these they mounted, and as they gained the room above,
they perceived the agile mannikin creeping through the
" Have a care ! " roared Nightgall, who beheld this pro-
ceeding Avith astonishment. " You will fall into the court
below and be dashed to pieces."
Xit replied by a loud laugh, and disappeared. When
Nightgall gained the outlet he could see nothing of him,
and after calling to him for some time and receiving no
answer, the party adjourned to the leads, where they found
he had gained the cupola of the turret, and having
clambered up the vane, had seated himself in the crown
by which it was surmounted. In this elevated, and as he
fancied, secure position he derided his pursuers, and snap-
ping off a piece of the ironwork, threw it at Nightgall,
and with so good an aim that it struck him in the
A council of war was now held, and it was resolved to
summon the fugitive to surrender ; when, if he refused to
comply, means must be taken to dislodge him. Meanwhile,
the object of this consultation had been discovered from
below. His screams and antics had attracted the attention
of a large crowd, among whom were his friends the giants.
Alarmed at his arrest, they had followed to see what be-
came of him, and were passing the foot of the turret at
the very moment when he had reached its summit. Xit
immediately recognized them, and hailed them at the top
of his voice. At first they were unable to make out
whence the noise proceeded ; but at length, Gog chanc-
378 -HE TOWER OF LONDON.
ing to look up, perceived the dwarf, and pointed him out to
Xit endeavored to explain his situation, and to induce
the giants to rescue him ; but they could not hear what he
said, and only laughed at his gestures and vociferations.
Nightgall now called to him in a peremptory tone to come
down. Xit refused, and pointing to the crown in which
he was seated, screamed, " I have won it, and am de-
termined not to resign it. I am now in the loftiest posi-
tion in the Tower. Let him bring me do^vn who can."
" I will be no longer trifled with," roared Nightgall.
" Lend me your arquebuse, Winwike. If there is no
other way of dislodging that mischievous imp, I will shoot
him as I would a jackdaw."
Seeing he was in earnest, "Xit thought fit to capitulate.
A rope was thro\Aai him, which he fastened to the vane,
and after bowing to the assemblage, waving his cap to
the giants, and performing a few other antics, he slided
down to the leads in safety. He was then seized by
Nightgall, and though he promised to march as before
between his guards, and make no further attempt to es-
cape, he was carried, much to his discomfiture â for even
in his worst scrapes he had an eye to effect â to the Con-
stable Tower, and locked up in the lower chamber.
" So, it has come to this," he cried, as the door was
barred outside by Nightgall. " I am now a state prisoner
in the Tower. Well, I only share the fate of all court
favorites and great men â of the Dudleys, the Rochfords,
the Howards, the Nevills, the Courtney's and many others
whose names do not occur to me. I ought rather to rejoice
than be cast down that I am thus distinguished. But
what will be the result of it? Perhaps I shall be con-
demned to the block. If I am, what matter ? I always
understood from Mauger that decapitation was an easy
death â and then what a crowd there will be to witness
my execution â Xit's execution â the execution of the
famous dwarf of the Tower ! The Duke of Northumber-
land's will be nothing to it. With what an air I shall
THE TOWER OF LONDON. 87^
ascend the steps â how I shall bow the assemblage â
how I shall raise up Mauger when he bends his lame leg
to ask my forgiveness â how I shall pray with the priest â â¢
address the assemblage â take off my ruff and doublet,
and adjust my head on the block ! One blow and all is
over. One blow â sometimes it takes two or three â but
Mauger understands his business, and my neck will be
easily divided. That's one advantage, among others, of
being a dwarf. But to return to my execution. It will
be a glorious death, and one worthy of me. I have half a
mind to con over what I shall say to the assembled mul-
titude. Let me see. Hold ! it occurs to me that I shall
not be seen for the railing. I must beg Mauger to allow
me to stand on the block. I make no doubt he will in-
dulge me â if not, I will not forgive him. I have wit-
nessed several executions, but I never yet beheld what I
should call a really good death. I must try to realize my
own notions. But I am getting on a little too fast. I
am neither examined, nor sentenced yet. Examined?
that reminds me of the rack. I hope they won't torture
me. To be beheaded is one thing â to be tortured another.
I could bear anything in public, where there are so many
people to look at me, and applaud me â but in private it
is quite another affair. The very sight of the rack would
throw me into fits. And then suppose I should be sen-
tenced to be burnt like Edward Underbill â no, I won't
suppose that for a moment. It makes me quite hot to
think of it. Fool that I was, to be seduced by the hope
of rank and dignity held out to me by the French Am-
bassador, to embark in plots which place me in such
jeopardy at this ! However, I will reveal nothing. I will
be true to my employer."
