Immagini della pagina



[ocr errors]

One, however, their leader, was differently occupied. sumed their ascendancy, and amid fast-falling tears she “Li rois, ki mult fu travaille

whispered some words to the abbot. La nuit se est reposé;

My son,” said he, “if the prayers and intercessions Par matin se est levé,

of those who owe their worldly well-being to thy bounty Sa messe oïr est alé,

may avail thee, rest assured that the voice of supplicaAssez près à un mostere

tion will not be silent here whilst thou art engaged Son chapelain fist chanter.”

in thy perilous strife. But the issue rests not with us. While thus piously engaged, the cry came

Suffer then, my son, two brothers of our house to follow

thee to the field : it may be that their ministry may be “Le dux sur nus viènt armé."

blessed to some good end." Without an instant's delay, Harold armed himself, and “As you please, reverend father; but I pray you, whilst engaged in this occupation, his mother Githa came delay me not.” to him with the unaccustomed request, that he would So, accompanied by the two monks, Osegood Cnoppe not adventure his person in the battle. Much surprised, and Ailric de Childemaister, Harold eagerly hied him -for never before had his mother's fears stood in the to the fight. way of his military arrangements,-he looked for some In the immediate preparation for the battle, William's explanation of her motives, but heard only an earnest presence of mind averted an omen which might have renewal of the request. She pressed him most vehe- had a paralyzing effect on the exertions of his superstimently, but in vain; she besought him with a passion tious followers. In putting his hauberk over his head, of tears to accord her boon : disturbed, but no way he inadvertently turned the wrong part to the front, but shaken, he turned away.

quickly altered it; not, however, till he had seen the “ Nay, my son,” said the abbot, “this must not be ; countenances of those around him overcast. for what saith holy writ?— Despise not the tears of thy

“« I commend myself,' said he, “to our Lady. Let mother.''

not this mischance trouble you. The hauberk which “ Far be it from me, reverend father," returned Harold, was turned wrong, and then set right by me, signifies "to do aught unbecoming to me as a knight and a

that a change will arise out of the matter we are now Christian man; but in this I may not choose but lead moving. You shall see the name of Duke changed into to the battle."

King. Yea, a King shall I be, who hitherto have been “Oh! go not, my son,” interrupted his mother; “ but Duke.' not, I beseech thee. Full well do I know that it will be " Then he crossed himself, and straightway took his a disastrous day for thee, if thou leadest to the combat. hauberk, stooped his head, and put it on aright; and Let thy brothers,-let the strong-armed Garth, the faith laced his helmet and girt his sword, which a varlet ful Leowine, lead the force, and so shall success attend brought him.” our prayers, and the haughty Norman be quelled.”

And it is said that he hung beneath his armour cer"Madam,-our mother, fain would we pleasure you in tain of the relics on which Harold had sworn allegiance this matter, but it may not be. What !” exclaimed to him. he, vehemently, "shall it be said that IlAROLD shrank The Normans had fine cavalry, of which the English from the encounter like a base-born churl?"

were destitute: their archers also did much execution. “From no encounter where thy honour calls thee The duke drew up his army in three lines : in the first would thy mother's voice dissuade thee; but this —" were the light-armed foot, the archers, and slingers, clad “ And this?"

in short coats ; in the second, the heavier foot, who were “ THY OATH !”1

defended by coats of mail; and in the third, the cavalry. In a moment the colour and excitement which had Here rode he himself on a magnificent white charger, hitherto lighted up the countenance of Harold forsook with a baton in his hand; and here was unfurled the it: his lips became ashy white, and a tremor shook his sacred banner which had been blessed by the pope, and frame. He quickly subdued it, however.

was sent to William as a gift from his holiness. It My mother, that oath was obtained by fraud, my was of scarlet silk, and bore a cross embroidered in heart not consenting the while; such a vow bindeth not silver. the conscience."

