CASTLE OF TYNEMOUTH.
BY JANE HARVEY,
AUTHOR OF WARKFIELD CASTLE, &c. &c.
No air-built castles, and no fairy bowers,
But thou, fair Tynemouth, and thy well-known towers,
Now bid th’ historic muse explore the maze
Of long past years, and tales of other days.
Pride of Northumbria!---from thy crowded port,
Where Europe’s brave commercial sons resort,
Her boasted mines send forth their sable stores,
To buy the varied wealth of distant shores.
Here the tall lighthouse, bold in spiral height,
Glads with its welcome beam the seaman’s sight.
Here, too, the firm redoubt, the rampart’s length,
The death-fraught cannon, and the bastion’s strength,
Hang frowning o’er the briny deep below,
To guard the coast against th’ invading foe.
Here health salubrious spreads her balmy wings,
And woos the sufferer to her saline springs;
And, here the antiquarian strays around
The ruin’d abbey, and its sacred ground.
IN TWO VOLUMES.
NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE:
PRINTED BY ENEAS MACKENZIE, JR.
129, PILGRIM STREET;
And sold by all the Booksellers.
CASTLE OF TYNEMOUTH.
“Thou hill, whose brow the antique structures grace.”
THE causes which had for some time prevented father Vincent from visiting his pupil as usual, were now removed, and Rosetta had the pleasure to see him one morning enter the apartment, where she sat at work. His looks were better than the accounts she had lately received of the state of his health led her to expect; and his mild features were illumined by a beam of cheerfulness, from whence Rosetta, without knowing the cause, borrowed a ray to enliven her own. To him she could freely open her whole heart, and every subject on which she had so long and ardently wished to converse with him now rushed to her mind. The look with which he regarded her mother-in-law, the insolent pretensions of O’Bryen, and the ghastly resemblance of Lilburne which she witnessed on the sea-shore, were all matters of the highest importance to be discussed; but the silence of her brother and her lover being the subject nearest her heart, rose first to her lips, and when the customary salutations of the morning had passed, and she had received the holy father’s blessing, she turned the discourse on her absent friends; and inquired whether father Vincent did not think their silence strange and alarming. To her great consolation, he replied in the negative, expressed his conviction that her fears were groundless, and tried to soothe and re-assure her spirits, adding, “I trust that Mitford will return safe and happy, my daughter.”
“Happy!—Oh, father!” re-echoed Rosetta, looking earnestly in his face.
“Yes, my child,” replied the monk—“I trust the evil he dreaded will be averted, but I am not at liberty to say more until I hear from Lilburne.”
The look of cheerfulness that accompanied these words, gave to the harassed heart of Rosetta a degree of comfort to which it had long been a stranger, and with the sanguine spirits of youth, anticipating only happiness, the spectre amongst the rocks vanished from her thoughts; or, perhaps, ashamed to appear superstitious, she resolved not to mention it, at least for the present. But unable to suppress the painful curiosity that was excited in her breast, by the first interview between him and the countess, she resolved to lead to an explanation on the subject, and prefaced it, by relating to her preceptor the measures which had been used to influence the earl in O’Bryen’s favor. Father Vincent listened with attention, and replied by enjoining her to remain faithful to her engagement with Lilburne, and on no account whatever to bestow her hand elsewhere. Rosetta solemnly promised to abide by her vow, and was proceeding to say, “But surely, my father, you have seen the countess”—when the door of the apartment burst open, and lady Wooler herself appeared. The expression of her countenance sufficiently proclaimed that she had been listening to the discourse which had just passed, and casting on the monk a glance of malignant fury, she exclaimed, “Does it become your holy order, father, thus to encourage a child in disobedience to her parents, and teach her to reject the union which their tender care has planned for her?”
The same look of horror again sat on the features of father Vincent, and when the lady ceased speaking, he replied, in a stern and somewhat agitated voice, “To shun an alliance with guilt and infamy is not disobedience, but duty.” He seemed about to say more, but suddenly paused.
“Guilt and infamy!” re-echoed the countess, “really, father, I am at a loss to comprehend your meaning;” and while she spoke, pride struggled with confusion on her countenance.
“Cease to persecute innocence, and repent of your past sins,” said the monk, in a solemn and peculiar voice.
The eyes of Lady Wooler flashed with rage, and in a haughty tone, she threatened to complain to the prior of the insolence, as she termed it, with which father Vincent treated her; then commanding her daughter to follow, she was quitting the apartment, when the monk intercepted her passage. Lifting up his cowl, he fixed his eyes steadfastly on hers, and inquired in a voice which no words can do justice to, whether she knew him? The countess regarded him earnestly for a moment, and then, while her countenance changed to an expression of indescribable wildness, she exclaimed in a faultering voice, “Gracious heaven, my lord! is it you?” Then resuming her accustomed haughtiness, she continued, in a low tone, “But I shall not submit to any further insults from you—I have already suffered too many.”
“Insults!” reiterated the monk, “darest thou talk of insults, infamous, abandoned wretch? do not my injuries cry aloud to heaven?—where is my?”—Here he suddenly checked himself.
A ghastly paleness again overspread the face of the countess, and father Vincent, waving his hand to Rosetta, bade her retire, and remember what he had said, adding that he would see her again soon. She obeyed with fear and trembling, and the countess attempted to follow her, but was withheld by the monk, who, when Rosetta had quitted the room, forcibly closed the door.
Surprised and affrighted by all she had seen and heard, Rosetta knew not how to act. In the first agitation of her spirits she was going to summon her father, but a moment’s reflection told her such a measure would be imprudent; yet scarcely knowing what she did, she wandered out upon the ramparts, where the pleasantness of the day, the cool exhilarating sea-breeze, and, above all, the recollection of what father Vincent had said about Lilburne, soon restored her spirits to their usual tone. The latter source of comfort was indeed almost counterbalanced by the anxiety she could not avoid feeling concerning the scene she had just witnessed between the countess and her preceptor, and revolving them alternately in her mind, she continued to pace the rampart for upwards of half an hour, watching all the while to see father Vincent when he should quit the house; at length he appeared, and waved his hand for her to come to him—she was hastening to obey, when she saw one of the brethren join him; they conversed for a moment, and then father Vincent calling to her, “I shall see you afterwards, dear daughter,” they passed on to the cloisters together; and Rosetta somewhat disappointed, turned to pursue her solitary walk, when she beheld Clifford approaching to meet her.
“Mr. Clifford,” she exclaimed, “I did not know you had returned from Whitby—I fear you have met with some accident,” she added, observing his arm in a sling.
He replied, that owing to the darkness of the preceding night, and the badness of the road near Newcastle, his horse had stumbled, in consequence of which, he received a slight contusion on his arm.
Rosetta expressed her concern, and inquired after their friends in Yorkshire. Clifford gave a good account of them all: but as they traversed the ramparts together, he seemed pensive and abstracted. At length, after apologizing for the liberty he was taking, he cautioned Rosetta to be on her guard against the designs of the countess, who certainly intended to adopt some severe and decisive measures with respect to her; adding, that he derived his information from the exulting hints which O’Bryen dropped while examining his hurt.
Rosetta thanked him with grateful frankness; but relying on the protection of her father, she smiled at the idea of danger. The hopes which father Vincent had inspired, that Lilburne would one day return, seemed to strengthen and support the natural fortitude of her mind. She was now summoned to attend Mrs. Cresswell, with whom she was engaged abroad for the rest of the day: and their absence afforded ample time to the countess and the major to carry their plans into execution.
The following morning, Lady Wooler entered an apartment where her lord was looking over some papers, and threw herself on a seat in apparent agitation and distress. The earl greatly surprised, flew towards her, and tenderly inquired the occasion of her grief; but instead of replying, she covered her face, and seemed to burst into an agony of tears.
“Narcisse, my beloved Narcisse,” cried the earl, “you are ill!—suffer me to call assistance.”
“Oh! no, no! I am not ill,” sighed out the lady, waving her hand to detain him.—“Oh! my dear lord, it is the dreadful thought of what you will suffer that agitates me thus.”
The governor, to whom his children were ever objects of the first consideration, now exclaimed with a trembling voice, and a face pallid with apprehension, “Oh! heavens, my love, have you received letters from France?—Some evil has befallen my son.”
“Oh no! I trust not—I hope my dear son will escape the fatal spell,” returned the countess.
“Spell! what spell?” reiterated Wooler,—“What agitates you thus, my love?” continued he, taking her hand, “do not torture me with this cruel suspense.”
“Oh! Rosetta, Rosetta! my lost, my lovely child,” cried the artful Narcisse, in a tone of well-dissembled agony, “My Rosetta!”
“What of my child?” cried the earl in a voice of frenzied anguish, “Gracious heaven! what has happened?—let me know the worst.”
“Ah! who knows, who can calculate the worst?” rejoined the countess. “Cruel, guilty wretches, even now their wicked arts may involve us all. Oh! how my heart bleeds for you, my Wooler,” cried the syren, throwing her arms round his neck: “Prepare yourself for a heavy stroke—our dear Rosetta, our darling child is—oh heavens! how shall I relate the fatal truth!—she is the suffering victim of sorcery and magic: her fine understanding is gone, and she is now labouring under the most dreadful insanity.”
This vile and ridiculous fabrication found ample credit with the easy superstitious Wooler.
“Oh! heavy calamity!” he exclaimed, clasping his hands together, with a look of unspeakable affliction, “what wicked wretch has thus enthralled my innocent child?”
“Oh! how I feel for you, my lord,” cried the abandoned woman, whom he had brought into his family thus to be a bane and scourge to it. “Promise me but that you will be calm—that you will exert your fortitude, and not permit your dear health to be injured, by unavailing sorrow, and you shall know all; but why do I talk of patience to others, when every faculty of my own soul is unhinged,” continued the artful wretch, assuming a fresh transport of grief.
The unsuspecting and deluded Wooler, embraced and soothed her with the fondest affection.
“Yes, for thy sake, my adored wife!” he exclaimed, “for thy sake I will endeavour to combat my grief, and to support myself under this heavy affliction—then let me hear all, my love, what yet remains untold of this horrible tale?”
“Alas! alas!” exclaimed the countess, “how shall I tell you that Mrs. Cresswell—your relation—she, to whom I have looked up as a mother since my arrival in England—she is the cruel, the wicked sorceress; she—” Here she was interrupted by a natural exclamation of incredulity from the earl; to which, without betraying the slightest change of countenance, she replied, “Ah! my lord, I cannot wonder that you withhold belief; who indeed could have thought such wickedness possible? But the holy prior has discovered all; and I am sorry to inform you further, that your confessor, father Vincent, I think he is called, is also implicated in the crime. It seems they have long carried on their horrid practices with impunity, and that the whole of that mysterious affair concerning young Lilburne, on which your lordship has so often pondered with astonishment, is now discovered to have been their infernal work. But, thank heaven! their guilt is discovered, and their persons secured by the prior’s order.”
The governor betrayed great emotion: yet, deeming it alike impossible that the prior should be either deceived, or deceiving, he tamely resigned his friends to the fate their supposed crimes merited.
“But what!” he exclaimed, “what could induce Mrs. Cresswell to exercise her wicked spells on my child, whom she has brought up almost from infancy? Who has been accustomed to obey her in all things—and to whom she ever seemed so tenderly attached!”
“Ah!” replied the countess, with quickness, “Ah! my dear Wooler, who shall ascertain the motives of the wicked? When the day of trial arrives, perhaps we may discover more.”
“Oh! let me hasten to my suffering child,” groaned the earl, “though I cannot relieve, let me at least have the consolation of weeping over her.”
“By no means, my dear lord,” said Lady Wooler, catching his hand, “I have consulted Mr. O’Bryen, who has already visited the dear patient, and he assures me, that nothing will tend to hurt her health so much as the sight of those she loves; for the restoration of her reason, we must wait patiently until the wicked spell is removed by the pious offices of the holy father and his monks; and in the mean time, let us rather deny ourselves the melancholy consolation of beholding our dear child, than augment her sufferings by our presence. My own woman shall attend her, and you may rest assured, my love, that our dear girl shall receive every attention that can soothe her unhappy situation.”
The tender, though weak and easy father, placed the most implicit reliance on her assurances, and went to seek consolation from the prior; while the artful countess, exulting in the success of her guilty plans, hastened to a conference with her dear ally, the major.
Language cannot describe the consternation of Rosetta, when, about to leave her chamber in the morning, she found herself a prisoner, with the door firmly secured. The warning cautions of Clifford rushed to her mind—she well knew to whom she owed her bondage—and was fully sensible of the danger she was exposed to, by being thus in the power of her artful step-mother. Yet conjecture could not assist in forming the most distant idea of the nature of the plot which had been formed against her, but she saw plainly it must be one which effectually imposed upon her father, otherwise the countess would not dare to have recourse to the bold measure of confining her. For a moment she regretted that she had not sought the earl the preceding day, and acquainted him with both the scene which had passed between Lady Wooler and father Vincent, and the hints which Clifford had given her; but reflection soon convinced her, that it were better the earl should hear the sad tale of his wife’s unworthiness from any lips than those of his daughter.
She had sat absorbed in deep and painful meditation nearly an hour, when the door opened, and Lisette, the countess’ woman, appeared, bringing some milk and biscuit; and Rosetta, as she turned her eyes towards the entrance of the room, saw, with inexpressible horror, that Crapaud, a Frenchman, who also belonged to Lady Wooler’s train, stood sentinel there, with a drawn sword in his hand. When the shock of her spirits had in some degree subsided, she turned to Lisette, who was placing the breakfast-table, and demanded, in a firm and dignified tone of voice, What was meant by the treatment she received? But, to her great surprise, the woman persevered in the most profound silence, and when she had adjusted the things she brought, turned to leave the room. Rosetta, on seeing this, attempted to rush past her goalers, but Crapaud seizing her arm with brutal insolence, dragged her back into the apartment, and forcibly closing the door, locked it as before.
Overwhelmed with grief, astonishment, and apprehension, the lovely victim sunk on a seat, and burst into a passion of tears; she called on her father, her brother, Lilburne, and father Vincent, to rescue and protect her; and, for a considerable time, was incapable of reflecting seriously on her situation; at length, however, her agitation exhausted itself, and she gradually became more calm; but though she was enabled to exercise the powers of reason and reflection, they could not assist her in discovering what pretext was made use of, for dooming her to this cruel imprisonment; or what wicked arts had been employed to alienate the heart of her father, and induce him thus to abandon his child. At one moment she thought that the earl had been persuaded by the countess to adopt this measure, in order to terrify her into a marriage with O’Bryen: at another she imagined that she had been accused of some crime, though of what nature she was at a loss to conjecture; nor was it until O’Bryen visited her in the course of the morning that a true suspicion of the countess’ wicked plot flashed on her mind; and even then, she comprehended no more than that her father had been deluded into a belief that she laboured under a mental derangement; but of the vile accusations against Mrs. Cresswell and father Vincent she had not the slightest idea.
O’Bryen was accompanied by Lisette, and Crapaud as before stood guard at the entrance, with his unsheathed weapon. The self-conceited practitioner, with an air, half supercilious, and half respectful, advanced to Rosetta, and addressed her with some inquiries; to which she replied in a voice of dignified firmness, “I am perfectly well in health, sir; consequently, no excuse can be drawn from thence, to justify the captivity in which I am held, with the ostensible motive of which, you are, I am convinced, well acquainted; and I now call upon you, as a gentleman, and a man of honour, to declare why I am treated in this manner, secluded from my father and friends, and guarded thus?” by a motion of her hand directing his eyes towards Crapaud.
