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she must solve all my perplexities, the beldame bitterly, withdrawing for I am not going to waste
my time her sharp grey eye from the object and my money for nothing."
it had hitherto rested upon, and fixShe spoke in so determined a tone, ing it upon the maiden with an exand tossed her head first on one side, pression of contempt and anger.--and then on the other, so pertly, 6 What, is it you, Ally Spenser, who that Ally's companions looked at her cannot let a body rest?--And why with astonishment; they however are you here again, troubling decent answered not, but drawing mecha, orderly people with such silly crotnically around her, by their actions chets as float through your brain ?showed as if they voluntarily placed Have I not warned you to desist themselves beneath her banner. from such fooleries?
Deborah Priestly was picking a “ You have, mother, but" few pot-herbs in her little garden, “ Well then, I say again, get you for the purpose of rendering her scanty gone, silly wench; aye, and all of meal more toothsome, when the you, for Deborah Priestly hath higher voices of the party reached her work to perform than what can apear. She looked hastily over the low pertain to such love's geer, as you hedge, and perceiving their approach, desired to be informed of.” gathered her herbs together, at the She waved her hand authoritativesame time exclaiming,
ly as she finished, but the maidens, “ So, so, an my old eyes deceive either appalled by her manner, or me not, there is more profitable work unwilling to return without the intelin store than gathering of pot-herbs. ligence they sought, stood motionless, -Well, “It's an ill wind that blows gazing on her with an expression nobody good,' as the proverb sayeth, quite the reverse of what their counand Where no counsel is, the peo- tenances had before exhibited. A ple fall !'-Aye, aye, it's all right.” pause of some moments ensued; at
The Dame had leisure, not only to length Alice ventured somewhat more gain her dwelling, but to place her- diffidently: self in her high narrow backed cane “ Will you really send us back chair, with all the usual solemnities through all this broiling sun with, and formalities customary on high out one word?" occasions, ere the youthful party en- “ Aye, marry will 1,” answ
swered tered her habitation. When they the Dame spitefully, “ and all the did, she was sitting with her back like of you, ye silly butterflies.towards the door, one leg crossed And so, you would be scorching your over the other, and a hand, whose wings, forsooth, and expect that lank sinewy fingers seemed to have Old Deb should lend a hand towards long disclaimed kindred with any hastening your destruction?-Nay, thing like mortality, resting careless nay, the country might well cry out ly upon a blue linsey-woolsey apron upon me then, and say I did them that covered her knee. She neither wrong.-But it must not be.-So get moved nor spoke, as Ally and her you gone, I say again ; and see you companions with light step advanced come
come no more hitherward, till the into the interior of the dwelling, but tide of war shall have ebbed, for şat with eyes uplifted and lips that there will be bloody work of it.”. moved without sound, apparently Despairing of success, and accusaltogether unconscious of her present tomed to her intimidating manner intruders. But Ally was not easily (for Dame Priestly ruled the neighintimidated ; she placed her basket bourhood with a rod of iron), the upon the hewn block, and advancing mortified damsels moved in gloomy towards her, peeped into the old silence from the hovel, watched by woman's face, with a look in which the old woman till several had disanxiety and impertinence were almost appeared; then, as if suddenly reequally blended, at the same time ex- collecting herself, she added, in the claiming :
same stern accents : “ Be the weirds abroad, or at “ Yet stay,-I see two among you home, good Dame?-Ah,-1 see it who even now may tarry.--I mean is the latter."
yonder tall fair one whose lip speak“ The weird of destruction will eth disdain, whose brow teemeth hover over you, ye silly fool," said with pride !---Let this damsel remaiu,
and with her the one whose robe of shall bury him silently, for there fairest white seems to vie with the shall be no tear shed over his relilies that bedeck her bosom!—These mains, save what shall flow from the two I have tidings for.”
