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LIBRARY OF THE

UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS

AT URBANA-CHAMPAICN



823

iV522a

v.2




Digitized by the Internet Archive

in 2010 with funding from

University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign



http://www.archive.org/details/aliciadelacyhist02west



ALICIA DE LACY ;



AN



HISTORICAL ROMANCE.



VOL. II.



Strahan and Preston,
Printers-Street, London.



ALICIA DE LACY



HISTORICAL ROMANCE,



BY



THE AUTHOR OF « THE LOYALISTS," &c.



Wisdom in sable garb array'd,

IminersM in rapturous thought profound,
And Melancholy, silent maid,

With leaden eye that loves the ground,
Still on thy solemn steps attend :
Warm Charity, the general friend,
With Justice, "to herself severe,
And Pity, dropping soft the sadly-pleasing tear.

Gray's Ode to Adversity.



IN FOUR VOLUMES.
VOL. II.

LONDON:

PRINTED FOB LONGMAN, HURST, REES, ORME, ANI> BROWN,
PATERNOSTER-ROW.

I8I4.



$33
v. ^



ALICIA DE LACY



CHAPTER III.



For contemplation he and valour form'd ;
For softness she, and sweet attractive grace.

Milton.

A LICIA has hitherto been presented
to the reader's eye in the not
uncommon character of a fair heiress,
desperately in love, and aiming to sur-
mount the obstacles which interposed
to defeat her wishes. She interested
a heart which devotion and patriotism
had rendered insensible to the com-
mon snares of beauty, by discovering
corresponding sentiments at a first
interview, and, without designing to
deceive, love taught her, as often as she

VOL. II. B



r • )

met the man whose affection she lan-
guished to secure, to adopt the manners
and opinions which she knew he approved.
Accustomed to hear her father express
his stern abhorrence of that prodigal
waste of time, treasure, and talents, which
diverted the King from his royal duties,
she persuaded herself that she detested
the luxury and indulgence of the court ;
and that a retired life, devoted to con-
templation and solitude, was most adapted
to her taste. She would, indeed, banish
the austere Father Ambrose from her
cell ; but in his stead, besides the hour-
glass, maple-dish, and cross bones, she
pictured that abode as containing a
princely hermit. While her eye pur-
sued through the courtly circle one ma-
jestic figure, she had no superfluous
admiration to bestow on the embroidered
scarfs or plumed bonnets that pretended
to eclipse his native dignity ; and the hope
that one smile, full of meaning, or a



( 3 )

per, half implying approbation, would
testify that Lord Lancaster's thoughts
could sometimes be diverted from musing
on England's wrongs, rendered it impos«
sible for her to hear the garrulous flat-
teries of those who spoiled an ingenious
compliment by their dull repetition, or fan-
cied they looked enchanting by distorting
their faces, or twisting their persons into
affected postures. She had no time to
bestow on chose triflers ; all they did or
said was disgusting, because it diverted
her from a sublime study. A squirrel
might be held in a wicker cage, but she
was contriving to ensnare a lion : the
difficulty of such an achievement en-
hanced the value of the prize, and in-
duced her to forget, what consideration
would have told her, that those who as-
pire to glory must prepare themselves to
encounter difficulty, and endure sorrow.

From the time of her receiving Lord
Surrey's letter, Alicia perceived a differ-
B 2



(4 )

ence in the behaviour of Lancaster,
indicating, that he equally despised the
presumption which affected to set her at
liberty, and the arrogance that threatened
the exercise of her freedom. The me-
naces of a malignant and potent rival
constituted a stimulus to an heroic
mind ; and his declaration of fervent
affection was only withheld by his scru-
pulous desire to prevent either the lady's
fame from being committed, or a breach
in the public harmony.

The Earl of Lincoln, enthusiastic in
his admiration of Lancaster, seemed to
withdraw his thoughts from the grave of
his young heir, to contemplate the ripened
worth of one to whom it was the avowed
wish of hisheart that his vast hereditaments
might be conveyed by an auspicious alli-
ance. But in proportion as Alicia saw the
difficulties that impeded her long-cherished
hopes diminish, the caprice that indulgence