“Why, my dear madam,” said O’Bryen, while an expression of sneering archness sat on his features, “quiet is judged to be absolutely necessary to—to remove—for effecting the restoration of—and aided by the remedies I shall send, will happily restore—” While he spoke he gradually receded towards the door, and, having reached it, abruptly broke off the sentence, and bowing profoundly, retired, followed by the attendants, while the massy key once more sounded on the ear of poor Rosetta.
She was now at no loss to conjecture, that a story of her intellects being deranged had been imposed upon the earl, by her artful mother-in-law; and the sad reflection, that she was now wholly in the power of that abandoned woman, deluged her lovely eyes with floods of bitter anguish.—At length the natural strength of her mind rose superior to her unmerited sufferings, and firmly relying on the goodness of that Power who has promised His all-gracious assistance to persecuted virtue, she endeavoured to arm herself with fortitude, and to seek for employment and abstraction from sorrow, in the few books which her chamber afforded; feeling it a duty she owed to herself, to guard against the despondency which might reduce her to that state which her enemies had represented her to be suffering under.
Day and weeks wore over in this cheerless solitude; she saw no one but the two French domestics: Lisette constantly bringing her food, and the few articles of dress she needed, and adjusting her dismal apartment; while Crapaud never failed, on these occasions, to guard the entrance. They both steadfastly continued to maintain the most inviolable silence; nor could all the entreaties of Rosetta—all her remonstrances on the subject of her captivity, nor all the inquiries she made after her father, Mrs. Cresswell, and father Vincent, draw from either of them a single sentence.
Whatever degree of fortitude Rosetta was enabled at first to exert, her spirit could not always bear up under the pressure of lengthened calamity. Her health suffered by confinement—her rest was broken—her appetite impaired—and she felt that both her mental and corporeal strength would eventually sink beneath the apparent desertion of every friend, and the oppression she suffered from her cruel persecutors.
Still worse, still more dreadfully distressing, was the situation of poor Mrs. Judith; she was conveyed to a solitary prison on the sea-shore, and a copy of the accusations exhibited against her delivered into her possession, that she might prepare her defence: the very thought of being charged with a crime which, of all others, she detested (for since the first dawn of reason she had lived in perpetual dread of being bewitched), drove her almost to madness, and every nerve tuned to superstition, augmented the horrors of her dungeon; every toad, swelled into an evil spirit—every spider ticked the melancholy death-watch—and every black snail crawled an imp of darkness; and it seemed scarcely possible that she could survive the few weeks which would determine her fate: for the abbot of St. Alban’s was shortly expected to visit Tynemouth, and a cause of such magnitude as that in which Mrs. Cresswell was implicated could only be tried before him.
That part of Lady Wooler’s intelligence which announced the arrest and imprisonment of father Vincent, was premature, though, at the same time, it proved how far that artful woman was concerned in the vile plot, which, in conjunction with the prior, and the deputy-governor, she had hatched to effect the destruction of those who saw, and condemned their vices.
Father Vincent was indeed accused as an accomplice of Mrs. Cresswell, but either anticipating what he might expect from the power and enmity of the malignant countess, to whom he was now known, or having received a private intimation of the design formed against him, and aware that innocence would afford but an uncertain and precarious defence against the determined malice of his persecutors, he thought proper to fly for sanctuary to the precincts of the shrine of St. Oswin; from whence his enemies did not dare to drag him, without an order from the higher ecclesiastical powers. Short, however, was his continuance there; the very next morning, a report prevailed, that father Vincent was no longer in the church; but opinion was divided as to the means by which he had quitted it. His enemies believed, or affected to believe, that he had wrought his deliverance by the diabolical agency of magic, in the same manner that he and his confederates formerly transported Mitford Lilburne from the same place. While those, who revered the virtues and commiserated the unmerited misfortunes of the worthy monk, though they dared to breathe their suspicions only in whispers, threw the whole odium of his disappearance on the prior and his confederates, who, they doubted not, had secretly put him to death, conscious of their inability to support the absurd charge they had brought against him, should the affair be brought before a court of justice.
“All ruin’d and wild is the roofless abode,
And lonely the dark raven’s sheltering tree;
And travell’d by few is the grass-cover’d road;
Where the hunter of deer, and the warrior trod,
To his hills that encircle the sea.”
THE medicines which O’Bryen had declared his intention of sending, were brought by Lisette to the fair captive; but she, apprehensive that more might be “meant than met the ear,” destroyed them the moment she was alone. Thus at once leaving her persecutors to suppose she had taken them, and guarding against the consequences which might have ensued had she done so, had any ingredient of a destructive nature been contained in their composition.
One night, about the hour of rest, while Rosetta sat reading by the faint ray of her lamp, she heard the door of her apartment slowly unclosed; she raised her head, expecting to see Lisette; but the visage of the countess, scowling with dark malignity, met her eye; its expression struck horror to her fainting spirit, and she trembled with apprehensions, which yet she struggled to subdue. After the presageful pause of a moment, Lady Wooler said, “Rosetta, I come to offer you the alternative of liberty, or perpetual imprisonment, which last must be your inevitable portion, if you refuse to comply with the conditions I shall propose.”
Here she paused, as if to give Rosetta an opportunity to express her assent; but finding she remained silent, her ladyship resumed, “I shall make the matter short, what I require from you is, your instant, and unconditional promise to marry Mr. O’Bryen.”
To this Rosetta, who felt her spirit rise superior to the tyranny of her mother-in-law, gave a firm and decided negative; declaring, that O’Bryen was the last man in the world she ever would consent to marry; and concluded, by expressing her reliance on heaven, her father, and brother, to protect and deliver her from persecution.
The countess’ large eyes actually glared with passion; and in a voice, rendered almost inarticulate, by the violent transports of her rage, she exclaimed, “Your father—know, he has abandoned you entirely; your brother, I shall take especial care to prevent interfering in your concerns; all your other friends are, or shall be, in my power; and the rest of your life shall be dragged on in a convent in Italy, where tortures await you, of which you cannot even form an idea.—You have done well, indeed, to dispute my commands,” she added, in a tone of ironical fury, “but take the consequence—your time here is very short.”
With these words she rushed from the room, and locking the door, left Rosetta suffering under a degree of anguish which no words can describe. Yet the idea of what her vindictive mother-in-law might inflict on herself, was the least of her apprehensions; her father too surely had withdrawn his affection from his child, and resigned her to the malice of the cruel and artful woman he had made his wife; and Ida, her beloved brother, it was too probable, was also a suffering victim of the tyrannical countess. She passed a night of sleepless inquietude; but determined not to yield to despair, she rose in the morning at her accustomed hour, and busied herself in such little occupations as her prison afforded. In the forenoon, when Lisette came to put the apartment in order, she brought a bundle in her hand, and placed it on a table—Rosetta, supposing it contained some cloaths, took no notice of the circumstance. But she observed that Lisette watched the motions of Crapaud with unusual solicitude; at length, when his back was turned for a moment, she approached Rosetta, and hastily whispered, “Open that bundle, my lady, the instant we are gone!”
These words, and the manner in which they were spoken, it will readily be imagined, surprised Rosetta, and strongly excited her curiosity; but when she found herself alone, she involuntarily hesitated to gratify it, and indeed it cannot be wondered that her spirits, weakened as they were by confinement, and ill-treatment, anticipated evil in almost every object. At length, she summoned courage to examine the bundle; and, to her inexpressible surprise, found it to contain a rope-ladder, with a written paper affixed to it; this she eagerly seized, and tearing it open, read as follows:
“Let not Lady Rosetta hesitate to use the only means of deliverance that a sincere friend has been able to procure: now is the time to exert that noble courage and fortitude which distinguish her; she will easily discover the proper method by which the ladder may be fastened to some heavy pieces of furniture, and by its assistance, at twelve this night, she may safely descend into the court; where she will find ready to receive her, a friend—a friend who will most cheerfully risk his life in her service; and may heaven bless and guard the enterprise!”
No words can convey an adequate idea of Rosetta’s astonishment on reading this note; joy was the natural and predominant feeling of the moment, but it was accompanied by the inquiry of “Who amongst her friends could have contrived this method to effect her deliverance, and have bribed Lisette to convey it to her?” With four persons only could it originate—Mrs. Cresswell, father Vincent, Lilburne, or Ida. Of the events which had happened to the two former, it will be remembered, she was ignorant; and the distance of the two latter from Tynemouth rendering it improbable, and indeed almost impossible, that they could have contrived this plan for her release.—She fixed on father Vincent, in her own mind, as its author. But when the first tumult of joy subsided, she felt some degree of fear pervade her mind; for did there not exist a possibility at least that this was some new scheme of Lady Wooler’s to injure her? She carefully examined the note to try if she could trace the hand-writing, but in vain, for it seemed purposely disguised, though evidently that of a man. Yet the question recurred, “If this were really a scheme of the countess’ contriving, what end could she purpose to herself by it?” Rosetta could see none; for if, as she supposed, a report of her insanity had been propagated, it surely must be the interest of her oppressors to keep her closely confined and secluded from every human eye. In short, after the most mature deliberation she was capable of bestowing on the subject, her thoughts recurred to father Vincent, as the author of the plan. Though an attempt to escape from the window of the apartment was unquestionably hazardous in the extreme, she resolved to brave its danger; and employed the remainder of the day in contriving the best means of fastening the ladder, which was a less difficult task than she at first imagined, for one end of it was furnished with strong cords of a considerable length, which might easily be fastened to two heavy chairs.
Lisette attended at the dinner hour, but the watchful eyes of Crapaud effectually prevented Rosetta from asking her any questions concerning the person from whom she received the bundle.
The day wore over at last, and was succeeded by a beautiful night. The moon, which now exhibited a full-formed crescent, rode high above the waves, and shed its mild rays on the gothic towers of the abbey. Rosetta leaned from the window; but the lovely scene failed to tranquillize her mind; a heavy gloom swelled at her heart, and unfitted it for the enterprise she was about to undertake. As the hours wore away, and the appointed one drew nigh, the perturbation of her spirits increased, and she felt her sense of danger augmented. The personal hazard she should encounter both in her descent from the window, and the risk she ran of being discovered, alternately occupied and alarmed her mind, until the clock of the monastery proclaiming the hour of eleven, and the noise made by fastening the gates, warned her that it was time to begin her preparations. First, she fervently implored the protection of heaven, and then proceeded to secure the ladder, though she every moment dreaded being interrupted by a visit from the countess, or some other cause. All however remained still and silent; and having with the utmost strength she could exert, completed her arduous task, she gently opened the casement, and listened with a throbbing heart until every being in the monastery, castle, and governor’s house, seemed to have retired to rest. Still she listened with anxious solicitude to catch the first sound which might announce the approach of her promised deliverer; but no footstep was stirring, and she felt chilled by an apprehension that their scheme was discovered and frustrated. Yet such a fear seemed to be entirely groundless, for had the countess been apprised that she possessed the means of escape, she would doubtless have immediately deprived her of them.
At length the bell summoned the monks to midnight prayers, and it now first occurred to Rosetta, that father Vincent would be compelled to attend his duty in the chapel at that very hour; of course it could not be he who had promised to receive her in the court—a fresh tide of uncertainty, doubt, and apprehension, rushed to her mind, but the time for indulging weak terrors was past; either she must resign all hopes of deliverance, or act with courage and decision; deliberation was folly—delay madness; her resolution was taken,—seizing the ladder, she threw it out—recommended herself to the protection of heaven, and instantly springing to the frame of the window, placed her foot on the uppermost step; here she cast a fearful glance on the distance she was from the ground; her whole frame trembled with agitation, and her nerveless hands were scarcely able to grasp the cords. With slow and cautious steps she continued to descend, and had got about half way down, when her foot slipped, and she gave herself up for lost; expecting to be dashed on the pavement below. Her danger and apprehensions, however, were momentary—by a sudden effort of courage, and presence of mind, she recovered herself, and reached the ground, without receiving any other hurt than a slight sprain in one of her wrists.
While she was yet returning thanks to that Power who had preserved her, she beheld the form of a man approaching. The moon-beams were obscured by a projection of the wall, which prevented Rosetta from distinguishing his features; and uncertain whether she beheld a friend or foe, she trembled; but the well-known voice of Clifford, warmly congratulating her on her safety, soon dispelled her fears, though it excited her surprise; for in all her conjectures concerning her unknown friend, he had never once occurred to her thoughts; yet now that the veil was removed, and in Clifford she beheld her deliverer, she involuntarily hesitated to put herself under his protection; and while she faintly articulated his name, she stood for a moment irresolute how to act; while he, taking her hand, with a respectful air, said, “I see Lady Rosetta is surprized, but I dared not sign my name to the note I did myself the honor to address to her, lest any unfortunate chance should discover it to her persecutors. Thank heaven, however, our plan has succeeded thus far—permit me, then, madam, to conduct you to a place of greater safety, where you will be received and protected by sincere friends.—This is no moment for concealment; but I grieve at the necessity which compels me to declare, that the blackest designs are entertained against you by the countess. Your friend——.”
Here the sound of a footstep made them start, and Clifford instantly hurried his fair companion through a small postern door, which opened on the slope or lawn on the outside of the rampart; while Rosetta, obeying the impulse of the moment, resigned herself to his protection; and as she retreated through the gateway, raised her eyes to the window of her late apartment, and wondered how she had ever acquired courage to descend from it in the manner she had done.—Clifford conducted her cautiously down to the rocks on the sea-shore, and though a thousand questions occurred to Rosetta, the difficulty of the descent precluded all conversation. When they reached the haven, he led her into one of the caverns, where he informed her, that he had a boat in waiting near the rocks, which he had not dared to detain in sight of the castle, lest it might lead to a discovery. To Rosetta’s inquiry, “To what end they were to embark in a boat?” he replied in a low voice, “that to the north of the castle was a subterraneous way, by which they might pass to Hartley, where their friends would meet them; and that the impossibility of escaping undiscovered through the castle gates, compelled them to the necessity of sailing round the point.”
Rosetta, reflecting that his safety as well as her own depended upon their speedily quitting the castle, suppressed the inquiries she was anxious to make concerning her father and brother, and contented herself with expressing her gratitude, for the obligations she owed him, and fears lest his safety should be endangered by his efforts to serve her.
Clifford, in reply, assured her that he ran no risk; then, wrapping her in his military cloak, he seated her on a projection of rock—promised to hasten back with the boat, which, he said, his servant was in charge of; and kissing his hand to Rosetta, who assumed a semblance of cheerfulness that she might not seem ungrateful for his attentions, he flew across the beach, and bounding over the banks on the other side of the haven, he was soon lost to her view.
