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Master Luke had now succeeded in Master Luke, who, having resigned to a partly domesticating himself at Herons- menial the steed on which he had wood, to which, as her nearest relation, performed his brief travel, had vainly Floralice bad neither scruple nor objec- investigated the summer-hall, the dialled tion to admit him.
grass-plat, the shady alley, and the sunny Almost the first use, however, that margent of the old stone fountain, till at Floralice made of her accommodating length he stumbled upon the arbour, his and right trusty kinsman's residence at presence being the only token of his the Solitary Grange, was to dispatch him approach. with such a message as a well-born, high “ Thou here, Luke?" exclaimed Herdowered maiden might without disparage. cey, in a peevish tone; “I deemed not to ment send to a dear and intimate friend, see thee again so soon !" whose counsel she was anxious to obtain. “ Nor wished it, Baldwin Hercey, thou
Sir Baldwin had withdrawn to the fine wouldest have said ; but to shew I can old manor-house of Redford Hall, in forgive discourtesy, even in thee-know the vicinity of Warwick.
I bring thee good tidings.” It was the last which a long course “Ay! as the raven did to the old of ancestral imprudence, and the civil witch, when he told her on what gibbet spoliation consequent upon unshaken he had pecked out her son's eyes!" adherence to an unsuccessful cause, had “ Whether I be the raven or thou the left to him of all his family estates. old woman, certes the gibbet may apply
Beautifully situated on a green bank, to both of us.' rising softly from the river Leam, this And Luke laughed a dreary, odious fair relic of manorial architecture still laugh. stretches its long façade of gables, porch, Hercey coloured violently. and oriels, beneath its massive and aged “ Darest thou then ? and to me? me evergreens; and, looking over the vale who, but for certain foolish scruples, to the castle and church of Warwick, might free myself from misery at once, still courts the evening sunlight on its by delivering thee to the justice thou hast feebly resplendent lattices, like some so baffled-murderer !” brilliant revisitings from the feelings and “I thought, Sir Baldwin! we had fancies of youth, upon the dimly lighted agreed not to miscall each other as touchmusings of melancholy old age. The ing that occurrence. In you it is scarcely place however is best adapted to the grey fair ; seeing you are to reap the barvest and windy skies of autumn, or the deso- thereof!" late stillness of winter; for June itself “Oh! and such a harvest !- to find can do nothing for those thick bowers, myself even in imagination stained with where laurel, laurestinus, and box rear homicide, were evil enough; but that their walls of living foliage, and immense Floralice should be torn from me for ever firs and yew-trees, piled over each other, by the untimely destruction of the sole blot out the very heavens with a gloom no obstacle that stood between us! and thou sun can brighten, and no storm destroy. the destroyer ! - Luke Tyler, thou canst
Master Tyler sought the knight of not wonder that I hate thy very face!" Redford, amidst the plots and labyrinths I do not wonder, thought Luke to of the quaint garden, and found him in one himself, as the cold cruel malice of his of those arbours of lilac and honeysuckle eye gloated on the mournful amination and sweetbriar, which Chaucer and Spen- of Baldwin's glowing countenance; I do ser so much delight in painting. It not wonder, for of a surety the thing was thickly pleached with a twisted net- thou sayest, I have done!
You are work of branches, and projected over the indeed separated for ever! Those highold stone wall, which marked off the flown romantic scruples of thine, will be a garden from the highway.
barrier more insuperable than his abhor. Hercey sate, half recumbent, on a ence! - She is for ever torn from thee! and thick turf seat perfectly bejewelled with the deed was mine-mine, and my masterdaisies, and, at his side, slipped carelessly piece! Master Tyler now spoke aloud. from his hand, lay an open letter.
" At any rate, Baldwin ! revile me not The slanting rays of a September sun now, for it was my beautiful kinswoman fell in flakes upon his hair and cheek; commanded me to this unwelcome visit.” and danced, in little yellow stars, on the Thereupon, Luke delivered the mesturf floor, as the faint zephyrs agitated sage from Floralice, and stood silent ; the fragrant foliage through which they devouring with his eyes the agitation of twinkled.