The English were drawn up in one impenetrable His mother mournfully shook her head.

wedge. They carried axes, spears, bills, clubs, swords, Nay, holy father, I appeal to you whether I am not and triangular shields. They wore close, short hauberks, free in this matter?"

and rude helmets, which defended the neck, hanging The abbot preserved an ominous silence, and Harold over their garments. The men of Kent were placed in was evidently disconcerted. At this moment, however, the front, their “privilege” to this honour being fully an exciting sound pierced the walls of the chapel,

understood and allowed. The Londoners were placed the arrival, as it might be, of tidings of import, and the next in the roll of dignity, their right being to guard clamour of eager voices. In an instant the king forgot the king's person and defend his standard. his mother's tears, the abbot's warning, his own mis- On a gently rising ground stood Harold on foot with givings. His eye flashed as he suspended round his his two brothers, and close to his standard, which neck his huge two-handed sword.

represented an armed man, and was wrought in gold "The people have risen around me on every side: and jewels so magnificently that William thought it they have followed me from York; the Londoners up worthy to be an offering to the pope, to whom, after hold my standard, and the men of Kent crowd to the his conquest, he forwarded it. van-never shall it be said that their leader quailed in The signal for the onset was given, and the Normans the hour of danger. Foremost shall my sword flash in rushed forward to the charge, their minstrels chanting the fight. So help me God and the holy saints !". and the host joining in the burden of their inspiring

Borne away by the king's enthusiasm, bis friends no war-song-the“ Song of Roland.” longer sought to thwart his determination; and, despite Not the strains of the Marseillaise Hymn to the her tears and forebodings, the Lady Githa's eye kindled misguided French revolutionists, - not the spirit-stirring with admiration as she looked on the magnificent bear- tones of See the conquering Hero comes, during the ing of her son. But ere long her maternal fears re- first enthusiastic ovations to Him of Waterloo,-not the

majestic sounds of God save the King to the “Church (1) The tearful dissuasives of Harold's mother are named in

and King" Pittite of good King George III.'s days, some old book, and Master Wace, in the Roman de Rou, makes nay, nor even the soul-exciting strain of Over the Garth earnestly dissuade his brother, the king, from personal com- water to the enthusiastic Jacobite of the last cenbat, because of his previous oath to William. On this oath, with others, see Sharpe's Lond. Mag. vol. iii. p. 45 –“ Some Ancient tury-could excite anything like the intensity of enthuCustoms of England.”

siasm which is ascribed to the influence of the “Song

[ocr errors]

and woe.

of Roland" over the Norman and French hosts for Then William ordered his standard to be erected,

1' many centuries succeeding the death of this redoubtable and there, in the midst of the dead, he had his tent Paladin. Nay, even to this day tradition lingers round raised and his supper prepared. "And he ate and the spot where he fell: a flower of the district is called drank amongst the dead, and made his bed that night the “Casque de Roland;" the stroke of his sword is upon the field.” still exhibited upon the mountains; and the memory Sad was the scene that Sabbath morning when the of the hero is still embalmed in a thousand shapes. noblest matrons and fairest maidens of the land—when

In valour, in wisdom, in prudence, in earnest reli- widowed mothers and bereaved children crowded the gious zeal, in capacious intellect (far before his age), gory heath, seeking, amid heaps of the wounded, the in beneficence, and in good government, perhaps Charles dying, and the dead, for the disfigured corpse of a the Great comes only second, if second, to our own loved and lost one, to be borne away for Christian revered Alfred. But while the English monarch's sepulture—the last holy tribute of surviving affection ! actions are recorded only by the matter-of-fact historian, Truly, then, was the beauty of the Lord's Day disor, perhaps, to speak more accurately, by the historian figured by a ghastly scene of strife and carnage, -of who meant to be matter-of-fact, Charlemagne's are en ruthless cruelty and murder; sadly was its holiness veloped in a maze of wonderment by the thousand interrupted by a mingled cry-not of humility and fabulists who have clothed his deeds in all the deceitful thanksgiving, of humble hope and penitential prayer, hues of romance. And it is well to be supposed that but of a loud and discordant sacrifice, piercing to the they have rather disfigured than adorned the noble very arch of heaven, wherein were distinguished no character which needed not "the meretricious aid of sounds but those of lam tation, and mourning, , ornament.”

