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Title: A Lost Leader - A Tale of Restoration Days
Author: Townshend, Dorothea
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.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "A Lost Leader - A Tale of Restoration Days" ***

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[Illustration: Cover art]



[Frontispiece: Astbury found himself looking into the black muzzle of a
great horse pistol.  Frontispiece] [page 102.]



A LOST LEADER

_A TALE OF RESTORATION DAYS._


BY

DOROTHEA TOWNSHEND.

  "And I but think and speak and do
  As my dead fathers move me to."
                      R. L. STEVENSON.



ILLUSTRATED BY HAROLD PIFFARD



  PUBLISHED UNDER THE DIRECTION OF THE GENERAL LITERATURE
  COMMITTEE.



  LONDON:
  SOCIETY FOR PROMOTING CHRISTIAN KNOWLEDGE,
  NORTHUMBERLAND AVENUE, W.C.;
  43, QUEEN VICTORIA STREET, E.C.
  BRIGHTON: 129, NORTH STREET.
  NEW YORK: E. & J. B. YOUNG AND CO.



CONTENTS.

CHAPTER

  Prologue--"Under which King?"
  I. Vae Victis!
  II. A Noble Enemy
  III. The End of a Regicide
  IV. The Pleasant Isle of Avès
  V. Hidden Worth
  VI. An Old Acquaintance
  VII. Fate at Work
  VIII. The Queen returns to Hunstanton
  IX. A Precious Thing discovered late
  X. Escape
  XI. A Candid Minister
  XII. The Ghost of Hunstanton Place
  XIII. A Visionary
  XIV. Fate's Sequel
  Notes



A LOST LEADER.



PROLOGUE.

"UNDER WHICH KING?"

One December evening, in the year 1648, the little town of Farnham
showed unusual signs of life.  Troopers were dismounting and leading
their horses away to their stables, or were lounging at the doors of
the houses where they were quartered, and a crowd of curious country
folk and villagers gathered to stare at them, and even to put questions
to the more affable-looking of the steel-coated soldiers.

The press was greatest round the entrance of a house of the better
class that stood back from the street with all the dignity that a
flagged forecourt and a couple of high brick gate-pillars could lend it.

There the sentries, who were stationed at the door, had some ado to
keep back the curious throng, and many a sturdy country farmer
shouldered his way into the house in the wake of his squire to catch a
glimpse of his king, the ill-fated King Charles, who was to rest that
night at Farnham on his last journey from the prison at Hurst Castle to
the scaffold at Whitehall.

"Be there no chance of seeing his blessed Majesty this even, Master
Clarke?" whispered an old woman, clutching the arm of a good-natured
neighbour.

"No, dame, no, he be a-going to his supper, folks say, and they won't
let none into his parlour but gentry, save these here lobsters as go
where they please, and hold themselves as good as gentlefolk, rot 'em!"

These uncomplimentary remarks were not said in a loud enough tone for
the sentry to overhear, but they gave great satisfaction to the old
woman who nodded agreement, and wiped her eyes with her apron.

"Do'e think now they'll let us get a sight on him in the morning?" she
quavered.

"Ay, ay, they can scarce stop it; he must needs pass out this way to
come to his horse.  But I reckon they must feel mighty vexed to see how
the folk press to get a sight on him, God bless him."

"God bless him, and bring him safe out of their wicked hands," echoed
the old woman, as she turned to hobble home.

Within the house, the hall and passages were thronged with servants and
visitors, most of whom made no secret of their loyal sorrow at seeing
their king brought among them as a prisoner.  The officers who formed
the escort appeared, however, to trouble very little about the
sentiments of the crowd, and from good nature or contempt went about
their own affairs, allowing the country squires and their wives to show
their loyal devotion in any fashion they pleased.

In the panelled dining-parlour the supper-table stood ready, prepared
for one guest only, but the room was as yet only lit by the fading
gleams of the winter sunset and the dancing flames of the fire.  The
group of officers and visitors who were gathered round the hearth,
spoke to each other in low tones as they glanced with looks of
curiosity, and even covert amusement, at two gentlemen who stood in the
recessed window, in earnest talk.

But a boy who stood near the door watched all with no amusement in his
face.  He stood erect, grave, watching with his serious untroubled
childish eyes the great things that were passing before him.  A bright,
eager boy, whose brown hands one would think fitter to hold a top than
to caress the hilt of his new sword; a boy young enough to be proud of
his position, proud of his soldier's dress; to whom life was a very
interesting but a very simple matter.  He looked with a child's awe at
the two men in the window, and they were worthy of his gaze.  The
slender, slightly bowed figure in the velvet coat and blue ribbon, with
soft curls that flowed from beneath a plumed hat, the sad eyes, the
regular features only marred by a look of weakness and almost
peevishness about the mouth; the boy had seen them all often enough in
pictures, but to-day he stood for the first time in the presence of a
king, of King Charles the First of England.

Before the king stood an equally picturesque personage, although at
first sight you hardly noticed the features or colouring that went to
make up the gallant figure of the man.  It was the erect, proud
bearing, the vivid life, the eagerness of a high-strung nature, now
controlled by the courtesy due to his companion.  His buff coat and
crimson sash were like those worn by the boy, and the velvet cap he
carried in his hand left uncovered curls as brown; but instead of the
childish calm of the boy's hazel eyes, the older man's glance now
flashed with the fire of an eagle, now glowed with the exalted
enthusiasm of a poet.  It was no wonder that the boy watched him with a
look of dog-like adoration that scarcely spared a glance for the king
himself.  Young Dick's king stood before him in truth, and his name was
not Charles Stuart but Thomas Harrison.

"Show us thy new sword, Dick," whispered a young cornet, whose laughing
eyes danced in very unpuritanical fashion.

Dick moved forward, and the firelight gleamed on the slender blade as
he held it out.

"By my faith, a rare bit of steel!  And how many king's men hast thou
skewered with it?"

"None, sir," answered Dick, seriously.  "My uncle hath only let me use
the foils hitherto."

"Wise uncle!" laughed the other.  "He would not expose even our
deadliest enemies to the blow of such a paladin.  But, hark 'ee, Dick,
dost know the king hath sent for thine uncle to make him a duke?"

"No, no," broke in another young soldier, "'tis not a duke; he is to be
sworn of the king's privy council, and have the Garter."

Dick looked gravely at the laughing speaker.

"It would be good if the king would make Uncle Tom a councillor," he
said.

"Well said, boy," chimed in an older man.  "If his Majesty took Major
Harrison's counsel, our cause were won; but the stars will go
withershins ere that come to pass."

The faces of the younger men changed, and one answered soberly enough--

"You say too true, captain."

Their voices were subdued lest they should reach the king's ears; but,
respectful as was the bearing of all the members of the group by the
fire, they clearly split into two halves: on the one hand, the officers
of the escort who were teasing the boy, and on the other, a group of
gentlemen, some wearing the conventional ribbons and laces of a
cavalier, others in the rough cloth of country wear, stained with the
mud of country lanes, while the master and mistress of the house moved
from one guest to another, evidently nervous at the doubtful honour
that such a royal visit had brought to their roof.

The lady turned to one of the king's gentlemen-in-waiting with a
whispered word--

"I scarce hoped, Mr. Herbert, to see his Majesty in such pleasant
spirits, for methinks his condition could scarce be more dolorous."

"Faith, madam," answered Mr. Herbert, "he bears each new change of
fortune with the dignity of a king and the resignation of a saint.  But
I make no doubt that the sight of these your loyal neighbours whom you
have called in, and the very blessings of the poor folk in the street,
are somewhat of a balm to his heart, also I cannot deny that those
gentlemen"--looking over at the officers--"have used us very civilly
during the day's ride; methinks his Majesty finds himself more at ease
with them than with those crop-eared parliament men and their
preachers."

"I marvel, nevertheless, to see his Majesty expend his gracious word on
such a rebel as that Major Harrison.  We have heard strange and
horrible things concerning him, and that he has even dared to plot
against his Majesty's most sacred life!"

"'Tis for that reason, madam, that the king made an occasion to speak
with him," answered Mr. Herbert.  "He was pleased to say, to-day, when
Major Harrison was riding behind him, that his aspect was good, and not
as it had been represented to him, and I am assured that his Majesty
did desire some discussion with him to try what his sentiments may
truly be."

They stood in silence watching the strange interview between the royal
prisoner and his republican guardian; but no word of the conversation
reached their ears, till, in answer to some word of the king's,
Harrison said very vehemently--

"Sir, I abhor the very thought of it."

The king's sad face brightened with a look of surprise and pleasure,
and his manner towards the soldier took on an indescribable air of
gracious dignity.  But Harrison's expression did not respond; he
continued to speak with grave, almost severe earnestness, and the
surprise with which the king heard him quickly froze into a look of
offence, and then abruptly his Majesty dismissed Major Harrison with a
slight inclination of his head, and came forward to the supper-table;
while Harrison, with a silent greeting to his friends by the fire,
called Dick, and left the room.

Their horses were in waiting outside, and for a few minutes they rode
in silence through the gathering twilight towards their lodging.  Then
Major Harrison spoke.

"Dick! the king even now asked me whether we do intend to murder him."

"To murder him?" echoed the boy, in horror.

"Ay, to murder him.  There are some here that have whispered him that
we wait to slay him privily, as we go to London!  I told him, Dick, I
did abhor the very thought of it."  An indignant sincerity rang in his
voice.  "Nevertheless, I told him roundly that the law is equal for
great and small, and justice hath no respect of persons.  The blood of
Englishmen hath been poured out like water at the word of this man, it
crieth out against him unto God; the Cause needeth not the aid of any
secret assassin; he shall render his account in public unto the high
court of Parliament."

"But what can the parliament do to the king?" asked the boy, lowering
his voice, as if the very stones in the road might cry out against the
thought he did not venture to speak plainly.

"Do justice," said Harrison, with a sudden fire in his voice that made
the boy's blood leap in response.  "Justice in the name of the Lord to
whom kings and peoples are but dust in the balance.  The Lord hath
owned us by marvellous victories, and the Cause is His, His day of
reckoning is at hand, and Charles Stuart shall answer unto Him and His
saints for the men he hath slain."

"But can they--dare they--touch the king?  He is not as other men,"
hazarded the boy.

"Ay, will they," replied Harrison, sternly.  "And if they hang back,
the army will see to it that the work is done.  In the face of the sun,
in the eyes of all the world, shall the great deed be accomplished."

"The deed?" whispered the boy, with dilated eyes, "the judgment?"

"The execution," answered Harrison, solemnly, dropping his right hand
on his thigh, and turning in his saddle, till he faced directly towards
his nephew riding beside him.  "And, Dick, if it be so ordained, and
the people of England do justice on their king, thou shalt stand by my
side, and share in my service.  Thou hast set thine hand to the plough,
boy, and art a partaker in our great work.  See thou look not back.
Forget it not, thou art pledged to secure the just liberties of the
people of God to live and to die for it."

"Ay, uncle," answered Dick, earnestly; and the hand of the older man
reached across in the darkness, and the boy laid his in it in the
solemn clasp and pledge of fidelity.

"Nevertheless," went on Major Harrison, his voice rising to deeper
earnestness, "it may so fall out that it may go hardly with the people
of God; we may yet have to suffer hard things; but bear in mind, Dick,
we must be willing to receive hard things from the hands of our Father,
as well as easy things.  Shall not the Lord do with His own what
pleaseth Him?  Therefore be cheerful in the Lord your God; hold fast
that you have, and be not afraid of suffering, for God will make hard
and bitter things sweet to all those that trust in Him.  If I had ten
thousand lives I would freely and cheerfully lay them all down to
witness in this matter.  Many a time have I begged of the Lord that if
He had any hard thing, any reproachful task, or contemptible service to
be done by His people, that I should be employed in it, and blessed be
God I have the assurance within me that He will put such a service upon
me.  But whether I die or live, do thou go forward, and do valiantly as
the friend of Christ, and may the Almighty Father carry thee in His
very bosom."

He ended as they drew rein before the farmhouse where they were to pass
the night, and the boy, thrilled and awed, had no voice to answer, but
the grasp of his uncle's hand, and the memory of his uncle's words
remained with him, as a consecration of his new life as a soldier, and
moulded his doings and beliefs for all his life after.



CHAPTER I.

VÆ VICTIS!

                    "'Is there any hope?'
  To which an answer peal'd from that high land,
  But in a tongue no man could understand;
  And on the glimmering limit far withdrawn
  God made Himself an awful rose of Dawn."
                        TENNYSON, _Vision of Sin._


It was October in the year 1660.  The bonfires that had welcomed the
Merry Monarch back to his father's throne were scarcely cold, the
clamour of the joy-bells had hardly ceased, and London was still in a
half-frightened, half-rapturous state of excitement.  Everything was
new; the better part of the people had never even seen a king, and now
they had the daily sight of a live king, and a couple of royal dukes
besides, walking about the streets and feeding ducks in the parks like
ordinary human beings.  The tension in men's minds suddenly gave way.
To the winds with high-flown theories of government and religion, with
ideals, and standards, and rules, and covenants!  Let us all be
comfortable, and hang any one who might trouble our holiday!

This popular fear of agitators who might disturb the rule of the Merry
Monarch chimed in very well with the feelings of the old cavaliers, who
felt that heavy amends were due to them for the sorrows and hardships
of the last twenty years, and no doom could be too awful for the
murderers who had laid sacrilegious hands upon the sacred person of the
king.  With relentless activity they hunted down the audacious rebels
who had dared to send Charles the First to the scaffold, and few were
so fortunate as to escape the fate decreed for a regicide.

Yet, full as London was of hopes and fears, of mad gaiety and black
despair, the October day was as sweet and still as any day of any
autumn; the late roses blossomed as of old in the gardens of the
Strand, and vine-leaves wreathed the citizens' with their wonted
coronals of ruby and gold.

An upper chamber above a mercer's shop in Watling Street was decked
with all the pride of city housewifery; the pewter dishes on the
sideboard shone like silver, and the marigolds and lavender in a great
beaupot on the window-sill filled all the pleasant chamber with autumn
fragrance.  The room was that of wealthy people, and the rich silk gown
and cobweb lawn of a lady who lay huddled up in the corner of a great
settle were such as city matrons loved to wear.  She was a plump and
comely woman enough, but her soft brown hair was disordered, and her
dainty cap awry; her eyes were closed, and her face white with the
exhaustion of one who has wept till she can weep no more.

Near her stood the boy who had buckled on his sword eleven years
before, to escort King Charles from Hurst Castle to his doom; a boy no
longer, but a tall and handsome young man, with the bronzed complexion
and alert eyes of one who has seen service.

He hesitated as he looked down at her; had she for an instant forgotten
her sorrows in the sleep of exhaustion?  But even as he paused, she
opened her eyes and sprang to her feet, crying--

"What news, nephew--what news?"

"The worst," answered Dick, gloomily.  "They are in haste to accomplish
their work; he dies in two days' time."

She stared at him with dilated, half-comprehending eyes; he took her
hands and drew her down gently to sit beside him on the settle.  He
paused, trying to steady his voice.

"It did not trouble him," he began; "indeed, General Harrison did seem
to me to be as ready to break forth into thanksgiving as ever I have
seen him on a battlefield when his enemies were put to flight.  He bade
me--my uncle bade me--say to you that to-day is as joyful to him as his
marriage-day.  He was borne up in a very ecstasy as it seemed to me,
and when the judges railed on him for his share in the death of the
king, he told them his conscience was clear, for in what he did, there
was more from God than men are aware of.  And when he said further that
what was done, was done in the name of the parliament, which was the
only lawful authority, for that the generality of the people in
England, Scotland, and Ireland had owned it by obeying it, and foreign
States by sending embassies to it, they were cut to the heart and
desired to silence him."

Dick's voice failed suddenly; what use to torture the unhappy wife of
the regicide with the story of his trial and condemnation?  He could
not convey to her the intrepid composure, the exulting pride with which
Harrison justified the deed for which he was arraigned.  Mrs. Harrison
asked no question, she did not even answer his words; for a moment she
doubted if she had heard him; but then she spoke: spoke with a calmness
that startled him till he realized that she dreamt even yet that her
husband might escape, and was too completely absorbed in devising
schemes for his deliverance to have time to realize her own misery or
measure her own powerlessness.

"Dick," she exclaimed, putting her hands to her temples, "I cannot
think; I am half mazed without him, who always thought for me.
Consider!  I am very sure there are some we can move to help us!  Count
over your friends; there must be some one with a heart of flesh left in
all England!  General Monck loved you well once, though he wrote so
wickedly counselling Oliver Cromwell to be very severe unto my beloved
one when they threw him into prison at Portland.  But what is a prison!
A prison was ever to him the gate of heaven.  Move but General Monck to
have him cast once again into prison, and I will pray for him till my
dying day!  They say that blasphemer, Harry Marten, will but be
imprisoned; why should my saint have a harder fate?  Oh, let him but
live, and though I never set eyes on him more, I shall be a happy
woman!"

"Dearest madam," he said tenderly, "it is, indeed, of no avail to turn
to Monck or to any in power.  How can they forget that he of all men
yet alive was most forward in the death of Charles Stuart; and he has
but now justified his share in it.  Whomsoever they let escape, they
will never loose their hold on him.  Not the new king himself could
help us."

"Not even the king," she repeated dully; "nay, I know not if the king
be merciful; but," she cried, suddenly starting up, "it hath come back
to me; there is one near to the king who may be our advocate--Prince
Rupert!"

Dick stared at her, aghast.

"Nay," she said, with a desperate smile, as she read the doubt in his
face, "I am not distraught.  God forgive me, I could well-nigh wish I
were, so I might escape the knowledge of this misery.  But, listen to
me," she went on, with sudden self-control.  "When Prince Rupert
surrendered Bristol to the Parliament army, your uncle was among the
officers who waited with General Cromwell at the port of the fort for
his coming out, and waited on him to Sir Thomas Fairfax.  And the
prince had much discourse with Major Harrison, for so your uncle was
then, and when he bade him farewell he gave him a gallant compliment,
saying he never received such satisfaction in such unhappiness, and
that if ever it were in his power he would repay it."

"But consider, madam, that was long years since.  In good truth, 'tis
madness to build any hope on such a compliment."

"Hope!" she shrieked.  "I have no hope--no faith!  I have nothing left
in my bosom but despair!  I am not worthy to be wife to a martyr.  When
he was with me I could be courageous with his courage, and catch the
fashion of his heroic patience.  Lacking him I lack all!  Why did he
not die when he was so sore wounded at Appleby!  Cruel woman that I was
to nurse him back to life for this!"

"But, dearest aunt, you saved him for many years of good service, and
many valiant deeds."

"Ah, and I would have saved him yet again if he would but have listened
to me.  Do you mind, Dick," she went on, in a calmer tone, as her
memory wandered back to happier days, "do you mind how I foresaw these
evil times were at hand, and how I entreated him to flee?  Do you mind,
last spring, when that letter came from New England from excellent
Master Perrient, how I prayed him to hearken to it?"

"Ay," answered Richard, humouring her quieter mood, "I mind well how he
wrote, not knowing but that Richard Cromwell was yet Lord Protector,
and how he said, if my dear uncle found no freedom for his religion in
England, that there was a safe refuge in the Rhode Island Plantation,
and the Lord's people there could serve him as their conscience did
direct."

"And do you mind how Mr. Goffe, being then with us, said, 'He is a good
man, and gives good counsel, and to my mind it were no hardship even to
flee into the woods and dwell among the savage Indians, so we might
have liberty to serve the Lord'!"

"Ay, and some folk say Mr. Goffe is indeed fled thither."

"Alas, alas! and did I not kneel and entreat my dearest husband to heed
the words of those good men if he would not mine?  How happy we might
have been, even in a hut among the savages!  And you, too, Dick," she
said tenderly, "you would have liked well to follow Master Perrient's
leading; and my dear husband was ready to have you go, seeing all he
and Sir Gyles Perrient had set their minds upon for your happiness."

"Oh, think not of my matters," interrupted Richard, almost sharply.
"How could I have left him?  And how could we be urgent to him to fly
when we could not know what extraordinary impulse one of his virtue or
courage may have had on his mind?  Forget not how he did answer to your
entreaties, saying that he would not stir a foot, nor turn his back as
though he repented he had been engaged in that great work, or were
ashamed of the service of so glorious and great a God!  We could not
seek to change such a resolve."

"Ah, you are content to see him die!  You men can satisfy your hearts
with fine words, and so be that you can call it heroic or courageous,
or so forth, you care naught, naught!  That all comes of the evil men
you fell among when you went north in the army of false General Monck.
They it was who seduced you from the good old cause in which my dearest
husband reared you up so faithfully.  When you went to Scotland first,
you and he were of one mind, one heart, but when you came hither again,
your head was stuffed full of worldly wisdom and time-serving devices,
talking of a Lord Protector instead of the glory of God, and hand and
glove with that cruel Cromwell who did throw my saint into prison!
Your heart was turned from those that reared you, and given to their
enemies!  And now you can stand by unmoved and see him you once loved
haled to prison and death!"

"No, no, dearest madam," cried Dick, "you know in your own heart you do
me injustice.  What did it matter that in these latter days I did not
share General Harrison's faith in the Fifth Monarchy being presently
established, nor sit with him to hear Mr. Rogers' sermons? never did he
find me backward in the day of battle, and that you, who tended my
wounds, can yourself testify.  'Tis more than ten years back I swore to
him to live and die for the just liberties of the people of England,
and by God's help I have kept the vow.  And as in the field, so at
home, you know well, my love and reverence for him came little short of
idolatry."

"Yes, yes," she murmured abstractedly; "who could fail to love him? so
valiant and so goodly to look upon, so tender unto his friends, and to
me his poor wife, and ever was the inward joy in his bosom breaking
forth in praises to God--and yet"--turning wildly on Dick--"yet you
will let him die!  You are as hard as the nether millstone!  Dick, do
not shake your head, you must go!  You must force Prince Rupert to hear
you.  He can--he shall be saved!  Cruel! you will not refuse me!"--and
she flung herself on her knees in agony.

"Madam, dearest aunt, this passion is indeed needless.  I will do all
you desire; but cherish not these wild hopes, they will but plunge you
into deeper sorrow.  Think rather that his passage to heaven, though
sharp will be short; arm yourself with that confidence that already
gives him a foretaste of the joys of the blessed."

Richard's eyes were raining tears as he raised the poor lady from the
floor, but no persuasion could change the idea that was fixed in her
mind.

"Go, go!" she cried, "there is no time to lose; inquire out the
prince's lodging and make him hear you.  Even the unjust judge was
moved by importunity to pity a widow, and am not I in worse case than
she?"

With a heavy heart Dick left the unhappy lady, and set out on what he
knew was a hopeless errand.  But this was not the first, nor the
second, time that his love for his adopted mother had driven him to do
what his feelings and common sense equally rebelled against, for the
kind and rather foolish lady was but an echo of her husband's stronger
nature; and Dick no longer followed General Harrison as his sole leader.

When the boy first left his father's house to become a member of his
uncle's family, Harrison at once became the object of his youthful
adoration.  Handsome in person, gracious in manner, point device in
dress, the brilliant officer lived in an ideal world, in which he
believed all his companions were as simple-minded and heroic as
himself.  The sturdy independence he inherited from an ancestry of
English tradesfolk and yeomen made him cherish the ideal of an English
republic with religious fervour, while, whether leading a prayer
meeting or heading a cavalry charge, his inspiring enthusiasm carried
away all who were near him.  No wonder that the boy saw with his eyes
and heard with his ears and modelled himself as nearly as he could on
the ideals of his hero; and when Colonel Harrison signed the warrant
for the king's execution, the boy was as convinced a regicide as any of
the judges whose names were written beside that of Harrison on the
fatal parchment.  Never a doubt nor a scruple entered Richard's mind,
even on that memorable thirtieth of January, when on the scaffold at
Whitehall the King--

  "Bowed his comely head
  Down, as upon a bed."

The boy had learned his uncle's lessons too thoroughly to dream of pity
or remorse.

It was a complete change when, with his head full of Utopian dreams,
"more of an antique Roman" than an Englishman, Dick was sent off to
serve under General Monck in the army that was to administer as well as
to garrison Scotland.  The boy came out of Plutarch into modern life,
or out of Paradise into common day.  His character was naturally more
logical and less high strung than that of his hero; and as the stern
realities of life claimed the attention of the young soldier, the
ecstatic glories of his uncle's visions faded from his mind, his work
absorbed and satisfied him, and he forgot to dream of ideal republics,
or even of the Celestial City, in the practical interest of helping to
conquer and to govern Scotland.

But when he returned home on flying visits, he found to his dismay that
his uncle's visionary hopes were growing instead of fading; and from
desiring a merely republican England, General Harrison had begun to
dream of a theocracy as complete as that of the early Jews, and to look
forward to the immediate inauguration of an earthly Reign of the
Saints, under the sceptre of Christ Himself, as the Fifth and last of
the great monarchies of the world.  Although General Harrison's strong
personal fascination and unselfish ardour still commanded his nephew's
affection and even admiration, the young man's irreverent common sense
could not help viewing these new Fifth Monarchy opinions held by his
uncle and his uncle's friends as fitter for Bedlam than for the pulpit
or the parliament house.  But when the Restoration brought the king's
men upper-most, and General Harrison was arrested and carried to the
tower, all differences were forgotten, and Dick saw in his uncle the
first martyr to die for his share in defending the liberties of
England.  He accompanied Harrison's heart-broken wife up to her
childhood's home in London, and waited with her during the slow months
that crept on to the inevitable end.

He had hoped that the consolations of her minister, or the calm of
despair, might have brought to her some amount of resignation; but now
this wild trust in the power of Prince Rupert had suddenly inspired the
poor lady with a crazy vehemence.  Even if he had not known her hopes
were vain, his proud spirit would have rebelled against crying for
mercy to a German soldier of fortune!

"It is worse than folly," he muttered; "it is disgrace to drag General
Harrison's name in the dust with fruitless entreaties.  We did the
great deed, and we abide by the consequences.  Even could we say we
repented, there yet were no mercy to hope for; but we do not repent!
Were it to do again, we should not flinch.  The poor flesh may
shrink----"

He stopped short, with the irrepressible agony of realization.  Death
was easy enough to face among the high enthusiasms of the battlefield;
but here, in the city, where the busy world was eating and drinking and
making money among these sordid surroundings, what radiance of a
celestial city could flash from opened gates to support a victim
through a torturing death?  Could faith win a victory even here?



CHAPTER II.

A NOBLE ENEMY.

  "He was a stalwart knight and keen,
  And had in many a battle been;
  * * * *
  His eyebrow dark, and eye of fire,
  Show'd spirit proud and prompt to ire;
  Yet lines of thought upon his cheek
  Did deep design and council speak."
                                      SCOTT.


Richard reached Whitehall, and inquired his way to Prince Rupert's
lodging in the Stone Gallery, still half dazed with the rush of
conflicting thoughts.  Then he controlled himself, and knocked; and not
till he heard that the prince was indeed arrived in London did he
realize how heartily he had hoped that his search would be in vain.

He found with some surprise a negro boy, the only attendant in waiting
in the ante-room.  He had imagined that a royal ante-chamber must be
thronged with courtiers and suitors, and his shy pride was relieved to
find the way was at least not barred by gilded grooms-in-waiting, or
fashionable loungers.  The boy greeting him with a flash of white
teeth, made no formality over admitting an entire stranger, but at once
introduced him into a little book-closet on the ground floor, where a
gentleman was busily engaged in unpacking folios from a great sea
chest; and as he turned to receive the visitor, Dick, to his
inexpressible relief, saw a face that had been familiar to him in
Scotland.

"Zounds!  Captain Harrison," cried the gentleman, merrily, "are you the
first swallow that heralds a summer?  I swear you are the first visitor
that has crossed the threshold since we landed yesterday, and I thought
you were anchored in Edinburgh.  But all men meet in London!  Well, and
are you come to crush a cup with me in memory of the merry days we had
in Old Reekie?"

"Nay, Mr. Cowth, it is as a suitor I come," began Harrison, rather
awkwardly.

"A suitor!  'Tis admirable!" cried the lively youth.  "Why, man, we
scarce believe ourselves royal till some one comes to beg a favour!
Good faith, 'tis but a poor trade this of royalty!"

"Why, sir," returned Richard, making an effort to respond to the
geniality of the gentleman in waiting, "I thought you were on the sunny
side of the hedge nowadays?"

"Ay, ay; but we had some shrewd blasts to weather before we got here!
And I am not yet well assured which way the weather-cock will swing
yet.  Hark in your ear, 'tisn't every one in England that is glad to
see us.  There is a fat old fox they have just made Earl of Clarendon
who makes my master mad every time he sets eyes on him, and that fox
holds the weather-cock by a string, I fancy.  Prim old self-seeking
rascal.  But we'll have some merry times yet, which ever way the wind
sets, hey, Captain Harrison?"

"I fear," answered Richard, gravely, "the merry times are at an end for
me and my friends."

"Say you so?  I' faith, I was near forgetting that your party is down
in the world, you have so little the cut of a square-toed roundhead!  I
am heartily sorry you are in trouble.  But cheer up, man.  There sits
his Highness above stairs that has been wrecked and imprisoned and
ruined a dozen times over, and yet here has he come full sail into
port.  And I'll warrant he'll sit at the king's table long after old
Clarendon's sun has set."

"I fear my fortune is scarce like to be so good," answered Richard.  "I
have not a kins to my cousin."

"True, true; and 'mon cousin' is a very pretty fellow, and a right
loving kinsman to boot when he does not forget!  But to-day he is away
a-hunting, and the Duke of York is making sheep's eyes at the fox's
clever daughter Nan, so here we sit solitary."

"Do you think his Highness would grant me an audience?" put in Richard,
endeavouring to stem the flood of the lively young fellow's gossip.

"Oh, Lord, yes; no doubt of it.  Come your ways, come your ways--in
faith, you have come in a good hour, for, with one thing and another,
my prince is in a desperate bad humour to-day, and who knows but you
may make a distraction."

And without more delay the young man bustled the half reluctant
Harrison up the stairs, and into a great panelled room that looked out
over the shining Thames.

The afternoon sun streamed in through the wide casement, and lit up a
curious medley that showed no woman's hand might dare to bring order
into his Highness's apartment.  A beautiful portrait of the Queen of
Bohemia, that could come from no meaner brush than that of Vandyke,
hung on the wall, while beneath it a table was heaped with dusty
bottles and jars, retorts, and powder-flasks.  A casket of chased
silver lay overturned on the floor, with a plumed hat tossed beside it,
and a gorgeous paraquet clambered up and down a heap of sea-rusted
armour tumbled in a corner.

At a table in the midst of this picturesque confusion, sat a man of
middle age, whose thoughtful eyes and finely chiseled features still
showed the beauty inherited from his mother, the luckless Queen of
Hearts.  But the face, overshadowed by the heavy curls of a fashionable
periwig, was worn and roughened by exposure and hardship, and the weary
gloom that darkened the noble forehead and drooped the haughty lips
marked the years of disappointment that had changed the fiery paladin
of 1642 into the sad and cynical Rupert of the Restoration.

The Prince was writing rapidly when they entered, and did not even
raise his head as he exclaimed--

"Go away, Cowth!  Did I not bid you leave me in peace till supper-time?"

