It Might Have Been - The Story of the Gunpowder Plot
by Emily Sarah Holt
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"How dare you come hither?" was his fierce greeting to the unwelcome visitors, "considering what speech there is of your tumultuous rising."

"Sir," answered Winter, deprecatingly, "my meaning was not to speak with you, but with one in your house; and I am very sorry I have met with you."

"So am I, too!" said John Talbot. "Your coming may be as much as my life is worth. It is very fit you should be taken."

"I shall not easily be taken," was the reply.

"Fare you well! Get you away!" answered Talbot, as he slammed the gate in Winter's face.

They came to the conclusion that discretion would be the better part of valour, and retraced their steps to Holbeach. Here Stephen went into the house, leaving Winter outside. The former found his friends very busily engaged in making preparations for resistance, for they had now determined that at Holbeach their last stand should be made. Their gunpowder, like themselves, had been soaked in the rain, the Stour being extremely high, and the cart which they had stolen from Hewell Grange a very low one. Catesby, Rookwood, and Grant, applied themselves to the drying of the powder. They laid about sixteen pounds of it in a linen bag on the floor, and heaping about two pounds on a platter, placed it in the chimney-corner to dry by the fire. A servant entering to put fresh logs on the fire, was not sufficiently careful of the platter. A spark flew out, lighted on the powder, and it exploded. Part of the roof was blown off, the linen bag was carried through the hole thus made, and afterwards taken up uninjured in the court-yard: but the three powder-dryers, with Henry Morgan, were severely injured both in face and body. In the same pit that they had dug privily, was their own foot taken.

When the conspirators thus beheld themselves "hoist with their own petard," the first feeling among them was less fear for their safety than awe at the just judgment of God. The most guilty among them were also the most horrified. For a moment those nearest the powder were supposed to be killed. John Wright lost his head, flung himself on what he believed to be the corpse of his leader, with a wild cry—

"Woe worth the time that we have seen this day! Bring me the powder! bring me the powder, that I may set it afire, and blow up ourselves and this house together!"

Rookwood rushed to a picture of the Virgin, and throwing himself on his knees, confessed "that the act was so bloody that he desired God to forgive him;" in which prayer he was joined by some of the others. Catesby himself lost his firmness, and on recovering himself, gasped out his fear that God disapproved of their project. Robert Winter and Greenway fled in terror—so far that they never came back. Stephen Littleton went off also, but he waited long enough to send a message to Thomas Winter, who had not yet come in.

"Tell him to fly," said the valiant Stephen, "and so will I."

Whatever else Thomas Winter was, he was loyal to his oath and to his friends.

"His honour rooted in dishonour stood, And faith unfaithful kept him falsely true."

He supposed the news to mean that Catesby was killed.

"Nay," said he; "I will first see the body of my friend and bury him, whatsoever befall me."

Returning to the house, Winter found his friends decidedly alive and "reasonable well."

"What resolve you to do?" he asked them.

"We mean here to die," was the answer.

"Well!" replied Winter, "I will take such part as you do."

And John Wright said, "I will live and die among you."

Not long afterwards, about noon, the Sheriff and his troops surrounded Holbeach House. After several ineffectual summonses to surrender, and the reading of a proclamation in the King's name bidding the rebels to submit themselves, which met only with blunt refusals, the Sheriff fired the house, and led an attack upon the gates. The conspirators who were left showed no lack of courage. They walked out into the court-yard, set the gate open, and took up their stand in front of it, Catesby in the middle, with Percy and Thomas Winter on either side. At the first assault, an arrow from a cross-bow had struck Winter in the shoulder, and rendered his right arm useless. The second shot struck John Wright, the third Christopher Wright, the fourth Rookwood. The two Wrights fell, and were supposed to be dead.

"Stand by me, Tom," said Catesby to Winter, "and we will die together."

"Sir," was the answer, "I have lost the use of my right arm, and I fear that will cause me to be taken."

They were the last words of Robert Catesby. The next bullet passed clean through his body, and lodged in that of Percy at his side. Catesby fell, mortally wounded. He had just strength to crawl on his hands and knees into the vestibule of the house, where stood an image of the Virgin: and clasping it in his arms, he died.

Percy sank down, also wounded to death; he expired the following day. John Wright, recovering somewhat from his wound, called to Bates, and delivered him a bag of money, entreating him to fly and take it to Mrs Wright at Norbrook. Winter was seized; Grant, Rookwood, and Morgan, yielded themselves to the Sheriff: but the exasperated mob, rushing in, while the Sheriff's men were lifting one of the wounded, seized upon the others, stripped and ill-used them, until wounds which might possibly have been healed were past cure. John and Christopher Wright died in two or three days.

One or two fugitives were brought into Holbeach later; five were arrested at Stourbridge, Sir Everard Digby at Dudley. Bates succeeded in making good his escape with the bag, and reached Wolverhampton in the night. His wife Martha, who lived at Ashby, hearing a false rumour of his capture and imprisonment in Shrewsbury Gaol, went to see him, and both stayed for the night in the same inn at Wolverhampton, neither of them knowing the nearness of the other. Bates, finding himself unable to reach Lapworth, and with no hope of escaping finally, delivered the bag of money to a friend to convey to Martha, and departed, not wishing to endanger his friend. He then went to Oldfield, in Shropshire, to the house of his cousin, Richard Bates, by whom having been betrayed, he was apprehended, and brought to London. By his confession on his examination, Garnet and Greenway were implicated, though Bates tried his best to prove them innocent.

Sir Richard Walsh conveyed his prisoners to Worcester, where he occupied himself in taking their examinations, and sending the information obtained to the Lords of the Council. Sir Richard Verney was sent to scour the country on the recent track of the fugitives, and to arrest the relatives and servants of every one of them. John Winter, Gertrude Winter at Huddington, Ludovic Grant at Dudley, Dorothy Grant at Norbrook, and at Lapworth John Wright's wife Dorothy, and Christopher's wife Margaret; Ambrose Rookwood's wife, and her sister; and Thomas Rookwood of Claxton, at Bidford, were all gradually added to the group. Mrs Dorothy Grant, whether from fright or loquacity, proved very candid in answering questions, and from her they learned that the missing Martha Percy was "not far off." Sir Richard Verney, however, found it no easy matter to keep his prisoners when he had got them. Twice his house was set on fire, evidently by design; but he held stoutly to the lively ladies in his care, and delivered them all safely in London in due time.

We must now, for a short time, follow the two conspirators who had escaped in company, and whose wanderings are not devoid of interest. Robert Winter and Stephen Littleton got safely away from Holbeach, thus evading the miserable fate of their fellow-conspirators. They succeeded in reaching the house of a certain Christopher White, a servant of Stephen's cousin, Humphrey Littleton, who lived in the village of King's Rowley. This man they bribed to allow them to remain in his barn until the search for the fugitives should have ceased, when they promised to give him a substantial reward, and no longer to endanger him by their presence. "There they abode a great while, but with very poor and slender fare, such as otherwise had been too coarse and out of fashion for them." A proclamation was meanwhile set forth by Government for their discovery, wherein Robert Winter was described as "of mean stature, rather low than otherwise; brown hair and beard, not much beard, short hair; somewhat stooping, square made, near forty." Stephen Littleton was "a very tall man; swarthy complexion, no beard or little, brown coloured hair; about thirty." A neighbour of White's, named Smart, and apparently smart by nature as well as name, noticed the unusual evidences of prosperity in his neighbour's dwelling, and shrewdly surmised the reason. Upon due consideration of the subject, Mr Smart, like a good many people both before and after him, came to the conclusion that it was highly unreasonable that his neighbour should be mounting the social ladder when he remained at the bottom. He therefore applied himself to the matter, discovered the refugees in the barn, and strongly recommended his barn as far preferable to White's. The fugitives were persuaded to change their hiding-place. This was no sooner done, than another neighbour, named Hollyhead, set his wits also to work, and dulcetly represented that Smart's barn was a much less safe and attractive locality than his house: each of these worthy individuals being of course moved by respect to the pecuniary reward for which he hoped. On the departure of his guests, White took fright and fled: which caused "much rumour to be blabbed abroad" concerning the vain search and the probable vicinity of the fugitives. Humphrey Littleton, who was in the secret, began to be alarmed, and removed his friends from Hollyhead's house to that of a man named John Perks, in the village of Hagley, close to Hagley Park, the residence of his widowed sister-in-law. It was before dawn on New Year's Day that they reached the cottage of Perks, a warrener or gamekeeper, who had been dismissed from Mrs Littleton's service for dishonesty. The wearied men knocked at his door; and when Perks came forth, said they were friends, and begged him to help them to food and shelter.

"Ye be Mr Stephen Littleton, and Mr Winter," said Perks.

"We are so," they admitted. "Pray you, Goodman, grant us meat and lodging till we be fit for journeying; and when we can travel, then shall you bring us to London, and have a great reward from the King for taking us, we being willing to die, and not live any longer in so miserable a condition."

