The Algona Republican from Algona, Iowa on May 15, 1895 · Page 6
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The Algona Republican from Algona, Iowa · Page 6

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Wednesday, May 15, 1895
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THE STORY OF FMCIS CLUDDE, BY STANLEY J. VYEYMAN. I0opvi''."'iit IS'.n, !••,' fiissall rublisliinj.' Co. All i'ijrlitsivscrvccl.1 llo hncl not done with me yot, however. "Oho more reason I hnvo," he continued, Stopping mo ns I wns nbout to speak, ''for saying that England will not suit your health, Master Cludde. It is thnt I do not want you hero. Abroad you may bo of uso to mo nnd at tho same t-lnio carve out your own fortune. You have courage aud can uso a sword, I hoar. You understand —and it is a rare gift with Englishmen— somci Spanish, which I suppose your father or your uncle taught you. You can, so Father Carey says, construe a Latin sentence if it bo not too difficult. You are scarcely 20, and you will have mo for your patron. Why, were I you, boy, with your nge and your chances, I would dio prince or pope! Ayo, I would!" He stopped speaking, his eyes on fire. Nay, a ring of such real feeling flashed out in his last words that, though I distrusted him, though old prejudices warned me against him, and, at heart a, Protestant, I shuddered at things I had heard of him, tho longing to sco tho world and have adventures seized upon me. Yet I did not speak at once. He had told mo that my tongue outran my thoughts, and I stood silent until he asked mo curtly, "Well, sirrah, what do you say?" "I say, my lord bishop," I replied respectfully, "that tho prospect you hold out to mo would tempt mo were I a younger son or without those ties of gratitude which hold me to my uncle. But, my father excepted, I am Sir Anthony's only heir." "Ah, your father!" ho said contemptuously. "You do well to remind mo of him, for I see you arc forgetting tho first part of my speech in thinking of tho last! Should I have promised first and threatened later? You would fain, I expect, stay hero and woo Mistress Pctronilla? Do I touch there? You think to marry tho maid and bo master of Coton End in God's time, do you? Then listen, Francis Cluclde. Neither one nor tho other, neither maid nor meadow, will bo yours should you stay hero till doomsday!" I started and stood glowering on him, speechless with anger and astonishment. "You do not know who you arc," he continued, leaning forward with a sudden movement and speaking with one claw- like finger extended and a malevolent gleam in his eyes. "You called me a nameless child awhile ago, and so I wps. Yet huve I risen to bo ruler of England, Master Cltiddo! But you—I will tell you which of us is base born. I will tell you •who and what your father, Ferdinand Cluddc.wns. Ho was—nay, he is—my tool, spy, jackal! Do you understand, boy? Your father is one of tho band of foul creatures to whom such as I. base born though I be, fling the scraps from their table! Ho is the vilest of tho vile men who do uiy dirty work, my lad." He had raised his voice and hand in passion real or assumed. He dropped them as I sprang forward. "You lie!" I cried, trembling all over. •'Easy, easy! 1 'he said. Ho stopped mo where I was by a gesture of stern command. ''Think!" ho continued calmly and weightily. "Has any one ever spoken to you of your father since tho day seven years ago when you came hero a child, brought by a servant? Has Sir Anthony talked of "him? Has any servant named his name to you? Think, boy. If Ferdinand Cluddo be a father to bo proud of, why doea his brother make naught of him?" "He is a Protestant," I said faintly, faintly because I had asked myself this very question not once, but often. Sir Anthony so seldom mentioned my father that I had thought it strange myself. I had thought it strange, too, that tho servants, who must remember Ferdinand Cludde, never talked to mo about him. Hitherto I had always been satisfied to answer, "He is u Protestant," but face to face with this terrible old man and his pitiless charge tho words came but faintly from my lips. '•A Protestant," ho replied solemnly. "Yes, this comes of schism, that villains cloak themselves in it and parade for true men. A Protestant you call him, boy? Ho has been that— aye, and all things to all men—and ho has betrayed all things aud oil men. Ho was in the great cardinal's confidence and forsook him, when he fell, for Cromwell. Thomas Cromwell, although they were of tho same persuasion, he betrayed tome. I have hero," and he struck tho letters in his hand a scornful blow, "tho offer ho made to mo and his terms. Then eight years back, when the late King Edward came to tho throne, I, too, fell on evil days, and Master Cludde abandoned me for my Lord Hertford, but did me