Communing thus with himself, Xit paced to and fro
within his prison, which was a tolerably spacious apart-
ment, semicircular in form, and having deep recesses in
the walls, which were of great thickness. As he glanced
around, an idea occurred to him. " Every prisoner of
consequence confined within the Tower carves his name
THE TOWER OF LONDON.
oil the walls," he said. "I must carve mine, to serve as
a memorial of my imprisonment."
The only implement left him was his dagger, and using
it instead of a chisel, he carved, in a few hours, the fol-
lowing mscription in characters nearly as large as him-
self : â
By the time he had finished his work, he was reminded
by a clamorous monitor within him that he had had no
supper, and he recalled with agonizing distinctness the
many glorious meals he had consumed with his friends
the giants. He had not even the common prisoners' fare,
a loaf and a cup of water, to cheer him.
" Surely they cannot intend to starve me," he thought.
" I will knock at the door and try whether any one is
without." But though he thumped with all his might
against it, no answer was returned. Indignant at this
treatment, he began to rail against the giants, as if they
had been the cause of his misfortunes.
" Why do they not come to deliver me ? " he cried in a
peevish voice. " The least they could do would be to
bring me some provisions. But, I warrant me, they have
forgotten their poor famishmg dwarf, while they are sat-
isfying their own inordinate appetites. What would I
give for a slice of Hairun's wild boar now ! The bare
idea of it makes my mouth water. But the recollection
of a feast is a poor stay for a hungry stomach. Cruel Og !
barbarous Gog ! hihuman INIagog ! where are ye now ?
Insensible that ye are to the situation of your friend, who
would have been the first to look after you had ye been
similarly circumstanced ! Where are ye, I say â supping
with Peter Trusbut, or Ribald, or at our lodging in the
THE TOWER OF LONDON. 381
By- ward Tower ? Wherever ye are, I make no doubt you
have plenty to eat, whereas I, your best friend, who
would have been your patron, if I had been raised to the
dignity promised by De Noailles, am all but starving. It
cannot be â hilloah I hilloah ! help ! " And he kicked
against the door as if his puny efforts would burst it
open. "The Queen cannot be aware of my situation.
She shall hear of it â but how ? "
Perplexing himself how to accomplish this, he flung
himself on a straw mattress in one corner, which, together
with a bench and a small table constituted the sole furni-
ture of the room, and in a short time fell asleep. He was
disturbed by the loud jarring of a door, and, starting to his
feet, perceived that two men had entered the room, one
of whom bore a lantern, which he held towards him. In
this person Xit at once recognized Nightgall, and in the
other, as he drew nearer, Wolfytt the sworn tormentor.
The grim looks of the latter so terrified Xit, that he fell
back on the mattress in an ecstasy of apprehension. His
fright seemed to afford great amusement to the cause of
it, for he burst into a coarse loud laugh that made the
roof ring again. His merriment rather restored the
dwarf, who ventured to inquire in a piteous accent,
whether they had brought him any supper.
" Ay, ay ! " rejoined Wolfytt, with a grin, " Follow
us, and you shall have a meal that shall serve you for
some days to come."
" Readily," replied Xit. Â« I am excessively hungry, and
began to think I was quite forgotten."
" We have been employed in making all ready for you,"
rejoined Wolfytt. " We were taken a little by surprise.
It is not often we have such a prisoner as you,"
" I should think not," returned Xit, whose vanity was
tickled by the remark. " I was determined to let poster-
ity know that one dwarf had been confined within the
Tower. Bring your lantern this way. Master Nightgall,
and you will perceive I have already carved my name on
382 THE TOWER OF LONDON.
" So I see," growled Nightgall, holding the light to the
inscription. " Bring him along, Wolfytt."
" He will not need, sir," returned Xit, with dignity, " I
am ready to attend you."
" Good ! " exclaimed Wolfytt. " Supper awaits us, ho !
They then passed through the door, Xit strutting be-
tween the pair. Descending a short flight of stone steps
they came to another strong door, which Nightgall
' opened. It admitted them to a dark narrow passage which,
so far as it could be discerned, was of considerable extent.
After pursuing a direct course for some time, they came to
an opening on the left, into which they struck. This
latter passage was so narrow that they were obliged to
walk smgly. The roof was crusted with nitrous drops,
and the floor was slippery with moisture.