Left to the indulgence of her own reflections, Rosetta felt that the tranquillity she affected was far from being real; though she highly esteemed Clifford, and had not the slightest reason to imagine she should repent the confidence she reposed in him, still even against her better judgment, her heart revolted against the idea of putting herself under his protection, quitting her father’s roof, and suffering him to lead her she knew not whither; for if any other of her friends were concerned in planning her escape, he had not yet acquainted her with their names. She thought, indeed, he had mentioned father Vincent, but her spirits were so confused, that she could not ascertain whether it were so or not. It was now, however, too late to retreat—she must rely on his honor—and for the present she endeavoured to abstract her mind, and beguile the time till his return, by gazing on the beautiful scene which surrounded her. The tide was retiring, and the ebbing waves, unruffled by the mild western breeze, which seemed to repose in the surrounding caverns, from whence it breathed in soft and hollow murmurs, scarce broke the stillness of night. As the water which covered the weed-clad rocks, gradually shallowed, the moon-beams reflected on its clear surface, produced an effect so surprising and beautiful, that Rosetta, in contemplating it, lost the remembrance of her own sorrows, until the rapid retreat of the waves recalled her mind to the length of Clifford’s stay. She became alarmed and uneasy—she feared he had been discovered—the morning would soon break, and should she be seen by any of the sentinels on duty, what might she not expect from the fury of her vindictive mother-in-law!—Suspense lengthened the lingering minutes—the tide, she saw, was more than half gone back, and she was just endeavouring to acquire courage from despair, that she might calmly endure the worst, when the soft dashing of oars broke upon her ear, and revived her fainting spirits. The little bark rapidly approached the shore, and Rosetta soon beheld her deliverer at her side. She willingly permitted him to assist her to the boat, where she felt herself compelled again to repress her curiosity, and suspend all inquiry after her friends, the presence of Clifford’s servant precluding any particular conversation. Clifford pressed his fair companion to take some wine and biscuit, with a degree of friendly earnestness that could not be resisted; while himself assisted the man in rowing, and by their united exertions, they soon cleared the point, and brought to amongst the rocks, to the north of the castle. Clifford assisted Rosetta on shore, and after spending a moment in giving directions to his servant, who remained behind, he led her forwards to—what words can express her astonishment—to that very cavern where she had once seen, what she then imagined to be the form of Lilburne, vanish; and about which Mrs. Cresswell had told her so many strange stories—she involuntarily shrunk back, and with her eyes asked an explanation of her conductor. He understood their silent eloquence, and replied to it, “Do not be alarmed, dear Lady Rosetta, this is the entrance of the subterraneous passage I mentioned before; believe me, we shall be safe in it—the distance is long, indeed, and I fear you will encounter much fatigue; but it is the only way that could be devised for us to escape.”
Rosetta, to whom the utmost fatigue human nature was capable of enduring was light in comparison to what her tyrannical mother-in-law might inflict, assured her companion, as she followed him into the cavern, that she was prepared to encounter every hardship.—Clifford carried a lamp: the entrance was so low that at first they were compelled to stoop; but as they proceeded onwards the passage became both higher and wider; and, though it was extremely damp, they could now walk with comparative ease, and beguile the way by conversation.
Clifford sought to amuse her, by talking of the ridiculous stories which were circulated concerning the place they were in; little imagining that there existed a reason, why such a subject was painful to Rosetta. But she, shuddering when she thought of the form she had once seen there, and anxious, besides, to ask the questions she had so long suppressed, seized the first momentary pause of discourse, to inquire after her father.
Clifford hesitated a moment, and then replied, “In no instance will I deceive you, lady Rosetta—the earl is at present confined to his room, by a slight attack of the gout.”
Rosetta stopped—“Alas! I fear it is worse,” she exclaimed, “My dear father is very ill!”
Clifford solemnly assured her she knew the worst, and at length succeeded in calming her apprehensions; but she could not repress her tears, which for some time prevented her utterance, and made her indifferent to the difficulties of the passage, which was again become very strait and uneven. When she was sufficiently composed to renew the conversation, she inquired, “whether any letters had yet arrived from her brother?” Lilburne, she could not bring herself to name; though when Clifford mentioned Hartley, she had indulged a faint hope, that he might possibly be there, his seat being in that neighbourhood.
Clifford replied in the negative. But when Rosetta expressed the apprehensions she could not conceal, he sought to dissipate them, by hinting his belief, that the dispatches had been intercepted by the countess.
“But be assured, madam,” he continued, “your friends wait but till you are in a place of safety, to undeceive your father—to convince him of the unworthiness of the woman he has made his wife—and to prevent her from further injuring his connections. If you will permit me,” he added, “I will detail several late events, which have come to my knowledge, with most of which I believe you are unacquainted.”
She begged him to proceed, but the circumstances having been related already, it is only necessary to observe, that Rosetta was keenly pained by the dreadful situation in which her respectable relative Mrs. Cresswell, was placed by the malice of the countess.
Rosetta had followed her conductor without once complaining of fatigue, but the passage now became extremely narrow, with a descent so steep, that it was difficult, and even dangerous, to go on; suddenly it branched out into two different paths, and Clifford declared himself at a loss which to pursue.
“I hoped, ere now, to have met a guide,” said he; “surely he cannot be long in joining us—if you please, lady Rosetta, we will rest here a short time, and wait his coming.”
Rosetta, who felt extremely wearied, gladly assented; only expressing a fear lest delay might expose them to danger, should they be pursued. But Clifford seemed perfectly assured of their safety.
The place affording no opportunity of seating themselves, they were compelled to lean against the wall; and in this situation Clifford resumed the thread of his late discourse, and was proceeding to speak of father Vincent, when they distinctly heard the sound of footsteps approaching.
“It is our guide, I hope,” said Clifford; but the heart of Rosetta died within her, for she now plainly distinguished voices, and was certain they came in the direction they had already passed,—not from either of the passages before them. Clifford now started, listened, and placed his hand on his sword. Several persons, it was evident, were advancing fast, and in another moment the glare of lamps broke through the gloom.
“Oh! oh! there are the fugitives just before us, upon my honor,” exclaimed a voice, which Rosetta instantly knew for that of the detested O’Bryen.
“Gracious heaven protect me!” she wildly shrieked, and darting forwards, regardless whither. She flew along the passage to the right; but here an object infinitely more appalling than the countess herself met the eye of the agitated maid. The figure she had once before seen enter the rock—the supposed shade of Lilburne appeared before her—the sight was momentary, but the effect it produced, combining with the certainty of being again in the power of her mother-in-law was such as might be expected; and with a wild shriek, she fell senseless to the earth.
Meanwhile, Clifford determined to protect Rosetta with his life, placed himself in the entrance of the narrow path she had taken, and drew his sword to oppose whoever should presume to follow her.
The pursuing party consisted of the countess, Shipperdson, O’Bryen, Crapaud, and two soldiers, in one of whom Clifford recognized his servant, with whom he had parted at the mouth of the cavern, and on whose fidelity he would have staked his life. He was now too fatally convinced he had betrayed him, but the present was no moment for reflection—Shipperdson advanced, and called to the soldiers to seize the traitor, for so he termed Clifford; who, regardless that he forfeited his life, by lifting his arm against a superior officer, made a furious pass at the major, and wounded him in the arm.
Alas! the unfortunate youth was soon overpowered by numbers, and secured: not, however, until he had sheathed his sword in the heart of the villain who betrayed him; and received the weapon of Crapaud in his own bosom.
The countess, wholly unmindful of this scene of blood, which was in reality her own work, had pursued the path taken by Rosetta, and was feasting her diabolical revenge by contemplating the lovely inanimate form which lay stretched before her, when she was joined by her detestable accomplices. They soon bore the insensible Rosetta and the bleeding Clifford back to the castle. Shipperdson all the way vowing revenge on the latter for the wound he had given him.
Poor Clifford was conveyed to prison, and Rosetta to her former apartment. But, before she reached it, her senses were restored to the exquisite misery of her situation, and to the certainty that Clifford was wounded, perhaps mortally, in her defence—that she was again enslaved by her cruel persecutor, without even the remotest chance of deliverance—that the life of Mrs. Cresswell, and too probably that of Ida also, was in the power of the same malignant being—that her father was suffering under a painful illness—and, oh! heaviest stroke of all!—that Lilburne was no more, for she had certainly twice seen his departed spirit.—She sunk beneath such accumulated misery, and a raging fever reduced her, in three days, past all hope of recovery.
“Ah scenes beloved! as memory you unlock,
Then rise the visions of my early days,
When the wet weed torn from its native rock,
I valu’d higher than the poet’s bays:
And as the landscape met my ardent gaze,
Sky, earth, and waters, all had charms for me;
Hope had not taught me yet to tune my lays,
Nor at the muse’s shrine to bend the knee,
And all was peaceful calm, like summer’s even sea.”
THE day after that on which the events recorded in the preceding chapter took place, the prior of St. Albans arrived at Tynemouth; his stay was limited to three days, the last of which was appointed for the important trial of Mrs. Cresswell. At eight in the morning the solemn court met, in the great hall of the monastery, where the proud abbot sat pre-eminent on a raised seat, resembling a throne; on his right hand was a vacant place for the governor of the castle, who was too ill, and perhaps too much affected to attend; on his left was the prior of Tynemouth, and next to him was seated the worthy deputy-governor; on the other side, below the governor’s chair, were benches for the brethren of the convent; and the persons belonging the abbot’s train, the officers of the garrison, and the neighbouring gentlemen had proper places assigned to them.
When every punctilio of monkish pomp and conventual ceremony had been observed, the prisoner was brought to the bar. Poor Judith! worn almost to a shadow by confinement, anxiety, and the deprivations of all those little comforts she had been accustomed to through life, appeared an object that might have excited compassion in the breast of a savage, but her cruel persecutors and bigotted judges beheld her grief-worn countenance without the slightest emotion of pity; while the malignant countess sat during the trial, in a latticed box, and glutted her thirst of vengeance with the misery of her victim.
But though the person of Judith sufficiently proclaimed her sufferings, her manners had lost nothing of their dignified stateliness and formality; she curtsied respectfully to the court, and kneeled down before the abbot’s throne while the indictment or accusation was read, which was in substance as follows:
“Whereas Judith Cresswell, spinster, being moved and seduced by the instigation of the devil, hath, in conjunction with a monk commonly known and distinguished by the name or appellation of father Vincent,—with Deborah Sabourne widow; and with certain other persons, leagued and combined with wicked, accursed, and infernal spirits to practise the diabolical, detestable, and impious arts of incantation, sorcery, witchcraft, and magic, to the great injury, hurt, and annoyance of all true catholics; particularly upon or about the third day of September, in the year of our Lord 1492, the said Judith Cresswell, wilfully, maliciously, and diabolically, by the power, agency, and influence of her spells and incantations, did raise, or cause to be raised a terrible storm, with the design and intention of drowning Rosetta de Norton, (commonly called Lady Rosetta) Mitford Lilburne, and divers other persons, who were then at sea in an open boat. Moreover, upon or about the thirteenth day of the said month of September, in the said year, the said Judith Cresswell, her abettors, or accomplices, did wilfully, &c. by the power, &c. convey the before named Mitford Lilburne from the church of St. Oswin, at Tynemouth, in the county of Northumberland, when and where he was watching his arms; yea, the said Judith Cresswell, her abettors or accomplices practised spells, charms, witcheries, or enchantments, so as to spell-bind, charm, bewitch, or enchant the said Mitford Lilburne, to the great hurt and prejudice of his reason; and manifest peril and hazard of his precious soul. Moreover, the said Judith Cresswell, did upon or about the twenty-fifth day of March, in the year of our Lord 1493, wilfully, &c. apply, or cause to be applied, to the soles of the feet of the late holy father, Roger Smallpage, late prior of the monastery of Tynemouth, aforesaid, certain cataplasms or plaisters, which there is great reason to suspect, hastened the death of the said holy father. Moreover, the said Judith Cresswell, her abettors or accomplices, upon or about the twelfth day of August, in the aforesaid year, did wilfully, &c. bewitch and enchant the afore-named Rosetta de Norton, so as to destroy her intellects, and reduce her to a state of insanity. Moreover, the said Judith Cresswell, upon or about the fifteenth day of the said month of August, in the said year, did, by the power, agency, and influence of sorcery and witchcraft, secretly convey the afore-named father Vincent from the afore-named church of St. Oswin, yea, and has ever since rendered him invisible, to screen him from the punishment due to his wicked and diabolical deeds. Furthermore, the said Judith Cresswell, her abettors and accomplices, to the great annoyance of his majesty’s liege subjects, belonging to, and residing in the afore-named county of Northumberland, charmed, fascinated, bewitched, spellbound, and enchanted the animals, within ten miles round the place of their residence.
“Of all which evil, wicked, and infernal practices, the said Judith Cresswell is, and stands accused, and is now summoned to answer all, and every the premises, before the lord abbot of St. Albans, in the county of Herts, who by virtue of his jurisdiction over the monastery of Tynemouth, its royalties, manors, villas, lands, and tenements, now holds his court in the same monastery; that the truth may be made manifest to the said lord abbot, and the prisoner be condemned or quitted as justice demands.”
Great art was used by the monks, especially the prior of Tynemouth, to induce the prisoner to plead guilty to the indictment, but she stedfastly asserted her innocence, and at length was allowed to plead—not guilty.
After the charge was read, she rose from her knees, and by the abbot’s express command, was accommodated with a seat.
The witnesses for the prosecution were then called. Several officers and soldiers belonging to the garrison, corroborated the testimony of each other with regard to the facts of the storm, and the disappearing of Lilburne from the church.—But the most material witnesses were O’Bryen, Crapaud, and two farmers of the names of Pringle and Smart, both of whom resided in the neighbourhood of Tynemouth.
O’Bryen, positively, and without hesitation, deposed, that Lady Rosetta laboured under the highest degree of mental derangement; and affirmed that he received the cataplasms from the prisoner at the bar.
Crapaud corroborated his evidence respecting Rosetta’s madness; and affirmed that he had seen the prisoner wander amongst the graves in the church-yard, at four o’clock one rainy morning, as he firmly believed, for the purpose of collecting remnants of coffins, bones, and other relics to use in her spells, charms, and incantations.
The evidence of Pringle, accused the prisoner with bewitching his cows, so as to prevent them from giving milk; with affixing a charm on his hens, to hinder them from laying eggs; with twisting the manes of his horses, so that it was impossible to disentangle them; and finally affirmed, that he had seen her ride through the air on a broom-stick!
Smart deposed to the same effect, with this delectable addition—That as he was returning from market, the prisoner jumped from her broom, and placed herself behind him on his horse!
To all this, was subjoined the depositions of some of the monks, who spoke to the fact of father Vincent having disappeared from the church. But this, like many other matters contained in the indictment, when mentioned as the act of the prisoner, was mere assertion without proof.
The illness of the governor was a circumstance which it will perhaps be wondered, should not have been charged on the unfortunate Judith, by her enemies; the truth was, the countess had artfully endeavoured to persuade her husband, that his indisposition was caused by Judith’s spells, but he constantly replied, “No, I am convinced it is not so; my gout was brought on entirely by fretting about my children. Do not, therefore, make that any part of the charge, for I should be as wicked as herself, if I accused her with a crime of which she is innocent.”
The evidence on the part of the prosecution being closed, the prisoner was ordered to proceed with her defence. She held a written paper in her hand, which with a firm and collected voice, she read to the court. It began with positively denying the charge, and then proceeded to the following effect.
“Surely, holy fathers, the tender affection I have ever manifested for Rosetta de Norton, is a sufficient refutation of the accusation; for can it be supposed, nay, is it indeed possible, that I should endeavour to destroy first the life, and afterwards the intellects of a young person whom I brought up from infancy, and who was ever regarded by me as a daughter; for that such was the light in which I considered her, I shall bring many respectable witnesses to prove. So far from having been concerned in raising the storm, I do declare, and the Earl of Wooler himself can testify, that I warned Mr. Lilburne we were going to have bad weather, and showed him the quantity of soot which had fallen from the chimney. I often advised him, also, not to sleep in the room where his father died, which, as is well known, is haunted: but he would listen to no persuasions; and therefore what befel him in the church was no more than might be expected; for I am certain it was the ghost’s doing.
“With regard to the cataplasms, I readily admit that I prepared them, but I solemnly declare they contained no hurtful ingredient, for I stirred the composition with the third finger of my left hand, to which, as you well know, holy fathers, nothing of a bad or malignant nature will adhere; but if my skill was not to be trusted, if I was suspected of the crime I am now charged with, why, let me ask, did Mr. O’Bryen allow the application of any preparation of mine?
