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““ What recks it, lady ? thou hast gotten thee another,” said the pilgrim.
: " Another! -O name him not. Never, never!-- Most base, most cruel. He took advantage of my bereavement,—a moment of weakness and maternal terror,—by what long ages of suffering and wretchedness has it been repaid ! Better I had beheld my babes wasting with hunger, than have mated with this unpitying husband for a home and a morsel of bread!”
• A flush of proud scorn at her own weakness overspread her features. It was but momentary. She bade the attendants withdraw. Looking round for this purpose, she was aware, for the first time, of the hated presence of Roger de Cliderhow, watching, with considerable surprise, for the result of this unexpected interview. He departed with the retinue, leaving lady Mabel and the pilgrim for a while unobserved.
6“ Thou art a holy and a heaven-destined man, yet surely thou hast been taught to share another's sorrows-to pour the oil of compassion over the wounds of the penitent and broken-hearted.” The lady turned aside her head, -she leaned over the chair for support, whilst one hand pressed her throbbing temples.
co Mabel Bradshaigh !” It was the voice of Sir William. She started as at a summons from the tomb. No other form was visible but that of the pilgrim bending over his staff. Her eye wandered wildly around the hall, as if she expected some phantom to start from its recesses. A richlyfretted screen, behind which the minstrels and lookers on occasionally sat at the festival, stood at the lower end of the apartment. A slight rustling was heard ; she was about to rush towards the spot, when the voice was again audible, and apparently at her side. Slowly the hood of the pilgrim was uplifted. He threw off his disguise ;—but ( how chauged was the once athletic form of Sir William Bradshaigh! With a wild and piercing shriek, she flew towards the out-stretcheci arms of her husband; but ere they met, a figure stepped between, barring their approach. It was the ungainly person of Sir Osmund Neville.'-—pp. 74–76.
The story of the ‘Prior of Burschough’affords us a clear insight into the Monkish characters of the period, and the flagrant licentiousness prevailing amongst many of the religious establishments of those days. There is considerable power displayed in the descriptions, and much interest excited. A curious anecdote is related from Kennett's MSS. of King Henry's visit to Lathom-House:
* After the execution of Sir William Stanley, when the King visited Lathom, the Earl, when his royal guest had viewed the whole house, conducted him up to the leads for a prospect of the country. The Earl's fool, who was among the company, observing the King draw near to the edge of the leads not guarded with a balustrade, stepped up to the Eari, and pointing down to the precipice, said “ Tom, remember Will.” The King understood the meaning, and made all haste down stairs, and out of the house; and the fool long after seemed mightily concerned that his lord had not bad courage to take that opportunity of avenging himself for the death of his brother.--Kennett's MSS. 1033, fol. 47.'—rol. i. p. 91.
The · Eagle and Child' is a narrative of the noble house of
Stanley, and connected, as it is, with history, furnishes one of the most pleasing tales in the collection. We give a description of the celebrated combat before King Edward, in the words of the. author :
“We now pass on to the field, where every thing was in readiness for the combat. The knights had heard mass and made confession, these being the requisite preparatives to the poble deeds they had that day vowed to perform. The heralds had made the usual proclamation against the use of magic, unlawful charins, and other like devices of the devil, when a loud flourish of trumpets announced the approach of Stanley, who first entered the lists, mounted on a grey charger, furnished with a chevron, or war-saddle, then of great use in withstanding the terrific shock of the assailant, being high up in front, and furnished at the back like an armchair. He was equipped in a full suit of Italian armour, displaying a steel cuirass of exquisite workmanship, deemed at that time a novel, but elegant, style of defence, and destined soon to supersede the purpoint or gamboised work called mail. If well tempered, it was found to resist the stroke of the lance, without being either pierced or bent, nor was it liable to be pushed through into the body, as was sometimes the case with the " mailles," when the wambas, or hoketon, was wanting underneath. His shield was thus marshalled:--Argent; on a bend azure, three stags' heads cabossed. In the sinister chief, a crescent denoted his filiation; underDeath was the motto “ Augmenter.” The shield itself, or pavise, was large, made of wood, covered with skin, and surrounded with a broad rim of iron.
He looked gracefully round, first lowering his lance in front of the king's pavilion, and afterwards to the fair dames who crowded the galleries on each side. Whether from accident or design, his eyes rested on Isabella with a strong expression of earnestuess rather than curiosity. Doubtless, the noble representatives of the house of Lathom excited no slight interest amongst the spectators, and the young hero might have formed some yet updeveloped anticipations on this head.