no gmst harm. But ho did something which blasted him—blasted him at last." He paused. Had tho fire died down, or was it only my imagination that tho shadows thickened' round tho bed behind him und closed in more nearly on us, leaving his pale grim face to confront me—his face which set-mod the paler and grimmer, the more saturnine and all mustering, for the dark frame which set it oil? "He did this," ho continued slowly, "which cume to light and blasted him— he asked as tho price of his service in betraying mo his brother's estate." '•Impossible!" I stammered. "Why, Sir Anthony"— "What of Sir Anthony, you would ask?" tho chancellor replied, interrupting me, with SUVUKO irony. "Oh, ho was a papist, an obstinate papist! Ho might go hunger to Warwick jail!" "Nay, but this tit least, my lord, is false!" 1 cried.' " Palpably false! If my father hud so betrayed his own flesh and blood, should I bo here? Should I bo at Coton End? You say this happened eight years ago. Seven years ago I came here. Would Sir Anthony"— "Thero are fools everywhere," the old man sneered. "When my Lord Hertford refused your father's suit, Ferdinand began—it is liis nature—to plot against him. He was found out and execrated by all, for he hod been false to all. Ho lied for his life. He left you behind, and a servant brought you to Coton End, where Sir Anthony took you in." I covered my face. Alas, I believed him! I, who had always been so proud of my lineage, so proud of tho bravo traditions of the houso and its honor, so proud of Coton End and all that belonged to it! Now, if this were true, 1 could never again take pleasure in one or the other. I was the son of a man branded as a turncoat and an informer, or one who was the worst of traitors! } sank down OH tho settle behind HIO and. hia my two. Another might hove thought loss o? the'blow, os, with greater knowledge P* M w'tilid, might forte fttffe !f|M el tt 6t a thing not touching nlttSelf. Bo« on me, young aa I was, nnd tfroud, and afi yet tender, and having done nothing myself, it fell with crushing force. It was years since I had seen my father, and 1 could not stand forth loyally and fight his battle as n son his father's friend nnd familiar for years might have fought it. On the contrary, there was so much Which seemed mysterious in my past life, so much that bore out tho chancellor's accusation, thnt I felt a dread of its truth even before I hnd proof. Yot I would hnvo proof. "Show mo the letters!" 1 said harshly. "Show me tho letters, my lord!" "You know your father's handwriting?" "Ido." 1 knew it, not from any correspondence my father had held with me, but because I had more than once examined with natural curiosity the wrappers of tho dispatches which nt intervals of many months, sometimes of a year, camo from him to Sir Anthony. I hnd never known anything of tho contents of the letters, nil thnt fell to my share being certain formal mcssngcs, which Sir Anthony would Rive me, generally with n clouded brow and n testy manner thnt grew goninl ngain only with tho lapse of time. Gardiner handed me the letters, and I took them and read one. One Was enough. That my father! Alas, alas! No woluler that I turned my face to tho wall, shivering ns with tho ague, and that nil nbout me, except tho red glow of tho fire, which burned into my brain, seemed darkness! I had lost tho thing I valued most. I had lost at n blow everything of which I wns proud. Tho treachery that could flush that worn face opposite to mo, lined as it was witli statecraft, nnd betray tho wily tongue into passion seemed to me, young and impulsive, n thing so vile as to brand a man's children through generations. Therefore I hid my face in tho corner of the settle, while tho chnnccllor gnzcd nt mo awhile in silence, as one who had made an experiment might watch tho result. "You see now, my friend," he said at last, almost gently, "that you may bo base born in more ways than one. But bo of good cheer. You aro young, nnd whnt I hnvo done you may do. Think of Thomas Cromwell—his father was naught. Ihink of tho old cardinal—my master. Think of tho Duke of Suffolk—Charles Brandon, I mean. Ho was a plain gentleman, yet ho married a queen. More, tho door which they hnd to open for themselves I will open for you—only, when you nro inside, piny tho man and bo faithful." "What would you have me do?" I whispered hoarsely. "I would have you do this," ho nn- swcred. "Thero nro great things brow- ing in tho Netherlands, boy—great changes, unless I am mistaken. I have need of an ngont there, a man, stout, trusty, and, in particular, unknown, who will keep me informed of events. If you will bo that agent, I cnn procure for you —and not appear in the matter myself—n post of pay aud honor in tho regent's guards. What say you to that, Master Cludde? A few weeks, and you