« PreviousContinue »
saddest and the homeliest ; and this cir- Floralice was a compound of the eagle cumstance, added to his other qualities, and the dove. Where she loved, all conmental and corporal, acquired him the siderations retired before it. Upon her title of the Grim Franklin.
father she doated ! and long and bright And thus flourished Anthony Monk- years threw no shadow upon her affection, shaw, self-poised and self-appreciated; which was as much love as gratitude. even his idol, the White Rose Sovereign, It was often jestingly asserted among he regarded with sentiments which, de- her acquaintance, that, if she married, voted as they were, owed much of their Floralice Monkshaw could never love a devotion to that bigoted factionary feel- husband so entirely, even though she ing which led him to identify his monarch were to govern him as absolutely as her with himself.
father. But the time came when FloraIn two instances alone was Anthony lice was called upon to resign the gentle of Heronswood known to have deviated acquiescence in delightful feelings, and from the general outline of character, the passive enjoyment of indulged affecthus roughly delineated.
tions; and if the disturber of her sunThe one was, that however ordinary shine produced the most cruel conflict in the rest of his attire might be, he uni- her bosom, it was principally because he formly wore the weighty golden collar of had dwelt there, side by side with her suns and roses interchanged, having the most cherished joys, too long to be ejectwhite lion of the house of March append- ed with ease when he could no longer ed; Edward's favourite guerdon to his be retained with impunity. most distinguished adherents, and placed Sir Baldwin Hercey was the only son upon Monkshaw's shoulders by that of a Warwickshire knight, whose distinprince himself.
guished exploits on the
field of Azincour, The other exception to his general had greatly advanced him in the favour of rule, referred to the bright creature who Henry the Fifth, but whose zeal, in furcalled the grim Franklin of Heronswood nishing men and moneys for the French father.
wars, had impoverished his estates to If Anthony disdained to look beyond such an extent, that, out of eight lordly himself for honour, gratification, or com- manors, only one remained to him, at the fort, he found so pleasing and so influen- time when Henry's untimely death cut tial a portion of that self in his daughter off all hope of present remuneration. Floralice, that in lavishing upon her the The protectoral government overlooked most unbounded affection, and even de him; and shortly after the last war was ference, he fell into the common delusion; lost in France, the boy Baldwin was left and never doubted but he was enriching an orphan, to the guardianship of the his child with the indulgences he was in grim Franklin of Heronswood. He was fact bestowing upon himself
. Nor had brought up with the little Floralice, and he occasion to detect his error so long as there was scarcely a year's difference bethe tide of life carried along the interests tween their ages. The eruption of the of both in the same safe channel; an ob- Rose conflicts effected (what political distacle however shot into the stream, and visions generally do)an irreparable breach thenceforth the divided currents branched between two old friendly families, whose asunder.
amity had gone the length of a projected Floralice Monkshaw was now in the matrimonial alliance. full roselike bloom of summer, and a Floralice, for the first time in her life, splendid flower she was.
was thwarted by her father, in the matter Who has ever seen the Marchioness on which the happiness of her life depend. Jane of C-? She might sit for the ed; she was commanded to think no picture of Floralice; but, to those who more of Baldwin Hercey at a time when have not, I despair of painting her. You she could think of nothing else; in fine, would not call her masculine looking; for the ivy was to be plucked from the elm, her expression was most magically soft when the fibres of the one and the bark when it beamed upon you, so you pro of the other made it impracticable, withnounced her heroic. You confessed that out fatal laceration to both. fiertè sate throned and diademed upon The grim Franklin, we may be sure, her features ; but, in that queenly brow, had not suffered Sir Baldwin to follow and wreathing lip, you only felt how pass- his hereditary inclination for the Lancasing beautiful pride could look; and, if terian rose, without employing all his it had brought in its train the other rhetoric, enforced by some tolerably broad deadless sins, you deemed that shrine allusions to Floralice, in order to bias his might have made saints of them all, young and enthusiastic ward: but all his
attempts had proved vain. Equally un- nature; while from that time forth, to successful too had been Anthony's en- the hour of his death, a spirit of immordeavour to alienate his daughter from her tal malice, at once crawling and boundlong cherished love. And so the affair less, timid yet greedy, influenced Tyler's ended. Sir Baldwin shared the battles conduct towards Sir Baldwin Hercey. and fortunes of king Henry: Monkshaw, The mantle of friendship Luke conwith princely munificence, swelled the ceived to be the safest cover for his sinews of war from his own coffers to the machinations; and as the warriors of old duke of York and his sons,—and Flora- approached the beleaguered city under lice, through evil report and good report their Testudo, so did Luke Tyler skulk -in success or failure, in mournful sepa- into the heart and fortunes of the youthrations or at clandestine interviews, ready ful knight, only to ascertain in what alike to share the prosperity of her be- places they might be assailed, and where loved with the most patient fondness, or they were most vulnerable. to brave his misfortunes with the most Sir Baldwin Hercey would have generous abandonment of self; Floralice, hesitated to acknowledge Tyler as his the soft, the magnanimous Floralice, pre- friend; there was neither congeniality served, or rather fed, her affection for nor equality for that; but he flattered Baldwin Hercey.
