The Star-Chamber, Volume 2
W. Harrison Ainsworth
Part 1 out of 4
Produced by Charles Franks and the Distributed Proofreaders Team
AN HISTORICAL ROMANCE,
BY W. HARRISON AINSWORTH, ESQ.
AUTHOR OF "WINDSOR CASTLE," &C.
IN TWO VOLUMES.
CONTENTS OF VOLUME II.
III. Showing that "our pleasant vices are made the whips to scourge us."
IV. How the forged Confession was produced
V. A visit to Sir Giles Mompesson's habitation near the fleet
VI. Of the Wager between the Conde de Gondomar and the Marquis
VII. A Cloud in the Horizon
IX. Prince Charles
X. The old Palace-Yard of Westminster
XI. The Tilt-Yard
XII. The Tilting-Match
XIII. The Felon Knight
XIV. The private Cabinet of Sir Giles Mompesson
XV. Clement Lanyere's Story
XVI. Sir Jocelyn's rupture with de Gondomar
XVIII. How Sir Jocelyn's cause was espoused by the 'prentices
XIX. A Noble Revenge
XX. A Place of Refuge
XXI. The Arrest
XXII. The Old Fleet Prison
XXIII. How Sir Jocelyn was brought to the Fleet
XXIV. The Abduction
XXV. The "Stone Coffin."
XXVI. A Secret Friend
XXVII. Showing how judgment was given by King James in the Star-Chamber
in the great cause of the Countess of Exeter against Sir Thomas
and Lady Lake
XXVIII. The two warrants
XXIX. The Silver Coffer
XXX. How the Marriage was interrupted
The execution of Lady Lake's criminal and vindictive project would not
have been long deferred, after the defeat she had sustained from Lord
Roos, but for her husband's determined opposition. This may appear
surprising in a man so completely under his wife's governance as was Sir
Thomas; but the more he reflected upon the possible consequences of the
scheme, the more averse to it he became; and finding all arguments
unavailing to dissuade his lady from her purpose, he at last summoned up
resolution enough positively to interdict it.
But the project was only deferred, and not abandoned. The forged
confession was kept in readiness by Lady Lake for production on the
first favourable opportunity.
Not less disinclined to the measure than her father was Lady Roos,
though the contrary had been represented to Sir Thomas by his lady; but
accustomed to yield blind obedience to her mother's wishes, she had been
easily worked upon to acquiesce in the scheme, especially as the
fabricated confession did not appear to hurt her husband, for whom
(though she did not dare to exhibit it) she maintained a deep and
unchanging affection. So utterly heart-broken was she by the prolonged
and painful struggle she had undergone, that she was now almost
indifferent to its issue.
For some time her health had given way under the severe shocks she had
endured; but all at once more dangerous symptoms began to manifest
themselves, and she became so greatly indisposed that she could not
leave her room. Extremely distressing in its effects, the attack
resembled fever. Inextinguishable thirst tormented her; burning pains;
throbbing in the temples; and violent fluttering of the heart. No
alleviation of her sufferings could be obtained from the remedies
administered by Luke Hatton, who was in constant attendance upon her;
nor will this be wondered at, since we are in the secret of his dark
doings. On the contrary, the fever increased in intensity; and at the
end of four days of unremitting agony,--witnessed with cynical
indifference by the causer of the mischief,--it was evident that her
case was desperate.
From the first Lady Lake had been greatly alarmed, for with all her
faults she was an affectionate mother, though she had a strange way of
showing her affection; and she was unremitting in her attentions to the
sufferer, scarcely ever quitting her bedside. After a few days, however,
thus spent in nursing her daughter, she herself succumbed to a like
malady. The same devouring internal fire scorched her up, and raged
within her veins; the same unappeasable thirst tormented her; and unable
longer to fulfil her task, she confided it to Sarah Swarton, and
withdrew to another chamber, communicating by a side door, masked by
drapery, with that of Lady Roos.
Devoted to her mistress, Sarah Swarton would have sacrificed her life to
restore her to health; and she cared not though the fever might be
infectious. The gentleness and resignation of the ill-fated lady, which
failed to move Luke Hatton, melted her to tears; and it was with
infinite grief that she saw her, day by day, sinking slowly but surely
into the grave. To Lady Roos, the presence of Sarah Swarton was an
inexpressible comfort. The handmaiden was far superior to her station,
with a pleasing countenance, and prepossessing manner, and possessed of
the soft voice so soothing to the ear of pain. But the chief comfort
derived by Lady Roos from the society of Sarah Swarton, was the power of
unbosoming herself to her respecting her husband, and of pouring her
sorrows into a sympathising ear. Lord Roos had never been near his wife
since her seizure--nor, that she could learn, had made any inquiries
about her; but notwithstanding his heartless conduct, her great desire
was to behold him once more before she died, and to breathe some last
words into his ear; and she urged the wish so strongly upon her
confidante, that the latter promised, if possible, to procure its
A week had now nearly elapsed--the fatal term appointed by Luke
Hatton--and it could be no longer doubted that, if the last
gratification sought by Lady Roos were to be afforded her, it must not
The poor sufferer was wasted to a skeleton; her cheeks hollow; eyes sunk
in deep cavities, though the orbs were unnaturally bright; and her frame
so debilitated, that she could scarcely raise herself from the pillow.
Sarah Swarton accordingly resolved to set out upon her errand; but
before doing so, she sought an interview with Lady Lake, for the purpose
of revealing certain fearful suspicions she had begun to entertain of
Luke Hatton. She would have done this before, but there was almost
insuperable difficulty in obtaining a few words in private of her
ladyship. The apothecary was continually passing from room to room,
hovering nigh the couches of his patients, as if afraid of leaving them
for a moment, and he seemed to regard Sarah herself with distrust. But
he had now gone forth, and she resolved to take advantage of his absence
to make her communication.
The physical tortures endured by Lady Lake were exceeded by her mental
anguish. While the poison raged within her veins, the desire of
vengeance inflamed her breast; and her fear was lest she should expire
without gratifying it. Bitterly did she now upbraid herself for having
delayed her vindictive project. More than once she consulted Luke Hatton
as he stood beside her couch, with the habitual sneer upon his lips,
watching the progress of his own infernal work, as to the possibility of
renovating her strength, if only for an hour, in order that she might
strike the blow. But he shook his head, and bade her wait. Wait,
however, she would not, and she became at length so impatient, that he
agreed to make the experiment, telling her he would prepare a draught
which should stimulate her into new life for a short time, but he would
not answer for the after consequences. This was enough. She eagerly
grasped at the offer. Revenge must be had, cost what it would. And it
was to prepare the potion which was to effect her brief cure that Luke
Hatton had quitted her chamber, and left the coast clear for Sarah
Startled by the abrupt entrance and looks of the handmaiden, Lady Lake
anxiously inquired if all was well with her daughter.
"As well as it, seems ever likely to be with her, my lady," replied
Sarah Swarton. "She is somewhat easier now. But has your ladyship
courage to listen to what I have to tell you?"
"Have I ever shown want of courage, Sarah, that you should put such a
question?" rejoined Lady Lake, sharply.
"But this is something frightful, my lady."
"Then do not hesitate to disclose it."
"Has your ladyship never thought it a strange illness by which you and
my Lady Roos have been seized?" said Sarah, coming close up to her, and
speaking in a low, hurried tone, as if afraid of being overheard, or
"Why should I think it strange, Sarah?" returned Lady Lake, regarding
her fixedly. "It is a dreadful and infectious fever which I have taken
from my daughter; and that is the reason why Sir Thomas, and all others,
except Luke Hatton and yourself, are forbidden to come near us. What we
should have done without you, Sarah, I know not, for Luke Hatton tells
me the rest of the household shun us as they would a pestilence. I trust
you will escape the disorder, and if I am spared your devotion shall be
adequately requited. As to Luke Hatton, he seems to have no fear of it."
"He has no reason to be afraid," replied Sarah, significantly. "This is
no fever, my lady."
"How!" cried Lady Lake. "Would you set up your ignorance against the
skill and science of Luke Hatton? Or do you mean to insinuate--"
"I insinuate nothing, my lady," interrupted Sarah; "but I beseech you to
bear with fortitude the disclosure I am about to make to you. In a word,
my lady, I am as certain as I am of standing here, that poison has been
administered both to you and to my Lady Roos."
At this terrible communication, a mortal sickness came over Lady Lake.
Thick damps gathered upon her brow, and she fixed her haggard eyes upon
"Poisoned!" she muttered; "poisoned! If so, there is but one person who
can have done it--but one--except yourself, Sarah!"
"If I had committed the crime, should I have come hither to warn you, my
lady?" rejoined Sarah.
"Then it must be Luke Hatton."
"Ay," replied Sarah, looking round anxiously. "It is he. When he did not
think I noticed him, I chanced to see him pour a few drops from a phial
into the drink he prepares for your ladyship and my Lady Roos; and my
suspicions being aroused by his manner as much as by the circumstance, I
watched him narrowly, and found that this proceeding was repeated with
every draught; with this difference merely, that the dose was increased
in strength by one additional drop; the potion administered to your
ladyship being some degrees less powerful than that given to my dear
lady, and no doubt being intended to be slower in its effects. That it
was poison, I am certain, since I have tested it upon myself, by sipping
a small quantity of the liquid; and I had reason to repent my rashness,
for I soon perceived I had the same symptoms of illness as those which
distress your ladyship."
"Why did you not caution me sooner, Sarah?" said Lady Lake,
horror-stricken by this narration.
"I could not do so, my lady," she replied. "It was only yesterday that I
arrived at a positive certainty in the matter, and after my imprudence
in tasting the drink, I was very ill--indeed I am scarcely well yet;
and, to tell truth, I was afraid of Luke Hatton, as I am sure he would
make away with me, without a moment's hesitation, if he fancied I had
discovered his secret. Oh, I hope he will not come back and find me
"Who can have prompted him to the deed?" muttered Lady Lake. "But why
ask, since I know my enemies, and therefore know his employers! Not a
moment must be lost, Sarah. Let Sir Thomas Lake be summoned to me
immediately. If he be at Theobalds, at Greenwich, or Windsor, let
messengers be sent after him, praying him to use all possible dispatch
in coming to me. I cannot yet decide what I will do, but it shall be
something terrible. Oh, that I could once more confront the guilty pair!
And I will do it--I will do it! Revenge will give me strength."
"I cannot undertake to bring the Countess hither, my lady," said Sarah.