" We are going into the worst part of the Tower," ob-
served Xit, who began to feel his terrors revive. " I have
been here once before. I recollect it leads to the Torture
Chamber, the Little- Ease, and the Pit. I hope you are
not taking me to one of those horrible places ? "
" Poll ! poll ! " rejoined Wolfytt gruflQy. " You are
going to Master Nightgall's bower."
" His bower ! " exclaimed Xit, surprised by the term ;
" what ! where he keeps Cicely ? "
At the mention of this name, Nightgall, who had hither-
to maintained a profound silence, uttered an exclama-
tion of anger, and regarded the dwarf with a withering
" I can keep a secret if need be," continued Xit in a
deprecatory tone, alarmed at his own indiscretion.
" Neither Cuthbert Cholmondeley, nor Dame Potentia, nor
any one else, shall hear of her from me, if you desire it,
good Master Nightgall."
" Peace ! " thundered the jailer.
" You will get an extra turn of the rack for your folly,
you crack-brained jackanapes," laughed Wolfytt.
Luckily the remark did not reach Xit's ears. He was
THE TOWER OF LONDON. 38.^
too much frightened by Nightgall's savage look to attend
to anything else.
They had now reached a third door, which Nightgall
unlocked and fastened as soon as the others had passed
through it. The passage they entered was even darker
and damper than the one they had quitted. It contained
a number of cells some of which, as was evident from the
groans that issued from them, were tenanted.
" Is Alexia here ? " inquired Xit, whose blood froze in
his veins as he listened to the dreadful sounds.
" Alexia ! " vociferated Nightgall m a terrible voice.
*' What do you know of her ? "
" Oh, nothing, nothing," replied Xit. " But I have
heard Cuthbert Cholmondeley speak of her."
" She is dead," replied Nightgall in a sombre voice ;
" and I will bury you in the same grave with her, if her
name ever passes your lips again."
" It shall not, worthy sir," returned Xit, " it shall not.
Curse on my unlucky tongue, which is forever betraying
me into danger ! "
They had now arrived at an arched doorway in the wall,
which being opened by Nightgall discovered a flight
of steps leading to some chamber beneath. Nightgall
descended, but Xit refused to follow him.
" I know where you are taking me," he cried. " This
is the way to the torture-chamber."
Wolfytt burst into a loud laugh, and pushed him for-
" I won't go," screamed Xit, struggling with all his
force against the tormentor. "You have no authority to
treat me thus. Help ! kind Og ! good Gog ! dear Magog ! â
help ! or I shall be lamed for life. I shall never more be
able to amuse you with my gambols, or the tricks that so
much divert you. Help ! help ! I say."
" Your cries are in vain," cried Wolfytt, kicking him
down the steps : " no one can save you now."
Precipitated violently do'WTi wards, Xit came in contact
"Vnth Nightgall, whom he upset, and they both rolled into
384 THE TOWER OF LONDON.
the chamber beneath, where the latter arose, and would
have resented the affront upon his comrade, or, at all
events, upon the dwarf, if he had not been in the presence
of one of whom he stood in the greatest awe. This was
Simon Renard, who was writing at a table. Disturbed by
the noise, the Ambassador glanced round, and on perceiv-
ing the cause immediately resumed his occupation. Near
him stood the thin erect figure of Sorrocold, his attenuated
limbs appearing yet more meagre from the tight-fitting
black hose in which they were enveloped. The chirur-
geon wore a short cloak of sad- colored cloth, and a doublet
of the same material. His head was covered by a fiat
black cap, and a pointed beard terminated his hatchet-
shaped, cadaverous face. His hands rested on a long staff
and his dull heavy eyes were fixed upon the ground.
