Nay, Darby, if things were rightly stated, it is I who have cause to
be offended rather than you," answered the lady. "What right had you,
sir, to think that the heart of Katrine Bulmer was so base, so mean,
as to be changed by the possession of a few paltry counters? Own that
you have done me wrong this instant, or I will never forgive you. Down
upon your knee! a kneeling confession, or you are condemned beyond
hope of grace."

Lord Darby was fain to obey his gay lady's behest, and bending his
knee, he freely confessed himself guilty of all the crimes she thought
proper to charge him withal; in the midst of which, however, he was
interrupted by the entrance of an attendant sent by the queen to call
Lady Katrine to her presence.

The lady laughed and blushed at being found with Lord Darby at her
feet; and the earl, not particularly well pleased at the interruption,
turned to the usher, saying, with the sort of _nonchalant_ air which
he often assumed, "Well, sir, before you go, tell the lady when it was
you last found me on my knees to any of the fair dames of the court."

"Never, my lord, so please you, that I know of," answered the man,
somewhat surprised.

"Well, then," rejoined Darby, "next time knock at the door, for fear
you should. In which case, you might chance to be thrown down stairs
by the collar."

"Hush, hush, Darby!" cried Lady Katrine; "I must go to her highness.
Doubtless we shall not meet again for a long while; so fare you well!"
and tripping away after the usher, without other adieu, she left her
lover to console himself in her absence as best he might.

On entering the queen's apartment, she found her royal mistress alone
with the king, and, according to the etiquette of that day, was
drawing back instantly, when Katherine called her forward. "Come
hither, my wild namesake," said the queen; "his grace the king wishes
to speak with you. Come near, and answer him all his questions."

Lady Katrine advanced, and kneeling on a velvet cushion at Henry's
feet, prepared to reply to whatever he might ask, with as much
propriety as she could command; although the glad news of the morning
had raised her spirits to a pitch of uncontrollable joyousness, which
even the presence of the imperious monarch himself could hardly keep
within bounds.

"Well, my merry mistress," said the king, seeing in her laughing eyes
the ebullition of her heart's gladness; "it seems that you do not pine
yourself to death for the loss of Sir Osborne Maurice?"

"I deeply regret, your grace," said Lady Katrine, turning grave for a
moment, "most deeply, that Sir Osborne Maurice should have incurred
your royal displeasure; for he seemed to me as perfect a knight and as
noble a gentleman as I ever saw. But in no other respect do I regret
his absence."

"Well, we have tried to supply his place with one you may like
better," said Henry. "Have you seen the Earl of Darby--ha? What think
you of the exchange, pretty one?"

"I thank your grace's bounty," said the gay girl. "I have seen his
lordship, and looked at him well; and though he be neither so handsome
as Narcissus nor so wise as Solon, he may do well enough for such a
giddy thing as I am. Saving your grace's presence, one does not look
for perfection in a husband: one might as well hope to find a pippin
without a spot."

"Thou art a malapert chit, Kate," said the queen, laughing; "sure I
am, if your royal lord was not right gentle in his nature, he would be
angry with your wild chattering."

"Nay, let her run on," said the king; "a tongue like hers has no
guile. If you are contented, sweetheart," he added, addressing Lady
Katrine, "that is enough."

"Oh, yes! quite contented, your grace," answered she. "I have not had
a new plaything for so long, that a husband is quite a treat. I
suppose he must be sent to the _manège_ first, like the jennet your
highness gave me, to learn his paces."

"If he were as untamed as you are, mistress," answered the king, "he
might need it. But to another subject, fair one. You were with Sir
Osborne Maurice and his party when he encountered the rioters near
Rochester. Some sad treasons are but too surely proved against that
luckless young man; yet I would fain believe that his misconduct went
not to the extent which was at first reported, especially as the
accusation was made by that most ruffianly traitor, Sir Payan Wileton,
whom the keen eye of my zealous Wolsey has discovered to be stained
with many crimes too black for words to paint. Now, amongst other
things, it was urged that this Sir Osborne was in league with those
Rochester mutineers, the greatest proof of which was their letting him
quietly pass with so small a party, when they boldly attacked the
company of Lord Thomas Howard, with ten times the force."

Lady Katrine could hardly wait till the king had ceased. "This shows,"
cried she at length, "how the keenest wisdom and the noblest heart may
be abused by a crafty tale. Sir Osborne knew nothing of the rioters,
my lord: he took every way to avoid them, because I, unluckily, having
neither father nor brother to protect me, encumbered him by my
presence; otherwise, without doubt, he would have delivered the poor
priest they had with them by his lance, and not by fair words. Never
believe a word of it, your grace. His shield-bearer, indeed, while the
knight drew up his men to defend us to the best of his power,
recognised the leader of the tumultuaries as an old fellow-soldier,
and craved leave of his lord to go and demand a free passage for us,
by which means we escaped. Oh! my lord, as you are famous for your
clemency and justice, examine well the whole tale of that Sir Payan
Wileton, and it will be found false and villanous, as are all the rest
of his actions."

"You are eloquent, lady fair," said the king with a smile; "we will
tell Darby to look to it. But as to Sir Payan Wileton, his baseness is
now known to us; and as we progress down to Dover, we will send a
sergeant-at-arms to bring him with us to Calais, where we will, with
our council, hear and judge the whole. Then, if he be the man we think
him, not only shall he restore to the old Lord Fitzbernard the
lordship of Chilham and the stewardship of Dover, but shall stoop his
head to the axe without grace or pardon, as I live. But say, know you
aught of Lady Constance de Grey, in whose secrets you are supposed to
have had a share? Laugh not, pretty one; for by my life it shall go
hard with you if you tell not the truth."

"Oh, please your grace, don't have my head cut off!" cried Lady
Katrine, seeing, notwithstanding the king's threat, that he was in one
of his happier moods. "I never told a lie in my life, except one day
when I said I did not love your highness, and that was when you put
off the pageant of the _Castle Dolorous_ till after pentecost, and I
wanted it directly. But on my word, as I hope to be married in a year,
and a widow in God's good time, I know no more of where Constance de
Grey is, or whither she went, or when, or how, than the child unborn."

"Did she never speak to you thereof, my saucy mistress?" demanded
Henry. "You consorted with her much: 'twere strange if she did not let
something fall concerning her purposes, and she a woman, too."

"I wish I had a secret," said Lady Katrine, half-apart, half-aloud,
"just to show how a woman can keep counsel, if it were but in spite.
Good, your grace," she continued, "you do not think that Constance
would trust her private thoughts to such a light-headed thing as I am.
But, to set your highness's mind at ease, I vow and protest, by the
love and duty I bear to you and my royal mistress; by my conscience,
which is tender; and by my honour, which is strong; that I know
nothing of Lady Constance de Grey, and that even in my very best
imaginings I cannot divine whither she is gone."

"Your highness may believe her," said the queen; "wild as she is, she
would not stain her lips with the touch of falsehood, I am sure. Get
ye gone, Kate, and hasten your sempstresses, for we shall set out a
day before it was intended; and mind you plume up your brightest
feathers, for we must outdo the Frenchwomen."

"Oh, good, your grace! I shall never be ready in time," replied the
young lady. "Besides, they tell me I must put on mourning for my
fiftieth cousin by the side of Adam, old Lord Orham the miser. If I
do, it shall be gold crape trimmed with cobwebs, I declare; and so I
humbly take my leave of both your graces."

Thus saying, she rose from the cushion, dropped a low curtsey to the
king and queen, and tripped away to her own apartments.

Common bustle and ordinary preparation may be easily imagined. All
can, without difficulty, figure to themselves the turmoil preparatory
to a ball where there are six daughters to marry, with much blood and
very little money: the lady-mother scolding the housekeeper in her
room, and the housekeeper scolding all the servants in hers; a
reasonable number of upholsterers, decorators, floor-chalkers,
confectioners, milliners; much talking to very little purpose;
scheming, drilling, and dressing; agitation on the part of the young
ladies, and calculation on the part of their mamma. And at the end of
a few weeks the matter is done and over. But no mind, however vast may
be its powers of conceiving a bustle, can imagine anything like the
court of Westminster for the three days prior to the king's departure
for Canterbury.

So continual were the demands upon every kind of artisan, that the
impossibility of executing them threw several into despair. One
tailor, who is reported to have undertaken to furnish fifty
embroidered suits in three days, on beholding the mountain of gold and
velvet that cumbered his shop-board, saw, like Brutus, the
impossibility of victory, and, with Roman fortitude, fell on his own
shears. Three armourers are said to have been completely melted with
the heat of their furnaces; and an unfortunate goldsmith swallowed
molten silver to escape the persecutions of the day.

The road from London to Canterbury was covered during one whole week
with carts and waggons, mules, horses, and soldiers; and so great was
the confusion, that marshals were at length stationed to keep the
whole in order, which of course increased the said confusion a hundred
fold. So many were the ships passing between Dover and Calais, that
the historians affirm they jostled each other on the sea, like a herd
of great black porkers; and it is known as a fact, that the number of
persons collected in the good town of Calais was more than it could
lodge; so that not only the city itself, but all the villages round
about, were full to the overflowing.

At length the king set out, accompanied by an immense train, and left
London comparatively a desert; while, as he went from station to
station, he seemed like a shepherd driving all the better classes of
the country before him, and leaving not a single straggler behind. His
farther progress, however, was stayed for a time at Canterbury, by the
news that the emperor Charles, his wife's nephew, was on the sea
before Dover, furnished with the excuse of relationship for visiting
the English king, though in reality conducted thither solely by the
wish to break the good understanding of the English and French
monarchs; or rather to ensure that no treaty contrary to his interest
should be negotiated at the approaching meeting.

With that we have nothing to do; and it is a maxim which a historian
should always follow, never to mind anybody's business but his own. We
shall therefore only say, that the king and Wolsey, occupied with the
reception of the emperor, and his entertainment during the short time
he stayed, forgot entirely Sir Payan Wileton till they reached Dover,
when some one happening to call it a _chilly morning_, put Chilham
Castle in Wolsey's head (for on such little pivots turn all the wheels
of the world); and immediately a sergeant-at-arms, with a body of
horse-archers, was sent to arrest the worthy knight and bring him to
Calais, for which port the king and the whole court embarked
immediately; and, with a fair wind and fine sky, arrived in safety
towards the evening.


                     With clouds and storms
     Around thee thrown, tempest on tempest roll'd.--Thomson.

Passing over all the consultations that took place between the
prioress of Richborough, Dr. Wilbraham, and Lady Constance de Grey,
regarding the means of crossing the sea to France with greater
security, although manifold were the important considerations therein
discussed, we shall merely arrive at the conclusion to which they came
at length, and which was ultimately determined by the voice of the
prioress. This was, that for several days Lady Constance and Mistress
Margaret should remain at the convent as nuns, paying a very
respectable sum for their board and lodging, while Dr. Wilbraham was
to take up his abode at a cottage hard by. By this means, the superior
said, they would avoid any search which the cardinal might have
instituted to discover them in the vessels of passage between France
and England, and at the end of a week they would easily find some
foreign ship which would carry them over to Boulogne. Such a one she
undertook to procure, by means of a fisherman who supplied the
convent, and who, as she boasted, knew every ship that sailed through
the Channel, from the biggest man-of-war to the meanest carvel.

We shall now leave in silence also the time which Lady Constance
passed in the convent. Vonderbrugius, who, as the sagacious reader has
doubtless observed, had a most extraordinary partiality for detailing
little particulars, and incidents that are of no manner of
consequence, here occupies sixteen pages with a correct and minute
account of every individual day, telling how many masses the nuns
sang, how often they fasted in the week, and how often they ate meat;
and, not content with relating all that concerned Lady Constance, he
indulges in some very illiberal insinuations in regard to the
prioress, more than hinting that she loved her bottle and had a pet

Maintaining, however, our grave silence upon this subject, as not only
irrelevant but ungentlemanlike, we shall merely say, that the days
passed tranquilly enough with Lady Constance, although, like the timid
creatures of the forest, whom the continual tyranny of the strong over
the inoffensive has taught to start even at a sound, she would tremble
at every little circumstance which for a moment interrupted the dull
calm of the convent's solitude.

A week passed in this manner, and yet the prioress declared her old
fisherman had heard of no vessel that could forward Constance on her
journey, though the young lady became uneasy at the delay, and pressed
her much to make all necessary inquiries. At length, happening one
morning to express her uneasiness to Mistress Margaret, the shrewd
waiting-woman, who, with an instinctive sagacity inherent in
chambermaids, knew a thousand times more of the world than either her
mistress or Dr. Wilbraham, at once solved the mystery by saying--

"Lord love you, lady! there will never be a single ship in the Channel
that you will hear of, so long as you pay a gold mark a-day to the
prioress while we stay."

"I would rather give her a hundred marks to let me go," replied
Constance, "than a single mark to keep me. But what is to be done,

"Oh, if you will let me but promise fifty marks, lady," replied the
maid, "I will warrant that we are in France in three days."

Lady Constance willingly gave her all manner of leave and license; and
accordingly, that very night Mistress Margaret told the chamberer,
under the most solemn vows of secresy, that her lady intended to give
the prioress, as a gift to the convent, fifty golden marks on the day
that she took ship. "But," said the abigail, "it costs the poor lady
so much, what with paying the chaplain's keep at the cottage, and my
wage-money, which you know I must have, that her purse is running low,
and I fear me she will not be able to do as much for the house as she
intends. But mind, you promised to tell no one."

"As I hope for salvation, it shall never pass my lips!" replied the
chamberer; and away she ran to the refectory, where she bound the
refectory-woman by a most tremendous vow not to reveal the tidings she
was about to communicate. The refectory-woman vowed with a great deal
of facility; and the moment the chamberer was gone she carried in a
jelly to the prioress, where, with a low curtsey and an important
whisper, she communicated to the superior the important news.
Thereupon the prioress was instantly smitten with a violent degree of
anxiety about Lady Constance's escape, and sending down to the
fisherman, she commanded him instantly to find a ship going to France.
To which the fisherman replied, that he knew of no ship going exactly
to France, but that there was one lying off the sands, which would
doubtless take the lady over for a few broad pieces.

Thus were the preliminaries for Constance's escape brought about in a
very short space of time; and, the fisherman having arranged with the
captain that he was to take the lady, the chaplain, and waiting-maid
to Boulogne for ten George nobles, early the next morning Lady
Constance took leave of the prioress, made her the stipulated present,
and, accompanied by the good Dr. Wilbraham and her woman, followed the
fisherman to the sands, where his boat waited to convey them to a
vessel that lay about a mile from the shore.

The sea was calm and tranquil, but to Constance, who had little of a
heroine in her nature, it seemed very rough; and every time the boat
rose over a wave, she fancied that it must inevitably pitch under the
one that followed. However, their passage to the ship was soon over;
and as she looked at the high, black sides of the vessel, the lady
found a greater degree of security in its aspect, imagining it better
calculated to battle with the wild waves than the flimsy little bark
that had borne her thither.

The ship, the fisherman had informed her, was a foreign merchantman;
and as she came alongside, a thousand strange tongues, gabbling all
manner of languages, met her ear. It was a floating tower of Babel. In
the midst of the confusion and bustle which occurred in getting
herself and her companions upon the deck, she saw that one of the
sailors attempted to spring from the ship into the boat, but was
restrained by those about him, who unceremoniously beat him back with
marline-spikes and ropes' ends; and for the time she beheld no more of
him, though she thought she heard some one uttering invectives and
complaints in the English language.

For the first few moments after she was on deck, what with the
giddiness occasioned by her passage in the boat, and the agitation of
getting on board, she could remark nothing that was passing around
her; but the moment she had sufficiently recovered to regard the
objects by which she was surrounded, a new cause of apprehension
presented itself; for close by her side, evidently as commander of the
vessel, stood no less distinguished a person than the Portingal
captain, of whom honourable mention is made in the first portion of
this sage history, and whose proboscis was not easily to be forgot.

It was too late now, however, to recede; and her only resource was to
draw down her nun's veil, hoping thus to escape being recognised. For
some time she had reason to believe that the disguise she had assumed
would be effectual with the Portingal, who, as we may remember, had
seen her but once; for, occupied in giving orders for weighing anchor
and making sail, he took no notice whatever of his fair passenger, and
seemed totally to have forgotten her person. But this was not the
case: his attention had been first awakened to Lady Constance herself
by the sight of Dr. Wilbraham, whose face he instantly remembered; and
a slight glance convinced him that the young nun was the bright lady
he had seen in Sir Payan's halls.

Though there were few of the pleasant little passions which make a man
a devil that the worthy Portingal did not possess to repletion, it
sometimes happened that one battled against the other and foiled it in
its efforts; but being withal somewhat of a philosopher, after a
certain fashion, it was a part of his internal policy, on which he
prided himself, to find means of gratifying each of the contending
propensities when it was possible, and, when it was not possible, to
satisfy the strongest with as little offence to the others as might
be. In the present instance he had several important points to
consider. Though he felt strongly inclined to carry Lady Constance
with him on a voyage which he was about to make to the East Indies,
yet there might be danger in the business, if the young lady had
really taken the veil: not only danger in case of his vessel being
searched by any cruiser he might encounter, but even danger from his
own lawless crew, who, though tolerably free from prejudices, still
retained a certain superstitious respect for the church of Rome, and
for the things it had rendered sacred, which the worthy captain had
never been able to do away with. This consideration would have
deterred him from any evil attempt upon the fair girl, whom he
otherwise seemed to hold completely in his power, had it not been for
the additional incentive of the two large leathern bags which had been
committed into his charge at the same time with the young lady, and
which, by the relation of their size to their weight, he conceived
must contain a prize of some value. Determined by this, he gave orders
for making all sail down the Channel, and the ship being fairly under
way, he could no longer resist the temptation which the opportunity
presented of courting the good graces of his fair passenger.
Approaching, then, with an air of what he conceived mingled dignity
and sweetness, his head swinging backwards and forwards on the end of
his long neck, and his infinite nose protruded like a pointer's when
he falls upon the game--"Ah, ah! my very pretty gal," cried he, "you
see you be obliged to have recourse to me at last."