However, he and his Paladins have formed the theme As William was engaged in his tent, dispensing comfor a cycle of romances hardly less extensive than those mands and instructions to his followers, he was told which immortalize the prowess of our British King that two monks of the Abbey of Waltham craved an Arthur and the Knights of his “table ronde."

audience; he ordered them to be admitted, and 0:egood One of the most distinguished of these Paladins was Cnoppe and Ailric de Childemaister were brought before Roland, the nephew of Charlemagne, and the hero of him. Ariosto's celebrated romance; and the sad and prema- “Now, sirs," said William sternly, for he never loved ture death of this brave knight by the blackest treachery an English ecclesiastic, what would you ?" at Roncesvalles wove a halo of interest around him,

“ Permission to search for and bear away the corpse which his own virtues and valour, distinguished as of our king.” they were, would hardly have obtained. His name and "Your king! By the splendour of heaven, but ye memory were embalmed in strains which formed the are bold men to name your forsworn usurper to me, his war-cry of his countrymen for ages after his dust was liege lord ! Begone!" mingled with that of his native earth.

With gushing tears and dejected mien one of the “And thus of Roland's deeds they sung,

monks was turning away in obedience to the mandate, And Norman shouts responsive rung,

but the other seemed to gain energy even from the

uncourteous treatment he received. when William the Bastard hearkened on his followers “Lord of Normandy,” said Ailric, "lIeaven bath to slaughter and to victory on the bloody field of given thee the victory, but beware that ye abuse not its Hastings.

bounties. Such hap may not always be thine; be thou From nine in the morning until sunset did the battle therefore merciful, even as thou hopest for mercy in continue with unabated vigour, and then William had thine own hour of peril. Insult not a fallen foe.” gained no advantage. Harold stood with his mighty “By the mass, monk, but thou speakest boldly! What phalanx, firm as a rock, and as impenetrable. “William wouldst thou ?" was in fact beaten." But stratagem achieved what “ Justice !--nought do we seek at thy hands but jusvalour could not effect. The Normans gave way; the tice. According to the laws of warfare the body of the English were deceived by the ruse ; they eagerly and Lord Ilarold is thine ; we come to ransom it." rashly pursued, and the invincible line was broken. “Ha!" exclaimed the king, who was avaricious in The error was perceived not till it was too late to the extreme, “what offer yo?" retrieve it.

“ The weight of the body in virgin gold.” A chance arrow, shot upwards, struck Harold above “ By all the saints ! but that is more than a king's his right eye, and put it out. He drew out the arrow, ransom ; the Aves and Paternosters of thy abbey must and threw it away, and in his agony he stooped and he rated highly, monk, since they yield such golden Icaned upon his shield. Great was the dismay of the profits.” English when the tall form of their heroic leader was "Insult not Holy Church through us, even though scen to bend.

we be the meanest of her ministers," said Ailric sternly; "Loud was now the clamour, and great the slaughter ; " nevertheless, though we might well lay down all the many a soul then quitted the body it inhabited. The little wealth of our abbey for him to whose piety we owe living marched over the heaps of dead, and each side its existence, still know that not one cross of this ransom was weary of striking. He charged on who could, and is offered by us.” he who could no longer strike still pushed forward. By whom, then ?" The strong struggled with the strong ; some failed, “ By the broken-hearted mother whom thy ambition others triumphed; the cowards fell back, the brave has rendered childless ;-by the noble Lady Githa !" pressed on; and sad was his fate who fell in the midst, There was a sudden pause : the countenances of those for he had little chance of rising again; and many in around had, from the first, evinced rerret and disappro- ! truth fell who never rose at all, being crushed under the bation of the duke's harshness; but now lie was himself throng."

