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treachery you would punish. Know that I had this day secret notice, and from Cromwell himself, that the young man has escaped by sea from Bristol."
“ Now, God Almighty be blessed, who protected him through so many dangers !" exclaimed Wildrake.—“Huzza !-Up hearts, cavaliers ! Hey for cavaliers !-God bless King Charles ! -Moon and stars, catch my bat!"--and he threw it up as high as he could into the air. The celestial bodies which he invoked did not receive the present dispatched to them; but, as in the case of Sir Henry Lee's scabbard, an old gnarled oak became a second time the receptacle of a waif and stray of loyal enthusiasm. Wildrake looked rather foolish at the circumstance, and his friend took the opportunity of admonishing him.
“ Art thou not ashamed to bear thee so like a school-boy ?”
Why,” said Wildrake, “ I have but sent a Puritan's hat upon a loyal errand. I laugh to think how many of the schoolboys thou talk’st of will be cheated into climbing the pollard next
year, expecting to find the nest of some unknown bird in yonder unmeasured margin of felt."
“ Hush now, for God's sake, and let us speak calmly,” said Everard.
“ Charles has escaped, and I am glad of it. I would willingly have seen him on his father's throne by composition, but not by the force of the Scottish army, and the incensed and vengeful royalists
“ Master Markham Everard," began the cavalier, interrupting him
“ Nay, hush, dear Wildrake," said Everard; “ let us not dispute a point on which we cannot agree, and give me leave to go on.—I say, since the young man has escaped, Cromwell's offensive and injurious stipulation falls to the ground; and I see not why my uncle and his family should not again enter their own house, under the same terms of connivance as many other royalists. What may be incumbent on me is different, nor can I determine my course until I have an interview with the General, which, as I think, will end in his confessing that he threw in this offensive proposal to sound us both. It is much in his
manner ; for he is blunt, and never sees or feels the punctilious honour which the gallants of the day stretch to such delicacy.”
“ I'll acquit him for having any punctilio about him," said Wildrake, “ either touching honour or honesty.-Now, to come back to where we started.-Supposing you were not to reside in person at the Lodge, and to forbear even visiting there, unless on invitation, when such a thing can be brought about, I tell you frankly, I think your uncle and his daughter might be induced to come back to the Lodge, and reside there as usual. At least the clergyman, that worthy old cock, gave me to hope as much.”
“ He had been hasty in bestowing his confidence," said Everard.
" True," replied Wildrake; “ he confided in in me at once ; for he instantly saw my regard for the church. I thank Heaven I never passed a clergyman in his canonicals without pulling my hat off-(and thou knowest, the most desperate duel I ever fought was with young Grayless of the Inner Temple, for taking the wall of the Reverend Dr Bunce.)-Ah, I can gain a chaplain's ear in
stantly.-Gadzooks, they know whom they have to trust to in such a one as I."
“ Dost thou think then,” said Colonel Eve. rard, “or rather does this clergyman think, that if they were secure of intrusion from me, the family, would return to the Lodge, supposing the intruding Commissioners gone, and this nocturnal disturbance explained and ended ?”
“The old Knight," answered Wildrake, “may be wrought upon by the Doctor to return, if he is secure against intrusion. As for disturbances, the stout old boy, so far as I can learn in two minutes' conversation, laughs at all this turmoil as the work of mere imagination, the consequence of the remorse of their own evil consciences; and
says, that goblin or devil was never heard of at Woodstock, until it became the residence of such men as they, who have now usurped the possession."
“ There is more than imagination in it," said Everard. “I have personal reason to know there is some conspiracy carrying on, to render the house untenantable by the Commissioners. I acquit my uncle of accession to such a silly trick;
but I must see it ended ere I can agree to his and my cousin's residing where such a confederacy exists; for they are likely to be considered as the contrivers of such pranks, be the actual agent who he may."
“ With reverence to your better acquaintance with the gentleman, Everard, I should rather suspect the old father of Puritans (I beg your pardon again) has something to do with the business; and if so, Lucifer will never look near the true old Knight's beard, nor abide a glance of yonder maiden's innocent blue eyes. I will uphold them as safe as pure gold in a miser's chest.”
“ Sawest thou aught thyself, which makes thee think thus ?"
“ Not a quill of the devil's pinion saw I,” replied Wildrake. “He supposes himself too secure of an old cavalier, who must steal, hang, or drown in the long run, so he gives himself no trouble to look after the assured booty. But I heard the serving-fellows prate of what they had seen and heard; and though their tales were confused enough, yet if there was any truth among them