Page images
PDF
EPUB

had scarce remarked this circumstance, before a party must put on your Protestant spectacles, and show of customers entered the place, whose haughty as- me where there is the shadow of a priest, or of a sumption of importance claimed the instant attention priest's favourer; for I am come down with a broom of Bridlesley, and all his militia of grooms and stable- in my cap to sweep this north country of such like boys.

cattle." "Three good horses," said the leader of the party, One of the persons he thus addressed, who wore a tall bulky man, whose breath was drawn full and the garb of a broken-down citizen, only answered, high, under a consciousness of fat, and of importance Ay, truly, Master Topham, it is time to purge the

three good and able-bodied horses, for the service garner." of the Commons of England."

The other, who had a formidable pair of whiskers, Bridlesley said he had some horses which might a red nose, and a tarnished laced coat, together with serve the Speaker himself at need; but that, to speak a hat of Pistol's dimensions, was more loquacious. Christian truth, he had just sold the best in his stable "I take it on my damnation," said this zealous Proto that gentleman present, who, doubtless, would testant witness, " that I will discover the marks of give up the bargain if the horse was needed for the the beast on every one of them betwixt sixteen and service of the state.

seventy, as plainly as if they had crossed themselves "You speak well, friend,” said the important per- with ink, instead of holy water. Since we have a sonage; and advancing to Julian, demanded, in a King willing to do justice, and a House of Commons very haughty tone, the surrender of the purchase to uphold prosecutions, why, damn me, the cause which he had just made.

must not stand still for lack of evidence." Peveril, with some difficulty, subdued the strong "Stick to that, noble captain," answered the offidesire which he felt to return a round refusal to so cer; "but, prithee, reserve thy oaths for the court of unreasonable a request, but fortunately, recollecting justice; it is but sheer waste to throw them away, as that the situation in which he at present stood, re- you do, in your ordinary conversation." quired, on his part, much circumspection, he replied “Fear you nothing, Master Topham," answered simply, that upon showing him any warrant to seize Dangerfield; "it is right to keep a man's

gifts in upon horses for the public service, he must of course use; and were I altogether to renounce oaths in my submit to resign his purchase.

private discourse, how should I know how to use one The man, with an air of extreme dignity, pulled when I needed it? But you hear me use none of from his pocket

, and thrust into Peveril's hands, a your Papist abjurations. I swear not by the Mass, warrant subscribed by the Speaker of the House of or before George, or by any thing that belongs to Commons, empowering Charles Topham, their officer idolatry; but such downright oaths as may serve a of the Black Rod, to pursue and seize upon the per- poor Protestant gentleman, who would fain serve sons of certain individuals named in the warrant; | Heaven and the King." and of all other persons who are, or should be, ac- Bravely spoken, most noble Festus,” said his cused by competent witnesses, of being accessory to, yoke-fellow.--"But do not suppose, that although I or favourers of, the hellish and damnable Popish Plot, am not in the habit of garnishing my words with at present carried on within the bowels of ihe king oaths out of season, I shall be wanting, when called dom; and charging all men, as they loved their upon to declare the height and the depth, the width allegiance, to render the said Charles Topham their and the length, of this hellish plot against the King readiest and most effective assistance, in execution and the Protestant faith.” of the duty intrusted to his care.

Dizzy, and almost sick, with listening to the undisOn perusing a document of such weighty import, guised brutality of these fellows, Peveril, having with Julian had no hesitation to give up his horse to this difficulty prevailed on Bridlesley to settle his purchase, formidable functionary; whom somebody compared at length led forth his gray steed; but was scarce qui to a lion, which, as the House of Commons was of the yard, when he heard the following, alarming pleased to maintain such an animal, they were under conversation pass, of which he seemed himself the the necessity of providing for by frequent compre-objectiho is that youth ?" said the slow.soft voice of verb, and a formidable one, in the mouth of the the more precise of the two witnesses. public.

have seen him somewhere before. Is he from these The acquiescence of Peveril procured him some parts !" grace in the sight of the emissary; who, before select- "Not that I know of," said Bridlesley; who, like ing two horses for his attendants, gave permission to all the other inhabitants of England at the time, the stranger to purchase a gray horse, much inferior answered the interrogatories of these fellows with indeed to that which he had resigned, both n form the deference which is paid in Spain to the question and in action, but very little lower in price, as Mr. of an inquisitor. A stranger--entirely a strangerBridlesley, immediately on learning the demand for never saw him before-a wild young colt, I warrant horses upon the part of the Commons of England, him; and knows a horse's mouth as well as I do." had passed a private resolution in his own mind, "I begin to bethink me I saw such a face as his augmenting the price of his whole stud, by an impo- at the Jesuits' consult

, in the White Horse Tavern," sition of at least twenty per cent, ad valorem. answered Everett.

