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and blood-thirsty Papists, together with the history of the dissolute amours of old Norman monarchs, as little better than a bowing down before the calves of Bethel, and a drinking of the cup of abominations. We return to the course of our story.
“ There is,” said the Independent Tomkins, after he had carefully perused the front of the building, “ many a rare monument of olden wickedness about this miscalled Royal Lodge ; verily, I shall rejoice much to see the same destroyed, yea, burned to ashes, and the ashes thrown into the brook Kedron, or any other brook, that the land may be cleansed from the memory thereof, neither remember the iniquity with which their fathers have sinned.”
The keeper heard him with secret indignation, and be. gan to consider with himself, whether, as they stood but one to one, and without chance of speedy interference, he was not called upon, by his official duty, to castigate the rebel who used language so defamatory. But he fortunately recollected, that the strife must be a doubtful one that the advantage of arms was against him and that, in especial, even if he should succeed in the combat, it would be at the risk of severe retaliation. It must be owned, too, that there was something about the Independent so dark and mysterious, so grim and grave, that the more open spirit of the keeper felt oppressed, and, if not overawed, at least kept in doubt concerning him; and he thought it wisest, as well as safest, for his master and himself, to avoid all subjects of dispute, and know better with whom he was dealing, before he made either friend or enemy of him.
The great gate of the Lodge was strongly bolted, but the wicket opened on Joceline's raising the latch. There was a short passage of ten feet, which had been formerly closed by a portcullis at the inner end, while three loop. holes opened on either side, through which any daring in. truder might be annoyed, who, having surprised the first gate, must be thus exposed to a severe fire before he could force the second. But the machinery of the port. cullis was damaged, and it now remained a fixture, brand. ishing its jaw, well furnished with iron fangs, but incapa. ble of dropping it across the path of invasion.
The way, therefore, lay open to the great hall, or outer vestibule of the Lodge. One end of this long and dusky apartment was entirely occupied by a gallery, which had in ancient times served to accommodate the musicians and minstrels. There was a clumsy stair-case at either side of it, composed of entire logs of a foot square ; and in each angle of the ascent was placed, by way of sentinel, the figure of a Norman foot-soldier, having an open casque on his head, which displayed features as stern as the painter's genius could devise. Their arms were buff-jackets, or shirts of mail, round hucklers, with spikes in the centre, and buskins, which adorned and defended the feet and ancles, but left the knees bare. These wooden warders held great swords, or maces, in their hands, like military guards on duty. Many an empty hook and brace, along the walls of the gloomy apartment, marked the spots from which arms, long preserved as trophies, had been, in the pressure of the war, once more taken down to do service in the field, like veter ns whom extremity of danger recals to battle. On other rusty fastenings were still displayed the hunting trophies of the monarchs to whom the Lodge belonged, and of the sylvan knights to whose care it had been from time to time confided.
At the nether end of the hall, a huge, heavy, stonewrought chimney-piece, projected itself ten feet from the wall, adorned with many a cypher, and many a scutcheon of the Royal House of England. In its present state, it yawned like the arched mouth of a funeral vault, or perhaps might be compared to the crater of an extinguished volcano. But the sable complexion of the massive stonework, and all around it, showed that the time had been when it sent its huge fires blazing up the huge chimney, besides puffing many a volume of smoke over the heads of the jovial guests, whose royalty or nobility did not render them sensitive enough to quarrel with such slight inconvenience. On these occasions, it was the tradition of the house, that two cart-loads of wood was the regular allowance for the fire between noon and curfew, and the andirons, or dogs, as they were termed, constructed for retaining the blazing fire-wood on the hearth, were wrought in the shape of lions of such gigantic size, as might well warrant the legend. There were long seats of stone within the chimney, where, in despite of the tremendous heat, monarchs were sometimes said to have taken their station, and amused themselves with broiling the umbles, or dowsets, of the deer, upon the glowing embers, with their own royal hands. Tradition was here also ready with her record, to show what merry gibes, such as might be exchanged between prince and peer, had flown about at the merry banquet which followed the Michaelmas hunt. She could tell too, exactly, where King Stephen sat when he darned his own princely hose, and of the odd tricks he had put upon little Winkin, the tailor of Woodstock.
Most of this rude revelry belonged to the Plantagenet times. When the house of Tudor acceded to the throne,
they were more chary of their royal presence, and feasted - in halls and chambers far within, abandoning the outmost
hall to the yeomen of the guard, who mounted their watch there, and passed away the night with wassail and mirth, exchanged sometimes for frightful tales of apparitions and sorceries, which made some of those grow pale, in whose ears the trumpet of a French foeman would have sounded as jollily as a summons to the woodland chase.
