Infomotions, Inc.Peveril of the Peak / Scott, Walter, Sir, 1771-1832



Author: Scott, Walter, Sir, 1771-1832
Title: Peveril of the Peak
Publisher: Project Gutenberg
Tag(s): peveril; bridgenorth; julian; major bridgenorth; lady peveril; geoffrey; countess; alice; julian peveril; master bridgenorth; duke; martindale castle; geoffrey peveril; alice bridgenorth; moultrassie hall
Contributor(s): Burton, Richard Francis, Sir, 1821-1890 [Translator]
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Title: Peveril of the Peak

Author: Sir Walter Scott

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PEVERIL OF THE PEAK
By Sir Walter Scott, Bart.

First published in 1822.

Etext prepared by Emma Wong Shee,
                  John Bickers, jbickers@ihug.co.nz
              and Dagny, dagnypg@yahoo.com



                         PEVERIL OF THE PEAK

                                  BY

                       SIR WALTER SCOTT, BART.





                         PEVERIL OF THE PEAK



                              CHAPTER I

               When civil dudgeon first grew high,
               And men fell out, they knew not why;
               When foul words, jealousies, and fears,
               Set folk together by the ears--
                                             --BUTLER.

William, the Conqueror of England, was, or supposed himself to be, the
father of a certain William Peveril, who attended him to the battle of
Hastings, and there distinguished himself. The liberal-minded monarch,
who assumed in his charters the veritable title of Gulielmus
Bastardus, was not likely to let his son's illegitimacy be any bar to
the course of his royal favour, when the laws of England were issued
from the mouth of the Norman victor, and the lands of the Saxons were
at his unlimited disposal. William Peveril obtained a liberal grant of
property and lordships in Derbyshire, and became the erecter of that
Gothic fortress, which, hanging over the mouth of the Devil's Cavern,
so well known to tourists, gives the name of Castleton to the adjacent
village.

From this feudal Baron, who chose his nest upon the principles on
which an eagle selects her eyry, and built it in such a fashion as if
he had intended it, as an Irishman said of the Martello towers, for
the sole purpose of puzzling posterity, there was, or conceived
themselves to be, descended (for their pedigree was rather
hypothetical) an opulent family of knightly rank, in the same county
of Derby. The great fief of Castleton, with its adjacent wastes and
forests, and all the wonders which they contain, had been forfeited in
King John's stormy days, by one William Peveril, and had been granted
anew to the Lord Ferrers of that day. Yet this William's descendants,
though no longer possessed of what they alleged to have been their
original property, were long distinguished by the proud title of
Peverils of the Peak, which served to mark their high descent and
lofty pretensions.

In Charles the Second's time, the representative of this ancient
family was Sir Geoffrey Peveril, a man who had many of the ordinary
attributes of an old-fashioned country gentleman, and very few
individual traits to distinguish him from the general portrait of that
worthy class of mankind. He was proud of small advantages, angry at
small disappointments, incapable of forming any resolution or opinion
abstracted from his own prejudices--he was proud of his birth, lavish
in his housekeeping, convivial with those kindred and acquaintances,
who would allow his superiority in rank--contentious and quarrelsome
with all that crossed his pretensions--kind to the poor, except when
they plundered his game--a Royalist in his political opinions, and one
who detested alike a Roundhead, a poacher, and a Presbyterian. In
religion Sir Geoffrey was a high-churchman, of so exalted a strain
that many thought he still nourished in private the Roman Catholic
tenets, which his family had only renounced in his father's time, and
that he had a dispensation for conforming in outward observances to
the Protestant faith. There was at least such a scandal amongst the
Puritans, and the influence which Sir Geoffrey Peveril certainly
appeared to possess amongst the Catholic gentlemen of Derbyshire and
Cheshire, seemed to give countenance to the rumour.

Such was Sir Geoffrey, who might have passed to his grave without
further distinction than a brass-plate in the chancel, had he not
lived in times which forced the most inactive spirits into exertion,
as a tempest influences the sluggish waters of the deadest mere. When
the Civil Wars broke out, Peveril of the Peak, proud from pedigree,
and brave by constitution, raised a regiment for the King, and showed
upon several occasions more capacity for command than men had
heretofore given him credit for.

Even in the midst of the civil turmoil, he fell in love with, and
married, a beautiful and amiable young lady of the noble house of
Stanley; and from that time had the more merit in his loyalty, as it
divorced him from her society, unless at very brief intervals, when
his duty permitted an occasional visit to his home. Scorning to be
allured from his military duty by domestic inducements, Peveril of
the Peak fought on for several rough years of civil war, and performed
his part with sufficient gallantry, until his regiment was surprised
and cut to pieces by Poyntz, Cromwell's enterprising and successful
general of cavalry. The defeated Cavalier escaped from the field of
battle, and, like a true descendant of William the Conqueror,
disdaining submission, threw himself into his own castellated mansion,
which was attacked and defended in a siege of that irregular kind
which caused the destruction of so many baronial residences during the
course of those unhappy wars. Martindale Castle, after having suffered
severely from the cannon which Cromwell himself brought against it,
was at length surrendered when in the last extremity. Sir Geoffrey
himself became a prisoner, and while his liberty was only restored
upon a promise of remaining a peaceful subject to the Commonwealth in
future, his former delinquencies, as they were termed by the ruling
party, were severely punished by fine and sequestration.

But neither his forced promise, nor the fear of farther unpleasant
consequences to his person or property, could prevent Peveril of the
Peak from joining the gallant Earl of Derby the night before the fatal
engagement in Wiggan Lane, where the Earl's forces were dispersed. Sir
Geoffrey having had his share in that action, escaped with the relics
of the Royalists after the defeat, to join Charles II. He witnessed
also the final defeat of Worcester, where he was a second time made
prisoner; and as, in the opinion of Cromwell and the language of the
times, he was regarded as an obstinate malignant, he was in great
danger of having shared with the Earl of Derby his execution at
Bolton-le-Moor, having partaken with him the dangers of two actions.
But Sir Geoffrey's life was preserved by the interest of a friend, who
possessed influence in the councils of Oliver.--This was a Mr.
Bridgenorth, a gentleman of middling quality, whose father had been
successful in some commercial adventure during the peaceful reign of
James I.; and who had bequeathed his son a considerable sum of money,
in addition to the moderate patrimony which he inherited from his
father.

The substantial, though small-sized, brick building of Moultrassie
Hall, was but two miles distant from Martindale Castle, and the young
Bridgenorth attended the same school with the heir of the Peverils. A
sort of companionship, if not intimacy, took place betwixt them, which
continued during their youthful sports--the rather that Bridgenorth,
though he did not at heart admit Sir Geoffrey's claims of superiority
to the extent which the other's vanity would have exacted, paid
deference in a reasonable degree to the representative of a family so
much more ancient and important than his own, without conceiving that
he in any respect degraded himself by doing so.

Mr. Bridgenorth did not, however, carry his complaisance so far as to
embrace Sir Geoffrey's side during the Civil War. On the contrary, as
an active Justice of the Peace, he rendered much assistance in
arraying the militia in the cause of the Parliament, and for some time
held a military commission in that service. This was partly owing to
his religious principles, for he was a zealous Presbyterian, partly to
his political ideas, which, without being absolutely democratical,
favoured the popular side of the great national question. Besides, he
was a moneyed man, and to a certain extent had a shrewd eye to his
worldly interest. He understood how to improve the opportunities which
civil war afforded, of advancing his fortune, by a dexterous use of
his capital; and he was not at a loss to perceive that these were
likely to be obtained in joining the Parliament; while the King's
cause, as it was managed, held out nothing to the wealthy but a course
of exaction and compulsory loans. For these reasons, Bridgenorth
became a decided Roundhead, and all friendly communication betwixt his
neighbour and him was abruptly broken asunder. This was done with the
less acrimony, that, during the Civil War, Sir Geoffrey was almost
constantly in the field, following the vacillating and unhappy
fortunes of his master; while Major Bridgenorth, who soon renounced
active military service, resided chiefly in London, and only
occasionally visited the Hall.

Upon these visits, it was with great pleasure he received the
intelligence, that Lady Peveril had shown much kindness to Mrs.
Bridgenorth, and had actually given her and her family shelter in
Martindale Castle, when Moultrassie Hall was threatened with pillage
by a body of Prince Rupert's ill-disciplined Cavaliers. This
acquaintance had been matured by frequent walks together, which the
vicinity of their places of residence suffered the Lady Peveril to
have with Mrs. Bridgenorth, who deemed herself much honoured in being
thus admitted into the society of so distinguished a lady. Major
Bridgenorth heard of this growing intimacy with great pleasure, and he
determined to repay the obligation, as far as he could without much
hurt to himself, by interfering with all his influence, in behalf of
her unfortunate husband. It was chiefly owing to Major Bridgenorth's
mediation, that Sir Geoffrey's life was saved after the battle of
Worcester. He obtained him permission to compound for his estate on
easier terms than many who had been less obstinate in malignancy; and,
finally, when, in order to raise the money to the composition, the
Knight was obliged to sell a considerable portion of his patrimony,
Major Bridgenorth became the purchaser, and that at a larger price
than had been paid to any Cavalier under such circumstances, by a
member of the Committee for Sequestrations. It is true, the prudent
committeeman did not, by any means, lose sight of his own interest in
the transaction, for the price was, after all, very moderate, and the
property lay adjacent to Moultrassie Hall, the value of which was at
least trebled by the acquisition. But then it was also true, that the
unfortunate owner must have submitted to much worse conditions, had
the committeeman used, as others did, the full advantages which his
situation gave him; and Bridgenorth took credit to himself, and
received it from others, for having, on this occasion, fairly
sacrificed his interest to his liberality.

Sir Geoffrey Peveril was of the same opinion, and the rather that Mr.
Bridgenorth seemed to bear his exaltation with great moderation, and
was disposed to show him personally the same deference in his present
sunshine of prosperity, which he had exhibited formerly in their early
acquaintance. It is but justice to Major Bridgenorth to observe, that
in this conduct he paid respect as much to the misfortunes as to the
pretensions of his far-descended neighbour, and that, with the frank
generosity of a blunt Englishman, he conceded points of ceremony,
about which he himself was indifferent, merely because he saw that his
doing so gave pleasure to Sir Geoffrey.

Peveril of the Peak did justice to his neighbour's delicacy, in
consideration of which he forgot many things. He forgot that Major
Bridgenorth was already in possession of a fair third of his estate,
and had various pecuniary claims affecting the remainder, to the
extent of one-third more. He endeavoured even to forget, what it was
still more difficult not to remember, the altered situation in which
they and their mansions now stood to each other.

Before the Civil War, the superb battlements and turrets of Martindale
Castle looked down on the red brick-built Hall, as it stole out from
the green plantations, just as an oak in Martindale Chase would have
looked beside one of the stunted and formal young beech-trees with
which Bridgenorth had graced his avenue; but after the siege which we
have commemorated, the enlarged and augmented Hall was as much
predominant in the landscape over the shattered and blackened ruins of
the Castle, of which only one wing was left habitable, as the youthful
beech, in all its vigour of shoot and bud, would appear to the same
aged oak stripped of its boughs, and rifted by lightning, one-half
laid in shivers on the ground, and the other remaining a blackened and
ungraceful trunk, rent and splintered, and without either life or
leaves. Sir Geoffrey could not but feel, that the situation and
prospects were exchanged as disadvantageously for himself as the
appearance of their mansions; and that though the authority of the man
in office under the Parliament, the sequestrator, and the
committeeman, had been only exerted for the protection of the Cavalier
and the malignant, they would have been as effectual if applied to
procure his utter ruin; and that he was become a client, while his
neighbour was elevated into a patron.

There were two considerations, besides the necessity of the case and
the constant advice of his lady, which enabled Peveril of the Peak to
endure, with some patience, this state of degradation. The first was,
that the politics of Major Bridgenorth began, on many points, to
assimilate themselves to his own. As a Presbyterian, he was not an
utter enemy to monarchy, and had been considerably shocked at the
unexpected trial and execution of the King; as a civilian and a man of
property, he feared the domination of the military; and though he
wished not to see Charles restored by force of arms, yet he arrived at
the conclusion, that to bring back the heir of the royal family on
such terms of composition as might ensure the protection of those
popular immunities and privileges for which the Long Parliament had at
first contended, would be the surest and most desirable termination to
the mutations in state affairs which had agitated Britain. Indeed, the
Major's ideas on this point approached so nearly those of his
neighbour, that he had well-nigh suffered Sir Geoffrey, who had a
finger in almost all the conspiracies of the Royalists, to involve him
in the unfortunate rising of Penruddock and Groves, in the west, in
which many of the Presbyterian interest, as well as the Cavalier
party, were engaged. And though his habitual prudence eventually kept
him out of this and other dangers, Major Bridgenorth was considered
during the last years of Cromwell's domination, and the interregnum
which succeeded, as a disaffected person to the Commonwealth, and a
favourer of Charles Stewart.

But besides this approximation to the same political opinions, another
bond of intimacy united the families of the Castle and the Hall. Major
Bridgenorth, fortunate, and eminently so, in all his worldly
transactions, was visited by severe and reiterated misfortunes in his
family, and became, in this particular, an object of compassion to his
poorer and more decayed neighbour. Betwixt the breaking out of the
Civil War and the Restoration, he lost successively a family of no
less than six children, apparently through a delicacy of constitution,
which cut off the little prattlers at the early age when they most
wind themselves round the heart of the parents.

In the beginning of the year 1658, Major Bridgenorth was childless;
ere it ended, he had a daughter, indeed, but her birth was purchased
by the death of an affectionate wife, whose constitution had been
exhausted by maternal grief, and by the anxious and harrowing
reflection, that from her the children they had lost derived that
delicacy of health, which proved unable to undergo the tear and wear
of existence. The same voice which told Bridgenorth that he was the
father of a living child (it was the friendly voice of Lady Peveril),
communicated to him the melancholy intelligence that he was no longer
a husband. The feelings of Major Bridgenorth were strong and deep,
rather than hasty and vehement; and his grief assumed the form of a
sullen stupor, from which neither the friendly remonstrances of Sir
Geoffrey, who did not fail to be with his neighbour at this
distressing conjuncture, even though he knew he must meet the
Presbyterian pastor, nor the ghastly exhortations of this latter
person, were able to rouse the unfortunate widower.

At length Lady Peveril, with the ready invention of a female sharped
by the sight of distress and the feelings of sympathy, tried on the
sufferer one of those experiments by which grief is often awakened
from despondency into tears. She placed in Bridgenorth's arms the
infant whose birth had cost him so dear, and conjured him to remember
that his Alice was not yet dead, since she survived in the helpless
child she had left to his paternal care.

"Take her away--take her away!" said the unhappy man, and they were
the first words he had spoken; "let me not look on her--it is but
another blossom that has bloomed to fade, and the tree that bore it
will never flourish more!"

He almost threw the child into Lady Peveril's arms, placed his hands
before his face, and wept aloud. Lady Peveril did not say "be
comforted," but she ventured to promise that the blossom should ripen
to fruit.

"Never, never!" said Bridgenorth; "take the unhappy child away, and
let me only know when I shall wear black for her--Wear black!" he
exclaimed, interrupting himself, "what other colour shall I wear
during the remainder of my life?"

"I will take the child for a season," said Lady Peveril, "since the
sight of her is so painful to you; and the little Alice shall share
the nursery of our Julian, until it shall be pleasure and not pain for
you to look on her."

"That hour will never come," said the unhappy father; "her doom is
written--she will follow the rest--God's will be done.--Lady, I thank
you--I trust her to your care; and I thank God that my eye shall not
see her dying agonies."

Without detaining the reader's attention longer on this painful theme,
it is enough to say that the Lady Peveril did undertake the duties of
a mother to the little orphan; and perhaps it was owing, in a great
measure, to her judicious treatment of the infant, that its feeble
hold of life was preserved, since the glimmering spark might probably
have been altogether smothered, had it, like the Major's former
children, undergone the over-care and over-nursing of a mother
rendered nervously cautious and anxious by so many successive losses.
The lady was the more ready to undertake this charge, that she herself
had lost two infant children; and that she attributed the preservation
of the third, now a fine healthy child of three years old, to Julian's
being subjected to rather a different course of diet and treatment
than was then generally practised. She resolved to follow the same
regiment with the little orphan, which she had observed in the case of
her own boy; and it was equally successful. By a more sparing use of
medicine, by a bolder admission of fresh air, by a firm, yet cautious
attention to encourage rather than to supersede the exertions of
nature, the puny infant, under the care of an excellent nurse,
gradually improved in strength and in liveliness.

Sir Geoffrey, like most men of his frank and good-natured disposition,
was naturally fond of children, and so much compassionated the sorrows
of his neighbour, that he entirely forgot his being a Presbyterian,
until it became necessary that the infant should be christened by a
teacher of that persuasion.

This was a trying case--the father seemed incapable of giving
direction; and that the threshold of Martindale Castle should be
violated by the heretical step of a dissenting clergyman, was matter
of horror to its orthodox owner. He had seen the famous Hugh Peters,
with a Bible in one hand and a pistol in the other, ride in triumph
through the court-door when Martindale was surrendered; and the
bitterness of that hour had entered like iron into his soul. Yet such
was Lady Peveril's influence over the prejudices of her husband, that
he was induced to connive at the ceremony taking place in a remote
garden house, which was not properly within the precincts of the
Castle-wall. The lady even dared to be present while the ceremony was
performed by the Reverend Master Solsgrace, who had once preached a
sermon of three hours' length before the House of Commons, upon a
thanksgiving occasion after the relief of Exeter. Sir Geoffrey Peveril
took care to be absent the whole day from the Castle, and it was only
from the great interest which he took in the washing, perfuming, and
as it were purification of the summer-house, that it could have been
guessed he knew anything of what had taken place in it.

But, whatever prejudices the good Knight might entertain against his
neighbour's form of religion, they did not in any way influence his
feelings towards him as a sufferer under severe affliction. The mode
in which he showed his sympathy was rather singular, but exactly
suited the character of both, and the terms on which they stood with
each other.

Morning after morning the good Baronet made Moultrassie Hall the
termination of his walk or ride, and said a single word of kindness as
he passed. Sometimes he entered the old parlour where the proprietor
sat in solitary wretchedness and despondency; but more frequently (for
Sir Geoffrey did not pretend to great talents of conversation), he
paused on the terrace, and stopping or halting his horse by the
latticed window, said aloud to the melancholy inmate, "How is it with
you, Master Bridgenorth?" (the Knight would never acknowledge his
neighbour's military rank of Major); "I just looked in to bid you keep
a good heart, man, and to tell you that Julian is well, and little
Alice is well, and all are well at Martindale Castle."

A deep sigh, sometimes coupled with "I thank you, Sir Geoffrey; my
grateful duty waits on Lady Peveril," was generally Bridgenorth's only
answer. But the news was received on the one part with the kindness
which was designed upon the other; it gradually became less painful
and more interesting; the lattice window was never closed, nor was the
leathern easy-chair which stood next to it ever empty, when the usual
hour of the Baronet's momentary visit approached. At length the
expectation of that passing minute became the pivot upon which the
thoughts of poor Bridgenorth turned during all the rest of the day.
Most men have known the influence of such brief but ruling moments at
some period of their lives. The moment when a lover passes the window
of his mistress--the moment when the epicure hears the dinner-bell,--
is that into which is crowded the whole interest of the day; the hours
which precede it are spent in anticipation; the hours which follow, in
reflection on what has passed; and fancy dwelling on each brief
circumstance, gives to seconds the duration of minutes, to minutes
that of hours. Thus seated in his lonely chair, Bridgenorth could
catch at a distance the stately step of Sir Geoffrey, or the heavy
tramp of his war-horse, Black Hastings, which had borne him in many an
action; he could hear the hum of "The King shall enjoy his own again,"
or the habitual whistle of "Cuckolds and Roundheads," die unto
reverential silence, as the Knight approached the mansion of
affliction; and then came the strong hale voice of the huntsman
soldier with its usual greeting.

By degrees the communication became something more protracted, as
Major Bridgenorth's grief, like all human feelings, lost its
overwhelming violence, and permitted him to attend, in some degree, to
what passed around him, to discharge various duties which pressed upon
him, and to give a share of attention to the situation of the country,
distracted as it was by the contending factions, whose strife only
terminated in the Restoration. Still, however, though slowly
recovering from the effects of the shock which he had sustained, Major
Bridgenorth felt himself as yet unable to make up his mind to the
effort necessary to see his infant; and though separated by so short a
distance from the being in whose existence he was more interested than
in anything the world afforded, he only made himself acquainted with
the windows of the apartment where little Alice was lodged, and was
often observed to watch them from the terrace, as they brightened in
the evening under the influence of the setting sun. In truth, though a
strong-minded man in most respects, he was unable to lay aside the
gloomy impression that this remaining pledge of affection was soon to
be conveyed to that grave which had already devoured all besides that
was dear to him; and he awaited in miserable suspense the moment when
he should hear that symptoms of the fatal malady had begun to show
themselves.

The voice of Peveril continued to be that of a comforter until the
month of April 1660, when it suddenly assumed a new and different
tone. "The King shall enjoy his own again," far from ceasing, as the
hasty tread of Black Hastings came up the avenue, bore burden to the
clatter of his hoofs on the paved courtyard, as Sir Geoffrey sprang
from his great war-saddle, now once more garnished with pistols of two
feet in length, and, armed with steel-cap, back and breast, and a
truncheon in his hand, he rushed into the apartment of the astonished
Major, with his eyes sparkling, and his cheek inflamed, while he
called out, "Up! up, neighbour! No time now to mope in the chimney-
corner! Where is your buff-coat and broadsword, man? Take the true
side once in your life, and mend past mistakes. The King is all
lenity, man--all royal nature and mercy. I will get your full pardon."

"What means all this?" said Bridgenorth--"Is all well with you--all
well at Martindale Castle, Sir Geoffrey?"

"Well as you could wish them, Alice, and Julian, and all. But I have
news worth twenty of that--Monk has declared at London against those
stinking scoundrels the Rump. Fairfax is up in Yorkshire--for the King
--for the King, man! Churchmen, Presbyterians, and all, are in buff
and bandoleer for King Charles. I have a letter from Fairfax to secure
Derby and Chesterfield with all the men I can make. D--n him, fine
that I should take orders from him! But never mind that--all are
friends now, and you and I, good neighbour, will charge abreast, as
good neighbours should. See there! read--read--read--and then boot and
saddle in an instant.

 'Hey for cavaliers--ho for cavaliers,
  Pray for cavaliers,
    Dub-a-dub, dub-a-dub,
    Have at old Beelzebub,
  Oliver shakes in his bier!'"

After thundering forth this elegant effusion of loyal enthusiasm, the
sturdy Cavalier's heart became too full. He threw himself on a seat,
and exclaiming, "Did ever I think to live to see this happy day!" he
wept, to his own surprise, as much as to that of Bridgenorth.

Upon considering the crisis in which the country was placed, it
appeared to Major Bridgenorth, as it had done to Fairfax, and other
leaders of the Presbyterian party, that their frank embracing of the
royal interest was the wisest and most patriotic measure which they
could adopt in the circumstances, when all ranks and classes of men
were seeking refuge from the uncertainty and varied oppression
attending the repeated contests between the factions of Westminster
Hall and of Wallingford House. Accordingly he joined with Sir
Geoffrey, with less enthusiasm indeed, but with equal sincerity,
taking such measures as seemed proper to secure their part of the
country on the King's behalf, which was done as effectually and
peaceably as in other parts of England. The neighbours were both at
Chesterfield, when news arrived that the King had landed in England;
and Sir Geoffrey instantly announced his purpose of waiting upon his
Majesty, even before his return to the Castle of Martindale.

"Who knows, neighbour," he said, "whether Sir Geoffrey Peveril will
ever return to Martindale? Titles must be going amongst them yonder,
and I have deserved something among the rest.--Lord Peveril would
sound well--or stay, Earl of Martindale--no, not of Martindale--Earl
of the Peak.--Meanwhile, trust your affairs to me--I will see you
secured--I would you had been no Presbyterian, neighbour--a
knighthood,--I mean a knight-bachelor, not a knight-baronet,--would
have served your turn well."

"I leave these things to my betters, Sir Geoffrey," said the Major,
"and desire nothing so earnestly as to find all well at Martindale
when I return."

"You will--you will find them all well," said the Baronet; "Julian,
Alice, Lady Peveril, and all of them--Bear my commendations to them,
and kiss them all, neighbour, Lady Peveril and all--you may kiss a
Countess when I come back; all will go well with you now you are
turned honest man."

"I always meant to be so, Sir Geoffrey," said Bridgenorth calmly.

"Well, well, well--no offence meant," said the Knight, "all is well
now--so you to Moultrassie Hall, and I to Whitehall. Said I well, aha!
So ho, mine host, a stoup of Canary to the King's health ere we get to
horse--I forgot, neighbour--you drink no healths."

"I wish the King's health as sincerely as if I drank a gallon to it,"
replied the Major; "and I wish you, Sir Geoffrey, all success on your
journey, and a safe return."



                              CHAPTER II

       Why, then, we will have bellowing of beeves,
       Broaching of barrels, brandishing of spigots;
       Blood shall flow freely, but it shall be gore
       Of herds and flocks, and venison and poultry,
       Join'd to the brave heart's-blood of John-a-Barleycorn!
                                                --OLD PLAY.

Whatever rewards Charles might have condescended to bestow in
acknowledgement of the sufferings and loyalty of Peveril of the Peak,
he had none in his disposal equal to the pleasure which Providence had
reserved for Bridgenorth on his return to Derbyshire. The exertion to
which he had been summoned, had had the usual effect of restoring to a
certain extent the activity and energy of his character, and he felt
it would be unbecoming to relapse into the state of lethargic
melancholy from which it had roused him. Time also had its usual
effect in mitigating the subjects of his regret; and when he had
passed one day at the Hall in regretting that he could not expect the
indirect news of his daughter's health, which Sir Geoffrey used to
communicate in his almost daily call, he reflected that it would be in
every respect becoming that he should pay a personal visit at
Martindale Castle, carry thither the remembrances of the Knight to his
lady, assure her of his health, and satisfy himself respecting that of
his daughter. He armed himself for the worst--he called to
recollection the thin cheeks, faded eye, wasted hand, pallid lip,
which had marked the decaying health of all his former infants.

"I shall see," he said, "these signs of mortality once more--I shall
once more see a beloved being to whom I have given birth, gliding to
the grave which ought to enclose me long before her. No matter--it is
unmanly so long to shrink from that which must be--God's will be
done!"

He went accordingly, on the subsequent morning, to Martindale Castle,
and gave the lady the welcome assurances of her husband's safety, and
of his hopes of preferment.

"For the first, may Almighty God be praised!" said the Lady Peveril;
"and be the other as our gracious and restored Sovereign may will it.
We are great enough for our means, and have means sufficient for
contentment, though not for splendour. And now I see, good Master
Bridgenorth, the folly of putting faith in idle presentiments of evil.
So often had Sir Geoffrey's repeated attempts in favour of the
Stewarts led him into new misfortunes, that when, the other morning, I
saw him once more dressed in his fatal armour, and heard the sound of
his trumpet, which had been so long silent, it seemed to me as if I
saw his shroud, and heard his death-knell. I say this to you, good
neighbour, the rather because I fear your own mind has been harassed
with anticipations of impending calamity, which it may please God to
avert in your case as it has done in mine; and here comes a sight
which bears good assurance of it."

The door of the apartment opened as she spoke, and two lovely children
entered. The eldest, Julian Peveril, a fine boy betwixt four and five
years old, led in his hand, with an air of dignified support and
attention, a little girl of eighteen months, who rolled and tottered
along, keeping herself with difficulty upright by the assistance of
her elder, stronger, and masculine companion.

Bridgenorth cast a hasty and fearful glance upon the countenance of
his daughter, and, even in that glimpse, perceived, with exquisite
delight, that his fears were unfounded. He caught her in his arms,
pressed her to his heart, and the child, though at first alarmed at
the vehemence of his caresses, presently, as if prompted by Nature,
smiled in reply to them. Again he held her at some distance from him,
and examined her more attentively; he satisfied himself that the
complexion of the young cherub he had in his arms was not the hectic
tinge of disease, but the clear hue of ruddy health; and that though
her little frame was slight, it was firm and springy.

"I did not think that it could have been thus," he said, looking to
Lady Peveril, who had sat observing the scene with great pleasure;
"but praise be to God in the first instance, and next, thanks to you,
madam, who have been His instrument."

"Julian must lose his playfellow now, I suppose?" said the lady; "but
the Hall is not distant, and I will see my little charge often. Dame
Martha, the housekeeper at Moultrassie, has sense, and is careful. I
will tell her the rules I have observed with little Alice, and----"

"God forbid my girl should ever come to Moultrassie," said Major
Bridgenorth hastily; "it has been the grave of her race. The air of
the low grounds suited them not--or there is perhaps a fate connected
with the mansion. I will seek for her some other place of abode."

"That you shall not, under your favour be it spoken, Major
Bridgenorth," answered the lady. "If you do so, we must suppose that
you are undervaluing my qualities as a nurse. If she goes not to her
father's house, she shall not quit mine. I will keep the little lady
as a pledge of her safety and my own skill; and since you are afraid
of the damp of the low grounds, I hope you will come here frequently
to visit her."

This was a proposal which went to the heart of Major Bridgenorth. It
was precisely the point which he would have given worlds to arrive at,
but which he saw no chance of attaining.

It is too well known, that those whose families are long pursued by
such a fatal disease as existed in his, become, it may be said,
superstitious respecting its fatal effects, and ascribe to place,
circumstance, and individual care, much more perhaps than these can in
any case contribute to avert the fatality of constitutional distemper.
Lady Peveril was aware that this was peculiarly the impression of her
neighbour; that the depression of his spirits, the excess of his care,
the feverishness of his apprehensions, the restraint and gloom of the
solitude in which he dwelt, were really calculated to produce the evil
which most of all he dreaded. She pitied him, she felt for him, she
was grateful for former protection received at his hands--she had
become interested in the child itself. What female fails to feel such
interest in the helpless creature she has tended? And to sum the whole
up, the dame had a share of human vanity; and being a sort of Lady
Bountiful in her way (for the character was not then confined to the
old and the foolish), she was proud of the skill by which she had
averted the probable attacks of hereditary malady, so inveterate in
the family of Bridgenorth. It needed not, perhaps, in other cases,
that so many reasons should be assigned for an act of neighbourly
humanity; but civil war had so lately torn the country asunder, and
broken all the usual ties of vicinage and good neighbourhood, that it
was unusual to see them preserved among persons of different political
opinions.

Major Bridgenorth himself felt this; and while the tear of joy in his
eye showed how gladly he would accept Lady Peveril's proposal, he
could not help stating the obvious inconveniences attendant upon her
scheme, though it was in the tone of one who would gladly hear them
overruled. "Madam," he said, "your kindness makes me the happiest and
most thankful of men; but can it be consistent with your own
convenience? Sir Geoffrey has his opinions on many points, which have
differed, and probably do still differ, from mine. He is high-born,
and I of middling parentage only. He uses the Church Service, and I
the Catechism of the Assembly of Divines at Westminster----"

"I hope you will find prescribed in neither of them," said the Lady
Peveril, "that I may not be a mother to your motherless child. I
trust, Master Bridgenorth, the joyful Restoration of his Majesty, a
work wrought by the direct hand of Providence, may be the means of
closing and healing all civil and religious dissensions among us, and
that, instead of showing the superior purity of our faith, by
persecuting those who think otherwise from ourselves on doctrinal
points, we shall endeavour to show its real Christian tendency, by
emulating each other in actions of good-will towards man, as the best
way of showing our love to God."

"Your ladyship speaks what your own kind heart dictates," answered
Bridgenorth, who had his own share of the narrow-mindedness of the
time; "and sure am I, that if all who call themselves loyalists and
Cavaliers, thought like you--and like my friend Sir Geoffrey"--(this
he added after a moment's pause, being perhaps rather complimentary
than sincere)--"we, who thought it our duty in time past to take arms
for freedom of conscience, and against arbitrary power, might now sit
down in peace and contentment. But I wot not how it may fall. You have
sharp and hot spirits amongst you; I will not say our power was always
moderately used, and revenge is sweet to the race of fallen Adam."

"Come, Master Bridgenorth," said the Lady Peveril gaily, "those evil
omenings do but point out conclusions, which, unless they were so
anticipated, are most unlikely to come to pass. You know what
Shakespeare says--

 'To fly the boar before the boar pursues,
  Were to incense the boar to follow us,
  And make pursuit when he did mean no chase.'

"But I crave your pardon--it is so long since we have met, that I
forgot you love no play-books."

"With reverence to your ladyship," said Bridgenorth, "I were much to
blame did I need the idle words of a Warwickshire stroller, to teach
me my grateful duty to your ladyship on this occasion, which appoints
me to be directed by you in all things which my conscience will
permit."

"Since you permit me such influence, then," replied the Lady Peveril,
"I shall be moderate in exercising it, in order that I may, in my
domination at least, give you a favourable impression of the new order
of things. So, if you will be a subject of mine for one day,
neighbour, I am going, at my lord and husband's command, to issue out
my warrants to invite the whole neighbourhood to a solemn feast at the
Castle, on Thursday next; and I not only pray you to be personally
present yourself, but to prevail on your worthy pastor, and such
neighbours and friends, high and low, as may think in your own way, to
meet with the rest of the neighbourhood, to rejoice on this joyful
occasion of the King's Restoration, and thereby to show that we are to
be henceforward a united people."

The parliamentarian Major was considerably embarrassed by this
proposal. He looked upward, and downward, and around, cast his eye
first to the oak-carved ceiling, and anon fixed it upon the floor;
then threw it around the room till it lighted on his child, the sight
of whom suggested another and a better train of reflections than
ceiling and floor had been able to supply.

"Madam," he said, "I have long been a stranger to festivity, perhaps
from constitutional melancholy, perhaps from the depression which is
natural to a desolate and deprived man, in whose ear mirth is marred,
like a pleasant air when performed on a mistuned instrument. But
though neither my thoughts nor temperament are Jovial or Mercurial, it
becomes me to be grateful to Heaven for the good He has sent me by the
means of your ladyship. David, the man after God's own heart, did wash
and eat bread when his beloved child was removed--mine is restored to
me, and shall I not show gratitude under a blessing, when he showed
resignation under an affliction? Madam, I will wait on your gracious
invitation with acceptance; and such of my friends with whom I may
possess influence, and whose presence your ladyship may desire, shall
accompany me to the festivity, that our Israel may be as one people."

Having spoken these words with an aspect which belonged more to a
martyr than to a guest bidden to a festival, and having kissed, and
solemnly blessed his little girl, Major Bridgenorth took his departure
for Moultrassie Hall.



                             CHAPTER III

            Here's neither want of appetite nor mouths;
            Pray Heaven we be not scant of meat or mirth!
                                                --OLD PLAY.

Even upon ordinary occasions, and where means were ample, a great
entertainment in those days was not such a sinecure as in modern
times, when the lady who presides has but to intimate to her menials
the day and hour when she wills it to take place. At that simple
period, the lady was expected to enter deeply into the arrangement and
provision of the whole affair; and from a little gallery, which
communicated with her own private apartment, and looked down upon the
kitchen, her shrill voice was to be heard, from time to time, like
that of the warning spirit in a tempest, rising above the clash of
pots and stewpans--the creaking spits--the clattering of marrowbones
and cleavers--the scolding of cooks--and all the other various kinds
of din which form an accompaniment to dressing a large dinner.

But all this toil and anxiety was more than doubled in the case of the
approaching feast at Martindale Castle, where the presiding Genius of
the festivity was scarce provided with adequate means to carry her
hospitable purpose into effect. The tyrannical conduct of husbands, in
such cases, is universal; and I scarce know one householder of my
acquaintance who has not, on some ill-omened and most inconvenient
season, announced suddenly to his innocent helpmate, that he had
invited

 "Some odious Major Rock,
  To drop in at six o'clock,"

to the great discomposure of the lady, and the discredit, perhaps, of
her domestic arrangements.

Peveril of the Peak was still more thoughtless; for he had directed
his lady to invite the whole honest men of the neighbourhood to make
good cheer at Martindale Castle, in honour of the blessed Restoration
of his most sacred Majesty, without precisely explaining where the
provisions were to come from. The deer-park had lain waste ever since
the siege; the dovecot could do little to furnish forth such an
entertainment; the fishponds, it is true, were well provided (which
the neighbouring Presbyterians noted as a suspicious circumstance);
and game was to be had for the shooting, upon the extensive heaths and
hills of Derbyshire. But these were but the secondary parts of a
banquet; and the house-steward and bailiff, Lady Peveril's only
coadjutors and counsellors, could not agree how the butcher-meat--the
most substantial part, or, as it were, the main body of the
entertainment--was to be supplied. The house-steward threatened the
sacrifice of a fine yoke of young bullocks, which the bailiff, who
pleaded the necessity of their agricultural services, tenaciously
resisted; and Lady Peveril's good and dutiful nature did not prevent
her from making some impatient reflections on the want of
consideration of her absent Knight, who had thus thoughtlessly placed
her in so embarrassing a situation.

These reflections were scarcely just, if a man is only responsible for
such resolutions as he adopts when he is fully master of himself. Sir
Geoffrey's loyalty, like that of many persons in his situation, had,
by dint of hopes and fears, victories and defeats, struggles and
sufferings, all arising out of the same moving cause, and turning, as
it were, on the same pivot, acquired the character of an intense and
enthusiastic passion; and the singular and surprising change of
fortune, by which his highest wishes were not only gratified, but far
exceeded, occasioned for some time a kind of intoxication of loyal
rapture which seemed to pervade the whole kingdom. Sir Geoffrey had
seen Charles and his brothers, and had been received by the merry
monarch with that graceful, and at the same time frank urbanity, by
which he conciliated all who approached him; the Knight's services and
merits had been fully acknowledged, and recompense had been hinted at,
if not expressly promised. Was it for Peveril of the Peak, in the
jubilee of his spirits, to consider how his wife was to find beef and
mutton to feast his neighbours?

Luckily, however, for the embarrassed lady, there existed some one who
had composure of mind sufficient to foresee this difficulty. Just as
she had made up her mind, very reluctantly, to become debtor to Major
Bridgenorth for the sum necessary to carry her husband's commands into
effect, and whilst she was bitterly regretting this departure from the
strictness of her usual economy, the steward, who, by-the-bye, had not
been absolutely sober since the news of the King's landing at Dover,
burst into the apartment, snapping his fingers, and showing more marks
of delight than was quite consistent with the dignity of my lady's
large parlour.

"What means this, Whitaker?" said the lady, somewhat peevishly; for
she was interrupted in the commencement of a letter to her neighbour
on the unpleasant business of the proposed loan,--"Is it to be always
thus with you?--Are you dreaming?"

"A vision of good omen, I trust," said the steward, with a triumphant
flourish of the hand; "far better than Pharaoh's, though, like his, it
be of fat kine."

"I prithee be plain, man," said the lady, "or fetch some one who can
speak to purpose."

"Why, odds-my-life, madam," said the steward, "mine errand can speak
for itself. Do you not hear them low? Do you not hear them bleat? A
yoke of fat oxen, and half a score prime wethers. The Castle is
victualled for this bout, let them storm when they will; and Gatherill
may have his d--d mains ploughed to the boot."

The lady, without farther questioning her elated domestic, rose and
went to the window, where she certainly beheld the oxen and sheep
which had given rise to Whitaker's exultation. "Whence come they?"
said she, in some surprise.

"Let them construe that who can," answered Whitaker; "the fellow who
drove them was a west-country man, and only said they came from a
friend to help to furnish out your ladyship's entertainment; the man
would not stay to drink--I am sorry he would not stay to drink--I
crave your ladyship's pardon for not keeping him by the ears to drink
--it was not my fault."

"That I'll be sworn it was not," said the lady.

"Nay, madam, by G--, I assure you it was not," said the zealous
steward; "for, rather than the Castle should lose credit, I drank his
health myself in double ale, though I had had my morning draught
already. I tell you the naked truth, my lady, by G--!"

"It was no great compulsion, I suppose," said the lady; "but,
Whitaker, suppose you should show your joy on such occasions, by
drinking and swearing a little less, rather than a little more, would
it not be as well, think you?"

"I crave your ladyship's pardon," said Whitaker, with much reverence;
"I hope I know my place. I am your ladyship's poor servant; and I know
it does not become me to drink and swear like your ladyship--that is,
like his honour, Sir Geoffrey, I would say. But I pray you, if I am
not to drink and swear after my degree, how are men to know Peveril of
the Peak's steward,--and I may say butler too, since I have had the
keys of the cellar ever since old Spigots was shot dead on the
northwest turret, with a black jack in his hand,--I say, how is an old
Cavalier like me to be known from those cuckoldly Roundheads that do
nothing but fast and pray, if we are not to drink and swear according
to our degree?"

The lady was silent, for she well knew speech availed nothing; and,
after a moment's pause, proceeded to intimate to the steward that she
would have the persons, whose names were marked in a written paper,
which she delivered to him, invited to the approaching banquet.

Whitaker, instead of receiving the list with the mute acquiescence of
a modern Major Domo, carried it into the recess of one of the windows,
and, adjusting his spectacles, began to read it to himself. The first
names, being those of distinguished Cavalier families in the
neighbourhood, he muttered over in a tone of approbation--paused and
pshawed at that of Bridgenorth--yet acquiesced, with the observation,
"But he is a good neighbour, so it may pass for once." But when he
read the name and surname of Nehemiah Solsgrace, the Presbyterian
parson, Whitaker's patience altogether forsook him; and he declared he
would as soon throw himself into Eldon-hole,[*] as consent that the
intrusive old puritan howlet, who had usurped the pulpit of a sound
orthodox divine, should ever darken the gates of Martindale Castle by
any message or mediation of his.

[*] A chasm in the earth supposed to be unfathomable, one of the
    wonders of the Peak.

"The false crop-eared hypocrites," cried he, with a hearty oath, "have
had their turn of the good weather. The sun is on our side of the
hedge now, and we will pay off old scores, as sure as my name is
Richard Whitaker."

"You presume on your long services, Whitaker, and on your master's
absence, or you had not dared to use me thus," said the lady.

The unwonted agitation of her voice attracted the attention of the
refractory steward, notwithstanding his present state of elevation;
but he no sooner saw that her eye glistened, and her cheek reddened,
than his obstinacy was at once subdued.

"A murrain on me," he said, "but I have made my lady angry in good
earnest! and that is an unwonted sight for to see.--I crave your
pardon, my lady! It was not poor Dick Whitaker disputed your
honourable commands, but only that second draught of double ale. We
have put a double stroke of malt to it, as your ladyship well knows,
ever since the happy Restoration. To be sure I hate a fanatic as I do
the cloven foot of Satan; but then your honourable ladyship hath a
right to invite Satan himself, cloven foot and all, to Martindale
Castle; and to send me to hell's gate with a billet of invitation--and
so your will shall be done."

The invitations were sent round accordingly, in all due form; and one
of the bullocks was sent down to be roasted whole at the market-place
of a little village called Martindale-Moultrassie, which stood
considerably to the eastward both of the Castle and Hall, from which
it took its double name, at about an equal distance from both; so
that, suppose a line drawn from the one manor-house to the other, to
be the base of a triangle, the village would have occupied the salient
angle. As the said village, since the late transference of a part of
Peveril's property, belonged to Sir Geoffrey and to Bridgenorth in
nearly equal portions, the lady judged it not proper to dispute the
right of the latter to add some hogsheads of beer to the popular
festivity.

In the meanwhile, she could not but suspect the Major of being the
unknown friend who had relieved her from the dilemma arising from the
want of provisions; and she esteemed herself happy when a visit from
him, on the day preceding the proposed entertainment, gave her, as she
thought, an opportunity of expressing her gratitude.



                              CHAPTER IV

          No, sir--I will not pledge--I'm one of those
          Who think good wine needs neither bush nor preface
          To make it welcome. If you doubt my word,
          Fill the quart-cup, and see if I will choke on't.
                                                   --OLD PLAY.

There was a serious gravity of expression in the disclamation with
which Major Bridgenorth replied to the thanks tendered to him by Lady
Peveril, for the supply of provisions which had reached her Castle so
opportunely. He seemed first not to be aware what she alluded to; and,
when she explained the circumstance, he protested so seriously that he
had no share in the benefit conferred, that Lady Peveril was compelled
to believe him, the rather that, being a man of plain downright
character, affecting no refined delicacy of sentiment, and practising
almost a quaker-like sincerity of expression, it would have been much
contrary to his general character to have made such a disavowal,
unless it were founded in truth.

"My present visit to you, madam," said he, "had indeed some reference
to the festivity of to-morrow." Lady Peveril listened, but as her
visitor seemed to find some difficulty in expressing himself, she was
compelled to ask an explanation. "Madam," said the Major, "you are not
perhaps entirely ignorant that the more tender-conscienced among us
have scruples at certain practices, so general amongst your people at
times of rejoicing, that you may be said to insist upon them as
articles of faith, or at least greatly to resent their omission."

"I trust, Master Bridgenorth," said the Lady Peveril, not fully
comprehending the drift of his discourse, "that we shall, as your
entertainers, carefully avoid all allusions or reproaches founded on
past misunderstanding."

"We would expect no less, madam, from your candour and courtesy," said
Bridgenorth; "but I perceive you do not fully understand me. To be
plain, then, I allude to the fashion of drinking healths, and pledging
each other in draughts of strong liquor, which most among us consider
as a superfluous and sinful provoking of each other to debauchery, and
the excessive use of strong drink; and which, besides, if derived, as
learned divines have supposed, from the custom of the blinded Pagans,
who made libations and invoked idols when they drank, may be justly
said to have something in it heathenish, and allied to demon-worship."

The lady had already hastily considered all the topics which were
likely to introduce discord into the proposed festivity; but this very
ridiculous, yet fatal discrepancy, betwixt the manners of the parties
on convivial occasions, had entirely escaped her. She endeavoured to
soothe the objecting party, whose brows were knit like one who had
fixed an opinion by which he was determined to abide.

"I grant," she said, "my good neighbour, that this custom is at least
idle, and may be prejudicial if it leads to excess in the use of
liquor, which is apt enough to take place without such conversation.
But I think, when it hath not this consequence, it is a thing
indifferent, affords a unanimous mode of expressing our good wishes to
our friends, and our loyal duty to our sovereign; and, without meaning
to put any force upon the inclination of those who believe otherwise,
I cannot see how I can deny my guests and friends the privilege of
drinking a health to the King, or to my husband, after the old English
fashion."

"My lady," said the Major, "if the age of fashion were to command it,
Popery is one of the oldest English fashions that I have heard of; but
it is our happiness that we are not benighted like our fathers, and
therefore we must act according to the light that is in us, and not
after their darkness. I had myself the honour to attend the Lord-
Keeper Whitelocke, when, at the table of the Chamberlain of the
kingdom of Sweden, he did positively refuse to pledge the health of
his Queen, Christina, thereby giving great offence, and putting in
peril the whole purpose of that voyage; which it is not to be thought
so wise a man would have done, but that he held such compliance a
thing not merely indifferent, but rather sinful and damnable."

"With all respect to Whitelocke," said the Lady Peveril, "I continue
of my own opinion, though, Heaven knows, I am no friend to riot or
wassail. I would fain accommodate myself to your scruples, and will
discourage all other pledges; but surely those of the King and of
Peveril of the Peak may be permitted?"

"I dare not," answered Bridgenorth, "lay even the ninety-ninth part of
a grain of incense upon an altar erected to Satan."

"How, sir!" said the lady; "do you bring Satan into comparison with
our master King Charles, and with my noble lord and husband?"

"Pardon me, madam," answered Bridgenorth, "I have no such thoughts--
indeed they would ill become me. I do wish the King's health and Sir
Geoffrey's devoutly, and I will pray for both. But I see not what good
it should do their health if I should prejudice my own by quaffing
pledges out of quart flagons."

"Since we cannot agree upon this matter," said Lady Peveril, "we must
find some resource by which to offend those of neither party. Suppose
you winked at our friends drinking these pledges, and we should
connive at your sitting still?"

But neither would this composition satisfy Bridgenorth, who was of
opinion, as he expressed himself, that it would be holding a candle to
Beelzebub. In fact, his temper, naturally stubborn, was at present
rendered much more so by a previous conference with his preacher, who,
though a very good man in the main, was particularly and illiberally
tenacious of the petty distinctions which his sect adopted; and while
he thought with considerable apprehension on the accession of power
which Popery, Prelacy, and Peveril of the Peak, were like to acquire
by the late Revolution, became naturally anxious to put his flock on
their guard, and prevent their being kidnapped by the wolf. He
disliked extremely that Major Bridgenorth, indisputably the head of
the Presbyterian interest in that neighbourhood, should have given his
only daughter to be, as he termed it, nursed by a Canaanitish woman;
and he told him plainly that he liked not this going to feast in the
high places with the uncircumcised in heart, and looked on the whole
conviviality only as a making-merry in the house of Tirzah.

Upon receiving this rebuke from his pastor, Bridgenorth began to
suspect he might have been partly wrong in the readiness which, in his
first ardour of gratitude, he had shown to enter into intimate
intercourse with the Castle of Martindale; but he was too proud to
avow this to the preacher, and it was not till after a considerable
debate betwixt them, that it was mutually agreed their presence at the
entertainment should depend upon the condition, that no healths or
pledges should be given in their presence. Bridgenorth, therefore, as
the delegate and representative of his party, was bound to stand firm
against all entreaty, and the lady became greatly embarrassed. She now
regretted sincerely that her well-intended invitation had ever been
given, for she foresaw that its rejection was to awaken all former
subjects of quarrel, and perhaps to lead to new violences amongst
people who had not many years since been engaged in civil war. To
yield up the disputed point to the Presbyterians, would have been to
offend the Cavalier party, and Sir Geoffrey in particular, in the most
mortal degree; for they made it as firm a point of honour to give
healths, and compel others to pledge them, as the Puritans made it a
deep article of religion to refuse both. At length the lady changed
the discourse, introduced that of Major Bridgenorth's child, caused it
to be sent for, and put into his arms. The mother's stratagem took
effect; for, though the parliamentary major stood firm, the father, as
in the case of the Governor of Tilbury, was softened, and he agreed
that his friends should accept a compromise. This was, that the major
himself, the reverend divine, and such of their friends as held strict
Puritan tenets, should form a separate party in the Large Parlour,
while the Hall should be occupied by the jovial Cavaliers; and that
each party should regulate their potations after their own conscience,
or after their own fashion.

Major Bridgenorth himself seemed greatly relieved after this important
matter had been settled. He had held it matter of conscience to be
stubborn in maintaining his own opinion, but was heartily glad when he
escaped from the apparently inevitable necessity of affronting Lady
Peveril by the refusal of her invitation. He remained longer than
usual, and spoke and smiled more than was his custom. His first care
on his return was to announce to the clergyman and his congregation
the compromise which he had made, and this not as a matter for
deliberation, but one upon which he had already resolved; and such was
his authority among them, that though the preacher longed to pronounce
a separation of the parties, and to exclaim--"To your tents, O
Israel!" he did not see the chance of being seconded by so many, as
would make it worth while to disturb the unanimous acquiescence in
their delegate's proposal.

Nevertheless, each party being put upon the alert by the consequences
of Major Bridgenorth's embassy, so many points of doubt and delicate
discussion were started in succession, that the Lady Peveril, the only
person, perhaps, who was desirous of achieving an effectual
reconciliation between them, incurred, in reward for her good
intentions, the censure of both factions, and had much reason to
regret her well-meant project of bringing the Capulets and Montagues
of Derbyshire together on the same occasion of public festivity.

As it was now settled that the guests were to form two different
parties, it became not only a subject of dispute betwixt themselves,
which should be first admitted within the Castle of Martindale, but
matter of serious apprehension to Lady Peveril and Major Bridgenorth,
lest, if they were to approach by the same avenue and entrance, a
quarrel might take place betwixt them, and proceed to extremities,
even before they reached the place of entertainment. The lady believed
she had discovered an admirable expedient for preventing the
possibility of such interference, by directing that the Cavaliers
should be admitted by the principal entrance, while the Roundheads
should enter the Castle through a great breach which had been made in
the course of the siege, and across which there had been made a sort
of by-path to drive the cattle down to their pasture in the wood. By
this contrivance the Lady Peveril imagined she had altogether avoided
the various risks which might occur from two such parties encountering
each other, and disputing for precedence. Several other circumstances
of less importance were adjusted at the same time, and apparently so
much to the satisfaction of the Presbyterian teacher, that, in a long
lecture on the subject of the Marriage Garment, he was at the pains to
explain to his hearers, that outward apparel was not alone meant by
that scriptural expression, but also a suitable frame of mind for
enjoyment of peaceful festivity; and therefore he exhorted the
brethren, that whatever might be the errors of the poor blinded
malignants, with whom they were in some sort to eat and drink upon the
morrow they ought not on this occasion to show any evil will against
them, lest they should therein become troublers of the peace of
Israel.

Honest Doctor Dummerar, the elected Episcopal Vicar of Martindale
/cum/ Moultrassie, preached to the Cavaliers on the same subject. He
had served the cure before the breaking out of the rebellion, and was
in high favour with Sir Geoffrey, not merely on account of his sound
orthodoxy and deep learning, but his exquisite skill in playing at
bowls, and his facetious conversation over a pipe and tankard of
October. For these latter accomplishments, the Doctor had the honour
to be recorded by old Century White amongst the roll of lewd,
incompetent, profligate clergymen of the Church of England, whom he
denounced to God and man, on account chiefly of the heinous sin of
playing at games of skill and chance, and of occasionally joining in
the social meetings of their parishioners. When the King's party began
to lose ground, Doctor Dummerar left his vicarage, and, betaking
himself to the camp, showed upon several occasions, when acting as
chaplain to Sir Geoffrey Peveril's regiment, that his portly bodily
presence included a stout and masculine heart. When all was lost, and
he himself, with most other loyal divines, was deprived of his living,
he made such shift as he could; now lurking in the garrets of old
friends in the University, who shared with him, and such as him, the
slender means of livelihood which the evil times had left them; and
now lying hid in the houses of the oppressed and sequestered gentry,
who respected at once his character and sufferings. When the
Restoration took place, Doctor Dummerar emerged from some one of his
hiding-places, and hied him to Martindale Castle, to enjoy the triumph
inseparable from this happy change.

His appearance at the Castle in his full clerical dress, and the warm
reception which he received from the neighbouring gentry, added not a
little to the alarm which was gradually extending itself through the
party which were so lately the uppermost. It is true, Doctor Dummerar
framed (honest worthy man) no extravagant views of elevation or
preferment; but the probability of his being replaced in the living,
from which he had been expelled under very flimsy pretences, inferred
a severe blow to the Presbyterian divine, who could not be considered
otherwise than as an intruder. The interest of the two preachers,
therefore, as well as the sentiments of their flocks, were at direct
variance; and here was another fatal objection in the way of Lady
Peveril's scheme of a general and comprehensive healing ordinance.

Nevertheless, as we have already hinted, Doctor Dummerar behaved as
handsomely upon the occasion as the Presbyterian incumbent had done.
It is true, that in a sermon which he preached in the Castle hall to
several of the most distinguished Cavalier families, besides a world
of boys from the village, who went to see the novel circumstance of a
parson in a cassock and surplice, he went at great length into the
foulness of the various crimes committed by the rebellious party
during the late evil times, and greatly magnified the merciful and
peaceful nature of the honourable Lady of the Manor, who condescended
to look upon, or receive into her house in the way of friendship and
hospitality, men holding the principles which had led to the murder of
the King--the slaying and despoiling his loyal subjects--and the
plundering and breaking down of the Church of God. But then he wiped
all this handsomely up again, with the observation, that since it was
the will of their gracious and newly-restored Sovereign, and the
pleasure of the worshipful Lady Peveril, that this contumacious and
rebellious race should be, for a time, forborne by their faithful
subjects, it would be highly proper that all the loyal liegemen
should, for the present, eschew subjects of dissension or quarrel with
these sons of Shimei; which lesson of patience he enforced by the
comfortable assurance, that they could not long abstain from their old
rebellious practices; in which case, the Royalists would stand
exculpated before God and man, in extirpating them from the face of
the earth.

The close observers of the remarkable passages of the times from which
we draw the events of our history, have left it upon record, that
these two several sermons, much contrary, doubtless, to the intention
of the worthy divines by whom they were delivered, had a greater
effect in exasperating, than in composing, the disputes betwixt the
two factions. Under such evil auspices, and with corresponding
forebodings on the mind of Lady Peveril, the day of festivity at
length arrived.

By different routes, and forming each a sort of procession, as if the
adherents of each party were desirous of exhibiting its strength and
numbers, the two several factions approached Martindale Castle; and so
distinct did they appear in dress, aspect, and manners, that it seemed
as if the revellers of a bridal party, and the sad attendants upon a
funeral solemnity, were moving towards the same point from different
quarters.

The puritanical party was by far the fewer in numbers, for which two
excellent reasons might be given. In the first place, they had enjoyed
power for several years, and, of course, became unpopular among the
common people, never at any time attached to those, who, being in the
immediate possession of authority, are often obliged to employ it in
controlling their humours. Besides, the country people of England had,
and still have, an animated attachment to field sports, and a natural
unrestrained joviality of disposition, which rendered them impatient
under the severe discipline of the fanatical preachers; while they
were not less naturally discontented with the military despotism of
Cromwell's Major-Generals. Secondly, the people were fickle as usual,
and the return of the King had novelty in it, and was therefore
popular. The side of the Puritans was also deserted at this period by
a numerous class of more thinking and prudential persons, who never
forsook them till they became unfortunate. These sagacious personages
were called in that age the Waiters upon Providence, and deemed it a
high delinquency towards Heaven if they afforded countenance to any
cause longer than it was favoured by fortune.

But, though thus forsaken by the fickle and the selfish, a solemn
enthusiasm, a stern and determined depth of principle, a confidence in
the sincerity of their own motives, and the manly English pride which
inclined them to cling to their former opinions, like the traveller in
the fable to his cloak, the more strongly that the tempest blew around
them, detained in the ranks of the Puritans many, who, if no longer
formidable from numbers, were still so from their character. They
consisted chiefly of the middling gentry, with others whom industry or
successful speculations in commerce or in mining had raised into
eminence--the persons who feel most umbrage from the overshadowing
aristocracy, and are usually the most vehement in defence of what they
hold to be their rights. Their dress was in general studiously simple
and unostentatious, or only remarkable by the contradictory
affectation of extreme simplicity or carelessness. The dark colour of
their cloaks, varying from absolute black to what was called sad-
coloured--their steeple-crowned hats, with their broad shadowy brims--
their long swords, suspended by a simple strap around the loins,
without shoulder-belt, sword-knot, plate, buckles, or any of the other
decorations with which the Cavaliers loved to adorn their trusty
rapiers,--the shortness of their hair, which made their ears appear of
disproportioned size,--above all, the stern and gloomy gravity of
their looks, announced their belonging to that class of enthusiasts,
who, resolute and undismayed, had cast down the former fabric of
government, and who now regarded with somewhat more than suspicion,
that which had been so unexpectedly substituted in its stead. There
was gloom in their countenances; but it was not that of dejection, far
less of despair. They looked like veterans after a defeat, which may
have checked their career and wounded their pride, but has left their
courage undiminished.

The melancholy, now become habitual, which overcast Major
Bridgenorth's countenance, well qualified him to act as the chief of
the group who now advanced from the village. When they reached the
point by which they were first to turn aside into the wood which
surrounded the Castle, they felt a momentary impression of
degradation, as if they were yielding the high road to their old and
oft-defeated enemies the Cavaliers. When they began to ascend the
winding path, which had been the daily passage of the cattle, the
opening of the wooded glade gave them a view of the Castle ditch, half
choked with the rubbish of the breach, and of the breach itself, which
was made at the angle of a large square flanking-tower, one-half of
which had been battered into ruins, while the other fragment remained
in a state strangely shattered and precarious, and seemed to be
tottering above the huge aperture in the wall. A stern still smile was
exchanged among the Puritans, as the sight reminded them of the
victories of former days. Holdfast Clegg, a millwright of Derby, who
had been himself active at the siege, pointed to the breach, and said,
with a grim smile to Mr. Solsgrace, "I little thought, that when my
own hand helped to level the cannon which Oliver pointed against yon
tower, we should have been obliged to climb like foxes up the very
walls which we won by our bow and by our spear. Methought these
malignants had then enough of shutting their gates and making high
their horn against us."

"Be patient, my brother," said Solsgrace; "be patient, and let not thy
soul be disquieted. We enter not this high place dishonourably, seeing
we ascend by the gate which the Lord opened to the godly."

The words of the pastor were like a spark to gunpowder. The
countenances of the mournful retinue suddenly expanded, and, accepting
what had fallen from him as an omen and a light from heaven how they
were to interpret their present situation, they uplifted, with one
consent, one of the triumphant songs in which the Israelites
celebrated the victories which had been vouchsafed to them over the
heathen inhabitants of the Promised Land:--

 "Let God arise, and then His foes
    Shall turn themselves to flight,
  His enemies for fear shall run,
    And scatter out of sight;

  And as wax melts before the fire,
    And wind blows smoke away,
  So in the presence of the Lord,
    The wicked shall decay.

  God's army twenty thousand is,
    Of angels bright and strong,
  The Lord also in Sinai
    Is present them among.

  Thou didst, O Lord, ascend on high,
    And captive led'st them all,
  Who, in times past, Thy chosen flock
    In bondage did enthral."

These sounds of devotional triumph reached the joyous band of the
Cavaliers, who, decked in whatever pomp their repeated misfortunes and
impoverishment had left them, were moving towards the same point,
though by a different road, and were filling the principal avenue to
the Castle, with tiptoe mirth and revelry. The two parties were
strongly contrasted; for, during that period of civil dissension, the
manners of the different factions distinguished them as completely as
separate uniforms might have done. If the Puritan was affectedly plain
in his dress, and ridiculously precise in his manners, the Cavalier
often carried his love of ornament into tawdry finery, and his
contempt of hypocrisy into licentious profligacy. Gay gallant fellows,
young and old, thronged together towards the ancient Castle, with
general and joyous manifestation of those spirits, which, as they had
been buoyant enough to support their owners during the worst of times,
as they termed Oliver's usurpation, were now so inflated as to
transport them nearly beyond the reach of sober reason. Feathers
waved, lace glittered, spears jingled, steeds caracoled; and here and
there a petronel, or pistol, was fired off by some one, who found his
own natural talents for making a noise inadequate to the dignity of
the occasion. Boys--for, as we said before, the rabble were with the
uppermost party, as usual--halloo'd and whooped, "Down with the Rump,"
and "Fie upon Oliver!" Musical instruments, of as many different
fashions as were then in use, played all at once, and without any
regard to each other's tune; and the glee of the occasion, while it
reconciled the pride of the high-born of the party to fraternise with
the general rout, derived an additional zest from the conscious
triumph, that their exultation was heard by their neighbours, the
crestfallen Roundheads.

When the loud and sonorous swell of the psalm-tune, multiplied by all
the echoes of the cliffs and ruinous halls, came full upon their ear,
as if to warn them how little they were to reckon upon the depression
of their adversaries, at first it was answered with a scornful laugh,
raised to as much height as the scoffers' lungs would permit, in order
that it might carry to the psalmodists the contempt of their auditors;
but this was a forced exertion of party spleen. There is something in
melancholy feelings more natural to an imperfect and suffering state
than in those of gaiety, and when they are brought into collision, the
former seldom fail to triumph. If a funeral-train and wedding-
procession were to meet unexpectedly, it will readily be allowed that
the mirth of the last would be speedily merged in the gloom of the
others. But the Cavaliers, moreover, had sympathies of a different
kind. The psalm-tune, which now came rolling on their ear, had been
heard too often, and upon too many occasions had preceded victory
gained over the malignants, to permit them, even in their triumph, to
hear it without emotion. There was a sort of pause, of which the party
themselves seemed rather ashamed, until the silence was broken by the
stout old knight, Sir Jasper Cranbourne, whose gallantry was so
universally acknowledged, that he could afford, if we may use such an
expression, to confess emotions, which men whose courage was in any
respect liable to suspicion, would have thought it imprudent to
acknowledge.

"Adad," said the old Knight, "may I never taste claret again, if that
is not the very tune with which the prick-eared villains began their
onset at Wiggan Lane, where they trowled us down like so many
ninepins! Faith, neighbours, to say truth, and shame the devil, I did
not like the sound of it above half."

"If I thought the round-headed rogues did it in scorn of us," said
Dick Wildblood of the Dale, "I would cudgel their psalmody out of
their peasantly throats with this very truncheon;" a motion which,
being seconded by old Roger Raine, the drunken tapster of the Peveril
Arms in the village, might have brought on a general battle, but that
Sir Jasper forbade the feud.

"We'll have no ranting, Dick," said the old Knight to the young
Franklin; "adad, man, we'll have none, for three reasons: first,
because it would be ungentle to Lady Peveril; then, because it is
against the King's peace; and, lastly, Dick, because if we did set on
the psalm-singing knaves, thou mightest come by the worst, my boy, as
has chanced to thee before."

"Who, I! Sir Jasper?" answered Dick--"I come by the worst!--I'll be
d--d if it ever happened but in that accursed lane, where we had no
more flank, front, or rear, than if we had been so many herrings in a
barrel."

"That was the reason, I fancy," answered Sir Jasper, "that you, to
mend the matter, scrambled into the hedge, and stuck there, horse and
man, till I beat thee through it with my leading-staff; and then,
instead of charging to the front, you went right-about, and away as
fast as your feet would carry you."

This reminiscence produced a laugh at Dick's expense, who was known,
or at least suspected, to have more tongue in his head than mettle in
his bosom. And this sort of rallying on the part of the Knight having
fortunately abated the resentment which had begun to awaken in the
breasts of the royalist cavalcade, farther cause for offence was
removed, by the sudden ceasing of the sounds which they had been
disposed to interpret into those of premeditated insult.

This was owing to the arrival of the Puritans at the bottom of the
large and wide breach, which had been formerly made in the wall of the
Castle by their victorious cannon. The sight of its gaping heaps of
rubbish, and disjointed masses of building, up which slowly winded a
narrow and steep path, such as is made amongst ancient ruins by the
rare passage of those who occasionally visit them, was calculated,
when contrasted with the grey and solid massiveness of the towers and
curtains which yet stood uninjured, to remind them of their victory
over the stronghold of their enemies, and how they had bound nobles
and princes with fetters of iron.

But feelings more suitable to the purpose of their visit to Martindale
Castle, were awakened in the bosoms even of these stern sectaries,
when the Lady of the Castle, still in the very prime of beauty and of
womanhood, appeared at the top of the breach with her principal female
attendants, to receive her guests with the honour and courtesy
becoming her invitation. She had laid aside the black dress which had
been her sole attire for several years, and was arrayed with a
splendour not unbecoming her high descent and quality. Jewels, indeed,
she had none; but her long and dark hair was surmounted with a chaplet
made of oak leaves, interspersed with lilies; the former being the
emblem of the King's preservation in the Royal Oak, and the latter of
his happy Restoration. What rendered her presence still more
interesting to those who looked on her, was the presence of the two
children whom she held in either hand; one of whom was well known to
them all to be the child of their leader, Major Bridgenorth, who had
been restored to life and health by the almost maternal care of the
Lady Peveril.

If even the inferior persons of the party felt the healing influence
of her presence, thus accompanied, poor Bridgenorth was almost
overwhelmed with it. The strictness of his cast and manners permitted
him not to sink on his knee, and kiss the hand which held his little
orphan; but the deepness of his obeisance--the faltering tremor of his
voice--and the glistening of his eye, showed a grateful respect for
the lady whom he addressed, deeper and more reverential than could
have been expressed even by Persian prostration. A few courteous and
mild words, expressive of the pleasure she found in once more seeing
her neighbours as her friends--a few kind inquiries, addressed to the
principal individuals among her guests, concerning their families and
connections, completed her triumph over angry thoughts and dangerous
recollections, and disposed men's bosoms to sympathise with the
purposes of the meeting.

Even Solsgrace himself, although imagining himself bound by his office
and duty to watch over and counteract the wiles of the "Amalekitish
woman," did not escape the sympathetic infection; being so much struck
with the marks of peace and good-will exhibited by Lady Peveril, that
he immediately raised the psalm--

 "O what a happy thing it is,
    And joyful, for to see
  Brethren to dwell together in
    Friendship and unity!"

Accepting this salutation as a mark of courtesy repaid, the Lady
Peveril marshalled in person this party of her guests to the
apartment, where ample good cheer was provided for them; and had even
the patience to remain while Master Nehemiah Solsgrace pronounced a
benediction of portentous length, as an introduction to the banquet.
Her presence was in some measure a restraint on the worthy divine,
whose prolusion lasted the longer, and was the more intricate and
embarrassed, that he felt himself debarred from rounding it off by his
usual alliterative petition for deliverance from Popery, Prelacy, and
Peveril of the Peak, which had become so habitual to him, that, after
various attempts to conclude with some other form of words, he found
himself at last obliged to pronounce the first words of his usual
/formula/ aloud, and mutter the rest in such a manner as not to be
intelligible even by those who stood nearest to him.

The minister's silence was followed by all the various sounds which
announce the onset of a hungry company on a well-furnished table; and
at the same time gave the lady an opportunity to leave the apartment,
and look to the accommodation of her other company. She felt, indeed,
that it was high time to do so; and that the royalist guests might be
disposed to misapprehend, or even to resent, the prior attentions
which she had thought it prudent to offer to the Puritans.

These apprehensions were not altogether ill-founded. It was in vain
that the steward had displayed the royal standard, with its proud
motto of /Tandem Triumphans/, on one of the great towers which flanked
the main entrance of the Castle; while, from the other, floated the
banner of Peveril of the Peak, under which many of those who now
approached had fought during all the vicissitudes of civil war. It was
in vain he repeated his clamorous "Welcome, noble Cavaliers! welcome,
generous gentlemen!" There was a slight murmur amongst them, that
their welcome ought to have come from the mouth of the Colonel's lady
--not from that of a menial. Sir Jasper Cranbourne, who had sense as
well as spirit and courage, and who was aware of his fair cousin's
motives, having been indeed consulted by her upon all the arrangements
which she had adopted, saw matters were in such a state that no time
ought to be lost in conducting the guests to the banqueting apartment,
where a fortunate diversion from all these topics of rising discontent
might be made, at the expense of the good cheer of all sorts, which
the lady's care had so liberally provided.

The stratagem of the old soldier succeeded in its utmost extent. He
assumed the great oaken-chair usually occupied by the steward at his
audits; and Dr. Dummerar having pronounced a brief Latin benediction
(which was not the less esteemed by the hearers that none of them
understood it), Sir Jasper exhorted the company to wet their appetites
to the dinner by a brimming cup to his Majesty's health, filled as
high and as deep as their goblets would permit. In a moment all was
bustle, with the clank of wine-cups and of flagons. In another moment
the guests were on their feet like so many statues, all hushed as
death, but with eyes glancing with expectation, and hands
outstretched, which displayed their loyal brimmers. The voice of Sir
Jasper, clear, sonorous, and emphatic, as the sound of his war-
trumpet, announced the health of the restored Monarch, hastily echoed
back by the assemblage, impatient to render it due homage. Another
brief pause was filled by the draining of their cups, and the
mustering breath to join in a shout so loud, that not only the rafters
of the old hall trembled while they echoed it back, but the garlands
of oaken boughs and flowers with which they were decorated, waved
wildly, and rustled as if agitated by a sudden whirlwind. This rite
observed, the company proceeded to assail the good cheer with which
the table groaned, animated as they were to the attack both by mirth
and melody, for they were attended by all the minstrels of the
district, who, like the Episcopal clergy, had been put to silence
during the reign of the self-entitled saints of the Commonwealth. The
social occupation of good eating and drinking, the exchange of pledges
betwixt old neighbours who had been fellow-soldiers in the moment of
resistance--fellow-sufferers in the time of depression and
subjugation, and were now partners in the same general subject of
congratulation, soon wiped from their memory the trifling cause of
complaint, which in the minds of some had darkened the festivity of
the day; so that when the Lady Peveril walked into the hall,
accompanied as before with the children and her female attendants, she
was welcomed with the acclamations due to the mistress of the banquet
and of the Castle--the dame of the noble Knight, who had led most of
them to battle with an undaunted and persevering valour, which was
worthy of better success.

Her address to them was brief and matronly, yet spoken with so much
feeling as found its way to every bosom. She apologised for the
lateness of her personal welcome, by reminding them that there were
then present in Martindale Castle that day, persons whom recent happy
events had converted from enemies into friends, but on whom the latter
character was so recently imposed, that she dared not neglect with
them any point of ceremonial. But those whom she now addressed, were
the best, the dearest the most faithful friends of her husband's
house, to whom and to their valour Peveril had not only owed those
successes, which had given them and him fame during the late unhappy
times, but to whose courage she in particular had owed the
preservation of their leader's life, even when it could not avert
defeat. A word or two of heartfelt authority, completed all which she
had boldness to add, and, bowing gracefully round her, she lifted a
cup to her lips as if to welcome her guests.

There still remained, and especially amongst the old Cavaliers of the
period, some glimmering of that spirit which inspired Froissart, when
he declares that a knight hath double courage at need, when animated
by the looks and words of a beautiful and virtuous woman. It was not
until the reign which was commencing at the moment we are treating of,
that the unbounded licence of the age, introducing a general course of
profligacy, degraded the female sex into mere servants of pleasure,
and, in so doing, deprived society of that noble tone of feeling
towards the sex, which, considered as a spur to "raise the clear
spirit," is superior to every other impulse, save those of religion
and of patriotism. The beams of the ancient hall of Martindale Castle
instantly rang with a shout louder and shriller than that at which
they had so lately trembled, and the names of the Knight of the Peak
and his lady were proclaimed amid waving of caps and hats, and
universal wishes for their health and happiness.

Under these auspices the Lady Peveril glided from the hall, and left
free space for the revelry of the evening.

That of the Cavaliers may be easily conceived, since it had the usual
accompaniments of singing, jesting, quaffing of healths, and playing
of tunes, which have in almost every age and quarter of the world been
the accompaniments of festive cheer. The enjoyments of the Puritans
were of a different and less noisy character. They neither sung,
jested, heard music, nor drank healths; and yet they seemed not the
less, in their own phrase, to enjoy the creature-comforts, which the
frailty of humanity rendered grateful to their outward man. Old
Whitaker even protested, that, though much the smaller party in point
of numbers, they discussed nearly as much sack and claret as his own
more jovial associates. But those who considered the steward's
prejudices, were inclined to think, that, in order to produce such a
result, he must have thrown in his own by-drinkings--no inconsiderable
item--to the sum total of the Presbyterian potations.

Without adopting such a partial and scandalous report, we shall only
say, that on this occasion, as on most others, the rareness of
indulgence promoted the sense of enjoyment, and that those who made
abstinence, or at least moderation, a point of religious principle,
enjoyed their social meeting the better that such opportunities rarely
presented themselves. If they did not actually drink each other's
healths, they at least showed, by looking and nodding to each other as
they raised their glasses, that they all were sharing the same festive
gratification of the appetite, and felt it enhanced, because it was at
the same time enjoyed by their friends and neighbours. Religion, as it
was the principal topic of their thoughts, became also the chief
subject of their conversation, and as they sat together in small
separate knots, they discussed doctrinal and metaphysical points of
belief, balanced the merits of various preachers, compared the creeds
of contending sects, and fortified by scriptural quotations those
which they favoured. Some contests arose in the course of these
debates, which might have proceeded farther than was seemly, but for
the cautious interference of Major Bridgenorth. He suppressed also, in
the very bud, a dispute betwixt Gaffer Hodgeson of Charnelycot and the
Reverend Mr. Solsgrace, upon the tender subject of lay-preaching and
lay-ministering; nor did he think it altogether prudent or decent to
indulge the wishes of some of the warmer enthusiasts of the party, who
felt disposed to make the rest partakers of their gifts in
extemporaneous prayer and exposition. These were absurdities that
belonged to the time, which, however, the Major had sense enough to
perceive were unfitted, whether the offspring of hypocrisy or
enthusiasm, for the present time and place.

The Major was also instrumental in breaking up the party at an early
and decorous hour, so that they left the Castle long before their
rivals, the Cavaliers, had reached the springtide of their merriment;
an arrangement which afforded the greatest satisfaction to the lady,
who dreaded the consequences which might not improbably have taken
place, had both parties met at the same period and point of retreat.

It was near midnight ere the greater part of the Cavaliers, meaning
such as were able to effect their departure without assistance,
withdrew to the village of Martindale Moultrassie, with the benefit of
the broad moon to prevent the chance of accidents. Their shouts, and
the burden of their roaring chorus of--

 "The King shall enjoy his own again!"

were heard with no small pleasure by the lady, heartily glad that the
riot of the day was over without the occurrence of any unpleasing
accident. The rejoicing was not, however, entirely ended; for the
elevated Cavaliers, finding some of the villagers still on foot around
a bonfire on the street, struck merrily in with them--sent to Roger
Raine of the Peveril Arms, the loyal publican whom we have already
mentioned, for two tubs of merry stingo (as it was termed), and lent
their own powerful assistance at the /dusting/ it off to the health of
the King and the loyal General Monk. Their shouts for a long time
disturbed, and even alarmed, the little village; but no enthusiasm is
able to withstand for ever the natural consequences of late hours, and
potations pottle-deep. The tumult of the exulting Royalists at last
sunk into silence, and the moon and the owl were left in undisturbed
sovereignty over the old tower of the village church, which, rising
white above a circle of knotty oaks, was tenanted by the bird, and
silvered by the planet.



                              CHAPTER V

             'Twas when they raised, 'mid sap and siege,
             The banners of their rightful liege,
               At their she-captain's call,
             Who, miracle of womankind!
             Lent mettle to the meanest hind
               That mann'd her castle wall.
                                           --WILLIAM S. ROSE.

On the morning succeeding the feast, the Lady Peveril, fatigued with
the exertions and the apprehensions of the former day, kept her
apartment for two or three hours later than her own active habits, and
the matutinal custom of the time, rendered usual. Meanwhile, Mistress
Ellesmere, a person of great trust in the family, and who assumed much
authority in her mistress's absence, laid her orders upon Deborah, the
governante, immediately to carry the children to their airing in the
park, and not to let any one enter the gilded chamber, which was
usually their sporting-place. Deborah, who often rebelled, and
sometimes successfully, against the deputed authority of Ellesmere,
privately resolved that it was about to rain, and that the gilded
chamber was a more suitable place for the children's exercise than the
wet grass of the park on a raw morning.

But a woman's brain is sometimes as inconstant as a popular assembly;
and presently after she had voted the morning was like to be rainy,
and that the gilded chamber was the fittest play-room for the
children, Mistress Deborah came to the somewhat inconsistent
resolution, that the park was the fittest place for her own morning
walk. It is certain, that during the unrestrained joviality of the
preceding evening, she had danced till midnight with Lance Outram the
park-keeper; but how far the seeing him just pass the window in his
woodland trim, with a feather in his hat, and a crossbow under his
arm, influenced the discrepancy of the opinions Mistress Deborah
formed concerning the weather, we are far from presuming to guess. It
is enough for us, that, so soon as Mistress Ellesmere's back was
turned, Mistress Deborah carried the children into the gilded chamber,
not without a strict charge (for we must do her justice) to Master
Julian to take care of his little wife, Mistress Alice; and then,
having taken so satisfactory a precaution, she herself glided into the
park by the glass-door of the still-room, which was nearly opposite to
the great breach.

The gilded chamber in which the children were, by this arrangement,
left to amuse themselves, without better guardianship than what
Julian's manhood afforded, was a large apartment, hung with stamped
Spanish leather, curiously gilded, representing, in a manner now
obsolete, but far from unpleasing, a series of tilts and combats
betwixt the Saracens of Grenada, and the Spaniards under the command
of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella, during that memorable siege,
which was terminated by the overthrow of the last fragments of the
Moorish empire in Spain.

The little Julian was careering about the room for the amusement of
his infant friend, as well as his own, mimicking with a reed the
menacing attitude of the Abencerrages and Zegris engaged in the
Eastern sport of hurling the JERID, or javelin; and at times sitting
down beside her, and caressing her into silence and good humour, when
the petulant or timid child chose to become tired of remaining an
inactive spectator of his boisterous sport; when, on a sudden, he
observed one of the panelled compartments of the leather hangings
slide apart, so as to show a fair hand, with its fingers resting upon
its edge, prepared, it would seem, to push it still farther back.
Julian was much surprised, and somewhat frightened, at what he
witnessed, for the tales of the nursery had strongly impressed on his
mind the terrors of the invisible world. Yet, naturally bold and high-
spirited, the little champion placed himself beside his defenceless
sister, continuing to brandish his weapon in her defence, as boldly as
he had himself been an Abencerrage of Grenada.

The panel, on which his eye was fixed, gradually continued to slide
back, and display more and more the form to which the hand
appertained, until, in the dark aperture which was disclosed, the
children saw the figure of a lady in a mourning dress, past the
meridian of life, but whose countenance still retained traces of great
beauty, although the predominant character both of her features and
person was an air of almost royal dignity. After pausing a moment on
the threshold of the portal which she had thus unexpectedly disclosed,
and looking with some surprise at the children, whom she had not
probably observed while engaged with the management of the panel, the
stranger stepped into the apartment, and the panel, upon a touch of a
spring, closed behind her so suddenly, that Julian almost doubted it
had ever been open, and began to apprehend that the whole apparition
had been a delusion.

The stately lady, however, advanced to him, and said, "Are not you the
little Peveril?"

"Yes," said the boy, reddening, not altogether without a juvenile
feeling of that rule of chivalry which forbade any one to disown his
name, whatever danger might be annexed to the avowal of it.

"Then," said the stately stranger, "go to your mother's room, and tell
her to come instantly to speak with me."

"I wo'not," said the little Julian.

"How?" said the lady,--"so young and so disobedient?--but you do but
follow the fashion of the time. Why will you not go, my pretty boy,
when I ask it of you as a favour?"

"I would go, madam," said the boy, "but"--and he stopped short, still
drawing back as the lady advanced on him, but still holding by the
hand Alice Bridgenorth, who, too young to understand the nature of the
dialogue, clung, trembling, to her companion.

The stranger saw his embarrassment, smiled, and remained standing
fast, while she asked the child once more, "What are you afraid of, my
brave boy--and why should you not go to your mother on my errand?"

"Because," answered Julian firmly, "if I go, little Alice must stay
alone with you."

"You are a gallant fellow," said the lady, "and will not disgrace your
blood, which never left the weak without protection."

The boy understood her not, and still gazed with anxious apprehension,
first on her who addressed him, and then upon his little companion,
whose eyes, with the vacant glance of infancy, wandered from the
figure of the lady to that of her companion and protector, and at
length, infected by a portion of the fear which the latter's
magnanimous efforts could not entirely conceal, she flew into Julian's
arms, and, clinging to him, greatly augmented his alarm, and by
screaming aloud, rendered it very difficult for him to avoid the
sympathetic fear which impelled him to do the same.

There was something in the manner and bearing of this unexpected
inmate which might justify awe at least, if not fear, when joined to
the singular and mysterious mode in which she had made her appearance.
Her dress was not remarkable, being the hood and female riding attire
of the time, such as was worn by the inferior class of gentlewomen;
but her black hair was very long, and, several locks having escaped
from under her hood, hung down dishevelled on her neck and shoulders.
Her eyes were deep black, keen, and piercing, and her features had
something of a foreign expression. When she spoke, her language was
marked by a slight foreign accent, although, in construction, it was
pure English. Her slightest tone and gesture had the air of one
accustomed to command and to be obeyed; the recollection of which
probably suggested to Julian the apology he afterwards made for being
frightened, that he took the stranger for an "enchanted queen."

While the stranger lady and the children thus confronted each other,
two persons entered almost at the same instant, but from different
doors, whose haste showed that they had been alarmed by the screams of
the latter.

The first was Major Bridgenorth, whose ears had been alarmed with the
cries of his child, as he entered the hall, which corresponded with
what was called the gilded chamber. His intention had been to remain
in the more public apartment, until the Lady Peveril should make her
appearance, with the good-natured purpose of assuring her that the
preceding day of tumult had passed in every respect agreeably to his
friends, and without any of those alarming consequences which might
have been apprehended from a collision betwixt the parties. But when
it is considered how severely he had been agitated by apprehensions
for his child's safety and health, too well justified by the fate of
those who had preceded her, it will not be thought surprising that the
infantine screams of Alice induced him to break through the barriers
of form, and intrude farther into the interior of the house than a
sense of strict propriety might have warranted.

He burst into the gilded chamber, therefore, by a side-door and narrow
passage, which communicated betwixt that apartment and the hall, and,
snatching the child up in his arms, endeavoured, by a thousand
caresses, to stifle the screams which burst yet more violently from
the little girl, on beholding herself in the arms of one to whose
voice and manner she was, but for one brief interview, an entire
stranger.

Of course, Alice's shrieks were redoubled, and seconded by those of
Julian Peveril, who, on the appearance of this second intruder, was
frightened into resignation of every more manly idea of rescue than
that which consisted in invoking assistance at the very top of his
lungs.

Alarmed by this noise, which in half a minute became very clamorous,
Lady Peveril, with whose apartment the gilded chamber was connected by
a private door of communication opening into her wardrobe, entered on
the scene. The instant she appeared, the little Alice, extricating
herself from the grasp of her father, ran towards /her/ protectress,
and when she had once taken hold of her skirts, not only became
silent, but turned her large blue eyes, in which the tears were still
glistening, with a look of wonder rather than alarm, towards the
strange lady. Julian manfully brandished his reed, a weapon which he
had never parted with during the whole alarm, and stood prepared to
assist his mother if there should be danger in the encounter betwixt
her and the stranger.

In fact, it might have puzzled an older person to account for the
sudden and confused pause which the Lady Peveril made, as she gazed on
her unexpected guest, as if dubious whether she did, or did not
recognise, in her still beautiful though wasted and emaciated
features, a countenance which she had known well under far different
circumstances.

The stranger seemed to understand the cause of hesitation, for she
said in that heart-thrilling voice which was peculiarly her own--

"Time and misfortune have changed me much, Margaret--that every mirror
tells me--yet methinks, Margaret Stanley might still have known
Charlotte de la Tremouille."

The Lady Peveril was little in the custom of giving way to sudden
emotion, but in the present case she threw herself on her knees in a
rapture of mingled joy and grief, and, half embracing those of the
stranger, exclaimed, in broken language--

"My kind, my noble benefactress--the princely Countess of Derby--the
royal queen in Man--could I doubt your voice, your features, for a
moment--Oh, forgive, forgive me!"

The Countess raised the suppliant kinswoman of her husband's house,
with all the grace of one accustomed from early birth to receive
homage and to grant protection. She kissed the Lady Peveril's
forehead, and passed her hand in a caressing manner over her face as
she said--

"You too are changed, my fair cousin, but it is a change becomes you,
from a pretty and timid maiden to a sage and comely matron. But my own
memory, which I once held a good one, has failed me strangely, if this
gentleman be Sir Geoffrey Peveril."

"A kind and good neighbour only, madam," said Lady Peveril; "Sir
Geoffrey is at Court."

"I understood so much," said the Countess of Derby, "when I arrived
here last night."

"How, madam!" said Lady Peveril--"Did you arrive at Martindale
Castle--at the house of Margaret Stanley, where you have such right to
command, and did not announce your presence to her?"

"Oh, I know you are a dutiful subject, Margaret," answered the
Countess, "though it be in these days a rare character--but it was our
pleasure," she added, with a smile, "to travel incognito--and finding
you engaged in general hospitality, we desired not to disturb you with
our royal presence."

"But how and where were you lodged, madam?" said Lady Peveril; "or why
should you have kept secret a visit which would, if made, have
augmented tenfold the happiness of every true heart that rejoiced here
yesterday?"

"My lodging was well cared for by Ellesmere--your Ellesmere now, as
she was formerly mine--she has acted as quartermaster ere now, you
know, and on a broader scale; you must excuse her--she had my positive
order to lodge me in the most secret part of your Castle"--(here she
pointed to the sliding panel)--"she obeyed orders in that, and I
suppose also in sending you now hither."

"Indeed I have not yet seen her," said the lady, "and therefore was
totally ignorant of a visit so joyful, so surprising."

"And I," said the Countess, "was equally surprised to find none but
these beautiful children in the apartment where I thought I heard you
moving. Our Ellesmere has become silly--your good-nature has spoiled
her--she has forgotten the discipline she learned under me."

"I saw her run through the wood," said the Lady Peveril, after a
moment's recollection, "undoubtedly to seek the person who has charge
of the children, in order to remove them."

"Your own darlings, I doubt not," said the Countess, looking at the
children. "Margaret, Providence has blessed you."

"That is my son," said the Lady Peveril, pointing to Julian, who stood
devouring their discourse with greedy ear; "the little girl--I may
call mine too." Major Bridgenorth, who had in the meantime again taken
up his infant, and was engaged in caressing it, set it down as the
Countess of Derby spoke, sighed deeply, and walked towards the oriel
window. He was well aware that the ordinary rules of courtesy would
have rendered it proper that he should withdraw entirely, or at least
offer to do so; but he was not a man of ceremonious politeness, and he
had a particular interest in the subjects on which the Countess's
discourse was likely to turn, which induced him to dispense with
ceremony. The ladies seemed indeed scarce to notice his presence. The
Countess had now assumed a chair, and motioned to the Lady Peveril to
sit upon a stool which was placed by her side. "We will have old times
once more, though there are here no roaring of rebel guns to drive you
to take refuge at my side, and almost in my pocket."

"I have a gun, madam," said little Julian, "and the park-keeper is to
teach me how to fire it next year."

"I will list you for my soldier, then," said the Countess.

"Ladies have no soldiers," said the boy, looking wistfully at her.

"He has the true masculine contempt of our frail sex, I see," said the
Countess; "it is born with the insolent varlets of mankind, and shows
itself so soon as they are out of their long clothes.--Did Ellesmere
never tell you of Latham House and Charlotte of Derby, my little
master?"

"A thousand thousand times," said the boy, colouring; "and how the
Queen of Man defended it six weeks against three thousand Roundheads,
under Rogue Harrison the butcher."

"It was your mother defended Latham House," said the Countess, "not I,
my little soldier--Hadst thou been there, thou hadst been the best
captain of the three."

"Do not say so, madam," said the boy, "for mamma would not touch a gun
for all the universe."

"Not I, indeed, Julian," said his mother; "there I was for certain,
but as useless a part of the garrison----"

"You forget," said the Countess, "you nursed our hospital, and made
lint for the soldiers' wounds."

"But did not papa come to help you?" said Julian.

"Papa came at last," said the Countess, "and so did Prince Rupert--but
not, I think, till they were both heartily wished for.--Do you
remember that morning, Margaret, when the round-headed knaves, that
kept us pent up so long, retreated without bag or baggage, at the
first glance of the Prince's standards appearing on the hill--and how
you took every high-crested captain you saw for Peveril of the Peak,
that had been your partner three months before at the Queen's mask?
Nay, never blush for the thought of it--it was an honest affection--
and though it was the music of trumpets that accompanied you both to
the old chapel, which was almost entirely ruined by the enemy's
bullets; and though Prince Rupert, when he gave you away at the altar,
was clad in buff and bandoleer, with pistols in his belt, yet I trust
these warlike signs were no type of future discord?"

"Heaven has been kind to me," said the Lady Peveril, "in blessing me
with an affectionate husband."

"And in preserving him to you," said the Countess, with a deep sigh;
"while mine, alas! sealed with his blood his devotion to his king[*]--
Oh, had he lived to see this day!"

[*] The Earl of Derby and King in Man was beheaded at Bolton-on-the-
    Moors, after having been made prisoner in a previous skirmish in
    Wiggan Lane.

"Alas! alas! that he was not permitted!" answered Lady Peveril; "how
had that brave and noble Earl rejoiced in the unhoped-for redemption
of our captivity!"

The Countess looked on Lady Peveril with an air of surprise.

"Thou hast not then heard, cousin, how it stands with our house?--How
indeed had my noble lord wondered, had he been told that the very
monarch for whom he had laid down his noble life on the scaffold at
Bolton-le-Moor, should make it his first act of restored monarchy to
complete the destruction of our property, already well-nigh ruined in
the royal cause, and to persecute me his widow!"

"You astonish me, madam!" said the Lady Peveril. "It cannot be, that
you--that you, the wife of the gallant, the faithful, the murdered
Earl--you, Countess of Derby, and Queen in Man--you, who took on you
even the character of a soldier, and seemed a man when so many men
proved women--that you should sustain evil from the event which has
fulfilled--exceeded--the hopes of every faithful subject--it cannot
be!"

"Thou art as simple, I see, in this world's knowledge as ever, my fair
cousin," answered the Countess. "This restoration, which has given
others security, has placed me in danger--this change which relieved
other Royalists, scarce less zealous, I presume to think, than I--has
sent me here a fugitive, and in concealment, to beg shelter and
assistance from you, fair cousin."

"From me," answered the Lady Peveril--"from me, whose youth your
kindness sheltered--from the wife of Peveril, your gallant Lord's
companion in arms--you have a right to command everything; but, alas!
that you should need such assistance as I can render--forgive me, but
it seems like some ill-omened vision of the night--I listen to your
words as if I hoped to be relieved from their painful import by
awaking."

"It is indeed a dream--a vision," said the Countess of Derby; "but it
needs no seer to read it--the explanation hath been long since given--
Put not your faith in princes. I can soon remove your surprise.--This
gentleman, your friend, is doubtless /honest?/"

The Lady Peveril well knew that the Cavaliers, like other factions,
usurped to themselves the exclusive denomination of the /honest/
party, and she felt some difficulty in explaining that her visitor was
not honest in that sense of the word.

"Had we not better retire, madam?" she said to the Countess, rising,
as if in order to attend her. But the Countess retained her seat.

"It was but a question of habit," she said; "the gentleman's
principles are nothing to me, for what I have to tell you is widely
blazed, and I care not who hears my share of it. You remember--you
must have heard, for I think Margaret Stanley would not be indifferent
to my fate--that after my husband's murder at Bolton, I took up the
standard which he never dropped until his death, and displayed it with
my own hand in our Sovereignty of Man."

"I did indeed hear so, madam," said the Lady Peveril; "and that you
had bidden a bold defiance to the rebel government, even after all
other parts of Britain had submitted to them. My husband, Sir
Geoffrey, designed at one time to have gone to your assistance with
some few followers; but we learned that the island was rendered to the
Parliament party, and that you, dearest lady, were thrown into
prison."

"But you heard not," said the Countess, "how that disaster befell me.
--Margaret, I would have held out that island against the knaves as
long as the sea continued to flow around it. Till the shoals which
surround it had become safe anchorage--till its precipices had melted
beneath the sunshine--till of all its strong abodes and castles not
one stone remained upon another,--would I have defended against these
villainous hypocritical rebels, my dear husband's hereditary dominion.
The little kingdom of Man should have been yielded only when not an
arm was left to wield a sword, not a finger to draw a trigger in its
defence. But treachery did what force could never have done. When we
had foiled various attempts upon the island by open force--treason
accomplished what Blake and Lawson, with their floating castles, had
found too hazardous an enterprise--a base rebel, whom we had nursed in
our own bosoms, betrayed us to the enemy. This wretch was named
Christian----"

Major Bridgenorth started and turned towards the speaker, but
instantly seemed to recollect himself, and again averted his face. The
Countess proceeded, without noticing the interruption, which, however,
rather surprised Lady Peveril, who was acquainted with her neighbour's
general habits of indifference and apathy, and therefore the more
surprised at his testifying such sudden symptoms of interest. She
would once again have moved the Countess to retire to another
apartment, but Lady Derby proceeded with too much vehemence to endure
interruption.

"This Christian," she said, "had eaten of my lord his sovereign's
bread, and drunk of his cup, even from childhood--for his fathers had
been faithful servants to the House of Man and Derby. He himself had
fought bravely by my husband's side, and enjoyed all his confidence;
and when my princely Earl was martyred by the rebels, he recommended
to me, amongst other instructions communicated in the last message I
received from him, to continue my confidence in Christian's fidelity.
I obeyed, although I never loved the man. He was cold and phlegmatic,
and utterly devoid of that sacred fire which is the incentive to noble
deeds, suspected, too, of leaning to the cold metaphysics of
Calvinistic subtlety. But he was brave, wise, and experienced, and, as
the event proved, possessed but too much interest with the islanders.
When these rude people saw themselves without hope of relief, and
pressed by a blockade, which brought want and disease into their
island, they began to fall off from the faith which they had hitherto
shown."

"What!" said the Lady Peveril, "could they forget what was due to the
widow of their benefactor--she who had shared with the generous Derby
the task of bettering their condition?"

"Do not blame them," said the Countess; "the rude herd acted but
according to their kind--in present distress they forgot former
benefits, and, nursed in their earthen hovels, with spirits suited to
their dwellings, they were incapable of feeling the glory which is
attached to constancy in suffering. But that Christian should have
headed their revolt--that he, born a gentleman, and bred under my
murdered Derby's own care in all that was chivalrous and noble--that
/he/ should have forgot a hundred benefits--why do I talk of benefits?
--that he should have forgotten that kindly intercourse which binds
man to man far more than the reciprocity of obligation--that he should
have headed the ruffians who broke suddenly into my apartment--immured
me with my infants in one of my own castles, and assumed or usurped
the tyranny of the island--that this should have been done by William
Christian, my vassal, my servant, my friend, was a deed of ungrateful
treachery, which even this age of treason will scarcely parallel!"

"And you were then imprisoned," said the Lady Peveril, "and in your
own sovereignty?"

"For more than seven years I have endured strict captivity," said the
Countess. "I was indeed offered my liberty, and even some means of
support, if I would have consented to leave the island, and pledge my
word that I would not endeavour to repossess my son in his father's
rights. But they little knew the princely house from which I spring--
and as little the royal house of Stanley which I uphold, who hoped to
humble Charlotte of Tremouille into so base a composition. I would
rather have starved in the darkest and lowest vault of Rushin Castle,
than have consented to aught which might diminish in one hair's-
breadth the right of my son over his father's sovereignty!"

"And could not your firmness, in a case where hope seemed lost, induce
them to be generous and dismiss you without conditions?"

"They knew me better than thou dost, wench," answered the Countess;
"once at liberty, I had not been long without the means of disturbing
their usurpation, and Christian would have as soon encaged a lioness
to combat with, as have given me the slightest power of returning to
the struggle with him. But time had liberty and revenge in store--I
had still friends and partisans in the island, though they were
compelled to give way to the storm. Even among the islanders at large,
most had been disappointed in the effects which they expected from the
change of power. They were loaded with exactions by their new masters,
their privileges were abridged, and their immunities abolished, under
the pretext of reducing them to the same condition with the other
subjects of the pretended republic. When the news arrived of the
changes which were current in Britain, these sentiments were privately
communicated to me. Calcott and others acted with great zeal and
fidelity; and a rising, effected as suddenly and effectually as that
which had made me a captive, placed me at liberty and in possession of
the sovereignty of Man, as Regent for my son, the youthful Earl of
Derby. Do you think I enjoyed that sovereignty long without doing
justice on that traitor Christian?"

"How, madam," said Lady Peveril, who, though she knew the high and
ambitious spirit of the Countess, scarce anticipated the extremities
to which it was capable of hurrying her--"have you imprisoned
Christian?"

"Ay, wench--in that sure prison which felon never breaks from,"
answered the Countess.

Bridgenorth, who had insensibly approached them, and was listening
with an agony of interest which he was unable any longer to suppress,
broke in with the stern exclamation--

"Lady, I trust you have not dared----"

The Countess interrupted him in her turn.

"I know not who you are who question--and you know not me when you
speak to me of that which I dare, or dare not do. But you seem
interested in the fate of this Christian, and you shall hear it.--I
was no sooner placed in possession of my rightful power, than I
ordered the Dempster of the island to hold upon the traitor a High
Court of Justice, with all the formalities of the isle, as prescribed
in its oldest records. The Court was held in the open air, before the
Dempster and the Keys of the island, assembled under the vaulted cope
of heaven, and seated on the terrace of the Zonwald Hill, where of old
Druid and Scald held their courts of judgment. The criminal was heard
at length in his own defence, which amounted to little more than those
specious allegations of public consideration, which are ever used to
colour the ugly front of treason. He was fully convicted of his crime,
and he received the doom of a traitor."

"But which, I trust, is not yet executed?" said Lady Peveril, not
without an involuntary shudder.

"You are a fool, Margaret," said the Countess sharply; "think you I
delayed such an act of justice, until some wretched intrigues of the
new English Court might have prompted their interference? No, wench--
he passed from the judgment-seat to the place of execution, with no
farther delay than might be necessary for his soul's sake. He was shot
to death by a file of musketeers in the common place of execution
called Hango Hill."

Bridgenorth clasped his hands together, wrung them, and groaned
bitterly.

"As you seem interested for this criminal," added the Countess,
addressing Bridgenorth, "I do him but justice in repeating to you,
that his death was firm and manly, becoming the general tenor of his
life, which, but for that gross act of traitorous ingratitude, had
been fair and honourable. But what of that? The hypocrite is a saint,
and the false traitor a man of honour, till opportunity, that faithful
touchstone, proves their metal to be base."

"It is false, woman--it is false!" said Bridgenorth, no longer
suppressing his indignation.

"What means this bearing, Master Bridgenorth?" said Lady Peveril, much
surprised. "What is this Christian to you, that you should insult the
Countess of Derby under my roof?"

"Speak not to me of countesses and of ceremonies," said Bridgenorth;
"grief and anger leave me no leisure for idle observances to humour
the vanity of overgrown children.--O Christian--worthy, well worthy,
of the name thou didst bear! My friend--my brother--the brother of my
blessed Alice--the only friend of my desolate estate! art thou then
cruelly murdered by a female fury, who, but for thee, had deservedly
paid with her own blood that of God's saints, which she, as well as
her tyrant husband, had spilled like water!--Yes, cruel murderess!" he
continued, addressing the Countess, "he whom thou hast butchered in
thy insane vengeance, sacrificed for many a year the dictates of his
own conscience to the interest of thy family, and did not desert it
till thy frantic zeal for royalty had well-nigh brought to utter
perdition the little community in which he was born. Even in confining
thee, he acted but as the friends of the madman, who bind him with
iron for his own preservation; and for thee, as I can bear witness, he
was the only barrier between thee and the wrath of the Commons of
England; and but for his earnest remonstrances, thou hadst suffered
the penalty of thy malignancy, even like the wicked wife of Ahab."

"Master Bridgenorth," said the Lady Peveril, "I will allow for your
impatience upon hearing these unpleasing tidings; but there is neither
use nor propriety in farther urging this question. If in your grief
you forget other restraints, I pray you to remember that the Countess
is my guest and kinswoman, and is under such protection as I can
afford her. I beseech you, in simple courtesy, to withdraw, as what
must needs be the best and most becoming course in these trying
circumstances."

"Nay, let him remain," said the Countess, regarding him with
composure, not unmingled with triumph; "I would not have it otherwise;
I would not that my revenge should be summed up in the stinted
gratification which Christian's death hath afforded. This man's rude
and clamorous grief only proves that the retribution I have dealt has
been more widely felt than by the wretched sufferer himself. I would I
knew that it had but made sore as many rebel hearts, as there were
loyal breasts afflicted by the death of my princely Derby!"

"So please you, madam," said Lady Peveril, "since Master Bridgenorth
hath not the manners to leave us upon my request, we will, if your
ladyship lists, leave him, and retire to my apartment.--Farewell,
Master Bridgenorth; we will meet hereafter on better terms."

"Pardon me, madam," said the Major, who had been striding hastily
through the room, but now stood fast, and drew himself up, as one who
has taken a resolution;--"to yourself I have nothing to say but what
is respectful; but to this woman I must speak as a magistrate. She has
confessed a murder in my presence--the murder too of my brother-in-law
--as a man, and as a magistrate, I cannot permit her to pass from
hence, excepting under such custody as may prevent her farther flight.
She has already confessed that she is a fugitive, and in search of a
place of concealment, until she should be able to escape into foreign
parts.--Charlotte, Countess of Derby, I attach thee of the crime of
which thou hast but now made thy boast."

"I shall not obey your arrest," said the Countess composedly; "I was
born to give, but not to receive such orders. What have your English
laws to do with my acts of justice and of government, within my son's
hereditary kingdom? Am I not Queen in Man, as well as Countess of
Derby? A feudatory Sovereign indeed; but yet independent so long as my
dues of homage are duly discharged. What right can you assert over
me?"

"That given by the precepts of Scripture," answered Bridgenorth--
"'Whoso spilleth man's blood, by man shall his blood be spilled.'
Think not the barbarous privileges of ancient feudal customs will
avail to screen you from the punishment due for an Englishman murdered
upon pretexts inconsistent with the act of indemnity."

"Master Bridgenorth," said the Lady Peveril, "if by fair terms you
desist not from your present purpose, I tell you that I neither dare,
nor will, permit any violence against this honourable lady within the
walls of my husband's castle."

"You will find yourself unable to prevent me from executing my duty,
madam," said Bridgenorth, whose native obstinacy now came in aid of
his grief and desire of revenge; "I am a magistrate, and act by
authority."

"I know not that," said Lady Peveril. "That you /were/ a magistrate,
Master Bridgenorth, under the late usurping powers, I know well; but
till I hear of your having a commission in the name of the King, I now
hesitate to obey you as such."

"I shall stand on small ceremony," said Bridgenorth. "Were I no
magistrate, every man has title to arrest for murder against the terms
of the indemnities held out by the King's proclamations, and I will
make my point good."

"What indemnities? What proclamations?" said the Countess of Derby
indignantly. "Charles Stuart may, if he pleases (and it doth seem to
please him), consort with those whose hands have been red with the
blood, and blackened with the plunder, of his father and of his loyal
subjects. He may forgive them if he will, and count their deeds good
service. What has that to do with this Christian's offence against me
and mine? Born a Mankesman--bred and nursed in the island--he broke
the laws under which he lived, and died for the breach of them, after
the fair trial which they allowed.--Methinks, Margaret, we have enough
of this peevish and foolish magistrate--I attend you to your
apartment."

Major Bridgenorth placed himself betwixt them and the door, in a
manner which showed him determined to interrupt their passage; when
the Lady Peveril, who thought she already showed more deference to him
in this matter than her husband was likely to approve of, raised her
voice, and called loudly on her steward, Whitaker. That alert person,
who had heard high talking, and a female voice with which he was
unacquainted, had remained for several minutes stationed in the
anteroom, much afflicted with the anxiety of his own curiosity. Of
course he entered in an instant.

