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ST. GEORGE & ST. MICHAEL



NEW NOVELS A T ALL THE LIBRARIES.



Just Out, Two Vols. Crown '^vo.

A SCOTCH WOOING.

By M. F. chapman.



Three Vols. Crown Svo.

LOVE ME OR LOVE ME NOT.

By Mrs. FRANCIS G. FAITHFULL.

' Interesting.' — Saturday Review.

' Exceedingly good.' — Standard.

* Well •wntten.'—Gra^/tic.

' There are many good points about the book.' — Athen<xnvi. *

' A novel which is most refreshing to come z.cxo%%'—yohn Bull.



HENRY S. KING & CO., LONDON.



ST. GEORGE



AND



ST. MICHAEL



BY



GEORGE MAC DONALD

AUTHOR OF 'MALCOLM,' ' DAVID ELGINBROD,' ETC.



IN THREE VOLUMES
VOL. /.



HENRY S. KING & CO., LONDON
1876



All Rights Resa-ved.



^ CONTENTS OF VOL. I.



c3^ CHAPTER I.
I

"J DOROTHY AND RICHARD,

U CHAPTER II.



RICHARD AND HIS FATHER,

CHAPTER III.



i™.W.CH, 33

CHAPTER IV.

A CHAPTER OF FOOLS, - - - - 38

CHAPTER V.

ANIMADVERSIONS, - - - - 63

;^ CHAPTER VI.

fj PREPARATIONS, - - - . - 81

CHAPTER VII.

I^ REFLECTIONS, - - . . - 90

^ CHAPTER VIII.

AN ADVENTURE, - . . _ „-



vi Contents.

CHAPTER IX.

PAGE

LOVE AND WAR, - - - - 1 25

CHAPTER X.

DOROTHY'S REFUGE, - - - - 1 43

CHAPTER XL

RAGLAN CASTLE, - - ' - "157

CHAPTER XII.

THE TWO MARQULSES, - - - - 1 72

CHAPTER XIII.

THE magician's VAULT, - - - - I9I

CHAPTER XIV.

SEVERAL PEOPLE, > - - - 206

CHAPTER XV.

HUSBAND AND WIFE, - - - - 222

CHAPTER XVI.

DOROTHY'S INITIATION, - - - - 238



ST. GEORGE AND ST. MICHAEL.



CHAPTER I.



DOROTHY AND RICHARD.




;T was the middle of autumn, and had
rained all day. Through the lozenge-
panes of the wide oriel window the
world appeared in the slowly gather-
ing dusk not a little dismal. The drops that
clung trickling to the dim glass added rain and
gloom to the landscape beyond, whither the eye
passed, as if vaguely seeking that help In the
distance, which the dripping hollyhocks and
sodden sunflowers bordering the little lawn, or
the honeysuckle covering the wide porch, from
which the slow rain dropped ceaselessly upon

VOL. I. A



2 SL George and St, Michael.

the pebble-paving below, could not give — steepy
slopes, hedge-divided into small fields, some
green and dotted with red cattle, others crowded
with shocks of bedraggled and drooping corn,
which looked suffering and patient.

The room to which the window having this
prospect belonged was large and low, with a
dark floor of uncarpeted oak. It opened im-
mediately upon the porch, and although a good
fire of logs blazed on the hearth, was chilly to
the sense of the old man, who, with his feet on
the skin of a fallow-deer, sat gazing sadly into
the fiames, which shone rosy through the thin
hands spread out before them. At the opposite
corner of the great low-arched chimney sat a
lady past the prime of life, but still beautiful,
though the beauty was all but merged in the
loveliness that rises from the heart to the face
of such as have taken the greatest step in life
— that is, as the old proverb says, the step out
of doors. She was plainly yet rather richly
dressed, in garments of an old-fashioned and
well-preserved look. Her hair was cut short
above her forehead, and frizzed out in bunches
of little curls on each side. On her head was a
covering of dark stuff, like a nun's veil, which



Dorothy and Richard. 3

fell behind and on her shoulders. Close round
her neck was a string of amber beads, that gave
a soft harmonious light to her complexion.
Her dark eyes looked as If they found repose
there, so quietly did they rest on the face of
the old man, who was plainly a clergyman. It
was a small, pale, thin, delicately and symmetri-
cally formed face, yet not the less a strong one,
with endurance on the somewhat sad brow, and
force In the closed lips, while a good conscience
looked clear out of the grey eyes.

