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He could throw the simplest expression over his features,
which made the keen edge of his rebukes infinitely more
cutting and effective. But the prevailing tone of feeling
in him was sad and oppressive. These wandering min-
strels had, from remote ages, been held as seers, and a
peep into futurity was often supposed to accompany their
poetical inspirations ; a superstition not confined to any
particular locality, but obtaining a widely disseminated
belief in all climes and nations, where imagination
assumes her sway, and dares to assert her power.

After a short space, and without any invitation, the
ballad-maker, like some Pythian priestess on her tripod,
began to exhibit manifestations of the afflatus. The spirit
of song seemed to be stealing upon him, and in a moment
the listening auditory were still. In substance, he half
recited, half sung, the following ballad : —

' Maiden, braid those tresses bright,
Wreathe thy ringlets from the blast ;

Why those locks of curling light,
Heedless to the rude winds cast ?


" ' Maiden, why that darken'd brow ?

From those eyes, once dimm'd with weeping,
Lurid gleams are gathering now.

O'er their pale wan shadows creeping.'

" Silent still, the maid pass'd by, [

Near nor voice nor footstep came.
Sudden, cleaving earth and sky,
Flash'd a brand of arrowy flame !

" ' Maiden, turn that gaze on me.
Onwards why so madly bent ? '
Still no stay, no pause made she
Through that kindling element.

" Now, the midnight chant is stealing.
Mass and requiem breathing near ;
Hush'd the blast, as if revealing

Sounds to earth that Heaven might hear.

" From yon pile, soft voices swelling
Dirge and anthem for the dead ; —
Demon shrieks, their lost doom yelling.
Tend Lord Rudolph's dying bed.

" Holy men, with song and prayer.

Fain would shrive the passing soul ;
Fiend-like whispers, to his ear.
Winds, in muttering curses, roll.

" Ere his last lone shuddering cry.
To his couch the maiden came ;
On his breast, she silently

Bent an eye of ravening flame.

" One wild shriek the sufferer sent.

Ere life's last frail link miglit sever ;
Laugii'd the maiden, as slie leant
O'er that form, to cling for ever.
E 2


" Closer to his heart she press'd ;

Scorch'd, the quivering flesh recoil'd ;
Unconsumed his burning breast,
While that grim tormentor smiled.

" ' Now revenge ! ' the maiden cried,
' 1 have barter'd Heaven for this;
Mine thou art, proud Rudolph's bride,
Mine, by this last demon kiss.'

" Tovrer, and battlement, and hall.

Scathed as with the thunder-stroke,

Flash'd through midnight's dusky pall.

Twined in wreaths of livid smoke.

" O'er that gulph of yawning flame
Horrid shapes are hovering ;
Monstrous forms, of hideous name.
To the bridal-bed they bring.

" ' They come ! — they come ! ' their frantic yell.
On a wave of billow'y light
Sudden rose (so marvellers tell)
The maiden and her traitor knight.

" The moon looks bright on Rudolph's towers.
The breeze laughs lightly by.
But dark and silent sleep the hours,
The lone brook murmuring nigh.

" The lank weed waves round thy domain.
The fox creeps to thy gate ;
Dark is thy dwelling, proud chieftain,
Thy halls are desolate ! ''

The legend we have thus rendered. His own idiom
and versification, as we have already observed, were of a
more unintelligible sort, though better suited perhaps to
the fashion of the time, and the capacity of his hearers.


But a gloom still pervaded the once-cheerful hearth,
and the night wore on without the usual symptoms of
mirth and hilarity.

Holt of Grislehurst held the manorial rights, and was
feudal lord over a widely extended domain, the manor of
Spotland descending to him by succession from his grand-
father. — His character was that of a quiet, unostenta-
tious country gentleman ; but withal of a proud spirit, not
brooking either insult or neglect. This night, an unac-
countable depression stole upon him. He strode rapidly
across the chamber, moody and alone. The taper was nigh
extinguished ; the wasted billet gi-ew pale, a few sparks
starting up the chimney, as the wind roared in short and
hasty gusts round the dwelling. The old family portraits
seemed to flit from their dark panels, wavering with the
tremulous motion of the blaze.

Holt was still pacing the chamber with a disturbed and
agitated step. A few words, rapid and unconnected, fell
from his lips.

" Rebel ! — Outcast ! I cannot betray thee ! "

" Betray me ! " echoed a voice from behind. Turning,
the speaker stood before him. It was the athletic form of
the stranger, wrapped in his grey cloak and cap of coarse
felt, plumed from the falcon's wing.