Peveril adjusted and paid the price with much less "And I think I recollect,” said Captain Dangerargument than on the former occasion; for, to be fieldplain with the reader, he had noticed in the warrant "Come, come, master and captain," said the auof Mr. Topham, the name of his father, Sir Geoffrey thoritative voice of Topham, "we will have none of Peveril of Martindale Castle, engrossed at full length, your recollections at present. We all know what as one of those subjected to arrest by that officer. these are likely to end in. But I will have you know,

When aware of this material fact, it became Ju- you are not to run till the leash is slipped. The young lian's business to leave Liverpool directly, and carry man is a well looking lad, and gave up his horse the alarm to Derbyshire, if, indeed, Mr. Topham had handsomely for the service of the House of Commons. not already executed his charge in that country, He knows how to behave himself to his betters, I which he thought unlikely, as it was probable they warrant you: and I scarce think he has enough in his would commence by securing those who lived nearest purse to pay the fees."* to the seaports. A word or two which he overheard, This speech concluded the dialogue, which Peveril, strengthened his hopes.

finding himself so much concerned in the issue, And hark ye, friend," said Mr. Topham; "you will have the horses at the door of Mr. Shortell, the

* The infamous character of those who contrived and carried mercer, in two hours, as we shall refresh ourselves

on the pretended Popish Plot, may be best estimated by the there with

a cool tankard, and learn what folks live account given in North's Examen, who describes Oates himself in the neighbourhood that may be concerned in my trine exaltation, his

plot in full force, efficacy, and virtue ; lie way. And you will please to have that saddle padded walked about with his guards (assigned for fear of the Papists for I am told the Derbyshire roads are rough.--And murdering him.) He had lodgings in Whitehall,

and 12001 you, Captain Dangerfield, and Master Everett you] dence to say

to the House of Lords, in plain terms, that, if they

thought it best to hear to an end. Now when it! At length, near Altringham, a halt became unavoidceased, to get out of the town unobserved, and take able; and Peveril had only to look for some quiet and the nearest way to his father's castle, seemed his sequestered place of refreshment. This presented wisest plan. He had settled his reckoning at the inn, itself, in the form of a small cluster of cottages; the and brought with him to Bridlesley's the small port- best of which united the characters of an alehouse manteau which contained his few necessaries, so that and a mill, where the sign of the Cat, (the landlord's he had no occasion to return thither. He resolved, faithful ally in defence of his mealsacks,) booted as therefore, to ride some miles before he stopped, even high as Grimalkin in the fairy tale, and playing on the for the purpose of feeding his horse; and being pretty fiddle for the more grace, announced that John Whitewell acquainted with the country, he hoped to be able craft united the two honest occupations of landlord to push forward to Martindale Castle sooner than the and miller; and, doubtless, took toll from the public worshipful Master Topham; whose saddle was, in in both capacities. the first place, to be padded, and who, when mounted, Such a place promised a traveller, who journeyed would, in all probability, ride with the precaution of incognito, safer, if not better accommodation, than those who require such security against the effects of he was like to meet with in more frequented inns; a hard trot.

and at the door of the Cat

and Fiddle, Julian halted Under the influence of these feelings, Julian pushed accordingly. for Warrington, a place with which he was well acquainted; but, without halting in the town, he crossed the Mersey, by the bridge built by an ancestor of his

CHAPTER XXI. friend the Earl of Derby, and continued his route In these distracted times, when each man dreads towards Dishley, on the borders of Derbyshire. He The bloody stratagems of busy heads. might have reached this latter village easily, had his

