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deep! The winds were sinking into rest, the foam died from the azure of
that delicious sea. Around the east thin mists caught gradually the rosy
hues that heralded the morning. Light was about to resume her reign.
There was no shout from the mariners at the dawning light - it had come
too gradually, and they were too wearied for such sudden bursts of
joy - but there was a low, deep murmur of thankfulness amidst those
watchers of the long night. They looked at each other, and smiled; they
took heart. They felt once more that there was a world around and a God
above them!

In the silence of the general sleep Nydia had risen gently. Bending over
the face of Glaucus, she softly kissed him. She felt for his hand; it
was locked in that of Ione. She sighed deeply, and her face darkened.
Again she kissed his brow, and with her hair wiped from it the damps of
night.

"May the gods bless you, Athenian!" she murmured "May you be happy with
your beloved one! May you sometimes remember Nydia! Alas! she is of no
further use on earth."

With these words she turned away. A sailor, half-dozing on the deck,
heard a slight splash on the waters. Drowsily he looked up, and behind,
as the vessel bounded merrily on, he fancied he saw something white
above the waves; but it vanished in an instant. He turned round again
and dreamed of his home and children.

When the lovers awoke, their first thought was of each other, their next
of Nydia. Every crevice of the vessel was searched - there was no trace
of her! Mysterious from first to last, the blind Thessalian had vanished
from the living world! They guessed her fate in silence, and Glaucus and
Ione, while they drew nearer to each other, feeling each other the world
itself, forgot their deliverance, and wept as for a departed sister.

* * * * *




The Last of the Barons


A romance of York and Lancaster's "long wars," "The Last of
the Barons" was published in 1843, shortly before the death of
Bulwer's mother, when, on inheriting the Knebworth estates, he
assumed the surname of Lytton. The story is an admirably
chosen historical subject, and in many respects is worked out
with even more than Lytton's usual power and effect. Incident
is crowded upon incident; revolutions, rebellions,
dethronements follow one another with amazing rapidity - all
duly authenticated and elaborated by powerful dialogue. It is
thronged with historical material, sufficient, according to
one critic, to make at least three novels. The period dealt
with, 1467-1471, witnessed the rise of the trading class and
the beginning of religious freedom in England. Lytton leans to
the Lancastrian cause, with which the fortunes of one of his
ancestors were identified, and his view of Warwick is more
favourable to the redoubtable "king-maker" than that of the
historians.


_I. - Warwick's Mission to France_


Lacking sympathy with the monastic virtues of the deposed Henry VI., and
happy in the exile of Margaret of Anjou, the citizens of London had
taken kindly to the regime of Edward IV. In 1467 Edward still owed to
Warwick the support of the more powerful barons, as well as the favour
of that portion of the rural population which was more or less dependent
upon them. But he encouraged, to his own financial advantage, the
enterprises of the burgesses, and his marriage with Elizabeth Woodville
and his favours to her kinsfolk indicated his purpose to reign in fact
as well as in name. The barons were restless, but the rising
middle-class, jealous of the old power of the nobles, viewed with
misgiving the projected marriage, at Warwick's suggestion, of the king's
sister Margaret and the brother of Louis XI. of France.

This was the position of affairs when young Marmaduke Nevile came to
London to enter the service of his relative the Earl of Warwick; and
some points of it were explained to the young man by the earl himself
when he had introduced the youth to his daughters, Isabel and Anne.

"God hath given me no son," he said. "Isabel of Warwick had been a
mate for William the Norman; and my grandson, if heir to his grandsire's
soul, should have ruled from the throne of England over the realms of
Charlemagne! But it hath pleased Him Whom the Christian knight alone
bows to without shame, to order otherwise. So be it. I forgot my just
pretensions - forgot my blood - and counselled the king to strengthen his
throne by an alliance with Louis XI. He rejected the Princess Bona of
Savoy to marry widow Elizabeth Grey. I sorrowed for his sake, and
forgave the slight to my counsels. At his prayer I followed the train of
the queen, and hushed the proud hearts of the barons to obeisance. But
since then this Dame Woodville, whom I queened, if her husband mismated,
must dispute this royaulme with mine and me! A Neville, nowadays, must
vail his plume to a Woodville! And not the great barons whom it will
suit Edward's policy to win from the Lancastrians, not the Exeters and
the Somersets, but the craven varlets, and lackeys, and dross of the
camp - false alike to Henry and to Edward - are to be fondled into
lordships and dandled into power. Young man, I am speaking hotly.
Richard Neville never lies nor conceals; but I am speaking to a kinsman,
am I not? Thou hearest - thou wilt not repeat?"

