The Star-Chamber, Volume 2
W. Harrison Ainsworth
Part 2 out of 4
"I cannot help it," returned Sir Jocelyn. "I will insult him, if he
crosses my path."
"I cannot blame you," said the Prince. "In your position I should do the
same; and I am only restrained by the injunctions laid upon me by the
King, from commanding his instant departure. But I must proceed towards
the tilt-yard. We shall meet again anon."
With this he descended the staircase; and as soon as his train of
gentlemen-ushers and pages had passed on, Sir Jocelyn followed, and
making his way through the still-crowded vestibule, gained the door, and
vaulted on the back of his steed.
The old Palace-Yard of Westminster.
The throng outside the gates of Whitehall felt their breasts dilate, and
their pulses dance, as they listened to the flourishes of the trumpets
and cornets, the thundering bruit of the kettle-drums, and other martial
music that proclaimed the setting forth of the steel-clad champions who
were presently to figure in the lists.
It was, in sooth, a goodly sight to see the long and brilliant
procession formed by the fourteen knights, each so gallantly mounted, so
splendidly accoutred, and accompanied by such a host of gentlemen
ushers, pages, yeomen, and grooms, some on horseback, and some on foot;
and the eye of the looker-on was never wearied of noticing the diversity
of their habiliments,--some of the knights having cuirasses and helmets,
polished as silver, and reflecting the sun's rays as from a
mirror,--some, russet-coloured armour,--some, blue harness,--some,
fluted,--some, corslets damaskeened with gold, and richly
ornamented,--others, black and lacquered breastplates, as was the case
with the harness of Prince Charles,--and one, a dead black coat of mail,
in the instance of Sir Giles Mompesson. The arms of each were slightly
varied, either in make or ornament. A few wore sashes across their
breastplates, and several had knots of ribands tied above the coronals
of their lances, which were borne by their esquires.
In order to give the vast crowd assembled in the neighbourhood of
Whitehall, an opportunity of witnessing as much as possible of the
chivalrous spectacle, it was arranged by Prince Charles that the line of
the procession should first take its course through the Holbein Grate,
and then, keeping near the wall of the Privy Garden, should pass beneath
the King's Gate and draw up for a short time in the Old Palace-yard near
Westminster-hall, where a great concourse was assembled, amidst which a
space was kept clear by parties of halberdiers and yeomen of the guard.
The procession was headed by the Prince, and the stately step of his
milk-white charger well beseemed his own majestic deportment. When the
long train of gentlemen-ushers and pages accompanying him had moved on,
so as to leave the course clear for the next comer and his followers, a
young knight presented himself, who, more than any other in the
procession, attracted the attention of the spectators. This youthful
knight's visor was raised so as to disclose his features, and these were
so comely, that, combined with his finely-proportioned figure, perfectly
displayed by his armour, he offered an _ensemble_ of manly attractions
almost irresistible to female eyes. Nor did the grace and skill which
he exhibited in the management of his steed commend him less highly to
sterner judges, who did not fail to discover that his limbs, though
light, were in the highest degree vigorous and athletic, and they
prognosticated most favourably of his chances of success in the jousts.
When it became known that this _preux chevalier_ was Sir Jocelyn
Mounchensey, the chosen antagonist of Buckingham, still greater
attention was bestowed upon him; and as his good looks and gallant
bearing operated strongly, as we have stated, in his favour, many a good
wish and lusty cheer were uttered for him.
The effect of all this excitement among the crowd on behalf of
Mounchensey was to render Buckingham's reception by the same persons
comparatively cold; and the cheers given for the magnificent favourite
and his princely retinue were so few and so wanting in spirit, that he
who was wholly unaccustomed to such neglect, and who had been jealously
listening to the cheers attending Mounchensey's progress, was highly
offended, and could scarcely conceal his displeasure. But if he was
indignant at his own reception, he was exasperated at the treatment
experienced by his ally.
Close behind him rode a knight in black armour, with a sable panache on
his helm. Stalwart limbs and a manly bearing had this knight, and he
bestrode his powerful charger like one well accustomed to the saddle;
but though no one could gainsay his skill as a horseman, or his possible
prowess as a man-at-arms, most thought he had no title to be there, and
gave unmistakable evidence of their conviction by groans and hootings.
This black knight was Sir Giles Mompesson, and very grim and menacing
was his aspect.
Ample accommodation for the knightly company and their attendants, as
well as for the multitudes congregated to behold them was afforded by
the broad area in front of Westminster Hall; nevertheless, as those in
the rear could not see as well as those in front, every chance elevation
offering a better view was eagerly seized upon. All the accessible
points of Westminster Hall--its carved porch and windows--were invaded.
So were the gates of the Old Palace hard by--so were the buttresses of
the Abbey; and men were perched, like grotesque ornaments, on crocketed
pinnacles and stone water-spouts. The tall and curiously-painted clock
tower, resembling an Italian campanile, which then faced the portals of
Westminster Hall, was covered with spectators. But the position most
coveted, and esteemed the best, was the fountain at that time standing
in the midst of the old palace-yard. This structure, which was of great
antiquity and beauty, with a pointed summit supported by tall slender
shafts, and a large basin beneath, formed a sort of pivot, round which
the procession turned as it arrived upon the ground, and consequently
formed the best point of view of all; and those were esteemed highly
fortunate who managed to obtain a place upon it.
Amongst these lucky individuals were three of the reader's
acquaintances, and we think he will scarce fail to recognise the
saucy-faced apprentice with the cudgel under his arm, and the
fair-haired, blue-eyed, country-looking maiden at his side, as well as
the hale old rustic by whom they were attended. All three were delighted
with their position, and Dick Taverner took full credit to himself for
his cleverness in procuring it for them. As to pretty Gillian, nothing
could please her better, for she could not only see all that was going
forward, but everybody could see her--even Prince Charles himself; and
she flattered herself that she attraeted no little attention. And now
that the whole of the procession had come up, the picture was certainly
magnificent, and well worth contemplation. Everything was favourable to
the enjoyment of the spectacle. The day was bright and beautiful, and a
sparkling sunshine lighted up the splendid accoutrements of the knights,
the gorgeous caparisons of their steeds, and the rich habiliments of
their attendants; while a gentle breeze stirred the plumes upon the
helmets, and fluttered the bandrols on their lances. The effect was
heightened by enlivening strains of minstrelsy, and the fanfares of the
trumpeters. The utmost enthusiasm was awakened among the spectators,
and their acclamations were loud and long.
At this juncture, Dick Taverner, who had been shouting as lustily as the
rest, tossing his cap in the air, and catching it dexterously as it
fell, held his breath and clapped his bonnet on his head, for an object
met his eye which fixed his attention. It was the sombre figure of a
knight accoutred in black armour, who was pressing his steed through the
throng in the direction of the fountain. His beaver was up, and the
sinister countenance was not unknown to the apprentice.
"Saints defend us!" he ejaculated. "Is it possible that can be Sir Giles
Mompesson? What doth he here amidst this noble company? The villainous
extortioner cannot surely be permitted to enter the lists."
"Hold your peace, friend, if you are wise," muttered a deep voice behind
"No, I will not be silent," rejoined the apprentice, without looking
round at his cautioner, but keeping his eye fixed upon Sir Giles. "I
will tell the felon knight my mind. I am not afraid of him. Harkye, my
masters," he called, in a loud voice, to those around him. "Do you know
who that black raven before you is? If not, I will tell you. He would
peck out your eyes if he could, and devour you and your substance, as he
has done that of many others. That bird of ill omen is Sir Giles
"Impossible!" cried a bystander, indignantly. "Yet, now I look again,
'tis certainly he."
"As certain as that we are standing here," said the apprentice; "and if
you want further proof, behold, he is closing his visor. He thinks to
hide himself from our notice; but the trick shall not avail him. A groan
for the knavish extortioner, my masters--a deep groan for Sir Giles
Thus enjoined, a great hooting was made by the bystanders, and Sir
Giles's name was coupled with epithets that could not be very agreeable
to his ear.
"You were best let him alone, fool," cried the deep voice behind Dick.
"You will only bring yourself into trouble."
But the apprentice was not to be thus advised; and could not even be
restrained by the entreaties of Gillian, who was sadly apprehensive that
some mischief would befall him. So conspicuous did he make himself in
the disturbance, that at last Sir Giles rode towards him, and singling
him out, seized him with his gauntleted hand, and dragged him from the
edge of the fountain. Dick struggled manfully to get free, but he was in
a grasp of iron, and all his efforts at releasing himself were
ineffectual. He called on those near him to rescue him, but they shrank
from the attempt. Poor Gillian was dreadfully alarmed. She thought her
lover was about to be sacrificed to Sir Giles's resentment on the spot;
and, falling on her knees, she piteously besought him to spare his life.
"For shame, Gillian," cried Dick; "do not demean yourself thus. The
caitiff knight dares not harm me for his life; and if he should maltreat
me, I shall be well avenged by my patron, Sir Jocelyn Mounchensey. I
would my voice might reach him--I should not long be kept here. To the
rescue! Sir Jocelyn! to the rescue!" And he shouted forth the young
knight's name at the top of his voice.
"Who calls me?" demanded Mounchensey, pressing through the throng in the
direction of the outcries.
"I, your humble follower, Dick Taverner," roared the apprentice; "I am
in the clutches of the devil, and I pray you release me."
"Ha! what is this?" cried Sir Jocelyn. "Set him free, at once, Sir
Giles, I command you."
"What, if I refuse?" rejoined the other.
"Then I will instantly enforce compliance," thundered Mounchensey.
"If I release him it is because I must defend myself and punish your
insolence," cried Sir Giles. And as he spoke, he thrust back the
apprentice with such force that he would have fallen to the ground if he
had not dropped into the arms of his kneeling mistress.
"Now, Sir Jocelyn," continued Sir Giles, fiercely; "you shall answer for
"Hold!" interposed the authoritative voice of Prince Charles; "we must
have no unseemly brawls here. To your places at once in the procession,
Sir Knights. We are about to set forward to the tilt-yard."
With this, he gave the word to move on, and all further sound of
disturbance was drowned by the trampling of steeds and the bruit of the
kettle-drums, cornets, and trumpets.
Nowise disheartened by what had occurred, Dick Taverner would have
followed with the stream, and carried his mistress and her grandsire
along with him; but the former had been so much terrified by what had
occurred, that dreading lest her lover's imprudence should get him into
further scrapes, she positively refused to proceed any further.
"I have seen quite enough," she cried; "and if you have any love for me,
Dick, you will take me away, and not expose yourself to further risk. If
you are indeed bent on going on, I shall return with my grandsire."
"He will do well to follow your advice, young mistress," said the deep
voice which had previously sounded in Dick's ears; "if he had taken
mine, he would not have voluntarily thrust himself into the fangs of the
tiger, from which it is well for him that he has escaped with a whole
As this was said, Dick and his mistress turned towards the speaker, and
beheld a tall man, masked, and muffled in a black cloak.
"Heaven shield us! 'tis the Enemy!" exclaimed Gillian, trembling.
"Not so, fair damsel," replied the disguised personage; "I am not the
arch-enemy of man, neither am I enemy of yours, nor of Dick Taverner.