They had been talking about the fast-gather-
ing tide of opinion which, driven on by the
wind of words, had already begun to beat so
furiously against the moles and ramparts of
Church and kingdom. The execution of lord
Strafford was news that had not yet begun to

* hiss the speaker.'

' It is Indeed an evil time,' said the old man.
' The world has seldom seen its like.'

* But tell me, master Herbert,' said the lady,

* why comes It in this our day ? For our sins
or for the sins of our fathers ? '

' Be It far from me to presume to set forth
the ways of Providence ! ' returned her guest.

* I meddle not, like some that should be wiser,



4 S^. George and Si. Michael,

with the calling of the prophet. It Is enough
for me to know that ever and again the pride
of man will gather to " a mighty and a fearful
head," and, like a swollen mill-pond overfed
of rains, burst the banks that confine It, whether
they be the laws of the land or the ordinances
of the church, usurping on the fruitful meadows,
the hope of life for man and beast. Alas ! ' he
went on, with a new suggestion from the Image
he had been using, ' If the beginning of strife
be as the letting out of water, what shall be the
end of that strife whose beginning Is the letting
out of blood ? '

* Think you then, good sir, that thus It has
always been ? that such times of fierce ungodly
tempest must ever follow upon seasons of peace
and comfort ? — even as your cousin of holy
memory, In his verses concerning the church
militant, writes :

" Thus also sin and darkness follow still
The church and sun, with all their power and skill. " '

' Truly it seems so. But I thank God the
days of my pilgrimage are nearly numbered.
To judge by the tokens the wise man gives
us, the mourners are already going about my
streets. The almond-tree fiourlsheth at least.'



Dorothy and Richard. 5

He smiled as he spoke, laying his hand on
his grey head.

' But think of those whom we must leave
behind us, master Herbert. How will it fare
with them ? ' said the lady In troubled tone,
and glancing in the direction of the window.

In the window sat a girl, gazing from it with
the look of a child who had uttered all her
incantations, and could imagine no abatement
in the steady rain-pour.

' We shall leave behind us strong hearts and
sound heads too,' said Mr. Herbert. ' And I
bethink me there will be none stronger or
sounder than those of your young cousins, my
late pupils, of whom I hear brave things from
Oxford, and in whose affection my spirit con-
stantly rejoices.'

' You will be glad to hear such good news of
your relatives, Dorothy,' said the lady, address-
ing her daughter.

Even as she said the words, the setting sun
broke through the mass of grey cloud, and
poured over the earth a level flood of radiance,
in which the red wheat glowed, and the drops
that hung on every ear flashed like diamonds.
The girl's hair caught it as she turned her face



6 5/. George and St, Michael.

to answer her mother, and an aureole of brown-
tinted gold gleamed for a moment about her
head.

' I am glad that you are pleased, madam, but
you know I have never seen them — or heard of
them, except from master Herbert, who has,
indeed, often spoke rare things of them.'

* Mistress Dorothy will still know the reason
why,' said the clergyman, smiling, and the two
resumed their conversation. But the girl rose,
and, turning again to the window, stood for a
moment rapt in the transfiguration passing upon
the world. The vault of grey was utterly
shattered, but, gathering glory from ruin, was
hurrying in rosy masses away from under the
loftier vault of blue. The ordered shocks upon
twenty fields sent their long purple shadows
across the flush ; and the evening wind, like the
sighing that follows departed tears, was shaking
the jewels from their feathery tops. The sun-
flowers and hollyhocks no longer cowered under
the tyranny of the rain, but bowed beneath
the weight of the gems that adorned them.
A flame burned as upon an altar on the top
of every tree, and the very pools that lay on
the distant road had their message of light to



Dorothy a7td Richard. 7 *

give to the hopeless earth. As she gazed,
another hue than that of the sunset, yet rosy
too, gradually flushed the face of the maiden.
She turned suddenly from the window, and left
the room, shaking a shower of diamonds from
the honeysuckle as she passed out through the
porch upon the gravel walk.

Possibly her elders found her departure a
relief, for although they took no notice of It,
their talk became more confidential, and was
soon mingled with many names both of rank
and note, with a familiarity which to a stranger
might have seemed out of keeping with the
humbler character of their surroundings.

But when Dorothy Vaughan had passed a
corner of the house to another garden more
ancient In aspect, and In some things quaint
even to grotesqueness, she was In front of a
portion of the house which indicated a far
statelier past — closed and done with, like the
rooms within those shuttered windows. The
inhabited wing she had left looked like the
dwelling of a yeoman farming his own land ;
nor did this appearance greatly belle the present
position of the family. For generations it had
been slowly descending in the scale of worldly



8 wS/. Geo7'ge and St. Michael.

account, and the small portion of the house
occupied by the widow and daughter of sir
RIngwood Vaughan was larger than their means
could match with correspondent outlay. Such,
however, was the character of lady Vaughan,
that, although she mingled little with the great
families In the neighbourhood, she was so much
respected, that she would have been a welcome
visitor to most of them.