Mr. Cowth's manner had become suddenly subdued on entering the room,
and he crossed over and spoke to the prince in a low tone, with a
deferential air that was a curious contrast to the airy swagger with
which he had run up the staircase.

The prince flung his pen on the floor, and leaned back in his chair to
look at the intruder, who stood by the door inwardly cursing himself
for having been such a fool as to force himself into such a position.

"Sir," the prince's cold imperious tone rung like a bell in the silent,
sunny room, "I hear you are kin to General Harrison this day condemned
to death."

Richard bowed assent.

"You are to be pitied," continued the prince; "but I know not anything
in which I can serve you;" and with a slight inclination of his head
Rupert turned to his papers.

But he had forgotten the impatient movement with which he had flicked
his pen to the other side of the room, and as he paused to search for
it Dick caught the opportunity, and stepped over to the table.

"I entreat you, sir, to give me leave to say two words," he urged.

The prince looked up with cold surprise.  "Say on, sir," he answered.

"Sir, when you delivered over Bristol to my Lord Fairfax, you said some
words to General Harrison that his friends still bear in mind, and I
would be so bold as to bring them back to-day to your Highness's
memory.  You said then that were it ever in your power to repay the
satisfaction you had received from him in your day of trouble, you
would do it."

For a moment Prince Rupert's amazement kept him absolutely silent; then
he burst out--

"How! you must be beside yourself to come to me--_me!_--Rupert! on such
an errand!  Because, forsooth, I exchanged civilities with one I held
an honourable enemy, you dare to expect my interest on behalf of a
regicide!  I vow, sir, every man who even witnessed that most
abominable and unnatural murder should swing, did it depend on me.  Go
to those of your own party, who have had the wit to secure their own
necks; maybe they may also have the skill to juggle your kinsman out of
jail."

Richard could hardly wonder at the tone of contempt, and he almost
blessed it, for it aroused an answering anger that dispelled his shy
reluctance to speak, and his answer came promptly--

"We count among our friends, sir, none who have secured their own
safety."

"Faith, I might have guessed you were short of friends when you turned
to me," replied Rupert, with a sneer.

"Sir," answered Richard, boldly, "you yourself taught us in the wars
that 'tis better to trust to a noble enemy than to an unworthy friend!"

"Ha! well answered.  Faith!  I dare be sworn you have seen service;
but, my good enemy," continued Rupert, in a perceptibly milder tone,
"'tis not now war-time, and we soldiers have no say in matters of civil
justice."

The change in the prince's voice encouraged Dick to make another effort.

"There can be no matter in which your Highness has not a say," he urged.

"Thinkst thou so?" answered Rupert, with a keen glance at the handsome
and soldierly figure of the young man.  "Now, sir, I warrant you know
by experience that a broadsword is a good enough thing to have in your
fist on the field of battle; but, the war over, 'tis neither fit for a
lady's chamber nor for a courtier's duello; 'tis but a commodity of
rusty iron to fling in the lumber-room."

"Sir," cried Dick, with a gleam of comprehension that almost amounted
to reverence, "that may be London fashion; we country folk hang the
broadsword in the place of honour, and account it the prime treasure of
the house."

Rupert smiled.  "Those be fashions of another time," he said.  "Take
the counsel of your preachers, and beat your sword into a pruning-hook,
my good youth, else it will be apt to cut your fingers.  Under whom
have you served?"

"Under General Monck in Scotland, your Highness."

"Under Monck!  Why, then, you must be a fool if you miss the good
things showered on him and his friends by this heaven-sent Restoration!

"No, sir, I laid down my sword when the late--when Richard Cromwell
left Whitehall."

Rupert's last remnant of ill-humour vanished in a peal of laughter.

"Good faith," he cried; "'tis worth an hour lost to learn that
Tumble-down Dick had one follower, and, I warrant, a faithful one!
_Aller Teufel!_ thou art as good a lad as I have seen in this most
virtuous and loyal city.  Nevertheless, I cannot help thee."

"I have but to thank your Highness for your patience," said Dick.

"Yet stay," said the prince, who was indeed strangely taken by the
young Roundhead, "stay; I am heartily sorry I cannot serve you.  Are
you in safety yourself?  My credit is small, yet perchance it might
stretch----"

"I thank you, sir," answered Dick, sadly; "I need nothing for myself."

The prince's interest seemed to grow.  "I see not wherein I can move,"
he muttered, "and I would not if I could."  He remained sunk in
thought.  "Harkye, sir, I am not one of those that love to deck out a
city with carrion.  I see naught gained by making war with the dead.
Stone dead is the end of the story as far as it concerns a soldier.
This healing and blessed Parliament, I hear, holds a gibbet a prettier
sight than a stricken field; that is not my mind, and if I can move any
of these valiant pantaloons to let General Harrison's body be delivered
to his friends, I will do it.  Good day to you."  And, disregarding
Dick's clumsy attempts at gratitude, the prince turned his back, and
resumed his search for his pen.

Mr. Cowth, who had kept prudently in the background, took Dick by the
arm, and pulled him out of the room.

"Take my thanks, Harrison," he chuckled, as he led him downstairs; "the
black dog is off his Highness's back, and when he waits on his Majesty
to-night, he will be worthy himself.  Ah, Harrison; why art thou a
Roundhead?  Is not that a master worth serving?"

"Ay, indeed," answered Richard, heartily; "he is a most noble and
generous gentleman--well-nigh as noble as him they will hang on
Saturday"--he added bitterly to himself; "but my lot is cast, friend,
and I may not change it."

"I am sorry to leave thee in such a mind," answered Mr. Cowth, with
mock solemnity, "and I pray thee lay to heart my parting words.
Forswear Square Toes; repent thee of Republicanism, and I'll stand
godfather to thy new life!  So go and get thee wisdom!"  And the young
fellow turned, laughing, back to his work, while Richard sadly retraced
his steps to Mrs. Harrison's lodgings.



CHAPTER III.

THE END OF A REGICIDE.

  "Sound, thou Trumpet of God, come forth, Great Cause, to array us,
  King and leader appear, thy soldiers sorrowing seek thee."
                                                  CLOUGH, _The Bothie._


A solid mass of people thronged the space where three roads met and
Charing Cross once stood, and above the serried heads rose the black
skeleton of the gallows and the executioner's fire crackled and leapt
below.  But the sight inspired little horror or pity in the throng:
orange girls called their wares, squalid beggars beset beplumed
gentlemen, burly ruffians shouldered back prim citizens in their
broadcloth and silver buckles; the press, the smell, the noise of
shouts and oaths and scraps of songs were much the same as had hailed
the Second Charles's entry into London six months before; but the faces
were changed, their coarse joviality was gone, and they were inflamed
with the frenzy of the bull-fighter, the loathsome curiosity that will
not miss one horrid detail, even if the gazer must trample down his own
mother to get a better view of the butchery.

The shouts swelled into a deep roar of execration, as the sledge on
which the prisoner lay bound neared the place of execution, and Richard
Harrison, struggling to keep his place as close to the victim as he
might, thought with grim bitterness of the day when this same mob,
silent and cowed, had seen General Harrison ride back from the scaffold
at Whitehall.

"The dastards dared not lift a finger then, though it was for their
liberty we struck the blow.  And this is the reward the people of
England have reserved for their deliverers!" muttered Dick.

But no bitterness nor resentment darkened the prisoner's face, never
had his glance been more serenely triumphant, and as he pressed nearer,
Dick could catch above the yells and hootings, the rapturous words
which he uttered, his hands and eyes raised to heaven.

"I bless the Lord," he said, "it's a day of joy for my soul.  I do find
so much of the joy of the Lord coming in, that I am carried far above
the fear of death, going to receive that glorious crown which Christ
hath prepared."  And when one fellow cried out jeeringly, "Where is now
your Good Old Cause?" he, with a cheerful smile, clapped his hand on
his breast saying, "Here it is, and I am going to seal it with my
blood."

Yet even the most callous were silent for a moment as the dying man
spoke his last words from the ladder of the gallows, asserting once
more that he was wrongfully charged with murder and bloodshed.

"I must tell you I have kept a good conscience towards God, neither did
I act maliciously toward any person, but as I judged them to be enemies
to God and his people."

And when his nephew came near for a last farewell, he repeated once
more--

"It's hard for most to follow God in such a dispensation as this, and
yet my Lord and Master is as sweet and glorious to me now as He was in
the time of my greatest prosperity;" and then, embracing his friends in
farewell, he committed his spirit into the hands of God and was, the
bystanders declared, "not so much thrown off the ladder by the
executioner, but went readily off himself."

The butchery of the sentence for treason was carried out to the bitter
end, yet of the onlookers there were but a few women who sobbed
hysterically or fainted, and but one or two men who pushed their way
back, sick with the sight and smell of the shambles.

A smartly dressed little gentleman, with a carefully curled wig, had
forced his way as near as possible to the place of execution.  His bold
curious eyes let nothing pass unnoticed, yet when the torture of the
half-dead victim was ended even his lips were somewhat white, though he
shouted and waved his hat with the loyal rabble who cheered and cheered
again at the headsman's final speech: "So perish all King Charles's
enemies."

"So perish all his enemies," he repeated, "a very just vengeance, and
'tis my chance to see it, as it was to see the king die at Whitehall.
But Lord, 'tis a bloody business--and to see how cheerful he bore it!"
He rapped on his snuff-box and hemmed away his emotion.  "Gad!" he
said, suddenly staring at a face that rose above the crowd near him, "I
was almost fool enough to think the fanatic's prophecy was come true,
and there was General Harrison come alive again!  That young fellow
yonder is the very marrow of him!  Some one of his family, I dare be
sworn, poor wretch, and doubtless of the same way of thinking.  But
'tis as handsome a young sprig as I have seen this long time.  Lord,
how time flies, and how one forgets business when there is any
pleasuring toward; my lord will be in a fine fume;" and Mr. Samuel
Pepys walked off towards the Admiralty offices without wasting another
glance at Richard Harrison.

He also pushed blindly on out of the crowd, with the groping step of a
sleep-walker, but as he neared the outskirts of the throng a tap on his
shoulder seemed to awake him, and he straightened himself as he turned
sharply round.

"Come under this archway till the crowd be past," said a short man
muffled in a horseman's cloak.  "You are too noticeable, Dick, to walk
abroad to-day."

"It is as safe for me as for you, Mr. Rogers," returned Dick.

"Nay, nay; I am not like unto Saul the son of Kish for stature.
Moreover, none who look on you can question you are kin to the servant
of God who hath even now borne his witness, and this rabble is thirsty
for the blood of the saints.  Yet I know you have security--the friends
with whom you have cast in your lot sit now in high places, and General
Monck loves you well."

"General Monck is no friend of mine," returned the young man sternly.
"His friends are those only who sit in the king's court, and can carry
honours to his house."

"I am glad to hear it; I am heartily glad to hear it," replied Mr.
Rogers.  "The friendships of this evil generation will avail us little
when the trumpet of the Lord of Hosts doth sound the reveille, and
those poor bones yonder live once more, ay, and that dead hand beckon
us on to victory."

Mr. Rogers was quivering with excitement, and did not notice that
Richard was leaning against the wall with set face, evidently quite
deaf to his harangue.  He went on with increased vehemence in the
wildest strain of Fifth Monarchy eloquence.

"The night is dark, yet must we watch till the day dawn!--watch--ay,
and not alone shall our lamps be burning, but our matches are alight
and our muskets loaded.  The artillery of the Lord is called out, the
iniquity of this Babylon is full, the saints are even now assembled,
and expect the call to arms.  Truly your good aunt doth forget her
widowhood in the expectation of the day that is presently to break.
You also will join us; I know it is long since you have heard the words
of pure doctrine, yet there is a blessing in reserve for the seed of
the righteous, and the filth of the Presbyterian doctrines you learned
in Scotland shall not cleave unto your feet to make them stumble in the
way."

He paused, discovering at last that his eloquence was entirely wasted.

"Dick," he urged, shaking the young man by the arm, "you will not turn
your back on those who shared your uncle's tribulation, and who do
presently expect to share his triumph."

Richard withdrew his arm haughtily.  "Mr. Rogers," he answered, "you
mistake if you imagine that I can join you and your friends in any of
your mad undertakings.  What I have seen to-day doth but show the
clearer that our cause was lost through our unhappy divisions and
distracted councils.  I hold that those that turned my uncle's mind
against the Lord Protector Cromwell will not be held guiltless when the
blame of this day's work is reckoned up."

Mr. Rogers started back, and then, with a violent effort to control
himself--

"For the sake of him who hath even now rendered up himself as a martyr
for the Lord's cause, I may not be angry with any word of yours," he
answered sadly; "but I do entreat of you to take heed!  Would you lay
down your arms and live in peace among your cattle and your corn,
coached and complimented into effeminacy and foolishness?  Oh, for
shame!  Rub your eyes and look about you!  What was the fate of the men
of Sodom when they thought Lot was one that mocked when he warned them!"

"Nay," answered Richard, "you do but lose time in seeking to persuade
me.  God forbid I should think you mock, but I hold you to be
grievously mistaken.  I think not the Kingdom of God is to be brought
to us by the sword; nor will I be a party to endangering any shred of
liberty yet left to the people of England by breaking the peace whether
by word or deed."

"Yet listen," pleaded Rogers, "seeing that even a criminal before the
judge is given freedom to make his defence."

"Say on; I will not interrupt you," answered Richard, wearily.

"Then, let us leave those things that are behind, whether well or ill
done, and leave also the late Protector Oliver Cromwell, seeing his
judgment is in the hands of the Judge of all, who will surely avenge
the tribulation that serpent did bring upon the suffering saints--and
hearken to what is yet to come.  We have the most sure word of prophecy
that the Day of the Lord is at hand; therefore the persecuted remnant
who do expect the coming of the Fifth and only Monarch, are even now
assembled with their swords upon their thighs, to publish their
glorious gospel and go forth conquering and to conquer.  And in the
train of Him who sitteth upon the white horse, we do confidently expect
to behold General Harrison and those other saints who have died, either
as at this time, or formerly, for the Good Old Cause, raised again in
the flesh, that we and they may all triumph as one man.  Mrs. Harrison
doth lay aside her sorrow, and abides with the saints in Colman Street,
to add her praises and prayers unto theirs.  When all go forth, let not
one who bears the honoured name of Harrison hang back.  Sure thou art
no coward, Dick?"

"Do I take you, that you and your friends do presently intend to raise
an insurrection in this city?  cried Richard, in horror.

"Ay, we trust to do our humble part in the great warfare."

"And my unhappy aunt is now at your place of meeting?"

"Ay; she even now expects till the fruition of our hopes be granted,
and General Harrison doth arise from death to lead us on to victory."

"Then, Mr. Rogers, I will go with you.  Hold," as the other raised his
hand in an ecstasy of thankfulness, "I go not to join you, but to speak
a word of common sense to your misguided followers, if they will hear
it, and to remove Mrs. Harrison to a place more fitting her sex.  You
cannot wish to involve a woman in your schemes of bloodshed!"

"You err--you err," broke in the irrepressible fanatic.  "Women have
been but too much denied their just liberty: they have a right as men
to their free course of speech, and to follow the way their conscience
doth point.  Nevertheless, you shall say to Sister Harrison all that is
in your heart, and she shall act as the Lord shall direct her, and if
she elect to go forth into desert places and await the consummation of
our hopes afar off, in fasting and prayer, in that fashion also she may
serve the Good Old Cause.  Now that the crowd is dispersed, we may go
forth in safety; let us therefore hasten to put the matter to the
touch."

Richard followed Mr. Rogers in silence as he emerged from their place
of shelter, and hurried cityward along the less crowded streets that
lay northward of the Strand.  He strode along behind the flying form of
the little minister, inwardly furious at the saintly and exasperating
person who forced him to seek out the company that was precisely the
most painful and uncongenial to him, when his one sole idea was to hide
himself in solitude like some wounded animal and there wrestle down the
grief and horror that possessed him.  Yet the grief and horror was
still only in the background of his mind, his brain felt numbed, though
an instinctive dread warned him that they lurked there ready at the
first opportunity to spring out on him with overwhelming force.  It was
only by an effort that he could rouse himself to consider what steps he
must take to remove Mrs. Harrison from the party of desperate men among
whom she had thrown herself.

He knew that the extraordinary person in whose company he walked was
completely deaf to the usual reasons that govern men's conduct; but,
mixed up with his insane and even blasphemous beliefs, Mr. Rogers had
occasional flashes of what can only be termed inspired common sense;
and if he were judiciously approached, it was even possible that such
an incalculable person might use his influence to restrain the old
soldiers of his congregation from rushing on immediate destruction.
Mr. Rogers was a gentleman by birth and a scholar by training, and was
therefore accessible to arguments that did not affect the ruder members
of his sect.

Richard had been familiar with Mr. Rogers from his boyhood, and had a
strong personal liking for the affectionate and unselfish little man as
well as a real admiration for the saner points in his doctrines.  But
the more he considered, the less he saw how to remonstrate with the
excitable minister without irritating him afresh, and finally, in the
very desperation of helplessness, he resolved to trust to his own
influence over Mrs. Harrison, and hope that Mr. Roger's kindly feelings
would prevent his interfering in any tyrannical manner with the poor
lady's wishes.  Having come to this conclusion, he controlled himself
sufficiently to speak to his companion in a more friendly tone.

"By your leave, sir, I should like to stay and give orders as I pass
our lodgings.  Mrs. Harrison had set to leave London instantly, and a
hackney coach will be now in waiting at our door.  It will be the
better to have it near at hand should she resolve to carry out that
intention; so, if it please you, I will bid the coachman drive her
woman to Colman Street and await near your meeting house till we know
her will."

The minister readily assented, and they turned into Watling Street,
where, as Dick had foretold, a hackney coach stood ready packed before
the mercer's shop that had belonged to Mrs. Harrison's father, and a
groom was leading a stout cob up and down beside it.  A waiting woman
in hood and cloak was peering anxiously from the door, but as Dick ran
up the steps he was surprised to find she was not the only watcher.  An
officer in the gay uniform of the Coldstream Guards came forward
holding out his hand.

"I have waited a round hour to catch you, Harrison," he said.  "I bring
you a message from my Lord Monck."

"I am sorry my lord should have troubled you," answered Dick, stiffly.

"Tut, tut, Harrison; what though we have forsworn our protectorate sins
and got a batch of new ones to suit the new times, we are not all born
to be play-book heroes like you.  There are worse men than old George,
and you were as well to listen to his message."  And, taking Dick by
the arm, the officer continued earnestly, in a low tone, "You remember
that fellow, Patrick Keith, with whom you quarrelled in Edinburgh; he
is here in London in my Lord Lauderdale's household, and he swears he
will be revenged on you.  He gives out he has sufficient evidence that
you are corresponding with Johnson of Warriston and the other Scotch
gentlemen under sentence of outlawry, and that he will see you at the
gallows before he leaves you.  Now, you know the fellow is quite able
to forge or trump up evidence enough to be mighty unpleasant, so Lord
Monck prays you give no colour to anything he may say, by frequenting
the company of any suspicious or fanatical people.  If you can keep
private a while, his lordship makes no doubt it will all blow over, and
he will use his influence to have Keith sent back to Scotland, or over
sea on some errand."

"I caned Keith in the High Street of Edinburgh for that he kicked a
woman who by chance stood in his way," answered Dick, hotly; "and if I
meet him in Fleet Street, I will cane him once more there."

"That will doubtless be much to the advantage of Keith's manners,"
laughed the other, "but scarce to the furtherance of your safety!  Now,
I ride to Harrow to-night--why will you not bear me company and lie at
my house, and so travel into the country for a while.  On my honour,
Keith is a dangerous man," he continued, seeing that Richard's
expression of careless contempt did not change.  "Every one of us at
court finds his new seat so slippery that he dare not wag a finger for
fear of being upset--and I know none there who dare meddle with my Lord
Lauderdale's favourite.  He can tell such a cursed lot of tales of us
all and what we did in Edinburgh in the days when we were all saints
and went to meeting!"

"You are very good," answered Dick, softening; "but I purpose to leave
London within this hour.  You see my horse there in waiting."

"I am right glad to hear it," answered the other, heartily.  "Then,
farewell, but I trust we shall meet and be merry many a year after Pat
Keith is hanged," and shaking Harrison warmly by the hand, the
guardsman turned on his heel and swaggered down the street.

Dick smiled grimly to himself as he directed the waiting-maid to follow
her mistress in the coach to the Coleman Street meeting-house.

"I am to avoid the company of fanatical people," he muttered.  "Heaven
knows I have as little love for them as Old George can have!  If I can
but get Aunt Harrison safe into the coach, I give them leave to clap a
Geneva gown on my back if ever I am found in their company again."

The shabby room in Coleman Street, where the Fifth Monarchy men were in
the habit of assembling, was crowded with men, and the first glance
showed with what ominous intentions the congregation were assembled.
On a rickety platform at the end of the of the room a preacher in a
Geneva gown was holding forth in the most violent language of the sect,
and all around the grim listeners hung on his words with immovable
attention, leaning on their pikes or holding their drawn swords across
their knees.  Many were old soldiers, their stained buff-coats and
scarred faces telling tales of Naseby and Marston Moor, and contrasting
with the prim bands and well-brushed cloaks of the citizen members of
the congregation.

As the new-comers entered, the preacher paused in his harangue, and a
hum of welcome went up from the armed ranks to greet their arrival.
But one white-haired old soldier sprang up with a shout of exultation
that was almost a scream.

"Glory, glory," he shrieked, "the General is risen from the dead!  The
power of Satan is broken!" and rushing forward he flung his arms round
Dick in an ecstacy of welcome.

"Nay, nay, brother Day," said Mr. Rogers, stepping forward, "you
mistake; this is Richard Harrison who fought beside you at Worcester;
he is come to speak with his kinswoman.  We must yet for a little
possess our souls with patience," he continued; drawing the old man's
hand on his arm, and leading him to a seat he sat down beside him,
exhorting him in a low voice, while Dick made his way to the corner
where Mrs. Harrison sat, her head bowed on her hands.

To his astonishment and relief, she did not immediately refuse his
invitation to accompany him; a woman of gentle nature and rather dull
intelligence, she naturally clung to her nephew as the dearest thing
left to her in her sorrow, and although she pleaded at first faintly
that he would not take her away from the comfort of Mr. Feake's
exhortations and the expectation of the miracle he foretold, she showed
herself quite ready to listen to his persuasions.

"Dearest madam," he urged, "when the Great Day of the Lord doth arrive,
it will surely be of no moment whether it find you in London or in
Newcastle; it will be as the lightning that shineth from the east even
unto the west.  But for to-day they are at an end of the preaching; you
will hear no more if you tarry; you see these men have their weapons
prepared, and are ready to burst out into insurrection; this is no fit
place for you."

She murmured something of going back to her house in Watling Street.

"Nay, nay," urged Richard; "all our friends in Newcastle await you.
Come home with me to Staffordshire, and await events there.  Sure it is
in General Harrison's own house that he would desire you to be?"

He took her hand to lead her from the room, and she rose obediently;
but several of the congregation who sat near and observed his action,
protested in audible tones, and those further off, only half catching
what was going on, joined in even more loudly.

"Who is this man who is not of us, and hath forced himself among us?"
cried one.  "A spy! a spy!" cried another.

Mr. Rogers pushed forward.

"Shame, shame, brethren; let no man dare to call the kinsman of a
martyr a spy!  This is Richard Harrison, and it is but decent he have
leave to come and go and speak with his kinswoman in liberty."

"Nay," broke in another, "as for our sister Harrison, let her go in
peace, seeing the day of slaughter is near, and the women should abide
in safety by the stuff.  But as for this man, he shall remain.  Shall
he go forth and sit lazily while his brethren fight for Canaan?  It may
be that godly exhortation and the example of valiant men may turn him
from the error of his ways ere it be too late."

"Ay," cried a grizzled soldier pressing forward, "he shall be snatched
out of the fire!  Even by force shall he be turned from the way of
destruction, and be found in the Lord's ranks on the day of Armageddon."

"Gentlemen," broke in Richard, "let me but carry Mrs. Harrison to her
coach, and upon my honour I will return and give you my reasons for not
joining with you.  Let us not fall into debate before a lady."

After a little hesitation his hearers agreed, and Richard led his
trembling aunt out of the meeting-house, but two sturdy armed fanatics
followed him closely to make sure he did not escape from the advantages
they proposed to force him to accept.

The shouts and excitement in the meeting-house had warned the
passers-by that something was in the wind, and a good many loiterers
were hanging about the doors, who welcomed them with cries of "Whoop,
Roundhead! whoop, crop ears!" and ribald parodies on the war-like
psalms, whose sound could be clearly heard through the open windows of
the room they had just left.

To Dick's vexation many of the idlers seemed familiar with the names of
the leaders of the Fifth Monarchy sect, and not only shouted for Parson
Rogers, but hailed Madam Harrison and her nephew with expressions of
mock respect.  Dick hurried her into the coach with all speed, and
signed to his servant to lead his horse down a retired alley, but the
aspect of the gathering crowd was so threatening, and that of his
attendant saints so grim, that he began to suspect that his only escape
from being stoned by the unbelieving mob, or run through by a Fifth
Monarchy corporal, would be to be laid by the heels in a city jail!

But the rising commotion in the street was nothing to the commotion
that greeted Dick as he re-entered the meeting-house.  Some were
clamouring for vengeance on the spy who had signalled the mob to gather
round their door, others urging Richard to save himself from the fate
awaiting impenitent sinners by immediately drawing his sword in the
Fifth Monarchy cause, while others, of whom Mr. Rogers was chief, were
clamouring for liberty for tender conscience and long suffering with
those of feeble faith.  The shouting was so violent that the
congregation effectually deafened themselves to the knocking that began
to make itself heard at the door of the room, and it was not till the
knocking changed to the clang of crowbars, and the door gave way before
the assailants, that the excited fanatics realized that their enemies
were upon them.  The doorways were filled with the pikes and muskets of
a strong body of soldiers, and an officer pressing his way to the front
called upon the principal leaders of the Fifth Monarchy men by name to
surrender themselves.  Feake, Powell, John Rogers, Courteney, Day, and
Richard Harrison were the names that rang out above the shouts of the
sectaries, who, crying out that the day of the Lord was come, charged
outwards with such impetuosity that the soldiers were for a moment
forced backwards.

Dick stood watching the conflict with a feeling of grim amusement.
Fate had played into the hands of his Scotch enemy with a vengeance,
and his presence among these desperate fanatics would corroborate any
accusation that the ingenuity of malice could invent.  His arm was
caught by John Rogers.

"Fly, Dick, fly," he urged; "thou art not one of us, neither hast thou
any part in our warfare.  Save thyself; that window looks out on a lane
they will scarce have thought to guard."

"Come you too, Mr. Rogers," cried Dick, endeavouring to draw the
minister towards the open window.

"Nay, nay, I abide with my comrades to live and die with them.  But
begone--your time is not yet; none but the elect may abide the fury of
the Lord's foemen.  Begone."

Richard hesitated.  It was impossible to escape and leave this heroic
fanatic to his fate; but words were wasted on John Rogers, so, suddenly
seizing the minister's slight form in his stalwart arms, Dick thrust
him up on the high window-sill and, swinging himself up beside him,
dropped with his prisoner into the soft mud of a back lane.  Without
waiting for the reproaches Mr. Rogers was too breathless to formulate,
Dick hurried him down the dark road toward the corner where he knew his
horse was waiting.

"Mount behind me, sir," he urged, catching the rein from the trusty
servant.

"Nay, nay," replied Mr. Rogers; "thou art a good lad, Dick, and it may
be the Lord hath reserved both thee and me for further service.  I have
many friends and hiding places in this city--go thy way, and God be
with thee;" and he vanished into the shadows, while Dick, drawing in
the cool night air with a long breath of relief, struck into the road
for the north, and left the shouts and yells of the combatants far
behind him.



CHAPTER IV.

THE PLEASANT ISLE OF AVÈS.

  "And such a port for mariners I ne'er shall see again
  As the pleasant Isle of Aves, beside the Spanish main."
                        C. KINGSLEY, _The Last Buccàneer_.


For a while Richard Harrison found safety in his old county, not indeed
in his father's comfortable town-house, nor in the widowed Mrs.
Harrison's county home, but lurking among the potters' huts on the
Staffordshire moors, and only venturing to visit his friends under
cover of night.

The colour which his unlucky presence among the congregation at Coleman
Street on the day of General Harrisons execution, had given to his
enemy's accusations, had made his position perilous in the extreme, for
General Monck, and his other secret friends, considered that he had
wilfully disregarded their warnings, and were not inclined to exert
their influence in his behalf.  During those miserable months of hiding
he had but one sad satisfaction--that of knowing that Prince Rupert had
kept his promise and the mangled remains of Thomas Harrison were
restored to his widow, and laid in decency in Newcastle churchyard.
The dead was safe from further outrage, but the living were still at
the mercy of private malice and public panic, and Richard found that to
linger any longer near his old home would be but to draw suspicion on
his friends, and even involve them in the fate that threatened himself.

His best chance of escape was to reach some seaport, but it took all
the efforts of his father and his relatives to rouse him to decide on
trying to make for one.  Sick at heart, hopeless for the future of the
country, all that had made life worth living--ambition, work, love, and
even religion, seemed lost.  He was practically alone in the world.
Those of General Harrison's friends who had not shared the Regicide's
doom, were scattered to the four winds, and even if Richard had known
of their places of refuge, he had nothing to unite him to them, but the
bond of a common sorrow.  His own comrades either believed in the
accusations that his enemy circulated with such industry against him,
or were too busy and too selfish to trouble themselves about a man who
was under a cloud.  There was no one left alive who had the power to
rouse Richard from the torpor that possessed him; the numb misery that
had fallen on him when he saw General Harrison die had never again
lifted from his heart and brain.

Till that day he had never realized how completely the warmth and
enthusiasm of General Harrison's character had dominated his own life.
While their opinions diverged completely, their feelings were in
harmony, or rather the glowing faith and single-hearted idealism of the
elder man had illuminated the being of the younger.  Now a glory had
departed from the earth.  Richard's youthful wisdom had often grown
impatient of his uncle's wild fancies, or smiled with affectionate
mockery on his Utopian dreams; but unconsciously the young man had
always measured his own thoughts and actions by the unworldly standard
of General Harrison's ideal.  He, with all who lived near Harrison, had
seemed to catch a reflected gleam of the radiance that shone on his
path; now, a light was gone.  Where Richard had seen that noble figure
treading the path before him, a sudden gulf yawned, the leader had
vanished, the path was lost, and the blank fog was around him.  The
warm clasp was gone, only the memory of the dead hand would be with him
to the end.

Richard's life had been one of activity.  Whether fighting or
administrating or farming, his simple and practical nature had found
its natural outlet in work.  Speculations on religion or forms of
government had little attraction for him; there was always some work to
be done, and that he found more congenial than meditation.  Now, his
occupations were gone, his career wrecked, the only subject for his
thoughts was how to preserve his own wretched life, a matter which soon
grew to him one of complete indifference.  His relations painted to him
in glowing colours the future that still opened to him in the New
England plantations where their friend Parson Perrient was sure to
offer him a warm welcome, and to satisfy their wishes, he made his way
eastward, hoping to find a ship bound for Holland at King's Lynn, and
so to take passage for the New World from Rotterdam.  But the new life
in the West that had once seemed so attractive, the day dreams that had
woven themselves about the log cabin in a forest clearing, faded almost
before he began to desire them.  He was too heart-sick to hope, too
weary to devise new ambitions, or even to recall the old ones that had
kept him company from his youth.