Joceline pointed out the peculiarities of the place to his gloomy companion more briefly than we have detailed them to the reader. The Independent seemed to listen with some interest at first, but, Ainging it suddenly aside, he said, in a solemn tone, “ Perish Babylon, as thy master Nebuchadnezzar hath perished! He is a wanderer, and thou shalt be a waste place-yea, and a wilderness-yea, a desert of salt, in which there shall be thirst and famine.”
“There is like to be enough of both to-night," said Joceline, “unless the good knight's larder be somewhat fuller than it is wont.”
" We must care for the creature-comforts," said the Independent, “but in due season, when our duties are done. -Whither lead these entrances ?”
" That to the right,” replied the keeper, “ leads to what are called the state-apartments, not used since the year
sixteen hundred and thirty-nine, when his blessed Majes
“How, sir," interrupted the Independent, in a voice of thunder, “ doest thou speak of Charles Stuart as blessing, or blessed ?-beware the proclamation to that effect.”
“I meant no harm," answered the keeper, suppressing his disposition to make a harsher reply. “My business is with bolts and bucks, not with titles and state affairs. But yet, whatever may have happed since, that poor King was followed with blessings enough from Woodstock, for he left a glove full of broad pieces for the poor of the place ”
« Peace, friend," said the Independent; “ I will think thee else one of those besotted and blinded Papists, who hold, that bestowing of alms is an atonement and washing away of the wrongs and oppressions which have been wrought by the alms-giver. Thou sayest, then, these were the apartments of Charles Stuart ?”
" And of his father, James, before him, and Elizabeth before him, and bluff king Henry, who builded that wing, before them all.”
“And there, I suppose, the knight and his daughter dwelt ?”
“No,” replied Joceline; “Sir Henry Lee had too much reverence for-for things which are now thought worth no reverence at all-Besides, the state-rooms are unaired, and in indifferent order, since of late years. The Knight Ranger's apartment lies by that passage to the left.”
“ And whither goes yonder stair which seems both to lead upwards and downwards ?”
"Upwards," replied the keeper," it leads to many apart. ments, used for various purposes, of sleeping, and other accommodation. Downwards to the kitchen, offices, and vaults of the castle, which, at this time of the evening, you cannot see without lights.”
“ We will to the apartments of your knight, then," said the Independent. “Is there fitting accommodation there?”
“Such as has served a person of condition, whose lodging is now worse appointed,” answered the honest keeper, his bile rising so fast that he added, in a muttering and inaudible tone, “so it may well serve a crop-eared knave like thee."
He acted as the usher, however, and led on towards the ranger's apartments.
This suite opened by a short passage from the hall, secured at time of need by two oaken doors, which could be fastened by large bars of the same, that were drawn out of the wall, and entered into square holes contrived for their reception on the other side of the portal. At the end of this passage, a small ante-room received them, into which opened the sitting apartment of the good knight—which, in the style of the times, might have been termed a fair summer parlour, lighted by two oriel windows, so placed as to command each of them a separate avenue, leading distant and deep down into the forest. The principal ornament of the apartment, besides two or three family portraits of less interest, was a tall full-length picture, which hung above the chimney-piece, which, like that in the hall, was of heavy stone-work, ornamented with carved scutcheons, emblazoned with various devices. The portrait was that of a man about fifty years of age, in complete plate armour, and painted in the harsh and dry manner of Holbein-probably, indeed, the work of that artist, as the dates corresponded. The formal and marked angles, points, and projections of the armour, were a good subject for the harsh pencil of that early school. The face of the knight was, from the fading of the colours, pale and dim, like that of some being from the other world, yet the lines expressed forcibly pride and exultation. He pointed with his leading-staff or truncheon to the back ground, where, in such perspective as the artist possessed, were depicted the remains of a burning church, or monastery, and four or five soldiers, in red cassocks, bearing away in triumph what seemed a brazen font or laver. Above their heads might be traced in scroll,“ Lee Victor sic voluit.” Right opposite to the picture hung, in a niche in the wall, a complete set of tilting armour, the black and gold colours, and ornaments of which, exactly corresponded with those ex. hibited in the portrait.
The picture was one of those which, from something marked in the features and expression, attract the observation even of those who are ignorant of art. The Inde