"Sooner would I pluck forth my tongue by the roots!" was Marmaduke's
reply.

"Enough!" returned the earl, with a pleased smile. "When I come from
France I will speak more to thee. Meanwhile, be courteous to all men,
servile to none. Now to the king."

Warwick sought his royal cousin at the Tower, where the court exhibited
a laxity of morals and a faculty for intrigue that were little to the
stout earl's taste.

It was with manifest reluctance that Edward addressed himself to the
object of Warwick's visit.

"Knowst thou not," said he, "that this French alliance, to which thou
hast induced us, displeases sorely our good traders of London?"

"_Mort Dieu_!" returned Warwick bluntly. "And what business have the
flat-caps with the marriage of a king's sister? You have spoiled them,
good my lord king. Henry IV. staled not his majesty to consultation with
the mayor of his city. Henry V. gave the knighthood of the Bath to the
heroes of Agincourt, not to the vendors of cloth and spices."

"Thou forgettest, man," said the king carelessly, "the occasion of those
honours - the eve before Elizabeth was crowned. As to the rest," pursued
the king, earnestly and with dignity, "I and my house have owed much to
London. Thou seest not, my poor Warwick, that these burgesses are
growing up into power. And if the sword is the monarch's appeal for his
right, he must look to contented and honest industry for his buckler in
peace. This is policy, policy, Warwick; and Louis XI. will tell thee the
same truths, harsh though they grate in a warrior's ear."

The earl bowed his head.

"If thou doubtest the wisdom of this alliance," he said, "it is not too
late yet. Let me dismiss my following, and cross not the seas. Unless
thy heart is with the marriage, the ties I would form are but threads
and cobwebs."

"Nay," returned Edward irresolutely. "In these great state matters thy
wit is older than mine. But men do say the Count of Charolois is a
mighty lord, and the alliance with Burgundy will be more profitable to
staple and mart."

"Then, in God's name so conclude it!" said the earl hastily. "Give thy
sister to the heir of Burgundy, and forgive me if I depart to the castle
of Middleham. Yet think well. Henry of Windsor is thy prisoner, but his
cause lives in Margaret and his son. There is but one power in Europe
that can threaten thee with aid to the Lancastrians. That power is
France. Make Louis thy friend and ally, and thou givest peace to thy
life and thy lineage. Make Louis thy foe, and count on plots and
stratagems and treason. Edward, my loved, my honoured liege, forgive
Richard Nevile for his bluntness, and let not his faults stand in bar of
his counsels."

"You are right, as you are ever, safeguard of England and pillar of my
state," said the king frankly; and pressing Warwick's arm, he added, "go
to France, and settle all as thou wilt."

When Warwick had departed, Edward's eye followed him, musingly. The
frank expression of his face vanished, and with the deep breath of a man
who is throwing a weight from his heart, he muttered, "He loves me - yes;
but will suffer no one else to love me! This must end some day. I am
weary of the bondage."


_II. - A Dishonoured Embassy_


One morning, some time after Warwick's departure for France, the Lord
Hastings was summoned to the king's presence. There was news from
France, in a letter to Lord Rivers, from a gentleman in Warwick's train.
The letter was dated from Rouen, and gave a glowing account of the
honours accorded to the earl by Louis XI. Edward directed Hastings'
attention to a passage in which the writer suggested that there were
those who thought that so much intercourse between an English ambassador
and the kinsman of Margaret of Anjou boded small profit to the English
king.

"Read and judge, Hastings," said the king.

"I observe," said Hastings, "that this letter is addressed to my Lord
Rivers. Can he avouch the fidelity of his correspondent?"

"Surely, yes," answered Rivers. "It is a gentleman of my own blood."

"Were he not so accredited," returned Hastings, "I should question the
truth of a man who can thus consent to play the spy upon his lord and
superior."

"The public weal justifies all things," said Lord Worcester, who, with
Lord Rivers, viewed with jealous scorn the power of the Earl of Warwick.

"And what is to become of my merchant-ships," said the king, "if
Burgundy take umbrage and close its ports?"