"Let three of the men instantly take arms," said the lady; "bring them
into the anteroom, and wait my farther orders."



                              CHAPTER VI

            You shall have no worse prison than my chamber,
            Nor jailer than myself.
                                               --THE CAPTAIN.

The command which Lady Peveril laid on her domestics to arm
themselves, was so unlike the usual gentle acquiescence of her
manners, that Major Bridgenorth was astonished. "How mean you, madam?"
said he; "I thought myself under a friendly roof."

"And you are so, Master Bridgenorth," said the Lady Peveril, without
departing from the natural calmness of her voice and manner; "but it
is a roof which must not be violated by the outrage of one friend
against another."

"It is well, madam," said Bridgenorth, turning to the door of the
apartment. "The worthy Master Solsgrace has already foretold, that the
time was returned when high houses and proud names should be once more
an excuse for the crimes of those who inhabit the one and bear the
other. I believed him not, but now see he is wiser than I. Yet think
not I will endure this tamely. The blood of my brother--of the friend
of my bosom--shall not long call from the altar, 'How long, O Lord,
how long!' If there is one spark of justice left in this unhappy
England, that proud woman and I shall meet where she can have no
partial friend to protect her."

So saying, he was about to leave the apartment, when Lady Peveril
said, "You depart not from this place, Master Bridgenorth, unless you
give me your word to renounce all purpose against the noble Countess's
liberty upon the present occasion."

"I would sooner," answered he, "subscribe to my own dishonour, madam,
written down in express words, than to any such composition. If any
man offers to interrupt me, his blood be on his own head!" As Major
Bridgenorth spoke, Whitaker threw open the door, and showed that, with
the alertness of an old soldier, who was not displeased to see things
tend once more towards a state of warfare, he had got with him four
stout fellows in the Knight of the Peak's livery, well armed with
swords and carabines, buff-coats, and pistols at their girdles.

"I will see," said Major Bridgenorth, "if any of these men be so
desperate as to stop me, a freeborn Englishman, and a magistrate in
the discharge of my duty."

So saying, he advanced upon Whitaker and his armed assistants, with
his hand on the hilt of his sword.

"Do not be so desperate, Master Bridgenorth," exclaimed Lady Peveril;
and added, in the same moment, "Lay hold upon, and disarm him,
Whitaker; but do him no injury."

Her commands were obeyed. Bridgenorth, though a man of moral
resolution, was not one of those who undertook to cope in person with
odds of a description so formidable. He half drew his sword, and
offered such show of resistance as made it necessary to secure him by
actual force; but then yielded up his weapon, and declared that,
submitting to force which one man was unable to resist, he made those
who commanded, and who employed it, responsible for assailing his
liberty without a legal warrant.

"Never mind a warrant on a pinch, Master Bridgenorth," said old
Whitaker; "sure enough you have often acted upon a worse yourself. My
lady's word is as good as a warrant, sure, as Old Noll's commission;
and you bore that many a day, Master Bridgenorth, and, moreover, you
laid me in the stocks for drinking the King's health, Master
Bridgenorth, and never cared a farthing about the laws of England."

"Hold your saucy tongue, Whitaker," said the Lady Peveril; "and do
you, Master Bridgenorth, not take it to heart that you are detained
prisoner for a few hours, until the Countess of Derby can have nothing
to fear from your pursuit. I could easily send an escort with her that
might bid defiance to any force you could muster; but I wish, Heaven
knows, to bury the remembrance of old civil dissensions, not to awaken
new. Once more, will you think better of it--assume your sword again,
and forget whom you have now seen at Martindale Castle?"

"Never," said Bridgenorth. "The crime of this cruel woman will be the
last of human injuries which I can forget. The last thought of earthly
kind which will leave me, will be the desire that justice shall be
done on her."

"If such be your sentiments," said Lady Peveril, "though they are more
allied to revenge than to justice, I must provide for my friend's
safety, by putting restraint upon your person. In this room you will
be supplied with every necessary of life, and every convenience; and a
message shall relieve your domestics of the anxiety which your absence
from the Hall is not unlikely to occasion. When a few hours, at most
two days, are over, I will myself relieve you from confinement, and
demand your pardon for now acting as your obstinacy compels me to do."

The Major made no answer, but that he was in her hands, and must
submit to her pleasure; and then turned sullenly to the window, as if
desirous to be rid of their presence.

The Countess and the Lady Peveril left the apartment arm in arm; and
the lady issued forth her directions to Whitaker concerning the mode
in which she was desirous that Bridgenorth should be guarded and
treated during his temporary confinement; at the same time explaining
to him, that the safety of the Countess of Derby required that he
should be closely watched.

In all proposals for the prisoner's security, such as the regular
relief of guards, and the like, Whitaker joyfully acquiesced, and
undertook, body for body, that he should be detained in captivity for
the necessary period. But the old steward was not half so docile when
it came to be considered how the captive's bedding and table should be
supplied; and he thought Lady Peveril displayed a very undue degree of
attention to her prisoner's comforts. "I warrant," he said, "that the
cuckoldly Roundhead ate enough of our fat beef yesterday to serve him
for a month; and a little fasting will do his health good. Marry, for
drink, he shall have plenty of cold water to cool his hot liver, which
I will be bound is still hissing with the strong liquors of yesterday.
And as for bedding, there are the fine dry board--more wholesome than
the wet straw I lay upon when I was in the stocks, I trow."

"Whitaker," said the lady peremptorily, "I desire you to provide
Master Bridgenorth's bedding and food in the way I have signified to
you; and to behave yourself towards him in all civility."

"Lack-a-day! yes, my lady," said Whitaker; "you shall have all your
directions punctually obeyed; but as an old servant, I cannot but
speak my mind."

The ladies retired after this conference with the steward in the
antechamber, and were soon seated in another apartment, which was
peculiarly dedicated to the use of the mistress of the mansion--
having, on the one side, access to the family bedroom; and, on the
other, to the still-room which communicated with the garden. There was
also a small door which, ascending a few steps, led to that balcony,
already mentioned, that overhung the kitchen; and the same passage, by
a separate door, admitted to the principal gallery in the chapel; so
that the spiritual and temporal affairs of the Castle were placed
almost at once within the reach of the same regulating and directing
eye.[*]

[*] This peculiar collocation of apartments may be seen at Haddon
    Hall, Derbyshire, once a seat of the Vernons, where, in the lady's
    pew in the chapel, there is a sort of scuttle, which opens into
    the kitchen, so that the good lady could ever and anon, without
    much interruption of her religious duties, give an eye that the
    roast-meat was not permitted to burn, and that the turn-broche did
    his duty.

In the tapestried room, from which issued these various sally-ports,
the Countess and Lady Peveril were speedily seated; and the former,
smiling upon the latter, said, as she took her hand, "Two things have
happened to-day, which might have surprised me, if anything ought to
surprise me in such times:--the first is, that yonder roundheaded
fellow should have dared to use such insolence in the house of Peveril
of the Peak. If your husband is yet the same honest and downright
Cavalier whom I once knew, and had chanced to be at home, he would
have thrown the knave out of window. But what I wonder at still more,
Margaret, is your generalship. I hardly thought you had courage
sufficient to have taken such decided measures, after keeping on terms
with the man so long. When he spoke of justices and warrants, you
looked so overawed that I thought I felt the clutch of the parish-
beadles on my shoulder, to drag me to prison as a vagrant."

"We owe Master Bridgenorth some deference, my dearest lady," answered
the Lady Peveril; "he has served us often and kindly, in these late
times; but neither he, nor any one else, shall insult the Countess of
Derby in the house of Margaret Stanley."

"Thou art become a perfect heroine, Margaret," replied the Countess.

"Two sieges, and alarms innumerable," said Lady Peveril, "may have
taught me presence of mind. My courage is, I believe, as slender as
ever."

"Presence of mind /is/ courage," answered the Countess. "Real valour
consists not in being insensible to danger, but in being prompt to
confront and disarm it;--and we may have present occasion for all that
we possess," she added, with some slight emotion, "for I hear the
trampling of horses' steps on the pavement of the court."

In one moment, the boy Julian, breathless with joy, came flying into
the room, to say that papa was returned, with Lamington and Sam
Brewer; and that he was himself to ride Black Hastings to the stable.
In the second the tramp of the honest Knight's heavy jack-boots was
heard, as, in his haste to see his lady, he ascended the staircase by
two steps at a time. He burst into the room; his manly countenance and
disordered dress showing marks that he had been riding fast; and
without looking to any one else, caught his good lady in his arms, and
kissed her a dozen of times.--Blushing, and with some difficulty, Lady
Peveril extricated herself from Sir Geoffrey's arms; and in a voice of
bashful and gentle rebuke, bid him, for shame, observe who was in the
room.

"One," said the Countess, advancing to him, "who is right glad to see
that Sir Geoffrey Peveril, though turned courtier and favourite, still
values the treasure which she had some share in bestowing upon him.
You cannot have forgot the raising of the leaguer of Latham House!"

"The noble Countess of Derby!" said Sir Geoffrey, doffing his plumed
hat with an air of deep deference, and kissing with much reverence the
hand which she held out to him; "I am as glad to see your ladyship in
my poor house, as I would be to hear that they had found a vein of
lead in the Brown Tor. I rode hard, in the hope of being your escort
through the country. I feared you might have fallen into bad hands,
hearing there was a knave sent out with a warrant from the Council."

"When heard you so? and from whom?"

"It was from Cholmondley of Vale Royal," said Sir Geoffrey; "he is
come down to make provision for your safety through Cheshire; and I
promised to bring you there in safety. Prince Rupert, Ormond, and
other friends, do not doubt the matter will be driven to a fine; but
they say the Chancellor, and Harry Bennet, and some others of the
over-sea counsellors, are furious at what they call a breach of the
King's proclamation. Hang them, say I!--They left us to bear all the
beating; and now they are incensed that we should wish to clear scores
with those who rode us like nightmares!"

"What did they talk of for my chastisement?" said the Countess.

"I wot not," said Sir Geoffrey; "some friends, as I said, from our
kind Cheshire, and others, tried to bring it to a fine; but some,
again, spoke of nothing but the Tower, and a long imprisonment."

"I have suffered imprisonment long enough for King Charles's sake,"
said the Countess; "and have no mind to undergo it at his hand.
Besides, if I am removed from the personal superintendence of my son's
dominions in Man, I know not what new usurpation may be attempted
there. I must be obliged to you, cousin, to contrive that I may get in
security to Vale Royal, and from thence I know I shall be guarded
safely to Liverpool."

"You may rely on my guidance and protection, noble lady," answered her
host, "though you had come here at midnight, and with the rogue's head
in your apron, like Judith in the Holy Apocrypha, which I joy to hear
once more read in churches."

"Do the gentry resort much to the Court?" said the lady.

"Ay, madam," replied Sir Geoffrey; "and according to our saying, when
miners do begin to bore in these parts, it is /for the grace of God,
and what they there may find/."

"Meet the old Cavaliers with much countenance?" continued the
Countess.

"Faith, madam, to speak truth," replied the Knight, "the King hath so
gracious a manner, that it makes every man's hopes blossom, though we
have seen but few that have ripened into fruit."

"You have not, yourself, my cousin," answered the Countess, "had room
to complain of ingratitude, I trust? Few have less deserved it at the
King's hand."

Sir Geoffrey was unwilling, like most prudent persons, to own the
existence of expectations which had proved fallacious, yet had too
little art in his character to conceal his disappointment entirely.
"Who, I, madam?" he said; "Alas! what should a poor country knight
expect from the King, besides the pleasure of seeing him in Whitehall
once more, and enjoying his own again? And his Majesty was very
gracious when I was presented, and spoke to me of Worcester, and of my
horse, Black Hastings--he had forgot his name, though--faith, and
mine, too, I believe, had not Prince Rupert whispered it to him. And I
saw some old friends, such as his Grace of Ormond, Sir Marmaduke
Langdale, Sir Philip Musgrave, and so forth; and had a jolly rouse or
two, to the tune of old times."

"I should have thought so many wounds received--so many dangers risked
--such considerable losses--merited something more than a few smooth
words," said the Countess.

"Nay, my lady, there were other friends of mine who had the same
thought," answered Peveril. "Some were of opinion that the loss of so
many hundred acres of fair land was worth some reward of honour at
least; and there were who thought my descent from William the
Conqueror--craving your ladyship's pardon for boasting it in your
presence--would not have become a higher rank or title worse than the
pedigree of some who have been promoted. But what said the witty Duke
of Buckingham, forsooth? (whose grandsire was a Lei'stershire Knight--
rather poorer, and scarcely so well-born as myself)--Why, he said,
that if all of my degree who deserved well of the King in the late
times were to be made peers, the House of Lords must meet upon
Salisbury Plain!"

"And that bad jest passed for a good argument!" said the Countess;
"and well it might, where good arguments pass for bad jests. But here
comes one I must be acquainted with."

This was little Julian, who now re-entered the hall, leading his
little sister, as if he had brought her to bear witness to the
boastful tale which he told his father, of his having manfully ridden
Black Hastings to the stable-yard, alone in the saddle; and that
Saunders though he walked by the horse's head, did not once put his
hand upon the rein, and Brewer, though he stood beside him, scarce
held him by the knee. The father kissed the boy heartily; and the
Countess, calling him to her so soon as Sir Geoffrey had set him down,
kissed his forehead also, and then surveyed all his features with a
keen and penetrating eye.

"He is a true Peveril," said she, "mixed as he should be with some
touch of the Stanley. Cousin, you must grant me my boon, and when I am
safely established, and have my present affair arranged, you must let
me have this little Julian of yours some time hence, to be nurtured in
my house, held as my page, and the playfellow of the little Derby. I
trust in Heaven, they will be such friends as their fathers have been,
and may God send them more fortunate times!"

"Marry, and I thank you for the proposal with all my heart, madam,"
said the Knight. "There are so many noble houses decayed, and so many
more in which the exercise and discipline for the training of noble
youths is given up and neglected, that I have often feared I must have
kept Gil to be young master at home; and I have had too little nurture
myself to teach him much, and so he would have been a mere hunting
hawking knight of Derbyshire. But in your ladyship's household, and
with the noble young Earl, he will have all, and more than all, the
education which I could desire."

"There shall be no distinction betwixt them, cousin," said the
Countess; "Margaret Stanley's son shall be as much the object of care
to me as my own, since you are kindly disposed to entrust him to my
charge.--You look pale, Margaret," she continued, "and the tear stands
in your eye? Do not be so foolish, my love--what I ask is better than
you can desire for your boy; for the house of my father, the Duke de
la Tremouille, was the most famous school of chivalry in France; nor
have I degenerated from him, or suffered any relaxation in that noble
discipline which trained young gentlemen to do honour to their race.
You can promise your Julian no such advantages, if you train him up a
mere home-bred youth."

"I acknowledge the importance of the favour, madam," said Lady
Peveril, "and must acquiesce in what your ladyship honours us by
proposing, and Sir Geoffrey approves of; but Julian is an only child,
and----"

"An only son," said the Countess, "but surely not an only child. You
pay too high deference to our masters, the male sex, if you allow
Julian to engross all your affection, and spare none for this
beautiful girl."

So saying, she set down Julian, and, taking Alice Bridgenorth on her
lap, began to caress her; and there was, notwithstanding her masculine
character, something so sweet in the tone of her voice and in the cast
of her features, that the child immediately smiled, and replied to her
marks of fondness. This mistake embarrassed Lady Peveril exceedingly.
Knowing the blunt impetuosity of her husband's character, his devotion
to the memory of the deceased Earl of Derby, and his corresponding
veneration for his widow, she was alarmed for the consequences of his
hearing the conduct of Bridgenorth that morning, and was particularly
desirous that he should not learn it save from herself in private, and
after due preparation. But the Countess's error led to a more
precipitate disclosure.

"That pretty girl, madam," answered Sir Geoffrey, "is none of ours--I
wish she were. She belongs to a neighbour hard by--a good man, and, to
say truth, a good neighbour--though he was carried off from his
allegiance in the late times by a d--d Presbyterian scoundrel, who
calls himself a parson, and whom I hope to fetch down from his perch
presently, with a wannion to him! He has been cock of the roost long
enough.--There are rods in pickle to switch the Geneva cloak with, I
can tell the sour-faced rogues that much. But this child is the
daughter of Bridgenorth--neighbour Bridgenorth, of Moultrassie Hall."

"Bridgenorth?" said the Countess; "I thought I had known all the
honourable names in Derbyshire--I remember nothing of Bridgenorth.--
But stay--was there not a sequestrator and committeeman of that name?
Sure, it cannot be he?"

Peveril took some shame to himself, as he replied, "It is the very man
whom your ladyship means, and you may conceive the reluctance with
which I submitted to receive good offices from one of his kidney; but
had I not done so, I should have scarce known how to find a roof to
cover Dame Margaret's head."

The Countess, as he spoke, raised the child gently from her lap, and
placed it upon the carpet, though little Alice showed a disinclination
to the change of place, which the lady of Derby and Man would
certainly have indulged in a child of patrician descent and loyal
parentage.

"I blame you not," she said; "no one knows what temptation will bring
us down to. Yet I /did/ think Peveril of the Peak would have resided
in its deepest cavern, sooner than owed an obligation to a regicide."

"Nay, madam," answered the Knight, "my neighbour is bad enough, but
not so bad as you would make him; he is but a Presbyterian--that I
must confess--but not an Independent."

"A variety of the same monster," said the Countess, "who hallooed
while the others hunted, and bound the victim whom the Independents
massacred. Betwixt such sects I prefer the Independents. They are at
least bold, bare-faced, merciless villains, have more of the tiger in
them, and less of the crocodile. I have no doubt it was that worthy
gentleman who took it upon him this morning----"

She stopped short, for she saw Lady Peveril was vexed and embarrassed.

"I am," she said, "the most luckless of beings. I have said something,
I know not what, to distress you, Margaret--Mystery is a bad thing,
and betwixt us there should be none."

"There is none, madam," said Lady Peveril, something impatiently; "I
waited but an opportunity to tell my husband what had happened--Sir
Geoffrey, Master Bridgenorth was unfortunately here when the Lady
Derby and I met; and he thought it part of his duty to speak of----"

"To speak of what?" said the Knight, bending his brows. "You were ever
something too fond, dame, of giving way to the usurpation of such
people."

"I only mean," said Lady Peveril, "that as the person--he to whom Lord
Derby's story related--was the brother of his late lady, he threatened
--but I cannot think that he was serious."

"Threaten?--threaten the Lady of Derby and Man in my house!--the widow
of my friend--the noble Charlotte of Latham House!--by Heaven, the
prick-eared slave shall answer it! How comes it that my knaves threw
him not out of the window?"

"Alas! Sir Geoffrey, you forget how much we owe him," said the lady.

"Owe him!" said the Knight, still more indignant; for in his
singleness of apprehension he conceived that his wife alluded to
pecuniary obligations,--"if I do owe him some money, hath he not
security for it? and must he have the right, over and above, to
domineer and play the magistrate in Martindale Castle?--Where is he?--
what have you made of him? I will--I must speak with him."

"Be patient, Sir Geoffrey," said the Countess, who now discerned the
cause of her kinswoman's apprehension; "and be assured I did not need
your chivalry to defend me against this discourteous faitour, as
/Morte d'Arthur/ would have called him. I promise you my kinswoman
hath fully righted my wrong; and I am so pleased to owe my deliverance
entirely to her gallantry, that I charge and command you, as a true
knight, not to mingle in the adventure of another."

Lady Peveril, who knew her husband's blunt and impatient temper, and
perceived that he was becoming angry, now took up the story, and
plainly and simply pointed out the cause of Master Bridgenorth's
interference.

"I am sorry for it," said the Knight; "I thought he had more sense;
and that this happy change might have done some good upon him. But you
should have told me this instantly--It consists not with my honour
that he should be kept prisoner in this house, as if I feared anything
he could do to annoy the noble Countess, while she is under my roof,
or within twenty miles of this Castle."

So saying, and bowing to the Countess, he went straight to the gilded
chamber, leaving Lady Peveril in great anxiety for the event of an
angry meeting between a temper hasty as that of her husband, and
stubborn like that of Bridgenorth. Her apprehensions were, however,
unnecessary; for the meeting was not fated to take place.

When Sir Geoffrey Peveril, having dismissed Whitaker and his
sentinels, entered the gilded chamber, in which he expected to find
his captive, the prisoner had escaped, and it was easy to see in what
manner. The sliding panel had, in the hurry of the moment, escaped the
memory of Lady Peveril, and of Whitaker, the only persons who knew
anything of it. It was probable that a chink had remained open,
sufficient to indicate its existence to Bridgenorth; who withdrawing
it altogether, had found his way into the secret apartment with which
it communicated, and from thence to the postern of the Castle by
another secret passage, which had been formed in the thickness of the
wall, as is not uncommon in ancient mansions; the lords of which were
liable to so many mutations of fortune, that they usually contrived to
secure some lurking place and secret mode of retreat from their
fortresses. That Bridgenorth had discovered and availed himself of
this secret mode of retreat was evident; because the private doors
communicating with the postern and the sliding panel in the gilded
chamber were both left open.

Sir Geoffrey returned to the ladies with looks of perplexity. While he
deemed Bridgenorth within his reach, he was apprehensive of nothing he
could do; for he felt himself his superior in personal strength, and
in that species of courage which induces a man to rush, without
hesitation, upon personal danger. But when at a distance, he had been
for many years accustomed to consider Bridgenorth's power and
influence as something formidable; and notwithstanding the late change
of affairs, his ideas so naturally reverted to his neighbour as a
powerful friend or dangerous enemy, that he felt more apprehension on
the Countess's score, than he was willing to acknowledge even to
himself. The Countess observed his downcast and anxious brow, and
requested to know if her stay there was likely to involve him in any
trouble, or in any danger.

"The trouble should be welcome," said Sir Geoffrey, "and more welcome
the danger, which should come on such an account. My plan was, that
your ladyship should have honoured Martindale with a few days'
residence, which might have been kept private until the search after
you was ended. Had I seen this fellow Bridgenorth, I have no doubt I
could have compelled him to act discreetly; but he is now at liberty,
and will keep out of my reach; and, what is worse, he has the secret
of the priest's chamber."

Here the Knight paused, and seemed much embarrassed.

"You can, then, neither conceal nor protect me?" said the Countess.

"Pardon, my honoured lady," answered the Knight, "and let me say out
my say. The plain truth is, that this man hath many friends among the
Presbyterians here, who are more numerous than I would wish them; and
if he falls in with the pursuivant fellow who carries the warrant of
the Privy Council, it is likely he will back him with force sufficient
to try to execute it. And I doubt whether any of our friends can be
summoned together in haste, sufficient to resist such a power as they
are like to bring together."

"Nor would I wish any friends to take arms, in my name, against the
King's warrant, Sir Geoffrey," said the Countess.

"Nay, for that matter," replied the Knight, "an his Majesty will grant
warrants against his best friends, he must look to have them resisted.
But the best I can think of in this emergence is--though the proposal
be something inhospitable--that your ladyship should take presently to
horse, if your fatigue will permit. I will mount also, with some brisk
fellows, who will lodge you safe at Vale Royal, though the Sheriff
stopped the way with a whole /posse comitatus/."

The Countess of Derby willingly acquiesced in this proposal. She had
enjoyed a night's sound repose in the private chamber, to which
Ellesmere had guided her on the preceding evening, and was quite ready
to resume her route, or flight--"she scarce knew," she said, "which of
the two she should term it."

Lady Peveril wept at the necessity which seemed to hurry her earliest
friend and protectress from under her roof, at the instant when the
clouds of adversity were gathering around her; but she saw no
alternative equally safe. Nay, however strong her attachment to Lady
Derby, she could not but be more readily reconciled to her hasty
departure, when she considered the inconvenience, and even danger, in
which her presence, at such a time, and in such circumstances, was
likely to involve a man so bold and hot-tempered as her husband Sir
Geoffrey.

While Lady Peveril, therefore, made every arrangement which time
permitted and circumstances required, for the Countess prosecuting her
journey, her husband, whose spirits always rose with the prospect of
action, issued his orders to Whitaker to get together a few stout
fellows, with back and breast pieces, and steel-caps. "There are the
two lackeys, and Outram and Saunders, besides the other groom fellow,
and Roger Raine, and his son; but bid Roger not come drunk again;--
thyself, young Dick of the Dale and his servant, and a file or two of
the tenants,--we shall be enough for any force they can make. All
these are fellows that will strike hard, and ask no question why--
their hands are ever readier than their tongues, and their mouths are
more made for drinking than speaking."

Whitaker, apprised of the necessity of the case, asked if he should
not warn Sir Jasper Cranbourne.

"Not a word to him, as you live," said the Knight; "this may be an
outlawry, as they call it, for what I know; and therefore I will bring
no lands or tenements into peril, saving mine own. Sir Jasper hath had
a troublesome time of it for many a year. By my will, he shall sit
quiet for the rest of's days."



                             CHAPTER VII

         /Fang./--A rescue! a rescue!
         /Mrs. Quickly./--Good people, bring a rescue or two.
                                            --Henry IV. /Part I./

The followers of Peveril were so well accustomed to the sound of "Boot
and Saddle," that they were soon mounted and in order; and in all the
form, and with some of the dignity of danger, proceeded to escort the
Countess of Derby through the hilly and desert tract of country which
connects the frontier of the shire with the neighbouring county of
Cheshire. The cavalcade moved with considerable precaution, which they
had been taught by the discipline of the Civil Wars. One wary and
well-mounted trooper rode about two hundred yards in advance;
followed, at about half that distance, by two more, with their
carabines advanced, as if ready for action. About one hundred yards
behind the advance, came the main body; where the Countess of Derby,
mounted on Lady Peveril's ambling palfrey (for her own had been
exhausted by the journey from London to Martindale Castle),
accompanied by one groom, of approved fidelity, and one waiting-maid,
was attended and guarded by the Knight of the Peak, and three files of
good and practised horsemen. In the rear came Whitaker, with Lance
Outram, as men of especial trust, to whom the covering the retreat was
confided. They rode, as the Spanish proverb expresses it, "with the
beard on the shoulder," looking around, that is, from time to time,
and using every precaution to have the speediest knowledge of any
pursuit which might take place.

But, however wise in discipline, Peveril and his followers were
somewhat remiss in civil policy. The Knight had communicated to
Whitaker, though without any apparent necessity, the precise nature of
their present expedition; and Whitaker was equally communicative to
his comrade Lance, the keeper. "It is strange enough, Master
Whitaker," said the latter, when he had heard the case, "and I wish
you, being a wise man, would expound it;--why, when we have been
wishing for the King--and praying for the King--and fighting for the
King--and dying for the King, for these twenty years, the first thing
we find to do on his return, is to get into harness to resist his
warrant?"

"Pooh! you silly fellow," said Whitaker, "that is all you know of the
true bottom of our quarrel! Why, man, we fought for the King's person
against his warrant, all along from the very beginning; for I remember
the rogues' proclamations, and so forth, always ran in the name of the
King and Parliament."

"Ay! was it even so?" replied Lance. "Nay, then, if they begin the old
game so soon again, and send out warrants in the King's name against
his loyal subjects, well fare our stout Knight, say I, who is ready to
take them down in their stocking-soles. And if Bridgenorth takes the
chase after us, I shall not be sorry to have a knock at him for one."

"Why, the man, bating he is a pestilent Roundhead and Puritan," said
Whitaker, "is no bad neighbour. What has he done to thee, man?"

"He has poached on the manor," answered the keeper.

"The devil he has!" replied Whitaker. "Thou must be jesting, Lance.
Bridgenorth is neither hunter nor hawker; he hath not so much of
honesty in him."

"Ay, but he runs after game you little think of, with his sour,
melancholy face, that would scare babes and curdle milk," answered
Lance.

"Thou canst not mean the wenches?" said Whitaker; "why, he hath been
melancholy mad with moping for the death of his wife. Thou knowest our
lady took the child, for fear he should strangle it for putting him in
mind of its mother, in some of his tantrums. Under her favour, and
among friends, there are many poor Cavaliers' children, that care
would be better bestowed upon--But to thy tale."

"Why, thus it runs," said Lance. "I think you may have noticed, Master
Whitaker, that a certain Mistress Deborah hath manifested a certain
favour for a certain person in a certain household."

"For thyself, to wit," answered Whitaker; "Lance Outram, thou art the
vainest coxcomb----"

"Coxcomb?" said Lance; "why, 'twas but last night the whole family saw
her, as one would say, fling herself at my head."

"I would she had been a brickbat then, to have broken it, for thy
impertinence and conceit," said the steward.

"Well, but do but hearken. The next morning--that is, this very
blessed morning--I thought of going to lodge a buck in the park,
judging a bit of venison might be wanted in the larder, after
yesterday's wassail; and, as I passed under the nursery window, I did
but just look up to see what madam governante was about; and so I saw
her, through the casement, whip on her hood and scarf as soon as she
had a glimpse of me. Immediately after I saw the still-room door open,
and made sure she was coming through the garden, and so over the
breach and down to the park; and so, thought I, 'Aha, Mistress Deb, if
you are so ready to dance after my pipe and tabor, I will give you a
couranto before you shall come up with me.' And so I went down Ivy-tod
Dingle, where the copse is tangled, and the ground swampy, and round
by Haxley-bottom, thinking all the while she was following, and
laughing in my sleeve at the round I was giving her."

"You deserved to be ducked for it," said Whitaker, "for a weather-
headed puppy; but what is all this Jack-a-lantern story to
Bridgenorth?"

"Why, it was all along of he, man," continued Lance, "that is, of
Bridgenorth, that she did not follow me--Gad, I first walked slow, and
then stopped, and then turned back a little, and then began to wonder
what she had made of herself, and to think I had borne myself
something like a jackass in the matter."

"That I deny," said Whitaker, "never jackass but would have borne him
better--but go on."

"Why, turning my face towards the Castle, I went back as if I had my
nose bleeding, when just by the Copely thorn, which stands, you know,
a flight-short from the postern-gate, I saw Madam Deb in close
conference with the enemy."

"What enemy?" said the steward.

"What enemy! why, who but Bridgenorth? They kept out of sight, and
among the copse; but, thought I, it is hard if I cannot stalk you,
that have stalked so many bucks. If so, I had better give my shafts to
be pudding pins. So I cast round the thicket, to watch their waters;
and may I never bend crossbow again, if I did not see him give her
gold, and squeeze her by the hand!"

"And was that all you saw pass between them?" said the steward.

"Faith, and it was enough to dismount me from my hobby," said Lance.
"What! when I thought I had the prettiest girl in the Castle dancing
after my whistle, to find that she gave me the bag to hold, and was
smuggling in a corner with a rich old Puritan!"

"Credit me, Lance, it is not as thou thinkest," said Whitaker.
"Bridgenorth cares not for these amorous toys, and thou thinkest of
nothing else. But it is fitting our Knight should know that he has met
with Deborah in secret, and given her gold; for never Puritan gave
gold yet, but it was earnest for some devil's work done, or to be
done."

"Nay, but," said Lance, "I would not be such a dog-bolt as to go and
betray the girl to our master. She hath a right to follow her fancy,
as the dame said who kissed her cow--only I do not much approve her
choice, that is all. He cannot be six years short of fifty; and a
verjuice countenance, under the penthouse of a slouched beaver, and
bag of meagre dried bones, swaddled up in a black cloak, is no such
temptation, methinks."

"I tell you once more," said Whitaker, "you are mistaken; and that
there neither is, nor can be, any matter of love between them, but
only some intrigue, concerning, perhaps, this same noble Countess of
Derby. I tell thee, it behoves my master to know it, and I will
presently tell it to him."

So saying, and in spite of all the remonstrances which Lance continued
to make on behalf of Mistress Deborah, the steward rode up to the main
body of their little party, and mentioned to the Knight, and the
Countess of Derby, what he had just heard from the keeper, adding at
the same time his own suspicions, that Master Bridgenorth of
Moultrassie Hall was desirous to keep up some system of espial in the
Castle of Martindale, either in order to secure his menaced vengeance
on the Countess of Derby, as authoress of his brother-in-law's death,
or for some unknown, but probably sinister purpose.

The Knight of the Peak was filled with high resentment at Whitaker's
communication. According to his prejudices, those of the opposite
faction were supposed to make up by wit and intrigue what they wanted
in open force; and he now hastily conceived that his neighbour, whose
prudence he always respected, and sometimes even dreaded, was
maintaining for his private purposes, a clandestine correspondence
with a member of his family. If this was for the betrayal of his noble
guest, it argued at once treachery and presumption; or, viewing the
whole as Lance had done, a criminal intrigue with a woman so near the
person of Lady Peveril, was in itself, he deemed, a piece of sovereign
impertinence and disrespect on the part of such a person as
Bridgenorth, against whom Sir Geoffrey's anger was kindled
accordingly.

Whitaker had scarce regained his post in the rear, when he again
quitted it, and galloped to the main body with more speed than before,
with the unpleasing tidings that they were pursued by half a score of
horseman, and better.

"Ride on briskly to Hartley-nick," said the Knight, "and there, with
God to help, we will bide the knaves.--Countess of Derby--one word and
a short one--Farewell!--you must ride forward with Whitaker and
another careful fellow, and let me alone to see that no one treads on
your skirts."

"I will abide with you and stand them," said the Countess; "you know
of old, I fear not to look on man's work."

"You /must/ ride on, madam," said the Knight, "for the sake of the
young Earl, and the rest of my noble friends' family. There is no
manly work which can be worth your looking upon; it is but child's
play that these fellows bring with them."

As she yielded a reluctant consent to continue her flight, they
reached the bottom of Hartley-nick, a pass very steep and craggy, and
where the road, or rather path, which had hitherto passed over more
open ground, became pent up and confined betwixt copsewood on the one
side, and, on the other, the precipitous bank of a mountain stream.

The Countess of Derby, after an affectionate adieu to Sir Geoffrey,
and having requested him to convey her kind commendations to her
little page-elect and his mother, proceeded up the pass at a round
pace, and with her attendants and escort, was soon out of sight.
Immediately after she had disappeared, the pursuers came up with Sir
Geoffrey Peveril, who had divided and drawn up his party so as
completely to occupy the road at three different points.

The opposite party was led, as Sir Geoffrey had expected, by Major
Bridgenorth. At his side was a person in black, with a silver
greyhound on his arm; and he was followed by about eight or ten
inhabitants of the village of Martindale Moultrassie, two or three of
whom were officers of the peace, and others were personally known to
Sir Geoffrey as favourers of the subverted government.

As the party rode briskly up, Sir Geoffrey called to them to halt; and
as they continued advancing, he ordered his own people to present
their pistols and carabines; and after assuming that menacing
attitude, he repeated, with a voice of thunder, "Halt, or we fire!"

The other party halted accordingly, and Major Bridgenorth advanced, as
if to parley.

"Why, how now, neighbour," said Sir Geoffrey, as if he had at that
moment recognised him for the first time,--"what makes you ride so
sharp this morning? Are you not afraid to harm your horse, or spoil
your spurs?"

"Sir Geoffrey," said the Major, "I have not time for jesting--I'm on
the King's affairs."

"Are you sure it is not upon Old Noll's, neighbour? You used to hold
his the better errand," said the Knight, with a smile which gave
occasion to a horse-laugh among his followers.

"Show him your warrant," said Bridgenorth to the man in black formerly
mentioned, who was a pursuivant. Then taking the warrant from the
officer, he gave it to Sir Geoffrey--"To this, at least, you will pay
regard."

"The same regard which you would have paid to it a month back or so,"
said the Knight, tearing the warrant to shreds.--"What a plague do you
stare at? Do you think you have a monopoly of rebellion, and that we
have not a right to show a trick of disobedience in our turn?"

"Make way, Sir Geoffrey Peveril," said Bridgenorth, "or you will
compel me to do that I may be sorry for. I am in this matter the
avenger of the blood of one of the Lord's saints, and I will follow
the chase while Heaven grants me an arm to make my way."

"You shall make no way here but at your peril," said Sir Geoffrey;
"this is my ground--I have been harassed enough for these twenty years
by saints, as you call yourselves. I tell you, master, you shall
neither violate the security of my house, nor pursue my friends over
the grounds, nor tamper, as you have done, amongst my servants, with
impunity. I have had you in respect for certain kind doings, which I
will not either forget or deny, and you will find it difficult to make
me draw a sword or bend a pistol against you; but offer any hostile
movement, or presume to advance a foot, and I will make sure of you
presently. And for those rascals, who come hither to annoy a noble
lady on my bounds, unless you draw them off, I will presently send
some of them to the devil before their time."

"Make room at your proper peril," said Major Bridgenorth; and he put
his right hand on his holster-pistol. Sir Geoffrey closed with him
instantly, seized him by the collar, and spurred Black Hastings,
checking him at the same time, so that the horse made a courbette, and
brought the full weight of his chest against the counter of the other.
A ready soldier might, in Bridgenorth's situation, have rid himself of
his adversary with a bullet. But Bridgenorth's courage,
notwithstanding his having served some time with the Parliament army,
was rather of a civil than a military character; and he was inferior
to his adversary, not only in strength and horsemanship, but also and
especially in the daring and decisive resolution which made Sir
Geoffrey thrust himself readily into personal contest. While,
therefore, they tugged and grappled together upon terms which bore
such little accordance with their long acquaintance and close
neighbourhood, it was no wonder that Bridgenorth should be unhorsed
with much violence. While Sir Geoffrey sprung from the saddle, the
party of Bridgenorth advanced to rescue their leader, and that of the
Knight to oppose them. Swords were unsheathed, and pistols presented;
but Sir Geoffrey, with the voice of a herald, commanded both parties
to stand back, and to keep the peace.

The pursuivant took the hint, and easily found a reason for not
prosecuting a dangerous duty. "The warrant," he said, "was destroyed.
They that did it must be answerable to the Council; for his part, he
could proceed no farther without his commission."

"Well said, and like a peaceable fellow!" said Sir Geoffrey.--"Let him
have refreshment at the Castle--his nag is sorely out of condition.--
Come, neighbour Bridgenorth, get up, man--I trust you have had no hurt
in this mad affray? I was loath to lay hand on you, man, till you
plucked out your petronel."

As he spoke thus, he aided the Major to rise. The pursuivant,
meanwhile, drew aside; and with him the constable and head-borough,
who were not without some tacit suspicion, that though Peveril was
interrupting the direct course of law in this matter, yet he was
likely to have his offence considered by favourable judges; and
therefore it might be as much for their interest and safety to give
way as to oppose him. But the rest of the party, friends of
Bridgenorth, and of his principles, kept their ground notwithstanding
this defection, and seemed, from their looks, sternly determined to
rule their conduct by that of their leader, whatever it might be.

But it was evident that Bridgenorth did not intend to renew the
struggle. He shook himself rather roughly free from the hands of Sir
Geoffrey Peveril; but it was not to draw his sword. On the contrary,
he mounted his horse with a sullen and dejected air; and, making a
sign to his followers, turned back the same road which he had come.
Sir Geoffrey looked after him for some minutes. "Now, there goes a
man," said he, "who would have been a right honest fellow had he not
been a Presbyterian. But there is no heartiness about them--they can
never forgive a fair fall upon the sod--they bear malice, and that I
hate as I do a black cloak, or a Geneva skull-cap, and a pair of long
ears rising on each side on't, like two chimneys at the gable ends of
a thatched cottage. They are as sly as the devil to boot; and,
therefore, Lance Outram, take two with you, and keep after them, that
they may not turn our flank, and get on the track of the Countess
again after all."

"I had as soon they should course my lady's white tame doe," answered
Lance, in the spirit of his calling. He proceeded to execute his
master's orders by dogging Major Bridgenorth at a distance, and
observing his course from such heights as commanded the country. But
it was soon evident that no manoeuvre was intended, and that the Major
was taking the direct road homeward. When this was ascertained, Sir
Geoffrey dismissed most of his followers; and retaining only his own
domestics, rode hastily forward to overtake the Countess.

It is only necessary to say farther, that he completed his purpose of
escorting the Countess of Derby to Vale Royal, without meeting any
further hindrance by the way. The lord of the mansion readily
undertook to conduct the high-minded lady to Liverpool, and the task
of seeing her safely embarked for her son's hereditary dominions,
where there was no doubt of her remaining in personal safety until the
accusation against her for breach of the Royal Indemnity, by the
execution of Christian, could be brought to some compromise.

For a length of time this was no easy matter. Clarendon, then at the
head of Charles's administration, considered her rash action, though
dictated by motives which the human breast must, in some respects,
sympathise with, as calculated to shake the restored tranquillity of
England, by exciting the doubts and jealousies of those who had to
apprehend the consequences of what is called, in our own time, a
/reaction/. At the same time, the high services of this distinguished
family--the merits of the Countess herself--the memory of her gallant
husband--and the very peculiar circumstances of jurisdiction which
took the case out of all common rules, pleaded strongly in her favour;
and the death of Christian was at length only punished by the
imposition of a heavy fine, amounting, we believe, to many thousand
pounds; which was levied, with great difficulty, out of the shattered
estates of the young Earl of Derby.



                             CHAPTER VIII

                     My native land, good night!
                                           --BYRON.

Lady Peveril remained in no small anxiety for several hours after her
husband and the Countess had departed from Martindale Castle; more
especially when she learned that Major Bridgenorth, concerning whose
motions she made private inquiry, had taken horse with a party, and
was gone to the westward in the same direction with Sir Geoffrey.

At length her immediate uneasiness in regard to the safety of her
husband and the Countess was removed, by the arrival of Whitaker, with
her husband's commendations, and an account of the scuffle betwixt
himself and Major Bridgenorth.

Lady Peveril shuddered to see how nearly they had approached to
renewal of the scenes of civil discord; and while she was thankful to
Heaven for her husband's immediate preservation, she could not help
feeling both regret and apprehension for the consequences of his
quarrel with Major Bridgenorth. They had now lost an old friend, who
had showed himself such under those circumstances of adversity by
which friendship is most severely tried; and she could not disguise
from herself that Bridgenorth, thus irritated, might be a troublesome,
if not a dangerous enemy. His rights as a creditor, he had hitherto
used with gentleness; but if he should employ rigour, Lady Peveril,
whose attention to domestic economy had made her much better
acquainted with her husband's affairs than he was himself, foresaw
considerable inconvenience from the measures which the law put in his
power. She comforted herself with the recollection, however, that she
had still a strong hold on Bridgenorth, through his paternal
affection, and from the fixed opinion which he had hitherto
manifested, that his daughter's health could only flourish while under
her charge. But any expectations of reconciliation which Lady Peveril
might probably have founded on this circumstance, were frustrated by
an incident which took place in the course of the following morning.

The governante, Mistress Deborah, who has been already mentioned, went
forth, as usual, with the children, to take their morning exercise in
the Park, attended by Rachael, a girl who acted occasionally as her
assistant in attending upon them. But not as usual did she return. It
was near the hour of breakfast, when Ellesmere, with an unwonted
degree of primness in her mouth and manner, came to acquaint her lady
that Mistress Deborah had not thought proper to come back from the
Park, though the breakfast hour approached so near.

"She will come, then, presently," said Lady Peveril with indifference.

Ellesmere gave a short and doubtful cough, and then proceeded to say,
that Rachael had been sent home with little Master Julian, and that
Mistress Deborah had been pleased to say, she would walk on with Miss
Bridgenorth as far as Moultrassie Holt; which was a point at which the
property of the Major, as matters now stood, bounded that of Sir
Geoffrey Peveril.

"Is the wench turned silly," exclaimed the lady, something angrily,
"that she does not obey my orders, and return at regular hours?"

"She may be turning silly," said Ellesmere mysteriously; "or she may
be turning too sly; and I think it were as well your ladyship looked
to it."

"Looked to what, Ellesmere?" said the lady impatiently. "You are
strangely oracular this morning. If you know anything to the prejudice
of this young woman, I pray you speak it out."

"I prejudice!" said Ellesmere; "I scorn to prejudice man, woman, or
child, in the way of a fellow-servant; only I wish your ladyship to
look about you, and use your own eyes--that is all."

"You bid me use my own eyes, Ellesmere; but I suspect," answered the
lady, "you would be better pleased were I contented to see through
your spectacles. I charge you--and you know I will be obeyed--I charge
you to tell me what you know or suspect about this girl, Deborah
Debbitch."

"I see through spectacles!" exclaimed the indignant Abigail; "your
ladyship will pardon me in that, for I never use them, unless a pair
that belonged to my poor mother, which I put on when your ladyship
wants your pinners curiously wrought. No woman above sixteen ever did
white-seam without barnacles. And then as to suspecting, I suspect
nothing; for as your ladyship hath taken Mistress Deborah Debbitch
from under my hand, to be sure it is neither bread nor butter of mine.
Only" (here she began to speak with her lips shut, so as scarce to
permit a sound to issue, and mincing her words as if she pinched off
the ends of them before she suffered them to escape),--"only, madam,
if Mistress Deborah goes so often of a morning to Moultrassie Holt,
why, I should not be surprised if she should never find the way back
again."

"Once more, what do you mean, Ellesmere? You were wont to have some
sense--let me know distinctly what the matter is."

"Only, madam," pursued the Abigail, "that since Bridgenorth came back
from Chesterfield, and saw you at the Castle Hall, Mistress Deborah
has been pleased to carry the children every morning to that place;
and it has so happened that she has often met the Major, as they call
him, there in his walks; for he can walk about now like other folks;
and I warrant you she hath not been the worse of the meeting--one way
at least, for she hath bought a new hood might serve yourself, madam;
but whether she hath had anything in hand besides a piece of money, no
doubt your ladyship is best judge."

Lady Peveril, who readily adopted the more good-natured construction
of the governante's motives, could not help laughing at the idea of a
man of Bridgenorth's precise appearance, strict principles, and
reserved habits, being suspected of a design of gallantry; and readily
concluded, that Mistress Deborah had found her advantage in gratifying
his parental affection by a frequent sight of his daughter during the
few days which intervened betwixt his first seeing little Alice at the
Castle, and the events which had followed. But she was somewhat
surprised, when, an hour after the usual breakfast hour, during which
neither the child nor Mistress Deborah appeared, Major Bridgenorth's
only man-servant arrived at the Castle on horseback, dressed as for a
journey; and having delivered a letter addressed to herself, and
another to Mistress Ellesmere, rode away without waiting any answer.

There would have been nothing remarkable in this, had any other person
been concerned; but Major Bridgenorth was so very quiet and orderly in
all his proceedings--so little liable to act hastily or by impulse,
that the least appearance of bustle where he was concerned, excited
surprise and curiosity.

Lady Peveril broke her letter hastily open, and found that it
contained the following lines:--


 "/For the Hands of the Honourable and Honoured Lady Peveril--
  These:/

 "Madam--Please it your Ladyship,--I write more to excuse myself to
  your ladyship, than to accuse either you or others, in respect
  that I am sensible it becomes our frail nature better to confess
  our own imperfections, than to complain of those of others.
  Neither do I mean to speak of past times, particularly in respect
  of your worthy ladyship, being sensible that if I have served you
  in that period when our Israel might be called triumphant, you
  have more than requited me, in giving to my arms a child,
  redeemed, as it were, from the vale of the shadow of death. And
  therefore, as I heartily forgive to your ladyship the unkind and
  violent measure which you dealt to me at our last meeting (seeing
  that the woman who was the cause of strife is accounted one of
  your kindred people), I do entreat you, in like manner, to pardon
  my enticing away from your service the young woman called Deborah
  Debbitch, whose direction, is, it may be, indispensable to the
  health of my dearest child. I had purposed, madam, with your
  gracious permission, that Alice should have remained at Martindale
  Castle, under your kind charge, until she could so far discern
  betwixt good and evil, that it should be matter of conscience to
  teach her the way in which she should go. For it is not unknown to
  your ladyship, and in no way do I speak it reproachfully, but
  rather sorrowfully, that a person so excellently gifted as
  yourself--I mean touching natural qualities--has not yet received
  that true light, which is a lamp to the paths, but are contented
  to stumble in darkness, and among the graves of dead men. It has
  been my prayer in the watches of the night, that your ladyship
  should cease from the doctrine which causeth to err; but I grieve
  to say, that our candlestick being about to be removed, the land
  will most likely be involved in deeper darkness than ever; and the
  return of the King, to which I and many looked forward as a
  manifestation of divine favour, seems to prove little else than a
  permitted triumph of the Prince of the Air, who setteth about to
  restore his Vanity-fair of bishops, deans, and such like,
  extruding the peaceful ministers of the word, whose labours have
  proved faithful to many hungry souls. So, hearing from a sure
  hand, that commission has gone forth to restore these dumb dogs,
  the followers of Laud and of Williams, who were cast forth by the
  late Parliament, and that an Act of Conformity, or rather of
  deformity, of worship, was to be expected, it is my purpose to
  flee from the wrath to come, and to seek some corner where I may
  dwell in peace, and enjoy liberty of conscience. For who would
  abide in the Sanctuary, after the carved work thereof is broken
  down, and when it hath been made a place for owls, and satyrs of
  the wilderness?--And herein I blame myself, madam, that I went in
  the singleness of my heart too readily into that carousing in the
  house of feasting, wherein my love of union, and my desire to show
  respect to your ladyship, were made a snare to me. But I trust it
  will be an atonement, that I am now about to absent myself from
  the place of my birth, and the house of my fathers, as well as
  from the place which holdeth the dust of those pledges of my
  affection. I have also to remember, that in this land my honour
  (after the worldly estimation) hath been abated, and my utility
  circumscribed, by your husband, Sir Geoffrey Peveril; and that
  without any chance of my obtaining reparation at his hand, whereby
  I may say the hand of a kinsman was lifted up against my credit
  and my life. These things are bitter to the taste of the old Adam;
  wherefore to prevent farther bickerings, and, it may be,
  bloodshed, it is better that I leave this land for a time. The
  affairs which remain to be settled between Sir Geoffrey and
  myself, I shall place in the hand of the righteous Master Joachim
  Win-the-Fight, an attorney in Chester, who will arrange them with
  such attention to Sir Geoffrey's convenience, as justice, and the
  due exercise of the law, will permit; for, as I trust I shall
  have grace to resist the temptation to make the weapons of carnal
  warfare the instruments of my revenge, so I scorn to effect it
  through the means of Mammon. Wishing, madam, that the Lord may
  grant you every blessing, and, in especial, that which is over all
  others, namely, the true knowledge of His way, I remain, your
  devoted servant to command,     RALPH BRIDGENORTH.

 "/Written at Moultrassie Hall, this tenth
        day of July, 1660./"


So soon as Lady Peveril had perused this long and singular homily, in
which it seemed to her that her neighbour showed more spirit of
religious fanaticism than she could have supposed him possessed of,
she looked up and beheld Ellesmere,--with a countenance in which
mortification, and an affected air of contempt, seemed to struggle
together,--who, tired with watching the expression of her mistress's
countenance, applied for confirmation of her suspicions in plain
terms.

"I suppose, madam," said the waiting-woman, "the fanatic fool intends
to marry the wench? They say he goes to shift the country. Truly it's
time, indeed; for, besides that the whole neighbourhood would laugh
him to scorn, I should not be surprised if Lance Outram, the keeper,
gave him a buck's head to bear; for that is all in the way of his
office."

"There is no great occasion for your spite at present, Ellesmere,"
replied her lady. "My letter says nothing of marriage; but it would
appear that Master Bridgenorth, being to leave this country, has
engaged Deborah to take care of his child; and I am sure I am heartily
glad of it, for the infant's sake."

"And I am glad of it for my own," said Ellesmere; "and, indeed, for
the sake of the whole house.--And your ladyship thinks she is not like
to be married to him? Troth, I could never see how he should be such
an idiot; but perhaps she is going to do worse; for she speaks here of
coming to high preferment, and that scarce comes by honest servitude
nowadays; then she writes me about sending her things, as if I were
mistress of the wardrobe to her ladyship--ay, and recommends Master
Julian to the care of my age and experience, forsooth, as if she
needed to recommend the dear little jewel to me; and then, to speak of
my age--But I will bundle away her rags to the Hall, with a witness!"

"Do it with all civility," said the lady, "and let Whitaker send her
the wages for which she has served, and a broad-piece over and above;
for though a light-headed young woman, she was kind to the children."

"I know who is kind to their servants, madam, and would spoil the best
ever pinned a gown."

"I spoiled a good one, Ellesmere, when I spoiled thee," said the lady;
"but tell Mistress Deborah to kiss the little Alice for me, and to
offer my good wishes to Major Bridgenorth, for his temporal and future
happiness."

She permitted no observation or reply, but dismissed her attendant,
without entering into farther particulars.

When Ellesmere had withdrawn, Lady Peveril began to reflect, with much
feeling of compassion, on the letter of Major Bridgenorth; a person in
whom there were certainly many excellent qualities, but whom a series
of domestic misfortunes, and the increasing gloom of a sincere, yet
stern feeling of devotion, rendered lonely and unhappy; and she had
more than one anxious thought for the happiness of the little Alice,
brought up, as she was likely to be, under such a father. Still the
removal of Bridgenorth was, on the whole, a desirable event; for while
he remained at the Hall, it was but too likely that some accidental
collision with Sir Geoffrey might give rise to a rencontre betwixt
them, more fatal than the last had been.

In the meanwhile, she could not help expressing to Doctor Dummerar her
surprise and sorrow, that all which she had done and attempted, to
establish peace and unanimity betwixt the contending factions, had
been perversely fated to turn out the very reverse of what she had
aimed at.

"But for my unhappy invitation," she said, "Bridgenorth would not have
been at the Castle on the morning which succeeded the feast, would not
have seen the Countess, and would not have incurred the resentment and
opposition of my husband. And but for the King's return, an event
which was so anxiously expected as the termination of all our
calamities, neither the noble lady nor ourselves had been engaged in
this new path of difficulty and danger."

"Honoured madam," said Doctor Dummerar, "were the affairs of this
world to be guided implicitly by human wisdom, or were they uniformly
to fall out according to the conjectures of human foresight, events
would no longer be under the domination of that time and chance, which
happen unto all men, since we should, in the one case, work out our
own purposes to a certainty, by our own skill, and in the other,
regulate our conduct according to the views of unerring prescience.
But man is, while in this vale of tears, like an uninstructed bowler,
so to speak, who thinks to attain the jack, by delivering his bowl
straight forward upon it, being ignorant that there is a concealed
bias within the spheroid, which will make it, in all probability,
swerve away, and lose the cast."

Having spoken this with a sententious air, the Doctor took his shovel-
shaped hat, and went down to the Castle green, to conclude a match of
bowls with Whitaker, which had probably suggested this notable
illustration of the uncertain course of human events.

Two days afterwards, Sir Geoffrey arrived. He had waited at Vale Royal
till he heard of the Countess's being safely embarked for Man, and
then had posted homeward to his Castle and Dame Margaret. On his way,
he learned from some of his attendants, the mode in which his lady had
conducted the entertainment which she had given to the neighbourhood
at his order; and notwithstanding the great deference he usually
showed in cases where Lady Peveril was concerned, he heard of her
liberality towards the Presbyterian party with great indignation.

"I could have admitted Bridgenorth," he said, "for he always bore him
in neighbourly and kindly fashion till this last career--I could have
endured him, so he would have drunk the King's health, like a true man
--but to bring that snuffling scoundrel Solsgrace, with all his
beggarly, long-eared congregation, to hold a conventicle in my
father's house--to let them domineer it as they listed--why, I would
not have permitted them such liberty, when they held their head the
highest! They never, in the worst of times, found any way into
Martindale Castle but what Noll's cannon made for them; and that they
should come and cant there, when good King Charles is returned--By my
hand, Dame Margaret shall hear of it!"

But, notwithstanding these ireful resolutions, resentment altogether
subsided in the honest Knight's breast, when he saw the fair features
of his lady lightened with affectionate joy at his return in safety.
As he took her in his arms and kissed her, he forgave her ere he
mentioned her offence.

"Thou hast played the knave with me, Meg," he said, shaking his head,
and smiling at the same time, "and thou knowest in what manner; but I
think thou art true church-woman, and didst only act from silly
womanish fancy of keeping fair with these roguish Roundheads. But let
me have no more of this. I had rather Martindale Castle were again
rent by their bullets, than receive any of the knaves in the way of
friendship--I always except Ralph Bridgenorth of the Hall, if he
should come to his senses again."

Lady Peveril was here under the necessity of explaining what she had
heard of Master Bridgenorth--the disappearance of the governante with
his daughter, and placed Bridgenorth's letter in his hand. Sir
Geoffrey shook his head at first, and then laughed extremely at the
idea that there was some little love-intrigue between Bridgenorth and
Mistress Deborah.

"It is the true end of a dissenter," he said, "to marry his own maid-
servant, or some other person's. Deborah is a good likely wench, and
on the merrier side of thirty, as I should think."

"Nay, nay," said the Lady Peveril, "you are as uncharitable as
Ellesmere--I believe it but to be affection to his child."

"Pshaw! pshaw!" answered the Knight, "women are eternally thinking of
children; but among men, dame, many one carresses the infant that he
may kiss the child's maid; and where's the wonder or the harm either,
if Bridgenorth should marry the wench? Her father is a substantial
yeoman; his family has had the same farm since Bosworthfield--as good
a pedigree as that of the great-grandson of a Chesterfield brewer, I
trow. But let us hear what he says for himself--I shall spell it out
if there is any roguery in the letter about love and liking, though it
might escape your innocence, Dame Margaret."

The Knight of the Peak began to peruse the letter accordingly, but was
much embarrassed by the peculiar language in which it was couched.
"What he means by moving of candlesticks, and breaking down of carved
work in the church, I cannot guess; unless he means to bring back the
large silver candlesticks which my grandsire gave to be placed on the
altar at Martindale Moultrassie; and which his crop-eared friends,
like sacrilegious villains as they are, stole and melted down. And in
like manner, the only breaking I know of, was when they pulled down
the rails of the communion table (for which some of their fingers are
hot enough by this time), and when the brass ornaments were torn down
from Peveril monuments; and that was breaking and removing with a
vengeance. However, dame, the upshot is, that poor Bridgenorth is
going to leave the neighbourhood. I am truly sorry for it, though I
never saw him oftener than once a day, and never spoke to him above
two words. But I see how it is--that little shake by the shoulder
sticks in his stomach; and yet, Meg, I did but lift him out of the
saddle as I might have lifted thee into it, Margaret--I was careful
not to hurt him; and I did not think him so tender in point of honour
as to mind such a thing much; but I see plainly where his sore lies;
and I warrant you I will manage that he stays at the Hall, and that
you get back Julian's little companion. Faith, I am sorry myself at
the thought of losing the baby, and of having to choose another ride
when it is not hunting weather, than round by the Hall, with a word at
the window."

"I should be very glad, Sir Geoffrey," said the Lady Peveril, "that
you could come to a reconciliation with this worthy man, for such I
must hold Master Bridgenorth to be."

"But for his dissenting principles, as good a neighbour as ever
lived," said Sir Geoffrey.

"But I scarce see," continued the lady, "any possibility of bringing
about a conclusion so desirable."

"Tush, dame," answered the Knight, "thou knowest little of such
matters. I know the foot he halts upon, and you shall see him go as
sound as ever."

Lady Peveril had, from her sincere affection and sound sense, as good
a right to claim the full confidence of her husband, as any woman in
Derbyshire; and, upon this occasion, to confess the truth, she had
more anxiety to know his purpose than her sense of their mutual and
separate duties permitted her in general to entertain. She could not
imagine what mode of reconciliation with his neighbour, Sir Geoffrey
(no very acute judge of mankind or their peculiarities) could have
devised, which might not be disclosed to her; and she felt some secret
anxiety lest the means resorted to might be so ill chosen as to render
the breach rather wider. But Sir Geoffrey would give no opening for
farther inquiry. He had been long enough colonel of a regiment abroad,
to value himself on the right of absolute command at home; and to all
the hints which his lady's ingenuity could devise and throw out, he
only answered, "Patience, Dame Margaret, patience. This is no case for
thy handling. Thou shalt know enough on't by-and-by, dame.--Go, look
to Julian. Will the boy never have done crying for lack of that little
sprout of a Roundhead? But we will have little Alice back with us in
two or three days, and all will be well again."

As the good Knight spoke these words, a post winded his horn in the
court, and a large packet was brought in, addressed to the worshipful
Sir Geoffrey Peveril, Justice of the Peace, and so forth; for he had
been placed in authority as soon as the King's Restoration was put
upon a settled basis. Upon opening the packet, which he did with no
small feeling of importance, he found that it contained the warrant
which he had solicited for replacing Doctor Dummerar in the parish,
from which he had been forcibly ejected during the usurpation.

Few incidents could have given more delight to Sir Geoffrey. He could
forgive a stout able-bodied sectary or nonconformist, who enforced his
doctrines in the field by downright blows on the casques and cuirasses
of himself and other Cavaliers. But he remembered with most vindictive
accuracy, the triumphant entrance of Hugh Peters through the breach of
his Castle; and for his sake, without nicely distinguishing betwixt
sects or their teachers, he held all who mounted a pulpit without
warrant from the Church of England--perhaps he might also in private
except that of Rome--to be disturbers of the public tranquillity--
seducers of the congregation from their lawful preachers--instigators
of the late Civil War--and men well disposed to risk the fate of a new
one.

Then, on the other hand, besides gratifying his dislike to Solsgrace,
he saw much satisfaction in the task of replacing his old friend and
associate in sport and in danger, the worthy Doctor Dummerar, in his
legitimate rights and in the ease and comforts of his vicarage. He
communicated the contents of the packet, with great triumph, to the
lady, who now perceived the sense of the mysterious paragraph in Major
Bridgenorth's letter, concerning the removal of the candlestick, and
the extinction of light and doctrine in the land. She pointed this out
to Sir Geoffrey, and endeavoured to persuade him that a door was now
opened to reconciliation with his neighbour, by executing the
commission which he had received in an easy and moderate manner, after
due delay, and with all respect to the feelings both of Solsgrace and
his congregation, which circumstances admitted of. This, the lady
argued, would be doing no injury whatever to Doctor Dummerar;--nay,
might be the means of reconciling many to his ministry, who might
otherwise be disgusted with it for ever, by the premature expulsion of
a favourite preacher.

There was much wisdom, as well as moderation, in this advice; and, at
another time, Sir Geoffrey would have sense enough to have adopted it.
But who can act composedly or prudently in the hour of triumph? The
ejection of Mr. Solsgrace was so hastily executed, as to give it some
appearance of persecution; though, more justly considered, it was the
restoring of his predecessor to his legal rights. Solsgrace himself
seemed to be desirous to make his sufferings as manifest as possible.
He held out to the last; and on the Sabbath after he had received
intimation of his ejection, attempted to make his way to the pulpit,
as usual, supported by Master Bridgenorth's attorney, Win-the-Fight,
and a few zealous followers.

Just as their party came into the churchyard on the one side, Doctor
Dummerar, dressed in full pontificals, in a sort of triumphal
procession accompanied by Peveril of the Peak, Sir Jasper Cranbourne,
and other Cavaliers of distinction, entered at the other.

To prevent an actual struggle in the church, the parish officers were
sent to prevent the farther approach of the Presbyterian minister;
which was effected without farther damage than a broken head,
inflicted by Roger Raine, the drunken innkeeper of the Peveril Arms,
upon the Presbyterian attorney of Chesterfield.

Unsubdued in spirit, though compelled to retreat by superior force,
the undaunted Mr. Solsgrace retired to the vicarage; where under some
legal pretext which had been started by Mr. Win-the-Fight (in that day
unaptly named), he attempted to maintain himself--bolted gates--barred
windows--and, as report said (though falsely), made provision of fire-
arms to resist the officers. A scene of clamour and scandal
accordingly took place, which being reported to Sir Geoffrey, he came
in person, with some of his attendants carrying arms--forced the
outer-gate and inner-doors of the house; and proceeding to the study,
found no other garrison save the Presbyterian parson, with the
attorney, who gave up possession of the premises, after making
protestation against the violence that had been used.

The rabble of the village being by this time all in motion, Sir
Geoffrey, both in prudence and good-nature, saw the propriety of
escorting his prisoners, for so they might be termed, safely through
the tumult; and accordingly conveyed them in person, through much
noise and clamour, as far as the avenue of Moultrassie Hall, which
they chose for the place of their retreat.

But the absence of Sir Geoffrey gave the rein to some disorders,
which, if present, he would assuredly have restrained. Some of the
minister's books were torn and flung about as treasonable and
seditious trash, by the zealous parish-officers or their assistants. A
quantity of his ale was drunk up in healths to the King and Peveril of
the Peak. And, finally, the boys, who bore the ex-parson no good-will
for his tyrannical interference with their games at skittles, foot-
ball, and so forth, and, moreover, remembered the unmerciful length of
his sermons, dressed up an effigy with his Geneva gown and band, and
his steeple-crowned hat, which they paraded through the village, and
burned on the spot whilom occupied by a stately Maypole, which
Solsgrace had formerly hewed down with his own reverend hands.

Sir Geoffrey was vexed at all this and sent to Mr. Solsgrace, offering
satisfaction for the goods which he had lost; but the Calvinistical
divine replied, "From a thread to a shoe-latchet, I will not take
anything that is thine. Let the shame of the work of thy hands abide
with thee."

Considerable scandal, indeed, arose against Sir Geoffrey Peveril as
having proceeded with indecent severity and haste upon this occasion;
and rumour took care to make the usual additions to the reality. It
was currently reported, that the desperate Cavalier, Peveril of the
Peak, had fallen on a Presbyterian congregation, while engaged in the
peaceable exercise of religion, with a band of armed men--had slain
some, desperately wounded many more, and finally pursued the preacher
to his vicarage which he burned to the ground. Some alleged the
clergyman had perished in the flames; and the most mitigated report
bore, that he had only been able to escape by disposing his gown, cap,
and band, near a window, in such a manner as to deceive them with the
idea of his person being still surrounded by flames, while he himself
fled by the back part of the house. And although few people believed
in the extent of the atrocities thus imputed to our honest Cavalier,
yet still enough of obloquy attached to him to infer very serious
consequences, as the reader will learn at a future period of our
history.



                              CHAPTER IX

             /Bessus/.--'Tis a challenge, sir, is it not?
             /Gentleman/.--'Tis an inviting to the field.
                                           --King and No King.

For a day or two after this forcible expulsion from the vicarage, Mr.
Solsgrace continued his residence at Moultrassie Hall, where the
natural melancholy attendant on his situation added to the gloom of
the owner of the mansion. In the morning, the ejected divine made
excursions to different families in the neighbourhood, to whom his
ministry had been acceptable in the days of his prosperity, and from
whose grateful recollections of that period he now found sympathy and
consolation. He did not require to be condoled with, because he was
deprived of an easy and competent maintenance, and thrust out upon the
common of life, after he had reason to suppose he would be no longer
liable to such mutations of fortune. The piety of Mr. Solsgrace was
sincere; and if he had many of the uncharitable prejudices against
other sects, which polemical controversy had generated, and the Civil
War brought to a head, he had also that deep sense of duty, by which
enthusiasm is so often dignified, and held his very life little, if
called upon to lay it down in attestation of the doctrines in which he
believed. But he was soon to prepare for leaving the district which
Heaven, he conceived, had assigned to him as his corner of the
vineyard; he was to abandon his flock to the wolf--was to forsake
those with whom he had held sweet counsel in religious communion--was
to leave the recently converted to relapse into false doctrines, and
forsake the wavering, whom his continued cares might have directed
into the right path,--these were of themselves deep causes of sorrow,
and were aggravated, doubtless, by those natural feelings with which
all men, especially those whose duties or habits have confined them to
a limited circle, regard the separation from wonted scenes, and their
accustomed haunts of solitary musing, or social intercourse.

There was, indeed, a plan of placing Mr. Solsgrace at the head of a
nonconforming congregation in his present parish, which his followers
would have readily consented to endow with a sufficient revenue. But
although the act for universal conformity was not yet passed, such a
measure was understood to be impending, and there existed a general
opinion among the Presbyterians, that in no hands was it likely to be
more strictly enforced, than in those of Peveril of the Peak.
Solsgrace himself considered not only his personal danger as being
considerable,--for, assuming perhaps more consequence than was
actually attached to him or his productions, he conceived the honest
Knight to be his mortal and determined enemy,--but he also conceived
that he should serve the cause of his Church by absenting himself from
Derbyshire.

"Less known pastors," he said, "though perhaps more worthy of the
name, may be permitted to assemble the scattered flocks in caverns or
in secret wilds, and to them shall the gleaning of the grapes of
Ephraim be better than the vintage of Abiezer. But I, that have so
often carried the banner forth against the mighty--I, whose tongue
hath testified, morning and evening, like the watchman upon the tower,
against Popery, Prelacy, and the tyrant of the Peak--for me to abide
here, were but to bring the sword of bloody vengeance amongst you,
that the shepherd might be smitten, and the sheep scattered. The
shedders of blood have already assailed me, even within that ground
which they themselves call consecrated; and yourselves have seen the
scalp of the righteous broken, as he defended my cause. Therefore, I
will put on my sandals, and gird my loins, and depart to a far
country, and there do as my duty shall call upon me, whether it be to
act or to suffer--to bear testimony at the stake or in the pulpit."

Such were the sentiments which Mr. Solsgrace expressed to his
desponding friends, and which he expatiated upon at more length with
Major Bridgenorth; not failing, with friendly zeal, to rebuke the
haste which the latter had shown to thrust out the hand of fellowship
to the Amalekite woman, whereby he reminded him, "He had been rendered
her slave and bondsman for a season, like Samson, betrayed by Delilah,
and might have remained longer in the house of Dagon, had not Heaven
pointed to him a way out of the snare. Also, it sprung originally from
the Major's going up to feast in the high place of Baal, that he who
was the champion of the truth was stricken down, and put to shame by
the enemy, even in the presence of the host."

These objurgations seeming to give some offence to Major Bridgenorth,
who liked, no better than any other man, to hear of his own mishaps,
and at the same time to have them imputed to his own misconduct, the
worthy divine proceeded to take shame to himself for his own sinful
compliance in that matter; for to the vengeance justly due for that
unhappy dinner at Martindale Castle (which was, he said, a crying of
peace when there was no peace, and a dwelling in the tents of sin), he
imputed his ejection from his living, with the destruction of some of
his most pithy and highly prized volumes of divinity, with the loss of
his cap, gown, and band, and a double hogshead of choice Derby ale.

The mind of Major Bridgenorth was strongly tinged with devotional
feeling, which his late misfortunes had rendered more deep and solemn;
and it is therefore no wonder, that, when he heard these arguments
urged again and again, by a pastor whom he so much respected, and who
was now a confessor in the cause of their joint faith, he began to
look back with disapproval on his own conduct, and to suspect that he
had permitted himself to be seduced by gratitude towards Lady Peveril,
and by her special arguments in favour of a mutual and tolerating
liberality of sentiments, into an action which had a tendency to
compromise his religious and political principles.

One morning, as Major Bridgenorth had wearied himself with several
details respecting the arrangement of his affairs, he was reposing in
the leathern easy-chair, beside the latticed window, a posture which,
by natural association, recalled to him the memory of former times,
and the feelings with which he was wont to expect the recurring visit
of Sir Geoffrey, who brought him news of his child's welfare,--
"Surely," he said, thinking, as it were, aloud, "there was no sin in
the kindness with which I then regarded that man."

Solsgrace, who was in the apartment, and guessed what passed through
his friend's mind, acquainted as he was with every point of his
history, replied--"When God caused Elijah to be fed by ravens, while
hiding at the brook Cherith, we hear not of his fondling the unclean
birds, whom, contrary to their ravening nature, a miracle compelled to
minister to him."

"It may be so," answered Bridgenorth, "yet the flap of their wings
must have been gracious in the ear of the famished prophet, like the
tread of his horse in mine. The ravens, doubtless, resumed their
nature when the season was passed, and even so it has fared with
him.--Hark!" he exclaimed, starting, "I hear his horse's hoof tramp
even now."

It was seldom that the echoes of that silent house and courtyard were
awakened by the trampling of horses, but such was now the case.

Both Bridgenorth and Solsgrace were surprised at the sound, and even
disposed to anticipate some farther oppression on the part of the
government, when the Major's old servant introduced, with little
ceremony (for his manners were nearly as plain as his master's), a
tall gentleman on the farther side of middle life, whose vest and
cloak, long hair, slouched hat and drooping feather, announced him as
a Cavalier. He bowed formally, but courteously, to both gentlemen, and
said, that he was "Sir Jasper Cranbourne, charged with an especial
message to Master Ralph Bridgenorth of Moultrassie Hall, by his
honourable friend Sir Geoffrey Peveril of the Peak, and that he
requested to know whether Master Bridgenorth would be pleased to
receive his acquittal of commission here or elsewhere."

"Anything which Sir Geoffrey Peveril can have to say to me," said
Major Bridgenorth, "may be told instantly, and before my friend, from
whom I have no secrets."

"The presence of any other friend were, instead of being
objectionable, the thing in the world most to be desired," said Sir
Jasper, after a moment's hesitation, and looking at Mr. Solsgrace;
"but this gentleman seems to be a sort of clergyman."

"I am not conscious of any secrets," answered Bridgenorth, "nor do I
desire to have any, in which a clergyman is unfitting confidant."

"At your pleasure," replied Sir Jasper. "The confidence, for aught I
know, may be well enough chosen, for your divines (always under your
favour) have proved no enemies to such matters as I am to treat with
you upon."

"Proceed, sir," answered Mr. Bridgenorth gravely; "and I pray you to
be seated, unless it is rather your pleasure to stand."

"I must, in the first place, deliver myself of my small commission,"
answered Sir Jasper, drawing himself up; "and it will be after I have
seen the reception thereof, that I shall know whether I am, or am not,
to sit down at Moultrassie Hall.--Sir Geoffrey Peveril, Master
Bridgenorth, hath carefully considered with himself the unhappy
circumstances which at present separate you as neighbours. And he
remembers many passages in former times--I speak his very words--which
incline him to do all that can possibly consist with his honour, to
wipe out unkindness between you; and for this desirable object, he is
willing to condescend in a degree, which, as you could not have
expected, it will no doubt give you great pleasure to learn."

"Allow me to say, Sir Jasper," said Bridgenorth, "that this is
unnecessary. I have made no complaints of Sir Geoffrey--I have
required no submission from him--I am about to leave this country; and
what affairs we may have together, can be as well settled by others as
by ourselves."

"In a word," said the divine, "the worthy Major Bridgenorth hath had
enough of trafficking with the ungodly, and will no longer, on any
terms, consort with them."

"Gentleman both," said Sir Jasper, with imperturbable politeness,
bowing, "you greatly mistake the tenor of my commission, which you
will do as well to hear out, before making any reply to it.--I think,
Master Bridgenorth, you cannot but remember your letter to the Lady
Peveril, of which I have here a rough copy, in which you complain of
the hard measure which you have received at Sir Geoffrey's hand, and,
in particular, when he pulled you from your horse at or near Hartley-
nick. Now, Sir Geoffrey thinks so well of you, as to believe, that,
were it not for the wide difference betwixt his descent and rank and
your own, you would have sought to bring this matter to a gentleman-
like arbitrament, as the only mode whereby your stain may be
honourably wiped away. Wherefore, in this slight note, he gives you,
in his generosity, the offer of what you, in your modesty (for to
nothing else does he impute your acquiescence), have declined to
demand of him. And withal, I bring you the measure of his weapon; and
when you have accepted the cartel which I now offer you, I shall be
ready to settle the time, place, and other circumstances of your
meeting."

"And I," said Solsgrace, with a solemn voice, "should the Author of
Evil tempt my friend to accept of so bloodthirsty a proposal, would be
the first to pronounce against him sentence of the greater
excommunication."

"It is not you whom I address, reverend sir," replied the envoy; "your
interest, not unnaturally, may determine you to be more anxious about
your patron's life than about his honour. I must know, from himself,
to which /he/ is disposed to give the preference."

So saying, and with a graceful bow, he again tendered the challenge to
Major Bridgenorth. There was obviously a struggle in that gentleman's
bosom, between the suggestions of human honour and those of religious
principle; but the latter prevailed. He calmly waived receiving the
paper which Sir Jasper offered to him, and spoke to the following
purpose:--"It may not be known to you, Sir Jasper, that since the
general pouring out of Christian light upon this kingdom, many solid
men have been led to doubt whether the shedding human blood by the
hand of a fellow-creature be in /any/ respect justifiable. And
although this rule appears to me to be scarcely applicable to our
state in this stage of trial, seeing that such non-resistance, if
general, would surrender our civil and religious rights into the hands
of whatsoever daring tyrants might usurp the same; yet I am, and have
been, inclined to limit the use of carnal arms to the case of
necessary self-defence, whether such regards our own person, or the
protection of our country against invasion; or of our rights of
property, and the freedom of our laws and of our conscience, against
usurping power. And as I have never shown myself unwilling to draw my
sword in any of the latter causes, so you shall excuse my suffering it
now to remain in the scabbard, when, having sustained a grievous
injury, the man who inflicted it summons me to combat, either upon an
idle punctilio, or, as is more likely, in mere bravado."

"I have heard you with patience," said Sir Jasper; "and now, Master
Bridgenorth, take it not amiss, if I beseech you to bethink yourself
better on this matter. I vow to Heaven, sir, that your honour lies a-
bleeding; and that in condescending to afford you this fair meeting,
and thereby giving you some chance to stop its wounds, Sir Geoffrey
has been moved by a tender sense of your condition, and an earnest
wish to redeem your dishonour. And it will be but the crossing of
your blade with his honoured sword for the space of some few minutes,
and you will either live or die a noble and honoured gentleman.
Besides, that the Knight's exquisite skill of fence may enable him, as
his good-nature will incline him, to disarm you with some flesh wound,
little to the damage of your person, and greatly to the benefit of
your reputation."

"The tender mercies of the wicked," said Master Solsgrace
emphatically, by way of commenting on this speech, which Sir Jasper
had uttered very pathetically, "are cruel."

"I pray to have no farther interruption from your reverence," said Sir
Jasper; "especially as I think this affair very little concerns you;
and I entreat that you permit me to discharge myself regularly of my
commission from my worthy friend."

So saying, he took his sheathed rapier from his belt, and passing the
point through the silk thread which secured the letter, he once more,
and literally at sword point, gracefully tendered it to Major
Bridgenorth who again waved it aside, though colouring deeply at the
same time, as if he was putting a marked constraint upon himself--drew
back, and made Sir Jasper Cranbourne a deep bow.

"Since it is to be thus," said Sir Jasper, "I must myself do violence
to the seal of Sir Geoffrey's letter, and read it to you, that I may
fully acquit myself of the charge entrusted to me, and make you,
Master Bridgenorth, equally aware of the generous intentions of Sir
Geoffrey on your behalf."

"If," said Major Bridgenorth, "the contents of the letter be to no
other purpose than you have intimated, methinks farther ceremony is
unnecessary on this occasion, as I have already taken my course."

"Nevertheless," said Sir Jasper, breaking open the letter, "it is
fitting that I read to you the letter of my worshipful friend." And he
read accordingly as follows:--


       "/For the worthy hands of Ralph Bridgenorth, Esquire, of
                      Moultrassie Hall--These:/

       "By the honoured conveyance of the Worshipful Sir Jasper
               Cranbourne, Knight, of Long-Mallington.

 "Master Bridgenorth,--We have been given to understand by your
  letter to our loving wife, Dame Margaret Peveril, that you hold
  hard construction of certain passages betwixt you and I, of a late
  date, as if your honour should have been, in some sort, prejudiced
  by what then took place. And although you have not thought it fit
  to have direct recourse to me, to request such satisfaction as is
  due from one gentleman of condition to another, yet I am fully
  minded that this proceeds only from modesty, arising out of the
  distinction of our degree, and from no lack of that courage which
  you have heretofore displayed, I would I could say in a good
  cause. Wherefore I am purposed to give you, by my friend, Sir
  Jasper Cranbourne, a meeting, for the sake of doing that which
  doubtless you entirely long for. Sir Jasper will deliver you the
  length of my weapon, and appoint circumstances and an hour for our
  meeting; which, whether early or late--on foot or horseback--with
  rapier or backsword--I refer to yourself, with all the other
  privileges of a challenged person; only desiring, that if you
  decline to match my weapon, you will send me forthwith the length
  and breadth of your own. And nothing doubting that the issue of
  this meeting must needs be to end, in one way or other, all
  unkindness betwixt two near neighbours,--I remain, your humble
  servant to command,
                                    "Geoffrey Peveril of the Peak.

 "Given from my poor house of Martindale Castle, this same ____ of
  ____, sixteen hundred and sixty."


"Bear back my respects to Sir Geoffrey Peveril," said Major
Bridgenorth. "According to his light, his meaning may be fair towards
me; but tell him that our quarrel had its rise in his own wilful
aggression towards me; and that though I wish to be in charity with
all mankind, I am not so wedded to his friendship as to break the laws
of God, and run the risk of suffering or committing murder, in order
to regain it. And for you, sir, methinks your advanced years and past
misfortunes might teach you the folly of coming on such idle errands."

"I shall do your message, Master Ralph Bridgenorth," said Sir Jasper;
"and shall then endeavour to forget your name, as a sound unfit to be
pronounced, or even remembered, by a man of honour. In the meanwhile,
in return for your uncivil advice, be pleased to accept of mine;
namely, that as your religion prevents your giving a gentleman
satisfaction, it ought to make you very cautious of offering him
provocation."

So saying, and with a look of haughty scorn, first at the Major, and
then at the divine, the envoy of Sir Geoffrey put his hat on his head,
replaced his rapier in its belt, and left the apartment. In a few
minutes afterwards, the tread of his horse died away at a considerable
distance.

Bridgenorth had held his hand upon his brow ever since his departure,
and a tear of anger and shame was on his face as he raised it when the
sound was heard no more. "He carries this answer to Martindale
Castle," he said. "Men will hereafter think of me as a whipped,
beaten, dishonourable fellow, whom every one may baffle and insult at
their pleasure. It is well I am leaving the house of my father."

Master Solsgrace approached his friend with much sympathy, and grasped
him by the hand. "Noble brother," he said, with unwonted kindness of
manner, "though a man of peace, I can judge what this sacrifice hath
cost to thy manly spirit. But God will not have from us an imperfect
obedience. We must not, like Ananias and Sapphira, reserve behind some
darling lust, some favourite sin, while we pretend to make sacrifice
of our worldly affections. What avails it to say that we have but
secreted a little matter, if the slightest remnant of the accursed
thing remain hidden in our tent? Would it be a defence in thy prayers
to say, I have not murdered this man for the lucre of gain, like a
robber--nor for the acquisition of power, like a tyrant,--nor for the
gratification of revenge, like a darkened savage; but because the
imperious voice of worldly honour said, 'Go forth--kill or be killed--
is it not I that have sent thee?' Bethink thee, my worthy friend, how
thou couldst frame such a vindication in thy prayers; and if thou art
forced to tremble at the blasphemy of such an excuse, remember in thy
prayers the thanks due to Heaven, which enabled thee to resist the
strong temptation."

"Reverend and dear friend," answered Bridgenorth, "I feel that you
speak the truth. Bitterer, indeed, and harder, to the old Adam, is the
text which ordains him to suffer shame, than that which bids him to do
valiantly for the truth. But happy am I that my path through the
wilderness of this world will, for some space at least, be along with
one, whose zeal and friendship are so active to support me when I am
fainting in the way."

While the inhabitants of Moultrassie Hall thus communicated together
upon the purport of Sir Jasper Cranbourne's visit, that worthy knight
greatly excited the surprise of Sir Geoffrey Peveril, by reporting the
manner in which his embassy had been received.

"I took him for a man of other metal," said Sir Geoffrey;--"nay, I
would have sworn it, had any one asked my testimony. But there is no
making a silken purse out of a sow's ear. I have done a folly for him
that I will never do for another: and that is, to think a Presbyterian
would fight without his preacher's permission. Give them a two hours'
sermon, and let them howl a psalm to a tune that is worse than the
cries of a flogged hound, and the villains will lay on like threshers;
but for a calm, cool, gentleman-like turn upon the sod, hand to hand,
in a neighbourly way, they have not honour enough to undertake it. But
enough of our crop-eared cur of a neighbour.--Sir Jasper, you will
tarry with us to dine, and see how Dame Margaret's kitchen smokes; and
after dinner I will show you a long-winged falcon fly. She is not
mine, but the Countess's, who brought her from London on her fist
almost the whole way, for all the haste she was in, and left her with
me to keep the perch for a season."

This match was soon arranged, and Dame Margaret overheard the good
Knight's resentment mutter itself off, with those feelings with which
we listen to the last growling of the thunderstorm; which, as the
black cloud sinks beneath the hill, at once assures us that there has
been danger, and that the peril is over. She could not, indeed, but
marvel in her own mind at the singular path of reconciliation with his
neighbour which her husband had, with so much confidence, and in the
actual sincerity of his goodwill to Mr. Bridgenorth, attempted to
open; and she blessed God internally that it had not terminated in
bloodshed. But these reflections she locked carefully within her own
bosom, well knowing that they referred to subjects in which the Knight
of the Peak would neither permit his sagacity to be called in
question, nor his will to be controlled.

The progress of the history hath hitherto been slow; but after this
period so little matter worth of mark occurred at Martindale, that we
must hurry over hastily the transactions of several years.



                              CHAPTER X

              /Cleopatra./--Give me to drink mandragora,
              That I may sleep away this gap of time.
                                       --Antony and Cleopatra.

There passed, as we hinted at the conclusion of the last chapter, four
or five years after the period we have dilated upon; the events of
which scarcely require to be discussed, so far as our present purpose
is concerned, in as many lines. The Knight and his Lady continued to
reside at their Castle--she, with prudence and with patience,
endeavouring to repair the damages which the Civil Wars had inflicted
upon their fortune; and murmuring a little when her plans of economy
were interrupted by the liberal hospitality, which was her husband's
principal expense, and to which he was attached, not only from his own
English heartiness of disposition, but from ideas of maintaining the
dignity of his ancestry--no less remarkable, according to the
tradition of their buttery, kitchen, and cellar, for the fat beeves
which they roasted, and the mighty ale which they brewed, than for
their extensive estates, and the number of their retainers.

The world, however, upon the whole, went happily and easily with the
worthy couple. Sir Geoffrey's debt to his neighbour Bridgenorth
continued, it is true, unabated; but he was the only creditor upon the
Martindale estate--all others being paid off. It would have been most
desirable that this encumbrance also should be cleared, and it was the
great object of Dame Margaret's economy to effect the discharge; for
although interest was regularly settled with Master Win-the-Fight, the
Chesterfield attorney, yet the principal sum, which was a large one,
might be called for at an inconvenient time. The man, too, was gloomy,
important, and mysterious, and always seemed as if he was thinking
upon his broken head in the churchyard of Martindale-cum-Moultrassie.

Dame Margaret sometimes transacted the necessary business with him in
person; and when he came to the Castle on these occasions, she thought
she saw a malicious and disobliging expression in his manner and
countenance. Yet his actual conduct was not only fair, but liberal;
for indulgence was given, in the way of delay of payment, whenever
circumstances rendered it necessary to the debtor to require it. It
seemed to Lady Peveril that the agent, in such cases, was acting under
the strict orders of his absent employer, concerning whose welfare she
could not help feeling a certain anxiety.

Shortly after the failure of the singular negotiation for attaining
peace by combat, which Peveril had attempted to open with Major
Bridgenorth, that gentleman left his seat of Moultrassie Hall in the
care of his old housekeeper, and departed, no one knew whither, having
in company with him his daughter Alice and Mrs. Deborah Debbitch, now
formally installed in all the duties of a governante; to these was
added the Reverend Master Solsgrace. For some time public rumour
persisted in asserting, that Major Bridgenorth had only retreated to a
distant part of the country for a season, to achieve his supposed
purpose of marrying Mrs. Deborah, and of letting the news be cold, and
the laugh of the neighbourhood be ended, ere he brought her down as
mistress of Moultrassie Hall. This rumour died away; and it was then
affirmed, that he had removed to foreign parts, to ensure the
continuance of health in so delicate a constitution as that of little
Alice. But when the Major's dread of Popery was remembered, together
with the still deeper antipathies of worthy Master Nehemiah Solsgrace,
it was resolved unanimously, that nothing less than what they might
deem a fair chance of converting the Pope would have induced the
parties to trust themselves within Catholic dominions. The most
prevailing opinion was, that they had gone to New England, the refuge
then of many whom too intimate concern with the affairs of the late
times, or the desire of enjoying uncontrolled freedom of conscience,
had induced to emigrate from Britain.

Lady Peveril could not help entertaining a vague idea, that
Bridgenorth was not so distant. The extreme order in which everything
was maintained at Moultrassie Hall, seemed--no disparagement to the
care of Dame Dickens the housekeeper, and the other persons engaged--
to argue, that the master's eye was not so very far off, but that its
occasional inspection might be apprehended. It is true, that neither
the domestics nor the attorney answered any questions respecting the
residence of Master Bridgenorth; but there was an air of mystery about
them when interrogated, that seemed to argue more than met the ear.

About five years after Master Bridgenorth had left the country, a
singular incident took place. Sir Geoffrey was absent at the
Chesterfield races, and Lady Peveril, who was in the habit of walking
around every part of the neighbourhood unattended, or only accompanied
by Ellesmere, or her little boy, had gone down one evening upon a
charitable errand to a solitary hut, whose inhabitant lay sick of a
fever, which was supposed to be infectious. Lady Peveril never allowed
apprehensions of this kind to stop "devoted charitable deeds;" but she
did not choose to expose either her son or her attendant to the risk
which she herself, in some confidence that she knew precautions for
escaping the danger, did not hesitate to incur.

Lady Peveril had set out at a late hour in the evening, and the way
proved longer than she expected--several circumstances also occurred
to detain her at the hut of her patient. It was a broad autumn
moonlight, when she prepared to return homeward through the broken
glades and upland which divided her from the Castle. This she
considered as a matter of very little importance, in so quiet and
sequestered a country, where the road lay chiefly through her own
domains, especially as she had a lad about fifteen years old, the son
of her patient, to escort her on the way. The distance was better than
two miles, but might be considerably abridged by passing through an
avenue belonging to the estate of Moultrassie Hall, which she had
avoided as she came, not from the ridiculous rumours which pronounced
it to be haunted, but because her husband was much displeased when any
attempt was made to render the walks of the Castle and Hall common to
the inhabitants of both. The good lady, in consideration, perhaps, of
extensive latitude allowed to her in the more important concerns of
the family, made a point of never interfering with her husband's whims
or prejudices; and it is a compromise which we would heartily
recommend to all managing matrons of our acquaintance; for it is
surprising how much real power will be cheerfully resigned to the fair
sex, for the pleasure of being allowed to ride one's hobby in peace
and quiet.

Upon the present occasion, however, although the Dobby's Walk[*] was
within the inhabited domains of the Hall, the Lady Peveril determined
to avail herself of it, for the purpose of shortening her road home,
and she directed her steps accordingly. But when the peasant-boy, her
companion, who had hitherto followed her, whistling cheerily, with a
hedge-bill in his hand, and his hat on one side, perceived that she
turned to the stile which entered to the Dobby's Walk, he showed
symptoms of great fear, and at length coming to the lady's side,
petitioned her, in a whimpering tone,--"Don't ye now--don't ye now,
my lady, don't ye go yonder."

[*] Dobby, an old English name for goblin.

Lady Peveril, observing that his teeth chattered in his head, and that
his whole person exhibited great signs of terror, began to recollect
the report, that the first Squire of Moultrassie, the brewer of
Chesterfield, who had brought the estate, and then died of melancholy
for lack of something to do (and, as was said, not without suspicions
of suicide), was supposed to walk in this sequestered avenue,
accompanied by a large headless mastiff, which, when he was alive, was
a particular favourite of the ex-brewer. To have expected any
protection from her escort, in the condition to which superstitious
fear had reduced him, would have been truly a hopeless trust; and Lady
Peveril, who was not apprehensive of any danger, thought there would
be great cruelty in dragging the cowardly boy into a scene which he
regarded with so much apprehension. She gave him, therefore, a silver
piece, and permitted him to return. The latter boon seemed even more
acceptable than the first; for ere she could return the purse into her
pocket, she heard the wooden clogs of her bold convoy in full retreat,
by the way from whence they came.

Smiling within herself at the fear she esteemed so ludicrous, Lady
Peveril ascended the stile, and was soon hidden from the broad light
of the moonbeams, by the numerous and entangled boughs of the huge
elms, which, meeting from either side, totally overarched the old
avenue. The scene was calculated to excite solemn thoughts; and the
distant glimmer of a light from one of the numerous casements in the
front of Moultrassie Hall, which lay at some distance, was calculated
to make them even melancholy. She thought of the fate of that family--
of the deceased Mrs. Bridgenorth, with whom she had often walked in
this very avenue, and who, though a woman of no high parts or
accomplishments, had always testified the deepest respect, and the
most earnest gratitude, for such notice as she had shown to her.
She thought of her blighted hopes--her premature death--the despair of
her self-banished husband--the uncertain fate of their orphan child,
for whom she felt, even at this distance of time, some touch of a
mother's affection.

Upon such sad subjects her thoughts were turned, when, just as she
attained the middle of the avenue, the imperfect and checkered light
which found its way through the silvan archway, showed her something
which resembled the figure of a man. Lady Peveril paused a moment, but
instantly advanced;--her bosom, perhaps, gave one startled throb, as a
debt to the superstitious belief of the times, but she instantly
repelled the thought of supernatural appearances. From those that were
merely mortal, she had nothing to fear. A marauder on the game was the
worst character whom she was likely to encounter; and he would be sure
to hide himself from her observation. She advanced, accordingly,
steadily; and, as she did so, had the satisfaction to observe that the
figure, as she expected, gave place to her, and glided away amongst
the trees on the left-hand side of the avenue. As she passed the spot
on which the form had been so lately visible, and bethought herself
that this wanderer of the night might, nay must, be in her vicinity,
her resolution could not prevent her mending her pace, and that with
so little precaution, that, stumbling over the limb of a tree, which,
twisted off by a late tempest, still lay in the avenue, she fell, and,
as she fell, screamed aloud. A strong hand in a moment afterwards
added to her fears by assisting her to rise, and a voice, to whose
accents she was not a stranger, though they had been long unheard,
said, "Is it not you, Lady Peveril?"

"It is I," said she, commanding her astonishment and fear; "and if my
ear deceive me not, I speak to Master Bridgenorth."

"I was that man," said he, "while oppression left me a name."

He spoke nothing more, but continued to walk beside her for a minute
or two in silence. She felt her situation embarrassing; and to divest
it of that feeling, as well as out of real interest in the question,
she asked him, "How her god-daughter Alice now was?"

"Of god-daughter, madam," answered Major Bridgenorth, "I know nothing;
that being one of the names which have been introduced, to the
corruption and pollution of God's ordinances. The infant who owed to
your ladyship (so called) her escape from disease and death, is a
healthy and thriving girl, as I am given to understand by those in
whose charge she is lodged, for I have not lately seen her. And it is
even the recollection of these passages, which in a manner impelled
me, alarmed also by your fall, to offer myself to you at this time and
mode, which in other respects is no way consistent with my present
safety."

"With your safety, Master Bridgenorth?" said the Lady Peveril;
"surely, I could never have thought that it was in danger!"

"You have some news, then, yet to learn, madam," said Major
Bridgenorth; "but you will hear in the course of tomorrow, reasons why
I dare not appear openly in the neighbourhood of my own property, and
wherefore there is small judgment in committing the knowledge of my
present residence to any one connected with Martindale Castle."

"Master Bridgenorth," said the lady, "you were in former times prudent
and cautious--I hope you have been misled by no hasty impression--by
no rash scheme--I hope----"

"Pardon my interrupting you, madam," said Bridgenorth. "I have indeed
been changed--ay, my very heart within me hath been changed. In the
times to which your ladyship (so called) thinks proper to refer, I was
a man of this world--bestowing on it all my thoughts--all my actions,
save formal observances--little deeming what was the duty of a
Christian man, and how far his self-denial ought to extend--even unto
his giving all as if he gave nothing. Hence I thought chiefly on
carnal things--on the adding of field to field, and wealth to wealth--
of balancing between party and party--securing a friend here, without
losing a friend there--But Heaven smote me for my apostasy, the rather
that I abused the name of religion, as a self-seeker, and a most
blinded and carnal will-worshipper--But I thank Him who hath at length
brought me out of Egypt."

In our day--although we have many instances of enthusiasm among us--we
might still suspect one who avowed it thus suddenly and broadly of
hypocrisy, or of insanity; but according to the fashion of the times,
such opinions as those which Bridgenorth expressed were openly
pleaded, as the ruling motives of men's actions. The sagacious Vane--
the brave and skilful Harrison--were men who acted avowedly under the
influence of such. Lady Peveril, therefore, was more grieved than
surprised at the language she heard Major Bridgenorth use, and
reasonably concluded that the society and circumstances in which he
might lately have been engaged, had blown into a flame the spark of
eccentricity which always smouldered in his bosom. This was the more
probable, considering that he was melancholy by constitution and
descent--that he had been unfortunate in several particulars--and that
no passion is more easily nursed by indulgence, than the species of
enthusiasm of which he now showed tokens. She therefore answered him
by calmly hoping, "That the expression of his sentiments had not
involved him in suspicion or in danger."

"In suspicion, madam?" answered the Major;--"for I cannot forbear
giving to you, such is the strength of habit, one of those idle titles
by which we poor potsherds are wont, in our pride, to denominate each
other--I walk not only in suspicion, but in that degree of danger,
that, were your husband to meet me at this instant--me, a native
Englishman, treading on my own lands--I have no doubt he would do his
best to offer me to the Moloch of Roman superstition, who now rages
abroad for victims among God's people."

"You surprise me by your language, Major Bridgenorth," said the lady,
who now felt rather anxious to be relieved from his company, and with
that purpose walked on somewhat hastily. He mended his pace, however,
and kept close by her side.

"Know you not," said he, "that Satan hath come down upon earth with
great wrath, because his time is short? The next heir to the crown is
an avowed Papist; and who dare assert, save sycophants and time-
servers, that he who wears it is not equally ready to stoop to Rome,
were he not kept in awe by a few noble spirits in the Commons' House?
You believe not this--yet in my solitary and midnight walks, when I
thought on your kindness to the dead and to the living, it was my
prayer that I might have the means granted to warn you--and lo! Heaven
hath heard me."

"What I was while in the gall of bitterness and in the bond of
iniquity, it signifies not to recall," answered he. "I was then like
to Gallio, who cared for none of these things. I doted on creature
comforts--I clung to worldly honour and repute--my thoughts were
earthward--or those I turned to Heaven were cold, formal, pharisaical
meditations--I brought nothing to the altar save straw and stubble.
Heaven saw need to chastise me in love--I was stript of all I clung to
on earth--my worldly honour was torn from me--I went forth an exile
from the home of my fathers, a deprived and desolate man--a baffled,
and beaten, and dishonoured man. But who shall find out the ways of
Providence? Such were the means by which I was chosen forth as a
champion for the truth--holding my life as nothing, if thereby that
may be advanced. But this was not what I wished to speak of. Thou hast
saved the earthly life of my child--let me save the eternal welfare of
yours."

Lady Peveril was silent. They were now approaching the point where the
avenue terminated in a communication with a public road, or rather
pathway, running through an unenclosed common field; this the lady had
to prosecute for a little way, until a turn of the path gave her
admittance into the Park of Martindale. She now felt sincerely anxious
to be in the open moonshine, and avoided reply to Bridgenorth that she
might make the more haste. But as they reached the junction of the
avenue and the public road, he laid his hand on her arm, and commanded
rather than requested her to stop. She obeyed. He pointed to a huge
oak, of the largest size, which grew on the summit of a knoll in the
open ground which terminated the avenue, and was exactly so placed as
to serve for a termination to the vista. The moonshine without the
avenue was so strong, that, amidst the flood of light which it poured
on the venerable tree, they could easily discover, from the shattered
state of the boughs on one side, that it had suffered damage from
lightning. "Remember you," he said, "when we last looked together on
that tree? I had ridden from London, and brought with me a protection
from the committee for your husband; and as I passed the spot--here on
this spot where we now stand, you stood with my lost Alice--two--the
last two of my beloved infants gambolled before you. I leaped from my
horse--to her I was a husband--to those a father--to you a welcome and
revered protector--What am I now to any one?" He pressed his hand on
his brow, and groaned in agony of spirit.

It was not in the Lady Peveril's nature to hear sorrow without an
attempt at consolation. "Master Bridgenorth," she said, "I blame no
man's creed, while I believe and follow my own; and I rejoice that in
yours you have sought consolation for temporal afflictions. But does
not every Christian creed teach us alike, that affliction should
soften our heart?"

"Ay, woman," said Bridgenorth sternly, "as the lightning which
shattered yonder oak hath softened its trunk. No; the seared wood is
the fitter for the use of the workmen--the hardened and the dried-up
heart is that which can best bear the task imposed by these dismal
times. God and man will no longer endure the unbridled profligacy of
the dissolute--the scoffing of the profane--the contempt of the divine
laws--the infraction of human rights. The times demand righters and
avengers, and there will be no want of them."

"I deny not the existence of much evil," said Lady Peveril, compelling
herself to answer, and beginning at the same time to walk forward;
"and from hearsay, though not, I thank Heaven, from observation, I am
convinced of the wild debauchery of the times. But let us trust it may
be corrected without such violent remedies as you hint at. Surely the
ruin of a second civil war--though I trust your thoughts go not that
dreadful length--were at best a desperate alternative."

"Sharp, but sure," replied Bridgenorth. "The blood of the Paschal lamb
chased away the destroying angel--the sacrifices offered on the
threshing-floor of Araunah, stayed the pestilence. Fire and sword are
severe remedies, but they pure and purify."

"Alas! Major Bridgenorth," said the lady, "wise and moderate in your
youth, can you have adopted in your advanced life the thoughts and
language of those whom you yourself beheld drive themselves and the
nation to the brink of ruin?"

"I know not what I then was--you know not what I now am," he replied,
and suddenly broke off; for they even then came forth into the open
light, and it seemed as if, feeling himself under the lady's eye, he
was disposed to soften his tone and his language.

At the first distinct view which she had of his person, she was aware
that he was armed with a short sword, a poniard, and pistols at his
belt--precautions very unusual for a man who formerly had seldom, and
only on days of ceremony, carried a walking rapier, though such was
the habitual and constant practice of gentlemen of his station in
life. There seemed also something of more stern determination than
usual in his air, which indeed had always been rather sullen than
affable; and ere she could repress the sentiment, she could not help
saying, "Master Bridgenorth, you are indeed changed."

"You see but the outward man," he replied; "the change within is yet
deeper. But it was not of myself that I desired to talk--I have
already said, that as you have preserved my child from the darkness of
the grave, I would willingly preserve yours from that more utter
darkness, which, I fear, hath involved the path and walks of his
father."

"I must not hear this of Sir Geoffrey," said the Lady Peveril; "I must
bid you farewell for the present; and when we again meet at a more
suitable time, I will at least listen to your advice concerning
Julian, although I should not perhaps incline to it."

"That more suitable time may never come," replied Bridgenorth. "Time
wanes, eternity draws nigh. Hearken! it is said to be your purpose to
send the young Julian to be bred up in yonder bloody island, under the
hand of your kinswoman, that cruel murderess, by whom was done to
death a man more worthy of vital existence than any that she can boast
among her vaunted ancestry. These are current tidings--Are they true?"

"I do not blame you, Master Bridgenorth, for thinking harshly of my
cousin of Derby," said Lady Peveril; "nor do I altogether vindicate
the rash action of which she hath been guilty. Nevertheless, in her
habitation, it is my husband's opinion and my own, that Julian may be
trained in the studies and accomplishments becoming his rank, along
with the young Earl of Derby."

"Under the curse of God, and the blessing of the Pope of Rome," said
Bridgenorth. "You, lady, so quick-sighted in matters of earthly
prudence, are you blind to the gigantic pace at which Rome is moving
to regain this country, once the richest gem in her usurped tiara? The
old are seduced by gold--the youth by pleasure--the weak by flattery--
cowards by fear--and the courageous by ambition. A thousand baits for
each taste, and each bait concealing the same deadly hook."

"I am well aware, Master Bridgenorth," said Lady Peveril, "that my
kinswoman is a Catholic;[*] but her son is educated in the Church of
England's principles, agreeably to the command of her deceased
husband."

[*] I have elsewhere noticed that this is a deviation from the truth--
    Charlotte, Countess of Derby, was a Huguenot.

"Is it likely," answered Bridgenorth, "that she, who fears not
shedding the blood of the righteous, whether on the field or scaffold,
will regard the sanction of her promise when her religion bids her
break it? Or, if she does, what shall your son be the better, if he
remain in the mire of his father? What are your Episcopal tenets but
mere Popery? save that ye have chosen a temporal tyrant for your Pope,
and substitute a mangled mass in English for that which your
predecessors pronounced in Latin.--But why speak I of these things to
one who hath ears, indeed, and eyes, yet cannot see, listen to, or
understand what is alone worthy to be heard, seen, and known? Pity
that what hath been wrought so fair and exquisite in form and
disposition, should be yet blind, deaf, and ignorant, like the things
which perish!"

"We shall not agree on these subjects, Master Bridgenorth," said the
lady, anxious still to escape from this strange conference, though
scarce knowing what to apprehend; "once more, I must bid you
farewell."

"Stay yet an instant," he said, again laying his hand on her arm; "I
would stop you if I saw you rushing on the brink of an actual
precipice--let me prevent you from a danger still greater. How shall I
work upon your unbelieving mind? Shall I tell you that the debt of
bloodshed yet remains a debt to be paid by the bloody house of Derby?
And wilt thou send thy son to be among those from whom it shall be
exacted?"

"You wish to alarm me in vain, Master Bridgenorth," answered the lady;
"what penalty can be exacted from the Countess, for an action, which I
have already called a rash one, has been long since levied."

"You deceive yourself," retorted he sternly. "Think you a paltry sum
of money, given to be wasted on the debaucheries of Charles, can atone
for the death of such a man as Christian--a man precious alike to
heaven and to earth? Not on such terms is the blood of the righteous
to be poured forth! Every hour's delay is numbered down as adding
interest to the grievous debt, which will one day be required from
that blood-thirsty woman."

At this moment the distant tread of horses was heard on the road on
which they held this singular dialogue. Bridgenorth listened a moment,
and then said, "Forget that you have seen me--name not my name to your
nearest or dearest--lock my counsel in your breast--profit by it, and
it shall be well with you."

So saying, he turned from her, and plunging through a gap in the
fence, regained the cover of his own wood, along which the path still
led.