( 5 )

had fostered in her disposition, tempted
her to practise those wayward arts which
lessen the value of the female character
by impeaching its sincerity. The pilgrim-
age to Palestine was, by the unanimous
advice of the ordainers, suspended, till
the impoverished country could spare the
remittance it would divert from claims
connected with its vital interests. There
was no longer any talk of Lord Lan-
caster's becoming grand master of the
knights-templars ; his interference in
their favour terminated with the King's
promising to suspend his decree for their
suppression, till their advocates were con .
fronted with their accusers, and evidence
examined on the validity of the charges
urged against them. It was known that
the Queen of Navarre advised her son to
marry, and take an active part in the
government. With one of these in-
junctions he had complied, being named
president of the council ; and the change

B 3



( 6 )

in his manners augured an intention to
fulfil the other. He was now rather grave
than austere, dejection changed to sere-
nity, and a condescending relaxation, often
amounting to decorous chearfulness,
brought him near the level of other men
u Ah, Lancaster," said the exulting
beauty to herself, " at last, then, you are
my captive. But it is impossible to resist
the pleasure of making you feel for the
trouble you have cost me ; and though I
do not mean to be very inexorable, I must
see you court my smiles, fear my frowns,
and dance attendance on my sovereign
will."

Confirmed by her confidant, Beatrice,
in her resolution of tyrannizing, Lady
Alicia passed over in her mind a hun-
dred whimsical moods, pondering in
which she should receive the hourly-
expected declaration. What, if she
were to lift her eyes to heaven, invoke
Saint Ursula and all her virgins, and



( 7 )

protest her inclination for a cloister,
cautiously softening that avowal by al-
luding to her father's prohibition of her
taking the veil. What, if she were to pro-
pose previous conditions, enlarge on the
Queen's friendship, and stipulate that she
must reside at court. Again, suppos#
she were to require a magnificent esta-
blishment at a separate castle. Rich
attire and gay festivals, shenow discovered,
were much more pleasant and congenial
to her taste than the spare fasts, the tedious
vigils, the monotonous routine of matins,
lauds, vespers, and nocturns, which had
employed her youth ; and if the Earl of
Lancaster's habits leaned too much that
way, as Beatrice asserted, a hint of
her having been already satiated might
be usefuL The confidant eloquently
argued in favour of express and minute
stipulations, urging her lady not to trust
too much to the power of those conquer-
ing glances which her father told her shot
B 4



( 8 )

from her eyes, nor to the playfulness
which had often disarmed his rage, or the
tears that melted his firmest purposes.
Such grave, steady men as Lord Lancaster
generally made stern husbands, the most
intractable race of animals in the world,
who were always expecting people to act
from reason, and to be to-day the same
as yesterday. The girl's loquacity was
interrupted by her lady's apparent dis-
pleasure. She was not going, she said,
to embark on the voyage of life with a
Friar Ambrose, cold to all the social
affections, and absorbed in the wild reve-
ries of monastic ambition. The Earl of
Lancaster, though grave and devout, was
a knight, and a gentleman of princely
race and courtly breeding, learned, en-
lightened, and courteous. Beatrice was
most happy to hear this good account of
him, for his merit had not its due praise
among the Queen's ladies of honour. Of
this she was certain, that her dear lady's



( 9 )

super-eminent deserts and large in-
heritance deserved a husband made on
purpose for her, and comprizing the
very best qualities of all the fine men she
knew : as handsome as the King, without
his love of low dissipation ; as accom-
plished as Gaveston, without his vanity
and insolence ; as amiable as Gloucester,
without his timid modesty ; as spirited
as Warwick, without his impetuosity j
Beatrice ventured to add, and as gallant,
splendid, and generous as the Earl of
Surrey, without his inconstancy ; but
Alicia shuddering, kissed her crucifix, and
prayed the Virgin to preserve her from a
murderer. The courageous attendant was
not silenced by this rebuff; but begged
her lady to distinguish between a brave
gentleman, generous and accomplished,
who, though he had done some rash
things in his youth, was deeply enamoured
of a beautiful lady who might reform him,

b 5



( "> )

and change him into an excellent hus-
band j and a cruel, fierce Saracen, whose
trade it was to shut up ladies in castles,
and bury knights in dungeons. " I com-
mand thee silence on that theme," said
Alicia ; <c name no more the mock gene-
rosity of affecting to liberate me from my
vows, and denouncing vengeance on all
who shall presume to avail themselves of
my freedom."

It was after some of these discussions,
to which the confidential intimacy then
existing between ladies of high rank, and
those who performed the double duty of
attendants and companions often gave rise,
that Lady Alicia was interrupted by the
Earl of Warwick, who came, he said, as
the harbinger of one whose high deserts
needed no advocate to plead his suit.
Lord Lancaster was closetted with her
father, urging a request which could not
be denied. Alicia assumed the high
disdain of beauty, and observed, it would



( » )

be of no importance for her to know the
purport, if she had no voice in the deter-
mination.