"But I may now venture to inform you that I am charged with a message
from my dear lady to her cruel husband, with which I am persuaded he
will comply, and come to her."
"Lure him hither, and speedily, by any means you can, Sarah," rejoined
Lady Lake. "Before you go, help to raise me from my couch, and place me
in that chair. It is well," she cried, as her wishes were complied with.
"I do not feel so feeble as I expected. I was sure revenge would give me
strength. Now give me my black velvet robe, and my coif. Even in this
extremity I would only appear as beseems me. And hark ye, Sarah, open
that drawer, and take out the weapon you will find within it. Do as I
bid you quickly, wench. I may need it."
"Here it is, my lady," replied Sarah, taking out a dagger, and giving it
to Lady Lake, who immediately concealed it in the folds of her robe.
"Now go," pursued the lady; "I am fully prepared. Let not a moment be
lost in what you have to do. Do not give any alarm. But bid two of the
trustiest of the household hold themselves in readiness without, and if
I strike upon the bell to rush in upon the instant. Or if Luke Hatton
should come forth, let him be detained. You understand?"
"Perfectly, my lady," replied Sarah, "and I make no doubt they will
obey. I am sure it has only been Luke Hatton who, by his false
representations, has kept them away, and I will remove the impression he
"Do not explain more than is needful at present," said Lady Lake. "We
know not precisely how this plot may have been laid, and must take its
authors by surprise. You were once more intimate than I liked with that
Spanish knave, Diego. Breathe not a word to him, or all will be repeated
to his master."
"Rest assured I will be careful, my lady. I have seen nothing whatever
of Diego of late, and care not if I never behold him again. But what is
to happen to my dear lady?"
"Leave her to me," replied Lady Lake. "I hope yet to be able to save
her. Ha! here comes the villain. Away with you, Sarah, and see that my
orders are obeyed."
The handmaiden did not require the command to be repeated, but hastily
quitted the room, casting a terrified look at the apothecary, who
entered it at the same moment.
Luke Hatton appeared greatly surprised on finding Lady Lake risen from
her couch, and could not help exclaiming, as he quickly advanced towards
her--"You up, my lady! This is very imprudent, and may defeat my plans."
"No doubt you think so," rejoined Lady Lake; "but knowing you would
oppose my inclination, I got Sarah to lift me from the couch, and tire
me during your absence. Have you prepared the mixture?"
"I have, my lady," he replied, producing a small phial.
"Give it me," she cried, taking it from him.
After examining the pale yellow fluid it contained for a moment, she
took out the glass stopper, and, smelling at it, perceived it to be a
very subtle and volatile spirit.
"Is this poison?" she demanded, fixing her eyes keenly upon Luke Hatton.
"On the contrary, my lady," he replied, without expressing any
astonishment at the question, "it would be an antidote to almost any
poison. It is the rarest cordial that can be prepared, and the secret of
its composition is only known to myself. When I said your ladyship would
incur great risk in taking it, I meant that the reaction from so
powerful a stimulant would be highly dangerous. But you declared you
did not heed the consequences."
"Nor do I," she rejoined. "Yet I would see it tasted."
"Your mind shall be made easy on that score in a moment, my lady," said
And taking a small wine-glass that stood by, he rinsed it with water and
carefully wiped it; after which he poured a few drops of the liquid into
it and swallowed them.
During this proceeding Lady Lake's gaze never quitted him for a second.
Apparently satisfied with the test, she bade him return the phial to
"You had better let me pour it out for you, my lady," he replied,
cleansing the glass as before. "The quantity must be exactly observed.
Twenty drops, and no more."
"My hand is as steady as your own, and I can count the drops as
accurately," she rejoined, taking the phial from him. "Twenty, you say?"
"Twenty, my lady," rejoined Hatton, evidently displeased; "but perhaps
you had better confine yourself to fifteen, or even ten. 'T will be
"You think the larger dose might give me too much strength--ha! What say
you to fifty, or a hundred?"
"It must not be, my lady--it must not be. You will destroy yourself. It
is my duty to prevent you. I must insist upon your giving me back the
phial, unless you will consent to obey my orders."
"But I tell you, man, I will have a hundred drops of the cordial," she
"And I say you shall not, my lady," he rejoined, unable in his anger to
maintain the semblance of respect he had hitherto preserved, and
endeavouring to obtain forcible possession of the phial.
But she was too quick for him. And as he stretched out his hand for the
purpose, the dagger gleamed before his eyes.
"Back, miscreant!" she cried; "your over-eagerness has betrayed you. I
now fully believe what I have hitherto doubted, that this is a
counter-poison, and that I may safely use it. It is time to unmask you,
and to let you know that your villanies are discovered. I am aware of
the malignant practices you have resorted to, and that my daughter and
myself would have been destroyed by your poisonous preparations. But I
now feel some security in the antidote I have obtained; and if I do
perish I have the satisfaction of knowing that I shall not die
unavenged, but that certain punishment awaits you and your employers."
On this she poured out half the contents of the phial into the glass,
saying as she drank it, "I reserve the other half for Lady Roos."
Luke Hatton, who appeared thunder-stricken, made no further effort to
prevent her, but turned to fly. Lady Lake, however, upon whom the
restorative effect of the cordial was almost magical, ordered him to
stay, telling him if he went forth he would be arrested, on hearing
which he sullenly obeyed her.
"You have not deceived me as to the efficacy of the potion," said the
lady; "it has given me new life, and with returning vigour I can view
all things as I viewed them heretofore. Now mark what I have to say,
villain. You have placed me and my daughter in fearful jeopardy; but it
is in your power to make reparation for the injury; and as I hold you to
be a mere instrument in the matter, I am willing to spare the life you
have forfeited, on condition of your making a full confession in writing
of your attempt, to be 'used by me against your employers. Are you
willing to do this, or shall I strike upon the bell, and have you bound
hand and foot, and conveyed to the Gatehouse?"
"I will write that I was employed by the Countess of Exeter to poison
you and my Lady Roos," replied Luke Hatton, stubbornly; "but I will do
"That will suffice," replied Lady Lake, after a moment's reflection.
"And when I have done it, I shall be free to go?" he asked.
"You shall be free to go," she replied.
There were writing materials on an adjoining table, and, without
another word, Luke Hatton sat down, and with great expedition drew up a
statement which he signed, and handed to Lady Lake; asking if that was
what she required?
A smile lighted up her ghastly features as she perused it.
"It will do," she said. "And now answer me one question, and you are
free. Will this cordial have the same effect on my daughter as on me?"
"Precisely the same. It will cure her. But you must proceed more
cautiously. Were she to take the quantity you have taken, it would kill
her. Am I now at liberty to depart?"
"You are," replied Lady Lake.
So saying, she struck the bell, and immediately afterwards the door was
opened; not, however, by the attendants, but by Sir Thomas Lake.
As the Secretary of State perceived that the apothecary avoided him, and
would have passed forth quickly, he sternly and authoritatively
commanded him to stay, exclaiming, "You stir not hence, till you have
accounted to me for my daughter, who, I understand, is dying from your
pernicious treatment. What ho, there! Keep strict watch without; and
suffer not this man to pass forth!"
Showing that "our pleasant vices are made the whips to scourge us."
We must now request the reader to visit the noble mansion in the Strand,
erected by Thomas Cecil, then Earl of Exeter, and bearing-his name; in a
chamber of which Lord Roos and the Countess of Exeter will be found
alone together--alone for the last time.
Very different was the deportment of the guilty pair towards each other
from what it used to be. The glances they exchanged were no longer those
of passionate love, but of undissembled hatred. Bitter reproaches had
been uttered on one side, angry menaces on the other. Ever since the
fatal order had been wrested from the Countess, her peace of mind had
been entirely destroyed, and she had become a prey to all the horrors of
remorse. Perceiving the change in her sentiments towards him, Lord Roos
strove, by the arts which had hitherto proved so successful, to win back
the place he had lost in her affections; but failing in doing so, and
irritated by her reproaches, and still more by her coldness, he gave
vent to his displeasure in terms that speedily produced a decided
quarrel between them; and though reconciled in appearance, they never
again were to each other what they had been.
As this was to be their final meeting, they had agreed not to embitter
it with unavailing reproaches and recriminations. Lord Roos acquainted
the Countess that he had decided upon travelling into Italy and Spain,
and remaining abroad for a lengthened period; and the announcement of
his intention was received by her without an objection. Perhaps he hoped
that when put to this trial she might relent. If so, he was
disappointed. She even urged him not to delay his departure, and
concluded her speech with these words--
"Something tells me we shall meet no more in this world. But we are
certain to meet hereafter at the Judgment Seat. How shall we regard each
"Trouble me not with the question," rejoined Lord Roos gloomily; "I have
not come here to listen to sermons, and will brook no more reproaches."
"I do not mean to reproach you, William," she returned meekly; "but the
thought of our dire offence rises perpetually before me. Would we could
undo what we have done!"
"I tell you it is too late," rejoined Lord Roos harshly.
At this moment Diego suddenly presented himself, and apologizing for the
abruptness of his entrance, accounted for it by saying that Sarah
Swarton besought a word with his Lordship. She brought a message, he
added, from Lady Roos, who was much worse, and not finding his Lordship
at his own residence had ventured to follow him to Exeter House to
"I will come to her anon," said Lord Roos carelessly.
"No, no; admit her at once, Diego," cried the Countess; "I would hear
what she has to say." And the next moment Sarah Swarton being ushered
into the room, she rushed up to her and eagerly demanded, "How fares it
with your lady? Is there any hope for her?"
"None whatever," replied Sarah, shaking her head sadly. "She is past all
chance of recovery."
"Then Heaven pardon me!" ejaculated the Countess, clasping her hands
together, and falling upon her knees.
Sarah Swarton gazed at her in astonishment; while Lord Roos, rushing
towards her, commanded her to rise.
"Take heed what you say and do, Countess," he whispered. "You will
excite this woman's suspicions."
"Why should your ladyship implore Heaven's pardon because my poor dear
lady is near her end?" inquired Sarah.
"I sue for it because I have caused her much affliction," replied the
"Your message, Sarah--your message?" interposed Lord Roos. "What have
you to say to me?"
"My lady desires to see you once more before she expires, my lord,"
replied Sarah. "She would take leave of you; and--and--she has something
to impart to you. You will not refuse her last request?"
"He will not--he will not, I am sure," cried the Countess, seeing him
"I did not expect to be seconded by you, my lady," observed Sarah, in
"Would that I, too, might see her and obtain her forgiveness!" exclaimed
the Countess, without heeding the remark.
