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her mother had less to do with a certain weight
upon it, which the loveliness of the spring day
seemed to render heavier, than the rarely absent
feeling rather than thought, that the playmate
of her childhood, and the offered lover of her
youth, had thrown himself with all the energy

154 ^^' George a7td St. Michael.

of dawning manhood Into the quarrel of the
lawless and self-glorlfylng. Nor was she alto-
gether free from a sense of blame In the matter.
Had she been less Imperative In her mood and
bearing, more ready to give than to require
sympathy, — but ah ! she could not change the
past, and the present was calling upon her.

At length the towers of Raglan appeared,
and a pang of apprehension shot through her
bosom. She was approaching the unknown.
Like one on the verge of a second-sight, her
history seemed for a moment about to reveal
itself — where it lay, like a bird in its ^gg, within
those massive walls, warded by those huge
ascending towers. Brought up In a retirement
that some would have counted loneliness, and
although used to all gentle and refined ways,
yet familiar with homeliness and simplicity of
mode and ministration, she could not help feel-
ing awed at the prospect of entering such a
zone of rank and stateliness and observance as
the household of the marquis, who lived like a
prince in expenditure, attendance, and cere-
mony. She knew little of the fashions of the
day, and, like many modest young people, was
afraid she might be guilty of some solecism

Dorothy s Refitge, 155

which would make her appear ill-bred, or at
least awkward. Since her mother left her, she
had become aware of a timidity to which she
had hitherto been a stranger. ' Ah ! ' she said
to herself, ' if only my mother were with
me !'

At length they reached the brick gate, were
admitted within the outer wall, and following
the course taken by Scudamore and Hey wood,
skirted the moat which enringed the huge blind
citadel or keep, and arrived at the western gate.
The portcullis rose to admit them, and they
rode into the echoes of the vaulted gateway.
Turning to congratulate Dorothy on their safe
arrival, Mr. Herbert saw that she was pale and

* What ails my child ? ' he said in a low voice,
for the warder was near.

* I feel as if entering a prison,' she replied,
with a shiver.

* Is thy God the God of the grange and not
of the castle ? ' returned the old man.

' But, sir,' said Dorothy, * I have been ac-
customed to a liberty such as few have enjoyed,
and these walls and towers '

* Heed not the look of things,' Interrupted her

156 SL George ajid St. Michael.

guardian. ' Believe in the Will that with a
thought can turn the shadow of death into
the morning, give gladness for weeping, and
the garment of praise for the spirit of heavi-



HILE he yet spoke, their horses, of
their own accord, passed through the
gate which Eccles had thrown wide
to admit them, and carried them into
the Fountain court. Here, indeed, was a change
of aspect ! All that Dorothy had hitherto con-
templated was the side of the fortress which
faced the world — frowning and defiant, although
here and there on the point of breaking into a
half smile, for the grim, suspicious, altogether
repellent look of the old feudal castle had been
gradually vanishing in the additions and altera-
tions of more civilised times. But now they
were in the heart of the building, and saw the
face which the house of strength turned upon its
own people. The spring sunshine filled half the

158 St, George a7id St. Michael.

court ; over the rest lay the shadow of the huge
keep, towering massive above the three-storied
line of building which formed the side next it.
Here was the true face of the Janus-building,
full of eyes and mouths ; for many bright win-
dows looked down into the court, In some of
which shone the smiling faces of children and
ladles peeping out to see the visitors, whose
arrival had been announced by the creaking
chains of the portcullis ; and by the doors Issued
and entered, here a lady In rich attire, there a
gentlemen half in armour, and here again a
serving man or maid. Nearly in the centre of
the quadrangle, just outside the shadow of the
keep, stood the giant horse, rearing in white
marble, almost dazzling in the sunshine, from
whose nostrils spouted the jets of water which
gave its name to the court. Opposite the gate
by which they entered was the little chapel,
with Its triple lancet windows, over which lay
the picture-gallery with Its large oriel lights.
Far above their roof, ascended from behind
that of the great hall, with Its fine lantern
window seated on the ridge. From the other
court beyond the hall, that upon which the
main entrance opened, came the sounds of

Raglan Castle. 159

heavy feet In Intermittent but measured tread,
the clanking of arms, and a returning voice of
loud command : the troops of the garrison
were being exercised on the slabs of the pitched

From each of the many doors opening Into
the court they had entered, a path, paved with
coloured tiles, led straight through the finest of
turf to the marble fountain In the centre, Into
whose shadowed basin the falling water seemed
to carry captive as Into a prison the sunlight It
caught above. Its music as It fell made a
lovely but strange and sad contrast with the
martial sounds from beyond.