" And who speaks the word that shall betray me ? A
King, — a fugitive ! Yet, not all the means that treachery
can compass shall trammel one hair upon this brow with-
out my privity or consent."

" Comest thou like the sharp wind into my dwelling ? "
enquired Holt, in a voice tremulous with amazement.

" Free as the unconfined air ; yet fettered by a lighter
E 3


bond, — a woman's love ! " returned the intruder. " Thou
hast a daughter."

The Lord of Grislehurst grew pale at these words.
Some terrific meaning clung to them. After a short
pause, the stranger continued :

" Thus speak the legends of Tigernach, and the bards
of Ulster, rapt into visions of the future : — ' When a
king of Erin shall Jtee at the voice of a woman, then shall
the distaff and spindle conquer whom the sword and hwMer
shall not subdue.' That woman is yon heretic queen. A
usurper, an intruder on our birthright. Never were the
O'Neales conquered but by woman ! I have lingered
here, when the war-cry hath rung from the shores of my
country. Again the shout hath come, and the impatient
chiefs wait for my return. But " ■

The warrior seemed to writhe during the conflict. His
hands were clenched, and every muscle stiffened with agony.
Scorn at his own weakness, and dread, horrible undefin-
able dread, as he felt the omnipotent power mastering his
proud spirit. The man, who would have laughed at the
shaking of a spear, and the loud rush of the battle, quailed
before a woman's hate, and a woman's love.

" And what is thy request to-night? " said Holt.

The stranger answered, in a voice of thunder,

" Thy daughter ! "

Tyrone, for it was he, seemed nigh choaking with the
emotion he sought to suppress.

" Nay," he continued, " it must not be. Oh ! did I love
her less, she had been mine ! "

" Thine ? " suddenly retorted her father, somewhat
scornfully. " And who gave thee this power over wo-


man's spirit? Thou hast not even had speech of her,
much less the means to win her favour."

An almost supernatural expression seemed to gather on
the features of the chieftain. His eye, rolling through
the vista of past years, began to pause, appalled, as it
approached the dark threshold of the future. He appeared
lost to the presence of surrounding objects, as he thus ex-
claimed with a terrific solemnity —

" When the dark-browed Norah nursed me on her lap,
and her eye, though dark to outward sense, saw through
the dim veil of destiny, it was thus she sang, as she
guarded my slumbers, and the hated Sassenach was in the
hall : —

" ' Rest thee, baby ! light and darkness
Mingling o'er thy path shall play ;
Hope shall flee when thou pursuest,
Lost amid life's trackless way.

" ' Rest thee, baby ! woman's breast
Thou shalt darken o'er with woe ;
None thou lookest on or lovest,
Joy or hope hereafter know.

Many a maid thy glance shall rue,
Where it smites it shall subdue.' "

It was an evil hour, old man, when I looked upon thy

Holt, though of a stout and resolute temper, was yet
daunted by this bold and unlooked-for address. He
trembled as he gazed on the mysterious being before him,
gifted, as it seemed, with some supernatural endowments.
His unaccountable appearance, the nature of his com-
munications, together with his manner and abrupt mode
E 4


of speech, would have shaken many a firmer heart, un-
prepared for these disclosures.

" What is thy business with me ? " he enquired, with
some hesitation.

" To warn thee ; — to warn thy daughter. She hath
seen me. Ay, to-night. And how runs the prophecy ?
Let her beware. I have looked on her beforetime.
Looked on her ! Ay, until these glowing orbs have be-
come dim, dazzled with excess of brightness. I have
looked on her, till this stern bosom hath become softer
than the bubbling wax to her impression ; but I was con-
cealed, and the maiden passed imharmed by the curse.
To-night I have saved her life. A resistless impulse !
And she hath looked on me." He smote his brow, groan-
ing aloud in the agony he endured.

It may be supposed, this revelation did not allay the
apprehensions of the listener. Bewildered and agitated,
he turned towards the window. The pale moon was glim-
mering through the quiet leaves, and he saw a dark and
muffled figure in the avenue. It was stationary for a
while ; it then slowly moved towards the adjoining thicket,
and was lost to his view. Holt turned to address his
visitor, but he had disappeared. It was like the passing
of a troubled dream, vague and indistinct, but fraught
with horrible conceptions. A cloud seemed to gather on
his spirit, teeming with some terrible but unknown doom.
Its nature even imagination failed to conjecture. His
first impulse was to visit his daughter. He found the
careful nurse by her bedside. As he entered the room,
Agnes raised one finger to her lips, in token of silence.
Tlie anxious father bent him over his child. Her sleep
was heavy, and her countenance flushed. A tremor


passed over her features. A groan succeeded. Suddenly
she started up. With a look of anguish he could never
forget, she cried, —

" Help. Oh, my father ! " She clung around his neck.
In vain he endeavoured to soothe her. She sobbed
aloud, as if her heart were breaking. But she never told
that dream, though her haggard looks, when morning
rose on her anxious and pallid countenance, showed the
disturbance it had created.

