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But they found the enemy had been beforehand with
them, leaving the camp in the utmost terror and disorder.
Intelligence now arrived that Prince Rupert had entered
Lancashire by way of Stockport, where the parliament
army, under Colonels Duckenfield, Mainwaring, Buckley,
and others, had suffered a total rout. The besiegers had
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commenced their retreat between twelve and one o'clock
the preceding night.

Thus ended the first siege of Lathom, after the place had
been closely beset four months ; during which time the
garrison lost but six men, — four in the service, and two
by negligence and over-daring.

They were, in general, supplied with provisions ; her
ladyship seeing the men's rations duly served. Yet were
they not seldom pushed to a sally for their dinner : their
friends outside, by lights and other appointed signals,
directing the foragers in their operations.

The enemy shot 107 cannon balls, 32 stones, and but
four grenadoes. By their own confession near 100 bar-
rels of gunpowder were spent, part of which was in sup-
plies to the garrison, who often replenished their stock at
the expense of the besiegers. They lost about 500 men,
besides wounded and prisoners, according to their own

The next day Rigby, with about 3000 men, drew up at
Eccleston Green, six miles only from Lathom, in great
uncertainty which way to march, fearful of meeting with
Prince Rupert. In the end, imagining that his Highness
would go through Blackburn or Lancaster to the relief of
York, Rigby marched off in great haste to Bolton, then a
garrison town, and well fortified.

The Prince, hearing of their escape, together with Lord
Derby, immediately turned their forces in this direction,
determined to carry the place by assault, and revenge the
insults and barbarity her ladyship had endured. This
resolution was terribly accomplished. Sixteen hundred
of her besiegers lay dead on the place ; and twenty-two
colours, which three days before flourished proudly before


the house, were presented to her from his Highness by Sir
Richard Crane, as a memorial of her deUverance, and " a
happy remembrance of God's mercy and goodness to her
and her family."

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He bargain'd with two ruffians strong,

Which were of furious mood,
That they should take these children young,

And slay them in a wood.

Away then went these pretty babes,

Rejoycing at that tide,
Rejoycing with a merry minde.

They should on cock-liorse ride."

The Children in the Wood.


i?:. T -~ J

Situated amid the wild and high moorlands, at whose
feet hath stood for ages the royal and ducal capital of the
county palatine of Lancaster, once rose a strong border
defence, called Raven Castle. Its site only remains.
This noble and castellated fortress now lies an almost
undistinguishable heap on the barren moor: the sheep
browse above it, and the herdsman makes his pillow where
warriors and dames once met in chivalric pomp, and the
chieftain held his feudal and barbaric court.

The point on which 'it stood is nearly on the line of
separation between the counties of York and Lancaster.


From the southern decUvity of the hill on the Yorkshire
side springs one of the rills which fall into the Hodder, a
well-known stream, held in great respect by those ambu-
latory gentlemen, whose love of society and amusing re-
creations leads them to lay in a stock of patience for life
in the pursuit of piscatory delights.

This mountainous tract forms part of the forest of Bow-
land, once ranged by numerous herds of deer ; and is still
under the jurisdiction of a master-forester, or bow-bearer,
called Parker, which office has been held for centuries
by a family of that name.

It was in the broad and still moonlight of a spring
morning, in the year 16 — , that two horsemen were
ascending by a steep and difficult pass through the Trough
of BoUand, along the hills and almost pathless wilds of the
forest. They were apparently of that dubious class, called
" Knights of the Post, " — highwaymen, deer-stealers, or
cattle-harriers, — all and every of which occupations they
occasionally followed.

As they passed by the edge of a steep ravine, from
which hung a few stunted oaks projecting over the gulf,
the foremost rider — for the path admitted them not
abreast — turned sharply round on his saddle.

" Again ! — Didst thou not see it, Michael ? " enquired
he, in great alarm.

