« PreviousContinue »
INQUIRIES were made on every side his escort, and I will overtake you bea but in vain. No one had seen the poor fore night.” girl since she had been placed in the It was accordingly arranged as he coach by Lord Walton; and indeed, in proposed; and to say the truth, Lord the haste and confusion of the strife Beverley was by no means displeased which had ensued after the troop had with the task of protecting his forded the river and attacked the friend's sister on the way. In the enemy in front, no one had had an op- course of a quarter of an hour the portunity of witnessing what had taken whole troop was put in motion ; and place amongst the carriages, except Annie Walton, though somewhat untwo wounded men who had been left willing to leave her brother behind, behind upon the road - one of whom followed on horseback with the earl had died before the struggle was over, by her side, and some fourteen or fifand the other had crept for security teen horse bringing up the rear at a under one of the waggons which bid short distance behind. She was sad and every thing that was passing from his desponding with all the events which sight. The agitation and alarm of had taken place ; for the first joy of Miss Walton and her brother, seemed success and deliverance had by this somewhat beyond measure in the eyes time passed away, and the impresof good Major Randal, who was anxious sion that remained was of that dark to hasten forward with all speed. He and gloomy character, which her first waited somewhat impatiently while entrance upon scenes of strife, blood. parties were sent here and there over shed, and danger, might naturally prothe plain to seek for the poor girl who duce upon a gentle and kindly heart, had disappeared, but at length he however firm might be the mind, howbroke forth in a sharp tone exclaiming, ever strong the resolution. Her com“ We cannot wait here till night, my panion well understood the feelings of lord, looking for this lost sheep: we a girl nurtured with tenderness and have got all the wounded men into luxury, accustomed alone to deal with the coaches and on the waggons, and the peaceful and the graceful things of on my life, we must be marching ; life, when suddenly forced to witness we have prisoners enough to embarrass and take part in the fierce and tur. us sadly if we were attacked, and who bulent acts of civil war, to follow can tell that we may not meet with marching men, and be a spectator of another party of these worthies." battle and slaughter. He knew right well
“ I think not,” said the Earl of that no gay and lively subject would Beverley, who had shown a good deal of be pleasant to her ear at such a moment, interest in the event which seemed to though the soldier himself might habimove his friend so much. “I have tually cast off all memory of the strife heard of no other Roundheads than the instant it was over, and give way these in this neighbourhood; but if you to joy and triumph in the hour of suc. will march on, Walton, and take one
The cavalier shaped his conhalf of my troop with you, I will re- versation accordingly, and in a grave main behind with the rest, for they though not sad tone, spoke of deeper are fresher than your men, and we can and more solemn things than had overtake you after we have done all formed the matter of their discourse that is possible to discover this poor when last they met. Nevertheless, girl."
seeking to win her from her gloom, “ No," answered Lord Walton, “I there came from time to time, across the will not leave her behind, Francis, as course of all he said, flashes of bright long as there is a chance. You had and brilliant eloquence, rich and imagi. better march on, major; I will stay with native illustrations, sparkling and al. my own people, and follow you to most gay allusions to other things and Henley. Annie, you had better go times and scenes, which without proon: your staying, my dear sister, ducing the discord, which any thing would but embarrass me. Lord Be- like merriment would have occasioned verley will give you the advantage of to her ear, stole her thoughts away
from sadder subjects of contempla friend,” replied the earl, dropping his tion, and, calling the blessed power voice. "If I understand Charles Walton of fancy to her aid, enabled her to bear rightly, there is that in those waggons up under the first weight of the dark which will be more serviceable to the present. To Annie Walton there king than all our broadswords." was an extraordinary charm in the « Ah ! ah ! I understand,” said conversation of the cavalier-it was Major Randal. “ If that be so we must like the current of a stream flowing take care of it, otherwise I think I on between deep and shady banks, pro- should be inclined to pitch the whole found, yet rapid and various, while into the first river.