The reverend Mr. Matthew Herbert was a
clergyman from the Welsh border, a man of
some note and Influence, who had been the
personal friend both of his late relative George
Herbert and of the famous Dr. Donne.
Strongly attached to the English church, and
recoiling with disgust from the practices of the
puritans — as much, perhaps, from refinement of
taste as abhorrence of schism — he had never
yet fallen Into such a passion for episcopacy as
to feel any cordiality towards the schemes of the
archbishop. To those who knew him his silence
concerning It was a louder protest against the
policy of Laud than the fiercest denunciations
of the puritans. Once only had he been heard
to utter himself unguardedly In respect of the
primate, and that was amongst friends, and



Dorothy a7id Richard. 9

after the second glass permitted of his cousin
George. ' Tut ! laud me no Laud/ he said.
*A skipping bishop Is worse than a skipping
king.' Once also he had been overheard mur-
muring to himself by way of consolement,
' Bishops pass ; the church remains.' He had
been a great friend of the late sir RIngwood ;
and although the distance from his parish was
too great to be travelled often, he seldom let
a year go by without paying a visit to his
friend's widow and daughter.

Turning her back on the cenotaph of their
former greatness, Dorothy dived into a long
pleached alley, careless of the drip from over-
head, and hurrying through It came to a circular
patch of thin grass, rounded by a lofty hedge of
yew-trees, in the midst of which stood what had
once been a sun-dial. It mattered little, how-
ever, that only the stump of a gnomon was left,
seeing the hedge around it had grown to such a
height in relation to the diameter of the circle,
that it was only for a very brief hour or so In
the middle of a summer's day, when, of all
periods, the passage of Time seems least to
concern humanity, that it could have served to
measure his march. The spot had, Indeed, a



I o S^. George and St. Michael.

time-forsaken look, as if it lay buried in the
bosom of the past, and the present had forgot-
ten it.

Before emerging from the alley, she slackened
her pace, half-stopped, and, stooping a little in
her tucked-up skirt, threw a bird-like glance
around the opener space ; then stepping into it,
she looked up to the little disc of sky, across
which the clouds, their roses already withered,
sailed dim and grey once more, while behind
them the stars were beginning to recall their
half- forgotten message from regions unknown
to men. A moment, and she went up to the
dial, stood there for another moment, and was
on the point of turning to leave the spot, when,
as if with one great bound, a youth stood
between her and the entrance of the alley.

' Ah ha, mistress Dorothy, you do not escape
me so !' he cried, spreading out his arms as if
to turn back some runaway creature.

But mistress Dorothy was startled, and
mistress Dorothy did not choose to be startled,
and therefore mistress Dorothy was dignified,
if not angry.

' I do not like such behaviour, Richard,' she
said. ' It ill suits with the time. Why did you



Dorothy and Richard. 1 1

hide behind the hedge, and then leap forth so
rudely ?'

* I thought you saw me,' answered the youth.
* Pardon my heedlessness, Dorothy. I hope I
have not startled you too much.'

As he spoke he stooped over the hand he
had caught, and would have carried It to his
lips, but the girl, half-pettlshly, snatched it
a^vay, and, with a strange mixture of dignity,
sadness, and annoyance In her tone, said —

' There has been something too much of this,
Richard, and I begin to be ashamed of It.'

' Ashamed ! ' echoed the youth. ' Of what ?
There Is nothing but me to be ashamed of, and
what can I have done since yesterday ? '

' No, Richard ; I am not ashamed of you,
but I am ashamed of — of — this way of meeting
— and — and '

' Surely that Is strange, when we can no more
remember the day In which we have not met
than that In which we met first ! No, dear
Dorothy '

' It Is not our meeting, Richard ; and If you
would but think as honestly as you speak, you
would not require to lay upon me the burden of
explanation. It Is this foolish way we have



1 2 S^, Georo^e and St. Michael,



<i>



got into of late — kissing hands — and — and —
always meeting by the old sun-dial, or in some
other over-quiet spot. Why do you not come
to the house ? My mother would give you the
same welcome as any time these last — how
many years, Richard ?/

* Are you quite sure of that, Dorothy ? '

' Well — I did fancy she spoke with something
more of ceremony the last time you met. But,
consider, she has seen so much less of you of
late. Yet I am sure she has all but a mother's
love in her heart towards you. For your
mother was dear to her as her own soul.'