Sir Baldwin, as if it were food for which Sir Baldwin started up on perceiving he ravened.
“I will not see her! I cannot--I dare helmet that hides a distracted head, and not! oh, pity me heaven, did ever inno- a breastplate that girds in a broken cent man feel so guilty !”
heart!” “ Nay! an' thou mend not thy mood, “ Trust me!” said Master Luke, as 'twere mere madness to present thyself he spurred his steed up the shady road before her. I cannot fathom thy feel- that led beside the venerable steeple of ings: but this I tell thee; if I, Luke Offchurch; “ trust me, but I prosper ! Tyler, whose hand is still hot and red Doth Fate smile upon the stroke of Venwith its revenge, were to sit in judgment geance ? Courage Luke! if the battle on thee as thou lookest now~I should sweeps him away, another of thine insay guilty, guilty, guilty!"
sulters is removed ! Ah! but the third Ay, and I am guilty! Ask the remains behind! and her I so hate and thunderings and the lightnings of that love at once, that I know not which to dreadful night which saw me help thee follow : she hath beauty, she hath gold ; to conceal the deed,-if I am not guilty! she hath house and land; I must win Demand of that Red Templar, from whose her therefore, and then she hath flouted, ponderous and helmed jaws, I swear I she hath spurned, she hath cast me off heard a crashing groan mingled with the once,-but then let her look to herself! war of elements, if I am not guilty! I prosper! I prosper !” Appeal to that tomb, profaned and dis- Thus soliloquising, Tyler rode furiturbed by our sacrilegious deposit,-if I ously towards the great highway to Dunam not guilty! The sanctity of the in. church; and as furiously must we goad violable wood,—the soft and innocent on our pen to the period immediately turf, loathing those strange stains,--the succeeding the brief restoration of King offended earth, the lamenting wind, the Henry, and Warwick's six months' admirain that reluctantly washed away the nistration. witness of the crime, all with one voice We may state then, in few words, that pronounce the secret burier of the mur. Sir Baldwin Hercey, so far from fulfildered, an accomplice with the murderer!” ling his own melancholy forebodings, had
“ Well! I have done my fair cousin's been received with distinguished favour bidding; and I am weary of the remorse at King Henry's, or rather Lord WarI do not share. What is to be my answer wick's, court; that rich portions of his to Mistress Floralice ?"
alienated estates had been restored to “ This!” replied Hercey, putting into him; and that, although he scrupulously Luke's hand the open missives that lay persisted in avoiding Heronswood Hall, on the arbour seat.
his influence with the victorious party Tyler took it; and as he read, his guile- had been of the last importance in preful brow, for once, betrayed the surprise serving from confiscation the vast possesits contents were calculated to produce. sions of the old York ist Monkshaw, which
“ Amazement!” he exclaimed; “War- had now centred in the loveliest damsel wick, with his son-in-law, the young that ever wished well to the White Rose. George of Clarence, at the head of sixty Fickle fortune, however, soon fleeted thousand men ? their standard raised for from the victorious banner to the downHenry of Winchester, their numbers fallen crest; and the vermilion flower daily increasing, and a decisive action of Lancaster flagged and failed (some expected immediately? Why this in- thought died) when he fell, telligence might stir up the sleepers in yon bloody warrior's sepulchre ! ”
“The wrinkles of whose brows, then filled with
blood, “Would it might awaken one at least!” Were likened oft to kingły sepulchres : groaned Hercey.
For who lived king, but he could dig his grave; “Marry, and amen! if some obliging And who, durst smile when Warwick bent his
" hand would put me in his place, so I might 'scape thy whining, Baldwin! Luke Tyler, who, rich in malignity, Well, give me my commission, and let was now a miser of vengeance, had, durme begone. I have twelve miles to ride; ing the short-lived Lancastrian restora. and these missives of thine contain mat- tion, confined his manæuvres to the ter to put a spur in my heel : but what humblest and most patient cultivation of am I to say to Mistress Monkshaw ?” Mistress Floralice's favour; and endea
“ Say that my armour is furbished for vours (often fruitless) to elude, flatter, limbs that never quailed under it before! baffle, or hold at bay the unconquerable Say that, ere thou reachest Heronswood, aversion of Sir Baldwin Hercey, whose my barb will have borne me to the field; then flourishing state placed him equally a sword without an arm to wield it, an above his hatred and beyond his fear.
