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shadows might show what a perpendicular light
could not reveal. There is all the difference as
to discovery whether a thing is lying under the
shadow of another, or casting one of its own.

After this came a review of the outer forti-
fications — if, indeed, they were worthy of the
name — enclosing the gardens, the old tilting
yard, now used as a bowling-green, the home-
farmyard, and other such outlying portions
under the stewardship of sir Ralph Blackstone
and the governorship of Charles Somerset, the
earl's youngest son. It was here that the
most was wanted ; and the next few days were
chiefly spent In surveying these Avorks, and
drawing plans for their extension, strengthen-
ing, and connection — especially about the
stables, armourer's shop, and smithy, where
the building of new defences was almost im-
mediately set on foot.

88 5/. George and St. Michael,

A thorough examination of the machinery of
the various portculHses and drawbridges fol-
lowed ; next an overhauling of the bolts, chains,
and other defences of the gates. Then came
an inspection of the ordnance, from cannons
down to drakes, through a gradation of names
as uncouth to our ears, and as unknown to the
artillery descended from them, as many of the
Christian names of the puritans are to their
descendants of the present da}^ At length, to
conclude the Inspection, lord Herbert and the
master of the armoury held consultation with
the head armourer, and the mighty accumula-
tion of weapons of all sorts was passed under
the most rigid scrutiny ; many of them were
sent to the forge, and others carried to the
ground-floor of the keep.

Presently, things began to look busy in a
quiet way about the place. Men were at work
blasting the rocks in a quarry not far off,
whence laden carts went creeping to the castle ;
but this was oftener in the night. Some of
them drove into the paved court, for here and
there a buttress was wanted inside, and of the
battlements not a few were weather-beaten and
out of repair. These the earl would have let

Preparations. 89

alone, on the ground that they were no longer
more than ornamental, and therefore had better
be repaired after the siege, if such should
befall, for the big guns would knock them
about like cards ; but Caspar reminded him
that every time the ball from a cannon, culver-
ing, or saker missed the parapet, it remained
a sufficient bar to the bullet that might equally
avail to carry off the defenceless gunner. The
earl, however, although he yielded, maintained
that the flying of the wall when struck was a
more than counterbalancing danger.

The stock of provisions began to increase.
The dry larder, which lay under the court,
between the kitchen and buttery, was by
degrees filled with gammons and flitches of
bacon, well dried and smoked. Wheat, barley,
oats, and pease were stored in the granary, and
potatoes in a pit dug in the orchard.

Strange faces in the guard-room caused
wonderings and questions amongst the women.
The stables began to fill with horses, and
' more man ' to go about the farmyard and



EFT alone with Lady, his mare,
Richard could not help brooding —
rather than pondering — over what
the old woman had said. Not that
for a moment he contemplated as a pos-
sibility the acceptance of the witch's offer.
To come himself Into any such close re-
lations with her as that would imply, was
In repulslveness second only to the Idea of
subjecting Dorothy to her Influences. For
something to occupy his hands, that his mind
might be restless at will, he gave his mare a
careful currying, then an extra feed of oats,
and then a gallop ; after which it was time to
go to bed.

I doubt If anything but the consciousness of
crime will keep healthy youth awake, and as

Reflections. 9 1

such consciousness is generally far from it,
youth seldom counts the watches of the night.
Richard soon fell fast asleep, and dreamed that
his patron saint — alas for his protestantism ! —
appeared to him, handed him a lance headed
with a single flashing diamond, and told him to
go and therewith kill the dragon. But just as
he was asking the way to the dragon's den, that
he might perform his behest, the saint vanished,
and feeling the lance melting away in his grasp,
he gradually woke to find it gone.

After a long talk with his father in the study,
he was left to his own resources for the remain-
der of the day ; and as it passed and the night
drew on, the offer of the witch kept growing
upon his imagination, and his longing to see
Dorothy became stronger and stronger, until at
last it was almost too intense to be borne. He
had never before known such a possession, and
was more than half inclined to attribute it to
the arts of mother Rees.