It was but a moment they had to note these
things ; eyes and ears gathered them all at once.
Two of the warder s men already held their
horses, while two other men, responsive to the
warder's whistle, came running from the hall
and helped them to dismount. Hardly had
they reached the ground ere a man-servant
came, who led the way to the left towards a
porch of carved stone on the same side of the
court. The door stood open, revealing a flight
of stairs, rather steep, but wide and stately,
going right up between two straight walls. At

1 60 Sf. George and St. Michael,

the top stood lady Margaret's gentleman usher,
Mr Harcourt by name, who received them with
much courtesy, and conducting them to a small
room on the left of the landing, went to
announce their arrival to lady Margaret, to
whose private parlour this was the antechamber.
Returning in a moment, he led them into her

She received them with a frankness which
almost belied the stateliness of her demeanour.
Through the haze of that reserve which a con-
sciousness of dignity, whether true or false, so
often generates, the genial courtesy of her Irish
nature, for she was an O'Brien, daughter of the
earl of Thomond, shone clear, and justified her
Celtic origin.

' Welcome, cousin ! ' she said, holding out
her hand while yet distant half the length of
the room, across which, upborne on slow firm
foot, she advanced with even, stately motion.
' And you also, reverend sir,' she went on,
turning to Mr. Herbert. ' I am told we are
indebted to you for this welcome addition to
our family — how welcome none can tell but
ladies shut up like ourselves.'

Dorothy was already almost at her ease, and

Raglan Castle. i6i

the old clergyman soon found lady Margaret
so sensible and as well as courteous — pre-
judiced yet further in her favour, it must be
confessed, by the pleasant pretence she made
of claiming cousinship on the ground of the
identity of her husband's title with his surname
— that, ere he left the castle, liberal as he had
believed himself, he was nevertheless aston-
ished to find how much of friendship had in
that brief space been engendered in his bosom
towards a catholic lady whom he had never
before seen.

Since the time of Elizabeth, when the fear
and repugnance of the nation had been so
greatly and justly excited by the apparent pro-
bability of a marriage betwixt their queen and
the detested Philip of Spain, a considerable
alteration had been gradually wrought in the
feelings of a large portion of it in respect of
their catholic countrymen — a fact which gave
strength to the position of the puritans in
asserting the essential identity of episcopalian
with catholic politics. Almost forty years had
elapsed since the Gunpowder Plot ; the queen
was a catholic ; the episcopalian party was
itself at length endangered by the extension


1 62 SL George and St. Michael.

and development of the very principles on
which they had themselves broken away from
the church of Rome ; and the catholics were
friendly to the government of the king, under
which their condition was one of comfort if
not influence, while under that of the parlia-
ment they had every reason to anticipate a
revival of persecution. Not a few of them
doubtless cherished the hope that this revela-
tion of the true spirit of dissent would result in
driving the king and his party back into the
bosom of the church.

The king, on the other hand, while only too
glad to receive what aid he might from the
loyal families of the old religion, yet saw that
much caution was necessary lest he should
alienate the most earnest of his protestant
friends by giving ground for the suspicion that
he was inclined to purchase their co-operation
by a return to the creed of his Scottish grand-
mother, Mary Stuart, and his English great-
great-grand-mother, Margaret Tudor.

On the part of the clergy there had been
for some time a considerable tendency, chiefly
from the influence of Laud, to cultivate the
same spirit which actuated the larger portion

Raglan Castle. 163

of the catholic priesthood ; and although this
had never led to retrograde movement in re-
gard to their politics, the fact that both were
accounted by a third party, and that far the
most dangerous to either of the other two, as
in spirit and object one and the same, naturally
tended to produce a more indulgent regard of
each other than had hitherto prevailed. And
hence, in part, it was that it had become pos-
sible for episcopalian Dr. Bayly to be an in-
mate of Raglan Castle, and for good, protestant
Matthew Herbert to seek refuge for his ward
with good catholic lady Margaret.