Your froward lover neglected my previous caution, but I will give him
another, in the hope that you may induce him to profit by it. Let him
keep out of the reach of Sir Giles Mompesson's emissaries, or his
wedding-day will be longer in coming than you both hope for. Nay, it may
not come at all."
With these words, the man in the mask mingled with the crowd, and almost
instantly disappeared, leaving the young couple, especially Gillian, in
much consternation. So earnest was the maiden for instant departure,
that Dick was obliged to comply; and as the whole of the thoroughfares
about Whitehall were impassable, they proceeded to the river side, and
took boat for London Bridge, at a hostel near which old Greenford had
put up his horse.
Meanwhile, the procession was pursuing its slow course towards the
tilt-yard. It returned by the route it had taken in coming; but it now
kept on the north side of King Street, which thoroughfare was divided in
the midst by a railing, and deeply sanded.
Here, as in the area before Westminster-hall, not a wall, not a window,
not a roof, but had its occupants. The towers of the two great gates
were thronged--so were the roofs of the tennis-court and the manege, and
the summit of the cock-pit; the latter, indeed, was a capital position
inasmuch as it not only afforded an excellent view of the procession,
but commanded the interior of the tilt-yard. No wonder, therefore, that
great efforts should be made to obtain a place upon it, nor is it
surprising that our old friend, Madame Bonaventure, who had by no means
lost her influence among the court gallants, though she lacked, the
support of Lord Roos, owing to the absence of that young nobleman upon
his travels,--it is not surprising, we say, that she should be among the
favoured individuals who had secured a position there. Undoubtedly, she
would have preferred a seat amongst the court dames in the galleries of
the tilt-yard, but as this was unattainable, she was obliged to be
content; and, indeed, she had no reason to complain, for she saw quite
as much as those inside, and was more at her ease.
From this exalted position, while listening to the inspiriting clangour
of the trumpets, the clattering of arms, and the trampling and neighing
of steeds, Madame Bonaventure could scrutinize the deportment of each
knight as he issued from the lofty arch of the Holbein Gate, and rode
slowly past her. She had ample time to count the number of his
attendants before he disappeared from her view. As Sir Jocelyn
Mounchensey approached, with his visor raised, and his countenance
radiant with smiles at the cheers he had received, she recognised in him
her former guest, and participating in the general enthusiasm,
prevailing for the young knight, she leaned over the parapet, and
addressed to him a greeting so hearty that it procured for her a
courteous salutation in return. Enchanted with this, she followed with
her eyes the graceful figure of Sir Jocelyn till it was lost to view--to
re-appear a moment after in the tilt-yard.
Turning in this direction,--for all her interest was now centred in the
young knight,--Madame Bonaventure allowed her gaze to pass over the
entrance of the lists, and she goon espied him she sought, in conference
with Prince Charles, and some other knights of his party. Near them was
stationed Garter King-at-arms, apparelled in his tabard, and mounted on
a horse covered with housings of cloth of gold. Glancing round the
inclosure she perceived that all the foremost seats in the galleries and
scaffolds set apart for the principal court dames were already filled,
and she was quite dazzled with the galaxy of female loveliness presented
to her gaze. Behind the court dames were a host of fluttering gallants
in rich apparel, laughing and jesting with them on the probable issue of
the contest they had come to witness.
She then looked round the arena. Stout barriers of wood were drawn
across it, with openings at either end for the passage of the knights.
At these openings were placed all the various officers of the tilt-yard,
whose attendance was not required outside, including eight mounted
trumpeters, four at one end of the field, and four at the other,
together with a host of yeomen belonging to Prince Charles, in liveries
of white, with leaves of gold, and black caps, with wreaths and bands of
gold, and black and white plumes.
At the western extremity of the inclosure stood the royal gallery,
richly decorated for the occasion with velvet and cloth of gold, and
having the royal arms emblazoned in front. Above it floated the royal
standard. Supported by strong oaken posts, and entered by a staircase at
the side, this gallery was open below, and the space thus left was
sufficiently large to accommodate a dozen or more mounted knights,
while thick curtains could be let down at the sides to screen them from
observation, if required. Here it was intended that the Prince of Wales
and his six companions-at-arms should assemble, and wait till summoned
forth from it by the marshals of the field. There was a similar place of
assemblage for the Duke of Lennox and his knights at the opposite end of
the tilt-yard; and at both spots there were farriers, armourers, and
grooms in attendance, to render assistance, if needful.
On the right of the field stood an elevated platform, covered with a
canopy, and approached by a flight of steps. It was reserved for the
marshals and judges, and facing it was the post affixed to the barriers,
from which the ring, the grand prize of the day, was suspended, at a
height exactly within reach of a lance. Like the streets without, the
whole arena was deeply sanded.
This was what Madame Bonaventure beheld from the roof of the cock-pit,
and a very pretty sight she thought it.
All things, it will be seen, were in readiness, in the tilt yard,--and
the arrival of the King seemed to be impatiently expected--not only by
the knights who were eager to display their prowess, but by the court
dames and the gallants with them, as well as by all the officials
scattered about in different parts of the field, and enlivening it by
their variegated costumes.
Suddenly loud acclamations resounding from all sides of the tilt-yard,
accompanied by flourishes of trumpets, proclaimed the entrance of the
royal laggard to the gallery. James took his place in the raised seat
assigned to him, and after conferring for a few moments with the Conde
de Gondomar, who formed part of the brilliant throng of nobles and
ambassadors in attendance, he signified to Sir John Finett that the
jousting might commence, and the royal pleasure was instantly made known
to the marshals of the field.
The first course was run by Prince Charles, who acquitted himself with
infinite grace and skill, but failed in carrying off the ring; and
similar ill luck befell the Duke of Lennox. The Marquis of Hamilton was
the next to run, and he met with no better success; and the fourth essay
was made by Buckingham. His career was executed with all the consummate
address for which the favourite was remarkable, and it appeared certain
that he would carry off the prize; but in lowering his lance he did not
make sufficient allowance for the wind, and this caused it slightly to
swerve, and though he touched the ring, he did not bear it away. The
course, however, was considered a good one by the judges, and much
applauded; but the Marquis was greatly mortified by his failure.
It now came to Sir Jocelyn's turn, and his breast beat high with
ardour, as he prepared to start on his career. Keeping his back to the
ring till the moment of setting forward, he made a demi-volte to the
right, and then gracefully raising his lance, as his steed started on
its career, he continued to hold it aloft until he began to near the
object of his aim, when he gently and firmly allowed the point to
decline over the right ear of his horse, and adjusted it in a line with
the ring. His aim proved so unerring that he carried off the prize, amid
The Tilting Match.
After all the other competitors for the prize had essayed a career
within the arena, Sir Jocelyn's was held to be the best course run. The
ring was again carried off both by the Earl of Pembroke and Lord
Mordaunt; but in the opinion of the marshals of the field, neither of
those noblemen displayed so much grace and skill as Mounchensey: and the
decision was confirmed by the King.
The applauses which rang through the tilt-yard, on the announcement that
our handsome young knight had gained the first course, increased the
bitterness of Buckingham's feelings towards him; and he expressed his
regrets in a low tone to Sir Giles Mompesson that the combat about to
take place was not _a l'outrance_ instead of being _a plaisance_.
Sir Giles smiled grimly in reply.
Some little time elapsed, during which preparations were made for the
tilting-match, and great excitement pervaded the assemblage. The King
laughingly inquired of the Spanish ambassador if he still felt secure of
winning his wager, and was answered by De Gondomar that he had never had
the slightest misgiving on the subject, but he was now better satisfied
than ever that the result of the coming struggle would justify his
expectations. In the ladies' gallery an unusual degree of interest was
manifested in what was going forward; and many a wish was audibly
expressed by many a fair dame in Mounchensey's favour.
At length, the trumpets sounded, and the cries of the heralds were
heard, cheering on the combatants, as they prepared to dash furiously
against each other, bidding them do their devoir bravely, since bright
eyes looked down upon them. These stimulants to valorous display were
scarcely needed, for the champions were eager to prove their prowess.
Issuing one by one, from beneath their respective scaffolds, and curbing
the impatience of their steeds till they received from the marshals
permission to start, they rushed from their posts with lightning
swiftness to meet with a crashing shock midway. Various successes
attended the different combatants, but on the whole the advantage lay
clearly on the side of the Duke of Lennox, none of whose party had
sustained any material discomfiture; while on the side of Prince
Charles, the Earls of Montgomery and Rutland had been unhorsed. The
interest of the spectators was kept in breathless suspense to the last,
it being arranged that the tilting-match should close with the conflict
between Buckingham and Mounchensey.
Thus, when the trumpets sounded for the seventh and last time, and the
two knights stationed themselves opposite each other, every eye was
intently fixed upon them. Apparently, no two antagonists could be better
or more equally matched than they were; and throughout the whole field
it would have been in vain to search for another pair equally gifted by
nature, both being models of manly beauty of feature and symmetry of
frame. Indeed they might have been cast in the same mould, so nearly
alike were they in shape and size; and if their armour had been similar,
and their steeds corresponding in colour, they would have been
undistinguishable, when apart. Buckingham in some respects presented the
nobler figure of the two, owing to his flowing plumes, his embossed and
inlaid armour, and the magnificent housings of his charger--but he was
fully rivalled by the grace and chivalrous air of his antagonist.
As the Marquis, confident in his address, disdained the use of the
_passe-guarde_ and the _mentonniere_, Mounchensey abandoned those
defences, though they were used by all the other knights, and placed his
reliance in the strength of his breast-plate and gorget, and in the
force of his right arm.
When summoned forth by the trumpets, the two champions executed
demi-voltes with curvets, and then stood stock-still at either end of
the barriers. Each then selected a lance from the bundle offered them by
the esquires, and their choice of a weapon made, they carefully
fastened down their visors, which up to this moment had been raised.
Seeing them in readiness, the heralds gave the signal for the encounter.
Starting against each other like thunder-bolts, they met in mid-career.
The shock was tremendous, and many a cry sprang from female lips, while
bursts of applause arose from the hardier spectators.
Both lances were shivered, but the results of the strokes dealt on
either side were widely different. Mounchensey maintained his seat
firmly in the saddle, though his steed had been forced back upon its
haunches by his opponent's blow, who had touched his gorget; and riding
on with all the ease, vigour, and grace, our young knight had previously
exhibited, he threw down the truncheon of his lance, and opened his
gauntlet to show that his hand was wholly uninjured.
Very differently had it fared with Buckingham, whose defeat was
unquestionable. Unhorsed and unhelmeted, he was rolled in the dust; and
as he sprang to his feet, had the mortification of hearing the deafening
cheers that greeted his adversary's triumph. Eager to hide his
confusion, he vaulted upon the back of his steed, which was brought to
him by an esquire, the animal's flanks still quivering and reeking from
the terrible shock it had undergone, and dashed beneath the scaffold he
had so lately quitted--his pride severely humbled.
While the crest-fallen favourite thus retired to recover himself, Sir
Jocelyn rode slowly towards the royal gallery. Having now raised his
visor, his features were fully revealed to view, and perhaps were never
seen to such advantage as at this proud and happy moment. His emotions
were indeed enviable--but one thing was wanting to complete his
satisfaction--the presence of her, before whom, of all others, he was
most eager to distinguish himself. What mattered it that scarves and
kerchiefs were waved to him by some of the fairest dames in the land?
