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Peveril of the Peak
by Sir Walter Scott
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"And I think I recollect," said Captain Dangerfield——

"Come, come, master and captain," said the authoritative voice of Topham, "we will have none of your recollections at present. We all know what these are likely to end in. But I will have you know, you are not to run till the leash is slipped. The young man is a well-looking lad, and gave up his horse handsomely for the service of the House of Commons. He knows how to behave himself to his betters, I warrant you; and I scarce think he has enough in his purse to pay the fees."

This speech concluded the dialogue, which Peveril, finding himself so much concerned in the issue, thought it best to hear to an end. Now, when it ceased, to get out of the town unobserved, and take the nearest way to his father's castle, seemed his wisest plan. He had settled his reckoning at the inn, and brought with him to Bridlesley's the small portmanteau which contained his few necessaries, so that he had no occasion to return thither. He resolved, therefore, to ride some miles before he stopped, even for the purpose of feeding his horse; and being pretty well acquainted with the country, he hoped to be able to push forward to Martindale Castle sooner than the worshipful Master Topham; whose saddle was, in the first place, to be padded, and who, when mounted, would, in all probability, ride with the precaution of those who require such security against the effects of a hard trot.

Under the influence of these feelings, Julian pushed for Warrington, a place with which he was well acquainted; but, without halting in the town, he crossed the Mersey, by the bridge built by an ancestor of his friend the Earl of Derby, and continued his route towards Dishley, on the borders of Derbyshire. He might have reached this latter village easily, had his horse been fitter for a forced march; but in the course of the journey, he had occasion, more than once, to curse the official dignity of the person who had robbed him of his better steed, while taking the best direction he could through a country with which he was only generally acquainted.

At length, near Altringham, a halt became unavoidable; and Peveril had only to look for some quiet and sequestered place of refreshment. This presented itself, in the form of a small cluster of cottages; the best of which united the characters of an alehouse and a mill, where the sign of the Cat (the landlord's faithful ally in defence of his meal-sacks), booted as high as Grimalkin in the fairy tale, and playing on the fiddle for the more grace, announced that John Whitecraft united the two honest occupations of landlord and miller; and, doubtless, took toll from the public in both capacities.

Such a place promised a traveller, who journeyed incognito, safer, if not better accommodation, than he was like to meet with in more frequented inns; and at the door of the Cat and Fiddle, Julian halted accordingly.



CHAPTER XXI

In these distracted times, when each man dreads The bloody stratagems of busy hands. —OTWAY.

At the door of the Cat and Fiddle, Julian received the usual attention paid to the customers of an inferior house of entertainment. His horse was carried by a ragged lad, who acted as hostler, into a paltry stable; where, however, the nag was tolerably supplied with food and litter.

Having seen the animal on which his comfort, perhaps his safety, depended, properly provided for, Peveril entered the kitchen, which indeed was also the parlour and hall of the little hostelry, to try what refreshment he could obtain for himself. Much to his satisfaction, he found there was only one guest in the house besides himself; but he was less pleased when he found that he must either go without dinner, or share with that single guest the only provisions which chanced to be in the house, namely, a dish of trouts and eels, which their host, the miller, had brought in from his mill-stream.

At the particular request of Julian, the landlady undertook to add a substantial dish of eggs and bacon, which perhaps she would not have undertaken for, had not the sharp eye of Peveril discovered the flitch hanging in its smoky retreat, when, as its presence could not be denied, the hostess was compelled to bring it forward as a part of her supplies.

She was a buxom dame about thirty, whose comely and cheerful countenance did honour to the choice of the jolly miller, her loving mate; and was now stationed under the shade of an old-fashioned huge projecting chimney, within which it was her province to "work i' the fire," and provide for the wearied wayfaring man, the good things which were to send him rejoicing on his course. Although, at first, the honest woman seemed little disposed to give herself much additional trouble on Julian's account, yet the good looks, handsome figure, and easy civility of her new guest, soon bespoke the principal part of her attention; and while busy in his service, she regarded him, from time to time, with looks, where something like pity mingled with complacency. The rich smoke of the rasher, and the eggs with which it was flanked, already spread itself through the apartment; and the hissing of these savoury viands bore chorus to the simmering of the pan, in which the fish were undergoing a slower decoction. The table was covered with a clean huck-aback napkin, and all was in preparation for the meal, which Julian began to expect with a good deal of impatience, when the companion, who was destined to share it with him, entered the apartment.

At the first glance Julian recognised, to his surprise, the same indifferently dressed, thin-looking person, who, during the first bargain which he had made with Bridlesley, had officiously interfered with his advice and opinion. Displeased at having the company of any stranger forced upon him, Peveril was still less satisfied to find one who might make some claim of acquaintance with him, however slender, since the circumstances in which he stood compelled him to be as reserved as possible. He therefore turned his back upon his destined messmate, and pretended to amuse himself by looking out of the window, determined to avoid all intercourse until it should be inevitably forced upon him.

In the meanwhile, the other stranger went straight up to the landlady, where she toiled on household cares intent, and demanded of her, what she meant by preparing bacon and eggs, when he had positively charged her to get nothing ready but the fish.

The good woman, important as every cook in the discharge of her duty, deigned not for some time so much as to acknowledge that she heard the reproof of her guest; and when she did so, it was only to repel it in a magisterial and authoritative tone.—"If he did not like bacon—(bacon from their own hutch, well fed on pease and bran)—if he did not like bacon and eggs—(new-laid eggs, which she had brought in from the hen-roost with her own hands)—why so put case—it was the worse for his honour, and the better for those who did."

"The better for those who like them?" answered the guest; "that is as much as to say I am to have a companion, good woman."

"Do not good woman me, sir," replied the miller's wife, "till I call you good man; and, I promise you, many would scruple to do that to one who does not love eggs and bacon of a Friday."

"Nay, my good lady," said her guest, "do not fix any misconstruction upon me—I dare say the eggs and the bacon are excellent; only they are rather a dish too heavy for my stomach."

"Ay, or your conscience perhaps, sir," answered the hostess. "And now, I bethink me, you must needs have your fish fried with oil, instead of the good drippings I was going to put to them. I would I could spell the meaning of all this now; but I warrant John Bigstaff, the constable, could conjure something out of it."

There was a pause here; but Julian, somewhat alarmed at the tone which the conversation assumed, became interested in watching the dumb show which succeeded. By bringing his head a little towards the left, but without turning round, or quitting the projecting latticed window where he had taken his station, he could observe that the stranger, secured, as he seemed to think himself, from observation, had sidled close up to the landlady, and, as he conceived, had put a piece of money into her hand. The altered tone of the miller's moiety corresponded very much with this supposition.

"Nay, indeed, and forsooth," she said, "her house was Liberty Hall; and so should every publican's be. What was it to her what gentlefolks ate or drank, providing they paid for it honestly? There were many honest gentlemen, whose stomachs could not abide bacon, grease, or dripping, especially on a Friday; and what was that to her, or any one in her line, so gentlefolks paid honestly for the trouble? Only, she would say, that her bacon and eggs could not be mended betwixt this and Liverpool, and that she would live and die upon."

"I shall hardly dispute it," said the stranger; and turning towards Julian, he added, "I wish this gentleman, who I suppose is my trencher-companion, much joy of the dainties which I cannot assist him in consuming."

"I assure you, sir," answered Peveril, who now felt himself compelled to turn about, and reply with civility, "that it was with difficulty I could prevail on my landlady to add my cover to yours, though she seems now such a zealot for the consumption of eggs and bacon."

"I am zealous for nothing," said the landlady, "save that men would eat their victuals, and pay their score; and if there be enough in one dish to serve two guests, I see little purpose in dressing them two; however, they are ready now, and done to a nicety.—Here, Alice! Alice!"

The sound of that well-known name made Julian start; but the Alice who replied to the call ill resembled the vision which his imagination connected with the accents, being a dowdy slipshod wench, the drudge of the low inn which afforded him shelter. She assisted her mistress in putting on the table the dishes which the latter had prepared; and a foaming jug of home-brewed ale being placed betwixt them, was warranted by Dame Whitecraft as excellent; "for," said she, "we know by practice that too much water drowns the miller, and we spare it on our malt as we would in our mill-dam."

"I drink to your health in it, dame," said the elder stranger; "and a cup of thanks for these excellent fish; and to the drowning of all unkindness between us."

"I thank you, sir," said the dame, "and wish you the like; but I dare not pledge you, for our Gaffer says that ale is brewed too strong for women; so I only drink a glass of canary at a time with a gossip, or any gentleman guest that is so minded."

"You shall drink one with me, then, dame," said Peveril, "so you will let me have a flagon."

"That you shall, sir, and as good as ever was broached; but I must to the mill, to get the key from the goodman."

So saying, and tucking her clean gown through the pocket-holes, that her steps might be the more alert, and her dress escape dust, off she tripped to the mill, which lay close adjoining.

"A dainty dame, and dangerous, is the miller's wife," said the stranger, looking at Peveril. "Is not that old Chaucer's phrase?"

"I—I believe so," said Peveril, not much read in Chaucer, who was then even more neglected than at present; and much surprised at a literary quotation from one of the mean appearance exhibited by the person before him.

"Yes," answered the stranger, "I see that you, like other young gentlemen of the time, are better acquainted with Cowley and Waller, than with the 'well of English undefiled.' I cannot help differing. There are touches of nature about the old bard of Woodstock, that, to me, are worth all the turns of laborious wit in Cowley, and all the ornate and artificial simplicity of his courtly competitor. The description, for instance, of his country coquette—

'Wincing she was, as is a wanton colt, Sweet as a flower, and upright as a bolt.'

Then, again, for pathos, where will you mend the dying scene of Arcite?