She blushed deeply at this public and unexpected notice. The recollection of her dream made the full tide of feeling set in at once in this direction, much to her consternation and dismay; but when happening to turn bastily round, a silken bandage, loosened by the sudden movement from some part of her dress, was carried off by the wind, and deposited Witbin the lists; she was greatly embarrassed ; and her confusion was not a little increased, as the young gallant, with great dexterity, transferred it to the point of his lance. At this choice of his “Lady love," a loud shout arose from the multitude ; and Isabella, now the object of universal regard, would have retired, but that the density of the crowd, and the inconvenient structure of the building, rendered it impossible.
Another flourish of trumpets announced the approach of the young Admiral of Hainult. His armour was blue and white, beautifully wrought and inlaid with silver. His steed was black, having the suit and furniture of the war-horse complete ; croupiére and estival, together with the chanfron, were of the most costly description. A plume of white feathers decorated his casque, extending his athletic form into almost gigantic proportious.
The needful ceremonies were gone through; a deep and almost breathless silence succeeded, like the stillness that precedes the first swing
of the storm. The trumpets sounded; the sharp click of the lances was heard falling into the rest ; and the first rush was over. The noise of the shock was like the burst of the tempest on the forest boughs. Through the dust, the horses were seen to recoil upon their haunches; but as it blew heavily away, the warriors had regained their upright position, having sustained no injury, save by the shivering of their lances by the stroke. A loud shout of applause ensued; and the esquires being at hand with fresh weapons, each knight was too eager for the fray to lose a moment in requesting the usual sign. Again their coursers' feet seemed to spurn the earth. At this onset, the French knight bent back in his saddle, whether from subtlety or accident was not known, but there was a loud clamour; and the Frenchman, recovering himself, spurred on his steed with great vigour, perhaps hoping to take his adversary at unawares ; but the latter, darting aside with agility, the other's lance ran full against the boards, and in deep vexation he came back to the charge.
Trembling with choler, he hardly restrained himself until the prescribed signal; then, as if he would make an end of his opponent, he aimed his weapon with a direct thrust towards his heart; but Stanley, confident in his own might, was fully prepared for the blow, as the event sufficiently proved; for the French knight was seen to reel from his saddle, the point of his enemy's lance being driven completely through his armour. He rolled backwards on the ground, and so vigorous had been the attack, that his horse's back was broken, and they lay together, groaning piteously, besmeared with blood and dust, to the sore dismay of his companions. Stanley suddenly alighted, and helped the pages to undo his armour ; but ere his beaver could be unclasped, he had fainted by loss of blood; and being borne off the field, he shortly afterwards expired. i
The king was mightily pleased with this great prowess of the victor, insomuch, that he knighted him on the spot; and, according to the old ballad, gave him goodly manors
“For his hire, Wing, Tring, and Iving, in Buckinghamshire.” He had so won, likewise, on the hitherto impenetrable disposition of Isabella, that when he came to render his homage at her feet, she trembled, and could scarcely give the customary reply.
Raising his visor, and uncovering his helmet from the grand guard, a plate protecting the left side of the face, shoulder, and breast, he made a lowly obeisance at the gate of his mistress's pavilion, at the same time presenting the stolen favour he had now so nobly won. With a tremulous hand she bound it round his arm.
«« Nay, thy chaplet, lady,” shouted a score of tongues from the inquisitive spectators. Isabella untied a rich chaplet of goldsmith's work, ornamented with rose-garlands, from her hair, and threw it over his helmet. Still armed with the gauntlets, which either through hurry or inadvertence, he bad neglected to throw aside, as was the general courtesy for the occasion, the knight seized her hand, and with a grasp, gentle for any other occasion, pressed it to his lips. The lady uttered a subdued shriek, whether from pain or surprise, it boots not now to inquire; mayhap, it was the remembrance of the mailed hand, she had felt in her dream, and to which her fingers, yet tingling with the pressure, bore a sufficient testimony. Sir John bent lowlier than before, with one hand on
his breast in token of contrition. A thousand strange fancies, shapeless and undefined, rushed by, as the maiden looked on the warrior. It was the very crisis of her dream ; her heart seemed as though it would have leapt the walls of its tenement, and she was fain to hide her face under the folds of her mantle.
““ Now on my halidome,” said the king, “ there be two doves, whose cooing would be the better for a little honest speech. Poor hearts ! it were a pity their tongues had bewrayed their desire. Fitz-Walter, summon them bither."
• The blushing Isabella was conducted to the royal presence, where the king was graciously pleased to impress a salute on her rich and glowing cheek. No mean honour from so gracious and gallant a monarch, who, though old, was yet accounted a mighty adept in the discernment of female beauty, he never being known to suffer contact of the royal lip with aught but the fairest and most comely of the sex.'--pp. 138—142.