Eager to return to the duties of his parish,
through his illness so long neglected, Mr. Her-
bert declined her ladyship's invitation to dinner,
which, she assured him, consulting a watch that
she wore in a ring on her little finger, must be
all but ready, seeing it was now a quarter to
eleven, and took his leave, accompanied by
Dorothy's servant to bring back the horse — •
if indeed they should be fortunate enough to
escape the requisition of both horses by one
party or the other. At present, however, the
king s affairs continued rather on the ascendant,
and the name of the marquis In that country

1 64 Sf. George mid St. Michael.

was as yet a tower of strength. Dorothy's
horse was included in the hospitaHty shown
his mistress, and taken to the stables — under
the mid-day shadow of the Library Tower.

As soon as the parson was gone, lady Mar-
garet touched a small silver bell which hung in
a stand on the table beside her.

* Conduct mistress Dorothy Vaughan to her
room, wait upon her there, and then attend her
hither,' she said to the maid who answered it.
* I would request a little not unneedful haste,
cousin,' she went on, * for my lord of Wor-
cester is very precise in all matters of house-
hold order, and likes ill to see any one enter
the dining-room after he is seated. It is his
desire that you should dine at his table to-day.
After this I must place you with the rest of
my ladies, who dine in the housekeeper's

' As you think proper, madam,' returned
Dorothy, a little disappointed, but a little re-
lieved also.

* The bell will ring presently,' said lady
Margaret, ' and a quarter of an hour there-
after we shall all be seated.'

She was herself already dressed — in a pale-

Ragla7i Castle, 165

blue satin, with full skirt and close-fitting, long-
peaked boddice, fastened in front by several
double clasps set with rubies ; her shoulders
were bare, and her sleeves looped up with
large round star-like studs, set with diamonds,
so that her arms also were bare to the elbows.
Round her neck was a short string of large

* You take no long time to attire yourself,
cousin,' said her ladyship, kindly, when Dorothy

' Little time was needed, madam,' answered
Dorothy ; ' for me there is but one colour. I
fear I shall show but a dull bird amidst the gay
plumage of Raglan. But I could have better
adorned myself had not I heard the bell ere I
had begun, and feared to lose your ladyship's
company, and in very deed make my first
appearance before my lord as a transgressor
of the laws of his household.'

' You did well, cousin Dorothy ; for every-
thing goes by law and order here. All is
reason and rhyme too in this house. My lord's
father, although one of the best and kindest of
men, is, as I said, somewhat precise, and will, as
he says himself, be king in his own kingdom —

1 66 SL Geo7^ge and St. Michael.

thinking doubtless of one who Is not such. I
should not talk thus with you, cousin, were you
like some young. ladles I know; but there Is that
about you which pleases me greatly, and which I
take to Indicate discretion. When first I came
to the house, not having been accustomed to so
severe a punctuality, I gave my lord no little
annoyance ; for, oftener than once or twice, I
walked Into his dining-room not only after grace
had been said, but after the first course had
been sent down to the hall-tables. My lord
took his revenge In calling me the wild Irish-

Here she laughed very sweetly.

' The only one,' she resumed, ' who does here
as he will. Is my husband. Even lord Charles, who
Is governor of the castle, must be in his place
to the moment ; but for my husband .'

The bell rang a second time. Lady Mar-
garet rose, and taking Dorothy's arm, led her
from the room Into a long dim- lighted corridor.
Arrived at the end of it, where a second passage
met It at right angles, she stopped at a door
facing them.

' I think we shall find my lord of Worcester
here,' she said in a whisper, as she knocked and

Raglan Castle. 167

waited a response. ' He is not here,' she said.
' He expects me to call on him as I pass. We
must make haste.'

The second passage, in which were several
curves and sharp turns, led them to a large
room, nearly square, in which were two tables
covered for about thirty. By the door and
along the sides of the room were a good many
gentlemen, some of them very plainly dressed,
and others in gayer attire, amongst whom
Dorothy, as they passed through, recognised
her cousin Scudamore. Whether he saw and
knew her she could not tell. Crossing a small
antechamber they entered the drawing-room,
where stood and sat talking a number of ladies
and gentlemen, to some of whom lady Margaret
spoke and presented her cousin, greeting others
with a familiar nod or smile, and yet others
with a stately courtesy. Then she said,

* Ladies, I will lead the way to the dining-
room. My lord marquis would the less willingly
have us late that something detains himself.'