At a short distance from Sorrocold stood Mauger, bare-
headed and stripped to his leathern doublet, his arms
folded upon his bosom, and his gaze bent upon Renard,
whose commands he awaited. Nightgall's accident called
a smile to his grim countenance, but it instantly faded
away, and gave place to his habitual sinister expres-
Such were the formidable personages in whose presence
Xit found himself. Nor was the chamber less calculated
to strike terror mto his breast than its inmates. It was
not the torture-room visited by Cholmondeley, when he
explored the subterranean passages of the fortress, but
another and larger chamber contiguous to the former, yet
separated from it by a wall of such thickness that no
sound could penetrate through it. It was square shaped,
with a deep round-arched recess on the right of the en-
trance, at the farther end of which was a small cell sur-
mounted with a pointed arch. On the side where Renard
sat, the wall was decorated with thumbscrews, gauntlets,
bracelets, collars, pincers, saws, chains, and other name-
less implements of torture. To the ceiling was afiixed a
stout pulley with a rope, terminated by an iron hook, and
two leathern shoulder-straps. Opposite the doorway stood
THE TOWER OF LONDON, SS5
a brazier filled with blazing coals, in which a huge pair of
pincers were thrust ; and beyond it was the wooden frame
of the rack, already described, with its ropes and levers in
readiness. Reared against the side of the deep dark recess,
previously mentioned, was a ponderous wheel, as broad
in the felly as that of a wagon, and twice the circumfer-
ence. This antiquated instrument of torture was placed
there to strike terror into the breasts of those who beheld
it, but it was rarely used. Next to it was a heavy bar of
iron employed to break the limbs of the sufferers tied to
Perceiving in whose presence he stood, and what prep-
arations were made for him, Xit gave himself up for lost,
and would have screamed aloud, had not his utterance
failed him. His knees smote one another ; his hair, if
possible, grew more erect than ever ; a thick damp burst
upon his brow ; and his tongue, ordmarily so restless,
clove to the roof of his mouth.
" Bring forward the prisoner," cried Renard, with a
stern voice, but without turning his head.
Upon this, Nightgall seized Xit by the hand, and dragged
him towards the table. A quarter of an hour elapsed,
during which Renard continued writing as if no one were
present ; and Xit, who at first was half dead with fright,
began to recover his spirits.
" Your Excellency sent for me," he ventured at length.
" Ha ! " ejaculated Renard, pausing and looking at Jiim ;
*' I had forgotten thee."
Â« A proof that my case is not very dangerous," thought
Xit. " I must let this proud Spaniard see I am not so
unimportant as he seems to imagine. Your Excellency, I
presume, desires to interrogate me on some point," he
continued aloud. " I pray you proceed without further
" Is it your Excellency's pleasui-e that we place him on
the rack ? " interposed Nightgall.
" Or shall we begin Avith the thumbscrews," observed
Mauger, pointmg to a pair ui^on the table ; " I dare say
880 ^HE TOWER OF LONDOI^.
they will extort all he knows. It would be a pity to
stretch him out."
" I would not be an inch taller for the world," rejoined
Xit, raising himself on his tiptoes.
"I have a suit of irons that will exactly fit him,"
observed Wolfytt, going to the wall and taking down an
engine that looked like an exaggerated pair of sugar-tongs.
" These were made as a model, and have never been used
before, except on a monkey belonging to Hairun the bear-
ward. We will wed you to the ' Scavenger's Daughter,'
my little man."
Xit knew too well the meaning of the term to take any
part in the merriment that followed this sally.
" The embraces of the spouse you offer me are generally
fatal," he observed. " I would rather decline the union,
if his Excellency will permit me."
" What is your pleasure ? " asked Nightgall, appealing
" Place him in the irons," returned the latter. " If these
fail, we can have recourse to sharper means."
Xit would have flung himself at the Ambassador's feet,
to ask for mercy, but he was prevented by Wolfytt, who,
slipping a gag into his mouth, carried him into the dark
recess, and by the help of Mauger, forced him into the
engine. Diminished to half his size, and bent into the
form of a hoop, the dwarf was then set on the ground and
the gag taken out of his mouth.
"How do you like your bride?" demanded Wolfytt,
with a brutal laugh.
" So little," answered Xit, " that I care not how soon I
am divorced from her. After all," he added, "uncom-
fortable as I am, I would not change places with Magog."
This remark was received with half-suppressed laughter
by the group around him, and Wolfytt was so softened
that he whispered in his ear, that if he was obliged to
put him on the rack, he would use him as tenderly as he
could. " Let me advise you as a friend," added the tor-
mentor, " to conceal nothing."
THE TOWER OF LONDON. 38Y
Â« Rely upon it," replied Xit in the same tone. " I'll
tell all I know â and more."
Â« That's the safest plan," rejoined Wolfytt dryly.
By this time, Renard having finished his despatch and
delivered it to Nightgall, he ordered Xit to be brought
before him. Lifting him by the nape of his neck, as he
would have carried a lapdog, Wolfytt placed him on the
edge of the rack opposite the Ambassador's seat. He
then walked back to Mauger, who was leaning against
the wall near the door, and laid his hand on his shoulder,
while Nightgall seated himself on the steps. All three
looked on with curiosity, anticipating nmch diversion.