eyes of her who now asks his desPleased that they at least should tiny! Aye, and the bold Baron not have come on a vain errand, the whose gilded rowels are now sheathtwo females stepped nimbly aside; ed in the sides of his courser,--he but the Dame noticed them no far- shall flee for safety over the great ther till the receding footsteps of waters! and the lady of his love their companions were no longer to shall behold him no more ! be heard in the valley, and then, “Such is your fortune, fair dame; moving her eyes slowly from the accuse me not, if I have dealt honesta door of her cottage to its present in- ly by you." mates, she thus addressed them :- She gave the usual token for de
“And you, Hamoise of Raven- parture as she ceased, and reseated stone, and Marian of Bradgate, herself in the chair she had risen what are you come hither to learn?” from at the commencement of the
She regarded them doubtfully, as Lady Hamoise's address. Her manner she uttered the question ; indeed so seemed to indicate a determination peculiarly forbidding was the expres- not to be troubled with farther quession of her countenance at the mo- tions ; but her auditor did not apment, that the younger one involun- pear inclined to put any; for haughtarily shuddered; the Lady Hamoise tily gathering up her robe once more, replied:
with a look in which terror, malice, “Had the fame of Deborah Priestly and disdain were strongly blended, been less abroad, good Mother, per- she moved from the cottage. haps neither my present companion “ Aye-aye, get thee gone, proud nor myself had now visited you. As daughter,” said Deborah, relaxing it is, I at least would know (since somewhat of the severity before so doubtless you profess not what you conspicuous in her features ; " for cannot vouch for), whether Ralph the day is not far distant when that of Ravenstone and the bold Baron heart must grieve, that eye change who so recently rode away beside its present lofty glance for one of him, may prosper in their under
sorrow and affliction !” She turned takings? Whether those they ho- towards the other damsel. nour with their affections may ex- “ Well, my pretty lapwing, and pect them to return triumphantly, what wouldst thou crave with old laying laurels at their feet?"
Deborah ?" The voice of the maiden was “ Alas, need you ask that quesslightly agitated as she spoke, but tion,” said the young girl tremuher manner savoured so much of lously, “ you who are so fully aware pride and sarcasm, as she touched of all that hath befallen me?" upon the peculiar calling of the old “ Say rather, those who are dear woman, that Deborah felt highly of- to thee,” returned the old woman. fended.
“ Well, well, I see I have touched “ We are not ignorant of the lofty a chord that vibrates, but I seek not character of the Lady Hamoise, to pry into young maidens' hearts. she replied disdainfully, nor the Thou art worthy brave Leonard's condescension she has stooped to, in love, and 'tis pity the knot was seeking our humble dwelling; and not tied ere these bloody feuds bewe shall answer faithfully."
gan. But what wouldst thou now She fixed her eyes keenly upon with me?" her, as if she would have read what - When I think on the evils that was passing in her mind, remained a this unhappy contest has heaped few moments silent, and then in à upon the dear Countess and her famislow and solemn accent began : ly !-when I think upon her son-
“ Brief be the tidings that have ill estranged as he now is from friends on them !--Shall the house of Raven- and home—and when I heard you, stone go free ? —No. Ralph of Ra- my good Dame, heap misery upon the venstone must return to the walls of daughter of Ravenstone his forefathers, shorter by the head “ Soft ye, soft ye, fair damsel, than when he quitted them! They couple not the proud Hamoise with
thine own gentle heart. Why, mai- of the Countess she turned her steps den, thou wert not formed in the homewards. same mould ! Such a doom as thou It was in the memorable year hast just heard me pronounce over 1647, when the King's affairs had beher would drive thy lowly spirit come so desperate that even his from its earthly tenement! But it firmest friends seemed ready to give will sit light upon her. She hath way to despair, that Dame Priestly courage for that, and more too.” kept her promise towards the inhaBut to thy own affairs now.
bitants of Bradgate. With camblet “ I doubt but few beams of joy gown, hood, and coif, of the purest may light upon them,” said Marian. white, the old woman seized the
- Why, look ye, sweet one, for I knob of her ivory-headed cane, and love you too sincerely to deceive with more agility than might have you. When a son is opposed to his been expected from her years took father !—when the hand of the bro- the way to the hall. ther struggles with that of his own Leonard, a younger son of the natural kinsman!—what think you noble owner of the domain, had must be the result of all these things ? adhered firmly by the Stuarts, whilst Woe to the wife who caresses, woe his father and elder brother had been to the mother who bore them. And no less strenuous in the cause of the such is the Lady at Bradgate's lot. Parliament. Many had been the Such is thine, fair Marian !”
broils and heart-rendings this unhapMarian sighed.
py division of opinions had brought “ Where hath the young lad hid upon the family; for the fiery and himself?” demanded Deborah. “Is high-spirited Leonard, impatient of he sick of strife and of bloodshed ? control, and reckless of aught that Will he turn to the anxious hearts might be urged unto him by his of those who love him?"