"My good friend," said Dr. Wilbraham, struggling with the demon of
sea-sickness, which had grasped him by the stomach and was almost
squeezing his soul out, "you had better let the lady alone, for she is
so sick that she cannot attend to you, though, doubtless, you mean to
be civil in your way."

"You go to the debil, master chaplain," replied the captain, "and
preach to him's imps! I say, my very pretty mistress, suppose you were
to pull up this dirty black veil, and show your charming face;" and he
drew aside the young lady's veil in spite of her efforts to hold it

At the helm, not far from where the young lady sat, stood a sturdy
seaman, who, by his clear blue eye, fresh, weather-beaten countenance,
and bluff, unshrinking look, one might easily have marked out as an
English sailor. Leaning on the tiller by which he was steering the
vessel on her course, he had marked his worthy captain's conduct with
a sort of contemplative frown; but when, stooping down, the
Portingallo tore away Lady Constance's veil, and amused himself by
staring in her face, the honest sailor stretched out his foot, and
touched him on a protuberant part of his person which presented itself
behind. The captain, turning sharply round, eyed him like a demon, but
the Englishman stood his glance with a look of steady, _nonchalant_
resolution, that it was not easy to put down.

"I say, Portingallo," said he, "do you want me to heave you

"You heave me overboard, you mutinous thief!" cried the captain; "I'll
have you strung up to the yard-arm, you vaggleboned! I will."

"You'll drown a little first, by the nose of the tinker of Ashford!"
replied the other; "but hark you, Portingallo: let the young lady nun
alone; or, as I said before, by the nose of the tinker of Ashford,
I'll heave you overboard; and then I'll make the crew a 'ration, and
tell them what a good service I've done 'em; and I'll lay down the
matter in three heads: first, as you were a rascal; second, as you
were a villain; and third, as you were a blackguard: then I will show
how, first, you did wrong to a passenger; second, how you did wrong to
a lady; and third, how you did wrong to a nun: for the first you
deserve to be flogged; for the second you deserve to be kicked; and
for the third you are devilish likely to be hanged, with time and
God's blessing."

For a moment or two the Portingallo was somewhat confounded by the
eloquence of the Englishman, who was in fact no other than Timothy
Bradford, the chief of the Rochester rioters. Recovering himself
speedily, however, he retaliated pretty warmly, yet did not dare to
come to extremities with his rebellious steersman, as Bradford, having
taken refuge in his vessel, with four or five of his principal
associates, commanded too strong a party on board to permit very
strict discipline. It was a general rule of the amiable captain never
to receive two men that, to his knowledge, had ever seen one another
before; but several severe losses in his crew had, in the present
instance, driven him into an error, which he now felt bitterly, not
being half so much master of his own wickedness as he used to be
before. Nevertheless, he did not fail to express his opinion of the
helmsman's high qualities in no very measured terms, threatening a
great deal more than he dared perform, of which both parties were well

"Come, come, Portingallo!" cried the helmsman; "you know very well
what is right as well as another, and I say you sha'n't molest the
lady. Another thing, master: you treat that poor lubberly Jekin like a
brute, and I'll not see it done, so look to it. But I'll tell you
what, captain: let us mind what we are about. These dark clouds that
are gathering there to leeward, and coming up against the wind, mean
something. Better take in sail."

The effect of this conversation was to free Constance from the
persecution of the captain; and turning her eyes in the direction to
which the sailor pointed, she saw, rolling up in the very face of the
wind, some heavy, leaden clouds, tipped with a lurid reddish hue
wherever they were touched by the sun. Above their heads, and to
windward, the sky was clear and bright, obscured by nothing but an
occasional light cloud that flitted quickly over the heaven, drawing
after it a soft shadow, that passed like an arrow over the gay waves,
which all around were dancing joyously in the sunshine.

By this time the English coast was becoming fainter and more faint;
the long line of cliffs and headlands massing together, covered with
an airy and indistinct light, while the shores of France seemed
growing out of the waters, with heavy piles of clouds towering above
them, and seeming to advance, with menacing mien, towards the rocks of
England. Still, though the eye might mark them rolling one over
another, in vast, dense volumes, looking fit receptacles for the
thunder and the storm, the clouds seemed to make but little progress,
contending with the opposing wind; while mass after mass, accumulating
from beyond, appeared to bring up new force to the dark front of the

Still the ship sped on, and, the wind being full in her favour, made
great way through the water, so that it was likely they would reach
Boulogne before the storm began; and the captain, now obliged to
abandon any evil purpose he might have conceived towards Lady
Constance, steered towards the shore of France to get rid of her as
soon as possible. From time to time every eye on board was turned
towards the lowering brow of heaven, and then always dropped to the
French coast, to ascertain how near was the tempest and how far the
haven; and Constance, not sufficiently sick to be heedless of danger,
ceased not to watch the approaching clouds and the growing shore with
alternate hope and fear. Gradually the hills towards Boulogne, the
cliffs, and the sands, with dark lines of tower, and wall, and
citadel, and steeple, began to grow more and more distinct; and the
Portingal was making a tack to run into the harbour, when the vane at
the mast-head began to quiver, and in a moment after turned suddenly
round. Cries and confusion of every sort succeeded; one of the sails
was completely rent to pieces; and the ship received such a sudden
shock that Constance was cast from her seat upon the deck, and poor
Dr. Wilbraham rolled over, and almost pitched out at the other side.
Soon, however, the yards were braced round, the vessel was put upon
another tack, and from a few words that passed between the captain and
the steersman, Constance gathered, that as they could not get into
Boulogne, they were about to run for Whitesand Haven as the nearest

"Go down below, lady; go down below and tell your beads," cried the
steersman, as he saw Constance sitting and holding herself up by the
binnacle. "Here, Jekey, help her down."

"Lord 'a mercy! we shall all be drowned; I am sure we shall!" cried
our old friend Jekin Groby, coming forward, transformed into the
likeness of a bastard sailor, his new profession sitting upon him with
inconceivable awkwardness, and the Kentish clothier shining forth in
every movement of his inexpert limbs. "Lord 'a mercy upon us! we shall
all be drowned as sure as possible! Mistress nun, let me help you down
below. It's more comfortable to be drowned downstairs, they say.
There's a flash of lightning, I declare! Mercy upon us! we shall all
go to the bottom. This is the worst storm I've seen since that
Portingallo vagabond kidnapped me, by the help of the devil and Sir
Payan Wileton. Let me help you down below, mistress nun. Lord bless
you! it's no trouble; I'm going down myself."

Constance, however, preferred staying upon deck, where she could watch
the progress of their fate, to remaining below in a state of
uncertainty; and consequently resisted the honest persuasions of good
Jekin Groby, who, finding her immoveable, slipped quietly below
unobserved, and hid himself in an empty hammock, courageously making
up his mind to be drowned, if he could but be drowned, asleep.

In the mean time the storm began to grow more vehement, the wind
coming in quick violent gusts, and the clouds spreading far and wide
over the face of the sky, with a threatening blackness of hue, and
heavy slowness of flight, that menaced their instant descent. As yet
no second flash of lightning had succeeded the first, and no drop of
rain had fallen; and though the ship laboured violently with the
waves, excited into tumult by the sudden change of wind, still,
running on, she seemed in a fair way of reaching Whitesand in safety.
Presently, another bright flash blazed through the sky, and seemed to
rend it from the horizon to the zenith, while instant upon the red
path of its fiery messenger roared forth the voice of the thunder, as
if it would annihilate the globe. Another now succeeded, and another,
till the ear and the eye were almost deafened by the din and blinded
by the light; while slow, large drops came dripping from the heavens,
like tears wrung by agony from a giant's eyes. Then came a still and
death-like pause; the thunder ceased, the wind hushed, and the only
sounds that met the ear were the rushing of the waves by the ship's
side, and the pattering of each big raindrop as it fell on the deck;
while a small sea-bird kept wheeling round the vessel, and screaming,
as with a sort of fiendish joy, to see it labouring with the angry
billows. Soon again, however, did the storm begin with redoubled fury,
and the lightnings flashed more vividly than ever, covering all the
sky with broad blue sheets of light, while still in the midst of the
whole blaze appeared a narrow zigzag line of fire, so bright that it
made the rest look pale.

Still Constance kept upon the deck, and drawing her hood over her
head, strove to fix herself, amidst the pitching of the vessel, by
clinging to the binnacle, which in ships of that day was often
supported by a couple of oblique bars. Seeing, in a momentary
cessation of the storm, the eye of the steersman fix upon her with a
look of somewhat like pity, she ventured to ask if they were in much

"Danger! bless you, no, lady," cried the man; "only a little thunder
and lightning; no danger in life. But you had better go below; there's
no danger."

As he spoke, another bright flash caused Constance to close her eyes;
but a tremendous crash, which made itself audible even through the
roar of the thunder, as well as a heavy roll of the vessel, gave her
notice that the lightning had struck somewhere; and looking up, to her
horror she beheld the mainmast shivered almost to atoms by the
lightning, and rolled over the ship's side, to which it was still
attached by a mass of blazing cordage.

"Cut! cut! cut!" vociferated the steersman, amidst the unavailing
shouts and bustling inactivity of the crew; "cut, you Portingallo
vagabonds! You'll have the ship on fire. The idiots are staring as if
they never saw such a thing before. Here, captain, take the helm.
D---- you to h--! take the helm!" And springing forward, with an
energy to which the danger of the moment seemed to lend additional
impulse, he scattered the frightened Portuguese and impassive
Dutchmen, who were uncluing ropes and disentangling knots; and,
catching up a hatchet, soon cut sheer through the thicker rigging; and
with a roll the blazing remnants of the mast pitched into the sea,
leaving nothing on fire behind but some scattered cordage, which the
Englishman and his companions gradually extinguished.

In the mean while the mast, still flaming in the water, swung round
the ship; and the Portingallo, whose presence of mind did not seem of
the very first quality, brought the vessel's head as near the wind as
possible, to let it drift astern, and thus, by this lubberly action,
bore right upon the shore, carried on imperceptibly by a strong

At that moment the Englishman raised himself, and looking out ahead,
vociferated, "A reef! a reef! Breakers ahead! Down with the helm!
where the devil are you going? Down with the helm, I say!" and rushing
forward, he seized the tiller, but too late. Scarcely had he touched
it with his hand, when with a tremendous shock the ship struck on the
reef, making her very seams open and her masts stagger. "Ho! down in
the hold! down in the hold! heave all the ballast aft!" cried
Bradford; "lay those cannon here; bring her head to wind, let it take
her aback if it will. She may swing off yet."

But just then an immense swelling wave heaved the ship up like a cork,
and dashed her down again upon the hidden rocks without hope or
resource. Every one caught at what was next him for support; for the
jar was so great that it was hardly possible for even the sailors to
keep upon their feet. But the next minute the ship became more steady,
and a harsh grating sound succeeded, as if the hard angles of the rock
were tearing the bottom of the ship to pieces. Every one now occupied
himself in a different way. Bradford sat quietly down by the tiller,
which he abandoned to its own guidance, while the Portingal ran
whispering among his countrymen, who as speedily and silently as
possible got the boat to the ship's side. In the mean while, Dr.
Wilbraham crept over to Lady Constance, who, turning her meek eyes to
heaven, seemed to await her fate with patient resignation.

"I need not ask you, my dear child," said the good man, "if you be
prepared to go. Have you anything to say to me before we part? soon I
hope, to meet again where no storms come."

"But little," answered Constance; and according to the rite of her
church, she whispered all the little faults that memory could supply,
accusing herself of many things as sins which few but herself would
have held as even errors. When he had heard the lady's confession, the
clergyman turned to look for the waiting-woman, to join her with her
mistress in the consolations of religion; but Mistress Margaret, who
greatly preferred the present to the future, was no longer there; and
looking forward, they saw that the Portuguese and Dutch had got out
the boats, and were pouring in fast; but that which most astonished
them was to find that the selfish waiting-woman had by some means got
the very first place in the long-boat, from which the captain was
striving to exclude two of the Englishmen, pushing off from the ship
with the boathook. The lesser boat, however, was still near, and Dr.
Wilbraham looked at Constance with an inquiring glance; but Bradford,
who had never stirred from his position, interposed, saying, "Don't
go, lady! don't go; stick to the ship; she can't sink, for the tide is
near flood, and we are now aground, and it may be a while before she
goes to pieces. Those boats can never live through that surf. So don't
go, lady! Take my advice, and I'll manage to save you yet, if I can
save myself."

Even as he spoke, the two Englishmen made a desperate jump to leap
into the lesser boat, which was pulling away after the other. One man
fell too short, and sank instantly; the other got hold of the gunwale,
and strove to clamber in; but the boat was already too full, and a sea
striking it at the moment, his weight put it out of trim; it shipped a
heavy sea, settled for a moment, and sank before their eyes.

It was a dreadful sight; and yet so deep, so exciting was the
interest, that even after she had seen the whole ten persons sink, and
some rise again, only to be overwhelmed by another wave, Constance
could not take her eyes off the other boat, although she expected
every moment to see it share the fate of its companion. Still,
however, it rowed on. The thunder had ceased, the wind was calmer, and
the waves seemed less agitated. There was hope that it might reach the
shore. At that moment it was hidden for an instant below a wave, rose
again, entered the surf, disappeared amidst the foam and spray.
Constance looked to see it rise again, but it never was seen more; and
in a few minutes she could distinguish a dark figure scramble out from
the sea upon the shore, rise, fall again, lie for a moment as if
exhausted, and then, once more gaining his feet, run with all speed
out of the way of the coming waves.

"Oh dear! oh dear!" cried a dolorous voice from below; "we shall all
be drowned for a sure certainty: the water's a-coming in like mad!"
and in a moment after, the head, and then the body, of honest Jekin
Groby protruded itself from the hold, with strong signs and tokens in
his large thick eyelids of having just awoke from a profound sleep.
"Lord 'a mercy!" continued he, seeing the nearly empty deck. "Where
are all the folks? Oh, Master Bradford, Master Bradford! we are in a
bad way! The water has just awoke me out of my sleep. What's the
meaning of that thumping? Lord 'a mercy! where's the Portingal?"

"Drowned!" answered Bradford, calmly, "and every one of his crew,
except Hinchin, the strong swimmer, who has got to land."

"Lord 'a mercy! only think!" cried Jekin. "Must I be drowned too?
Hadn't I better jump over? I can swim a little too. Shall I jump over,
Master Bradford? Pray tell me--there's a good creature!"

"No, no; stay where you are," replied Bradford. "Help me to lash this
young lady to a spar. When the tide turns, which it will at four
o'clock, that surf will go down, and the ship will keep together till
then. Most likely Hinchin will send a boat before that to take us all
off. If not, we can but trust to the water at last. However, let us
all be ready."

Bradford now brought forth from the hold some rough planks, to one of
which he lashed Lady Constance, who yielded herself to his guidance,
only praying that he would do the same good turn to the clergyman,
which he promised willingly. He then tied a small piece of wood
across, to support her head, and fastened one of the heavy leathern
bags to her feet, to raise her face above the water; after which, as
she was totally unable to move, he placed her in as easy a position as
he could, and speaking a few frank words of comfort and assurance, he
left her, to perform the same office in favour of Dr. Wilbraham.

In the mean time Jekin Groby had not forgotten himself; but, willing
to put his faith rather in the buoyancy of deal boards than in
his own powers of natation, had contrived to find a stout sort of
packing-case, or wooden box, from which he knocked out both the top
and bottom, and passing his feet through the rest, he raised it up
till it reached his arm-pits, where he tied it securely; and thus
equipped in his wooden girdle, as he called it, he did not fear to
trust himself to the waves.

All being now prepared, an hour or more of anxious expectation
succeeded. Little was said by any one, and the tempest had ceased; but
the grinding sound of the ship fretting upon the rock still continued,
and a sad creaking and groaning of the two masts that remained seemed
to announce their speedy fall. The wind had greatly subsided, but the
air was heated and close; while the clouds overhead, still agitated by
the past storm, every now and then came down in thick small rain.
Towards four o'clock the tide turned; and, as Bradford had
prognosticated, the surf upon the shore gradually subsided, and the
sea became more smooth, though agitated by a heavy swell, foaming into
breakers along the whole line of reef on which the ship had struck.
After looking out long, in the vain hope of seeing some boat coming to
their assistance, Bradford approached Lady Constance, and addressing
her, as indeed he had done throughout, with far more gentleness and
consideration than might have been expected from a man of his rough
and turbulent character, "Lady," said he, "there seems to be no chance
of a boat; the sea is now nearly smooth; I can't warrant that the ship
will hold together all night, and we may have the storm back again. If
you like to go now, I will get you safe to land, I am sure. I can't
answer for it if you stay."

"I will do as you think right," said Lady Constance, with an
involuntary shudder at the thought of trusting herself to the mercy of
the waves. "I will do as you think right; but pray take care of Dr.

"No, no!" said the good chaplain; "make the lady all your care. I
shall do well enough."

"Here, good fellow!" said Constance, taking a diamond of price from
her finger; "perhaps you may reach the shore without either of us:
however, whether you do or not, take this jewel as some recompense for
your good service."

The man took the ring, muttering that, if he reached the shore, she
should reach it too; and then, after giving some directions to Dr.
Wilbraham in regard to rowing himself on towards the land with his
arms, which were free, he carried Lady Constance to the side of the
vessel, which had now heeled almost to the water's edge. Returning for
Dr. Wilbraham, with the assistance of Jekin he brought him also to the
side; and then it became the question who should be the first to trust
himself to the waves. Constance trembled violently, but said not a
word, while Jekin Groby, holding back, exclaimed, "Lord 'a mercy! I
don't like it--at all like!"

It was upon him, however, that Bradford fixed, crying, "Come, jump
over, Jeky; there's no use of making mouths at it. I want you to help
the clerk to steer. Come, jump over!" and he laid his hand upon his

"Well, well; I will, Master Bradford," cried Jekin, "don't ye touch
me, and I will. Oh dear! oh dear! it's mighty disagreeable. Well,
well, I will!" and bending his hams, he made as if he would have taken
a vigorous leap; but his courage failed him, and he only made a sort
of hop of a few inches on the deck, without approaching any nearer to
the water. Out of patience, Bradford caught him by the shoulder, and
pushed him at once head-foremost into the water, from which he rose in
a moment, all panting, buoyed up by the wooden case under his arms.

