The Algona Republican from Algona, Iowa on July 3, 1895 · Page 6
Get access to this page with a Free Trial

The Algona Republican from Algona, Iowa · Page 6

Algona, Iowa
Issue Date:
Wednesday, July 3, 1895
Page 6
Start Free Trial

THE UtfiinJBLlOAN, ALttOfcA, IOWA, WKDNK8DA?, .KJL.Y 3, 1805. THE STORY OF FRANCIS CLUDDE BY STANLEY d. WEYMAN. ISfll.l-y Cnssi-11 I'l.b All 1-Urlits ivsrrvi'd.1 slic- in a low have tele me.•Sho ' the shal "Jsot return? But whither has gone?" they both cried at onco. I shook my head. "I ran only guess," I said voice. "I saw nn more than I you." "But why did you not tdl duchess cried reproach fully, be brought hack." ' "It would ho useless," Master Lertl answered. "Yet I doubt if it bo as Carey thinks. Why should she go just at t-hi timi'f Sho dots not know that slid is founc out. Hho does not know that this lette has been recovered. Not a word, mind was said of it before sho left the room. "No," I allowed, "that i:i tni-.-." I was piiKzli'd on this point m.vsi'If, mn I camo to consider it. I could not si c wh she had takwi tho alarm so opportunely but I maintained my opinion never! hdess "Something frightened her," I saii^ "though it may not havo been the- l-'tter.' '•Yes," said tho duchess after a mo- mont's silenc?. "I suppose .vou an.- right. I suppose sumt'thing frightened lier, ns you w.v. I wonder what it was, poor wretch!" It turned out that I was right. Mistress Anno had gouo indeed, having staid, EC far as wo could learn from an examination of the room which sho had shared with Dymphim, merely to put together the few things which our adventures had left her. Sho had gone out from among us in tills foreign land without a word of farewell, without a good wish given or received, without a soul to say godspeed! Tho thought made mo tremble. If sho^had died, it would havo been different. Now, to fuel sorrow for her ns for ono who had been with us in heart as well as in body seemed n mockery. How could we grieve for ono who had moved day by day and hour by hour among us only that with eacli hour and day sho might plot and scheme and plan our destruction? It was impossible! Wo mado inquiries indeed, but without result, and so abruptly and terribly she passed, for tho timo, out of our knowledge, though often afterward I recalled sadly tho weary, hunted look which I had sometimes seen in her oyes when sho sat list- loss and dreamy. Poor girl! Her own acts bad placed her, as tho duchess said, beyond love or hope, but not beyond pity. So it is in lifo. Tho day which sees one's trial end sees another's begin. We, . -the duchess and her child, Master Bertio . and I, staid with our good and faithful .friends, tho Lindstroma, awhile, rusting ..and recruiting our strength, ami during - this interval, at the pressing instance ot •ithe duchess, I wrote letters to Sir Anthony and Pcti-onlllu. stating that I was abroad and was we'll' and looked presently to return, but not disclosing my refuge or the names of my companions. At the ond o! five days, Master Bortio being fairly strong '' again and Sonton'being considered unsafe for us aa a permanent residence, wo wont under guard to Wcsel, where wo were received as people of quality and lodged, there being no fitting place, in tho disused church of St. Willibrod. Hero tho child was christened Peregrine—a, wanderer— tho governor of tho city and I being godfathers. And hero wo lived in peace, albeit with hearts that 'yearned for home, for same months. During this timo two pieces of news came to us from England—one that the parliament, though much pressed to it, had refused to acquiesce in tho confiscation of tho duchoss' estates; the other that our joint persecutor, tho great bishop of Winchester, was dead. This last wo at first disbelieved. It was true nevertheless. Stephen Gardiner, whose vast schemes had •inmushcd people so far apart in station «ud indeed in fill else as tho duchess one myself, was ihnul at, ln-jt; had died toward the emlof 15.W, at tlu; hdchtcf his power with England at, his feet, and gone to hi Maker. I havo known many worse men Wo trusted that this might open th •way for our retui" , but we found, on th contrary, that fresh clouds wore rising Tho persecution of tho reformers, whic Queen Mary had begun in England, wa carried on with increasing rigor, and he LiK-iliand, who was now king of Spain an imv-ter of tho Netherlands, freed from th prmlent cheeks of his father, was inclinec to pleasure her in this by giving what ai ho could abroad. His minister in th Netherlands, tho bishop of Arras, brougl so much pressure to bear upon our protec or to induce him to givu us up that i was plain the Duke of Cloves must sooner or later comply. We thought it better, therefore, to remove ourselves and presently did so, going to tho