* I would it were so, Dorothy ! For then,
perhaps, your mother would not shrink from
being my mother too. When we are married,
Dorothy '

' Married ! ' exclaimed the girl. * What of
marrying, indeed ! ' And she turned sideways
from him with an indignant motion. ' Richard,'
she went on, after a marked and yet but
momentary pause, for the youth had not had
time to say a word, ' it has been very wrong in
me to meet you after this fashion. I know it
now, for see what such things lead to ! If you
knew it, you have done me wrong.'



Dorothy and Richard, 1 3

* Dearest Dorothy ! ' exclaimed the youth,
taking her hand again, of which this time she
seemed hardly aware, ' did you not know from
the very vanished first that I loved you with all
my heart, and that to tell you so would have
been to tell the sun that he shines warm at
noon in midsummer ? And I did think you
had a little — something for me, Dorothy, your
old playmate, that you did not give to every
other acquaintance. Think of the houses
we have built and the caves we have dug
together — of our rabbits, and urchins, and
pigeons, and peacocks ! '

* We are children no longer,' returned Doro-
thy. * To behave as if we were would be to
keep our eyes shut after we are awake. I like
you, Richard, you know ; but why this — where
is the use of all this — new sort of thing ? Come
up with me to the house, where master Her-
bert is now talking to my mother in the large
parlour. The good man will be glad to see
you.'

' I doubt it, Dorothy. He and my father, as
I am given to understand, think so differently
in respect of affairs now pending betwixt the
parliament and the king, that '



1 4 '5'/. George and St. Michael.

' It were more becoming, Richard, if the door
of your Hps opened to the king first, and let the
parHament follow.'

' Well said ! ' returned the youth with a smile.
* But let it be my excuse that I speak as I am
wont to hear.'

The girl's hand had lain quiet in that of the
youth, but now it started from it like a scared
bird. She stepped two paces back, and drew
herself up.

* And you, Richard ?' she said, interrogatively.
' What would you ask, Dorothy ? ' returned

the youth, taking a step nearer, to which she
responded by another backward ere she replied.

* I would know whom you choose to serve —
whether God or Satan ; whether you are of
those who would set at nought the laws of the
land '



' Insist on their fulfilment, they say, by king
as well as people ' interrupted Richard.

* They would tear their mother in pieces '

* Their mother ! ' repeated Richard, be-
wildered.

' Their mother, the church,' explained Doro-
thy.

' Oh ! ' said Richard. ' Nay, they would but



Doi'othy and Richard. 1 5

cast out of her the wolves in sheep's clothing
that devour the lambs.'

The girl was silent. Anger glowed on her
forehead and flashed from her grey eyes. She
stood one moment, then turned to leave him,
but half turned again to say scornfully —

* I must go at once to my mother ! I knew
not I had left her with such a wolf as master
Herbert is like to prove !'

' Master Herbert is no bishop, Dorothy !'

* The bishops, then, are the wolves, master
Hey wood ?' said the girl, with growing indig-
nation.

' Dear Dorothy, I am but repeating what I
hear. For my own part, I know little of these
matters. And what are they to us if we love
one another ? '

' I tell you I am a child no longer,' flamed
Dorothy.

' You were seventeen last St. George's Day,
and I shall be nineteen next St. Michael's.'

' St. George for merry England ! ' cried
Dorothy.

* St. Michael for the Truth ! ' cried Richard.
' So be it. Good-bye, then,' said the girl,

going.



1 6 St George mid St. Michael.

' What do you mean, Dorothy ?' said Richard ;
and she stood to hear, but with her back
towards him, and, as it were, hovering midway
in a pace. * Did not St. Michael also slay his
dragon ? Why should the knights part com-
pany ? Believe me, Dorothy, I care more for a
smile from you than for all the bishops in the
church, or all the presbyters out of it.'

' You take needless pains to prove yourself a
foolish boy, Richard ; and if I go not to my
mother at once, I fear I shall learn to despise
you — which I would not willingly.'

' Despise me ! Do you take me for a coward
then, Dorothy ?'

' I say not that. I doubt not, for the matter
of swords and pistols, you are much like other
male creatures ; but I protest I could never love
a man who preferred my company to the
service of his king.'

She glided into the alley and sped along its
vaulted twilight, her white dress gleaming and
clouding by fits as she went.