'Alas, my heart's queen! alas, my wife! Giver at once, and ender of my life. What is this world?—What axen men to have? Now with his love—now in his cold grave Alone, withouten other company.'

But I tire you, sir; and do injustice to the poet, whom I remember but by halves."

"On the contrary, sir," replied Peveril, "you make him more intelligible to me in your recitation, than I have found him when I have tried to peruse him myself."

"You were only frightened by the antiquated spelling, and 'the letters black,'" said his companion. "It is many a scholar's case, who mistakes a nut, which he could crack with a little exertion, for a bullet, which he must needs break his teeth on; but yours are better employed.—Shall I offer you some of this fish?"

"Not so, sir," replied Julian, willing to show himself a man of reading in his turn; "I hold with old Caius, and profess to fear judgment, to fight where I cannot choose, and to eat no fish."

The stranger cast a startled look around him at this observation, which Julian had thrown out, on purpose to ascertain, if possible, the quality of his companion, whose present language was so different from the character he had assumed at Bridlesley's. His countenance, too, although the features were of an ordinary, not to say mean cast, had that character of intelligence which education gives to the most homely face; and his manners were so easy and disembarrassed, as plainly showed a complete acquaintance with society, as well as the habit of mingling with it in the higher stages. The alarm which he had evidently shown at Peveril's answer, was but momentary; for he almost instantly replied, with a smile, "I promise you, sir, that you are in no dangerous company; for notwithstanding my fish dinner, I am much disposed to trifle with some of your savoury mess, if you will indulge me so far."

Peveril accordingly reinforced the stranger's trencher with what remained of the bacon and eggs, and saw him swallow a mouthful or two with apparent relish; but presently after began to dally with his knife and fork, like one whose appetite was satiated; and then took a long draught of the black jack, and handed his platter to the large mastiff dog, who, attracted by the smell of the dinner, had sat down before him for some time, licking his chops, and following with his eye every morsel which the guest raised to his head.

"Here, my poor fellow," said he, "thou hast had no fish, and needest this supernumerary trencher-load more than I do. I cannot withstand thy mute supplication any longer."

The dog answered these courtesies by a civil shake of the tail, while he gobbled up what was assigned him by the stranger's benevolence, in the greater haste, that he heard his mistress's voice at the door.

"Here is the canary, gentlemen," said the landlady; "and the goodman has set off the mill, to come to wait on you himself. He always does so, when company drink wine."

"That he may come in for the host's, that is, for the lion's share," said the stranger, looking at Peveril.

"The shot is mine," said Julian; "and if mine host will share it, I will willingly bestow another quart on him, and on you, sir. I never break old customs."

These sounds caught the ear of Gaffer Whitecraft, who had entered the room, a strapping specimen of his robust trade, prepared to play the civil, or the surly host, as his company should be acceptable or otherwise. At Julian's invitation, he doffed his dusty bonnet—brushed from his sleeve the looser particles of his professional dust—and sitting down on the end of a bench, about a yard from the table, filled a glass of canary, and drank to his guests, and "especially to this noble gentleman," indicating Peveril, who had ordered the canary.

Julian returned the courtesy by drinking his health, and asking what news were about in the country?

"Nought, sir, I hears on nought, except this Plot, as they call it, that they are pursuing the Papishers about; but it brings water to my mill, as the saying is. Between expresses hurrying hither and thither, and guards and prisoners riding to and again, and the custom of the neighbours, that come to speak over the news of an evening, nightly, I may say, instead of once a week, why, the spigot is in use, gentlemen, and your land thrives; and then I, serving as constable, and being a known Protestant, I have tapped, I may venture to say, it may be ten stands of ale extraordinary, besides a reasonable sale of wine for a country corner. Heaven make us thankful, and keep all good Protestants from Plot and Popery."

"I can easily conceive, my friend," said Julian, "that curiosity is a passion which runs naturally to the alehouse; and that anger, and jealousy, and fear, are all of them thirsty passions, and great consumers of home-brewed. But I am a perfect stranger in these parts; and I would willingly learn, from a sensible man like you, a little of this same Plot, of which men speak so much, and appear to know so little."

"Learn a little of it?—Why, it is the most horrible—the most damnable, bloodthirsty beast of a Plot—But hold, hold, my good master; I hope, in the first place, you believe there is a Plot; for, otherwise, the Justice must have a word with you, as sure as my name is John Whitecraft."

"It shall not need," said Peveril; "for I assure you, mine host, I believe in the Plot as freely and fully as a man can believe in anything he cannot understand."

"God forbid that anybody should pretend to understand it," said the implicit constable; "for his worship the Justice says it is a mile beyond him; and he be as deep as most of them. But men may believe, though they do not understand; and that is what the Romanists say themselves. But this I am sure of, it makes a rare stirring time for justices, and witnesses, and constables.—So here's to your health again, gentlemen, in a cup of neat canary."

"Come, come, John Whitecraft," said the wife, "do not you demean yourself by naming witnesses along with justices and constables. All the world knows how they come by their money."

"Ay, but all the world knows that they do come by it, dame; and that is a great comfort. They rustle in their canonical silks, and swagger in their buff and scarlet, who but they?—Ay, ay, the cursed fox thrives—and not so cursed neither. Is there not Doctor Titus Oates, the saviour of the nation—does he not live at Whitehall, and eat off plate, and have a pension of thousands a year, for what I know? and is he not to be Bishop of Litchfield, so soon as Dr. Doddrum dies?"

"Then I hope Dr. Doddrum's reverence will live these twenty years; and I dare say I am the first that ever wished such a wish," said the hostess. "I do not understand these doings, not I; and if a hundred Jesuits came to hold a consult at my house, as they did at the White Horse Tavern, I should think it quite out of the line of business to bear witness against them, provided they drank well, and paid their score."

"Very true, dame," said her elder guest; "that is what I call keeping a good publican conscience; and so I will pay my score presently, and be jogging on my way."

Peveril, on his part, also demanded a reckoning, and discharged it so liberally, that the miller flourished his hat as he bowed, and the hostess courtesied down to the ground.

The horses of both guests were brought forth; and they mounted, in order to depart in company. The host and hostess stood in the doorway, to see them depart. The landlord proffered a stirrup-cup to the elder guest, while the landlady offered Peveril a glass from her own peculiar bottle. For this purpose, she mounted on the horse-block, with flask and glass in hand; so that it was easy for the departing guest, although on horse-back, to return the courtesy in the most approved manner, namely, by throwing his arm over his landlady's shoulder, and saluting her at parting.

Dame Whitecraft did not decline this familiarity; for there is no room for traversing upon a horse-block, and the hands which might have served her for resistance, were occupied with glass and bottle—matters too precious to be thrown away in such a struggle. Apparently, however, she had something else in her head; for as, after a brief affectation of reluctance, she permitted Peveril's face to approach hers, she whispered in his ear, "Beware of trepans!"—an awful intimation, which, in those days of distrust, suspicion, and treachery, was as effectual in interdicting free and social intercourse, as the advertisement of "man-traps and spring-guns," to protect an orchard. Pressing her hand, in intimation that he comprehended her hint, she shook his warmly in return, and bade God speed him. There was a cloud on John Whitecraft's brow; nor did his final farewell sound half so cordial as that which had been spoken within doors. But then Peveril reflected, that the same guest is not always equally acceptable to landlord and landlady; and unconscious of having done anything to excite the miller's displeasure, he pursued his journey without thinking farther of the matter.

Julian was a little surprised, and not altogether pleased, to find that his new acquaintance held the same road with him. He had many reasons for wishing to travel alone; and the hostess's caution still rung in his ears. If this man, possessed of so much shrewdness as his countenance and conversation intimated, versatile, as he had occasion to remark, and disguised beneath his condition, should prove, as was likely, to be a concealed Jesuit or seminary-priest, travelling upon their great task of the conversion of England, and rooting out of the Northern heresy,—a more dangerous companion, for a person in his own circumstances, could hardly be imagined; since keeping society with him might seem to authorise whatever reports had been spread concerning the attachment of his family to the Catholic cause. At the same time, it was very difficult, without actual rudeness, to shake off the company of one who seemed so determined, whether spoken to or not, to remain alongside of him.

Peveril tried the experiment of riding slow; but his companion, determined not to drop him, slackened his pace, so as to keep close by him. Julian then spurred his horse to a full trot; and was soon satisfied, that the stranger, notwithstanding the meanness of his appearance, was so much better mounted than himself, as to render vain any thought of outriding him. He pulled up his horse to a more reasonable pace, therefore, in a sort of despair. Upon his doing so, his companion, who had been hitherto silent, observed, that Peveril was not so well qualified to try speed upon the road, as he would have been had he abode by his first bargain of horse-flesh that morning.

Peveril assented dryly, but observed, that the animal would serve his immediate purpose, though he feared it would render him indifferent company for a person better mounted.

"By no means," answered his civil companion; "I am one of those who have travelled so much, as to be accustomed to make my journey at any rate of motion which may be most agreeable to my company."

Peveril made no reply to this polite intimation, being too sincere to tender the thanks which, in courtesy, were the proper answer.—A second pause ensued, which was broken by Julian asking the stranger whether their roads were likely to lie long together in the same direction.

"I cannot tell," said the stranger, smiling, "unless I knew which way you were travelling."

"I am uncertain how far I shall go to-night," said Julian, willingly misunderstanding the purport of the reply.

"And so am I," replied the stranger; "but though my horse goes better than yours, I think it will be wise to spare him; and in case our road continues to lie the same way, we are likely to sup, as we have dined together."

