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A LEGEND OF OLD LONDON.
other a priest. The former was habited as an officer of the yeomen of the guard—his morion surmounted by a plume of feathers lay before him on the table, and his rich scarlet and gold uniform shone gay and glistening in the sunshine. He was a young man, but vice and unbridled passion were stamped, like Cain's mark, upon his face. His eyes were bloodshot; his mouth coarse
and sensual, and his whole bearing fierce and swaggerIt was in one of the earliest years of the reign of ing. His priestly companion had thrown back his Henry the Eighth, and on a glorious summer's day, that cowl, probably for coolness, and disclosed features, the two men sat in earnest conversation together in the expression of which, like that of the captain of the oak-panelled parlor of a sinall house abutting upon guards, was evil, but which, unlike his, was partly reSt. Paul's Church-yard. The one was a soldier, the deemed by an appearance of lofty intellectuality. The jory?"
priest's forehead was high and massive, and his eye that he may rot in a dungeon, or swing from a gallows. deep-set and bright. As he glanced at his companion, He is a canker in my heart.” his thin, pale lip curled involuntarily, and the scorn of “But, wherefore art thou set against the yeoman, his smile was withering. But the soldier perceived it father?" asked Captain Wyckhamme. not, as he carelessly set aside the silver stoup from “He has crossed my path," said the priest, moodily. which he had been imbibing plentiful draughts of sack, “ Crossed thy path-how ?" demanded the soldier. and remarked
Father Francis looked wistfully at his questioner, and “And so, Bully Friar! thou hast absolved all my muttered, “In love." sins—truly their name was legion—but that boots not Captain Wyckhamme struck the table with his fistą now; they are rubbed away like rust from a sword until the wine flasks danced again, and then starting to blade."
his feet, with a coarse roar of laughter, exclaimed: “Ho, * Doubtless, thou art pardoned. Have I not said it ?” ho! hath it come to this? And so a neat ankle, and returned the priest. And, as he spoke, his lip curled buxom cheeks, and a gimp waist, were more than more palpably than ever.
match for thy sanctity! And thy cell was solitary and “That swaggerer, pinned by the cross-bow bolt at cold—was it not, priest? And a man, even though & Thame?” said he of the yeoman of the guard, beginning monk, cannot be always praying, and so thou wouldst anew the muster-roll of his transgressions.
take to wooing for an interlude. Brave Sir Priest! ** Think not of it,” replied the priest.
Credit me, thou art a man of mettle-a bold friar-20 “ And the murther done at the Bankside ?"
honor to thine order. Nay, thou shalt be the founder Forgiven.”
of an order-of a family, I mean; and by my halidome, “ And the despoiling of the Abingdon mercer ?” there will be a rare spice of the devil in the breed. “I have absolved.”
But I say, father, who is she? what is she? Do her “ And the vow broken to Sir Hildebrand Grey ?" eyes sparkle ? her cheeks glow-her”. “ It will not count against thee."
“Silence, babbler," said the priest, “her name is too “And the carrying off the pretty Mistress Mar- pure a thing for thee to take within thy lips; for thee
to speak of her, mere blasphemy.” “ Hath been atoned for."
“Ha!" exclaimed Wyckhamme,“ Priest, I say unto “And oaths, lies, imprecations innumerable ?” re- thee, beware." joined the captain. “Not so much that I care about “Hush! I love her, love her with a depth of passion such petty matters; but when one is at confession, one which things like thee cannot feel or comprehend. I may as well make a clean breast of it."
have wrestled-fought with it-striven in the darkness “In the name of the church, I absolve thee. And and silence of my cell to crush it; but I cannot; she is now, Captain Wyckhamme, thou must perform & service my light—my air—my life—my God! I have said itfor me.”
I have sworn it—she shall be mine, although I give “ It is but reasonable. Thou art my helper in mat- body and soul to purchase the treasure !" ters spiritual—I amn thine in earthly matters! We The captain looked surprised at this outbreak. “Wilt serve each other, Father Francis."
thou remove this man?” continued the priest after The worthy Father Francis smiled. It is possible a pause, and speaking in a voice of frightful calmthat he deemed the arrangement a better one for him- ness. self than for his military friend.