In the dusk of a winter evening, Richard Harrison's tired feet turned
to the door of a shabby little inn on the outskirts of Northampton.  He
had grown skilful in picking resting-places where he was likely to meet
none but creatures as wretched as himself, wanderers and beggars too
much taken up with their own misery to waste curiosity on the history
of others.  Wet and weary, the fire was grateful to him, though the
room it lit up was as dirty and mean as could well be.  But the rickety
settle at least kept the wind from the tired traveller, and the bulging
rafters supported a roof that kept the rain out.  Richard crouched over
the hearth, drying his wet clothes and awaiting without much
expectation of satisfaction the supper the slatternly hostess promised,
when a heavy step without, and a violent rattle of the door-latch, told
that another wayfarer was coming to share his wretched lair.  A tall
burly fellow swaggered into the room, and flung into the elbow chair
with a weight that made it creak.

"Que tiempo maldito!" he growled, shaking the wet from his hat brim.
"Hullo, good mother, food and drink as quick as may be, most especially
drink, and none of your small beer for me," he shouted, jingling a few
coppers in his hand with the air of an alderman ordering turtle and
venison.

"Pray Heaven my neighbour speedily drink himself drunk," thought Dick,
withdrawing himself further into the chimney-corner.

The stranger shivered, coughed, grumbled out a few more oaths in bad
Spanish, and hitching his chair nearer to the fire he lifted the
tankard the woman of the house brought to him, and nodded over at
Richard.

"Here's to thy health, friend, and our better acquaintance!"

Richard answered civilly, and pulling his hat over his eyes leaned back
as one disposed to sleep; but the new-comer seemed to have no fancy for
solitary potations.

"Take a pull at my ale, friend," he hallooed, pushing the steaming
mixture under Dick's nose.  "It's rare stingo, 'schrecklich gut' as the
Dutchmen say, though it be a slut that brewed it.  Folks in this
country want something to warm their gizzards!"

The hostess who brought Dick's bowl of onion broth at this moment
destroyed his chance of feigning sleep, and he had to resign himself to
endure his companion's conversation which flowed on, garnished with
oaths and cant phrases in three or four different languages, without
any interruption, till by an unguarded movement Richard exposed his
face to the light of the fire, and the stranger stared a moment, and
then sprang up exclaiming, "Body o' me if it be not Measter Dick
himself!"

Richard scanned the other's features with surprise and annoyance.

"You have the advantage of me, sir," he answered, stiffly.

"Whoy, Measter Dick, you ain't forgot me!  But 'tis little wonder; time
flies, time flies, and I bean't so slim as I was once.  But you'll mind
my name, Hodge Astbury from Penkull, that rode at the tail of your nag
all the way from Hurst Castle to London, and many a day after."

"Can it be Astbury!" cried Richard, with a warmer feeling of pleasure
than he could have imagined possible at finding a link with his old
past in the drunken ruffian who claimed his acquaintance.

"Ay!" cried the other, seizing his hand.  "Hodge Astbury I am, and
right pleased to set eyes on you again, sir.  But alack, alack, times
is changed, and I hear tell they've hanged the Major?"

Dick nodded.

"Ay, dear, dear," meditated Astbury, in a maudlin tone of regret.  "The
Major, he was a fine soldier, and no mistake.  I'd rather than a cup of
strong waters ride behind him when fighting was toward, and see the
pleasure he took in it!  Seemeth, whatever the Major did, us was bound
to do, whether 'twas fighting or praying; 'twas somehow catching, like
as 'twas the plague.  You may believe me, sir, I got afeared of keeping
along o' him; he'd have turned me into a saint before I could wink.
When he looked at you--why General Cromwell himself was put to it to
say him nay!  Aye, dear, dear, 'tis a pity."

Whether intentionally or not, the man had slipped back into his
Staffordshire accent and dropped the strongest of his oaths, and Dick
could not prevent a feeling of bitter amusement at seeing that this
drunken ne'er-do-well, whom his uncle had persuaded to enlist in the
hopes of drilling him into a decent life, had yielded to the influence
of General Harrison's character just as he himself had done.  But
Astbury had broken loose from the charm; he himself had remained
obedient till death dissolved the spell.  Which of them had been the
wiser--which was the better off?  The fellow maundered on, taking a
drink at his replenished tankard now and then.

"And seems as if times be not over good with you, Master Dick, if
you'll excuse my making so bold."

"No," answered Richard, with some reserve; "I have not been altogether
fortunate of late.  But what has befallen you since we met last?" he
continued, anxious to turn the conversation.  "I think you were bound
for Ireland, were you not?"

"Ay, ay, I've seen a siege or two, and a fight or two, and many a queer
thing besides.  Why, if I had the wit to put it all into rhyme, what
I've seen would make a score of ballads!  I've been across seas to
Amerikey since last I clapped eyes on you, Maester Dick."

Richard hesitated to ask in what fashion Astbury had made his voyage,
seeing that the usual way to dispose of thieves and vagabonds was to
ship them off to the American plantations; but Astbury loved the sound
of his own voice, and stretching out his legs towards the fire, took up
his tale in the fashion of the professional story-teller.  His history
ran somewhat as follows, though it sounds bald enough without the
expletives with which he garnished it, growing somewhat less shy of his
Major's nephew as he went on.

"I went across seas first time along o' Lord General Cromwell to
Ireland, and he gave us our bellyful of fighting, and no mistake; but
it ain't fighting that I complain of, having been always held a valiant
man of my inches;" and he puffed out his broad chest and looked a very
crusader.  "And you'll bear me out, sir, I wasn't one to call out at
knocks.  But here's what I complains of--'twas nothing but knocks over
there.  If so be you laid hands if it were but on a hen, if you 'scaped
the gallows your back paid for your chicken, and as for kissing an
Irish wench, they'd have hanged a colonel for doing of it!  And they
great woods!  Now I've seen woods as is worth the seeing, chock full of
monkeys and grapes and parrots and such like, but they Irish woods!
Caramba!  I'd sooner be hanged than set eyes on them again!  So as I
was saying, 'twas hard knocks and short commons and long sermons, and
agues to boot; so when we come to Cork, I just turned my back on old
Noll and padded the hoof to Kinsale, and there I shipped under Prince
Rupert."

"I hope that suited you better," said Richard.

"Ay, there was a good deal to be said for Prince Rupert," answered
Astbury, judicially--"a good deal.  He were a proper man--a very proper
man, and valiant.  But, caramba, we had no luck!  Luck don't run in his
family, folks say.  We overhauled a many good ships, and many a pretty
bout of fighting we had; and when we went ashore, well, there wasn't
any of old Noll's provost marshals after us.  But for all the ships we
took, we didn't seem to get no richer; so being a prudent man, I
thought the time had come to shift for myself, and I slipped off one
fine morning without troubling nobody.  And there I found my luck!
Those islands in the Caribee Sea are a very paradise, and no mistake!
And all around there and down the Mosquito Coast the Indians are very
good folk, and civil.  And plenty to eat there--turtle and wild pigs,
and pineapples and bananas, and more fruits than I can count; and drink
too--wines very curious and hearty, made both of grapes and pineapples.
And if we got tired of swinging in a hammock, and eating of fruit and
smoking tobacco, why there was a many jolly fellows ready to whip into
a little sloop we had handy, and off to--to--to spoil the papishers.
There is a many papishers in those seas, sir--black idolaters all on
'em."

"Spaniards?" asked Dick, idly, amused by the ne'er-do-well's yarn.

"I reckon they were mostly Spaniards, or Portugees, or some such sort
of outlandish cattle; but soon we got so as it wasn't only ships we
made prize of.  Why, I could talk all night if I was to start in
telling you of all the brave sport we had!  One time, I mind, we
landed, there was a town, Santa Ysabel they called it, as it might be
here"--arranging a tankard at the corner of the table--"with a good
high road leading up to it from the sea, as it might be my tobacco
pipe"--laying it down with care; "and if you'll believe me, sir, we
took and run races, as it might be along my tobacco pipe, and as soon
as them Spaniards was 'ware of our coming, they took and ran out by
'tother gate, and left the town empty!  There was seven churches all
chock full of gold and silver idols and candle-sticks, and such like:
'twas just who'd fill his pockets fastest!"

"But how is it you left such a prosperous life?" interrupted Dick, who
had some recollection of Astbury's powers of imagination.

"Ay, indeed!  There it was that luck was against me.  Shipwrecked we
was, me and four others, on a little sandy key, where there was nought
to eat or drink, and the rest, they died, and a Bristol ship come along
and took me off, and I wish I was back again!"

Half idly, Richard asked more questions and grew interested in the
man's tales, for the fellow's varied experiences had given him a sort
of shrewd cunning, which in a higher walk of life might have been
almost worthy the name of diplomacy, and he knew how to fit his tale to
his audience.  It was obvious that he was nothing better than a pirate,
but he managed to gloss over the barbarities of the life so well, and
to dwell on its picturesque and adventurous side so successfully, that
Dick began insensibly to soften in his judgment of the wanderer.  As
the night wore on, Astbury's description of a buccanneer's life grew
more and more glowing; he exercised a good deal of rude art in his
pictures of the career that awaited a gentleman of spirit among the
keys of the Carribean Sea, and at last he burst out--

"Now, Measter Dick, I don't ask no questions, but seems to me pretty
plain your luck's not of the best.  Why don't you shout Westward Ho!
and come along o' me?  I know many a roaring blade that would be proud
to ship under such a captain as you'd make!"  Then leaning forward, he
continued in a solemn whisper, "What though I seem no better than a
beggar--cavado, cleaned out, as the Spaniards say--if I could but get a
loan of as much as would carry me across sea, I'd be a rich man again.
I have a nice little pot buried in a safe place on a certain key; I've
got a map here"--and he thumped his broad chest--"here, sewed in the
lining of my coat, and the place marked with a cross; and I tell you,
sir, there's enough gold in that pot to fit out the snuggest little
pinnace any man need want to see.  Now, don't say nay in a hurry, sir,
but turn it over abit.  Why, I mind how the Major--General I should
say--would be for ever talking of commonwealth.  Why, you could make a
commonwealth to any pattern you please on that Mosquito Coast, and
learn all the Indians to be saints!"  He chuckled.  "Why, you might be
a regular king among them, sir, like Solomon in his glory, sitting
there in golden jewels among apes and peacocks, leastways currasows,
and as many queens as you please."  Harrison frowned.  "Ask your
pardon, sir; my tongue runs away with me sometimes, and thinking of
Solomon made me say it, and 'tis all in the Bible, sir, now isn't it?
But to go back to what I was a saying, you know well, sir, as no one
would follow a chap like me as captain, but if we could get a real
gentleman, and one used to command to lead us--why, hang me, sir, if we
wouldn't be masters of St. Jago de Cuba before many months were out!"

It was all impossible, preposterous; yet the wild tales of the pirate
began to exercise a curious fascination over Dick.

"What good do you gain by stopping here?" urged Astbury.  "What did the
Major gain by all his fighting and praying?  Nothing but the gallows!
Now, for me!  I've been near the gallows a good few times, but I bean't
hanged yet, and I've had a merry life of it; and I've got that pot of
gold I told you of.  Strike hands and join me, sir!  What have you got
to look for here, if you'd excuse me, but to hang like Major Harrison?"

Strange, that this ignorant man should once and again put his finger on
the vulnerable spot in Dick's armour.

"Yes," he murmured to himself, "the wise man dieth as the fool dieth,
and what hath a man for his labours but vexation of spirit.  This also
is vanity!"

Astbury caught the muttered words.  "Very well said, sir, and sounds
like Scripture!  But I tell you gold's solid, that's no vanity; and if
I could but get back to where I buried it----"

Dick was not listening.  Something in his own bosom was arguing
Astbury's cause, better than that vagrant could do it himself.
Homeless, friendless in England, might there not yet be a career for
him in the West?  Not in cold, pious Rhode Island, but under brighter
skies that offered fiercer pleasures.  Good Parson Perrient had painted
Providence plantation as a sort of paradise, where the liberty and
toleration dreamt of by a few in England were the law for all; but was
that refuge open to him?  The good parson might be dead; his daughter
wedded to some sturdy settler, who would have no fancy for such a
compromising guest as one bearing the hated name of Harrison!  To fly
to New England would be but to begin his old life over again, and as
Astbury truly said, What had it brought him?  What had he gained?  What
had England gained by all they had done and dared?  "If our cause was,
as we thought, of God, why did He not own us?  What were General
Harrison's dreams of a pure republic, but vanity?  Who can say if his
dreams of heaven were any truer?"

A wild desire flashed across the young man to break once and for all
with the puzzles and struggles of the past, and throw in his life with
the ruffian who sat opposite to him.  He knew his own powers, he could
lead, he was cool and prompt; he might be a stupid enough fellow in
many ways, but he was a born soldier.  Astbury would get together
enough of men to follow him; only too many good soldiers were then
laying by their useless swords.  Why should he not sail in the wake of
Drake and Raleigh, and make himself a name?  Ay, and found new
commonwealths in the land of sunset?

"I must think it over, Astbury," he said, rousing himself.  "Sleep
brings council, they say; and we have sat our fire out."

"And starving cold it is, too," grumbled Astbury.  "Best come to warm
countries, Maester Dick!" and so flung himself on the wretched pallet
in the corner of the room, and was snoring before many minutes were
over.  Dick wrapped himself in his cloak and stretched himself on the
settle, but sleep was far from him.  Many a man of good birth and
education he had known driven to take the road and become a highwayman,
and think himself none the worse gentleman for it.  Pah! that revolted
him--that was little better than common thievery.  But to sail the
South seas! to harry the Spaniard! to free the oppressed Indians!  A
sort of fever seemed to possess him, and rouse him from the apathy that
had fallen on him.  He tried to call up his cooler judgment, but in
vain; pictures of sunny seas and waving palm groves, of gallant fights
and sacked towns danced before him, and his broken slumbers only wove
the fancies into dreams.  The morning found him still undecided.

"I will go a mile or two along with you, Astbury," he said, "before I
give my word.  Which way are you bound?"

"Well," he answered, "the best seaport for our purpose would be either
Bristol or London."

"No, no," answered Richard.  "I may not venture on the back road so as
to come to Bristol, and London were worse still.  Is there no seaport
this side of England would do as well?"

"Well, sir, if 'twas a matter of working my passage, I'd be bound to go
where there would be ships trading the right way; but if I was with a
gentleman as would oblige me with a loan, 'tis easy to take ship from
Harwich, or find one lying in Yarmouth Roads that would carry us part
way, and then we could take passage from some French or Spanish port.
What do you say, sir, to Yarmouth?"

Richard assented, and they trudged on silently for some time.  The
morning air cooled Dick's fevered pulse, and the exercise shook off the
sort of dream that had taken hold of him.  His sober reason began to
awaken, and then, almost with the distinctness of a living voice, the
words flashed back on him: "It is to secure the just liberties of the
people of God that thou art pledged to live or die for it."

What had possessed him?  Was he running mad?  Was he to draw that sword
that had fought for justice and liberty as the comrade of murderers and
pirates?  Had he sunk so low that he was willing to choose the company
of a drunken ruffian; he who had been the comrade of Thomas Harrison?
The dead hand still held his.  The Fifth Monarchy might be a dream, the
hope of a Republic an idle fancy, but he had not been trained to fight
for theories alone.  Justice, law, liberty were solid facts; those were
the watchwords General Harrison had taught him; for those he had lived,
to those he would be true, whether good or evil fortune awaited him,
whether there were, indeed, a heavenly reward for the victor, or but
the abyss of forgetfulness at the end of the strife.  He stopped short.

"I have come to my resolution, Astbury," he said.  "I cannot go with
you."

And, even as he spoke, he realized what a very fool he had been to let
this fellow gull him with his talk of a pot of gold!  The gleam of
disappointed greed that shone in Astbury's eyes told what he might have
guessed already, that it was no old affection or fidelity that had
drawn the man to him, but merely the hope of making money.  And that
hope the fellow was not likely to relinquish in a hurry.

But in vain did Astbury implore and wheedle, swear and protest Dick was
firm, till at last the rascal began to realize that his prize was
slipping from him, and changed his tone and grumbling out--

"It wasn't like a gentleman to go back on his word after as good as
promising a poor fellow his passage-money."

"Nay, I made no promise," returned Richard; "and I am a poor man
myself.  But, for the sake of old times, I will give thee twenty
shillings to help thee on thy road to Bristol."

Astbury clutched the money, and then an evil grin came over his face.

"Fair and easy, Master Dick!  Twenty shillings in hand is all very
well, but you give me to expect more, and I do expect more."

"Then you will get no more, my man," returned Dick, sharply; "so good
day to you.  There lies your way, and here lies mine."

He was turning as he said, when Astbury, with an oath, sprang forward,
flourishing his cudgel; but he had forgotten that the young officer was
no novice at sword-play, and a turn of Dick's wrist sent the ruffian's
stick flying over the hedge.  Astbury, nothing disconcerted, rushed in
and closed with him, and so heavy was the onslaught of the burly fellow
that it staggered Richard, and he was put to it to hold his own.  But,
after a few blows had been exchanged, Dick's rising temper supplied the
strength that had been lessened by hardship, while Astbury, unwieldy
and out of condition, soon lost his breath, and, hitting out wildly,
gave Dick an opening for a good straight left-hander, that sent his
opponent crashing on the ground.  Once down, he seemed in no hurry to
get up, and Dick, having satisfied himself that the fellow was more
frightened than hurt, left him sprawling in the mud with his twenty
shillings scattered round him, and, as Bunyan would have put it, "went
joyfully on his way, and was troubled no more by him at that time."



CHAPTER V.

HIDDEN WORTH.

  "Here all things in their place remain,
    As all were ordered ages since,
  Come, care and pleasure, hope and pain,
    And bring the fated fairy prince."
                            TENNYSON, _The Day Dream._


Through the winter weather Richard Harrison wandered eastward.

The dull listlessness from which his encounter with Astbury aroused him
for a moment, closed on him again as soon as he was once more alone;
the glimpse of his old ideals that had revisited him had faded, and
only left him with a dogged determination to do nothing unworthy of
them, but with no pride or pleasure in his resolve.  And as he grew
more weary, more desperate of escape from his pursuers, he soon ceased
to think at all; political dreams, sorrow for the dead, hopes of
finding new friends and ambitions in a new world, all were forgotten,
the spirit within him was dulled by suffering; only the poor body cried
incessantly for rest, for food, for warmth, and most often craved in
vain.

So one February evening found him struggling across the moorlands that
fringe the coast of Norfolk between Hunstanton and Lynn.  Thickets of
russet fern and gorse stretched from the dark firwoods to the grey
strand and the grey waters of the Northern Sea.  The rooks croaked
drearily to each other as they winged their way inland, and the gulls
circled wailing over the heath before taking their flight to roost on
some lonely sand-bank, and no other sound broke the monotonous plunge
of the cold waves.

But across the heath a clump of trees rising against the pale sky
seemed to shelter a group of buildings, where possibly some charitable
hand might bestow broken meat on a beggar, or at least a corner in a
rick-yard might afford a shelter from the bitter frost that was numbing
his limbs.  It was long since he had ventured into a town where he
might be questioned and recognized--the hunted man had only dared ask
food or lodging at solitary farms or lonely hamlets; and as he pushed
forward, the gables and twisted chimneys of a mansion house, with
garden walls and dove-cote, gave him hopes of help.  He hurried on as
fast as his weary limbs could carry him, with a terror of the icy
darkness that was closing in like the shadow of death descending upon
him, and almost at a run he reached his goal, and stood on the
balustraded stone arch that crossed the ice-encumbered moat of the old
house.  Then, as he raised his eyes to the building, a groan of despair
broke from him; it was but the mockery of shelter he could find there.
The gates before him creaked on their rusty hinges, the gryffons that
had ramped so proudly on the gate-posts, had fallen from their high
estate, and lay grovelling among the dead flags that fringed the moat.
Dead weeds bristled white with frost between the paving-stones of the
once stately courtyard, and the great house beyond loomed dark and
deserted in the twilight, with windows boarded up, or gaping black and
empty through their shattered casements.

The strength that had carried him so far, failed as his hopes dropped.
He stumbled, clutched with a last effort at the gate, and lay a huddled
heap on the threshold of the empty courtyard.  All was silent.  The dry
flags rustled, the ice cracked in the moat below, the wanderer lay
quiet at last.

A very homely sound broke the ghostly stillness.  The click of pattens
on the paving-stones, and a carol hummed in the clear tones of a girl's
voice, as her tall lithe figure came round the corner of the apparently
deserted house.  A greater contrast to the melancholy scene could not
be imagined than her young face glowing with life and health, the ruddy
coils of chestnut hair, and the bright hazel eyes that roved far and
wide over the empty landscape, as she caught the swinging gates, and
began to tie them in place with a piece of cord.

"Mercy on us!" she cried, suddenly catching sight of the motionless
figure below her.  "John!  John!  Old John!  Come here!  Here is one
sick or hurt! pray heaven he be not dead," she concluded in a lower
voice, as she stooped over the insensible man, and listened for sound
of breath.  "Sir! sir! rouse yourself," and she shook the helpless man
gently by the shoulder.  "Poor creature, this is no beggar, I warrant.
He has the face of a gentleman, and his clothes were fine enough not so
long ago.  John, I say!" she called again.  "'Tis just to vex me the
old fool feigns himself to be deaf.  Sir, I pray you rouse; can you
make shift to stand, for here is shelter close by, if you can but walk
a step or two.  'Tis more than like he is one of those poor gentleman
in trouble with this new government, he has the very air of a hunted
man.  I cannot leave him here to freeze," she muttered.  "Well, if John
is too deaf or too cross to help, I must e'en manage the business
myself."  And without more ado she lifted the helpless man by the
shoulders, and propped him up against the gate-post, and fell to
rubbing his hands.  He opened his eyes, and gazed dully at her.  "Can
you stand, and let me help you into the house?" she repeated.

[Illustration: "Mercy on us!" she cried, suddenly catching sight of the
motionless figure. [page 74.]

"Yes, yes," he muttered thickly, and made an effort to rise.

"That's well begun," she said brightly.  "Now another try, and I
warrant you will find you can get the length of the court."

With the help of her strong young arm he stumbled to his feet, and let
her lead him round the house.  The back of the old mansion had a very
different aspect to the front; a bucket of water stood by the well,
brightly scoured milk-pans leant against the porch, and through the
open door the glow of the fire streamed out into the twilight.  The
girl glanced over towards the cowsheds, and then, with an impatient
shake of her head, and a murmur of "Lazy old John," she carefully
guided her bewildered guest into a great kitchen, and deposited him in
the corner of a settle by the fire.  A minute afterwards she stood over
him with a bowl of steaming broth in her hand.  The warmth of the
comfortable fire had already begun to thaw his frozen wits, and he made
shift to stammer a word of thanks as he fumbled with the spoon.

"There, I will hold the bowl," she said; "you must say nothing till
this broth is finished."  And she watched, well pleased how the colour
came back to his face, and the starved glitter in his eyes softened
into gratitude as he met her glance.

"Madam," he said, when at length he laid down the spoon and
straightened himself, "I do truly hold you have saved my life this
night; and, indeed, not only have you delivered this poor body from
danger, but the new spirit your kindness hath infused into me will go
far to carry me to my journey's end.  For all, I do tender my thankful
acknowledgement."

And the bow with which he concluded his little speech confirmed his
hostess in her assurance that she had to do with a man of position and
breeding.  But the effect of his courtesy was sadly marred by a sudden
false step, as he rose to take leave.

"Nay, sir," she cried anxiously, "you must indeed not be in such haste;
you are still faint," and she caught his arm as he clutched at the
table and recovered himself.

"Indeed, kind mistress, little ails me but weariness.  I have travelled
far and not fared over-sumptuously; but now I am near my journey's end,
and I must not linger on the way."

"Indeed, sir," she cried, "you will not lose time by resting a little
longer in the warmth here.  'Twould be poor speed to faint again in the
woods!"

"Ay," he answered, "and 'tis not very like I should there meet with a
second good Samaritan to succour me; but I trust I shall go forward
bravely now; 'tis but the warm room hath made me somewhat qualmish."

But the young lady was clearly accustomed to have her own way, and
quietly ignored his answer, as she continued--

"You can rest here undisturbed if you fear not ghosts, for no one lives
in the house.  I do but come here by day to attend to the dairy,
so"--she concluded with a somewhat meaning tone--"you can shelter here,
to-night, without any one asking whence you come, or whither you go."

Richard looked at her.  How came it that this girl had guessed his
secret at once when most people passed him, taking him but for a sturdy
beggar?  What made her suspect him of being a fugitive?  Was her offer
of shelter but careless good nature, or a heroic endeavour to save a
hunted man?  At any rate he had not fallen so low as to draw suspicion
on a woman, and a young woman to boot, although she was plainly no
nervous, fanciful, fine lady, but a bright, resolute, country girl,
with good health and high spirits gleaming from every flash of her
bright eyes, and every turn of her auburn head.

"Madam," he answered at length, "'twere a poor return for your
kindness, did I not tell you that there are many who are no friends to
me, and 'tis best I should depart, as I have come, lest I bring trouble
on your hospitable house."

The girl turned on him quick with a little stamp, of her neat foot on
the sanded floor.

"Sir, I know not, nor do I greatly care, who you may be, or what may be
your reasons for keeping private; but 'tis very plain you are in
trouble, and 'tis not the fashion of the house of Perrient to let folk
go unsuccoured from our door."

Richard sprang to his feet.  "Perrient! for heaven's sake, madam, of
what Perrients do you come?"

She looked at him with surprise.  "I am Audrey Perrient of Hunstanton,"
she answered with a shade of coldness.

"Mistress Perrient!  Mistress Audrey Perrient!  Can it be possible you
are here in the flesh, or has God sent a blessed spirit in your shape
to succour my misery!"

She laughed with a puzzled scrutiny of his face.  "Sir, how do you know
my name?  I am indeed a living woman, though this be a haunted house!
It is sure no miracle to find me here at Inglethorpe, where my Aunt
Isham lived for forty years past."

Richard still stared at her like a man in a trance.  "Verily, God
leadeth the blind by a way they know not," he said at length.  "We all
believed you in America.  I can but admire the chance, or rather
miracle, that hath directed my steps hither.  Madam, my name is well
known to your honoured father.  I am Richard Harrison."

The girl's bright cheek paled.  "Master Harrison!" she gasped; "the
nephew of Major-General Harrison?"

"Ay, madam," he answered, "the nephew, and well nigh the son of that
martyr now in glory."

There was silence for a minute, and then the girl recovered herself and
the colour came back to her face.

"But, good sir," she cried, "why are you in hiding?  How can you be in
danger?  I know General Harrison was very forward against King Charles,
and sat among the judges who sentenced him; but you--you must have been
a mere boy when--when the king died.  'Twas no concern of yours?  Sure
this new king is not a Herod that he should make war on men for what
they did as babes in their cradles!  You were but a child in those
days!"

"Nay, madam, I was fifteen years old on the memorable day that the
people of England did justice upon a king, even before the eyes of all
nations.  I was already a soldier, and had the honour of wearing a
sword, when my uncle's regiment kept guard round the scaffold at
Whitehall.  Though in years I was but a lad, I do indeed believe I felt
in my heart the terror of the presence of God, that was with his
servants that day; and were that great deed to do again, I would with
my heart's best blood set thereto my seal that it was just and right."

Prompt and decided came his words.  The soldier had no questionings
concerning the justice of the cause in which he had fought.

Audrey interrupted him hastily.  "Oh, silence, sir!  Why say such
dangerous words?"

"Because, madam, dangerous words befit a dangerous man," he answered
more gently.  "And"--smiling sadly at his own excitement--"and there
are many that will tell you I am a dangerous man."

"No, no; I am sure you are no evil doer, and, I am sure you can if you
list, keep silence from such wild words."

"Ay, madam, 'tis easier to keep silence than to testify; and I would
not willingly vex you, but I desire that you should know me in my true
colours.

"I am not like to mistake the colours of Master Harrison--or Captain
Harrison, is it not?" answered the girl; "and whatever differences did
latterly divide us in mind, though not in love, from General Harrison,
you must needs know we were all for the Parliament here--my
grandfather, my father, and I; that is how I came to guess you for one
in hiding from the king's men; but for your own sake I would have you
careful, lest even walls should have ears."

"It is but too true," he answered.  "I am no fit company for quiet
folks and dainty maidens; but," he added rising, "it hath been a
cordial to see the face of a friend, and the memory of it will abide
long with me."  And as he spoke, the sudden life that had flashed into
his eyes, seemed to flicker and go out like a candle, the soldier was
changed back into a dull and spiritless wayfarer.

Her face changed as quickly, the pained and alarmed look vanished.

"No, no," she cried merrily, stepping before the door.  "No, no,
Captain Harrison; you have betrayed yourself, and now you are my
prisoner.  You do not depart hence till you have my leave!  Sit down!"
she added peremptorily.  "I am going to prepare supper, and you are in
my way; and afterwards you must confess to me whither you are bound,
and what are your plans for escape, if escape you must."

The charming masterfulness of her manner, the toss of her proud little
head, might have quickened duller pulses than those of Richard
Harrison.  It was so sweet to him to be commanded, to meet this glowing
life and kindliness after the weeks of dull solitude that had almost
bereaved him of his wits.  For a little while he might delay; let him
have just a few moments more in the warmth and brightness; let him keep
one fair memory to take out with him into the cold darkness.

He met her challenge with a flash of his old spirit.  "Mercy, fair
jailor!" he cried.  "What torment have you in store for me should I
refuse to plead?"

She seized a great ladle, and flourished it gaily.  "I am a magician,"
she laughed, "and this is my wand.  I make no doubt when my prisoner
tastes my Norfolk dumplings even his hard heart will be softened, and
he will make fair confession.  And I have here besides a noble collar
of brawn that would turn even a heathen to a better mind!  But, indeed,
sir," she added, changing her banter to a winning tone of apology.  "I
would not pry into your confidence, but whatever service I can render
to General Harrison's nephew, that I am bound to give."

"Nay, madam," he answered, "I have no secret that I should keep from
your kindness.  There were some who were no friends to me in General
Harrison's lifetime, and who would gladly have seen me share his fall.
I need not particularize concerning their malice, as by God's help I
have escaped it for the time.  But should they lay hands on me, I run
some chance of sharing the lot of poor Venner and the other Fifth
Monarchy men they hanged last month."

"But are you indeed a Fifth Monarchy man?" cried Audrey, turning
hurriedly from the great pot she was skimming and tasting.

"No, no, on my honour I am not!" he answered earnestly.  "Perchance
were I a better man, I were a greater fanatic!  My dear uncle was often
very round with me, accounting me no better than a luke-warm Laodicean
where the Fifth Monarchy was in question.  But truly, madam, I have in
great part to thank your honoured grandfather that I was not carried
away by the wild beliefs of one whom I did in all other matters desire
to honour and obey.  The last time I saw Sir Gyles Perrient we had much
speech concerning my uncle's plans.  Sir Gyles feared much General
Harrison might be set on some rash action, and by throwing things into
confusion, would leave the way open for the Cavaliers to join with the
vile levelling party to root out all good in the land."