more prudent relatives, stuck closely “ I would ask that of you,” said by his king. Nor was it till that the maiden, “ that is my errand here; monarch was too completely encoiled of you, Deborah, who know every in the web of his enemies to admit of thing.'
relief, that he suffered himself to be “ Whist, silly one, impute no more prevailed upon to listen to the wishes knowledge to me than is becoming of those who loved him. With his
Yet thus far I will enlighten family he had but little intercourse; thee. The hour is not yet come that a few hearts leaned unto him, but shall restore a son to his parent !-a those were of the softer kind. Yet, husband to thee, Marian ! Leonard desperate as the situation of Leonard still struggles with fate. When that seemed to be, there was still one alhour does arrive, I will myself in- ternative, and this, after due consulform thee of it. So hie thee home to tation with the shrewd Deborah, the thy patroness, and say to her that anxious Countess determined to old Deborah devotes herself to the adopt. It was to unite the fates of weal of her family—the care of her her discarded son and the betrothed son; nor hound nor hawk of his shall Marian together, to send them from be injured, whilst he listens to the her into temporary banishment, and advice of those about him."
to trust to fortune for happier hours ! “Oh, keep your faith, good Dame, Harsh as the measure might seem, keep your faith but in this instance, as regarded the welfare of the gentle watch over the life of young Leonard, girl, the lady deemed it wise to adopt and the blessing of every heart be it; for she well knew the influence with you.”
she possessed over the mind of Leo“ Of thine too, fair maid; is it not nard, and she hoped that much good so? I love to raise a blush upon might be the result. that cheek," said the old woman It was late one evening, and after patting her.
a long and final conversation with The face of Marian rested for an her maternal guardian, that Marian instant on her shoulder; she pressed quitted the hall, to steal silently into her ruby lips to hers, and her whole the spacious park which surrounded countenance was lit up with grati- it. Her countenance was mournful, tude, as receiving some instructions and the trembling drop of sorrow from the beldame for the private ear yet rested on her cheek -- she moved
onwards beneath the stately rows of her now, you would find her sitting chesnuts that led from the mansion, in the lonely turret of her chamber, whose thick foliage shaded both her in terror and in silence, weeping over and its walls from the rude gaze the evil fortunes that oppress her!” of the stranger; but it was with the “ So soon this change?” cried feelings and the air of one who is Marian. half doubtful, half wishful of what “ You may say soon, poor child. she is about to do—whose heart is The commands of tyrants lack not anxious for the success of her expe- agents to put them into execution. dition, but who trembles under the Suspicions are abroad that young performance of it.
Leonard hides him hereabout.” When she had gained the extremi- “ And what of him?” shrieked ty of the spreading chesnuts, the last Marian. glimmer of twilight was fast fading Aye, there is indeed the danger.” from the hills. A dark mist had al- She laid her finger wildly upon her ready spread itself over the valley, lip, glanced her phrensied eye upon which, as she immerged into it, com- the maiden, and resumed in the same municated its chilling influence to appalling accents.—" But never fear, her face and bosom. But Marian pretty one, my faith is pledged to heeded it not, her mind was too thee, and when was it ever broken? sensibly alive to the task she had un- Where no risk is, small must be the dertaken to regard either the mois- glory. I will guide thee to him ; ture of the air or the approaching nor shall all the followers of Cromdarkness. She took her way across well prevent me.” the park, nor paused until she reach- She laid her hand
the mantle ed one of the pastures which opened of the trembling Marian, and urged upon the forest.
Here Marian rest- her forward, till they reached a low ed; for the noise of fifes and of drums hovel formed amidst the excavations at that moment sounded fearfully of the rocks, and as the door opened, upon her ear, and made her heart a hand half thrust out caught the beat with terror. A few seconds she maid and drew her hastily within. listened—the sounds died gradually “ Is it you, dear girl? So long, away, and the tinkling of the soli- and so impatiently expected! Oh, how tary sheep bell was the only noise drearily have the moments passed.” which succeeded them. Encouraged They were the well known accents by the tranquillity that again appear- of love, and they sank upon the ear ed to reign, the affrighted maiden and heart of the damsel with ten-fold advanced with cautious foot into the sweetness, as contrasted with the open waste; but she had not wan- shrill notes of Deborah, which even dered far, when she was again stare still dwelt upon them. For a short tled by the sharp voice of some one period the old woman suffered them near to her. It was Dame Priestly, to enjoy the transport of meeting on whose countenance sat so much without interruption; it was but a wildness and apprehension as to com- short one. municate itself to Marian.