Those who dined in the marquis's room
followed her. Scarcely had she reached the
upper end of the table when the marquis
entered, followed by all his gentlemen, some of

1 68 S^. Geo7'ge a7id St. Michael.

whom withdrew, their service over for the time,
while others proceeded to wait upon him and
his family, with any of the nobility who
happened to be his guests at the first table.

' I am the laggard to-day, my lady,' he said,
cheerily, as he bore his heavy person up the
room towards her. ' Ah ! ' he went on, as lady
Margaret stepped forward to meet him, leading
Dorothy by the hand, * who is this sober young
damsel under my wild Irishwoman's wing ?
Our young cousin Vaughan, doubtless, whose
praises my worthy Dr. Bayly has been sound-
ing in my ears ? '

He held out his hand to Dorothy, and bade
her welcome to Raglan.

The marquis was a man of noble countenance,
of the type we are ready to imagine peculiar to
the great men of the time of queen Elizabeth.
To this his unwieldy person did not correspond,
although his movements were still far from
being despoiled of that charm which naturally
belonged to all that was his. Nor did his
presence owe anything to his dress, which was
of that long-haired coarse woollen stuff they
called frieze, worn, probably, by not another
nobleman in the country, and regarded as fitter

Raglan Castle. 169

for a yeoman. His eyes, though he was yet
but sixty-five or so, were already hazy, and his
voice was husky and a httle broken — results of
the constantly poor health and frequent suffer-
ing he had had for many years ; but he carried
it all ' with ' — to quote the prince of courtesy,
sir Philip Sydney — ' with a right old man's
grace, that will seem livelier than his age will
afford him.'

The moment he entered, the sewer In the ante-
chamber at the other end of the room had given
a signal to one waiting at the head of the stair
leading down to the hall, and his lordship was
hardly seated, ere — although the kitchen was at
the corner of the pitched court diagonally
opposite — he bore the first dish into the room,
followed by his assistants, laden each with

Lady Margaret made Dorothy sit down by
her. A place on her other side was vacant.

' Where is this truant husband of thine, my
lady ?' asked the marquis, as soon as Dr. Bayly
had said grace. * Know you whether he eats
at all, or when, or where ? It is now three
days since he has filled his place at thy side,
yet is he in the castle. Thou knowest, my lady.

1 70 S^. Geoj^ge and St. Michael.

I deal not with him, who is so soon to sit in
this chair, as with another, but I like it not.
Know you what occupies him to day ? '

* I do not, my lord,' answered lady Margaret.
* I have had but one glimpse of him since
the morning, and if he looks now as he looked
then, I fear your lordship would be minded
rather to drive him from your table than wel-
come him to a seat beside you.'

As she spoke, lady Margaret caught a glimpse
of a peculiar expression on Scudamore's face,
where he stood behind his master's chair.

* Your page, my lord,' she said, ' seems to
know something of him : if it pleased you to
put him to the question '

' Hey, Scudamore! ' said the marquis without
turning his head ; ' what have you seen of my
lord Herbert ?'

'As much as could be seen of him, my lord,'
answered Scudamore. ' He was new from the
powder-mill, and his face and hands were as
he had been blown three times up the hall

* I would thou didst pay more heed to what
is fitting, thou monkey, and knewest either
place or time for thy foolish jests ! It will be

Raglan Castle, 171

long ere thou soil one of thy white fingers for
king or country, ' said the marquis, neither
angrily nor merrily. * Get another flask of
claret,' he added, 'and keep thy wit for thy
mates, boy.'

Dorothy cast one Involuntary glance at her
cousin. His face was red as fire, but, as it
seemed to her, more with suppressed amuse-
ment than shame. She had not been much
longer In the castle before she learned that, in
the opinion of the household, the marquis did
his best, or worst rather, to ruin young Scuda-
more by Indulgence. The judgment, however,
was partly the product of jealousy, although
doubtless the marquis had in his case a little
too much relaxed the bonds of discipline. The
youth was bright and ready, and had as yet
been found trustworthy ; his wit was tolerable,
and a certain gay nawetd of speech and manner
set off to the best advantage what there was of
it ; but his laughter was sometimes mischievous,
and on the present occasion Dorothy could not
rid herself of the suspicion that he was laughing
In his sleeve at his master, which caused her to
redden in her turn. Scudamore saw it, and had
his own fancies concerning the phenomenon.