" Nothing, Anthony, as I do follow thee in this honest
trade ; — nothing, I tell thee, save thine ugly face in this
clear moonshine. Prithee make more speed, and thou
wilt have the fewer wry mouths to answer for. Thou art
fool enough to make a man forswear honesty, and rid him
of his conscience for life. Beshrew me ! thou hast got a
troublesome tenant : — either less roguery, or fewer


qualms : — depend on't, thou canst not keep friends with

" I'll go no further. Old Hildebrand finds some foul
business on his hands, that he would fain thrust into our
fingers. A bad business quits best at the beginning : — if
once we get to the middle, we might as well go on ; or
we may be like old Dick, who swam half-way through the
mill-pond, and then, being faint-hearted, swam back

" Look thee now, thou art a precious ass : — thou
wouldst be a wit without brains, and a rogue, ay, a very
wicked and unconditional rogue, without courage. Tut,
that same cowardly rogue, of all unparalleled villains, is
verily the worst. Your liquorish cat, skulking and
scared with a windle-straw, is always the biggest thief,
and has the cruellest paws, for all her demure looks, and
her plausible condescensions."

" I don't care for thy jeers, Michael."

" What ! — hast' brought thy purpose to an anchor

already ? 'Tis well. I shall on to Raven Castle with all

speed, if it were only to inform one Hildebrand Went-

worth of this sudden qualm. Likewise I may, peradven-

ture, remember to tell him of another little qualm thou

wast taken with, once upon a time, at the sight of a score

of his fat beeves ; a little bit of choice roguery played off

upon him by honest Anthony of the tender conscience.

Look to it, comrade, he shall know of this, before thou

canst convey thy cowardly carcass out of his clutches.

An' it be thou goest forward, — mum! — backward! —

Hah ! have I caught thee, my pretty bird ? "

At the conclusion of this speech, with the malice of a
fiend urging on his hesitating victim to the commission of


some loathed act of tolly and of crime, the speaker lashed
on his companion's beast, and they were soon past the
steepest part of the ascent, on their way to Raven Castle.
Its present occupier, whom, it appears, they had be-
friended beforetime, in the way of their several callings,
had sent for them in haste, requiring their aid, it might
seem, in some business relative to their profession.

For an hour or two they travelled on, as fast as the na-
ture of their track would permit. Day was just brightening
in the east, when, emerging from a more than usually intri-
cate path, they pushed through a thick archway of boughs.
Suddenly a bare knoll presented itself, sloping towards a
narrow rivulet ; beyond, a dark and well-fortified mansion
stood before them : — here and there, a turret-shaped
chamber lifting its mural crown above the rest, rose clear
and erect against a glowing sky, now rapidly displacing the
grey hues of the morning. The narrow battlements rose
out, sharp and distinct, but black as their own grim re-
cesses, in solemn contrast with the bright and rolling
masses from behind, breaking into all the gorgeous tints
that betoken a heavy and lurid atmosphere.

They crossed a narrow bridge, and the clattering of
their horses' hoofs was soon heard in the court-yard of the

" So, masters, if it had not pleased your betters to
have built hostels and roosting-places on the road, I
might have been snug in my blanket some hours ago,
may be."

The personage who thus accosted them was dressed in
a plain leathern cap and doublet, with a pair of stout hose
that would not have disgraced a burgher of the first magni-
tude ; his short and frizzled beard was curiously twirled


and pointed, we may suppose after the fashion of those
regions ; and his manner and appearance was that of some
confidential menial belonging to the establishment. His
whole demeanour had in it an air of impertinent autho-
rity : his little sharp eyes twinkled in all the plenitude of
power, and peered in the faces of the travellers as they
alighted to render him an unwilling salutation.

" We have made the best of our road. Master GeofFery,
since we left our quarters in Netherdale. But, in troth, it's
a weary way, and a drouthy one into the bargain : I have
not wet even the tip of this poor beast's nose since we

" Go to ; an' the beasts be cared for, thine own muzzle
may take Its chance of a swill. Willy, see to the horses.
Now for business. Master has been waiting for you
these three hours : — make what excuse you may. Heigh
ho ! my old skull will leak out my brains soon with these

Taking a small lamp from a recess, he commanded the
strangers to follow. A wide staircase led to the gallery,
from whence a number of low doors communicated with
the chambers or dormitories. Entering a passage from an
obscure corner, they ascended a winding stair. The
huge and terrific spurs of the intruders struck with a shrill
clank on the narrow steps, mingled with the grumblings
of Master GeofFery Hardpiece : a continual muttering
was heard from the latter, by way of running accompani-
ment to the directions which, ever and anon, he found it
needful to set forth.

" There — an ass, a very ass ! — keep thy face from
the wall, I tell thee, and lift up thy great leathern hoofs."