The story of Sir Edward Stanley assumes something of a polemical disquisition, and treats of the conversion of an atheist. We give one of the arguments, as a curious piece of reasoning :
"What proof can its promulgers give me of the infallibility of their doctrines, even supposiiig these events to be true?" .'" Miracles, acknowledged to be such, contravening and transcending the common course of nature,—these I reckon, will be a sufficient warranty that the message is from the great Author of all things himself.”
"" I own these are the strongest evidences that I could require, and I would admit them if I had witnessed their perforinance."
"“Good. Now to the proof. It is impossible that any simple fact could be imposed, or that a number of persons could be made to believe they had witnessed such a fact, unless it had actually taken place. For instance, if I were to assert that I had divided the waters of this river here, in the presence of the inhabitants, and that I had once led the whole of them over dryshiod, the waters standing like a wall on each side, to guard their path, appealing to them at the same time in proof of my testimony; it would be impossible, I say, to convince those people it were true, pro. vided the event had not happened. Every person would be at hand to contradict me, and, consequently, it would be impossible that such an imposition could be put upon them against the direct evidence of their senses."
" Granted,” replied the Baron. « But this tale I am not too bold to inter might be invented when that generation had passed, when the credulity of coming ages night lead men to believe in such foolish and monstrous imaginings, like the labours of Hercules, the amours of Jove, and the cannibal exploits of Saturn."
""Nay, but hear me. Whenever such a story was first promulged, were it then stated that not only public monuments remained to attest the event, but that public rites and ceremonies were kept up for its express commemoration, which rites were to that day continual, and to which those writings appealed as evidence attesting the performance of such miracles, then must the deceit have been rendered but the more glaring and easy of detection, as no such monuments could exist, no rites, no ceremonies demonstrating the truth of this appeal could be in observance. Thus, if I
should now invent the tale about something done two thousand odil years ago, a few might, peradventure, be credulous enough to believe me; but if I were to say that ever after, even to this day, every male had his nose slit and his ears bored in memory of this event, it would be absolutely impossible that I should gain credit for my story, because the universality of the falsehood being manifest, and the attestation thereof visibly untrue, would prove the whole history to be false. Such were the rites and custoins of the Jews." ;
pp. 244, 245. .
George Marsh, the martyr, is an admirable story, of deep and high-wrought interest; and affords one of the many instances of cruel persecution in a barbarous and bigoted age. It is followed by a humorous narrative connected with the renowned Doctor Dee, who figured in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, and some of her predecessors. His entire history is very amusing, and we cannot help giving one extract, not a little calculated to enlighten our readers, who may be fond of astrological pursuits :
• He arose, lifting an ebony cabinet on the table, which he unlocked with great solemnity. During this operation, he fell to muttering many prayers; and, with an air of great reverence, he took out a richly-embossed casket, which being opened, there was displayed a fair chrystal of an eggshaped form, on which he gazed with a long and silent delight. .
** A treasure beyond all price,” said Bartholomew, eyeing it with rapture.
*“ Even so,” said Dee, “and, by the grace of the Giver, I do hope to profit by it. Once it was removed from me. Listen. It was in the little chapel, or oratory, next the chambers which Lord William of Rosenberg had allotted us in his castle of Trebona. I had set the stone in its wonted place upon the table, or altar as we called it, when Kelly saw a great flame in the stone, which thing though he told me, I made no end of my usual prayer. But suddenly, one seemed to come in at the south window of the chapel, right opposite to Kelly, while the stone was heaved up without hands, and set down again; wonderful to behold. After which, I saw the man who came in at the window; he had his lower parts in a cloud, and with open arms flew towards Kelly. At which sight, he shrunk back, and the creature took up between both hands the stone with its frame of gold, and mounted up the way he came. Kelly caught at it, but could not touch it; thereupon he was grievously alarmed, and had the tremor cordis for a good while after. This, my angelical stone, being taken away, I was mightily troubled, for the other stones in my possession being made through man's skill and device, I had not a safe warranty of their virtue, so that I might confidently trust in what they should disclose. I was afraid, too, of the intrusion of wicked spirits into them, who might impose on me with their delusions. This happened on a Friday, being the 24th of April, 1587, as I find it recorded in my diary. But mark the manner of its return! The following month, on the 22d day, and on the same day of the week, about four hours post meridian, as I and Kelly were walking out through the orchard, down the river side, he saw two little men fighting there furiously with swords; and one said to the other, Thou hast beguiled me,' As I drew near, they did not abate their heat, but the fray seemed to wax even hotter than before. I at length said, “ Good friends,