“Hum-why-marry I would do much to oblige “ Therefore say the word,” continued Wyckhamme; thee,” began the soldier; when his companion inter"and, lo! my bountiful forgiver of transgressions, I am rupted him. thine, for good or evil.”
“We are in each other's secrets," he said. Father Francis berit his keen, black eye steadily upon The officer of the guard shrugged his shoulders. his companion~gazing, as if he would peer into his And, with men like us, to be in each other's secrets, soul. At length he spoke, slowly and calmly
is to be in each other's power." “ Thou hast a yeoman in thy company of guards- The officer of the guard shrugged his shoulders still one Mark Huntley."
higher. Marry, yes.
A fine, stalwart fellow; he draws “Art thou resolved ?” inquired Father Francis, a bow like Robin Hood; and I would ill like to abide quietly. the brunt of his partisan. What of him ?”
“I am,” was the reply; “ Mark Huntley will not long The priest started up—his eye flashed—his nostril live to thwart thee.” dilated. Catching Wyckhamme's arm with his brown, “ 'Tis well,” muttered the priest ; " but the blow must zinewy hand, and clutching it convulsively, he said, be immediate." hoarsely, "Ruin him!”
" It shall fall to-morrow," said Wyckhamme; “ leave “Ruin him!” repeated the officer of the guards, the means to me. But I say, father, how dost thou somewhat surprised at this unexpected outburst. propose to get possession of the maiden, and when ?" “Ruin him! Marry, man, bethink ye; he is the flower To-night,” replied the monk, and his eye glistened, of my company."
“I am her father confessor." “I say, ruin him," cried the priest. “Thou art his Captain Wyckhamme smacked his lips. “A sweet officer, and there are a thousand ways. Plot-plot-60 | duty, by my faith, to listen to the fluttering thoughts
of youthful female hearts: I almost would I were supplied the rest. Here were the vast clustered pillars, a monk."
the echoing aisles, the groined and arched magnificence “Curses on thy licentious tongue,” exclaimed the of the roof, and over all a silence like the silence of the churchman in a voice of suppressed passion. “Listen dead; the intruder crossed her arms upon her bosom, -I have imposed on her a midnight solitary penance. for the place was chill; and the next moment Mabel At the dead hour of the night she is to kneel before Lorne knelt before the shrine of the Virgin. She had the shrine of the Virgin in the cathedral. I shall be hardly passed a minute in devotion when a heavy hand there."
was laid upon her shonlder : with a fluttering heart she " And attempt to carry her off? She will scream.” started to her feet, and beheld the face of Father Fran* There are gags.'
cis dimly seen close to hers. “She will fly."
“Father !" she exclaimed. “There are bonds, and secret keeping-places the “Daughter,” returned the priest, in a voice trembling world wots not of, at my disposal—while Mark with passionate eagerness, for he thought he had his Huntley"
victim in his clutch, “ thou must go with me;" and at “Is my part of the job. Priest, it is a well laid the same instant, before she could make a motion scheme; I think it may prosper.”
to prevent him, he slipped a kerchief prepared for the “ It must," answered the priest ; “but the sun hath purpose over the lower part of her face, and she was passed the meridian; is it not time thou wert on thy way unable to utter a sound. homeward ?"
Come, sweet one, come !" said Father Francis, in a Marry, you say true,” exclaimed the other, “and low, tremulous voice, as he attempted to seize her arm I will plot my share in the matter as I ride."
and waist. Surprise and despair, however, gave Mabel “Do so," said the priest," and farewell."
strength ; making a frantic effort, she freed herself from In five minutes Captain Wyckhamme, attended by the rude grasp, and fled. Uttering a muttered impretwo yeomen of his troop, was spurring down Ludgate cation, the priest pursued, but his flowing robes hinHill, on his way westward—while Father Francis, dered his progress. With a reeling head, and almost enveloped in his cowl, paced slowly and thoughtfully insensible of what she did, Mabel flew over the paveback to the cathedral. The people made way for him ment; she tried to make for the door, but her confusion reverently, and bowed low; the father bad the reputa- was too great to enable her to discover it; she heard tion of being rich in the odor of sanctity, and many the footsteps of the priest close to her, and fled, unwitcounted themselves happy in his “ Benedicite."
