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as to whether he should seek her again in the
company of her mother and Mr. Herbert, or
return home. The result of his deliberation,
springing partly, no doubt, from anger, but
that of no very virulent type, was, that he
turned his back on the alley, passed through
a small opening in the yew hedge, crossed a
neglected corner of woodland, by ways better
known to him than to any one else, and came
out upon the main road leading to the gates
of his father's park.



ICHARD HEYWOOD, as to bodily
fashion, was a tall and already power-
ful youth. The clear brown of his
complexion spoke of plentiful sun-
shine and air. A merry sparkle in the depths
of his hazel eyes relieved the shadows of rather
notably heavy lids, themselves heavily over-
browed — with a suggestion of character which
had not yet asserted itself to those who knew
him best. Correspondingly, his nose, although
of a Greek type, was more notable for substance
than clearness of line or modelling ; while his
lips had a boyish fulness along with a definite-
ness of bow-like curve, which manly resolve had
not yet begun to compress and straighten out.
His chin was at least large enough not to con-

Richard and his Father, 23

tradlct the promise of his face ; his shoulders
were square, and his chest and limbs well
developed : altogether it was at present a fair
tabernacle — of whatever sort the indwelling
divinity might yet turn out, fashioning it further
after his own nature.

His father and he were the only male
descendants of an old Monmouthshire family,
of neither Welsh nor Norman, but as pure
Saxon blood as might be had within the clip
of the ocean. Roger, the father, had once
only or twice in his lifetime been heard boast,
in humorous fashion, that although but a simple
squire, he could, on this side the fog of tradi-
tion, which nearer or further shrouds all origin,
count a longer descent than any of the titled
families in the county, not excluding the earl
of Worcester himself. His character also would
have gone far to support any assertion he might
have chosen to make as to the purity of his
strain. A notable immobility of nature — his
friends called it firmness, his enemies obstinacy;
a seeming disregard of what others might think
of him; a certain sternness of manner — an
unreadiness, as it were, to open his door to
the people about him ; a searching regard with

24 S^. Geo7^ge and St. Michael.

which he was wont to peruse the face of any
one holding talk with him, when he seemed
always to give heed to the looks rather than
the words of him who spoke ; these peculiarities
had combined to produce a certain awe of him
in his Inferiors, and a dislike, not unavowed. In
his equals. With his superiors he came seldom
in contact, and to them his behaviour was still
more distant and unbending. But, although
from these causes he was far from being a
favourite In the county, he was a man of such
known and acknowledged probity that, until of
late, when party spirit ran high and drew almost
everybody, whether of consequence or not, to
one side or the other, there was nobody who
would not have trusted Roger Hey wood to the
uttermost. Even now, foes as well as friends
acknowledged that he was to be depended
upon ; while his own son looked up to him
with a reverence that In some measure over-
shadowed his affection. Such a character as
this had necessarily been slow In formation,
and the opinions which had been modified by
it and had reacted upon It, had been as unalter-
ably as deliberately adopted. But affairs had
approached a crisis between king and parlla-

Richard arid his Father. 2 5

ment before one of his friends knew that there
were In his mind any opinions upon them in
process of formation — so reserved and mono-
syllabic had been his share in any conversation
upon topics which had for a long time been
growing every hour of more and more absorb-
ing interest to all men either of consequence,
intelligence, property, or adventure. At last,
however, it had become clear, to the great
annoyance of not a few amongst his neighbours,
that Hey wood's leanings were to the parliament.
But he had never yet sought to Influence his
son in regard to the great questions at Issue.

His house was one of those ancient dwellings
which have grown under the hands to fit the
wants of successive generations, and look as
if they had never been other than old ; two-
storied at most, and many-gabled, with mar-
vellous accretions and projections, the haunts
of yet more wonderful shadows. There, in a
room he called his study, shabby and small,
containing a library more notable for quality
and selection than size, Richard the next
morning sought and found him.

' Father ! ' he said, entering with some haste
after the usual request for admission.

26 SL George and St. MichaeL

* I am here, my son,' answered Roger,
without lifting his eyes from the small folio
in which he was reading.

* I want to know, father, whether, when
men differ, a man is bound to take a side.'

* Nay, Richard, but a man is bound not to
take a side save upon reasons well considered
and found good.'