OTWAY. horse been fitter for a forced march; but in the course At the door of the Cat and Fiddle, Julian received of the journey, he had occasion, more than once, to the usual attention paid to the customers of an infecurse the official dignity of the person who had rob- rior house of entertainment. His horse was carried bed him of his better steed, while taking the best di- by a ragged lad, who acted as hostler, into a paltry rection he could through a country with which he was stable where, however, the nag was tolerably supplied only generally acquainted.

with food and litter. would not help him to more money, he must be forced to help

Having seen the animal on which his comfort, perhimself. He put on an Episcopal garb, (except the lawn sleeves, haps his safety, depended, properly provided for, Pesilk-gown and cassock, great hat, satin hat-band and rose, long veril entered the kitchen, which indeed was also the scarl, and was called, or most blasphemously called himself, the parlour and hall of the little hostelry, to try what reSaviour of the nation; whoever he pointed at, was taken up freshment he could obtain for himself. Much to his from a blast, and glad they could prove their two last years" con satisfaction, he found there was only one guest in the versation. The very breath of him was pestilential, and, if it house besides himself; but he was less pleased when brought not imprisonment, or death, over such on whom it fell, he found that he must either go without dinner, or Papists, and something worse than that-in danger of being put share with that single guest the only provisions which in the plot as traitors. Upon his examination before the Com- chanced to be in the house, namely, a dish of trouts mons, the Lord-Chief-Justice Scroggy was sent for to the and eels, which their host, the miller, had brought in House, and there signed warrante for

the imprisonment of five from his mill-stream. Roman Catholic peers, upon which they were laid up in the Tower. The votes of the Houses seemed to confirm the whole. At the particular request of Julian, the landlady A solemn form of prayer was desired upon the subject of the undertook to add a substantial dish of eggs and plot and when one was prepared, it was found faulty, because bacon, which, perhaps she would not have underwhether it were so or not : however, it was yielded to, that taken for, had not the sharp eye of Peveril discovered omniscience might not want information. The Queen herself the flitch' hanging in its smoky retreat, when, as its was accused at the Commons' bar. The city, for fear of the presence could not be denied, ihe hostess was comPapists, put up their posts and chainsiand the chamberlain, pelled to bring it forward as a part of her supplies. Sir Thomas Player, in the Court of Aldermen, gave his reason for the city's using that caution, which was, that he did not

She was a buxom dame about

thirty, whose comely know but the next morning they might all rise with their and cheerful countenance did honour to the choice

The trials, convictions, and executions of tho of the jolly miller, her loving mate; and was now priests, Jesuits, and others, were had, and attended with vast stationed under the shade of an old-fashioned huge in people's communication ; but every debate and action was projecting chimney, within which it was her province high-flown and tumultuous. All freedom of speech was taken to work i the fire," and provide for the wearied

not to believe the plot, was worse than being Turk, wayfaring man the good things which were to send Jew, or intidel. For this fact of Godfrey's murder, the three him !coicing on his course. Although, at first,

the most pitiful circumstance was that of their trial, under the popu- honest woman seemed little disposed to give herself took in with the tide, and ranted for the plot, hewing down good looks, handsome figure, and easy civility of her lar prejudice against them. The Lord-Chief-Justice Scroggs much additional trouble on Julian's account, yet the Popery, as Scanderbeg hewed the Turk ; which was but little propitious to them. The other judges were passive, and med

new guest, soon bespoke the principal part of her attendled little, except some that were takers in also ; and particu tion; and while busy in his service, she regarded him, larly the good Recorder Treby, who eased the attomey-General, from time to time, with looks, where something like for he seldom asked a question, but one might guess he foresaw pity mingled with complacency. The rich smoke of of the judges ; but really, considering it was impossible to stem the rasher, and the eggs with which it was flanked, such a current, the appearing to do it in vain had been more already spread itself through the apartment; and the drawn scandal on themselves, and disabled them from taking in simmering of the pan, in which the fish

were under unprofitable, because it had inflamed the great and small rout, hissing of these savoury viands bore chorus to the under these hardships, had enough to do to make any defence going a slower decoction. The table was covered for where the testimony was positive, it was conclusive ; for no with a clean huck-a-back napkin, and all was in impossibili, or not at all. Whoever doth not well observe the preparation for the meal, which 'Julian began to power of judging, may think many things, in the course of expect with a good deal of impatience, when the comjustice, very strange. if one side is held to demonstration, and panion who was destined to share it with him, entered the other allowed presumptions for proofs, any cause may be the apartment. carried. In a word, anger, policy, inhumanity, and prejudice,