will bo making history, nnd Coton End will seem a mean place to you. Now, what do you say?" I was longing to bo away and alone with my misery, but I forced myself to reply patiently. "With your leave I will give you my answer tomorrow, my lord," I sni.d ns stciid- ily as I could, and I rose, still keeping my face turned from him. "Very well," ho replied, with apparent confidence. But ho watched me keenly, ns I fancied. "I know already what your answer will be. Yet before you go I will givo you a piece of advice which in tho new life you begin tonight will avail you more than silver, more than gold—aye, more than steel—Master Francis. It is this- Bo prompt to think, bo prompt to strike, be slow to speak! Mark it well! It is n simple recipe, yot it has mndo me what I am and may make you greater. Now, go!" Ho pointed to tho little door opening on tho staircase, and I bowed and went out, closing it carefully behind mo. On tho stairs, moving blindly in tho dark, I fell over somo one who lay sleeping there and who clutched at my leg. I shook him off, however, with an exclamation of rage, and stumbling down the rest of tho steps gained tho open air. Excited and feverish, I shrank with aversion from tho confinement of my room, and hurrying over tho drawbridge sought at random the long terrace by tho fish pools, on which tho moonlight fell, a shoot of silver, broken only by tho sundial and tho shadows of tho rosebushes. Tho night air, weeping chill from tho forest, fanned my cheeks as I paced up and down. One wny I had before mo tho manor house—the steep gable ends, tho gateway tower, the low outbuildings and corn stacks and stables—and flanking these tho squat tower and nave of tho church. I turned. Now I saw only tho water and tho dnrk line of trees which fringed tho further bank. But above those the stars were shining. Yet in my mind thoro was no starlight. There all was a blur of wild passions and resolves. Shame and an angry resentment against those who had kept mo so long in ignorance—oven against Sir Anthony- were my uppermost feelings. I smarted under the thought thnt I had been living on his charity. I remembered many a time when I had taken much on myself, nnd he hnd smiled, and tho remembrance stung me. I longed to nssert myself and do something to wipe off the stain. But should I accept tho bishop's offer? It never crossed my mind to do so. Ho had humiliated me, nnd I hated him for it. Longing to out myself off from my old life I could not support a patron who would know and might cast in my teeth tho old shame, A third reason, too, worked powerfully with mo as I became cooler. This was the conviction that, apart from the glitter which tho old man's craft hnd cast about it, tho part ho would have mo play wns that of n spy—an informer! A creature like—I dared not say like my father, yet I had him in my mind. And from this, from the barest suspicion of this, I shrank ns the burned pxippy from tho flro—shrank with iieroe switching of :>orvo and sineiv. Yet if I would not accept hin offer it wns clear I must fend for myself. His threats meant ns much as that, nnd I smiled sternly as found necessity at one with inclination. I would leave Coton End at once, and henceforth I would fight for my own hand. I would have no name until I had made for myself a now one. This resolve formed, I turned and went back to tho houso'and felt my way to my own chamber. Tho moonlight poured through the lattice and fell white on my pallet. I crossed the room and stood still. Down the middle of the coverlet—or my eves deceived me—lay a dark line. ' I stooped mechanically to see what this was nnd found my own sword lying there, tho sword which Sir Anthony had given mo on my last birthday. But how had it come there? As I took it up something soft and light brushed my baud an4 ffbifi uuo «»•»- fcted. A webi feetefe 1 tvonilln to make iwo n WcttA kfiot, of bltfe velvet for use on state occasions. No tlottbt 6he had done it and h ad brought th 6 sword back this evening and laid it there in token of peace. ,**.*.* I sat down on my bed, and softer and kindlier thoughts came to hie—thoughts ol lovo and gratitude, in which tho old man who had been a second father to me had part. 1 would go as 1 had resolved, but 1 Would return to them when I had done a thing worth doing, something which should efface tho brand that lay on me now With gentle fingers 1 disengaged the Velvet knot and thrust it into my bosom. Then 1 tied about the hilt tho old leathet thong, and began to make iny preparations, considering this or that route while 1 hunted for my dagger and changed my doublet and hose for stouter raiment and long, untanned boots. I Was yet in the midst of this when a knock at the doot startled me. ,,.