His father was busy in his study below, writing
letters — an employment which now occupied
much of his time ; and Richard sat alone in a
chamber in the upper part of one of the many
gables of the house, which he had occupied

92 S^, George and St, Michael,

longer than he could remember. Its one small
projecting lozenge-paned window looked to-
wards Dorothy's home. Some years ago he
had been able to see her window, from it
through a gap in the trees, by favour of which,
indeed, they had indulged in a system of com-
munications by means of coloured flags — so
satisfactory that Dorothy not only pressed into
the service all the old frocks she could find, but
got into trouble by cutting up one almost new
for the enlargement of the somewhat limited
scope of their telegraphy. In this windoXv he
now sat, sending his soul through the dark-
ness, milky with the clouded light of half an old
moon, towards the ancient sun-dial, where Time
stood so still that sometimes Richard had known
an hour there pass in a moment.

Never until now had he felt enmity in space:
it had been hitherto rather as a bridge to bear
him to Dorothy than a gulf to divide him from
her presence ; but now, through the interpene%
trative power of feeling, their alienation had
affected all around as well as within him, and
space appeared as a solid enemy, and darkness
as an unfriendly enchantress, each doing what
it could to separate betwixt him and the being

Reflectio7is. 93

to whom his soul was drawn as — no, there was
no as for such drawing. No opposition of mere
circumstances could have created the feeling ; it
was the sense of an Inward separation taking
form outwardly. For Richard was now but too
well convinced that he had no power of persua-
sion equal to the task of making Dorothy see
things as he saw them. The dividing influence
of Imperfect opposing goods is potent as that of
warring good and evil, with this important dif-
ference, that the former is but for a season, and
will one day bind as strongly as it parted, while
the latter is essential, absolute, Impassible,

To Dorothy, Richard seemed guilty of over-
weening arrogance and Its attendant, presump-
tion ; she could not see the form ethereal to
which he bowed. To Richard, Dorothy ap-
peared the dupe of superstition ; he could not
see the god that dwelt within the Idol. To
Dorothy, Richard seemed to be one who gave
the holy name of truth to nothing but the
offspring of his own vain fancy. To Richard,
Dorothy appeared one who so little loved the
truth that she was ready to accept anything
presented to her as such, by those who them-

94 '5'/. George and St. Michael.

selves loved the word more than the spirit, and
the chrysalis of safety better than the wings of
power. But it is only for a time that any good
can to the good appear evil, and at this very
moment, Nature, who in her blindness is
stronger to bind than the farthest - seeing
intellect to loose, was urging him into her
presence ; and the heart of Dorothy, notwith-
standing her initiative in the separation, was
leaning as lovingly, as sadly after the youth she
had left alone with the defaced sun-dial, the
symbol of Time's weariness. Had they, how-
ever, been permitted to meet as they would,
the natural result of ever-renewed dissension
would have been a thorough separation in
heart, no heavenly twilights of loneliness giving
time for the love which grows like the grass to
recover from the scorching heat of intellectual
jar and friction.

The waning moon at length peered warily
from behind a bank of cloud, and her dim light
melting through the darkness filled the night
with a dream of the day. Richard was no
more of a poet or dreamer of dreams than is
any honest youth so long as love holds the
bandage of custom away from his eyes. The

Reflections. 95

poets are they who all their life long contrive
to see over or through the bandage ; but they
would, I doubt, have but few readers, had not
nature decreed that all youths and maidens
shall, for a period, be it long or short, become
aware that they too are of the race of the
singers — shall, in the journey of their life, at
least pass through the zone of song : some of
them recognise it as the region of truth, and
continue to believe in it still when it seems to
have vanished from around them ; others scoff
as it disappears, and curse themselves for dupes.
Through this zone Richard was now passing.
Hence the moon wore to him a sorrowful face,
and he felt a vague sympathy in her regard,
that of one who was herself in trouble, half the
light of her lord's countenance withdrawn. For
science had not for him interfered with the
shows of things by a partial revelation of their
realities. He had not learned that the face of
the moon is the face of a corpse-world ; that
the sadness upon it is the sadness of utter loss ;
that her light has in it no dissolved smile, is but
the reflex from a lifeless mirror ; that of all the
orbs we know best she can have least to do
with lovers' longings and losses, she alone

g6 St. George and St. Michael.

having no love left in her — the cold cinder of
a quenched world. Not an out-burnt cinder,
though ! she needs but to be cast again into the
furnace of the sun.