What mattered it that his name was called aloud, and that gloves and
knots of ribands fell at his feet, as he rode past the ladies' gallery?
His heart was untouched by smile or glance, and he paused not to pick up
one of the favours showered upon him.
But what means this sudden change in his demeanour? Why does he start
and stop, and look inquiringly towards the back of the gallery? Whom
does he discern amongst that bevy of beauties? Can it be Aveline? And if
so, how comes she there?
As he pauses, all eyes are fixed upon her towards whom his gaze is
directed. There is no difficulty in detecting the object of his regards,
for her attire is simpler than that of all the glittering dames around
her, and of a sadder hue. Her confusion also betrays her. She would not
be seen by him she came to see. She would muffle up her features, but it
is too late; and she is not only fully exposed to his view, but to that
of a hundred other curious eyes. Though many a high-born damsel marvels
at the young knight's insensibility to her own superior attractions,
none can deny that the unknown maiden is exquisitely beautiful, and
demands are eagerly made as to who she may be. No one can answer--and no
clue is given by her companion, for the elderly dame by whom she is
attended, and who resembles a duenna, is likewise unknown to all.
As soon as Sir Jocelyn recovers his surprise, he requests a favour from
the lady of his love, and she cannot refuse him--for immediately all the
dames in front of the gallery move aside, to let her advance.
With her pale cheeks crimsoned with blushes, and her dark eyes flashing
with mingled emotions of shame and pleasure, Aveline steps forward--and
having no other favour to bestow upon her knight, she gives him her
kerchief, which he presses to his lips, and then with a graceful
salutation moves forward on his course. This is no time for
explanation--and he must be content with his happiness, without
inquiring how it has been procured for him.
The incident, however, has been generally noticed, and causes a good
deal of speculation and talk amongst the female portion of the
assemblage. There is one individual, however, of the opposite sex, who
witnesses it with sentiments different from those by which most other
observers are affected. This is Sir Giles Mompesson. He, it appears, has
not been unaware of Aveline's presence at the jousts, though he did not
anticipate its revelation in this manner to Sir Jocelyn; and a bitter
smile crosses his lips, as he watches the brief interview between the
pair. He cares not what transports they indulge in now--nor what hopes
they form for the future. He promises himself that he will effectually
mar their bliss!
The Felon Knight.
A few more bounds of his steed brought Sir Jocelyn to the royal gallery,
where he dismounted, and leaving his steed in charge of an esquire,
ascended the stairs in company with the marshals of the field, and
presently found himself in the presence of the King. James received him
very graciously. On the right of the monarch stood the Conde de
Gondomar, who smiled on his _protege_ as he approached, and glanced at a
silver coffer full of diamonds, pearls, emeralds, amethysts, and other
precious stones, borne by an attendant in the gorgeous livery of the
Marquis of Buckingham.
"We greet ye as victor, Sir Jocelyn," said James, as the young knight
made a profound obeisance to him; "and it rejoices us to say ye hae
demeaned yourself honourably and fairly in the field. How say ye, Sirs?"
he added to the marshals and others. "Shall not the prize of the day be
adjudged to Sir Jocelyn?"
"It must be so, of right, your Majesty," replied the foremost of them.
"A better course at the ring could not be run than Sir Jocelyn hath
performed, nor could greater 'vantage be gained in the jousts than he
hath obtained over the Marquis of Buckingham. All has been done by him
in accordance with the rules of honour, and without fraud or
"Enough, gentlemen," said James. "Count, ye hae won your wager; and as
to you, Sir Jocelyn, ye hae proved yourself a very mirror of
chivalry--_exemplar antiquoe fortitudinis et magnanimitatis_--on the
pattern of Bayard, the knight without fear and without reproach, and the
like of whom we scarce expected to see in these latter days. You are
right weel entitled to the prize ye hae gained, and which his Excellency
so honourably assigns to you."
"With your Majesty's permission, I will add the diamond clasp which I
staked against the Marquess's casket of gems," said De Gondomar, "and
will beseech Sir Jocelyn to wear it as a testimony on my part of his
merit as a cavalier. It is scarcely too much to say for him, after his
recent brilliant achievements, that he takes rank amongst the foremost
of the distinguished knights encircling your Majesty's throne."
"He takes rank as the first and best," cried James, emphatically; "since
he hath overcome Buckingham, who till this day hath held the chief place
among our chivalry."
"Your Majesty overwhelms me by your commendations," replied Sir Jocelyn;
"and I can only say, in reply, that my best energies shall be devoted to
your service, whenever and howsoever called upon. As to your
Excellency's gift," he added to De Gondomar, who had unfastened the
glittering clasp and presented it to him, "I shall ever guard it, as a
devotee in your own sunny land of Spain would the most precious relic."
The coffer containing the gems was then, upon a sign from the King,
delivered to Sir Jocelyn, who, as he received it from the attendant,
took a string of pearls from it and gave them to the marshal, requesting
they might be offered as _largesse_ to the heralds; and the officer
promised that the request should be complied with. Having bestowed a
similar boon upon each of the marshals, Mounchensey requested that the
coffer might be placed in charge of his esquire--and his directions were
"Is all concluded?" demanded the King.
"The contest for the prize is necessarily decided," replied the marshal;
"but there yet remains the combat with the sword on horseback, if it
pleases Sir Jocelyn to engage in it."
"What saith our young knight?" demanded the King. "Is he willing to risk
the laurels he hath so fairly won on another, and it may be more
dangerous encounter? What he hath already done may fairly entitle him to
decline further hazard, if he be so minded."
"I should ill deserve your Majesty's high commendations if I hesitated
for a moment," replied Mounchensey; "but so far from feeling
disinclination to the combat, I should regret if this opportunity for
further distinction were denied me. With your Majesty's gracious
permission, I will pray the marshals of the field to let it be
proclaimed by the heralds and pursuivants-at-arms that I challenge any
true knight to do battle with me with the sword, and on horseback."
"Ye will fight with a blunted blade, Sir Jocelyn," cried the King. "We
maun hae nae risk of life. Our dear dog, Steenie, hath had his bonnie
craig well-nigh broken, and we will hae nae mair mischief done."
"The laws of the tilt-yard, with which Sir Jocelyn is doubtless well
acquainted," observed the marshal, "require that the edge of the sword
shall be dull, as your Majesty hath stated, and that no blow shall be
dealt with the point of the weapon. These conditions must be strictly
"They shall be," replied Sir Jocelyn; "and I pray you now to do your
devoir, and make the proclamation."
On this the marshal and his followers departed; and Sir Jocelyn, bowing
reverently to the King, took his way after them, and descending the
stairs, leaped on the back of his charger.
Soon after this, and while a sword, blunted in the manner prescribed,
was girded round his waist by his esquire, the trumpets were sounded,
and the challenge proclaimed by the marshal. It was immediately
responded to by a blast from the opposite end of the arena, and a
herald, stationed at this point, called out in a loud voice that the
challenge was accepted. Again the excitement rose high among the
spectators; again all eyes were directed towards Sir Jocelyn; and again
many ardent aspirations were uttered by his numerous fair admirers for
his success,--though none so fervent as that breathed by Aveline. Sir
Jocelyn cast one glance towards that part of the ladies' gallery where
he knew her to be placed, and then prepared for his last essay.
As yet, he knew not who was to be his antagonist; but when a knight in
sable armour, and with a sable plume upon his helm, rode from beneath
the scaffold, he discovered, to his great indignation, that it was Sir
Giles Mompesson. After a moment's reflection, he resolved upon a course
of action. When the signal for the combat was given by the marshal, and
Sir Giles, sword in hand, dashed into the arena, Mounchensey rode
towards him, but, without drawing his sword, and raising himself in the
saddle, commanded him in a thundering voice to retire.
The impetuosity of Sir Giles's career carried him past his antagonist,
but he now wheeled round, and regarded Mounchensey fiercely from
beneath the bars of his helmet.
"Retire, said you?" he exclaimed; "not unless you acknowledge yourself
defeated. In my turn, I bid you go back to the point you started from,
and commence the combat in due form, or I shall hold you vanquished, and
compel you to abase your crest."
"Hear me," cried Sir Jocelyn, "and let it be heard by all. I challenged
any _true_ knight to the combat, but you answer not to the description.
I proclaim you publicly in this place as a false and felon knight, and
declare you utterly unworthy of my sword. Back to your starting-place,
and if the heralds do their duty, they will hack off your spurs, and
drive you with shame from the lists."
"And think you I will tamely brook this insult?" roared Sir Giles; "draw
your sword at once, and let it be a mortal combat between us."
"Never," replied Sir Jocelyn, disdainfully. "I will not stoop to the
level of your infamy."
"Then stoop to earth," cried Sir Giles, aiming a terrible blow at him
with his sword.
If the stroke had taken effect as intended, it would probably have made
good Mompesson's threat, but Sir Jocelyn was too wary and too agile even
for his powerful assailant. Before the sword could descend, he seized
his adversary's wrist, and in another instant possessed himself of the
blade. This he accomplished without injury, as the sword was blunted.
Still maintaining his grasp of the weapon, he raised himself in his
stirrups to give additional force to the blow, and with the pummel of
the sword, struck Sir Giles a blow upon the brainpan with such violence,
that he dropped from the saddle as if shot.
During this strange scene, not a word had been uttered by the
spectators, who looked on with the greatest curiosity, wondering how it
would end. As Sir Giles fell from his horse, and lay stretched in
perfect insensibility on the ground, a tremendous shout was raised, and
Sir Jocelyn was as much applauded as if he had performed an
extraordinary feat--so universally was the extortioner detested.
Nor was there any sympathy manifested, when a few moments afterwards Sir
Giles was raised from the ground by the pursuivants, and his helmet
being removed, exhibited a countenance livid as death, with a stream of
blood coursing slowly down the temples. Many would have been
well-pleased if he had been killed outright, but the chirurgeon in
attendance pronounced that he was only stunned by the blow.
The private Cabinet of Sir Giles Mompesson.
A small room, and rendered yet smaller by the numerous chests and strong
boxes encroaching upon its narrow limits. In some cases these boxes are
piled, one upon another, till they touch the ceiling. All of them look
stout enough, yet many are further strengthened by iron hoops and
broad-headed nails, and secured by huge padlocks. The door is cased with
iron, within and without, and has a ponderous lock, of which the master
of the room always keeps the key, and never trusts it out of his own
This small chamber is the private cabinet of Sir Giles Mompesson.
No one is permitted to enter it without him. Though his myrmidons are
fully aware of its existence, and can give a shrewd guess at its
contents, only two of them have set foot within it. The two thus
privileged are Clement Lanyere and Lupo Vulp. Neither the promoter nor
the scrivener are much in the habit of talking over their master's
affairs, even with their comrades, and are almost as habitually reserved
as he is himself; still, from the few words let fall by them from time
to time, the myrmidons have picked up a tolerable notion of the private
cabinet, of its hidden cupboards in the walls, its drawers with secret
springs; its sliding planks with hollows beneath them; its chests full
of treasure, or what is the same thing as treasure, bonds,
mortgage-deeds, and other securities; and its carefully concealed hoards
of plate, jewels, and other valuables. Some of the least scrupulous
among them--such as Staring, Hugh, Cutting Dick, and old Tom
Wootton--have often discussed the possibility of secretly visiting it,
and making a perquisition of its stores; but they have been hitherto
restrained by their fears of their terrible and vindictive master.