-,, t "Who is there?" I asked, standing erect. For answer Martin Luther slid in, closing the door behind him. Tho fool did not speak, bu> turning his eyes first on one thing and then on another nodded sagely. "Well?" I growled. "You are off, master," he said, nodding npnin. "I thought so." "Why did you think so?" I retorted impatiently. "It is time for tho young birds to fly when the cuckoo begins to stir, "ho answered. I understood him dimly and in part'. "You have been listening," I said wrathfully, my cheeks burning. "And been kicked in tho face like n fool for my pains," ho answered. "Ah, well, it is better to bo kicked by tho boot you lovo than kissed by tho lips you hate. But Master Francis, Master Frnncis!" ho continued in n whisper. Ho said no more, and I looked up. The man was stooping slightly forward, his pale fnco thrust out. There was n strange gleam in his eyes, nnd his teeth grinned in tho moonlight. Thrico ho drew his finger across his loan knotted throat. "Shall I?' ho hissed, his hot breath reaching me, "shall I?" , ,, , I recoiled from him, shuddering. It was a ghastly pantomime, nnd it seamed to mo that I saw madness in his eyes. "In heaven's name, no!" I cried. "No! Do you hear, Martin? No!" Ho stood back on tho instant, ns n dog might have done being reproved. But I could hardly finish in comfort after that with him standing there, although when I next turned to him he seemed half asleep nnd his eyes were dull and fishy as ever. "One thing you can do," I said brusquely. Then I hesitated, looking round mo. I wished to send something to Petronilln, somo word, some keepsake. But I had nothing that would servo n maid's purpose and could think of nothing until my eye lit on a house martin's nest, lying where I had cast it on tho window sill. I had taken it down that morning because tho droppings during tho last summer had fallen on the load work, and I would not have it used when tho swallows returned. It was but a bit of clay, and yet it would servo. Sho would guess its meaning. I gave it into his hands. "Take this," I said, "and give It privately to Mistress Pctronilla. Privately, you understand. And say nothing to any one, or tho bishop will flay your back, Martin." IB6* CHAPTER III. The first streak of daylight found mo already footing it through tho forest by paths known to few savo tho woodcutters, but with which many a boyish exploration had mado mo familiar. From Cotoiv.End tho London road lies plain and fair through Stratford-on-Avon and Oxford. But my plan, tho bettor to ovndo pursuit, wns, -instead, to cross tho forest in a northeasterly direction, and passing by Warwick to strike tho great north road between Coventry and Daventry, which, running thonco southeastward, would take mo ns straight as n bird might fly through Dunstable, St. Albans and Baruet to London. My baggage consisted only of my cloak, sword and dagger, and for money I had but a gold angel and a few silver bits of doubtful value. But I trusted that this store, slender as it wns, would meet my charges as far as London. Once there I must depend on my wits.either for providence at homo or n pnssago abroad. Striding stondily up and down hill, for Artlon forest is made up of hills nnd dells which follow one another as do tho wave and trough of tho son, only less regularly, I mado my wny toward Wootton Wawen. As soon as I espied its battlomentcd church lying in a wooded bottom below mo I kept a more easterly course, and leaving Honley-in-Arden far to tho left passed down toward Look Wootton. Tho damp, dead bracken underfoot, the leafless oaks and gray sky overhead—nay, the very cry of tho bittern fishing in tho bottoms- seemed to bo at one with my thoughts, for these woro dreary and sad enough. But hope and a fixed aim form no bad makeshifts for happiness. Striking the broad London road as I had purposed, I slept that night at Ryton Duusmoor and the next at Towooster, and tho third day, •which rose bright and frosty, found me stopping gayly southward, travel stninod indeed, but dry and whole. My spirits rose with tho temperature. For a time I put tho past behind me and found amusement in tho sights of the road—in tho heavy wagons and long trains of pack horses and tho cheery greetings which mot mo with each mile. After all, I had youth and strength, and the world before me, and particularly Stony Stratford, where I meant to dine. Thero wns one trouble common among wayfarers which did not touch me, and that was tho fear of robbers, for ho would be n sturdy beggar who would rob nn armed foot passenger for the sake of an angel, nnd tho grouts were gone. So 1 felt no terrors on that account, nnd even when about noon I heard a horseman trot up behind mo and rein in his horse so as to keep pace with mo at a walk, stop for step —a thing which might have seemed suspicious to somo—I took no heed of him- I was engaged with my first view of