At the first glance, Julian recognised, to his surprise, men, and destroyed in them that golden rule, of doing as they the same indifferently-dressed, thin-looking person, would be done unto."

who, during the first bargain which he had made scribed. -- " He was a low man, of an ill cut, very short

neck; I advice and opinion. Displeased at having the comIn another passage Oates's personal appearance is thus de: with Bridlesley, had officiously interfered with

his was the centre of his face ; and a compass there would sweep pany, of any stranger forced upon him, Peveril was his nose, forehead, and chin, within the perimeter. Cave giuos still less satisfied to find one who might make some

pse Deus notavll. In a word, he was a most consummate cheat, claim of acquaintance with him, however slender, wreich; and were it not for the truth of history, and the great since the circumstances in which he stood compelled emotions in the public he was the cause of, not hit (90 litlle de him to be as reserved as possible. He therefore turned serving) to be remembered."

his back upon his destined messmate, and pretended

throats cut.

to amuse himself by looking out of the window, de-I jug of home-brewed_ale being placed betwixt them, termined to avoid all intercourse until it should be was warranted by Dame Whitecraft as excellent; inevitably forced upon him.

"for," said she, "we know by practice that too much In the mean while, the other stranger went straight water drowns the riller, and we spare it on our malt up to the landlady, where she toiled

on household cares as we would in our mill-dam.” intent, and demanded of her, what she meant by pre- "I drink to your health, in it, dame," said the elder paring bacon and eggs, when he had positively charged stranger; and a cup of thanks for these excellent her to get nothing ready but the fish.

fish; and to the drowning of all unkindness between The good woman, important as every cook in the us.' discharge of her duty, deigned not for some time so "I thank you, sir," said the dame, "and wish you much as to acknowledge that she heard the reproof the like; but I'dare not pledge you, for our Gaffer of her guest; and when she did so, it was only to says, the ale is brewed too strong for women ; so I only repel it in a magisterial and authoritative tone. "If drink a glass of canary at a time with a gossip, or he did not like bacon-(bacon from their own hutch, any gent shan dink one with me then, dame,” said well fed on pease and bran)-if he did not like bacon and eggs--(new-laid eggs, which she had brought in Peveril, "80 you will let me have a flagon.” from the hen-roost with her own hands)-why so put "That you shall, sir, and as good as ever was case-it was the worse for his honour, and the better broached; but I must to the mill, to get the key from for those who did.”

the goodman." "The better for those who like them ?" answered So saying, and tucking her clean gown through the the guest ; "that is as much as to say I am to have a pocket-holes, that her steps might be the more alert, companion, good woman."

and her dress escape dust, off she tripped to the mill, Do not good woman me, sir," replied the miller's which lay close adjoining. wife, "till I call you good man; and, I promise you, "A dainty dame, and dangerous, is the miller's many would scruple to do that to one who does not wife," said the stranger, looking at Peveril. "Is not love eggs and bacon of a Friday."

that old Chaucer's phrase ?"'. "Nay, my good lady," said her guest, “do not fix “I-I believe so," said Peveril, not much read in any misconstruction upon me- I dare say the eggs Chaucer, who was then even more neglected than at and the bacon are excellent; only, they are rather a present; and much surprised at a literary quotation dish too heavy for my stomach."

from one of the mean appearance exhibited by the Ay, or your conscience perhaps, sir," answered person before him. the hostess. And now, I bethink me, you must 'Yes," answered the stranger, "I see that you, like needs have your fish fried with oil, instead of the other young gentlemen of the ume, are better acgood drippings I was going to put to them. I would quainted with Cowley and Waller, than with the I could spell the meaning of all this now; but I war-well of English undefiled.' I cannot help differing. rant John Bigstaff, the constable, could conjure some- There are touches of nature about the old bard of thing out of it."