"An idle wish, and not to be indulged," said Lord Roos.
A sudden idea appeared to strike Sarah, and she cried, "Your ladyship's
desire may possibly be gratified. My poor lady desires to part in peace
with all the world, even with those who have injured her. I will
communicate your wishes to her, and it may be she will consent to see
"You shall have a reward well worthy of the service if you accomplish
it," said the Countess. "Hasten to her with all speed, my Lord, and I
will follow in my litter, ready to attend Sarah's summons."
"I like not the plan," rejoined Lord Roos. "You are wrong to go. Why
need you see her?"
"Why?" she answered, regarding him fixedly. "Because it may be some
little consolation to me afterwards."
"Then go alone," said Lord Roos savagely. "I will not accompany you."
"I do not ask you to accompany me, but to precede me," she replied.
"Now, mark me, my Lord," she added in a low, firm tone, "and be assured
I do not advance more than I will perform. If you refuse your wife's
dying request, I will go back with Sarah and confess all to her."
Lord Roos looked as if he could have annihilated her, and muttered a
terrible imprecation on her head.
"Threaten me--ay, and execute your threats hereafter if you will,"
continued the Countess in the same low decided tone, "but go you _shall_
Her manner was so irresistible that Lord Roos was compelled to obey, and
he quitted the room without a word more, followed by Diego and Sarah
Swarton, the latter of whom signed to the Countess that she might depend
upon the fulfilment of her wishes.
They had not been gone many minutes before Lady Exeter entered her
litter, and wholly unattended by page or serving-man, except those in
charge of the conveyance, caused herself to be conveyed to Sir Thomas
Lake's lodgings in Whitehall.
How the forged Confession was produced.
Summoning up all his firmness for the interview with his lady, Lord Roos
entered her chamber, attended by Sarah Swarton, and beheld her propped
up by pillows, bearing evident marks in her countenance of the severe
sufferings she had endured. She was emaciated in frame, and almost livid
in complexion; hollow-cheeked and hollow-eyed; but still with a look of
unaltered affection for him.
Having fulfilled her mission, Sarah left them alone together.
He took the thin fingers extended towards him, and pressed them to his
lips, but scarcely dared to raise his eyes towards his wife, so much was
he shocked by her appearance. It was with difficulty she gave utterance
to the words she addressed to him.
"I thank you for coming to me, my Lord," she said; "but you will not
regret your kindness. We are quite alone, are we not? My eyes are so dim
that I cannot distinguish any object at the other end of the room--but I
can see you plainly enough, my dear Lord."
"We are alone, Elizabeth," replied Lord Roos, in a voice of some
emotion, after glancing around.
"Then I may speak freely," she continued. "What I predicted has
occurred. You did not do well, my dear Lord, to take that phial from me
and place it in other hands. Nay, start not! I know I am poisoned: I
have known it from the first. But I have made no effort to save myself,
for I was aware it was your will I should die."
"O, Elizabeth!" murmured her husband.
"I was aware of it," she repeated; "and as I have never voluntarily
disobeyed you, I would not now thwart your purpose, even though I myself
must be the sacrifice. It was to tell you this that I have sent for you.
It was to forgive--to bless you."
And as she spoke she threw her arms round his neck, and he felt his
cheek wet with her tears.
"This is more than I can bear," cried Lord Roos, in a voice suffocated
by emotion. "I thought I had firmness for anything; but it deserts me
entirely now. You are an angel of goodness, Elizabeth; as I am a demon
of darkness. I do not deserve your forgiveness."
"You will deserve it, if you will comply with the request I am about to
make to you," she rejoined, looking at him beseechingly.
"Whatever it be it shall be granted, if in my power," he rejoined
earnestly. "I would redeem your life, if I could, at the price of my
own. You have exorcised the evil spirit from me, Elizabeth."
"Then I shall die happy," she replied, with a smile of ineffable
"But the request! What is it you would have me perform?" he asked.
"I would have you spare my mother," she replied. "I know she has been
dealt with in the same way as myself; but I also know there is yet time
to save her."
"It shall be done," said Lord Roos, emphatically. "Where is she?"
"In the adjoining chamber."
"Is Luke Hatton in attendance upon her?"
"In constant attendance," she rejoined. "That man has obeyed you well,
my Lord. But take heed of him: he is a dangerous weapon, and may injure
the hand that employs him. Strike gently upon that bell. He will attend
Lord Roos complied; when, to his astonishment and dismay, the curtains
shrouding the entrance to the adjoining room were drawn aside, and Lady
Lake stalked from behind them. Never before had she surveyed her
son-in-law with such a glance of triumph as she threw upon him now.
"You were mistaken you see, Elizabeth," said Lord Roos to his lady.
"Your mother needs no aid. She is perfectly well."
"Ay, well enough to confound you and all your wicked purposes, my Lord,"
cried Lady Lake. "You have not accomplished my destruction, as you
perceive; nor shall you accomplish your wife's destruction, though you
have well-nigh succeeded. Let it chafe you to madness to learn that I
possess an antidote, which I have myself approved, and which will kill
the poison circling in her veins, and give her new life."
"An antidote!" exclaimed Lord Roos. "So far from galling me to madness,
the intelligence fills me with delight beyond expression. Give it me,
Madam, that I may administer it at once; and heaven grant its results
may be such as you predict!"
"Administered by you, my Lord, it would be poison," said Lady Lake,
bitterly. "But you may stand by and witness its beneficial effects. They
will be instantaneous."
"As you will, Madam, so you do not delay the application," cried Lord
"Drink of this, my child," said Lady Lake, after she had poured some
drops of the cordial into a glass.
"I will take it from no hand but my husband's," murmured Lady Roos.
"How?" exclaimed her mother, frowning.
"Give it me, I say, Madam," cried Lord Roos. "Is this a time for
hesitation, when you see her life hangs upon a thread, which you
yourself may sever?"
And taking the glass from her, he held it to his wife's lips; tenderly
supporting her while she swallowed its contents.
It was not long before the effects of the cordial were manifest. The
deathly hue of the skin changed to a more healthful colour, and the
pulsations of the heart became stronger and more equal; and though the
debility could not be so speedily repaired, it was apparent that the
work of restoration had commenced, and might be completed if the same
treatment were pursued.
"Now I owe my life to you, my dear Lord," said Lady Roos, regarding her
husband with grateful fondness.
"To him!" exclaimed her mother. "You owe him nothing but a heavy debt of
vengeance, which we will endeavour to pay, and with interest. But keep
calm, my child, and do not trouble yourself; whatever may occur. Your
speedy restoration will depend much on that."
"You do not adopt the means to make me calm, mother," replied Lady Roos.
But Lady Lake was too much bent upon the immediate and full
gratification of her long-deferred vengeance to heed her. Clapping her
hands together, the signal was answered by Sir Thomas Lake, who came
forth from the adjoining room with Luke Hatton. At the same time, and as
if it had been so contrived that all the guilty parties should be
confronted together, the outer door of the chamber was opened, and the
Countess of Exeter was ushered in by Sarah Swarton.
On seeing in whose presence she stood, the Countess would have
precipitately retreated; but it was too late. The door was closed by
"Soh! my turn is come at last," cried Lady Lake, gazing from one to the
other with a smile of gratified vengeance. "I hold you all in my toils.
You, my Lord," addressing her son-in-law, "have treated a wife, who has
ever shown you the most devoted affection, with neglect and cruelty,
and, not content with such barbarous treatment, have conspired against
her life, and against my life."
"Take heed how you bring any charge against him, mother," cried Lady
Roos, raising herself in her couch. "Take heed, I say. Let your
vengeance fall upon her head," pointing to the Countess--"but not upon
"I am willing to make atonement for the wrongs I have done you, Lady
Roos," said the Countess, "and have come hither to say so, and to
implore your forgiveness."
"You fancied she was dying," rejoined Lady Lake--"dying from the effects
of the poison administered to her and to me by Luke Hatton, according to
your order; but you are mistaken, Countess. We have found an antidote,
and shall yet live to requite you."
"It is more satisfaction to me to be told this, Madam, than it would be
to find that Luke Hatton had succeeded in his design, which I would have
prevented if I could," said Lady Exeter.
"You will gain little credit for that assertion, Countess," remarked
Sir Thomas Lake, "since it is contradicted by an order which I hold in
my hand, signed by yourself, and given to the miscreant in question."
"O Heavens!" ejaculated the Countess.
"Do you deny this signature?" asked Sir Thomas, showing her the paper.
Lady Exeter made no answer.
"Learn further to your confusion, Countess," pursued Lady Lake, "that
the wretch, Luke Hatton, has made a full confession of his offence,
wherein he declares that he was incited by you, and by you alone, on the
offer of a large reward, to put my daughter and myself to death by slow
"By me alone!--incited by me!" cried Lady Exeter; "why, I opposed him.
It is impossible he can have confessed thus. Hast thou done so,
"I have," replied Luke Hatton, sullenly.
"Then thou hast avouched a lie--a lie that will damn thee," said Lady
Exeter. "Lord Roos knows it to be false, and can exculpate me. Speak, my
Lord, I charge you, and say how it occurred."
But the young nobleman remained silent.
"Not a word--not a word in my favour," the Countess exclaimed, in a
voice of anguish. "Nay, then I am indeed lost!"
"You are lost past redemption," cried Lady Lake with an outburst of
fierce exultation, and a look as if she would have trampled her beneath
her feet. "You have forfeited honour, station, life. Guilty of
disloyalty to your proud and noble husband, you have sought to remove by
violent deaths those who stood between you and your lover. Happily your
dreadful purpose has been defeated; but this avowal of your criminality
with Lord Roos, signed by yourself and witnessed by his lordship and his
Spanish servant,--this shall be laid within an hour before the Earl of
"My brain turns round. I am bewildered with all these frightful
accusations," exclaimed the Countess distractedly. "I have made no
confession,--have signed none."
"Methought you said I had witnessed it, Madam?" cried Lord Roos, almost
as much bewildered as Lady Exeter.
"Will you deny your own handwriting, my Lord?" rejoined Lady Lake; "or
will the Countess? Behold the confession, subscribed by the one, and
witnessed by the other."
"It is a forgery!" shrieked the Countess. "You have charged me with
witchcraft; but you practise it yourself."
"If I did not know it to be false, I could have sworn the hand was
yours, Countess," cried Lord Roos; "and my own signature is equally
"False or not," cried Lady Lake, "it shall be laid before Lord Exeter as
I have said--with all the details--ay, and before the King."