If Mr Perks's eyes glistened as this distant prospect of a great reward was held out to him, they grew yet more radiant when Humphrey Littleton counted into his hand thirty golden sovereigns, twenty into that of his man, and seventeen to his sister. Perks led the way to his barn, where mounting on a barley mow, he formed a large hole in its midst, and here the unhappy gentlemen were secreted, food being brought to them by Perks as occasion served, by his sister Margaret, or at times by his man, Thomas Burford. Here they might have remained in safety for a considerable time without fear of discovery, had not Mr Perks entertained rather too close an affection for barley in another form than heaped up in a barn—namely, in company with hops and water. Mr Perks had a friend, named Poynter, who liked beer and rabbits quite as well as himself; and one winter night, nine days after the fugitives had been hidden in the mow, these worthies set forth on a poaching expedition. Returning home somewhat late, and "well tippled in drink," it occurred to Mr Poynter that it would save him a walk home if his friend Perks were to lodge him for the night. The latter, however, did not see the circumstance in that light, and a tipsy altercation followed, which was ended by Perks "shaking off" Poynter, and staggering home by himself. The night was cold and wet, and Mr Poynter's temper was scarcely so cool as the atmosphere. He was tipsily resolved that he would have a lodging at Perks's expense, whether that gentleman would or not; and bethinking himself that if Perks's house were locked against him, his barn was not, he took thither his unsteady way, and scrambling up the barley mow, to his own unfeigned astonishment dropped into the hole on the top of the sleeping conspirators.

Thus roused suddenly in the dead of night, and naturally concluding that their enemies were upon them, Winter and Littleton sprang up to defend themselves, and to sell their lives dearly. Poynter, who was quite as much amazed and terrified as they could be, as naturally fought for his own safety, and a desperate struggle ensued. It ended in the two overcoming the one, and insisting on his remaining with them, so that they could be certain of his telling no tales. For four days Poynter remained on the mow, professing resignation and contentment, and lamenting the sore pain which he suffered from a wound in the leg, received in the pursuit of his vocation as a rabbit-stealer. When Margaret Perks came with food, and afterwards Burford, Poynter pretended to be in mortal anguish, and besought them earnestly to bring him some salve, without which he was quite certain he should die. The salve was brought, and the wily Poynter then discovered that lying in the hole he had not sufficient light to apply it. He was suffered to creep up on the top of the mow, which he professed to do with the greatest difficulty. But even there the light was scarcely sufficient: might he drag himself a little nearer the door? Being now quite deceived by Mr Poynter's excellent acting, and believing that he was much too suffering and disabled to escape, they permitted him to crawl quite to the edge of the mow nearest to the light, and of course next to the door. The moment this point was reached, the disabled cripple slipped down from the mow, and the next instant was out of the door and far away, running with a fleetness which made it hopeless to think of following him.

There was still, however, some room for that hope which springs eternal in the human breast. Poynter's friendship for Perks, and the expectation that Perks could bribe him to secrecy, weighed with the fugitives, who had not sufficiently learned that the friendship of an unprincipled man is worth nothing.

Poynter, on the other hand, considered his chances superior in the opposite direction. He made at once for Hagley Hall, intending to tell his story there; but on the way he met with Perks, who was ignorant of Poynter's recent adventure; and that gentleman suggesting a joint visit to the nearest tavern, Poynter easily suffered his steps to be diverted in that attractive direction. The precious pair of friends drank together, and departed to their respective homes.

Now, Mistress Littleton, the lady of Hagley Park, was a Protestant, and a gentlewoman of extreme discretion; and the day on which Poynter thus made his escape from the hay-mow had been chosen by her to commence a journey to London. Before her departure, she summoned her steward, Mr Hazelwood, and desired him to be circumspect during her absence, "owing to the mischances happening in the county."

Mistress Littleton having ridden forth on her journey, her worthy brother, Mr Humphrey, commonly called Red Humphrey, who certainly did not share the discretion of his sister, determined to play the mouse during the absence of his cat, and to convey his traitor-friends into his own chamber at Hagley Park. There is reason to think that Mistress Littleton was not only a sagacious but also a somewhat managing dame, who rode Red Humphrey with a tighter curb than that reckless individual approved. Accordingly, having heard of Poynter's escape, and taking one person only into his confidence, he repaired to the barn about eleven o'clock that night, and smuggled his cousin and friend away from the barley mow into the pleasanter shelter of his own room in Hagley Park. The one person thus selected as Humphrey's confidant, was John Fynwood or Fynes, alias "Jobber," also known as John Cook, from the office which he bore in the household. Humphrey had brought him up, and when come to suitable age, had induced his sister-in-law to engage him as cook: he therefore expected this man, being thus beholden to him, to remain faithful to his interests. But there was another person whose interests were considerably dearer to John Cook, and that was himself.

The trio reached Master Humphrey's chamber in safety, aided by John Cook. Robert Winter turned round as he entered, and grasped the cook's hand.

"Ah, Jack!" said he, "little wots thy mistress what guests are now in her house, that in so long a space did never so much as look upon a fire!"

"Welcome, heartily!" answered Humphrey, motioning to his guests to approach nearer to the cheerful hearth. "Jack, lad, the time being thus late, canst kill some hen or chickens about the house, to serve and fit the present occasion withal? I will recompense it to thee afterward."

Jack readily undertook the commission, and brought up a very appetising dish with great diligence and promptness.

"Master," said he, "you shall need drink, and the butler is in bed; to call on him for the key might rouse suspicion. Pray you, shall I run in the town to my mother, and fetch you drink from thence?"

"So do, honest Jack, and hie thee back quickly. See, here is a tester for thee."

Honest Jack picked up the tester, and disappeared.

It does seem strange, considering the danger which was thus run, that the fugitives should not have been satisfied to drink water with their supper, since even thus they would have fared much better than they had done for some time past. But in truth, the very idea of drinking water was foreign to men's minds in those days, except in the light of a very cruel hardship, and about the last strait to which a starving man could be reduced.

The mother of Jack kept a small tavern in the village. Thither he ran to fill his jug, and to pour into the ears of the hostess the interesting fact that the traitors then sought for by the King's proclamation were at that moment entertained in Master Humphrey's chamber at Hagley Park.

"Pray you, Mother," he added, "when morning breaketh, raise the town to take them, for I fear lest I may not, unsuspected, get forth again to do it."

Having made which little arrangement, honest Jack and his jug returned to the Park, where the trio of traitors finished their supper, and proceeded to sleep three in a bed.

To make assurance doubly sure, Jack rapped at Mr Hazelwood's door, and bestowed upon him the same interesting information already given to Mrs Fynwood.

The morning being come, the cook paid another visit to his prisoners, whom he found nearly dressed, and looking out of the window to see the meaning of the noise they heard, which was in fact the arrival of the Sheriff's officer and his men. Even then, so complete was their confidence in Jack, that they never imagined themselves betrayed, and Humphrey, having stowed his friends for more complete security in a closet-room opening out of his chamber, went down into the hall—and met the officer of the law.

"Sir, I understand there be in this house certain traitors, so charged by proclamation of his sacred Majesty, whom you have in keeping."

"Never an one, my master, I do ensure you," answered Humphrey, as lightly as if he spoke the truth: and he cut a large slice from the loaf standing on the table. "Pray you, sit down and break your fast; you are full welcome, as I am sure my good sister should tell you were she at home. After that ye have eaten, ye shall search the house an' ye will.—See here, Jack Cook! make a good toast for these worthy masters; and thou, David Butler, go up to my chamber for my cup—thou shalt find it on the window-ledge, I think."

Outside, Mr Hazelwood was giving directions for the search, hints being constantly supplied to him by the cook as to what transpired within. The butler, David Bate, went to fetch his master's cup, and of course found the room empty. As he came to the foot of the back-stair, Master Humphrey met him.

"Good David, help me to the key of the back-door into the cellar," he said in a hurried whisper. "As ever thou wilt do anything for me, stick now to me, and help save my life."

"Sir, I have not the key," answered the astonished butler. "The brewer hath it."

The brewer was hastily summoned, delivered the key, and was as hurriedly dismissed. Then Humphrey ran up to his closet, brought down his concealed guests, and conducted them through the buttery towards the cellar. The butler slipped away from them, and told the officers. The situation was now desperate. Inside the house the officers were pursuing them; outside, a crowd, in league with the authorities, was shouting itself hoarse in execration of them. The wretched men made one last frantic dash around the house, and Robert Winter and Stephen Littleton were arrested in the stable-yard, and prevented from reaching the neighbouring wood.

But what had become of Red Humphrey? The instant he saw the game was up, he hurriedly mounted his horse, and eluded his pursuers. But he was not to escape much longer. The searching party which Poynter had led to the barn, disappointed there, scoured the neighbourhood; and at Prestwood the fugitive was taken, and committed to safe custody in Stafford Gaol. Even after they were secured, it was no easy matter to carry the other prisoners to Worcester. While they were "refreshing themselves" in an alehouse at Hagley—probably the tavern kept by Mrs Fynwood—a tumult arose among the people outside which almost led to their rescue; and a few miles from Hagley, Sir Thomas Undirhood and his company overtook the Sheriff, and vainly attempted to gain possession of them to take them back to Staffordshire. The Worcestershire men, however, held on grimly to their prize, and at last triumphantly lodged their prisoners in the gaol at Worcester.

The examinations of the culprits in London went on. They were mainly characterised by Mr Fawkes's contradictions on every occasion of something which he had previously said; by the addition of a little information each time; and by the very small amount of light that could be obtained from any outsiders. On his third examination, Mr "John Johnson" owned that his name was Guy Fawkes; that he was born at York, the son of Edward Fawkes, a younger brother, who had left him "but small living," which he ran through with equally small delay. He denied on his conscience that he was in orders, "major or minor, regular or secular": on which occasion he told the truth. Fawkes added that he did not now desire to destroy the King.

"It is past," he said, "and I am now sorry for it, for that I now perceive that God did not concur with it."

He admitted also the design on the Lady Elizabeth, but he still declined to name his accomplices, and proved obdurate to all attempts—and the attempts were basely made—to persuade him to accuse the prisoners in the Tower, of whom the chief was Sir Walter Raleigh. The utmost he could be induced to admit concerning this point was that it had been "under consultation that the prisoners in the Tower should have intelligence" of the intended plot, and that Raleigh and several others had been named in this connection.