The youth stood for a moment petrified, then
started to overtake her, but stood stock-still at
the entrance of the alley, and followed her only
with his eyes as she went.



Dorothy and Richard, 1 7

When Dorothy reached the house, she did
not run up to her room that she might weep
unseen. She was still too much annoyed with
Richard to regret having taken such leave of
him. She only swallowed down a little bal-
loonful of sobs, and went straight into the
parlour, where her mother and Mr. Herbert
still sat, and resumed her seat in the bay
window. Her heightened colour, an occasional
toss of her head backwards, like that with
which a horse seeks ease from the bearing-
rein, generally followed by a renewal of the
attempt to swallow something of upward ten-
dency, were the only signs of her discomposure,
and none of them were observed by her mother
or her guest. Could she have known, how-
ever, what feelings had already begun to rouse
themselves in the mind of him whose boyish-
ness was an offence to her, she would have
found it more difficult to keep such composure.

Dorothy's was a face whose forms were
already so decided that, should no softening
influences from the central regions eain the
ascendancy, beyond a doubt age must render
it hard and unlovely. In all the roundness
and freshness of girlhood, it was handsome

VOL. I. B



1 8 SL George and St. Michael.

rather than beautiful, beautiful rather than
lovely. And yet it was strongly attractive,
for It bore clear Indication of a nature to be
trusted. If her grey eyes were a little cold,
they were honest eyes, with a rare look of
steadfastness ; and If her lips were a little too
closely pressed, it was clearly from any cause
rather than bad temper. Neither head, hands,
nor feet were small, but they were fine in form
and movement ; and for the rest of her person,
tall and strong as Richard was, Dorothy looked
further advanced In the journey of life than he.
She needed hardly, however, have treated
his indifference to the politics of the time with
so much severity, seeing her own acquaintance
with and interest In them dated from that same
afternoon, during which, from lack of other
employment, and the weariness of a long morn-
ing of slow, dismal rain, she had been listening
to Mr. Herbert as he dwelt feelingly on the
arrogance of puritan encroachment, and the
grossness of presbyterlan insolence both to
kingly prerogative and episcopal authority, and
drew a touching picture of the irritant thwart-
ings and pitiful insults to which the gentle
monarch was exposed In his attempts to sup-



Doi^othy and Richard. 1 9

port the dignity of his divine office, and to
cast its protecting skirt over the defenceless
church ; and if it was with less sympathy that
he spoke of the fears which haunted the captive
metropolitan, Dorothy at least could detect no
hidden sarcasm in the tone in which he ex-
pressed his hope that Laud's devotion to the
beauty of holiness might not result in the
dignity of martyrdom, as might well be feared
by those who were assured that the whole
guilt of Strafford lay in his return to his duty,
and his subsequent devotion to the interests
of his royal master : to all this the girl had
listened, and her still sufficiently uncertain
knowledo-e of the affairs of the nation had, ere
the talk was over, blossomed in a vague sense
of partizanship. It was chiefly her desire after
the communion of sympathy with Richard that
had led her into the mistake of such a hasty
disclosure of her new feelings.

But her following words had touched him —
whether to fine issues or not remained yet
poised on the knife-edge of the balancing will.
His first emotion partook of anger. As soon
as she was out of sight a spell seemed broken,
and words came.



20 SL George and St. Michael,

' A boy, indeed, mistress Dorothy ! ' he said.
' If ever it come to what certain persons pro-
phesy, you may wish me in truth, and that for
the sake of your precious bishops, the boy you
call me now. Yes, you are right, mistress,
though I would it had been another who told
me so ! Boy indeed I am — or have been —
without a thought in my head but of her. The
sound of my fathers voice has been but as
the wind of the winnowing fan. In me it has
found but chaff. If you will have me take a
side, though, you will find me so far worthy
of you that I shall take the side that seems to
me the right one, were all the fair Dorothies of
the universe on the other. In very truth I
should be somewhat sorry to find the king and
the bishops in the right, lest my lady should
flatter herself and despise me that I had chosen
after her showing, forsooth ! This is master
Herbert's doing, for never before did I hear
her speak after such fashion.'

While he thus spoke with himself, he stood,
like the genius of the spot, a still dusky figure
on the edge of the night, into which his dress
of brown velvet, rich and sombre at once in
the sunlight, all but merged. Nearly for the



Dorothy and Richard, 2 1

first time in his life he was experiencing the
difficulty of making up his mind, not, however,
upon any of the important questions, his in-
attention to which had exposed him to such
sudden and unexpected severity, but merely


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