« PreviousContinue »
his livery he knew to be one of Lord Mounteagle's household, (it was, in fact, the very youth who had delivered the mysterious letter,) and from him he ascertained all that had occurred. Filled with alarm, and scarcely knowing what to do, he crossed the river, and proceeding to the cellar, examined the marks at the door, and finding all precisely as he had left it, felt certain, that whatever discovery had been made, the magazine had not been visited.
He next repaired to the house, of which he possessed the key, and was satisfied that no one had been there. Somewhat relieved by this, he yet determined to keep watch during the day, and concealing himself near the cellar, remained on the look-out till night. But no one came; nor did anything occur to excite his suspicions. He would not, however, quit his post till about six o'clock on the following evening, when, thinking further delay might be attended with danger, he set out to White Webbs, to give his companions intelligence of the letter.
His news was received by all with the greatest alarm, and not one, except Catesby, who strove to put a bold face upon the matter, though he was full of inward misgiving, but confessed that he thought all chance of success was at an end. While deliberating upon what should be done in this fearful emergency, they were greatly alarmed by a sudden knocking without. All the conspirators concealed themselves, except Guy Fawkes, who, opening the door, found, to his infinite surprise, that the summons proceeded from Tresham. He said nothing till the other had entered the house, and then suddenly drawing his dagger, held it to his throat.
'Make your shrift quickly, traitor,' he cried in a furious tone, 'for your last hour is arrived. What ho!' he shouted to the others, who instantly issued from their hiding-places, the fox has ventured into the lion's den!'
'You distrust me wrongfully,' rejoined Tresham, with more confidence than he usually exhibited in time of danger; 'I am come to warn you, not betray you. Is this the return you make me for the service?'
'Villain,' cried Catesby, rushing up to him, and holding his drawn sword to his breast. 'You have conveyed the letter to Lord Mounteagle.'
'It is false !' replied Tresham. I have only just heard of it; and in spite of the risk I knew I should run from your suspicions, I came to tell you what had happened.'
'Why did you feign illness, and depart secretly for town, instead of joining us at Coughton?' demanded Catesby.
'I will instantly explain my motive, which, though it may not be satisfactory to you on one point, will be so on another,' replied Tresham, unhesitatingly, and with apparent frankness. I was fearful you would make a further tool of me, and resolved not to join
you again till a few days before the outbreak of the plot. To this determination I should have adhered had I not learnt to-night that a letter had been transmitted by some one to Lord Mounteagle, which he had conveyed to the Earl of Salisbury. It may not convey any notion of the plot, but it is certain to occasion alarm, and I thought it my duty, in spite of every personal consideration, to give you warning. If you design to escape, there is yet time. A vessel lies in the river, in which we can all embark for Flanders.'
'Can he be innocent?' said Catesby in a whisper to Garnet.
'If I had betrayed you,' continued Tresham, 'I should not have come hither. And I have no motive for such baseness, for I am in equal danger with yourselves. But though the alarm has been giv. en, I do not think any discovery will be made. They are evidently on the wrong scent.'
'I hope so,' replied Catesby; but I fear the contrary.' 'Shall I put him to death?' demanded Fawkes of Garnet. 'Do not sully your hands with his blood, my son,' returned Garnet. If he has betrayed us, he will reap the traitor's reward here and hereafter. If he has not, it would be to take away a life unjustly. Let him depart. We shall feel more secure without him.' Will it be safe to set him free, father?' cried Fawkes.
'I think so,' replied Garnet. We will not admit him to our further conferences; but let us act mercifully.'
The major part of the conspirators concurring in this opinion, though Fawkes and Catesby were opposed to it, Tresham was suffered to depart. As soon as he was gone, Garnet avowed that the further prosecution of the design appeared so hazardous, that it ought to be abandoned, and that, in his opinion, each of the conspirators had better consult his own safety by flight. He added, that at some future period the design might be resumed, or another planned, which might be more securely carried out.