The noise of horses advancing at full trot now came nearer; and Lady
Peveril was aware of several riders, whose forms rose indistinctly on
the summit of the rising ground behind her. She became also visible to
them; and one or two of the foremost made towards her at increased
speed, challenging her as they advanced with the cry of "Stand! Who
goes there?" The foremost who came up, however, exclaimed, "Mercy on
us, if it be not my lady!" and Lady Peveril, at the same moment,
recognised one of her own servants. Her husband rode up immediately
afterwards, with, "How now, Dame Margaret? What makes you abroad so
far from home and at an hour so late?"

Lady Peveril mentioned her visit at the cottage, but did not think it
necessary to say aught of having seen Major Bridgenorth; afraid, it
may be, that her husband might be displeased with that incident.

"Charity is a fine thing and a fair," answered Sir Geoffrey; "but I
must tell you, you do ill, dame, to wander about the country like a
quacksalver, at the call of every old woman who has a colic-fit; and
at this time of night especially, and when the land is so unsettled
besides."

"I am sorry to hear that it so," said the lady. "I had heard no such
news."

"News?" repeated Sir Geoffrey, "why, here has a new plot broken out
among the Roundheads, worse than Venner's by a butt's length;[*] and
who should be so deep in it as our old neighbour Bridgenorth? There is
search for him everywhere; and I promise you if he is found, he is
like to pay old scores."

[*] The celebrated insurrection of the Anabaptists and Fifth Monarchy
    men in London, in the year 1661.

"Then I am sure, I trust he will not be found," said Lady Peveril.

"Do you so?" replied Sir Geoffrey. "Now I, on my part hope that he
will; and it shall not be my fault if he be not; for which effect I
will presently ride down to Moultrassie, and make strict search,
according to my duty; there shall neither rebel nor traitor earth so
near Martindale Castle, that I will assure them. And you, my lady, be
pleased for once to dispense with a pillion, and get up, as you have
done before, behind Saunders, who shall convey you safe home."

The Lady obeyed in silence; indeed she did not dare to trust her voice
in an attempt to reply, so much was she disconcerted with the
intelligence she had just heard.

She rode behind the groom to the Castle, where she awaited in great
anxiety the return of her husband. He came back at length; but to her
great relief, without any prisoner. He then explained more fully than
his haste had before permitted, that an express had come down to
Chesterfield, with news from Court of a proposed insurrection amongst
the old Commonwealth men, especially those who had served in the army;
and that Bridgenorth, said to be lurking in Derbyshire, was one of the
principal conspirators.

After some time, this report of a conspiracy seemed to die away like
many others of that period. The warrants were recalled, but nothing
more was seen or heard of Major Bridgenorth; although it is probable
he might safely enough have shown himself as openly as many did who
lay under the same circumstances of suspicion.

About this time also, Lady Peveril, with many tears, took a temporary
leave of her son Julian, who was sent, as had long been intended, for
the purpose of sharing the education of the young Earl of Derby.
Although the boding words of Bridgenorth sometimes occurred to Lady
Peveril's mind, she did not suffer them to weigh with her in
opposition to the advantages which the patronage of the Countess of
Derby secured to her son.

The plan seemed to be in every respect successful; and when, from time
to time, Julian visited the house of his father, Lady Peveril had the
satisfaction to see him, on every occasion, improved in person and in
manner, as well as ardent in the pursuit of more solid acquirements.
In process of time he became a gallant and accomplished youth, and
travelled for some time upon the continent with the young Earl. This
was the more especially necessary for the enlarging of their
acquaintance with the world; because the Countess had never appeared
in London, or at the Court of King Charles, since her flight to the
Isle of Man in 1660; but had resided in solitary and aristocratic
state, alternately on her estates in England and in that island.

This had given to the education of both the young men, otherwise as
excellent as the best teachers could render it, something of a narrow
and restricted character; but though the disposition of the young Earl
was lighter and more volatile than that of Julian, both the one and
the other had profited, in a considerable degree, by the opportunities
afforded them. It was Lady Derby's strict injunction to her son, now
returning from the continent, that he should not appear at the Court
of Charles. But having been for some time of age, he did not think it
absolutely necessary to obey her in this particular; and had remained
for some time in London, partaking the pleasures of the gay Court
there, with all the ardour of a young man bred up in comparative
seclusion.

In order to reconcile the Countess to this transgression of her
authority (for he continued to entertain for her the profound respect
in which he had been educated), Lord Derby agreed to make a long
sojourn with her in her favourite island, which he abandoned almost
entirely to her management.

Julian Peveril had spent at Martindale Castle a good deal of the time
which his friend had bestowed in London; and at the period to which,
passing over many years, our story has arrived, as it were, /per
saltum/, they were both living as the Countess's guests, in the Castle
of Rushin, in the venerable kingdom of Man.



                              CHAPTER XI

             Mona--long hid from those who roam the main.
                                                   --COLLINS.

The Isle of Man, in the middle of the seventeenth century, was very
different, as a place of residence, from what it is now. Men had not
then discovered its merit as a place of occasional refuge from the
storms of life, and the society to be there met with was of a very
uniform tenor. There were no smart fellows, whom fortune had tumbled
from the seat of their barouches--no plucked pigeons or winged rooks--
no disappointed speculators--no ruined miners--in short, no one worth
talking to. The society of the island was limited to the natives
themselves, and a few merchants, who lived by contraband trade. The
amusements were rare and monotonous, and the mercurial young Earl was
soon heartily tired of his dominions. The islanders, also, become too
wise for happiness, had lost relish for the harmless and somewhat
childish sports in which their simple ancestors had indulged
themselves. May was no longer ushered in by the imaginary contest
between the Queen of returning winter and advancing spring; the
listeners no longer sympathised with the lively music of the followers
of the one, or the discordant sounds with which the other asserted a
more noisy claim to attention. Christmas, too, closed, and the
steeples no longer jangled forth a dissonant peal. The wren, to seek
for which used to be the sport dedicated to the holytide, was left
unpursued and unslain. Party spirit had come among these simple
people, and destroyed their good humour, while it left them their
ignorance. Even the races, a sport generally interesting to people of
all ranks, were no longer performed, because they were no longer
interesting. The gentlemen were divided by feuds hitherto unknown, and
each seemed to hold it scorn to be pleased with the same diversions
that amused those of the opposite faction. The hearts of both parties
revolted from the recollection of former days, when all was peace
among them, when the Earl of Derby, now slaughtered, used to bestow
the prize, and Christian, since so vindictively executed, started
horses to add to the amusement.

Julian was seated in the deep recess which led to a latticed window of
the old Castle; and, with his arms crossed, and an air of profound
contemplation, was surveying the long perspective of ocean, which
rolled its successive waves up to the foot of the rock on which the
ancient pile is founded. The Earl was suffering under the infliction
of ennui--now looking into a volume of Homer--now whistling--now
swinging on his chair--now traversing the room--till, at length, his
attention became swallowed up in admiration of the tranquillity of his
companion.

"King of Men!" he said, repeating the favourite epithet by which Homer
describes Agamemnon,--"I trust, for the old Greek's sake, he had a
merrier office than being King of Man--Most philosophical Julian, will
nothing rouse thee--not even a bad pun on my own royal dignity?"

"I wish you would be a little more the King in Man," said Julian,
starting from his reverie, "and then you would find more amusement in
your dominions."

"What! dethrone that royal Semiramis my mother," said the young lord,
"who has as much pleasure in playing Queen as if she were a real
Sovereign?--I wonder you can give me such counsel."

"Your mother, as you well know, my dear Derby, would be delighted, did
you take any interest in the affairs of the island."

"Ay, truly, she would permit me to be King; but she would choose to
remain Viceroy over me. Why, she would only gain a subject the more,
by my converting my spare time, which is so very valuable to me, to
the cares of royalty. No, no, Julian, she thinks it power, to direct
all the affairs of these poor Manxmen; and, thinking it power, she
finds it pleasure. I shall not interfere, unless she hold a high court
of justice again. I cannot afford to pay another fine to my brother,
King Charles--But I forget--this is a sore point with you."

"With the Countess, at least," replied Julian; "and I wonder you will
speak of it."

"Why, I bear no malice against the poor man's memory any more than
yourself, though I have not the same reasons for holding it in
veneration," replied the Earl of Derby; "and yet I have some respect
for it too. I remember their bringing him out to die--It was the first
holiday I ever had in my life, and I heartily wish it had been on some
other account."

"I would rather hear you speak of anything else, my lord," said
Julian.

"Why, there it goes," answered the Earl; "whenever I talk of anything
that puts you on your mettle, and warms your blood, that runs as cold
as a merman's--to use a simile of this happy island--hey pass! you
press me to change the subject.--Well, what shall we talk of?--O
Julian, if you had not gone down to earth yourself among the castles
and caverns of Derbyshire, we should have had enough of delicious
topics--the play-houses, Julian--Both the King's house and the
Duke's--Louis's establishment is a jest to them;--and the Ring in the
Park, which beats the Corso at Naples--and the beauties, who beat the
whole world!"

"I am very willing to hear you speak on the subject, my lord,"
answered Julian; "the less I have seen of London world myself, the
more I am likely to be amused by your account of it."

"Ay, my friend--but where to begin?--with the wit of Buckingham, and
Sedley, and Etherege, or with the grace of Harry Jermyn--the courtesy
of the Duke of Monmouth, or with the loveliness of La Belle Hamilton--
of the Duchess of Richmond--of Lady ----, the person of Roxalana, the
smart humour of Mrs. Nelly----"

"Or what say you to the bewitching sorceries of Lady Cynthia?"
demanded his companion.

"Faith, I would have kept these to myself," said the Earl, "to follow
your prudent example. But since you ask me, I fairly own I cannot tell
what to say of them; only I think of them twenty times as often as all
the beauties I have spoken of. And yet she is neither the twentieth
part so beautiful as the plainest of these Court beauties, nor so
witty as the dullest I have named, nor so modish--that is the great
matter--as the most obscure. I cannot tell what makes me dote on her,
except that she is a capricious as her whole sex put together."

"That I should think a small recommendation," answered his companion.

"Small, do you term it," replied the Earl, "and write yourself a
brother of the angle? Why, which like you best? to pull a dead strain
on a miserable gudgeon, which you draw ashore by main force, as the
fellows here tow in their fishing-boats--or a lively salmon, that
makes your rod crack, and your line whistle--plays you ten thousand
mischievous pranks--wearies your heart out with hopes and fears--and
is only laid panting on the bank, after you have shown the most
unmatchable display of skill, patience, and dexterity?--But I see you
have a mind to go on angling after your own old fashion. Off laced
coat, and on brown jerkin;--lively colours scare fish in the sober
waters of the Isle of Man;--faith, in London you will catch few,
unless the bait glistens a little. But you /are/ going?--Well, good
luck to you. I will take to the barge;--the sea and wind are less
inconstant than the tide you have embarked on."

"You have learned to say all these smart things in London, my lord,"
answered Julian; "but we shall have you a penitent for them, if Lady
Cynthia be of my mind. Adieu, and pleasure till we meet."

The young men parted accordingly; and while the Earl betook him to his
pleasure voyage, Julian, as his friend had prophesied, assumed the
dress of one who means to amuse himself with angling. The hat and
feather were exchanged for a cap of grey cloth; the deeply-laced cloak
and doublet for a simple jacket of the same colour, with hose
conforming; and finally, with rod in hand, and pannier at his back,
mounted upon a handsome Manx pony, young Peveril rode briskly over the
country which divided him from one of those beautiful streams that
descend to the sea from the Kirk-Merlagh mountains.

Having reached the spot where he meant to commence his day's sport,
Julian let his little steed graze, which, accustomed to the situation,
followed him like a dog; and now and then, when tired of picking
herbage in the valley through which the stream winded, came near her
master's side, and, as if she had been a curious amateur of the sport,
gazed on the trouts as Julian brought them struggling to the shore.
But Fairy's master showed, on that day, little of the patience of a
real angler, and took no heed to old Isaac Walton's recommendation, to
fish the streams inch by inch. He chose, indeed, with an angler's eye,
the most promising casts, which the stream broke sparkling over a
stone, affording the wonted shelter to a trout; or where, gliding away
from a rippling current to a still eddy it streamed under the
projecting bank, or dashed from the pool of some low cascade. By this
judicious selection of spots whereon to employ his art, the
sportsman's basket was soon sufficiently heavy, to show that his
occupation was not a mere pretext; and so soon as this was the case,
he walked briskly up the glen, only making a cast from time to time,
in case of his being observed from any of the neighbouring heights.

It was a little green and rocky valley through which the brook
strayed, very lonely, although the slight track of an unformed road
showed that it was occasionally traversed, and that it was not
altogether void of inhabitants. As Peveril advanced still farther, the
right bank reached to some distance from the stream, leaving a piece
of meadow ground, the lower part of which, being close to the brook,
was entirely covered with rich herbage, being possibly occasionally
irrigated by its overflow. The higher part of the level ground
afforded a stance for an old house, of singular structure, with a
terraced garden, and a cultivated field or two beside it. In former
times, a Danish or Norwegian fastness had stood here, called the Black
Fort, from the colour of a huge healthy hill, which, rising behind the
building, appeared to be the boundary of the valley, and to afford the
source of the brook. But the original structure had been long
demolished, as, indeed, it probably only consisted of dry stones, and
its materials had been applied to the construction of the present
mansion--the work of some churchman during the sixteenth century, as
was evident from the huge stone-work of its windows, which scarce left
room for light to pass through, as well as from two or three heavy
buttresses, which projected from the front of the house, and exhibited
on their surface little niches for images. These had been carefully
destroyed, and pots of flowers were placed in the niches in their
stead, besides their being ornamented by creeping plants of various
kinds, fancifully twined around them. The garden was also in good
order; and though the spot was extremely solitary, there was about it
altogether an air of comfort, accommodation, and even elegance, by no
means generally characteristic of the habitations of the island at the
time.

With much circumspection, Julian Peveril approached the low Gothic
porch, which defended the entrance of the mansion from the tempests
incident to its situation, and was, like the buttresses, overrun with
ivy and other creeping plants. An iron ring, contrived so as when
drawn up and down to rattle against the bar of notched iron through
which it was suspended, served the purpose of a knocker; and to this
he applied himself, though with the greatest precaution.

He received no answer for some time, and indeed it seemed as if the
house was totally uninhabited; when, at length, his impatience getting
the upper hand, he tried to open the door, and, as it was only upon
the latch, very easily succeeded. He passed through a little low-
arched hall, the upper end of which was occupied by a staircase, and
turning to the left, opened the door of a summer parlour, wainscoted
with black oak, and very simply furnished with chairs and tables of
the same materials; the former cushioned with the leather. The
apartment was gloomy--one of those stone-shafted windows which we have
mentioned, with its small latticed panes, and thick garland of
foliage, admitting but an imperfect light.

Over the chimneypiece (which was of the same massive materials with
the panelling of the apartment) was the only ornament of the room; a
painting, namely, representing an officer in the military dress of the
Civil Wars. It was a green jerkin, then the national and peculiar wear
of the Manxmen; his short band which hung down on the cuirass--the
orange-coloured scarf, but, above all, the shortness of his close-cut
hair, showing evidently to which of the great parties he had belonged.
His right hand rested on the hilt of his sword; and in the left he
held a small Bible, bearing the inscription, "/In hoc signo/." The
countenance was of a light complexion, with fair and almost effeminate
blue eyes, and an oval form of face--one of those physiognomies, to
which, though not otherwise unpleasing, we naturally attach the idea
of melancholy and of misfortune.[*] Apparently it was well known to
Julian Peveril; for after having looked at it for a long time, he
could not forbear muttering aloud, "What would I give that that man
had never been born, or that he still lived!"

[*] I am told that a portrait of the unfortunate William Christian is
    still preserved in the family of Waterson of Ballnabow of Kirk
    Church, Rushin. William Dhône is dressed in a green coat without
    collar or cape, after the fashion of those puritanic times, with
    the head in a close cropt wig, resembling the bishop's peruke of
    the present day. The countenance is youthful and well-looking,
    very unlike the expression of foreboding melancholy. I have so far
    taken advantage of this criticism, as to bring my ideal portrait
    in the present edition, nearer to the complexion at least of the
    fair-haired William Dhône.

"How now--how is this?" said a female, who entered the room as he
uttered this reflection. "/You/ here, Master Peveril, in spite of all
the warnings you have had! You here in the possession of folk's house
when they are abroad, and talking to yourself, as I shall warrant!"

"Yes, Mistress Deborah," said Peveril, "I am here once more, as you
see, against every prohibition, and in defiance of all danger.--Where
is Alice?"

"Where you will never see her, Master Julian--you may satisfy yourself
of that," answered Mistress Deborah, for it was that respectable
governante; and sinking down at the same time upon one of the large
leathern chairs, she began to fan herself with her handkerchief, and
complain of the heat in a most ladylike fashion.

In fact, Mistress Debbitch, while her exterior intimated a
considerable change of condition for the better, and her countenance
showed the less favourable effects of the twenty years which had
passed over her head, was in mind and manners very much what she had
been when she battled the opinions of Madam Ellesmere at Martindale
Castle. In a word, she was self-willed, obstinate, and coquettish as
ever, otherwise no ill-disposed person. Her present appearance was
that of a woman of the better rank. From the sobriety of the fashion
of her dress, and the uniformity of its colours, it was plain she
belonged to some sect which condemned superfluous gaiety in attire;
but no rules, not those of a nunnery or of a quaker's society, can
prevent a little coquetry in that particular, where a woman is
desirous of being supposed to retain some claim to personal attention.
All Mistress Deborah's garments were so arranged as might best set off
a good-looking woman, whose countenance indicated ease and good cheer
--who called herself five-and-thirty, and was well entitled, if she
had a mind, to call herself twelve or fifteen years older.

Julian was under the necessity of enduring all her tiresome and
fantastic airs, and awaiting with patience till she had "prinked
herself and pinned herself"--flung her hoods back, and drawn them
forward--snuffed at a little bottle of essences--closed her eyes like
a dying fowl--turned them up like duck in a thunderstorm; when at
length, having exhausted her round of /minauderies/, she condescended
to open the conversation.

"These walks will be the death of me," she said, "and all on your
account, Master Julian Peveril; for if Dame Christian should learn
that you have chosen to make your visits to her niece, I promise you
Mistress Alice would be soon obliged to find other quarters, and so
should I."

"Come now, Mistress Deborah, be good-humoured," said Julian;
"consider, was not all this intimacy of ours of your own making? Did
you not make yourself known to me the very first time I strolled up
this glen with my fishing-rod, and tell me that you were my former
keeper, and that Alice had been my little playfellow? And what could
there be more natural, than that I should come back and see two such
agreeable persons as often as I could?"

"Yes," said Dame Deborah; "but I did not bid you fall in love with us,
though, or propose such a matter as marriage either to Alice or
myself."

"To do you justice, you never did, Deborah," answered the youth; "but
what of that? Such things will come out before one is aware. I am sure
you must have heard such proposals fifty times when you least expected
them."

"Fie, fie, fie, Master Julian Peveril," said the governante; "I would
have you to know that I have always so behaved myself, that the best
of the land would have thought twice of it, and have very well
considered both what he was going to say, and how he was going to say
it, before he came out with such proposals to me."

"True, true, Mistress Deborah," continued Julian; "but all the world
hath not your discretion. Then Alice Bridgenorth is a child--a mere
child; and one always asks a baby to be one's little wife, you know.
Come, I know you will forgive me. Thou wert ever the best-natured,
kindest woman in the world; and you know you have said twenty times we
were made for each other."

"Oh no, Master Julian Peveril; no, no, no!" ejaculated Deborah. "I may
indeed have said your estates were born to be united; and to be sure
it is natural for me, that come of the old stock of the yeomanry of
Peveril of the Peak's estate, to wish that it was all within the ring
fence again; which sure enough it might be, were you to marry Alice
Bridgenorth. But then there is the knight your father, and my lady
your mother; and there is her father, that is half crazy with his
religion; and her aunt that wears eternal black grogram for that
unlucky Colonel Christian; and there is the Countess of Derby, that
would serve us all with the same sauce if we were thinking of anything
that would displease her. And besides all that, you have broke your
word with Mistress Alice, and everything is over between you; and I am
of opinion it is quite right it should be all over. And perhaps it may
be, Master Julian, that I should have thought so a long time ago,
before a child like Alice put it into my head; but I am so good-
natured."

No flatterer like a lover, who wishes to carry his point.

"You are the best-natured, kindest creature in the world, Deborah.--
But you have never seen the ring I bought for you at Paris. Nay, I
will put it on your finger myself;--what! your foster-son, whom you
loved so well, and took such care of?"

He easily succeeded in putting a pretty ring of gold, with a humorous
affectation of gallantry, on the fat finger of Mistress Deborah
Debbitch. Hers was a soul of a kind often to be met with, both among
the lower and higher vulgar, who, without being, on a broad scale,
accessible to bribes or corruption, are nevertheless much attached to
perquisites, and considerably biassed in their line of duty, though
perhaps insensibly, by the love of petty observances, petty presents,
and trivial compliments. Mistress Debbitch turned the ring round, and
round, and round, and at length said, in a whisper, "Well, Master
Julian Peveril, it signifies nothing denying anything to such a young
gentleman as you, for young gentlemen are always so obstinate! and so
I may as well tell you, that Mistress Alice walked back from the Kirk-
Truagh along with me, just now, and entered the house at the same time
with myself."

"Why did you not tell me so before?" said Julian, starting up; "where
--where is she?"

"You had better ask why I tell you so /now/, Master Julian," said Dame
Deborah; "for, I promise you, it is against her express commands; and
I would not have told you, had you not looked so pitiful;--but as for
seeing you, that she will not--and she is in her own bedroom, with a
good oak door shut and bolted upon her--that is one comfort.--And so,
as for any breach of trust on my part--I promise you the little saucy
minx gives it no less name--it is quite impossible."

"Do not say so, Deborah--only go--only try--tell her to hear me--tell
her I have a hundred excuses for disobeying her commands--tell her I
have no doubt to get over all obstacles at Martindale Castle."

"Nay, I tell you it is all in vain," replied the Dame. "When I saw
your cap and rod lying in the hall, I did but say, 'There he is
again,' and she ran up the stairs like a young deer; and I heard key
turned, and bolt shot, ere I could say a single word to stop her--I
marvel you heard her not."

"It was because I am, as I ever was, an owl--a dreaming fool, who let
all those golden minutes pass, which my luckless life holds out to me
so rarely.--Well--tell her I go--go for ever--go where she will hear
no more of me--where no one shall hear more of me!"

"Oh, the Father!" said the dame, "hear how he talks!--What will become
of Sir Geoffrey, and your mother, and of me, and of the Countess, if
you were to go so far as you talk of? And what would become of poor
Alice too? for I will be sworn she likes you better than she says, and
I know she used to sit and look the way that you used to come up the
stream, and now and then ask me if the morning were good for fishing.
And all the while you were on the continent, as they call it, she
scarcely smiled once, unless it was when she got two beautiful long
letters about foreign parts."

"Friendship, Dame Deborah--only friendship--cold and calm remembrance
of one who, by your kind permission, stole in on your solitude now and
then, with news from the living world without--Once, indeed, I
thought--but it is all over--farewell."

So saying, he covered his face with one hand, and extended the other,
in the act of bidding adieu to Dame Debbitch, whose kind heart became
unable to withstand the sight of his affliction.

"Now, do not be in such haste," she said; "I will go up again, and
tell her how it stands with you, and bring her down, if it is in
woman's power to do it."

And so saying, she left the apartment, and ran upstairs.

Julian Peveril, meanwhile, paced the apartment in great agitation,
waiting the success of Deborah's intercession; and she remained long
enough absent to give us time to explain, in a short retrospect, the
circumstances which had led to his present situation.



                             CHAPTER XII

            Ah me! for aught that ever I could read,
            Could ever hear by tale or history,
            The course of true love never did run smooth!
                                       --Midsummer Night's Dream.

The celebrated passage which we have prefixed to this chapter has,
like most observations of the same author, its foundation in real
experience. The period at which love is formed for the first time, and
felt most strongly, is seldom that at which there is much prospect of
its being brought to a happy issue. The state of artificial society
opposes many complicated obstructions to early marriages; and the
chance is very great, that such obstacles prove insurmountable. In
fine, there are few men who do not look back in secret to some period
of their youth, at which a sincere and early affection was repulsed,
or betrayed, or become abortive from opposing circumstances. It is
these little passages of secret history, which leave a tinge of
romance in every bosom, scarce permitting us, even in the most busy or
the most advanced period of life, to listen with total indifference to
a tale of true love.

Julian Peveril had so fixed his affections, as to insure the fullest
share of that opposition which early attachments are so apt to
encounter. Yet nothing so natural as that he should have done so. In
early youth, Dame Debbitch had accidentally met with the son of her
first patroness, and who had himself been her earliest charge, fishing
in the little brook already noticed, which watered the valley in which
she resided with Alice Bridgenorth. The dame's curiosity easily
discovered who he was; and besides the interest which persons in her
condition usually take in the young people who have been under their
charge, she was delighted with the opportunity to talk about former
times--about Martindale Castle, and friends there--about Sir Geoffrey
and his good lady--and, now and then, about Lance Outram the park-
keeper.

The mere pleasure of gratifying her inquiries, would scarce have had
power enough to induce Julian to repeat his visits to the lonely glen;
but Deborah had a companion--a lovely girl--bred in solitude, and in
the quiet and unpretending tastes which solitude encourages--spirited,
also, and inquisitive, and listening, with laughing cheek, and an
eager eye, to every tale which the young angler brought from the town
and castle.

The visits of Julian to the Black Fort were only occasional--so far
Dame Deborah showed common-sense--which was, perhaps, inspired by the
apprehension of losing her place, in case of discovery. She had,
indeed, great confidence in the strong and rooted belief--amounting
almost to superstition--which Major Bridgenorth entertained, that his
daughter's continued health could only be insured by her continuing
under the charge of one who had acquired Lady Peveril's supposed skill
in treating those subject to such ailments. This belief Dame Deborah
had improved to the utmost of her simple cunning,--always speaking in
something of an oracular tone, upon the subject of her charge's
health, and hinting at certain mysterious rules necessary to maintain
it in the present favourable state. She had availed herself of this
artifice, to procure for herself and Alice a separate establishment at
the Black Fort; for it was originally Major Bridgenorth's resolution,
that his daughter and her governante should remain under the same roof
with the sister-in-law of his deceased wife, the widow of the
unfortunate Colonel Christian. But this lady was broken down with
premature age, brought on by sorrow; and, in a short visit which Major
Bridgenorth made to the island, he was easily prevailed on to consider
her house at Kirk-Truagh, as a very cheerless residence for his
daughter. Dame Deborah, who longed for domestic independence, was
careful to increase this impression by alarming her patron's fears on
account of Alice's health. The mansion of Kirk-Truagh stood, she said,
much exposed to the Scottish winds, which could not but be cold, as
they came from a country where, as she was assured, there was ice and
snow at midsummer. In short, she prevailed, and was put into full
possession of the Black Fort, a house which, as well as Kirk-Truagh,
belonged formerly to Christian, and now to his widow.

Still, however, it was enjoined on the governante and her charge, to
visit Kirk-Truagh from time to time, and to consider themselves as
under the management and guardianship of Mistress Christian--a state
of subjection, the sense of which Deborah endeavoured to lessen, by
assuming as much freedom of conduct as she possibly dared, under the
influence, doubtless, of the same feelings of independence, which
induced her, at Martindale Hall, to spurn the advice of Mistress
Ellesmere.

It was this generous disposition to defy control which induced her to
procure for Alice, secretly, some means of education, which the stern
genius of puritanism would have proscribed. She ventured to have her
charge taught music--nay, even dancing; and the picture of the stern
Colonel Christian trembled on the wainscot where it was suspended,
while the sylph-like form of Alice, and the substantial person of Dame
Deborah, executed French /chaussées/ and /borrées/, to the sound of a
small kit, which screamed under the bow of Monsieur De Pigal, half
smuggler, half dancing-master. This abomination reached the ears of
the Colonel's widow, and by her was communicated to Bridgenorth, whose
sudden appearance in the island showed the importance he attached to
the communication. Had she been faithless to her own cause, that had
been the latest hour of Mrs. Deborah's administration. But she
retreated into her stronghold.

"Dancing," she said, "was exercise, regulated and timed by music; and
it stood to reason, that it must be the best of all exercise for a
delicate person, especially as it could be taken within doors, and in
all states of the weather."

Bridgenorth listened, with a clouded and thoughtful brow, when, in
exemplification of her doctrine, Mistress Deborah, who was no
contemptible performer on the viol, began to jangle Sellenger's Round,
and desired Alice to dance an old English measure to the tune. As the
half-bashful, half-smiling girl, about fourteen--for such was her age
--moved gracefully to the music, the father's eye unavoidably followed
the light spring of her step, and marked with joy the rising colour in
her cheek. When the dance was over, he folded her in his arms,
smoothed her somewhat disordered locks with a father's affectionate
hand, smiled, kissed her brow, and took his leave, without one single
word farther interdicting the exercise of dancing. He did not himself
communicate the result of his visit at the Black Fort to Mrs.
Christian, but she was not long of learning it, by the triumph of Dame
Deborah on her next visit.

"It is well," said the stern old lady; "my brother Bridgenorth hath
permitted you to make a Herodias of Alice, and teach her dancing. You
have only now to find her a partner for life--I shall neither meddle
nor make more in their affairs."

In fact, the triumph of Dame Deborah, or rather of Dame Nature, on
this occasion, had more important effects than the former had ventured
to anticipate; for Mrs. Christian, though she received with all
formality the formal visits of the governante and her charge, seemed
thenceforth so pettish with the issue of her remonstrance, upon the
enormity of her niece dancing to a little fiddle, that she appeared to
give up interference in her affairs, and left Dame Debbitch and Alice
to manage both education and housekeeping--in which she had hitherto
greatly concerned herself--much after their own pleasure.

It was in this independent state that they lived, when Julian first
visited their habitation; and he was the rather encouraged to do so by
Dame Deborah, that she believed him to be one of the last persons in
the world with whom Mistress Christian would have desired her niece to
be acquainted--the happy spirit of contradiction superseding, with
Dame Deborah, on this, as on other occasions, all consideration of the
fitness of things. She did not act altogether without precaution
neither. She was aware she had to guard not only against any reviving
interest or curiosity on the part of Mistress Christian, but against
the sudden arrival of Major Bridgenorth, who never failed once in the
year to make his appearance at the Black Fort when least expected, and
to remain there for a few days. Dame Debbitch, therefore, exacted of
Julian, that his visits should be few and far between; that he should
condescend to pass for a relation of her own, in the eyes of two
ignorant Manx girls and a lad, who formed her establishment; and that
he should always appear in his angler's dress made of the simple
/Loughtan/, or buff-coloured wool of the island, which is not
subjected to dyeing. By these cautions, she thought his intimacy at
the Black Fort would be entirely unnoticed, or considered as
immaterial, while, in the meantime, it furnished much amusement to her
charge and herself.

This was accordingly the case during the earlier part of their
intercourse, while Julian was a lad, and Alice a girl two or three
years younger. But as the lad shot up to youth, and the girl to
womanhood, even Dame Deborah Debbitch's judgment saw danger in their
continued intimacy. She took an opportunity to communicate to Julian
who Miss Bridgenorth actually was, and the peculiar circumstances
which placed discord between their fathers. He heard the story of
their quarrel with interest and surprise, for he had only resided
occasionally at Martindale Castle, and the subject of Bridgenorth's
quarrel with his father had never been mentioned in his presence. His
imagination caught fire at the sparks afforded by this singular story;
and, far from complying with the prudent remonstrance of Dame Deborah,
and gradually estranging himself from the Black Fort and its fair
inmate, he frankly declared, he considered his intimacy there, so
casually commenced, as intimating the will of Heaven, that Alice and
he were designed for each other, in spite of every obstacle which
passion or prejudice could raise up betwixt them. They had been
companions in infancy; and a little exertion of memory enabled him to
recall his childish grief for the unexpected and sudden disappearance
of his little companion, whom he was destined again to meet with in
the early bloom of opening beauty, in a country which was foreign to
them both.

Dame Deborah was confounded at the consequences of her communication,
which had thus blown into a flame the passion which she hoped it would
have either prevented or extinguished. She had not the sort of head
which resists the masculine and energetic remonstrances of passionate
attachment, whether addressed to her on her own account, or on behalf
of another. She lamented, and wondered, and ended her feeble
opposition, by weeping, and sympathising, and consenting to allow the
continuance of Julian's visits, provided he should only address
himself to Alice as a friend; to gain the world, she would consent to
nothing more. She was not, however, so simple, but that she also had
her forebodings of the designs of Providence on this youthful couple;
for certainly they could not be more formed to be united than the good
estates of Martindale and Moultrassie.

Then came a long sequence of reflections. Martindale Castle wanted but
some repairs to be almost equal to Chatsworth. The Hall might be
allowed to go to ruin; or, what would be better, when Sir Geoffrey's
time came (for the good knight had seen service, and must be breaking
now), the Hall would be a good dowery-house, to which my lady and
Ellesmere might retreat; while (empress of the still-room, and queen
of the pantry) Mistress Deborah Debbitch should reign housekeeper at
the Castle, and extend, perhaps, the crown-matrimonial to Lance
Outram, provided he was not become too old, too fat, or too fond of
ale.

Such were the soothing visions under the influence of which the dame
connived at an attachment, which lulled also to pleasing dreams,
though of a character so different, her charge and her visitant.

The visits of the young angler became more and more frequent; and the
embarrassed Deborah, though foreseeing all the dangers of discovery,
and the additional risk of an explanation betwixt Alice and Julian,
which must necessarily render their relative situation so much more
delicate, felt completely overborne by the enthusiasm of the young
lover, and was compelled to let matters take their course.

The departure of Julian for the continent interrupted the course of
his intimacy at the Black Fort, and while it relieved the elder of its
inmates from much internal apprehension, spread an air of languor and
dejection over the countenance of the younger, which, at
Bridgenorth's next visit to the Isle of Man, renewed all his terrors
for his daughter's constitutional malady.

Deborah promised faithfully she should look better the next morning,
and she kept her word. She had retained in her possession for some
time a letter which Julian had, by some private conveyance, sent to
her charge, for his youthful friend. Deborah had dreaded the
consequences of delivering it as a billet-doux, but, as in the case of
the dance, she thought there could be no harm in administering it as a
remedy.

It had complete effect; and next day the cheeks of the maiden had a
tinge of the rose, which so much delighted her father, that, as he
mounted his horse, he flung his purse into Deborah's hand, with the
desire she should spare nothing that could make herself and his
daughter happy, and the assurance that she had his full confidence.

This expression of liberality and confidence from a man of Major
Bridgenorth's reserved and cautious disposition, gave full plumage to
Mistress Deborah's hopes; and emboldened her not only to deliver
another letter of Julian's to the young lady, but to encourage more
boldly and freely than formerly the intercourse of the lovers when
Peveril returned from abroad.

At length, in spite of all Julian's precaution, the young Earl became
suspicious of his frequent solitary fishing parties; and he himself,
now better acquainted with the world than formerly, became aware that
his repeated visits and solitary walks with a person so young and
beautiful as Alice, might not only betray prematurely the secret of
his attachment, but be of essential prejudice to her who was its
object.

Under the influence of this conviction, he abstained, for an unusual
period, from visiting the Black Fort. But when he next indulged
himself with spending an hour in the place where he would gladly have
abode for ever, the altered manner of Alice--the tone in which she
seemed to upbraid his neglect, penetrated his heart, and deprived him
of that power of self-command, which he had hitherto exercised in
their interviews. It required but a few energetic words to explain to
Alice at once his feelings, and to make her sensible of the real
nature of her own. She wept plentifully, but her tears were not all of
bitterness. She sat passively still, and without reply, while he
explained to her, with many an interjection, the circumstances which
had placed discord between their families; for hitherto, all that she
had known was, that Master Peveril, belonging to the household of the
great Countess or Lady of Man, must observe some precautions in
visiting a relative of the unhappy Colonel Christian. But, when Julian
concluded his tale with the warmest protestations of eternal love, "My
poor father!" she burst forth, "and was this to be the end of all thy
precautions?--This, that the son of him that disgraced and banished
thee, should hold such language to your daughter?"

"You err, Alice, you err," cried Julian eagerly. "That I hold this
language--that the son of Peveril addresses thus the daughter of your
father--that he thus kneels to you for forgiveness of injuries which
passed when we were both infants, shows the will of Heaven, that in
our affection should be quenched the discord of our parents. What else
could lead those who parted infants on the hills of Derbyshire, to
meet thus in the valleys of Man?"

Alice, however new such a scene, and, above all, her own emotions,
might be, was highly endowed with that exquisite delicacy which is
imprinted in the female heart, to give warning of the slightest
approach to impropriety in a situation like hers.

"Rise, rise, Master Peveril," she said; "do not do yourself and me
this injustice--we have done both wrong--very wrong; but my fault was
done in ignorance. O God! my poor father, who needs comfort so much--
is it for me to add to his misfortunes? Rise!" she added more firmly;
"if you retain this unbecoming posture any longer, I will leave the
room and you shall never see me more."

The commanding tone of Alice overawed the impetuosity of her lover,
who took in silence a seat removed to some distance from hers, and was
again about to speak. "Julian," said she in a milder tone, "you have
spoken enough, and more than enough. Would you had left me in the
pleasing dream in which I could have listened to you for ever! but the
hour of wakening is arrived." Peveril waited the prosecution of her
speech as a criminal while he waits his doom; for he was sufficiently
sensible that an answer, delivered not certainly without emotion, but
with firmness and resolution, was not to be interrupted. "We have done
wrong," she repeated, "very wrong; and if we now separate for ever,
the pain we may feel will be but a just penalty for our error. We
should never have met: meeting, we should part as soon as possible.
Our farther intercourse can but double our pain at parting. Farewell,
Julian; and forget we ever have seen each other!"

"Forget!" said Julian; "never, never. To /you/, it is easy to speak
the word--to think the thought. To /me/, an approach to either can
only be by utter destruction. Why should you doubt that the feud of
our fathers, like so many of which we have heard, might be appeased by
our friendship? You are my only friend. I am the only one whom Heaven
has assigned to you. Why should we separate for the fault of others,
which befell when we were but children?"

"You speak in vain, Julian," said Alice; "I pity you--perhaps I pity
myself--indeed, I should pity myself, perhaps, the most of the two;
for you will go forth to new scenes and new faces, and will soon
forget me; but, I, remaining in this solitude, how shall /I/ forget?--
that, however, is not now the question--I can bear my lot, and it
commands us to part."

"Hear me yet a moment," said Peveril; "this evil is not, cannot be
remediless. I will go to my father,--I will use the intercession of my
mother, to whom he can refuse nothing--I will gain their consent--they
have no other child--and they must consent, or lose him for ever. Say,
Alice, if I come to you with my parents' consent to my suit, will you
again say, with that tone so touching and so sad, yet so incredibly
determined--Julian, we must part?" Alice was silent. "Cruel girl, will
you not even deign to answer me?" said her lover.

"I would refer you to my father," said Alice, blushing and casting her
eyes down; but instantly raising them again, she repeated, in a firmer
and a sadder tone, "Yes, Julian, I would refer you to my father; and
you would find that your pilot, Hope, had deceived you; and that you
had but escaped the quicksands to fall upon the rocks."

"I would that could be tried!" said Julian. "Methinks I could persuade
your father that in ordinary eyes our alliance is not undesirable. My
family have fortune, rank, long descent--all that fathers look for
when they bestow a daughter's hand."

"All this would avail you nothing," said Alice. "The spirit of my
father is bent upon the things of another world; and if he listened to
hear you out, it would be but to tell you that he spurned your
offers."

"You know not--you know not, Alice," said Julian. "Fire can soften
iron--thy father's heart cannot be so hard, or his prejudices so
strong, but I shall find some means to melt him. Forbid me not--Oh,
forbid me not at least the experiment!"

"I can but advise," said Alice; "I can forbid you nothing; for, to
forbid, implies power to command obedience. But if you will be wise,
and listen to me--Here, and on this spot, we part for ever!"

"Not so, by Heaven!" said Julian, whose bold and sanguine temper
scarce saw difficulty in attaining aught which he desired. "We now
part, indeed, but it is that I may return armed with my parents'
consent. They desire that I should marry--in their last letters they
pressed it more openly--they shall have their desire; and such a bride
as I will present to them has not graced their house since the
Conqueror gave it origin. Farewell, Alice! Farewell, for a brief
space!"

She replied, "Farewell, Julian! Farewell for ever!"

Julian, within a week of this interview, was at Martindale Castle,
with the view of communicating his purpose. But the task which seems
easy at a distance, proves as difficult, upon a nearer approach, as
the fording of a river, which from afar appeared only a brook. There
lacked not opportunities of entering upon the subject; for in the
first ride which he took with his father, the Knight resumed the
subject of his son's marriage, and liberally left the lady to his
choice; but under the strict proviso, that she was of a loyal and an
honourable family;--if she had fortune, it was good and well, or
rather, it was better than well; but if she was poor, why, "there is
still some picking," said Sir Geoffrey, "on the bones of the old
estate; and Dame Margaret and I will be content with the less, that
you young folks may have your share of it. I am turned frugal already,
Julian. You see what a north-country shambling bit of a Galloway nag I
ride upon--a different beast, I wot, from my own old Black Hastings,
who had but one fault, and that was his wish to turn down Moultrassie
avenue."

"Was that so great a fault?" said Julian, affecting indifference,
while his heart was trembling, as it seemed to him, almost in his very
throat.

"It used to remind me of that base, dishonourable Presbyterian fellow,
Bridgenorth," said Sir Geoffrey; "and I would as lief think of a toad:
--they say he has turned Independent, to accomplish the full degree of
rascality.--I tell you, Gill, I turned off the cow-boy, for gathering
nuts in his woods--I would hang a dog that would so much as kill a
hare there.--But what is the matter with you? You look pale."

Julian made some indifferent answer, but too well understood, from the
language and tone which his father used, that his prejudices against
Alice's father were both deep and envenomed, as those of country
gentlemen often become, who, having little to do or think of, are but
too apt to spend their time in nursing and cherishing petty causes of
wrath against their next neighbours.

In the course of the same day, he mentioned the Bridgenorth to his
mother, as if in a casual manner. But the Lady Peveril instantly
conjured him never to mention the name, especially in his father's
presence.

"Was that Major Bridgenorth, of whom I have heard the name mentioned,"
said Julian, "so very bad a neighbour?"

"I do not say so," said Lady Peveril; "nay, we were more than once
obliged to him, in the former unhappy times; but your father and he
took some passages so ill at each other's hands, that the least
allusion to him disturbs Sir Geoffrey's temper, in a manner quite
unusual, and which, now that his health is somewhat impaired, is
sometimes alarming to me. For Heaven's sake, then, my dear Julian,
avoid upon all occasions the slightest allusion to Moultrassie, or any
of its inhabitants."

This warning was so seriously given, that Julian himself saw that
mentioning his secret purpose would be the sure way to render it
abortive, and therefore he returned disconsolate to the Isle.

Peveril had the boldness, however, to make the best he could of what
had happened, by requesting an interview with Alice, in order to
inform her what had passed betwixt his parents and him on her account.
It was with great difficulty that this boon was obtained; and Alice
Bridgenorth showed no slight degree of displeasure, when she
discovered, after much circumlocution, and many efforts to give an air
of importance to what he had to communicate, that all amounted but to
this, that Lady Peveril continued to retain a favourable opinion of
her father, Major Bridgenorth, which Julian would fain have
represented as an omen of their future more perfect reconciliation.

"I did not think you would thus have trifled with me, Master Peveril,"
said Alice, assuming an air of dignity; "but I will take care to avoid
such intrusion in future--I request you will not again visit the Black
Fort; and I entreat of you, good Mistress Debbitch, that you will no
longer either encourage or permit this gentleman's visits, as the
result of such persecution will be to compel me to appeal to my aunt
and father for another place of residence, and perhaps also for
another and more prudent companion."

This last hint struck Mistress Deborah with so much terror, that she
joined her ward in requiring and demanding Julian's instant absence,
and he was obliged to comply with their request. But the courage of a
youthful lover is not easily subdued; and Julian, after having gone
through the usual round of trying to forget his ungrateful mistress,
and entertaining his passion with augmented violence, ended by the
visit to the Black Fort, the beginning of which we narrated in the
last chapter.

We then left him anxious for, yet almost fearful of, an interview with
Alice, which he prevailed upon Deborah to solicit; and such was the
tumult of his mind, that, while he traversed the parlour, it seemed to
him that the dark melancholy eyes of the slaughtered Christian's
portrait followed him wherever he went, with the fixed, chill, and
ominous glance, which announced to the enemy of his race mishap and
misfortune.

The door of the apartment opened at length, and these visions were
dissipated.



                             CHAPTER XIII

         Parents have flinty hearts! No tears can move them.
                                                       --OTWAY.

When Alice Bridgenorth at length entered the parlour where her anxious
lover had so long expected her, it was with a slow step, and a
composed manner. Her dress was arranged with an accurate attention to
form, which at once enhanced the appearance of its puritanic
simplicity, and struck Julian as a bad omen; for although the time
bestowed upon the toilet may, in many cases, intimate the wish to
appear advantageously at such an interview, yet a ceremonious
arrangement of attire is very much allied with formality, and a
preconceived determination to treat a lover with cold politeness.

The sad-coloured gown--the pinched and plaited cap, which carefully
obscured the profusion of long dark-brown hair--the small ruff, and
the long sleeves, would have appeared to great disadvantage on a shape
less graceful than Alice Bridgenorth's; but an exquisite form, though
not, as yet, sufficiently rounded in the outlines to produce the
perfection of female beauty, was able to sustain and give grace even
to this unbecoming dress. Her countenance, fair and delicate, with
eyes of hazel, and a brow of alabaster, had, notwithstanding, less
regular beauty than her form, and might have been justly subjected to
criticism. There was, however, a life and spirit in her gaiety, and a
depth of sentiment in her gravity, which made Alice, in conversation
with the very few persons with whom she associated, so fascinating in
her manners and expression, whether of language or countenance--so
touching, also, in her simplicity and purity of thought, that brighter
beauties might have been overlooked in her company. It was no wonder,
therefore, that an ardent character like Julian, influenced by these
charms, as well as by the secrecy and mystery attending his
intercourse with Alice, should prefer the recluse of the Black Fort to
all others with whom he had become acquainted in general society.

His heart beat high as she came into the apartment, and it was almost
without an attempt to speak that his profound obeisance acknowledged
her entrance.

"This is a mockery, Master Peveril," said Alice, with an effort to
speak firmly, which yet was disconcerted by a slightly tremulous
inflection of voice--"a mockery, and a cruel one. You come to this
lone place, inhabited only by two women, too simple to command your
absence--too weak to enforce it--you come, in spite of my earnest
request--to the neglect of your own time--to the prejudice, I may
fear, of my character--you abuse the influence you possess over the
simple person to whom I am entrusted--All this you do, and think to
make up by low reverences and constrained courtesy! Is this
honourable, or is it fair?--Is it," she added, after a moment's
hesitation--"is it kind?"

The tremulous accent fell especially on the last word she uttered, and
it was spoken in a low tone of gentle reproach, which went to Julian's
heart.

"If," said he, "there was a mode by which, at the peril of my life,
Alice, I could show my regard--my respect--my devoted tenderness--the
danger would be dearer to me than ever was pleasure."

"You have said such things often," said Alice, "and they are such as I
ought not to hear, and do not desire to hear. I have no tasks to
impose on you--no enemies to be destroyed--no need or desire of
protection--no wish, Heaven knows, to expose you to danger--It is your
visits here alone to which danger attaches. You have but to rule your
own wilful temper--to turn your thoughts and your cares elsewhere, and
I can have nothing to ask--nothing to wish for. Use your own reason--
consider the injury you do yourself--the injustice you do us--and let
me, once more, in fair terms, entreat you to absent yourself from this
place--till--till----"

She paused, and Julian eagerly interrupted her.--"Till when, Alice?--
till when?--impose on me any length of absence which your severity can
inflict, short of a final separation--Say, Begone for years, but
return when these years are over; and, slow and wearily as they must
pass away, still the thought that they must at length have their
period, will enable me to live through them. Let me, then, conjure
thee, Alice, to name a date--to fix a term--to say till /when!/"

"Till you can bear to think of me only as a friend and sister."

"That is a sentence of eternal banishment indeed!" said Julian; "it is
seeming, no doubt, to fix a term of exile, but attaching to it an
impossible condition."

"And why impossible, Julian?" said Alice, in a tone of persuasion;
"were we not happier ere you threw the mask from your own countenance,
and tore the veil from my foolish eyes? Did we not meet with joy,
spend our time happily, and part cheerily, because we transgressed no
duty, and incurred no self-reproach? Bring back that state of happy
ignorance, and you shall have no reason to call me unkind. But while
you form schemes which I know to be visionary, and use language of
such violence and passion, you shall excuse me if I now, and once for
all, declare, that since Deborah shows herself unfit for the trust
reposed in her, and must needs expose me to persecutions of this
nature, I will write to my father, that he may fix me another place of
residence; and in the meanwhile I will take shelter with my aunt at
Kirk-Truagh."

"Hear me, unpitying girl," said Peveril, "hear me, and you shall see
how devoted I am to obedience, in all that I can do to oblige you!
You say you were happy when we spoke not on such topics--well--at all
expense of my own suppressed feelings, that happy period shall return.
I will meet you--walk with you--read with you--but only as a brother
would with his sister, or a friend with his friend; the thoughts I may
nourish, be they of hope or of despair, my tongue shall not give birth
to, and therefore I cannot offend; Deborah shall be ever by your side,
and her presence shall prevent my even hinting at what might displease
you--only do not make a crime to me of those thoughts which are the
dearest part of my existence; for believe me it were better and kinder
to rob me of existence itself."

"This is the mere ecstasy of passion, Julian," answered Alice
Bridgenorth; "that which is unpleasant, our selfish and stubborn will
represents as impossible. I have no confidence in the plan you
propose--no confidence in your resolution, and less than none in the
protection of Deborah. Till you can renounce, honestly and explicitly,
the wishes you have lately expressed, we must be strangers;--and could
you renounce them even at this moment, it were better that we should
part for a long time; and, for Heaven's sake, let it be as soon as
possible--perhaps it is even now too late to prevent some unpleasant
accident--I thought I heard a noise."

"It was Deborah," answered Julian. "Be not afraid, Alice; we are
secure against surprise."

"I know not," said Alice, "what you mean by such security--I have
nothing to hide. I sought not this interview; on the contrary, averted
it as long as I could--and am now most desirous to break it off."

"And wherefore, Alice, since you say it must be our last? Why should
you shake the sand which is passing so fast? the very executioner
hurries not the prayers of the wretches upon the scaffold.--And see
you not--I will argue as coldly as you can desire--see you not that
you are breaking your own word, and recalling the hope which yourself
held out to me?"

"What hope have I suggested? What word have I given, Julian?" answered
Alice. "You yourself build wild hopes in the air, and accuse me of
destroying what had never any earthly foundation. Spare yourself,
Julian--spare me--and in mercy to us both depart, and return not again
till you can be more reasonable."

"Reasonable?" replied Julian; "it is you, Alice, who will deprive me
altogether of reason. Did you not say, that if our parents could be
brought to consent to our union, you would no longer oppose my suit?"

"No--no--no," said Alice eagerly, and blushing deeply,--"I did not say
so, Julian--it was your own wild imagination which put construction on
my silence and my confusion."

"You do /not/ say so, then?" answered Julian; "and if all other
obstacles were removed, I should find one in the cold flinty bosom of
her who repays the most devoted and sincere affection with contempt
and dislike?--Is that," he added, in a deep tone of feeling--"is that
what Alice Bridgenorth says to Julian Peveril?"

"Indeed--indeed, Julian," said the almost weeping girl, "I do not say
so--I say nothing, and I ought not to say anything concerning what I
might do, in a state of things which can never take place. Indeed,
Julian, you ought not thus to press me. Unprotected as I am--wishing
you well--very well--why should you urge me to say or do what would
lessen me in my own eyes? to own affection for one from whom fate has
separated me for ever? It is ungenerous--it is cruel--it is seeking a
momentary and selfish gratification to yourself, at the expense of
every feeling which I ought to entertain."

"You have said enough, Alice," said Julian, with sparkling eyes; "you
have said enough in deprecating my urgency, and I will press you no
farther. But you overrate the impediments which lie betwixt us--they
must and shall give way."

"So you said before," answered Alice, "and with what probability, your
own account may show. You dared not to mention the subject to your own
father--how should you venture to mention it to mine?"

"That I will soon enable you to decide upon. Major Bridgenorth, by my
mother's account, is a worthy and an estimable man. I will remind him,
that to my mother's care he owes the dearest treasure and comfort of
his life; and I will ask him if it is a just retribution to make that
mother childless. Let me but know where to find him, Alice, and you
shall soon hear if I have feared to plead my cause with him."

"Alas!" answered Alice, "you well know my uncertainty as to my dear
father's residence. How often has it been my earnest request to him
that he would let me share his solitary abode, or his obscure
wanderings! But the short and infrequent visits which he makes to this
house are all that he permits me of his society. Something I might
surely do, however little, to alleviate the melancholy by which he is
oppressed."

"Something we might both do," said Peveril. "How willingly would I aid
you in so pleasing a task! All old griefs should be forgotten--all old
friendships revived. My father's prejudices are those of an Englishman
--strong, indeed, but not insurmountable by reason. Tell me, then,
where Major Bridgenorth is, and leave the rest to me; or let me but
know by what address your letters reach him, and I will forthwith
essay to discover his dwelling."

"Do not attempt it, I charge you," said Alice. "He is already a man of
sorrows; and what would he think were I capable of entertaining a suit
so likely to add to them? Besides, I could not tell you, if I would,
where he is now to be found. My letters reach him from time to time,
by means of my aunt Christian; but of his address I am entirely
ignorant."

"Then, by Heaven," answered Julian, "I will watch his arrival in this
island, and in this house; and ere he has locked thee in his arms, he
shall answer to me on the subject of my suit."

"Then demand that answer now," said a voice from without the door,
which was at the same time slowly opened--"Demand that answer now, for
here stands Ralph Bridgenorth."

As he spoke, he entered the apartment with his usual slow and sedate
step--raised his flapp'd and steeple-crowned hat from his brows, and,
standing in the midst of the room, eyed alternately his daughter and
Julian Peveril with a fixed and penetrating glance.

"Father!" said Alice, utterly astonished, and terrified besides, by
his sudden appearance at such a conjuncture,--"Father, I am not to
blame."

"Of that anon, Alice," said Bridgenorth; "meantime retire to your
apartment--I have that to say to this youth which will not endure your
presence."

"Indeed--indeed, father," said Alice, alarmed at what she supposed
these words indicated, "Julian is as little to be blamed as I! It was
chance, it was fortune, which caused our meeting together." Then
suddenly rushing forward, she threw her arms around her father,
saying, "Oh, do him no injury--he meant no wrong! Father, you were
wont to be a man of reason and religious peace."

"And wherefore should I not be so now, Alice?" said Bridgenorth,
raising his daughter from the ground, on which she had almost sunk in
the earnestness of her supplication. "Dost thou know aught, maiden,
which should inflame my anger against this young man, more than reason
or religion may bridle? Go--go to thy chamber. Compose thine own
passions--learn to rule these--and leave it to me to deal with this
stubborn young man."

Alice arose, and, with her eyes fixed on the ground, retired slowly
from the apartment. Julian followed her steps with his eyes till the
last wave of her garment was visible at the closing door; then turned
his looks to Major Bridgenorth, and then sunk them on the ground. The
Major continued to regard him in profound silence; his looks were
melancholy and even austere; but there was nothing which indicated
either agitation or keen resentment. He motioned to Julian to take a
seat, and assumed one himself. After which he opened the conversation
in the following manner:--

"You seemed but now, young gentleman, anxious to learn where I was to
be found. Such I at least conjectured, from the few expressions which
I chanced to overhear; for I made bold, though it may be contrary to
the code of modern courtesy, to listen a moment or two, in order to
gather upon what subject so young a man as you entertained so young a
woman as Alice, in a private interview."

"I trust, sir," said Julian, rallying spirits in what he felt to be a
case of extremity, "you have heard nothing on my part which has given
offence to a gentleman, whom, though unknown, I am bound to respect so
highly."

"On the contrary," said Bridgenorth, with the same formal gravity, "I
am pleased to find that your business is, or appears to be, with me,
rather than with my daughter. I only think you had done better to have
entrusted it to me in the first instance, as my sole concern."

The utmost sharpness of attention which Julian applied, could not
discover if Bridgenorth spoke seriously or ironically to the above
purpose. He was, however, quick-witted beyond his experience, and was
internally determined to endeavour to discover something of the
character and the temper of him with whom he spoke. For that purpose,
regulating his reply in the same tone with Bridgenorth's observation,
he said, that not having the advantage to know his place of residence,
he had applied for information to his daughter.

"Who is now known to you for the first time?" said Bridgenorth. "Am I
so to understand you?"

"By no means," answered Julian, looking down; "I have been known to
your daughter for many years; and what I wished to say, respects both
her happiness and my own."

"I must understand you," said Bridgenorth, "even as carnal men
understand each other on the matters of this world. You are attached
to my daughter by the cords of love; I have long known this."

"You, Master Bridgenorth?" exclaimed Peveril--"/You/ have long known
it?"

"Yes, young man. Think you, that as the father of an only child, I
could have suffered Alice Bridgenorth--the only living pledge of her
who is now an angel in heaven--to have remained in this seclusion
without the surest knowledge of all her material actions? I have, in
person, seen more, both of her and of you, than you could be aware of;
and when absent in the body, I had the means of maintaining the same
superintendence. Young man, they say that such love as you entertain
for my daughter teaches much subtilty; but believe not that it can
overreach the affection which a widowed father bears to an only
child."

"If," said Julian, his heart beating thick and joyfully, "if you have
known this intercourse so long, may I not hope that it has not met
your disapprobation?"

The Major paused for an instant, and then answered, "In some respects,
certainly not. Had it done so--had there seemed aught on your side, or
on my daughter's, to have rendered your visits here dangerous to her,
or displeasing to me, she had not been long the inhabitant of this
solitude, or of this island. But be not so hasty as to presume, that
all which you may desire in this matter can be either easily or
speedily accomplished."

"I foresee, indeed, difficulties," answered Julian; "but with your
kind acquiescence, they are such as I trust to remove. My father is
generous--my mother is candid and liberal. They loved you once; I
trust they will love you again. I will be the mediator betwixt you--
peace and harmony shall once more inhabit our neighbourhood, and----"

Bridgenorth interrupted him with a grim smile; for such it seemed, as
it passed over a face of deep melancholy. "My daughter well said, but
short while past, that you were a dreamer of dreams--an architect of
plans and hopes fantastic as the visions of the night. It is a great
thing you ask of me;--the hand of my only child--the sum of my worldly
substance, though that is but dross in comparison. You ask the key of
the only fountain from which I may yet hope to drink one pleasant
draught; you ask to be the sole and absolute keeper of my earthly
happiness--and what have you offered, or what have you to offer in
return, for the surrender you require of me?"

"I am but too sensible," said Peveril, abashed at his own hasty
conclusions, "how difficult it may be."

"Nay, but interrupt me not," replied Bridgenorth, "till I show you the
amount of what you offer me in exchange for a boon, which, whatever
may be its intrinsic value, is earnestly desired by you, and
comprehends all that is valuable on earth which I have it in my power
to bestow. You may have heard that in the late times I was the
antagonist of your father's principles and his profane faction, but
not the enemy of his person."

"I have ever heard," replied Julian, "much the contrary; and it was
but now that I reminded you that you had been his friend."

"Ay. When he was in affliction and I in prosperity, I was neither
unwilling, nor altogether unable, to show myself such. Well, the
tables are turned--the times are changed. A peaceful and unoffending
man might have expected from a neighbour, now powerful in his turn,
such protection, when walking in the paths of the law, as all men,
subjects of the same realm, have a right to expect even from perfect
strangers. What chances? I pursue, with the warrant of the King and
law, a murderess, bearing on her hand the blood of my near connection,
and I had, in such a case, a right to call on every liege subject to
render assistance to the execution. My late friendly neighbour, bound,
as a man and a magistrate, to give ready assistance to a legal action
--bound, as a grateful and obliged friend, to respect my rights and my
person--thrusts himself betwixt me--me, the avenger of blood--and my
lawful captive; beats me to the earth, at once endangering my life,
and, in mere human eyes, sullying mine honour; and under his
protection, the Midianitish woman reaches, like a sea-eagle, the nest
which she hath made in the wave-surrounded rocks, and remains there
till gold, duly administered at Court, wipes out all memory of her
crime, and baffles the vengeance due to the memory of the best and
bravest of men.--But," he added, apostrophising the portrait of
Christian, "thou art not yet forgotten, my fair-haired William! The
vengeance which dogs thy murderess is slow,--but it is sure!"

There was a pause of some moments, which Julian Peveril, willing to
hear to what conclusion Major Bridgenorth was finally to arrive, did
not care to interrupt. Accordingly, in a few minutes, the latter
proceeded.--"These things," he said, "I recall not in bitterness, so
far as they are personal to me--I recall them not in spite of heart,
though they have been the means of banishing me from my place of
residence, where my fathers dwelt, and where my earthly comforts lie
interred. But the public cause sets further strife betwixt your father
and me. Who so active as he to execute the fatal edict of black St.
Bartholomew's day, when so many hundreds of gospel-preachers were
expelled from house and home--from hearth and altar--from church and
parish, to make room for belly-gods and thieves? Who, when a devoted
few of the Lord's people were united to lift the fallen standard, and
once more advance the good cause, was the readiest to break their
purpose--to search for, persecute, and apprehend them? Whose breath
did I feel warm on my neck--whose naked sword was thrust within a foot
of my body, whilst I lurked darkling, like a thief in concealment, in
the house of my fathers?--It was Geoffrey Peveril's--it was your
father's!--What can you answer to all this, or how can you reconcile
it with your present wishes?

"These things I point out to you, Julian, that I may show you how
impossible, in the eyes of a merely worldly man, would be the union
which you are desirous of. But Heaven hath at times opened a door,
where man beholds no means of issue. Julian, your mother, for one to
whom the truth is unknown, is, after the fashion of the world, one of
the best, and one of the wisest of women; and Providence, which gave
her so fair a form, and tenanted that form with a mind as pure as the
original frailty of our vile nature will permit, means not, I trust,
that she shall continue to the end to be a vessel of wrath and
perdition. Of your father I say nothing--he is what the times and
example of others, and the counsels of his lordly priest, have made
him; and of him, once more, I say nothing, save that I have power over
him, which ere now he might have felt, but that there is one within
his chambers, who might have suffered in his suffering. Nor do I wish
to root up your ancient family. If I prize not your boast of family
honours and pedigree, I would not willingly destroy them; more than I
would pull down a moss-grown tower, or hew to the ground an ancient
oak, save for the straightening of the common path, and advantage of
the public. I have, therefore, no resentment against the humbled House
of Peveril--nay, I have regard to it in its depression."

He here made a second pause, as if he expected Julian to say
something. But notwithstanding the ardour with which the young man had
pressed his suit, he was too much trained in ideas of the importance
of his family, and in the better habit of respect for his parents, to
hear, without displeasure, some part of Bridgenorth's discourse.

"The House of Peveril," he replied, "was never humbled."

"Had you said the sons of that House had never been /humble/,"
answered Bridgenorth, "you would have come nearer the truth.--Are
/you/ not humbled? Live you not here, the lackey of a haughty woman,
the play-companion of an empty youth? If you leave this Isle, and go
to the Court of England, see what regard will there be paid to the old
pedigree that deduces your descent from kings and conquerors. A
scurril or obscene jest, an impudent carriage, a laced cloak, a
handful of gold, and the readiness to wager it on a card, or a die,
will better advance you at the Court of Charles, than your father's
ancient name, and slavish devotion of blood and fortune to the cause
of /his/ father."

"That is, indeed, but too probable," said Peveril; "but the Court
shall be no element of mine. I will live like my fathers, among my
people, care for their comforts, decide their differences----"

"Build Maypoles, and dance around them," said Bridgenorth, with
another of those grim smiles which passed over his features like the
light of a sexton's torch, as it glares and is reflected by the window
of the church, when he comes from locking a funeral vault. "No,
Julian, these are not times in which, by the dreaming drudgery of a
country magistrate, and the petty cares of a country proprietor, a man
can serve his unhappy country. There are mighty designs afloat, and
men are called to make their choice betwixt God and Baal. The ancient
superstition--the abomination of our fathers--is raising its head, and
flinging abroad its snares, under the protection of the princes of the
earth; but she raises not her head unmarked or unwatched; the true
English hearts are as thousands, which wait but a signal to arise as
one man, and show the kings of the earth that they have combined in
vain! We will cast their cords from us--the cup of their abominations
we will not taste."

"You speak in darkness, Master Bridgenorth," said Peveril. "Knowing so
much of me, you may, perhaps, also be aware, that I at least have seen
too much of the delusions of Rome, to desire that they should be
propagated at home."

"Else, wherefore do I speak to thee friendly and so free?" said
Bridgenorth. "Do I not know, with what readiness of early wit you
baffled the wily attempts of the woman's priest, to seduce thee from
the Protestant faith? Do I not know, how thou wast beset when abroad,
and that thou didst both hold thine own faith, and secure the wavering
belief of thy friend? Said I not, this was done like the son of
Margaret Peveril? Said I not, he holdeth, as yet, but the dead letter
--but the seed which is sown shall one day sprout and quicken?--
Enough, however, of this. For to-day this is thy habitation. I will
see in thee neither the servant of the daughter of Eshbaal, nor the
son of him who pursued my life, and blemished my honours; but thou
shalt be to me, for this day, as the child of her, without whom my
house had been extinct."

So saying, he stretched out his thin, bony hand, and grasped that of
Julian Peveril; but there was such a look of mourning in his welcome,
that whatever delight the youth anticipated, spending so long a time
in the neighbourhood of Alice Bridgenorth, perhaps in her society, or
however strongly he felt the prudence of conciliating her father's
good-will, he could not help feeling as if his heart was chilled in
his company.



                             CHAPTER XIV

           This day at least is friendship's--on the morrow
           Let strife come an she will.
                                                       --OTWAY.

Deborah Debbitch, summoned by her master, now made her appearance,
with her handkerchief at her eyes, and an appearance of great mental
trouble. "It was not my fault, Major Bridgenorth," she said; "how
could I help it? like will to like--the boy would come--the girl would
see him."

"Peace, foolish woman," said Bridgenorth, "and hear what I have got to
say."

"I know what your honour has to say well enough," said Deborah.
"Service, I wot, is no inheritance nowadays--some are wiser than other
some--if I had not been wheedled away from Martindale, I might have
had a house of mine own by this time."

"Peace, idiot!" said Bridgenorth; but so intent was Deborah on her
vindication, that he could but thrust the interjection, as it were
edgewise, between her exclamations, which followed as thick as is
usual in cases, where folks endeavour to avert deserved censure by a
clamorous justification ere the charge be brought.

"No wonder she was cheated," she said, "out of sight of her own
interest, when it was to wait on pretty Miss Alice. All your honour's
gold should never have tempted me, but that I knew she was but a dead
castaway, poor innocent, if she were taken away from my lady or me.--
And so this is the end on't!--up early, and down late--and this is all
my thanks!--But your honour had better take care what you do--she has
the short cough yet sometimes--and should take physic, spring and
fall."

"Peace, chattering fool!" said her master, so soon as her failing
breath gave him an opportunity to strike in, "thinkest thou I knew not
of this young gentleman's visits to the Black Fort, and that, if they
had displeased me, I would not have known how to stop them?"

"Did I know that your honour knew of his visits!" exclaimed Deborah,
in a triumphant tone,--for, like most of her condition, she never
sought farther for her defence than a lie, however inconsistent and
improbable--"/Did/ I know that your honour knew of it!--Why, how
should I have permitted his visits else? I wonder what your honour
takes me for! Had I not been sure it was the thing in this world that
your honour most desired would I have presumed to lend it a hand
forward? I trust I know my duty better. Hear if I ever asked another
youngster into the house, save himself--for I knew your honour was
wise, and quarrels cannot last for ever, and love begins where hatred
ends; and, to be sure, they love as if they were born one for the
other--and then, the estates of Moultrassie and Martindale suit each
other like sheath and knife."

"Parrot of a woman, hold your tongue!" said Bridgenorth, his patience
almost completely exhausted; "or, if you will prate, let it be to your
playfellows in the kitchen, and bid them get ready some dinner
presently, for Master Peveril is far from home."

"That I will, and with all my heart," said Deborah; "and if there are
a pair of fatter fowls in Man than shall clap their wings on the table
presently, your honour shall call me goose as well as parrot." She
then left the apartment.

"It is to such a woman as that," said Bridgenorth, looking after her
significantly, "that you conceived me to have abandoned the charge of
my only child! But enough of this subject--we will walk abroad, if you
will, while she is engaged in a province fitter for her
understanding."

So saying, he left the house, accompanied by Julian Peveril, and they
were soon walking side by side, as if they had been old acquaintances.

It may have happened to many of our readers, as it has done to
ourselves, to be thrown by accident into society with some individual
whose claims to what is called a /serious/ character stand
considerably higher than our own, and with whom, therefore, we have
conceived ourselves likely to spend our time in a very stiff and
constrained manner; while, on the other hand, our destined companion
may have apprehended some disgust from the supposed levity and
thoughtless gaiety of a disposition that when we, with that urbanity
and good-humour which is our principal characteristic, have
accommodated ourself to our companion, by throwing as much seriousness
into our conversation as our habits will admit, he, on the other hand,
moved by our liberal example, hath divested his manners of part of
their austerity; and our conversation has, in consequence, been of
that pleasant texture, betwixt the useful and agreeable, which best
resembles "the fairy-web of night and day," usually called in prose
the twilight. It is probable both parties may, on such occasions, have
been the better for their encounter, even if it went no farther than
to establish for the time a community of feeling between men, who,
separated more perhaps by temper than by principle, are too apt to
charge each other with profane frivolity on the one hand, or
fanaticism on the other.

It fared thus in Peveril's walk with Bridgenorth, and in the
conversation which he held with him.

Carefully avoiding the subject on which he had already spoken, Major
Bridgenorth turned his conversation chiefly on foreign travel, and on
the wonders he had seen in distant countries, and which he appeared to
have marked with a curious and observant eye. This discourse made the
time fly light away; for although the anecdotes and observations thus
communicated were all tinged with the serious and almost gloomy spirit
of the narrator, they yet contained traits of interest and of wonder,
such as are usually interesting to a youthful ear, and were
particularly so to Julian, who had, in his disposition, some cast of
the romantic and adventurous.

It appeared that Bridgenorth knew the south of France, and could tell
many stories of the French Huguenots, who already began to sustain
those vexations which a few years afterwards were summed up by the
revocation of the Edict of Nantz. He had even been in Hungary, for he
spoke as from personal knowledge of the character of several of the
heads of the great Protestant insurrection, which at this time had
taken place under the celebrated Tekeli; and laid down solid reasons
why they were entitled to make common cause with the Great Turk,
rather than submit to the Pope of Rome. He talked also of Savoy, where
those of the reformed religion still suffered a cruel persecution; and
he mentioned with a swelling spirit, the protection which Oliver had
afforded to the oppressed Protestant Churches; "therein showing
himself," he added, "more fit to wield the supreme power, than those
who, claiming it by right of inheritance, use it only for their own
vain and voluptuous pursuits."

"I did not expect," said Peveril modestly, "to have heard Oliver's
panegyric from you, Master Bridgenorth."

"I do not panegyrise him," answered Bridgenorth; "I speak but truth of
that extraordinary man, now being dead, whom, when alive, I feared not
to withstand to his face. It is the fault of the present unhappy King,
if he make us look back with regret to the days when the nation was
respected abroad, and when devotion and sobriety were practised at
home.--But I mean not to vex your spirit by controversy. You have
lived amongst those who find it more easy and more pleasant to be the
pensioners of France than her controllers--to spend the money which
she doles out to themselves, than to check the tyranny with which she
oppresses our poor brethren of the religion. When the scales shall
fall from thine eyes, all this thou shalt see; and seeing, shalt learn
to detest and despise it."

By this time they had completed their walk, and were returned to the
Black Fort, by a different path from that which had led them up the
valley. The exercise and the general tone of conversation had removed,
in some degree, the shyness and embarrassment which Peveril originally
felt in Bridgenorth's presence and which the tenor of his first
remarks had rather increased than diminished. Deborah's promised
banquet was soon on the board; and in simplicity as well as neatness
and good order, answered the character she had claimed for it. In one
respect alone, there seemed some inconsistency, perhaps a little
affectation. Most of the dishes were of silver, and the plates were of
the same metal; instead of the trenchers and pewter which Peveril had
usually seen employed on similar occasions at the Black Fort.

Presently, with the feeling of one who walks in a pleasant dream from
which he fears to awake, and whose delight is mingled with wonder and
with uncertainty, Julian Peveril found himself seated between Alice
Bridgenorth and her father--the being he most loved on earth, and the
person whom he had ever considered as the great obstacle to their
intercourse. The confusion of his mind was such, that he could
scarcely reply to the importunate civilities of Dame Deborah; who,
seated with them at table in her quality of governante, now dispensed
the good things which had been prepared under her own eye.

As for Alice she seemed to have found a resolution to play the mute;
for she answered not, excepting briefly, to the questions of Dame
Debbitch; nay, even when her father, which happened once or twice,
attempted to bring her forward in the conversation, she made no
further reply than respect for him rendered absolutely necessary.

Upon Bridgenorth himself, then, devolved the task of entertaining the
company; and contrary to his ordinary habits, he did not seem to
shrink from it. His discourse was not only easy, but almost cheerful,
though ever and anon crossed by some expressions indicative of natural
and habitual melancholy, or prophetic of future misfortune and woe.
Flashes of enthusiasm, too, shot along his conversation, gleaming like
the sheet-lightening of an autumn eve, which throws a strong, though
momentary illumination, across the sober twilight, and all the
surrounding objects, which, touched by it, assume a wilder and more
striking character. In general, however, Bridgenorth's remarks were
plain and sensible; and as he aimed at no graces of language, any
ornament which they received arose out of the interest with which they
were impressed on his hearers. For example, when Deborah, in the pride
and vulgarity of her heart, called Julian's attention to the plate
from which they had been eating, Bridgenorth seemed to think an
apology necessary for such superfluous expense.

"It was a symptom," he said, "of approaching danger, when such men, as
were not usually influenced by the vanities of life employed much
money in ornaments composed of the precious metals. It was a sign that
the merchant could not obtain a profit for the capital, which, for the
sake of security, he invested in this inert form. It was a proof that
the noblemen or gentlemen feared the rapacity of power, when they put
their wealth into forms the most portable and the most capable of
being hidden; and it showed the uncertainty of credit, when a man of
judgment preferred the actual possession of a mass of a silver to the
convenience of a goldsmith's or a banker's receipt. While a shadow of
liberty remained," he said, "domestic rights were last invaded; and,
therefore, men disposed upon their cupboards and tables the wealth
which in these places would remain longest, though not perhaps
finally, sacred from the grasp of a tyrannical government. But let
there be a demand for capital to support a profitable commerce, and
the mass is at once consigned to the furnace, and, ceasing to be a
vain and cumbrous ornament of the banquet, becomes a potent and active
agent for furthering the prosperity of the country."

"In war, too," said Peveril, "plate has been found a ready resource."

"But too much so," answered Bridgenorth. "In the late times, the plate
of the nobles and gentry, with that of the colleges, and the sale of
the crown-jewels, enabled the King to make his unhappy stand, which
prevented matters returning to a state of peace and good order, until
the sword had attained an undue superiority both over King and
Parliament."

He looked at Julian as he spoke, much as he who proves a horse offers
some object suddenly to his eyes, then watches to see if he starts or
blenches from it. But Julian's thoughts were too much bent on other
topics to manifest any alarm. His answer referred to a previous part
of Bridgenorth's discourse, and was not returned till after a brief
pause. "War, then," he said, "war, the grand impoverisher, is also a
creator of wealth which it wastes and devours?"

"Yes," replied Bridgenorth, "even as the sluice brings into action the
sleeping waters of the lake, which it finally drains. Necessity
invents arts and discovers means; and what necessity is sterner than
that of civil war? Therefore, even war is not in itself unmixed evil,
being the creator of impulses and energies which could not otherwise
have existed in society."

"Men should go to war, then," said Peveril, "that they may send their
silver plate to the mint, and eat from pewter dishes and wooden
plates?"

"Not so, my son," said Bridgenorth. Then checking himself as he
observed the deep crimson in Julian's cheek and brow, he added, "I
crave your pardon for such familiarity; but I meant not to limit what
I said even now to such trifling consequences, although it may be
something salutary to tear men from their pomps and luxuries, and
teach those to be Romans who would otherwise be Sybarites. But I would
say, that times of public danger, as they call into circulation the
miser's hoard and the proud man's bullion, and so add to the
circulating wealth of the country, do also call into action many a
brave and noble spirit, which would otherwise lie torpid, give no
example to the living, and bequeath no name to future ages. Society
knows not, and cannot know, the mental treasures which slumber in her
bosom, till necessity and opportunity call forth the statesman and the
soldier from the shades of lowly life to the parts they are designed
by Providence to perform, and the stations which nature had qualified
them to hold. So rose Oliver--so rose Milton--so rose many another
name which cannot be forgotten--even as the tempest summons forth and
displays the address of the mariner."

"You speak," said Peveril, "as if national calamity might be, in some
sort, an advantage."

"And if it were not so," replied Bridgenorth, "it had not existed in
this state of trial, where all temporal evil is alleviated by
something good in its progress or result, and where all that is good
is close coupled with that which is in itself evil."

"It must be a noble sight," said Julian, "to behold the slumbering
energies of a great mind awakened into energy, and to see it assume
the authority which is its due over spirits more meanly endowed."

"I once witnessed," said Bridgenorth, "something to the same effect;
and as the tale is brief, I will tell it you, if you will:-

"Amongst my wanderings, the Transatlantic settlements have not escaped
me; more especially the country of New England, into which our native
land has shaken from her lap, as a drunkard flings from him his
treasures, so much that is precious in the eyes of God and of His
children. There thousands of our best and most godly men--such whose
righteousness might come of cities--are content to be the inhabitants
of the desert, rather encountering the unenlightened savages, than
stooping to extinguish, under the oppression practised in Britain, the
light that is within their own minds. There I remained for a time,
during the wars which the colony maintained with Philip, a great
Indian Chief, or Sachem, as they were called, who seemed a messenger
sent from Satan to buffet them. His cruelty was great--his
dissimulation profound; and the skill and promptitude with which he
maintained a destructive and desultory warfare, inflicted many
dreadful calamities on the settlement. I was, by chance, at a small
village in the woods, more than thirty miles from Boston, and in its
situation exceedingly lonely, and surrounded with thickets.
Nevertheless, there was no idea of any danger from the Indians at that
time, for men trusted to the protection of a considerable body of
troops who had taken the field for protection of the frontiers, and
who lay, or were supposed to lie, betwixt the hamlet and the enemy's
country. But they had to do with a foe, whom the devil himself had
inspired at once with cunning and cruelty. It was on a Sabbath
morning, when we had assembled to take sweet counsel together in the
Lord's house. Our temple was but constructed of wooden logs; but when
shall the chant of trained hirelings, or the sounding of tin and brass
tubes amid the aisles of a minster, arise so sweetly to Heaven, as did
the psalm in which we united at once our voices and our hearts! An
excellent worthy, who now sleeps in the Lord, Nehemia Solsgrace, long
the companion of my pilgrimage, had just begun to wrestle in prayer,
when a woman, with disordered looks and dishevelled hair, entered our
chapel in a distracted manner, screaming incessantly, 'The Indians!
The Indians!'--In that land no man dares separate himself from his
means of defence; and whether in the city or in the field, in the
ploughed land or the forest, men keep beside them their weapons, as
did the Jews at the rebuilding of the Temple. So we sallied forth with
our guns and pikes, and heard the whoop of these incarnate devils,
already in possession of a part of the town, and exercising their
cruelty on the few whom weighty causes or indisposition had withheld
from public worship; and it was remarked as a judgment, that, upon
that bloody Sabbath, Adrian Hanson, a Dutchman, a man well enough
disposed towards man, but whose mind was altogether given to worldly
gain, was shot and scalped as he was summing his weekly gains in his
warehouse. In fine, there was much damage done; and although our
arrival and entrance into combat did in some sort put them back, yet
being surprised and confused, and having no appointed leader of our
band, the devilish enemy shot hard at us and had some advantage. It
was pitiful to hear the screams of women and children amid the report
of guns and the whistling of bullets, mixed with the ferocious yells
of these savages, which they term their war-whoop. Several houses in
the upper part of the village were soon on fire; and the roaring of
the flames, and crackling of the great beams as they blazed, added to
the horrible confusion; while the smoke which the wind drove against
us gave farther advantage to the enemy, who fought as it were,
invisible, and under cover, whilst we fell fast by their unerring
fire. In this state of confusion, and while we were about to adopt the
desperate project of evacuating the village, and, placing the women
and children in the centre, of attempting a retreat to the nearest
settlement, it pleased Heaven to send us unexpected assistance. A tall
man, of a reverend appearance, whom no one of us had ever seen before,
suddenly was in the midst of us, as we hastily agitated the resolution
of retreating. His garments were of the skin of the elk, and he wore
sword and carried gun; I never saw anything more august than his
features, overshadowed by locks of grey hair, which mingled with a
long beard of the same colour. 'Men and brethren,' he said, in a voice
like that which turns back the flight, 'why sink your hearts? and why
are you thus disquieted? Fear ye that the God we serve will give you
up to yonder heathen dogs? Follow me, and you shall see this day that
there is a captain in Israel!' He uttered a few brief but distinct
orders, in a tone of one who was accustomed to command; and such was
the influence of his appearance, his mien, his language, and his
presence of mind, that he was implicitly obeyed by men who had never
seen him until that moment. We were hastily divided, by his orders,
into two bodies; one of which maintained the defence of the village
with more courage than ever, convinced that the Unknown was sent by
God to our rescue. At his command they assumed the best and most
sheltered positions for exchanging their deadly fire with the Indians;
while, under cover of the smoke, the stranger sallied from the town,
at the head of the other division of the New England men, and,
fetching a circuit, attacked the Red Warriors in the rear. The
surprise, as is usual amongst savages, had complete effect; for they
doubted not that they were assailed in their turn, and placed betwixt
two hostile parties by the return of a detachment from the provincial
army. The heathens fled in confusion, abandoning the half-won village,
and leaving behind them such a number of their warriors, that the
tribe hath never recovered its loss. Never shall I forget the figure
of our venerable leader, when our men, and not they only, but the
women and children of the village, rescued from the tomahawk and
scalping-knife, stood crowded around him, yet scarce venturing to
approach his person, and more minded, perhaps, to worship him as a
descended angel, than to thank him as a fellow-mortal. 'Not unto me be
the glory,' he said; 'I am but an implement, frail as yourselves, in
the hand of Him who is strong to deliver. Bring me a cup of water,
that I may allay my parched throat, ere I essay the task of offering
thanks where they are most due.' I was nearest to him as he spoke, and
I gave into his hand the water he requested. At that moment we
exchanged glances, and it seemed to me that I recognised a noble
friend whom I had long since deemed in glory; but he gave me no time
to speak, had speech been prudent. Sinking on his knees, and signing
us to obey him, he poured forth a strong and energetic thanksgiving
for the turning back of the battle, which, pronounced with a voice
loud and clear as a war-trumpet, thrilled through the joints and
marrow of the hearers. I have heard many an act of devotion in my
life, had Heaven vouchsafed me grace to profit by them; but such a
prayer as this, uttered amid the dead and the dying, with a rich tone
of mingled triumph and adoration, was beyond them all--it was like the
song of the inspired prophetess who dwelt beneath the palm-tree
between Ramah and Bethel. He was silent; and for a brief space we
remained with our faces bent to the earth--no man daring to lift his
head. At length we looked up, but our deliverer was no longer amongst
us; nor was he ever again seen in the land which he had rescued."

Here Bridgenorth, who had told this singular story with an eloquence
and vivacity of detail very contrary to the usual dryness of his
conversation, paused for an instant, and then resumed--"Thou seest,
young man, that men of valour and of discretion are called forth to
command in circumstances of national exigence, though their very
existence is unknown in the land which they are predestined to
deliver."

"But what thought the people of the mysterious stranger?" said Julian,
who had listened with eagerness, for the story was of a kind
interesting to the youthful and the brave.

"Many things," answered Bridgenorth, "and, as usual, little to the
purpose. The prevailing opinion was, notwithstanding his own
disclamation, that the stranger was really a supernatural being;
others believed him an inspired champion, transported in the body from
some distant climate, to show us the way to safety; others, again,
concluded that he was a recluse, who, either from motives of piety, or
other cogent reasons, had become a dweller in the wilderness, and
shunned the face of man."

"And, if I may presume to ask," said Julian, "to which of these
opinions were you disposed to adhere?"

"The last suited best with the transient though close view with which
I had perused the stranger's features," replied Bridgenorth; "for
although I dispute not that it may please Heaven, on high occasions,
even to raise one from the dead in defence of his country, yet I
doubted not then, as I doubt not now, that I looked on the living form
of one, who had indeed powerful reasons to conceal him in the cleft of
the rock."

"Are these reasons a secret?" said Julian Peveril.

"Not properly a secret," replied Bridgenorth; "for I fear not thy
betraying what I might tell thee in private discourse; and besides,
wert thou so base, the prey lies too distant for any hunters to whom
thou couldst point out its traces. But the name of this worthy will
sound harsh in thy ear, on account of one action of his life--being
his accession to a great measure, which made the extreme isles of the
earth to tremble. Have you never heard of Richard Whalley?"

"Of the regicide?" exclaimed Peveril, starting.

"Call his act what thou wilt," said Bridgenorth; "he was not less the
rescuer of that devoted village, that, with other leading spirits of
the age, he sat in the judgment-seat when Charles Stewart was
arraigned at the bar, and subscribed the sentence that went forth upon
him."

"I have ever heard," said Julian, in an altered voice, and colouring
deeply, "that you, Master Bridgenorth, with other Presbyterians, were
totally averse to that detestable crime, and were ready to have made
joint-cause with the Cavaliers in preventing so horrible a parricide."

"If it were so," said Bridgenorth, "we have been richly rewarded by
his successor."

"Rewarded!" exclaimed Julian; "does the distinction of good and evil,
and our obligation to do the one and forbear the other, depend on the
reward which may attach to our actions?"

"God forbid," answered Bridgenorth; "yet those who view the havoc
which this house of Stewart have made in the Church and State--the
tyranny which they exercise over men's persons and consciences--may
well doubt whether it be lawful to use weapons in their defence. Yet
you hear me not praise, or even vindicate the death of the King,
though so far deserved, as he was false to his oath as a Prince and
Magistrate. I only tell you what you desired to know, that Richard
Whalley, one of the late King's judges, was he of whom I have just
been speaking. I knew his lofty brow, though time had made it balder
and higher; his grey eye retained all its lustre; and though the
grizzled beard covered the lower part of his face, it prevented me not
from recognising him. The scent was hot after him for his blood; but
by the assistance of those friends whom Heaven had raised up for his
preservation, he was concealed carefully, and emerged only to do the
will of Providence in the matter of that battle. Perhaps his voice may
be heard in the field once more, should England need one of her
noblest hearts."

"Now, God forbid!" said Julian.

"Amen," returned Bridgenorth. "May God avert civil war, and pardon
those whose madness would bring it on us!"

There was a long pause, during which Julian, who had scarce lifted his
eyes towards Alice, stole a glance in that direction, and was struck
by the deep cast of melancholy which had stolen over features, to
which a cheerful, if not gay expression, was most natural. So soon as
she caught his eye, she remarked, and, as Julian thought, with
significance, that the shadows were lengthening, and evening coming
on.

He heard; and although satisfied that she hinted at his departure, he
could not, upon the instant, find resolution to break the spell which
detained him. The language which Bridgenorth held was not only new and
alarming, but so contrary to the maxims in which he was brought up,
that, as a son of Sir Geoffrey Peveril of the Peak, he would, in
another case, have thought himself called upon to dispute its
conclusions, even at the sword's point. But Bridgenorth's opinions
were delivered with so much calmness--seemed so much the result of
conviction--that they excited in Julian rather a spirit of wonder,
than of angry controversy. There was a character of sober decision,
and sedate melancholy, in all that he said, which, even had he not
been the father of Alice (and perhaps Julian was not himself aware how
much he was influenced by that circumstance), would have rendered it
difficult to take personal offence. His language and sentiments were
of that quiet, yet decided kind, upon which it is difficult either to
fix controversy, or quarrel, although it be impossible to acquiesce in
the conclusions to which they lead.

While Julian remained, as if spell-bound to his chair, scarce more
surprised at the company in which he found himself, than at the
opinions to which he was listening, another circumstance reminded him
that the proper time of his stay at Black Fort had been expended.
Little Fairy, the Manx pony, which, well accustomed to the vicinity of
Black Fort, used to feed near the house while her master made his
visits there, began to find his present stay rather too long. She had
been the gift of the Countess to Julian, whilst a youth, and came of a
high-spirited mountain breed, remarkable alike for hardiness, for
longevity, and for a degree of sagacity approaching to that of the
dog. Fairy showed the latter quality, by the way in which she chose to
express her impatience to be moving homewards. At least such seemed
the purpose of the shrill neigh with which she startled the female
inmates of the parlour, who, the moment afterwards, could not forbear
smiling to see the nose of the pony advanced through the opened
casement.

"Fairy reminds me," said Julian, looking to Alice, and rising, "that
the term of my stay here is exhausted."

"Speak with me yet one moment," said Bridgenorth, withdrawing him into
a Gothic recess of the old-fashioned apartment, and speaking so low
that he could not be overheard by Alice and her governante, who, in
the meantime, caressed, and fed with fragments of bread the intruder
Fairy.

"You have not, after all," said Bridgenorth, "told me the cause of
your coming hither." He stopped, as if to enjoy his embarrassment, and
then added, "And indeed it were most unnecessary that you should do
so. I have not so far forgotten the days of my youth, or those
affections which bind poor frail humanity but too much to the things
of this world. Will you find no words to ask of me the great boon
which you seek, and which, peradventure, you would not have hesitated
to have made your own, without my knowledge, and against my consent?--
Nay, never vindicate thyself, but mark me farther. The patriarch
bought his beloved by fourteen years' hard service to her father
Laban, and they seemed to him but as a few days. But he that would wed
my daughter must serve, in comparison, but a few days; though in
matters of such mighty import, that they shall seem as the service of
many years. Reply not to me now, but go, and peace be with you."

He retired so quickly, after speaking, that Peveril had literally not
an instant to reply. He cast his eyes around the apartment, but
Deborah and her charge had also disappeared. His gaze rested for a
moment on the portrait of Christian, and his imagination suggested
that his dark features were illuminated by a smile of haughty triumph.
He stared, and looked more attentively--it was but the effect of the
evening beam, which touched the picture at the instant. The effect was
gone, and there remained but the fixed, grave, inflexible features of
the republican soldier.

Julian left the apartment as one who walks in a dream; he mounted
Fairy, and, agitated by a variety of thoughts, which he was unable to
reduce to order, he returned to Castle Rushin before the night sat
down.

Here he found all in movement. The Countess, with her son, had, upon
some news received, or resolution formed, during his absence, removed,
with a principal part of their family, to the yet stronger Castle of
Holm-Peel, about eight miles' distance across the island; and which
had been suffered to fall into a much more dilapidated condition than
that of Castletown, so far as it could be considered as a place of
residence. But as a fortress, Holm-Peel was stronger than Castletown;
nay, unless assailed regularly, was almost impregnable; and was always
held by a garrison belonging to the Lords of Man. Here Peveril arrived
at nightfall. He was told in the fishing-village, that the night-bell
of the Castle had been rung earlier than usual, and the watch set with
circumstances of unusual and jealous repetition.

Resolving, therefore, not to disturb the garrison by entering at that
late hour, he obtained an indifferent lodging in the town for the
night, and determined to go to the Castle early on the succeeding
morning. He was not sorry thus to gain a few hours of solitude, to
think over the agitating events of the preceding day.



                              CHAPTER XV

                ----What seem'd its head,
                The likeness of a kingly crown had on.
                                           --PARADISE LOST.

Sodor, or Holm-Peel, so is named the castle to which our Julian
directed his course early on the following morning, is one of those
extraordinary monuments of antiquity with which this singular and
interesting island abounds. It occupies the whole of a high rocky
peninsula, or rather an island, for it is surrounded by the sea at
high-water, and scarcely accessible even when the tide is out,
although a stone causeway, of great solidity, erected for the express
purpose, connects the island with the mainland. The whole space is
surrounded by double walls of great strength and thickness; and the
access to the interior, at the time which we treat of, was only by two
flights of steep and narrow steps, divided from each other by a strong
tower and guard-house; under the former of which, there is an
entrance-arch. The open space within the walls extends to two acres,
and contains many objects worthy of antiquarian curiosity. There were
besides the castle itself, two cathedral churches, dedicated, the
earlier to St. Patrick, the latter to St. Germain; besides two smaller
churches; all of which had become, even in that day, more or less
ruinous. Their decayed walls, exhibiting the rude and massive
architecture of the most remote period, were composed of a ragged
grey-stone, which formed a singular contrast with the bright red
freestone of which the window-cases, corner-stones, arches, and other
ornamental parts of the building, were composed.

Besides these four ruinous churches, the space of ground enclosed by
the massive exterior walls of Holm-Peel exhibited many other vestiges
of the olden time. There was a square mound of earth, facing, with its
angles to the points of the compass, one of those motes, as they were
called, on which, in ancient times, the northern tribes elected or
recognised their chiefs, and held their solemn popular assemblies, or
/comitia/. There was also one of those singular towers, so common in
Ireland as to have proved the favourite theme of her antiquaries; but
of which the real use and meaning seems yet to be hidden in the mist
of ages. This of Holm-Peel had been converted to the purpose of a
watch-tower. There were, besides, Runic monuments, of which legends
could not be deciphered; and later inscriptions to the memory of
champions, of whom the names only were preserved from oblivion. But
tradition and superstitious eld, still most busy where real history is
silent, had filled up the long blank of accurate information with
tales of Sea-kings and Pirates, Hebridean Chiefs and Norwegian
Resolutes, who had formerly warred against, and in defence of, this
famous castle. Superstition, too, had her tales of fairies, ghosts,
and spectres--her legions of saints and demons, of fairies and of
familiar spirits, which in no corner of the British empire are told
and received with more absolute credulity than in the Isle of Man.

Amidst all these ruins of an older time arose the Castle itself,--now
ruinous--but in Charles II.'s reign well garrisoned, and, in a
military point of view, kept in complete order. It was a venerable and
very ancient building, containing several apartments of sufficient
size and height to be termed noble. But in the surrender of the island
by Christian, the furniture had been, in a great measure, plundered or
destroyed by the republican soldiers; so that, as we have before
hinted, its present state was ill adapted for the residence of the
noble proprietor. Yet it had been often the abode, not only of the
Lords of Man, but of those state prisoners whom the Kings of Britain
sometimes committed to their charge.

In this Castle of Holm-Peel the great king-maker, Richard, Earl of
Warwick, was confined, during one period of his eventful life, to
ruminate at leisure on his farther schemes of ambition. And here, too,
Eleanor, the haughty wife of the good Duke of Gloucester, pined out in
seclusion the last days of her banishment. The sentinels pretended
that her discontented spectre was often visible at night, traversing
the battlements of the external walls, or standing motionless beside a
particular solitary turret of one of the watch-towers with which they
are flanked; but dissolving into air at cock-crow, or when the bell
tolled from the yet remaining tower of St. Germain's church.

Such was Holm-Peel, as records inform us, till towards the end of the
seventeenth century.

It was in one of the lofty but almost unfurnished apartments of this
ancient Castle that Julian Peveril found his friend the Earl of Derby,
who had that moment sat down to a breakfast composed of various sorts
of fish. "Welcome, most imperial Julian," he said; "welcome to our
royal fortress; in which, as yet, we are not like to be starved with
hunger, though well-nigh dead for cold."

Julian answered by inquiring the meaning of this sudden movement.

"Upon my word," replied the Earl, "you know nearly as much of it as I
do. My mother has told me nothing about it; supposing I believe, that
I shall at length be tempted to inquire; but she will find herself
much mistaken. I shall give her credit for full wisdom in her
proceedings, rather than put her to the trouble to render a reason,
though no woman can render one better."

"Come, come; this is affectation, my good friend," said Julian. "You
should inquire into these matters a little more curiously."

"To what purpose?" said the Earl. "To hear old stories about the
Tinwald laws, and the contending rights of the lords and the clergy,
and all the rest of that Celtic barbarism, which, like Burgesse's
thorough-paced doctrine enters at one ear, paces through, and goes out
at the other?"

"Come, my lord," said Julian, "you are not so indifferent as you would
represent yourself--you are dying of curiosity to know what this hurry
is about; only you think it the courtly humour to appear careless
about your own affairs."

"Why, what should it be about," said the young Earl "unless some
factious dispute between our Majesty's minister, Governor Nowel, and
our vassals? or perhaps some dispute betwixt our Majesty and the
ecclesiastical jurisdictions? for all which our Majesty cares as
little as any king in Christendom."

"I rather suppose there is intelligence from England," said Julian. "I
heard last night in Peel-town, that Greenhalgh is come over with
unpleasant news."

"He brought me nothing that was pleasant, I wot well," said the Earl.
"I expected something from St. Evremond or Hamilton--some new plays by
Dryden or Lee, and some waggery or lampoons from the Rose Coffee-
house; and the fellow has brought me nothing but a parcel of tracts
about Protestants and Papists, and a folio play-book, one of the
conceptions, as she calls them, of that old mad-woman the Duchess of
Newcastle."

"Hush, my lord, for Heaven's sake," said Peveril; "here comes the
Countess; and you know she takes fire at the least slight to her
ancient friend."

"Let her read her ancient friend's works herself, then," said the
Earl, "and think her as wise as she can; but I would not give one of
Waller's songs, or Denham's satires, for a whole cart-load of her
Grace's trash.--But here comes our mother with care on her brow."

The Countess of Derby entered the apartment accordingly, holding in
her hand a number of papers. Her dress was a mourning habit, with a
deep train of black velvet, which was borne by a little favourite
attendant, a deaf and dumb girl, whom, in compassion to her
misfortune, the Countess had educated about her person for some years.
Upon this unfortunate being, with the touch of romance which marked
many of her proceedings, Lady Derby had conferred the name of Fenella,
after some ancient princess of the island. The Countess herself was
not much changed since we last presented her to our readers. Age had
rendered her step more slow, but not less majestic; and while it
traced some wrinkles on her brow, had failed to quench the sedate fire
of her dark eye. The young men rose to receive her with the formal
reverence which they knew she loved, and were greeted by her with
equal kindness.

"Cousin Peveril," she said (for so she always called Julian, in
respect of his mother being a kinswoman of her husband), "you were ill
abroad last night, when we much needed your counsel."

Julian answered with a blush which he could not prevent, "That he had
followed his sport among the mountains too far--had returned late--and
finding her ladyship was removed from Castletown, had instantly
followed the family hither; but as the night-bell was rung, and the
watch set, he had deemed it more respectful to lodge for the night in
the town."

"It is well," said the Countess; "and, to do you justice, Julian, you
are seldom a truant neglecter of appointed hours, though, like the
rest of the youth of this age, you sometimes suffer your sports to
consume too much of time that should be spent otherwise. But for your
friend Philip, he is an avowed contemner of good order, and seems to
find pleasure in wasting time, even when he does not enjoy it."

"I have been enjoying my time just now at least," said the Earl,
rising from table, and picking his teeth carelessly. "These fresh
mullets are delicious, and so is the Lachrymæ Christi. I pray you to
sit down to breakfast, Julian, and partake the goods my royal
foresight has provided. Never was King of Man nearer being left to the
mercy of the execrable brandy of his dominions. Old Griffiths would
never, in the midst of our speedy retreat of last night, have had
sense enough to secure a few flasks, had I not given him a hint on
that important subject. But presence of mind amid danger and tumult,
is a jewel I have always possessed."

"I wish, then, Philip, you would exert it to better purpose," said the
Countess, half smiling, half displeased; for she doated upon her son
with all a mother's fondness, even when she was most angry with him
for being deficient in the peculiar and chivalrous disposition which
had distinguished his father, and which was so analogous to her own
romantic and high-minded character. "Lend me your signet," she added
with a sigh; "for it were, I fear, vain to ask you to read over these
despatches from England, and execute the warrants which I have thought
necessary to prepare in consequence."

"My signet you shall command with all my heart, madam," said Earl
Philip; "but spare me the revision of what you are much more capable
to decide upon. I am, you know, a most complete /Roi fainéant/, and
never once interfered with my /Maire de palais/ in her proceedings."

The Countess made signs to her little train-bearer, who immediately
went to seek for wax and a light, with which she presently returned.

In the meanwhile the Countess continued, addressing Peveril. "Philip
does himself less than justice. When you were absent, Julian (for if
you had been here I would have given you the credit of prompting your
friend), he had a spirited controversy with the Bishop, for an attempt
to enforce spiritual censures against a poor wretch, by confining her
in the vault under the chapel."[*]

[*] Beneath the only one of the four churches in Castle Rushin, which
    is or was kept a little in repair, is a prison or dungeon, for
    ecclesiastical offenders. "This," says Waldron, "is certainly one
    of the most dreadful places that imagination can form; the sea
    runs under it through the hollows of the rock with such a
    continual roar, that you would think it were every moment breaking
    in upon you, and over it are the vaults for burying the dead. The
    stairs descending to this place of terrors are not above thirty,
    but so steep and narrow, that they are very difficult to go down,
    a child of eight or nine years not being able to pass them but
    sideways."--WALDRON'S /Description of the Isle of Man, in his
    Works/, p. 105, folio.

"Do not think better of me than I deserve," said the Earl to Peveril;
"my mother has omitted to tell you the culprit was pretty Peggy of
Ramsey, and her crime what in Cupid's courts would have been called a
peccadillo."

"Do not make yourself worse than you are," replied Peveril, who
observed the Countess's cheek redden,--"you know you would have done
as much for the oldest and poorest cripple in the island. Why, the
vault is under the burial-ground of the chapel, and, for aught I know,
under the ocean itself, such a roaring do the waves make in its
vicinity. I think no one could remain there long, and retain his
reason."

"It is an infernal hole," answered the Earl, "and I will have it built
up one day--that is full certain.--But hold--hold--for God's sake,
madam--what are you going to do?--Look at the seal before you put it
to the warrant--you will see it is a choice antique cameo Cupid,
riding on a flying fish--I had it for twenty zechins, from Signor
Furabosco at Rome--a most curious matter for an antiquary, but which
will add little faith to a Manx warrant.

"My signet--my signet--Oh! you mean that with the three monstrous
legs, which I supposed was devised as the most preposterous device, to
represent our most absurd Majesty of Man.--The signet--I have not seen
it since I gave it to Gibbon, my monkey, to play with.--He did whine
for it most piteously--I hope he has not gemmed the green breast of
ocean with my symbol of sovereignty!"

"Now, by Heaven," said the Countess, trembling, and colouring deeply
with anger, "it was your father's signet! the last pledge which he
sent, with his love to me, and his blessing to thee, the night before
they murdered him at Bolton!"

"Mother, dearest mother," said the Earl, startled out of his apathy,
and taking her hand, which he kissed tenderly, "I did but jest--the
signet is safe--Peveril knows that it is so.--Go fetch it, Julian, for
Heaven's sake--here are my keys--it is in the left-hand drawer of my
travelling cabinet--Nay, mother, forgive me--it was but a /mauvaise
plaisanterie/; only an ill-imagined jest, ungracious, and in bad
taste, I allow--but only one of Philip's follies. Look at me, dearest
mother, and forgive me."

The Countess turned her eyes towards him, from which the tears were
fast falling.

"Philip," she said, "you try me too unkindly, and too severely. If
times are changed, as I have heard you allege--if the dignity of rank,
and the high feelings of honour and duty, are now drowned in giddy
jests and trifling pursuits, let /me/ at least, who live secluded from
all others, die without perceiving the change which has happened, and,
above all, without perceiving it in mine own son. Let me not learn the
general prevalence of this levity, which laughs at every sense of
dignity or duty, through your personal disrespect--Let me not think
that when I die----"

"Speak nothing of it, mother," said the Earl, interrupting her
affectionately. "It is true, I cannot promise to be all my father and
his fathers were; for we wear silk vests for their steel coats, and
feathered beavers for their crested helmets. But believe me, though to
be an absolute Palmerin of England is not in my nature, no son ever
loved a mother more dearly, or would do more to oblige her. And that
you may own this, I will forthwith not only seal the warrants, to the
great endangerment of my precious fingers, but also read the same from
end to end, as well as the despatches thereunto appertaining."

A mother is easily appeased, even when most offended; and it was with
an expanding heart that the Countess saw her son's very handsome
features, while reading these papers, settle into an expression of
deep seriousness, such as they seldom wore. It seemed to her as if the
family likeness to his gallant but unfortunate father increased, when
the expression of their countenances became similar in gravity. The
Earl had no sooner perused the despatches, which he did with great
attention, than he rose and said, "Julian, come with me."

The Countess looked surprised. "I was wont to share your father's
counsels, my son," she said; "but do not think that I wish to intrude
myself upon yours. I am too well pleased to see you assume the power
and the duty of thinking for yourself, which is what I have so long
urged you to do. Nevertheless, my experience, who have been so long
administrator of your authority in Man, might not, I think, be
superfluous to the matter in hand."

"Hold me excused, dearest mother," said the Earl gravely. "The
interference was none of my seeking; had you taken your own course,
without consulting me, it had been well; but since I have entered on
the affair--and it appears sufficiently important--I must transact it
to the best of my own ability."

"Go, then, my son," said the Countess, "and may Heaven enlighten thee
with its counsel, since thou wilt have none of mine.--I trust that
you, Master Peveril, will remind him of what is fit for his own
honour; and that only a coward abandons his rights, and only a fool
trusts his enemies."

The Earl answered not, but, taking Peveril by the arm, led him up a
winding stair to his own apartment, and from thence into a projecting
turret, where, amidst the roar of waves and sea-mews' clang, he held
with him the following conversation:--

"Peveril, it is well I looked into these warrants. My mother queens it
at such a rate as may cost me not only my crown, which I care little
for, but perhaps my head, which, though others may think little of, I
would feel it an inconvenience to be deprived of."

"What on earth is the matter?" said Peveril, with considerable
anxiety.