Well then, my ever and anon the sunshine broke upon lord, we will stop here, and as that is it through the trees, and lighted it up your house I believe, you may sleep in for a space in all the sparkling lustre your own sheets for one night. We of the day. At first her replies were will quarter the men in the village, brief and few, but gradually, she took and I will send out to see that the road a greater part in the discourse, an- is clear for our march to-morrow." swered at large, gave him her own " I shall expect you to supper howthoughts in return for his, inquired ever, major," said the earl; “although as well as listened, and was won often I cannot tell whether there is any meat to a smile. Thus they rode on for about in the house, yet I know there is good two hours, the cavalier gaining more old wine in the cellar, unless the Roundand more upon her, and to speak the heads have got into it since I was truth, the high qualities of her heart there.” and mind, winning from him as much “ If they have, you will not find a admiration as her beauty and her bottle," replied Randal; “ for notgrace commanded at the first sight. withstanding all their hypocrisy, they
Their progress as before was very drink as deep as cavaliers, the only slow, and once they had to pause for difference is, that they cant where the about a quarter of an hour, while the others swagger. But as for your wine, baggage of Lord Beverley's troop was my lord, you must drink it yourself brought forth from the village where for me. I am an old campaigner, and he had left it, and added to that of the my saloon is the parlour of the aleother party. At length, however, they house--I am more at home there, than came in sight of a small town lying on amongst gilt chairs and sideboards of the slope of a hill, with higher up upon plate." the right a detached house and some “ Good faith, you will find little of tall trees about it, standing in the that in my house,” replied the earl; midst of a park or very large meadow, “so come if you will: but in the mean surrounded by ancient brick walls. time I will guide this fair lady up,
At this point of their march Major and take some of the men with me to Randal rode back and spoke a few guard the house ; for there is but a words to the earl, who replied- young girl and an old butler of seventy, “ Exactly as you like, major I am who recollects Queen Elizabeth, left under your command.”
to take care of it. All the rest of my “Nay, my lord,” replied the old people are in the saddle." officer, “I am under yours, you hold " That's where they should be, my a higher commission."
lord,” replied Randal. “ I will make “ But with less experience, my good your cornet quarter the men, as the friend," answered the cavalier; at all place is yours, and will see you before events, Major Randal, I will act by I sleep to plan our arrangements for your advice, if you think we can reach to-morrow. Henley well, if not we will halt here.” Thus saying, he rode on again; and
“We might if it were not for this after having given a few orders to his lumbering baggage," answered the officers for the disposal of the force old soldier. “I cannot think what has in the village, the guarding of the made Lord Walton, who knows well house, and the sending back of a small what service is, cumber us with such detachment to meet Lord Walton, stuff as this. A trooper should never the Earl of Beverley rode up with his have any baggage but his arms, a fair companion and her women, by a dozen crowns, and a clean shirt." narrow wood-covered lane, to the
“ You must not grumble, my good house upon the hill. The building was not very large, being one of the from the horse, he led her into the old fortified houses which were com- wide ancient hall, at the door of which mon in England in that time, and stood the old butler, with his head many of which during the civil wars shaking with age, but a glad look stood regular siege by the parlia- upon his countenance to see his lord inentary forces. Strong towers and once more returned. buttresses, heavy walls, narrow win. From the hall, which felt chilly and dows, and one or two irregular out- damp, as if the door of the house had works, gave it a peculiar character, seldom been opened to the sunshine which is only to be met with now in and free air, the earl conducted his some of the old mansions which have companion up a flight of stone steps, come down to these times, falling and through some wide unfurnished rapidly into decay, and generally ap- corridors, to a part of the house which plied to viler uses. As was then cus- presented a more cheerful and habitatomary, andas was the case at Bishop's ble appearance, giving a glance from Merton, a wide terrace spread before time to time at the countenance of the house, upon which the earl and Miss Walton, as if to see what effect his companions drew in their horses ; the desolate aspect of the place would and, before she dismounted, Miss have upon her. Absorbed in other Walton turned to gaze over the view, contemplations, however, she took no while the cavalier sprang to the notice, and at length the cavalier ground, and, casting his rein to one of called her attention to it himself, saythe troopers who had followed him, ing, with a faint and somewhat sad approached to aid her.
smile“ The prospect is not so wide as at “ You see, Miss Walton, what effect Bishop's Merton, fair lady,” said he ; neglect can have. During my long ab“but there is one object in it which will sence from England every thing has be as pleasant to your eye as any you fallen into decay-more indeed in this could see at home. There comes house than in my dwelling in the your brother.”
north; but yet I reproach myself for “I see a party of horse," said Annie having given way to the very mingled Walton, “ by the wood under the hill, feelings that kept me from residing in but I cannot distinguish any of the my own land, and amongst my own figures."