Woodstock, that, to me, are worth all the turns of There was a pause here; but Julian, somewhat laborious wit in Cowley, and all the ornate and artialarmed at the tone which the conversation assumed, ficial simplicity of his courtly competitor. The de became interested in watching the dumb show which scription, for instance, of his country coquette, succeeded. By bringing his head a little towards the

Wincing she was, as is a wanton colt, left, but without turning round, or quitting the pro- Sweet as a flower, and upright as a bolt.' jecting latticed window where he had taken his sta- Then again, for pathos, where will you mend the tion, he could observe that the stranger, secured, as dying scene of Arcite? he seemed to think himself

, from observation, had sidled close up to the landlady, and, as he conceived,

Alas, my heartis queen! alas, my wise

Giver at once, and ender of my life. had put a piece of money into her hand. The altered What is this world ?- What axen men to have ? tone of the miller's moiety corresponded very much Now with his love--now in his cold grave with this supposition.

Alone, withouten other company.' "Nay, indeed, and forsooth,” she said. "her house But I tire you, sir; and do injustice to the poet, whom was Liberty-hall, and so should every publican's be. I remember but by halves." What was it to her what gentlefolks ate or drank, “On the contrary, sir!" replied Peveril," you make providing they paid for it honestly? There were him more intelligible to me in your recitation, than 1 many honest gentlemen, whose stomachs could not have found him when I have tried to peruse him my: abide bacon, grease, or dripping, especially on a Fri- self.”. day; and what was that to her, or to any one in her “You were only frightened by the antiquated spellline, so gentlefolks paid honestly for the trouble?- ing, and 'the letters black,'" said his companion. "It Only, she would say, that her bacon and eggs could is many a scholar's case, who mistakes a nut, which not be mended betwixt this and Liverpool; and that he could crack with a little exertion, for a bullet

, she would live and die upon."

which he must needs break his teeth on; but yours "I shall hardly dispute it,” said the stranger; and are better employed.-Shall I offer you some of this turning towards Julian, he added, "I wish this gen- fish?" tleman, who I suppose is my trencher-companion, Not so, sir," replied Julian, willing to show him. much joy of the dainties which I cannot assist him in self a man of reading in his turn; "I hold with old consuming."

Caius, and profess to fear judgment, to fight where "I assure you, sir," answered Peveril, who now I cannot choose, and to eat no fish.” felt himself compelled to turn about, and reply with The stranger cast a startled look around him at civility," that it was with difficulty I could prevail on this observation, which Julian had thrown out, on my landlady to add my cover to yours, though she purpose to ascertain, if possible, the quality of his seems now such a zealot for the consumption of eggs companion, whose present language was so different and bacon."

from the character he had assumed at Bridlesley's. "I am zealous for nothing," said the landlady, His countenance, too, although the features were of "save that men would eat their victuals, and pay an ordinary, not to say mean cast, had that character their score; and if there be enough in one dish to of intelligence which education gives to the most serve two guests, I see little purpose in dressing them homely face; and his manners were so easy and distwo; however, they are ready now, and done to à embarrassed, as plainly showed a complete acquaintnicety.--Here, Alice! Alice!"

ance with society, as well as the habit of mingling The sound of that well-known name made Julian with it in the higher stages. The alarm which he start; but the Alice who replied to the call ill re- had evidently shown at Peveril's answer, was but sembled the vision which his imagination connected momentary; for he almost instantly replied, with a with the accents, being a dowdy slipshod wench, the smile, "I promise you, sir, that you are in no dangerdrudge of the low inn which afforded him shelter. ous company; for, notwithstanding my fish dinner, She assisted her mistress in putting

on the table the I am much disposed to trifle with some of your salishes which the latter had prepared ; and a foaming voury mess, if you will indulge me so far.”

VOL. IV. 2 C

Peveril accordingly reinforced the stranger's ( along with justices and constables. All the world trencher with what remained of the bacon and eggs, knows how they come by their money.”, and saw him swallow a mouthful or two with appa- Ay, but all the world knows that they do come rent relish; but presently after, he began to dally with by it, dame; and that is a great comfort. They his knife and fork, like one whose appetite was rustle in their canonical siiks, and swagger in their satiated; then took a long draught of the black jack, buff and scarlet, who but they ?-Ay, ay, the cursed and handed his platter to the large mastiff dog, who fox thieves-and not

so cursed neither. "Is there not attracted by the smell of the dinner, had sat down Doctor Titus Oates, the saviour of the nation-does before him for some time, licking his chops, and fol- he not live at Whitehall, and eat off plate, and have lowing with his eye every morsel which the guest a pension of thousands a-year, for what I know? and raised to his head.

