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faction, they sketched the plan of the intended edifice on the spot it was destined to occupy, without paper, without pencils, without pens or ink, and without rules and scales; but, like some ancient mathematician, drew the figure on the sand with (for all I know) their fingers ; and then they were better able to see what they were about. On this circumferential line, so drawn, for it was but a boundary without divisions, they drove into the ground a closely-set row of stakes, and cut them off even at a proper height, where they were to support the conical roof. Then their fingers again came in requisition, and they crammed the crevices and interstices in this framework with wet clay or mud, thereby setting a fair example to our modern workers in “ wattle-and-dab.” A few sticks overlaid with straw completed the building, by covering it in with a rudely thatched roof. There was a multum-in-parvo hole on one side, which, in itself, contained all the requisites of doors, windows, ventilators, light-holes, and, in short, every other luxury to be found in more recently-constructed houses ; and the interior was not divided into compartments or rooms-perhaps it was not spacious sufficient in area to admit of it.
But this one “ stall,
Served them for kitchen, parlour, and all." They were kind and considerate enough, however, to allow the smoke of the enkindled fire the fullest privileges and blessings of liberty. It was not only permitted to range at large amongst the assembled company within the hut, but was suffered by its own free will to escape ither by the door or through a hole in the roof left for that purpose.
Such, then, was the ordinary Saxon mansion. Who would not have lived in those days ?
“ Their houses were like Dirty Dick's,
And built with mud, for want of bricks." The whole town at first consisted merely of a small number of these, concentrated close under the castle walls, as a brood of chickens crowded around the old hen for safety; for when the island was so full of foreign as well as civil enemies, when Britons, Saxons, Picts, Scots, and Danes, were all ravaging the same territories, and were all contending among themselves, using as well as speaking daggers, no man, for one night, could with certainty call his life his own. liable to be surprised at any unguarded hour, pillaged, burnt out of his house, and murdered. The people, therefore, very naturally congregated near the walls of the stronghold of the powerful baron who might reside in the neighbourhood, and who by them was looked up to as their immediate king, and from whom they received that protection from unforeseen attacks which they, in their helpless state, could by no means give to themselves.
Some historians assert that Tiverton castle bears not the date of such remote antiquity as that of which I have been speaking; but there are very good reasons for supposing that this hypothesis has been advanced like an unsupported piece on a chess-board. That it kept
the surrounding country in awe and subjection long before the conquest there is little rationale to deny; yet the most authenticated documents lay its foundation so late as the year 1106, by Richard deRipariis, Redvers, or Rivers, Earl of Devonshire, and first Baron of Tiverton, who, about that time, obtained a grant of the barony from King Henry the First.
Baldwin Rivers, Earl of Devon, and successor of him who built the castle, was driven from his fortress by the arms (not the fists and toes) of King Stephen.
It suffered many sieges and assaults during the contests between the two roses, by cause of the active part that several of its lordly tenants took in those fierce wars.
After the union of the two families of Lancaster and York, when the white and red complexions were amicably blended in the persons of William Courteney, Earl of Devon, and the fair daughter of Edward the Fourth, this castle rose to its highest pitch of strength and splendour. “ Here was held the court, and this was the constant place of residence of the widowed princess fifteen years." Her son, the Marquis of Exon, or Exeter, lived here occasionally with great magnificence. It was from this castle that he was taken to the Tower of London on his attainder, and thence to the scaffold, where he suffered through the severity and unrelenting rigour of Henry the Eighth.
From the time of this king, who seized on the estates of the marquis, it gradually sank into decay: the parks and pleasure-grounds were neglected, metamorphosed, and finally sold to various persons by the crown, but the parks were not disparked till the fifteenth of Elizabeth.
Wherever there is a castle of any antiquity, and which is known to have experienced the vicissitudes of fortune, fertile brains, a love for the marvellous, or the power of superstition, generally creates some mysterious legends respecting it, which are to be found in the mouths of the inhabitants in the vicinity. Tiverton Castle has not been without its changes and chances; it has risen high and it has fallen low; and conquered, affrighted, or endangered garrisons, as well as some of the town refugees, have had recourse to various stratagems in order to secure safety to themselves and their property from the threatening enemy that might surprise them. The most usual and favourite place of security in romance) is undoubtedly a dungeon or subterranean passage :—what castle is without it somewhere (though no one can find it?)—and who is it that has ever been to Tiverton and has not heard of the “ dungeon,” that passes from the castle the whole way under the town? To resort thither with half a dozen candles “ to explore," has often been the frolic of a holiday afternoon among schoolboys. I remember when I was about twelve years of age, and at the time forming one of a large body of rebellious subjects, who groaned under the despotic and harsh government of that tyrannical sceptre, (as all boys fancy,) the ferula, that some five or six of us formed the design of making a visit to the dungeon, under the sweet persuasion that our antiquarian search and research could not but be attended by such success and discovery, as would shed more light on certain obscure passages in events of by-gone ages than had ever been enkindled by the laborious pens of all the historians that ever wielded a goosequill. The conditions and items of the bill of enforcement when drawn up were so far complimentary to me, (being the projector,) inasmuch as it was resolved, in that scarce document, that I should lead the way at the head of the forces, and conduct them through the whole enterprise. This was the substance of the first article, but to which I would by no means agree. It would have been ridiculous indeed if I had; for there was a circumstance born amongst us afterwards which tended to prove beyond question, that one or two of the party had, some time before, ventured into the said Tartarean shades, and who subsequently confessed the fact. A very brief harangue reduced matters to their proper positions; they quickly perceived and acknowledged the absurdity of urging the blind to lead those that saw clearly-for it was the same thing-and of making such as would be useful as guides follow one who was an utter stranger into so fearful and dismal a place. When I look back upon this compliment of their promotion, I consider it as a fair page of courtesy, never, perhaps, until then detected in the volume of scholastic annals; ---for Lord Chesterfield polished not himself by the study of such. An overwhelming majority instantly sided with me—the truth was great, and did prevail; the tide flowed strongly and favourably, the oppositionists were borne down-obliged to submit, and agree, in fine, to become guides for the whole party.