As it was, Richard had gazed at her hardly
for a minute when he found the tears running
down his face, and starting up, ashamed of the
unmanly weakness, hardly knew what he was
doing before he found himself in the open air.
From the hall clock came 'the first stroke of
twelve as he closed the door behind him. It
was the hour at which mother Rees - had
offered him a meeting with Dorothy ; but it
was assuredly with no expectation of seeing
her that he turned his steps towards her



HEN he reached the spot at which
he usually turned off by a gap in the
hedge to needle his way through the
unpathed wood, he yielded to the
impulses of memory and habit, and sought the
yew-circle, where for some moments he stood
by the dumb, disfeatured stone, which seemed
to slumber in the moonlight, a monument slowly
vanishing from above a vanished grave. In-
deed It might well have been the grave of
buried Time, for what fitter monument could
he have than a mutilated sun-dial, what better
enclosure than such a hedge of yews, and more
suitable light than that of the dying moon ? Or
was it but that the heart of the youth, receiving
these things as into a concave mirror, reprojected


98 SL George and St. Michael.

them into space, all shadowy with its own ghost-
liness and gloom ? Close by the dial, like the
dark way into regions where time is not, yawned
the mouth of the pleached alley. Beyond that
was her window, on which the moon must now
be shining. He entered the alley, and walked
softly towards the house. Suddenly, down the
dark tunnel came rushing upon him Dorothy's
mastiff, with a noise as of twenty soft feet, and
a growl as if his throat had been full of teeth
— changing to a boisterous welcome when he
discovered who the stranger was. Fearful of
disturbing the household, Richard soon quieted
the dog, which was in the habit of obeying him
almost as readily as his mistress, and, fearful of
disturbing sleepers or watchers, approached the
house like a thief. To gain a sight of Dorothy's
window he had to pass that of the parlour, and
then the porch, which he did on the grass, that
his steps might be noiseless. But here the dog
started from his heel, and bounded into the
porch, leading after him the eyes of Richard,
who thereupon saw what would have else re-
mained undiscovered— two figures, namely,
standing in its deep shadow. Judging it his
part, as a friend of the family, to see who, at so

An Adventure, 99

late an hour, and so near the house, seemed
thus to avoid discovery, Richard drew nearer,
and the next moment saw that the door was
open behind them, and that they were Dorothy
and a young man.

* The gates will be shut,' said Dorothy.

* It is no matter ; old Eccles will open to me
at any hour,' was the answer.

* Still it were well you went without delay,'
said Dorothy; and her voice trembled a little,
for she had caught sight of Richard.

Now not only are anger and stupidity near of
kin, ]3ut when a man whose mental movements
are naturally deliberate, is suddenly spurred, he
is in great danger of acting like a fool, and
Richard did act like a fool. He strode up to
the entrance of the porch, and said,

* Do you not hear the lady, sir ? She tells
you to go.'

A voice as cool and self-possessed as the
other was hasty and perturbed, replied,

' I am much in the wrong, sir, if the lady do
not turn the command upon yourself Until
you have obeyed it, she may perhaps see reason
for withdrawing it in respect of me.'

Richard stepped into the porch, but Dorothy

lOO S^. George and St. Michael,

glided between them, and gently pushed him

* Richard Hey wood ! ' she said.

* Whew ! ' Interjected the stranger, softly.

* You can claim no right,' she went on, ' to be
here at this hour. Pray go ; you will disturb
my mother.*

* Who Is this man, then, whose right seems
acknowledged?' asked Richard, In ill -sup-
pressed fury.

' When you address me like a gentleman,
such as I used to believe you '

* May I presume to ask when you ceased to
regard me as a gentleman, mistress Dorothy ? '

' As soon as I found that you had learned to
despise law and religion,' answered the girl.
* Such a one will hardly succeed In acting the
part of a gentleman, even had he the blood of
the Somersets In his veins.'

' I thank you, mistress Dorothy,' said the
stranger, ' and will profit by the plain hint.
Once more tell me to go, and I will obey.'

' He must go first,' returned Dorothy.

Richard had been standing as If stunned, but
now with an effort recovered himself.

' I will wait for you,' he said, and turned away.