"When was that time?" cried Audrey, disregarding the young man's deep
interest in his political story; "when did you see my grandfather?"

"When I was on my way to London in May two years ago," he answered
flushing unaccountably.

"That was when my father was lecturing at Ipswich," she answered, "and
I was with him, and we were there still when the tidings came of the
fit that carried off my grandfather suddenly; so you saw him later than
I," she concluded wistfully.  "Can you mind any of the things he spoke
of?"

"We spoke much of public matters," he answered evasively, flushing yet
deeper.  "Sir Gyles did earnestly desire to heal the breach betwixt my
dear uncle and the Lord Protector, for he knew Oliver was ready to join
hands with my uncle if he would but sit still and talk no more of a
Fifth Monarchy rising.  I believe 'twas all of Sir Gyles Perrient's
good counsel that General Harrison took no more heed of the fanatics'
desire he should be their leader."

"Ah, and is that also why you were too lukewarm a Laodicean to go out
in Venner's rising last month?"

"Indeed, Sir Gyles' words were wise enough to turn a very fool from his
folly; but I was not in London when Venner broke out, but in hiding in
Staffordshire.  Nevertheless, mine enemies found it an easy thing to
bring witnesses to swear I was seen in Venner's company, and pressed
hard on my hiding-place; so seeing I was not wealthy enough or easy
enough to bribe their witnesses to refrain from lies, I e'en fled, and
have the hue and cry after me for a dangerous plotter.  One of my name
can scarce hope for much mercy in the very loyal city of London this
day!"

"But you have done wonders to reach so far as this.  And whither now
are you bound?"

"I thought perchance I might make my way to King's Lynn: there is a
minister there, Mr. Marsham, who was a good friend of mine uncle: and I
know hath often helped many in distress to escape to Holland.  I
thought he might help me to a ship to some Dutch port, and thence I can
go forward to New England when the way seems open."

"'Tis an excellent plan," answered Audrey, thoughtfully, "and indeed I
heard talk of the _Little Charity_ sailing to Rotterdam the end of this
week.  But your plan may be so far amended that you will do best to
stay here in hiding till the day before the ship may sail.  I can send
in a private message from you to your friend, but Lynn is so distraught
with loyalty that it might fare ill with Mr. Marsham were he found
harbouring you for many days."

"But how would it fare with Mistress Perrient, were she found
harbouring me?" he asked, with a smile.  "Methinks it smacks somewhat
of cowardice to drag a lady into my peril?"

"Tush, there's no peril!" she answered gaily.  "No one comes here save
the crows and seagulls, or maybe a ghost.  I trust, Captain Harrison,
you fear not ghosts?"

"Nay," he answered earnestly.  "If any blessed spirit did speak to me,
it were indeed a grace and a light shining in darkness; but as they be
evil spirits, they can scarce be more dangerous than when I withstood
them in the flesh at Worcester fight and Dunbar.  Nevertheless, I have
no great desire to behold such wonders, for a man cannot tell, till the
trial come, if he shall bear himself manfully therein."

"I did but jest," she answered; "but the common folk have much talk of
ghosts in this house since it hath been left so desolate, and so they
shun it; and if any man saw or heard you here, 'tis more likely they
would hold you for some dead Cremer or Inglethorpe than for a mortal
man.  But here is my broth ready; and, in common courtesy, you must
tell me my supper was worth waiting for!"

With housewifely pride, Audrey had dished up her country fare, and
smiled to see her guest's enjoyment of it.  The great logs roared on
the hearth and lit up the shining pewter on the dresser and the one
silver tankard that was Audrey's pride.  Empty though the great kitchen
was, its dainty cleanliness and the splendid solidity of the oak
rafters and settle, saved it from any look of squalid poverty.  Yet the
simple surroundings could not fail to strike the stranger.

"Madam," he said at length, "may I pray you to resolve me the riddle
how I find you dwelling in Norfolk?  We heard you had departed to the
New England plantations near two years ago, with your honoured father."

"My father, indeed, did sail to Rhode Island, but he left me here, with
my great-aunt Isham, till he had prepared a home for me there.  And
then, when I would have followed him, my great-aunt was grown so old
and failed, that he deemed it my duty to stay with her to the last.
Now she is lately dead, and I am in haste to depart to join my dearest
father.  Right glad am I you chanced not here a few weeks later, or you
might, in good truth, have found but a ghost to welcome you.  Indeed,
your visit came pat to the minute, for I was just shutting up for the
night when you must needs get in the way of the gate," and she laughed
saucily.  "Had you but come five minutes later, I should have been away
at my cowman's cottage, where I dwell now till I am ready to take ship.
This house does but serve me for withdrawing-room, when I am weary of
old Molly's clack and out of patience with her husband.  My poor aunt
Isham loved this ruined Inglethorpe too well to leave it till she was
carried to the church-yard, but I have no fancy to awake some morning
to find I am but another of the Inglethorpe ghosts, and my body buried
in the ruins of Inglethorpe Hall.  Therefore, I give the preference to
the attic in the cottage below there for a state chamber."

"Madam," he answered slowly, "if, indeed, this house is held for
uninhabited, and you do purpose leaving the country so soon, methinks
it may truly not bring you into danger if I take your generous offer
and hide here for to-night.  You will scarce be questioned yonder in
Providence Plantation concerning the malefactors you harboured in
Norfolk, therefore will I thankfully close with your offer."

"That's well," she cried, springing from her seat, and clapping her
hands.  "I knew no man alive could resist the charm of my dumplings!
Now, take patience but a little, and you shall see how well I order
things for my visitor!" and she ran gaily out of the room.

A mighty noise above stairs of moving furniture and the patter of light
footsteps came to Harrison as he basked by the great fire; and it was
not till the evening was growing late that Audrey reappeared, and,
dropping a curtsey with a charming air of demureness, prayed leave to
marshal his worship to his bedchamber.

He followed her up the stairs to a chamber over the kitchen.

"The real guest-chambers I may not offer you," she sighed, as she poked
up the logs that blazed on the rusty andirons; "seeing the rats have
made such havoc in them, and 'tis many years since any one slept there.
But the rats do not affect this chamber greatly, and the roof is sound;
also my aunt's woman slept here and saw no ghosts.  And if need comes
you should hide--which God forbid--you see this little stair in the
corner?  It leads up to the great attic that is full of lumber, where
you could play hide-and-seek with a regiment; and were you pressed
there--see"--and she ran lightly up the stair and pushed open the door
into the lumber-room.  "Look at those bedsteads and chests and the
great loom.  They make a very rampart!  And if that were forced, the
ceiling is all broken at that end, so 'twere easy to scramble up on the
rafters and lie hid under the tiles.  There, surely no one would follow
you; leastways, not our constables from hereabouts.  They are too lusty
for such mountebank scrambles!  And now, sir, your fire burns bright,
and I will wish you good night, and God keep you in safety."



CHAPTER VI.

AN OLD ACQUAINTANCE.

  "And ever at the loom of birth
    The mighty mother weaves and sings,
  She weaves fresh robes for mangled earth,
    She sings fresh hopes for desperate things."
                                      C. KINGSLEY.


Long after the light sound of Audrey's step had died away on the garden
path, Richard Harrison sat and dreamed.  Of late, exhausted by cold and
fatigue, he had begun to lose control of his mind: he had sometimes
found himself forgetting what dangers threatened him, and in what
direction he had decided to turn his steps; and even when he could
force himself to think, he had grown too desperate to care what peril
might be in wait for him.  It might be only the pestilential den men
then called a jail; it might be the slave-ship, and the chain-gang in
Barbadoes; it might be the gibbet, with the hand of the executioner
scrabbling in his entrails.  Well, let it be, if it must.  His
imagination seemed too dull to realize his danger, or work out any
coherent scheme of escaping it.  It could only brood over one horrible
memory, till he felt he could have welcomed the pike thrust of a
soldier or the lash of a slave-driver, if only they roused him from the
dreams that bordered on insanity.  Now, suddenly, he found himself
awake.  He was his sane self again.  A girl's calm voice, a girl's
clear eyes seemed to have exorcised the demon that had pursued him.  He
remembered with a surprise that was full of relief that he had talked
to her for long that evening, and his words had been coherent--that he
had actually jested!  He was not mad!  That horrible execution was
true; it was no insane dream; but other things were real too.  In what
strange world had he been living?  Had that sullen, desperate wretch
been indeed Dick Harrison?  He realized that he was alive; he could
still enjoy the common comforts of food and fire; he could think; he
could plan!  His feet were once more treading solid earth; his brain
began to spin anew the projects that had delighted him of yore; his
heart began to stir with the hopes of old.  Across the sea there were
still battles to fight, new states to found.  Liberty was not an idle
word; love might still make life glorious.  It seemed as if some
healing touch had awakened him from a fevered dream, and recalled him
to saner and earlier memories than those that tortured him; and when he
stretched his weary limbs on the unwonted luxury of a bed, the old
dreams awoke and bore him company all night long.

The sounds of a ballad carolled below, awoke him next morning to the
knowledge that his hostess was already at the house, and about her
morning tasks.  He sprang refreshed from his pallet, and smiled as he
recognized the voice.

"'Tis a miracle," he muttered; "'tis nothing short of a miracle to find
her here.  But how comes she to be alone in this ruined house, like an
enchanted damosel of a fairy tale?  'Tis a strange plight for such a
tenderly-nurtured maid, for old Sir Gyles guarded her as the very apple
of his eye!  And what state did not he keep, and Hunstanton Hall!  And
with what a retinue did he ride to visit us at Highgate!  Yet here is
his grandchild without man or maid to serve her, working with her hands
like--was I about to say a farm wench?  Fie, fie, like a nymph of
Arcadia, rather!  I cannot but call to mind the romances my master
whipped me so soundly for wasting my lesson-hours over in Newcastle
Grammar School!  I wonder would she flout me, did she guess how like
one of those enchanted princesses I deem her?  But, in sad earnest, I
must needs ask how this change of fortune is come about; 'tis
unmannerly to ask questions, but she cannot look on me as all a
stranger, even if she hold no memory of those old days at Highgate.
Dare I ask her concerning them?  That were a more perilous adventure; I
must take more council with myself ere I can hold I am armed to dare
it!"

He left his room, but such vehement sounds of sweeping and scrubbing
sounded from the kitchen that, when Richard reached the foot of the
stair, he held discretion the better part of valour, and strolled out
of the door into the bright morning air.  The little yard was so
sheltered by walls and quaint outbuildings that the sunshine felt as
warm as May, and the frost was gone from the cobble-stones.  A clink of
chains down the cart-track drew his attention, and in a minute more an
old man hobbled into the yard carrying a couple of milk pails on a yoke.

"Sarvent, sir," said he, endeavouring to touch his forelock.

Harrison saw his own imprudence in standing about so recklessly, but
put a good face on the matter, and answered the old man's greeting.

"Missis, her told us her'd got a visitor," continued the milkman,
resting his pails on the top of a low wall, and straightening his
shoulders; "her bides down at the cottage along o' we now--'tis too
lonesome for a young maid here o' nights."

"Oh, then you are Mistress Perrient's cowman," answered Harrison with
relief.

"Ees, sir, I be, and I was her grandfather's afore her.  Ees--I minds
her father's christening, and our young lady's christening; I minds a
many things; but times is changed--changed terrible since then."  He
shook his old head solemnly.

"I suppose it was at Hunstanton you were in Sir Gyles' household?"
asked Harrison, idly.

"Ees, sir; but you understand I was not rightly in his household, so to
say; I was allers an outside man, and about the pigs and cows--but
lawk! a man can see a lot if a man is only about the pigs and
cows--beautiful cows they was too, beautiful! but they be all gone."

Richard made a movement to pass on, but the old man had no mind to miss
his chance of a gossip.

"Seems to me as if I had seen 'ee afore, sir.  You were a-visiting at
Hunstanton, warn't 'ee, in the old squire's time?  I reckoned I knowed
'ee--fine young gentleman you was then, but not so lusty as you be
growed now.  That was a fine house, now, warn't it?  _And_ kept as
gentlefolks' houses should be."

"Yes, I suppose Sir Gyles was a very rich man."

"That he was--and respected.  Why he might 'a been a king an' more than
a king the way he was thought on in the country.  And our young
lady--she was always known by the name o' the Queen o' Hunstanton, even
when queens was in no great favour in the country; but there--our
parish clerk says, says he, there's a Scripture warrant for it--with
Queen Esther and a sight more on 'em.  So why not Queen o' Hunstanton!"

"You made an excellent choice of a queen," said Harrison, willing to
humour the old man's desire for a talk.

"Ees, that us did; but things was mighty different then.  A round dozen
serving-men with blue coats there was, not to speak of the butler and
the steward, and twenty or more in the stables; and where be 'un all
gone--gone like the leaves!"  And he spread out his wrinkled hands with
a gesture that had a touch of pathos in it.

"Times are indeed changed.  I suppose the wars brought troubles
everywhere."

"'Twarn't the wars, 'twarn't the wars," broke in the old man, eagerly.
"Squire was as big a man when the wars was done as when they
begun--only older--older, you understand.  And no one 'ud ha' laid a
finger on ought belonging to him, not for gold untold; they had that
respect for him, and they bore fear on him too.  A very plain-speaking
gentleman he was when he was pleased.  But no--'twarn't the wars.  He
was a great man, and a rich man to the day of his death.  He was took
sudden, you understand--in some sort of fit like; and young
master--that's Passon Perrient as they calls him, our young missis'
father--and missis, they was away at Ipswich, and come back all of a
scuffle and finds him dead; and by all I hear, not the value of a
penny-piece in the house in money--plenty of silver and pewter you
understand, but no money whatsumever.  And when all come to be settled,
why then Passon Perrient he was on the windy side of the hedge, and he
just sold the horses and cows and the old house and went across seas,
and our young missis, she come to her aunt, old Madam Isham, and Molly,
that's my wife, and I, we come along on her; but 'twas a change--that
it was."

"It was well that some of her old servants were so faithful as to stay
by her," said Harrison.

"Ees, ees we'd surely stay by her; but 'tis no fitting place here for a
young lady; why, there's no company--no coming and going; and the
coaches as used to come to the old Squires's; and the quality; and they
fare to have clean forgotten our young lady, dang 'em!  And Squire's
great house turned into an inn!  You think o' that!  If so be as you
goo into Hun'ston, you'll see the name o' it, The Royal Oak, and a
great oak tree drawed for a sign over the front door.  How's that for
impudence!"

"John, John!" called a clear voice from the door, "is that milk coming
in to-day?  Good morrow, Captain Harrison; methinks you look as though
you had rested well."

No change of circumstances seemed to have saddened the bright creature
who stood on the doorstep, her pretty head rising like a flower from a
wide white collar, her coarse black gown pinned back under a great
white apron.

"'Tis many a long week since I have rested so well, madam," answered
Harrison, coming forward to greet her.  "Methinks you have some spell
by which you strew pleasant dreams on the pillows you make ready for
your guests."

She laughed.  "Well said; you pass compliments as nimbly as a courtier!
And, now, if you will but help me empty John's milk-pails into the
dairy-pans you shall taste farmhouse bread and butter for your wages."

"But have you no help in this work?" asked Harrison, as he lifted the
heavy pails from the doorstep.

"Why, no!  I was a fine lady till two years ago, but when fortune
changes one is like to change with it.  And so you find me a
dairywoman!"

"But, pardon me, surely your father cannot know it?  He cannot know you
are working thus, and enduring the life of a peasant?"

"My dear daddy!  He knows more of St. Augustine than of how many cows
feed in the five-acre meadow.  But he knows very well I have few
pennies to jingle in my pocket, for he has fewer yet.  But such matters
never trouble him; he only desired money to buy books, and give him but
a book and he would forget if he had eat his dinner or no."

She chatted away as she tripped from dairy to larder; it was a rare
holiday for the lonely girl to find a companion, and a companion of her
own age.  Two long years of poverty and seclusion had not dulled
Audrey's gay spirits, which only waited a chance to bubble forth.  Old
Madam Isham had sheltered her great niece out of family pride, not out
of family affection; and Audrey had left the love and luxury of her
grandfather's house to enter a life as dull and as cold as that of a
nunnery.  Madam Isham considered most of her country neighbours to be
either parvenus or white-washed rebels, while she was too proud to show
her poverty to the few gentlefolk she considered worthy of her
acquaintance.

Old, sad, and sour, Audrey found the old lady's maundering lamentations
over the good times of King James a sad contrast to her grandfather's
discussions of public matters, or her father's learned conversation.
Morning prayers in the chilly little church, an occasional airing in
the shabby coach, with its moth-eaten cushions and patched harness,
were the only varieties in Audrey's life.  She became better skilled in
the making of pickles and preserves than ever she could have been in
the masculine household at Hunstanton, where the old servants would
have broken their hearts if their little mistress had ever set her
dainty finger to anything rougher than gathering rose-leaves and
lavender to scent the best parlour.  But the dull external life had no
real effect on Audrey's spirits; she bore her great-aunt's peevishness
and the monotony of her days with cheerful equanimity, for this all was
but a parenthesis; soon she would join the beloved father whom she
tended and petted and scolded and revered, and they would begin a new
life in a wonderful country, where she should see live savages with
painted faces and feather head-dresses, and valiant soldiers and
frontiersmen, whose adventures were as romantic as those of Robin Hood,
and saintly ministers who had fled from persecution, like the people in
Fox's Book of Martyrs; her brilliant fancy painted the Western land
with all the hues of the sunset.  Full of healthful energy, it was a
relief to her to help the solitary maid in her household work; that was
the least dull part of her new life; and, in the kitchen, the Queen of
Hunstanton could still rule imperiously over the old cowman, and make
the dairywoman tremble before her royal displeasure.

But through the long dull hours of sewing in Aunt Isham's
dressing-room, her unfailing treasure of consolation was in repeating
to herself all the teachings she had received from her
grandfather--words that could never be breathed aloud in Madam Isham's
house; of liberty, and the rights of the people to representation and
civil justice, teachings that were drawn from writings as far asunder
as Bishop Taylor's "Liberty of Prophesying," and Mr. Milton's
"Areopagitica."  The narrow formalism of Madam Isham's creed drove
Audrey more and more to dwell on the lessons she had loved, but hardly
comprehended, and in her solitude she rediscovered for herself the
reasonings which had led Sir Gyles Perrient to stand with Eliot and Pym
against the encroachments of the Crown.  Sir Gyles' own memories ran
back to the time of Elizabeth, and he had taught his grand-daughter to
reverence those golden days when a wise Queen and a loyal Parliament
worked together for the good of the people.  He loved the Church of
England as he loved the Queen and the Parliament; and Audrey had
wondered and admired as she realized how he had endured to see the
downfall of one cherished institution after another, still full of hope
in the future of England, and of faith that the Divine Providence would
bring good out of evil.

As she told one story after another of her old life, Harrison could
restrain himself no longer, and chimed in.

"I wonder," he cried, "if you can remember how, a many years ago, Sir
Gyles carried you up to London, and you lay for a week at our house at
Highgate?  I had never seen his like!  He seemed to me the very model
of the old courtier of the Queen in the ballad; he was so worshipful an
old gentleman, and carried such a train of old servants riding with
him.  And if he was like the old lord in the ballad, there was a little
maid with him who seemed to me to have come straight from one of the
fairy tales my nurse used to tell me away in Staffordshire, when I was
a child."

"I trust the little maid behaved herself fittingly," laughed Audrey.

"Right royally did she bear herself, and rated me soundly for an
overgrown boy with no manners," answered Harrison.  "I have endeavoured
ever since to lay the schooling to heart."

"Oh, this is past bearing!" cried Audrey, turning on him.  "'Tis not
fair to make up such tales."

"Indeed, 'tis true," he protested, "and--and I liked the rating."

"I am afraid I was a pert poppet," she confessed; "my dear grandfather
spoilt me sadly, but I knew not that I had carried my bad manners up to
London town."

"Don't you mind the garden?" he urged.  "There were stone figures in
it, of men blowing horns, and between them a little stone basin with
lilies in it."

"I do remember!" she cried.  "And I tumbled in!  And who pulled me out?
I do protest it was you! and right generous was it of you to risk a
wetting for such a peevish brat!"

"You were not peevish; it was all of your grace and favour that you
chid me, for you would say no word to any one else in the house at all!
And when you had done with chiding I was as proud and happy as a king.
I have never forgotten my little playfellow.  But now, madam," cried
he, rising with a sudden change of tone, "I pray you set me some task
to do; I cannot lounge here in idleness and see you serving."

"Good lack," said she, "I know not what labours to set you to; for you
must surely not go outside the house lest you should be noted."

"But I thought no one ever came here save the crows and the gulls," he
answered.

"Human folk come not often, indeed; but of them one were too many.
Also, latterly, there have been more strangers on the road, tramping
from Lynn--pedlars, and fiddlers, and such like--and small pity have
they on our hen-roosts.  And if any such wandered hither and saw you,
they might tattle."

"You are right," he answered gravely, "I will put you to no needless
risks, yet somewhat I must do to keep----"  He broke off suddenly.
"Your pistols are in sorry case, Mistress Perrient," he went on in a
gayer tone.  "I pray you let me clean them."

"'Tis five long years since they were touched," she answered; "not
since the day of the blue-coated serving-men you saw come riding out of
a ballad.  Take them, sir, the pretty toys may serve to while away a
dull day."

The laughter faded from Harrison's face as he sat in his chamber oiling
the pistols.  The smooth touch of the trigger under his finger, and the
click of the lock, brought back the memory of many a past fight when
hope was high and blood was warm.  "Truly we fought our best," he
murmured, "and no man counted the cost or grudged his blood to the
cause.  Was it indeed in vain?  What does this people care for liberty,
when they are even now holding festival over the forging of their new
chains!"

He was roused from his brooding by steps under the window.  From the
shelter of the curtain Harrison saw a swaggering figure in tawdry
finery lurch into the yard where Audrey was scouring her milk-cans by
the pump.  It was a figure he remembered only too well.  What cursed
chance had brought that knave Astbury begging at Inglethorpe?  And was
it chance?  The rascal might have dogged him.  Richard pressed close to
the window and listened.

"Good mistress," began the whining voice, "here is a poor soldier, come
home after his blessed majesty, and hath ne'er a groat to carry him up
to London to seek the king's grace."

Audrey's first words in answer were inaudible; but then her voice rose
higher.

"I tell you I have nought here for you.  Go down to the cottage yonder,
and perchance the good wife may find you some broken meat."

The fellow persisted in his demands.  His actual words were inaudible
to the listener behind the curtain, but there was no mistaking the
canting professional tone, the whine which presently grew to a bullying
roar, when the ruffian found that no one else appeared about the place
or came to support the girl.  The sound of that threatening voice was
too much for Harrison's prudence.  Still holding the empty pistol in
his hand, he darted downstairs and reached the door just in time to see
the ruffian dash forward to seize the terrified girl, as he roared with
coarse jocularity--

"As ye'll give me no meat, I'll e'en take the sweet."

Audrey sprang back with a shriek, but with one bound Harrison was out
of the door and beside her, and his strong hand sent the ruffian
staggering against the wall.

For a moment the bully stopped, uncertain whether to fight or fly, but
then, discovering who his assailant was, he shouted--

"You cowardly Roundhead, you played me a scurvy trick t'other day, now
I'll be even with you," and pulling out a long sailor's knife, he
rushed on Dick; but as he raised his arm, Dick's hand went up too, and
Astbury found himself looking into the black muzzle of a great horse
pistol.

"Back, cur!" roared Dick, "or I'll shoot you like a dog."

Astbury staggered back, stared a moment, and then with an actual howl
of dismay the bold buccaneer turned and fled.  He did not fly so fast,
however, as to escape a kick from Harrison's boot that sent him
blundering half across the yard.

"Be off, rascal," he shouted, "you are not worth powder and shot, but
an' you stop before you have put ten miles between yourself and this
door, the constable's whip and your back shall be the better
acquainted."

The last words seemed to revive such vivid recollections in the
pirate's mind, that he picked himself up and vanished down the lane at
his best speed, without waiting for further parley, while Harrison
lowered his empty pistol and turned to the girl.



CHAPTER VII.

FATE AT WORK.

  "And, for the ways are dangerous to pass,
  I do desire thy worthy company
  Upon whose faith and honour I repose."
                          _Two Gentlemen of Verona._


Harrison took Audrey's hand and led her back into the kitchen.  For a
minute he held her hand, and a curious memory came to him of how he had
once picked up a little bird that had fallen from its nest, and how
softly the little live thing had nestled in his palm.  Then he spoke
gently--

"Mistress Audrey, you must not stay here longer alone."

"No," she gasped.  "No, I will go speedily.  But no one was ever
uncivil to me before in all my life.  All the folk about here reverence
our very name.  I will keep down at the cottage with old Molly till I
am ready to depart."

"May I ask you what delays your journey, madam?" he asked.

"Faith!" she answered, smiling through some tears, "because I liked my
own company too little to travel forth with no better.  I have delayed
that perhaps I might hear of honest folk, travelling at least so far as
Rotterdam, who would bear me company.  But I may not tarry much longer
or all my money will be spent, so indeed I will now be gone with all
speed."

Harrison looked at her.  Could any man, with a spark of chivalry in his
breast, endure to think of this bright young creature going forth
alone, to cross half the world, as ignorant of the perils that might
surround her as though she were still the child he had pulled out of
the lily pond?  Could he forsake his little playfellow?

Richard was not in the habit of hesitating.  "Mistress Audrey," he said
eagerly, "why cannot you take your journey on Thursday when I do, and
let me be as your brother to guard you?  God do so to me, and more
also, if I bring you not safe to your father's hands.  Will you not
take me for your brother, Audrey?  For the sake of old times, and the
memory of those we both did love and reverence, you will trust me?"

"In truth," she answered, "I knew not how sore I needed a brother till
this very day."

She looked out of the door across the empty landscape, brown woods and
russet fields; nowhere, save in the little white cottage below the
copse, was there a friend for her in all the country.  Who would burden
themselves with a penniless girl?  And if her kinsfolk were too
careless or too proud to own her, she on the other hand, had been too
closely kept in her own circle of well-born neighbours to have any
acquaintances among the Nonconformists who were now flying from
England.  Her gay courage had always made her strive to ignore the
difficulties that lay before her; but she knew only too well how
difficult, nay almost impossible for a lonely girl, was the journey
that lay before her; for those were days when a woman needed a strong
arm and a ready blade to protect her among strangers.  She had still
kept putting off her inevitable journey, telling herself that
companions might yet be found to share the perils of a voyage half
across the world.  But in the bottom of her heart she knew that she
might linger in Inglethorpe Hall till she was grey-headed before the
desired protector appeared.  Now, by a sort of miracle, came a friend
of old times, pat to the minute!  Would it not be childish, nay wrong,
to hesitate?  Harrison's kind hand still held hers, his eyes were bent
on her face in anxious waiting for her decision.  She turned towards
him, and he caught her meaning.

"Then shall it be so?" he cried gaily.  "And you will be my little
sister?  I will indeed do all I may to make the rough ways smooth for
you, and you will pardon your brother's lack of courtly fashions?"

"I knew not I was so very great a coward," she murmured, brushing away
a tear that had stolen down her cheek; "but I am not of a fearful
nature, and I will not be burdensome to you on the journey--good
brother," she added softly.

"Then, now," he cried cheerfully, "we have no time to lose; we must
dispose all for our flitting.  What do you propose for our order of
march?  You are the lady commander."

"Oh, that will give no one a headache to plan.  I am but roosting in
the corner of this old house by the charity of Sir Frank Cremer, to
whom it passed back when my aunt died; so I have but to lock the door,
and give the key to old John, and have done with my housekeeping.  John
hath long desired to spend his savings on buying my cows, so they do
not stand in the way of my journey; and what goods I desire to carry
over seas can travel to Lynn by to-morrow's carrier, and he will see
them aboard your ship.  But"--she interrupted herself--"I do not think
you should be seen in those clothes."

"Why?" he laughed rather ruefully, as he looked down at his tarnished
lace.  "I know my suit is too travel-worn for the champion of so dainty
a lady; but methinks there is no sign of a Puritan about it to put me
in danger.  My uncle had no love for a godliness that depended on a
plain band or a dingy cloak."

"Nay, 'tis too gay you are," she answered; "so fine a gentleman cannot
pass unnoticed.  Let me see"--she paused and considered--"I have it!
The cowman John goes to-day on my errands to Castle Rising, and I will
bid him buy me divers things that my father will need, so no one will
wonder if he gets also a suit of country clothes, such as our yeomen
wear.  Then the ship-men may take you for one of the wool-merchants who
are always passing to and fro to Holland, and no questions will be
asked."

"Methinks, fair sister," he cried in admiration, "you were born a
plotter!  I have money enow, but may I trust old John's discretion to
buy me fitting raiment?"

"Oh, you seem much of a height with my father," she said, eyeing him
critically, "though you are broader in the shoulders.  The suit shall
fit you as well as fit the times.  But I believe in your heart you are
loth to change from a fine gentleman to the likeness of a country
clown," she added mischievously: then, breaking into a laugh, "I know
not what you will think of my father when we get to land!  I misdoubt
me sorely we shall find him clad like John the Baptist on the
tapestries, for what clothes he hath not given away will be falling off
him in rags!"

"Is it not strange that Sir Gyles' son should favour him so little?"

"Ah, but he is like my grandfather in that he is wise; only he is wise
like a philosopher, and looks at the matters of this world as if he
were sitting away high up with Greeks, and Romans, and saints, in the
clouds.  Grandad used to say father cared more for the laws of Plato's
Republic than he did for English Acts of Parliament, and that some day
he would be asking if Queen Bess sat still on the throne!  While my
grandfather was wise for everything, for the constables, and the
soldiers, and the poor folks, and the Parliament; so when he died it
was as though the sky had fallen, and no one knew which way to turn."

But there was little time to spare, even for such a chatterbox as
Audrey to discourse in.  She was soon flying round the house, searching
and planning, emptying cupboards, and tying up bundles, and Richard
found work enough to drive away all thoughts, save how best to defend
bedding from salt water, and whether it were possible to carry the
great brass warming-pan over seas.  Not till evening drew on and the
chests and bundles were piled ready in the entry, did the thoughts that
had laid in ambush all day spring out and possess him again.  The
pleasant occupation, the novelty of the girl's bright society and ready
sympathy, had charmed them to sleep for a while, but the sickness that
lay at his heart was part of himself; it was only the more real that he
could turn from it for a while, and come back and find it unchanged.

"Prithee, good brother," cried Audrey, crossing to the chimney corner,
where he sat in sudden gloom, "why so sad?  Are you already repenting
of having chosen a hard task-mistress as a travelling companion?"

He started from his study.  "No, truly," he answered; "'tis the
pleasantest day I have spent since the troubles came upon us.  I reckon
I have laughed more this day than I have for a twelve-month past.  But,
sweet sister, is there not enough to make a man sad nowadays?"

"Yes," she answered gently; "but you must not grieve overmuch for
General Harrison.  Surely, though the way thereto was hard, now he hath
attained to rest from his labours."

