« PreviousContinue »
upon his face.
him of one of his fattest bucks; and, dily forgive this seeming fresh affront, by the walls of Saint Mary, where - since he doubted not but the Lord they say he resides, I will keep my Hastings had a share in it. And promise.”
this it was, more than the pertina“ Why thou art the veriest little cious loquacity of the boy, that varlet mine eyes ever saw !” cried really mortified and displeased him. Whatton, rage now
overcoming every Two days were passed by the Prior, other feeling. “ But let me warn subsequent to his rencounter in the thee, stripling, and see thou take it forest, in retirement at home, nor had in time ; desist from thy purpose, or he once wandered forth, as was usual it will cost thee dear perhaps, for the for him to do, in search of amusewalls of Saint Mary are strong, and ment. The third day was the Annidark within. Thou understandest versary of Saint Mary, to whom the
priory was dedicated, and it was The youth bowed expressively, ushered in by the inmates of Ulveswhilst a smile of derision again sat croft with the usual solemnity. As
the duties of the occasion were nu“ I dread neither priests nor walls: merous, they engrossed the whole atI care not, so I cure the Prior of tention of the Superior. His heart Ulvescroft of his churlish propen- was tranquil, his brow was serene, sities, for, like myself, I deem him and he thought only on the various worthy of better things.”
religious ceremonies of the day. But There was a stress on the word a different scene awaited him. “ better,” and a laughter in the eye, It was nearly noon, and the Prior, as he uttered the last sentence, which somewhat wearied by his exertions, were provoking enough. He drew was crossing the outer court from the silken mantle that had hitherto the chapel, for the purpose of enjoyhung carelessly behind him across one ing a short interval of repose in his shoulder, and, snatching up his bow, private chamber, when his observawhich during the course of parley he tion was attracted by a large party had suffered to fall to the ground, of menials, belonging to the establishturned short upon his heel, of which ment, in deep and confused altercahe made so good a use, that he was
Their eager looks and loud very soon out of sight.
hurried tones betokened that some“ Sayest thou so, young Swift- thing more than usual had happened. foot? we shall see," said Whatton, Whatton, vexed that any thing like pulling down the sleeves of his dress tumult should interrupt the tranwith the air of one who hardly knows quillity of the festival, advanced how to vent his mortification. “ But hastily towards them. I believe thee capable of that, or “ Whence this commotion, breaught else thou art bent upon. How- thren? It suits not with the sacred ever, once more I say beware!" duties we have been engaged in, and
The words of the Prior were spent surely might have been spared this in air, the youth was past hearing, day. and Whatton, after a moment's pause, The men looked at each other; again pursued his way homeward. they hesitated, for they were well He could not, however, easily divest acquainted with the rigidity of their his thoughts of what had occurred; Superior, as respected religious obthe figure of the boy, in all his native servances, and feared to incur his grace and beauty, was constantly displeasure ; but the case was urgent, present to his imagination. Who or and it was necessary he should be what he was he could not so readily informed of it. At length one of determine; noble, his whole appear- them, older and somewhat more ance bespoke him; and Whatton sus- elevated in situation than the others, pected him to be one of the followers of advanced towards him; he laid one Witwicke's Lord, who, having heard hand reverently upon his breast, and of the feuds subsisting between that with the other made the usual sign nobleman and himself, had in the of the cross. sportiveness of boyhood thus insulted “ Think not, holy Father, that our him. The mind of the Prior was minds are evil in the midst of thankrather disposed to generosity than fulness ! or that we would offer any otherwise, but he could not very rea- disrespect at the foot of that shrine to which we all yield obedience: suspense. Again and again he acbut,"
cused himself for not having called “ Declare your meaning !” said off his dog, and avoided altercation Whatton, not without some appre- with the young and apparently malihension of what was to be related. ciously disposed boy. The return
“ The forest ! reverend Sir, our of the brethren, however, who had rights are trampled on, your power at last been successful, drew his contemned, even the walls of the thoughts into another channel, and priory have not in this instance been Whatton lost no time in hastening respected, nor have they afforded to confront the aggressor. safety to the animals that browse The conjectures of the Prior had beneath them.”