"Before the King!" repeated Lord Roos, as he drew near Lady Exeter, and
whispered in her ear--"Countess, our sole safety is in immediate flight.
Circumstances are so strong against us, that we shall never be able to
disprove this forgery."
"Then save yourself in the way you propose, my Lord," she rejoined, with
scorn. "For me, I shall remain, and brave it out."
The young nobleman made a movement towards the door.
"You cannot go forth without my order, my Lord," cried Sir Thomas Lake.
"It is guarded."
"Perdition!" exclaimed Lord Roos.
Again Lady Lake looked from one to the other with a smile of triumph.
But it was presently checked by a look from her daughter, who made a
sign to her to approach her.
"What would you, my child?--more of the cordial?" demanded Lady Lake.
"No, mother," she replied, in a tone so low as to be inaudible to the
others. "Nor will I suffer another drop to pass my lips unless my
husband be allowed to depart without molestation."
"Would you interfere with my vengeance?" said Lady Lake.
"Ay, mother, I will interfere with it effectually unless you comply,"
rejoined Lady Roos, firmly. "I will acquaint the Countess with the true
nature of that confession. As it is, she has awakened by her conduct
some feelings of pity in my breast."
"You will ruin all by your weakness," said Lady Lake.
"Let Lord Roos go free, and let there be a truce between you and the
Countess for three days, and I am content."
"I do not like to give such a promise," said Lady Lake. "It will be hard
to keep it."
"It may be harder to lose all your vengeance," rejoined Lady Roos, in a
tone that showed she would not be opposed.
Compelled to succumb, Lady Lake moved towards Sir Thomas, and a few
words having passed between them in private, the Secretary of State thus
addressed his noble son-in-law--
"My Lord," he said in a grave tone, "at the instance of my daughter,
though much against my own inclination, and that of my wife, I will no
longer oppose your departure. I understand you are about to travel, and
I therefore recommend you to set forth without delay, for if you be
found in London, or in England, after three days, during which time, at
the desire also of our daughter--and equally against our own wishes--we
consent to keep truce with my lady of Exeter; if, I say, you are found
after that time, I will not answer for the consequences to yourself.
Thus warned, my Lord, you are at liberty to depart."
"I will take advantage of your offer, Sir Thomas, and attend to your
hint," replied Lord Roos. And turning upon his heel, he marched towards
the door, whither he was accompanied by Sir Thomas Lake, who called to
the attendants outside to let him go free.
"Not one word of farewell to me! not one look!" exclaimed his wife,
sinking back upon the pillow.
"Nor for me--and I shall see him no more," murmured the Countess,
compressing her beautiful lips. "But it is better thus."
While this was passing, Luke Hatton had contrived to approach the
Countess, and now said in a low tone--"If your ladyship will trust to
me, and make it worth my while, I will deliver you from the peril in
which you are placed by this confession. Shall I come to Exeter House
"At what hour?"
"At midnight," she returned. "I loathe thee, yet have no alternative but
to trust thee. Am I free to depart likewise?" she added aloud to Sir
"The door is open for you, Countess," rejoined the Secretary of State,
with mock ceremoniousness. "After three days, you understand, war is
renewed between us."
"War to the death," subjoined Lady Lake.
"Be it so," replied the Countess. "I shall not desert my post."
And assuming the dignified deportment for which she was remarkable, she
went forth with a slow and majestic step.
Luke Hatton would have followed her, but Sir Thomas detained him.
"Am I a prisoner?" he said, uneasily, and glancing at Lady Lake. "Her
ladyship promised me instant liberation."
"And the promise shall be fulfilled as soon as I am satisfied my
daughter is out of danger," returned Sir Thomas.
"I am easy, then," said the apothecary. "I will answer for her speedy
A visit to Sir Giles Mompesson's habitation near the fleet.
Allowing an interval of three or four months to elapse between the
events last recorded, and those about to be narrated, we shall now
conduct the reader to a large, gloomy habitation near Fleet Bridge. At
first view, this structure, with its stone walls, corner turrets,
ponderous door, and barred windows, might be taken as part and parcel of
the ancient prison existing in this locality. Such, however, was not the
fact. The little river Fleet, whose muddy current was at that time open
to view, flowed between the two buildings; and the grim and frowning
mansion we propose to describe stood on the western bank, exactly
opposite the gateway of the prison.
Now, as no one had a stronger interest in the Fleet Prison than the
owner of that gloomy house, inasmuch as he had lodged more persons
within it than any one ever did before him, it would almost seem that he
had selected his abode for the purpose of watching over the safe custody
of the numerous victims of his rapacity and tyranny. This was the
general surmise; and, it must be owned, there was ample warranty for it
in his conduct.
A loop-hole in the turret at the north-east angle of the house
commanded the courts of the prison, and here Sir Giles Mompesson would
frequently station himself to note what was going forward within the
jail, and examine the looks and deportment of those kept by him in
durance. Many a glance of hatred and defiance was thrown from these
sombre courts at the narrow aperture at which he was known to place
himself; but such regards only excited Sir Giles's derision: many an
imploring gesture was made to him; but these entreaties for compassion
were equally disregarded. Being a particular friend of the Warden of the
Fleet, and the jailers obeying him as they would have done their
principal, he entered the prison when he pleased, and visited any ward
he chose, at any hour of day or night; and though the unfortunate
prisoners complained of the annoyance,--and especially those to whom his
presence was obnoxious,--no redress could be obtained. He always
appeared when least expected, and seemed to take a malicious pleasure in
troubling those most anxious to avoid him.
Nor was Sir Giles the only visitant to the prison. Clement Lanyere was
as frequently to be seen within its courts and wards as his master, and
a similar understanding appeared to exist between him and the jailers.
Hence, he was nearly as much an object of dread and dislike as Sir Giles
himself, and few saw the masked and shrouded figure of the spy approach
them without misgiving.
From the strange and unwarrantable influence exercised by Sir Giles and
the promoter in the prison, they came at length to be considered as part
of it; and matters were as frequently referred to them by the
subordinate officers as to the warden. It was even supposed by some of
the prisoners that a secret means of communication must exist between
Sir Giles's habitation and the jail; but as both he and Lanyere
possessed keys of the wicket, such a contrivance was obviously
unnecessary, and would have been dangerous, as it must have been found
out at some time by those interested in the discovery.
It has been shown, however, that, in one way or other, Sir Giles had
nearly as much to do with the management of the Fleet Prison as those to
whom its governance was ostensibly committed, and that he could, if he
thought proper, aggravate the sufferings of its unfortunate occupants
without incurring any responsibility for his treatment of them. He
looked upon the Star-Chamber and the Fleet as the means by which he
could plunder society and stifle the cry of the oppressed; and it was
his business to see that both machines were kept in good order, and
But to return to his habitation. Its internal appearance corresponded
with its forbidding exterior. The apartments were large, but cold and
comfortless, and, with two or three exceptions, scantily furnished.
Sumptuously decorated, these exceptional rooms presented a striking
contrast to the rest of the house; but they were never opened, except on
the occasion of some grand entertainment--a circumstance of rare
occurrence. There was a large hall of entrance, where Sir Giles's
myrmidons were wont to assemble, with a great table in the midst of it,
on which no victuals were ever placed--at least at the extortioner's
expense--and a great fire-place, where no fire ever burnt. From this a
broad stone staircase mounted to the upper part of the house, and
communicated by means of dusky corridors and narrow passages with the
various apartments. A turnpike staircase connected the turret to which
Sir Giles used to resort to reconnoitre the Fleet Prison, with the lower
part of the habitation, and similar corkscrew stairs existed in the
other angles of the structure. When stationed at the loophole, little
recked Sir Giles of the mighty cathedral that frowned upon him like the
offended eye of heaven. His gaze was seldom raised towards Saint Paul's,
or if it were, he had no perception of the beauty or majesty of the
ancient cathedral. The object of interest was immediately below him. The
sternest realities of life were what he dealt with. He had no taste for
the sublime or the beautiful.
Sir Giles had just paid an inquisitorial visit, such as we have
described, to the prison, and was returning homewards over Fleet Bridge,
when he encountered Sir Francis Mitchell, who was coming in quest of
him, and they proceeded to his habitation together. Nothing beyond a
slight greeting passed between them in the street, for Sir Giles was
ever jealous of his slightest word being overheard; but he could see
from his partner's manner that something had occurred to annoy and
irritate him greatly. Sir Giles was in no respect changed since the
reader last beheld him. Habited in the same suit of sables, he still
wore the same mantle, and the same plumed hat, and had the same long
rapier by his side. His deportment, too, was as commanding as before,
and his aspect as stern and menacing.
Sir Francis, however, had not escaped the consequences naturally to be
expected from the punishment inflicted upon him by the apprentices,
being so rheumatic that he could scarcely walk, while a violent cough,
with which he was occasionally seized, and which took its date from the
disastrous day referred to, and had never left him since, threatened to
shake his feeble frame in pieces; this, added to the exasperation under
which he was evidently labouring, was almost too much for him. Three
months seemed to have placed as many years upon his head; or, at all
events, to have taken a vast deal out of his constitution. But,
notwithstanding his increased infirmities, and utter unfitness for the
part he attempted to play, he still affected a youthful air, and still
aped all the extravagances and absurdities in dress and manner of the
gayest and youngest court coxcomb. He was still attired in silks and
satins of the gaudiest hues, still carefully trimmed as to hair and
beard, still redolent of perfumes.
Not without exhibiting considerable impatience, Sir Giles was obliged to
regulate his pace by the slow and tottering steps of his companion, and
was more than once brought to a halt as the lungs of the latter were
convulsively torn by his cough, but at last they reached the house, and
entered the great hall, where the myrmidons were assembled--all of whom
rose on their appearance, and saluted them. There was Captain Bludder,
with his braggart air, attended by some half-dozen Alsatian bullies;
Lupo Vulp, with his crafty looks; and the tipstaves--all, in short, were
present, excepting Clement Lanyere, and Sir Giles knew how to account
for his absence. To the inquiries of Captain Bludder and his associates,
whether they were likely to be required on any business that day, Sir
Giles gave a doubtful answer, and placing some pieces of money in the
Alsatian's hand, bade him repair, with his followers, to the "Rose
Tavern," in Hanging Sword Court, and crush a flask or two of wine, and
then return for orders--an injunction with which the captain willingly
complied. To the tipstaves Sir Giles made no observation, and bidding
Lupo Vulp hold himself in readiness for a summons, he passed on with his
partner to an inner apartment. On Sir Francis gaining it, he sank into
a chair, and was again seized with a fit of coughing that threatened him
with annihilation. When it ceased, he made an effort to commence the
conversation, and Sir Giles, who had been pacing to and fro impatiently
within the chamber, stopped to listen to him.