"Ay," answered Richard, bitterly, rising and pacing up and down the
kitchen, "but do his works follow him?  Indeed I grieve no longer for
him of whom this land is not worthy.  How may I dare to grieve, having
witnessed his triumph over a death of agony?  But what of the liberties
of England for which he gave his life?  If our cause had been of God
would it not have gone forward?  But He hath not owned us, and our
labour was spent in vain."

"No, no," she cried eagerly; "not all in vain!  I am but a foolish
girl, and should not speak of such high matters; but I mind my father
often hath said that a great deed hath an immortality in itself and
cannot die, even if for a time it seem to perish.  He did not justify
the death of the king, but doth bewail it yearly as the day comes
round, in fasting and humiliation.  He held that the cause of Liberty
must triumph in the end by men's eyes being instructed to desire her
for her beauty, for that she needs not the service of bloody hands.  He
is of so meek a spirit, he would rather endure to the uttermost than
take the sword.  Yet have I often heard him say that he did account all
that the army had done for the liberty of England was so great, that
the names of those who fought in it would, by-and-by, be numbered among
the heroes of history."

"You are a kind comforter, my gentle sister, and I trust your
prophecies may prove true.  Yet, as a man may not read his own epitaph,
'tis but a lesson of patience to say that by-and-by matters may mend,
while now they go from bad to worse."

Audrey could not, in the bottom of her heart, grieve as deeply as did
the young soldier for the downfall of the Republican cause, but even in
that lonely Hall she heard enough of public matters to understand that
the new King Charles was not renewing the golden Elizabethan age she
had been brought up to revere, and, moreover, she was a born
hero-worshipper, and treasured the stories of Blake's victories, and of
Cromwell's defence of the Waldenses all the more dearly now that the
bones of those great Englishmen were torn from their graves and flung
into a shameful pit under the gallows.  She could give a good deal of
sympathy, and still more of pity to the lost cause, but could she give
consolation?  She had seen her grandfather preserve his hope of the
ultimate triumph of sober liberty through all the storms and tumult of
the Civil wars; she knew how old men could sorrow and could endure.
But this stranger's mind was still a sealed book to her.  How did the
young sorrow?  What was the comfort that would appeal to him?  How
could she whisper hope to the man who sat with his head dropped in his
hands, as if he feared to let any one see the burning tears of shame
that were gathering in his eyes?

"If indeed the Lord spake to the Jews," Harrison went on, "did He not
speak to us?  Or was that also but a vain imagination, and did men
fable when they wrote of the wonders done for the Jews, as they fabled
concerning the Greeks and Romans?"

"I have heard my father and other clergymen of our English Church say
they feared that some good men were apt to lean too much on the history
of the Jews, as though we in England were their doubles, and bound by
the same ordinances.  He said he feared such reasonings, when they
proved hollow, would make men run the other way and fall into unbelief.
For he held that God hath His fashions of working, which differ for
every nation, as one star differs from another in glory, and that He
speaketh not to us in England by open signs, but for the most part,
through our reason and our consciences."

Harrison rose with a groan and strode restlessly across the room.

"Ay," he answered, "your father is a wise man.  But did not our reason
and our consciences approve of that great work?  Why then is it cast
down and brought to nought, as though it were all folly and wickedness?"

She rose, and laid her hand on his arm; her eyes, too, were full of
tears.

"Good brother, may it not be as in the days of the martyrs Mr. Fox
tells of?  I mind me of the words of Bishop Latimer concerning the
flames that consumed him lighting a candle that should never be put out
in England.  Perhaps in this war you have set going a word of liberty
that none may put to silence.  Methinks, since the days of old Rome,
there can have been no such talk of the government of the people by the
people, as we have heard in these days, and as my father says, he
beholds in very deed in New England.  Mayhap, liberty is but departed
across seas to renew her strength, and will come again to gather, not
England only, but all the nations, under her wings."

Harrison turned and caught her hand.  "In truth I were worse than a Jew
did I not believe so fair a prophetess," he cried.  "Yet----" he
paused, and looked at her curiously, and a sudden impulse came on him
to speak out all that was in his heart.  "You seem very sure of it
all?" he said.

Audrey blushed scarlet.  She had grown up among people who were less
outspoken on religious matters than the Puritans, and the young girl's
feelings were locked in her own little holy of holies; but she was no
coward.

"I doubt not I am often too sure of matters," she said.  "My father was
wont to say I had too much impatience to be a true philosopher; but on
this I cannot but be sure."

All shyness was gone.  She fixed her large eyes on him with the
directness of a child.

"But," he said, leaning forward, "Mr. Rogers and my uncle were very
sure, yet hath their Fifth Monarchy not appeared, nor have any miracles
answered their faith."

"You will think me very bold," she answered, "but may not men be great
saints and yet mistaken in the opinions which they hold within the
bounds of our common faith?  It seems scarce fitting for me to carp at
the beliefs of General Harrison, yet you yourself did say he seemed to
you well-nigh crazed concerning the Fifth Monarchy?"

Richard nodded assent.

"Then sure, if his prayers were not according to reason, 'twould be
mercy that denied them?  But indeed, as touching prayers, I have heard
my father say we must be on our guard lest we pray like the heathen,
holding our words as a charm that must needs bring an answer according
to our desires, for that the prayers of a Christian do consist rather
in carrying his matters into the presence of the great God, and leaving
them there, for Him to deal with as He lists."

Harrison made no answer, and there was silence a long time; only the
fire flickered, and the wind sighed softly without.  Then Audrey rose
up and wished the young man good night; but as he took her hand, there
were tears in his eyes.



CHAPTER VIII.

THE QUEEN RETURNS TO HUNSTANTON.

  "Yes!  I love justice well, as well as you do;
  But, since the good dame's blind, she shall excuse me
  If, time and reason fitting, I prove dumb."
                                          SCOTT, _Old Play._


"I have been wondering," began Audrey next morning, "if there may not
be danger of that fellow telling some one he saw a strange gentleman
here?  If any noise of it should come to the constables, 'twould be
tragic."

"That rascal?  Oh, he can have no acquaintance with the constables save
when they put him in the stocks.  I think not we need trouble over him!
Yet, if indeed it would ease your fears, 'tis easy for me to go forward
to Lynn to-day, and lie close at Master Marshman's till the ship sails
to-morrow.  I will presently don my new raiment, and when you have
admired it, if you counsel so, I will set forth to Lynn in all my
glory."

"I do believe 'twould be wise.  I have been tormented by foolish fears
ever since that man was here.  You could lie hid aboard the ship
perhaps?"

"Ay, but as to that, I think I had better order me by Master Marshman's
counsel.  And, methinks, if you do indeed drive me forth, it were well
to set us a rendezvous in his house.  And yet I know not--'tis scarce
fitting to take you there!  But you are a brave lady, and count to face
bears and wolves in New England; perchance Master Marshman will not
make you afeared.  But, sweet sister, be warned, I pray you, and when
you come there, heed not Master Marshman's looks and address, for his
words are oftentimes harsh, but 'tis only the bitter rind of a most
noble kernel.  He is of a most generous spirit, and spends all his
goods in alms, even bestowing his help on Quakers and Anabaptists,
though he reproves their errors roundly.  For indeed he is so very
valiant for truth, or what he holds as such, that he never tempers his
warfare with any of the softnesses of peace.  Through fair weather and
foul he has held fast to his Presbyterian doctrines, and for them did
he suffer as much at the hand of Cromwell's men as he did in the old
church days when the Bishop of Norwich cast him into jail for holding
of conventicles.  He doth rage at some for their love of bishops, and
at others for heresy, and at others for the killing of the king, and as
for his congregation, he holds them in such subjection that the rule of
Archbishop Laud was tender to his."

"Oh, I know him well by report," laughed Audrey; "but if he gives my
brother safe hiding I will forgive him some hard words.  My grandfather
never rode into Lynn without bringing back some tale of Master
Marshman's supremacy, though, indeed, I think he must have invented the
best part of them, for he had a merry wit.  He loved above all things
to carry such tales to our vicar, and he would always end with, 'Now,
Parson Cholmondeley, confess that even a Roundhead spake truth when Mr.
Milton wrote, 'New Presbyter is but old priest writ large;' and Parson
Cholmondeley always answered pat, 'Ay, ay, Presbyterian and
Independent, fight dog, fight cat.'  Parson Cholmondeley could not
abide Mr. Milton, and when Parliament turned him out of the vicarage
and he came to live with us, I hid all Mr. Milton's poems in
grandfather's chamber for fear the good man should vex himself to come
on them in the study.  He always read us the Church prayers morning and
evening, and the folks said when Mr. Marshman heard tell----  Ah, see,"
she shrieked, breaking off, "they are coming!  they are coming!  my
fears were true.  Fly, fly to the attic.  I will keep the constables at
bay a while;" and Audrey rushed to the hearth and, seizing the tongs,
she set up such a clattering and rattling among the great logs on the
hearth that Harrison's flying footsteps upstairs were drowned as
completely as were the repeated knocks at the door.  After a while she
condescended to notice the thundering blows, and crossing the kitchen
leisurely she opened the door, and looked with somewhat contemptuous
dignity at a little ferret-faced man in a black dress who stood on the
threshold, backed up by a couple of stout constables, who pulled their
forelocks and grinned recognition of the young lady.

"What is your will, sir?" asked Audrey, in a lofty tone.

"Mistress Perrient?" demanded the little man.  "Ah, yes; I have a
search warrant from Justice Tomkins of Hunstanton, to search, seek,
apprehend, and bring in custody one Richard Harrison, a regicide and
Fifth-monarchy man, accused of sedition, and raising a riot on the 5th
of January last against the king's peace."

"How, sir!" cried Audrey; "know you whom you speak to?  Methinks you
are strangely ignorant of the country, that you dare come here with
such papers!  This house belongs to Sir Francis Cremer, the High
Sheriff of the county!"

"Madam," answered the man, visibly startled, "'tis no offence intended
to his honour the High Sheriff; but, as he is not dwelling here, he
cannot take order to apprehend suspicious persons found roaming round
his premises.  And Justice Tomkins hath received a very sufficient
description of a suspicious person seen here yesterday forenoon."

"Suspicious person!" broke out Audrey, with fresh wrath.  "And do you
dare to say that I, Mistress Audrey Perrient, harbour suspicious
persons?  Doubtless you think I keep a troop of highwaymen in the
house, and share their spoils!  And you"--turning on the
constables--"Jack Catlin and Tom Abbes, you should take shame to come
to the house of my grandfather's child on such an errand."

The constables shuffled and looked at each other, and one muttered with
a grin--

"The lass is a masterpiece--might be old Sir Gyles himself a rating on
us!"

"Come, madam," interrupted the man in black, "you must know a
magistrate's warrant cannot be disputed.  We would not be uncivil to a
lady, but enter we must."

"Oh, come in, come in!" cried Audrey, throwing the door wide.  "You can
see all there is to see; and there are my keys," flinging them with a
clash on the kitchen table, "only if you come on the Inglethorpe ghosts
in searching the house, pray take it not as a sign that I am their
murderer, neither if you find my father's clothes, hold them for the
Sunday suit of a highwayman."

One of the constables picked up the keys with a subdued air, and looked
at the leader for further direction.

"Yes, we must not delay.  You know something of the house, Catlin; you
lead the way;" and he prepared to pass into the front part of the house.

A thought struck Audrey; she could be sure that the constables would be
too stupid and too much afraid of the well-known Inglethorpe ghosts to
search over-curiously; but this little man with his ferret face and
sharp eyes was dangerous; it might be wise to distract his attention.

"Stay, sir," she said, as he was following the men out of the kitchen.
"May I ask to whom I am speaking?  I see, of course, you are no
constable."

"My name is Robert Reed, at your service, madam, clerk to Justice
Tomkins," he replied.

He had regained some confidence on observing the shabby clothes of the
young lady, and the poverty-stricken air of the house.

"Mr. Reed," she said, making a curtesy, "you are but late come to these
parts, so I should ask your pardon for being so warm.  'Tis no fault of
yours that Justice Tomkins is wanting in that courtesy due to a lady."

Mr. Reed bowed in some embarrassment.  "But, madam, 'tis the duty of
every magistrate to be on his guard against the pestilent knaves who
are roaming through the land, plotting and contriving against the
present happy settlement."

"Oh, doubtless, sir," interrupted Audrey; "and Justice Tomkins has my
best thanks.  Our hen-roosts have been twice robbed; and a party of
gipsies passed last Tuesday se'night who took every rag from our
clothes-line, even to my dairy-woman's great aprons!"

"Very sad, very reprehensible; it must be looked to," replied the
clerk, pompously, falling at once into Audrey's trap, and laying down
the hat he had been twirling impatiently.

"I am so glad to have the opportunity of telling you of it, sir,"
continued Audrey, artfully.  What lawyer's clerk could suspect this
affable young lady of double dealing?  Yet her mind was only half given
to diplomatizing with Mr. Reed; her ears were strained to follow the
heavy footsteps of the constables as they creaked up the stairs and
tramped from room to room.  Would they suspect that the chamber above
had been occupied?  Had Captain Harrison remembered to close the door
leading to his garret?  Would they think of rummaging there?  She lost
the thread of her harangue, hesitated--Mr. Reed opened his mouth to
speak, and she hurried to add, "for, indeed, it seemed as though the
justices were taking little heed of the honesty of these hamlets."

"It shall be looked to--it shall be looked to!  But pilfering is one
thing, madam, and conspiracy and rebellion, and raising troops against
the present most happy government of his sacred Majesty, is another!"

"Oh la, sir!  Who can have told you that I had a rebellion and troops
in my house?  'Tisn't likely now, is it?"

"No, madam," he answered, with another pompous bow; "doubtless you
disturb the peace of the king's liege subjects after another fashion."

"Insolent little jackanapes!" thought Audrey.  "I trust my new brother
is not within hearing!"

"But," continued Reed, "'tis sure that this dangerous ruffian Harrison
is lurking in these parts, and 'tis fitting a lady dwelling alone
should be warned against such a character."

"But who has been so insolent as to say a person of bad character could
be seen about my house?  (Pray Heaven the person is well hidden among
those old flock beds)," she mentally interpolated.

"A--a soldier who was passing on his way to London laid a complaint of
a strong rogue who assaulted and beat him, who answers to the
description we have received of this fellow Harrison."

"Now is the author of this mare's nest discovered!" burst out Audrey,
with fine indignation.  "Your soldier, sir, was a sturdy beggar who
behaved saucily, and was chastised by one of my household.  Justice
Tomkins truly picks fair company when he holds conference with such a
pick-purse instead of putting him in the stocks!"

"Then, madam," continued the clerk, pertinaciously, "you have seen no
sign of the said Harrison lurking in this neighbourhood?"

"If Justice Tomkins had behaved like a gentleman and sent me a letter
by his serving-man," she replied, with dignified severity, "I should
have been happy to further his search; but when he knows no better than
to send the constables and a search warrant to Inglethorpe Hall, he may
do his work for himself, I trouble not myself about his business."

"But, madam, you must needs give aid to the ministers of the law; if
you will not answer me, you will, no question, be asked to take oath
before the justices.  Well?"  He broke off, as the constables tramped
back into the room.  "Have you seen any traces of the fellow?"

"Noo; us haven't seen naught, without it be rats," grinned Jack Catlin.
"There be a main sight of rats, mistress."

"Very disappointing, very unsatisfactory," murmured the clerk; and
Audrey could not refrain from a little gasp of relief which she
converted into a prim cough at the constable's familiarity.  "The
description tallied to a hair.  Now, madam, I must ask you upon your
oath whether you have seen this Harrison, or have in any wise succoured
or comforted him?"

"Nonsense," interrupted Audrey.  "I will take no oath about such pure
folly.  As I told you already, Justice Tomkins hath not behaved him
like a gentleman, and I shall say no word about his matters."

"But, madam, if you will not take oath, you put me in a strait," cried
the perplexed clerk, divided between his pride in his responsible
position and his alarm at this very impetuous young lady.  "I shall be
driven to cite you for contumacy before the justices."

"Oh, for that matter," answered Audrey, coolly, "I had as lief answer
the justices as you.  The most part of them are my kinsfolk, and will
be as angered as I am at Justice Tomkins' cavalier treatment of me."

The clerk looked more and more distracted.  "Madam," he cried, "'tis
beyond my power to pass it over.  You must needs return with me to
Hunstanton and answer for yourself."

"Me!  Take me to Hunstanton!  Man, you are out of your wits!  Do you
forget who you are speaking to?"

"No, madam," stammered the unhappy man, "but even ladies are not above
the law, and Justice Tomkins hath a hasty temper and I may not venture
to go back without I can give him a sufficient answer."

"'Tis impossible--unheard of," she repeated.  "You will bring yourself
and your precious Justice Tomkins into trouble--he will be the laughing
stock of the neighbourhood when this mare's nest gets wind!"

The clerk nearly tore his hair.  This young lady was enough to dash any
man's courage; but the justice--he was even more alarming.  If he came
back empty handed, the justice's language would be forcible.

"Madam," he repeated helplessly, "I have no choice; I must needs take
you with me!"

Audrey's thoughts hurriedly summed up her situation.  If, after all,
they did carry her to Hunstanton, it might draw the constables off from
Inglethorpe.  And there would be at least this satisfaction when she
was face to face with Justice Tomkins, she would have her revenge.  "A
miserable little ranting linen-draper," she muttered wrathfully.  "I
can tell a tale or two about his love of old Noll in old times, and his
preachings and psalm-singings when they were the fashion, that will
make him sorry he has ever meddled with me!  But, good lack! 'tis to be
hoped he is no wiser than his clerk, and does not know that every
cousin I have is out of the country, so that I can fright him with
their names.  If I can but shuffle matters on for to-night, all will be
well.  Swear a lie I cannot, but by to-morrow Richard will be surely on
the high seas, and then I'll swear all they please, and truly say I
know not where he is, I must e'en keep my fit of the sulks for
to-night.  All will be well.  I doubt not Richard will wait me at
Rotterdam, and will see that my stuff is safe bestowed somewhere.  Pray
Heaven some maggot do not possess him to hang about here and double my
danger!  But anyhow I can swear with a good conscience I know not where
he is!"

She consoled herself with these thoughts, and signified to the clerk
that as he had brute force on his side she was not prepared to resist
him; but it was with the offended dignity of a captured queen that she
followed the men from the house, when, to her dismay, Reed suddenly
turned to one of the constables.

"Catlin, you must abide here in possession.  I cannot doubt our quarry
hath been here, and 'tis very like that he will slink back to such a
safe lair; therefore you must be in readiness to receive him.  Mistress
Perrient can have your horse to carry her to Hunstanton."

With a blank face the constable heard the order, and with a sinking
heart Audrey was lifted on the spare horse as the cheerless winter
twilight was falling.

"Now my device is naught," she moaned to herself, "and 'tis too late to
change it!  If Catlin were not such a very fool I should be clean
desperate--but 'tis plain writ in his foolish face that he will think
more of the Inglethorpe ghost than of any hunted Roundhead!  So I must
but go through with it, and hope for the best!"

A cutting east wind lay in wait for them as they came out from the
shelter of the buildings, a wind that tore at Audrey's cloak, and
wrestled with the black furze bushes on the heath, till they heaved and
swayed like chained monsters striving to break loose.  In spite of
herself, Audrey felt her courage flag.  So much of it was merely due to
her natural buoyancy of health and spirits, and the sauciness of a
petted girl who had seldom known reproof.  Now that she had taken such
a rash step, she began to doubt and fear.  Her defiance had not drawn
off the enemy's forces.  Had it been of any advantage at all?  Was she
riding to prison for a mere fancy?  Why should she scruple to tell a
white lie for once?  But the lie would only secure her own freedom; the
constables would still hunt the country for Harrison, while now, she at
least divided their numbers and their suspicions.  But suppose Richard
was so mad as to wait for news of her!  Suppose he thought it cowardly
to fly and leave her in the lurch!  Suppose he fell into another of
those despairing fits and threw himself into peril out of mere
recklessness?

"Ah me!" she sighed, "I know not how to order my own life, and here I
have a brother as well as a father to think for too!"

It was not an outburst of vanity; she had so long tended her
grandfather, and her father, that the only attitude she could conceive
to a new friend, was that of adopting him as some one else to be taken
care of.  Even while she trusted to his strong right hand to be her
guard on her journey, she could not believe he could plan that journey
without her help.

The sandy road across the heath was hard with frost, and the little
party trotted swiftly on, and before an hour was past, the lights of
Hunstanton twinkled before them.  At Justice Tomkins' door there was a
halt, and the clerk dismounted, and went to seek his employer's
instructions; he came back in a few minutes with a perturbed face, and
called the constable into the hall to a consultation.  Tom Abbes'
sturdy voice was audible to Audrey, as she sat outside.

"If so be as his worship won't be disturbed, 'tis no fault of ourn.
And us can't put she in the lock-up; all the country would cry shame on
us," grumbled the good-natured constable.

"If only I had seen the justice before he dined, and had taken his
instructions!" sighed the clerk.

"See now, take her over to the Royal Oak; thee canst doo no wrong that
way," councilled Tom.  "If justice won't attend to business, why,
justice must pay the bill."

A few steps more and the little party came out from the sheltered
street, and the full force of the wind met them with a mingled dash of
foam-flakes and sand.  Half-blinded, Audrey was lifted from her horse,
and staggered into the shelter of the deep porch--a porch she knew only
too well.  The Perrient arms were gone that once presided over the
stately entrance to Sir Gyles Perrient's house, and a great signboard,
daubed with a gaudy representation of an oak-tree, creaked as it swung
in the shrill night wind, but in all else her grandfather's mansion was
unchanged.  Here was the home where she had reigned queen at
Hunstanton--where she had loved and been loved!  The house and its
mistress had alike fallen on evil times; the mansion was an inn, and
Audrey Perrient was a prisoner!

Mr. Reed's summons was answered by the buxom landlady, whose cheerful
voice resounded through the house before she appeared at the door.

"Stars o' mine! what's that you say?  Justice Tomkins in liquor?
That's no new tidings!  What!  Mistress Perrient without, with Tom
Constable!  I'll never credit it!  Stars o' mine!  Justice must have
been pretty drunk before he sent you off on such a fool's errand!  You
should see to him, Mr. Reed!  But there! set a beggar on horseback, and
we all know where he'll ride to!  Come your ways in, Mistress Perrient,
my dear, and don't you take on!  'Tis enough to make Sir Gyles get out
o' his grave, it is!  Why it makes me swimmy like!  'Tis a pity Justice
Lestrange is out of town; but, for sure, 'twill be all right in the
morning, when our fine new justice is out of his cups, and fine and
shamed he'll be, I warrant!  Will you please to come upstairs, madam.
'Tis strange to show you the way in your own house as should be; but
times do change, and if 'twere your own house you couldn't have a
cleaner hearth, nor fairer linen, nor one readier to serve you!  And
what will you take to your supper, my dear?  Just a drop of mulled
elderberry wine with a toast in it, to keep out the cold--and a wing of
a capon, now, couldn't you seem to fancy?  Or anything else you could
give a name to, it would just be an honour to my house, Mistress
Perrient, my dear--madam, I should say; and here's Sally with a hot
posset, and that you shall taste whether you drink it or no.  Why, Tom
Constable, what are you a-doing of?  Turn the key on Mistress Perrient?
Do you reckon my house is a lock-up?  That's a rare hearing!  Not while
I am missis here!  What's that you are grumbling?  Tell justice on me!
Tell him and welcome; but stand out o' the way while Molly brings in
the feather bed."

Mr. Reed had fled before the good woman was fairly embarked on her
harangue, and she talked and worked, bustled about the room, and
scolded the maids, and hustled the constable, who stood shame-faced but
obstinate in the doorway.  But by the time Mrs. Joyce had decked the
chamber with every luxury she could invent to do due honour to her
guest, her temper had cooled, and her prudence began to revive.

"Lackaday," she lamented, "if I meddle I may but make matters worse!
Thou great fool"--turning viciously on the constable, "it would do my
heart good to give thee a clout on the head!  But I reckon 'tis treason
or such like to lay hands on a constable!  I be fairly 'mazed!  But my
dear--madam, I should say, do you take notice I lie in the next
chamber, and if you feel a bit swimmy or afeared in the night, if
you'll please to give a call, I'll up and serve you, spite of all the
constables in creation!"

Audrey could only smile as grateful an answer as her trembling lips
could muster, and the constable, catching a moment when Mrs. Joyce had
fairly talked herself out of breath, bundled her out of the room
without ceremony, and turned the key on the prisoner.



CHAPTER IX.

A PRECIOUS THING DISCOVERED LATE.

  "One can't disturb the dust of years
      And smile serenely."
                            AUSTIN DOBSON.


Audrey was left alone!  And in what a room was she imprisoned!  It was
her grandfather's own chamber!

The firelight played on the panelled walls with which she had once been
so familiar, and the figures on the tapestry curtains seemed to smile a
grim welcome to the daughter of the house.  Here she had sat on her
grandfather's knee, and heard fairy tales and legends of old days; here
she had often watched by him when he grew old, and knelt at his side
when the vicar read prayers; here she had seen his good white head laid
in the coffin, and kissed the cold lips that had never bidden her
farewell.  What a strange fate had brought her now back to say farewell
to her old home!

She sank back in the great chair that stood in its accustomed place by
the hearth, bewildered by the whirl of thoughts that chased each other
through her brain.  The five years that had passed since last she sat
in that room, although they had dragged on slowly enough, seemed now to
her only a sort of parenthesis in her life.  As she had left her old
home she had come back to it--the years of poverty and trouble seemed
but a bad dream--it would have been most natural to her to find herself
once more the mistress of Hunstanton Place.

In the cloister-like seclusion of Madam Isham's house Audrey had
learned little more of real life than she had known as a child; and in
that sheltered childhood what had she known?  Her duty to God and to
her neighbours she had learned, and many wise theories of civil
government and of philosophy; but of the rough realities of life, of
suspicion, of caution, she knew nothing.  Petted by her grandfather,
trusted by her father, adored by the servants and dependents to whom
her slightest wish was law, she had learned to look with affectionate
tolerance on the foolish ways of men, who being mostly old, or poor, or
scholars, could not be expected to be as wise or as practical as such a
young woman as Mistress Perrient.  Now her little throne of feminine
superiority seemed tottering.  She had been frightened by a beggar,
insulted by a jack-in-office, actually locked up by a constable!  Her
theory of life--if it had struck her to use such long words--seemed
inadequate, and she did not see how to reconstruct it.  She was
tired--she was sad--her musings grew more confused; the grateful sense
of being at home once more, the familiarity of her surroundings, the
rest after the hurried ride through the storm, the luxurious
chamber--so unlike the chilly attic where she had lain for many a
winter night--all conspired to lull her into forgetfulness.  Half
dreaming, she murmured the words of the prayer said so often at her
grand-father's knee: "Lighten our darkness we beseech Thee, O Lord, and
by Thy great mercy defend us from all the perils and dangers of this
night," and suddenly she was indeed a child once more.  Such a weary
little child, she could not keep her eyes open, it must surely be
bedtime!  Was that nurse's step on the stairs?  She was not tired; she
was no longer sleepy--that was forgotten!  Nurse should not catch her!
Here, under the great table, was a splendid hiding-place.  The carved
legs rose above her head like pillars, the Turkey carpet that covered
it hung all around like a tent--if only grandad did not betray her!
She would be quiet as a mouse, and he would never know she was there.
He was walking up and down the chamber, with his hands clasped behind
him; presently he turned and opened a cupboard, and brought out a
leather box, and oh! such a lovely long string of shining beads.  "Oh,
grandad! grandad! be those for me?" she cried, springing from her
hiding-place.  "No, sweetheart, not yet awhile," answered Sir Gyles,
lifting her on his knee; "these be the pearls good King Harry gave my
grandmother; thou shalt wear them when thou art a great girl and goest
to London town to see the king.  But first thou must be tall--as tall
as the chimney-piece!"

Audrey woke with a start.  She could almost hear the echo of the last
words in the air--"as tall as the chimney-piece."  Was it a dream?
"Oh, grandad, grandad!" she cried.  "Could you but come back and let me
be a little child once more.  Never was there a girl so desolate in all
the world!"  The sweet dream of childhood had broken down her
courage--and she burst into tears.  And still the dream was with her.
How vivid it had been!  It seemed like reality.  Could it be reality?
Was it not a memory awakened by the sight of the old room?  Yes--it
must be a memory; it certainly had once happened.  Forgotten for years,
it came back to her now: how she had hidden under the table, and how
she had cried when her grandfather had said the pearls must be locked
up till she was a great girl, and how grandad had taken her on his knee
and told her the tale of Tom Tit Tot, and she had forgotten all about
the pearls, and set off next morning to hunt in the gravel pit for Tom
Tit Tot and his wonderful spinning wheel.

She lay back lazily in the chair, smiling over the old memories, and
her eyes wandered over the fire-lit room.  It had been arranged
differently in those days: grandfather's table stood by the window, and
what cupboard was it he had opened?  There was no room on that side for
a great standing cupboard.  It had been very big--big and black, like a
closet.  A closet!  She started.  Could it indeed not have been a
cupboard, but a secret closet?  What folly!  If there had been a closet
there she must have known of it!  But the impression was so strong on
her that she could not sit still.  She lit the candles in the great
pewter candlesticks and smiled as she stirred the logs to do so, and
saw that her head just reached the carved chimney-board.  "I am taller,
by a head, than when I last lit a candle here," she thought.  "Now I am
indeed a big girl!  But to reach just where grandfather's hand went, I
shall need a stool and a tall one at that.  Good, I reckon this will
serve."

She mounted on the carved footstool, and candle in hand she surveyed
the wall, drawing her finger carefully along the lines of the
panelling, and pressing every little ornament that might conceal a
spring.  "I verily believe there was something here," she murmured.
"Hereabouts he put his hand, and I have never thought on it from that
day to this!  It opened like a door," and as she said the words she
thought the panel gave way a little, and her heart almost stopped
beating.  She pressed again, more firmly; there was a creak--the whole
side of the room seemed swinging towards her.  She sprang off the
stool, and saw that a door had indeed opened before her.  Audrey raised
the candle and peered into the darkness within.  The closet was indeed
as large as a small room; opposite to her its back was panelled like
the bedchamber, but on either side the walls were fitted with shelves
and loaded with boxes, papers, and bunches of keys.

[Illustration: Audrey raised the candle and peered into the darkness.
[page 135.]

She stood gazing, the candle flickered, suddenly she caught sight of
the well remembered red leather casket, and with a cry of delight she
set down the candle and seized it.  Here, indeed, was the long chain of
pearls she had cried for so bitterly, and the curiously enamelled Tudor
Rose hanging as a jewel from it.