people. It is not indeed the ruin and « Oh it is he, it is he!” cried her desolation that falls upon one's procompanion; “but I see no woman perty which a man ought to mind amongst them."
under such circumstances; but when “Alas!” said Annie Walton, “what a wealthy family dwells in the midst can have become of that poor girl." of its own tenantry, they build up a
“ It is strange, indeed," said the better mansion than any that is raised cavalier ; “ but yet, Miss Walton, she with hands, a nobler home than the may have been alarmed, and fled while lordly castle or the splendid palace. the fight was going on. If any injury I mean that which is founded in the had happened to her, had she been love and affections of friends and dewounded or killed by a chance shot, pendants, ornamented with kindly feel. she must have been found by this ings and mutual benefits, obligations, time."
gratitude, and esteem. And this is “ Oh, no ; fear had nothing to do the house which falls into more horri. with it," replied Miss Walton ; " she ble decay during a long absence, than went through the midst of the fire to any of these things of brick or stone." tell my brother of the path.”
“ I fear indeed it is so," said Miss • Why he said it was yourself,” re- Walton, walking on beside him into a joined Lord Beverley.
large and handsome room, not only “We both went,” replied Annie well furnished, but presenting some Walton: “ but she seemed to have no most beautiful pictures of the Italian fear, and I confess my heart beat like school hanging upon the walls, while a very coward's.”
objects of virtu and instruments of “ It is indeed strange," said the music lay scattered over numerous earl; “but yet, perhaps, your brother tables, many of which were in them. may have tidings. Let me assist you selves excessively costly. “But it seems to alight." And lifting her gently to me, my lord, that in some respects your house and yourself are very Whenever the load is not felt, whenmuch alike, though perhaps it is bold ever the walls of the dungeon are not of me to say so; but now that I know seen, the captive gladly casts off the who you really are, I feel as much in. remembrance that such things exist, clined to regard you as an old friend and rejoices in their absence. But as you did towards me when first we ever and anon they present themselves met.”
to his eyes, or press upon his limbs, “ Thanks, thanks, sweet lady,” an- and he mourns under the weight that swered the earl. “ Oh! regard me
he cannot wholly cast off. But here ever so. But if you mean that in my comes your brother; and I will only house and in myself there are desolate add that you shall see me sad no more, and ruined corners, you are mistaken. if you will bargain with me that you I am not one of those who have either will be cheerful too." some real and deep grief overshadowing In a few minutes Lord Walton the heart for ever, or one of those himself entered the room; but his who nourish a sentimental sorrow for countenance bespoke no good tidings nothing at all. There may be things of her he had been in search of. He in my own life that I regret-I may had been able indeed to gain no inforhave lost dear friends and relations mation whatever, though he left no whom I mourn; but as the common effort unmade; and he was evidently course of events runs in this world, my deeply mortified and grieved, so that life has been a very happy one, che- the next two hours passed in sadness quered indeed only by a great injury upon all parts. While the necessary inflicted on my family by the king arrangements were made for lodging whom now I serve, which made me the party in the house for the night, resolve like a foolish boy, as I then some occupation of a less sad chawas, never to set my foot in my native racter than the loss of poor Arrah land while he remained in power. Neil, was given to the thoughts of Miss When I found that he was fallen, dis- Walton by all the little inconveniences possessed, and in need, I came back and difficulties attendant upon the in haste to serve him with that loyalty sudden arrival of a large party in a which I trust will long be the distinc- mansion unprepared for their reception of a British gentleman.”
tion. Though accustomed through “ I did not exactly mean what you life to every sort of comfort, Annie think," replied Miss Walton ; « I Walton was not one to make much of merely wished to remark that you trifles; and she was amused rather seem sometimes as gay and cheerful as than otherwise at all the small annoythis room in which we now are, some- ances, and at the dismay and embartimes as sad and gloomy as the hall rassment of her maids. When she through which we lately passed." returned from the rooms which had She coloured a little as she spoke, been assigned to her and her fefrom an indefinite consciousness that male companions, to that which the woman who remarks so closely was called in the house the picturethe demeanour of a young and hand- room,
she found her brother convers. some man, may be well suspected of ing in the window with his friend, taking a deeper interest in him than with a bright and cheerful counteshe wished to believe she did in her nance which surprised her. The change companion.