Sorrocold, who had never altered his posture, only testi-
fied his consciousness of what was going forward by rais-
ing his lack-lustre eyes from the ground, and fixing them
on the dwarf.
Wheeling round on the stool, and throwing one leg in-
dolently over the other, Renard regarded the mannikin
with apparent sternness, but secret entertainment. The
expression of Xit's countenance as he underwent this
scrutiny was so ludicrous, that it brought a smile to
every face except that of the chirurgeon.
After gazing at the dwarf for a few minutes in silence,
Renard thus commenced : " You conveyed messages to
the Earl of Devonshire when he was confined in the Bell
Tower ? "
Â« Several," replied Xit.
" And from whom ? " demanded Renard.
" Your Excellency desires me to speak the truth, I con-
clude?" rejoined Xit.
" If you attempt to prevaricate I will have you ques-
tioned by that engine," returned Renard, pointing to the
rack. *' I again ask you by whom you were employed
to convey these messages ? "
" Your Excellency and your attendants will keep the
secret if I tell you ? " replied Xit. " I was sworn not to
reveal my employer's name."
388 THE TOWER OF LONDON.
" No further trifling, knave," cried Renard, " or I
shall deliver you to the tormentors. "Who was it ? "
Â« The Queen," replied Xit.
" Impossible ! " exclaimed Renard in surprise.
" Nothing is impossible to a woman in love," replied
Xit ; " and her Highness, though a queen, is still a woman."
"Beware how you trifle with me, sirrah," rejoined
Renard. " It was M. de Noailles who employed you."
" He employed me on the part of her Majesty, I assure
your Excellency," returned Xit.
" He deceived you if he told you so," replied Renard.
" But now, repeat to me the sum of your conversations
with the Earl."
" Our conversations all related to his escape," replied
" Hum ! " exclaimed Renard. " Now mark me, and
answer me truly as you value a whole skin. Was noth-
ing said of the Princess Elizabeth, and of a plot to place
her on the throne, and wed her to Courtenay ? "
" Nothing that I remember," answered Xit.
" Think again ! " cried Renard.
"I do recollect that upon one occasion his lordship
alluded to the Princess," answered Xit, after a moment's
"Well, what did he say?" demanded Renard.
" That he was sorry he had ever made love to her," re-
" And well he might be," observed Renard. " But
was that all ? "
" Every syllable," replied Xit.
" I must assist your memory, then," said Renard.
" What ho ! tormentors ? "
" Hold ! " cried the dwarf ; " I will hide nothing from
"Proceed, then," rejoined Renard, "or I give the
" Well, then," returned Xit, "since I must needs con-
fess the whole truth, the reason Avhy the Earl of Devon-
THE TOWER OF LONDON. 38d
shire was sorry he had made love to the Princess was
this. Her Majesty sent him a letter through me, promis-
ing to forgive him, and restore him to her affections."
" You have been either strangely imposed upon, or
you are seeking to impose upon me, knave," cried Renard.
" But I suspect the latter,"
"I carried the billet myself, and saw it opened," re-
turned Xit, " and the Earl was so transported with its
contents, that he promised to knight me on the day of
" A safe promise, if he ever made it," rejoined Renard ;
" but the whole story is a fabrication. If her Majesty
desired to release the Earl, why did she not issue her
orders to that effect to Sir Henry Bedingfeld ? "
" Because â but before I proceed, I must beg your Ex-
cellency to desire your attendants to withdraw. You will
perceive my motives, and approve them, when I offer you
Renard waved his hand, and the others withdrew,
Wolfytt observing to Mauger, " I should like to hear
what further lies the little varlet will invent. He hath a
" Now, speak out â we are alone," commanded Renard.
"The reason why her Majesty did not choose to
liberate the Earl of Devonshire was the fear of offend-
ing your Excellency," replied Xit.
" How '? " exclaimed Renard, bending his brows.
" In a moment of pique she had affianced herself to
Prince Philip of Spain," continued Xit. "But in her
calmer moments she repented her precipitancy, and feel-
ing a return of affection for the Earl, she employed M. de
Noailles to make up the matter with him. But the
whole affair was to be kept a profound secret from you."
" Can this be true ? " cried Renard. " But noâ no â it
is absurd. You are abusing my patience."
" If your Excellency will condescend to make further
inquiries you will find I have spoken the truth," rejoined
the dwarf. " But I pray you not to implicate me with
390 THE TOWER OF LONDON.
the Queen. Her Majesty, like many of her sex, has