"How strange that daddy knew not of this hiding-place," she cried;
"yet, grandad never troubled him with such matters; he were likelier to
have told me than daddy.  This must be one of the priests' holes he
often told me tales of, where the recusant gentlemen hid their priests,
but he never said we had one in our own house!  Doubtless here lies the
record of how our money was lost, but I reck little of that now I have
the Perrient pearls safe.  Ah, but here is a purse of gold pieces!
That will speed me well whether I escape Justice Tomkins' clutches, or
he claps me up in jail!  More wonders!  Money bags!  I shall lose my
wits for wonder!  Four bags!  Five!  Why 'tis a very treasure trove!
And now for the papers.  Alack what a many and how dusty!  Why, to
count them over would be half a night's work!  And as for reading this
crabbed hand, I doubt I shall make nothing of it, without I ask Master
Reed's help, and that I am scarce like to do!  Bills--more bills--they
will not keep me long.  List of ministers to deliver to the Triers,
letters from Parliament men, news letters; why, what is this?  "Note of
monies lent to Master Vonsturm of Leyden," "Note of monies lent to
Master Leyds of Amsterdam," "Note of half share in the ship _Maria
Dirk_ trading from Rotterdam."  "That's where the money is!" she
gasped.  "Oh, cunning old grandad!  You sent it over seas safe from
both king and Parliament!  Master--what's his name?  Von Sturm, must
have deemed us all dead!  He'll be mightily disappointed!  My faith,
these papers must not lie hid here!  Yet if they take me to jail, they
may search me; the papers were safer here than in my pockets in that
hazard.  I must bethink me.  But first I must needs rummage for more
treasures.  Here is my grandfather's great writing-box and his seal and
pens; methinks I may find Master Tom Tit Tot himself next!"

Her smile faded as suddenly as if the imp she spoke of had appeared.
In the desk lay only one paper, endorsed in trembling handwriting:
"Draught of my letter to Major-General Harrison concerning the marriage
of my granddaughter.  February ye first 1659."

"My marriage!  Grandad never said a word to me of marriage!  I was but
sixteen!  I marvel whom he proposed to marry me to?"  And with rather a
pale smile she unfolded the letter.


_For my loving friend Major-General Harrison, these._

SIR,--As touching the question of the marriage whereof we have more
than once held discourse, and whereof you as at this present write to
me, my mind being as yours in the matter, I see not wherefor we should
not come to a speedy settlement.  Seeing that I am now a very old man,
I do only desire, if it be God's will, to see my beloved child given
happily in marriage, before I say my Nunc Dimittis.  Your young
kinsman, Richard Harrison, is but now departed from me, and as I judge,
he doth in all respects uphold the report you have made me of him.  He
seemeth a godly and a gallant young gentleman, and a modest, and if it
please God to dispose his heart and that of my granddaughter to an
understanding, I doubt not but that you and I shall agree concerning
the money to be settled.  My desire being, to find for this child, who
is my chief earthly joy and blessing, not so much a wealthy husband as
an entrance into a godly family and one whereto I am so much bound in
love as with yours.  I desire not to defraud your good wife of any
fortune you have gathered, neither any children whom it may yet please
the Lord to bless you with, but as my granddaughter will have all that
I possess, I do desire that it should be settled upon her and her
children.  It's no bad division that the man should bear the sword and
the woman the purse, so she be one in whom her husband's heart may
safely trust.  When Captain Harrison is on his return to Scotland, if
you will make him your messenger concerning your resolution as to
settlements, he can then have speech of my granddaughter and shall
understand her mind in the matter, for I do purpose she shall only be
joined in marriage there where she is likewise joined in godly
affection.  I speak not of my son, as in the disposal and ordering of
all such matters he doth dutifully submit himself unto me, and I doubt
not he will be of my mind in this matter."


Audrey's face grew whiter and whiter as she spelt out the painfully
written words, and, as she ended, she staggered back against the wall
and covered her face with her hands.  Any thought of marriage, save as
a vague sort of fairy tale, was so remote from her mind, that this
formal negotiating of her destiny struck her like a blow, and she felt
absolutely sick with the shock.  To her proud and virginal mind it
mattered nothing that this was an old story, forgotten for two years
past.  It was nothing to her that marriages at that time were almost
invariably a matter of family arrangement.  She had been brought up
with so much more personal liberty and independence than most girls of
her day, that the idea that she had been talked over, bargained for,
was unendurable!  And gradually, as the whole plan came home to her, a
burning flush crept over her face.  She felt outraged, insulted.  Wild
indignation with every one filled her heart.  Her grandfather, General
Harrison, Richard, every one was detestable.  No one was to be trusted!
They had dared to talk of her, to dispose of her, as if she were a mere
chattel!  Better poverty, neglect, anything, than such an insult.  But
then there rushed back on her with a sudden revulsion of feeling, all
that might have been, all she had once possessed, and she dashed the
letter on the ground and burst into a passion of tears.  Alone,
friendless, she realized her position--she was brought face to face
with all she had lost.  While she looked on her grandfather as a feeble
old man depending on her young strength, he had foreseen how helpless
she would be one day, he had known what a woman needed, he had been
planning her future for her.  A future of wealth and dignity, a gallant
and handsome young husband, loving kins-folk, all as gay as a fairy
tale, and all vanished like a fairy dream!

Her tears were partly remorseful--that she could have been angered at
any thought of his, shamed her!  But she could not but give some sorrow
to all that was gone--her grandfather dead and forgotten, her father in
exile, she herself a prisoner, General Harrison--she shuddered to
remember his fate, Richard Harrison--"Alas, I had not thought Captain
Harrison was one of those summer friends who forsook us when our wealth
was lost!  'Tis pity I should have discovered what he hath made such
good speed to forget!"  She stood a while sunk in thought, then she
shook herself.  "Fie, what a peevish maid I grow!  This was but talk
between grandfather and the poor general; and then grandfather died and
the general ran mad on the Fifth Monarchy, and was put in prison, and,
most like, Captain Harrison never heard a word of the matter!  'Tis
midsummer madness to dwell on it now.  Fie!  Audrey Perrient, a modest
maiden should not waste thoughts on such matters!  But 'tis lucky I
knew not of this when I found him fainting in the woods, or I protest I
should have been too shamefaced a fool to have succoured him?"



CHAPTER X.

ESCAPE.

  "Why, now I have Dame Fortune by the forelock,
  And if she 'scapes my grasp, the fault is mine."
                                      SCOTT, _Old Play._


"Fie!  Fie!  Have I nothing more pressing to attend to than to weep
over these old tales?" cried Audrey, as she looked round the crowded
shelves of the closet.  "It were more to the point to decide what I am
to do with all these treasures.  Are they best here, or can I carry the
papers at least with me?  So much hangs on what awaits me to-morrow.
If they let me go free I can tell Mistress Joyce of my discovery, and
she will let me have a cart to carry off my plunder!  But if they clap
me into jail?  Good faith, I'll give them some trouble first!  Who
knows but I might make shift to escape on the road!  For that matter,
why do I sit mewed up here without making an offer to escape?  This
dear house is no prison that I should find no way out of it!  How did
distressed damsels do in the tale books?  Methinks the favourite
fashion was to make ropes out of the bed sheets.  But I should be loath
to tear up Mistress Joyce's best linen, and I am not well assured that
I could climb down a rope even could I make it.  That plan is naught!
But I warrant some of these keys will undo the chamber door, and then
it is but a small matter to slip downstairs and out of the hall door.
But, good lack! if the bolts are as stiff as they used to be, the
mighty creaking of them would awake the seven sleepers, and I should
look a pretty fool, caught like a schoolboy breaking bounds!  Yet forth
I must, and will go!  I may at least see if the chamber door can be
fitted with a key.  I suppose there are no more secret doors in this
room to match this closet?  After so many wonders, I am fit to believe
Tom Tit Tot will unlock another panel and let me out!  Stay.  If this
were indeed a priest's hole, surely they would have some fashion of
escape if they were close pressed?  I am sure grandfather has told me
these chambers often led into a very maze of secret ways.  Oh, you
fool," she almost screamed, "to stand in the very draught of a sliding
door and not see the chink!  Down on your knees and thank the Lord who
hath delivered you from prison as truly as He did Peter!"

It was true.  In the back of the closet was a sliding panel that was
actually partly open, only in the hurry and excitement of so many
discoveries she had not paused to look for the origin of the draught
that made her candle flicker.  She pushed the panel cautiously, fearing
that some dismal creak might awaken the house, but the woodwork was
carefully fitted and the door slid back without a sound.  Before her a
corkscrew staircase wound down in the thickness of the wall.  Carefully
she stepped through the door, but the stair was of solid stone, and her
light foot made no sound on it as she ran down.  The bottom of the
stair was guarded by a narrow door, locked and barred.

"Now, which of all those keys will help me here?" she wondered as she
sped up again to fetch the great bunches that lay on the closet shelf.

One key after another she tried, and then came the turn of a key that
hung alone on a slender silver chain.  It fitted, it turned; hastily
she drew back the bolts and the door swung open.  A flood of moonlight
poured through a screen of ivy and dazzled her eyes.  Her prison was
unlocked!  The wind had dropped and the weather changed, the snow had
ceased, everything seemed in her favour.

"My luck has turned," she laughed as she flew back up the stairs to
prepare for her flight.  All fatigue and bewilderment was over.  She
was as joyous and self-possessed as a child planning a new game.

"They must not blame Mistress Joyce for mine escape," she meditated;
"nor must they set to hunting for secret passages and spy out my
treasure chamber.  If I unbar the shutter and leave the window open,
they may amuse themselves by inventing how I found wings!  Now!  That
was deftly done, that shutter has made never a sound!  'Tis well my
pockets are new and strong.  They must carry the principal of the
papers.  Now I must tie the money bags in my apron, and the pearls
shall travel secure round my neck and tucked into my bodice."

With dancing eyes she made her preparations.  Then she blew out the
candles and pulled the closet door to behind her with a snap.  Then she
stood a moment and hesitated, and, with a hasty movement, she swept her
grandfather's letter from the floor and thrust it into her bodice, and
ran down the stairs as if she wished to forget what she had done.

She pushed the little door wide open and looked out.  A thicket of
leafless thorns helped the tangled ivy to entirely hide the secret
entrance, but beyond the bushes lay a wide field of rough grass
glistening white with hoar frost in the moonlight, and shut in by
miniature cliffs and hills.

"Why, 'tis Tom Tit Tot's gravel pit!" she cried in delight.  "How well
to bring the stairs out in such a deserted corner!  And, just beyond
that bank, is the high road to Lynn.  But this frost is unlucky; my
pursuers will dog me as a hart by my tracks, and I shall betray them my
treasure-chamber.  What policy can I use to baffle them?  Richard said
I was fit for plots and stratagems!  I have it!"

She slipped her cloak from her shoulders, and flung it from her over
the grass as far as she could.  Then, locking the door, she put the
keys into her pocket, and sprang lightly from the threshold on to her
cloak, leaving no sign of a footprint close to the door.  The ivy
screen fell back over the entrance and Audrey laughed with triumph as
she picked up the cloak and shook the frost from it.

"I protest this last stratagem of mine hath crowned the record!" she
laughed to herself.  "No one will dream there is a door yonder, or that
this trampled patch is the mark of my cloak.  It looks as if some
tinker's ass had made his bed here!  And my steps are but those of his
master's boy fetching him away!  Now I can start forth with no fear of
being tracked, and there goes nine on the church clock.  I'll warrant
the best part of the good folk of Hunstanton are abed by this, so I
shall have the road to myself.  But whither go I?  Straight to Lynn?
'Tis a long trudge.  I doubt my feet will carry me so far this night.
Jack Catlin is sure to be abed and snoring by the time I reach
Inglethorpe.  What hinders my slipping into the stable and stealing my
own horse?  Richard is sure to be off long ago.  He could easily drop
from a window, or even walk out of the front door without Jack
Constable knowing anything of it.  Doubtless I shall find him at Master
Marshman's, whistling for a fair wind!  Had those fools kept me clapped
up another twelve hours, I might have lost my travelling-companion."

The triumph of her escape and her recovered riches had raised her
elastic spirits to their wildest pitch.  Forgotten were her regrets,
forgotten her shame-faced resentment, forgotten her vague fears of a
cold and cruel world.  She had, alone and unhelped, escaped from prison
and recovered her fortune; she was once more queen of her own destiny.
Gay, self-confident, hopeful, she danced along the hard, sandy path
through the heather.  The tide was out, no sound broke the silence but
her own light footsteps, and soon she found she was singing aloud.  She
was free, she was rich, she was on her way to a land of freedom, all
was delightful and rosy.  Poor Richard Harrison!  How she had misjudged
him in her first rush of resentful surprise on reading her
grandfather's letter!

"I must put a curb on this unruly temper of mine," she vowed.  "Had any
one been near to hear all I was ready to say in my rage, I might have
lost my fine new brother.  But all's well that ends well, and Westward
Ho to-morrow!"

It seemed but a few minutes before her merry heart had sped her over
the long miles of salt marsh and moorland, and she saw the tower of
Inglethorpe church and the gables of Inglethorpe Hall rising dark
against the moonlight.  She passed softly in between the shattered gate
pillars and crept round the house, crouching in the shadows which
completely swallowed up her dark dress and wide dark hat.  Then she
paused in dismay.  A bright light shone through the curtainless kitchen
window, and sent a glaring beam across the yard and fell direct on the
stable door!

"This is indeed disastrous," thought Audrey.  "What possesses Jack
Constable to keep such hours.  Pray heaven he have not set the old
house afire.  I must needs peep, and see what prank he is playing."

Cautiously she stole up to the window.  She heard a sound of voices,
the clatter of pewter, then it was Jack Catlin who spoke--

"Well, young sir, I'm beholden to you for your company, not to speak of
your ale.  'Twould have been uncommon lonesome to bide here by myself;
and noo, if I weren't afraid of the bogles, I reckon I'd go to bed."

"Oh, surely you can have nought to fear from bogles," answered a voice.
Could Audrey believe her ears.  Could Richard be so mad as to sit
hobnobbing with the very constable who was set to catch him?  Yes--no
question, it was his voice.  "You can have naught to fear from bogles.
By all they say, these Cremers have been always on the king's side, so
the ghosts in their house are bound to respect the majesty of the law."

"Majesty of the law!" repeated the constable.  "'Tis a fine saying!
The Majesty of the law!  Ay, ay, here I sit to uphold the majesty of
the law.  I reckon I'll goo to bed!"

"Shall I lend you a hand up the stairs, good sir?"

Richard's voice sounded dangerously demure, and then came a noise of
scuffling and grunting that told the task of getting the representative
of the law upstairs to be not altogether a light one.

She waited till she heard Richard return to the kitchen, and then she
tapped at the window.  He started and turned; she tapped again, and
with eager hands he flung the casement back.

"In life or death, you are welcome!" he cried.

Audrey's laugh brought him back to common life.  "I am no ghost!" she
cried merrily; "but I am escaped like a bird from the snare, and I have
mighty news to tell.  Give me your hand, and help me in by the window,
for I fear unbarring the door may awake your boon companion."

His face still white with agitation, Harrison leant out, and lifted her
slight form to the window-sill.

"Truly I thought it was your spirit," he began, half apologetically;
"your face was so white in the moonlight, and----"

"I am indeed no ghost, as yet," she laughed, as she slid down into the
room.  "Pluck up all your courage, good brother, for I have such a
fearsome and wonderful budget of news to unfold, as is fit to make a
fresh chapter to the 'Princess of Cleves!'"

The shamefacedness she had feared had vanished.  Harrison's unexpected
agitation had put all thoughts of her own feelings out of her head.
Her only wish was to laugh him out of the bewilderment that still kept
him gazing at her as if he feared to trust his eyes.

"I do solemnly declare to you that neither am I a ghost, nor did I ride
hither on a broomstick; witness the mud upon my shoes!  But my
adventure is marvellous enough for all that.  But before I tell it I
must inquire into this strange fashion of housekeeping!  What hours are
these to keep, sir?  Such junketings and revellings!  Fie, fie!  But in
sad earnest, how dared you venture on such a wild prank!  What blessed
dulness was it that kept Jack Catlin from guessing you?"

Harrison's spirits rallied under her jests, and he laughed as he
defended himself.

"Indeed, stern mistress, you forget that I am a soldier, and 'tis my
profession to use stratagems to gain news of the enemy's movements.  I
have this night heard such a description of myself as, if scarce
flattering, sets me free from all fear of being recognized.  That
drunken knave, Astbury, painted me very truly from his own
looking-glass.  But now, thanks to your wisdom in making me cut my hair
short and change my clothes, a shrewder fellow than the good fool who
snores overhead would not guess my true name.  But to make a clear
shrift, 'twas more by chance than by craft, that this all came about.
When I saw you ride off, I dropped from a front window, and came round
to seek for John and find what had happened, and so I stumbled on my
friend the constable, who told me you were bound to Hunstanton to
appear before the justice.  You could not deem I should depart in full
content, having got that news!  So I patched up my acquaintance with
master constable, and sent him over to the sexton's to get some ale,
and we hobnobbed right merrily.  I have all the news, they seek only
for a swashbuckler somewhat like our rascal of yesterday, with curling
hair, and a scarlet cloak, that's all they have to guide them!  And
they are well assured I shall take ship at Brancaster Staith, where all
rogues and vagabonds seek to escape by the fishing-boats.  And I heard
further, what a tantrum the young mistress was in.  'Laws, she did give
un a talking to!'  I knew not, gentle sister, that you were such a
virago."

"Indeed, I think I did somewhat dash them," answered Audrey,
complacently; "and they will be yet more dashed to-morrow when they
unlock their cage, and find their bird flown!  But now, surely we
should be on our road to Lynn?"

"No, no; 'tis of no use to reach Lynn before folks are up in the
morning.  You must rest a while here on the settle, and I will watch
lest any of the ghosts should rouse our friend above from his snoring,
and by-and-by I will saddle your pony, and we shall be at Lynn by
daybreak.  Now rest, sister; you must be wearied nigh to death!  I will
ask nothing of your adventures now.  It suffices that you are safe, for
which the Lord be praised.

"No, indeed, I must and will tell you my story, and you must see my
spoil.  Did you not foretell it all when you said grandfather was 'an
old courtier of the queen'?  Here's the end of the ballad come true--

  "'Who, like a wise man, kept himself within his bounds,
  And when he died gave every child a thousand pounds!'

Count that, and that, and that!" and she tossed her money bags into his
hands in triumph.

Harrison gazed in astonishment when she brought out one after another
of her treasures.

"It is indeed like a story of romance," he said, "or a miracle.  But,
alas, 'tis a pity the Perrient pearls should but come back to you when
you are bound for the Plantations.  Mistress Perrient should be
queening it at court, instead of flying across seas to live among
Indian savages!"

"Fie, fie, brother!  You should not look so sad over worldly gauds!  I
must bid Master Marshman deal faithfully with you to-morrow for setting
your heart on vanities, to make no mention of drinking strong ale with
the parish constable at midnight."

"'Tis the way this fortune has come back to you, seems scarce within
the bounds of nature," went on Harrison, in a graver tone; "you mind
the old word Mortmain, the 'dead hand' as men called it, that still
held the power over lands and goods, so that living men had to obey its
will.  I could sometimes persuade myself that on a certain evening,
when I took General Harrison's hand in pledge of fidelity, that I had
indeed given my being into his keeping; for, though I held him mistaken
on many matters of religion and government, in every decision that I
make, and every chance that befalls me, I do but seem to be following
the beck of his hand, such power hath it, and lo! now hath the same
fate befallen you, and for all that Acts of Parliament have forbidden
Mortmain, a dead hand hath given wealth into your lap!"

Audrey grew suddenly scarlet.  With an involuntary movement her hand
flew up to her bodice, to guard the letter that lay hidden there.  The
dead hand had done more than he guessed.  She held its last commands,
and she knew what road General Harrison had beckoned his nephew on.
But never, never should he or any man living, know that she knew.



CHAPTER XI.

A CANDID MINISTER.

  "Love is a thing as any spirit free,
  Women of kind desiren libertee,
  And not to be constrained as a thral."
                          CHAUCER, _Franklin's Tale._


The grey dawn was stealing over the land as Audrey and Richard halted
at a cottage outside Lynn, and gave the pony into the care of an old
countryman, that they might slip into the town without attracting
notice.  They stepped briskly on along the frosty road, pleased to feel
that they were so near the end of their journey, when they were
startled by a man bursting from the hedge and hurrying towards them.

Audrey could not repress a cry of dismay as she pulled up her cloak to
muffle her face; but in a moment she was reassured by a call from the
stranger which made Richard spring forward and catch him in his arms.

"Good, Mr. Rogers," he exclaimed.  "Well met, indeed!  What happy
chance hath brought you hither?"

"No chance, Dick, but the care of that God who I trust will give us a
speedy deliverance from our troubles.  Right thankful I am to see thou
hast escaped the snares that did beset thee.  I have awaited thee here
to guide thee to Brother Marshman's house by the garden way, for there
is a ship unlading hard by his front door, and idle folk might spy on
you did you go that road."

He turned courteously towards Audrey to include her in his words.
Richard flung his arm round the minister's shoulders.

"Mistress Perrient," he said, "this is Mr. Rogers, who hath been my
good friend since my boyhood, and hardly escaped from London when I was
well-nigh taken."

Mr. Rogers bared his head with a courtly bow.  "Madam," he said, "I
have been familiar with the name of your grandfather and your learned
father on General Harrison's lips, and I trust this fortunate meeting
may be accounted a sign that the Lord doth intend to make a happy
ending to the troubles that have beset this His servant."

Audrey could not repress a smile at this rather enigmatic compliment.

"I fear, good sir," she said, "we have rather added to your troubles,
since you have been at the pains of waiting here for us before
daybreak."

"Not a whit, not a whit," answered the minister, cheerily; "in truth, I
thought not of my own troubles, but of my friend Dick's.  Brother
Marshman would have come himself to welcome you," he continued, turning
to Richard, "but I persuaded him that I should the better recognize you
if you should be disguised.  Truly, Dick, I take it ill of this
government they should be at such pains to seek thee out, and count me
not worth pursuing."

Mr. Rogers was in unusually high spirits.  Audrey wondered if he found
it a relief to escape from the society of his brother minister; but the
twinkle in his eye, when he looked at her, seemed to show his pleasure
in the present meeting had something to do with his gay humour.

"I pray thee, Dick," he continued, as they walked on, "tell me somewhat
of the history of thy journey, and how all hath fallen out so happily.
Pardon me, madam, for being so bold.  When my wife doth reprove me for
curiosity, I tell her 'tis all due to my descent from Grandmother Eve,
and therefore a woman should not blame it."

Audrey laughed, and assured him she would gladly listen to the story of
Richard's adventures; and it was in a strangely merry fashion that the
sad story was told and heard, and it was by no means ended when they
entered the garden of the Presbyterian minister, and passed up the trim
path to the door.

"Richard Harrison, you are welcome," said the grave voice of Mr.
Marshman, as he took the young man's hand in his friendly grasp.  "And
is this your sister who bears you company?  I knew not you would
venture to carry her with you."

"This is Mistress Perrient, of Inglethorpe," said Harrison, rather
hurriedly.  "She is in danger of prison for the fault of aiding me, and
is flying to her father in Providence Plantation."

Mr. Marshman stopped and eyed Audrey steadily; then saying shortly, "My
housekeeper shall attend her," he ushered her into a parlour, and led
Harrison down the passage to his study.

The kind and demure old woman who ruled Mr. Marshman's modest household
looked on fugitives as the most usual and most welcome visitors to his
house, and the gentle warmth of her reception made up to Audrey for the
hardly expected severity of Mr. Marshman's manner.  But after a little
time the door opened, and the minister returned.  His face was stern,
but one who knew him would have detected an unusual expression of
anxiety on his grave features.

"Deborah, you may depart for a little space," he said.  "I have a word
for Mistress Perrient's private ear."

Audrey rose, somewhat fluttered by this opening, and calling to mind
the alarming reports she had heard of Mr. Marshman's dictatorship in
Lynn, but she hardly anticipated the experience that awaited her.

"Mistress Perrient," he began, "I am acquainted with that learned
gentleman, your father.  He is one of a very tender and sanctified
spirit, although, to my judgment, his eyes are not fully opened to the
dangers of prelacy.  Yet I doubt not that by him you were nurtured in
the admonition and fear of the Lord."

"I trust so," answered Audrey, somewhat abashed by the solemnity of
this commencement.

"Therefore," continued the minister, "seeing your father is not at
hand, it is my duty to open thine eyes to see rightly the way thou art
going.  No question it hath been a misfortune that it has been your lot
to abide in Meshec, in the dwelling of a prelatical woman, and have
been given over to your own devices and the vain follies of youth.
Nevertheless, I will believe you can yet call to mind the pleasantness
of the paths of righteousness, and your ears having been once open to
the words of wholesome admonition, your heart may not have wholly
turned aside to folly and vanity."

"Indeed, sir!" cried Audrey.  "Madam Isham was very strict with her
household; there were no more evil ways there than----"  She was
prudent enough not to finish her sentence.

The minister paid no attention whatever to her interruption, but
continued in the same tone--

"And because, as is mine office, I desire to snatch thee from the
snares that do beset youth, and more especially womankind, I do hereby
warn and exhort thee, and do thou give ear with docility and meekness.
It is not fitting that you should go forth after this fashion with this
young man, even Richard Harrison.  Even among the careless walkers of
this generation would such a thing be counted scandalous, and much more
for the daughter of one of the Lord's people is it an open shame!  Now,
indeed, may the ungodly say, 'Lo, how their daughters have run eagerly
to destruction!  Is this that modesty and sobriety of which they were
used to make their boast?'"

"Sir!" gasped Audrey, "what have I done?  What can I do?  I am in
danger of jail if I abide at Inglethorpe."

"Better is it for thee to lose thy liberty than thy good name,"
answered the minister more sternly.  "Tarry and bethink thee while
there is yet time.  What profit shalt thou have of thy pleasures when
the end of them is death?  Knowst thou not that the way of an evil
woman is the path of hell, going down to the chambers of the grave.
Call to mind the end of them that did bring a curse even upon the cause
of the king by reason of their dicing and swearing and chambering and
wantonness, and fear to go forth on this journey lest a like curse fall
upon thee.  Oh, bethink thee of the lessons thy father hath taught
thee!  And for his sake will I even yet have patience, and I will seek
out fair words that I may persuade thee."

He paused, but Audrey's breath was so lost in anger and amazement that
she could find no words to answer, before he resumed his harangue, but
in a tone of studious calm.

"Thou hast indeed made thyself a mocking and a byword by this foolish
adventure, nevertheless, there can be a way found by which thou mayst
escape, if thou wilt obey my counsels.  But answer not rashly nor in
haste, for by thy resolution in the matter shall I judge what manner of
woman thou art, and thy choice shall be as a winnowing fan to show if
thou beest chaff or wheat.  It hath come to my knowledge that there was
an agreement made between Sir Gyles Perrient and Major-General
Harrison, who I trust hath found pardon and acceptance, though, as I
must needs hold, he waxed wanton, and fell away from the grace
vouchsafed unto him, when he sacrilegiously laid hands upon the sacred
person of the king, and received his due reward therefor by being given
over to strong delusion and belief in a lie, concerning the Fifth
Monarchy, on which it is not now convenient to enter at large.  My
friend, Mr. John Rogers, I say, who was with Major-General Harrison in
his prison, hath made this matter of the agreement plain to me, and his
testimony agreeth with that of Richard Harrison, who is an honourable
and ingenuous youth.  Mr. Rogers and Richard Harrison, I say, bear
witness that there was an intention of marriage betwixt you and the
said Richard Harrison, decided and agreed upon by your lawful
guardians, which agreement was not carried out, by reason of the sudden
death of Sir Gyles Perrient, and the imprisonment of Major-General
Harrison.  I ask thee now, Audrey Perrient, art thou ready to fulfil
this agreement and contract in obedience to the will of thy
grandfather, and presently take this young man for thy husband and
lord, that in leaving this land thou mayst depart after a modest and
godly fashion, even as Sarah did go into a strange country in the
obedience and fear of her husband Abraham, when he was commanded to go
forth from the land of the Chaldees."

"But, sir, does Richard Harrison know of this?  What is his mind in it?
He never said any word to me of such a thing."

"I am glad of it; I am glad of it," answered Mr. Marshman.  "I judged
he hath too much the ground of the matter in him to give rein to idle
words.  Nevertheless, he is ready as an obedient son, to do the will of
his father by adoption."

"But, sir, this is too serious a matter--at least for me--to be decided
in this hurry.  I have no mind to be married because Richard Harrison
was bidden to it by his uncle," replied Audrey, with rising spirit.

"Young woman, your words are lighter than befit your situation,
nevertheless, I will have patience with you," said the minister, very
seriously.  "Bear in mind, that this marriage is not alone the will of
General Harrison, but also that of your late grandfather, for whom you
can scarce yet have lost all sense of duty and obedience."

"No, sir.  But my beloved and honoured grandfather did only desire I
should marry where I should both give and receive the affection fitting
to such a state, and that being his will, my very duty to him forbids
my marrying, without Captain Harrison hath more to say in the matter
than doth at present appear."

"You have a nimble wit, mistress," replied Mr. Marshman, grimly; "yet
can you not so easily beguile me.  Do you deem this sober house is as
the antechambers of Whitehall, a fitting place for idle lovemaking and
lascivious compliments?  Nay.  If you will hear and obey, it is well.
But if you remain stiffnecked and obstinate, beware!  I will not permit
thee to lay a snare to delude this young man from the right way, after
the fashion of the wanton daughters of this evil age, neither shalt
thou go forth with him to make him a shame and a byword and a
laughing-stock before the multitude.  Therefore, in one word, answer
me.  Wilt thou take this young man to thy husband?"

"No!" cried Audrey, her cheeks flaming.  "It is a shame and an insult
to speak so to me, a defenceless girl.  Does Captain Harrison
commission you to purvey him a wife in all haste for his journey, as he
would send for a cloak-bag, or a pair of riding-boots?  I will not be
used so by any man!"

"Then is your journey at its end," answered the minister, coolly, and
closed the door behind him.

In the study, Richard Harrison was pacing impatiently up and down,
turning now and then in a sort of desperation to Mr. Rogers, who had
sat down to his writing at the table.

"What can Master Marshman have to say to her that he went forth in such
haste?" he cried.  "What is he not capable of saying?"

"Take patience," answered the other, with a smile, though he himself
looked hardly the right man to prescribe patience.  His thin form was
worn to a shadow by ill-health and privation, and appeared to be only
sustained by a fire of inward enthusiasm, that glowed in his large
light eyes with a brilliancy that almost betokened insanity.  His soft
fair hair floated like a cloud round his transparent features from
under the small black cap of a minister, although the rest of his dress
was the ordinary dark habit of any professional man.

"Take patience, Dick," he repeated, smiling.  "Brother Marshman can
scarce do so much mischief in ten minutes that thou canst not amend in
five.  Surely I can bear testimony to the power of thine arguments,
seeing they carried me from the meeting-house in Coleman Street, when I
was set to abide there!"

"But, good Mr. Rogers," cried Dick, impatiently, "you know well that he
has never spoken to any one of Mistress Perrient's station in his life.
God knows, she is not proud; she hath treated me, a butcher's grandson,
with the gentleness of an angel.  But any trifle may arouse Master
Marshman to lecture her as though she were one of his spinners or
huxters of Lynn!  Even though it be his own house, he owes some
courtesy to his guests.  I must after him and see that he treats her
fittingly."

As he said the words, however, Mr. Marshman entered the room.  He stood
for a minute or two in gloomy silence, and then, raising his eyes to
Harrison, he said--

"Thou must content thee, Richard, she will none of thee.  And well is
it for thee, for a froward and rebellious woman can have no part in thy
lot, neither shouldest thou take a daughter of Moab to thy bosom."