"We should have been glad to have drawn any, of what religion soever, unto us," he said: "we meant to have made use of all the discontented people of England."

But he would not allow, even to the last, that any communication had actually been made.

In his fourth examination Fawkes gave the names of those who had been "made privy afterwards," but he still refused to reveal those of the original traitors. He was accordingly put to the torture. Gentle or ungentle, this worked its office: and on the ninth of November, after half-an-hour on the rack, Fawkes recounted the names of all his accomplices. He made also an admission which proved of considerable importance—he mentioned a house in Enfield Chase, "where Walley [Garnet] doth lie."

Every examination is signed by the prisoner. To the first he signs "Guido Faukes" in a free, elegant Italian hand, the hand of an educated man. But it is pitiful to see the few faint strokes which sign the fifth, even the "Guido" being left unfinished. He is supposed to have fainted before the word could be written. The subsequent reports are fully signed, and in a firmer hand; but the old free elegant signature never comes again.

That night an unheard-of event occurred at the White Bear. Hans Floriszoon was two hours late in coming home.

"My lad!" said Edith, meeting him in the hall, "we feared some ill had befallen thee."

"It hath not befallen me, Mrs Edith," was the answer; "and may God avert it from us all! But these men that Aubrey was wont to visit—Mr Catesby, Mr Winter, and the rest—are now confessed by the caitiff in the Tower to have an hand in the plot."

"Aubrey?" The word was only just breathed from Edith's lips.

"I went thither at once, and spake with Aubrey, whom I found to have heard nought, and to be very sore troubled touching Mr Winter, whose friendship I can see hath been right dear unto him. I besought him to lie very close,—not to come forth at all, and if he would communicate with us these next few days, to send a messenger to me at Mr Leigh's, and not here, for it seemed to me there was need of caution. After a time, if all blow over, there may be less need. Will you tell my Lady Lettice, or no?"

"Dear Hans, thou art ever thoughtful and good. Thou hast done very well. But I think my mother must be told. Better softly now, than roughly after—as it may be if it be let alone."

Lady Louvaine sat silent for a few minutes after that gentle communication had been made. Then she said—

"'The floods lift up themselves, and rage mightily: but yet the Lord, who dwelleth on high, is mightier.' 'Tis strange that it should be so much harder to trust Him with the body than with the soul! O father, keep my boy from evil!—what is evil, Thou knowest: 'undertake for us!'"

On the 23rd of November, one of the prisoners in the Tower escaped the sentence of the law, by an inevitable summons to the higher tribunal of God Almighty. Francis Tresham died in his prison cell, retracting with his last breath, and "upon his salvation," the previous confession by which he had implicated Garnet in the Spanish negotiations. It has been suggested that he was poisoned by Government because he knew too much; but there is no foundation for the charge except the possibility that his death might have been convenient to the Government, and the fact that they allowed his wife and servant to be with him in his last illness goes far to disprove this improbable accusation.

The authorities were now engaged in lively pursuit of the new track which Fawkes had indicated to them. A house in Enfield Chase where Garnet was or might be found, was too appetising a dainty to be lightly resigned. On the 23rd, they obtained a full confession from Thomas Winter, and the actual name of White Webbs. From this moment White Webbs became their Ultima Thule of hope and expectation.

A poor and mean revenge was taken on the dead Catesby and Percy. Their bodies were exhumed, and beheaded, and their heads set on the pinnacles of the Houses of Parliament. The spectators noticed with superstitious terror that blood flowed from Percy's wound. The authorities seem to have regarded Percy as the head and front of the conspiracy; they term him "the arch-traitor." But by the testimony of both Fawkes and Winter, Catesby was the original deviser of the Gunpowder Plot.


Note 1. Excerpts from Burghley Papers, Additional Manuscript 6178, folios 58, 184.—Lady Northumberland was Dorothy Devereux, daughter of Walter Earl of Essex and Lettice Knolles, and sister of the famous Robert Earl of Essex, in whose rebellion so many Romanists took part. Poor Lord Northumberland, if innocent, paid dearly for his relationship to his "wretched cousin," being fined 30,000 pounds, which in 1613 was commuted to 11,000 pounds. He borrowed 12,000 pounds from Peter Vanlore to discharge the fine, and repaid half of it within a year.

Note 2. The most comical item of this assumption of virtue is the reason, as given by himself, for Mr Rookwood's riding on in advance at this juncture. "Seeing that he was so well horsed as he was—he having fifteen or sixteen good bourses—he meant not to adventure himself in stealing of any!"

Note 3. "At Holbeach, I demanded of Mr Percy and the rest, being most of them asleep, what they meant to do." (Letter of John Winter, Gunpowder Plot Book, article 110.)

Note 5. For this shot one of the Sheriff's men, named John Streete, received 2 shillings per day up to 1627.



"When on the problems of the past A flood of light has come; When we see the evil that we did, And the good we might have done."

Cyrus Thornton.

On the 27th of January, Robert and Thomas Winter, Guy Fawkes, John Grant, Ambrose Rookwood, Robert Keyes, and Thomas Bates were placed upon their trial at Westminster.

Grant and Bates were really guilty of very little beyond knowing of the plot and keeping silence. But they all received the same sentence—to be hung, drawn, and quartered. Sir Everard Digby was tried separately, but to the same end. He alone pleaded guilty; his principal anxiety seemed to be to save the priests—a wish wherein all the conspirators agreed. On leaving the dock, Sir Everard, "bowing himself towards the Lords, said, 'If I may but hear any of your Lordships say, you forgive me, I shall go more cheerfully to the gallows.' Whereupon the Lords said, 'God forgive you, and we do.'"

Of all the conspirators, Sir Everard won the greatest sympathy, from his rank, his youth, his accomplishments, and especially his fine person— which last drew expressions of pity from the Queen, who was afflicted with that fatal worship of beauty which was the bane of the Stuart race.

Three days later, the scaffold was set up at the west end of Saint Paul's Cathedral, and four of the traitors were brought forth to die. They were the four least guilty of the group—Sir Everard Digby, Robert Winter, John Grant, and Thomas Bates.

As the prisoners were being drawn to the scaffold upon hurdles, a pathetic incident took place. Martha Bates had followed her husband to London, and as the procession passed by, she rushed from the crowd of spectators, and flung herself upon the hurdle in an agony. Bates then told her of the money entrusted to him by Wright, which he wished her to keep for her own relief, and it was afterwards granted to her by the Crown.

Arrived at the place of execution, Sir Everard was the first to ascend the ladder. Very pale, yet very self-controlled, he spoke to the people, saying that his conscience had led him into this offence, which in respect of religion he held to be no sin at all, but in respect of the law he confessed that he had done wrong; and he asked forgiveness of God, the King, and the kingdom. He declined the ministrations of the clergy, and after a few Latin prayers, crossed himself, and so "made an end of his wicked days in this world,"—an example for all time how little education and accomplishments can do to keep man from sin, a martyr to a priest-ridden conscience unenlightened by the Word of God.

Robert Winter followed next. He scarcely spoke, asked no forgiveness, but after a few silent prayers, passed calmly into the Silent Land.

The next was John Grant. This grave, melancholy man went smiling to his death. When he was entreated to seek for pardon for his crimes, his reply was, in a triumphant tone, "I am satisfied that our project was so far from being sinful, that I rely entirely upon my merits in bearing a part of that noble action, as an abundant satisfaction and expiation for all sins committed by me during the rest of my life!" He died thus with a lie in his right hand, and went to present the filthy rags of his own righteousness before His eyes in whose sight the heavens are not pure, and whose command is "Thou shalt do no murder."

Last came poor Bates, who "seemed sorry for his offence," and said that only his love for his dead master had drawn him to forget his duty to God, his King and country. And "thus ended that day's business."

In Old Palace Yard, "over against the Parliament House,"—namely, where now stands the statue of Godfrey de Bouillon—the second scaffold was erected on the following day. The four prisoners who were now to suffer were, the priests excepted, the most guilty of those left alive. They were drawn from the Tower on hurdles, as was usual. As they passed along the Strand, from an open window the beautiful Elizabeth Rookwood called to her husband—

"Ambrose, be of good courage! Thou art to suffer for a great and noble cause."

Raising himself from the hurdle as well as he could, Rookwood answered, "My dear, pray for me."

"I will, I will!" she cried. "And do you offer yourself with a good heart to God and your Creator. I yield you to Him, with as full an assurance that you will be accepted of Him as when He gave you to me." And so the procession passed on.

The first to suffer of these was Thomas Winter. He was extremely pale, and seemed sorry for his offence "after a sort;" but he spoke little, merely protesting that he died "a true Catholic."

Rookwood, who came next, made a long speech. He said that he asked forgiveness of God, whom he had offended in seeking to shed blood, of the King, and of the people. He prayed for the King and Royal Family, entreating that the King might become a "Catholic:" [Note 1] and he besought the King's goodness to his Elizabeth and her children. He was spared the worst, for he drew his last breath ere it began.

The next to follow was Keyes. He had said on the trial that his fortunes being desperate, his fate was "as good now as another time, and for this cause rather than another." In this hardened, reckless spirit, he flung himself from the ladder, with such force as to break the halter.

Last came "the great devil of all," Guy Fawkes, who, "being weak with torture and sickness, was scarce able to go up the ladder." He made no long speech, but "after a sort, seemed to be sorry" and asked forgiveness: and "with his crosses and his idle ceremonies" was cast-off, dying instantaneously.