But now things wore a different as- his involuntary accomplice, was much pect. The Red Rose was trampled down: nearer the Solitary Grange than its inhastarlike, and with enhanced lustre, the bitants either imagined or would have White Rose glittered above the throne. wished. Hercey was disgraced, beggared and out- From the Bloody Templar's Tomb lawed. All his hopes of the hand and there extended that uniform appendage wealth of Floralice (though higher than to the manor-house of olden time, a ever,
if she were to be consulted) were subterraneous passage ending in a vault, now shut out for ever by his own proud which had a secret stair communicating delicacy, no mean auxiliary to his horror with the Great Hall at Heronswood. of the irremediable past !
The existence of this oubliette was not Justly, therefore, did Luke Tyler ap- generally known; Luke had discovered prehend that, thus left without hope or it during his sojourn in the Solitary aim, Sir Baldwin might, at length, in Grange; and Floralice had occasionally the anguish of his heart, pour out the made use of it in her clandestine interintolerable load that had so long weighed views with Sir Baldwin. down his conscience, and at one stroke Of course, this place of darkness did reduce Luke's detestable machinations not escape the general search that ensued to dust.
on old Anthony's disappearance; but In offering once more his person and terror, at the dreadful character it had fortune (the latter not a little aggrandized obtained in the Grange, and its vicinity, by his skilful fishing in troubled waters) rendered its investigation too hurried and to Floralice Monkshaw, Master Tyler superficial for the detection of its horrible was not unduly influenced by sanguine secret. expectations of success.
Meanwhile, the ill-fated Hercey, now He meant it, as a kind of gracious under sentence of outlawry, after wan. overture, on his part, by which his hatred dering about in every variety of privation to Baldwin might be spared further trou- since that fatal battle, that seemed to ble; and he himself be the consort of enshroud the glory of Lancaster for ever, Mistress Monkshaw's wealth, before he had returned to visit, for the last time, broke her heart to become its heir. Then that place so identified with his happiness Baldwin might babble if he chose ; who and misery, the Templar's Monument. would impugn the wealthy Yorkist? He had resolved on quitting England, to The outlaw might impeach him if he join the shattered following of Queen durst; who would believe a Lancastrian Margaret at her father's court, and there beggar? It was in Luke's self-applaud- to shape for himself the best way of tering eyes a ready way of severing that minating with honour a life overburthened gordian knot of wickedness, whose viper with despair. folds began to weary, if not to disgust Luke Tyler encountered Sir Baldwin even himself.
on his return into Warwickshire, immeWhen, therefore, his overtures were diately after that worthy had been a second received with incredulous contempt, time scornfully rejected by Mistress Luke Tyler adroitly shifted his ground, Floralice. and, hiding in his vest the arrow which His measures being now fully matured had twice pierced him, till such time as in his own wicked brain, Luke put forth he could hurl it back tenfold poisoned, all his wit to overreach this poor brokenhe continued to endure, and even court, hearted young man.
Bowed as he was the constrained civilities of Floralice at by misfortune, and rendered accessible the Solitary Grange.
to the least shew of kindness, Baldwin But Floralice, whose intolerance of communicated to Tyler all his future disguise overcame the very slight respect plans; the only feature of which, that she entertained towards her indefatigable Luke thought worthy of notice, was the cousin, soon intimated to him that his knight's intention to do penance at the farther residence at Heronswood might unlionoured grave of Monkshaw; and he be dispensed with: and thus the cowardly eagerly made himself acquainted with the shifting villain, so long lingering on the very day and hour, promising to join him very brink of his design, was, at once, in his devotions there. precipitated into it.