"It seems," said the Earl of Derby, "that old England who takes a
frolicsome brain-fever once every two or three years, for the benefit
of her doctors, and the purification of the torpid lethargy brought on
by peace and prosperity, is now gone stark staring mad on the subject
of a real or supposed Popish plot. I read one programme on the
subject, by a fellow called Oates, and thought it the most absurd
foolery I ever perused. But that cunning fellow Shaftesbury, and some
others amongst the great ones, having taken it up, and are driving on
at such a rate as makes harness crack, and horses smoke for it. The
King, who has sworn never to kiss the pillow his father went to sleep
on, temporises, and gives way to the current; the Duke of York,
suspected and hated on account of his religion, is about to be driven
to the continent; several principal Catholic nobles are in the Tower
already; and the nation, like a bull at Tutbury-running, is persecuted
with so many inflammatory rumours and pestilent pamphlets, that she
has cocked her tail, flung up her heels, taken the bit betwixt her
teeth and is as furiously unmanageable as in the year 1642."

"All this you must have known already," said Peveril; "I wonder you
told me not of news so important."

"It would have taken long to tell," said the Earl; "moreover, I
desired to have you /solus/; thirdly, I was about to speak when my
mother entered; and, to conclude, it was no business of mine. But
these despatches of my politic mother's private correspondent put a
new face on the whole matter; for it seems some of the informers--a
trade which, having become a thriving one, is now pursued by many--
have dared to glance at the Countess herself as an agent in this same
plot--ay, and have found those that are willing enough to believe
their report."

"On mine honour," said Peveril, "you both take it with great coolness.
I think the Countess the more composed of the two; for, except her
movement hither, she exhibited no mark of alarm, and, moreover,
seemed no way more anxious to communicate the matter to your lordship
than decency rendered necessary."

"My good mother," said the Earl, "loves power, though it has cost her
dear. I wish I could truly say that my neglect of business is entirely
assumed in order to leave it in her hands, but that better motive
combines with natural indolence. But she seems to have feared I should
not think exactly like her in this emergency, and she was right in
supposing so."

"How comes the emergency upon you?" said Julian; "and what form does
the danger assume?"

"Marry, thus it is," said the Earl: "I need not bid you remember the
affair of Colonel Christian. That man, besides his widow, who is
possessed of large property--Dame Christian of Kirk Truagh, whom you
have often heard of, and perhaps seen--left a brother called Edward
Christian, whom you never saw at all. Now this brother--but I dare say
you know all about it."

"Not I, on my honour," said Peveril; "you know the Countess seldom or
never alludes to the subject."

"Why," replied the Earl, "I believe in her heart she is something
ashamed of that gallant act of royalty and supreme jurisdiction, the
consequences of which maimed my estate so cruelly.--Well, cousin, this
same Edward Christian was one of the dempsters at the time, and,
naturally enough, was unwilling to concur in the sentence which
adjudged his /aîné/ to be shot like a dog. My mother, who was then in
high force, and not to be controlled by any one, would have served the
dempster with the same sauce with which she dressed his brother, had
he not been wise enough to fly from the island. Since that time, the
thing has slept on all hands; and though we knew that Dempster
Christian made occasionally secret visits to his friends in the
island, along with two or three other Puritans of the same stamp, and
particularly a prick-eared rogue, called Bridgenorth, brother-in-law
to the deceased, yet my mother, thank Heaven, has hitherto had the
sense to connive at them, though, for some reason or other, she holds
this Bridgenorth in especial disfavour."

"And why," said Peveril, forcing himself to speak, in order to conceal
the very unpleasant surprise which he felt, "why does the Countess now
depart from so prudent a line of conduct?"

"You must know the case is now different. The rogues are not satisfied
with toleration--they would have supremacy. They have found friends in
the present heat of the popular mind. My mother's name, and especially
that of her confessor, Aldrick the Jesuit, have been mentioned in this
beautiful maze of a plot, which if any such at all exists, she knows
as little of as you or I. However, she is a Catholic, and that is
enough; and I have little doubt, that if the fellows could seize on
our scrap of a kingdom here, and cut all our throats, they would have
the thanks of the present House of Commons, as willingly as old
Christian had those of the Rump, for a similar service."

"From whence did you receive all this information?" said Peveril,
again speaking, though by the same effort which a man makes who talks
in his sleep.

"Aldrick has seen the Duke of York in secret, and his Royal Highness,
who wept while he confessed his want of power to protect his friends--
and it is no trifle will wring tears from him--told him to send us
information that we should look to our safety, for that Dempster
Christian and Bridgenorth were in the island, with secret and severe
orders; that they had formed a considerable party there, and were
likely to be owned and protected in anything they might undertake
against us. The people of Ramsey and Castletown are unluckily
discontented about some new regulation of the imposts; and to tell you
the truth, though I thought yesterday's sudden remove a whim of my
mother's, I am almost satisfied they would have blockaded us in Rushin
Castle, where we could not have held out for lack of provisions. Here
we are better supplied, and, as we are on our guard, it is likely the
intended rising will not take place."

"And what is to be done in this emergency?" said Peveril.

"That is the very question, my gentle coz," answered the Earl. "My
mother sees but one way of going to work, and that is by royal
authority. Here are the warrants she had prepared, to search for,
take, and apprehend the bodies of Edward Christian and Robert--no,
Ralph Bridgenorth, and bring them to instant trial. No doubt, she
would soon have had them in the Castle court, with a dozen of the old
matchlocks levelled against them--that is her way of solving all
sudden difficulties."

"But in which, I trust, you do not acquiesce, my lord," answered
Peveril, whose thoughts instantly reverted to Alice, if they could
ever be said to be absent from her.

"Truly I acquiesce in no such matter," said the Earl. "William
Christian's death cost me a fair half of my inheritance. I have no
fancy to fall under the displeasure of my royal brother, King Charles,
for a new escapade of the same kind. But how to pacify my mother, I
know not. I wish the insurrection would take place, and then, as we
are better provided than they can be, we might knock the knaves on the
head; and yet, since they began the fray, we should keep the law on
our side."

"Were it not better," said Peveril, "if by any means these men could
be induced to quit the island?"

"Surely," replied the Earl; "but that will be no easy matter--they are
stubborn on principle, and empty threats will not move them. This
stormblast in London is wind in their sails, and they will run their
length, you may depend on it. I have sent orders, however, to clap up
the Manxmen upon whose assistance they depended, and if I can find the
two worthies themselves, here are sloops enough in the harbour--I will
take the freedom to send them on a pretty distant voyage, and I hope
matters will be settled before they return to give an account of it."

At this moment a soldier belonging to the garrison approached the two
young men, with many bows and tokens of respect. "How now, friend?"
said the Earl to him. "Leave off thy courtesies, and tell thy
business."

The man, who was a native islander, answered in Manx, that he had a
letter for his honour, Master Julian Peveril. Julian snatched the
billet hastily, and asked whence it came.

"It was delivered to him by a young woman," the soldier replied, "who
had given him a piece of money to deliver it into Master Peveril's own
hand."

"Thou art a lucky fellow, Julian," said the Earl. "With that grave
brow of thine, and thy character for sobriety and early wisdom, you
set the girls a-wooing, without waiting till they are asked; whilst I,
their drudge and vassal, waste both language and leisure, without
getting a kind word or look, far less a billet-doux."

This the young Earl said with a smile of conscious triumph, as in fact
he valued himself not a little upon the interest which he supposed
himself to possess with the fair sex.

Meanwhile the letter impressed on Peveril a different train of
thoughts from what his companion apprehended. It was in Alice's hand,
and contained these few words:--


 "I fear what I am going to do is wrong; but I must see you. Meet me
  at noon at Goddard Crovan's Stone, with as much secrecy as you
  may."


The letter was signed only with the initials A. B.; but Julian had no
difficulty in recognising the handwriting, which he had often seen,
and which was remarkably beautiful. He stood suspended, for he saw the
difficulty and impropriety of withdrawing himself from the Countess
and his friend at this moment of impending danger; and yet, to neglect
this invitation was not to be thought of. He paused in the utmost
perplexity.

"Shall I read your riddle?" said the Earl. "Go where love calls you--I
will make an excuse to my mother--only, most grave anchorite, be
hereafter more indulgent to the failings of others than you have been
hitherto, and blaspheme not the power of the little deity."

"Nay, but, Cousin Derby--" said Peveril, and stopped short, for he
really knew not what to say. Secured himself by a virtuous passion
from the contagious influence of the time, he had seen with regret his
noble kinsman mingle more in its irregularities than he approved of,
and had sometimes played the part of a monitor. Circumstances seemed
at present to give the Earl a right of retaliation. He kept his eye
fixed on his friend, as if he waited till he should complete his
sentence, and at length exclaimed, "What! cousin, quite /à-la-mort!/
Oh, most judicious Julian! Oh, most precise Peveril! have you bestowed
so much wisdom on me that you have none left for yourself? Come, be
frank--tell me name and place--or say but the colour of the eyes of
the most emphatic she--or do but let me have the pleasure to hear thee
say, 'I love!'--confess one touch of human frailty--conjugate the verb
/amo/, and I will be a gentle schoolmaster, and you shall have, as
father Richards used to say, when we were under his ferule, '/licentia
exeundi/.'"

"Enjoy your pleasant humour at my expense, my lord," said Peveril; "I
fairly will confess thus much, that I would fain, if it consisted with
my honour and your safety, have two hours at my own disposal; the more
especially as the manner in which I shall employ them may much concern
the safety of the island."

"Very likely, I dare say," answered the Earl, still laughing. "No
doubt you are summoned out by some Lady Politic Wouldbe of the isle,
to talk over some of the breast-laws: but never mind--go, and go
speedily, that you may return as quickly as possible. I expect no
immediate explosion of this grand conspiracy. When the rogues see us
on our guard, they will be cautious how they break out. Only, once
more make haste."

Peveril thought this last advice was not to be neglected; and, glad to
extricate himself from the raillery of his cousin, walked down towards
the gate of the Castle, meaning to cross over to the village, and
there take horse at the Earl's stables, for the place of rendezvous.



                             CHAPTER XVI

         /Acasto./--Can she not speak?
         /Oswald./--If speech be only in accented sounds,
         Framed by the tongue and lips, the maiden's dumb;
         But if by quick and apprehensive look,
         By motion, sign, and glance, to give each meaning,
         Express as clothed in language, be term'd speech,
         She hath that wondrous faculty; for her eyes,
         Like the bright stars of heaven, can hold discourse,
         Though it be mute and soundless.
                                                   --OLD PLAY.

At the head of the first flight of steps which descended towards the
difficult and well-defended entrance of the Castle of Holm-Peel,
Peveril was met and stopped by the Countess's train-bearer. This
little creature--for she was of the least and slightest size of
womankind--was exquisitely well formed in all her limbs, which the
dress she usually wore (a green silk tunic, of a peculiar form) set
off to the best advantage. Her face was darker than the usual hue of
Europeans; and the profusion of long and silken hair, which, when she
undid the braids in which she commonly wore it, fell down almost to
her ankles, was also rather a foreign attribute. Her countenance
resembled a most beautiful miniature; and there was a quickness,
decision, and fire, in Fenella's look, and especially in her eyes,
which was probably rendered yet more alert and acute, because, through
the imperfection of her other organs, it was only by sight that she
could obtain information of what passed around her.

The pretty mute was mistress of many little accomplishments, which the
Countess had caused to be taught to her in compassion for her forlorn
situation, and which she learned with the most surprising quickness.
Thus, for example, she was exquisite in the use of the needle, and so
ready and ingenious a draughtswoman, that, like the ancient Mexicans,
she sometimes made a hasty sketch with her pencil the means of
conveying her ideas, either by direct or emblematical representation.
Above all, in the art of ornamental writing, much studied at that
period, Fenella was so great a proficient, as to rival the fame of
Messrs. Snow, Shelley, and other masters of the pen, whose copybooks,
preserved in the libraries of the curious, still show the artists
smiling on the frontispiece in all the honours of flowing gowns and
full-bottomed wigs, to the eternal glory of caligraphy.

The little maiden had, besides these accomplishments, much ready wit
and acuteness of intellect. With Lady Derby, and with the two young
gentlemen, she was a great favourite, and used much freedom in
conversing with them, by means of a system of signs which had been
gradually established amongst them, and which served all ordinary
purposes of communication.

But, though happy in the indulgence and favour of her mistress, from
whom indeed she was seldom separate, Fenella was by no means a
favourite with the rest of the household. In fact, it seemed that her
temper, exasperated perhaps by a sense of her misfortune, was by no
means equal to her abilities. She was very haughty in her demeanour,
even towards the upper domestics, who in that establishment were of a
much higher rank and better birth than in the families of the nobility
in general. These often complained, not only of her pride and reserve,
but of her high and irascible temper and vindictive disposition. Her
passionate propensity had been indeed idly encouraged by the young
men, and particularly by the Earl, who sometimes amused himself with
teasing her, that he might enjoy the various singular motions and
murmurs by which she expressed her resentment. Towards him, these were
of course only petulant and whimsical indications of pettish anger.
But when she was angry with others of inferior degree--before whom she
did not control herself--the expression of her passion, unable to
display itself in language, had something even frightful, so singular
were the tones, contortions, and gestures, to which she had recourse.
The lower domestics, to whom she was liberal almost beyond her
apparent means, observed her with much deference and respect, but much
more from fear than from any real attachment; for the caprices of her
temper displayed themselves even in her gifts; and those who most
frequently shared her bounty, seemed by no means assured of the
benevolence of the motives which dictated her liberality.

All these peculiarities led to a conclusion consonant with Manx
superstition. Devout believers in all the legends of fairies so dear
to the Celtic tribes, the Manx people held it for certainty that the
elves were in the habit of carrying off mortal children before
baptism, and leaving in the cradle of the new born babe one of their
own brood, which was almost always imperfect in some one or other of
the organs proper to humanity. Such a being they conceived Fenella to
be; and the smallness of her size, her dark complexion, her long locks
of silken hair, the singularity of her manners and tones, as well as
the caprices of her temper, were to their thinking all attributes of
the irritable, fickle, and dangerous race from which they supposed her
to be sprung. And it seemed, that although no jest appeared to offend
her more than when Lord Derby called her in sport the Elfin Queen, or
otherwise alluded to her supposed connection with "the pigmy folk,"
yet still her perpetually affecting to wear the colour of green,
proper to the fairies, as well as some other peculiarities, seemed
voluntarily assumed by her, in order to countenance the superstition,
perhaps because it gave her more authority among the lower orders.

Many were the tales circulated respecting the Countess's /Elf/, as
Fenella was currently called in the island; and the malcontents of the
stricter persuasion were convinced, that no one but a Papist and a
malignant would have kept near her person a creature of such doubtful
origin. They conceived that Fenella's deafness and dumbness were only
towards those of this world, and that she had been heard talking, and
singing, and laughing most elvishly, with the invisibles of her own
race. They alleged, also, that she had a /Double/, a sort of
apparition resembling her, which slept in the Countess's ante-room, or
bore her train, or wrought in her cabinet, while the real Fenella
joined the song of the mermaids on the moonlight sands, or the dance
of the fairies in the haunted valley of Glenmoy, or on the heights of
Snawfell and Barool. The sentinels, too, would have sworn they had
seen the little maiden trip past them in their solitary night walks,
without their having it in their power to challenge her, any more than
if they had been as mute as herself. To all this mass of absurdities
the better informed paid no more attention than to the usual idle
exaggerations of the vulgar, which so frequently connect that which is
unusual with what is supernatural.

Such, in form and habits, was the little female, who, holding in her
hand a small old-fashioned ebony rod, which might have passed for a
divining wand, confronted Julian on the top of the flight of steps
which led down the rock from the Castle court. We ought to observe,
that as Julian's manner to the unfortunate girl had been always
gentle, and free from those teasing jests in which his gay friend
indulged, with less regard to the peculiarity of her situation and
feelings; so Fenella, on her part, had usually shown much greater
deference to him than to any of the household, her mistress, the
Countess, always excepted.

On the present occasion, planting herself in the very midst of the
narrow descent, so as to make it impossible for Peveril to pass by
her, she proceeded to put him to the question by a series of gestures,
which we will endeavour to describe. She commenced by extending her
hand slightly, accompanied with the sharp inquisitive look which
served her as a note of interrogation. This was meant as an inquiry
whether he was going to a distance. Julian, in reply, extended his arm
more than half, to intimate that the distance was considerable.
Fenella looked grave, shook her head, and pointed to the Countess's
window, which was visible from the spot where they stood. Peveril
smiled, and nodded, to intimate there was no danger in quitting her
mistress for a short space. The little maiden next touched an eagle's
feather which she wore in her hair, a sign which she usually employed
to designate the Earl, and then looked inquisitively at Julian once
more, as if to say, "Goes he with you?" Peveril shook his head, and,
somewhat wearied by these interrogatories, smiled, and made an effort
to pass. Fenella frowned, struck the end of her ebony rod
perpendicularly on the ground, and again shook her head, as if
opposing his departure. But finding that Julian persevered in his
purpose, she suddenly assumed another and milder mood, held him by the
skirt of his cloak with one hand, and raised the other in an imploring
attitude, whilst every feature of her lively countenance was composed
into the like expression of supplication; and the fire of the large
dark eyes, which seemed in general so keen and piercing as almost to
over-animate the little sphere to which they belonged, seemed
quenched, for the moment, in the large drops which hung on her long
eyelashes, but without falling.

Julian Peveril was far from being void of sympathy towards the poor
girl, whose motives in opposing his departure appeared to be her
affectionate apprehension for her mistress's safety. He endeavoured to
reassure by smiles, and, at the same time, by such signs as he could
devise, to intimate that there was no danger, and that he would return
presently; and having succeeded in extricating his cloak from her
grasp, and in passing her on the stair, he began to descend the steps
as speedily as he could, in order to avoid farther importunity.

But with activity much greater than his, the dumb maiden hastened to
intercept him, and succeeded by throwing herself, at the imminent risk
of life and limb, a second time into the pass which he was descending,
so as to interrupt his purpose. In order to achieve this, she was
obliged to let herself drop a considerable height from the wall of a
small flanking battery, where two patereroes were placed to scour the
pass, in case any enemy could have mounted so high. Julian had scarce
time to shudder at her purpose, as he beheld her about to spring from
the parapet, ere, like a thing of gossamer, she stood light and
uninjured on the rocky platform below. He endeavoured, by the gravity
of his look and gesture, to make her understand how much he blamed her
rashness; but the reproof, though obviously quite intelligible, was
entirely thrown away. A hasty wave of her hand intimated how she
contemned the danger and the remonstrance; while, at the same time,
she instantly resumed, with more eagerness than before, the earnest
and impressive gestures by which she endeavoured to detain him in the
fortress.

Julian was somewhat staggered by her pertinacity. "Is it possible," he
thought, "that any danger can approach the Countess, of which this
poor maiden has, by the extreme acuteness of her observation, obtained
knowledge which has escaped others?"

He signed to Fenella hastily to give him the tablets and the pencil
which she usually carried with her, and wrote on them the question,
"Is there danger near to your mistress, that you thus stop me?"

"There is danger around the Countess," was the answer instantly
written down; "but there is much more in your own purpose."

"How?--what?--what know you of my purpose?" said Julian, forgetting,
in his surprise, that the party he addressed had neither ear to
comprehend, nor voice to reply to uttered language. She had regained
her book in the meantime, and sketched, with a rapid pencil, on one of
the leaves, a scene which she showed to Julian. To his infinite
surprise he recognised Goddard Crovan's Stone, a remarkable monument,
of which she had given the outline with sufficient accuracy; together
with a male and female figure, which, though only indicated by a few
slight touches of the pencil, bore yet, he thought, some resemblance
to himself and Alice Bridgenorth.

When he had gazed on the sketch for an instant with surprise, Fenella
took the book from his hand, laid her finger upon the drawing, and
slowly and sternly shook her head, with a frown which seemed to
prohibit the meeting which was there represented. Julian, however,
though disconcerted, was in no shape disposed to submit to the
authority of his monitress. By whatever means she, who so seldom
stirred from the Countess's apartment, had become acquainted with a
secret which he thought entirely his own, he esteemed it the more
necessary to keep the appointed rendezvous, that he might learn from
Alice, if possible, how the secret had transpired. He had also formed
the intention of seeking out Bridgenorth; entertaining an idea that a
person so reasonable and calm as he had shown himself in their late
conference, might be persuaded, when he understood that the Countess
was aware of his intrigues, to put an end to her danger and his own,
by withdrawing from the island. And could he succeed in this point, he
should at once, he thought, render a material benefit to the father of
his beloved Alice--remove the Earl from his state of anxiety--save the
Countess from a second time putting her feudal jurisdiction in
opposition to that of the Crown of England--and secure quiet
possession of the island to her and her family.

With this scheme of mediation on his mind, Peveril determined to rid
himself of the opposition of Fenella to his departure, with less
ceremony than he had hitherto observed towards her; and suddenly
lifting up the damsel in his arms before she was aware of his purpose,
he turned about, set her down on the steps above him, and began to
descend the pass himself as speedily as possible. It was then that the
dumb maiden gave full course to the vehemence of her disposition; and
clapping her hands repeatedly, expressed her displeasure in sound, or
rather a shriek, so extremely dissonant, that it resembled more the
cry of a wild creature, than anything which could have been uttered by
female organs. Peveril was so astounded at the scream as it rung
through the living rocks, that he could not help stopping and looking
back in alarm, to satisfy himself that she had not sustained some
injury. He saw her, however, perfectly safe, though her face seemed
inflamed and distorted with passion. She stamped at him with her foot,
shook her clenched hand, and turning her back upon him, without
further adieu, ran up the rude steps as lightly as a kid could have
tripped up that rugged ascent, and paused for a moment at the summit
of the first flight.

Julian could feel nothing but wonder and compassion for the impotent
passion of a being so unfortunately circumstanced, cut off, as it
were, from the rest of mankind, and incapable of receiving in
childhood that moral discipline which teaches us mastery of our
wayward passions, ere yet they have attained their meridian strength
and violence. He waved his hand to her, in token of amicable farewell;
but she only replied by once more menacing him with her little hand
clenched; and then ascending the rocky staircase with almost
preternatural speed, was soon out of sight.

Julian, on his part, gave no farther consideration to her conduct or
its motives, but hastening to the village on the mainland, where the
stables of the Castle were situated, he again took his palfrey from
the stall, and was soon mounted and on his way to the appointed place
of rendezvous, much marvelling, as he ambled forward with speed far
greater than was promised by the diminutive size of the animal he was
mounted on, what could have happened to produce so great a change in
Alice's conduct towards him, that in place of enjoining his absence as
usual, or recommending his departure from the island, she should now
voluntarily invite him to a meeting. Under impression of the various
doubts which succeeded each other in his imagination, he sometimes
pressed Fairy's sides with his legs; sometimes laid his holly rod
lightly on her neck; sometimes incited her by his voice, for the
mettled animal needed neither whip nor spur, and achieved the distance
betwixt the Castle of Holm-Peel and the stone at Goddard Crovan, at
the rate of twelve miles within the hour.

The monumental stone, designed to commemorate some feat of an ancient
King of Man, which had been long forgotten, was erected on the side of
a narrow lonely valley, or rather glen, secluded from observation by
the steepness of its banks, upon a projection of which stood the tall,
shapeless, solitary rock, frowning, like a shrouded giant, over the
brawling of the small rivulet which watered the ravine.



                             CHAPTER XVII

          This a love-meeting? See the maiden mourns,
          And the sad suitor bends his looks on earth.
          There's more hath pass'd between them than belongs
          To Love's sweet sorrows.
                                                   --OLD PLAY.

As he approached the monument of Goddard Crovan, Julian cast many an
anxious glance to see whether any object visible beside the huge grey
stone should apprise him, whether he was anticipated, at the appointed
place of rendezvous, by her who had named it. Nor was it long before
the flutter of a mantle, which the breeze slightly waved, and the
motion necessary to replace it upon the wearer's shoulders, made him
aware that Alice had already reached their place of meeting. One
instant set the palfrey at liberty, with slackened girths and loosened
reins, to pick its own way through the dell at will; another placed
Julian Peveril by the side of Alice Bridgenorth.

That Alice should extend her hand to her lover, as with the ardour of
a young greyhound he bounded over the obstacles of the rugged path,
was as natural as that Julian, seizing on the hand so kindly stretched
out, should devour it with kisses, and, for a moment or two, without
reprehension; while the other hand, which should have aided in the
liberation of its fellow, served to hide the blushes of the fair
owner. But Alice, young as she was, and attached to Julian by such
long habits of kindly intimacy, still knew well how to subdue the
tendency of her own treacherous affections.

"This is not right," she said, extricating her hand from Julian's
grasp, "this is not right, Julian. If I have been too rash in
admitting such a meeting as the present, it is not you that should
make me sensible of my folly."

Julian Peveril's mind had been early illuminated with that touch of
romantic fire which deprives passion of selfishness, and confers on it
the high and refined tone of generous and disinterested devotion. He
let go the hand of Alice with as much respect as he could have paid to
that of a princess; and when she seated herself upon a rocky fragment,
over which nature had stretched a cushion of moss and lichen,
interspersed with wild flowers, backed with a bush of copsewood, he
took his place beside her, indeed, but at such distance as to intimate
the duty of an attendant, who was there only to hear and to obey.
Alice Bridgenorth became more assured as she observed the power which
she possessed over her lover; and the self-command which Peveril
exhibited, which other damsels in her situation might have judged
inconsistent with intensity of passion, she appreciated more justly,
as a proof of his respectful and disinterested sincerity. She
recovered, in addressing him, the tone of confidence which rather
belonged to the scenes of their early acquaintance, than to those
which had passed betwixt them since Peveril had disclosed his
affection, and thereby had brought restraint upon their intercourse.

"Julian," she said, "your visit of yesterday--your most ill-timed
visit, has distressed me much. It has misled my father--it has
endangered you. At all risks, I resolved that you should know this,
and blame me not if I have taken a bold and imprudent step in desiring
this solitary interview, since you are aware how little poor Deborah
is to be trusted."

"Can you fear misconstruction from me, Alice?" replied Peveril warmly;
"from me, whom you have thus highly favoured--thus deeply obliged?"

"Cease your protestations, Julian," answered the maiden; "they do but
make me the more sensible that I have acted over boldly. But I did for
the best.--I could not see you whom I have known so long--you, who say
you regard me with partiality----"

"/Say/ that I regard you with partiality!" interrupted Peveril in his
turn. "Ah, Alice, with a cold and doubtful phrase you have used to
express the most devoted, the most sincere affection!"

"Well, then," said Alice sadly, "we will not quarrel about words; but
do not again interrupt me.--I could not, I say, see you, who, I
believe, regard me with sincere though vain and fruitless attachment,
rush blindfold into a snare, deceived and seduced by those very
feelings towards me."

"I understand you not, Alice," said Peveril; "nor can I see any danger
to which I am at present exposed. The sentiments which your father has
expressed towards me, are of a nature irreconcilable with hostile
purposes. If he is not offended with the bold wishes I may have
formed,--and his whole behaviour shows the contrary,--I know not a man
on earth from whom I have less cause to apprehend any danger or ill-
will."

"My father," said Alice, "means well by his country, and well by you;
yet I sometimes fear he may rather injure than serve his good cause;
and still more do I dread, that in attempting to engage you as an
auxiliary, he may forget those ties which ought to bind you, and I am
sure which will bind you, to a different line of conduct from his
own."

"You lead me into still deeper darkness, Alice," answered Peveril.
"That your father's especial line of politics differs widely from
mine, I know well; but how many instances have occurred, even during
the bloody scenes of civil warfare, of good and worthy men laying the
prejudice of party affections aside, and regarding each other with
respect, and even with friendly attachment, without being false to
principle on either side?"

"It may be so," said Alice; "but such is not the league which my
father desires to form with you, and that to which he hopes your
misplaced partiality towards his daughter may afford a motive for your
forming with him."

"And what is it," said Peveril, "which I would refuse, with such a
prospect before me?"

"Treachery and dishonour!" replied Alice; "whatever would render you
unworthy of the poor boon at which you aim--ay, were it more worthless
than I confess it to be."

"Would your father," said Peveril, as he unwillingly received the
impression which Alice designed to convey,--"would he, whose views of
duty are so strict and severe--would he wish to involve me in aught,
to which such harsh epithets as treachery and dishonour can be applied
with the lightest shadow of truth?"

"Do not mistake me, Julian," replied the maiden; "my father is
incapable of requesting aught of you that is not to his thinking just
and honourable; nay, he conceives that he only claims from you a debt,
which is due as a creature to the Creator, and as a man to your
fellow-men."

"So guarded, where can be the danger of our intercourse?" replied
Julian. "If he be resolved to require, and I determined to accede to,
nothing save what flows from conviction, what have I to fear, Alice?
And how is my intercourse with your father dangerous? Believe not so;
his speech has already made impression on me in some particulars, and
he listened with candour and patience to the objections which I made
occasionally. You do Master Bridgenorth less than justice in
confounding him with the unreasonable bigots in policy and religion,
who can listen to no argument but what favours their own
prepossessions."

"Julian," replied Alice; "it is you who misjudge my father's powers,
and his purpose with respect to you, and who overrate your own powers
of resistance. I am but a girl, but I have been taught by
circumstances to think for myself, and to consider the character of
those around me. My father's views in ecclesiastical and civil policy
are as dear to him as the life which he cherishes only to advance
them. They have been, with little alteration, his companions through
life. They brought him at one period into prosperity, and when they
suited not the times, he suffered for having held them. They have
become not only a part, but the very dearest part, of his existence.
If he shows them not to you at first, in the flexible strength which
they have acquired over his mind, do not believe that they are the
less powerful. He who desires to make converts, must begin by degrees.
But that he should sacrifice to an inexperienced young man, whose
ruling motive he will term a childish passion, any part of those
treasured principles which he has maintained through good repute and
bad repute--Oh, do not dream of such an impossibility! If you meet at
all, you must be the wax, he the seal--you must receive, he must
bestow, an absolute impression."

"That," said Peveril, "were unreasonable. I will frankly avow to you,
Alice, that I am not a sworn bigot to the opinions entertained by my
father, much as I respect his person. I could wish that our Cavaliers,
or whatsoever they are pleased to call themselves, would have some
more charity towards those who differ from them in Church and State.
But to hope that I would surrender the principles in which I have
lived, were to suppose me capable of deserting my benefactress, and
breaking the hearts of my parents."

"Even so I judged of you," answered Alice; "and therefore I asked this
interview, to conjure that you will break off all intercourse with our
family--return to your parents--or, what will be much safer, visit the
continent once more, and abide till God send better days to England,
for these are black with many a storm."

"And can you bid me go, Alice?" said the young man, taking her
unresisting hand; "can you bid me go, and yet own an interest in my
fate?--Can you bid me, for fear of dangers, which, as a man, as a
gentleman, and a loyal one, I am bound to show my face to, meanly
abandon my parents, my friends, my country--suffer the existence of
evils which I might aid to prevent--forego the prospect of doing such
little good as might be in my power--fall from an active and
honourable station, into the condition of a fugitive and time-server--
Can you bid me do all this, Alice? Can you bid me do all this, and, in
the same breath, bid farewell for ever to you and happiness?--It is
impossible--I cannot surrender at once my love and my honour."

"There is no remedy," said Alice, but she could not suppress a sigh
while she said so--"there is no remedy--none whatever. What we might
have been to each other, placed in more favourable circumstances, it
avails not to think of now; and, circumstanced as we are, with open
war about to break out betwixt our parents and friends, we can be but
well-wishers--cold and distant well-wishers, who must part on this
spot, and at this hour, never meet again."

"No, by Heaven!" said Peveril, animated at the same time by his own
feelings, and by the sight of the emotions which his companion in vain
endeavoured to suppress,--"No, by Heaven!" he exclaimed, "we part not
--Alice, we part not. If I am to leave my native land, you shall be my
companion in my exile. What have you to lose?--Whom have you to
abandon?--Your father?--The good old cause, as it is termed, is dearer
to him than a thousand daughters; and setting him aside, what tie is
there between you and this barren isle--between my Alice and any spot
of the British dominions, where her Julian does not sit by her?"

"O Julian," answered the maiden, "why make my duty more painful by
visionary projects, which you ought not to name, or I to listen to?
Your parents--my father--it cannot be!"

"Fear not for my parents, Alice," replied Julian, and pressing close
to his companion's side, he ventured to throw his arm around her;
"they love me, and they will soon learn to love, in Alice, the only
being on earth who could have rendered their son happy. And for your
own father, when State and Church intrigues allow him to bestow a
thought upon you, will he not think that your happiness, your
security, is better cared for when you are my wife, than were you to
continue under the mercenary charge of yonder foolish woman? What
could his pride desire better for you, than the establishment which
will one day be mine? Come then, Alice, and since you condemn me to
banishment--since you deny me a share in those stirring achievements
which are about to agitate England--come! do you--for you only can--do
you reconcile me to exile and inaction, and give happiness to one,
who, for your sake, is willing to resign honour."

"It cannot--it cannot be," said Alice, faltering as she uttered her
negative. "And yet," she said, "how many in my place--left alone and
unprotected, as I am--But I must not--I must not--for your sake,
Julian, I must not."

"Say not for my sake you must not, Alice," said Peveril eagerly; "this
is adding insult to cruelty. If you will do aught for my sake, you
will say yes; or you will suffer this dear head to drop on my shoulder
--the slightest sign--the moving of an eyelid, shall signify consent.
All shall be prepared within an hour; within another the priest shall
unite us; and within a third, we leave the isle behind us, and seek
our fortunes on the continent." But while he spoke, in joyful
anticipation of the consent which he implored, Alice found means to
collect together her resolution, which, staggered by the eagerness of
her lover, the impulse of her own affections, and the singularity of
her situation,--seeming, in her case, to justify what would have been
most blamable in another,--had more than half abandoned her.

The result of a moment's deliberation was fatal to Julian's proposal.
She extricated herself from the arm which had pressed her to his side
--arose, and repelling his attempts to approach or detain her, said,
with a simplicity not unmingled with dignity, "Julian, I always knew I
risked much in inviting you to this meeting; but I did not guess that
I could have been so cruel to both to you and to myself, as to suffer
you to discover what you have to-day seen too plainly--that I love you
better than you love me. But since you do know it, I will show you
that Alice's love is disinterested--She will not bring an ignoble name
into your ancient house. If hereafter, in your line, there should
arise some who may think the claims of the hierarchy too exorbitant,
the powers of the crown too extensive, men shall not say these ideas
were derived from Alice Bridgenorth, their whig granddame."

"Can you speak thus, Alice?" said her lover. "Can you use such
expressions? and are you not sensible that they show plainly it is
your own pride, not regard for me, that makes you resist the happiness
of both?"

"Not so, Julian; not so," answered Alice, with tears in her eyes; "it
is the command of duty to us both--of duty, which we cannot
transgress, without risking our happiness here and hereafter. Think
what I, the cause of all, should feel, when your father frowns, your
mother weeps, your noble friends stand aloof, and you, even you
yourself, shall have made the painful discovery, that you have
incurred the contempt and resentment of all to satisfy a boyish
passion; and that the poor beauty, once sufficient to mislead you, is
gradually declining under the influence of grief and vexation. This I
will not risk. I see distinctly it is best we should here break off
and part; and I thank God, who gives me light enough to perceive, and
strength enough to withstand, your folly as well as my own. Farewell,
then, Julian; but first take the solemn advice which I called you
hither to impart to you:--Shun my father--you cannot walk in his
paths, and be true to gratitude and to honour. What he doth from pure
and honourable motives, you cannot aid him in, except upon the
suggestion of a silly and interested passion, at variance with all the
engagements you have formed at coming into life."

"Once more, Alice," answered Julian, "I understand you not. If a
course of action is good, it needs no vindication from the actor's
motives--if bad, it can derive none."

"You cannot blind me with your sophistry, Julian," replied Alice
Bridgenorth, "any more than you can overpower me with your passion.
Had the patriarch destined his son to death upon any less ground than
faith and humble obedience to a divine commandment, he had meditated a
murder and not a sacrifice. In our late bloody and lamentable wars,
how many drew swords on either side, from the purest and most
honourable motives? How many from the culpable suggestions of
ambition, self-seeking, and love of plunder? Yet while they marched in
the same ranks, and spurred their horses at the same trumpet-sound,
the memory of the former is dear to us as patriots or loyalists--that
of those who acted on mean or unworthy promptings, is either execrated
or forgotten. Once more, I warn you, avoid my father--leave this
island, which will be soon agitated by strange incidents--while you
stay, be on your guard--distrust everything--be jealous of every one,
even of those to whom it may seem almost impossible, from
circumstances, to attach a shadow of suspicion--trust not the very
stones of the most secret apartment in Holm-Peel, for that which hath
wings shall carry the matter."

Here Alice broke off suddenly, and with a faint shriek; for, stepping
from behind the stunted copse which had concealed him, her father
stood unexpectedly before them.

The reader cannot have forgotten that this was the second time in
which the stolen interviews of the lovers had been interrupted by the
unexpected apparition of Major Bridgenorth. On this second occasion
his countenance exhibited anger mixed with solemnity, like that of the
spirit to a ghost-seer, whom he upbraids with having neglected a
charge imposed at their first meeting. Even his anger, however,
produced no more violent emotion than a cold sternness of manner in
his speech and action. "I thank you, Alice," he said to his daughter,
"for the pains you have taken to traverse my designs towards this
young man, and towards yourself. I thank you for the hints you have
thrown out before my appearance, the suddenness of which alone has
prevented you from carrying your confidence to a pitch which would
have placed my life and that of others at the discretion of a boy,
who, when the cause of God and his country is laid before him, has not
leisure to think of them, so much is he occupied with such a baby-face
as thine." Alice, pale as death, continued motionless, with her eyes
fixed on the ground, without attempting the slightest reply to the
ironical reproaches of her father.

"And you," continued Major Bridgenorth, turning from his daughter to
her lover,--"you sir, have well repaid the liberal confidence which I
placed in you with so little reserve. You I have to thank also for
some lessons, which may teach me to rest satisfied with the churl's
blood which nature has poured into my veins, and with the rude nurture
which my father allotted to me."

"I understand you not, sir," replied Julian Peveril, who, feeling the
necessity of saying something, could not, at the moment, find anything
more fitting to say.

"Yes, sir, I thank you," said Major Bridgenorth, in the same cold
sarcastic tone, "for having shown me that breach of hospitality,
infringement of good faith, and such like peccadilloes, are not
utterly foreign to the mind and conduct of the heir of a knightly
house of twenty descents. It is a great lesson to me, sir: for
hitherto I had thought with the vulgar, that gentle manners went with
gentle blood. But perhaps courtesy is too chivalrous a quality to be
wasted in intercourse with a round-headed fanatic like myself."

"Major Bridgenorth," said Julian, "whatever has happened in this
interview which may have displeased you, has been the result of
feelings suddenly and strongly animated by the crisis of the moment--
nothing was premeditated."

"Not even your meeting, I suppose?" replied Bridgenorth, in the same
cold tone. "You, sir, wandered hither from Holm-Peel--my daughter
strolled forth from the Black Fort; and chance, doubtless, assigned
you a meeting by the stone of Goddard Crovan?--Young man, disgrace
yourself by no more apologies--they are worse than useless.--And you,
maiden, who, in your fear of losing your lover, could verge on
betraying what might have cost a father his life--begone to your home.
I will talk with you at more leisure, and teach you practically those
duties which you seem to have forgotten."

"On my honour, sir," said Julian, "your daughter is guiltless of all
that can offend you; she resisted every offer which the headstrong
violence of my passion urged me to press upon her."

"And, in brief," said Bridgenorth, "I am not to believe that you met
in this remote place of rendezvous by Alice's special appointment?"

Peveril knew not what to reply, and Bridgenorth again signed with his
hand to his daughter to withdraw.

"I obey you, father," said Alice, who had by this time recovered from
the extremity of her surprise,--"I obey you; but Heaven is my witness
that you do me more than injustice in suspecting me capable of
betraying your secrets, even had it been necessary to save my own life
or that of Julian. That you are walking in a dangerous path I well
know; but you do it with your eyes open, and are actuated by motives
of which you can estimate the worth and value. My sole wish was, that
this young man should not enter blindfold on the same perils; and I
had a right to warn him, since the feelings by which he is hoodwinked
had a direct reference to me."

"'Tis well, minion," said Bridgenorth, "you have spoken your say.
Retire, and let me complete the conference which you have so
considerately commenced."

"I go, sir," said Alice.--"Julian, to you my last words are, and I
would speak them with my last breath--Farewell, and caution!"

She turned from them, disappeared among the underwood, and was seen no
more.

"A true specimen of womankind," said her father, looking after her,
"who would give the cause of nations up, rather than endanger a hair
of her lover's head.--You, Master Peveril, doubtless, hold her
opinion, that the best love is a safe love!"

"Were danger alone in my way," said Peveril, much surprised at the
softened tone in which Bridgenorth made this observation, "there are
few things which I would not face to--to--deserve your good opinion."

"Or rather to win my daughter's hand," said Bridgenorth. "Well, young
man, one thing has pleased me in your conduct, though of much I have
my reasons to complain--one thing /has/ pleased me. You have
surmounted that bounding wall of aristocratical pride, in which your
father, and, I suppose, his fathers, remained imprisoned, as in the
precincts of a feudal fortress--you have leaped over this barrier, and
shown yourself not unwilling to ally yourself with a family whom your
father spurns as low-born and ignoble."

However favourable this speech sounded towards success in his suit, it
so broadly stated the consequences of that success so far as his
parents were concerned, that Julian felt it in the last degree
difficult to reply. At length, perceiving that Major Bridgenorth
seemed resolved quietly to await his answer, he mustered up courage to
say, "The feelings which I entertain towards your daughter, Master
Bridgenorth, are of a nature to supersede many other considerations,
to which in any other case, I should feel it my duty to give the most
reverential attention. I will not disguise from you, that my father's
prejudices against such a match would be very strong; but I devoutly
believe they would disappear when he came to know the merit of Alice
Bridgenorth, and to be sensible that she only could make his son
happy."

"In the meanwhile, you are desirous to complete the union which you
propose without the knowledge of your parents, and take the chance of
their being hereafter reconciled to it? So I understand, from the
proposal which you made but lately to my daughter."

The turns of human nature, and of human passion, are so irregular and
uncertain, that although Julian had but a few minutes before urged to
Alice a private marriage, and an elopement to the continent, as a
measure upon which the whole happiness of his life depended, the
proposal seemed not to him half so delightful when stated by the calm,
cold, dictatorial accents of her father. It sounded no longer like the
dictates of ardent passion, throwing all other considerations aside,
but as a distinct surrender of the dignity of his house to one who
seemed to consider their relative situation as the triumph of
Bridgenorth over Peveril. He was mute for a moment, in the vain
attempt to shape his answer so as at once to intimate acquiescence in
what Bridgenorth stated, and a vindication of his own regard for his
parents, and for the honour of his house.

This delay gave rise to suspicion, and Bridgenorth's eye gleamed, and
his lip quivered while he gave vent to it. "Hark ye, young man--deal
openly with me in this matter, if you would not have me think you the
execrable villain who would have seduced an unhappy girl, under
promises which he never designed to fulfil. Let me but suspect this,
and you shall see, on the spot, how far your pride and your pedigree
will preserve you against the just vengeance of a father."

"You do me wrong," said Peveril--"you do me infinite wrong, Major
Bridgenorth, I am incapable of the infamy which you allude to. The
proposal I made to your daughter was as sincere as ever was offered by
man to woman. I only hesitated, because you think it necessary to
examine me so very closely; and to possess yourself of all my purposes
and sentiments, in their fullest extent, without explaining to me the
tendency of your own."

"Your proposal, then, shapes itself thus," said Bridgenorth:--"You are
willing to lead my only child into exile from her native country, to
give her a claim to kindness and protection from your family, which
you know will be disregarded, on condition I consent to bestow her
hand on you, with a fortune sufficient to have matched your ancestors,
when they had most reason to boast of their wealth. This, young man,
seems no equal bargain. And yet," he continued, after a momentary
pause, "so little do I value the goods of this world, that it might
not be utterly beyond thy power to reconcile me to the match which you
have proposed to me, however unequal it may appear."

"Show me but the means which can propitiate your favour, Major
Bridgenorth," said Peveril,--"for I will not doubt that they will be
consistent with my honour and duty--and you shall soon see how eagerly
I will obey your directions, or submit to your conditions."

"They are summed in few words," answered Bridgenorth. "Be an honest
man, and the friend of your country."

"No one has ever doubted," replied Peveril, "that I am both."

"Pardon me," replied the Major; "no one has, as yet, seen you show
yourself either. Interrupt me not--I question not your will to be
both; but you have hitherto neither had the light nor the opportunity
necessary for the display of your principles, or the service of your
country. You have lived when an apathy of mind, succeeding to the
agitations of the Civil War, had made men indifferent to state
affairs, and more willing to cultivate their own ease, than to stand
in the gap when the Lord was pleading with Israel. But we are
Englishmen; and with us such unnatural lethargy cannot continue long.
Already, many of those who most desired the return of Charles Stewart,
regard him as a King whom Heaven, importuned by our entreaties, gave
to us in His anger. His unlimited licence--and example so readily
followed by the young and the gay around him--has disgusted the minds
of all sober and thinking men. I had not now held conference with you
in this intimate fashion, were I not aware that you, Master Julian,
were free from such stain of the times. Heaven, that rendered the
King's course of license fruitful, had denied issue to his bed of
wedlock; and in the gloomy and stern character of his bigoted
successor, we already see what sort of monarch shall succeed to the
crown of England. This is a critical period, at which it necessarily
becomes the duty of all men to step forward, each in his degree, and
aid in rescuing the country which gave us birth." Peveril remembered
the warning which he had received from Alice, and bent his eyes on the
ground, without returning any reply. "How is it, young man," continued
Bridgenorth, after a pause--"so young as thou art, and bound by no
ties of kindred profligacy with the enemies of your country, you can
be already hardened to the claims she may form on you at this crisis?"

"It were easy to answer you generally, Major Bridgenorth," replied
Peveril--"It were easy to say that my country cannot make a claim on
me which I will not promptly answer at the risk of lands and life. But
in dealing thus generally, we should but deceive each other. What is
the nature of this call? By whom is it to be sounded? And what are to
be the results? for I think you have already seen enough of the evils
of civil war, to be wary of again awakening its terrors in a peaceful
and happy country."

"They that are drenched with poisonous narcotics," said the Major,
"must be awakened by their physicians, though it were with the sound
of the trumpet. Better that men should die bravely, with their arms in
their hands, like free-born Englishmen, than that they should slide
into the bloodless but dishonoured grave which slavery opens for its
vassals--But it is not of war that I was about to speak," he added,
assuming a milder tone. "The evils of which England now complains, are
such as can be remedied by the wholesome administration of her own
laws, even in the state in which they are still suffered to exist.
Have these laws not a right to the support of every individual who
lives under them? Have they not a right to yours?"

As he seemed to pause for an answer, Peveril replied, "I have to
learn, Major Bridgenorth, how the laws of England have become so far
weakened as to require such support as mine. When that is made plain
to me, no man will more willingly discharge the duty of a faithful
liegeman to the law as well as the King. But the laws of England are
under the guardianship of upright and learned judges, and of a
gracious monarch."

"And of a House of Commons," interrupted Bridgenorth, "no longer
doting upon restored monarchy, but awakened, as with a peal of
thunder, to the perilous state of our religion, and of our freedom. I
appeal to your own conscience, Julian Peveril, whether this awakening
hath not been in time, since you yourself know, and none better than
you, the secret but rapid strides which Rome has made to erect her
Dagon of idolatry within our Protestant land."

Here Julian seeing, or thinking he saw, the drift of Bridgenorth's
suspicions, hastened to exculpate himself from the thought of
favouring the Roman Catholic religion. "It is true," he said, "I have
been educated in a family where that faith is professed by one
honoured individual, and that I have since travelled in Popish
countries; but even for these very reasons I have seen Popery too
closely to be friendly to its tenets. The bigotry of the laymen--the
persevering arts of the priesthood--the perpetual intrigue for the
extension of the forms without the spirit of religion--the usurpation
of that Church over the consciences of men--and her impious
pretensions to infallibility, are as inconsistent to my mind as they
can seem to yours, with common-sense, rational liberty, freedom of
conscience, and pure religion."

"Spoken like the son of your excellent mother," said Bridgenorth,
grasping his hand; "for whose sake I have consented to endure so much
from your house unrequited, even when the means of requital were in my
own hand."

"It was indeed from the instructions of that excellent parent," said
Peveril, "that I was enabled, in my early youth, to resist and repel
the insidious attacks made upon my religious faith by the Catholic
priests into whose company I was necessarily thrown. Like her, I trust
to live and die in the faith of the reformed Church of England."

"The Church of England!" said Bridgenorth, dropping his young friend's
hand, but presently resuming it--"Alas! that Church, as now
constituted, usurps scarcely less than Rome herself upon men's
consciences and liberties; yet, out of the weakness of this half-
reformed Church, may God be pleased to work out deliverance to
England, and praise to Himself. I must not forget, that one whose
services have been in the cause incalculable, wears the garb of an
English priest, and hath had Episcopal ordination. It is not for us to
challenge the instrument, so that our escape is achieved from the net
of the fowler. Enough, that I find thee not as yet enlightened with
the purer doctrine, but prepared to profit by it when the spark shall
reach thee. Enough, in especial, that I find thee willing to uplift
thy testimony to cry aloud and spare not, against the errors and arts
of the Church of Rome. But remember, what thou hast now said, thou
wilt soon be called upon to justify, in a manner the most solemn--the
most awful."

"What I have said," replied Julian Peveril, "being the unbiassed
sentiments of my heart, shall, upon no proper occasion, want the
support of my open avowal; and I think it strange you should doubt me
so far."

"I doubt thee not, my young friend," said Bridgenorth; "and I trust to
see that name rank high amongst those by whom the prey shall be rent
from the mighty. At present, thy prejudices occupy thy mind like the
strong keeper of the house mentioned in Scripture. But there shall
come a stronger than he, and make forcible entry, displaying on the
battlements that sign of faith in which alone there is found
salvation.--Watch, hope, and pray, that the hour may come."

There was a pause in the conversation, which was first broken by
Peveril. "You have spoken to me in riddles, Major Bridgenorth; and I
have asked you for no explanation. Listen to a caution on my part,
given with the most sincere good-will. Take a hint from me, and
believe it, though it is darkly expressed. You are here--at least are
believed to be here--on an errand dangerous to the Lord of the island.
That danger will be retorted on yourself, if you make Man long your
place of residence. Be warned, and depart in time."

"And leave my daughter to the guardianship of Julian Peveril! Runs not
your counsel so, young man?" answered Bridgenorth. "Trust my safety,
Julian, to my own prudence. I have been accustomed to guide myself
through worse dangers than now environ me. But I thank you for your
caution, which I am willing to believe was at least partly
disinterested."

"We do not, then, part in anger?" said Peveril.

"Not in anger, my son," said Bridgenorth, "but in love and strong
affection. For my daughter, thou must forbear every thought of seeing
her, save through me. I accept not thy suit, neither do I reject it;
only this I intimate to you, that he who would be my son, must first
show himself the true and loving child of his oppressed and deluded
country. Farewell; do not answer me now, thou art yet in the gall of
bitterness, and it may be that strife (which I desire not) should fall
between us. Thou shalt hear of me sooner than thou thinkest for."

He shook Peveril heartily by the hand, and again bid him farewell,
leaving him under the confused and mingled impression of pleasure,
doubt, and wonder. Not a little surprised to find himself so far in
the good graces of Alice's father, that his suit was even favoured
with a sort of negative encouragement, he could not help suspecting,
as well from the language of the daughter as of the father, that
Bridgenorth was desirous, as the price of his favour, that he should
adopt some line of conduct inconsistent with the principles in which
he had been educated.

"You need not fear, Alice," he said in his heart; "not even your hand
would I purchase by aught which resembled unworthy or truckling
compliance with tenets which my heart disowns; and well I know, were I
mean enough to do so, even the authority of thy father were
insufficient to compel thee to the ratification of so mean a bargain.
But let me hope better things. Bridgenorth, though strong-minded and
sagacious, is haunted by the fears of Popery, which are the bugbears
of his sect. My residence in the family of the Countess of Derby is
more than enough to inspire him with suspicions of my faith, from
which, thank Heaven, I can vindicate myself with truth and a good
conscience."

So thinking, he again adjusted the girths of his palfrey, replaced the
bit which he had slipped out of its mouth, that it might feed at
liberty, and mounting, pursued his way back to the Castle of Holm-
Peel, where he could not help fearing that something extraordinary
might have happened in his absence.

But the old pile soon rose before him, serene, and sternly still, amid
the sleeping ocean. The banner, which indicated that the Lord of Man
held residence within its ruinous precincts, hung motionless by the
ensign-staff. The sentinels walked to and fro on their posts, and
hummed or whistled their Manx airs. Leaving his faithful companion,
Fairy, in the village as before, Julian entered the Castle, and found
all within in the same state of quietness and good order which
external appearances had announced.



                            CHAPTER XVIII

                 Now rede me, rede me, brother dear,
                   Throughout Merry England,
                 Where will I find a messenger,
                   Betwixt us two to send.
                                       --BALLAD OF KING ESTMERE.

Julian's first encounter, after re-entering the Castle, was with its
young Lord, who received him with his usual kindness and lightness of
humour.

"Thrice welcome, Sir Knight of Dames," said the Earl; "here you rove
gallantly, and at free will, through our dominions, fulfilling of
appointments, and achieving amorous adventures; while we are condemned
to sit in our royal halls, as dull and as immovable as if our Majesty
was carved on the stern of some Manx smuggling dogger, and christened
the King Arthur of Ramsey."

"Nay, in that case you would take the sea," said Julian, "and so enjoy
travel and adventure enough."

"Oh, but suppose me wind-bound, or detained in harbour by a revenue
pink, or ashore, if you like it, and lying high and dry upon the sand.
Imagine the royal image in the dullest of all predicaments, and you
have not equalled mine."

"I am happy to hear, at least, that you have had no disagreeable
employment," said Julian; "the morning's alarm has blown over, I
suppose?"

"In faith it has, Julian; and our close inquiries cannot find any
cause for the apprehended insurrection. That Bridgenorth is in the
island seems certain; but private affairs of consequence are alleged
as the cause of his visit; and I am not desirous to have him arrested
unless I could prove some malpractices against him and his companions.
In fact, it would seem we had taken the alarm too soon. My mother
speaks of consulting you on the subject, Julian; and I will not
anticipate her solemn communication. It will be partly apologetical, I
suppose; for we begin to think our retreat rather unroyal, and that,
like the wicked, we have fled when no man pursued. This idea afflicts
my mother, who, as a Queen-Dowager, a Queen-Regent, a heroine, and a
woman in general, would be extremely mortified to think that her
precipitate retreat hither had exposed her to the ridicule of the
islanders; and she is disconcerted and out of humour accordingly. In
the meanwhile, my sole amusement has been the grimaces and fantastic
gestures of that ape Fenella, who is more out of humour, and more
absurd, in consequence, than you ever saw her. Morris says, it is
because you pushed her downstairs, Julian--how is that?"

"Nay, Morris has misreported me," answered Julian; "I did but lift her
/up/ stairs to be rid of her importunity; for she chose, in her way,
to contest my going abroad in such an obstinate manner, that I had no
other mode of getting rid of her."

"She must have supposed your departure, at a moment so critical, was
dangerous to the state of our garrison," answered the Earl; "it shows
how dearly she esteems my mother's safety, how highly she rates your
prowess. But, thank Heaven, there sounds the dinner-bell. I would the
philosophers, who find a sin and waste of time in good cheer, could
devise us any pastime half so agreeable."

The meal which the young Earl had thus longed for, as a means of
consuming a portion of the time which hung heavy on his hands, was
soon over; as soon, at least, as the habitual and stately formality of
the Countess's household permitted. She herself, accompanied by her
gentlewomen and attendants, retired early after the tables were drawn;
and the young gentlemen were left to their own company. Wine had, for
the moment, no charms for either; for the Earl was out of spirits from
ennui, and impatience of his monotonous and solitary course of life;
and the events of the day had given Peveril too much matter for
reflection, to permit his starting amusing or interesting topics of
conversation. After having passed the flask in silence betwixt them
once or twice, they withdrew each to a separate embrasure of the
windows of the dining apartment, which, such was the extreme thickness
of the wall, were deep enough to afford a solitary recess, separated,
as it were, from the chamber itself. In one of these sat the Earl of
Derby, busied in looking over some of the new publications which had
been forwarded from London; and at intervals confessing how little
power or interest these had for him, by yawning fearfully as he looked
out on the solitary expanse of waters, which, save from the flight of
a flock of sea-gulls, or a solitary cormorant, offered so little of
variety to engage his attention.

Peveril, on his part, held a pamphlet also in his hand, without
giving, or affecting to give it, even his occasional attention. His
whole soul turned upon the interview which he had had that day with
Alice Bridgenorth, and with her father; while he in vain endeavoured
to form any hypothesis which could explain to him why the daughter,
to whom he had no reason to think himself indifferent, should have
been so suddenly desirous of their eternal separation, while her
father, whose opposition he so much dreaded, seemed to be at least
tolerant of his addresses. He could only suppose, in explanation, that
Major Bridgenorth had some plan in prospect, which it was in his own
power to farther or to impede; while, from the demeanour, and indeed
the language, of Alice, he had but too much reason to apprehend that
her father's favour could only be conciliated by something, on his own
part, approaching to dereliction of principle. But by no conjecture
which he could form, could he make the least guess concerning the
nature of that compliance, of which Bridgenorth seemed desirous. He
could not imagine, notwithstanding Alice had spoken of treachery, that
her father would dare to propose to him uniting in any plan by which
the safety of the Countess, or the security of her little kingdom of
Man, was to be endangered. This carried such indelible disgrace in the
front, that he could not suppose the scheme proposed to him by any who
was not prepared to defend with his sword, upon the spot, so flagrant
an insult offered to his honour. And such a proceeding was totally
inconsistent with the conduct of Major Bridgenorth in every other
respect, besides his being too calm and cold-blooded to permit of his
putting a mortal affront upon the son of his old neighbour, to whose
mother he confessed so much of obligation.

While Peveril in vain endeavoured to extract something like a probable
theory out of the hints thrown out by the father and by the daughter--
not without the additional and lover-like labour of endeavouring to
reconcile his passion to his honour and conscience--he felt something
gently pull him by the cloak. He unclasped his arms, which, in
meditation, had been folded on his bosom; and withdrawing his eyes
from the vacant prospect of sea-coast and sea which they perused,
without much consciousness upon what they rested, he beheld beside him
the little dumb maiden, the elfin Fenella. She was seated on a low
cushion or stool, with which she had nestled close to Peveril's side,
and had remained there for a short space of time, expecting, no doubt,
he would become conscious of her presence; until, tired of remaining
unnoticed, she at length solicited his attention in the manner which
we have described. Startled out of his reverie by this intimation of
her presence, he looked down, and could not, without interest, behold
this singular and helpless being.

Her hair was unloosened, and streamed over her shoulders in such
length, that much of it lay upon the ground, and in such quantity,
that it formed a dark veil, or shadow, not only around her face, but
over her whole slender and minute form. From the profusion of her
tresses looked forth her small and dark, but well-formed features,
together with the large and brilliant black eyes; and her whole
countenance was composed into the imploring look of one who is
doubtful of the reception she is about to meet with from a valued
friend, while she confesses a fault, pleads an apology, or solicits a
reconciliation. In short, the whole face was so much alive with
expression, that Julian, though her aspect was so familiar to him,
could hardly persuade himself but that her countenance was entirely
new. The wild, fantastic, elvish vivacity of the features, seemed
totally vanished, and had given place to a sorrowful, tender, and
pathetic cast of countenance, aided by the expression of the large
dark eyes, which, as they were turned up towards Julian, glistened
with moisture, that, nevertheless, did not overflow the eyelids.

Conceiving that her unwonted manner arose from a recollection of the
dispute which had taken place betwixt them in the morning, Peveril was
anxious to restore the little maiden's gaiety, by making her sensible
that there dwelt on his mind no unpleasing recollection of their
quarrel. He smiled kindly, and shook her hand in one of his; while,
with the familiarity of one who had known her from childhood, he
stroked down her long dark tresses with the other. She stooped her
head, as if ashamed, and, at the same time, gratified with his
caresses--and he was thus induced to continue them, until, under the
veil of her rich and abundant locks, he suddenly felt his other hand,
which she still held in hers, slightly touched with her lips, and, at
the same time, moistened with a tear.

At once, and for the first time in his life, the danger of being
misinterpreted in his familiarity with a creature to whom the usual
modes of explanation were a blank, occurred to Julian's mind; and,
hastily withdrawing his hand, and changing his posture, he asked her,
by a sign which custom had rendered familiar, whether she brought any
message to him from the Countess. She started up, and arranged herself
in her seat with the rapidity of lightning; and, at the same moment,
with one turn of her hand, braided her length of locks into a natural
head-dress of the most beautiful kind. There was, indeed, when she
looked up, a blush still visible on her dark features; but their
melancholy and languid expression had given place to that of wild and
restless vivacity, which was most common to them. Her eyes gleamed
with more than their wonted fire, and her glances were more piercingly
wild and unsettled than usual. To Julian's inquiry, she answered, by
laying her hand on her heart--a motion by which she always indicated
the Countess--and rising, and taking the direction of her apartment,
she made a sign to Julian to follow her.

The distance was not great betwixt the dining apartment and that to
which Peveril now followed his mute guide; yet, in going thither, he
had time enough to suffer cruelly from the sudden suspicion, that this
unhappy girl had misinterpreted the uniform kindness with which he had
treated her, and hence come to regard him with feelings more tender
than those which belong to friendship. The misery which such a passion
was likely to occasion to a creature in her helpless situation, and
actuated by such lively feelings, was great enough to make him refuse
credit to the suspicion which pressed itself upon his mind; while, at
the same time, he formed the internal resolution so to conduct himself
towards Fenella, as to check such misplaced sentiments, if indeed she
unhappily entertained them towards him.

When they reached the Countess's apartment, they found her with
writing implements, and many sealed letters before her. She received
Julian with her usual kindness; and having caused him to be seated,
beckoned to the mute to resume her needle. In an instant Fenella was
seated at an embroidering-frame; where, but for the movement of her
dexterous fingers, she might have seemed a statue, so little did she
move from her work either head or eye. As her infirmity rendered her
presence no bar to the most confidential conversation, the Countess
proceeded to address Peveril as if they had been literally alone
together.

"Julian," she said, "I am not now about to complain to you of the
sentiments and conduct of Derby. He is your friend--he is my son. He
has kindness of heart and vivacity of talent; and yet----"

"Dearest lady," said Peveril, "why will you distress yourself with
fixing your eye on deficiencies which arise rather from a change of
times and manners, than any degeneracy of my noble friend? Let him be
once engaged in his duty, whether in peace or war, and let me pay the
penalty if he acquits not himself becoming his high station."

"Ay," replied the Countess; "but when will the call of duty prove
superior to that of the most idle or trivial indulgence which can
serve to drive over the lazy hour? His father was of another mould;
and how often was it my lot to entreat that he would spare, from the
rigid discharge of those duties which his high station imposed, the
relaxation absolutely necessary to recruit his health and his
spirits!"

"Still, my dearest lady," said Peveril, "you must allow, that the
duties to which the times summoned your late honoured lord, were of a
more stirring, as well as a more peremptory cast, than those which
await your son."

"I know not that," said the Countess. "The wheel appears to be again
revolving; and the present period is not unlikely to bring back such
scenes as my young years witnessed.--Well, be it so; they will not
find Charlotte de la Tremouille broken in spirit, though depressed by
years. It was even on this subject I would speak with you, my young
friend. Since our first early acquaintance--when I saw your gallant
behaviour as I issued forth to your childish eye, like an apparition,
from my place of concealment in your father's castle--it has pleased
me to think you a true son of Stanley and Peveril. I trust your
nurture in this family has been ever suited to the esteem in which I
hold you.--Nay, I desire no thanks.--I have to require of you, in
return, a piece of service, not perhaps entirely safe to yourself, but
which, as times are circumstanced, no person is so well able to render
to my house."

"You have been ever my good and noble lady," answered Peveril, "as
well as my kind, and I may say maternal, protectress. You have a right
to command the blood of Stanley in the veins of every one--You have a
thousand rights to command it in mine."[*]

[*] The reader cannot have forgotten that the Earl of Derby was head
    of the great house of Stanley.

"My advices from England," said the Countess, "resemble more the
dreams of a sick man, than the regular information which I might have
expected from such correspondents as mine;--their expressions are like
those of men who walk in their sleep, and speak by snatches of what
passes in their dreams. It is said, a plot, real or fictitious, has
been detected among the Catholics, which has spread far wider and more
uncontrollable terror than that of the fifth of November. Its outlines
seem utterly incredible, and are only supported by the evidence of
wretches, the meanest and most worthless in the creation; yet it is
received by the credulous people of England with the most undoubting
belief."

"This is a singular delusion, to rise without some real ground,"
answered Julian.

"I am no bigot, cousin, though a Catholic," replied the Countess. "I
have long feared that the well-meant zeal of our priests for
increasing converts, would draw on them the suspicion of the English
nation. These efforts have been renewed with double energy since the
Duke of York conformed to the Catholic faith; and the same event has
doubled the hate and jealousy of the Protestants. So far, I fear,
there may be just cause of suspicion, that the Duke is a better
Catholic than an Englishman, and that bigotry has involved him, as
avarice, or the needy greed of a prodigal, has engaged his brother, in
relations with France, whereof England may have too much reason to
complain. But the gross, thick, and palpable fabrications of
conspiracy and murder, blood and fire--the imaginary armies--the
intended massacres--form a collection of falsehoods, that one would
have thought indigestible, even by the coarse appetite of the vulgar
for the marvellous and horrible; but which are, nevertheless, received
as truth by both Houses of Parliament, and questioned by no one who is
desirous to escape the odious appellation of friend to the bloody
Papists, and favourer of their infernal schemes of cruelty."

"But what say those who are most likely to be affected by these wild
reports?" said Julian. "What say the English Catholics themselves?--a
numerous and wealthy body, comprising so many noble names?"

"Their hearts are dead within them," said the Countess. "They are like
sheep penned up in the shambles, that the butcher may take his choice
among them. In the obscure and brief communications which I have had
by a secure hand, they do but anticipate their own utter ruin, and
ours--so general is the depression, so universal the despair."

"But the King," said Peveril,--"the King and the Protestant Royalists
--what say they to this growing tempest?"

"Charles," replied the Countess, "with his usual selfish prudence,
truckles to the storm; and will let cord and axe do their work on the
most innocent men in his dominions, rather than lose an hour of
pleasure in attempting their rescue. And, for the Royalists, either
they have caught the general delirium which has seized on Protestants
in general, or they stand aloof and neutral, afraid to show any
interest in the unhappy Catholics, lest they be judged altogether such
as themselves, and abettors of the fearful conspiracy in which they
are alleged to be engaged. In fact, I cannot blame them. It is hard to
expect that mere compassion for a persecuted sect--or, what is yet
more rare, an abstract love of justice--should be powerful enough to
engage men to expose themselves to the awakened fury of a whole
people; for, in the present state of general agitation, whoever
disbelieves the least tittle of the enormous improbabilities which
have been accumulated by these wretched reformers, is instantly hunted
down, as one who would smother the discovery of the Plot. It is indeed
an awful tempest; and, remote as we lie from its sphere, we must
expect soon to feel its effects."

"Lord Derby already told me something of this," said Julian; "and that
there were agents in this island whose object was to excite
insurrection."

"Yes," answered the Countess, and her eye flashed fire as she spoke;
"and had my advice been listened to, they had been apprehended in the
very fact; and so dealt with, as to be a warning to all others how
they sought this independent principality on such an errand. But my
son, who is generally so culpably negligent of his own affairs, was
pleased to assume the management of them upon this crisis."

"I am happy to learn, madam," answered Peveril, "that the measures of
precaution which my kinsman has adopted, have had the complete effect
of disconcerting the conspiracy."

"For the present, Julian; but they should have been such as would have
made the boldest tremble to think of such infringement of our rights
in future. But Derby's present plan is fraught with greater danger;
and yet there is something in it of gallantry, which has my sympathy."

"What is it, madam?" inquired Julian anxiously; "and in what can I aid
it, or avert its dangers?"

"He purposes," said the Countess, "instantly to set forth for London.
He is, he says, not merely the feudal chief of a small island, but one
of the noble Peers of England, who must not remain in the security of
an obscure and distant castle, when his name, or that of his mother,
is slandered before his Prince and people. He will take his place, he
says, in the House of Lords, and publicly demand justice for the
insult thrown on his house, by perjured and interested witnesses."

"It is a generous resolution, and worthy of my friend," said Julian
Peveril. "I will go with him and share his fate, be it what it may."

"Alas, foolish boy!" answered the Countess, "as well may you ask a
hungry lion to feel compassion, as a prejudiced and furious people to
do justice. They are like the madman at the height of frenzy, who
murders without compunction his best and dearest friend; and only
wonders and wails over his own cruelty, when he is recovered from his
delirium."

"Pardon me, dearest lady," said Julian, "this cannot be. The noble and
generous people of England cannot be thus strangely misled. Whatever
prepossessions may be current among the more vulgar, the House of
Legislature cannot be deeply infected by them--they will remember
their own dignity."

"Alas! cousin," answered the Countess, "when did Englishmen, even of
the highest degree, remember anything, when hurried away by the
violence of party feeling? Even those who have too much sense to
believe in the incredible fictions which gull the multitude, will
beware how they expose them, if their own political party can gain a
momentary advantage by their being accredited. It is amongst such,
too, that your kinsman has found friends and associates. Neglecting
the old friends of his house, as too grave and formal companions for
the humour of the times, his intercourse has been with the versatile
Shaftesbury--the mercurial Buckingham--men who would not hesitate to
sacrifice to the popular Moloch of the day, whatsoever or whomsoever,
whose ruin could propitiate the deity.--Forgive a mother's tears,
kinsman; but I see the scaffold at Bolton again erected. If Derby goes
to London while these bloodhounds are in full cry, obnoxious as he is,
and I have made him by my religious faith, and my conduct in this
island, he dies his father's death. And yet upon what other course to
resolve!----"

"Let me go to London, madam," said Peveril, much moved by the distress
of his patroness; "your ladyship was wont to rely something on my
judgment. I will act for the best--will communicate with those whom
you point out to me, and only with them; and I trust soon to send you
information that this delusion, however strong it may now be, is in
the course of passing away; at the worst, I can apprise you of the
danger, should it menace the Earl or yourself; and may be able also to
point out the means by which it may be eluded."

The Countess listened with a countenance in which the anxiety of
maternal affection, which prompted her to embrace Peveril's generous
offer, struggled with her native disinterested and generous
disposition. "Think what you ask of me, Julian," she replied with a
sigh. "Would you have me expose the life of my friend's son to those
perils to which I refuse my own?--No, never!"

"Nay, but madam," replied Julian, "I do not run the same risk--my
person is not known in London--my situation, though not obscure in my
own country, is too little known to be noticed in that huge assemblage
of all that is noble and wealthy. No whisper, I presume, however
indirect, has connected my name with the alleged conspiracy. I am a
Protestant, above all; and can be accused of no intercourse, direct or
indirect, with the Church of Rome. My connections also lie amongst
those, who, if they do not, or cannot, befriend me, cannot, at least,
be dangerous to me. In a word, I run no danger where the Earl might
incur great peril."

"Alas!" said the Countess of Derby, "all this generous reasoning may
be true; but it could only be listened to by a widowed mother. Selfish
as I am, I cannot but reflect that my kinswoman has, in all events,
the support of an affectionate husband--such is the interested
reasoning to which we are not ashamed to subject our better feelings."

"Do not call it so, madam," answered Peveril; "think of me as the
younger brother of my kinsman. You have ever done by me the duties of
a mother; and have a right to my filial service, were it at a risk ten
times greater than a journey to London, to inquire into the temper of
the times. I will instantly go and announce my departure to the Earl."

"Stay, Julian," said the Countess; "if you must make this journey in
our behalf,--and, alas! I have not generosity enough to refuse your
noble proffer,--you must go alone, and without communication with
Derby. I know him well; his lightness of mind is free from selfish
baseness; and for the world, would he not suffer you to leave Man
without his company. And if he went with you, your noble and
disinterested kindness would be of no avail--you would but share his
ruin, as the swimmer who attempts to save a drowning man is involved
in his fate, if he permit the sufferer to grapple with him."

"It shall be as you please, madam," said Peveril. "I am ready to
depart upon half-an-hour's notice."

"This night, then," said the Countess, after a moment's pause--"this
night I will arrange the most secret means of carrying your generous
project into effect; for I would not excite that prejudice against
you, which will instantly arise, were it known you had so lately left
this island, and its Popish lady. You will do well, perhaps, to use a
feigned name in London."

"Pardon me, madam," said Julian; "I will do nothing that can draw on
me unnecessary attention; but to bear a feigned name, or affect any
disguise beyond living with extreme privacy, would, I think, be unwise
as well as unworthy; and what, if challenged, I might find some
difficulty in assigning a reason for, consistent with perfect fairness
of intentions."

"I believe you are right," answered the Countess, after a moment's
consideration; and then added, "You propose, doubtless, to pass
through Derbyshire, and visit Martindale Castle?"

"I should wish it, madam, certainly," replied Peveril, "did time
permit, and circumstances render it advisable."

"Of that," said the Countess, "you must yourself judge. Despatch is,
doubtless, desirable; on the other hand, arriving from your own
family-seat, you will be less an object of doubt and suspicion, than
if you posted up from hence, without even visiting your parents. You
must be guided in this,--in all,--by your own prudence. Go, my dearest
son--for to me you should be dear as a son--go, and prepare for your
journey. I will get ready some despatches, and a supply of money--Nay,
do not object. Am I not your mother; and are you not discharging a
son's duty? Dispute not my right of defraying your expenses. Nor is
this all; for, as I must trust your zeal and prudence to act in our
behalf when occasion shall demand, I will furnish you with effectual
recommendations to our friends and kindred, entreating and enjoining
them to render whatever aid you may require, either for your own
protection, or the advancement of what you may propose in our favour."

Peveril made no farther opposition to an arrangement, which in truth
the moderate state of his own finances rendered almost indispensable,
unless with his father's assistance; and the Countess put into his
hand bills of exchange to the amount of two hundred pounds, upon a
merchant in the city. She then dismissed Julian for the space of an
hour; after which, she said, she must again require his presence.

The preparations for his journey were not of a nature to divert the
thoughts which speedily pressed on him. He found that half-an-hour's
conversation had once more completely changed his immediate prospects
and plans for the future. He had offered to the Countess of Derby a
service, which her uniform kindness had well deserved at his hand;
but, by her accepting it, he was upon the point of being separated
from Alice Bridgenorth, at a time when she was become dearer to him
than ever, by her avowal of mutual passion. Her image rose before him,
such as he had that day pressed her to his bosom--her voice was in his
ear, and seemed to ask whether he could desert her in the crisis which
everything seemed to announce as impending. But Julian Peveril, his
youth considered, was strict in judging his duty, and severely
resolved in executing it. He trusted not his imagination to pursue the
vision which presented itself; but resolutely seizing his pen, wrote
to Alice the following letter, explaining his situation, as far as
justice to the Countess permitted him to do so:--


 "I leave you, dearest Alice," thus ran the letter.--"I leave you;
  and though, in doing so, I but obey the command you have laid on
  me, yet I can claim little merit for my compliance, since, without
  additional and most forcible reasons in aid of your orders, I fear
  I should have been unable to comply with them. But family affairs
  of importance compel me to absent myself from this island, for, I
  fear, more than one week. My thoughts, hopes, and wishes will be
  on the moment that shall restore me to the Black Fort, and its
  lovely valley. Let me hope that yours will sometimes rest on the
  lonely exile, whom nothing could render such, but the command of
  honour and duty. Do not fear that I mean to involve you in a
  private correspondence, and let not your father fear it. I could
  not love you so much, but for the openness and candour of your
  nature; and I would not that you concealed from Major Bridgenorth
  one syllable of what I now avow. Respecting other matters, he
  himself cannot desire the welfare of our common country with more
  zeal than I do. Differences may occur concerning the mode in which
  that is to be obtained; but, in the principle, I am convinced
  there can be only one mind between us; nor can I refuse to listen
  to his experience and wisdom, even where they may ultimately fail
  to convince me. Farewell--Alice, farewell! Much might be added to
  that melancholy word, but nothing that could express the
  bitterness with which it is written. Yet I could transcribe it
  again and again, rather than conclude the last communication which
  I can have with you for some time. My sole comfort is, that my
  stay will scarce be so long as to permit you to forget one who
  never can forget you."


He held the paper in his hand for a minute after he had folded, but
before he had sealed it, while he hurriedly debated in his own mind
whether he had not expressed himself towards Major Bridgenorth in so
conciliating a manner as might excite hopes of proselytism, which his
conscience told him he could not realise with honour. Yet, on the
other hand, he had no right, from what Bridgenorth had said, to
conclude that their principles were diametrically irreconcilable; for
though the son of a high Cavalier, and educated in the family of the
Countess of Derby, he was himself, upon principle, an enemy of
prerogative, and a friend to the liberty of the subject. And with such
considerations, he silenced all internal objections on the point of
honour; although his conscience secretly whispered that these
conciliatory expressions towards the father were chiefly dictated by
the fear, that during his absence Major Bridgenorth might be tempted
to change the residence of his daughter, and perhaps to convey her
altogether out of his reach.

Having sealed his letter, Julian called his servant, and directed him
to carry it under cover of one addressed to Mrs. Debbitch, to a house
in the town of Rushin, where packets and messages intended for the
family at Black Fort were usually deposited; and for that purpose to
take horse immediately. He thus got rid of an attendant, who might
have been in some degree a spy on his motions. He then exchanged the
dress he usually wore for one more suited to travelling; and, having
put a change or two of linen into a small cloak-bag, selected as arms
a strong double-edged sword and an excellent pair of pistols, which
last he carefully loaded with double bullets. Thus appointed, and with
twenty pieces in his purse, and the bills we have mentioned secured in
a private pocket-book, he was in readiness to depart as soon as he
should receive the Countess's commands.

The buoyant spirit of youth and hope, which had, for a moment, been
chilled by the painful and dubious circumstances in which he was
placed, as well as the deprivation which he was about to undergo, now
revived in full vigour. Fancy, turning from more painful
anticipations, suggested to him that he was now entering upon life, at
a crisis when resolution and talents were almost certain to make the
fortune of their possessor. How could he make a more honourable entry
on the bustling scene, than sent by, and acting in behalf of, one of
the noblest houses in England; and should he perform what his charge
might render incumbent with the resolution and the prudence necessary
to secure success, how many occurrences might take place to render his
mediation necessary to Bridgenorth; and thus enable him, on the most
equal and honourable terms, to establish a claim to his gratitude and
to his daughter's hand.

Whilst he was dwelling on such pleasing, though imaginary prospects,
he could not help exclaiming aloud--"Yes, Alice, I will win thee
nobly!" The words had scarce escaped his lips, when he heard at the
door of his apartment, which the servant had left ajar, a sound like a
deep sigh, which was instantly succeeded by a gentle tap--"Come in,"
replied Julian, somewhat ashamed of his exclamation, and not a little
afraid that it had been caught up by some eavesdropper--"Come in," he
again repeated; but his command was not obeyed; on the contrary, the
knock was repeated somewhat louder. He opened the door, and Fenella
stood before him.

With eyes that seemed red with recent tears, and with a look of the
deepest dejection, the little mute, first touching her bosom, and
beckoning with her finger, made to him the usual sign that the
Countess desired to see him--then turned, as if to usher him to her
apartment. As he followed her through the long gloomy vaulted passages
which afforded communication betwixt the various apartments of the
castle, he could not but observe that her usual light trip was
exchanged for a tardy and mournful step, which she accompanied with
low inarticulate moaning (which she was probably the less able to
suppress, because she could not judge how far it was audible), and
also with wringing of the hands, and other marks of extreme
affliction.

At this moment a thought came across Peveril's mind, which, in spite
of his better reason, made him shudder involuntarily. As a Peaksman,
and a long resident in the Isle of Man, he was well acquainted with
many a superstitious legend, and particularly with a belief, which
attached to the powerful family of the Stanleys, for their peculiar
demon, a Banshie, or female spirit, who was wont to shriek "foreboding
evil times;" and who was generally seen weeping and bemoaning herself
before the death of any person of distinction belonging to the family.
For an instant, Julian could scarcely divest himself of the belief
that the wailing, jibbering form, which glided before him, with a lamp
in her hand, was a genius of his mother's race, come to announce to
him as an analogous reflection, that if the suspicion which had
crossed his mind concerning Fenella was a just one, her ill-fated
attachment to him, like that of the prophetic spirit to his family,
could bode nothing but disaster, and lamentation, and woe.



                             CHAPTER XIX

           Now, hoist the anchor, mates--and let the sails
           Give their broad bosom to the buxom wind,
           Like lass that woos a lover.
                                               --ANONYMOUS.

The presence of the Countess dispelled the superstitious feeling,
which, for an instant, had encroached on Julian's imagination, and
compelled him to give attention to the matters of ordinary life. "Here
are your credentials," she said, giving him a small packet, carefully
packed up in a sealskin cover; "you had better not open them till you
come to London. You must not be surprised to find that there are one
or two addressed to men of my own persuasion. These, for all our
sakes, you will observe caution in delivering."

"I go your messenger, madam," said Peveril; "and whatever you desire
me to charge myself with, of that I undertake the care. Yet allow me
to doubt whether an intercourse with Catholics will at this moment
forward the purposes of my mission."

"You have caught the general suspicion of this wicked sect already,"
said the Countess, smiling, "and are the fitter to go amongst
Englishmen in their present mood. But, my cautious friend, these
letters are so addressed, and the persons to whom they are addressed
so disguised, that you will run no danger in conversing with them.
Without their aid, indeed, you will not be able to obtain the accurate
information you go in search of. None can tell so exactly how the wind
sets, as the pilot whose vessel is exposed to the storm. Besides,
though you Protestants deny our priesthood the harmlessness of the
dove, you are ready enough to allow us a full share of the wisdom of
the serpent; in plain terms, their means of information are extensive,
and they are not deficient in the power of applying it. I therefore
wish you to have the benefit of their intelligence and advice, if
possible."

"Whatever you impose upon me as a part of my duty, madam, rely on its
being discharged punctually," answered Peveril. "And, now, as there is
little use in deferring the execution of a purpose when once fixed,
let me know your ladyship's wishes concerning my departure."

"It must be sudden and secret," said the Countess; "the island is full
of spies; and I would not wish that any of them should have notice
that an envoy of mine was about to leave Man for London. Can you be
ready to go on board to-morrow?"

"To-night--this instant if you will," said Julian,--"my little
preparations are complete."

"Be ready, then, in your chamber, at two hours after midnight. I will
send one to summon you, for our secret must be communicated, for the
present, to as few as possible. A foreign sloop is engaged to carry
you over; then make the best of your way to London, by Martindale
Castle, or otherwise, as you find most advisable. When it is necessary
to announce your absence, I will say you are gone to see your parents.
But stay--your journey will be on horseback, of course, from
Whitehaven. You have bills of exchange, it is true; but are you
provided with ready money to furnish yourself with a good horse?"

"I am sufficiently rich, madam," answered Julian; "and good nags are
plenty in Cumberland. There are those among them who know how to come
by them good and cheap."

"Trust not to that," said the Countess. "Here is what will purchase
for you the best horse on the Borders.--Can you be simple enough to
refuse it?" she added, as she pressed on him a heavy purse, which he
saw himself obliged to accept.

"A good horse, Julian," continued the Countess, "and a good sword,
next to a good heart and head, are the accomplishments of a cavalier."

"I kiss your hands, then, madam," said Peveril, "and humbly beg you to
believe, that whatever may fail in my present undertaking, my purpose
to serve you, my noble kinswoman and benefactress, can at least never
swerve or falter."

"I know it, my son, I know it; and may God forgive me if my anxiety
for your friend has sent you on dangers which should have been his!
Go--go--May saints and angels bless you! Fenella shall acquaint him
that you sup in your own apartment. So indeed will I; for to-night I
should be unable to face my son's looks. Little will he thank me for
sending you on his errand; and there will be many to ask, whether it
was like the Lady of Latham to trust her friend's son on the danger
which should have been braved by her own. But oh! Julian, I am now a
forlorn widow, whom sorrow has made selfish!"

"Tush, madam," answered Peveril; "it is more unlike the Lady of Latham
to anticipate dangers which may not exist at all, and to which, if
they do indeed occur, I am less obnoxious than my noble kinsman.
Farewell!--All blessings attend you, madam. Commend me to Derby, and
make him my excuses. I shall expect a summons at two hours after
midnight."

They took an affectionate leave of each other; the more affectionate,
indeed, on the part of the Countess, that she could not entirely
reconcile her generous mind to exposing Peveril to danger on her son's
behalf; and Julian betook himself to his solitary apartment.

His servant soon afterwards brought him wine and refreshments; to
which, notwithstanding the various matters he had to occupy his mind,
he contrived to do reasonable justice. But when this needful
occupation was finished, his thoughts began to stream in upon him like
a troubled tide--at once recalling the past, and anticipating the
future. It was in vain that he wrapped himself in his riding cloak,
and, lying down on his bed, endeavoured to compose himself to sleep.
The uncertainty of the prospect before him--the doubt how Bridgenorth
might dispose of his daughter during his absence--the fear that the
Major himself might fall into the power of the vindictive Countess,
besides a numerous train of vague and half-formed apprehensions,
agitated his blood, and rendered slumber impossible. Alternately to
recline in the old oaken easy-chair, and listen to the dashing of the
waves under the windows, mingled, as the sound was, with the scream of
the sea-birds; or traverse the apartment with long and slow steps,
pausing occasionally to look out on the sea, slumbering under the
influence of a full moon, which tipped each wave with silver--such
were the only pastimes he could invent, until midnight had passed for
one hour; the next was wasted in anxious expectation of the summons of
departure.

At length it arrived--a tap at his door was followed by a low murmur,
which made him suspect that the Countess had again employed her mute
attendant as the most secure minister of her pleasure on this
occasion. He felt something like impropriety in this selection; and it
was with a feeling of impatience alien to the natural generosity of
his temper, that, when he opened the door, he beheld the dumb maiden
standing before him. The lamp which he held in his hand showed his
features distinctly, and probably made Fenella aware of the expression
which animated them. She cast her large dark eyes mournfully on the
ground; and, without again looking him in the face, made him a signal
to follow her. He delayed no longer than was necessary to secure his
pistols in his belt, wrap his cloak closer around him, and take his
small portmanteau under his arm. Thus accoutred, he followed her out
of the Keep, or inhabited part of the Castle, by a series of obscure
passages leading to a postern gate, which she unlocked with a key,
selected from a bundle which she carried at her girdle.

They now stood in the castle-yard, in the open moonlight, which
glimmered white and ghastly on the variety of strange and ruinous
objects to which we have formerly alluded, and which gave the scene
rather the appearance of some ancient cemetery, than of the interior
of a fortification. The round and elevated tower--the ancient mount,
with its quadrangular sides facing the ruinous edifices which once
boasted the name of Cathedral--seemed of yet more antique and
anomalous form, when seen by the pale light which now displayed them.
To one of these churches Fenella took the direct course, and was
followed by Julian; although he at once divined, and was superstitious
enough to dislike, the path which she was about to adopt. It was by a
secret passage through this church that in former times the guard-room
of the garrison, situated at the lower and external defences,
communicated with the Keep of the Castle; and through this passage
were the keys of the Castle every night carried to the Governor's
apartment, so soon as the gates were locked, and the watch set. The
custom was given up in James the First's time, and the passage
abandoned, on account of the well-known legend of the /Mauthe Dog/--a
fiend, or demon, in the shape of a large, shaggy, black mastiff, by
which the church was said to be haunted. It was devoutly believed,
that in former times this spectre became so familiar with mankind, as
to appear nightly in the guard-room, issuing from the passage which we
have mentioned at night, and retiring to it at daybreak. The soldiers
became partly familiarised to its presence; yet not so much so as to
use any licence of language while the apparition was visible; until
one fellow, rendered daring by intoxication, swore he would know
whether it was dog or devil, and, with his drawn sword, followed the
spectre when it retreated by the usual passage. The man returned in a
few minutes, sobered by terror, his mouth gaping, and his hair
standing on end, under which horror he died; but, unhappily for the
lovers of the marvellous, altogether unable to disclose the horrors
which he had seen. Under the evil repute arising from this tale of
wonder, the guard-room was abandoned, and a new one constructed. In
like manner, the guards after that period held another and more
circuitous communication with the Governor or Seneschal of the Castle;
and that which lay through the ruinous church was entirely abandoned.

In defiance of the legendary terrors which tradition had attached to
the original communication, Fenella, followed by Peveril, now boldly
traversed the ruinous vaults through which it lay--sometimes only
guided over heaps of ruins by the precarious light of the lamp borne
by the dumb maiden--sometimes having the advantage of a gleam of
moonlight, darting into the dreary abyss through the shafted windows,
or through breaches made by time. As the path was by no means a
straight one, Peveril could not but admire the intimate acquaintance
with the mazes which his singular companion displayed, as well as the
boldness with which she traversed them. He himself was not so utterly
void of the prejudices of the times, but that he contemplated, with
some apprehension, the possibility of their intruding on the lair of
the phantom hound, of which he had heard so often; and in every remote
sight of the breeze among the ruins, he thought he heard him baying at
the mortal footsteps which disturbed his gloomy realm. No such
terrors, however, interrupted their journey; and in the course of a
few minutes, they attained the deserted and now ruinous guard-house.
The broken walls of the little edifice served to conceal them from the
sentinels, one of whom was keeping a drowsy watch at the lower gate of
the Castle; whilst another, seated on the stone steps which
communicated with the parapet of the bounding and exterior wall, was
slumbering, in full security, with his musket peacefully grounded by
his side. Fenella made a sign to Peveril to move with silence and
caution, and then showed him, to his surprise, from the window of the
deserted guard-room, a boat, for it was now high water, with four
rowers, lurking under the cliff on which the castle was built; and
made him farther sensible that he was to have access to it by a ladder
of considerable height placed at the window of the ruin.

Julian was both displeased and alarmed by the security and
carelessness of the sentinels, who had suffered such preparations to
be made without observation or alarm given; and he hesitated whether
he should not call the officer of the guard, upbraid him with
negligence, and show him how easily Holm-Peel, in spite of its natural
strength, and although reported impregnable, might be surprised by a
few resolute men. Fenella seemed to guess his thoughts with that
extreme acuteness of observation which her deprivations had occasioned
her acquiring. She laid one hand on his arm, and a finger of the other
on her own lips, as if to enjoin forbearance; and Julian, knowing that
she acted by the direct authority of the Countess, obeyed her
accordingly; but with the internal resolution to lose no time in
communicating his sentiments to the Earl, concerning the danger to
which the Castle was exposed on this point.

In the meantime, he descended the ladder with some precaution, for the
steps were unequal, broken, wet, and slippery; and having placed
himself in the stern of the boat, made a signal to the men to push
off, and turned to take farewell of his guide. To his utter
astonishment, Fenella rather slid down, than descended regularly, the
perilous ladder, and, the boat being already pushed off, made a spring
from the last step of it with incredible agility, and seated herself
beside Peveril, ere he could express either remonstrance or surprise.
He commanded the men once more to pull in to the precarious landing-
place; and throwing into his countenance a part of the displeasure
which he really felt, endeavoured to make her comprehend the necessity
of returning to her mistress. Fenella folded her arms, and looked at
him with a haughty smile, which completely expressed the determination
of her purpose. Peveril was extremely embarrassed; he was afraid of
offending the Countess, and interfering with her plan, by giving
alarm, which otherwise he was much tempted to have done. On Fenella,
it was evident, no species of argument which he could employ was
likely to make the least impression; and the question remained, how,
if she went on with him, he was to rid himself of so singular and
inconvenient a companion, and provide, at the same time, sufficiently
for her personal security.

The boatmen brought the matter to a decision; for, after lying on
their oars for a minute, and whispering among themselves in Low Dutch
or German, they began to pull stoutly, and were soon at some distance
from the Castle. The possibility of the sentinels sending a musket-
ball, or even a cannon-shot, after them, was one of the contingencies
which gave Peveril momentary anxiety; but they left the fortress, as
they must have approached it, unnoticed, or at least unchallenged--a
carelessness on the part of the garrison, which, notwithstanding that
the oars were muffled, and that the men spoke little, and in whispers,
argued, in Peveril's opinion, great negligence on the part of the
sentinels. When they were a little way from the Castle, the men began
to row briskly towards a small vessel which lay at some distance.
Peveril had, in the meantime, leisure to remark, that the boatmen
spoke to each other doubtfully, and bent anxious looks on Fenella, as
if uncertain whether they had acted properly in bringing her off.

After about a quarter of an hour's rowing, they reached the little
sloop, where Peveril was received by the skipper, or captain, on the
quarter-deck, with an offer of spirits or refreshments. A word or two
among the seamen withdrew the captain from his hospitable cares, and
he flew to the ship's side, apparently to prevent Fenella from
entering the vessel. The men and he talked eagerly in Dutch, looking
anxiously at Fenella as they spoke together; and Peveril hoped the
result would be, that the poor woman should be sent ashore again. But
she baffled whatever opposition could be offered to her; and when the
accommodation-ladder, as it is called, was withdrawn, she snatched the
end of a rope, and climbed on board with the dexterity of a sailor,
leaving them no means of preventing her entrance, save by actual
violence, to which apparently they did not choose to have recourse.
Once on deck, she took the captain by the sleeve, and led him to the
head of the vessel, where they seemed to hold intercourse in a manner
intelligible to both.

Peveril soon forgot the presence of the mute, as he began to muse upon
his own situation, and the probability that he was separated for some
considerable time from the object of his affections. "Constancy," he
repeated to himself,--"Constancy." And, as if in coincidence with the
theme of his reflections, he fixed his eyes on the polar star, which
that night twinkled with more than ordinary brilliancy. Emblem of pure
passion and steady purpose--the thoughts which arose as he viewed its
clear and unchanging light, were disinterested and noble. To seek his
country's welfare, and secure the blessings of domestic peace--to
discharge a bold and perilous duty to his friend and patron--to regard
his passion for Alice Bridgenorth, as the loadstar which was to guide
him to noble deeds--were the resolutions which thronged upon his mind,
and which exalted his spirits to that state of romantic melancholy,
which perhaps is ill exchanged even for feelings of joyful rapture.

He was recalled from those contemplations by something which nestled
itself softly and closely to his side--a woman's sigh sounded so near
him, as to disturb his reverie; and as he turned his head, he saw
Fenella seated beside him, with her eyes fixed on the same star which
had just occupied his own. His first emotion was that of displeasure;
but it was impossible to persevere in it towards a being so helpless
in many respects, so interesting in others; whose large dark eyes were
filled with dew, which glistened in the moonlight; and the source of
whose emotions seemed to be in a partiality which might well claim
indulgence, at least from him who was the object of it. At the same
time, Julian resolved to seize the present opportunity, for such
expostulations with Fenella on the strangeness of her conduct, as the
poor maiden might be able to comprehend. He took her hand with great
kindness, but at the same time with much gravity, pointed to the boat,
and to the Castle, whose towers and extended walls were now scarce
visible in the distance; and thus intimated to her the necessity of
her return to Holm-Peel. She looked down, and shook her head, as if
negativing his proposal with obstinate decision. Julian renewed his
expostulation by look and gesture--pointed to his own heart, to
intimate the Countess--and bent his brows, to show the displeasure
which she must entertain. To all which the maiden only answered by her
tears.

At length, as if driven to explanation by his continued remonstrances,
she suddenly seized him by the arm, to arrest his attention--cast her
eye hastily around, as if to see whether she was watched by any one--
then drew the other hand, edge-wise, across her slender throat--
pointed to the boat, and to the Castle, and nodded.

On this series of signs, Peveril could put no interpretation,
excepting that he was menaced with some personal danger, from which
Fenella seemed to conceive that her presence was a protection.
Whatever was her meaning, her purpose seemed unalterably adopted; at
least it was plain he had no power to shake it. He must therefore wait
till the end of their short voyage, to disembarrass himself of his
companion; and, in the meanwhile, acting on the idea of her having
harboured a misplaced attachment to him, he thought he should best
consult her interest, and his own character, in keeping at as great a
distance from her as circumstances admitted. With this purpose, he
made the sign she used for going to sleep, by leaning his head on his
palm; and having thus recommended to her to go to rest, he himself
desired to be conducted to his berth.

The captain readily showed him a hammock, in the after-cabin, into
which he threw himself, to seek that repose which the exercise and
agitation of the preceding day, as well as the lateness of the hour,
made him now feel desirable. Sleep, deep and heavy, sunk down on him
in a few minutes, but it did not endure long. In his sleep he was
disturbed by female cries; and at length, as he thought, distinctly
heard the voice of Alice Bridgenorth call on his name.

He awoke, and starting up to quit his bed, became sensible, from the
motion of the vessel, and the swinging of the hammock, that his dream
had deceived him. He was still startled by its extreme vivacity and
liveliness. "Julian Peveril, help! Julian Peveril!" The sounds still
rung in his ears--the accents were those of Alice--and he could scarce
persuade himself that his imagination had deceived him. Could she be
in the same vessel? The thought was not altogether inconsistent with
her father's character, and the intrigues in which he was engaged; but
then, if so, to what peril was she exposed, that she invoked his name
so loudly?

Determined to make instant inquiry, he jumped out of his hammock,
half-dressed as he was, and stumbling about the little cabin, which
was as dark as pitch, at length, with considerable difficulty, reached
the door. The door, however, he was altogether unable to open; and was
obliged to call loudly to the watch upon deck. The skipper, or
captain, as he was called, being the only person aboard who could
speak English, answered to the summons, and replied to Peveril's
demand, what noise that was?--that a boat was going off with the young
woman--that she whimpered a little as she left the vessel--and "dat
vaas all."

His dream was thus fully explained. Fancy had caught up the
inarticulate and vehement cries with which Fenella was wont to express
resistance or displeasure--had coined them into language, and given
them the accents of Alice Bridgenorth. Our imagination plays wilder
tricks with us almost every night.

The captain now undid the door, and appeared with a lantern; without
the aid of which Peveril could scarce have regained his couch, where
he now slumbered secure and sound, until day was far advanced, and the
invitation of the captain called him up to breakfast.



                              CHAPTER XX

           Now, what is this that haunts me like my shadow,
           Frisking and mumming like an elf in moonlight!
                                               --BEN JONSON.

Peveril found the master of the vessel rather less rude than those in
his station of life usually are, and received from him full
satisfaction concerning the fate of Fenella, upon whom the captain
bestowed a hearty curse, for obliging him to lay-to until he had sent
his boat ashore, and had her back again.

"I hope," said Peveril, "no violence was necessary to reconcile her to
go ashore? I trust she offered no foolish resistance?"

"Resist! mein Gott," said the captain, "she did resist like a troop of
horse--she did cry, you might hear her at Whitehaven--she did go up
the rigging like a cat up a chimney; but dat vas ein trick of her old
trade."

"What trade do you mean?" said Peveril.

"Oh," said the seaman, "I vas know more about her than you, Meinheer.
I vas know that she vas a little, very little girl, and prentice to
one seiltanzer, when my lady yonder had the good luck to buy her."

"A seiltanzer!" said Peveril; "what do you mean by that?"

"I mean a rope-danzer, a mountebank, a Hans pickel-harring. I vas know
Adrian Brackel vell--he sell de powders dat empty men's stomach, and
fill him's own purse. Not know Adrian Brackel, mein Gott! I have
smoked many a pound of tabak with him."

Peveril now remembered that Fenella had been brought into the family
when he and the young Earl were in England, and while the Countess was
absent on an expedition to the continent. Where the Countess found
her, she never communicated to the young men; but only intimated, that
she had received her out of compassion, in order to relieve her from a
situation of extreme distress.

He hinted so much to the communicative seaman, who replied, "that for
distress he knew nocht's on't; only, that Adrian Brackel beat her when
she would not dance on the rope, and starved her when she did, to
prevent her growth." The bargain between the countess and the
mountebank, he said, he had made himself; because the Countess had
hired his brig upon her expedition to the continent. None else knew
where she came from. The Countess had seen her on a public stage at
Ostend--compassionated her helpless situation, and the severe
treatment she received--and had employed him to purchase the poor
creature from her master, and charged him with silence towards all her
retinue.--"And so I do keep silence," continued the faithful
confidant, "van I am in the havens of Man; but when I am on the broad
seas, den my tongue is mine own, you know. Die foolish beoples in the
island, they say she is a wechsel-balg--what you call a fairy-elf
changeling. My faith, they do not never have seen ein wechsel-balg;
for I saw one myself at Cologne, and it was twice as big as yonder
girl, and did break the poor people, with eating them up, like de
great big cuckoo in the sparrow's nest; but this Venella eat no more
than other girls--it was no wechsel-balg in the world."

By a different train of reasoning, Julian had arrived at the same
conclusion; in which, therefore, he heartily acquiesced. During the
seaman's prosing, he was reflecting within himself, how much of the
singular flexibility of her limbs and movements the unfortunate girl
must have derived from the discipline and instructions of Adrian
Brackel; and also how far the germs of her wilful and capricious
passions might have been sown during her wandering and adventurous
childhood. Aristocratic, also, as his education had been, these
anecdotes respecting Fenella's original situation and education,
rather increased his pleasure of having shaken off her company; and
yet he still felt desirous to know any farther particulars which the
seaman could communicate on the same subject. But he had already told
all he knew. Of her parents he knew nothing, except that "her father
must have been a damned hundsfoot, and a schelm, for selling his own
flesh and blood to Adrian Brackel;" for by such a transaction had the
mountebank become possessed of his pupil.

This conversation tended to remove any passing doubts which might have
crept on Peveril's mind concerning the fidelity of the master of the
vessel, who appeared from thence to have been a former acquaintance of
the Countess, and to have enjoyed some share of her confidence. The
threatening motion used by Fenella, he no longer considered as worthy
of any notice, excepting as a new mark of the irritability of her
temper.

He amused himself with walking the deck, and musing on his past and
future prospects, until his attention was forcibly arrested by the
wind, which began to rise in gusts from the north-west, in a manner so
unfavourable to the course they intended to hold, that the master,
after many efforts to beat against it, declared his bark, which was by
no means an excellent sea-boat, was unequal to making Whitehaven; and
that he was compelled to make a fair wind of it, and run for
Liverpool. To this course Peveril did not object. It saved him some
land journey, in case he visited his father's castle; and the
Countess's commission would be discharged as effectually the one way
as the other.

The vessel was put, accordingly, before the wind, and ran with great
steadiness and velocity. The captain, notwithstanding, pleading some
nautical hazards, chose to lie off, and did not attempt the mouth of
the Mersey until morning, when Peveril had at length the satisfaction
of being landed upon the quay of Liverpool, which even then showed
symptoms of the commercial prosperity that has since been carried
to such a height.

The master, who was well acquainted with the port, pointed out to
Julian a decent place of entertainment, chiefly frequented by
seafaring people; for, although he had been in the town formerly, he
did not think it proper to go anywhere at present where he might have
been unnecessarily recognised. Here he took leave of the seaman, after
pressing upon him with difficulty a small present for his crew. As for
his passage, the captain declined any recompense whatever; and they
parted upon the most civil terms.

The inn to which he was recommended was full of strangers, seamen, and
mercantile people, all intent upon their own affairs, and discussing
them with noise and eagerness, peculiar to the business of a thriving
seaport. But although the general clamour of the public room, in which
the guests mixed with each other, related chiefly to their own
commercial dealings, there was a general theme mingling with them,
which was alike common and interesting to all; so that, amidst
disputes about freight, tonnage, demurrage, and such like, were heard
the emphatic sounds of "Deep, damnable, accursed plot,"--"Bloody
Papist villains,"--"The King in danger--the gallows too good for
them," and so forth.

The fermentation excited in London had plainly reached even this
remote seaport, and was received by the inhabitants with the peculiar
stormy energy which invests men in their situation with the character
of the winds and waves with which they are chiefly conversant. The
commercial and nautical interests of England were indeed particularly
anti-Catholic; although it is not, perhaps, easy to give any distinct
reason why they should be so, since theological disputes in general
could scarce be considered as interesting to them. But zeal, amongst
the lower orders at least, is often in an inverse ratio to knowledge;
and sailors were not probably the less earnest and devoted
Protestants, that they did not understand the controversy between the
Churches. As for the merchants, they were almost necessarily inimical
to the gentry of Lancashire and Cheshire; many of whom still retained
the faith of Rome, which was rendered ten times more odious to the men
of commerce, as the badge of their haughty aristocratic neighbours.

From the little which Peveril heard of the sentiments of the people of
Liverpool, he imagined he should act most prudently in leaving the
place as soon as possible, and before any suspicion should arise of
his having any connection with the party which appeared to have become
so obnoxious.

In order to accomplish his journey, it was first necessary that he
should purchase a horse; and for this purpose he resolved to have
recourse to the stables of a dealer well known at the time, and who
dwelt in the outskirts of the place; and having obtained directions to
his dwelling, he went thither to provide himself.

Joe Bridlesley's stables exhibited a large choice of good horses; for
that trade was in former days more active than at present. It was an
ordinary thing for a stranger to buy a horse for the purpose of a
single journey, and to sell him, as well as he could, when he had
reached the point of his destination; and hence there was a constant
demand, and a corresponding supply; upon both of which, Bridlesley,
and those of his trade, contrived, doubtless, to make handsome
profits.

Julian, who was no despicable horse-jockey, selected for his purpose a
strong well-made horse, about sixteen hands high, and had him led into
the yard, to see whether the paces corresponded with his appearance.
As these also gave perfect satisfaction to the customer, it remained
only to settle the price with Bridlesley; who of course swore his
customer had pitched upon the best horse ever darkened the stable-
door, since he had dealt that way; that no such horses were to be had
nowadays, for that the mares were dead that foaled them; and having
named a corresponding price, the usual haggling commenced betwixt the
seller and purchaser, for adjustment of what the French dealers call
/le prix juste/.