* It may be, father, if you had seen fit to
send me to Oxford, I should have been better
able to judge now.'

' I had my reasons, son Richard. Readier,
perhaps, you might have been, but fitter — no.
Tell me what points you have in question.'

* That I can hardly say, sir. I only know
there are points at issue betwixt king and
parliament which men appear to consider of
mightiest consequence. Will you tell me,
father, why you have never instructed me in
these affairs of church and state ? I trust it
is not because you count me unworthy of
your confidence.'

' ' Far from it, my son.' My silence hath
respect to thy hearing and to the judgment
yet unawakened in thee. Who would lay in
the arms of a child that which must crush

Richard and his Father. 2 7

him to the earth ? Years did I take to
meditate ere I resolved, and I know not yet
if thou hast in thee the power of meditation.'

* At least, father, I could try to understand,
If you would unfold your mind.'

' When you know what the matters at issue
are, my son, — that is, when you are able to
ask me questions worthy of answer, I shall
be ready to answer thee, so far as my judg-
ment will reach.'

' I thank you, father. In the meantime I
am as one who knocks, and the door is not
opened unto him.'

* Rather art thou as one who loiters on the
door-step, and lifts up neither ring nor voice.'

* Surely, sir, I must first know the news.'

' Thou hast ears ; keep them open. But at
least you know, my son, that on the twelfth day
of May last my lord of Strafford lost his head.'

' Who took it from him, sir ? King or
parliament ? '

' Even that might be made a question ; but
I answer, the High Court of Parliament, my

' Was the judgment a right one or a wrong,
sir ? Did he deserve the doom ? '

28 SL Geoi^ge and St. Michael.

' Ah, there you put a question indeed !
Many men say right, and many men say
wrofig. One man, I doubt me much, was
wrong in the share he bore therein.'

' Who was he, sir ? '

' Nay, nay, I will not forestall thine own
judgment. But, in good sooth, I might be
more ready to speak my mind, were it not that
I greatly doubt some of those who cry loudest
for liberty. I fear that had they once the
power, they would be the first to trample her
under foot. Liberty with some men means
77zy liberty to do, and thine to suffer. But all
in good time, my son ! The dawn is nigh.'

' You will tell me at least, father, what is the
bone of contention ? '

' My son, where there is contention, a bone
shall not fail. It is but a leg-bone now ; it
will be a rib to-morrow, and by and by doubt-
less it will be the skull itself.'

' If you care for none of these things, sir,
will not master Flowerdew have a hard name
for you ? I know not what it means, but it
sounds of the gallows,' said Richard, looking
rather doubtful as to how his father might
take it.

Richard and his Fathe7\ 29

' Possibly, my son, I care more for the con-
tention than the bone, for while thieves quarrel
honest men go their own ways. But what
ignorance I have kept thee in, and yet left thee
to bear the reproach of a puritan ! ' said the
father, smiling grimly. ' Thou meanest master
Flowerdew would call me a Gallio, and thou
takest the Roman proconsul for a gallows-bird !
Verily thou art not destined to prolong the
renown of thy race for letters. I marvel what
thy cousin Thomas would say to the darkness
of thy ignorance.'

* See what comes of not sending me to
Oxford, sir : I know not who is my cousin

' A man both of learning and wisdom, my
son, though I fear me his diet is too strong
for the stomach of this degenerate age, while
the dressing of his dishes is, on the other hand,
too cunningly devised for their liking. But it
is no marvel thou shouldest be ignorant of him,
being as yet no reader of books. Neither is
he a close kinsman, being of the Lincolnshire
branch of the Hey woods.'

' Now I know whom you mean, sir ; but I
thought he was a writer of stage plays, and

30 S^. George and St. Michael.

such things as on all sides I hear called foolish,
and mummery.'

* There be among those who call themselves
the godly, who will endure no mummery but of
their own inventing. Cousin Thomas hath
written a multitude of plays, but that he studied
at Cambridge, and to good purpose, this book,
which I was reading when you entered, bears
good witness.'

' What is the book, father ? '

* Stay, I will read thee a portion. The
greater part is of learning rather than wisdom
— the gathered opinions of the wise and good
concerning things both high and strange ; but
I will read thee some verses bearing his own
mind, which is indeed worthy to be set down
with theirs.'