So ended the awful scenes which were the reward of the Gunpowder Plot.

But not yet had justice overtaken all the perpetrators of this villainy. Three important traitors were yet at large, and they were all Jesuit priests. Greenway, who had fled from Holbeach with Robert Winter, had not continued in his company. For ten days he hid in barns and cottages in Worcestershire; but when the proclamation was made for his arrest, thinking it safest to be lost in a crowd in the metropolis, he came to London. Here he was one day seized by a man, as they stood among others reading the proclamation for his arrest. Greenway, with artful composure, denied the identity, but went quietly with his captor till they reached an unfrequented street, when the priest, who was a very powerful man, suddenly set upon his companion, and escaping from him, after a few days' concealment fled to the coast, whence he safely crossed to the Continent. He afterwards wrote for his superiors a narrative of the plot, wherein all the conspirators are impeccable heroes of the romantic novel type, and the plot—which during its existence he upheld and fervently encouraged—is condemned as a "rash, desperate, and wicked" piece of business. He succeeded so well in deceiving his superiors (or else they were equally hypocritical with himself), that he was appointed Penitentiary to the Pope, and ended his life in the full favour of that potentate.

Gerard, also, who had originally assisted the plotters in taking their oath of secrecy, had now disappeared. So excellent an opinion had the Roman Catholics of him, that many refused to believe "that holy, good man" could have had any share in the conspiracy. The description of this worthy, as given in the proclamation for his arrest, is curious in its detail, and the better worth quoting since it has apparently not been printed:—

"John Gerrarde the Jesuit is about thirty years old, of a good stature, something higher than Sir Thomas Leighton [this name is crossed out, and replaced by the word] ordinary, and upright in his pace and countenance; somewhat staring in his looke and Eyes, curled headed by Nature, and blackish, and not apt to have much hair on his beard. His Nose somewhat wide, and turning up; blebberd lipped [thick-lipped], turning outward, especially the upper lip, upward toward the Nose. Curious in speech, if he do continue his custom, and in his speech he flewreth [Note 2] and smiles much, and a faltering, lisping, or doubling of his tongue in his speech." [Note 3.] What a picture of a Jesuit! This is the type of man who practises an art which I never saw to such perfection as once in the Principal of a Jesuit College—that of:

"Washing the hands with invisible soap In imperceptible water."

Lastly, what had become of Garnet? He had not escaped nor left England, yet he seemed in some inscrutable manner to have vanished from the face of the earth, as completely as a morning mist.

The next step was to secure White Webbs. Commissioners were sent down to Enfield Chase, with directions to search for that undiscoverable house, to make thorough investigation of it, and to take into custody every individual therein. They found the place—an old rambling house in the heart of the Chase, full of trap-doors, passages, unexpected steps up or down, holes, corners, and cupboards at every turn. But it had no inhabitants save servants, and they could tell little. Their mistress was Mrs Perkins, the widowed sister of Mr Mease, a Berkshire farmer. It was quite true they were Catholics, all allowed; and Elizabeth Shepherd admitted that mass had been performed in the house. But what connection could there be between the Gunpowder Plot and worthy Mr Mease the faimer, or innocent Mrs Perkins the widow?

Many persons would have resigned the search: but not so Sir William Wade. Sir William Wade, the Keeper of the Tower, had an uncommonly keen scent for a heretic which term was in his eyes the equivalent of a Jesuit. He could see much further than any one else through a millstone, and detected a Jesuit where no less acute person suspected anything but a farmer or a horse-dealer. Not only was a Jesuit capable of every crime that man could commit, but every criminal was pretty nearly certain to turn out a Jesuit. Moreover, Sir William loved a joke only less than he bated a Jesuit; and apathy in any pursuit was not one of his failings who wrote that "he thanked God on the knees of his soul" for the discovery of the Gunpowder Plot.

Mr Mease was not to escape Sir William's penetration. He was anxious to see a little more of Mr Mease, and of Mrs Perkins also.

For the moment, however, he was doomed to disappointment. Sturdy James Johnson, Mrs Perkins' servant, would not betray his employers, even when put to the rack, until he had suffered appallingly. Half-an-hour had been sufficient to exhaust Guy Fawkes' endurance, but James Johnson bore three hours. Even then he could tell little. For his mistress's brother he knew no name but Mease, except that he had heard him addressed as "Farmer:" but he did know, and had known for two years, that the real name of his mistress was Anne Vaux. He could also say that she had been visited by a Mr and Mrs Skinner, a Mr and Mrs Thomas Jennings, a Mr Catesby, and a little gentleman whom the latter called Tom, and whose name he said was Winter. As to himself, Johnson asserted that he was "a Romishe Catholic," and "never was at church nor yet at mass in his life." Frightened little Jane Robinson, aged fourteen, admitted that mass had been said in the house, but when asked what vestments the priest wore, could only answer that "he was apparelled like a gentleman."

Sir William Wade went down once more upon the knees of his soul, when his ears were refreshed by these delightful names. At Harrowden, the seat of Lord Vaux, the family had already been questioned to no purpose. Mrs Vaux, the mother of the young Lord, and the sister-in-law of Anne, was astonished that anybody should suspect her of a guilty knowledge of the plot. Having previously denied that she knew any such person as Gerard, she subsequently confessed that Gerard and Garnet had been frequently at her house, and that she had a vague suspicion that "something was going to happen." Harrowden must be further investigated; and admissions were wrung from the servants at White Webbs which satisfied the commission that the relations between Anne Vaux and Garnet had been of an intimate character. Sir William Wade was now on the track of a Jesuit, and might be trusted to pursue that enticing path with eager and untiring accuracy.

The watch set at Harrowden was removed just too soon. Had it lasted two days longer, Gerard would have been starved out, for he lay concealed in the priest's hiding-place. As soon as the watching party took their leave, he emerged from his refuge, and succeeded through multifarious difficulties in safely escaping over seas.

About this time—from what source is uncertain—a hint reached the Government to the effect that Gerard might possibly, and Hall would probably, be found in one of the priest's hiding-places at Hendlip Hall in Worcestershire, the residence of Mr Thomas Abington. Edward Hall, alias Oldcorne, [Note 4] was Mr Abington's private chaplain; and though there is little evidence extant to connect him with the plot, the Government appear to have been extremely suspicious of him. When, therefore, the suggestion reached them that they might as well inspect the curiosities of Hendlip Hall, the authorities lost no time in sending down Sir Henry Bromley, of Holt Castle, at the head of a searching party, for that purpose.

Until 1825 or thereabouts, Hendlip Hall remained standing, on the highest ground in the neighbourhood between Droitwich and Worcester, and rather nearer to the latter. A most curious, cunningly-planned, perplexing house it was—a house of houses wherein to secrete a political refugee or a Jesuit priest—full of surprises, unexpected turnings, sliding panels, and inconceivable closets without apparent entrances. "There is scarcely an apartment," wrote a spectator shortly before its destruction, "that has not secret ways of going in or going out; some have back staircases concealed in the walls; others have places of retreat in their chimneys; some have trap-doors, and all present a picture of gloom, insecurity, and suspicion." On one side was a high tower, from which the approach of any enemy could be easily observed. The house had been built in 1572, by John Abington, cofferer to Queen Elizabeth; but his son Thomas, the owner in 1605, had added the hiding-places. Such concealed chambers were very common in houses belonging to Roman Catholic families; and in the safest of all those at Hendlip Hall, two priests were at that moment in close confinement. The Government had been so far truly informed. Hall, too, was one of them: but Gerard was not the other. Sir William Wade would have danced in delight, could he have known that his colleagues were on the track of the great Provincial of the Jesuit Mission to this heathen country of England, the chief of all the conspirators yet left at large.

About two months before this, Garnet had come to the conclusion that he was no longer safe at Coughton, which, as the property of Mr Throckmorton, and lately in the occupation of Sir Everard Digby, would be likely to obtain a thorough overhauling. From Mr Hall he had received a pressing invitation to Hendlip for himself and his confidential servant, Nicholas Owen, who went by the name of "Little John." The latter was an old acquaintance at Hendlip, for it was his ingenuity that had devised the numerous hiding-places which had been added to the Hall by its present owner. To Hendlip accordingly Garnet removed from Coughton,—accompanied by Anne Vaux and the Brooksbys,— about the 16th of December, and for some weeks resided with the family without concealment. But on Monday, the 20th of January, as the day broke, Sir Henry Bromley and his troops marched up to and invested Hendlip Hall.

The Hon. Mrs Abington was a sister of Lord Monteagle, and was quite as good an actress as her brother was an actor. She possessed the power of assuming the most complete outward composure, as if nothing whatever were the matter, however adversely things might be going to her wishes. She had also a very quiet, very firm, very unmanageable will. Mr Abington was not at home; but that signified little, for the grey mare was unquestionably the superior creature of the pair.

If the information imparted to her so early on that morning had been that the cat had mewed, or that a hen had dropped a feather, the lady of Hendlip could scarcely have received it with more repose of manner.

"That is what we might look for," said she. "If it please you, holy Fathers, it might be as well that you should repair to one of your chambers for a while.—Bid Edward come to me."

Edward, a white-headed confidential servant with an aspect of appalling respectability, presented himself at once in response to his mistress's summons.

"Edward," said Mrs Abington, "I would have you, quickly, take up these holy Fathers to the hole in your chamber, and set Little John and Chambers in the next safest. There are enemies approaching."

Edward bowed his dignified head, and obeyed.

He led Garnet and Hall up the chief staircase, and into the bedroom occupied by Edward himself, which stood behind that of his master.