ting whither she went. The hours passed away, and it became night—a fair, “Ha! now I have thee,” panted the monk, as the calm, summer's night, in which the moon and stars fugitive appeared driven into a corner of the building, seemed striving to outshine each other. A deep hush and he made a plunge forward to grasp her. He was was upon London. The last of the crew of 'prentices, disappointed. A low-browed door stood open in the who had been whiling away the lengthened twilight by wall leading to a spiral stone staircase, and up it she a noisy game of football in Cheape, had been summoned flew like the wind. As Mabel put her foot upon the within doors by his vigilant master, and the streets first step-a loud clang rang through the cathedral—it were left to the occasional home-returning reveller, who was the first chime of twelve struck by the great clock. either paced along with tipsy gravity, or made the old Up-up-up-went pursuer and pursued. Fear gave houses ring with snatches of the drinking songs which unnatural swiftness to Mabel, and she rushed upwardsstill buzzed in his ears. The stately mass of old Paul's round and round the spiral staircase-as though her feet rose majestically above all humbler tenements, steeped felt not he stone steps. The priest was close behindin a flood of moonshine—its quaint carvings and scalp with clenched teeth and glaring eyes; maddened by tured pinnacles here standing out clear and palpable in passion and disappointment, he made desperate efforts the starry air, and there broken by broad masses of to overtake his victim, and sometimes Mabel heard his deep black shadow.
loud panting close behind her. Up they went, higher It was near the hour of midnight when the light and higher; the gyrations of the stairs seemed endless, figure of a woman closely mufiled in its draperies, and all the while the clock rang slowly out the iron glided cautiously and timidly along the quiet pave- chimes of midnight. The place was dark, but there ment, and tripped up the steps towards one of the side was nothing to impede one's progress; and here and entrances of the cathedral. The door of a chapelry, there bars of white moonlight, shining through loopfrom which admittance might be had into the main por- holes, checkered the gloom. Up! up! higher and tion of the building, was open. As she crossed the faster—but Mabel felt that her limbs were failing herthreshold the damp chill of the air, so different from she made one more effort-one frantic bound, and lo! the genial atinosphere without, made her pause. It she saw above her, in a space on which the moonbeams was but for a moment, and then she entered the cathe- fell, the complicated works of the great clock. She had dral. It was an awfully solemn place. No work no breath to raise an alarm which could be heard by of men's hands could be more grand; its shadowy vast- those below. She listened to the rapidly mounting ness seemed not of the earth. The eye could only footsteps of the priest, and her heart sunk within her. dimly trace its proportions by the gorgeously colored Just then the great iron hammer which struck the light admitted by the painted glass, and imagination hours, rang the last stroke of twelve upon the bell. A thought darted like lightning through Mabel's brain-- | walls of distant monasteries. And the smoke was beshe might make that iron tongue speak for her. Gliding ginning to rise from men's dwellings, in long spiral through the machinery, she mounted among its frame- columns into the clear morning air; and laboring peowork, and grasping the hammer with both hands, she ple were already afield, and now and then the fair strained every nerve and muscle of her wbite arm, and traveller caught a glimpse of the broad river, with slowly raising the ponderous weight, let it fall upon the green trees bending over its waters, and sedges upon bell, and lo! with a clang which rung through her very its banks, and swans floating upon its bosom. Everybrain—THE THIRTEENTH CHIME fell upon the sleeping city. thing looked calm, and bright, and happy. Mabel's eye Breathlessly was the priest preparing to seize her, when wandered over the grand panorama of hill, and dale, the iron peal for a moment arrested his hand. He looked and brake, and coppice, stretching out in all their up—there stood the gentle creature amid the throbbing green loveliness before her: and as the massive towers mechanism–her white hands convulsively clasping the of Windsor Castle rose over the rich expanse, her heart iron, and her face distorted with terror and fatigue. was so full, and yet so light, that she felt as if she The moonlight showed him all this, and showed him, could raise her voice and sing as merrily as the birds inoreover, the hammer again moving under the among the branches. maiden's grasp. The danger of his position imme- She would not, however, have so much enjoyed her diately flashed across him; he knew that there were ride, if she had known who was pressing in hot haste many within the chapels and cells attached to the after her. Father Francis, very much discomfited by cathedral, sleepless watchers of the hours--and he the bad success of his attempt, and not being altogefeared that the unusual number of chimes would attract ther easy about the consequences, had watched the immediate attention. Muttering a deep curse, he maiden more closely than she was aware of, and on her turned, and Mabel heard him hurrying down the setting out for Windsor--he had ascertained her desstaircase. Cautiously she followed, and on reach- tination through a groom--determined, although he ing the bottom, heard his voice communing with a hardly knew for what purpose, to follow the fugitive. brother inonk.