himself he had given the hound a saluAt length the violence of the strife tary correction, which had amended his having much subsided, on the coronation manners; and as a subjugated province of Edward the Fourth, Sir Baldwin is often amused by the victor with found himself, it is true, in the reduced empty baubles, to compensate the actual state common to the partizans of the los- dishonour it has sustained, so Luke ing side, and the fierce Franklin now de- Tyler was treated by Baldwin with a spised his poverty, as much as he loathed reckless generosity, too much alloyed by his politics ;-but still, to Floralice he undisguised contempt to be palatable to brought the same heart-and a form, that keen-eyed individual. Master Floralice thought, immeasurably im- Luke, however, reaped too much of proved by the hardy exercise of war, tem- paltry gratification to his malice from pering the ripened vigour of manhood. the advantages which the precipitate and Of course Hercey was not to be seen somewhat haughty temper of Sir Baldopenly at Heronswood: so a regular win afforded him, not to endure, with system of private meetings was arranged abject dissimulation, all the young between them; Floralice only stipulating knight's assumed superiority, till at that she should not be requested to aban- length Sir Baldwin's unsuspecting heart don her father, so long as his hostility misgave him for his injustice, and from against Sir Baldwin, or, what was much that time forth, the inmost chambers of the same thing, his life, lasted.
Hercey's bosom were laid open to the Now there was a certain Luke Tyler, insidious foe; its own best feelings having near kinsman to the grim Franklin of traitorously unbarred the doors. Heronswood, who had always made a It could scarcely be said that Luke third in those youthful intimacies that loved Floralice Monkshaw; indeed it grew up and flourished under the auspices may be disputed whether he loved a of Monkshaw. He was ever a cringing, single human being, even himself not supple, crafty knave, and vindictive withal, excepted; but he was an admirable as the rattlesnake, though, less generous hater ; and as he proceeded in his path than that reptile, he never gave notice of of skulking malice, employing the his spring.
smooth pebble from the brook, as well The same qualities, not the less evil as the poisoned arrow from the quiver; for being so paltry, which made Floralice turning aside either to trample upon a dislike and contemn master Luke as a flower, or uproot a plant, he came, at boy, excited her detestation when he length, upon the bower of love, into grew to manhood.
whose recesses no snake had yet glided; Between Sir Baldwin and Tyler, how yet in crawled Luke, and very nearly ever, there was a sort of friendship; for, got his reptile head crushed in the ever since Luke had felt the weight of attempt. young Hercey's arm, one day, that he Truth to say, however successful thrashed him pretty sufficiently, for Tyler might have been in his lesser mastealing some candied plumbs from the chinations against Baldwin, he was sinweeping. Floralice, he had outwardly gularly infelicitous when he proceeded shewn him as much respect as was need- to designs of a larger growth. ful to impose upon his unscrutinizing Educated at the Priory of Saint Se., pulchre, at Warwick, Luke Tyler had If Anthony could endure, he must cultivated all the higher and more refined needs agree with Master Tyler in conaccomplishments, which in those days a versation ; and at such times he would monastery alone could teach.