town of Winn- lioim, in tho Rhino palatinate. Wo found ourselves not much more secure here, however, and all our efforts to discover a safe road into Franco failing, and tho stock of monoy which tho duchess hud provided beginning to givo out wo were in great straits whither to go or what to do. At this time of our need, however, Providence opened a door in a quarter Where we least looked for it. Letters camo from Sigismund, the king of Poland, and from tho palatine of Wilna in that country, inviting rho duchess and Master Ber tie to take up their residence there and offering the hitter an establishment and honorable employment. The overture was unlooked for and was not accepted without misgivings, Wilna being s=u far dis tant and there being nono of our race in that country. However, assurance of tho Polish king's good faith reached us—I say us, for in all their plant; I was included— through John Alnsco, a noLloman who had visited England. And in duo timo we started on; this prodigious journey and came safely to Wilnn, where our reception was guoh as the letters bad led us to ox feet. I do not propobo to set down hero our adventures, though, they were many, in that strange country u$ frozen, marshes ,and endless plains, but to puss over 18 months which. I spent not without profit to inysdf in tho Pole's service, seeing something of war In his-Lithuanian cam paigns and learning much of mon and t«e world, which here, to say nothing of wolves and bears, boro> wrtuJn " S I 1 W^°* <!ommonly visible In WiirfflvWiUv, I " nc ° on to the curly autumn of 13J3S, letter from tho duchess, who was JM, vva,s brought to mo at Crtveovy to till* effect: '*" •»DEAU vjuBXPr-Si'nd you gooirspeem Wo?'dims come to u,s here pf up "" L *"~ iomo that there may be room for us at our >wn fireside. Heaven so further it. both or our happiness and the good of tho religion. Master Bertio has embarked on it. and I have taken upon myself to answer or your aid and counsel, which have never been W .in ti :•••:,' to us. Wherefore, dear friend, come, sparing neither horse nor spurs nor anything which may bring you sooner to Wilna, and your assured and loving friond, "KATHERtXE SUFFOLK." In five days after receiving this I was at Wilna, and two months later I saw England again after an absence of three years. Early in November, 1558, Master Bertio and I landed at Lowestoft, having made tho passage from Hamburg in a trading vessel of that place. Wo stopped only to sleep one night, and then, dressed as traveling merchants, wo set out on the road to London, entering! tho city without accident or hindrance on tho third day after landing. _ CHAPTER XVIII. minute!" 1 said. "That tho 'so wo will. Witl would go, I expect "One place." Master Bertio turned in his saddle and looked at it. Tho light was fading into the early dusk of a November evening but tho main features of four cross streets tho angle between two of them filled b: tho tall belfry of a church, wcro still to bo made out. Tho cast wind had driven loi tercrs indoors, and there was scarcely nn> ono abroad to notice us. I pointed to a dead wall ten paces down tho street. "Opposite that they stopped," I said. "There was a pile of boards leaning against it then." "You havo had many n woi-so bod- chamber since, lad," he said, smiling. ••Many," I answered. And then by a common impulse wo shook up tho horses, and trotting gently on were soon clear of London and making for Islington. Passing through tho latter, wo began to breast tho steep slope which leads to Highgatc, and coming, when wo had readied tho summit, plump upon tho lights of tho village pulled up in front of a building which loomed darkly across tho road. "This is tho Gatehouse tavern," Master Bertio said in a low voice. "Wo shall soon know whether wo have como on a fool's errand—or worse!" Wo rodo under tho archway Into a groat courtyard, from which tho road Issued again on tho other side through another gate. In ono corner two men wcro littering down a lino of pack horses by tho light of tho lanterns, which brought their tanned and rugged faces into relief. In another, tho light poured ruddlly from an open doorway, a hostler was serving out fodder and doing so, if wo might judge from tho traveler's remonstrances, with a niggardly hand.. From tho windows of the house a dozen rays of light shot athwart tho darkness and disclosed as many pigs wallowing asleep in tho middle of tho yard. In all wo saw a coarse comfort and welcome. Master Bertie led tho way across tho yard and accosted tho hostler. "Can wo have stalls and beds?" he asked. Tho man staid his chaffering and looked up at us. "Everyman to his business," ho replied gruffly. "Stalls, yes, but of beds I know nothing. For women's work go to the womun." "Right," said I, better luck than you my man." Bursting into a hoarso laugh at this— ho was lame and one eyed and not very well favored—ho led us into a long, many stalled stable, feebly lit by lanterns which here and glimmered against tho walls. "Suit yourselves," he said. "First como is first served here." Ho seemed an ill conditioned fellow, ut the businesslike way in which wo went about our work, watering, feeding nd littering down in old campaigners' ashion, drew from him a grunt of commendation. ''Have you como from far, masters!"' bo asked. "No; from London," I answered curtly. Wo como as linen drapers from West- cheap, if you want to know." "Aye, I see that," ho said, chuckling. 