"Here, Jekey," cried Bradford, "take the doctor's feet, as your arms
are free;" and with the assistance of the worthy clothier, who bore no
malice, he let down Dr. Wilbraham into the water, and returned to the

As pale as death, Constance shut her eyes and held her breath, while
the rough sailor took her in his arms, and let her glide slowly into
the water, which in a moment after she felt dashing round her
uncontrolled. Opening her eyes, and panting for breath, she stretched
out her arms, almost deprived of consciousness; but at that moment
Bradford jumped at once into the sea, and seizing the board to which
she was tied, put it in its right position; so that, though many a
domineering wave would rise above its fellows, and dash its salt foam
over her head, her mouth was generally elevated above the water
sufficiently to allow her full room to breathe.

The distance of the ship from the land was about a quarter of a mile;
but between it and the shore lay a variety of broken rocks, raising
their rough heads above the waves that dashed furiously amongst them,
making a thousand struggling whirlpools and eddies round their sharp
angles, as the retiring sea withdrew its unwilling waters from the
strand. Constance, however, did not see all this; for, her face being
turned towards the sky, nothing met her sight but the changeable face
of heaven, with the clouds hurrying over it, or the green billows on
either side, threatening every moment to overwhelm her. Often, often
did her heart sink, and hard was it for the spirit of a timid girl,
even supported by her firm trust in God's mercy, to keep the spark of
hope alive within her bosom, while looking on the perils that
surrounded her, and fancying a thousand that she did not behold.

Still the stout seaman swam beside her, piloting the little raft he
had made for her towards the shore, through all the difficulties of
the navigation, which were not few or small; for the struggle between
the retiring tide and the impetus given by the wind rendered almost
every passage between the rocks a miniature Scylla and Charybdis.

At length, however, choosing a moment when the waves flowed fully in
between two large rough stones, whose heads protruded almost
perpendicularly, he grasped the plank to which Constance was tied with
his left hand, and striking a few vigorous strokes with his right,
soon placed her within the rocky screen with which the coast was
fenced, and within whose boundary the water was comparatively calm.
The first object that presented itself to his sight, within this
haven, was the long-boat, keel upwards; while, tossed by the waves
upon one of the large flat stones that the ebbing tide had left half
bare, appeared the corpse of the Portingal captain, his feet and body
on the rock, and his head drooping back, half covered by the water. In
a minute after, the sailor's feet could touch the ground; and gladly
availing himself of the power to walk upon _terra firma_, he waded on,
drawing after him the plank on which Constance lay till, reaching the
dry land, he pulled her to the shore, cut the cord that tied her, and
placed her on her feet.

Constance's first impulse was to throw herself on her knees, and to
thank God for his great mercy; her next to express her gratitude to
the honest sailor, who, weary and out of breath with his exertion, sat
on a rock hard by; but bewildered with all that had passed, she could
scarcely find words to speak, feeling herself in a world that seemed
hardly her own, so near had she been to the brink of another. After a
few confused sentences, she looked suddenly round, exclaiming, "Oh,
where is Dr. Wilbraham?"

The sailor started up, and getting on the rock, looked out beyond,
where, about two hundred yards off, he perceived honest Jekin Groby
making his way towards the shore in one direction, while the plank to
which the amiable clergyman was attached was seen approaching the
rocks in another, at a point where the waters were boiling with
tenfold violence.

Constance's eye had already caught his long black habiliments, mingled
with the white foam of the waves; and seeing that every fresh billow
threatened to dash him to pieces against the stones, she clasped her
hands in agony, and looked imploringly towards the sailor.

"He will have his brains dashed out, sure enough," said the man,
watching him. "Zounds! he must be mad to try that. Stay here, lady; I
will see what can be done;" and rushing into the water, he waded as
far as he could towards Dr. Wilbraham, and then once more began

Constance watched him with agonizing expectation; but before he
reached the point, an angry wave swept round the good old man, and
raising him high upon its top, dashed him violently against the rock.
Constance shuddered, and clasping her hands over her eyes, strove to
shut out the dreadful sight. In a few minutes she heard the voice of
the sailor shouting to Jekin Groby, who had reached the shore, "Here,
lend a hand!" and looking up, she saw him drawing the clergyman to
land in the same manner that he had extricated herself.

Jekin Groby waded in to help him, and Constance flew to the spot which
he approached; but the sight that presented itself made her blood run
cold. Dr. Wilbraham was living indeed, but so dreadfully torn and
bruised by beating against the rocks, that all hope seemed vain, and
those who had best loved him might have regretted that he had not met
with a speedier and more easy death.

Opening his exhausted eyes, he yet looked gladly upon the sweet girl
that he had reared, like a young flower, from her early days to her
full beauty, and who now hung tenderly over him. "Thank God, my dear
child," said he, "that you are safe. That is the first thing: for me,
I am badly hurt, very badly hurt; but perhaps I may yet live: I could
wish it to see you happy; but if not, God's will be done!"

Constance wept bitterly, and good Jekin Groby, infected with her
sorrow, blubbered like a great baby.

"There, leave off snivelling, you great fool!" cried Bradford, wiping
something like a tear from his own rough cheek, "and help me to carry
the good gentleman to some cottage." Thus saying, with the assistance
of Jekin he raised the old man, and, followed by Constance, bore him
on in search of an asylum.


     Thou seest me much distempered in my mind--Dryden.

Sir Payan Wileton had gone through life with fearless daring;
calculating, but never hesitating; keen-sighted of danger, but never
timid. From youth he had divested himself of the three great fears
which generally affect mankind: the fear of the world's opinion, the
fear of his own conscience, and the fear of death; and, thus endued
with much bad courage, he had attempted and succeeded in many things
which would have frightened a timid man, and failed with an irresolute
one. And yet, as we have seen, by one of those strange contradictions
of which human nature is full, Sir Payan, though an unbeliever in the
bright truths of religion, was credulous to many of the darkest
superstitions of the age in which he lived.

On such a mind, anything that smacked of supernatural presentiment was
likely to take the firmest hold; and, on the morning after Lady
Constance had, by his means and by his instigation, effected her
flight from Richmond, he rose early from a troubled sleep,
overshadowed by a deep despondency, which had never till then hung
upon him. Before he was yet dressed, the news was brought him that one
of his men had returned with the boat, and that the other had been
arrested in the king's name. He felt his good fortune had passed away;
an internal voice seemed to tell him that it was at an end; but yet he
omitted no measures of security, quitting the capital without loss of
time, and leaving such instructions with the porter as he deemed most
likely to blind the eyes of Wolsey; hoping that the servant, whose
life was in his power, would not betray him, yet prepared, if he did,
boldly to repel the charge, and by producing evidence to invalidate
the other's testimony, to cast the accusation back upon his head.

But still, from that moment Sir Payan was an altered being; and though
many days passed by without anything occurring to disturb his repose;
though the king's progress towards Dover, without any notice having
been taken of his participation in Lady Constance's escape, led him to
believe that fear had kept the servant faithful; yet still Sir Payan
remained in a state of gloom and lassitude, that raised many a marvel
amongst those around him.

Wandering through the woods that surrounded his mansion, he passed
hours and hours in deep, inactive, bitter meditation; finding no
consolation in his own heart, no hope in the future, and no repose in
the past; and, why he knew not, despairing where he had never
despaired, trembling where he had never known fear.

Often he questioned himself upon the strange depression of his mind;
and the more he did so, the more he became convinced that it was a
supernatural warning of approaching fate. Many were the resolutions
that he made to shake it off, to struggle still, to seek the court,
and urge his claim on the estates of Constance de Grey, as he would
have done in former days; but in vain: a leaden power lay heavy upon
his heart, and crushed all its usual energies; and the only effort he
could make was to send out servants in every direction to seek Sir
Cesar the astrologer, weakly hoping to brace up his relaxed confidence
by some predictions of success. But the old man was not easily to be
found. No one knew his abode, and, ever strange and erratic in his
motions, he seemed now agitated by some extraordinary impulse, so that
even when they had once found his track, the servants of Sir Payan had
often to trace him to ten or twelve houses in the course of a day.
Sometimes it was in the manor of the peer, sometimes in the cottage of
the peasant, that they heard of him; but in none did he seem to
sojourn for above an hour, hurrying on wildly to the dwelling of some
other amongst the many that he knew in all classes.

At length they overtook him on the road near Sandgate, and delivered
Sir Payan's message; whereupon, without any reply, he turned his horse
and rode towards Chilham, where he arrived in the evening. Springing
to the ground without any appearance of fatigue, the old man sought
Sir Payan in the park, to which the servants said he had retired; and,
winding through the various long alleys, found him at length walking
backwards and forwards, with his arms crossed on his bosom and his
eyes fixed upon the ground. The evening sunshine was streaming
brightly upon the spot, pouring a mellow misty light through the
western trees, on the tall dark figure of Sir Payan, who, bending down
his head, paced along with gloomy slowness, like some bad spirit
oppressed and tormented by the smile of heaven.

It was a strange sight to see his meeting with Sir Cesar; both were
pale and haggard; for some cause, only known to himself, had worn the
keen features of the astrologer till the bones and cartilages seemed
starting through the skin; and Sir Payan's ashy cheek had lately
acquired a still more deadly hue than it usually wore. Both, too,
looked wild and fearful; the keen black eyes of the old man showing
with a terrific brightness in his thin and livid face, and the stern
features of Sir Payan appearing full of a sort of ferocious light,
which his attendants had remarked, ever since he had been overthrown
in the tilt by the lance of Sir Osborne. Meeting thus, in the full
yellow sunshine, while Sir Cesar fixed his usual intense and
scrutinising glance upon the countenance of the other, and Sir Payan
strove to receive him with a smile that but mocked the lips it shone
upon, they looked like two beings of another world, met for the first
time in upper air, to commune of things long past.

"Well, unhappy man," said Sir Cesar at length, "what seekest thou with

"That I am unhappy," replied Sir Payan, knitting his brow, as he saw
that little consolation was to be expected from the astrologer, "I do
not deny; and it is to know why I am unhappy that I have asked you to
come hither."

"You are unhappy," answered Sir Cesar, "because you have plundered the
widow and the orphan, because you have wronged the friendless and the
weak, because you have betrayed the confident and the generous. You
are unhappy because there is not one in the wide world that loves you,
and because you even despise, and hate, and reprobate yourself."

"Old man! old man!" cried Sir Payan, half unsheathing his dagger,
"beware, beware! Those men only," he added, pushing back the weapon
into its sheath, "ought to be unhappy that are unsuccessful; the rest
is all a bugbear set up by the weak to frighten away the strong. But I
have been successful, am successful. Why then am I unhappy?"

"Because your success is at an end," replied the astrologer: "because
you tremble to your fall; because your days are numbered, and late
remorse is gnawing your heart in spite of your vain boasting. Nay, lay
not your hand on the hilt of your dagger! Over me, murderer, you have
no power! That dagger took the life of one that had never wronged you.
Remember the rout at Taunton; remember the youth murdered the night
after he surrendered!" Sir Payan trembled like an aspen leaf while the
old man spoke. "Yes, murderer!" continued Sir Cesar; "though you
thought the deed hid in the bowels of the earth, I know it all. That
hand slew all that was dearest to me on earth!--the child that unhappy
fortune forced me to leave upon this cursed shore; and long, long ago
should his fate have been avenged in your blood, had not I seen, had
not I known, that heaven willed it otherwise. I have waited patiently
for the hour that is now come; I have broken your bread, and I have
drunk of your wine; but while I did so, I have seen you gathering
curses on your head, and accumulating sins to sink you to perdition,
and that has taught me to endure. I would not have saved you one hour
of crime, I would not have robbed my revenge of one single sin--no,
not for an empire! But I have watched you go on, gloriously,
triumphantly, in evil and in wickedness, till heaven can bear no more;
till you have eaten up your future; and soon, with all your crimes
upon your head, hated, despised, condemned by all mankind, your black
soul shall be parted from your body, and my eyes shall see you die."

Sir Payan had listened with varied emotions as the old man spoke.
Surprise, remorse, and fear had been the first; but gradually the more
tempestuous feelings of his nature hurried away the rest, and, rage
gaining mastery of all, he drew his poniard and sprang upon Sir Cesar.
But in the very act, as his arm was raised to strike, he was caught by
two powerful men, who threw him back upon the ground and disarmed him;
one of them exclaiming, "Ho, ho! we have just come in time. Sir Payan
Wileton, you are attached in the king's name. Lo, here is the warrant
for your apprehension. You must come with us, sir, to Calais."

One would attempt in vain to describe the rage that convulsed the form
of Sir Payan Wileton, more especially when he beheld Sir Cesar smile
upon him with a look of triumphant satisfaction.

"Seize him!" exclaimed he, with furious violence, pointing to the
astrologer; "seize him, if you love your king and your country! He is
a marked and obnoxious traitor. I impeach him, and you do not your
duty if you let him escape; or are you his confederates, and come up
to prevent my punishing him for the treasons he has just

"Sir Payan Wileton," replied the sergeant-at-arms, "this passion is
all in vain. I am sent here with a warrant from the king's privy
council to attach you for high treason; but I have no authority to
arrest any one else."

"But I am a magistrate," cried the baffled knight; "let him not
escape, I enjoin you, till I have had time to commit him. He is a
traitor, I say, and if you seize him not, you art the king's enemies."

"Attached for high treason, sir, you are no longer a magistrate,"
replied the sergeant. "At all events, I do not hold myself justified
in apprehending anybody against whom I have no warrant, more
especially when I found you raising your hand illegally against the
very person's life whom you now accuse. I can take no heed of the
matter: you must come."

"He shall be satisfied," said Sir Cesar. "Venomless serpent! I will
follow thee now till thy last hour. But think not that thou canst hurt
me, for thy power has gone from thee; and though wicked as a demon,
thou art weak as a child. I know that we are doomed to pass the same
gate, but not to journey on the same road. Lead on, sergeant; I will
go on with you; and then, if this bad man have aught to urge against
me, let him do it."

"Go if you will, sir," replied the officer; "but remember, you act
according to your own pleasure; I make no arrest in your case: you are
free to come with us or to stay, as you think fit."

Sir Payan was now led back to the house, which was in possession of
the king's archers; and as he passed through his own hall, with a
burning heart, the hasty glance that he cast around amongst his
servants showed him at once, that though there were none to pity or
befriend, there were many full ready to betray. Then rushed upon his
mind the accusations that they might pile upon his head, now that they
saw him sinking below the stream. The certainty of death; the dread of
something after death; doubts of his own scepticism; the innate,
all-powerful conviction of a future state--a state growing dreadfully
perceptible to his eye as he approached the brink of that yawning gulf
which his own acts had peopled with strange fears; all that he had
scoffed at, all that he had despised, now assumed a new and fearful
character: even the world's opinion, the world's contemned opinion,
came across his thought: that there was not one heart on all the earth
would mourn his end, that hatred and abhorrence would go with him to
the grave, and that his memory would only live with infamy in the
records of crime and punishment. Burying his face in his hands, he sat
in deep, despairing, agonising silence while his horse was being
prepared, and while the officer put his seal upon the various doors
which he thought it necessary to secure.

A few hours brought the whole party to Dover, and the next day saw
their arrival at Calais; but by that time the court had removed to
Guisnes; and the sergeant, having no orders to bring his prisoner
farther, sent forward a messenger to announce his arrival and demand


     Once more the fleeting soul came back
       T' inspire the mortal frame,
     And in the body took a doubtful stand,
       Hovering like expiring flame,
     That mounts and falls by turns.--Dryden.

The painful situation of Lady Constance de Grey had not lost any
portion of its sorrow, or gained any ray of hope, on the first of
June, three days after we last left her, at which period we again take
up her story. She was then sitting in a small, poor cottage between
Whitesand Bay and Boulogne, watching the slumber of the excellent old
man whose regard for her had brought upon his head so much pain and
danger. Ever since he had been removed to the hut where they now were,
he had lingered in great agony, except at those times when a state of
stupor fell upon him, under which he would remain for many hours, and
only wake from it again to acute pain. He had, however, that morning
fulfilled the last duties of his religion, with the assistance of a
good monk of Boulogne, who now sat with Lady Constance, watching the
sweet sleep into which he had fallen for the first time since their

Across the little window, to keep out the light, Constance had drawn
one of her own dresses, which had been saved by the sailor Bradford
having tied the leathern case that contained them to the plank which
had brought herself to shore; but still through the casement,
notwithstanding this sort of extemporaneous curtain, the soft breath
of the early morning flowed in; and the murmuring voice of the
treacherous ocean was heard softly from afar, filling up every pause
in the singing of the birds and the busy hum of all the light children
of the summer.

The calmness of the old man's slumber gave Constance hope; and with a
sweet smile she sat beside him, listening to the mingled voice of
creation, and joining mentally in the song of praise that all things
seemed raising towards the great Creator. Indeed, if ever mortal being
might be supposed to resemble those pure spirits who, freed from all
touch of clay, adore the Almighty in his works, she then looked like
an angel, in form, in feature, and in expression, while, robed all in
white, and watching the sick bed of her ancient friend, she looked
upon his tranquil slumber with that bland smile of hope and gratitude.

In the mean while the old monk sat on the other side of his bed,
regarding him with more anxiety; for long experience in visiting those
who hung upon the brink of another world tad taught him, that sleep
like that into which the clergyman had fallen as often precedes death
as recovery. It had continued thus till towards mid-day, the cottage
being left in solitude and silence; for the sailor Bradford had gone
to seek remedies from a simpler at Boulogne, and Jekin Groby had
stolen away for a visit to Calais, while the people to whom the
cottage belonged were absent upon their daily occupations. At length,
however, a slight sort of convulsive motion passed over the features
of the old man, and, opening his eyes, he said in a faint, low voice,
"Constance, my dear child, where are you? My eyes are dim."

"I am here, my dear sir," replied Constance. "You have been sleeping
very sweetly. I hope you feel better."