shoot forth, from under his grey beetling He was a beautiful illuminator; no eyebrows, a meteor glance of something mean limner, and excelled in the ex- very like complacency, at Luke's comercise of several crafts; in architecture ments upon men and manners. A he was a special proficient ; legendary growl of welcome from Monkshaw's . lore found a capacious cabinet in his cavernous jaws, generally hailed his apbrain ; he could somewhat of music; pearance at the homely but abundant nor of all the sonnets to his mistress's board; and a gripe like a Bramah screw, eyebrow, were those the meanest that accompanied the bidding to a repeated flowed from the pen of Master Luke. visit.
All these, and every other means And when the Civil War broke out, which his subtle engine suggested, did just as the Lancasterian Hercey's star Tyler put in requisition in favour of declined at Heronswood, did the Yorkist Floralice, from the first moment he per Tyler's culminate. ceived her inclination to Sir Baldwin So now, dear and much-enduring Hercey. And so far he succeeded, that reader, behold Luke Tyler at once the the communings between him and Flo- rejected suitor of Floralice, the treacheralice became far more frequent than rous confidant of Sir Baldwin Hercey, Hercey (whose less scientific pursuits who hath just been permitted to reposled him to heath and forest) quite ap- sess his impoverished manor at Redford, proved. Luke's likings, however, fed and the identical person now walking in upon Baldwin's dislikes ; so he perse- yonder meadow with that dark burly vered, and, as he thought, prospered. man of age, who is dressed in a tawny But Fortune, whatever she may do to leathern jerkin, partially covered by a the brave, does not always favour the cloak of russet serge; a fox fur tipped unscrupulous; and just when Luke about his shoulders, and upon his broad Tyler had attained the point at which furrowed brow, a slouching cap, large he imagined he might unfurl the banner and wide, utterly unornamented, whose of his hopes, the fickle jade tore it down, colour, originally scarlet, had now, from and trampled it under foot. To speak time and weather stains, assumed a most plainly, he one day told Floralice Monk- truculent die of blackish red; the far reshaw that he loved her, and she told him fulgent collar of suns and roses glowing what we may as well not repeat.
over all this worn-out mockery of huRepulsed in this quarter, Master mility, marks him at once for the grim Luke applied himself to cultivate the Franklin of Heronswood. good graces of the grim Franklin him- It was the afternoon of a blazing self; but here he had apparently still, summer's day. Old Dunsmoor, with less chance of success. Old Anthony his patches of ancient trees and open had no 'very violent love for any of his fells intermixed, lay panting and parch
If they were independ- ing beneath the meridian sun. ent, and kept aloof from the rich Frank- breeze durst stir, and the steer and the lin, they were welcome to do so; he steed stood motionless in the shallow never troubled his pate about them. If waters of the old pit, which scarcely they haunted the dreary courts and reached their knees, and whose high red dingy halls of Heronswood, so much the banks were wooded with luxuriant but better, as long as they would patiently' motionless trees; the verdure of leaf dance in his round, and while their and herb was thirsty and dull; the very habits and opinions jumped with his shade was hot, and the grass dry. The humour ; but there was the difficulty. weathercock on Bilton steeple was shin
At once the most suspicious and the ing and asleep; and the little blue brook, most intolerant man alive, Monkshaw that used to twine like a coloured snake endured not the slightest contradiction around those delightful meads, now or stricture; while a snarl and a shew plaintively tinkled over its enamelled of teeth (well if it were not a head and bed, whose Mosaic had lost half its shoulders ejection through the gateway!) brilliance. were the uniform and inevitable guerdon' Anthony Monkshaw, after lending of ill-timed conciliation or unskilful heedful ear to some communication from flattery.
his associate, stalked before him through But even with the impracticable the blinding heat of the meadow, leaping Franklin, Luke, as usual, for some time the river which bisected it with a strength played his part successfully.
and agility that put to shame the awk.