'Never wore atop of a horse before nor handled anything but a clothyard. Oh, no!" Wo want a merchant reputed to sell French lace," I continued, looking hard at him. "Bo you happen to know if there is a dealer hero with any?" He nodded rather to himself Hum to me, as if ho had expected the question. Then in the same tone, but with a quick glance of intelligence, bn answered, "I will show you into tho house presently, and you can seo for yourselves. A stable is no place for French lace." Ho pointed with a wink over his shoulder toward a stall in which a man, apparently drunk, lay snoring. "That is a lino toy," he ran on carelessly as I removed my dagger from tho holster and concealed it under my clonk—"a fine plaything—for a linen draper!" "Peace, peace, man, and show us in, said Master Bertio impatiently. With a shrug of his shoulders the man obeyed. Crossing the courtyard behind him, wo entered the great kitchen, which, full of light and warmth and noise, presented just such a scone of comfort and bustle, of loud talking, red faced guests and hurrying bare armed serving maids as I remembered lighting upon at St. Albans throe years back. But I had changed much since then and seen much. Tho bailiff himself would hardly have recognized his old antagonist in the tall, heavily cloaked stranger, whose assured air, acquired amid wild surroundings in a foreign land, gave him a look -of age to which I could not fairly lay claim. Master Bortio had assigned the lead to me as being in less danger of recognition, and I followed the hostler toward tho hearth without hesitation. "Master Jonkin," the man cried, with tho same rough bluntness he had shown without, "hero are two travelers want the lace seller who was here today. Has ho gone?" "Who gone?" retorted tho host as loud- 'The lace merchant who camo this morning." "No; he js in No. 83," returned the landlord. "Will you sup first, gentlemen?" We declined and followed tho hostler, who made no secret of our destination, telling those In our road to nia';o way as tho gentlemen were for No. S3. One of the crowd, however, who seemed to be cross- Ing from the lower end of tho room, foiled apparently to understand, and interposing between us and our guide brought me per- T*roe to a, halt. •'By your leave, go,od woman!" J said and turne^ to pass round hey. But she'foiled mo with unexpected nim- blenoss, and J could nut push her aside, ras so very old. Her gu,».¥*W e tooth- and her forehead was li$|d and wrinkled. A bout her eyes, whiwj '.under hideous rod lids still shone <%ith an evil gleam, i> kind of ruile^lyu of a wicked past, a thousand crows' f.'ot had gathered. A. few \vispu of groy hair struggled from under the JUMidfcerohief which covered her head. She was humpbacked and stooped, over 9 stick, an I whether she saw M «9fc my movement of repugnancy, u '-- feaysji 'Toting nwntleninn," she craaked, "let me toll your fortune by tho stars. A fortune for a groat, young gentleman! sho continued, peering up into my faco and frustrating my attempts to pass. "Here is a groat," I answered pceflsh- ly, "and for the fortune I will hear it another day. So let us by." But she would not. My companion, seeing that tho attention of the room was being drawn to ns, tried to pull me by her But I could not use force, nnd Short of force thoro was no remedy. Tho hostler indeed would havo interfered on our behalf and returned to bid her, with a civility ho hnd not bestowed onus, "give us passage." But sho swiftly turned her eyes on him in a sinister fashion, and he retreated with an oath and a paling face, while those nearest to us—and half a dozen had crowded round—drew back and crossed themselves in haste almost ludicrous. "Let mo see your face, young gentleman," sho persisted, with a hollow cough. "My eyes arc not so clear as they were, ot it is not your cloak and your flap hat that would blind me." Thinking it best to get rid of her, oven at a slight risk—and tho chanco that among tho travelers present there would bo ono able to recognize mo was small In- "Let me sec your face, young gentleman." deed—I uncovered. Sho shot