In short, before they parted, Luke The spot, over which a secresy so im- Tyler had so practised upon his unhappy penetrable had now brooded, for upwards companion, that Hercey more than ever of six months ; the spot, where the bloody upbraided himself for this unjustifiable and unblessed remains of Anthony Monk- disgust and aversion (as he considered it), shaw were concealed by the murderer and which had actuated his conduct towards Tyler ever since the night of Monkshaw's when I said farewell, beamed like the murder; he even took to himself the heavens upon the halcyon's nest—now guilt of that bloodshed, in which he felt overcast like a summer tempest ? The convinced that, but for him, Luke would very name of Hercey ! - What overnever have embrued his hands.
balances our various fortunes, so that his Alas! how often does Innocence wound bare foot-print, in the sand of thy courtitself with imaginary imputations, while yard, is dearer to thee than all the bravery Wickedness hardens into unconsciousness of my sunny state? What ?--but that he of crime !
is Baldwin Hercey,-andThe day when Sir Baldwin Hercey “And thou, Luke Tyler !” burst forth was to do penance in the vault now the provoked and insulted Floralice, “I arrived.
had not thought to stoop again to talk Luke Tyler appeared, that day, with like this; nor will I longer brook it ! downcast looks before the presence of Thou hast dared—audacious!-to descant Floralice. He had signified his intention upon my preferences. Thus far then, of removing his hateful presence from hear me!-If, as thou hast most impuHeronswood, for ever; and, though Flo- dently affirmed, I do esteem Sir Baldwin ralice felt it difficult to grieve at his de- Hercey higher than all the world beside, parture, still his meek demeanour and remember that my choice stands not so silvery speech had succeeded in making much between him and other men, as her, as well as his other victim, think that between every quality that might ennoble he was too hardly used.
manhood, and every stain that can disFloralice even so far overcame a severity grace it!” not natural to her, as to offer many ex- And the incensed lady burst into tears pressions of good-will towards her cousin of offended pride and wounded affection. Luke.
Luke felt the taunt, and it steeled him This was to be their parting interview. against the tears.
“ Methinks my worthy kinsman is “ I am ill at applying sarcasms, lady! more sad than his departure from a but let us part friends, and the rather as house, so little pleasurable, can warrant?" I shall be no longer an impediment”
“I am sadder, my dear cousin! (whom 66 Insolent!" I may not, alas! call dear)-I am sadder “ Cousin, you do me wrong!” I am than even banishment from this Eden, only sorrowful, and that makes men whose angel is my foe, could render me !" sour. But, if I had foreseen this, I would
“ Some rare cause, then,” quoth Floo not have done Sir Baldwin's bidding so ralice, with an irony she found it impos- readily.” sible to repress,
“ hath extended Master “ His bidding?" Tyler's sphere of sorrow beyond him- “ Yes ! he besought me to deliver this, self !”
as his parting token, to his lady love!” " Rare indeed! since few bemoan the Floralice gazed in bewildered suspense, downfal of a rival !”
as Luke, after some delay, drew from his Floralice was checked in an instant: bosom the superb collar of suns and roses, her face became ashy pale, and then that princely badge which her father had blood-red. Luke thought her throbbing so ostentatiously cherished, and which had bosom would have burst her velvet bo- never been discovered since his murder. dice, as he continued:
« Merciful heaven! it is my poor fa“ I have just left Sir Baldwin Her- ther's worshipped and sole ornament !
from that he never would have parted The lips of Floralice moved and parted, while in life; oh! till now, I had some hope but no sound reached them, and, pale as
seemed not to have death, she grew again.
closed on him!—but this—this mortal “ And, in such wretchedness of heart token shuts out the last feeble glimmer and form,” pursued Luke, “ that little for ever !-Oh, good, kind Luke! forgive, as I have cause to love him”
forgive my vehemence; and tell me the “ Thou hast none to hate him, I wot meaning of this horrible enigma!” well !” hoarsely murmured Floralice. " That, my sweet coz, must ask of Sir
“ None ?-Would the scorn so deadly Baldwin Hercey; at his hands I received beautiful, from lips which have twice it. How it chanced to pass from your slain me, have been half so bitter, but for sire, who cherished it so highly, to the him ?_Would that eye-sun of my life! man he hated most of all on earth, Misshine so coldly on my despair, but that tress Floralice must judge-judge, too, Sir Baldwin Hercey claims its undivided whether Hercey's long self-exile from a rays?—What makes that cheek, which, house and heart which waited his behest,
be not the enigma which this gay bauble the creepers which treillaged its mouldsolves ! Farewell ! "
ings, and quivering, in delicate shade“ Stay, in mercy stay, thou man of work, over its gaily tesselated pavement. power! whether for good or evil, I know She sped down the open staircase into not. Tell me but this! sent he no mes. the court; congratulated herself that it sage-no word of comfort ?'