“ Away, away,” she exclaimed “ The lark of Bradgate from its impetuously, “ere the chains of your nest at so cheerless an hour ? Wot enemies encircle you. But there is ye not that hawks and buzzards are one task yet.” She looked mournabroad, fond girl? And what if fully upon them. “ Come, unhappy they should crop your flight, pretty pair, a last look at the Countess you maid ?”
To her embrace you “ Gracious powers,” said Marian cannot now go." eagerly, “what mean you? Those She quitted the hovel with a rapid sounds,
uneven pace, followed by Leonard “ Aye,” said Deborah, all the and his Marian, nor rested, till the cant of her profession rushing into walls of Bradgate became perceptiher voice and words, “ Those ble amid gloom and distance. sounds savour of captivity and mur- The mansion was built in a quader! You left the Lady Countess drangular form, of brick, so strongfree to walk through the domains of ly cemented together as to appear her husband, unfettered by the com- capable of withstanding the ravages mands of any one; could you behold of many ages. A Gothic chapel, decorated with the tomb of many a her companion. Drive not the noble ancestor, reared its head in the arrow beyond its barb, the point is centre of the building, at the corners quite keen enough, believe me. And of which rose four square towers, you, dear Leonard (turning towards serving the double purposes of stair- him), when you behold those fair case and vestibule to the apartments walls, on which the moon plays so severally connected with them. Be- mildly, does not your heart carry you tween two of these towers, looking beyond them? Are not the cheering full west, was the range of rooms scenes of infancy present? The tennis usually devoted to the Countess's court-the bowling-green—the latuse, and the only side of the building ticed summer-house by the river, on not encircled by the stately chesnut whose banks, beneath whose willows trees, in which it was almost entirely we have sat together, little dreamembosomed. The view from these ing of such an hour as this — apartments was lovely and pictu- She covered her face with her resque, looking up a fair romantic hands as she ceased, and resting it valley, through which the youthful upon them, sobbed bitterly. The disfugitives now trod.
tressed youth threw his arms fondly The roar of the waters, rushing around her ; but Deborah, who, notover the steep declivities on one withstanding her rugged nature, side of them,--the occasional hoarse loved the lady and her children with croak of the raven, disturbed from an affection as ardent as it was sinhis repose as he sheltered among cere, interrupted them hastily. the rocks,--and the distant hum of Nay, waste not the precious men's voices, pacing to and fro be- moments in grief which can now tween the walls of the mansion,-all avail you not. Look rather to the contributed to the dreadful emotion brighter side of the picture; and with which the hearts of the travel- see, the Countess herself, the noble lers were already fraught-added to dame who reared you, appears to which, the pale beams of the moon, greet and bless you!” partially breaking from behind a The words of the beldame were cloud and shining brightly upon the correct; at an open casement, with windows of their home, rendered arms stretched out, and eyes that those emotions still more keen. In- seemed as if they would dive into voluntarily they paused. Leonard futurity, stood the anxious mother and Marian pressed their hands upon watching for the objects of her solitheir hearts. It was a painful strug- citude, wistful, yet almost dreading gle betwixt affection and necessity. to behold them. “ Alas, my mother! and my friend!” “ There she stands !- the best of burst at once from their lips, as, mothers, and of wives !"-cried the scarcely conscious of the action, they energetic Deborah, waving her hand sank upon their knees and gazed triumphantly over the prostrate with wild and eager looks upon the couple, and pointing towards their building.
agonized parent. Deborah regarded them earnestly. '“ But again I say to you, Weep « Poor wanderers ! dearer at this not, for the lot is cast into the lap, moment to the heart of your parent and the whole disposing thereof is from than when you glided in costliness above !'' and pomp within the walls of yonder She raised them gently, and having stately hall! Well may you mourn succeeded in sufficiently tranquillizing to go hence. But let it be a lesson their spirits, so as to admit of their unto you."
receiving the farewell wafted by the “ Hush, Dame," said Marian, lady, she conducted them in safety gently, forgetting her own sorrow in beyond the skirts of the forest. her anxiety to spare the feelings of