Garnet cast his eyes round the chamber.

"Truly, good Edward," said he, "I scarce see means to hide so much as a mouse in this chamber, other than in yonder closet, which is as plain as the door or the window."

Edward replied by an amused smile.

"You've a deal of book-learning, Father Garnet," said he, "but under your leave, there's a few things you don't know in this world."

He walked into the chimney-corner.

Chimneys, be it remembered, were much wider in the seventeenth century than they have been since the invention of grates. There was room in every chimney-corner, not only for the fire, but for one or two chairs and settles, where people could sit when they wished to warm themselves; and as there was no fire on Edward's hearth, moving about on it was as easy as in a closet.

"Are we to fly up the chimney on a pair of broomsticks?" laughed Hall.

Edward only smiled again, and after a moment's feeling with his hand among the bricks at the side of the chimney, they heard a sound as of the pushing back of bolts. Slowly, as if it moved with some difficulty, a square door opened in the chimney, so cleverly concealed that it required a skilful detective indeed to guess its existence. The door was of wood, "curiously covered over with brick, mortared and made fast" to it, "and coloured black like the other parts of the chimney, that very diligent inquiry might well have past by." Behind it was a very small square recess, large enough to hold the two, though not sufficiently high for them to stand upright. A narrow tunnel, in outward appearance like a chimney, led up to the top of the house, designed for the admission of light and air to the hiding-place, but capable of conveying no great quantity of either. Having fetched a short ladder, Edward placed it in position, so that the priests could climb up into the chamber.

"It had been more to your comfort, Fathers, could we have cast forth some of this furniture," he said, looking round it: "but it were scarce wise to defer the matter, the house being already invested."

"Let be, we will serve ourselves of it as it is, and well."

The priests mounted into the tiny hiding-place.

"See you, holy Fathers," Edward asked, "a vessel of tin, standing below a little hole in the wall? Have a care that you move it not without you first stop the hole, for it runneth through into my mistress's chamber, and by a quill or reed therein laid can she minister warm drinks unto you, as broths and caudle. She can likewise speak to you through the hole, and be heard: but if you hear the noise of feet or strange voices in that chamber, have a care to lie as squat [quiet] and close as ever you can. So may you safely hover [lie concealed]; for the cleverest soldier of them all shall be hard put to it to find you here, if it please God."

Would it please God? Did no memory come to either of those well-read priestly refugees of a familiar question—"Shall the throne of iniquity have fellowship with Thee?"

"A tight fit this, for two!" said Hall.

"Ay, it is. There hath not been above one here aforetime. But it is the safest hilling [hiding-place] in the house. Good-day, holy Fathers, and God keep you safe!"

While these scenes were enacting in one part of the house, in another Sir Henry Bromley was introducing himself to the lady of Hendlip Hall, and, with plumed hat in hand, apologising for his intrusion, and civilly requesting her permission to examine the house. A kindly, tender-hearted man was the commander of this searching party, but at the same time a conscientious one, and a determined Protestant.

If anything could be more considerate and cordial than Sir Henry's appeal, it was to all appearances the spirit wherein it was received. Mrs Abington begged her visitor not to speak of intrusion. His Majesty the King had no subjects more loyal than every man and woman in that house. It was really a source of pleasure to her that her abode should be scrutinised in the most critical manner, and her perfect innocence and submission to law thus made manifest. The lady at once delivered her keys—she did not say that a few of them were on a separate bunch— and requested that no quarter might be given. Appearances were so charming, and innocence apparently so clear, that they might have deluded a more astute man than Sir Henry Bromley.

Sir Henry, however, had come to do his duty, and he did it in spite of appearances. Lord Salisbury had furnished him with minute instructions, which pointed decidedly to probable need of caution in this respect. He was to search for a suspected vault at the east end of the dining-room; for a similar erection beneath the cellars; for ingenious closets squeezed in between the walls of upper rooms; for possible holes in corners and chimneys, wainscots which could be pierced by gimlets, double lofts, and concealed chambers in the rafters. Sir Henry set to work. "Madam," said he to Mrs Abington, "were it not more to the conveniency of yourself and these gentlewomen your friends, that you should take occasion to pay some visit forth of the house? I fear the noise made by my men, not to speak of the turning about of your chambers by taking up of boards and trying of wainscots, shall greatly incommode you if you tarry."

Sir Henry wanted sadly to get the ladies away. But Mrs Abington was quite as sagacious as himself, and more determined. She assured him that the noise was nothing, and the little novelties of holes in her dining-room floor and broken wainscots in her drawing-room would be rather amusing than otherwise. Poor Sir Henry, baffled by this clever woman, laments to Lord Salisbury,—"I did never hear so impudent liars as I find here—all recusants, and all resolved to confess nothing, what danger soever they incur.—I could by no means persuade the gentlewoman of the house to depart the house, without I should have carried her, which I held uncivil, as being so nobly born; as I have and do undergo the greater difficulties thereby."

The Monday night brought home the master of the house. He answered the queries of the gentlemen in possession with as much apparent frankness as his wife, but assured Sir Henry that the persons for whom he was searching were absolute strangers to him; he had never seen any of them save Gerard, and him only some five and twenty years before. For suspecting him of harbouring priests, not to speak of traitors, there was not a shadow of reason!

Sir Henry went on searching, though he was out of hope. In the first place, he discovered some parcels of "books and writing," which showed at that time that "some scholars" must have used them; an ordinary country gentleman was not expected to have any books, except Bible and prayer-books, one or two on law, needed in his capacity as a magistrate, a book on etiquette, and a few dog's-eared plays. On the Wednesday a discovery of more importance was made, for in three or four places where boards were uplifted, a quantity of "Popish trash" was brought to light. Thus encouraged, the searchers resolved to continue their work, which they were on the point of giving up. Mr Abington continued to protest his supreme innocence of all knowledge or connivance. The books were none of his; the "Popish stuff" astonished him as much as it did the searchers. This assumption of exquisite stainlessness lasted until one day a hiding-place was discovered, which contained his family muniments and the title-deeds of his estate. After that, Mr Abington protested no more; and it was needless, for he would not have been believed had he done so. Sir Henry at once despatched him to Worcester to be taken care of by a magistrate; and "being much wearied," on Wednesday night returned to his own house to take rest, leaving his brother Sir Edward in charge.

On the Thursday morning, when he returned to Hendlip, he was met by two wan, gaunt men, whose countenances showed privation and suffering. They gave their names as William Andrews and George Chambers.

By some unexplained want of care or foresight, these two unfortunate men had been suffered to secrete themselves without provisions, and had nothing but one apple between them from Monday to Thursday.

Sir Henry was delighted, for at first he thought he had secured Greenway and Hall. A little further examination, however, showed him that his captives were only the priests' servants; yet he shrewdly surmised that the servants being there, the masters in all probability were not far away.

For four days more the search was pursued in vain: but on the 27th news came that not only was Hall certainly concealed in the house, but that the most important of all the implicated Jesuits, Garnet, would probably be found by a diligent continuance of the search. It came from an unexpected quarter—no other than Red Humphrey Littleton.

Justice had not been slow in overtaking the harbourers of Robert Winter and Stephen Littleton. White and his brothers had got clear away; but Smart, Hollyhead, Perks, and Burford, suffered the last penalty of the law. Margaret Perks was pardoned, though condemned to death. Humphrey Littleton received the torture; and when apparently at the point of death, entreated permission to confess important facts, which he promised to do if his life might be spared. His appeal was granted, and he then told the authorities that the most important criminal still at large would be found in the priest's hiding-place at Hendlip Hall.

Fortified by this encouraging news, though the prisoners already taken denied all knowledge of any others being hidden in the house, Sir Henry pushed on his search; and at last, on the 28th, eight days after his arrival, one of his men broke into the cunningly contrived hiding-place in the chimney of Edward's room. This brave discoverer was so terrified by his own success that he ran away lest the priests should shoot him; but others coming rapidly to his assistance, the priests offered to come out if they might do so with quietude. "So they helped us out," says Garnet, "very charitably."

Garnet's account of their experiences in "the hoale," as he terms it, is not suggestive of an inviting place. "We were in the hoale seven days and seven nights and some hours, and were well wearied;" the place was so encumbered with books and furniture that they "could not find place for their legs" even when seated; and the cramped positions which they were compelled to assume caused their legs to swell greatly. Garnet seems to have suffered more of the two. Yet he adds that they were "very merry and content," and could have stayed three months, though when they came out at last, "we appeared like two ghosts."

Sir Henry Bromley at once recognised the Provincial of the Jesuit Mission; but which of his various aliases really belonged to him puzzled his captor not a little, and Garnet declined to enlighten him.

"Call me as you will," said he; "I refer all to my meeting with my Lord of Salisbury, and he will know me. In truth, I say not thus for any discourtesy, but that I will not, in the places we are, be made an obloquy: but when I come to London, I will not be ashamed of my name."

Sir Henry now marshalled his prisoners for transport to Worcester. He described them to the authorities as "Humphrey Phillips alias Henry Garnet; John Vincent alias Hall; Thomas Abington, Esquire; William Androwes alias Nicholas Owen, either a priest or servant to Garnet; George Chambers, servant of Hall; Edward Jarrett, servant of Mrs Dorathie Abington; William Glandishe, servant of Mr Abington." [Note 5.] Mr Abington and the priests were taken to Worcester in Sir Henry's coach. The mind of that gentleman was somewhat exercised as to what he was to do with them when he got them there. Before leaving Hendlip he had promised to place them in the house of some bailiff or citizen; but as they were driving into Worcester, he said uneasily—

"My masters, I cannot do for you as I would; I must needs send you to the gaol."