Stratford and did not turn my head. Wo had walked on so for 50 paces or more before it struck mo as odd that the man did not pass mo. Then I turned, and shading my eyes from the sun, which stood just over his shoulder, said, "Good day, friend." "Good day, master," ho answered,, Ho was a stout fellow, looking like a citizen, although ho had a sword by his side and woro it wih an air of importance which the sunshine of opportunity wight have ripened into a swagger. His dress was plain, and ho sat o, pood hackney as a miner's sack might havo sat it. His face was the last thing I looked at. WUea I raised, my eyes to it, I got an unpleasant start- The man was no stranger. J feew him in a moment for tfee messenger who had ewKWoaefl we to the chancellors presence. remembrance did not pleais »e, 614 fiMlnf ffr6 1' halted nb*nptly. Mo did tno snin'C. "It is a fine morning," ho said, taken aback by my sudden movement, but affecting au indifference which tho spatklo in his eye belied. "A. fare day for tho time efyear." "It is," t answered, gazing steadily nt him. "Going to London? Or may be only to Stratford?" he hazarded. Ho fidgeted uncomfortably under iny eye, but Still pretended ignorance of mo. "That is as may bo," 1 answered. "No offense, 1 am sure," ho said. t cast n quick glance up nnd down the road. There happened to bo ho one in Bight. "Look here!" 1 replied, stepping forward to lay my hnhd on the horse's shoulder, but the man reined back and prevented me, thereby giving mo a clew to his character, "you are In the service of tho bishop of Winchester?" His face fell, nnd he could not conceal his disappointment nt being recognized. "Well, master," ho answered reluctantly, "perhaps 1 am, nnd perhaps 1 am not." "That Is enough," 1 said shortly. "And you know me. You need not lie about it, man, for I can see you do. Now, look here, Master Steward, or whatever your name may bo" — "It Is Mnster Pritchnrd," he put in sulkily, "nnd I nm not nshnmed of it." "Very well. Then lot Us understand one another. Do you mcnn to interfere With me?" Ho grinned. "Well, to boplnln, I do,' ho replied, reining his horse back another stop. "I hnvo orders to look out for you and hnvo you stopped if I find you. And I must do my duty, sir. I am sworn to it, Mnstor Cludde." "Right," snid I cnlmly, "and I must do mine, which is to take caro of my skin." And I drew my sword nnd advanced upon him with n flourish. "Wo will soon decide this little matter," I added grimly, one eye on him and one on tho empty road, "if you will bo good enough to defend yourself." But there wns no flght in tho follow. By good luck, too, ho was so startled that he did not do whnt ho might have done with safety— namely, retreat nnd keep mo in sight until somo passersby came up. Ho did give back indeed, but it was ngnlnst tho bank. "Hnvo n care!" ho cried in n fume, his eye following my sword nervously. Ho did not try to draw his own. "There is no call for fighting, I say." "But I say there is," I replied bluntly. "Cnll nnd cnusol Either you flght mo, or I go where I plcnso." "You may go to Bath for mo!" ho spluttered, liis face tho color of n turkey- cock's wattles with rago. "Do you mean its, my friend?" I snld, nnd I plnyed my point about his leg, half minded to give him n little prod by wny of earnest. "Mnkoup your mind." "Yes!" he shrieked out, suspecting my purpose and bouncing about in his saddle like a parched pea. "Yes, I say!" ho roared. "Do you hear mo? You go your wny, nnd I will go mine." "That is a bargain," I said quietly, "and mind you keep to it." I put up my sword with my faco turned from him, lest ho should see tho curl of my lip and tho light in my eyes. In truth, I was uncommonly well pleased with myself and was thinking that if I came through all my adventures as well I should do merrily. Outwardly, however, I tried to ignore my victory nnd to mnke things ns easy as I could for my friend— if one may call n man who will not flght him n friend, n thing I doubt. "Which way arc you going?" I asked amicably— "to Stratford?" ; ' ' He nodded, for ho was too sulky to speak. "All right!" I said cheerfully, feeling thnt my dignity could take care of itself now. "Then so far wo may go together. Only do you remember tho terms, After dinner each goes his own way." Ho nodded again, and we turned and went on in silence, eying one another askance, like two ill matched dogs coupled together. But luckily our forced companionship did not last long, a quarter of n mile nnd n bend in tho road bringing us to tho first low, gray houses of Stratford. Along, straggling village it seemed, made up of inns strewn along tho road, like beads threaded on n rosary. And, to bo sure, to complete tho likeness, wo came presently upon an ancient stono cross standing on tho greon. I pulled up in front of this with