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Title: Legends of Lancashire
Author: Landreth, Peter
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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                              LEGENDS

                                OF

                            LANCASHIRE.


                 “Round the fire such Legends go.”

                           SIR W. SCOTT.


                              LONDON:

                WHITTAKER, AND CO., AVE MARIA LANE,

                                AND

                  R. COCKER, MARKET-PLACE, WIGAN.


                             MDCCCXLI.



                                TO

                       THE RIGHT HONOURABLE

                           LADY STANLEY,

                    THE “LEGENDS OF LANCASHIRE”

                               ARE,

               WITH HER LADYSHIP’S KIND PERMISSION,

                      RESPECTFULLY DEDICATED.



CONTENTS.


                                    PAGE.

  The Battle of Wigan Lane            6

  The Witches of Furness             69

  The Devil’s Wall                   91

  The Prophetess and the Rebel      155

  The Spectre Coach                 229

  The Cross and Lady Mabel          243

  Lancaster Castle                  303



PREFACE.


A _Preface_ before an Introduction seems sufficiently impudent.

It is like popping our _face_ in at the door for a short
reconnoitre, before we introduce ourselves. Be it so!

The Chronicler of the “Legends of Lancashire” has no apology to
offer, except to his palsied hands, for taking up the pen. He is
not a Paul Pry, appearing before the public, with his perpetual
non-intrusion plea. He imagines that his motives for writing the
Legends are distinctly enough stated in the following Prospectus.

“Lancashire, of all Counties in England, is the most interesting
to the antiquarian. Its rivers once flowed with blood;--its houses
were towers, castles, or abbeys;--its men were heroes;--its ladies
were witches! But now, what a change! The county is commercial.
Where the trumpet of war called Arthur to his victories, the noisy
engine is roaring. The fortresses have become factories; the
abbeys--workhouses;--the heroes--clerks, merchants, and bankers.
The ladies, indeed, profess to be what they were in former ages,
and still call themselves ‘Lancashire Witches.’ It may not be
safe for the ‘Chronicler,’ aged as he is, to speak lightly of
the power of their spells; they may _yet_ be of a deadly nature
to him--for witches love revenge. Report says, however, that
they cannot use the broomstick on which their ancestresses were
accustomed to perform their nightly wanderings in the air; but the
Chronicler is not so ungallant as to conclude, that it is because
they have broken it over their husbands’ shoulders. The witches
of a former age were accustomed, with awful incantations, to mix
their drugs:--pooh!--those of this age infuse a cup of comfortable
tea--but surely not to chatter scandal over it.

“Alas! the age of chivalry and romance is gone from Lancashire. Its
bones are in the tomb of history;--but some are too gay for such
_grave_ meditations. Legends alone can bring it to view, amidst all
the light of poetry; and their wand of enchantment may call into
existence a creation, beautiful yet real.

“The Chronicler of the forthcoming ‘Legends’ undertakes to present
his readers with a series upon individuals, events, and places,
all connected with a former age. Charles, with cavaliers of every
shade:--roundheads, from Cromwell down to his groom:--the old
tower, wherein were gallant soldiers and fair ladies:--the field
of battle fiercely contested;--all shall appear, described, he
flatters himself, with accuracy and faithfulness. He shall never
sacrifice historical facts, or characters, to fiction. History,
accurately sketched, he believes to be the truest and most
beautiful romance, and there is enough of that in Lancashire to
dispense with false colour and glitter. Places, dates, and names,
as well as characters, shall be accurate.

“He begs leave to say one word of himself. He is an old man, and
this he conceives to be an advantage. The torch of tradition is
most becoming in a trembling hand; and its light falls with a
strange harmony over the white locks of the Chronicler, while he
totters on through the regions of the past, long forgotten; and of
which he himself seems to be the genius.”

He candidly confesses that he has not yet fulfilled his promise.
That could not be done in the first volume. But the next shall be
a continuous series of Legends connected with the civil wars, and
illustrative of the characters of the opposing leaders. And in
these he shall avoid all discussions about the merits of Roundhead
and Cavalier. Vandyke might have given immortality to the features
of Cromwell, as well as those of Charles, without deciding on the
questions--ought Charles to have been beheaded, and was Cromwell
an usurper. So the Chronicler undertakes, even in his portraits
of leading characters, and in his sketches of events, to steer
clear of party spirit. Still the pledge does not prohibit him
from weighing the military and other talents of their respective
leaders. Should he say that Cromwell, beyond all comparison as a
man of genius and a soldier, was above Charles, it must not be
inferred that he is a Roundhead. Or should he paint Charles as a
more handsome and attractive man than Noll with the wart, he must
not be called a Cavalier.

The Chronicler had no such design as has been attributed to him,
of “mercilessly blackening the character of Cromwell.” The critic,
evidently, had been gazing long upon some very sunny portrait
of the Protector, and, therefore, when he came to a more sober
one, his eyes being still dazzled, naturally thought it dark and
“black.” Besides, really the man of the newspaper must not get
deadly angry at the hint that his eyes are none of the best.

That the Chronicler is free from any such design may be seen by the
high character which Cromwell sustains in the Legend of “Lancaster
Castle.” If it be thought that there is any contradiction between
that and the “Battle of Wigan Lane,” it is sufficient to reply,
that the Cromwell of 1644, and the Cromwell of 1651 are very
different personages indeed. When first he came into notice, none
of his enemies could suspect the sincerity of his profession of
republican principles, but before the above-mentioned battle, even
some of his friends had abandoned their confidence in his honesty.

There now only remains to say a few words regarding the contents
of this volume. The Legends are all founded on authenticated
traditions, and at the end of the work the documents shall be
given. It is singular that the most improbable of them--the
“Devil’s Wall,” although a most perfect tradition in all its parts,
has never been known beyond the immediate vicinity of Ormskirk. The
Legend founded upon it follows the tradition without one deviation
except in the name and occupation of Gideon Chiselwig. The wall may
still be seen. The “Witches of Furness,” are the only two ladies
whom the Chronicler knows, that are unlike to the real Lancashire
Witches, and yet, the Legend is true. The neighbourhood of Furness,
it may be supposed, could produce a more noble kind of Witchcraft,
than the far-famed Pendle-hill. The latter abounds with nothing
but witches, the down upon whose lips might have formed the brooms
on which they careered through the air, when they had failed to
throw their bridle over some sleepy wretch, and transform him into
a horse. But a Legend of this kind of witchcraft shall afterwards
be given. The “Cross and Lady Mabel,” although founded on the same
genealogical account as Mr. Roby’s “Mab’s Cross,” is essentially
and altogether different in its details; and besides, gives the
tradition of the erection of the cross, which has, hitherto,
been unknown. And here the Chronicler returns his thanks to that
gentleman for the pleasure which his “Traditions of Lancashire”
have afforded him. Lancashire abounds with so many traditions, that
five or six Chroniclers might each glean a few volumes. This forms
the only excuse for following Mr. Roby.

To the County Press the best thanks of the Chronicler are due, for
the high approbation they have bestowed on an anonymous work.



INTRODUCTION.


The Chronicler of the forthcoming “Legends” is, perhaps, more of
an Antiquary, in disposition and habits, than many whose names
are well known in Societies, which have been formed for objects
of interesting research. He inhabits an old castellated building,
which was both a fortress and a mansion, in some former age. Time
has passed roughly over its proportions: he has even broken the
dial, which marked out his own flight. Still, many relics of the
past are left: and limbs of warlike images, and rude inscriptions,
partly effaced, may yet be seen. The chisel, or even the plaster
of modern art, have never approached its walls. No flower has
sought shelter amidst its mantling ivy:--shelter, it should never
find,--it would instantly be rooted up. Within, no partitions have
been erected, to silence the sacred echoes of the spacious hall.
The spirits of sound, which tenant the dwelling, would take flight
upon the slightest change. No carpet of richest manufacture, has
dared to cover the silent footsteps of the fair and the brave,
who once to the minstrel’s harp, and the sigh of love, trod many
a gallant measure in the dance. The windows on the terrace, when
opened, receive no sound from the distance, save the old echo
of the lover’s lute, greeting the maiden as she listened in her
chamber, with fluttering heart, to the fond tale. When seen from
without, her handkerchief seems to float--the signal of peace and
hope. To the Chronicler, there is no silence in these deserted
scenes. From him, the sixteenth century has never departed. The
echoes are still of merriment and war. Knights and squires,
successful in wooing or fighting, move before him. He mingles,
with the delight of reality, in the banquet and the dance--and
then rushes to the siege and the battle. Could the reader obtain
admission to his apartment he would, as by a flash of lightning,
be favoured with a glance--it might be transient to his eye, but
it could never be darkened in his mind--of olden times. He would
converse with one, who has never lived for modern change, and in
whose white locks, and obsolete dress, he should behold a living
specimen of a former century, as if it had literally descended from
that time. The Chronicler must be excused for speaking of himself.
Who _could_ forbid any of the followers of Cromwell, or Charles,
to arise--the one to recite with solemn countenance and lengthened
drawl; and the other with a dissipated air of pleasant vice--their
respective achievements, whilst their manner, and costume are
thoroughly scanned? What cavalier would ban the Protector, even
Nol with his nose and ominous wart, from again appearing, to
reveal to us those stern and inflexible features, and to discourse
to us, in one of those intricate speeches, which none could
understand,--for, like his own dark and wily spirit, they baffled
all knowledge? Or what republican could say “nay,” as the king’s
court was brought into view, with the handsome, though melancholy
martyr, at its head, surrounded as he was, unfortunately, by
gilded butterflies? In like manner, the Chronicler hopes, that no
one _can_ be inclined to prevent a specimen of these times from
intruding himself, for a little on the attention of his readers.

He is now seated, writing from an inkhorn said to have been
the property of General Fairfax; and leaning on a table, once
heavily laden with a feast, of which royalists and republicans
alike partook, on a day of truce. Other relics of that time are
around him; but there is one dearer than all besides--a lovely
daughter--a descendant, by the mother’s side, of an ancient family
of distinction, from whom Charles II., during his wanderings,
received shelter, and subsequently, assistance to mount the throne.
She sings to him the ballads of other days, and they revive again
in the echo of her music. For her, as well as for her father, this
is but the sixteenth century; and though only in her seventeenth
summer, she rejects all the amusements of more modern times.
He has resolved, out of fondness for the days that are gone, as
well as affection for his daughter, that no lover fresh from
the approbation of his tailor, and the flattery of his mirror,
practised in bows and compliments acquired at the theatre--shall
ever find admission to his beloved Jane. He would sooner give her
to an ourang-outang than a fop. The favoured suitor must, indeed,
be handsome, learned, and brave; he must breathe a song of love
in the good old style, beneath her lattice, when the moon and
stars are shedding their light over the old mansion. Nor must he
be an Antiquary, in the modern sense of the word. He may enter
with the long essay, which he read to the British Association, in
his pocket, peeping out instead of the handkerchief of the dandy;
he may drag behind his name, all the letters of the alphabet, as
honorary titles; the Chronicler shall lead him to the door by
a way, to detail the curiosities of which, must obtain for him
additional laurels. He shall, to a certainty, likewise qualify him
for describing the strength of an oak cudgel. Nor must he be a
silly Poet, a thing distilled of sighs, flames, water, and earth,
who should have lived in the moon to address sonnets to her, and
not on earth, since the envious clouds prevent her from seeing and
reading them, as well as the brown paper of a garret window. Should
any such find his way here, the Chronicler promises to compliment
his head with a salutation from a good round of old England’s beef.
No, no, the favoured suitor must be of a different genus; and his
lute, moreover, must have no resemblance to the sighing guitar of
Venice, or the rude whistle of England. And the Chronicler has
sometimes been of opinion, that his daughter has made the same
resolution. Of late, he has caught the sound of a manly serenade,
and he has observed her blush, and occasionally leave the room.
Nay, he has met her rambling through the adjoining thickets, with
the son of an old friend, whose romance is in the past, and he
has blessed them both. Yes, handsome and talented is ----. He had
written the name, when Jane, looking over his shoulder in womanly
curiosity, beheld it. Shrieking, she immediately snatched the pen
from his hand, and scratched through it the above stroke, and gave
her fond old father a playful blow: yet now she seems thoughtful
and sorry for having violated that dear name, by blotting it, and
is half inclined to rewrite it herself. Fear not! Fate will draw no
such ominous mark over it, and all that binds it to you is love and
happiness.

To confide a secret to the reader, since the last sentence was
written, the Chronicler has received a hint that the proof sheets
of the following “Legends” may be read by his son-in-law! Nay, this
very night, the lovers shall be formally betrothed, over a Bible,
which has been stained by the blood of its former possessor--a holy
martyr--and the sword of an old English patriot shall be placed in
the young man’s hand; therewith to defend religion--a wife--and a
country.

       *       *       *       *       *

The ceremony is performed, and both press the old man to read the
first Legend. He gives his assent, and, at the same time, orders
chairs to be set for his dear friends, the Public; whom he has
respectfully invited, and whose attention he now humbly craves to



THE LEGEND OF THE BATTLE OF WIGAN LANE.


Few battlements now remain, of one of the best fortified castles
that ever defended Lancashire, and the King. But two centuries ago,
and Houghton Tower, situated at the distance of four miles and a
half to the west of Blackburn, stood proudly, and seemed in itself,
without the assistance of garrison or artillery, to be capable of
maintaining a successful struggle with the power of any enemy. All
around were peaceful vales, where primitive simplicity dwelt; and
often has the traveller, at eve, laid himself down on the green
knolls, beside the gently flowing stream of the classic Darwen,
in order to become as happy as every object near him; to enjoy the
gambols of the lambs frisking about; and to view the milkmaid, as,
with a light step, and a merry heart, she tripped across the glen.
He has then fancied himself, not only retired for ever from the
theatre of war, but likewise from the mart of commerce; and happy
has he been that there was an Eden sacred to his imagination, at
the very time when the face as well as the heart of his country was
blighted by civil strife, and stained by the blood of its own sons,
shed by the murdering hand of their brothers. But suddenly--to
jar upon all the rural sounds by which he was greeted--the shrill
trumpet was heard loud and near, startling the silent echoes of
the green woods on the banks of the river, and on emerging from
the vale, the fortresses of Houghton Tower were seen, dark and
sullen, against the fading light of the sky. The challenge of the
warder, and the fastening of the draw-bridge, were of war, and
entirely dispelled the previous calm. Who could have imagined
that in the bosom of such beautiful vales there could be a mass
of frowning rock, so huge as that on which the castle was built?
or, that amongst a class of venerable patriarchs, distinguished
for simplicity of manners and life, there could be the restless
spirits of war to fortify and maintain it? And yet it seemed to be
a castle of nature’s building, and not of art’s; for tall trees
over-shadowed its turrets, and around its base the Darwen flowed
over its deepest channel.

It had been erected by Sir Thomas Houghton, towards the beginning
of Elizabeth’s reign, and the gallant knight had always supported
a garrison in it, evidently for no other purpose than to fire a
salute, at every anniversary of his birth day. But he died, and
so did his queen: and upon the accession of the learned James to
the throne, folios became the only battlements. His descendant,
Sir Gilbert, was honoured with a visit from that monarch, in
his celebrated “Progress” through Lancashire; and from the
tower of Houghton, the modern Solomon fired his wit from an old
Latin mortar. “Our opinion” said the grave fool and the merry
sage, “whilk hath been kept for some time, as our jester Horace
(the oyster eater should have lived in our court) recommends,
in our desk,”--and here he pointed to his brow, with his usual
self-complacency--“our opinion is,” he continued, “that Houghton
Tower is just like a Scotch pudding--ha!--ha!--Sir Gilbert;--your
castle is a pudding, and you are chief butler, and all your men are
cooks! _We_ say so.”

But another reign brought different scenes. Upon the disputes of
Charles and the Parliament, a strong garrison was again supported
in the tower, and the costly velvet which had decked the “Progress”
of James, through the ponderous gateway, was removed from the
trampling hoof of the war steed. The Parliamentary army besieged
it, but it made a bold defence, until, by accident, the magazine
of powder in the strongest battlement, was ignited; and as the
assailants were making a vigorous effort, all at once three of the
buttresses were blown up, and Cromwell’s troops were masters of
Houghton Tower, having taken all the garrison as prisoners. Their
governor, Sir Gilbert, had fallen in the assault. His son Richard
was heir, and the rightful lord of the tower, but he was confined
in a dungeon, along with his youngest daughter, Anne--for all her
sisters were married. But the wily Cromwell, when he was compelled
to lead his troops to Ireland, secretly advised his officers in the
garrison to give out that they were willing to conspire against
the Parliament, and to return to their allegiance, in order that
he might be privy to every intended movement of the Royalists.
The plot was successful. As soon as Cromwell had departed from
England, (he never had resided in the tower,) this resolution was
made known, and to prove its sincerity, Sir Richard Houghton was
restored to his claims as governor of Houghton Tower, which was
once more considered as a strong-hold of the Royalists; while
virtually it was in the power of spies, who secretly conveyed
all intelligence of any loyal movement which was, or had been
concerting,--to the General.

The scene of our Legend opens in the year 1651, on a beautiful
evening towards the end of August, when the setting rays of the
autumn sun fell, with a luxurious light, on the grey fortresses,
and the floating banner. The fair Anne was walking alone, on the
eastern battlement which overlooked the valley. She was of slight
proportions, and her age could not have exceeded sixteen, though
she was possessed of a mind nobly accomplished, in which genius
and passion were now beginning to develope themselves, in beauty
and power. Her features were eminently noble, and beautiful; yet
changing to every expression, as if they themselves thought and
felt. In one mood, she might have sat to the painter, for a true
image of the laughing and innocent Hebe; one who would have danced
away an immortality in smiles, with no other wreathes than her own
beautiful hair, and no other company than her own thoughts and
love: more gay and gladsome than a child of earth,--the genius of
witchery. In another, for that of Melancholy, her long dark locks
hanging over a face so pale, with the colour and the life of hope
dashed from it, as was hope itself, from her mind. Her form was
moulded in the most perfect symmetry of beauty,--not luxurious, but
spiritual.

The weeds of mourning for her mother, who had died a few months
before, had been thrown aside; but the paleness of her cheeks, and
the tremor of her lips, spoke the sorrow of her heart. Her locks
waved to the breeze. Her eye kindled with enthusiasm, as, quickly
placing her small hand upon her marble brow, she exclaimed, “how
tranquil and how beautiful is earth now. Yonder cottages, with
their ivy porches, around which children are sporting, appear as if
they were the habitations of young spirits. England is blessed in
her cottages--but ah!--in her palaces!--no crown for the sun’s rays
to fall upon! Once the sun gleamed upon the crown placed carelessly
amidst the state ornaments, in the palace:--without, upon the gory
head of the king, which had once been invested by it; and last of
all, upon his headless trunk. Oh! that his son--now returned, might
be blessed with conquest.”

At this moment, her eye was arrested by a reflection of light
in the distance. It was the gleam of arms, from a small body of
soldiers; over whom the banner of Charles was waving.

In her joy, Anne Houghton clasped her hands, and fervently said,
“Thank God! all are not traitors.” She turned round, and met the
searching glance of Colonel Seaton, one of Cromwell’s spies.

“Fair lady--yonder troop is a loyal body. But--” and his
countenance darkened with thought as he spoke,--“they have now
encamped, and three horsemen leave the line, and are galloping in
the direction of the tower. Well--for their reception!”

There seemed to be a concealed meaning in his tones, and in haste
he strode away. Three men were now seen approaching the avenue
which led to the gateway. The foremost seemed to have no armour,
but a sword. He wore no helmet, but a low cap, with a white
plume. He was clad in a mourning garb, and over his left arm his
cloak was flung, as for a shield. Keen was his eye, though he had
evidently passed the meridian of life, and the fair lady of the
tower almost believed that she only stood at a short distance from
him--so quick was its flash. Behind him was a handsome youth,
equipped in light panoply, who seemed fitted either for contesting
the battlefield--or for sighing, not unpitied, in a lady’s bower.
Light was the rein which he passed over his charger, and yet, as
it plunged furiously, the rider sat with indifference. The third
horseman, who seemed altogether absorbed with papers on which he
was glancing, was the most stalwart. His coat of mail was clasped
over a breast, full and prominent, and his horse startled whenever
his mailed hand was placed upon its mane, to urge it forward. His
eye never sought the fortress of the tower, until they had arrived
at the drawbridge--when the warder’s horn sounded the challenge,
and Sir Gilbert appeared on the walls. The first horseman called
out, “The Earl of Derby, with two friends, in the service of
Charles.”

The drawbridge arose instantly, and, as they entered, Sir Richard
gave the Earl a warm welcome. “In mourning, my noble friend? Is the
Countess of Derby in health?”

“Yes,” was the reply--“But I wear these weeds for my late
unfortunate master: and never shall they be exchanged--unless for
a court dress, to appear with my heroic lady, in the palace of his
son.”

“Never,” was the ejaculation of Colonel Seaton, who now bowed his
homage to the loyal nobleman and his companions. The word seemed
ominous--but it was intended to be _more_ than ominous. A tear
trembled in the Earl’s eye, and, although delicate was the hand
which brushed it away, that hand seemed formed for the sword.
“Excuse my weakness,” he added. “Loyalty costs me much; but for
every tear which falls on the ground, that ground shall drink, till
it be glutted, aye, dyed with the enemy’s blood.” This was said in
no threatening tone, but, from its very mildness, was thrilling
with the sternest revenge, and breathing the spirit of the
deadliest resolution; as the still calm, sometimes truly announces
the darkness and fury of the tempest.

“Sir Thomas Tyldesley and a distant relation, whom he calls his
nephew;--dear to me for themselves, as well as for their loyalty,
accompany me,” said Derby, introducing them to Sir Richard; “we
met at Preston, in the royal name, once more to try the cause of
Charles.”

“My sword,” replied Sir Thomas to the praise of the governor, “once
intervened between the king and death; and gladly would I have
intervened myself, to save him from his shameful end. I can do the
same for his son: my nephew will support me,” and he looked with
emotion upon his young relative. They informed Sir Richard, that at
the head of six hundred men, they were on their march to possess
themselves of Wigan, and then to join the army of the king. Colonel
Seaton councilled them to delay their march till the morrow, and
then some of the garrison might be prepared to accompany them.
Meanwhile, he assured them that a messenger should be sent to the
camp, to make known this resolution. He stepped aside to one of his
men, and, in a low and firm voice said, “Mount horse ere another
minute is gone, and meet Colonel Lilbourne, and bid him haste to
seize upon Wigan. Stay--” as he bethought himself, “your course
may be seen at present; in half-an-hour you will be favoured by
the night,--and ride, as from death!” “Perhaps,” he muttered to
himself, as he moved on to join the Earl, “Lilbourne may give them
a welcome, if his friendship be hasty, in these very walls.”

Sir Richard Houghton had now conducted the new comers up to the
battlements, through ponderous arches, and had asked Derby’s
blessing upon his beautiful daughter. Kind was the Earl’s language
to the maiden, as, gently taking her arm, he put it within that of
young Tyldesley; “Let the smiles of beauty always honour and reward
the young and brave royalist!”

“Old soldiers likewise honour the youthful royalist,”--interrupted
Colonel Seaton, who had joined them--“and perhaps high honours
await him on the morrow.” These words were not heard by young
Tyldesley, who was gallantly paying his compliments to the lady.
Her eye never wandered from the ground, even to gaze upon the
handsome cavalier, until they had entered the great hall, and she
was led by him to a seat in the recess, with the casement opening
upon the woody precipices of the tower. She then stole a glance at
him, as he gazed upon the scene without. He seemed agitated with
some remembrance newly awakened. Anne’s eyes were still upon him,
until, at length, he broke from his reverie.

“Excuse my rudeness, fair lady:--the times prevent us from giving
the attention we are proud to show. In the midst of courtesy,
aye, and of tenderer duties, the trumpet calls us away, or some
painful remembrance comes, like a cloud, over our joy. Three
years ago I was cloistered within the walls of Oxford, striving
successfully for literary honours. My sister,--fair and beautiful
as the lady-love of a poet’s dream; and pure as an angel--for she
transformed earth into a holy spot, and then fondly clung to
every flower which grew there, of hope and love--came from home
to visit me. It was towards sunset, in summer, when she entered
my apartment. She rushed not forth to meet me, as was her wont.
She was pale, and her golden ringlets were disordered;--but her
countenance was intensely thoughtful, and she assumed all the
affection of an elder sister, kissed my brow, and asked God to
bless her brother Henry. Cold were her lips, as I fondly pressed
them. I put her hand within my bosom, and encircled her slight
frame with my arm. I begged her to tell me her distress. I had
not a friend to inquire respecting; we were two orphans; and,
therefore, I knew that the causes of her anguish were bound up in
herself. ‘Oh! Eleanor,’ I said, ‘how different is this meeting
from our last; in this very room, when you bounded in, all fondly
and playfully, and gave me a kiss for every medal of honour I had
won.--See,’ and I showed her many which I had won since--‘will
you refuse me a sister’s reward?’ She bent forward--her arms were
twined around my neck, when her head sunk on her bosom. ‘Oh! tell
me!’ I exclaimed with an earnestness almost frantic, ‘why are
you thus disturbed?’ She slowly raised her face, with a strange
expression, and asked, ‘Does a nerve of my frame tremble, brother?
do mine eyes drop one little tear? why, then, should ye suppose me
distressed?’ Here a bell tolled suddenly--it was no requiem for
the dead--but for a noble youth who was shortly to be so.

“She started up, and exclaimed, ‘it is time!--brother, ask me not a
question, but silently accompany me.’

“‘Where?’ I inquired.

“‘To the place of execution!’

“The truth now flashed upon me. She took my arm and we left the
room. It was a beautiful night, so like the present. I lamented the
fate of him who must bid adieu to earth, when it was so lovely,
and on a scaffold! and I longed to know the tie which bound my
sister to him, but I dared not question her. We had already left
the suburbs of Oxford, and the dense crowd was in sight at a short
distance. She broke the silence, ‘Henry, do not hold me, when I
quit your arm; do not, for my mother’s sake. That vow is sacred to
us both!’ We had now reached the place of death. The sun gleamed
upon the block. I thanked God that he was to be beheaded as a
gentleman, and not hanged as a dog. He came upon the scaffold with
a proud step, and a haughty mien. His head was uncovered, and dark
were the beautiful locks, which hung over his neck;--but that head,
which might have lain on my sister’s bosom, was to be as a piece
of wood for the axe of the executioner! My sister never trembled,
but gazed upon him. He started as he looked upon the block! He
approached,--the executioner was about to unbuckle the sword of
the condemned cavalier, when, with a proud glance, he forbade him.
He knelt:--his lips moved in prayer. His eyes fell upon the marks
of military honour on his breast. ‘Sir William,’ he said, ‘thou art
no more.’

“At his name, my sister gave one scream of madness; he started
up at the sound, and his eyes were upon Eleanor. ‘My Eleanor!’
he exclaimed: she rushed to the scaffold; but in a moment he was
bound down to the block, and the axe fell, but not before a loud
shout came from his lips, ‘God save King Charles!’ and there was my
sister kneeling over him, and then attempting to snatch the head
from the executioner, in her frenzy. I sprung forward--I heard a
fall--Eleanor was dead upon the headless trunk! I rushed home with
the lifeless body in my arms, and there pronounced a vow of revenge
upon the rebels, by whom I had lost a sister.

“My books were disregarded, and I joined my brave uncle. But--this
night is the exact type of that awful night! and I--have no sister!”

He buried his face in his hands. In sympathy, tears were flowing
down the cheeks of Anne. He raised his eyes, and blessed her for
one tear shed over the memory of Eleanor. He even ventured to take
her hand--and it was not withdrawn--“Excuse me,” he said, “I
cannot leave the subject soon, as I cannot leave her grave when I
visit it, until the dews are falling upon my prostrate form. It
is sacred. You remind me of her. And will the fair Anne Houghton
refuse to be unto me what my Eleanor was?”

At this moment the warriors entered the hall, and a council was
held, as to their future movements, when Sir Richard bade his
daughter give orders to the domestics for the feast. In an hour the
entertainment was ready, and the hall lighted. Sir Thomas Tyldesley
sat at the table in full armour, and at every movement which he
made, the clang of his armour was heard, amidst the sober mirth
of the feast. Colonel Seaton inadvertently remarked “The Lord’s
people of old were commanded to eat the passover with their staves
in their hands, ready to depart; and his people, now, must eat with
their swords in their hands.”

“Friend,” replied the knight, “that speech savours too much of a
roundhead, who must always be quoting scripture. I once knew one of
them, whom Cromwell advised to read carefully the account of Jael
and Sisera; and after he had done so, he would inquire at every
old woman whom he met, whether she had got such articles as a long
nail, a heavy hammer, and a strong arm; and told her to operate
upon the head of a cavalier, assuring her ‘that the Lord had
delivered all such into her hand,’ and that she would henceforth
be a mother in Israel. No, no, colonel,--I do not say let soldiers
leave piety to monks, but let them, I say, leave sermons, homilies,
and long faces.”

“Well spoken,” said Sir Richard Houghton, “but our friend hates the
roundheads.”

“I do,” replied the Colonel, “God save King Charles.”

At this moment a blast was heard, and Sir Richard arose, when
Seaton again interrupted them. “Keep your seat, worthy knight, and
entertain your guests. I will go and parley with the new comer; it
is the blast of a royalist.” He strode away saying in his heart,
“God save Cromwell.”

In a short time he returned with the stranger, who was of an
athletic frame, altogether destitute of grace, though not of
dignity; for he strode into the hall with a commanding air. His eye
moved restlessly over the forms of the warriors, when the Earl of
Derby started up, with his hand on his sword.

Colonel Seaton stepped between them, “You behold a friend, noble
Earl! the governor of a loyal castle, who has come to deliberate
with Sir Richard Houghton, in reference to their garrison: not
knowing whether they ought to join the King at Worcester, or keep
to their castle.”

The Earl was satisfied, and only remarked that “he had been
deceived by a resemblance.”

The stranger was invited cordially to partake of the cheer; during
which he spoke but little, and yet seemed interested in the
conversation. At length Sir Thomas Tyldesley proposed that a song
should be sung, adding “that amongst royalists there were to be
found the only true poets.”

“Nay, Sir Thomas,” replied the Earl of Derby, “the republicans can
boast of one whose name shall be the boast of our country to latest
ages, whose lays are wild and majestic. When in London, I was
desirous of seeing the man who wrote so bitterly against the king;
expecting to see a fiend in human disguise. His house was mean: I
thought that he surely had not taken bribes, otherwise he might
have lived in a magnificent mansion. As I entered, two females were
writing, and the sound of an organ came from the further end of the
room. I turned there, and beheld a beautiful man, seated behind
the faded hangings, with a countenance so serene and angelic, and
his eyes looking up to heaven, as if his soul was ascending on the
breath of the music. He was dictating to the ladies, who called him
father. He moved not his eyes: his face was pale, but every muscle
seemed to vibrate with thought and feeling. His hair was parted in
front, over a beautifully formed brow, and fell in brown ringlets
over his shoulders. He could not be young--there was so much of
thought:--he could not be old--there was so much of happiness.
‘Dorothy,’ he said, ‘I have given you the last sentence:--subscribe
Joannis Miltonus.’”

“Milton!” exclaimed the stranger with enthusiasm. “John Milton!”

“His daughter,” the Earl continued, “beheld me; they told their
father that an armed stranger was present. His sword was on the
table--he grasped it--but instantly laid it down. ‘He is welcome,
though I cannot see him. All is dark--dark--not even shadows. But
your errand, sir stranger?’--and his sightless orbs seemed to turn
upon me, with the sweetest, and yet most dignified expression. I
dared not announce with what views I had come, but I went close
to his side, and took the hand (it scarcely touched as if it were
human) which was stained with my master’s blood, and I kissed it
in profoundest admiration. I remained for hours, happy, useful
hours. He arose, as I prepared to depart; I yet see his form; I yet
hear his step. He led me to the door, and blessed me. I have often
thought of the interview, and as I passed the Darwen a few hours
ago, I repeated his lines--though they were commemorative of the
king’s defeat,--

  ‘And Darwen’s streams with blood of Scots embrued.’”

Here the stranger was much moved, and frequently repeated to
himself, “my Milton! my Milton!”

“Yes,” added Sir Thomas Tyldesley, “it was on such a night as this,
three years ago, that Cromwell defeated the Duke of Hamilton.”

“It was,” replied the stranger, averting his gaze.

The conversation now began to turn upon their warlike plans,
and Henry Tyldesley, conceiving that he might be more agreeably
occupied, led Anne to a seat in the recess, where our fair readers,
we doubt not, have been frequently wishing them to be, together and
alone.

Music was heard from the battlements, through the casement; the
moon shed her softening light upon the young hero’s armour, and
he almost fancied that the rays were the fingers of his beautiful
companion. They spoke not, though their eyes had met, and though
the emotions with which they were lighted up, could not be
mistaken. They loved fondly, and to them both it was that holy and
rapturous thing--first love--which is for ever remembered, even
in old age, as something more beautiful and real than a dream of
earth. In war, love is seen only as in a glimpse, yet then it is
most interesting. Does the dove ever appear so much the spirit of
peace and hope, as when her silver wings are seen, like eternal
types of light, through the darkness of the storm, ascending to
heaven? How beautiful then is every flutter! Darkness is over all,
except these wings, and they appear purer and whiter than ever!
Thus is it with love, when it clings, fonder and fonder, in the
midst of danger; and when slender arms twine themselves around the
martial form, as if they could give a charm against wounds and
death, which reach through corslet and shield.

Young Tyldesley had taken her hand, and she had not withdrawn it,
when a shadow was reflected from the casement, at which they sat
within hearing of the Darwen. Anne started, and on turning round
beheld her maid, who motioned her to leave the hall. There was
an unusual earnestness in her manner as she whispered “for God’s
sake--for your own--not a moment’s delay, my lady!”

Her mistress silently obeyed her.

They were now both upon the battlement, at the eastern extremity.

“We are out of hearing,” said the maid, looking cautiously
around; and gazing upon Anne, whispered with terror, “you are
betrayed!--betrayed--and in the power of false hearts, but daring
hands!”

“Never,” replied her mistress with energy, “who dares asperse his
character and motives?--the stranger is true--”

“My young lady thinks of love,” returned her maid,--“but I refer
not to a lover. Nay, blush not; I meant not, that falsehood, either
to his king, or his lady-love, is in the heart of that young and
handsome cavalier; no, he and his companions I could swear over my
dead husband’s bible, are loyal and noble. But the new comer, whom
Colonel Seaton admitted, is a traitor!--nay, start not, my fair
mistress,--and Houghton Tower is now in the hands of Charles the
First’s murderers!”

There was a fearful reality, thrilling in the voice of the
attendant; so different from the gossiping tone, for which she was
somewhat noted.

“Gracious heaven!” exclaimed her mistress, “and are we betrayed? I
doubt the fidelity of Seaton. He had the countenance of an honest
man until this day; but I now fear me, that his heart is deceitful
and villainous. The stranger, too, seemed sullen; still, there was
an expression of cunning. Yet why should we tremble? Let their
heads grace the walls of Houghton Tower!--my father shall see it
done.”

“Hush, hush, my lady,” replied her maid, “other heads than those
of traitors may, ere long, grace the turrets. They are supported
by the garrison. I learned as much from one of the sentinels, and
a high admiration he expressed for the stranger, whom my husband,
heaven rest his soul! would have addressed as an ungainly butcher,
such is the villain’s appearance.”

Here she was interrupted:--she beheld two forms in the distance,
approaching, and she whispered to her mistress, to screen
themselves from view, behind the enormous engine posted on the
battlements. Scarcely had they done so, before they heard steps
near them, and instantly a dead pause was made. A stern voice now
lowly broke upon the silence, and Anne recognized it to be that
of the stranger, only it seemed more authoritative, even in its
whispers. “Is all safe? Is every thing in readiness?”

“Yes,” was the short reply of his companion, Colonel Seaton; but it
was given in an obsequious and reverential tone.

“But Derby, and his companions--”

“Your excellency,” returned Seaton, “they shall be taken care of.
Though the night is not dark, still, dangers beset their way back
to the camp; and since their health is valuable, we must not expose
them beyond the limits of Houghton Tower. We are good nurses, and
are generally able to lull all whom we love, into a long and sound
sleep. Fear not--they are safe;”--and he laughed in scorn.

After a moment’s pause, the stranger replied, “Seaton, you speak
of sleep; let us then think of a bed for them. I have heard of a
deep draw-well in the court; they would not be disturbed there.
’Twill but keep them from a sea of blood, into which, heaven
assisting me, the royalists must soon be plunged, and drowned, like
Pharoah’s host, in the red sea,--aye, red indeed! But, Seaton, see
that these three men do not quit the tower; their troopers shall be
an easy prey--they are sheep without a shepherd.”

“Fear not,” the Colonel again said; “they are safe. They have
been men of blood, and it is but befitting them, that they should
undergo a cleansing. The ruffian Tyldesley pointed out to me some
stains of blood upon his armour--aye, the blood of our companions:
the well shall wash them out. Your excellency shall triumph over
all your enemies.”

“Again,” interrupted his companion, “I charge it upon you. I am not
wont to come unattended, but, at present, I have run every hazard,
encountered every danger, to learn how our cause prospers. The
enemy is in our power. Seaton shall defeat Derby at Houghton Tower,
and his general shall defeat Charles at Worcester.”

The stranger here spoke in a soothing and flattering tone. He added
a few more words, but they were inaudible. The speakers then trod
to and fro, upon the battlements, conversing with each other in
whispers. Sometimes the stamp of the stranger was heard enforcing
his words.

The fair Anne, concealed with her attendant, behind the engine,
had listened in terror to the preceding conversation. She saw that
they were surrounded by the most artful plots, managed by powerful
and experienced agents; that the cause for which she had so long
implored the assistance of heaven, was in the greatest danger;
that her father, and young Tyldesley, whom she did not now blush
to think of as a very dear friend, with his uncle, and Derby,
must perish; and that she herself was at the mercy of stern and
unflinching ruffians. But how could she inform them of treachery,
when the traitors were walking near the place of her concealment?
Every moment seemed an hour; and, perhaps, it was then being
determined that every royalist in the tower, should be dragged by
the garrison, to a disgraceful end! She was almost frantic with
impatience, and she knew, likewise, that one slight movement of her
posture, as well as a whisper, might betray her.

Again the two republicans stood opposite to the place where the
females were concealed, and their conversation could be heard.

“All is safe,” said the stranger. “A few hours will bear me to my
men, assured that no enemy can annoy me in the rear; and before
me is the hungry skeleton of a wandering king. Pity that the
royal fool will not become my groom. He should be fed and clad,
and I might, eventually, raise him to hold my stirrup.” There was
intense mockery in his tones. He continued,--“aye, and when his
time allowed him to sport, I might procure him a gilded staff
for his sceptre, and he might crown himself, with straw from the
manger--the Lord’s anointed!”

Not a smile passed over the face of the speaker, and Seaton,
was silent. The words were too earnest to be taken as humourous
sallies. The stranger resumed,--“He returns again to England. Poor
fool! Nature seems to have _beheaded_ him at his birth! and all
that the Lord’s people can do, is to bury him.” The speaker’s scorn
here seemed to increase, until he became silent. Colonel Seaton
ventured to inquire--

“Your excellency departs early?”

“In a few minutes hence,” was the reply. “I may be suspected;--as
I entered the hall, Derby seemed to recall my features. The dead,
methinks, have a better cause to bear me in memory, than the
living. Yet Derby should recollect me; I once crossed swords with
him, disguised in habit, but not in countenance; and to a singular
incident he owed his safety. He fought bravely, and I should have
dispatched him gallantly, had--but this avails not now. He seems to
know me.”

“Nay,” replied Seaton, “he spoke kindly to you after I explained
the purport of your visit. Let us return to the hall for a little.”

“Why?” asked the stranger proudly;--“to be discovered? and then
the stay of England’s army and England’s freedom would be broken!
No, I mount horse instantly.”

“Your hasty departure may excite suspicion, and frustrate our
schemes.”

“’Tis well. I go to bid them adieu, a long adieu; ’tis probable
that I may never see them more. I am not in the habit of searching
wells, there to renew old acquaintanceship.”

They passed on. Anne started up from her concealment. Not a moment
was to be lost, after the republican disappeared in the distance.
But alas! she could gain admittance to the hall by no other way
than that which they had taken. She reached the hall door,--she
heard her father, in a loud and merry tone of voice, pledge
the health and safety of the stranger. For a moment she stood
irresolute, when Seaton and his companion appeared. “Fair maid,”
said the stranger, “receive my wishes and prayers, as I bid you
adieu.” In a moment he was gone, and she rushed into the hall.

“Speak not! ask no questions, noble warriors!” she exclaimed. “We
are betrayed! Yes, father, that stranger you have harboured as a
guest, is a republican, and Seaton has been acting as his spy. The
garrison are likewise traitors, and from us all escape is cut off--”

“I knew that it was Cromwell,” replied Derby, as he started from
his seat, “but heaven grant that he is not yet beyond our reach;
I’ll die in capturing him! My friends, let us pursue!”

He drew his sword, and every sign of feebleness left his frame.
Attended by his two companions, and the governor, he rushed forth,
exclaiming “treason! treason!”

Fiery and impatient were their spirits, and as hasty their
steps. They came within sight of the drawbridge. It was up: and
as they rushed forward, a horseman spurred his steed across it,
and it again fell, and all communication was prevented. Cromwell
had escaped! and in the bitterness of disappointment Derby and
the governor stood bewildered, and thought not of securing the
traitor Seaton. They returned to the hall without perceiving that
Sir Thomas Tyldesley had left them, until the inquiries of Anne
rendered them aware of his absence. When they were alternately
expressing their disappointment at Cromwell’s escape, and their
surprise as to what had befallen the knight, a shriek was heard, as
coming from the nearest turret. Anne exclaimed, “the garrison are
traitors, and they are now slaying Sir Thomas.”

“Nay, lady,” said the earl, “Tyldesley must first become coward,
ere a shriek escape him, though tortured beyond endurance. He would
express triumph even in death. But let us hasten. Fair lady, you
may be safer under our protection than in the hall. Lean on Harry’s
arm, it is the arm of a soldier--come;” and they hastened to the
place whence the noise proceeded. The moon shone full on their
faces, and gave them, to the gaze of each other, a strange mystery.
A step was heard in the distance, and soon Sir Thomas Tyldesley
stood before them, with his naked sword in his hand. He bade them
follow. He halted at the distance of a hundred yards, and raising
up an object which lay motionless, revealed the lifeless body of
Seaton. He tossed it down; and there it lay, with ghastly features,
all marked with blood, turned upon the spectators. A sword was
beside the body: the knight grasped it, and said,--

“The traitor fell by his own weapon. Thrice through the heart I
stabbed him with it, for I would not wound him with a sword which I
received from our late master.”

“He richly deserved a thousand deaths,” ejaculated the governor.

“Richly indeed,” replied Tyldesley, “had all his villainy been
comprehended in this night’s treachery. He lowered the drawbridge,
and while we stood astonished and motionless with anger, attempted
to retreat. I followed him. He muttered to himself, ‘Cromwell is
safe, and now for the mutiny in the garrison.’ He reached the
highest battlements. Rushing past him, I presented myself full
on his path, and ordered him to stand on his defence, or die.
He hesitated; entreated me for his life; wished to be thought a
coward; and yet all the time was cautiously, and, as he thought,
secretly, drawing his sword. He knelt, and then, imagining that I
was bending over him, he made a furious thrust, which I foiled, and
struck his weapon from his hand. Ha! it seems to pollute my hand
as I now grasp it.” The knight approached the walls, and tossed
it over. In its descent it glimmered in the moonshine, and the
bloodstains were seen, until it fell into the river.

He returned, and taking up the body of Seaton, said, “let its
master share the same fate,” and instantly hurled it over, and a
heavy splash was heard.

“So much for a traitor,” said Derby, “but did not the young lady
say that all the garrison were traitors also? What then is to be
done? Let us leave the tower, for if they knew of the murder of
their leader, all our lives would be sacrificed, and my troops
could not advance to the assistance of Charles. What dost thou
advise, Sir Governor?”

“I cannot leave Houghton Tower,” was the reply. “I am its owner,
and must either live or die in it.”

“Perhaps,” interrupted his daughter, “the garrison, since Seaton
is dead, and all other supporters are at a distance, may not openly
rebel for some time.”

“Maiden,” said Derby, “thy counsel is good. Let them, moreover, be
informed of Seaton’s just death, and should they revolt, it would
be at the moment, and then Sir Richard might hang out a signal
from the walls, and in a short time my troops would advance to
the rescue. Meanwhile, Sir Thomas, it is necessary that we should
instantly be at the head of our men, prepared for every emergency.
Let us to horse!”

This proposal met the sanction of the warrior. Our young hero,
however, turned pale; he was to be torn from the object of his
fondest love, never, perhaps, to meet again. He committed his
mistress to the care of her attendant, who now appeared.

“Nay,” said Sir Richard. “We part not thus; let my noble guests
once more, in the hall, pledge the good old cause. Meanwhile your
horses shall be prepared for the way.”

Young Tyldesley, as long as they remained in the hall, looked in
vain for Anne to enter. He was obliged to leave without pronouncing
farewell.

They had now reached the gateway, where stood their horses. A young
page was likewise in waiting, who craved in a low, yet sweet voice,
to accompany them, as he was of no use to his fair mistress, and
might be the bearer of warlike messages, though a very unwarlike
personage himself.

“Does your mistress know of your departure?” asked Sir Thomas
Tyldesley.

“Yes,” was the reply.

“Then, nephew, he is but of slender form, and cannot burden your
horse. Mount him behind you.”

When all was in readiness, the drawbridge arose, they spurred their
horses, the moon shone upon the armed horsemen, and the pale face
of the page, who clung fast to Henry Tyldesley, and soon from the
tower their march could not be heard.

Sir Richard sat in the hall, considering in what manner he should
best break his message to the garrison. Wishing to consult Anne,
whom he fondly loved, and whom, young as she was, he used to
call his premier, he retired to her private chamber, but she was
not there. He was not at first alarmed, because he knew, that
on a moonlight night, she was in the habit of walking on the
battlements, and enjoying the sweet influences which breathed upon
her from so many sources. But after an hour had passed, and still
she came not, though she must have known the perplexed state of her
father’s mind, occasioned by the strange events which that night
had disclosed, he summoned her attendant.

“Where is my daughter?” anxiously asked the knight. The woman was
silent, but some secret intelligence seemed lurking on her lips.
Sir Richard became enraged; at length, she muttered, “She is not in
Houghton Tower.”

“Not in Houghton Tower!” exclaimed the knight, half frenzied. “And
she is lost to me! There she was born, there she has lived, the
only flower of my hopes and love, which my own heart’s blood would
have been willing to cherish; aye! and there she should have died!
The little chapel, where she has so often prayed by my side, would
have given her a holy grave, and the withered hands of her old
father before they were stiff in death, would have gathered a few
blossoms, and strewn them over it. She’s gone!--gone!”

The woman stood speechless at the ravings of her master. His mind
had always before been calm, as the stillest lake embosomed in a
summer glen. Even when his lady died, the composure of a feature
was not disturbed. Amidst treachery and private grief he had been
unmoved. But now, what agitation amidst the silent thoughts of an
old heart! Beautifully was it fabled by the ancients, that should
the sleeping waters of Lethe, on whose fair breast, no breeze came
to silence the murmur of its loving waves, which were only heard
by young spirits revelling there--be stormed into fury by any
influence, no trident of Neptune could assuage them. The young,
when their hopes are blasted, know nothing of the grief felt by
the aged, when their last hope dies, and when winter is over their
feelings.

At length Sir Richard recovered himself, so far as to inquire where
his daughter was. “She has gone,” was the reply, “with the Earl of
Derby. The young horseman has avowed his love for her.”

“Eternal curses on them all!” thundered forth the knight. “Thus
it is. These old men have conspired to ruin her. Derby pressed
her upon the youth’s notice, and has persuaded her to accompany
them. They are pledged against her innocence! aye!” his rage
still increasing,--“so have I heard of the unlicensed conduct
of cavaliers--but I will be revenged!--and henceforth, I am the
bitter enemy of all royalists!” In a moment, passion and love for
his daughter had brought him to this conclusion. He invoked curses
on Charles. Every prepossession in favour of the cause which he
hitherto supported, was gone, and in its place, inflexible and
active hate had entered.

He left the hall, and acquainted the garrison,--who, we have seen,
were well disposed to Cromwell, with his daughter’s flight, and
instantly inspired them with deadly revenge. They all loved Anne;
she had listened to the tale of war which the very humblest of
them had to recite; and many of them had almost been compelled to
acquaint her with the plot of the Parliamentary officers. But at
present they were cool enough to observe, that it would neither be
prudent nor safe to make a sally upon Derby’s followers, to whom
they were inferior in number. It was, therefore, agreed, that at
the hour of midnight, fifty men from the tower should accompany Sir
Richard Houghton, to join the army of Captain Lilbourne, who was
then supposed to be marching from Manchester, to seize on Wigan,
and defend it against the royalists. Thus, Sir Richard Houghton,
formerly a true, though by no means an active, defender of Charles,
became a zealous supporter of Cromwell.

Long before morning had dawned upon the camp, the Earl of Derby was
stirring about, and ordering all to be in readiness for departure.
No signal had been seen from Houghton Tower. It was, therefore,
concluded, that there had been no mutiny in the garrison. In a
short time, the trumpet was sounded, and all were mounted, waiting
the command to march. Derby rode into the centre, in full armour,
accompanied by his faithful servant, a Frenchman, who was proud to
behold his master once more arrayed for the field, where he should
distinguish himself. Every lock of his dark hair was concealed
beneath his steel-front beaver, and the mournful expression usual
to his features, was now exchanged for that of sternness. A loud
shout was raised for “King Charles and Derby.”

The trumpets sounded, and in triple rank, with the earl in front,
and Sir Thomas Tyldesley and his nephew, accompanied by the young
page, in the rear, they hastily marched on. Lord Widdrington, and
Sir Robert Throgmorton, with a few soldiers, rode in different
directions, to give the alarm, should the enemy appear, though that
was not considered as at all likely.

The page kept close by young Tyldesley, in the march; yet he spoke
little, even when Anne Houghton, his mistress, was introduced to
be praised. Upon giving expression to a beautiful and earnest
prayer, that Charles might return to his own, young Tyldesley took
his hand; it shrunk timidly from his grasp. “Poor page,” and as he
spoke, he drew his arm around his slender form, “thou seemest to be
but ill nerved for this day’s work. Thou tremblest.”

“I have left many dear friends behind me, and I am here alone.”

“But not unbefriended,” was Tyldesley’s reply. “Keep by me; I will
avert danger from thee. Be merry, gentle youth, and thou shalt yet
dance a gay measure with your mistress,--when she is my bride.”

“But--” the crimson colour which mantled his features, changing to
a deadly paleness as he spoke, “should you fall, what is for me?”

“A safe return to your mistress.”

No answer was given; the page turned away his head, but not before
a tear had fallen upon Tyldesley’s hand.

They had now marched for two hours, and the town of Wigan was seen
in the distance. As they advanced, the reapers were busy in their
quiet occupations, amidst the richly waving crops. The Earl of
Derby was, in his own mind, contrasting the joys of peace, with the
miseries of war, when, all at once, Lord Widdrington and Sir Thomas
Throgmorton were galloping towards him. The earl spurred from the
lines, and met them.

“The enemy is approaching--the day must be lost,--they are some
thousand strong.”