not been wrong. The same fair boy “ The forest!” The Prior started, .stood before him: with this only difthe words of the unknown rushed to ference in his appearance, that the his remembrance. “ Hath any one light fantastic habit, he had worn on dared ?-But, no. Youth may vaunt their former rencounter, had been exitself, but it cannot accomplish much.” changed for a suit of simple green, He recollected the prowess he had skirted by a coat or jacket, that already witnessed, and was half dis- buttoned closely around him, and, posed to recall what he had uttered: descending nearly as low as the knee, he turned calmly to the monk, "Well, hid his figure almost entirely from Bernard, what mischief is this that observance. His cap, too, that had hath happened ?”
previously glittered with the brilliant “ Three goodly bucks already lie rays of the diamond and the ruby, slaughtered beneath the very walls and had been adorned with partyof the priory, and three more, for coloured plumes, now bore but one aught I know.”
long sable feather, which, falling Stop, stop," said the Prior, in a gracefully over the left temple, did voice tremulous with agitation :- but set off the clearness of a com« Who hath done this deed ?” plexion for which nature and exercise
“ We know not; it seemed almost had done much. the work of magic, so swiftly, so si- In sooth, if the Prior had thought lently whizzed the arrows from a- the lad handsome at their first intermidst the copse. But the hand that view, spite of his indignation he drew them has hitherto eluded our could not now alter his opinion, so search, no one was to be seen.” exquisitely beautiful did he appear.
“A plague on that young imp," He seemed to take but little notice of said Whatton, stamping his foot fu- the Superior as he approached him ; riously on the ground; “none less his arms were pinioned, and his looks daring than himself would so have almost wholly bent upon the ground ; defied me. Run, Bernard; William, but there lurked so deep an expresrun. Search well each covert, thicket, sion of archness in them, when they fern. See you leave no spot un- turned at intervals upon Whatton, sought; and, mark me, Sirs, find that he knew not what to think. whom you will, bring them straight He looked steadfastly at him, but before me.”
the dark orbs of the lad avoided his The Prior turned to his chamber gaze. He seemed to delight in sideas he spoke, but it was in no enviable long glances, and appeared capable frame of mind : for some time he of using them as much to the purpaced to and fro, with the rapid un- pose as the bolts he had so wantonly even tread of one who is uncertain let fly from his bow. Determined, howhow to act; so angry did he feel at ever, to trace the motives which had being made the sport of so young a led to such extraordinary conduct to stripling
their most latent source, Whatton The brethren, in the mean time, suppressed the kindly sensations, had sped the best of their way into which, notwithstanding his endeathe intricacies of the forest, not a whit yours, he felt arising towards him, less anxious than their Superior to and assuming an air at once stern, discover who was the perpetrator of haughty, and forbidding, thus adso daring an act. Two hours inter- dressed him : vened before they returned, an inter- “ So, boy, thou hast really and val passed by Whatton in painful truly had audacity enough to put thy upon him.
wicked threat into execution :-And Underneath the animal was written what thinkest thou shall now be the in small silver letters reward for such wantonness ?”
Isabel of Hastings. The culprit answered not, but tossing back the plume, that had The friar started. He passed his hitherto partially shaded one side of eye from the weapon to the face of his features, with that kind of in- its owner; the transition and the exstinctive motion of the head that ex. pression it conveyed had not passed presses more than words, he greeted unnoticed, and the rising colour upon the Prior with the same incompre- her cheek proclaimed that his surhensible smile he had before bestowed mise was not ill founded. It was,
indeed, the daughter of his proud “ I understand you," said What- neighbour—of his foe, that then stood ton; you bid defiance to my au- before him! who in the gaiety and thority: But beware, silly urchin, frolicsomeness of youth had played your life, if we so will it, may be this trick upon him. And Whatton, made answerable for the crime you uncertain what to say, or how to prohave been guilty of this day." ceed, stood confusedly silent, gazing
“ I deny not your authority, Prior; upon her. Isabel, certain that all yet I would ask, and I believe you must now be discovered, signified will not deny my right of doing so, her wish to be alone with him, and how far such authority extends? or the Prior immediately complied with whether
take in the free born, as her request. The brethren were orwell as the hind—the noble as the dered to withdraw, and, having unpeasant ? When these questions are loosed the noose that fettered her replied to, I, in my turn, may per- arms, Whatton again retired to some haps declare the punishment I look distance from her. forward to.”