Julian made no answer whatever to this round intimation, but continued to ride on, turning, in his own mind, whether it would not be wisest to come to a distinct understanding with his pertinacious attendant, and to explain, in so many words, that it was his pleasure to travel alone. But, besides that the sort of acquaintance which they had formed during dinner, rendered him unwilling to be directly uncivil towards a person of gentleman-like manners, he had also to consider that he might very possibly be mistaken in this man's character and purpose; in which case, the cynically refusing the society of a sound Protestant, would afford as pregnant matter of suspicion, as travelling in company with a disguised Jesuit.

After brief reflection, therefore, he resolved to endure the encumbrance of the stranger's society, until a fair opportunity should occur to rid himself of it; and, in the meantime, to act with as much caution as he possibly could, in any communication that might take place between them; for Dame Whitecraft's parting caution still rang anxiously in his ears, and the consequences of his own arrest upon suspicion, must deprive him of every opportunity of serving his father, or the countess, or Major Bridgenorth, upon whose interest, also, he had promised himself to keep an eye.

While he revolved these things in his mind, they had journeyed several miles without speaking; and now entered upon a more waste country, and worse roads, than they had hitherto found, being, in fact, approaching the more hilly district of Derbyshire. In travelling on a very stony and uneven lane, Julian's horse repeatedly stumbled; and, had he not been supported by the rider's judicious use of the bridle, must at length certainly have fallen under him.

"These are times which crave wary riding, sir," said his companion; "and by your seat in the saddle, and your hand on the rein, you seem to understand it to be so."

"I have been long a horseman, sir," answered Peveril.

"And long a traveller, too, sir, I should suppose; since by the great caution you observe, you seem to think the human tongue requires a curb, as well as the horse's jaws."

"Wiser men than I have been of opinion," answered Peveril, "that it were a part of prudence to be silent, when men have little or nothing to say."

"I cannot approve of their opinion," answered the stranger. "All knowledge is gained by communication, either with the dead, through books, or, more pleasingly, through the conversation of the living. The deaf and dumb, alone, are excluded from improvement; and surely their situation is not so enviable that we should imitate them."

At this illustration, which awakened a startling echo in Peveril's bosom, the young man looked hard at his companion; but in the composed countenance, and calm blue eye, he read no consciousness of a farther meaning than the words immediately and directly implied. He paused a moment, and then answered, "You seem to be a person, sir, of shrewd apprehension; and I should have thought it might have occurred to you, that in the present suspicious times, men may, without censure, avoid communication with strangers. You know not me; and to me you are totally unknown. There is not room for much discourse between us, without trespassing on the general topics of the day, which carry in them seeds of quarrel between friends, much more betwixt strangers. At any other time, the society of an intelligent companion would have been most acceptable upon my solitary ride; but at present——"

"At present!" said the other, interrupting him. "You are like the old Romans, who held that hostis meant both a stranger and an enemy. I will therefore be no longer a stranger. My name is Ganlesse—by profession I am a Roman Catholic priest—I am travelling here in dread of my life—and I am very glad to have you for a companion."

"I thank you for the information with all my heart," said Peveril; "and to avail myself of it to the uttermost, I must beg you to ride forward, or lag behind, or take a side-path, at your own pleasure; for as I am no Catholic, and travel upon business of high concernment, I am exposed both to risk and delay, and even to danger, by keeping such suspicious company. And so, Master Ganlesse, keep your own pace, and I will keep the contrary; for I beg leave to forbear your company."

As Peveril spoke thus, he pulled up his horse, and made a full stop.

The stranger burst out a-laughing. "What!" he said, "you forbear my company for a trifle of danger? Saint Anthony! How the warm blood of the Cavaliers is chilled in the young men of the present day! This young gallant, now, has a father, I warrant, who has endured as many adventures for hunting priests, as a knight-errant for distressed damsels."

"This raillery avails nothing, sir," said Peveril. "I must request you will keep your own way."

"My way is yours," said the pertinacious Master Ganlesse, as he called himself; "and we will both travel the safer, that we journey in company. I have the receipt of fern-seed, man, and walk invisible. Besides, you would not have me quit you in this lane, where there is no turn to right or left?"

Peveril moved on, desirous to avoid open violence—for which the indifferent tone of the traveller, indeed, afforded no apt pretext—yet highly disliking his company, and determined to take the first opportunity to rid himself of it.

The stranger proceeded at the same pace with him, keeping cautiously on his bridle hand, as if to secure that advantage in case of a struggle. But his language did not intimate the least apprehension. "You do me wrong," he said to Peveril, "and you equally wrong yourself. You are uncertain where to lodge to-night—trust to my guidance. Here is an ancient hall, within four miles, with an old knightly Pantaloon for its lord—an all-be-ruffed Dame Barbara for the lady gay—a Jesuit, in a butler's habit, to say grace—an old tale of Edgehill and Worster fights to relish a cold venison pasty, and a flask of claret mantled with cobwebs—a bed for you in the priest's hiding-hole—and, for aught I know, pretty Mistress Betty, the dairy-maid, to make it ready."

"This has no charms for me, sir," said Peveril, who, in spite of himself, could not but be amused with the ready sketch which the stranger gave of many an old mansion in Cheshire and Derbyshire, where the owners retained the ancient faith of Rome.

"Well, I see I cannot charm you in this way," continued his companion; "I must strike another key. I am no longer Ganlesse, the seminary priest, but (changing his tone, and snuffling in the nose) Simon Canter, a poor preacher of the Word, who travels this way to call sinners to repentance; and to strengthen, and to edify, and to fructify among the scattered remnant who hold fast the truth.—What say you to this, sir?"

"I admire your versatility, sir, and could be entertained with it at another time. At present sincerity is more in request."

"Sincerity!" said the stranger;—"a child's whistle, with but two notes in it—yea, yea, and nay, nay. Why, man, the very Quakers have renounced it, and have got in its stead a gallant recorder, called Hypocrisy, that is somewhat like Sincerity in form, but of much greater compass, and combines the whole gamut. Come, be ruled—be a disciple of Simon Canter for the evening, and we will leave the old tumble-down castle of the knight aforesaid, on the left hand, for a new brick-built mansion, erected by an eminent salt-boiler from Namptwich, who expects the said Simon to make a strong spiritual pickle for the preservation of a soul somewhat corrupted by the evil communications of this wicked world. What say you? He has two daughters—brighter eyes never beamed under a pinched hood; and for myself, I think there is more fire in those who live only to love and to devotion, than in your court beauties, whose hearts are running on twenty follies besides. You know not the pleasure of being conscience-keeper to a pretty precisian, who in one breath repeats her foibles, and in the next confesses her passion. Perhaps, though, you may have known such in your day? Come, sir, it grows too dark to see your blushes; but I am sure they are burning on your cheek."

"You take great freedom, sir," said Peveril, as they now approached the end of the lane, where it opened on a broad common; "and you seem rather to count more on my forbearance, than you have room to do with safety. We are now nearly free of the lane which has made us companions for this late half hour. To avoid your farther company, I will take the turn to the left, upon that common; and if you follow me, it shall be at your peril. Observe, I am well armed; and you will fight at odds."

"Not at odds," returned the provoking stranger, "while I have my brown jennet, with which I can ride round and round you at pleasure; and this text, of a handful in length (showing a pistol which he drew from his bosom), which discharges very convincing doctrine on the pressure of a forefinger, and is apt to equalise all odds, as you call them, of youth and strength. Let there be no strife between us, however—the moor lies before us—choose your path on it—I take the other."

"I wish you good night, sir," said Peveril to the stranger. "I ask your forgiveness, if I have misconstrued you in anything; but the times are perilous, and a man's life may depend on the society in which he travels."

"True," said the stranger; "but in your case, the danger is already undergone, and you should seek to counteract it. You have travelled in my company long enough to devise a handsome branch of the Popish Plot. How will you look, when you see come forth, in comely folio form, The Narrative of Simon Canter, otherwise called Richard Ganlesse, concerning the horrid Popish Conspiracy for the Murder of the King, and Massacre of all Protestants, as given on oath to the Honourable House of Commons; setting forth, how far Julian Peveril, younger of Martindale Castle, is concerned in carrying on the same——"

"How, sir? What mean you?" said Peveril, much startled.

"Nay, sir," replied his companion, "do not interrupt my title-page. Now that Oates and Bedloe have drawn the great prizes, the subordinate discoverers get little but by the sale of their Narrative; and Janeway, Newman, Simmons, and every bookseller of them, will tell you that the title is half the narrative. Mine shall therefore set forth the various schemes you have communicated to me, of landing ten thousand soldiers from the Isle of Man upon the coast of Lancashire; and marching into Wales, to join the ten thousand pilgrims who are to be shipped from Spain; and so completing the destruction of the Protestant religion, and of the devoted city of London. Truly, I think such a Narrative, well spiced with a few horrors, and published cum privilegio parliamenti, might, though the market be somewhat overstocked, be still worth some twenty or thirty pieces."

"You seem to know me, sir," said Peveril; "and if so, I think I may fairly ask you your purpose in thus bearing me company, and the meaning of all this rhapsody. If it be mere banter, I can endure it within proper limit; although it is uncivil on the part of a stranger. If you have any farther purpose, speak it out; I am not to be trifled with."

"Good, now," said the stranger, laughing, "into what an unprofitable chafe you have put yourself! An Italian fuoruscito, when he desires a parley with you, takes aim from behind a wall, with his long gun, and prefaces his conference with Posso tirare. So does your man-of-war fire a gun across the bows of a Hansmogan Indiaman, just to bring her to; and so do I show Master Julian Peveril, that, if I were one of the honourable society of witnesses and informers, with whom his imagination has associated me for these two hours past, he is as much within my danger now, as what he is ever likely to be." Then, suddenly changing his tone to serious, which was in general ironical, he added, "Young man, when the pestilence is diffused through the air of a city, it is in vain men would avoid the disease, by seeking solitude, and shunning the company of their fellow-sufferers."