Derby turned pale at the intelligence. He had hoped to possess
Wigan as a strong-hold, until he had cleared a way to Worcester,
to join his Sovereign. But his paleness soon fled. “Dost see,” he
proudly exclaimed, “these few reapers cutting down whole fields of
corn,--and shall we not take courage from them?”

Without ordering a halt, he wheeled round to the Tyldesleys, and
announced to them the movements of the enemy.

“They have even taken possession of Wigan,” he said, “the
strong-hold of loyalty.” The earl then uncovering his head, looked
round upon his troops, and solemnly bade every soldier ask the
blessing of the God of battles. The helmet was raised from every
head, and every eye was fixed upward, as the small army prayed.

“Let your prayers,” interrupted Derby, “be sincere; and even that
youthful page, whose cheek is pale for coming danger, may be nerved
to deal havoc among the enemy. Now let the march be sounded, and
let us, with all possible haste, scour to Wigan. And when we
encounter, as soon we must,--you have children,--there is strength
in your arm; you have wives--the thought is worth a hundred swords;
you have a king--fight, therefore, in their defence! Less than an
hour’s march must bring us front to front with the enemy, and they
are reported to be numerous.”

“Front to front!” exclaimed Sir Thomas Tyldesley, “sword to sword!
let us meet them!”

“Poor youth,” said Derby, as his eye rested on the pale face of
the page, “thou hast neither a soldier’s form nor heart, thou
shouldst have remained to amuse thy mistress. And yet” he added, as
if entirely absorbed in his own remembrances, “my countess never
required such a companion! heaven bless her, and guard her, should
I never see her more!”

“Nor does my mistress, noble earl,” replied the page, quickly,
while his dark and beautiful eye glowed keenly: “and I too,
whatever my form and look may bespeak, am ready to lose a life for
my sovereign. I shudder to draw a sword, but I will not shudder to
receive it,--aye, in my bosom!”

Never did the most herculean form appear more warlike, than did the
youthful speaker. His firmly chiselled mouth was pressed together
with a deadly expression of resolve, and the soft eyelash was
arched, as if it could slay.

“Bravo,” exclaimed the elder Tyldesley, “a true knight; and yet
fair sir, a maiden speaks of bosom,--a hero speaks of heart!”

Unconsciously, at this moment, the page had spurred his steed,
which plunged furiously. Like lightning, a slender arm reached
over the proud mane--grasped the bridle--and in a moment, he was
quiet as before. The strength of a giant horseman, could not have
so tamed him. In the suddenness of the motion, the plumed beaver
of the rider had fallen, and like some young and beautiful spirit
of power, with dark ringlets, curling over a brow of glistening
thought and love, and as if quelling the furious tempest, the page
leaned forward, on his steed.

“Nay, nay,” said the earl, “spur on, and let us not delay to meet
the foe.”

The gallant army marched on rapidly, and in a few minutes, as the
sun streamed from the eastern clouds, the rays fell upon Wigan,
seen in the distance. Only one sound was borne to the ear, and it
was the trampling of horses. “They come,” was the general cry. “On,
on,” exclaimed their leader, “let Charles’s banner be unfurled, and
soon we shall plant it, to wave over the church tower!”

A few minutes more brought them to the entrance of the town. A
strong hedge skirted both sides of the road. The windings were many
and abrupt, and the sharp angular view, was over the rocky heights
on the banks of the Douglas, and almost suggested the appearance of
traitors, so unexpectedly were many of the scenes brought before
them. The scenery of the country around, was wild, and marked that
here, war would not be out of keeping. Young Tyldesley took his
uncle’s hand, to bid him farewell, for now the impression rested on
every mind, that from the unusual stillness, the stern sounds of
combat might soon be heard. Silence seemed to be the soft whispers
of a traitor! secret, but sure. A tear stole down the hardy cheek
of the veteran, as he blessed his companion.

“This parting,” he added, “seems ominous. ’Twas thus your gallant
father bade me adieu, for the last time. Yet, Harry, another grasp
of your hand. Farewell, my brave boy.”

They rode on without exchanging another word, when the young
soldier felt himself gently touched, and, on turning round, beheld
the page, who, with averted face, said--“Excuse me, but farewell,
Harry Tyldesley, should I see you no more.”

“We part not thus, for your mistres’s sake. Ride by my side, and
you may command this arm to strike for your safety.”

At this moment the small army heard some half-concealed
movement made, behind the hedges, and instantly a close fire of
musketry;--only a few were wounded.

“The foe are in ambush!” exclaimed Sir Thomas.

“Nay,” replied the earl, “the greater part are before us,” pointing
to a large army which now appeared. “Let us advance. Sir Thomas,
take the half of the band, and I shall lead the others. Let a halt
be sounded. We can do nothing against those who fire from the
hedges. Let us cut through the main body.--A halt!”

Ere the signal had been given, many a brave fellow, had indeed,
halted, never more to advance, as a second volley, directed with a
steadier aim, was poured in upon them.

Derby, in a moment, was at the head of his detachment. “Soldiers
of Charles!” he said, with energetic eloquence, “there are his
enemies and yours; and where are your swords? Be mangled--be
slain--but yield not. Hear your leader’s vow. Upon this good sword,
I swear, that as long as steel can cut, flesh shall wield.--Charge!
Upon them! The king! the king!” and they dashed on to meet the
enemy.

Colonel Lilbourne, who commanded the enemy, instantly arrayed his
men, to bear up against the attack, and a dense square was formed
from hedge to hedge, of the regular troops, while the militia of
Lancashire and Cheshire were formed into a wing, to close in upon
the royalists, when they engaged with the main body.

Derby, with his three hundred men, spurred on with incredible fury,
until they found themselves hand to hand with the regular troops.
They were instantly surrounded, for the militia wing had wheeled,
and now assailed them in the rear. A shout from the Parliamentary
army was raised, as the three hundred seemed to be bound in their
power, when Sir Thomas Tyldesley, with his men, advanced; and so
furious was the onset, that the enemy were literally trodden under
foot, and Derby and the knight were riding abreast, at the head
of their respective bodies, fighting to cut a passage through
the dragoons. Heedless of danger, the royalists followed every
direction of their leaders, who, themselves, fought, as well as
commanded. They had now almost reached the extremity of Lilbourne’s
forces, and bloody was the passage which they had made.

“One effort more,” said the earl to his men, “and all is
gained!--On!” The battle raged more furiously--Derby’s sword, at
every thrust and plunge, was stained with fresh gore; but, all of
a sudden, he stood pale and surprised--for there was Sir Richard
Houghton advancing to meet him, from Lilbourne’s guard, with drawn
sword. Could he have turned traitor? The earl’s weapon was as ready
for a blow, as his heart was for a curse upon a false knight, and
instantly they would have crossed swords, had not Derby’s steed
been shot from under him, while that of the recreant knight carried
his rider beyond him, safe and unharmed. On foot the earl fought
with as much execution as when mounted; but his voice could not
be heard, as he addressed his men, from amidst the hoofs of the
enemy’s horse. An officer of the enemy approached. In a moment he
was dragged from the saddle, pierced as he lay on the ground, and
as his dying eyes were raised, he beheld Derby mounting his horse.
Many blows were then showered upon the gallant nobleman, and some
deadly thrusts were made in the direction of his breast, but he
seemed to escape unhurt.

The next moment placed Derby at the extremity of the opposing
lines. “King Charles and England’s royalty!” was the shout that
burst from his lips, and, although it was heard by the enemy, for
a few moments they fell back from the single arm of the loyal
nobleman. There seemed something supernatural in his bearing, so
calm, and yet so furious. Taking advantage of their inactivity,
he dashed through the rear. A gleam of sunshine flashed on his
armour, and hope entered his soul, as he found himself at the
top of the steep and sweeping descent which leads to the town.
It was then rocky and precipitous, but his horse never stumbled.
For a moment he wheeled round, and no followers were near, except
young Tyldesley, and the page. Stern was the expression on the
countenance of the former; but the latter, though pale, displayed
a heroism still wilder. And yet his sword had not, throughout the
battle, been unsheathed, and he had forced a passage without giving
a wound.

“Brave page!” exclaimed the earl. “Still, thou oughtest to have
used thy sword; thine arm might have sent the blow with power
sufficient to wound--aye, to kill!”

At this moment two of the enemy, who had pursued the leader of the
royalists, rushed on him. His horse plunged furiously, and turned
himself altogether on one of the assailants--thus exposing his
rider. Instantly that assailant sprung forward with a loud shout
of joy; but that shout was ended in a dying shriek, as the sword
of the page passed through his body. The other fell by the earl’s
own hand. For a brief space the page looked with something of
satisfaction on the blood-stained sword. But as a drop fell upon
that small hand, a shudder passed over his frame, and his eye was
fixed, with unnatural light, on the spot.

“It is of a foul colour!” he exclaimed. “Good God! and have these
fair hands been stained with human blood? What will Anne Houghton,”
he added in a low tone, “think of me now?”

“Nay, nay,” hastily replied the earl, “repent not the deed at the
sight of blood. I thank thee, brave youth. But now, what movement
is to be made? Shall we rush upon Wigan without our followers?”

“I’ll defend the church,” said the page, “as the brave countess
defended her home.”

But before Derby had decided--for all that we have related took
place in a few moments--a cry arose from his men in the rear,
who, overpowered by numbers, could neither fight nor advance.
The dragoons, headed by Sir Richard Houghton, had so surrounded
them, that they must either surrender, or die to a man. That
knight conducted himself most valorously, for, in every enemy who
approached, he expected to recognize those whose perfidy (such he
thought it) he burned to revenge. At every attempt of the small
band of royalists to rally, by shouting “Derby and Tyldesley,” he
dealt his blows more fiercely. Still, the royalists did not call
for quarter; and soon, in this awful emergency, they heard the
voice of Derby cheering them on, as he came to their succour. So
sudden was the assault, and so much impetus was given to it, that
the enemy, in the terror of the moment, crowded to the hedges, over
which many of them leapt their horses. But Sir Richard Houghton
kept his station, at the head of a few followers, who remained
firm; when his eye, falling upon young Tyldesley, he spurred his
horse forward, aiming a blow at his enemy. A shriek, at that moment
arising from the page, arrested his arm.

“No! no!” exclaimed Sir Richard, “it cannot be; and yet, so like
in sound!” Ere he had uttered these words, his arms were gently
grasped by the page; but a follower of the knight soon freed him
from the encumbrance, and the wounded youth fell into the arms
of Harry Tyldesley, who bore him forth, himself fatally wounded.
Bloody was the harvest which the royalists now began to reap, as
they charged the fugitives, with impetuous fury. The earl, and his
brave fellow-leader, Sir Thomas Tyldesley, met, having literally
cut down, and cut through the intervening troops of the enemy.
Several officers had been slain, and Sir Richard Houghton had been
carried from the field by his men, faint from wounds.

“Again!” was the exclamation of the loyal leaders, as they
separated to lead their followers once more to the work of death.

Success attended every blow, and many were the bodies which they
rolled over mounds, and charged into the river, entirely routing
their array. But soon they were vigorously repulsed by Lilbourne’s
guard, who closely engaged them. After a long struggle, the
gallant royalists made their way to the farthest line of the
enemy. “Again!” was now not only the exclamation of the leaders,
but likewise the war-cry of their men, and they wheeled and dashed
through the centre of the dragoons. Here the scene of battle
widened, the enemy had been driven from their ranks, and the
royalists had left theirs to follow them; and now the fate of the
battle seemed altogether changed. The combat was almost single,
and then six were opposed to one. Derby was unhorsed a second
time, and his brave and faithful servant, who had, in his youth,
followed him from France, fell in warding off some blows from his
master. Lord Widdrington was pursued by a whole rank of dragoons,
and slain on the banks of the Douglas. In vain did the royalists
attempt to rally. Their leaders saw that the battle was lost. The
earl had, himself, received many wounds, and was faint from the
loss of blood. His sword was heavy for his arm, and he could attack
with difficulty, since he was on foot. He stood, for a moment,
bewildered, when he heard Sir Thomas Tyldesley, at the head of
about twenty men, exclaim, “through, or die!” Instantly the brave
knight was in the thickest of the engagement. His plume waved long,
and his arm plunged furiously. At length he fell, pierced by many
weapons, but his head lay proudly in death, upon a heap of those
whom his own hands had slain, forming a monument more lasting than
that which the gratitude of a follower has erected, on the same
spot, to the hero’s memory.

Derby now stood alone:--after great exertions he could only rally a
few men. These persuaded him that he could only die, did he choose
to remain. He perceived then that his death should be in vain, that
it could not change the fate of that day’s battle. They mounted
him on a horse, and scouring over the hedges together, were hotly
pursued to Wigan.

       *       *       *       *       *

Let us re-visit the field of battle towards sunset of the same
day. All was then still. The departing rays showed the ghastly
countenances of the dead, crowded together promiscuously, without
the distinction of roundhead or cavalier. They lay in such perfect
repose, that Nature seemed to have brought them there, without the
help of man, herself to bury them, with her own funeral rites.
The breeze sighed over them, and occasionally moved some of the
locks, which had escaped from the helmet, and these were thin and
silvery with age, or dark and clustering with youth. Here and
there a venerable head lay naked on the ground. Here and there
young lips were pressed to the cold and bloody sod, in the kisses
of death. Such a scene, at such an hour, when every thought is of
quiet peace, and love, with such a beautiful sun, shedding a mellow
light around, might have given rise to a notion entertained by
the Persians of a former age, that in some sequestered spot, near
to the gentle flowing of a river, the most highly-favoured of our
race shall undergo a transformation, and for days lie on the grass,
apparently dead, even with symptoms of bloody violence, until the
last touch shall have been given to the passive clay; and, amidst
the light and music of heaven resting there alone, with those of
earth, hovering like dreams about them, they shall rise up pure and
lovely spirits, above misery and mortality.

Leaning upon the arm of a servant, who supported with much care,
his halting steps, one of the Parliamentary leaders was now groping
his way through the slain, and occasionally stooping to examine the
features.

It was Sir Richard Houghton. His countenance was pale, bearing
traces of anguish within, more than of bodily fatigue. The
excitement which had sustained him in the engagement, seemed to
be gone. Years of sorrow, since then, might have passed over him,
without producing so great a change. His spirit seemed to have
been more deeply wounded than his body. Long was his search amidst
the slain. As he stooped, a shade of the deepest anxiety was over
his face, but the glow of his eyes showed that he looked for an
enemy, and not for a friend; and as he rose disappointed, his lips
quivered with deadly emotion.

“Nay, nay, ’tis in vain. They have both escaped--uncle and nephew.
And I have left my couch, wounded and sickly, to come and gloat on
my own disappointment. But they must be found, dead or alive!”

“But surely, Sir Richard,” interrupted his servant, “not to-night;
the air is chill.”

“Not for me,” muttered the knight, “revenge will warm it. I feel
not the blast. Is the tempest loud? Why, the night is calm, and
still as the dead; and though it raged as if every sound was the
united shriek of a thousand demons in pain or joy, I could not hear
it. No, no, my soul is on fire; cold!--cold!--mock me not. If my
revenge is not satisfied, I shall lie down here, stripped, naked,
and shelterless, in order that I may be cool.”

“But consider your wounds.”

“Aye!” fiercely answered Sir Richard,--“consider my wounds; a
daughter lost, deceived, polluted;--my hospitality returned by the
foulest treachery. Consider these wounds! aye, and revenge them
too!”

“But still,” returned his follower, “the shades of night are fast
descending. We cannot remain here long.”

No answer was given, and he perceived his leader kneeling over
a heap of bodies. The light was streaming upon that point. An
awful silence ensued, when in a tone which seemed the very voice
of satisfied revenge, Sir Richard exclaimed, “Here is the elder
villain!” He held his face close to the lifeless body of Sir Thomas
Tyldesley. No sound escaped him; but there he gazed, like a mad
spirit, exulting, yet miserable, that the object of his revenge
could not open his eyes, and know his fate. His face was pressed
close to that of the dead, as if the unholy embrace was sweet to
the very senses, and thrilling even through the frame of the aged.
Hate did not prompt him to trample, with profane foot, upon the
unresisting body, or to mar the calmness reposing on the stiff
features, but he even kissed the cold lips in ecstacy, and drew
the head into his bosom. At length he suffered himself to be led
away. “The young man,” after a short silence, he added, “the young
man must be here likewise, and I go not before I have seen him.”
They sought in vain, until reaching the banks of the Douglas, they
stumbled on two bodies, lying at the foot of a tree. They were
those of young Tyldesley and the page. What a shriek of madness
was uttered by the knight, as he recognized in the page, his own
beloved Anne! Her breast was naked, and on it lay the head of her
dead lover, while his arms were encircled around her, as if their
love could never die. Sweet and beautiful was the expression of
her countenance in death. Her dark ringlets were moved by the
breeze from the river, and richly they waved, under the radiant
moon, gleaming through the foliage. Calm they lay, as in the sleep
of love, which a single murmur may disturb, and affection seemed
awaking on their countenances, to assure them of each other’s
safety, and then go to rest. Sir Richard’s grief, was gradually
subsiding and ebbing, but only to feel the barren, dry waste, over
which it had rolled, and the wreck which its waves had borne along.
Without a word, he quietly prepared to sit down on the little mound
where the head of Anne was reposing. The father once more blessed
his child. Attempting to raise her lover’s head, and make them
divided in death, a shudder passed over him, and he again restored
it to its place, and put the cold, stiff arms, even more closely
around Anne, with as much fondness, as if, like a heavenly priest,
he wished to bind them in eternal wedlock. But over such a scene of
sadness we draw the curtain. Long after, that tree marked out the
spot where the young lovers died, in each other’s embrace. It has
now, however, entirely disappeared; but if the Chronicler has drawn
forth from his readers one tear for their fate, they still have a
proud monument.

But softened as was the heart of Sir Richard Houghton, by the fate
of his daughter, the desire of revenge on the Earl of Derby, whom
he regarded as her destroyer, was now inspired above every feeling,
and he formed a resolution of immediately returning to Wigan, and
searching out the earl, who was reported to have found shelter
there, after his flight from the battle.

An hour before midnight, the portly landlord of the Dog Inn, Wigan,
was roused from a comfortable sleep, beside the fire, not by the
cravings of thirst for the contents of a jug, which he held in his
hand, as firmly as if it contained the charm of forgetfulness, and
was the urn from which pleasant dreams vapoured out--but by a loud
knocking at the door.

In those days, the inhabitants of the good town here mentioned,
were not so careful, as they are at present, of the digits of their
visitors, and had not substituted brass or iron knockers. Fair
ladies, however gentle in disposition, were obliged to raise their
hand in a threatening position, and, horror on horrors!--strike the
hard oak. Still the blow was generally given with a strength, of
which their sentimental successors must feel ashamed, and wonder
how they could venture upon such a masculine course of conduct,
degrading the softer sex. What! they will exclaim, did the lily
hand, which ought for ever to have slept amidst perfumes, unless,
when it was raised to the lips of a lover, in his vows, profane
itself by becoming a battering ram!

The Dog Inn, at that time, presented a somewhat different
appearance than it does at present. The part of the building in
front, next to the street, was low, and seemed to be appended,
as a wing or covert, both to the interior and exterior of the
other parts, and was parallel to a line of small shops. Behind,
another story had been added, and there, on a transverse beam,
was placed the dog, which the landlord had, a few days before,
baptized as Jolly, in a good can of ale. The Inn was the resort
of two classes; the one consisting of those who were regularly
thirsty of an evening, in reference to wit and news; and the other,
of those who could only ask for a draught of ale, and then amuse
themselves by rubbing the bottom of the jug round and round a small
circumference, in full view of themselves, after quaffing the
contents. Their merry host could satisfy the appetites of both. But
he displayed a decided preference for the former class; and for
such, the door of admission was the one at the end of the building,
directly leading to the large fire, which generally burned bright
and long, in the hall, and it had been known to be open long after
midnight, to the visitors; while the others had only the honour of
the low one in front, and that not after nine o’clock.

The knocking now made, was at the last-mentioned door. The landlord
awoke, and rubbed his eyes till they opened and expanded to their
proper focus; but they fell first upon the foaming ale in the
tankard, which tempted him to a draught. In the act, however, the
knock was repeated. Still, though his eyes gazed in the direction
of the door, it was also evident that his mouth was not altogether
idle in paying due attention to the liquor.

“Ho! knave!” exclaimed he, as soon as he had obtained liberty of
speech--“a warrior and a roundhead, doubtless! So thou hast not
got a belly-ful of fighting in the lane, but must come to my door!
Why dost not thee speak, Jolly? Last week John Harrison painted
thee alive, and made thee as young as thy mother’s whelp, put thee
upon a beam over the door, to bark at those who might come at
unseemly hours, or for improper purposes, and hung a chain round
thy neck, lest thou might be too outrageous. Not one word, Jolly,
for thy dear master? But,” he added in a whisper, as he went to the
door, “all’s safe!--yes.”

The door opened, and Sir Richard Houghton and his servant entered.
The latter announced the name of his master.

“So,” said the landlord, addressing the knight, as he led him to
a quiet corner, near the fire, “you are the warrior who so nimbly
changed parties to-day? Perhaps you are desirous of changing
occupations likewise, and would be glad to throw off your titles
and dress, for those of an innkeeper. I’faith, your lean face, and
what call you these?” as he pointed to the legs of the knight,
“would thank you for the wisdom of your choice. If so, I am ready
for the barter. There is my apron. Ho--ho--you’ll get a complete
suit out of it, and a winding sheet into the bargain! Be patient,
oh! wise knight--who must be knight no more--for I shall be Sir
John.”

In truth he would have been a worthy successor to the knighthood of
the famous Falstaff, if any super-abundance of wit and fat could
ever embody Shakespeare’s prototype.

“Where,” exclaimed Sir Richard, in a high passion, “where is the
Earl of Derby?--surrender him.”

“So, so,” was the reply, “you are again disposed to return to your
allegiance, and be one of the earl’s party!”

“Surrender him into my hands,” interrupted the knight, in a
soothing tone, “and a large reward shall be yours. You will then
be able to exhibit a golden dog on your escutcheon. Refuse, and a
strict search shall instantly be made, and woe to the wretch, who
has harboured the traitor!”

“Search, brave Dick,” rejoined the merry host, “and I’ll assist
you. Here’s a bottle; can the traitor be within? search,--storm the
castle!” and here he broke it, while the contents were thrown into
the knight’s face. “Is he there, Sir Richard, is he there?”

“To ensure our safety and dignity,” said the enraged knight to his
servant, “give the signal, instantly.” A shrill whistle was made,
and a number of armed men entered.

“Search every corner,” exclaimed Sir Richard “and let the host
beware, lest a sword should search his person.”

“Search my person!” rejoined the landlord, while he swelled himself
out to his fullest dimensions, “Sir Richard, could you walk round
me in less than twenty four hours, and without long rests? you
might as well think of searching the continent of America! Come to
me, before service on Sunday, when I have donned my great coat, and
then search me, or even walk around me, ‘Twould be, as Cromwell’s
servants might say, ‘a sabbath day’s journey.’ My good wife was
just my fellow, and her daily exercise, for some years before she
died, was to walk round me, and brush my coat, and then she went to
rest, satisfied with a day’s hard labour. She was, truly, a help
meet for me, and we became fatter with looking on each other. When
indisposed after travelling to the ale cellar too frequently, she
got me conducted to the chair opposite to her own, and she smiled
so lustily upon me, that I soon recovered. But Sir Richard,” he
added in a solemn tone, “how many gallons of oil, shall I bring
from the cellar, to light you in your search? ha! a lucky thought
now strikes me. Would’st be the better of a quick scented hound?”

“Aye,” exclaimed some voices, “where is he?” “standing over the
door;” was the reply, “shall I bring Jolly?” “if so, it is on the
express condition, that you nail him up, in time for to-morrow. A
ladder, friends; bring me a ladder. But I must keep my hands from
off his hide--not that he will bite--but since he is fresh from the
painter, and may be pleased, in good humour, to mark me with his
wit. A ladder!”--and Richard the Third, even assisted by the lungs
of a modern actor, did not shout forth more lustily for “a horse!
a horse!”

“Regard not the laughing ox,” interrupted the knight, as he
motioned to his men, who stood bewildered at the conduct of the
landlord.

The soldiers commenced their assigned duty, but, Sir Richard
expecting that, every moment, Derby should be apprehended in his
presence, kept his seat, thinking over the orders to be given,
in the event of such a discovery. Perhaps feelings of awe, which
would be awakened by a view of the loyal nobleman, likewise
threw their shadows, amidst other emotions of a sterner nature.
True it is, that he became paler; and the only expression on his
features seemed to be the most abject despair, and misery. Like an
exquisitely moulded image, when the light has expired which gave
the animation of life and thought to its coldness, no longer shows
what, but a moment before, seemed its only natural appearance; so
the events through which the knight had passed, and which served
to give a new character of feeling and action, left not a shade by
which it might be known, that he had been an avenger, a few hours
ago, and a mourner over his last hope.

Meantime the host of the Inn, continued to annoy the men with his
wit. In the most serious voice he would exclaim “He is here;” when
all instantly rushed to the place where he pointed. “Tarry but
a moment till I bring a light--my nose does not shine as a torch
to-night.” He then procured a light, and, as he hurried amongst
them, was sure to bring it into a disagreeable proximity with some
faces, and all that the light could fall upon, was a broken pot,
into which the host peered most anxiously. “Can he be there? I
fancy that I should not remain in it long.”

After many similar tricks, he went to a black cupboard, at the
further end of a small room adjoining, and asked them to inspect it
also. “Can the rebel,” he said, “lurk in the butter?”

From experience, this they thought to be a sufficient reason why
they should not search there.

“Unwieldy bull of Bashan!” exclaimed one of the soldiers; “keep
within thine own enclosures--a prisoner of hope! The avenger may be
nigh!”

“Ha! ha!” retorted the landlord, “where is he? Thankee, friend, for
pointing him out. He will, indeed, avenge my thirst!” and he seized
upon a bottle of ale, which stood solitary upon a shelf. “The
rogue’s a bachelor, friends;--he stood alone; and he is so cross,
that he may well be called ‘cut-throat!’”

After an hour’s search, towards the end of which the landlord had
contrived, first to lull his tongue asleep, and then himself, the
knight commanded the soldiers to desist. They awoke the host, who,
starting to his feet, after a difficult balancing of himself,
looked eagerly around.

“Where is the earl?”--and as he spoke, he approached one of the
men, and bringing a light to bear rather closely upon the grave
countenance of the roundhead,--“is this his lordship? take the
rebel from my house,” and he gave a hearty kick, so far as his
heart could reach, down to his foot. It was in vain to resent the
blow, for the humour of mine host had altogether disarmed them.

But we choose to pass over the details of their unsuccess, not
being desirous that the mournful remembrance connected with
the young and the ill-fated characters of the Legend should be
obliterated from the mind of the reader.

The tyro in Lancashire history knows well, that in that very
cupboard to which the landlord pointed, the earl was concealed; and
that early in the morning he left the Dog Inn, leaving behind him,
as a small token of gratitude for the shelter he had received, a
part of his armour.

“I cannot wear it,” said the jolly landlord, when it was presented
to him, “though you are a warrior, yet, noble earl, you are not a
giant. But it shall be preserved as none of the least of the treats
for a traveller at the Dog Inn.” The earl shook his humble friend
cordially by the hand. Yet even then, wit and light repartee had
not forsaken the host.--“Wont shake a paw with Jolly?”

Over the earl’s countenance, a melancholy smile passed, which was
unseen by mine host, who was not long in resuming, as he stepped
over the threshold and gazed up at the dog--

“Well, well, Jolly will excuse you, and wont even bark; he’s a
sensible dog, and knows, or ought to know, how long your lordship
has been confined in the cupboard. So, you are bound for Worcester?
Well, for my sake, if you meet Cromwell, scratch the ugly wart on
his face. But stay, earl, for a moment; there your horse comes, and
you must take the stirrup cup, from my hands. My wife would have
been proud to have wiped her mouth for a salute, but it is not the
fashion of men, towards each other,” and he ran in, and in a minute
returned with a glass of wine, which the earl took, and quaffed the
contents to the luck of the Dog Inn, Wigan. There was a serious
expression on the landlord’s countenance, not as if it were caused
by the present farewell, but by some remembrance. “It was at this
hour, some years ago, that my wife died, and closed her eyes upon
ale, and a husband. I had broken up the best barrel in the cellar,
and was raising a jug of it to her lips, and I was obliged to drink
it myself.--But excuse me, farewell Derby.”

We pass over the account of the earl’s escape to Worcester, and of
the literal overthrow of all the hopes of the royalists, by that
disastrous battle; of the earl’s capture, and subsequent execution;
all of which, like the rapids of the last act of a tragedy, passed
with heightened and speedy horror to the bloody end.

One thing merely we shall notice, that amongst the names of those
who recommended his lordship to be beheaded, was that of Sir
Richard Houghton.

All historians and biographers have agreed in speaking of that
knight as “the rebel son of a very loyal and worthy father,”--but
they have not thrown light over the circumstances and events which
dethroned Charles and all royalists from his affections. Tradition
gleams upon them with steadiness and fearful distinctness, and the
Chronicler has accurately detailed them.

For the sake of the Antiquarian, who may be desirous of reading
the Inscription on the monument which stands in Wigan Lane, the
Chronicler appends it. In his more youthful days, when passing
through Wigan, by the assistance of a ladder, and his grandmother’s
glasses, he obtained a transcript of it, which he vouches to be
accurate.

[Illustration]

       An high Act of Gratitude, which conveys the Memory of

                       SIR THOMAS TYLDESLEY

                           To posterity,
                 Who saved KING CHARLES THE FIRST
            as Lieutenant-Colonel at Edge-hill Battle,
       After raising Regiments of Horse, Foot, and Dragoons;
                              And for
           The desperate storming of Burton-upon-Trent,
                    over a bridge of 36 arches,
                RECEIVED THE HONOUR OF KNIGHTHOOD.
      He afterwards served in all the wars, in great command,
                    Was Governor of Lichfield,
              And followed the fortune of the Crown
                    through the Three Kingdoms,
  And never compounded with the Rebels, though strongly invested;
        And on the 25th August, A.D. 1651, was here slain,
       Commanding as Major-General under the EARL OF DERBY,
  To whom the grateful Erector, ALEXANDER RIGBY, ESQ., was Cornet
     And when he was High Sheriff of this County, (A.D. 1679,)
             Placed this high obligation on the whole
                     FAMILY of the TYLDESLEYS.



THE WITCHES OF FURNESS.


In a small recess, still deeper in shade than the neighbouring
valley where the ruins of Furness Abbey lie, there once arose a
well-proportioned mansion, of which, not a vestige is left. And
yet, the wand of no magician had summoned it to appear, as a tenant
of the retreat, without any materials, and then to depart without
a wreck,--for much toil, and many precious coins had been spent in
building and adorning it, by the first owners; and on its decay, as
much sighing, and as many lamentations, had been wasted by their
successors.

Tradition says, that it was erected in the reign of Henry the
Eighth, by an Englishman of rank, whose name was Morden. Against
his earnest entreaties, his daughter had secluded herself from
the world, and taken the veil as a nun in Furness Abbey; but
when that religious house was broken up, by royal act, so much
attached was she to the spot of her vows, that to gratify her, a
family mansion was erected in the vicinity. To this, a considerable
extent of ground was added, as territorial possession. The owner
became enamoured of the pleasant solitude of such an abode, and so
did all his successors, whose feelings were in harmony with the
simplicity of the district, and the quiet beauties of its scenery.
Time destroys not the works of God, and the brook which trickled
beside the porch, still murmured dreams of happiness amidst the
nightshade which grew on its banks, or the lillies, which, in its
channel, courted its stream, in all their meekness and purity. But
time destroys the works of man, and the noble building, towards the
end of the sixteenth century, was but a decayed wreck of its former
self.

The inmates exhibited a striking contrast to the ruined abode.
The echoes did not awake to the slow step of the aged, but to the
bounding tread of the young. The wind might rave around in fury,
but, at intervals, sweet voices were heard, joining in the music
of the heart. Sombre was the light which entered the apartments,
but there was no snowy head on which it could fall; shining was
every brow, and clustering the ringlets waving thereon. On the
rudely-framed seat, by the porch, no old man sat, like a dial, to
point out time’s flight, but a beautiful pair, with a little boy
sporting before them.

William Morden, and Emily Clifton, were the only survivors of
two noble families. The time of our Legend is six years after
their marriage, when their love had been pledged and crowned by
the birth of a boy. Sweet was their domestic bliss, but darkness
and death are prepared to enter upon the scene. The curse of
witchcraft is about to fall upon the holy beings, in all its
horrors and pollutions. The Chronicler shudders, as tradition
leads him to their tragic fate, and as it gleams upon the hellish
causes. The fair creatures have, in many a dream, for many a long
night, been cradled by his side, in beauty and love. Their voices
have whispered to him, their faces have smiled upon him, in the
mysteries of sleep. And yet he must now awake them to feel the
breath of unearthly enmity and power, withering their souls, while
serpents are even twined around their shroud!

On a calm evening, towards the beginning of summer, Emily was
seated in the old hall, expecting the arrival of her husband, who
had rode out early that day, to hunt, when he entered, with marks
of agitation on his countenance.

“William!” she exclaimed, as she arose to embrace him, “thou art
sad. It cannot be for want of success in the chase; you would not
dare”--and she gave him a playful blow on the cheek with her little
hand--“to appear before your wife so sorrowful, and with no better
excuse. But, love, you smile not. William, are you wounded? Have
you been thrown from your horse?”

“No, Emily,” was the reply, “I am safe, but my horse, in passing
the cave of which you are so much afraid, sunk down, as if
exhausted, though a moment before, he seemed capable of the
greatest exertion. Thus is it,” he continued, as he yielded to his
wife, who forced him down to a seat, whilst she leaned over him,
“our cattle have died, though green is the meadow on which they
grazed. And now, my favourite steed--aye, the very one, Emily,
whose neck arched so proudly beneath your gentle touch, after he
had borne me to your abode, where I wooed and won you as my bride,
is now, I fear, stiffening in death. My servant shook his head, as
I left Ranger to his care.”

“Poor Ranger,” interrupted the lady, “he was a proud animal, and
spurned acquaintance with others of his kind. Yet, William, dost
thou recollect how closely and fondly he trotted by the side of
my white pony, on the evening you brought me to your home, and
how the kind animals allowed me to be locked in your embrace,
although their bridles hung loose? Nay, more, did they not choose
a lonely path, with the moon shining all sweetly upon it, through
the hushed forest, as if there ought to be nothing known to us,
save each other; and that, orphans as we were, with the voices
of gone friends, as silent to us as the night, still, there was
hope shedding its rays over our common lot? Now both of them may
be lost. Still you could have visited me without your steed, and
I should, perhaps, have been less coy after your fatigues, and,”
she added, as her fair hands played among the curls which shaded
her husband’s brow, “I could have come hither without my palfrey,
leaning on your arm, William.”

The sorrowful man could not reject the consolation of his beautiful
wife. Though unforeseen calamities had gathered thickly upon him,
as if there was some direct cause, separate from the general course
of Providence, yet every chain of human affection was unbroken; and
though his fold was now almost forsaken, on his hearth still moved
the beings whom he loved, and not a household god had been thrown
down. His little Edward had entered, and was climbing his knee, and
hugging his neck,--and could he refuse to be happy? He had regained
a portion of his usual gaiety, when his servant entered.

“Master, Ranger is dead! I took the bridle from off his head, and
he could no more shew that he was at liberty. There was a strange
shriek after he fell down. He licked my hands, and his tongue was
black and swollen.”

“Shriek, dost thou say?” returned his master, “I have heard that
horses groan when in pain, but that they shriek, I cannot believe.”

“It could not be the horse,” was the reply, “no--no--nor was it a
human voice.”

They gazed upon the servant. His tones were low, as if from secret
terror, and his countenance was deadly pale. He continued, “I have
heard the shriek before, master, when old Margery, who nursed you
when a boy--died. She raised her hands, drew herself up on the
pillow--as if escaping from some invisible spirit--and sunk down
lifeless. The neighbours said, that at that moment the witch of the
cave passed the window, with hurried steps.”

Emily Morden looked upon her husband, and took their little boy,
and folded him closely in her bosom. Not a word was spoken, but
many, many thoughts were theirs. Their fears seemed to recognize in
the sweet blue eyes, the calm brow, and the golden locks, signs of
a dark fate. The little fellow, however, was unconscious of their
feelings, and darted forth to the lawn to pursue the shadows, which
were now fast settling, and to gambol with his favourite pet lamb.
Soon fatigued with his sports, he leaned upon the tame animal,
like a beautiful picture with a pure back ground. At that moment
an old woman stood before him. He saw not her dark and hideous
features, more frightful because she attempted to smile: he only
saw the tempting fruit which she held. He heard not the unearthly
tones of her voice, he only distinguished the words, “Shall I give
you it?” He felt not the touch of her withered, bony hands, as he
received it. He cared not, though these hands were placed upon his
brow, as he devoured the fruit. He clapped his hands, and shouted,
“Good,--good mamma! give little Edwy more,--more!” Oh! it was
horrible to see the beautiful boy playing with a foul hag, hand in
hand, cheek to cheek, and to hear him address her, as “kind mamma.”
The lamb had fled far over the glen, at her approach--but the boy
had even kissed her black and shrivelled lips! He was throwing his
arms around her neck, amidst the long locks of white hair, which
hung like serpents over it, when he was dragged away by his mother,
who had rushed forth with her husband, upon beholding the woman’s
familiarities. The hand of William Morden was raised, in fury, to
strike the hellish crone, whom he knew to be the witch of the cave,
when she disappeared to a short distance, where her form dilated
against the faint light of the sky, and then she glared with her
blood-red eyes, full upon him. She tossed her hands in the air,
then approached a little nearer, and pointed to Emily, while she
sung in awful notes--

    Has early summer fruit for man?--
      No, but for spirits:--yet the boy
    Has tasted! and the mother ran
      Too late!--too late, to shield her joy--
            Embrace him! so have I!
    Ere the sun sinks, from him you’ll fly,
    Nor press a couch where he may die!
    His mouth is sweet; beware his fangs!
    Kiss him, he bites in maddest pangs!

The still calm all around, allowed every word and tone to be
distinctly heard. When she had ended, she gave a shriek of delight,
and slowly proceeded in the direction of the cave; at intervals
turning round, and raising her arms. All objects around her could
not be perceived, still those small malicious eyes sparkled in the
gathering twilight, and her voice could be heard muttering.

“Nay, William, follow her not!” exclaimed Emily, as her husband
prepared to pursue the witch. But he was now maddened by rage and
despair, and he started forward, fully resolved to enter the cave,
and brave its unseen and unknown terrors.

She anxiously gazed after him, until his form was altogether lost
in the distance. The many tales to which she had listened, of the
witch’s power and revenge, were unfolded again, and they seemed
scrolls of the future, written with the fate of herself, and all
that were dear. She led Edward into the hall, and soon perceived
a marvellous change in the boy. At first he was silent, and did
not acknowledge the attentions of his mother. He then shrieked in
terror, and laughed in joy, alternately. His features were, at
times, absolutely hideous, grinning, as if with malice, and then
they became more beautiful than a mother’s eye ever beheld.

“Mamma! mamma!” he would exclaim,--and he looked from his mother
upon vacancy--“give Edwy more--oh! it is sweet, sweet. Heed not the
man, wicked man, who drives you away;--come back to Edwy!”

At length she succeeded in hushing him to rest, and her thoughts
were of her husband. Darkness was now over the earth, and she
imagined that the hag’s face was gazing in upon her at the
casement, but she dared not rise to close it, lest she might
disturb the sleeper. Sometimes, too, another form, seen by the
moonlight, was there, and the witch dared to embrace the husband,
in sight of his trembling wife! Hour after hour passed, and the
next would be midnight, and William had not returned. In vain did
his faithful servant, whom she had summoned to bear her company,
suggest that his master might have refused to leave the cave, until
the woman had read the destiny of the family more distinctly.

“Nay, Roger,” she said, “something has befallen your master. Oh! if
he should return no more!” and her agony was too deep for tears.

“My lady, fear not. It is said that all those who are bewitched in
the cave, have first listened to the love confessions of the old
woman’s daughter, and drunk the cup of unearthly beauty. But I will
instantly go to the cave.”

Emily was about to urge him to make all possible haste, when he
shrieked out, and pointed to her breast; and there her boy was
gradually raising up his head, like a serpent, to her face, whilst
his eyes gleamed with the most fiendish expression, and his mouth
was grinning and distended. For a moment she was silent as the
dead, and gazed in horror; but she could not trace a touch of
kindness on the young features. All love and beauty, in a moment,
had been dashed from them. The boy’s eye never moved from hers, or
changed its emotion;--it was slowly meeting hers, in malice. His
breath was now close to her cheek!

“Kiss me, kiss me,” were the first words he uttered; but the tones
were unknown, and seemed those of a young fiend. With a loud
shriek he prepared to dart upon her face. She started from her
seat, and threw him on the floor, and there the little monster
rolled--gnashing his teeth, and tearing with his hands, in frantic
fury. His eyes were of a glassy brightness, and coldness; and foam
was on his little black lips. His struggles soon became fainter,
and he lay motionless, and apparently lifeless. He then regained
his own beauty, but was pale and trembling, as if from an infant
dream of evil. His eyes were raised to his mother, and again they
were affectionate, as of old.

“Mamma! mamma!” he cried, “take me to your arms, cover me up in
your bosom; you wont kill me, mamma? Oh! leave me not here to die!”

There was a mournful upbraiding in the boy’s accents, and his
mother burst into tears, and rushed forward to raise him, when, all
at once, he sprang from the ground. Again he was changed; his hair
stood erect, his mouth was stretched to an unnatural width, and he
ran to her, howling like a dog. In a moment the servant struck him
down. Bitterly did the mother weep to see her child bleeding on the
floor, and yet, she dared not touch him. “He is possessed!” she
exclaimed, “aye, that is the fate which the witch foretold!”

“My lady,” said Roger, “pardon me for what I am about to mention.
He has been bewitched into a disease which must be fatal to
himself, and to all whom he bites. Your security, and that of my
master, lies only in his destruction.”

“Never!” was the indignant, but sorrowful reply.

The boy once more regained his own appearance, and called piteously
for his mother. He put his little hands to his mouth, and when he
gazed upon them, they were all suffused with blood! He burst into
tears.

“Mamma, kiss the blood away from my lips. Wipe this love ringlet,
or papa wont play with it. Oh! cool my lips. Take the fire out of
them. Mamma, mamma! must I die? Who took me out of your bosom, to
lie here?”

Every word fell, like a child’s curse, upon the ear of Emily.

“Oh Roger! good Roger,” implored the lady,--“what can be done?”

The boy attempted to rise, but his strength seemed gone, and his
head dashed itself violently upon the floor. His mother fell down
senseless. Roger rushed from the room, to bring water to sprinkle
upon her face. In a moment he returned,--and there a scene was
presented to his eyes, which nothing in after-life could curtain
from his mind. Both lay lifeless. The countenance of the mother
was mangled and bloody, and her boy’s teeth were in her cheek. As
soon as she had fallen, the boy had crept to her, under the same
infernal influence as before, and, fortunately, she never awoke
from insensibility.

Meanwhile let us leave the dead, and follow the living. The reader
is not asked to dry his tears after the mournful spectacle, and put
off his sackcloth, and don singing robes and smiles, for soon the
curtain may be raised from the same scene, to exhibit on the same
stage, another victim.

William Morden, when out of the sight of his wife, came in view of
the object of his pursuit. Unlike the aged, the hag avoided not the
many elevations of sharp rock, on her path. After passing them, for
a moment she would linger, and looking back, and howling, motion
him, with a wild plunge of her arm, to follow. The scenery became
more bleak and desolate, as if nothing in animal or vegetable life
could flourish near her abode. Not a sound was heard; her steps
were hurried, but silent. They were approaching the cave, which
was formed in the old channel of the brook, and which was supposed
to be the outlet of a subterraneous passage leading from the abbey
into a deep wood, which skirted and concealed the bank. Amidst the
trees strange lights seemed to move, and the witch, by their flash,
was enabled to expose her malignant and hellish countenance to the
gaze of Morden. She stood still and he advanced. From the folds of
the cloak in which she was wrapped, she drew her hand, and pointed
to a deep ravine, at a short distance from the cave. She muttered
some incantations, raised her eyes, as if to invisible agents in
the air, and exclaimed, “Slaves! ye know my power! Shew him--shew
him what a word, escaping from my lips, has done. Now, fool!” and
she grasped his hands for a moment, “gaze there--and tremble.”

Morden started, as lurid lights gleamed in a mass, over him. He
stumbled down the declivity, and fell, his head striking against
his lifeless steed! Unearthly shrieks of laughter saluted him, and
as he sprung to his feet, the witch, surrounded by flames, was
waving her arms in fiendish joy. He once more found himself on the
path close beside her. All again was darkness, and now he heard
the witch enter the cave. He prepared to follow her. The entrance
was small, and could only admit him by crawling through. His face
came in contact with the jutting rocks, and he imagined that around
his neck the hag had placed her hands, to strangle him. He crept
in, but saw nothing. No object could be distinguished, until,
on a floor far below him, he beheld a few embers burning on the
hearth, and a form walking around, and by its shadow intercepting
the light. The ground was damp beneath his hands, and the very
worms were crawling over them, and thus early claiming connexion,
by twining around them the marriage ring of the grave. He knew
not how to let himself down into the interior. The light from
the embers, meanwhile, was gradually increasing; and at length he
recognized the witch rubbing her hands over them. Her head was
uncovered, and her long grey locks were flung back from a brow
black and wrinkled. He could not remove his eyes from her, and
every moment he expected that she would arise, and curse him with
her arts. She lighted a taper, and placed it upon a small coffin,
and sung a death dirge; at every interval, when she paused for
breath, making the most unnatural mirth. The lid of the coffin
slowly arose, as she removed the taper, and a beautiful boy raised
his face, so pale and deadly, over which golden locks curled,
like young spirits. His sweet blue eyes met those of Morden; his
little hands were pressed together, and his lisping voice said,
mournfully,--“Father!”

Morden sprang down, when, with a wild shriek, the witch turned
upon him, and attempted to mimic the tones in which the fond word
“father” had been breathed. He prepared to rush upon her, when
every limb was powerless. He could not move, and yet all his
senses were intensely active and awake. He beheld the coffin again
closed, and glad now would he have been, could he have returned
to his home, to assure himself of his child’s safety. The witch
began some awful and unholy rites, as she lowered the coffin into
a hole dug beside the embers, and then over the spot, after her
incantations had been muttered, sprung up a mossy tomb-stone, with
this inscription,--

                          Edward Morden,
                               AGED
                            FIVE YEARS.
                               1643.

She kindled another taper, when a larger coffin seemed to be placed
before her by invisible hands. The lid was raised; and there
Morden beheld his Emily, as beautiful now, amidst all the horrors
of witchery and death, as when that face was revealed in the
moonlight, on their nuptial night, slumbering so happily, to gaze
upon which he had kept himself awake. But soon the features became
clouded and black; aye, and blood--blood was seen upon them, and
horrible gashes.

“Embrace her!” exclaimed the witch, “embrace her. How beautiful!
What a sweet crimson! Fool! thy wife blushes! fly to her!”

He started forward, and fell upon the coffin, but the lid was
closed. A long fit of insensibility was over him. Dreams still more
revolting than the realities he had now beheld, kept him bound.

He awoke--but far different was the scene. A sigh which had been
nursed in the dream, now found expression, and instantly a movement
was heard, in a distant part of the cave; and a female bent over
him, and perfumed his burning brow. Wild was the beauty beaming
from her eyes; but soft and earthly was the hand which took his. He
gazed silently upon her. She seemed scarcely to have entered upon
girlhood, and yet Morden thought that she never could have been
younger, and never, for the future, could be older. She spoke not;
but her lips uttered strange sounds of the most thrilling music.
She gently raised and led him to a couch, as soft as dreams. The
air around breathed fragrance, and vibrated song. Invisible roses
seemed to fall upon his brow and hands. So brilliant, and yet
shadowy, was the light, that he could not gaze far around. Light
seemed to be a boundary to itself, and no walls intercepted the
vision.

“Who art thou?” was the exclamation of Morden, “and where am I?
How have I been brought here? This is not the cave to which I
came;--and where is the foul witch who so tormented me with her
dark spells?”

“There cometh light after darkness,” replied his beautiful
companion, “and joy after sorrow. What makes the love of one being
so pleasant? Because it is nursed amidst the storms of hate. Love
cares not for a palace; to sit, travel, and sleep, amidst gold and
diamonds. The tomb is the home where it is most beautiful; and were
two mortals, who cling to each other, to dwell there, it would be
love’s paradise. As they sat beneath the shade of the cypress, how
rapturous would their thoughts and words be; and oh! how true! At
eve, as they walked together over graves, how confiding would they
be! And at the midnight hour, when the wind howled, and ghosts
flitted around them, how sweet the sleep of the two lovers, with a
tomb-stone for their pillow!”

Each word thrilled through the soul of Morden.

“Mysterious angel!” he cried, “tell me thy name and abode!”

The young being dismissed the melancholy which, whilst she spoke,
had rested on her countenance, and smiled. Her deep blue eyes gazed
upon him, and, in the intoxication of the moment, he recollected
not his own inquiry. But soon, thoughts of home and Emily, came
into his mind, and checked others which were rising. He turned away
from her, when she asked,--

“Would’st thou see the past?”

“Yes,” eagerly returned Morden. “Oh! could I once more behold her
whom an untimely fate bore from me!”

She took from the table a golden cup, encircled with flowers, and
throwing a liquid drop, which she had poured out on her hand,
away in the distance; instantly, amidst music, with the bass of a
profound calm, there arose before his eyes a strange scene. There
were the haunts of his boyhood, the bower in the garden, and even
the ivy-covered seat, on which was the plumed cap his mother’s
hands had made; the gentle stream, with his book and fishing-rod
lying on the bank; and last of all was himself, smiling, the actor
in each. A pure mist arose before him, as in the bower he was
placing the cap over his shining curls; bright eyes gleamed in it,
and as it vanished, there stood his only sister! She appeared to be
the gentler type of himself, and sweet was her beauty, though it
was the beauty of Genius and Power. The mist descended, and hovered
over them, as they were singing the lays of their own happiness,
and shrouded both. It once more rolled away. There was seen a
mourner, near a rose-scattered grave! The mourner was known to
Morden long before he raised his features from the earth:--it was
himself, at the grave of his sister!

He started up from the couch, and fell at the feet of his
mysterious companion, exclaiming,--

“Perpetuate the scene! Give me boyhood again; give me the lost and
the beloved, and I’ll adore you,--aye, love you!”

He arose calmly, after her lips had been pressed to his.

“Drink,” was the reply. “Drink from this cup, Morden, and death
shall not separate the brother from the sister. Beautiful she
was a month before her sudden end, and that month shall never be
enrolled in your existence. Drink,--and the past is written over
with every drop of this liquid, on the tablet of your mind, and on
the objects of your external senses. Could inanimate things feel
its influence--and shall not the mind? Drink!” and the scene again
arose, in more thrilling beauty and truth. Sweet and long was the
draught, and he returned the cup, empty. Strange sensations shot
through his frame, and as strange feelings passed in his mind.
Emily, in a moment, was forgotten, and his arms were around his
companion, when a shriek was heard, and in place of the fading form
of his sister, stood the withered Weird of the Cave! Her daughter,
(for such the beautiful witch was,) now coldly repulsed him, and
shrunk from his embrace. As soon as he could move his eyes from the
hag, he turned round to chide his companion, when he found that
she had disappeared. A loud laugh was raised by the old witch, and
he pursued her. Darkness fell over the scene, and once more he was
near to the dying embers.