After much discussion, all seemed disposed to acquiesce in the proposal except Fawkes, who adhered doggedly to his purpose, and treated the danger so slightingly, that he gradually brought the others round to his views. At length, it was resolved that Garnet should set out immediately for Coughton Hall, and place himself under the protection of Sir Everard Digby, and there await the result of the attempt, while the other conspirators decided upon remaining in town, in some secure places of concealment, until the event was known. Unmoved as ever, Guy Fawkes declared his intention of watching over the magazine of powder.
'If anything happens to me,' he said, 'you will take care of yourselves. You well know nothing will be wrung from me.' Catesby and the others, aware of his resolute nature, affected to remonstrate with him, but they willingly suffered him to take his own course. Attended by Bates, Garnet then set out for Warwickshire, and the rest of the conspirators proceeded to London, where
they dispersed, after appointing Lincoln's Inn walks as their place of midnight rendezvous. Each then made preparations for sudden flight, in case it should be necessary, and Rookwood provided relays of horses all the way to Dunchurch.
Guy Fawkes alone remained at his post. He took up his abode in the cellar, resolved to blow up himself together with his foes in case of a surprise.
On Thursday, the thirty-first of October, the King returned to Whitehall, and the mysterious letter was laid before him in the presence of the Privy Council by the Earl of Salisbury. James perused it carefully, but could scarcely hide his perplexity.
'Your Majesty will not fail to remark the expressions, "a terrible blow" to the Parliament, and "that the danger will be past as soon as you have burnt the letter,"-evidently referring to combustion,' observed the Earl.
'You are right, Salisbury,' said James, snatching at the suggestion, 'I should not wonder if these mischievous Papists mean to blow us all up with gunpowder.'
'Your Majesty has received a divine illumination,' returned the Earl. Such an idea never occurred to me; but it must be as you intimate.'
'Undoubtedly-undoubtedly,' replied the Monarch, pleased with the compliment to his sagacity, though alarmed by the danger; 'but what desperate traitors they must be to imagine such a deed. Blow us up! God's mercy, that were a dreadful death ! And yet that must evidently be the meaning of the passage. How else can it be construed, except by reference to the suddenness of the act, which might be as quickly performed as that paper would take to be consumed in the fire?'
'Your Majesty's penetration has discovered the truth,' replied Salisbury, and by the help of your wisdom I will fully develope this dark design. Where think you the powder may lie hidden ?' 'Are there any vaults beneath the Parliament House?' demanded James, trembling. Heaven save us ! We have often walked
there-perhaps, over a secret mine.'
'There are,' replied Salisbury, and I am again indebted to your Majesty for a most important suggestion. Not a corner in the vaults shall be left unsearched. But, perhaps you will think with me. that, in order to catch these traitors in their own trap, it will be well to defer the search till the very night before the meeting of Parliament.'
'I was about to recommend such a course myself, Salisbury,' replied James.
'I was sure you would think so,' returned the Earl; and now I must entreat you to dismiss the subject from your thoughts, and to sleep securely, for you may rely upon it (after your Majesty's dis covery) that the plot shall be fully unravelled.'
The significant tone in which the Earl uttered the latter part of this speech, convinced the King that he knew more of the matter than he cared to confess, and he contented himself with saying. 'Well, let it be so. I trust all to you. But I at once divined their purpose-I at once divined it.' The Council then broke up, and James laughed and chuckled to himself at the discernment he had displayed. Nor was he less pleased with his minister for the credit given him in the affair. But he took care not to enter the Parliament House. On the afternoon of Monday, November the fourth, the Lord Chamberlain, accompanied by the Lords Salisbury and Mounteagle, visited the cellars and vaults beneath the Parliament House. For some time, they discovered nothing to excite suspicion. At length, probably at the suggestion of Lord Mounteagle, who, as will be recollected, was acquainted with the situation of the magazine, they proceeded to the cellar, where they found the store of powder, but not meeting with any of the conspirators, as they expected, they disturbed nothing, and went away, reporting the result of their search to the King.