He read that wonderful poem ending the
second Book of the Hierarchy, and having
finished it looked at his son.

' I do not understand it, sir,' said Richard.

' I did not expect you would,' returned his
father. ' Here, take the book, and read for
thyself. If light should dawn upon the page
as thou readest, perhaps thou wilt understand
what I now say — that I care but little for the

Richard and his Father, 3 1

bones concerning which king and parliament
contend, but I do care that men — thou and I,
my son — should be free to walk In any path
whereon It may please God to draw us. Take
the book, my son, and read again. But read
no farther save with caution, for It dealeth with
many things wherein old Thomas Is too readily
satisfied with hearsay for testimony.'

Richard took the small folio and carried It to
his own chamber, where he read and partly
understood the poem. But he was not ripe
enough either In philosophy or religion for such
meditations. Having executed his task, for as
such he regarded it, he turned to look through
the strange mixture of wisdom and credulity
composing the volume. One tale after another,
of witch, and demon, and magician, firmly be-
lieved and honesdy recorded by his worthy
relative, drew him on, until he sat forgetful of
everything but the world of marvels before him
— to none of which, however, did he accord a
wider credence than sprung from the Interest of
the moment. He was roused by a noise of
quarrel in the farmyard, towards which his
window looked, and, laying aside reading,
hastened out to learn the cause.




IT was a bright Autumn morning.
A dry wind had been blowing all
night through the shocks, - and
already some of the farmers had
to carry to their barns the sheaves
which had stood hopelessly dripping the day
before. Ere Richard reached the yard, he
saw, over the top of the wall, the first load
of wheat-sheaves from the harvest-field, stand-
ing at the door of the barn, and high-upllfted
thereon the figure of Faithful Stopchase, one of
the men, a well-known frequenter of puritan
assemblies all the country round, who was
holding forth, and that with much freedom, in
tones that sounded very like vituperation, if not
malediction, against some one invisible. He
soon found that the object of his wrath was a

The Witch, 33

certain Welshwoman, named Rees, by her
neighbours considered objectionable on the
ground of witchcraft, against whom this much
could with truth be urged, that she was so far
from thinking it disreputable, that she took no
pains to repudiate the imputation of it. Her
dress, had it been judged by eyes of our day,
would have been against her, but it was only
old-fashioned, not even antiquated : common
in Queen Elizabeth's time, it lingered still in
remote country places — a gown of dark stuff,
made with a long waist and short skirt over a
huge farthingale ; a ruff which stuck up and out,
high and far, from her throat ; and a conical
Welsh hat invading the heavens. Stopchase,
having descried her in the yard, had taken
the opportunity of breaking out upon her in
language as far removed from that of con-
ventional politeness as his puritanical principles
would permit. Doubtless he considered it a
rebukincT of Satan, but foro^ot that, althoueh one
of the godly, he could hardly on that ground
lay claim to larger privilege in the use of bad
language than the archangel Michael. For the
old woman, although too prudent to reply, she

scorned to flee, and stood regarding him fixedly.
VOL. I. c

34 '5'/. George and St. Michael.

Richard sought to interfere and check the
torrent of abuse, but it had already gathered so
much head, that the man seemed even unaware
of his attempt. Presently, however, he began
to quail in the midst of his storming. The
green eyes of the old woman, fixed upon him,
seemed to be slowly fascinating him. At length,
in the very midst of a volley of scriptural
epithets, he fell suddenly silent, turned from her,
and, with the fork on which he had been leanino^,
began to pitch the sheaves into the barn. The
moment he turned his back. Goody Rees turned
hers, and walked slowly away.

She had scarcely reached the yard gate, how-
ever, before the cow-boy, a delighted spectator
and auditor of the affair, had loosed the fierce
watch-dog, which flew after her. Fortunately
Richard saw what took place, but the animal,
which was generally chained up, did not heed
his recall, and the poor woman had already felt
his teeth, when Richard got him by the throat.
She looked pale and frightened, but kept her
composure wonderfully, and when Richard, who
was prejudiced in her favour from having once
heard Dorothy speak friendlily to her, expressed
his great annoyance that she should have been

The Witch. 35

so insulted on his father's premises, received his
apologies with dignity and good faith. He
dragged the dog back, rechained him, and was
in the act of administering sound and righteous
chastisement to the cow-boy, when Stopchase
staggered, tumbled off the cart, and falling upon
his head, lay motionless. Richard hurried to
him, and finding his neck twisted and his head
bent to one side, concluded he was killed. The
woman who had accompanied him from the
field stood for a moment uttering loud cries,
then, suddenly bethinking herself, sped after
the witch. Richard was soon satisfied he
could do nothing for him.