“Go home!” exclaimed the hag,--“go home, and die there along
with your dead wife and child! It is long past midnight. It is,
therefore, meet time that you should go to sleep with them.
Home--fool!”

Her words drove Morden almost to madness. He climbed up to the
entrance, and as he left the cave, he heard the laugh of the two
witches. He rushed along the path. He saw not the lurid lights that
flashed around him, from the dark abode which he had left. Terror,
shame, and despair, were driving their victim to what he considered
as a sanctuary from evil. He was heedless of his steps, and as he
stumbled, it but increased his fury; when he felt himself suddenly
grasped, and on looking up, recognized his servant Roger.

“Is all well,--is all well, Roger, with your mistress? Speak,
man,--speak!”

The servant hesitated, and then replied, “Yes, master!”

“Kind, dear Emily!” exclaimed Morden, “she has sent you to
search for me. Nay, Roger, I will outstrip you; and I can delay
no longer.--How anxious she will be! Death! no--no--it was but a
horrible dream! Yet, Roger,--am I agitated? would my looks frighten
Emily? Frighten--oh! no. Not a moment is to be lost,” and he darted
forward, and soon, all breathless, reached his abode. He trode up
the lawn with as heavy a pace as possible, in order that suspense
might be ended, and that she might know of his return, before he
appeared. A dim light was in the hall when he entered.

       *       *       *       *       *

The faithful servant, when he arrived, heard no noise, and although
he felt keenly for the woes of his master, did not venture into the
hall before morning,--and there was his master lying, with his arms
around his wife. He spoke to him;--but he spoke to the dead!

       *       *       *       *       *

A distant relation laid claim to the dwelling, with the land
attached to it; but from the awful scenes in the former, which we
have related, it became uninhabited, and was soon an entire ruin;
finally even without a wreck.



THE DEVIL’S WALL.


“Jeremiah, read those directions and intimations once more; they
contain no less than a challenge to my valour. Truly his Black
Majesty seems to think that he can toss about the ball of earth for
his amusement; and that there is not a tailor who would venture to
‘measure him.’ Ah! Nick, give me a trial.”

Thus spoke Gideon Chiselwig, tailor, in Ormskirk. Unlike the most
of his brethren belonging to that honourable profession, he could
boast of six feet of perpendicular matter; but conceiving that
even that height was too low a tabernacle for his giant soul, he
fixed to the one extremity a long red nightcap, whilst he made
the other move on tiptoe, much to the mirth of the quizzing old
maids, for which that town is noted. He was never seen with that
upper garment, commonly called a coat; unless to display one of
fashionable cut, which he had just finished; and the absence of
this did not take from Gideon’s stature. Some conjectured that he
knew this; others had seen Mrs. Gideon, at home, arrayed in what,
evidently, had once been a coat; and they jocosely remarked, that
she had altogether monopolized the use of her husband’s apparel,
for now they had seen her with the coat, and Gideon himself had
confessed that she wore the breeches.--He had a vest, but the
pockets were only visited by his hands; silver and gold they had
never weighed; so that to all intents and purposes--the wife wore
the vest also.

Nature, however, had denied him her average allowance of breadth
and thickness, so much so, that in a tour to remarkable places,
during the honey-moon, having entered a museum in the metropolis,
the blushing bride was asked by the keeper, what was the price she
fixed upon the piece of anatomy which she brought. Gideon, did,
indeed, convince the questioner of his mistake, by a powerful and
conclusive argument directed against his head: still people will
suspect, even in the face of ample evidence; and the report had
been afloat, that there was something altogether strange about him.
This only served to give a more singular character to the tailor,
and nothing short of the marvellous in adventure could win his
attention and occupy his thoughts.

Others hinted, that were Mrs. Gideon not to awake him so early;
not to rap his knuckles, when at table he was stretching forth his
hand to help himself; nor yet to allow the poker to fall upon his
toes and corns, when they ventured within a few yards of the fire;
not to compel him to perform the necessary ablutions on a cold
morning, a mile from the house, and then allow the sun, the wind,
or the frost, to dry him; not to confine him, for bedclothes, to a
sheet in winter, and his shirt in summer; nor yet, occasionally,
to exercise her hands, and a stick, upon his body; Gideon would
soon improve in appearance, and, at length, be a rival to the oily
priest. But the old maids (for Mrs. Gideon had formerly been one
of the numerous sisterhood residing there) considered such hints
as morsels of scandal;--and who can, with more propriety, condemn
scandal, than old maids?--and if, in the multitude of councillors
there be safety, their view of the matter, certainly, had every
assurance of being the correct one--that he was killed by too
much fondling and love. Ah! ah! poor Gideon knew better. He had a
scar on his face that he was proud to shew, for he had received
it in honourable combat with a barber;--but he had others, below
the night-cap, and many all over his person, which he was glad to
conceal; for these he received from his wife! At first he resisted
her encroachment upon the rights of man; but soon his noble spirit
disdained to contend with a woman. He had not lost a dram of
courage, and he burned for some supernatural achievement.

His brother Jeremiah was made exactly in the antipodean style. He
was short and round; yet, as he himself pathetically said, when the
doctor, dreading apoplexy, had inquired about his diet, “tears were
his daily food, and misfortunes were the vinegar and salt.” His
eyes, in fact, seemed to have invisible onions always around them.
It was so when he was a babe, and his mother was in the habit of
remarking, that Jeremiah would not be troubled with water in the
head, because it would never stay there. When he entered upon the
profession of a tailor, Gideon had serious doubts that he would but
bring disgrace on it, himself, and all his relations; for, as he
very wisely reasoned, “How could he use the goose?--however hot it
was, in a moment his tears would cool it. And as for his needles--a
hundred would become rusty in a day.” However, Jeremiah passed
his apprenticeship with distinction, and became a partner in his
brother’s shop; where we introduce them, squatted on a large table,
to our readers, at the moment that Gideon had finished the sentence
which opens the Legend.

Jeremiah had in his hand, an old and tattered book, which seemed
to have been read by the feet, and not the eyes. He raised his eyes
from it, as his brother spoke, and poured forth a fresh flood of
tears. “Ah! brother,” he said, “you’ll still be after what leads
to your destruction. I warned you against marriage. On the night
previous, did I not strike you sharply on the ankle, and then upon
the head, and ask you how you could endure to have it repeated a
hundred times, in the whole multiplication table of your life. And
now,” here tears impeded his words, “can I not read about Satan’s
tricks without your wishing--”

“Resolving you mean; nay, Jeremiah, call it resolving to fight him.
I’m sure that he’s in Ormskirk. Yesterday morning, when I came from
washing myself, I traced in the snow a strange hoof to this very
door. There never was such a nunnery of old maids, in which he was
not found wooing them. But--but I’ll make a goose of him--I will!”
concluded the magnanimous tailor.

“A goose! a goose!” exclaimed the simple Jeremiah, in horror,
“he’ll burn our hands, and the cloth. I cannot use him for a goose.
Oh! brother, only say that you will not make him either a needle or
a goose, and I’ll read the words over again.”

“Well, well,” returned Gideon, a little pacified, as well as
elated, by the thought that there was one who really did think
that he was able to turn the devil into a goose, “sweep away your
tears. You’ll find the table cloth near you. Use the dirty corner
twice, and Nelly wont need to wash it.”

Jeremiah followed his brother’s directions, carefully passed the
cloth over his face, and once more fixed his eyes upon the book.
Gideon laid aside a pair of gaiters, which he was making for the
comfort of his wife. The winter was severe--and the doctor, it
seems, had said at the house of some wealthy person that there
would be a great mortality that season, should females not keep
their feet properly warm, and the report had spread through all the
town, and had been pretty well circulated, both by the tailors and
shoemakers. In fact, shoes and gaiters had been exhibited under
the imposing titles of life-preservers. Towards evening the sexton
had been known to look suspiciously upon them, and even openly to
condemn the traffic; but the articles were still in great demand.

Mrs. Gideon’s gaiters being, as we have said, thrown aside, the
tailor settled himself into the posture which was most becoming the
spirit of the reply, which he intended to make to the proposition
now to be propounded, and Jeremiah commenced reading--

“About midnight, let him go out into a wood, wherein there be
divers kinds of trees; let him stand behind a yew, and clapping
his hands together, cry out, come here, James, (such being the
endearing name by which he is known to his friends,) come here.
He shall then perceive a whisper from the top of the tree. Let
him instantly draw around him a magic circle, with the forefinger
of his right hand, lest his devilship, being angry, pettish, or
mischievous, may enter unawares, and suffocate him with his breath.
He must next name the conditions, upon the fulfilment of which, he
surrenders himself as a slave, then and for ever. He may ask any
thing, and his master is bound to perform it, or break the league,
and allow his hoof to be scratched with six pins or needles.”

“I have it!” exclaimed Gideon, “the agreement shall be made
this very night,” and he looked terrible things to a portrait
of Apollyon, which he had torn out of “Pilgrim’s Progress,” and
plastered over the mantel-piece.

But not contented with this manner of defiance, he sprung upon
his toes, hastily drew a needle from his waistcoat, and pinked
the enemy through and through the breast, in spite of scales
and hellish armour. Jeremiah, upon this, could not refrain from
weeping, and cried out, “poor dragon! poor dragon!”

“Poor dragon! Poor, indeed!” returned the doughty conqueror. “But
see, how fierce he looks! The longer I strike, his eyes become
larger, and expand with rage.”

When this announcement was made, Jeremiah quickly drew a circle
around him. This caution was unnecessary; for Gideon, seizing
the picture, threw it to the door, which Mrs. Chiselwig, at that
moment opening, received it full in her face. With a loud shout,
the enraged wife flew at her husband--we cannot say like a dove to
its mate. Nelly had a singular fancy and propensity for squinting;
and her visual organs seemed always, as if chiding nature for the
place which she had given them to occupy, and were just upon the
eve of taking their departure to some back settlements on the head,
as sentinels to guard a large neck-covering, which she wore with
some degree of pride. Jeremiah, who had a mixture of shrewdness
with all his simplicity, had long been of opinion, after careful
observation, comparison, and induction of facts, that squinting
was the property of old maids, and very philosophically, as well
as categorically, gave the following reasons. First--since they
always look back upon age, and, in their own calculations, never
become older, but sometimes younger; why should not their eyes be
in the posterior of their head? Secondly--female eyes ought always
to be in front, when their lips are in danger of being saluted; but
as old maids are not exposed to this danger, such a situation is
not necessary. But be this as it may, there could be no doubt of
the fact, that Mrs. Gideon Chiselwig did squint, and viewed every
thing at right angles. Perhaps she wished to avoid the labour of
her eyes travelling over a large nose. Still, squinting as she did,
she took a tolerably correct aim at the shoulders of her spouse.
In vain did he look pale, in vain did he attempt to kiss her, and
excuse the deed, by affirming that it was purely accidental: all
these circumstances did not stay the uplifted hand, or take away a
grain from its weight. She had frequently complained of being very
delicate, and when the doctor had been called in to feel her pulse
with his finger, poor Gideon wished that he could only feel her
fist with his head, as he must then have come to a very different
conclusion. She could faint, go vulgarly into hysterics, look as
pale as a drooping lily, and speak of consumption:--ah! Gideon knew
that she could likewise strike hard. It was not the mere “ego,”
tripping on his tongue, which said so: every rib, every bone, every
member told the same tale. On this occasion, Nelly did not abate
any of her strength.

“Angel of my life!” Gideon cried out, “desist, oh! Nelly desist!”

“You treat me as an angel, eh? Doff your nightcap then, in an
angel’s presence, and make your lowest bow of reverence.”

Gideon silently obeyed, and very soon had his head scratched to his
wife’s content. We omitted to mention that Nelly’s figure rather
came under the definition of dumpy; so that had Gideon only been
able to read the classics, and to know that the face of man was
made to look towards the skies, or the ceiling, she could not,
without the labour of mounting a high stool, have reached him, so
as to inflict _capital_ punishment.

Meanwhile, Jeremiah’s eyes were moist enough. We have our suspicion
that a _wave_ of Mrs. Chiselwig’s hand deposited a few tears there.
Still, as this phenomenon was by no means unusual, the Chronicler
leaves the point without any further investigation.

After “wholesome severities” had been administered to Gideon by his
wife, she dragged him to a seat beside the fire, where she also
seated herself, and began to examine the evidence of an exculpatory
nature, which the offender had to produce; and to the furtherance
of the ends of justice, called his brother to be jury in the case.
Jeremiah, in his own mind, had some doubts as to the equity of this
course of proceeding: but he was too wise to allow any private
opinion of his to contradict the wish of the judge. He thought,
too, that his brother’s heroism was much too pure and exalted,
since it led him to be passively submissive to the treatment of
his wife, lest he might use his weapons ingloriously, when their
edge was to be turned against Satan; and as he rose from the
table to occupy the jury-box, he was almost tempted to tell both
parties that he would be their mutual second, in a fair combat,
and then strength would be both jury and judge, and fists would
pronounce guilty or not guilty, and register the doom or acquittal
accordingly. But Jeremiah shewed his prudence by being silent. Mrs.
Chiselwig motioned him to his seat, when her eyes fell upon the
gaiters, lying unfinished on the floor.

“So,” she began, “you thought I should not require gaiters after
you had killed me, and had resolved to be thrifty, that you might
tempt some other person to be your wife?”

Gideon, in reply, raised his eyes. We have some doubt as to whether
this movement was expressive of his calling Heaven to witness that
he was innocent of any such design; or of his chiding Heaven, for
not having brought accidents to such a desirable issue.

Mrs. Gideon’s head began to incline a little to her left hand,
which was opened to support it; her breast was heaving against her
right hand; her eyes were rolling in an interesting lack-lustre;
and her face, with the exception of the nose, was pale. These were
symptoms of hysterics. She seemed about to fall from her seat, and
Gideon once thought of helping her to her wish, by removing the
chair from under her, but when he thought over the matter twice,
the idea was abandoned, for Nelly had been known to recover in a
wondrously short time, from her fainting fits. On this occasion she
contented herself with bursting into tears.

“Oh! cruel brute, to be yoked to such a delicate little heart! Why
did I leave the holy state of single life. I might now have been
seated, eating gingerbread as I was when the wretch came with his
proposals!”

Gideon gave a sigh, and thought that even Ormskirk gingerbread
should not tempt him, were he free, to bear her company.

Mrs. Chiselwig continued,--

“Was not my shop the most frequented of any in the town? Those who
could not pay to eat the gingerbread, stood gazing upon it at the
window, and feasted their eyes; those who were my friends, were
allowed to smell it; and those who ate it, thought that they would
never die. Where was the true lover that did not regularly, when
about to visit his sweetheart, buy a little of Nelly’s cake, in
order that he might have an agreeable and pleasant breath?”

“And did not your own true love,” interrupted Gideon in an
appeal overflowing with tenderness, “pay your shop many of such
periodical visits, and did he not, in the slyness of the feeling,
pretend that he was about to visit such and such a damsel, and
then, after swallowing a cake or two, delicately and timidly
ask pardon for the liberty he was about to take, in wishing you
to decide, by allowing him a salute on your own sweet lips,
whether his breath was made agreeable enough? Oh! Nelly, have you
altogether forgot those days?”

At this moment, when he was pursuing his reminiscences, he came
upon one which he passed over in silence. In “those days” to
which he referred, he had his suspicions that Nelly’s decision
was not quite disinterested, for after one salute, and frequently
two salutes, she was of opinion that Gideon’s breath was not
sufficiently flavoured to make it pleasant, and, of course, he was
under the necessity of purchasing a few more cakes of gingerbread.
Then, however, these suspicions were counterbalanced by others,
which whispered, that instead of wishing him to spend his money,
she was only anxious that he should spend his kisses. Woman is
said to be fickle and changeable: but some hold that man, after
marriage, changes his opinion much more than woman, adducing as a
proof, the existence of angels on earth in female form, to which
every unmarried man swears a hundred times, but which no married
man believes. Gideon, accordingly, was not exactly of the same
opinion, in reference to Nelly’s motive for the course of conduct
described, and he recollected many a squint in the direction of his
pocket, confirmatory of the change. This one reminiscence, we have
said, Gideon omitted to suggest to Mrs. Chiselwig, and was about to
wander over others which might tend to warm her towards him, when
Jeremiah waved him to silence, and began,--

“And, madam, you surely have not yet forgot how many times I
entered the shop, and made some purchases?”

“No,” sharply returned Mrs. Chiselwig, “twelve times, and out of
these, five times you left the shop without leaving your money.
One of my reasons for marrying the fool, your brother, was, that I
might not lose your account. But, Jeremiah, finish my gaiters, and
you shall be quit for the interest due to me. So, Mr. Chiselwig,
you thought that I would never use them, but I shall outlive you,
and obtain another husband.”

Jeremiah moved uncomfortably on his seat, but resolved in his own
mind, that _he_ would never be that husband.

“Another husband!” continued Nelly, after thinking over her last
words, “no, no. Why did I leave the virgin state?--oh! why--why?”

Gideon listened eagerly, expecting to hear her assign a reason,
the “why,” and the “wherefore,” for when he asked himself the same
question, he could invent no answer.

“I was a fool--a fool,” she concluded.

Her spouse thought that the same answer would do for him likewise,
and that marriage had coupled them in folly. Mrs. Chiselwig then
left the room to retreat to bed, warning Gideon against making his
appearance there before morning.

The two brothers drew closer to each other, and, in a short time,
our hero was “himself again,” and spoke of undertaking an adventure
with Satan that very night. And the first question to be settled
was, what should Gideon’s apparel be? Some philosophers, perhaps,
will say, that in strict logical arrangement, this ought not to
have been the first question, and that the time and place had prior
claims upon their notice. But, let it be remembered, that the hero
was a tailor.--Jeremiah was decidedly of opinion that Gideon should
not take a coat. “The book,” he argued, “gives directions that
a circle be drawn round your person. Now, should the slightest
movement on your part be made, the skirts of the coat might fly
over the circle, and the enemy might seize them, and thus draw you
from your strong hold of safety, and carry you away.”

It was, therefore agreed upon, _nem. con._ that Gideon should not
take a coat.

“And as for the night cap,” resumed the same subtle reasoner,
“since it is of a red colour, it may remind him of the hot place
which he has left, and then setting him to shiver and tremble, may
give you, his opponent, some advantage.”

This, likewise, was carried unanimously.

The next series of questions was concerning the place. The book
had mentioned a wood, and luckily it occurred to the remembrance
of Gideon, that there was a dark wood, at a short distance
from Ormskirk. But then, all the trees were of fir, and it was
distinctly stated, that the challenger should stand behind a yew.
Here seemed to be an insuperable objection.

By agreement they divided themselves into two committees, to
deliberate upon the matter; and they placed themselves at opposite
sides of the fire, and hid their faces in their hands, lest the
other might know of their opinion. Once, indeed, they had started
from their posture, as they imagined that they heard Nelly’s foot
on the staircase, but as she did not make her appearance, it was
resumed: and certainly the expression of their countenance at that
moment would not have discovered any opinion about the question in
consideration. At length Gideon started from his seat.

“I have it!” he exclaimed, rubbing his brow and scratching his
head, “yes: the priest, towards the conclusion of his discourse
last Sunday, told us that the yew was a type of death. He said that
it was black, and so was death: it grew in the church-yard, and so
did death. Then he stated--”

“Go on, go on,” interrupted Jeremiah impatiently,--“proceed,
brother. I fell asleep over that point.”

“Then he stated,” continued Gideon, “that as the yew was the emblem
of the death of old men, so the cypress, being a much smaller tree,
might, with great propriety, be considered as an emblem of the
death of young men. Now I am a young man, Jeremiah, and the cypress
is, therefore, the tree for me!”

“But is there a cypress in ‘the Rough?’”

“No, no,” was the answer, “remain here for a little, and I will
bring one. Satan can have no objection, unless he be a coward, to
one standing without roots.”

Still Gideon did not leave the house, and some uncomfortable
thoughts were evidently clouding his brow, at least that part of it
which the nightcap left uncovered.

“Should Nelly come down, and find that I am out, she would leave
me to cool all night, on the wrong side of the door. But covered
with glory, from fiendish achievements, could she resist me?”--and
elated with the idea, he looked a few inches taller, and braver by
as many; strode with a martial air twice across the room, and then
strode out. Jeremiah was not fond of adventures: and the truth was,
that he had not asked where his brother was going for the cypress,
lest he should have been answered by another question, “would he
not accompany him?” He himself confessed that he was rather of a
_sedentary_ disposition, and must, therefore, have declined to
leave his chair.

Meanwhile Gideon was threading his way to the churchyard, which
was at a little distance. The priest, it seems, had said, that
should any of his hearers have the curiosity to see a cypress, he
would, when the service was over, shew them one. A few had remained
behind: of whom, some not being very excellent herbists, had
expected to find winter apples there; because, as they reasoned,
the tree was an emblem of death, and the eating of an apple had
brought death into the world. Gideon was not of this class. He
was forced to remain behind, because Mrs. Chiselwig had strictly
enjoined him never to be nearer her on their way home, than a
hundred yards; so that he received the benefit of the priest’s
illustration, and knew exactly the situation of the cypress. He
entered the churchyard, found the spot, and then ascertained that
he had forgot a digging spade. It was dim twilight, but the snow
on the ground made objects, otherwise invisible, to be seen, and
the tailor recognized a form approaching. He at once concluded
that it was the enemy, and took his station, as directed, behind
the cypress. He heard a deep groan, and then a shriek. Nothing
terrified, Gideon called out, in a ferocious tone, “Come, James,
come,” when he received an answer,

“Oh! heaven, save my wits, and my body. Shall I come? No, no; and
yet I cannot run. Something holds me fast.”

Gideon was astonished. The enemy had, in his hearing, breathed a
prayer;--not a pater-noster, indeed, but still a prayer. Soon,
however, his astonishment gave way to his rage, that he would not
come. “Fiend! coward!” Gideon cried out, when he instantly heard
retreating steps. He pursued in the direction of the sounds, and
came up to a form crouching behind a tombstone! The tailor was
collared in a moment, and struck to the ground.

“You are the fiend or ghost who terrified me. I took thee for the
spirit of the strange gentleman, over whose grave the cypress is
planted. Ha! take that, and that,” and as he spoke he made a few
presents to Gideon, which seemed very like blows. “Where are your
confounded life-preservers now? Are they upon you?” and he struck
the tailor’s shins, who, looking up, beheld James Dennis, the
sexton of Ormskirk. We have hinted already that the members of
these two useful professions, during the winter, were not very
amicably disposed towards each other. After Gideon had got upon his
legs, the sexton resumed,--

“You have tried to rob me of my trade, and I have half a mind to
make you atone for it, by putting you into a grave which I have
just dug.”

“Not to night,” interrupted Gideon. “I have a work before me,
to be performed, and I shall not be buried happily till it be
accomplished. Not to night, good sir, for I fight the devil!”

A fit of shivering came over his companion, who was very
superstitious; and it is no comfortable word, that same devil, to
be heard with an atmosphere of darkness, and in a churchyard.

“Oh! oh!” groaned the sexton, “mention it not. The snow falls
heavily, and I often fancy that such is the garb of light, which we
are told he sometimes assumes.”

“Hast thou, friend,” inquired Gideon, “seen the track of his steps
here lately? Snow shews them rarely. Here they are--”

“For goodness sake, do not mention the subject,” interrupted the
sexton, as he trembled anew. The tailor, however, explained all
his warlike intentions to him: stated for what he had come to the
church-yard: and finally, received the assistance of the grave
spade, to uproot the sickly cypress. He left the spot, bearing
it on his shoulders, and the hero of the Eneïd did not stalk
with a prouder air, as he raised the heavenly shield which his
goddess-mother had induced Vulcan to forge for him, than did Gideon
Chiselwig, tailor, in Ormskirk.

The snow continued to fall heavily, and the wind drifted it about
in fury, when, a little before midnight, the two tailors (for
Jeremiah, from fear of Mrs. Chiselwig’s wrath, had thought it best
to accompany his brother) were moving in the direction of the Rough
Wood, situated at a short distance from the town. The priest, it
will be recollected, had termed the cypress black; but it had
now changed colours, and was white enough. Gideon’s nightcap was
still red, for, at his request, Jeremiah took it from the head
repeatedly, and dashed the snow from it, lest it should lose any
of its power, to call up some rather unpleasant sensations in the
mind of Satan. Many were the misfortunes which befel them on the
way; now wandering from their course, and now stumbling into a deep
wreath of snow.

“Gideon’s courage, however, was not to dissolve thereby, and
wearied as he was, by carrying the cypress, and dragging Jeremiah,
he still persevered, and at length reached the entrance of the
wood. They passed on to a convenient station, Jeremiah starting
when large flakes of snow fell upon his face, from the trees.

“No more, no more,” said Gideon, making a halt near to some
overgrown firs, and his voice sounded so hollow, even to himself,
that he almost began to be frightened. “Here is the scene of the
horrible enchantment; Jeremiah, brush my nightcap, whilst I elevate
the cypress on that huge branch.”

“Aye, aye, brother, raise it high. The book said that he would
appear at the top; do not allow him to come too near, for I never
relished sulphur much.”

When all things were in readiness, the nightcap adjusted, and the
cypress fixed, the brave knight of the needle, in a firm voice,
cried out,--

“Come, James, come!”

A flash of lightning gleamed over their heads, and a voice, by no
means musical, though merrily attuned, amidst hollow laughter,
said,--

“Here, Gideon, here.”

As soon as a circle of safe diameter had been described by their
fingers, they looked up. There Jeremiah was fated to behold eyes
of a much deeper red than his own, peering down; moreover with a
less mournful expression. He fell, but had the good sense to fall
within the magic circle, and there he groaned. Gideon was thus
left alone to brave the infernal terrors; and whatsoever some may
say respecting Beelzebub, certainly on this occasion, he did not
appear the handsome and well-favoured gentleman, equipped in boots,
shining so beautifully, that everything is reflected, except his
hoofs,--and perfumed with spices and ointments, to suppress the
strong effluvial sulphur of his person. Nor was he the noble fiend
of Milton, shorn of his glory, as the sun in a partial eclipse:
for we presume that his devilship has the right of proving the
simile false at the hour of midnight. Accordingly, horrible sights
were Gideon’s, and they were ever varying. Now the enemy assumed
some strange mixture of forms,--rolling heads, contorted legs,
and swinging tail: but before a conception could be formed in the
tailor’s mind of what they were, he was altogether changed. Light,
darkness, and smoke, were around him. The cypress leaves rustled to
the movement of his hoofs. Saucer eyes, in the edges of which there
lurked such a malicious wink and twinkle; a mouth, occasionally,
when it could be seen, as wide and black as the pit whence he came,
in which hung a tongue, bright and lurid with a serpent’s poison,
breathing out thence visibly a blue air; naked limbs, around which
a green light flickered, shewing neither skin, muscle, nor bone,
but an indescribable substance: large black hoofs, hanging from
small ancles; all these parts changed, and poor Gideon stared,
perfectly bewildered at the proportions of his opponent. He soon,
however, regained his wonted composure, and broke the silence,--

“Nay, enemy of man, think not thus to confound me, with your
childish tricks. Be a man, Nicholas, and not a fool.” In a moment
around the circle which had been made, a blue flame flashed. The
devil danced on the outside, with the cypress for his stilts. His
face was concealed, and he now wore the garb of a scrivener, with
paper and pens stuck in his belt. He leapt to the ground, and there
he stood, of small stature, but twisting and pliable.

“Gideon Chiselwig,” said the learned clerk, “you are a brave
earth-clod. I am an antiquarian in my small way, and should be glad
of your autograph on this parchment. In my desk at home, I have the
names of great warriors, statesmen, and poets, but am yet denied
the honour of that of a tailor. Mine is a rare and a valuable
museum. Friend, be so kind as to write me ‘Gideon Chiselwig’ here,
in this corner. Now,”--and he unfolded a long roll, and held it
out to Gideon. “Nay, nay, your hands are stiff and cold, with the
blowing of this storm; give me a shake, and I’ll warm them. Tush!
Gideon a coward? Then write me your initials.”

“I came not here,” solemnly returned the tailor, “to sport, but to
fight with you. Prepare for combat, or write on the parchment, a
coward.”

“What! fight without a challenge? Here are the articles; write your
name, and then I must gird myself for battle. Come, the night is
cold--cold--and I shiver.”

“That will be a change, friend, I guess,” interrupted Jeremiah,
who now venturing to raise his head, saw nothing formidable in
the enemy, “I warrant thee, that some of your associates are not
shivering at present. I suppose that during summer, there is not
much rain in your country, and during winter not much frost or
snow.”

No reply was made to the polite address of Jeremiah, but the clerk
had already placed the pen in the hand of Gideon.

“Where is the ink?”

“In your veins; prick them with a needle, or be a coward. Blood is
the challenge to deadly combat.”

“Do all other inks freeze in your country?” again inquired
Jeremiah, and again he received no answer.

Gideon did as he was directed, and wrote his name on the parchment.
He observed that the blood dried as soon as it fell from the pen,
and became indelible.

“Fool! fool!” exclaimed the fiend, with a loud shriek of joy,
“thou art for ever lost. This is a contract that you will be my
servant in hell. Two conditions are granted to you; or, rather, two
deeds to which you may command me. Next night we meet again, and
when morning comes, you are mine. Live a pleasant day to morrow.
Ask two things, and here I have pledged to grant them, or you are
free. The parchment may not be wiped, and cannot be torn!”

This was spoken in a tone so fiendish and exulting, that Gideon’s
heart failed him. He now knew that he was altogether in the power
of the enemy, with only one day to live; and then a horrible
departure from this world; and in the next world such a revolting
service in which he was to be employed. He bent down on his
knees, and clasping his hands in extreme agony and terror, looked
imploringly upon the fiend, and cried out--

“Oh! spare me! I can be of no use to you.”

“More,” was the reply, “than you are to any one on earth. Ah!
Gideon, you’ll make a good member of society there.”

“Nay, nay,” returned Gideon, “I may lie in a hot and black corner
of the pit, like an old woman by the fire, who cannot move about.
I shall do nothing but retch, and cry for water. I could not go on
any errand of yours--could not whisper mischief in any person’s
ear. You might torment me, but I should be utterly unable to serve
you. Oh! spare me!”

“Spare him,” began Jeremiah with averted face. “Had he been a
ruffian, he would have been of essential service in any vacant
situation. But, sir, and I speak with great respect, Gideon would
be the laziest footman in your employ. He could not travel from
your place to Ormskirk in less than a life-time. And then he would
have forgot your messages, and lost your letters, unless they were
put in his nightcap, and that, you know well, could not hold as
many as you require. Gideon Chiselwig an imp of darkness! why a
little infant could cheat him of an apple! Perhaps he would then be
fonder of a snow ball. Ah! he is too simple to be a man, and how
could he be a devil?”

The fiend laughed, and pointing to the name on the parchment,
written with blood, bade Gideon recollect that he was his property,
by contract and consent.

“Oh!” once more ejaculated Gideon, “spare me! What! must I leave--”

“Nelly, you mean? Fear not. I shall bring her to you in good time.
The separation cannot be long.”

“Oh!” resumed the tailor, “must I die,--have my brains dashed out
against the wall, as your victims generally are treated?”

“No, no, Gideon, they shall even then be covered with your
nightcap--”

“To leave my profession, to--”

“No, no,” was the reply, “you shall then make my pantaloons
of many colours. My wages are--but I dare not quote from that
Book.--You understand me, Gideon. You need not shriek: spare your
lungs, as they will have exercise enough, and yet they will not
require sewing and mending. They must last as long as your service,
and that is for ever. I shall never dismiss you for bad conduct,
Gideon. Eternity is the term of the engagement between us. Oh!
eternity!”--and here all the farce and pantomime vanished, as
his form changed into one of lofty power, and his voice thrilled
with eloquence from the remembrance, and the still more intense
anticipation of endless woe. “Oh! Eternity, how vast thou art.
No shore, a boundless sea! No bank, nor yet a little island, on
which the lost can alight, and, for a moment, quit the gulf, and
shake off their pain. The scroll of fate is placed in the hand,
written with woe: long and long may it unfold itself, but the last
roll never comes. Oh! Eternity! thou hast no resting place for
the bright foot of Hope:--yes,” and here Satan assumed the same
appearance as before, “Gideon, our engagement expires only with
eternity: you shall board with me, and have enough of food--not
much ale or water, however, but a great supply of fuel, and that
gratis. But before I depart, name two requests which you may wish
me to fulfil. Would you enjoy power or beauty? They shall be
granted, and the poor tailor may sit on a throne, or at the side of
a beautiful empress. Amidst all, think of the coming night, when
your appetite is about to pall, and how will it be whetted!--Name
two requests.”

Jeremiah started up, so sudden was the advent of the idea in his
mind, and no longer miserable, thinking that Gideon would now
successfully puzzle Satan. He whispered into his brother’s ear,
“Ask for the reformation of Nelly!”

“Well then,” said the tailor addressing the enemy, “the first
condition is, that you thoroughly reform my wife: make her to
love me; to give me due allowance of food, fuel, sleep, and all
necessaries, and not to beat me. She may comb my head, but must
not scratch it. She may kiss, but not bite me. The vinegar must be
taken from her temper, and honey put in. The poker must only be
used for the coals: in short, you have undertaken an impossibility.
You may have made her what she is--but you cannot unmake her.”

“Ah! master Nicholas,” chuckled Jeremiah, who was vain of having
suggested the above condition, “give it up, and confess that you
are an easy simpleton for once. A devil make an angel of a woman!
Ridiculous, quite ridiculous, Nick. You may pare her nails, but
you cannot keep her from scratching. Say no more, give it up and
depart, and carry a globe of snow on your shoulders, to your abode,
to cool some of your friends.”

Lightning flashed over Jeremiah’s head as he finished speaking, and
effectually withered up his wit, as well as his courage. A long
silence ensued, broken by the fiend at last, as he said--

“The condition shall be fulfilled. Your person shall be sacred to
your wife, no more to come in contact with poker or fist, nails
or teeth. She shall supply your grinders with every thing but her
own fingers. As for sleep, you have not much time for that, before
I come to claim you as my slave. And as for fuel, Nelly will seat
you close by the grate, and you may take warm coals in your hand
like boiled potatoes: and do not feel the least anxiety about fuel
hereafter, you shall have great abundance then. Nay, nay, Gideon,
your wife’s temper shall likewise be reformed. Oh! you are a man of
discrimination, and have perceived that it is no easy task which
you have assigned me.--Now name your other condition.”

Gideon then trembled, lest the first condition should be fulfilled,
and thought over some impossibility which he should ask the devil
to perform, as the fulfilment of the second condition.

“Then build me a wall, with stone and mortar, an hour before
daybreak to morrow.”

“Provided there be a thaw.”

“No provisions,” boldly replied Gideon,--“no provisions. And lest
there should be a thaw occasioned by crowds passing, it must not
be built in a thoroughfare, but in a field at some distance from
Ormskirk. It must be four hundred yards in length, and five feet in
height, and all finished in an hour.”

“Why, Nick,” interrupted Jeremiah, whose courage flowed as well
as ebbed, “you will take an hour to bring the sand from the
sand-hills. Besides, no honest man will lend you his horse and
cart.” No answer was returned, and the enemy walked around the
circle once or twice, and then stood full in front of Gideon, while
the parchment, with his name, burned brighter, and more bright. But
the flame did not conceal the blood by which it had been written,
and the form of a heart, weltering amidst the flame, turning in
agony, and guarded by the name.

“The conditions,” Satan exclaimed, “shall be performed, and as
soon as the wall is built, I shall escort you to your future home.
Let this parchment float, till then, before you, in your waking
moments and in your dreams. Accustom your mind to the thought of
thunder, lightning, sounds of an earthquake, the hissing of fiends,
the rolling of a deep unfathomable gulf, and the clutch of this
little, little loving hand,” and he switched out a horrible paw,
scorched, but not burned; for every joint and muscle moved with
inconceivable ease and speed. “Do not think, poor wretch, that you
shall see me then as merry as I have been at present, nor will you
be merry when limb from limb is torn and mangled? Dream of it,--it
must come to pass. A few hours, Gideon, and I meet you: till then,
adieu,” and the fiend vanished. A long track of blue light, and
dark forms hovering near it, marked the course of his flight over
the wood.

As we have been long enough in the cold and bitter storm, and as
all fire and brimstone have disappeared, we do not choose to walk
side by side with the two tailors, on their way back, amidst the
drifting of the snow, which, by this time, had fallen so heavily,
that the way was completely blocked up.

We prefer to enter the residence of the parson, and, seated
opposite to his rosy countenance, note a few observations as
to what was passing there. In a parenthesis, we have already
described the worthy man as fat and oily. Indeed, he was singularly
consistent, for whilst he preached _good living_ to others, he
did not neglect to practice it himself, though, perhaps, he had
a private interpretation of the word, and understood it in a
different sense. He told his hearers that they would, in the end,
feel the advantages resulting from it: and certainly, after fifty
years practice, he looked very comfortable himself. This regimen
had endowed him with size and colour, flesh and paint. He had
been called a light of the church; only, we presume, because his
face, in shape, resembled the moon, though scarcely so pale. Yet,
withall, Dr. Mauncel was mild and benevolent, and one of his best
properties was, that he had a beautiful daughter, who had just
reached her nineteenth winter. Many a sigh had been unconsciously
breathed as Mary leant upon her father’s arm, on their way to
church: and as she knelt in prayer, many a look had been directed
towards her, and lovers envied the vicar for the many caresses he
must receive from such a fair being, and thought what a sanctuary
her presence would make of the very humblest home. The little arch
creature knew this, and flung back her ringlets, that her face
might be seen, and then contrived to make it so demure and grave,
that one might have imagined that a ray of happy, but feverish
love, had never brightened over it. When she smiled, it was always
so friendly, that a deeper sentiment, it was thought, could not
lurk beneath it; and she would extend her hand so frankly, that
no one could venture upon retaining and kissing it,--it felt so
sisterly. And yet, the sweet rogue was in love with her cousin
William, then residing at the Vicarage; and when the good doctor
was paying his addresses either to his meals or his sermon, the
young pair were toying with each other’s hands, and his reverence
had once been startled from his reveries, by a very loud kiss.

We have, strangely enough, omitted to mention that it was
Christmas night on which all the transactions we have recorded of
the tailors, took place; so that lights were still seen in the
vicarage, and a goose, with others of the same genus, was standing
on the table very peaceably, if we except the smoke of their anger,
which was ascending, and, as the vicar facetiously remarked, much
more comfortable where they were, than without, in the fury of the
storm.

“Is all in readiness? Now, nephew, you can fence and carve, bisect
and dissect; but when you reach my age, you will only be able to
devour, decant, or digest. Stay; Mary, bring Rehoboam and Jeroboam,
with all their tribes. Rehoboam was the son of Solomon, and there
is no reason why a wise man should not be fond of him. Come, haste,
Mary, else I shall send William to bring you.”

“Nay, nay, uncle,” said the youth, “to avoid delay, I will go at
once, and chide her so, that she must despatch. Now,--dear Mary,”
and the happy couple ran out of the room together.

“Sly rogues,” chuckled the old man, who saw how matters stood.

Mary, it seems, had been refractory, for it was not until a
considerable length of time had elapsed, that she appeared,
carrying a few glasses, whilst her cousin bore two large bottles,
Rehoboam and Jeroboam.

“Ah! ah!” cried the vicar. “Fie, fie, whence come these blushes,
Mary? Let both of you approach; now kneel; and God bless you, my
dear children! Nephew William, take her hand as a Christmas present
from her father; you have already obtained her heart from herself.”

“Dear, dear uncle,” exclaimed the delighted youth, as he clasped
his relative’s knees with his hands.

“Nay, nay,” the parson interrupted, “put your arms around that
blushing neck. I have long watched you. When you read for the
old man, William, she sat beside you, gazing upon the same book,
and when your locks and cheeks were together, your voice became
agitated, and then she looked innocently into your face. You always
preferred a large folio, and she slipped her little hand in one
side, beneath it, and then you put yours through, to meet hers; and
for hours, the happy father has been delighted with your loves.
Ah! one other remembrance comes upon me. In our evening walk I was
strolling behind you, when a beautiful child left his sister’s
hand, and ran to you, Mary, and climbing up, kissed you once and
again. I was near enough to hear William say, ‘now, cousin, give
me one likewise.’ Ah! rogues, rogues,” and he took them both in
his arms, and hugged them together, when a knocking was heard at
the gate. The vicar started, but the lovers were so happy in each
other, that they had not even heard the noise.

“Some poor traveller seeking shelter from the storm. How the storm
blows without. Hark to that awful howl,” and the good man arose
from the table. He heard the servant open the door, and instantly
a form bounced into the room, all drifted and covered with snow. A
single shake served to discover Mrs. Gideon Chiselwig.

“Oh! doctor,” she exclaimed, in a tone altogether foreign to her
usual voice, “what a dream I have been visited with. The devil has
appeared to me, and shewed my dear husband’s name, affixed to a
contract, that he shall be a slave in hell, from to-morrow night,
henceforth, and for ever. He is then to come and take him from me.
Oh! I have shamefully treated Gideon, and now I love him so much,
that I could die for him. ’Twas but this evening, that I struck
him with these heavy hands. Oh! doctor, what can I do? Is there no
hope?”

Dr. Mauncel was altogether astonished and confounded. The woman
now before him had the repute of a termagent; and yet she spoke
so affectionately, and bitterly upbraided herself, for her former
cruel treatment of her husband. Nor did she appear at all under
the influence of strong drink. “Good woman,” he at length inquired,
“where is your husband?”

“He has gone and sold himself to the devil, for my conduct towards
him. I have made earth miserable, and he would rather live in hell,
than dwell with me any longer. Oh! how I could now love him! My
heart is changed, but it is too late! Yes, yes, it is too late!”
and she wrung her hands in wild agony, tore her hair, and shed more
tears than Jeremiah could have done.

“Mrs. Chiselwig,” returned the vicar, “you have, indeed, been
anything but a dutiful and affectionate wife to your spouse, but
now begin a thorough reformation. It is only a dream of evil with
which you have been visited, and Gideon shall, doubtless, be spared
to you for many a long year yet.”

“It cannot be! Although the storm rages, he is not in the house; he
has gone and sold himself for my shameful conduct. In the afternoon
I forbade him to go to bed, until I should have arisen; nay, more,
I planted these nails in his face and head, as a tender good night
for a dear husband. Ah! wretch that I am, and yet, he patiently
submitted, took the hand which had struck him, so affectionately,
and was making gaiters for the feet which had kicked him.”

“Ah! Mrs. Chiselwig, you were a sad wife,” chimed in the parson.

“What tempted you,” asked Mary Mauncel, “to be cruel to Gideon? He
was always so kind and attentive to you.”

Her cousin William approached, and whispered something which was
inaudible to all others, save Mary herself. She smiled so prettily,
and with such an affectation of malice, as she tossed her head,
and said, “Try me, you are free at present, but have given me the
chain. I’ll rule you, and beat you into the sober obedience of a
husband. You have told me frequently that you were my slave: I
shall shortly prove it.”

“Dear Mary, go on, go on, and tell me what a good little wife you
will make.”

Nelly once more appealed to the vicar, with great earnestness.
“Oh! sir, have you not a charm to be obtained from all those books,
from all your sermons, from all your robes, by which you can break
the contract with the devil. Laugh not; he appeared to me, in
such a form, and uttering such words, that to my dying day I dare
not rehearse them. To-morrow night he comes to claim Gideon! Your
profession is to tame and conquer the enemy. Oh! now exert that
power!”

“To-morrow night; well then, go home, and I will come at noon, and
see what is to be done. Good woman, you have (innocently I grant)
spoiled my supper, for who can eat with the smell of brimstone. I
declare that that goose now appears to me to have hoofs, instead
of claws. Mary, give Mrs. Chiselwig a compliment from Rehoboam,
to cheer her on her way home, through the storm. You’ll find
Gideon, I hope, there before you, and prove that all your fears
have been the baby thoughts of a horrid dream. May you long live
for each other,--and, Nelly, you will shew, by your future course
of conduct, I trust, that you are willing to atone for all the
domestic misery which you confess to have brought upon honest
Gideon. Nay, drink it off, Mrs. Chiselwig; it is warmer than snow,
eh?”

Nelly, after many thanks to the vicar, emptied the glass, and once
more braved the storm.

The walls of the houses were now completely drifted, and not a
footstep had left its trace on the snow-covered streets. What a
lonely feeling is over the soul, when nothing is heard but the deep
gust of the wind, driving the storm before, around, and against us,
and when all objects are being wrapped in winter’s white raiment.
For us, in youth, there never was a greater luxury, than to wander
over the dreary mountain and vale, with the snow pelting on our
face, as it was turned upwards, when not a glimpse of the sky could
meet it; and then, after having become thoroughly exhausted, to
enter some natural cave, or sheepfold, on the waste, and there
seated, gaze around upon bush, bank, and hill, cottages, and woods,
all thatched with white: and even yet, by night, has the old man
taken his staff, and tottered to the hall door, to stand without
the threshold, devoutly uncovering his head, white as winter’s
after December has smoothed it, and looked up, while the snow
fell, sweet and grateful as the kisses of his only child, upon his
dim eyes, and feverish forehead,--and as he entered the room, has
forbidden Jane to wipe away the flakes, for he wished them gently
to weep themselves to death, on his face, in all their virgin
sorrow. Rain, we love thee not, even in thy spring showers, and
must canopy our head to protect it from thy salutations: but Snow,
we uncover it for thy kisses, so pure and soothing. How beautiful
art thou, when the messenger of death; and a holier and a whiter
bed dost thou afford the poor traveller, than could be smoothed
and softened by the hand of his young and beloved wife, in his own
happy abode, where, true as her love in difficulty and trial, burns
the signal of her expectations, through the small lattice, during
the long night, and often trimmed in vain! How gently is he hushed
to sleep, amidst the wreathes of thy purity, unconscious of the
blast. Not a limb aches, and heaven, likewise, bids thee be thy
lover’s shroud and tomb!

Had Mrs. Chiselwig, however, been disposed to apostrophize the
snow, it would have been in very different language; and, perhaps,
the good woman had reason, as she arrived, almost blinded and
senseless, at the door, where stood two figures, whom she instantly
recognized as Gideon and Jeremiah.

“Dear, dear husband!” she exclaimed in raptures, and flung her arms
fondly around his neck, for the first time since marriage, and then
she sobbed. Gideon had started back instinctively, when he beheld
the arms raised, but now he was convinced of Nelly’s affection, and
joined her sobbing. It may be superfluous to add, that Jeremiah’s
sympathetic sluices were not closed on this occasion, and that they
threatened to deluge his person.

“Oh! Gideon, you shudder in my embrace.”

“Aye, aye, I am a lost man, yet now, I feel so happy in your love,
dear Nelly. But I am very, very cold.”

The door was opened, and after entering the house, Nelly was
informed of the exploit in the Rough Wood. She upbraided not, she
only kissed her husband, wept, and looked heart-broken. Gideon
conjured her not to be changed in temper for one day at least, and
still to treat him harshly.

“I could not,” was the affecting reply, “though such conduct were
to save your life. Oh! I feel ashamed of myself. You must, if you
wish me to be happy hereafter, give me as many scratches, kicks,
and angry words, as I have ever given you. Promise me, Gideon.”

Gideon did promise, and as the first-fruits of the vow, kissed her.
They retired not to rest, for, as the husband piteously remarked--

“Dear wife, I cannot, and I should not sleep. I must gaze upon you
as long as I am permitted. I must speak with you as long as my
language is of earth. I must embrace you as long as I am not called
upon to embrace clods, dust, and worms. Ha!” he cried in a frantic
voice, “not that! not that! I am denied burial, and must go, body
and soul, to the dark pit! I shall be mangled, and Jeremiah will
not be allowed to sew me together, into a decent corpse. Oh! oh!”

At length, punctual to his appointment, the vicar came, attended
by his nephew. What was the astonishment of the worthy man, when
he learned that Gideon had fulfilled verbatim his wife’s dream,
and actually sold himself, for better, for worse, to the devil! He
gravely shook his head, and the motion was also communicated to his
paunch, as he remarked--

“I am afraid that the present is a case far beyond my poor skill.
I once, indeed, had the honour of casting out a devil, but he was
a blue devil, and I put his victim into a room by himself, for a
month, and removed a large bottle, after which the man was never
tormented with him again. But this--”

“And you a doctor of the church,” interrupted
Jeremiah--“humph!--with a black coat, professing that you are able
and inclined to fight the devil in his own colours. Now, if you
could fight a blue devil, in a black coat, would you not have a
greater chance of success in fighting a black devil? Had I as many
prayers, homilies, and sermons, Dr. Mauncel, I would instantly
take and pull him by the nose, very much to the lengthening of
his proboscis. Oh! doctor, accompany us to the place of the awful
meeting, and I will carry the Book as your weapon!”

“Yes, yes,” added Mrs. Chiselwig with great earnestness and
simplicity, “and I will carry--what was the name, sir?--Yes,
Rehoboam. I’ll carry Rehoboam for you.”

“He is a dear child, and I could scarcely trust him out of my own
hands.”

But we cannot detail the conversation, many episodes of which were
long prayers, and spiritual maxims, calculated to do anything or
everything, save to overturn and reverse the horrid destiny of
Gideon--the doomed of Satan. None gave consolation, until the
parson’s nephew suggested that it was quite possible, indeed
extremely probable, that the devil would find the building of the
wall a task, by no means easy; and that, for his part, he would be
most willing to take his uncle’s post, and accompany poor Gideon to
the place of rendezvous, and see the wall to be, in mason’s terms,
sufficient and proper, before the Devil could claim a hair of the
tailor’s head. Still, this was not altogether satisfactory, for the
first condition, and that which appeared the most difficult, had
been strictly fulfilled.

As the clock struck every hour, Gideon seemed to hear the fiend
exclaim, “prepare.” His heart vibrated so much, that had it been
skilfully placed in the mechanism, it would have regularly and
accurately moved the pendulum. He counted every shade darkening on
the sky, until night came on; and melancholy, if not poetical, was
his farewell to the glorious sun. He was not altogether ignorant of
figure and trope, to eke out his pathos, as will be seen.

“There thou art, about to disappear for ever from these delighted
eyes, with thy beautiful chariot! That dark cloud is thy coachman,
with a pink-coloured vest. He is now mounting, and in a moment will
be ready to drive thee into the ocean, and wet thy garments, making
them truly uncomfortable for thy tailor, whoever he be, to repair.
He has lighted his pipe of tobacco, and puffs out the smoke to keep
away the sea sickness. His drab great coat is now over him, and he
is exclaiming, ‘all’s right, all’s right.’ ’Tis false, charioteer,
all’s wrong, wrong. Farewell, thou orb of day. I go, where time is
not measured by day--the tailor; and clad by night--his journeyman.
Yet just one other peep; yes, here is thy ray upon my hand. Oh!
Nelly, hast thou a glove to put over my hand, and thus confine
the light for ever to be my hope. Farewell! To-morrow thou again
appearest, but not for me. Perchance, as thou arisest over the
finished wall, thou mayest observe my head as the cope stone. At
morn, how anxiously have I removed the nightcap from my eye to
behold thy charms, O sun! How beautifully dost thou gleam into the
soup, and kindly reveal all the peas and beans which slily lie at
the bottom of the dish. How fondly hast thou loved my needle, and
even danced, with thy hundred feet, upon the point! Farewell!” and
he closed the window and wept.