“Further, with regard to what has been deposed by the witness Crapaud, about my wandering in the church-yard, I allow that I did go there at the time he mentions, but I solemnly declare it was for the purpose of procuring some rain water, from a grave-stone, to take a wart off my hand. It is hard, very hard, that I should be charged with a crime which I abhor; so far from practising sorcery, I have taken every possible care to prevent its being exercised on myself, by sleeping in a bed made of rown-tree wood, and having a horse-shoe nailed on the threshold of my door. I have worn a diamond ring, not, I solemnly declare, from vanity, but to guard me against the power of witchcraft; and now, when I have reached my grand climacteric with a fair character, how unfortunate am I, to fall under so vile a suspicion, but misfortunes never come single, for the first person I met last new-year’s day was lean and meagre, and my servant was so careless, as to suffer some yarn to remain on the reel on Good Friday.
“Holy fathers, I have nothing more to offer. I have enemies, I know it—I have blamed their vices freely, and I find the truth is not to be spoken at all times. I once more solemnly declare I am innocent of all that is laid to my charge, but I must take my lot as it falls out.”
The witnesses in favor of the prisoner were now examined. Several persons from the neighbourhood of Wooler Park, concurred in giving her a most excellent character, and bore testimony to the great affection she had ever manifested for Rosetta. But the most material evidence was that of Mr. Thornton, who affirmed, positively, that the prisoner was neither directly, nor indirectly concerned in the mysterious affair of Lilburne’s disappearance.
When the court questioned him whether his information on this subject came immediately from Lilburne himself, he acknowledged it did not, but from a person of unimpeachable veracity, who was acquainted with the real facts.
Various methods of persuasion, and even threats, were employed to induce him to name this person, but to no purpose; he adhered, without variation, to the evidence he had given; but could not be persuaded to say, whether or not he knew by what means Lilburne had been conveyed from the church.
The accusation, defence, and evidence, were now completely gone through, and the matter rested just where it was. Some of the facts stated in the indictment were proved to have occurred, but that they were the acts of the prisoner remained as uncertain as ever.
Reason and common sense, indeed, would, without hesitation, have acquitted, but superstition and bigotry, were more inclined to condemn her. One circumstance very much against her was, that no attempt had ever been made by either the prisoner, or her witnesses, to disprove her connection with Sabourne, the witch of Cullercoats; who, it appeared, was now dead. But the fact was, Judith really had consulted this old sybil, at the time Rosetta was exposed to the storm, but she did not dare to acknowledge this before her judges; for to own that she had dealt with a sorceress, on any occasion whatever, would have been to put a formidable weapon into the hands of her enemies to employ against herself. She therefore suffered this part of the indictment to pass without animadversion, and contented herself with counterbalancing it, by the shrewd observation concerning O’Bryen and the cataplasms, a circumstance which certainly had great weight in her favor; added to which, the affection, which beyond doubt, she had always cherished for Rosetta, so far weakened the testimony against her in the mind of the abbot, that he refused to pronounce a positive sentence, until she should have undergone the trial by ordeal. The consciousness of innocence, the dread of death, or the hope of escaping from it, could scarce reconcile the poor unfortunate Judith to this dreadful trial; which was no other than being thrown into the sea, in which should she sink, her innocence would be made manifest; should she swim, her guilt would be considered as certain. The ceremony was to be performed at a time when the water was tolerably shallow, and boats were to attend, that in either case, she might not meet death before her time.
Vain were her tears and groans, her weeping, wailing, and supplications, for mercy. From the abbot’s imperial, or rather imperious mandate, there was no appeal; and she had no alternative, but to declare herself guilty of the crime laid to her charge, and thus doom herself to certain death, or to embrace this chance of deliverance.
She did not indeed doubt, that her innocence would be proved by this method, for she firmly believed that the ordeal was an infallible means of ascertaining truth and falsehood; but still it was a trial, from which any one might well shrink appalled. However, as she could not avoid it, she endeavoured to arm herself with fortitude; and comforting herself with the reflection that “matters were never so bad but they might be worse,” she permitted the monks to conduct her to the church, and to proceed in the ceremonies which were judged requisite to prepare her for the severe trial she must undergo.
At length when the water was found to be sufficiently low, she was led to a rock which overhung the sea, and precipitated from thence, amid the concert produced by her own cries and supplications, and the compassionating groans of a numerous assemblage of spectators.—Alas! ill-starred Judith!—doomed to be in every thing unfortunate, she rode on the waves like a Thetis or an Amphitrite, and the soft moans of pity were changed into exclamations of “Guilty, guilty! detestable witch!”
The poor sufferer was then dragged into one of the boats, and conducted to land, where she was cheered by the hisses of the surrounding multitude.
As no doubt could now be entertained of her guilt, she was conveyed back to the hall of justice, where the abbot pronounced sentence:—
“That the prisoner, Judith Cresswell, convicted of sorcery, and witchcraft, should be tied to a stake, and burned with fire, until her body was consumed; after which her ashes should be collected and thrown into the sea.”
The prisoner, who made strong asseverations of innocence and earnest supplications for mercy, which were both disregarded, was conveyed back to her cell.
The time and place of execution had been left to the appointment of the prior of Tynemouth, who commanded that it should take place on the fifth of next month, at twelve at noon, in a field behind the village.
O! direful sentence, from which there was no appeal! in a few short days, poor Judith must perish in the burning pile, unless she could
Mount up, and take a salamander’s name.”
Clifford, whose wound did not prove mortal, was another victim pursued to destruction by the guilty countess, and her artful paramour. He was charged with assaulting and wounding his superior officer; for which offence he was tried by a military tribunal, which Shipperdson took care should be composed of officers devoted entirely to his service. It is not necessary to go into detail,—the charge was substantiated by sufficient evidence, and the court sentenced the unfortunate youth to be shot on the day preceding that appointed for the execution of poor Mrs. Cresswell.
Mr. Thornton made every effort in his power to save his adopted son, but in vain; he could not succeed in obtaining a revocation of the sentence. Nor was this the only affliction the poor old man had to struggle with.—About this time he received a letter from Mr. Moorsom, containing the agonizing intelligence, that his child, his beloved Elfrida, had been seized, and carried off by ruffians while walking in a wood near Mr. Moorsom’s country house; and all endeavours to trace them, or procure any intelligence of her had proved abortive. The wretched parent was overwhelmed with despair; his dear Clifford could no longer assist him, nor did he know what steps to pursue, or on whom to fix suspicion. It would perhaps have fallen on Shipperdson, but he had never once quitted his post since Elfrida’s departure for Yorkshire; and his intimacy with the countess of Wooler being now generally known, seemed to preclude all idea that he had any share in the transaction.
Poor unhappy Thornton! his infirmities rendered it impossible for him to go himself in search of his lost child; and to whom could he delegate such a task. Alas! he could only resign himself to grief and despair, which soon brought him to the brink of the grave.
“I do love those ancient ruins:
We never tread upon them but we set
Our foot upon some reverend history;
And questionless here in the open court,
Which now lies naked to the injuries
Of stormy weather, some men lie interred
Lov’d the church so well, and gave so largely to ‘t,
They thought it should have canopied their bones
Till Doomsday; but all things have their end,
Churches and cities (which have diseases like to men)
Must have like death that we have.”
IT has already been said, that Lord Ida and his friend Lilburne left Paris the same day on which the earl and countess of Wooler quitted that city on their way to England.
The earl had previously marked out a route for the young travellers to pursue: they were to travel on in a direct road to Lyons, stopping at every place which contained any thing worth their notice; after a short stay in that celebrated city, they were to proceed to Geneva, and from thence, either go to Italy, or return through Switzerland and Germany to Flanders, as choice might direct. To this arrangement the lively Ida made no objection; and though he assisted with some reluctance, and a heavy heart at his father’s nuptials; he looked forwards to pleasure and happiness in the tour he was about to make.
Lilburne tacitly agreed to all that was proposed; at least he made no opposition; he was become, if possible, more melancholy than ever, and seemed so abstracted, that he scarce ever noticed what was passing around him. The night previous to their departure, at the hour of rest, he followed Ida to his apartment, and having fastened the door, said in a low, but impressive voice, “Norton, I have something to propose to you, but I must first receive your solemn promise not to disclose to any one what I shall say.”
Ida, who now expected to hear the long concealed secret, readily gave him the assurance he desired, and Lilburne resumed, “I cannot proceed immediately to Lyons; business of an indispensable, a sacred nature calls me into Normandy. I shall first go to Rouen, and there wait for letters from England—I expect they will be decisive, and either restore me to peace or consign me to everlasting misery.”
In pronouncing these words, he was strongly and evidently agitated; his friend, exceedingly surprised, was about to speak, but he prevented him by saying, “Will you, then, go with me to Rouen, or pursue your journey alone? If you go with me, I give you my word, that when my fate shall be decided, I will accompany you to Lyons; and perhaps further, but at any rate, your father must leave Paris in the belief that we shall immediately pursue the route he has chosen for us.”
This was by no means agreeable to Ida, who felt repugnant at the idea of deceiving the earl: to do so seemed also very unlike the character of Lilburne, and after a few minutes of silent deliberation, he remonstrated with him on the subject, but to no effect; Lilburne persisted in making a secret journey to Normandy; and Ida, who could not suffer him to travel alone, in his present dejected state, was at length compelled to promise, that he would accompany him, and preserve an inviolable secresy.
Within an hour after the departure of the earl and his bride, the two friends left Paris and proceeded to Rouen, which they reached early on the second day. Lilburne thinking the town too public for concealment, and wishing to be nearer the sea-coast, they removed to a small sea-port, on the shore of the English channel, where they took up their abode at an obscure inn, passing for English merchants, waiting for letters from their correspondents at home.
Comfortless in the extreme was the situation of poor Ida in this solitary place, which afforded no society to beguile his hours—no objects to interest curiosity, or engage attention; and Lilburne, for whose sake he had deviated from the plan laid down for him by his father, continued a prey to secret anguish, passing his time in wandering about the sea-shore, sometimes for hours together, alone, and unattended.
The house where they had fixed themselves was not much frequented by company, consequently they ran little hazard of being discovered, and were in general very quiet.
But sometimes of a night, Lilburne, whose agitation of mind frequently precluded rest, heard unusual noises, which he was convinced proceeded from below stairs; but engrossed by reflections of his own, he never noticed the circumstance beyond the passing moment, until one night, when the noises were so loud as to waken Ida, and induce them both to listen. The sounds were accompanied by a confused murmur of voices, but they could distinguish nothing plainly; yet it seemed evident that all the persons belonging to the house were up, and busily employed. It was near midnight, but the moon, now ten days old, afforded sufficient light to distinguish objects. Ida went to the window, and clearly perceived two persons advancing towards the house, carrying large packages, while some one in the door-way repeatedly urged them to make haste.
It was evident the master of the house was connected with a gang of banditti; and though the principles and practices of their host were matters which apparently concerned them very little, they could not help feeling some uneasy apprehensions, from a conviction, that should this nefarious trade be discovered, themselves would be suspected, and secured as accomplices, and perhaps might find it difficult to extricate themselves from so disagreeable an affair.
How ready do we find arguments to support or oppose what suits with, or thwarts our inclinations!
Lilburne and Ida were equally sensible of the hazard they incurred by continuing in their present abode; but while the latter magnified the danger, from a wish to quit Normandy, and pursue their tour; the former, who was firmly resolved to remain where he was during the present distressing uncertainty of his affairs, sedulously endeavoured to conceal his own fears, and combat those of his friend.
Week after week now wore over in dull uniformity. The motive which detained Lilburne at this place avowedly was to wait for letters; from whence Ida inferred, that some person in England—most probably father Vincent—was entirely in his confidence; for if this person, whether he were father Vincent or not, had engaged to transmit communications to Normandy, it followed of course, that the journey hither must have been a long premeditated scheme. To question Lilburne on the subject, was of no avail, and the wind being adverse to the arrival of ships from England, poor Ida’s patience was nearly exhausted, and he had almost made up his own mind to break his promise, and write to father Vincent on the subject of their situation, when the wind suddenly changed to the north-west, and he determined to wait at least a few days longer—these few days determined their fate for ever.
Lilburne now watched with the most anxious solicitude every vessel that entered the harbour, but though several of them came from his native country, they brought no letters for him.
One evening, a heavy fall of rain compelled him to relinquish his unsuccessful inquiries, and retire to his lodgings somewhat earlier than usual. He was more than ever dejected, and out of spirits—refused all sustenance at the supper hour—and retired with his companion to their apartment. Lilburne, throwing himself on a chair, sat apparently lost in thought; and Ida, after reading a short time, was preparing to retire to rest, when some one knocked at their chamber door. Ida immediately opened it, and beheld the landlord, who put into his hand a packet of letters, saying, the sailor who brought it was waiting below.
Lilburne now rushed forward, and with that degree of strange impetuosity, which was so unlike his former manner, but was now become usual with him, snatched the packet from Ida, but not before the latter had seen that it was directed for Mr. Bradford, the name Lilburne had assumed; a circumstance which confirmed, beyond doubt, the opinion he before entertained, that their present disguise and concealment had long been resolved on by his incomprehensible friend; but for what reason, he was totally at a loss to conjecture. Finding Lilburne too eager to examine the contents of his dispatches, to even think of the messenger, he followed the landlord down stairs, and sent the man away amply satisfied with his bounty.
How great was his surprise, on re-entering the room, to find Lilburne on his knees, with an open letter in his hand, and eyes raised to heaven, in an apparent extasy of devotion!
The moment he perceived Ida, he started up, and clasping him to his breast, exclaimed, “Oh! Norton, I am now happy! Heaven, in its mercy, has averted the dreadful evil with which my own rashness threatened to overwhelm me.”
Ida returned his embrace, and assuring him he sincerely participated in his joy, entreated him to compose himself.
His agitation soon subsided in such a degree, as enabled him to reply to Ida’s inquiring looks. “I will no longer have any concealments from you, my dearest friend,” he said—“Norton, I may now look forward to hope and happiness with your angelic sister. But you shall instantly know all, and you will cease to wonder at the seeming madness and inconsistency of my conduct.”
Then having replenished their light, he seated himself near his friend, and began his eventful narrative in the following words:
“I shall be as brief as possible, my dear Norton, for I have much to relate, and little time for the relation. You will remember the night on which I watched my arms in the church of St. Oswin—Oh! Norton, if ever a human being was perfectly easy, contented, and happy, I was so at the moment I entered the sacred edifice. In the confession I that day made, I reviewed all the transactions of my life, and could acquit myself of having ever, by word or act, injured a fellow-creature; I was at peace with the whole world, and I could cherish the dear hope of possessing some interest in the breast of my adored Rosetta; such Norton was the state of my mind. Ah! gracious heaven!—what must ever be my sensations, when I think of the fatal minute that destroyed it—which—.”
Here his emotions became so violent, that he suddenly broke off the sentence. Ida listened in trembling expectation, and Lilburne at length resumed, “Several hours passed away in uninterrupted silence. It was near one in the morning, and the monks had returned to their cells after midnight prayers, when as I traversed the aisle, a strange sound, or rather noise, seemed to issue from the pavement immediately beneath my feet. I involuntarily receded backwards, but had scarce retreated three steps, when one of the flags on which the light of the tapers fell with strong rays, was lifted up, and I beheld the figure of—.”
While the last word still trembled on the lips of the narrator, the piercing accents of distress, uttered by a female voice, reached the apartment where they sat.
Both started, and listened—the cries were repeated, and it was now evident they came from below stairs.
Lilburne, who was nearest the door, instantly rushed out, followed by his friend, and descending to the bar, or rather kitchen, (for it served both purposes) they found it filled with fierce looking men, who, it instantly occurred to them, were part of the banditti with whom their landlord was certainly connected. Here Lilburne’s attention was soon attracted by the object whose cries had drawn him hither. A very elegant woman, apparently near forty, was struggling in the arms of one of those savages, who with the most brutal rudeness, was attempting to tear a valuable necklace from her neck. While Lilburne sternly demanded the instant release of the lady from the fellow who held her, Ida was engaged in stopping the progress of two others of the ruffians, who were conveying from the room the inanimate form of a lovely girl of sixteen or seventeen.