On looking into the cabinet we find Sir Giles seated at a table, with a
large chest open beside him, from which he has taken for examination
sundry yellow parchments, with large seals attached to them. He is now
occupied with a deed, on one of the skins of which the plan of an
important estate is painted, and on this his attention becomes fixed.
His countenance is cadaverous, and its ghastly hue adds to its grimness
of expression. A band is tied round his head, and there is an expression
of pain in his face, and an air of languor and debility in his manner,
very different from what is usual with him. It is plain he has not yet
recovered from the effects of the crushing blow he received at the
Opposite him sits his partner, Sir Francis Mitchell; and the silence
that has reigned between them for some minutes is first broken by the
"Well, Sir Giles," he inquires, "are you satisfied with your
examination of these deeds of the Mounchensey property? The estates have
been in the family, as you see, for upwards of two centuries--ever since
the reign of Henry IV., in fact--and you have a clear and undisputed
title to all the property depicted on that plan--to an old hall with a
large park around it, eight miles in circumference, and almost as well
stocked with deer as the royal chase of Theobald's; and you have a title
to other territorial domains extending from Mounchensey Place and Park
to the coast, a matter of twelve miles as the crow flies, Sir
Giles,--and including three manors and a score of little villages. Will
not these content you? Methinks they should. I' faith, my worthy
partner, when I come to reckon up all your possessions, your houses and
lands, and your different sources of revenue--the sums owing to you in
bond and mortgage--your monopolies and your patents--when I reckon up
all these, I say, and add thereunto the wealth hoarded in this cabinet,
which you have not placed out at usance--I do not hesitate to set you
down as one of the richest of my acquaintance. There be few whose
revenue is so large as yours, Sir Giles. 'Tis strange, though I have had
the same chance as yourself of making money, I have not a hundredth part
of your wealth."
"Not a whit strange," replied Sir Giles, laying down the deed and
regarding his partner somewhat contemptuously. "I waste not what I
acquire. I have passions as well as yourself, Sir Francis; but I keep
them under subjection. I drink not--I riot not--I shun all idle company.
I care not for outward show, or for the vanities of dress. I have only
one passion which I indulge,--Revenge. You are a slave to sensuality,
and pamper your lusts at any cost. Let a fair woman please your eye, and
she must be bought, be the price what it may. No court prodigal was ever
more licentious or extravagant than you are."
"Sir Giles! Sir Giles! I pray you, spare me. My enemies could not report
worse of me."
"Nay, your enemies would say that your extravagance is your sole merit,
and that therein you are better than I," rejoined Sir Giles, with a
sardonic laugh. "But I rejoice to think I am free from all such
weaknesses. The veriest enchantress could not tempt me. I am proof
against all female seductions. Think you the damsel lives who could
induce me to give for her half these broad lands in Norfolk--this
ancient hall, and its wide-spread domains? I trow not."
"Perchance I have given too much," cried the old usurer, eagerly; "if
so, it is not too late to amend our contract. Between us, there should
be fair dealing, Sir Giles."
"There is none other than fair dealing on my part," replied the
extortioner sternly; "and the terms of our agreement cannot be departed
from. What I have just said applies to your general mode of life; but
you have better reason for your conduct in this instance than is usual
with you, since you combine the gratification of revenge with the
indulgence of your other passions. You obtain a fair young bride, and at
the same time deprive the person whom you hate most of all others, of
the mistress of his affections. This is as it should be. Vengeance
cannot be too dearly purchased, and the more refined the vengeance, the
higher must necessarily be the price paid for it. In no way can you so
cruelly injure this detested Mounchensey, as by robbing him of his
mistress. And the blow dealt by you, shall be followed by others not
less severe on my part."
"Ay, ay, Sir Giles, you have to wipe out the outrage he inflicted upon
you in the tilt-yard. As I am a true gentleman, that was worse than the
indignity I endured from him in the court-yard of the palace. It must be
confessed that the villain hath a powerful hand as well as a sharp
tongue, and follows up his bitter words by bold deeds. The stroke he
dealt you with his sword was like a blow from a sledge hammer, Sir
Giles. He felled you from your horse as a butcher felleth an ox; and, in
good truth, I at first thought the ox's fate had been yours, and that
you would never rise again. Your helmet was dinted in as if by a great
shot. And for twelve hours and upwards you were senseless and
speechless;--But thanks to my care and the skill of Luke Hatton the
apothecary who tended you, you have been brought round. After such
treatment, I cannot wonder that you are eager for revenge upon Sir
Jocelyn. How will you deal with him Sir Giles? How will you deal with
"I will hurl him from the proud position he now holds," replied the
other, "and immure him in the Fleet."
"While I revel in the bliss he panted to enjoy," cried the old usurer,
chuckling. "Take it altogether, 'tis the sweetest scheme we ever
planned, and the most promising, Sir Giles! But when am I to claim
Aveline? when shall I make her mine?"
"You shall claim her to-morrow, and wed her as soon after as you list."
"Nay, there shall be no delay on my part, Sir Giles. I am all
impatience. When such a dainty repast is spread out before me, I am not
likely to be a laggard. But now, to the all-important point on which the
whole affair hinges! How am I to assert my claim to her hand--how
enforce it when made? Explain that to me, Sir Giles, I beseech you."
"Readily," replied the extortioner. "But before doing so let me give you
a piece of information which will surprise you, and which will show you
that my tenure of this great Norfolk property is not quite so secure as
you suppose it. You are aware that Sir Ferdinando Mounchensey had a
younger brother, Osmond--"
"Who disappeared when very young, and died, it was concluded,"
interrupted Sir Francis, "for he was never heard of more. And it was
lucky for us he did so die, or he might have proved a serious obstacle
to our seizure of these estates, for I remember it being stated at the
time, by one of the judges, that had he been living, he might have
procured a reversal of the Star-Chamber sentence upon Sir Ferdinando in
"Precisely so, and that judge's opinion was correct," said Sir Giles.
"Now listen to me, Sir Francis. It is quite true that Osmond Mounchensey
quitted his home when very young, owing to some family quarrel; but it
is not true that he died. On the contrary, I have recently ascertained,
beyond a doubt, that he is still alive. Hitherto, I have failed in
tracing him out, though I have got a clue to him; but he has enveloped
himself in so much mystery that he is difficult of detection. Yet I
trust to succeed ere long; and my great business will be to prevent his
re-appearance, which would be fraught with danger to us both. I have a
scheme on foot in reference to him which will answer more than one
purpose. You will learn it anon. And now, to give you the explanation
you require in respect to Aveline."
And he stamped upon the floor.
"You are not about to invoke a spirit of darkness to our councils?" said
Sir Francis, staring at him in astonishment and alarm.
"You will see," rejoined the extortioner with a grim smile.
After a brief pause, the door was almost noiselessly opened, and Clement
Lanyere entered the chamber.
"What has Lanyere to do with the matter?" cried Sir Francis,
suspiciously regarding the promoter, who was without his mask.
"You will hear," replied Sir Giles. "Be pleased to inform Sir Francis,
good Lanyere, how you come to be in a position to demand the hand of
fair Mistress Aveline Calveley?"
"He demand it! I understand you not, Sir Giles!" exclaimed the old
"Let him speak, I pray you, Sir Francis," returned the other. "You will
the sooner learn what you desire to know."
Clement Lanyere's Story.
"My tale shall be briefly told," said Lanyere. "You are aware, Sir
Francis, that in the pursuit of my avocation I am often led into the
most dangerous quarters of the metropolis, and at hours when the peril
to any honest man is doubled. Adventures have not unfrequently occurred
to me when so circumstanced, and I have been indebted to my right hand
and my good sword for deliverance from many a desperate risk. Late one
night, I chanced to be in the neighbourhood of Whitefriars, in a place
called the Wilderness, when, hearing cries for help, accompanied by the
clash of steel, I rushed towards a narrow court, whence the clatter and
vociferations resounded, and perceived by the light of the moon, which
fortunately happened to be shining brightly at the time, one man engaged
with four others, who were evidently bent upon cutting his throat in
order to take his purse. He defended himself gallantly, but the odds
were too great, and he must have been speedily slain--for the villains
swore with great oaths they would murder him if he continued to resist
them--if I had not come to the rescue. I arrived just in time. They were
pressing him hard. I struck down the point of a rapier which was within
an inch of his breast--gave the swashbuckler who carried it a riposta he
did not expect, and sent him off bowling--and then addressed myself to
the others with such good effect, that in a brief space the stranger and
I were alone together. I had been slightly wounded in the fray; but I
thought nothing of it--a mere scratch. It seemed something more to the
gentleman I had preserved. He expressed great concern for me, and bound
his handkerchief round my arm. I was about to depart, but he detained me
to renew his professions of gratitude for the service I had rendered
him, and his earnest wish that he might be able to requite me. From his
discourse, and from the texts of Scripture he mixed up with it, I knew
him to be a Puritan; and I might have supposed him to be a preacher of
the Gospel, had he not carried a sword, and borne himself so manfully in
the encounter. However, he left me no doubt on the subject, for he told
me he was named Hugh Calveley, and that he had served in the wars with
more honour to himself than profit. He added, that if the knaves had
succeeded in their design, and robbed and slain him, they would have
deprived his daughter of her sole protector; and, indeed, of all means
of subsistence, since the little they had would be lost with him. On
hearing this, a thought struck me, and I said to him--'You have
expressed an earnest desire to requite the service I have just been
fortunate enough to render you, and as I am well assured your
professions are not idly made, I shall not hesitate to proffer a request
to you.' 'Ask what you will; if I have it to give, it shall be yours,'
he replied. 'You make that promise solemnly, and before heaven?' I said.
'I make it solemnly,' he replied. 'And to prove to you that I mean it to
be binding upon me, I will confirm it by an oath upon the Bible.' And as
he spoke he took the sacred volume from his doublet, and reverently
kissed it. Then I said to him--'Sir, you have told me you have a
daughter, but you have not told me whether she is marriageable or not?'