The speech may contain a little of the ludicrous; not so the
feelings. In vain did Nelly, who had been a little consoled by
the remarks of the parson’s nephew, and who had, therefore, been
able to attend to cookery, set before him food the most savoury,
to tempt his appetite, with what one of the signs elegantly terms
“the real-original-genuine-best Ormskirk gingerbread.” As her hands
spread them on the table, Gideon’s sorrow was renewed, for the
thought struck him, that they would move before him no more. It was
no easy matter for the good man to be resigned to the loss of his
wife, just when she had become so agreeable and affectionate.

Soon Mary Mauncel entered, leaning on the arm of her cousin. She
had tried all her arts to dissuade him from the expedition, and had
even threatened never to speak to him again. And yet, out of pure
love and care for him, and of her own accord, she had come along
with him to Gideon’s house. And never had she spoken so much and
so tenderly, as she did now, cautioning William, for her sake, not
to be rash. Jeremiah shewed them to seats, and because there was a
scarcity of chairs, mounted the table himself. Gideon had watched
the motion.

“Ah! Jeremiah, I have sat there for the last time. Orders shall be
sent, good broad cloth shall be spread out, but no Gideon shall be
there to cut, sew, and mend.”

“Reverse the picture,” added his brother, “and change the scene. A
horrible pit, at the bottom of which--”

“Nay, Jeremiah; do not make me to anticipate it. Young gentleman,
how are your nerves braced for the work? Give me your hand.”

At that moment, however, the lover felt his hand touched, and
detained gently by Mary, so he held out the sinister one to the
tailor.

“Ready, quite ready, Gideon. I shall return with you safe again.
Fear not; you shall not lose Mrs. Chiselwig, nor,” he added in a
whisper to his beautiful companion, “shall I lose Mary Mauncel.”

“Is the night calm?” meekly inquired Nelly, who had some thoughts
of accompanying her husband.

“Beautiful and clear,” was the reply. “The snow is glistening in
the moon’s rays, and not a breath of wind awakes it.”

“Beautiful it is,” added Mary, in a low voice to William, “but for
ghosts, devils, and your folly. How much happier should we have
been together, in the garden.”

Jeremiah’s very acute ear had distinguished these words. “Ah! my
young lady, the open field, where we are to meet the enemy, is much
more romantic than a garden; and you must be happier there, as the
shelter is better. The devil had fled without a place of meeting
being definitely assigned, but I had courage enough to recall him,
and then we agreed upon a spot of ground to the right of Aughton
Moss, and in the direction of Cleives Hills. Garden? No, no, for
were I concealed behind a bush, even in the presence of your
father, the enemy might ask him to bestow the little bird that was
in such a bush, and his reverence, not knowing, might comply, and I
should then be caged. All must be open and exposed.”

“No more,” exclaimed Gideon in agony, after he had returned from
the door, where, for the last minute he had been gazing upon the
moon, “no more must I see thy light, after a few short hours. Ha!
and the candle too. But let me try how I can do without it,” and he
immediately extinguished it. “Horrible darkness; and then I must
for ever put on and take off my clothes, and shave and wash myself
with liquid fire, and eat without a light; yes, eat brimstone and
tempest, without having a candle to shew the mouth. Hush, hush, I
hear some fiend eating. His lips smack.”

Gideon was not wrong in one part of his conjectures, for Mary’s
lover, taking advantage of the light being extinguished, was
attempting to console and pacify her by whispers and kisses. The
clock now struck the hour of eleven, and Nelly lighted the candle,
to prepare the last supper for her husband. Not a word was spoken.
Every countenance was fixed upon the miserable pair. Every little
noise startled them, and then again they were immovable, as gloomy
pictures. The candle flame turned blue. The chimney looked darker
and darker. Shadows flitted upon the wall, in formidable guise.
At length the parson’s nephew proposed that Miss Mauncel, rather
than return to her father, should keep poor Nelly company in their
absence.

“Come, Gideon, come; it is the hour.” What terror these words
inspired in all, save the speaker, who laughed at superstition, and
even at the devil! The tailor’s limbs trembled,--he looked up, and
then hid his face in his hands. Jeremiah brought a long cloak, to
wrap his brother from the cold. All things were adjusted, as for a
criminal on the drop. He was at the door. Nelly gave a shriek;--her
husband heard it not. She embraced and hugged him,--he was passive
in her arms.

“Oh!--he is dead already!” she exclaimed, “he is,--yes!”

But they observed, by the rolling of his eyes, that although his
reason might have fled, his spirit was still in its tabernacle.
Jeremiah shook him, but Gideon responded not. He was dragged forth,
as the hour had already passed, and yet, no farewell was uttered by
him. Nelly’s farewell was a loud, a long, a piercing shriek, as he
was moved over the threshold, and then a longer fainting fit.

The snow crisped beneath their feet, a slight breeze passed over
their heads, and these were the only sounds heard. The hour of
twelve was striking in the town, as they reached the spot assigned.

Gideon now seemed to awake from his insensibility. He attempted to
speak, but words and utterance altogether failed him. The magic
circle was drawn around, and he looked up to summon the enemy of
mankind to fulfil his engagements, when a violent fit of shuddering
seized his limbs, and some thing not less gentle passed over his
soul. The stars above were fiery, and gleaming with malignant
aspect and influence over a mortal’s fate, and around them was a
dull haze, which was interpreted into a shroud. Not that the tailor
was an astrologer, in faith or practice: but there are moments
and circumstances when the orbs of heaven appear as the types of
earth’s history,--as the eyes of fate turned upon individuals,
likewise, with their revelations. He then gazed around. Not a tree
or fence stood near, for a covert; but a desert heath, still more
desolate in its appearance from its snowy covering. The ground,
with its winter’s carpet, was prevented from echoing to footsteps:
and the air seemed, too, as if it were bound up from the vibrations
of sound,--for over all was a dead silence.

William Mauncel was the first who spoke. “Gideon, thou tremblest;
I will take thy duty. Give me the charm by which thou renderest the
devil obedient to thy call. Eh? does he stand upon ceremony? My
good uncle assures us that he frequently pays us a visit when he is
not invited, and that he makes himself such a pleasant fellow, that
we are loth to give him a hint that it is not agreeable for the
time to have his company, much less to shew him to the door. Ah!
ah! Gideon, you were too polite, you gave him your card, with name
and residence, last night. That will make him troublesome. He is a
punctual keeper of his appointments. Now, pray, give me the signal.
Nay, then,” as Gideon’s voice could not be heard, “Jeremiah will
oblige me.”

The substance of the directions was repeated from the old book,
where they had, at first, stimulated the tailor’s courage, to make
him more than a mortal hero. William laughed at the affectionate
terms in which he was to invite the enemy; and began, in as low
and gentle a tone, to say, “Come, James, come,” as he had ever
employed when he had tapped at the window of his uncle’s study,
where his beautiful cousin was, whispering, “come, Mary, come,” in
order that she should trip out and enjoy a moonlight scene, seated
along with him in the arbour. Still the devil was not pleased most
graciously to appear, and William laughed and shouted in full
merriment. He, indeed, believed in the devil’s journeyings to and
fro, over the earth, and in his exertions and plans to obtain
victims by false and almost involuntary contracts; but then he
was not frightened, for as he firmly believed that human skill,
stratagem, and valour might baffle him. Where was the necessity, he
reasoned, of mistaking his black majesty for a gentleman in black;
of using blood instead of ink; of receiving slate stones instead of
golden coins? He also held as a part of his superstitious creed,
the existence of certain old ladies, on whose chins the Lancashire
rains have fallen with such a fructifying influence, as to beard
them “like the pard;” with hands dark and sickly, from the deadly
drugs which they mix over the light of the cauldron, in their cave,
and with decrepid and corrupted forms, as if they were spirits of
another world, and had come to the charnel house, and there clothed
themselves in a body which had begun to be the prey of worms; and
with souls, whose every idea was familiar with the dark fates in
store for earth, and rejoiced in those which were to blast the
happy, and destroy the beautiful. But then, he as firmly held that
their spells might be made to fall impotent upon man. He laughed at
them, and was prepared to scratch them, in their only vulnerable
part,--_above the breath_. In travelling, he cared not though he
should have the company of a ghost, provided it only spoke, and
recounted some horrible deed, as the avenger of which it walked
the earth,--for he hated silence. At home, he would have shook the
devil very frankly and cordially by the hand, had he ever paid him
a visit, and he would have smoked a pipe, or drunk a cup of tea
(had tea then been known) with any witch, in her own abode. Thus
William Mauncel was exceedingly merry in prospect of beholding the
devil, whom he imagined that he could so easily thwart. In a loud
voice, he again exclaimed, “come, James, come,” and instantly a
little man, with the tools of a mason-builder, stood opposite to
Gideon.

“Gideon Chiselwig, give me the dimensions of the wall which I have
contracted to build. You know that it is now an hour from my day
break, and I must finish it, and then claim you. You know me?--or
shall I disclose my features? and assume some of my former tones,
and thus convince you that I am--the devil?”

Gideon trembled still more, and feebly ejaculated, “No, no. I
believe in very deed that thou art my enemy, and, I beseech thee,
give me no further proof.”

“Until,” was the return, “your very existence and employment, as
well as habitation, shall prove it.”

“And that shall never be,” interrupted the vicar’s nephew. “Shew
thyself to us, belch fire and smoke, if you do not wish to pass for
an unskilful conjuror.”

“That would do him good,” remarked Jeremiah, “a good and powerful
vomit would be of essential service. Whenever I have compelled my
food to march too quickly down into my stomach, I am not well until
it has made a hasty retreat back again to head quarters. It is
exactly the same when too much goes at once. Now, I suppose that
you have rather more of fire and smoke than you could wish. In
fact, your throat is said to be worse than a chimney. Would it not,
therefore, be prudent to vomit a little?”

“To be sure it would,” answered young Mauncel, trying to restrain
his laughter, “yet, Jeremiah, he has enough of brimstone to physic
him.”

The earth instantly shook; beneath and around them, they heard the
elements as if contending in the bowels of the earth; fire blazing,
rivers dashing and rolling, and thunder reverberating. Jeremiah
fell down, but very quietly, and lay with his face close to the
ground, if we except his hands, which, somehow or other, intervened
between the snow and his watery countenance. Gideon groaned and
shrieked alternately; and their companion, now, was startled into
silence and paleness, so awful were the signs of the devil’s
presence and power. A low, but deep voice, now came from the mason,
as he approached to the circle.

“Give me your directions, Gideon, as to the place where I shall
commence to raise the wall, and they shall be obeyed. For a time I
am your servant, and am content to be so, for through eternity I
shall be your master: men value every thing by time--devils value
every thing by eternity. And who would not be a servant for such
hire?--an hour’s labour,--and as a compensation for it, a soul to
torment through all eternity! Come, haste, give me the dimensions
of the wall. Eh? have I not reformed Nelly?”

Gideon tremulously answered, that he had given the dimensions last
night.

“True, true,” was the reply, “you did. Gaze, and soon you shall
behold the wall arising, and as the last stone is placed, be ready
to meet your fate; yet,” he soliloquized, as he moved round the
circle, “what have I, in which to carry the sand for the mortar!
I can tear up stones, but I cannot dig for sand, and what can I
procure to convey it from the sand hills! Oh! I see it.”

Jeremiah’s apron had been more valorous than its master, and
boldly, though very unwisely, had ventured to lie down without the
circle, and, in a moment, was seized upon by Satan, who disappeared
with his spoil to a little distance. Then commenced the tearing
up of the stones; and so speedily was this part of the engagement
finished, that Jeremiah remarked, with much warmth in his
approbation, “that the devil would make an excellent quarryman,
and that he must have been employed in digging and building his own
pit.” All the fiends of hell seemed to be let loose, so loud was
the noise, and so wide and deep the shaking. Whenever the stones
were heaved up too large, lightning leapt upon them, and they were
broken into smaller sizes. But what was still more surprising,
a deep smoke arose, and every object, for a short space, was
imperceptible, until it was rolled away by a vivid flash of fire,
furious as a tempest. The ground was no more covered with snow, and
Jeremiah found himself squatted on the mud. The enemy could not be
seen, but all the stones were placed ready for the builder.

“He is gone over the moss,” exclaimed Gideon, “to the sand
hills. Ha! dost thou not, Jeremiah, perceive those wings of fire
fluttering in the distance, away towards the sea? And soon he will
return to finish his undertaking. I have no hopes.”

“Would that his hoofs sunk in the moss,” ejaculated his brother,
“for many a better fellow than he, has met with his fate there. Oh,
brother, sustain your spirits, and your body likewise.”

There was great propriety in the latter admonition of Jeremiah,
for Gideon’s body seemed a little off the perpendicular; and
accordingly he was assisted in removing himself to a tree, which
the sudden thawing of the snow had revealed, and there he was
stationed, leaning against its trunk, while the same precautions
for their safety were adopted as before. Minute after minute passed
on, and still the enemy came not. The stones lay exactly in the
same position. The doomed tailor could now listen, with a slight
portion of faith and hope, to the consolation which young Mauncel
gave; when a slight rustling was heard in the branches of the tree,
and something of a red colour was perceived. All strained their
eyes, but nothing more of shape, colour, size, or essence, could be
learned.

“Ah!” Jeremiah began, “he is fond of trees. How he coiled himself,
as Dr. Mauncel observed, in the tree of knowledge of good and evil,
pointing to the apples, and smacking his own lips! But let him
stay there at present, and hatch a blackbird’s nest, if he be so
inclined. Gideon, you are now safe.”

Scarcely had he finished these words, when a fiery cloud was seen
coming from the direction of the sand hills, and soon Satan stood
before his heap of sand, with a large trowel in his hand, ready
to build the wall. But first he looked around, and descrying the
altered station of the party, walked up to the circle, while his
mouth belched forth fire and smoke.

“Think not,” he exclaimed in a horrible tone, “think not that you
shall escape, although, by your wiles, I have been detained; and
heavier shall be your punishment, for the trouble you have given
me.”

“Do you sweat much?” kindly inquired William Mauncel; “then stand a
little to cool yourself. You have time enough to finish the wall.
Why have you returned so soon? Pray, let us have a friendly chat.”

“Gideon Chiselwig,” continued the fiend, without noticing the words
by which he had been interrupted, “I tell thee that thy doom shall
be much more severe. Rejoice at my momentary disappointment, as I
detail it to you, and then think how much more I shall rejoice over
the torments which it shall cause you, as my subject, for ever. I
placed the first load of sand in your brother’s apron, and flew
away with it--(Gideon, you shall have wings too, in a little,)--but
when passing the moss, the cursed string broke,--”

“Honesty is the best policy, friend,” cooly remarked Jeremiah.
“You are well served for a rogue. You stole away my apron, and you
have received a just recompense. Learn, Nick, to be more honest
for the future, at least on earth. You may escape the clutch of
a magistrate, as you and his worship seem to be on very intimate
terms, but believe me, that sooner or later, vice will be punished.
You know the proverb, I presume, ‘that those who begin with a pin,
may end with an ox,’ and I cannot exactly say, but that this apron
stealing might have brought you into very serious danger. Let it be
an example, Nicholas.”

“Rejoice at present,” was the reply. “Mock me, Gideon, as well as
your brother does, and listen. The strings of the apron broke,--”

“Bad thread, bad thread, Gideon,” again interrupted Jeremiah, “I
told you so when it came. It must not be used for the collar of a
coat.”

“The strings of the apron broke,” patiently resumed the enemy, “and
all the sand fell into the moss, and there it lies, a large heap
and mountain. But, Gideon, beneath as heavy a mountain of my wrath
you shall lie, for ever and ever:” and he instantly departed to
commence his work.

Soon the wall arose a foot or two from the ground, and Gideon’s
fears once more attacked him. A loud laugh was raised, at
intervals, by the infernal builder, and it seemed echoed by
millions and millions of the lost spirits. He skipped upon the
wall, and, revealing his awful proportions, gazed upon Gideon, with
eyes of such fiendish malice and revenge, that even the reckless
Mauncel shuddered, and covered his face to banish the sight. And
now the wall was nearly finished, the earth was shaking all around,
the hissing of serpents was heard, and strange forms were seen
moving beside the enemy.

“Claim him! claim him!” shrieked forth innumerable voices. The air
seemed on fire, and dark masses were hastening through it, to the
hellish scene. Deep gulfs were sounding and lashing their fury
beneath the ground; and thunder seemed to bow the very poles of
heaven, and make them totter. A long and wide circle of fiends was
now made, dancing, and all pointing to Gideon with their black paws.

“Hell claims him. Which part shall we seize? Yours, noble leader,
is the head. Give me the hand,--how fondly I shall shake it.
Give me the breast,--how fondly I shall lie upon it. Give me
the arm,--how confidently he shall lean upon mine. Let me kiss
him,--how he shall love my sweet lips. Let me wash his feet,--how
gently shall the fire dry them. Let me perfume his body.
Ha--ha--ha!”

Their leader now raised two stones in his hands, and thundered
forth, with an awful voice--

“Friends, these are the two last--and the wall is finished! Wretch,
who art called Gideon Chiselwig--dost thou behold them? the two
last! the two last!” and the whole infernal host raised a laugh of
exultation, and poor Gideon fell to the ground. “Stay one little
moment, Gideon,” the enemy exclaimed, “and you shall be supported
in these loving arms. Stay--”

At that very moment a deep silence pervaded the place, and a
loud crowing was raised by a cock, as it announced the devil’s
day break, who must, therefore, depart, without being allowed to
finish the wall. He stamped in fury, and all his infernal agents,
disappointed of their prey, shrieked, and fled away. Jeremiah and
young Mauncel comprehended the cause, and they shouted in joy,
and taunted the fiend, until they beheld him approaching. In his
hands he bore a large stone:--but his eyes glared not upon them,
nor yet on the prostrate Gideon. They were fixed upon some object,
which the branches of the tree seemed to conceal. Jeremiah, as he
regained courage, addressed him,--

“So, Nicholas--dost thou see an apple which courts that hungry eye?”

There was no answer made, but a motion of the devil’s arm heaved up
the stone, and instantly a cock fell down dead at Jeremiah’s feet,
who, raising it, thus apostrophized it,--

“And thou hast saved my brother’s life, by losing thine own! But,
unless thou has contracted thyself to the enemy, he shall not get
thee, provided he does not invite himself along with us to dinner
some day soon. No, Nick, begone. A fortnight ago, that church-yard
clod, the sexton, told me that I was a brawny stripling, for I
could mount my grandmother’s cat with a stepping stone. Oh! the
fiend _is_ gone! Well, poor bird, thou art a martyr, yet I shall
commit thy sacred remains to my stomach, begging your young
reverence’s pardon, in hopes of a safe and certain resurrection.”

They succeeded in raising Gideon from the ground, and when he was
sufficiently recovered to listen to his escape, and the death of
his preserver, the sadness of the latter news did not much take
away from the joy of the former; and he was altogether cured of his
mania for supernatural achievements.

And here, as the devil left his work unfinished, we leave ours;
with the exception of satisfying a few longings, which the
antiquary, the lover, and the unfortunate husband of a termagant
wife, may feel.

The first may yet see the heap of sand which the breaking of the
devil’s apron strings deposited in the moss. It is now called
“Shirley Hill;” and thus observation confirms tradition, for how
could a mountain of sand be native to a moss? He indeed cannot be
gratified with a sight of the apron; for Jeremiah on the following
day, escorted it home, and subsequently, exhibited it so often to
the good folks of Ormskirk, that the strings again broke, one dark
night as he was making his way through a lane; and he had his
suspicions that the hands of some old maid, and not the thread were
culpable.

The Devil’s Wall still stands, but the acute Jeremiah had observed
that the infernal builder, could not, with any portion of justice,
have claimed Gideon, because the conditions of the contract, were
not fulfilled, as the wall had only been built with sand. The large
stone, some thirty years ago, could be seen firmly clasped between
the boughs of the tree, where the cock fell--a martyr to his love
of truth.

And now, fair reader, what is the question which you wish to ask
the old man? Ah! concerning William and Mary Mauncel! A few weeks
after the adventure, the worthy Doctor joined their hands, and
as much happiness as thy own beautiful and romantic fancy can
imagine in future for thyself, fell to their lot. On the occasion,
Rehoboam and Jeroboam, with all their tribes, did not fail to
appear:--and for their loyalty towards the fortunes of the family,
they received marked attentions from the Reverend head; whose lips,
in an appropriate manner, confessed an attachment, by no means
slight. Jeremiah, in the course of the nuptial evening, stepped in,
to cry over the happiness of the young wedded pair, and, with his
accustomed propriety, wished that the bands of love might never
be broken, like his apron strings; however fortunate the last
circumstance had, most undoubtedly been. Years passed on, and
sweet laughing voices came upon the ear of the old vicar, as he sat
in his study; and rushing in, a band of beautiful grand-children
began, in innocent mischief, to sport at his knees.

The unhappy husband is informed, that Gideon and Nelly Chiselwig,
were happy in each other: and that their only weapons of attack and
defence were sweet words, and fond caresses.

Some represent the devil as having horns: if so, he must have taken
them from the head of Gideon Chiselwig.



THE PROPHETESS AND THE REBEL.


“Nay, Katharine, let us not return from all this quiet, to the
noise of the town, until, like a young widow who veils her face
from the past, and the relations of her dead husband, to go forth
to other scenes, there once more to unveil it,--twilight wraps up
the beauties of this vale, and then gives gentle and holy echoes to
the streets. The town is pleasant then; but now--a little further
on, and we shall seat us by the Hermit’s Well. On its calm surface
the first and brightest star of night will glimmer beneath our
feet. Heed not my laughing sister.”

“My brother,” gaily answered the companion of the lady, whom the
speaker addressed, and whose arm was within his, “is pleased to
be poetical. But cannot you prevent that same widow of yours, Mrs.
Twilight, from leaving this vale, and entering the town in search
of a husband, by wedding her yourself? Perhaps you are engaged
already?--Is he Katharine?”

“Really, Alice, do you suppose that your brother would make me his
confidant?”

“Would that Mrs. Twilight,” was the exclamation of the mischievous
girl, “were here, to hide the blush on somebody’s face! Oh, look
angry, hate James and his sister. He has scarcely succeeded in
making you as sly a hypocrite as himself. My father sent him to
Cambridge, to devote himself to Mother Alma, but he soon found
another saint, who cared not for books and themes. The diligent
student, whose letters home spoke of nothing but long vigils, and
faint tapers burning through the night, was in love! He had met
with a beautiful lady of gentle blood, and high birth, whom I have
seen, Katharine,” and she looked archly up at her companion. “He
thought of nothing but love, and of no one but her, and yet he
counterfeited so well, that when he returned to us, he was pale in
appearance, and retired in habits.”

“Alice,” replied her brother, laughing, “you are a rare vixen, and
will never be reformed, until love has caught you. You, indeed, pay
but a poor compliment to the imagination and heart of a student,
to suppose that he cannot be a lover. Ponderous tomes will crush
every feeling but love. Mathematics will measure and bound, with
their cold laws, every feeling but love. Amidst all his researches,
the image of one appears before him, bright and beautiful, even by
the faint light of his lamp. She is of earth, but holy; and the
more that learning and genius throw their rays upon his mind,--that
being the mirror in which she is reflected,--the purer and softer
does she become. But, Alice, you frequently cautioned me not to be
a hard student.”

“And,” added Katharine, “did not your brother gain many of the
highest prizes?”

“He has gained one, Katharine, has he not?” and the mischievous
girl smiled significantly to her companion, who blushed with a
deeper tinge than before, and seemed still more embarassed.

“You mean the beautiful gold medal, Alice?” inquired her brother,
anxious to smooth over the hint.

“Ah! do I?” returned his sister with a playful sneer. “But I have
a tale to unfold concerning it. I often observed you walking in
the garden, looking anxiously upon something suspended from your
neck, and when I came up, you quickly placed it again next to your
breast. Katharine, are you listening? Well, one day I surprized
you; you affirmed that it was the gold medal--I denied that it was.
It was a miniature likeness of one of my friends,” and she fondly
placed her arm around her companion, who drew the necklace closer
to her bosom, lest, perchance, some miniature might be discovered
there also.

They wandered on, and they beheld the beauties of the setting sun,
only on each other’s countenances. They became more thoughtful,
but not less happy. The two lovers,--for such was the relationship
between James Dawson, and Katharine Norton,--frequently exchanged
kind looks, which the playful Alice did not fail to remark.
James and Alice were the only children of a wealthy physician in
Manchester. Their mother had died early, and this circumstance made
them cling closer to each other. Dr. Dawson was harsh to them: he
had been disappointed in the marriage-portion of his wife; and he
bade a very cold adieu to his son, as he left for Cambridge, and
chided Alice for crying and teazing herself many days after. Yet,
at times, affection arose in his breast towards them, for they were
the exact image of her, who had once been enshrined in his love,
until avarice hoarded up other treasures. Besides, he knew that he
could not, with justice, condemn his son as a mere bookworm, for
James excelled in every athletic and graceful accomplishment: and
he could not, on the other hand, taunt him as only a gamester and a
fencer, for he had carried off the highest literary and scholastic
honours. His endowments, both physical and mental, had frequently
drawn forth the admiration of his father, but it soon subsided into
indifference and neglect. Alice, occasionally, as she sung the
lays which her mother had taught her, and romped about his chair,
in all her beauty and innocence, could warm her father’s heart, so
that he pronounced a blessing upon her destiny. But often, all her
smiles and fond arts to please him were disregarded: she could not
relax, by all her attentions, the sternness of his countenance. A
tear would then start into her deep blue eye, and she would retire
to call up the remembrance of her sainted mother.

Katharine Norton was an orphan, and her parents had been of
illustrious rank. She had travelled with a maiden aunt, and, as
they were residing for a few weeks in the vicinity of Cambridge,
she had met with young Dawson, and thus commenced an ardent
attachment between them. And well might her appearance have
inspired even a stoic with the most thrilling love. Smooth, and
fair as light was her finely-formed brow,--changing its expression
as a dark ringlet fell upon it,--or was thrown back. Her eyes
seemed to be souls in themselves, endued with the faculty of
thinking and feeling; their brilliancy their colour, and their
form, were as if they had been given by the emotion which then
ruled her mind. The features were stamped with a wild and noble
beauty. Nor was her form inferior to her countenance: majestic, yet
playful; like a vision with all the movements of music. She was now
spending the summer in Manchester, where Dawson had introduced to
her his sister, and they were seldom out of each other’s presence.
They walked together, and James frequently joined them.

The shadows of twilight were now mixing with the fading light of
the western sky, and the hush of early eve was whispering silence
in the vale where they were wandering. At length they reached the
angle; on rounding which, at a short distance, was the Hermit’s
Well, not famed for any medicinal properties, but for the pure
water, which was said to have refreshed an old man (who, in olden
times, haunted the adjacent hills,) every morning, as soon as he
had left his hard couch to journey along with the sun.

On a stone beside it, there sat a young female, dressed in the
rustic simplicity of a foreign country. Her age seemed only that of
a child. Yet there was a feverish rolling of the eye, a changing
tremor of the lips, and a gentle throbbing of the breast, which
speak the mystery of a hidden sorrow, or of a superior nature. Not
a blush of colour tinged the pure pallor of her face--like a statue
dedicated to thought, in the midst of fragrance and light. Her
hands were playing with flowers, carelessly,--for her thoughts, it
was evident, were on a less tranquil subject,--and although they
were, at intervals, raised to her face, yet it assumed a still
sadder expression.

She was singing to herself in a low and melancholy strain, almost
modulated to the still hush of the vale: and the notes seemed not
so much to be proceeding from her voice, as her soul. Once or twice
she started up, held her hands towards the west, and then placed
them on her brow. Then she dipped them in the well, and with the
pure water bathed her eyes. As soon, however, as young Dawson and
his fair companions had approached within a few yards, her eyes
quickly moved in the direction of the spot where they stood, and
she became silent in her song.

“Ah, brother,” cried the laughing Alice, evidently not conscious
of the merry tone in which she spoke, for her heart had quickly
sympathized with the youthful sadness, of which she had now,
unexpectedly, been a witness;--“is this your young and interesting
Mrs. Twilight? What a beautiful creature! She seems to enjoy all
the luxury of grief, and her heart refuses to lose a tear of its
sorrow. That brow might have been kissed by the last breath of many
a brother, sister, and playmate:--so pale, calm and holy.”

“She is not of our country,” added Katharine Norton. “Her dress,
as well as her air, is foreign. How simply are those raven tresses
braided!”

“Katharine,” said her lover, “dost thou believe in young spirits,
who are said to haunt solitary places? Here, you might almost
imagine, that we have intruded upon one of them. How beautiful and
thoughtful that girlish face is! Now she looks towards us. Let
us draw near, and entreat her to sing to us, while the stars are
taking their places in the sky.”

The object of their curiosity and admiration arose meekly, as they
stood before her, and allowed the hand of Katharine to be laid on
her head.

“A blessing on you, fair strangers! It is night,--and do you wander
abroad? It is night, for the dew is upon me. Ah! that hand now laid
on my head is gentle and soothing, as that which so often presses
it in my sleepless dreams, throughout the long night;

    Ah! it speaks not to me:
        No face appears with smile,
    Its light I could not see,
        And trace the gentle wile,
    But bathed in perfume from the far-off land,
    Upon my head comes,--lies, a holy hand,”

and she raised her face to the sky so earnestly.

“But, my pretty child,” inquired Katharine, “why do you gaze
upwards? Does that hand, which visits you so oft, in dreams, appear
then, at this hour, from out one of those changing clouds?”

“Do I!” the child exclaimed in intense emotion, indicated by her
livelier tones and brightened face,--“do I, indeed, gaze upon the
wide, the beautiful sky? Yes, it breathes upon my forehead! Feel
it!”

They were bewildered at the strangeness of her words and movements.
She took Katharine’s hand, and held it to her brow, and then
resumed,--

“Now take it away. You would not deprive me of that sweet, sweet
influence. Oh! they tell me how glorious the sky is. I cannot see,
I cannot think of it, I cannot even dream of it. I know all the
flowers of earth by their touch and fragrance. I know, fair ladies,
that you are beautiful, but the sky is far, far above me. I hear
its sounds, but its face is veiled from me. Will the time never
come, when mine eyes shall open to a star, a bright-tinged cloud,
a fair expanse of love, to canopy and bound our dream? Must the
mean reptile be permitted to see them, although it prefers to crawl
amidst dust and clods,--and shall not I?”

“God pities the blind, fair child,” kindly returned Dawson.

“Have you seen God?”

“No; he cannot be seen by us, now.”

“Then I am happy,” she replied. “Oh! what a curse it would have
been on me, when all others could see the perfection of love,
wisdom, and power,--(for the flowers of earth, the sounds of
heaven, tell me that God must be that perfect being,)--I, I alone
was blind. Yes, I shall see yet. The little infant, for days awakes
not its eyelids to behold the mother, in whose bosom it is so
fondly nursed, and the rich stream by which its pouting lips are
fed; but soon they are opened to meet hers, beaming love upon every
movement. I never knew that infant’s joy. Oh! how I longed, in the
midst of soft whispers, to become acquainted with her who called me
child. But I am nature’s child, and when this short life is ended,
these eyes will be opened, and nature, my mother, shall be seen by
me. These sightless orbs! Oh! I know not what it is to see, even
in dreams. Dreams only hush me with sound, fragrance, and touch of
love, in a dark cradle, but never remove the covering, that I might
gaze upon the universe around. My little brother, far away in other
lands, was my inseparable companion, until he went to the tomb. He
led me to the river, and pointed my hand to the flickering light
on its ripple, and then bade me look in that direction. He made me
touch the sunbeam, resting and sporting alternately upon the bank,
and then asked if I did not see it. He placed me beneath the moon,
and bade me feel if I could not perceive its rays. He rowed me over
the still, placid lake, and then he would rest on his oars, and
point my finger to the stars, which, he said, were embosomed there;
and oh! what secret sounds thrilled through my silent soul. But I
never saw one object! He bathed his beautiful face, and flung back
his soft silken hair, and bade me gaze on a brother;--and I could
not!”

Overpowered with the strength of her feelings, she sat down. Still,
she covered not her face with her hands, but looked earnestly up,
as if it were a sin to gaze away from the sky, which she longed so
much to greet. Katharine and her companion kissed the young child,
while Dawson kindly asked,--

“From what land do you come? You speak our language, but your
appearance and feelings betoken you a native of a more genial sun.
Why do you wander here?”

“Wander! Is not life altogether a wandering? I have no friends but
flowers, and our home is the wide earth. I ever find them the same,
wherever I am, and, therefore, I think that I am the same; neither
changed in place nor time. My brother left me alone. Oh! was it not
cruel to commit the beautiful boy to the tomb? And yet, they told
me that his name and age were marked in white, innocent letters
upon his coffin! Oh! could the worms dare to crawl upon, or even
touch with their pollution ‘Henrico Fortice, aged twelve years.’
Was it not kind to mention his name and age?”

The two ladies took her hands in theirs, and kindly pressed them.
They gazed upon her large bright eyes, and almost, for the moment,
doubted that no light had ever entered them, until tears had come
trickling down her cheeks. They took a seat beside her, on the
mossy stone. She spoke not, and her hand returned not their touch.
They knew not how to console her. To their questions concerning
her past life, her friends, and native country, she had given no
definite answer: not because she seemed unwilling to detail all the
facts, but because she seemed never to have known them herself;
a creature of mere feelings, and thoughts, with no faculty for
earth. Her existence had, evidently, been but a dream, beautiful,
though troubled: and she had, hitherto, passed through it, like
a bird, through every land, feeling the sunshine of the laughing
sky, breathing the fragrance of wood and vale, at morn and eve,
and echoing a part in the universal chorus, but knowing no more;
careless of all things but flight and happiness. She raised the
hands of the two young ladies to her lips, and turning paler and
paler, at length dropped them, and shrunk back with a low and half
suppressed shriek of horror.

“Disappointment, a broken heart, and death! Yes, such a lot will be
yours; and so beautiful! Ask me not, but I know:--these hands, they
tear from my soul the sybil leaves of awful prophecy, which fate
has given me, and my voice must scatter them forth to you. Would
that I knew not the dark characters!--that my mind was as blind to
your future destiny as these shrouded orbs!”

“Hold!” exclaimed young Dawson, as he seized Katharine’s hand,
which the blind prophetess had, once more, taken. “Hold!--speak not
another word of thy frightful thoughts. Nay, touch not her hand.
Katharine, could you feel disappointment should nothing be spared
to us but love? Can your heart be broken when love encircles it?
Death,--name it not!”

“Here, here is the cause. You ruin each other. Love and death are
linked together. But, sir, be peaceable and loyal in the midst of
rebellion, and happiness may yet be yours.”

A faint smile passed over Dawson’s face, which had before been
clouded; and with an attempt at gaiety, he returned,--

“And am I not in the garb of peace? My cap has not the nodding
plume of war, but the quiet and simple flower of the valley. What
two beautiful shields I have secured for myself in danger, my own
Katharine, and sister Alice.”

“Beware,” repeated the prophetess, “of war. Change not the flower
for the cockade; and let none be your shields but those whom you
now protect.”

No longer did she seem the soft and mournful child, who had longed
so earnestly for the power of vision. She was altogether changed.

“Follow me not. Detain me not. I shall weep for you all. Farewell,
until we meet again,” and she instantly withdrew, and darkness hid
her steps.

       *       *       *       *       *

Two months have elapsed since the above interview and conversation
took place, and the scene is now laid in Manchester. No more is the
soft peace inspired by evening walks, in lonely and secluded vales,
to be breathed over the characters of our Legend. A rebellion,
fostered by no dark intrigues, but by romantic daring, had arisen,
and the youthful heir of the unfortunate house of Stuart had
returned from exile, and appeared to claim his own, in the country
which dethroned his ancestors for their imbecility, wickedness,
and tyranny. Prince Charles Edward had been educated at the court
of France; but unlike her, whom, in person, he was said so much to
resemble--Mary of Scotland,--his manners were untainted with the
loose and dissolute habits prevalent there. Although surrounded
with pleasure, revelry, and giddy pomp, his thoughts were of
England and its crown; and these tended to preserve him from the
enervating influence of French dissipation. Gallantry was only
the occasional amusement, and not the sole pursuit of his life.
Nature had given him an exterior on which no lady could frown, or
be disposed to deny her favours; but he frequently withdrew from
the attractive company, where many of the proudest and fairest
daughters of the land were fluttering around him, with attentions
for the prince alone; and in private, sighed over the ruin of the
name he bore, and of the royal family, of which he was the sole
representative. But buoyed up with the false accounts which he had
received from those in this country, with whom he communicated,
assuring him that so numerous and devoted would be his followers,
should he again appear at the head of them, to plead his cause by
arms, he was induced to leave France, and towards the end of summer
1745, landed in the Hebrides; in a few days raised his standard in
Invernesshire; assembled a number of followers at Fort William,
and proceeded to Edinburgh, which opened to his claims. In the
beginning of November he marched to Carlisle, where the ceremony
of proclaiming his father king, and himself regent, was foolishly
performed, and where the delay thus occasioned, seemed to paralyze
the courage of his highland troops, and by carousing, to divide
them into factions.

Towards the end of the same month his troops, now amounting to six
thousand men, entered Lancashire, and passing by way of Preston
and Wigan, took up their quarters in Manchester, where they
hoped to secure provisions and ammunition, by free levies from
the inhabitants, as well as to recruit their numbers by English
soldiers.

The twenty-ninth day of November was bright, and a slight breeze
had not only prevented the heavy fog peculiar to the season, but
had likewise cleared away the smoke which lay dense and dull upon
the town; when, early in the afternoon, towards the suburbs,
masses of people were drawn together, expecting the arrival of the
Pretender and his army. There were the mob, prepared to espouse
the cause of any who should tickle their hands with a coin, or by
sweet words, gain their sweet voices. But amongst them were many of
noble rank, who had sympathized with the hardships of the present
aspirant to the throne of his fathers; and whom his romantic
expedition had fired with visions of military glory and renown, and
high titles and long lists. They impatiently spurred their horses
to a short distance from the crowd, to obtain a better view, and
then returned disappointed. Fair ladies were leaning on the arms
of their lovers, forbidding them to share in the dangers of the
enterprize, and in the crime of treason, but resolving, themselves,
to get a sight of the handsome Chevalier, and praise his person. A
silent hush was over all; nothing was heard, save low and gentle
whispers from the fair, who began to doubt whether he would really
appear, when the notes of distant music were borne on their ears,
and the steady tramp of troops was, soon after, distinguishable.
The crowd rushed up to an eminence on the skirts of the highway,
and beheld the banner floating over the rebel soldiery, and the
gleam of broadswords flashing in the sun. A sergeant rode forth
from the ranks, and furiously spurred his steed to the town, when
loud shouts, arising from the people and the inhabitants, assuring
him of the ready reception which his master should find, induced
him, after waving his plumed bonnet in return, to halt, until the
troops came up, which they speedily did, and, in haste, advanced.
At their head, surrounded by a band of hardy mountaineers with
their left hand upon the dirk, rode the prince, with no traces of
fatigue on his countenance; and looking as well, after his short
sojourn in the Highlands, as ever he did when he was the pride
of the French court, where he was fed by its luxuries. He was in
conversation with the Duke of Athol, who was beside him.

There was an interesting melancholy upon the otherwise gay
expression of his countenance, which suited well with the fallen
fortunes of his family. He was of slight and graceful form, and,
but for the noble enthusiasm beaming in his full blue eye, and the
firmness and decision compressing his thin lips, he might have
been mistaken for one who was better qualified to do honour to the
gaieties of a court, in the song and the dance, than the bloody
field of strife. His dress served to display, to advantage, the
beautiful proportions of his frame. His locks, of a light auburn
hue, fell in ringlets beneath the blue bonnet, mounted with a white
rose in front; and the snowy whiteness of his almost feminine
neck was but partially concealed by a plaid passing loosely over
his breastplate, and held fast by a blue-coloured sash. His
finely-polished limbs moving in all the elastic play and nerve of
youth, and in perfect ease, were attired in the Highland kilt; and
so small and beautifully formed was his foot, that no lady would
have refused her fair hand as a stirrup to the young Chevalier. His
dress was indeed plain for one who was now to strive for the crown
of Great Britain, but none could gaze upon the kingly form which it
enveloped, without almost wishing that soon he might be invested
with the purple robe of rule and empire.

His companion, the Duke of Athol, with whom he seemed frequently
to converse as a familiar friend, was tall and muscular. Broad and
commanding was his forehead, seen occasionally as he raised his
bonnet, when the prince mildly gave forth his orders. Long dark
whiskers added to the sternness and fierceness of his countenance,
and large over-hanging eyebrows only seemed to arch in the fiery
keenness of his restless glance, and concentrate it still more
deadly.

“Athol,” said the prince, as he beheld the crowd becoming pale and
horror-struck at the broadswords of his Highland troops, “sheath
your weapons.”

“Where?” asked the fiery duke. “Where, my prince? In their cowardly
carcasses, and thus let out their base and craven souls? The
English say that those of our nation are cold and heartless. They
should know that the mountain breezes carry on their wings, fire to
the soul. Well, if we are cold, we are keen; aye, as these our good
and true weapons, which they have, at times, tried, if I mistake
not.”

“They belie you, and that they know full well. My Scottish
troops--gaze upon them--are furious: a word will fire them, and a
thousand will fail to extinguish the flame. Nay,” he added gently
but firmly, “sheath your swords in their scabbards,--in their
scabbards. The inhabitants are loyal.”

The last words, accompanied as they were by the sudden sinking of
the swords into their scabbards, called forth a long and loud shout
from the gazing multitude, though they perceived that at the sound
of the bagpipe, the soldiers often placed their hands upon the
hilt of their swords, as if they could, with difficulty, refrain
from drawing them. The streets were all lined with spectators,
the most of whom seemed to have forgotten their loyalty to the
reigning sovereign. The Chevalier dismounted from his steed, and
marched on foot. Many a fair dame threw pitying looks upon his
form, and, struck with admiration, silently implored a blessing,
and full success upon his romantic endeavours; and as the band
played merrily, “the King shall have his own again,” they chorused
and encored it, with fond eyes, and waving handkerchiefs. He
gallantly bowed to them as he passed on; and thus sent many a
beautiful creature home, to dream of him, and when she awoke, in
the intervals, to wet her pillow with tears, and pray for his
safety. Roses were thrown upon him, from some of the terraces; he
stooped to pick them up, but they were faded, for they were summer
flowers, and had been gathered under the setting sun, many months
before, and he sighed as he thought of his own fortunes. But this
did not prevent him from kissing his hand in return, to those who
had showered them down, and they, of course, thought that they were
much sweeter roses themselves; and perhaps they were. The crowd
enthusiastically cheered him all the way.

“Athol, will they be as ready to give me assistance by money, as
they are to proffer their cheers?” asked the prince.

“_We_ give our blood,” replied the duke. “We place our heads as
your stepping stones to the throne, which is your rightful seat;
and shall not Englishmen give their money? Appoint a few of the
brave men under my command, as beggars, and trust me, that swords
and dirks in their hands, will levy something considerable. Steel
can find its way through coffers, and, without much ceremony, enter
pockets. Can it not?” and the chieftain smiled darkly.

“A freebooter still, Athol, although you have left your native glen
and castle. When shall I be able to make thee a courtier?”

“When I shall assist to make thee a king. Nay, noble prince, frown
not upon thy humble and trusty subject. I am a little chafed.
Nevertheless, is it not my duty to assist in making thee a king?”

“Thou hast, indeed, a true heart,” answered the Chevalier,
“though thy manners are not exactly so faultless, and may, with
much advantage, be reformed and amended. Nay, frown not in turn.
Montrose, are we yet within sight of our palace?”

The marquess, thus addressed, stepped forward, and having paid his
marks of reverence, replied,--

“Yes, noble prince. The hundred of our troops, who arrived
yesterday in Manchester are now surrounding it, waiting for your
presence.”

It was exactly as he said. In Market-street they stood around the
house of one Dickenson, which was thus converted into a palace,
and afterwards went by the name; though now it has fallen so
low as to become an inn. It had been given out that quarters and
accommodation would be required in the town for ten thousand men,
but now it did not seem, after they were all drawn up, that there
were more than six thousand. Amid loud and hearty acclamations, the
prince and the leaders entered the palace, while some of the troops
kept station and guard without, and the others dispersed themselves
over the town, after they had seen that the pieces of artillery
were in safe keeping.

       *       *       *       *       *

The house of Dr. Dawson, who had, lately, altogether retired from
the duties of his profession, stood in a quiet and remote part of
the town. Alice was almost dying, through curiosity, to receive
the latest intelligence. But she could only observe others running
to _know_, and none coming to _tell_, her about the Pretender, and
his entry into Manchester; and this, certainly, was sufficiently
provoking for a young lady. James, her brother, had gone out early
in the morning, and had not returned, so that she had no one
to fret and teaze, but her father; and he was, alas, rather an
irritable toy, for a young lady to sport with.

“Alice, you are restless and fatigued in my company. Get thee to
thy looking-glass, you are never weary of being there.”

“It has a more pleasant face than you have, dear father, when you
frown,” playfully returned Alice.

“There, there,--my children accuse and rebel against me! No matter,
their father is old and infirm. I must bring them up, support them,
only to listen to their impertinence and disobedience. Would that
God had made me childless, or that he had made my children blind
or dumb; or had given them a golden portion each, to support them.
Oh! you look pretty in tears, Alice,--quite irresistible, upon mine
honour. But do not waste them, they are so precious. Pray reserve
some: it will be prudent, Alice, they will all be in good time when
you get a lover!”

“Would that he were come!” peevishly exclaimed Alice, “and I should
run off with him, at any hour of the night, and to any place!”

“What! without looking in at my bank notes? Eh? Oh! mistress Alice!
And there’s your brother--what can he do?”

“He can leave home, and I cannot.”

“Yes, he _has_ left home,” said the old man, now beginning to be
affected. “And where is he?”

“Ah! dear father, should he have joined the cause of the Pretender!
Oh! how you would repent of the harsh words you have often spoken
to him.”

“Dear Alice, _I do repent_ already. Come and kiss your harsh old
father. Look upon the face that you confess to be less pleasing
than your looking glass. Ah, Alice, you are a sly girl.”

They at length became impatient, when night came on, and still,
James was absent. They had heard the public crier announce that
a general illumination of the town was to take place, and Alice
thought that her brother might have appeared to assist in the
arrangements. And now, when lights, many and brilliant, arose in
the opposite windows, and crowds were passing in the streets, she
proceeded, with a heavy heart, to give directions to the servants,
and then anxiously sat down at the casement of her own apartment,
not to view any object--save James. Private disappointments,
however small, and in themselves contemptible, are fretted by
public rejoicings; and as the bells rung out a merry peal, and
music walked the streets, she only felt her loneliness the more.
A knocking was heard at the door, and Alice flew down herself, to
open it, and admit her brother to a well spiced scolding; if not
(she was in doubts) to a more violent demonstration of her feelings.

It was Katharine Norton, who had come to enjoy the company of her
friend, as her maiden aunt had been so busy in asking questions
at her servants, relative to the Pretender, his dress, and his
general appearance, that she had entirely deserted the parlour for
the kitchen, and her niece was thus left alone.

They spoke of James, although Katharine occasionally paused, and
introduced some other subject, lest he might arrive in the midst
of their conversation; and she too well knew, that her mischievous
companion would not scruple to inform him of its nature and
subject; but he came not.

“Katharine, what can we do to know where he is? He is not well, or
it is not well with him. Something must have happened. Katharine,
‘_Beware of the Cockade!_’ The prophecy now rises to my mind.
It must be true. I feel that it is. My brother is ardent, and
romantic; and often has he expressed his sympathy with the
unfortunate house of Stuart.”

Servants were sent forth to obtain some information concerning
James, and the causes of his strange absence. They returned, only
to tell their disappointment. No one had a tale--save the old
clock, which numbered the minutes and the hours; and although the
minutes seemed to move slowly, the rapid flight of the hours was
surprizing. The loud shouts of the crowd broke in upon the silence;
and the heavy tread of her impatient father, in the adjoining
apartment, fell upon the ear of Alice, but mournfully. She led
her companion into her brother’s study, and playfully threw his
dressing gown over Katharine, that she might behold a diligent
student: but as she met her own gaze in a mirror opposite, she
knew that she was but counterfeiting mirth and happiness. She
placed before her Newton’s Principia, and requested a display of
philosophy and learning, to support the great principle therein
developed, ‘that every particle of matter is attracted by, or
gravitates to, every other particle of matter, with a force
inversely proportional to the squares of their distances.’ “Oh!”
she exclaimed, as she seized upon a letter or two, concealed in the
pages, in which was the hand-writing and signature of her friend,
“so, my brother wishes to transplant beautiful flowers into such
barren fields, that when he is puzzled with problems and themes, he
may be refreshed with questions, and pretty soft confessions, which
he finds no difficulty in understanding? Blush, Katharine, and
close the volume.”

“It is beyond my comprehension, Alice. I have no desire to be a
literary lady, to nib my quill for poetry, and glancing up to the
ceiling for inspiration, commence to abuse the innocence of paper;
indeed, I am not certain whether my patience would extend to the
act of counting my fingers, through the length and breadth of a
sonnet.”

“Ah, Katharine,” returned Alice, with an attempt at mock pathos,
“you are insensible of the pleasures which a young lady feels when
engaged in literary pursuits. The pen in her hand, is the fair
fan with which she cools the fervid glow of her imagination and
affections. How interesting she appears when she has the requisite
strength of mind to banish toys, silks, and dresses, and introduce
on her dressing table nothing but long rolls of manuscript! She
dreams not of soft whispers, sweet glances, and handsome lovers;
but of that nice ode, that sublime epic, or the passionate drama,
which she made yesterday. She rises to stare at the sun, frighten
the flowers, and overflow the very Thames with ink, on paper. Or
should she be an astronomer, how becoming for a young lady to use a
telescope, instead of a quizzing glass!”

She then searched the desk, and discovering some rude drafts of
verses, addressed to “a lady,” inquired of Katharine whether
she had yet obtained a fair copy of them. For a time she was as
mischievous as usual; but all her sport was evidently feigned. In
the midst of it, at length, she became silent, and snatching up
a light, hurried to the clock, and instantly returned pale and
breathless.

“Katharine!” she exclaimed, while she grasped her hands, “it is
but a few minutes from midnight! He has become a traitor to his
home and his country. I have stopped the clock, that whenever
he returns, it may not disgrace him. Near midnight, and he
absent,--and at such a time, when all our fears are excited by
rebellion!”

Her companion, who was, naturally, of a firmer and more heroic
cast of mind, attempted to console her, although she needed one to
perform the same kindly office for herself.

“Nay, dear Alice, your brother is loyal.”

“Is that loyal?” she returned with a shriek, as her eye glanced
over some of her brother’s papers, where the Pretender’s name
was mentioned in glowing terms of admiration. “I knew it. James
has long admired Prince Charles Edward, and frequently, when no
subjects but those nearest to our hearts have been introduced, he
has spoken so feelingly of the royal youth’s exile in France. When
the news of his landing in Scotland reached us, an involuntary
exclamation escaped James, and he prayed for his safety, aye,
even for his success. Nay, I cannot divine any other motive for
his absence from the University, than to obtain leisure to watch
the progress of the Prince, and, at a fitting time, to join his
standard. But hush, let us be cheerful, for I hear my father’s
footsteps, and he is impatient at my brother’s absence.”