"In God's name!" [Note 6] responded Garnet. "But I hope you will provide we have not irons, for we are lame already, and shall not be able to ride after, to London."

Sir Henry's tender heart was touched at once.

"Well," said he, "I will think of it."

He thought of it to such purpose, that when they reached the inn, he placed Garnet in a private room, with a guard—his Reverence says, "to avoid the people's gazing;" Sir Henry would probably have added that it was also in order to prevent the prisoner's disappearance. After despatching his business he ordered his coach, and took his prisoners home with him to Holt Castle. Here, on their own testimony, they were "exceeding well used, and dined and supped with him and his every day,"—not without some apprehension on the part of their kindly gaoler that they might reward him by perverting his young daughters from the Protestant faith.

When Candlemas Day came, Sir Henry "made a great dinner to end Christmas," and sent for wine to drink the King's health. It was then customary for gentlemen always to dine with their hats on, and to uncover when a royal toast was proposed. The hats were doffed accordingly. The wine came in, and with it a wax candle, lighted—a blessed candle taken at Hendlip, among the "Popish trash," and destined for use on the services of that very day, having "Jesus" painted on one side of it, and "Maria" on the other. Garnet's heart leaped at the familiar sight, and he begged leave to take the candle in his hand. Passing it to Mr Hall, he said, half joyfully, half sadly—

"I am glad yet, that I have carried a holy candle on Candlemas Day."

Restoring the holy wax to the unholy candlestick, the priests drank the King's health in what Mr Garnet is kind enough to tell us was "a reasonable glass"—a piece of information the more valuable, since this adjective was not always applicable to his Reverence's glasses.

When they came to leave Worcester, the parting between Garnet and the ladies was almost affectionate. The priest was evidently possessed of that strong personal magnetism which some men and women have, and which is oftener exercised for the purposes of Satan than in the service of God.

"Madam," he said to Lady Bromley, "I desire you all to think well of me till you see whether I can justify myself in this cause."

The journey to London took longer than would otherwise have been needed, on account of the condition of the prisoners. Garnet, whose sufferings had been the more severe, was also the one in whom their results lasted longest; and on the 5th of February, Sir Henry wrote that he was "but a weak and wearisome traveller." He was, however, "passing well used at the King's charge, and that by express orders from my Lord Salisbury," and "had always the best horse in the company." Garnet adds, "I had sorde bickering with ministers by the way. Two very good scholars, and courteous, Mr Abbott and Mr Barlow, met us at an inn; but two other rude fellows met us on the way, whose discourtesy I rewarded with plain words, and so adieu." The Jesuit Superior apparently rather enjoyed a little brisk brushing of wits with well-educated gentlemanly clerics, but felt some disgust of abuse which passed for argument with others. On the evening of the 6th of February they reached London, where they were lodged in the Gate-house, and Garnet was "very sick the first two nights with ill lodging." It was not until the 13th that the first examination took place before the Privy Council at Whitehall.


Note 1. To which the reporter adds, "otherwise a Papist, which God for His mercy ever forbid!"

Note 2. To flewer or fleer is to smile in that grinning manner which shows all the teeth. Our forefathers considered it a mark of a sneering, envious man.

Note 3. Domestic State Papers, James the First, volume eighteen, article 20.

Note 4. This most untruthful gentleman asserted that "his true name was Oldcorne;" but Garnet and Anne Vaux both call him Hall in writing to each other.

Note 5. Domestic State Papers, James the First, volume 18, article 64. Mrs Dorathie Abington was Mr Abington's maiden sister, who lived at Hendlip Hall, and had a priest of her own, a Jesuit, named Butler or Lyster. He does not appear in this narrative, and was very likely absent.

Note 6. This was not meant profanely, but was simply equivalent to saying, "God's will be done!"



"Carry him forth and bury him. Death's peace Rest on his memory! Mercy by his bier Sits silent, or says only these few words— Let him who is without sin 'mongst ye all Cast the first stone."

Dinah Mulock.

A great crowd had assembled near Whitehall, and was lining Charing Cross and the Tiltyard below, on the morning of that 13th of February, when Sir Henry Bromley and his guard, with the prisoners in their midst, marched down the street to the Palace. Among them were Temperance Murthwaite and Rachel, and near them was Mrs Abbott. The crowd was deeply interested in the prisoners, especially the two priests.

"There is a Provincial!" said a respectable-looking man who stood next to Rachel.

"Ay, and there goeth a young Pope!" returned Temperance, grimly, in allusion to Hall.

"They bear a good brag, most of 'em," said the man. "Would we were rid of 'em all, neck and crop!" said another.

"Pack 'em off to the American plantations!" suggested a third.

"If I dwelt there, I shouldn't give you thanks," replied the first.

"Find some land where nought dwelleth save baboons and snakes, and send 'em all there in a lump," was the response.

"What think you, Rachel?" demanded Mrs Abbott, who was not often silent for so long at once.

"Why, they're men, just like other folks!" was Rachel's contribution.

"Did you think they'd have horns and tails?" said Temperance.

"Well, nay, not justly that," answered Rachel: "but I reckoned they'd ha' looked a bit more like wastrels [scoundrels]. Yon lad's none so bad-looking as many a man you may meet i' th' street. And th' owd un's meterly [middling], too. Happen [perhaps] they aren't any o' the worst."

"Why, maid," said the man who had first spoken, "that's Father Garnet, the head of all the Jesuits in this country; there isn't a craftier fox in all England than he."

"Well, I shouldn't ha' thought it," saith Rachel.

"Faces tell not alway truth," said Temperance.

"He's good eyes, though," remarked Mrs Abbott, "though they be a bit heavy, as though he'd had a poor night's rest."

"He's one o' them long, narrow faces," said the man; "I never trust such. And a long nose, too—just like a fox."

"Ay, I'll be bound he's a fause [cunning] un," commented Rachel.

"His mouth's the worst thing about him," said Temperance.

"It's a little un," observed Rachel.

"Little or big, it's a false one," answered Temperance. "There's a prim, fixed, sanctimonious look about it that I wouldn't trust with anything I cared to see safe."

"Eh, I'd none trust one o' them—not to sell a pound o' butter," said Rachel. "And by th' same token, Mrs Temperance, I mun be home to skim th' cream, or Charity'll take it off like a gaumless [stupid] lass as hoo [she] is. Hoo can do some things, well enough, but hoo cannot skim cream!"

"Go, good maid, if thou canst win out of this crowd, but methinks thou shalt have thy work cut out to do so."

"Eh, she will," said Mrs Abbott. "And mind you, Rachel! if you pull yourself forth, you'll find your gown in rags by the time you're at home. I do hope, neighbour, you deal not with Simpkinson, in the Strand; that rogue sold me ten ells of green stamyn, and charged me thirty shillings the ell, and I vow it was scarce made up ere it began a-coming to bits. I'll give it him when I can catch him! and if I serve not our Seth out for dinting in the blackjack last night, I'm a Dutch woman, and no mistake! Black jacks are half-a-crown apiece, and so I told him; but I'll give him a bit more afore I've done with him; trust me. There is no keeping lads in order. The mischievousness of 'em's past count. My husband, he says, 'Lads will be lads,'—he's that easy, if a mouse ran away with his supper from under his nose, he'd only call after it, 'Much good may it do thee.' Do you ever hear mice in your house, Mrs Murthwaite! I'm for ever and the day after plagued wi' them, and I do wish those lads 'ud make theirselves a bit useful and catch 'em, instead o' dinting in black jacks. But, dear heart, you'll as soon catch the mice as catch them at aught that's useful. They'll—"

"My mistress," said Mrs Abbott's next neighbour, "may I ask if your husband be a very silent man?"

"I'm sure o' that," said the man who followed him.

"Eh, bless you, they all talk and chatter at our house while I can't slip a word in," was the lady's answer.

"That's why she has so many to let go out o' door," remarked the last speaker.

"I thought so," observed the neighbour, "because I have marked that men and women do mostly wed with their contraries."

"Why, what mean you?" inquired Mrs Abbott, turning round to look him in the face.

"That my way lieth down this by-street," said he, working himself out of the crush into Channon Row, "and so I bid you all good-morrow."

Temperance Murthwaite laughed to herself, as she let herself in at the door of the White Bear, while Mrs Abbott hurried into the Angel with a box on the ear to Dorcas and Hester, who leaned upon the gate watching the crowd.

"Get you in to your business!" said she. "Chatter, chatter, chatter! One might as well live in a cage o' magpies at once, and ha' done with it. Be off with the pair of ye!"

Garnet's admissions in answer to the questions put to him were few and cautious. He allowed that for twenty years he had been the Superior of the English Jesuits, but denied any knowledge of the negotiations with Spain, carried on before the death of Queen Elizabeth. As to Fawkes, he had never seen him but once in his life, at the previous Easter. Questioned about White Webbs, he flatly denied that he ever was there, or anywhere near Enfield Chase "since Bartholomewtide." He was not in London or the suburbs in November. The Attorney-General was very kind to the prisoner, and promised "to make the best construction that he could" of his answers to the King; but Sir William Wade was not the man to accept the word of a Jesuit, unless it should be the word "Guilty." He accused Garnet of wholesale violation of the Decalogue in the plainest English, and coolly told him that he could not believe him on his oath, since the Pope could absolve him for any extent of lying or equivocation. It was plainly no easy matter to beguile Sir William Wade.