"In what, then, consists their safety?" said Peveril, willing to ascertain, if possible, the drift of his companion's purpose.

"In following the counsels of wise physicians;" such was the stranger's answer.

"And as such," said Peveril, "you offer me your advice?"

"Pardon me, young man," said the stranger haughtily, "I see no reason I should do so.—I am not," he added, in his former tone, "your fee'd physician—I offer no advice—I only say it would be wise that you sought it."

"And from whom, or where, can I obtain it?" said Peveril. "I wander in this country like one in a dream; so much a few months have changed it. Men who formerly occupied themselves with their own affairs, are now swallowed up in matters of state policy; and those tremble under the apprehension of some strange and sudden convulsion of empire, who were formerly only occupied by the fear of going to bed supperless. And to sum up the matter, I meet a stranger apparently well acquainted with my name and concerns, who first attaches himself to me, whether I will or no; and then refuses me an explanation of his business, while he menaces me with the strangest accusations."

"Had I meant such infamy," said the stranger, "believe me, I had not given you the thread of my intrigue. But be wise, and come one with me. There is, hard by, a small inn, where, if you can take a stranger's warrant for it, we shall sleep in perfect security."

"Yet, you yourself," said Peveril, "but now were anxious to avoid observation; and in that case, how can you protect me?"

"Pshaw! I did but silence that tattling landlady, in the way in which such people are most readily hushed; and for Topham, and his brace of night owls, they must hawk at other and lesser game than I should prove."

Peveril could not help admiring the easy and confident indifference with which the stranger seemed to assume a superiority to all the circumstances of danger around him; and after hastily considering the matter with himself, came to the resolution to keep company with him for this night at least; and to learn, if possible, who he really was, and to what party in the estate he was attached. The boldness and freedom of his talk seemed almost inconsistent with his following the perilous, though at that time the gainful trade of an informer. No doubt, such persons assumed every appearance which could insinuate them into the confidence of their destined victims; but Julian thought he discovered in this man's manner, a wild and reckless frankness, which he could not but connect with the idea of sincerity in the present case. He therefore answered, after a moment's recollection, "I embrace your proposal, sir; although, by doing so, I am reposing a sudden, and perhaps an unwary, confidence."

"And what am I, then, reposing in you?" said the stranger. "Is not our confidence mutual?"

"No; much the contrary. I know nothing of you whatever—you have named me; and, knowing me to be Julian Peveril, know you may travel with me in perfect security."

"The devil I do!" answered his companion. "I travel in the same security as with a lighted petard, which I may expect to explode every moment. Are you not the son of Peveril of the Peak, with whose name Prelacy and Popery are so closely allied, that no old woman of either sex in Derbyshire concludes her prayer without a petition to be freed from all three? And do you not come from the Popish Countess of Derby, bringing, for aught I know, a whole army of Manxmen in your pocket, with full complement of arms, ammunition, baggage, and a train of field artillery?"

"It is not very likely I should be so poorly mounted," said Julian, laughing, "if I had such a weight to carry. But lead on, sir. I see I must wait for your confidence, till you think proper to confer it; for you are already so well acquainted with my affairs, that I have nothing to offer you in exchange for it."

"Allons, then," said his companion; "give your horse the spur, and raise the curb rein, lest he measure the ground with his nose instead of his paces. We are not now more than a furlong or two from the place of entertainment."

They mended their pace accordingly, and soon arrived at the small solitary inn which the traveller had mentioned. When its light began to twinkle before them, the stranger, as if recollecting something he had forgotten, "By the way, you must have a name to pass by; for it may be ill travelling under your own, as the fellow who keeps this house is an old Cromwellian. What will you call yourself?—My name is—for the present—Ganlesse."

"There is no occasion to assume a name at all," answered Julian. "I do not incline to use a borrowed one, especially as I may meet with some one who knows my own."

"I will call you Julian, then," said Master Ganlesse; "for Peveril will smell, in the nostrils of mine host, of idolatry, conspiracy, Smithfield faggots, fish on Fridays, the murder of Sir Edmondsbury Godfrey, and the fire of purgatory."

As he spoke thus, they alighted under the great broad-branched oak tree, that served to canopy the ale-bench, which, at an earlier hour, had groaned under the weight of a frequent conclave of rustic politicians. Ganlesse, as he dismounted, whistled in a particularly shrill note, and was answered from within the house.



CHAPTER XXII

He was a fellow in a peasant's garb; Yet one could censure you a woodcock's carving. Like any courtier at the ordinary. —THE ORDINARY.

The person who appeared at the door of the little inn to receive Ganlesse, as we mentioned in our last chapter, sung, as he came forward, this scrap of an old ballad,—

"Good even to you, Diccon; And how have you sped; Bring you the bonny bride To banquet and bed?"

To which Ganlesse answered, in the same tone and tune,—

"Content thee, kind Robin; He need little care, Who brings home a fat buck Instead of a hare."

"You have missed your blow, then?" said the other, in reply.

"I tell you I have not," answered Ganlesse; "but you will think of nought but your own thriving occupation—May the plague that belongs to it stick to it! though it hath been the making of thee."

"A man must live, Diccon Ganlesse," said the other.

"Well, well," said Ganlesse, "bid my friend welcome, for my sake. Hast thou got any supper?"

"Reeking like a sacrifice—Chaubert has done his best. That fellow is a treasure! give him a farthing candle, and he will cook a good supper out of it.—Come in, sir. My friend's friend is welcome, as we say in my country."

"We must have our horses looked to first," said Peveril, who began to be considerably uncertain about the character of his companions—"that done, I am for you."

Ganlesse gave a second whistle; a groom appeared, who took charge of both their horses, and they themselves entered the inn.

The ordinary room of a poor inn seemed to have undergone some alterations, to render it fit for company of a higher description. There were a beaufet, a couch, and one or two other pieces of furniture, of a style inconsistent with the appearance of the place. The tablecloth, which was already laid, was of the finest damask; and the spoons, forks, &c., were of silver. Peveril looked at this apparatus with some surprise; and again turning his eyes attentively upon his travelling companion, Ganlesse, he could not help discovering (by the aid of imagination, perhaps), that though insignificant in person, plain in features, and dressed like one in indigence, there lurked still about his person and manners, that indefinable ease of manner which belongs only to men of birth and quality, or to those who are in the constant habit of frequenting the best company. His companion, whom he called Will Smith, although tall and rather good-looking, besides being much better dressed, had not, nevertheless, exactly the same ease of demeanour; and was obliged to make up for the want, by an additional proportion of assurance. Who these two persons could be, Peveril could not attempt even to form a guess. There was nothing for it but to watch their manner and conversation.

After speaking a moment in whispers, Smith said to his companion, "We must go look after our nags for ten minutes, and allow Chaubert to do his office."

"Will not he appear, and minister before us, then?" said Ganlesse.

"What! he?—he shift a trencher—he hand a cup?—No, you forget whom you speak of. Such an order were enough to make him fall on his own sword—he is already on the borders of despair, because no craw-fish are to be had."

"Alack-a day!" replied Ganlesse. "Heaven forbid I should add to such a calamity! To stable, then, and see we how our steeds eat their provender, while ours is getting ready."

They adjourned to the stable accordingly, which, though a poor one, had been hastily supplied with whatever was necessary for the accommodation of four excellent horses; one of which, that from which Ganlesse was just dismounted, the groom we have mentioned was cleaning and dressing by the light of a huge wax-candle.

"I am still so far Catholic," said Ganlesse, laughing, as he saw that Peveril noticed this piece of extravagance. "My horse is my saint, and I dedicate a candle to him."

"Without asking so great a favour for mine, which I see standing behind yonder old hen-coop," replied Peveril, "I will at least relieve him of his saddle and bridle."

"Leave him to the lad of the inn," said Smith; "he is not worthy of any other person's handling; and I promise you, if you slip a single buckle, you will so flavour of that stable duty, that you might as well eat roast-beef as ragouts, for any relish you will have of them."

"I love roast-beef as well as ragouts, at any time," said Peveril, adjusting himself to a task which every young man should know how to perform when need is; "and my horse, though it be but a sorry jade, will champ better on hay and corn, than on an iron bit."

While he was unsaddling his horse, and shaking down some litter for the poor wearied animal, he heard Smith observe to Ganlesse,—"By my faith, Dick, thou hast fallen into poor Slender's blunder; missed Anne Page, and brought us a great lubberly post-master's boy."

"Hush, he will hear thee," answered Ganlesse; "there are reasons for all things—it is well as it is. But, prithee, tell thy fellow to help the youngster."

"What!" replied Smith, "d'ye think I am mad?—Ask Tom Beacon—Tom of Newmarket—Tom of ten thousand, to touch such a four-legged brute as that?—Why, he would turn me away on the spot—discard me, i'faith. It was all he would do to take in hand your own, my good friend; and if you consider him not the better, you are like to stand groom to him yourself to-morrow."

"Well, Will," answered Ganlesse, "I will say that for thee, thou hast a set of the most useless, scoundrelly, insolent vermin about thee, that ever ate up a poor gentleman's revenues."

"Useless? I deny it," replied Smith. "Every one of my fellows does something or other so exquisitely, that it were sin to make him do anything else—it is your jacks-of-all-trades who are masters of none.—But hark to Chaubert's signal. The coxcomb is twangling it on the lute, to the tune of Eveillez-vous, belle endormie.—Come, Master What d'ye call (addressing Peveril),—get ye some water, and wash this filthy witness from your hand, as Betterton says in the play; for Chaubert's cookery is like Friar Bacon's Head—time is—time was—time will soon be no more."