a piercing glanco at my face, and looking down on tho lloor traced hurriedly a figure with her stick. Sho studied tho phantom linos a moment and then looked up. "Listen," sho said solemnly, and wnv- in" her stick round mo sho quavered out ln° tones which filled mo with a strange tremor: "Tho mail goes east, and tho wind blows west, Wood to tho head, nnd steel to tho breast! Tho man goes west, and tho wind blows east, The nock twico doomed the gallows shall feast! Beware 1" sho wont on more loudly and harshly, tapping with her stick on tho floor and shaking her palsied head at me. "Beware, unlucky shoot of a crooked branch! Go no farther with it! Go back! Tho sword may miss or may not fall, but the cord is sure!" If Master Bcrtio had not held my arm tightly, I should have recoiled, as most of those within hearing had already done. Tho strange allusions to my past, which I had no difficulty in detecting, and the witch's knowledge of tho risks of our present enterprise woro enough to startle and shako tho most constant mind, and in the midst of enterprises secret and dangerous few minds arc so firm or so reckless as to disdain omens. That sho was ono of those unhappy beings who buy dark secrets : at tho espenso of other souls seemed certain, and had I been alone I should havo, I am not ashamed to say it, given back. But I was lucky in having for my companion a man of rare mind, and besides of so single n religious belief that at the end of his life bo always refused to put faith in a thing of tho existence of which I have no doubt myself—I mean witchcraft. Ho showed at this moment tho courage of his opinions. "Peace, peace, woman!" he said compassionately. ''Wo shall live while God wills it and die when ho wills it, and neither live longer nor dio earlier! So let us by." "Would you perish?" she quavered. "Aye, if so God wills!" h« answered, undaunted. At that she seemed to shake all over and i hobbled aside, muttering: ••Then go on!'I Goon! God wills it!" Master Bortio gave mo no time tor hesitation, but holding my arm urged me on to where the hostler stood awaiting tho event with a faco of much discomposure. Ho opened the door for us, however, and led tho way up a, narrow and not too clean staircase. On tho landing at tho head of this ho paused and raised his lantern so as to cast tho lighten our faces. "She has overlooked me, tho old witch!" ho said viciously. "I wish I had never meddled in this business." "Man," Master Bertie rop))wl sternly, "do you fear that weak old woman?" "No, but I fear her master,'' retorted the hostler, "and that is tho devil!" "Then I do not," Master Bortio answered bravely. "For my Master is as good a match for him as I am for that old woman. When ho wills it, man, you will die, and not boforo, So pluck up spirit.' Master Bortio did not look at me, though I needed his encouragement as much as tho hostler, having hud better proofs of tho woman's strange knowledge. But seeing that his exhortation had emboldened this ignorant man I was ashamed to seem to hesitate. When tho hostler knocked at the door—not of 83, but of 15—and it present,- ly opened, I went in without move ado. Tho room was a bare inn chamber. A pallet without covering lay in ono corner. In tho middle were a couple of stools, and on one of them a taper. The person who had opened to us stood. eyln" us attentively, a bluff, weather beaten man with a thick beard and tho air of a sailor. "Well," ho said, "what now?" "These gentlemen want to buy some lace," tho hostler explained. "What lace do they want?" was the retort. "French lace," J answered. "You have come to the right shop, then, "tho man answered briskly. Nodding to our conductor to depart, he carefully let him out. Then, barring the door behind him, he as rapidly strode to the pallet and twitched it aside, disclosing a trapdoor, fie lifted this, and we saw a Harrow shaft descending into darkness, He brought tho taper and held it so as to throw faint light into tho opening. There ' was no ladder, but blocks of wood nailed alternately against two of the sides, at In-, tervals of a couple of feet or so, made the descent pretty»easy for an active mUB- 1 "Tho door }s on this side," he said, point' i in" out the one. "Knock loudly once and, i softly twice., The word is tho same." i Wo nodded, and while h.