"You will wonder what business has brought me hither to-day, Sir Giles,"
he said; "and I will keep you no longer in suspense. I have been
insulted, Sir Giles--grievously insulted."
"By whom?" demanded the extortioner.
"By Sir Jocelyn Mounchensey," replied Sir Francis, shaking with passion.
"I have received a degrading insult from him to-day, which ought to be
washed out with his blood."
"What hath he done to you?" inquired the other.
"I will tell you, Sir Giles. I chanced to see him in the court-yard of
the palace of Whitehall, and there being several gallants nigh at hand,
who I thought would take my part--ough! ough! what a plaguey cough I
have gotten, to be sure; but 't is all owing to those cursed
'prentices--a murrain seize 'em! Your patience, sweet Sir Giles, I am
coming to the point--ough! ough! there it takes me again. Well, as I was
saying, thinking the gallants with whom I was conversing would back me,
and perceiving Mounchensey approach us, I thought I might venture"--
"Venture!" repeated Sir Giles, scornfully. "Let not such a disgraceful
word pass your lips."
"I mean, I thought I might take occasion to affront him. Whereupon I
cocked my hat fiercely, as I have seen you and Captain Bludder do, Sir
"Couple me not with the Alsatian, I pray of you, Sir Francis," observed
the extortioner, sharply.
"Your pardon, Sir Giles--your pardon! But as I was saying, I regarded
him with a scowl, and tapped the hilt of my sword. And what think you
the ruffianly fellow did? I almost blush at the bare relation of it.
Firstly, he plucked off my hat, telling me I ought to stand bareheaded
in the presence of gentlemen. Next, he tweaked my nose, and as I turned
round to avoid him, he applied his foot--yes, his foot--to the back of
my trunk-hose; and well was it that the hose were stoutly wadded and
quilted. Fire and fury! Sir Giles, I cannot brook the indignity. And
what was worse, the shameless gallants, who ought to have lent me aid,
were ready to split their sides with laughter, and declared I had only
gotten my due. When I could find utterance for very choler, I told the
villain you would requite him, and he answered he would serve you in the
same fashion, whenever you crossed his path."
"Ha! said he so?" cried Sir Giles, half drawing his sword, while his
eyes flashed fire. "We shall see whether he will make good his words.
Yet no! Revenge must not be accomplished in that way. I have already
told you I am willing to let him pursue his present career undisturbed
for a time, in order to make his fall the greater. I hold him in my
hand, and can crush him when I please."
"Then do not defer your purpose, Sir Giles," said Sir Francis; "or I
must take my own means of setting myself right with him. I cannot
consent to sit down calmly under the provocation I have endured."
"And what will be the momentary gratification afforded by his death--if
such you meditate," returned Sir Giles, "in comparison with hurling him
down from the point he has gained, stripping him of all his honours, and
of such wealth as he may have acquired, and plunging him into the Fleet
Prison, where he will die by inches, and where you yourself may feast
your eyes on his slow agonies? That is true revenge; and you are but a
novice in the art of vengeance if you think your plan equal to mine. It
is for this--and this only--that I have spared him so long. I have
suffered him to puff himself up with pride and insolence, till he is
ready to burst. But his day of reckoning is at hand, and then he shall
pay off the long arrears he owes us."
"Well, Sir Giles, I am willing to leave the matter with you," said Sir
Francis; "but it is hard to be publicly insulted, and have injurious
epithets applied to you, and not obtain immediate redress."
"I grant you it is so," rejoined Sir Giles; "but you well know you are
no match for him at the sword."
"If I am not, others are--Clement Lanyere, for instance," cried Sir
Francis. "He has more than once arranged a quarrel for me."
"And were it an ordinary case, I would advise that the arrangement of
this quarrel should be left to Lanyere," said Sir Giles; "or I myself
would undertake it for you. But that were only half revenge. No; the
work must be done completely; and the triumph you will gain in the end
will amply compensate you for the delay."
"Be it so, then," replied Sir Francis. "But before I quit the subject, I
may remark, that one thing perplexes me in the sudden rise of this
upstart, and that is that he encounters no opposition from Buckingham.
Even the King, I am told, has expressed his surprise that the jealous
Marquis should view one who may turn out a rival with so much apparent
"It is because Buckingham has no fear of him," replied Sir Giles. "He
knows he has but to say the word, and the puppet brought forward by De
Gondomar--for it is by him that Mounchensey is supported--will be
instantly removed; but as he also knows, that another would be set up,
he is content to let him occupy the place for a time."
"Certes, if Mounchensey had more knowledge of the world he would
distrust him," said Sir Francis, "because in my opinion Buckingham
overacts his part, and shows him too much attention. He invites him, as
I am given to understand, to all his masques, banquets, and revels at
York House, and even condescends to flatter him. Such conduct would
awaken suspicion in any one save the object of it."
"I have told you Buckingham's motive, and therefore his conduct will no
longer surprise you. Have you heard of the wager between De Gondomar and
the Marquis, in consequence of which a trial of skill is to be made in
the Tilt-yard to-morrow? Mounchensey is to run against Buckingham, and I
leave you to guess what the result will be. I myself am to be among the
"You!" exclaimed Sir Francis.
"Even I," replied Sir Giles, with a smile of gratified vanity. "Now,
mark me, Sir Francis. I have a surprise for you. It is not enough for me
to hurl this aspiring youth from his proud position, and cover him with
disgrace--it is not enough to immure him in the Fleet; but I will
deprive him of his choicest treasure--of the object of his devoted
"Ay, indeed!" exclaimed Sir Francis.
"By my directions Clement Lanyere has kept constant watch over him, and
has discovered that the young man's heart is fixed upon a maiden of
great beauty, named Aveline Calveley, daughter of the crazy Puritan who
threatened the King's life some three or four months ago at Theobalds."
"I mind me of the circumstance," observed Sir Francis.
"This maiden lives in great seclusion with an elderly dame, but I have
found out her retreat. I have said that Sir Jocelyn is enamoured of her,
and she is by no means insensible to his passion. But a bar exists to
their happiness. Almost with his last breath, a promise was extorted
from his daughter by Hugh Calveley, that if her hand should be claimed
within a year by one to whom he had engaged her, but with whose name
even she was wholly unacquainted, she would unhesitatingly give it to
"And will the claim be made?"
"And think you she will fulfil her promise?"
"I am sure of it. A dying father's commands are sacred with one like
"Have you seen her, Sir Giles? Is she so very beautiful as represented?"
"I have not yet seen her; but she will be here anon. And you can then
judge for yourself."
"She here!" exclaimed Sir Francis. "By what magic will you bring her
"By a spell that cannot fail in effect," replied Sir Giles, with a grim
smile. "I have summoned her in her father's name. I have sent for her
to tell her that her hand will be claimed."
"By whom?" inquired Sir Francis.
"That is my secret," replied Sir Giles.
At this juncture there was a tap at the door, and Sir Giles, telling the
person without to enter, it was opened by Clement Lanyere, wrapped in
his long mantle, and with his countenance hidden by his mask.
"They are here," he said.
"The damsel and the elderly female?" cried Sir Giles.
And receiving a response in the affirmative from the promoter, he bade
him usher them in at once.
The next moment Aveline, attended by a decent-looking woman, somewhat
stricken in years, entered the room. They were followed by Clement
Lanyere. The maiden was attired in deep mourning, and though looking
very pale, her surpassing beauty produced a strong impression upon Sir
Francis Mitchell, who instantly arose on seeing her, and made her a
profound, and, as he considered, courtly salutation.
Without bestowing any attention on him, Aveline addressed herself to Sir
Giles, whose look filled her with terror.
"Why have you sent for me, Sir?" she demanded.
"I have sent for you, Aveline Calveley, to remind you of the promise
made by you to your dying father," he rejoined.
"Ah!" she exclaimed; "then my forebodings of ill are realized."
"I know you consider that promise binding," pursued Sir Giles; "and it
is only necessary for me to announce to you that, in a week from this
time, your hand will be claimed in marriage."
"Alas! alas!" she cried, in accents of despair. "But who will claim
it?--and how can the claim be substantiated?" she added, recovering
herself in some degree.
"You will learn at the time I have appointed," replied Sir Giles. "And
now, having given you notice to prepare for the fulfilment of an
engagement solemnly contracted by your father, and as solemnly agreed to
by yourself, I will no longer detain you."
Aveline gazed at him with wonder and terror, and would have sought for
some further explanation; but perceiving from the inflexible expression
of his countenance that any appeal would be useless, she quitted the
room with her companion.
"I would give half I possess to make that maiden mine," cried Sir
Francis, intoxicated with admiration of her beauty.
"Humph!" exclaimed Sir Giles. "More difficult matters have been
accomplished. Half your possessions, say you? She is not worth so much.
Assign to me your share of the Mounchensey estates and she shall be
"I will do it, Sir Giles--I will do it," cried the old usurer, eagerly;
"but you must prove to me first that you can make good your words."
"Pshaw! Have I ever deceived you, man? But rest easy. You shall be fully
"Then call in Lupo Vulp, and let him prepare the assignment at once,"
cried Sir Francis. "I shall have a rare prize; and shall effectually
revenge myself on this detested Mounchensey."
Of the Wager between the Conde de Gondomar and the Marquis of
At a banquet given at Whitehall, attended by all the principal lords and
ladies of the court, a wager was laid between the Conde de Gondomar and
the Marquis of Buckingham, the decision of which was referred to the
The circumstance occurred in this way. The discourse happened to turn
upon jousting, and the magnificent favourite, who was held unrivalled in
all martial exercises and chivalrous sports, and who, confident in his
own skill, vauntingly declared that he had never met his match in the
tilt-yard; whereupon the Spanish Ambassador, willing to lower his pride,
immediately rejoined, that he could, upon the instant, produce a better
man-at-arms than he; and so certain was he of being able to make good
his words, that he was willing to stake a thousand doubloons to a
hundred on the issue of a trial.