So saying, and scarce allowing Julian time to dip his hands in a bucket, and dry them on a horse-cloth, he hurried him from the stable back to the supper-chamber.

Here all was prepared for their meal, with an epicurean delicacy, which rather belonged to the saloon of a palace, than the cabin in which it was displayed. Four dishes of silver, with covers of the same metal, smoked on the table; and three seats were placed for the company. Beside the lower end of the board, was a small side-table, to answer the purpose of what is now called a dumb waiter; on which several flasks reared their tall, stately, and swan-like crests, above glasses and rummers. Clean covers were also placed within reach; and a small travelling-case of morocco, hooped with silver, displayed a number of bottles, containing the most approved sauces that culinary ingenuity had then invented.

Smith, who occupied the lower seat, and seemed to act as president of the feast, motioned the two travellers to take their places and begin. "I would not stay a grace-time," he said, "to save a whole nation from perdition. We could bring no chauffettes with any convenience; and even Chaubert is nothing, unless his dishes are tasted in the very moment of projection. Come, uncover, and let us see what he has done for us.—Hum!—ha!—ay—squab-pigeons—wildfowl—young chickens—venison cutlets—and a space in the centre, wet, alas! by a gentle tear from Chaubert's eye, where should have been the soupe aux ecrevisses. The zeal of that poor fellow is ill repaid by his paltry ten louis per month."

"A mere trifle," said Ganlesse; "but, like yourself, Will, he serves a generous master."

The repast now commenced; and Julian, though he had seen his young friend the Earl of Derby, and other gallants, affect a considerable degree of interest and skill in the science of the kitchen, and was not himself either an enemy or a stranger to the pleasures of a good table, found that, on the present occasion, he was a mere novice. Both his companions, but Smith in especial, seemed to consider that they were now engaged in the only true business of life; and weighed all its minutiae with a proportional degree of accuracy. To carve the morsel in the most delicate manner—and to apportion the proper seasoning with the accuracy of the chemist,—to be aware, exactly, of the order in which one dish should succeed another, and to do plentiful justice to all—was a minuteness of science to which Julian had hitherto been a stranger. Smith accordingly treated him as a mere novice in epicurism, cautioning him to eat his soup before the bouilli, and to forget the Manx custom of bolting the boiled meat before the broth, as if Cutlar MacCulloch and all his whingers were at the door. Peveril took the hint in good part, and the entertainment proceeded with animation.

At length Ganlesse paused, and declared the supper exquisite. "But, my friend Smith," he added, "are your wines curious? When you brought all that trash of plates and trumpery into Derbyshire, I hope you did not leave us at the mercy of the strong ale of the shire, as thick and muddy as the squires who drink it?"

"Did I not know that you were to meet me, Dick Ganlesse?" answered their host. "And can you suspect me of such an omission? It is true, you must make champagne and claret serve, for my burgundy would not bear travelling. But if you have a fancy for sherry, or Vin de Cahors, I have a notion Chaubert and Tom Beacon have brought some for their own drinking."

"Perhaps the gentlemen would not care to impart," said Ganlesse.

"Oh, fie!—anything in the way of civility," replied Smith. "They are, in truth, the best-natured lads alive, when treated respectfully; so that if you would prefer——"

"By no means," said Ganlesse—"a glass of champagne will serve in a scarcity of better."

"The cork shall start obsequious to my thumb."

said Smith; and as he spoke, he untwisted the wire, and the cork struck the roof of the cabin. Each guest took a large rummer glass of the sparkling beverage, which Peveril had judgment and experience enough to pronounce exquisite.

"Give me your hand, sir," said Smith; "it is the first word of sense you have spoken this evening."

"Wisdom, sir," replied Peveril, "is like the best ware in the pedlar's pack, which he never produces till he knows his customer."

"Sharp as mustard," returned the bon vivant; "but be wise, most noble pedlar, and take another rummer of this same flask, which you see I have held in an oblique position for your service—not permitting it to retrograde to the perpendicular. Nay, take it off before the bubble bursts on the rim, and the zest is gone."

"You do me honour, sir," said Peveril, taking the second glass. "I wish you a better office than that of my cup-bearer."

"You cannot wish Will Smith one more congenial to his nature," said Ganlesse. "Others have a selfish delight in the objects of sense, Will thrives, and is happy by imparting them to his friends."

"Better help men to pleasures than to pains, Master Ganlesse," answered Smith, somewhat angrily.

"Nay, wrath thee not, Will," said Ganlesse; "and speak no words in haste, lest you may have cause to repent at leisure. Do I blame thy social concern for the pleasures of others? Why, man, thou dost therein most philosophically multiply thine own. A man has but one throat, and can but eat, with his best efforts, some five or six times a day; but thou dinest with every friend that cuts a capon, and art quaffing wine in other men's gullets, from morning to night—et sic de caeteris."

"Friend Ganlesse," returned Smith, "I prithee beware—thou knowest I can cut gullets as well as tickle them."

"Ay, Will," answered Ganlesse carelessly; "I think I have seen thee wave thy whinyard at the throat of a Hogan-Mogan—a Netherlandish weasand, which expanded only on thy natural and mortal objects of aversion,—Dutch cheese, rye-bread, pickled herring, onion, and Geneva."

"For pity's sake, forbear the description!" said Smith; "thy words overpower the perfumes, and flavour the apartment like a dish of salmagundi!"

"But for an epiglottis like mine," continued Ganlesse, "down which the most delicate morsels are washed by such claret as thou art now pouring out, thou couldst not, in thy bitterest mood, wish a worse fate than to be necklaced somewhat tight by a pair of white arms."

"By a tenpenny cord," answered Smith; "but not till you were dead; that thereafter you be presently embowelled, you being yet alive; that your head be then severed from your body, and your body divided into quarters, to be disposed of at his Majesty's pleasure.—How like you that, Master Richard Ganlesse?"

"E'en as you like the thoughts of dining on bran-bread and milk-porridge—an extremity which you trust never to be reduced to. But all this shall not prevent me from pledging you in a cup of sound claret."

As the claret circulated, the glee of the company increased; and Smith placing the dishes which had been made use of upon the side-table, stamped with his foot on the floor, and the table sinking down a trap, again rose, loaded with olives, sliced neat's tongue, caviare, and other provocatives for the circulation of the bottle.

"Why, Will," said Ganlesse, "thou art a more complete mechanist than I suspected; thou hast brought thy scene-shifting inventions to Derbyshire in marvellously short time."

"A rope and pullies can be easily come by," answered Will; "and with a saw and a plane, I can manage that business in half a day. I love the knack of clean and secret conveyance—thou knowest it was the foundation of my fortunes."

"It may be the wreck of them too, Will," replied his friend.

"True, Diccon," answered Will; "but, dum vivimus, vivamus,—that is my motto; and therewith I present you a brimmer to the health of the fair lady you wot of."

"Let it come, Will," replied his friend; and the flask circulated briskly from hand to hand.

Julian did not think it prudent to seem a check on their festivity, as he hoped in its progress something might occur to enable him to judge of the character and purposes of his companions. But he watched them in vain. Their conversation was animated and lively, and often bore reference to the literature of the period, in which the elder seemed particularly well skilled. They also talked freely of the Court, and of that numerous class of gallants who were then described as "men of wit and pleasure about town;" and to which it seemed probable they themselves appertained.

At length the universal topic of the Popish Plot was started; upon which Ganlesse and Smith seemed to entertain the most opposite opinions. Ganlesse, if he did not maintain the authority of Oates in its utmost extent, contended, that at least it was confirmed in a great measure by the murder of Sir Edmondsbury Godfrey, and the letters written by Coleman to the confessor of the French King.

With much more noise, and less power of reasoning, Will Smith hesitated not to ridicule and run down the whole discovery, as one of the wildest and most causeless alarms which had ever been sounded in the ears of a credulous public. "I shall never forget," he said, "Sir Godfrey's most original funeral. Two bouncing parsons, well armed with sword and pistol, mounted the pulpit, to secure the third fellow who preached from being murdered in the face of the congregation. Three parsons in one pulpit—three suns in one hemisphere—no wonder men stood aghast at such a prodigy."

"What then, Will," answered his companion, "you are one of those who think the good knight murdered himself, in order to give credit to the Plot?"

"By my faith, not I," said the other; "but some true blue Protestant might do the job for him, in order to give the thing a better colour.—I will be judged by our silent friend, whether that be not the most feasible solution of the whole."

"I pray you, pardon me, gentlemen," said Julian; "I am but just landed in England, and am a stranger to the particular circumstances which have thrown the nation into such a ferment. It would be the highest degree of assurance in me to give my opinion betwixt gentlemen who argue the matter so ably; besides, to say truth, I confess weariness—your wine is more potent than I expected, or I have drunk more of it than I meant to do."

"Nay, if an hour's nap will refresh you," said the elder of the strangers, "make no ceremony with us. Your bed—all we can offer as such—is that old-fashioned Dutch-built sofa, as the last new phrase calls it. We shall be early stirrers tomorrow morning."

"And that we may be so," said Smith, "I propose that we do sit up all this night—I hate lying rough, and detest a pallet-bed. So have at another flask, and the newest lampoon to help it out—

'Now a plague of their votes Upon Papists and Plots, And be d—d Doctor Oates. Tol de rol.'"

"Nay, but our Puritanic host," said Ganlesse.

"I have him in my pocket, man—his eyes, ears, nose, and tongue," answered his boon companion, "are all in my possession."

"In that case, when you give him back his eyes and nose, I pray you keep his ears and tongue," answered Ganlesse. "Seeing and smelling are organs sufficient for such a knave—to hear and tell are things he should have no manner of pretensions to."