"It is over, Constance!" replied Dr. Wilbraham, calmly, but feebly. "I
am dying, my child. Let me see the sunshine." Constance withdrew the
curtain, and the fresh air blowing on the sick man's face seemed to
give him more strength. "It is bright," cried he; "it is very bright.
I feel the sweet summer air, and I hear the glad singing of the birds;
but I go fast, dear daughter, where there are things brighter and
sweeter; for surely, surely, God, who has clothed this world with such
splendour, has reserved far greater for the world to come."

The tears streamed down Constance's cheeks, for there was in the old
man's face a look of death not to be mistaken; that look, the
inevitable precursor of dissolution to man, when it seems as if the
avenging angel had come between him and the sun of being, and cast his
dark shadow over him for ever.

"Weep not, Constance," said the old man, with faint and broken
efforts; "for no storms will reach me in my Redeemer's bosom. In his
mercy is my hope, in his salvation is my reliance. Soon, soon shall I
be in the place of peace, where joy reigneth eternally. Could I have a
fear, my dear child, it would be for you, left alone in a wide and
desolate world, with none to protect you. But, no; I have no fear: God
is your protector; and never, never, my child, doubt his goodness, nor
think that he does not as surely watch over the universe as he that
created it at first. Everything is beneath his eye, from the smallest
grain of sand to the great globe itself; and his will governs all, and
guides all, though we see neither the beginning nor the end.
Constance, I am departing," he continued, more faintly: "God's
blessing be upon you, my child! and, oh! if He in his wisdom ever
permits the spirit of the dead to watch over those they loved when
living, I will be with you and Darnley when this frail body is dust."

His lips began gradually to lose their power of utterance, and his
head fell back upon the pillow. The monk saw that the good man's end
was approaching fast, and placing the crucifix in his dying hand, he
poured the words of consolation in his ear; but Dr. Wilbraham slightly
motioned with his hand, to signify that he was quite prepared, and
fixing his eyes upon the cross, murmured to himself, "I come, O Lord,
I come! Be thou merciful unto me, O King of mercy! Deliver speedily
from the power of death, O Lord of life!"

The sounds gradually ceased, but yet his lips continued to move; his
lips lost their motion, but his eyes were fixed, full of hope, upon
the cross; a film came over them; it passed away, and the light beamed
up again--shone brightly for a moment--waned--vanished--and all was
death. The eyes were still fixed upon the cross, but that bright
thing, life, was there no more. To look at them, no one could say what
was gone between that minute and the one before; and yet it was
evident that they were now but dust: the light was extinguished, the
wine was poured out, and it was but the broken lamp, the empty urn,
that remained to go down into the tomb.

Constance closed his eyes, and weeping bitterly, knelt down with the
old monk, and joined in the prayer that he addressed to heaven. She
then rose, and seated herself by all that remained of her dead friend,
feeling alone in all the world, solitary, friendless, desolate; and
straining her sweet eyes upon the cold, unresponsive countenance of
the dead, she seemed bitterly to drink to the dregs the cup of
hopelessness which that sight offered.

No one spoke. The monk himself was silent, seeming to think that the
prayer he had offered to the Deity was the only fitting language for
the presence of the dead; when a sound was heard without, and the
door, gently opening, admitted the form of Jekin Groby. The good
clothier thought the old man still slept, as when he had left the
cottage, and advanced on tiptoe for fear of waking him; but the lifted
hand of the monk, the streaming eyes of Constance, and the cold, rigid
stiffness of the face before him, warned him of what had happened; and
pausing suddenly, he clasped his hands with a look of unaffected
sorrow. "Good God!" cried he, "he is dead! Alas the day!" Constance's
tears streamed afresh. "Lady," said the worthy man, in a kindly tone,
"take comfort! He is gone to a better place than we have here, poor
hapless souls! And surely, if all were as well fitted for that place
as he was, we should have little cause to fear our death, and our
gossips little cause to weep. Take comfort, sweet lady! take comfort!
Our God is too good for us to murmur when he cuts our measure short."

There was something in the homely consolation of the honest Englishman
that touched Constance to the heart, and yet she could not refrain
from weeping even more than before.

"Nay, nay, dear lady," continued Jekin, affected almost to tears
himself; "you must come away from here. I cannot bear to see you weep
so; and though I am but a poor clothier, and little fitted to put
myself in his place that is gone, I will never leave you till I see
you safe. Indeed I won't! Come, lady, into the other cottage hard by,
and we will send some one to watch here in your place. Lord, Lord! to
think how soon a fellow-creature is gone! Sure I thought to find him
better when I came back. Come, lady, come!"

"Perhaps I had better," replied Constance, drying her tears. "My cares
for him are useless; yet, though I murmur not at God's will, I must
e'en weep, for I have lost as good a friend, and the world has lost as
good a man, as ever it possessed. But I will go; for it is in vain to
stay here and encourage unavailing grief." She then addressed a few
sentences to the monk in French, thanking him for his charitable
offices towards her dead friend, and begging him to remain there till
she could send some one to watch the body; adding, that if he would
come after that to the adjoining cottage, she would beg him to convey
to his convent a small gift on her part.

The monk bowed his head, and promised to obey; and Constance, giving
one last look to the inanimate form of the excellent being she had
just lost, followed Jekin Groby to the cottage hard by, where, begging
to be left alone, she once more burst into tears, and let both her
sorrow and despondency have way, feeling that sort of oppression at
her heart which can be relieved but by weeping.

It is needless to follow farther such sad scenes; to tell the blunt
grief of Bradford, when he returned and found that his errand had been
in vain; or to describe the funeral of good Dr. Wilbraham, which took
place the next day (for so custom required) in the little cemetery of
Whitesand Bay.

Immediately this was over, Lady Constance prepared to set out for
Boulogne, hoping to find a refuge in the heart of France till she had
time to consider and execute some plan for her future conduct. We have
twice said, that the sailor, in tying her to the plank on which she
had floated from the shipwrecked vessel, had fastened to the end of
the board nearest her feet one of her own leathern cases, for the
purpose of keeping her head raised above the water; and in this, as it
luckily happened, were all the jewels and the money which she had
brought with her from London.

It would doubtless have rendered her situation much more critical and
interesting if she had been deprived of all such resources; but as the
fact was so, it is necessary to state it. No difficulty, therefore,
seemed likely to present itself in her journey to her own estates,
except that which might arise in procuring a litter to convey her on
her way, or in meeting with some female attendant willing to accompany
her. The latter of these was soon done away with; for the daughter of
the cottagers where she had lodged, a gay, good-humoured Picarde,
gladly undertook the post of waiting-woman to the sweet lady, whose
gentleness had won them all; and Bradford, who, from a soldier, a
sailor, a shipwright, and a Rochester rioter, had now become a squire
of dames, was despatched to Boulogne to see if he could buy or hire a
litter and horses.

In the midst of all these proceedings, poor Jekin Groby was sadly
agitated by many contending feelings. In his first fit of sympathy
with Constance on the death of Dr. Wilbraham, he had, as we have seen,
promised to accompany her to the end of her journey, whithersoever it
might be; but the thoughts of dear little England, and his own
fireside, and his bales of cloth, and his bags of angels, called him
vehemently across the Channel, while curiosity, with a certain touch
of mercantile calculation, pulled him strongly towards the court at
Calais. Notwithstanding, he resolved, above all things, to act
handsomely, as he said, towards the lady; and accordingly he
accompanied Bradford to Boulogne, to ascertain if he could by any way
get off trudging after her the Lord knew where, as he expressed it,
though he vowed he was very willing to go if he could be of any

After the sailor and his companion had been absent about six hours,
Constance began to be impatient, and proceeded to the door of the
cottage to see if she could perceive them coming. Gazing for a few
minutes on the road to Boulogne, she beheld, rising above the brow of
the hill before her, a knight's pennon, and presently half-a-dozen
spears appeared bristling up behind it. Judging that it was some
accidental party proceeding towards Whitesand Bay, Constance retired
into the cottage, and was not a little surprised when she heard the
horses halt before the door. In a moment after, a gallant cavalier, in
peaceful guise, armed only with his sword and dagger, entered the hut,
and, doffing his plumed mortier to the lady, with a low inclination of
the head, he advanced towards her, saying in French, "Have I the
honour of speaking to the noble Lady de Grey, Countess of Boissy and
the Val de Marne?"

"The same, sir knight," replied the lady. "To what, may I ask, do I
owe the honour of your presence?"

"His highness Francis King of France, now in the city of Boulogne,"
replied the knight, "hearing that a lady, and his vassal, though born
an English subject, had been shipwrecked on this shore, has chosen me
for the pleasing task of inviting, in his name, the Countess de Boissy
to repair to his royal court, not as a sovereign commanding the homage
of his vassal, but as a gracious and a noble friend, offering service
and good-will. His highness's sister, also, the Princess Marguerite of
Alençon, has sent her own litter for your convenience, with such
escort as may suit your quality."

Constance could only express her thanks. Had she possessed the power
of choice, she would of course have preferred a thousand times to have
retired to the Val de Marne, without her coming being known to the
French king or his court, till such time, at least, as the meeting
between him and the King of England had taken place. However, as it
was known, she could not refuse to obey, and she signified her
readiness to accompany the French knight, begging him merely to wait
till the return of a person she had sent to Boulogne for a litter.

"He will not return, lady," replied the chevalier. "It was through his
search for a litter at Boulogne, where none are to be had, all being
bought for the court's progress to Ardres, that his highness became
acquainted with your arrival within his kingdom."

The knight was proceeding to inform her of the circumstances which had
occurred, when the quick sound of horses' feet was heard without,
joined to the clanging of arms, the jingling of spurs and trappings,
and various rough cries in the English tongue.

"Have her! but I will have her, by the Lord!" cried a voice near the
door; and in a moment after, a knight, armed at all points, strode
into the cottage. "How now! how now!" cried he; "what is all this? Ah,
Monsieur de Bussy," he continued, changing his language to broken,
abominable French, "what are you doing with this lady?"

"I come, Sir John Hardacre," answered the Frenchman, "to invite her to
the court of Francis of France, whose vassal the lady is."

"And I come," replied the Englishman, "to claim her for Henry King of
England, whose born subject she is, and ward of the crown; and so I
will have her, and carry her to Guisnes, as I am commanded."

"That depends upon circumstances, sir," answered the Frenchman,
offended at the tone of the other. "You are governor of Calais, but
you do not command here. You are off the English pale, sir; and I say
that unless the lady goes with you willingly and by preference, you
shall not take her."

"I shall not!" exclaimed the Englishman. "Who the devil shall stop

"That will I," answered the French knight; "and I tell you so to your

The Englishman laid his hand upon his sword, and the Frenchman was not
slack to follow his example; but Constance interposed. "Hold, hold,
gentlemen!" cried she; "I am not worthy of such contention. Monsieur
de Bussy, favour me by offering every expression of my humble duty to
his highness your noble king; and show him that I intended instantly
to have obeyed his commands, and followed you to his court, but that I
am compelled, against my will, to do otherwise. Sir John Hardacre, I
am ready to accompany you."

"If such be your will, fair lady," replied the French knight, "I have
nothing but to execute your charge. However, I must repeat, that
without your full consent you shall not be taken from French ground,
or I am no true knight."

An angry replication trembled on the lip of the English captain, but
Constance stopped its utterance by once more declaring her willingness
to go; and the French officer, bowing low, thrust back his sword into
the sheath, and left the cottage, somewhat out of humour with the
event of his expedition.

When he and his followers had ridden away, Sir John Hardacre called up
a lady's horse, which one of his men-at-arms led by the bridle; and
after permitting Constance to make some change of her apparel, and to
pay the good folks of the cottage for her entertainment, he placed her
in the saddle, and holding the bridle himself, led her away at a quick
pace towards Guisnes. He was a rough old soldier, somewhat hardened by
long military service; but the beauty and gentleness of his fair
prisoner (for such indeed may we consider poor Constance to have been)
somewhat softened his acerbity; and after riding on for near an hour
in silence, during which he revolved at least twenty ways of
addressing the lady, without pleasing himself with any, he began by a
somewhat bungling excuse, both for his errand and his manner of
executing it.

"I suppose, sir," replied Constance, coldly, "that you have done your
duty. Whether you have done it harshly or not is for you to consider."

This quite put a stop to all the knight's intentions of conversation,
and did not particularly soothe his humour; so that for many miles
along the road he failed not every moment to turn round his head, and
vent his spleen upon his men in various high-seasoned curses, for
faults which they might or might not have committed, as the case
happened; the knight's powers of objurgation not only extending to the
cursing itself, but also to supplying the cause.

It was nearly seven o'clock when they began to approach the little
town of Guisnes, but at that season of the year the full light of day
was still shining upon all the objects round about; and Constance
might perceive, as they rode up, all the bustle, and crowding, and
idle activity caused by the arrival of the court.

Her heart sank when she saw it, and thought of all she might there
have to endure. Under any other circumstances, however, it would have
been a gay and a pleasing sight; so full of life and activity, glitter
and show, was everything that met the eye.

To the southward of the town of Guisnes, upon the large open green
that extended on the outside of the walls, were to be seen a vast
number of tents, of all kinds and colours, with a multitude of busy
human beings employed in raising fresh pavilions on every open space,
or in decorating those already spread with streamers, pennons, and
banners, of all the bright hues under the sun. Long lines of horses
and mules loaded with armour or baggage, and ornamented with gay
ribbons, to put them in harmony with the scene, were winding about,
all over the plain, some proceeding towards the town, some seeking the
tents of their several lords; while, mingled amongst them, appeared
various bands of soldiers, on horseback and on foot, with the rays of
the declining sun glancing upon the heads of their bills and lances,
and, together with the white cassock and broad red cross, marking them
out from all the other objects. Here and there, too, might be seen a
party of knights and gentlemen cantering over the plain, and enjoying
the bustle of the scene, or standing in separate groups, issuing their
orders for the erection and garnishing of their tents; while couriers,
and pursuivants, and heralds, in all their gay dresses, mingled with
mule-drivers, lacqueys, and peasants, armourers, pages, and
tent-stretchers, made up the living part of the landscape.

Behind lay the town of Guisnes, with the forest at its back; and a
good deal nearer, the castle, with its protecting guns pointed over
the plain; but the most striking object, and that which instantly
caught the eye, was a building raised immediately in front of the
citadel, on which all that art could devise, or riches could procure,
had been lavished, to render it a palace fit for the luxurious king
who was about to make it his temporary residence.

From the distance at which they were when it first struck her sight,
Constance could only perceive that it was a vast and splendid edifice,
apparently square, and seeming to offer a façade of about four hundred
feet on every side, while the sun, reflected from the gilding with
which it was covered, and the immense quantity of glass that it
contained, rendered it like some great ornament of gold enriched with

Although her heart was sad, and nothing that she saw tended to
dispel its gloom, she could not refrain from gazing round with a
half-curious, half-anxious glance upon all the gay objects that
surrounded her; almost fearing to be recognised by some one who had
known her at the court, now that she was led along as a kind of
prisoner; a single woman amidst a band of rude soldiers. Sir John
Hardacre, however, spurred on towards the bridge, which was nearly
impassable from the number of beasts of burden and their drivers by
which it was covered; and standing on but little ceremony with his
fellow-lieges, he dashed through the midst of them all, cursing one,
and striking another, and overturning a third, much to Constance's
horror and dismay. Having reached the other side, and created by his
haste as much confusion and discomfort as he could in his passage, the
surly captain slackened his pace, muttering something about dignity,
and turned his rein towards the temporary palace of the king.
Proceeding slowly amidst a multitude, many of whom had seen her
before, and whose notice she was very willing to escape, Constance's
only resource was to fix her eyes upon the palace, and to busy herself
in the contemplation of its splendour.

Raised upon a high platform, it was not only visible from every part
of the plain, but itself commanded a view of the whole gay scene
below, with its tents and its multitudes, standing as a sort of
nucleus to all the magnificence around.

Before the gate to which Sir John Hardacre took his way, and which was
itself a massy arch, flanked by two towers raised upon the platform,
there stood two objects not unworthy of remark, as exemplifying the
tastes of the day: the one was a magnificent fountain, richly wrought
with arches and arabesques, painted in fine gold and blue, supporting
a figure of Bacchus crowned with vine leaves, over whose head appeared
inscribed, in letters of gold, "_Faites bonne chère qui voudra_." No
unmeaning invitation, for the fountain below ceased not to pour forth
three streams of various coloured wines, supplied by reservoirs in the
interior of the palace. On the other side of the gate were seen four
golden lions supporting a pillar of bronze, round the shaft of which
twined up various gilt wreaths, interlaced together; while on the
summit stood a statue of Venus's "purblind son and heir," pointing his
arrows at those who approached the gate.

Nevertheless, it was not on the charmed cup of the one, or the bended
bow of the other chicken deity, that the battlemented arch above
mentioned relied for defence; for in the several windows were placed
gigantic figures of men in armour, apparently in the act of hurling
down enormous rocks upon the head of whatever venturous stranger
should attempt to pass the prescribed bound. At the same time appeared
round about various goodly paintings of the demigods of story: the
Herculeses, the Theseuses, the Alexanders, fabulous and historical;
while, showing strangely enough in such company, many a fat porter and
yeoman of the lodge loitered about in rich liveries, as familiar with
the gods and goddesses as if they had been born upon Olympus and
swaddled in Tempé.

At the flight of steps which led to this gate Sir John Hardacre
dismounted, and lifting Lady Constance from her horse, passed on into
the inner court of the palace, which would indeed have been not only
splendid, but elegant, had it not been for a few instances of the same
refined taste which we have just noticed. The four inner faces of the
building were perfectly regular, consisting of two stories, the lower
one of which was almost entirely of glass, formed into plain and bow
windows alternately, each separated from the other by a slight column
of gold, and surrounded by a multitude of arabesques and garlands.
Exactly opposite to the gate appeared a vestibule, thrown a little
forward from the building, and surmounted by four large bow windows,
supported on trimmers, the corbels of which represented a thousand
strange gilt faces, looking out from a screen of olive branches, cast
in lead and painted green; while various tall statues in silver armour
were ranged on each side, as guards to the entrance.