The next day, February 14th, Garnet and Hall were removed to the Tower of London, where the former found himself, to his satisfaction, lodged in "a very fine chamber," next to that of his brother priest. Here, as he records in a letter to his friends, he received the best treatment, being "allowed every meal a good draught of excellent claret wine," as well as permitted to send for additional sack out of his own purse for himself and the keeper: and he was suffered to vegetate as he thought proper, with only one sorrow to vex his soul—Sir William Wade.

Sir William Wade, the Lieutenant of the Tower, constituted himself the torment of poor Garnet's life. He was perpetually passing through his room, or at the furthest, loitering in the gallery beyond. Sometimes he treated the prisoner as beneath contempt, and would not utter a word to him; at other times he sat down and regaled him with conversation of a free and easy character. The scornful silence was bad enough, but the conversation was considerably worse. Whatever else Garnet was, he was an English gentleman, as his letters testify; and Sir William Wade was not. He was, on the contrary, one of those distressing people who pride themselves on being outspoken, and calling a spade a spade, which they do in the most vulgar and disagreeable manner. He favoured the prisoner with his unvarnished opinion of the Society to which he belonged, and with unsavoury anecdotes of its members, mingled with the bitterest abuse: and the worthy knight was not the man to spare his adjectives when a sufficient seasoning of them would add zest to a dish of nouns. At other times Sir William dipped his tongue in honey, and used the sweetest language imaginable. It is manifest from the manner in which Garnet mentions him, that the smallest of his trials was not Sir William Wade.

Mr Garnet's first act, on being inducted into these comfortable quarters in his Majesty's Tower, was to bribe his keeper to wink at his peccadilloes. A few cups of that supernumerary sack, and an occasional piece of silver, were worth expending on the safe carriage of his letters and other necessities which might in time arise. He made affectionate inquiries as to the keeper's domestic relations, and discovered that he was blessed with a wife and a mother. To the wife he despatched a little of that excellent sack, and secured permission for his letters to be placed in the custody of the mother, who dwelt just outside the walls. But he was especially rejoiced when, a few days after his incarceration, the keeper sidled up to him, with a finger on his lips and a wink in his eye, and beckoned him to a particular part of the room, where with great parade of care and silence he showed him a concealed door between his own cell and that of Hall, intimating by signs that secret communications might be held after this fashion, and he, the keeper, would take care to be conveniently blind and deaf.

This was a comfort indeed, for the imprisoned priests could now mutually forgive each others' sins. There was a little cranny in the top of the door, which might be utilised for a mere occasional whisper; but when a regular confession was to be made, the door of communication could be opened for an inch or two. The one drawback was that the vexatious door insisted on creaking, as if it were a Protestant door desirous of giving warning of Popish practices. But the Jesuits were equal to the difficulty. When the door was to be shut, the unemployed one either fell to shovelling coals upon the fire, or was suddenly seized with a severe bronchial cough, so that the ominous creak should not be heard outside. The comfort, therefore, remained; and heartily glad were the imprisoned Jesuits to have found this means of communication by the kind help of their tender-hearted keeper.

Alas, poor Jesuits! They little knew that they were caught in their own trap. The treacherous keeper drank their sack, and pocketed their angels, but their letters rarely went further than my Lord of Salisbury's desk; and in a convenient closet unseen by them, close to the creaking door, Mr Forset, a Justice of the Peace, and Mr Locherson, Lord Salisbury's secretary, were listening with all their ears to their confidential whispers, and taking thereby bad "coulds" which they subsequently had to go home and nurse. It was fox versus fox. As soon as the door was closed under cover of cough or coals, the hidden spies came quickly forth, and in another chamber wrote down the conversation just passed for the benefit of his Majesty's Judges.

Benighted Protestants were evidently Messrs. Forset and Locherson, for the "Catholic practice" of auricular confession was to them a strange and perplexing matter. They innocently record that "the confession was short, with a prayer in Latin before they did confess to each other, and beating their hands on their breasts." The Confiteor was succeeded by the whispered confession, in such low tones that scarcely anything reached the disappointed spies. Hall made his confession first, and Garnet followed. The subsequent conversation was in louder tones, though still whispered. Garnet informed his fellow-conspirator that he was suspicious of the good faith of some one whose name the spies failed to hear—to which frailty he allowed that he was very subject; that he had received a note from Thomas Rookwood, who told him of Greenway's escape, and from Gerard, who therefore was evidently in safety, though "he had been put to great plunges;" that he believed Mrs Anne was in the Town, and would let them hear from their friends; that the keeper had accepted an angel, and sundry cups of sack for himself and his wife, and taken them very kindly,—recommending similar treatment on Hall's part; that Garnet was very much afraid he should be driven to confess White Webbs, but if so, he would say that he "was there, but knew nothing of the matter." Then Hall made a remark lost by the spies, to which Garnet answered, with a profane invocation—too common in all ranks at that day—"How did they know that!" If he were pressed as to his treasonable practices before the Queen's death, he would admit them, seeing that he held a general pardon up to that time. Garnet bemoaned himself concerning Sir William Wade, and expressed his annoyance at the persistent questioning of the Court touching White Webbs.

"I think it not convenient," said he, "to deny that we were at White Webbs, they do so much insist upon that place. Since I came out of Essex I was there two times, and so I may say I was there; but they press me to be there in October last, which I will by no means confess, but I shall tell them I was not there since Bartholomewtide."

He expressed his apprehension lest the servants at White Webbs should be examined and tortured, which might "make them yield to some confession;" a fear which made him more resolute to admit nothing concerning the place. He was also very much afraid of being asked about certain letters which Lord Monteagle had written.

"But in truth I am well persuaded," he concluded, "that I shall wind myself out of that matter; and for any former business, I care not."

Just as Garnet whispered these words, footsteps were heard approaching the chamber.

"Hark you, hark you, Mr Hall!" cried Garnet in haste; "whilst I shut the door, make a hawking and a spitting."

Mr Hall obediently and energetically cleared his throat, under cover of which Garnet closed the door, and presented himself the next moment to the edified eyes of Sir William Wade in the pious aspect of a priest telling his beads.

Another conference through the door was held on the 25th of February, wherein Garnet was heard to lament to Hall that he "held not better concurrence"—namely, that he did not use diligence to tell exactly the arranged falsehoods on which the two had previously agreed. The poor spies found themselves in difficulties on this occasion through "a cock crowing under the window of the room, and the cackling of a hen at the very same instant." Hall, however, was heard to undertake a better adherence to his lesson. It is more than once noted by the spies that in these conferences the prisoners "used not one word of godliness or religion, or recommending themselves or their cause to God; but all hath been how to contrive safe answers."

During Garnet's imprisonment in the Tower, if his gaolers may be trusted, his consumption of that extra sack was not regulated by the rules of the Blue Ribbon Army. They averred that he was "indulgent to himself" in this particular, and "daily drank sack so liberally as if he meant to drown sorrow."

On the 26th, Garnet knew that one of his apprehensions was verified, when he was confronted with poor James Johnson, who had borne the torture so bravely, and who now admitted that the prisoner thus shown to him was the man whom he had known at White Webbs as Mr Mease, the supposed brother of his mistress, Mrs Perkins. He confessed that he had seen him many times. After this, it was useless to deny White Webbs any longer. Hall was examined on the same day; but being ignorant of the evidence given by Johnson, he audaciously affirmed that he had not visited White Webbs, and knew of no such place.

That evening, Garnet gave a shilling to his keeper, with a request to have some oranges brought to him. This fruit, first introduced into England about 1568, was at that time very cheap and plentiful, about eighteen-pence the hundred being the usual price. Sir William Wade, lounging about the gallery as usual, met the keeper as he came out of the cell with the money in his hand.

"What would the old fox now?" demanded he.

"An 't please you, Sir, Mr Garnet asked for oranges."

"Oh, come! he may have an orange or two—he can't do any harm with them without he choke himself, and that should spare the King the cost of a rope to hang him," said shrewd Sir William.

But he was not quite shrewd enough, for it never occurred to his non-Jesuitical mind that one of those innocent oranges was destined to play the part of a traitorous inkstand by the Reverend Henry Garnet.

A large sheet of paper, folded letter-wise, came out of the prison in the keeper's hand an hour later. It was addressed to the Reverend Thomas Rookwood, and contained only—in appearance—the following very unobjectionable words. They were written in ink, at the top of the first page:—

"Let these spectacles be set in leather, and with a leather case, or let the fould be fitter for the nose.—Yours for ever, Henry Garnett."

Who could think of detaining so innocent a missive, or prevent the poor prisoner from obtaining a pair of comfortable spectacles? But when the sheet of paper was held to the fire, a very different letter started out, in faint tracings of orange-juice:—

"This bearer knoweth that I write thus, but thinks it must be read with water. The papers sent with bisket-bread I was forced to burn, and did not read. I am sorry they have, without advise of friends, adventured in so wicked an action.—I must needs acknowledge my being with the two sisters, and that at White Webbs, as is trew, for they are so jealous of White Webbs that I can no way else satisfy. My names I all confesse but that last... I have acknowledged that I went from Sir Everard's to Coughton... Where is Mrs Anne?"

A few days later, on the 2nd of March, after a careful reconnoitre to avoid the ubiquitous Sir William, Garnet applied his lips to the cranny in the door.

"Hark you! is all well? Let us go to confession first, if you will."

The spies, ensconced in secret, confess that they heard nothing of Hall's confession, but that Garnet several times interrupted it with "Well, well!"

Garnet then made his own confession, "very much more softlier than he used to whisper in their interloqucions." It was short, but unless the spy was mistaken, "he confessed that he had drunk so extraordinarily that he was forced to go two nights to bed betimes." Then something was said concerning Jesuits, to which Garnet added—

"That cannot be; I am Chancellor. It might proceed of the malice of the priests."