To this Buckingham haughtily replied, that he at once accepted the
Ambassador's challenge; but in regard to the terms of the wager, they
must be somewhat modified, as he could not accept them as proposed; but
he was willing to hazard on the result of the encounter all the gems,
with which at the moment his habiliments were covered, against the
single diamond clasp worn by De Gondomar; and if the offer suited his
Excellency, he had nothing to do but appoint the day, and bring forward
De Gondomar replied, that nothing could please him better than the
Marquis's modification of the wager, and the proposal was quite
consistent with the acknowledged magnificence of his Lordship's notions;
yet he begged to make one further alteration, which was, that in the
event of the knight he should nominate being adjudged by his Majesty to
be the best jouster, the rich prize might be delivered to him.
Buckingham assented, and the terms of the wager being now fully settled,
it only remained to fix the day for the trial, and this was referred to
the King, who appointed the following Thursday--thus allowing, as the
banquet took place on a Friday, nearly a week for preparation.
James, also, good-naturedly complied with the Ambassador's request, and
agreed to act as judge on the occasion; and he laughingly remarked to
Buckingham--"Ye are demented, Steenie, to risk a' those precious stanes
with which ye are bedecked on the skill with which ye can yield a frail
lance. We may say unto you now in the words of the poet--
'Pendebant ter ti gemmata monilia collo;'
but wha shall say frae whose round throat those gemmed collars and
glittering ouches will hang a week hence, if ye be worsted? Think of
that, my dear dog."
"Your Majesty need be under no apprehension," replied Buckingham. "I
shall win and wear his Excellency's diamond clasp. And now, perhaps, the
Count will make us acquainted with the name and title of my puissant
adversary, on whose address he so much relies. Our relative chances of
success will then be more apparent. If, however, any motives for secrecy
exist, I will not press the inquiry, but leave the disclosure to a more
"_Nunc est narrandi tempus_," rejoined the King. "No time like the
present. We are anxious to ken wha the hero may be."
"I will not keep your Majesty a moment in suspense," said De Gondomar.
"The young knight whom I design to select as the Marquis's opponent, and
whom I am sure will feel grateful for having such means of honourable
distinction afforded him, is present at the banquet."
"Here!" exclaimed James, looking round. "To whom do you refer, Count? It
cannot be Sir Gilbert Gerrard, or Sir Henry Rich; for--without saying
aught in disparagement of their prowess--neither of them is a match for
Buckingham! Ah! save us! We hae it. Ye mean Sir Jocelyn Mounchensey."
And as the Ambassador acknowledged that his Majesty was right, all eyes
were turned towards the young knight, who, though as much surprised as
any one else, could not help feeling greatly elated.
"Aweel, Count," said James, evidently pleased, "ye might hae made a waur
choice--that we are free to confess. We begin to tremble for your braw
"They are safer than I expected," replied Buckingham, disdainfully. But
though he thus laughed it off, it was evident he was displeased, and he
muttered to his confidential friend, Lord Mordaunt,--"I see through it
all: this is a concerted scheme to bring this aspiring galliard forward;
but he shall receive a lesson for his presumption he shall not easily
forget, while, at the same time, those who make use of him for their own
purposes shall be taught the risk they incur in daring to oppose me. The
present opportunity shall not be neglected."
Having formed this resolution, Buckingham, to all appearance, entirely
recovered his gaiety, and pressed the King to give importance to the
trial by allowing it to take place in the royal tilt-yard at Whitehall,
and to extend the number of jousters to fourteen--seven on one side, and
seven on the other. The request was readily granted by the monarch, who
appeared to take a stronger interest in the match than Buckingham
altogether liked, and confirmed him in his determination of ridding
himself for ever of the obstacle in his path presented by Mounchensey.
The number of jousters being agreed upon, it was next decided that the
party with whom Buckingham was to range should be headed by the Duke of
Lennox; while Mounchensey's party was to be under the command of Prince
Charles; and though the disposition was too flattering to his adversary
to be altogether agreeable to the haughty favourite, he could not raise
any reasonable objection to it, and was therefore obliged to submit with
the best grace he could.
The two parties were then distributed in the following order by the
King:--On the side of the Duke of Lennox, besides Buckingham himself,
were the Earls of Arundel and Pembroke, and the Lords Clifford and
Mordaunt; and while the King was hesitating as to the seventh, Sir Giles
Mompesson was suggested by the Marquis, and James, willing to oblige his
favourite, adopted the proposition. On the side of Prince Charles were
ranked the Marquis of Hamilton, the Earls of Montgomery, Rutland, and
Dorset, Lord Walden, and, of course, Sir Jocelyn Mounchensey. These
preliminaries being fully adjusted, other topics were started, and the
carouse, which had been in some degree interrupted, was renewed, and
continued, with the entertainments that succeeded it, till past
Not a little elated by the high compliment paid to his prowess by the
Spanish Ambassador, and burning to break a lance with Buckingham, Sir
Jocelyn resolved to distinguish himself at the trial. Good luck, of
late, had invariably attended him. Within the last few weeks, he had
been appointed one of the Gentlemen of his Majesty's Bed-chamber; and
this was looked upon as the stepping-stone to some more exalted post.
Supported by the influence of De Gondomar, and upheld by his own
personal merits, which by this time, in spite of all hostility towards
him, had begun to be appreciated; with the King himself most favourably
inclined towards him, and Prince Charles amicably disposed; with many of
the courtiers proffering him service, who were anxious to throw off
their forced allegiance to the overweening favourite, and substitute
another in his stead: with all these advantages, it is not to be
wondered at, that in a short space of time he should have established a
firm footing on that smooth and treacherous surface, the pavement of a
palace, and have already become an object of envy and jealousy to many,
and of admiration to a few.
Possessing the faculty of adapting himself to circumstances, Sir Jocelyn
conducted himself with rare discretion; and while avoiding giving
offence, never suffered a liberty to be taken with himself; and having
on the onset established a character for courage, he was little
afterwards molested. It was creditable to him, that in a court where
morality was at so low an ebb as that of James I., he should have
remained uncorrupted; and that not all the allurements of the numerous
beauties by whom he was surrounded, and who exerted their blandishments
to ensnare him, could tempt him for a moment's disloyalty to the object
of his affections. It was creditable, that at the frequent orgies he was
compelled to attend, where sobriety was derided, and revelry pushed to
its furthest limits, he was never on any occasion carried beyond the
bounds of discretion. It was still more creditable to him, that in such
venal and corrupt days he maintained his integrity perfectly unsullied.
Thus severely tested, the true worth of his character was proved, and he
came from the ordeal without a blemish.
The many excellent qualities that distinguished the newly-made knight
and gentleman of the bed-chamber, combined with his remarkable personal
advantages and conciliatory manner, considerably improved by the polish
he had recently acquired, drew, as we have intimated, the attention of
the second personage in the kingdom towards him. Struck by his manner,
and by the sentiments he expressed, Prince Charles took frequent
opportunities of conversing with him, and might have conceived a regard
for him but for the jealous interference of Buckingham, who, unable to
brook a rival either with the King or Prince, secretly endeavoured to
set both against him. Such, however, was Sir Jocelyn's consistency of
character, such his solidity of judgment and firmness, and such the
respect he inspired, that he seemed likely to triumph over all the
insidious snares planned for him. Things were in this state when the
trial of skill in jousting was proposed by De Gondomar. The wily
Ambassador might have--and probably had--some secret motive in making
the proposal; but whatever it was, it was unknown to his _protege_.
A Cloud in the Horizon.
But it must not be imagined that Sir Jocelyn's whole time was passed in
attendance on the court. Not a day flew by that he did not pay a visit
to Aveline. She had taken a little cottage, where she dwelt in perfect
seclusion, with one female attendant, old Dame Sherborne,--the same who
had accompanied her on her compulsory visit to Sir Giles Mompesson,--and
her father's faithful old servant, Anthony Rocke. To this retreat,
situated in the then rural neighbourhood adjoining Holborn, Sir Jocelyn,
as we have said, daily repaired, and the moments so spent were the most
delicious of his life. The feelings of regard entertained for him from
the first by Aveline, had by this time ripened into love; yet, mindful
of her solemn promise to her father, she checked her growing affection
as much as lay in her power, and would not, at first, permit any words
of tenderness to be uttered by him. As weeks, however, and even months,
ran on, and no one appeared to claim her hand, she began to indulge the
hope that the year of probation would expire without molestation, and
insensibly, and almost before she was aware of it, Sir Jocelyn had
become complete master of her heart. In these interviews, he told her
all that occurred to him at court--acquainted her of his hopes of
aggrandisement--and induced her to listen to his expectations of a
brilliant future, to be shared by them together.
The severe shock Aveline had sustained in the death of her father had
gradually worn away, and, if not free from occasional depression, she
was still enabled to take a more cheerful view of things. Never had she
seen Sir Jocelyn so full of ardour as on the day after the banquet, when
he came to communicate the intelligence of the jousts, and that he was
selected to essay his skill against that of Buckingham. The news,
however, did not produce upon her the effect he expected. Not only she
could not share his delight, but she was seized with anticipations of
coming ill, in connection with this event, for which she could not
account. Nor could all that Jocelyn said remove her misgivings; and, in
consequence, their meeting was sadder than usual.
On the next day, these forebodings of impending calamity were most
unexpectedly realised. A mysterious personage, wrapped in a long black
cloak, and wearing a mask, entered her dwelling without standing upon
the ceremony of tapping at the door. His presence occasioned her much
alarm, and it was not diminished when he told her, in a stern, and
peremptory tone, that she must accompany him to Sir Giles Mompesson's
habitation. Refusing to give any explanation of the cause of this
strange summons, he said she would do well to comply with it,--that,
indeed, resistance would be idle as Sir Giles was prepared to enforce
his orders; and that he himself would he responsible for her safety.
Compelled to be satisfied with these assurances, Aveline yielded to the
apparent necessity of the case, and set forth with him, attended by Dame
Sherbourne. With what passed during her interview with the extortioner
the reader is already acquainted. She had anticipated something
dreadful; but the reality almost exceeded her anticipations. So
overpowered was she by the painful intelligence, that it was with
difficulty she reached home, and the rest of the day was occupied with
anxious reflection. Evening as usual brought her lover. She met him at
the door, where he tied his horse, and they entered the little dwelling
together. The shades of night were coming on apace, and in consequence
of the gloom he did not remark the traces of distress on her
countenance, but went on with the theme uppermost in his mind.
"I know you have ever avoided shows and triumphs," he said; "but I wish
I could induce you to make an exception in favour of this tilting-match,
and consent to be present at it. The thought that you were looking on
would nerve my arm, and make me certain of success."