It was towards this sort of hall that Sir John Hardacre led poor
Constance de Grey, to whose heart all the gaiety and splendour of the
scene seemed but to communicate a more chilling sensation of
friendless loneliness; while the very gaze and whispering of the royal
servants, who had all known of her flight, and now witnessed her
return, made the quick blood mount into her beautiful cheek, as she
was hurried along by the brutal soldier, without any regard to her
feelings or compassion for her fears.

"You must wait here, Mistress Constance," said he, having led her into
the vestibule, which was full of yeomen and grooms, "while I go and
tell the right reverend father the lord cardinal that I have brought

"Here!" exclaimed Constance, casting her eyes around; "surely you do
not mean me to wait here amongst the servants?"

"Why, where would you go?" demanded he, roughly: "I've no other place
to put you. Wait here, wait here, and mind you don't run away again."

Constance could support no more, and covering her face with her hands,
she burst into a violent flood of tears. At that moment a voice that
she knew struck her ear. "This to my cousin, sir!" exclaimed Lord
Darby, who had heard what passed as he descended a flight of stairs
which led away to the left; "this to my cousin, Sir John Hardacre! You
would do better to jump off the donjon of Rochester Castle than to
leave her here with lacqueys and footboys."

"And why should I not?" demanded the soldier, his eyes flashing fire.
"Mind your own affairs, my Lord Darby, and let me mind mine."

"You are an unfeeling old villain, sir!" answered the earl, passing
him and taking Constance by the hand. "Yes, sir! stare your fill! I
say you are an unfeeling villain, and neither knight nor gentleman."

The soldier laid his hand upon his sword and drew it half out of its
sheath. "Knock him down! knock him down!" cried a dozen voices. "The
precincts of the court! out with him! Have his hand off!" Sir John
Hardacre thrust his weapon back into the sheath, gazing, however,
grimly around, as if he would fain have used it upon some one.

"Your brutal violence, sir," said Lord Darby, "will bring upon you, if
you heed not, a worse punishment than I can inflict; yet you will not
find me, in a proper place, unwilling to give you a lesson on what is
due to a lady. Come, Constance, I will lead you to her highness, where
you will meet, I am sure, a kind reception. You, sir, do your errand
to my lord cardinal, who shall be informed by me of your noble and
knightly treatment of the Lady de Grey."

Thus saying, he led Constance through a long corridor to an
ante-chamber, wherein stood two of the queen's pages. Here Lord Darby
paused, and sent one of the attendants to request an audience, taking
the opportunity of the time they waited to soothe the mind of his fair
cousin by informing her of all that had passed in her absence, and
assuring her that the queen had ever been her warmest defender.

All the news that he gave her, yof course, took a heavy weight from
Constance's mind; and drying her eyes, she congratulated him gladly on
his approaching marriage, and would fain, very fain, have asked if he
could give her any such consolatory information in regard to Darnley;
but the earl had never once mentioned his name, and she knew not how
to begin the subject herself. While considering, and hesitating
whether to ask boldly or not, the queen's page returned and ushered
them to her presence. Constance was still much agitated, and even the
kind and dignified sweetness, the motherly tenderness, with which
Katherine received her--a tenderness which she had not known for so
long--overcame her, and she wept as much as if she had been most

The queen understood it all, and sending Lord Darby away, she soon won
Constance to her usual placid mood; and then, questioning her of all
the dangers and sorrows she had undergone, she gave her the best of
all balms, sympathy; trembling at her account of the shipwreck, and
melted even to tears by the death of the good clergyman.


                           Men might say
     Till this time pomp was single, but now married
     To one above itself.--Shakspere.

Many were the anxious eyes turned towards the sky on the morning of
the seventh of June, the day appointed for the meeting of the two
kings of France and England; for some inauspicious clouds had ushered
in the dawn, and several of those persons who take a delight in
prognosticating evil, whenever they can find occasion; who enjoy
mingling the sour with whatever is sweet in life--in short, the
lemon-squeezers of society--had taken care to affirm that they had
felt several drops of rain, and to prophesy that it would pour before
night. To put their vaticinations out of joint, however, the jolly
summer sun came like a cleanly housemaid, towards eight o'clock, and
with his broom of rays swept all the dirty clouds from the floor of
heaven. By this time the bustle of preparation had begun at the town
of Guisnes. All was in activity amongst the tents, and many a lord and
gentleman was already on his horse arraying his men in order of battle
under the walls of the castle, from the gates of which presently
issued forth the archer-guard of the king of England, and took the
front of the array. Not long after, Lord Essex, the earl marshal,
appeared on the plain, and riding along the line of foot, gave the
strictest orders to the various officers for maintaining regularity
and tranquillity through the day; well knowing that the excited
hilarity of such occasions often creates more serious evils than do
infinitely worse feelings. Another cause, however, seemed likely to
have interrupted the general good-humour; for, in the midst of his
injunctions to maintain order and propriety of demeanour towards their
French allies, an officer was seen spurring at full speed from the
side of Ardres, and as he rode up, it was very evident by his
countenance that the good captain, Richard Gibson, was not the best
pleased man in the world. All eyes were turned upon him, and a dead
silence ensued amidst the archers, while the earl demanded, "Why! how
now, Gibson? what is the matter?"

"So please you, my lord," replied the officer, "the four pennons of
white and green, which, by your command, I set up on the edge of the
hill, above the valley of Andern, have been vilely thrown down by the
French lord châtelaine, who says, that as the French have none on the
other hill, he wills not that we have any either."

A loud murmuring made itself heard at this news amongst the footmen;
and one of the young gallants, riding near the earl, put spurs to his
horse, as if to ride away to the scene of the dispute.

"Silence!" cried the earl, over whose cheek also an angry flush had
passed at the first, but who speedily recovered his temper. "Brian,
come back! come back, I say, sir! let not a man stir!"

"What! must we stand tamely and be insulted by the French?" cried the
youth, unwillingly reining in his horse.

"They do not insult us, sir," replied Lord Essex, wisely determined
not to let any trifling punctilio disturb the harmony of the meeting,
yet knowing how difficult it was to rule John Bull from his surly
humour. "They do not insult us. The pennons were set up for their
convenience, to show them the place of meeting, which is within the
English pale. If they choose to be such fools as to risk missing the
way, and go a mile round, why, let them; we shall but laugh at them
when they come."

The matter thus turned off, he whispered a few words to Gibson, and
sending him back to the vale of Andern, proceeded, with the aid of
heralds and other officers at arms, to arrange all the ceremonies of
the march. However, various were the reports that spread amongst the
people concerning the intentions of the French, some declaring openly
that they believed they intended to surround the field with a great
force, and take the king of England prisoner. Others shook the wise
head, and implied much more than they ventured to say; and many a poor
rogue, amongst those who "talk of court news as if they were God's
spies," pretended that they had been with the French power and heard
all about it; so that they would tell you the very cunning of the
thing, and its fashion, and when it was to be.

While rumour was thus exercising her hundred tongues, and, as usual,
lying with them all, the warning-gun was fired from the castle of
Guisnes, giving notice that the King of England was ready to set out,
and all hurried to place themselves in order. In a few minutes the
distant roar of another large piece of artillery was heard from
Ardres, answering the first; and for the five minutes before the
procession was formed, like the five minutes of tuning before a
concert, all was noise, clamour, and confusion. The sounding of the
trumpets to horse, the shouts of the various leaders, the loud cries
of the marshals and heralds, and the roaring of the artillery from the
castle, as the king put his foot in the stirrup, all combined to make
one general outcry, rarely equalled.

Gradually the tumult subsided; gradually also the confused assemblage
assumed a regular form. Flags, and pennons, and banderols, embroidered
banners and scutcheons, silver pillars, and crosses, and crooks,
ranged themselves in long line, and the bright procession, an
interminable stream of living gold, began to wind across the plain.
First came about five hundred of the gayest and wealthiest gentlemen
of England, below the rank of baron; squires, knights, and bannerets,
rivalling each other in the richness of their apparel and the beauty
of their horses; while the pennons of the knights fluttered above
their heads, marking the place of the English chivalry. Next appeared
the proud barons of the realm, each with his banner borne before him,
and followed by a custrel with the shield of his arms. To these again
succeeded the bishops, not in the simple robes of the Protestant
clergy, but in the more gorgeous habits of the church of Rome; while
close upon their steps rode the higher nobility, surrounding the
immediate person of the king, and offering the most splendid mass of
gold and jewels that the summer sun ever shone upon.

Slowly the procession moved forward, to allow the line of those on
foot to keep an equal pace. Nor did this band offer a less gay and
pleasing sight than the cavalcade; for here might be seen the athletic
forms of the sturdy English yeomanry, clothed in the various splendid
liveries of their several lords, with the family cognizance
embroidered on the bosom or the arm, and the banners and banderols of
their particular houses carried in the front of each company. Here
also was to be seen the picked guard of the King of England,
magnificently dressed for the occasion, with the royal banner carried
in their centre by the deputy standard-hearer, and the banner of their
company by their own ancient. In the rear of all, marshalled by
officers appointed for the purpose, came the band of those whose rank
did not entitle them to take place in the cavalcade, but who had
sufficient interest at court to be admitted to the meeting. Though of
an inferior class, this company was not the least splendid in the
field; for here were all the wealthy tradesmen of the court, habited
in many a rich garment, furnished by the extravagance of those that
rode before; and many a gold chain hung round their necks, that not
long ago had lain in the purse of some prodigal customer.

Thus marched on the procession at a walking pace, with steeds
neighing, with trumpets sounding, banners and plumes fluttering in the
wind, and gold and jewels sparkling in the sunshine; while loud
acclaim, and the waving of hats, and hands, and handkerchiefs, from
those that stayed behind, ushered it forth from the plain of Guisnes.

They had ridden on some way, when a horseman spurred up to the spot
where the king rode, and doffing his high plumed hat, bent to his
saddle-bow, saying, "My king and my sovereign, I have just been with
the French party, and I hold myself bound, as your liege, to inform
you that they are at least twice as numerous as we are. Your grace
will act as in your wisdom you judge fit; but as a faithful and loving
subject I could not let such knowledge sleep in my bosom."

An instant halt took place through the whole cavalcade, and the king
for a moment consulted with Wolsey, who rode on his left hand; but
Lord Shrewsbury, the lord steward, interposed, assuring the king that
he had been amongst the French nobles the night before, and that
amongst them the same reports prevailed concerning the English.
"Therefore, sir," continued he, "if I were worthy to advise, your
grace would march forward without hesitation; for sure I am that the
French mean no treachery."

"We shall follow your advice, lord steward," replied the king; "let us
march on."

"On before! On before!" cried the heralds at the word. The trumpets
again sounded, and the procession, moving forward, very soon reached
the brow of the hill that looks into the vale of Andern. A gentle
slope, of not more than three hundred yards, led from the highest part
of each of the opposite hills into the centre of the valley, in the
midst of which was pitched the most magnificent tent that ever a
luxurious imagination devised. The canopy, the walls, the hangings,
were all of cloth of gold; the posts, the cones, the cords, the
tassels, the furniture, were all of the same rare metal. Wherever the
eye turned, nothing but that shining ore met its view, so that it
required no very brilliant fancy to name it at once, the _Field of the
Cloth of Gold_.

On reaching the verge of the descent, the cavalcade spread out, lining
the side of the hill for some way down, and facing the line of the
valley. Each cavalier placed himself unhesitatingly in the spot
assigned him by the officers at arms, while the body of foot was drawn
up in array to the left by the captains of the king's guard, so that
not the least confusion or tumult took place; and the whole multitude,
in perfect order, presented a long and glittering front to the
opposite hill, before any of the French party appeared, except a few
straggling horsemen sent to keep the ground.

As soon as the whole line was formed, and when, by the approaching
sound of the French trumpets, it was ascertained that the Court of
France was not far distant, Henry himself drew out from the ranks,
ready to descend to the meeting; and never did a more splendid or more
princely monarch present himself before so noble a host. Tall,
stately, athletic, with a countenance full of imperial dignity, and
mounted on a horse that seemed proudly conscious of the royalty of its
rider, Henry rode forward to a small hillock, about twenty yards in
advance of his subjects; and halting upon the very edge of the hill,
with his attendants grouped behind him, and a clear background of
sunny light throwing nil figure out from all the other objects, he
offered a subject on which Wouvermans might well have exercised his
pencil. Over his wide chest and shoulders he wore a loose vest of
cloth of silver, damasked and ribbed with gold. This was plaited, and
bound tightly towards the waist, while it was held down from the neck
by the golden collars of many a princely order, and the broad baldrick
studded with jewels, to which was suspended his sword. His jewelled
hat was also of the same cloth; and in the only representation of this
famous meeting that I have met with, which can be relied upon, having
been executed at the time, he appears with a vast plume of feathers,
rising from the left side of his hat, and falling over to his saddle
behind. Nor was the horse less splendidly attired than the rider. Its
housings, its trappers, its headstall, and its reins, were all
curiously wrought and embossed with bullion, while a thousand fanciful
ornaments of gold filigree-work hung about it in every direction.

Behind the king appeared Sir Henry Guilford, master of the horse,
leading a spare charger for the monarch; not indeed with any
likelihood of the king's using it, but more as a piece of state
ornament than anything else, in the same manner as the sword of state
was borne by the Marquis of Dorset. A little behind appeared nine
youths of noble family, as the king's henchmen, mounted on beautiful
horses trapped with golden scales, and sprinkled throughout their
housings with loose bunches of spangles, which, twinkling in the
sunshine, gave an inconceivable lightness and brilliancy to their
whole appearance.

Shortly after this glittering group had taken its station in front of
the English line, the first parties of the French nobility began to
appear on the opposite hill, and spreading out upon its side, offered
a corresponding mass of splendour to that formed by the array of
England. Very soon the whole of Francis's court had deployed; and
after a pause of a few minutes, during which the two hosts seemed to
consider each other with no small admiration, and in profound silence,
the trumpets from the French side sounded, and the constable Duke of
Bourbon, bearing a naked sword upright, began to descend the hill.
Immediately behind him followed the French monarch superbly arrayed,
and mounted on a magnificent Barbary horse, covered from head to foot
with gold. Instantly on beholding this, the English trumpets replied,
and the Marquis of Dorset, unsheathing the sword of state, moved
slowly forward before the king. Henry, having the lord cardinal on his
left, and followed by his immediate suite, now descended the hill, and
arrived in the valley exactly at the same moment as Francis. The two
sword-bearers who preceded them fell back each to the right of his own
sovereign; and the monarchs, spurring forward their highly-managed
horses, met in the midst and embraced each other on horseback.
Difficult and strange as such a man[oe]uvre may seem, it was performed
with ease and grace, both the kings being counted amongst the most
skilful horsemen in Europe; and in truth, as the old historian
expresses it, it must have been a marvellous sweet and goodly sight to
see those two princes, in the flower of their age, in the height of
their strength, and in the dignity of their manly beauty, commanding
two great nations, that had been so long rivals and enemies, instead
of leading hostile armies to desolate and destroy, meet in that
peaceful valley, and embrace like brothers in the sight of the choice
nobility of either land.

Two grooms and two pages, who had followed on foot, now ran to hold
the stirrup and the rein, each of his own monarch; and springing to
the ground, the kings embraced again; after which, clasped arm in arm,
they passed the barrier, and entered the golden tent, wherein two
thrones were raised beneath one canopy.

"Henry of England, my dear brother," said the King of France, as soon
as they were seated, "thus far have I travelled to see you and do you
pleasure; willing to hold you to my heart with brotherly love, and to
show you that I am your friend: and surely I believe that you esteem
me as I am. The realms that I command, and the powers that I possess,
are not small; but if they may ever be of aid to my brother, of
England, I shall esteem them greater than before."

"The greatness of your realms, sir, and the extent of your power,"
replied Henry, "weigh as nothing in my eyes, compared with your high
and princely qualities; and it is to interchange regard with you, and
renew in person our promises of love, that I have here passed the seas
and come to the very verge of my dominions."

With such greetings commenced the interview of the two kings, who soon
called to them the cardinal, and seating him beside them, with much
honour, they commanded him to read the articles which he had drawn up
for the arrangement and ordering of their future interviews. Wolsey
complied; and all that he proposed seemed well to please both the
monarchs, till he proceeded to stipulate, that when the King of
England should go over to the town of Ardres, to revel with the queen
and ladies of France, the King of France should at the same time
repair to the town of Guisnes, there to be entertained by the Queen of
England. At this Francis mused: "Nay, nay, my good lord cardinal,"
said he, "faith, I fear not to trust myself with my brother of England
at his good castle of Guisnes, without holding him as a hostage in my
court for my safe return; and, marry, I am sure he would put equal
confidence in me, though I stayed not in his city till he was on his
journey back."

"This clause is not inserted, most noble sovereign," replied Wolsey,
"from any doubt or suspicion that one gracious king has of the other;
for surely all trust and amicable confidence exist between ye: but it
is for the satisfaction of the minds of your liege subjects, who, not
understanding the true nature of princely friendship, might be filled
with black apprehensions, were they to see their monarch confide
himself, without warrant of safety, in the power of another nation."

"Well, well, my good lord," replied Francis, "let it be; time will
show us." And from that moment he seemed to pay little attention to
all the precautionary measures by which the cautious Wolsey proposed
to secure the future meetings of the two kings from the least danger
to either party. The generous mind of the French monarch revolted at
the suspicious policy of the cardinal; and agreeing to anything that
the other thought proper, he mentally revolved his own plans for
shaming the English monarch and his minister out of their cold and
injurious doubts.

The arrangement of these articles was the only displeasing
circumstance that cast a shadow upon the meeting: all the rest passed
in gaiety and joy. A sumptuous banquet was soon placed before them,
and various of the nobles of England and France were called to mingle
in the royal conversation while the monarchs were at table.

In the meanwhile the two courts and their retainers remained arranged
on the opposing sides of the hill; the Englishmen, with their
characteristic rigidity, standing each man in his place as immoveable
as a statue, while the livelier Frenchmen, impatient of doing nothing,
soon quitted their ranks, and, falling into broken masses, amused
themselves as best they might; many of them crossing the valley, and
with national facility beginning to make acquaintance with their new
allies, nothing repulsed by the blunt reception they met with. Not
that the English were inhospitable; for having, as usual, taken good
care that no provision should be wanting against the calls of hunger
or thirst, they communicated willingly to their neighbours of the
comforts they had brought with them, sending over many a flagon of
wine and hypocras, much to the consolation of the French, who had
taken no such wise precautions against the two great internal enemies.