For a short interval Isabel re“ Thy tongue seems to keep pace mained as silent as the Prior-she with thy fingers, youth ; but should seemed indeed communing with her. I condescend to hold parley with self; but, though her cheekscontinued thee, wilt thou promise to declare to retain their deep suffusion, her eye truly who, and what thou art, and lost not a whit of its archness, as at whence thy wantonness hath arisen?” length she said :
" You will learn both, ere « Well, my Lord of Ulvescroft, are part,” said the boy significantly, “I you satisfied that, whether in the promise that.”
light of friends or enemies, the own“ Might I presume to interfere,” ers of Witwicke are punctual to their said one of the brethren coming for- promise ? " ward, and casting a look full of an- “ Such punctuality was never ger and inveteracy upon the fair- doubted, noble damsel, yet methinks headed offender. “Such conduct de- the fair isabel might have found fitter serves no common punishment, since employment than to have taken part this stripling hath learnt his trade too in the feuds of her father. And sureperfectly and too early to hope forly my Lord of Hastings, had he amendment from your worship’s le- wished to do another ill turn to those nity.”
who meddle not with him, might “ Enough, enough,” said the Su- have found an abler hand than one so perior, addressing himself to the truly formed for gentleness.” monk, and without noticing the ques- “ Say not so, good Father," said tions of his prisoner. “Where is the the lady, not ill pleased with the terweapon with which this mischief has mination of the Prior's speech, been perpetrated ?”
temn not the abilities of Isabel in the “ Here, Father, here.”
cross-bow, nor in the field. It is the Whatton took the youth's bow pride of Hastings to think his child from the hands of the monk who excels in them. Nay, Prior, have not tendered it—he examinedit minutely; you yourself commended them?” it was formed from the maple wood, " True, lady, but-" and was of exquisite workmanship, “ Holy Father-use an adversary having the figure of a stag in the generously, and he were indeed a attitude of fleeing, with an arrow in dastard, did he not follow the exfront, beautiful!y carved in its centre. ample. What motive, think you,
guided my feet hither, or nerved my Isabel rose joyously. arm, so near your dwelling?”.
“ I hie me homewards, Prior; in The Prior bent his head; he was less than three hours I will underunwilling to declare to Isabel that he take to greet my Lord Hastings and believed her actions under the sanc- yourself as friends; and, mark me, tion of a higher power: he was also Sir, five goodly bucks for one ; that above a subterfuge. Isabel was not is Isabel's penance for the crime so slow in comprehension.
wantonly committed this day-com“ I know what you would say. It mitted in the cause of duty.” was by my father's orders that I came She smiled gaily as she spoke. so boldly to your gate?”
“ Thou art most extraordinarily Whatton bowed an affirmative. gifted, daughter; yet one thing I
“ Listen, good Father. The Lord would know, ere thy departure.” of Witwicke is no man's enemy. He “ Say on, Father.” is not ignorant of your virtues, es- “ Was it necessary, in order to tranged as he is at this moment from accomplish the reunion of hearts, you. He is above the base act of that three unoffending animals should mean destruction. That I, his daugh- be the sacrifice?" ter, have drawn the bow, I admit; “ All was necessary. When the but not as you charge me with, wound is deep, deep must be the through wantonness. I know my
The Prior of Ulyescroft was father's sentiments toward you; I no common foe, and it needed all the know he seeks an opportunity to be art, all the stratagem of Isabel to reconciled ; and I shall be deceived if convince him, aggrieved as he believed I have not formed a correct estimate himself to be, that Witwicke's Lord of your generosity. Father, the evil still deserved his esteem.” I have done you shall be repaired, “And his child?"-said the Prioramply repaired. But I beseech you to “Was anxious to show, that she also let all animosity cease betwixt the longed to share the friendship of Lord of Hastings and yourself.” Whatton!”