Hastings had no cause to take up the quarrel on Warwick's behalf. The
proud earl had stepped in to prevent his marriage with his sister. But
Hastings, if a foe, could be a noble one.

"Beau sire," said he, "thou knowest how little cause I have to love the
Earl of Warwick. But in this council I must be all and only the king's
servant. I say first, then, that Warwick's faith to the House of York is
too well proven to become suspected because of the courtesies of King
Louis. Moreover, we may be sure that Warwick cannot be false if he
achieve the object of his embassy and detach Louis from the side of
Margaret and Lancaster by close alliance with Edward and York. Secondly,
sire, with regard to that alliance, which it seems you would repent, I
hold now, as I have held ever, that it is a master-stroke in policy, and
the earl in this proves his sharp brain worthy his strong arm; for, as
his highness the Duke of Gloucester has discovered that Margaret of
Anjou has been of late in London, and that treasonable designs were
meditated, though now frustrated, so we may ask why the friends of
Lancaster really stood aloof - why all conspiracy was, and is, in vain?
Because the gold and subsidies of Louis are not forthcoming, because the
Lancastrians see that if once Lord Warwick wins France from the Red Rose
nothing short of such a miracle as their gaining Warwick instead can
give a hope to their treason."

"Your pardon, my Lord Hastings," said Lord Rivers, "there is another
letter I have not yet laid before the king." He drew forth a scroll and
read from it as follows.

"Yesterday the earl feasted the king, and as, in discharge of mine
office, I carved for my lord, I heard King Louis say, '_Pasque Dieu_, my
Lord Warwick, our couriers bring us word that Count de Charolais
declares he shall yet wed the Lady Margaret, and that he laughs at your
embassage. What if our brother King Edward fall back from the treaty?'
'He durst not,' said the earl."

"'Durst not!'" exclaimed Edward, starting to his feet, and striking the
table with his clenched hand. "'Durst not!' Hastings, heard you that?"

Hastings bowed his head in assent.

"Is that all, Lord Rivers?"

"All! And, methinks, enough!"

"Enough, by my halidame!" said Edward, laughing bitterly. "He shall see
what a king dares when a subject threatens."

Lord Rivers had not read the whole of the letter. The sentence read: "He
durst not, because what a noble heart dares least is to belie the
plighted word, and what the kind heart shuns most is to wrong the
confiding friend."

When Warwick returned, with the object of his mission achieved, it was
to find Margaret of England the betrothed of the Count de Charolais, and
his embassy dishonoured. He retired in anger and grief to his castle of
Middleham, and though the king declared that "Edward IV. reigns alone,"
most of the great barons forsook him to rally round their leader in his
retirement.


_III. - The Scholar and his Daughter_


Sybill Warner had been at court in the train of Margaret of Anjou. Her
father, Adam Warner, was a poor scholar, with his heart set upon the
completion of an invention which should inaugurate the age of steam.
They lived together in an old house, with but one aged serving-woman.
Even necessaries were sacrificed that the model of the invention might
be fed. Then one day there came to Adam Warner an old schoolfellow,
Robert Hilyard, who had thrown in his lot with the Lancastrians, and
become an agent of the vengeful Margaret. Hilyard told so moving a tale
of his wrongs at the hands of Edward that the old man consented to aid
him in a scheme for communicating with the imprisoned Henry.

Henry was still permitted to see visitors, and Hilyard's proposal was
that Warner should seek permission to exhibit his model, in the
mechanism of which were to be hidden certain treasonable papers for
Henry to sign.

As we have seen, from Hastings' remark to the king, the plot failed.
Hilyard escaped, to stir up the peasantry, who knew him as Robin of
Redesdale. Warner's fate was inclusion in the number of astrologers and
alchemists retained by the Duchess of Bedford, who also gave a place
amongst her maidens to Sybill, to whom Hastings had proffered his
devoted attachment, though he was already bound by ties of policy and
early love to Margaret de Bonville.

Meanwhile, it became the interest of the king's brothers to act as
mediators between Edward and his powerful subject. The Duke of Clarence
was anxious to wed the proud earl's equally proud elder daughter Isabel;
the hand of the gentle Anne was sought more secretly by Richard of
Gloucester. At last the peacemakers effected their object.