" My fair cousin, 5 ' answered Warwick,
while a playful mischief laughed in his eye,
" how does your quick intelligence out-
step my halting narrative. I might reply
to this pretty pouting, by asking, whence
springs the self-accusing consciousness,
that implies your bright eyes have be-
trayed the lapse of your truant heart ?
What, if Lancaster requests that he may be
your champion, and preserve you from
the snare of a bold ravisher ; if you
mean to repay his kindness only with
disdain, even sort out your bridal de-
corations, and let your sumpter mule
follow your palfrey, for by this time to-
morrow the fear of your mother's male-
diction will not prevent you from suing
to become Lord Surrey's wife." He
then acquainted her with the plot con-
fessed by Eubulo, which Lancaster sus-
b 6



C N )

pected was a snare laid for himself. It
might, however, be otherwise. Alicia
turned deadly pale, and Warwick asked
her if she was disposed to fulfil the con-
tract.

" Never, never." The image of the
twin lilies floating down the Dee, of their
distracted mother, of her own dear lost
William, all rose to her recollection.
With clasped hands she protested death
was preferable; but recovering herself,
exclaimed, " Why am I thus alarmed ?
Ah, Warwick, there is a wicked pleasant-
ry in your look which contradicts your
effected seriousness. My father is a mighty
baron, and can I fear violence, when he
can bring into the field five hundred men
at arms, with crested helmets and quilted
surcoats, and thrice that number of skilful
archers ? Is he not owner of nine walled
castles ; and would not the north and the
south, the east and the west, at his bidding
array themselves for, my preservation ?"



( '3 )

" You forget," said Warwick, " that
to-morrovy is the time of danger ; and the
array you speak of consists of peaceful
yeomen, now reposing in their own
dwellings. Nor are you in one of your
father's castles, but in a treacherous court,
leagued to abet the ravisher's designs."
He further reminded her, that the
distracted state from which the kingdom
had just emerged, and the necessity that
all parties should unite in its preservation,
determined the barons who were faithful
to the cause of their country, to abstain
from appealing to arms in arbitrement of
private wrong, but to submit to injury,
till the slow but peaceable decision of the
laws should do them justice. Impatient
of the terms to which he had submitted,
the King only waited for an occasion to
charge the popular lords with breach of
contract ; and how would the patriotism,
how would the delicacy of Lady Alicia
endure the idea of being the ostensible



( U )

fire-brand that kindled the flame of civil



war."



cc Oh, send me to one of my father's
castles !" was the lady's next request.

"Warwick replied, that duty fixed De
Lacy and his friends about the King's
person, but Surrey had no state appoint-
ment, and was at liberty to pursue her to
any of those retreats. His mock banditti
might be stationed on any other road ;
and forests and caverns could be found
equally convenient for his purposes near
Canford, Denbigh, Pontefract, Chester,
or Lincoln, as at Windsor. The terrified
Alicia wept, and asked how she could
be preserved. Warwick answered, there
was a retreat safe and honourable, pointed
out by wisdom, guarded by courage,
sanctioned by religion, lighted by love.
When manners were generally corrupt,
when the mighty were dissolute and the
rabble lawless, an honourable husband
was the only guardian to which richly-



C '5 )

portioned beauty could intrust its treasures
and its charms. The Earl of Lancaster,
with the single-heartedness of true af-
fection, despised his own peril, to place
the object of his generous love in honour-
able security. The wife of a prince of
the blood-royal was too sacredly protected
by the laws to fear violence. The Queen
of Navarre would receive her as a daughter,
and supply, by her wisdom and magna-
nimity, that maternal protection which
Lady Margaret had renounced. The
King considered Kenilworth as a sanc-
tuary ; marriage would release her from
her attendance on the Queen ; her
confessor had pronounced her absolved
in conscience from her contract ; and
Surrey would be but a perverse arguer,
if, after signing her manumission, he
presumed to call her to account as his
slave."