struck. His voice was still harsh, but oh! how different At length the Normans reached the standard where in its tones. Harold, though still in agony, had resumed his erect "Go! get ye gone: do what ye list." bearing and was fighting desperately. His brothers " And the ransom, Seigneur ?" had both fallen, he himself was bleeding profusely from "Speak not of it,” said he, turning hastilġ away: various wounds, when lo! a momentary and last gleam | "get ye gone !" of light flashes on an uplifted Norman sword, but dies Thus authorized, the monks procceded to their melanaway even before the sudden stroke has borne down choly search, but it was in vain. For long and weary beneath it the noble and ill-fated Saxon king.

hours did they pace the scene of the recent carnage, Thus, at the eleventh hour, was the victory won. peering anxiously amid the heaps of slain for sume

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

token of him they sought. Often did their very souls from reverential regard, though without any definite Bicken within them as they shudderingly turned over purpose, he had borne away the body from the undisdisfigured corpses, which even already gave loathsome tinguished throng. After Édith had thrown herself on symptoms of corruption, or more horrible tokens that the ground, she gasped two or three times convulsively, the ghoule of the animal creation had already scented but now lay motionless, as the monks supposed, in a its prey. But worse,-far worse than all this, was it to swoon. They raised her gently, but her heart was meet with some wretched sufferer who still breathed, or broken. Edith of the Swan's neck was dead ! some who had even power to murmur his misery, and The harassed monks were now distressed indeed, and yet be compelled to refuse him aid, lest in that precious hardly knew what course to pursue : at length, however, moment some unauthorized hand should bear away their having with difficulty gained some assistance, they preking. How often in this weary quest did the good men pared to bear away the body of the unfortunate Editha, dash the blinding tears from their eyes, and groan as if committing the charge of the king—as they felt they their very hearts were rent with the sight and sound of safely might-to him who had so piously protected it, the misery around them.

until they could return with further aid. Having careBut it was in vain,-all in vain ; and almost in despair fully marked the spot, with heavy hearts they departed. the monks beheld the sun already past the meridian, Shortly afterwards the franklein left in charge of the and yet they had been unable to recognise the object of king, stooped over him to re-arrange some portion of their search.

his attire which was disordered, but whilst so engaged "It is hopeless, brother,-it is hopeless; and yet to suddenly started to his feet with an exclamation of relinquish our mission

amazement. Again he stooped down, and placed his “Must not be thought of,” interrupted Ailric ; "but hand over the heart of the king. No-it was not fancy I have bethought me of a plan,--what if we were to -there was a pulsation there—feeble indeed, as the bring hither the Lady Editha ?"

faintest summer's breath which hardly stirs the gossa“ Impossible," said Osegood. “It is no scene for a mer, but still perceptible. The worthy Saxon raised the gentle heart."

king, chafed his hands, his temples;-the signs of aniAnd think you," rejoined Ailric," that the mourners mation became indisputable. who have been hovering around us all day in quest of When the monks returned to the spot, which they slaughtered relatives have not hearts as kind and feel. accurately remembered, the body of the king had been ings as tender as her of the Swan's Neck, though they be removed, and all further search proved vain. not robed in silk and minever ! Affection is of no rank, brother, nor does firmness of mind inhabit only the rudely built frame; and if I read the Lady Editha's character aright, she would dare even this fearful scene rather than her loved lord and husband should lack a holy grave. Shall we to her ?" Yes : : you are in the right, I doubt not."