"Even if I would, I cannot comply with your request," she replied, in
an agitated tone. "Prepare yourself, Jocelyn. I have bad news for you."
He started; and the vision of delight, in which he had been indulging,
vanished at once.
"The worst news you could have to tell me, would be that the claim had
been made," he observed. "I trust it is not that?"
"It is better to know the worst at once. I have received undoubted
information that the claim _will_ be made."
A cry of anguish escaped Sir Jocelyn, as if a severe blow had been dealt
him--and he could scarcely articulate the inquiry, "By whom?"
"That I know not," she rejoined. "But the ill tidings have been
communicated to me by Sir Giles Mompesson."
"Sir Giles Mompesson!" exclaimed Sir Jocelyn, scarcely able to credit
what he heard. "Your father would never have surrendered you to him. It
is impossible he could have made any compact with such a villain."
"I do not say that he did; and if he had done so, I would die a thousand
deaths, and incur all the penalties attached to the sin of disobedience,
rather than fulfil it. Sir Giles is merely the mouth-piece of another,
who will not disclose himself till he appears to exact fulfilment of the
"But, be it whomsoever it may, the claim never can be granted," cried
Sir Jocelyn, in a voice of agony. "You will not consent to be bound by
such a contract. You will not thus sacrifice yourself. It is out of all
reason. Your father's promise cannot bind you. He had no right to
destroy his child. Will you listen to my council, Aveline?" he
continued, vehemently. "You have received this warning, and though it is
not likely to have been given with any very friendly design, still you
may take advantage of it, and avoid by flight the danger to which you
"Impossible," she answered. "I could not reconcile such a course to my
conscience, or to my reverence for my father's memory."
"There is still another course open to you," he pursued, "if you choose
to adopt it; and that is, to take a stop which shall make the fulfilment
of this promise impossible."
"I understand you," she replied; "but that is equally out of the
question. Often and often have I thought over this matter, and with much
uneasiness; but I cannot relieve myself of the obligation imposed upon
"O Aveline!" cried Sir Jocelyn. "If you allow yourself, by any fancied
scruples, to be forced into a marriage repugnant to your feelings, you
will condemn both yourself and me to misery."
"I know it--I feel it; and yet there is no escape," she cried, "Were I
to act on your suggestions, and fly from this threatened danger, or
remove it altogether by a marriage with you--were I to disobey my
father, I should never know a moment's peace."
There was a brief pause, interrupted only by her sobs. At length Sir
Jocelyn exclaimed quickly,
"Perhaps, we may be unnecessarily alarming ourselves, and this may only
be a trick of Sir Giles Mompesson. He may have heard of the promise you
have made to your father, and may try to frighten you. But whoever is
put forward must substantiate his claim."
As those words were uttered, there was a slight noise in the apartment,
and looking up, they beheld the dusky figure of Clement Lanyere, masked
and cloaked, as was his wont, standing beside them.
"You here?" cried Sir Jocelyn, in astonishment.
"Ay," replied the promoter; "I am come to tell you that this is no idle
fear,--that the claim _will_ be made, and _will_ be substantiated."
"Ah!" exclaimed Aveline, in a tone of anguish.
"You will not seek to evade it, I know, young mistress," replied the
promoter; "and therefore, as you have truly said, there is no escape."
"Only let me know the claimant's name," cried Sir Jocelyn, "and I will
engage he shall never fulfill his design."
"O no; this must not be--you must not resort to violence," said
Aveline. "I will never consent to owe my deliverance to such means."
"You shall have all the information you require after the jousts on
Thursday," said Lanyere; "and let the thought strengthen your arm in the
strife, for if you fail, Aveline Calveley will have no protector in the
hour of need."
With this, he departed as suddenly and mysteriously as he had come.
The Tilt-yard at Whitehall, where the jousting was appointed to take
place, was situated on the westerly side of the large area in front of
the old Banqueting House (destroyed by fire soon after the date of this
history, and replaced by the stately structure planned by Inigo Jones,
still existing), and formed part of a long range of buildings
appertaining to the palace, and running parallel with it in a northerly
direction from Westminster, devoted to purposes of exercise and
recreation, and including the Tennis-court, the Bowling-alley, the
Manage, and the Cock-pit.
A succession of brick walls, of various heights, and surmounted by roofs
of various forms and sizes, marked the position of these buildings, in
reference to Saint James's Park, which they skirted on the side next to
King Street. They were mainly, if not entirely erected, in 1532 by Henry
VIII., when, after his acquisition from Wolsey, by forfeiture, of
Whitehall, he obtained by exchange from the Abbot and Convent of
Westminister all their uninclosed land contiguous to his newly-acquired
palace, and immediately fenced it round, and converted it into a park.
To a monarch so fond of robust sports and manly exercises of all kinds
as our bluff Harry, a tilt-yard was indispensable; and he erected one on
a grand scale, and made it a place of constant resort. Causing a space
of one hundred and fifty yards in length and fifty in width to be
inclosed and encircled by lofty walls, he fixed against the inner side
large scaffolds, containing two tiers of seats, partitioned from each
other like boxes in a theatre, for the accommodation of spectators. At
the southern extremity of the inclosure he reared a magnificent gallery,
which he set apart for his consort and the ladies in attendance upon
her. This was decorated with velvet, and hung with curtains of cloth of
gold. On grand occasions, when all the court was present, the whole of
the seats on the scaffolds, previously described, were filled with
bright-eyed beauties, whose looks and plaudits stimulated to deeds of
high emprise the knights, who styled themselves their "servants," and
besought "favours" from them in the shape of a scarf, a veil, a sleeve,
a bracelet, a ringlet, or a knot of ribands. At such times Henry himself
would enter the lists; and, in his earlier days, and before he became
too unwieldy for active exertion, no ruder antagonist with the lance or
sword could be found than he. Men indeed, existed in his days, very
different in hardihood of frame and personal strength from the silken
sybarites, enervated by constant riot and dissipation, who aped the
deeds of arms of their grandfathers in the time of James the First.
But the tilt-yard was by no means neglected by Elizabeth. This
lion-hearted queen encouraged a taste for chivalrous displays, and took
almost as much delight in such exhibitions as her stalwart sire. During
her long reign no festivity was thought complete unless jousting was
performed. The name of the gallant Sir Philip Sidney need only be
mentioned, to show that she possessed at least one perfect "mirror of
chivalry" amongst her courtiers; but her chief favourites, Essex and
Leicester, were both distinguished for knightly prowess. Many a lance
was splintered by them in her honour. When the French Embassy arrived in
London to treat of a marriage between Elizabeth and the Duc d'Anjou, and
when a grand temporary banqueting-house, three hundred and thirty feet
long, and covered with canvas, was improvised for the occasion, a
magnificent tournament was given in the tilt-yard in honour of the
distinguished visitors. Old Holinshed tells us, that--"the gallery or
place at the end of the tilt-yard, adjoining to her Majesty's house at
Whitehall, where, as her person should be placed, was called, and not
without cause, the Castle or Fortress of Perfect Beauty, for as much as
her highness should be there included." And he also gives a curious
description of the framework used by the besiegers of the fortress.
"They had provided," he says, "a frame of wood, which was covered with
canvas, and painted outwardly in such excellent order, as if it had been
very natural earth or mould, and carried the name of a rolling-trench,
which went on wheels which way soever the persons within did drive it.
Upon the top thereof were placed two cannons of wood, so passing well
coloured, as they seemed to be, indeed, two fair field pieces of
ordnance; and by them were placed two men for gunners, clothed in
crimson sarcenet, with their baskets of earth for defence of their
bodies by them. And also there stood on the top of the trench an
ensign-bearer, in the same suit with the gunners, displaying his ensign,
and within the said trench was cunningly conveyed divers kinds of most
excellent music against the Castle of Beauty. These things thus all in
readiness, the challengers approached, and came down the stable toward
the tilt-yard." The challengers were the Earl of Arundel, Lord Windsor,
Sir Philip Sidney, and Sir Fulke Greville; and the defenders were very
numerous, and amongst them was the doughty Sir Harry Lee, who, as the
"unknown knight," broke "six staves right valiantly." All the speeches
made by the challengers and defenders are reported by Holinshed, who
thus winds up his description of the first day's triumph:--"These
speeches being ended, both they and the rest marched about the
tilt-yard, and so going back to the nether end thereof, prepared
themselves to run, every one in his turn, each defendant six courses
against the former challengers, who performed their parts so valiantly
on both sides, that their prowess hath demerited perpetual memory, and
worthily won honour, both to themselves and their native country, as
fame hath the same reported." And of the second day he thus
writes:--"Then went they to the tourney, where they did very nobly, as
the shivering of the swords might very well testify; and after that to
the barriers, where they lashed it out lustily, and fought courageously,
as if the Greeks and Trojans had dealt their deadly dole. No party was
spared, no estate excepted, but each knight endeavoured to win the
golden fleece, that expected either fame or the favour of his mistress,
which sport continued all the same day." These pageantries were of
frequent occurrence, and the pages of the picturesque old chronicler
above-cited abound with descriptions of them. Yet, in spite of the
efforts of Elizabeth to maintain its splendour undiminished, the star of
chivalry was rapidly declining, to disappear for ever in the reign of
The glitter of burnished steel, the clash of arms, the rude encounter,
and all other circumstances attendant upon the arena of martial sport,
that had given so much delight to his predecessors, afforded little
pleasure to James; as how should they, to a prince whose constitutional
timidity was so great that he shuddered at the sight of a drawn sword,
and abhorred the mimic representations of warfare! Neither were the
rigorous principles of honour on which chivalry was based, nor the
obligations they imposed, better suited to him. Too faithless by nature
to adopt the laws of a Court of Honour, he derided the institution as
obsolete. Nevertheless, as trials of skill and strength in the tilt-yard
were still in fashion, he was compelled, though against his inclination,
to witness them, and in some degree to promote them. The day of his
accession to the throne--the 24th March--was always celebrated by
tilting and running at the ring, and similar displays were invariably
made in honour of any important visitor to the court.
Even in this reign something of a revival of the ancient ardour for
knightly pastimes took place during the brief career of Prince Henry,
who, if he had lived to fulfil the promise of his youth, would have
occupied a glorious page in his country's annals, and have saved it, in
all probability, from its subsequent convulsions and intestine strife.
Inuring himself betimes to the weight of armour, this young prince
became exceedingly expert in the use of all weapons--could toss the
pike, couch the lance, and wield the sword, the battle-axe, or the mace,
better than any one of his years. The tilt-yard and the tennis-court
were his constant places of resort, and he was ever engaged in robust
exercises--too much so, indeed, for a somewhat feeble constitution.