But the peace was only partial, the final rupture not far off. The king
restored to Warwick the governorship of Calais - outwardly as a token of
honour; really as a means of ridding himself of one whose presence came
between the sun and his sovereignty. Moreover, he forbade the marriage
between Clarence and Isabel, to the mortification of his brother, the
bitter disappointment of Isabel herself, and the chagrin of the earl.

However, Edward had once more to experience indebtedness at the hands of
the man whom he treated so badly, but whose devotion to him it seemed
that nothing could destroy. There arose the Popular Rebellion, and
Warwick only arrived at Olney, where the king was sorely pressed, in
time to save him and to secure, on specific terms, a treaty of peace.

Again Edward's relief was but momentary. Proceeding to Middleham as
Warwick's guest, when he beheld the extent of the earl's retinue his
jealous passions were roused more than ever before; and he formed a plan
not only for attaching to himself the allegiance of the barons, but of
presenting the earl to the peasants in the light of one who had betrayed
them.

Smitten, too, by the charms of the Lady Anne, he meditated a still more
unworthy scheme. Dismissing the unsuspecting Warwick to the double task
of settling with the rebels and calling upon his followers to range
themselves under the royal banner, he commanded Anne's attendance at
court.

Events leading to the final breach between king and king-maker followed
rapidly. One night the Lady Anne fled in terror from the Tower - fled
from the dishonouring addresses of her sovereign, now grown gross in his
cups, however brave in battle. The news reached Warwick too late for him
to countermand the messages he had sent to his friends on the king's
behalf. And, so rapid were Edward's movements that Warwick, his eyes at
length opened to Edward's true character, was compelled to flee to the
court of King Louis at Amboise, there to plan his revenge, hampered in
doing so by his daughter Isabel's devotion to Clarence, who followed him
to France, and by the fact that, in regard to his own honour, he could
communicate to none save his own kin the secret cause of his open
disaffection.


_IV. - The Return of the King-Maker_


There was no love between Warwick and Margaret of Anjou. But his one
means of exacting penance from Edward was alliance with the unlucky
cause of Lancaster. And this alliance was brought about by the suave
diplomacy of Louis, and the discovery of the long-existing attachment
between the Lady Anne and her old play-fellow, Edward, the only son of
Henry and Margaret, and the hope of the Red Rose.

Coincidently with the marriage of Clarence and Isabel on French soil,
the young Edward and Isabel's sister were betrothed. Richard of
Gloucester was thus definitely estranged from Warwick's cause. And
secret agencies were set afoot to undermine the loyalty of the weak
Clarence to the cause which he had espoused.

At first, however, Warwick's plans prospered. He returned to England,
forced Edward to fly the country in his turn, and restored Henry VI. to
the throne. So far, Clarence and Isabel accompanied him; while Margaret
and her son, with Lady Warwick and the Lady Anne, remained at Amboise.

Then the very elements seemed to war against the Lancastrians. The
restoration came about in October 1470. Margaret was due in London in
November, but for nearly six months the state of the Channel was such
that she was unable to cross it.

Warwick sickened of his self-imposed task. The whole burden of
government rested upon the shoulders of the great earl, great where
deeds of valour were to be done, but weak in the niceties of
administration.

The nobles, no less than the people, had expected miracles. The
king-maker, on his return, gave them but justice. Such was the earl's
position when Edward, with a small following, landed at Ravenspur. A
treacherous message, sent to Warwick's brother Montagu by Clarence,
caused Montagu to allow the invader to march southwards unmolested. This
had so great an effect on public feeling that when Edward reached the
Midlands, he had not a mere handful of supporters at his back, but an
army of large dimensions. Then the wavering Clarence went over to his
brother, and it fell to the lot of the earl sorrowfully to dispatch
Isabel to the camp of his enemy.

But Warwick's cup of bitterness was not yet full. The Tower was
surrendered to Edward's friends, and on the following day Edward himself
entered the capital, to be received by the traders with tumultuous
cheers.

Raw, cold, and dismal dawned the morning of the fateful 14th of March,
1471, when Margaret at last reached English soil, and Edward's forces
met those of Warwick on the memorable field of Barnet. All was not yet
lost to the cause of the Red Rose. But a fog settled down over the land
to complete, as it were, the disadvantages caused by the prolonged
storms at sea. At a critical period of the battle the silver stars on
the banners of one of the Lancastrians, the Earl of Oxford, being
mistaken for the silver suns of Edward's cognisance, two important
sections of Warwick's army fell upon one another. Friend was
slaughtering friend ere the error was detected. While all was yet in
doubt, confusion, and dismay, rushed full into the centre Edward
himself, with his knights and riders; and his tossing banners added to
the general incertitude and panic.