The banditti were, as will readily be imagined, by no means disposed to obey commands, which required them to release and desist from persecuting their fair captives; and relying on the superiority of their numbers, for they were six, exclusive of the landlord, they prepared to resent and resist the interference of the two Englishmen.
The man whom Lilburne addressed himself to, was captain or chief of the gang, and equally remarkable for his gigantic stature, prodigious strength, and dissolute principles; he indeed quitted his hold of the lady, but it was only for the purpose of drawing his hanger and assaulting Lilburne, who parried and returned the attack, perhaps with less force, but certainly with superior dexterity.
The lady, exhausted with terror and struggling, now sunk fainting to the floor.
Ida, who as has already been observed, was engaged with two of the wretches, had received a cut in his arm, and his friend, who with incredible courage and skill had defended himself against the attacks of the gigantic Gaul, his accomplice the vile landlord, and four of the banditti, was at length overpowered by numbers, and disarmed, when the officers of justice, who had long been in pursuit of this nefarious gang, rushed into the house: they were aided by an officer and a small detachment of soldiers, from a fort in the neighbourhood, and after a desperate resistance, succeeded in subduing and securing them; but alas! not until the ferocious chief had sheathed his weapon in Lilburne’s manly breast.
The landlord being secured with his accomplices, the house was left without any ostensible master; but as neither Lilburne nor the elder lady, who was alarmingly ill, (from the effects of terror and fatigue) could be removed, the officer who commanded the detachment, with equal politeness and humanity, engaged the women servants who belonged to the house, to remain there, and left two of his men, at once for the security and assistance of the invalids.
Ida whose wound was so slight, that it was not likely to be attended with any serious consequences, was distressed with apprehensions that those of Lilburne would prove mortal; however he thought it expedient to inform the French officer who they really were, and to relate to him so much of the history of his unfortunate friend as was sufficient to account for their being in that place.
The gentleman in reply, assured him, that it would be equally his duty and pleasure to show them every attention in his power; for that, having been wounded in defence of the laws of France, they were unquestionably entitled to every kind of protection those laws could afford.
Ida made a suitable return to this politeness, and having seen one of the soldiers dispatched for a surgeon, he turned his attention to the two ladies, and learning that the younger was perfectly recovered from her swoon, himself and the officer requested permission to inquire personally after her health. They were instantly admitted to the presence of one of the most beautiful and interesting females Ida had ever beheld.
She received their compliments with diffident sweetness, and gracefully expressed her thanks for the aid they had afforded to herself and her dear protectress, as she termed the other lady.
The French gentleman, whose name was Fleurier, more accustomed to converse with the ladies, and perhaps less struck with this lovely girl than was Ida, inquired, or rather hinted a wish of knowing who he had the happiness of addressing.
The young lady blushed, and hesitated at this question; and at length, without directly replying to it, she said, that the lady she travelled with was Madame de Montandre, who resided in a chateau between Vernon and Rouen. That they had that evening reached the little town they were now in with the intention of embarking in the first vessel that should sail for England; when the chief of these villains, under the pretence that he was the captain of a ship bound for that country, brought them to this house, most probably for the purpose of putting them to death, that he might possess himself of their effects, and of the valuable jewels worn by Madame de Montandre.
Fleurier expressed his intention of bringing the offenders to condign punishment; and then enquired whether Madame Montandre had any relatives to whom he might have the happiness of announcing her safety.
The young lady hesitated some time, as before, and then, after thanking Fleurier for his attentions, she said that Madame Montandre’s only son was then abroad, and that there was no other person with whom Madame was so nearly connected as to render such trouble on the part of M. Fleurier at all necessary.
Ida concluded in his own mind, that the son of Madame Montandre was this young lady’s lover, a supposition in which he was confirmed by the hesitation and embarrassment with which she mentioned him.
The arrival of the surgeon being now announced, the gentlemen took leave, and repaired to the apartment whither Lilburne had been carried; who, having remained so long without any application powerful enough to stop the effusion of blood, it had in consequence been so great, that when the surgeon had felt his pulse and viewed the wound, he would not venture to probe it, the patient’s weakness being such, that he could not possibly survive the operation, nor had he the smallest expectation that he would live more than a few hours. However, he cleansed the wound, and applied a proper dressing; after which the poor sufferer revived a little, and made signs for drink. But in less than two hours the wound bled afresh, and though the effusion yielded for a time to the powerful styptics applied by the surgeon, who at the earnest request of Ida had remained at the inn, it returned again with augmented violence, and left the patient with scarce the least sign of life. Indeed the surgeon momentarily expected his death; for, from the direction of the wound, and the repeated bleedings, he entertained the most serious apprehensions that the pulmonary artery was injured.
Contrary however to all the examples of similar cases which this gentleman could recollect, in the course of his long practice, Lilburne continued four days in a state that could scarcely be called existence; during which melancholy period, Ida attended him with the most anxious solicitude, scarcely ever quitting his bedside.
Madame de Montandre, though still much indisposed, sent frequent messages to inquire after Mr. Brandford, for by that name only was Lilburne known in the house; Ida thinking it prudent still to retain their borrowed appellations.
On the fifth day, the surgeon gave hopes of Lilburne’s recovery, and from that time, for about a fortnight, his cure, though slow, was uniformly progressive.
Ida, to whom the propriety of writing to his father an account of their melancholy situation had occurred almost immediately when the unhappy affair took place, had yet deferred it, in the hourly expectation of having the distressing news of Lilburne’s death to insert in his letter, and now that a prospect opened of his recovery, and his friends were, he hoped, yet ignorant of what had happened, he could not prevail on himself to write until Lilburne should be pronounced out of danger.
During this interval, Madame de Montandre was confined to an apartment of the same house by a slow fever. The surgeon—the only medical practitioner the place afforded—attended her, and when that gentleman’s report was favourable, Ida and the young lady, released from their attendance on their respective friends, sometimes met in an evening walk, or conversed a short time, within doors. The amiable girl, unused to disguise, soon lost the reserve which, on their first interview, she had assumed when speaking of herself: and Ida learned that she was a friendless orphan, who, at a very early age, had been placed in a convent at the foot of the Alps, where she was destined for the cloister; but Madame de Montandre, about eight years back, happening to pass a night in this convent, was so much pleased with the little Orpheline, that she found means to bribe and persuade her reverend guardians into an assent to her taking her under her protection, and from that hour, treated her as her own child; but she was only known by the appellation of Orpheline; for the nuns, amongst whom she had lived, would not confess that they were acquainted with any other to which she had a right.
Such was the simple history of this interesting girl, in whose society Ida soon felt himself so happy, that all his former impatience to proceed on his journey vanished. Yet he never once thought of investigating the nature of his sentiments, or considering how far it were prudent to cherish an attachment to an object who possessed, in an eminent degree, beauty and merit, but who was destitute of rank, fortune, and even a name; but passion and reason seem ever destined to be at variance; and perhaps, through the whole course of our lives, we can scarce find one instance in one thousand in which they cordially agree.
“Would I again were with you!—O ye dales
Of Tyne, and ye most ancient woodlands, where
Oft as the giant flood obliquely strides,
And his banks open, and his lawns extend,
Stops short the pleased traveller to view,
Presiding o’er the scene some rustic tower,
Founded by Norman, or by Saxon hands.”
LILBURNE was now able to sit up for several hours together, and the first day on which Madame de Montandre quitted her room, she requested Ida, or as she called him, Mr. Derham, to be the bearer of a message to his friend, entreating permission to pay her personal respects to him.
Ida executed his commission, and Lilburne returned a polite, and suitable reply.
Three in the afternoon was the time fixed for this visit, and at that hour Ida led Madame de Montandre, and Orpheline to his friend, who was reclined on a couch, from which his weakness would not permit him to rise, when the ladies approached.
“Hitherto, my dear madame,” said Ida, gaily, as he held the hand of Madame de Montandre, “hitherto, you have only known this gentleman by his travelling name—allow me then to have the honor of introducing Mr. Lilburne, of Hartley, in Northumberland.”
These words had scarcely passed his lips, when Madame Montandre wildly shrieked, and fell lifeless into his arms. At the same moment, Lilburne exclaimed, “Oh! merciful heaven!—it is, it must be she!”
Ida, inexpressibly astonished by all this, while he supported the lady, turned his inquiring eyes on his friend, and beheld him in the most dreadful agitation imaginable.
Orpheline, though greatly alarmed and surprised, retained the most happy presence of mind; and, apprehensive for the consequences of such violent emotions on the invalids, she snatched a tumbler of water from the table, and receiving the drooping head of her benefactress on her own bosom, entreated Ida to attend to the situation of his friend, who was gazing with a look of distraction on the inanimate form which Orpheline supported. She soon succeeded in restoring Madame de Montandre, who rushing forwards, knelt by the side of Lilburne, and grasping his hand, exclaimed, “Oh! the moment I beheld those features, I knew you for the son of my adored husband—the brother of my Charles—but, oh! you know me not, and too surely,” she added in a voice of agony, “too surely my boy is dead!”
“Ah! no, no, he lives, my mother,” faintly articulated the almost expiring youth. He attempted to raise her hand to his lips, but it dropped from his weak hold, and his own fell motionless by his side; the ashy paleness of death overspread his face—the transient lustre vanished from his eyes, and the blood gushing from the wound in his breast, proclaimed to his distracted friends, that the little of life and health which had been restored to him was again ebbing away.
Madame de Montandre implored heaven to save him, and bitterly execrated her own folly in discovering herself so precipitately.
Ida, whose affectionate heart was torn with agony, entreated Orpheline to send for the surgeon, while himself endeavoured to stop the bleeding: in this he had but partially succeeded when the doctor arrived; having listened to a hasty detail of this unfortunate affair, and examined the state of his patient, he shook his head, and exclaimed, “It is all over! poor young man! No human art can save him now!”
Ida heard this fatal sentence with the deepest concern, and Madame de Montandre, overwhelmed with anguish, bitterly accused herself of being his murderer; for the wound had first been received in her defence, and her rashness had brought him to his present dreadful situation.
The surgeon put a dressing on, but at the same time assured his friends, that every effort would be vain. Ida, and Madame de Montandre, who insisted on sharing with him the melancholy task, took their silent station by the bed-side of the poor invalid; convinced that a few short minutes must terminate an existence, which was marked only by a faint respiration, for no motion was perceptible in any of his pulses; they dreaded the lapse of time, and trembled, lest every passing minute should change apprehension to certainty.
This was no moment to ask an explanation of a scene that had been attended with such fatal consequences. But Ida understood enough to know, that Madame de Montandre, and his unfortunate friend had mutually recognized each other as parent and son-in-law. But why they had till that moment been strangers, or why himself had never heard that Lilburne had such connections, were to him unexplicable mysteries.
These thoughts were rapidly passing through his mind, as he hung over the pillow of his beloved friend, when a servant beckoned him from the room, and delivered him a letter, which he saw came from England, it was visibly written in a hand purposely disguised—without any signature—and contained a succinct detail of the events which had occurred at the Castle of Tynemouth during his absence; and concluded with entreating himself and Lilburne to return immediately home, and save Rosetta, if not too late.
Ida had no reason to doubt the truth of the intelligence contained in this letter, though he could not conjecture who had written it; and the situation of his sister, whom he loved with the fondest affection, so far outweighed every other consideration, that without giving himself time to reflect, he sent a person to the beach, to engage a ship to take him to England. He then returned to Lilburne’s apartment, to take a last tender look of his lifeless form, and bid a melancholy adieu to Madame de Montandre and Orpheline. He found the former kneeling in prayer with a monk, who had been summoned to perform the last solemn rites of the church.
No change had taken place in Lilburne, and Ida silently put the letter he had received into Madame de Montandre’s hand.
She looked at the superscription, and seeing who it was addressed to, bowed an acknowledgement for the confidence he reposed in her, and read it to herself. She then made a sign for him to follow her to the next room, where giving him back the letter, she said, though with great agitation of voice and manner, “My lord, I see the necessity there is for your returning immediately to England; I regret that time is not allowed me to relate to you my unhappy story—but I shall soon follow you, I shall only remain here to pay the last duties to the dear youth, of whose death I must ever accuse myself; I shall then attend his remains to England, and there endeavour to atone for my many errors, by devoting my future days to mortification and penance.”
Ida was scarce able to articulate a reply, his manly heart seemed bursting with woe, and they returned to the chamber of mourning.
Lilburne still continued to breathe, and Madame de Montandre began to indulge some faint hopes of his recovery; but the surgeon assured her it was impossible.
In less than a quarter of an hour Ida was summoned to the ship, which was getting under weigh. In this agonizing moment, when he beheld for the last time the friend of his early youth, whom he had once hoped to call brother, the tears which no sufferings of his own could have wrung from him, gushed from his eyes; and when he kissed the pale cheek of Lilburne, he felt a pang at his heart as severe, perhaps, as human nature is capable of supporting. Of Madame de Montandre and Orpheline, he took a melancholy leave. However captivated he had been with the latter, during their short acquaintance, he was not of a disposition which could sacrifice one particle of duty to the gratification or indulgence of a transient passion; and though at another time he would perhaps have regretted the loss of his fair companion, his thoughts were now so divided between Lilburne, whom he was leaving on the verge of the grave, in a foreign land, and Rosetta, whom he had but too much reason to fear had already fallen a sacrifice to the machinations of their infamous mother-in-law, that he was scarce sensible the image of Orpheline held a distinguished place in his heart, though he certainly felt an indescribable sensation there, when he beheld the tears which trembled in her lovely eyes, as she breathed a petition to heaven for his safe arrival in England. When he wrote a few lines to M. Fleurier, which he thought it his duty to do, requesting his protection for the ladies during the short time they would remain in France, he felt an unconquerable reluctance to the idea of leaving Orpheline to his care; and as the shores of France receded from his view,
“He drag’d at each remove a length’ning chain.”
His passage was extremely tedious, protracted by contrary winds and frequent calms, and it was not until the twenty-first day after they lost sight of the coast of France, that the lofty towers of Tynemouth Priory rose to the view.
The Countess of Wooler dreaded nothing so much as Ida’s return. She had every reason to believe that intelligence of her proceedings would be conveyed to him, and being thus prepared to expect his sudden arrival, she consulted with Shipperdson on the proper measures to prevent his landing at Tynemouth.
The earl was rendered by her arts the abject slave of her will, and almost always confined to his chamber by ill health; of course the care of the garrison devolved on the deputy-governor, and under pretence of repelling some Danish pirates who infested the coast of Northumberland, he constantly gave orders to fire at, and keep off every vessel which he had the least reason to suspect contained Ida; consequently that in which he was met the same reception.
Ida finding, that notwithstanding every signal they could make, the garrison still persisted in treating them as enemies, gave orders to his men to run the ship ashore to the north of the castle, quite out of the reach of the guns, and then leaping into the shallow sea, followed by Daniel, his faithful servant, and some others in whom he could confide, he landed in safety on his native shore. He lost no time in ascending the bank, intending to take the path which led along the top of it to the castle; but here he was surprised by the sound of trumpets, the loud and confused murmur of innumerable voices, and the multitudes who were collecting in the fields behind the village. To inform himself of the cause of all this, he made inquiries of the first person he met, a sturdy clown, who, with a stare of vacant wonder, at the plumes of Ida’s helmet, replied, “Aw’s gaun to see the witch brunt, master!”
Ida now recollected the disastrous state of his respectable kinswoman, Mrs. Cresswell, which had been mentioned in the letter he received when in Normandy; he saw that no time was to be lost, and calling to his men to draw their swords, and follow him, he bounded over the inclosure with incredible celerity, and following the direction of his eyes and ears, soon reached the spot where the unfortunate Judith was actually tied to a stake, round which a pile of dry faggots was already kindled.