By the recommendation of the Earl of Salisbury, James advised that a guard should be placed near the cellar during the whole of the night, consisting of Topcliffe and a certain number of attendants, and headed by Sir Thomas Knevet, a magistrate of Westminster, upon whose courage and discretion full reliance could be placed. Lord Mounteagle also requested permission to keep guard with them to witness the result of the affair. To this the King assented, and as soon as it grew dark, the party secretly took up their position at a point commanding the entrance of the magazine.
Fawkes, who chanced to be absent at the time the search was made, returned a few minutes afterwards, and remained within the cellar, seated upon a barrel of gunpowder, the head of which he had staved in, with a lantern in one hand, and petronel in the other, till past midnight. The fifth of November was now at hand, and the clock of the adjoining abbey had scarcely ceased tolling the hour that proclaimed its arrival, when Fawkes, somewhat wearied with his solitary watching, determined to repair for a short space to the adjoining house. He, accordingly, quitted the cellar, leaving his lantern lighted within it in one corner.
Opening the door, he gazed cautiously around, but perceiving nothing, after waiting a few seconds, he proceeded to lock the door. While thus employed, he thought he heard a noise behind him, and turning suddenly, he beheld through the gloom several persons rushing towards him, evidently with hostile intent. His first impulse was to draw a petronel, and grasp his sword. effect his purpose, his arms were pinioned by a powerful grasp from behind, while the light of a lantern thrown full in his face revealed the barrel of a petronel levelled at his head, and an authoritative voice commanded him in the King's name to surrender.
But before he could
AN IRISH LOVE ADVENTURE.
BY PHELIM O'TOOLE.
A FEW years ago-no matter how many,-there appeared in the columns of that respectable and instructive hebdomadal, The Roscommon Chronicle,' the following notice of a
'A very pretty affair came off yesterday morning near the big tree of Killanyman, in which the parties were a neighbour, Mr. Hugh Kelly, junior, of the ancient and honourable house of Lisnisky, and a Mr. O'Fogarty, from the County Galway, the former attended by his uncle, Mr. H. Kelly, senior, the latter by Mr. Christopher Cooney. The result, we are sure, will prove highly gratifying to the many friends and connections of Mr. Kelly, who showed himself a perfect gentleman on the occasion, having winged his adversary in the very first fire, although we are told it was his first appearance on the sod. Indeed, if we are to do justice, we must say that the conduct of both gentlemen was truly exemplary; so much so, that a very competent authority has declared to us he never saw two finer fellows tread the daisies of Killanyman. We regret to add, that serious fears are entertained for the life of Mr. O'Fogarty, the ball having made a very ugly mouse-hole for itself in the direction of his lungs. Under the care of our experienced townsman, Dr. H****, he is, however, doing as well as could be expected. It is said the affair originated in Mr. Kelly's dog running away with a bone which Mr. O'Fogarty's dog was picking.
'Farther particulars. We have since learned the true cause of the quarrel. It seems it arose from some very harsh and disparaging expressions applied by Mr. O'Fogarty to the ladies of Roscommon en masse, which Mr. Kelly, in that spirit of chivalry for which our part of the world is so deservedly famous, very angrily resented. The suffering gent. is, we believe, out of danger; the ball has been cleverly extracted, and he is doing well,' &c. &c. &c.
And so it was that Mr. O'Fogarty recovered, thereby releasing us, Hugh junior and senior, from the divers annoyances of the city of refuge to which we had fled in the Leitrim mountains, as well as from the prospective pains and penalties of the law, in that case made and provided, should Mr. O'Fogarty's friends be shabby enough to prosecute, and cast us upon the bowels of compassion of a Roscommon jury. It would make my story too long were I to tell of the triumph in which we were conducted home, or the honours that awaited us there. It is enough to say, there wasn't such another ovation in Lisnisky since the day on which the masther got the lawshoot.'
I was lolling on the sofa, resting myself after the labours of return and congratulation, and anticipating what a hero I was likely to be among womankind, when the door burst open with a most alarming crash, and in came Mr. Hugh Kelly, senior, the personage who, as has been stated before, stood to me in the relation of an uncle. A newspaper was in his hand, joy in his eyes, and as many capers in his toes as would make the fortunes of a Coryphée. I looked on in silent won