The second item tended towards me, in the imposition of a tax or forfeit : but no tax placed on humanity was ever levied with such facility and good-will. The law enforced, secundo, that I should find candles, tinder-box, and matches, and that I should steal them from the cook, for it was sagaciously perceived that, as my home was nearer to the scene of action than the residences of any of the others, there would be the greatest advantages arising from the enactment of such a clause as this second article compelled. Proximity, and, therefore, convenience of transportation, was the great incentive and insubvertible argument. And as to the matter of stealing what we wanted, of course I could do that as well as any body else: there was no objection to it whatever, either on their parts or on mine :-it was fair and just, and nothing was so longed for as to convert unsubstantial words into actual and accomplished deeds. True it was, the cook shortly found herself minus candles, tinder-box, and all the et ceteras, and nine points of the law very soon confirmed that manœuvre.
We set off, giving tongue lustily, like a pack of hounds on full scent, making our way through Saint Peter's churchyard, up the path opposite the richly-carved façade of John Greenway's chapel.
“ What a funny ship that is !” said Gradus, a boy about ten years old, as he pointed with his candle towards the upper part of the chapel, “ I never saw such a clumsy one in my life.”
“Yes,” answered Ille-ego, who claimed seniority over us all, “ I suppose 'tis like what they used to build in former days: there is a boat alongside of her, and they seem to be lowering a cask by a rope"
“ And there's one man upon the stern,” cried Hic-hæc-hoc, inter. rupting Nie-ego, “ did you ever see such a great high stern ?-not a bit like Curwood's boats :—see, there's a man pulling a fish out of the water."
“ I swear 'tis a bigger one than Tityre-tu caught in the Loman the other day with a black palmer,” resumed Gradus.
“ And his line's as thick as a rope," said A-B-C., who was our youngest volunteer, and at the bottom of the lowest form in school.”
“Ah, and there's another ship,” rejoined Hic-hæc-hoc, “oh, and a good many more :—and what are those men doing?—but the nose of one of them has been knocked off, and the nose of the other has been rubbed quite flat."
“ There is a man up there,” said A-B-C., “ with a long stick in his hand :-I wonder if 'tis a fishing-rod-but it's got no reel.”
A hearty peel burst forth from all sides, at the expense of the simplicity of A-B-C.
The whiles they laughed a gleam of sunshine struck across the chapel, and unconsciously drew their attention upon two ancient dials.
“ Almost three o'clock,” said Gradus, perceiving the shadow fell over that figure.
“ Come, come along then," rejoined Hic-hæc-hoc, catching hold of his neighbour's arm to pull him away.
“ . Nesciunt reverti,” said Ille-ego, reading the inscription on one of the dials.
On arriving at the destined spot, there arose a call for ammunition and stores. Pockets, hats, coat sleeves, and holes cut to get between the lining and cloth of trowsers (where pockets were not long enough) were pregnant with candles, matches, tinder, and potatoes to make candlesticks of. There was a most prolific birth.
The only entrance now known, and before which we stood, is under a small archway, about a foot and a half span, and not rising more than two feet out of the ground. Tradition says, that this arch is in reality the head of a doorway, which formerly rose high enough to allow soldiers egress and ingress, when they wished privately and by secret passages, to pass this way: but, that time and neglect have suffered so much earth and rubbish to accumulate there, that the door has been filled up as it now appears, to within only two feet of the top. Thus speaks tradition—but tradition sometimes tells fibs—and a slight examination of the spot will convince any one, that the honest god of Veracity prompted not those that unloosed such a tale upon the world. Prometheus never struck brighter sparks from the flint, than Hic-hæc-hoc had been doing for a minute or more with great assiduity. But the tinder was unwilling to light. It was either damp -or else the striker did not let the hasty sparks fall properly into the box-or else, by-the-by, the said tinder grievously lacked a little of Staghl's phlogiston.
“ Let me try,” said Ille-ego, taking the flint and steel out of his hands.
Many a time have I struck a light and lit a candle to explore here."
" I' faith you may take it,” rejoined the other, resigning every thing to him, " for I have nearly knocked my knuckles to pieces, the flint is so small."
Ille-ego was stronger in the arms, and the tinder was soon a-light.
“Give me a match !” he cried, “before it goes out again.” The match was unwilling to ignite, as the tinder had been before.
“ There's fire, there's fire,” exclaimed Hic-hæc-hoc, “ put the match there !"
“ And now there's a deal of fire running about on the farther side of the box—let me put another match there !” added Gradus, offering his assistance.
Five minutes-perhaps more-had been consumed in the fruitless attempt to kindle these matches: five minutes to us, just then, appeared a long time. A-B-C. now stepped in, to tender his ready powers.
Why don't you blow it ?” said he, puffing into the box with all his might.
“ You cursed little fool!” roared Ile-ego; “ and now you've blown all the tinder away! D-nation and the devil !"
Vexed as we were at this ill-judged puff, we gave vent to a laugh-all but Ille-ego, and the innocent offender. True it was, the smoking ashes were scattered far and wide. “ Pick it up, pick it up!" was the spontaneous cry.
Another five minutes served to replace the tinder in the box, and also to select two or three good matches from the bundle, that appeared to hold the greatest quantity of brimstone on their points—and moreover, what was supremely joyful—to enkindle a throbbing flame on the end of one of them.
(To be continued.)
On his own shield, to fair Eurotas' shore,