In about an hour, the hangings of the tent were drawn back, and the
two kings re-appeared; ready to separate for the day. The grooms led
up the horses; and Francis and Henry, embracing with many professions
of amity, mounted and turned their steps each to his several dwelling.

The English procession marched back in the same order as it came, and
arrived without interruption at the green plain of Guisnes, where
Henry, ordering the band of footmen to halt, rode along before them,
making them a gay and familiar speech, and bidding them be merry if
they loved their king. Shouts and acclamations answered the monarch's
speech, and the nobles, joining in his intent, showered their largesse
upon their retainers as they followed along the line. The last band
that Henry came to was that of the privileged tradesmen of the court,
most of whom he recognised, possessing, in a high degree, that truly
royal quality of never forgetting any one he had once known. To each
he had some frank, bluff sentence to address; while they, with heads
uncapped and bending low, enjoyed with proud hearts the honour of
being spoken to by the king, and thought how they could tell it to all
their neighbours and gossips when they got to England. As he rode on,
Henry perceived in the second rank a face that he remembered, which,
being attached to a very pliable neck, kept bending down with manifold
reverences, not unlike the nodding of a mandarin cast in china-ware.

"Ha! my good clothier, Jekin Groby!" cried the king; "come forth, man!
What! come forth, I say!"

Jekin Groby rushed forward from behind, knocking on one side the royal
honey merchant, and fairly throwing down the household fishmonger who
stood before him; then, casting himself on his knees by the side of
the king's horse, he clasped the palms of his hands together, and
turned up his eyes piteously to the monarch's countenance, exclaiming,
"Justice! justice! your grace's worship, if your royal stomach be full
of justice, as folks say, give me justice."

"Justice!" cried Henry, laughing at the sad and deplorable face poor
Jekin thought necessary to assume for the purpose of moving his
compassion. "Justice on whom, man--ha? Faith, if any man have done
thee wrong, he shall repent it, as I am a king; though, good Jekin, I
sent for thee a month ago to furnish cloth for all the household, and
thou wert not to be found."

"Lord 'a mercy!" cried Jekin, "and I've missed the job! but it ought
all to be put in the bill. Pray, your grace's worship, put it in the
bill against that vile Sir Payan Wileton, who kidnapped me on your own
royal highway, robbed me of my bagfull of angels, and sent me to sea,
where I was so sick, your grace; you can't think how sick! And then
they beat me with ropes' ends, and made me go up aloft, and damned me
for a land-lubber, and a great deal more: all on account of that Sir
Payan Wileton!"

"Ha!" cried the king; "Sir Payan Wileton again! I had forgot him.
However, good Jekin, I cannot hear you now; come to my chamber
to-morrow before I rise--ha, man! then I will hear and do you justice,
if it be on the highest man in the land. There is my signet: the page
will let you in. At six o'clock, man, fail not!"

"I told you so!" cried Jekin, starting upon his feet, and looking
round him with delight as the king rode away; "I told you he would
make that black thief give me back my angels. I knew his noble heart;
Lord 'a mercy! 'tis a gracious prince, surely."


                Let some o' the guard be ready.
       _Cran_.--For me?
     Must I go like a traitor then?--Shakspere.

And where was Osborne Darnley all this while?

Wait a little, dearly-beloved, and you shall hear more. It was not yet
five o'clock in the morning, and a sweet morning it was; the sun had
just risen, and, spreading all over the eastern sky, there was that,
soft, lustrous tint of early light that surely ought to be called
hope-colour, it promises so many bright moments for the coming day. It
was not yet five o'clock in the morning when the western sally-port of
the castle of Ardres was opened by a little page not higher than my
thumb, as the old story-book goes, who looked cautiously about, first
to the right and then to the left, to see if any one was abroad and
stirring; but the only person who had risen was the matutinal sun, so
that the page could see nothing but the blue sky, and the green
fields, and the grey stone walls of the castle, whose great age, like
the antiquity of a beggar's coat, had plastered them all over with
patches of green and yellow lichens. Having looked to his heart's
content, he next listened; but no sound could he hear save the light
singing of the lark and the loud snoring of the sentinel on the
neighbouring bastion, who, with head propped on his halberd, kept
anything but silent watch, while the vigilant sun, looking over the
wall, spied out all the weaknesses of the place; and now, having
listened as well as looked, the boy withdrew once more within the
walls. He left, however, the door open, and in a few minutes two
horsemen rode forth, each wrapped up in a large Spanish cloak, with a
chaperon, at Fleurange calls it, or, in other words, an immense hood,
which covered the whole head and disguised the person completely.

As soon as they were fairly out, the page who had accompanied them so
far returned and closed the sally-port, and the two travellers
cantered lightly over the green to a little wood that lay before the
castle. When they were fully concealed by the trees, among which they
wound along, following the sinuosities of a little sandy road, wherein
two, but only two, might ride abreast, they both, as by common
consent, threw back their hoods, and, letting their cloaks fall upon
their horses' cruppers, discovered the two powerful forms of the good
knight Osborne Lord Darnley, and Francis the First King of France.

"Well, my friend and my deliverer," said the king, as they rode on,
"'twill go hard but I will restore you to your king's favour; and even
should he remain inexorable, which I will not believe, you must make
France your country. We will try to win your fair Constance for you
from that suspicious cardinal, of which fear not, for I know a certain
way to gain him to anything; and then I see no cause why, in so fair a
land as France, and favoured by her king, you may not be as happy as
in that little seabound spot called England."

Before proceeding farther, however, it may be necessary to say a few
words concerning the events which had occurred since the knight's
courage and skill had saved the king's life from Shoenvelt and his
adventurers. One may well imagine what anxiety had reigned amongst the
monarch's followers in the forest near Lillers, when they found that
Francis, after having separated from their party, did not rejoin them
on the track appointed for the hunt. Such occurrences, however, having
several times happened before, and the king having always returned in
safety, they concluded that he and Count William of Firstenberg must
have taken the other road to Aire, and that they would find him there
on their arrival. When they did reach that town, their inquiries
immediately discovered that the king was missing.

The news spread rapidly to the whole court, and soon reached the ears
of his mother the Duchess of Angoulême, who became almost frantic on
hearing it, giving him up for lost from that moment, as she had good
reasons to believe that Count William entertained designs against his
life. Her active spirit it was that first discovered the treachery of
the Burgundian, which she had instantly communicated to the king; but
the generous mind of Francis refused all credit to the news, and he
continued his confidence towards Firstenberg without the slightest
alteration, till at length more certain proofs of his designs were
obtained, which induced the monarch to act with that fearless
magnanimity which we have seen him display towards his treacherous
favourite in the forest of Lillers.

Immediately that the king's absence was known, bands of horsemen were
sent out in various directions to obtain news of him, but in vain.
Convinced, by the account of the hunters, that he had quitted the
wood, and that if he were therein they could not find him by night,
they searched in every other place than that in which they were likely
to be successful; so that, the whole night that Francis spent sleeping
tranquilly in the charbonier's cottage, his guards were out towards
Pernès, Fruges, and St. Pol, searching for him without success. When
morning came, however, fresh parties were sent off to examine every
part of the forest, and it was one of these that came up to the spot
not long after the defeat of Shoenvelt and his companions.

The joy occasioned by the king's safe return was not a little
heightened by the danger he had undergone; and every one to whom his
life was precious contended who should do most honour to his gallant
deliverer. Francis himself knew not what recompense to offer Sir
Osborne for the signal service he had rendered him; and, with the
delicacy of a truly generous mind, he exacted from him a particular
account of his whole life, that he might adapt the gift or honour he
wished to confer exactly to the situation of the knight. Darnley
understood the motive of the noble-hearted monarch, and told him all
without reserve; and Francis, now furnished with the best means of
showing his gratitude, resolved not to lose the opportunity.

Thus, for the few days that preceded the meeting between Guisnes and
Ardres, the king highly distinguished the knight, made him many
magnificent presents, called a chapter of the order of St. Michael,
and had him installed in form; but knowing the jealous nature of his
own nobles, he offered him no employment in his service; and even when
the constable de Bourbon, who knew and appreciated Darnley's military
talents, proposed to the king to give him a company of men-at-arms, as
a reward for the great service he had rendered to the whole nation,
Francis negatived it at once, saying openly that the Lord Darnley was
but a visiter at the court of France.

Having premised thus much, we will now take up the travellers again at
the moment of their entering into the wood near Ardres, through which
they passed, conversing over the various circumstances of Sir
Osborne's situation.

"It is strange!" said Francis, as the knight repeated the manner of
his dismissal from the English court; "I do not comprehend it. It is
impossible that your going there under a feigned name, to win King
Henry's favour, should be construed as a crime and made matter of such
strong accusation against you." After musing for a moment, he
proceeded: "Do not think I would imply, good knight, that you could be
really guilty of any higher offence against your king; but be you sure
something has been laid to your charge more than you imagine."

"On my honour as a knight," replied Darnley, "I have accused myself to
your highness of the worst crimes upon my conscience, as if your grace
were my confessor; though I will own that it appears to me also most
strange and inexplicable. I have heard, indeed, that the lord cardinal
never suffers any one to be too near the king's regard; and that if he
sees any especial favour shown, he is sure to find some accusation
against his object; but I can hardly believe that so great a man would
debase himself to be a false accuser."

"I know not! I know not!" answered Francis, quickly: "there is no one
so jealous as a favourite; and what will not jealousy do? My diadem
against a Spanish crown,"[18] he continued laughingly, referring to
his contention with the Emperor Charles, "Henry of England knows you
under no other name than that of Sir Osborne Maurice. However, I will
be polite, and know the whole before I speak. Do you put your honour
in my hands? and will you abide by what I shall undertake for you?"

"Most willingly, your highness," replied the knight: "whatever you say
for me, that will I maintain, on horseback or on foot, with sword or
lance, as long as my life do hold."

Thus conversing they rode on, following the windings of the woody lane
in which they were, till the forest, skirting on to the north-west of
Ardres, opened out upon the plain of Guisnes. As soon as the castle
and town were in sight, the French monarch put his horse into a quick
pace, saying with a smile to Sir Osborne, "Your prudent Wolsey and my
good brother Henry will be much surprised to see me in their castle
alone, after all their grave precautions. By heaven! did kingly
dignity imply suspicion of all the world like theirs, I would throw
away my crown and feed my mother's sheep."

The night after the first meeting of the kings, Henry had retired to
sleep in the fortress, rather than in his palace without the walls;
part of which, comprising his private apartments, had been found
insecure, from the hurry in which it had been built. Of this
circumstance the King of France had been informed by some of his
court, who had passed their evening at Guisnes, and it was therefore
to the castle that he turned his rein.

Passing amidst the tents, in most of which Somnus still held
undisturbed dominion, Francis and Sir Osborne galloped up to the
drawbridge, on which an early party of the guard were sunning
themselves in the morning light; some looking idly over into the moat,
some gazing with half-closed eyes towards the sky; some playing at an
antique and classical game with mutton-bones, while their captain
stood by the portcullis, rubbing his hands and enjoying the sweetness
of the morning.

No sooner did Francis perceive them, than, drawing his sword, he
galloped in amongst them, crying, "_Rendez vous, messieurs! rendez
vous! La place est à moi!_"

At first, the archers scattered back confused, and some had their
hands on their short swords; but several, who had seen the king the
day before, almost instantly recognised him, and the cry became
general of "The King of France! the King of France!" In the mean time,
Francis rode up to the captain, and, putting his sword's point to the
officer's throat, "Yield!" cried he, "rescue or no rescue, or you are
a dead man!"

"I yield, I yield, my lord!" cried the captain, entering into the
king's humour, and bending his knee. "Rescue or no rescue, I yield
myself your grace's prisoner."

"A castle soon taken!" cried Francis, turning to Sir Osborne. "Now,"
added he to the officer, "since the place is mine, lead me to the
chamber of my good brother the King of England."

"His grace is at present asleep," replied the captain, hesitating. "If
your highness will repose yourself in the great hall, he shall be
informed instantly of your presence."

"No, no," cried the king; "show me his chamber. Nothing will serve me
but that I will sound his _réveillez_ myself. Come, Darnley!" and
springing from his horse he followed the officer, who, now forced to
obey, led him into the castle, and up the grand staircase towards the
king's bed-chamber.

All was silence as they went. Henry and the whole court had revelled
late the night before, so that few even of the serving-men had thought
fit to quit their truckle-beds so early in the morning. A single page,
however, was to be seen as they entered a long corridor, which took up
one whole side of the large square tower in the centre of the castle.
He was standing before a door at the farther extremity, and to him the
captain pointed. "The king's ante-room, your highness, is where you
see that page," said he; "and let me beg your gracious forgiveness if
I leave you here, for indeed I dare conduct you no farther."

"Go, go!" cried the king, good-humouredly. "I will find it now myself.
You, Darnley, stay here. I doubt not soon to send for you with good

With his sword still drawn in his hand, the king now advanced to the
page, who, seeing a stranger come forward with so menacing an air,
might have entertained some fears, had he not beheld the captain of
the guard conduct him thither; not at all knowing the person of
Francis, however, as he had not been present at the meeting of the
kings, he closed the door of the ante-room, which had before been open
behind him, and placing himself in the way, prepared to oppose the
entrance of any one.

"Which is the chamber of my brother the King of England?" demanded
Francis, as he came up; but the page, not understanding a word of
French, only shook his head, keeping his back, at the same time,
firmly against the door, thinking that it was some wild French lord,
who knew not what was due to royalty.

"It is the King of France," said Sir Osborne, advancing, as he beheld
the page's embarrassment. "Let him pass. It is the King of France."

The page stared and hesitated; but Francis, taking him by the
shoulder, twisted him round as he had been a child, and, opening the
door, passed in. The page immediately closed it again, putting himself
before the knight, whose face he now remembered. "I must not let your
worship in," said he, thinking Sir Osborne wished to follow the
monarch. "The King of France, of course, I dared not stop, but it is
as much as my life is worth to suffer any one else to pass."

"I seek not to enter, good Master Snell," said the knight. "Unless his
grace sends for me, I shall not intrude myself on his royal presence."
This said, with busy thoughts he began to walk up and down the
gallery; and the page, presently after, retiring into the
ante-chamber, left him for the time to his own contemplations.

Much subject had the knight for thought, though it was of that nature
that profiteth not; for little signified it, as it seemed, how much
soever he took counsel with himself: his fate was in the hands of
others, and beyond his power to influence or determine.

He could not help musing, however, over all the turns which his
fortune had taken within the brief space of the last three months; and
strangely mingled were his sensations, on finding himself, at the end
of the review, standing there, once more within the precincts of the
court of England, from which he had been driven hardly fifteen days
before. A thousand collateral ideas also presented themselves to his
mind, suggesting a thousand doubts and fears for those he loved best.
What had become of Constance de Grey? he asked himself; and though
never had her image for one moment left his mind in his wanderings,
though it had been his companion in the journey, his solace in his
waking hours, his dream by night, and his object in every thought and
hope, still there was something in being amongst those objects, and
near those beings, amidst whom he had been accustomed to see her, that
rendered his anxiety about her more impatient; and he would have given
no small sum for the presence of one of the newsmongers of the court:
those empty idle beings always to be found near the presence of
princes, who, like scavengers' carts, make themselves the common
receptacles for all the drift of the palace, and, hurrying on from one
to another, at once receive and spatter forth the rakings of all
kennels as they go along.

Time, ever long to those who wait, seemed doubly long to Sir Osborne,
to whom so much was in suspense; and so little bustle and activity did
there seem in the castle, that he began to fancy its denizens must
have had their eyes touched with Hermes' wand to make them sleep so
soundly. He walked up and down the corridor, he gazed out of the
window into the court-yard, he listened for every opening door. But it
was all in vain; no one came. Could Francis have forgotten him? he
asked himself, at last; and then he thought how quickly from the light
memories of the great pass away the sorrows or the welfare of their
fellow-creatures; how hardly they can remember, and how happily they
can forget. But no, he would not believe it. If ever man was renowned
for that best and rarest quality of a great man, a heedful remembrance
of those who served him, a thoughtful care of those he esteemed, it
was Francis of France; and Darnley would not believe that in his case
he had forgotten.

Still no one came. Though the various noises and the bustle he began
to hear in distant parts of the building announced that the world was
more awake than when he arrived, yet the corridor in which he was
seemed more deserted than ever.

At first it was nearly vacant, a few listless soldiers being its only
occupants; but soon there was opened on the other side a door which
communicated with a sort of barrack, situated near the chapel in the
inner ballium, and from this proceeded a troop of soldiers and
officers at arms, with one or two persons mingled amongst them that
Sir Osborne imagined to be prisoners. The height at which he was
placed above them prevented his perceiving whether this was certainly
the case, or seeing their faces; for all that he could discern was the
foreshortened figures of the soldiers and sergeants-at-arms,
distinguished from the others by their official habiliments; and
passing along, surrounded by the rest, some persons in darker attire,
round whom the guard appeared to keep with vigilant care. An instant
brought them to the archway just beneath the spot where he stood, and
they were then lost to his sight.

The castle clock struck seven; but so slowly did the hammer fall upon
the bell, he thought it would never have done. He now heard a sound of
much speaking not far off, and thought that surely it was Francis
taking leave of the King of England; but suddenly it ceased, and all
was again silence. Taking patience to his aid, he recommenced his
perambulations; and for another quarter of an hour walked up and down
the corridor, hearing still, as he passed the door of the anteroom, a
low and indistinct murmuring, which might be either the page speaking
in a subdued tone to some person therein, or some other voices
conversing much more loudly in the chamber beyond. The knight's
feelings were wound up to the highest pitch of impatience, when
suddenly a deep groan, and then a heavy fall, met his ear. He paused,
listened, and could plainly distinguish a door within open, and
various voices speaking quick and high, some in French, some in
English; but among them was to be heard distinctly the tongue of Henry
and that of Francis, though what they said was not sufficiently
audible to be comprehended. His curiosity, as may be conceived, was
not a little excited; but, satisfied of the safety of the two kings,
and fearful of being suspected of eaves-dropping if any one came
forth, he once more crossed his arms upon his breast, and began pacing
backwards and forwards as before.