Days and weeks passed by. The intrusion of the bold
outlaw was nigh forgotten. The father's apprehensions
had in some degree subsided, but Constance did not re-
sume her wonted serenity. Her earliest recollections
were those of the old nursery rhymes, with which Agnes
had not failed to store her memory. But the giant-
killers and their champions now failed to interest and
excite. Other feelings, than those of terror and of wonder,
were in operation, requiring a fresh class of stimulants for
their support, — tales of chivalry and of love, that all en-
during passion, where maidens and their lovers sighed
for twice seven years, and all too brief a trial of their
truth and constancy ! As she listened, her soul seemed
to hang on the minstrel's tongue ; that erratic troubadour,
Gaffer Gee, being a welcome and frequent visitor at

One night he had tarried late in the little chamber,
where she was wont to give him audience. She seemed
more wishful to protract his stay than heretofore.

" Now for the ballad of Sir Bertine, the famous Lan-
cashire knight, who was killed at St. Alban's, fighting for
the glorious red rose of Lancaster."

Nothing loth, he commenced the following ditty : —


" The brave Sir Burtinu Entwisel
Hatli donn'd his coat of steel,
And left his hall and stately home,
To fight for Englond's weal.

" To fight for Englond's weal, I trow.

And good King Harry's right,

His loyal heart was wann and true,

His sword and buckler bright.

" That sword once felt the craven foe.
Its hilt was black with gore.
And many a mother's son did rue
His might at Agincourt.

" And now he stately steps his hall,
' A summons from the king ?
My armour bright, my casque and plume,
My sword and buckler bring.

" ' Blow, warder, blow. Thy horn is shrill,
My liegemen hither call.
For I must away to the south countrie.
And spears and lances all.'

" ' Oh, go not to the south countrie ! '
His lady weeping said;
* Oh, go not to the battle-field.
For I dream'd of the waters red ! '

" ' Oh, go not to the south countrie ! '
Cried out liis daughter dear ;
' Oh, go not to the bloody fight,
For I dream'd of the waters clear ! '

" Sir Bertine raised his dark visor.
And he kiss'd his fond lady ;
' I must away to the wars and fight
For our king in jeopardy ! '


" The lady gat her to the tower,
She clomb the battlement ;
She watch'd and greet, wliile through the woods
The glittering falchions went.

" The wind was high, the storm grew loud,
Fierce rose the billowy sea ;
When from Sir Bertine's lordly tower
The bell boom'd heavily !

" ' O mother dear, what bodes that speech
From yonder iron tongue ? '
' Tis but the rude rude blast, my love,
That idle bell hath swung.'

" Upon the rattling casement still
The beating rain fell fast ;
When creeping fingers wandering thrice,
Across that window pass'd.

" ' O mother dear, what means that sound
Upon the lattice nigh ? '
' 'Tis but the cold, cold arrowy sleet
That hurtles in the sky.'

" The blast was still, — a pause more dread
Ne'er terror felt, — when, lo !
An armed footstep on the stair
Clank'd heavily and slow.

" Up flew the latch and tirling pin.
Wide swung the grated door.
Then came a solemn stately tread
Upon the quaking floor !

" A shudder through the building ran,
A chill and icy blast ;
A moan, as though in agony
Some viewless spirit pass'd !


" ' O mother dear, my heart is froze,
My limbs are stark and cold.'
Her mother spake not, for again
That turret bell hath toU'd.

" Three days pass'd by. At eventide
There came an aged man,
He bent liim low before the dame,
His wrinkled cheek was wan.

" ' Now, speak, thou evil messenger.
Thy tidings show to me.'
That aged man, nor look vouchsafed,
Nor ever a word spake he.

" ' What bringest thou ? ' the lady said,
' I charge thee by the rood.'
He drew a signet from liis hand,
'Twas speckled o'er wdth blood.