Presently the woman came running back, fol-
lowed at a more leisurely pace by Goody Rees,
whose countenance was grave, and, even to
the twitch about her mouth, inscrutable. She
walked up to where the man lay, looked at him
for a moment or two as if considering his case,
then sat down on the ground beside him, and
requested Richard to move him so that his head
should lie on her lap. This done, she laid hold
of it, with a hand on each ear, and pulled at his
neck, at the same time turning his head in the
right direction. There came a snap, and the

36 SL George aiid St. Michael.

neck was straight. She then began to stroke It
with gentle yet firm hand. In a few moments
he began to breathe. As soon as she saw his
chest move, she called for a wisp of hay, and
having shaped It a little, drew herself from
under his head, substituting the hay. Then
rising without a word she walked from the
yard. Stopchase lay for a while, gradually
coming to himself, then scrambled all at once
to his feet, and staggered to his pitchfork,
which lay where It had fallen. ' It Is of the
mercy of the Lord that I fell not upon' the
prongs of the pitchfork,' he said, as he slowly
stooped and lifted It. He had no notion that
he had lain more than a few seconds ; and of
the return of Goody Rees and her ministrations
he knew nothing ; while such an awe of her-
self and her Influences had she left behind her,
that neither the woman nor the cow-boy ven-
tured to allude to her, and even Richard,
influenced partly, no doubt, by late reading,
was more Inclined to think than speak about
her. For the man himself, little knowing how
close death had come to him, but Inwardly
reproached because of his passionate outbreak,
he firmly believed that he had had a narrow

The WitcL 37

escape from the net of the great fowler, whose
decoy the old woman was, commissioned not
only to cause his bodily death, but to work in
him first such a frame of mind as should render
his soul the lawful prey of the enemy.



HE same afternoon, as it happened,
a little company of rustics, who
had just Issued from the low hatch-
door of the village inn, stood for a
moment under the sign of the Crown and
Mitre, which swung huskily creaking from the
bough of an ancient thorn tree, then passed on
to the road, and took their way together.

* Hope you then,' said one of them, as con-
tinuing their previous conversation, ' that we
shall escape unhurt ? It is a parlous business.
Not as one of us is afeard as I knows on.
But the old earl, he do have a most unre-
generate temper, and you had better look to't,
my masters.'

* I tell thee, master Upstill, it's not the old

A Chapter of Fools, 39

earl as I'm afeard on, but the young lord. For
thou knows as well as ere a one it be not
without cause that men do call him a wizard,
for a wizard he be, and that of the worst sort.'

' We shall be out again afore sundown,
shannot we ?' said another. ' That I trust.'

' Up to the which hour the High Court of
Parliament assembled will have power to
protect its own — eh, John Croning ? '

* Nay, that I cannot tell. It be a parlous
job, and for mine own part, whether for the
love I bear to the truth, or the hatred I cherish
toward the scarlet Antichrist, with her seven
tails '

' Tush, tush, John ! Seven heads, man, and
ten horns. Those are the numbers master
Flowerdew read.'

' Nay, I know not for your horns ; but for
the rest I say seven tails. Did not honest
master Flowerdew set forth unto us last meet-
ing that the scarlet woman sat upon seven
hills — eh ? Have with you there, master
Sycamore ! '

* Well, for the sake of sound argument, I
grant you. But we ha' got to do with no heads
nor no tails, neither — save and except as you

40 SL George arid St. Michael.

may say the sting is in the tail ; and then, or
I greatly mistake, it's not seven times seven as
will serve to count the stings, come of the tails
what may.'