An Adventure. loi

' For whom, sir ? ' asked Dorothy, indig-

* You have refused me the gentleman's name/
answered Richard : * perhaps I may have the
good fortune to persuade himself to be more

' I shall not keep you waiting long,' said the
young man significantly, as Richard walked

To do Richard justice, and greatly he needs
it, I must make the remark that such had been
the intimacy betwixt him and Dorothy, that he
might well imagine himself acquainted with all
the friends of her house. But the intimacy had
been confined to the children ; the heads of the
two houses, although good neighbours, had not
been drawn towards each other, and their mutual
respect had not ripened into friendship. Hence
many of the family and social relations of each
were unknown to the other ; and indeed both
families led such a retired life that the children
knew little of their own relatives even, and
seldom spoke of any.

Lady Scudamore, the mother of the stranger,
was first cousin to lady Vaughan. They had
been very intimate as girls, but had not met for

I02. S^. George and St. Michael.

years — hardly since the former married sir
John, the son of one of King James's carpet-
knights. Hearing of her cousin's illness, she
had come to visit her at last, under the escort
of her son. Taken with his new cousin, the
youth had lingered and lingered ; and in fact
Dorothy had been unable to get rid of him
before an hour strange for leave-taking in such
a quiet and yet hospitable neighbourhood.

Richard took his stand on the side of the
public road opposite the gate ; but just ere
Scudamore came, which was hardly a minute
after, a cloud crept over the moon, and, as he
happened to stand in a line with the bole of a
tree, Scudamore did not catch sight of him.
When he turned to walk along the road,
Richard thought he avoided him, and, making
a great stride or two after him, called aloud —

* Stop, sir, stop. You forget your appoint-
ments over easily, I think.'

' Oh, you are there ! ' said the youth, turning.

' I am glad you acknowledge my presence,'
said Richard, not the better pleased with
his new acquaintance that his speech and
behaviour had an easy tone of superiority,
which, if indefinably felt by the home-bred lad.

All Adventure. 103

was not therefore to be willingly accorded.
His easy carriage, his light step, his still
shoulders and lithe spine, indicated both birth
and training.

* Just the night for a serenade,' he went on,
heedless of Richard's remark, ' — bright, but
not too bright ; cloudy, but not too cloudy.'

' Sir ! ' said Richard, amazed at his coolness.

' Oh, you want to quarrel with me ! ' returned
the youth. ' But it takes two to fight as well
as to kiss, and I will not make one to-night. I
know who you are well enough, and have no
quarrel with you, except indeed it be true — as
indeed it must, for Dorothy tells me so — that
you have turned roundhead as well as your

. ' What right have you to speak so familiarly
of mistress Dorothy ? ' said Richard.

' It occurs to me,' replied Scudamore, airily,
' that I had better ask you by what right you
haunt her house at midnight. But I would not
willingly cross you in cold blood. I wish you
good a night, and better luck next time you go

The moon swam from behind a cloud, and
her over ripe and fading light seemed to the

I04 SL George a7id St. Michael.

eyes of Richard to gather upon the figure
before him and there revive. The youth had
on a doublet of some reddish colour, ill brought
out by the moonlight, but its silver lace and the
rapier hilt inlaid with silver shone the keener
against it. A short cloak hung from his left
shoulder, trimmed also with silver lace, and a
little cataract of silver fringe fell from the edges
of his short trousers into the wide tops of his
boots, which were adorned with ruffles. He
wore a large collar of lace, and cuffs of the
same were folded back from his bare hands.
A broad-brimmed beaver hat, its silver band
fastened with a jewel holding a plume of
willowy feathers, completed his attire, which
he wore with just the slightest of a jaunty
air. It was hardly the dress for a walk at
midnight, but he^ had come in his mother's
carriage, and had to go home without it.

Alas now for Richard's share in the freedom
to which he had of late imagined himself de-
voted ! No sooner had the words last spoken
entered his ears than he was but a driven slave
ready to rush into any quarrel with the man
who spoke them. Ere he had gone three paces
he had stepped in front of him.

An Adventure, 105

'Whatever rights mistress Dorothy may
have given you,' he said, 'she had none to
transfer in respect of my father. What do you
mean by calling him a roundhead ? '

' Why, is he not one ? ' asked the youth,
simply, keeping his ground, in spite of the
unpleasant proximity of Richard's person. ' I
am sorry to have wronged him, but I mistook
him for a ringleader of the same name. I
heartily beg your pardon.'

* You did not mistake,' said Richard stupidly.

