Page images
PDF
EPUB

therefore ordered to attach his signature to the minutes taken by Sir Edward Coke, and was placed in a chair for that purpose. A pen was then given him, but for some time his shattered fingers refused to grasp it. By a great effort, and with acute pain, he succeeded in tracing his Christian name thus:—

Guido

While endeavouring to write his surname, the pen fell from his hand, and he became insensible.

CHAPTER II.

SHOWING THE TROUBLES OF VIVIANA.

ON coming to herself, Viviana inquired for Garnet, and being told that he was in his chamber alone, she repaired thither, and found him pacing to and fro in the greatest perturbation.

'If you come to me for consolation, daughter,' he said, 'you come to one who cannot offer it. I am completely prostrated in spirit by the disastrous issue of our enterprise; and though I tried to prepare myself for what has taken place, I now find myself utterly unable to cope with it.'

'If such is your condition, father,' replied Viviana, 'what must be that of my husband, upon whose devoted head all the weight of this dreadful calamity now falls? You are still at liberty-still able to save yourself-still able, at least, to resist unto the death, if you are so minded. But he is a captive in the Tower, exposed to every torment that human ingenuity can invent, and with nothing but the prospect of a lingering death before his eyes. What is your condition, compared with his ?'

'Happy-most happy, daughter,' replied Garnet, and I have been selfish and unreasonable. I have given way to the weakness of humanity, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for enabling me to shake it off.'

'You have indulged false hopes, father,' said Viviana, 'whereas I have indulged none, or rather all has come to pass as I desired. The dreadful crime with which I feared my husband's soul would have been loaded is now uncommitted, and I have firm hope of his salvation. If I might counsel you, I would advise you to surrender yourself to justice, and by pouring out your blood on the scaffold, wash out your offence. Such will be my own course. I have been in. voluntarily led into connection with this plot; and though I have ever disapproved of it, since I have not revealed it, I am as guilty as if I had been its contriver. I shall not shun my punishment. Fate has dealt hardly with me, and my path on earth has been strewn with thorns, and cast in grief and trouble. But I humbly trust that my portion hereafter will be with the blessed.'

'I cannot doubt it, daughter,' replied Garnet; 'and though I do not view our design in the light that you do, but regard it as justifiable, if not necessary, yet with your feelings, I cannot sufficiently admire your conduct. Your devoti n and self-sacri. fice is wholly without parallel. At the same time, I would try to dissuade you from surrendering yourself to our relentless enemies. Believe me, it will add the severest pang to your husband's torture to know that you are in their power. His nature is stern and unyielding, and, persuaded as he is of the justice of his cause, he will die happy in that conviction, certain that his name, though despised by our heretical persecutors, will be held in reverence by all true professors of our faith. No, daughter, fly and conceal yourself till pursuit is relinquished, and pass the rest of your life in prayer for the repose of your husband's soul.'

(

'I will pass it in endeavouring to bring him to repentance,' replied Viviana. The sole boon I shall seek from my judges will be permission to attempt this.'

'It will be refused, daughter,' replied Garnet, and you will only destroy yourself, not aid him. Rest satisfied that the Great Power who judges the hearts of men, and implants certain impulses within them, for his own wise but inscrutable purposes, well knows that Guy Fawkes, however culpable his conduct may appear in your eyes, acted according to the dictates of his conscience, and in the full confidence that the design would restore the true worship of God in this kingdom. The failure of the enterprise proves that he was mistaken, that we were all mistaken, and that Heaven was unfavourable to the means adopted,—but it does not prove his insincerity.'

'These arguments have no weight with me, father,' replied Vivi. ana; 'I will leave nothing undone to save his soul, and whatever may be the result, I will surrender myself to justice.'

'I shall not seek to move you from your purpose, daughter,' replied Garnet, and can only lament it. Before, however, you finally decide, let us pray together for directions from on high.'