The old man entered. Katharine Norton rose to meet him, and he
addressed her kindly, as was his wont. But the smoothness of his
manner soon disappeared. In person, Dr. Dawson was tall and thin,
though very much bowed down by age, but now his form became erect.
He had a lofty forehead, on which a few white locks were sprinkled.
His hands were palsied, but now, by the strength of his feelings,
they were nerved, and he stood forth, firm and collected. He had
dark eyes, which had not lost the fire of his youth; and which
seemed to become brighter and brighter, by looking at his gold.
He was not altogether a miser, for he, as we have already stated,
loved his children occasionally, and even displayed bursts of
tenderness and affection; but his idols must be of gold, as well
as of flesh and blood. Ever since he was married, pretty fingers
must have gold rings, before he could admire them, and in his
profession, he had often been prevented from feeling the pulse for
some time, so much absorbed was his attention by the diamonds which
glittered.

After addressing Katharine, he turned to his daughter, “Alice,
where is your brother, has he not returned yet? I must wait for
him, considerate youth, although these aged limbs should long ere
now, have been reposing on my couch! I have no staff but this cane,
and money bought it. Money can do any thing but make children
obedient, except to close a parent’s eyes, and that they gladly
attend to. Come, affectionate youth, and see me die!” and he
laughed hysterically, in scorn and anger.

The two ladies supported and caressed him fondly, compelled him to
sit down, and almost smothered him with kisses. The old man could
not forbear smiling. “Ah, innocents, you would sooner heap them on
my son.”

“Nay, dear father,” returned Alice, in a merry tone, “a different
treatment from us awaits him, when he arrives.”

Her father heard her not, for he had relapsed once more into a fit
of passion, and he walked across the room, stamping violently.

“And I must totter on my cane, at my kind son’s inclination, and he
must dance so merrily, to give me pain. Oh! how fondly he is now
speaking to his fair partner, and doubtless requesting her not to
allow herself to be too much fatigued. He takes her to a recess,
lest she be weary with the dance; but his poor old father must
watch for him all the night. It matters not how weary I be. No, no,
I do my son wrong, great wrong. He wishes me to be at rest,--in
my grave. How kind! Nay, daughter, speak not in his favour. Hark
to the sounds of revelry around him. Sweet they are to his ears,
almost as sweet as my dying words.”

He looked around the room as minutely as if he had anticipated
conspirators and ruffians to start forth, at his son’s commission,
and take his life. He examined the desk, as if he expected to
discover poison purchased for him. He trembled as he took out a
brace of pistols, and scarcely dared to ascertain whether they were
charged or not. He dusted the books in the library, and glanced
over many of the title-pages, as if he were certain to lay hold of
a treatise on the duty and necessity of parricide. He would not
allow the ladies to speak, but he harshly interrupted them. They
seemed to be like thoughts in his own mind, which were unwelcome,
and which, therefore, he had the power and the right of forbidding
and preventing.

“If he should not return,” he muttered as he paced more calmly
across the room, “my executors will not be troubled with his name
in the will, and this may ease the dog of a good bone; yes, very
prudent of the young man to stay from home, very.”

“Father!” exclaimed Alice.

“Father me not,” he returned furiously, “or mock me with the name
but a little longer. Oh--” and tears flowed down his cheeks as he
went to the door, “no dreams of gold to night, no money bags; a
halter around my son’s neck, and that son a rebel!”

“Father, weep not. All shall yet be well with James. I cannot
endure these tears, you once told me that you had not one; that
although your hopes were gone for ever, you had not a tear to give
them; that you had not mourning apparel to attend them to their
grave!”

He harshly repulsed her, and retired to his own apartment.

The hour of midnight was now chiming. The drum and music had ceased
for a few minutes, and the town clocks were distinctly heard; but
instantly, upon the stroke, the revelry in the streets commenced
afresh, and the mob became still more noisy than before. The light
of torches glared in upon them, and for a moment they hid their
faces from it, as from something unpleasant and unwelcome. Alice
started up, and proposed that she should lead her companion to
their room for the night, where she promised soon to join her.
Katharine consented, although her fears were so much excited, that
she knew sleep to be hopeless and impossible. As Alice returned,
she wrapped herself closely in a cloak, and was descending to the
door, when she listened at that of her father’s room, and hearing
no noise or motion, entered. She beheld him asleep on the sofa,
and his breathing was difficult. A table was drawn to his side,
and on it lay a portrait of his son, in the character of Hamlet;
taken when he bore a prominent part in the histrionic displays of
the University. It was in the scene when the Prince of Denmark has
become thoroughly convinced that his uncle is the murderer of the
former king, and when he glories in the idea, that by the players
he has forced conviction into the villain’s heart, and when his
mother appears to charge him with his conduct towards that uncle.
Her words were written (and the ink was not yet dry) beneath the
portrait, “Hamlet, you have your father much offended,” and old
Dawson’s shrivelled and white hand was placed pointing to them.
This proof of affection, revenge, and imbecility, all mingled
together, overcame Alice. For a moment she sunk down upon the couch
beside her father, and gently kissed him. She then removed the cane
from his grasp, and covered his venerable head. He started up in
his dreams, but his eyes were shut.

“My son! oh! will none save him. None? Take my gold--yes all of it.
It will forge chains as heavy and as long, as these dismal iron
ones, which now bind his tender limbs; aye the body which my own
Helen gave me, is shackled. Take my gold, there is the key to my
chests, ransack them, and sell me. The gold will make a chamber as
large as that horrible cell! Oh! will none save my beautiful boy?”

“I will, I will,” exclaimed his daughter, and she rushed out of
the room. She summoned her own waiting maid, to watch over the
old man, and then she herself, alone, unattended, left the house
to seek her brother through the crowd. The night was beautiful and
clear in the sky above, and its lights were brilliant, yet soft;
but the illuminations of the town, threw their glare over all
around, and completely shamed the stars. Not a breeze was felt,
but the wafting of the flames. As the lights in the windows were
now almost expiring, and pale faces were seen within, watching by
them,--to the imagination an ominous fate for the Pretender seemed
to be predicted. But bonfires were blazing in every street, and
figures were crowding around them, and rubbing their hands, and
dancing in extravagant mirth. The gleam of arms was reflected from
soldiers, mingling along with the mob. Crowds were perpetually
hurrying past, to behold and make other sights. Not a child, or a
woman was to be seen; but all were men, intoxicated and raging,
or moving on, more helpless than infants. This almost served to
frighten Alice, as she held her way through the midst of them,
coming into contact with the rude touch of daring strength, or the
feeble clutch of old age; yet none interrupted her, save to stare
upon her earnest countenance, so young, beautiful, and innocent.
Many even seemed disposed to join and escort her to the place of
her destination, wherever that might be. Some rather loud whispers
were heard, asserting that she must be a friend of the Pretender,
proceeding on the errand of blessing, and cheering him, on his
dangerous expedition. Still she moved on, apparently indifferent to
every thing which might otherwise have been annoying, when some one
gently took her by the hand. Suppressing a shriek she started back
in terror. But it was a young female who had ventured upon such
a liberty, and Alice immediately recognized the young and blind
Prophetess of the vale, who said in a quick but low tone,--

“I cannot, young lady, see your face, but your hand is feverish,
and your heart is throbbing. And the hour is so late, and the
street crowded. Yes, my prophecy will be fulfilled.”

Alice felt that it would, as she listened to her voice, and gazed
upon her face. Her features seemed altogether to have lost their
happy expression. They were still sweet; but clouded, and sad.
“This light,” she resumed, “is not pleasant. It is not that of
mountain, vale, and stream. Ah! I heard the young chieftain’s step,
so gallant, light, and free; but the cockade waved over his head.
Royal was his voice, for I knew something of courts, in another
clime. And your brother?--you are now in search of him. I need not
inquire. Darkness and death are around all his relations. Start
not. He is a rebel, and now pledges, in the presence of Charles
Edward, his allegiance to the family of Stuart. Oh, why should I
know names and events? Happy I was, when life for me was but to
think and feel. But fair one, come on, embrace your brother once
more, Come,” and she almost dragged the sinking Alice forward, to
hasten her steps. They soon arrived at the Pretender’s palace, but
it was guarded by a close band of Highland soldiers. They made a
passage however, for them, when Alice shortly explained the purpose
of their coming.

“Ay fair lady,” said one “step in, your brother is now Captain
Dawson, and a brave and gallant Southern he is.”

“It is true then!” Alice exclaimed with a shriek, while she hid her
face in her hands, “he is a traitor and we are all ruined.”

“A traitor!” fiercely exclaimed a kilted mountaineer, whose fiery
eyes peered through his shaggy eyebrows, as he rudely grasped her
with his left hand, while his right sought the deadly weapon--“Be
canny, noo, my leddie, lest Tonald’s tirk may pe seeking te right
side o’ te question. Tat pe te way tat Englishers speak of der
lawfu Sovereign, tat day must call his gude friends traitors!”

Alice Dawson looked unmoved upon the specimen of barbarous
brutality. Her eye gleamed indignantly; which the Scot observing,
drily rejoined, by taking his hands from off her and saying, “Is
she after wishing to frighten Tonald? Hech, hech! She canna tak te
preeks off te Heelandman: and faith Tonald canna tak them off her.”

“She’s a traitoress,” exclaimed one of the Lowlanders, whose face
might have been mistaken for a smoke-dried ham, for he was the only
ill favoured soldier in the company.

“Hold,” thundered forth one of their leaders, who came out from
the palace, and his fiery eye rebuked the rude soldiers, who had
gathered round to support their comrades, in whatever they might be
pleased to do, against the unprotected Alice, and her companion;
“cowards, to attack and frighten a lady! It would be gallantry,”
he added, turning to the Lowlander, “were you to show your back to
a lady, and conceal that face of yours. She would excuse you, for
in your case it would not be considered as a breach of manners.
Manners! but what know you of manners? Fair lady, my sentinel
informs me that you seek your brother, who is a captain in the
Manchester regiment, this day enlisted, as volunteers, in the
Prince’s cause. See, they make a way for you. Step in.”

The young soldier who spoke, was Hector McLean, a leader of the
north, and one of the many Scottish gentlemen of rank, who, for
their ready attachment to his cause, had been knighted by the
Pretender. The accent of his country was slightly perceptible,
and there was something so friendly in his voice, that Alice
halted, to obtain some further information concerning her brother,
or some directions by which she might be guided to him; and her
companion, who had been altogether silent, seemingly absorbed
in her own thoughts, did not urge her on. But as her eyes fell
upon the handsome form of the knight, so martial in his bearing,
although but of slender proportions, she blushed deeply, and half
repented that she had not forthwith entered. He doffed his bonnet,
gallantly, and respectfully, as she stood before him,--announced
his name, and offered her his services. “Fair lady, you appear
to have been in tears. Are they shed for your brother? Think not
by any eloquence, aye, even that of affection, to turn him from
his purpose, and make him insensible to his duty. His sovereign
has a claim prior to his sister. And could you deprive the brave
Chevalier of a hope of victory?”

“He has left an aged and infirm father,” sobbed Alice, “and we are
unprotected. He himself is not inured to war, for the cloisters of
a college have been his only camp. Oh! gallant knight,” and she
looked up, with a countenance, as innocent and artless as it was
mournful, “entreat my brother to return!”

“I must deny you,” he gently replied. “The captain is an
acquisition, and already has gained the confidence of the Prince.
Your fair brow, may be soon encircled with honours, won by your
brother, from a grateful master. When you have seen him, you shall
return home, and pray for his safety, and that of the Prince.”

As he spoke, Alice felt her companion shudder. The young Prophetess
knelt down, and muttered some words in a low, but wild tone. Rising
up, she drew Alice closer to her, and madly exclaimed,--

“Almighty One, keep her alone, join not their fates--but ah! it
cannot be! Brother and lover will ruin her, and death, death is her
lot. The poison is to lurk in every sweet rose, for you. I know it.
And she, the beautiful one, your companion in the vale, now too
must see her dream vanish. Oh, _their_ heads mount the poles in the
public streets. I cannot see them; thank God, yours shall be spared
such scorn, but languid for many a night shall they lie on the
pillow, and then, they must find rest in an early grave.”

She twined herself around Alice, kissed her cheeks, and wept.

The chieftain stood silent and astonished, not being able to
comprehend the scene; but Alice trembled, and almost sunk to
the ground. He placed her hand within his. “Come, and you will
straightway have an interview with him. He is now closeted with the
Prince, and his officers, consulting together upon some military
plans.”

They entered:--the inside of the palace was fitted up with great
magnificence; and the spacious hall of audience was adorned with
portraits of the Stuart family, on which the lights were gleaming
brightly, and but for the gilded and embossed frames, they might
have been mistaken for the living sovereigns, who, by nature, were
endowed with the highest talents to sway an empire, but whose
imprudence and licentiousness expelled them from the throne. The
beautiful Queen of Scotland shone forth with a loveliness which
none but a royal old maid and prude, could have doomed to death.
She, who had been the wife of three husbands, still seemed to
have more love and affection in those bright features, than the
Holy Virgin of England, who never had a lover. The first Charles
was painted there, as he stood on the scaffold, and his eyes were
raised joyfully from the block, to see, in vision, the crown of
heaven, which no weapon could take from the Lord’s annointed. The
light threw a beautiful longing of immortality over his features.
At the further end of the hall, hanging from the ceiling to the
floor, was a green silk curtain, behind which was the door leading
to the Chevalier’s apartments. This was the only screen from the
face of royalty. Sir Hector, however, led Alice through a sliding,
at the right wing, and stood, for a little, opposite to a door,
above which were the Prince’s arms. At that moment it opened, and
Charles Edward, with young Dawson, appeared. The latter rushed into
the embrace of his sister. She beheld the uniform, and her hand was
upon the sash by which he was belted, still she clung fondly to
him, although she could not utter a word. Sir Hector McLean gave
the Pretender an explanation; who, stepping up, gently took the
hand of Alice.

“Lady, bless your brother, and the cause he supports. Blame him
not; you cannot call me a rebel, and he must, therefore, be loyal.
Captain, comfort your sister.”

“And who shall comfort thee?” sadly asked the blind child. “Oh,
never, never, can you mount the throne.”

“Who is she? She is pale for me and my woes. See, the tears are
trickling down these cheeks. Perhaps blood, the blood of my
friends, may flow freely in my cause. God knows that my own heart
is sad, even for a tear on the face of another, for my sake.
But hark, my leaders are gay in the dance!” So kindly did the
Prince soothe the feelings of Alice, that when he retired, she
was prepared even to give comfort to her brother, when he spoke
of Katharine. She could not, however, persuade him to accompany
her home, and obtain their father’s forgiveness, and Katharine’s
blessing.

“I dare not. I could not leave you all alone and unprotected. How
could I part from you, in the home of our past life? I must see
Katharine once more, but not there. But you, oh, what dangers you
have undergone this night for me, Alice! My heart breaks, awful
forebodings creep over my soul, at the sight of this blind girl. I
dare not see you home, and yet, to expose you--”

“Nay, captain,” kindly rejoined Sir Hector, “I should feel
honoured, would your fair sister accept of my protection.”

“Thanks, my noble friend; watch over her. The clock strikes the
hour of one. Sleep, Alice, and think not of our woes. We shall meet
again in happier times. One more embrace, dear girl; give my love
to Katharine, and my obedience to my father. I may see them before
the Prince leaves Manchester. Farewell. Sir Hector--”

“Say not a word, captain. I shall guard her as I would the
Chevalier. Now, fair lady,”--and he almost dragged her from the
arms of her brother.

As they reached the door, she looked round for her companion--but
she was gone!

When his sister left him, Captain Dawson in vain sought comfort
in the room where all the officers were assembled for mirth and
the dance. His spirits were sunk, and into every bright scene
which hope conjured up, his aged parent and his unprotected
sister entered, and stood looking upon him, and yet he could not
approach them. He believed, however, that to his country he was
not acting the part of a traitor, for he wished to restore to it
the descendant of its ancient rulers. Sometimes, too, the quiet
retirement which he had formerly enjoyed within the cloisters of
the college, arose to his mind, and now, when surrounded by arms,
with the glory of strife before him in all probability, the arts of
peace appeared more noble and worthy of attainment. He retired to
the apartment which was assigned to him; but there, grief almost
reached the point of delirium, and the young soldier wept on his
pillow. He heard a knock at the door, and then Sir Hector McLean
entered.

“Hast thou seen her home in safety? Oh! Alice, I have broken
your heart, and murdered my father; aye, and myself, and my own
Katharine too! Could I stay for months at home, to watch this
opportunity, and mutiny against the peace of all whom I love!”

“Your sister,” was the reply, “is safe in her father’s house, nor
is her anguish so wild as when you saw her. She fondly believes
(and may it prove true, Dawson,) that soon the strife shall be
finally settled; and then comes the soldier’s home, after all his
hardships and dangers; then come tears of joy, so different from
those at parting for the present.”

Young Dawson took the hand of Sir Hector, and pressed it in
gratitude. He was almost deceived for a time, it felt so like the
touch of Alice, and when he mentioned this, his friend laughed, and
said,--

“Perhaps I may have held her pretty hand within mine so long as to
catch its virtue. Nay, let not a suspicion cloud thy brow, I would
not pay one act of unmeaning gallantry, to betray; you do me wrong,
Dawson. Yet, how beautiful she is!”

“Beautiful!” exclaimed Dawson, as he sprung from his couch in
madness. “And must I listen to hear my sister called beautiful,
by a soldier? If thy craven soul has dared to breathe one word
of lawless feeling to mine Alice, tell me--and let us choose our
weapons.”

As he spoke, he moved to the table on which his sword lay
unsheathed, and passing his hand hastily over its edge, put himself
into a posture of attack and defence. But McLean’s sword still hung
by his side, and his hand was stretched forth in friendship. And
yet, at the first movement, his eye had flashed, and his right foot
had been violently placed in advance, for the combat.

“Dawson,” he said, in a solemn tone, “you force me to reveal to you
what, perhaps, I ought to disguise at present. Could I put that
hand to the hilt of my sword, against Captain Dawson, when it has
been pledged in fondest love to his beautiful sister? Beautiful
I must call her--keep off, and hear me out. Will you compel me
to draw? I had a sister, fair as Alice Dawson, but she died in a
warmer clime, amidst the breezes of Italy. Had she lived, I should
have watched over her as suspiciously as you protect Alice. But I
am true. Is there falsehood in my countenance? Believe me; for with
you I cannot appeal to the sword to support my veracity.”

The anger and fury of young Dawson had fled. He knew that Sir
Hector’s oath was that of a chieftain, and he was certain that
Alice would be happy. He coloured highly, threw his sword upon the
couch, and embraced him as a brother. Long did they speak of Alice
and Katharine; and the two young soldiers unbosomed every thought
to each other, and disclosed their respective arrangements. McLean
agreed to be a message-bearer to Dawson’s house, and to Katharine
Norton; for the captain dared not visit them. He left his companion
to rest a little before day break.

Just about the same time Dr. Dawson awoke. The object of his dreams
had been James, and his first waking thought was concerning him.
But all was dark in the room. He only knew that his children were
not near. His memory failed to tell him whether James had returned.
In the morning there is something cold and blighting in fear, for
all the powers of the mind are more awake to it. He started up at
the earliest gleam of light, and shuddered, as he saw, for the
first time, that he had slept on a sofa. In all his affectionate
thoughts of his children, he did not forget self; and he cherished
it, in general, with a regimen, the strongest which his profession
could provide or sanction.

“Death, death!” he exclaimed, “my children make me to commit
suicide, by sending me, grieved and senseless, to my couch, to my
sofa. My obedient son,--many thanks to you, dear James; dear James,
many thanks to you. Oh, dear and loving he is to me!”

But in the midst of this invective he paused, as his eye met the
portrait of his son. He hurried on his clothes, but his palsied
hands were feeble and slow. His daughter came not, as was her wont.
He looked out from the window, upon the street, and how still,
compared with the revelry of the last night! There was scarcely
a wreck of it. The fragments of wood, black, and half consumed,
strewed the streets. These had been bonfires, a few hours before,
and now, a few miserable and poor wretches were gathering them up,
to carry them to a home, where there was little comfort blazing
from fuel. The doctor closed the window, and violently threw
himself down on the sofa, and cursed all whom he knew. He arose,
and silently proceeded to the door of his daughter’s apartment.
He heard no noise. He knocked, and instantly his daughter’s voice
was heard; when he knew that she was well, he stopped not to speak
to her, but in anger traced his steps again to his own room. He
had not closed the door behind him, when Katharine Norton came in.
He was always kind to her, and taking her by the hand, led her to
a seat. Her raven tresses were hanging over her cheeks, and her
voice trembled. She attempted to divert his thoughts from James’s
disappearance--for she dared not reveal the awful truth--and for a
time she succeeded. He even jested, playfully with her, and asked
her to name the day when she would become his beautiful and dear
daughter-in-law. He took her hand, and begged to know by which of
the pretty fingers James had protested to love her.

In a little, Alice appeared. She was pale, but occasionally her
cheeks glowed, and her eyes sparkled with some emotion, to which,
hitherto, she had been a stranger. She seemed more absorbed in
thought than usual, and her lips moved tremulously, as if she were
speaking to herself. She thought of her brother, and the thought
spread a pallor over her features. She thought of her lover, and
blushed. She ran to embrace her father, but concealed her face in
modesty, lest he might read, and be an interpreter of her heart’s
fond love, which, she knew, was as strong, and would be as lasting,
as it had been sudden. Her father repulsed her.

“Good child,” he said in mockery, “I am obliged to you for this
soft, soft couch. Do you see the thick coverings which have
oppressed these limbs! Oh! how warm they kept me! Give me your
hand, Alice, what a good and loving child to her old father. James,
too,--”

“Father,” interrupted Alice, in a quick and almost angry tone,
“you may mock me, but you shall not mock my brother. Does a young
soldier, far from the comforts and happiness of a domestic life,
and exposed to hardships, danger, and death, need to be mocked,
even by an old man? Would you mock our James, should he be brought
to a gibbet?”

“Soldier!--young soldier!” exclaimed her father in mad phrenzy, “my
James a soldier! Oh God! be merciful!” and he knelt, “Forgive all
mine unkindness to the children of my Helen! A soldier! Alice!” and
he fell down, apparently lifeless. Upon the screams of their young
mistress, the servants rushed into the room. They, by degrees,
recovered the old man to sensibility, but he continued wildly to
rave about James.

“Son, your sword is bright and gleaming. Yes, James, you wear it
proudly. Hush, come quietly at night, when Alice has retired to
rest. Enter by the pannels near to my bed. Say father, and then do
your work. Strike home, to the very heart. Oh! would it not animate
your courage to behold my blood upon that flaming weapon? James,
you strike hard. Shew me that face once more, and, dear child, I
will bless it. Wilt thou bring me the gold from my secret desk,
that I may give it thee? Ah, it matters not, you know where it is.
Hush, hush, slay Alice too, when you have broken her heart. Twine
your hand in those beautiful curls, and kiss that sweet and gentle
forehead. Listen to her, as she murmurs love to you in dreams, and
strike as she utters your name. A soldier! Oh! what a soldier can
do!”

He glanced wildly around him. He started up, and all signs of age
were, in a moment, obliterated from his face, and had left his
frame. He stamped, and loudly ordered all from the room.

“Bring Helen to me, I am an impatient bridegroom. Shall I be
prevented from kissing my beautiful wife. She is mine, and who can
keep her from me? Helen, you are pale!”--and he sunk down, dead!
Alice could not utter a tone of lamentation. She longed to weep,
that her heart might be eased of her sorrow, but she could not. How
still were the lofty features of her father! In his fall, not a
single white hair had been disarranged, and his golden-headed cane
was firmly grasped in his hand. What a melancholy sight. A dead old
man, and yet a cane to support his steps, as if he could expect
that he should once more rise, and need its assistance! Alice
gently disengaged it from his grasp, and put her own hand in its
place, and thus, for hours, sat beside her dead father.

Katharine Norton, like a sister attempted to comfort her, but
her terms of consolation frequently assumed something of her
own heart’s sorrow, as she thought of James. Yet she was too
high-minded and heroic to condemn, even in her grief, the step
which he had taken.

       *       *       *       *       *

Meanwhile the Pretender’s army was again marching through the
streets, and in front of it, was the Manchester regiment, under
the command of Colonel Townley. The Prince, on this occasion, was
attended by the renowned chieftain, Cameron of Lochiel, who was his
best and bravest supporter. His eagle eye glanced proudly upon all,
save on his master, and his full muscular form, was the pride and
boast of the clan, of which he was the head. They rode together,
between the Scottish and English troops. The inhabitants of all
the towns in Lancashire, through which the Pretender had passed,
trembled at the sight of his brave Highlanders, and it is reported,
that it was the general belief, that the bodies of infants formed
their repast after a victory. The good people of Manchester,
likewise, turned pale, at their fiery glance, and the easy and free
manner in which they at times, when any obstruction was made to
their progress, laid their hands upon the broad-sword, while they
placed their dirk between their teeth, thus awfully prepared to
resist and overcome. But their fiery spirits, were at that time,
altogether within the control of their young leader. They had not
a glance for all who crowded the streets and balconies; their eyes
when he was in view, were fixed upon the Chevalier. As they were
turning a street, a ball whizzed by his horse’s head, and an uproar
was excited. A detachment of troops, under Lochiel, who had spurred
forward instantly, as soon as the report of fire-arms was heard,
dashed down a lane, from which the smoke issued, and they returned
instantly, with the assassin. The soldiers raised a loud howl, as
if they wished to sacrifice the wretch, by tearing him to pieces.
He was brought before the Prince, whose face was a little flushed
by the incident, but who was perfectly composed.

“Death, death,” exclaimed many a voice from the streets. The ladies
had left the terraces, and had come forth among the crowd to learn
whether the Prince was at all hurt. He gallantly thanked them
for the interest they took in his welfare, and, all covered with
blushes, they again ran in. He then glanced upon the assassin, from
whose pockets a dagger and two charged pistols, had also been taken.

“Poor man,” he calmly said, “you are desirous of murdering the son
of your sovereign. Soldiers, take him to the civil authorities of
the town, and order them to keep him in custody, until we are gone.”

He then turned to the soldiers, and addressed them. “Be merciful,
as well as brave. Should I come to the throne, as the heir of my
father, I would grieve to think that blood had been too profusely
shed, to receive it. My enemies offer a large reward for my head.
But I only wish the crown, and not the head of George Guelph, the
Elector.”

The crowd, although they had been disposed to condemn the poor
wretch, now applauded the mercy which forgave him, and this,
perhaps, tended more to warm the affections of the mass of the
people to Charles Edward, than his true descent from the house of
Stuart.

The magistrates met them, and humbly offered their homage to the
Chevalier. The Colonel of the Manchester troops had been long
looked up to by the respectable community of the town, and when he
joined the rebel troops this exerted no inconsiderable influence,
even over the authorities. The principal streets were all adorned
with tokens of attachment, and from every house almost, colours
were flying, and handkerchiefs waving. Music from the town joined
the noise of the bagpipes, and the Prince was elated by what he
considered as demonstrations of loyalty to his father.

The crowd attended the Prince back to the palace, before which,
during all the day, they stood, and greeted him, as he appeared
at the window, and smiled at the Highland soldiers, who presented
their arms.

Early in the evening, Captain Dawson, accompanied by Sir Hector
McLean, was proceeding to his father’s house. He had resolved to
see him, that he might obtain his blessing, as the troops were to
set out on the following day. Dressed in the Prince’s uniform, they
received much attention as they passed on. Dawson was well known
as a young gentleman of great promise, and the reports which had,
in some circles, been spread respecting him--how that he had left
the University, where he was distinguished only for gaiety and
debauchery, were not believed--for they had been proved to have no
foundation. They reached the house, and were instantly admitted.
But the old servant, who opened the door, was unusually taciturn
and sad. Katharine Norton was sitting with Alice as they entered.
Painful was the interview. The Highland chieftain in vain attempted
to console Alice for the loss of her brother.

“Dear Alice,” asked young Dawson, “how is our father? does he know
of my conduct?”

“Yes,” was the reply.

He became pale, and dreaded lest his father should have cursed and
denounced him.

“Did he--condemn me?” and he gasped, as he spoke, “was he much
irritated?”

“Yes, James, awfully agitated.”

“There, there, Sir Hector, see my folly, my madness, my infamous
cruelty, to an aged parent. But Alice, was he long in such a state?”

“No,” and she turned a look of concealed meaning to Katharine.

“Thank God, thank God,” exclaimed Dawson, “then Alice, is he calm
now?”

“Calm,--so calm, he must be happy.”

“Then, dear sister, lead me into his presence, and give him a kiss,
to induce him to grant me a full forgiveness. Alice, you move not,
is he asleep?”

“Yes, dear James, and you would but disturb him in what seems to be
a very pleasant sleep. But he _has_ granted you his pardon; or, if
you doubt, you may come to morrow, to dinner, and then--”

“Yes, Alice; and may not Hector McLean come with me?” The last
words were spoken in a playful tone, and intended to probe, what
Alice thought was a secret. He rallied, and endeavoured to enjoy
himself, and seemed to succeed. Katharine forgave him, and agreed
to walk with him, for a few minutes, in the garden. He looked
smilingly upon Alice, and by his glance attempted to hint that he
knew very well that she did not regret to be left alone with Sir
Hector.

The next morning arose fair and bright. The birds, even in the
streets, forgot the silence of winter, and cheered the crowded
abodes of men with their songs, as they fluttered about the
leafless trees, in the squares of the town. The Manchester regiment
of volunteers was marching through the streets, to the sound of
the drum. At their head was Prince Charles, attended by Colonel
Townley. There was an unusual melancholy resting on the features
of the former, which was increased by listening to the Scottish
song now chanted in the streets, “Bonnie Prince Charlie.” His pale
hair fell carelessly over his forehead, as he frequently raised
his bonnet, to allow the sun to fall upon his face. The smoke was
not yet arising from the chimneys, so early was the hour; and he
thought how slow and idle the inhabitants were in their loyalty
towards him. The colonel halted.

“Where, noble Prince, will you review my men?”

“In the church-yard,” was the reply, “yet that is an ominous place,
and may remind them of a fate they may, by and by, share. It is
well, nevertheless, to know what our end, sooner or later, must be.
The churchyard, colonel.”

It was nigh at hand. The graves were not crowded, and the Chevalier
forbade the troops to violate the abodes of the dead, by trampling
upon them. They drew up, and went through their various exercises
in military discipline. As their swords flashed in the sun, the
Prince thought what a slight chance of fortune these would have
with the scythe of death. They were about to retire, when a small
company of mourners was seen, attending a dead relative to the
grave. They moved sadly and slowly, unlike the quick pace with
which the troops had entered. A closely veiled female was at the
head of the coffin. The Chevalier raised his cap, and desired his
men to approach, and honour these funeral rites. Young Dawson
started, as he beheld the blind Prophetess, with faded flowers in
her hands. He approached,--the veiled lady gave a shriek, and fell
down on the coffin. He sprang forward, drew aside the veil, and
beheld his sister Alice! He raised her from the coffin, and there
beheld his father’s name upon it!

She had resolved to spare him the heart-rending news until, the war
being over, he should return; and thus she, herself, had undertaken
to attend to the last rites due to the remains and the memory of
a dead father. But here, providence had determined otherwise, and
James met his father,--for the first time since his leaving home,
to ask his forgiveness,--at the grave. He had formerly entreated
Alice to kiss their father, so that he might be induced to pardon
him, but now, what token of affection could obtain for him such a
blessing! And there was the young Prophetess, with words boding
still darker ruin on all the family, and on Prince Charles.

On the first of December, the Chevalier and his troops continued
their march, and towards evening reached Macclesfield, with the
intention of proceeding to London, and thus terminating the
struggle for the crown in the capital of the kingdom. In a few
days, however, having reached Derby, where a council of war
was held, all the members, save the brave Prince himself, were
of opinion that, since, in all probability, they would soon be
surrounded by three armies, the only way of safety was to return
to Scotland. Accordingly, against the urgent remonstrances and
entreaties of Charles Edward, the retreat was commenced, and
pressed on by the forces of the Duke of Cumberland, on the
nineteenth, they reached Carlisle. All the army spent a night
there, and it was resolved that a garrison should be left,
consisting of the Manchester regiment, and a few of the Lowland
troops.

In the morning they attended the Prince to a short distance from
the town, and on an eminence, where his movements might, a little
longer, be seen,--halted to take leave of him, with tears in
their eyes. The few Highland soldiers who were to form a part
of the garrison left behind, approached, and knelt down, their
shaggy heads uncovered, heedless of the wintry blast which raged
around them, while they prayed for a blessing upon “Bonnie Prince
Charlie.” They seemed disposed to follow him back into their native
mountains and fastnesses, and they turned many a look of envy and
regret upon their more fortunate clansmen who were to guard his
person. The Chevalier dismounted, and his tall graceful form was
closely, yet respectfully, surrounded, in a moment, by the faithful
mountaineers. He smiled, as they gazed in wonder on his kilted
dress.

“My friends,” he said, “my limbs, naked though they be, can meet
the storm. Have I not, after the fatigues of battle, contended with
you in wrestling and leaping, stripped and bare? And yet,” he added
to himself, as he glanced at his small white hands, now exposed
to the cold, and his half covered thighs, “the ladies of Paris and
Edinburgh have fluttered round and embraced me.”

“Canna she!” exclaimed a tall Highlander advancing,--“canna she
shake te tirk in her ain land, for Charlie? Fare pe te use o’
keepin it be her side, and no kittlin te hainshes o’ te enemy. Nae
bluid, nae bluid on its shinin blade!”

“Here, my good fellow,” answered the Prince, “give it to me; it is
the weapon of a true Highlander, and Charles Edward will be proud
to strike with it himself. Here,” and he took the dirk, and drawing
it from his half-worn sheath, and examining some dark spots on it,
appeared thoughtful.

The Highlander rejoined, “Tat pe te bluid o’ te enemy, and might
she ask tat her Prince would not wipe it away?”

The Chevalier buckled it to his side, and this act endeared him
to the Highland soldiery still more. But the sun was now arising
on the snowy eminences where they stood. His officers reminded
Charles of the long march which they had, that day, to accomplish.
Still, he moved not; he was wrapped in thought. His back was
turned gradually upon his troops, and he made a few steps in the
direction of Carlisle, for he cursed himself inwardly for the
consent which had been wrung from him, to retreat from England. In
the enthusiasm of the moment, which was heightened by despair, he
exclaimed,--

“Why do I retreat from the throne? _There_ should have been
our march; and our faces should have answered the questions of
Cumberland. But ah! we fly from him!”

A simultaneous shout was raised throughout all the ranks, but,
in a moment, the chief of each clan looked upon his men, and the
threatening look was understood; Charles drew his sword, and turned
round, almost expecting that the troops were ready to follow him,
wherever he might lead; but their bonnets were over their brows,
and they were silent. He understood the cause. Lochiel and the
other chiefs advanced, and humbly kneeling before him, whilst they
uncovered their heads, implored him to think no more of England,
until a fitting time, when he should be able to contest, with equal
strength, in the country of the Elector. He mastered his feelings,
and with some of his usual gaiety, raising his plumed cap from his
head, waved his farewell to the garrison, assuring them that he
would send them speedy assistance. Sir Hector McLean retired for a
moment, in company with Captain Dawson, but in the midst of their
conversation, the command was given to march, and after taking the
last look of their brave companions and the Prince, the Manchester
regiment returned to Carlisle.

There the castle was soon invested by the royal army, under the
command of the Duke of Cumberland. The garrison held out for some
time, aided by the inclemency of the winter, which prevented the
duke from taking the most active measures, and cheered by hopes of
the aid which the Prince had promised. But, at length, when these
hopes were disappointed, they were obliged to surrender, upon the
hardest terms, and Colonel Townley, and his captains, were sent to
confinement, in London, there to await a trial for sedition and
treason. The miseries of a dungeon were rendered more awful by the
news of the total defeat which the Chevalier had sustained, in the
fate of the battle of Culloden. The captives had held communication
with their relatives, who were busy in making every exertion to
obtain their pardon. James Dawson heard frequently from Katharine
Norton; and although her letters seemed to be written in tolerably
good spirits, he could see the trace of many a tear. She encouraged
him to hope, and stated that a mutual friend had resolved upon
obtaining the king’s forgiveness, and that she trusted much to his
efforts. The bearer of these letters was the young Prophetess;
and the sight of the messenger, so sad and mournful, was almost
sufficient to dash and cloud the joy of the message. She answered
no questions, but every time placed her hands upon his brow, and
gave a low and suppressed shriek. Her thin and emaciated features
were never lighted up with happiness, even when she told Dawson of
the hopes of Katharine. He asked her of Alice, for, lately, she had
ceased to write to him, but the blind girl, waving her hands above
her head, exclaimed with enthusiasm,

“She is well; yes, and intercedes for her brother,--the beautiful
and happy lady!”

James understood, by her motions, that his sister had even ventured
into the presence of royalty, and there presented her petitions;
and he blessed her, and Katharine, more and more.

The day of trial arrived, and as soon as the commission entered the
court, Dawson thought that the countenances of the judges frowned
their doom, and indicated a fixed resolution, on the present
occasion, to dispense with mercy. The brutal mob without, were
shouting for justice to the king, and the country; and the crowd
within were so unfeeling as to hiss the prisoners when they were
led to the bar; but these hisses were answered by a calm look of
contempt. Colonel Townley arose, and objected to a trial brought on
by a usurper, and affirmed that it was unjust to be cited before a
court called together by George the Elector. He defended himself,
and his brave companions, but in vain; for ere he had finished
his speech, the jury retired, and soon the verdict _guilty_ was
returned. The presiding judge looked around the court, but a
thrill of horror was expressed, for sympathy had been excited by
the gallant appearance of the rebels. As he put on the black cap,
Dawson, to shew his contempt and indifference, turned his back; but
presently recollecting that there were ties to bind him to life,
he changed his posture, and attentively listened to the sentence
of death. For a moment his firmness forsook him, as he heard the
awful accompaniments of his execution. As he and his companions
were being removed, the cries without were increased, and he caught
a glimpse of a female form entering the court. That glimpse was
enough to reveal to him his own Katharine! He had not seen her
since they parted in Manchester, but oh! how sadly she was changed!
She gave a wild shriek. Dawson struck down the officer who had
charge of him, and the crowd retreated and made way for him, as he
rushed forward, clanking his chains.

“My own Katharine!” he exclaimed, as he clasped her in his arms,
“Are we not safe together?” For a moment she looked on him; but,
turning to the judges, who had left their seats, she cried out--

“Stay--hear me--as you would hope to be heard in the very moment of
death. Save my James!”

The judge placed his hand upon the black cap, and his features
did not diminish the awful effect of such a motion. He instantly
retired.

“Heed him not,” slowly muttered James, “they cannot separate us.”

“No, no,” returned Katharine, whose reason, for a time, had
departed, whilst her eyes glared wildly, “they cannot. Put these
chains around me. You could not break them, James. Put them
round my neck, just there, where your arm is, and we are secure.
Can they break them, when you could not? Now, my love, let us
go home. I told you, in my letter, that the day appointed for
your--your--ha! shall I name it,” and she even smiled as she spoke,
“your execution, would be the day for our marriage. We are bound
together. Now, dear James.”

The keepers approached, but they dared not to touch their prisoner,
as his masculine form raised itself to ward them off.

“Are these our friends, James? Welcome,--welcome all! Now for the
dance. Ah, you won my heart in yonder recess, where we rested.”

Her dream of madness passed away for the awful reality.

“You die, James!”

And she sunk her head on his breast, in silent despair. He twined
his arms round her, to support her trembling frame, and kissed her
brow, which, although pale, quivered with intense emotion, and the
large blue veins swelled on its surface.

“A few days,” he said, “and your lover is no more.”

The keepers took advantage of his posture and seized him, he
was torn from Katharine, who fell on the floor. She awoke to
conciousness, after a long fit of delirium, but she spoke not. She
answered not the many kind questions, which some of the spectators
put. She accepted not the invitations which they offered, to
accompany her home. She looked wildly around. She started back
as her eyes fell upon the bench, where the sentence had been
pronounced, and where still lay the black cap. But the coachman,
who, half-an-hour before, had set her down, at some distance, now
appeared and supported her to her carriage. Her kind aunt, when she
reached home, watched by her, and consoled her with the thought
that the friend who had gone to sue for Dawson’s pardon, might in
the end prove successful. She gently chided her for having gone to
the court, without her.

The night before the fatal morning was beautiful, even in the
cell, and on its grated window, a bird had for a moment alighted,
like a messenger of hope. Dawson paced up and down, absorbed in
gloomy reflections. He thought of Katharine, and then of Alice.
Henceforth they were to be friendless and alone. He knelt down in
anguish, and prayed for them fervently, as the two innocent and
beautiful sisters. He arose, and placed his hand without the bars,
and then, fanned his forehead. Once he had imagined that it was
glorious to die as a martyr, for his prince, before all the world;
but now, the scene when real, and at hand, had gradually narrowed
and narrowed, until in dying, he felt that, save two, he had no
one to sympathise with his fate. His fellow prisoners spoke to
him, through small apertures in their separate cells; but he was
meloncholy and alone. He heard footsteps approaching, and the heavy
iron door turned slowly upon its hinges. A gentleman was admitted.

“Oh! Dawson,--no hope, no hope,--art thou prepared?”

The prisoner looked anxiously upon him who spoke, but as it was
twilight, he could not distinguish the features, or the person. He
was dressed in black. Dawson started up, and dragged him to the
window. He gazed upon Hector McLean!

“My friend!--and is it even so? Your dress is proscribed; no more
that of a chieftain.”

“Speak not of me, speak of yourself. It is true I am in mourning
weeds, and now no clan can raise the wail of their chieftain.”

“How is Alice?” quickly exclaimed Dawson, but he received no
answer. “What! a lover, and knows not of his fair mistress; cannot
speak of her, to her brother! Is she well, Sir Hector?”

“Hush, rave not;--she is in heaven! and these are weeds for my
wife!”

The deep stupor and silence of grief was over Dawson’s soul.

“Brother,” said Sir Hector, “my only brother, but whom I must lose
on the morrow, spend not the time thus. Prepare, prepare for death!
It is different from the chance of war, and although we have left
the ball for the deadly field, now let this cell be the auditory
and penitentiary of heaven!”

“But tell me,” exclaimed Dawson, “tell me how Alice died. Yes, she
is in heaven. A week ago, I dreamt that angel feet passed rapidly
along my cell, and I knew that they were Alice’s. Where, and how
did she die?”

“I must be brief; your fate and welfare demand every moment for
other subjects. During the interval after our retreat to Scotland,
when hostilities were ceased, I came over to England, and Alice
became my wife. I took her to a quiet home, removed from the seat
of war, where an aged mother cherished her new daughter. Oh,
how anxious we were, and grieved, concerning you. She wrote to
Katharine Norton, and enclosed letters for you. Meanwhile, the
royal forces drew near the Prince, and I joined him, at the head of
my clan, on the Heath of Culloden. Had that battle been gained, you
would have been free; and believe me, Dawson, that many a stroke
given by me, was for you. But it was lost. I fled to Alice. The
news--but I cannot wring my heart by relating my woes--overpowered
her. In these arms she died, my fair Alice, speaking to the last,
of her brother, her husband, and our unborn babe! I came to London,
was received kindly by Katharine Norton and her aunt, and have been
exerting myself ever since, to obtain your pardon,--but in vain.
I had rendered some important services to one of the Elector’s
ministers, but his private feelings are subdued by other motives.”

“Bless you! Heaven bless you for your efforts, but more as the
husband of my Alice. But--Katharine, how does she endure my
approaching execution?”

“She hopes that your pardon will arrive, and she has arranged every
thing for her marriage, on the morrow, when you are set at liberty.
Oh! how must I break the awful truth to her! When I left her an
hour ago, she was singing some of your verses. Her mind seems
to have lost some of its power, for she wandered out alone this
afternoon, to the Common, where, on the morrow, you must die, and
gathered some of the simple daisies, to deck her hair. She protests
that these will be all that her dear James shall know of Kennington
Common!”

Sir Hector remained an hour with him, and took his last farewell!

The morning came, after a sleepless, restless night. Dawson attired
himself in full uniform, even to the Highland bonnet. At an early
hour the officers entered, and led him, along with eight of his
companions, down to the court yard of the prison. All who were to
suffer, greeted each other kindly, but no one had need to cheer
each other, and inspire them with firmness. For themselves, they
were indifferent to their doom, and were prepared to meet it with
the conciousness of what they considered innocence in a good cause;
but they had relatives, and this clouded their minds. Still they
appeared bold and undaunted.

“Townley,” said one to the Colonel, “you were always,--forgive me
for the hint,--fond of dressing your head, when it was about to pop
in at the door of a ball room, to be inspected by the ladies. Now
that it is to be seen more conspicuously, will you not bestow more
attention? There, upon mine honour, that fine curl has left its
sweep.”

After finishing breakfast, their chains were struck off, and their
arms pinioned.

“Stay,” exclaimed one, “give me the freedom of my hands, to
arrange my neckcloth, that should the Hanoverian Elector himself
be present, I may render the man all possible honours. Help me to
laugh Dawson. Captain, is my neckcloth nice? See,--but here is the
groom of my bedchamber, the master of my wardrobe, he will assist
me.”

The Executioner now appeared, with the halters carried behind him.
He was dressed in white, and his black and hideous face, although
of a cadaverous hue, was a striking contrast. Although Dawson
scorned the fear of death, yet life was dear to him for Katharine,
and a shudder passed over his frame, as the executioner approached
him.

“Young gentleman,” said the grim official, “your neck is the first
for the halter. But the first shall be last, in order that the
Scriptures may be fulfilled, and your heart shall be the last in
being thrown into the flames. Ha! ha!” and he laughed at the awful
blasphemy. With the greatest coolness and composure he removed the
scarf from Dawson’s neck, and was substituting the rope, when he
observed the golden chain, to which was attached the portrait of
Katharine Norton. He raised it.

“Young sir,” said he, as he attempted to smile, “shall I remove the
miniature? Pretty, pretty,--the lady smiles so beautifully upon the
rope!”

“Touch it not, wretch,” thundered forth Dawson, in tones which
made the barbarian tremble, and interrupted him in his chuckle.
“Never,” he added, “shall the resemblance of her whom I love, be
exposed to a profane gaze.”

“Nay,” returned the executioner, “you have no command over it,
young rebel. Your clothes are my property, as soon as I perform my
kind offices to that carcase, and, of course, the miniature amongst
the rest.”

“Shall it!” shouted Dawson in a rage. “Never. Officer, remove it
from my neck, and place it on the floor.” His request was granted,
and he ground it to atoms beneath his tread.

The prisoners were then brought out, and placed on hurdles,
surrounded by a body of foot guards. There, also, was the
executioner, with a naked scimitar. The “dead march” was now played
by the military, and its music was sad and slow, unlike that which
had roused the courage of the rebels when they assembled under the
standard of the Chevalier. Gradually it swelled, until, towards the
conclusion, it died quietly away, and expressed the true condition
of the prisoners, “who were wearing away to the land of the leal.”
Some of them gaily beat time with their feet, but others would not
counterfeit mirth, although they needed not to counterfeit courage,
for they all possessed it.

When they arrived at Kennington Common, they beheld a dense crowd,
for the London mob had assembled, to feast on the horrid spectacle
of hanging, embowelling, burning, and beheading. But as the hurdles
passed them, they were quiet, and some words, as well as many
looks, of commiseration greeted the prisoners. A large pile of
faggots was heaped up close to the gallows, and as they left the
hurdles, and entered the cart from which they were to be turned
off, they were set fire to, and threw a fitful glare over the faces
Of the guards around, as well as those of the prisoners. Colonel
Townley turned to the magistrates, who stood on a small platform,
and asked whether a clergyman had been brought to attend to them.
On being answered in the negative, he exclaimed,--

“What mercy is shown to us! You are generous enemies! Morgan, my
good friend, read us appropriate prayers, before we suffer for King
James. Let us die, trusting in God our Saviour. It is well that I
reminded you to bring your book.”

His fellow-sufferer began to read in a solemn manner, kneeling, and
with his head uncovered. Not a whisper was heard among the crowd,
but they stood silent, as if hushed by the true spirit of devotion,
and as if the angels, whom the prisoners invoked to surround them
with their fiery cars, would have been frightened away by the
noise and commotion. They were also in the suspense of expectation,
when these religious services should be ended, and the dread signal
given. Then a carriage was seen rapidly approaching.

“A pardon! a pardon!” shouted the mob, as they made way, at first
sight. The prisoners’ devotions were interrupted. For a moment
they gazed anxiously, but, as the carriage took its station behind
the dense masses of people, their hopes fell, and once more they
engaged in their religious exercises, but with paler countenances,
and the reader’s voice, at first, was observed to tremble. Dawson
looked up. From the window of the carriage he saw Sir Hector
gazing, and waving his farewell; and beside him was his own
Katharine! A violent shuddering seized him, but, at that moment,
Morgan was repeating the words, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit,”
and now he felt that he had, for ever, done with earthly things.
The signal was given by a loud shout, raised by the prisoners, “God
save King James,” and the cart was driven from beneath them!

All the other horrible accompaniments were gone through, and the
executioner, on throwing the heart of Dawson into the flames,
exclaimed, “Long live King George!”

The carriage was that of Katharine Norton, and thus, attended
by her aunt and McLean,--who had failed in all their attempts
to dissuade her from witnessing such a scene,--she gazed on
her lover’s tortures to the last. She had seen him suspended,
then stripped, in order that he might be embowelled; and as the
executioner announced that he had performed his office, she clasped
her hands together, and meekly laying her head on the bosom of her
aunt, said,

“Dear James, I follow thee.”

“Not yet, my Katharine, not yet. Put your throbbing heart to mine,
love.”

Throbbing heart! Alas, it throbbed no more! Katharine Norton was
dead! Hector McLean took one hand, to console her, and, as the
other was placed upon the window of the carriage, it was seized by
the blind Prophetess, who now appeared, strangely and unexpectedly,
as before.

“Dead! dead!” she exclaimed.

At that moment the shouts of the mob frightened the horses, who
dashed furiously away; and the young Prophetess was left a mangled
corpse! Her life was all a mystery--her power of knowing the
future, and her sudden appearance!



THE SPECTRE COACH OF LIVERPOOL.


In one of the squares at the extremity of Liverpool, some sixty
years ago, there resided a young orphan, called Elizabeth
Woodville. She had no relations surviving; her parents had long
been dead, and an only brother, a few weeks previous, had, by
youthful excesses, been brought to an untimely end. The latter
event preyed upon her spirits and constitution, not only from
the mere fact itself of his death, but also from the horrible
circumstances connected with it. He had been conveyed home a
corpse, after his nightly revel; and at the moment when Elizabeth
was dreaming of her parents, in the far off happy land, she was
awoke to listen to the awful tidings, and view their confirmation
in the ghastly features of one who, whatever, and how many his
faults and crimes were, had always loved her. She seemed now to
be alone in the world, with no acquaintances save the flowers
which her fair hands fostered every morning, and the toys of her
brother, when a boy, which were all collected and arranged before
her. There was the pencil, with which he and Arthur Govenloch
alternately sketched her own features, in puerile art; and along
with it were the silken cords which bound her to a seat, when she
was refractory. That seat was still there, with the green faded
cushion, and in it, for hours, she often sat, held by the illusions
of memory. His fishing rod and basket kept their old places, fixed
to the ceiling. Even the marbles of the boy had been preserved, and
she thought of their sports in the garden, and remembered a long
and successful chase, through amidst the trees and over the grass
plot, into the arbour, which Arthur, followed by her brother, had
after her, when she stole away their marbles. His Holy Bible, too,
with the three names inscribed on the fly leaf, lay with its gilt
edges; and she pictured once more to her fancy, the beautiful and
happy sabbath eves, in summer, out on the flowery lawn, when their
young minds drank in the holy words of peace and life. She fondly
hoped that the solemn, yet sweet truths of mercy therein contained,
would have been so strongly impressed upon her brother’s heart,
that all the infidel thoughts which had latterly sprung up, and
effected his temporal ruin, must have failed to uproot them. It
had never been conned by them as a task book, but had always been
opened by them as a holy romance of truth from heaven, pointing
to Eden as the cradle, and the skies as the home, of our race;
with the lovely and the wise Jesus as the hero of every scene,
reflected above or below. Her whole heart was among these objects
of remembrance, and her happiness was in the past. She played
delightfully, and her sweet voice accompanied the harp, but only
the songs and hymns which had pleased her brother, and his friend.
She often thought of that friend. There was only one of the dead
who engrossed all her thoughts, and that one was her brother, even
to the entire exclusion of her parents; and there was only one of
the living, and he was Arthur Govenloch. Since boyhood he had been
in a foreign country, but he had never gone from the affections of
Elizabeth Woodville.