The reader, if he be at all acquainted with this sort of traffic, well
knows it is generally a keen encounter of wits, and attracts the
notice of all the idlers within hearing, who are usually very ready to
offer their opinions, or their evidence. Amongst these, upon the
present occasion, was a thin man, rather less than the ordinary size,
and meanly dressed; but whose interference was in a confident tone,
and such as showed himself master of the subject on which he spoke.
The price of the horse being settled to about fifteen pounds, which
was very high for the period, that of the saddle and bridle had next
to be adjusted, and the thin mean-looking person before-mentioned,
found nearly as much to say on this subject as on the other. As his
remarks had a conciliating and obliging tendency towards the stranger,
Peveril concluded he was one of those idle persons, who, unable or
unwilling to supply themselves with the means of indulgence at their
own cost, do not scruple to deserve them at the hands of others, by a
little officious complaisance; and considering that he might acquire
some useful information from such a person, was just about to offer
him the courtesy of a morning draught, when he observed he had
suddenly left the yard. He had scarce remarked this circumstance,
before a party of customers entered the place, whose haughty
assumption of importance claimed the instant attention of Bridlesley,
and all his militia of grooms and stable-boys.

"Three good horses," said the leader of the party, a tall bulky man,
whose breath was drawn full and high, under a consciousness of fat,
and of importance--"three good and able-bodied horses, for the service
of the Commons of England."

Bridlesley said he had some horses which might serve the Speaker
himself at need; but that, to speak Christian truth, he had just sold
the best in his stable to that gentleman present, who, doubtless,
would give up the bargain if the horse was needed for the service of
the State.

"You speak well, friend," said the important personage; and advancing
to Julian, demanded, in a very haughty tone, the surrender of the
purchase which he had just made.

Peveril, with some difficulty, subdued the strong desire which he felt
to return a round refusal to so unreasonable a request, but
fortunately, recollecting that the situation in which he at present
stood, required, on his part, much circumspection, he replied simply,
that upon showing him any warrant to seize upon horses for the public
service, he must of course submit to resign his purchase.

The man, with an air of extreme dignity, pulled from his pocket, and
thrust into Peveril's hand, a warrant, subscribed by the Speaker of
the House of Commons, empowering Charles Topham, their officer of the
Black Rod, to pursue and seize upon the persons of certain individuals
named in the warrant; and of all other persons who are, or should be,
accused by competent witnesses, of being accessory to, or favourers
of, the hellish and damnable Popish Plot, at present carried on within
the bowels of the kingdom; and charging all men, as they loved their
allegiance, to render the said Charles Topham their readiest and most
effective assistance, in execution of the duty entrusted to his care.

On perusing a document of such weighty import, Julian had no
hesitation to give up his horse to this formidable functionary; whom
somebody compared to a lion, which, as the House of Commons was
pleased to maintain such an animal, they were under the necessity of
providing for by frequent commitments; until "/Take him, Topham/,"
became a proverb, and a formidable one, in the mouth of the public.

The acquiescence of Peveril procured him some grace in the sight of
the emissary; who, before selecting two horses for his attendants,
gave permission to the stranger to purchase a grey horse, much
inferior, indeed, to that which he had resigned, both in form and in
action, but very little lower in price, as Mr. Bridlesley, immediately
on learning the demand for horses upon the part of the Commons of
England, had passed a private resolution in his own mind, augmenting
the price of his whole stud, by an imposition of at least twenty per
cent., /ad valorem/.

Peveril adjusted and paid the price with much less argument than on
the former occasion; for, to be plain with the reader, he had noticed
in the warrant of Mr. Topham, the name of his father, Sir Geoffrey
Peveril of Martindale Castle, engrossed at full length, as one of
those subjected to arrest by that officer.

When aware of this material fact, it became Julian's business to leave
Liverpool directly, and carry the alarm to Derbyshire, if, indeed, Mr.
Topham had not already executed his charge in that county, which he
thought unlikely, as it was probable they would commence by securing
those who lived nearest to the seaports. A word or two which he
overheard strengthened his hopes.

"And hark ye, friend," said Mr. Topham; "you will have the horses at
the door of Mr. Shortell, the mercer, in two hours, as we shall
refresh ourselves there with a cool tankard, and learn what folks live
in the neighbourhood that may be concerned in my way. And you will
please to have that saddle padded, for I am told the Derbyshire roads
are rough.--And you, Captain Dangerfield, and Master Everett, you must
put on your Protestant spectacles, and show me where there is the
shadow of a priest, or of a priest's favourer; for I am come down with
a broom in my cap to sweep this north country of such like cattle."

One of the persons he thus addressed, who wore the garb of a broken-
down citizen, only answered, "Ay, truly, Master Topham, it is time to
purge the garner."

The other, who had a formidable pair of whiskers, a red nose, and a
tarnished laced coat, together with a hat of Pistol's dimensions, was
more loquacious. "I take it on my damnation," said this zealous
Protestant witness, "that I will discover the marks of the beast on
every one of them betwixt sixteen and seventy, as plainly as if they
had crossed themselves with ink, instead of holy water. Since we have
a King willing to do justice, and a House of Commons to uphold
prosecutions, why, damn me, the cause must not stand still for lack of
evidence."

"Stick to that, noble captain," answered the officer; "but, prithee,
reserve thy oaths for the court of justice; it is but sheer waste to
throw them away, as you do in your ordinary conversation."

"Fear you nothing, Master Topham," answered Dangerfield; "it is right
to keep a man's gifts in use; and were I altogether to renounce oaths
in my private discourse, how should I know how to use one when I
needed it? But you hear me use none of your Papist abjurations. I
swear not by the mass, or before George, or by anything that belongs
to idolatry; but such downright oaths as may serve a poor Protestant
gentleman, who would fain serve Heaven and the King."

"Bravely spoken, most noble Festus," said his yoke-fellow. "But do not
suppose, that although I am not in the habit of garnishing my words
with oaths out of season, I shall be wanting, when called upon, to
declare the height and the depth, the width and the length, of this
hellish plot against the King and the Protestant faith."

Dizzy, and almost sick, with listening to the undisguised brutality of
these fellows, Peveril, having with difficulty prevailed on Bridlesley
to settle his purchase, at length led forth his grey steed; but was
scarce out of the yard, when he heard the following alarming
conversation pass, of which he seemed himself the object.

"Who is that youth?" said the slow soft voice of the more precise of
the two witnesses. "Methinks I have seen him somewhere before. Is he
from these parts?"

"Not that I know of," said Bridlesley; who, like all the other
inhabitants of England at the time, answered the interrogatories of
these fellows with the deference which is paid in Spain to the
questions of an inquisitor. "A stranger--entirely a stranger--never
saw him before--a wild young colt, I warrant him; and knows a horse's
mouth as well as I do."

"I begin to bethink me I saw such a face as his at the Jesuits'
consult, in the White Horse Tavern," answered Everett.

"And I think I recollect," said Captain Dangerfield----

"Come, come, master and captain," said the authoritative voice of
Topham, "we will have none of your recollections at present. We all
know what these are likely to end in. But I will have you know, you
are not to run till the leash is slipped. The young man is a well-
looking lad, and gave up his horse handsomely for the service of the
House of Commons. He knows how to behave himself to his betters, I
warrant you; and I scarce think he has enough in his purse to pay the
fees."

This speech concluded the dialogue, which Peveril, finding himself so
much concerned in the issue, thought it best to hear to an end. Now,
when it ceased, to get out of the town unobserved, and take the
nearest way to his father's castle, seemed his wisest plan. He had
settled his reckoning at the inn, and brought with him to Bridlesley's
the small portmanteau which contained his few necessaries, so that he
had no occasion to return thither. He resolved, therefore, to ride
some miles before he stopped, even for the purpose of feeding his
horse; and being pretty well acquainted with the country, he hoped to
be able to push forward to Martindale Castle sooner than the
worshipful Master Topham; whose saddle was, in the first place, to be
padded, and who, when mounted, would, in all probability, ride with
the precaution of those who require such security against the effects
of a hard trot.

Under the influence of these feelings, Julian pushed for Warrington, a
place with which he was well acquainted; but, without halting in the
town, he crossed the Mersey, by the bridge built by an ancestor of his
friend the Earl of Derby, and continued his route towards Dishley, on
the borders of Derbyshire. He might have reached this latter village
easily, had his horse been fitter for a forced march; but in the
course of the journey, he had occasion, more than once, to curse the
official dignity of the person who had robbed him of his better steed,
while taking the best direction he could through a country with which
he was only generally acquainted.

At length, near Altringham, a halt became unavoidable; and Peveril had
only to look for some quiet and sequestered place of refreshment. This
presented itself, in the form of a small cluster of cottages; the best
of which united the characters of an alehouse and a mill, where the
sign of the Cat (the landlord's faithful ally in defence of his meal-
sacks), booted as high as Grimalkin in the fairy tale, and playing on
the fiddle for the more grace, announced that John Whitecraft united
the two honest occupations of landlord and miller; and, doubtless,
took toll from the public in both capacities.

Such a place promised a traveller, who journeyed incognito, safer, if
not better accommodation, than he was like to meet with in more
frequented inns; and at the door of the Cat and Fiddle, Julian halted
accordingly.



                             CHAPTER XXI

           In these distracted times, when each man dreads
           The bloody stratagems of busy hands.
                                                       --OTWAY.

At the door of the Cat and Fiddle, Julian received the usual attention
paid to the customers of an inferior house of entertainment. His horse
was carried by a ragged lad, who acted as hostler, into a paltry
stable; where, however, the nag was tolerably supplied with food and
litter.

Having seen the animal on which his comfort, perhaps his safety,
depended, properly provided for, Peveril entered the kitchen, which
indeed was also the parlour and hall of the little hostelry, to try
what refreshment he could obtain for himself. Much to his
satisfaction, he found there was only one guest in the house besides
himself; but he was less pleased when he found that he must either go
without dinner, or share with that single guest the only provisions
which chanced to be in the house, namely, a dish of trouts and eels,
which their host, the miller, had brought in from his mill-stream.

At the particular request of Julian, the landlady undertook to add a
substantial dish of eggs and bacon, which perhaps she would not have
undertaken for, had not the sharp eye of Peveril discovered the flitch
hanging in its smoky retreat, when, as its presence could not be
denied, the hostess was compelled to bring it forward as a part of her
supplies.

She was a buxom dame about thirty, whose comely and cheerful
countenance did honour to the choice of the jolly miller, her loving
mate; and was now stationed under the shade of an old-fashioned huge
projecting chimney, within which it was her province to "work i' the
fire," and provide for the wearied wayfaring man, the good things
which were to send him rejoicing on his course. Although, at first,
the honest woman seemed little disposed to give herself much
additional trouble on Julian's account, yet the good looks, handsome
figure, and easy civility of her new guest, soon bespoke the principal
part of her attention; and while busy in his service, she regarded
him, from time to time, with looks, where something like pity mingled
with complacency. The rich smoke of the rasher, and the eggs with
which it was flanked, already spread itself through the apartment; and
the hissing of these savoury viands bore chorus to the simmering of
the pan, in which the fish were undergoing a slower decoction. The
table was covered with a clean huck-aback napkin, and all was in
preparation for the meal, which Julian began to expect with a good
deal of impatience, when the companion, who was destined to share it
with him, entered the apartment.

At the first glance Julian recognised, to his surprise, the same
indifferently dressed, thin-looking person, who, during the first
bargain which he had made with Bridlesley, had officiously interfered
with his advice and opinion. Displeased at having the company of any
stranger forced upon him, Peveril was still less satisfied to find one
who might make some claim of acquaintance with him, however slender,
since the circumstances in which he stood compelled him to be as
reserved as possible. He therefore turned his back upon his destined
messmate, and pretended to amuse himself by looking out of the window,
determined to avoid all intercourse until it should be inevitably
forced upon him.

In the meanwhile, the other stranger went straight up to the landlady,
where she toiled on household cares intent, and demanded of her, what
she meant by preparing bacon and eggs, when he had positively charged
her to get nothing ready but the fish.

The good woman, important as every cook in the discharge of her duty,
deigned not for some time so much as to acknowledge that she heard the
reproof of her guest; and when she did so, it was only to repel it in
a magisterial and authoritative tone.--"If he did not like bacon--
(bacon from their own hutch, well fed on pease and bran)--if he did
not like bacon and eggs--(new-laid eggs, which she had brought in from
the hen-roost with her own hands)--why so put case--it was the worse
for his honour, and the better for those who did."

"The better for those who like them?" answered the guest; "that is as
much as to say I am to have a companion, good woman."

"Do not good woman me, sir," replied the miller's wife, "till I call
you good man; and, I promise you, many would scruple to do that to one
who does not love eggs and bacon of a Friday."

"Nay, my good lady," said her guest, "do not fix any misconstruction
upon me--I dare say the eggs and the bacon are excellent; only they
are rather a dish too heavy for my stomach."

"Ay, or your conscience perhaps, sir," answered the hostess. "And now,
I bethink me, you must needs have your fish fried with oil, instead of
the good drippings I was going to put to them. I would I could spell
the meaning of all this now; but I warrant John Bigstaff, the
constable, could conjure something out of it."

There was a pause here; but Julian, somewhat alarmed at the tone which
the conversation assumed, became interested in watching the dumb show
which succeeded. By bringing his head a little towards the left, but
without turning round, or quitting the projecting latticed window
where he had taken his station, he could observe that the stranger,
secured, as he seemed to think himself, from observation, had sidled
close up to the landlady, and, as he conceived, had put a piece of
money into her hand. The altered tone of the miller's moiety
corresponded very much with this supposition.

"Nay, indeed, and forsooth," she said, "her house was Liberty Hall;
and so should every publican's be. What was it to her what gentlefolks
ate or drank, providing they paid for it honestly? There were many
honest gentlemen, whose stomachs could not abide bacon, grease, or
dripping, especially on a Friday; and what was that to her, or any one
in her line, so gentlefolks paid honestly for the trouble? Only, she
would say, that her bacon and eggs could not be mended betwixt this
and Liverpool, and that she would live and die upon."

"I shall hardly dispute it," said the stranger; and turning towards
Julian, he added, "I wish this gentleman, who I suppose is my
trencher-companion, much joy of the dainties which I cannot assist him
in consuming."

"I assure you, sir," answered Peveril, who now felt himself compelled
to turn about, and reply with civility, "that it was with difficulty I
could prevail on my landlady to add my cover to yours, though she
seems now such a zealot for the consumption of eggs and bacon."

"I am zealous for nothing," said the landlady, "save that men would
eat their victuals, and pay their score; and if there be enough in one
dish to serve two guests, I see little purpose in dressing them two;
however, they are ready now, and done to a nicety.--Here, Alice!
Alice!"

The sound of that well-known name made Julian start; but the Alice who
replied to the call ill resembled the vision which his imagination
connected with the accents, being a dowdy slipshod wench, the drudge
of the low inn which afforded him shelter. She assisted her mistress
in putting on the table the dishes which the latter had prepared; and
a foaming jug of home-brewed ale being placed betwixt them, was
warranted by Dame Whitecraft as excellent; "for," said she, "we know
by practice that too much water drowns the miller, and we spare it on
our malt as we would in our mill-dam."

"I drink to your health in it, dame," said the elder stranger; "and a
cup of thanks for these excellent fish; and to the drowning of all
unkindness between us."

"I thank you, sir," said the dame, "and wish you the like; but I dare
not pledge you, for our Gaffer says that ale is brewed too strong for
women; so I only drink a glass of canary at a time with a gossip, or
any gentleman guest that is so minded."

"You shall drink one with me, then, dame," said Peveril, "so you will
let me have a flagon."

"That you shall, sir, and as good as ever was broached; but I must to
the mill, to get the key from the goodman."

So saying, and tucking her clean gown through the pocket-holes, that
her steps might be the more alert, and her dress escape dust, off she
tripped to the mill, which lay close adjoining.

"A dainty dame, and dangerous, is the miller's wife," said the
stranger, looking at Peveril. "Is not that old Chaucer's phrase?"

"I--I believe so," said Peveril, not much read in Chaucer, who was
then even more neglected than at present; and much surprised at a
literary quotation from one of the mean appearance exhibited by the
person before him.

"Yes," answered the stranger, "I see that you, like other young
gentlemen of the time, are better acquainted with Cowley and Waller,
than with the 'well of English undefiled.' I cannot help differing.
There are touches of nature about the old bard of Woodstock, that, to
me, are worth all the turns of laborious wit in Cowley, and all the
ornate and artificial simplicity of his courtly competitor. The
description, for instance, of his country coquette--

 'Wincing she was, as is a wanton colt,
  Sweet as a flower, and upright as a bolt.'

Then, again, for pathos, where will you mend the dying scene of
Arcite?

 'Alas, my heart's queen! alas, my wife!
  Giver at once, and ender of my life.
  What is this world?--What axen men to have?
  Now with his love--now in his cold grave
  Alone, withouten other company.'

But I tire you, sir; and do injustice to the poet, whom I remember but
by halves."

"On the contrary, sir," replied Peveril, "you make him more
intelligible to me in your recitation, than I have found him when I
have tried to peruse him myself."

"You were only frightened by the antiquated spelling, and 'the letters
black,'" said his companion. "It is many a scholar's case, who
mistakes a nut, which he could crack with a little exertion, for a
bullet, which he must needs break his teeth on; but yours are better
employed.--Shall I offer you some of this fish?"

"Not so, sir," replied Julian, willing to show himself a man of
reading in his turn; "I hold with old Caius, and profess to fear
judgment, to fight where I cannot choose, and to eat no fish."

The stranger cast a startled look around him at this observation,
which Julian had thrown out, on purpose to ascertain, if possible, the
quality of his companion, whose present language was so different from
the character he had assumed at Bridlesley's. His countenance, too,
although the features were of an ordinary, not to say mean cast, had
that character of intelligence which education gives to the most
homely face; and his manners were so easy and disembarrassed, as
plainly showed a complete acquaintance with society, as well as the
habit of mingling with it in the higher stages. The alarm which he had
evidently shown at Peveril's answer, was but momentary; for he almost
instantly replied, with a smile, "I promise you, sir, that you are in
no dangerous company; for notwithstanding my fish dinner, I am much
disposed to trifle with some of your savoury mess, if you will indulge
me so far."

Peveril accordingly reinforced the stranger's trencher with what
remained of the bacon and eggs, and saw him swallow a mouthful or two
with apparent relish; but presently after began to dally with his
knife and fork, like one whose appetite was satiated; and then took a
long draught of the black jack, and handed his platter to the large
mastiff dog, who, attracted by the smell of the dinner, had sat down
before him for some time, licking his chops, and following with his
eye every morsel which the guest raised to his head.

"Here, my poor fellow," said he, "thou hast had no fish, and needest
this supernumerary trencher-load more than I do. I cannot withstand
thy mute supplication any longer."

The dog answered these courtesies by a civil shake of the tail, while
he gobbled up what was assigned him by the stranger's benevolence, in
the greater haste, that he heard his mistress's voice at the door.

"Here is the canary, gentlemen," said the landlady; "and the goodman
has set off the mill, to come to wait on you himself. He always does
so, when company drink wine."

"That he may come in for the host's, that is, for the lion's share,"
said the stranger, looking at Peveril.

"The shot is mine," said Julian; "and if mine host will share it, I
will willingly bestow another quart on him, and on you, sir. I never
break old customs."

These sounds caught the ear of Gaffer Whitecraft, who had entered the
room, a strapping specimen of his robust trade, prepared to play the
civil, or the surly host, as his company should be acceptable or
otherwise. At Julian's invitation, he doffed his dusty bonnet--brushed
from his sleeve the looser particles of his professional dust--and
sitting down on the end of a bench, about a yard from the table,
filled a glass of canary, and drank to his guests, and "especially to
this noble gentleman," indicating Peveril, who had ordered the canary.

Julian returned the courtesy by drinking his health, and asking what
news were about in the country?

"Nought, sir, I hears on nought, except this Plot, as they call it,
that they are pursuing the Papishers about; but it brings water to my
mill, as the saying is. Between expresses hurrying hither and thither,
and guards and prisoners riding to and again, and the custom of the
neighbours, that come to speak over the news of an evening, nightly, I
may say, instead of once a week, why, the spigot is in use, gentlemen,
and your land thrives; and then I, serving as constable, and being a
known Protestant, I have tapped, I may venture to say, it may be ten
stands of ale extraordinary, besides a reasonable sale of wine for a
country corner. Heaven make us thankful, and keep all good Protestants
from Plot and Popery."

"I can easily conceive, my friend," said Julian, "that curiosity is a
passion which runs naturally to the alehouse; and that anger, and
jealousy, and fear, are all of them thirsty passions, and great
consumers of home-brewed. But I am a perfect stranger in these parts;
and I would willingly learn, from a sensible man like you, a little of
this same Plot, of which men speak so much, and appear to know so
little."

"Learn a little of it?--Why, it is the most horrible--the most
damnable, bloodthirsty beast of a Plot--But hold, hold, my good
master; I hope, in the first place, you believe there is a Plot; for,
otherwise, the Justice must have a word with you, as sure as my name
is John Whitecraft."

"It shall not need," said Peveril; "for I assure you, mine host, I
believe in the Plot as freely and fully as a man can believe in
anything he cannot understand."

"God forbid that anybody should pretend to understand it," said the
implicit constable; "for his worship the Justice says it is a mile
beyond him; and he be as deep as most of them. But men may believe,
though they do not understand; and that is what the Romanists say
themselves. But this I am sure of, it makes a rare stirring time for
justices, and witnesses, and constables.--So here's to your health
again, gentlemen, in a cup of neat canary."

"Come, come, John Whitecraft," said the wife, "do not you demean
yourself by naming witnesses along with justices and constables. All
the world knows how they come by their money."

"Ay, but all the world knows that they /do/ come by it, dame; and that
is a great comfort. They rustle in their canonical silks, and swagger
in their buff and scarlet, who but they?--Ay, ay, the cursed fox
thrives--and not so cursed neither. Is there not Doctor Titus Oates,
the saviour of the nation--does he not live at Whitehall, and eat off
plate, and have a pension of thousands a year, for what I know? and is
he not to be Bishop of Litchfield, so soon as Dr. Doddrum dies?"

"Then I hope Dr. Doddrum's reverence will live these twenty years; and
I dare say I am the first that ever wished such a wish," said the
hostess. "I do not understand these doings, not I; and if a hundred
Jesuits came to hold a consult at my house, as they did at the White
Horse Tavern, I should think it quite out of the line of business to
bear witness against them, provided they drank well, and paid their
score."

"Very true, dame," said her elder guest; "that is what I call keeping
a good publican conscience; and so I will pay my score presently, and
be jogging on my way."

Peveril, on his part, also demanded a reckoning, and discharged it so
liberally, that the miller flourished his hat as he bowed, and the
hostess courtesied down to the ground.

The horses of both guests were brought forth; and they mounted, in
order to depart in company. The host and hostess stood in the doorway,
to see them depart. The landlord proffered a stirrup-cup to the elder
guest, while the landlady offered Peveril a glass from her own
peculiar bottle. For this purpose, she mounted on the horse-block,
with flask and glass in hand; so that it was easy for the departing
guest, although on horse-back, to return the courtesy in the most
approved manner, namely, by throwing his arm over his landlady's
shoulder, and saluting her at parting.

Dame Whitecraft did not decline this familiarity; for there is no room
for traversing upon a horse-block, and the hands which might have
served her for resistance, were occupied with glass and bottle--
matters too precious to be thrown away in such a struggle. Apparently,
however, she had something else in her head; for as, after a brief
affectation of reluctance, she permitted Peveril's face to approach
hers, she whispered in his ear, "Beware of trepans!"--an awful
intimation, which, in those days of distrust, suspicion, and
treachery, was as effectual in interdicting free and social
intercourse, as the advertisement of "man-traps and spring-guns," to
protect an orchard. Pressing her hand, in intimation that he
comprehended her hint, she shook his warmly in return, and bade God
speed him. There was a cloud on John Whitecraft's brow; nor did his
final farewell sound half so cordial as that which had been spoken
within doors. But then Peveril reflected, that the same guest is not
always equally acceptable to landlord and landlady; and unconscious of
having done anything to excite the miller's displeasure, he pursued
his journey without thinking farther of the matter.

Julian was a little surprised, and not altogether pleased, to find
that his new acquaintance held the same road with him. He had many
reasons for wishing to travel alone; and the hostess's caution still
rung in his ears. If this man, possessed of so much shrewdness as his
countenance and conversation intimated, versatile, as he had occasion
to remark, and disguised beneath his condition, should prove, as was
likely, to be a concealed Jesuit or seminary-priest, travelling upon
their great task of the conversion of England, and rooting out of the
Northern heresy,--a more dangerous companion, for a person in his own
circumstances, could hardly be imagined; since keeping society with
him might seem to authorise whatever reports had been spread
concerning the attachment of his family to the Catholic cause. At the
same time, it was very difficult, without actual rudeness, to shake
off the company of one who seemed so determined, whether spoken to or
not, to remain alongside of him.

Peveril tried the experiment of riding slow; but his companion,
determined not to drop him, slackened his pace, so as to keep close by
him. Julian then spurred his horse to a full trot; and was soon
satisfied, that the stranger, notwithstanding the meanness of his
appearance, was so much better mounted than himself, as to render vain
any thought of outriding him. He pulled up his horse to a more
reasonable pace, therefore, in a sort of despair. Upon his doing so,
his companion, who had been hitherto silent, observed, that Peveril
was not so well qualified to try speed upon the road, as he would have
been had he abode by his first bargain of horse-flesh that morning.

Peveril assented dryly, but observed, that the animal would serve his
immediate purpose, though he feared it would render him indifferent
company for a person better mounted.

"By no means," answered his civil companion; "I am one of those who
have travelled so much, as to be accustomed to make my journey at any
rate of motion which may be most agreeable to my company."

Peveril made no reply to this polite intimation, being too sincere to
tender the thanks which, in courtesy, were the proper answer.--A
second pause ensued, which was broken by Julian asking the stranger
whether their roads were likely to lie long together in the same
direction.

"I cannot tell," said the stranger, smiling, "unless I knew which way
you were travelling."

"I am uncertain how far I shall go to-night," said Julian, willingly
misunderstanding the purport of the reply.

"And so am I," replied the stranger; "but though my horse goes better
than yours, I think it will be wise to spare him; and in case our road
continues to lie the same way, we are likely to sup, as we have dined
together."

Julian made no answer whatever to this round intimation, but continued
to ride on, turning, in his own mind, whether it would not be wisest
to come to a distinct understanding with his pertinacious attendant,
and to explain, in so many words, that it was his pleasure to travel
alone. But, besides that the sort of acquaintance which they had
formed during dinner, rendered him unwilling to be directly uncivil
towards a person of gentleman-like manners, he had also to consider
that he might very possibly be mistaken in this man's character and
purpose; in which case, the cynically refusing the society of a sound
Protestant, would afford as pregnant matter of suspicion, as
travelling in company with a disguised Jesuit.

After brief reflection, therefore, he resolved to endure the
encumbrance of the stranger's society, until a fair opportunity should
occur to rid himself of it; and, in the meantime, to act with as much
caution as he possibly could, in any communication that might take
place between them; for Dame Whitecraft's parting caution still rang
anxiously in his ears, and the consequences of his own arrest upon
suspicion, must deprive him of every opportunity of serving his
father, or the countess, or Major Bridgenorth, upon whose interest,
also, he had promised himself to keep an eye.

While he revolved these things in his mind, they had journeyed several
miles without speaking; and now entered upon a more waste country, and
worse roads, than they had hitherto found, being, in fact, approaching
the more hilly district of Derbyshire. In travelling on a very stony
and uneven lane, Julian's horse repeatedly stumbled; and, had he not
been supported by the rider's judicious use of the bridle, must at
length certainly have fallen under him.

"These are times which crave wary riding, sir," said his companion;
"and by your seat in the saddle, and your hand on the rein, you seem
to understand it to be so."

"I have been long a horseman, sir," answered Peveril.

"And long a traveller, too, sir, I should suppose; since by the great
caution you observe, you seem to think the human tongue requires a
curb, as well as the horse's jaws."

"Wiser men than I have been of opinion," answered Peveril, "that it
were a part of prudence to be silent, when men have little or nothing
to say."

"I cannot approve of their opinion," answered the stranger. "All
knowledge is gained by communication, either with the dead, through
books, or, more pleasingly, through the conversation of the living.
The /deaf and dumb/, alone, are excluded from improvement; and surely
their situation is not so enviable that we should imitate them."

At this illustration, which awakened a startling echo in Peveril's
bosom, the young man looked hard at his companion; but in the composed
countenance, and calm blue eye, he read no consciousness of a farther
meaning than the words immediately and directly implied. He paused a
moment, and then answered, "You seem to be a person, sir, of shrewd
apprehension; and I should have thought it might have occurred to you,
that in the present suspicious times, men may, without censure, avoid
communication with strangers. You know not me; and to me you are
totally unknown. There is not room for much discourse between us,
without trespassing on the general topics of the day, which carry in
them seeds of quarrel between friends, much more betwixt strangers. At
any other time, the society of an intelligent companion would have
been most acceptable upon my solitary ride; but at present----"

"At present!" said the other, interrupting him. "You are like the old
Romans, who held that /hostis/ meant both a stranger and an enemy. I
will therefore be no longer a stranger. My name is Ganlesse--by
profession I am a Roman Catholic priest--I am travelling here in dread
of my life--and I am very glad to have you for a companion."

"I thank you for the information with all my heart," said Peveril;
"and to avail myself of it to the uttermost, I must beg you to ride
forward, or lag behind, or take a side-path, at your own pleasure; for
as I am no Catholic, and travel upon business of high concernment, I
am exposed both to risk and delay, and even to danger, by keeping such
suspicious company. And so, Master Ganlesse, keep your own pace, and I
will keep the contrary; for I beg leave to forbear your company."

As Peveril spoke thus, he pulled up his horse, and made a full stop.

The stranger burst out a-laughing. "What!" he said, "you forbear my
company for a trifle of danger? Saint Anthony! How the warm blood of
the Cavaliers is chilled in the young men of the present day! This
young gallant, now, has a father, I warrant, who has endured as many
adventures for hunting priests, as a knight-errant for distressed
damsels."

"This raillery avails nothing, sir," said Peveril. "I must request you
will keep your own way."

"My way is yours," said the pertinacious Master Ganlesse, as he called
himself; "and we will both travel the safer, that we journey in
company. I have the receipt of fern-seed, man, and walk invisible.
Besides, you would not have me quit you in this lane, where there is
no turn to right or left?"

Peveril moved on, desirous to avoid open violence--for which the
indifferent tone of the traveller, indeed, afforded no apt pretext--
yet highly disliking his company, and determined to take the first
opportunity to rid himself of it.

The stranger proceeded at the same pace with him, keeping cautiously
on his bridle hand, as if to secure that advantage in case of a
struggle. But his language did not intimate the least apprehension.
"You do me wrong," he said to Peveril, "and you equally wrong
yourself. You are uncertain where to lodge to-night--trust to my
guidance. Here is an ancient hall, within four miles, with an old
knightly Pantaloon for its lord--an all-be-ruffed Dame Barbara for the
lady gay--a Jesuit, in a butler's habit, to say grace--an old tale of
Edgehill and Worster fights to relish a cold venison pasty, and a
flask of claret mantled with cobwebs--a bed for you in the priest's
hiding-hole--and, for aught I know, pretty Mistress Betty, the dairy-
maid, to make it ready."

"This has no charms for me, sir," said Peveril, who, in spite of
himself, could not but be amused with the ready sketch which the
stranger gave of many an old mansion in Cheshire and Derbyshire, where
the owners retained the ancient faith of Rome.

"Well, I see I cannot charm you in this way," continued his companion;
"I must strike another key. I am no longer Ganlesse, the seminary
priest, but (changing his tone, and snuffling in the nose) Simon
Canter, a poor preacher of the Word, who travels this way to call
sinners to repentance; and to strengthen, and to edify, and to
fructify among the scattered remnant who hold fast the truth.--What
say you to this, sir?"

"I admire your versatility, sir, and could be entertained with it at
another time. At present sincerity is more in request."

"Sincerity!" said the stranger;--"a child's whistle, with but two
notes in it--yea, yea, and nay, nay. Why, man, the very Quakers have
renounced it, and have got in its stead a gallant recorder, called
Hypocrisy, that is somewhat like Sincerity in form, but of much
greater compass, and combines the whole gamut. Come, be ruled--be a
disciple of Simon Canter for the evening, and we will leave the old
tumble-down castle of the knight aforesaid, on the left hand, for a
new brick-built mansion, erected by an eminent salt-boiler from
Namptwich, who expects the said Simon to make a strong spiritual
pickle for the preservation of a soul somewhat corrupted by the evil
communications of this wicked world. What say you? He has two
daughters--brighter eyes never beamed under a pinched hood; and for
myself, I think there is more fire in those who live only to love and
to devotion, than in your court beauties, whose hearts are running on
twenty follies besides. You know not the pleasure of being conscience-
keeper to a pretty precisian, who in one breath repeats her foibles,
and in the next confesses her passion. Perhaps, though, you may have
known such in your day? Come, sir, it grows too dark to see your
blushes; but I am sure they are burning on your cheek."

"You take great freedom, sir," said Peveril, as they now approached
the end of the lane, where it opened on a broad common; "and you seem
rather to count more on my forbearance, than you have room to do with
safety. We are now nearly free of the lane which has made us
companions for this late half hour. To avoid your farther company, I
will take the turn to the left, upon that common; and if you follow
me, it shall be at your peril. Observe, I am well armed; and you will
fight at odds."

"Not at odds," returned the provoking stranger, "while I have my brown
jennet, with which I can ride round and round you at pleasure; and
this text, of a handful in length (showing a pistol which he drew from
his bosom), which discharges very convincing doctrine on the pressure
of a forefinger, and is apt to equalise all odds, as you call them, of
youth and strength. Let there be no strife between us, however--the
moor lies before us--choose your path on it--I take the other."

"I wish you good night, sir," said Peveril to the stranger. "I ask
your forgiveness, if I have misconstrued you in anything; but the
times are perilous, and a man's life may depend on the society in
which he travels."

"True," said the stranger; "but in your case, the danger is already
undergone, and you should seek to counteract it. You have travelled in
my company long enough to devise a handsome branch of the Popish Plot.
How will you look, when you see come forth, in comely folio form, The
Narrative of Simon Canter, otherwise called Richard Ganlesse,
concerning the horrid Popish Conspiracy for the Murder of the King,
and Massacre of all Protestants, as given on oath to the Honourable
House of Commons; setting forth, how far Julian Peveril, younger of
Martindale Castle, is concerned in carrying on the same----"

"How, sir? What mean you?" said Peveril, much startled.

"Nay, sir," replied his companion, "do not interrupt my title-page.
Now that Oates and Bedloe have drawn the great prizes, the subordinate
discoverers get little but by the sale of their Narrative; and
Janeway, Newman, Simmons, and every bookseller of them, will tell you
that the title is half the narrative. Mine shall therefore set forth
the various schemes you have communicated to me, of landing ten
thousand soldiers from the Isle of Man upon the coast of Lancashire;
and marching into Wales, to join the ten thousand pilgrims who are to
be shipped from Spain; and so completing the destruction of the
Protestant religion, and of the devoted city of London. Truly, I think
such a Narrative, well spiced with a few horrors, and published /cum
privilegio parliamenti/, might, though the market be somewhat
overstocked, be still worth some twenty or thirty pieces."

"You seem to know me, sir," said Peveril; "and if so, I think I may
fairly ask you your purpose in thus bearing me company, and the
meaning of all this rhapsody. If it be mere banter, I can endure it
within proper limit; although it is uncivil on the part of a stranger.
If you have any farther purpose, speak it out; I am not to be trifled
with."

"Good, now," said the stranger, laughing, "into what an unprofitable
chafe you have put yourself! An Italian /fuoruscito/, when he desires
a parley with you, takes aim from behind a wall, with his long gun,
and prefaces his conference with /Posso tirare/. So does your man-of-
war fire a gun across the bows of a Hansmogan Indiaman, just to bring
her to; and so do I show Master Julian Peveril, that, if I were one of
the honourable society of witnesses and informers, with whom his
imagination has associated me for these two hours past, he is as much
within my danger now, as what he is ever likely to be." Then, suddenly
changing his tone to serious, which was in general ironical, he added,
"Young man, when the pestilence is diffused through the air of a city,
it is in vain men would avoid the disease, by seeking solitude, and
shunning the company of their fellow-sufferers."

"In what, then, consists their safety?" said Peveril, willing to
ascertain, if possible, the drift of his companion's purpose.

"In following the counsels of wise physicians;" such was the
stranger's answer.

"And as such," said Peveril, "you offer me your advice?"

"Pardon me, young man," said the stranger haughtily, "I see no reason
I should do so.--I am not," he added, in his former tone, "your fee'd
physician--I offer no advice--I only say it would be wise that you
sought it."

"And from whom, or where, can I obtain it?" said Peveril. "I wander in
this country like one in a dream; so much a few months have changed
it. Men who formerly occupied themselves with their own affairs, are
now swallowed up in matters of state policy; and those tremble under
the apprehension of some strange and sudden convulsion of empire, who
were formerly only occupied by the fear of going to bed supperless.
And to sum up the matter, I meet a stranger apparently well acquainted
with my name and concerns, who first attaches himself to me, whether I
will or no; and then refuses me an explanation of his business, while
he menaces me with the strangest accusations."

"Had I meant such infamy," said the stranger, "believe me, I had not
given you the thread of my intrigue. But be wise, and come one with
me. There is, hard by, a small inn, where, if you can take a
stranger's warrant for it, we shall sleep in perfect security."

"Yet, you yourself," said Peveril, "but now were anxious to avoid
observation; and in that case, how can you protect me?"

"Pshaw! I did but silence that tattling landlady, in the way in which
such people are most readily hushed; and for Topham, and his brace of
night owls, they must hawk at other and lesser game than I should
prove."

Peveril could not help admiring the easy and confident indifference
with which the stranger seemed to assume a superiority to all the
circumstances of danger around him; and after hastily considering the
matter with himself, came to the resolution to keep company with him
for this night at least; and to learn, if possible, who he really was,
and to what party in the estate he was attached. The boldness and
freedom of his talk seemed almost inconsistent with his following the
perilous, though at that time the gainful trade of an informer. No
doubt, such persons assumed every appearance which could insinuate
them into the confidence of their destined victims; but Julian thought
he discovered in this man's manner, a wild and reckless frankness,
which he could not but connect with the idea of sincerity in the
present case. He therefore answered, after a moment's recollection, "I
embrace your proposal, sir; although, by doing so, I am reposing a
sudden, and perhaps an unwary, confidence."

"And what am I, then, reposing in you?" said the stranger. "Is not our
confidence mutual?"

"No; much the contrary. I know nothing of you whatever--you have named
me; and, knowing me to be Julian Peveril, know you may travel with me
in perfect security."

"The devil I do!" answered his companion. "I travel in the same
security as with a lighted petard, which I may expect to explode every
moment. Are you not the son of Peveril of the Peak, with whose name
Prelacy and Popery are so closely allied, that no old woman of either
sex in Derbyshire concludes her prayer without a petition to be freed
from all three? And do you not come from the Popish Countess of Derby,
bringing, for aught I know, a whole army of Manxmen in your pocket,
with full complement of arms, ammunition, baggage, and a train of
field artillery?"

"It is not very likely I should be so poorly mounted," said Julian,
laughing, "if I had such a weight to carry. But lead on, sir. I see I
must wait for your confidence, till you think proper to confer it; for
you are already so well acquainted with my affairs, that I have
nothing to offer you in exchange for it."

"/Allons/, then," said his companion; "give your horse the spur, and
raise the curb rein, lest he measure the ground with his nose instead
of his paces. We are not now more than a furlong or two from the place
of entertainment."

They mended their pace accordingly, and soon arrived at the small
solitary inn which the traveller had mentioned. When its light began
to twinkle before them, the stranger, as if recollecting something he
had forgotten, "By the way, you must have a name to pass by; for it
may be ill travelling under your own, as the fellow who keeps this
house is an old Cromwellian. What will you call yourself?--My name is
--for the present--Ganlesse."

"There is no occasion to assume a name at all," answered Julian. "I do
not incline to use a borrowed one, especially as I may meet with some
one who knows my own."

"I will call you Julian, then," said Master Ganlesse; "for Peveril
will smell, in the nostrils of mine host, of idolatry, conspiracy,
Smithfield faggots, fish on Fridays, the murder of Sir Edmondsbury
Godfrey, and the fire of purgatory."

As he spoke thus, they alighted under the great broad-branched oak
tree, that served to canopy the ale-bench, which, at an earlier hour,
had groaned under the weight of a frequent conclave of rustic
politicians. Ganlesse, as he dismounted, whistled in a particularly
shrill note, and was answered from within the house.



                             CHAPTER XXII

           He was a fellow in a peasant's garb;
           Yet one could censure you a woodcock's carving.
           Like any courtier at the ordinary.
                                                --THE ORDINARY.

The person who appeared at the door of the little inn to receive
Ganlesse, as we mentioned in our last chapter, sung, as he came
forward, this scrap of an old ballad,--

 "Good even to you, Diccon;
    And how have you sped;
  Bring you the bonny bride
    To banquet and bed?"

To which Ganlesse answered, in the same tone and tune,--

 "Content thee, kind Robin;
    He need little care,
  Who brings home a fat buck
    Instead of a hare."

"You have missed your blow, then?" said the other, in reply.

"I tell you I have not," answered Ganlesse; "but you will think of
nought but your own thriving occupation--May the plague that belongs
to it stick to it! though it hath been the making of thee."

"A man must live, Diccon Ganlesse," said the other.

"Well, well," said Ganlesse, "bid my friend welcome, for my sake. Hast
thou got any supper?"

"Reeking like a sacrifice--Chaubert has done his best. That fellow is
a treasure! give him a farthing candle, and he will cook a good supper
out of it.--Come in, sir. My friend's friend is welcome, as we say
in my country."

"We must have our horses looked to first," said Peveril, who began to
be considerably uncertain about the character of his companions--"that
done, I am for you."

Ganlesse gave a second whistle; a groom appeared, who took charge of
both their horses, and they themselves entered the inn.

The ordinary room of a poor inn seemed to have undergone some
alterations, to render it fit for company of a higher description.
There were a beaufet, a couch, and one or two other pieces of
furniture, of a style inconsistent with the appearance of the place.
The tablecloth, which was already laid, was of the finest damask; and
the spoons, forks, &c., were of silver. Peveril looked at this
apparatus with some surprise; and again turning his eyes attentively
upon his travelling companion, Ganlesse, he could not help discovering
(by the aid of imagination, perhaps), that though insignificant in
person, plain in features, and dressed like one in indigence, there
lurked still about his person and manners, that indefinable ease of
manner which belongs only to men of birth and quality, or to those who
are in the constant habit of frequenting the best company. His
companion, whom he called Will Smith, although tall and rather good-
looking, besides being much better dressed, had not, nevertheless,
exactly the same ease of demeanour; and was obliged to make up for the
want, by an additional proportion of assurance. Who these two persons
could be, Peveril could not attempt even to form a guess. There was
nothing for it but to watch their manner and conversation.

After speaking a moment in whispers, Smith said to his companion, "We
must go look after our nags for ten minutes, and allow Chaubert to do
his office."

"Will not he appear, and minister before us, then?" said Ganlesse.

"What! he?--he shift a trencher--he hand a cup?--No, you forget whom
you speak of. Such an order were enough to make him fall on his own
sword--he is already on the borders of despair, because no craw-fish
are to be had."

"Alack-a day!" replied Ganlesse. "Heaven forbid I should add to such a
calamity! To stable, then, and see we how our steeds eat their
provender, while ours is getting ready."

They adjourned to the stable accordingly, which, though a poor one,
had been hastily supplied with whatever was necessary for the
accommodation of four excellent horses; one of which, that from which
Ganlesse was just dismounted, the groom we have mentioned was cleaning
and dressing by the light of a huge wax-candle.

"I am still so far Catholic," said Ganlesse, laughing, as he saw that
Peveril noticed this piece of extravagance. "My horse is my saint, and
I dedicate a candle to him."

"Without asking so great a favour for mine, which I see standing
behind yonder old hen-coop," replied Peveril, "I will at least relieve
him of his saddle and bridle."

"Leave him to the lad of the inn," said Smith; "he is not worthy of
any other person's handling; and I promise you, if you slip a single
buckle, you will so flavour of that stable duty, that you might as
well eat roast-beef as ragouts, for any relish you will have of them."

"I love roast-beef as well as ragouts, at any time," said Peveril,
adjusting himself to a task which every young man should know how to
perform when need is; "and my horse, though it be but a sorry jade,
will champ better on hay and corn, than on an iron bit."

While he was unsaddling his horse, and shaking down some litter for
the poor wearied animal, he heard Smith observe to Ganlesse,--"By my
faith, Dick, thou hast fallen into poor Slender's blunder; missed Anne
Page, and brought us a great lubberly post-master's boy."

"Hush, he will hear thee," answered Ganlesse; "there are reasons for
all things--it is well as it is. But, prithee, tell thy fellow to help
the youngster."

"What!" replied Smith, "d'ye think I am mad?--Ask Tom Beacon--Tom of
Newmarket--Tom of ten thousand, to touch such a four-legged brute as
that?--Why, he would turn me away on the spot--discard me, i'faith. It
was all he would do to take in hand your own, my good friend; and if
you consider him not the better, you are like to stand groom to him
yourself to-morrow."

"Well, Will," answered Ganlesse, "I will say that for thee, thou hast
a set of the most useless, scoundrelly, insolent vermin about thee,
that ever ate up a poor gentleman's revenues."

"Useless? I deny it," replied Smith. "Every one of my fellows does
something or other so exquisitely, that it were sin to make him do
anything else--it is your jacks-of-all-trades who are masters of none.
--But hark to Chaubert's signal. The coxcomb is twangling it on the
lute, to the tune of /Eveillez-vous, belle endormie/.--Come, Master
What d'ye call (addressing Peveril),--get ye some water, and wash this
filthy witness from your hand, as Betterton says in the play; for
Chaubert's cookery is like Friar Bacon's Head--time is--time was--time
will soon be no more."

So saying, and scarce allowing Julian time to dip his hands in a
bucket, and dry them on a horse-cloth, he hurried him from the stable
back to the supper-chamber.

Here all was prepared for their meal, with an epicurean delicacy,
which rather belonged to the saloon of a palace, than the cabin in
which it was displayed. Four dishes of silver, with covers of the same
metal, smoked on the table; and three seats were placed for the
company. Beside the lower end of the board, was a small side-table, to
answer the purpose of what is now called a dumb waiter; on which
several flasks reared their tall, stately, and swan-like crests, above
glasses and rummers. Clean covers were also placed within reach; and a
small travelling-case of morocco, hooped with silver, displayed a
number of bottles, containing the most approved sauces that culinary
ingenuity had then invented.

Smith, who occupied the lower seat, and seemed to act as president of
the feast, motioned the two travellers to take their places and begin.
"I would not stay a grace-time," he said, "to save a whole nation from
perdition. We could bring no chauffettes with any convenience; and
even Chaubert is nothing, unless his dishes are tasted in the very
moment of projection. Come, uncover, and let us see what he has done
for us.--Hum!--ha!--ay--squab-pigeons--wildfowl--young chickens--
venison cutlets--and a space in the centre, wet, alas! by a gentle
tear from Chaubert's eye, where should have been the /soupe aux
écrevisses/. The zeal of that poor fellow is ill repaid by his paltry
ten louis per month."

"A mere trifle," said Ganlesse; "but, like yourself, Will, he serves a
generous master."

The repast now commenced; and Julian, though he had seen his young
friend the Earl of Derby, and other gallants, affect a considerable
degree of interest and skill in the science of the kitchen, and was
not himself either an enemy or a stranger to the pleasures of a good
table, found that, on the present occasion, he was a mere novice. Both
his companions, but Smith in especial, seemed to consider that they
were now engaged in the only true business of life; and weighed all
its minutiæ with a proportional degree of accuracy. To carve the
morsel in the most delicate manner--and to apportion the proper
seasoning with the accuracy of the chemist,--to be aware, exactly, of
the order in which one dish should succeed another, and to do
plentiful justice to all--was a minuteness of science to which Julian
had hitherto been a stranger. Smith accordingly treated him as a mere
novice in epicurism, cautioning him to eat his soup before the
bouilli, and to forget the Manx custom of bolting the boiled meat
before the broth, as if Cutlar MacCulloch and all his whingers were at
the door. Peveril took the hint in good part, and the entertainment
proceeded with animation.

At length Ganlesse paused, and declared the supper exquisite. "But, my
friend Smith," he added, "are your wines curious? When you brought all
that trash of plates and trumpery into Derbyshire, I hope you did not
leave us at the mercy of the strong ale of the shire, as thick and
muddy as the squires who drink it?"

"Did I not know that /you/ were to meet me, Dick Ganlesse?" answered
their host. "And can you suspect me of such an omission? It is true,
you must make champagne and claret serve, for my burgundy would not
bear travelling. But if you have a fancy for sherry, or Vin de Cahors,
I have a notion Chaubert and Tom Beacon have brought some for their
own drinking."

"Perhaps the gentlemen would not care to impart," said Ganlesse.

"Oh, fie!--anything in the way of civility," replied Smith. "They are,
in truth, the best-natured lads alive, when treated respectfully; so
that if you would prefer----"

"By no means," said Ganlesse--"a glass of champagne will serve in a
scarcity of better."

 "The cork shall start obsequious to my thumb,"

said Smith; and as he spoke, he untwisted the wire, and the cork
struck the roof of the cabin. Each guest took a large rummer glass of
the sparkling beverage, which Peveril had judgment and experience
enough to pronounce exquisite.

"Give me your hand, sir," said Smith; "it is the first word of sense
you have spoken this evening."

"Wisdom, sir," replied Peveril, "is like the best ware in the pedlar's
pack, which he never produces till he knows his customer."

"Sharp as mustard," returned the /bon vivant/; "but be wise, most
noble pedlar, and take another rummer of this same flask, which you
see I have held in an oblique position for your service--not
permitting it to retrograde to the perpendicular. Nay, take it off
before the bubble bursts on the rim, and the zest is gone."

"You do me honour, sir," said Peveril, taking the second glass. "I
wish you a better office than that of my cup-bearer."

"You cannot wish Will Smith one more congenial to his nature," said
Ganlesse. "Others have a selfish delight in the objects of sense, Will
thrives, and is happy by imparting them to his friends."

"Better help men to pleasures than to pains, Master Ganlesse,"
answered Smith, somewhat angrily.

"Nay, wrath thee not, Will," said Ganlesse; "and speak no words in
haste, lest you may have cause to repent at leisure. Do I blame thy
social concern for the pleasures of others? Why, man, thou dost
therein most philosophically multiply thine own. A man has but one
throat, and can but eat, with his best efforts, some five or six times
a day; but thou dinest with every friend that cuts a capon, and art
quaffing wine in other men's gullets, from morning to night--/et sic
de cæteris/."

"Friend Ganlesse," returned Smith, "I prithee beware--thou knowest I
can cut gullets as well as tickle them."

"Ay, Will," answered Ganlesse carelessly; "I think I have seen thee
wave thy whinyard at the throat of a Hogan-Mogan--a Netherlandish
weasand, which expanded only on thy natural and mortal objects of
aversion,--Dutch cheese, rye-bread, pickled herring, onion, and
Geneva."

"For pity's sake, forbear the description!" said Smith; "thy words
overpower the perfumes, and flavour the apartment like a dish of
salmagundi!"

"But for an epiglottis like mine," continued Ganlesse, "down which the
most delicate morsels are washed by such claret as thou art now
pouring out, thou couldst not, in thy bitterest mood, wish a worse
fate than to be necklaced somewhat tight by a pair of white arms."

"By a tenpenny cord," answered Smith; "but not till you were dead;
that thereafter you be presently embowelled, you being yet alive; that
your head be then severed from your body, and your body divided into
quarters, to be disposed of at his Majesty's pleasure.--How like you
that, Master Richard Ganlesse?"

"E'en as you like the thoughts of dining on bran-bread and milk-
porridge--an extremity which you trust never to be reduced to. But all
this shall not prevent me from pledging you in a cup of sound claret."

As the claret circulated, the glee of the company increased; and Smith
placing the dishes which had been made use of upon the side-table,
stamped with his foot on the floor, and the table sinking down a trap,
again rose, loaded with olives, sliced neat's tongue, caviare, and
other provocatives for the circulation of the bottle.

"Why, Will," said Ganlesse, "thou art a more complete mechanist than I
suspected; thou hast brought thy scene-shifting inventions to
Derbyshire in marvellously short time."

"A rope and pullies can be easily come by," answered Will; "and with a
saw and a plane, I can manage that business in half a day. I love the
knack of clean and secret conveyance--thou knowest it was the
foundation of my fortunes."

"It may be the wreck of them too, Will," replied his friend.

"True, Diccon," answered Will; "but, /dum vivimus, vivamus/,--that is
my motto; and therewith I present you a brimmer to the health of the
fair lady you wot of."

"Let it come, Will," replied his friend; and the flask circulated
briskly from hand to hand.

Julian did not think it prudent to seem a check on their festivity, as
he hoped in its progress something might occur to enable him to judge
of the character and purposes of his companions. But he watched them
in vain. Their conversation was animated and lively, and often bore
reference to the literature of the period, in which the elder seemed
particularly well skilled. They also talked freely of the Court, and
of that numerous class of gallants who were then described as "men of
wit and pleasure about town;" and to which it seemed probable they
themselves appertained.

At length the universal topic of the Popish Plot was started; upon
which Ganlesse and Smith seemed to entertain the most opposite
opinions. Ganlesse, if he did not maintain the authority of Oates in
its utmost extent, contended, that at least it was confirmed in a
great measure by the murder of Sir Edmondsbury Godfrey, and the
letters written by Coleman to the confessor of the French King.

With much more noise, and less power of reasoning, Will Smith
hesitated not to ridicule and run down the whole discovery, as one of
the wildest and most causeless alarms which had ever been sounded in
the ears of a credulous public. "I shall never forget," he said, "Sir
Godfrey's most original funeral. Two bouncing parsons, well armed with
sword and pistol, mounted the pulpit, to secure the third fellow who
preached from being murdered in the face of the congregation. Three
parsons in one pulpit--three suns in one hemisphere--no wonder men
stood aghast at such a prodigy."

"What then, Will," answered his companion, "you are one of those who
think the good knight murdered himself, in order to give credit to the
Plot?"

"By my faith, not I," said the other; "but some true blue Protestant
might do the job for him, in order to give the thing a better colour.
--I will be judged by our silent friend, whether that be not the most
feasible solution of the whole."

"I pray you, pardon me, gentlemen," said Julian; "I am but just landed
in England, and am a stranger to the particular circumstances which
have thrown the nation into such a ferment. It would be the highest
degree of assurance in me to give my opinion betwixt gentlemen who
argue the matter so ably; besides, to say truth, I confess weariness--
your wine is more potent than I expected, or I have drunk more of it
than I meant to do."

"Nay, if an hour's nap will refresh you," said the elder of the
strangers, "make no ceremony with us. Your bed--all we can offer as
such--is that old-fashioned Dutch-built sofa, as the last new phrase
calls it. We shall be early stirrers tomorrow morning."

"And that we may be so," said Smith, "I propose that we do sit up all
this night--I hate lying rough, and detest a pallet-bed. So have at
another flask, and the newest lampoon to help it out--

 'Now a plague of their votes
  Upon Papists and Plots,
  And be d--d Doctor Oates.
                  Tol de rol.'"

"Nay, but our Puritanic host," said Ganlesse.

"I have him in my pocket, man--his eyes, ears, nose, and tongue,"
answered his boon companion, "are all in my possession."

"In that case, when you give him back his eyes and nose, I pray you
keep his ears and tongue," answered Ganlesse. "Seeing and smelling are
organs sufficient for such a knave--to hear and tell are things he
should have no manner of pretensions to."

"I grant you it were well done," answered Smith; "but it were a
robbing of the hangman and the pillory; and I am an honest fellow, who
would give Dun[*] and the devil his due. So,

 'All joy to great Cæsar,
  Long life, love, and pleasure;
  May the King live for ever,
                  'Tis no matter for us, boys.'"

[*] Dun was the hangman of the day at Tyburn. He was successor of
    Gregory Brunden, who was by many believed to be the same who
    dropped the axe upon Charles I., though others were suspected of
    being the actual regicide.

While this Bacchanalian scene proceeded, Julian had wrapt himself
closely in his cloak, and stretched himself on the couch which they
had shown him. He looked towards the table he had left--the tapers
seemed to become hazy and dim as he gazed--he heard the sound of
voices, but they ceased to convey any impression to his understanding;
and in a few minutes, he was faster asleep than he had ever been in
the whole course of his life.



                            CHAPTER XXIII

                 The Gordon then his bugle blew,
                   And said, awa, awa;
                 The House of Rhodes is all on flame,
                   I hauld it time to ga'.
                                           --OLD BALLAD.

When Julian awaked the next morning, all was still and vacant in the
apartment. The rising sun, which shone through the half-closed
shutters, showed some relics of the last night's banquet, which his
confused and throbbing head assured him had been carried into a
debauch.

Without being much of a boon companion, Julian, like other young men
of the time, was not in the habit of shunning wine, which was then
used in considerable quantities; and he could not help being
surprised, that the few cups he had drunk over night had produced on
his frame the effects of excess. He rose up, adjusted his dress, and
sought in the apartment for water to perform his morning ablutions,
but without success. Wine there was on the table; and beside it one
stool stood, and another lay, as if thrown down in the heedless riot
of the evening. "Surely," he thought to himself, "the wine must have
been very powerful, which rendered me insensible to the noise my
companions must have made ere they finished their carouse."

With momentary suspicion he examined his weapons, and the packet which
he had received from the Countess, and kept in a secret pocket of his
upper coat, bound close about his person. All was safe; and the very
operation reminded him of the duties which lay before him. He left the
apartment where they had supped, and went into another, wretched
enough, where, in a truckle-bed, were stretched two bodies, covered
with a rug, the heads belonging to which were amicably deposited upon
the same truss of hay. The one was the black shock-head of the groom;
the other, graced with a long thrum nightcap, showed a grizzled pate,
and a grave caricatured countenance, which the hook-nose and lantern-
jaws proclaimed to belong to the Gallic minister of good cheer, whose
praises he had heard sung forth on the preceding evening. These
worthies seemed to have slumbered in the arms of Bacchus as well as
of Morpheus, for there were broken flasks on the floor; and their deep
snoring alone showed that they were alive.

Bent upon resuming his journey, as duty and expedience alike dictated,
Julian next descended the trap-stair, and essayed a door at the bottom
of the steps. It was fastened within. He called--no answer was
returned. It must be, he thought, the apartment of the revellers, now
probably sleeping as soundly as their dependants still slumbered, and
as he himself had done a few minutes before. Should he awake them?--To
what purpose? They were men with whom accident had involved him
against his own will; and situated as he was, he thought it wise to
take the earliest opportunity of breaking off from society which was
suspicious, and might be perilous. Ruminating thus, he essayed another
door, which admitted him to a bedroom, where lay another harmonious
slumberer. The mean utensils, pewter measures, empty cans and casks,
with which this room was lumbered, proclaimed it that of the host, who
slept surrounded by his professional implements of hospitality and
stock-in-trade.

This discovery relieved Peveril from some delicate embarrassment which
he had formerly entertained. He put upon the table a piece of money,
sufficient, as he judged, to pay his share of the preceding night's
reckoning; not caring to be indebted for his entertainment to the
strangers, whom he was leaving without the formality of an adieu.

His conscience cleared of this gentleman-like scruple, Peveril
proceeded with a light heart, though somewhat a dizzy head, to the
stable, which he easily recognised among a few other paltry outhouses.
His horse, refreshed with rest, and perhaps not unmindful of his
services the evening before, neighed as his master entered the stable;
and Peveril accepted the sound as an omen of a prosperous journey. He
paid the augury with a sieveful of corn; and, while his palfrey
profited by his attention, walked into the fresh air to cool his
heated blood, and consider what course he should pursue in order to
reach the Castle of Martindale before sunset. His acquaintance with
the country in general gave him confidence that he could not have
greatly deviated from the nearest road; and with his horse in good
condition, he conceived he might easily reach Martindale before
nightfall.

Having adjusted his route in his mind, he returned into the stable to
prepare his steed for the journey, and soon led him into the ruinous
courtyard of the inn, bridled, saddled, and ready to be mounted. But
as Peveril's hand was upon the mane, and his left foot in the stirrup,
a hand touched his cloak, and the voice of Ganlesse said, "What,
Master Peveril, is this your foreign breeding? or have you learned in
France to take French leave of your friends?"

Julian started like a guilty thing, although a moment's reflection
assured him that he was neither wrong nor in danger. "I cared not to
disturb you," he said, "although I did come as far as the door of your
chamber. I supposed your friend and you might require, after our last
night's revel, rather sleep than ceremony. I left my own bed, though a
rough one, with more reluctance than usual; and as my occasions oblige
me to be an early traveller, I thought it best to depart without
leave-taking. I have left a token for mine host on the table of his
apartment."

"It was unnecessary," said Ganlesse; "the rascal is already overpaid.
--But are you not rather premature in your purpose of departing? My
mind tells me that Master Julian Peveril had better proceed with me to
London, than turn aside for any purpose whatever. You may see already
that I am no ordinary person, but a master-spirit of the time. For the
cuckoo I travel with, and whom I indulge in his prodigal follies, he
also has his uses. But you are a different cast; and I not only would
serve you, but even wish you, to be my own."

Julian gazed on this singular person when he spoke. We have already
said his figure was mean and slight, with very ordinary and unmarked
features, unless we were to distinguish the lightnings of a keen grey
eye, which corresponded in its careless and prideful glance, with the
haughty superiority which the stranger assumed in his conversation. It
was not till after a momentary pause that Julian replied, "Can you
wonder, sir, that in my circumstances--if they are indeed known to you
so well as they seem--I should decline unnecessary confidence on the
affairs of moment which have called me hither, or refuse the company
of a stranger, who assigns no reason for desiring mine?"

"Be it as you list, young man," answered Ganlesse; "only remember
hereafter, you had a fair offer--it is not every one to whom I would
have made it. If we should meet hereafter, on other, and on worse
terms, impute it to yourself and not to me."

"I understand not your threat," answered Peveril, "If a threat be
indeed implied. I have done no evil--I feel no apprehension--and I
cannot, in common sense, conceive why I should suffer for refusing my
confidence to a stranger, who seems to require that I should submit me
blindfold to his guidance."

"Farewell, then, Sir Julian of the Peak,--that may soon be," said the
stranger, removing the hand which he had as yet left carelessly on the
horse's bridle.

"How mean you by that phrase?" said Julian; "and why apply such a
title to me?"

The stranger smiled, and only answered, "Here our conference ends. The
way is before you. You will find it longer and rougher than that by
which I would have guided you."

So saying, Ganlesse turned his back and walked toward the house. On
the threshold he turned about once more, and seeing that Peveril had
not yet moved from the spot, he again smiled and beckoned to him; but
Julian, recalled by that sign to recollection, spurred his horse and
set forward on his journey.

It was not long ere his local acquaintance with the country enabled
him to regain the road to Martindale, from which he had diverged on
the preceding evening for about two miles. But the roads, or rather
the paths, of this wild country, so much satirised by their native
poet, Cotton, were so complicated in some places, so difficult to be
traced in others, and so unfit for hasty travelling in almost all,
that in spite of Julian's utmost exertions, and though he made no
longer delay upon the journey than was necessary to bait his horse at
a small hamlet through which he passed at noon, it was nightfall ere
he reached an eminence, from which, an hour sooner, the battlements of
Martindale Castle would have been visible; and where, when they were
hid in night, their situation was indicated by a light constantly
maintained in a lofty tower, called the Warder's Turret; and which
domestic beacon had acquired, through all the neighbourhood, the name
of Peveril's Polestar.

This was regularly kindled at curfew toll, and supplied with as much
wood and charcoal as maintained the light till sunrise; and at no
period was the ceremonial omitted, saving during the space intervening
between the death of a Lord of the Castle and his interment. When this
last event had taken place, the nightly beacon was rekindled with some
ceremony, and continued till fate called the successor to sleep with
his fathers. It is not known from which circumstance the practice of
maintaining this light originally sprung. Tradition spoke of it
doubtfully. Some thought it was the signal of general hospitality,
which, in ancient times, guided the wandering knight, or the weary
pilgrim, to rest and refreshment. Others spoke of it as a "love-
lighted watchfire," by which the provident anxiety of a former lady of
Martindale guided her husband homeward through the terrors of a
midnight storm. The less favourable construction of unfriendly
neighbours of the dissenting persuasion, ascribed the origin and
continuance of this practice to the assuming pride of the family of
Peveril, who thereby chose to intimate their ancient /suzerainté/ over
the whole country, in the manner of the admiral who carries the
lantern in the poop, for the guidance of the fleet. And in the former
times, our old friend, Master Solsgrace, dealt from the pulpit many a
hard hit against Sir Geoffrey, as he that had raised his horn, and set
up his candlestick on high. Certain it is, that all the Peverils, from
father to son, had been especially attentive to the maintenance of
this custom, as something intimately connected with the dignity of
their family; and in the hands of Sir Geoffrey, the observance was not
likely to be omitted.

Accordingly, the polar-star of Peveril had continued to beam more or
less brightly during all the vicissitudes of the Civil War; and
glimmered, however faintly, during the subsequent period of Sir
Geoffrey's depression. But he was often heard to say, and sometimes to
swear, that while there was a perch of woodland left to the estate,
the old beacon-grate should not lack replenishing. All this his son
Julian well knew; and therefore it was with no ordinary feelings of
surprise and anxiety, that, looking in the direction of the Castle, he
perceived that the light was not visible. He halted--rubbed his eyes--
shifted his position--and endeavoured, in vain, to persuade himself
that he had mistaken the point from which the polar-star of his house
was visible, or that some newly intervening obstacle, the growth of a
plantation, perhaps, or the erection of some building, intercepted the
light of the beacon. But a moment's reflection assured him, that from
the high and free situation which Martindale Castle bore in reference
to the surrounding country, this could not have taken place; and the
inference necessarily forced itself upon his mind, that Sir Geoffrey,
his father, was either deceased, or that the family must have been
disturbed by some strange calamity, under the pressure of which, their
wonted custom and solemn usage had been neglected.

Under the influence of undefinable apprehension, young Peveril now
struck the spurs into his jaded steed, and forcing him down the broken
and steep path, at a pace which set safety at defiance, he arrived at
the village of Martindale-Moultrassie, eagerly desirous to ascertain
the cause of this ominous eclipse. The street, through which his tired
horse paced slow and reluctantly, was now deserted and empty; and
scarcely a candle twinkled from a casement, except from the latticed
window of the little inn, called the Peveril Arms, from which a broad
light shone, and several voices were heard in rude festivity.

Before the door of this inn, the jaded palfrey, guided by the instinct
or experience which makes a hackney well acquainted with the outside
of a house of entertainment, made so sudden and determined a pause,
that, notwithstanding his haste, the rider thought it best to
dismount, expecting to be readily supplied with a fresh horse by Roger
Raine, the landlord, the ancient dependant of his family. He also
wished to relive his anxiety, by inquiring concerning the state of
things at the Castle, when he was surprised to hear, bursting from the
taproom of the loyal old host, a well-known song of the Commonwealth
time, which some puritanical wag had written in reprehension of the
Cavaliers, and their dissolute courses, and in which his father came
in for a lash of the satirist.

 "Ye thought in the world there was no power to tame ye,
  So you tippled and drabb'd till the saints overcame ye;
  'Forsooth,' and 'Ne'er stir,' sir, have vanquish'd 'G-- d--n me,'
                                      Which nobody can deny.

  There was bluff old Sir Geoffrey loved brandy and mum well,
  And to see a beer-glass turned over the thumb well;
  But he fled like the wind, before Fairfax and Cromwell,
                                      Which nobody can deny."

Some strange revolution, Julian was aware, must have taken place, both
in the village and in the Castle, ere these sounds of unseemly insult
could have been poured forth in the very inn which was decorated with
the armorial bearings of his family; and not knowing how far it might
be advisable to intrude on these unfriendly revellers, without the
power of repelling or chastising their insolence, he led his horse to
a back-door, which as he recollected, communicated with the landlord's
apartment, having determined to make private inquiry of him concerning
the state of matters at the Castle. He knocked repeatedly, and as
often called on Roger Raine with an earnest but stifled voice. At
length a female voice replied by the usual inquiry, "Who is there?"

"It is I, Dame Raine--I, Julian Peveril--tell your husband to come to
me presently."

"Alack, and a well-a-day, Master Julian, if it be really you--you are
to know my poor goodman has gone where he can come to no one; but,
doubtless, we shall all go to him, as Matthew Chamberlain says."

"He is dead, then?" said Julian. "I am extremely sorry----"

"Dead six months and more, Master Julian; and let me tell you, it is a
long time for a lone woman, as Matt Chamberlain says."

"Well, do you or your chamberlain undo the door. I want a fresh horse;
and I want to know how things are at the Castle."

"The Castle--lack-a-day!--Chamberlain--Matthew Chamberlain--I say,
Matt!"

Matt Chamberlain apparently was at no great distance, for he presently
answered her call; and Peveril, as he stood close to the door, could
hear them whispering to each other, and distinguish in a great measure
what they said. And here it may be noticed, that Dame Raine,
accustomed to submit to the authority of old Roger, who vindicated as
well the husband's domestic prerogative, as that of the monarch in the
state, had, when left a buxom widow, been so far incommoded by the
exercise of her newly acquired independence, that she had recourse,
upon all occasions, to the advice of Matt Chamberlain; and as Matt
began no longer to go slipshod, and in a red nightcap, but wore
Spanish shoes, and a high-crowned beaver (at least of a Sunday), and
moreover was called Master Matthew by his fellow-servants, the
neighbours in the village argued a speedy change of the name of the
sign-post; nay, perhaps, of the very sign itself, for Matthew was a
bit of a Puritan, and no friend to Peveril of the Peak.

"Now counsel me, an you be a man, Matt Chamberlain," said Widow Raine;
"for never stir, if here be not Master Julian's own self, and he wants
a horse, and what not, and all as if things were as they wont to be."

"Why, dame, an ye will walk by my counsel," said the Chamberlain,
"e'en shake him off--let him be jogging while his boots are green.
This is no world for folks to scald their fingers in other folks'
broth."

"And that is well spoken, truly," answered Dame Raine; "but then look
you, Matt, we have eaten their bread, and, as my poor goodman used to
say----"

"Nay, nay, dame, they that walk by the counsel of the dead, shall have
none of the living; and so you may do as you list; but if you will
walk by mine, drop latch, and draw bolt, and bid him seek quarters
farther--that is my counsel."

"I desire nothing of you, sirrah," said Peveril, "save but to know how
Sir Geoffrey and his lady do?"

"Lack-a-day!--lack-a-day!" in a tone of sympathy, was the only answer
he received from the landlady; and the conversation betwixt her and
her chamberlain was resumed, but in a tone too low to be overheard.

At length Matt Chamberlain spoke aloud, and with a tone of authority:
"We undo no doors at this time of night, for it is against the
Justices' orders, and might cost us our licence; and for the Castle,
the road up to it lies before you, and I think you know it as well as
we do."

"And I know you," said Peveril, remounting his wearied horse, "for an
ungrateful churl, whom, on the first opportunity, I will assuredly
cudgel to a mummy."

To this menace Matthew made no reply, and Peveril presently heard him
leave the apartment, after a few earnest words betwixt him and his
mistress.

Impatient at this delay, and at the evil omen implied in these
people's conversation and deportment, Peveril, after some vain
spurring of his horse, which positively refused to move a step
farther, dismounted once more, and was about to pursue his journey on
foot, notwithstanding the extreme disadvantage under which the high
riding-boots of the period laid those who attempted to walk with such
encumbrances, when he was stopped by a gentle call from the window.

Her counsellor was no sooner gone, than the good-nature and habitual
veneration of the dame for the house of Peveril, and perhaps some fear
for her counsellor's bones, induced her to open the casement, and cry,
but in a low and timid tone, "Hist! hist! Master Julian--be you gone?"

"Not yet, dame," said Julian; "though it seems my stay is unwelcome."

"Nay, but good young master, it is because men counsel so differently;
for here was my poor old Roger Raine would have thought the chimney
corner too cold for you; and here is Matt Chamberlain thinks the cold
courtyard is warm enough."

"Never mind that, dame," said Julian; "do but only tell me what has
happened at Martindale Castle? I see the beacon is extinguished."

"Is it in troth?--ay, like enough--then good Sir Geoffrey has gone to
heaven with my old Roger Raine!"

"Sacred Heaven!" exclaimed Peveril; "when was my father taken ill?"

"Never as I knows of," said the dame; "but, about three hours since,
arrived a party at the Castle, with buff-coats and bandoleers, and one
of the Parliament's folks, like in Oliver's time. My old Roger Raine
would have shut the gates of the inn against them, but he is in the
churchyard, and Matt says it is against law; and so they came in and
refreshed men and horses, and sent for Master Bridgenorth, that is at
Moultrassie Hall even now; and so they went up to the Castle, and
there was a fray, it is like, as the old Knight was no man to take
napping, as poor Roger Raine used to say. Always the officers had the
best on't; and reason there is, since they had the law of their side,
as our Matthew says. But since the pole-star of the Castle is out, as
your honour says, why, doubtless, the old gentleman is dead."

"Gracious Heaven!--Dear dame, for love or gold, let me have a horse to
make for the Castle!"

"The Castle?" said the dame; "the Roundheads, as my poor Roger called
them, will kill you as they have killed your father! Better creep into
the woodhouse, and I will send Bett with a blanket and some supper--Or
stay--my old Dobbin stands in the little stable beside the hencoop--
e'en take him, and make the best of your way out of the country, for
there is no safety here for you. Hear what songs some of them are
singing at the tap!--so take Dobbin, and do not forget to leave your
own horse instead."

Peveril waited to hear no farther, only, that just as he turned to go
off to the stable, the compassionate female was heard to exclaim--"O
Lord! what will Matthew Chamberlain say!" but instantly added, "Let
him say what he will, I may dispose of what's my own."

With the haste of a double-fee'd hostler did Julian exchange the
equipments of his jaded brute with poor Dobbin, who stood quietly
tugging at his rackful of hay, without dreaming of the business which
was that night destined for him. Notwithstanding the darkness of the
place, Julian succeeded marvellous quickly in preparing for his
journey; and leaving his own horse to find its way to Dobbin's rack by
instinct, he leaped upon his new acquisition, and spurred him sharply
against the hill, which rises steeply from the village to the Castle.
Dobbin, little accustomed to such exertions, snorted, panted, and
trotted as briskly as he could, until at length he brought his rider
before the entrance-gate of his father's ancient seat.

The moon was now rising, but the portal was hidden from its beams,
being situated, as we have mentioned elsewhere, in a deep recess
betwixt two large flanking towers. Peveril dismounted, turned his
horse loose, and advanced to the gate, which, contrary to his
expectation, he found open. He entered the large courtyard; and could
then perceive that lights yet twinkled in the lower part of the
building, although he had not before observed them, owing to the
height of the outward walls. The main door, or great hall-gate, as it
was called, was, since the partially decayed state of the family,
seldom opened, save on occasions of particular ceremony. A smaller
postern door served the purpose of ordinary entrance; and to that
Julian now repaired. This also was open--a circumstance which would of
itself have alarmed him, had he not already had so many causes for
apprehension. His heart sunk within him as he turned to the left,
through a small outward hall, towards the great parlour, which the
family usually occupied as a sitting apartment; and his alarm became
still greater, when, on a nearer approach, he heard proceeding from
thence the murmur of several voices. He threw the door of the
apartment wide; and the sight which was thus displayed, warranted all
the evil bodings which he had entertained.

In front of him stood the old Knight, whose arms were strongly
secured, over the elbows, by a leathern belt drawn tight round them,
and made fast behind; two ruffianly-looking men, apparently his
guards, had hold of his doublet. The scabbard-less sword which lay on
the floor, and the empty sheath which hung by Sir Geoffrey's side,
showed the stout old Cavalier had not been reduced to this state of
bondage without an attempt at resistance. Two or three persons, having
their backs turned towards Julian, sat round a table, and appeared
engaged in writing--the voices which he had heard were theirs, as they
murmured to each other. Lady Peveril--the emblem of death, so pallid
was her countenance--stood at the distance of a yard or two from her
husband, upon whom her eyes were fixed with an intenseness of gaze,
like that of one who looks her last on the object which she loves the
best. She was the first to perceive Julian; and she exclaimed,
"Merciful Heaven!--my son!--the misery of our house is complete!"

"My son!" echoed Sir Geoffrey, starting from the sullen state of
dejection, and swearing a deep oath--"thou art come in the right time,
Julian. Strike me one good blow--cleave me that traitorous thief from
the crown to the brisket! and that done, I care not what comes next."

The sight of his father's situation made the son forget the inequality
of the contest which he was about to provoke.

"Villains," he said, "unhand him!" and rushing on the guards with his
drawn sword, compelled them to let go Sir Geoffrey, and stand on their
own defence.

Sir Geoffrey, thus far liberated, shouted to his lady. "Undo the belt,
dame, and we will have three good blows for it yet--they must fight
well that beat both father and son."

But one of those men who had started up from the writing-table when
the fray commenced, prevented Lady Peveril from rendering her husband
this assistance; while another easily mastered the hampered Knight,
though not without receiving several severe kicks from his heavy boots
--his condition permitting him no other mode of defence. A third, who
saw that Julian, young, active, and animated with the fury of a son
who fights for his parents, was compelling the two guards to give
ground, seized on his collar, and attempted to master his sword.
Suddenly dropping that weapon, and snatching one of his pistols,
Julian fired it at the head of the person by whom he was thus
assailed. He did not drop, but, staggering back as if he had received
a severe blow, showed Peveril, as he sunk into a chair, the features
of old Bridgenorth, blackened with the explosion, which had even set
fire to a part of his grey hair. A cry of astonishment escaped from
Julian; and in the alarm and horror of the moment, he was easily
secured and disarmed by those with whom he had been at first engaged.

"Heed it not, Julian," said Sir Geoffrey; "heed it not, my brave boy--
that shot has balanced all accounts!--but how--what the devil--he
lives!--Was your pistol loaded with chaff? or has the foul fiend given
him proof against lead?"

There was some reason for Sir Geoffrey's surprise, since, as he spoke,
Major Bridgenorth collected himself--sat up in the chair as one who
recovers from a stunning blow--then rose, and wiping with his
handkerchief the marks of the explosion from his face, he approached
Julian, and said, in the same cold unaltered tone in which he usually
expressed himself, "Young man, you have reason to bless God, who has
this day saved you from the commission of a great crime."

"Bless the devil, ye crop-eared knave!" exclaimed Sir Geoffrey; "for
nothing less than the father of all fanatics saved your brains from
being blown about like the rinsings of Beelzebub's porridge pot!"

"Sir Geoffrey," said Major Bridgenorth, "I have already told you, that
with you I will hold no argument; for to you I am not accountable for
any of my actions."

"Master Bridgenorth," said the lady, making a strong effort to speak,
and to speak with calmness, "whatever revenge your Christian state of
conscience may permit you to take on my husband--I--I, who have some
right to experience compassion at your hand, for most sincerely did I
compassionate you when the hand of Heaven was heavy on you--I implore
you not to involve my son in our common ruin!--Let the destruction of
the father and mother, with the ruin of our ancient house, satisfy
your resentment for any wrong which you have ever received at my
husband's hand."

"Hold your peace, housewife," said the Knight, "you speak like a fool,
and meddle with what concerns you not.--Wrong at /my/ hand? The
cowardly knave has ever had but even too much right. Had I cudgelled
the cur soundly when he first bayed at me, the cowardly mongrel had
been now crouching at my feet, instead of flying at my throat. But if
I get through this action, as I have got through worse weather, I will
pay off old scores, as far as tough crab-tree and cold iron will bear
me out."

"Sir Geoffrey," replied Bridgenorth, "if the birth you boast of has
made you blind to better principles, it might have at least taught you
civility. What do you complain of? I am a magistrate; and I execute a
warrant, addressed to me by the first authority in that state. I am a
creditor also of yours; and law arms me with powers to recover my own
property from the hands of an improvident debtor."

"You a magistrate!" said the Knight; "much such a magistrate as Noll
was a monarch. Your heart is up, I warrant, because you have the
King's pardon; and are replaced on the bench, forsooth, to persecute
the poor Papist. There was never turmoil in the state, but knaves had
their vantage by it--never pot boiled, but the scum was cast
uppermost."

"For God's sake, my dearest husband," said Lady Peveril, "cease this
wild talk! It can but incense Master Bridgenorth, who might otherwise
consider, that in common charity----"

"Incense him!" said Sir Geoffrey, impatiently interrupting her;
"God's-death, madam, you will drive me mad! Have you lived so long in
this world, and yet expect consideration and charity from an old
starved wolf like that? And if he had it, do you think that I, or you,
madam, as my wife, are subjects for his charity?--Julian, my poor
fellow, I am sorry thou hast come so unluckily, since thy petronel was
not better loaded--but thy credit is lost for ever as a marksman."

This angry colloquy passed so rapidly on all sides, that Julian,
scarce recovered from the extremity of astonishment with which he was
overwhelmed at finding himself suddenly plunged into a situation of
such extremity, had no time to consider in what way he could most
effectually act for the succour of his parents. To speak to
Bridgenorth fair seemed the more prudent course; but to this his pride
could hardly stoop; yet he forced himself to say, with as much
calmness as he could assume,

"Master Bridgenorth, since you act as a magistrate, I desire to be
treated according to the laws of England; and demand to know of what
we are accused, and by whose authority we are arrested?"

"Here is another howlet for ye!" exclaimed the impetuous old Knight;
"his mother speaks to a Puritan of charity; and thou must talk of law
to a round-headed rebel, with a wannion to you! What warrant hath he,
think ye, beyond the Parliament's or the devil's?"

"Who speaks of the Parliament?" said a person entering, whom Peveril
recognised as the official person whom he had before seen at the
horse-dealer's, and who now bustled in with all the conscious dignity
of plenary authority,--"Who talks of the Parliament?" he exclaimed. "I
promise you, enough has been found in this house to convict twenty
plotters--Here be arms, and that good store. Bring them in, Captain."

"The very same," exclaimed the Captain, approaching, "which I mention
in my printed Narrative of Information, lodged before the Honourable
House of Commons; they were commissioned from old Vander Huys of
Rotterdam, by orders of Don John of Austria, for the service of the
Jesuits."

"Now, by this light," said Sir Geoffrey, "they are the pikes,
musketoons, and pistols, that have been hidden in the garret ever
since Naseby fight!"

"And here," said the Captain's yoke-fellow, Everett, "are proper
priest's trappings--antiphoners, and missals, and copes, I warrant
you--ay, and proper pictures, too, for Papists to mutter and bow
over."

"Now plague on thy snuffling whine," said Sir Geoffrey; "here is a
rascal will swear my grandmother's old farthingale to be priest's
vestments, and the story book of Owlenspiegel a Popish missal!"

"But how's this, Master Bridgenorth?" said Topham, addressing the
magistrate; "your honour has been as busy as we have; and you have
caught another knave while we recovered these toys."

"I think, sir," said Julian, "if you look into your warrant, which, if
I mistake not, names the persons whom you are directed to arrest, you
will find you have not title to apprehend me."

"Sir," said the officer, puffing with importance, "I do not know who
you are; but I would you were the best man in England, that I might
teach you the respect due to the warrant of the House. Sir, there
steps not the man within the British seas, but I will arrest him on
authority of this bit of parchment; and I do arrest you accordingly.--
What do you accuse him of, gentlemen?"

Dangerfield swaggered forward, and peeping under Julian's hat, "Stop
my vital breath," he exclaimed, "but I have seen you before, my
friend, an I could but think where; but my memory is not worth a bean,
since I have been obliged to use it so much of late, in the behalf of
the poor state. But I do know the fellow; and I have seen him amongst
the Papists--, I'll take that on my assured damnation."

"Why, Captain Dangerfield," said the Captain's smoother, but more
dangerous associate,--"verily, it is the same youth whom we saw at the
horse-merchant's yesterday; and we had matter against him then, only
Master Topham did not desire us to bring it out."

"Ye may bring out what ye will against him now," said Topham, "for he
hath blasphemed the warrant of the House. I think ye said ye saw him
somewhere."

"Ay, verily," said Everett, "I have seen him amongst the seminary
pupils at Saint Omer's--he was who but he with the regents there."

"Nay, Master Everett, collect yourself," said Topham; "for as I think,
you said you saw him at a consult of the Jesuits in London."

"It was I said so, Master Topham," said the undaunted Dangerfield;
"and mine is the tongue that will swear it."

"Good Master Topham," said Bridgenorth, "you may suspend farther
inquiry at present, as it doth but fatigue and perplex the memory of
the King's witnesses."

"You are wrong, Master Bridgenorth--clearly wrong. It doth but keep
them in wind--only breathes them like greyhounds before a coursing
match."

"Be it so," said Bridgenorth, with his usual indifference of manner;
"but at present this youth must stand committed upon a warrant, which
I will presently sign, of having assaulted me while in discharge of my
duty as a magistrate, for the rescue of a person legally attached. Did
you not hear the report of a pistol?"

"I will swear to it," said Everett.

"And I," said Dangerfield. "While we were making search in the cellar,
I heard something very like a pistol-shot; but I conceived it to be
the drawing of a long-corked bottle of sack, to see whether there were
any Popish relics in the inside on't."

"A pistol-shot!" exclaimed Topham; "here might have been a second Sir
Edmondsbury Godfrey's matter.--Oh, thou real spawn of the red old
dragon! for he too would have resisted the House's warrant, had we not
taken him something at unawares.--Master Bridgenorth, you are a
judicious magistrate, and a worthy servant of the state--I would we
had many such sound Protestant justices. Shall I have this young
fellow away with his parents--what think you?--or will you keep him
for re-examination?"

"Master Bridgenorth," said Lady Peveril, in spite of her husband's
efforts to interrupt her, "for God's sake, if ever you knew what it
was to love one of the many children you have lost, or her who is now
left to you, do not pursue your vengeance to the blood of my poor boy!
I will forgive you all the rest--all the distress you have wrought--
all the yet greater misery with which you threaten us; but do not be
extreme with one who never can have offended you! Believe, that if
your ears are shut against the cry of a despairing mother, those which
are open to the complaint of all who sorrow, will hear my petition and
your answer!"

The agony of mind and of voice with which Lady Peveril uttered these
words, seemed to thrill through all present, though most of them were
but too much inured to such scenes. Every one was silent, when,
ceasing to speak, she fixed on Bridgenorth her eyes, glistening with
tears, with the eager anxiety of one whose life or death seemed to
depend upon the answer to be returned. Even Bridgenorth's
inflexibility seemed to be shaken; and his voice was tremulous, as he
answered, "Madam, I would to God I had the present means of relieving
your great distress, otherwise than by recommending to you a reliance
upon Providence; and that you take heed to your spirit, that it murmur
not under this crook in your lot. For me, I am but as a rod in the
hand of the strong man, which smites not of itself, but because it is
wielded by the arm of him who holds the same."

"Even as I and my black rod are guided by the Commons of England,"
said Master Topham, who seemed marvellously pleased with the
illustration.

Julian now thought it time to say something in his own behalf; and he
endeavoured to temper it with as much composure as it was possible for
him to assume. "Master Bridgenorth," he said, "I neither dispute your
authority, nor this gentleman's warrant----"

"You do not?" said Topham. "Oh, ho, master youngster, I thought we
should bring you to your senses presently!"

"Then, if you so will it, Master Topham," said Bridgenorth, "thus it
shall be. You shall set out with early day, taking you, towards
London, the persons of Sir Geoffrey and Lady Peveril; and that they
may travel according to their quality, you will allow them their
coach, sufficiently guarded."

"I will travel with them myself," said Topham; "for these rough
Derbyshire roads are no easy riding; and my very eyes are weary with
looking on these bleak hills. In the coach I can sleep as sound as if
I were in the House, and Master Bodderbrains on his legs."

"It will become you so to take your ease, Master Topham," answered
Bridgenorth. "For this youth, I will take him under my charge, and
bring him up myself."

"I may not be answerable for that, worthy Master Bridgenorth," said
Topham, "since he comes within the warrant of the House."

"Nay, but," said Bridgenorth, "he is only under custody for an
assault, with the purpose of a rescue; and I counsel you against
meddling with him, unless you have stronger guard. Sir Geoffrey is now
old and broken, but this young fellow is in the flower of his youth,
and hath at his beck all the debauched young Cavaliers of the
neighbourhood--You will scarce cross the country without a rescue."

Topham eyed Julian wistfully, as a spider may be supposed to look upon
a stray wasp which has got into his web, and which he longs to secure,
though he fears the consequences of attempting him.

Julian himself replied, "I know not if this separation be well or ill
meant on your part, Master Bridgenorth; but on mine, I am only
desirous to share the fate of my parents; and therefore I will give my
word of honour to attempt neither rescue nor escape, on condition you
do not separate me from them."

"Do not say so, Julian," said his mother; "abide with Master
Bridgenorth--my mind tells me he cannot mean so ill by us as his rough
conduct would now lead us to infer."

"And I," said Sir Geoffrey, "know, that between the doors of my
father's house and the gates of hell, there steps not such a villain
on the ground! And if I wish my hands ever to be unbound again, it is
because I hope for one downright blow at a grey head, that has hatched
more treason than the whole Long Parliament."

"Away with thee," said the zealous officer; "is Parliament a word for
so foul a mouth as thine?--Gentlemen," he added, turning to Everett
and Dangerfield, "you will bear witness to this."

"To his having reviled the House of Commons--by G--d, that I will!"
said Dangerfield; "I will take it on my damnation."

"And verily," said Everett, "as he spoke of Parliament generally, he
hath contemned the House of Lords also."

"Why, ye poor insignificant wretches," said Sir Geoffrey, "whose very
life is a lie--and whose bread is perjury--would you pervert my
innocent words almost as soon as they have quitted my lips? I tell you
the country is well weary of you; and should Englishmen come to their
senses, the jail, the pillory, the whipping-post, and the gibbet, will
be too good preferment for such base blood-suckers.--And now, Master
Bridgenorth, you and they may do your worst; for I will not open my
mouth to utter a single word while I am in the company of such
knaves."

"Perhaps, Sir Geoffrey," answered Bridgenorth, "you would better have
consulted your own safety in adopting that resolution a little sooner
--the tongue is a little member, but it causes much strife.--You,
Master Julian, will please to follow me, and without remonstrance or
resistance; for you must be aware that I have the means of
compelling."

Julian was, indeed, but too sensible, that he had no other course but
that of submission to superior force; but ere he left the apartment,
he kneeled down to receive his father's blessing, which the old man
bestowed not without a tear in his eye, and in the emphatic words,
"God bless thee, my boy; and keep thee good and true to Church and
King, whatever wind shall bring foul weather!"

His mother was only able to pass her hand over his head, and to
implore him, in a low tone of voice, not to be rash or violent in any
attempt to render them assistance. "We are innocent," she said, "my
son--we are innocent--and we are in God's hands. Be the thought our
best comfort and protection."

Bridgenorth now signed to Julian to follow him, which he did,
accompanied, or rather conducted, by the two guards who had first
disarmed him. When they had passed from the apartment, and were at the
door of the outward hall, Bridgenorth asked Julian whether he should
consider him as under parole; in which case, he said, he would
dispense with all other security but his own promise.

Peveril, who could not help hoping somewhat from the favourable and
unresentful manner in which he was treated by one whose life he had so
recently attempted, replied, without hesitation, that he would give
his parole for twenty-four hours, neither to attempt to escape by
force nor by flight.

"It is wisely said," replied Bridgenorth; "for though you might cause
bloodshed, be assured that your utmost efforts could do no service to
your parents.--Horses there--horses to the courtyard!"

The trampling of horses was soon heard; and in obedience to
Bridgenorth's signal, and in compliance with his promise, Julian
mounted one which was presented to him, and prepared to leave the
house of his fathers, in which his parents were now prisoners, and to
go, he knew not whither, under the custody of one known to be the
ancient enemy of his family. He was rather surprised at observing,
that Bridgenorth and he were about to travel without any other
attendants.

When they were mounted, and as they rode slowly towards the outer gate
of the courtyard, Bridgenorth said to him, "it is not every one who
would thus unreservedly commit his safety by travelling at night, and
unaided, with the hot-brained youth who so lately attempted his life."

"Master Bridgenorth," said Julian, "I might tell you truly, that I
knew you not at the time when I directed my weapon against you; but I
must also add, that the cause in which I used it, might have rendered
me, even had I known you, a slight respecter of your person. At
present, I do know you; and have neither malice against your person,
nor the liberty of a parent to fight for. Besides, you have my word;
and when was a Peveril known to break it?"

"Ay," replied his companion, "a Peveril--a Peveril of the Peak!--a
name which has long sounded like a war-trumpet in the land; but which
has now perhaps sounded its last loud note. Look back, young man, on
the darksome turrets of your father's house, which uplift themselves
above the sons of their people. Think upon your father, a captive--
yourself in some sort a fugitive--your light quenched--your glory
abased--your estate wrecked and impoverished. Think that Providence
has subjected the destinies of the race of Peveril to one, whom, in
their aristocratic pride, they held as a plebeian upstart. Think of
this; and when you again boast of your ancestry, remember, that he who
raiseth the lowly can also abase the high in heart."

Julian did indeed gaze for an instant, with a swelling heart, upon the
dimly seen turrets of his paternal mansion, on which poured the
moonlight, mixed with long shadows of the towers and trees. But while
he sadly acknowledged the truth of Bridgenorth's observation, he felt
indignant at his ill-timed triumph. "If fortune had followed worth,"
he said, "the Castle of Martindale, and the name of Peveril, had
afforded no room for their enemy's vainglorious boast. But those who
have stood high on Fortune's wheel, must abide by the consequence of
its revolutions. This much I will at least say for my father's house,
that it has not stood unhonoured; nor will it fall--if it is to fall--
unlamented. Forbear, then, if you are indeed the Christian you call
yourself, to exult in the misfortunes of others, or to confide in your
own prosperity. If the light of our house be now quenched, God can
rekindle it in His own good time."

Peveril broke off in extreme surprise; for as he spake the last words,
the bright red beams of the family beacon began again to glimmer from
its wonted watch-tower, checkering the pale moonbeam with a ruddier
glow. Bridgenorth also gazed on this unexpected illumination with
surprise, and not, as it seemed, without disquietude. "Young man," he
resumed, "it can scarcely be but that Heaven intends to work great
things by your hand, so singularly has that augury followed on your
words."

So saying, he put his horse once more in motion; and looking back,
from time to time, as if to assure himself that the beacon of the
Castle was actually rekindled, he led the way through the well-known
paths and alleys, to his own house of Moultrassie, followed by
Peveril, who although sensible that the light might be altogether
accidental, could not but receive as a good omen an event so
intimately connected with the traditions and usages of his family.

They alighted at the hall-door, which was hastily opened by a female;
and while the deep tone of Bridgenorth called on the groom to take
their horses, the well-known voice of his daughter Alice was heard to
exclaim in thanksgiving to God, who had restored her father in safety.



                             CHAPTER XXIV

        We meet, as men see phantoms in a dream,
        Which glide, and sigh, and sign, and move their lips,
        But make no sound; or, if they utter voice,
        'Tis but a low and undistinguish'd moaning,
        Which has nor word nor sense of utter'd sound.
                                               --THE CHIEFTAIN.

We said, at the conclusion of the last chapter, that a female form
appeared at the door of Moultrassie Hall; and that the well-known
accents of Alice Bridgenorth were heard to hail the return of her
father, from what she naturally dreaded as a perilous visit to the
Castle of Martindale.

Julian, who followed his conductor with a throbbing heart into the
lighted hall, was therefore prepared to see her whom he best loved,
with her arms thrown around her father. The instant she had quitted
his paternal embrace, she was aware of the unexpected guest who had
returned in his company. A deep blush, rapidly succeeded by a deadly
paleness, and again by a slighter suffusion, showed plainly to her
lover that his sudden appearance was anything but indifferent to her.
He bowed profoundly--a courtesy which she returned with equal
formality, but did not venture to approach more nearly, feeling at
once the delicacy of his own situation and of hers.

Major Bridgenorth turned his cold, fixed, grey, melancholy glance,
first on the one of them and then on the other. "Some," he said
gravely, "would, in my case, have avoided this meeting; but I have
confidence in you both, although you are young, and beset with the
snares incidental to your age. There are those within who should not
know that ye have been acquainted. Wherefore, be wise, and be as
strangers to each other."

Julian and Alice exchanged glances as her father turned from them, and
lifting a lamp which stood in the entrance-hall, led the way to the
interior apartment. There was little of consolation in this exchange
of looks; for the sadness of Alice's glance was mingled with fear, and
that of Julian clouded by an anxious sense of doubt. The look also was
but momentary; for Alice, springing to her father, took the light out
of his hand, and stepping before him, acted as the usher of both into
the large oaken parlour, which has been already mentioned as the
apartment in which Bridgenorth had spent the hours of dejection which
followed the death of his consort and family. It was now lighted up as
for the reception of company; and five or six persons sat in it, in
the plain, black, stiff dress, which was affected by the formal
Puritans of the time, in evidence of their contempt of the manners of
the luxurious Court of Charles the Second; amongst whom, excess of
extravagance in apparel, like excess of every other kind, was highly
fashionable.

Julian at first glanced his eyes but slightly along the range of grave
and severe faces which composed this society--men sincere, perhaps, in
their pretensions to a superior purity of conduct and morals, but in
whom that high praise was somewhat chastened by an affected austerity
in dress and manners, allied to those Pharisees of old, who made broad
their phylacteries, and would be seen of man to fast, and to discharge
with rigid punctuality the observances of the law. Their dress was
almost uniformly a black cloak and doublet, cut straight and close,
and undecorated with lace or embroidery of any kind, black Flemish
breeches and hose, square-toed shoes, with large roses made of serge
ribbon. Two or three had large loose boots of calf-leather, and almost
every one was begirt with a long rapier, which was suspended by
leathern thongs, to a plain belt of buff, or of black leather. One or
two of the elder guests, whose hair had been thinned by time, had
their heads covered with a skull-cap of black silk or velvet, which,
being drawn down betwixt the ears and the skull, and permitting no
hair to escape, occasioned the former to project in the ungraceful
manner which may be remarked in old pictures, and which procured for
the Puritans the term of "prickeared Roundheads," so unceremoniously
applied to them by their contemporaries.

These worthies were ranged against the wall, each in his ancient high-
backed, long-legged chair; neither looking towards, nor apparently
discoursing with each other; but plunged in their own reflections, or
awaiting, like an assembly of Quakers, the quickening power of divine
inspiration.

Major Bridgenorth glided along this formal society with noiseless
step, and a composed severity of manner, resembling their own. He
paused before each in succession, and apparently communicated, as he
passed, the transactions of the evening, and the circumstances under
which the heir of Martindale Castle was now a guest at Moultrassie
Hall. Each seemed to stir at his brief detail, like a range of statues
in an enchanted hall, starting into something like life, as a talisman
is applied to them successively. Most of them, as they heard the
narrative of their host, cast upon Julian a look of curiosity, blended
with haughty scorn and the consciousness of spiritual superiority;
though, in one or two instances, the milder influences of compassion
were sufficiently visible.--Peveril would have undergone this gantlet
of eyes with more impatience, had not his own been for the time
engaged in following the motions of Alice, who glided through the
apartment; and only speaking very briefly, and in whispers, to one or
two of the company who addressed her, took her place beside a treble-
hooded old lady, the only female of the party, and addressed herself
to her in such earnest conversation, as might dispense with her
raising her head, or looking at any others in the company.

Her father put a question, to which she was obliged to return an
answer--"Where was Mistress Debbitch?"

"She has gone out," Alice replied, "early after sunset, to visit some
old acquaintances in the neighbourhood, and she was not yet returned."

Major Bridgenorth made a gesture indicative of displeasure; and, not
content with that, expressed his determined resolution that Dame
Deborah should no longer remain a member of his family. "I will have
those," he said aloud, and without regarding the presence of his
guests, "and those only, around me, who know to keep within the sober
and modest bounds of a Christian family. Who pretends to more freedom,
must go out from among us, as not being of us."

A deep and emphatic humming noise, which was at that time the mode in
which the Puritans signified their applause, as well of the doctrines
expressed by a favourite divine in the pulpit, as of those delivered
in private society, ratified the approbation of the assessors, and
seemed to secure the dismission of the unfortunate governante, who
stood thus detected of having strayed out of bounds. Even Peveril,
although he had reaped considerable advantages, in his early
acquaintance with Alice, from the mercenary and gossiping disposition
of her governess, could not hear of her dismissal without
approbation, so much was he desirous, that, in the hour of difficulty
which might soon approach, Alice might have the benefit of countenance
and advice from one of her own sex of better manners, and less
suspicious probity, than Mistress Debbitch.

Almost immediately after this communication had taken place, a servant
in mourning showed his thin, pinched, and wrinkled visage in the
apartment, announcing, with a voice more like a passing bell than the
herald of a banquet, that refreshments were provided in an adjoining
apartment. Gravely leading the way, with his daughter on one side, and
the puritanical female whom we have distinguished on the other,
Bridgenorth himself ushered his company, who followed, with little
attention to order or ceremony, into the eating-room, where a
substantial supper was provided.

In this manner, Peveril, although entitled according to ordinary
ceremonial, to some degree of precedence--a matter at that time
considered of much importance, although now little regarded--was left
among the last of those who quitted the parlour; and might indeed have
brought up the rear of all, had not one of the company, who was
himself late in the retreat, bowed and resigned to Julian the rank in
the company which had been usurped by others.

This act of politeness naturally induced Julian to examine the
features of the person who had offered him this civility; and he
started to observe, under the pinched velvet cap, and above the short
band-strings, the countenance of Ganlesse, as he called himself--his
companion on the preceding evening. He looked again and again,
especially when all were placed at the supper board, and when,
consequently, he had frequent opportunities of observing this person
fixedly without any breach of good manners. At first he wavered in his
belief, and was much inclined to doubt the reality of his
recollection; for the difference of dress was such as to effect a
considerable change of appearance; and the countenance itself, far
from exhibiting anything marked or memorable, was one of those
ordinary visages which we see almost without remarking them, and which
leave our memory so soon as the object is withdrawn from our eyes. But
the impression upon his mind returned, and became stronger, until it
induced him to watch with peculiar attention the manners of the
individual who had thus attracted his notice.

During the time of a very prolonged grace before meat, which was
delivered by one of the company--who, from his Geneva band and serge
doublet, presided, as Julian supposed, over some dissenting
congregation--he noticed that this man kept the same demure and severe
cast of countenance usually affected by the Puritans, and which rather
caricatured the reverence unquestionably due upon such occasions. His
eyes were turned upward, and his huge penthouse hat, with a high crown
and broad brim, held in both hands before him, rose and fell with the
cadences of the speaker's voice; thus marking time, as it were, to the
periods of the benediction. Yet when the slight bustle took place
which attends the adjusting of chairs, &c., as men sit down to table,
Julian's eye encountered that of the stranger; and as their looks met,
there glanced from those of the latter an expression of satirical
humour and scorn, which seemed to intimate internal ridicule of the
gravity of his present demeanour.

Julian again sought to fix his eye, in order to ascertain that he had
not mistaken the tendency of this transient expression, but the
stranger did not allow him another opportunity. He might have been
discovered by the tone of his voice; but the individual in question
spoke little, and in whispers, which was indeed the fashion of the
whole company, whose demeanour at table resembled that of mourners at
a funeral feast.

The entertainment itself was coarse, though plentiful; and must,
according to Julian's opinion, be distasteful to one so exquisitely
skilled in good cheer, and so capable of enjoying, critically and
scientifically, the genial preparations of his companion Smith, as
Ganlesse had shown himself on the preceding evening. Accordingly, upon
close observation, he remarked that the food which he took upon his
plate remained there unconsumed; and that his actual supper consisted
only of a crust of bread, with a glass of wine.

The repast was hurried over with the haste of those who think it
shame, if not sin, to make mere animal enjoyments the means of
consuming time, or of receiving pleasure; and when men wiped their
mouths and moustaches, Julian remarked that the object of his
curiosity used a handkerchief of the finest cambric--an article rather
inconsistent with the exterior plainness, not to say coarseness, of
his appearance. He used also several of the more minute refinements,
then only observed at tables of the higher rank; and Julian thought he
could discern, at every turn, something of courtly manners and
gestures, under the precise and rustic simplicity of the character
which he had assumed.[*]

[*] A Scottish gentleman /in hiding/, as it was emphatically termed,
    for some concern in a Jacobite insurrection or plot, was
    discovered among a number of ordinary persons, by the use of his
    toothpick.

But if this were indeed that same Ganlesse with whom Julian had met on
the preceding evening, and who had boasted the facility with which he
could assume any character which he pleased to represent for the time,
what could be the purpose of this present disguise? He was, if his own
words could be credited, a person of some importance, who dared to
defy the danger of those officers and informers, before whom all ranks
at that time trembled; nor was he likely, as Julian conceived, without
some strong purpose, to subject himself to such a masquerade as the
present, which could not be otherwise than irksome to one whose
conversation proclaimed him of light life and free opinions. Was his
appearance here for good or for evil? Did it respect his father's
house, or his own person, or the family of Bridgenorth? Was the real
character of Ganlesse known to the master of the house, inflexible as
he was in all which concerned morals as well as religion? If not,
might not the machinations of a brain so subtile affect the peace and
happiness of Alice Bridgenorth?

These were questions which no reflection could enable Peveril to
answer. His eyes glanced from Alice to the stranger; and new fears,
and undefined suspicions, in which the safety of that beloved and
lovely girl was implicated, mingled with the deep anxiety which
already occupied his mind, on account of his father and his father's
house.

He was in this tumult of mind, when after a thanksgiving as long as
the grace, the company arose from table, and were instantly summoned
to the exercise of family worship. A train of domestics, grave, sad,
and melancholy as their superiors, glided in to assist at this act of
devotion, and ranged themselves at the lower end of the apartment.
Most of these men were armed with long tucks, as the straight stabbing
swords, much used by Cromwell's soldiery, were then called. Several
had large pistols also; and the corselets or cuirasses of some were
heard to clank, as they seated themselves to partake in this act of
devotion. The ministry of him whom Julian had supposed a preacher was
not used on this occasion. Major Bridgenorth himself read and
expounded a chapter of Scripture, with much strength and manliness of
expression, although so as not to escape the charge of fanaticism. The
nineteenth chapter of Jeremiah was the portion of Scripture which he
selected; in which, under the type of breaking a potter's vessel, the
prophet presages the desolation of the Jews. The lecturer was not
naturally eloquent; but a strong, deep, and sincere conviction of the
truth of what he said supplied him with language of energy and fire,
as he drew parallel between the abominations of the worship of Baal,
and the corruptions of the Church of Rome--so favourite a topic with
the Puritans of that period; and denounced against the Catholics, and
those who favoured them, that hissing and desolation which the prophet
directed against the city of Jerusalem. His hearers made a yet closer
application than the lecturer himself suggested; and many a dark proud
eye intimated, by a glance on Julian, that on his father's house were
already, in some part, realised those dreadful maledictions.