FRANK FAIRLEGH ; The beautiful Lady Eddeva, or Editha, called, from her fairness and surpassing dignity, Swanescombe, or

OR, OLD COMPANIONS IN NEW SCENAS.' Swan-necked, was the second wife of Harold,' and was devotedly attached to him. At once, and without a moment's hesitation, though well-nigh convulsed with grief, she folded her veil more closely around her, and

CHAP. XIV. accompanied the monks to the field of strife. For some time she paced it firmly, resolutely; and swallowing, her tears, cast kcen and searching glances around. But It had been arranged between my mother and Oakshortly her strength and spirit seemed to fail, and she lands, in the earlier part of the evening on which the was compelled to lean on one of the monks. Still they events described in the last chapter took place, that proceeded, but slower and more slowly, till at length, Fanny should have her first ride on the day but one sick at heart, and almost hopeless, it was only by the strenuous support of both the holy men that she could following, by which time it was supposed that the habit be got forward at all. Feeling that she sank more and would be fit for service, and the young lady's mind more, that every moment her weight on their arms was sufficiently familiarized with the idea, to overcome a increasing, they endeavoured to draw her aside from rather (as I considered) unnecessary degree of alarm, the thick of the slaughter, and turned into a little glade which I believe would have led her, had she been beneath the hollow of a hill

, meaning to lay her there allowed to decide for herself, to relinquish it altogether. for a few moments till the deathlike sickness which was visible in her countenance should have passed away.

The only stipulation my mother insisted on was, that Forgetful at this moment of every thing but their fair I should accompany my sister in the character of chapeburthen, the monks perceived not that the place was ron, an arrangement to which, as it was quite evident occupied. Some sudden movement on their parts caused that Lawless intended to form one of the party, I made her to open her eyes, and she looked languidly and no objection. Accordingly, on the day appointed, Oakalmost unconsciously around, when suddenly, with super- lands made his appearance about ten o'clock, mounted natural strength and a piercing scream, she darted from her supporters, and rushing to the hollow, threw herself on his favourite horse, and attended by a groom, leading on the ground, and clasped closely the body of a warrior the grey Arab which was destined to carry Fanny, as which was laid there, watchedly reverendly by a person well as a saddle horse for me. in humble attire.

Bravo, Harry! it does one good to see you and the “Whom have you here ?" asked the horror-stricken Cid' together again,” exclaimed I, patting the arched monks.

neck of the noble animal ; " how well he is looking !" “The King," replied he, with the deepest dejection of tone and manner.

“ Is he not ?" replied Oaklands, warmly; " the good And so it was. In wandering over the field he had old horse knew me as well as possible, and gave a neigh recognised the body of the fallen monarch close by the of pleasure when first I spoke to him. Is Fanny ncarly spot where the royal standard had been planted, and, ready ?"


(1) Ellis, Introd, to Domesday Book, vol. ii. pp. 79, 80.

(1) Continued from p. 327.



[ocr errors]

“She will be here directly," replied I; and the words | cheek flushed with anger. Apparently, however, chang: had scarcely escaped my lips when she made her appear ing his intention, he drew himself up haughtily, and ance, looking so lovely in her hat and habit, that I felt turning on his heel, walked slowly to his horse, mounted, sure it would be all over with Lawless as soon as he saw and reining him back a few paces, sat motionless as an her.

equestrian statue, gazing on the party with a gloomy Why, Fanny,” exclaimed Oahlands, dismounting brow, until we had started, when, suddenly applying the slowly and with effort, for he was still lamentably weak, spur, he joined us in a couple of bounds, and took his " I have not seen you in a habit so long. I declare I station at Fanny's left hand. Lawless having approshould scarcely have known you; the effect is quite priated the off side, devoted himself to the double task magical."

of managing the Arab, and doing the agreeable to its Å smile and a blush were her only reply, and Oaklands fair rider, which latter design he endeavoured to accomcontinued, “Will you not like to mount now? Lawless plish by chattering incessantly. will join us ; but he means to abandon us again when

After proceeding a mile or two, Lawless susiaining we get near Eversley Gorse, for the superior attractions the whole burden of the conversation, while Oaklands of a run with the subscription pack.”

never spoke a word, we came upon a piece of level green “Oh, I hope the hounds will not come in our way," sward. exclaimed Fanny; "if you think there is any chance “Here's a famous place for a canter, Miss Fairlegh," of their frightening my horse, I had better not ride exclaimed Lawless ; " lean a little more towards meto-day.”