He started at the question, and answered somewhat sternly. 'My daughter
has arrived at womanhood. But wherefore the inquiry? Do you seek her
hand in marriage?' 'If I did so, would you refuse her to me?' A pause
ensued, during which I observed he was struggling with deep emotion, but
he replied at last, 'I could not do so after my solemn promise to you;
but I pray you not to make the demand.' I then said to him: 'Sir, you
cannot lay any restrictions upon me. I shall exact fulfilment of your
promise. Your daughter must be mine.' Again he seemed to be torn by
emotion, and to meditate a refusal; but after a while he suppressed his
feelings, and replied. 'My word is plighted. She shall be yours.--Ay,
though it cost me my life, she shall be yours.' He then inquired my name
and station, and I gave him a different name from that by which I am
known; in fact, I adopted one which chanced to be familiar to him, and
which instantly changed his feelings towards me into those of warmest
friendship. As you may well suppose, I did not think fit to reveal my
odious profession, and though I was unmasked, I contrived so to muffle
my hateful visage with my cloak, that it was in a great degree concealed
from him. After this, I told him that I had no intention of pressing my
demand immediately; that I would take my own means of seeing his
daughter without her being conscious of my presence; and that I would
not intrude upon her in any way without his sanction. I used some other
arguments, which seemed perfectly to satisfy him, and we separated, he
having previously acquainted me that he lived at Tottenham. Not many
days elapsed before I found an opportunity of viewing his daughter, and
I found her exquisitely beautiful. I had indeed gained a prize; and I
resolved that no entreaties on his part, or on hers, should induce me to
abandon my claim. I took care not to be seen by her, being sensible that
any impression I might make would be prejudicial to me; and I
subsequently learnt from her father that he had not disclosed to her the
promise he had been rash enough to make to me. I had an interview with
him--the third and last that ever took place between us--on the morning
of the day on which he made an attempt upon the life of the King. I rode
over to Tottenham, and arrived there before daybreak. My coming was
expected, and he himself admitted me by a private door into his garden,
and thence into the house. I perceived that his mind was much disturbed,
and he told me he had passed the whole night in prayer. Without
acquainting me with his desperate design, I gathered from what he said,
that he meditated some fearful act, and that he considered his own life
in great jeopardy. If he fell, and he anticipated he should fall, he
committed his daughter to my care; and he gave me a written injunction,
wherein, as you will find, his blessing is bestowed upon her for
obedience to him, and his curse laid upon her in the event of a breach
of duty; commanding her, by all her hopes of happiness hereafter, to
fulfil the solemn promise he had made me--provided I should claim her
hand within a twelvemonth of his death. The unfortunate man, as you
know, died within two days of that interview, having, as I have since
ascertained, reiterated the same solemn charge, and in terms equally
impressive, to his daughter."
"A strange story truly," observed Sir Francis, who had listened
attentively to the relation; "but though Aveline may consent to be bound
by her father's promise to you, I see not how Lean enforce the claim."
"Hugh Calveley, when dying, disclosed no name to his daughter," said Sir
Giles. "There is no name mentioned in the paper confided by him to
Lanyere; and, possessed of that authority, you will represent the party
entitled to make the claim, and can act as Lanyere would have acted."
"She will not resist the demand," said the promoter. "That I can avouch,
for I overheard her declare as much to Sir Jocelyn."
"If such be the case, I am content," cried the old usurer. "Give me the
authority," he added to Lanyere.
"I have it with me, Sir Francis," rejoined the promoter; "but Sir Giles
will explain to you that there is something to be done before I can
yield it to you."
"What does he require?" asked the old usurer, glancing uneasily at his
"Merely all these title-deeds of the Mounchensey estates in exchange for
that paper," replied Sir Giles.
"Not merely the deeds," said Lanyere; "but an assignment on your part,
Sir Giles, and on yours, Sir Francis, of all your joint interest in
those estates. I must have them absolutely secured to me; and stand
precisely as you stand towards them."
"You shall have all you require," replied Mompesson.
"Amazement!" exclaimed Sir Francis. "Can you really mean to relinquish
this noble property to him, Sir Giles? I thought I was assigning my
share to you, and little dreamed that the whole estates would be made
over in this way."
"I have told you, Sir Francis," rejoined the other, "that
vengeance--ample, refined vengeance--cannot be too dearly purchased; and
you will now perceive that I am willing to pay as extravagantly as
yourself for the gratification of a whim. On no other terms than these
would Lanyere consent to part with the authority he possesses, which
while it will ensure you the hand of Aveline, will ensure me the keenest
revenge upon Sir Jocelyn. I have therefore acceded to his terms. Thou
hast got a rare bargain, Lanyere; and when the crack-brained Puritan
gave thee that paper, he little knew the boon he bestowed upon thee."
"The exchange would, indeed, seem to be in my favour, Sir Giles," he
said; "but you may believe me when I say, that though I gain these large
estates, I would rather have had the damsel."
"Well, let the business be completed," said Sir Giles; "and that it may
be so with all dispatch, do you, Lanyere, summon Lupo Vulp to us. You
will find him in his chamber, and bid him bring with him the deed of
assignment to you of the Mounchensey estates which he has already
prepared, and which only requires my signature and that of Sir Francis."
"I obey you, Sir Giles," replied Lanyere, departing on the errand.
As soon as they were alone, the old usurer observed to his partner--"I
am lost in astonishment at what you are about to do, Sir Giles. That I
should make a sacrifice for a dainty damsel, whose charms are doubled
because she should belong to an enemy, is not surprising; but that you
should give up so easily a property you have so long coveted--I confess
I cannot understand it."
A strange smile crossed the extortioner's countenance.
"And do you really think I would give it up thus, Sir Francis?" he said.
"But if we sign that deed--'tis his. How are you to get it back again?"
"Ask me not _how_--I have no time for explanation. Recollect what I told
you of Osmond Mounchensey, and the possibility of his re-appearance."
"I will not seek to penetrate your scheme, Sir Giles," observed the old
usurer; "but I would have you beware of Lanyere. He is cunning and
"He will scarcely prove a match for me, I think," observed the
extortioner--"but here he comes."
And as he spoke, the promoter again entered the chamber, followed by
Lupo Vulp, with a parchment under his arm.
"Give me the deed, good Lupo," said Sir Giles, taking it from him. "It
must be first executed by me--there!--and now your signature, Sir
Francis," he added, passing the instrument to him. "Now thou shalt
witness it, Lupo. 'Tis well!--'tis well!" he cried, snatching it back
again, as soon as the scrivener had finished the attestation. "All is
done in due form. This deed makes you Lord of Mounchensey, Lanyere." And
he handed it to him.
"And this makes Sir Francis Mitchell ruler of the destiny of Aveline
Calveley," rejoined Lanyere, giving a paper to the old usurer.
"This chest and its contents are yours also, Lanyere," pursued Sir
Giles, putting in the deeds, and locking it. "Will it please you to take
the key. From this moment we cease to be master and servant, and become
equals and friends!"
"Equals, it may be, Sir Giles!" cried Lanyere, drawing himself up to his
full height, and speaking with great haughtiness; "but never friends."
"Ha! what are we, then?" demanded the extortioner, fiercely. "Am I
mistaken in you? Take heed. You are yet in my power."
"Not so, Sir Giles. I have nothing to apprehend from you now," replied
Lanyere; "but you have much to fear from me."
So saying, and placing the parchment within his doublet, he hastily
quitted the chamber.
"Perdition! have I been outwitted?" cried Sir Giles. "But he shall not
escape me." And rushing after him, he called from the head of the great
staircase--"What, ho! Captain Bludder!--and ye, Tom Wootton and Cutting
Dick--let not Lanyere go forth. Stay him and take from him the deed
which he hath placed in his doublet. Cut him down, or stab him if he
But, though efforts were made to obey Sir Giles's commands, the promoter
effected his retreat.
Sir Jocelyn's rupture with de Gondomar.
Far and wide echoed the report of Sir Jocelyn's brilliant achievements
at the jousts; and wherever he went, he was hailed as vanquisher of the
hitherto-unconquered Buckingham. He bore his honours meekly, yet he did
not escape calumny; for at a court, as everywhere else, distinguished
success is certain to awaken a spirit of envy and detraction. These
paltry feelings, however, were entirely confined to the disappointed of
his own sex. By fairer and more impartial judges, who had witnessed his
exploits, he was spoken of in terms of unmingled admiration; and at the
grand revel at Whitehall that followed the jousts, many a soft glance
told him how tenderly the gentle heart, whose feelings it betrayed, was
inclined towards him. Faithful, loyal, and chivalrous, our young knight
was as much proof against these lures, as against the ruder attacks of
his armed opponents in the lists; and his constancy to the lady of his
love remained entirely unshaken. Far rather would he have been with
Aveline, in her humble dwelling, than in those superb festal halls,
surrounded by all that was noble and beautiful--all that was dangerous
and delusive. Far rather would he have received one smile from her, one
kindly look, than all the blandishments showered upon him by these
Fain would he have avoided the banquet--but as the hero of the day, he
was compelled to attend it. Indeed, he had to enact a principal part at
the revel; and so well did he play it that compliments were lavished
upon him, enough to have turned an ordinary head. Not from any desire
for ostentatious display, but because Prince Charles had signified to
him his wishes on the subject, he was arrayed in all the pearls and
ornaments he had won from Buckingham; and more than one subtle courtier,
anxious to stand well with him, flatteringly declared that they became
him infinitely better than the Marquis. Others, less favourably
disposed, remarked that his gem-bedecked doublet was like the garment of
Nessus, and would cause its wearer's destruction; and if they could have
read Buckingham's secret thoughts, when he beheld his rival so adorned,
they would have felt that the observation was not unwarranted. But,
though fully determined upon revenge, Buckingham allowed neither look
nor word to betray his purpose. On the contrary, he displayed more than
his usual affability to Mounchensey, laughed at his own ill-luck, and
even went so far as to say that Sir Giles Mompesson had been rightly
served; adding, that he blamed himself for including him in his party,
and was glad Sir Jocelyn had handled him so rudely.
Though our young knight might well doubt Buckingham's sincerity; he
replied to all his courtly speeches in similar terms, and the greatest
cordiality appeared to subsist between them. Enchanted with this show of
friendship, the King endeavoured to promote it by keeping them near him
throughout the evening, leading them to converse together, and fawning
upon them, as was his way with those he highly favoured. All this could
not fail to be satisfactory to Mounchensey; but he was far more pleased
with the notice of Prince Charles, who treated him with marked
Next morning, in compliance with an invitation to that effect he had
received at the revel, Sir Jocelyn repaired to Ely House, in Holborn,
the residence of the Spanish Ambassador, and was at once admitted to his
They were alone, and after a few preliminary observations upon the
events of the previous day, De Gondomar remarked--"I think I have
already afforded you abundant proof of my friendly feeling towards you,
Sir Jocelyn. But I will not stop with what I have done. My power of
serving you is greater than you may imagine it to be. I can lead you yet
higher--and put you in a firmer position. In a word, I can place you on
a level with Buckingham,--perchance above him,--if your ambition soars
Mounchensey endeavoured to express his deep sense of gratitude to the
ambassador, and regretted his small means of requiting the numerous and
important favours he had received from him.
"I will tell you what to do," said De Gondomar. "You can procure me
certain information which I desire to obtain. By my instrumentality you
have, in some degree, already obtained the King's confidence, and ere
long are sure to become the depositary of many important state secrets.
These you shall communicate to me. And you must also use your best
endeavours to win Prince Charles over to the Church of Rome."
"Is this proposal seriously made to me, Count?" demanded Mounchensey,
looking at him with astonishment, mingled with displeasure.
"Unquestionably it is serious--perfectly serious," replied De Gondomar.
"I ask you only to serve me as a certain young nobleman of your
acquaintance served me before he was compelled to fly from England to
avoid the consequences of a quarrel with his wife's family. Your
opportunities will be greater than his, and therefore your service will
be more valuable."