The prior and his band of monks were praying near her, profaning religion, and mocking heaven, by sacrificing a human being for a crime, which common sense must have told them could not exist.
Ida and his brave followers soon pierced their way through the crowd of spectators, who fell back, trembling, affrighted, and astonished, while the soldiers, by most of whom he was known, and beloved, made no effort to stop him. He rushed through the smoke, which now almost enveloped the victim from view, and cutting the cords with his sabre, bore the insensible form of poor Judith—for she gave not the least sign of life—off in his arms, almost before the prior and his followers perceived his design; but when they recognized him, and saw what he had effected, they not only loudly threatened him with the censures and anathemas of the church, but exhorted the military to tear the victim from his grasp, and fasten her again to the stake; while Shipperdson, who was riding proudly about the field, exulting in the success of his villainous schemes, now came up, and casting on the young hero, a look of malignant scorn, exclaimed, “I am astonished, Lord Ida, that you should pretend to interrupt the execution of justice—do you consider the consequences of what you are about? Soldiers, do your duty.”
The men, far from obeying him, joined Ida’s followers, vowing they would shed the last drop of their blood in defence of the governor’s son.
Ida, with just indignation, would certainly have punished the insolence of Shipperdson on the spot, had not that worthy gentleman, seeing the tide of affairs thus turned, thought proper to save himself by a speedy retreat.
Meanwhile, poor Judith had been transferred to the care of some women, who, thinking they might now venture to approach her lifeless body without danger of being bewitched, had assisted in conveying her home, where all unanimously agreed that she had been suffocated by the smoke, before she was rescued by her gallant relative.
Ida had now leisure to address the prior. He insisted that, whether Mrs. Cresswell recovered or not, she should be suffered to remain unmolested, and pledged himself, to convince the abbot of St. Albans of her innocence; but finding that they still maintained the tone of monkish arrogance, he severely retorted, by threatening to both appeal to the court of Rome, and accuse them to the civil power, of having violated the laws of the realm, by using the trial by ordeal, which had been abrogated in the reign of William I. These threats humbled the monks for the present, at least, and they began to think it would be proper to take time for consideration before they proceeded any further in the affair.
Ida, accompanied by two of the officers, now proceeded to the castle. From these gentlemen he learned, that Clifford, who was to have been shot the preceding day, was said to have escaped from the prison in which he was confined; but that it was generally believed in the garrison, he had been privately put to death by Shipperdson’s directions; and that Lady Rosetta had recovered from the fever which threatened her life, but was reported to be in a most dreadful state of insanity.
If orders had been given to prevent Ida and his attendants from entering the castle, they were not obeyed, for the gates were immediately opened. His first inquiry was for his father, who, he was informed, still kept his apartment, though nearly recovered from his indisposition. To his questions concerning his sister, Crapaud replied, in a tone of insolence, that the countess had ordered him not to admit any person to Lady Rosetta’s apartment.
But Ida, threatening him with instant death, if he presumed to oppose him, he was compelled to deliver the key.
Apprehensive that his sudden appearance might have a fatal effect on the weak frame of Rosetta, he sent Daniel to prepare her to receive him, while himself waited in the gallery.
Her well-known voice, exclaiming, “Oh! where is my brother! where is Ida!” soon brought him from thence, and the moment in which he clasped his sister to his heart, was the happiest he had known since he quitted England, though he beheld with deep concern the ravages which grief, illness, and confinement had made in her lovely face.
When the first transports of their meeting had subsided, Rosetta, raising her eyes to those of her brother, faintly pronounced the name of Lilburne.
Ida felt himself unequal to the sad task of augmenting her sufferings, by disclosing the death of her lover.
But Rosetta, prepared to expect it by the appearances she had twice witnessed, read in his melancholy countenance, and boding silence, a fatal confirmation of her fears.
“Alas! he is dead!” she exclaimed; and clasping her hands, she remained in an agony of speechless grief.
Ida most tenderly sympathized with her, but had no consolation to offer. He felt the necessity of taking some measures for the safety of himself and friends. Concerning these it would be proper to consult some of the superior officers; but wishing first to see his father, he entreated Rosetta to accompany him to the earl’s apartment.
Wooler, who had been apprized of his son’s arrival, received him with the liveliest joy; but it was long before he could be persuaded that Rosetta neither was nor had been in a state of mental derangement: and when he was convinced how grossly he had been imposed on, Ida saw with concern, that he was much more inclined to impute the faults of his wife to mistake, than to believe her the guilty wretch she actually was.
Ida had expected to see the countess with his father, but, to his great surprise, she was neither there, nor in her own apartment; and he soon learned, that a search, similar, and equally unsuccessful, was making for Major Shipperdson.
Night came, without bringing either the deputy-governor, or Lady Wooler; nor could any thing be ascertained concerning their flight, but that Crapaud and O’Bryen had accompanied them; and it was conjectured, that they must have taken their departure by sea.
The unhappy earl, at length convinced of the unworthiness of the woman he had married, was truly an object of pity.
Rosetta burying her own griefs in her bosom, exerted herself to console him, and Ida joined in the effort; but he felt the most serious apprehensions that the abandoned pair had quitted the castle only to execute some dreadful scheme of vengeance, though what it was he could not conjecture. In concert with the officers, he took every possible precaution to ensure the safety of the garrison; though at the same time they knew but too well that it would not, probably, be in their power to guard against the machinations of their artful enemies.
“Yet midst those ruin’d heaps, that naked plain,
Can faithful memory former scenes restore,
Recal the busy throng, the jocund train,
And picture all that charm’d us there before.”
IT was near the hour of eight, on a stormy autumnal evening; the rain poured down in torrents, and the blast bore on its wings
“A rustling shower of yet untimely leaves,”
when two travellers, a young lady and gentleman, arrived at a little inn in that part of the county of York which borders on Durham. They inquired whether they could be accommodated for the night, and were answered in the affirmative; and though the appearance of the place was very wretched, the lady preferred it to travelling in such weather to the nearest convent, which was six miles further.
They were just beginning to partake of the humble repast which the house afforded, when a knocking at the gate announced the arrival of more guests.
As the room already occupied by the first comers was the only one used for the entertainment of company, the party, which consisted of two ladies and a gentleman, was of course shewn in.
While apologies and compliments were passing between the ladies, the gentlemen ejaculated the names of Lilburne and Clifford! and instantly rushed into each others arms.
It was indeed Lilburne and Clifford, who had both escaped by almost a miracle from death, and were now journeying towards Tynemouth; the former accompanied by his mother-in-law and Orpheline; and the latter by Elfrida Thornton, whom he had rescued a few days before from the creatures of Shipperdson, by whose orders they had carried her off, and were confining her in a lonely house, in a wood, until the arrival of their execrable employer.
Miss Thornton expressed the liveliest joy at seeing Lilburne in health and safety.
The party supped together, and separated at an early hour for the night.—The three ladies retired to the only sleeping room the house afforded, and the gentlemen remained below, where they preferred conversation to sleep. To converse together, was indeed the highest gratification they could taste; for what pleasure equals that of an unreserved interchange of sentiments between two friends, who have been long parted from each other,—who have despaired of ever meeting again!
It will be remembered that Lilburne, in a former conversation with Ida, mentioned his having seen a figure ascend from beneath the pavement of the church of St. Oswin, the night he watched his arms there. This figure, he now informed Clifford, was a young man, who, after some previous conversation, claimed the near affinity of a brother to him.
Lilburne, who had never heard that his father formed any connection in France, disbelieved his story, and with perhaps too much impetuosity, treated him as an impostor.
Charles, for so he was called, even more rash and unguarded than his brother, stung to the soul by a reception so different from the fraternal one he had anticipated, and fancying that his mother’s honor was implicated in Lilburne’s refusing to acknowledge him, replied with a degree of asperity which provoked Lilburne to snatch his sword from the altar, and rush through the subterraneous way, calling on Charles to follow him.—He obeyed, and taking the precaution of closing the entrance to prevent pursuit, they proceeded along the passage which opened to the sea-shore; here a combat ensued, which was maintained with equal spirit, but by Mitford with superior strength, for he soon sheathed his sword in the side of his antagonist, who, as he fell to the ground, faintly exclaimed, “I die by your hand, but I am indeed your brother!”
The tone in which these words were pronounced struck to the heart of Lilburne, he could not doubt of their truth.
Distracted with horror at the deed he had committed, he flew to the cottage of Guillaume de Villette, who at once removed every doubt, and confirmed his despair, by assuring him that the young man was indeed his brother—that he himself was present at Sir Robert’s marriage with his mother—and that he had come to England, purposely to discover, and make himself known to him.
The circumstance of his being a native of France (then at war with this country) compelled him to conceal himself in the house of Guillaume, who, being acquainted with the secret way to the church, had contrived the interview between the brothers, which terminated so fatally.
Lilburne, agonized as he was by this relation, yet retained the presence of mind to send immediately for father Vincent, who, on his arrival, confirmed the account given by the Frenchman; Sir Robert Lilburne having, when on his death-bed, disclosed the whole affair to him.
The lady he married, he had stolen from a convent, where she was destined to take the veil; but her parents pursued them with unrelenting severity; and, availing themselves of the power vested in them by the laws of France, dissolved the marriage.
But though she so far complied with their tyrannical commands, as to give them a solemn promise to remain for ever separated from the husband of her affections, neither threats nor persuasions could induce her to take the veil. She determined to live but for her son, whom Sir Robert, as the only proof he could now give her of his love, committed entirely to her care.
In the course of a few years, her parents died, and bequeathed a large fortune to Charles, on condition, that he should never make himself known to his father.
Madame de Montandre, knowing that Sir Robert had a son by a former marriage, to whom the chief part of his estates must descend, thought it most prudent to secure to her child the fortune thus his own, by concealing the secret of his birth, and educating him in the belief, that he owed his being to a native of France, who was long since dead; and Sir Robert, who was made acquainted with all these occurrences by a friend in Normandy, feeling that the peace of his wife and happiness of his child depended on his acquiescence, submitted, however hard the trial, to live estranged from objects so dear.
Sir Robert made it his last request to father Vincent, that he would transmit to his lady an account of his death. This command the monk obeyed; and Madame de Montandre happening to be at that time confined to her chamber by illness, the letter fell into the hands of her son, who thus became acquainted with the secret of his birth.
To him the possession of fortune seemed by no means an equivalent for the deprivation he had sustained in never having known his father—now he could only grieve for his death; but he no sooner learned that he had a brother in existence, than he formed the resolution of going to England, and urging his claim to the affections of so near a relative. His mother endeavoured, in vain, to dissuade him from this step; yet she could not blame the motive of his journey, and at length she permitted him to depart, with her blessing and prayers for his safety. The event has already been related.
Dreadful indeed were the agonies of Mitford Lilburne, while labouring under the idea that he had killed his brother; and those agonies were prolonged: for some months Charles lingered as it were between life and death, and the letters which Lilburne received from father Vincent, just before the rencontre with the banditti, were the first which brought him intelligence of his recovery; during the progress of which, he was seen amongst the rocks near Tynemouth Castle by Lady Rosetta, when his near resemblance to his brother, almost induced her to believe that it was the shade of her lover.
Mitford Lilburne had gone into Normandy, expressly for the purpose of searching out his mother-in-law, and making himself known to her, should he receive a favourable account of Charles’s health.
Meantime, Madame de Montandre, agonized for the fate of her son, of whom she had heard nothing since his first arrival in England, took the resolution of going to that country in search of him. It is needless to dwell on the subsequent events, for they have already been related.
Soon after the departure of Ida for England, Lilburne’s disorder took a favourable turn, and the tender care of Madame de Montandre, together with the eminent skill of his surgeon, soon restored him to such a state of health, as enabled him to embark, with his mother and Orpheline, for Hull, the only port in the north of England for which they could procure a vessel.
There they landed in safety, and were journeying towards Tynemouth at the time of their fortunate meeting with Clifford, and Miss Thornton—a meeting, which, like many of those unforeseen circumstances which smooth our way through the rugged paths of life, was relished the more, because unexpected.
When Lilburne concluded his narrative, Clifford thanked him, and added, with a smile, “However I was already in possession of the chief part of the information you have favored me with, for I have the happiness of being personally acquainted with your brother. But I will not keep you in suspense, my dear friend; if you will permit me, I will give you a detail of the events which have occurred at the castle of Tynemouth since you left it—at least, all of them which have come to my knowledge.”
Lilburne expressed the pleasure he should receive from such a communication, and Clifford proceeded to tell him, that the unwearied care and tenderness of father Vincent had restored his brother to perfect health; and that from the time of Lilburne’s departure, he had dedicated to Charles every hour he could spare from the duties of his order. He pictured in lively colours the arrival of the governor and his bride—the intimacy of the latter with Shipperdson—the persecutions Rosetta had endured on O’Bryen’s account—the death of the prior, and the accusation and imprisonment of Mrs. Cresswell, bringing his narrative down to the period when father Vincent took refuge in the church of St. Oswin.
The death of the prior was an unfortunate circumstance for father Vincent; no esteem or friendship had ever subsisted between them, but the superior had been one of the accomplices of Parkin Warbeck, and this secret being known to the monk, he thereby possessed a means of overawing him on particular occasions, as might be seen at the time when Lilburne was a candidate for the order of knighthood, when in the church of Tynemouth, father Vincent would have compelled the prior to administer every rite preparatory to the ceremony, had not Lilburne himself, then in a most unhappy situation, positively refused to receive them.
When, therefore, a new prior was elected, a man who had no such reason to fear father Vincent, and who hated him because his virtues were a reproach to his own vices, he readily seconded the plots which the guilty and abandoned Countess of Wooler formed against him.
The holy father, well aware that if he fell into the hands of his enemies, their malice would be satisfied only with his blood, took refuge at the shrine of St. Oswin, from whence he knew he could escape by the subterraneous way, and secret himself in Mr. Thornton’s house; and this he happily effected, though his health, at all times delicate, suffered much from the fatigue and anxiety he underwent; and he it was who furnished Thornton with the evidence concerning Lilburne’s disappearance, which proved of such material consequence at Mrs. Cresswell’s trial.
The plan for Rosetta’s escape to Hartley, which terminated so unfortunately, was the contrivance of father Vincent: Clifford most readily offered his assistance in the execution, and Charles Lilburne, who knew every turn and winding of the subterraneous passage, agreed to meet them in it, and conduct them safely through. He did indeed meet them, but it was at an unfortunate moment; exactly that which brought the countess and her adherents to the spot where the fugitives rested.
Well aware that in his weak state he could neither defend himself nor give any assistance to his friends, he had the presence of mind to retreat instantly; and this was the second time that his features so nearly resembling those of his brother, and seen for a moment in the gloom of the cavern, appeared to the agitated Rosetta, to be those of Lilburne himself.
Clifford then proceeded to describe his own sufferings from the wound he received, his imprisonment, trial, and condemnation, the anguish of Thornton, on learning that his daughter was carried off, and concluded by informing Lilburne, that his brother Charles, assisted by the directions of father Vincent, succeeded in discovering a communication between the prison where he was confined, and the subterraneous passage, already so frequently mentioned.
By this means, he effected his escape to the house of his friend, Mr. Thornton, whom he found in the deepest affliction on Elfrida’s account.
Attached to them both by every tie of gratitude and friendship, Clifford sincerely felt and sympathized in his concern; and regardless of every personal hazard, he set out that very night in search of her.
His suspicions, and those of father Vincent, fell on Shipperdson, and the sequel proved they were well founded.
The event has been anticipated; he happily succeeded in discovering and rescuing his fair friend; and the blessings of liberty and safety, were rendered doubly valuable to Elfrida, when bestowed by the amiable Clifford.