Prince Henry indulged the dream of winning back Calais from France, and
would no doubt have attempted the achievement if he had lived.
Of a more reflective cast of mind than his elder brother, and with
tastes less martial, Prince Charles still sedulously cultivated all the
accomplishments, proper to a cavalier. A perfect horseman, and well
skilled in all the practices of the tilt-yard--he was a model of
courtesy and grace; but he had not Prince Henry's feverish and consuming
passion for martial sports, nor did he, like him, make their pursuit the
sole business of life. Still, the pure flame of chivalry burnt within
his breast, and he fully recognised its high and ennobling principles,
and accepted the obligations they imposed. And in this respect, as in
most others, he differed essentially from his august father.
The tilt-yard, and the various buildings adjoining it, already
enumerated, were approached by two fine gates, likewise erected by Henry
VIII., one of which, of extraordinary beauty, denominated the Cock-pit
Gate, was designed by the celebrated painter, Hans Holbein. From an
authority we learn that it was "built of square stone, with small
squares of flint boulder, very neatly set; and that it had also
battlements, and four lofty towers, the whole being enriched with
bustos, roses, and portcullises." The other gate, scarcely less
beautiful, and styled the Westminster Gate, was adorned with statues and
medallions, and the badges of the royal house of Tudor carved in stone.
Viewed from the summit of one of the tall turrets of the Holbein Gate,
the appearance of the palace of Whitehall, at the period of our history,
was exceedingly picturesque and striking--perhaps more so than at any
previous or subsequent epoch, since the various structures of which it
was composed were just old enough to have acquired a time-honoured
character, while they were still in tolerable preservation.
Let us glance at it, then, from this point, and first turn towards the
great Banqueting House, which presents to us a noble and lengthened
facade, and contains within a magnificent and lofty hall, occupying
nearly its full extent, besides several other apartments of regal size
and splendour. In this building, in former days, with a retinue as
princely as that of the King himself, Wolsey so often and so sumptuously
entertained his royal master, that he at last provoked his anger by his
ostentation, and was bereft of his superb abode. Satisfied with our
examination of the Banqueting House, we will suffer our gaze to fall
upon the broad court beyond it, and upon the numerous irregular but
picturesque and beautiful structures by which that court--quadrangle it
cannot be called, for no uniformity is observed in the disposition of
the buildings--is surrounded. Here the eye is attracted by a confused
mass of roofs, some flat, turreted and embattled, some pointed, with
fantastical gables and stacks of tall chimneys--others with cupolas and
tall clock-towers--others with crocketed pinnacles, and almost all with
large gilt vanes. A large palace is a city in miniature; and so is it
with Whitehall. It has two other courts besides the one we are
surveying; equally crowded round with buildings, equally wanting in
uniformity, but equally picturesque. On the east it extends to Scotland
Yard, and on the west to the open space in front of Westminster Hall.
The state apartments face the river, and their large windows look upon
Quitting the exalted position we have hitherto assumed, and viewing
Whitehall from some bark on the Thames, we shall find that it has a
stern and sombre look, being castellated, in part, with towers like
those over Traitor's Gate, commanding the stairs that approach it from
the river. The Privy Gardens are beautifully laid out in broad terrace
walks, with dainty parterres, each having a statue in the midst, while
there is a fountain in the centre of the inclosure. In addition to the
gardens, and separated from them by an avenue of tall trees, is a
spacious bowling-green. Again changing our position, we discover, on the
south of the gardens, and connected with the state apartments, a long
ambulatory, called the Stone Gallery. Then returning to our first post
of observation, and taking a bird's-eye view of the whole, after
examining it in detail, as before mentioned, we come to the conclusion,
that, though irregular in the extreme, and with no pretension whatever
to plan in its arrangement, the Palace of Whitehall is eminently
picturesque, and imposing from its vast extent. If taken in connection
with Westminster Hall, the Parliament House, and the ancient Abbey--with
the two towering gateways, on one of which we, ourselves, are
perched--with the various structures appertaining to it, and skirting
Saint James's Park, and with the noble gothic cross at Charing, we are
fain to acknowledge, that it constitutes a very striking picture.
There is now great stir within the palace, and its principal court is
full of horsemen, some of them apparelled in steel, and with their
steeds covered with rich trappings, and all attended by pages and yeomen
in resplendent liveries. Besides these, there are trumpeters in crimson
cassocks, mounted on goodly horses, and having their clarions adorned
with silken pennons, on which the royal arms are broidered. Then there
are kettle-drummers and other musicians, likewise richly arrayed and
well mounted, and the various pages, grooms, and officers belonging to
the Prince of Wales, standing around his charger, which is caparisoned
with white and gold.
Distinguishable even amidst this brilliant and knightly throng is Sir
Jocelyn Mounchensey. Mounted upon a fiery Spanish barb, presented to him
by the Conde de Gondomar, he is fully equipped for the jousts. The
trappings of his steed are black and white velvet, edged with silver,
and the plumes upon his helmet are of the same colours, mingled. He is
conversing with the Spanish Ambassador, who, like all the rest, is
superbly attired, though not in armour, and is followed by a crowd of
lacqueys in jerkins and hose of black satin, guarded with silver.
An unusual degree of bustle proclaims the approach of some personage of
This is soon made known to be the Marquis of Buckingham. His arrival is
announced by loud flourishes from the six mounted trumpeters by whom he
is preceded. Their horses are caparisoned with orange-coloured taffeta,
while they themselves are habited in gaberdines of the same stuff. After
the trumpeters come four gentlemen ushers, and four pages, mounted on
his spare horses, and habited in orange-coloured doublets and hose, with
yellow plumes in their caps. To them succeed the grooms in mandilions,
or loose sleeveless jackets, leading the Marquis's charger, which is to
run in the lists--a beautiful dark bay jennet--trapped with green
velvet, sewn with pearls, and pounced with gold. Next comes Buckingham
himself, in a magnificent suit of armour, engraved and damaskeened with
gold, with an aigret of orange feathers nodding on his casque. Thus
apparelled, it is impossible to imagine a nobler or more chivalrous
figure than he presents. Though completely cased in steel, his
magnificent person seems to have lost none of its freedom of movement,
and he bears himself with as much grace and ease as if clad in his
customary habiliments of silk and velvet. For the moment he rides a
sorrel horse, whose spirit is too great to allow him to be safely
depended upon in the lists, but who now serves by his fire and
impetuosity to display to advantage his rider's perfect management.
Buckingham is followed by thirty yeomen, apparelled like the pages, and
twenty gentlemen in short cloaks and Venetian hose. He acknowledges the
presence of his antagonist and the Spanish Ambassador, with a courteous
salutation addressed to each, and then riding forward, takes up a
position beside the Duke of Lennox, who, mounted and fully equipped, and
having his five companions-at-arms with him, is awaiting the coming
forth of Prince Charles.
The Duke of Lennox is very sumptuously arrayed in armour, partly blue,
and partly gilt and graven, and his charger is caparisoned with cloth of
gold, embroidered with pearls. Besides this he has four spare horses,
led by his pages, in housings equally gorgeous and costly. These pages
have cassock coats, and Venetian hose, of cloth of silver, laid with
gold lace, and caps with gold bands and white feathers, and white
buskins. His retinue consists of forty gentlemen and yeomen, and four
trumpeters. His companions-at-arms are all splendidly accoutred, and
mounted on richly-caparisoned chargers. The most noticeable figure
amongst them, however, is that of Sir Giles Mompesson; and he attracts
attention from the circumstance of his armour being entirely sable, his
steed jet black, and his housings, plumes, and all his equipments of the
same sombre hue.
At this juncture, a page, in the Prince's livery of white and gold,
approaches Sir Jocelyn, and informs him that his highness desires to
speak with him before they proceed to the tilt-yard. On receiving the
summons the young knight immediately quits De Gondomar, and, following
the page to the doorway leading to the state apartments, dismounts at
the steps, leaving his steed in charge of his youthful companion.
On entering the vestibule he finds a large party assembled, comprising
some of the fairest dames of court, and several noble gallants, who
intend taking no other part than that of spectators in the approaching
tilting-match. Most of them are known to Sir Jocelyn, and they eagerly
crowd round him, fearing something may have occurred to interfere with
the proceedings of the day. The young knight allays their apprehensions,
and after experiencing the kindling influence always produced by the
smiles of the fair, begins to ascend the great staircase, and has nearly
reached the door at its head, communicating with the Stone Gallery, when
it is thrown open by an usher, and Prince Charles comes forth.
The noble countenance of Prince Charles is stamped with the same
gravity, and slightly touched with the same melancholy, which
distinguished his features through life, but which naturally deepened as
misfortune fell upon him. But as those dark days cannot now be
discerned, and, as all seems brilliant around him, and full of brightest
promise, this prophetic melancholy is thought to lend interest to his
handsome features. He is attired in a suit of black armour of exquisite
workmanship, lacking only the helmet, which is carried by a page--as are
the _volante piece_, the _mentonniere_, and the _grande-garde_, intended
to be worn in the field. On seeing Sir Jocelyn, he pauses, and signs to
his attendants to stand back.
"I have sent for you, Sir Jocelyn," he said, "to ascertain whether it is
true that Sir Giles Mompesson is amongst the Duke of Lennox's party."
"It is perfectly true, your highness," replied Sir Jocelyn; "he is now
in the court-yard."
A shade of displeasure crossed the Prince's noble countenance, and his
"I am sorry to hear it; and but that I should grievously offend the
King, my father, I would forbid him to take part in the jousts," he
cried. "Sir Giles deserves to be degraded from knighthood, rather than
enjoy any of its honourable privileges."
"Entertaining these sentiments, if your highness will make them known to
the King, he will doubtless order Sir Giles's immediate withdrawal from
the lists," said Sir Jocelyn. "Most assuredly he is unworthy to enter
"Not so," rejoined the Prince. "I have already represented the matter
to his Majesty, and trusted my remonstrances would be attended to. But I
find they have proved ineffectual. Buckingham, it appears, has more
weight than I have. Yet this notorious extortioner's insolence and
presumption ought not to pass unpunished."
"They shall not, your highness," replied Sir Jocelyn. "I will so deal
with him that I will warrant he will never dare show himself within the
precincts of the palace again."
"Do nothing rashly," said the Prince. "You must not disguise from
yourself that you may displease the King, and provoke Buckingham's
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