Then came another series of murmurings, mingled with
confused and rambling sentences.

*' This stair is like old Giles's horn, it's long a wind-
ing. Now, — thy spurs, is it ? Aroynt thee, knave, thou
art like to frighten the children with their clattering.
They are up, and ready for their trip. Alice will stitch a
pillow to your pummels, and they'll ride bravely, the
pretty dears. Stop there, I tell ye ; I'll just say that you
wait his pleasure, and return."

Old Hardpiece tapped gently at a small door ; it was
opened hastily ; and a few moments only elapsed ere
Master GeoflFery's cunning face was cautiously extended
out of the narrow opening. He beckoned to his compa-
nions, and at once ushered them into a low chamber. A
lamp, half-extinguished, stood on the floor ; the walls were
nearly bare, and streaked in various colours by the mois-
ture filtering from the roof; a curiously carved oak-table,
and two or three stone benches, comprised the furniture
of the apartment ; a few rusty swords, with two large pis-
tols nearly falling from their holsters, hung from the wall.
In one corner, reposing in decayed dignity, were seen
some halberds, with several unmatched pairs of mildewed
boots ; near to the window, or rather loop-hole, heaped up
in dust and disorder, lay a score or two of rusty helmets,
their grim appurtenances mostly broken and disjointed.

Pacing to and fro in this audience-chamber, appeared a
figure of about the middle size, attired in a loose open
garment. His head was nearly bald ; a few thin locks
only hung from the lower part of his poll ; and yet his
age was not so far advanced as the scanty covering of his
forehead might seem to intimate. He paused not as they
entered ; but, during the gi-eater part of the succeeding


interview, persevered in the same restless and abrupt gait,
as though repose were anguish, and it was only by a con-
tinued change of position that he could soothe the rising
perturbation of his spirit.

" Is this your haste, when my commands are most
urgent ? "

He turned sharply upon them as he spoke: his eyes
grew wild and keen ; but, at times, a heaviness and languor,
as if from long watching, seemed to oppress them.

" We could not—." Michael was stammering out an
apology, when thus interrupted : —

" Enough ! I know what thou wouldst say. Let thy
comrade remain below. GeofFery, conduct him to the
refectory ; Michael abides here. Haste, and let refresh-
ments be prepared."

What was the purport of the conversation that ensued
may be surmised from the following history.

Old Hardpiece, grumbling the greater part of the way,
led his companion through a labyrinth of stairs and pas-
sages to a small room, where a huge flagon of ale, with
cold beef and other substantial articles for breakfast, were
about being displayed. Anthony, nothing loth, threw
aside his cap, and unbraced his girdle, for the more capa-
cious disposal of such savoury and delicious viands. A
heavy pull at the tankard again brought out Master Geof-
fery's deep-mouthed oratory. Anthony's tongue grew
more nimble as his appetite waxed less vigorous : he
asked many questions about the business which required
their presence at Raven Castle in such haste.

" The orphan children of Sir Henry Fairfax are to be
conveyed to some place of concealment for a short period.
Master says he has had intimation of a design on the part


of the late Sir Henry's friends to seize them perforce.
Which act of violence Hildebrand Wentworth, being left
as their sole guardian, will make all haste to prevent."

" The children of the late Sir Harry Fairfax, who was
killed in the wars ? " enquired Anthony.

" Ay, ay. Poor things ! since their mother drowned

herself "

Old Hardpiece here looked round, as though fearing
some intrusion. He continued in an under tone, —

" Goody Shelton says she walks in the forest ; and that
her wraith so frightened Humphrey's horse, that it would
not budge a straw's breadth, just beside the great oak in
the Broad Holm, before you get into the forest on the
other side towards Slaidburn."