"This passes all!" cried Harrison, startled out of any attempt at
patience; "you are mad, Mr. Marshman!  You have not dared to open to
her that tale of the overture for her marriage?  I must explain----"

"Tarry yet a while," answered the minister, standing before the door.
"Favour is deceitful, and what availeth her beauty to thee if it
bringeth thee but shame and reproach?  Even as a jewel of gold in a
swine's snout----"

"Master Marshman, I pray you stand from the door; you have already
meddled further in my matters than any other man could do with safety;"
and, brushing past the minister, Harrison dashed out of the room.

"Methinks, Brother Marshman, you have forgotten Æsop his fable
concerning the sun and the wind!" said the writer, turning in his chair.

"Tush, Brother Rogers!" answered Mr. Marshman, whose temper had risen
rapidly.  "Soft words are but wasted on this wanton generation.  Women
who forsake the modesty of their sex and ape the stature of men!  I
know your pernicious doctrines concerning the liberty of women, a
liberty that leads to licence, and to familiarism, and to anabaptism!"

"Hold!" cried Mr. Rogers, growing hot in his turn, "you shall not so
pervert a pure doctrine.  I deny not that the devil often makes women
serve his turn, seeing that where they take, their affections are
strongest, and he found out a Delilah for Samson and a Jezebel for
Ahab.  But as when they are bad, they are exceeding bad, so when they
are good, they are exceeding good; and as gold will sooner receive the
stamp than iron, so are women more readily wrought upon than men, and
persuaded into the truth, and oftentimes take the fullest impression of
the seal of the Lord, as witness the holy women of old."

"Ay," retorted Mr. Marshman, "the women of old, even as Eve, by whom
sin and death did enter into the world!  Well, did Hierome say----"

His tirade was interrupted by Harrison, who dashed back into the room
with a distracted face.

"She is gone--she is fled!" he gasped.

"So, Brother Marshman, instead of leading the lambs into the
sheepfold," cried Rogers, "thou scarest them with shouts into the jaws
of the wolf!"

"She is departed from us because she is not of us," answered Marshman,
gloomily.

"You are distraught," cried Harrison.  "How will you answer it to her
father, to the world that you have driven a lady of birth and breeding
from your house--to heaven only knows what perils?"

Mr. Rogers had risen from his chair, and now snatched up his hat and
walking-cane.

"Take comfort, Dick," he said.  "Doubtless Mistress Perrient hath but
gone down to the quay.  It is the _Little Charity_, is it not, that her
stuff is aboard?  I will follow her there and bring you tidings of her
safety with all speed.  Methinks, Brother Marshman, you also might do
worse than to seek for this strayed lamb, seeing it is not all of her
own fault that she has wandered forth."

Mr. Marshman had by this time regained his ordinary manner.

"I will go forth instantly and make inquiries," he answered.  "Nay,
Richard, 'tis but folly for thee to come too.  'Twill but hinder our
search if thou art taken by the constables.  Keep private here, and
doubt not we shall speedily overtake her."

The ministers departed in all haste, leaving the unhappy young soldier
almost maddened by his impotence.  He was roused from a sort of stupor
of despair by the return of Mr. Rogers.

"Alas! they know nothing of her on the _Little Charity_, neither have
the sailors seen any gentlewoman answering to her description on the
quays.  Her stuff is all aboard, and the captain is set to warp out in
an hour's time.  Therefore we must conclude on what we do in all haste.
What do you purpose?

"Purpose?  Can you imagine I can leave England While Mistress
Perrient's fate is unknown?  Am I a stock or a stone?"

"Nay, nay.  Yet, remember, you can be of no assistance in the search,
and you double the anxiety of our good host, to whom I have made the
matter somewhat clearer, and who, I believe, is by now unfeignedly
sorry for his roughness.  Were you not, indeed, best safe out of the
way in Holland?"

"Doubtless I were best out of the way--there or elsewhere.  Best I
should hang myself for very shame at having brought that angelic
creature into such straits.  Nevertheless, I cannot go."

"Well," answered Mr. Rogers, with a smile, "I can scarce blame you for
abiding in England.  But, if you do not sail, I had best take some
directions to the ship concerning Mistress Perrient's goods.  Shall I
bid the sailors carry them to my wife's lodgings at Rotterdam, or are
they best brought here till we can find her and know her mind?
Methinks 'twill be best that my wife shall have them in her keeping.  I
will write her by the captain and give her fitting directions; and,
when I have disposed all that, I will return and take council as to our
further search.  Await me, therefore, and I will return in haste."

"But it is not endurable," cried Dick, "that I, who brought Mistress
Perrient into this strait, should sit here idle!  Mr. Rogers, I must
needs go forth!  How can I hold up my head among honest men if I lie
hid here in shameful cowardice, when God only knows what straits she
may be in!"

"Now, give ear, thou foolish boy," cried Mr. Rogers, catching the
distracted young man by the sleeve as he was preparing to dash from the
room.  "In primis, this charge brought against the gentlewoman by a
foolish jack-in-office doth put her in no real danger, and most like he
and his _posse_ are by this time heartily ashamed of their folly.  She
stands in no danger unless thou art found, for there is no proof
against her, but the word of that vagabond, which no man of gravity
would hear.  But, if thou art taken, she will indeed stand convicted of
harbouring thee, and in no small peril.  Thou canst now take no step
without involving her in the charges brought against thyself.
Consider, she would be held, for certain, a party to our rising under
Venner, and what, to my mind, is far worse, idle folk love so well to
charge us with anabaptist looseness that light tongues would be busy
with her fair fame.  Take heed, a maiden is a delicate creature, and a
rough finger may do more evil than thou in thy very simplicity canst
dream.  But, to leave that, thinkest thou not that thou owest somewhat
to this roof that shelters thee?  If thou dost draw Brother Marshman
under suspicion of Fifth Monarchy leanings, thou goest far to ruin, not
only him, but all the poor folk that dwell in safety under his shadow.
Be not a child, Dick; nothing but patience will serve this turn.  Thy
passion will ruin all."

It took all Mr. Rogers' powers of persuasion to induce Harrison to
pause and reflect.  But as his sober reason began to reawaken, the
young man realized not only that Mr. Rogers was right in showing him
that he would make bad worse by running into the arms of the
constables; but a new thought dawned on him that filled him with sick
dismay.  He began to see that no rudeness of Mr. Marshman's could have
so moved the girl; she was more likely to laugh at the ill-manners of
one too far beneath her to be worth notice.  No, it was the dread of an
unwelcome suitor that had driven her from shelter, she imagined that
he, Dick Harrison, had beguiled her there to take advantage of her
helplessness and force her into marriage!  Ingenious in self-torture,
he saw ever new reasons for her flight.  She was an heiress!  She must
believe he had entrapped her for her fortune.  And more, Mr. Rogers had
spoken of light tongues--he, he who would die for her had exposed her
to evil report, so that she should not be able to avoid a marriage for
the sake of her own credit!  She had seen it all, she had fled from him
in horror, and if he were to follow her, it would but drive her to some
desperate expedient to escape him.  It was not Mr. Marshman; he himself
alone was to blame; he could never dare to see her again, and yet how
could he endure to live under such imputations!  With a groan he flung
his arms across the table, hiding his face in them.

"Do as you think best," he muttered.  "I am too great a dastard and a
fool to be worthy to serve her."

It was late in the evening when the two ministers returned from a
fruitless search through the town of Lynn.  Mr. Marshman had learned a
more merciful opinion of Audrey Perrient from Mr. Rogers, and had had
time to recover from his indignation at finding his will withstood by a
mere girl; he was now as anxious as the others concerning the fate of
the fugitive.

"She is surely not in this town!" he said, entering the study.  "My
flock have aided the search to their best ability, and we are but too
familiar with our hiding-places, for which we have had sad need in the
past, and to all appearance shall have occasion in the future also.
Had Mistress Perrient money with her for a journey?"

"Yes," answered Harrison; "she carried her grandfather's purse that was
well filled with gold pieces.  Other money she had, but she bade me
carry it because of the weight; I have it in this little portmantel."

"Then, perhaps, she may have gone further than we thought.  Had she any
friends beyond the town who would hide her?"

"Sir Roger Lascelles of Hunstanton is of her kindred; but I heard her
say he is in London," answered Harrison, thoughtfully.  "She would
never venture back to Inglethorpe Hall, and the parson of Inglethorpe
Church is but newly come, and is a stranger to her.  The old Vicar of
Hunstanton dwelt with her grandfather, but he is newly dead; and Sir
Frank Cremer, the High Sheriff, is not in the country now.  I know not
of a single friend she hath to turn to.  The old Lady Cremer, I heard
her say, is in Norwich--could she have gone thither?"

"She would never go so far without horse or waggon," answered Mr.
Marshman.  "She came by horse here this morning, did she not?"

"She only rode as far as a little farm at Gaywood, and left her pony
there.  Her old servant was to fetch it thence when he had leisure.  I
should have thought of that earlier."

"'Tis not too late," answered Mr. Marshman, rising briskly.  "I will
presently forth and see if her horse stands there still.  If he is
gone, she has surely ridden him to some friend's house, and is in
safety."

When Mr. Marshman returned, he brought the information that the lady
herself had returned to fetch her horse before midday, but that no one
had noticed which way she went.

"Young Drake, the mercer, rides to Norwich early to-morrow," continued
Mr. Marshman.  "You were best give him a letter to Lady Cremer.  I will
let him know there will be an errand to do."

"If I rode thither myself this night, I should have the sooner
assurance, and no one would notice me," hazarded Harrison.

"Nay, nay, this is pure folly," answered Mr. Marshman, as he left the
room; and Mr. Rogers interposed.

"Consider, Dick, if Mistress Perrient were indeed there, the sight of
you might but make her lie the closer hid.  Send a messenger she knows
not to Norwich, lest you fright her to fly further, and let me ride
to-morrow down the other way, and ask if her servant hath seen aught of
her at Inglethorpe.  You cannot venture back there, yet to my mind that
is the likeliest road to find her.  I would start forth at once, but I
fear I should scarce find my way in the darkness across the commons.  I
do, indeed, not hold myself guiltless in this matter, for that in my
folly I deemed you had come to an agreement with the gentlewoman, and
therefore spake unadvisably with my tongue of that contract of
marriage, of which it would have been more fitting to be silent.  Yet
credit me, Dick, I did it but from folly, and not out of malice."

"Good, Mr. Rogers," cried Dick; "no one could blame you for this
unfortunate mishap.  It was but Mr. Marshman's unwarranted
interference, or, rather, my unspeakable folly that exposed her to him."

"Nay, nay, of that we must say no more; but if you will pardon me my
share in this trouble, you cannot refuse me the chance of making good
the mischief I have done.  As for thyself, good Dick, strive to arm
your soul with patience.  You have early learned to do; now must you
learn the other mood, to suffer, and so win that perfection of patience
that made Major-General Harrison find his prison a place of blessing,
and a porch to the heavenly sanctuary.  When we have done our best
endeavours, the Lord takes the business in hand, and bringeth it to
what conclusion seemeth right in His sight."

Richard had to resign himself to follow the good man's advice, and
thankful was he that this agonizing time of waiting could be spent in
the society of a sympathizing friend.  With extraordinary patience did
Mr. Rogers listen as he repeated again and again the story of Audrey's
cheerful endurance of hardship, of her devotion to her grandfather, of
her readiness of resource, her noble thoughts on religion and
government, and all the wonderful things she had said and done since
the day when she tumbled into the lily pond in General Harrison's
garden.

But these confidences of Harrison's were interrupted pretty frequently
by skirmishes between the two ministers, and if he had not been so
distracted by anxiety, Richard would have found a mischievous amusement
in the fallings out of the good men, who loved each other heartily, but
could never meet without a battle; for the sudden impetus to
individuality, given by the break-up of old forms of religion, and
methods of government during the civil war, had made it rare to find
two men who precisely agreed on matters of Church and State.  The
thorough going cavaliers, who believed in the divine authority of king
and bishops, had little patience with the Presbyterians, who, though
loyal to the Crown, abhorred Episcopacy and the Prayer-book; but both
Anglican and Presbyterian looked with equal horror on the Independent
sectaries, who had been Cromwellians, Republicans, Parliamentarians, or
Fifth Monarchy men, and now saw the downfall of all their hopes in the
re-establishment of Monarchy and Episcopacy.

For some little time that evening the Presbyterian minister was
unusually subdued in his manner, for good Mr. Marshman was sorely
perplexed and troubled by the result of his well-meant exhortations,
and he did not join in the talk of the other two who sat quietly
discussing their future plans, while Mr. Rogers urged Richard to travel
with him as far as Leyden, and wait there for further news.

"It will be a well and a resting-place for you in this Valley of Baca;
there is a little company of saints already gathered there, the love of
whom has drawn me to dwell there awhile."

Then Mr. Marshman broke in: "I am, indeed, rejoiced that you have
determined to study medicine while you are in Leyden."

"I have no other choice," sighed Mr. Rogers.  "I must needs earn a
crust of bread for my poor family, and seeing I am withheld from
ministering to the souls of men, I can but fit myself to minister to
their bodily needs."

"The life of a physician lends itself to a very Christian walk,"
answered Mr. Marshman "and I trust many comfortable experiences await
you therein.  Neither should you be over much cast down by the failure
of your temporal and creaturely hopes, seeing the most glorious promise
is yet yours, and the righteous shall rejoice in the abundance of
peace."

The quotation roused Mr. Rogers like the sound of a trumpet.

"Nay, nay!" he cried, "there you err!  Such forced interpretations are
but the cloak of fearful and slothful spirits, who are loth to bear the
reproach of Christ.  It was by them that cried peace, peace, when there
was no peace, that the good old cause was lost.  And as the false
prophets did deceive even the elect, behold, even Richard Harrison was
carried away by their dissimulation, and hath taken part with the great
green dragon Oliver that did persecute the saints."

"There I am with you," answered Mr. Marshman, "and I pray thee,
Richard, take it not ill that I touch on this matter with thee.  Surely
in many things we offend all, yet may not a minister of the gospel hold
his peace without the souls of his flock being required of his hand."

"Pray say on, sir," answered Richard, who was too miserable to resent
blame from any one.  "I promise you I will not take it ill."

"Then I do desire you to consider that the Lord doth not chasten idly,
but for our profit, and when His hand is heavy upon us it beseems us to
rummage in our bosoms, where may lurk the sin that hath brought His
anger upon us."

"'Tis true," said Mr. Rogers; "nevertheless we must not join with the
friends of Job to pass judgment upon the saints in their tribulation."

"I pray you peace a little season, Brother Rogers.  I would not, truly,
join with those that single them out for sinners on whom the tower of
Siloam fell, but the judgments that come upon us be either for our
learning or our chastisement.  Therefore, we do suffer loss if we seek
not out the Lord's purpose.  I would not judge any man.  I would desire
every man to judge himself.  But, behold now, what hath been the end of
these men who have risen up against the king, set over us by the
Almighty?  Have they come to their graves in peace?  Have not some of
them been cut off in their strength, and have not the remnant of them
come to a fearful end in their old age?  For in this matter there can
be no two opinions, seeing that the Word of Scripture is plain: 'Honour
the king,' yea, though he be a very Nero!  Therefore, Richard, I do
lament that the stain of blood-guiltiness must needs cleave unto thee,
seeing that thou wast consenting unto the death of the Lord's anointed
king, even as Saul was consenting unto the death of Stephen; thou didst
stand by even as he did, although thy hand was not lifted.  And I do
affectionately pray thee to take the chastisement that has fallen
already upon thee as a warning."

Mr. Rogers' patience could hold out no longer.  He burst in--

"In that, at least, did Richard well! and a glorious thing was it to be
numbered among them that called the late Man to account for the blood
he had shed."

But his interruption was unheeded.  Mr. Marshman's steady harangue
flowed on, as unmoved as is the bass of a mountain-torrent by the
shrieks of the wind that may blow across it.  Mr. Marshman appealed to
St. Paul, and Mr. Rogers retorted from the Maccabees; the one instanced
King David, and the other King Pharaoh, and quotations from the
classics and early fathers flew as thick as hailstones in a winter's
storm.

Richard sat half-stunned, half-amused, but knowing in his soul that no
eloquence of either divine could go so far to shake his confidence in
his own cause as the words of Audrey Perrient, "My father did not
justify the death of the king."

It was as much to answer the sudden doubt that rose in his own heart,
as to answer Mr. Marshman, that when he took advantage of an instant's
lull in the debate to rise, he said--

"I thank you for your counsels, sir, and I will endeavour to profit by
them, but give me leave to say one word.  I do verily hold, that had
the late Lord Protector, Oliver Cromwell, seen any way to secure a
settlement, save by the death of the king, I am assured he would have
embraced it.  But to my thinking matters had come to that pass that no
choice was left him."

"Ay," retorted Mr. Marshman, "when the Gadarene swine ran violently
down a steep place into the sea, they had no choice but to drown;
nevertheless, it was the devil that set them a running at the first."

"Talk not of the subtle reasons of that hypocrite, Oliver Cromwell,"
cried Mr. Rogers.  "General Harrison held no such doctrines of fearful
expediency.  Cromwell did doubtless talk of expediency, but only as a
cloak for his own ambitions, and thereafter catching at greatness he
fell from iniquity into iniquity."

"Ay, as a punishment for that crime was he given space to purchase to
himself greater damnation," retorted Mr. Marshman.  But Richard
escaped, and, at last, in the silence and solitude of his
sleeping-chamber, could fling himself on his bed and give way to the
misery he was ashamed any human eye should see.



CHAPTER XII.

THE GHOST OF HUNSTANTON PLACE.

  "'Be brave!' she cried, 'you yet may be our guest;
  Our haunted room was ever held the best.
  If, then, your valour can the fright sustain
  Of rustling curtains and of clinking chain.'"
                                        SCOTT, _Old Play._


Early next morning Mr. Rogers was on his way to Inglethorpe.  For some
distance his ride was uneventful; but as he entered Castle Rising, he
was roused from his meditations by very doleful cries for help.  No one
in distress ever appealed in vain to the kindly minister, and he
instantly drew rein, and perceived, sitting by the road, a man, whose
tawdry finery was so covered with dirt and filth as to be hardly
visible.  His head was tied up with a rag, and one of his legs was fast
chained to a heavy log.  Several urchins stood round him, and the
rotten apples and egg-shells that lay about, showed the boys had been
taking an active part in vindicating the majesty of the law.

"Oh, good sir, kind sir!" wailed the miserable object; "you ride
Hunstanton way.  Do have pity, and let Justice Tomkins know of my
plight!"

"Justice Tomkins?" asked Mr. Rogers, with some interest.  "What have
you to say to Justice Tomkins?"

"Oh, kind sir, 'twas I that first put him on track of the plot--the
Fifth-Monarchy plot, and the conspirators in hiding at Inglethorpe.
And these ignorant folk will believe none of it, and hold me clapped up
here as though I were a strayed donkey, 'od rot 'em!"

"Why is this man chained up here?" asked Mr. Rogers, of the biggest of
the grinning boys.

"He frightened Molly Kett into fits, yesterday, and he robbed parson's
hen-roosts the night afoor," answered the boy, taking a final bite out
of an apple before aiming the core of it at the prisoner's eye; "and so
his worship have clapped him into jail!"

"Into jail!  Is this what you call jail?"

"Why, this be Castle Rising Jail, all the world knows?  This here log
is Roaring Meg, and that be Pretty Betty.  Us be main proud of our
jail--us be!"

"Where is your magistrate, your justice?" asked the minister.

"The mayor?  Why, there he be!  Your worship"--raising his voice to a
shout--"here be a stranger fares to see you!"

"Does stranger want a thatcher?" answered a voice.  "If he wants a
thatcher, I'll come down to he; but if he wants the mayor, he must come
up to I!"

Mr. Rogers raised his eyes and saw a portly man standing on a ladder,
with a handful of golden straw, putting the last touches to a thatched
roof.  The thatcher Mayor of Castle Rising was a well-known personage
in the country, and, removing his hat, Mr. Rogers stepped to the foot
of the ladder and bade the dignitary good morning.

"May I be so far troublesome, sir, as to ask if this fellow, who sits
tied by the leg, is indeed the man who gave Justice Tomkins news of a
plot?"

"I know nothing of Justice Tomkins, sir," answered the mayor, raising
his hat in his turn, "neither does Justice Tomkins know aught of me.
Castle Rising is my place of office, and thatching is my trade, and I
meddle with no other man's business.  That drunken knave hath
frightened a woman and robbed a hen-roost, for which I have committed
him to jail, as by my duty bound, and I know nothing more of him."

"Sir, your discretion does you great honour," answered Mr. Rogers.
"But it is not from idle curiosity that I inquire concerning this man,
but from interest in a young gentlewoman who, I fear, hath been
frightened out of the country by his malicious tales."

The temptation to a gossip was too much for the mayor's dignity.  He
turned round on the top of his ladder, and settled himself leisurely
and began--

"And who may this gentlewoman be, good sir?"

The man's face was sensible and honest.  Mr. Rogers rapidly decided
that his help would be worth seeking.

"Mistress Perrient, of Inglethorpe, the granddaughter of old Sir Gyles
Perrient."

"Sir Gyles was a very worthy gentleman.  There is no man nor woman in
the country but will say a good word for Sir Gyles Perrient, and I've
never heard that his grandarter has done aught to fly the country for."

"We are in great anxiety as to Mistress Perrient's fate.  None of her
friends know where she is hid.  I suppose you can give me no help?"

"Mistress Perrient," said the mayor, meditating, and coming a step or
two down his ladder.  "I hope the maid's come to no harm.  What are
they charging her of?"

"Being party to some manner of plot; but I know not precisely how the
tale runs."

"'Tisn't likely a young maid would go for to be party to a plot, is it
now?" said the mayor, growing more colloquial as he grew interested;
"leastways, without there was a young man in it.  A discreet maid will
go the length of her tether if there be but a young man in the matter."

Mr. Rogers was rather taken aback by the correctness of this guess.

"Sir, you show much knowledge of the world," he answered at last; "but
I have no doubt that this story is entirely trumped up by that
runnagate yonder, to gain favour in the sight of the justice."

"Ay, 'tis very like;" and then, lowering his voice, the mayor
continued, "I knoo naught of Justice Tomkins, as I said, and I have no
dealings with him; but if he wants that there fellow to bear witness
again' Mistress Perrient, he will have to wait a while, we like him too
well to spare him for a bit," and the mayor gave a solemn wink.  "I
knoo naught of Mistress Perrient, good nor bad, and I never said a word
to her, good nor bad, all my days--but a gentlewoman, on a dapple-grey
pony, rode across the common about noon yesterday.  A great straw hat
she had.  I took heed on the straw hat, for I was fetching a load of
straw across the common for to thatch this roof, and she made down the
trackway towards Inglethorpe--the trackway through the woods.  'Tis bad
going, but 'tis a short cut, and private."

"I thank you heartily," answered Mr. Rogers.  "I shall doubtless now
get news of her from her old servant at Inglethorpe.  These seasonable
words of yours have greatly lightened my heart, and I go on my way with
much thankfulness to you, and to the Lord who hath directed my steps
hither."

"I am glad to oblige you, sir," answered the mayor, civilly, and so
they parted.

By midday Mr. Rogers had reached Inglethorpe, and found the old cowman
pottering about his farmyard.  John looked with stolid indifference at
the stranger.

"Noo; Mistress Perrient bean't here.  Constables have took her to
Hunstanton, to the justices."

"The constables!" cried the minister, in dismay.  "When did they take
her?"

"Two days agone, and left Jack Catlin in the house here to keep watch."

"Oh, then, friend," answered Mr. Rogers, "I have later news than yours.
I know she rode into King's Lynn yester morning, and left her horse at
Goodman Nobbs's, for you to fetch home."

John grinned and looked the questioner over, as if to measure how many
lies it was safe to tell him.

"And we know further," continued Mr. Rogers, "that she rode away from
Goodman Nobbs' as if she would return here, and methinks that grey pony
I see in your shed yonder doth marvellously resemble the one I heard of
her riding."

"Ay, ay," grinned John, "the poor beast knows his road home right well;
he comes back to his stable like a Christian."

"Then we are afraid some accident may have befallen the gentlewoman,"
urged the minister; "if the horse came back without her, she may have
fallen off, and be lying hurt somewhere."

"Ise warrant her can take care of herself," answered the old man.  "I
never meddled with missis's business, nor never will.  And if her
choose to send her horse home, her has the right to please herself;"
and he resumed his sweeping with an immovable face, and neither
persuasion nor entreaty could win another word from him.

Mr. Rogers stood awhile in perplexity, and then turned to try his
fortune at the Hall.  But there the constable could tell him nothing
that he did not know already, and he began to despair of finding any
further trace of the fugitive.  He ran over in his mind the places Dick
had mentioned.  It seemed mere folly to hope to hear of her at
Hunstanton.  But at the thought of Hunstanton the remembrance of
Harrison's description of the good-natured landlady at the Royal Oak
suddenly flashed on him.  It was just possible that the girl might have
fled there, and thrown herself on the protection of the only person who
seemed to have had a kind word for her in her extremity.  He turned his
weary horse, and trotted forward to Hunstanton.

The great door of the inn stood hospitably open, but the usual air of
joviality seemed to have forsaken the place.  The stable-man stood idly
by the horse-trough, gossiping with two scared-looking maids, and a
knot of boys stared up at the windows of the great house as if they
expected to see some strange sight to appear.  The maids fled as the
visitor drew rein at the door.

"Is there trouble in the house, friend?" asked Mr. Rogers, as he
dismounted.

The hostler shook his head solemnly.  "'Tain't for me to say if it be
trouble, nor what it be.  The less I says the better, if missus be in
hearing; but here her comes, and her'll do all the talking, I reckon."

Mistress Joyce's voice indeed went before her as she bustled from the
back regions to receive her guest, and if her face was somewhat pale
and her cap was awry, her hospitality was as ready, and her tongue as
voluble as ever.  The newcomer could but partly state his errand when
she launched forth--

"Desire news of Mistress Perrient, sir?  Ay, dear, dear, dear!  Poor,
sweet young gentlewoman!  Pray, sir, come in, and take a chair in my
parlour.  I am rare glad to see any one who is a friend to our young
lady.  John hostler, take the gentleman's nag.  All the way from Lynn!
You do fare to be wholly weary, and your nag, too.  Mistress Perrient!
Why, sir, I have known her since she was that high.  My husband held
one of Sir Gyles' farms when first we came into this country.  A sweet
young gentlewoman she always has been, and a Perrient from top to toe.
They be all as proud as proud.  Old Sir Gyles, now, he was like as it
were a king in the county.  But to think of the constables making bold
to lock our young lady up.  No wonder the spirit of her couldn't brook
it!"

"But what did she do, good dame; how could she not brook it?  Where is
she now?  Do you know aught of her?"

"I would I knew," answered Mrs. Joyce, shaking her head solemnly; "but
I have my thoughts, whatever folks may say.  All I can say is, I saw
her locked up in my best chamber on Wednesday night, and next morning,
when Tom Constable opened the door, he fared to be wholly stanned, for
there was naught to be seen, no more than if her'd flown out of window.
Some folks are so bold as to say she 'as made away with herself, but
that I'll never credit.  I fare to think if ever miracles are worked
'tis the time for such to come to pass when a sweet young gentlewoman,
and one of the real quality, is locked up by them jacks-in-office!
Don't you think so, sir?  And all for to furbish up Justice Tomkins'
new loyalty, and cloak his old treasons.  That's why he's so set on
finding Mistress Perrient.  'A plot, a plot,' says he, 'and Fifth
Monarchy men, and what not, from London, and a conspiracy with Mistress
Perrient for to kill the king.'  A plot, it is sure enough, and Justice
Tomkins' devising, for to make him a grandee!  I can't abide that
Tomkins.  A mercer he was, in Norwich, and a kind of a preacher, and
now he has made money, they've made him a justice, save the mark.  And
if he can furbish up a great enough plot, he is assured it will bring
him his knighthood at the least.  And so he goeth up and down, that
maliceful to our young lady--only thanks be, she have escaped the claws
of him.  The only thing that troubles me is the noises.  Leastways,
they doesn't trouble me, not to say real trouble; I hope I can keep my
wits about me.  'Tis but those idle huzzies that talk of ghosts and
noises."

"The noises!  What manner of noises?"

"Oh, like folks moving, and clattering, and steps, and rustling like of
a gown, and I've heard a sobbing, I'll be sworn, and naught to be seen.
If it betokens our young lady be lying dead somewhere, and desires a
Christian burial, I do wish as she'd speak a bit plainer, for 'twould
be my pride, and my husband's, to see everything done fitting, and pay
for it out of our pockets, we would.  But I cannot think a dear young
lady, and as kind as kind, if she was a bit proud, would ever go to
spoil an honest woman's business by making noises in her best chamber
after she's dead, and frighting folks away from the Inn.  So, as I
said, I don't hold 'tis a ghost, not at all; and I should hope I knoo
more o' quality's ways than those sluts in the kitchen!"

"This is truly a matter of great interest," said Mr. Rogers.  "I
studied such matters a little in my youth, and I should be glad, while
my horse rests, if you would let me tarry awhile in that chamber."

"Ay, indeed, sir, and thankful shall we be for a learned gentleman to
visit it.  And 'tis very like--if it should be, I wouldn't have those
hussies hear me say it--but if it should be the dear young lady, her
may have more to say to you than to the likes of us.  And you'll stop
the night for sure, sir?"

"Nay, I thank you, I am in haste to return, so soon as my horse may
undertake the road."

"Ay, dear sir, but the heath road is so mighty ungain at night, and
'tis dark so early now."

"Nay, I will but tarry till the moon be up, and then if this clear
weather holds, I should be at Lynn by midnight.  But I will gladly have
some food and drink, good hostess."

"Ay, to be sure, sir.  And glad am I 'tis baking-day, and a noble pie
hot from the oven, and a brace of woodcock roasted, sir, and, maybe,
you could fancy a dish of prawns, and a custard?  And will a flask of
Rhenish serve your taste?"

"Excellently well, good dame, 'tis a very feast you offer me, and I
pray you have it set in this chamber you tell me of, and by God's help,
I may perchance bring back quietness to your dwelling."



CHAPTER XIII.

A VISIONARY.

  "Wenn der Lenzerwacht, und wenn Liebesmacht
  Dich gefesselt hält mit Leide,
  Wandle nicht allein, Nachts im Mondenschein,
  Durch die grüne, grüne Haide."
                                    M. NATHUSIUS.


Mrs. Joyce ushered her guest up the wide staircase with due ceremony
and volubility.  He was aware that faces peered from half-open doors
and whispered remarks went round as he came out into the hall with the
landlady, and when he began to ascend the stairs in her wake, the
household ventured forth and watched his progress with admiration and
awe.

The maid, who carried in the sumptuous feast Mrs. Joyce provided,
glanced nervously around as she deposited her dishes clattering on the
table, and fled as quickly as she could, and Mrs. Joyce herself, who
followed to superintend, was evidently ill at ease, and her hands
trembled as she re-ordered the maid's hasty arrangements.  But, in
spite of her alarms, it was with considerable difficulty that Mr.
Rogers cut short her scoldings and apologies, and induced her to leave
him to himself.

When the good woman had at last been persuaded to depart, Mr. Rogers
took a careful survey of the room, and then he softly bolted the door
and drew a heavy tapestry curtain across it.  Then he walked over to
the great fireplace and stood at one side of it, close to the panelled
wall.