® hold the tape! above we descended owe by one without jn«ch difficulty, though I admit that half way down, the old woman's words, "Go vn and perish," came back disquiotingly tp my nund. Rnwever, my foot str«ofe the bottom before J U«4 time to digest them, and a screak of light which sepwied to Issue from under a door forced my though^ tfee n,es|j WQfljepli loto ft O^w eha.ftu,$H WJWSPISiflS $9 J&tortor Jwtjf to? P4UJO 0 mtiui^g of us to stand 6* thfi Jbfctliana oi tho shaft, f knocked in the fashion prescribed. The sound of loud voices,, which I had niteady detected, ceased on ft sudden,,and 1 heard a shuffling on the othei side of the boards. This was followed by silence, and then tho door wa§ flung open, and Minded fo* t'ho moment by n blaze of light I walked ineohanio/illy forward into a room. 1 made out as I advanced a group of men standing found ft rude table, thci* figures thrown Into dark relief by flares stuck in sconces on the walla behind thein. Somo had weapons in theii- hands, and others had partly risen from tholr soats and stood In postures of surprise. "What do you seek?" cried n threatening voico from among them. "Lace," I answered. "Whatlacef" "French lace." "Then you are welcome—heartily welcome!" was the answer, given in a tone of relief. "But who cotnes with you?" "Master Richard Bertio of Lincolnshire," I answered promptly, and at that moment ho emerged from tho shaft. A still more hearty murmur of welcome hailed his name and appearance, and we Were borno forward to tho tnblo amid a chorus of voices, tho greeting given to Master Bertie being that ot men who joyfully hail unlooked for help. The room, from its vaulted ceiling nnd stone floor and tho trams of casks Which lay hero nnd there or near tho table serving for scats, appeared to bo a collar. Its dark, gloomy recesses, the flaring lights and the weapons on tho table seemed meet and fitting surroundings for tho anxious faces which wcro gathered about tho board, for there was a something in tho air which was not so much secrecy as a thing more unpleasant—suspicion and mistrust. Almost at tho moment of our entrance It showed itself. Ono of tho men, before tho door bad well closed behind us, went toward it, ns if to go out. Tho leader—ho who hnd questioned me—called sharply to him, bidding him como back. And ho came back, but reluctantly, as it seemed to mo. I barely noticed this, for Master Bertie, who was known personally to many and by name to all, was introducing me to two who were apparently tho leaders—Sir Thomas Pcnruddocke, a fair man as tall as myself, loose limbed and untidily dressed, with a reckless eye and a loud tongue; and Master Walter Kingston, a younger brother, I was told, of that Sir Anthony Kingston who had suffered death tho year before for conspiracy against tho queen— tho same in which Lord Devon had showed tho white feather. Kingston was a young man of moderate height and slender, of a brown complexion and delicate, almost womanish beauty, his sleepy dark eyes and dainty mustache suggesting a temper rather amiable than firm. But the spirit of revenge had entered into him, nnd I soon learned that not even Penruddocke, Cornish knight of longer lineage than purse, was so vehement a plotter or -.o devoted to tho cause. Looking nt tho others, my heart sank. It needed no greater 3s- porienco than mine to discern that, except three or four whom I identified as stout professors of religion, they were men rather of desperate fortunes than good estate. I learned on tho instant that conspiracy makes strange bedfellows, and that it is impossible to do dirty work even with tho purest intentions—in good company! Master Bertie's face indicated to one who knew him as well as I did something of tho same feeling, and could tho clock have been put back awhile, and we placed with free hands and uncommitted outside the gatehouse, I think wo should with one accord have turned our backs on it and given up an attempt which, in this company, could scarcely faro any way but ill. Still for good or evil the die was cast now, and retreat was out of tho question. Wo had confronted too many dangers during tho last three years not to bo able to face this one with n good courage, and presently Master Bertio, taking a seat, requested to bo told of the strength and plans of our associates, his businesslike manner introducing at once somo degree of order and method into a conference which before our arrival had—unless I was much mistaken—been conspicuously lacking in both. "Our resources?" Penruddocko replied confidently. -They lie everywhere, man! Wo have but to raise tho flag, and tho rest will bo a triumphal march. Tho people, sick of burnings and torturings and heated by the loss of Calais last January, will nock to us. Flock to us, do I say? I will answer for it they will!" "But you havo somo engagements, some promises from people of standing?" "Oh, yes, but the whole nation will join us. They arc weary of tho present state of things." "They maybe as weary o£ it as you say " Master Bertio answered shrewdly, "but is it equally certain that they will risk their necks to amend it? You have fixed upon somo secure base from which we can act and upon which, if necessary, we may fall back to