is he not to be Bishop of Litchfield, so soon as Dr. Here, my poor fellow," said he, "thou hast had no Doddrum dies ?'' fish, and needest_this supernumerary trencher-load "Then I hope Doctor Doddrum's reverence will more than I do. I cannot withstand thy mute sup- live these twenty years; and I dare say I am the first plication any longer."

that ever wished such a wish,” said the hostess. "I The dog answered these courtesies by a civil shake do not understand these doings, notI; and if a hunof the tail

, while he gobbled up what was assigned dred Jesuits came to hold a consult at my house, as him by the stranger's benevolence, in the greater they did at the White Horse Tavern, I should think haste, that he heard his mistress's voice at the door. it quite out of the line of business to bear witness

"Here is the canary, gentlemen," said the land against them, provided they drank well, and paid lady; "and the goodman has set off the mill to come their score.to wait on you himself. He always does so, when "Very true, dame," said her elder guest; "that is company drink wine."

what I call keeping a good publican conscience; and "That he may come in for the host's, that is, for so I will pay score presently, and be jogging on my the lion's share,' said the stranger, looking at Peveril. way."

"The shot is mine,” said Julian; "and if mine host Peveril, on his part, also demanded a reckoning, and will share it, I will willingly bestow another quart on discharged it so liberally, that the miller flourished his him, and on you, sir. I never break old customs." hat as he bowed, and ihe hostess curtsied down to

These sounds caught the ear of Gaffer Whitecraft, the ground. who had entered the room, a strapping specimen of

The horses of both guests were brought forth : and his robust trade, prepared to play the civil, or the surly they mounted, in order to depart in company. The host, as his company should be acceptable or other host and hostess stood in the doorway, to see them wise. At Julian's Invitation, he doffed his dusty bon- depart. The landlord proffered a stirrup-cup to the net-brushed from his sleeve the looser particles of elder guest, while the landlady offered Peveril a glass his professional dust-and sitting down on the end of from her own peculiar bottle. For this purpose, she a bench, about a yard from the table, filled a glass mounted on the horse-block, with flask and glass in of canary, and drank to his guests, and "especially hand; so that it was easy for the departing guesi, to this noble gentleman," indicating Peveril, who had although on horseback, to return the courtesy in the ordered the canary:

most approved manner, namely, by throwing his Julian returned the courtesy by drinking his health, arm over his landlady's shoulder, and saluting her at and asking what news were about in the country, parting.

"Naught, sir, I hears on naught except this plot, Dame Whitecraft could not decline this familiarity; as they call it, that they are pursuing the Papishers for there is no room for traversing upon a horseabout; but it brings water to my mill, as the saying block, and the hands which might have served her is. Between expresses hurrying hither and thither, for resistance, were occupied with glass and bottleand guards and prisoners riding to and again, and the matters too precious to be thrown away in such a custom of the neighbours, that come to speak over struggle. Apparently, however, she had something the news of an evening, nightly I may say, instead of else in her head; for, as, after a brief affectation of once a-week, why the spigot is in use, gentlemen, and reluctance, she permitted Peveril's face to approach your land thrives; and then I serving as constable, hers, she whispered in his ear, " Beware of trepans !" and being a known Protestant, I have tapped, I may-an awful intimation, which, in those days of disventure to say, it may be ten stands of ale extraordi- trust, suspicion, and treachery, was as effectual in nary, besides a reasonable sale of wine for a country interdicting free and social intercourse, as the adver:

Heaven make us thankful, and kecp all tisement of "man-traps and spring-gụns," to protect good Protestants from Plot and Popery!"

an orchard. Pressing her hand, in intimation that "I can easily conceive, my friend," said Julian, he comprehended her bint, she shook his warmly in that curiosity is a passion which runs naturally to return, and bade God speed liim. There was a cloud the alehouse; and that anger, and jealousy, and fear, on John Whitecraft's brow; nor did his final farewell are all of them thirsty passions, and great consumers sound half so cordial as that which had been spoken of home-brewed. But I am a perfect stranger in these within doors. But then Peveril reflected, that the parts;, and I would willingly learn, from a sensible same guest is not always equally acceptable to land. man like you, a little of this same Plot, of which men lord and landlady; and unconscious of having done speak so much, and appear to know so little." any thing to excite the miller's displeasure, he pursued