"Mistress Perrient," he said, in a low but clear voice; "Miss Perrient,
I pray you let me speak with you.  I am John Rogers, and I promise you,
on my faith as a minister of the gospel, I will betray you neither to
your enemies not yet to your friends.  I have come hither to pray you
to let me be instrumental in your escape, and seeing that I also have
often times been both fugitive and a prisoner, I pray you to trust me
as a friend."

He stood and waited, and all was silent.  Then he spoke again--

"Mistress Perrient, I take God to witness I am a true man.  I pray you
trust me and be not afraid.  There is no one here but I; if you will
but speak with me, no one shall be told.  Your secret is indeed safe."

There was a sound of a bolt shot back, and then a panel swung slowly
forward.  There, in a doorway, stood Audrey Perrient, a very deplorable
sight, with her tear-stained face and disordered dress.

"My poor child!" cried the minister, stepping hastily forward and
taking her hand.  "You are indeed in a sorry plight!  Madam, it goes to
my heart to see you thus!  I pray you come forth and sit by the
fire--the door is safely fastened.  Why, you look well-nigh as white as
did my wife when she lay sick in Carisbrook Castle.  Before I say aught
further, you must eat and drink."  And he poured out a cup of wine and
carried to her.

"How did you know I was here?" demanded Audrey, with a scared face,
disregarding his hospitable care.

"It was but a guess; but a guess I am right thankful to have made, and
that no one knows of but myself.  Why, madam, you would have perished
of cold and hunger had you stayed long in that hiding-place."

"Oh no," she answered, with a wan smile.  "I have a great cloak, and an
old man will bring me provisions as soon as 'tis dark to-night."

Mr. Rogers remembered the description Harrison had given him of Audrey
Perrient's fertility of devices; but he was too wise to make any
comment, and contented himself with establishing her in the great
chair, and pressing all Mrs. Joyce's dainties upon her.

"But, sir," said Audrey, a faint colour creeping back into her white
face; "I know not why I should let you so trouble yourself in serving
me.  You have doubtless travelled far and are weary enough."

"Yes, by your leave I will willingly share your dinner, Mistress
Perrient.  They say 'tis ill talking between a full man and a fasting,
and when we have dined I hope you will let me unfold the proposals I
have for your escape."

"I thank you, sir," said Audrey, drawing herself up, "I have made my
own plans for my journey.  I care not to join company again with
strangers."

"Nay, madam, I do entreat you not to count me as a stranger, for not
only am I a minister of the gospel, so that it is mine office to seek
out any of Christ's flock whom I may serve and tend.  And further, it
is now many years that I have known your name and even exchanged
letters with your learned father.  And so much as five years agone,
when I was snatched from my congregation and thrown into prison by the
late tyrant, who did rage and devour in England, in the same chains did
lie my precious friend Major-General Harrison.  And as we lay in
bondage and comforted our souls with savoury discourse concerning holy
things, so did we also speak of worldly concerns as casting our care
concerning them on Him who careth for us.  And then did General
Harrison tell me of his excellent friend, Sir Gyles Perrient of
Hunstanton, and also of his granddaughter Mistress Audrey----"

"Oh!" interrupted Audrey, a flash of angry comprehension coming across
her face.  "Then it was you who told that uncivil old gentleman at Lynn
of the talk of my marriage?"

"To my sorrow I did.  And for that indiscretion of my tongue I do
heartily ask your pardon.  But, indeed, I spoke of the matter in the
simplicity of my heart with Dick Harrison, nor did either of us know
that brother Marshman noted what we said.  But I am all the more bound
to amend that evil I did ignorantly.  And, therefore, have I sought
you, madam, to pray you to honour me with your company on my journey to
Rotterdam, for I go there, God willing, by the next ship that sails
from Lynn, to meet my wife, who waits for me there with our little
lads."

Audrey cast an eager look at him.  "Oh!" she cried, with a wild burst
of weeping, "have I one friend in the world, can I trust any one?"

"Take comfort, my child," answered the minister.  "I do verily believe
I have been led hither, that I should be an instrument for your
deliverance.  Therefore I bid you take no further thought concerning
your journey, seeing I will bring you to my wife, and you shall abide
with her till we hear of honest folks undertaking the New England
voyage, with whom you may cross the ocean.  'Tis but a small matter,
you see," he added, jestingly.  "We poor ministers are so well used to
fleeing from one place to another, that we take little thought how to
compass our ends, and yet doth the Lord bring us in safety to the haven
where we would be."

Audrey gave a sob, and then suddenly springing up, she threw herself on
her knees before him.

"I do believe you have been sent direct from heaven to succour me in my
extremity of body and soul," she cried.

"Nay, nay," answered the good man, raising her and placing her in her
chair.  "Take not the matter with such passion.  I partly guess it is
the precious balm of Brother Marshman that has been like to break your
head, for the true wisdom of his counsel is often times lost by reason
of the bitter husk in which he doth enfold it.  But the fear of man
worketh a snare, therefore be of good courage and, by God's help, you
shall come safe to your father."

Audrey sat silent awhile, passively enjoying the relief from terror and
fatigue.  The physical warmth and food that had refreshed her, seemed a
sort of outward sign of the comfort that flowed into her soul from the
good man's simple words of encouragement.  Mr. Rogers saw she was
almost at an end of her strength, and drawing his bible from his
pocket, he proceeded to read and write notes without seeming to pay any
attention to her.  So they sat in silence for some time.  At last
Audrey spoke, hesitatingly, her eyes fixed on the fire--

"I am afraid I have been very fantastic and perverse."

"Nay, nay," said Mr. Rogers, laying down his pen and drawing nearer to
the hearth.  "There must be no more hard words, whether from ministers
or yourself.  You do well to defend your liberty, even with your life.
If you feared that any man should arrogate a sovereignty over you, for
which none hath any warrant, or to hinder your liberty of choice and
force you by star-chamber admonitions into the bonds of a marriage you
like not, you did well to flee.  Hold fast your liberty, keep your
ground that Christ hath got and won for you, and maintain your lawful
rights."

"I do believe my grandfather gave me more liberty than many women
enjoy," said Audrey, thoughtfully.  "But I fear his goodness hath
encouraged my natural pride and self-will most mightily."

"Then take the greater heed," said Mr. Rogers.  "While I desire that
men despise not women, neither wrong them of their liberty in voting
and speaking in common affairs, yet I do also desire women to be
cautious in the use of their liberty.  Festina lente.  First be swift
to hear, slow to speak; your silence may sometimes be the best advocate
of your orderly liberty, and the sweetest evidence of your prudence and
modesty.  And yet you ought not by your silence to trouble your
conscience nor lose your privileges.  But be not too hasty, nor too
high, for"--he concluded with a smile, pointing to the writing that
filled every blank corner on the pages of his Bible--"as the notes that
come too nigh the margin are in danger of running into the text, so
spirits that run too high at first, may soon fall into disorder and
irregularity."

Audrey smiled.  "I will lay your words to heart, sir," she said.  "It
would not be in nature, methinks, that I should forget anything that
has happened this day, and the remembrance of my miseries, and of your
goodness, should be a beacon to point me to the thought of your
counsels."

They sank into silence once more.  Audrey lay dozing in the great
chair, and her companion was soon completely absorbed in his own
thoughts.  His Bible dropped on his knee, and his thin features worked
with excitement, as broken vows of meditation and prayer escaped him
now and again.  "The Lord's muster-day is at hand--then, by the grace
of God, the proudest of them shall know we are engaged on life or
death, to stand or fall with the Lord our Captain-General on his red
horse."  "Though we may suffer hard things yet he hath a gracious end,
and will make for His own glory and the good end of His people.  God
will give testimony unto what He hath been doing."

The early winter evening drew on, the shadows gathered in the corners
of the great chamber, but still there was no sound but the crackling of
the fire, and the murmured soliloquy of the minister.

At last the silence was broken by the deep note of the church clock.
Audrey sprang up.

"That must be six," she said, "and old John awaits me below in the
gravel pit.  I must go down to him."

Mr. Rogers looked at her blankly for a moment, and then suddenly came
down from the visionary regions in which he had spent the last two
hours.

"And what order shall we take for your journey?" he asked, in quite a
businesslike tone.  "If you will honour me with your company so far, I
pray you ride with me, to-night, to Lynn.  I know an excellent poor
woman," he hastened to add, "in whose house you may lodge till I hear
when the _Good Hope_ sails."

"Thank you, sir, I will gladly embrace your counsel.  When do you
purpose to start?  Perhaps it were safest I should meet you without the
town if you will set me an hour and a rendezvous."

"I think we may begin our march as soon as the moon rises.  All that
troubles me is to find you a horse without awaking notice, for if I
should go afoot to Lynn, I fear it will somewhat delay your flight."

"Oh," cried Audrey, "did you, indeed, think I would consent to steal
your horse!  No, no, my servant hath for sure ridden my pony hither,
and I will bid him tramp home and let me ride into Lynn.  We can tarry
as we pass Inglethorpe to shift saddles; old Molly will fetch me mine
out without rousing the constable.  Then, sir, may I await you about a
mile out on the road?  There is a pond there, screened by bushes.  I
can keep close there till you come."

When Mr. Rogers was aroused a second time from his meditation, by the
message that his horse was in readiness, the whole household was on the
watch to see him come forth from the haunted chamber, and as he passed
down the stairs, his large eyes still bright with the vision that had
occupied his hours of meditation, whispers went round from maid to man:
"I'll warrant he has seen somewhat!"  "A' looks mighty ungain."  "A'
might be a ghost hisself, and I'll be sworn I smell sulphur!"

The landlady bustled forward, but Mr. Rogers hardly noticed her.

"Pray, pray, good sir, tell me, have you seen aught?" she urged, in a
loud whisper, catching his sleeve as he passed through the hall.

He turned his eyes vaguely upon her.  "Have I seen aught?" he repeated.
"Surely, surely, I have seen the glory of the Lord for many a year, and
the vision is not for me alone, but for all!  All flesh shall see Him,
and shall walk in the light of His light."

"But, dear sir," she cried in great perturbation, her voice rising from
a whisper in her urgency, "have you seen aught of our young lady--of
Mistress Audrey Perrient?"

"Oh, ay, I crave your pardon, good hostess.  My mind was set on certain
words of promise that have been borne in on me while I read the
Scriptures.  Your young lady?  She is in safety; she will speedily be
with her friends."

"But the noises, good sir?" urged Mrs. Joyce; and the maids, encouraged
by her open curiosity, ventured near to listen.

"The noises?  They matter not--they are nothing; you will not be
further troubled, you need have no fear!  Nevertheless," he said,
stopping suddenly, and turning with his hands raised to face the
household, "ye do well to fear, seeing that the day cometh when all
shall fear, both great and small.  Therefore I warn you to seek a sure
refuge while it be time, and turn unto the Lord to-day; for those that
be his saints dwell in safety, neither fear they any terror by night,
and the pestilence that walketh in darkness shall not come nigh them."

So saying, he walked out of the door.

Half an hour later, the bright moon that lit up the open moorlands that
bordered the sea showed two figures riding along the bridle-path that
led from Hunstanton to Lynn.  Audrey led the way, and guided her
companion down lonely little bye-paths and sandy lanes that were seldom
used, save by the few fishermen or broom-binders, who lived on the
borders of the moorlands.

It was one of those rare nights that sometimes come in an English
February and carry with them the promise of May.  The soft air brought
wafts of fragrance from the balmy fir-woods and yellow gorse-blossoms,
and the full moon shed a golden haze over the lonely heath.  They rode
in silence, the horses' hoofs scarcely making a sound on the sandy way.
Mr. Rogers was still wrapt in dreams.  Eager as he was to assist any
one whom he considered was the victim of tyranny or cruelty, as soon as
the immediate need of action ceased to press on him, he relapsed
naturally into his habitual train of thought and returned to that
visionary world that was far more real to him than the material one
that lay around him.

The spiritual powers of evil, and the human persecutors of the Fifth
Monarchy men, rose marshalled before him in the one great host that
followed the dragon, mustering for the final conflict of Armageddon;
and to his vivid enthusiasm there could be but a little time to wait
before that conflict must end in the crowning victory of the saints,
and the establishment on earth of the visible kingdom of Christ--the
last and greatest of the monarchies of the world.  He rode on, his head
raised, his light hair floating back from his ecstatic face, riding, as
he ever hoped it might be, to join the host of angelic horsemen, who
might appear to him at any moment.

To Audrey, that night-ride seemed the strangest thing she had ever
known.  The silent, hazy landscape, the flood of golden moonlight, her
own wild fears and resentments so suddenly stilled.  It seemed to her
as though the words she caught from time to time, half-chanted by her
companion, were less strange and dreamlike than the events that were
passing around her.

Silently Audrey led the way.  Mile after mile they rode, now threading
a cautious way through the dark aisles of the fir-woods, and then
making better time on the delicate turf that bordered the waste of
sand-hills to seaward.

"We must venture a little way on the road here,", said Audrey, at
length.  "I fear the Babingly brook is too much swollen by the rains
for safe fording, and we must cross the bridge."

They turned on to the main road and reached the bridge, when a man
suddenly sprang out from the bushes by the road, and barred their way.
With a stifled cry Audrey turned her horse.

"All's well," cried the stranger, "'tis only I, Dick Harrison.  I have
waited here for you, thank Heaven, you are safe!"  He stood between
them, his hand on Mr. Rogers's saddlebow, and spoke rapidly.  "The hue
and cry is out after Mistress Perrient, and all the ways into Lynn are
beset.  I could not go out of the south gate without a scuffle; she
must not try to enter.  But I have a boat here, and if Mistress
Perrient can endure a night on the water, 'twill be easy to board the
_Good Hope_ to-morrow morning, when she is safe out of Lynn harbour."

Mr. Rogers did not answer.  Richard laid his hand on his knee.

"I have a boat here, good sir," he repeated.  "We must not venture into
Lynn for fear of the constables."

Mr. Rogers did not seem to hear.  He still gazed away into the distance
with the ecstatic expression that had illuminated his face during the
silent ride; then, as he caught the last word, he started.

"Fear," he echoed, "what do we know of fear? is it not for the soldiers
of the Most High to fear when the trumpet sounds?"

"No, sir," urged Richard, "but there is no fighting towards now; it is
only that Justice Tomkins desires to hinder Mistress Perrient's
journey."

The minister was too entirely absorbed in his own dreams to attend to
the words of Harrison, except when they fell in with his own train of
thought.

"Tomkins," he repeated, "Tomkins, ay, he doubtless hindereth.  He that
letteth will let, till he be taken out of the way.  Nevertheless, his
time is short, and the day of repentance is well-nigh at its end.  I
will back and warn him."

Audrey looked at him in dismay.  "Dear sir," she ventured to say, "you
had set to take me to Rotterdam by this ship."

"Cast not a stumbling-block in my way!" cried Mr. Rogers, more wildly.
"Shall I have the blood of this man Tomkins on my head?  Shall he go
down into the pit suddenly without warning?  The great beast Oliver is
cast down, and the remembrance of him is a scoffing; so shall it be
also to all them that have followed him.  The Lord's muster-day is at
hand; his magazines and artillery, yea, his most excellent mortar
pieces and batteries are ready.  We wait only for the Most High to fall
on----"  His voice died away in murmurs like those of a man talking in
his sleep.

Audrey's heart died within her.  What had befallen her half-angelic
guardian?  Was her confidence once more given amiss?  If he had failed
her, who indeed could she trust?  Astonished and alarmed, she looked
from one to the other.  Where could she go?  She was once more as
helpless and unfriended as she had been before Mr. Rogers had found
her.  Nay, she was even in some ways in a worst plight; her
self-reliance and self-confidence were shaken, for her calmer reason
told her that Mr. Marshman's comments on her adventurous journey were
perfectly just, that her grandfather would have said the same, though
in more polished terms, and that no words at all would have been equal
to expressing Madam Isham's horror at such an unconventional proceeding.

That silent night-ride had calmed her spirits, and she could judge her
life with a curious sense of detachment, as though she had risen for a
while to look down on it from some starry height.  She read her own
heart with a new clear-sightedness, and she knew now that it was not
the dictatorial manner or the cruel candour of Mr. Marshman that was
the true cause of the wild revolt that had filled her soul.  She had
discovered why the thought of such a usual thing as an arranged
marriage with Richard Harrison had stung her so bitterly, why the bare
thought that he might have overheard the brutal plainness of Mr.
Marshman's words brought back the wild desire to fly anywhere, so that
she might hide herself.

If it had not been for the strange quiet that had descended on her soul
from Mr. Rogers's half-inspired words at Hunstanton, she would not have
had courage to face this new discovery, for she knew now that this ache
in her heart would never leave her and what its true name was.  Well,
this pain must be endured with the other troubles of life, and endured
in silence.

Harrison turned to her, and she met his eyes without flinching.  She
was relieved to find there was no intimacy, no claim to familiarity,
only courtesy and the cool readiness of a leader.

"Mr. Rogers is overwearied," he said, under his breath.  "We must rouse
him."

"Dear sir, you must come this way," he continued, laying his hand on
the minister's rein.

"Stay me not, stay me not," he answered, wheeling his horse so abruptly
that Harrison had to step quickly out of the way.  "I must back to
Hunstanton lest destruction come upon him even as a thief in the night."

Harrison caught his bridle once more.  "You would not go alone to him,"
he said, in a cheerful voice, "Remember, it is written that two
witnesses shall establish a matter.  You will seek Mr. Marshman, and go
together to warn this man."

"You say well, you say well," answered the minister, hurriedly.  "There
shall be two witnesses, and two prophets before the great day of the
Lord.  I will go seek Brother Marshman instantly," and setting spurs to
his wearied horse he dashed forward along the road to Lynn.

Audrey looked at Harrison in dismay.  "Is he mad?" she asked.

"I sometimes fear he must be near it," he answered.  "But, in truth, I
believe it is but that he is very high-flown concerning the Fifth
Monarchy and such matters, neither do these fits last long with him, I
have never seen him so near distraught.  Yet Mr. Marshman knows how to
handle him and will not let him run into any danger, and, I doubt not,
will see him safe aboard in the morning."  He noticed that Audrey was
still silent.  "Even if anything should befall the good man, which God
forbid," he said, "we had set us a rendezvous at Mrs. Rogers's lodging
at Rotterdam, so if you will do me so much grace, I will bring you
thither; 'tis but a short voyage to come there."

He looked at her.  Her face was white in the moonlight, and looked thin
and drawn.  When might he dare to ask what had happened during the last
two days?  When might he ask for her pardon?

"I entreat of you to come to the boat," he said.  "Most like you know
the old fisherman who owns it, Job Hamont?  He waits below for us.  I
fear though the road is too bad for riding."

Audrey made no answer in words, but slid from her horse and stood
waiting in the road.

"Shall I lead the pony down to Job's hut?" asked Harrison.

"Oh, no, Dapple knows how to take care of himself," answered Audrey, at
last.  She tied up the reins, and then with a sudden movement she laid
her cheek beside the pony's.  "Farewell, old friend," she murmured, "I
shall scarce find one more faithful.  Now home, little horse, home!"
she cried, recovering herself and clapping her hands, and the docile
little beast trotted off in the direction of Inglethorpe.



CHAPTER XIV.

FATE'S SEQUEL.

  "All precious things discovered late,
  To those that seek them issue forth;
  For love in sequel works with Fate,
  And draws the veil from hidden worth."
                              TENNYSON, _The Day Dream._


Harrison led the way down the path across the heather.  Soon the narrow
lane grew deeper, and the sand softer under their feet.  The tiny glen
was dark, and Harrison turned, and offered his hand to his companion;
but she shook her head in silent refusal, and they plodded on, till
suddenly the dark banks broke away, and they came out on the empty
moonlit beach.  The firm shining sands seemed to stretch away to a
limitless distance, the far-off sea was only vaguely visible and no
sound came up from it.  Down across the wide strand the silent pair
rapidly passed, and then Richard halted.

"Here the water begins," he said.  "It is too shallow for the boat to
come nearer.  You must let me carry you to it."

He knew with pride that he had made his tone as cold and formal as her
own.

"There is no need," protested Audrey.  "I have often waded here,
gathering cockles."

"Ay," he answered; "but not when starting on a sea voyage;" and without
further question he stooped and lifted her in his arms, and waded in.

A wild feeling of triumph possessed him.  So of old might some
sea-rover have felt, bearing off his prey from that very shore.  His
sweetheart was in his arms, he alone could save her from her pursuers;
surely her icy pride would melt now.  So sweet, so cold, so near him,
and yet so far off!

Slowly he splashed forward, the water deepening as he went.  Audrey
said no word, her little hand rested on his shoulder, she did not move.
It seemed to him all too soon, breathless though he was, that they
reached the boat, and old Job lifted the precious burden over the side.
Harrison climbed, dripping, after, and shook himself like a water-dog,
before venturing to approach his lady.  Then he took her hand, and led
her to the stern of the boat, where he had prepared a heap of cloaks
and sails.

"We must do our best to shelter you from the night dew," he said, as he
folded the cloak round her, and made an awning of the sails over her
head.

So warm and cosy was the little nest, so lulling the slow rocking of
the boat, and her lazy creak as she leant over, that Audrey suddenly
discovered she was unable to keep her eyes open, and before she could
utter the formal speech of thanks she had been conning, she was fast
asleep.

She awoke to find the darkness past, and gay sunlight dancing on the
ripples, and gilding the brown sail and weather-beaten mast.  All was
blue around her, a clean pale blue, like a world fresh made, that had
not yet bloomed into its full colour.  Pale blue was the sky, pale blue
the sea, only fringed to the south by a narrow line of gold that showed
the sand-hills that hid her home.  Close above her stood Harrison,
keeping the swaying tiller steady with his knee, a handsome, soldierly
figure, in spite of his rough clothes and great sea-boats.

At the other end of the boat the old fisherman was busy with his lines,
only laying them down now and again to give a stroke with one oar or
the other, and keep the boat's head steady.

As Audrey sat up, Harrison's grave face broke into a smile.  Who could
think of misunderstandings, regrets, even of repentance, on a spring
morning, with a face as fair as the spring dawning on him?

"Good morrow," he said; "you have slept sound."

"Indeed," she answered, "I feel as though I had slept the clock round.
What time is it, and what day is it?"

"'Tis Saturday, and our ship will soon be in sight, for the sun is
high."

"I am indeed a sluggard!" cried Audrey, looking at the little watch
that hung in a silver ball at her waist.  "'Tis eight o'clock."

"And Job hath no provisions, save bread and cheese and a flagon of
small beer," said Harrison, regretfully.  "I would I could have been a
better caterer, but my flight was so sudden."

He knelt with one arm over the tiller while he rummaged out the
fisherman's store.  He thanked the chance that let him serve her on his
knees, and lay his offerings at her feet, when, poor fellow, he would
so gladly have laid his heart, would she but give leave.

She ate, and drank, and laughed.  The colour came back to her cheeks,
and the light to her eyes.  The sunbeams caught her disordered curls,
and played hide and seek in the golden web.  Her voice was cool, but
not icy, as on the previous evening, only cool, and fresh, and dainty,
like the cool air that came in delicate wafts across the water.

But time was flying, flying cruelly fast, he knew.  Soon the sails of
the _Good Hope_ would be in sight, and never again might he kneel so
near his lady.  Now or never, before this last chance was snatched from
him, he must tell his tale.

"Madam," he began, "this is, perhaps, the last time I may have a word
with you in private.  Will you give me leave to speak, and entreat your
pardon for much that has passed?"

Audrey's head was turned away; it rose a little more proudly, but no
answer came for a minute.  Then, "I think you have need to ask it,"
came in muffled tones.

He paused, doubtful what to do.  His line of action ought to depend on
her state of mind, and who could guess what that might be?  She could
hardly fail to be indignant with Mr. Marshman, but on which of the many
counts was she angry with him?  He had argued over the case so often in
his mind that he had become desperate of any conclusion, and out of his
very desperation a wayward hope began to whisper that possibly, just
possibly, as she now knew through Mr. Marshman of the marriage
contract, she might even accuse him of carelessness, and hold him to be
but a laggard in love.  Was she now punishing him for having exposed
her to Mr. Marshman's misapprehension, or was she merely troubled and
cast down?  Who could guess anything while she kept her head turned
stiffly away.  A wild desire seized him to take her by her pretty
shoulders, and turn her round.

"Will you not let me see your face?" he pleaded.  "What prisoner would
dare sue for mercy if the judge turned his back?"

His voice was not used to the tone of deference, even when he entreated
there was something of command in it.  He leaned over, and took her
hand, and slowly she turned her head towards him.

"I know not," he said gently, "what Mr. Marshman may have dared to say
to you, but I do entreat of you to believe whatever he said was without
my knowledge or leave to meddle with matters of such privacy.  I knew
not that he understood anything of my matters; but I have to ask your
pardon for having spoken unadvisedly in his presence."

"I am glad he was not your ambassador," answered Audrey, rather coldly.

"And more I have to confess," he continued.  "I see now how cowardly a
thing I did in hiding in your house, and bringing you into all this
peril--for that also I do most heartily ask your forgiveness."

"It was by my asking you came to my house," she answered, in rather a
lofty tone.  "If I chose to run risks, it was by mine own will; in that
matter there is not anything to pardon."

"You are very generous," he answered, so humbly that Audrey was
disarmed, and turned to him with all her old sweetness.

"We women are forbid to fight or to speak for our country," she said.
"You will not grudge us the right to suffer somewhat for her liberties."

He looked at her with tender admiration.  "Methinks you are on the road
to be one of Mr. Rogers's disciples," he said.

She laughed, and for a moment forgot her coldness.  "Ay, 'tis perilous
to spend so many hours with a madman; very like 'tis catching."

"I was of Mr. Rogers's mind in some things before I even knew him,"
said Richard.  "May I tell you how I learned to be of his mind
concerning the liberties of women?"

"I knew not any one else preached such doctrines," she said.

"I learned them from a little maid who fell once into a lily pool," he
answered.  "I learned from the thought of her to honour all women after
another fashion than that which I saw common.  I will not boast 'twas
constancy; very like it was because so few children came to our house,
save my uncle's babes, who died ere they left their nurse's arms; but
the memory of that little maid abode with me, and sat with me by camp
fires, and kept me company on marches, and the desire to be fit for her
company taught me some of the things which Mr. Rogers dares to preach.
And she abode with me till last Sunday, and then she vanished, because
I knew then that the desire of mine eyes was no more a little maid, but
a woman grown."

"Oh," she cried, "this is, indeed, madness, for it was by chance only
that you came to Inglethorpe."

"Ay, it seems as though it were chance on the face of it.  But that
kindly chance, perchance the beckoning of the dead hand, hath but
hastened the meeting I sought, for I was on my way to seek you in the
plantations.  Here is my witness," he continued, taking a letter from
his breast.  "When I fled from London I carried this with me, that it
might be mine advocate with your father.  It seemed to me scarce
honourable to show it you in England, and force myself on you after
such a fashion; but seeing the turn things have taken, it is your right
to see it.  It will at least bear me witness that this chance is but
the sequel of what hath gone before."

The letter bore the address: "To my loving friend, Major-General
Harrison.  These----"  It was sealed with the Perrient coat-of-arms.
The letter from the dead man to his dead friend had come back.

A sudden memory flashed across Audrey.  "You say all this because your
minister bade you," she cried.

"Do you, indeed, think me so docile?" he answered, with a laugh that
was almost angry.

"I know not what to think of any one," she answered piteously, while
two great tears ran down her face.

"Think nothing, save that I desire to live and die for you," he cried.
"Audrey, when I parted from your grandfather, he gave me leave to come
again, and endeavour to win your heart.  But when I would have come, I
heard you were departed to New England.  That letter is two years
old--tell me not that my day of grace is past!  And yet, if you bid me
tear the letter, I will upon mine honour strive to guard you as a
brother on this journey.  But there is a friend that sticketh closer
than a brother, and to be such a friend to you, I will serve as many
years as Jacob served for a wife.  May I carry this letter to your
father?  You will not bid me tear it?"

A rainbow smile flickered over Audrey's face.  "'Tis no use to tear
it," she said.  "I have here its fellow;" and she pulled out her letter
and held it to him.

He gazed at it, dumb with surprise.  "You have its fellow!" he said at
last.  "You knew all!  And while I was tormenting myself to keep
silence, I was but playing the part of a laggard wooer!"

"I only found the letter at Hunstanton the other night," she said.

"And you kept it!  You were as kind to me as before!  You were not
unwilling to hear of the design!  Audrey, you know you have all my
heart; I can be content with nothing less than yours in return."

"I fear you are no honest man," she murmured.  "You stole it before
ever you asked my leave."

His arm was round her.  "My dear heart, believe that I have waited half
my lifetime for this kiss."

"Oh, Dick!  Remember old Job!  He will be making a mock of us!"

"Tush! he is busy with his oars and lines; he heeds us not!"

"Luff, sir, luff!" shouted the maligned fisherman, with a twinkle in
his eye.  "Here be the _Good Hope_ a bearing down on us.  'Tis a pretty
name, the _Good Hope_, and I hope as she'll bring 'ee luck."

"Thank you, friend; methinks few men can have such good hope to carry
on a voyage as I!  There is Mr. Rogers signalling with his hat.  Wave
your handkerchief, and show him we are here!  And, sweetheart," he
whispered, "Mr. Rogers must make us one as soon as we land in
Rotterdam, that you may despatch the bride ribbons to good Mistress
Joyce by the ship on her return."

And this was how Richard Harrison learned that he might still follow
the path marked out for him by his Lost Leader, and received his bride
from the hand that had cherished his childhood.  And with the
knowledge, the hopes of his childhood came back to him, and he gathered
faith that as the wanderings of his dark days had brought him to the
door of his love, so the dark ways of earth may be but the shortest
road to lead the pilgrim to the Celestial City, if but he follow close
his Divine Leader.



NOTES.


PROLOGUE.

1.  The interview between the king and Major Harrison is described by
Anthony Wood.

2.  There is no historical evidence of Major Harrison adopting a
nephew; but as none of his own children lived to grow up, while several
families in the United States of America believe they can trace their
descent to this, "the most single-minded of the Regicides," the
existence of an adopted son is suggested as a theory to meet the
difficulty.


CHAPTER I.

1.  The history of Major-General Harrison's life is founded on "The
Life of Thomas Harrison," by Charles H. Firth, Proc. Amer. Antiq. Soc.,
printed at Worcester, Mass., 1893.

2.  For Prince Rupert's acquaintance with Harrison, see _Moderate
Intelligencer_; Friday, September 12, 1645.


CHAPTER III.

1.  John Rogers's conversations throughout the book are taken almost
verbally from his sermons and letters printed in "Life and Opinions of
a Fifth-Monarchy Man," by Rev. E. Rogers.

2.  The account of the last words and death of Harrison are taken from
a contemporary pamphlet: "Rebels no Saints," by a Person of Quality,
London, 1661.


CHAPTER V.

The ghost of Inglethorpe Hall is well known in Norfolk tradition.


CHAPTER XI.

The thatcher Mayor of Castle Rising and the unique jail of the little
town were matters of local celebrity.



PRINTED BY WILLIAM CLOWES AND SONS, LIMITED, LONDON AND BECCLES.





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