" You read my eyes, fair Lady Alicia,"
continued Warwick, bending to look in



( *6 )

her face, cc permit me also to learn the
language of yours. By the sword of Guy,
*tis hatred, fixed disgust, insurmountable
aversion to my friend. What, though his
birth is princely, his disposition noble?
his possessions royal ; I was deceived
when I fancied those anxious looks, which
covertly watched his movements, and that
breathless admiration which hung on
every word he uttered, marked the willing
servitude of a captivated heart. But the
empire of beauty must yield its petty ty-
ranny, when potent enemies threaten its
destruction. If Lancaster is not worthy
to protect you confidentially, name to me
which of the suitors who bow in your
train you think meet to prefer, and I
doubt not, although inferior in merit, the
.selected lover will be more liberal in pro-
fession, and as prompt in accepting the
task imposed by your preference."

" Ungenerous Warwick," replied
Alicia, " are there no reasons which



( -7 )

should make me hesitate. Has Lord
Lancaster ever evinced that desire to win
my affections, which would assure me of
the state of his own ?"

" His merits wooed you," answered
Beauchamp. " Let meaner lovers apply-
to Cupid's text-book for that eloquence
which props the cause of doubtful desert ;
and what more manly proof can he give
you of the force of his affection, than to
brave, for your sake, the enmity of the
most proud and inexorable baron in Eng-
land, whose revenge, like a covered fire,
will burn the fiercest because it must be
concealed."

" Surely," replied Alicia, " honour
requires me to avoid exposing his gene-
rosity to such peril."

" Tha* reason," replied Warwick,
" holds its force in respect to every other
champion, and dooms you to be the un-
defended victim of Surrey's violence.
But prefer that plea personally, and if



( i8 )

you urge it with the same look of winning
gentleness and sweet surrender you now
use, I mistake much if it will not have the
same effect on my friend ; the threats of
proud Surrey rendering him more deter-
mined to devote his life to your service.
But the night wears ; your safety depends
on prompt decision, and I came to con-
duct you instantly to your father."

As Warwick hurried Alicia to Lord
Lincoln's pavilion, her heart throbbed
with contrary emotions ; even coquetry
w 7 as not excepted : and she recollected,
but could not arrange the proposed stipu-
lations. Joy was subdued by the delicate
apprehension that maiden pride had been
defrauded of its just prerogative ; that
she had been won before she was wooed ;
that pity, or any other motive than real
preference, induced Lancaster to offer a
protection, which seemed, on his part, a
gift, while the hand she bestowed was
rather the suppliant's plea for aid, than



( *9 )

the reward of faithful service. With
these fears, sufficient to alarm any deli-
cate mind, were mixed regrets peculiar
to this gay young beauty. She had not
proved the power her mirror told her she
possessed ; and what superiority would a
husband assume, who, as a lover, had
never trembled at her frowns, sued for
her smile, nor waited on her caprices; had
never appeared weakly miserable, nor ri-
diculously elated ; had given no proofs
that he would succumb to her will, or
even allow her to be the guide of her own
actions ? But then this terrible Surrey, —
though there was somewhat like attach-
ment in his persevering pretensions, and
though he might, as Beatrice said, be
less of a monster than her settled aversion
described him ; yet the dark design of his
eye, the measured amenity of his smile,
ever fearful of sliding into the grin of ma-
levolence ; the studied courtliness of his
compliments, the hurrying impetuosity of



«..



( 20 )

Iiis vivacity An involuntary shudder

chilled her blood as she sketched this por-
trait, and she shrunk with contempt from
her own wayward caprices, in doubting
if she could be happy with a husband
whom every one revered. Margaret of
Gloucester wept in secret for the dis-
graces and follies of Gaveston, whom in
public she attempted to defend. Queen
Isabella avoided all allusions to her royal
consort, from a consciousness that no-
thing could be said in his praise ; but on
one topic she could always be eloquent,
the good deeds of the Earl her husband.

If Warwick would not hurry her along
so fast, and give her time to recollect her
scattered thoughts, perhaps in her man-
ner of receiving his addresses she might
impress the mind of her princely lover
with a conviction that she was not wholly
unworthy to be considered as the partner
of his fortunes. .But she was already in
the presence of her father: he looked



?



( v )

paler than usual, as he lay extended on
his pallet conversing with Lord Lan-
caster, who stood unbonnetted by his
side, with an air so expressive of respect
and humility, as re-assured the agitated
maiden, while turning her eyes from her
princely lover, she sunk on her knees by
her father's couch, and craved to know
his pleasure.