concentrate our strength?" , , . "Fall back?" cried Penruddooke, rising from his seat in heat. "Master Bertie, I hope you have not como among us to talk of falling back! Lot us havo no talk of that If Wyatt had held on at onco, .Lon- don'would havo been his! It was falling back ruined him." Master Bertio shook his head, it . have no secure base, you run the risk oi being crushed in tho first half hour, ho said "When afire is first lighted, the breeze puts it out which afterward but fans it." "You will not say that when you hear our plans. There are to be three risings at once. Lord Delaware will riso In the west." „ , "But will he?" said Master Bertie pointecllv, disregarding the threatening looks which were oast at him by more than one. "The late rebellion there was put down very summarily, and I should have thought that countryside wouldi no be pjone to rise again. Will £>ord Dela, ho will rise fast enough!" Penruddocke replied carelessly, ' I will answer for hlw- And °« t*° f» nie a <£' while wo do tho London business, Sir Ulchard Bray will gather his men in Po not count on him," said Master " A prisoner! niufned. and hood, was taken to the Tower by water this afternoon. 8»4 a pawee of consternation, which. p»e Ipofeed at anothep and swarthy face* grew pale, ^nruddocke the first to rewver Mwejf, "|8h "a fig for rumor I She " m • enl Stay Is wpplne lo A rnurmtii 1 o! dismay broke out at tho end of the table. But the Cornish- Mftnfose to the situation. ''What blat- ter?" he crietl boisterously. "What «e have lost in Bray tvo have pained In Master Bertie. Ho will rnise Lincolnshire fot us and the duchess' tenants. There should be 600 stout men of tho latter and two- thirds of them Protestants at hoart. If Bray has been seized, there is the more call for haste that we may release him." This appeal was answered by an outburst of cries. One or two even rose, ahd waving their weapons swore n speedy Vengeance. But Master Bertie sat sllcn fc till the noise had subsided. Then bespoke. "Toil must not count on them either, fair Thomas," ho said firmly. "I catihot find it in my conscience to bring my wifo s tenants into a plan so desperate as this appears to be. To appeal to tho people generally Is one thing; to call on those who are bound to us, and who cannot In honor refuse, is another. And I will not risk in n hopeless struggle tho lives of men whoso fathers looked for guidance to mo and mine." A silence, tho silence of utter astonishment, fell upon the plotters round tho table. In every face—and they Were all turned upon my companion—I read rage and 'distrust and dismay. They had chafed under his cold criticisms and his calm rea- sonings. But this went beyond all, and thoro were hands which stolo instinctively to daggers and oyes which waited scowl- Ing for a signal. But Pcnruddocke, sanguine by nature and rendered reckless by circumstances, had still tho feelings of a gentleman, and something in him responded to tho appeal which underlay Master Bortio's words. He remained silent, gazing gloomily at the table, his eyes perhaps opened at this late hour to tho hopelessness of tho attempt ho meditated. It was Walter Kingston who camo to tho fore and put into words tho thoughts of tho coarser and more selfish spirits round him. Leaping from bis scat, ho clashed his slender hand on the table. "What docs this mean?" bo sneered, a dangerous light in his dark eyes. "Those only are hero or should bo hero who are -willing to stako all—all, mind you—on tho cause. Let us havo no sneaks! Let us havo no mon with a foot on either bank! Let us have no Courtonays nor cowards! Such men ruined Wyatt and hanged my brother! A curse on them! ho cried, his voice rising almost to a scream. , "Master Kingston, do you refer tome? Bertio rejoined in haughty surprise. "Aye, I do!" cried tho young man hotly. "Then I must beg lonve of these gentlemen to explain my position." "Your position? So! More words? quoth tho other mockingly. "Aye, as many words as I please,' retorted Master Bertie, his color rising. "Afterward I will bo as ready with deeds, I dare swear, as any other! My tenants and my wife's I will not draw into an almost hopeless struggle. But my own lifo nnd my friend's, since wo havo obtained your secrets, I must risk, and I will do so in honor to tho death. For tho rest, who doubts my courage may test it below ground or above." Tho young man laughed rudely. xou will risk your life, but not your lands, Master Bertie? That is the position, is it? ' My companion was about to utter a rejoinder, fierce for him, when I, who had hitherto sat silent, interposed. "Tho old Witch told the truth,"I cried bitterly. "Sho said if wo come hithpr wo should perish, and perish we shall, through be ing linked to a dozen men as bravo as I could