As she pronounced the last words, “ And she has gained it,” said the she bent one knee to the ground, friar, placing his hand gently upon crossed her hands submissively-upon her head, and blessing her. her bosom, and looked earnestly at get thee gone, fair daughter, and the Prior. She was no longer the bring thy father as early as thou wilt, fiery frolicsome youth whose eye for Whatton longs to greet him.” spoke daringly, whose lips breathed Isabel stayed not for farther percontemptuously-she was the gentle, mission, but, again crossing her hands the interesting woman, kneeling be- reverently upon her bosom, she bowed fore her spiritual adviser, imploring respectfully to the Prior, and set forthe blessing of peace and of amity ward with a light heart and foot tofor a beloved parent !
wards the mansion of her sire. True It was impossible for so kindly a to her promise, three hours did not heart as Whatton possessed to with- elapse, before the Lord of Hastings stand the appeal of Isabel, couched himself, attended by Isabel in her as it was in so extraordinary a man- own proper habiliments, and a nuner; her grace, her beauty, her spirit, merous retinue, rode up to the gates but above all, the energetic language of Ulvescroft, for the purpose of raof those eyes, that so recently had tifying those engagements of amity had sufficient influence to stir up the and good neighbourhood she had alwrathful emotions of the heart, now ready so ably commenced. The Lord pleading forcibly to the milder pas- of Witwicke brought with him sesions.
veral costly presents for the Prior, “ Rise, noble girl!” he exclaimed, amongst which, were the deer pro“ The Prior of Ulvescroft must not mised by his daughter; and, what be outdone in generosity-he needs was more valuable to Whatton, with no reminding of his duty ! Rise, Isa- her own hand, Isabel presented him bel, and be it as you wish-it were with the bow that had been the cause impossible to withstand you. Should, of so much mischief. therefore, the Lord of Witwicke really seek a reconciliation--"
- Go, THE LAST DAY OF SUMMER.
SUMMER, Summer, come again! Dost thou dread a little rain ? Canst thou perish in a cloud ? Are the winds so fresh and loud, Weaving mirth above thy pain ?Lo! a gloomy sorrow flies O'er the forehead of the skies, And o'er ocean dark and deep, Where the wild sea-natures sleep,Those great children of the billows, Tumbling on their restless pillows ! Summur, Summer, art thou gone? Is the Autumn pale alone, With her crown of faithless leaves, Like a widow queen, who grieves O'er her bands of courtiers fled, And her love and music dead? Heed it never, Summer fair ! Thou no longer needest care For the birth or death of flowers, Nor lament the sullen hours; Nor the heedless buds that perish Howsoever thou dost cherish; Nor the rose who will decay, Though thou fondly sighest, “Stay!" Kissing her perfumed lips, While the broad Apollo dips In the waves his burning hair.Mourn not, therefore, Summer fair ! If the jealous rose who died Could have been thy deathless bride, Or the lady lily pale Had not been so false and frail,If the trees their gold had never Flung into the brawling river, That its hoarse tongue might not say When they with the winds did play, Thou might'st then have had sad reason To complain, sweet Summer season ! But they fled—the leaves, the flowers ; And the illuminated hours First survived and then decay'd, And in shrouding mists are laid ! Yet they all shall come again, Summer sweet, and thou shalt reign Like a God beneath the sky; And the thousand worlds that lie In their bluest homes shall shine, When thou drinkest thy red wine ;