ward sprawl of Luke, and clearing a -or, haply, bring upon us a troop of stile that led into a thicket of princely nymphs and fauns, in the character of old timber; here, having reached a spot eaves-droppers ! Body o' me man! what, where their conversation might be free is this mystery so sacred, that even these from intruders, and themselves pro- old silent woods are not to hear it, lest tected from the insupportable heat, the they should babble when the wind comes Franklin paused until his laggard kins. back again to set them a nodding and man should come up with him.
gossiping? Why, one would think A close and grass-grown alley, where there was to be another tale of the the woodbine hung in perfumed clusters bloody templar!” upon the maple, and the briony, strang- “If he whom men call the grim ling what she embraced, spread in mere. Franklin of Heronswood, take not the tricious draperies over the hazel, led better head,” was Luke's bold reply, them into a sylvan area, where, at “the Bloody Templar's Chronicle may regular intervals, the trunks of elm, ash, find a sequel yet!” and oak trees, soaring into the summer Anthony raised his shaggy brows, and heavens, concealed their height from the opened wide his clear blue eyes upon the eye. Massive columns were their stems, speaker,—but Luke had chosen his tone and their lowest boughs meeting at a well, and the attitude of importance, and great distance from the earth, lent the even of admonition, which now characplace a resemblance to some old Gothic terized the supple kinsman, was so novel Chapter-house. Thick, bright, and that it partly startled, and partly pleased feathery, sprang the fern beneath; and the grim Franklin. bashfully blue, the light harebell wooed “ Well, well man ! I will be patient ! in vain the far distant breezes to its Thou knowest I deem not lightly of fragile clusters. A few patches of thee, though I do gird at thee some. gleaming sky from above, and the sunny times ! Mass! there are few of whom glow through the boles and vistas rare, Anthony Monkshaw would either stoop redeemed that grove from the character to inquire, or tarry to hear advice ! but I of gloom, which the loftiness of the trees, trust thy love to our house, and I know the masses of foliage, the profound still- thou bearest a brain !-out with it then! ness, and the very form of the inclosure why hast, brought me out here, like a contributed to produce.
love-sick virgin forsooth, to a woodland, Here then halted Anthony Monk- tryste with her lover!" shaw, awaiting with grim composure the The grim Franklin laughed aloud at approach of the discomfited Luke, who his own conceit;—and the explosion hurried panting up the alley, and at hushed the gentle hollow melody of a length reached the old Franklin, the wood-pigeon, the only voice of that sultry usual clayey hue of his brow and cheek hour that was swelling forth its indolent, being now diversified with streams of peaceful coo from an adjacent pine. perspiration; and his rats-tail hair more “ It is not here !—the lover's tryste hopelessly lanky than ever.
you speak of is not here !” and Tyler Monkshaw, in the meanwhile, stood paused, either from embarrassment or as calm and as cool as if he had been design ;-if from the latter motive, he airing himself in the pleasant solary at soon saw cause to repent it, for Monkhis own manor house; and with a shaw's wrath arose, his very beard stirred grisly smile he thus began :
with ire; and his eyes contracted, and “ And now, Master Luke, sith thou his teeth closed, as if to let as little as hast drawn breath, and wiped thy brow, ' possible of the internal fury escape before prithee impart these weighty tidings, its time. that were too pregnant and too delicate “ Master Luke Tyler !” he said, and to trust the echoes of yon moated Grange this time, Luke had no occasion to comwithal.”
plain of his loud voice, for the prattle of “A bird of the air shall carry the the brook might be heard above it ;matter !” was Luke's reply, conveyed in “ Master Luke Tyler! whether you deem a low cowardly tone, as strongly contrast- the granger of Heronswood hath as small ed with the Franklin's bluff round voice, value for his time, as a slothful hangeras his grovelling, chidden air was to on, boots not me!-but, you have made Anthony's dreadnought figure.