"I regret that such disloyalty should be laid to the charge of any
English noble," said Sir Jocelyn sternly. "But think not, because Lord
Roos played the spy and traitor, as your Excellency insinuates he did,
that I will be guilty of like baseness. Up to this moment I have felt
nothing but gratitude to you for the favours you have heaped upon me;
but the feeling is changed to resentment when I understand they are to
be purchased at the price of my honour. I cannot accede to your wishes,
Count. You must seek out some other tool. I can be none in your hands."
"If this be real, and not affected indignation, Sir Jocelyn," said De
Gondomar coldly, "it would seem that I have been altogether mistaken in
you, and that I have been helping you up the ladder only to be kicked
aside when you have gained a secure footing. But you have not reached
the last step yet, and never will, unless I find you more reasonable.
And allow me to ask you, if you are as scrupulous as you profess to be,
how you came to bring a token to me from a hired spy--a token intended
to let me know you were willing to undertake any secret service I might
choose to confide to you? Have you changed your mind since then? or
rather, do you not fancy yourself out of danger, and able to dispense
with my assistance?"
"I have ever been of the same opinion, Count; have ever been influenced
by the same feelings of loyalty and devotion to my sovereign, and of
detestation of all treasonable practices. Had I been aware of the import
of the ring I showed your Excellency on our first meeting, I would have
hacked off my finger rather than have displayed it. Neither did I know
the character of the man who confided it to me; though I ought to have
distrusted him. He has played us both false, and for what end I cannot
"I will solve the riddle for you, Sir: he thought to serve you," said De
Gondomar; "and he has done so, and most effectually, though you are now
unwilling to admit it. I have good reason to complain of him--you have
"I have more reason for complaint than your Excellency," rejoined
Mounchensey. "He has placed me in a most painful and perplexing
"There you are right, Sir," said De Gondomar. "No matter how arrived at,
you are in a position from which you cannot extricate yourself with
honour. However disinclined you may be to act in concert with me, you
have no other alternative. If I withdraw my support from you, your fall
is inevitable. Think not I talk lightly. You are surrounded by enemies,
though you discern them not. Buckingham's magnanimous conduct at the
revel last night was feigned to mask his purposes towards you. He has
not forgiven his defeat, and means to avenge it. You fancy yourself on
the high road to preferment; but you are on the verge of disgrace and
ruin. I alone can save you. Choose, then, between compliance with my
wishes, coupled with present protection and future advancement, and the
consequences certain to attend your refusal. Choose, I say, between my
friendship and my enmity."
"My answer shall be as prompt and decisive as your proposal, Count,"
replied Sir Jocelyn. "I at once reject a friendship fettered with such
conditions. And that I do not resent the affront put upon me in your
dishonourable proposal, must be set down to the obligations you have
imposed upon me, and which tie up my hands. But we are now quits; and if
any further indignity be offered me, it will not be so lightly borne."
"_Perdone, vuestra merced_!--we are not quits," cried De Gondomar
quickly. "The account between us is far from settled; nor will I rest
content till you have paid me in full. But we had better break off this
interview," he added, more calmly, "since no good is like to result from
it. It is useless to reason with you; but you are wantonly throwing away
a fairer opportunity than falls to the lot of most men, and will see
your folly when too late."
"In taking my leave of your Excellency, as there are no terms henceforth
to be observed between us, except those of hostility, I deem it right to
state, that though I shall make no especial reference to yourself, I
shall hold it my duty to acquaint his Majesty with the system of
_espionage_ introduced into the palace; and, above all, I shall take
care to guard the Prince against the insidious snares laid for him."
"It is a pity so faithful a councillor as yourself should not be
listened to," rejoined De Gondomar. "Yet, when I shut the doors of the
palace against you--as I will do--you will find it difficult to obtain a
hearing either from Prince or King. In spite of all your efforts to the
contrary, I shall learn any state secrets I desire to know, and I have
great hopes of winning over Charles Stuart to the faith for which his
lovely and martyred ancestress died. One more word at parting, Sir
Jocelyn. You will remember, when we first met, you were in danger from
the Star-Chamber. It would be useless now to say how I saved you from
the punishment your rashness had incurred--how, while aiding you with
the King, I kept aloof your enemies, Mompesson and Mitchell, who were
prepared to attach your person for contempt of that terrible court, and
would have done so, if I had not prevented them. The warrant for your
arrest still exists, and can be employed at any moment; so you will
consider how long you can count upon your freedom, now that you have no
strong arm to protect you."
"I have my own arm to trust to," rejoined Sir Jocelyn, resolutely, "and
have no apprehensions."
_"Vaya usted con dios!"_ said the Spaniard, bowing him out; "or I should
rather say," he added to himself, "_Vaya mucho en mala hora_!"
Sir Jocelyn was not without great uneasiness at the result of his
interview with De Gondomar. Had it been possible, he would have avoided
a rupture with so influential a personage--an event to be dreaded at any
time, but especially so at a juncture like the present, when dangers
menaced him on all sides, and the only question appeared to be, from
what side the first blow would come. His chief anxiety, however, was for
Aveline, whose position was one of such strange and imminent peril,
against which he knew not how to guard her. He was still left in the
same state of uncertainty as to who would be the claimant of her hand;
for the mysterious personage in the mask had not appeared again,
according to his promise, after the jousts. This suspense was terrible,
and Sir Jocelyn found it so difficult of endurance, that he would have
preferred the actual presence of the calamity by which he was
threatened. His fears were, that the claim he so much dreaded would be
made by Sir Giles Mompesson in person, and in that case he had
determined forcibly to resist him. And this supposition might account
for the delay--since he knew that Sir Giles was suffering severely from
the effects of the blow he had dealt him in the tilt-yard.
De Gondomar's were not idle threats, as Sir Jocelyn soon found. On the
next day, as he entered the palace, he was informed by the Lord
Chamberlain that he was deprived of his office of Gentleman of the
Bed-Chamber; and when he demanded the reason of his sudden dismissal,
the Duke of Lennox, with a shrug of the shoulders, declared he was
unable to afford him any information. But what the Duke refused was
afforded by De Gondomar, who at that moment entered the corridor, in
company with Buckingham and some other nobles, on his way to the
presence-chamber. On seeing his late _protege_, the ambassador halted
for a moment, and with a smile of triumph said--"You owe your dismissal
to me, Sir Jocelyn. I have made some few circumstances concerning you
that had just come to my ears known to his Majesty; and as he does not
choose to have spies about his person, he has released you from all
further attendance upon him."
"In a word, he has forbidden your attendance again at the palace," added
Buckingham, who had paused likewise, with an insulting laugh.
"I must to the King, your Grace," cried Sir Jocelyn to the Lord
Chamberlain. "I will explain the falsehood of this charge to his
Majesty, and show him who is the spy and traitor he has to fear."
"You cannot pass, Sir Jocelyn," said the Duke of Lennox, placing
himself in his way, while two halberdiers advanced to bar his passage
with their partizans. "I say not a word as to the cause of your
disgrace; but I may tell you, that his Majesty is greatly offended with
you, and that it would be highly imprudent to approach him in his
present frame of mind, even were it permitted you to do so--which it is
not. As I have said, you are deprived of your office, and enjoined to
absent yourself from the palace, till it shall be his Majesty's pleasure
to recall you."
"And that is not likely to be soon the case--eh, Count?" observed
Buckingham, with a laugh.
"Not very likely indeed, Marquis," said the ambassador. "I much regret
that I have been the means of introducing so unworthy a person to his
Majesty; but I have made all the amends in my power."
"Must I tamely endure all these insults and calumnies, your Grace?"
cried Sir Jocelyn furiously.
"If you will be guided by me, you will retire," rejoined the Duke of
Lennox; "or the provocation you will receive may induce you to do some
desperate act which may render your position worse, and put your
restoration to the King's favour entirely out of the question."
While Sir Jocelyn was debating whether he should comply with the Duke's
advice, the door of the presence-chamber was thrown open; and James,
coming forth from it, marched slowly along the corridor.
Our young knight now fondly hoped that the King might deign to look
upon him, and so enable him to plead his cause; and perhaps the Lord
Chamberlain himself entertained similar expectations, for he did not
insist upon Sir Jocelyn's withdrawal, but allowed him to remain within
the corridor, though he was kept aloof by the halberdiers. But both were
disappointed. James, no doubt, designedly, bestowed his most gracious
marks of condescension on Buckingham and De Gondomar, and lingered for a
few minutes to laugh and talk with them. After this, as he was passing
Sir Jocelyn, he pretended to notice him for the first time, and
observed, in a tone of reproof to the Lord Chamberlain, "What doth the
spy here, my Lord Duke? I thought you had our orders concerning him. See
they are better obeyed in future." And, when the young knight would have
spoken, he interrupted him by an imperious gesture, crying out, "Not a
word, Sir!--not a word! We will hear naught mair frae ye. We hae heard
ower meikle already." And he passed on.
Thus was Mounchensey's disgrace accomplished by his enemies.
How Sir Jocelyn's cause was espoused by the 'prentices.
Stung almost to madness by the sense of intolerable wrong, our young
knight quitted Whitehall, never, as he imagined at the moment, to enter
the palace again. Yet he was not humiliated by his disgrace, because he
felt it to be wholly unmerited. His enemies had triumphed over him; but
he would not have heeded the defeat, provided he could efface the foul
stigma cast upon his reputation, and rebut the false charge brought
against him by De Gondomar.
With a heart overflowing with rage and bitterness, and with a thousand
wild projects passing through his brain, Sir Jocelyn took a boat at
Whitehall stairs, and ordered the watermen to row down the river,
without assigning any paticular place of landing. After awhile, he
succeeded, to a certain extent, in controlling his angry emotions; and
as the watermen rested on their oars for a moment, to inquire his
destination, he looked round, and perceiving he was just opposite the
Three Cranes in the Vintry, he desired to be put ashore there.
No better retreat wherein to recover his composure seemed to offer
itself than Madame Bonaventure's comfortable house of entertainment;
and thither, therefore, he proceeded, and at his request was shown into
a private room overlooking the river. Scarcely was he installed within
it, than the buxom hostess, who had caught sight of him as he mounted
the stairs, entered, and in her blandest accents, and with her most
bewitching smiles, begged to know his commands; declaring that all that
her house possessed was at his service.
She was running on thus, but perceiving the young knight to be much
disturbed, she instantly changed her tone, and expressed such genuine
concern for him, that he could not fail to be moved by it. Without
making her an entire confidante, Sir Jocelyn told her enough of what had
occurred to make her comprehend his position; and highly indignant she
was at the treatment he had experienced. She did her best to console
him; and so far succeeded, that he was prevailed upon to partake of some
delicacies which she caused Cyprien to set before him, together with a
flask of the best vintage in her cellar; and the discussion of these
good things, coupled with the hostess's assiduities, certainly operated
as a balm upon his wounded feelings.
The repast over, the good-natured dame thought it best to leave him to
himself; and drawing his chair to the open window, he began to ruminate
upon the many strange events that had happened to him since he first
beheld that fair prospect almost from the same place; and he was
indulging in this retrospect, when his own name, pronounced in tones
familiar to him, caught his ear, and looking forth, he perceived Dick
Taverner, seated on a bench in front of the house, drinking in company
with some half dozen other apprentices, his boon companions.