wish, but 'the biggest fools under heaven." "Fools?" shouted Kingston. "Aye, fools," I repeated. "For who but fools.'boing at sea in a boat in which all must sink or swim, would fall a-quarreling? Tell mo that!" I cried, slapping tho table. "You are about right," Penruddocko said, and half a dozen voices muttered assent. About right, is be?" shrieked Kingston. "But who knows we are in a bont together? Who knows that, I'd liko to hear?" "I do," I said, standing up and overtopping him by eight inches, "and if any man hints that Master Bertio is hero for any other purpose or with any other intent than to honestly risk his lifo in this endeavor as becomes a gentleman let him stand out, let him stand out, and I will break his neck! Fie, gentleman, lie!" I continued, after a short pause, which I did not make too long lost Master Kingston's passion should got the better of his prudence. "Though I am young, I have seen service. But I never saw battle won yet with dissension in the camp. For shame! Lot us to business and make the best dispositions wo may." '•You talk sense, Master Carey!"-Pen- ruddocke cried, with a great oath. "Give mo your hand, and do you, Kingston, hold • your peace, If Master Bertie will not raise his men to save his own skin, ho will hardly do it for ours. Now, Sir Richard Bray being taken, what Is to bo done, my lads? Come, let us look to that. ' So tho storm blow over. But it was with heavy hearts that two of us fell to tho discussion which followed, counting over weapons and assigning posts and debating this one's fidelity and that one's lukowarmness, Our first Impressions had not deceived us. Tho plot was desperate, and those engaged in it were wanting in every element which should command success—in Information, forethought, arrangement—everything save sheer audac- it\ When, after a prolonged and miserable sitting, It was proposed that all should take the oath of association on the gospels, Master Bertie and I assented gloomily. It would mako our position no worse, for already we were fully committed, The position was indeed bad enough. Wo bad only persuaded the others to a short delay, and even this meant that we must remain in hiding in England, exposed from day to day to all the chances )f detection and treachery. Sir Thomas brought out from some secret place about him a tiny roll of paper wrapped in a quill, and while we stood about him looking over his shoulders he laboriously added, letter by letter, three or fpur names, The stern, anslows f ft ges which peered the while at the documentor scanned each other only to find their an?' i^ty reflected, theiflaring lights behind us, the recklessness of gome and the distrust of others, the eloaks in which many were wrapped to the chin, and the occasional gleam of W<Wen weapons, wade up $» scene Yery stribipg. the more a,s it wasp, new show, but sew pf ys saw °nJy w »*§• tinctly beWnd If'the figure 9f the beads' man and thp Woois. hate dated the worst had all toy fls- lodates been like him. But tepining camo too late, and in a moment P™*««- dockt? Surprised mo by calling out" Crewd- eon and Carey i" So Master Bertie was not to bo my companion? i leatncd afterward that mon who wero strangers to ono another were purposely associated, the theory being that each should keep an eye npon his oath fellow. 1 went forward to the end oi tho table and took tho book. There was a slight pause. "Crewdson" called Penruddocke sharply. "Did you not hear, mnn?" There was a little stir at tho farther end of tho room, and he cnme forward, moving slowly and reluctantly. I saw that ho was the man whom Penruddocko had colled back when We entered, n man of great height, though slender, and closely cloaked. A drooping gray mustache covered his mouth, and that was almost all I made out before Sir Thomas, with somo sharpness, bade him uncover. Ho did so with an abrupt gesture, and reaching out his band grasped the other end of tho book ns though he would take it from me His manner was so strange that I looked hard at him, and he, jerking up his head With a gesture of defiance, looked at me, too, his face very pale. 1 heard Peimiddocke's voice droning the words of the oath, but I paid no attention to thorn—I was busiod with something else. Where had I seen tho sinister gleam in those eyes before, and that forehead high and narrow, add those lean, swarthy cheeks? Where had I boforo confronted that very faco which now Blared into mine across the book? Its look was bold and defiant, but low clown in tho check I saw a little pulse beating furiously a pulse which told of anxiety, and the jaws, half vuilod by tho ragged mustache, wero set in an iron grip. Where? Ha! I knew. I dropped my ond of tho book and stopped back. "Look to tho door!" I cfied, my voice sounding harsh