It was May day, towards sunset, as she took her seat on the
terrace. She was engaged in working a piece of embroidery,--a
history of the family, and of her childhood; and the last rays fell
sweetly upon the names of those she loved. An unusual buoyancy
had been imparted to her spirits, and she leaned over to view the
sports of children, as crowned with the first flowers of summer,
they gaily and enthusiastically tripped about the door. They all
departed, save one beautiful boy, who sat down beside an old
statue, on the grass plot, and by turns, for very happiness, sung,
clapped his hands, and shouted. He started as he heard footsteps
near, and seeing Elizabeth, ran up the outer flight of stairs,
leading to the terrace. She came down to meet him, when a stranger
appeared. He suddenly halted, and became deadly pale. He turned
round, for a moment, to conceal his agitation, when he heard a
half-suppressed shriek.

“Arthur Govenloch!”

Although many, many years had elapsed, and foreign climes had
embrowned his features, Elizabeth recognized him. She had loved
the boy, and when he was absent her imagination had pictured the
man, and there stood the living resemblance, unchanged. On hearing
his own name pronounced, he rushed forward. There was a beautiful
lady in mourning. Could it be his own Elizabeth? There was the same
slight figure, which he had so often clasped, as a boyish dream,
and the deep light of her soft blue eyes, which he had so often
braved for hours, when lying on the grass, and could he forget it?

“My own Elizabeth!” he exclaimed, “in mourning? But hast thou been
faithful and true, as I have been? There, there, that boy again.--A
shudder passed over me, as I first beheld him here. Art thou the
wife of another? That boy,”--

“Arthur, I know him not, he is the child of a neighbour. Oh! hast
thou come at last! Arthur, I am alone. My brother is--”

“Hush, dearest, _now_ thou art not alone. But let us enter the
house, where I have been so happy, and tell me all.”

Their love had been preserved through many years. It had commenced
early, and was hallowed by memory, as well as brightened by hope.
Innocence had lighted it, and the daring boy, and the gentle
girl, would leave their task to romp with each other, but not for
romping’s sake; for when the sport was ended, then came the soft
look, the soft touch, and the soft confession. Boys and girls are
the quickest, the warmest, the holiest, and the most successful
lovers. The God of love plays best with children; and,--mischievous
urchin--when the little scholars are rambling about, or seated,
teaching each other their tasks, taking hold of fingers, to
point out letters, or words, figures, or sums, then he lets fly
the arrow, touching their young and pure blood. Such lovers had
Elizabeth Woodville and Arthur Govenloch been, and their affection
was preserved, warm and strong, until the present. Both wept
over the death of their old companion, and all his books were,
once more, affectionately handled and looked at. They walked out
together upon the terrace, and brightly did the stars shine upon
them, like the glorious and happy types of that future, concerning
which they spoke. Happy were they now in each other, and long ere
Arthur left her, Elizabeth’s face was beautiful with smiles. She
accompanied him to the garden gate, leaning confidingly upon his
arm.

“Elizabeth--I must introduce the custom of the country which I have
left; and the square is so retired, and the nights, of late, have
been so beautiful, that I must come and serenade you beneath your
window. But arise not; only for a moment awake to listen to my
lute, and then, dearest, dream of me.”

He looked upon her, and saw that she was pale. Her slight frame
trembled. He pressed his hand against her heart, and it beat
violently.

“Nay, Arthur, do not.”

“I will not disturb your rest. No, Elizabeth; but the night is so
beautiful, that I cannot refrain from coming to the house where my
own love dwells, and serenading, in company with the angels, the
abode of the beautiful Orphan. You know that I won’t serenade you,
when you are my dear little wife. Henry, your brother, will thank
and bless me for coming.”

She became still paler, and leaned for support on the gate.

“You are not well. Walk back to the house. Come. Now, farewell
dearest,” and he fondly embraced her. Her brow was cold as he
kissed it, and she softly said,--

“Oh! Arthur, come not to night.”

But he thought that, although he might not serenade her, there
could be no harm in passing, at the hour of midnight, and looking
at the house, as it lay in the pale moonshine. For, be it observed,
that lovers are not so very unreasonable as some represent; and the
mere sight of the house where the adored one lives, can satisfy
them.

A little before midnight, Arthur was once more in the street, on
his way to the abode of his mistress. All was silent and lonely.
The glare of lamps was feeble and sickly, mingling with, while
yet distinguishable from, the light of the moon. The breezes
blew gently, and carried perfumes, as tranquilizing as they were
sweet. Few persons were abroad: and save the light dress of
the unfortunate and the guilty, revealing itself occasionally,
at a corner of the street, as he passed, and the song of the
bachanalian, coming from cellars, and greeting him, Arthur found
nothing to turn his attention from the thoughts and love which he
cherished to the fair Orphan. All boyish feelings, save one, had
been forgotten, and, as he trod his native town, he felt that in it
he was a stranger. But the brother shared his thoughts, as well as
the sister, and he wished that he had enquired of Elizabeth where
his grave was, that even there he might pay an early visit, after
his return, to the friend and companion of his boyhood. He reached
the lane which opened into the square. It was a dark, close, and
filthy way. Trees were on every side, but the leaves appeared to
be beds of worms and reptiles, and a sharp breeze coming from the
harbour, blew some of them against Arthur’s cheek, and they were
damp and polluting to the touch.

Suddenly he heard shouts of revelry behind, and the sound of a
coach starting. The whip was loudly urging on the steeds, and
their hoofs clattered fast and furious. He looked back, and to his
astonishment and terror, saw nothing. Still the noise came near and
nearer, and at length he distinctly heard a coach dash past him.
At that moment a loud shout was heard, and the whip was cracked
close to his ears. The blood curdled within him. He could not be
deceived. He ran on, and the nearer he came, he heard the rolling
of the wheels, the pawing and breathing of the horses, the cracking
of the whip, and even the oaths and tones of those who sat in it,
with greater assurance. He seemed close upon it, when all at once
it stopped, and then he found himself at the house of Elizabeth
Woodville, and there, horrible to think, the Spectre Coach was
waiting, unseen! He moved backwards and forwards, and fancied that
he heard whispers near the place, and occasionally the stroke of a
hoof, on the flinty road. A flavour of wine and tobacco was in the
air around. In a little, the door of the house was half opened:
a light and merry step was on the pavement, and instantly a loud
holloo, in the tones of one, quite familiar to his ear, arose, and
once more the coach dashed away. Arthur stood motionless, what
could this awful prodigy mean? He looked at the door, and there
stood Elizabeth! He rushed forward. Her eyes fell upon his form,
enveloped in a cloak, and shrieking, she fell. He raised her from
the earth, bleeding and senseless. He shouted for the domestics,
and committed her to their care. He entered another room. In a
short time, one of them returned, and announced that her mistress
had recovered, and was desirous of speaking with him.

“My young lady,” she added “every night watches for that coach.
It comes for her brother regularly, as usual. Oh! Sir, would you
persuade her to retire before the hour? It renews her grief.”

Arthur started at these words: and truths of an awful nature
flashed across his mind. But he heard Elizabeth’s voice, and he
hurried into her apartment. She sat, reclining on a sofa; her
countenance was pale; her eyes bright, but an expression of horror
and wildness in them.

“Did you not, Arthur,” she exclaimed, as she wrung her hands, and
with them covered her face, “did you not hear Henry’s voice, so
free and merry. What an awful apparition of his last ghost! I have
gazed for months, and hoped that I would see him, but in vain. The
tale is one of horror, and one which I have realized.”

She paused, and leaving her seat, went to the window, and listened
eagerly.

“It comes not yet--no--it is not the appointed time, and I may
proceed with the relation. But for God’s sake, Arthur, if you hear
a noise, if you hear the rolling of the coach, interrupt me not! I
must answer his call. Nay, rise not. I am calm, dear Arthur. You
knew my brother Henry--None could be more innocent and happy. But
after you left us, he listened to wicked men, and imbibed their
poisonous doctrines, and Henry Woodville, the beautiful and the
good, became a dark infidel! In place of the Holy book, from which
you read to us--was the accursed text book of the wretch, Paine.
You knew that when he read, he placed a chair for me, and with his
cheek against mine, invited me, laughingly, to examine whether he
read correctly. One evening, out on the terrace,--thus we sat
down to read, and mine eyes fell upon the words before he uttered
them; “There is no God, and christianity is all priests’ fables.”
I warmly told him to throw away such blasphemy. He laughed, and
added that it was his bible, and that he would sell the old one for
a penny! From step to step he went on, and became a drunkard and
a debauchee. He was so entangled with companions, that he would
not abandon their society. Still he loved me, wept as I wept, and
said that he was sorry for his conduct, and then laughed like a
fiend. Every night his associates came, in a coach, and took him
away to their foul orgies. In the outskirts of the town,--for,
Arthur, I have followed, though concealed--they lighted a fire,
burned the Bible, and then drove to the haunts of depravity.
Henry’s handsome form became emaciated, and almost loathsome; but
I embraced him more fondly than ever. His full bright eyes were
sunk and bloodshot. One night, he promised to stay with me at home,
and all my hopes revived. What happy hours we spent! He led me to
my apartment, and kissed me. He even implored God’s blessing upon
me. I saw him kneel before his Maker. I heard him plead love for
his sister, aye, and forgiveness for himself. I sank to sleep,
overpowered with a delirium of joy! And yet, Arthur, he deceived
me. He joined his companions, and in the coach, they repaired to a
vale, and there began to make a sacrament to the devil! Prayers and
praises to him were made in the midst of mirth and wine; and they
literally took the cup of damnation in their hands, and quaffed
it off. They invoked the enemy. The inhabitants of the suburbs
were aroused from their repose by awful noises. They went to the
place whence they seemed to proceed, and my brother, and two of
his associates, were found dead, and horribly mangled. A black
form was said to hover near them. What a corpse Henry was! And
yet, I watched every minute beside it, kissed the hideous lips,
until he was taken to the grave. Every night that coach comes for
him as usual. It is a Phantom Coach. On a beautiful night, it has
the sound of a light coach; and on a stormy one, that of a heavy
coach. The first night after his funeral, it came. I started up,
thinking that his associates had resolved to insult me. I rushed to
the window, but saw nothing. It tarried the usual time, and then
dashed away. I heard my brother’s voice distinctly! I stood for
hours, unable to move,--when it was heard returning. It halted, the
door opened, and a light step mounted the staircase, close by this
window, and struck against Henry’s door. In mad phrenzy I followed,
but saw nothing! All his associates have died; still, the Phantom
Coach calls regularly upon them, and takes them to their place of
rendezvous!”

She again arose, and went to the window.

The horrible tale had fallen like a nightmare upon the energies
and happiness of Arthur Govenloch. He sat motionless;--when his
mistress returned, and resumed the subject.

“One night--this is the anniversary of it, the first of May,--he
went out early, and told me to admit him when he knocked, without
delay. Long I watched. Mine eyes, or the bright moon, became pale;
and, at last, I fell asleep. In the midst of happy dreams I was
awoke by a loud knocking at the door. I rushed to the staircase,
and, in my hurry, fell down. I could scarcely arise to open the
door, but my love prevailed, and as Henry entered, he struck me!
yes, struck his sister! cursed my delay, and threatened worse
punishment for the next offence. This is the night when I should
have been asked to watch for and admit him, and those awful words
follow me! I knew that he afterwards wept over his cruelty--but
these words!”

In vain did Arthur attempt to turn away her thoughts from the
subject, and when he failed, he requested permission to bear her
company until the morning. Often did she express a wish that she
could only see the coach and her brother.

“I hear his voice, and sometimes it sounds like the tones of his
boyhood, happy and free; and yet, I cannot see him!”

The night was far advanced, and they went to the window. The sky
was dark and clouded. The moon could no longer be seen.

“Arthur!” Elizabeth exclaimed in a voice of terror, “I hear the
coach; it dashes furiously along. Nay, do not hold me.”

The noise was distinctly heard;--it became loud and louder. Henry’s
voice was above all, laughing, shouting, cursing. It halted. A
knocking was instantly made at the house door.

“It is my brother; I cannot delay. Arthur, I must go alone. I will
speedily return to you. But I must admit Henry. Will he give me
worse than before?”

She rushed out of the door as the knocking was redoubled. The door
opened, and the next moment a step was mounting the stairs. Arthur
tarried for a time; still, Elizabeth came not. He snatched a light,
and when he reached the door, there she was lying with her head on
the pavement,--dead! dead!

The Spectre Coach of the Infidels, at the hour of midnight,
stopping at their old abodes, is said still to be heard. Coachmen
have anxiously looked before them, expecting to come into collision
with it. Dogs commence to howl, and yet are frightened; and many a
traveller has heard, but none ever seen “the Spectre Coach.”



THE CROSS AND LADY MABEL.

[Illustration]

THE CHRONICLER, IN THE FOLLOWING LEGEND, ADHERES TO THE STATEMENTS
OF THE GENEALOGICAL ROLL OF THE BRADSHAIGH FAMILY, IN REFERENCE TO
THE KNIGHTLY HERO’S EXPEDITION TO THE HOLY LAND.


The banner was waving over the goodly mansion of Haigh Hall, on the
twenty-sixth anniversary of Sir William Bradshaigh’s birth, and all
the retainers, from the scullion to the seneschal were boisterously
enjoying themselves, in a hearty eating, drinking, and laughing. On
every eminence in view, small flags had been placed, and some of
these sported their colours on the loftiest trees, in the adjoining
woods. But, although much good cheer had been placed near these,
to attract a small company, they were left solitary, as tokens to
strangers, for all the knight’s men were assembled at the porch of
the Hall, quaffing the foaming goblet to his honour and prosperity,
and to his success in his intended expedition as a Crusader. With
earliest morn the appropriate demonstrations had commenced, but
they became more ardent and joyous towards sunset. A chair was then
placed on the threshold, for the minstrel whose chivalrous strains
were to be heard by all, in praise of his noble master. One burst
of merry applause greeted him, as the aged man took his seat, and
as he gently touched the strings to Sir William’s glory, within,
the fair bosom of Lady Mabel, heaved with answering sympathy. She
embraced her children, and looking upwards, prayed that they might
be good, and brave as their father; and when Sir William joined
her, she added, as handsome and beautiful.

Sir William Bradshaigh, in person, enjoyed the aristocracy of
nature, as well as of birth. His stature was not tall, neither was
his frame muscular; yet not a limb, not a feature, seemed out of
keeping with the impress of his mind. His was the true nobility
of face and form, and as he appeared sheathed in armour, with the
cross embroidered on the scarf over his breast, he brought along
with him ideas of the mournful and weeping spirit of Palestine,
trusting to his arm for relief, from the scourge and the tread of
the daring Infidel. On gazing at some persons, you feel convinced
that they are entirely fitted by nature for that which has given
them fame. The very hands, as well as the features, seem to be
stamped with it, and the soul, visibly looks through every part
and limb. Thus was it with Sir William. You could not doubt, on
beholding his form, that he was a knight of unequalled bravery
and skill, although young and slender. The small white hands were
locked in those of his beautiful Mabel, but they seemed as well
fitted for grasping the sword.

Well might Lady Mabel be his match. The faultless symmetry of her
majestic person, added to her raven tresses, and brightly glowing
eye, were for the wife, a perfect counterpart to the husband.
A meek beauty rested upon her countenance, which every thought
and feeling, gently disturbed. She was naturally pale, and this
circumstance tended to make her features better interpreters of
her mind; for colour, although it be the most pure and delicate,
frequently hides under its roses the play and change of the
passions. She was now emerging from the sprightliness of the
maiden, into the holy serenity of the matron; and as the mother of
his babes, the knight loved her more than as his young mistress.
Her locks were braided simply over her brow.

“My own Mabel,” said the knight, “where are thy jewels? Shame on
their beauties that they dread a comparison with the light of those
eyes!”

“Sir William,” answered the lady with a sigh, “would you have a
widow deck herself with the mimicry of gladness?”

“Yes, love, in order that she may wile another to take away the
dark veil of her loneliness.”

“Another,” shrieked Mabel faintly. “Cruel.”

“Nay,” returned Sir William, “you are not yet a widow;--you are my
wife. Nor will I doubt your constancy when I am gone to the wars.
These” embracing his children as he spoke, “are the pledges of your
faith. But, Mabel, where are the jewels for your forehead? ’Tis
meet that for the banquet you appear among the other ladies as the
most beautiful.”

“Give my brow a few kisses,” replied his lady, as she threw her
arms around his neck, “these Sir William, are my jewels.”

“But for thine absence, love, I would have been completely happy
in Palestine, with all the dreams of its former loveliness and
greatness haunting me, beside its still fountains and on its
heavenly hills. Could the breezes of the Holy Land but fan my
Mabel’s cheek as they will do mine, there I could die. But we must
go forth, and greet our trusty retainers. Ho! hither, page, and
lead my children!”

Lady Mabel took her husband’s arm, and the page followed with the
children. She appeared fonder than ever, and frequently gazed on
the Cross which Sir William wore, with something of pride, but more
of sorrow; and at this, many of the retainers were for a moment
silent, and passed a rough hand across their eyes, to wipe away the
tears which had gathered there. But the minstrel’s lay became loud
and thrilling, and they rushed forward, with less respect than
otherwise, and took their master by the hand. He warmly responded
to this expression of their attachment. He passed them and wandered
on to the highest peak on the range of elevated ground adjoining.
Nature, too, kept her holiday, and revelled in smiles. She was
attired in her richest dress of summer. Her music, filling the
air, was sweet, and echoed from her very throne, amidst the depths
of the grove and vale; and her breath was bland. Before them, and
around them were deep glens, and towering mountains in miniature.
Ay, there seemed to be the miniature of the world itself; for the
prospect of many counties was stretched out, and the far off sea,
with its blue waves, leaping to the sun.

But night’s curtain fell over the scene, and to it Sir William
then pronounced his farewell, and to ease his heart lifted up his
youngest child in his arms, and fondled him playfully.

All was song and mirth in the evening banquet. The minstrel assayed
his art, and ladies fair crowded around him, whilst lords gazed
upon their wine-cups unemptied, as they listened to his strains.
He played of the dark eyes, gazing in the pale light of the moon
at the lattice, for the expected lover. But as he met the downcast
and pensive eye of Lady Mabel, he changed his notes, and the harp
tuned the following ditty to her praise.

    Age, quit the strings: a vesper song--all sweet,
      Not for the dance, let moonlight’s spirits wake,
    With wild, yet modest touch, from snowy feet,
      As they fly o’er, with music-shells the lake
        Has coloured and attuned, to Mabel fair,
        Sounding of happiness beyond all care--
          And let the song be given,
          To pure Reserve--the child of heaven.

      In the gay hall of dazzling light,
        There is a seat apart from all;
      Where radiance, soothing, yet not bright,
        And music soft, so gently fall;--
      It is the calm recess:--no nerve
        Is needed for the light, and sound;
      Such is to love--the heart’s reserve,
        Where truth and peace are ever found.

      Reserve is the heart’s own home,
        Where music oft for One has swelled,
      Where the heaving bosom breathes “come,”
        Although the fair hand was with-held
      From a stranger: it is the veil
        Over Love’s holy temple, I wist,
      Through which no bright eyes look a Hail
        To any save to the high-priest!

      It gives a dole to the pilgrim lone,
        And to him a threshold seat;
      It turns an ear to his troubled moan,
        And stoops to bathe his aching feet!
      But its sanctuary is for one,
        For one! Sir William of Haigh Hall,
      And Mabel there leads you alone!
        Gentles, God’s blessing on you all.

Mabel arose from her seat, and with her own hands poured forth a
cup of the rosy wine, and placed it in the hands of the minstrel,
as his grateful reward. Meanwhile, the proud dame, Sir William’s
mother, had entered. She motioned him out of the room. He followed
her into the large winding gallery. The window at the eastern
extremity, seemed of the moonshine, and the rays mingled with
the dim light of the tapers. There were all the portraits of his
ancestors, and their faces were turned upon their youthful heir.

“My son,” said the dame, “thou hast now to leave a mother, a wife,
and a home, for the Holy Land. Gaze upon these faces of your race,
whilst I recount the deeds for which they have been distinguished.
Catch courage, from the tale, and let a mother rejoice in her boy.”

“Mother,” the knight replied, “I am my father’s son, and I wear my
father’s sword; but more, I am Sir William Bradshaigh! I need not
to seek, at present, courage from the valour of my forefathers. I
have long known their faces, and can sum up their achievements. I
have played here in boyhood, but, in their hallowed presence, never
could I play with any thing save a sword. From all their stern
array of features, I have turned to look upon that sweet lady, who,
so I have heard the worthy friar say, was not one of our race.”

“My son, wouldst thou know her history? But see here, Mabel has
followed thee. God bless ye both, my children.”

“Sir William, why hast thou uncourteously left the feast and me?”
asked Mabel, in a fond and chiding tone.

“Hush, Mabel, our mother is to rehearse the fate of the beautiful
girl.”

He led them to the middle of the gallery, and pointed to the
portrait of a young female. There was nothing but enthusiastic
beauty and love, beaming on her countenance, and her bosom was
exposed, after the fashion of the times. Her brow was noble and
open, and although the ringlets were thrown back all around, there
was nothing stern; all was so gentle and sweet. Her lips seemed
to open a promised heaven, and the moonbeams flickered around and
gleamed upon them like the fiery cherubim at the gates of Paradise,
to guard the sweet fruit of the knowledge of good and love. There
was a mingled expression of archness and simplicity, and the bright
head seemed to toss itself in coquetry, and deny what the loving
eyes confessed. A light drapery covered the arms, to the elbow, and
the under part was naked, whilst the pretty fingers might have been
thought to be playing with the rays, which danced upon the canvass.
Oh! Beauty! how powerful are thy charms, even by the painter’s art!
Whilst living in thyself, thou commandest the worship of genius,
wisdom, and valour, and all their trophies are laid at thy feet.
Their hand is placed upon the sounding harp, their hand turns over
the records of old sages, their hand is died in blood, only to win
a smile from thee! The Angel of death, is heaven’s painter of thee,
and he sketches thine undecaying form, in the light of our dreams.
And even in the illusion of a noble art, for ages thou receivest
homage, as free from hypocrisy, as from sinister motives, and in
the sigh and the tear, accompanying our glance, thy memory speaks
and moves!

Sir William and his lady, could have knelt and prayed for happiness
on the fate of that young female, as if it were yet in the future.
Their mother, after a short pause, seated herself opposite, and
began the tale.

‘When the lion-hearted Richard of England went to the Holy Land,
not a braver and more handsome knight was in his train, than the
youthful De Norris, your grandsire, Mabel. He was accomplished
in all the arts of peace and war. His trophy of the one, is that
Paynim standard, which hangs on the wall in decayed tatters; and of
the other, the love and the heart of that beautiful girl, Magdalene
Montfort, his young cousin.

‘Her residence, since her orphan childhood, had been the hall, and
William De Norris, her sole companion. Often have they wandered
together in this gallery, by moonlight, and the ghosts of the
warriors of her race, could not frighten their young love.’

“Mabel,” softly whispered Sir William Bradshaigh to his lady, “is
not this our own tale?”

The dame proceeded, ‘He took her to the neighbouring woods, and
there they passed whole days--he the shepherd, and she the rustic
maid. She often sat on his knee, while he combed her long golden
locks. But the crusade inspired in De Norris’s mind, thoughts and
desires for glory. He dreamt of nothing but the lakes and holy
mountains of Palestine, where the daring Richard should pitch his
camp, afterwards to become his court. The cross was ever before
him, and a warrior’s arms were glorious to behold, dipped in the
Saviour’s blood, and consecrated to his cause. Was the licentious
prophet to hold the inheritance of the meek and lowly Jesus? In
vain did Magdalene weep, and by tears and caresses, entreat her
William to stay in his father’s halls. He vowed that the cross must
seal their marriage, and that he would be faithful to his love.
Yet, proud was she, as the morn of parting came, and De Norris
mounted his fiery charger. He was so beautiful and gallant! He had
pronounced the tender farewell, as the trumpets sounded, and his
followers rallied around him. But a sudden thought brightened over
his features, and he spurred back to Magdalene, and sprang from
his steed.

‘“My own Magdalene, give me thy portrait that hangs in my
apartment, that in my tent, before and after our engagements, I may
think of thee, and implore thy blessing.”

‘“Nay, William De Norris,” she replied, with a feint sigh, “should
you be faithless, how would that silent resemblance, recall to thee
our past vows, and bitterly chide thee for thy falseness. I would
not even then, give thee uneasiness. But William, think of me as
fondly, as I will of you! Farewell!” and she threw her arms around
him, and wept on his neck.

‘Cœur De Lion, honoured your ancestor by marks of his favour, and
once embraced him in the royal tent, after a victory, in which De
Norris had distinguished himself. Four years he had been absent,
but Magdalene forgot him not, and as every palmer appeared at the
hall, she kindly led him into her own bower, expecting to hear of
the Holy Land, and her lover. She became sad, and pale, spoke of
none but William, and of nothing but his return.

‘One evening towards sunset, the family banner was suddenly raised,
for news was afloat that De Norris had returned, and was on his
way to the hall with a bride! Magdalene heard it, and from that
very moment became a maniac. She rushed out to meet him, among the
retainers.

‘Through the shady wood she beheld De Norris approaching. Banners
were floating over his head; and by his side rode a beautiful
lady, in white bridal robes. They were conversing together, yet
was the knight’s cheek deadly pale, and his lips quivered, as he
cast furtive glances around, which told that he expected to meet
One whom he had forsaken. But trees concealed her. To change his
emotions, he dashed the spurs into his furious steed, in order that
his spirit might be chafed in curbing it, when a loud shriek was
given, and the horse plunged madly on. A rush was made to the place
by his immediate attendants; and on looking back De Norris saw his
own Magdalene prostrate and mangled. He leaped down; a shudder
of despair and frenzy passed over his whole frame, and he flung
himself beside her. He called her by her name, kissed the bloody
brow, and threw back her disordered tresses.

‘“My own Magdalene, forgive me; still am I thine!”

‘Her eyes opened upon him. A convulsive heave of her panting
breast, a sudden grasp of her false lover’s hand, and then a
wring of bodily torture followed. The cold sweat of death was
already upon these beautiful features. They were not in the least
distorted. The hoofs of the horse had left their mark on the neck
and bosom torn and bloody! She cast one look upon him, raised her
head, and faintly muttered,

‘“William--am I faithful? Tell me so.”

‘She heard not the mad reply, and De Norris spoke to the dead!

‘His bride had fainted, and was, forthwith, carried to the hall.
Hours had passed, and the retainers dared not approach their lord.
But those stationed at the porch, at length beheld him approach,
with the shattered corpse of Magdalene in his arms.

‘“My bridal couch! Shew me the way. Dost hear me, knave. Oh no,
what sorry attendants on hymeneal delights!”

‘His bride met him. She kissed the cold features of the dead, and
forgave the living. William knelt at the feet of his wife, and
sought pardon for his treachery.

‘Again there were sounds of revelry, and by all, save the
bridegroom, poor Magdalene was forgotten! To a late hour the
banquet and the dance inspired them with pleasure, and wine and
song made them gay and merry.

‘De Norris and his bride retired to their apartment. The tapers
were extinguished, when a dim and beauteous light filled the room,
and Magdalene stood at the foot of their couch, attired in the
same dress as when William parted from her for the Holy Land. She
stood, her fair hands clasped together, as if earnestly imploring
them for some favour. Her air was slightly reproachful; but deep,
unending love was expressed. De Norris, in tones of horror,
addressed her,--

‘“Spirit of my Magdalene, why tormentest thou me and my innocent
bride? I have been faithless, but she saved my life, and how could
I repay her kindness, but with my heart’s love! Still Magdelene I
have not forgotten you--nor can I ever!”

‘“William,” a low and sweet voice uttered, and De Norris felt a
cold, yet loving kiss, upon his trembling lips--“William, grant me
but one favour, and I will bless you both. My portrait, which hangs
in the gallery, take it down, and every night when you retire to
rest, oh! lay it between you! Do this William, and I am yours in
the other world!”

‘He started from the couch, and sought the gallery. A strange light
glowed on the portrait. He knelt, and prayed to heaven. Deep peace
descended upon his troubled mind, and he arose, calm and happy.
He took the portrait down, kissed the mimic lips, and then sought
his bridal chamber. Magdalene’s request was complied with most
devoutly, and they were happy; but they did not forget Magdalene.
The retainers affirmed that they had seen her wandering through
the wood, and singing, as in other days, when De Norris was by her
side. Her light step was occasionally recognized, ascending the
corridor, and dancing in her own apartment.

‘De Norris, to perform fitting penance for his treachery, erected a
Cross, at the eastern gate of Wigan, where Magdalene had often sat,
and there he paid his stated pilgrimages. That, my children, is the
portrait: the light over the features seems prophetic!’

Lady Mabel shuddered at the tale, and some dark forebodings crept
over her soul. Yet these were not fears lest Sir William Bradshaigh
should prove false; something more criminal on her part, which she
dared not think of.

They left the gallery, and once more entered into the mirth of the
banqueting scene.

       *       *       *       *       *

Ten years have passed; and in that epoch, what changes visit man!
Wisely did the ancient dramatists give to tragedy, the unity
of time, the briefness of a day; to denote that a few hours
are sufficient for the developement of awful, and unexpected
consequences! How much more will the lapse of ten years mark the
mutability of every lot, but that of the dead; and the altered
condition of every home but the grave! Time decays not; it is only
man. Speak of “Old Father Time:”--but is his step more sober, than
when he rode over the unformed chaos of earth’s materials, or flew
over the fragrant shade of Paradise? Does his pulse beat more
slowly? Do moments become days; or days, years?

Ten years have elapsed, and Lady Mabel had arisen early. She sat
alone in a room, which might have been more appropriately called
a cell. Grief had anticipated the silvery touch of time, and grey
hairs were visible amidst her raven locks. Yet, there was the
same sweet and majestic countenance as before. Bathe the human
countenance in heaven’s own dew, or in the gentle and clear stream,
and it will beam joyfully; but bathe it in the heart’s tears, and
it beams so sweetly! She counted her beads, and then looked up
for pardon, as fondly and anxiously as a wife numbers the minutes
before her lord’s return. She heeded not the fragrance which stole
in at the small casement; it neither assisted nor marred her
devotions. The sun was bright, and joyous, still she turned not her
pale face to its cheering influence. She laid aside her rosary, and
sat like a statue of sorrowful thought, if statues can be stamped
with such an expression. At length she slowly arose and looked out
of the casement into the deep wood, and sighed. Overpowered by
disagreeable reflections, she wished to fly from the place, where
she had no other view. But the door refused to give way to her
repeated attempts. It was early noon, and all the day, so long and
weary, must she remain there! She clasped her hands together, and
bitterly exclaimed, whilst she gasped for breath, at the discovery,

“Gracious heaven! why, am I then a prisoner, and in mine own
mansion! Ha! the very banner of my family waves over this tower,
proudly; and yet I, the mistress of Haigh, must be confined, and
denied the privilege of the meanest servant! It is but just, though
I deserve it not from Sir Osmund. But hush, I hear footsteps.
My soul, rise brave within me, and tell the usurper what he is,
although he may be my--husband,” and she raised an hysterical laugh
at the word, and drew herself proudly up.

A hasty scuffle was made in the passage, and an angry voice was
heard; it was Sir Osmund Neville’s.

“Dost hear me, boy! Back to thy crib! Dost wish to suck thy
dam--the wolf? Back--” and a heavy stroke enforced the words. But
no cry of pain was raised; it might have fallen on the wall, but
for the loud laugh of joy, raised by the tormentor. The scuffle
continued, when a weak, but firm voice was heard--

“Strike on, Sir Osmund; strike hard. I care not, for I _will_ see
my mother! This is a Bradshaigh’s resolution!”

“A Bradshaigh!” was the reply, “I have put horns upon the noble
head of the family, and have written Sir William a cuckold, by
marrying Mab!”

“Hold,--not a word,” returned the boy, in tones fierce and daring,
“a few years make me a knight, and then chastisement for the fat
and cowardly Welsh! Stand back, Sir Osmund, and let me see my
mother.”

The voice had gradually heightened until all the boy had vanished,
and the accents sounded manly and defying.

Lady Mabel shrieked, and exclaimed--

“My brave boy, the son of his father! Heaven bless and protect him,
to plead my cause, in fitting time and mode, and assert his own
rights!”

But the voice of the knight became louder and louder,

“Boy, minion! son of an ape! whose father pretended to bear the
cross, when he should have hung for his villanies, on the highest
in England! Go to my groom, and learn thy duty to my horse. He
reports to me that you are refractory. Well, your wages are due.
Take that, and that, and that,” and thrice the lash fell fiercely
on the noble boy. “Well” he resumed, “dost hear thy mother’s
voice? You know a mother’s shriek; that is her only tone! Oh fond
fool! Well, you wish to see your mother, fillial fool: my strokes
have given you a prettier face than a father’s art could patch up.
Come beautiful child, and shew yourself to the proud gaze of a
mother, on your cowardly father’s birthday.”

“Cowardly! He would have driven you, Sir Osmund, from this nest.
Cowardly!”

The door was burst open, and Lady Mabel beheld her eldest son (a
youth of fifteen) dragged in by the Welsh knight, her husband; his
face was bloody, and there were marks of a livid hue on his cheeks
and neck.

“Mother,” exclaimed the knight, laughing at his
blasphemy,--“mother, behold your son.” He approached, bowed his
unwieldy form in mock reverence at her feet, whilst his sinister
eye attempted to express sarcastic admiration and love. His hair
hung, matted, over his Welsh outline of a face, and his ill-formed
mouth, in smiling, became a hideous gash--gash!

The boy rushed to his mother, and fondly placed his hand beneath
her chin, to raise her countenance from the knight, kneeling in
mockery. She kissed his forehead, and with her lips wiped off the
blood, and hugged him to her bosom. He was a noble boy, and never
had he crouched to his mother’s husband.

“Mother, now I am safe.”

“It is the fool’s birth-day,” said Sir Osmund, as he left his
recumbent posture, “yes, it is, my sweet Mab. Rejoice, rejoice;
shall I send my jester to help thee to a laugh?”

“If in doing so” replied the spirited boy, “you send away yourself.”

Once more he was struck to the ground, by the enraged knight.

“Oh! Sir Osmund”--exclaimed Mabel, “save him! I shall tutor him to
love thee fondly!”

“That would be a difficult task, dear mother” answered the boy,
with great indifference, as he arose and fixed a stern look of
defiance upon Sir Osmund.

The knight paced the room in boiling wrath, but his rage dared not
meet the glance of that boyish eye, so powerful is innocence. He
turned abruptly upon Lady Mabel, and said,

“Harkee, Lady. Here you must be confined; these are my jailors,
four in number, trusty fellows,” and he pulled out four keys, as he
spoke. “Content yourself, good wife, and pray to Sir William to be
relieved from Sir Osmund.”

Mabel threw herself down on her knees, humbly before him.

Her locks fell from the slight silken band, which passed across her
forehead, as if to strengthen the power of her supplications. They
concealed the noble expansion of her brow, as if dignity ought then
to be lost in condescension. Her eyes were raised so mournfully,
although no tears were visible. But she might as well have
addressed herself to the stones, and the echoes would have given
a kinder reply. The knight stamped furiously, and impatiently, as
Mabel spoke.

“Sir Osmund, confine me not here. It is too, too near the picture
gallery, and I have been lately visited by such awful dreams and
sights there, that I shudder. For your own sake, my wedded--nay,
Sir Osmund, I will not speak falsehood; I cannot call you
husband;--Sir William, forgive me!”

In a moment, she forgot that she was supplicating a favour from the
ruffian knight. Her eyes were turned upon vacancy, but with such an
earnest expression! Her bosom heaved, her lips slightly quivered,
and a strange light gleamed from her eyes. In a hollow voice she
whispered, whilst her hands were clasped together,

“Spirit of the departed! forgive me for my treachery to thy memory.
No--no; I have not been faithless to thee for ten long years, if
silent and lonely vigils can conjure up what thou wert; if penance
dark and painful can change me to thee, from what I am, to what I
once was! Oh! cannot that which withers all the bloom and freshness
of my youth, on the cold, cold stones, likewise efface every other
name but Mabel Bradshaigh: dear, dear name! Our noble mother was
gone to thee before I consented to be another’s, in name; and even
then, but for our children, thy grave should have been my second
nuptial couch!”

“Would that you would hasten to its delights, then” interrupted
the brutal knight, as he approached and patted her head in scorn.
“Call on your torch bearers, for Hymen’s light; bid them be quick,
and consummate the ceremony. But to turn from this fine reverie of
your’s, sweet Mab, you must leave this room and follow me into that
frightful gallery. You may then make orisons to all the painted
heroes; and improve yourself so much as to become a holy father.
But, methinks that you are here visited also by strange sights,
and you will have more space, in the other room to fly from them.
Come, not a moment’s disobedience, and there dream of Sir William.
It is his birthday, and he ought to appear unto you, as a matter of
courtesy. And oh, do not be faithless, and treacherous to him! Go
after him, and leave me Haigh! Ha, ha! And as for the young fry, it
matters not where he be confined; he may go to the devil, and dance
on the holiday of his father’s birth. Come Mabel; aye, you may kiss
the boy, wipe the blood from off his face, and he wont pollute the
clear fountains before the porch. Come, sweet Mab.”

Mabel embraced her son, and followed Sir Osmund into the gallery,
and as he retired she heard the heavy bar secured on the outside.

Meantime, the boy found his younger brother, and they wandered
forth, together, into the wood. They sat down and gazed upon the
window of the room, where their lady mother was confined, and long
and affectionately they spoke of her wrongs. The younger, clapped
his hands and shouted, as he beheld her handkerchief waving from
the casement; a sure proof that she had observed them. It was a
pleasant day, in the most pleasant season; and soon their young
hearts became free and happy, and they thought of some knight
of romance spurring forward on a black steed, with glorious and
shining arms, to free their mother from her shameful durance. They
found their bows, and gay archers, shot through the wood, making
it resound with their gladness. Oh what a blessing a young heart
is! It has in itself a balm for all its grief! Spring and summer
have many flowers, but childhood and youth have as many hopes; and
they even descend from a mother’s arms into the grave without being
withered.

They rambled, hand in hand, down the steep hill, which by a
circuitous rout, leads to Wigan. The way was then romantic, and
all around, beautiful glens were lying in the arms of majestic
eminences, and every thing bore the stamp of feudal and chivalrous
days. The Church turrets were seen against the cloudless sky like
the pencillings of Hope, and Charity; whilst the quiet vales were
sprinkled over with tamed lambs. The boys, at intervals, on their
way looked back to the hall of their ancestors, admiring the broad
pendant which floated over the stately tower. At length they
reached the Cross, erected on the outside of Standishgate. There
the town guards were in conversation with a holy palmer. He seemed
to speak little, and only put a few questions. His piercing eyes
glanced from beneath his large cowl. His hands played with the
crucifix which was suspended from his neck; and on his sable cloak
were embroidered Peter’s keys.

“Here, reverend father,” said one of the guards, “here are Sir
William’s boys; they will shew thee the way to the hall.”

The palmer started at the words. He eagerly looked upon the boys,
and raising his hands above their heads, implored a blessing.

“Yes, yes,” they both exclaimed, and took hold of his hands.

“Is it near the hour of vespers at the Haigh?” inquired the palmer.
“Many, many years have elapsed since they were chanted there in my
hearing. How sweetly the hymn stole up through the little echoes.
Who, then, sat beside me? Ha! who now will? But, boys, how is your
lady mother?” and he waited breathlessly for the answer, with his
eyes intently fixed upon their countenances.

“Holy father,” the eldest replied, “she is well, but needs comfort.”

The noble mansion of Haigh was now seen through an opening in the
woods. Long and anxiously did the palmer look thereon; yet his was
not the gaze of a stranger; for many emotions, arising from many
recollections, were marked in the motions of his head.

“My boys, why does the banner float over Haigh?”

“It is our father’s birth-day,” was the reply, “and oh, in your
nightly orisons, pray for his gallant soul,--he was slain in
battle.”

“Slain in battle!” exclaimed the palmer, with a fierceness half
concealed. “Who bore the message:--who told you that you were
orphans?”

“A friar had shrived the soul of one of his retainers, who
confessed that he had seen his noble master die, and a Welsh knight
confirmed it.”

The holy men paused, and struck his hand violently against his
breast.

“But your mother--how did she receive the news of your father’s
death?”

“Oh, father, do not ask me to think of her sorrows. For a year she
walked not forth with us, as before, to speak of Palestine and him.
We were clasped to her bosom: still we dreaded the embrace, for
there was a violent heaving of her heart, which made us shudder,
and the black, black robes of her widowhood, were close upon our
cheeks: we could not endure her kisses, for, as she raised us to
her lips, tears fell upon our faces.”

The reverend palmer put his arms kindly around them.

“Oh,” cried the elder boy, “you pity my mother and us. Heaven bless
your affectionate heart! I was not old enough, when he departed, to
tell him how brave I would be, and perhaps he died in doubts, lest
I might disgrace his name.”

“Brave boy;” and as the palmer spoke, he took the youth’s hand and
shook it, as a warrior would the hand of his brother, “you will not
disgrace his name. But let us sit down beneath this tree, for I am
wearied with a long pilgrimage.”

He had before walked slowly, and now proposed to be seated, as if
he wished to delay the time. And who does not pause, when, after a
long absence, he returns home, and fortify his bosom to know the
worst. We dare not open the door, as if that would disclose too
wide a scene to our view; but we gaze in at the small lattice,
just to recognize one object, and know that all is not lost. We
refuse the light of day to shew us home, and eve is the time of our
welcome to all its hallowed joys--if these still survive.

He took the bow from the hands of the elder boy, and examined it
long.

“It is my father’s bow,” said the youth, “and, at a long distance,
he could pierce the first arrow with the second. My mother loves
it. See, their names are carved upon it.”

The palmer laid it down, and leaned against the tree.

“Father, art thou weary? Alas, Haigh Hall, now cannot afford thee a
shelter. Sir Osmund Neville--”

“Who is he?” said the holy palmer, starting up. His cowl fell from
his face, and gave to view a calm and manly forehead, with auburn
locks curling on it. It was pale, but commanding. “Who is Sir
Osmund Neville?”

The boys looked with astonishment.

“Hast thou been a warrior?” asked the younger. “Thou resemblest
what my mother tells us our father was; and he was a brave warrior.
But, holy man, Sir Osmond is my mother’s--”

“Husband!”--exclaimed the palmer with a faint shriek. He turned
aside. “Good God!--what a return! My own halls cast me forth. My
wife’s pillow refuses to give rest to my wearied head! Sir William
is a stranger in Haigh! Would that the report had been true. Yet
now I will dare the worst.” He replaced his cowl. “Where is Sir
Osmund?”

“He is now a hunting, and has confined my mother to an apartment
where none can visit her. He struck me wantonly, but I shall yet
repay him for my mother’s wrongs.”

“Couldst thou conduct me to thy mother, to give her holy comfort?”

“Thank thee, heaven thank thee! I know a secret passage to the
picture gallery, where she is now in durance. All the retainers
keep to their duties, and they love me for my father’s sake. They
would not inform Sir Osmund. Come on, holy father, the brow of the
hill is soon passed!”

They hastened their steps, and soon arrived at the hall.

“There my mother stands at the window.”

The palmer gave a quick glance upwards, in the direction, and then
turned away.

The boys took each a hand, and led him to the left tower, where was
a small entrance, communicating by a long and intricate passage
with the staircase which led to the gallery. Before them, a few of
Sir Osmund’s men were lying, with their faces, broad and bluff,
turned upwards. They were sunning themselves, in imitation of
the cattle in the park, and, certainly, there was no reason why
they should not follow such an excellent example, especially for
kindred’s sake. Their large eyes were shut, but had just as much
expression as when they were open. Their mouth, however, the use of
which they were not altogether so lazy as to abandon, was stretched
out, covering their cans of ale, which, by no common strength of
suction, they were fast emptying. Their breasts were heaving with
the zeal of the application, and the delight of the fermentation.
At length a pause was made. They turned to each other. They spoke
not by words, and yet their thick, ruddy lips, bedewed with the
liquor, were very expressive. A loud laugh followed, which was
feelingly responded to, and prolonged by, the lowing oxen. They
looked round upon the holy palmer, as his steps were heard.

“Ho!--ho! take a cup,” exclaimed one of them. “Drink on Sir
William’s birth-day, a long health to his ghost! Here,” and he
thrust an empty cup into the palmer’s hand.

For a moment the holy man’s cowl was raised from his flashing eyes,
as if to make some discovery, and his arm was stretched forth
from the cloak in which he was so closely muffled, with the hand
clenched, and the veins almost leaping through the thin dried skin
which covered them. The next moment, he courteously declined the
Welshman’s proffer. But his cheek was deadly pale, and a livid hue
flitted over his lips. The elder boy started forward, and grasped
one of the short swords lying naked beside the men, and, like their
masters, sunning themselves.

“Cowards,” the youth white with rage cried out, “insult the holy
man but again, and I shall fill the empty cups with your blood.”

But his arm was arrested by the palmer.

“Nay, nay,” said he meekly, “thou art headstrong and rash. But our
Holy Mother inflicts a penance upon these men, for their irreverent
and unbecoming treatment of her humble son and servant. What!
profane wretches, do you laugh? Beware. If this crucifix brand the
curse, woe, woe unto you. Boy, lead them to the penance room, and I
myself will release them. Come.”

They dared not disobey; for then, every man, noble, or knight, or
menial, was the priest’s retainer. The ministers of the altar were
more powerful than the satellites of the throne, and beneath the
single pall and crosier of the one, lurked a vengeance which could
scathe and destroy the proud tiara of the other. How mysterious and
yet real was the influence concealed in the slightest external of
the Church!

The Welsh retainers groaned as they were compelled to rise, and
proceed into the dark and cheerless apartment, which, in later
times, served for a dungeon. The palmer turned the key, and
fastened it to his belt.

“They are safe,” he whispered to himself. They were now met by some
of Sir William’s old retainers, who bowed low to the holy man, and
seemed inclined, by their looks and haltings, to ask concerning
their dead lord.

Feudal times might be the times of slavery on the part of
retainers, but they were those also of fidelity and strong
attachment. These retainers might be treated as brutes, but if so,
they were treated like dogs, and in return they yielded a service
which no hire could have extorted. Their love for their lord was
powerful, and yet instinctive; their happiness was genuine, and
yet animal,--far from the happiness of man. Their privileges were
extensive; not scullions of the kitchen, they were the genii of the
old halls. Their attachment to places and domains,--was that of
the dog. As they were fond of loitering in old paths, or glancing
at the proud mansion, or seated at the porch, their feelings were
those of that animal, licking every part of the house, and lying
down on favourite spots. And when their lord departed they drooped
and pined; not as men sorrowing.

These reflections might have been awakened at a sight of the old
servants of the Bradshaigh family, as they gazed so anxiously and
inquiringly. Go to a house where the master has been long absent.
An affectionate dog answers to your knock, and whines so piteously,
and looks so fondly, as if begging to know tidings of him who has
gone. Such was the appearance of the aged retainers of Haigh.

The palmer blessed them, in low tones, but feelingly, and then
passed on with the boys.

They crept through the entrance, and were soon threading their way
through the dark labyrinth. They gained the staircase. The palmer
had taken the lead, evidently familiar with the place. He paused,
and listened to the gentle tread of Lady Mabel. He strained his
ears, as if expecting to hear the music of the voice, as well as
of the foot; not for the sake of the future, but of the past. The
setting rays, rich from the golden west, were streaming brightly
on a little lattice, which lighted a recess in the long gallery,
and meeting those which entered by the wide casement, they threw a
dull haze around. They prevented him from seeing distinctly, as he
looked through it; but the fluttering of a white robe, and the soft
motion of a fair hand at the further extremity could be perceived.
At that moment a horse was heard approaching the hall.

A suppresed shriek arose from within.

“It is Sir Osmund,” exclaimed the boys.

“Well,” returned the palmer in firm accents, and he seemed to
unbuckle some of his garments, whilst unconsciously he stamped in
fury.

The boys tapped at the lattice.

“Mother, open unto us. Here is a holy priest, and he will comfort
thee. He hath already blessed us, and so kindly. He hath wandered
in far-off lands, and his voice speaks a foreign tale, and speaks
it gently.”

Her small white hands opened the lattice.

“Stay for a moment, and the holy man shall be admitted. Long is it,
since religion was allowed to enter mine apartments, to cheer my
sadness; and now it has come to my cell. Cell!”

The lattice closed. The palmer stood in strange bewilderment.
Her face seemed to be a vision, and her voice a song of other
days, and all--not a dream. And why should _he_ think of other
and former days? Have priests and palmers boyhood and youth? Are
they not trees without a leaf, on which no bird of heaven alights
to charm the solitude? Do they know of the earthly transports of
love and hope? Beautiful is the holy Virgin--but cold and hard
are the stones where they kneel to worship her. And why should
England be the country to excite his feelings? He had travelled
through lands more fair. Greener was the earth’s bosom, and more
beautiful the sky’s face. Why should he be moved at the sorrows of
the noble matron? At the same hour of twilight, when bathing his
wearied feet in the little stream, afar from the glistening tents
on the mountain tops, he had listened to the mournful song of the
wandering Hebrew maid. He had passed by her and laid his hands upon
the high and noble brow blessing her beauty and her sorrows. And
why should he feel the ideal presence of romance, as he looked
upon the woody hills of Haigh. From the gorgeous mosques he had
beheld the Mount of Olives, and the feet of the prophet-girls
dancing there, while their light scarfs were hung, floating on the
trees which crowned the summit, like the garments of angels--the
airy clouds.

The door was slowly opened. Lady Mabel, as they entered, greeted
her boys, and kindly welcomed the holy man. As he took her extended
hand, a shuddering seized him; he averted his face, and caught a
glimpse of Sir Osmund dismounting, under the casement. For a few
moments, overcome by some strong emotions, he leaned upon his
palmer’s staff.

Meanwhile, gentle readers, be pleased to shut the door of the
gallery behind you, and walk down, leaning, as gently as possible,
on the Chronicler’s palsied arm. Do not extinguish the light,--else
we are left in total darkness, on the dangerous corridor. Let us
approach to serve the Welsh knight, who is now shouting lustily for
his servants to appear, and take his horse.

“Ho! my Welshmen,” and he blew his hunting horn; but they appeared
not.

“My other hounds,” he muttered, as he turned the horse, and lashed
it away to bound forth at perfect liberty, “my other hounds know
the horn. I shall see, presently, if these do not understand the
whip.”

He entered the porch, and was there met by Parson Cliderhoe. The
knight bowed reverently, and would have passed him.

“Sir Osmund Neville, will you grant me a short interview, upon a
matter of importance to both of us?”

“Please your reverence,” rejoined the knight, with a mixture of
humility and haughtiness--“is it to breathe a pater-noster over my
hunting expedition? You cannot return thanks for my success, as I
have run down nothing.”