a sigh of pleasure, for on either side of it, one facing the other, was an Inn of tho better class. "Well," I said, "which shall it be— tho Rose and Crown, or tho Crown without tho rose?" "Choose for yourself," he answered churlishly. "I go to the other." I shrugged my shoulders. After all, you cannot mnko a silk purso out of a sow's ear, and if n man has not courage ho is not likely to hnvo good fellowship. But the words nngered me nevertheless, for a shabby, hulking follow lounging at my elbow overheard them and grinned. A hiccoughing, blear eyed man ho was as I had over mot, with a rod nose and the rags of n tattered cassock about him, I turned away in annoyance and chose the Crown nt hazard, and pushing my way through the knot of horses that stood tethered at tho door went in, leaving the two to their devices. I found a roaring flro in tho great room and three or four yeoman standing about }t, drinking ale. But I was hot from walking, so after saluting them and ordering my meal I went aud sat for choice on a bench by tho window away from the fire. Tho window was one of a kind common in Warwickshire houses, long and Jow nncl beetle browed, the story above projecting over it. I sat there a minute looking idly out at tho inn opposite, a heavy stone building with a walled courtyard attached to it, such an inn as was common enough about the time of the wars of the roses, when wayfarers looked rather for safety than comfort. Presently I saw a boy come out of it and start up the road at a run. Then, n minute later, the ragged fellow I had seen on the green came t>ut and lurched across the rond. Ho seemed to be making, though uncertainly, for my inn, and, sure enough, just as my broad nnd bacon— the latter hot and hissing—were put before me, ho staggered into the room, bringing a strong smell of ale and onions with him, "Pax vobis- cum!" he said, leering at me with tipsy solemnity. I guessed what he-was-^-a monk, one of those unfortunates still to be found here and there up and down the country, whom King Henry, when he put flown the jnon» asteiie?, had inndo homeless, J did not jook on the class with much favor, thinking that for most of them the cloister, even, Jf the queen should, succeed in setting the abbeys on their legs again, woiild have few attractions, • $irt I MW that the staple farmers reeeiveij Ms scrap o.f lifttio with jespect, and I »9fl&4cMU? ml wnt e» wjtbnjy matt!- fay "fh6al6is6KoapherB&tfdg<K>d.' "So is the ham, good fntherV.' I replied cheerfully, not pausing in my attack oA the Victuals. "Iwlll answer for so much." "Well, well," tho knave replied, With teady wit, "I breakfasted early. 1 am content. Landlord, another plate and a full tankafd. The young gentleman would have ine dine With him." 1 could hot tell whether to bo angry or to laugh at his impudence. "The gentleman says he will answer for it!" repeated tho rascal, with a twinkle in his eye, ns the landlord hesitated. He was by no means so drunk as ho looked. "No, no, father," I cried, joining in the general laugh into which the farmers by the fire broke. "A cup of ale is in reason, find for that I Will pay, but for ho mbre. Drink it and Wish me godspeed." "t will do mote than that, lad," ho answered. Swaying to and fro my cup, which ho had seized in his grasp, he laid his hand on tho window ledgo beside me, ns though to steady himself, and stooped until his coarse, puffy face was but a few inches from mine. "More than thnt," ho whispered hoarsely, and his eyes, peering into mine. Were now sober and full of meaning, "if you do not want to bo put in tho stocks or worse, make tracks! Make tracks, lad!" ho continued. "Your friend over there—he Is a niggardly oaf-has sent for tho hUiidrcdman nnd tho constable, nnd you aro the quarry. So the word Is, Go! Thnt," ho added aloud, standing erect again, with a drunken smile, "is for your cup of ale, and good coin tool" For half n minuto I sat quite still, taken aback and wondering, while the bacon cooled on tho plate before me, what I was to do. I did not doubt tho monk was telling tho truth. Why should ho lie to me? And I cursed my folly in trusting to n coward's honor or a serving man's good faith. But lamentations were useless Whnt wns I to do? I had no horse nnd no menus of getting one. I wns in n strange country, nncl to try to oscapo on foot from pursuers who know tho ronds nnd had tho law on their side, would bo n hopeless undertaking. Yet to be hauled bnck to Coton End a prisoner—I could not fnco thnt. Mechanically I raised a morsel of bacon to my lips, and as I did so n thought occurred to mo—an idea suggested by some talk I had hoard tho evening before at Towccstor. Fanciful ns tho plnn was, I snatched nt it, and knowing enoh instant to bo precious took my cournge in my hnnd—nnd my tnnknrd. "Here," I cried, sponklug