that's right. Are you ready?-just tickle her neck with I do not think you need feel the least alarm; though the whip-not too hard-jerk the rein slightly-gently, spirited, Rose Alba is perfectly quiet; besides, we are

mare, gently !--there's a good girl, that's it! Eh ! not bound to ride towards Eversley, unless you approve don't you see, she settles into her pace as quietly as a of doing so," replied Oaklands.

rocking horse-oh! she's a sweet thing for a featherAs he spoke, Lawless rode up just in time to catch weight;" and restraining the plunging of his fiery horse, the last few words. He was dressed in an appropriate he leaned over, and patted the Arab's arched neck, as hunting costume, and sat his horse (a splendid black they went off at an easy canter. hunter, whose fiery temper rendered all those in whom I was about to follow their example, but observing the bump of caution was properly developed remarkably that Oaklands delayed putting his herse in motion, it shy of him) as easily as if he formed part of the animal. occurred to me that this being the first ride he had As he checked his impatient steed, and taking off his taken since his illness, the exertion might possibly be hat, bowed to Fanny, his eyes sparkling, and his whole too much for his strength, I waited, therefore, till he countenance beaming with pleasure and excitement, he joined me, when I inquired whether he felt any ill really looked quite handsome. The same idea seemed effects from the unwonted exertion ? to strike Fanny, who whispered to me, “ If ever your "No," was the reply. “I feel an odd kind of flutterfriend has his picture taken, it should be on horseback.” ing in my side, but it is only weakness."

“ Good morning, Miss Fairlegh !" cried Lawless, as, “ Had you not better give it up for today, and let me flinging the rein to a groom, he sprang from the saddle, ride back with you? I dare say Lawless would not care and bounded towards us; “ glad to see you in what I about hunting for once, and would see Fanny home.” consider the most becoming dress a lady can wear,- “I shall not go back !” he replied sternly ; then very becoming it is too,” he added, with a slight bend checking himself, he added in a milder tone, " I mean of the head to mark the compliment. “What did I to say it is not necessary-really I do not feel ill-behear you say about not riding to Eversley ? You never sides it was only a passing sensation, and is already can be so cruel as to deny me the pleasure of your com- nearly gone.” pany, and I must go there to join the meet. I would

He paused for a moment, and then continued, “How not have hunted to-day, though, if I had known you very dictatorial and disagreeable Lawless has grown of wished to ride in another direction."

late, and what absurd nonsense he does talk when he " It was only that Fanny was afraid the hounds might is in the society of ladies! I wonder your sister can frighten her horse," replied I.

tolerate it." “Oh, not the least danger; I'll take care of all that," “She not only tolerates it," returned I, slightly piqued returned Lawless ; "the little white mare is as gentle at the contemptuous tone in which he spoke of Lawless, as a lamb; I cantered her across the park myself yester- " but is excessively amused by it; why, she said last day on purpose to try--the sweetest thing for a lady I night he was quite delightful.” ever set eyes on. You have got some good cattle in

"I gave ber credit for better taste," was Oaklands' your stables, Harry, I must own that.”

reply; and striking his horse impatiently with the spur, “ Hadn't we better think of mounting? Time will he dashed forward, and in a few moments we had renot stand still for us," observed I.

joined the others. “Let me assist you, Fanny,” said Oaklands, advancing "I hope illness has not soured Harry's temper, but towards her.

he certainly appears more prone to take offence than in " Thank you,” replied Fanny, drawing back ; " but I former days," was my inward comment, as I pondered need not give you the trouble ; Frank will help me.” over his last words. “ I am afraid Fanny has annoyed