The conversation of these roysterers was held in so loud a key that it
could not fail to reach his ears; and he soon ascertained that his own
dismissal from court was the theme of their discourse, and that they
rightly attributed it--doubtless owing to information derived from their
hostess--to the instrumentality of De Gondomar. It was evidently Dick
Taverner's design to rouse the indignation of his companions; and he had
little difficulty in accomplishing his purpose, as they were all
composed of very inflammable material, and prone to take fire on the
slightest application of the match. Dick denounced the plotting and
perfidious Spaniard as a traitor to the King and a subverter of the
Protestant faith; and counselled vengeance upon him.
Finding Dick's suggestions eagerly caught up by his companions, and that
the number of his listeners was momently increasing, while all were
becoming excited by what the orator uttered, Sir Jocelyn, apprehensive
that mischief might ensue, thought it right to interfere, and
accordingly, leaning forward from the casement, he made himself known
to the group below.
On seeing him, and learning who he was, the 'prentices began to shout
and declaim vehemently against the Spanish ambassador; and instigated by
Dick Taverner, who refused to listen either to the entreaties or
commands of the young knight, the whole party seized their cudgels, and
dispersing themselves in different directions, vociferated as they
It was now as vain to arrest them as it would have been to stop the
course of a conflagration; and Sir Jocelyn was deploring the damage
which must necessarily be done to his cause by these injudicious
friends, when Dick Taverner, with a look of exultation, and brandishing
his cudgel, burst into the room, crying--"We have heard all from Madame
Bonaventure. We have heard of De Gondomar's perfidy, and his Majesty's
injustice. We will set you right. The bold London 'prentices have taken
your cause in hand, and will avenge you. They will hang the treacherous
Spaniard, and burn his house."
"Hark ye, my good friend, Dick Taverner," said Sir Jocelyn, "this must
not be. Because I have been unjustly treated, and may perchance find it
difficult, if not impossible, to obtain redress, it does not follow that
you and your fellow 'prentices are to violate the law. These riotous
proceedings will prejudice my cause rather than aid it; and if you have
any regard for me you will use your influence with your comrades to
check them ere mischief ensue."
"Impossible!" exclaimed Dick. "The matter has gone too far to be stopped
now. You might as well attempt to turn back a mill-dam that has burst
its bounds, as the headstrong London 'prentices when they have taken up
their cudgels. Go through with the business they will. This is not the
only quarrel we have with De Gondomar. We hate him for his insolence and
arrogance, which have been often displayed towards us; We hate him
because he is the sworn enemy of our religion, and would subvert it if
he could. As regards myself, I have my own particular reasons for hating
him. Do not you meddle with the affair, but leave its arrangement to
"But I _must_ interfere," cried Sir Jocelyn; "if you act thus, in spite
of all my remonstrances. I must regard you in the light of enemies
rather than friends, and shall lend my help to quell the disturbance you
will occasion. Be ruled by me, good Dickon, and desist from it. Call in
your comrades, who are raging about like savage dogs broken loose."
"If they be dogs," rejoined Dick, with a laugh, "the Spanish ambassador
is likely enough to become acquainted with their teeth. But I might
whistle loudly enough to them before the staunch hounds would come back
to me; and, in good sooth, I have no inclination to obey your commands
in his instance, Sir Jocelyn."
So saying, and fearing he might be detained altogether if he waited
longer, he darted out of the room, and presently afterwards was heard
shouting along the wharf with the loudest of his riotous companions--"No
Papists! No Spanish spies! Clubs!--clubs!"
Sir Jocelyn saw that a storm was roused which it would be very difficult
to allay; but an effort must be made to do so, even if he were compelled
to act against his friends; and he was about to follow the apprentice
into the street, when he was prevented by the sudden entrance of a tall
personage, wrapped in a black cloak, and masked, whom he at once
recognised as the individual who had given him the token to De Gondomar.
"I am glad to have found you, Sir Jocelyn," said this personage. "I have
been on the look-out for you to give you a warning. Avoid any place you
have been in the habit of frequenting; and, above all, go not near
Aveline's dwelling. The officers of the Star-Chamber are on the watch
for you; and if found, your arrest is certain."
"I can place little reliance on aught you tell me, Sir," rejoined Sir
Jocelyn, "after the trick you played me in causing me to deliver that
ring to the Conde de Gondomar. Nothing you can say shall hinder me from
going forth as I am accustomed to do; and it is my purpose to proceed
ere long to the dwelling you specially caution me to avoid."
"You will repent your rashness, young Sir," said the other; "but I pray
you not to go forth till you have heard certain disclosures which I have
to make to you, and which I am well assured will induce you to alter
your opinion of me."
"I can put no faith in the statements of a hireling, base enough to play
the spy for an enemy of his country," rejoined Sir Jocelyn, scornfully.
"Stand aside, Sir. Your employer, De Gondomar, is in danger from these
hot-headed apprentices; and if you owe him any gratitude for past
favours, you may find occasion for its display now."
"What! are you about to take part with your enemy and against your
friends? These apprentices are about to redress your wrongs--in a
lawless manner it is true--but the circumstances justify their conduct."
"No circumstances can justify outrage, and violation of the law," said
Sir Jocelyn; "and if injury be attempted against De Gondomar, I must
"This is mere madness," cried the other. "Stay and hear what I have to
say to you. It imports you much to know it."
"Not now," replied Sir Jocelyn, pushing past him. "On some other
"You are throwing life and liberty away, Sir Jocelyn, and to no
purpose," cried the other. "He heeds me not," he added, in a tone of
deep disappointment. "Imprudent that he is! he will thwart all the plans
I have formed for his benefit, and at the very moment they have arrived
at maturity. I must follow and protect him."
And he too rushed down the stairs, and made all the haste he could
across the Vintry wharf after Sir Jocelyn, who was hurrying up a narrow
thoroughfare communicating with Thames Street.
Here a numerous body of 'prentices were already collected, holding a
consultation as to their plan of attack. After listening to a brief but
stirring harangue from Dick Taverner, who got upon a horse-block for the
purpose of addressing them, and recommended them to proceed to Ely
House, in Holborn, the residence of the offending Ambassador, and there
await his return from Whitehall; they approved of his proposal, and
unanimously electing Dick as their leader, set forth on their
expedition, gathering strength as they went along.
By the time they reached Blackfriars they numbered many hundreds. Little
or no interruption was offered them on their route; and the slight
hindrance they encountered from a detachment of the city-watch was
speedily overborne. Skirting Bridewell, they traversed Shoe Lane, and
ascending Holborn Hill, found themselves in the vicinity of Ely House,
where they came to a halt, and arranged their forces.
A Noble Revenge.
Nothing could be pleasanter than the situation of the Spanish
ambassador's residence, surrounded as it was by noble gardens; but its
beauties seemed now likely to be devastated by the blind fury of the
apprentices. Much mischief would indeed have been done in a very short
time if it had not been for their leader. He authoritatively commanded
them to refrain from the work of demolition till they had settled
accounts with the ambassador himself, who might be expected each moment,
as they had ascertained that he was on his way home from the palace. The
information they had received proved to be correct; and ere many minutes
elapsed, a magnificent litter, borne by eight stout varlets, and
attended by several gentlemen and pages, in the well-known liveries of
De Gondomar, was seen to pass through Holborn Bars and advance towards
Very soon, however, the bearers of the litter halted, surprised and
alarmed at the sight of the crowd investing Ely House; but De Gondomar,
who had no apprehension, commanded them to proceed, and they reluctantly
obeyed. The 'prentices allowed the litter to come on till they could
surround it, when they set up a loud shout, making it evident that
mischief was intended.
On this the gentlemen and pages in attendance upon the ambassador drew
their swords and put themselves into a posture of defence, endeavouring
to keep off the crowd. But their resistance was of little avail. The
'prentices' clubs quickly shivered their weapons, and drove them back.
When he became aware of the jeopardy in which he stood, De Gondomar,
anxious to gain time, in the hope that assistance might arrive, demanded
of the leader of the furious-looking crew who had drawn aside the
curtains of his litter, and ordered him in insolent tones to come forth,
why they molested him. The individual appealed to replied that, having
heard of his infamous usage of Sir Jocelyn Mounchensey, and of the false
accusation he had brought against him to the King, they were determined
to inflict upon his Excellency the punishment due to public and
"And by what right do you constitute yourselves my judges?" cried De
Gondomar. "Take heed what you do--you may bring yourselves within reach
of a halter."
"You hear what he says, brother 'prentices?" cried Dick Taverner. "He
threatens to hang us, and no doubt if he could carry out his schemes,
and bring back the Pope's authority, he would burn us in Smithfield, as
they did the holy martyrs in Mary's days. He has charged a true and
loyal subject of his Majesty with being a spy. In return we tell _him_
he is the worst of spies--a spy employed by the Pope; and we will teach
him the danger of his employment."
"Hands off, base varlets!" exclaimed De Gondomar, endeavouring to shake
himself free from the rude grasp imposed upon him.
But, in spite of his resistance, he was dragged from the litter, while a
shower of blows from the 'prentices cudgels fell upon his shoulders; and
it is probable he would have experienced much severer treatment, if
indeed he had escaped with life, if at this moment Sir Jocelyn
Mounchensey, sword in hand and followed by Clement Lanyere, had not
burst through the throng.
"Ha! as I suspected," cried De Gondomar. "You, Mounchensey, are the
author and instigator of this outrage, and are come to see that your
tools do their work properly."
"It is false," cried Dick Taverner. "Your Excellency judges of others by
yourself. Sir Jocelyn would have checked us if he could."
"I cannot be expected to believe such an assertion as this," cried De
"Let my actions speak for me," cried Mounchensey. "Friends," he called
out, "it is undoubtedly true that I have good ground of complaint
against the Conde de Gondomar--that he has deeply injured me--and that I
will compel him to make me reparation in due season--but I cannot permit
outrage to be offered him; and if aught further be attempted, my arm
will be raised in his defence."
"How! can this be possible!" exclaimed De Gondomar in surprise.
"Why, we are fighting Sir Jocelyn's battles, and he turns round upon
us!" cried a burly 'prentice, while loud murmurs arose from the others,
and the cudgels were again brandished menacingly.
"Leave him to us, Sir Jocelyn," said Dick Taverner.
"Ay, he had better not interfere, of he will come in for his share of
the blows," roared several voices.
"I care not what befals me," shouted Mounchensey. "You shall not injure
a hair of his Excellency's head while I stand by."
And as he spoke he warded off several blows aimed at the ambassador.
"I am with you, Sir Jocelyn," said Clement Lanyere, clearing a space
around them with his long rapier, but avoiding, so far as possible,
doing injury to the 'prentices.
At this critical juncture, and when it seemed likely that, owing to his
chivalrous interference, Sir Jocelyn would share the ambassador's fate,
he being fairly resolved, as he showed, to defend him with his life, a
cry was raised that a body of the royal guards were approaching; and as
the trampling of horse, accompanied by the clatter of swords, left no
doubt of the fact, and as, moreover, the bold 'prentices felt no
disposition to encounter regular soldiery, they instantly abandoned
their prey and took to their beels, the chief part of them leaping the
hedge which then grew along the north side of Holborn, and scouring off
through the fields in every direction. Some half dozen were made
prisoners by the guard; and amongst these, we regret to state, was the
leader of the riotous assembly, Dick Taverner.