suddenly nnd loudly, "hero Is bad luck to purveyors, Master Host!" Thero woro ucouploof stnblomon within hearing, lounging in tho doorwny, besides tho Inndlord and his wife nnd tho farmers. r caualit a glimpse of Mm, wild eyed and frantic with fear. A villager or two also had dropped in, nnd there were two peddlers lying half asleep in tho corner. All these pricked up their ears more or loss nt my words. But, like most country folk, they wore slow to take in anything new or unexpected, nnd I had to drink afresh nnd say ngain, "Hero is bad luck to purveyors!" before any one took it up. Then tho landlord showed ho understood. "Aye, so say I!" ho cried, with an oath. "Purveyors, indeed! It is such as they give tho queen n bad name." "God bless her!" quoth tho monk loyal-. ly. "And drown the purveyors!" a farmer exolnimed. "They were here a year ago nnd left us as bare as a shorn sheep," struck in a strapping villngor, speaking nt n white hent, but telling mo no news, for this wns whnt I had hoard at Towcestor tho night before, "The queen should lie warm if she uses all tho wool they took! And tho pnok horses they purveyed to carry off the plunder—why, tho packmen nvoid Stratford ever since ns though we had tho black death! Oh, down with the purveyors, say I! The first thnt comes this wny I will show tho bottom of tho Ouse. Aye, thnt I will, though I hnng for it!" "Easy, easy, Tom Miller!".tho host interposed, affecting an air of assurance, even while he cost on eye of trouble nt his flitches. "It will bo another ten years before they harry us again. There is Potter's Pury! They never took a testers worth from Potter's Pury! No, nor from Preston Gobion! But they will go to them next, depend upon it!" "I hope they will," I said, with a world of gloomy insinuation in my words, "But I doubt it!" And this time my hint was not wasted, Tho landlord changed color, »'What are you driving at, master?" ho asked mildly, while the others Ipjjked at mo in silence and waited fo? more. . "What if there bo one across the road now?" I eaid, giving way to the temptation and speaking falsely—for which I paid dearly afterward. "A purveyor, I mean, unless J aw mistaken in him, or he tells lies, He has corns straight from the chancellor, white wand, warrant and all. j-je is taking his dinner now, but he has lent for the hundredman, so J guess he moans business," "For, the hundredman?" repeated, the landlord, his brows meeting, "Yes, unless I am mistaken.' 1 There was silence for a moment. Then tho man they called Tom Miller dashed his cap on the floor, and folding his arms defiantly looked round on his neighbors, "He has come, has. he!" ho roared, his face swollen, his eyes bloodshot. "Then J will be as 'goacl as jny word! Who will belpf Shall wo sit down and be shorn like sheep, as we were before, go that our children lay on tho bare eton,es, and we pulled the plow ourselves? Oy shall we show tUaJ we are free Englishmen and not slave? of JTrenphnAoni 1 Shall we tea.ch. Master **« r - yeypy pot to trouble u.8 again? N.OW, Wttat say ypu,, neighbors?" ~ " ' of fttll as it was. Thft l .f OathS ftnd tittrtig encouragement, not loud, tot tto »«» dangerous for that, the ftesh burst of .fury which ro'se as the village smith and another came in and learned the news, the menacing gestures of a score of brandished flats-theso Sights, though they told of the Very effect nt which 1 had aimed, scared as well as pleased me. I turned red and white and hesitated, fearing .that I hat! gone too far. ^ The thing was dotte, however, and, w_hat Was more, I had eoon to take cafe of iny- sclf. At the very moment when the hubbub was nt its loudest 1 felfc a chill flift _ down hiy back 'as I met the monk's eye, and, reading In it whimsical ndinitatipn, road in it something besides, and that was nn Unmistakable incnnce. 'Clever Ind!' * the eye sflid. "I will expose you, it threatened. 1 had forgotten him—or, nt any rate, thnt my acting Would bo transparent enough to him holding the clew in his • hnnd—and his look Was like tho shock of cold water to mo. But it is wonderful how keen the wits grow on tho grindstone of necessity. With scarcely n second's hesitation 1 drew out my only piece of gold, and unnoticed by tho other men, who were busy swenring nt nnd encouraging one another, 1 disclosed n inorsol of it Tho monk's crafty eyes glistened. I laid my finger on my lips. Ho held up two fingers. I shook my head nnd showed an empty palm. I had no more. Ho nodded, niid tho relief thnt nod gave mo Wns great. Before I had time, however, to consider tho narrowness o£ my escape n movement of the crowd—for the news had spread with strange swiftness, and there was now n crowd assembled which more than filled the room—proclnlmed that the purveyor had come out nnd wns In tho street, The room wns nearly