Such was the substance of Clifford’s story; which was frequently interrupted by Lilburne, whose feelings rose to agony, when the sufferings of his beloved Rosetta were described to him. Nor could he refrain from execrating the guilty countess, and her detestable accomplices, Shipperdson and O’Bryen; and convinced, from every word and look of the noble-minded Clifford, that fondly as he once had loved Rosetta de Norton, he had faithfully adhered to the promise he made him, the night preceding his departure from Tynemouth, and had struggled with, and conquered his passion, the admiration, gratitude, and esteem he felt for him cannot be expressed.
The first beam of the morning had dawned, before the two gentlemen finished their communications, but too happy to think of repose, they joined the ladies at the breakfast hour; who, refreshed and recovered from the fatigues of the preceding day, were equipped to pursue their journey.
Lady Lilburne was happy to receive from Clifford the most perfect assurances of the health and safety of her son.
Elfrida and Orpheline soon felt for each other the most sincere and cordial friendship; and in short there could not be found a more sociable and agreeable travelling party than now journeyed towards Tynemouth, where they arrived in safety, on the second day, without having met with any material accident or delay on the road.
“——————————————I have mused
On the wind-shaken weeds that embosom the bower.”
THERE is not, perhaps, one tender emotion of the soul, that was not excited by the meeting between the travellers and their friends at Tynemouth. Every feeling of the parent rushed to the heart of Thornton, when he embraced his Elfrida; and his languid eyes beamed with gratitude on her gallant deliverer, while their presence and attentions re-animated his drooping frame, and gradually restored him to his former health.
Many little changes had now taken place at the castle of Tynemouth. Charles Lilburne had been introduced to the Earl of Wooler, by father Vincent, and, patronized by that nobleman, he no longer found it necessary to conceal himself, or to fear being treated as an alien, should his residence at Tynemouth be known. Sincere was the joy with which he welcomed his amiable mother to England; and when the two brothers embraced each other, they vowed to bury in oblivion, for ever, the fatal combat which had caused so much misery to both.
The amiable Rosetta de Norton still continued the prey of indisposition; she mourned in secret the supposed death of her lover; and now her friends dreaded the effect which might be produced by a too sudden discovery of the truth: it was certainly proper to unfold it with caution, and by degrees.
She welcomed her friend Elfrida with sincere delight, and to her was confided the task of preparing her to welcome Lilburne also.
The gentle Elfrida, whose heart was at all times replete with the “milk of human kindness,” discharged her commission with a tenderness peculiar to herself.
Rosetta, when she beheld Lilburne restored to tranquillity, still retaining the same ardent love for her, and sanctioned by her father to solicit her hand, regarded her past sufferings but as a painful vision, and was grateful to heaven for the prospect which now opened to her.
Ida, too, was almost wild with joy, on beholding the friend, whom he believed to be no longer an inhabitant of this world, alive and happy; but that joy was augmented to rapture, when he welcomed Orpheline to England, and read in her animated and intelligent countenance, that the hours they had passed together in Normandy were not forgotten by her: and Charles Lilburne also, with whom she had been educated, and whom she regarded as a brother, received her with sincere delight.
Father Vincent, who had now triumphed over the malice of his enemies, lived as usual in the convent, and was ever a valued guest at the governor’s house, where he frequently saw the interesting Orpheline, who together with Madame de Montandre, remained there as the guests of Rosetta.
These young ladies soon formed a strong and sincere attachment to each other; their dispositions were perfectly similar; and father Vincent frequently and particularly noticed a striking resemblance in their persons also. He was particularly attentive to Orpheline; and Ida was delighted to see, that, assisted by his instructions, she made a rapid progress in many valuable acquirements.
Rosetta sincerely rejoiced that Clifford had escaped from the destruction which his attempt to rescue her had threatened to draw down on his head. The illness consequent on the wound he received, which brought him to the brink of the grave, had assisted him to wean his heart from every earthly object, and even to tear from thence the cherished image of Rosetta. He no longer regarded her in any other light than that of a beloved friend; but he had lost much of his former gaity, was become uncommonly serious for a man of his age, and was so much attached to father Vincent, that it was the opinion of many who knew him intimately, that he intended to abjure the profession of arms, and devote himself to a cloister.
Elfrida Thornton too, the pensive and gentle Elfrida, seemed to have caught the contagion; and frequently when conversing with Rosetta and Orpheline, expressed a wish to retire from the world, and take the veil in a neighbouring nunnery.
At first they endeavoured by arguments to combat her resolution, but it was firmly fixed; and as it seemed to be the foundation on which she had built her only hope of happiness, they at length desisted from opposing her wish, and promised to unite with her in soliciting her father’s consent, of which she despaired, as she well knew he would deeply regret the loss of her society.
Amongst the other blessings on which the group of friends, now assembled at Tynemouth, had to felicitate each other, was the perfect recovery of the highly respected Mrs. Judith Cresswell, from the state of suffocation which it was feared would prove mortal; but which happily yielded to the remedies applied by the skill and perseverance of father Vincent. She was indeed troubled with a slight degree of asthma for some time afterwards; but by persevering in a diet of red cow’s milk and black hen’s eggs, which she declared to be sovereign remedies in such cases, her complaint was at length entirely removed.
All inquiries after the guilty countess, and Shipperdson, the companion of her flight, proved ineffectual; and the apprehension of danger, which prevailed in the garrison, had in some degree subsided.
Such was the state of affairs at Tynemouth, when Clifford happening to be the officer on guard, invited by the beauty of a fine autumnal night, slowly measured his steps along the north rampart of the castle; the beams of the full moon played on the ocean, and shed a silver radiance on the gothic towers of the priory. The calm stillness of the scene diffused itself through the mind of Clifford, and a pensive dejection stole over his spirits. He remembered the night when he had paced this very rampart with Lilburne, then suffering the most acute misery; now he was restored to happiness: he remembered the night when he had attempted the rescue of Rosetta; she too was now happy:—but for him, what hope remained in life—crossed in the first wish of his heart—deprived by civil discord of the possessions of his ancestors—and without one relative, one tie, one connection to bind him to existence, what charm did the world contain for him? “Yes,” he sighed to himself, as he viewed the distant forms of the monks retiring to their cells after midnight service, “Yes, beneath that sacred habit will I veil my sorrows, and—.”
But his mental soliloquy was interrupted by a circumstance, so singular, that it arrested all his attention, and drove every other subject from his thoughts.
The moon shone with such brightness, that it was almost as light as day. He had just seen the guard on the opposite rampart turn into the sentry box, and no footstep but his own was stirring in the castle, when he distinctly beheld a human figure rise from one of the tombs near the church. Infinitely astonished at the circumstance, but wholly unaccustomed to fear, he had the presence of mind to check any exclamation, and stood still to observe it in silence. The figure looked round, with seeming caution, and then advanced, with slow and light footsteps, towards that part of the castle where Clifford was, who not being much inclined to credit the stories of supernatural appearances, had no hesitation in believing this to be a man; certainly he was there with no good design. The person, whoever it was, approached within a few yards of the gate, which opened into the court of the governor’s house, and there shrinking behind a projecting wall, continued stationary; while Clifford silently descended from the rampart, that he might observe him more narrowly. In somewhat less than five minutes, the gate was slowly unclosed, and another person advanced from it, who was instantly joined by the former, and they entered into conversation, in a voice so low, that Clifford could not distinguish their words; but he plainly perceived, that the person who had issued from the gate, was the Earl of Wooler’s valet.—While Clifford considered whether it would not be proper to advance, and seize them both, he saw the valet draw a large, and apparently heavy bag, from under his garments, and give it to his companion. Convinced that these men were injuring the earl in some shape or other, he no longer hesitated, but rushing forwards, he seized each by the collar, and sternly demanded the cause of their appearance in that place, at such an hour; giving, almost at the same moment, the word of alarm to the soldier on duty, who instantly communicated it further, and flew to the assistance of the officer.
The fellows at first seemed disposed to attempt a resistance, but seeing that would be of no avail, and finding themselves overpowered by numbers, one of them stood in sullen silence, while the other falling on his knees before Clifford, conjured him, in a broken dialect, composed of French and English, to spare his life, and he would confess all.
Lights were by this time brought, and one of the soldiers examining the face of the culprit, exclaimed, “Merciful heaven! it is Crapaud.”
Clifford, on hearing this, drew his sword, and holding it to the breast of the Frenchman, said in a resolute tone,—“Villain! I will give you no promise!—Speak the truth, or you die instantly!—Where are the countess and Major Shipperdson, and why are you here?”
By this time the alarm had become general throughout the garrison. Lord Ida, and several of the officers, and lastly, the governor himself, appeared; and they at length succeeded in drawing from Crapaud a confession, which included objects of the first magnitude and importance.
He confessed “That when the countess, Shipperdson, O’Bryen, and himself, quitted the castle, they embarked in a small vessel, and stood over to the Yorkshire coast, where they landed.—Shipperdson, under the feigned pretence of going a few miles further to receive a considerable sum of money, left the countess to the care of O’Bryen at an inn, and proceeded to the place where he expected his agents still had Miss Thornton closely confined; to his inexpressible mortification, he found that she had been rescued by Clifford, and that one of his minions still lay ill of a wound he received from the hand of that young man; the other, finding himself disappointed of the reward which Shipperdson had promised him, and which the worthy major now refused to pay, determined in revenge to acquaint the Countess of Wooler with all his transactions relating to Miss Thornton: accordingly when Shipperdson returned to the inn, he was followed by this man, who soon found means to make a secret, but full and ample disclosure, to the countess, of every circumstance with which he wished her to be acquainted. The diabolical passions of rage and revenge were at all times the inmates of her bosom, and now fermented by jealousy, they spurred her on to new crimes—she did not upbraid Shipperdson, but dissembling at once her knowledge of his conduct, and her own feelings and intentions, she again embarked with him for the coast of Northumberland, where Shipperdson intended to execute new and dreadful scenes of vengeance against the Earl of Wooler and Lord Ida.”
It was at all times the earl’s foible to place confidence where it was ill deserved, and this was the case with the person who served him in the capacity of valet. Shipperdson and O’Bryen, in conjunction with this abandoned wretch, and some other miscreants, with whom they were connected in the neighbourhood of Tynemouth, formed the horrid plan of blowing up the castle and monastery, and thus destroying all who inhabited them. For this dreadful purpose, they availed themselves of the subterraneous way leading from the rocks on the sea shore, and had already conveyed two barrels of gunpowder thither.
When the wretched Crapaud had proceeded thus far in his relation, a general start and gaze of horror agitated the whole audience; but when the first wild emotion of the moment had subsided, all saw the necessity of taking immediate steps to prevent the consequences of Shipperdson’s dreadful plot.
Ida, Clifford, and the two Lilburnes, instantly went with a party of soldiers to remove and secure the gunpowder.
Meanwhile the governor and father Vincent remained with the culprit, from whom, partly by threats, and partly by exhortations, the monk drew further confessions, scarcely less important than those he had already made.
While Shipperdson was arranging his horrid designs, the countess was forming others against the major, who was now the object of her aversion. She procured a dose of poison, and had recourse to bribes, promises, and persuasions, to prevail on Crapaud to administer it to Shipperdson in the liquor he should drink at supper.
The Frenchman promised obedience, and took the poison; but his attachment to Shipperdson being greater than to his mistress, or, what is more probable, knowing that he possessed the means of more amply rewarding him than Lady Wooler could do, he acquainted him with the whole affair.
It is perhaps scarcely necessary to say, that Shipperdson had no hesitation in proposing, and Crapaud in consenting, to administer the poison to Lady Wooler herself. At supper that very night, she had received the fatal drug, which he knew would be slow, yet sure, in its operation; and she now lay at an obscure cottage, about a mile north-west of Tynemouth, a victim to her own unparalleled crimes.
Shipperdson and O’Bryen had procured a vessel in which they proposed escaping to France, after having completed all their horrid designs; and they now lay at anchor off the castle, waiting for Crapaud, who had that evening found means to secrete himself amongst the tombs in the church-yard, that he might be in readiness to assist his vile accomplice, the earl’s valet, who, it was agreed, should that night rob his lord of his jewels and ready money, and escape with his booty to Shipperdson; and this plan they were endeavouring to execute, when they were happily prevented by the spirited interference of Clifford.
Father Vincent scarce listened to the latter part of Crapaud’s confession, for when assured that the countess was actually poisoned, he betrayed the most lively impatience to see her, if possible, before the final scene of life was closed; and ordered a horse, that he might instantly set off for the cottage where Crapaud informed him she was.
Wooler, whose health and spirits were far inadequate to support him in beholding the dying agonies of his guilty but once loved wife, could not accompany the monk; but Ida, who just then returned, after having seen the gunpowder safely removed, thought it highly proper that some one of the family should see Lady Wooler, and ordered his horse, that he might attend father Vincent.
On arriving at the cottage, they found the unhappy victim of her own crimes still alive, but suffering the utmost agonies of pain and remorse; and a moment sufficed to convince them, that all attempts to save her life would prove ineffectual.
She raised her languid eyes, on hearing the door opened, and when she saw who entered, she screamed wildly, and covered her face.
Father Vincent immediately dismissed the women who surrounded her, and then approaching the bed, said, with awful solemnity of voice and manner, “Lady Wooler, time is now precious: I hope and trust you are awakened to a sense of your errors; let the remaining moments of life be dedicated to atonement and repentance. Oh! tell me,” he added, with augmented energy, “tell me what is become of my child? as you hope for mercy, answer me truly.”
The once haughty countess, now humble and penitent, confessed and deplored all her errors; but as her confession included some particulars, which have hitherto seemed ambiguous, it will be requisite to go somewhat into detail.
The garb and name of father Vincent concealed the Marquis of Morzonico, an Italian nobleman of high birth and considerable fortune; but yet more distinguished by those infinitely more valuable qualities of the mind and heart, which alone can give real dignity to rank. His father had, almost from infancy, destined him to be the husband of Signora Auretti, afterwards Madame de Montmiril, and finally, Countess of Wooler. The parents of both parties died before their children attained the years of maturity; and the old marquis on his death bed, exhorted his son to fulfil his engagement; but when the young lady grew up, though she possessed both beauty and fortune, yet her character and principles were such, as rendered it impossible for the marquis to fulfil the dying request of his father; and shortly after he became of age, he made another choice, and united himself to a very amiable woman, with whom he lived retired, at his country seat, in the neighbourhood of Milan.
Signora Auretti, thus disappointed in her hopes of an alliance, which but for her own ill conduct, she might have secured, conceived the most deadly hatred against the innocent marchioness; and when that lady became the mother of a sweet little girl, she bribed the woman who had the charge of nursing it, to fly with it to France. This dreadful plan was but too well carried into execution; and the wretched parents, thus robbed of their child, and finding all attempts to discover what had been its fate, ineffectual, suffered all the agonies which a stroke so severe could inflict; the delicate frame of the marchioness sunk under the trial, and a lingering illness brought her eventually to the grave.
The suspicions of the injured marquis fell on the guilty abandoned woman who merited them; but he could obtain no proof, nor indeed learn any circumstance, which could lead to a discovery of his child; who, by the direction of the artful and cruel Signora, was placed in a convent, at the foot of the French Alps.
When Ida heard this part of Lady Wooler’s confession, he exclaimed, “Merciful heaven! surely it is Orpheline!”
Father Vincent started almost convulsively, and grasped the arm of Ida, who, turning to the wretched penitent, made more immediate inquiries concerning the convent where she had concealed the daughter of the marquis. Her replies placed it beyond all doubt, that Orpheline was indeed Vincentina del Morzonico.