A few minutes more elapsed in silence; but at length, when he was at
the farther extremity of the corridor, he heard the door of the
ante-chamber open, and, turning round, perceived a sergeant-at-arms,
followed by four halberdiers, come forth from within and advance
towards him. Sir Osborne turned and met them, when the guard drew up
across the passage, and the officer stepped forward. "Sir Osborne
Darnley!" said he, "commonly called Lord Darnley, I arrest you for
high treason, in the name of Henry the Eighth, King of England and
France and Lord of Ireland, and charge you to surrender to his

The astonishment of Sir Osborne may more easily be conceived than
described. The first appearance of the halberdiers had struck him as
strange, and their drawing up across his path might have been some
warning, but still he was not at all prepared.

Trusting to the protection of the French king, who had virtually
rendered himself responsible for his safety, he had never dreamed of
danger; and for a moment or two he stood in silent surprise, till the
sergeant demanded, "Do you surrender, my lord?"

"Of course, of course!" replied the knight, "though I will own that
this has fallen upon me unexpectedly. Pr'ythee, good sergeant, if thou
knowest, tell me how this has come about, for to me it is

"In truth, my lord, I Know nothing," replied the officer, "though I
believe that the whole arose from something that happened this morning
in his grace's bed-chamber. I was sent for by the back staircase, and
received orders to attach you here. It is an unpleasant duty, my lord,
but one which we are too often called to perform: I can, therefore,
but beg your forgiveness, and say that you must come with me."

Sir Osborne followed in silence, meditating more than ever over his
strange fate. His hopes had again been buoyed up, again to be cast
down in a more cruel manner than before. There was not now a shade of
doubt left: whatever he was accused of was aimed at him under his real
name; and it was evident, from the unremitted persecution which he
suffered, that Wolsey, or whosoever it was that thus pursued him, was
resolved on accomplishing his destruction by all or any means.

That Wolsey was the originator of the whole he could not doubt; and
the virulence of his jealousy was too well known to hope that justice
or clemency would be shown where his enmity had been incurred.
"However," thought the knight, "at last I can but die: I have fronted
death a hundred times in the battle-field, and I will not shrink from
him now." But to die as a traitor was bitter, he who had never been
aught but loyal and true; yet still his conscious innocence, he
thought, would rob the block and axe of their worst horror; the proud
knowledge that he had acted well in every relationship of life: to his
king, to his country, to those he loved. Then came the thought of
Constance de Grey, in all her summer beauty, and all her gentle
loveliness, and all her sweet smiles: was he never to see them again?
To be cut off from all those kind sympathies he had felt, to go down
into the cold dark grave where they could reach him never more--it was
too much.

While these thoughts were busy in his bosom, the sergeant-at-arms led
him down the great staircase, and across the hall on the ground-floor
of the castle; then, opening a door to the right, he entered into a
long narrow passage, but scantily lighted, that terminated in another
spiral staircase, down which one of the soldiers, who had procured a
lamp in the hall, proceeded first to light them. Sir Osborne followed
in silence, though his heart somewhat burned at the idea of being
committed to a dungeon. Arrived at the bottom of the steps, several
doors presented themselves; and, seeing the sergeant examining a large
bunch of keys, with whose various marks he did not seem very well
acquainted, the knight could not refrain from demanding, if it were by
the king's command that he was about to give him such a lodging.

"No, my lord," replied the sergeant, "the king did not direct me to
place you in a dungeon; but I must secure your lordship's person till
such time as the horses are ready to convey you to Calais, and every
other place in the castle but that where I am going to put you is

"Well, sir," replied the knight, "only beware of what treatment you do
show me, lest you may be sorry for it hereafter."

"Indeed, my lord," answered the man, with a good-humoured smile,
rarely met with on the faces of his brethren, "I should be very sorry
to make your lordship any way uncomfortable; and, if you will give me
your word of honour, as a knight, neither to escape nor to make any
attempt to escape while you are there, I will lock you up in the
chapel of the new palace, which is empty enough, God knows, and for
half-an-hour you will be as well there as anywhere else better than in
a dungeon certainly."

The knight readily gave his promise, and the sergeant, after examining
the keys again, without better success than before, began to try them,
one after another, upon a small iron door in the wall, saying that
they could get out that way to the chapel. One of them at length
fitted the lock, and two enormous bolts and an iron bar being removed,
the door was swung back, giving egress from the body of the fortress
into a long lightsome passage, where the full sun shone through a long
row of windows on each side; while the gilded pillars and the
enamelled ornaments round the windows, the rich arras hangings between
them, and the fine carpets spread over the floor, formed a strange and
magical contrast with the place they had just quitted, with its rough,
damp stone walls, its dark and gloomy passages, and the massy rudeness
of all its features.

"This is the passage made for his grace, between the palace and the
castle," said the sergeant-at-arms. "Let us haste on, my lord, for
fear he should chance to come along it."

Proceeding onwards, catching every now and then a glance at the gay
scene of tents without, as they passed the different windows, the
officer conducted his prisoner to the end of the passage, where they
found a door on either hand; and, opening that to the left, he ushered
the knight into the beautiful little building that had been
constructed as a temporary chapel for the court, while inhabiting the
palace before Guisnes.

"I know, my lord," said the officer, "that I may trust to your
knightly word and promise not to make any attempt to escape; for I
must not even leave a guard at the door, lest his grace the king
should pass, and find that I have put you here, which might move his
anger. I therefore leave you for a while, reposing full confidence in
your honour, and will take care to have the horses prepared, and be
back again before the hour of mass." Thus saying, he ascertained that
the other door was fastened, and left Sir Osborne in the chapel,
taking heed, notwithstanding his professions of reliance, to turn the
key upon him as he went out.

It matters little whether it be a palace or a dungeon wherein he
passes the few last hours of life, to the prisoner condemned to die,
unless he possesses one of those happy spirits that can, by the aid of
external objects, abstract their thoughts from all that is painful in
their fate. If he do, indeed, the things around may give him some
relief. So, however, could not Darnley; and in point of any mental
ease, he might just as well have been in the lowest dungeon of the
castle as in the splendid oratory where he now was. Yet feeling how
fruitless was the contemplation of his situation, how little but pain
he could derive from thought, and how unnerving to all his energies
was the memory of Constance de Grey, under the unhappy circumstances
of the present, he strove not to think; and gazed around him to divert
his mind from his wayward fortunes, by occupying it with the
glittering things around.

Indeed, as far as splendour went, that chapel might have vied with
anything that ever was devised. In length it was about fifty feet;
and, though built of wood, its architecture was in that style which we
are accustomed to call Gothic. Nothing, however, of the mere walls
appeared, for from the roof to the ground it was hung with cloth of
gold, over which fell various festoons of silk, breaking the straight
lines of the hangings. To the right and left, Sir Osborne remarked two
magnificent closets, appropriated, as he supposed, to the use of the
king and queen, where the same costly stuff that lined the rest of the
building was further enriched by a thick embroidery of precious
stones; each also had its particular altar, loaded, besides the pix,
the crucifix, and the candlesticks, with twelve large images of gold,
and a crowd of other ornaments.

Sir Osborne advanced, and fixed his eyes upon all the splendid things
that were there called in to give pomp and majesty to the worship of
the Most High; but he felt more strongly than ever, at that moment,
how it was all in vain; and that the small, calm tabernacle of the
heart is that wherein man may offer up the fittest prayer to his

Kneeling, however, on the step of the altar, he addressed his
petitions to heaven. He would not pray to be delivered from danger,
for that he thought cowardly; but he prayed that God would establish
his innocence and his honour; that God would protect and bless those
that he loved; and, if it were the Almighty's will he should fall
before his enemies, that God would be a support to his father and a
shield to Constance de Grey. Then rising from his knee, Darnley found
that his heart was lightened, and that he could look upon his future
fate with far more calmness than before.

At that moment the sound of trumpets and clarions met his ear from a
distance: gradually it swelled nearer and more near, with gay and
martial tones, and approached close to where he was, while shouts and
acclamations, and loud and laughing voices, mingled with the music,
strangely at discord with all that was passing in his heart. Presently
it grew fainter, and then ceased, though still he thought he could
hear the roar of the distant multitude, and now and then a shout; but
in a few minutes these also ceased, and, crossing his arms upon his
breast, he waited till the sergeant-at-arms should come to convey him
to Calais, to prison, perhaps ultimately to death.

In a few minutes some distant steps were heard; they came nearer,
nearer still; the key was turned in the lock, and the door opened.


             With shame and sorrow filled:
     Shame for his folly; sorrow out of time
     For plotting an unprofitable crime.--Dryden.

We must once more take our readers back, if it be but for the space of
a couple of hours, and introduce them into the bedchamber of a king: a
place, we believe, as yet sacred from the sacrilegious foot of any

In the castle of Guisnes, then, and in the sleeping-room of Henry the
Eighth, King of England, stood, exactly opposite the window, a large
square bed, covered with a rich coverlet of arras, which, hanging down
on each side, swept the floor with its golden fringe. High overhead,
attached to the wall, was a broad and curiously-wrought canopy,
whereon the laborious needle of some British Penelope had traced, with
threads of gold, the rare and curious history of that famous knight,
Alexander the Great, who was there represented with lance in rest,
dressed in a suit of Almaine rivet armour, overthrowing King Darius;
who, for his part, being in a mighty fright, was whacking on his
clumsy elephant with his sceptre, while the son of Philip, with more
effect, appeared pricking him up under the ribs with the point of his

In one corner of the chamber, ranged in fair and goodly order, were to
be seen several golden lavers and ewers, together with fine diapers
and other implements for washing; while hard by was an open closet
filled with linen and plate of various kinds, with several Venice
glasses, a mirror, and a bottle of scented waters. In addition to
these pieces of furniture appeared four wooden settles of carved oak,
which, with two large rich chairs of ivory and gold, made up, at that
day, the furniture of a king's bed-chamber.

The square lattice window was half-open, letting in the sweet breath
of the summer morning upon Henry himself, who, with his head
half-covered with a black velvet nightcap, embroidered with gold,
still lay in bed, supporting himself on his elbow, and listening to a
long detail of grievances poured forth from the rotund mouth of honest
Jekin Groby, who, by the king's command, encumbered with his weighty
bulk one of the ivory chairs by the royal bedside.

Somewhat proud of having had a lord for the companion of his perils,
the worthy clothier enlarged mightily upon the seizure of himself and
Lord Darnley by Sir Payan Wileton, seasoning his discourse pretty
thickly with "_My lord did_," and "_My lord said_," but omitting
altogether to mention him by the name of Sir Osborne, thinking it
would be a degradation to his high companionship so to do; though, had
he done so but once, it would have saved many of the misfortunes that
afterwards befel.

Henry heard him calmly, till he related the threats which Sir Payan
held out to his prisoner, in that interview of which Jekin had been an
unperceived witness; then starting up, "Mother of God!" cried the
king, "what has become of the young gallant? Where is he? ha, man?
Now, heaven defend us! the base traitor has not murdered him! ha?"

"Lord 'a mercy! you've kicked all the clothes off your grace's
worship," cried Jekin: "let me kiver you up! you'll catch a malplexy,
you will!"

"God's life! answer me, man!" cried Henry. "What has become of the
young lord, Osborne Darnley?--ha?"

"Bless your grace! that's just what I cannot tell you," replied Jekin;
"for I never saw him after we got out."

"Send for the traitor! have him brought instantly!" exclaimed the
king. "See who knocks! Let no one in! Who dares knock so loud at my

Proceeding round the king's bed, Jekin opened the door, against which
some one had been thumping with very little ceremony; but in a moment
the valiant clothier started back, exclaiming, "Lord 'a mercy! it's a
great man with a drawn sword!"

"A drawn sword!" cried Henry, starting up, and snatching his own
weapon, which lay beside him. But at that moment Francis ran in, and,
holding his blade over the king, commanded him to surrender.

"I yield! I yield!" exclaimed Henry, delighted with the jest. "Now, by
my life, my good brother of France, thou has shown me the best turn
ever prince showed another. I yield me your prisoner; and, as sign of
my faith, I beg you to accept this jewel." So saying, he took from his
pillow, where it had been laid the night before, a rich bracelet of
emeralds, and clasped it on the French king's arm.

"I receive it willingly," answered Francis; "but for my love and
amity, and also as my prisoner, you must wear this chain;" and,
unclasping a jewelled collar from his neck, he laid it down beside the
English monarch.

Many were the civilities and reciprocations of friendly speeches that
now ensued; and Henry, about to rise, would fain have called an
attendant to assist him, but Francis took the office on himself.
"Come, I will be your valet for this morning," said he; "no one but I
shall give you your shirt; for I have come over alone to beg some
boons of you."

"They are granted from this moment," replied Henry. "But do you say
you came alone? Do you mean unattended?"

"With but one faithful friend," answered the French king; "one who not
a week ago saved my life by the valour of his arm. 'Tis the best
knight that ever charged a lance, and the noblest heart: he is your
subject, too."

"Mine!" cried Henry, with some surprise. "How is he called? What is
his name? Say, France, and we will love him for his service to you."

"First, hear how he did serve me," replied Francis; and, while the
English monarch threaded the intricate mazes of the toilet, he
narrated the whole of his adventure with Shoenvelt, which not a little
interested Henry, the knight-errantry of whose disposition took fire
at the vivid recital of the French king, and almost made him fancy
himself on the spot.

"A gallant knight!" cried he at length, as the King of France detailed
the exploits of Sir Osborne; "a most gallant knight, on my life! But
say, my brother, what is his name? 'Slife, man! let us hear it. I long
to know him."

"His name," replied Francis, with an indifferent tone, but at the same
time fixing his eyes on Henry's face, to see what effect his answer
would produce; "his name is Sir Osborne Maurice."

A cloud came over the countenance of the English king. "Ha!" said he,
thoughtfully, jealous perhaps in some degree that the splendid
chivalrous qualities of the young knight should be transferred to the
court of France. "It is like him. It is very like him. For courage and
for feats of arms, I, who have seen many good knights, have rarely
seen his equal. Pity it is that he should be a traitor."

"Nay, nay, my good brother of England," answered Francis; "I will
avouch him no traitor, but of unimpeachable loyalty. All I regret is,
that his love for your noble person, and for the court of England,
should make him wish to quit me. But to the point. My first boon
regards him. He seeks not to return to your royal favour with honour
stained and faith doubtful, but he claims your gracious permission to
defy his enemies, and to prove their falsehood with his arm. If they
be men, let them meet him in fair field; if they be women or
churchmen, lame, or in any way incompetent according to the law of
arms, let them have a champion, the best in France or England. To
regain your favour and to prove his innocence, he will defy them be
they who they may; and here at your feet I lay down his gage of
battle, so confident in his faith and worth, that I myself will be his
godfather in the fight. He waits here in the corridor to know your
royal pleasure."

Henry thought for a moment. He was not at all willing that the court
of Francis, already renowned for its chivalry, should possess still
another knight of so much prowess and skill as he could not but admit
in Sir Osborne. Yet the accusations that had been laid against him,
and which nobody who considers them--the letter of the Duke of
Buckingham, and the evidence of Wilson the bailiff--can deny were
plausible, still rankled in the king's mind, notwithstanding the
partial explanation which Lady Katrine Bulmer had afforded respecting
the knight's influence with the Rochester rioters. Remembering,
however, that the whole or greater part of the information which
Wolsey had laid before him had been obtained, either directly or
indirectly, from Sir Payan Wileton, he at length replied, "By my
faith, I know not what to say: it is not wise to take the sword from
the hand of the law, and trust to private valour to maintain public
justice, more than we can avoid. But you, my royal brother, shall in
the present case decide. The accusations against this Sir Osborne
Maurice are many and heavy, but principally resting on the testimonies
produced by a certain wealthy and powerful knight, one Sir Payan
Wileton, who, though in other respects most assuredly a base and
disloyal villain, can have no enmity against Sir Osborne, and no
interest in seeking his ruin. Last night, by my order, this Sir Payan
was brought hither from Calais, on the accusations of that good fool
(pointing to Jekin Groby). You comprehend enough of our hard English
tongue to hear him examined yourself, and thus you shall judge. If you
find that there is cause to suspect Sir Payan and his witnesses,
though it be but in having given the slightest colour of falsehood to
their testimony, let Sir Osborne's arm decide his quarrel against the
other knight; but if their evidence be clear and indubitable, you
shall yield him to be judged by the English law. What say you? Is it
not just?"

The King of France at once agreed to the proposal, and Henry turned to
Jekin, who had stood by, listening with his mouth open, wonderfully
edified at hearing the two kings converse, though he understood not a
word of the language in which they spoke. "Fly to the page, man!"
cried the king; "tell him to bid those who have Sir Payan Wileton in
custody bring him hither instantly by the back-staircase; but first
send to the reverend lord cardinal, requiring his counsel in the
king's chamber. Haste! dally not, I say; I would have them here

Jekin hurried to obey; and after he had delivered the order, returned
to the king's chamber, where Henry, while he completed the adjustment
of his apparel, related to Francis the nature of the accusation
against Sir Osborne, and the proofs that had been adduced of it. The
King of France, however, with a mind less susceptible of suspicion,
would not believe a word of it, maintaining that the witnesses were
suborned and that the letter was a forgery; and contended it would
most certainly appear that Sir Payan had some deep interest in the
ruin of the knight.

The sound of many steps in the ante-chamber soon announced that some
one had arrived. "Quick!" cried Henry to Jekin Groby; "get behind the
arras, good Jekin. After we have despatched this first business, I
would ask the traitor some questions before he sees thee. Ensconce
thee, man! ensconce thee quick!"

At the king's command, poor Jekin lifted up the corner of the arras by
the side of the bed, and hid himself behind; but though a considerable
space existed between the hangings and the wall, the worthy clothier
having, as we have hinted, several very protuberant contours in his
person, his figure was somewhat discernible still, swelling out the
stomach of King Solomon and the hip of the Queen of Sheba, who were
represented in the tapestry as if one was crooked and the other had
the dropsy.

