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AN HISTORICAL ROMANCE.
BY W. HARRISON AINSWORTH, ESQ.
ILLUSTRATED BY GEORGE CRUIKSHANK.
BOOK THE SECOND.
THE MARRIAGE IN THE FOREST.
TRESHAM, for it will have been conjectured that he was one of the speakers mentioned in the preceding chapter, on separating from Lord Mounteagle, took the same direction as the conspirators. He hesitated for some time before venturing to knock at the gardengate; and when he had done so, felt half-disposed to take to his heels. But shame restrained him; and hearing footsteps approach, he gave the customary signal, and was instantly admitted by Guy Fawkes.
'What brings you here?' demanded the latter, as they entered the house, and made fast the door behind them.
'I have just heard that Parliament is prorogued to the fifth of November,' replied Tresham, and came to tell you so.'
'I already know it,' returned Fawkes, gloomily; 'and for the first time, feel so me misgiving as to the issue of our enterprise.' 'Why so?' inquired Tresham.
'November is unlucky to me,' rejoined Fawkes, and I cannot recollect a year life in which some ill has not befallen me during that month, especially on the fifth day. On the last fifth of November, I nearly died of a fever at Madrid. It is a strange and unfortunate coincidence that the meeting of the Parliament should be appointed for that particular day.'
'Shall I tell you what I think it portends?' hesitated Tresham. 'Do so,' replied Fawkes, and speak boldly. I am no child to be frightened at shadows.'
'You have more than once declared your intention of perishing with our foes,' rejoined Tresham. The design, though prosperous
in itself, may be fatal to you.'
'You are right,' replied Fawkes. 'I have little doubt I shall perish on that day. You are both aware of my superstitious nature, and are not ignorant that many mysterious occurrences have combined to strengthen the feeling, such as the dying words of the prophetess, Elizabeth Orton,-her warning speech when she was raised from the dead by Doctor Dee,-and lastly, the vision at Saint Winifred's Well. What if I tell you the saint has again appeared to me?'
'In a dream?' inquired Catesby, in a slightly-sceptical tone. 'Ay, in a dream,' returned Fawkes. 'But I saw her as plainly as
if I had been awake. It was the same vapoury figure,—the same transparent robes, the same benign countenance, only far more pity. ing than before-that I beheld at Holywell. I heard no sound issue from her lips, but I felt that she warned me to desist.'
'Do you accept the warning?' asked Tresham, eagerly. 'It is needless to answer,' replied Fawkes.
I have laid the train
'You have infected me with your misgivings,' observed Tresham. 'Would the enterprise had never been undertaken!'
But being undertaken, it must be gone through with,' rejoined Catesby, sternly. 'Harkee, Tresham. You promised us two thousand pounds in aid of the project, but have constantly deferred pay. ment of the sum on some plea or other.'
'Because I have not been able to raise it,' replied Tresham, sullenly. I have tried in vain to sell part of my estates at Rushton, in Northamptonshire. I cannot effect impossibilities.'
'Tush!' cried Catesby, fiercely. You well know I ask no impossibility. I will no longer be trifled with. The money must be forthcoming by the tenth of October, or you shall pay the penalty with your life.'
This is the language of a cut-throat, Mr. Catesby,' replied
'It is the only language I will hold towards you,' rejoined Catesby, contemptuously. Look you disappoint me not, or take the consequences.'
'I must leave for Northamptonshire at once, then,' said Tresham. 'Do as you please,' returned Catesby. Play the cut-throat yourself, and ease some rich miser of his store, if you think fit. Bring us the money, and we will not ask how you came by it.'
'Before we separate,' said Tresham, disregarding these sneers, 'I wish to be resolved on one point. Who are to be saved from destruction?'
'Why do you ask?' inquired Fawkes.
'Because I must stipulate for the lives of my brothers-in-law, the Lords Mounteagle and Stourton,'
If anything detains them from the meeting, well and good,' replied Catesby. But no warning must be given them. That would infallibly lead to a discovery of the plot.'
'Some means might surely be adopted to put them on their guard without danger to ourselves?' urged Tresham.
'I know of none,' replied Catesby.
'Nor I,' added Fawkes. If I did, I would warn Lord Montague, and some others whom I shall grieve to destroy.'
'We are all similarly circumstanced,' replied Catesby. Keyes is anxious for the preservation of his patron and friend, Lord Mordaunt,-Percy, for the Earl of Northumberland. I, myself, would