The dying countess further confessed, that when her vengeance was amply satiated, by having caused the death of the marchioness, and driven the marquis into exile (though she neither knew to what part of the world he had retired, nor that he had taken the monastic habit) she gradually ceased to pay the pension, which she had promised the nuns they should receive, for the maintenance of the child. She added, that she had allowed a yearly sum to the nurse who stole the infant, on which she subsisted in the neighbourhood of the convent; but that having neglected to pay it regularly, the woman followed her to Paris, where she then was with her husband, the Count de Montmiril, where by dint of threats, she extorted a considerable sum from her; and this person, who shortly after died of a fever, then informed her that Vincentina had been taken from the convent by a lady, who was travelling in that part of France.
All power of description would languish and fail were it employed to paint the raptures of father Vincent in thus discovering his long-lost child; yet the secret feelings of nature had surely anticipated the discovery, for from the first moment he beheld the lovely girl, the near resemblance which she bore to his deceased lady, had interested his heart.
Sincere too was the joy of Ida, on finding that his adored Orpheline was the daughter of the man whom he had so long loved as a parent.
After the guilty and wretched Countess of Wooler had confessed the crimes of her ill-spent life, she lived but to hear from the lips of her son-in-law, those assurances of forgiveness with which his father had commissioned him to soothe her dying moments; and to receive from father Vincent both the consolation of his pardon, and the last solemn rites of the church. She then expired, and her departure was marked by the most dreadful agonies.
“In all my wand’rings round this world of care,
In all my griefs—and God has given my share,
I still had hopes, my latest hours to crown,
Amidst these humble bowers to lay me down:
To husband out life’s taper at the close,
And keep the flame from wasting by repose.
I still had hopes, (for pride attends us still)
Amidst the swains to shew my book-learn’d skill,
Around my fire an evening group to draw,
And tell of all I felt, and all I saw.”
FATHER Vincent, piously grateful to heaven for the restoration of his child, returned with impatient ardor to Tynemouth. To Ida was delegated the task of acquainting Vincentina with the discovery which had been made: already taught to esteem father Vincent, she felt the sincerest delight, when he folded her to his heart as his beloved daughter.
Their friends participated in their transports; and none more sincerely than Madame de Montandre, who cherished for this charming girl almost the same degree of affection as she felt for her own Charles; reciprocal obligations, too, had woven a debt of gratitude, which cemented the bonds of friendship, still more strongly; for as on the one hand, she had protected and been a parent to the daughter of father Vincent, so on the other, he had preserved the life of her son when wounded by the hand of his brother.
The remains of the unhappy countess were consigned to the grave with as little funeral pomp as could be used, consistently with the rank she had held in life: and all who knew the earl, sincerely rejoiced on seeing him emancipated from his connection with a woman, who was at once a disgrace and scourge to his name and family.
Shipperdson and O’Bryen discovered the failure of their plots just in time to save themselves by putting to sea in their sloop. It was generally believed that they had escaped to France; but some persons whispered, that they suspected them to be still lurking somewhere on the coast of Northumberland, no doubt with the intention of committing further mischief.
Every shadow of past suffering was now worn away, and the party at Tynemouth looked forward to an augmentation of happiness.
Hartley hall was prepared for the reception of the fair Rosetta, who in somewhat less than a month was to become the bride of Lilburne.
Ida too had succeeded in obtaining the treble consent of the lovely Vincentina, her father, and the earl, that the same day should confirm his felicity.
Indeed, exclusive of the high esteem with which every member of the earl of Wooler’s family regarded the once noble marquis, and now holy monk, no objection on the score of birth or fortune could possibly be urged; for when the marquis quitted his country, to embrace the monastic profession, he made such a disposal of his property, as should ensure its restoration to his daughter, should any future event discover her to be in existence.
Such was the situation of affairs at the castle of Tynemouth, when two unexpected events occurred: the first was the sudden death of the prior, when father Vincent became a candidate for that important office. The worth and merits of the holy monk now triumphed over the malice of his enemies, and he was elected without opposition.
About this time, also, king Henry the seventh made a journey to York, and it was expected, as a matter of course, that all the distinguished northern noblemen and gentlemen should attend him there; consequently the new prior, the Earl of Wooler, and Mitford Lilburne, felt themselves compelled to pay their duty to their sovereign.
Ida, to his great joy, was excused from being of the party, as his presence was absolutely necessary to secure the safety of the garrison in his father’s absence.
They had been gone about a fortnight when Rosetta observed that some very important affair seemed to occupy her brother’s attention. He received frequent dispatches from York, and often held long conferences with Mr. Thornton. To the solicitous inquiries of his sister, he replied, that all was well, and that nothing of consequence had occured; and Rosetta, consoled by these assurances, endeavoured to subdue her fears, and regain her tranquillity.
One evening when the party assembled in the sitting hall of the governor’s house, consisting of the Thorntons, Mrs. Cresswell, Madame de Montandre, Rosetta, Vincentina, Ida, Clifford, and Charles; Elfrida, with hesitation and trembling, opened the subject of her wish for retirement, and entreated her father to sanction with his approbation the resolution she had embraced of quitting the world; while her two young friends, fulfilled the promise they had made her, and joined their solicitations with hers.
Thornton was a man of plain downright manners, and all his resolutions were taken with a firmness from which he scarce ever receded. He listened patiently to the arguments of the young ladies; and then, without even the pause of a moment, replied, “No, no, Ella, you shall never go into a nunnery; I have no notion of young women being made scape-goats of for the sins of their kindred. Please heaven I intend to see you married before I die.”
From the tone in which these words were spoken, Elfrida well knew that the present was no time to urge the subject further; but she secretly determined to renew it whenever opportunity offered.
A day or two after this discourse passed, the same party happened to be assembled, with the exception of Ida, who was absent at Newcastle on military business. A cold and gloomy evening in November was closing in, but the spacious apartment was yet only lighted by a coal fire, round which the little circle was gathered in social chat; even Clifford was cheerful; and only the pensive countenance of Elfrida wore a cloud, when Lisette, who it will be remembered, formerly exerted herself to serve Rosetta, and was now her waiting-woman, entered with a simper on her countenance, and addressing her lady, said, that a fortune-teller, who was then in the kitchen, would be happy in being permitted to exercise her skill for any lady or gentleman, who might wish to know their future destiny.
Poor Judith, though she well remembered the ducking and singeing she had received for meddling with the occult sciences, had yet such a propensity to the marvellous, that she could not withstand the present temptation; but sat siddling and fidgeting, afraid to say yes, and unable to say no. Rosetta, who placed no faith in magic, or astrology, had a negative on her lips, when she was prevented by Thornton, who exclaimed, “Aye, aye, Lisette, bring her in, let us hear what the old beldame has to say.”
Charles Lilburne seconded the request, and Lisette soon returned, ushering in an uncouth figure, habited in a long grey cloak with the hood up; her white locks waved over her fore head, and a staff supported her tottering steps.
Mrs. Cresswell happening to be placed at the head of the circle, the sybil first advanced to her, and requested to look at her hand.
Judith, in defiance of all the pains and penalties annexed to witchcraft, instantly stretched it forth. The hag, after muttering some unintelligible words, said aloud, “Aye, lady, yours is indeed a fine fortune; you have never been married yet, but you will soon get a good husband.’
At these words Mrs. Cresswell, who placed the firmest reliance on all predictions of this kind, looked up with the most gracious smile in the world, while the young ladies could not forbear tittering, and Thornton laughed aloud.
“Come, old lady,” cried Charles Lilburne, who was seated between Vincentina and Elfrida, “here are two fair hands waiting your examination,” he then put the right hand of the former into that of the soothsayer, who gazed on it a long time in silence, and then shaking her head, exclaimed, “It grieves me to tell any one bad fortune, lady, but what fate wills, I cannot alter; you love a man who deceives you, lady; let me warn you never to believe him, for he is all falsehood and disguise.”
An instant gloom pervaded the features of the fair Italian, though she endeavoured to conceal it beneath an assumed smile.
Charles laughed immoderately, and holding forth the somewhat reluctant hand of Miss Thornton, cried, “Try your skill here, madam, for I am convinced it is most powerful.”
“I hope I shall tell good tidings,” said the sybil, then after muttering some of her wonted jargon, she said, “You are to be married soon also, lady; I am forbid to reveal the gentleman’s name, but there has been a long attachment, and he is deputy governor of this castle, so now I think you may guess who I mean.”
“Oh! merciful heaven! Major Shipperdson,” exclaimed Judith, clasping her hands in apparent agony.
Elfrida looked the picture of horror; the other ladies gazed on each other in silent astonishment.
Charles continued giggling, and Clifford, with a stern frown, was about to address something to the fortune-teller, when Thornton exclaimed, “Aye, and why not the major! you know he has long loved you, Ella; and if you had married him some time since, perhaps he would have acted better than he has done, and you would not now have been talking of a nunnery; however, I swear by St. Oswin, that if the deputy-governor is now willing to marry you, I will exert the utmost authority of a parent, to compel you to accept of his hand.”
Words are inadequate to describe the expression of horror and surprise, that waved over the countenances of the ladies, on hearing these words. But Elfrida, ah! gracious heaven! what were her feelings, when her parent thus declared his firm intention to give her to the wretch her soul abhorred—loaded with crimes—with infamy! She attempted to speak, but the words died on her trembling lips—a cold shivering seized her frame—and she sunk into the arms of Rosetta.
Meanwhile, Charles, without regarding the discourse of Thornton, was holding out his hand to the sybil, and importuning her to read his fate.
She examined his hand, and told him, that his was indeed an evil destiny, and after enumerating many misfortunes which were to attend him through life, she concluded by assuring him, that he would eventually die an old bachelor.
“You wicked hag!” exclaimed Charles, “I will be revenged on you, for prophesying me such a fate!” Then seizing the cloak, in which the herald of futurity was wrapped, he tore it off, and discovered to the astonished circle, the laughing countenance of Ida.
This was the very moment in which Elfrida sunk oppressed with her fears, but when she saw who was the pretended fortune-teller, she felt somewhat revived, and raised her languid head.
“But I am not in jest, Ella,” said her father, nodding archly, “you shall marry the deputy-governor.” Then without giving her time to speak, he drew a paper from his pocket, and turning to Clifford, said, “You, Oswald, are now deputy-governor of this castle, and a major in the army; the possessions of your ancestors are restored to you, and here is your commission signed by the king himself. What say you then, Clifford, will you accept your honors, and your bride, or retire to fasting and telling your beads in the convent of St. Oswin!”
When such an alternative was offered to the choice of Clifford, could he hesitate a moment in making his decision? his heart beat with a tumultuous emotion of mingled gratitude and surprise, nor was joy the least predominant feeling there.
“Oh! my benefactor, my more than parent!” he exclaimed, grasping the hand of Thornton. “Dare I hope for the happiness of being indeed your son!”
And while he spoke, his eloquent eyes were turned on Elfrida, with a look which at once spoke delight and affection.
“Now, Elfrida,” cried the arch and provoking Thornton, “will you now refuse me your obedience, when I command you to give your hand to the deputy-governor?”
Poor Elfrida could not reply, and her father taking her hand joined it to that of Clifford; who received it as a blessing. Indeed it was one to which he would probably have aspired, had he not been deterred by his own want of fortune, and the gratitude he owed to Mr. Thornton; for if he did not love Elfrida with the ardent passion he had once felt for Rosetta, he certainly cherished for her every possible sentiment of respect and esteem.
Their friends now thronged round to congratulate them, and a smile beamed on every face but that of Mrs. Cresswell; she paid her compliments indeed with the rest, but it was with somewhat of an ill grace. Her promised good fortune was soon crushed; and when the party was again seated, she turned to her mischievous cousin, and said with much sharpness of voice, and aspect, “Ida, I do not like such jests as these; mocking is catching, and you may be assured no good will come of it.”
“Why aunt,” for so Ida generally called the old lady, “why aunt,” he said, “am I not an excellent fortune-teller? I appeal to this young lady, whether I did not tell her truth?” he added, smiling archly on Vincentina.
“Aye, aye, you are a very good soothsayer,” exclaimed Thornton—“What say you madam?” he continued, turning to Mrs. Cresswell, “when my daughter marries, I shall want a housekeeper, and if you can have the goodness to think my hand worth your acceptance, it is humbly at your service.”
This blunt proposal, and the offered hand that accompanied it were most graciously received by Mrs. Judith; while Ida, though almost convulsed with laughing, repeatedly called on his aunt, to say whether he was not a true prophet.
About two days after this the earl, the prior, and Lilburne, returned to Tynemouth, and the former, when told of the projected alliance of his fair kinswoman, expressed himself highly pleased with it; and no obstacle intervening, it was agreed, that Mrs. Cresswell, and Miss Thornton should resign their liberty on the same day with Rosetta and Vincentina.
The earl when at York, resigned the government of Tynemouth castle; and the king immediately transferred the commission to Ida, and thus his residence was fixed at the governor’s house.
In the course of a week, intelligence was received at the castle, that the vessel in which Shipperdson and O’Bryen had embarked was wrecked on the coast of Flanders, and every person on board perished.
It may also be mentioned, that Crapaud, the earl’s valet, and the other wretches, their accomplices, were delivered over to the power of the church, that they might be tried at the next visitation of the abbot of St. Albans, for the crimes committed within his jurisdiction.
The happy day at length arrived, which was to unite four couples, who entered the married state with a fair and smiling prospect of felicity.
It was now the middle of December, and a lovelier morning for the season of the year never shone from the heavens, to the great joy of Judith, who observed, that “Happy is the bride whom the sun shines on.”
This lady, according to the etiquette of the times, was first led to the altar, dressed in a petticoat of black velvet trimmed with gold fringe; and a gown, or rather mantle, of rich brocade; she looked so gay, and so pleasant, that in the course of the day, Thornton declared, that he thought her full as handsome as any of the three young brides.
Rosetta, Vincentina, and Elfrida, wore all the attractions of the sister graces; they were attired exactly alike in robes of white satin, and their beautiful hair confined with rows of pearl; and their adoring lovers received them from the venerable prior, as the choicest blessings heaven could bestow.
The Earl of Wooler, after witnessing for a short time, their felicity, once more quitted the active scenes of life, and retired to his seat at Wooler Park, where he was frequently visited by his children, in whose happiness all his earthly wishes were now centered.
Lilburne, soon after his marriage, was raised to the dignity of a baron, by the style and title of Baron Lilburne, of Hartley, in Northumberland; but his intrinsic worth, and that of his lady, was such, as gave to nobility a lustre infinitely brighter than any they received from it.
Madame de Montandre retired to a nunnery in the neighbourhood of Tynemouth, not as a recluse, but a boarder; and she frequently emerged from her retreat, to pass a few delightful weeks at Hartley Hall, or the governor’s house. She amply rewarded the Villettes, for their attention to her son, when ill of his wound; and lord Lilburne added to her bounty by establishing them in a farm of his own.
Charles Lilburne, too much attached to the large circle of amiable friends he possessed in England, ever to return to France, solicited, and obtained a commission in the English service, and settled in that country for life.
The worthy Mr. and Mrs. Thornton passed the evening of life in perfect felicity and contentment. The venerable Judith now declared, that “she thought the sea air very salubrious, and a walk on the beach extremely pleasant.”
It was impossible to say, whether her son and daughter Clifford, Lord Ida and his Lady, or Lord and Lady Lilburne, were most dear to her heart; and she knew no higher felicity, than that of instructing their children in the important history of her ancestor, Robert de Mowbray, and the consequent enchantment of the castle.
Such is the history of the beings who once inhabited the castle, and neighbourhood of Tynemouth: the primary cause of their sufferings, was the superstition of the times in which they lived, and the patience with which they endured them was eventually rewarded by a state of happiness as full and perfect as this world can afford.
Newcastle upon Tyne:
Printed by E. Mackenzie, Jun.