Learn a little of it?-Why, it is the most horrible his journey without thinking farther of the matter. -the most damnable, blood-thirsty beast of a Plot- Julian was a little surprised, and not altogether But hold, hold, my good master ; I hope, in the first pleased, to find that his new acquaintance held the place, you believe there is a plot ? for, otherwise, the same road with

him. He had many reasons for Justice must have a word with you, so sure as my wishing to travel alone; and the hosiess's caution name is John Whitecraft.

still rung in his ears. If this man, possessed of so "It shall not need," said Peveril; "for I assure much shrewdness as his countenance and converyou, mine host, I believe in the Plot as freely and sation intimated, versatile, as he had occasion to fully as a man can believe in any thing he cannot remark, and disguised beneath his condition, should understand."

prove, as was likely, to be a concealed Jesuit or "God forbid that any body should pretend to under- seminary-priest, travelling upon their great task of stand it," said the implicit constable; "for his wor- the conversion of England, and rooting out of the ship the Justice says it is a mile beyond him; and he Northern heresy,-a more dangerous companion, for be as deep as most of them. But men may believe, a person in his own circumstances, could hardly be though they do not understand; and that is what the imagined; since keeping society with him might Romanists say themselves. But this I am sure of, it seem to authorize whatever reports had been spread makes a rare stirring time for justices, and witnesses, concerning the attachment of his family to the and constables. So here's to your health again, Catholic cause. At the same time, it was very diffigentlemen, in a cup of neat canary.”.

cult, without actual rudeness, to shake off the comCome, come, John Whitecraft,” said his wife, pany of one who seemed determined, whether spoken "do not you demean yourself by naming witnesses I to or not, to remain alongside of him.

corner.

un

Peveril tried the experiment of riding slow; but his "Wiser men than I have been of opinion,” ancompanion, determined not to drop him, slackened swered Peveril

. " that it were a part of prudence to his pace, so as to keep close by him. Julian then be silent, when men have little or nothing to say. spurred his horse to a full trot; and was soon satis- "I cannot approve of their opinion," answered the fied, that the stranger, notwithstanding the meanness stranger. All knowledge is gained by communicaof his appearance, was so much better mounted than tion, either with the dead, through books, or, more himself, as to render vain any thoughts of out-riding pleasingly, through the conversation of the living. him. He pulled up his horse to a more reasonable The deaf and dumb, alone, are excluded from impace, therefore, in a sort of despair. Upon his doing provement; and surely their situation is not so enviaso, his companion, who had been hitherto silent, ob- ble that we should imitate them." served, thai Peveril was not so well qualified to try At this illustration, which wakened a startling speed upon the road, as he would have been had he echo in Peveri!'s bosom, the young man looked hard abode by his first bargain of horse-flesh that morning. at his companion; but in the composed countenance,

Peveril assented dryly, but observed, that the ani- and calm blue eye, he read no consciousness of a farmal would serve his immediate purpose, though he ther meaning than the words immediately and directly feared it would render him indifferent company for a implied. He paused a moment, and then answered, person better mounted.

"You seem to be a person, sir, of shrewd apprehenBy no means," answered his civil companion; sion; and I should have thought it might have oc"I am one of those who have travelled so much, curred to you, that, in the present suspicious times, as to be accustomed to make my journey at any men may, without censure, avoid communication rate of motion which may be most agreeable to my with strangers. You know not me; and to me you company."

are totally unknown. There is not room for much Peveril made no reply to this polite intimation, being discourse between us, without trespassing on the 100 sincere to tender the thanks which, in courtesy, general topics of the day, which carry in them sceds were the proper answer. -A second pause ensued, of quarrel between friends, much more betwixt stranwhich was broken by Julian asking the stranger gers. At any other time, the society of an intelligent whether their roads were likely to lie long together in companion would have been most acceptable upon the same direction. "I cannot tell," said the stranger, smiling,

At presents said the other, interrupting him. less I knew which way you were travelling." "You are like the old Romans, who held that hostis

"I am uncertain how far I shall go to-night,” said meant both a stranger and an enemy. I will thereJulian, willingly misunderstanding the purport of the fore be no longer a stranger. My name is Ganlesse reply.