“ Here, get out of the way!” cried Lawless, as I hesi- him ; I must speak to her, and give her a hint to be tated, fancying from the shade on Oaklands' brow that more careful for the future." he might not like to be interfered with; "I see Half an hour's brisk riding brought us to the outnone of you know how to help a lady properly. Bring skirts of a broad common, a great portion of which was up that mare," he continued, "closer,--that's it; stand covered by the gorse or furze from which it took its before her head. Now, Miss Fairlegh, take a firm hold name. Around the sides of this were gathered from of the pummel; place your foot in my hand-are your sixty to eighty well-mounted men, either collected in ready ?-spring ! there we are—famously done! "Oh, groups, to discuss the various topics of local interest you know what you are about, I see. Let me give you which occupy the minds of country gentlemen, or riding the rein-between the fingers ; yes, the snaffle will up and down in parties of two and three together, immanage her best ; the curb may hang loose, and only patient for the commencement of their morning's sport; use it if it is necessary ; let the groom stand by her till while, in a small clear space, nearly in the centre of the I am mounted; the black horse is rather fidgety ;

furze-brake, were stationed the hounds, with the huntssoh! boy, soh ! quiet !stand, you brute !--there's a man and whippers-in. good boy; steady, steady-off we go!”

“ There !” exclaimed Lawless, "look at that! Talk As Lawless pushed by me at the beginning of this about operas and exhibitions !--where will you find an speech, Oaklands advanced towards him, and his pale | exhibition as well worth seeing as that is ? ' I call that



[ocr errors]


a sight for an Empress. Now are not you glad I made confusion, cigars were thrown away, hats pressed firmly you come, Miss Fairlegh ?”

down upon the brow, and, with a rush like the out-burst “The red coats look very gay and picturesque, cer- of some mighty torrent, the whole field to a man swept tainly,” replied Fanny ; " and what loves of horses, with rapidly onward. their satin skins glistening in the sunshine ! but I wish In the meanwhile Fanny's mare, which had for some Rose Alba would not prick up her ears in that way; I'm minutes shown symptoms of excitement, pawing the rather frightened."

ground with her fore-foot, pricking up her ears, and tossWhile Lawless was endeavouring to convince her ing her head impatiently, began, as Lawless rode off, to there was no danger, and that he was able and willing plunge in a manner which threatened at every moment to frustrate any nefarious designs which might enter to unseat her rider, and as several horsemen dashed by into the graceful little head of the white Arab, a young her, becoming utterly unmanageable, she set off at a man rode up to Oaklands, and, shaking him warmly by wild gallop, drowning in the clatter of her hoofs the hand, congratulated him on being once more on Fanny's agonized cry for help. Driven nearly frantic horseback.

by the peril in which my sister was placed, I was even “Ah, Whitcombe, it's a long time since you and I yet prevented for a minute or more from hastening to have met,” returned Harry ; "you have been abroad, I her assistance, as my own horse, frightened by the occurthink?"

rences I have described, struggled so violently to follow Yes," was the reply; “ Charles and I have been doing his companions, as to render it very difficult for me to the grand tour, as they call it.”

hold, and quite impossible to remount him ; so that “ How is your brother ?"

when at length I succeeded in springing on his back, “Oh, he's all right, only he has grown a great pair of the hounds were already out of sight, and Fanny and moustaches, and won't cut them off'; he has taken up a her runaway steed so far ahead of me, that it seemed notion they make him look killing. I believe ; he was inevitable some accident must occur before I could here a minute ago,-yes, there he is, talking to Randolph. overtake them, and it was with a sinking heart Come and speak to him, he'll be delighted to see you." that I gave my horse the rein, and dashed forward in

* Keep your eye on Fanny's mare,” said Oaklands, as pursuit. he rode past me, “ she seems fidgety, and that fellow The course which Lawless had taken when he started Lawless is thinking more about the hounds than he is on his wild-goose chase, was down a ride cut through of her, though he does boast so much of the care he can the furze, and it was along this turfy track that Rose take of her. I shall be with you again directly." Alba was now hurrying in her wild career. The horse

“Do you see the gentleman on the bright bay, Miss on which I was mounted was a young thorough-bred, Fairlegh ?” exclaimed Lawless ; “there, he's speaking to standing nearly sixteen hands high, and I felt certain Tom Field, the huntsman, now; he has got his watch that in the pursuit in which I was engaged, the in his hand:--that's Mr. Rand, the master of the hounds; length of his stride would tell, and that eventually we you'll see some fun directly. Ah ! I thought so." must come up with the fugitives, but so fleet was the