(

Thus exhorted, Viviana knelt down with the priest before a small silver image of the Virgin, which stood in a niche in the wall, and they both prayed long and earnestly. Garnet was the first to conclude his devotions, and as he gazed at the up-turned countenance and streaming eyes of his companion, his heart was filled with admiration and pity.

At this juncture the door opened, and Catesby and Sir Everard Digby entered. On hearing them, Viviana immediately arose.

6

'The urgency of our business must plead an excuse for the interruption, if any is needed,' said Catesby; but do not retire, madam. We have no secrets from you now,. Sir Everard and I have fully completed our preparations,' he added to Garnet.

'Our men are all armed and mounted in the court, and are in high spirits for the enterprise. As the service, however, will be one of the greatest danger and difficulty, you had better seek a safe asylum, father, till the first decisive blow is struck.'

6

'I would go with you, my son,' rejoined Garnet, if I did not think my presence might be an hindrance. I can only aid you with my prayers, and those can be more efficaciously uttered in some secure retreat, than during a rapid march, or dangerous encounter.' 'You had better retire to Coughton with Lady Digby and Viviana,' said Sir Everard. I have provided a sufficient escort to guard you thither, and, as you are aware, there are many hiding-places in the house, where you can remain undiscovered, in case of search.'

'I place myself at your disposal,' replied Garnet. 'But Viviana' is resolved to surrender herself.'

This must not be,' returned Catesby. 'Such an act at this juncture would be madness, and would materially injure our cause. Whatever your inclinations may prompt, you must consent to remain in safety, madam.'

'I have acquiesced in your proceedings thus far,' replied Viviana, 'because I could not oppose them without injury to those dear to me. But I will take no further share in them. My mind is made up as to the course I shall pursue.'

( Since you are bent upon your own destruction-for it is nothing less, it is the duty of your friends to save you,' rejoined Catesby. 'You shall not do what you propose, and when you are yourself again, and have recovered from the shock your feelings have sustained, you will thank me for my interference.'

6

(

You are right, Catesby,' observed Sir Everard; it would be worse than insanity to allow her to destroy herself thus.'

'I tried to

I am glad you are of this opinion,' said Garnet. reason her out of her design, but without avail.'

'Catesby,' cried Viviana, throwing herself at his feet,' by the love you once professed for me,-by the friendship you entertained for him who unhesitatingly offered himself for you, and your cause, I implore you not to oppose me now.'

'I shall best serve you, and most act in accordance with the wishes of my friend, by doing so,' replied Catesby. 'Therefore, you plead in vain.'

'Alas!' cried Viviana. ( My purposes are ever thwarted. You will have to answer for my life.'

'I should, indeed, have it to answer for, if I permitted you to act as you desire,' rejoined Catesby. I repeat, you will thank me ere many days are passed.'

'Sir Everard,' exclaimed Viviana, appealing to the knight. 'I entreat you to have pity upon me.'

'I do sincerely sympathize with your distress,' replied Digby, in

a tone of the deepest commiseration; but I am sure what Catesby advises is for the best. I could not reconcile it to my conscience to allow you to sacrifice yourself thus. Be governed by prudence.' 'Oh no,-no!'-cried Viviana distractedly. I will not be stayed. I command you not to detain me.'

'Viviana,' said Catesby, taking her arm, this is no season for the display of silly weakness either on our part or yours. If you cannot control yourself, you must be controlled. Father Garnet, I entrust her to your care. Two of my troop shall attend you, together with your own servant, Nicholas Owen. You shall have stout horses, able to accomplish the journey with the greatest expedition, and I should wish you to convey her to her own mansion, Ordsall Hall, and to remain there with her till you hear tidings of us.'

'It shall be as you direct, my son,' said Garnet.

I am prepared

to set out at once.'

That is well,' replied Catesby.

'You will not do me this violence, sir,' cried Viviana. I appeal against it, to you, Sir Everard.'

I cannot help you, madam,' replied the knight, indeed, I cannot.'

