Page images
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

the usurper

nion, that Markham Everard miglit be misled, but could not be base or selfish.”

“ And what has changed your opinion, Alice ? or who dare," said Everard, reddening, “ attach such epithets to the name of Markham Everard ?"

“ I am no subject,” she said, “ for exercising your valour, Colonel Everard, nor do I mean to offend. But you will find enough of others who will avow, that Colonel Everard is truckling to Cromwell, and that all his fair

pretexts of forwarding his country's liberties, are but a screen for driving a bargain with the successful encroacher, and obtaining the best terms he can for himself and his family.”

“For myself—Never !"

“ But for your family you have-Yes, I am well assured that you have pointed out to the military tyrant, the way in which he and his satraps may master the government. Do

you
think

my father or I would accept an asylum purchased at the price of England's liberty, and your ho

nour?"

“ Gracious Heaven, Alice, what is this ? you accuse me of pursuing the very course which so lately had your approbation !"

“When you spoke with authority of your father, and recommended our submission to the existing government, such as it was, I own I thought -that my father's grey head might, without dishonour, have remained under the roof where it had so long been sheltered. But did your father sanction your becoming the adviser of yonder ambitious soldier to a new course of innovation, and his abettor in the establishment of a new species of tyranny ?-It is one thing to submit to oppression, another to be the agent of tyrants—And 0, Markham-their blood-hound !"

“ How ! blood-hound ?-what mean you ?-I own it is true I could see with content the wounds of this bleeding country stanched, even at the expense of beholding Cromwell, after his matchless rise, take a yet farther step to power—but to be his blood-hound! What is your meaning ?"

“ It is false, then ?-I thought I could swear it had been false."

What, in the name of God, is it you

ask ?" It is false that you are engaged to betray the young King of Scotland?”

Betray him! I betray him, or any fugitive? Never! I would he were well out of England-I would lend him my aid to escape, were he in the house at this instant; and think I did his enemies good service, by preventing their soiling themselves with his blood-but betray him, never !"

“ I knew it-I was sure it was impossible. Ol, be yet more honest; disengage yourself from yonder gloomy and ambitious soldier ! Shun him and his schemes, which are formed in injustice, and can only be realized in yet more blood.”

“ Believe me,” replied Everard, “ that I choose the line of policy best befitting the times.”

“ Choose that,” she said, “ which best befits duty, Markham--which best befits truth and honour. Do your duty, and let Providence decide the rest.-Farewell! we tempt my father's patience too far-you know his temper-farewell, Markham."

She extended her hand, which he pressed to his lips, and left the apartroent. A silent bow to his

uncle, and a sign to Wildrake, whom he found in the kitchen of the cabin, were the only tokens of recognition exhibited, and leaving the hut, he was soon mounted, and, with his companion, advanced on his return to the Lodge.

CHAPTER II.

Deeds are done on earth,
Which have their punishment ere the earth closes
Upon the perpetrators. Be it the working
Of the remorse-stirr'd fancy, or the vision,
Distinct and real, of unearthly being,
All ages witness, that beside the couch
Of the fell homicide oft stalks the ghost
Of him he slew, and shows the shadowy wound.

Old Play.

EVERARD had come to Joceline's Lodge as fast as horse could bear him, and with the same impetuosity of purpose as of speed. He saw no choice in the course to be pursued, and felt in his own imagination the strongest right to direct, and even reprove, his cousin, beloved as she was, on account of the dangerous machinations with which she appeared to have connected herself. He returned slowly, and in a very different mood.

Not only had Alice, prudent as beautiful, appeared completely free from the weakness of conduct which seemed to give him some authority over her, but her views of policy, if less practi

« PreviousContinue »