The conversation on this occasion was brought to a hasty close by Garnet's departure to read or write a letter; Mr Hall being requested to "make a noise with the shovel" while he was shutting the door.

The second letter to Mr Thomas Rookwood followed this interview. It was equally short in its ostensible length, and piously acknowledged the receipt of two bands, two handkerchiefs, one pair of socks, and a Bible. Beneath came the important postscript "Your last letter I could not read; the pen did not cast incke. Mr Catesby did me much wrong, and hath confessed that he asked me the question in Queen Elizabeth's time of the powder action, and I said it was lawfull: all which is most untrew. He did it to draw in others. I see no advantage they have against me for the powder action." [Gunpowder Plot Book, article 242.]

Garnet added that his friend might communicate with him through letters left in charge of the keeper's mother; but he begged him not to pay a personal visit unless he could first make sure that the redoubtable Wade was absent.

An answer from the Reverend Thomas consisted, to all appearance, of a simple sheet of writing-paper, enclosing a pair of spectacles in their case, and bearing the few words written outside—"I pray you prove whether the spectacles do fit your sight." Inside, in orange-juice, was the real communication, from Anne Vaux, wherein she promised to come to the garden, and begged Garnet to appoint a time when she might hope to see him. [Gunpowder Plot Book, article 243.] This seems to show that Garnet was sometimes allowed the liberty of the Tower garden.

On the 5th of March, Hall and Garnet were re-examined, when Hall confessed the truth of the conversations through the door, and Garnet denied them. The same day, the latter wrote a long letter, addressed to Mrs Anne Vaux or any of his friends, giving a full account of his sufferings while in "the hoale" at Hendlip Hall, and of his present condition in the Tower. Remarking that he was permitted to purchase sherry out of his own purse, Garnet adds—

"This is the greatest charge I shall be at, for fire will soon be unnecessary, if I live so long, whereof I am very uncertain, and as careless... They say I was at White Webbs with the conspirators; I said, if I was ever there after the 1st of September, I was guilty of the powder action. The time of my going to Coughton is a great presumption, but all Catholics know it was necessary. I thank God, I am and have been intrepidus, wherein I marvail at myself, having had such apprehension before; but it is God's grace."

On the third examination, which was on the 6th of March, both Garnet and Hall confessed White Webbs at last,—the former, that he had hired the house for the meetings of the conspirators, the latter that they had met there twice in the year. Garnet also allowed that Perkins was the alias of the Hon. Anne Vaux, to avoid whose indictment he afterwards said his confession had been made. It is evident, from several allusions in his letters, that Garnet was terribly afraid of torture, and almost equally averse to confronting witnesses. The first was merely human nature; the second speaks ill for his consciousness of that innocence which he repeatedly asserts.

But not yet had the Gunpowder Plot secured its latest or its saddest victim. Soon after Sir Henry Bromley's departure from Hendlip, Mrs Abington came to London, bringing Anne Vaux with her, and they took lodgings in Fetter Lane, then a more aristocratic locality than now. Here they remained for a few weeks, doing all that could be done to help Garnet, and poor Anne continually haunting the neighbourhood of his prison, and trying to catch glimpses of him, if not to obtain stolen interviews, at the garden gate. But on the 10th of March the authorities interfered, and Anne Vaux was a prisoner of the Tower. Examined on the following day, she deposed that she "kept the house at White Webbs at her own charge;" that she was visited there by Catesby, Thomas Winter, Tresham, and others, but said that she could not remember dates nor further names. She refused to admit that Garnet had been there, but she allowed that she had been among the party of pilgrims to Saint Winifred's Well, in company with Lady Digby and others whom she declined to name. Lastly, she persisted in saying that she had known nothing of the plot.

She was told—not improbably by Sir William Wade, and if so, we may be sure, not very tenderly—that Garnet had been one of the chief criminals. A few sorrowful lines remain showing the spirit in which she heard it. They were written on the 12th of March.

"I am most sore to here that Father Garnet shoulde be ane wease pryue to this most wicked actione, as himselfe euer cauled it, for that hee made to mee maney greate prostertations to the contrari diuers times sence.

"Anne Vaux." [Gunpowder Plot Book, article 201.]

After this, Garnet gave up the fiction of his total ignorance of the conspirators' object. In his fourth examination, on the 13th of March, he said that on the demise of Queen Elizabeth, he had received a letter from the General of the Jesuits, stating that the new Pope Clement had confirmed the order of his predecessor that no such plot should be set on foot, and that Garnet had accordingly done what in him lay to turn Catesby from the idea. Catesby, however, thought himself authorised by two briefs received by Garnet about twelve months earlier, commanding the Roman Catholics of England not to consent to any successor of Elizabeth who should refuse to submit to Rome. These Garnet had shown to Catesby before destroying them. It is evident from these admissions, not only that Garnet had been privy to the plot from the first, but also that it was known at Rome, and controlled from the Vatican—forbidden when success appeared unlikely, and smiled on as soon as it seemed probable.

Shortly after this, a letter came from Anne Vaux—a letter which sadly reveals the character of its writer, and shows how different life might have been for this poor passionate-hearted woman, had she not been crushed under the iron heel of Rome.

"To live without you," she writes to Garnet, "it is not life, but death! Now I see my los. I am and euer will be yours, and so I humbly beseche you to account me. O that I might see you!"

Her second examination took place a few days later, on the 24th of March. She now acknowledged that Tresham Catesby, and Garnet, used to meet at her house at Wandsworth: and that Garnet was wont to say to them, when they were engaged in discussion,—"Good gentlemen, be quiet; God will do all for the best; and we must get it by prayer at God's hands, in whose hands are the hearts of princes." The confession was carried to Garnet. Poor frail, loving heart! she meant to save him, and he knew it. He wrote calmly underneath—

"I do acknowledge these meetings.—H. Garnett." [Gunpowder Plot Book, article 212.]

Even her very gaolers dealt pitifully with Anne Vaux. "This gentlewoman," said Lord Salisbury to Garnet, "hath harboured you these twelve years last past, and seems to speak for you in her confessions; I think she would sacrifice herself for you to do you good, and you likewise for her."

Garnet made no answer.

Letters continued to pass between the cells. A remarkable one was sent to Anne on the 2nd of April, written principally in orange-juice, on the question which she had submitted to Garnet as to her living abroad after her release.

"Concerning the disposal of yourself, I give you leave to go over to them. The vow of obedience ceaseth, being made to the Superior of this Mission: you may, upon deliberation, make it to some there. If you like to stay here, then I exempt you, till a Superior be appointed, whom you may acquaint: but tell him that you made your vow yourself, and then told me; and that I limited certain conditions, as that you are not bound to sin [Note 1] except you be commanded in virtute obedientiae. We may accept no vows, but men may make them as they list, and we after give directions accordingly. Mr Hall dreamed that the General... provided two fair tabernacles or seats for us: and this he dreamed twice." [Gunpowder Plot Book, article 245.]

The sentence in italics is terrible. No Protestant ever penned a darker indictment against Popery.

Anne Vaux received this letter, for she answered it at once. She speaks of her "vow of poverty," and adds—

"Mr Haule his dreame had been a great cumfert, if at the fute of the throne there had bin a place for me. God and you know my unworthenes.— Yours and not my own, Anne Vaux." [Gunpowder Plot Book, article 246.]

On the following day, Garnet wrote again—eight closely covered pages, in his own hand throughout. I append a few extracts from this pathetic letter.

"My very loving and most dear Sister,—I will say what I think it best for you to do, when it please God to set you at liberty. If you can stay in England, and enjoy the use of the Sacraments as heretofore, it would be best: and then I wish that you and your sister live as before in a house of common repair of the Society, or where the Superior of the Mission shall ordinarily remain: or if this cannot be, then make choice of some one of the Society, as you shall like, which I am sure will be granted you. If you like to go over, stay at Saint Omer, and send for Friar Baldwin, with whom consult where to live: but I think Saint Omer less healthy than Brussels. In respect of your weakness, I think it better for you to live abroad, and not in a monastery. Your vow of obedience, being made to the Superior of the Mission here, when you are over, ceaseth: and then may you consult how to make it again. None of the Society can accept a vow of obedience of any; but any one may vow as he will, and then one of the Society may direct accordingly."

Garnet proceeds to say that the vow of poverty was to cease in like manner, and might be similarly renewed. "All that which is for annuities" he had always meant to be hers, in the hope that she would afterwards leave it to the Jesuit Mission: but she is at liberty, if she wish it, to alienate a third of this, or if she should desire at any time to "retire into religion,"—i.e., to become a nun—and require a portion, she is to help herself freely. He "thanks God most humbly that in all his speeches and practices he has had a desire to do nothing against the glory of God." He was so much annoyed by having been misunderstood by the two spies that he "thought it would make our actions much more excusable to tell the truth, than to stand to the torture, or trial by witnesses." As to his acquaintance with the plot, he sought to hinder it more than men can imagine, as the Pope can tell: how could he have dissuaded the conspirators if he had absolutely known nothing? But he thought it not allowable to tell what he knew. None of them ever told him anything, though they used his name freely—he implies, more freely than truth justified them in doing: "yet have I hurt nobody." He ordered the removal of certain books which he does not further describe; if they be found, "you can challenge them as your own, as in truth they are." He will "die not as a victorious martyr, but as a penitent thief:" but "let God work His will." The most touching words are the last. Up to this point, the spiritual director has been addressing his subject. Now the priest disappears, and the man's heart breaks out.

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