" ' Thy husband's grave is wide and deep.
In St. Alban's priory
His body lies, but on his soul
Christ Jesv have mercy i ' " *

* In the parish church of St. Chad, Rochdale, is a marble tablet,
erected by John Entwisle, Esquire, a descendant of Sir Bertine, on
which is the following inscription : —

" To perpetuate a memorial in the church of St. Alban's (perished
by time), this marble is here placed to the memory of a gallant and
loyal man. Sir Bertine Entwisel, Knight, Viscount and Baron of
Brj'beke, in Normandy, and some time Bailiff of Constantin, in which
office he succeeded liis father-in-law, Sir John Ashton, whose daugh-
ter Lucy first married Sir Richard le Byron, an ancestor of the Lord
Byrons, Barons of Rochdale, and, secondly, Sir Bertine Entwisel,
who, after performing repeated acts of valour in the sei'vice of his
sovereigns, Henry V. and VL, more particularly at Agincourt, was


Scarcely had the last solemn supplication been uttered,
when the latch of the chamber was raised. The door
flew open, and the outlaw, in his dark grey cap and cloak,
stood before them. Constance was too much alarmed to
utter a word. She clung to her companion with the
agony of one grasping at the most fragile support for life
and safety.

" Nay, maiden, I would not harm thee," said the in-
truder, in a voice so musical and sad, that it seemed to
drop into the listener's ear like a gush of harmony, or a
sweet and melancholy chime wakening up the heart's
most endeared and hallowed associations. His features
were nobly formed. His eye, large and bright, of the
purest grey ; the lashes, like a cloud, covering and tem-
pering their lustre. A touch of sadness rested on his
lips. They seemed to speak of suffering and endurance,
as if the soul's deepest agony would not have cast a word
across their barriers. Constance, for a moment, raised
her eyes, but they were suddenly withdrawn, overflowing
with some powerful emotion. He still gazed, but one
proud effort broke the fixed intensity of his glance, and
his tongue resumed its office.

" Maiden, I am pursued. The foe are on my track.
My retreat is discovered, and unless thou wilt vouchsafe
to me a hiding place, I am in their power. The Earl of

killed in the first battle of St. Albau's, and on his tomb was recorded
in brass the following inscription : —

" ' Here lyth Syr Bertine Entwisel, Knighte, which was born in
Lancastershyre, and was Viscount and Baron of Brybuke in Nor-
mandy, and Bailiff of Constantin, who died fighting on King
Henry VI. party, 28th May 1455.

' On whose sowl Jesu have viercy / ' "


Tyrone — nay, I scorn the title — 'tis the King of Ulster
that stands before thee. I would not crouch thus for my
own life, were it not for my country. Her stay, her sus-
tenance is in thy keeping."

Never did wretchedness and misfortune sue in vain to
woman's ear. Constance forgot her weakness and timi-
dity. She saw not her own danger. A fellow-being
craved help and succour, all other feelings gave place,
and she seemed animated with a new impulse. She
looked on the minstrel, as if to ascertain his fidelity. It
was evident, however, that no apprehension need be en-
tertained, this personage seeming to manifest no slight
solicitude for the safety of the unfortunate chief.

" The old lead mine, in the Cleugh," whispered he.

" Nay, it must be in the house," replied Constance,
with a glance of forethought beyond her years. " The
pursuers will not search this loyal house for treason ! "

As was the case in most mansions belonging to families
of rank and importance, a room was contrived for pur-
poses of special concealment, where persons or property
could be stowed in case of danger. A heavy stack of
chimneys was enlarged so as to admit of a small apartment,
inconvenient enough in other respects, yet well adapted
as a temporary hiding place.

Hither, through secluded passages, the careful Con-
stance conducted her guest, who had so strangely thrown
himself, with unhesitating confidence, upon her generosity
and protection. The proud representative of a kingly
race was rescued by a woman from ignominy and death.
Some feeling of this nature probably overpowered him.
As he bade her good-night, his voice faltered, and he
passed his hand suddenly athwart his brow. Constance,


having fulfilled this sacred duty, shrank from any further
intercourse, and hastened to her chamber. It was long
ere she could sleep ; portentous dreams then brooded over
her slumbers. The terrible vision was repeated, and she
awoke, but not to her wonted cheerfulness.

How strange, how mysterious the mechanism of the
human heart ! The feelings glide insensibly into each
other, changing their hue and character imperceptibly, as
the colours on the evening cloud. Protection awakens
kindness, kindness pity, and pity love. Love, the more
dangerous, too, the process being unperceived, insidi-
ously disguised under other names, and under the finest
sympathies and affections of our nature.

With a step, light and noiseless as that of her favourite
spaniel, who crept behind her, did Constance make an
early visit to ascertain the safety of her prisoner. His
retreat was unmolested. The pursuit was, for the pre-
sent, evaded, and his enemies thrown out in their track.
It was needful, however, that he should remain for a
few days in his present concealment, prior to the attempt
by which he purposed to regain his native country.