* Then I did him no wrong,' rejoined the
youth, and once more would have gone his

But Richard, angrier than ever at finding he
had given him such an easy advantage, moved
with his movement, and kept rudely in front of
him, provoking a quarrel — in clownish fashion,
it must be confessed.

* By heaven,' said Scudamore, ' if Dorothy

had not begged me not to fight with you ,'

and as he spoke he slipped suddenly past his
antagonist, and walked swiftly away. Richard
plunged after him, and seized him roughly by
the shoulder. Instantaneously he wheeled on
the very foot whence he was taking the next

1 06 SL George and St. Michael.

stride, and as he turned his rapier gleamed
in the moonlight. The same moment It left
his hand, he scarce knew how, and flew across
the hedge. Richard, who was unarmed, had
seized the blade, and, almost by one and the
same movement of his wrist, wrenched the hilt
from the grasp of his adversary, and flung the
thing from him. Then closing with the cava-
lier, slighter and less skilled In such encounters,
the roundhead almost instantly threw him upon
the turf that bordered the road.

' Take that for drawing on an unarmed man,'
he said.

No reply came. The youth lay stunned.

Then compassion woke in the heart of the
angry Richard, and he hastened to his help.
Ere he reached him, however, he made an
attempt to rise, but only to stagger and fall

' Curse you for a roundhead ! ' he cried ;
' you've twisted some of my tackle. I can't

* I'm sorry,' returned Richard, ' but why did
you bare bilbo on a naked man ? A right
malignant you are ! '

' Did I .'^ ' returned Scudamore. ' You laid

An Adventure. 107

hands on me so suddenly ! I ask your

Accepting the offered aid of Richard, he
rose ; but his right knee was so much hurt
that he could not walk a step without great
pain. Full of regret for the suffering he had
caused, Richard lifted him in his arms, and
seated him on a low wall of earth, which was
all that here inclosed lady Vaughan's shrub-
bery ; then, breaking through the hedge on the
opposite side of the way, presently returned
with the rapier, and handed it to him. Scuda-
more accepted it courteously, with difficulty
replaced it in its sheath, rose, and once more
attempted to walk, but gave a groan, and would
have fallen had not Richard caught him.

' The devil is in it ! ' he cried, with more
annoyance than anger. ' If I am not in my
place at my lord's breakfast to-morrow, there
will be questioning. That I had leave to ac-
company my mother makes the mischief. If
I had stole away, it would be another matter.
It will be hard to bear rebuke, and no frolic'

* Come home with me,' said Richard. ' My
father will do his best to atone for the wrong
done by his son.'

1 08 St George and St. Michael.

* Set foot across the threshold of a roundhead
fanatic ! In the way of hospitality ! Not if
the choice lay betwixt that and my coffin ! '
cried the cavalier.

' Then let me carry you back to lady
Vaughan's,' said Richard, with a torturing pang
of jealousy, which only his sense of right, now
thoroughly roused, enabled him to defy.

' I dare not. I should terrify my mother,
and perhaps kill my cousin.' •

' Your mother ! your cousin ! ' cried Richard.

' Yes,' returned Scudamore ; ' my mother is
there, on a visit to her cousin lady Vaughan.'

' Alas, I am more to blame than I knew ! '
said Richard.

* No,' Scudamore went on, heedless of
Richard's lamentation. ' I must crawl back
to Raglan as I may. If I get there before
the morning, I shall be able to show reason
why I should not wait upon my lord at his

* You belong to the earl's household, then ? '
said Richard.

' Yes ; and I fear I shall be grey-headed
before I belong to anything else. He makes
much of the ancient customs of the country :

An Adventure. 109

I would he would follow them. In the good
old times I should have been a squire at least
by now, if, indeed, I had not earned my spurs ;
but his lordship will never be content without
me to hand him his buttered ^'g'g at breakfast,
and fill his cup at dinner with his favourite
claret. And so I am neither more nor less
than a page, which rhymes with my age better
than suits it. But the earl has a will of his
own. He is a master worth serving though.
And there is my lady Elizabeth and my
lady Mary — not to mention my lord Her-
bert ! — But,* he concluded, rubbing his injured
knee with both hands, ' why do I prate of them
to a roundhead ? *

' Why indeed ? ' returned Richard. ' Are
they not, the earl and all his people, traitors,
and that of the worst } Are they not the
enemies of the truth — worshippers of idols,
bowing the knee to a woman, and kissing the

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