emptied nt n rush. Though I prudently remained behind, 1 could, through tho open window, henr as well ns seo whnt passed. Tho leading spirits had naturally struggled out first and were gathered, sullen and full of dangerous possibilities, about tho porch. I suppose the bishop's messenger.saw in them nothing but a crowd of country clowns, for ho came hectoring toward the door, smiting his boot with his whip and puffing out his red, cheeks mightily. He felt bravo enough, now that ho had dined nnd had nt his back three stout constables sworn to ktop tho queen's peace. "Make way! Make wny there! Do you hear?" ho cried in n husky, pompous voice. "Mnko way!" ho repeated, lightly touching the nearest man with his switch. "I nm oir the queen's service, boobies, nnd must not bo hindered." Tho man swore nt him, but did not budge, and tho bully, brought up thus sharply, awoko to tho lowering faces nnd threatening looks which confronted him. Ho changed color a little. But tho ale was still In him, and forgetting his natural discretion ho thought to carry mat- tew with a high hnnd. "Come, come," he cxc'.cJmcd angrily. "I have a warrant, and yon resist me at your peril. I have to entor this houso. Clear the way, Master liondrernnnn, nnd break these fellows' heads if they withstand you.'' A growl ns of a dozen bulldogs nnswer- ed him, aud Le drew back as a child might, who has trodden on an adder. "You fools!" ho spluttered, glaring at them viciously. "Aro you mad? Do you know what you aro doing? Do you see this?" He whipped out from some pocket a short white staff and brandished it. "I come direct from tho lord chancellor and upon his business. ,Do you hear? And if you resist me it is treason.. Treason, you" dogs!" he cried, his rage getting the better of him, "and liko dogs you will hang for it. Mas-\ tor Hundredmau, I order you to take in your constables and nrrost thnt man!" "What man?" quoth Tom Miller, eying him fixedly. "Tho stranger who came in an hour ago and is inside tho house." "Him, ho means, who told about the purveyor across tho road,'' oxplnined tho monk, with a wink. That wink sufficed. There was a roar of execration, and in tho twinkling of nn eye tho Jack in office, tripped up this way and shoved that, was struggling helplessly in the grnsp of half' a dozen men, who fought savagely for his body with tho hundredman nnd tho constables. "To thn rivorl To tho Ouse with him!" yelled tho mob. "In the qneen's nam shouted the officers,' But these wore those as three to a score mid tal'.en by surprise besides and doubtful of the rights of tho matter. Yet, for an instant, as tho crowd wont reeling and Dghting4own the road, they prevailed, the constables managed to drag their leader free, and I caught a glimpse of him', wild eyed and frantic with fear, his clothes torn from his back, standing at bay like some animal and brandishing his staff in one hand, a packet of letters in the other. "I have letters, letters of state!" he screamed shrilly. "Lot mo alone, I tell you! Let me go, you ours!" But in vain. The next instant the mob were upon him again. The packet 'of letters went one way, the staff was dashed another. Ho was thrown down and plucked up again and hurried, Wuised and struggling, toward the river, his screams for mercy and furious threats rising shrilly above the oaths and laughter. I felt myself growing pale as scream followed scream, "They will kill him!" '& I exclaimed, trembling, and prepared to follow. "I cannot see this done," But the monk, who had returned to my side, grasped ray arm. "Don't bo a fool," be said sharply, "I will answer for }t, they will not kill him. Tom Miller }s not a fool, though ho is angry. Be will ducfe him and let him go, But I will trouble „ you for that bit of gold, young gentle^ man." ' I gave it to him. ' " "Now," ho continued, with a leer, M I will give you a hint in return, If you ar,e wise, you will be out of this county in, l§, hours. Tethered to the gate over- there i§ ^ good, horse, which belongs to s certain purveyor now in. the river, Take It! Th,er is no one to say you nay. An4 begone!" J loqk'ecj hard nt him for a niUmto, heart beating fast, This was horse . ing, and horse stealing was a jnnttor, But I JiacJ dpno so much , that I felt I might as well belu»n,ge4 feHS shocp as for a lamb. J waj not ,6U? I htul not incited' to treason, and was stealing a hoyse beside that?' 'iJ do it," i sojd despjpi'atoly- • "Don't Jose time, then," a.ttQtfa mentor. * . .., I wont out then jancfwiere 8»4 f °Sl$ M had told tho truth,' IJyej'y sou,! lB, h ' n place had gpn.p |p e^tlie auckiugi m& street-was eBipty, Rivljed aside jn, roadway Jay tte b»»aio of letters, but ftot to'rn, a.n4 in, the gutter staff. I.@tw$d -and picked yu 0 frff a Ja»»b, in Is* a be useful

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