Constance loved the moonlight. The broad glare of
day is so garish and extravagant. Besides, there is a
restlessness and a buz, no human being, at least no sen-
sible human being, can endure. Every thing is on the stir.
Every creature, however paltry and insignificant, whether
moth, mote, or atom, seems busy. Whereas, one serene
soft gaze of the moon appears to allay Nature's universal
disquiet. The calm and mellow placidity of her look, so
heavenly and undisturbed, lulls the soul, and subdues its
operations to her influence.


Constance, we may suppose, accidentally, wandered by
the end of the building, where, in the huge buttress of
chimneys, a narrow crevice admitted light into the cham-
ber occupied by the fugitive. At times, perhaps uncon-
sciously, her eye wandered from the moon to this
dreary abode; where it lingered longest is more than
we dare tell. She drew nigh to the dark margin of the
pond. The white swans were sleeping in the sedge. At
her approach, they fluttered clumsily to their element ;
there, the symbols of elegance and grace, like wreaths
of sea-foam on its surface, they glided on, apparently
without an impulse or an effort. She was gazing on them,
when a rustle amongst the willows on her left, arrested her
attention. Soon the mysterious and almost omnipresent
form of Tyrone stood before her.

" I must away, maiden ! — Constance ! " His voice was
mournful as the last faint sound of the evening bell upon
the waters.

" Why art thou here ? " She said this in a tone of
mingled anxiety and surprise.

" Here? Too long have I lingered in these woods,
and around thy dwelling, Constance. But I must begone
— for ever ! "

" For ever?" cried the perplexed girl, forgetful of all
but the dread thought of that for ever !

'•' Ay, for ever ! Why should I stay ? "

This question, alas ! she could not answer, but stood
gazing on the dark water, and on the silver waves, which
the bright swans had rippled over the pool. Though she
saw them not, yet the scene mingled itself insensibly with
the feelings then swelling in her bosom ; and these recur-


rent circumstances, in subsequent periods of her exist-
ence, never failed to bring the same dark tide of thought
over the soul, with vivid and agonising distinctness.

" Maiden, beware ! "

Constance turned towards him: — the moonlight fell on
his brow : the dark curls swept nobly out from their
broad shadows, twining luxuriantly about his cheek. His
eyes were fixed on her, with an eagerness and an anguish
in their expression the most absorbing and intense.

" I have loved thee. — Aye, if it be love to live whole
nights on the memory of a glance, — on a smile, — on the
indelible impress of thy form. Here, — here ! But no
living thing that I have loved ; — no being that e'er looked
on me with kindliness and favour, that has not been marked
out for destruction. Oh, that those eyes had ne'er looked
upon me ! — Thou wert happy, and I have lingered on
thy footstep till I have dragged thee to the same gulf where
all hope — all joy that e'er stole in upon my dark path,
must perish."

" Oh ! do not foretaste thy misery thus," cried Con-
stance. " The cruel sufferings thou hast undergone
make thee apprehensive of evil. But how can thy fate
control my destiny ? "

" How, I know not," said Tyrone, " save that it shall
bring the same clouds, in unmitigated darkness, about
thy path. Dost thou love me ? — Nay, start not. Stay
not ! " cried he, making way for the maiden to pass.
But Constance seemed unable to move, — terrified and

" Perchance, thou knowest it not, but thou wouldst
love me as a woman loves ; — aye, beyond even the verge
and extremity of hope ! Even now the poison rankles in



thy bosom. Hark! — 'tis the doom yon glorious intelH-
gences denounced from that glittering vault, when they
proclaimed my birth ! "

He repeated the prediction as aforetime, with a deep,
solemn intonation: — the maiden's blood seemed to curdle
with horror. A pause of bewildering and mysterious
terror followed. One brief minute in the lapse of time, —
but an age in the records of thought ! Constance, fear-
ful of looking on the dark billows of the spirit, sought
to avert her glance.

" Thou art an exile, and misfortune prompted me to
thy succour : — thou hast won my pity, stranger."

" Beshrew me, 'tis a wary and subtle deceiver, this
same casuist, love. Believe him not ! " said he, in a burst
and agony of soul that made Constance tremble. " He
would lead thee veiled to the very brink of the precipice,
then snatch the shelter from thine eyes, and bid thee
leap ! Nay, 'tis not pride, — 'tis the doom, the curse of my
birthright that is upon me. Maiden ! I will but strike
to thine heart, and then — poor soul ! " — He shuddered;

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