Suddenly recollecting, therefore, some ecclesiastical I am certain," said the latter, " that the clock struck business to be settled with the prior of a monastery thirteen."
near Datchet, the priest provided himself with a pac“So I deemed, Brother Peter,” replied the low tones ing mule an animal generally used by the churchmen of the monk; "and I have come forth to inquire how of the period, and the better breeds of which were litit could be so.”
tle inferior in powers of speed and endurance to the Cautiously keeping in the shadow, Mabel glided past horse -and was speedily ambling briskly along the che speakers; she saw the door opposite her, and flew great westert road. He saw the fair country around, towards it. As she ran, Father Francis caught a as though he saw it not, and only looking eagerly ahead glimpse of her retreating form, and made a wild ges- at every turn of the road, expecting momently to beture of rage and disappointment. The next moment hold the fair fugitive. But he was disappointed -Mabel was in the open air, and was soon locked and Mabel's palfrey carried her well, and when she drew bolted in her own little room. Sinking on the floor, rein at one of the postern gates of the Castle, the priest she cried bitterly, and then rising, she said, “ I have no was still a good mile behind. friends here—with the first blush of morning I will A yeoman of the guard was standing sentinel at the procure a good palfrey, and fare forth to Windsor. little nail-studded wicket, leaning upon his partisan, Mark must know all."
and whistling melodiously. To him she addressed herA bright breezy morning had succeeded the fair calm selfnight, and the sun was yet low in the horizon, when “You have a comrade named Mark Huntley," she Mabel Lorne, mounted upon a spirited palfrey, left be- said ; "fair sir, I would speak with him.” hind her the western outskirts of London, and pushed The soldier looked at her with some interest, stopped merrily on throngh green fields and hedges in the his whistling, and said hastily, “Are you Mabel Lorne, direction of Windsor. Sorely disquieted as she had fair mistress ?” been by the events of the past night, the jocund in- “That is my name,” said Mabel, blushingly. fluence of the fresh breath of morning, and the merry " Then, by St. George, I am sorry for thee," returned sunshine, the rapid motion through a fair country, he of the partisan. “ Mark Huntley was a good fellow, and, above all, the thought of meeting her lover, made and a true-and”. Mabel's cheeks bloom, and her eyes sparkle. She
66 Was !!" shrieked Mabel-was! He is not dead ?" caressed the glancing neck of the bounding animal “ Almost as good,” replied the sentinel; “his capwhich carried her, and the palfrey answered the touch tain hath accused him of sleeping on his watch, and of its mistress by a loud and joyful neigh, and pressed that thou knowest is death-death without redemption." merrily and speedily onward; and away they went, Mabel sunk upon the ground. The burly yeoman amid leafy hedgerows sparkling with dewdrops and cursed his own bluntness in blurting out at once the fields of rich rustling corn; and by clumps of gnarled | bad news. “But she'll soon have another mate," he old trees, and jungles of sprouting saplings; and an- muttered, as he stooped over and endeavored to revive tique, red brick-built old farmhouses; and manorial her; “by my sword bilt she is fair enough for the halls embosomed in ancestral trees; and the peaceful bride of a belted earl, let alone a poor yeoman."
“Bring me to him-bring me to him for pity's sake," knows it is a lie!" exclaimed Mark Huntley, with firmfaltered Mabel.
Nay, that may hardly be, pretty one," said the sol. “How, varlet!" ejaculated the king, “wouldst thou Hier. " He is under watch and ward; and by St. put thy word against the oath of a gentleman, and George, I think it be near the time when he will be thine officer ?” brought before the king."
“Yes,” said the prisoner, “marry that would I-I say “Let me at least see him," exclaimed Mabel; “per- he speaks falsely, and I have proof.” chance, soldier, there is some maiden who loves thee as "Proof ?" replied the king ; “God's my life—we will I do him, and who will one day plead on her bended hear proof, but it must be strong to bear down the knees for one last look at the man for whom her heart word of an approved loyal gentleman like Captain is breaking !"