me dance at your bidding, and, if my “ A bird of the air, good kinsman, shall music is to be no better than a fool's carry the matter : and, even in this deep babble,–I will look to the musician, woodland, I would use caution, lest ”. Dog! let me depart with my errand, or
“ Lest we offend the Erl-king-eh ?— by heaven's, I'll brain thee !” that wont to scare our Saxon ancestors : And, suiting the action to the word,
Anthony lifted a walking staff, whose “ And Sir Baldwin Hercey”size and shape, added to his own massive 66 Who!”rugged figure, made him no mean repre- “Your daughter and Sir Baldwin sentative of the well-known Warwick Hercey are in the habit”. cognizance.—Luke's presence of mind “ Patience of heaven! did I ever wavered for a moment only,—he had not dream to hear those two names coupled so long studied the grim Franklin for together again !-speak not,— breathe nothing.
not, look not one more syllable !—It is “ Esquire of Heronswood !” he said, enough, and more—oh death of my life! and even Monkshaw felt he spoke with is it come to this ? " dignity, “demean not yourself in the The old man dropped his staff, and presence of your poor cousin, whose duty, staggered against the rough trunk of an as well as wish, it is, to respect the head immense elm. Supporting his shaking of his house.—How would you have me frame with one hand, with the other he speak, when my speech so nearly involves motioned away Luke Tyler, who howthat house-ay, touches the very heart of ever advanced, seeing it was the time ; its honour!"
and poured with ruthless pertinacity, his Monkshaw lowered his staff, and as if unwelcome information into the ears of ashamed of his passionate violence, turned the stricken and overpowered Franklin. slightly aside, listening with bent brow, “ But, I must speak, and you must and hands woven over his ragged staff, as HEAR! They have been in the constant Luke resumed his speech.
habit of meeting under the great elm, “ Mine is a difficult, and an irksome by the bloody Templar's monument. I office.-I stand distracted between inter- have myself often been privy to their est for my kinsman's honour, and affec- interviews; and, unknown to them, I tion for an old friend. If partiality for have still oftener watched them.” my friend
sways me, I become an accom- “ And yet dared to conceal it from plice in a subject's disloyalty, and a child's me?” disobedience : if zeal for the house, of “Your pardon, sir ! I did but bide a which I am but a withered branch, pre- fitting time. Mistress Floralice hath vail with me--how shall I escape impu- promised to fly with Baldwin Hercey tations of treachery and selfishness ?” this very night ;-and, and—how could
Here Master Tyler sighed profoundly, I see your child and your estates grasped and looked askance at the Franklin. by those hands, so redly gilded with
That furtive and instantaneous glance, Yorkist blood ! shewed him how accurately he had cal- “He dies for it!" shouted the Franklin. culated. Monkshaw had dismissed all
66 And which would scatter the fury from his brow; a new feeling treasure of your stuffed coffers, among seemed to have awakened there, but it the rallying and replenished ranks of was that dubious, indefinite expression Lancaster !" which the sky wears before a change in “By the saint who distinguished my the elements; or a strange dog, while day of birth !—by that planet Saturn, the you caress him, before he either shews ascendant of my fortunes !by light and his teeth, or wags his tail !-His ruddy darkness,—by hope and by despair,—by cheek, at first grew pale, and then every oath that heaven records, and earth coloured over from his temples to his holds binding, - this Baldwin Hercey very throat; his breathing became thick, shall die the death! Have they met and violent, but he maintained his half- often? that I should ask! and thee ! - but averted posture, and seemed, at length, HAVE they often met?” made up to await Luke's tidings, till “Nightly." they came in his own good time.
“And will, this evening, thou saidst, Tyler saw that the Franklin, by this this very evening?”. time, was primed for his intelligence, “ After moonrise.” so he proceeded.
“ Then, of that moon let him make “Will my honoured kinsman bear much, for sun I swear he never shall see with me, while I unfold what must be more! But where bides he,—where more painful for me to speak, than even tarries this skulking prowler about my for him to hear ?”
fold ?" “ S'death man! do but speak out, “ Sir Gerald Vernon, his father's and if thy words stretch me a corpse ancient brother-in-arms, and, as thou upon the earth, it will be better than knowest, much favoured by the King, this racking!”
although no friend to thee, holds him in “ Your daughter
high hospitality at Bilton Hall." «« What of her ? '
* Sir Gerald Vernon! doth he so ?