Scarcely was he concealed when the page threw open the door, and
Cardinal Wolsey entered in haste, somewhat surprised at being called
to the king's chamber at so early an hour; but the sight of the French
king sufficiently explained the summons, and he advanced, bending low
with a proud affectation of humility.

"God bless and shield your graces both!" said he. "I feared some evil
by this early call; but now that I find the occasion was one of joy, I
do not regret the haste that apprehension gave me."

"Still we have business, my good Wolsey," replied Henry, "and of some
moment. My brother of France here espouses much the cause of the Sir
Osborne Maurice who lately sojourned at the court, and won the
good-will of all, both by his feats of arms and his high-born and
noble demeanour; who, on the accusations given against him to you,
lord cardinal, by Sir Payan Wileton, was banished from the court; nay,
judged worthy of attachment for treason."

The king, in addressing Wolsey, instead of speaking in French, which
had been the language used between him and Francis, had returned to
his native tongue; and good Jekin Groby, hearing what passed
concerning Sir Osborne Maurice, was seized with an intolerable desire
to have his say too.

"Lord 'a mercy!" cried he, popping his head from behind the tapestry,
"your grace's worship don't know----"

"Silence!" cried Henry, in a voice that made poor Jekin shrink into
nothing: "said I not to stay there--ha?"

The worthy clothier drew back his head behind the arras, like a
frightened tortoise retracting its noddle within the shelter of its
shell; and Henry proceeded to explain to Wolsey, in French, what had
passed between himself and Francis.

The cardinal was, at that moment, striving hard for the King of
France's favour; nor was his resentment towards Sir Payan at all
abated, though the arrangements of the first meeting between the kings
had hitherto delayed its effects. Thus all at first seemed favourable
to Sir Osborne, and the minister himself began to soften the evidence
against him, when Sir Payan, escorted by a party of archers and a
sergeant-at-arms, was conducted into the king's chamber. The guard
drew up across the door of the anteroom; and the knight, with a pale
but determined countenance, and a firm heavy step, advanced into the
centre of the room, and made his obeisance to the kings. Henry, now
dressed, drew forward one of the ivory chairs for Francis, and the
sergeant hastened to place the other by its side for the British
monarch; when, both being seated, with Wolsey by their side, the whole
group would have formed as strange but powerful a picture as ever
employed the pencil of an artist. The two magnificent monarchs in the
pride of their youth and greatness, somewhat shadowed by the eastern
wall of the room; the grand and dignified form of the cardinal, with
his countenance full of thought and mind; the stern, determined aspect
of Sir Payan, his whole figure possessing that sort of rigidity
indicative of a violent and continued mental effort, with the full
light streaming harshly through the open casement upon his pale
cheek and haggard eye, and passing on to the king's bed, and the
dressing-robe he had cast off upon it, showing the strange scene in
which Henry's impetuosity had caused such a conclave to be held: these
objects formed the foreground; while the sergeant-at-arms standing
behind the prisoner, and the guard drawn up across the doorway,
completed the picture; till, gliding in between the arches, the
strange figure of Sir Cesar the astrologer, with his cheeks sunken and
livid, and his eye lighted up by a kind of wild maniacal fire, entered
the room, and, taking a place close on the right hand of Henry, added
a new and curious feature to the already extraordinary scene.

"Sir Payan Wileton," said Henry, "many and grievous are the crimes
laid to your charge, and of which your own conscience must accuse you
as loudly as the living voices of your fellow-subjects; at least, so
by the evidence brought forward against you, it appears to us at this
moment. Most of these charges we shall leave to be investigated by the
common course of law; but there are some points touching which, as
they involve our own personal conduct and direction, we shall question
you ourself: to which questions we charge you, on your allegiance, to
answer truly and without concealment."

"To your grace's questions," replied Sir Payan, boldly, "I will answer
for your pleasure, though I recognise here no established court of
law; but first, I will say that the crimes charged against me ought to
be heavier than I, in my innocence believe them, to justify the rigour
with which I have been treated."

An ominous frown gathered on the king's brow. "Ha!" cried he,
forgetting the calm dignity with which he had at first addressed the
knight. "No established court of law! Thou sayest well: we have not
the power to question thee! Ha! who then is the king? Who is the head
of all magistrates? Who holds in his hand the power of all the law? By
our crown! we have a mind to assemble such a court of law as within
this half-hour shall have thy head struck off upon the green!"

Sir Payan was silent, and Wolsey replied to the latter part of what he
had said with somewhat more calmness than Henry had done to the
former. "You have been treated, sir," said he, "with not more rigour
than you merited; nor with more than is justified by the usual current
of the law. It is on affidavit before me, as chancellor of this
kingdom, that you both instigated and aided the Lady Constance de
Grey, a ward of court, to fly from the protection and government of
the law; and, therefore, attachment issued against your person, and
you stand committed for contempt. You had better, sir, sue for grace
and pardon than aggravate your offence by such unbecoming demeanour."

"Thou hast said well and wisely, my good Wolsey," joined in the king,
whose heat had somewhat subsided. "Standing thus reproved, Sir Payan
Wileton, answer touching the charges you have brought against one Sir
Osborne Maurice; and if you speak truly, to our satisfaction, you
shall have favour and lenity at our hands. Say, sir, do you still hold
to that accusation?"

"All I have to reply to your grace," answered the knight, resolved,
even if he fell himself, to work out his hatred against Sir Osborne,
with that vindictive rancour that the injurer always feels towards the
injured; "all that I have to reply is, that what I said was true; and
that if I had stated all that I suspected, as well as what I knew, I
should have made his treason look much blacker than it does even now."

"Do you understand, France?" demanded Henry, turning to Francis:
"shall I translate his answers, to show you his true meaning?"

The King of France, however, signified that he comprehended perfectly;
and Sir Payan, after a moment's thought, proceeded.

"I should suppose your grace could have no doubt left upon that
traitor's guilt; for the charge against him rests, not on my
testimony, but upon the witness of various indifferent persons, and
upon papers in the handwriting of his friends and abettors."

"Villain!" muttered Sir Cesar, between his teeth; "hypocritical,
snake-like villain!" Both the king and Sir Payan heard him; but Henry
merely raised his hand, as if commanding silence, while the eyes of
the traitorous knight flashed a momentary fire, as they met the glance
of the old man, and he proceeded. "I had no interest, your grace, in
disclosing the plot I did; though, had I done wisely, I would have
held my peace, for it will make many my enemies, even many more than I
dreamed of then. I have since discovered that I then only knew one
half of those that are implicated. I know them all now," he continued,
fixing his eye on Sir Cesar; "but as I find what reward follows
honesty, I shall bury the whole within my own breast."

"On these points, sir, we will leave our law to deal with you,"
replied Henry: "there are punishments for those that conceal treason;
and, by my halidame, no favour shall you find in us, unless you make a
free and full confession! Then our grace may touch you, but not else.
But to the present question, my bold sir. Did you ever see Sir Osborne
Maurice before the day that he was arrested by your order, on the
charge of having excited the Cornishmen to revolt? And, before God, we
enjoin you--say, are you excited against him by feelings of interest,
hatred, or revenge?"

"On my life," replied Sir Payan, boldly, "I never saw him but on that
one day; and as I hope for salvation in heaven"--and here he made a
hypocritical grimace of piety--"I have no one reason, but pure
honesty, to accuse him of these crimes."

A low groan burst from behind the tapestry at this reply, and Henry
gave an angry glance towards the worthy clothier's place of
concealment; but Francis, calling back his attention, begged him to
ask the knight in English whether he had ever known Sir Osborne
Maurice by any other name, or in any other character.

Sir Cesar's eyes sparkled, and Sir Payan's cheek turned pale, as Henry
put the question; but he boldly replied, "Never, so help me heaven! I
never saw him, or heard of him, or knew him, by any other name than
Osborne Maurice."

"Oh, you villanous great liar! Oh, you hypocritical thief!" shouted
Jekin Groby, darting out from behind the tapestry, unable to contain
himself any longer. "I don't care, I don't care a groat for any one;
but I won't hear you tell his grace's worship such a string of lies,
all as fat and as well tacked together as Christmas sausages. Lord 'a
mercy! I'll tell your graces, both of you, how it was; for you don't
know, that's clear. This here Sir Osborne Maurice, that you are asking
about, is neither more nor less than that Lord Darnley that I was
telling your grace of this morning. Lord! now, didn't I hear him tell
that sweet young lady, Mistress Constance de Grey, all about it; how
he could not bear to live any longer abroad in these foreign parts,
and how he had come back under the name of Sir Osborne Maurice, all
for to get your grace's love as an adventurous knight? And then didn't
that Sir Payan--yes, you great thief! you did, for I heard you--didn't
he come and crow over him, and say that now he had got him in his
power? And then didn't he offer to let him go if he would sign some
papers? And then, when he would not, didn't he swear a great oath that
he would murther him, saying, 'he would make his tenure good by the
extinction of the race of Darnley?' You did, you great rogue! you know
you did! And, Lord 'a mercy! to think of your going about to tell his
grace such lies! your own king, too, who should never hear anything
but the truth! God forgive you, for you're a great sinner, and the
devils will never keep company with you when you go to purgatory, but
will kick you out into the other place, which is worse still, folks
say. And now, I humbly beg your grace's pardon, and will go back
again, if you like, behind the hangings; but I couldn't abear to hear
him cheat you like that."

The sudden appearance of Jekin Groby, and the light he cast upon the
subject, threw the whole party into momentary confusion. Sir Payan's
resolution abandoned him; his knees shook, and his very lips grew
pale. Sir Cesar gazed upon him with triumphant eyes, exclaiming, "Die,
die! what hast thou left but to die?" At the same time Wolsey
questioned Jekin Groby, who told the same straightforward tale; and
Henry explained the whole to Francis, whose comprehension of the
English tongue did not quite comprise the jargon of the worthy

Sir Payan Wileton, however, resolved to make one last despairing
effort both to save himself and to ruin his enemies; for the
diabolical spirit of revenge was as deeply implanted in his bosom as
that of self-preservation. He thought then for a moment, glanced
rapidly over his situation, and cast himself on his knee before the
king. "Great and noble monarch!" said he, in a slow, impressive voice,
"I own my fault--I acknowledge my crime; but it is not such as you
think it. Hear me but out, and you yourself shall judge whether you
will grant me mercy or show me rigour. I confess, then, that I had
entered as deeply as others into the treasonable plot I have betrayed
against your throne and life; nay, more--that I would never have
divulged it, had I not found that the Lord Darnley had, under the name
of Sir Osborne Maurice, become the Duke of Buckingham's chief agent,
and was to be rewarded by the restitution of Chilham Castle, for which
some vague indemnity was proposed to me hereafter. On bearing it, I
dissembled my resentment; and pretending to enter more heartily than
ever into the scheme, I found that the ambitious duke reckoned as his
chief hope, in case of war, on the skill and chivalry of this Lord
Darnley, who promised by his hand to seat him on the throne. I
learned, moreover, the names of all the conspirators, amongst whom
that old man is one;" and he pointed to Sir Cesar, who gazed upon him
with a smile of contempt and scorn, whose intensity had something of
sublime. "Thirsting for revenge," proceeded Sir Payan, "and with my
heart full of rage, I commanded four of my servants to stop the
private courier of the duke, when I knew he was charged with letters
concerning this Sir Osborne Maurice, and thus I obtained those papers
I placed in the hands of my lord cardinal----"

"But how shall we know they are not forgeries?" cried Henry. "Your
honour, sir, is so gone, and your testimony so suspicious, that we may
well suppose those letters cunning imitations of the good duke's hand.
We have heard of such things--ay, marry have we."

"Herein, happily, your grace can satisfy yourself and prove my truth,"
replied Sir Payan; "send for the servants whose names I will give,
examine them, put them to the torture if 'you will; and if you wring
not from them that, on the twenty-ninth of March, they stopped, by my
command, the courier of the Duke of Buckingham, and took from him his
bag of letters, condemn me to the stake. But mark me, King of England!
I kneel before you pleading for life; grant it to me, with but my own
hereditary property, and Buckingham, with all the many traitors that
are now aiming at your life and striving for your crown, shall fall
into your hand, and you shall have full evidence against them. I will
instantly disclose all their names, and give you proof against their
chief, that to-morrow you can reward his treason with the axe, nor
fear to be called unjust. But if you refuse me your royal promise,
sacredly given here before your brother king--to yield me life, and
liberty, and lands, as soon as I have fulfilled my word--I will go to
my death in silence, like the wolf, and never will you be able to
prove anything against them; for that letter is nothing without my
testimony to point it aright."

"You are bold!" said Henry; "you are very bold! but our subjects' good
and the peace of our country may weigh with us. What think you,
Wolsey?" And for a moment or two he consulted in a low tone with the
cardinal and the King of France. "I believe, my liege," said Wolsey,
whose hatred towards Buckingham was of the blindest virulence; "I
believe that your grace will never be able to prove his treasons on
the duke without this man's help. Perhaps you had better promise."

Francis bit his lip and was silent; but Henry, turning to Sir Payan,
replied, "The tranquillity of our realm and the happiness of our
people overcome our hatred of your crimes; and therefore we promise,
that if by your evidence treason worthy of death be proved upon Edward
Duke of Buckingham, you shall be free in life, in person, and in

"Never!" cried the voice of Sir Cesar, mounting into a tone of
thunder; "never!" And springing forward, he caught Sir Payan by the
throat, grappled with him but for an instant, with a maniacal vigour,
and drawing the small dagger he always carried, plunged it into the
heart of the knight, with such force that one might have heard the
blow of the hilt against his ribs. The whole was done in a moment,
before any one was aware; and the red blood and the dark spirit
rushing forth together, with a loud groan the traitor fell prone upon
the ground; while Sir Cesar, without a moment's pause, turned the
dagger against his own bosom, and drove it in up to the very haft.

Wolsey drew back in horror and affright. Francis and Henry started up,
laying their hands upon their swords; Jekin Groby crept behind the
arras; and the guards rushed in to seize the slayer; but Sir Cesar
waved them back with the proud and dignified air of one who feels that
earthly power has over him no further sway. "What fear ye?" said he,
turning to the kings, and still holding the poniard tight against his
bosom, as if to restrain the spirit from breathing forth through the
wound. "There is no offence in the dead or in the dying. Hear me, King
of England! and hear the truth, which thou wouldst never have heard
from that false caitiff. Yet I have little time; the last moments of
existence speed with fast wings towards another shore: give me a seat,
for I am faint."

They instantly placed for him one of the settles; and after gazing
around for a moment with that sort of painful vacancy of eye that
speaks how the brain reels, he made an effort, and went on, though
less coherently. "All he has said is false. I am on the brink of
another world, and I say it is false as the hell to which he is gone.
Osborne Darnley, the good, the noble, and the true--the son of my best
and oldest friend--knew of no plot, heard of no treason. He was in
England but two days when he fell into that traitor's hands. He never
saw Buckingham but once. The Osborne Maurice named in the duke's
letter is not he; one far less worthy."

"Who then is he?" cried the king impatiently. "Give me to know him, if
you would have me believe. Never did I hear of such a name but in
years long past, an abettor of Perkyn Warbeck. Who then is this Sir
Osborne Maurice--ha? Mother of God! name him!"

"I--I--I--King of England!" cried the old man. "I, who, had he been
guided by me, would have taught Richard King of England, whom you
style Perkyn Warbeck, to wrench the sceptre from the hand of your
usurping father; I, whose child was murdered by that dead traitor, in
cold blood, after the rout at Taunton; I--I it was who predicted to
Edward Bohun that his head should be highest in the realm of England:
I it is who predict it still!" As he spoke the last words, the old man
suddenly drew forth the blade of the dagger from his breast, upon
which a full stream of blood instantly gushed forth and deluged the
ground. Still struggling with the departing spirit, he started
on his feet--put his hand to his brow. "I come! I come!" cried
he--reeled--shuddered--and fell dead beside his enemy.


     They all, as glad as birds of joyous prime,
     Thence led her forth, about her dancing round.--Spenser.

The bustle, the confusion, the clamour, the questions, and the
explanations that ensued, we shall leave the reader to imagine,
satisfied that his vivid fancy will do far more justice to such a
scene than our worn-out pen. When the bodies of Sir Payan Wileton and
his companion in death had been removed from the chamber of the king,
and some sand strewed upon the ground to cover the gory memories that
such deeds had left behind, order and tranquillity began to regain
their dominion.

"By my faith! a bloody morning's entertainment have we had," said
Francis. "But you are happy, my good brother of England, in having
traitors that will thus despatch each other, and cheat the headsman of
his due. However, from what I have gathered, Osborne Darnley, the
Knight of Burgundy, can no longer seem a traitor in the eyes of any

"No, truly, my gracious lord," replied Wolsey, willing to pleasure the
King of France. "He stands freed from all spot or blemish, and well
deserves the kingly love of either noble monarch."

"'Slife! my good lord cardinal," cried Henry, "speak for yourself
alone! Now, I say, on my soul, he is still a most deep and egregious
traitor; not only, like that Sir Payan Wileton, in having planned his
treason, but in having executed it."

"Nay, how so?" cried Francis, startled at this new charge. "In what is
he a traitor now?"

"In having aided Francis King of France," replied Henry, smiling, "to
storm our castle of Guisnes, and take his liege lord and sovereign

"Oh! if that be the case," cried Francis, "I give him up to your royal
indignation; but still we have a boon to ask, which our gracious
brother will not refuse."

"Name it! name it!" exclaimed Henry. "By St. Mary! it shall go to pay
our ransom, whatever it be."

"You have in your court," replied Francis, "one Lady Constance de
Grey, who, though your born subject, is no less vassal to the crown of
France; owing homage for the counties of Boissy and the Val de Marne,
assured to your late subject the Lord de Grey by Charles the Eighth
when he gave him in marriage Constance Countess of Boissy, as a reward
for services rendered in Italy----"

"We see your object, oh most Christian king!" cried Henry, laughing.
"We see your object! What a messenger of Cupid are you! Well, have