Wyckhamme. What is this proof of thine, sirrah ?" "I will see what can be done,” said the honest yeo- * This, so please your majesty," said Mark Huntley. man.
“Last night I kept the middle watch on the Eastern He was as good as his word—for summoning some tower. The air was still and calm, except that now of his comrades, with whom Mark Huntley had been a and then a gentle breath came from the direction of general favorite, be spoke apart to them; and in a few London. As I mused, I thought I heard a low, faint, minutes Mabel found herself smuggled into a lofty very faint clang, as of a bell. I listened, and heard it arched hall, with deep gothic moulded windows, and again and again—the light breeze bore it still fresher furnished with ponderous oaken settles. Her friends upon mine ear--it was the great hell of St. Paul's strikthe yeomen, kept her in the midst of their group, en- ing midnight-and, as I am a true man, the clock rung joining upon her the necessity of preserving a perfect thirteen chimes !” silence. Hardly had she looked around her, and A woman's scream, loud and thrilling, rung through noted a large, unoccupied chair, covered with crimson the hall, and Mabel, bursting fro.n the yeomen, by cloth, upon the dais at the upper end of the hall, whom she was surrounded, sprung forward, and throwwhen a priest, closely cowled, glided in, and took his ing herself at Heury's feet, shrieked rather than station in a corner of the place. She saw not his face, spokebut she felt that the priest was Father Francis. All at “ It is true—it is true—these hands did it-these once, the groups of officers and knights, who were bands rung the thirteenth chime. He is innocentsauntering, gossiping, and laughing through the hall, justice, my liege, I demand justice !" became silent, and placed themselves round the unoccu- "God's life, sweetheart, this is a strange matter," repied chair—there was a moinent's pause and a portly plied Henry; “but l'ise, thou shalt have justice-tliy inan, with a broad, stern face, decorated with a king promises it.” peaked beard, walked into the hall. His doublet was " It was a plot-a base plot for his death and my richly adorned, and at his belt he carried a short dishonor," exclaimed Mabel; “but God hath overponiard.
thrown it. Look at his accuser, sire-look, he changes This was King Henry VIII.
color, he trembles-he is the guilty one, not Mark.” Throwing himself carelessly into the chair prepared Henry arose and bent his keen eye upon Captain for him, he said, in a deep, stern voice, “Bring forth Wyckhamine. “But how camest thou to ring the thirthe prisoner, and let bis accuser likewise appear.” teenth chime, woman ?” he asked.
There was a short bustle-a heavy door creaked upon “I will tell thee," said Mabel, eagerly. its hinges, and Mabel's heart swelled within her, and her | lured at midnight into the cathedral; violence was limbs trembled, as she saw Mark Huntley, bound, led offered to me even at the shrine of the Virgin; I filed before the king. But a second look partly re-assured into the belfry, and there caused the thirteenth chime her. His cheek was pale ; but there was in the firm- to sound for the purpose of raising an alarm. I did it ness of his step, and the proud glance of his eye, the to save myself-lo! it hath saved my lover." mighty strength of conscious innocence. Opposite to “Who pursued thee thither ?" asked the king. him stood Captain Wyckhamme-his eye bloodshot, and “A priest,” replied Mabel, “and he is here." his hand trembling; and many who carefully scanned Henry looked quickly around; his eye fell upon the the countenance of the two, turned to each other, and sombre figure of the monk, and he exclaidied, “Let the whispered that the accuser looked more guilty than the priest stand forward." accused.
The robed figure advanced, and then remained mo“Captain Wyckhamme,” said Henry, “this man was tionless. found asleep upon his post ?"
“Throw back thy cowl,” said the king. “I deeply grieve to say it, my liege," answered Cap- The priest moved not, but an officious yeoman tain Wyckhamme, bowing low, “but such is the fact. twitched it aside, and discovered the features of Father On going my rounds last night, shortly after midnight, Francis. I surprised him in a most sound sleep, and for this I “It is he!" exclaimed Mabel. vouch, so help me God!"
Henry looked from the churchman to his captain of “Prisoner, what sayest thou to the charge ?" de- the guards. The face of the former was of a deadly manded Henry.
pallid hue, and his lips convulsively compressed, but “That it is a foul lie, and that he who makes it he manifested no further emotion. It was different
“ I was