"I grant you it were well done," answered Smith; "but it were a robbing of the hangman and the pillory; and I am an honest fellow, who would give Dun[*] and the devil his due. So,

'All joy to great Caesar, Long life, love, and pleasure; May the King live for ever, 'Tis no matter for us, boys.'"

[*] Dun was the hangman of the day at Tyburn. He was successor of Gregory Brunden, who was by many believed to be the same who dropped the axe upon Charles I., though others were suspected of being the actual regicide.

While this Bacchanalian scene proceeded, Julian had wrapt himself closely in his cloak, and stretched himself on the couch which they had shown him. He looked towards the table he had left—the tapers seemed to become hazy and dim as he gazed—he heard the sound of voices, but they ceased to convey any impression to his understanding; and in a few minutes, he was faster asleep than he had ever been in the whole course of his life.



CHAPTER XXIII

The Gordon then his bugle blew, And said, awa, awa; The House of Rhodes is all on flame, I hauld it time to ga'. —OLD BALLAD.

When Julian awaked the next morning, all was still and vacant in the apartment. The rising sun, which shone through the half-closed shutters, showed some relics of the last night's banquet, which his confused and throbbing head assured him had been carried into a debauch.

Without being much of a boon companion, Julian, like other young men of the time, was not in the habit of shunning wine, which was then used in considerable quantities; and he could not help being surprised, that the few cups he had drunk over night had produced on his frame the effects of excess. He rose up, adjusted his dress, and sought in the apartment for water to perform his morning ablutions, but without success. Wine there was on the table; and beside it one stool stood, and another lay, as if thrown down in the heedless riot of the evening. "Surely," he thought to himself, "the wine must have been very powerful, which rendered me insensible to the noise my companions must have made ere they finished their carouse."

With momentary suspicion he examined his weapons, and the packet which he had received from the Countess, and kept in a secret pocket of his upper coat, bound close about his person. All was safe; and the very operation reminded him of the duties which lay before him. He left the apartment where they had supped, and went into another, wretched enough, where, in a truckle-bed, were stretched two bodies, covered with a rug, the heads belonging to which were amicably deposited upon the same truss of hay. The one was the black shock-head of the groom; the other, graced with a long thrum nightcap, showed a grizzled pate, and a grave caricatured countenance, which the hook-nose and lantern-jaws proclaimed to belong to the Gallic minister of good cheer, whose praises he had heard sung forth on the preceding evening. These worthies seemed to have slumbered in the arms of Bacchus as well as of Morpheus, for there were broken flasks on the floor; and their deep snoring alone showed that they were alive.

Bent upon resuming his journey, as duty and expedience alike dictated, Julian next descended the trap-stair, and essayed a door at the bottom of the steps. It was fastened within. He called—no answer was returned. It must be, he thought, the apartment of the revellers, now probably sleeping as soundly as their dependants still slumbered, and as he himself had done a few minutes before. Should he awake them?—To what purpose? They were men with whom accident had involved him against his own will; and situated as he was, he thought it wise to take the earliest opportunity of breaking off from society which was suspicious, and might be perilous. Ruminating thus, he essayed another door, which admitted him to a bedroom, where lay another harmonious slumberer. The mean utensils, pewter measures, empty cans and casks, with which this room was lumbered, proclaimed it that of the host, who slept surrounded by his professional implements of hospitality and stock-in-trade.

This discovery relieved Peveril from some delicate embarrassment which he had formerly entertained. He put upon the table a piece of money, sufficient, as he judged, to pay his share of the preceding night's reckoning; not caring to be indebted for his entertainment to the strangers, whom he was leaving without the formality of an adieu.

His conscience cleared of this gentleman-like scruple, Peveril proceeded with a light heart, though somewhat a dizzy head, to the stable, which he easily recognised among a few other paltry outhouses. His horse, refreshed with rest, and perhaps not unmindful of his services the evening before, neighed as his master entered the stable; and Peveril accepted the sound as an omen of a prosperous journey. He paid the augury with a sieveful of corn; and, while his palfrey profited by his attention, walked into the fresh air to cool his heated blood, and consider what course he should pursue in order to reach the Castle of Martindale before sunset. His acquaintance with the country in general gave him confidence that he could not have greatly deviated from the nearest road; and with his horse in good condition, he conceived he might easily reach Martindale before nightfall.

Having adjusted his route in his mind, he returned into the stable to prepare his steed for the journey, and soon led him into the ruinous courtyard of the inn, bridled, saddled, and ready to be mounted. But as Peveril's hand was upon the mane, and his left foot in the stirrup, a hand touched his cloak, and the voice of Ganlesse said, "What, Master Peveril, is this your foreign breeding? or have you learned in France to take French leave of your friends?"

Julian started like a guilty thing, although a moment's reflection assured him that he was neither wrong nor in danger. "I cared not to disturb you," he said, "although I did come as far as the door of your chamber. I supposed your friend and you might require, after our last night's revel, rather sleep than ceremony. I left my own bed, though a rough one, with more reluctance than usual; and as my occasions oblige me to be an early traveller, I thought it best to depart without leave-taking. I have left a token for mine host on the table of his apartment."

"It was unnecessary," said Ganlesse; "the rascal is already overpaid.—But are you not rather premature in your purpose of departing? My mind tells me that Master Julian Peveril had better proceed with me to London, than turn aside for any purpose whatever. You may see already that I am no ordinary person, but a master-spirit of the time. For the cuckoo I travel with, and whom I indulge in his prodigal follies, he also has his uses. But you are a different cast; and I not only would serve you, but even wish you, to be my own."

Julian gazed on this singular person when he spoke. We have already said his figure was mean and slight, with very ordinary and unmarked features, unless we were to distinguish the lightnings of a keen grey eye, which corresponded in its careless and prideful glance, with the haughty superiority which the stranger assumed in his conversation. It was not till after a momentary pause that Julian replied, "Can you wonder, sir, that in my circumstances—if they are indeed known to you so well as they seem—I should decline unnecessary confidence on the affairs of moment which have called me hither, or refuse the company of a stranger, who assigns no reason for desiring mine?"

"Be it as you list, young man," answered Ganlesse; "only remember hereafter, you had a fair offer—it is not every one to whom I would have made it. If we should meet hereafter, on other, and on worse terms, impute it to yourself and not to me."

"I understand not your threat," answered Peveril, "If a threat be indeed implied. I have done no evil—I feel no apprehension—and I cannot, in common sense, conceive why I should suffer for refusing my confidence to a stranger, who seems to require that I should submit me blindfold to his guidance."

"Farewell, then, Sir Julian of the Peak,—that may soon be," said the stranger, removing the hand which he had as yet left carelessly on the horse's bridle.

"How mean you by that phrase?" said Julian; "and why apply such a title to me?"

The stranger smiled, and only answered, "Here our conference ends. The way is before you. You will find it longer and rougher than that by which I would have guided you."

So saying, Ganlesse turned his back and walked toward the house. On the threshold he turned about once more, and seeing that Peveril had not yet moved from the spot, he again smiled and beckoned to him; but Julian, recalled by that sign to recollection, spurred his horse and set forward on his journey.

It was not long ere his local acquaintance with the country enabled him to regain the road to Martindale, from which he had diverged on the preceding evening for about two miles. But the roads, or rather the paths, of this wild country, so much satirised by their native poet, Cotton, were so complicated in some places, so difficult to be traced in others, and so unfit for hasty travelling in almost all, that in spite of Julian's utmost exertions, and though he made no longer delay upon the journey than was necessary to bait his horse at a small hamlet through which he passed at noon, it was nightfall ere he reached an eminence, from which, an hour sooner, the battlements of Martindale Castle would have been visible; and where, when they were hid in night, their situation was indicated by a light constantly maintained in a lofty tower, called the Warder's Turret; and which domestic beacon had acquired, through all the neighbourhood, the name of Peveril's Polestar.

This was regularly kindled at curfew toll, and supplied with as much wood and charcoal as maintained the light till sunrise; and at no period was the ceremonial omitted, saving during the space intervening between the death of a Lord of the Castle and his interment. When this last event had taken place, the nightly beacon was rekindled with some ceremony, and continued till fate called the successor to sleep with his fathers. It is not known from which circumstance the practice of maintaining this light originally sprung. Tradition spoke of it doubtfully. Some thought it was the signal of general hospitality, which, in ancient times, guided the wandering knight, or the weary pilgrim, to rest and refreshment. Others spoke of it as a "love-lighted watchfire," by which the provident anxiety of a former lady of Martindale guided her husband homeward through the terrors of a midnight storm. The less favourable construction of unfriendly neighbours of the dissenting persuasion, ascribed the origin and continuance of this practice to the assuming pride of the family of Peveril, who thereby chose to intimate their ancient suzerainte over the whole country, in the manner of the admiral who carries the lantern in the poop, for the guidance of the fleet. And in the former times, our old friend, Master Solsgrace, dealt from the pulpit many a hard hit against Sir Geoffrey, as he that had raised his horn, and set up his candlestick on high. Certain it is, that all the Peverils, from father to son, had been especially attentive to the maintenance of this custom, as something intimately connected with the dignity of their family; and in the hands of Sir Geoffrey, the observance was not likely to be omitted.