Warwick and his brother gained the shelter of a neighbouring wood, where
a trusty band of the earl's northern archers had been stationed. Here
they made their last stand, Warwick destroying his charger to signify to
his men that to them and to them alone he entrusted his fortunes and his
life.

A breach was made in the defence, and Warwick and his brother fell side
by side, choosing death before surrender. And by them fell Hilyard,
shattered by a bombard. Young Marmaduke Nevile was among the few notable
survivors.

The cries of "Victory!" reached a little band of watchers gathered in
the churchyard on the hill of Hadley. Here Henry the Peaceful had been
conveyed. And here, also, were Adam Warner and his daughter. The
soldiers, hearing from one of the Duchess of Bedford's creatures whose
chicanery had been the object of his scorn, that Warner was a wizard,
had desired that his services should be utilised. Till the issue was
clear, he had been kept a prisoner. When it was beyond doubt, he was
hanged. Sybill was found lying dead at her father's feet. Her heart was
already broken, for the husband of Margaret de Bonville having died,
Lord Hastings had been recalled to the side of his old love, his thought
of marriage with Sybill being abandoned for ever.

King Edward and his brothers went to render thanksgiving at St. Paul's;
thence to Baynard's Castle to escort the queen and her children once
more to the Tower.

At the sight of the victorious king, of the lovely queen, and, above
all, of the young male heir, the crowd burst forth with a hearty cry:
"Long live the king and the king's son!"

Mechanically, Elizabeth turned her moistened eyes from Edward to
Edward's brother, and suddenly clasped her infant closer to her bosom
when she caught the glittering and fatal eye of Richard, Duke of
Gloucester - Warwick's grim avenger in the future - fixed upon that
harmless life, destined to interpose a feeble obstacle between the
ambition of a ruthless intellect and the heritage of the English throne!

* * * * *




HENRY MACKENZIE


The Man of Feeling


Henry Mackenzie, the son of an Edinburgh physician, was born
in that city on August 26, 1745. He was educated for the law,
and at the age of twenty became attorney for the crown in
Scotland. It was about this time that he began to devote his
attention to literature. His first story, "The Man of
Feeling," was published anonymously in 1771, and such was its
popularity that its authorship was claimed in many quarters.
Considered as a novel, "The Man of Feeling" is frankly
sentimental. Its fragmentary form was doubtlessly suggested by
Sterne's "Sentimental Journey," and the adventures of the hero
himself are reminiscent of those of Moses in "The Vicar of
Wakefield." But of these two masterpieces Mackenzie's work
falls short: it has none of Sterne's humour, nor has it any of
Goldsmith's subtle characterisation. "The Man of Feeling" was
followed in 1773 by "The Man of the World," and later by a
number of miscellaneous articles and stories. Mackenzie died
on January 14, 1831.


_I. - A Whimsical History_


I was out shooting with the curate on a burning First of September, and
we had stopped for a minute by an old hedge.

Looking round, I discovered for the first time a venerable pile, to
which the enclosure before us belonged. An air of melancholy hung about
it, and just at that instant I saw pass between the trees a young lady
with a book in her hand. The curate sat him down on the grass and told
me that was the daughter of a neighbouring gentleman of the name of
Walton, whom he had seen walking there more than once.

"Some time ago," he said, "one Harley lived there, a whimsical sort of
man, I am told. The greatest part of his history is still in my
possession. I once began to read it, but I soon grew weary of the task;
for, besides that the hand is intolerably bad, I never could find the
author in one strain for two chapters together. The way I came by it was
this. Some time ago a grave, oddish kind of a man boarded at a farmer's
in this parish. He left soon after I was made curate, and went nobody
knows whither; and in his room was found a bundle of papers, which was
brought to me by his landlord."

"I should be glad to see this medley," said I.

"You shall see it now," answered the curate, "for I always take it along
with me a-shooting. 'Tis excellent wadding."

When I returned to town I had leisure to peruse the acquisition I had
made, and found it a little bundle of episodes, put together without
art, yet with something of nature.



Online LibraryVariousThe World's Greatest Books — Volume 06 — Fiction → online text (page 9 of 26)