As he spoke, at a signal from the huntsman, the little Arab, and so light the weight she had to carry, hounds dashed into cover, and were instantly lost to that I was sorry to perceive gained upon them but sight in a waving sea of gorse, save when a head or slowly. It was clear that I should not overtake them neck became visible for a moment, as some dog more before they reached the outskirts of the common, and eager than the rest sprang over a tangled brake, through then who could say what course the mare might take, which he was unable to force his way.

—what obstacles might not be in her way? Oh, you beauties!” resumed Lawless, enthusias

On-on, we go in our headlong course, the turf retically, “only watch them ; they're drawing it in first- echoing to the muffled strokes of the horses' feet, while rate style, and there's rare lying in that cover ; now see the furze, waving in the wind, seemed to glide by us in how the furze shakes-- look at their sterns flourishing; a rapid stream. Onward,-still onward ; the edge of the have at him there—have at him; that's right, Toin- gorse appears a dark line in the distance--it is passed; cheer 'em on, boy-good huntsman is Tom Field-there we are crossing the belt of turf that surrounds it,-and again !-a fox, I'll bet 5001. to a pony-hark !—a whim now in what direction will the mare proceed ?-Will she per-now wait—a challenge ! another and another--take the broad road to the left, which leads again to listen to them-there's music! - watch the right-hand the open country by a gentle ascent, where she can be corner-that's where he'll break cover for a thousand, and easily overtaken and stopped, or will she turn to the if he does what a run we shall have ! Look at those fools,” right, and follow the lane which must take her across the he added, pointing to a couple of cockney-looking terrace-field to the brook, swollen by the late rains into fellows who were cantering towards the very place he a river! See !-she slackens her pace,-she wavers, she had pointed to, “they'll head him back as sure as fate, doubts, she will choose the road ! No; by Heaven ! she

-- hold hard there—why does not somebody stop them? turns to the right, and dashing down the lane like By Jove, I'll give them a taste of the double thong a flash of lightning, is for a moment hidden from view. when I get up with them, even if it's the Lord Mayor But the space of time, short as it was, when her speed of London and his brother. Look to your sister, Frank, slackened, has enabled me to gain upon her conI'll be back directly."

siderably; and when I again catch sight of her, she “Wait one minute,” shouted I, but in vain, for before is not more than fifty yards a-head. Forward ! good the words were well out of my mouth, he had driven horse, -forward ! Life or death hangs upon thy fleetness. the spurs into his eager horse, and was galloping Vain hope ! another turn brings us in sight of the furiously in the direction of the unhappy delinquents brook, swollen by the breaking-up of the frost into wiro had excited his indignation. My reason for asking a dark, turbulent stream. Fanny perceives it, too, and him to wait a minute was, that just as the hounds utters a cry of terror, which rings like a death-knell on began drawing the cover, I had made the agreeable my ear. There seems no possibility of escape for her,discovery, that the strap to which one of my saddle on the left hand an impenetrable hedge, on the right a girths was buckled, had given way, and that there was steep bank, rising almost perpendicularly to the height nothing for it but to dismount and repair the evil; and of a man's head, in front the rushing water, while I had scarcely concluded the best temporary arrange the mare, apparently irritated to frenzy by my purment I was able to effect, when Lawless started in pursuit, gallops wildly forward-Ha! what is that? a suit of the cockneys. Almost at the same moment a shout! and the figure of a man on horseback appears countryman, stationed at the outside of the gorse, on the high ground to the right, between Fanny shouted “ Tally-ho !” and the fox broke cover in gallant and the stream. He perceives the danger, and if he style, going away at a rattling pace, with four or five dare attempt the leap from the bank, may yet save couple of hounds on his traces. In an instant all was her. Oh ! That I were in his place. Hark! he shouts


« IndietroContinua »