Anthony was, at this precise moment, cramming the
last visible remains of a goose-pie into the same place
where he had before deposited half the good things on the
table, anointing his beard with their savoury outskirts, —
when suddenly his chin dropped, his face assumed a sort
of neutral tinge, and his whole form appeared to grow
stiff with terror. He made several efforts to speak ; but
the following words only could be distinguished : —
" I was sure it would be a ghost ! "
" What ! — a ghost ! — Where ? " anxiously enquired

" Just by the great oak in the Broad Holm, on the
other side of the forest."
" What was it like ? "

" I cannot tell ; and Michael pretended he did not
see it ! "
" Thou canst surely show the appearance it put on."
" Something, as it might be, like unto a woman, crossed


our path twice, and within a stone's throw. Oh, Master
GeofFery, we be dead men ! "

Another groan here interrupted their discourse. Master
Hardpiece muttered some unintelHgible prayers, putting
on a face of great solemnity. Several minutes elapsed,
while the following exclamations rapidly succeeded each
other : —

" A ghost ! — save us ! — a very ghost ! I'll not to
Slaidburn again without help. Another draught, An-
thony ; a stifFener to thy courage, mayhap. It's now day-
light though," said he, looking through the casement,
" and most of us fear only what may be felt, — in the
day-time at any rate."

Anthony took the cup, and, apparently without being
aware, drank off the contents. He was much invigorated
by the draught, which seemed to invest him with new
courage ; partly from the recollection that a long daylight
would intervene between the beginning and the end of his
journey, and partly because of the sudden rush of spirits
to his brain. He arose, and assuming a posture more
erect, planted his cap in a becoming attitude, whilst
GeofFery was putting aside the empty vessels into a sort
of large wooden chalice, for the purpose of a more conve-
nient removal.

Light footsteps were now heard bounding along the
passage, and the door was suddenly burst open by two
rosy-cheeked children ; the elder a boy of some four or
five years' growth, and his sister scarcely a twelvemonth

" Master GeofFery, Master GeofFery," lisped one laugh-
ing urchin, " hide me ; there is Alice — she'll not let me



go. We are to ride on two great horses ; and I shall have
a sword, and sister Julia a coach."

Here nurse Alice made her appearance. She had been
weeping : tears and entreaties were vain. She asked
permission to accompany them ; but with a frown Hilde-
brand Wentworth had chidden her from his presence.
Since the loss of their mother, and almost from the time
that news had arrived of their father's death, which hap-
pened a little while before the birth of Julia, she had
borne a mother's part to her little charge ; and had it been
allowed her, she would gladly have served them v/ithout

Fearful of leaving them, she had followed hastily into
the room. With a searching glance she eyed the stranger
for a while ; then suddenly turning to the children, she
addressed them with great seriousness and affection.

" Harry, you have not repeated your prayer this morn-
ing. Do you think God will take care of you to-day, if
you ask him not ? "

Here the rebuked boy grew silent ; and with a suffused
face, ran to his nurse. Whilst in her lap, he poured out
his morning orison. It was a simple but affecting request.
Julia knelt also ; and Alice, laying a hand on each, blessed
the children.

" God of their fathers, I commit them to thy care ! "
She could say no more ; loud sobs checked her utter-
ance ; but leaning over these little ones, she convulsively
clasped them in her embrace.

Old Hardpiece grew unusually busy about matters of
no importance, and the hard-featured trooper was seen
to brush his brows, as though some unpleasant suspicions


had crossed his brain. He raised his arm as he gazed on
the children, muttering as he clenched his hand,

" If he dare ! " — He then carelessly examined his
sword, returning it quickly into its sheath, as the weep-
ing Alice drew away the children to her own apartment.
Old GeofFery now grew more talkative. Leaning his chin
upon his hand, and his elbow on the table, he thus pro-
ceeded : —

" It's four long years come St. Barnabas, since Sir
Harry's death ; and my lady, rest her soul ! went melan-
choly soon after. Every thing was bequeathed in trust
to my master, Hildebrand Wentworth, a great friend of
Sir Harry's, and his secretary or purse-bearer, I forget
which — no matter, — all the property, I say, was left in
trust for Sir Harry's wife and children. Hildebrand brought
a will from Sir Harry to this effect, and poor Lady Fair-
fax never looked up afterwards. She moped about, and
would see nobody, and then it was they said she was out
of her wits. It was not long before her head-gear and
mantle were found by the river side just below the old
bridge you crossed — but her body never."

Here the entrance of Michael cut short the old man's

" Belike thou hast not lacked a cup of warm sack, and
a whey-posset with my master in the west turret," scofF-
ingly cried Master GeofFery. Michael looked surly as he
replied —

" Old Gabergeon, let us have a draught of thy best —
a stirrup-cup. Breakfast I have settled with, above

" Marry take your swill, Mr. Saucypate," tartly replied
GeofFery. " And so, because you have eaten and drunk
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with my master, it is " Old Gabergeon ;" else had it been
good Master Hardpiece, or " If you will, Master Geof-
fery ! " Out upon such carrion, say I, that think them-
selves live meat, when they are but fly-blown."