by profession I am a Roman Catholic priest-I am And so am I,” replied the stranger;. " but though travelling here in dread of my life-and I am very my horse goes better than yours, I think it will be glad to have you for a companion.”. wise to spare him; and in case our road continues to “I thank you for the information with all my lie the same way, we are likely to sup, as we have heart," said Peveril ; "and to avail myself of it to the dined together."

uttermost, I must beg of you to ride forward, or lag Julian made no answer whatever to this round inti- behind, or take a side-path, at your own pleasure; for mation, but continued to ride on, turning, in his own as I am no Catholic, and travel upon business of high mind, whether it would not be wisest to come to a concernment, I am exposed both to risk and delay, distinct understanding with his pertinacious attend- and even to danger, by keeping such suspicious comant, and to explain, in so many words, that it was his pany. And so, Master Ganlesse, keep your own pleasure to travel alone. But, besides that the sort of pace, and I will keep the contrary ; for I beg leave to acquaintance which they had formed during dinner, forbear your company.' rendered him unwilling to be directly uncivil towards As Peveril spoke thus, he pulled up his horse, and a person of gentlemanlike manners, he had also to made a full stop. consider that he might very possibly be mistaken in The stranger burst out a-laughing. "What !'he this man's character and purpose ; in which case, the said, "you forbear my company for a trifle of danger ? cynically refusing the society of a sound Protestant, Saint Anthony! How the warm blood of the Cavawould afford as pregnant matter of suspicion, as liers is chilled in the young men of the present day! travelling in company with a disguised Jesuit. This young gallant, now, has a father, I warrant, who

After brief reflection, therefore, he resolved to en: has endured as many adventures for hunted priests, dure the encumbrance of the stranger's society, until as a knight-errant for distressed damsels.” a fair opportunity should occur to rid himself of it; "This raillery avails nothing, sir," said Peveril. “I and, in the mean time, to act with as much caution must request you will keep your own way." as he possibly could, in any communication that "My way is yours," said the pertinacious Master might take place between them; for Dame White- Ganlesse, as he called himself; "and we will both craft's parting caution still rang anxiously in his ears, travel the safer, that we journey in company, I have and the consequences of his own arrest upon suspi- the receipt of fern-seed, man, and walk invisible. Becion, must deprive him of every opportunity of serv- sides, you would not have me quit you in this lane, ing his father, or the Countess, or Major Bridgenorth, where there is no turn to right or left ?" upon whose interest, also, he had promised himself Peveril moved on, desirous to avoid open violence; to keep an eye.

for which the indifferent tone of the traveller, indeed, While he revolved these things in his mind, they afforded no apt pretext; yet highly

disliking his comhad journeyed several miles without speaking; and pany, and determined to take the first opportunity to now entered upon a more waste country, and worse rid himself of it. roads, than they had hitherto found, being, in fact, The stranger proceeded at the same pace with him, approaching the more hilly district of Derbyshire. keeping cautiously on his bridle hand, as if to secure In travelling on a very stony and uneven lane, that advantage in case of a struggle. But his lanJulian's horse repeatedly stumbled; and, had he guage did not intimate the least apprehension. "You not been supported by the rider's judicious use of the do me wrong," he said to Peveril," and you equally bridle, must at length certainly have fallen under wrong yourself

. You are uncertain where to lodge him.

to-night-trust to my guidance. Here is an ancient "These are times which crave wary riding, sir," hall, within four miles, with an old knightly Pantasaid his companion; "and by your seat in the saddle, loon for its lord-an all-be-ruffed Dame Barbara fo and your hand on the rein, you seem to understand it the lady gay-a Jesuit in a butler's habit, to say grace to be so.

-an old tale of Edgehill and Worster fights to relish "I have been long a horseman, sir,” answered a cold venison rosu, and a fask of claret manileo Peveril.

with cobwebs-a bed for you in the priest's hidingAnd long a traveller, too, sir, I should suppose; hole-and, for aught I know, pretty Mistress Betty, since, by the great caution you observe, you seem to the dairymaid, to make it ready.' think the human tongue requires a curb, as well as This has no charms for me, sir," said Peveril, the horse's jaws."

who, in spite of himself, could not but be amused with

66

« PreviousContinue »