was explained in a moment, however, The cavalier replied at once, how- by Charles Walton holding out a dirty ever, without remarking the blush- strip of paper to her, and saying
“ It must be so ever, Miss Walton, “Here is news of our poor Arrah, with those who feel and think. Is it Annie. She is safe, although I cannot so with yourself? The spirit that not tell where.” God gives us is made for happiness, Annie took the scrap of paper, and full of high aspirations, and bright ca- read, merely observing as she did sopabilities of enjoyment; but it is - This is not Arrah's hand : she placed in a world of trial and of diffi- writes beautifully." culty, prisoned in a corporeal frame The note ran as follows: that checks and limits its exertions, chained down by cares and circum- “ MY LORDE_This is to tell you, as I stances that burden its free energies. heer that you have been a running after pretty Arrah Neil all the even- a good cause ; and in trust of God's ing, that she is saif in this place, and protection let us enjoy these hours of as well as may be. I can't come just tranquillity. They are treasures, beat present, for reasons; but I will be lieve me, that are not often met with ; over with you by cock-crow to-mor. let us gather them whilst we can. row morning, and either bring her, if The best of husbandry, depend upon I can, or take you to her.-I subscribe it, is to sitt the corn from the chaff, myself, my lorde, your obedient ser- to separate the gold from the dross vant to command,
in the portion of time that is allotted “ JOHN HURST." to us, and not to mingle the sorrow of
to-morrow with the enjoyment of to“ Francis here,” said Lord Walton, day. Come, Miss Walton,” he added, when his sister had done reading, you must add to our present happi“has been laughing at me for the re- ness by letting us hear once more that putation which I have acquired of sweet voice in song, such as delighted running after pretty Arrah Neil dur. me at Bishop's Merton." ing the whole evening ; but I think I “Nay, not to-night,” said Annie may set laughs at defiance regarding Walton. " It is your turn now, my her, Annie."
lord. By all these instruments of “ I think so too," answered Miss music, I am sure you sing yourself. Is Walton with a smile ; “but I wish we it not so, Charles ?" knew where she is."
"Beautifully," replied Lord Walton; As often happens, however, when, “and what is better than all, Annie, in the midst of many cares and he requires no pressing." anxieties, one subject of alarm and “I will, with all my heart," replied grief is removed, all the rest are for- the cavalier, but upon one conditiongotten for the time, the news of poor that I am called no_more my lord. Arrah's safety restored the cheerful- Charles Walton and Francis Beverley ness of all the party. We draw an have been too long brothers for the augury of future happiness from each sister of either to use so cold a term. blessing that befalls us, from each re- What shall I sing? It must be of lief that is afforded ; and it is not till love in a lady's presence, otherwise new difficulties press upon us that ap- were I no true knight ;" and taking prehension resumes her sway.
a large Venetian mandolin from the Cheerfulness then returned to the table behind him, he put it in tune, party assembled in Lord Beverley's house ; they sat down to the pleasant
LORD BEVERLEY's song. evening meal, which closed a day of strife and danger, with hearts light
Light of my life, my heart's intense
desire, ened, and expectations raised; the
Soul of my soul, thou blossom and merry voices of the troopers who thou beam; where supping in the hall below, gave Thou kindlest day with more than sumthem warning how best to treat the mer's fire, cares of the time, and if an anxiety Thou bright'nest night like some ceor thought of the future did break in lestial dream. for a moment upon them, it was but to teach them to enjoy the present
The sight of thee gives sunshine to my hour, inasmuch as no forethought or
Thy music breath brings rapture to grave contemplation could affect the
my ear ; coming events. Lord Beverley ex
My thoughts thy thoughts, like willing erted himself without any apparent ef- slaves, obey, fort, to keep the conversation in its Oh, thou most beautiful, oh, thou cheerful tone; and when Miss Walton most dear! made some inquiries as to any danger or difficulty which might lie
One look of thine is worth a monarch's the
upon march of the following day, he ex
throne, claimed gaily,
One smile from thee would raise the
dying head; “ Away with such thoughts, fair
One tear of thine would melt the heart lady: we have taken every precaution;
of stone; we have done all that we can to guard One kiss, one kiss would vivify the ågainst evil ; we have true hearts, and dead.