" Old GeofFery," said Michael, coolly, " we'll settle our
rank at a more convenient opportunity. Just now I'll
thank thee for the flagon."

" It's in the cupboard," growled Hardpiece. " Verily
these arms would tingle. But I am old, and that same
Michael but a sorry brute — no beating would mend him.
An ass of most vicious propensities ; he will bite forwards
and kick backwards. Friends get the benefit of his teeth,
and foes the favour of his heels."

Thus did the old man console himself for the rudeness
he could not restrain. It was not long ere a summons
hurried them to the court-yard. They found their
beasts equipped and ready to depart ; Harry and Julia
looking joyously on, vastly diverted with the horses'
accoutrements. Hildebrand stood by the gateway, look-
ing moody and anxious for their departure ; Alice, full of
sorrow, attended with some refreshments which were
stowed into the wallet. The journey was but short, and
an hour's ride that fine morning, Michael said, would
bring them to their destination. Hildebrand forbade him
to mention the place where he wished to conceal the
children, lest it should be known to their iniquitous re-
latives. Each horseman, with a child mounted before
him, slowly passed the outer court, at the entrance of
which Alice disappeared. The iron tramp of the steeds
rang shrilly from underneath the arched gateway ; Hilde-
brand stood by the platform ; he bade them good speed.
Anthony passed first ; Michael checked his horse for a


moment, when Hildebrand took the hand of the boy, and
pressed it ; but one portentous look, as at the recognition
of some sinister purpose, passed between Michael and the
old man, unobserved by his colleague. Hildebrand raised
his hand above his mouth, and slowly whispered,

" Remember ! — the gulf underneath the waterfall."

The horsemen departed. Passing the bridge, they
were just rising over the green slope, when the children
recognised Alice upon her mistress's palfrey. They
screamed out loudly to her ; but she was riding in a con-
trary direction, and soon passed out of their sight.

The narrow glades of the forest suddenly encompassed
them. The morning was pretty far advanced ; the merry
birds twittered in their dun covert, brushing the dew-drops
from the boughs with their restless wings. The thrush
and blackbird poured forth a more melancholy note ; whilst
the timid rabbit, scared from his morning's meal, rushed
by and sought his burrow. The wood grew thicker, and
the sunbeams, that shot previously in broad slopes across
their path, soon became but as lines of intensely chequered
light piercing the grim shadows beneath. The trees too
put on a more sombre character ; and the sward appeared
choked with rank and noxious weeds. It seemed a path
rarely trod, and only to be recognised by occasional open-
ings through the underwood.

They travelled for some hours. Michael had taken the
lead, and Anthony with his prattling charge rode care-
lessly on. Looking round, the latter suddenly checked
his horse. A momentary alarm overspread his features as
he cried,

" Michael, you have surely mistaken the path ; an hour's
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ride should have brought us to the end of our journey,
and our beasts have been footing it on since morning."

" Heed not, comrade ; thou wilt soon find we have the
right track before us. We shall be through the wood

" Why this is the road to Ingleton, if I mistake not ;
1 hear the roar of the Greta."

" Right — we shall be on our road to the old castle

They travelled on more silently than before, until the
brawling of the torrent they had heard for some time
increased with rapid intensity. The road now widening,
Anthony spurred on his beast by the side of his compa-
nion, who slackened his pace, to afford an opportunity for

further parley.

" WTiither are we bound ?" enquired Anthony.
" Where the children will be well cared for."
A dubious expression of countenance, which Anthony
but too well understood, accompanied these words ; and
villain was expressed by indications too unequivocal to be
easily mistaken, through every change and inflection of
his visage. Anthony, though not of the most unsullied
reputation, and probably habituated to crimes at which
humanity might shudder, pressed the little victim closer
to his breast. The prattle of the babe had won his heart ;
and the morning scene with Alice had softened his spirit
so, that he could have wept when he thought of the
remorseless nature of his comrade, to whose care the
children were intrusted.

The roar of the torrent grew louder. Suddenly they

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