INNER over, lady Margaret- led
Dorothy back to her parlour, and
there proceeded to "discover what
accomplishments and capabilities
she might possess. Finding she could
embroider, play a little on the spinnet, sing a
song, and read aloud both intelligibly and
pleasantly, she came to the conclusion that the
country-bred girl was an acquisition destined to
grow greatly in value, should the day ever
arrive — which heaven forbid ! — when they
would have to settle down to the monotony of
a protracted siege. Remarking, at length, that
she looked weary, she sent her away to be mis-
tress of her time till supper, at half-past five.
Weary in truth with her journey, but still

The Two Mai'qidses.


more weary from the multitude and variety of
objects, the talk, and the constant demand of
the general strangeness upon her attention
and one form or other of suitable response,
Dorothy sought her chamber. But she scarcely
remembered how to reach it. She knew it lay
a floor higher, and easily found the stair up
which she had followed her attendant, for it
rose from the landing of the straight ascent by
which she had entered the house. She could
hardly go wrong either as to the passage at
the top of it, leading back over the room she
had just left below, but she could not tell which
was her own door. Fearing to open the wrong
one, she passed it and went on to the end of
the corridor, which was very dimly lighted.
There she came to an open door, through which
she saw a small chamber, evidently not meant
for habitation. She entered. A little light
came in through a crossed loophole, sufficient
to show her the bare walls, with the plaster
sticking out between the stones, the huge
beams above, and in the middle of the floor,
opposite the loop-hole, a great arblast or cross-
bow, with its strange macliinery. She had
never seen one before, but she knew enough to

1 74 •5'/. George and St. Michael.

guess at once what it was. Through the loop-
hole came a sweet breath of spring air, and she
saw trees bending in the wind, heard their
faint far-off rustle, and saw the green fields
shining in the sun.

Partly from having, been so much with
Richard, her only playmate, who was of an
ingenious and practical turn, a certain degree
of interest in mechanical forms and modes had
been developed in Dorothy, sufficient at least
to render her unable to encounter such an
implement without feeling a strong impulse to
satisfy herself concerning its mechanism, its
motion, and its action. Approaching it
cautiously and curiously, as if it were a live
thing, which might start up and fly from, or
perhaps at her, for what she knew, she gazed at
it for a few moments with eyes full of unuttered
questions, then ventured to lay gentle hold
upon what looked Hke a handle. To her dis-
may, a wheezy bang followed, which seemed to
shake the tower. Whether she had discharged
an arrow, or an iron bolt, or a stone, or indeed
anything at all, she could not tell, for she had
not got so far in her observations as to perceive
even that the bow was bent. Her heart gave

The Two Marquises, 175

a scared flutter, and she started back, not
merely terrified, but ashamed also that she
should initiate her life In the castle with med-
dling and mischief, when a low gentle laugh
behind her startled her yet more, and looking
round with her heart in her throat, she per-
ceived in the half-light of the place a man by
the wall behind the arblast watching her. Her
first impulse was to run, and the door was
open ; but she thought she owed an apology
ere she retreated. What sort of person he was
she could not tell, for there was not light
enough to show a feature of his face.

' I ask your pardon,' she said ; ' I fear I have
done mischief.'

* Not the least,' returned the man, in a gentle
voice, with a tone of amusement in it.

* I had never seen a great cross-bow,' Doro-
thy went on, anxious to excuse her meddling.
* I thought this must be one, but I was so
stupid as not to perceive it was bent, and that
that was the — the handle — or do you call it the
trigger ? — by which you let it go.'

The man, who had at first taken her for one
of the maids, had by this time discovered from
her tone and speech that she was a lady.

1/6 St George and St. Michael,

* It is a clumsy old-fashioned thing,' he re-
turned, ' but I shall not remove it until I can
put something better in its place ; and it would
be a troublesome affair to get even a demi-
culverin up here, not to mention the bad neigh-
bour it would be to the ladies' chambers. I

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