The lecture finished, Bridgenorth summoned them to unite with him in
prayer; and on a slight change of arrangements amongst the company,
which took place as they were about to kneel down, Julian found his
place next to the single-minded and beautiful object of his affection,
as she knelt, in her loveliness, to adore her Creator. A short time
was permitted for mental devotion; during which Peveril could hear her
half-breathed petition for the promised blessings of peace on earth,
and good-will towards the children of men.

The prayer which ensued was in a different tone. It was poured forth
by the same person who had officiated as chaplain at the table; and
was in the tone of a Boanerges, or Son of Thunder--a denouncer of
crimes--an invoker of judgments--almost a prophet of evil and of
destruction. The testimonies and the sins of the day were not
forgotten--the mysterious murder of Sir Edmondsbury Godfrey was
insisted upon--and thanks and praise were offered, that the very night
on which they were assembled, had not seen another offering of a
Protestant magistrate, to the bloodthirsty fury of revengeful
Catholics.

Never had Julian found it more difficult, during an act of devotion,
to maintain his mind in a frame befitting the posture and the
occasion; and when he heard the speaker return thanks for the downfall
and devastation of his family, he was strongly tempted to have started
upon his feet, and charged him with offering a tribute, stained with
falsehood and calumny, at the throne of truth itself. He resisted,
however, an impulse which it would have been insanity to have yielded
to, and his patience was not without its reward; for when his fair
neighbour arose from her knees, the lengthened and prolonged prayer
being at last concluded, he observed that her eyes were streaming with
tears; and one glance with which she looked at him in that moment,
showed more of affectionate interest for him in his fallen fortunes
and precarious condition, than he had been able to obtain from her
when his worldly estate seemed so much the more exalted of the two.

Cheered and fortified with the conviction that one bosom in the
company, and that in which he most eagerly longed to secure an
interest, sympathised with his distress, he felt strong to endure
whatever was to follow, and shrunk not from the stern still smile with
which, one by one, the meeting regarded him, as, gliding to their
several places of repose, they indulged themselves at parting with a
look of triumph on one whom they considered as their captive enemy.

Alice also passed by her lover, her eyes fixed on the ground, and
answered his low obeisance without raising them. The room was now
empty, but for Bridgenorth and his guest, or prisoner; for it is
difficult to say in which capacity Peveril ought to regard himself. He
took an old brazen lamp from the table, and, leading the way, said at
the same time, "I must be the uncourtly chamberlain, who am to usher
you to a place of repose, more rude, perhaps, than you have been
accustomed to occupy."

Julian followed him, in silence, up an old-fashioned winding
staircase, within a turret. At the landing-place on the top was a
small apartment, where an ordinary pallet bed, two chairs, and a small
stone table, were the only furniture. "Your bed," continued
Bridgenorth, as if desirous to prolong their interview, "is not of the
softest; but innocence sleeps as sound upon straw as on down."

"Sorrow, Major Bridgenorth, finds little rest on either," replied
Julian. "Tell me, for you seem to await some question from me, what is
to be the fate of my parents, and why you separate me from them?"

Bridgenorth, for answer, indicated with his finger the mark which his
countenance still showed from the explosion of Julian's pistol.

"That," replied Julian, "is not the real cause of your proceedings
against me. It cannot be, that you, who have been a soldier, and are a
man, can be surprised or displeased by my interference in the defence
of my father. Above all, you cannot, and I must needs say you do not,
believe that I would have raised my hand against you personally, had
there been a moment's time for recognition."

"I may grant all this," said Bridgenorth; "but what the better are you
for my good opinion, or for the ease with which I can forgive you the
injury which you aimed at me? You are in my custody as a magistrate,
accused of abetting the foul, bloody, and heathenish plot, for the
establishment of Popery, the murder of the King, and the general
massacre of all true Protestants."

"And on what grounds, either of fact or suspicion, dare any one accuse
me of such a crime?" said Julian. "I have hardly heard of the plot,
save by the mouth of common rumour, which, while it speaks of nothing
else, takes care to say nothing distinctly even on that subject."

"It may be enough for me to tell you," replied Bridgenorth, "and
perhaps it is a word too much--that you are a discovered intriguer--a
spied spy--who carries tokens and messages betwixt the Popish Countess
of Derby and the Catholic party in London. You have not conducted your
matters with such discretion, but that this is well known, and can be
sufficiently proved. To this charge, which you are well aware you
cannot deny, these men, Everett and Dangerfield, are not unwilling to
add, from the recollection of your face, other passages, which will
certainly cost you your life when you come before a Protestant jury."

"They lie like villains," said Peveril, "who hold me accessory to any
plot either against the King, the nation, or the state of religion;
and for the Countess, her loyalty has been too long, and too highly
proved, to permit her being implicated in such injurious suspicions."

"What she has already done," said Bridgenorth, his face darkening as
he spoke, "against the faithful champions of pure religion, hath
sufficiently shown of what she is capable. She hath betaken herself to
her rock, and sits, as she thinks, in security, like the eagle
reposing after his bloody banquet. But the arrow of the fowler may yet
reach her--the shaft is whetted--the bow is bended--and it will be
soon seen whether Amalek or Israel shall prevail. But for thee, Julian
Peveril--why should I conceal it from thee?--my heart yearns for thee
as a woman's for her first-born. To thee I will give, at the expense
of my own reputation--perhaps at the risk of personal suspicion--for
who, in these days of doubt, shall be exempted from it--to thee, I
say, I will give means of escape, which else were impossible to thee.
The staircase of this turret descends to the gardens--the postern-gate
is unlatched--on the right hand lie the stables, where you will find
your own horse--take it, and make for Liverpool--I will give you
credit with a friend under the name of Simon Simonson, one persecuted
by the prelates; and he will expedite your passage from the kingdom."

"Major Bridgenorth," said Julian, "I will not deceive you. Were I to
accept your offer of freedom, it would be to attend to a higher call
than that of mere self-preservation. My father is in danger--my mother
in sorrow--the voices of religion and nature call me to their side. I
am their only child--their only hope--I will aid them, or perish with
them!"

"Thou art mad," said Bridgenorth--"aid them thou canst not--perish
with them thou mayst, and even accelerate their ruin; for, in addition
to the charges with which thy unhappy father is loaded, it would be no
slight aggravation, that while he meditated arming and calling
together the Catholics and High Churchmen of Cheshire and Derbyshire,
his son should prove to be the confidential agent of the Countess of
Derby, who aided her in making good her stronghold against the
Protestant commissioners, and was despatched by her to open secret
communication with the Popish interest in London."

"You have twice stated me as such an agent," said Peveril, resolved
that his silence should not be construed into an admission of the
charge, though he felt it was in some degree well founded--"What
reason have you for such an allegation?"

"Will it suffice for a proof of my intimate acquaintance with your
mystery," replied Bridgenorth, "if I should repeat to you the last
words which the Countess used to you when you left the Castle of that
Amalekitish woman? Thus she spoke: 'I am now a forlorn widow,' she
said, 'whom sorrow has made selfish.'"

Peveril started, for these were the very words the Countess had used;
but he instantly recovered himself, and replied, "Be your information
of what nature it will, I deny, and I defy it, so far as it attaches
aught like guilt to me. There lives not a man more innocent of a
disloyal thought, or of a traitorous purpose. What I say for myself, I
will, to the best of my knowledge, say and maintain on account of the
noble Countess, to whom I am indebted for nurture."

"Perish, then, in thy obstinacy!" said Bridgenorth; and turning
hastily from him, he left the room, and Julian heard him hasten down
the narrow staircase, as if distrusting his own resolution.

With a heavy heart, yet with that confidence in an overruling
Providence which never forsakes a good and brave man, Peveril betook
himself to his lowly place of repose.



                             CHAPTER XXV

        The course of human life is changeful still,
        As is the fickle wind and wandering rill;
        Or, like the light dance which the wild-breeze weaves
        Amidst the fated race of fallen leaves;
        Which now its breath bears down, now tosses high,
        Beats to the earth, or wafts to middle sky.
        Such, and so varied, the precarious play
        Of fate with man, frail tenant of a day!
                                                   --ANONYMOUS.

Whilst, overcome with fatigue, and worn out by anxiety, Julian Peveril
slumbered as a prisoner in the house of his hereditary enemy, Fortune
was preparing his release by one of those sudden frolics with which
she loves to confound the calculations and expectancies of humanity;
and as she fixes on strange agents for such purposes, she condescended
to employ on the present occasion, no less a personage than Mistress
Deborah Debbitch.

Instigated, doubtless, by the pristine reminiscences of former times,
no sooner had that most prudent and considerate dame found herself in
the vicinity of the scenes of her earlier days, than she bethought
herself of a visit to the ancient house-keeper of Martindale Castle,
Dame Ellesmere by name, who, long retired from active service, resided
at the keeper's lodge, in the west thicket, with her nephew, Lance
Outram, subsisting upon the savings of her better days, and on a small
pension allowed by Sir Geoffrey to her age and faithful services.

Now Dame Ellesmere and Mistress Deborah had not by any means been
formerly on so friendly a footing, as this haste to visit her might be
supposed to intimate. But years had taught Deborah to forget and
forgive; or perhaps she had no special objection, under cover of a
visit to Dame Ellesmere, to take the chance of seeing what changes
time had made on her old admirer the keeper. Both inhabitants were in
the cottage when, after having seen her master set forth on his
expedition to the Castle, Mistress Debbitch, dressed in her very best
gown, footed it through gutter, and over stile, and by pathway green,
to knock at their door, and to lift the hatch at the hospitable
invitation which bade her come in.

Dame Ellesmere's eyes were so often dim, that, even with the aid of
spectacles, she failed to recognise, in the portly and mature
personage who entered their cottage, the tight well-made lass, who,
presuming on her good looks and flippant tongue, had so often provoked
her by insubordination; and her former lover, the redoubted Lance, not
being conscious that ale had given rotundity to his own figure, which
was formerly so slight and active, and that brandy had transferred to
his nose the colour which had once occupied his cheeks, was unable to
discover that Deborah's French cap, composed of sarsenet and Brussels
lace, shaded the features which had so often procured him a rebuke
from Dr. Dummerar, for suffering his eyes, during the time of prayers,
to wander to the maid-servants' bench.

In brief, the blushing visitor was compelled to make herself known;
and when known, was received by aunt and nephew with the most sincere
cordiality.

The home-brewed was produced; and, in lieu of more vulgar food, a few
slices of venison presently hissed in the frying pan, giving strong
room for inference that Lance Outram, in his capacity of keeper,
neglected not his own cottage when he supplied the larder at the
Castle. A modest sip of the excellent Derbyshire ale, and a taste of
the highly-seasoned hash, soon placed Deborah entirely at home with
her old acquaintance.

Having put all necessary questions, and received all suitable answers,
respecting the state of the neighbourhood, and such of her own friends
as continued to reside there, the conversation began rather to flag,
until Deborah found the art of again re-newing its interest, by
communicating to her friends the dismal intelligence that they must
soon look for deadly bad news from the Castle; for that her present
master, Major Bridgenorth, had been summoned, by some great people
from London, to assist in taking her old master, Sir Geoffrey; and
that all Master Bridgenorth's servants, and several other persons whom
she named, friends and adherents of the same interest, had assembled a
force to surprise the Castle; and that as Sir Geoffrey was now so old,
and gouty withal, it could not be expected he should make the defence
he was wont; and then he was known to be so stout-hearted, that it was
not to be supposed that he would yield up without stroke of sword; and
then if he was killed, as he was like to be, amongst them that liked
never a bone of his body, and now had him at their mercy, why, in that
case, she, Dame Deborah, would look upon Lady Peveril as little better
than a dead woman; and undoubtedly there would be a general mourning
through all that country, where they had such great kin; and silks
were likely to rise on it, as Master Lutestring, the mercer of
Chesterfield, was like to feel in his purse bottom. But for her part,
let matters wag how they would, an if Master Julian Peveril was to
come to his own, she could give as near a guess as e'er another who
was likely to be Lady at Martindale.

The text of this lecture, or, in other words, the fact that
Bridgenorth was gone with a party to attack Sir Geoffrey Peveril in
his own Castle of Martindale, sounded so stunningly strange in the
ears of those old retainers of his family, that they had no power
either to attend to Mistress Deborah's inferences, or to interrupt the
velocity of speech with which she poured them forth. And when at
length she made a breathless pause, all that poor Dame Ellesmere could
reply, was the emphatic question, "Bridgenorth brave Peveril of the
Peak!--Is the woman mad?"

"Come, come, dame," said Deborah, "woman me no more than I woman you.
I have not been called Mistress at the head of the table for so many
years, to be woman'd here by you. And for the news, it is as true as
that you are sitting there in a white hood, who will wear a black one
ere long."

"Lance Outram," said the old woman, "make out, if thou be'st a man,
and listen about if aught stirs up at the Castle."

"If there should," said Outram, "I am even too long here;" and he
caught up his crossbow, and one or two arrows, and rushed out of the
cottage.

"Well-a-day!" said Mistress Deborah, "see if my news have not
frightened away Lance Outram too, whom they used to say nothing could
start. But do not take on so, dame; for I dare say if the Castle and
the lands pass to my new master, Major Bridgenorth, as it is like they
will--for I have heard that he has powerful debts over the estate--you
shall have my good word with him, and I promise you he is no bad man;
something precise about preaching and praying, and about the dress
which one should wear, which, I must own, beseems not a gentleman, as,
to be sure, every woman knows best what becomes her. But for you,
dame, that wear a prayer-book at your girdle, with your housewife-
case, and never change the fashion of your white hood, I dare say he
will not grudge you the little matter you need, and are not able to
win."

"Out, sordid jade!" exclaimed Dame Ellesmere, her very flesh quivering
betwixt apprehension and anger, "and hold your peace this instant, or
I will find those that shall flay the very hide from thee with dog-
whips. Hast thou ate thy noble master's bread, not only to betray his
trust, and fly from his service, but wouldst thou come here, like an
ill-omened bird as thou art, to triumph over his downfall?"

"Nay, dame," said Deborah, over whom the violence of the old woman had
obtained a certain predominance; "it is not I that say it--only the
warrant of the Parliament folks."

"I thought we had done with their warrants ever since the blessed
twenty-ninth of May," said the old housekeeper of Martindale Castle;
"but this I tell thee, sweetheart, that I have seen such warrants
crammed, at the sword's point, down the throats of them that brought
them; and so shall this be, if there is one true man left to drink of
the Dove."

As she spoke, Lance Outram re-entered the cottage. "Naunt," he said in
dismay, "I doubt it is true what she says. The beacon tower is as
black as my belt. No Pole-star of Peveril. What does that betoken?"

"Death, ruin, and captivity," exclaimed old Ellesmere. "Make for the
Castle, thou knave. Thrust in thy great body. Strike for the house
that bred thee and fed thee; and if thou art buried under the ruins,
thou diest a man's death."

"Nay, naunt, I shall not be slack," answered Outram. "But here come
folks that I warrant can tell us more on't."

One or two of the female servants, who had fled from the Castle during
the alarm, now rushed in with various reports of the case; but all
agreeing that a body of armed men were in possession of the Castle,
and that Major Bridgenorth had taken young Master Julian prisoner, and
conveyed him down to Moultrassie Hall, with his feet tied under the
belly of the nag--a shameful sight to be seen--and he so well born and
so handsome.

Lance scratched his head; and though feeling the duty incumbent upon
him as a faithful servant, which was indeed specially dinned into him
by the cries and exclamations of his aunt, he seemed not a little
dubious how to conduct himself. "I would to God, naunt," he said at
last, "that old Whitaker were alive now, with his long stories about
Marston Moor and Edge Hill, that made us all yawn our jaws off their
hinges, in spite of broiled rashers and double beer! When a man is
missed, he is moaned, as they say; and I would rather than a broad
piece he had been here to have sorted this matter, for it is clean out
of my way as a woodsman, that have no skill of war. But dang it, if
old Sir Geoffrey go to the wall without a knock for it!--Here you,
Nell"--(speaking to one of the fugitive maidens from the Castle)--
"but, no--you have not the heart of a cat, and are afraid of your own
shadow by moonlight--But, Cis, you are a stout-hearted wench, and know
a buck from a bullfinch. Hark thee, Cis, as you would wish to be
married, get up to the Castle again, and get thee in--thou best
knowest where--for thou hast oft gotten out of postern to a dance or
junketing, to my knowledge--Get thee back to the Castle, as ye hope to
be married--See my lady--they cannot hinder thee of that--my lady has
a head worth twenty of ours--If I am to gather force, light up the
beacon for a signal; and spare not a tar barrel on't. Thou mayst do it
safe enough. I warrant the Roundheads busy with drink and plunder.--
And, hark thee, say to my lady I am gone down to the miners' houses at
Bonadventure. The rogues were mutinying for their wages but yesterday;
they will be all ready for good or bad. Let her send orders down to
me; or do you come yourself, your legs are long enough."

"Whether they are or not, Master Lance (and you know nothing of the
matter), they shall do your errand to-night, for love of the old
knight and his lady."

So Cisly Sellok, a kind of Derbyshire Camilla, who had won the smock
at the foot-race at Ashbourne, sprung forward towards the Castle with
a speed which few could have equalled.

"There goes a mettled wench," said Lance; "and now, naunt, give me the
old broadsword--it is above the bed-head--and my wood-knife; and I
shall do well enough."

"And what is to become of me?" bleated the unfortunate Mistress
Deborah Debbitch.

"You must remain here with my aunt, Mistress Deb; and, for old
acquaintance' sake, she will take care no harm befalls you; but take
heed how you attempt to break bounds."

So saying, and pondering in his own mind the task which he had
undertaken, the hardy forester strode down the moonlight glade,
scarcely hearing the blessings and cautions which Dame Ellesmere kept
showering after him. His thoughts were not altogether warlike. "What a
tight ankle the jade hath!--she trips it like a doe in summer over
dew. Well, but here are the huts--Let us to this gear.--Are ye all
asleep, you dammers, sinkers, and drift-drivers? turn out, ye
subterranean badgers. Here is your master, Sir Geoffrey, dead, for
aught ye know or care. Do not you see the beacon is unlit, and you sit
there like so many asses?"

"Why," answered one of the miners, who now began to come out of
their huts--

 "An he be dead,
  He will eat no more bread."

"And you are like to eat none neither," said Lance; "for the works
will be presently stopped, and all of you turned off."

"Well, and what of it, Master Lance? As good play for nought as work
for nought. Here is four weeks we have scarce seen the colour of Sir
Geoffrey's coin; and you ask us to care whether he be dead or in life?
For you, that goes about, trotting upon your horse, and doing for work
what all men do for pleasure, it may be well enough; but it is another
matter to be leaving God's light, and burrowing all day and night in
darkness, like a toad in a hole--that's not to be done for nought, I
trow; and if Sir Geoffrey is dead, his soul will suffer for't; and if
he's alive, we'll have him in the Barmoot Court."

"Hark ye, gaffer," said Lance, "and take notice, my mates, all of
you," for a considerable number of these rude and subterranean people
had now assembled to hear the discussion--"Has Sir Geoffrey, think
you, ever put a penny in his pouch out of this same Bonadventure
mine?"

"I cannot say as I think he has," answered old Ditchley, the party who
maintained the controversy.

"Answer on your conscience, though it be but a leaden one. Do not you
know that he hath lost a good penny?"

"Why, I believe he may," said Gaffer Ditchley. "What then!--lose
to-day, win to-morrow--the miner must eat in the meantime."

"True; but what will you eat when Master Bridgenorth gets the land,
that will not hear of a mine being wrought on his own ground? Will he
work on at dead loss, think ye?" demanded trusty Lance.

"Bridgenorth?--he of Moultrassie Hall, that stopped the great Felicity
Work, on which his father laid out, some say, ten thousand pounds, and
never got in a penny? Why, what has he to do with Sir Geoffrey's
property down here at Bonadventure? It was never his, I trow."

"Nay, what do I know?" answered Lance, who saw the impression he had
made. "Law and debt will give him half Derbyshire, I think, unless you
stand by old Sir Geoffrey."

"But if Sir Geoffrey be dead," said Ditchley cautiously, "what good
will our standing by do to him?"

"I did not say he was dead, but only as bad as dead; in the hands of
the Roundheads--a prisoner up yonder, at his own Castle," said Lance;
"and will have his head cut off, like the good Earl of Derby's at
Bolton-le-Moors."

"Nay, then, comrades," said Gaffer Ditchley, "an it be as Master Lance
says, I think we should bear a hand for stout old Sir Geoffrey,
against a low-born mean-spirited fellow like Bridgenorth, who shut up
a shaft had cost thousands, without getting a penny profit on't. So
hurra for Sir Geoffrey, and down with the Rump! But hold ye a blink--
hold"--(and the waving of his hand stopped the commencing cheer)--
"Hark ye, Master Lance, it must be all over, for the beacon is as
black as night; and you know yourself that marks the Lord's death."

"It will kindle again in an instant," said Lance; internally adding,
"I pray to God it may!--It will kindle in an instant--lack of fuel,
and the confusion of the family."

"Ay, like enow, like enow," said Ditchley; "but I winna budge till I
see it blazing."

"Why then, there a-goes!" said Lance. "Thank thee, Cis--thank thee, my
good wench.--Believe your own eyes, my lads, if you will not believe
me; and now hurra for Peveril of the Peak--the King and his friends--
and down with Rumps and Roundheads!"

The sudden rekindling of the beacon had all the effect which Lance
could have desired upon the minds of his rude and ignorant hearers,
who, in their superstitious humour, had strongly associated the Polar-
star of Peveril with the fortunes of the family. Once moved, according
to the national character of their countrymen, they soon became
enthusiastic; and Lance found himself at the head of thirty stout
fellows and upwards, armed with their pick-axes, and ready to execute
whatever task he should impose on them.

Trusting to enter the Castle by the postern, which had served to
accommodate himself and other domestics upon an emergency, his only
anxiety was to keep his march silent; and he earnestly recommended to
his followers to reserve their shouts for the moment of the attack.
They had not advanced far on their road to the Castle, when Cisly
Sellok met them so breathless with haste, that the poor girl was
obliged to throw herself into Master Lance's arms.

"Stand up, my mettled wench," said he, giving her a sly kiss at the
same time, "and let us know what is going on up at the Castle."

"My lady bids you, as you would serve God and your master, not to come
up to the Castle, which can but make bloodshed; for she says Sir
Geoffrey is lawfully in hand, and that he must bide the issue; and
that he is innocent of what he is charged with, and is going up to
speak for himself before King and Council, and she goes up with him.
And besides, they have found out the postern, the Roundhead rogues;
for two of them saw me when I went out of door, and chased me; but I
showed them a fair pair of heels."

"As ever dashed dew from the cowslip," said Lance. "But what the foul
fiend is to be done? for if they have secured the postern, I know not
how the dickens we can get in."

"All is fastened with bolt and staple, and guarded with gun and
pistol, at the Castle," quoth Cisly; "and so sharp are they, that they
nigh caught me coming with my lady's message, as I told you. But my
lady says, if you could deliver her son, Master Julian, from
Bridgenorth, that she would hold it good service."

"What!" said Lance, "is young master at the Castle? I taught him to
shoot his first shaft. But how to get in!"

"He was at the Castle in the midst of the ruffle, but old Bridgenorth
has carried him down prisoner to the hall," answered Cisly. "There was
never faith nor courtesy in an old Puritan who never had pipe and
tabor in his house since it was built."

"Or who stopped a promising mine," said Ditchley, "to save a few
thousand pounds, when he might have made himself as rich as Lord of
Chatsworth, and fed a hundred good fellows all the whilst."

"Why, then," said Lance, "since you are all of a mind, we will go draw
the cover for the old badger; and I promise you that the Hall is not
like one of your real houses of quality where the walls are as thick
as whinstone-dikes, but foolish brick-work, that your pick-axes will
work through as if it were cheese. Huzza once more for Peveril of the
Peak! down with Bridgenorth, and all upstart cuckoldly Roundheads!"

Having indulged the throats of his followers with one buxom huzza,
Lance commanded them to cease their clamours, and proceeded to conduct
them, by such paths as seemed the least likely to be watched, to the
courtyard of Moultrassie Hall. On the road they were joined by several
stout yeoman farmers, either followers of the Peveril family, or
friends to the High Church and Cavalier party; most of whom, alarmed
by the news which began to fly fast through the neighbourhood, were
armed with sword and pistol.

Lance Outram halted his party, at the distance, as he himself
described it, of a flight-shot from the house, and advanced, alone,
and in silence, to reconnoitre; and having previously commanded
Ditchley and his subterranean allies to come to his assistance
whenever he should whistle, he crept cautiously forward, and soon
found that those whom he came to surprise, true to the discipline
which had gained their party such decided superiority during the Civil
War, had posted a sentinel, who paced through the courtyard, piously
chanting a psalm-tune, while his arms, crossed on his bosom, supported
a gun of formidable length.

"Now, a true solder," said Lance Outram to himself, "would put a stop
to thy snivelling ditty, by making a broad arrow quiver in your heart,
and no great alarm given. But, dang it, I have not the right spirit
for a soldier--I cannot fight a man till my blood's up; and for
shooting him from behind a wall it is cruelly like to stalking a deer.
I'll e'en face him, and try what to make of him."

With this doughty resolution, and taking no farther care to conceal
himself, he entered the courtyard boldly, and was making forward to
the front door of the hall, as a matter of course. But the old
Cromwellian, who was on guard, had not so learned his duty. "Who goes
there?--Stand, friend--stand; or, verily, I will shoot thee to death!"
were challenges which followed each other quick, the last being
enforced by the levelling and presenting the said long-barrelled gun
with which he was armed.

"Why, what a murrain!" answered Lance. "Is it your fashion to go a-
shooting at this time o' night? Why, this is but a time for bat-
fowling."

"Nay, but hark thee, friend," said the experienced sentinel, "I am
none of those who do this work negligently. Thou canst not snare me
with thy crafty speech, though thou wouldst make it to sound simple in
mine ear. Of a verity I will shoot, unless thou tell thy name and
business."

"Name!" said Lance; "why, what a dickens should it be but Robin
Round--honest Robin of Redham; and for business, an you must needs
know, I come on a message from some Parliament man, up yonder at the
Castle, with letters for worshipful Master Bridgenorth of Moultrassie
Hall; and this be the place, as I think; though why ye be marching up
and down at his door, like the sign of a Red Man, with your old
firelock there, I cannot so well guess."

"Give me the letters, my friend," said the sentinel, to whom this
explanation seemed very natural and probable, "and I will cause them
forthwith to be delivered into his worship's own hand."

Rummaging in his pockets, as if to pull out the letters which never
existed, Master Lance approached within the sentinel's piece, and,
before he was aware, suddenly seized him by the collar, whistled sharp
and shrill, and exerting his skill as a wrestler, for which he had
been distinguished in his youth, he stretched his antagonist on his
back--the musket for which they struggled going off in the fall.

The miners rushed into the courtyard at Lance's signal; and hopeless
any longer of prosecuting his design in silence, Lance commanded two
of them to secure the prisoner, and the rest to cheer loudly, and
attack the door of the house. Instantly the courtyard of the mansion
rang with the cry of "Peveril of the Peak for ever!" with all the
abuse which the Royalists had invented to cast upon the Roundheads,
during so many years of contention; and at the same time, while some
assailed the door with their mining implements, others directed their
attack against the angle, where a kind of porch joined to the main
front of the building; and there, in some degree protected by the
projection of the wall, and of a balcony which overhung the porch,
wrought in more security, as well as with more effect, than the
others; for the doors being of oak, thickly studded with nails,
offered a more effectual resistance to violence than the brick-work.

The noise of this hubbub on the outside, soon excited wild alarm and
tumult within. Lights flew from window to window, and voices were
heard demanding the cause of the attack; to which the party cries of
those who were in the courtyard afforded a sufficient, or at least the
only answer, which was vouchsafed. At length the window of a
projecting staircase opened, and the voice of Bridgenorth himself
demanded authoritatively what the tumult meant, and commanded the
rioters to desist, upon their own proper and immediate peril.

"We want our young master, you canting old thief," was the reply; "and
if we have him not instantly, the topmost stone of your house shall
lie as low as the foundation."

"We shall try that presently," said Bridgenorth; "for if there is
another blow struck against the walls of my peaceful house, I will
fire my carabine among you, and your blood be upon your own head. I
have a score of friends, well armed with musket and pistol, to defend
my house; and we have both the means and heart, with Heaven's
assistance, to repay any violence you can offer."

"Master Bridgenorth," replied Lance, who, though no soldier, was
sportsman enough to comprehend the advantage which those under cover,
and using firearms, must necessarily have over his party, exposed to
their aim, in a great measure, and without means of answering their
fire,--"Master Bridgenorth, let us crave parley with you, and fair
conditions. We desire to do you no evil, but will have back our young
master; it is enough that you have got our old one and his lady. It is
foul chasing to kill hart, hind, and fawn; and we will give you some
light on the subject in an instant."

This speech was followed by a great crash amongst the lower windows of
the house, according to a new species of attack which had been
suggested by some of the assailants.

"I would take the honest fellow's word, and let young Peveril go,"
said one of the garrison, who, carelessly yawning, approached on the
inside of the post at which Bridgenorth had stationed himself.

"Are you mad?" said Bridgenorth; "or do you think me poor enough in
spirit to give up the advantages I now possess over the family of
Peveril, for the awe of a parcel of boors, whom the first discharge
will scatter like chaff before the whirlwind?"

"Nay," answered the speaker, who was the same individual that had
struck Julian by his resemblance to the man who called himself
Ganlesse, "I love a dire revenge, but we shall buy it somewhat too
dear if these rascals set the house on fire, as they are like to do,
while you are parleying from the window. They have thrown torches or
firebrands into the hall; and it is all our friends can do to keep the
flame from catching the wainscoting, which is old and dry."

"Now, may Heaven judge thee for thy lightness of spirit," answered
Bridgenorth; "one would think mischief was so properly thy element,
that to thee it was indifferent whether friend or foe was the
sufferer."

So saying, he ran hastily downstairs towards the hall, into which,
through broken casements, and betwixt the iron bars, which prevented
human entrance, the assailants had thrust lighted straw, sufficient to
excite much smoke and some fire, and to throw the defenders of the
house into great confusion; insomuch, that of several shots fired
hastily from the windows, little or no damage followed to the
besiegers, who, getting warm on the onset, answered the hostile
charges with loud shouts of "Peveril for ever!" and had already made a
practicable breach through the brick-wall of the tenement, through
which Lance, Ditchley, and several of the most adventurous among their
followers, made their way into the hall.

The complete capture of the house remained, however, as far off as
ever. The defenders mixed with much coolness and skill that solemn and
deep spirit of enthusiasm which sets life at less than nothing, in
comparison to real or supposed duty. From the half-open doors which
led into the hall, they maintained a fire which began to grow fatal.
One miner was shot dead; three or four were wounded; and Lance scarce
knew whether he should draw his forces from the house, and leave it a
prey to the flames, or, making a desperate attack on the posts
occupied by the defenders, try to obtain unmolested possession of the
place. At this moment, his course of conduct was determined by an
unexpected occurrence, of which it is necessary to trace the cause.

Julian Peveril had been, like other inhabitants of Moultrassie Hall on
that momentous night, awakened by the report of the sentinel's musket,
followed by the shouts of his father's vassals and followers; of which
he collected enough to guess that Bridgenorth's house was attacked
with a view to his liberation. Very doubtful of the issue of such an
attempt, dizzy with the slumber from which he had been so suddenly
awakened, and confounded with the rapid succession of events to which
he had been lately a witness, he speedily put on a part of his
clothes, and hastened to the window of his apartment. From this he
could see nothing to relieve his anxiety, for it looked towards a
quarter different from that on which the attack was made. He attempted
his door; it was locked on the outside; and his perplexity and anxiety
became extreme, when suddenly the lock was turned, and in an
underdress, hastily assumed in the moment of alarm, her hair streaming
on her shoulders, her eyes gleaming betwixt fear and resolution, Alice
Bridgenorth rushed into his apartment, and seized his hand with the
fervent exclamation, "Julian, save my father!"

The light which she bore in her hand served to show those features
which could rarely have been viewed by any one without emotion, but
which bore an expression irresistible to a lover.

"Alice," he said, "what means this? What is the danger? Where is your
father?"

"Do not stay to question," she answered; "but if you would save him,
follow me!"

At the same time she led the way, with great speed, half-way down the
turret stair case which led to his room, thence turning through a side
door, along a long gallery, to a larger and wider stair, at the bottom
of which stood her father, surrounded by four or five of his friends,
scarce discernible through the smoke of the fire which began to take
hold in the hall, as well as that which arose from the repeated
discharge of their own firearms.

Julian saw there was not a moment to be lost, if he meant to be a
successful mediator. He rushed through Bridgenorth's party ere they
were aware of his approach, and throwing himself amongst the
assailants who occupied the hall in considerable numbers, he assured
them of his personal safety, and conjured them to depart.

"Not without a few more slices at the Rump, master," answered Lance.
"I am principally glad to see you safe and well; but here is Joe
Rimegap shot as dead as a buck in season, and more of us are hurt; and
we'll have revenge, and roast the Puritans like apples for lambswool!"

"Then you shall roast me along with them," said Julian; "for I vow to
God, I will not leave the hall, being bound by parole of honour to
abide with Major Bridgenorth till lawfully dismissed."

"Now out on you, an you were ten times a Peveril!" said Ditchley; "to
give so many honest fellows loss and labour on your behalf, and to
show them no kinder countenance.--I say, beat up the fire, and burn
all together!"

"Nay, nay; but peace, my masters, and hearken to reason," said Julian;
"we are all here in evil condition, and you will only make it worse by
contention. Do you help to put out this same fire, which will else
cost us all dear. Keep yourselves under arms. Let Master Bridgenorth
and me settle some grounds of accommodation, and I trust all will be
favourably made up on both sides; and if not, you shall have my
consent and countenance to fight it out; and come on it what will, I
will never forget this night's good service."

He then drew Ditchley and Lance Outram aside, while the rest stood
suspended at his appearance and words, and expressing the utmost
thanks and gratitude for what they had already done, urged them, as
the greatest favour which they could do towards him and his father's
house, to permit him to negotiate the terms of his emancipation from
thraldom; at the same time forcing on Ditchley five or six gold
pieces, that the brave lads of Bonadventure might drink his health;
whilst to Lance he expressed the warmest sense of his active kindness,
but protested he could only consider it as good service to his house,
if he was allowed to manage the matter after his own fashion.

"Why," answered Lance, "I am well out on it, Master Julian; for it is
matter beyond my mastery. All that I stand to is, that I will see you
safe out of this same Moultrassie Hall; for our old Naunt Ellesmere
will else give me but cold comfort when I come home. Truth is, I began
unwillingly; but when I saw the poor fellow Joe shot beside me, why, I
thought we should have some amends. But I put it all in your Honour's
hands."

During this colloquy both parties had been amicably employed in
extinguishing the fire, which might otherwise have been fatal to all.
It required a general effort to get it under; and both parties agreed
on the necessary labour, with as much unanimity, as if the water they
brought in leathern buckets from the well to throw upon the fire, had
some effect in slaking their mutual hostility.



                             CHAPTER XXVI

              Necessity--thou best of peacemakers,
              As well as surest prompter of invention--
              Help us to composition!
                                               --ANONYMOUS.

While the fire continued, the two parties laboured in active union,
like the jarring factions of the Jews during the siege of Jerusalem,
when compelled to unite in resisting an assault of the besiegers. But
when the last bucket of water had hissed on the few embers that
continued to glimmer--when the sense of mutual hostility, hitherto
suspended by a feeling of common danger, was in its turn rekindled--
the parties, mingled as they had hitherto been in one common exertion,
drew off from each other, and began to arrange themselves at opposite
sides of the hall, and handle their weapons, as if for a renewal of
the fight.

Bridgenorth interrupted any farther progress of this menaced
hostility. "Julian Peveril," he said, "thou art free to walk thine own
path, since thou wilt not walk with me that road which is more safe,
as well as more honourable. But if you do by my counsel, you will get
soon beyond the British seas."

"Ralph Bridgenorth," said one of his friends, "this is but evil and
feeble conduct on thine own part. Wilt thou withhold thy hand from the
battle, to defend, from these sons of Belial, the captive of thy bow
and of thy spear? Surely we are enow to deal with them in the security
of the old serpent, until we essay whether the Lord will not give us
victory therein."

A hum of stern assent followed; and had not Ganlesse now interfered,
the combat would probably have been renewed. He took the advocate for
war apart into one of the window recesses, and apparently satisfied
his objections; for as he returned to his companions, he said to them,
"Our friend hath so well argued this matter, that, verily, since he is
of the same mind with the worthy Major Bridgenorth, I think the youth
may be set at liberty."

As no farther objection was offered, it only remained with Julian to
thank and reward those who had been active in his assistance. Having
first obtained from Bridgenorth a promise of indemnity to them for the
riot they had committed, a few kind words conveyed his sense of their
services; and some broad pieces, thrust into the hand of Lance Outram,
furnished the means for affording them a holiday. They would have
remained to protect him, but, fearful of farther disorder, and relying
entirely on the good faith of Major Bridgenorth, he dismissed them all
except Lance, whom he detained to attend upon him for a few minutes,
till he should depart from Moultrassie. But ere leaving the Hall, he
could not repress his desire to speak with Bridgenorth in secret; and
advancing towards him, he expressed such a desire.

Tacitly granting what was asked of him, Bridgenorth led the way to a
small summer saloon adjoining to the Hall, where, with his usual
gravity and indifference of manner, he seemed to await in silence what
Peveril had to communicate.

Julian found it difficult, where so little opening was afforded him,
to find a tone in which to open the subjects he had at heart, that
should be at once dignified and conciliating. "Major Bridgenorth," he
said at length, "you have been a son, and an affectionate one--You may
conceive my present anxiety--My father!--What has been designed for
him?"

"What the law will," answered Bridgenorth. "Had he walked by the
counsels which I procured to be given to him, he might have dwelt
safely in the house of his ancestors. His fate is now beyond my
control--far beyond yours. It must be with him as his country decide."

"And my mother?" said Peveril.

"Will consult, as she has ever done, her own duty; and create her own
happiness by doing so," replied Bridgenorth. "Believe, my designs
towards your family are better than they may seem through the mist
which adversity has spread around your house. I may triumph as a man;
but as a man I must also remember, in my hour, that mine enemies have
had theirs.--Have you aught else to say?" he added, after a momentary
pause. "You have rejected once, yea, and again, the hand I stretched
out to you. Methinks little more remains between us."

These words, which seemed to cut short farther discussion, were calmly
spoken; so that though they appeared to discourage farther question,
they could not interrupt that which still trembled on Julian's tongue.
He made a step or two towards the door; then suddenly returned. "Your
daughter?" he said--"Major Bridgenorth--I should ask--I /do/ ask
forgiveness for mentioning her name--but may I not inquire after her?
--May I not express my wishes for her future happiness?"

"Your interest in her is but too flattering," said Bridgenorth; "but
you have already chosen your part; and you must be, in future,
strangers to each other. I may have wished it otherwise, but the hour
of grace is passed, during which your compliance with my advice might
--I will speak it plainly--have led to your union. For her happiness--
if such a word belongs to mortal pilgrimage--I shall care for it
sufficiently. She leaves this place to-day, under the guardianship of
a sure friend."

"Not of----?" exclaimed Peveril, and stopped short; for he felt he had
no right to pronounce the name which came to his lips.

"Why do you pause?" said Bridgenorth; "a sudden thought is often a
wise, almost always an honest one. With whom did you suppose I meant
to entrust my child, that the idea called forth so anxious an
expression?"

"Again I should ask your forgiveness," said Julian, "for meddling
where I have little right to interfere. But I saw a face here that is
known to me--the person calls himself Ganlesse--Is it with him that
you mean to entrust your daughter?"

"Even to the person who call himself Ganlesse," said Bridgenorth,
without expressing either anger or surprise.

"And do you know to whom you commit a charge so precious to all who
know her, and so dear to yourself?" said Julian.

"Do /you/ know, who ask me the question?" answered Bridgenorth.

"I own I do not," answered Julian; "but I have seen him in a character
so different from that he now wears, that I feel it my duty to warn
you, how you entrust the charge of your child to one who can
alternately play the profligate or the hypocrite, as it suits his own
interest or humour."

Bridgenorth smiled contemptuously. "I might be angry," he said, "with
the officious zeal which supposes that its green conceptions can
instruct my grey hairs; but, good Julian, I do but only ask from you
the liberal construction, that I, who have had much converse with
mankind, know with whom I trust what is dearest to me. He of whom thou
speakest hath one visage to his friends, though he may have others to
the world, living amongst those before whom honest features should be
concealed under a grotesque vizard; even as in the sinful sports of
the day, called maskings and mummeries, where the wise, if he show
himself at all, must be contented to play the apish and fantastic
fool."

"I would only pray your wisdom to beware," said Julian, "of one, who,
as he has a vizard for others, may also have one which can disguise
his real features from you yourself."

"This is being over careful, young man," replied Bridgenorth, more
shortly than he had hitherto spoken; "if you would walk by my counsel,
you will attend to your own affairs, which, credit me, deserve all
your care, and leave others to the management of theirs."

This was too plain to be misunderstood; and Peveril was compelled to
take his leave of Bridgenorth, and of Moultrassie Hall, without
farther parley or explanation. The reader may imagine how oft he
looked back, and tried to guess, amongst the lights which continued to
twinkle in various parts of the building, which sparkle it was that
gleamed from the bower of Alice. When the road turned into another
direction, he sunk into deep reverie, from which he was at length
roused by the voice of Lance, who demanded where he intended to
quarter for the night. He was unprepared to answer the question, but
the honest keeper himself prompted a solution of the problem, by
requesting that he would occupy a spare bed in the Lodge; to which
Julian willingly agreed. The rest of the inhabitants had retired to
rest when they entered; but Dame Ellesmere, apprised by a messenger of
her nephew's hospitable intent, had everything in the best readiness
she could, for the son of her ancient patron. Peveril betook himself
to rest; and, notwithstanding so many subjects of anxiety, slept
soundly till the morning was far advanced.

His slumbers were first broken by Lance, who had been long up, and
already active in his service. He informed him, that his horse, arms,
and small cloak-bag had been sent from the Castle by one of Major
Bridgenorth's servants, who brought a letter, discharging from the
Major's service the unfortunate Deborah Debbitch, and prohibiting her
return to the Hall. The officer of the House of Commons, escorted by a
strong guard, had left Martindale Castle that morning early,
travelling in Sir Geoffrey's carriage--his lady being also permitted
to attend on him. To this he had to add, that the property at the
Castle was taken possession of by Master Win-the-fight, the attorney,
from Chesterfield, with other officers of law, in name of Major
Bridgenorth, a large creditor of the unfortunate knight.

Having told these Job's tidings, Lance paused; and, after a moment's
hesitation, declared he was resolved to quit the country, and go up to
London along with his young master. Julian argued the point with him;
and insisted he had better stay to take charge of his aunt, in case
she should be disturbed by these strangers. Lance replied, "She would
have one with her, who would protect her well enough; for there was
wherewithal to buy protection amongst them. But for himself, he was
resolved to follow Master Julian to the death."

Julian heartily thanked him for his love.

"Nay, it is not altogether out of love neither," said Lance, "though I
am as loving as another; but it is, as it were, partly out of fear,
lest I be called over the coals for last night's matter; for as for
the miners, they will never trouble them, as the creatures only act
after their kind."

"I will write in your behalf to Major Bridgenorth, who is bound to
afford you protection, if you have such fear," said Julian.

"Nay, for that matter, it is not altogether fear, more than altogether
love," answered the enigmatical keeper, "although it hath a tasting of
both in it. And, to speak plain truth, thus it is--Dame Debbitch and
Naunt Ellesmere have resolved to set up their horses together, and
have made up all their quarrels. And of all ghosts in the world, the
worst is, when an old true-love comes back to haunt a poor fellow like
me. Mistress Deborah, though distressed enow for the loss of her
place, has been already speaking of a broken sixpence, or some such
token, as if a man could remember such things for so many years, even
if she had not gone over seas, like woodcock, in the meanwhile."

Julian could scarce forbear laughing. "I thought you too much of a
man, Lance, to fear a woman marrying you whether you would or no."

"It has been many an honest man's luck, for all that," said Lance;
"and a woman in the very house has so many deuced opportunities. And
then there would be two upon one; for Naunt, though high enough when
any of /your/ folks are concerned, hath some look to the main chance;
and it seems Mistress Deb is as rich as a Jew."

"And you, Lance," said Julian, "have no mind to marry for cake and
pudding."

"No, truly, master," answered Lance, "unless I knew of what dough they
were baked. How the devil do I know how the jade came by so much? And
then if she speaks of tokens and love-passages, let her be the same
tight lass I broke the sixpence with, and I will be the same true lad
to her. But I never heard of true love lasting ten years; and hers, if
it lives at all, must be nearer twenty."

"Well, then, Lance," said Julian, "since you are resolved on the
thing, we will go to London together; where, if I cannot retain you in
my service, and if my father recovers not these misfortunes, I will
endeavour to promote you elsewhere."

"Nay, nay," said Lance, "I trust to be back to bonny Martindale before
it is long, and to keep the greenwood, as I have been wont to do; for,
as to Dame Debbitch, when they have not me for their common butt,
Naunt and she will soon bend bows on each other. So here comes old
Dame Ellesmere with your breakfast. I will but give some directions
about the deer to Rough Ralph, my helper, and saddle my forest pony,
and your honour's horse, which is no prime one, and we will be ready
to trot."

Julian was not sorry for this addition to his establishment; for Lance
had shown himself, on the preceding evening, a shrewd and bold fellow,
and attached to his master. He therefore set himself to reconcile his
aunt to parting with her nephew for some time. Her unlimited devotion
for "the family," readily induced the old lady to acquiesce in his
proposal, though not without a gentle sigh over the ruins of a castle
in the air, which was founded on the well-saved purse of Mistress
Deborah Debbitch. "At any rate," she thought, "it was as well that
Lance should be out of the way of that bold, long-legged, beggarly
trollop, Cis Sellok." But to poor Deb herself, the expatriation of
Lance, whom she had looked to as a sailor to a port under his lee, for
which he can run, if weather becomes foul, was a second severe blow,
following close on her dismissal from the profitable service of Major
Bridgenorth.

Julian visited the disconsolate damsel, in hopes of gaining some light
upon Bridgenorth's projects regarding his daughter--the character of
this Ganlesse--and other matters, with which her residence in the
family might have made her acquainted; but he found her by far too
much troubled in mind to afford him the least information. The name of
Ganlesse she did not seem to recollect--that of Alice rendered her
hysterical--that of Bridgenorth, furious. She numbered up the various
services she had rendered in the family--and denounced the plague of
swartness to the linen--of leanness to the poultry--of dearth and
dishonour to the housekeeping--and of lingering sickness and early
death to Alice;--all which evils, she averred, had only been kept off
by her continued, watchful, and incessant cares.--Then again turning
to the subject of the fugitive Lance, she expressed such a total
contempt of that mean-spirited fellow, in a tone between laughing and
crying, as satisfied Julian it was not a topic likely to act as a
sedative; and that, therefore, unless he made a longer stay than the
urgent state of his affairs permitted, he was not likely to find
Mistress Deborah in such a state of composure as might enable him to
obtain from her any rational or useful information.

Lance, who good-naturedly took upon himself the whole burden of Dame
Debbitch's mental alienation, or "taking on," as such fits of /passio
hysterica/ are usually termed in the country, had too much feeling to
present himself before the victim of her own sensibility, and of his
obduracy. He therefore intimated to Julian, by his assistant Ralph,
that the horses stood saddled behind the Lodge, and that all was ready
for their departure.

Julian took the hint, and they were soon mounted, and clearing the
road, at a rapid trot, in the direction of London; but not by the most
usual route. Julian calculated that the carriage in which his father
was transported would travel slowly; and it was his purpose, if
possible, to get to London before it should arrive there, in order to
have time to consult, with the friends of his family, what measures
should be taken in his father's behalf.

In this manner they advanced a day's journey towards London; at the
conclusion of which, Julian found his resting-place in a small inn
upon the road. No one came, at the first call, to attend upon the
guests and their horses, although the house was well lighted up; and
there was a prodigious chattering in the kitchen, such as can only be
produced by a French cook when his mystery is in the very moment of
projection. It instantly occurred to Julian--so rare was the ministry
of these Gallic artists at that time--that the clamour he heard must
necessarily be produced by the Sieur Chaubert, on whose /plats/ he had
lately feasted, along with Smith and Ganlesse.

One, or both of these, were therefore probably in the little inn; and
if so, he might have some opportunity to discover their real purpose
and character. How to avail himself of such a meeting he knew not; but
chance favoured him more than he could have expected.

"I can scarce receive you, gentlefolks," said the landlord, who at
length appeared at the door; "here be a sort of quality in my house
to-night, whom less than all will not satisfy; nor all neither, for
that matter."

"We are but plain fellows, landlord," said Julian; "we are bound for
Moseley-market, and can get no farther to-night. Any hole will serve
us, no matter what."

"Why," said the honest host, "if that be the case, I must e'en put one
of you behind the bar, though the gentlemen have desired to be
private; the other must take heart of grace and help me at the tap."

"The tap for me," said Lance, without waiting his master's decision.
"It is an element which I could live and die in."

"The bar, then, for me," said Peveril; and stepping back, whispered to
Lance to exchange cloaks with him, desirous, if possible, to avoid
being recognised.

The exchange was made in an instant; and presently afterwards the
landlord brought a light; and as he guided Julian into his hostelry,
cautioned him to sit quiet in the place where he should stow him; and
if he was discovered, to say that he was one of the house, and leave
him to make it good. "You will hear what the gallants say," he added;
"but I think thou wilt carry away but little on it; for when it is not
French, it is Court gibberish; and that is as hard to construe."

The bar, into which our hero was inducted on these conditions, seemed
formed, with respect to the public room, upon the principle of a
citadel, intended to observe and bridle a rebellious capital. Here sat
the host on the Saturday evenings, screened from the observation of
his guests, yet with the power of observing both their wants and their
behaviour, and also that of overhearing their conversation--a practice
which he was much addicted to, being one of that numerous class of
philanthropists, to whom their neighbours' business is of as much
consequence, or rather more, than their own.

Here he planted his new guest, with a repeated caution not to disturb
the gentlemen by speech or motion; and a promise that he should be
speedily accommodated with a cold buttock of beef, and a tankard of
home-brewed. And here he left him with no other light than that which
glimmered from the well-illuminated apartment within, through a sort
of shuttle which accommodated the landlord with a view into it.

This situation, inconvenient enough in itself, was, on the present
occasion, precisely what Julian would have selected. He wrapped
himself in the weather-beaten cloak of Lance Outram, which had been
stained, by age and weather, into a thousand variations from its
original Lincoln green; and with as little noise as he could, set
himself to observe the two inmates, who had engrossed to themselves
the whole of the apartment, which was usually open to the public. They
sat by a table well covered with such costly rarities, as could only
have been procured by much forecast, and prepared by the exquisite
Mons. Chaubert; to which both seemed to do much justice.

Julian had little difficulty in ascertaining, that one of the
travellers was, as he had anticipated, the master of the said
Chaubert, or, as he was called by Ganlesse, Smith; the other, who
faced him, he had never seen before. This last was dressed like a
gallant of the first order. His periwig, indeed, as he travelled on
horseback, did not much exceed in size the bar-wig of a modern lawyer;
but then the essence which he shook from it with every motion,
impregnated a whole apartment, which was usually only perfumed by that
vulgar herb, tobacco. His riding-coat was laced in the newest and most
courtly style; and Grammont himself might have envied the embroidery
of his waistcoat, and the peculiar cut of his breeches, which buttoned
above the knee, permitting the shape of a very handsome leg to be
completely seen. This, by the proprietor thereof, had been stretched
out upon a stool, and he contemplated its proportions, from time to
time, with infinite satisfaction.

The conversation between these worthies was so interesting, that we
propose to assign to it another chapter.



                            CHAPTER XXVII

         ----This is some creature of the elements,
         Most like your sea-gull. He can wheel and whistle
         His screaming song, e'en when the storm is loudest--
         Take for his sheeted couch the restless foam
         Of the wild wave-crest--slumber in the calm,
         And daily with the storm. Yet 'tis a gull,
         An arrant gull, with all this.
                                               --THE CHAMPION.

"And here is to thee," said the fashionable gallant whom we have
described, "honest Tom; and a cup of welcome to thee out of Looby-
land. Why, thou hast been so long in the country, that thou hast got a
bumpkinly clod-compelling sort of look thyself. That greasy doublet
fits thee as if it were thy reserved Sunday's apparel; and the points
seem as if they were stay-laces bought for thy true-love Marjory. I
marvel thou canst still relish a ragout. Methinks now, to a stomach
bound in such a jacket, eggs and bacon were a diet more conforming."

"Rally away, my good lord, while wit lasts," answered his companion;
"yours is not the sort of ammunition which will bear much expenditure.
Or rather, tell me news from Court, since we have met so opportunely."

"You would have asked me these an hour ago," said the lord, "had not
your very soul been under Chaubert's covered dishes. You remembered
King's affairs will keep cool, and /entre-mets/ must be eaten hot."

"Not so, my lord; I only kept common talk whilst that eavesdropping
rascal of a landlord was in the room; so that, now the coast is clear
once more, I pray you for news from Court."

"The Plot is nonsuited," answered the courtier--"Sir George Wakeman
acquitted--the witnesses discredited by the jury--Scroggs, who ranted
on one side, is now ranting on t'other."

"Rat the Plot, Wakeman, witnesses, Papists, and Protestants, all
together! Do you think I care for such trash as that?--Till the Plot
comes up the Palace backstair, and gets possession of old Rowley's own
imagination, I care not a farthing who believes or disbelieves. I hang
by him will bear me out."

"Well, then," said the lord, "the next news is Rochester's disgrace."

"Disgraced!--How, and for what? The morning I came off he stood as
fair as any one."

"That's over--the epitaph[*] has broken his neck--and now he may write
one for his own Court favour, for it is dead and buried."

[*] The epitaph alluded to is the celebrated epigram made by Rochester
    on Charles II. It was composed at the King's request, who
    nevertheless resented its poignancy.

    The lines are well known:--

     "Here lies our sovereign lord the King,
        Whose word no man relies on,
      Who never said a foolish thing,
        And never did a wise one."

"The epitaph!" exclaimed Tom; "why, I was by when it was made; and it
passed for an excellent good jest with him whom it was made upon."

"Ay, so it did amongst ourselves," answered his companion; "but it got
abroad, and had a run like a mill-race. It was in every coffee-house,
and in half the diurnals. Grammont translated it into French too; and
there is no laughing at so sharp a jest, when it is dinned into your
ears on all sides. So disgraced is the author; and but for his Grace
of Buckingham, the Court would be as dull as my Lord Chancellor's
wig."

"Or as the head it covers.--Well, my lord, the fewer at Court, there
is the more room for those that can bustle there. But there are two
mainstrings of Shaftesbury's fiddle broken--the Popish Plot fallen
into discredit--and Rochester disgraced. Changeful times--but here is
to the little man who shall mend them."

"I apprehend you," replied his lordship; "and meet your health with my
love. Trust me, my lord loves you, and longs for you.--Nay, I have
done you reason.--By your leave, the cup is with me. Here is to his
buxom Grace of Bucks."

"As blithe a peer," said Smith, "as ever turned night to day. Nay, it
shall be an overflowing bumper, an you will; and I will drink it
/super naculum/.--And how stands the great Madam?"[*]

[*] The Duchess of Portsmouth, Charles II.'s favourite mistress; very
    unpopular at the time of the Popish Plot, as well from her
    religion as her country, being a Frenchwoman and a Catholic.

"Stoutly against all change," answered the lord--"Little Anthony[*]
can make nought of her."

[*] Anthony Ashley Cooper, Earl of Shaftesbury, the politician and
    intriguer of the period.

"Then he shall bring her influence to nought. Hark in thine ear. Thou
knowest----" (Here he whispered so low that Julian could not catch the
sound.)

"Know him?" answered the other--"Know Ned of the Island?--To be sure I
do."

"He is the man that shall knot the great fiddle-strings that have
snapped. Say I told you so; and thereupon I give thee his health."

"And thereupon I pledge thee," said the young nobleman, "which on any
other argument I were loath to do--thinking of Ned as somewhat the cut
of a villain."

"Granted, man--granted," said the other,--"a very thorough-paced
rascal; but able, my lord, able and necessary; and, in this plan,
indispensable.--Pshaw!--This champagne turns stronger as it gets
older, I think."

"Hark, mine honest fellow," said the courtier; "I would thou wouldst
give me some item of all this mystery. Thou hast it, I know; for whom
do men entrust but trusty Chiffinch?"

"It is your pleasure to say so, my lord," answered Smith (whom we
shall hereafter call by his real name of Chiffinch) with such drunken
gravity, for his speech had become a little altered by his copious
libations in the course of the evening,--"few men know more, or say
less, than I do; and it well becomes my station. /Conticuere omnes/,
as the grammar hath it--all men should learn to hold their tongue."

"Except with a friend, Tom--except with a friend. Thou wilt never be
such a dogbolt as to refuse a hint to a friend? Come, you get too wise
and statesman-like for your office.--The ligatures of thy most
peasantly jacket there are like to burst with thy secret. Come, undo a
button, man; it is for the health of thy constitution--Let out a reef;
and let thy chosen friend know what is meditating. Thou knowest I am
as true as thyself to little Anthony, if he can but get uppermost."

"/If/, thou lordly infidel!" said Chiffinch--"talk'st thou to me of
/ifs?/--There is neither /if/ nor /and/ in the matter. The great Madam
shall be pulled a peg down--the great Plot screwed a peg or two up.
Thou knowest Ned?--Honest Ned had a brother's death to revenge."

"I have heard so," said the nobleman; "and that his persevering
resentment of that injury was one of the few points which seemed to be
a sort of heathenish virtue in him."

"Well," continued Chiffinch, "in manoeuvring to bring about this
revenge, which he hath laboured at many a day, he hath discovered a
treasure."

"What!--In the Isle of Man?" said his companion.

"Assure yourself of it.--She is a creature so lovely, that she needs
but be seen to put down every one of the favourites, from Portsmouth
and Cleveland down to that threepenny baggage, Mistress Nelly."

"By my word, Chiffinch," said my lord, "that is a reinforcement after
the fashion of thine own best tactics. But bethink thee, man! To make
such a conquest, there wants more than a cherry-cheek and a bright
eye--there must be wit--wit, man, and manners, and a little sense
besides, to keep influence when it is gotten."

"Pshaw! will you tell me what goes to this vocation?" said Chiffinch.
"Here, pledge me her health in a brimmer.--Nay, you shall do it on
knees, too.--Never such a triumphant beauty was seen--I went to church
on purpose, for the first time these ten years--Yet I lie, it was not
to church neither--it was to chapel."

"To chapel!--What the devil, is she a Puritan?" exclaimed the other
courtier.

"To be sure she is. Do you think I would be accessory to bringing a
Papist into favour in these times, when, as my good Lord said in the
House, there should not be a Popish manservant, nor a Popish maid-
servant, not so much as dog or cat, left to bark or mew about the
King!"[*]

[*] Such was the extravagance of Shaftesbury's eloquence.

"But consider, Chiffie, the dislikelihood of her pleasing," said the
noble courtier.--"What! old Rowley, with his wit, and love of wit--his
wildness, and love of wildness--he form a league with a silly,
scrupulous, unidea'd Puritan!--Not if she were Venus."

"Thou knowest nought of the matter," answered Chiffinch. "I tell thee,
the fine contrast between the seeming saint and falling sinner will
give zest to the old gentleman's inclination. If I do not know him,
who does?--Her health, my lord, on your bare knee, as you would live
to be of the bedchamber."

"I pledge you most devoutly," answered his friend. "But you have not
told me how the acquaintance is to be made; for you cannot, I think,
carry her to Whitehall."

"Aha, my dear lord, you would have the whole secret! but that I cannot
afford--I can spare a friend a peep at my ends, but no one must look
on the means by which they are achieved."--So saying, he shook his
drunken head most wisely.

The villainous design which this discourse implied, and which his
heart told him was designed against Alice Bridgenorth, stirred Julian
so extremely, that he involuntarily shifted his posture, and laid his
hand on his sword hilt.

Chiffinch heard a rustling, and broke off, exclaiming, "Hark!--
Zounds, something moved--I trust I have told the tale to no ears but
thine."

"I will cut off any which have drunk in but a syllable of thy words,"
said the nobleman; and raising a candle, he took a hasty survey of the
apartment. Seeing nothing that could incur his menaced resentment, he
replaced the light and continued:--"Well, suppose the Belle Louise de
Querouaille[*] shoots from her high station in the firmament, how will
you rear up the downfallen Plot again--for without that same Plot,
think of it as thou wilt, we have no change of hands--and matters
remain as they were, with a Protestant courtezan instead of a Papist--
Little Anthony can but little speed without that Plot of his--I
believe, in my conscience, he begot it himself."[+]

[*] Charles's principal mistress /en titre/. She was created Duchess
    of Portsmouth.

[+] Shaftesbury himself is supposed to have said that he knew not who
    was the inventor of the Plot, but that he himself had all the
    advantage of the discovery.

"Whoever begot it," said Chiffinch, "he hath adopted it; and a
thriving babe it has been to him. Well, then, though it lies out of my
way, I will play Saint Peter again--up with t'other key, and unlock
t'other mystery."

"Now thou speakest like a good fellow; and I will, with my own hands,
unwire this fresh flask, to begin a brimmer to the success of thy
achievement."

"Well, then," continued the communicative Chiffinch, "thou knowest
that they have long had a nibbling at the old Countess of Derby.--So
Ned was sent down--he owes her an old accompt, thou knowest--with
private instructions to possess himself of the island, if he could, by
help of some of his old friends. He hath ever kept up spies upon her;
and happy man was he, to think his hour of vengeance was come so nigh.
But he missed his blow; and the old girl being placed on her guard,
was soon in a condition to make Ned smoke for it. Out of the island he
came with little advantage for having entered it; when, by some means
--for the devil, I think, stands ever his friend--he obtained
information concerning a messenger, whom her old Majesty of Man had
sent to London to make party in her behalf. Ned stuck himself to this
fellow--a raw, half-bred lad, son of an old blundering Cavalier of the
old stamp, down in Derbyshire--and so managed the swain, that he
brought him to the place where I was waiting, in anxious expectation
of the pretty one I told you of. By Saint Anthony, for I will swear by
no meaner oath, I stared when I saw this great lout--not that the
fellow is so ill-looked neither--I stared like--like--good now, help
me to a simile."

"Like Saint Anthony's pig, an it were sleek," said the young lord;
"your eyes, Chiffie, have the very blink of one. But what hath all
this to do with the Plot? Hold, I have had wine enough."

"You shall not balk me," said Chiffinch; and a jingling was heard, as
if he were filling his comrade's glass with a very unsteady hand. "Hey
--What the devil is the matter?--I used to carry my glass steady--very
steady."

"Well, but this stranger?"

"Why, he swept at game and ragout as he would at spring beef or summer
mutton. Never saw so unnurtured a cub--Knew no more what he ate than
an infidel--I cursed him by my gods when I saw Chaubert's /chef-d'
oeuvres/ glutted down so indifferent a throat. We took the freedom to
spice his goblet a little, and ease him of his packet of letters; and
the fool went on his way the next morning with a budget artificially
filled with grey paper. Ned would have kept him, in hopes to have made
a witness of him, but the boy was not of that mettle."

"How will you prove your letters?" said the courtier.

"La you there, my lord," said Chiffinch; "one may see with half an
eye, for all your laced doublet, that you have been of the family of
Furnival's, before your brother's death sent you to Court. How prove
the letters?--Why, we have but let the sparrow fly with a string round
his foot.--We have him again so soon as we list."

"Why, thou art turned a very Machiavel, Chiffinch," said his friend.
"But how if the youth proved restive?--I have heard these Peak men
have hot heads and hard hands."

"Trouble not yourself--that was cared for, my lord," said Chiffinch--
"his pistols might bark, but they could not bite."

"Most exquisite Chiffinch, thou art turned micher as well as padder--
Canst both rob a man and kidnap him!"

"Micher and padder--what terms be these?" said Chiffinch. "Methinks
these are sounds to lug out upon. You will have me angry to the degree
of falling foul--robber and kidnapper!"

"You mistake verb for noun-substantive," replied his lordship; "I said
/rob/ and /kidnap/--a man may do either once and away without being
professional."

"But not without spilling a little foolish noble blood, or some such
red-coloured gear," said Chiffinch, starting up.

"Oh yes," said his lordship; "all this may be without these dire
consequences, and as you will find to-morrow, when you return to
England; for at present you are in the land of Champagne, Chiffie; and
that you may continue so, I drink thee this parting cup to line thy
nightcap."

"I do not refuse your pledge," said Chiffinch; "but I drink to thee in
dudgeon and in hostility--It is cup of wrath, and a gage of battle.
To-morrow, by dawn, I will have thee at point of fox, wert thou the
last of the Savilles.--What the devil! think you I fear you because
you are a lord?"

"Not so, Chiffinch," answered his companion. "I know thou fearest
nothing but beans and bacon, washed down with bumpkin-like beer.--
Adieu, sweet Chiffinch--to bed--Chiffinch--to bed."

So saying, he lifted a candle, and left the apartment. And Chiffinch,
whom the last draught had nearly overpowered, had just strength enough
left to do the same, muttering, as he staggered out, "Yes, he shall
answer it.--Dawn of day? D--n me--It is come already--Yonder's the
dawn--No, d--n me, 'tis the fire glancing on the cursed red lattice--
It is the smell of the brandy in this cursed room--It could not be the
wine--Well, old Rowley shall send me no more errands to the country
again--Steady, steady."

So saying, he reeled out of the apartment, leaving Peveril to think
over the extraordinary conversation he had just heard.

The name of Chiffinch, the well-known minister of Charles's pleasures,
was nearly allied to the part which he seemed about to play in the
present intrigue; but that Christian, whom he had always supposed a
Puritan as strict as his brother-in-law, Bridgenorth, should be
associated with him in a plot so infamous, seemed alike unnatural and
monstrous. The near relationship might blind Bridgenorth, and warrant
him in confiding his daughter to such a man's charge; but what a
wretch he must be, that could coolly meditate such an ignominious
abuse of his trust! In doubt whether he could credit for a moment the
tale which Chiffinch had revealed, he hastily examined his packet, and
found that the sealskin case in which it had been wrapt up, now only
contained an equal quantity of waste paper. If he had wanted farther
confirmation, the failure of the shot which he fired at Bridgenorth,
and of which the wadding only struck him, showed that his arms had
been tampered with. He examined the pistol which still remained
charged, and found that the ball had been drawn. "May I perish," said
he to himself, "amid these villainous intrigues, but thou shalt be
more surely loaded, and to better purpose! The contents of these
papers may undo my benefactress--their having been found on me, may
ruin my father--that I have been the bearer of them, may cost, in
these fiery times, my own life--that I care least for--they form a
branch of the scheme laid against the honour and happiness of a
creature so innocent, that it is almost sin to think of her within the
neighbourhood of such infamous knaves. I will recover the letters at
all risks--But how?--that is to be thought on.--Lance is stout and
trusty; and when a bold deed is once resolved upon, there never yet
lacked the means of executing it."

His host now entered, with an apology for his long absence; and after
providing Peveril with some refreshments, invited him to accept, for
his night-quarters, the accommodation of a remote hayloft, which he
was to share with his comrade; professing, at the same time, he could
hardly have afforded them this courtesy, but out of deference to the
exquisite talents of Lance Outram, as assistant at the tap; where,
indeed, it seems probable that he, as well as the admiring landlord,
did that evening contrive to drink nearly as much liquor as they drew.

But Lance was a seasoned vessel, on whom liquor made no lasting
impression; so that when Peveril awaked that trusty follower at dawn,
he found him cool enough to comprehend and enter into the design which
he expressed, of recovering the letters which had been abstracted from
his person.

Having considered the whole matter with much attention, Lance
shrugged, grinned, and scratched his head; and at length manfully
expressed his resolution. "Well, my naunt speaks truth in her old
saw----

 'He that serves Peveril maunna be slack,
  Neither for weather, nor yet for wrack.'

And then again, my good dame was wont to say, that whenever Peveril
was in a broil, Outram was in a stew; so I will never bear a base
mind, but even hold a part with you as my fathers have done with
yours, for four generations, whatever more."

"Spoken like a most gallant Outram," said Julian; "and were we but rid
of that puppy lord and his retinue, we two could easily deal with the
other three."

"Two Londoners and a Frenchman?" said Lance,--"I would take them in
mine own hand. And as for my Lord Saville, as they call him, I heard
word last night that he and all his men of gilded gingerbread--that
looked at an honest fellow like me, as if they were the ore and I the
dross--are all to be off this morning to some races, or such-like
junketings, about Tutbury. It was that brought him down here, where he
met this other civet-cat by accident."

In truth, even as Lance spoke, a trampling was heard of horses in the
yard; and from the hatch of their hayloft they beheld Lord Saville's
attendants mustered, and ready to set out as soon as he could make his
appearance.

"So ho, Master Jeremy," said one of the fellows, to a sort of
principal attendant, who just came out of the house, "methinks the
wine has proved a sleeping cup to my lord this morning."

"No," answered Jeremy, "he hath been up before light writing letters
for London; and to punish thy irreverence, thou, Jonathan, shalt be
the man to ride back with them."

"And so to miss the race?" said Jonathan sulkily; "I thank you for
this good turn, good Master Jeremy; and hang me if I forget it."

Farther discussion was cut short by the appearance of the young
nobleman, who, as he came out of the inn, said to Jeremy, "These be
the letters. Let one of the knaves ride to London for life and death,
and deliver them as directed; and the rest of them get to horse and
follow me."

Jeremy gave Jonathan the packet with a malicious smile; and the
disappointed groom turned his horse's head sullenly towards London,
while Lord Saville, and the rest of his retinue, rode briskly off in
an opposite direction, pursued by the benedictions of the host and his
family, who stood bowing and courtesying at the door, in gratitude,
doubtless, for the receipt of an unconscionable reckoning.

It was full three hours after their departure, that Chiffinch lounged
into the room in which they had supped, in a brocade nightgown, and
green velvet cap, turned up with the most costly Brussels lace. He
seemed but half awake; and it was with drowsy voice that he called for
a cup of cold small beer. His manner and appearance were those of a
man who had wrestled hard with Bacchus on the preceding evening, and
had scarce recovered the effects of his contest with the jolly god.
Lance, instructed by his master to watch the motions of the courtier,
officiously attended with the cooling beverage he called for,
pleading, as an excuse to the landlord, his wish to see a Londoner in
his morning-gown and cap.

No sooner had Chiffinch taken his morning draught, than he inquired
after Lord Saville.

"His lordship was mounted and away by peep of dawn," was Lance's
reply.

"What the devil!" exclaimed Chiffinch; "why, this is scarce civil.--
What! off for the races with his whole retinue?"

"All but one," replied Lance, "whom his lordship sent back to London
with letters."

"To London with letters!" said Chiffinch. "Why, I am for London, and
could have saved his express a labour.--But stop--hold--I begin to
recollect--d----n, can I have blabbed?--I have--I have--I remember it
all now--I have blabbed; and to the very weasel of the Court, who
sucks the yelk out of every man's secret. Furies and fire--that my
afternoons should ruin my mornings thus!--I must turn boon companion
and good fellow in my cups--and have my confidences and my quarrels--
my friends and my enemies, with a plague to me, as if any one could do
a man much good or harm but his own self. His messenger must be
stopped, though--I will put a spoke in his wheel.--Hark ye, drawer-
fellow--call my groom hither--call Tom Beacon."

Lance obeyed; but failed not, when he had introduced the domestic, to
remain in the apartment, in order to hear what should pass betwixt him
and his master.

"Hark ye, Tom," said Chiffinch, "here are five pieces for you."

"What's to be done now, I trow?" said Tom, without even the ceremony
of returning thanks, which he was probably well aware would not be
received even in part payment of the debt he was incurring.

"Mount your fleet nag, Tom--ride like the devil--overtake the groom
whom Lord Saville despatched to London this morning--lame his horse--
break his bones--fill him as drunk as the Baltic sea; or do whatever
may best and most effectively stop his journey.--Why does the lout
stand there without answering me? Dost understand me?"

"Why, ay, Master Chiffinch," said Tom; "and so I am thinking doth this
honest man here, who need not have heard quite so much of your
counsel, an it had been your will."

"I am bewitched this morning," said Chiffinch to himself, "or else the
champagne runs in my head still. My brain has become the very lowlands
of Holland--a gill-cup would inundate it--Hark thee, fellow," he
added, addressing Lance, "keep my counsel--there is a wager betwixt
Lord Saville and me, which of us shall first have a letter in London.
Here is to drink my health, and bring luck on my side. Say nothing of
it; but help Tom to his nag.--Tom, ere thou startest come for thy
credentials--I will give thee a letter to the Duke of Bucks, that may
be evidence thou wert first in town."

Tom Beacon ducked and exited; and Lance, after having made some show
of helping him to horse, ran back to tell his master the joyful
intelligence, that a lucky accident had abated Chiffinch's party to
their own number.

Peveril immediately ordered his horses to be got ready; and, so soon
as Tom Beacon was despatched towards London, on a rapid trot, had the
satisfaction to observe Chiffinch, with his favourite Chaubert, mount
to pursue the same journey, though at a more moderate rate. He
permitted them to attain such a distance, that they might be dogged
without suspicion; then paid his reckoning, mounted his horse, and
followed, keeping his men carefully in view, until he should come to a
place proper for the enterprise which he meditated.

It had been Peveril's intention, that when they came to some solitary
part of the road, they should gradually mend their pace, until they
overtook Chaubert--that Lance Outram should then drop behind, in order
to assail the man of spits and stoves, while he himself, spurring
onwards, should grapple with Chiffinch. But this scheme presupposed
that the master and servant should travel in the usual manner--the
latter riding a few yards behind the former. Whereas, such and so
interesting were the subjects of discussion betwixt Chiffinch and the
French cook, that, without heeding the rules of etiquette, they rode
on together, amicably abreast, carrying on a conversation on the
mysteries of the table, which the ancient Comus, or a modern
gastronome, might have listened to with pleasure. It was therefore
necessary to venture on them both at once.

For this purpose, when they saw a long tract of road before them,
unvaried by the least appearance of man, beast, or human habitation,
they began to mend their pace, that they might come up to Chiffinch,
without giving him any alarm, by a sudden and suspicious increase of
haste. In this manner they lessened the distance which separated them
till they were within about twenty yards, when Peveril, afraid that
Chiffinch might recognise him at a nearer approach, and so trust to
his horse's heels, made Lance the signal to charge.

At the sudden increase of their speed, and the noise with which it was
necessarily attended, Chiffinch looked around, but had time to do no
more, for Lance, who had pricked his pony (which was much more speedy
than Julian's horse) into full gallop, pushed, without ceremony,
betwixt the courtier and his attendant; and ere Chaubert had time for
more than one exclamation, he upset both horse and Frenchman,--
/morbleu!/ thrilling from his tongue as he rolled on the ground
amongst the various articles of his occupation, which, escaping from
the budget in which he bore them, lay tumbled upon the highway in
strange disorder; while Lance, springing from his palfrey, commanded
his foeman to be still, under no less a penalty than that of death, if
he attempted to rise.

Before Chiffinch could avenge his trusty follower's downfall, his own
bridle was seized by Julian, who presented a pistol with the other
hand, and commanded him to stand or die.

Chiffinch, though effeminate, was no coward. He stood still as
commanded, and said, with firmness, "Rogue, you have taken me at
surprise. If you are highwaymen, there is my purse. Do us no bodily
harm, and spare the budget of spices and sauces."

"Look you, Master Chiffinch," said Peveril, "this is no time for
dallying. I am no highwayman, but a man of honour. Give me back that
packet which you stole from me the other night; or, by all that is
good, I will send a brace of balls through you, and search for it at
leisure."

"What night?--What packet?" answered Chiffinch, confused; yet willing
to protract the time for the chance of assistance, or to put Peveril
off his guard. "I know nothing of what you mean. If you are a man of
honour, let me draw my sword, and I will do you right, as a gentleman
should do to another."

"Dishonourable rascal!" said Peveril, "you escape not in this manner.
You plundered me when you had me at odds; and I am not the fool to let
my advantage escape, now that my turn is come. Yield up the packet;
and then, if you will, I will fight you on equal terms. But first," he
reiterated, "yield up the packet, or I will instantly send you where
the tenor of your life will be hard to answer for."

The tone of Peveril's voice, the fierceness of his eye, and the manner
in which he held the loaded weapon, within a hand's-breadth of
Chiffinch's head, convinced the last there was neither room for
compromise, nor time for trifling. He thrust his hand into a side
pocket of his cloak, and with visible reluctance, produced those
papers and despatches with which Julian had been entrusted by the
Countess of Derby.

"They are five in number," said Julian; "and you have given me only
four. Your life depends on full restitution."

"It escaped from my hand," said Chiffinch, producing the missing
document--"There it is. Now, sir, your pleasure is fulfilled, unless,"
he added sulkily, "you design either murder or farther robbery."

"Base wretch!" said Peveril, withdrawing his pistol, yet keeping a
watchful eye on Chiffinch's motions, "thou art unworthy any honest
man's sword; and yet, if you dare draw your own, as you proposed but
now, I am willing to give you a chance upon fair equality of terms."

"Equality!" said Chiffinch sneeringly; "yes, a proper equality--sword
and pistol against single rapier, and two men upon one, for Chaubert
is no fighter. No sir; I shall seek amends upon some more fitting
occasion, and with more equal weapons."

"By backbiting, or by poison, base pander!" said Julian; "these are
thy means of vengeance. But mark me--I know your vile purpose
respecting a lady who is too worthy that her name should be uttered in
such a worthless ear. Thou hast done me one injury, and thou see'st I
have repaid it. But prosecute this farther villainy, and be assured I
will put thee to death like a foul reptile, whose very slaver is fatal
to humanity. Rely upon this, as if Machiavel had sworn it; for so
surely as you keep your purpose, so surely will I prosecute my
revenge.--Follow me, Lance, and leave him to think on what I have told
him."

Lance had, after the first shock, sustained a very easy part in this
recontre; for all he had to do, was to point the butt of his whip, in
the manner of a gun, at the intimidated Frenchman, who, lying on his
back, and gazing at random on the skies, had as little the power or
purpose of resistance, as any pig which had ever come under his own
slaughter-knife.

Summoned by his master from the easy duty of guarding such an
unresisting prisoner, Lance remounted his horse, and they both rode
off, leaving their discomfited antagonists to console themselves for
their misadventure as they best could. But consolation was hard to
come by in the circumstances. The French artist had to lament the
dispersion of his spices, and the destruction of his magazine of
sauces--an enchanter despoiled of his magic wand and talisman, could
scarce have been in more desperate extremity. Chiffinch had to mourn
the downfall of his intrigue, and its premature discovery. "To this
fellow, at least," he thought, "I can have bragged none--here my evil
genius alone has betrayed me. With this infernal discovery, which may
cost me so dear on all hands, champagne had nought to do. If there be
a flask left unbroken, I will drink it after dinner, and try if it may
not even yet suggest some scheme of redemption and of revenge."

With this manly resolution, he prosecuted his journey to London.



                            CHAPTER XXVIII

          A man so various, that he seem'd to be
          Not one, but all mankind's epitome;
          Stiff in opinions--always in the wrong--
          Was everything by starts, but nothing long;
          Who, in the course of one revolving moon,
          Was chemist, fiddler, statesman, and buffoon;
          Then, all for women, painting, fiddling, drinking;
          Besides a thousand freaks that died in thinking.
                                                       --DRYDEN.

We must now transport the reader to the magnificent hotel in ----
Street, inhabited at this time by the celebrated George Villiers, Duke
of Buckingham, whom Dryden has doomed to a painful immortality by the
few lines which we have prefixed to this chapter. Amid the gay and
licentious of the laughing Court of Charles, the Duke was the most
licentious and most gay; yet, while expending a princely fortune, a
strong constitution, and excellent talents, in pursuit of frivolous
pleasures, he nevertheless nourished deeper and more extensive
designs; in which he only failed from want of that fixed purpose and
regulated perseverance essential to all important enterprises, but
particularly in politics.

It was long past noon; and the usual hour of the Duke's levee--if
anything could be termed usual where all was irregular--had been long
past. His hall was filled with lackeys and footmen, in the most
splendid liveries; the interior apartments, with the gentlemen and
pages of his household, arrayed as persons of the first quality, and,
in that respect, rather exceeding than falling short of the Duke in
personal splendour. But his antechamber, in particular, might be
compared to a gathering of eagles to the slaughter, were not the
simile too dignified to express that vile race, who, by a hundred
devices all tending to one common end, live upon the wants of needy
greatness, or administer to the pleasures of summer-teeming luxury, or
stimulate the wild wishes of lavish and wasteful extravagance, by
devising new modes and fresh motives of profusion. There stood the
projector, with his mysterious brow, promising unbounded wealth to
whomsoever might choose to furnish the small preliminary sum necessary
to change egg-shells into the great /arcanum/. There was Captain
Seagull, undertaker for a foreign settlement, with the map under his
arm of Indian or American kingdoms, beautiful as the primitive Eden,
waiting the bold occupants, for whom a generous patron should equip
two brigantines and a fly-boat. Thither came, fast and frequent, the
gamesters, in their different forms and calling. This, light, young,
gay in appearance, the thoughtless youth of wit and pleasure--the
pigeon rather than the rook--but at heart the same sly, shrewd, cold-
blooded calculator, as yonder old hard-featured professor of the same
science, whose eyes are grown dim with watching of the dice at
midnight; and whose fingers are even now assisting his mental
computation of chances and of odds. The fine arts, too--I would it
were otherwise--have their professors amongst this sordid train. The
poor poet, half ashamed, in spite of habit, of the part which he is
about to perform, and abashed by consciousness at once of his base
motive and his shabby black coat, lurks in yonder corner for the
favourable moment to offer his dedication. Much better attired, the
architect presents his splendid vision of front and wings, and designs
a palace, the expense of which may transfer his employer to a jail.
But uppermost of all, the favourite musician, or singer, who waits on
my lord to receive, in solid gold, the value of the dulcet sounds
which solaced the banquet of the preceding evening.

Such, and many such like, were the morning attendants of the Duke of
Buckingham--all genuine descendants of the daughter of the horse-
leech, whose cry is "Give, give."

But the levee of his Grace contained other and very different
characters; and was indeed as various as his own opinions and
pursuits. Besides many of the young nobility and wealthy gentry of
England, who made his Grace the glass at which they dressed themselves
for the day, and who learned from him how to travel, with the newest
and best grace, the general Road to Ruin; there were others of a
graver character--discarded statesmen, political spies, opposition
orators, servile tools of administration, men who met not elsewhere,
but who regarded the Duke's mansion as a sort of neutral ground; sure,
that if he was not of their opinion to-day, this very circumstance
rendered it most likely he should think with them to-morrow. The
Puritans themselves did not shun intercourse with a man whose talents
must have rendered him formidable, even if they had not been united
with high rank and an immense fortune. Several grave personages, with
black suits, short cloaks, and band-strings of a formal cut, were
mingled, as we see their portraits in a gallery of paintings, among
the gallants who ruffled in silk and embroidery. It is true, they
escaped the scandal of being thought intimates of the Duke, by their
business being supposed to refer to money matters. Whether these grave
and professing citizens mixed politics with money lending, was not
known; but it had been long observed, that the Jews, who in general
confine themselves to the latter department, had become for some time
faithful attendants at the Duke's levee.

It was high-tide in the antechamber, and had been so for more than an
hour, ere the Duke's gentleman-in-ordinary ventured into his
bedchamber, carefully darkened, so as to make midnight at noonday, to
know his Grace's pleasure. His soft and serene whisper, in which he
asked whether it were his Grace's pleasure to rise, was briefly and
sharply answered by the counter questions, "Who waits?--What's
o'clock?"

"It is Jerningham, your Grace," said the attendant. "It is one,
afternoon; and your Grace appointed some of the people without at
eleven."

"Who are they?--What do they want?"

"A message from Whitehall, your Grace."

"Pshaw! it will keep cold. Those who make all others wait, will be the
better of waiting in their turn. Were I to be guilty of ill-breeding,
it should rather be to a king than a beggar."

"The gentlemen from the city."

"I am tired of them--tired of their all cant, and no religion--all
Protestantism, and no charity. Tell them to go to Shaftesbury--to
Aldersgate Street with them--that's the best market for their wares."

"Jockey, my lord, from Newmarket."

"Let him ride to the devil--he has horse of mine, and spurs of his
own. Any more?"

"The whole antechamber is full, my lord--knights and squires, doctors
and dicers."

"The dicers, with their doctors[*] in their pockets, I presume."

[*] Doctor, a cant name for false dice.

"Counts, captains, and clergymen."

"You are alliterative, Jerningham," said the Duke; "and that is a
proof you are poetical. Hand me my writing things."

Getting half out of bed--thrusting one arm into a brocade nightgown,
deeply furred with sables, and one foot into a velvet slipper, while
the other pressed in primitive nudity the rich carpet--his Grace,
without thinking farther on the assembly without, began to pen a few
lines of a satirical poem; then suddenly stopped--threw the pen into
the chimney--exclaimed that the humour was past--and asked his
attendant if there were any letters. Jerningham produced a huge
packet.

"What the devil!" said his Grace, "do you think I will read all these?
I am like Clarence, who asked a cup of wine, and was soused into a
butt of sack. I mean, is there anything which presses?"

"This letter, your Grace," said Jerningham, "concerning the Yorkshire
mortgage."

"Did I not bid thee carry it to old Gatheral, my steward?"

"I did, my lord," answered the other; "but Gatheral says there are
difficulties."

"Let the usurers foreclose, then--there is no difficulty in that; and
out of a hundred manors I shall scarce miss one," answered the Duke.
"And hark ye, bring me my chocolate."

"Nay, my lord, Gatheral does not say it is impossible--only
difficult."

"And what is the use of him, if he cannot make it easy? But you are
all born to make difficulties," replied the Duke.

"Nay, if your Grace approves the terms in this schedule, and pleases
to sign it, Gatheral will undertake for the matter," answered
Jerningham.

"And could you not have said so at first, you blockhead?" said the
Duke, signing the paper without looking at the contents--"What other
letters? And remember, I must be plagued with no more business."

"Billets-doux, my lord--five or six of them. This left at the porter's
lodge by a vizard mask."

"Pshaw!" answered the Duke, tossing them over, while his attendant
assisted in dressing him--"an acquaintance of a quarter's standing."

"This given to one of the pages by my Lady ----'s waiting-woman."

"Plague on it--a Jeremiade on the subject of perjury and treachery,
and not a single new line to the old tune," said the Duke, glancing
over the billet. "Here is the old cant--/cruel man--broken vows--
Heaven's just revenge/. Why, the woman is thinking of murder--not of
love. No one should pretend to write upon so threadbare a topic
without having at least some novelty of expression. /The despairing
Araminta/--Lie there, fair desperate. And this--how comes it?"

"Flung into the window of the hall, by a fellow who ran off at full
speed," answered Jerningham.

"This is a better text," said the Duke; "and yet it is an old one too
--three weeks old at least--The little Countess with the jealous lord
--I should not care a farthing for her, save for that same jealous
lord--Plague on't, and he's gone down to the country--/this evening--
in silence and safety--written with a quill pulled from the wing of
Cupid/--Your ladyship has left him pen-feathers enough to fly away
with--better clipped his wings when you had caught him, my lady--And
/so confident of her Buckingham's faith/,--I hate confidence in a
young person. She must be taught better--I will not go."

"You Grace will not be so cruel!" said Jerningham.

"Thou art a compassionate fellow, Jerningham; but conceit must be
punished."

"But if your lordship should resume your fancy for her?"

"Why, then, you must swear the billet-doux miscarried," answered the
Duke. "And stay, a thought strikes me--it shall miscarry in great
style. Hark ye--Is--what is the fellow's name--the poet--is he
yonder?"

"There are six gentlemen, sir, who, from the reams of paper in their
pocket, and the threadbare seams at their elbows, appear to wear the
livery of the Muses."

"Poetical once more, Jerningham. He, I mean, who wrote the last
lampoon," said the Duke.

"To whom your Grace said you owed five pieces and a beating!" replied
Jerningham.

"The money for his satire, and the cudgel for his praise--Good--find
him--give him the five pieces, and thrust the Countess's billet-doux--
Hold--take Araminta's and the rest of them--thrust them all into his
portfolio--All will come out at the Wit's Coffee-house; and if the
promulgator be not cudgelled into all the colours of the rainbow,
there is no spite in woman, no faith in crabtree, or pith in heart of
oak--Araminta's wrath alone would overburden one pair of mortal
shoulders."

"But, my Lord Duke," said his attendant, "this Settle[*] is so dull a
rascal, that nothing he can write will take."

[*] Elkana Settle, the unworthy scribbler whom the envy of Rochester
    and others tried to raise to public estimation, as a rival to
    Dryden; a circumstance which has been the means of elevating him
    to a very painful species of immortality.

"Then as we have given him steel to head the arrow," said the Duke,
"we will give him wings to waft it with--wood, he has enough of his
own to make a shaft or bolt of. Hand me my own unfinished lampoon--
give it to him with the letters--let him make what he can of them
all."

"My Lord Duke--I crave pardon--but your Grace's style will be
discovered; and though the ladies' names are not at the letters, yet
they will be traced."

"I would have it so, you blockhead. Have you lived with me so long,
and cannot discover that the éclat of an intrigue is, with me, worth
all the rest of it?"

"But the danger, my Lord Duke?" replied Jerningham. "There are
husbands, brothers, friends, whose revenge may be awakened."

"And beaten to sleep again," said Buckingham haughtily. "I have Black
Will and his cudgel for plebeian grumblers; and those of quality I can
deal with myself. I lack breathing and exercise of late."

"But yet your Grace----"

"Hold your peace, fool! I tell you that your poor dwarfish spirit
cannot measure the scope of mine. I tell thee I would have the course
of my life a torrent--I am weary of easy achievements, and wish for
obstacles, that I can sweep before my irresistible course."

Another gentleman now entered the apartment. "I humbly crave your
Grace's pardon," he said; "but Master Christian is so importunate for
admission instantly, that I am obliged to take your Grace's pleasure."

"Tell him to call three hours hence. Damn his politic pate, that would
make all men dance after his pipe!"

"I thank thee for the compliment, my Lord Duke," said Christian,
entering the apartment in somewhat a more courtly garb, but with the
same unpretending and undistinguished mien, and in the same placid and
indifferent manner with which he had accosted Julian Peveril upon
different occasions during his journey to London. "It is precisely my
present object to pipe to you; and you may dance to your own profit,
if you will."

"On my word, Master Christian," said the Duke haughtily, "the affair
should be weighty, that removes ceremony so entirely from betwixt us.
If it relates to the subject of our last conversation, I must request
our interview be postponed to some farther opportunity. I am engaged
in an affair of some weight." Then turning his back on Christian, he
went on with his conversation with Jerningham. "Find the person you
wot of, and give him the papers; and hark ye, give him this gold to
pay for the shaft of his arrow--the steel-head and peacock's wing we
have already provided."

"This is all well, my lord," said Christian calmly, and taking his
seat at the same time in an easy-chair at some distance; "but your
Grace's levity is no match for my equanimity. It is necessary I should
speak with you; and I will await your Grace's leisure in the
apartment."

"/Very well/, sir," said the Duke peevishly; "if an evil is to be
undergone, the sooner it is over the better--I can take measures to
prevent its being renewed. So let me hear your errand without farther
delay."

"I will wait till your Grace's toilette is completed," said Christian,
with the indifferent tone which was natural to him. "What I have to
say must be between ourselves."

"Begone, Jerningham; and remain without till I call. Leave my doublet
on the couch.--How now, I have worn this cloth of silver a hundred
times."

"Only twice, if it please your Grace," replied Jerningham.

"As well twenty times--keep it for yourself, or give it to my valet,
if you are too proud of your gentility."

"Your Grace has made better men than me wear your cast clothes," said
Jerningham submissively.

"Thou art sharp, Jerningham," said the Duke--"in one sense I have, and
I may again. So now, that pearl-coloured will do with the ribbon and
George. Get away with thee.--And now that he is gone, Master
Christian, may I once more crave your pleasure?"

"My Lord Duke," said Christian, "you are a worshipper of difficulties
in state affairs, as in love matters."

"I trust you have been no eavesdropper, Master Christian," replied the
Duke; "it scarce argues the respect due to me, or to my roof."

"I know not what you mean, my lord," replied Christian.

"Nay, I care not if the whole world heard what I said but now to
Jerningham. But to the matter," replied the Duke of Buckingham.

"Your Grace is so much occupied with conquests over the fair and over
the witty, that you have perhaps forgotten what a stake you have in
the little Island of Man."

"Not a whit, Master Christian. I remember well enough that my
roundheaded father-in-law, Fairfax, had the island from the Long
Parliament; and was ass enough to quit hold of it at the Restoration,
when, if he had closed his clutches, and held fast, like a true bird
of prey, as he should have done, he might have kept it for him and
his. It had been a rare thing to have had a little kingdom--made laws
of my own--had my Chamberlain with his white staff--I would have
taught Jerningham, in half a day, to look as wise, walk as stiffly,
and speak as silly, as Harry Bennet."

"You might have done this, and more, if it had pleased your Grace."

"Ay, and if it had pleased my Grace, thou, Ned Christian, shouldst
have been the Jack Ketch of my dominions."

"/I/ your Jack Ketch, my lord?" said Christian, more in a tone of
surprise than of displeasure.

"Why, ay; thou hast been perpetually intriguing against the life of
yonder poor old woman. It were a kingdom to thee to gratify thy spleen
with thy own hands."

"I only seek justice against the Countess," said Christian.

"And the end of justice is always a gibbet," said the Duke.

"Be it so," answered Christian. "Well, the Countess is in the Plot."

"The devil confound the Plot, as I believe he first invented it!" said
the Duke of Buckingham; "I have heard of nothing else for months. If
one must go to hell, I would it were by some new road, and in
gentlemen's company. I should not like to travel with Oates, Bedloe,
and the rest of that famous cloud of witnesses."

"Your Grace is then resolved to forego all the advantages which may
arise? If the House of Derby fall under forfeiture, the grant to
Fairfax, now worthily represented by your Duchess, revives, and you
become the Lord and Sovereign of Man."

"In right of a woman," said the Duke; "but, in troth, my godly dame
owes me some advantage for having lived the first year of our marriage
with her and old Black Tom, her grim, fighting, puritanic father. A
man might as well have married the Devil's daughter, and set up
housekeeping with his father-in-law."[*]

[*] Mary, daughter of Thomas, Lord Fairfax, was wedded to the Duke of
    Buckingham, whose versatility made him capable of rendering
    himself for a time as agreeable to his father-in-law, though a
    rigid Presbyterian, as to the gay Charles II.

"I understand you are willing, then, to join your interest for a heave
at the House of Derby, my Lord Duke?"

"As they are unlawfully possessed of my wife's kingdom, they certainly
can expect no favour at my hand. But thou knowest there is an interest
at Whitehall predominant over mine."

"That is only by your Grace's sufferance," said Christian.

"No, no; I tell thee a hundred times, no," said the Duke, rousing
himself to anger at the recollection. "I tell thee that base
courtezan, the Duchess of Portsmouth, hath impudently set herself to
thwart and contradict me; and Charles has given me both cloudy looks
and hard words before the Court. I would he could but guess what is
the offence between her and me! I would he knew but that! But I will
have her plumes picked, or my name is not Villiers. A worthless French
fille-de-joie to brave me thus!--Christian, thou art right; there is
no passion so spirit-stirring as revenge. I will patronise the Plot,
if it be but to spite her, and make it impossible for the King to
uphold her."

As the Duke spoke, he gradually wrought himself into a passion, and
traversed the apartment with as much vehemence as if the only object
he had on earth was to deprive the Duchess of her power and favour
with the King. Christian smiled internally to see him approach the
state of mind in which he was most easily worked upon, and judiciously
kept silence, until the Duke called out to him, in a pet, "Well, Sir
Oracle, you that have laid so many schemes to supplant this she-wolf
of Gaul, where are all your contrivances now?--Where is the exquisite
beauty who was to catch the Sovereign's eye at the first glance?--
Chiffinch, hath he seen her?--and what does he say, that exquisite
critic in beauty and blank-mange, women and wine?"

"He has /seen/ and approves, but has not yet heard her; and her speech
answers to all the rest. We came here yesterday; and to-day I intend
to introduce Chiffinch to her, the instant he arrives from the
country; and I expect him every hour. I am but afraid of the damsel's
peevish virtue, for she hath been brought up after the fashion of our
grandmothers--our mothers had better sense."

"What! so fair, so young, so quick-witted, and so difficult?" said the
Duke. "By your leave, you shall introduce me as well as Chiffinch."

"That your Grace may cure her of her intractable modesty?" said
Christian.

"Why," replied the Duke, "it will but teach her to stand in her own
light. Kings do not love to court and sue; they should have their game
run down for them."

"Under your Grace's favour," said Christian, "this cannot be--/Non
omnibus dormio/--Your Grace knows the classic allusion. If this maiden
become a Prince's favourite, rank gilds the shame and the sin. But to
any under Majesty, she must not vail topsail."

"Why, thou suspicious fool, I was but in jest," said the Duke. "Do you
think I would interfere to spoil a plan so much to my own advantage as
that which you have laid before me?"

Christian smiled and shook his head. "My lord," he said, "I know your
Grace as well, or better, perhaps, than you know yourself. To spoil a
well-concerted intrigue by some cross stroke of your own, would give
you more pleasure, than to bring it to a successful termination
according to the plans of others. But Shaftesbury, and all concerned,
have determined that our scheme shall at least have fair play. We
reckon, therefore, on your help; and--forgive me when I say so--we
will not permit ourselves to be impeded by your levity and fickleness
of purpose."

"Who?--I light and fickle of purpose?" said the Duke. "You see me here
as resolved as any of you, to dispossess the mistress, and to carry on
the plot; these are the only two things I live for in this world. No
one can play the man of business like me, when I please, to the very
filing and labelling of my letters. I am regular as a scrivener."

"You have Chiffinch's letter from the country; he told me he had
written to you about some passages betwixt him and the young Lord
Saville."

"He did so--he did so," said the Duke, looking among his letters; "but
I see not his letter just now--I scarcely noted the contents--I was
busy when it came--but I have it safely."

"You should have acted on it," answered Christian. "The fool suffered
himself to be choused out of his secret, and prayed you to see that my
lord's messenger got not to the Duchess with some despatches which he
sent up from Derbyshire, betraying our mystery."

The Duke was now alarmed, and rang the bell hastily. Jerningham
appeared. "Where is the letter I had from Master Chiffinch some hours
since?"

"If it be not amongst those your Grace has before you, I know nothing
of it," said Jerningham. "I saw none such arrive."

"You lie, you rascal," said Buckingham; "have you a right to remember
better than I do?"

"If your Grace will forgive me reminding you, you have scarce opened a
letter this week," said his gentleman.

"Did you ever hear such a provoking rascal?" said the Duke. "He might
be a witness in the Plot. He has knocked my character for regularity
entirely on the head with his damned counter-evidence."

"Your Grace's talent and capacity will at least remain unimpeached,"
said Christian; "and it is those that must serve yourself and your
friends. If I might advise, you will hasten to Court, and lay some
foundation for the impression we wish to make. If your Grace can take
the first word, and throw out a hint to crossbite Saville, it will be
well. But above all, keep the King's ear employed, which no one can do
so well as you. Leave Chiffinch to fill his heart with a proper
object. Another thing is, there is a blockhead of an old Cavalier, who
must needs be a bustler in the Countess of Derby's behalf--he is fast
in hold, with the whole tribe of witnesses at his haunches."

"Nay, then, take him, Topham."

"Topham has taken him already, my lord," said Christian; "and there
is, besides, a young gallant, a son of the said Knight, who was bred
in the household of the Countess of Derby, and who has brought letters
from her to the Provincial of the Jesuits, and others in London."

"What are their names?" said the Duke dryly.

"Sir Geoffrey Peveril of Martindale Castle, in Derbyshire, and his son
Julian."

"What! Peveril of the Peak?" said the Duke,--"a stout old Cavalier as
ever swore an oath.--A Worcester-man, too--and, in truth, a man of all
work, when blows were going. I will not consent to his ruin,
Christian. These fellows must be flogged of such false scents--flogged
in every sense, they must, and will be, when the nation comes to its
eyesight again."

"It is of more than the last importance, in the meantime, to the
furtherance of our plan," said Christian, "that your Grace should
stand for a space between them and the King's favour. The youth hath
influence with the maiden, which we should find scarce favourable to
our views; besides, her father holds him as high as he can any one who
is no such puritanic fool as himself."

"Well, most Christian Christian," said the Duke, "I have heard your
commands at length. I will endeavour to stop the earths under the
throne, that neither the lord, knight, nor squire in question, shall
find it possible to burrow there. For the fair one, I must leave
Chiffinch and you to manage her introduction to her high destinies,
since I am not to be trusted. Adieu, most Christian Christian."

He fixed his eyes on him, and then exclaimed, as he shut the door of
the apartment,--"Most profligate and damnable villain! And what
provokes me most of all, is the knave's composed insolence. Your Grace
will do this--and your Grace will condescend to do that--A pretty
puppet I should be, to play the second part, or rather the third, in
such a scheme! No, they shall all walk according to my purpose, or I
will cross them. I will find this girl out in spite of them, and judge
if their scheme is likely to be successful. If so, she shall be mine--
mine entirely, before she becomes the King's; and I will command her
who is to guide Charles.--Jerningham" (his gentleman entered), "cause
Christian to be dogged where-ever he goes, for the next four-and-
twenty hours, and find out where he visits a female newly come to
town.--You smile, you knave?"

"I did but suspect a fresh rival to Araminta and the little Countess,"
said Jerningham.

"Away to your business, knave," said the Duke, "and let me think of
mine.--To subdue a Puritan in Esse--a King's favourite in Posse--the
very muster of western beauties--that is point first. The impudence of
this Manx mongrel to be corrected--the pride of Madame la Duchesse to
be pulled down--and important state intrigue to be farthered, or
baffled, as circumstances render most to my own honour and glory--I
wished for business but now, and I have got enough of it. But
Buckingham will keep his own steerage-way through shoal and through
weather."



                             CHAPTER XXIX

            ----Mark you this, Bassanio--
            The devil can quote Scripture for his purpose.
                                       --MERCHANT OF VENICE.

After leaving the proud mansion of the Duke of Buckingham, Christian,
full of the deep and treacherous schemes which he meditated, hastened
to the city, where, in a decent inn, kept by a person of his own
persuasion, he had been unexpectedly summoned to meet with Ralph
Bridgenorth of Moultrassie. He was not disappointed--the Major had
arrived that morning, and anxiously expected him. The usual gloom of
his countenance was darkened into a yet deeper shade of anxiety, which
was scarcely relieved, even while, in answer to his inquiry after his
daughter, Christian gave the most favourable account of her health and
spirits, naturally and unaffectedly intermingled with such praises of
her beauty and her disposition, as were likely to be most grateful to
a father's ear.

But Christian had too much cunning to expatiate on this theme, however
soothing. He stopped short exactly at the point where, as an
affectionate relative, he might be supposed to have said enough. "The
lady," he said, "with whom he had placed Alice, was delighted with her
aspect and manners, and undertook to be responsible for her health and
happiness. He had not, he said, deserved so little confidence at the
hand of his brother, Bridgenorth, as that the Major should, contrary
to his purpose, and to the plan which they had adjusted together, have
hurried up from the country, as if his own presence were necessary for
Alice's protection."

"Brother Christian," said Bridgenorth in reply, "I must see my child--
I must see this person with whom she is entrusted."

"To what purpose?" answered Christian. "Have you not often confessed
that the over excess of the carnal affection which you have
entertained for your daughter, hath been a snare to you?--Have you
not, more than once, been on the point of resigning those great
designs which should place righteousness as a counsellor beside the
throne, because you desired to gratify your daughter's girlish passion
for this descendant of your old persecutor--this Julian Peveril?"

"I own it," said Bridgenorth; "and worlds would I have given, and
would yet give, to clasp that youth to my bosom, and call him my son.
The spirit of his mother looks from his eye, and his stately step is
as that of his father, when he daily spoke comfort to me in my
distress, and said, 'The child liveth.'"

"But the youth walks," said Christian, "after his own lights, and
mistakes the meteor of the marsh for the Polar star. Ralph
Bridgenorth, I will speak to thee in friendly sincerity. Thou must not
think to serve both the good cause and Baal. Obey, if thou wilt, thine
own carnal affections, summon this Julian Peveril to thy house, and
let him wed thy daughter--But mark the reception she will meet with
from the proud old knight, whose spirit is now, even now, as little
broken with his chains, as after the sword of the Saints had prevailed
at Worcester. Thou wilt see thy daughter spurned from his feet like an
outcast."

"Christian," said Bridgenorth, interrupting him, "thou dost urge me
hard; but thou dost it in love, my brother, and I forgive thee--Alice
shall never be spurned.--But this friend of thine--this lady--thou art
my child's uncle; and after me, thou art next to her in love and
affection--Still, thou art not her father--hast not her father's
fears. Art thou sure of the character of this woman to whom my child
is entrusted?"

"Am I sure of my own?--Am I sure that my name is Christian--yours
Bridgenorth?--Is it a thing I am likely to be insecure in?--Have I not
dwelt for many years in this city?--Do I not know this Court?--And am
I likely to be imposed upon? For I will not think you can fear my
imposing upon you."

"Thou art my brother," said Bridgenorth--"the blood and bone of my
departed Saint--and I am determined that I will trust thee in this
matter."

"Thou dost well," said Christian; "and who knows what reward may be in
store for thee?--I cannot look upon Alice, but it is strongly borne in
on my mind, that there will be work for a creature so excellent beyond
ordinary women. Courageous Judith freed Bethulia by her valour, and
the comely features of Esther made her a safeguard and a defence to
her people in the land of captivity, when she found favour in the
sight of King Ahasuerus."

"Be it with her as Heaven wills," said Bridgenorth; "and now tell me
what progress there is in the great work."