Then Heaven, I trust, will help me,' cried Viviana, for I am wholly abandoned of man.'

'I beseech you, madam, put some constraint upon yourself,' said Catesby. If, after your arrival at Ordsall, you are still bent upon your rash and fatal design, Father Garnet shall not oppose its execution. But give yourself time for reflection.'

Since it may not be otherwise, I assent,' replied Viviana. If I must go, I will start at once.'

Wisely resolved,' replied Sir Everard.

Viviana then retired, and soon afterwards appeared equipped for her journey. The two attendants and Nicholas Owen were in the court-yard, and Catesby assisted her into the saddle.

'Do not lose sight of her,' he said to Garnet, as the latter mounted.

'Rest assured I will not,' replied the other.

And taking the direction of Coventry, the party rode off at a brisk pace.

Catesby then joined the other conspirators, while Sir Everard sent off Lady Digby and his household, attended by a strong escort, to Coughton. This done, the whole party repaired to the courtyard, where they called over the muster-roll of their men, to ascertain that none were missing,-examined their arms and ammunition, -and finding all in order, sprang to their steeds, and putting themselves at the head of the band, rode towards Southam and Warwick.

457

THE MUMP.

BY HAL WILLIS, STUDENT AT LAW.

6

THE 'Mump' is a slight variation of the 'Sponge.' The differ. ence is, that the former possesses more sincerity, or impudence, than the latter, and ingenuously commences the invasion with an acknow. ledgment of his or her intentions. Well, Tom, I've come to mump a dinner with you;' or 'My dear Mrs. B. I intend to mump a dish of tea with you this afternoon. How's the little dears?' and so forth. Both Mumps and Sponges are of very ancient origin. The Latins used to call them muscæ' or flies, being always ready to taste of any man's dish without invitation.

(

Mrs. Wrigglesby was one of the finest specimens (as a naturalist would phrase it) of the genuine Mump' that ever existed. She looked about sixty, but she declared that she should never see seventy again;' to the surprise of her friends, for really her gastronomic performances, for one who had entirely lost her molares or grinders, were perfectly astonishing.

She often confessed herself that she could (what she elegantly termed) play a good knife and fork;' but always shook her head, and expressed her fears that it was a bad sign, which she did not at all like; a sentiment, by-the-by, in which many of the purveyors sympathized. But there was one point in the character of Mrs. Wrigglesby which made her appear in a different light from the generality of Mumps.' Mrs. Wrigglesby was a widow, without chick or child,' had a genteel independence, and no relations! What the amount of her income was no one had been able to ascertain, for everybody declared that Wrigglesby was very close.' Some said that she was worth a great deal, and others went so far as to assert, that the Widow Wrigglesby was worth 'I don't know how much;' which latter kind of intimation is usually intended to convey the idea of a vast sum. The mystery, however, was left to be solved by the opening of her last will and testament, and the expectation of that mournful occasion,' kept up by sundry clever hints and inuendos from the Mump, served to feed the minds of the whole circle of her acquaintance. She possessed an excellent me mory; and habit and experience had rendered her such an adept in calculation that she was a perfect rival to the famous 'Francis Moore, Physician,' the only difference consisting in this material point, that he calculated eclipses and tides on his own tables, while Mrs. Wrigglesby made hers upon the tables of her friends.

She knew to a nicety whether the 'hot' or 'cold' was in the ascendant, or graced the board on a particular day, and could decide without entering the house (which she never did) when there was a 'hash' or a 'make up.' As she preferred the first appearance of any joint, she usually was what foolish people call 'fortunate enough' to drop in just as the cloth was laid, and the dinner served.

Then she made such careful' minutes' of the respective hours of feeding-time observed in the different families, that she was infalli bly in pudding-time.'

She always made it a rule to pat the children on the head, or, want. ing them, the pet-dog or cat of the family, and never forgot the names

VOL. VII.

31

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »