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Title: John Enderby
Author: Parker, Gilbert
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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JOHN ENDERBY

By Gilbert Parker



I

Of all the good men that Lincolnshire gave to England to make her proud,
strong and handsome, none was stronger, prouder and more handsome than
John Enderby, whom King Charles made a knight against his will.

“Your gracious Majesty,” said John Enderby, when the King was come
to Boston town on the business of draining the Holland fen and other
matters more important and more secret, “the honour your Majesty would
confer is well beyond a poor man like myself, for all Lincolnshire knows
that I am driven to many shifts to keep myself above water. Times have
been hard these many years, and, craving your Majesty’s pardon, our
taxes have been heavy.”

“Do you refuse knighthood of his Majesty?” asked Lord Rippingdale, with
a sneer, patting the neck of his black stallion with a gloved hand.

“The King may command my life, my Lord Rippingdale,” was Enderby’s
reply, “he may take me, body and bones and blood, for his service, but
my poor name must remain as it is when his Majesty demands a price for
honouring it.”

“Treason,” said Lord Rippingdale just so much above his breath as the
King might hear.

“This in our presence!” said the King, tapping his foot upon the ground,
his brows contracting, and the narrow dignity of the divine right
lifting his nostrils scornfully.

“No treason, may it please your Majesty,” said Enderby, “and it were
better to speak boldly to the King’s face than to be disloyal behind
his back. My estates will not bear the tax which the patent of this
knighthood involves. I can serve the country no better as Sir John
Enderby than as plain John Enderby, and I can serve my children best by
shepherding my shattered fortunes for their sakes.”

For a moment Charles seemed thoughtful, as though Enderby’s reasons
appealed to him, but Lord Rippingdale had now the chance which for ten
years he had invited, and he would not let it pass.

“The honour which his Majesty offers, my good Lincolnshire squire, is
more to your children than the few loaves and fishes which you might
leave them. We all know how miserly John Enderby has grown.”

Lord Rippingdale had touched the tenderest spot in the King’s mind. His
vanity was no less than his impecuniosity, and this was the third time
in one day he had been defeated in his efforts to confer an honour, and
exact a price beyond all reason for that honour. The gentlemen he had
sought had found business elsewhere, and were not to be seen when his
messengers called at their estates. It was not the King’s way to give
anything for nothing. Some of these gentlemen had been benefited by the
draining of the Holland fens, which the King had undertaken, reserving
a stout portion of the land for himself; but John Enderby benefited
nothing, for his estates lay further north, and near the sea, not far
from the town of Mablethorpe. He had paid all the taxes which the King
had levied and had not murmured beyond his own threshold.

He spoke his mind with candour, and to him the King was still a man to
whom the truth was to be told with directness, which was the highest
honour one man might show another.

“Rank treason!” repeated Lord Rippingdale, loudly. “Enderby has been in
bad company, your Majesty. If you are not wholly with the King, you
are against him. ‘He that is not with me is against me, and he that
gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.’”

A sudden anger seized the King, and turning, he set foot in the stirrup,
muttering something to himself, which boded no good for John Enderby. A
gentleman held the stirrup while he mounted, and, with Lord Rippingdale
beside him in the saddle, he turned and spoke to Enderby. Self-will and
resentment were in his tone. “Knight of Enderby we have made you,” he
said, “and Knight of Enderby you shall remain. Look to it that you pay
the fees for the accolade.”

“Your Majesty,” said Enderby, reaching out his hand in protest, “I will
not have this greatness you would thrust upon me. Did your Majesty need,
and speak to me as one gentleman to another in his need, then would I
part with the last inch of my land; but to barter my estate for a gift
that I have no heart nor use for--your Majesty, I cannot do it.”

The hand of the King twisted in his bridle-rein, and his body stiffened
in anger.

“See to it, my Lord Rippingdale,” he said, “that our knight here pays to
the last penny for the courtesy of the accolade. You shall levy upon his
estate.”

“We are both gentlemen, your Majesty, and my rights within the law are
no less than your Majesty’s,” said Enderby stoutly.

“The gentleman forgets that the King is the fountain of all law,” said
Lord Rippingdale obliquely to the King.

“We will make one new statute for this stubborn knight,” said Charles;
“even a writ of outlawry. His estates shall be confiscate to the Crown.
Go seek a King and country better suited to your tastes, our rebel
Knight of Enderby.”

“I am still an Enderby of Enderby, and a man of Lincolnshire, your
Majesty,” answered the squire, as the King rode towards Boston church,
where presently he should pray after this fashion with his subjects
there assembled:

   “Most heartily we beseech Thee with Thy favour to behold our most
   gracious sovereign King Charles. Endue him plenteously with
   Heavenly gifts; grant him in health and wealth long to live;
   strengthen him that he may vanquish and overcome all his enemies;
   and, finally, after this life, he may attain everlasting joy and
   felicity.”

With a heavy heart Enderby turned homewards; that is, towards
Mablethorpe upon the coast, which lies between Saltfleet Haven and
Skegness, two ports that are places of mark in the history of the
kingdom, as all the world knows.

He had never been so vexed in his life. It was not so much anger against
the King, for he had great reverence for the monarchy of England;
but against Lord Rippingdale his mind was violent. Years before, in a
quarrel between the Earl of Lindsey and Lord Rippingdale, upon a public
matter which Parliament settled afterwards, he had sided with the Earl
of Lindsey. The two Earls had been reconciled afterwards, but Lord
Rippingdale had never forgiven Enderby.

In Enderby’s brain ideas worked somewhat heavily; but to-day his
slumberous strength was infused with a spirit of action and the warmth
of a pervasive idea. There was no darkness in his thoughts, but his
pulse beat heavily and he could hear the veins throbbing under his ear
impetuously. Once or twice as he rode on in the declining afternoon he
muttered to himself. Now it was: “My Lord Rippingdale, indeed!” or “Not
even for a King!” or “Sir John Enderby, forsooth! Sir John Enderby,
forsooth!” Once again he spoke, reining in his horse beside a tall cross
at four corners, near Stickford by the East Fen. Taking off his hat he
prayed:

“Thou just God, do Thou judge between my King and myself. Thou knowest
that I have striven as an honest gentleman to do right before all men.
When I have seen my sin, oh, Lord, I have repented! Now I have come upon
perilous times, the gins are set for my feet. Oh, Lord, establish me in
true strength! Not for my sake do I ask that Thou wilt be with me and
Thy wisdom comfort me, but for the sake of my good children. Wilt Thou
spare my life in these troubles until they be well formed; till the lad
have the bones of a man, and the girl the wise thought of a woman--for
she hath no mother to shield and teach her. And if this be a wrong
prayer, my God, forgive it: for I am but a blundering squire, whose
tongue tells lamely what his heart feels.”

His head was bowed over his horse’s neck, his face turned to the cross,
his eyes were shut, and he did not notice the strange and grotesque
figure that suddenly appeared from among the low bushes by the fen near
by.

It was an odd creature perched upon stilts; one of those persons called
the stilt-walkers. They were no friends of the King, nor of the Earl of
Lindsey, nor of my Lord Rippingdale, for the draining of these fens
took from them their means of living. They were messengers, postmen and
carriers across the wide stretch of country from Spilsby, even down to
the river Witham, and from Boston Deep down to Market Deeping and over
to the sea. Since these fens were drained one might travel from Market
Deeping to the Wolds without wetting a foot.

“Aw’ll trooble thee a moment, maister,” said the peasant. “A
stilt-walker beant nowt i’ the woorld. Howsome’er, aw’ve a worrd to
speak i’ thy ear.”

Enderby reined in his horse, and with a nod of complaisance (for he was
a man ever kind to the poor, and patient with those who fared ill in the
world) he waited for the other to speak.

“Thoo’rt the great Enderby of Enderby, maister,” said the peasant,
ducking his head and then putting on his cap; “aw’ve known thee sin tha
wast no bigger nor a bit grass’opper i’ the field. Wilt tha ride long,
Sir John Enderby, and aw’ll walk aside thee, ma grey nag with thy
sorrel.” He glanced down humorously at his own long wooden legs.

Enderby turned his horse round and proceeded on his way slowly, the old
man striding along beside him like a stork.

“Why do you dub me Knight?” he asked, his eyes searching the face of the
old man.

“Why shouldna aw call thee Knight if the King calls thee Knight? It is
the dooty of a common man to call thee Sir John, and tak off his hat at
saying o’ it.” His hat came off, and he nodded in such an odd way that
Enderby burst out into a good honest laugh. “Dooth tha rememba little
Tom Dowsby that went hoonting wi’ thee when tha wert not yet come to
age?” continued the stilt-walker. “Doost tha rememba when, for a jest,
thee and me stopped the lord bishop, tha own uncle, in the highway at
midnight, and took his poorse from him, and the rich gold chain from his
neck? And doost tha rememba that tha would have his apron too, for tha
said that if it kept a bishop clean, wouldna it keep highwaymen clean,
whose work was not so clean as a bishop’s? Sir John Enderby, aw loove
thee better than the King, an’ aw loove thee better than my Lord
Rippin’dale-ay, theere’s a sour heart in a goodly body!”

John Enderby reined up his horse and looked the stilt-walker in the
face.

“Are you little Tom Dowsby?” exclaimed he. “Are you that scamp?” He
laughed all at once as though he had not a trouble in the world. “And do
you keep up your evil practices? Do you still waylay bishops?”

“If aw confessed to Heaven or man, aw would confess to thee, Sir John
Enderby; but aw’ll confess nowt.”

“And how know you that I am Sir John Enderby?”

“Even in Sleaford town aw kem to know it. Aw stood no further from
his Majesty and Lord Rippin’dale than aw stand from you, when the pair
talked by the Great Boar inn. Where doos tha sleep to-night?”

“At Spilsby.”

“To-night the King sleeps at Sutterby on the Wolds. ‘Tis well for thee
tha doost not bide wi’ his Majesty. Theer, aw’ve done thee a service.”

“What service have you done me?”

“Aw’ve told thee that tha moost sleep by Spilsby when the King sleeps at
Sutterby. Fare-thee-well, maister.”

Doffing his cap once more, the stilt-walker suddenly stopped, and,
turning aside, made his way with an almost incredible swiftness across
the fen, taking the ditches with huge grotesque strides. Enderby looked
back and watched him for a moment curiously. Suddenly the man’s words
began to repeat themselves in Enderby’s head: “To-night the King sleeps
at Sutterby on the Wolds. ‘Tis well for thee tha doost not bide wi’ his
Majesty.” Presently a dozen vague ideas began to take form. The man had
come to warn him not to join the King at Sutterby.

There was some plot against Charles! These stiltwalkers were tools in
the hands of the King’s foes, who were growing more powerful every day.
He would sleep to-night, not at Spilsby, but at Sutterby. He was a loyal
subject; no harm that he could prevent should come to the King.

Before you come to Sutterby on the Wolds, as you travel north to the
fenland, there is a combe through which the highway passes, and a stream
which has on one side many rocks and boulders, and on the other a sort
of hedge of trees and shrubs. It was here that the enemies of the King,
that is, some stilt-walkers, with two dishonourable gentlemen who had
suffered from the King’s oppressions, placed themselves to way lay his
Majesty. Lord Rippingdale had published it abroad that the King’s route
was towards Horncastle, but at Stickney by the fens the royal party
separated, most of the company passing on to Horncastle, while Charles,
Lord Rippingdale and two other cavaliers proceeded on a secret visit to
a gentleman at Louth.

It was dark when the King and his company came to the combe. Lord
Rippingdale suggested to his Majesty that one of the gentlemen should
ride ahead to guard against surprise or ambush, but the King laughed,
and said that his shire of Lincoln bred no brigands, and he rode on. He
was in the coach with a gentleman beside him, and Lord Rippingdale rode
upon the right. Almost as the hoofs of the leaders plunged into the
stream there came the whinny of a horse from among the boulders.
Alarmed, the coachman whipped up his team and Lord Rippingdale clapped
his hand upon his sword.

Even as he did it two men sprang out from among the rocks, seized the
horses’ heads, and a dozen others swarmed round, all masked and armed,
and calling upon the King’s party to surrender, and to deliver up their
valuables. One ruffian made to seize the bridle of Lord Rippingdale’s
horse, but my lord’s sword severed the fellow’s hand at the wrist.

“Villain,” he shouted, “do you know whom you attack?”

For answer, shots rang out; and as the King’s gentlemen gathered close
to the coach to defend him, the King himself opened the door and stepped
out. As he did so a stilt struck him on the head. Its owner had aimed it
at Lord Rippingdale; but as my lord’s horse plunged, it missed him, and
struck the King fair upon the crown of the head. He swayed, groaned and
fell back into the open door of the coach. Lord Rippingdale was at once
beside him, sword drawn, and fighting gallantly.

“Scoundrels,” he cried, “will you kill your King?”

“We will have the money which the King carries,” cried one of his
assailants. “The price of three knighthoods and the taxes of two shires
we will have.”

One of the King’s gentlemen had fallen, and another was wounded. Lord
Rippingdale was hard pressed, but in what seemed the last extremity of
the King and his party there came a shout from the other side of the
stream:

“God save the King! For the King! For the King!”

A dozen horsemen splashed their way across the stream, and with swords
and pistols drove through the King’s assailants and surrounded his
coach. The ruffians made an attempt to rally and resist the onset,
but presently broke and ran, pursued by a half-dozen of his Majesty’s
defenders. Five of the assailants were killed and several were wounded.

As Lord Rippingdale turned to Charles to raise him, the coach-door
was opened upon the other side, a light was thrust in, and over the
unconscious body of the King my lord recognised John Enderby.

“His Majesty”--began John Enderby.

“His Majesty is better,” replied Lord Rippingdale, as the King’s
eyes half opened. “You lead these gentlemen? This should bring you a
barony,--Sir John,” my lord added, half graciously, half satirically;
for the honest truth of this man’s nature vexed him. “The King will
thank you.”

“John Enderby wants no reward for being a loyal subject, my lord,”
 answered Enderby.

Then with another glance at the King, in which he knew that his Majesty
was recovered, he took off his hat, bowed, and, mounting his horse, rode
away without a word.

At Sutterby the gentlemen received gracious thanks of the King who had
been here delivered from the first act of violence made against him in
his reign.

Of the part which Enderby had played Lord Rippingdale said no more to
the King than this:

“Sir John Enderby was of these gentlemen who saved your Majesty’s life.
Might it not seem to your Majesty that--”

“Was he of them?” interrupted the King kindly; then, all at once, out of
his hurt vanity and narrow self-will, he added petulantly: “When he hath
paid for the accolade of his knighthood, then will we welcome him to us,
and make him Baron of Enderby.”

Next day when Enderby entered the great iron gates of the grounds of
Enderby House the bell was ringing for noon. The house was long and low,
with a fine tower in the centre, and two wings ran back, forming the
court-yard, which would have been entirely inclosed had the stables
moved up to complete the square.

When Enderby came out into the broad sweep of grass and lawn, flanked
on either side by commendable trees, the sun shining brightly, the rooks
flying overhead, and the smell of ripe summer in the air, he drew up his
horse and sat looking before him.

“To lose it! To lose it!” he said, and a frown gathered upon his
forehead.

Even as he looked, the figure of a girl appeared in the great doorway.
Catching sight of the horseman, she clapped her hands and waved them
delightedly.

Enderby’s face cleared, as the sun breaks through a mass of clouds and
lightens all the landscape. The slumberous eyes glowed, the square head
came up. In five minutes he had dismounted at the great stone steps and
was clasping his daughter in his arms.

“Felicity, my dear daughter!” he said, tenderly and gravely.

She threw back her head with a gaiety which bespoke the bubbling
laughter in her heart, and said:

“Booh! to thy solemn voice. Oh, thou great bear, dost thou love me with
tears in thine eyes?”

She took his hand and drew him inside the house, where, laying aside his
hat and gloves and sword, they passed into the great library.

“Come, now, tell me all the places thou hast visited,” she said,
perching herself on his arm-chair.

He told her, and she counted them off one by one upon her fingers.

“That is ninety miles of travel thou hast had. What is the most pleasing
thing thou hast seen?”

“It was in Stickford by the fen,” he answered, after a perplexed pause.
“There was an old man upon the roadside with his head bowed in his
hands. Some lads were making sport of him, for he seemed so woe-begone
and old. Two cavaliers of the King came by. One of them stopped and
drove the lads away, then going to the old man, he said: ‘Friend, what
is thy trouble?’ The old man raised his melancholy face and answered:
‘Aw’m afeared, sir.’ ‘What fear you?’ inquired the young gentleman. ‘I
fear ma wife, sir,’ replied the old man. At that the other cavalier sat
back in his saddle and guffawed merrily. ‘Well, Dick,’ said he to his
friend, ‘that is the worst fear in this world. Ah, Dick, thou hast ne’er
been married!’ ‘Why do you fear your wife?’ asked Dick. ‘Aw’ve been
robbed of ma horse and saddle and twelve skeins o’ wool. Aw’m lost,
aw’m ruined and shall raise ma head nevermore. To ma wife aw shall ne’er
return.’ ‘Tut tut, man,’ said Dick, ‘get back to your wife. You are
master of your own house; you rule the roost. What is a wife? A wife’s
a woman. You are a man. You are bigger and stronger, your bones are
harder. Get home and wear a furious face and batter in the door and say:
“What, ho, thou huzzy!” Why, man, fear you the wife of your bosom?’ The
old man raised his head and said: ‘Tha doost not know ma wife or tha
wouldst not speak like that.’ At that Dick laughed and said: ‘Fellow, I
do pity thee;’ and taking the old man by the shoulders, he lifted him
on his own horse and took him to the village fair. There he bought him
twelve skeins of wool and sent him on his way rejoicing, with a horse
worth five times his own.”

With her chin in her hands the girl had listened intently to the story.
When it was finished she said: “What didst thou say was the gentleman’s
name?”

“His friend called him Dick. He is a poor knight, one Sir Richard
Mowbray, of Leicester, called at Court and elsewhere Happy Dick Mowbray,
for they do say a happier and braver heart never wore the King’s
uniform.”

“Indeed I should like to know that Sir Richard Mowbray. And, tell me
now, who is the greatest person thou hast seen in thy absence?”

“I saw the King--at Boston town.”

“The King! The King!” Her eyes lightened, her hands clapped merrily.
“What did he say to thee? Now, now, there is that dark light in thine
eyes again. I will not have it so!” With her thumbs she daintily drew
down the eyelids and opened them again. “There, that’s better. Now what
did the King say to thee?”

“He said to me that I should be Sir John Enderby, of Enderby.”

“A knight! A knight! He made thee a knight?” she asked gaily. She
slipped from his knee and courtesied before him, then seeing the
heaviness of his look, she added: “Booh, Sir John Enderby, why dost thou
look so grave? Is knighthood so big a burden thou dost groan under it?”

“Come here, my lass,” he said gently. “Thou art young, but day by day
thy wisdom grows, and I can trust thee. It is better thou shouldst know
from my own lips the peril this knighthood brings, than that trouble
should suddenly fall and thou be unprepared.”

Drawing her closely to him he told her the story of his meeting with the
King; of Lord Rippingdale; of the King’s threat to levy upon his estates
and to issue a writ of outlawry against him.

For a moment the girl trembled, and Enderby felt her hands grow cold
in his own, for she had a quick and sensitive nature and passionate
intelligence and imagination.

“Father,” she cried pantingly, indignantly, “the King would make thee an
outlaw, would seize upon thy estates, because thou wouldst not pay the
price of a paltry knighthood!” Suddenly her face flushed, the blood came
back with a rush, and she stood upon her feet. “I would follow thee to
the world’s end rather than that thou shouldst pay one penny for that
honour. The King offered thee knighthood? Why, two hundred years before
the King was born, an Enderby was promised an earldom. Why shouldst thou
take a knighthood now? Thou didst right, thou didst right.” Her fingers
clasped in eager emphasis.

“Dost thou not see, my child,” said he, “that any hour the King’s troops
may surround our house and take me prisoner and separate thee from me?
I see but one thing to do; even to take thee at once from here and place
thee with thy aunt, Mistress Falkingham, in Shrewsbury.”

“Father,” the girl said, “thou shalt not put me away from thee. Let
the King’s men surround Enderby House and the soldiers and my Lord
Rippingdale levy upon the estates of Enderby. Neither his Majesty nor
my Lord Rippingdale dare put a finger upon me--I would tear their eyes
out.”

Enderby smiled half sadly at her, and answered “The fear of a woman is
one of the worst fears in this world. Booh!”

So ludicrously did he imitate her own manner of a few moments before
that humour drove away the flush of anger from her face, and she sat
upon his chair-arm and said:

“But we will not part; we will stand here till the King and Lord
Rippingdale do their worst--is it not so, father?”

He patted her head caressingly.

“Thou sayest right, my lass; we will remain at Enderby. Where is thy
brother Garrett?”

“He has ridden over to Mablethorpe, but will return within the hour,”
 she replied.

At that moment there was a sound of hoofs in the court-yard. Running
to a rear window of the library Mistress Felicity clapped her hands and
said:

“It is he--Garrett.”

Ten minutes afterwards the young man entered. He was about two years
older than his sister; that is, seventeen. He was very tall for his age,
with dark hair and a pale dry face, and of distinguished bearing. Unlike
his father, he was slim and gracefully built, with no breadth or power
to his shoulders, but with an athletic suppleness and a refinement
almost womanlike. He was tenacious, overbearing, self-willed, somewhat
silent and also somewhat bad-tempered.

There was excitement in his eye as he entered. He came straight to his
father, giving only a nod to Mistress Felicity, who twisted her head in
a demure little way, as though in mockery of his important manner.

“Booh!--my lord duke!” she said almost under her breath.

“Well, my son,” said Enderby, giving him his hand, “your face has none
so cheerful a look. Hast thou no welcome for thy father?”

“I am glad you are home again, sir,” said young Enderby, more dutifully
than cordially.

There was silence for a moment.

“You do not ask my news,” said his father, eyeing him debatingly.

“I have your news, sir,” was the young man’s half sullen reply.

His sister came near her father, where she could look her brother
straight in the face, and her deep blue eyes fixed upon him intently.
The smile almost faded from her lips, and her square chin seemed
suddenly to take on an air of seriousness and strength.

“Well, sir?” asked his father.

“That you, sir, have refused a knighthood of the King; that he insists
upon your keeping it; that he is about to levy upon your estates: and
that you are outlawed from England.”

“And what think you about the matter?” asked his father.

“I think it is a gentleman’s duty to take the King’s gifts without
question,” answered the young man.

“Whether the King be just or not, eh? Where would England have been, my
son, if the barons had submitted to King John? Where would the Enderbys
have been had they not withstood the purposes of Queen Mary? Come,
come, the King has a chance to prove himself as John Enderby has proven
himself. Midst other news, heard you not that last night I led a dozen
gentlemen to the rescue of the King?”

“‘Twas said in the village that his Majesty would remove his interdict
and make you a baron, sir, if you met his levy for the knighthood.”

“That I shall never do. Answer me, my son, do you stand with the King or
with your father in this?”

“I am an Enderby,” answered the youth, moodily, “and I stand with the
head of our house.”

That night as candles were being lighted, three score of the King’s men,
headed by Lord Rippingdale, placed themselves before the house, and an
officer was sent forward to summon forth John Enderby.

Enderby had gathered his men together, and they were posted for defence
at the doorways and entrances, and along the battlements. The windows
were all heavily shuttered and barred.

The young officer commissioned to demand an interview with Enderby came
forward and knocked at the great entrance door. It opened presently and
showed within the hallway a dozen men well armed. Enderby came forward
to meet him.

“I am Sir Richard Mowbray,” said the newcomer. “I am sent by Lord
Rippingdale, who arrives on a mission from his Majesty.”

Enderby, recognising his visitor, was mild in his reply.

“Sir Richard Mowbray, I pray you tell Lord Rippingdale that he is
welcome--as commissioner of the King.”

Mowbray smiled and bowed.

“My lord begs me to ask that you will come forth and speak with him, Sir
John?”

“My compliments to Lord Rippingdale, Sir Richard, and say that I can
better entertain his Majesty’s commissioner within my own house.”

“And all who wait with him?” asked the young officer, with a dry sort of
smile.

“My lord, and his officers and gentlemen, but not his troopers.”

Mowbray bowed, and as he lifted his head again he saw the face of
Mistress Felicity looking through the doorway of the library. Their eyes
met. On a sudden a new impulse came to his thoughts.

“Sir John Enderby,” said he, “I know how honourable a man you are, and I
think I know the way you feel. But, as one gentleman to another, permit
me a word of counsel. ‘Twere better to humour my Lord Rippingdale, and
to yield up to the King’s demands, than to lose all. Lack of money
and estate--that is hard enough on a single man like me, but with a
gentleman who has the care of a daughter, perhaps”--his look again met
the young lady’s face--“the case is harder. A little yielding on your
part--”

“I will not yield,” was Enderby’s reply.

Mowbray bowed once more, and retired without more speaking.

In a few moments he returned, Lord Rippingdale with him. The entrance
doors were once more opened, and my lord, in a temper, at once began:

“You press your courtesies too far, Sir John Enderby.”

“Less strenuously than the gentlemen of the road pressed their
discourtesies upon his Majesty and yourself last night, my lord.”

“I am come upon that business. For your bravery and loyalty, if you
will accept the knighthood, and pay the sum set as the courtesy of the
accolade, his Majesty will welcome you at Court, and raise you to a
barony. But his Majesty must see that his dignity be not injured.”

“The King may have my life and all my goods as a gift, but I will not
give either by these indirect means. It does not lie in a poor squire
like me to offend the King’s dignity.”

“You are resolved?”

“I am resolved,” answered Enderby, stubbornly. “Then you must bear
the consequences, and yield up your estates and person into my hands.
Yourself and your family are under arrest, to be dealt with hereafter as
his Majesty sees fit.”

“I will not yield up my estates, nor my person, nor my son and daughter,
of my free will.”

With an incredulous smile, Rippingdale was about to leave and enter upon
a siege of the house, when he saw young Enderby and caught a strange
look in his face.

“Young gentleman,” said he, “are you a cipher in this game? A barony
hangs on this. Are you as stubborn and unruly as the head of your
house?”

Garrett Enderby made no reply, but turned and walked into the library,
his father’s and sister’s eyes following him in doubt and dismay, for
the chance was his at that moment to prove himself.

A moment afterwards Lord Rippingdale was placing his men to attack the
house, disposing of some to secure a timber to batter in the door, and
of some to make assaults upon the rear of the building. Enderby had
placed his men advantageously to resist attack, giving the defence of
the rear of the house to his son. Mistress Felicity he had sent to an
upper room in the care of her aunt.

Presently the King’s men began the action, firing wherever a figure
showed itself, and carrying a log to batter in the entrance door.
Enderby’s men did good work, bringing down four of the besiegers at the
first volley.

Those who carried the log hesitated for a moment, and Enderby called
encouragingly to his men.

At this exciting moment, while calling to his men, he saw what struck
him dumb--his son hurrying forward with a flag of truce to Lord
Rippingdale! Instantly my lord commanded his men to retire.

“Great God!” said Sir John, with a groan, “my son--my only son--a
traitor!” Turning to his men he bade them cease firing.

Throwing open the entrance doors, he stood upon the steps and waited for
Lord Rippingdale.

“You see, Sir John Enderby, your son--” began my lord.

“It was to maintain my rights, and for my son’s sake and my daughter’s,
that I resisted the command of the King,” interrupted the distressed and
dishonoured gentleman, “but now--”

“But now you yield?”

He inclined his head, then looking down to the place where his son
stood, he said:

“My son--my only son!” And his eyes filled with tears.

His distress was so moving that even Rippingdale was constrained to say:

“He did it for your sake. His Majesty will--” With a gesture of despair
Enderby turned and entered the house, and passed into the library, where
he found his daughter. Pale and tearful she threw herself into his arms.

At eleven o’clock that night as they sat in the same room, while Lord
Rippingdale and his officers supped in the dining-room, Sir Richard
Mowbray hurriedly entered.

“Come quickly,” said he; “the way is clear--here by this window.
The sentinels are drunk. You will find horses by the gate of the
grape-garden, and two of your serving-men mounted. They will take you to
a hiding-place on the coast--I have instructed them.”

As he talked he helped them through the window, and bade them good-bye
hurriedly; but he did not let Mistress Felicity’s hand drop till he had
kissed it and wished her a whispered God-speed.

When they had gone he listened for a time, but hearing no sound of
surprise or discovery, he returned to the supper room, where Garrett
Enderby sat drinking with Lord Rippingdale and the cavaliers.



II

Seven years went by before John Enderby saw his son again or set foot in
Enderby House. Escaping to Holland on a night when everything was taken
from him save his honour and his daughter, he had lived there with
Mistress Felicity, taking service in the army of the country.

Outlaw as he was, his estates given over to his son who now carried a
knighthood bestowed by King Charles, he was still a loyal subject to
the dynasty which had dishonoured him. When the King was beheaded at
Whitehall he mourned and lamented the miserable crime with the best of
his countrymen.

It was about this time that he journeyed into France, and there he
stayed with his daughter two years. Mistress Falkingham, her aunt, was
with her, and watched over her as carefully as when she was a child in
Enderby House.

About this time, Cromwell, urged by solicitous friends of the outlaw,
sent word to him to return to England, that he might employ him
in foreign service, if he did not care to serve in England itself.
Cromwell’s message was full of comforting reflections upon his
sufferings and upon the injustice that had been done to him by the late
King. For his daughter’s sake, who had never been entirely happy out of
England, Enderby returned, and was received with marked consideration by
Cromwell at Whitehall.

“Your son, sir,” said Cromwell, “hath been a follower of the man of sin.
He was of those notorious people who cried out against the work of God’s
servants when Charles paid the penalty of his treason at Whitehall. Of
late I have received news that he is of those children of Belial who are
intriguing to bring back the second Charles. Two days ago he was bidden
to leave Enderby House. If he be found among those who join the Scotch
army to fight for the Pretender, he shall bear the penalty of his
offence.”

“He has been ill advised, your Highness,” said Enderby.

“He shall be advised better,” was the stern reply. “We will have peace
in England, and we will, by the help of the Lord’s strong arm, rid this
realm of these recalcitrant spirits. For you, sir, you shall return to
your estate at Enderby, and we will use you abroad as opportunity shall
occur. Your son has taken to himself the title which the man of sin
conferred upon you, to your undoing.”

“Your Highness,” replied Enderby, “I have but one desire, and that is
peace. I have been outlawed from England so long, and my miseries have
been so great, that I accept gladly what the justice of your Highness
gives thus freely. But I must tell your Highness that I was no enemy of
King Charles, and am no foe to his memory. The wrong was done by him to
me, and not returned by me to him, and the issue is between our Maker
and ourselves. But it is the pride of all Englishmen that England be
well governed, and strong and important in the eyes of the nations; and
all these things has your Highness achieved. I will serve my country
honourably abroad, or rest peacefully here on my own estate, lifting
no hand against your Highness, though I hold to the succession in the
monarchy.”

Cromwell looked at him steadily and frowningly for a minute, then
presently, his face clearing, he said: “Your words, detached from your
character, sir, would be traitorous; but as we stand, two gentlemen of
England face to face, they seem to me like the words of an honest man,
and I love honesty before all other, things. Get to your home, sir.
You must not budge from it until I send for you. Then, as proof of your
fidelity to the ruler of your country, you shall go on whatever mission
I send you.”

“Your Highness, I will do what seems my duty in the hour of your
summons.”

“You shall do the will of the Lord,” answered the Protector, and, bowing
a farewell, turned upon his heel. Enderby looked after him a moment,
then moved towards the door, and as he went out to mount his horse he
muttered to himself:

“The will of the Lord as ordained by Oliver Cromwell--humph!”

Then he rode away up through Trafalgar Square and into the Tottenham
Court Road, and so on out into the Shires until he came to Enderby
House.

Outside all was as he had left it seven years before, though the hedges
were not so well kept and the grass was longer before the house. An air
of loneliness pervaded all the place. No one met him at the door. He
rode round into the court-yard and called. A man-servant came out. From
him he learned that four of Cromwell’s soldiers were quartered in the
house, that all the old servants, save two, were gone, and that his son
had been expelled the place by Cromwell’s order two days before. Inside
the house there was less change. Boon companion of the boisterous
cavaliers as his son had been, the young man’s gay hours had been spent
more away from Enderby House than in it.

When young Enderby was driven from his father’s house by Cromwell, he
determined to join the Scotch army which was expected soon to welcome
Charles the Second from France. There he would be in contact with Lord
Rippingdale and his Majesty. When Cromwell was driven from his place,
great honours might await him. Hearing in London, however, that his
father had returned, and was gone on to the estate, he turned his horse
about and rode back again, travelling by night chiefly, and reached
Enderby House four days after his father’s arrival there.

He found his father seated alone at the dinner-table. Swinging wide open
the door of the dining-room he strode in aggressively.

The old man stood up in his place at the table and his eyes brightened
expectantly when he saw his son, for his brain was quickened by the
thought that perhaps, after all his wrong-doing, the boy had come back
to stand by him, a repentant prodigal. He was a man of warm and firm
spirit, and now his breast heaved with his emotions. This boy had been
the apple of his eye. Since the day of his birth he had looked for great
things from him, and had seen in him the refined perpetuation of the
sturdy race of the Enderbys. He counted himself but a rough sort of
country gentleman, and the courtly face of his son had suggested the
country gentleman cast in a finer mould. He was about to speak kindly as
of old, but the young man, with clattering spurs, came up to the other
end of the table, and with a dry insolence said:

“By whose invitation do you come here?”

The blood fled from the old man’s heart. For a moment he felt sick, and
his face turned white. He dropped his head a little and looked at his
son steadily and mournfully.

“Shall a man need an invitation to his own house, my son?” he said at
last.

The arrogant lips of the young man tightened; he tossed up his head.
“The house is mine. I am the master here. You are an outlaw.”

“An outlaw no longer,” answered the old man, “for the Protector has
granted me again the home of which I was cruelly dispossessed.”

“The Protector is a rebel!” returned the young man, and his knuckles
rapped petulantly upon the table. “I stand for the King--for King
Charles the Second. When you were dispossessed, his late martyred
Majesty made me master of this estate and a knight also.”

The old man’s hands clinched, in the effort to rule himself to
quietness.

“You are welcome to the knighthood which I have never accepted,” said
he; “but for these estates--” All at once a fierce anger possessed him,
and the great shoulders heaved up and down with emotion--“but for these
estates, sir, no law nor king can take them from me. I am John Enderby,
the first son of a first son, the owner of these lands since the time my
mother gave me birth. You, sir, are the first of our name that ever was
a traitor to his house.”

So intent were the two that they did not see or hear three men who
drew aside the curtains at the end of the room and stood spying upon
them--three of Cromwell’s men. Young Enderby laughed sneeringly and
answered:

“It was a King of England that gave Enderby Manor to the Enderbys. The
King is the source of all estate and honour, and I am loyal to the King.
He is a traitor who spurns the King’s honour and defies it. He is a
traitor who links his fortunes with that vile, murderous upstart, that
blethering hypocrite, Oliver Cromwell. I go to Scotland to join King
Charles, and before three months are over his Majesty will have come
into his own again and I also into my own here at Enderby.”

The old man trembled with the fierceness of his emotions.

“I only am master here,” he said, “and I should have died upon this
threshold ere my Lord Rippingdale and the King’s men had ever crossed
it, but for you, an Enderby, who deserted me in the conflict--a coward
who went over to the enemies of our house.”

The young man’s face twitched with a malignant anger. He suddenly
started forward, and with a sidelong blow struck his father with the
flat of his sword. A red ridge of bruised flesh instantly rose upon
the old man’s cheek and ear. He caught the arm of the chair by which he
stood, staggering back as though he had received a mortal wound.

“No, no, no!” he said, his voice gulping with misery and horror.--“No,
no! Kill me, if you will--I but cannot fight you. Oh, my God, my God!”
 he gasped scarcely above a whisper. “Unnatural-unnatural!” He said no
more, for, upon the instant, four men entered the room. They were of
Cromwell’s Ironsides. Young Enderby looked round swiftly, ready to
fight, but he saw at once that he was trapped. The old man also laid his
hand upon his sword, but he saw that the case was hopeless. He dropped
into his chair and leaned his head upon his hands.

        ......................

Two months went by. The battle of Dunbar was fought, and Charles had
lost it. Among the prisoners was Garrett Enderby, who had escaped from
his captors on the way from Enderby House to London, and had joined
the Scottish army. He was now upon trial for his life. Cromwell’s anger
against him was violent. The other prisoners of war were treated as
such, and were merely confined to prison, but young Enderby was charged
with blasphemy and sedition, and with assaulting one of Cromwell’s
officers--for on the very day that young Enderby made the assault,
Cromwell’s foreign commission for John Enderby was on its way to
Lincolnshire.

Of the four men who had captured Garrett Enderby at Enderby House, three
had been killed in battle, and the other had deserted. The father was
thus the chief witness against his son. He was recalled from Portugal
where he had been engaged upon Cromwell’s business.

The young man’s judges leaned forward expectantly as John Enderby took
his place. The Protector himself sat among them.

“What is your name, sir?” asked Cromwell. “John Enderby, your Highness.”

“It hath been said that you hold a title given you by the man of sin.”

“I have never taken a title from any man, your Highness.”

A look of satisfaction crossed the gloomy and puritanical faces of the
officers of the court-martial. Other questions were put, and then came
the vital points. To the first of these, as to whether young Enderby had
uttered malignant and seditious libels against the Protector, the old
man would answer nothing.

“What speech hath ever been between my son and myself,” he said, “is
between my son and myself only.” A start of anger travelled round the
circle of the court-martial. Young Enderby watched his father curiously
and sullenly.

“Duty to country comes before all private feeling,” said Cromwell. “I
command you, sir, on peril of a charge of treason against yourself, to
answer the question of the Court. ‘If thy right hand offend thee, cut
it off; if thy foot cause thee to stumble, heave it to the shambles.
The pernicious branch of the just tree shall be cloven and cast into
the brush-heap.’ You are an officer of this commonwealth, sir?” asked
Cromwell, again.

“By your Highness’s permission,” he replied.

“Did your son strike you upon the face with the flat of his sword upon
the night recorded in this charge against him?”

“What acts have passed between my son and myself are between my son and
myself only,” replied Enderby, steadily. He did not look at his son, but
presently the tears rolled down his cheeks, so that more than one of his
judges who had sons of their own were themselves moved. But they took
their cue from the Protector, and made no motion towards the old man’s
advantage. Once more Cromwell essayed to get Enderby’s testimony, but,
“I will not give witness against my son,” was his constant and dogged
reply. At last Cromwell rose in anger.

“We will have justice in this realm of England,” said he, “though it
turn the father against the son and the son against the father. Though
the house be divided against itself yet the Lord’s work shall be done.”

Turning his blazing eyes upon John Enderby, he said: “Troublous and
degenerate man, get gone from this country, and no more set foot in it
on peril of your life. We recalled you from outlawry, believing you to
be a true lover of your country, but we find you malignant, seditious
and dangerous.”

He turned towards the young man.

“You, sir, shall get you back to prison until other witnesses be found.
Although we know your guilt, we will be formal and just.”

With an impatient nod to an officer beside him, he waved his hand
towards father and son.

As he was about to leave the room, John Enderby stretched out a hand to
him appealingly.

“Your Highness,” said he, “I am an old man.”

“Will you bear witness in this cause?” asked Cromwell, his frown
softening a little.

“Your Highness, I have suffered unjustly; the lad is bone of my bone and
flesh of my flesh. I cannot--”

With an angry wave of the hand Cromwell walked heavily from the room.

Some touch of shame came to the young man’s cold heart, and he spoke to
his father as the officers were about to lead him away.

“I have been wrong, I have misunderstood you, sir,” he said, and he
seemed about to hold out his hand. But it was too late. The old man
turned on him, shaking his shaggy head.

“Never, sir, while I live. The wrong to me is little. I can take my
broken life into a foreign land and die dishonoured and forgotten. But
my other child, my one dear child who has suffered year after year with
me--for the wrong you have done her, I never, never, never will forgive
you. Not for love of you have I spoken as I did to-day, but for the
honour of the Enderbys and because you were the child of your mother.”

Two days later at Southampton the old man boarded a little packet-boat
bound for Havre.



III

The years went by again. At last all was changed in England. The
monarchy was restored, and the land was smiling and content. One day
there was a private reading in the Queen’s chamber of the palace. The
voice of the reader moved in pleasant yet vibrant modulations:

   “The King was now come to a time when his enemies wickedly began to
   plot against him secretly and to oppose him in his purposes; which,
   in his own mind, were beneficent and magnanimous. From the shire
   where his labours had been most unselfish came the first malignant
   insult to his person and the first peril to his life, prefiguring
   the hellish plots and violence which drove him to his august
   martyrdom--”

The King had entered quietly as the lady-in-waiting read this passage to
the Queen, and, attracted by her voice, continued to listen, signifying
to the Queen, by a gesture, that she and her ladies were not to rise.
This was in the time when Charles was yet devoted to his Princess of
Portugal, and while she was yet happy and undisturbed by rumours--or
assurances--of her Lord’s wandering affections.

“And what shire was that?” asked the King at that point where the
chronicler spoke of his royal father’s “august martyrdom.”

“The shire of Lincoln, your Majesty,” said the young lady who read,
flushing. Then she rose from her footstool at the Queen’s feet, and made
the King an elaborate courtesy.

Charles waved a gentle and playful gesture of dissent from her extreme
formality, and, with a look of admiration, continued:

“My Lord Rippingdale should know somewhat of that ‘first violence’ of
which you have read, Mistress Falkingham. He is of Lincolnshire.”

“He knows all, your Majesty; he was present at that ‘first violence.’”

“It would be amusing for Rippingdale to hear these records--my Lord
Clarendon’s, are they not? Ah--not in the formal copy of his work?
And by order of my Lord Rippingdale? Indeed! And wherefore, my Lord
Rippingdale?”

“Shall I read on, your Majesty?” asked the young lady, with heightened
colour, and a look of adventure and purpose in her eyes. Perhaps, too,
there was a look of anger in them--not against the King, for there was
a sort of eagerness or appealing in the glance she cast towards his
Majesty.

The Queen lifted her eyes to the King half doubtfully, for the question
seemed to her perilous, Charles being little inclined, as a rule, to
listen to serious reading, though he was ever gay in conversation,
and alert for witty badinage. His Majesty, however, seemed more than
complaisant; he was even boyishly eager.

The young lady had been but a short time in the household, having come
over with the Queen from Portugal, where she had been brought to
the notice of the then Princess by her great coolness and bravery in
rescuing a young lady of Lisbon from grave peril. She had told the
Princess then that she was the daughter of an exiled English gentleman,
and was in the care of her aunt, one Mistress Falkingham, while her
father was gone on an expedition to Italy. The Princess, eager to
learn English, engaged her, and she had remained in the palace till the
Princess left for England. A year passed, and then the Queen of England
sent for her, and she had been brought close to the person of her
Majesty.

At a motion from Charles, who sat upon a couch, idly tapping the buckles
on his shoes with a gold-handled staff, the young lady placed herself
again at the Queen’s feet and continued reading:

   “It was when the King was come to Boston town upon the business of
   the Fens and to confer sundry honours and inquire into the taxes,
   and for further purpose of visiting a good subject at Louth, who
   knew of the secret plans of Pym and Hampden, that this shameful
   violence befel our pious and illustrious prince. With him was my
   Lord Rippingdale and--”

“Ah, ah, my Lord Rippingdale!” said Charles, half aloud, “so this is
where my lord and secret history meet--my dear, dumb lord.”

Continuing, the young lady read a fair and just account of the
King’s meeting with John Enderby, of Enderby’s refusal to accept the
knighthood, and of his rescue of the King at Sutterby.

“Enderby? Enderby?” interjected the King, “that was not one Sir Garrett
Enderby who was with the Scottish army at Dunbar?”

“No, your Majesty,” said the young lady, scarcely looking up from the
page she held, “Sir Garrett Enderby died in Portugal, where he fled,
having escaped from prison and Cromwell’s vengeance.”

“What Enderby did this fine thing then? My faith, my martyred father had
staunch men--even in Lincolnshire.”

“The father of Sir Garrett Enderby it was, your Majesty.”

“How came the son by the knighthood? ‘S’death, it seems to me I have a
memory of this thing somewhere, if I could but find it!”

“His gracious Majesty of sacred memory gave him his knighthood.”

“Let me hear the whole story. Is it all there, Mistress Falkingham?”
 said the King, nodding towards the pages she held.

“It is not all here, your Majesty; but I can tell what so many in
England know, and something of what no one in England knows.”

The Queen put out her hand as if to stay the telling, for she saw what
an impression her fair reader had made upon the King. But the young lady
saw no one save Charles--she did not note the entrance of two gentle
men, one of whom looked at her in surprise. This was Sir Richard Mowbray
of Leicester. The other was Lord Rippingdale (now lord chamberlain), who
had brought Sir Richard thither at the request of the King. Sir Richard
had been momentarily expected on his return from a mission to Spain, and
my Lord had orders to bring him to the King on the very instant of his
arrival.

The King waved his hand when Lord Rippingdale would have come forward,
and the young lady continued with the history of John Enderby. She
forgot her surroundings. It seemed as though she were giving vent to
the suppressed feelings, imaginations, sufferings and wrongs of years.
Respectfully, but sadly, when speaking of the dead King; eloquently,
tenderly, when speaking of her father; bitterly, when speaking of Oliver
Cromwell, she told the story with a point, a force and a passionate
intelligence, which brought to the face of Charles a look of serious
admiration. He straightened himself where he sat, and did not let his
eyes wander from the young lady’s face. As she spoke of Sir Garrett
Enderby and his acts--his desertion when Lord Rippingdale laid siege
to the house, his quarrel with his father, the trial of the son, the
father’s refusal to testify against him, and the second outlawing
by Cromwell--her voice faltered, but she told the tale bravely and
determinedly; for she now saw Lord Rippingdale in the chamber. Whenever
she had mentioned his name in the narrative, it was with a slight
inflection of scorn, which caused the King to smile; and when she spoke
of the ruin of Enderby House, her brother’s death and her father’s years
of exile, tears came into the Queen’s eyes, and the King nodded his head
in sympathy.

Sir Richard Mowbray, with face aflame, watched her closely. As she
finished her story he drew aside to where she could not see him without
turning round. But Lord Rippingdale she saw with ease, and she met his
eyes firmly, and one should say, with some malicious triumph, were she
not a woman.

“My lord Rippingdale,” said the King, slowly and bitingly, “what shall
be done to the man whom the King delighteth to honour?”

“Were I Mordecai I could better answer that question, Sir,” was my
Lord’s reply.

“Perhaps my Lord Rippingdale could answer for Haman, then,” returned his
Majesty.

“My imagination is good, but not fifty cubits high, Sir.”

The answer pleased the King. For he ever turned life into jest--his
sorrows and his joys. He rose motioning towards the door, and Lord
Rippingdale passed out just behind him, followed by Sir Richard Mowbray,
who stole a glance at the young chronicler as he went. She saw him, then
recognised him, and flushed scarlet.

She did not dare, however, to let him come to her. He understood, and he
went his way after the King and Lord Rippingdale.

In all the years that had passed since the night he had helped her
father and herself to escape from Enderby House; since he aided them
to leave their hiding-place on the coast and escape to Holland, she had
never forgotten his last words to her, the laughing look of his eyes,
the pressure of his hand. Many a time since she had in her own mind
thought of him as she had heard her father call him, even as “Happy Dick
Mowbray!” and the remembrance of his joyous face had been a help to her
in all her sufferings. His brown hair was now streaked with grey, but
the light in the face was the same; there was the same alertness and
buoyant health in the figure and the same row of laughing white teeth.

As she stood watching the departing figure, she scarcely knew that the
Queen was preparing to go to her bed-chamber. She became aware of it
definitely by the voice of her Majesty, now somewhat petulant.

Two hours later she was walking alone in one of the galleries when,
hearing a gentle step behind her, she turned and saw the King. She made
an obeisance and was about to move on, when he stopped her, speaking
kindly to her, and thanking her for the great pleasure she had given him
that afternoon.

“What should be done for this quasi knight of Enderby?” asked the King.

“He saved the life of the King,” she said; then boldly, confidently,
“your Majesty, for conscience sake he lost all--what can repay him for
his dishonoured years and his ruined home!”

“What think you, Mistress, should be done with him? Speak freely of the
man whom the King delighteth to honour.”

She felt the sincerity under the indolent courtesy, and spoke as only a
woman can speak for those she loves. “Your Majesty, he should have the
earldom promised his ancestor by Wolsey, and his estates restored to him
as he left them.”

The King laughed dryly.

“He might refuse the large earldom, as he scorned the little
knighthood.”

“If your Majesty secured him estates suitable to his rank he could have
no reason to refuse. He was solicitous and firm then for his son--but
now!”

Her reply was as diplomatic and suggestive as it was sincere, and
Charles loved such talents.

“Upon my soul, dear Mistress Falkingham, I love your cleverness,” said
the King, “and I will go further, I--” He stooped and whispered in her
ear, but she drew back in affright and anxiety.

“Oh, your Majesty, your Majesty,” she said, “I had not thought--”

She moved on distractedly, but he put out his hand and stayed her.

“Ah, a moment, sweetheart,” he urged.

“I must go to the Queen,” she answered hurriedly. “Oh, your Majesty,
your Majesty,” she repeated, “would you ruin me?” Her eyes filled with
tears. “Until the Queen welcomed me here I have had nothing but sorrow.
I am friendless and alone.”

“No, no,” said Charles, kindly, “not alone while Charles is King in
England.”

“I am little more than an orphan here,” she said, “for my father is now
only a common soldier, your Majesty, and--”

“A common soldier!” repeated Charles a little stiffly; “they told me he
was a gentleman of England doing service in Italy.”

“My father is in your Majesty’s household guard,” she answered. “He was
John Enderby--alas! none would recognise him now as such.”

The King stared at her a moment. “You--you--Mistress--you are John
Enderby’s daughter?”

Her reply was scarce above a whisper. “His only child, Sir.”

“Upon my soul! Upon my soul!” was all Charles said for a moment, and
then he added: “Why did you not speak before?”

“My father would not permit me, your Majesty. He is only returned to
England these few months.”

“He is here to--?”

“To be near to myself, Sir.”

The King bowed low over her hand.

“Mistress Enderby,” said he, frankly, “we are honoured by your presence
in this place. To-morrow morning at eleven your father shall come to us.
You are still but a child in face,” he said; “and yet--eh?”

“I am twenty-seven years old,” she answered frankly.

“Quite old enough to be a countess,” he said charmingly, “and young
enough to enjoy the honours thereof.” So saying he bowed again, and with
a gracious smile dismissed her. She went so quickly that she did not see
two gentlemen almost at her elbow as she left the gallery. One of them
was Lord Rippingdale.

“Ha,” said my lord, with a wicked smile, “a new violet in the King’s
garden!”

His companion turned on him swiftly.

“My lord,” said he, “this is the second time to-day you have slandered
this lady.”

The other lifted his eyebrows.

“Is it a slander to say that the King finds a lady charming at any hour
o’ the clock?” he rejoined.

Sir Richard slapped him across the cheek with his glove.

“I take a pleasant duty from John Enderby’s shoulders, my lord. I will
meet you at your pleasure.”

The next morning at sunrise Lord Rippingdale declared with his last
breath that he did not know the lady was John Enderby’s daughter, and he
begged Sir Richard to carry to Enderby his regret for all past wrongs.

Sir Richard came in upon the King at the moment that his Majesty was
receiving John Enderby--a whiteheaded old man, yet hale and strong, and
wearing the uniform of the King’s Guard. The fire of Enderby’s eye was
not quenched. The King advanced towards him, and said:

“You are welcome to our Court, Squire Enderby. You have been absent too
long. You will honour us by accepting a tardy justice--without a price,”
 he added, in a low tone.

“Your Majesty,” said Enderby, “for me justice comes too late, but for my
child--”

“An earldom can never come too late--eh?” asked the King, smiling gaily.

“For me, your Majesty, all comes too late except--” his voice shook a
little--“except the house where I was born.”

Charles looked at him gravely.

“Upon my soul, Enderby,” said he, “you are a man to be envied. We will
not rob you of your good revenge on our house or of your independence.
But still we must have our way. Your daughter,”--he turned lightly
towards Felicity,--“if she will not refuse me, and she cannot upon the
ground that you refused my father--she shall be Countess of Enderby in
her own right; with estates in keeping.”

Womanlike, Mistress Felicity had no logical argument against an honour
so munificently ordained. “And now for your estates--who holds them?”
 asked the King.

“Lord Rippingdale, your Majesty,” answered Enderby.

“Yes, yes, my lord Haman! We have already sent for him. It is long past
the time.” His brow darkened.

Sir Richard Mowbray stepped forward and said: “Your Majesty, Lord
Rippingdale is beyond obedience or reparation;” and then he gave the
message of the dead man to John Enderby.

A month later Mowbray was permitted to return to Court, and with him
came John Enderby and the Countess of Enderby. When Charles was told
how matters had gone between the younger two, he gave vent to a mock
indignation; and in consequence he made Sir Richard Mowbray an earl
also, that, as he said, they might both be at the same nearness to him;
for etiquette was tyrannical, and yet he did not know which of them he
loved better!

As for the man so long dishonoured, Charles swore that since John
Enderby came not to the King at Court, the King would go to him at
Enderby. And go he did in good temper and in great friendship for many a
year.





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