Accordingly, the polar-star of Peveril had continued to beam more or less brightly during all the vicissitudes of the Civil War; and glimmered, however faintly, during the subsequent period of Sir Geoffrey's depression. But he was often heard to say, and sometimes to swear, that while there was a perch of woodland left to the estate, the old beacon-grate should not lack replenishing. All this his son Julian well knew; and therefore it was with no ordinary feelings of surprise and anxiety, that, looking in the direction of the Castle, he perceived that the light was not visible. He halted—rubbed his eyes—shifted his position—and endeavoured, in vain, to persuade himself that he had mistaken the point from which the polar-star of his house was visible, or that some newly intervening obstacle, the growth of a plantation, perhaps, or the erection of some building, intercepted the light of the beacon. But a moment's reflection assured him, that from the high and free situation which Martindale Castle bore in reference to the surrounding country, this could not have taken place; and the inference necessarily forced itself upon his mind, that Sir Geoffrey, his father, was either deceased, or that the family must have been disturbed by some strange calamity, under the pressure of which, their wonted custom and solemn usage had been neglected.

Under the influence of undefinable apprehension, young Peveril now struck the spurs into his jaded steed, and forcing him down the broken and steep path, at a pace which set safety at defiance, he arrived at the village of Martindale-Moultrassie, eagerly desirous to ascertain the cause of this ominous eclipse. The street, through which his tired horse paced slow and reluctantly, was now deserted and empty; and scarcely a candle twinkled from a casement, except from the latticed window of the little inn, called the Peveril Arms, from which a broad light shone, and several voices were heard in rude festivity.

Before the door of this inn, the jaded palfrey, guided by the instinct or experience which makes a hackney well acquainted with the outside of a house of entertainment, made so sudden and determined a pause, that, notwithstanding his haste, the rider thought it best to dismount, expecting to be readily supplied with a fresh horse by Roger Raine, the landlord, the ancient dependant of his family. He also wished to relive his anxiety, by inquiring concerning the state of things at the Castle, when he was surprised to hear, bursting from the taproom of the loyal old host, a well-known song of the Commonwealth time, which some puritanical wag had written in reprehension of the Cavaliers, and their dissolute courses, and in which his father came in for a lash of the satirist.

"Ye thought in the world there was no power to tame ye, So you tippled and drabb'd till the saints overcame ye; 'Forsooth,' and 'Ne'er stir,' sir, have vanquish'd 'G— d—n me,' Which nobody can deny.

There was bluff old Sir Geoffrey loved brandy and mum well, And to see a beer-glass turned over the thumb well; But he fled like the wind, before Fairfax and Cromwell, Which nobody can deny."

Some strange revolution, Julian was aware, must have taken place, both in the village and in the Castle, ere these sounds of unseemly insult could have been poured forth in the very inn which was decorated with the armorial bearings of his family; and not knowing how far it might be advisable to intrude on these unfriendly revellers, without the power of repelling or chastising their insolence, he led his horse to a back-door, which as he recollected, communicated with the landlord's apartment, having determined to make private inquiry of him concerning the state of matters at the Castle. He knocked repeatedly, and as often called on Roger Raine with an earnest but stifled voice. At length a female voice replied by the usual inquiry, "Who is there?"

"It is I, Dame Raine—I, Julian Peveril—tell your husband to come to me presently."

"Alack, and a well-a-day, Master Julian, if it be really you—you are to know my poor goodman has gone where he can come to no one; but, doubtless, we shall all go to him, as Matthew Chamberlain says."

"He is dead, then?" said Julian. "I am extremely sorry——"

"Dead six months and more, Master Julian; and let me tell you, it is a long time for a lone woman, as Matt Chamberlain says."

"Well, do you or your chamberlain undo the door. I want a fresh horse; and I want to know how things are at the Castle."

"The Castle—lack-a-day!—Chamberlain—Matthew Chamberlain—I say, Matt!"

Matt Chamberlain apparently was at no great distance, for he presently answered her call; and Peveril, as he stood close to the door, could hear them whispering to each other, and distinguish in a great measure what they said. And here it may be noticed, that Dame Raine, accustomed to submit to the authority of old Roger, who vindicated as well the husband's domestic prerogative, as that of the monarch in the state, had, when left a buxom widow, been so far incommoded by the exercise of her newly acquired independence, that she had recourse, upon all occasions, to the advice of Matt Chamberlain; and as Matt began no longer to go slipshod, and in a red nightcap, but wore Spanish shoes, and a high-crowned beaver (at least of a Sunday), and moreover was called Master Matthew by his fellow-servants, the neighbours in the village argued a speedy change of the name of the sign-post; nay, perhaps, of the very sign itself, for Matthew was a bit of a Puritan, and no friend to Peveril of the Peak.

"Now counsel me, an you be a man, Matt Chamberlain," said Widow Raine; "for never stir, if here be not Master Julian's own self, and he wants a horse, and what not, and all as if things were as they wont to be."

"Why, dame, an ye will walk by my counsel," said the Chamberlain, "e'en shake him off—let him be jogging while his boots are green. This is no world for folks to scald their fingers in other folks' broth."

"And that is well spoken, truly," answered Dame Raine; "but then look you, Matt, we have eaten their bread, and, as my poor goodman used to say——"

"Nay, nay, dame, they that walk by the counsel of the dead, shall have none of the living; and so you may do as you list; but if you will walk by mine, drop latch, and draw bolt, and bid him seek quarters farther—that is my counsel."

"I desire nothing of you, sirrah," said Peveril, "save but to know how Sir Geoffrey and his lady do?"

"Lack-a-day!—lack-a-day!" in a tone of sympathy, was the only answer he received from the landlady; and the conversation betwixt her and her chamberlain was resumed, but in a tone too low to be overheard.

At length Matt Chamberlain spoke aloud, and with a tone of authority: "We undo no doors at this time of night, for it is against the Justices' orders, and might cost us our licence; and for the Castle, the road up to it lies before you, and I think you know it as well as we do."

"And I know you," said Peveril, remounting his wearied horse, "for an ungrateful churl, whom, on the first opportunity, I will assuredly cudgel to a mummy."

To this menace Matthew made no reply, and Peveril presently heard him leave the apartment, after a few earnest words betwixt him and his mistress.

Impatient at this delay, and at the evil omen implied in these people's conversation and deportment, Peveril, after some vain spurring of his horse, which positively refused to move a step farther, dismounted once more, and was about to pursue his journey on foot, notwithstanding the extreme disadvantage under which the high riding-boots of the period laid those who attempted to walk with such encumbrances, when he was stopped by a gentle call from the window.

Her counsellor was no sooner gone, than the good-nature and habitual veneration of the dame for the house of Peveril, and perhaps some fear for her counsellor's bones, induced her to open the casement, and cry, but in a low and timid tone, "Hist! hist! Master Julian—be you gone?"

"Not yet, dame," said Julian; "though it seems my stay is unwelcome."

"Nay, but good young master, it is because men counsel so differently; for here was my poor old Roger Raine would have thought the chimney corner too cold for you; and here is Matt Chamberlain thinks the cold courtyard is warm enough."

"Never mind that, dame," said Julian; "do but only tell me what has happened at Martindale Castle? I see the beacon is extinguished."

"Is it in troth?—ay, like enough—then good Sir Geoffrey has gone to heaven with my old Roger Raine!"

"Sacred Heaven!" exclaimed Peveril; "when was my father taken ill?"

"Never as I knows of," said the dame; "but, about three hours since, arrived a party at the Castle, with buff-coats and bandoleers, and one of the Parliament's folks, like in Oliver's time. My old Roger Raine would have shut the gates of the inn against them, but he is in the churchyard, and Matt says it is against law; and so they came in and refreshed men and horses, and sent for Master Bridgenorth, that is at Moultrassie Hall even now; and so they went up to the Castle, and there was a fray, it is like, as the old Knight was no man to take napping, as poor Roger Raine used to say. Always the officers had the best on't; and reason there is, since they had the law of their side, as our Matthew says. But since the pole-star of the Castle is out, as your honour says, why, doubtless, the old gentleman is dead."

"Gracious Heaven!—Dear dame, for love or gold, let me have a horse to make for the Castle!"

"The Castle?" said the dame; "the Roundheads, as my poor Roger called them, will kill you as they have killed your father! Better creep into the woodhouse, and I will send Bett with a blanket and some supper—Or stay—my old Dobbin stands in the little stable beside the hencoop—e'en take him, and make the best of your way out of the country, for there is no safety here for you. Hear what songs some of them are singing at the tap!—so take Dobbin, and do not forget to leave your own horse instead."

Peveril waited to hear no farther, only, that just as he turned to go off to the stable, the compassionate female was heard to exclaim—"O Lord! what will Matthew Chamberlain say!" but instantly added, "Let him say what he will, I may dispose of what's my own."

With the haste of a double-fee'd hostler did Julian exchange the equipments of his jaded brute with poor Dobbin, who stood quietly tugging at his rackful of hay, without dreaming of the business which was that night destined for him. Notwithstanding the darkness of the place, Julian succeeded marvellous quickly in preparing for his journey; and leaving his own horse to find its way to Dobbin's rack by instinct, he leaped upon his new acquisition, and spurred him sharply against the hill, which rises steeply from the village to the Castle. Dobbin, little accustomed to such exertions, snorted, panted, and trotted as briskly as he could, until at length he brought his rider before the entrance-gate of his father's ancient seat.

The moon was now rising, but the portal was hidden from its beams, being situated, as we have mentioned elsewhere, in a deep recess betwixt two large flanking towers. Peveril dismounted, turned his horse loose, and advanced to the gate, which, contrary to his expectation, he found open. He entered the large courtyard; and could then perceive that lights yet twinkled in the lower part of the building, although he had not before observed them, owing to the height of the outward walls. The main door, or great hall-gate, as it was called, was, since the partially decayed state of the family, seldom opened, save on occasions of particular ceremony. A smaller postern door served the purpose of ordinary entrance; and to that Julian now repaired. This also was open—a circumstance which would of itself have alarmed him, had he not already had so many causes for apprehension. His heart sunk within him as he turned to the left, through a small outward hall, towards the great parlour, which the family usually occupied as a sitting apartment; and his alarm became still greater, when, on a nearer approach, he heard proceeding from thence the murmur of several voices. He threw the door of the apartment wide; and the sight which was thus displayed, warranted all the evil bodings which he had entertained.