Cliderhoe took him by the hand, and led him into a private
apartment. As they entered, Sir Osmund, who was fretted by his bad
luck in the chase, could ill brook the authoritative air which the
parson had assumed; and when he was angry, he usually expressed
himself in light blasphemy.

“Adam Cliderhoe, although your namesake Adam, was placed at the
head of the creation, and had all power and authority over it,
still, you have not the same, and have, therefore, no right to lead
me about wherever you list. And, reverend father, (by the way,
although you are sworn to celibacy, you have got, by some means or
other, a very large family of children, for every one calls you
father,) you, I say, have the advantage over Adam. Ah! then there
were no church lands. A pretty comfortable place that paradise--but
then he had to work, and it could not afford him a better fleece
than a few dry leaves. Now, father, these are warm robes of yours.”

“Child, do not blaspheme. You have done very little, you know, to
merit Haigh Hall, and yet you are the owner.”

“Not altogether,” returned the knight. “There is one exception.
Your very large demands.”

“We’ll speak of that further, Sir Osmund. Are we safe from ears and
listeners? because these do not suit secrets. Well, be seated,” and
he fastened the door.

Parson Cliderhoe was then dreaded throughout all the country. By
wiles and deceits he laid a firm hand upon property. But he was as
intriguing as he was avaricious, and his plots had been treasonable
in the highest degree. These would have involved him in utter ruin,
had not gold, that potent being, redeemed him. In consideration of
large sums of money, he had been released from prison, and restored
to his living and life, when both had been justly forfeited.

He had lately become an inmate of Haigh Hall, and might have been
considered its master. Sir Osmund Neville, it is true, could make
the parson the subject of jest: but the knight, in return, was the
subject of rule and command. To Lady Mabel and the boys, Cliderhoe
paid no attention, either in the shape of flattery or scorn.

On securing the door, he laid aside his priestly robes, drew
the table back from the view of the window, nearer to the Welsh
knight’s chair, and seated himself opposite. He was of tall
stature, and nature, in this specimen of her architecture, had not
been sparing of materials, although, certainly, she might have put
them better together. If we may be allowed the expression, she had
not counted the cost with arithmetical accuracy. The head bore no
proportion to the other parts, as if her extravagance in these had
caused her to be penurious to that. Although the bones were well
cemented by fat, yet the structure was far from being elegant. It
was difficult to decide upon the true figure; and Euclid himself
must have abandoned the problem in despair. His head, which was
not shaven, but clipped closely, could not be compared to a globe;
neither was it like Atlas’s, between his shoulders. It moved
backwards and forwards with such velocity, and describing such
a large parabola, that one moment it seemed to be a few feet in
advance of the breast, and the next, its retreat was as distant.
His large ears (a true mark of villainy and vulgarity) were left
altogether exposed, stretching their wide shelter over his flabby
cheeks. His legs were not elastic, they might have been glass;
but his arms were electric, and they jerked about at every roll
and wriggle of his mis-shapen trunk. He took large strides, as if
his feet were not friendly to each other, save at the distance
of two yards. His complexion was dark. His eye, when it gazed on
vacancy, was dull; it only became bright from the reflection of
gold. But still, in spite of all these deformities, there was a
conscious power breathed over the appearance of Father Cliderhoe;
and, although villainy, deceit, and guile, are generally allied to
a more dwarfish form, you could not hesitate, upon seeing the man,
to pronounce that he was a habitation for such dark spirits.

Sir Osmund Neville looked suspiciously towards him, as he sat
silent on his chair, occasionally moving it about, as if anxious
for something which might introduce the subject he wished to be
considered.

“Father,” said the knight, “the room is but poorly lighted. Shall I
order the chandeliers to be trimmed?”

“Nay, Sir Osmund,” returned the parson with a hideous leer and
smile; “nay, we have light enough. You could sign your name by this
light, Sir Osmund? I can read my prayers then. Eh? You could sign
your name?”

“Sign my name!” furiously exclaimed the knight, whilst he arose and
stood upon the hearth. “Sign my name!”

“Sir Osmund, you are not, surely, ashamed of your name,” meekly
returned Cliderhoe. “A valiant knight is proud of it.”

“But to what, good father, must I give my name?” inquired the
knight, who, after the flash of first passion was over, thought it
most prudent to be calm, for he knew the character of him with whom
he had to deal.

“To this little document. Written in a fair clerk’s hand; is it
not? Ah! but you warriors write in blood! Yet, which is most
durable? Read the papers. You appear exhausted, Sir Osmund. Ah!
hunting is so fatiguing; to be sure, to be sure. Who can doubt
it? The couch, brave knight, should receive your wearied limbs
forthwith. Nay, nay, I will not trouble you with listening to these
papers. Just sign your name; a few strokes of the pen, and then you
may retire. I must have a care, brave knight, over your body: you
are so reckless, and should any accident occur, chivalry would lose
its brightest lance, and the church its firmest prop. Sir Osmund,
here is a pen; affix your name below that writing.”

In speaking, the parson had come nearer and nearer to the chair of
the knight. The latter started, as from the coil of a serpent.

“Never, never, Cliderhoe:--thou hypocrite,--base born!”

“Hush, hush,” said the parson, in tones which struck terror, from
their very whisper, into the knight’s soul, “do not give me any
more names than my natural father, and my spiritual mother the
church, have conferred. Beware. _I have never absolved one sin
against myself, during a lifetime! Beware!_”

Sir Osmund took the papers. His eye glanced quickly over them. He
laid them aside, and arose to leave the room.

“Father Cliderhoe, next time make proposals a little more
extravagant, and you shall precede me in my exit from this room!”

“Well,” thundered forth Cliderhoe, “bid adieu to Haigh Hall. Your
rejection of my proposal makes it necessary. But hear me, before
you go to ruin. I would yet spare you. Without my favour, you never
can lay claim to one tittle of this property. Hush, come hither,”
and he whispered earnestly, and smiled as he saw Sir Osmund’s cheek
grow pale.

“What!” Sir Osmund exclaimed, “Sir William was not slain! Then he
may return?”

“He may--he may; nay, he _will_! Haigh Hall is too goodly a mansion
for him to leave to strangers. False was the word which reported
him dead. But sign this document, giving to me the half of the
estate--and let him return--we are safe. The pilgrim shall find a
resting place, though I should be compelled to take my sword, and
secure it for him. Sir Osmund, there’s light enough to sign the
name. You are a knightly scholar; spell it quickly, else, you know,
you know. Every letter will be a security against Sir William. Ha!
the large O of your christian name will be his grave!”

Sir Osmund complied, and Father Cliderhoe added,

“Now, knight, you must get Lady Mabel’s name too. I’ll come in an
hour--have her signature by that time. Adieu for the present, Sir
Osmund.”

       *       *       *       *       *

Let us return to the gallery. We have already noticed the
overpowering emotions which shook the frame of the palmer, as he
turned from Lady Mabel, and his eye fell on Sir Osmund, dismounting
at the porch.

“Holy pilgrim,” said the lady, “thou art fatigued, Be seated.
Alas! now, Haigh Hall is no home for the weary and the aged;--aye,
not even for its lawful owners. For me, it is now a cell. In other
days, there was not a room, however dark and gloomy--so happy was
I,--that I did not call my bower. Then you would have found rest
and refreshment, and your blessing in return, might have been felt
to be no mockery. Now, the ministers of religion and charity are
driven forth. But where hast thou been wandering?”

A long gaze, and a short verbal answer was the reply,

“Lady,--in the Holy Land.”

Mabel’s paleness, which had hitherto expressed so beautifully her
resignation to sorrow, was now indicative of that breathless fear
which longs to know more of danger and evil, or good and happiness;
and yet dares not. Its sweet light seemed doubtful whether or not
it should be turned upon the palmer to know more. She shaded her
face, whilst in low and trembling accents she meekly inquired,

“And in all thy wanderings didst thou ever hear of a gallant
English knight, who fought beneath the banner of the Holy Cross? He
was once the lord of this mansion, and my--”

“Brother?” interrupted the palmer, in a tone of melancholy, mingled
with scorn and severity, as he supplied the word “your brother?”

“Brother!” exclaimed the lady, “no, no. Nearer he was than the
twin brother of infancy, childhood, and youth. Yes, for we were
ever One,--One! Holy Father, thou knowest not the meaning of these
words; but every moment I have realized their truth. The marriage
of the heart, no earthly ceremony can constitute. Our relationship
was formed in heaven, and Heaven dropped down bands upon the holy
altar, to encircle and bind us to each other for ever and ever.”

“For ever, lady, dost thou say? And who dropped Sir Osmund’s bands
upon the altar? Nay, noble lady, be not offended, for I know that
all affection is changeable, and short-lived, dying with a glance
or a word; and husband is but a fashion, which to suit your taste
may be changed, like any other part of your apparel. Changes are
pleasant. Sir William to-day, Sir Osmund to-morrow! Woman’s love is
not like man’s. Man’s love is the sea, infinite and exhaustless.
It may ebb, and its sands be discovered, but soon the wave rolls
over, and again there is the mighty deep. Far down, in unfathomable
waters, are the crystal caves, for the heart’s whispers and
embraces. Woman’s love is the streamlet. Bathe in its pure waters
to-day;--return to-morrow, and it is dried up. Let the husband
leave his halls, and in ten years he is forgotten, and his spirit
would be driven from his own hearth!”

Mabel’s eye had flashed with indignation, and her majestic form had
become erect, and commanding. There was the proud heaving of her
bosom, and the compressed resolution of her lips. But all symptoms
of anger passed away, as a sigh escaped the palmer, and as his hand
was raised to brush away a tear.

“Holy man, these words are unkind; they are not the balm of
comfort. I have not been faithless to Sir William. He is enshrined
in my heart still, the holiest earthly image, which death alone can
break. And oh! in penance how I worship him now, as sincerely as
once I did in joy. Gaze upon all the little knolls of green, where
we sat together, on summer days. I know them, and there I have
gone, and asked pardon of my beloved, many a cold and dreary night.
But here, in this room, I suffer agonies which might atone even for
a wife’s infidelity to a living lord. The night before he left for
the Holy Land, our noble mother told us of an ancestor’s perjury
to the maiden of his troth. That is her portrait, holy father, on
which you are gazing. In my waking moments, for past weeks, I have
seen Magdalene Montfort (that was the beautiful maiden’s name)
walking with Sir William. They were both sad, and looked upon me
scornfully, for my treachery. They had been unfortunate, and,
therefore, were in each other’s company. I knew that it was but
fancy, but it had all the power of reality. Oh! is not this penance
enough! But, say, holy palmer, didst thou ever see Sir William
Bradshaigh?”

The palmer sighed and shook his head. “Many a gallant knight I have
known, who never reached his home. Some died, others were reported
to be dead, and their noble heritage, aye, and their beautiful
wives, became the property of strangers.”

“_Reported_ to be dead! Reported! Were they not dead? Was _he_ not
dead?”

“Mabel. Mabel Bradshaigh--_is_ he dead?”

And the palmer’s cloak was removed, and there stood Sir William
Bradshaigh!

“Come to mine arms, my faithful wife, dearer to me than ever. Come!
Thank God that we meet, never more to part. Awfully have our dismal
forebodings, the last time we were in this gallery, been fulfilled.”

“Sir William--reject me. I am unworthy. Nay, let me kneel at thy
feet.”

“Both together then, and at the feet of the Most High. Hush, Mabel,
here come the children. My boys, do you not know your father? Kiss
me. _I am_ your long-lost father.”

After the embrace, the boys exclaimed in terror, “Sir Osmund comes.”

Lady Mabel shrieked. Sir William unloosed a garment which was
closely wrapped round him, and unfurled a Paynim standard which his
arm had won.

“Stay, Mabel, I escape here, by this door. My old servants will
rally round me. Yet no, I cannot leave thee defenceless. William,
my brave boy, fly with this to my servants. Tell them that Sir
William is returned. Bid them arm for me. Haste.”

The boy disappeared through the concealed door, and Sir William
stationed himself beside his lady, his sword drawn.

“Ho, lights,” exclaimed Sir Osmund. “Must I fall, and break my
neck? Mab, take hold of my hands, and bring me to thee.”

The next moment he entered. But the twilight was so shady, that he
saw not the presence of the returned knight.

“Mab, sign this paper. Cliderhoe, come hither.”

“Here’s one,” replied Sir William, “who can do it. Ruffian, do you
know me. I am Sir William Bradshaigh.”

“Indeed,” sneeringly responded the parson. “You have got the name.”

“And the sword, thou hypocrite.”

“Very likely,” was the retort, “very likely. That proves thee a
thief, and not Sir William.”

“Sir Osmund Neville, I challenge thee to deadly combat for the
wrongs thou hast done me, and for thy cowardly and cruel treatment
to Mabel and our children. Come forth, else I will smite thee to
the death. Equal weapons, if thou willest: if not, I will stab thee
where thou standest.”

He rushed forward as he spoke, but instantly the door was secured
on the outside, and he and Lady Mabel were alone. The wily parson
and the Welsh knight had fled. The door resisted both foot and
sword, and stubbornly refused to give way to any forcible attempts.
Sir William distinguished the clattering of hoofs in the distance
becoming fainter and more faint, and he burned for the pursuit.
Mabel led him to the window, and gazed long and fondly upon his
noble features. Age had scarcely touched them. The bloom of youth
had, indeed, passed away, but there was the calm and mellow hue
of manhood. The locks were not as profusely clustered over his
brow as before, but the expansive forehead was more dignified
when unshaded. Tears came into her eyes, for, although he was but
slightly changed from the husband of her youth, and although no
feature was a stranger, still she thought why should she not have
been allowed to witness all the daily changes effected upon him. It
is painful, after a long absence, to return to the home of other
days. It is no longer a home; for new inmates have introduced new
arrangements. Humble may have been the household gods: only an
old chair standing in a corner, and a small table at the patched
window; yet they were the gods of the heart, and, although they
may have been replaced by the most costly and splendid furniture,
we refuse to call the house our home. Cover the bird’s nest with
leaves of gold, and after its flight and wanderings, would it then
take up its abode any more than it would although there were no
nest at all? But more painful is it when the loved one has changed.
The features may be more beautiful than before, but if all their
former peculiarity be gone, they are those of a stranger; and
as we would refuse to cross the threshold, much more to sit down
in the house, once our home, but now altogether changed, so we
cannot take hold of the hand, we cannot kiss the lips, we cannot
embrace the form of that one, once the idol of our heart, but now
a stranger. But Lady Mabel’s feelings were not akin to these;
although they were painful as well as extatic. He whom she now
gazed upon was Sir William Bradshaigh, every look, every movement,
every accent told her. Soon, however, loud steps were ascending the
corridor, and louder shouts announced them.

“Sir William! Sir William! welcome to Haigh Hall!”

The bar was removed, and a cordial greeting took place between the
returned palmer and his faithful retainers.

“Thanks, thanks my men. But the cowardly knight has fled. Help me
to horse! Haste! Mabel, my love, I return as soon as the wretch is
slain. Thou art more beautiful than ever, my own wife. But how can
you love the aged palmer? Farewell, Mabel.”

Proud were the retainers, when their lord stood among them with his
sword.

“Now,” as he mounted his steed, “follow me not. Alone I must be
the minister of vengeance. Hark! the Welshman’s horse has gained
the eminence. There is the echo of his hoofs. He must be passing
the steep descent.”

He dashed his spurs into the flanks of his horse, and without a
curvet or a vault, it bounded forward. The influence of twilight is
mysterious, both upon man and beast. It gives speed and energy to
body as well as mind. In advance before him, there was a part of
the horizon beyond the trees which seemed rings of molten gold. The
sunset had not yet left it. Against its bright and radiant surface,
in haste, a horse plunged on. The rider, Sir Osmund, was lashing
it, for the motions of his arm were seen. The next moment it had
passed. Sir William furiously spurred his steed through the dark
wood, and, as a flash of his eye was shewn by some concealed light
of the sky bursting upon it, he seemed the very spirit of revenge
riding on the storm. His horse’s head was stretched forward,
eagerly and impatiently. He himself crouched down to the very mane,
and his eyes gleamed wildly upon the place where he supposed the
Welsh knight would be passing.

Swiftly did the noble courser paw the leaves, strewn on the path,
and soon he reached the highway, steep and rugged. The lights were
now reflected from Wigan, upon the air around. He drew near the
gate. The guards started up with their torches, and fixed them
against the wall.

“Stay, who art thou?” and they presented their halberds, whilst
they seized the reins of his horse. “Who art thou, thus pursuing
Sir Osmund Neville to the devil? He’ll lead thee wrong.”

“Stay me not, I am Sir William Bradshaigh.”

They started back. They had heard of spectre horsemen, who rode so
furiously, and they trembled. Taking advantage of their terror, he
struck up their halberds with his sword. The gate was open, and he
spurred through. A few of the townsmen who were loitering at their
doors, and in the streets, shouted after him; but none attempted
to prevent his course, and soon he had left Wigan far behind. The
moon arose brightly; he leaned forward anxiously, and thought that
he could descry the object of his pursuit, long before he heard the
hoofs of the steed. But soon, he had both heard and seen him. Fleet
was the Welsh knight’s courser, but that of Sir William gained at
every turn in the road, and their voices were heard by each other,
urging them on. Sir Osmund at an angle, avoided the highway, and
leapt his horse over into the large park, at Newton. Sir William
followed, and soon the sword of Bradshaigh revenged his own, and
Lady Mabel’s wrongs.

The dead knight was thrown from his horse, as it dashed on. As soon
as the deed of vengeance was over, Sir William’s enthusiasm began
to leave him. While in the act of striking, the happiness which
should now be his of once more being the lord of Haigh, the husband
of his Mabel, and the father of his gallant boys, passed vividly
before his mind, and forbade him to spare. But when the blow was
given, so strange is man’s nature, all these prospects faded. He
seemed to feel that now he had agreed to a miserable compact.
He almost wished that he had never returned to claim the little
which was left. Death as the arm of vengeance, could not bring him
back the past, although it had taken away the cause of change.
Sir Osmund Neville lay lifeless before him, never more to claim
ought;--but polluting traces were upon all he held dear. As long
as Mabel lived, there lived also the evidences. Nay, when she must
die, and repose along with him in the tomb, calumny might say, “it
was not always thus, for, side by side, when alive, she lay with
another.” As long as Haigh Hall stood, the family disgrace would
survive.

He writhed in agony at the thought.

“Mabel,” he exclaimed, as if she were present, “I cannot forgive
thee! Thou hast been faithless. I must touch thy hand, and know
that it was another’s, long after it had been pledged in love,
and given in marriage. Thy couch a ruffian’s kennel! This Welsh
bullock’s blood cannot wash out the stains which rest upon my name.
Oh! can it even purify my Mabel’s lips? Whenever they touch mine,
I feel that they have been polluted. My children alone survive for
me. Ha! merciful God, thanks unto thee, thanks most sincere, that
Mabel has no children, who cannot call me father. But when I call
her wife, methinks this Welshman’s spirit comes between us, and
breathes the same word;--and to whom will she then cling?”

The air was balmy, and the moonshine rested gently upon the green
meadows where he stood, and lambs, aroused from their slumbers by
the prancing of the horses, bounded past him. But they bleated
not to disturb the silence, and Sir William heard the violent
beating of his heart. Gradually, however, he relapsed into a state
of tranquility,--not the tranquility of joy, but of deep grief.
And as before, when under the excitement of intense revenge, he
spurred his steed to keep pace with his fiery spirit, so now, when
his feelings were different, he curbed the animal to a slow walk,
as he began to return. But he soon discovered that it was jaded
and weary, from the speed of the furious pursuit. He dismounted,
and led it for a mile or two. In the distance, so flat was the
surrounding district, then unbroken, save by towers and halls,
rising aginst the pure silvery vault of the moonlight sky, he
beheld lights in his own mansion at Haigh. He thought that he heard
sounds of mirth borne thence on the airy breezes.

“_She_ may rejoice,” he bitterly said, “but can I? She may be
merry, for I return the same, as when I departed, ten long years
since; though beautiful maidens there have been, who tried my
fidelity in Palestine. Ah! this night has made me an old man! Would
that my days had been spent amidst the holy tombs at Jerusalem,
and I might there have prayed for Mabel, my Mabel, all ignorant of
her frailty. But I must remount my steed. Poor Mabel, she has done
penance for me, and cannot that atone? Forgive her? Yes, and she
shall receive my blessing in a few minutes.”

He vaulted upon his horse, but in vain did he spur and lash. The
animal staggered, and but for great caution, would have fallen.
He again dismounted, and slowly led it to Wigan. The lights in
the town were extinguished. He passed the church. He stood, for
a moment, to gaze upon the venerable structure. The clock was
striking the hour of one, and within the low and grey cloisters,
which are now destroyed, a late vesper was tuned. The notes seemed
to be sung by some virgin-spirits. Heaven bless those whose sweet,
sweet voices are heard by none else, for oh, none else can bless
them; whose soft knees which a gallant husband might have gartered
oft and oft, in pride and sport, bend on the cold stones, at no
domestic altar, through the long night.

What a holy calm fell upon Sir William’s troubled spirit!

“Here Mabel and I may sleep peaceably together in death, if we
cannot in life. God bless our union then. No blood will be the seal
of the renewed covenant. If we cannot live happily now, since she
has been--no, I cannot say faithless, but oh! frail, frail;--why
the grave may hush our discords.”

He turned into the Hall-gate, with the purpose of leaving his horse
at an hostelrie, for he knew that it could not proceed to Haigh
hall forthwith. He still kept his eye upon the holy place, when he
was suddenly seized by two armed men. They were the sentries of the
gate.

“So, nightingale,” exclaimed the stoutest, “we have caught thee.
Resist not. We have orders to bear thee to the Mayor, and, by and
by, you may expect to be caged.”

“Stand back, knaves, and keep your distance. What would ye with me?”

“Aye, aye, bold enough,” was the reply. “Thou art the horseman who
passed our fellows at the other gate, in pursuit of Sir Osmund
Neville. They called thee a ghost. Ho, ho. But” and he brought
the lamp which he carried to bear closer upon the person of Sir
William; “here is blood, blood. Come in, else we strike thee to
the ground.”

It was in vain, the knight saw, to remonstrate; vainer still, on
account of his weakness to assault. He gave his horse to the charge
of one of the guards, who soon obtained accommodation for it; and
allowed himself to be conducted, without resistance, to the house
of the mayor.

At that moment his worshipful worship was fast asleep, all save the
nose, which buzzed as if it were filled with flies. His slumbers
were so deep that his worthy rib might have been taken from his
side without his knowledge, and a noted shrew given to some man.
But, gentle reader, why hast thou broken into the Mayor’s house,
and entered the private chamber of him and his dear spouse? Let us
make a speedy retreat, else we may be tried for burglary.

The house stood solitary, and at the door two halberds were bravely
stationed, either to assist or repel thieves or murderers. The
guards knocked; after a short interval, voices in loud dispute,
were heard, and a window on the second story was thrown up. A long
bright sword, slowly peeped out of it, very politely inquiring what
was wanted! A female head (the gender was known, _a priori_ by
the cap on it; and _a posteriori_ by the volubility of the tongue
within it) followed, and after reconnoitering for some length of
time, good substantial shoulders ventured out to assist the head.

“Madam,” humbly said one of the guards, “is my Lord Mayor at
liberty, to examine this man, whom he gave orders to take into
custody and bring hither?”

The sword was brought into a dangerous line with the anxious
inquirer’s head; but he started more at the shrill voice which
greeted him.

“Impudent rascals, begone. At liberty! No,” and she exhausted
a pretty good stock of abuse which she had acquired with all a
woman’s skill, and expended with all a woman’s generosity.

“Yes, yes,” exclaimed another voice, without a head however, “I am
at liberty.”

The sword was drawn in, and it remains a matter of doubt until
this day, whether it was not called upon to exercise its functions
against the last speaker. At least the noise of a considerable
bustle was made, which ended in the door being opened; and Sir
William, with the guards, was shewn into a room by a servant boy.

An hour had almost elapsed before the wig had been arranged, and
the spectacles disposed on the frontispiece of the Mayor, so
properly as to allow him to be seen. He entered with a slow step to
convey notions of a solemn dignity, and a pretty strong calf was
by no means a bad interpreter. After mounting the glasses on the
higher regions of the head, he rubbed his eyes as hard as if they
were flint, and as if he wished them to strike light, in order
to enable him to see. His face was good-humoured, and had no more
expression than a well-stuffed pudding. He then looked gravely upon
Sir William, when the knight addressed him,

“Why am I brought here? I had no desire to be regaled with a breeze
of thy far sounding nose,” (the mayor, be it observed, was snoring
even then) “nor to behold thee in undress.”

The Mayor started at the sounds of the knight’s voice;

“Sir William Bradshaigh thou art. It was no ghost. I know thee
well; and no wonder that thou pursued the Welsh knight. Where is
he?”

Sir William slowly unsheathed his sword, all bloody.

“That is the best answer; is it not intelligible?”

The worthy Mayor held up his hands in nervous terror.

“Come up with me to my own apartment, Sir William. We must consult
upon your safety. You will be outlawed for murder. Come, and allow
me to introduce you to my lady. She wont frighten you as she
does--.”

The look which accompanied the pause and omission well supplied the
personal pronoun.

“You cannot return to Haigh Hall until the morning. Guards, you may
depart. Do honour to Sir William.” They raised a loud shout, which
brought the lady down in a quick dance.

Early in the morning, after an hour’s sleep, Sir William left the
Mayor’s house. It was dull and rainy, and his spirits were more
melancholy than on the previous evening. There was none of that
longing desire to see a home and a wife, although for many years
they had both been strangers. The atmosphere was oppressive.
Nature had neither beautiful sights, nor fragrant scents to please
him. The street was muddy, and the houses were darkened with the
overhanging clouds.

He had passed the gate leading to Standish, when his attention was
arrested by a female kneeling at the Cross which De Norris had
erected. She looked upwards with an eye of sorrow, and prayer.
He started as he recognized the beautiful features of Mabel
Bradshaigh. Heedless of the rain, and exposed to the cold, she had
assumed the lowly posture. He heard the words breathed earnestly,

“Oh! heaven, and Sir William, forgive me, and accept of this my
penance!”

She raised herself as his steps were nearer. What deep delight,
tinged however with penitence, glowed on her countenance as she
beheld her returned lord.

“Thank heaven! but oh! let me kneel to thee. Wilt thou forgive me,
Sir William? This cross, was raised by a faithless ancestor to the
shades of the maid whom his perjury had destroyed, and here I must
do penance thus. But oh, look not upon me, exposed as I am,”--and
she blushed as her eyes fell upon her naked legs and feet.

“Mabel, this penance is cruel to both of us. What! those beautiful
legs, and small feet, must they trample upon the mud and the
stones! Remember, Mabel, that I will wash them myself this morning,
in the fountain. Nay, no more penance.”

“It must not be, Sir William. I have made a vow that every week I
will travel thus, from Haigh, to this Cross. And oh, do not prevent
me;--you must not, otherwise I cannot be happy in your company.
Penance is necessary for love injured.”

Mabel spoke the truth. Injured love requires it, though it only be
paid with a tear, a sigh, or a sorrowful look. Yes, penance, thou
art holy, and necessary; for where is the love which is not injured?

All the discontent and melancholy of Sir William passed away.
He loved Mabel more fondly than ever, even for the self imposed
penance. She might have decked herself in splendid attire to meet
her lord, but the lowly garb secured his affections more firmly.
The rich sandals of the time might have confined her feet, but
naked as they were, Sir William gazed more proudly upon them.

They walked on together. Mabel knew Sir Osmund’s fate, by the very
air of Sir William, but she questioned him not. A full bright cloud
now began to widen and widen over the stately towers of Haigh Hall.
Sir William in silence pointed to it as a happy omen, and as its
deep tints were reflected upon the structure, glory and fortune
seemed to hover over it. They were passing a narrow winding, into
the plantations, when their younger boy rushed forth.

“Father, father, bless your little son.”

“Hugh, my beautiful and brave boy, dost thou know me?”

The knight looked oft, in sorrow as well as pride, on the boy’s
countenance; it was so delicately fair, that the very life seemed
trembling on it.

“Father, I could die this morning, I am so happy.”

The knight started.

“Die! my little Hugh. No, no, you will live to be a warrior.”

Loud were the acclamations raised by the retainers, as Sir William
and his lady appeared. A whole week was devoted to festivity and
merriment, and all were happy.

Regularly every week, Mabel repaired barefoot and bare-legged
to the Cross, which still stands associated with her name. The
penance gave happiness. For months she had her sad moments, and
Sir William, with all his love and attention, could not wile
away the dark spirit of grief and remorse. But, by degrees, time
and religion banished the evil spirit, and even in her solitary
moments, no longer did it haunt her.

In a few weeks after the brave knight’s return, little Hugh
Bradshaigh was taken from earth. One morning, as the sun was
shining brightly, and the birds were merry of note, his mother went
to awake him to receive her blessing; but he had already received
the blessing of angels, and Jesus:--he was dead. The treatment
and the sorrows which had befallen him, in his former years, had
been too much for his young soul; and as a bird, which has with
difficulty braved the sternness of winter, dies when genial spring
comes, with its blossoms and hymns, and its last note is faintly
raised from its green bed of leaves, up to the laughing sky; so, as
soon as happiness visited him, little Hugh pined away, as if every
touch, every voice of affection raised him from earth. So strange
is life, that he might not have died so soon, but for his father’s
return. Yes, affection kills the mournful young. Every gentle
stroke, as his mother sheds the fair hair of the boy, is a touch
of death; languid and slow, but sure. Hugh Bradshaigh’s pillow
was, ever after, unpressed by any head, and for hours Sir William
and his lady sat by the little white couch, as if his spirit were
there.

He lay in no cloister, chancel, or vault. Verdant was his grave. An
evergreen was the curtain of his little bed, and the feet of birds
were all that trod upon the flowery sod.

       *       *       *       *       *

Reader, wilt thou for the sake of the aged Chronicler, pay one
visit to “Mab’s Cross?” If so, go at earliest morn, or latest eve,
and all noise and bustle being hushed, your thoughts may pass over
centuries, and return invested with the remembrance of Magdalene
Montfort, and Mabel Bradshaigh. The cross stands apparently no
greater object of interest, than an indifferent structure of three
stones. Yet, when the beautiful Mabel did penance there, flowers
were growing around its sides. And even, for four generations
after, a small plot of grass was trimmed and cultivated around it.
But when Wigan became the seat of the civil wars in Lancashire,
Mab’s Cross being considered as a popish relic, a tooth of the
beast, suffered at the hands of Roundheads. It has since been
reconstructed, but stands entirely destitute of ornament, on or
around it.



LANCASTER CASTLE

[Illustration]

“A TRADITION PREVAILS THAT THIS FORTRESS HAD BEEN PREVIOUSLY TAKEN
BY CROMWELL, AND THAT HE PLANTED HIS CANNON ON A CIRCULAR MOUNT
AT THE SOUTH-WEST SIDE OF THE TOWN, ON HILL MEADOW.”--_Baines’s
History of Lancashire._


Well does Lancaster deserve the name which the Romans gave to
it, of the green city; and the beautiful scenery, for many miles
around, may be considered as its delightful gardens. There are
no huge rocks frowning, like tyrants, in the country which they
have ruined, and blighting with sickness and poverty, all that
is healthful and rich. Such mountain scenery only affords an
observatory, whence we may gaze into the distance, upon other and
more charming spots,--the home-glens of the happy and free--where
every noise, even of the world, is hushed into sweetness, and
the forest of the recluse and the hunter, where light and shade,
all the day, agree to make a religious twilight. Often has the
wanderer, on the majestic hills of Cumberland, looked down in
rapture upon the north coast of Lancashire, stretching out like a
gentle surface and web of ether, on which, at sunset, the shades
fall, as if they were kindred to each other.

Nor is the scenery around Lancaster tame. There are beautiful
eminences, which may be termed the voluptuous breasts of Nature,
on which thin mists from the river float for a covering. Amidst
all the undulations of the glens also, harsher features may be
seen, which the deep woods have not altogether concealed. At the
distance of five miles from the town, there is a rugged mountain,
at the foot of which a cave, called Dunald Mill Hole, formed of
natural rock, and vaulted with great strength, may well attract
the curiosity of the stranger. A brook falls into it;--in one part
it forms a terrific cascade, and in another, small lakes in the
cavities. Above it, on a cliff, stands a mill, to which a neat
cottage was attached. In the vale below, sheep were browsing, and
no human feet ever disturbed the solitude, except those of some
wandering patriarch coming to Dunald Mill upon business, or walking
out, on Sabbath eve, in a holy, contemplative mood, and treading
gently for the sake of the flowers, which taught him of the Great
Being who gave them beauty.

But why should we speak of beautiful scenes, when civil war has
been let loose, and when the dew, falling there at morn and
night, is blood, the blood of brethren? Cannot spring and summer
be barren, when they are only to weave garlands for war? Why speak
of a delightful retreat, when the tramp of soldiers, the clash of
arms, and the fierce engagement have chosen it for their theatre?
Let the altar of home be dashed down, when it can no longer give a
shelter to the holiest worshiper! Let the holy shade become a waste
heath. Oh! if war is a game which must be played, let it be in
large cities. There its ravages may please the Antiquary of after
ages. The mark of a cannon ball may become and dignify the noble
fortress, and the splendid palace; but, when it is found on the
wall of a white cottage, it is sad and disfiguring. Curse him who
launched it there! Send forth soldiers among the rabble and mob of
a town; but keep them from the patriarchs of the vale.

       *       *       *       *       *

A dark September evening had even darkened the beautifully
white-washed cottage of Hans Skippon, which stood at the distance
of a few feet from Dunald Mill, where, in happy content, he earned
his bread, by grinding it for others. The loud fury of the tempest
had silenced the flowing of the Meerbeck, which turned the mill,
and the changing noise of the cascade, which it incessantly formed
as it fell into the deep cave below, at the foot of the mountain.
Nature seemed to be acting the part of an arrant scold, who first
puts all the fretting children to bed, and then commences the storm
herself. The spray which had gathered on the brook was driven
against the window by continual gusts, and, occasionally, angry
and sullen growls of thunder rolled up the wide and sweeping glen,
against the eminence. The thunder might have been a fearful angel
speaking to the wind a rebellious mortal. Had Hans’ mill been put
in motion by all the “Lancashire Witches,” with their own tongues
to boot, as the worthy miller himself remarked, the noise would not
have been heard amidst the wrath of the tempest.

Hans and his dame were snug within. They crept close to the fire,
which blazed upon the clean hearth, but closer to each other. They
were well advanced in years. They were older than the cottage that
sheltered them: it had been built when they were made man and wife.
But no change had been wrought by time upon their affection, and
Rachel could gaze upon the furrowed countenance of her husband,
with as much fondness as she had ever displayed when it was
smoother. Nay, we ought to have said with more, because three times
a day she induced Hans to wash off the meal and flour, which was
plentifully sprinkled there, in order that she might be proud of
his natural appearance.

“The white flour, my dear Hans,” she would say, as she gave him a
salute, “covers all the red flowers of your cheek, and, although
the first is good for the teeth, the second is better for the
lips,” and she smacked her lips with great relish.

On the present occasion, however, his face was just as it had left
the mill, and no white sweep could look more enticing. But Rachel,
by and by, assisted him in his ablutions, as, to her imagination,
heightened by the loud raging of the storm, he appeared rather
frightful previously. She had drawn him towards a small mirror
at the window, to satisfy himself, when a furious gust drove the
latter in. They started. An awful flash of lightning gleamed into
the room!

“Hans, what a night! Blessed be God that we are alone. We see each
other, and know our fate. Had we been blessed with children, as we
often, often wished, aye, prayed to Him who ruleth all things, they
might have been abroad at this very hour. At least they could not
all have been here. God is merciful, even in his trials.”

“He is, Rachel. Let us take a seat beside our comfortable hearth.
Well, well, I never knew what the word window meant before. It
signifies, I suppose, a place for the wind to come in at. Some of
the old witches, who were executed at Lancaster, on the day of our
marriage, may have come to the cave, to raise such a squall. The
mill is safe, and so is this house. But oh, how many there will be
who are shelterless!”

They again sat down, and, for a time, their conversation was
inaudible. The wind raved louder, and went to the highest note
in the maniac gamut. At intervals, when the storm subsided into
low meanings, and dying sounds, the lightning flashed vividly,
as if the glances of nature were still angry, although her voice
was hushed. The miller and his dame crept closer together. When
they could not speak, they listened to the wind tremblingly, like
children over some fireside tale of terror. Rachel rested one hand
upon her husband’s shoulders, and the other, sometimes, sought his
neck. Both shuddered, as they turned their eyes to the window, but
had perfect confidence when they gazed upon each other’s face,
illuminated by the cheerful light of the hearth. There is magic
in that blaze to man and wife. Not even sunset, with its gorgeous
hues lighting up the window beside which they sit, much less the
soft artificial rays thrown from the finely polished marble of the
ceiling, can reveal the same sources of inexpressible domestic
happiness! Wealth, laugh not at the affection of the poor. Love is
within the breast, and flutters not on spangled garments of costly
quality and workmanship, or haunts palaces. Love dwelt with the
first pair, when they were driven from Paradise, and were only
covered with leaves. The language of the poor to you may appear
rude; but there are some to whom it is music, as sweet as it is
sincere. Their touch to you may appear hard, but there are some
who thrill under the beating of its every pulse. And youth, laugh
not at the affection of the aged, for the heart is never leafless
and sapless! When they are about to step into the grave, they walk
closer together, and every movement is an embrace.

Accordingly, no young couple could have been more loving than Hans
and Rachel Skippon, and the storm led them to speak of their many
comforts.

“Rachel,” replied Hans, to a remark of the dame, upon the pleasures
of their retired life, “it is even so, and I would not exchange
places with the proudest lord in the land. Nay, I would not sell my
miller’s coat. This morning, as I walked into Lancaster, a stout,
stiff-necked lad came forward, and asked me to become a soldier,
promising great distinction. Says I, white is the colour of my
flag, and the only coat of of mail I shall ever consent to wear,
must be a coat of meal!”

“A soldier!” ejaculated Rachel.

“Aye, aye,” was the reply. “War is soon to be played. The governor
of our castle has gone to the High Court in London, to give
evidence against traitors, and many such traitors there are said
to be, whom the Parliament refuses to put down. I heard that the
king’s throne and head are in jeopardy.”

“Woe, woe to the land!” groaned the dame. “A handsome lad, and yet
to lose his crown and his life.”

“Well, well,” said Hans, “his majesty may thank his silly father.
What good, even to the tenth generation, could the race of the
ungodly man expect, who gave orders that the people should sport on
God’s holy day? Rachel, hast thou forgot the proclamation which he
caused the parson to read? I was but a youth then, and oft I could
have liked to visit you on Sunday. But the wish was blasphemous.
The parson said we were not to think our own thoughts, and as my
father thought I should not visit you, I took _his_ thoughts.”

“Not always,” returned the dame, as she took his hand, “not always,
even upon that subject.”

“Well, well, I give in to you, Rachel. But on that Sunday, after
the service was over, the parson drew from his robes a long roll
of paper, and, wiping his mouth very unmannerly, as he always did,
before his eyes, read that it was the King’s most gracious will
that the people, on leaving the church, should enjoy themselves in
all manner of recreations and sports. He added, that our Solomon
might well give laws to all his subjects. My father and I went
to a friend’s house, and there solemnly bewailed the state of
the country; the rulers of which scrupled not to enact the most
awful iniquity. As we returned home, in front of the church there
were dances, and games of archery, in which the parson himself
joined most heartily. His croaking voice shouted lustily, and his
stick-shanks leapt up in the air, while his broad skirts flapped
like a swallow’s wings. A smile was on his face, which was thrown
backwards as we passed. My father, in his righteous wrath, struck
the hypocrite to the earth. In the crowd we escaped, but never more
did we darken that house of prayer by our presence.”

“Yes, Hans, the Lord will be avenged for that proclamation of sport
on his own day. A silly King James was, indeed. My father saw him
as he passed through Preston, and he never spoke highly of kings
afterward.”

So interesting was the subject of their conversation, connected
with old remembrances, that for some time they were not aware
that the storm had altogether subsided. It was now a beautiful
calm, and soft breezes stole in at the opened window. Hans walked
forth to the mill, and thence gazed down upon the vale. A dim
reflection of the moon, pale with weeping, as she struggled through
the clouds, to gain some of the clear azure sky, which here and
there appeared, was resting on the swollen brook. A sound from the
distance fell upon his ear. He strained his eyes, and, at length,
recognized a form on horseback entering the vale.

“Rachel, Rachel, what can it be?” and there was terror, mingled
with curiosity, in the tones. His dame suddenly appeared, but to
her it was an equal mystery; not long to remain so, however, for
speedily the horse was reined up at the foot of the mountain.

“Ho!--help!--help!” exclaimed a man’s voice.

“Nay, nay, Hans, dost see that which he carries in his arms! My
God, look there,--that pale face, lifted to the moon. He is a
murderer! He gazes on it. Well may he shudder.”

“Help, good folks,” the voice repeated, in earnest tones. “Give
assistance to a lady. Good heavens, must my Mary die and follow her
father!”

A female shriek was heard, and the face raised itself to the
horseman, and small white arms were thrown around his neck. Hans
and his wife instantly hastened down the narrow winding path which
led to the barred entrance.

“Thank heaven, and you, good friends! Bayard, do not stir, as I
descend with my sweet burthen. Dame, will you give her shelter?”

“Aye, aye, sir. Beautiful creature! she seems asleep. Yet why
should she be abroad, and in your care, on such a night?”

“You must not question me,” was the reply, “at present; shew me
the way,” and he carried his companion, as gently as he would an
infant. “God bless thee, Mary,” he frequently muttered, as he put
the small face closer to his breast, and drew his cloak around her
form.

Rachel preceded him into the warm and comfortable room, and drew
a large easy chair from its place in the corner, to the fire. He
slowly bent on his knee, and seated his burden there. Her head
fell back, but her hands still grasped those of the horseman. She
was deadly pale, and might have been thought a corpse. There was a
mingled expression of madness, sorrow, and love, on the beautiful
outlines of her face. So long had they rode in the darkness, that
she could not open her eyes when the light fell upon them, and even
her finely pencilled lashes were still and motionless. Her little
feet, raised from the floor, quivered and trembled.

The good dame bustled about, and amid all her offices of kindness,
attested by her looks that she was plunged into a mystery, from
which she had no objections, instantly, to be extricated; only
she did not, in so many words, implore help. As she removed the
wet garments from the fair stranger, she gazed anxiously upon her
companion. He was young and handsome. He was nobly attired in a
cloak of deep mourning, and as it was thrown back in his motions, a
sword, belted by his side, was seen. His locks, as the fashion of
the times required from young gallants, were long, and they curled
gracefully down his shoulders. Since he entered, his eye had never
turned from the face of his companion.

“Mary, my Mary,” he at length said, as he played with the black
ringlets on her forehead, “look upon me, Mary.”

“Father, dost thou call? I’ll soon come to thee, soon,
soon--wherever thou art. But, I must see thy face. Oh! a headless
father to come to! yet, father, I _will_ come!” and she gave a loud
shriek of madness.

“Hush, Mary,--am I not spared to thee? Cannot we travel through
life together; and if we have no home through the wide world, all
in all to each other?”

No reply was made. He cast a look of anguish towards the dame and
her husband, who had then returned from sheltering the horse.

“She understands me not. Oh! who can comfort her now?”

“She is asleep,” said the dame, “and oh! young gentleman, if, as
I believe from her words concerning a father, you have removed
her from a father’s roof, you never, never can be happy. She is,
indeed, a beautiful creature to lie in your bosom, walk by your
side, and sing to you her own sweet dreams. But does the young bird
sing any more when taken from the nest? In every look, however
fond, you will behold a silent reproof for tearing her away from
her duties to an old father, without a blessing. The husband may
give the ring, but unless the father gives his blessing, she is
cursed. Oh, must that young head bow before a father’s curse? Look
at her slumbers, they ought to have been beneath the roof of her
own home. She might have perished in this awful night, and murder
had been added to your crime. Take her back to a father’s arms.”

“A father!” was the sorrowful reply. “She has no father; nor can
I as yet, claim over her the protection of a husband. Her father
perished, yesterday, by the order of a tyrant king, under the
false evidence of the governor of your castle. I had endeavoured
to convey her away from the scenes of her grief, and had engaged
a boat at Lancaster. But I dared not venture my precious freight
on such an awful night, and I have wandered, I know not whither.
Providence has brought me here to kind friends.”

“Young gentleman,” replied Hans, while tears were trickling freely
down his withered cheeks, “God will reward thee for thy care and
love to the orphan one. But whither would you bear her? Here she
may find a home, until happier days come, for I know that you will
seek the wars. She cannot depart at present.”

“No, no,” added the dame, “you must agree to leave her, and I shall
be a careful and affectionate mother, though an humble one.”

“Thanks, my good friends, both from the dead and the living! I
could not have hoped that so secure a home was awaiting her. O
nourish her for my sake, and when she speaks of her father, mention
my name, Henry Montressor, and assure her, that he will be father,
husband, all! I must leave her this moment. Should she awake, we
could never part. There is a purse of gold. Use it freely.”

“Not for ourselves,” replied the generous miller. “Although she
be of gentle blood, we make her our child. Her sorrows will be
lightened in our home, in this peaceful retreat.”

“Now,” said Montressor, and he gently disengaged his hands from
the grasp of his sleeping companion. He softly kissed her lips. He
started up, dreading that the tear which had fallen on her cheek,
would awake her. He raised his hands to heaven.

“God of mercy, if thou hast one whom in all the earth thou lovest
more than another, for innocence and misfortune, let that one be
Mary Evelyn! Let angels guard her, under the direction of her
sainted father. Send peace to her sorrows. Let thy balm drop into
every wound, thou gracious Being.”

“Amen,” responded the miller and his wife.

And surely God himself repeated the same Amen; for a sweet
beauty, shining in quiet happiness, rested upon the features of
the sleeping one. Montressor pointed to her, whilst he said in
anguish,--

“And should she wander in her mind, oh, soothe her. When she
awakens, tell her that I am safe, and that soon I am here again.
One kiss more, my Mary.”

Hans conducted him down to the pass, and soon the sound of the
horse’s hoofs were unheard in the distance. The moon was shining
brightly.

“Never,” said Hans, “were the rays so sweet here before. And well
may they, such a beautiful face lies in our house!”

       *       *       *       *       *

The weary months of winter passed on, and Mary Evelyn was a gentle
maniac. Unremitting were the attentions of her humble friends, but
she heeded them not. She was always, when awake, playing with the
counterpane of her little bed; starting up, and shrieking in her
sport.

“Arthur Montressor,” she would say, “why do you go forth alone
to gather flowers for me? Must I not accompany you, and gather
the most beautiful for your own auburn locks? Ah! there is an old
venerable man enters. How beautiful are those white locks, and that
meek, meek face. Go, Arthur. I must stay here, alone, with the
headless man! headless, look at him,--gory neck! Ha, ha!”

Spring came, and the good dame brought flowers and strewed them
upon the pillow. They were steeped in the morning’s dew, and as
Mary applied them to her burning forehead, and parched lips, she
smiled and seemed to be pleased. But she played with them, and
their heads came off.

“Yes, yes,--he was beheaded!”

After this she daily became calmer, until she was herself again;
the beautiful and blushing Mary Evelyn. Yet, think not that the
madness had departed! Reason is like a mirror; break it,--you may
replace the fragments,--still it is broken. She loved to wander
forth along the glen, or into the cave. Her soul was like a harp,
which every spirit of Nature could touch. Madness had sublimed many
a thought and feeling, until they seemed to hold converse with
the spiritual world.--Nature is more personal than is generally
thought. She has a soul as well as senses. The latter are the
pleasant sights, the sweet fragrance, and the music of voices,
but the soul of Nature is that deep internal working every where,
whose will operates upon the senses. Have we not felt the throbbing
of its pulse of life, and can she live without a soul? Nature,
therefore, is earth’s best comforter to the lonely, because she
feels and acts--a free agent.

Mary Evelyn could now also enjoy the conversation of the miller and
his wife.

“Miss Evelyn,” Hans once in good humour remarked, “we thought that
you never would speak to us. But, as my mother used to observe,
‘persons may carry an egg long in their pocket, and break it at
last.’”

Whenever Miss Evelyn wished to be alone, she could retire to her
own little apartment, which opened into the back of the glen, or
wander into the cave, where the various sounds of the brook falling
amidst the rocks and cavities, and the notes of the birds, whose
nests were there, beguiled her melancholy.

Meanwhile active hostilities between the King and Parliament had
commenced. The sword had been unsheathed, and blood was already on
its edge. Counter acts, threats, and impeachments, ceased, and the
field was taken. Lancashire, echoing the voice of Lord Strange,
declared for Charles, and engaged in the struggle. A few of the
principal towns had been seized upon, and held by the Royalists, in
spite of the assaults of the Parliamentary forces; but the latter,
under the command of the most able generals, and fresh with the
enthusiasm of a new-born liberty, were soon to be successful.

The inmates of Dunald Mill were not altogether ignorant of these
troublous times. The clapper made a constant noise, and Rachel’s
speech, of which she naturally had a great fluency, was incessant:
still, these combined agencies could not deafen their ears to all
the reports. On the sabbath, when they repaired to Lancaster,
although it was the day of peace, there were no subjects of
conversation afloat, except rumours of war. In the church, many a
seal had the parson opened, amidst thunderings and lightnings, and
black horses, and white horses, and red horses, and riders bearing
bows, conquering and to conquer, had spurred forth. Then he would,
from Scripture prophecy, delineate the character of the opposite
leaders in the war. When Lord Strange planted the royal standard in
the county, the parson’s text was, “Who is this that cometh from
Edom?” Edom, he very judiciously considered, as synonymous with
Lathom, the family seat of his lordship. When Oliver Cromwell was
reported to be marching into Lancashire, at the head of a body of
men, whom he had himself levied and disciplined, he travelled into
the Apocalypse, and gave out the following;--“And they had tails
like unto scorpions, and there were stings in their tails, and
their power was to hurt men, five months. And they had a king over
them, who is the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in the
Hebrew tongue is Abaddon.”

“Abaddon!” the parson exclaimed. “Yes, Cromwell is a bad un, a
thorough bad un!”

Often did he descend into the valley of vision, and take a view of
the dry bones; or enter the field of battle called Armageddon. He
would then pray, and the clerk held up his hands and stayed them,
lest Amalek might prevail. And truly for the length of an hour
he prayed, as some of the dissolute Royalists remarked, without
ceasing or sneezing. Alas! cavalier parsons could quote and apply
Scripture language as ludicrously and blasphemously as roundhead
ranters!

Thus, war had lately been the constant theme. It seemed to be
pleasant to Miss Evelyn; and when all the tender and the beautiful
of her sex were imploring success on the handsome king, she
supplicated a blessing upon the arms of the fierce republicans, and
when news came of victory on the side of the Royalists, the cloud
which passed over her brow betokened that she considered herself
as one of the vanquished.

One Sunday morning, Hans, after donning his holiday attire, entered
the little room in front, where they generally sat together, and
found his wife and Miss Evelyn unprepared to attend him to church.

“So, Rachel, you intend to preach at home?”

“Yea, Hans,” was the reply, “my lady and I have agreed to stay at
Bethel, and not go up to Zion. It is not safe for females to travel
in such dangerous times. Nor can I enjoy the privileges of Zion at
present. Whenever I enter the church, my thoughts are disquieted
within me. It is so near the castle, and I think more of cannons
and soldiers, than any thing else. Nor is the parson clothed with
salvation, he speaks always of war. God will indeed make this a
Bethel, and Rachel Skippon shall sing aloud for joy.”