"Thou art likely to make acquaintance with the pillory and the cart's
tail, if not with the hangman, friend," said the soldier who secured
him, with a laugh.
"So I begin to fear," replied Dick. "Alack! and well-a-day! what will
become of Gillian!"
"An that be thy mistress's name, friend, you should have thought of her
before you engaged in this disturbance. You are likely now to part
company with her for ever."
While Dick lamented the predicament in which he had placed himself, the
Conde de Gondomar, freed from all apprehension, turned towards his
deliverer, and proffering him his hand, said--"You have nobly revenged
yourself, Sir Jocelyn. I trust we may be friends once more. I will make
you ample reparation for the wrong I have done you."
But the young knight, folding his arms upon his breast, sternly
replied--"When reparation is made, Count, I may accept your hand, but
not till then."
"At least enter my house," urged the ambassador, "where you will be
protected from arrest."
"Do not hesitate, Sir Jocelyn," subjoined Lanyere. "You are in great
But the young knight haughtily refused.
"I will not owe an asylum to you, Count," he said, "till my name be
cleared from reproach." And, with a proud salutation, he departed.
The Spanish ambassador shrugged his shoulders, and looked after him with
mingled admiration and contempt. He then turned to the promoter, and
said, "Come in with me, Lanyere. I have somewhat to say to you."
"I must pray your Excellency to excuse me just now," replied the other.
"I have business on hand."
And bowing with nearly as much haughtiness as Sir Jocelyn, he followed
in the course taken by the young knight.
A Place of Refuge.
After quitting De Gondomar, as before related, Sir Jocelyn hurried along
Holborn with the intention of proceeding to Aveline's cottage, which was
at no great distance from Ely House, though in a secluded situation,
withdrawn from the road; and he was just about to strike into the narrow
lane leading to it, when he was arrested by the voice of Clement
Lanyere, who had followed him, unobserved.
"Stay, Sir Jocelyn, I beg of you," cried the promoter, coming quickly up
to him; "you are rushing on certain destruction. You must not go nigh
that cottage to-day; no, nor for several days to come. Foes are lying in
ambush round it; and the only spectacle you will afford her you love
will be that of your arrest."
There was an earnestness in the speaker's manner that could not fail to
carry conviction of his sincerity to the breast of his hearer.
"By my soul, I speak the truth," said Lanyere, perceiving the impression
he had made, "as you will find if you go many steps further. Place
yourself in my hands, and I will save you."
"What motive can you have for acting thus?" demanded Sir Jocelyn. "What
interest do you take in me?"
"Do not question me now: you shall have full explanation hereafter. Be
satisfied I am a friend,--perchance your best friend. Come with me, and
I will take you to a place of safety."
"But what is to happen to Aveline?" cried the young knight, in deep
"I will endeavour to watch over her," replied the promoter; "and I trust
no harm will befall her. At all events, you will deprive yourself of the
power of rendering her any protection, if you are rash enough to go
Struck by the force of these remarks, our young knight felt he had no
alternative but to submit to circumstances, and he accordingly agreed to
accept the aid proffered him by his mysterious friend. But it was not
without feelings of intense anguish that he turned away from the path
leading to the little secluded cottage containing all he held dear, and
followed his conductor, who seemed resolved to allow him no time for
further hesitation, but proceeding at a rapid pace towards the west till
he reached Broad Saint Giles's--then a rural village--and entered a
small tavern, bearing the sign of "The Rose and Crown," the landlord of
which appeared to have an understanding with the promoter, for at a sign
from him, he immediately ushered his guests into a chamber up-stairs,
and without saying a word, left them alone together.
"Here you will be secure and undisturbed," said Lanyere; "and all your
wants will be cared for by my trusty ally, Barnabas Boteler; but, for
your own sake, you must consent to remain a close prisoner, till I bring
you word that you may go forth with safety. I must now leave you, having
much to do, and must defer the explanations I design to give you to a
more convenient season. Be not uneasy if you should not see me for a few
days, as circumstances may prevent my coming to you. When I next appear,
I trust it may be to bring you good tidings. Till then, farewell."
And without waiting for any reply from Sir Jocelyn, he hastily departed.
Left alone, our young knight did the best he could to reconcile himself
to the strange situation in which he was placed. He was naturally full
of anxiety, both on his own account, and on that of Aveline; yet, on
calm reflection, he felt satisfied he had acted for the best, and that,
in accepting the protection of the mysterious individual who seemed bent
upon directing his fortunes, he had followed the dictates of prudence.
Barnabas Boteler attended him in person, and suffered no one else to
come near him; but though the worthy host seemed anxious to anticipate
his wants in every particular, his manner was reserved, and, in Sir
Jocelyn's opinion, he had something of the look of a jailor, and this
notion was strengthened when he found himself locked in his room.
Probably this was only done as a precautionary measure by the host; and
as the window was at no great height from the ground, and he could
descend from it when he chose, he gave himself no great concern about
In this way three days passed by without anything occurring to break the
monotony of his wearisome confinement,--not even a visit from Clement
Lanyere. To Sir Jocelyn's inquiries concerning him, the host professed
utter inability to give a precise answer, but said that he might arrive
at any moment. As he did not appear, however, on the fourth day, Sir
Jocelyn's patience got quite worn out, and his uneasiness respecting
Aveline having become insupportable, he determined, at all hazards, on
visiting her cottage. Without acquainting the host with his intention,
or asking to have the door unfastened, he opened the window which looked
into a garden at the back of the house, and sprang from it. His furtive
departure did not appear to be noticed, and he soon gained the road, and
took the direction of Aveline's dwelling.
As he approached the cottage a heavy presentiment of ill seized Sir
Jocelyn. The place seemed to have lost its customary smiling air. No
fair countenance beamed upon him from the casement; no light footsteps
were heard hastening to the door; no one opened it to give him welcome.
Could Aveline have fled'?--or had some dire misfortune happened to her.
Suspense was worse than certainty of ill: and after a moment's
hesitation, he raised the latch, and with trembling footsteps crossed
She was gone--he could no longer doubt it. The disordered appearance of
the chamber in which he found himself, with its furniture scattered
about, seemed to tell of a struggle, and a forcible abduction.
Nevertheless, though expecting no answer, he called forth her name in
accents of wildest despair. She came not to his cries--neither she nor
her companion, Dame Sherborne, nor her faithful attendant old Anthony
Rocke. All were gone. The house was indeed desolate.
Still clinging to hope, he flew up-stairs, but could find no traces
there of any of the inmates of the dwelling; and with a heart now
completely crushed, he descended to the chamber he had just quitted.
Here he found Clement Lanyere surveying the scene of confusion around
him with a stern and troubled look. Sir Jocelyn instantly rushed up to
him, and seizing him by the arm, fiercely demanded what had become of
"She is in the hands of Sir Francis Mitchell," replied the promoter,
shaking-him off; "and, for aught I know, may be wedded to him by this
"Wedded!" almost shrieked the young man. "Impossible! she would never
consent--and he would not dare have recourse to violence."
"Though he might not, his partner, Sir Giles Mompesson, would have no
such scruples," returned the promoter. "But perhaps you are right, and
Aveline's determined resistance may intimidate them both so that they
may abandon their design. I hope so for your sake, and for hers
also--but I have my fears."
"You know more than you choose to avow, Sir," said Sir Jocelyn
sternly,--"and as you value your life, I command you to speak plainly,
and tell me what has happened, and where I shall find Aveline."
"So commanded by any other than yourself, Sir Jocelyn," rejoined the
promoter, "I would _not_ speak; but to you I say, as I have before
declared, that Aveline is undoubtedly in the power of Sir Francis
Mitchell, and that it will rest entirely with herself whether she
escapes him or not."
"And you have caused me to be detained while she has been carried off,"
exclaimed Sir Jocelyn, furiously. "Fool that I was to trust you! You are
in league with the villains."
"Think of me what you please, and say what you will--you shall not anger
me," rejoined the promoter. "I discovered your flight from the place of
refuge I had procured for you, and guessing where you had come, followed
you hither. Your danger is not past. Vainly will you seek Sir Francis
Mitchell. You will not find him,--but you _will_ find a serjeant-at-arms
with a Star-Chamber warrant for your arrest. To this you can offer no
resistance; and what will follow? I will tell you:--immediate
incarceration in the Fleet Prison. And when safely lodged there, how,
may I ask, are you to liberate Aveline?"
"I must trust to chance," replied Sir Jocelyn. "I can no longer place
any reliance upon you. Stand aside, and let me pass. I would not harm
"You cannot injure one whose intentions are friendly to you as mine are.
Listen to me, and let what I have to say sink deeply into your breast.
Do anything rather than render yourself amenable to the accursed
tribunal I have named. Abandon mistress, friend, relative--all who are
near and dear to you--if they would bring you within its grasp."
"And do you venture to give me this shameful council? Do you think I
will attend to it?" cried Sir Jocelyn.
"I am sure you will, if you hear me out--and you _shall_ hear me," the
promoter exclaimed with so much authority that the young man, however
impatient, could not refuse attention, to him. "Look me in the face, Sir
Jocelyn! Regard me well! Behold these ineffaceable marks made by the
heated iron, and the sharpened knife! How came they there? From a
sentence of the Star-Chamber. And as my offence was the same as yours,
so your sentence will correspond with mine. Your punishment will be the
same as mine--branding and mutilation. Ha! I perceive I have touched you
"What was your offence, unhappy man?" asked Sir Jocelyn, averting his
gaze from the hideous aspect which, now lighted up with mingled emotions
of rage and despair, had become absolutely appalling.
"The same as your own, as I have said," replied the other;--"a few hasty
words impugning the justice of this vindictive court. Better had I have
cut out my tongue than have given utterance to them. But my case more
nearly resembled yours than I have yet explained, for, like you, I had
incurred the displeasure of Sir Giles Mompesson, and was by him
delivered to these hellish tormentors. Acting under cover of the
Star-Chamber, and in pursuance of its iniquitous decrees, he nailed me
to the pillory, and so fast, that the ears through which the spikes were
driven were left behind. Think how you would like that, Sir Jocelyn?
Think what you would feel, if you stood there on that infamous post, a
spectacle to the base and shouting rabble, with a paper fastened to your
breast, setting forth your crimes, and acquainting all that you were a
"Enough, Sir," interrupted Sir Jocelyn.
"Ay, enough--more than enough," rejoined the other; "but I cannot spare
you the whole of the recital, however painful it may be to you. My own
sufferings will be yours, if you heed not. So I shall go on. In robbing
me of my ears, the executioner had only half done his work. He had still
further to deface the image of his Maker,--and he hesitated not in his
task. No savage in the wilds could have treated his deadliest enemy
worse than he treated me; and yet the vile concourse applauded him, and
not a word of pity escaped them. My sentence was fully carried out; my
features for ever disfigured; and the letters of shame indelibly stamped
upon my cheek. You may read them there now if you will look at me."
"You thrill me with horror," said Sir Jocelyn.
"Ay, mine is not a mirthful history, though that fiend in human form,
Sir Giles, hath often laughed at it," rejoined the promoter. "It might
make you shudder, and perchance move you to tears, if you could hear it
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