In front of him stood the old Knight, whose arms were strongly secured, over the elbows, by a leathern belt drawn tight round them, and made fast behind; two ruffianly-looking men, apparently his guards, had hold of his doublet. The scabbard-less sword which lay on the floor, and the empty sheath which hung by Sir Geoffrey's side, showed the stout old Cavalier had not been reduced to this state of bondage without an attempt at resistance. Two or three persons, having their backs turned towards Julian, sat round a table, and appeared engaged in writing—the voices which he had heard were theirs, as they murmured to each other. Lady Peveril—the emblem of death, so pallid was her countenance—stood at the distance of a yard or two from her husband, upon whom her eyes were fixed with an intenseness of gaze, like that of one who looks her last on the object which she loves the best. She was the first to perceive Julian; and she exclaimed, "Merciful Heaven!—my son!—the misery of our house is complete!"

"My son!" echoed Sir Geoffrey, starting from the sullen state of dejection, and swearing a deep oath—"thou art come in the right time, Julian. Strike me one good blow—cleave me that traitorous thief from the crown to the brisket! and that done, I care not what comes next."

The sight of his father's situation made the son forget the inequality of the contest which he was about to provoke.

"Villains," he said, "unhand him!" and rushing on the guards with his drawn sword, compelled them to let go Sir Geoffrey, and stand on their own defence.

Sir Geoffrey, thus far liberated, shouted to his lady. "Undo the belt, dame, and we will have three good blows for it yet—they must fight well that beat both father and son."

But one of those men who had started up from the writing-table when the fray commenced, prevented Lady Peveril from rendering her husband this assistance; while another easily mastered the hampered Knight, though not without receiving several severe kicks from his heavy boots—his condition permitting him no other mode of defence. A third, who saw that Julian, young, active, and animated with the fury of a son who fights for his parents, was compelling the two guards to give ground, seized on his collar, and attempted to master his sword. Suddenly dropping that weapon, and snatching one of his pistols, Julian fired it at the head of the person by whom he was thus assailed. He did not drop, but, staggering back as if he had received a severe blow, showed Peveril, as he sunk into a chair, the features of old Bridgenorth, blackened with the explosion, which had even set fire to a part of his grey hair. A cry of astonishment escaped from Julian; and in the alarm and horror of the moment, he was easily secured and disarmed by those with whom he had been at first engaged.

"Heed it not, Julian," said Sir Geoffrey; "heed it not, my brave boy—that shot has balanced all accounts!—but how—what the devil—he lives!—Was your pistol loaded with chaff? or has the foul fiend given him proof against lead?"

There was some reason for Sir Geoffrey's surprise, since, as he spoke, Major Bridgenorth collected himself—sat up in the chair as one who recovers from a stunning blow—then rose, and wiping with his handkerchief the marks of the explosion from his face, he approached Julian, and said, in the same cold unaltered tone in which he usually expressed himself, "Young man, you have reason to bless God, who has this day saved you from the commission of a great crime."

"Bless the devil, ye crop-eared knave!" exclaimed Sir Geoffrey; "for nothing less than the father of all fanatics saved your brains from being blown about like the rinsings of Beelzebub's porridge pot!"

"Sir Geoffrey," said Major Bridgenorth, "I have already told you, that with you I will hold no argument; for to you I am not accountable for any of my actions."

"Master Bridgenorth," said the lady, making a strong effort to speak, and to speak with calmness, "whatever revenge your Christian state of conscience may permit you to take on my husband—I—I, who have some right to experience compassion at your hand, for most sincerely did I compassionate you when the hand of Heaven was heavy on you—I implore you not to involve my son in our common ruin!—Let the destruction of the father and mother, with the ruin of our ancient house, satisfy your resentment for any wrong which you have ever received at my husband's hand."

"Hold your peace, housewife," said the Knight, "you speak like a fool, and meddle with what concerns you not.—Wrong at my hand? The cowardly knave has ever had but even too much right. Had I cudgelled the cur soundly when he first bayed at me, the cowardly mongrel had been now crouching at my feet, instead of flying at my throat. But if I get through this action, as I have got through worse weather, I will pay off old scores, as far as tough crab-tree and cold iron will bear me out."

"Sir Geoffrey," replied Bridgenorth, "if the birth you boast of has made you blind to better principles, it might have at least taught you civility. What do you complain of? I am a magistrate; and I execute a warrant, addressed to me by the first authority in that state. I am a creditor also of yours; and law arms me with powers to recover my own property from the hands of an improvident debtor."

"You a magistrate!" said the Knight; "much such a magistrate as Noll was a monarch. Your heart is up, I warrant, because you have the King's pardon; and are replaced on the bench, forsooth, to persecute the poor Papist. There was never turmoil in the state, but knaves had their vantage by it—never pot boiled, but the scum was cast uppermost."

"For God's sake, my dearest husband," said Lady Peveril, "cease this wild talk! It can but incense Master Bridgenorth, who might otherwise consider, that in common charity——"

"Incense him!" said Sir Geoffrey, impatiently interrupting her; "God's-death, madam, you will drive me mad! Have you lived so long in this world, and yet expect consideration and charity from an old starved wolf like that? And if he had it, do you think that I, or you, madam, as my wife, are subjects for his charity?—Julian, my poor fellow, I am sorry thou hast come so unluckily, since thy petronel was not better loaded—but thy credit is lost for ever as a marksman."

This angry colloquy passed so rapidly on all sides, that Julian, scarce recovered from the extremity of astonishment with which he was overwhelmed at finding himself suddenly plunged into a situation of such extremity, had no time to consider in what way he could most effectually act for the succour of his parents. To speak to Bridgenorth fair seemed the more prudent course; but to this his pride could hardly stoop; yet he forced himself to say, with as much calmness as he could assume,

"Master Bridgenorth, since you act as a magistrate, I desire to be treated according to the laws of England; and demand to know of what we are accused, and by whose authority we are arrested?"

"Here is another howlet for ye!" exclaimed the impetuous old Knight; "his mother speaks to a Puritan of charity; and thou must talk of law to a round-headed rebel, with a wannion to you! What warrant hath he, think ye, beyond the Parliament's or the devil's?"

"Who speaks of the Parliament?" said a person entering, whom Peveril recognised as the official person whom he had before seen at the horse-dealer's, and who now bustled in with all the conscious dignity of plenary authority,—"Who talks of the Parliament?" he exclaimed. "I promise you, enough has been found in this house to convict twenty plotters—Here be arms, and that good store. Bring them in, Captain."

"The very same," exclaimed the Captain, approaching, "which I mention in my printed Narrative of Information, lodged before the Honourable House of Commons; they were commissioned from old Vander Huys of Rotterdam, by orders of Don John of Austria, for the service of the Jesuits."

"Now, by this light," said Sir Geoffrey, "they are the pikes, musketoons, and pistols, that have been hidden in the garret ever since Naseby fight!"

"And here," said the Captain's yoke-fellow, Everett, "are proper priest's trappings—antiphoners, and missals, and copes, I warrant you—ay, and proper pictures, too, for Papists to mutter and bow over."

"Now plague on thy snuffling whine," said Sir Geoffrey; "here is a rascal will swear my grandmother's old farthingale to be priest's vestments, and the story book of Owlenspiegel a Popish missal!"

"But how's this, Master Bridgenorth?" said Topham, addressing the magistrate; "your honour has been as busy as we have; and you have caught another knave while we recovered these toys."

"I think, sir," said Julian, "if you look into your warrant, which, if I mistake not, names the persons whom you are directed to arrest, you will find you have not title to apprehend me."

"Sir," said the officer, puffing with importance, "I do not know who you are; but I would you were the best man in England, that I might teach you the respect due to the warrant of the House. Sir, there steps not the man within the British seas, but I will arrest him on authority of this bit of parchment; and I do arrest you accordingly.—What do you accuse him of, gentlemen?"

Dangerfield swaggered forward, and peeping under Julian's hat, "Stop my vital breath," he exclaimed, "but I have seen you before, my friend, an I could but think where; but my memory is not worth a bean, since I have been obliged to use it so much of late, in the behalf of the poor state. But I do know the fellow; and I have seen him amongst the Papists—, I'll take that on my assured damnation."

"Why, Captain Dangerfield," said the Captain's smoother, but more dangerous associate,—"verily, it is the same youth whom we saw at the horse-merchant's yesterday; and we had matter against him then, only Master Topham did not desire us to bring it out."

"Ye may bring out what ye will against him now," said Topham, "for he hath blasphemed the warrant of the House. I think ye said ye saw him somewhere."

"Ay, verily," said Everett, "I have seen him amongst the seminary pupils at Saint Omer's—he was who but he with the regents there."

"Nay, Master Everett, collect yourself," said Topham; "for as I think, you said you saw him at a consult of the Jesuits in London."

"It was I said so, Master Topham," said the undaunted Dangerfield; "and mine is the tongue that will swear it."

"Good Master Topham," said Bridgenorth, "you may suspend farther inquiry at present, as it doth but fatigue and perplex the memory of the King's witnesses."

"You are wrong, Master Bridgenorth—clearly wrong. It doth but keep them in wind—only breathes them like greyhounds before a coursing match."

"Be it so," said Bridgenorth, with his usual indifference of manner; "but at present this youth must stand committed upon a warrant, which I will presently sign, of having assaulted me while in discharge of my duty as a magistrate, for the rescue of a person legally attached. Did you not hear the report of a pistol?"

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