' Very true,' said another ; * it be the stings
and not the tails we want news of. But think
you his lordship will yield them up without
gainsaying to us the messengers of the High
Parliament now assembled ? '

* For mine own part,' said John Croning,
* though I fear it come of the old Adam yet
left in me, I do count it a sorrowful thing that
the earl should be such a vile recusant. He
never fails with a friendly word, or it may be a
jest — a foolish jest — but honest, for any one
gentle or simple he may meet. More than
once has he boarded me in that fashion. What
do you think he said to me, now, one day as
I was a mowin' of the grass In the court, close
by the white horse that spout up the water
high as a house from his nose-drills ? Says he
to me — for he come down the grand staircase,
and steps out and spies me at the work with
my old scythe, and come across to me, and says
he, '' Why, Thomas," says he, not knowin' of
my name, *' Why, Thomas," says he, '' you look

A Chapte}' of Fools. 41

like old Time himself a mowing of us all down,"
says he. " For sure, my lord," says I, " your
lordship reads it aright, for all flesh is grass,
and all the glory of man is as the flower of the
field." He look humble at that, for, great man
as he be, his earthly tabernacle, though more
than sizeable, is but a frail one, and that he do
know. And says he, " Where did you read
that, Thomas ? " *' I am not a larned man,
please your lordship," says I, " and I cannot
honestly say I read it nowheres, but I heerd the
words from a book your lordship have had news
of: they do call it the Holy Bible. But they
tell me that they of your lordship's persuasion
like it not." " You are very much mistaken
there, Thomas," says he. '' I read my Bible
most days, only not the English Bible, which is
full of errors, but the Latin, which is all as God
gave it," says he. And thereby I had not
where to answer withal.'

* I fear you proved a poor champion of the
truth, master Croning.'

' Confess now, Cast-down Upstill, had he not
both sun and wind of me — standing, so to say,
on his own hearth-stone ? Had it not been so,
I could have called hard names with the best

42 SL George and St, Michael.

of you, though that is by rights the gift of the
preachers of the truth. See how the good
master Flowerdew excelleth therein, sprinkHng
them abroad from the watering-pot of the
gospel. Verily, when my mind is too feeble
to grasp his argument, my memory lays fast
hold upon the hard names, and while I hold
by them, I have it all in a nutshell.'

Fortified occasionally by a pottle of ale, and
keeping their spirits constantly stirred by much
talking, they had been all day occupied in search-
ing the Catholic houses of the neighbourhood for
arms. What authority they had for it never
came to be clearly understood. Plainly they
believed themselves possessed of all that was
needful, or such men would never have dared
it. As it was, they prosecuted it with such a
bold front, that not until they were gone did it
occur to some, who had yielded what arms they
possessed, to question whether they had done
wisely in acknowledging such fellows as parlia-
mentary officials without demanding their war-
rant. Their day's gleanings up to this point —
of swords and pikes, guns and pistols, they had
left in charge of the host of the inn whence
they had just issued, and were now bent on

A Chapter of Fools. 43

crowning their day's triumph with a supreme
act of daring — the renown of which they en-
larged in their own imaginations, while under-
mining the courage needful for its performance,
by enhancing Its terrors as they went.

At length two lofty hexagonal towers ap-
peared, and the consciousness that the final
test of their resolution drew nigh took imme-
diate form in a fluttering at the heart, which,
however, gave no outward sign but that of
silence ; and Indeed they were still too full of
the importance of unaccustomed authority to
fear any contempt for It on the part of others.

It happened that at this moment Rsglan
Castle was full of merry-making upon occasion
of the marriage of one of lady Herbert's wait-
ing-gentlewomen to an officer of the household ;
and In these festivities the earl of Worcester
and all his guests were taking a part.

Among the numerous members of the house-
hold was one who, from being a turnspit, had
risen, chiefly in virtue of an Immovably lugu-
brious expression of countenance, to be the
earl's fool. From this peculiarity his fellow-
servants had given him the nickname of The
Hangman ; but the man himself had chosen the

44 S^' George and St. Michael.

role of a puritan parson, as affording the best
ground -work for the display of a humour
suitable to the expression of countenance with
which his mother had endowed him. That
mother was Goody Rees, concerning whom, as
already hinted, strange things were whispered.
In the earlier part of his career the fool had
not unfrequently found his mother s reputation
a sufficient shelter from persecution ; and
indeed there might have been reason to sup-
pose that it was for her son's sake she encour-
aged her own evil repute, a distinction involving
considerable risk, seeing the time had not yet
arrived when the disbelief in such powers was

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