The Earl of Lincoln rose, and as he
embraced his darling, she felt the feeble
flutterings of his overlaboured heart.—
" My child," said he, " while I had
power to draw this sword from its scab-
bard, thou hadst no need of any other pro-
tector 5 but now, even thy soft arm slides
from my grasp. Beloved of my soul, to
whom shall I entrust thee ? Thy mother
has forsaken thee, limiting her influence
to those secluded walls my will forbids
thee to enter. A snare is laid for thy free-
dom, thy honour, thy peace. These re-



( ** )

peated alarms hasten an old man's journey
to the grave. I would not be deprived of
all I love, before I receive the parting
viaticum. I would reserve one hand, the
pressure of which would fall grateful on
my closing eyes. "When the richly laden
vine is unsupported, the basest foot treads
on its produce; but marry it to the stately
elm, and it forms a purple canopy, luxu-
riant and secure from spoliation. Behold
in this illustrious head of the Lancastrian
Plantagenets, a protector given thee by
thy father ; and, princely Earl, with the
full fee of all my possessions, secured to
thee and thy heirs, receive the last and
dearest of my children as an especial trust,
and Heaven so deal with thee as thou art
kind and just to her."

Was this a moment for stipulated
rights, for affected levity, or coy disdain ?
Lancaster, with one knee bent to the
ground, and with the same look of re-
verent lowliness as when he first met her
5



( *3 )

in his pilgrim's garb, received Alicia's
hand from her father. ".Mine is a proud
heart, Lady," said he, " yet would I not
confine my gratitude for this vast influx
of happiness to the partial generosity of
thy venerated father. If I part with this
fair hand, which now trembles like a
captive in my grasp, wilt thou again be-
stow it as the signification of thy free
choice, and the invaluable reward of my
solemn avowal, that not the earldoms
which are given as thy dower, nor yet the
unrivalled beauty of thy person, would
have withdrawn my regards from that
Heaven which gave thee beauty, were I
not convinced that this consummate love-
liness ranks least among thy abundant
graces ?"

What could Alicia answer ? She was
most inclined to avow, that the desire of
her soul was to deserve her high fortunes,
in being united to a man whom she held



( H )

dearer than all her natural or adventi-
tious advantages ; but on occasions when
language is incapable of interpreting the
heart, nature explains her sentiment by
the usual associate of strong susceptibility,
the unequivocal expression of an intelli-
gent countenance. Alicia restored her
yielded hand to Lancaster, with a salute
that spoke tenderness rather than joy.
Then hastily turning from the lord of her
future destiny, she fixed her eyes on the
ghastly countenance of him from whom
she had derived her being ; and throwing
herself into his arms with an intensity of
affection which, while it seemed to ex-
clude every other object, more especially
endeared her to Lancaster, exclaimed,
" My dearest, dearest father, who will
minister to your infirmities if I must leave
you ?"

" A grateful country and a gracious
God/' answered the Earl of Lincoln, as



( 25 )

with renovated strength he rose from
his couch and commanded Father-
Ambrose to perform the ceremony.
When the wedded pair knelt for his be-
nediction, and he embraced his daughter
as Countess of Lancaster, it seemed as if
that name, like a consecrated amulet,
conferring security and peace, instanta-
neously checked the ravages of decay.
Raising his eyes to heaven, De Lacy in-
voked the spirits of his glorious ancestors,
calling on them to observe, that he had
given them a representative worthy of
their inheritance. " The virtues and the
renown of the Lacies and the Longspees,*'
said he, " rest upon thee. Be thou,
Alicia, chaste and duteous as the matrons
from whom thou art sprung ; binding to
our house, with a band of adamant, this
stately pillar, whose firmness will secure
its durability and thy safety. And now^
when the angel of death smites me to the
vol. ii. c



( *6 )

*dust, weep not for the removal of an old
man, whose task in life is concluded ;
but lay my corpse among my ancestors,
and fill my place with benigner influence
and happier fortunes*"



C * )



CHAP. XIII.

'Tis the mind that makes the body rule ;
And as the sun breaks through the darkest night,
So honour peereth in the meanest habit.
"What ! is the jay more precious than the lark,
Because the feathers are more beautiful ?

Shakespeare,

HPHE Earl of Lancaster requested a
private audience of the King, to ask
a few days delay in his attendance at
Westminster, and assigned as a cause for
his absence his intention of escorting his
wife to Kenilworth. Edward, starting,
repeated the word wife! Lancaster re-
plied, most assuredly he was married,
and to the heiress of the Earl of Lincoln.
His manner spoke the calm magnanimity
of conscious power and steady rectitude,
as he respectfully waited the King's reply.

C 2



C a* )

After a little hesitation, " We must/*
said the courteous prince, " rejoice in an
event which binds the services of our


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