“Yes, my dear friends,” said Mary Evelyn with enthusiasm, “how
delightfully shall we spend the Sabbath! the little glen behind,
shall be our church, where no roof but that canopy above, can
intercept our ascending praise. The flowers shall be our hymn
books. Nay, nay, they whisper of a Creator, but not of a Saviour.
Even the lilies which he pointed out so beautifully when on earth,
are silent of Him! How calm is every object around! In what a holy
and sabbath repose do the rays fall, as if they were the feet of
angels, dancing so lightly upon our earth!”

“Yes,” replied Hans, in true christian feeling, “the sabbath was
made for man, and not man for the sabbath. Take away this day,
and we could not tell what heaven is. And yet that profane prince
proclaimed sports thereon, and appointed that his book should be
laid on the pulpit, along with the book of life. But, I must away
to the public ordinances. Should war come to Lancaster, which side
must I fall into? Alas, Evelyn speaks so beautifully of the holy
puritans, who hate a tyrant over their consciences, that for some
time I have ceased to pray for him who is called King.”

“Hans,” replied the dame, with some warmth, “if I thought you could
be so foolish as to take the sword, as truly as I live, I would
this moment disable you from leaving the house. But you could not
mean this;--no, no. Well, you can go, and to entice you home,
I shall prepare some savoury meat, such as thy soul loveth, of
which you may eat in abundance, and praise the Lord. Wont you bid
farewell to your wife?”

She threw her arms around his neck, but the old man seemed offended.

“Do you intend to disable me?” he asked, as he put her arms from
about him. “Thirty-five long years have I lived with you, and
never listened to such language. But since you have become Job’s
wife, I must be Job, and shew patience. Come, wife, kiss me,”
and he gave a loud and hearty laugh, which he suppressed when he
remembered that it was the sabbath.

“Fie, fie, Hans, to speak of kissing before a young lady! It is
unseemly.”

“Verily, dame, Miss Evelyn knew what kissing meant before. She
blushes--Good morning, Miss Evelyn. Good morning, dame. Hush, just
one, do not make a disturbance; it is the sabbath.”

The miller walked up the glen, and soon gained the highway. At
every step he beheld proofs of the bad effects of the “Book of
Sports.” No crowds were to be seen moving to church, but they were
loitering by the way, engaged in mirth and games.

“Ha!” exclaimed Hans, as he beheld an old man tottering on before
him,--“who can this be? I should know his gait, but then, his
apparel is changed. It is old Sir Robert; but before, he was always
dressed as a gay cavalier.”

The old knight turned round. His white locks hung over a
plain-fashioned coat, and his hat was stripped of the proud plume
which he had once sported. His age might be seventy, although his
face was rosy.

“Well, well, good miller,” he kindly said, “art thou alone also? I
left my beloved daughters at home, for I am fearful of the times.”

“You have nothing to fear, Sir Robert,” replied the miller, “in
Lancaster, since you are a Royalist.”

“A Royalist!” echoed the knight, and he shook his head. “Not much
of that now; no, no. The king has become a tyrant, and I disown his
cause. A gallant nephew of mine, a roundhead by principle, in a
battle of last month, was made prisoner, and the king gave him no
quarter--but death!”

“The taking away of life,” rejoined the miller, “Charles seems to
consider as his kingly prerogative.”

“His turn will come at last, Republicans say it _shall_, Death says
it _will_. And what is a King? The meanest beggar. The poor man may
only have one morsel of bread,--the king demands the half of it,
and he is not frightened, for all his pride, and by his thoughts of
dirt and scab to eat it. He,--a great man! Go to the treasury, and
there you will see the widow’s mite, and the starving man’s alms!
and Charles puts forth his white hand and takes them!”

“Yea, truly,” said Hans, “I am more independent in my cottage,
than Charles in his palace. I earn my bread by labour, but he just
puts on a few robes which we have all patched up with our own rags,
blows a whistle which we have bought for him, and plays with a toy
which he calls a sceptre, and for all this he receives his million.”

“Nay, good friend, you scorn a king too much. A king _can_ work,
and deserve all his salary, by ruling well, and peaceably. But as
for Charles, he has taken the sword against that country, which he
solemnly swore to protect. He sets his royal head up against all
the sage senators of the nation. One man laughs at a Parliament!
If his father deserved the name of Solomon,--Charles has much more
justly earned that of Rehoboam: for under him all the tribes of
Israel have revolted. He has bound on the nation, grevious burdens,
which cannot be borne, and which he himself could not move, even
with his little finger. And as for my poor Lord Strange--of the
Derby race--why he’s a black hearted Papist. Were Cromwell to
sweep down upon him, the vain nobleman would gladly hie away to
the Isle-of-man. I wish no evil to him, but merely pray ‘the Lord
rebuke him!’ would that the Eagle which brought a child to the
family, were again to descend and take this _child_ wheresoever he
lists!”

They walked on together. As they entered Lancaster, they were
struck at the unusual stillness and quiet of the streets. There
were no games and sports. The doors were shut, and no longer were
children sitting on the thresholds. The town seemed deserted,
until they came to the church gates, where crowds had assembled,
all in earnest conversation. The venerable structure arising to the
morning rays from the green hill, near to the castle, seemed like
an angel pleading against the uses and employments of the other.
They are both, evidently, of the same high antiquity, and standing,
also, upon romantic elevations, it might be imagined that they had
been founded to oppose each other. The parson, in one of his just
similies, had called the mount of the castle--Sinai, of which the
flashes and reports of the cannon were thunders and lightnings;
whilst he designated the mount of the church--Zion--where his own
notes were the still small whisperings of mercy, to listen unto
which the assembled tribes came up.

The crowds were gazing intently upon the castle, where the
sentinels had been doubled. A few were gay, and vapoured out jests
against the enemy, in the cavalier style of affected blasphemy and
dissipation.

“So,” said one whose hat was shaped in the fashion of one of the
turrets of the castle, high and tapering, but foppishly off the
true perpendicular, and who was lord of a neighbouring mansion,
“those cannons peer out from the loopholes in front like the
piercing eyes of a buxom damsel at the window, ogling and smiling.
They’ll riddle the breeches of the enemy. The governor assured
me, yesterday, that as the roundheads are so fond of Scripture,
whenever they come, he shall put a whole Bible in the mouth of the
cannon, thus to quiet them in the name of the Lord, and give them
holy promise, precept, and threat, line upon line, all at once.
They shall be left to digest them at their leisure.”

“Good, good, ha, ha,” replied a neighbour cavalier, “but then it
will scarcely be the Book of Life, you know.”

“Nay,” was the rejoinder, “you are out there. Come, let us reason
together. The Bible is the sword of the Spirit, it can kill,
especially if it were bound in a lead case, and thrown with fury.
It is the savour of death unto death, as they themselves would say.
Savour! aye there will be a pretty strong savour of powder on its
pages! Nol himself, although he had three warts at the end of his
nose, instead of one at the side, would smell it!”

“Could not the Royal Book of Sports,” slily said Sir Robert with a
smile of scorn on his aged features, “of which his present Majesty
has printed a new edition, be substituted in its place?”

“Good,” was the reply, “most excellent! Eh? would it not make
rare _sport_ amongst the roundheads? It would verily enforce them
to join in a few games, such as dancing till they fell down. But,
old knight, be on your guard how you recommend that measure again.
It has been seconded and carried by a majority of affirmatives in
parliament with this amendment, of being burnt by the hands of the
common hangman, instead of being vomited forth by the cannon.”

“See,” whispered the knight to the miller. “Parliament does its
duty nobly, by purging itself from that mass of pollution. I
attempted to do my duty when the king wrote it, and it nearly cost
me my head. The crowned fool fumed like the smoke of that tobacco
against which he blew ‘A Royal Blast.’”

The church was crowded, and many were obliged to stand, for lack
of better accommodation. A few soldiers from the castle took their
place in the aisles, and during the reading of prayers, at every
Amen pronounced by the clerk, and responded to by the congregation,
they clashed their sheathed swords on the echoing pavement, and
then laughed to each other.

The parson arose to commence his discourse. His face had got a
rueful longitude, which assisted him to read his text with becoming
effect.

“And there shall be rumours of wars.”

His divisions, theologically speaking, were striking and
impressive. He mentioned, in regular succession, all the rumours
which had been afloat!

“First, my brethren, when I was in the neighbourhood of Manchester,
the skies had darkened, and all was still around, when I heard a
warlike drum. But greater woes were to succeed,--and I fled.”

He had proceeded through the divisions, and had come to the last.

“Lastly, my brethren,”--

He was interrupted by a loud report of a cannon fired from the
castle. All sprung to their feet. The soldiers rushed to the gate.

“Lastly, my brethren,--there is the cannon bringing rumours of
wars.”

His voice was drowned by another and another awful peal rumbling
over the church.

“The enemy! the enemy!” was the general cry. Hans was borne
irresistibly along with the crowd to the castle; and from its
ramparts they beheld a strong body of troops encamping at the
distance of a few miles.

The governor of the castle stood with his glass. After gazing
long and anxiously, he exclaimed, “Soldiers, haste, prepare for a
siege. The enemy will be strait upon us. They are Oliver Cromwell’s
troops.”

“The cry was raised by the multitude, ‘Oliver Cromwell!’”

What terror seized even the bravest royalist at that plain name!

The military cleared the court of the frightened citizens, and all
the gates and avenues were strongly barricaded. The royal banner
was unfurled amid the shouts of the inhabitants, who now resolved
to rally.

“We are safe for one day,” exclaimed some. “Cromwell was never
known to be such a ruffian as to commence an attack, much less a
siege, on the Lord’s day.”

The miller, along with the knight, as speedily as possible
retreated to the extremity of the town, and proceeded homeward.

Sir Robert Bradley’s mansion was near the romantic vale of
Lonsdale. He was not a native of the county, but had retired there
after a life spent at the court of James, when he observed that
that sovereign’s successor, although young and inexperienced, could
not brook anything but honied words, and pleasant flattery, from
his councillors; and that to be faithful was to make him their
enemy. Nursed by two lovely and affectionate daughters, he enjoyed
a peaceful happiness he had never known amidst all the bustle,
intrigue, and rivalry of his younger days.

A few weeks ago, his nephew, who had joined the Parliamentary
troops, without his consent, and against his expressed wish, had
been captured in the field of battle, and the fate decreed by the
king, was death. The old knight had cursed the youthful roundhead,
but now, even more than his ancient fondness had returned for his
brother’s son, whom he had educated from a boy; and an uncle’s
blessing was given to the memory of the dead, whilst he imprecated
vengeance on the king. But there was one of the family to whom the
tidings came a darker message, and a more bitter loss. Not only
were the hopes, but the very existence of that one--dependant.
Sweet Madeline Bradley, the knight’s younger daughter, had been
betrothed to her cousin from childhood. They had tripped the same
path in the vale many a morn; and as many an eve they had bent to
unbuckle the old man’s shoes, their loving hands touching each
other, and their luxurious tresses failing together. And when
Madeline grew up into beautiful womanhood, when love mingles with
awe and worship, bashfulness and timidity only served to explain
their intimacy better. When she heard of his death, she started
not. Amidst the tears of her sister Sarah, and the grief of her
father for him who had been the family’s favourite, she wept not
for him who had been her lover. She raved not. Sir Robert thought
that she bore it lightly, till one evening at sunset, about a week
after the mournful news had been told her, he was seated in the
arbour. He heard a light step approaching, and then a low sweet
voice, as if afraid to be heard, making such a request, breathed
its silvery accents.

“Cousin, the night is so beautiful. Come, let us to the vale, if
you would rather not be alone, Cousin.”

And when her father stepped forth, the truth came to her
remembrance. Still she fainted not; but she became deadly pale, and
leaned for support against the young trees at the entrance. Alas!
her’s was a broken heart, although unknown; and the knight as he
blessed her in fondness at every return of the hour of rest, might
have read something in her deep blue eyes, raised so earnestly,
that would have told him that she was not certain whether she could
awake for him any more. With what regret she then parted from him!
She followed him to the door of his sleeping apartment, that a
latest farewell might be allowed. But the good knight saw not the
awful progress that death was making.

The miller and the knight, on their way home, conversed about the
arrival of the enemy.

“My good friend,” said Sir Robert, “trust me, that if the troops
be headed by Cromwell, the Governor of Lancaster Castle may yield
at discretion. What a deep, a burning enthusiasm, there is in that
wonderful man, although he be turned on the wrong side of forty! I
cannot but believe that it is the fire of heaven.”

“Verily,” replied Hans Skippon, “it will soon destroy the temples
of Baal. But here is the footpath leading to my quiet cottage. God
grant that the soldiers be not near it.”

They parted. The miller, on entering into the wide glen, started
as he beheld the roundhead soldiers there encamped. They were
engaged in religious services. A solemn hush, disturbed alone by
the shrill notes of the curlew and the plover, as they arose from
the long tufted grass, was over the band as they listened to the
exhortations of one of their preachers, who stood on a mass of grey
rock. Hans was inclined to join them in their sabbath employments,
but he dreaded lest he should be retained by them, and pressed
into their lists, although he might have been free from all fears
upon the latter point, as he would have been no acquisition to
the disciplined veterans of Cromwell. He, accordingly, avoided
them by a circuitous rout, on the back of a neighbouring hill, and
without hindrance or obstruction, at length reached his cottage.
He paused at the door. He heard a stranger’s voice. It was low and
husky;--but, unaccountably, by its very tones, he was spell-bound,
and compelled to listen.

“Maiden,” were the words, “thy sorrows and thy history, are those
of our mother country. I know that thou wert formed by God for
happiness, and was not England? Now she is bowed in the dust,--but
there is an outstretched rod for the oppressor, and an outstretched
arm of deliverance for the oppressed. Both gleam from the clouds of
her adversity, and soon, soon they reach those for whom they are
destined! Liberty cannot die while man has one heart-string. My
maiden, cheer is for thee. Thy father lost his head, sayest thou?
Others may lose theirs also.”

Hans, after these words were uttered, turned the latch, and walked
in. At the little window a soldier, not in the uniform of an
officer, but well accoutred, was sitting. He was gazing upon the
vale without, and his dark grey eye glowed, as it moved restlessly
on all the objects. The features were not finely formed: indeed,
they might be called coarse, though not plain, for a wild power
was expressed. From his broad and prominent forehead, the light
red locks were put back. His countenance, one moment, was so calm
and sanctified, that he might have been set down as a preacher of
the gospel: but the next, it was so troubled and fiery, that he
appeared a fierce and ambitious warrior.

Although his eye seemed upon the full stretch of resolution and
thought, his hand was placed softly upon the bending head of Mary
Evelyn, whom he had, evidently, been attempting to console. Old
Rachel was seated at a short distance from him, with a bible
in her hand, but many a look was stolen from its pages to the
countenance of the stranger. Her ears caught the sounds of her
husband’s footsteps.

“Hans,” she exclaimed, “is all well, that you have left the church
so soon? You have only been gathering crumbs beneath the table,
like a graceless dog. Woe, woe unto short sermons, and impatient
hearers! You have come home before the pudding is ready. What’s the
matter, Hans?”

But the miller neglected to answer the queries of his dame, being
employed in obsequiously bowing to the stranger.

“Friend, kneel not to me; I am only thy fellow-servant. See that
thou do it not. I am _but_ Oliver Cromwell!”

As he pronounced the word _but_, there was a proud smile passed
over his features, and he arose from his seat for a moment, in
that air of command which was natural unto him. His proud bearing
attested that though he refused to receive homage, he considered
himself entitled to it.

Hans Skippon, on hearing the name of the stranger, bent down on his
knees.

“Nay, I kneel not to thee, but to the Most High, who hath raised
thee up for a horn unto his people.”

“I am, indeed, but an instrument in the Divine hands; and an atom,
created for working out the Divine counsels. I am but a small
stone, cut out of the mountains, to break down the image of the
beast. Good miller, arise from thy knees.”

“A very sensible advice,” muttered Rachel, who was not altogether
pleased with the lowly posture of her husband.

“Didst thou pass my troops?” inquired Cromwell, “and how were they
employed?”

“They were listening to the exhortations of a preacher, and the
very horses even seemed attentive, for they stood silent.”

“How different,” exclaimed the dame, “from all other soldiers, who
make the sabbath a day of wanton sport. They curse and swear like
the king himself. They stay at the wine-cup till their eyes are
red, and their great toes cannot balance the bulk above them. Put
a cap sideways on a monkey, teach him to say ‘damn,’ to look and
be wicked; take him to the king, and get him knighted, and he is
a good cavalier. Knight him with a sword! Bring him to me, and I
should do it to better purpose with a rough stick!”

Cromwell _smiled_ at this ebullition of feeling. Throughout all his
life he was never known to _laugh_.

“You speak warmly, dame,” said he. “But since a sword is the only
weapon of knighthood, they shall have one. Here,” and he pointed to
his own, lying sheathed on the casement, “is the sword of Gideon.
That sword has been blessed as often as the food which I partake
of. But, miller, thou wert at church to-day. ’Tis well; yet I have
a few things to say against thee; I would thou wert either cold or
hot.”

Rachel was looking in at the large pot on the fire, in which the
pudding was boiling, as she thought, too slowly. Her temper was
provoked, and she muttered, as she raised the pudding on the end of
a stick;

“I would _thou_ wert either cold or hot.”

“I have a few things to say against thee, my trusty miller,”
repeated Cromwell.

“A few things to say against Hans,” exclaimed Rachel with much
warmth, while she left the pot, and faced round to Cromwell. “Take
care what thou sayest against Hans!”

“Pooh!” was the contemptuous answer. “Thou fumest; but I know how
to cork every bottle of ale, brisk though it be. I carry stoppers,
even for a woman--but beware.”

“A few things to say against Hans!” continued Rachel, but in a
lower voice,--“why, he’s a good husband, a good christian, and--”

“Too _good_ a subject to King Charles,” added Cromwell with a
frown. “Woe unto you that still dwell in the tents of Ham. God
shall enlarge us and our borders; but woe be to you. And yet, you
have kindly given refuge to this lovely maiden, whose history I
have heard, and whose wrongs, God be my witness, I shall revenge.
Because Rahab kept the spies, she was allowed to enter the promised
land, and because you have kept this persecuted daughter of a brave
man, God will reward you!”

He paused, and then continued,--

“And wherefore should I induce you to leave this peaceful retreat,
and your rural occupations? A Sunday spent in the country would
almost suffice to put an end to war, and to make brethren of all
mankind!”

He turned his head, seemingly absorbed in his own reflections. His
eyes could not be seen. They were altogether buried beneath his
eye-brows and his massive forehead.

“In church,” replied Hans to the repeated inquiries of his dame,
“we were disturbed by the noise of the cannon firing from the
castle. Ah! it is no longer true that we can sit under our vine and
fig-tree,--none daring to make us afraid.”

“Fig-tree!” exclaimed Rachel, whose memory had not retained the
passage, and whose reason applied it in a literal sense, “why
we cannot even sit under the cherry-tree in the garden without
somebody troubling us. Miss Evelyn and I--draw nearer, Hans, and
I shall whisper it--were seated there, when this noble officer,
attended by five or six troopers, came to the gate. And yet, he
has not disturbed us much. I feel proud that he has come to our
dwelling. As he entered, his sword was clashing on the threshold,
but he said, ‘Peace be unto this house.’ But go on; you mentioned a
disturbance in the church.”

“Yes, cannons were fired from the castle. They drowned the piping
of the parson. We all rushed out, and made for the castle. The
governor stood on the battlements, as motionless as a sack of
flour. But his eyes were fixed upon some distant object, and he
exclaimed ‘Cromwell, Cromwell.’”

These words were repeated by the miller in a loud voice. Cromwell
started up. Hans turned his back and busied himself with an
examination of the pudding in the pot.

“Who called me by name. Who called me?”

No one answered.

“Yes, it was an angel’s voice! Stay,” and Cromwell took his boots
from off his feet. “Now speak, Lord, for thy servant heareth.”

His eyes were wildly raised. Not one of his enemies could have
laughed at his grotesque appearance, for the face was expressive of
an unearthly communion. It was pale; the very breath of the angel
whom he imagined to be there, might have passed over it.

“Nay, thou wilt not stay! It is well. I could not execute a
commission of vengeance on the Sabbath.”

It is singular that this great man was often deluded by visions,
and communications from the other world. His sudden conversion
from extreme dissipation had invested him, in his own eyes,
with something of a wonder and a miracle. It was the same with
Mohammed. But although this was a weakness, it was the source of
his energies, and inflexible resolution. He could not believe that
these fancies were the dreams of youth; for he had already passed
the meridian of life. He knew that his bodily senses were becoming
blunted, and he therefore was willing to think that his spiritual
senses were more acute and could distinguish sounds and sights,
which were strange to all but his gifted self. But let not his
enemies mock him. He might assert and believe that he heard sounds
urging him to go to the field of battle, to dare more than any
other warrior, and usurper; but did he ever hear any urging him
to fly, to leave undone what he had resolved to do? Nay, had he
actually heard such, he would have rejected them. Religion,--the
tones of every angel above,--nay, the very voice of God himself,
could not have made Cromwell a coward!

At length they sat down to dinner. A large substantial pudding was
placed before them. In those days, the guests of the poor had not
each a knife and fork; nay, they had not each a plate. All things
were in common. The miller clasped his hands together and looked
up for a blessing. And here, let not our readers expect something
long and very piously expressed. The spirit of the times was too
much debased by blasphemous allusions, which are only redeemed from
condemnation by their quaintness.

“Hans,” whispered Rachel, “give us your best blessing. Let it be
the one in rhyme.”

A pause was made. Cromwell’s eyes were shut, and Hans solemnly
began,--

    “Lord bless us! Devil miss us!
    Rachel--bring the spoons to us!”

The good dame was hastening to comply with the request, when
Cromwell cried,

“Nay, miller, thou hast but asked a blessing on us. Let us ask a
blessing on the provisions. Your’s is but a vulture’s blessing,”
and he himself poured forth thanksgivings to God, for all his
mercies.

After the repast, Cromwell spoke but little, except to Mary Evelyn,
to whose lot he promised better days. But the miller was a little
curious to know his intended movements, as it was not every day
which brought him such opportunities for looking into the future.

“They expect you at Lancaster, General,” said he turning to
Cromwell.

“And yet,” was the answer, “I shall prove that although they expect
me, they are not quite prepared for my reception. The walls of
Jericho must fall down. And saidst thou, pretty innocent,” as he
looked upon Miss Evelyn with a kind eye, “that the Governor of
Lancaster Castle, gave evidence against thy father, even to the
death?”

“He did, noble warrior. My father was an old friend of Charles.
But he could not support him in his tyrannic measures with the
Parliament. Whisperings went abroad that my father had agreed to
assassinate him. The Governor of Lancaster Castle was reported to
have heard him say, that if the king went further, the nation must
purchase a block, and that no nobleman who loved his country, would
refuse to be the executioner; and such evidence was given; it was
false. Oh! my poor father.”

Her eye rolled wildly around, as when in her moments of madness.
The miller and his dame perceived it, and went kindly to console
her. But the voice of Cromwell, though neither sweet nor full
toned, seemed to exercise a charm over her grief, as if he had been
some superior being; and instead of raving, she only fell into a
fit of insensibility.

“Leave her to me, good people. Now my pretty one, put your hands in
mine.”

He looked up solemnly, whilst he whispered,

“God above, heal her mind, and heal our mother country. Affection
may yet smile upon her, and kindness may cherish her, but she is a
wreck. The delapidated temple may have the earth around, as green
as ever, and the sky above, as holy and beautiful, but it is still
a ruin. Ho! my good friends, here, she breathes not. Her heart has
stopped its pulse against my breast. Throw the spring water upon
her face. Now she recovers. Look up, then, innocent one.”

In a few minutes she was able to thank him for his attentions.

“It is a painful subject, but although I hear it not mentioned,
it is ever present to my mind. Oh! it is wicked in me to cherish
revenge towards that man. I almost hate him. I almost wish him
dead.”

“Blame not the wish. I have myself wished, nay prayed fervently
for hours at the still approach of midnight, that the man, Charles
Stuart, should die by our hands. He has braved the Parliament, and
why should the judges spare him?”

And yet this was the man who, in after years, dissolved the
Parliament by force, and took the keys home in his pocket. Charles
might not order his attendants in as eloquent and strong language,
to seize the offenders, as Cromwell used, when he told his servants
to take down, “that bauble,”--the mace; but the king was guilty of
a less constitutional crime than was the protector.

He continued, in tones of scorn, while malice darkened over his
face,--

“If Charles be bad, why, he deserves death; he is unfit to live.
If he be good, it is but meet that he should leave this vain and
wicked world for another more congenial to his piety, where he may
inherit a heavenly crown. Let him bid adieu, and there is no honest
man who could object to a monarchy in heaven! Often has Charles
called the crown, a crown of thorns. We shall ease him of it. Pity
that his tender and royal flesh should be scratched! Often has he
called the throne of England a cross. We shall take him down from
the cross, _and bury him_. Pity that he should, any longer, be a
spectacle to angels and to men! We shall free him of both his crown
and his throne!”

“But surely not of his life?” inquired Miss Evelyn, and the
question was repeated by Hans and Rachel Skippon.

It was unanswered:--and Cromwell relapsed into one of those silent
moods which came frequently over him, even at the commencement
of his public career, as well as afterwards, when he became Lord
Protector.

In all his conversation, Mary Evelyn had observed that there was
something of an innocent hypocrisy about him. He counterfeited
tender feelings, when it was evident, from his face, that he
had none; and at other times he restrained tender feelings,
and appeared what he was not--cold and indifferent. But in his
expressed hatred of the king, there could not be a doubt of his
sincerity. The awful sarcasm was in deadly earnest, and the very
words hissed, and hissed, as if they were coming from a full
furnace of burning wrath. Neither was his love for England at
that time insincere. Had his life been of as much value to it as
his sword, instead of taking up the one, he was willing to have
resigned the other.

A knocking was now made at the gate, and when Rachel went to it, a
soldier of the common rank inquired,--

“Tarrieth my lord in the house? Verily he hath chosen a peaceful
spot. The lines have fallen unto him in pleasant places. Lead me
the way.”

“Dost thou preach in the army?” inquired the dame.

“No madam; verily, verily I say unto you, that many shall be called
unto that work, but few chosen. But thou wonderest at the fluency
of my speech. Ah!--out of the abundance of the heart the mouth
speaketh. I only edify and exhort in private.”

The good dame could, with difficulty, refrain from laughing at
the uncouth soldier. He was tall and thin, and she afterwards
remarked,--had Goliath been still alive, the soldier would have
been an excellent sword for his huge hand. But he opened his lips
so oracularly, and strode so gravely, that these circumstances
being taken into consideration, along with his leanness, he was
termed by Cromwell himself, with no little blasphemy, when in an
unusual fit of jocularity and good humour, “the holy _ghost_!”

When they had gained the house, he made a low reverence to
Cromwell, repeating the words, “honour to whom honour is due, fear
to whom fear.”

“Well, my good soldier, what wouldst thou?”

“Will it please you, my lord, to walk forth in the cool of the day,
and commune with thy servants, our captains and officers?”

“Yes, in a few moments I shall be with them.”

The soldier retreated to the door slowly, whilst he said,

“Now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace.”

Cromwell, in a little, walked forth alone. The miller looked at
his form. It was muscular, but not strong, and well built, but not
handsome; but all its movements were expressive of power.

“He _will_ save the nation,” exclaimed Miss Evelyn, “and for all
his greatness, he is yet so pious and devout.”

“I could trust that man,” replied Rachel, “but I could not feel
any attachment or affection to him. He might perish to-morrow, and
yet, but for our country, I would not mourn at his loss.”

The good dame here expressed what was the universal feeling of all
Cromwell’s supporters towards him. He had their confidence, but not
their affection. His own daughters, at one time, were proud of him,
but they were never fond. And in the glowing panegyric of Milton,
we can but trace a high admiration of Cromwell.

“Arthur Montressor,” said Mary to herself, “must not belong to
Cromwell’s troops, else he would surely have come to see me. He is
not false or faithless. Oh! when shall civil war be at an end, and
we know a home?”

Cromwell returned an hour before sunset. His step was slow. He was
in a quiet contemplative mood, evidently not thinking of war. His
head was uncovered, and he allowed the air to breathe its fragrance
upon it. He paused at the threshold, as if it were painful to enter
a dwelling after having wandered about the vale.

The night was beautiful and still. It was early in the month of
May, and the sunshine had all its young summer innocence. In mirth
it seemed now to rest upon the little green knolls, and then to
retreat to the mountain. The shadows were passing over the white
cottage, as if chiding the bright rays which shone within.

“My good friends,” said Cromwell “it is now time for our evening
devotions. Let them not be performed in a house made with hands,
but in the open air. And yet I would rather worship in your
dwelling, than in all the gorgeous temples, which speak too much of
man, to say any thing of God. But, let us to the garden.”

His eye beamed with a love for nature. He is said often to have
dwelt with rapture on the beauty of external objects, and to have
wished that his lot, however humble, had been cast in a pastoral
retirement, far from bustle and care. Nature had first given him
thoughts of liberty. It was not the lightning and the storm, which
inspired them. He cared not for the cold mountains, with their
terrific heads mantled in the tempest. He looked around upon lovely
nature. He called himself her son. It was not because she was free,
but because she was beautiful, that he swore never to be a slave. A
beautiful mother, and a son with a craven soul: it must not be!

They went forth to the garden. A pleasant arbour at the extremity,
topping the eminence, and shaded with trees, was their temple.
The balmy fragrance of eve rested on the bushes, and the glow of
coming twilight floated in the sky. Cromwell for a moment listened
in silence, as if the song of spirits, keeping their sabbath, was
borne on the gentle west wind.

“What a temple is this,” he said, “to worship God! I cannot endure
to enter churches, and there to gaze upon the gay gilded fluttering
sons of pride, clothed in purple and fine linen. But here, I can
gaze upon objects still more gaily adorned, and I dare not call
them vain.”

“Oh!” exclaimed Miss Evelyn, catching fire and animation from the
republican. “Churches teach so much the lesson of our mortality.
Many graves are around us. But this temple teaches us of
immortality.”

“Thou speakest well, beauteous maiden. Mortality is a great
lesson, but immortality is one greater and more useful. Mortality
teaches us to trace our connections and relatives in the worm. But
immortality in God and angels! Sin brought the first to light, but
Christ the other.”

They all joined in singing a psalm. Mary Evelyn’s sweet voice, with
its low and tremulous sounds, occasionally induced Cromwell to be
silent and listen, while he kindly placed his hand upon hers. He
next read a portion of Scripture,--one of the Psalms--which he
afterwards commented upon, in his address to Parliament, as Lord
Protector of the Commonwealth. He then knelt down on the grass and
prayed, “Father above, we come to thee! We now bow at thy feet:
soon we shall lie in thine arms! Far above us, still thou hidest
not thy face. Excuse us in this act of adoration, for opening our
eyes to see the heavens, and for sinking our hands on the ground
to feel thy footstool. The moon and the stars may not arise, but
the clouds which conceal them, tell their tale. The flowers of the
earth may have withered, but the clods of the valley, beneath which
their fair young forms are buried, take their place, and speak to
us of thee!”

Here he paused, as if overcome by the greatness of the Being whom
he addressed. But soon it was the strong republican who prayed, and
he raved about Israel; Israel’s God, and himself the deliverer of
both, as he presumed.

When he had concluded, he abruptly arose and left them. They
followed him into the house, after a few minutes, but he had gone
to his apartment for the night. As long however as they themselves
were awake, they heard him walking up and down.

       *       *       *       *       *

On the following morning, the sun was not earlier in arising upon
the turrets of Lancaster Castle, than were the soldiers of the
garrison. They were in armour, and the cannons were all charged and
manned. The Governor was walking about to every post and every
circle, encouraging them to do their duty to the king and country.

His eyes were occasionally turned to the vale where Cromwell’s
troops were encamped.

“Do they yet move,” said a noble youth who now approached. “Father,
shall we able to hold out a siege against such a famed general?”

“Is my son a traitor,” bitterly asked the governor. “If he be,
then my first duty of vengeance is against him. No! a king has
blessed thee, and wouldst thou fight against him who once took
thee, an infant, in his royal arms, and swore that thou wert like
thy beautiful mother? Thy mother! Ha, the subject and the name are
unfit for me. Let me not think of them.”

“Father,” proudly replied the youth, “thou doest me wrong. Not only
my sword, but my very life is pledged for the king’s interest. But
to war with Cromwell is to war with destiny. He can pray and he can
fight.”

“Let his troops come,” was the scornful answer, “and we shall
quickly send them upon their knees, to attend to their devotions.
See, there is spare room for a few thousands to pray upon the
ground out before us. They shall find room to stretch out their
full length carcass, and they may breathe out groans which cannot
be uttered, because they are dead!”

“They pray before they come to the battle. During it, you will not
find them once on their knees.”

“Ha! doubtest thou?” exclaimed the governor. “If they refuse to
kneel in loyalty to Charles while living, why, we shall allow
them, in death, to kneel to their mother earth, which they love so
fondly, ‘dust to dust,’ as they themselves would say.”

“Not before their garments are rolled in blood!”

“Art thou a canting hypocrite too? Hast thou been baptized with the
said holy fire. It is the fire of rebellion. Satan was the first
roundhead. He spoke of liberty. He mentioned it in the high court
of parliament, but royalty conquered, and the good cavalier angels
pushed him and all his troops over the battlements. Let Cromwell
scale these turrets, we shall explain to him a precipitous descent.
Let him come.”

“Thou hast thy wish,” was the reply. “His troops are advancing. Now
for the action.”

“My brave boy,” said the governor, as he placed his hand upon the
head of his son, “forgive me for my harsh words. Thou art my only
child, my sole hope. Heaven bless thee and shield thee! But haste
my men, is all in readiness?”

In half-an-hour Cromwell’s troops were posted upon a neighbouring
hill, opposite the castle. A flag of truce was fixed.

A herald from the Roundheads now advanced; and being admitted
into the town, proceeded to the castle. The persons usually thus
employed were half preachers, and half warriors, who threatened
with the sword of the Lord, and of Gideon. The present messenger of
peace, belonged to this class. Obadiah Cook was his name, and as he
announced it to the governor, who appeared at the drawbridge, all
the soldiers gave a loud laugh.

“Friend,” said the governor, “is thy name Obadiah Cook?”

“It is, Sir Governor,” was the reply, “I am like that famous
prophet, who sheltered God’s servants from the wicked Ahaz. Oh! for
a place in the wilderness, that there my soul might fly away and be
at rest!”

“What prevents it from flying? Surely not thy body, for it is
so weak. Indeed, Obadiah, thou seemest too like thy namesake of
old, and art too fond of _cooking_ for the hundred prophets. Man,
consider your own wants.--But your errand, Obadiah?”

“He that hath ears to hear, let him hear. Are ye so deaf? The
very loop holes of that idolatrous castle, of that high-place of
iniquity, condemned by the Psalmist, take in my words. My master,
Cromwell, in the name of the Parliament of England, demands you to
surrender the castle, else it shall be razed to the ground, and
there shall not be one stone left upon another, which shall not be
thrown down. Last night, when I had retired to sleep, in the midst
of my meditations, I heard an angel flying through the sky, and
crying with a loud voice ‘Babylon is fallen, Lancaster Castle is no
more.’”

At this moment a ball whizzed over the head of Obadiah.

“Is that the angel which flew through the sky?” inquired the
sentinel, who had discharged it, and who, with curses regretted
that it had not gone a little nearer in order that the herald might
have known more accurately.

“Darest thou?” exclaimed the governor, as he turned to the
sentinel. “Another time, thou receivest thy punishment.”

The herald continued,--

“You are cut off from all provisions, you shall soon be compelled
to eat your wives, your little ones, and yourselves. Then surrender
in time.”

“Not so,” replied the governor, with a laugh, “we have better
dainties than that. We have as good ale, as ever Oliver himself
brewed at Huntingdon. Nay, I should like to have a chat with him,
over some of it. Sentinel, throw Obadiah a loaf.”

The herald, who did not seem by any means over-fed, caught the
descending bread, and stowed it about his person.

“Now, fool, return and tell Oliver that we despise his vengeance,
and laugh at his mercy.”

“Then,” exclaimed the angry and indignant messenger, “a voice
against Lancaster, a voice against the Castle, a voice against--”

“Yourself. A voice against yourself,” and a well aimed ball, from
the governor’s pistol, brought him to the ground, from off his
steed.

The report could not have been heard from the hill, where
Cromwell’s troops were posted, but the herald’s fall must have been
noticed, as instantly active preparations for the attack seemed
to be making, and soon several pieces of cannon opened their fire
upon the castle in close volley. From the upper batteries it was
returned, and from the loop holes over the strong arched gateway,
muskets were fired upon those of the Roundhead soldiers, who had
broken down the gates of the town, and were advancing furiously.

“Prevent them,” cried the governor, “from recovering the dead body
of their comrade. Let him at least be useful in his death, and be a
meal to the crows and the vultures.”

But although the musketry wrought havock among the Roundheads who
approached, they bore off Obadiah, whilst they put to the sword all
the inhabitants whom they met scouring the streets in their fear.
They returned reinforced, in spite of the cannon, which was now
also turned against them, and they entered the church, and from the
broken windows took aim at the besieged with their muskets.

Cromwell remained with the soldiers on the hill, and was seen
whenever the dense smoke was occasionally rolled away by sharp
breezes which arose, walking from cannon to cannon, encouraging and
giving directions. Many a ball was aimed at him, but he seemed to
escape unhurt.

“Old Noll, is invincible,” said one of the soldiers, “for, now, I
loaded my musket with a silver coin, and took such a correct aim,
that I could have wagered that the very wart on his nose would
receive the charge, and yet, there he is moving about, and raising
his prospective glass. He is the son of a witch!”

Throughout the whole summer’s day the cannons thundered. They
had taken effect upon the highest battlements, as well as on the
gateway, for these were sadly shattered. Many of the Royalists had
fallen as they sallied forth upon the Roundheads, in the church;
and a few had been wounded, as they manned the castle walls and
served the cannon. But the governor, a brave old man, refused to
surrender, as long as one stone of the fortress was left.

“See, my soldiers, the flag of Charles, still waves true to him,
although it be in rags. Let us be as faithful.”

At sunset, a signal of truce was displayed, on the hill, and
the cannons ceased; but the party who had occupied the church
still kept up the fire, and the governor directed his men not
to cannonade the church but to retire to the turrets, where the
roundhead musketry would be harmless. As night came on, the inmates
of the church, however, found that there was little good cheer
to be had in Zion. The vestry had been ransacked, the communion
cups examined, but no wine could be found, and there was not bread
enough to supper a church mouse.

“Well,” exclaimed one, “it is of no use firing, let us barricade
the doors, and compose ourselves to rest. I choose the pulpit for
my bed. Soft cushions to dose on!”

The same spirit of sleep had descended upon the soldiers of the
castle, and even some of the sentries were stretched out on the
battlements. The governor and his son, did not awake them, as they
walked together. Their eyes were fixed upon the enemy’s camp, when
suddenly a wide flash was seen, and a cannon shot struck against
the turrets. The firing continued, and soon, it was as regularly
returned, when loud shouts arose within the lower courts. The next
moment a party of roundheads were among the governor’s men, headed
by Cromwell and Captain Birch, who had just arrived to act in
concert with the general. The governor was seized and bound, and,
along with his son, placed under a strong guard, while his men were
put to the sword, overcome by the unexpected attack. The Royal flag
was lowered, and in a short time the castle was in the possession
of the roundhead troops!

“Captain,” said Cromwell, “our stratagem has succeeded. By playing
the cannon, we diverted their attention to the hill where we were
posted, and thus we advanced unseen. But where is the gallant
officer of your department, who led the way, and clambered up the
gateway?”

“Here he is, general, and true stuff he is made of. He was captured
by the royalists a few months ago: but last week he effected his
escape. Montressor, stand forward, and receive the thanks of
General Cromwell, for your bravery.”

It was Arthur Montressor. Cromwell warmly extolled his services,
even whilst he reminded him, “that not unto us, but unto God’s name
be the glory.”

“General,” said Montressor, as he humbly bowed, “might I ask a
favour, which can be of no interest in you to deny. Will you grant
me leave of absence from the troops, for this night?”

“Absence!” returned the general, in a harsh voice, “and for what
would you take absence? For some nocturnal appointment with a fair
one?--young man you are silent: it must be as I have guessed. Then
take my unqualified denial. No such license here,” and he turned
away abruptly.

“Montressor,” said Birch, as he was about to accompany Cromwell,
“you remain in the castle all night. Should you disobey, our
sentries have the same liberty to treat you as they would the
captive governor. Good night!”

Montressor stood for a moment motionless.

“The governor!--thank God that I have not left the castle!”

Early on the following morning Cromwell, attended by his officers,
entered the apartment where the governor was confined. They found
him asleep. Cromwell put his finger to his lips, and motioned
them to the window, where they stood in silence. It commanded a
wide view of the lawn in front, where the hill was almost a flat
plain. Sheep and kine were browsing on the grass, and suggested
images of rural peace and retirement, as if it had not been the
seat of war a few hours previous. From their own thoughts they were
aroused by the door of the apartment being cautiously opened.
As they themselves stood in a recess, not directly opposite the
door, they could watch without being observed. Nothing but a hand
groping the way, and two bright eyes gleaming in the shade of the
staircase, could be seen. The next moment a tall form, shrouded in
a horseman’s cloak, moved silently in. He looked at the sleeper.
His hand trembled as it was raised to the brow. He started, as if
moved with some sudden resolution, drew forth a pistol, and fired
it in the direction of the governor. He threw back his cloak, and
perceiving that the ball had not been true to its mark, drew his
sword, and rushed forward;--but Cromwell and his officers stood
before him.

“Montressor! Beware!” thundered forth Cromwell, as he seized the
youth’s arm.

The report had startled the governor.

“Ha! traitors! cowardly traitors! Do I see aright? Is it Cromwell
who has played the ruffian? Cromwell,--after pledging my life to
myself in the most solemn oath? And that whilst I was asleep!
Base,--cowardly, was the act. And why shouldst thou have made the
young man your tool? Could not your own withered hands have been
stained with my blood, and not the white hands of innocent youth?
Base, cowardly!”

“Thou doest me wrong,” replied the general, as calmly as if he had
been rebutting a slight and unimportant accusation, “as these my
officers, and as the assassin himself can testify. I had entered
to propose to you my terms of a negociation with you. You were
asleep, and, old man, I had no desire to prevent you enjoying a
transient solace. This assassin,--villain I will call him, though
he belongs to my troops, entered and fired. Wretch,” and he turned
upon Montressor, whilst he stamped in fury, and the sweat broke out
on his massive forehead for very anger, “why hast thou dared to
inflict death, when I, your general, gave my oath that he should be
in safety?”

He became more calm, but his eye relaxed not its awful sternness,
although his voice was low as he added,

“Young man, allow me to unbuckle thy sword,--nay, no scruples--and
prepare to die!”

All started. Cromwell turned round upon them with a look that
forbade remonstrance.

“I refuse not,” proudly answered Montressor, “to die. But listen
to my motives for attempting the life of that man. I loved. Oh!
she was fair, gentle, and happy, as a spirit of heaven! General,
smile not in scorn. Does a dying man rave in a foolish and romantic
strain? She was more than an angel to me. She would have been
my wife! But her father was murdered, and she was an orphan,
deprived of her home; herself,--almost a maniac. Yes, she was mad
when her condemned father placed her hand in mine, and betrothed
us together, for ever and ever. And who was the murderer? Sir
governor,--tell me who caused the death of Sir John Evelyn?”

The governor covered his face with his hands. Cromwell started up
from the chair which he had taken.

“Sir John Evelyn! Where is his daughter? Young man, be brief, and
answer me. Is she in the care of a miller and his wife, at a short
distance from Lancaster?”

“There I left her. But I have been, ever since, a captive, and when
I asked permission to leave the castle last night, in order that I
might obtain information concerning her fate, you denied me. She
may be dead. It would be well!”

“She is alive,” muttered Cromwell, as he again seated himself.

“Young man,” said the governor in a kind tone, “you would forgive
me if you knew all. I have, since the death of Sir John, learned
with inexpressible regret, that the evidence which I gave against
him had been artfully arranged, so that I might be deceived. I
have often declared his innocence. And, General Cromwell, if you
will listen to the prayers of a Royalist, and one whose life he
has attempted--for which offence you have condemned him; oh!
grant him a pardon, and his life! It was but natural, nay, it was
praiseworthy to seek my life!”

Cromwell shook his head.

“It cannot be. Discipline must be enforced. I saw the maiden of
this youth’s affection and troth. She is a very Rebecca, beautiful
and discreet. I promised to avenge her father’s death. Yet my oath
of safety to you has been pledged;--and woe be to him who attempts
to make a word of mine of non-effect! Captain Birch, order five of
the musketeers to load; and bring out the troops in the front of
the castle. I give you half an hour.”

The captain, as he went out, frequently turned round to see whether
Cromwell might not relent, and forbid such a stern order from being
carried into effect--but no!--

“Not for my own sake,” pled Montressor, “but for that of the
orphan, do I ask my life. For my own services in a just cause,
I esteem them as nothing; but to die such a death, seems a poor
recompense even for a faithful dog. General, grant me life for Mary
Evelyn’s sake!”

He knelt,--and along with him the governor and all his officers.

“It cannot be,” was the decisive reply. “But, young man, you shall
have writing materials, if you have anything to charge to the
living. Let them be brought.”

Montressor, with a trembling hand, wrote a letter to Mary Evelyn,
and as he finished it, the drum was heard without.

“To whom can I assign my last duty?”

“To me,” replied the governor. “Trust me, that if I can make any
reparation for the past, I shall.”

“It is well,” remarked Cromwell, in cold-hearted cruelty,--“If any
man wrong another, let him return good, fourfold.”

Montressor, after this, was firm and collected. But for the slight
quiver on his lips, it could not have been known that he was going
to his death.

“Sir Governor,” he once more asked, “wilt thou be kind to her? Hast
thou a daughter, to love her as a sister?”

“No--I have but a son, and he--”

“Cannot, cannot comfort her,” interrupted Montressor with some
bitterness.

“Yet I know a knight,” returned the governor, “whose daughters are
well known for kindness and charity. Sarah and Madeline Bradley, on
knowing her history, will find her a home with them.”

“A home! Poor Mary, her best home will be the grave! There is my
letter. Were it not that the sight would be horrible, I should die
with this letter in my hand, and you would send to her, that she
might receive it from myself! Farewell! I entered this room, a few
minutes ago, with the intention of taking your life, and now I
leave it to lose mine own!”

Cromwell opened the door.

“There is your way. Young man, I trust to your honour, therefore
you remain unshackled to die.”

Already the soldiers were drawn out before the castle. The five
musketeers who were commissioned to carry the sentence into
execution stood in advance, their muskets in hand. Montressor took
his place.

“Kneel,” said Cromwell.

“Yes, to heaven,” was the reply.

“Stay,” exclaimed the general, as he rushed forth in a burst of
tenderness. The condemned youth started joyfully up. Hope was
kindled.

“Young man, I love thee as a son. Take my embrace,” and he threw
his arms around Montressor. “Look--for no other but you, a dying
man, must see Cromwell weep!--Look at these tears. Now, my son.
Yes, my very son, farewell!”

Montressor sunk upon his knees in despair. He waved his hand to the
musketeers, and soon their duty was performed.

Cromwell himself raised the lifeless body, and sternly said to the
soldiers,

“Let all, let each beware! Justice and duty are unrelenting, even
to the brave and the beloved!”

       *       *       *       *       *

Well did the governor perform his pledge. The fatal news were
communicated to Mary Evelyn by Madeline Bradley, who, heart-broken
herself, knew how to feel for a sister sufferer. Sir Robert’s
mansion was the orphan’s home. She and Madeline took short walks
together, sat together in the same easy chair, and slept together.
Hand in hand they were bound for the tomb, and the foot of the one
seemed not to be before that of the other.

The governor, every day, (for he had no longer the charge of the
castle,) came, and conversed with her, whose father he had been the
innocent cause of betraying to death. His son attached himself to
the company of Sarah Bradley. The heart-broken sufferers, saw their
mutual affection, and kindly fostered it. Often too, did the worthy
miller and his wife make their appearance, and they were always
welcome.

It was near midnight, and Madeline and Mary were alone in their
apartment. They lay in each other’s arms, gazing, at times,
involuntarily upon the white counterpane, on which the moonshine
fell. They spoke not, but the gentle and low breathing assured
them, that they had pined away together, and were now almost spent,
and ready to go.

“Madeline, sweet Madeline,” said Mary, “Sarah will be a bride, in
a month--we shall both be brides in a few hours, nay, in a few
minutes. Let us be calm, for soon we meet our lovers.”

“Yes, my Mary, kiss me! We need not call for my father and Sarah.
We are very happy alone. Another sigh, and all will be over. Kiss
me again.”

“Yes, Madeline,” and a gentle breeze came in at the casement, and a
sweet ray of the moon came to these gentler and sweeter faces--but
the maidens were no more!

We may mention, that, in a few days after the siege, Cromwell left
Lancaster Castle in the charge of a part of his troops. Soon,
however, it was recaptured by the exertions of the gallant Earl of
Derby.

       *       *       *       *       *

            _R. Cocker, Printer, Market-place, Wigan._

The Publisher, when the foregoing preface was in type, and when,
in the midst of active preparations to commence another volume,
received a communication from the Author to the effect, that his
pen was of no more service. How it has been taken away from him it
can do the public no good to explain:--suffice it for the Publisher
to assert that circumstances have been forced on, which are
infinitely more painful than a want of ability, or material in the
author; a want of encouragement from a kind and numerous public; or
a want of determination on his own part to continue and extend the
work.

The Author had intended, as will be seen in the preface, to write a
series of historical scenes,--scenes of surpassing interest:--the
Subscribers, numerous at the very first, were continually
increasing, especially among the higher classes:--the Publisher was
opening new agencies, receiving new congratulations, and employing
new resources, when an event occured totally unexpected, which
compels him, most reluctantly, to withdraw the pledge so often
given, that other Legends were to issue from his press.

  _Wigan, May 22, 1841._



Transcriber’s Notes:


Page numbers 273 and 274 were used twice by the printer. The first
set of pages is left unnumbered in this eBook.

Missing and extra punctuation probably introduced at printing
corrected. Period punctuation, spelling and inconsistent
hyphenation retained.

On page 30, “strange” changed to “stranger” (health and safety of
the stranger)

On page 53, missing hyphen added (not to-night; the air is chill.)

On page 59, missing hyphen added (changed parties to-day)

On page 107, capitalization corrected (discourse last Sunday)

On page 136, “dissaude” changed to “dissuade” (tried all her arts
to dissuade)

On page 156, “mischievions” changed to “mischievous” (the
mischievous girl)

On page 247, capitalization corrected (pensive eye of Lady Mabel)

On page 261, “Hs” changed to “He” (He was a noble boy)

On page 264, “frighful” changed to “frightful” (into that frightful
gallery)

On page 285, missing space added (beside his lady, his sword drawn)

On page 286, extra word “the” removed (instantly the door was
secured)

On page 294, “siezed” changed to “seized” (seized by two armed men)

On page 295, missing word “of” added (the charge of one of the
guards)

On page 299, extra word “as” removed (exposed as I am)

On page 316, “Montresser” changed to “Montressor” (said Montressor
above, and he gently disengaged)

On page 348, missing hyphen added (He might perish to-morrow)





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