and strange in my own oars. "Let no one leave. I denounce that maul" And raising my hand I pointed pitilessly at my oath fellow. "I denounce him—ho is a spy and traitor!" "I n spy?" tho man shouted fiercely, with tho fierceness of despair. "Aye, you, you! Clarence, or Crewdson, or whatever you call yourself, I donouuco you! My timo has cornel',' CHAPTER XIX. The bitterness of that hour long past, when ho had left me for death, when he md played with tho human longing for ife and striven without a thought of pity to corrupt mo by hopes and fears the most awful that mortals know, was in ray voice as I spoke. I rejoiced that vengeance had como upon him at last, and that I was its instrument. I saw tho pallor of a groat fear creep into his dark cheek and read in his eyes the vicious passion of a wild beast trapped and felt no pity. Master Clarence," I said and laughedr- laughcd mockingly. "You do not look pleased to sco your friends, or perhaps you do not remember mo. Stand forward, Master Bertio! Maybe ho will recognize you. ovro , . self, I tWaln took a pertain grjjn. pleasure in the formality, M fe? wrty K» isw, ge«. 9 Karin Bgrife «• iu. , But though Master Bertie came forward and stood by my side, gazing nt him, tho villain's eyes did not for an instant shut from mine. "It is tho man!" my companion said after a solemn pause, for the other, breathing fast, mado no answer. "He was a spy in the pay of Bishop Gardiner when I knew him.; At the bishop s death I heard that he passed into the service of tho Spanish embassador, the Count do Foria. He called himself at that timo Clarence. 1 recognize him." The quiet words had their effect. Irom full one-half of tho savage crew round,us a fierce murmur rose more terrible than any loud outcry, yet this seemed a relief to tho doomed man. Ho forced himself to look away from moand to confront thodar^ ring of menacing faces which hemmed him in. Tho moment be did so ho appeared to find courage and words. "They take me for another man!" ho cried In hoarso accents. "I know nothing of them!" and ho added a fearful oath. Ho knows mo. Ask him!" Ho pointed to Walter Kingston, who was sitting moodily on a tram outside the ring, and who alone had not risen under tho excitement of my challenge. On being thus appealed to he looked up suddenly. "If I am to choose between you," ho said bitterly, "and say which is tho truo man, I know which I shall pick." "Which?" Clarence murmured, "Which?" This time his tone was different. In his voico was the ring of hope, "I should give my vote.for you," Kingston replied, looking contemptuously at him. "I know something about you, but of tho other gentleman I know nothing!" "And not much of tho person you call Crewdson," I retorted fiercely, "since you do not know his real name." "I know this much," the young man answered, tapping his boot with his scabbard, with studied carelessness, "that ho lent mo somo money and seemed a gooci fellow and ono that hated a mass priest. That is enough for me. As for his name, it is his fancy perhaps, You call yourself Carey. Well, I know a good many Careys, but I do not know you, nor ever heard of you!" I swung round on him-with a hot cheek. But the challenge which was upon my tongue was anticipated by Master Bertie, who drew me forcibly bauk. "Leave this to me, Francis," he said, "and do you watch that man. Master Kingston and gentlemen," be continued, turning again to them and drawing himself to his full height'as he addressed them, "listen It s you please! You know me, if you do pot know my friend, The honor of Richard Bertie has never been challenged until tonight, nor ever will be with impunity, Leave my friend out of the question ano put me in it, I, Richard B.ertie, say that that roan is a paid spy and informer, corae here in quest of blood money, and he, Orewflson, a nameless wan, says that t, lie, Pboose between us, or look at him and j«dget Look!" , A .. He was right to bid them look, M the scvvage murmur rose again a.n4 toofe mm the wretched man his last hope!" * ho ugliness of despair and wiPS9«i Jn passion'distorted his face, ho was, ,,,»,™ foe most deadly witness, against bjm,s.e}f,, The lights whloh s eh'ono o» tr<w])erQU$ weapons half hidden PP on the gli$te?teg eyes et cruel men \vh«so bloinl was rpusecj fell on nothing so dangerous «£ tto i) y w> despairing" face whiflhi UOJWftsfesd RWQ P v ?» by wil with SYiwsiO'Uj §tiil,4.pfl$d w s i *jpflj'* Jpr- apd spy a,s }j,o, was, he'JiijcJ Jbe HWjt SJ courage as jleisf. li? sowM die game- oijt, and with ft W&e fee lunged at Bie,. " " 'm#! vll W w

What members have found on this page

Get access to

  • The largest online newspaper archive
  • 11,200+ newspapers from the 1700s–2000s
  • Millions of additional pages added every month

Try it free