was empty; and then, with trembling Marry! Comfort would travel ill in eager hand, pushed open the massive my company, lady! The affliction that door of the great hall. It had never shook him was deeper than I could fa- been used, scarcely entered since Monk. thom; and the speech he employed darker shaw's murder; its air was close and than I could interpret. But thyself mayst heavy like a vault, and its appearance, question with him."
never very cheerful at the best, was wrapt “I?-Oh, excellent kinsman! tell me in that drear character of gloom and but how—but where!"
bereavement and solitude, which sinks “ Nay! of a surety-no how, and no the heart and intimidates the eye. To where-if his will be consulted. I war- Floralice, the gorgeous but dead images rant Baldwin Hercey would rather meet on its arras, and the silently resplendent the grand Fiend than thee, in the place pictures in its windows, seemed too many where he now is !”
witnesses in that void, abandoned room. “ Oh, where?"
Ascending the two broad steps that, tra“ Beneath the Bloody Templar's Mo- versing the upper end of the hall, formed nument!”
the elevated platform entitled The Dais, “ Ha!”
Floralice entered a colossal oriel, whose “ In the secret passage, under the narrow alcove opened at the head of the meadow ;-in that airless vault, by that high table; and, pressing the floor in dark recess;—with a mouldering corse; one of its angles, a panel, behind the -a murdered man ;-thy Father ! massy court-cupboard, gave way, and And now, woman, if thou knowest not ushered her down those long steps she how to avenge Anthony Monkshaw's had so often trodden with far different murder, his kinsman does !”
feelings. In former times it was only Luke Tyler almost yelled out this the gloom of night, and the Solitary speech with choaking rapidity; and his Grange, and the Grim Franklin she was whole appearance resembled what we leaving behind, and love and hope lent imagine of the great enemy, vanishing both light and speed to her steps; but from the victim he has ensnared and now, as she quitted the fair healthy beam ruined. He rushed out of the room, and, of day, disporting in happy colours on in another moment, his horse's hoofs were all around, with feet stumbling in darkheard thundering through the broad- ness, and with a heart, whose high beatribbed gateway of the solitary Grange. ings excited by the horrors she had just
Floralice stood in that ancient cham- heard, were only stilled by apprehensions ber, like her who bent her last glance on of those she anticipated, poor Floralice the doomed cities of the Dead Sea; the felt as though she were going down to doomed, but how delightful once, and her own grave-home and hope, life and still how dear!
joy, shut out from her for ever. Now, Recollection's slow return, however, as with difficulty she threaded the dismal brought back the menaces of Tyler, and mazes of the souterrain, the expectation with them, such lively pictures of danger of the horror she was to behold, while it to her bosom's treasure, that the neces- filled her soul with feelings she herself sity of instant exertion chased the throng- could not define, was inseparably mixed ing shadows of horror from her brain, up with one ruling impulse; and that like one master-spirit controlling the was, at any sacrifice, and any peril, to subordinate demons. That passage! well save Sir Baldwin, whom the parting she knew it. By its dismal path had words of Luke Tyler so darkly threatshe sped to Sir Baldwin, when every ened. other outlet from the Solitary Grange That gentleman, it will be imagined, was closed ; and the Grim Franklin did not vent such words for empty air. dreamed that his deep moat and inex- He posted away to Dunchurch, laid bis orable gates had secured all.
charge before the worshipful Justice Swift as flame from vapour, Floralice Caxton—and so naturally acted the zeal started from her trance; hu ied on her
of a man prosecuting the murder of a cloak and hood, and darted into the so- near kinsman, upon an accidental dislary, through whose latticed arcade the
covery of the murderer-and so artfully noon-day sun and gale were playing with worked upon the worthy magistrate who