"The people are weary of the iniquity of this Court," said Christian;
"and if this man will continue to reign, it must be by calling to his
councils men of another stamp. The alarm excited by the damnable
practices of the Papists has called up men's souls, and awakened their
eyes to the dangers of their state.--He himself--for he will give up
brother and wife to save himself--is not averse to a change of
measures; and though we cannot at first see the Court purged as with a
winnowing fan, yet there will be enough of the good to control the bad
--enough of the sober party to compel the grant of that universal
toleration, for which we have sighed so long, as a maiden for her
beloved. Time and opportunity will lead the way to more thorough
reformation; and that will be done without stroke of sword, which our
friends failed to establish on a sure foundation, even when their
victorious blades were in their hands."

"May God grant it!" said Bridgenorth; "for I fear me I should scruple
to do aught which should once more unsheath the civil sword; but
welcome all that comes in a peaceful and parliamentary way."

"Ay," said Christian, "and which will bring with it the bitter amends,
which our enemies have so long merited at our hands. How long hath our
brother's blood cried for vengeance from the altar!--Now shall that
cruel Frenchwoman find that neither lapse of years, nor her powerful
friends, nor the name of Stanley, nor the Sovereignty of Man, shall
stop the stern course of the pursuer of blood. Her name shall be
struck from the noble, and her heritage shall another take."

"Nay, but, brother Christian," said Bridgenorth, "art thou not over
eager in pursuing this thing?--It is thy duty as a Christian to
forgive thine enemies."

"Ay, but not the enemies of Heaven--not those who shed the blood of
the saints," said Christian, his eyes kindling that vehement and fiery
expression which at times gave to his uninteresting countenance the
only character of passion which it ever exhibited. "No, Bridgenorth,"
he continued, "I esteem this purpose of revenge holy--I account it a
propitiatory sacrifice for what may have been evil in my life. I have
submitted to be spurned by the haughty--I have humbled myself to be as
a servant; but in my breast was the proud thought, I who do this--do
it that I may avenge my brother's blood."

"Still, my brother," said Bridgenorth, "although I participate thy
purpose, and have aided thee against this Moabitish woman, I cannot
but think thy revenge is more after the law of Moses than after the
law of love."

"This comes well from thee, Ralph Bridgenorth," answered Christian;
"from thee, who has just smiled over the downfall of thine own enemy."

"If you mean Sir Geoffrey Peveril," said Bridgenorth, "I smile not on
his ruin. It is well he is abased; but if it lies with me, I may
humble his pride, but will never ruin his house."

"You know your purpose best," said Christian; "and I do justice,
brother Bridgenorth, to the purity of your principles; but men who see
with but worldly eyes, would discern little purpose of mercy in the
strict magistrate and severe creditor--and such have you been to
Peveril."

"And, brother Christian," said Bridgenorth, his colour rising as he
spoke, "neither do I doubt your purpose, nor deny the surprising
address with which you have procured such perfect information
concerning the purposes of yonder woman of Ammon. But it is free to me
to think, that in your intercourse with the Court, and with courtiers,
you may, in your carnal and worldly policy, sink the value of those
spiritual gifts, for which you were once so much celebrated among the
brethren."

"Do not apprehend it," said Christian, recovering his temper, which
had been a little ruffled by the previous discussion. "Let us but work
together as heretofore; and I trust each of us shall be found doing
the work of a faithful servant to that good old cause for which we
have heretofore drawn the sword."

So saying, he took his hat, and bidding Bridgenorth farewell, declared
his intention of returning in the evening.

"Fare thee well!" said Bridgenorth; "to that cause wilt thou find me
ever a true and devoted adherent. I will act by that counsel of thine,
and will not even ask thee--though it may grieve my heart as a parent
--with whom, or where, thou hast entrusted my child. I will try to cut
off, and cast from me, even my right hand, and my right eye; but for
thee, Christian, if thou dost deal otherwise than prudently and
honestly in this matter, it is what God and man will require at thy
hand."

"Fear not me," said Christian hastily, and left the place, agitated by
reflections of no pleasant kind.

"I ought to have persuaded him to return," he said, as he stepped out
into the street. "Even his hovering in this neighbourhood may spoil
the plan on which depends the rise of my fortunes--ay, and of his
child's. Will men say I have ruined her, when I shall have raised her
to the dazzling height of the Duchess of Portsmouth, and perhaps made
her a mother to a long line of princes? Chiffinch hath vouched for
opportunity; and the voluptuary's fortune depends upon his gratifying
the taste of his master for variety. If she makes an impression, it
must be a deep one; and once seated in his affections, I fear not her
being supplanted.--What will her father say? Will he, like a prudent
man, put his shame in his pocket, because it is well gilded? or will
he think it fitting to make a display of moral wrath and parental
frenzy? I fear the latter--He has ever kept too strict a course to
admit his conniving at such licence. But what will his anger avail?--I
need not be seen in the matter--those who are will care little for the
resentment of a country Puritan. And after all, what I am labouring to
bring about is best for himself, the wench, and above all, for me,
Edward Christian."

With such base opiates did this unhappy wretch stifle his own
conscience, while anticipating the disgrace of his friend's family,
and the ruin of a near relative, committed in confidence to his
charge. The character of this man was of no common description; nor
was it by an ordinary road that he had arrived at the present climax
of unfeeling and infamous selfishness.

Edward Christian, as the reader is aware, was the brother of that
William Christian, who was the principal instrument in delivering up
the Isle of Man to the Republic, and who became the victim of the
Countess of Derby's revenge on that account. Both had been educated as
Puritans, but William was a soldier, which somewhat modified the
strictness of his religious opinions; Edward, a civilian, seemed to
entertain these principles in the utmost rigour. But it was only
seeming. The exactness of deportment, which procured him great honour
and influence among the /sober party/, as they were wont to term
themselves, covered a voluptuous disposition, the gratification of
which was sweet to him as stolen waters, and pleasant as bread eaten
in secret. While, therefore, his seeming godliness brought him worldly
gain, his secret pleasures compensated for his outward austerity;
until the Restoration, and the Countess's violent proceedings against
his brother interrupted the course of both. He then fled from his
native island, burning with the desire of revenging his brother's
death--the only passion foreign to his own gratification which he was
ever known to cherish, and which was also, at least, partly selfish,
since it concerned the restoration of his own fortunes.

He found easy access to Villiers, Duke of Buckingham, who, in right of
his Duchess, claimed such of the Derby estate as had been bestowed by
the Parliament on his celebrated father-in-law, Lord Fairfax. His
influence at the Court of Charles, where a jest was a better plea than
a long claim of faithful service, was so successfully exerted, as to
contribute greatly to the depression of that loyal and ill-rewarded
family. But Buckingham was incapable, even for his own interest, of
pursuing the steady course which Christian suggested to him; and his
vacillation probably saved the remnant of the large estates of the
Earl of Derby.

Meantime, Christian was too useful a follower to be dismissed. From
Buckingham, and others of that stamp, he did not affect to conceal the
laxity of his morals; but towards the numerous and powerful party to
which he belonged, he was able to disguise them by a seeming gravity
of exterior, which he never laid aside. Indeed, so wide and absolute
was then the distinction betwixt the Court and the city, that a man
might have for some time played two several parts, as in two different
spheres, without its being discovered in the one that he exhibited
himself in a different light in the other. Besides, when a man of
talent shows himself an able and useful partisan, his party will
continue to protect and accredit him, in spite of conduct the most
contradictory to their own principles. Some facts are, in such cases,
denied--some are glossed over--and party zeal is permitted to cover at
least as many defects as ever doth charity.

Edward Christian had often need of the partial indulgence of his
friends; but he experienced it, for he was eminently useful.
Buckingham, and other courtiers of the same class, however dissolute
in their lives, were desirous of keeping some connection with the
Dissenting or Puritanic party, as it was termed; thereby to strengthen
themselves against their opponents at Court. In such intrigues,
Christian was a notable agent; and at one time had nearly procured an
absolute union between a class which professed the most rigid
principles of religion and morality, and the latitudinarian courtiers,
who set all principle at defiance.

Amidst the vicissitudes of a life of intrigue, during which
Buckingham's ambitious schemes, and his own, repeatedly sent him
across the Atlantic, it was Edward Christian's boast that he never
lost sight of his principal object,--revenge on the Countess of Derby.
He maintained a close and intimate correspondence with his native
island, so as to be perfectly informed of whatever took place there;
and he stimulated, on every favourable opportunity, the cupidity of
Buckingham to possess himself of this petty kingdom, by procuring the
forfeiture of its present Lord. It was not difficult to keep his
patron's wild wishes alive on this topic, for his own mercurial
imagination attached particular charms to the idea of becoming a sort
of sovereign even in this little island; and he was, like Catiline, as
covetous of the property of others, as he was profuse of his own.

But it was not until the pretended discovery of the Papist Plot that
the schemes of Christian could be brought to ripen; and then, so
odious were the Catholics in the eyes of the credulous people of
England, that, upon the accusation of the most infamous of mankind,
common informers, the scourings of jails, and the refuse of the
whipping-post, the most atrocious charges against persons of the
highest rank and fairest character were readily received and credited.

This was a period which Christian did not fail to improve. He drew
close his intimacy with Bridgenorth, which had indeed never been
interrupted, and readily engaged him in his schemes, which, in the
eyes of his brother-in-law, were alike honourable and patriotic. But,
while he flattered Bridgenorth with the achieving a complete
reformation in the state--checking the profligacy of the Court--
relieving the consciences of the Dissenters from the pressures of the
penal laws--amending, in fine, the crying grievances of the time--
while he showed him also, in prospect, revenge upon the Countess of
Derby, and a humbling dispensation on the house of Peveril, from whom
Bridgenorth had suffered such indignity, Christian did not neglect, in
the meanwhile, to consider how he could best benefit himself by the
confidence reposed in him by his unsuspicious relation.

The extreme beauty of Alice Bridgenorth--the great wealth which time
and economy had accumulated on her father--pointed her out as a most
desirable match to repair the wasted fortunes of some of the followers
of the Court; and he flattered himself that he could conduct such a
negotiation so as to be in a high degree conducive to his own
advantage. He found there would be little difficulty in prevailing on
Major Bridgenorth to entrust him with the guardianship of his
daughter. That unfortunate gentleman had accustomed himself, from the
very period of her birth, to regard the presence of his child as a
worldly indulgence too great to be allowed to him; and Christian had
little trouble in convincing him that the strong inclination which he
felt to bestow her on Julian Peveril, provided he could be brought
over to his own political opinions, was a blameable compromise with
his more severe principles. Late circumstances had taught him the
incapacity and unfitness of Dame Debbitch for the sole charge of so
dear a pledge; and he readily and thankfully embraced the kind offer
of her maternal uncle, Christian, to place Alice under the protection
of a lady of rank in London, whilst he himself was to be engaged in
the scenes of bustle and blood, which, in common with all good
Protestants, he expected was speedily to take place on a general
rising of the Papists, unless prevented by the active and energetic
measures of the good people of England. He even confessed his fears,
that his partial regard for Alice's happiness might enervate his
efforts in behalf of his country; and Christian had little trouble in
eliciting from him a promise, that he would forbear to inquire after
her for some time.

Thus certain of being the temporary guardian of his niece for a space
long enough, he flattered himself, for the execution of his purpose,
Christian endeavoured to pave the way by consulting Chiffinch, whose
known skill in Court policy qualified him best as an adviser on this
occasion. But this worthy person, being, in fact, a purveyor for his
Majesty's pleasures, and on that account high in his good graces,
thought it fell within the line of his duty to suggest another scheme
than that on which Christian consulted him. A woman of such exquisite
beauty as Alice was described, he deemed more worthy to be a partaker
of the affections of the merry Monarch, whose taste in female beauty
was so exquisite, than to be made the wife of some worn-out prodigal
of quality. And then, doing perfect justice to his own character, he
felt it would not be one whit impaired, while his fortune would be, in
every respect, greatly amended, if, after sharing the short reign of
the Gwyns, the Davises, the Robertses, and so forth, Alice Bridgenorth
should retire from the state of a royal favourite, into the humble
condition of Mrs. Chiffinch.

After cautiously sounding Christian, and finding that the near
prospect of interest to himself effectually prevented his starting at
this iniquitous scheme, Chiffinch detailed it to him fully, carefully
keeping the final termination out of sight, and talking of the favour
to be acquired by the fair Alice as no passing caprice, but the
commencement of a reign as long and absolute as that of the Duchess of
Portsmouth, of whose avarice and domineering temper Charles was now
understood to be much tired, though the force of habit rendered him
unequal to free himself of her yoke.

Thus chalked out, the scene prepared was no longer the intrigue of a
Court pander, and a villainous resolution for the ruin of an innocent
girl, but became a state intrigue, for the removal of an obnoxious
favourite, and the subsequent change of the King's sentiments upon
various material points, in which he was at present influenced by the
Duchess of Portsmouth. In this light it was exhibited to the Duke of
Buckingham, who, either to sustain his character for daring gallantry,
or in order to gratify some capricious fancy, had at one time made
love to the reigning favourite, and experienced a repulse which he had
never forgiven.

But one scheme was too little to occupy the active and enterprising
spirit of the Duke. An appendix of the Popish Plot was easily so
contrived as to involve the Countess of Derby, who, from character and
religion, was precisely the person whom the credulous part of the
public were inclined to suppose the likely accomplice of such a
conspiracy. Christian and Bridgenorth undertook the perilous
commission of attacking her even in her own little kingdom of Man, and
had commissions for this purpose, which were only to be produced in
case of their scheme taking effect.

It miscarried, as the reader is aware, from the Countess's alert
preparations for defence; and neither Christian nor Bridgenorth held
it sound policy to practise openly, even under parliamentary
authority, against a lady so little liable to hesitate upon the
measures most likely to secure her feudal sovereignty; wisely
considering that even the omnipotence, as it has been somewhat too
largely styled, of Parliament, might fail to relieve them from the
personal consequences of a failure.

On the continent of Britain, however, no opposition was to be feared;
and so well was Christian acquainted with all the motions in the
interior of the Countess's little court, or household, that Peveril
would have been arrested the instant he set foot on shore, but for the
gale of wind which obliged the vessel, in which he was a passenger, to
run for Liverpool. Here Christian, under the name of Ganlesse,
unexpectedly met with him, and preserved him from the fangs of the
well-breathed witnesses of the Plot, with the purpose of securing his
despatches, or, if necessary, his person also, in such a manner as to
place him at his own discretion--a narrow and perilous game, which he
thought it better, however, to undertake, than to permit these
subordinate agents, who were always ready to mutiny against all in
league with them, to obtain the credit which they must have done by
the seizure of the Countess of Derby's despatches. It was, besides,
essential to Buckingham's schemes that these should not pass into the
hands of a public officer like Topham, who, however pompous and
stupid, was upright and well-intentioned, until they had undergone the
revisal of a private committee, where something might have probably
been suppressed, even supposing that nothing had been added. In short,
Christian, in carrying on his own separate and peculiar intrigue, by
the agency of the Great Popish Plot, as it was called, acted just like
an engineer, who derives the principle of motion which turns his
machinery, by means of a steam-engine, or large water-wheel,
constructed to drive a separate and larger engine. Accordingly, he was
determined that, while he took all the advantage he could from their
supposed discoveries, no one should be admitted to tamper or interfere
with his own plans of profit and revenge.

Chiffinch, who, desirous of satisfying himself with his own eyes of
that excellent beauty which had been so highly extolled, had gone down
to Derbyshire on purpose, was infinitely delighted, when, during the
course of a two hours' sermon at the dissenting chapel in Liverpool,
which afforded him ample leisure for a deliberate survey, he arrived
at the conclusion that he had never seen a form or face more
captivating. His eyes having confirmed what was told him, he hurried
back to the little inn which formed their place of rendezvous, and
there awaited Christian and his niece, with a degree of confidence in
the success of their project which he had not before entertained; and
with an apparatus of luxury, calculated, as he thought, to make a
favourable impression on the mind of a rustic girl. He was somewhat
surprised, when, instead of Alice Bridgenorth, to whom he expected
that night to have been introduced, he found that Christian was
accompanied by Julian Peveril. It was indeed a severe disappointment,
for he had prevailed on his own indolence to venture this far from the
Court, in order that he might judge, with his own paramount taste,
whether Alice was really the prodigy which her uncle's praises had
bespoken her, and, as such, a victim worthy of the fate to which she
was destined.

A few words betwixt the worthy confederates determined them on the
plan of stripping Peveril of the Countess's despatches; Chiffinch
absolutely refusing to take any share in arresting him, as a matter of
which his Master's approbation might be very uncertain.

Christian had also his own reasons for abstaining from so decisive a
step. It was by no means likely to be agreeable to Bridgenorth, whom
it was necessary to keep in good humour;--it was not necessary, for
the Countess's despatches were of far more importance than the person
of Julian. Lastly, it was superfluous in this respect also, that
Julian was on the road to his father's castle, where it was likely he
would be seized, as a matter of course, along with the other
suspicious persons who fell under Topham's warrant, and the
denunciations of his infamous companions. He, therefore, far from
using any violence to Peveril, assumed towards him such a friendly
tone, as might seem to warn him against receiving damage from others,
and vindicate himself from having any share in depriving him of his
charge. This last manoeuvre was achieved by an infusion of a strong
narcotic into Julian's wine; under the influence of which he slumbered
so soundly, that the confederates were easily able to accomplish their
inhospitable purpose.

The events of the succeeding days are already known to the reader.
Chiffinch set forward to return to London, with the packet, which it
was desirable should be in Buckingham's hands as soon as possible;
while Christian went to Moultrassie, to receive Alice from her father,
and convey her safely to London--his accomplice agreeing to defer his
curiosity to see more of her until they should have arrived in that
city.

Before parting with Bridgenorth, Christian had exerted his utmost
address to prevail on him to remain at Moultrassie; he had even
overstepped the bounds of prudence, and, by his urgency, awakened some
suspicions of an indefinite nature, which he found it difficult to
allay. Bridgenorth, therefore, followed his brother-in-law to London;
and the reader has already been made acquainted with the arts which
Christian used to prevent his farther interference with the destinies
of his daughter, or the unhallowed schemes of her ill-chosen guardian.
Still Christian, as he strode along the street in profound reflection,
saw that his undertaking was attended with a thousand perils; and the
drops stood like beads on his brow when he thought of the presumptuous
levity and fickle temper of Buckingham--the frivolity and intemperance
of Chiffinch--the suspicions of the melancholy and bigoted, yet
sagacious and honest Bridgenorth. "Had I," he thought, "but tools
fitted, each to their portion of the work, how easily could I heave
asunder and disjoint the strength that opposes me! But with these
frail and insufficient implements, I am in daily, hourly, momentary
danger, that one lever or other gives way, and that the whole ruin
recoils on my own head. And yet, were it not for those failings I
complain of, how were it possible for me to have acquired that power
over them all which constitutes them my passive tools, even when they
seem most to exert their own free will? Yes, the bigots have some
right when they affirm that all is for the best."

It may seem strange, that, amidst the various subjects of Christian's
apprehension, he was never visited by any long or permanent doubt that
the virtue of his niece might prove the shoal on which his voyage
should be wrecked. But he was an arrant rogue, as well as a hardened
libertine; and, in both characters, a professed disbeliever in the
virtue of the fair sex.



                             CHAPTER XXX

            As for John Dryden's Charles, I own that King
            Was never any very mighty thing;
            And yet he was a devilish honest fellow--
            Enjoy'd his friend and bottle, and got mellow.
                                               --DR. WOLOOT.

London, the grand central point of intrigues of every description, had
now attracted within its dark and shadowy region the greater number of
the personages whom we have had occasion to mention.

Julian Peveril, amongst others of the /dramatis personæ/, had arrived,
and taken up his abode in a remote inn in the suburbs. His business,
he conceived, was to remain incognito until he should have
communicated in private with the friends who were most likely to lend
assistance to his parents, as well as to his patroness, in their
present situation of doubt and danger. Amongst these, the most
powerful was the Duke of Ormond, whose faithful services, high rank,
and acknowledged worth and virtue, still preserved an ascendancy in
that very Court, where, in general, he was regarded as out of favour.
Indeed, so much consciousness did Charles display in his demeanour
towards that celebrated noble, and servant of his father, that
Buckingham once took the freedom to ask the King whether the Duke of
Ormond had lost his Majesty's favour, or his Majesty the Duke's?
since, whenever they chanced to meet, the King appeared the more
embarrassed of the two. But it was not Peveril's good fortune to
obtain the advice or countenance of this distinguished person. His
Grace of Ormond was not at that time in London.

The letter, about the delivery of which the Countess had seemed most
anxious after that to the Duke of Ormond, was addressed to Captain
Barstow (a Jesuit, whose real name was Fenwicke), to be found, or at
least to be heard of, in the house of one Martin Christal in the
Savoy. To this place hastened Peveril, upon learning the absence of
the Duke of Ormond. He was not ignorant of the danger which he
personally incurred, by thus becoming a medium of communication
betwixt a Popish priest and a suspected Catholic. But when he
undertook the perilous commission of his patroness, he had done so
frankly, and with the unreserved resolution of serving her in the
manner in which she most desired her affairs to be conducted. Yet he
could not forbear some secret apprehension, when he felt himself
engaged in the labyrinth of passages and galleries, which led to
different obscure sets of apartments in the ancient building termed
the Savoy.

This antiquated and almost ruinous pile occupied a part of the site of
the public offices in the Strand, commonly called Somerset House. The
Savoy had been formerly a palace, and took its name from an Earl of
Savoy, by whom it was founded. It had been the habitation of John of
Gaunt, and various persons of distinction--had become a convent, an
hospital, and finally, in Charles II.'s time, a waste of dilapidated
buildings and ruinous apartments, inhabited chiefly by those who had
some connection with, or dependence upon, the neighbouring palace of
Somerset House, which, more fortunate than the Savoy, had still
retained its royal title, and was the abode of a part of the Court,
and occasionally of the King himself, who had apartments there.

It was not without several inquiries, and more than one mistake, that,
at the end of a long and dusky passage, composed of boards so wasted
by time that they threatened to give way under his feet, Julian at
length found the name of Martin Christal, broker and appraiser, upon a
shattered door. He was about to knock, when some one pulled his cloak;
and looking round, to his great astonishment, which indeed almost
amounted to fear, he saw the little mute damsel, who had accompanied
him for a part of the way on his voyage from the Isle of Man.

"Fenella!" he exclaimed, forgetting that she could neither hear nor
reply,--"Fenella! Can this be you?"

Fenella, assuming the air of warning and authority, which she had
heretofore endeavoured to adopt towards him, interposed betwixt Julian
and the door at which he was about to knock--pointed with her finger
towards it in a prohibiting manner, and at the same time bent her
brows, and shook her head sternly.

After a moment's consideration, Julian could place but one
interpretation upon Fenella's appearance and conduct, and that was, by
supposing her lady had come up to London, and had despatched this mute
attendant, as a confidential person, to apprise him of some change of
her intended operations, which might render the delivery of her
letters to Barstow, /alias/ Fenwicke, superfluous, or perhaps
dangerous. He made signs to Fenella, demanding to know whether she had
any commission from the Countess. She nodded. "Had she any letter?" he
continued, by the same mode of inquiry. She shook her head
impatiently, and, walking hastily along the passage, made a signal to
him to follow. He did so, having little doubt that he was about to be
conducted into the Countess's presence; but his surprise, at first
excited by Fenella's appearance, was increased by the rapidity and
ease with which she seemed to track the dusky and decayed mazes of the
dilapidated Savoy, equal to that with which he had seen her formerly
lead the way through the gloomy vaults of Castle Rushin, in the Isle
of Man.

When he recollected, however, that Fenella had accompanied the
Countess on a long visit to London, it appeared not improbable that
she might then have acquired this local knowledge which seemed so
accurate. Many foreigners, dependent on Queen or Queen Dowager, had
apartments in the Savoy. Many Catholic priests also found refuge in
its recesses, under various disguises, and in defiance of the severity
of the laws against Popery. What was more likely than that the
Countess of Derby, a Catholic and a Frenchwoman, should have had
secret commissions amongst such people; and that the execution of such
should be entrusted, at least occasionally, to Fenella?

Thus reflecting, Julian continued to follow her light and active
footsteps as she glided from the Strand to Spring-Garden, and thence
into the Park.

It was still early in the morning, and the Mall was untenanted, save
by a few walkers, who frequented these shades for the wholesome
purposes of air and exercise. Splendour, gaiety, and display, did not
come forth, at that period, until noon was approaching. All readers
have heard that the whole space where the Horse Guards are now built,
made, in the time of Charles II., a part of St. James's Park; and that
the old building, now called the Treasury, was a part of the ancient
Palace of Whitehall, which was thus immediately connected with the
Park. The canal had been constructed, by the celebrated Le Notre, for
the purpose of draining the Park; and it communicated with the Thames
by a decoy, stocked with a quantity of the rarer waterfowl. It was
towards this decoy that Fenella bent her way with unabated speed; and
they were approaching a group of two or three gentlemen, who sauntered
by its banks, when, on looking closely at him who appeared to be the
chief of the party, Julian felt his heart beat uncommonly thick, as if
conscious of approaching some one of the highest consequence.

The person whom he looked upon was past the middle age of life, of a
dark complexion, corresponding with the long, black, full-bottomed
periwig, which he wore instead of his own hair. His dress was plain
black velvet, with a diamond star, however, on his cloak, which hung
carelessly over one shoulder. His features, strongly lined, even to
harshness, had yet an expression of dignified good-humour; he was well
and strongly built, walked upright and yet easily, and had upon the
whole the air of a person of the highest consideration. He kept rather
in advance of his companions, but turned and spoke to them, from time
to time, with much affability, and probably with some liveliness,
judging by the smiles, and sometimes the scarce restrained laughter,
by which some of his sallies were received by his attendants. They
also wore only morning dresses; but their looks and manner were those
of men of rank, in presence of one in station still more elevated.
They shared the attention of their principal in common with seven or
eight little black curly-haired spaniels, or rather, as they are now
called, cockers, which attended their master as closely, and perhaps
with as deep sentiments of attachment, as the bipeds of the group; and
whose gambols, which seemed to afford him much amusement, he sometimes
checked, and sometimes encouraged. In addition to this pastime, a
lackey, or groom, was also in attendance, with one or two little
baskets and bags, from which the gentleman we have described took,
from time to time, a handful of seeds, and amused himself with
throwing them to the waterfowl.

This the King's favourite occupation, together with his remarkable
countenance, and the deportment of the rest of the company towards
him, satisfied Julian Peveril that he was approaching, perhaps
indecorously, near the person of Charles Stewart, the second of that
unhappy name.

While he hesitated to follow his dumb guide any nearer, and felt the
embarrassment of being unable to communicate to her his repugnance to
further intrusion, a person in the royal retinue touched a light and
lively air on the flageolet, at a signal from the King, who desired to
have some tune repeated which had struck him in the theatre on the
preceding evening. While the good-natured monarch marked time with his
foot, and with the motion of his hand, Fenella continued to approach
him, and threw into her manner the appearance of one who was
attracted, as it were in spite of herself, by the sounds of the
instrument.

Anxious to know how this was to end, and astonished to see the dumb
girl imitate so accurately the manner of one who actually heard the
musical notes, Peveril also drew near, though at somewhat greater
distance.

The King looked good-humouredly at both, as if he admitted their
musical enthusiasm as an excuse for their intrusion; but his eyes
became riveted on Fenella, whose face and appearance, although rather
singular than beautiful, had something in them wild, fantastic, and,
as being so, even captivating, to an eye which had been gratified
perhaps to satiety with the ordinary forms of female beauty. She did
not appear to notice how closely she was observed; but, as if acting
under an irresistible impulse, derived from the sounds to which she
seemed to listen, she undid the bodkin round which her long tresses
were winded, and flinging them suddenly over her slender person, as if
using them as a natural veil, she began to dance, with infinite grace
and agility, to the tune which the flageolet played.

Peveril lost almost his sense of the King's presence, when he observed
with what wonderful grace and agility Fenella kept time to notes,
which could only be known to her by the motions of the musician's
fingers. He had heard, indeed, among other prodigies, of a person in
Fenella's unhappy situation acquiring, by some unaccountable and
mysterious tact, the power of acting as an instrumental musician, nay,
becoming so accurate a performer as to be capable of leading a musical
band; and he also heard of deaf and dumb persons dancing with
sufficient accuracy, by observing the motions of their partner. But
Fenella's performance seemed more wonderful than either, since the
musician was guided by his written notes, and the dancer by the
motions of the others; whereas Fenella had no intimation, save what
she seemed to gather, with infinite accuracy, by observing the motion
of the artist's fingers on his small instrument.

As for the King, who was ignorant of the particular circumstances
which rendered Fenella's performance almost marvellous, he was
contented, at her first commencement, to authorise what seemed to him
the frolic of this singular-looking damsel, by a good-natured smile,
but when he perceived the exquisite truth and justice, as well as the
wonderful combination of grace and agility, with which she executed to
this favourite air a dance which was perfectly new to him, Charles
turned his mere acquiescence into something like enthusiastic
applause. He bore time to her motions with the movement of his foot--
applauded with head and with hand--and seemed, like herself, carried
away by the enthusiasm of the gestic art.

After a rapid yet graceful succession of /entrechats/, Fenella
introduced a slow movement, which terminated the dance; then dropping
a profound courtesy, she continued to stand motionless before the
King, her arms folded on her bosom, her head stooped, and her eyes
cast down, after the manner of an Oriental slave; while through the
misty veil of her shadowy locks, it might be observed, that the colour
which exercise had called to her cheeks was dying fast away, and
resigning them to their native dusky hue.

"By my honour," exclaimed the King, "she is like a fairy who trips it
in moonlight. There must be more of air and fire than of earth in her
composition. It is well poor Nelly Gwyn saw her not, or she would have
died of grief and envy. Come, gentlemen, which of you contrived this
pretty piece of morning pastime?"

The courtiers looked at each other, but none of them felt authorised
to claim the merit of a service so agreeable.

"We must ask the quick-eyed nymph herself then," said the King; and,
looking at Fenella, he added, "Tell us, my pretty one, to whom we owe
the pleasure of seeing you?--I suspect the Duke of Buckingham; for
this is exactly a /tour de son métier/."

Fenella, on observing that the King addressed her, bowed low, and
shook her head, in signal that she did not understand what he said.
"Oddsfish, that is true," said the King; "she must perforce be a
foreigner--her complexion and agility speak it. France or Italy has
had the moulding of those elastic limbs, dark cheek, and eye of fire."
He then put to her in French, and again in Italian, the question, "By
whom she had been sent hither?"

At the second repetition, Fenella threw back her veiling tresses, so
as to show the melancholy which sat on her brow; while she sadly shook
her head, and intimated by imperfect muttering, but of the softest and
most plaintive kind, her organic deficiency.

"Is it possible Nature can have made such a fault?" said Charles. "Can
she have left so curious a piece as thou art without the melody of
voice, whilst she has made thee so exquisitely sensible to the beauty
of sound?--Stay: what means this? and what young fellow are you
bringing up there? Oh, the master of the show, I suppose.--Friend," he
added, addressing himself to Peveril, who, on the signal of Fenella,
stepped forward almost instinctively, and kneeled down, "we thank thee
for the pleasure of this morning.--My Lord Marquis, you rooked me at
piquet last night; for which disloyal deed thou shalt now atone, by
giving a couple of pieces to this honest youth, and five to the girl."

As the nobleman drew out his purse and came forward to perform the
King's generous commission, Julian felt some embarrassment ere he was
able to explain, that he had not title to be benefited by the young
person's performance, and that his Majesty had mistaken his character.

"And who art thou, then, my friend?" said Charles; "but, above all,
and particularly, who is this dancing nymph, whom thou standest
waiting on like an attendant fawn?"

"The young person is a retainer of the Countess-Dowager of Derby, so
please your Majesty," said Peveril, in a low tone of voice; "and I
am----"

"Hold, hold," said the King; "this is a dance to another tune, and not
fit for a place so public. Hark thee, friend; do thou and the young
woman follow Empson where he will conduct thee.--Empson, carry them--
hark in thy ear."

"May it please your Majesty, I ought to say," said Peveril, "that I am
guiltless of any purpose of intrusion----"

"Now a plague on him who can take no hint," said the King, cutting
short his apology. "Oddsfish, man, there are times when civility is
the greatest impertinence in the world. Do thou follow Empson, and
amuse thyself for a half-hour's space with the fairy's company, till
we shall send for you."

Charles spoke this not without casting an anxious eye around, and in a
tone which intimated apprehension of being overheard. Julian could
only bow obedience, and follow Empson, who was the same person that
played so rarely on the flageolet.

When they were out of sight of the King and his party, the musician
wished to enter into conversation with his companions, and addressed
himself first to Fenella with a broad compliment of, "By the mass, ye
dance rarely--ne'er a slut on the boards shows such a shank! I would
be content to play to you till my throat were as dry as my whistle.
Come, be a little free--old Rowley will not quit the Park till nine. I
will carry you to Spring-Garden, and bestow sweet-cakes and a quart of
Rhenish on both of you; and we'll be cameradoes,--What the devil? no
answer?--How's this, brother?--Is this neat wench of yours deaf or
dumb or both? I should laugh at that, and she trip it so well to the
flageolet."

To rid himself of this fellow's discourse, Peveril answered him in
French, that he was a foreigner, and spoke no English; glad to escape,
though at the expense of a fiction, from the additional embarrassment
of a fool, who was likely to ask more questions than his own wisdom
might have enabled him to answer.

"/Étranger/--that means stranger," muttered their guide; "more French
dogs and jades come to lick the good English butter of our bread, or
perhaps an Italian puppet-show. Well if it were not that they have a
mortal enmity to the whole /gamut/, this were enough to make any
honest fellow turn Puritan. But if I am to play to her at the
Duchess's, I'll be d--d but I put her out in the tune, just to teach
her to have the impudence to come to England, and to speak no
English."

Having muttered to himself this truly British resolution, the musician
walked briskly on towards a large house near the bottom of St. James's
Street, and entered the court, by a grated door from the Park, of
which the mansion commanded an extensive prospect.

Peveril finding himself in front of a handsome portico, under which
opened a stately pair of folding-doors, was about to ascend the steps
that led to the main entrance, when his guide seized him by the arm,
exclaiming. "Hold, Mounseer! What! you'll lose nothing, I see, for
want of courage; but you must keep the back way, for all your fine
doublet. Here it is not, knock, and it shall be opened; but may be
instead, knock and you shall be knocked."

Suffering himself to be guided by Empson, Julian deviated from the
principal door, to one which opened, with less ostentation, in an
angle of the courtyard. On a modest tap from the flute-player,
admittance was afforded him and his companions by a footman, who
conducted them through a variety of stone passages, to a very handsome
summer parlour, where a lady, or something resembling one, dressed in
a style of extra elegance, was trifling with a play-book while she
finished her chocolate. It would not be easy to describe her, but by
weighing her natural good qualities against the affectations which
counterbalanced them. She would have been handsome, but for rouge and
/minauderie/--would have been civil, but for overstrained airs of
patronage and condescension--would have had an agreeable voice, had
she spoken in her natural tone--and fine eyes, had she not made such
desperate hard use of them. She could only spoil a pretty ankle by too
liberal display; but her shape, though she could not yet be thirty
years old, had the embon-point which might have suited better with ten
years more advanced. She pointed Empson to a seat with the air of a
Duchess, and asked him, languidly, how he did this age, that she had
not seen him? and what folks these were he had brought with him?

"Foreigners, madam; d--d foreigners," answered Empson; "starving
beggars, that our old friend has picked up in the Park this morning--
the wench dances, and the fellow plays on the Jew's trump, I believe.
On my life, madam, I begin to be ashamed of old Rowley; I must
discard him, unless he keeps better company in future."

"Fie, Empson," said the lady; "consider it is our duty to countenance
him, and keep him afloat; and indeed I always make a principle of it.
Hark ye, he comes not hither this morning?"

"He will be here," answered Empson, "in the walking of a minuet."

"My God!" exclaimed the lady, with unaffected alarm; and starting up
with utter neglect of her usual and graceful languor, she tripped as
swiftly as a milk-maid into an adjoining apartment, where they heard
presently a few words of eager and animated discussion.

"Something to be put out of the way, I suppose," said Empson. "Well
for madam I gave her the hint. There he goes, the happy swain."

Julian was so situated, that he could, from the same casement through
which Empson was peeping, observe a man in a laced roquelaure, and
carrying his rapier under his arm, glide from the door by which he had
himself entered, and out of the court, keeping as much as possible
under the shade of the buildings.

The lady re-entered at this moment, and observing how Empson's eyes
were directed, said with a slight appearance of hurry, "A gentleman of
the Duchess of Portsmouth's with a billet; and so tiresomely pressing
for an answer, that I was obliged to write without my diamond pen. I
have daubed my fingers, I dare say," she added, looking at a very
pretty hand, and presently after dipping her fingers in a little
silver vase of rose-water. "But that little exotic monster of yours,
Empson, I hope she really understands no English?--On my life she
coloured.--Is she such a rare dancer?--I must see her dance, and hear
him play on the Jew's harp."

"Dance!" replied Empson; "she danced well enough when /I/ played to
her. I can make anything dance. Old Counsellor Clubfoot danced when he
had a fit of the gout; you have seen no such /pas seul/ in the
theatre. I would engage to make the Archbishop of Canterbury dance the
hays like a Frenchman. There is nothing in dancing; it all lies in the
music. Rowley does not know that now. He saw this poor wench dance;
and thought so much on't, when it was all along of me. I would have
defied her to sit still. And Rowley gives her the credit of it, and
five pieces to boot; and I have only two for my morning's work!"

"True, Master Empson," said the lady; "but you are of the family,
though in a lower station; and you ought to consider----"

"By G--, madam," answered Empson, "all I consider is, that I play the
best flageolet in England; and that they can no more supply my place,
if they were to discard me, than they could fill Thames from Fleet-
Ditch."

"Well, Master Empson, I do not dispute but you are a man of talents,"
replied the lady; "still, I say, mind the main chance--you please the
ear to-day--another has the advantage of you to-morrow."

"Never, mistress, while ears have the heavenly power of distinguishing
one note from another."

"Heavenly power, say you, Master Empson?" said the lady.

"Ay, madam, heavenly; for some very neat verses which we had at our
festival say,

 'What know we of the blest above,
  But that they sing and that they love?'

It is Master Waller wrote them, as I think; who, upon my word, ought
to be encouraged."

"And so should you, my dear Empson," said the dame, yawning, "were it
only for the honour you do to your own profession. But in the
meantime, will you ask these people to have some refreshment?--and
will you take some yourself?--the chocolate is that which the
Ambassador Portuguese fellow brought over to the Queen."

"If it be genuine," said the musician.

"How, sir?" said the fair one, half rising from her pile of cushions--
"Not genuine, and in this house!--Let me understand you, Master Empson
--I think, when I first saw you, you scarce knew chocolate from
coffee."

"By G--, madam," answered the flageolet-player, "you are perfectly
right. And how can I show better how much I have profited by your
ladyship's excellent cheer, except by being critical?"

"You stand excused, Master Empson," said the /petite maitresse/,
sinking gently back on the downy couch, from which a momentary
irritation had startled her--"I think the chocolate will please you,
though scarce equal to what we had from the Spanish resident Mendoza.
--But we must offer these strange people something. Will you ask them
if they would have coffee and chocolate, or cold wild-fowl, fruit, and
wine? They must be treated, so as to show them where they are, since
here they are."

"Unquestionably, madam," said Empson; "but I have just at this instant
forgot the French for chocolate, hot bread, coffee, game, and
drinkables."

"It is odd," said the lady; "and I have forgot my French and Italian
at the same moment. But it signifies little--I will order the things
to be brought, and they will remember the names of them themselves."

Empson laughed loudly at this jest, and pawned his soul that the cold
sirloin which entered immediately after, was the best emblem of roast-
beef all the world over. Plentiful refreshments were offered to all
the party, of which both Fenella and Peveril partook.

In the meanwhile, the flageolet-player drew closer to the side of the
lady of the mansion--their intimacy was cemented, and their spirits
set afloat, by a glass of liqueur, which gave them additional
confidence in discussing the characters, as well of the superior
attendants of the Court, as of the inferior rank, to which they
themselves might be supposed to belong.

The lady, indeed, during this conversation, frequently exerted her
complete and absolute superiority over Master Empson; in which that
musical gentleman humbly acquiesced whenever the circumstance was
recalled to his attention, whether in the way of blunt contradiction,
sarcastic insinuation, downright assumption of higher importance, or
in any of the other various modes by which such superiority is usually
asserted and maintained. But the lady's obvious love of scandal was
the lure which very soon brought her again down from the dignified
part which for a moment she assumed, and placed her once more on a
gossiping level with her companion.

Their conversation was too trivial, and too much allied to petty Court
intrigues, with which he was totally unacquainted, to be in the least
interesting to Julian. As it continued for more than an hour, he soon
ceased to pay the least attention to a discourse consisting of
nicknames, patchwork, and innuendo; and employed himself in reflecting
on his own complicated affairs, and the probable issue of his
approaching audience with the King, which had been brought about by so
singular an agent, and by means so unexpected. He often looked to his
guide, Fenella; and observed that she was, for the greater part of the
time, drowned in deep and abstracted meditation. But three or four
times--and it was when the assumed airs and affected importance of the
musician and their hostess rose to the most extravagant excess--he
observed that Fenella dealt askance on them some of those bitter and
almost blighting elfin looks, which in the Isle of Man were held to
imply contemptuous execration. There was something in all her manner
so extraordinary, joined to her sudden appearance, and her demeanour
in the King's presence, so oddly, yet so well contrived to procure him
a private audience--which he might, by graver means, have sought in
vain--that it almost justified the idea, though he smiled at it
internally, that the little mute agent was aided in her machinations
by the kindred imps, to whom, according to Manx superstition, her
genealogy was to be traced.

Another idea sometimes occurred to Julian, though he rejected the
question, as being equally wild with those doubts which referred
Fenella to a race different from that of mortals--"Was she really
afflicted with those organical imperfections which had always seemed
to sever her from humanity?--If not, what could be the motives of so
young a creature practising so dreadful a penance for such an
unremitted term of years? And how formidable must be the strength of
mind which could condemn itself to so terrific a sacrifice--How deep
and strong the purpose for which it was undertaken!"

But a brief recollection of past events enabled him to dismiss this
conjecture as altogether wild and visionary. He had but to call to
memory the various stratagems practised by his light-hearted
companion, the young Earl of Derby, upon this forlorn girl--the
conversations held in her presence, in which the character of a
creature so irritable and sensitive upon all occasions, was freely,
and sometimes satirically discussed, without her expressing the least
acquaintance with what was going forward, to convince him that so deep
a deception could never have been practised for so many years, by a
being of a turn of mind so peculiarly jealous and irascible.

He renounced, therefore, the idea, and turned his thoughts to his own
affairs, and his approaching interview with his Sovereign; in which
meditation we propose to leave him, until we briefly review the
changes which had taken place in the situation of Alice Bridgenorth.



                             CHAPTER XXXI

            I fear the devil worst when gown and cassock,
            Or, in the lack of them, old Calvin's cloak,
            Conceals his cloven hoof.
                                               --ANONYMOUS.

Julian Peveril had scarce set sail for Whitehaven, when Alice
Bridgenorth and her governante, at the hasty command of her father,
were embarked with equal speed and secrecy on board of a bark bound
for Liverpool. Christian accompanied them on their voyage, as the
friend to whose guardianship Alice was to be consigned during any
future separation from her father, and whose amusing conversation,
joined to his pleasing though cold manners, as well as his near
relationship, induced Alice, in her forlorn situation, to consider her
fate as fortunate in having such a guardian.

At Liverpool, as the reader already knows, Christian took the first
overt step in the villainy which he had contrived against the innocent
girl, by exposing her at a meeting-house to the unhallowed gaze of
Chiffinch, in order to convince him she was possessed of such uncommon
beauty as might well deserve the infamous promotion to which they
meditated to raise her.

Highly satisfied with her personal appearance, Chiffinch was no less
so with the sense and delicacy of her conversation, when he met her in
company with her uncle afterwards in London. The simplicity, and at
the same time the spirit of her remarks, made him regard her as his
scientific attendant the cook might have done a newly invented sauce,
sufficiently /piquante/ in its qualities to awaken the jaded appetite
of a cloyed and gorged epicure. She was, he said and swore, the very
corner-stone on which, with proper management, and with his
instruction, a few honest fellows might build a Court fortune.

That the necessary introduction might take place, the confederates
judged fit she should be put under the charge of an experienced lady,
whom some called Mistress Chiffinch, and others Chiffinch's mistress--
one of those obliging creatures who are willing to discharge all the
duties of a wife, without the inconvenient and indissoluble ceremony.

It was one, and not perhaps the least prejudicial consequence of the
license of that ill-governed time, that the bounds betwixt virtue and
vice were so far smoothed down and levelled, that the frail wife, or
the tender friend who was no wife, did not necessarily lose their
place in society; but, on the contrary, if they moved in the higher
circles, were permitted and encouraged to mingle with women whose rank
was certain, and whose reputation was untainted.

A regular /liaison/, like that of Chiffinch and his fair one, inferred
little scandal; and such was his influence, as prime minister of his
master's pleasures, that, as Charles himself expressed it, the lady
whom we introduced to our readers in the last chapter, had obtained a
brevet commission to rank as a married woman. And to do the gentle
dame justice, no wife could have been more attentive to forward his
plans, or more liberal in disposing of his income.

She inhabited a set of apartments called Chiffinch's--the scene of
many an intrigue, both of love and politics; and where Charles often
held his private parties for the evening, when, as frequently
happened, the ill-humour of the Duchess of Portsmouth, his reigning
Sultana, prevented his supping with her. The hold which such an
arrangement gave a man like Chiffinch, used as he well knew how to use
it, made him of too much consequence to be slighted even by the first
persons in the state, unless they stood aloof from all manner of
politics and Court intrigue.

In the charge of Mistress Chiffinch, and of him whose name she bore,
Edward Christian placed the daughter of his sister, and of his
confiding friend, calmly contemplating her ruin as an event certain to
follow; and hoping to ground upon it his own chance of a more assured
fortune, than a life spent in intrigue had hitherto been able to
procure for him.

The innocent Alice, without being able to discover what was wrong
either in the scenes of unusual luxury with which she was surrounded,
or in the manners of her hostess, which, both from nature and policy,
were kind and caressing--felt nevertheless an instinctive apprehension
that all was not right--a feeling in the human mind, allied, perhaps,
to that sense of danger which animals exhibit when placed in the
vicinity of the natural enemies of their race, and which makes birds
cower when the hawk is in the air, and beasts tremble when the tiger
is abroad in the desert. There was a heaviness at her heart which she
could not dispel; and the few hours which she had already spent at
Chiffinch's were like those passed in prison by one unconscious of the
cause or event of his captivity. It was the third morning after her
arrival in London, that the scene took place which we now recur to.

The impertinence and vulgarity of Empson, which was permitted to him
as an unrivalled performer upon his instrument, were exhausting
themselves at the expense of all other musical professors, and Mrs.
Chiffinch was listening with careless indifference, when some one was
heard speaking loudly, and with animation, in the inner apartment.

"Oh, gemini and gilliflower water!" exclaimed the damsel, startled out
of her fine airs into her natural vulgarity of exclamation, and
running to the door of communication--"if he has not come back again
after all!--and if old Rowley----"

A tap at the farther and opposite door here arrested her attention--
she quitted the handle of that which she was about to open as speedily
as if it had burnt her fingers, and, moving back towards her couch,
asked, "Who is there?"

"Old Rowley himself, madam," said the King, entering the apartment
with his usual air of easy composure.

"O crimini!--your Majesty!--I thought----"

"That I was out of hearing, doubtless," said the King; "and spoke of
me as folk speak of absent friends. Make no apology. I think I have
heard ladies say of their lace, that a rent is better than a darn.--
Nay, be seated.--Where is Chiffinch?"

"He is down at York House, your Majesty," said the dame, recovering,
though with no small difficulty, the calm affectation of her usual
demeanour. "Shall I send your Majesty's commands?"

"I will wait his return," said the King.--"Permit me to taste your
chocolate."

"There is some fresh frothed in the office," said the lady; and using
a little silver call, or whistle, a black boy, superbly dressed, like
an Oriental page, with gold bracelets on his naked arms, and a gold
collar around his equally bare neck, attended with the favourite
beverage of the morning, in an apparatus of the richest china.

While he sipped his cup of chocolate, the King looked round the
apartment, and observing Fenella, Peveril, and the musician, who
remained standing beside a large Indian screen, he continued,
addressing Mistress Chiffinch, though with polite indifference, "I
sent you the fiddles this morning--or rather the flute--Empson, and a
fairy elf whom I met in the Park, who dances divinely. She has brought
us the very newest saraband from the Court of Queen Mab, and I sent
her here, that you may see it at leisure."

"Your Majesty does me by far too much honour," said Chiffinch, her
eyes properly cast down, and her accents minced into becoming
humility.

"Nay, little Chiffinch," answered the King, in a tone of as
contemptuous familiarity as was consistent with his good-breeding, "it
was not altogether for thine own private ear, though quite deserving
of all sweet sounds; but I thought Nelly had been with thee this
morning."

"I can send Bajazet for her, your Majesty," answered the lady.

"Nay, I will not trouble your little heathen sultan to go so far.
Still it strikes me that Chiffinch said you had company--some country
cousin, or such a matter--Is there not such a person?"

"There is a young person from the country," said Mistress Chiffinch,
striving to conceal a considerable portion of embarrassment; "but she
is unprepared for such an honour as to be admitted into your Majesty's
presence, and----"

"And therefore the fitter to receive it, Chiffinch. There is nothing
in nature so beautiful as the first blush of a little rustic between
joy and fear, and wonder and curiosity. It is the down on the peach--
pity it decays so soon!--the fruit remains, but the first high
colouring and exquisite flavour are gone.--Never put up thy lip for
the matter, Chiffinch, for it is as I tell you; so pray let us have
/la belle cousine/."

Mistress Chiffinch, more embarrassed than ever, again advanced towards
the door of communication, which she had been in the act of opening
when his Majesty entered. But just as she coughed pretty loudly,
perhaps as a signal to some one within, voices were again heard in a
raised tone of altercation----the door was flung open, and Alice
rushed out of the inner apartment, followed to the door of it by the
enterprising Duke of Buckingham, who stood fixed with astonishment on
finding his pursuit of the flying fair one had hurried him into the
presence of the King.

Alice Bridgenorth appeared too much transported with anger to permit
her to pay attention to the rank or character of the company into
which she had thus suddenly entered. "I remain no longer here, madam,"
she said to Mrs. Chiffinch, in a tone of uncontrollable resolution; "I
leave instantly a house where I am exposed to company which I detest,
and to solicitations which I despise."

The dismayed Mrs. Chiffinch could only implore her, in broken
whispers, to be silent; adding, while she pointed to Charles, who
stood with his eyes fixed rather on his audacious courtier than on the
game which he pursued, "The King--the King!"

"If I am in the King's presence," said Alice aloud, and in the same
torrent of passionate feeling, while her eye sparkled through tears of
resentment and insulted modesty, "it is the better--it is his
Majesty's duty to protect me; and on his protection I throw myself."

These words, which were spoken aloud, and boldly, at once recalled
Julian to himself, who had hitherto stood, as it were, bewildered. He
approached Alice, and, whispering in her ear that she had beside her
one who would defend her with his life, implored her to trust to his
guardianship in this emergency.

Clinging to his arm in all the ecstasy of gratitude and joy, the
spirit which had so lately invigorated Alice in her own defence, gave
way in a flood of tears, when she saw herself supported by him whom
perhaps she most wished to recognise as her protector. She permitted
Peveril gently to draw her back towards the screen before which he had
been standing; where, holding by his arm, but at the same time
endeavouring to conceal herself behind him, they waited the conclusion
of a scene so singular.

The King seemed at first so much surprised at the unexpected
apparition of the Duke of Buckingham, as to pay little or no attention
to Alice, who had been the means of thus unceremoniously introducing
his Grace into the presence at a most unsuitable moment. In that
intriguing Court, it had not been the first time that the Duke had
ventured to enter the lists of gallantry in rivalry of his Sovereign,
which made the present insult the more intolerable. His purpose of
lying concealed in those private apartments was explained by the
exclamations of Alice; and Charles, notwithstanding the placidity of
his disposition, and his habitual guard over his passions, resented
the attempt to seduce his destined mistress, as an Eastern Sultan
would have done the insolence of a vizier, who anticipated his
intended purchases of captive beauty in the slave-market. The swarthy
features of Charles reddened, and the strong lines on his dark visage
seemed to become inflated, as he said, in a voice which faltered with
passion, "Buckingham, you dared not have thus insulted your equal! To
your master you may securely offer any affront, since his rank glues
his sword to the scabbard."

The haughty Duke did not brook this taunt unanswered. "My sword," he
said, with emphasis, "was never in the scabbard, when your Majesty's
service required it should be unsheathed."

"Your Grace means, when its service was required for its master's
interest," said the King; "for you could only gain the coronet of a
Duke by fighting for the royal crown. But it is over--I have treated
you as a friend--a companion--almost an equal--you have repaid me with
insolence and ingratitude."

"Sire," answered the Duke firmly, but respectfully, "I am unhappy in
your displeasure; yet thus far fortunate, that while your words can
confer honour, they cannot impair or take it away.--It is hard," he
added, lowering his voice, so as only to be heard by the King,--"It is
hard that the squall of a peevish wench should cancel the services of
so many years!"

"It is harder," said the King, in the same subdued tone, which both
preserved through the rest of the conversation, "that a wench's bright
eyes can make a nobleman forget the decencies due to his Sovereign's
privacy."

"May I presume to ask your Majesty what decencies are those?" said the
Duke.

Charles bit his lip to keep himself from smiling. "Buckingham," he
said, "this is a foolish business; and we must not forget (as we have
nearly done), that we have an audience to witness this scene, and
should walk the stage with dignity. I will show you your fault in
private."

"It is enough that your Majesty has been displeased, and that I have
unhappily been the occasion," said the Duke, kneeling; "although quite
ignorant of any purpose beyond a few words of gallantry; and I sue
thus low for your Majesty's pardon."

So saying, he kneeled gracefully down. "Thou hast it, George," said
the placable Prince. "I believe thou wilt be sooner tired of offending
than I of forgiving."

"Long may your Majesty live to give the offence, with which it is your
royal pleasure at present to charge my innocence," said the Duke.

"What mean you by that, my lord?" said Charles, the angry shade
returning to his brow for a moment.

"My Liege," replied the Duke, "you are too honourable to deny your
custom of shooting with Cupid's bird-bolts in other men's warrens. You
have ta'en the royal right of free-forestry over every man's park. It
is hard that you should be so much displeased at hearing a chance
arrow whizz near your own pales."

"No more on't," said the King; "but let us see where the dove has
harboured."

"The Helen has found a Paris while we were quarrelling," replied the
Duke.

"Rather an Orpheus," said the King; "and what is worse, one that is
already provided with a Eurydice--She is clinging to the fiddler."

"It is mere fright," said Buckingham, "like Rochester's, when he crept
into the bass-viol to hide himself from Sir Dermot O'Cleaver."

"We must make the people show their talents," said the King, "and stop
their mouths with money and civility, or we shall have this foolish
encounter over half the town."

The King then approached Julian, and desired him to take his
instrument, and cause his female companion to perform a saraband.

"I had already the honour to inform your Majesty," said Julian, "that
I cannot contribute to your pleasure in the way you command me; and
that this young person is----"

"A retainer of the Lady Powis," said the King, upon whose mind things
not connected with his pleasures made a very slight impression. "Poor
lady, she is in trouble about the lords in the Tower."

"Pardon me, sir," said Julian, "she is a dependant of the Countess of
Derby."

"True, true," answered Charles; "it is indeed of Lady Derby, who hath
also her own distresses in these times. Do you know who taught the
young person to dance? Some of her steps mightily resemble Le Jeune's
of Paris."

"I presume she was taught abroad, sir," said Julian; "for myself, I am
charged with some weighty business by the Countess, which I would
willingly communicate to your Majesty."

"We will send you to our Secretary of State," said the King. "But this
dancing envoy will oblige us once more, will she not?--Empson, now
that I remember, it was to your pipe that she danced--Strike up, man,
and put mettle into her feet."

Empson began to play a well-known measure; and, as he had threatened,
made more than one false note, until the King, whose ear was very
accurate, rebuked him with, "Sirrah, art thou drunk at this early
hour, or must thou too be playing thy slippery tricks with me? Thou
thinkest thou art born to beat time, but I will have time beat into
thee."

The hint was sufficient, and Empson took good care so to perform his
air as to merit his high and deserved reputation. But on Fenella it
made not the slightest impression. She rather leant than stood against
the wall of the apartment; her countenance as pale as death, her arms
and hands hanging down as if stiffened, and her existence only
testified by the sobs which agitated her bosom, and the tears which
flowed from her half-closed eyes.

"A plague on it," said the King, "some evil spirit is abroad this
morning; and the wenches are all bewitched, I think. Cheer up, my
girl. What, in the devil's name, has changed thee at once from a Nymph
to a Niobe? If thou standest there longer thou wilt grow to the very
marble wall--Or--oddsfish, George, have you been bird-bolting in this
quarter also?"

Ere Buckingham could answer to this charge, Julian again kneeled down
to the King, and prayed to be heard, were it only for five minutes.
"The young woman," he said, "had been long in attendance of the
Countess of Derby. She was bereaved of the faculties of speech and
hearing."

"Oddsfish, man, and dances so well?" said the King. "Nay, all Gresham
College shall never make me believe that."

"I would have thought it equally impossible, but for what I to-day
witnessed," said Julian; "but only permit me, sir, to deliver the
petition of my lady the Countess."

"And who art thou thyself, man?" said the Sovereign; "for though
everything which wears bodice and breast-knot has a right to speak to
a King, and be answered, I know not that they have a title to audience
through an envoy extraordinary."

"I am Julian Peveril of Derbyshire," answered the supplicant, "the son
of Sir Geoffrey Peveril of Martindale Castle, who----"

"Body of me--the old Worcester man?" said the King. "Oddsfish, I
remember him well--some harm has happened to him, I think--Is he not
dead, or very sick at least?"

"Ill at ease, and it please your Majesty, but not ill in health. He
has been imprisoned on account of an alleged accession to this Plot."

"Look you there," said the King; "I knew he was in trouble; and yet
how to help the stout old Knight, I can hardly tell. I can scarce
escape suspicion of the Plot myself, though the principal object of it
is to take away my own life. Were I to stir to save a plotter, I
should certainly be brought in as an accessory.--Buckingham, thou hast
some interest with those who built this fine state engine, or at least
who have driven it on--be good-natured for once, though it is scarcely
thy wont, and interfere to shelter our old Worcester friend, Sir
Godfrey. You have not forgot him?"

"No, sir," answered the Duke; "for I never heard the name."

"It is Sir Geoffrey his Majesty would say," said Julian.

"And if his Majesty /did/ say Sir Geoffrey, Master Peveril, I cannot
see of what use I can be to your father," replied the Duke coldly. "He
is accused of a heavy crime; and a British subject so accused, can
have no shelter either from prince or peer, but must stand to the
award and deliverance of God and his country."

"Now, Heaven forgive thee thy hypocrisy, George," said the King
hastily. "I would rather hear the devil preach religion than thee
teach patriotism. Thou knowest as well as I, that the nation is in a
scarlet fever for fear of the poor Catholics, who are not two men to
five hundred; and that the public mind is so harassed with new
narrations of conspiracy, and fresh horrors every day, that people
have as little real sense of what is just or unjust as men who talk in
their sleep of what is sense or nonsense. I have borne, and borne with
it--I have seen blood flow on the scaffold, fearing to thwart the
nation in its fury--and I pray to God that I or mine be not called on
to answer for it. I will no longer swim with the torrent, which honour
and conscience call upon me to stem--I will act the part of a
Sovereign, and save my people from doing injustice, even in their own
despite."

Charles walked hastily up and down the room as he expressed these
unwonted sentiments, with energy equally unwonted. After a momentary
pause, the Duke answered him gravely, "Spoken like a Royal King, sir,
but--pardon me--not like a King of England."

Charles paused, as the Duke spoke, beside a window which looked full
on Whitehall, and his eye was involuntarily attracted by the fatal
window of the Banqueting House out of which his unhappy father was
conducted to execution. Charles was naturally, or, more purposely,
constitutionally brave; but a life of pleasure, together with the
habit of governing his course rather by what was expedient than by
what was right, rendered him unapt to dare the same scene of danger or
of martyrdom, which had closed his father's life and reign; and the
thought came over his half-formed resolution, like the rain upon a
kindling beacon. In another man, his perplexity would have seemed
almost ludicrous; but Charles would not lose, even under these
circumstances, the dignity and grace, which were as natural to him as
his indifference and good humour. "Our Council must decide in this
matter," he said, looking to the Duke; "and be assured, young man," he
added, addressing Julian, "your father shall not want an intercessor
in his King, so far as the laws will permit my interference in his
behalf."

Julian was about to retire, when Fenella, with a marked look, put into
his hand a slip of paper, on which she had hastily written, "The
packet--give him the packet."

After a moment's hesitation, during which he reflected that Fenella
was the organ of the Countess's pleasure, Julian resolved to obey.
"Permit me, then, Sire," he said, "to place in your royal hands this
packet, entrusted to me by the Countess of Derby. The letters have
already been once taken from me; and I have little hope that I can now
deliver them as they are addressed. I place them, therefore, in your
royal hands, certain that they will evince the innocence of the
writer."

The King shook his head as he took the packet reluctantly. "It is no
safe office you have undertaken, young man. A messenger has sometimes
his throat cut for the sake of his despatches--But give them to me;
and, Chiffinch, give me wax and a taper." He employed himself in
folding the Countess's packet in another envelope. "Buckingham," he
said, "you are evidence that I do not read them till the Council shall
see them."

Buckingham approached, and offered his services in folding the parcel,
but Charles rejected his assistance; and having finished his task, he
sealed the packet with his own signet-ring. The Duke bit his lip and
retired.

"And now, young man," said the King, "your errand is sped, so far as
it can at present be forwarded."

Julian bowed deeply, as to take leave at these words, which he rightly
interpreted as a signal for his departure. Alice Bridgenorth still
clung to his arm, and motioned to withdraw along with him. The King
and Buckingham looked at each other in conscious astonishment, and yet
not without a desire to smile, so strange did it seem to them that a
prize, for which, an instant before, they had been mutually
contending, should thus glide out of their grasp, or rather be borne
off by a third and very inferior competitor.

"Mistress Chiffinch," said the King, with a hesitation which he could
not disguise, "I hope your fair charge is not about to leave you?"

"Certainly not, your Majesty," answered Chiffinch. "Alice, my love--
you mistake--that opposite door leads to your apartments."

"Pardon me, madam," answered Alice; "I have indeed mistaken my road,
but it was when I came hither."

"The errant damosel," said Buckingham, looking at Charles with as much
intelligence as etiquette permitted him to throw into his eye, and
then turning it towards Alice, as she still held by Julian's arm, "is
resolved not to mistake her road a second time. She has chosen a
sufficient guide."

"And yet stories tell that such guides have led maidens astray," said
the King.

Alice blushed deeply, but instantly recovered her composure so soon as
she saw that her liberty was likely to depend upon the immediate
exercise of resolution. She quitted, from a sense of insulted
delicacy, the arm of Julian, to which she had hitherto clung; but as
she spoke, she continued to retain a slight grasp of his cloak. "I
have indeed mistaken my way," she repeated still addressing Mrs.
Chiffinch, "but it was when I crossed this threshold. The usage to
which I have been exposed in your house has determined me to quit it
instantly."

"I will not permit that, my young mistress," answered Mrs. Chiffinch,
"until your uncle, who placed you under my care, shall relieve me of
the charge of you."

"I will answer for my conduct, both to my uncle, and, what is of more
importance, to my father," said Alice. "You must permit me to depart,
madam; I am free-born, and you have no right to detain me."

"Pardon me, my young madam," said Mistress Chiffinch, "I have a right,
and I will maintain it too."

"I will know that before quitting this presence," said Alice firmly;
and, advancing a step or two, she dropped on her knee before the King.
"Your Majesty," said she, "if indeed I kneel before King Charles, is
the father of your subjects."

"Of a good many of them," said the Duke of Buckingham apart.

"I demand protection of you, in the name of God, and of the oath your
Majesty swore when you placed on your head the crown of this kingdom!"

"You have my protection," said the King, a little confused by an
appeal so unexpected and so solemn. "Do but remain quiet with this
lady, with whom your parents have placed you; neither Buckingham nor
any one else shall intrude on you."

"His Majesty," added Buckingham, in the same tone, and speaking from
the restless and mischief-making spirit of contradiction, which he
never could restrain, even when indulging it was most contrary, not
only to propriety, but to his own interest,--"His Majesty will protect
you, fair lady, from all intrusion save what must not be termed such."

Alice darted a keen look on the Duke, as if to read his meaning;
another on Charles, to know whether she had guessed it rightly. There
was a guilty confession on the King's brow, which confirmed Alice's
determination to depart. "Your Majesty will forgive me," she said; "it
is not here that I can enjoy the advantage of your royal protection. I
am resolved to leave this house. If I am detained, it must be by
violence, which I trust no one dare offer to me in your Majesty's
presence. This gentleman, whom I have long known, will conduct me to
my friends."

"We make but an indifferent figure in this scene, methinks," said the
King, addressing the Duke of Buckingham, and speaking in a whisper;
"but she must go--I neither will, nor dare, stop her from returning to
her father."

"And if she does," swore the Duke internally, "I would, as Sir Andrew
Smith saith, I might never touch fair lady's hand." And stepping back,
he spoke a few words with Empson the musician, who left the apartment,
for a few minutes, and presently returned.

The King seemed irresolute concerning the part he should act under
circumstances so peculiar. To be foiled in a gallant intrigue, was to
subject himself to the ridicule of his gay court; to persist in it by
any means which approached to constraint, would have been tyrannical;
and, what perhaps he might judge as severe an imputation, it would
have been unbecoming a gentleman. "Upon my honour, young lady," he
said, with an emphasis, "you have nothing to fear in this house. But
it is improper, for your own sake, that you should leave it in this
abrupt manner. If you will have the goodness to wait but a quarter of
an hour, Mistress Chiffinch's coach will be placed at your command, to
transport you where you will. Spare yourself the ridicule, and me the
pain of seeing you leave the house of one of my servants, as if you
were escaping from a prison."

The King spoke in good-natured sincerity, and Alice was inclined for
an instant to listen to his advice; but recollecting that she had to
search for her father and uncle, or, failing them, for some suitable
place of secure residence, it rushed on her mind that the attendants
of Mistress Chiffinch were not likely to prove trusty guides or
assistants in such a purpose. Firmly and respectfully she announced
her purpose of instant departure. She needed no other escort, she
said, than what this gentleman, Master Julian Peveril, who was well
known to her father, would willingly afford her; nor did she need that
farther than until she had reached her father's residence.

"Farewell, then, lady, a God's name!" said the King; "I am sorry so
much beauty should be wedded to so many shrewish suspicions.--For you,
Master Peveril, I should have thought you had enough to do with your
own affairs without interfering with the humours of the fair sex. The
duty of conducting all strayed damsels into the right path is, as
matters go in this good city, rather too weighty an undertaking for
your youth and inexperience."

Julian, eager to conduct Alice from a place of which he began fully to
appreciate the perils, answered nothing to this taunt, but bowing
reverently, led her from the apartment. Her sudden appearance, and the
animated scene which followed, had entirely absorbed, for the moment,
the recollection of his father and of the Countess of Derby; and while
the dumb attendant of the latter remained in the room, a silent, and,
as it were, stunned spectator of all that had happened, Peveril had
become, in the predominating interest of Alice's critical situation,
totally forgetful of her presence. But no sooner had he left the room,
without noticing or attending to her, than Fenella, starting, as from
a trance, drew herself up, and looked wildly around, like one waking
from a dream, as if to assure herself that her companion was gone, and
gone without paying the slightest attention to her. She folded her
hands together, and cast her eyes upwards, with an expression of such
agony as explained to Charles (as he thought) what painful ideas were
passing in her mind. "This Peveril is a perfect pattern of successful
perfidy, carrying off this Queen of the Amazons, but he has left us, I
think, a disconsolate Ariadne in her place.--But weep not, my princess
of pretty movements," he said, addressing himself to Fenella; "if we
cannot call in Bacchus to console you, we will commit you to the care
of Empson, who shall drink with /Liber Pater/ for a thousand pounds,
and I will say done first."

As the King spoke these words, Fenella rushed past him with her wonted
rapidity of step, and, with much less courtesy than was due to the
royal presence, hurried downstairs, and out of the house, without
attempting to open any communication with the Monarch. He saw her
abrupt departure with more surprise than displeasure; and presently
afterwards, bursting into a fit of laughter, he said to the Duke,
"Oddsfish, George, this young spark might teach the best of us how to
manage the wenches. I have had my own experience, but I could never
yet contrive either to win or lose them with so little ceremony."

"Experience, sir," replied the duke, "cannot be acquired without
years."

"True, George; and you would, I suppose, insinuate," said Charles,
"that the gallant who acquires it, loses as much in youth as he gains
in art? I defy your insinuation, George. You cannot overreach your
master, old as you think him, either in love or politics. You have not
the secret /plumer la poule sans la faire crier/, witness this
morning's work. I will give you odds at all games--ay, and at the Mall
too, if thou darest accept my challenge.--Chiffinch, what for dost
thou convulse thy pretty throat and face with sobbing and hatching
tears, which seem rather unwilling to make their appearance!"

"It is for fear," whined Chiffinch, "that your Majesty should think--
that you should expect----"

"That I should expect gratitude from a courtier, or faith from a
woman?" answered the King, patting her at the same time under the
chin, to make her raise her face--"Tush! chicken, I am not so
superfluous."

"There it is now," said Chiffinch, continuing to sob the more
bitterly, as she felt herself unable to produce any tears; "I see your
Majesty is determined to lay all the blame on me, when I am innocent
as an unborn babe--I will be judged by his Grace."

"No doubt, no doubt, Chiffie," said the King. "His Grace and you will
be excellent judges in each other's cause, and as good witnesses in
each other's favour. But to investigate the matter impartially, we
must examine our evidence apart.--My Lord Duke, we meet at the Mall at
noon, if your Grace dare accept my challenge."

His Grace of Buckingham bowed, and retired.



                            CHAPTER XXXII

        But when the bully with assuming pace,
        Cocks his broad hat, edged round with tarnish'd lace,
        Yield not the way--defy his strutting pride,
        And thrust him to the muddy kennel's side,
        Yet rather bear the shower and toils of mud,
        Than in the doubtful quarrel risk thy blood.
                                           --GAY'S TRIVIA.

Julian Peveril, half-leading, half-supporting, Alice Bridgenorth, had
reached the middle of Saint Jame's Street ere the doubt occurred to
him which way they should bend their course. He then asked Alice
whither he should conduct her, and learned, to his surprise and
embarrassment, that, far from knowing where her father was to be
found, she had no certain knowledge that he was in London, and only
hoped that he had arrived, from the expressions which he had used at
parting. She mentioned her uncle Christian's address, but it was with
doubt and hesitation, arising from the hands in which he had already
placed her; and her reluctance to go again under his protection was
strongly confirmed by her youthful guide, when a few words had
established to his conviction the identity of Ganlesse and Christian.
--What then was to be done?

"Alice," said Julian, after a moment's reflection, "you must seek your
earliest and best friend--I mean my mother. She has now no castle in
which to receive you--she has but a miserable lodging, so near the
jail in which my father is confined, that it seems almost a cell of
the same prison. I have not seen her since my coming hither; but thus
much have I learned by inquiry. We will now go to her apartment; such
as it is, I know she will share it with one so innocent and so
unprotected as you are."

"Gracious Heaven!" said the poor girl, "am I then so totally deserted,
that I must throw myself on the mercy of her who, of all the world,
has most reason to spurn me from her?--Julian, can you advise me to
this?--Is there none else who will afford me a few hours' refuge, till
I can hear from my father?--No other protectress but her whose ruin
has, I fear, been accelerated by----Julian, I dare not appear before
your mother! she must hate me for my family, and despise me for my
meanness. To be a second time cast on her protection, when the first
has been so evil repaid--Julian, I dare not go with you."

"She has never ceased to love you, Alice," said her conductor, whose
steps she continued to attend, even while declaring her resolution not
to go with him, "she never felt anything but kindness towards you,
nay, towards your father; for though his dealings with us have been
harsh, she can allow much for the provocation which he has received.
Believe me, with her you will be safe as with a mother--perhaps it may
be the means of reconciling the divisions by which we have suffered so
much."

"Might God grant it!" said Alice. "Yet how shall I face your mother?
And will she be able to protect me against these powerful men--against
my uncle Christian? Alas, that I must call him my worst enemy!"

"She has the ascendancy which honour hath over infamy, and virtue over
vice," said Julian; "and to no human power but your father's will she
resign you, if you consent to choose her for your protectress. Come,
then, with me, Alice; and----"

Julian was interrupted by some one, who, laying an unceremonious hold
of his cloak, pulled it with so much force as compelled him to stop
and lay his hand on his sword. He turned at the same time, and, when
he turned, beheld Fenella. The cheek of the mute glowed like fire; her
eyes sparkled, and her lips were forcibly drawn together, as if she
had difficulty to repress those wild screams which usually attended
her agonies of passion, and which, uttered in the open street, must
instantly have collected a crowd. As it was, her appearance was so
singular, and her emotion so evident, that men gazed as they came on,
and looked back after they had passed, at the singular vivacity of her
gestures; while, holding Peveril's cloak with one hand, she made with
the other the most eager and imperious signs that he should leave
Alice Bridgenorth and follow her. She touched the plume in her bonnet
to remind him of the Earl--pointed to her heart, to imitate the
Countess--raised her closed hand, as if to command him in their name--
and next moment folded both, as if to supplicate him in her own; while
pointing to Alice with an expression at once of angry and scornful
derision, she waved her hand repeatedly and disdainfully, to intimate
that Peveril ought to cast her off, as something undeserving his
protection.

Frightened, she knew not why, at these wild gestures, Alice clung
closer to Julian's arm than she had at first dared to do; and this
mark of confidence in his protection seemed to increase the passion of
Fenella.

Julian was dreadfully embarrassed; his situation was sufficiently
precarious, even before Fenella's ungovernable passions threatened to
ruin the only plan which he had been able to suggest. What she wanted
with him--how far the fate of the Earl and Countess might depend on
his following her, he could not even conjecture; but be the call how
peremptory soever, he resolved not to comply with it until he had seen
Alice placed in safety. In the meantime, he determined not to lose
sight of Fenella; and disregarding her repeated, disdainful, and
impetuous rejection of the hand which he offered her, he at length
seemed so far to have soothed her, that she seized upon his right arm,
and, as if despairing of his following /her/ path, appeared reconciled
to attend him on that which he himself should choose.

Thus, with a youthful female clinging to each arm, and both remarkably
calculated to attract the public eye, though from very different
reasons, Julian resolved to make the shortest road to the water-side,
and there to take boat for Blackfriars, as the nearest point of
landing to Newgate, where he concluded that Lance had already
announced his arrival in London to Sir Geoffrey, then inhabiting that
dismal region, and to his lady, who, so far as the jailer's rigour
permitted, shared and softened his imprisonment.

Julian's embarrassment in passing Charing Cross and Northumberland
House was so great as to excite the attention of the passengers; for
he had to compose his steps so as to moderate the unequal and rapid
pace of Fenella to the timid and faint progress of his left-hand
companion; and while it would have been needless to address himself to
the former, who could not comprehend him, he dared not speak himself
to Alice, for fear of awakening into frenzy the jealousy, or at least
the impatience of Fenella.

Many passengers looked at them with wonder, and some with smiles; but
Julian remarked that there were two who never lost sight of them, and
to whom his situation, and the demeanour of his companions, seemed to
afford matter of undisguised merriment. These were young men, such as
may be seen in the same precincts in the present day, allowing for the
difference in the fashion of their apparel. They abounded in periwig,
and fluttered with many hundred yards of ribbon, disposed in bow-knots
upon their sleeves, their breeches, and their waistcoats, in the very
extremity of the existing mode. A quantity of lace and embroidery made
their habits rather fine than tasteful. In a word, they were dressed
in that caricature of the fashion, which sometimes denotes a
harebrained man of quality who has a mind to be distinguished as a fop
of the first order, but is much more frequently in the disguise of
those who desire to be esteemed men of rank on account of their dress,
having no other pretension to the distinction.

These two gallants passed Peveril more than once, linked arm in arm,
then sauntered, so as to oblige him to pass them in turn, laughing and
whispering during these manoeuvres--staring broadly at Peveril and his
female companions--and affording them, as they came into contact, none
of those facilities of giving place which are required on such
occasions by the ordinary rules of the pavé.

Peveril did not immediately observe their impertinence; but when it
was too gross to escape his notice, his gall began to arise; and, in
addition to all the other embarrassments of his situation, he had to
combat the longing desire which he felt to cudgel handsomely the two
coxcombs who seemed thus determined on insulting him. Patience and
sufferance were indeed strongly imposed on him by circumstances; but
at length it became scarcely possible to observe their dictates any
longer.

When, for the third time, Julian found himself obliged, with his
companions, to pass this troublesome brace of fops, they kept walking
close behind him, speaking so loud as to be heard, and in a tone of
perfect indifference whether he listened to them or not.

"This is bumpkin's best luck," said the taller of the two (who was
indeed a man of remarkable size, alluding to the plainness of
Peveril's dress, which was scarce fit for the streets of London)--"Two
such fine wenches, and under guard of a grey frock and an oaken
riding-rod!"

"Nay, Puritan's luck rather, and more than enough of it," said his
companion. "You may read Puritan in his pace and in his patience."

"Right as a pint bumper, Tom," said his friend--"Isschar is an ass
that stoopeth between two burdens."

"I have a mind to ease long-eared Laurence of one of his
encumbrances," said the shorter fellow. "That black-eyed sparkler
looks as if she had a mind to run away from him."

"Ay," answered the taller, "and the blue-eyed trembler looks as if she
would fall behind into my loving arms."

At these words, Alice, holding still closer by Peveril's arm than
formerly, mended her pace almost to running, in order to escape from
men whose language was so alarming; and Fenella walked hastily forward
in the same manner, having perhaps caught, from the men's gestures and
demeanour, that apprehension which Alice had taken from their
language.

Fearful of the consequences of a fray in the streets, which must
necessarily separate him from these unprotected females, Peveril
endeavoured to compound betwixt the prudence necessary for their
protection and his own rising resentment; and as this troublesome pair
of attendants endeavoured again to pass them close to Hungerford
Stairs, he said to them with constrained calmness, "Gentlemen, I owe
you something for the attention you have bestowed on the affairs of a
stranger. If you have any pretension to the name I have given you, you
will tell me where you are to be found."

"And with what purpose," said the taller of the two sneeringly, "does
your most rustic gravity, or your most grave rusticity, require of us
such information?"

So saying, they both faced about, in such a manner as to make it
impossible for Julian to advance any farther.

"Make for the stairs, Alice," he said; "I will be with you in an
instant." Then freeing himself with difficulty from the grasp of his
companions, he cast his cloak hastily round his left arm, and said,
sternly, to his opponents, "Will you give me your names, sirs; or will
you be pleased to make way?"

"Not till we know for whom we are to give place," said one of them.

"For one who will else teach you what you want--good manners," said
Peveril, and advanced as if to push between them.

They separated, but one of them stretched forth his foot before
Peveril, as if he meant to trip him. The blood of his ancestors was
already boiling within him; he struck the man on the face with the
oaken rod which he had just sneered at, and throwing it from him,
instantly unsheathed his sword. Both the others drew, and pushed at
once; but he caught the point of the one rapier in his cloak, and
parried the other thrust with his own weapon. He must have been less
lucky in the second close, but a cry arose among the watermen, of
"Shame, shame! two upon one!"

"They are men of the Duke of Buckingham's," said one fellow--"there's
no safe meddling with them."

"They may be the devil's men, if they will," said an ancient Triton,
flourishing his stretcher; "but I say fair play, and old England for
ever; and, I say, knock the gold-laced puppies down, unless they will
fight turn about with grey jerkin, like honest fellows. One down--
t'other come on."

The lower orders of London have in all times been remarkable for the
delight which they have taken in club-law, or fist-law; and for
the equity and impartiality with which they see it administered. The
noble science of defence was then so generally known, that a bout at
single rapier excited at that time as much interest and as little
wonder as a boxing-match in our own days. The bystanders experienced
in such affrays, presently formed a ring, within which Peveril and the
taller and more forward of his antagonists were soon engaged in close
combat with their swords, whilst the other, overawed by the
spectators, was prevented from interfering.

"Well done the tall fellow!"--"Well thrust, long-legs!'--"Huzza for
two ells and a quarter!" were the sounds with which the fray was at
first cheered; for Peveril's opponent not only showed great activity
and skill in fence, but had also a decided advantage, from the anxiety
with which Julian looked out for Alice Bridgenorth; the care for whose
safety diverted him in the beginning of the onset from that which he
ought to have exclusively bestowed on the defence of his own life. A
slight flesh-wound in the side at once punished, and warned him of,
his inadvertence; when, turning his whole thoughts on the business in
which he was engaged, and animated with anger against his impertinent
intruder, the rencontre speedily began to assume another face, amidst
cries of "Well done, grey jerkin!"--"Try the metal of his gold
doublet!"--"Finely thrust!"--"Curiously parried!"--"There went another
eyelet-hole to his broidered jerkin!"--"Fairly pinked, by G--d!" In
applause, accompanying a successful and conclusive lunge, by which
Peveril ran his gigantic antagonist through the body. He looked at his
prostrate foe for a moment; then, recovering himself, called loudly to
know what had become of the lady.

"Never mind the lady, if you be wise," said one of the watermen; "the
constable will be here in an instant. I'll give your honour a cast
across the water in a moment. It may be as much as your neck's worth.
Shall only charge a Jacobus."

"You be d--d!" said one of his rivals in profession, "as your father
was before you; for a Jacobus, I'll set the gentleman into Alsatia,
where neither bailiff nor constable dare trespass."

"The lady, you scoundrels, the lady!" exclaimed Peveril---"Where is
the lady?"

"I'll carry your honour where you shall have enough of ladies, if that
be your want," said the old Triton; and as he spoke, the clamour
amongst the watermen was renewed, each hoping to cut his own profit
out of the emergency of Julian's situation.

"A sculler will be least suspected, your honour," said one fellow.

"A pair of oars will carry you through the water like a wild-duck,"
said another.

"But you have got never a tilt, brother," said a third. "Now I can put
the gentleman as snug as if he were under hatches."

In the midst of the oaths and clamour attending this aquatic
controversy for his custom, Peveril at length made them understand
that he would bestow a Jacobus, not on him whose boat was first oars,
but on whomsoever should inform him of the fate of the lady.

"Of which lady?" said a sharp fellow: "for, to my thought, there was a
pair of them."

"Of both, of both," answered Peveril; "but first, of the fair-haired
lady?"

"Ay, ay, that was she that shrieked so when gold-jacket's companion
handed her into No. 20."

"Who--what--who dared to hand her?" exclaimed Peveril.

"Nay, master, you have heard enough of my tale without a fee," said
the waterman.

"Sordid rascal!" said Peveril, giving him a gold piece, "speak out, or
I'll run my sword through you!"

"For the matter of that, master," answered the fellow, "not while I
can handle this trunnion--but a bargain's a bargain; and so I'll tell
you, for your gold piece, that the comrade of the fellow forced one of
your wenches, her with the fair hair, will she, nill she, into
Tickling Tom's wherry; and they are far enough up Thames by this time,
with wind and tide."

"Sacred Heaven, and I stand here!" exclaimed Julian.

"Why, that is because your honour will not take a boat."

"You are right, my friend--a boat--a boat instantly!"

"Follow me, then, squire.--Here, Tom, bear a hand--the gentleman is
our fare."

A volley of water language was exchanged betwixt the successful
candidate for Peveril's custom and his disappointed brethren, which
concluded by the ancient Triton's bellowing out, in a tone above them
all, "that the gentleman was in a fair way to make a voyage to the
isle of gulls, for that sly Jack was only bantering him--No. 20 had
rowed for York Buildings."

"To the isle of gallows," cried another; "for here comes one who will
mar his trip up Thames, and carry him down to Execution Dock."

In fact, as he spoke the word, a constable, with three or four of his
assistants, armed with the old-fashioned brown bills, which were still
used for arming those guardians of the peace, cut off our hero's
farther progress to the water's edge, by arresting him in the King's
name. To attempt resistance would have been madness, as he was
surrounded on all sides; so Peveril was disarmed, and carried before
the nearest Justice of the Peace, for examination and committal.

The legal sage before whom Julian was taken was a man very honest in
his intentions, very bounded in his talents, and rather timid in his
disposition. Before the general alarm given to England, and to the
city of London in particular, by the notable discovery of the Popish
Plot, Master Maulstatute had taken serene and undisturbed pride and
pleasure in the discharge of his duties as a Justice of the Peace,
with the exercise of all its honorary privileges and awful authority.
But the murder of Sir Edmondsbury Godfrey had made a strong, nay, an
indelible impression on his mind; and he walked the Courts of Themis
with fear and trembling after that memorable and melancholy event.

Having a high idea of his official importance, and rather an exalted
notion of his personal consequence, his honour saw nothing from that
time but cords and daggers before his eyes, and never stepped out of
his own house, which he fortified, and in some measure garrisoned,
with half-a-dozen tall watchmen and constables, without seeing himself
watched by a Papist in disguise, with a drawn sword under his cloak.
It was even whispered, that, in the agonies of his fears, the
worshipful Master Maulstatute mistook the kitchen-wench with a
tinderbox, for a Jesuit with a pistol; but if any one dared to laugh
at such an error, he would have done well to conceal his mirth, lest
he fell under the heavy inculpation of being a banterer and stifler
of the Plot--a crime almost as deep as that of being himself a
plotter. In fact, the fears of the honest Justice, however
ridiculously exorbitant, were kept so much in countenance by the
outcry of the day, and the general nervous fever, which afflicted
every good Protestant, that Master Maulstatute was accounted the
bolder man and the better magistrate, while, under the terror of the
air-drawn dagger which fancy placed continually before his eyes, he
continued to dole forth Justice in the recesses of his private
chamber, nay, occasionally to attend Quarter-Sessions, when the hall
was guarded by a sufficient body of the militia. Such was the wight,
at whose door, well chained and doubly bolted, the constable who had
Julian in custody now gave his important and well-known knock.

Notwithstanding this official signal, the party was not admitted until
the clerk, who acted the part of high-warder, had reconnoitred them
through a grated wicket; for who could say whether the Papists might
not have made themselves master of Master Constable's sign, and have
prepared a pseudo watch to burst in and murder the Justice, under
pretence of bringing in a criminal before him?--Less hopeful projects
had figured in the Narrative of the Popish Plot.

All being found right, the key was turned, the bolts were drawn, and
the chain unhooked, so as to permit entrance to the constable, the
prisoner, and the assistants; and the door was then a suddenly shut
against the witnesses, who, as less trustworthy persons, were
requested (through the wicket) to remain in the yard, until they
should be called in their respective turns.

Had Julian been inclined for mirth, as was far from being the case, he
must have smiled at the incongruity of the clerk's apparel, who had
belted over his black buckram suit a buff baldric, sustaining a
broadsword, and a pair of huge horse-pistols; and, instead of the low
flat hat, which, coming in place of the city cap, completed the dress
of a scrivener, had placed on his greasy locks a rusted steel-cap,
which had seen Marston-Moor; across which projected his well-used
quill, in the guise of a plume--the shape of the morion not admitting
of its being stuck, as usual, behind his ear.

This whimsical figure conducted the constable, his assistants, and the
prisoner, into the low hall, where his principal dealt forth justice;
who presented an appearance still more singular than that of his
dependant.

Sundry good Protestants, who thought so highly of themselves as to
suppose they were worthy to be distinguished as objects of Catholic
cruelty, had taken to defensive arms on the occasion. But it was
quickly found that a breast-plate and back-plate of proof, fastened
together with iron clasps, was no convenient enclosure for a man who
meant to eat venison and custard; and that a buff-coat or shirt of
mail was scarcely more accommodating to the exertions necessary on
such active occasions. Besides, there were other objections, as the
alarming and menacing aspects which such warlike habiliments gave to
the Exchange, and other places, where merchants most do congregate;
and excoriations were bitterly complained of by many, who, not
belonging to the artillery company, or trained bands, had no
experience in bearing defensive armour.

To obviate these objections, and, at the same time, to secure the
persons of all true Protestant citizens against open force or privy
assassinations on the part of the Papists, some ingenious artist,
belonging, we may presume, to the worshipful Mercers' Company, had
contrived a species of armour, of which neither the horse-armory in
the Tower, nor Gwynnap's Gothic Hall, no, nor Dr. Meyrick's invaluable
collection of ancient arms, has preserved any specimen. It was called
silk-armour, being composed of a doublet and breeches of quilted silk,
so closely stitched, and of such thickness, as to be proof against
either bullet or steel; while a thick bonnet of the same materials,
with ear-flaps attached to it, and on the whole, much resembling a
nightcap, completed the equipment and ascertained the security of the
wearer from the head to the knee.

Master Maulstatute, among other worthy citizens, had adopted this
singular panoply, which had the advantage of being soft, and warm, and
flexible, as well as safe. And he now sat in his judicial elbow-chair
--a short, rotund figure, hung round, as it were, with cushions, for
such was the appearance of the quilted garments; and with a nose
protruded from under the silken casque, the size of which, together
with the unwieldiness of the whole figure, gave his worship no
indifferent resemblance to the sign of the Hog in Armour, which was
considerably improved by the defensive garment being of dusty orange
colour, not altogether unlike the hue of those half-wild swine which
are to be found in the forest of Hampshire.

Secure in these invulnerable envelopments, his worship had rested
content, although severed from his own death-doing weapons, of rapier,
poniard, and pistols, which were placed nevertheless, at no great
distance from his chair. One offensive implement, indeed, he thought
it prudent to keep on the table beside his huge Coke upon Lyttleton.
This was a sort of pocket flail, consisting of a piece of strong ash,
about eighteen inches long, to which was attached a swinging club of
/lignum-vitæ/, nearly twice as long as the handle, but jointed so as
to be easily folded up. This instrument, which bore at that time the
singular name of the Protestant flail, might be concealed under the
coat, until circumstances demanded its public appearance. A better
precaution against surprise than his arms, whether offensive or
defensive, was a strong iron grating, which, crossing the room in
front of the justice's table, and communicating by a grated door,
which was usually kept locked, effectually separated the accused party
from his judge.

Justice Maulstatute, such as we have described him, chose to hear the
accusation of the witnesses before calling on Peveril for his defence.
The detail of the affray was briefly given by the bystanders, and
seemed deeply to touch the spirit of the examinator. He shook his
silken casque emphatically, when he understood that, after some
language betwixt the parties, which the witnesses did not quite
understand, the young man in custody struck the first blow, and drew
his sword before the wounded party had unsheathed his weapon. Again he
shook his crested head yet more solemnly, when the result of the
conflict was known; and yet again, when one of the witnesses declared,
that, to the best of his knowledge, the sufferer in the fray was a
gentleman belonging to the household of his Grace the Duke of
Buckingham.

"A worthy peer," quoth the armed magistrate--"a true Protestant, and a
friend to his country. Mercy on us, to what a height of audacity hath
this age arisen! We see well, and could, were we as blind as a mole,
out of what quiver this shaft hath been drawn."

He then put on his spectacles, and having desired Julian to be brought
forward, he glared upon him awfully with those glazen eyes, from under
the shade of his quilted turban.

"So young," he said, "and so hardened--lack-a-day!--and a Papist, I'll
warrant."

Peveril had time enough to recollect the necessity of his being at
large, if he could possibly obtain his freedom, and interposed here a
civil contradiction of his worship's gracious supposition. "He was no
Catholic," he said, "but an unworthy member of the Church of England."

"Perhaps but a lukewarm Protestant, notwithstanding," said the sage
Justice; "there are those amongst us who ride tantivy to Rome, and
have already made out half the journey--ahem!"

Peveril disowned his being any such.

"And who art thou, then?" said the Justice; "for, friend, to tell you
plainly, I like not your visage--ahem!"

These short and emphatic coughs were accompanied each by a succinct
nod, intimating the perfect conviction of the speaker that he had made
the best, the wisest, and the most acute observation, of which the
premises admitted.

Julian, irritated by the whole circumstances of his detention,
answered the Justice's interrogation in rather a lofty tone. "My name
is Julian Peveril!"

"Now, Heaven be around us!" said the terrified Justice--"the son of
that black-hearted Papist and traitor, Sir Geoffrey Peveril, now in
hands, and on the verge of trial!"

"How, sir!" exclaimed Julian, forgetting his situation, and, stepping
forward to the grating, with a violence which made the bars clatter,
he so startled the appalled Justice, that, snatching his Protestant
flail, Master Maulstatute aimed a blow at his prisoner, to repel what
he apprehended was a premeditated attack. But whether it was owing to
the Justice's hurry of mind, or inexperience in managing the weapon,
he not only missed his aim, but brought the swinging part of the
machine round his own skull, with such a severe counter-buff, as
completely to try the efficacy of his cushioned helmet, and, in spite
of its defence, to convey a stunning sensation, which he rather
hastily imputed to the consequence of a blow received from Peveril.

His assistants did not directly confirm the opinion which the Justice
had so unwarrantably adopted; but all with one voice agreed that, but
for their own active and instantaneous interference, there was no
knowing what mischief might have been done by a person so dangerous as
the prisoner. The general opinion that he meant to proceed in the
matter of his own rescue, /par voie du fait/, was indeed so deeply
impressed on all present, that Julian saw it would be in vain to offer
any defence, especially being but too conscious that the alarming and
probably the fatal consequences of his rencontre with the bully,
rendered his commitment inevitable. He contented himself with asking
into what prison he was to be thrown; and when the formidable word
Newgate was returned as full answer, he had at least the satisfaction
to reflect, that, stern and dangerous as was the shelter of that roof,
he should at least enjoy it in company with his father; and that, by
some means or other, they might perhaps obtain the satisfaction of a
melancholy meeting, under the circumstances of mutual calamity, which
seemed impending over their house.

Assuming the virtue of more patience than he actually possessed,
Julian gave the magistrate (to whom all the mildness of his demeanour
could not, however, reconcile him), the direction to the house where
he lodged, together with a request that his servant, Lance Outram,
might be permitted to send him his money and wearing apparel; adding,
that all which might be in his possession, either of arms or writings,
--the former amounting to a pair of travelling pistols, and the last
to a few memoranda of little consequence, he willingly consented to
place at the disposal of the magistrate. It was in that moment that he
entertained, with sincere satisfaction, the comforting reflection,
that the important papers of Lady Derby were already in the possession
of the sovereign.

The Justice promised attention to his requests; but reminded him, with
great dignity, that his present complacent and submissive behaviour
ought, for his own sake, to have been adopted from the beginning,
instead of disturbing the presence of magistracy with such atrocious
marks of the malignant, rebellious, and murderous spirit of Popery, as
he had at first exhibited. "Yet," he said, "as he was a goodly young
man, and of honourable quality, he would not suffer him to be dragged
through the streets as a felon, but had ordered a coach for his
accommodation."

His honour, Master Maulstatute, uttered the word "coach" with the
importance of one who, as Dr. Johnson saith of later date, is
conscious of the dignity of putting horses to his chariot. The
worshipful Master Maulstatute did not, however on this occasion, do
Julian the honour of yoking to his huge family caroche the two
"frampal jades" (to use the term of the period), which were wont to
drag that ark to the meeting house of pure and precious Master
Howlaglass, on a Thursday's evening for lecture, and on a Sunday for a
four-hours' sermon. He had recourse to a leathern convenience, then
more rare, but just introduced, with every prospect of the great
facility which has since been afforded by hackney coaches, to all
manner of communication, honest and dishonest, legal and illegal. Our
friend Julian, hitherto much more accustomed to the saddle than to any
other conveyance, soon found himself in a hackney carriage, with the
constable and two assistants for his companions, armed up to the teeth
--the port of destination being, as they had already intimated, the
ancient fortress of Newgate.



                            CHAPTER XXXIII

        'Tis the black ban-dog of our jail--Pray look on him,
        But at a wary distance--rouse him not--
        He bays not till he worries.
                                       --THE BLACK DOG OF NEWGATE.

The coach stopped before those tremendous gates, which resemble those
of Tartarus, save only that they rather more frequently permit safe
and honourable egress; although at the price of the same anxiety and
labour with which Hercules, and one or two of the demi-gods,
extricated themselves from the Hell of the ancient mythology, and
sometimes, it is said, by the assistance of the golden boughs.

Julian stepped out of the vehicle, carefully supported on either side
by his companions, and also by one or two turnkeys, whom the first
summons of the deep bell at the gate had called to their assistance.
That attention, it may be guessed, was not bestowed lest he should
make a false step, so much as for fear of his attempting an escape, of
which he had no intentions. A few prentices and straggling boys of the
neighbouring market, which derived considerable advantage from
increase of custom, in consequence of the numerous committals on
account of the Popish Plot, and who therefore were zealous of
Protestants, saluted him on his descent with jubilee shouts of "Whoop,
Papist! whoop, Papist! D----n to the Pope, and all his adherents!"

Under such auspices, Peveril was ushered in beneath that gloomy
gateway, where so many bid adieu on their entrance at once to honour
and to life. The dark and dismal arch under which he soon found
himself opened upon a large courtyard, where a number of debtors were
employed in playing at handball, pitch-and-toss, hustle-cap, and other
games, for which relaxations the rigour of their creditors afforded
them full leisure, while it debarred them the means of pursuing the
honest labour by which they might have redeemed their affairs, and
maintained their starving and beggared families.

But with this careless and desperate group Julian was not to be
numbered, being led, or rather forced, by his conductors, into a low
arched door, which, carefully secured by bolts and bars, opened for
his reception on one side of the archway, and closed, with all its
fastenings, the moment after his hasty entrance. He was then conducted
along two or three gloomy passages, which, where they intersected each
other, were guarded by as many strong wickets, one of iron gates, and
the others of stout oak, clinched with plates, and studded with nails
of the same metal. He was not allowed to pause until he found himself
hurried into a little round vaulted room, which several of these
passages opened into, and which seemed, with respect to the labyrinth
through part of which he had passed, to resemble the central point of
a spider's web, in which the main lines of that reptile's curious maze
are always found to terminate.

The resemblance did not end here; for in this small vaulted apartment,
the walls of which were hung round with musketoons, pistols,
cutlasses, and other weapons, as well as with many sets of fetters and
irons of different construction, all disposed in great order, and
ready for employment, a person sat, who might not unaptly be compared
to a huge bloated and bottled spider, placed there to secure the prey
which had fallen into his toils.

This official had originally been a very strong and square-built man,
of large size, but was now so overgrown, from overfeeding, perhaps,
and want of exercise, as to bear the same resemblance to his former
self which a stall-fed ox still retains to a wild bull. The look of no
man is so inauspicious as a fat man, upon whose features ill-nature
has marked an habitual stamp. He seems to have reversed the old
proverb of "laugh and be fat," and to have thriven under the influence
of the worst affections of the mind. Passionate we can allow a jolly
mortal to be; but it seems unnatural to his goodly case to be sulky
and brutal. Now this man's features, surly and tallow-coloured; his
limbs, swelled and disproportioned; his huge paunch and unwieldy
carcass, suggested the idea, that, having once found his way into this
central recess, he had there fattened, like the weasel in the fable,
and fed largely and foully, until he had become incapable of
retreating through any of the narrow paths that terminated at his
cell; and was thus compelled to remain, like a toad under the cold
stone, fattening amid the squalid airs of the dungeons by which he was
surrounded, which would have proved pestiferous to any other than such
a congenial inhabitant. Huge iron-clasped books lay before this
ominous specimen of pinguitude--the records of the realm of misery, in
which office he officiated as prime minister; and had Peveril come
thither as an unconcerned visitor, his heart would have sunk within
him at considering the mass of human wretchedness which must needs be
registered in these fatal volumes. But his own distresses sat too
heavy on his mind to permit any general reflections of this nature.

The constable and this bulky official whispered together, after the
former had delivered to the latter the warrant of Julian's commitment.
The word /whispered/ is not quite accurate, for their communication
was carried on less by words than by looks and expressive signs; by
which, in all such situations, men learn to supply the use of
language, and to add mystery to what is in itself sufficiently
terrible to the captive. The only words which could be heard were
those of the Warden, or, as he was called then, the Captain of the
Jail, "Another bird to the cage----?"

"Who will whistle 'Pretty Pope of Rome,' with any starling in your
Knight's ward," answered the constable, with a facetious air, checked,
however, by the due respect to the supreme presence in which he stood.

The Grim Feature relaxed into something like a smile as he heard the
officer's observation; but instantly composing himself into the stern
solemnity which for an instant had been disturbed, he looked fiercely
at his new guest, and pronounced with an awful and emphatic, yet
rather an under-voice, the single and impressive word, "/Garnish!/"

Julian Peveril replied with assumed composure; for he had heard of the
customs of such places, and was resolved to comply with them, so as if
possible to obtain the favour of seeing his father, which he shrewdly
guessed must depend on his gratifying the avarice of the keeper. "I am
quite ready," he said, "to accede to the customs of the place in which
I unhappily find myself. You have but to name your demands, and I will
satisfy them."

So saying, he drew out his purse, thinking himself at the same time
fortunate that he had retained about him a considerable sum of gold.
The Captain remarked its width, depth, its extension, and depression,
with an involuntary smile, which had scarce contorted his hanging
under-lip, and the wiry and greasy moustache which thatched the upper,
when it was checked by the recollection that there were regulations
which set bounds to his rapacity, and prevented him from pouncing on
his prey like a kite, and swooping it all off at once.

This chilling reflection produced the following sullen reply to
Peveril:--"There were sundry rates. Gentlemen must choose for
themselves. He asked nothing but his fees. But civility," he muttered,
"must be paid for."

"And shall, if I can have it for payment," said Peveril; "but the
price, my good sir, the price?"

He spoke with some degree of scorn, which he was the less anxious to
repress, that he saw, even in this jail, his purse gave him an
indirect but powerful influence over his jailer.

The Captain seemed to feel the same; for, as he spoke, he plucked from
his head, almost involuntarily, a sort of scalded fur-cap, which
served it for covering. But his fingers revolting from so unusual an
act of complaisance, began to indemnify themselves by scratching his
grizzly shock-head, as he muttered, in a tone resembling the softened
growling of a mastiff when he has ceased to bay the intruder who shows
no fear of him,--"There are different rates. There is the Little Ease,
for common fees of the crown--rather dark, and the common sewer runs
below it; and some gentlemen object to the company, who are chiefly
padders and michers. Then the Master's side--the garnish came to one
piece--and none lay stowed there but who were in for murder at the
least."

"Name your highest price, sir, and take it," was Julian's concise
reply.

"Three pieces for the Knight's ward," answered the governor of this
terrestrial Tartarus.

"Take five, and place me with Sir Geoffrey," was again Julian's
answer, throwing down the money upon the desk before him.

"Sir Geoffrey?--Hum!--ay, Sir Geoffrey," said the jailer, as if
meditating what he ought to do. "Well, many a man has paid money to
see Sir Geoffrey--Scarce so much as you have, though. But then you are
like to see the last of him.--Ha, ha ha!"

These broken muttered exclamations, which terminated somewhat like the
joyous growl of a tiger over his meal, Julian could not comprehend;
and only replied to by repeating his request to be placed in the same
cell with Sir Geoffrey.

"Ay, master," said the jailer, "never fear; I'll keep word with you,
as you seem to know something of what belongs to your station and
mine. And hark ye, Jem Clink will fetch you the darbies."

"Derby!" interrupted Julian,--"Has the Earl or Countess----"

"Earl or Countess!--Ha, ha, ha!" again laughed, or rather growled, the
warden. "What is your head running on? You are a high fellow belike!
but all is one here. The darbies are the fetlocks--the fast-keepers,
my boy--the bail for good behaviour, my darling; and if you are not
the more conforming, I can add you a steel nightcap, and a curious
bosom-friend, to keep you warm of a winter night. But don't be
disheartened; you have behaved genteel; and you shall not be put upon.
And as for this here matter, ten to one it will turn out chance-
medley, or manslaughter, at the worst on it; and then it is but a
singed thumb instead of a twisted neck--always if there be no Papistry
about it, for then I warrant nothing.--Take the gentleman's worship
away, Clink."

A turnkey, who was one of the party that had ushered Peveril into the
presence of this Cerberus, now conveyed him out in silence; and, under
his guidance, the prisoner was carried through a second labyrinth of
passages with cells opening on each side, to that which was destined
for his reception.

On the road through this sad region, the turnkey more than once
ejaculated, "Why, the gentleman must be stark-mad! Could have had the
best crown cell to himself for less than half the garnish, and must
pay double to pig in with Sir Geoffrey! Ha, ha!--Is Sir Geoffrey akin
to you, if any one may make free to ask?"

"I am his son," answered Peveril sternly, in hopes to impose some curb
on the fellow's impertinence; but the man only laughed louder than
before.

"His son!--Why, that's best of all--Why, you are a strapping youth--
five feet ten, if you be an inch--and Sir Geoffrey's son!--Ha, ha,
ha!"

"Truce with your impertinence," said Julian. "My situation gives you
no title to insult me!"

"No more I do," said the turnkey, smothering his mirth at the
recollection, perhaps, that the prisoner's purse was not exhausted. "I
only laughed because you said you were Sir Geoffrey's son. But no
matter--'tis a wise child that knows his own father. And here is Sir
Geoffrey's cell; so you and he may settle the fatherhood between you."

So saying, he ushered his prisoner into a cell, or rather a strong
room of the better order, in which there were four chairs, a truckle-
bed, and one or two other articles of furniture.

Julian looked eagerly around for his father; but to his surprise the
room appeared totally empty. He turned with anger on the turnkey, and
charged him with misleading him; but the fellow answered, "No, no,
master; I have kept faith with you. Your father, if you call him so,
is only tappiced in some corner. A small hole will hide him; but I'll
rouse him out presently for you.--Here, hoicks!--Turn out, Sir
Geoffrey!--Here is--Ha, ha, ha!--your son--or your wife's son--for I
think you have but little share in him--come to wait on you."

Peveril knew not how to resent the man's insolence; and indeed his
anxiety, and apprehension of some strange mistake, mingled with, and
in some degree neutralised his anger. He looked again and again,
around and around the room; until at length he became aware of
something rolled up in a dark corner, which rather resembled a small
bundle of crimson cloth than any living creature. At the vociferation
of the turnkey, however, the object seemed to acquire life and motion,
uncoiled itself in some degree, and, after an effort or two, gained an
erect posture; still covered from top to toe with the crimson drapery
in which it was at first wrapped. Julian, at the first glance,
imagined from the size that he saw a child of five years old; but a
shrill and peculiar tone of voice soon assured him of his mistake.

"Warder," said this unearthly sound, "what is the meaning of this
disturbance? Have you more insults to heap on the head of one who hath
ever been the butt of fortune's malice? But I have a soul that can
wrestle with all my misfortunes; it is as large as any of your
bodies."

"Nay, Sir Geoffrey, if this be the way you welcome your own son!" said
the turnkey; "but you quality folks know your own ways best."

"My son!" exclaimed the little figure. "Audacious----"

"Here is some strange mistake," said Peveril, in the same breath. "I
sought Sir Geoffrey----"

"And you have him before you, young man," said the pigmy tenant of the
cell, with an air of dignity; at the same time casting on the floor
his crimson cloak, and standing before them in his full dignity of
three feet six inches of height. "I who was the favoured servant of
three successive Sovereigns of the Crown of England, am now the tenant
of this dungeon, and the sport of its brutal keepers. I am Sir
Geoffrey Hudson."

Julian, though he had never before seen this important personage, had
no difficulty in recognising, from description, the celebrated dwarf
of Henrietta Maria, who had survived the dangers of civil war and
private quarrel--the murder of his royal master, Charles I., and the
exile of his widow--to fall upon evil tongues and evil days, amidst
the unsparing accusations connected with the Popish Plot. He bowed to
the unhappy old man, and hastened to explain to him, and to the
turnkey, that it was Sir Geoffrey Peveril, of Martindale Castle in
Derbyshire whose prison he desired to share.

"You should have said that before you parted with the gold-dust, my
master," answered the turnkey; "for t'other Sir Geoffrey, that is the
big, tall, grey-haired man, was sent to the Tower last night; and the
Captain will think he has kept his word well enow with you, by lodging
you with this here Sir Geoffrey Hudson, who is the better show of the
two."

"I pray you go to your master," said Peveril; "explain the mistake;
and say to him I beg to be sent to the Tower."

"The Tower!--Ha, ha, ha!" exclaimed the fellow. "The Tower is for
lords and knights, and not for squires of low degree--for high
treason, and not for ruffing on the streets with rapier and dagger;
and there must go a secretary's warrant to send you there."

"At least, let me not be a burden on this gentleman," said Julian.
"There can be no use in quartering us together, since we are not even
acquainted. Go tell your master of the mistake."

"Why, so I should," said Clink, still grinning, "if I were not sure
that he knew it already. You paid to be sent to Sir Geoffrey, and he
sent you to Sir Geoffrey. You are so put down in the register, and he
will blot it for no man. Come, come, be comfortable, and you shall
have light and easy irons--that's all I can do for you."

Resistance and expostulation being out of the question, Peveril
submitted to have a light pair of fetters secured on his ankles, which
allowed him, nevertheless, the power of traversing the apartment.

During this operation, he reflected that the jailer, who had taken the
advantage of the equivoque betwixt the two Sir Geoffreys, must have
acted as his assistant had hinted, and cheated him from malice
prepense, since the warrant of committal described him as the son of
Sir Geoffrey Peveril. It was therefore in vain, as well as degrading,
to make farther application to such a man on the subject. Julian
determined to submit to his fate, as what could not be averted by any
effort of his own.

Even the turnkey was moved in some degree by his youth, good mien, and
the patience with which, after the first effervescence of
disappointment, the new prisoner resigned himself to his situation.
"You seem a brave young gentleman," he said; "and shall at least have
a good dinner, and as good a pallet to sleep on, as is within the walls
of Newgate.----And, Master Sir Geoffrey, you ought to make much of
him, since you do not like tall fellows; for I can tell you that Master
Peveril is in for pinking long Jack Jenkins, that was the Master of
Defence--as tall a man as in London, always excepting the King's
Porter, Master Evans, that carried you about in his pocket, Sir
Geoffrey, as all the world heard tell."

"Begone, fellow!" answered the dwarf. "Fellow, I scorn you!"

The turnkey sneered, withdrew, and locked the door behind him.



                            CHAPTER XXXIV

              Degenerate youth, and not of Tydeus' kind,
              Whose little body lodged a mighty mind.
                                                    --ILIAD.

Left quiet at least, if not alone, for the first time after the events
of this troubled and varied day, Julian threw himself on an old oaken
seat, beside the embers of a sea-coal fire, and began to muse on the
miserable situation of anxiety and danger in which he was placed;
where, whether he contemplated the interests of his love, his family
affections, or his friendships, all seemed such a prospect as that of
a sailor who looks upon breakers on every hand, from the deck of a
vessel which no longer obeys the helm.

As Peveril sat sunk in despondency, his companion in misfortune drew a
chair to the opposite side of the chimney-corner, and began to gaze at
him with a sort of solemn earnestness, which at length compelled him,
though almost in spite of himself, to pay some attention to the
singular figure who seemed so much engrossed with contemplating him.

Geoffrey Hudson (we drop occasionally the title of knighthood, which
the King had bestowed on him in a frolic, but which might introduce
some confusion into our history), although a dwarf of the least
possible size, had nothing positively ugly in his countenance, or
actually distorted in his limbs. His head, hands, and feet were indeed
large, and disproportioned to the height of his body, and his body
itself much thicker than was consistent with symmetry, but in a degree
which was rather ludicrous than disagreeable to look upon. His
countenance, in particular, had he been a little taller, would have
been accounted, in youth, handsome, and now, in age, striking and
expressive; it was but the uncommon disproportion betwixt the head and
the trunk which made the features seem whimsical and bizarre--an
effect which was considerably increased by the dwarf's moustaches,
which it was his pleasure to wear so large, that they almost twisted
back amongst, and mingled with, his grizzled hair.

The dress of this singular wight announced that he was not entirely
free from the unhappy taste which frequently induces those whom nature
has marked by personal deformity, to distinguish, and at the same time
to render themselves ridiculous, by the use of showy colours, and
garments fantastically and extraordinarily fashioned. But poor
Geoffrey Hudson's laces, embroideries, and the rest of his finery,
were sorely worn and tarnished by the time which he had spent in jail,
under the vague and malicious accusation that he was somehow or other
an accomplice in this all-involving, all-devouring whirlpool of a
Popish conspiracy--an impeachment which, if pronounced by a mouth the
foulest and most malicious, was at that time sufficiently predominant
to sully the fairest reputation. It will presently appear, that in the
poor man's manner of thinking, and tone of conversation, there was
something analogous to his absurd fashion of apparel; for, as in the
latter, good stuff and valuable decorations were rendered ludicrous by
the fantastic fashion in which they were made up; so, such glimmerings
of good sense and honourable feeling as the little man often evinced,
were made ridiculous by a restless desire to assume certain airs of
importance, and a great jealousy of being despised, on account of the
peculiarity of his outward form.

After the fellow-prisoners had looked at each other for some time in
silence, the dwarf, conscious of his dignity as first owner of their
joint apartment, thought it necessary to do the honours of it to the
new-comer. "Sir," he said, modifying the alternate harsh and squeaking
tones of his voice into accents as harmonious as they could attain, "I
understand you to be the son of my worthy namesake, and ancient
acquaintance, the stout Sir Geoffrey Peveril of the Peak. I promise
you, I have seen your father where blows have been going more plenty
than gold pieces; and for a tall heavy man, who lacked, as we
martialists thought, some of the lightness and activity of our more
slightly made Cavaliers, he performed his duty as a man might desire.
I am happy to see you, his son; and, though by a mistake, I am glad we
are to share this comfortless cabin together."

Julian bowed, and thanked his courtesy; and Geoffrey Hudson, having
broken the ice, preceded to question him without further ceremony.
"You are no courtier, I presume, young gentleman?"

Julian replied in the negative.

"I thought so," continued the dwarf; "for although I have now no
official duty at Court, the region in which my early years were spent,
and where I once held a considerable office, yet I still, when I had
my liberty, visited the Presence from time to time, as in duty bound
for former service; and am wont, from old habit, to take some note of
the courtly gallants, those choice spirits of the age, among whom I
was once enrolled. You are, not to compliment you, a marked figure,
Master Peveril--though something of the tallest, as was your father's
case; I think, I could scarce have seen you anywhere without
remembering you."

Peveril thought he might, with great justice, have returned the
compliment, but contented himself with saying, "he had scarce seen the
British Court."

"Tis pity," said Hudson; "a gallant can hardly be formed without
frequenting it. But you have been perhaps in a rougher school; you
have served, doubtless?"

"My Maker, I hope," said Julian.

"Fie on it, you mistake. I meant," said Hudson, "/á la François/,--you
have served in the army?"

"No. I have not yet had that honour," said Julian.

"What! neither courtier nor soldier, Master Peveril?" said the
important little man: "your father is to blame. By cock and pie he is,
Master Peveril! How shall a man be known, or distinguished, unless by
his bearing in peace and war? I tell you, sir, that at Newberry, where
I charged with my troop abreast with Prince Rupert, and when, as you
may have heard, we were both beaten off by those cuckoldly hinds the
Trained Bands of London,--we did what men could; and I think it was a
matter of three or four minutes after most of our gentlemen had been
driven off, that his Highness and I continued to cut at their long
pikes with our swords; and I think might have broken in, but that I
had a tall, long-legged brute of a horse, and my sword was somewhat
short,--in fine, at last we were obliged to make volte-face, and then,
as I was going to say, the fellows were so glad to get rid of us, that
they set up a great jubilee cry of 'There goes Prince Robin and Cock
Robin!'--Ay, ay, every scoundrel among them knew me well. But those
days are over.--And where were you educated, young gentleman?"

Peveril named the household of the Countess of Derby.

"A most honourable lady, upon my word as a gentleman," said Hudson.--
"I knew the noble Countess well when I was about the person of my
royal mistress, Henrietta Maria. She was then the very muster of all
that was noble, loyal, and lovely. She was, indeed, one of the fifteen
fair ones of the Court, whom I permitted to call me Piccoluomini--a
foolish jest on my somewhat diminutive figure, which always
distinguished me from ordinary beings, even when I was young--I have
now lost much stature by stooping; but, always the ladies had their
jest at me.--Perhaps, young man, I had my own amends of some of them
somewhere, and somehow or other--I /say/ nothing if I had or no; far
less do I insinuate disrespect to the noble Countess. She was daughter
of the Duc de la Tremouille, or, more correctly, des Thouars. But
certainly to serve the ladies, and condescend to their humours, even
when somewhat too free, or too fantastic, is the true decorum of
gentle blood."

Depressed as his spirits were, Peveril could scarce forbear smiling
when he looked at the pigmy creature, who told these stories with
infinite complacency, and appeared disposed to proclaim, as his own
herald, that he had been a very model of valour and gallantry, though
love and arms seemed to be pursuits totally irreconcilable to his
shrivelled, weather-beaten countenance, and wasted limbs. Julian was,
however, so careful to avoid giving his companion pain, that he
endeavoured to humour him, by saying, that, "unquestionably, one bred
up like Sir Geoffrey Hudson, in court and camps, knew exactly when to
suffer personal freedoms, and when to control them."

The little Knight, with great vivacity, though with some difficulty,
began to drag his seat from the side of the fire opposite to that
where Julian was seated, and at length succeeded in bringing it near
him, in token of increasing cordiality.

"You say well, Master Peveril," said the dwarf; "and I have given
proofs both of bearing and forbearing. Yes, sir, there was not that
thing which my most royal mistress, Henrietta Maria, could have
required of me, that I would not have complied with, sir; I was her
sworn servant, both in war and in festival, in battle and pageant,
sir. At her Majesty's particular request, I once condescended to
become--ladies, you know, have strange fancies--to become the tenant,
for a time, of the interior of a pie."

"Of a pie?" said Julian, somewhat amazed.

"Yes, sir, of a pie. I hope you find nothing risible in my
complaisance?" replied his companion, something jealously.

"Not I, sir," said Peveril; "I have other matters than laughter in my
head at present."

"So had I," said the dwarfish champion, "when I found myself
imprisoned in a huge platter, of no ordinary dimensions you may be
assured, since I could lie at length in it, and when I was entombed,
as it were, in walls of standing crust, and a huge cover of pastry,
the whole constituting a sort of sarcophagus, of size enough to have
recorded the epitaph of a general officer or an archbishop on the lid.
Sir, notwithstanding the conveniences which were made to give me air,
it was more like being buried alive than aught else which I could
think of."

"I conceive it, sir," said Julian.

"Moreover, sir," continued the dwarf, "there were few in the secret,
which was contrived for the Queen's divertisement; for advancing of
which I would have crept into a filbert nut, had it been possible; and
few, as I said, being private in the scheme, there was a risk of
accidents. I doubted, while in my darksome abode, whether some awkward
attendant might not have let me fall, as I have seen happen to a
venison pasty; or whether some hungry guest might not anticipate the
moment of my resurrection, by sticking his knife into my upper crust.
And though I had my weapons about me, young man, as has been my custom
in every case of peril, yet, if such a rash person had plunged deep
into the bowels of the supposed pasty, my sword and dagger could
barely have served me to avenge, assuredly not to prevent, either of
these catastrophes."

"Certainly I do so understand it," said Julian, who began, however, to
feel that the company of little Hudson, talkative as he showed
himself, was likely rather to aggravate than to alleviate the
inconveniences of a prison.

"Nay," continued the little man, enlarging on his former topic, "I had
other subjects of apprehension; for it pleased my Lord of Buckingham,
his Grace's father who now bears the title, in his plenitude of Court
favour, to command the pasty to be carried down to the office, and
committed anew to the oven, alleging preposterously that it was better
to be eaten warm than cold."

"And did this, sir, not disturb your equanimity?" said Julian.

"My young friend," said Geoffrey Hudson, "I cannot deny it.--Nature
will claim her rights from the best and boldest of us.--I thought of
Nebuchadnezzar and his fiery furnace; and I waxed warm with
apprehension.--But, I thank Heaven, I also thought of my sworn duty to
my royal mistress; and was thereby obliged and enabled to resist all
temptations to make myself prematurely known. Nevertheless, the Duke--
if of malice, may Heaven forgive him--followed down into the office
himself, and urged the master-cook very hard that the pasty should be
heated, were it but for five minutes. But the master-cook, being privy
to the very different intentions of my royal mistress, did most
manfully resist the order; and I was again reconveyed in safety to the
royal table."

"And in due time liberated from your confinement, I doubt not?" said
Peveril.

"Yes, sir; that happy, and I may say, glorious moment, at length
arrived," continued the dwarf. "The upper crust was removed--I started
up to the sound of trumpet and clarion, like the soul of a warrior
when the last summons shall sound--or rather (if that simile be over
audacious), like a spell-bound champion relieved from his enchanted
state. It was then that, with my buckler on my arm, and my trusty
Bilboa in my hand, I executed a sort of warlike dance, in which my
skill and agility then rendered me pre-eminent, displaying, at the
same time my postures, both of defence and offence, in a manner so
totally inimitable, that I was almost deafened with the applause of
all around me, and half-drowned by the scented waters with which the
ladies of the Court deluged me from their casting bottles. I had
amends of his Grace of Buckingham also; for as I tripped a hasty
morris hither and thither upon the dining-table, now offering my
blade, now recovering it, I made a blow at his nose--a sort of
estramaçon--the dexterity of which consists in coming mighty near to
the object you seem to aim at, yet not attaining it. You may have seen
a barber make such a flourish with his razor. I promise you his Grace
sprung back a half-yard at least. He was pleased to threaten to brain
me with a chicken-bone, as he disdainfully expressed it; but the King
said, 'George, you have but a Rowland for an Oliver.' And so I tripped
on, showing a bold heedlessness of his displeasure, which few dared to
have done at that time, albeit countenanced to the utmost like me by
the smiles of the brave and the fair. But, well-a-day! sir, youth, its
fashions, its follies, its frolics, and all its pomp and pride, are as
idle and transitory as the crackling of thorns under a pot."

"The flower that is cast into the oven were a better simile," thought
Peveril. "Good God, that a man should live to regret not being young
enough to be still treated as baked meat, and served up in a pie!"

His companion, whose tongue had for many days been as closely
imprisoned as his person, seemed resolved to indemnify his loquacity,
by continuing to indulge it on the present occasion at his companion's
expense. He proceeded, therefore, in a solemn tone, to moralise on the
adventure which he had narrated.

"Young men will no doubt think one to be envied," he said, "who was
thus enabled to be the darling and admiration of the Court"--(Julian
internally stood self-exculpated from the suspicion)--"and yet it is
better to possess fewer means of distinction, and remain free from the
backbiting, the slander, and the odium, which are always the share of
Court favour. Men who had no other cause, cast reflections upon me
because my size varied somewhat from the common proportion; and jests
were sometimes unthinkingly passed upon me by those I was bound to,
who did not in that case, peradventure, sufficiently consider that the
wren is made by the same hand which formed the bustard, and that the
diamond, though small in size, out-values ten thousand-fold the rude
granite. Nevertheless, they proceeded in the vein of humour; and as I
could not in duty or gratitude retort upon nobles and princes, I was
compelled to cast about in my mind how to vindicate my honour towards
those, who, being in the same rank with myself, as servants and
courtiers, nevertheless bore themselves towards me as if they were of
a superior class in the rank of honour, as well as in the accidental
circumstance of stature. And as a lesson to my own pride, and that of
others, it so happened, that the pageant which I have but just
narrated--which I justly reckon the most honourable moment of my life,
excepting perhaps my distinguished share in the battle of Round-way-
down--became the cause of a most tragic event, in which I acknowledge
the greatest misfortune of my existence."

The dwarf here paused, fetched a sigh, big at once with regret, and
with the importance becoming the subject of a tragic history; then
proceeded as follows:--

"You would have thought in your simplicity, young gentleman, that the
pretty pageant I have mentioned could only have been quoted to my
advantage, as a rare masking frolic, prettily devised, and not less
deftly executed; and yet the malice of the courtiers, who maligned and
envied me, made them strain their wit, and exhaust their ingenuity, in
putting false and ridiculous constructions upon it. In short, my ears
were so much offended with allusions to pies, puff-paste, ovens, and
the like, that I was compelled to prohibit such subject of mirth,
under penalty of my instant and severe displeasure. But it happ'd
there was then a gallant about the Court, a man of good quality, son
to a knight baronet, and in high esteem with the best in that sphere,
also a familiar friend of mine own, from whom, therefore, I had no
reason to expect any of that species of gibing which I had intimated
my purpose to treat as offensive. Howbeit, it pleased the Honourable
Mr. Crofts, so was this youth called and designed, one night, at the
Groom Porter's being full of wine and waggery, to introduce this
threadbare subject, and to say something concerning a goose-pie, which
I could not but consider as levelled at me. Nevertheless, I did but
calmly and solidly pray him to choose a different subject; failing
which, I let him know I should be sudden in my resentment.
Notwithstanding, he continued in the same tone, and even aggravated
the offence, by speaking of a tomtit, and other unnecessary and
obnoxious comparisons; whereupon I was compelled to send him a cartel,
and we met accordingly. Now, as I really loved the youth, it was my
intention only to correct him by a flesh wound or two; and I would
willingly that he had named the sword for his weapon. Nevertheless, he
made pistols his election; and being on horseback, he produced by way
of his own weapon, a foolish engine, which children are wont, in their
roguery, to use for spouting water; a--a--in short, I forget the
name."

"A squirt, doubtless," said Peveril, who began to recollect having
heard something of this adventure.

"You are right," said the dwarf; "you have indeed the name of the
little engine, of which I have had experience in passing the yards at
Westminster.--Well, sir, this token of slight regard compelled me to
give the gentleman such language, as soon rendered it necessary for
him to make more serious arms. We fought on horseback--breaking
ground, and advancing by signal; and, as I never miss aim, I had the
misadventure to kill the Honourable Master Crofts at the first shot. I
would not wish my worst foe the pain which I felt, when I saw him reel
on his saddle, and so fall down to the earth!--and, when I perceived
that the life-blood was pouring fast, I could not but wish to Heaven
that it had been my own instead of his. Thus fell youth, hopes, and
bravery, a sacrifice to a silly and thoughtless jest; yet, alas!
wherein had I choice, seeing that honour is, as it were, the very
breath in our nostrils; and that in no sense can we be said to live,
if we permit ourselves to be deprived of it?"

The tone of feeling in which the dwarfish hero concluded his story,
gave Julian a better opinion of his heart, and even of his
understanding, than he had been able to form of one who gloried in
having, upon a grand occasion, formed the contents of a pasty. He was
indeed enabled to conjecture that the little champion was seduced into
such exhibitions, by the necessity attached to his condition, by his
own vanity, and by the flattery bestowed on him by those who sought
pleasure in practical jokes. The fate of the unlucky Master Crofts,
however, as well as various exploits of this diminutive person during
the Civil Wars, in which he actually, and with great gallantry,
commanded a troop of horse, rendered most men cautious of openly
rallying him; which was indeed the less necessary, as, when left
alone, he seldom failed voluntarily to show himself on the ludicrous
side.

At one hour after noon, the turnkey, true to his word, supplied the
prisoners with a very tolerable dinner and a flask of well-flavoured
though light claret; which the old man, who was something of a bon-
vivant, regretted to observe, was nearly as diminutive as himself. The
evening also passed away, but not without continued symptoms of
garrulity on the part of Geoffrey Hudson.

It is true these were of a graver character than he had hitherto
exhibited, for when the flask was empty, he repeated a long Latin
prayer. But the religious act in which he had been engaged, only gave
his discourse a more serious turn than belonged to his former themes,
of war, lady's love, and courtly splendour.

The little Knight harangued, at first on polemical points of divinity,
and diverged from this thorny path, into the neighbouring and twilight
walk of mysticism. He talked of secret warnings--of the predictions of
sad-eyed prophets--of the visits of monitory spirits, and the
Rosicrucian secrets of the Cabala; all which topics he treated of with
such apparent conviction, nay, with so many appeals to personal
experience, that one would have supposed him a member of the
fraternity of gnomes, or fairies, whom he resembled so much in point
of size.

In short, he persevered for a stricken hour in such a torrent of
unnecessary tattle, as determined Peveril, at all events, to endeavour
to procure a separate lodging. Having repeated his evening prayers in
Latin, as formerly (for the old gentleman was a Catholic, which was
the sole cause of his falling under suspicion), he set off on a new
score, as they were undressing, and continued to prattle until he had
fairly talked both himself and his companion to sleep.



                             CHAPTER XXXV

              Of airy tongues that syllable men's names.
                                                   --COMUS.

Julian had fallen asleep, with his brain rather filled with his own
sad reflections, than with the mystical lore of the little Knight; and
yet it seemed as if in his visions the latter had been more present to
his mind than the former.

He dreamed of gliding spirits, gibbering phantoms, bloody hands,
which, dimly seen by twilight, seemed to beckon him forward like
errant-knight on sad adventure bound. More than once he started from
his sleep, so lively was the influence of these visions on his
imagination; and he always awaked under the impression that some one
stood by his bedside. The chillness of his ankles, the weight and
clatter of the fetters, as he turned himself on his pallet, reminded
him on these occasions where he was, and under what circumstances. The
extremity to which he saw all that was dear to him at present reduced,
struck a deeper cold on his heart than the iron upon his limbs; nor
could he compose himself again to rest without a mental prayer to
Heaven for protection. But when he had been for a third time awakened
from repose by these thick-stirring fancies, his distress of mind
vented itself in speech, and he was unable to suppress the almost
despairing ejaculation, "God have mercy upon us!"

"Amen!" answered a voice as sweet and "soft as honey dew," which
sounded as if the words were spoken close by his bedside.

The natural inference was, that Geoffrey Hudson, his companion in
calamity, had echoed the prayer which was so proper to the situation
of both. But the tone of voice was so different from the harsh and
dissonant sounds of the dwarf's enunciation, that Peveril was
impressed with the certainty it could not proceed from Hudson. He was
struck with involuntary terror, for which he could give no sufficient
reason; and it was not without an effort that he was able to utter the
question, "Sir Geoffrey, did you speak?"

No answer was returned. He repeated the question louder; and the same
silver-toned voice, which had formerly said "/Amen/" to his prayers,
answered to his interrogatory, "Your companion will not awake while I
am here."

"And who are you?--What seek you?--How came you into this place?" said
Peveril, huddling, eagerly, question upon question.

"I am a wretched being, but one who loves you well.--I come for your
good.--Concern yourself no farther."

It now rushed on Julian's mind that he had heard of persons possessed
of the wonderful talent of counterfeiting sounds to such accuracy,
that they could impose on their hearers the belief, that they
proceeded from a point of the apartment entirely opposite to that
which the real speaker occupied. Persuaded that he had now gained the
depth of the mystery, he replied, "This trifling, Sir Geoffrey, is
unseasonable. Say what you have to say in your own voice and manner.
These apish pleasantries do not become midnight in a Newgate dungeon."

"But the being who speaks with you," answered the voice, "is fitted
for the darkest hour, and the most melancholy haunts."

Impatient of suspense, and determined to satisfy his curiosity, Julian
jumped at once from his pallet, hoping to secure the speaker, whose
voice indicated he was so near. But he altogether failed in his
attempt, and grasped nothing save thin air.

For a turn or two, Peveril shuffled at random about the room, with his
arms extended; and then at last recollected, that with the impediment
of his shackles, and the noise which necessarily accompanied his
motions, and announced where he was, it would be impossible for him to
lay hands on any one who might be disposed to keep out of his reach.
He therefore endeavoured to return to his bed; but, in groping for his
way, lighted first on that of his fellow-prisoner. The little captive
slept deep and heavy, as was evinced from his breathing; and upon
listening a moment, Julian became again certain, either that his
companion was the most artful of ventriloquists and of dissemblers, or
that there was actually within the precincts of that guarded chamber,
some third being, whose very presence there seemed to intimate that it
belonged not to the ordinary line of humanity.

Julian was no ready believer in the supernatural; but that age was
very far from being so incredulous concerning ghostly occurrences as
our own; and it was no way derogatory to his good sense, that he
shared the prejudices of his time. His hair began to bristle, and the
moisture to stand on his brow, as he called on his companion to awake,
for Heaven's sake.

The dwarf answered--but he spoke without awaking.--"The day may dawn
and be d--d. Tell the master of the horse I will not go to the
hunting, unless I have the little black jennet."

"I tell you," said Julian, "there is some one in the apartment. Have
you not a tinder-box to strike a light?"

"I care not how slight my horse be," replied the slumberer, pursuing
his own train of ideas, which, doubtless, carried him back to the
green woods of Windsor, and the royal deer-hunts which he had
witnessed there. "I am not overweight--I will not ride that great
Holstein brute, that I must climb up to by a ladder, and then sit on
his back like a pin-cushion on an elephant."

Julian at length put his hand to the sleeper's shoulder, and shook
him, so as to awake him from his dream; when, after two or three
snorts and groans, the dwarf asked peevishly, what the devil ailed
him?

"The devil himself, for what I know," said Peveril, "is at this very
moment in the room here beside us."

The dwarf on this information started up, crossed himself, and began
to hammer a flint and steel with all despatch, until he had lighted a
little piece of candle, which he said was consecrated to Saint
Bridget, and as powerful as the herb called /fuga dæmonum/, or the
liver of the fish burnt by Tobit in the house of Raguel, for chasing
all goblins, and evil or dubious spirits, from the place of its
radiance; "if, indeed," as the dwarf carefully guarded his
proposition, "they existed anywhere, save in the imagination of his
fellow-prisoner."

Accordingly, the apartment was no sooner enlightened by this holy
candle's end, than Julian began to doubt the evidence of his own ears;
for not only was there no one in the room save Sir Geoffrey Hudson and
himself, but all the fastenings of the door were so secure, that it
seemed impossible that they could have been opened and again fixed,
without a great deal of noise, which, on the last occasion at least,
could not possibly have escaped his ears, seeing that he must have
been on his feet, and employed in searching the chamber, when the
unknown, if an earthly being, was in the act of retreating from it.

Julian gazed for a moment with great earnestness, and no little
perplexity, first on the bolted door, then on the grated window; and
began to accuse his own imagination of having played him an unpleasant
trick. He answered little to the questions of Hudson, and returning to
his bed, heard, in silence, a long studied oration on the merits of
Saint Bridget, which comprehended the greater part of her long-winded
legend, and concluded with the assurance, that, from all accounts
preserved of her, that holy saint was the least of all possible women,
except those of the pigmy kind.

By the time the dwarf had ceased to speak, Julian's desire of sleep
had returned; and after a few glances around the apartment, which was
still illuminated by the expiring beams of the holy taper, his eyes
were again closed in forgetfulness, and his repose was not again
disturbed in the course of that night.

Morning dawns on Newgate, as well as on the freest mountain-turf which
Welshman or wild-goat ever trode; but in so different a fashion, that
the very beams of heaven's precious sun, when they penetrate into the
recesses of the prison-house, have the air of being committed to jail.
Still, with the light of day around him, Peveril easily persuaded
himself of the vanity of his preceding night's visions; and smiled
when he reflected that fancies, similar to those to which his ear was
often exposed in the Isle of Man, had been able to arrange themselves
in a manner so impressive, when he heard them from the mouth of so
singular a character as Hudson, and in the solitude of a prison.

Before Julian had awaked, the dwarf had already quitted his bed, and
was seated in the chimney-corner of the apartment, where, with his own
hands, he had arranged a morsel of fire, partly attending to the
simmering of a small pot, which he had placed on the flame, partly
occupied with a huge folio volume which lay on the table before him,
and seemed well-nigh as tall and bulky as himself. He was wrapped up
in the dusky crimson cloak already mentioned, which served him for a
morning-gown, as well as a mantle against the cold, and which
corresponded with a large montero-cap, that enveloped his head. The
singularity of his features, and of the eyes, armed with spectacles,
which were now cast on the subject of his studies, now directed
towards his little cauldron, would have tempted Rembrandt to exhibit
him on canvas, either in the character of an alchymist, or of a
necromancer, engaged in some strange experiment, under the direction
of one of the huge manuals which treat of the theory of these mystic
arts.

The attention of the dwarf was bent, however, upon a more domestic
object. He was only preparing soup, of no unsavoury quality, for
breakfast, which he invited Peveril to partake with him. "I am an old
soldier," he said, "and, I must add, an old prisoner; and understand
how to shift for myself better than you can do, young man.--Confusion
to the scoundrel Clink, he has put the spice-box out of my reach!--
Will you hand it me from the mantelpiece?--I will teach you, as the
French have it, /faire la cuisine;/ and then, if you please, we will
divide, like brethren, the labours of our prison house."

Julian readily assented to the little man's friendly proposal, without
interposing any doubt as to his continuing an inmate of the same cell.
Truth is, that although, upon the whole, he was inclined to regard the
whispering voice of the preceding evening as the impression of his own
excited fancy, he felt, nevertheless, curiosity to see how a second
night was to pass over in the same cell; and the tone of the invisible
intruder, which at midnight had been heard by him with terror, now
excited, on recollection, a gentle and not unpleasing species of
agitation--the combined effect of awe, and of awakened curiosity.

Days of captivity have little to mark them as they glide away. That
which followed the night which we have described afforded no
circumstance of note. The dwarf imparted to his youthful companion a
volume similar to that which formed his own studies, and which proved
to be a tome of one of Scuderi's now forgotten romances, of which
Geoffrey Hudson was a great admirer, and which were then very
fashionable both at the French and English Courts; although they
contrive to unite in their immense folios all the improbabilities and
absurdities of the old romances of chivalry, without that tone of
imagination which pervades them, and all the metaphysical absurdities
which Cowley and the poets of the age had heaped upon the passion of
love, like so many load of small coal upon a slender fire, which it
smothers instead of aiding.

But Julian had no alternative, saving only to muse over the sorrows of
Artamenes and Mandane, or on the complicated distresses of his own
situation; and in these disagreeable divertisements, the morning crept
through as it could.

Noon first, and thereafter nightfall, were successively marked by a
brief visit from their stern turnkey, who, with noiseless step and
sullen demeanour, did in silence the necessary offices about the meals
of the prisoners, exchanging with them as few words as an official in
the Spanish Inquisition might have permitted himself upon a similar
occasion. With the same taciturn gravity, very different from the
laughing humour into which he had been surprised on a former occasion,
he struck their fetters with a small hammer, to ascertain, by the
sound thus produced, whether they had been tampered with by file or
otherwise. He next mounted on a table, to make the same experiment on
the window-grating.

Julian's heart throbbed; for might not one of those grates have been
so tampered with as to give entrance to the nocturnal visitant? But
they returned to the experienced ear of Master Clink, when he struck
them in turn with the hammer, a clear and ringing sound, which assured
him of their security.

"It would be difficult for any one to get in through these defences,"
said Julian, giving vent in words to his own feelings.

"Few wish that," answered the surly groom, misconstruing what was
passing in Peveril's mind; "and let me tell you, master, folks will
find it quite as difficult to get out." He retired, and night came on.

The dwarf, who took upon himself for the day the whole duties of the
apartment, trundled about the room, making a most important clatter as
he extinguished their fire, and put aside various matters which had
been in use in the course of the day, talking to himself all the while
in a tone of no little consequence, occasionally grounded on the
dexterity with which an old soldier could turn his hand to anything.
Then came the repetition of his accustomed prayers; but his
disposition to converse did not, as on the former occasion, revive
after his devotions. On the contrary, long before Julian had closed an
eye, the heavy breathing from Sir Geoffrey Hudson's pallet declared
that the dwarf was already in the arms of Morpheus.

Amid the total darkness of the apartment, and with a longing desire,
and at the same time no small fear, for the recurrence of the
mysterious address of the preceding evening, Julian lay long awake
without his thoughts receiving any interruption save when the clock
told the passing hour from the neighbouring steeple of St. Sepulchre.
At length he sunk into slumber; but had not slept to his judgment
above an hour, when he was roused by the sound which his waking ear
had so long expected in vain.

"Can you sleep?--Will you sleep?--Dare you sleep?" were the questions
impressed on his ear, in the same clear, soft, and melodious voice,
which had addressed him on the preceding night.

"Who is it asks me the question?" answered Julian. "But be the
questioner good or evil, I reply that I am a guiltless prisoner; and
that innocence may wish and dare to sleep soundly."

"Ask no questions of me," said the voice; "neither attempt to discover
who speaks to you; and be assured that folly alone can sleep, with
fraud around and danger before him."

"Can you, who tell me of dangers, counsel me how to combat or how to
avoid them?" said Julian.

"My power is limited," said the voice; "yet something I can do, as the
glow-worm can show a precipice. But you must confide in me."

"Confidence must beget confidence," answered Julian. "I cannot repose
trust in I know not what or whom."

"Speak not so loud," replied the voice, sinking almost into a whisper.

"Last night you said my companion would not awake," said Julian.

"To-night I warrant not that he shall sleep," said the voice. And as
it spoke, the hoarse, snatching, discordant tones of the dwarf were
heard, demanding of Julian why he talked in his sleep--wherefore he
did not rest himself, and let other people rest--and, finally, whether
his visions of last night were returned upon him again?

"Say yes," said the voice in a whisper, so low, yet so distinct, that
Julian almost doubted whether it was not an echo of his own thought.--
"Say but yes--and I part to return no more!"

In desperate circumstances men look to strange and unusual remedies;
and although unable to calculate the chances of advantage which this
singular communication opened to him, Julian did not feel inclined to
let them at once escape from him. He answered the dwarf, that he had
been troubled by an alarming dream.

"I could have sworn it, from the sound of your voice," said Hudson.
"It is strange, now, that you overgrown men never possess the extreme
firmness of nerves proper to us who are cast in a more compact mould.
My own voice retains its masculine sounds on all occasions. Dr.
Cockerel was of opinion, that there was the same allowance of nerve
and sinew to men of every size, and that nature spun the stock out
thinner or stronger, according to the extent of surface which they
were to cover. Hence, the least creatures are oftentimes the
strongest. Place a beetle under a tall candlestick, and the insect
will move it by its efforts to get out; which is, in point of
comparative strength, as if one of us should shake his Majesty's
prison of Newgate by similar struggles. Cats also, and weasels, are
creatures of greater exertion or endurance than dogs or sheep. And in
general, you may remark, that little men dance better, and are more
unwearied under exertion of every kind, than those to whom their own
weight must necessarily be burdensome. I respect you, Master Peveril,
because I am told you have killed one of those gigantic fellows, who
go about swaggering as if their souls were taller than ours, because
their noses are nearer to the clouds by a cubit or two. But do not
value yourself on this as anything very unusual. I would have you to
know it hath been always thus; and that, in the history of all ages,
the clean, tight, dapper little fellow, hath proved an overmatch for
his bulky antagonist. I need only instance out of Holy Writ, the
celebrated downfall of Goliah, and of another lubbard, who had more
fingers to his hand, and more inches to his stature, than ought to
belong to an honest man, and who was slain by a nephew of good King
David; and of many others whom I do not remember; nevertheless they
were all Philistines of gigantic stature. In the classics, also, you
have Tydeus, and other tight, compact heroes, whose diminutive bodies
were the abode of large minds. And indeed you may observe, in sacred
as well as profane history, that your giants are ever heretics and
blasphemers, robbers and oppressors, outragers of the female sex, and
scoffers at regular authority. Such were Gog and Magog, whom our
authentic chronicles vouch to have been slain near to Plymouth, by the
good little Knight Corineus, who gave name to Cornwall. Ascaparte also
was subdued by Bevis, and Colbrand by Guy, as Southampton and Warwick
can testify. Like unto these was the giant Hoel, slain in Bretagne by
King Arthur. And if Ryence, King of North Wales, who was done to death
by the same worthy champion of Christendom, be not actually termed a
giant, it is plain he was little better, since he required twenty-four
kings' beards, which were then worn full and long, to fur his gown;
whereby computing each beard at eighteen inches (and you cannot allow
less for a beard-royal), and supposing only the front of the gown
trimmed therewith, as we use ermine; and that the back was mounted and
lined, instead of cat-skins and squirrels' fur, with the beards of
earls and dukes, and other inferior dignitaries--may amount to--But I
will work the question to-morrow."

Nothing is more soporific to any (save a philosopher or moneyed man)
than the operation of figures; and when in bed, the effect is
irresistible. Sir Geoffrey fell asleep in the act of calculating King
Ryence's height, from the supposed length of his mantle. Indeed, had
he not stumbled on this abstruse subject of calculation, there is no
guessing how long he might have held forth upon the superiority of men
of little stature, which was so great a favourite with him, that,
numerous as such narratives are, the dwarf had collected almost all
the instances of their victories over giants, which history or romance
afforded.

No sooner had unequivocal signs of the dwarf's sound slumbers reached
Julian's ears, than he began to listen eagerly for the renewal of that
mysterious communication which was at once interesting and awful.
Even whilst Hudson was speaking, he had, instead of bestowing his
attention upon his eulogy on persons of low statue, kept his ears on
watchful guard to mark if possible, the lightest sounds of any sort
which might occur in the apartment; so that he thought it scarce
possible that even a fly should have left it withouts its motion being
overheard. If, therefore, his invisible monitor was indeed a creature
of this world--an opinion which Julian's sound sense rendered him
unwilling to renounce--that being could not have left the apartment;
and he waited impatiently for a renewal of their communication. He was
disappointed; not the slightest sound reached his ear; and the
nocturnal visitor, if still in the room, appeared determined on
silence.

It was in vain that Peveril coughed, hemmed, and gave other symptoms
of being awake; at length, such became his impatience, that he
resolved, at any risk, to speak first, in hopes of renewing the
communication betwixt them. "Whoever thou art," he said, in a voice
loud enough to be heard by a waking person, but not so high as to
disturb his sleeping companion--"Whoever, or whatever thou art, thou
hast shown some interest in the fate of such a castaway as Julian
Peveril, speak once more, I conjure thee; and be your communication
for good or evil, believe me, I am equally prepared to abide the
issue."

No answer of any kind was returned to this invocation; nor did the
least sound intimate the presence of the being to whom it was so
solemnly addressed.

"I speak in vain," said Julian; "and perhaps I am but invoking that
which is insensible of human feeling, or which takes a malign pleasure
in human suffering."

There was a gentle and half-broken sigh from a corner of the
apartment, which, answering to this exclamation, seemed to contradict
the imputation which it conveyed.

Julian, naturally courageous, and familiarised by this time to his
situation, raised himself in bed, and stretched out his arm, to repeat
his adjuration, when the voice, as if alarmed at his action and
energy, whispered, in a tone more hurried than that which it had
hitherto used, "Be still--move not--or I am mute for ever!"

"It is then a mortal being who is present with me," was the natural
inference of Julian, "and one who is probably afraid of being
detected; I have then some power over my visitor, though I must be
cautious how I use it.--If your intents are friendly," he proceeded,
"there was never a time in which I lacked friends more, or would be
more grateful for kindness. The fate of all who are dear to me is
weighed in the balance, and with worlds would I buy the tidings of
their safety."

"I have said my power is limited," replied the voice. "/You/ I may be
able to preserve--the fate of your friends is beyond my control."

"Let me at least know it," said Julian; "and, be it as it may, I will
not shun to share it."

"For whom would you inquire?" said the soft, sweet voice, not without
a tremulousness of accent, as if the question was put with diffident
reluctance.

"My parents," said Julian, after a moment's hesitation; "how fare
they?--What will be their fate?"

"They fare as the fort under which the enemy has dug a deadly mine.
The work may have cost the labour of years, such were the impediments
to the engineers; but Time brings opportunity upon its wings."

"And what will be the event?" said Peveril.

"Can I read the future," answered the voice, "save by comparison with
past?--Who has been hunted on these stern and unmitigable accusations,
but has been at last brought to bay? Did high and noble birth,
honoured age, and approved benevolence, save the unfortunate Lord
Stafford? Did learning, capacity of intrigue, or high Court favour,
redeem Coleman, although the confidential servant of the heir
presumptive of the Crown of England?--Did subtilty and genius, and
exertions of a numerous sect, save Fenwicke, or Whitbread, or any
other of the accused priests?--Were Groves, Pickering, or the other
humble wretches who have suffered, safe in their obscurity? There is
no condition in life, no degree of talent, no form of principle, which
affords protection against an accusation, which levels conditions,
confounds characters, renders men's virtues their sins, and rates them
as dangerous in proportion as they have influence, though attained in
the noblest manner, and used for the best purposes. Call such a one
but an accessory to the Plot--let him be mouthed in the evidence of
Oates or Dugdale--and the blindest shall foresee the issue of their
trial."

"Prophet of Evil!" said Julian, "my father has a shield invulnerable
to protect him. He is innocent."

"Let him plead his innocence at the bar of Heaven," said the voice;
"it will serve him little where Scroggs presides."

"Still I fear not," said Julian, counterfeiting more confidence than
he really possessed; "my father's cause will be pleaded before twelve
Englishmen."

"Better before twelve wild beasts," answered the Invisible, "than
before Englishmen, influenced with party prejudice, passion, and
epidemic terror of an imaginary danger. They are bold in guilt in
proportion to the number amongst whom the crime is divided."

"Ill-omened speaker," said Julian, "thine is indeed a voice fitted
only to sound with the midnight bell, and the screeching owl. Yet
speak again. Tell me, if thou canst"--(He would have said of Alice
Bridgenorth, but the word would not leave his tongue)--"Tell me," he
said, "if the noble house of Derby----"

"Let them keep their rock like the sea-fowl in the tempest; and it may
so fall out," answered the voice, "that their rock may be a safe
refuge. But there is blood on their ermine; and revenge has dogged
them for many a year, like a bloodhound that hath been distanced in
the morning chase, but may yet grapple the quarry ere the sun shall
set. At present, however, they are safe.--Am I now to speak farther on
your own affairs, which involve little short of your life and honour?"

"There is," said Julian, "one, from whom I was violently parted
yesterday; if I knew but of her safety, I were little anxious for my
own."

"One!" returned the voice, "only /one/ from whom you were parted
yesterday?"

"But in parting from whom," said Julian, "I felt separated from all
happiness which the world can give me."

"You mean Alice Bridgenorth," said the Invisible, with some bitterness
of accent; "but her you will never see more. Your own life and hers
depend on your forgetting each other."

"I cannot purchase my own life at that price," replied Julian.

"Then DIE in your obstinacy," returned the Invisible; nor to all the
entreaties which he used was he able obtain another word in the course
of that remarkable night.



                            CHAPTER XXXVI

               A short hough'd man, but full of pride.
                                           --ALLAN RAMSAY.

The blood of Julian Peveril was so much fevered by the state in which
his invisible visitor left him, that he was unable, for a length of
time, to find repose. He swore to himself, that he would discover and
expose the nocturnal demon which stole on his hours of rest, only to
add gall to bitterness, and to pour poison into those wounds which
already smarted so severely. There was nothing which his power
extended to, that, in his rage, he did not threaten. He proposed a
closer and a more rigorous survey of his cell, so that he might
discover the mode by which his tormentor entered, were it as
unnoticeable as an auger-hole. If his diligence should prove
unavailing, he determined to inform the jailers, to whom it could not
be indifferent to know, that their prison was open to such
intrusions. He proposed to himself, to discover from their looks
whether they were already privy to these visits; and if so, to
denounce them to the magistrates, to the judges, to the House of
Commons, was the least that his resentment proposed. Sleep surprised
his worn-out frame in the midst of his projects of discovery and
vengeance, and, as frequently happens, the light of the ensuing day
proved favourable to calmer resolutions.

He now reflected that he had no ground to consider the motives of his
visitor as positively malevolent, although he had afforded him little
encouragement to hope for assistance on the points he had most at
heart. Towards himself, there had been expressed a decided feeling,
both of sympathy and interest; if through means of these he could
acquire his liberty, he might, when possessed of freedom, turn it to
the benefit of those for whom he was more interested than for his own
welfare. "I have behaved like a fool," he said; "I ought to have
temporised with this singular being, learned the motives of its
interference, and availed myself of its succour, provided I could do
so without any dishonourable conditions. It would have been always
time enough to reject such when they should have been proposed to me."

So saying, he was forming projects for regulating his intercourse with
the stranger more prudently, in case their communication should be
renewed, when his meditations were interrupted by the peremptory
summons of Sir Geoffrey Hudson, that he would, in his turn, be pleased
to perform those domestic duties of their common habitation, which the
dwarf had yesterday taken upon himself.

There was no resisting a request so reasonable, and Peveril
accordingly rose and betook himself to the arrangement of their
prison, while Sir Hudson, perched upon a stool from which his legs did
not by half-way reach the ground, sat in a posture of elegant languor,
twangling upon an old broken-winded guitar, and singing songs in
Spanish, Moorish, and Lingua Franca, most detestably out of tune. He
failed not, at the conclusion of each ditty, to favour Julian with
some account of what he had sung, either in the way of translation, or
historical anecdote, or as the lay was connected with some peculiar
part of his own eventful history, in the course of which the poor
little man had chanced to have been taken by a Sallee rover, and
carried captive into Morocco.

This part of his life Hudson used to make the era of many strange
adventures; and, if he could himself be believed, he had made wild
work among the affections of the Emperor's seraglio. But, although few
were in a situation to cross-examine him on gallantries and intrigues
of which the scene was so remote, the officers of the garrison of
Tangier had a report current amongst them, that the only use to which
the tyrannical Moors could convert a slave of such slender corporeal
strength, was to employ him to lie a-bed all day and hatch turkey's
eggs. The least allusion to this rumour used to drive him well-nigh
frantic, and the fatal termination of his duel with young Crofts,
which began in wanton mirth, and ended in bloodshed, made men more coy
than they had formerly been, of making the fiery little hero the
subject of their raillery.

While Peveril did the drudgery of the apartment, the dwarf remained
much at his ease, carolling in the manner we have described; but when
he beheld Julian attempting the task of the cook, Sir Geoffrey Hudson
sprang from the stool on which he sat /en Signor/, at the risk of
breaking both his guitar and his neck, exclaiming, "That he would
rather prepare breakfast every morning betwixt this and the day of
judgment, than commit a task of such consequence to an inexperienced
bungler like his companion."

The young man gladly resigned his task to the splenetic little Knight,
and only smiled at his resentment when he added, that, to be but a
mortal of middle stature, Julian was as stupid as a giant. Leaving the
dwarf to prepare the meal after his own pleasure, Peveril employed
himself in measuring the room with his eyes on every side, and in
endeavouring to discover some private entrance, such as might admit
his midnight visitant, and perhaps could be employed in case of need
for effecting his own escape. The floor next engaged a scrutiny
equally minute, but more successful.

Close by his own pallet, and dropped in such a manner that he must
have seen it sooner but for the hurry with which he obeyed the summons
of the impatient dwarf, lay a slip of paper, sealed, and directed with
the initial letters, J.P., which seemed to ascertain that it was
addressed to himself. He took the opportunity of opening it while the
soup was in the very moment of projection, and the full attention of
his companion was occupied by what he, in common with wiser and taller
men, considered as one of the principal occupations of life; so that,
without incurring his observation or awaking his curiosity, Julian had
the opportunity to read as follows:--


 "Rash and infatuated as you are, there is one who would forfeit
  much to stand betwixt you and your fate. You are to-morrow to be
  removed to the Tower, where your life cannot be assured for a
  single day; for, during the few hours you have been in London, you
  have provoked a resentment which is not easily slaked. There is
  but one chance for you,--renounce A.B.--think no more of her. If
  that be impossible, think of her but as one whom you can never see
  again. If your heart can resolve to give up an attachment which it
  should never have entertained, and which it would be madness to
  cherish longer, make your acquiescence in this condition known by
  putting on your hat a white band, or white feather, or knot of
  ribbon of the same colour, whichever you may most easily come by.
  A boat will, in that case, run, as if by accident, on board of
  that which is to convey you to the Tower. Do you in the confusion
  jump overboard, and swim to the Southwark side of the Thames.
  Friends will attend there to secure your escape, and you will find
  yourself with one who will rather lose character and life, than
  that a hair of your head should fall to the ground; but who, if
  you reject the warning, can only think of you as of the fool who
  perishes in his folly. May Heaven guide you to a sound judgment of
  your condition! So prays one who would be your friend, if you
  pleased,
                                                   "UNKNOWN."


The Tower!--it was a word of terror, even more so than a civil prison;
for how many passages to death did that dark structure present! The
severe executions which it had witnessed in preceding reigns, were not
perhaps more numerous than the secret murders which had taken place
within its walls; yet Peveril did not a moment hesitate on the part
which he had to perform. "I will share my father's fate," he said; "I
thought but of him when they brought me hither; I will think of
nothing else when they convey me to yonder still more dreadful place
of confinement; it is his, and it is but meet that it should be his
son's.--And thou, Alice Bridgenorth, the day that I renounce thee, may
I be held alike a traitor and a dastard!--Go, false adviser, and share
the fate of seducers and heretical teachers!"

He could not help uttering this last expression aloud, as he threw the
billet into the fire, with a vehemence which made the dwarf start with
surprise. "What say you of burning heretics, young man?" he exclaimed;
"by my faith, your zeal must be warmer than mine, if you talk on such
a subject when the heretics are the prevailing number. May I measure
six feet without my shoes, but the heretics would have the best of it
if we came to that work. Beware of such words."

"Too late to beware of words spoken and heard," said the turnkey, who,
opening the door with unusual precautions to avoid noise, had stolen
unperceived into the room; "However, Master Peveril has behaved like a
gentlemen, and I am no tale-bearer, on condition he will consider I
have had trouble in his matters."

Julian had no alternative but to take the fellow's hint and administer
a bribe, with which Master Clink was so well satisfied, that he
exclaimed, "It went to his heart to take leave of such a kind-natured
gentleman, and that he could have turned the key on him for twenty
years with pleasure. But the best friends must part."

"I am to be removed, then?" said Julian.

"Ay, truly, master, the warrant is come from the Council."

"To convey me to the Tower."

"Whew!" exclaimed the officer of the law--"who the devil told you
that? But since you do know it, there is no harm to say ay. So make
yourself ready to move immediately; and first, hold out your dew-
beaters till I take off the darbies."

"Is that usual?" said Peveril, stretching out his feet as the fellow
directed, while his fetters were unlocked.

"Why, ay, master, these fetters belong to the keeper; they are not a-
going to send them to the Lieutenant, I trow. No, no, the warders must
bring their own gear with them; they get none here, I promise them.
Nevertheless, if your honour hath a fancy to go in fetters, as
thinking it may move compassion of your case----"

"I have no intention to make my case seem worse than it is," said
Julian; whilst at the same time it crossed his mind that his anonymous
correspondent must be well acquainted both with his own personal
habits, since the letter proposed a plan of escape which could only be
executed by a bold swimmer, and with the fashions of prison, since it
was foreseen that he would not be ironed on his passage to the Tower.
The turnkey's next speech made him carry conjecture still farther.

"There is nothing in life I would not do for so brave a guest," said
Clink; "I would nab one of my wife's ribbons for you, if your honour
had the fancy to mount the white flag in your beaver."

"To what good purpose?" said Julian, shortly connecting, as was
natural, the man's proposed civility with the advice given and the
signal prescribed in the letter.

"Nay, to no good purpose I know of," said the turnkey; "only it is the
fashion to seem white and harmless--a sort of token of not-guiltiness,
as I may say, which folks desire to show the world, whether they be
truly guilty or not; but I cannot say that guiltiness or not-
guiltiness argufies much, saving they be words in the verdict."

"Strange," thought Peveril, although the man seemed to speak quite
naturally, and without any double meaning, "strange that all should
apparently combine to realise the plan of escape, could I but give my
consent to it! And had I not better consent? Whoever does so much for
me must wish me well, and a well-wisher would never enforce the unjust
conditions on which I am required to consent to my liberation."

But this misgiving of his resolution was but for a moment. He speedily
recollected, that whoever aided him in escaping, must be necessarily
exposed to great risk, and had a right to name the stipulation on
which he was willing to incur it. He also recollected that falsehood
is equally base, whether expressed in words or in dumb show; and that
he should lie as flatly by using the signal agreed upon in evidence of
his renouncing Alice Bridgenorth, as he would in direct terms if he
made such renunciation without the purpose of abiding by it.

"If you would oblige me," he said to the turnkey, "let me have a piece
of black silk or crape for the purpose you mention."

"Of crape!" said the fellow; "what should that signify? Why, the bien
morts, who bing out to tour at you,[*] will think you a chimney-
sweeper on Mayday."

[*] The smart girls, who turn out to look at you.

"It will show my settled sorrow," said Julian, "as well as my
determined resolution."

"As you will, sir," answered the fellow; "I'll provide you with a
black rag of some kind or other. So, now; let us be moving."

Julian intimated his readiness to attend him, and proceeded to bid
farewell to his late companion, the stout Geoffrey Hudson. The parting
was not without emotion on both sides, more particularly on that of
the poor little man, who had taken a particular liking to the
companion of whom he was now about to be deprived. "Fare ye well," he
said, "my young friend," taking Julian's hand in both his own uplifted
palms, in which action he somewhat resembled the attitude of a sailor
pulling a rope overhead,--"Many in my situation would think himself
wronged, as a soldier and servant of the king's chamber, in seeing you
removed to a more honourable prison than that which I am limited
unto. But, I thank God, I grudge you not the Tower, nor the rocks of
Scilly, nor even Carisbrooke Castle, though the latter was graced with
the captivity of my blessed and martyred master. Go where you will, I
wish you all the distinction of an honourable prison-house, and a safe
and speedy deliverance in God's own time. For myself, my race is near
a close, and that because I fall martyr to the over-tenderness of my
own heart. There is a circumstance, good Master Julian Peveril, which
should have been yours, had Providence permitted our farther intimacy,
but it fits not the present hour. Go, then, my friend, and bear
witness in life and death, that Geoffrey Hudson scorns the insults and
persecutions of fortune, as he would despise, and has often despised,
the mischievous pranks of an overgrown schoolboy."

So saying, he turned away, and hid his face with his little
handkerchief, while Julian felt towards him that tragi-comic sensation
which makes us pity the object which excites it, not the less that we
are somewhat inclined to laugh amid our sympathy. The jailer made him
a signal, which Peveril obeyed, leaving the dwarf to disconsolate
solitude.

As Julian followed the keeper through the various windings of his
penal labyrinth, the man observed, that "he was a rum fellow, that
little Sir Geoffrey, and, for gallantry, a perfect Cock of Bantam, for
as old as he was. There was a certain gay wench," he said, "that had
hooked him; but what she could make of him, save she carried him to
Smithfield, and took money for him, as for a motion of puppets, it
was," he said, "hard to gather."

Encouraged by this opening, Julian asked if his attendant knew why his
prison was changed. "To teach you to become a King's post without
commission," answered the fellow.

He stopped in his tattle as they approached that formidable central
point, in which lay couched on his leathern elbow-chair the fat
commander of the fortress, stationed apparently for ever in the midst
of his citadel, as the huge Boa is sometimes said to lie stretched as
a guard upon the subterranean treasures of Eastern Rajas. This
overgrown man of authority eyed Julian wistfully and sullenly, as the
miser the guinea which he must part with, or the hungry mastiff the
food which is carried to another kennel. He growled to himself as he
turned the leaves of his ominous register, in order to make the
necessary entry respecting the removal of his prisoner. "To the Tower
--to the Tower--ay, ay, all must to the Tower--that's the fashion of
it--free Britons to a military prison, as if we had neither bolts nor
chains here!--I hope Parliament will have it up, this Towering work,
that's all.--Well, the youngster will take no good by the change, and
that is one comfort."

Having finished at once his official act of registration, and his
soliloquy, he made a signal to his assistants to remove Julian, who
was led along the same stern passages which he had traversed upon his
entrance, to the gate of the prison, whence a coach, escorted by two
officers of justice, conveyed him to the water-side.

A boat here waited him, with four warders of the Tower, to whose
custody he was formally resigned by his late attendants. Clink,
however, the turnkey, with whom he was more especially acquainted, did
not take leave of him without furnishing him with the piece of black
crape which he requested. Peveril fixed it on his hat amid the
whispers of his new guardians. "The gentleman is in a hurry to go into
mourning," said one; "mayhap he had better wait till he has cause."

"Perhaps others may wear mourning for him, ere he can mourn for any
one," answered another of these functionaries.

Yet notwithstanding the tenor of these whispers, their behaviour to
their prisoner was more respectful than he had experienced from his
former keepers, and might be termed a sullen civility. The ordinary
officers of the law were in general rude, as having to do with felons
of every description; whereas these men were only employed with
persons accused of state crimes--men who were from birth and
circumstances usually entitled to expect, and able to reward, decent
usage.

The change of keepers passed unnoticed by Julian, as did the gay and
busy scene presented by the broad and beautiful river on which he was
now launched. A hundred boats shot past them, bearing parties intent
on business, or on pleasure. Julian only viewed them with the stern
hope, that whoever had endeavoured to bribe him from his fidelity by
the hope of freedom, might see, from the colour of the badge which he
had assumed, how determined he was to resist the temptation presented
to him.

It was about high-water, and a stout wherry came up the river, with
sail and oar, so directly upon that in which Julian was embarked, that
it seemed as if likely to run her aboard. "Get your carabines ready,"
cried the principal warder to his assistants. "What the devil can
these scoundrels mean?"

But the crew in the other boat seemed to have perceived their error,
for they suddenly altered their course, and struck off into the middle
stream, while a torrent of mutual abuse was exchanged betwixt them and
the boat whose course they had threatened to impede.

"The Unknown has kept his faith," said Julian to himself; "I too have
kept mine."

It even seemed to him, as the boats neared each other, that he heard,
from the other wherry, something like a stifled scream or groan; and
when the momentary bustle was over, he asked the warder who sat next
him, what boat that was.

"Men-of-war's-men, on a frolic, I suppose," answered the warder. "I
know no one else would be so impudent as run foul of the King's boat;
for I am sure the fellow put the helm up on purpose. But mayhap you,
sir, know more of the matter than I do."

This insinuation effectually prevented Julian from putting farther
questions, and he remained silent until the boat came under the dusky
bastions of the Tower. The tide carried them up under a dark and
lowering arch, closed at the upper end by the well-known Traitor's
gate,[*] formed like a wicket of huge intersecting bars of wood,
through which might be seen a dim and imperfect view of soldiers and
warders upon duty, and of the steep ascending causeway which leads up
from the river into the interior of the fortress. By this gate,--and
it is the well-known circumstance which assigned its name,--those
accused of state crimes were usually committed to the Tower. The
Thames afforded a secret and silent mode of conveyance for
transporting thither such whose fallen fortunes might move the
commiseration, or whose popular qualities might excite the sympathy,
of the public; and even where no cause for especial secrecy existed,
the peace of the city was undisturbed by the tumult attending the
passage of the prisoner and his guards through the most frequented
streets.

[*] See note, "Fortunes of Nigel."

Yet this custom, however recommended by state policy, must have often
struck chill upon the heart of the criminal, who thus, stolen, as it
were, out of society, reached the place of his confinement, without
encountering even one glance of compassion on the road; and as, from
under the dusky arch, he landed on those flinty steps, worn by many a
footstep anxious as his own, against which the tide lapped fitfully
with small successive waves, and hence looked forward to the steep
ascent into a Gothic state prison, and backward to such part of the
river as the low-brow'd vault suffered to become visible, he must
often have felt that he was leaving daylight, hope, and life itself,
behind him.

While the warder's challenge was made and answered, Peveril
endeavoured to obtain information from his conductors where he was
likely to be confined; but the answer was brief and general--"Where
the Lieutenant should direct."

"Could he not be permitted to share the imprisonment of his father,
Sir Geoffrey Peveril?" He forgot not, on this occasion, to add the
surname of his house.

The warder, an old man of respectable appearance, stared, as if at the
extravagance of the demand, and said bluntly, "It is impossible."

"At least," said Peveril, "show me where my father is confined, that I
may look upon the walls which separate us."

"Young gentleman," said the senior warder, shaking his grey head, "I
am sorry for you; but asking questions will do you no service. In this
place we know nothing of fathers and sons."

Yet chance seemed, in a few minutes afterwards, to offer Peveril that
satisfaction which the rigour of his keepers was disposed to deny to
him. As he was conveyed up the steep passage which leads under what is
called the Wakefield Tower, a female voice, in a tone wherein grief
and joy were indescribably mixed, exclaimed, "My son!--My dear son!"

Even those who guarded Julian seemed softened by a tone of such acute
feeling. They slackened their pace. They almost paused to permit him
to look up towards the casement from which the sounds of maternal
agony proceeded; but the aperture was so narrow, and so closely
grated, that nothing was visible save a white female hand, which
grasped one of those rusty barricadoes, as if for supporting the
person within, while another streamed a white handkerchief, and then
let it fall. The casement was instantly deserted.

"Give it me," said Julian to the officer who lifted the handkerchief;
"it is perhaps a mother's last gift."

The old warder lifted the napkin, and looked at it with the jealous
minuteness of one who is accustomed to detect secret correspondence in
the most trifling acts of intercourse.

"There may be writing on it with invisible ink," said one of his
comrades.

"It is wetted, but I think it is only with tears," answered the
senior. "I cannot keep it from the poor young gentleman."

"Ah, Master Coleby," said his comrade, in a gentle tone of reproach,
"you would have been wearing a better coat than a yeoman's to-day, had
it not been for your tender heart."

"It signifies little," said old Coleby, "while my heart is true to my
King, what I feel in discharging my duty, or what coat keeps my old
bosom from the cold weather."

Peveril, meanwhile, folded in his breast the token of his mother's
affection which chance had favoured him with; and when placed in the
small and solitary chamber which he was told to consider as his own
during his residence in the Tower, he was soothed even to weeping by
this trifling circumstance, which he could not help considering as an
omen, that his unfortunate house was not entirely deserted by
Providence.

But the thoughts and occurrences of a prison are too uniform for a
narrative, and we must now convey our readers into a more bustling
scene.



                            CHAPTER XXXVII

           Henceforth 'tis done--Fortune and I are friends;
           And I must live, for Buckingham commends.
                                                       --POPE.

The spacious mansion of the Duke of Buckingham, with the demesne
belonging to it, originally bore the name of York House and occupied a
large portion of the ground adjacent to the Savoy.

This had been laid out by the munificence of his father, the favourite
of Charles the First, in a most splendid manner, so as almost to rival
Whitehall itself. But during the increasing rage for building new
streets, and the creating of almost an additional town, in order to
connect London and Westminster, this ground had become of very great
value; and the second Duke of Buckingham, who was at once fond of
scheming, and needy of money, had agreed to a plan laid before him by
some adventurous architect, for converting the extensive grounds
around his palace into those streets, lanes, and courts, which still
perpetuate his name and titles; though those who live in Buckingham
Street, Duke Street, Villiers Street, or in Of-alley (for even that
connecting particle is locally commemorated), probably think seldom of
the memory of the witty, eccentric, and licentious George Villiers,
Duke of Buckingham, whose titles are preserved in the names of their
residence and its neighbourhood.

This building-plan the Duke had entered upon with all the eagerness
which he usually attached to novelty. His gardens were destroyed--his
pavilions levelled--his splendid stables demolished--the whole pomp of
his suburban demesne laid waste, cumbered with ruins, and intersected
with the foundations of new buildings and cellars, and the process of
levelling different lines for the intended streets. But the
undertaking, although it proved afterwards both lucrative and
successful, met with a check at the outset, partly from want of the
necessary funds, partly from the impatient and mercurial temper of the
Duke, which soon carried him off in pursuit of some more new object.
So that, though much was demolished, very little, in comparison, was
reared up in the stead, and nothing was completed. The principal part
of the ducal mansion still remained uninjured; but the demesne in
which it stood bore a strange analogy to the irregular mind of its
noble owner. Here stood a beautiful group of exotic trees and shrubs,
the remnant of the garden, amid yawning common-sewers, and heaps of
rubbish. In one place an old tower threatened to fall upon the
spectator; and in another he ran the risk of being swallowed up by a
modern vault. Grandeur of conception could be discovered in the
undertaking, but was almost everywhere marred by poverty or negligence
of execution. In short, the whole place was the true emblem of an
understanding and talents run to waste, and become more dangerous than
advantageous to society, by the want of steady principle, and the
improvidence of the possessor.

There were men who took a different view of the Duke's purpose in
permitting his mansion to be thus surrounded, and his demesne occupied
by modern buildings which were incomplete, and ancient which were but
half demolished. They alleged, that, engaged as he was in so many
mysteries of love and of politics, and having the character of the
most daring and dangerous intriguer of his time, his Grace found it
convenient to surround himself with this ruinous arena, into which
officers of justice could not penetrate without some difficulty and
hazard; and which might afford, upon occasion, a safe and secret
shelter for such tools as were fit for desperate enterprises, and a
private and unobserved mode of access to those whom he might have any
special reason for receiving in secret.

Leaving Peveril in the Tower, we must once more convey our readers to
the Levee of the Duke, who, on the morning of Julian's transference to
that fortress, thus addressed his minister-in-chief, and principal
attendant: "I have been so pleased with your conduct in this matter,
Jerningham, that if Old Nick were to arise in our presence, and offer
me his best imp as a familiar in thy room, I would hold it but a poor
compliment."

"A legion of imps," said Jerningham, bowing, "could not have been more
busy than I in your Grace's service; but if your Grace will permit me
to say so, your whole plan was well-nigh marred by your not returning
home till last night, or rather this morning."

"And why, I pray you, sage Master Jerningham," said his Grace, "should
I have returned home an instant sooner than my pleasure and
convenience served?"

"Nay, my Lord Duke," replied the attendant, "I know not; only, when
you sent us word by Empson, in Chiffinch's apartment, to command us to
make sure of the girl at any rate, and at all risks, you said you
would be here so soon as you could get freed of the King."

"Freed of the King, you rascal! What sort of phrase is that?" demanded
the Duke.

"It was Empson who used it, my lord, as coming from your Grace."

"There is much very fit for my Grace to say, that misbecomes such
mouths as Empson's or yours to repeat," answered the Duke haughtily,
but instantly resumed his tone of familiarity, for his humour was as
capricious as his pursuits. "But I know what thou wouldst have; first,
your wisdom would know what became of me since thou hadst my commands
at Chiffinch's; and next, your valour would fain sound another
flourish of trumpets on thine own most artificial retreat, leaving thy
comrade in the hands of the Philistines."

"May it please your Grace," said Jerningham, "I did but retreat for
the preservation of the baggage."

"What! do you play at crambo with me?" said the Duke. "I would have
you to know that the common parish fool should be whipt, were he to
attempt to pass pun or quodlibet as a genuine jest, even amongst
ticket-porters and hackney chairmen."

"And yet I have heard your Grace indulge in the /jeu de mots/,"
answered the attendant.

"Sirrah Jerningham," answered the patron, "discard they memory, or
keep it under correction, else it will hamper thy rise in the world.
Thou mayst perchance have seen me also have a fancy to play at trap-
ball, or to kiss a serving wench, or to guzzle ale and eat toasted
cheese in a porterly whimsy; but is it fitting thou shouldst remember
such follies? No more on't.--Hark you; how came the long lubberly
fool, Jenkins, being a master of the noble science of defence, to
suffer himself to be run through the body so simply by a rustic swain
like this same Peveril?"

"Please your Grace, this same Corydon is no such novice. I saw the
onset; and, except in one hand, I never saw a sword managed with such
life, grace, and facility."

"Ay, indeed?" said the Duke, taking his own sheathed rapier in his
hand, "I could not have thought that. I am somewhat rusted, and have
need of breathing. Peveril is a name of note. As well go to the Barns-
elms, or behind Montagu House, with him as with another. His father a
rumoured plotter, too. The public would have noted it in me as
becoming a zealous Protestant. Needful I do something to maintain my
good name in the city, to atone for non-attendance on prayer and
preaching. But your Laertes is fast in the Fleet; and I suppose his
blundering blockhead of an antagonist is dead or dying."

"Recovering, my lord, on the contrary," replied Jerningham; "the blade
fortunately avoided his vitals."

"D--n his vitals!" answered the Duke. "Tell him to postpone his
recovery, or I will put him to death in earnest."

"I will caution his surgeon," said Jerningham, "which will answer
equally well."

"Do so; and tell him he had better be on his own deathbed as cure his
patient till I send him notice.--That young fellow must be let loose
again at no rate."

"There is little danger," said the attendant. "I hear some of the
witnesses have got their net flung over him on account of some matters
down in the north; and that he is to be translated to the Tower for
that, and for some letters of the Countess of Derby, as rumour goes."

"To the Tower let him go, and get out as he can," replied the Duke;
"and when you hear he is fast there, let the fencing fellow recover as
fast as the surgeon and he can mutually settle it."

The Duke, having said this, took two or three turns in the apartment,
and appeared to be in deep thought. His attendant waited the issue of
his meditations with patience, being well aware that such moods,
during which his mind was strongly directed in one point, were never
of so long duration with his patron as to prove a severe burden to his
own patience.

Accordingly, after the silence of seven or eight minutes, the Duke
broke through it, taking from the toilette a large silk purse, which
seemed full of gold. "Jerningham," he said, "thou art a faithful
fellow, and it would be sin not to cherish thee. I beat the King at
Mall on his bold defiance. The honour is enough for me; and thou, my
boy, shalt have the winnings."

Jerningham pocketed the purse with due acknowledgements.

"Jerningham," his Grace continued, "I know you blame me for changing
my plans too often; and on my soul I have heard you so learned on the
subject, that I have become of your opinion, and have been vexed at
myself for two or three hours together, for not sticking as constantly
to one object, as doubtless I shall, when age (touching his forehead)
shall make this same weathercock too rusty to turn with the changing
breeze. But as yet, while I have spirit and action, let it whirl like
the vane at the mast-head, which teaches the pilot how to steer his
course; and when I shift mine, think I am bound to follow Fortune, and
not to control her."

"I can understand nothing from all this, please your Grace," replied
Jerningham, "save that you have been pleased to change some purposed
measures, and think that you have profited by doing so."

"You shall judge yourself," replied the Duke. "I have seen the Duchess
of Portsmouth.--You start. It is true, by Heaven! I have seen her, and
from sworn enemies we have become sworn friends. The treaty between
such high and mighty powers had some weighty articles; besides, I had
a French negotiator to deal with; so that you will allow a few hours'
absence was but a necessary interval to make up our matters of
diplomacy."

"Your Grace astonishes me," said Jerningham. "Christian's plan of
supplanting the great lady is then entirely abandoned? I thought you
had but desired to have the fair successor here, in order to carry it
on under your own management."

"I forgot what I meant at the time," said the Duke; "unless that I was
resolved she should not jilt me as she did the good-natured man of
royalty; and so I am still determined, since you put me in mind of the
fair Dowsabelle. But I had a contrite note from the Duchess while we
were at the Mall. I went to see her, and found her a perfect Niobe.--
On my soul, in spite of red eyes and swelled features, and dishevelled
hair, there are, after all, Jerningham, some women who do, as the
poets say, look lovely in affliction. Out came the cause; and with
such humility, such penitence, such throwing herself on my mercy (she
the proudest devil, too, in the whole Court), that I must have had
heart of steel to resist it all. In short, Chiffinch in a drunken fit
had played the babbler, and let young Saville into our intrigue.
Saville plays the rogue, and informs the Duchess by a messenger, who
luckily came a little late into the market. She learned, too, being a
very devil for intelligence, that there had been some jarring between
the master and me about this new Phillis; and that I was most likely
to catch the bird,--as any one may see who looks on us both. It must
have been Empson who fluted all this into her Grace's ear; and
thinking she saw how her ladyship and I could hunt in couples, she
entreats me to break Christian's scheme, and keep the wench out of the
King's sight, especially if she were such a rare piece of perfection
as fame has reported her."

"And your Grace has promised her your hand to uphold the influence
which you have so often threatened to ruin?" said Jerningham.

"Ay, Jerningham; my turn was as much served when she seemed to own
herself in my power, and cry me mercy.--And observe, it is all one to
me by which ladder I climb into the King's cabinet. That of Portsmouth
is ready fixed--better ascend by it than fling it down to put up
another--I hate all unnecessary trouble."

"And Christian?" said Jerningham.

"May go to the devil for a self-conceited ass. One pleasure of this
twist of intrigue is, to revenge me of that villain, who thought
himself so essential, that, by Heaven! he forced himself on my
privacy, and lectured me like a schoolboy. Hang the cold-blooded
hypocritical vermin! If he mutters, I will have his nose slit as wide
as Coventry's.[*]--Hark ye, is the Colonel come?"

"I expect him every moment, your Grace,"

[*] The ill-usage of Sir John Coventry by some of the Life Guardsmen,
    in revenge of something said in Parliament concerning the King's
    theatrical amours, gave rise to what was called Coventry's Act,
    against cutting and maiming the person.

"Send him up when he arrives," said the Duke.----"Why do you stand
looking at me? What would you have?"

"Your Grace's direction respecting the young lady," said Jerningham.

"Odd zooks," said the Duke, "I had totally forgotten her.--Is she very
tearful?--Exceedingly afflicted?"

"She does not take on so violently as I have seen some do," said
Jerningham; "but for a strong, firm, concentrated indignation, I have
seen none to match her."

"Well, we will permit her to cool. I will not face the affliction of a
second fair one immediately. I am tired of snivelling, and swelled
eyes, and blubbered cheeks for some time; and, moreover, must husband
my powers of consolation. Begone, and send the Colonel."

"Will your Grace permit me one other question?" demanded his
confidant.

"Ask what thou wilt, Jerningham, and then begone."

"Your Grace has determined to give up Christian," said the attendant.
"May I ask what becomes of the kingdom of Man?"

"Forgotten, as I have a Christian soul!" said the Duke; "as much
forgotten as if I had never nourished that scheme of royal ambition.--
D--n it, we must knit up the ravelled skein of that intrigue.--Yet it
is but a miserable rock, not worth the trouble I have been bestowing
on it; and for a kingdom--it has a sound indeed; but, in reality, I
might as well stick a cock-chicken's feather into my hat, and call it
a plume. Besides, now I think upon it, it would scarce be honourable
to sweep that petty royalty out of Derby's possession. I won a
thousand pieces of the young Earl when he was last here, and suffered
him to hang about me at Court. I question if the whole revenue of his
kingdom is worth twice as much. Easily I could win it of him, were he
here, with less trouble than it would cost me to carry on these
troublesome intrigues of Christian's."

"If I may be permitted to say so, please your Grace," answered
Jerningham, "although your Grace is perhaps somewhat liable to change
your mind, no man in England can afford better reasons for doing so."

"I think so myself, Jerningham," said the Duke; "and it may be it is
one reason for my changing. One likes to vindicate his own conduct,
and to find out fine reasons for doing what one has a mind to.--And
now, once again, begone. Or, hark ye--hark ye--I shall need some loose
gold. You may leave the purse I gave you; and I will give you an order
for as much, and two years' interest, on old Jacob Doublefee."

"As your Grace pleases," said Jerningham, his whole stock of
complaisance scarcely able to conceal his mortification at exchanging
for a distant order, of a kind which of late had not been very
regularly honoured, the sunny contents of the purse which had actually
been in his pocket. Secretly, but solemnly did he make a vow, that two
years' interest alone should not be the compensation for this
involuntary exchange in the form of his remuneration.

As the discontented dependant left the apartment, he met, at the head
of the grand staircase, Christian himself, who, exercising the freedom
of an ancient friend of the house, was making his way, unannounced, to
the Duke's dressing apartment. Jerningham, conjecturing that his visit
at this crisis would be anything but well timed, or well taken,
endeavoured to avert his purpose by asserting that the Duke was
indisposed, and in his bedchamber; and this he said so loud that his
master might hear him, and, if he pleased, realise the apology which
he offered in his name, by retreating into the bedroom as his last
sanctuary, and drawing the bolt against intrusion.

But, far from adopting a stratagem to which he had had recourse on
former occasions, in order to avoid those who came upon him, though at
an appointed hour, and upon business of importance, Buckingham called,
in a loud voice, from his dressing apartment, commanding his
chamberlain instantly to introduce his good friend Master Christian,
and censuring him for hesitating for an instant to do so.

"Now," thought Jerningham within himself, "if Christian knew the Duke
as well as I do, he would sooner stand the leap of a lion, like the
London 'prentice bold, than venture on my master at this moment, who
is even now in a humour nearly as dangerous as the animal."

He then ushered Christian into his master's presence, taking care to
post himself within earshot of the door.



                           CHAPTER XXXVIII

        "Speak not of niceness, when there's chance of wreck,"
        The captain said, as ladies writhed their neck
        To see the dying dolphin flap the deck:
        "If we go down, on us these gentry sup;
        We dine upon them, if we haul them up.
        Wise men applaud us when we eat the eaters,
        As the devil laughs when keen folks cheat the cheaters."
                                                   --THE SEA VOYAGE.

There was nothing in Duke's manner towards Christian which could have
conveyed to that latter personage, experienced as he was in the worst
possible ways of the world, that Buckingham would, at that particular
moment, rather have seen the devil than himself; unless it was that
Buckingham's reception of him, being rather extraordinarily courteous
towards so old an acquaintance, might have excited some degree of
suspicion.

Having escaped with some difficulty from the vague region of general
compliments, which bears the same relation to that of business that
Milton informs us the /Limbo Patrum/ has to the sensible and material
earth, Christian asked his Grace of Buckingham, with the same blunt
plainness with which he usually veiled a very deep and artificial
character, whether he had lately seen Chiffinch or his helpmate?

"Neither of them lately," answered Buckingham. "Have not you waited on
them yourself?--I thought you would have been more anxious about the
great scheme."

"I have called once and again," said Christian, "but I can gain no
access to the sight of that important couple. I begin to be afraid
they are paltering with me."

"Which, by the welkin and its stars, you would not be slow in
avenging, Master Christian. I know your puritanical principles on that
point well," said the Duke. "Revenge may be well said to be sweet,
when so many grave and wise men are ready to exchange for it all the
sugar-plums which pleasures offer to the poor sinful people of the
world, besides the reversion of those which they talk of expecting in
the way of /post obit/."

"You may jest, my lord," said Christian, "but still----"

"But still you will be revenged on Chiffinch, and his little
commodious companion. And yet the task may be difficult--Chiffinch has
so many ways of obliging his master--his little woman is such a
convenient pretty sort of a screen, and has such winning little ways
of her own, that, in faith, in your case, I would not meddle with
them. What is this refusing their door, man? We all do it to our best
friends now and then, as well as to duns and dull company."

"If your Grace is in a humour of rambling thus wildly in your talk,"
said Christian, "you know my old faculty of patience--I can wait till
it be your pleasure to talk more seriously."

"Seriously!" said his Grace--"Wherefore not?--I only wait to know what
your serious business may be."

"In a word, my lord, from Chiffinch's refusal to see me, and some vain
calls which I have made at your Grace's mansion, I am afraid either
that our plan has miscarried, or that there is some intention to
exclude me from the farther conduct of the matter." Christian
pronounced these words with considerable emphasis.

"That were folly as well as treachery," returned the Duke, "to exclude
from the spoil the very engineer who conducted the attack. But hark
ye, Christian--I am sorry to tell bad news without preparation; but as
you insist on knowing the worst, and are not ashamed to suspect your
best friends, out it must come--Your niece left Chiffinch's house the
morning before yesterday."

Christian staggered, as if he had received a severe blow; and the
blood ran to his face in such a current of passion, that the Duke
concluded he was struck with an apoplexy. But, exerting the
extraordinary command which he could maintain under the most trying
circumstances, he said, with a voice, the composure of which had an
unnatural contrast with the alteration of his countenance, "Am I to
conclude, that in leaving the protection of the roof in which I placed
her, the girl has found shelter under that of your Grace?"

"Sir," replied Buckingham gravely, "the supposition does my gallantry
more credit than it deserves."

"Oh, my Lord Duke," answered Christian, "I am not one whom you can
impose on by this species of courtly jargon. I know of what your Grace
is capable; and that to gratify the caprice of a moment you would not
hesitate to disappoint even the schemes at which you yourself have
laboured most busily.--Suppose this jest played off. Take your laugh
at those simple precautions by which I intended to protect your
Grace's interest, as well as that of others. Let us know the extent of
your frolic, and consider how far its consequences can be repaired."

"On my word, Christian," said the Duke, laughing, "you are the most
obliging of uncles and of guardians. Let your niece pass through as
many adventures as Boccaccio's bride of the King of Garba, you care
not. Pure or soiled, she will still make the footstool of your
fortune."

An Indian proverb says, that the dart of contempt will even pierce
through the shell of the tortoise; but this is more peculiarly the
case when conscience tells the subject of the sarcasm that it is
justly merited. Christian, stung with Buckingham's reproach, at once
assumed a haughty and threatening mien, totally inconsistent with that
in which sufferance seemed to be as much his badge as that of Shylock.
"You are a foul-mouthed and most unworthy lord," he said; "and as such
I will proclaim you, unless you make reparation for the injury you
have done me."

"And what," said the Duke of Buckingham, "shall I proclaim /you/, that
can give you the least title to notice from such as I am? What name
shall I bestow on the little transaction which has given rise to such
unexpected misunderstanding?"

Christian was silent, either from rage or from mental conviction.

"Come, come, Christian," said the Duke, smiling, "we know too much of
each other to make a quarrel safe. Hate each other we may--circumvent
each other--it is the way of Courts--but proclaim!--a fico for the
phrase."

"I used it not," said Christian, "till your Grace drove me to
extremity. You know, my lord, I have fought both at home and abroad;
and you should not rashly think that I will endure any indignity which
blood can wipe away."

"On the contrary," said the Duke, with the same civil and sneering
manner, "I can confidently assert, that the life of half a score of
your friends would seem very light to you, Christian, if their
existence interfered, I do not say with your character, as being a
thing of much less consequence, but with any advantage which their
existence might intercept. Fie upon it, man, we have known each other
long. I never thought you a coward; and am only glad to see I could
strike a few sparkles of heat out of your cold and constant
disposition. I will now, if you please, tell you at once the fate of
the young lady, in which I pray you to believe that I am truly
interested."

"I hear you, my Lord Duke," said Christian. "The curl of your upper
lip, and your eyebrow, does not escape me. Your Grace knows the French
proverb, 'He laughs best who laughs last.' But I hear you."

"Thank Heaven you do," said Buckingham; "for your case requires haste,
I promise you, and involves no laughing matter. Well then, hear a
simple truth, on which (if it became me to offer any pledge for what I
assert to be such) I could pledge life, fortune, and honour. It was
the morning before last, when meeting with the King at Chiffinch's
unexpectedly--in fact I had looked in to fool an hour away, and to
learn how your scheme advanced--I saw a singular scene. Your niece
terrified little Chiffinch--(the hen Chiffinch, I mean)--bid the King
defiance to his teeth, and walked out of the presence triumphantly,
under the guardianship of a young fellow of little mark or likelihood,
excepting a tolerable personal presence, and the advantage of a most
unconquerable impudence. Egad, I can hardly help laughing to think how
the King and I were both baffled; for I will not deny, that I had
tried to trifle for a moment with the fair Indamora. But, egad, the
young fellow swooped her off from under our noses, like my own
Drawcansir clearing off the banquet from the two Kings of Brentford.
There was a dignity in the gallant's swaggering retreat which I must
try to teach Mohun;[*] it will suit his part admirably."

[*] Then a noted actor.

"This is incomprehensible, my Lord Duke," said Christian, who by this
time had recovered all his usual coolness; "you cannot expect me to
believe this. Who dared be so bold as to carry of my niece in such a
manner, and from so august a presence? And with whom, a stranger as he
must have been, would she, wise and cautious as I know her, have
consented to depart in such a manner?--My lord, I cannot believe
this."

"One of your priests, my most devoted Christian," replied the Duke,
"would only answer, Die, infidel, in thine unbelief; but I am only a
poor worldling sinner, and I will add what mite of information I can.
The young fellow's name, as I am given to understand, is Julian, son
of Sir Geoffrey, whom men call Peveril of the Peak."

"Peveril of the Devil, who hath his cavern there!" said Christian
warmly; "for I know that gallant, and believe him capable of anything
bold and desperate. But how could he intrude himself into the royal
presence? Either Hell aids him, or Heaven looks nearer into mortal
dealings than I have yet believed. If so, may God forgive us, who
deemed he thought not on us at all!"

"Amen, most Christian Christian," replied the Duke. "I am glad to see
thou hast yet some touch of grace that leads thee to augur so. But
Empson, the hen Chiffinch, and half-a-dozen more, saw the swain's
entrance and departure. Please examine these witnesses with your own
wisdom, if you think your time may not be better employed in tracing
the fugitives. I believe he gained entrance as one of some dancing or
masking party. Rowley, you know, is accessible to all who will come
forth to make him sport. So in stole this termagant tearing gallant,
like Samson among the Philistines, to pull down our fine scheme about
our ears."

"I believe you, my lord," said Christian; "I cannot but believe you;
and I forgive you, since it is your nature, for making sport of what
is ruin and destruction. But which way did they take?"

"To Derbyshire, I should presume, to seek her father," said the Duke.
"She spoke of going into paternal protection, instead of yours, Master
Christian. Something had chanced at Chiffinch's, to give her cause to
suspect that you had not altogether provided for his daughter in the
manner which her father was likely to approve of."

"Now, Heaven be praised," said Christian, "she knows not her father is
come to London! and they must be gone down either to Martindale
Castle, or to Moultrassie Hall; in either case they are in my power--I
must follow them close. I will return instantly to Derbyshire--I am
undone if she meet her father until these errors are amended. Adieu,
my lord. I forgive the part which I fear your Grace must have had in
baulking our enterprise--it is no time for mutual reproaches."

"You speak truth, Master Christian," said the Duke, "and I wish you
all success. Can I help you with men, or horses, or money?"

"I thank your Grace," said Christian, and hastily left the apartment.

The Duke watched his descending footsteps on the staircase, until they
could be heard no longer, and then exclaimed to Jerningham, who
entered, "/Victoria! victoria! magna est veritas et prævalebit!/--Had
I told the villain a word of a lie, he is so familiar with all the
regions of falsehood--his whole life has been such an absolute
imposture, that I had stood detected in an instant; but I told him
truth, and that was the only means of deceiving him. Victoria! my dear
Jerningham, I am prouder of cheating Christian, than I should have
been of circumventing a minister of state."

"Your Grace holds his wisdom very high," said the attendant.

"His cunning, at least, I do, which, in Court affairs, often takes the
weather-gage of wisdom,--as in Yarmouth Roads a herring-buss will
baffle a frigate. He shall not return to London if I can help it,
until all these intrigues are over."

As his Grace spoke, the Colonel, after whom he had repeatedly made
inquiry, was announced by a gentleman of his household. "He met not
Christian, did he?" said the Duke hastily.

"No, my lord," returned the domestic, "the Colonel came by the old
garden staircase."

"I judged as much," replied the Duke; "'tis an owl that will not take
wing in daylight, when there is a thicket left to skulk under. Here he
comes from threading lane, vault, and ruinous alley, very near ominous
a creature as the fowl of ill augury which he resembles."

The Colonel, to whom no other appellation seemed to be given, than
that which belonged to his military station, now entered the
apartment. He was tall, strongly built, and past the middle period of
life, and his countenance, but for the heavy cloud which dwelt upon
it, might have been pronounced a handsome one. While the Duke spoke to
him, either from humility or some other cause, his large serious eye
was cast down upon the ground; but he raised it when he answered, with
a keen look of earnest observation. His dress was very plain, and more
allied to that of the Puritans than of the Cavaliers of the time; a
shadowy black hat, like the Spanish sombrero; a large black mantle or
cloak, and a long rapier, gave him something the air of a Castilione,
to which his gravity and stiffness of demeanour added considerable
strength.

"Well, Colonel," said the Duke, "we have been long strangers--how have
matters gone with you?"

"As with other men of action in quiet times," answered the colonel,
"or as a good war-caper[*] that lies high and dry in a muddy creek,
till seams and planks are rent and riven."

[*] A privateer.

"Well, Colonel," said the Duke, "I have used your valour before now,
and I may again; so that I shall speedily see that the vessel is
careened, and undergoes a thorough repair."

"I conjecture, then," said the Colonel, "that your Grace has some
voyage in hand?"

"No, but there is one which I want to interrupt," replied the Duke.

"Tis but another stave of the same tune.--Well, my lord, I listen,"
answered the stranger.

"Nay," said the Duke, "it is but a trifling matter after all.--You
know Ned Christian?"

"Ay, surely, my lord," replied the Colonel, "we have been long known
to each other."

"He is about to go down to Derbyshire to seek a certain niece of his,
whom he will scarcely find there. Now, I trust to your tried
friendship to interrupt his return to London. Go with him, or meet
him, cajole him, or assail him, or do what thou wilt with him--only
keep him from London for a fortnight at least, and then I care little
how soon he comes."

"For by that time, I suppose," replied the Colonel, "any one may find
the wench that thinks her worth the looking for."

"Thou mayst think her worth the looking for thyself, Colonel,"
rejoined the Duke; "I promise you she hath many a thousand stitched to
her petticoat; such a wife would save thee from skeldering on the
public."

"My lord, I sell my blood and my sword, but not my honour," answered
the man sullenly; "if I marry, my bed may be a poor, but it shall be
an honest one."

"Then thy wife will be the only honest matter in thy possession,
Colonel--at least since I have known you," replied the Duke.

"Why, truly, your Grace may speak your pleasure on that point. It is
chiefly your business which I have done of late; and if it were less
strictly honest than I could have wished, the employer was to blame as
well as the agent. But for marrying a cast-off mistress, the man
(saving your Grace, to whom I am bound) lives not who dares propose it
to me."

The Duke laughed loudly. "Why, this is mine Ancient Pistol's vein," he
replied.

  ----"Shall I Sir Pandarus of Troy become,
  And by my side wear steel?--then Lucifer take all!"

"My breeding is too plain to understand ends of playhouse verse, my
lord," said the Colonel suddenly. "Has your Grace no other service to
command me?"

"None--only I am told you have published a Narrative concerning the
Plot."

"What should ail me, my lord?" said the Colonel; "I hope I am a
witness as competent as any that has yet appeared?"

"Truly, I think so to the full," said the Duke; "and it would have
been hard, when so much profitable mischief was going, if so excellent
a Protestant as yourself had not come in for a share."

"I came to take your Grace's commands, not to be the object of your
wit," said the Colonel.

"Gallantly spoken, most resolute and most immaculate Colonel! As you
are to be on full pay in my service for a month to come, I pray your
acceptance of this purse, for contingents and equipments, and you
shall have my instructions from time to time."

"They shall be punctually obeyed, my lord," said the Colonel; "I know
the duty of a subaltern officer. I wish your Grace a good morning."

So saying, he pocketed the purse, without either affecting hesitation,
or expressing gratitude, but merely as a part of a transaction in the
regular way of business, and stalked from the apartment with the same
sullen gravity which marked his entrance. "Now, there goes a scoundrel
after my own heart," said the Duke; "a robber from his cradle, a
murderer since he could hold a knife, a profound hypocrite in
religion, and a worse and deeper hypocrite in honour,--would sell his
soul to the devil to accomplish any villainy, and would cut the throat
of his brother, did he dare to give the villainy he had so acted its
right name.--Now, why stand you amazed, good Master Jerningham, and
look on me as you would on some monster of Ind, when you had paid your
shilling to see it, and were staring out your pennyworth with your
eyes as round as a pair of spectacles? Wink, man, and save them, and
then let thy tongue untie the mystery."

"On my word, my Lord Duke," answered Jerningham, "since I am compelled
to speak, I can only say, that the longer I live with your Grace, I am
the more at a loss to fathom your motives of action. Others lay plans,
either to attain profit or pleasure by their execution; but your
Grace's delight is to counteract your own schemes, when in the very
act of performance; like a child--forgive me--that breaks its
favourite toy, or a man who should set fire to the house he has half
built."

"And why not, if he wanted to warm his hands at the blaze?" said the
Duke.

"Ay, my lord," replied his dependent; "but what if, in doing so, he
should burn his fingers?--My lord, it is one of your noblest
qualities, that you will sometimes listen to the truth without taking
offence; but were it otherwise, I could not, at this moment, help
speaking out at every risk."

"Well, say on, I can bear it," said the Duke, throwing himself into an
easy-chair, and using his toothpick with graceful indifference and
equanimity; "I love to hear what such potsherds as thou art, think of
the proceeding of us who are of the pure porcelain clay of the earth."

"In the name of Heaven, my lord, let me then ask you," said
Jerningham, "what merit you claim, or what advantage you expect, from
having embroiled everything in which you are concerned to a degree
which equals the chaos of the blind old Roundhead's poem which your
Grace is so fond of? To begin with the King. In spite of good-humour,
he will be incensed at your repeated rivalry."

"His Majesty defied me to it."

"You have lost all hopes of the Isle, by quarrelling with Christian."

"I have ceased to care a farthing about it," replied the Duke.

"In Christian himself, whom you have insulted, and to whose family you
intend dishonour, you have lost a sagacious, artful, and cool-headed
instrument and adherent," said the monitor.

"Poor Jerningham!" answered the Duke; "Christian would say as much for
thee, I doubt not, wert thou discarded tomorrow. It is the common
error of such tools as you and he to think themselves indispensable.
As to his family, what was never honourable cannot be dishonoured by
any connection with my house."

"I say nothing of Chiffinch," said Jerningham, "offended as he will be
when he learns why, and by whom, his scheme has been ruined, and the
lady spirited away--He and his wife, I say nothing of them."

"You need not," said the Duke; "for were they even fit persons to
speak to me about, the Duchess of Portsmouth has bargained for their
disgrace."

"Then this bloodhound of a Colonel, as he calls himself, your Grace
cannot even lay /him/ on a quest which is to do you service, but you
must do him such indignity at the same time, as he will not fail to
remember, and be sure to fly at your throat should he ever have an
opportunity of turning on you."

"I will take care he has none," said the Duke; "and yours, Jerningham,
is a low-lived apprehension. Beat your spaniel heartily if you would
have him under command. Ever let your agents see you know what they
are, and prize them accordingly. A rogue, who must needs be treated as
a man of honour, is apt to get above his work. Enough, therefore, of
your advice and censure, Jerningham; we differ in every particular.
Were we both engineers, you would spend your life in watching some old
woman's wheel, which spins flax by the ounce; I must be in the midst
of the most varied and counteracting machinery, regulating checks and
counter-checks, balancing weights, proving springs and wheels,
directing and controlling a hundred combined powers."

"And your fortune, in the meanwhile?" said Jerningham; "pardon this
last hint, my lord."

"My fortune," said the Duke, "is too vast to be hurt by a petty wound;
and I have, as thou knowest, a thousand salves in store for the
scratches and scars which it sometimes receives in greasing my
machinery."

"Your Grace does not mean Dr. Wilderhead's powder of projection?"

"Pshaw! he is a quacksalver, and mountebank, and beggar."

"Or Solicitor Drowndland's plan for draining the fens?"

"He is a cheat,--/videlicet/, an attorney."

"Or the Laird of Lackpelf's sale of Highland woods?"

"He is a Scotsman," said the Duke,--"/videlicet/, both cheat and
beggar."

"These streets here, upon the site of your noble mansion-house?" said
Jerningham.

"The architect's a bite, and the plan's a bubble. I am sick of the
sight of this rubbish, and I will soon replace our old alcoves,
alleys, and flower-pots by an Italian garden and a new palace."

"That, my lord, would be to waste, not to improve your fortune," said
his domestic.

"Clodpate, and muddy spirit that thou art, thou hast forgot the most
hopeful scheme of all--the South Sea Fisheries--their stock is up 50
per cent. already. Post down to the Alley, and tell old Mansses to buy
£20,000 for me.--Forgive me, Plutus, I forgot to lay my sacrifice on
thy shrine, and yet expected thy favours!--Fly post-haste, Jerningham
--for thy life, for thy life, for thy life!"[*]

[*] Stock-jobbing, as it is called, that is, dealing in shares of
    monopolies, patent, and joint-stock companies of every
    description, was at least as common in Charles II.'s time as our
    own; and as the exercise of ingenuity in this way promised a road
    to wealth without the necessity of industry, it was then much
    pursued by dissolute courtiers.

With hands and eyes uplifted, Jerningham left the apartment; and the
Duke, without thinking a moment farther on old or new intrigues--on
the friendship he had formed, or the enmity he had provoked--on the
beauty whom he had carried off from her natural protectors, as well as
from her lover--or on the monarch against whom he had placed himself
in rivalship,--sat down to calculate chances with all the zeal of
Demoivre, tired of the drudgery in half-an-hour, and refused to see
the zealous agent whom he had employed in the city, because he was
busily engaged in writing a new lampoon.



                            CHAPTER XXXIX

                Ah! changeful head, and fickle heart!
                                       --PROGRESS OF DISCONTENT.

No event is more ordinary in narratives of this nature, than the
abduction of the female on whose fate the interest is supposed to
turn; but that of Alice Bridgenorth was thus far particular, that she
was spirited away by the Duke of Buckingham, more in contradiction
than in the rivalry of passion; and that, as he made his first
addresses to her at Chiffinch's, rather in the spirit of rivalry to
this Sovereign, than from any strong impression which her beauty had
made on his affections, so he had formed the sudden plan of spiriting
her away by means of his dependents, rather to perplex Christian, the
King, Chiffinch, and all concerned, than because he had any particular
desire for her society at his own mansion. Indeed, so far was this
from being the case, that his Grace was rather surprised than
delighted with the success of the enterprise which had made her an
inmate there, although it is probable he might have thrown himself
into an uncontrollable passion, had he learned its miscarriage instead
of its success.

Twenty-four hours had passed over since he had returned to his own
roof, before, notwithstanding sundry hints from Jerningham, he could
even determine on the exertion necessary to pay his fair captive a
visit; and then it was with the internal reluctance of one who can
only be stirred from indolence by novelty.

"I wonder what made me plague myself about this wench," said he, "and
doom myself to encounter all the hysterical rhapsodies of a country
Phillis, with her head stuffed with her grandmother's lessons about
virtue and the Bible-book, when the finest and best-bred women in town
may be had upon more easy terms. It is a pity one cannot mount the
victor's car of triumph without having a victory to boast of; yet,
faith, it is what most of our modern gallants do, though it would not
become Buckingham.--Well, I must see her," he concluded, "though it
were but to rid the house of her. The Portsmouth will not hear of her
being set at liberty near Charles, so much is she afraid of a new fair
seducing the old sinner from his allegiance. So how the girl is to be
disposed of--for I shall have little fancy to keep her here, and she
is too wealthy to be sent down to Cliefden as a housekeeper--is a
matter to be thought on."

He then called for such a dress as might set off his natural good mien
--a compliment which he considered as due to his own merit; for as to
anything farther, he went to pay his respects to his fair prisoner
with almost as little zeal in the cause, as a gallant to fight a duel
in which he has no warmer interest than the maintenance of his
reputation as man of honour.

The set of apartments consecrated to the use of those favourites who
occasionally made Buckingham's mansion their place of abode, and who
were, so far as liberty was concerned, often required to observe the
regulations of a convent, were separated from the rest of the Duke's
extensive mansion. He lived in the age when what was called gallantry
warranted the most atrocious actions of deceit and violence; as may be
best illustrated by the catastrophe of an unfortunate actress, whose
beauty attracted the attention of the last De Vere, Earl of Oxford.
While her virtue defied his seductions, he ruined her under colour of
a mock marriage, and was rewarded for a success which occasioned the
death of his victim, by the general applause of the men of wit and
gallantry who filled the drawing-room of Charles.

Buckingham had made provision in the interior of his ducal mansion for
exploits of a similar nature; and the set of apartments which he now
visited were alternately used to confine the reluctant, and to
accommodate the willing.

Being now destined for the former purpose, the key was delivered to
the Duke by a hooded and spectacled old lady, who sat reading a devout
book in the outer hall which divided these apartments (usually called
the Nunnery) from the rest of the house. This experienced dowager
acted as mistress of the ceremonies on such occasions, and was the
trusty depositary of more intrigues than were known to any dozen of
her worshipful calling besides.

"As sweet a linnet," she said, as she undid the outward door, "as ever
sung in a cage."

"I was afraid she might have been more for moping than for singing,
Dowlas," said the Duke.

"Till yesterday she was so, please your Grace," answered Dowlas; "or,
to speak sooth, till early this morning, we heard of nothing but
Lachrymæ. But the air of your noble Grace's house is favourable to
singing-birds; and to-day matters have been a-much mended."

"Tis sudden, dame," said the Duke; "and 'tis something strange,
considering that I have never visited her, that the pretty trembler
should have been so soon reconciled to her fate."

"Ah, your Grace has such magic, that it communicates itself to your
very walls; as wholesome Scripture says, Exodus, first and seventh,
'It cleaveth to the walls and the doorposts.'"

"You are too partial, Dame Dowlas," said the Duke of Buckingham.

"Not a word but truth," said the dame; "and I wish I may be an outcast
from the fold of the lambs, but I think this damsel's very frame has
changed since she was under your Grace's roof. Methinks she hath a
lighter form, a finer step, a more displayed ankle--I cannot tell, but
I think there is a change. But, lack-a-day, your Grace knows I am as
old as I am trusty, and that my eyes wax something uncertain."

"Especially when you wash them with a cup of canary, Dame Dowlas,"
answered the Duke, who was aware that temperance was not amongst the
cardinal virtues which were most familiar to the old lady's practice.

"Was it canary, your Grace said?--Was it indeed with canary, that your
Grace should have supposed me to have washed my eyes?" said the
offended matron. "I am sorry that your Grace should know me no
better."

"I crave your pardon, dame," said the Duke, shaking aside,
fastidiously, the grasp which, in the earnestness of her exculpation,
Madam Dowlas had clutched upon his sleeve. "I crave your pardon. Your
nearer approach has convinced me of my erroneous imputation--I should
have said nantz--not canary."

So saying, he walked forward into the inner apartments, which were
fitted up with an air of voluptuous magnificence.

"The dame said true, however," said the proud deviser and proprietor
of the splendid mansion--"A country Phillis might well reconcile
herself to such a prison as this, even without a skilful bird-fancier
to touch a bird-call. But I wonder where she can be, this rural
Phidele. Is it possible she can have retreated, like a despairing
commandant, into her bedchamber, the very citadel of the place,
without even an attempt to defend the outworks?"

As he made this reflection, he passed through an antechamber and
little eating parlour, exquisitely furnished, and hung with excellent
paintings of the Venetian school.

Beyond these lay a withdrawing-room, fitted up in a style of still
more studied elegance. The windows were darkened with painted glass,
of such a deep and rich colour, as made the midday beams, which found
their way into the apartment, imitate the rich colours of sunset; and,
in the celebrated expression of the poet, "taught light to counterfeit
a gloom."

Buckingham's feelings and taste had been too much, and too often, and
too readily gratified, to permit him, in the general case, to be
easily accessible, even to those pleasures which it had been the
business of his life to pursue. The hackneyed voluptuary is like the
jaded epicure, the mere listlessness of whose appetite becomes at
length a sufficient penalty for having made it the principal object of
his enjoyment and cultivation. Yet novelty has always some charms, and
uncertainty has more.

The doubt how he was to be received--the change of mood which his
prisoner was said to have evinced--the curiosity to know how such a
creature as Alice Bridgenorth had been described, was likely to bear
herself under the circumstances in which she was so unexpectedly
placed, had upon Buckingham the effect of exciting unusual interest.
On his own part, he had none of those feelings of anxiety with which a
man, even of the most vulgar mind, comes to the presence of the female
whom he wishes to please, far less the more refined sentiments of
love, respect, desire, and awe, with which the more refined lover
approaches the beloved object. He had been, to use an expressive
French phrase, too completely /blasé/ even from his earliest youth, to
permit him now to experience the animal eagerness of the one, far less
the more sentimental pleasure of the other. It is no small aggravation
of this jaded and uncomfortable state of mind, that the voluptuary
cannot renounce the pursuits with which he is satiated, but must
continue, for his character's sake, or from the mere force of habit,
to take all the toil, fatigue, and danger of the chase, while he has
so little real interest in the termination.

Buckingham, therefore, felt it due to his reputation as a successful
hero of intrigue, to pay his addresses to Alice Bridgenorth with
dissembled eagerness; and, as he opened the door of the inner
apartment, he paused to consider, whether the tone of gallantry, or
that of passion, was fittest to use on the occasion. This delay
enabled him to hear a few notes of a lute touched with exquisite
skill, and accompanied by the still sweeter strains of a female voice,
which, without executing any complete melody, seemed to sport itself
in rivalship of the silver sound of the instrument.

"A creature so well educated," said the Duke, "with the sense she is
said to possess, would, rustic as she is, laugh at the assumed rants
of Oroondates. It is the vein of Dorimont--once, Buckingham, thine own
--that must here do the feat, besides that the part is easier."

So thinking, he entered the room with that easy grace which
characterised the gay courtiers among whom he flourished, and
approache